Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comics, podcasts, and iPad apps

Apparently, this Saturday is International Read Comics in Public Day. I think this is a good idea. Reading anything in public is a good idea, so why not comics? I have a small collection of comics and graphic novels in the library and they are immensely popular! And for anyone who thinks that comics are not a legitimate art form, I challenge you to read The Arrival by Shaun Tan - I say read but it is actually wordless. It is absolutely stunning! In fact, I might just make it Book of the Week next week.

Now, I'm not a big comics reader, I get a bit overwhelmed by the pictures and tend to just read the words and skip the pictures which means I lose a lot of the story. But I do understand their appeal, after all, a good story is a good story regardless of delivery system. When I have taken the time to pore over the pictures, like when I 'read' The Arrival, I do find they can be enjoyable. I'm just always in to much of a hurry!
Speaking of comics, over the summer I downloaded the DC Comics app to my iPad. The app was free and some of the comics are free so I thought I'd check it out. Well, this turns out to be a great way for me to read comics! The app has a feature where it will either display a whole page at once or you can scroll pane by pane through the page. This helps me not get so overwhelmed by the pictures and helps me navigate through the panes without getting confused. I really like it! I've been reading mostly grown-up comics though, which also makes it more enjoyable!
I've also been using my iPad to read books - can you imagine!? I've bought a few books from the iBook store but I've also downloaded a ton of free books on my Free Books app. These are books that are out of copyright and have been digitized by Project Gutenberg. Lots of great old books. I'm reading one now by E. Nesbit called The Five Children and It from 1905. It's about a group of siblings who find a sand fairy who grants them wishes. It's very english and very old fashioned and very charming.
And speaking of delivery systems, you know I've been listening to audiobooks all summer, but I also like to listen to podcasts. Mr. Richards and I have been listening to old Jack Benny radio shows and Mr. Richards has discovered an old science fiction radio show called Dimension X. These shows are from the '40's and '50's but are still very entertaining. I've also been listening to the Pinkwater Podcast. Earlier in the summer, I listened to The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater and then I discovered he produces a weekly podcast in which he reads from his books and essays. Through listening to his essays, you can hear how his personal experiences become part of the stories he writes.
So tell me what you've been listening to.

Monday, August 23, 2010

First Day and Book of the week!

Today was the first day back at school and there were lots things waiting for me in the library and in my mailbox! Lots of books, textbooks, and magazines are waiting to be cataloged which is one of my favorite things to do! I also got to take the new kindergarten kids on a tour of the school this morning. That was fun, and I look forward to seeing them all in the library soon!

So, now that I can get my hands on all those new books, I nabbed one to take home and read today! I just finished Clementine, Friend of the Week by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee. This is the fourth book in Clementine's series, and you've read any of the first three Clementine books, you know what a F-U-N-N-Y, funny character she is. In this story, Clementine is selected to be Friend of the Week in her class so she sets about being extra nice to all of her friends so that they'll write nice things about her in her Friend of the Week booklet. But when her cat Moisturizer goes missing, she learns that friendship is just about giving compliments, but helping a friend in need. This book made me laugh out loud and is perfect for grades 3 and up.

I would also like to use this book to kick off my Book of the Week program. Each week I'm going to post a Book of the Week on my twitter feed. Criteria for Book of the Week selections will be books that I've read or heard about that I think people should consider reading. It might be a new book that is not getting much attention or an old book that needs revisiting. It might be a chapter book, or a picture book, or even non-fiction. There won't be a review of it, just the title and author and it will be up to you to find out more about it. All Books of the Week can be found in the Marshall Lane Library. So start following MrsLibearian on Twitter for news about the library and look for the Book of the Week (BotW)!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Look for these new titles in the library!

More new titles from Junior Library Guild! Pictures and summaries are from the JLG website.
Pink was the runt of a twelve-piglet litter, so tiny that his owners weren’t sure he’d survive. They brought him into their house, where Tink the dachshund took charge. This is the true story of a mom—and her pups—who welcomed little Pink into their furry brown family. Author’s note. Full-color photographs.

