Thursday, December 13, 2012

I have a library again!

Book Fair is gone and the library has returned to normal.
It's so funny to watch the kids walk in to the library during book fair.  It's like they are walking in to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory.  Then when it's gone, they comment on how empty the library looks. Then they see my stacks and boxes of new books.

And why can't they check them out NOW?  Oh, so much cataloging and processing!  It's one of my favorite things, though.  I really get to know the books through the process of getting them into the computer, putting on their labels, and wrapping their dust jackets.  Every book is a gift.  And there are well over 200 new ones between my regular orders and book fair books!
So many books, so many labels to affix!  Come down to the library and check out the new books!  Or, go to the online catalog and put a hold on books that are still in processing.  I promise I'll get them done as soon as I can.  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Out From Behind the Book Case, Declaring My New Book Crush

Tonight was Scholastic Book Fair Family Night and Holiday Boutique at Marshall Lane.  Part of the festivities included having guest readers read books from the Book Fair.  So guess where I was hanging out all night?  (I was live tweeting the read alouds!)
Dr. Andrews kicked off the night by reading It's Duffy Time by Audrey and Don Wood.
It's a delightful book to which any dog owner could relate.  There is an especially adorable picture of Duffy the dog napping in his dinner bowl.
Next up, Mrs. Spencer, who will be our new principal in January, read Pete the Cat, Rocking in my School Shoes and she did a fantastic job! She even got the kids to sing and gave them stickers.
Next up was Mrs. Mund who used to teach kindergarten at Marshall Lane.  She read Charlie and the Christmas Kitty.

Then former second grade teacher Mrs. Gossett took the chair and read one of my personal favorites My Life as a Chicken.
Mrs. Medalen was up next.  She got right down on the floor with her fan club and read Pig Kahuna, another delightful animal story.
The next reader was Mrs. Matheson and she sat in the chair to read You Think It's Easy Being a Tooth Fairy?  This book is hilarious and Mrs. Matheson did a great job reading it.
Finally, it was my turn!  I read my new favorite book - my book crush, if you will - Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems.  If it's by Mo Willems, you know it has to be good!
The kids enjoyed it but the biggest laughs came from the adults, especially for lines like "Sure enough, five minutes later a poorly supervised little girl named Goldilocks came traipsing along." and "Delicious chocolate-filled-little-girl-bonbons are yummier when they're rested!"  It will be in the library after the book fair so be sure to come and check it out.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Tales from behind the bookcase, episode 2

Well, I'm not really behind the bookcase right now, but I grabbed a book from the bookcase to read today and that book was Cardboard by Doug TenNapel.  I was excited to see this book at the book fair because I enjoyed TenNapel's previous 2 graphic novels for young people -Ghostopolis and Bad Island - so much.  I was not disappointed with Cardboard.
The beginning of the story has a Gremlins feel to it - a down-on-his-luck father buys a cardboard box for his son from an odd and mysterious merchant who explains that there are two rules for the cardboard that, naturally, the man breaks.
The cardboard, it turns out, has magic properties that allow things made from the cardboard to come to life, a la Frosty the Snowman and his magic silk hat.  The trouble begins when the boy's wretched neighbor steals the cardboard and begins to create monsters.
As with TenNapel's previous works, themes of the importance of family, friendship, and being a good person are woven throughout the story.
The artwork is familiar from TenNapel's previous works, and one character bears a slight resemblance to the cartoon character Earthworm Jim, which is another of TenNapels creations.
I'd recommend this book for kids age 10 and up.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Tales from behind the book case

The library has been transformed!  An amazing bunch of Book Fair elves showed up this morning to move boxes, push around book cases, and put up table displays.  Now the library looks like a book store:

I browsed around the fair and pulled some books for the library.  I'm happy to report there are lots of new and exciting titles in stock.  Most notably is the newest in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, The Third Wheel.  Other new titles include Rick Riordan's The Mark of Athena, Lemony Snicket's Who Could That Be at This Hour? and Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers, the first Captain Underpants book in a number of years.

