Thursday, July 28, 2011

Do you remember the first time you read on your own?

I don't - but I do remember the first time I noticed punctuation! Those funny squiggly marks had been there all along, but one day, while reading a print version of Bambi, they suddenly leapt off the page and into my consciousness!

The Geisel Award, named in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel (aka Dr. Seuss), honors the beginning reader format: books that are powerfully important in the early stages of a reader's life. They may appear "easy," and yet it requires enormous skill to craft a book that weaves an interesting plot peopled by engaging characters using only simple vocabulary.

At the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans last month, I was moved by the acceptance speeches given by Kate DiCamillo, Alison McGhee and Tony Fucile, who together created this year's charming Geisel Award winner, Bink & Gollie. They spoke eloquently about the magic of the first time you read independently and whole new worlds open up!

Alison McGhee also shared a humorous tale about her son, who as a small boy passionately loved Munro Leaf's classic The Story of Ferdinand. He called one day to excitedly announce to his mother that he'd gotten a tattoo - but one that she would love! She was doubtful about this, but he eagerly went on to explain that it was a tattoo of - you guessed it - Ferdinand the bull! Talk about one's early reading making an indelible impression!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

KCLS: Our local gem!

Did you know that the King County Library System is not only the nation's busiest (circulating over 22 million items last year), but was also named Library of the Year by Library Journal for its outstanding service to the community?

Read all about it in the official announcement and check out the KCLS news release. Maybe you'll be surprised at all the wonderful services, events and resources that are right at our fingertips and in our neighborhoods!

No school library can ever compete with a great public library system, which is why an integral part of information literacy lessons for OWS and Vista students is learning about and encouraging use of KCLS resources. By becoming familiar with all the public library has to offer at a young age, students will be set for life since the library enriches and offers tremendous value to the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds.

Following up on last week's post about video contests, check out the talented teen winners of the Why I Need My Library video competition.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Do you like making videos?

If you love to read and enjoy making videos, why not make a short video about a book you love and enter it at Storytubes (for ages 5-18) or Read.Flip.Win (for middle school, junior high and high school students)?

Get some friends involved in making your short movie and see how much fun it is to tell the world about the books you love!

The women who started Storytubes spoke at the ALA conference at a session on combining reading promotion with other media and they showed the very darling video on the main page about a book on chicken care. Take 2 minutes to watch it - I guarantee you'll be smiling by the end! You can also see some amazing past winners of Read.Flip.Win on their YouTube channel. Feel inspired? Please let me know if you enter - I'd love to see your videos!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Words of wisdom from Ingrid Law

Apologies for my silence! I was fortunate to get a grant from Penguin Young Readers Group to attend the American Library Association annual conference in New Orleans. It was an amazing week packed full of learning opportunities (literally: there were a couple of days when I had events scheduled from 8am-10pm), networking with about 13,000 other librarians from around the world, and even a bit of sightseeing in that truly incomparable city. I met many people who had lived through the trauma of Hurricane Katrina and was humbled by their stories. During this and coming weeks, I will be sharing some of the experiences I had at ALA.

To begin, I'll share some nuggets of wisdom from Newbery-winning author, Ingrid Law, whose delightful fantasies Savvy and Scumble have been very popular with our students. Among the many fantastic sessions I attended was one in which she was a panelist along with Jennifer Holm and Kirby Larson.

Ingrid shared the value of persistence and hard work when writing. Did you know that the first manuscript she sent out was rejected 45 times? Publishers told her that they loved her writing... but they didn't particularly like that novel. It would have been easy to give up, but she forged on, kept writing - and in 2009, Savvy was awarded a richly deserved Newbery Honor!

Want to know another secret? Ingrid revealed that one day she sat down, gave herself permission to write anything that came to mind without judgment (no self-censoring because her idea was too silly or strange or boring!) and what she wrote became the opening sentence of Savvy: "When my brother Fish turned thirteen, we moved to the deepest part of inland because of the hurricane and, of course, the fact that he'd caused it."

Ingrid said that she gives herself permission to write "badly" on days when she's not feeling too inspired because you can always go back and fix bad writing, but if you haven't written anything at all there's nothing to work with.

She also does a surprising amount of research for someone who writes fantasy books! Of course you know that writers of historical fiction bury themselves in research to prepare for their writing. But Ingrid carefully checks out every detail, including going on road trips to the same places the Beaumont family visits and ordering a Volkswagen Beetle bumper on eBay (read Scumble if you're curious about that one)!

It was fascinating to hear all of this directly from the author and I hope that it will help you appreciate all the behind-the-scenes work your favorite authors put in, as well as encouraging you in your own writing!