Sunday, October 24, 2010

All Hallows Read

So I don't think it's any great secret that Neil Gaiman is one of my favorite authors. Here is a picture of him (which I took from his blog) having ice cream with one of my other favorite authors Daniel Handler. Because he is one of my faves, I read his blog and follow him on Twitter. This past week, Mr. Gaiman suggested that Halloween should be a book giving holiday, but not just any kind of book, specifically scary books! You can read about his idea here on his blog.

I think this is a marvelous idea! One of my favorite scary books from when I was a kid was 'Tales for the Midnight Hour' by J. B. Stamper. This was a collection of scary short stories that were great for reading out loud during sleepovers or campouts, especially if there were younger kids around! Muahahaha! I don't know what ever happened to that book, not many of my books stayed with me from childhood. To my delight several years ago, I found an old beat up copy of this very same book on the paperback rack of my own Marshall Lane Library! Oh joy! I checked it out right then and reread the whole thing. The stories are not as scary as they once were but they brought back a lot of memories! I love how in so many of the stories people are driven insane from fear. That was my favorite outcome. Anyway, in the spirit of Book 0r Treat, I'm making 'Tales for the Midnight Hour' my pick of the week and I'm going to order a few copies from Amazon to give away.

I hope this inspires you to give a scary book to a loved one this Halloween.

And tell me about your favorite scary books, did they give you chills? Did they give you nightmares? Were you afraid to look under your bed?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Coming in November!

Here is the next batch of books coming from Junior Library Guild. Look for them in the library in November:

Ronde and Tiki's excitement over the approaching state championship football game turns to worry when there is a chicken pox outbreak at school.
Sixth-graders Russell and Shawn, poor and picked on, work together scooping dog droppings to earn money for a Rottweiler puppy to protect them from bullies, but when they learn the puppy's owner is running an illegal dog-fighting ring, they are torn about how to respond.
After Owen captures an enormous bullfrog, names it Tooley Graham, then has to release it, he and two friends try to use a small submarine that fell from a passing train to search for Tooley in the Carter, Georgia, pond it came from, while avoiding nosy neighbor Viola.
Visual and verbal clues hint at the names of Mr. Putney's unusual friends.

Kubla Khan, emperor of China, who in the thirteenth century ruled over the largest empire in the world.

When she accidentally leaves her journal in Tiffany's apartment, Keena is afraid that Tiffany will reveal all her secrets.

Required to attend summer school after moving to Chicagoland, thirteen-year-old manga-lover Megan Yamamura needs help from twelve-year-old computer genius Raf to escape the maniacal principal's mind-control experiment.

A biography of Dave the Potter, an African American slave, told in verse.

A poor boy named Jack struggles to deliver a birthday present worthy of the princess.

A small but effervescent overnight guest tries the patience of a curmudgeonly bear who needs absolute quiet to fall asleep.

Images and summaries were taken from the Junior Library Guild website.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

New books, new circulation system, new catalog.

Whew! It was a bit of a bumpy start this year with the new circulation system. The initial bugs have been worked out so now it's just getting around the huge learning curve. All in all, I think the change will be good. The new system does some very useful things that the old system couldn't do and once I really get into the rhythm of it, I look forward to taking advantage of all the new bells and whistles.

I've finally made some headway in cataloging and processing as well. All those new books I've been writing about here are finally ready for check out and have, in fact, been flying off the shelves. I'm also expecting a couple of shipments of books to be dedicated through the Marshall Lane Book Club program, for which I can't seem to find any information online to link to. I'll have to look into that. Anyway, you can see me in the library for more information.

Have you browsed the new catalog yet? It looks pretty good and kids are now able to put books on hold. Which they have been doing, since it's the only way to get a Star Wars book! Don't forget, kids can also add ratings and reviews to the catalog from home, they just need to log on with their 5 digit student number and their password is the first 5 letters of their last name. While you are poking around the catalog, check out the other resources available in Quicklinks such as World Book Online (username Marshall, password Student), the Online Social Studies Factcards (username marshall lane, password mustangs), and the growing selection of e-books.

Here are a few pictures of things I've been knitting recently to help me relax!

