Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Revenge of the Top Librarian

Well, we've arrived at the final story in my collection of second grade stories.  This is the longest one and, while I know I shouldn't say this because I love them all, this one is my favorite.  It is so inventive and I love that the students incorporated one of their favorite authors, Kazu Kibuishi (Amulet) as a character in the story.  Incidentally, Kazu Kibuishi has illustrated the 15th anniversary editions of the Harry Potter books.  His Amulet series is in constant circulation at the library and are rarely on the shelf during the school year.

So, without further ado, the final story from my thank you book from room 27.

The Mystery of the Missing Words
by Alden, Vibhas, Mysti, Ricky, Erwin, Aarav, and Arshawn

Once upon a time, there was a librarian named Mrs. Richards.  She loved to read and get new books for all the kids at Marshall Lane School.  For lunch every day she would eat macaroni and cheese or pizza.  

On Wednesday, Mrs. Richards discovered something wrong.  Every one of the books that she was checking in was missing ALL the words.  In one of the books, there was a sticky flag note that read, "Sorry, but we had to go."  Who wrote that and how could this be?

She says to herself, "I will have to call in the book detective.  I just met Detective Kazu Kibuishi at a book signing.  He seemed really nice.  Maybe he would come to school to help me find out what happened to all the words."  She emails him and he agrees to come on Friday.

In the meantime, Mrs. Richards puts a "CLOSED" sign on the door and does some investigating on her own.  She heads to room 27 where her favorite students are.  She asks, "Are you having any problems with your books?"

All the kids exclaimed, "YES! All the words in our books have vanished!"

"When I was watching my students read during DIRT, I saw it happening.  As he read, the words disappeared right off the page.  Each page he read became blank.  What is going on?"

"I am having the same problem in the library.  I have called in a detective but he won't be here until Friday morning.  I think we're going to have to take all the books away from the kids until we come up with a solution."

All the kids said, "NOOOOO! Not our books!" but the decision was final.  All the rest of the day and all day Thursday, everyone walked around mad, sad, and disappointed.  Everyone kept asking, "When will the detective get here?" even though Mrs. Richards had told them it would be Friday.

Finally, Detective Kibuishi arrives.  The whole school is waiting.  Everyone even skipped recess to wait for him.  Mrs. Richards explained the whole problem and showed him several of the books.  

"Do you know how to cure this problem?  Is there a way to fix it or do we have to buy all new books?"

"No, that would be way too much money.  Luckily for you, I've seen this before."  He starts to tell Mrs. Richards and the kids how to cure the problem.  They decide that Mrs. Spencer needs to make an announcement to the whole school.

"Boys and girls, we have found out how to solve the mystery of the disappearing words.  Each of you needs to take home the books that you have read this past week.  When you get home, put the books on your head or under your head while you are sleeping tonight.  Detective Kibuishi says that while you are sleeping, the stories will be transferred back from your memories into the books.  Check in the morning to see if it worked.  If not, try one more night.  When the words are back in the books, bring the books back to school."

That night, all the Marshall Lane kids slept on and with books.  In the morning, all the stories were back inside their books!  For about five weeks, the kids checked out books and finally, all the books were restored. 

Mrs. Richards was so happy to have all her books back the right way but she had one question.  "How do we keep this from happening again?"

Detective Kibuishi handed her a spray bottle.  "Every time a student comes for library time, you must spray them.  That way, the stories will stay inside the books."

Then he handed her a piece of paper with the recipe.  "Keep this a secret.  I have worked on this and give it only to the best librarians."  Mrs. Richards promised to never give out the recipe.  

From this day on, Marshall Lane students were always squirted when they arrived for their weekly library session.  They knew it was important to keep stories where they belong.

Psst. Can you keep a secret?  Here is the recipe just in case you ever have this problem at home. 

1 cup of water
1/2 cup of salt
2 strands of brown hair
2 tablespoons of bookworm castings
2 sheets of paper from "dead" books, shredded
2 cups of pink oatmeal, pureed well

Blend and boil, then strain into a spray bottle.  Two squirts per child should do the trick.  Some kids who have been reading LOTS of books might need three.

The End

I hope you have enjoyed these stories as much as I have.  It was such a special treat for me and a great reminder of how important the library is to our students.  And as these stories prove, great readers make great writers.  These kids inspire me to be give them the best library possible and be the best library tech possible.  Thank you room 27!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Son of the Top Librarian and other stories.

Friday night, Mr. Richards and I drove up to San Francisco to see Neil Gaiman who is on his final book tour for his new book The Ocean at the End of the Lane.  I got a copy of the book signed and I read it over the weekend.  It was a wonderful read.  Mr. Gaiman has described it as his most personal work and it is dedicated to his wife, Amanda Palmer.
The story is told through the memory of a seven year old boy who, when life gets difficult, escapes into books.  Events from Mr. Gaiman's own childhood are woven into a mythical story starring characters that have lived in his head for a very long time.  The scary things that happen in this book are made scarier because they are happening to the narrator as a young boy and the unsettling things that happen, which are not understood by the boy, are more unsettling as they are remembered by the adult.  It was a very good book and I wish I hadn't read it so fast.  Because now it's over.
But, I get to look forward to his new book for children coming out in September called Fortunately, the Milk.  He read a bit of it Friday night and it sounds like a fun story, like if Douglas Adams had ever written a children's book, it might be like this one.
Here is a picture of Mr. Gaiman signing my copy of Ocean, and a copy of Chu's Day for the library.

And now, back to second grade stories.

This one is untitled and it's by Avalon and Bella and it comes with an illustration.

Once upon a time, there was so much noise in the Marshall Lane School Library that everybody in Marshall Lane needed hearing aids.  Then it got so noisy that the hearing aids broke.  Then the police station shut down the library until the whole school was quiet.  Then three months later, finally the school got quiet.  The police station reopened it.  Then everybody loved the library and they were always quiet when they were in it.

The End

Noise seems to be a recurring theme in these library stories.  That was a short one so lets do another.

The Transforming Mrs. Richards
by Rachel and Lauren

One day in the library Mrs. Richards picked up a book about the desert.  She said the magic word (which is "library") and was transformed into an extra character in the book.  But now she could not get out.  She had to do whatever was happening in the story.

Mrs. Richards was there for one whole night and was getting bored and hungry. Lauren and Rachel happened to come into the library and happened to pick up the book and suddenly, she came out.  Poof!  Now she is careful.

From now on, Mrs. Richards teaches all the students to be careful so that you don't get stuck in books!!!!

The End

I've always loved the idea of being able to actually go in to books.  An idea that I'm sure I got from watching Gumby when I was a kid.  (Kids, ask your parents about Gumby!)