Once again, I've set up my secret hidey hole behind the bookcases and I'll be cataloging all these new books so they'll be ready for check out after the fair.

The fair opens for business this Friday after school and will run all next week.  There will be a family event on December 5th, and we may have a special visitor!  Come and check it out!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Book Fair and other arrivals.

I arrived at work this morning and found that the Book Fair had already been delivered, as if the Scholastic fairies had arrived during the night.

And as is par for the course, I also received books from three different orders.

I'll be getting even more books directly from the book fair so by the time the book fair is over, the library will have lots of new books for your reading enjoyment.  Here's a teaser:

I'm very excited about many of these titles!  And I'm very eager to see what Scholastic has sent us.  And of course, I'll need to remove some of those old books that keep surfacing to make room for these wonderful new ones.  

The Scholastic book fair will be open for business starting this Friday afternoon and running all next week.  Come by and support you local elementary school library!  

Monday, October 22, 2012

Celebrating Coraline

Neil Gaiman and Harper Collins are celebrating the 10th anniversary of the book Coraline by Neil Gaiman this year.  As part of the celebration, a 10th anniversary edition of the book has been released.  The graphic novel version of Coraline is a very popular book at the Marshall Lane Library so I thought I'd share this with you.  You can hear and see Coraline being read by Neil Gaiman, Lemony Snicket, Natashya Hawley, Neal Shusterman, and others at

Thursday, October 18, 2012

New Books!

I received a shipment of new books yesterday and am expecting two more before Scholastic Book Fair comes late November.  Here is what you can look for in the library:



Be sure to go to the Marshall Lane online catalog to check out our new e-books as well!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Did the crab do the right thing?

I've been reading my new favorite book to the K through 3rd grade classes that have been coming to the library this week - my new favorite book being This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen - and I've stumbled upon an interesting discussion question.  In my last post, I described a little of what this book is about; a small fish steals a hat from a big fish and the big fish gets his hat back in the end. At one point in the book, as the little fish is swimming towards his hiding place, he swims past a crab and he tells us that the crab knows where he - Little Fish - is going but promised not to tell the big fish.  Well, big surprise, the crab rats out the little fish.

The first class I read this to was a kindergarten class and I just out of the blue asked if they thought the crab did the right thing and to my surprise they all said 'no.'  When I asked them why, they said because the crab had lied to the little fish.  So I said 'but what about the fish? Did he do the right thing?' And, of course, they said 'no, he's a stealer.'  So then they decided it was okay for the crab to have told, even though he said he wouldn't.

I found this so interesting that I decided to ask all the classes if the crab did the right thing and a lot of the kids say 'no' because he lied.  In the older grades, more of the kids start out with a 'yes' because what the fish did was worse.  Then there were the few kids who said the crab had to tell because the big fish is so big that he scared the crab into telling.

It's been really fun to see their gears turning as they weigh Crab's moral dilemma.  And so unexpected! I thought we'd be talking about Little Fish's fate - just like Rabbit's in I Want My Hat Back.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

This is not my hat

I have to thank Hicklebee's for making it so easy for me to stalk authors.  Today Jon Klassen was there for his new book This Is Not My Hat, a follow up, nay, a companion piece to his first, best-selling book I Want My Hat Back, which I wrote about here and here.  I loved I Want My Hat Back so much that I was inspired to make Bear's hat.  Now I am working on a hat for Little Fish so he won't have to steal Big Fish's hat anymore.  Sadly, I didn't think about doing this until last night and couldn't finish it in time to give to Jon Klassen.

Here is the book trailer for This Is Not My Hat
You can probably guess that everything will not be fine for this little fish.  Whereas in the first book, we shared in Bear's pain and anguish at the loss of his hat, the horror of discovering that it had been stolen by some one with whom he was acquainted, no less, and the needling self-doubt as he ponders his ultimate course of action; in this book, we are privvy to the thief's tale.  And he nearly convinces us that what he's done is not such a bad thing, but in the end, the bigger animal always gets his hat back.

