books (8)

Fans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa

Fans of the Impossible LifeFans of the Impossible Life by Kate Scelsa
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This debut novel by Kate Scelsa will be a sure winner with teens! As you become ensconced in the tricky lives of Mira, Sebby, and Jeremy you root for these troubled adolescents whose worlds are in trouble as they find and protect one another. I loved Sebby's quote mirroring the book's title (p. 116), "May we live impossibly. Against all odds. May people look at us and wonder how such jewels can sparkle in the sad desert of the world. May we live the impossible life." I loved their personalities, their strong support for each other, and their insecurities. Mira, Sebby and Jeremy needed each other desperately but also recognized they would need to stand on their own two feet at some point to survive. A novel many teens will identify with; highly recommended.

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It's Not A Book!

Word On The Street is a fantastic literacy festival that our team at Brainspace attends every year.

Since our inception back in June 2013, we've enjoyed meeting readers and seeing young faces light up when we demonstrate the augmented reality in our magazine. "Yes, thank you. It is a very smart magazine." "We do raise the bar on content for children. We think our audience is very capable and enjoys the opportunity to learn." Parents, teachers and librarians are always excited about what we're up to.

This year, a youngish man (early 30s) challenged us. In the nicest possible way. "So, why is this better than say going to the library?" I truly didn't know where to begin. In my mind, he was comparing apples and oranges. As my mind was recalculating the information to deliver an appropriate response, he asked again. "I mean, why wouldn't they just get all the information about something in a book?" Ah. Of course. This is the generation that has become accustomed to having a world of resources at their fingertips within seconds.

"You're right. A book is far more comprehensive than this is." I conceded. "However, our children don't necessarily want to know everything about every topic." I went on to explain that magazines serve a purpose. Consider it an appetizer to the main course. Magazines pique the palate and books nourish the need for more. Our articles provide a sample menu of subjects and delve into each area with just enough to tempt the palate to stimulate the craving for more. Does everyone enjoy math? I'd like to say yes but we know that some prefer music or history or something else. Does our article on robotics make anyone an expert after reading. Not a chance! But they may want to become experts. Bring on the books and the guidance to support the next engineer! 

At the risk of sounding like a child stomping her feet, magazines aren't and shouldn't be mere fluff for kids! They can be more than puzzles and games that serve as a distraction. A good magazine should tempt the mind, provoke thought and inspire greater learning.

Appetizers anyone?

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Treasures Just Waiting To Be Discovered

Learning is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere.-Chinese Proverb

This year I have been included in a special group of Alabama School Librarians from my region to learn ways to improve our school libraries from each other and master teachers, Sandra Hornig and Anita Meadows. 

This past week we learned how to use VoiceThread.  Ridgecrest Elementary School Librarian, Jamin Ellis, started a fantastic VoiceThread designed for School Librarians to share how they have designed interactive areas in their school libraries for students and/or teachers.  


Share treasured ideas from your library by adding to this VoiceThread!

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New Children's Book

I have recently published a new children's book that has a librarian as the protagonist. Kids of all ages should enjoy this 116 page comical chapter book with questions at the end. For more information visit, Barnes and Noble, Joseph Beth, or and search for THE OFFICIAL LIBRARIAN: BESSY'S BACK, by Nathan Miller..General information:by Miller, NathanBinding: PaperbackPublisher: AuthorhousePublish Date: 10/2009ISBN: 1449023916ISBN-13: 9781449023911DescriptionBeware of GIANT CATS!!! Did you ever have one of those days when everything seemed to go wrong? Well, if you have you can relate to Bessy Beebody. Her name might sound silly, but she takes her new job very seriously. After having a tough time getting to work and meeting a boss who reminds her of Santa, Bessy struggles to get her school library that has been left in a mess cleaned up and in order before she has the public join her to see the original copy of a very famous book. Bessy finds her job is not an easy one as she has a gorrilla, a wild bird, and a teacher with bad breath interrupt her progress. As if Bessy didn't have enough stress already, she begins getting some communications from strange places, but she'll need all the help she can get if she is to solve the mystery she is forced to take on as the "Official Librarian."
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How Do You Get Those Books Back~!~???

I need help writing a new newsletter request to parents for end of the year help getting Media books back...i'm tapped out of ideas and don't like my old newsletter messages.. what do you say? also, along those same lines last year, i also go this from a Media Specialist friend of mine about end of year getting books back: "Hey Gwyneth. I was wondering how you handled getting overdue books back at the end of the year. Any ideas for rewards/incentives? Thanks." my response: hi sweetie!" all books are due back by memorial day then i start on the TV show announcing the numbers of each grade's overdue books... to start a bit of competition, i do that for a week or more - announcing all books are now overdue and please GET THEM IN or ms. jones will come looking for you! muwwaaaaa! (this message is repeated in different ways also in conjunction with giving english teachers a list of kids who have overdue books so they can nag them, too....) then the last few weeks i go personally to each english class and i pull the kids out that still have overdue books and and i ask with mock fierceness like an interrogation: where's the book? (if it's in the locker - go get it now!) if it's at home - where is it at home? did you check under your bed? in the closet? bring it tomorrow! do i need to call home? (put on your list what the answer was H=home, C=call, T=tomorrow etc.) next day, follow up....same questions...this usually brings in like half of the books at least. after them some chances to bring it in....i have a handful left....THEN i call EVERY kid's parent/guardian on the remaining list and ask for help getting the book back also telling the price in case they need to pay for it but i emphasize and always say "i'd rather have the book than the money" in the end, i usually end up losing about 20- 30 books a year :-( but that's my population/kids..i've made peace with that...some of them keep favorite books because they can't own them any other way....and really, don't tell them i'm sorta cool with that.... oh and if a kid returns a book within a year, i give him/her the money back i don't like to give prizes for getting books back, because that's what they're sposed to do anyway...though i have tried giving a prize to the first english class of each grade to have NO overdue books...but that hasn't made much of a difference sadly..... it's a LOT of work, but i do like to get our books back..... in the end, i re-order the books that don't come back if they're popular, not dupes or needed... those are some of my tricks, what are yours?
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Reading like crazy!

Now that the quarter is over, my elementary school is on winter break, and all the Christmas cookies are baked; I can settle down and read all those books I have missed since September! I've read "Found" by Margaret Peterson Haddix, "Savvy", and am reading "House of Many Ways" by Diane Wynne Jones. I have the book "Dark as Gold", a Rumplestiltstin variation, but am looking for a few more that may be on Newbery lists. Any suggestions out there?
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Bookshelf: The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Selznick

This is one of the best books I have ever read - a masterpiece for avid readers, artists and movie buffs! Brian Selznick artistically blends his gift of words and his incredible illustrations to weave a tale that will stir the imagination. In the story a boy, named Hugo, is an orphan ( basically), living in the walls of a train station and doing the job his drunken uncle should be doing... taking care of the train station clocks. His whole existence is a secret until the toy maker's daughter finds him. It turns out Hugo, the toy maker and the girl's histories are intertwined. Their discovery of each other brings suspense, discovery, and a new life for all. This is a must read!
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