Friday, December 31, 2010

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu by Wendy Wan-Long Shang

As a child I was an insatiable reader. I started reading very early and I have read nonstop ever since. Reading was an education, a comfort and an escape. In fact I passionately devoured so many classics from the British Isles that when I finally landed in Wales at the age of 16 it felt more like a homecoming than an adventure abroad! However, in all the thousands of pages I consumed in my youth and the millions of virtual miles travelled, I never once encountered a child like myself – one who was Asian American or even one who was navigating her way carefully between multiple cultures. It is difficult to articulate the psychic toll this invisibility takes on a young person.

This memory of finding out through books about other people’s lives but never delving more deeply into my own through literature (at least, not until my university years), is the major reason why as an adult today I am drawn particularly to children’s books that reflect diverse backgrounds. These books open the eyes of children in the cultural majority, showing them new perspectives they might otherwise never encounter, and they are also incredibly precious to the children whose lives they mirror. We are fortunate today to see the emergence of an increasing number of marvellously talented Asian American writers for young people. I am excited that
Wendy Wan-Long Shang has added to their number!

The Great Wall of Lucy Wu is a story that is at once universal and particular, and it is one that will appeal to upper elementary and middle school boys and girls equally. Every sixth grader feels self-conscious about being different at times (whether those differences are obvious or mostly internal) and it is the job of young people of this age to begin exploring where their parents end and their own identity begins. Lucy Wu is no exception. She starts off the school year with high hopes as she contemplates finally having a bedroom to herself and enjoying a great year with her best friend on their basketball team. However, these dreams are quickly shattered when she learns of her parents’ plans to bring her long-lost great-aunt from China to share her room and for her to go to Chinese Saturday school instead of basketball practice!

How Lucy navigates her way through these challenges makes for an entertaining and educational read. The educational aspects are woven seamlessly into the story and presented in an entirely age-appropriate way: Chinese cultural information, background on the Cultural Revolution, the sad realities of racism and classism. The entertaining part is that the information always moves the story forward; it never feels like a digression or mini-lecture as is too often the case.

One of the challenges of writing multi-cultural books is that the author must include enough explanation to make the story and characters comprehensible to people outside the community, but not so much that it bogs down the plot or makes readers from the group that is portrayed feel as if they are being treated as an interesting curiosity. Shang walks this tightrope brilliantly. She also excels at creating well-rounded characters who are products of their cultures as well as distinct individuals.

When my daughter finished this book, the first thing she said was, “I hope she writes a sequel.” That was my feeling too: I started reading it and wanted to do nothing else, though I was also reluctant to finish and have the journey end. Lucy and her family stole my heart. They held up a mirror to my own childhood but also taught me a great deal. There’s not much more I can ask for from a book.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Ask an adult for a book suggestion!

January's 5th grade book report will be a bit different from past months. This time you will ask an adult you know to suggest a book - but not just any old book! You need to come up with an intriguing question, one that will stimulate them to think and pique the curiosity of your classmates when you present your book to them.

Think carefully about your question, because it will become part of your presentation. Some examples of questions you could use are:

When you were about my age, what was a book you read that...

- made you cry?
- changed your mind about something important?
- taught you something completely new about the world?
- made you feel like the author really understood you?

You can use one of these questions or come up with your own!

Who can you ask? Your parents, aunts and uncles, grandparents, teachers, dentist, soccer coach, mail carrier, the checkout guy at the grocery store, the old lady who lives down the street... ask away and be prepared to hear some interesting answers!

And remember, once you have a book idea, be sure to run it past Ms. Russell for approval!

Happy New Year, everyone! May 2011 be filled with wonderful books!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder

I hope each and every one of you is equipped with a book - or preferably a stack of books! - to look forward to settling down with over winter break. I'm in the middle of Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder, a truly delightful tale about a little girl whose life turns upsidedown in an instant following a magic (or is it?) wish she makes...

If you liked Half Magic by Edward Eager or The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall or Savvy by Ingrid Law, this is your kind of book! Penelope Grey, later known as Penny, is an only child who has lived a life of great comfort and elegance, even if it's a rather lonely one. When her father walks out on his job out of the blue one day, this impulsive move has enormous consequences for the entire family. There is struggle and anxiety, yes, but also new possibilities and adventures never before dreamed of.

In between reading, I'm also looking forward to spending time in Washington, DC with my family, including my 5-month-old niece, and my best friend from high school. I wish you all a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing you in January!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Global Studies Book Clubs for Grades 2-3 and 4-5!

I am pleased to announce that starting in January there will be Global Studies Book Clubs for grades 2-3 and 4-5, meeting in the library during lunch recess! We will read a book together and meet several times to discuss it. There will also be an online discussion component using ThinkQuest, a secure site for educators.

The size will be limited to 8 students so that we can have meaningful discussions within the half hour time frame. If more than 8 students apply, I will choose names at random.

Students are responsible for obtaining their own copies of the book they are reading from the public library or a bookstore (both are available in paperback).

Second and third graders will be reading
How Tia Lola Came to (Visit) Stay by Julia Alvarez, a chapter book about Miguel, a boy who is adjusting to moving from New York City to rural Vermont following his parents' divorce, and the arrival of his Spanish-speaking aunt who will be living with his family. The author was raised in the Dominican Republic and the US and has written many wonderful books about family, identity and belonging.

Fourth and fifth graders will read Project Mulberry by Linda Sue Park, a chapter book about the intersection of two cultures by a Newbery Medal-winning Korean American author. Best friends Julia and Patrick need a project for the state fair and the one they pick - raising silkworms - is connected to Julia's Korean heritage. Patrick is a European American boy who loves Korean food and culture, but Julia feels ambivalent and wonders if their project is "American" enough. One of the most fun parts of this book are the sections between the chapters in which Julia argues with the author about the plot!

Note: Students should NOT begin reading until after our first meeting. It’s important that we progress through and experience the book together at a similar pace!

Interested? Check out my teacher website on the
Open Window School website (log in to the Current Families page and select Teacher Websites). Send me an email before January 4th and I will add your student's name to the list!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Winter Break 2010 Reading Guide

Also view my profile on GoodReads and my SWIFT and Sharepoint pages for more book recommendations! On this blog, look at the “labels” menu on the lower left for categories such as “reading lists” and “awards.”