Frank and Carl have “hat-tastic” hats for sale, so why isn’t anyone buying them? What they need is a more exciting product. Or better advertising. Or maybe just some divine intervention. Full-color illustrations were created with black pencil and charcoal on newsprint; color was added digitally.

Steve and Anna knew that the Zambian bush was a dangerous place for a pet. So when they adopted the runt of a terrier litter, they tried to train and protect him from peril. Still, Bulu had some terrifying, heart-stopping encounters in his life. To their surprise, Bulu also had an astonishing ability to calm and communicate with orphaned animals—warthogs, monkeys, and a newborn bushbuck. Author’s note. Glossary. Black-and-white map and photographs.

What odd animals did William Dampier have on his ship? Why did Grace O’Malley cut off her hair? And which pirate liked to wear pajamas on deck? Based on solid research, here are profiles of nineteen of the most notorious men and women to sail the seven seas. Further reading. Full-color illustrations done in oil paint.

Eleven-year-old Olive and her parents have just moved to a weird old house, where Olive has noticed things moving inside the artwork on the walls and where cats have darted out of secret places to talk to her. Soon Olive finds that she can climb into the paintings. She also discovers a dark secret: the original owner of the house came from “a line of powerful witches” and “learned to trap living people in paintings.” Black-and-white illustrations.

A gust of wind has swept away Bridget’s big black Great Artist beret—and brought on a bad case of artist’s block. Bridget is sure she needs her hat to feel inspired. She searches the neighborhood, files a Missing Beret report, and even offers a reward. In the end, none of these are what help her get back what she lost. “How to Start Your Art” section with reproductions of famous artworks and suggestions for creating art. Full-color illustrations rendered in ink, colored pencil, watercolor, and sidewalk chalk on watercolor paper.

**New book from Jon Scieska!** Michael K. knew that his first day of fifth grade in a new school would be weird, but not like this. Two strange kids, Bob and Jennifer, claim they are spaceheadz from another planet—on a mission to save Earth. Stranger still, Jennifer explains why they chose him to help: “Michael K. can do anything,” she says, which is the ad slogan from an embarrassing cereal commercial Michael thought he had put behind him. Black-and-white digital illustrations.

** Favorite character** It’s Clementine’s turn to be Friend of the Week at school, which means that she gets to collect the milk money, feed the class fish, and receive a booklet in which all her classmates explain their favorite things about her. To ensure that she gets only the best compliments, Clementine spends the week trying to be as helpful and fun as possible. Then Clementine’s kitten, Moisturizer, goes missing, and suddenly being Friend of the Week doesn’t seem so important. Black-and-white ink illustrations.
Expert-built snow igloos are so strong that they can withstand hurricane-force winds. Their curved shape means that wind blows smoothly over the top. But in an emergency like a blizzard, speed is essential. It’s faster to dig a snow cave than build a structure. From polar regions to the desert, making shelter is an important skill for surviving in the wilderness. Survival skills quiz. Glossary. List of useful Web sites. Index. Full-color illustrations and photographs.

These titles and many more will be waiting for you when the library opens next month.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Letters from Library Summer Camp and Library News

Friday was day two of Library Summer Camp at the county office. I attended four sessions and got some great ideas on how to do scavenger hunts in the library, an activity that's similar to Super Sleuth but may be more fun! I got some tips on selecting multi-cultural literature for the library. I learned how to be a library advocate and also got some information about the Model Library Standards that will be presented to the State Board of Education in September to be (hopefully) approved. I ran into a friend I'd made the day before and she told a funny story about how, not being from the area, she found herself having dinner at very, very expensive restaurant but was too embarrassed to get up and leave when she realized it was out of her price range! She did have a very nice meal, though.
Today I went to a training to learn how to use the new circulation software for the library. I realize that only I could get so excited about library management software, but I'm really most excited about the new online catalog. The icons are bigger and I think kids will have an easier time exploring the catalog. Other new features include pictures of the book covers, patron ratings and reviews, and teacher created bibliographies! I'm very eager to get back to school and start using it. Not much longer to wait!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Letters from Summer Camp

