Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Publishing young people's writing

Many students are thrilled at the possibility of seeing their work in print! Here are a couple of links that offer suggestions:

For more ideas, check out past blog posts tagged with the label "publishing"!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

We have a new database!

Our suite of databases that includes Culturegrams and the ProQuest products (eLibrary, eLibrary Elementary & ProQuest) now also comes with World Conflicts Today. This database explores protracted, unresolved world conflicts that have global implications. Regions include Afghanistan, Basque Country (Spain and France), Chechnya, Colombia, Darfur and Sudan, Iraq, Jammu and Kashmir, Korean Peninsula, Northern Ireland, and the Palestinian Territories.

Log in as you would for Culturegrams. Check your class website, your child's library research project handouts, or email Ms. Simeon at "library @ ows dot org" (without the spaces!) if you don't have the login and password handy.

This database could not be more timely or more valuable for our older students and their families. Please take advantage of it as well as the others we subscribe to.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Sites for teens

Are you a teen looking for summer activities or suggestions about what to read? Look no further than your local public library!

KCLS (the King County Library System) has TeenZone, a page that offers reading lists for numerous genres (Eragon-Read-A-Likes, Twilight Read-A-Likes, Survival Stories, Tearjerkers...), contests such as Read.Flip.Win, video game nights, and more!

SPL (the Seattle Public Library) has Push to Talk, a blog for teens with book reviews (by teens as well as librarians), book lists, and events on a wide range of topics, including a comic workshop.

Now get out there and have some fun! Make the most of this summer!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Let's hear it for Anthony Browne!

I was very pleased to learn earlier this week that Anthony Browne, one of my favorite authors and artists, is the new British Children's Laureate. This quote from him expresses a sentiment I believe in wholeheartedly:

"Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older," said Browne. "The best ones leave a tantalising gap between the pictures and the words,a gap that is filled by the reader's imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book. Sometimes I hear parents encouraging their children to read what they call proper books (books without pictures), at an earlier and earlier age. This makes me sad, as picture books are perfect for sharing, and not just with the youngest children."

If you're not familiar with his work, look for Voices in the Park, The Tunnel, The Shape Game and so many more!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Summer brain stretchers!

A parent recently asked for some educational websites for her child to explore over the summer. I have hunted down a few - but can't resist sharing some more book titles as well (be sure to check out the summer reading list too)!

Remember all the great databases our school subscribes to (see the menu on the left). Explore the world through CultureGrams, with its tidbits of information about countries and states, audio files and more. As a child I loved lying around with volumes of the encyclopedia spread out before me. Today's kids can surf their way through World Book Online!

For more summer activities, click on labels such as “writing” and “online games” (from the "labels" menu on the left) to view previous blog entries.


  • The Philosophers' Club by Christopher Phillips
  • Smart-opedia: The Amazing Book About Everything by Eve Drobot
  • Story puzzles (folklore riddles from around the world) collected in various volumes by George Shannon: True Lies, Stories to Solve, More Stories to Solve, etc.

Educational websites:

The Problem Site

Games for the Brain

Math Doodles


Free Rice

Want to Write?

Friday, June 5, 2009

Summer reading list!

View my profile on GoodReads and older posts in this blog (see the “labels” menu on the left for categories) to find more book recommendations!

Summer 2009 Vacation Reading Guide

Picture books

The Black Book of Colors by Menena Cottin – A remarkable picture book that vividly describes colors using black and white textured illustrations, as well as Braille and printed text.

The Dragon of an Ordinary Family by Margaret Mahy – Mahy exhibits her trademark creative humor in this whimsical tale about a very ordinary family and their pet dragon.

The Green Ship by Quentin Blake – Best known for his illustrations of Roald Dahl’s books, Blake is a talented author in his own right. This magical tale of summer adventures shows how far the imagination can take you!

Silly Billy by Anthony Browne – Billy worries too much, but when his grandmother gives him worry dolls, they don’t exactly have their intended effect! You may find yourself nodding your head in recognition even as you chuckle at the humor in this book.

A Story for Bear by Dennis Haseley – In this, one of my very favorite stories of all time, a young woman and a bear share a love of books.

Chapter books (elementary)

Alvin Ho: Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things by Lenore Look – The first in a funny new series by the author of the Ruby Lu books. Meet Alvin, who is a bit like the human version of Scaredy Squirrel, as he faces some of his biggest fears and figures out who his real friends are.

Lowji Discovers America by Candace Fleming – Moving from Bombay to small town Illinois is a big change for Lowji! Especially when America turns out not to be exactly what he expected. Join Lowji as he goes through a series of humorous adventures and misunderstandings.

The Magic Half by Annie Barrows – Miri feels all alone, crowded between older twin brothers and younger twin sisters, until she travels back in time and rescues a girl who is just as much in need of a friend as she is.

Masterpiece by Elise Broach – Who says a bug and a boy can’t be friends? They also foil the plans of a greedy international art thief in this exciting mystery adventure!

Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Stuart Little by Peggy Gifford – Fans of spirited girl heroines are in for a treat! Moxy takes the art of procrastination to a new level in this hilarious book about a summer reading assignment she does NOT want to do!

Chapter books (upper elementary/middle school)

Alabama Moon by Watt Key – A riveting wilderness adventure story, perfect for fans of Hatchet, My Side of the Mountain, Island of the Blue Dolphins, etc.

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce – A touching and hilarious father/son relationship and nail-biting outer space adventure all in one book!

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrahams – Ingrid Levin-Hill, soccer player and community theater actress, finds herself unexpectedly mixed up in a murder mystery!

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis – Filled with Curtis’s trademark humor, this story of a boy trying to make sense of the world is one of the best books I’ve read this year!

Savvy by Ingrid Law – Imagine a family in which each person had their own unique magical gift – but you would not know until your 13th birthday what your particular gift was! We meet Mississippi Beaumont on the eve of her big discovery…


Looking for Miza by Juliana Hatkoff – A remarkable true story about a group of mountain gorillas in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo who go in search of a lost baby gorilla.

The Mutiny on the Bounty by Patrick O’Brien – An infamous historical incident from the South Seas comes to life in this even-handed retelling of the mutinous Fletcher Christian and his captain, William Bligh.

Nic Bishop Frogs by Nic Bishop – The next best thing to holding an exotic frog in the palm of your hand is looking at the exquisite color photographs in this remarkable book. Check out Bishop’s other titles and learn more about nature up close!

Ouch! How Your Body Makes It through a Very Bad Day by Richard Walker – Huge, detailed, color illustrations and companion CD-ROM show how your body deals with bee stings, sneezes and much more!

Who’s Haunting the White House? by Jeff Belanger – Take an unusual trip through the history of the White House from its first residents up to the present day, and learn about some of the mysterious, unexplained happenings in this remarkable building.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Children's Choice Book Awards!

One great way to get reading ideas is to check out the various children's choice book awards. Created in response to prestigious, but adult-selected, awards such as the Caldecott and Newbery, these state, regional and occasionally national awards allow children to make their voices heard.

Here are a few to consider:

Please note that OWS students in grades K-3 will hear all the WCCPBA nominees during library class at school and will get to vote for their favorites each March.