Get Connected

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It is so important to get connected with fellow teacher librarians once you become a librarian. No one else in your building knows or understands what you go through. Librarians, well all educators, are a wealth of knowledge, so why would you not want to connect with others to share ideas, get feedback, or just commiserate together?

KASL- Kentucky Association of School Librarians is a state level organization of school teacher librarians that support each other. We are a voice for all school librarians. We contact legislatures when there is an educational concern at the state level or the national level.  KLA, Kentucky Library Association, is comprised of librarians from schools, public libraries, universities, private schools, and colleges and universities. KASL is a section of KLA.  At the local level, each district has their own KASL group made up of various school districts in your geographical area. It is important to be a member at ALL levels; locally, at the grassroots level to make a difference in your district and to support each other when districts make decisions that affect school libraries, and at the state level to make our voice stronger when libraries are being affected, whether negatively or positively. You may even consider joining nationally with AASL, the American Association of School Librarians. What a great way to connect with librarians from around the United States.

One of the greatest perks, I think, of being a member of KASL is visiting with fellow librarians at our conferences, the Fall Conference in September and the Summer Refresher. I have life long friends I have made throughout the state that I would not have met if I hadn’t joined KASL.  Even after they retire, we remain friends on Facebook or by email.

What better way to let your principal know that you take your job seriously and are a true professional than by participating at the state level. Whether you present at a conference, serve on an awards committee or hold an office at the district level with KASL, that commitment and leadership help you to grow as a professional. Since I have been involved with KASL over the years, my leadership abilities and self-confidence in my job have grown exponentially.

I know life is busy with work, family, kid’s activities, etc…but try to make time to get involved with your professional organization. You will not regret it.

 

Journey to Antarctica

 

Guest KASL blogger:  Sam Northern

Teacher-Librarian (Simpson Elementary School) samuel.northern@simpson.kyschools.us

Grovesner Fellows planting the National Geographic flag onto the fast Ice, 2016.

As a Lindblad Expeditions and National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, I was given the adventure of a lifetime in Earth’s last great wilderness. For six days I voyaged along the Antarctic Peninsula, taking in the ice, mountains, and abundance of wildlife. The expedition was both personally satisfying and professionally rewarding. The Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship has given me the confidence and knowledge needed to develop a strong geography library collection as well as instructional sequences that foster students’ appreciation for nature.

The Fellowship

The Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Program was established to honor former National Geographic Society Chairman Gilbert M. Grosvenor’s lifetime commitment to geographic education. Fellows travel aboard the Lindblad-National Geographic fleet for a one-of-a-kind field experience to the Arctic, British and Irish Isles, the Galapagos, or Antarctica.

                                                                            

 

Journey to the White Continent

I began my journey on December 17 with a flight from Nashville, Tennessee to Miami, Florida. From there I traveled to Buenos Aires, Argentina for a tour of the country’s capital. The next day we flew to what is known as the gateway to Antarctica: Ushuaia, Argentina. There in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, I boarded the National Geographic Explorer, a 367-foot long ship that became my home during the expedition.

Even though our expedition had an itinerary, you never quite knew what was going to happen each day. Our agenda quickly changed depending on if the ice was too thick or if wildlife was spotted nearby. The natural elements made sure to have a say in our daily activities. One morning we awoke to a 5 a.m. announcement informing us that humpback whales could be seen feeding on krill at the front of the ship. Another day, the ship changed course to follow type A killer whales, the top Antarctic predator. These orcas were as curious of us as we were of them. One headed straight for the ship’s bow just to turn on its back to reveal its pearly white belly.

The continent of Antarctica can boast that it’s the coldest, driest, and windiest continent on Earth. Fortunately, my Antarctic excursion was during the southern hemisphere’s summer, so temperatures ranged between 30 and 40 degrees. This is not to say that I did not feel the cold. Wearing just a t-shirt and swim trunks, I jumped into the 29-degree water as part of a polar plunge. I was determined to take in the entire Antarctic experience. I mean, when would I ever return? So, I was sure to take full advantage of every opportunity to kayak around icebergs, hike on glaciers, and photograph recently hatched chicks.