In honor of our upcoming Multicultural Event which focuses on Africa, several of the suggested titles below are about that richly diverse continent!

Happy holidays & happy reading!
Ms. Simeon

Picture books for all ages

Elizabeti's School by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen (A sweet first day of school book by a former Peace Corps volunteer who lived in Tanzania. Look for the other Elizabeti books while you're at it!)

I Lost My Tooth in Africa by Penda Diakité (Based on the young author’s actual experiences as an 8 year old from Oregon who was visiting relatives in Mali. You know about the tooth fairy, but what happens if you lose a tooth in West Africa?)

The Nightingale by Jerry Pinkney (Legendary African American author and artist Pinkney takes Hans Christian Andersen’s classic tale and moves it to Morocco adding lush illustrations and cultural details.)

Pretty Salma: A Little Red Riding Hood Story from Africa by Niki Daly (Daly, a South African writer, set this fractured fairy tale in the West African country of Ghana! A delightful variation on a beloved classic.)

The Silver Charm by Robert D. San Souci (A charmingly illustrated folktale about a little boy and an ogre from the Ainu ethnic minority of Japan.)

Chapter books - elementary

Akimbo and the Elephants by Alexander McCall Smith (The first in a series about a Kenyan boy growing up on a wildlife reserve, written for young readers by a British author born in Zimbabwe.)

My Dad's a Birdman by David Almond (Both whimsical and emotionally compelling, this lovely book brings to mind Roald Dahl.)

No Flying in the House by Betty Brock (A sweet classic about Annabel Tippens, half fairy, and her little talking dog!)

Seaglass Summer by Anjali Banerjee (Animal lovers will enjoy this touching story of a girl, her veterinarian Uncle Sanjay, and a host of furry critters set in the Pacific Northwest - a little taste of summer in the middle of our cold, wet winter.)

Chapter books - elementary/middle school

The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo (A heartwarming tale from the former British Children’s Laureate about a South African boy and the lion he loved.)

The Danger Box by Blue Balliett (A mysterious box containing an unknown treasure goes missing – and that results in the single most exciting summer vacation Zoomy has ever known.)

Dog Lost by Ingrid Lee (Dog fighting and the pit bull controversy are sensitively handled in this Canadian book about the tender bonds that can form between compassionate humans and the dogs in their lives.)

Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Taking its title from the Emily Dickinson poem which begins, “Hope is the thing with feathers / that perches in the soul,” this is a quiet and thoughtful story of figuring out family, friends and faith.)

A Friendship for Today by Patricia C. McKissack (What if your school were going to close and you and your friends would be scattered around, having to start all over? Throw in parents who are arguing and a serious disagreement with your best friend and you’ll have a lot to figure out in 6th grade! See how Rosemary triumphs over all these obstacles in this heartwarming book.)

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan (Set during the colonial days of what is now Kenya, this is the dramatic tale of an orphaned English girl caught in the midst of scheming and intrigue.)

Chapter books - middle/high school

The Ear, the Eye and the Arm by Nancy Farmer (An exciting science fiction detective story set in 22nd century Zimbabwe!)

The Juvie Three by Gordon Korman (Three boys in juvenile detention get one last chance at freedom in a halfway house… but can they be good students and stay out of trouble when they are left living along after their social worker ends up hospitalized with amnesia?)

Rose Sees Red by Cecil Castellucci (A freshman at a performing arts high school, Rose wears all black, desperately wants to be cool, is trying to figure out her best friend’s betrayal and wonders about the mysterious Russian teenager living next door. Realistic fiction at its best!)

What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones (Ninth grade Sophie and her two best friends navigate the world of high school, from the masked mystery boy at the Halloween dance to the perils of cyber-romance.)


Do You Remember the Color Blue: The Questions Children Ask about Blindness by Sally Hobart Alexander (A woman who lost her sight as an adult answers questions young people commonly ask about living as a blind person.)

My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken, and Me by Maya Angelou (A colorful tour through an Ndebele village in South Africa as seen through the eyes of a little girl.)

Ox, House, Stick: The History of Our Alphabet by Don Robb (Fascinating introduction to the origins of our alphabet.)

Planting the Trees of Kenya: The Story of Wangari Maathai by Claire A. Nivola (Inspirational short biography of this remarkable Nobel Peace Prize winner!)

The Race to Save the Lord God Bird by Phillip M. Hoose (A real-life environmental tragedy and mystery, this compelling book outlines the fate of the majestic ivory-billed woodpecker which fell victim to the march of American economic development.)

What Stinks? by Marilyn Singer (A funny and entertaining guide to your sense of smell!)

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

You Are What You Read

You Are What You Read (for adults) and The Stacks (the kids' version) are fun new sites from Scholastic where users can share the 5 books that have most influenced them, see what they have in common with other readers, and get new ideas for books to read.

Today I set up my profile in which I chose my "bookprints" - the books that had the greatest impact on my life. It was nearly impossible to limit the choices to just 5, but I had fun trying!

Why don't you create an account today? If you do, please write a comment and share your profile with me. I'd love to see your bookprints too!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Award-winning books

The theme for the December 5th grade book report is award-winning books, specifically a "just right" book that won a medal or honor as part of an American Library Association award.

Links to the award websites are below. While the Newbery is perhaps the most famous of the ALA awards, there are several others that recognize truly outstanding works of fiction and nonfiction.

Parents should be aware that the intended audience may be older than 5th grade. Please read professional reviews of the book (e.g. on
KCLS) and help your student make an appropriate choice. Many of the awards cover books intended for a wide span of ages.

Each student must select a different book! When you have chosen your book, Ms. Russell must approve it and record the title. Let her know which award the book won.

Mildred L. Batchelder Award - Given to an outstanding book originally published in a language other than English.

Pura Belpré Award - Recognizes "a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth."

Coretta Scott King Book Award - Is for "outstanding books for young adults and children by African American authors and illustrators that reflect the African American experience."

John Newbery Medal - Awarded "to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Michael L. Printz Award - Given to "a book that exemplifies literary excellence in young adult literature."

