Thursday, September 30, 2010

13 Words

Well, I just arrived home from San Francisco where my friend Donna, the library clerk at Monroe Middle School, and I spent an evening with Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman at the Herbst Theater. We had such fun evening! We drove part of the way, then parked the car and got on a BART train to take us into the city. When we got there, we had some spicy indian food and then we walked to the theater.
They were selling books in the foyer so I bought one right away and then we found our seats. After showing us the video that I posted above, Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman took the stage, along with Steven Winn, who interviewed them. They talked about their collaboration on the new book 13 Words. They talked a lot about Maira Kalman's illustrations and about how Lemony Snicket likes to use big words in children's books. This event was part of the City Arts and Lectures series so sometime in the near future, you'll be able to listen to it on NPR, which I recommend you do because they were very funny! Plus there was a surprise musical performance at the end.

Here are some blurry pictures of Mr. Snicket and Ms. Kalman signing their books:

I am now in possession of a signed copy of the fabulous book 13 Words, written by Lemony Snicket (The Series of Unfortunate Events, The Composer Is Dead) and illustrated by Maira Kalman (Max Makes a Million, Fireboat) which I may read aloud tomorrow. If you all aren't too despondent to listen to it.

ETA: I see the video doesn't fit right on the blog so here is a linky so you can watch it properly.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Watsons Go To Birmingham -1963

I enjoyed Elijah of Buxton so much, I thought I'd listen to something else by Christopher Paul Curtis. So I downloaded The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 and I was not disappointed. This book has won the California Young Readers Medal, The Coretta Scott King Award, and a Newbery Honor. The Watsons, nicknamed the 'Weird Watsons' by their neighbors, are an average African-American family living in Flint, Michigan. The story is told by the middle child Kenny who has a lazy eye. Byron, the oldest of the Watson siblings whom they've nicknamed 'Daddy Cool', has been getting in to lots of trouble, or in Byron's words, having 'wild adventures.' Byron's parents decide it would be good for Byron to spend the summer with his grandmother in Alabama, where he might learn some manners. The whole family treks from Flint to Birmingham in the family car, the 'brown bomber' but they all get a bigger dose of reality than they were prepared for. Every family has their funny stories, the big family moments that each family member remembers just a little bit differently. This is how Kenny relays this story to the readers, through a hilarious series of family moments, similar to the way Ralphie narrates "A Christmas Story." I think everyone will be able to see a bit of their own family in the Watsons. And kids, be sure you ask your parents (or grandparents) about the cartoon references - Felix the Cat, Beanie and Cecil, and Soupy Sales!

In other news, Knuffle Bunny, Free by our pal Mo Willems is out today! I will get a copy of this for the library as soon as I can. In the mean time, check out the Pigeon's webpage. Good times!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"This is so awesome!"

I overheard a student say this today when his class came for their first library visit of the school year. The library opened for checkouts this week and, boy! Marshall Lane students are really enthusiastic about checking out books! They swarmed the library at morning and lunch recesses and checked out all the Star Wars books and all the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books plus loads of other books, magazines, and audiobooks. Another student told me that she loves the library. It makes me happy to see the kids get so excited about books!

I got a big surprise today. My sister came all the way from Tennessee to visit me for my birthday! Mr. Richards was in on it and he brought her to the library today where I put them to work shelving books. It was a great surprise! I also enjoyed a birthday song from Mrs. Hunt's class. Good times!

ETA: I forgot say that I also learned from a student that a fifth volume in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid is due out soon. In fact, it will come out on November 9th! Here is a link to the website where you can read more about the author, see the new book cover, play the 'Cheese Touch' game, and wimp yourself!

Friday, September 17, 2010

New Books!

Here is the Junior Library Guild's September selection of books. These will be available in the library soon, I just have to finish processing them. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the Marshall Lane PTA for their generous support of the library. PTA provides the funding that purchases the books from Junior Library Guild as well as our magazine subscriptions and the subscriptions for the Online Social Studies Fact Cards and World Book Online. I believe Marshall Lane Library houses a collection that the community can be proud of largely due to the support of the PTA. So if you see a PTA member on campus, be sure to let them know how much you appreciate what they do and how awesome you think the library is!

The following pictures and book descriptions were taken from
"You had to wear pretty clothes to sing in the regular shows. You had to be clean and presentable. Ella was a mess. Somebody give that girl a bar of soap! A comb, a dress!" From her childhood in Yonkers, New York, to her teenage years--spent in an orphanage, then homeless on the streets of Harlem--Ella Fitzgerald was a skit-scat raggedy cat hoping to catch her break and sing. Bibliography with suggestions for books, albums, DVDs, and Web sites. Full-color illustrations done in acrylic, pencil, and collage.
"After all these years of thinking I was somebody I wasn't, the real me had finally decided to show up." A week before her eleventh birthday, Verbena Colter discovers a family secret that seems to explain why she feels so mixed up and mean. She wishes she was anyone but herself. So when a new friend mistakes her for someone else, she gladly plays along--and feels only a tiny bit guilty. Author's note.
Amos McGee has plenty to do at his job at City Zoo. Still, he always makes time to play chess with the elephant, run races with the tortoise, and read stories with the owl. One morning, Amos wakes up sick and can't make it to work. Luckily for him, a day at home does not mean a day without friends. Full-color illustrations done with woodblock printing techniques and pencil.
Every day from Hotsy-Totsy Monday to Hunky-Dory Thursday, Ron's bus driver, Mr. Stuckinaditch, gets the bus stuck in a ditch on the way to school. Ron's classmate Dewey Haveto asks questions that start with Do we have to?, and janitors Mr. Iquit and Mr. Quitoo quit their jobs whenever young Oopsie Spiller or Chuckie Upkins makes a mess. By Yowie-Ka-Zowie Friday, however, some of the most predictable people in Ron's life do some very unexpected things. Black-and-white illustrations.