Today I attended day one of Library Summer Camp at the Santa Clara County Office of Education. I learned many things. I learned about a new ALA sponsored certification for Library Support Staff that looked very interesting. I also learned some tips and tricks for good read alouds. And I learned about the advantages of collaborating with other library clerks in the district and working as a team for the benefit of all the libraries.

But the highlight of the day was Walter and Valerie's presentation of their favorite new books. At the top of their list of recommended books is the book that I'm most looking forward to being released this fall. It's called 13 Words and it's written by Lemony Snicket (Series of Unfortunate Events) and illustrated by Maira Kalman (Max Makes a Million, Fireboat: the Heroic Adventures of the John J. Harvey). I could not have been more excited when I found out that one of my all-time favorite authors was teaming up with one of my all-time favorite illustrators to collaborate on a picture book! And now to see that the book is on Walter and Valerie's recommended list, I am actually more excited! It was also gratifying to see that some of the books on their list are already in our library, such as The Quiet Book, Stand Straight Ella Kate, Ling and Ting Not Exactly the Same, and Word After Word After Word. I'll do my best to get more of these excellent books into our library.

I had a good time today, I met some new people and said 'hello' to some old friends. I get to go back tomorrow and learn some more stuff!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Al Capone Does My Shirts, I do my socks

I finished listening to Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko yesterday. The story takes place on Alcatraz Island in 1935. At the time, employees of the prison lived on the island with their families because, according to the author's notes, the warden wanted all the guards to be available at once in case of a prisoner uprising. The story centers around Moose Flanagan, whose father is hired as an electrician and guard for the prison and moves the family to the island. Moose's sister is autistic, a condition that was little understood at the time and her behavior causes stress within the family. Moose is a likeable character who is kind to his sister Natalie but doesn't always agree with how his mother deals with the situation. The antics of the warden's mischievous daughter, who is fascinated by the prison and it's occupants, lead Moose into some trouble. The family story is touching and the setting of the story is intriguing, with frequent references to some of the prison's most notorious inmates such as Al Capone and Machine Gun Kelly. I'd recommend this book for grades 5 and up.

Here are the finished pair of socks as modeled by Mr. Richards. I made him wear them to work today to sort of test drive them. He doesn't like the color of them and, frankly, neither do I. It's funny how a ball of yarn can look so different once it's knitted into something.

So I'm off to start a new project and book. Neither of which I've decided on yet. Maybe a pair of fingerless mitts and The Red Pyramid. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

No, I typed that title correctly. It's The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity and it was written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex, and the audio book was narrated by Artie Johnson. (Hey kids! Go ask your grandparents who Artie Johnson is!) First off, I have to say, I love when librarians in children's literature turn out to be so much more than librarians, like the evil librarians in Alcatraz Versus the Evil Librarians. In The Case 12 year old Steve Brixton stumbles upon a mystery in his local library and learns that "librarians are the most elite, best trained secret force in the United States of America. Probably in the world." This is, of course, true, but shhhh! it's a secret! Steve is then mistaken for a real detective after accidentally flashing his Official Bailey Brothers Genuine Detective's Investigation License at a librarian while trying to check out a book. This book lovingly pokes fun at young detective book series like the Hardy Boys. Fans of that genre will enjoy the in jokes about kid detectives. Adam Rex's illustrations are also very reminiscent of those old detective stories, especially the vignettes on the endpapers. This was a fun and fast read that I would recommend for grades 3 and up.

Only a few more weeks left of summer! I have quite a few books left to read/listen to and more to look forward to when school starts!

Don't forget to leave me a comment and tell me what you've been reading and how you liked it.