Schneider Family Book Award - Is awarded to "honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences."

Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal - Honors "the most distinguished informational book published in English in the preceding year for its significant contribution to children’s literature."

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Snow days!

What are you all up to on these unexpected days off school? On Monday, my daughter and I walked to the library. Yesterday, when the library was closed due to icy roads, we walked to a bookstore. Today we’re making a gingerbread house using the directions from one of our library books!

All this chilly weather reminds me of one of my very favorite wintertime books, Snow by
Uri Shulevitz. The simplicity and beauty of this book perfectly evoke the wonder of the first winter snowfall. Shulevitz is a talented artist whose luminous paintings have graced many exquisite picture books.

While it is not a Thanksgiving holiday book, The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs by Betty G. Birney is an ideal read for this time of year. It's about a boy who chafes at spending his summer vacation stuck in his boring hometown. He yearns to take off for more exotic destinations and see the Seven Wonders of the World. His father makes a deal: if he can find seven wonders - one for each day of the week - right there at home, he'll get a train ticket out of town to visit relatives.

Birney is hugely popular for her Humphrey the hamster series, but this little gem of hers is sometimes overlooked. Try it out this Thanksgiving and start paying attention to the everyday wonders that surround us all.

Wishing you and your families a safe and happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stress, sleep & wellness

As the mother of a middle school student, I knew sleep mattered, but was surprised to read about how greatly it can influence academic performance (not just how much sleep, but also when!) in Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman's thought provoking book, NurtureShock. I highly recommend this fascinating and very readable book that challenges many of the assumptions we "know" to be true about raising kids.

Next came this eye-opening article,
Late-Night Texting Can Negatively Impact Schoolwork, which talks about the potential negative side effects of use of electronic media during the evening before sleep.

Of course, our children lead busy and enriched lives, full of extracurriculars and homework and family fun too. How can we help our kids make the most of all these opportunities? By focusing on wellness too! Here are a few books that might help your family get started:

Don't Pop Your Cork on Mondays! The Children's Anti-stress Book by Adolph Moser
Real Spirit: Fun Ideas for Refreshing, Relaxing, and Staying Strong by Elizabeth Chobanian
Stress Can Really Get on Your Nerves! by Trevor Romain
What Would You Do? Quizzes about Real-Life Problems by Patti Kelley Criswell

Middle & high school
My Anxious Mind: A Teen's Guide to Managing Anxiety and Panic by Michael Tompkins
Stress Relief: The Ultimate Teen Guide by Mark Powell

Monday, November 8, 2010

Our visit with Phillip Hoose!

It was an absolute joy to welcome renowned author Phillip Hoose to Vista last Thursday morning!

He spoke with students about his National Book Award winning, Newbery Honor title, Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice, discussing not only this unsung young heroine of the civil rights movement, but also his research techniques, how a middle school teacher inspired him to become an author, and wise words of advice on how to use negative feedback to grow. What does he do when gets a bad review? He lets himself feel angry - but not act on his feelings - for a day, then he wakes up the following morning and asks himself, “Is there anything in this review that I can use to improve?”

He graciously remained after his talk to sign books and chat with students. Many students asked thoughtful and insightful questions that showed they were thinking deeply about the challenging topics raised in his book and imagining how it might have felt to have been in the shoes of some of these individuals.

Phillip Hoose is a man of many talents who, in addition to history, also writes books for adults and young people about natural history and sports. He is currently hard at work researching the red knot, a shorebird whose mind-boggling migratory habitats unfortunately place it at risk. If you have not yet had the pleasure of getting to know his thought-provoking books, be sure to check out some of his titles!

Friday, November 5, 2010


It is exciting to see that under Ms. Russell’s guidance more than half of our 5th graders are participating in NaNoWriMo, in which people everywhere set themselves the challenge of writing an entire novel during the month of November!

Despite their busy lives, our young authors are devoting many hours to this creative pursuit – some are even giving up recess to sit in the library and earnestly peck away on their laptops. I was happy to hear about one parent who has taken the challenge with his daughter!

If you hit writer’s block or otherwise need a boost of inspiration, these books may help:

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter
What's Your Story?: A Young Person's Guide to Writing Fiction by Marion Dane Bauer
Writing Magic: Creating Stories That Fly by Gail Carson Levine

And be sure to check out all the great
NaNoWriMo events at the public library this month! Here's something fun that goes to show that starting to write when you are young can lead to all sorts of adventures...

Recognize that name on the far right? Does Captain Underpants mean anything to you?

Now, go forth and write!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Boys and Comics: More Than Meets the Eye!

A recent study by the Canadian Council on Learning reinforces a lot of observations I've made over the years about the reading habits of many boys. The short version? Boys like reading comics. Boys who read comics also read more overall. Comics enhance literacy skills.

It's worth looking at the original article or at least the summary,
Comics Are Key to Promoting Literacy in Boys, Study Says. Both contain valuable information about gender differences in reading, common myths about the value of comics/graphic novels, and the many ways in which comics can be used to enhance education.

Wondering where to start looking?

Get Graphic Titles
Graphic Novel Reporter Reviews - Kids
Graphic Novel Reporter Reviews - Teens
Graphic Novels for Libraries: Recommended Titles for Children and Teens
Kids Love Comics Reading List
No Flying No Tights
...and my previous blog posts on this topic.

Grownups, don't get left out of the fun! Some of my favorite reads have been graphic novel memoirs such as Raymond Briggs' Ethel and Ernest, Craig Thompson's Blankets and David Small's Stitches.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Fiction about Colonial America

This November, 5th grade students will once again be reading chapter books set in Colonial America. We will display the titles we have in our school library, but consider using these online lists to find additional ideas.

You can also search the public library by entering the following subject headers:

United States History Colonial Period Ca 1600 1775 Juvenile Fiction


United States History Colonial Period Ca 1600 1775 Fiction

The second subject header will yield more results, but you must check the call number to be sure of the intended age group. If the call number begins with a J, the book is intended for elementary-aged students. If it begins with a Y, the book is intended for young adults (teens). However, if you click on the "reviews & more" button you can find more detailed information about recommended ages!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Current events for kids

Keeping up with current events is an important part of being an informed citizen. Reading news stories also builds vocabulary and general knowledge, enhances comprehension of nonfiction writing, and helps young people develop critical thinking skills, such as an understanding of fact vs. opinion.