Jon Klassen has long ago given up being coy about what happens to hat thieves in his books but I prefer to leave it ambiguous.

Last time I saw Jon Klassen at Hicklebee's, I gave him the pointy hat I had made.  This time, I gave one to Miss Valerie, the co-owner of Hicklebee's because I didn't want her to feel left out.  Here's a picture of her wearing the hat:
And here she is with Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett who showed up for the heck of it:
Thanks again, Hicklebee's!!

Monday, October 8, 2012

Once again the fabulous Hicklebee's Bookstore is hosting amazing authors.  Now that it's fall, there are lots of great books coming out.  Last week, Lois Lowry's new book Son was released and Lois Lowry was at Hicklebee's today to talk about the final book of The Giver Quartet.  Son takes us back to the time of the first book, The Giver, and tells us the story of Gabe, the infant that Jonas kidnaps and takes with him when he leaves the community, and of Gabe's birthmother and how they each long to find one another again.
I picked up a copy of Messenger while I was there because we don't have that one in the library.  They are both signed by Ms. Lowry.  Tomorrow I will process them and I'm hoping they'll be ready to check out by lunch time.  While you are waiting, go here and read this lovely article about Lois Lowry and her new book.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Kitchen Utensil Anomaly

When the Space Shuttle Endeavor made it's final flight recently, we at Marshall Lane were lucky enough to catch a glimpse of it. One of our teachers was able snap a picture.

It was pretty awesome.  I thought it would be a good idea to pull out and display some space shuttle books for the students check out.  One of the books I pulled out was To Space and Back by Sally Ride and Susan Okie from 1986! Today I was considering weeding this book because it's pretty old and we have plenty of up to date books about the space shuttle.  But it's by Sally Ride and I felt kind of sad about weeding it.  I started to flip through the pages and the book is full of really great pictures of the astronauts in space doing their daily routines; eating, sleeping, exercising.  Then I came across this picture:
Yep.  That's a space toilet.  I thought, well, that's interesting.  Then I noticed something in the upper left corner.  That's a spatula.  What do you suppose that is for?

Monday, August 20, 2012

Aaaaaand we're back!

I hope everyone had a wonderful First Day of School today.  It's really good to be back at the books.  And speaking of which, there were two boxes of new books waiting for me at my desk.  Inside these books were some titles I know the students will be excited for, including these:

Some other books that will be coming out soon that I'm pretty excited about are:

I have lots to do to get the library ready for classes, but hopefully it'll only take 2 or three weeks.  While you are waiting, you can go to the Marshall Lane Catalog and add reviews of books you've read over the summer.  Also, you can email me with any book requests you might have. 

See you around campus!

Monday, August 6, 2012

More knitting than reading

Holy cow!  Some time since my last post my blog got it's 10,000th hit.  That's kind of mind boggling.  My blog has been viewed, to date, 10,086 times.  I don't think I've won the Internet yet, still, I'm kind of excited about that.

Anyway.  I've been doing quite a bit of knitting this summer but not so much audio book listening.  This is because I've been reading A Storm of Swords, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R. R. Martin.  This is the series on which the HBO show Game of Thrones is based.  I finished the book last week and it was pretty amazing.  Mr. Martin has a way of getting you emotionally invested in certain characters and then stabbing you in the heart.  More than once I found myself shaking my fist at the ceiling and shouting "Curse you, Martin!"  I was going to wait until next summer to read the 4th book, but I find that I just can't wait to see what happens to these characters.  So I'm on to A Feast for Crows.  I'll get back to kids books soon.

So what have been knitting you probably are not asking yourself.  Well, I'll tell you anyway.  I've designed and written another pattern.  This time for a hat.  Here's a picture of it.

And here's a picture of it in a smaller size.

I'm calling this one the Spider Lace Summer Hat.  I call it that because the lacy part has 8 "legs" to it.  The yellow one is made from a hemp and cotton blend yarn, which makes light and cool and perfect for spring and summer.  The blue one is made from a lovely alpaca yarn which makes it perfect for the fall.  I'm going to be selling this pattern on my Ravelry site so if you'd like to make this hat for yourself, you'll be helping me support my yarn habit.  I'll add the link here as soon as it is up.