Promoting Geographic Education

Seeing the beauty of Antarctica was what transformed my perspective of not just this polar region, but of all Earth’s geography. My photographs and a 360-degree camera supplied by National Geographic enhanced my students’ experience of the ice, the terrain, and the wildlife. When I got back, a Google Cardboard virtual reality viewer caused my students to cry out in joy as they turned around to find penguins wobbling down a hill towards the ocean’s shore.

                                     

One of my major goals of the Grosvenor Fellowship was to develop a library curriculum that embeds opportunities for students to research places in order to nurture a global perspective. The knowledge I gained about geography has supported student research projects that embrace aspects of physical Earth and the animals who settle it. For one classroom action plan, third graders wrote narratives in the form of puppet shows, comic strips, and digital picture books about an Antarctic animal who leaves to go to another continent to meet other animals. The story’s Antarctic protagonist tries to adapt to its new environment before returning home. Students used print and digital resources from the library to seek information on their featured animals and habitats. Students applied their research to the narrative to make events and dialogue convincing. The infusion of narrative writing in a captivating research project heightened students’ motivation for learning about Earth and its major regions.

In another lesson, students measured Antarctic animals and compared them to other wildlife by marking their length on the floor of the library. Students were shocked to learn that a humpback whale wouldn’t even fit between the library walls. During library centers students built penguin habitats with building blocks, read eBooks on whales and seals from Epic!, followed step-by-step directions to draw a penguin, and measured distances from Antarctica to other continents using the National Geographic Mapmaker Interactive.

My Antarctic expedition has been invaluable to my students’ mastery of information-seeking strategies. The fellowship even instigated a special student program called, Research Ambassadors. The program is designed to give one student from each homeroom the research skills necessary to help fellow classmates conduct research back in the classroom. Ambassadors learn and practice the skills of a good researcher by engaging in a project where they use a variety of sources to learn about a country of their choosing. Students become explorers as they retrieve and use information presented textually, visually, and digitally.

My voyage to Antarctica proves the power of first-hand experiences. I had the honor of traveling to one of the most remote and pristine landscapes on Earth—a place very few people have ever been. You can read about my entire Antarctica expedition by visiting my blog www.journey2antarctica.blogspot.com. There you will find stories, photos, videos, library instruction, and more. I encourage you to apply for the Grosvenor Teacher Fellowship in future years!

 

Bio:

Sam Northern is a teacher-librarian at Simpson Elementary School in Franklin, Kentucky. He is currently the Mentoring Chair for the Kentucky Association of School Librarians. Follow him on Twitter @Sam_Northern and visit his blog www.misterlibrarian.com.

Award Winning Books

Since the Children’s Literature Awards have just been announced, I thought it might be a good time to talk about award winning books. What better way to promote children’s literature than to promote a book that has won an award. We all love winners. What about that Hamilton musical? I just love the music from it !  Who can resist that popular animated feature film that won awards, Inside Out? And how about that Grammy award winner, Adele? Boy does she have a set of pipes on her.
Let’s look at some of the award winners in children’s literature.
The Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal was named in honor of nineteenth-century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. (ala.org)
The 2017 winner is Radiant Child: The Story of Young Artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, illustrated and written by Javaka Steptoe and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

You may want to check out all of the Honor books as well on the ALA web site. 2017 Caldecott Winner and Honor Books

The Newbery Medal 

The Newbery Medal was named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. (ala.org)

The 2017 winner is The Girl Who Drank the Moon, written by Kelly Barnhill and published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill, a division of Workman Publishing.

You may want to check out all of the Honor books as well on the ALA web site.
2017 Newbery Winner and Honor Books

The Kentucky Bluegrass Awards

Which leads me to our own award winners, The Kentucky Bluegrass Award books. These books are chosen by a committee, but voted on my actual students. If you remember in March of last year, I wrote about the Bluegrass Awards and how KASL has taken over the awards. Now is the time to be promoting the titles nominated in each KBA category.  The final votes are due April 1st, 2017.

Check out the KASL web site for more detailed information about titles on the lists.

Also make sure you check out the KBAsource WordPress for a lot of great ideas on how to promote the books in your library.

I have read most of the titles in the high school division, and there are some great nominees this year.