However, much news media aimed at adults has content that may not be appropriate for younger readers. Fortunately, there are news websites aimed at students. Take a look at:

CNN Student News
KidsPost from the Washington Post
The Learning Network from the New York Times
Student News Net from Britannica
Time for Kids

If you log into World Book Online you will also find an "In the Headlines" section (in World Book Advanced) and a "Today" section (in World Book Student), both of which feature selected top news stories. See your class website or Ms. Simeon's SWIFT or Sharepoint pages for login details.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Questions about the library or reading?

I am available for parent conferences this Thursday and Friday, October 21st and 22nd between 8am-3:30pm! You may either schedule a time in advance by going to Pick-a-Time or you may drop by the library (located between the computer lab and the music room) to see whether I am free.

There are two hours (Thursday, 12:30-1:30pm and Friday, 2-3pm) when EDEP students will be in the library as part of their day of enrichment activities, but otherwise I am available.

Parents often have questions either about their individual child's reading or about the library program at OWS/Vista. I would be delighted to meet with you to share resources, reading ideas, discuss safe online research or answer any other questions you might have.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Mystery books for 5th and 6th graders

This month both 5th and 6th grade students will be reading and reporting on mystery fiction, which just happens to be my own personal favorite genre!

Because there is a lot of overlap in reading between these two grade levels, be sure to look at both lists from last year's mystery book report units and their included links!

Check out my
5th grade recommended mystery list which includes suggested fiction and nonfiction.

Also see my
6th grade recommended mystery list. The Peter Abrahams and Michael D. Beil books are both part of series!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Finding Spanish language resources

This week I visited Vista Spanish classes and shared some useful resources with students.

Improve your Spanish (or learn other languages) online!

Go to
KCLS - click on Databases at the top of the page – select Language Learning from the subject list (scroll down) – Choose a database and log in using your KCLS number

Language learning software with access to flashcard-based lessons in 70+ languages.

Little Pim
Language learning lessons for children. Little Pim is part of Mango Languages - click on the 'Courses' link and select 'Little Pim.' This would be great for younger siblings of Vista students.

Mango Languages
Language learning lessons with reading/writing/listening components.

Oxford Language Dictionaries
Language dictionaries for Chinese, French, German, Italian, Russian, Spanish.

Borrow Spanish books, magazines and audiobooks!

Go to
KCLS and in the catalog choose Advanced Search. Set the language option to "Spanish."

If you want, you may limit your Material Type (e.g. Magazine, DVD or Book), Collections (e.g. Teen or Children’s Materials), or search by Author, Title or Subject.

Want to learn more?

The Pura Belpré Award “is presented to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.”

Hispanic Heritage has biographies, an historical timeline, articles about Latin music and culture, and links to other sites!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Announcing: the Vista Library Sharepoint Page!

Vista families: be sure to look at the new Vista Library Sharepoint page that just went up today! It has useful links relating to:

Homework & Research Resources through OWS/Vista
Homework & Research Resources through KCLS
Search engines
General research sites

Just log into Sharepoint as usual, then click on "Ms. Simeon" in the list of teachers' pages.

OWS Families: stay tuned for an announcement about the library SWIFT page that will appear soon!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Roald Dahl Day

Roald Dahl Day (which takes place on September 13th every year, his birthday) is a day to honor the memory of that very funny and creative man who brought so much joy into so many people's lives through his writing. Philip Ardagh, no slouch himself in the funny author department, has chosen his 10 favorite children's books by Dahl!
Are you a Dahl fan looking for some more great books to read? Well, do not forget his wonderful memoirs, Boy and Going Solo. Also be sure to try:

Philip Ardagh's Eddie Dickens Trilogy
Kaye Umansky's Solomon Snow books
Maryrose Wood's The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series

And if you are an adult interested in World War II spy stories, check out The Irregulars: Roald Dahl and the British Spy Ring in Wartime Washington by Jennet Conant!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Science Homework: Using netTrekker!

Today I visited Mr. Montgomery’s 6th grade science class. Students talked about last night’s homework and their successful and challenging searches. Here are a few tips for using netTrekker:

1. Check your spelling. Then check it again!

2. Try searching for variations on your search terms: broader and narrower terms (e.g. if “dog” is your search term, “canine” would be broader, “poodle” would be narrower)

3. Can your search term mean more than one thing? E.g. “scale” can refer to music, or a piece of scientific equipment, or a mathematical model, or drawing and painting. If this happens and you get too many off-topic hits, add another keyword to narrow down your results.

4. Instead of using the search box, use the main contents page to locate what you need! It is often faster and more efficient.

5. Remember, when you use the search box in netTrekker, it does NOT search through the full contents of every website on the Internet! It searches the name and description of the sites it indexes.

E.g. one netTrekker site that contains a pH scale showing ammonia is Chem 1: The pH scale. netTrekker’s description says “Acting as an overview from the General Chemistry Virtual Textbook, this site explores the pH scale and its characteristics including a chart mapping the various levels of the scale.”

If you search for “pH of ammonia” you get no matches because the word “ammonia” doesn’t appear in the name or the description of this site or any of the others! But if you search for “pH scale” this site will be your first hit!

Remember the list of subjects on the main page? You can also find this site and others by following the table of contents:

Science > Chemistry > Acids and Bases > pH > Scale

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Suggestions for Mystery Readers

Parents who sign up to be mystery readers in the classroom often stop by the library looking for help, which we are happy to provide (note: you are welcome to borrow books from the school library for your mystery reader visit and we can advise you on good selections - we also appreciate as much advance notice as possible). I hope the following suggestions will be useful!

You can check out my list of great readalouds to help you get started. This page from the American Library Association is full of useful information aimed at parents. Some books are ideal for one-on-one sharing but do not lend themselves as well to a group reading, while other books beg to shared with a large audience.