As promised, here is a link:

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Twitter links and a scarf design

I wanted to share a couple links that I came across on my twitter feed this week.  First, this link to the Weird Book Room on  It's a collection of books with weird titles.  It's pretty amusing.  Then I realized I actually own one of these titles and have read one other.  Can you guess which ones?

The next one is a link to a blog in which the blogger has collected photos of authors dressed as superheroes. You will definitely recognize some of these authors!  Really amusing.

And now to the scarf design.  I have designed a scarf!  You probably wouldn't think to look at it that it would take a long time to do but I've been working on this for quite some time.  Now I've finally finished it and I call it the Lattice and Leaf scarf.  Here's a picture:

If you'd like to try knitting this for yourself, you can download the pattern from my Ravelry page.  download now
If you do knit it, let me know what you think of the pattern.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Summer days

Summer days are piling up on me.  One just becomes another and soon a week has gone by.  But I've been up to stuff.  Mostly knitting, spinning, baking blueberry pies, and reading with a short trip to Lake Tahoe in between.

Some time ago, I promised to put up the pattern for the coin purse that I designed for our beginning knitters in the after school knitting class.  And I finally fished it out of my files so here it is:

Garter Stitch Coin Purse
By Sandy Richards

Worsted weight cotton yarn, such as Sugar’n Cream by Lily
Size US7 needles
Button, ½ - ¾ inch
Tapestry Needle
Sewing needle

Cast on 15 stitches using short tail cast on or preferred method.
Knit 2 rows
Row 3: Knit 7, yarn over, knit 2 stitches together, knit 7
Remaining rows: knit

When piece measures 6 inches from cast on edge, bind off.  Weave in ends.  With right side facing, fold bottom of coin purse up about 2 ¼ inches.  Sew edges and weave in ends.  Turn purse right side out.  Fold closing flap over to determine the position of the button.  Sew on button.

Photo by Colleen Balough

I've been working on some other designs, a couple of scarves to be precise.  I'll post the patterns for those here as well as soon as I get good pictures of them.  

I've had some time to spend with my spinning wheel lately and have finished a fairly large skein of yarn.  It started out as pre-dyed fiber:
I spun this fiber into yarn.  I filled two bobbins with this single spun yarn:
Next, I spun these two 'singles' together.  This is called 'plying' and requires a larger bobbin onto which to spin the plied yarn:
Finally, I used a 'niddy noddy' to wind the yarn off the bobbin and make a skein:

I don't know yet what I'll make out of this yarn, but I suspect it will be a shawl or something lacy.

As for what I've been reading during all of this, it's been grown up books so far.  Mr. Richards and I listened to Infected by Scott Sigler together and then I went ahead and listened to the sequel, Contagious.  You can listen to these stories for free as podcasts, read by the author himself.  The stories are pretty compelling sci-fi/horror, though I'm not a huge fan of Mr. Sigler's writing style.  I am, however, fascinated by his business model.  When he got tired of getting rejection notices from publishers, he decided to put his stuff out on the web.  He began publishing his stories on his blog for all to see and he read his stories and put them out as podcasts for all to hear.  All for free.  He gradually began building a fan base by giving away his work and eventually, the publishers came to him.  Mr. Richards discovered him and has become a huge fan.  He listened to the free podcasts and liked his work so much that he went out and bought all of Scott Sigler's books in hardcover.  If you like science fiction in which the author does the research to get the science right, you might want to check out his website.  
I've also started reading A Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin, the third book in the A Song of Ice and Fire series which has been made into the HBO series Game of Thrones.  I've enjoyed the show so much and the books take you much deeper.  I'll be ready when season 3 starts!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mr. Snicket's forthcoming work

I have been anxiously awaiting the release of Lemony Snicket's new book "Who Could That Be at This Hour?" which is the first book in his new series All the Wrong Questions.  I've been retweeting some teasers about the book and then I got a link to read the first chapter.  I read it and it is intriguing! You should go and check it out for yourself here.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Three books and a weird knitting project.