2017 High School KBA Nominees

All American Boys by Jason Reynolds

All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven (listening to the audio version now)

Jackaby by William Ritter

Mosquitoland by David Arnold

Need by Joelle Charbonneau  (one to make teens think)

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

Not After Everything by Michelle Levy

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard   (lovers of Fantasy are ready for the sequel)                           

The Rig by Joe Ducie

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys  (first read this one last year, it was recommended by a student )

 

 

2017 Grades 6-8 KBA Nominees

Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Don Brown

Echo byPam Munoz Ryan

Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead                        

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

Losers Take All : A Novel  by David Klass

Lost in the Sun by Lisa Graff

Masterminds by Gordon Korman

The Nest by Kenneth Oppel                             

Popular: A Memoir: How a Geek in Pearls Discovered the Secret to Confidence by Maya Van Wagenen

Rhyme Schemer by K.A. Holt

2017 Grades 3-5  KBA Nominees

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar

A Handful of Stars byCynthia Lord

Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin Solved a Mystery that Baffled All of France by Mara Rockliff, illustrated by Iacopo Bruno    

Old Wolf by Avi

Paper Wishes by Lois Sepahban

The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Tucky Jo and Little Heart by Patricia Polacco

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley    

2017 Grades K-2 KBA Nominees

The Bear Report  by Thyra Heder

I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton (Something I need to read)

If You Plant a Seed  by Kadir Nelson

Little Tree by Loren Long

The Night World  by Modaicai Gerstein

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Sing a Season Song by Jane Yolen

Two Friends:  Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass  by Dean Robbins

The Way to School  by Rosemary McCarney

Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman  

Be as creative as you can be in getting kids to vote for their favorites. Some librarians make bookmarks out of the titles and have kids vote when they turn the book in on the bookmark. Some librarians that work with primary students use smiley and sad faces to pick their favorites. This year I did a KBA display with a QR code for students to scan once they have read the book. They can vote on a Google form.

Why not use the KBA books as your read aloud then have students vote on them afterwards. Some librarians go from classroom to classroom doing book talks to promote the KBA books. Many do a special bulletin board display or special KBA book display in their library. Why not share how you have promoted the KBA nominees in your library?

What a great way to empower students and to teach them that their voice can be heard. Encourage them to vote for their favorites. All votes are due April 1st.

 

 

Snow Time is a Good Time for a New Read

So many have been recommending good books to read or to read aloud on the Kentucky Librarians Listserve, I thought I might compile a list here on the KASL blog for you to peruse at your leisure over the winter break.

GREAT READ ALOUDS

Who doesn’t love being told a great story? Make sure you take time to read a story aloud to your child, grandchild, niece, nephew, cousins, or the neighbors’ kids over the holiday break. I still remember my Dad reading the Christmas story from the Bible to me as a kid. Reading to a child creates great memories they will treasure forever.

The Amazing Christmas Extravaganza by David Shannon

Experiencing a hurt dignity when a neighbor sneers at the Merriweather family’s single strand of lights, Dad goes on a decorating binge that escalates out of control with cutout reindeer, giant candy canes, and more.

The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by Susan Wojciechowski The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey by [Wojciechowski, Susan]Jonathan Toomey is the best woodcarver in the valley, but he is always alone and never smiles. No one knows about the mementos of this lost wife and child that he keeps in an unopened drawer. But one early winter’s day, a widow and her young son approach hum with a gentle request that leads to a joyful miracle.

Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco      When a leak ruins the sacristy wall in his father’s church, Jonathan Jefferson Weeks thinks Christmas Eve service will be ruined. Luckily he and his father find a beautiful tapestry, perfect for covering the damaged wall and giving the church a festive look! But then, an old Jewish woman recognizes the beautiful cloth. Her discovery leads to a real miracle on Christmas Eve.

 

When Santa Lost His Ho Ho Ho by Laura Rader        

It’s almost Christmas, and everyone—from Mrs. Claus right down to the littlest elf—is getting ready for the big day. But there’s something wrong at the North Pole. It’s just a bit too . . . quiet. Oh no! Santa has lost his laugh! Where could it be? And how can there be Christmas without Santa’s Ho! Ho! Ho!

Christmas Oranges by Linda Bethers   The only home little Rose has ever known is the orphanage, but Mrs. Hartley cares for all the children as if they were her own. When Mrs. Hartley dies, Rose is sent to a new orphanage, which is as cold and cruel as her previous home was kind. Gradually Rose makes a few friends, and she learns that every Christmas a generous neighbor donates a box of oranges for the children. An orange is an unknown luxury for little Rose, and she waits in eager anticipation. But on Christmas morning, Rose is brokenhearted when she learns that there is no orange for her.