Once you've chosen your books, practice reading them aloud clearly, varying the volume of your voice, adding dramatic pauses and otherwise bringing the material to life. Make sure the book is a good fit for you: are you comfortable with any regional accents or dialects that come up in the book? Does the book genuinely appeal to you? (If so, your enthusiasm for it will shine through!) Do the rhymes scan well?

Here are a few tips for getting a great discussion going after you've decided what to read:

Look at the author's and illustrator's websites or online biographies (or check for notes in the book itself) so you can share interesting background information with the class. Maybe the book was inspired by a true story or the author lives locally or owns a dog just like the one in the book! These kinds of details really enhance the overall experience.

Prepare some open-ended questions to ask that encourage children to think on a deeper level (rather than questions that have a simple, factual answer), such as the motivation of various characters, why the illustrator portrayed certain scenes in a certain way, why the plot was resolved the way it was, and so on.

Consider the artwork in the book: what materials and techniques did the artist use and why? Picture books are a unique genre in that words and text together create a whole that is more than the sum of its parts; neither can stand alone. Ask children to notice the font: how does it enhance the story?

Being mystery reader is daunting to some, but it is also a wonderful opportunity to share your love of literature with an eager audience. Happy reading!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Non-fiction book report for 5th grade

This month 5th graders will be reading a non-fiction book for Ms. Russell's class. In addition to their book report, they will be working on their research skills in library class by researching the topic of their chosen book using online databases.

Students will have time to select from non-fiction books in our school library. If you wish to borrow from the public library instead, you can check out some recommended authors and websites below. Make sure you evaluate all titles in terms of age appropriateness as well as whether they meet the parameters Ms. Russell has set.

Rhoda Blumberg
Russell Freedman
Sy Montgomery

Classic Non-fiction from the TeenZone at KCLS

The Sibert Medal, an award for exceptional non-fiction given by the American Library Association (which also gives out the Caldecott & Newbery Medals).

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12 offers detailed annotated lists for those who enjoy science.

The Cooperative Children's Book Center has numerous reading lists, many of which focus on non-fiction. Select first by grade level, then by topic.

Happy Labor Day! Exploring Careers...

Welcome back to school! I hope everyone had a nice, relaxing (if rather rainy) Labor Day. Labor Day has been celebrated since 1882 as a way of honoring the many workers who contribute to the United States.

"What do you want to be when you grow up?" is one of the most common questions adults ask young people. The Bureau of Labor Statistics has put together a website called What Do You Like? which gives upper elementary and middle school students information about select career choices. It is a fun site to browse and helps remind students of the many exciting possibilities open to them in the future - as well as the relevance of all the hard work they do now!

Some books to explore include the Scientists in the Field series, In Their Shoes by Deborah Reber and, for younger readers, the What Can I Be? series by Muriel DuBois.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Meet Cornelia Funke & the producer of the Harry Potter films!

On Sunday, September 19th, acclaimed German author Cornelia Funke (Dragon Rider, Inkheart, The Thief Lord) will be coming to Seattle to promote the musical based on her new fantasy novel, Reckless.

She will be reading from her new book (to be released on September 14th), and talking to the producer of the Harry Potter and Sherlock Holmes movies about what it's like to take a book and turn it into a stage production. You'll also get to hear a performance of one song from the musical and get your book signed by Cornelia.

Starting September 14th, two tickets are free with the purchase of Reckless from University Book Store! You can purchase the book in person or pre-order over the phone (206.634.3400 or 1.800.335.READ).

Read more about the event by going to the Showbox website. Check out the Get Reckless website for more on the book, the show, what fans are saying and details of a live video chat she's doing on the book's publication date!

Funke is a perennial favorite in our school library and one of the few authors in translation to make it big in the world of English-language children's fiction. If you haven't read her imaginative and beautifully written fantasies, don't delay - they are too good to miss!

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Book blogs

I hope my students and their families are enjoying the last few weeks of summer break. We staff members head back to work on Monday and are so looking forward to seeing all of you again!

Do any of you read book blogs? Ones devoted to children's and teen literature proliferate on the Interent and they are a great way to keep up with the wondrously rich world of publishing. Below are just a very few I'd like to recommend. Have more suggestions? I'd love to hear them!

A Chair, a Fireplace & a Tea Cozy


Good Comics for Kids

Kirby's Lane

Mitali's Fire Escape

Monday, August 16, 2010


The non-fiction book Twin Tales: The Magic and Mystery of Multiple Birth by Donna M. Jackson is as popular in our school library with singletons as it is with twins! Twins also show up frequently in fiction such as the Children of the Lamp fantasy series by P.B. Kerr, Cryptid Hunters by Roland Smith, Lost and Found by Andrew Clements, and many more.

Want to read about twins? Just do a
library catalog search for Twins - Juvenile Fiction to find books for elementary through high school students. Here's a short reading list for middle and high school students to look at too!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Book Crush

Greetings from Finland, where I am visiting family including my newborn niece, Hilla! I hope everyone is having a lovely summer. It has been very nice to have extra time to read - on planes, while relaxing at my in-laws' house in the country, and so on. In case you are wondering what book to pick up next, keep reading!

Nancy Pearl is known to many as the first librarian to have her own action figure! This Seattle legend was the brilliant mind behind the "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book" program that rapidly spread around the country. She's also tremendously well read in a wide range of genres.

Pearl has written several reading guides, including Book Crush, aimed at ages birth-18, as well as Book Lust and More Book Lust for adults. Organized by theme, they are not intended as exhaustive guides to all the "best" books, but rather as starting places for exploring literature. My own 13-year-old daughter likes to dip into Book Crush, choosing a section at random and sometimes even challenging herself to try books in genres she usually avoids. Whether you're stuck for reading ideas or not, you'll find plenty to enjoy in these books.

Nancy Pearl is also an engaging speaker - a warm and witty presence. If you ever have the opportunity to hear her speak, take it!

Monday, August 2, 2010

The joys of summer reading

What's on your summer reading list? My tottering piles of books represent only a fraction of my actual "to read" list! However, one of the joys of the slower pace of summertime living is sneaking in more opportunities to read - on a park bench, on an airplane, anywhere I find myself with a spare moment or two...

