Tuesday, January 31, 2012

5th grade book presentation: February

February's theme is biography and memoir! The only requirement is that the book be a minimum of 40pp long.

We have a great selection of both in the general and middle school sections of the school library, but if you would like to borrow from the public library, you can:

1) browse the B (biography) section of your
local public library, or

2) check out these
online biography resources (databases and websites) provided by KCLS to get ideas - but please remember that while this is a good place to start, there will not be biographies about all of these people written for a younger audience!

When you are looking at library books online, remember that the call number JB means it is was written for elementary and middle school readers, while YB means it was written for teens. If you need more information, click on "Reviews & More" beside the title or click on the title to see the number of pages.

Just a few of the books I would recommend from the school library are:

- Chasing Lincoln's Killer by James L. Swanson (about John Wilkes Booth)
- M
argaret Bourke-White: Adventurous Photographer by Christopher C. L. Anderson
She Touched the World: Laura Bridgman, Deaf-Blind Pioneer by Sally Hobart Alexander
- Claudette Colvin: Twice toward Justice by Phillip Hoose
- The Forbidden Schoolhouse: The True and Dramatic Story of Prudence Crandall and Her Students by Suzanne Jurmain (about a courageous teacher who tried to integrate her school in the 1830s)
- Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman
- Fireflies in the Dark: The Story of Friedl Dicker-Brandeis and the Children of Terezin by Susan Goldman Rubin (about the Holocaust)
- This Land Was Made for You and Me: The Life and Songs of Woody Guthrie by Elizabeth Partridge
- Onward: A Photobiography of African-American Polar Explorer Matthew Henson by Dolores Johnson

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Award winners announced!

A few days ago the announcement readers and writers everywhere awaited with anticipation: this year's Association for Library Service to Children award winners were named! These include the very well-known Newbery and Caldecott books, as well as the very special, but not as widely appreciated Batchelder Award for books in translation, Sibert Medal for nonfiction, and Geisel Award for beginning readers.

Looking for a great new book to read? These new winners aren't a bad place to start!

Monday, January 23, 2012

One Author Vista: Ken Mochizuki!

I am excited to announce that as part of our third annual One Author Vista program, Ken Mochizuki will be coming to Vista on February 3rd! He will make a presentation to students, answer their questions and sign their books.

The book order form is available on my Sharepoint page and was also sent in an email by Ms. Klein. University Book Store will be on campus on the day of his visit to sell books. You may:

a) submit the order form and check by 1/30 to the library, the book return bin behind Ms. Klein's desk or my mailbox in the office;
b) call in your credit card order to the secure number on the order form; or
c) bring cash or a check on the day of his visit.

A Seattle native, Ken has written books for a wide range of ages, from picture books about the Japanese American internment camps and their aftermath (Baseball Saved Us, Heroes) to realistic fiction for middle and high school students (Beacon Hill Boys) to a work of local history (Meet Me at Higo: An Enduring Story of a Japanese American Family).

He has also written two biographies for all ages, Be Water, My Friend: The Early Years of Bruce Lee, about the martial arts legend, and my personal favorite, Passage to Freedom: The Sugihara Story. Chiune Sugihara, a Japanese diplomat in Lithuania during World War II who saved the lives of thousands of Jews.

For those unfamiliar with One Author Vista, it was inspired by Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl's "If All of Seattle Read the Same Book" project. Each year, Vista students are encouraged to read books by an assortment of local authors. They then have the opportunity to vote for the one they would like to invite to campus.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Update on Margaret Read MacDonald's visit

I am sorry to announce that we have to reschedule Margaret Read MacDonald's visit, originally planned for this Monday. Dr. MacDonald is currently traveling out of town and concerned about getting home safely and on time. Also, with the school cancellations, I did not have a chance this week to prepare students properly for her visit. Instead, she will come to campus later this spring, following her Middle East tour.

If you already submitted a book order, we will hang onto it unless you prefer to have it returned (please let me know if that is the case).

If you had an order ready to hand in this week, you may also go ahead and give it to me whenever school starts up again. I'm happy to keep it in a safe place and pass it on to the bookstore later on.

Stay tuned for the new date!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Why not blog?

Yesterday I was sitting by the window with a stack of books, a steaming mug of tea by my side, enjoying the wintry landscape, when a message popped up from a friend informing me of her new blog about books, The Book Dowser.

Blogging has been a wonderful way for librarians, authors and book lovers to come together in cyberspace and share a common love for literature. In fact, as I read her second post about her passion for historical fiction and the Little House series in particular, I was tickled by the remarkable parallels to an earlier post of mine entitled "Characters coming to life" which referenced several of the same titles.

Only later did I realize that even more than a fun new book-related blog to read, The Book Dowser is another answer to a question I commonly receive from students and parents who are curious about avenues for publishing young people's writing!

The reader and writer behind the The Book Dowser is in high school and this blog is a wonderful outlet for her talents. In the past I've written a few posts on
magazines which publish writing by young people, National Novel Writing Month (did you hear that University Book Store is going to publish a novel written by a local author during NaNoWriMo?) and websites with additional information on getting young people's writing into print.

But somehow the idea of the blog as a way of self-publishing one's writing did not occur to me until yesterday. However, I am now throwing the idea out there in case it catches anyone's fancy! Blogs are easy to set up, sites such as Blogspot will host your blog for free, and they can be a fantastic way to keep in touch with far-flung friends and family, exercise your creative writing skills, comment on issues that matter to you, and much more. Of course, you should remember to follow basic Internet safety rules and check with your parents before setting anything up online. If you do start blogging about books, please let me know! I'd love to read what you have to say.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Meet our new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature!

Last week we heard the exciting news that prolific, award-winning author Walter Dean Myers has been named the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature by the Library of Congress! He will serve in this capacity as someone who will help raise "national awareness of the importance of young people’s literature as it relates to lifelong literacy, education and the development and betterment of the lives of young people."

Not only is Myers an incredibly gifted writer, he is also a caring human being. One story about him that impressed me greatly was that after a young fan, Ross Workman, wrote to him, he struck up a correspondence with the teen which led them to co-author the novel Kick! Watch this short video clip of Myers and Workman discussing their collaboration. How cool is that?!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Best of 2011!

Can you believe we're already a week into 2012? Neither can I! It's been wonderful returning to school and catching up with all the students. Everyone seems refreshed and excited about plunging back into school life.

This time of year there are many "best of" lists. Here's a link to School Library Journal's Best of 2011 Roundup, which offers a great selection of reading lists - from picture books to the best adult books for teens - as well as the most exciting tech developments of 2011, the most interesting apps and the top educational DVDs.

Why not see what goodies you missed out on?