Santa’s Crash Bang Christmas by Steven Kroll  A succession of annoyances causes Santa to wish he were at home rather than on his Christmas Eve journey.

Drummer Boy by Loren Long  Drummer Boy by [Long, Loren] In this charming Christmas story, a toy drummer boy embarks–accidentally–on a journey on which he plays his drum and warms the hearts of everyone he encounters, from a rat to a snowman

Santa Claus Doesn’t Mop Floors by Debbie Dadey   There have always been some pretty weird grown ups in Bailey City, but the new custodian at the Bailey School is one of a kind. When he appears out of nowhere just before Christmas to help out at the school, Mr. Jolly’s white hair and beard and longing for cold temperatures bring the fabled St. Nick to everyone’s mind. Could this man really be Santa Claus? The Bailey School Kids are going to find out!

The Legend of the Candycane by Lori Walburg  The Legend of the Candy Cane: The Inspirational Story of Our Favorite Christmas Candy by [Walburg, Lori] One dark November night a stranger rides into a small prairie town. Who is he? Why has he come? The townspeople wish he were a doctor, a dressmaker, or a trader. But the children have the greatest wish of all, a deep, quiet, secret wish. Then a young girl named Lucy befriends the newcomer. When he reveals his identity and shares with her the legend of the candy cane, she discovers fulfillment of her wishes and the answer to her town’s dreams.

Silver Packages by Cynthia Rylant  In Appalachia each Christmas, a boy named Frankie waits beside the tracks for the Christmas Train, which will bring presents to the children who live in coal towns and hollows. Year after year, Frankie hopes that one particular gift — one very special gift — will be tossed to him from that train. And it is this enduring hope that will guide him to the true meaning of the season.

Legend of the Poinsettia by Tommie dePaola The Legend of the Poinsettia by [dePaola, Tomie]  In Mexico, the poinsettia is called flor de la Nochebuenao flower of the Holy Night. At Christmastime, the flower blooms and flourishes, the quite exquisite red stars lighting up the countryside. A Mexican legend tells how the poinsettia came to be, through a little girl’s unselfish gift to the Christ Child.

Junie B. Jones: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells!(P.S. so does May) by Barbara Park Junie B. Jones #25: Jingle Bells, Batman Smells! (P.S. So Does May.) by [Park, Barbara] Meet the World’s Funniest First Grader—Junie B. Jones! It’s holiday time, and Room One is doing lots of fun things to celebrate. Like making elf costumes! And singing joyful songs! Only, how can Junie B. enjoy the festivities when Tattletale May keeps ruining her holiday glee? And here is the worst part of all! When everyone picks names for Secret Santa, Junie B. gets stuck with Tattletale you-know-who! It’s enough to fizzle your holiday spirit! Hmm . . . or is it?

The Day Santa Stopped Believing in Harold by Maureen Fergus 

Santa has a problem. This kid? Harold? Santa doesn’t think he’s real. He WANTS to believe in Harold–after all, Harold is one of the most magical parts of Christmas. Getting Harold’s letters, eating the cookies he leaves out, feeding his carrots to the reindeer… what would Christmas be without that? But Santa’s just not sure. Some of his friends are telling him they think Harold’s not real. And the Harold that sat on his knee last Christmas looked AWFULLY different. Santa comes up with a plan to find out once and for all if Harold really exists… with hilarious consequences.

Turkey Claus by Wendy Silvano    Turkey Claus by [Silvano, Wendi]Turkey needs Santa’s help so he won’t be eaten for Christmas dinner. Turkey is in trouble. Again. He made it through Thanksgiving without becoming a turkey dinner, but now it’s almost Christmas, and guess what’s on the menu? Turkey decides the only thing to do is to ask Santa for help. He sets off for the North Pole, but getting in to see Santa at Christmastime isn’t as easy as Turkey expected. It’s going to take all his ideas—and his clever disguises—to find a way into Santa’s house.