A book for parents that I'm currently reading is The New Global Student by Maya Frost. I've only just begun it, but am quite intrigued by her family's adventures abroad. I'm also in the middle of a suspenseful mystery novel for middle schoolers, Rescuing Seneca Crane by Susan Runholt. It's the second in the Kari and Lucas series about two very intrepid young women who find adventure in the most unexpected places.

School Library Journal recently asked a few notable children's and young adult authors what they're reading this summer. Check out their answers - maybe you'll see some books on their lists that you want to read too!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Ramona Quimby

These days we are fortunate to have a wide range of feisty heroines of their own realistic fiction series, from Junie B. Jones to Judy Moody to Clementine and so many more. However, back when 94-year-old Portland, Oregon native Beverly Cleary was a child, this was not the case!

After attending library school at the University of Washington, Cleary thought back to her own youth - ironically, she hated to read as a child - and decided to write the kind of books she wished she could give to her young patrons who felt the same way she had about books: down-to-earth stories about normal people living normal lives. Thus were Henry Huggins, Ramona Quimby and her whole colorful cast of characters born.

You can read more about the life of this remarkable woman who changed the face of children's literature in her two memoirs, A Girl from Yamhill and My Own Two Feet.

Also, do take a look at the article
Ramona Quimby: The Mischievous Girl Next Door that talks more about Cleary's life, her characters' enduring popularity with fans 60 years after publication and the recent release of the movie Ramona and Beezus.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Internet safety

Want to learn more about how to keep your kids safe online? The Federal Trade Commission's OnGuard Online website has a section just for parents called Net Cetera. Order a free copy of their printed guide or view and download it online.

Check out books from the
public library to read together by searching using the subject header: Internet -- Safety measures -- Juvenile literature.

One important point to keep in mind is that scare tactics don't work! A better approach is balanced, realistic education and ongoing conversations.

The internet offers endless opportunities for learning and exploration, but like any other tool it's important to learn how to use it safely and effectively.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The intrigue and excitement of the Crusades

With all the news about present day conflicts in the Middle East, it is important to understand the historical background to these modern disputes. The Crusades continue to exert a grip on our imaginations, as evidenced by the popularity of books such as Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code.

School Library Journal has put together a short reading list about the Crusades for grades 2-9 that includes non-fiction in both graphic (comic) and traditional text formats, as well as historical fiction.

One way to get children hooked on history is exposing them to times of great drama and intensity - that is the perfect antidote to the common complaint that "history is boooring!" It's a question of finding well-written books such as these about exciting topics. Why not give these a try?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Exceptional websites for children

The Association for Library Service to Children maintains a listing of Great Web Sites for Kids ages 14 and under. This site was recently updated with additional sites of exceptional merit. They cover a wide range of topics, from books and authors to science, math, history, social studies and more. If you're trying to stay cool indoors with our impending heatwave, why not take a look?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Biographies - not just for history buffs!

One of the most interesting ways to learn about history is through biographies. They give a personal, close-up look at events that may be less captivating when viewed at a more macro level. Young people often find much to admire and identify with in the struggles of various historical personages as well.

I've also found that students who strongly prefer to read fiction will often embrace biographies because they describe people's lives in story form. Improving non-fiction reading comprehension skills is another benefit of reading biographies! Even strong fiction readers can benefit from practice in reading more non-fiction.

Check out this great Top 10 Biographies for Youth from 2010 list. It includes books for grades 1-12. The menu on the bottom left-hand side of this website also has links to many other notable fiction and non-fiction awards!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bank Street College of Education Book Lists & Awards

The venerable Bank Street College of Education in New York City gives out an annual award to works "of outstanding literary merit in which children or young people deal in a positive and realistic way with difficulties in their world and grow emotionally and morally."

In addition to descriptions of the winners from this and previous years, their website also has Best of the Best reading lists for under 5s through the teen years. Happy reading!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

An exciting new children's fiction blog - and a cool contest too!

Blogs are one of my favorite ways to keep up with all the news in the world of children's literature. The web is bursting at the seams with funny, informative book-related blogs, some of which are linked to this one (see the menu on the left)!

Well, there's a new blog on the block: From the Mixed-Up Files, which is aimed at middle-grade readers and the adults who love them. What is a middle grade book? It's one for kids who are old enough to sink their teeth into a chapter book but who are not yet ready for edgier, mature teen fiction.

The name of this blog was inspired by one of the all-time middle-grade classics, E.L. Konigsburg's From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. This superb mystery/adventure novel so profoundly excited my imagination as a child that when I first set foot in the Metropolitan Museum of Art as an adult, all I could think was that I was finally walking in the footsteps of Claudia and her brother!

What can you find on this blog? Well, there are suggested reading lists, tips and links for parents, interviews with authors, new book releases, and more. Written as a collaborative project by a group of notable published authors of middle grade fiction, they are also giving away free books all summer! Why don't you check out the rules and try your luck?

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The Jane Addams Children's Book Awards

Looking for some inspirational summer reading for all ages? Look no further than the Jane Addams Children's Book Awards, given annually to works "that effectively promote the cause of peace, social justice, world community, and the equality of the sexes and all races as well as meeting conventional standards for excellence."

From their list of 2010 winners, I would particularly recommend National Book Award winner Claudette Colvin by Phillip Hoose. Wonderful for grades 6 and up, this book tells parts of the story of the Montgomery bus boycott that have long been forgotten.

Almost a year before Rosa Parks famously stood up for equal rights, a courageous high school student independently challenged the segregated seating arrangements on the buses and was arrested and imprisoned as a result. Instead of becoming a hero, Colvin was shunned by many in her community and later fell into obscurity. You can read more about this remarkable woman in the New York Times.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Summer Vacation 2010 reading list!

Summer vacation is right around the corner and that means plenty of time for reading at home or wherever your travels may take you. View my profile on GoodReads and other posts in this blog for more book recommendations. On the blog, look at the labels menu on the bottom left for categories such as “reading lists” and “awards.”


Boy, Were We Wrong about Dinosaurs! by Kathleen V. Kudlinksi (nonfiction) – This is an interesting survey of past beliefs about dinosaurs that turned out to be incorrect. It’s an important reminder that science is always changing as we make new discoveries!

