Friday, March 27, 2009

Author Visit: Deborah Wiles

Wednesday I was fortunate enough to host author Deborah Wiles in my media center. She came and spoke to some of my 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students. I LOVE doing author visits, especially with authors who have a presentation that really INSPIRES the kids - and Deborah does on so many levels.

She talked to the kids about writing and how she finds inspiration in her own life. She showed the kids slides of her writers notebooks and one of my teachers commented that she LOVED that she showed the kids the lists she makes in the notebooks- this teacher makes the kids do lists for writers workshop and she said the students can never figure out WHY they write lists. The best part of her presentation for me was the very end. She talks about her book Freedom Summer - and while I have always thought that it is a very powerful book, hearing her describe the events that made her write it is... well.. even more powerful, especially for someone who did not grow up in the south in the 1960's.

This author visit also felt like having an old friend come over for a visit. Deborah and I have only met once before this, but she was good friends with author Coleen Salley who I had the pleasure of hosting last year (which was her last school visit before she passed away last fall). During lunch we got to talk and "gossip" as Coleen called it and it was so much FUN!
Here are a few pictures of our day.

My clerk Cindy, Deborah and myself

Monday, March 23, 2009

Library Rants

This weekend on Facebook my daughters dance teacher made a list of questions/comments from parents that she has gotten over the years (if you are a dance teacher or know one, leave a comment and I will forward these) and what she would REALLY like to say to them, but didn’t– they were great and got me thinking of some questions/situations I have been in during the last 6 years in the media center and came up with a few of my own. Alison Morris of the Publishers Weekly Blog Shelf Talker must have been thinking the same thing this weekend and she has a post up about what customers do to make you crazy (and links to some very funny videos)

Here are my top 6 questions I have been asked by parents and responses I WISH I could give (but didn’t).

Suzy lost her library book so we just bought this one at Borders to replace it, it was cheaper than the $15 you were asking us for.
Well gee, the book you lost was a library bound, hard cover book that had been labeled and bar-coded for our library – what you brought me was a paperback of the book – NOT THE SAME THING!

Alice brought home Harry Potter yesterday from the library and we just don’t read things like that around our house, so can you make sure she doesn’t check it out again or any other book like that and make sure she checks out appropriate books.
Of course, I will make sure to check on every book little Alice checks out and I am SURE that you and I see eye to eye on what is appropriate for your 3rd grader to read – may I suggest Lolita as her next book….

Johnny is a VERY advanced reader for kindergarten, can you make sure he ONLY checks out books on a 5th grade level.
I think it is great that Johnny is such an advanced reader, but since he still sucks his thumb while he is in here for story time I am not sure he will do well reading Old Yeller – spoiler alert – the dog dies.

I know you said the absolute last date to turn in the reading forms was a week ago, but I just forgot, so can you let Jane take part in the reading celebration, thanks.
Sure, I just put a random date on there for no reason – I have spent 5 hours figuring out a schedule that works for all the teachers and has the appropriate number of kids in each celebration, what’s one or two or 15 more.

Hannah read the book she bought at the book fair last night, it must be too easy for her, so she wants to return it and get another one.
Oh, sorry, I didn’t realize I had quit my job in the media center and gone to work at Wal Mart. Because of this question I now have a HUGE sign saying there are NO RETURNS at the book fair.

So, you REALLY need a degree to do your job??
No, the $20,000 and 2 years I spent in grad school to get my library science degree was just for fun. You know, all I do all day is read stories to kids, that’s it – the books magically appear on the shelves, the 5th graders teach themselves research skills and the book fair just appears one night in the media center – we think the fairies are to blame, I can see why you are wondering WHY I need a degree in library science to do my job.

I feel better now!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Where is Bono?

One of my FAVORITE bands (after Bon Jovi, of course) is U2 and to promote their new album they played a FREE concert this week at the Somerville Theatre in Somerville, MA (just outside Boston and coincidentally the theatre is next door to where my Dad works) - so what's this got to do with children's lit - well Publishers Weekly reports that Candlewick Press's offices, which are also just down the street from the theatre, had a little display in their office windows and a contest welcoming Bono and crew.

This is from the PW article:

"For every person photographed in Davis Square with Waldo on the day of the concert, Candlewick will donate one book to the charity of U2’s choice. For every band member photographed with Waldo, they offered to donate 1000 books. Candlewick didn't contact U2 directly, but it was hard to miss the bespectacled children's book character roaming the neighborhood, or the attention local media gave both the windows and the literacy offer.

How cool - I knew U2 was in town and playing in Somerville (my Dad's bank actually had to close early because they were closing the streets in Davis Square) but I didn't realize there was a bookish twist! U2 guitarist the Edge sent a photo of himself and Waldo into Candlewick and they will be donating 1250 books to a Somerville charity in U2's honor.

and just in time for St Patrick's day!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Share a Story

This week the grassroots effort called, Share a Story - Shape a Future - which was started by some well know kidlit bloggers, is hosting a week long event which promises to have some great blog posts, some cool prizes and lots of FABULOUS information.

Here is the description from the website:

All this week, people passionate about books and reading will explore some of the challenges that can get in the way of that daily dose of reading. We're not going to quote studies or print lists of statistics. We're not even going to tell you that you have to read with your child.Instead, we're going to introduce you to resources and share specific, do-able activities that can help you make reading "just" a regular part of your daily life. Share a Story - Shape a Future is an event to offer tried-and-true ideas for promote reading as a life-long skill.

I am still knee deep in book fair, but I plan to sit down and read some of these great posts later this week. I am also planning on sending out the links to my teachers, many teachers here are not avid blog readers (who has the time, many of them would say) but I think that many of them will be (or should be) interested in the information that will be presented throughout the week! One of the things that I think make a media specialist invaluable to the staff of a school is providing information to the teachers that they may not find on their own - one of the reasons why I read so many blogs!

Monday, March 2, 2009

I should be knee deep in book fair...

and Dr. Seuss hats, but instead I am at home in my jammies - SNOW DAY - yes in Georgia today we have a snow day - but of course it happens on a day I have been planning for weeks - the first day of my spring book fair. My annual teacher dress like a book character day (and contest - I have some great prizes!) and tonight our school was hosting it's 2nd annual literacy night - camp read a-lot where I had book fair open for parents, the PTA was having a silent auction of illustrator Michael White's prints and I was doing a program in conjunction with our music teacher - a camping sing-a-long-read-a-long - sigh- it was going to be FABULOUS.

I am sure we will *try* and reschedule literacy night, but my book fair cannot be extended and there is only ONE Read Across America Day day.

for those of you reading this up North - we had about 4-5" of snow yesterday but the roads are icy this morning and that is why the snow day - you can stop laughing now!