Thursday, December 1, 2016

Puppy love

I. and F., two second graders, asked me to help them find Underwater Dogs, a beloved book of underwater canine photography, so that they could read it to Ginger, one of our beloved school pups.

Too much cuteness for one school library. 

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Book: My Autobiography

Last night, several students in grades 3-6 (plus delightful siblings and equally delightful parents) gathered in the atrium to discuss Book: My Autobiography by John Agard (illustrated by Neil Packer).

First, as promised, we started with edible books (white chocolate squares for pages + fruit leather "covers").

After we finished snacking, we proceeded to make our own books (we even sewed the bindings ourselves).

Then, we looked at photos of medieval chained libraries and talked about how even though the chains look like they're meant to keep people away from the books, they were actually designed to make the books more accessible to more people (by enabling people to use them as long as they didn't go anywhere with them). We even looked at a photo of the Marsh Library in Dublin where readers would have to go into "wired alcoves" (or, to some, "cages") to read precious books. 

This conversation led us to think about what libraries and books might look like for our grandchildren (grandchildren of the students). One student said that libraries might either be more open than they are now (think Little Free Libraries on a giant scale) or might be more restrictive than they are now (because the proverbial pendulum may have swung the other way). One parent told us about her idea for electronic books that have covers and pages (like paper books) but are actually made of flexible screens. This way, reading a book could "feel" like reading a physical book but a reader could still upload multiple books to one electronic device. 

All in all, the evening was, of course, beyond enjoyable.

We hope our third through sixth grade readers (and families) will join us for our next book club gathering on January 18 from 6-7pm. We'll be discussing Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin

As always, to reading,


Check out those handmade books!

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Book club for students, parents, teachers, and friends

You're invited...

Who: Students in grades 3-6 (older students welcome, too), parents, teachers, friends, delighted readers

What: Book discussions, activities, questions, and fun

  • November 2: Book: An Autobiography by John Agard
  • January 18: Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin
  • March 22: In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Joseph Marshall III

Where: SK elementary library

When: 6-7pm on November 2, January 18, and March 22

Why: Because we're part of a curious community of readers and conversationalists

If you have questions, please ask them.

Happiest of reading,


Banned Books Week and the other side of the coin of intellectual freedom

Along with libraries, bookstores, and readers all over the country, the 5-6s (along with Sam, Jason, and I) celebrated their freedom to read by talking about Banned Books Week, censorship, and intellectual freedom last week.

I've been teaching about Banned Books Week for many years and I always love the ideas that come out of this discussion. However, during this past week's 5-6 lesson, the conversation went in a direction in which, in my teaching, it has never gone. In talking about what it means to have the freedom to choose what we read, one student pointed out that the flip side of this is that people also have the freedom to publish books that contain false information or stereotypes. We then talked about how intellectual freedom protects those people and their books, too.

This conversation challenged us to think about why people have this freedom and what that means for us as readers. Banned Books Week gave us a chance to pause and consider what it means to recognize that people whose worldview conflicts with our own have the right to theirs, too. Then, of course, the challenge becomes how best to approach these people/books/ideas in a civil, yet assertive and proactive, way.

The topic of civil political discourse has come up in my own class (the 7-8s) and I know it's come up in other classrooms at SK, too. The more opportunities we have to work through these difficult questions together, as a community, the better.

Hooray for Banned Books Week and fascinating conversations,


Friday, September 9, 2016

The children have arrived.

The readers are back! All feels well in the world (or, at least in our library).
K-2 readers checked out their first books of the year. Parents, please note that your child has a library book inside a plastic book bag. Please use the book bag (it's a white bag with a dragon on it and says, "Look what I'm dragon home" on it, which makes us laugh a lot) to transport books and keep them clean.

Elaine's class brainstormed a list of good places to read library books (homes, schools, or forests, for example) and less ideal places to read library books (on top of active volcanoes, while skydiving, or while swimming, for example) and I'm confident that our young readers will continue to treat their books like treasures.

To new books, old books, perfect you and me books,


Monday, August 29, 2016

Where are the children?

The books are shelved. The inventory is complete. A selection of new titles are on display. The series fiction sits in colorful baskets. What's missing from this beautiful school library? The children.

Young readers, we can't wait to welcome you back on September 6. Until then, enjoy your last few days of summer vacation.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Please return your library books

("Overdues" by Shel Silverstein)

Please check cars, bedrooms, bookshelves, backpacks, and other likely library book hiding spots for beloved SK library books. When you find said books, please return them to school. No fines, no questions - we just need the books back.

I'll be taking inventory of the library during the first few weeks of the summer and will email families with overdue books. Thank you, in advance, for your patience.

To good books (and finding good books hidden between couch cushions),