I have some catching up to do!  I've been busy knitting and listening to audio books and they are starting to pile up in my mind so it's time to put them to blog page.

You may remember a few weeks ago I saw Tony DiTerlizzi at Hicklebee's for a book signing.  He was promoting his new book A Hero for WondLa, which is the sequel to The Search for WondLa, which I read last year.  I was so excited about this book that I bought one for the library, then I bought the ebook for my iPad, then I bought the audio book so I could knit while listening to it.  The story picks up right where the previous book leaves off; Eva Nine and Rovee are on their way to New Attica to find a new home for Eva Nine.  However, New Attica is not all it's cracked up to be and while in the city, Eva learns more about her past, the planet's past, and the terrible future plans of the city's leader.  This felt very much like a bridge book.  Some questions from book 1 were answered but more questions arose.  The main conflict in the book is resolved however, the larger conflict of the story remains to be dealt with in the next book.  I liked this book, but not quite as much as the first one.  It was worth buying the ebook for the illustrations.  Beautiful!

The next book I listened to was Cold Cereal, by Adam Rex.  Adam Rex is a fantastic author and illustrator.  He wrote one of my very favorite books The True Meaning of Smekday and wrote and illustrated Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich and Frankenstein Takes the Cake, both very funny books of monster poems.  In Cold Cereal, fairy folk and mythical creatures are popping up in the real world and an evil cereal company is trying to exploit them for their magic. There is a lot of spoofing of real life cereals and their commercials in this book.  If you like Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books, or Tony DiTerlizzi's Spiderwick Chronicles, or J. T. Petty's Clemency Pogue books, I think you'll like this book as well.

Finally, I just finished listening to The Mysterious Howling; Book 1 of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series by Maryrose Wood, illustrated by our old pal Jon Klassen (I Want My Hat Back). This audiobook had been sitting on my iPod for quite some time.  I don't even remember when I downloaded it.  The first time I tried to listen to it, it just didn't grab me.  I couldn't get into it.  But having finished Cold Cereal, I was looking for something else to listen to.  There are several audio books sitting on my iPod that I plan to revisit because they didn't hook me the first time.  So I finally gave this book my attention and found that it's delightful!  The story takes place in England in the mid 1800's, a time when wealthy families hired governesses to care for and educate their children.  Penelope Lumley is a young lady, newly graduated from the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, who has accepted a position as governess at Ashton Place.  What she doesn't know is that the children who will become her pupils were found roaming the forest completely naked and obviously raised by wolves.  Undaunted, Penelope accepts the challenge with all the pluck she can manage.  This book is the first in the series and so the mystery of the children is not wrapped up at the end.  I have book 2 queued up and ready to listen to.

As to what I've been knitting all this time, well, I've been doing some test knitting for a sort of crowd sourced design project.  I've talked about Nerd Wars here before, I'm pretty sure.  The nerd warriors are designing a scarf.  Each team that participates in Nerd Wars was asked to design a 6x6 inch square - both knit and crochet - to contribute to a larger project, the scarf.  The design of the square is supposed to represent your team's theme or nerdery.  I helped design the knit square for our team, Team Macabre, which is the eyeball you see to the left.  Once all the teams had their designs submitted, the designs needed to be tested, to make sure the patterns were written clearly and that the square would turn out as written.  So I've been testing squares for the last week or two.  Some of them are so creative and fun to knit!  The next picture is one designed by Team Fraggle who are muppets fans.
Cute, huh? So I ended up testing about 12 squares out of 24.  Now they are working on designing the border and how to connect all the squares together.  Once that is done, they'll need test knitters to try that out.  I'll be on the knitting team that will be testing the final scarf pattern so I'll be working on that this summer.  It's going to be epic!  I'll keep you apprised of my progress.

That's all for now.  The library is closed for the rest of the year but you can still leave book reviews by logging in to the library catalog from home.