11 Birthdays by Wendy Mass (chapter book) – Lifelong friends born on the same day in the same hospital, Amanda and Leo have to re-live their 11th birthday until they finally resolve the feud that has kept them estranged since they were 10.

Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson (biography) – An exciting account of a real life hero, a former slave who arrested over 3000 people and helped bring law and order to the Wild West.

The Bog Baby by Jeanne Willis (picture book) – What exactly is a bog baby? You’ll just have to read this book to find out – and then keep your eyes peeled next time you visit a bog…!

Carl Sandburg: Adventures of a Poet by Penelope Niven (biography) – Featuring gorgeous illustrations and a generous sampling of Sandburg’s poems, this is a unique biography of a remarkable man who lived through some of the most interesting events in modern American history.

How I Learned Geography by Uri Shulevitz (picture book) – The author relates the story of his boyhood years in what is now Kazakhstan after his family fled Poland at the start of World War II. This is an inspirational story about the power of the mind to rise above harsh realities.

The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (chapter book) – A young governess, a strange howling noise, dark and menacing woods… it all adds up to an original tale of dark humor and suspense.

Sneaky Weasel by Hannah Shaw (picture book) – Weasel is sneaky and mean and so he has no friends. Do you think he can change his weaselly ways and become nicer? Read and find out!

That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown by Cressida Cowell (picture book) – What would you do if the Queen suddenly demanded your favorite toy? Emily Brown stands her ground and holds onto her rabbit!

Uh-Oh, Cleo by Jessica Harper (beginning chapter book) – First in a sweet and funny series of realistic fiction books about a family of six children and all the noise and chaos that entails!

Middle school (many of these are great for grades 5 and up as well)

Dairy Queen by Catherine Gilbert Murdock (chapter book) – D.J.’s family (like most everyone else in her rural Wisconsin home) is all about football. Her two older brothers are college football stars and all D.J. wants is a chance to play on her high school team with the boys. But when she’s asked to coach a rival team’s quarterback, life takes an unexpected turn!

Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass (chapter book) – A group of kids who would never be friends at home find themselves thrown together in a remote camp and the results surprise everyone. A great work about dealing with parents, friendship, crushes – and solar eclipses!

First Light by Rebecca Stead (chapter book) – This science fiction novel by this year’s Newbery Award winner is an exciting tale of a lost civilization hidden under the ice of Greenland and a boy who is the first human to enter – but can he get out alive?

Immersed in Verse: An Informative, Slightly Irreverent & Totally Tremendous Guide to Living the Poet's Life by Allan Wolf (nonfiction) – An entertaining guide to reading and understanding poetry, sprinkled with lively examples and encouragement and advice for writing your own!

Laika by Nick Abadzis (graphic novel) – Have a box of tissues ready when you read this moving account of the Soviet Union’s launch of Sputnik II and the sacrifice of a brave little dog that made it possible.

Lock and Key by Sarah Dessen (chapter book) – Ruby’s head is spinning! From scraping out a living on her own at age 17, she suddenly finds herself in the lap of luxury when her older sister and tech whiz brother-in-law take her in and send her to an expensive private school. Then there’s the boy next door…

No Pretty Pictures by Anita Lobel (memoir) – This is a deeply moving and inspirational Holocaust memoir by a woman who went on to become a noted children’s author and illustrator. She and her brother were at first hidden in the countryside by her nanny, later captured by the Nazis, and finally transported to Sweden. A true story you’ll never forget.

The Omnivore’s Dilemma: The Secrets Behind What You Eat by Michael Pollan (nonfiction) – The young people’s version of Pollan’s comprehensive book about food, where it comes from, and why you should care!

Small Steps by Louis Sachar (chapter book) – In this sequel to Holes, Armpit finds life after leaving Camp Green Lake complicated when he gets involved in a get-rich-quick scheme dreamed up by his friend X-Ray. Full of humor and suspense, this one is a real page turner!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A noted author shares his thoughts on parenting & homework

I was delighted by this offering from T.A. Barron: Veni, Vidi, Wi-Fi: A Father Discovers His Role Is a Lot Like a Librarian's. If your household is anything like mine (and his) you're aware that thanks to the Internet, homework today is nothing like homework was when we were in school! The possibilities are greater but the hazards are as well. Read this article, think it over, discuss the issues with your kids - and the next time they sit down at the computer to do homework, see what happens...

Thursday, June 3, 2010


All middle school, junior high and high school students are encouraged to enter the King County Library System's video book review contest called Read.Flip.Win. All you have to do is read a book and make a short promotional video for it. See the website for complete details. You may enter anytime between now and July 31st.

Special request to all my students, past and present: please let me know if you submit an entry - I'd love to see it!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Out of print no longer!

Unfortunately in today's publishing market many wonderful books go out of print all too quickly. Publisher Marshall Cavendish is working to bring many beloved classics back in print. Check back on their website as they add more great titles to their Classics list - and remember, the public library is always a great source of out-of-print material!

I often recommend classic children's books to young gifted readers because they can be complex and challenging, without some of the inappropriate content that young people can be exposed to if they simply read contemporary books aimed at older kids.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

A great gift you can give your child: information literacy!

We all want to send our children out into the world as well prepared as possible, but in today's technology rich society it is easy to suffer from information overload! Young people may be comfortable using technology (sometimes more comfortable than their parents are) but that doesn't mean they are always able to efficiently locate and evaluate resources or make the best use of the information they locate.

It's never too early to start modeling information literacy and supporting it in your own home! The more you can reinforce the lessons your children hear at school and demonstrate their applicability to real life problems, the more relevant and important they will seem.

Some of my previous blog posts about research describe things you can do to support these skills at home. In particular I would highly recommend developing a thorough acquaintance with the Big 6 steps for information seeking.

During library classes we have brainstormed real life (non-school related) situations in which people used the Big 6, and students have come up with a range of examples from, "My dad needed to choose a new car" to "I went on a hike with my family and saw a bird I couldn't identify." As you investigate a new recipe to try for dinner or start planning your next family vacation, try to let your child in on the steps you're taking as you look for and evaluation information. Modeling this process will help them break down their next big school project into logical and less intimidating steps.