Okay, so this hasn't been actually knit into anything yet but it's a lovely bag of yarn with endless possibilities!

And that is all I have to say about that.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Responses to 13 Words

So I spent the last week reading Lemony Snicket and Maira Kalman's 13 Words to the first, second, and third graders and I got some interesting reactions to the book. Before you read further, go here and read the book for yourself, better yet, share it with your kids!

I'll wait.

Okay, I trust that you've read it and will know what I'm talking about without my having to go into too much detail.

First of all, the humor of the book was mostly lost on the first graders. The prime audience were the second and thirds, though the thirds were fooled by the first page into thinking it was a too easy word book for little kids and thought it would be boring. When I asked the first graders what 'despondent' meant, looking at the bird for clues, many of them thought it meant wet due to the rain cloud above the bird. The 2's and 3's got it right away. They all understood that scarlet was a shade of red. Everyone laughed at the word 'haberdashery' and one girl asked me if it was a real word or just made up. They all thought the baby who owns the haberdashery was funny, too. I had more than one class point out how silly it was that the baby was so big in the picture and could talk. I then pointed out to them that the goat was driving the convertible, which they seemed to accept pretty readily. They all understood that a mezzo-soprano was a singer, the older kids knew that she was specifically an opera singer. Many of them, at the end, asked why the bird was still despondent, to which I replied "That's what kind of day she's having."

After reading the story to a class today, one student had misplaced her shelf marker and was starting to get a little upset about it. When she finally found it she told me about how she was starting to get a little upset about misplacing her shelf marker. I asked her if it made her feel despondent and she smiled and said "Yes!"

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Look what's coming to the library!

I'm so excited! Some really great title are on their way to the library and will be on the shelves for check out soon, including a new book by Kate DiCamillo (The Tale of Despereaux, The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane), a biography of J. M. Barrie, the author of Peter Pan, and a really fun looking Halloween book! Take a look:

France, 1940: Four boys explored a hidden cave and made a remarkable discovery. The walls were covered with prehistoric paintings more than 17,000 years old! Author's note. Bibliography. Full-color illustrations, including a map of Lascaux.
In early 1980s New Mexico, thirteen-year-old Jackson Jones recruits his cousins and sisters to help tend an elderly neighbor's neglected apple orchard for the chance to make big money and, perhaps, to own the orchard.

Playwright and novelist J. M. Barrie never tired of his boyhood games and flights of fantasy. Eventually, they inspired him to create Peter Pan. Sources. Quotes from and bibliography of selected Barrie works. List of famous actresses who have played Peter Pan. Full-color illustrations in acrylic on cardboard.

When Calvin gets a school assignment to do some original research, he decides to investigate his dog's stinky breath and ends up learning about more than just smells.

When Josh, his parents, grandfather, and eight-year-old brother move into the old Tilton House, they discover such strange things as talking rats, a dimmer switch that makes the house invisible, and a powder that makes objects grow.

Little Red Chicken wants Papa to read her a bedtime story but interrupts him almost as soon as he begins each time.

Are you ready for Hallowilloween? With wolves, witches, and everything in between? It's best to prepare, so you're not unaware of the creatures of Hallowilloween. Fullcolor acrylic illustrations.

A giant chicken hatches from an enormous egg, but the other chickens cannot accept that he is one of them.

Two roller-skating best friends share three comical adventures involving outrageously bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion.

Bullied as a child, Jack Johnson fought back hard. Years later, he proved to be unstoppable both inside and outside the boxing ring. Afterword. Bibliography. Full-color pen-and-ink and collage illustrations.

Images and summaries taken from

Friday, October 1, 2010

Library Graffiti

Today in the library, Mrs. Rose informed me that she discovered some graffiti on the air conditioner/heating unit where there are some little comfy chairs for reading nearby. I thought, oh great! Some kid has written a dirty word or something. But no. It says (and it's pictured on the left) "Reading Rocks." I know it's not okay to be writing on stuff like that but I thought it was pretty cool that of all the things a kid could write on a wall, he or she wrote "Reading Rocks." Yes, children. Reading does, indeed, rock. But don't write on my walls anymore.