Friday, May 30, 2014

The summer reading book swap baskets are back!

Want to clear out your bookshelves and find some fun new books to read?

Starting Monday through the end of the school year, there will be two summer reading book swap baskets in the library learning commons, one for grades K-4 and one for grades 5-8.

Students may bring in gently used books they no longer want and exchange them for someone else's unwanted books. There is no limit! Drop off one book, take home one book. Drop off three, take home three...

The baskets are accessible during our normal open hours, 8am-4pm daily.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

The best graphic novels, plus a visit from Kazu Kibuishi!

Graphic novels - book-length comics - continue to be hugely popular, appealing to reluctant and avid readers alike. Some of the most creative and talented authors and artists in the children's book world today are pursuing this form of expression.

I'm excited to announce that Kazu Kibuishi, one of the hottest names in graphic novels thanks to his wildly popular Amulet series, is going to be speaking and signing books at the Bellevue public library! Save the date: Saturday, June 7th at 2pm

Want to read graphic novels but don't know where to start? Start with this list of top choices for K-8 students from the American Library Association! 

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Our middle school diversity leaders

Last weekend I had the pleasure of escorting two 7th graders and two 8th graders to the biannual NWAIS Student Diversity Leadership Retreat held at Catlin Gabel School in Portland, OR. Our student representatives applied for this honor by describing ways they felt our school could become a more inclusive and welcoming environment, and explaining their vision for making this happen.

The retreat, which is the only one of its kind in the country for students of this age, included schools from as far away as Utah and British Columbia. They came together to go on a team-building ropes course...

...participate in diversity workshops run by upper schoolers from NWAIS schools who are trained facilitators...

...and film PSAs to bring back to share with their school communities. They also got to make new friends and learn about lives and viewpoints vastly different from their own. 

The purpose of the retreat was to cultivate in them an awareness of important diversity issues that will enable them to be a force for positive change among their peers. Based on what I observed this weekend, they are off to an excellent start!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Reading with cats

What could be cuter than kids and kitties? Not much that I can think of! Inspired by a program in Pennsylvania, the Seattle Humane Society has launched Kitty Literature. Children ages 5-10 can stop by the shelter on Eastgate Way in Bellevue on Mondays-Wednesdays from 3-6pm and read to cats. One of our kindergartners is an inaugural member!

Reading to cats is great for the kids - who could be a more patient, non-critical audience? And it's great for the cats too, since they get a little extra human companionship - and, who knows? Maybe some will find a new home as well... Check out their Facebook post too!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Reading your way around the world

With our 8th graders enjoying their Costa Rican adventure this week, my thoughts turned to reading and geography. A disappointingly small percentage of books published in the US (for any age group) has been translated from languages other than English.

To help promote awareness of the rich world of reading that awaits them, the American Library Association sponsors the Batchelder Award for books in translation. Like the ALA's more well-known awards, such as the Caldecott and Newbery, this one seeks out noteworthy contributions to the world of children's literature and is a great source of reading ideas.

Maybe you heard about blogger Ann Morgan who read her way around the world? Check out her site where she describes setting herself the challenge of reading one book from every country around the world!

What about you - when's the last time you explored a different country or culture through a book? My Goodreads page can be one place to start - I tag books across many characteristics including country. Why not start there - and please send me recommendations so I can start to fill in all the gaps!