You can use almost any situation as an opportunity for developing your child's information literacy, from advertisements you're exposed to (Can you trust the source? Can the claims be independently verified? If so, where and how?) to a spam email forwarded by a gullible relative (Is that dire warning really true? Can we believe everything we read? Where could we go to figure out if it's true or not?).

I'd also recommend this wonderful guide:

What Should Parents Know about Information Literacy?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Enter the fantastical world of David Almond

Although not terribly famous in the United States, the rest of the world has certainly taken note of David Almond. He was this year's winner of the world's most prestigious honor for children's literature, the Hans Christian Andersen Award! Coincidentally one of my favorite authors, his imagination, keen observations and appreciation for the slightly surreal make his works unique in the pantheon of children's fiction.

Almond's work is varied, from books for the very youngest (Kate, the Cat and the Moon, a picture book) to chapter books for younger readers (My Dad's a Birdman), upper elementary (Skellig) and teens (Kit's Wilderness), as well as a graphic novel (The Savage). With summer break right around the corner, why don't you pick up one of his books and find out what all the buzz is about?

Friday, May 21, 2010

Read Three, Get One Free!

If you are between the ages of 12-18, KCLS has a great program called Read Three, Get One Free. You can discover some great new reading matter, get free books, hone your writing skills and share your opinions with other teens!

All you have to do is read three books, write brief reviews, then hand in your completed form at any branch of KCLS where you can select a paperback book to keep.

Keep an eye on TeenZone for more events and activities (such as the Read.Flip.Win video review contest coming in June) as well as great reading lists!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Summer camp fun at Open Window School!

Looking for something fun to do this summer? I'm teaching three summer camps at Open Window School and would love to see you there!

Please note: classes that do not reach minimum enrollment will be cancelled by the end of May, so don't hesitate if you want to sign up!

There is some flexibility in the ages admitted, so if you'd like to participate and are slightly older or younger than the age range given, call us anyway. Please invite friends and relatives who aren't OWS students - everyone is welcome!

Week 1, July 6-9: Dragons Galore!
For students entering 2nd & 3rd grades
Love dragons? If so, this is the class for you. We will read dragon stories, learn dragon lore, explore the history of dragon beliefs around the world, and create dragon-inspired art!

Week 2, July 12-16: Eat Your Way Around the World
For students entering 2nd & 3rd grades
Come on a trip around the world as we create and enjoy delicious dishes from every corner of the globe, explore the cultures that created them, and learn fun facts about the history of the foods we eat.

Week 3, July 19-23: Myths - Makin' 'em and Breakin' 'em (with Mr. Goodman)
For students entering 4th-8th grades
Spend half of the day with Ms. Simeon, who will guide you through a virtual tour of Mount Olympus, from Athena to Zeus. You’ll get to know the Greek gods, write myths of your own, and learn about the amazing civilization of the Ancient Greeks. During the other half of your day, work with Mr. Goodman busting and breaking down some less classic, but equally familiar myths. We’ll use our engineering minds and the scientific method to separate fact from fiction.

Questions? Contact me at library at ows dot org, call the school (425-747-2911) and ask for Stefanie Johnson, or download the
application form.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Save the date: book launch for Sundee Frazier on June 12th!

Last month our school was lucky enough to have author Sundee Frazier visit during a staff meeting and talk to us about mixed heritage families. She is the author of Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything In It, among other works.

I just heard that Sundee's latest book, The Other Half of My Heart, is coming out soon and we are all welcome at her book launch party. See details from Sundee below!

The Elliott Bay Book Company
1521 Tenth Avenue
Seattle, WA 98122 US

Saturday, June 12, 4:30PM

Please join me in celebrating the release of my new novel, which was recently called "funny and deeply affecting . . . an outstanding achievement" in a starred review from Kirkus.

Biracial twins Minni and Keira King made news around the world the day they were born--one came out "black" and the other "white." They are as close as two sisters can be, but a trip to the South to visit Grandmother Johnson and compete in a pageant for African-American girls will put their relationship to the ultimate test.

I'll read, answer questions, sign books, and enjoy talking with whoever can make it. If nothing else, come for the cupcakes! And kids are definitely welcome. If you are a teacher or librarian, please feel free to share this invitation with your students.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

All books due back next Thursday, May 20th!

Dear Families,
It's hard to believe that the end of the school year is right around the corner! Here is some information about library books to help clear up any confusion at this busy time of year.

All items are due back by the end of the school day on Thursday, May 20th.

This week you should have received an email about any overdue materials. Next week you will receive an email from the library showing all checked out items.

Please note:

Some returned items may be in a classroom bin, so they will show up in the library software as still checked out. Please do not worry; they will get back to the library by the end of the day on the 20th! There is no need to contact us about these items. Do ask your child to check his or her backpack!

Overdue fines of $3 per item will be assessed on all materials returned after May 20th (remember, there is no school on Friday the 21st).

The cost of the item plus a $3 processing fee will be assessed on all lost or damaged items. Please let us know (library at ows dot org) if an item is missing or damaged.

Beginning Monday, May 24th, library materials should be returned to the main office, NOT to the classroom or the library.

There is an extended due date for items for school projects that are still in progress. If we accidentally bill you for one of these books, please let us know. We will do our best to catch them but are dealing with hundreds of students and all their materials so some may slip through the cracks.

NB: 5th graders have extended deadlines due to their class trip and book report for Ms. Russell. They may return regular library materials on Monday, May 24th and book report books on Wednesday, June 2nd.

Thank you!
Ms. Simeon & Mrs. Kenmochi

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The International Children's Digital Library

Want to look at 4418 books for ages 3-13 in 54 different languages? Yes, there's a website where you can do this! The International Children's Digital Library is an impressive project designed to support literacy around the world.

It's also a fun way to expose yourself to books in a wide range of languages. You can also help broaden the collection by suggesting new titles for inclusion and expose other readers to your favorites by participating on the site and becoming a Featured Books contributor!

Check out the site today and start reading your way around the world! Remember that if you are interested in learning a new language or improving your knowledge of a foreign language, the public library offers free access (with your KCLS card) to language learning databases that track your progress from lesson to lesson!