Dino is seven in 1954, when he must leave his beloved Havana, Cuba, and the colorful buildings that inspire his drawings. He and his parents move to Madrid, Spain, to help his injured uncle's family. Life under the dictator, Franco, is miserable, so when they return home in 1956, Dino is overjoyed: "I will never leave you again," he whispers to his city. However, by 1959, a dangerous political upheaval forces the family to flee to New York City. Based on architect Secundino Fernandez's childhood experiences. Author's note. Full-color oil-and-pencil illustrations.
They have the same brown eyes. They have the same pink cheeks. They have the same happy smiles. Ling and Ting are identical twins--but whether they get haircuts, perform magic, make dumplings, or tell stories, it's plain to see that they are not exactly the same. Full-color illustrations.
Gracie Gillypot and her best friend, Prince Marcus, have a fun day of dwarf-spotting planned, when Gracie is unexpectedly swallowed by a tree. Soon Marcus learns that human-eating trolls likely set the trap. Desperate to save Gracie from her terrible fate, Marcus enlists the help of talking bats, a bratty princess, and many other off beat characters in this rollicking adventure. Black-and-white line drawings.
Nine-year-old Ben is new to soccer, but he's excited to play on the Bobcats. If he can only work around his obnoxious teammate Mark, the ball hog, Ben is sure he'll score his first goal. Then, with a little constructive criticism from his teammates, Ben realizes he's a ball hog, too. Can he and Mark change their ways and salvage the Bobcats' shot at the playoffs? Black-and-white illustrations.
"The dancer and choreographer. The composer. The artist. Together they created a ballet about a new home, a new family, a new life. A dance about America." Martha Graham, Aaron Copland, and Isamu Noguchi collaborated on Appalachian Spring. The ballet opened in 1944 but was so untraditional that they wondered whether the audience would understand it. Short biographies of Graham, Copland, and Noguchi. Bibliography. Source notes. Full-color illustrations done in watercolor.

The library will be open next week, and if all goes well with the new circulation system, we'll be checking out books! Either way, come in and take a look at our new titles!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Elijah of Buxton

Elijah of Buxton, by Christopher Paul Curtis. This book made me laugh, made me cry, and kept me on the edge of my seat. I couldn't wait to see what would happen next! It's no wonder it won so many awards, including the Coretta Scott King award in 2008. It was also a Newbery Honor book that year. The story centers around 11 year old Elijah Freeman, the first free born child in the settlement of Buxton in Canada, in 1859. Runaway slaves from the south of the United States would sometimes run all the way to Canada because once they crossed the border, they could not be recaptured by American slavers and sent back to their former masters. Once they established themselves in a town like Buxton, they would work hard to save money so they could buy freedom for their family members, as one of the characters in the story, Mr. Leroy, tries to do. When Mr. Leroy is cheated out of his money, Elijah, who is more educated than Mr. Leroy, tries to help him retrieve his money. This book left me wanting to know more about Elijah and how his life would have changed after the last incident in the story. I won't tell you what that incident is because I don't want to spoil it for you. I think this excellent book would be good for grades 5 and up.

And here are the socks I was working on while I was listening to the Elijah of Buxton audiobook. These will be a gift for my father-in-law. I don't even know if he likes wool socks, so I hope he likes these!

Last time, I showed you a tiny picture of the new online catalog for the Marshall Lane library. I hope that teased you and now you can't wait to explore it and see what's new! Well, you don't have to wait any longer! Click this link to see the new library catalog!
The first thing you will see is a list of schools and below that a check box that says 'Always use this server.' Put a check mark in that box and then click on Marshall Lane. You'll only have to do that part once. From there, click around and explore and rate your favorite books! Have fun and let me know what you think!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Crispin and a Sneak Peak

Crispin: the Cross of Lead by Avi won the Newbery Award in 2003, but I think it is often overlooked so I made it this week's Book of the Week. I finished listening to it early this morning when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep. The story revolves around a 13 year-old-boy in living in a small village in feudal England. A family secret has made him an outcast in his village and when his mother dies, leaving him alone in the world, he is accused of stealing from the Lord's manor house by the Steward and a price is put on his head. Thus begins Crispin's adventures and education. I didn't care for the reader of this audiobook, but I did like the story. It was an exciting and fast paced adventure story with a satisfying ending. There are two sequels to this novel, however, this first installment reads like a stand alone title. I would recommend this book for grades 5 and up.

And now, a sneak peek of the new library catalog.

Yeah, that's a very little sneak peek, apparently this blog doesn't like large pictures! If you would like to explore it some more on your own, you can find a link to it on the home page of the old catalog. Once you click the link, you'll be presented with a list of schools. Choose Marshall Lane - obviously - and then book mark the page once it loads. And have fun!