Santa Duck by David Milgrim Santa Duck and His Merry Helpers by [Milgrim, David] It’s Christmastime, so Nicholas Duck puts on his Santa’s helper suit and proudly starts gathering wish lists for Santa. But this year, Nicholas’s little brothers and sister want to help. Nicholas is not too keen on the idea, and when the overeager ducks try to outdo each other by promising outlandish gifts-the Hoover Dam for the beaver, a castle for the frog- Nicholas gets fed up. And as he tries to explain to his siblings what Christmas is all about, it turns out the kids have a thing or two to teach Nicholas about working together.

How Santa Lost His Job  by Stephen Krensky 

Santa has the best job he can think of — brining presents each Christmas to children all around the world. Every year he prepares for his trip: He trims his beard, takes a bath, gets dressed, and packs up his sleigh fort he long night ahead. But there are always a few unexpected delays that make things a little hectic. Muckle, one of the elves who helps Santa, thinks he can come up with a more efficient way of delivering the toys — a method that won’t involve Santa at all.

Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner Snowmen at Night by [Buehner, Caralyn]Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you’ve wondered . . . what do snowmen do at night? This delightful wintertime tale reveals all!

 

The Night Tree by Eve Bunting  By moonlight in the quiet forest, a young boy and his family decorate their favorite tree with popcorn, apples, tangerines, and sunflower-seed balls as a gift for the animals of the woods.

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Classic Seuss) by [Seuss] Who can resist the classic tale of the Grinch. I love reading this with voices for the Grinch and of course Cindy Lou Who, who was not more than two. I used to read it to my elementary classes every year.

 

How about some great adult and young adult reads for the holiday break

It is always good to take time to read yourself. It is an occupational hazard, people come to their librarian friend to find new book titles to read. Here are a few of the title that were listed on the listserve along with a few of my favorites. Enjoy!

A Man Called Ove 
 and   My Grandmother Asked Me to Tell You She’s Sorry 

both by Fredrik Backman                                    

I discovered A Man Called Ove this summer. I listened to it on audio book and fell in love with the crocheted old man named Ove. I haven’t read his newest title, but it sounds like a great read as well. Elsa is seven years old and different. Her grandmother is seventy-seven years old and crazy—as in standing-on-the-balcony-firing-paintball-guns-at-strangers crazy. She is also Elsa’s best, and only, friend. At night Elsa takes refuge in her grandmother’s stories, in the Land-of-Almost-Awake and the Kingdom of Miamas, where everybody is different and nobody needs to be normal. I have a feeling this author is great with creating memorable characters that you just can’t help but fall in love with.

A Baxter Family Christmas by [Kingsbury, Karen] A Baxter Family Christmas  by Karen Kingsbury

Two years have passed since the terrible car accident that took the life of John Baxter’s daughter, Erin, her husband and three of their four daughters. Prompted by grief, and missing his daughter, John has invited a stranger for Christmas Eve dinner—Kendra Bryant, the transplant recipient who now has Erin’s heart.

Me Before You: A Novel by [Moyes, Jojo] Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

A Love Story for this generation and perfect for fans of John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars, Me Before You brings to life two people who couldn’t have less in common—a heartbreakingly romantic novel that asks, What do you do when making the person you love happy also means breaking your own heart?

The Kitchen House: A Novel by [Grissom, Kathleen] The Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom

Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.
In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.

Glory over Everything: Beyond The Kitchen House by [Grissom, Kathleen] Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

Once you read The Kitchen House, you have to follow it up with Glory Over Everything. This new, stand-alone novel opens in 1830, and Jamie, who fled from the Virginian plantation he once called home, is passing in Philadelphia society as a wealthy white silversmith. After many years of striving, Jamie has achieved acclaim and security, only to discover that his aristocratic lover Caroline is pregnant. Before he can reveal his real identity to her, he learns that his beloved servant Pan has been captured and sold into slavery in the South.

The Wonder by [Donoghue, Emma] The Wonder by Emma Donoghue

An English nurse brought to a small Irish village to observe what appears to be a miracle-a girl said to have survived without food for months-soon finds herself fighting to save the child’s life.
Tourists flock to the cabin of eleven-year-old Anna O’Donnell, who believes herself to be living off manna from heaven, and a journalist is sent to cover the sensation. Lib Wright, a veteran of Florence Nightingale’s Crimean campaign, is hired to keep watch over the girl.

The Wangs vs. the World by [Chang, Jade]The Wangs vs. the World by Jade Chang

THE WANGS VS. THE WORLD is an outrageously funny tale about a wealthy Chinese-American family that “loses it all, then takes a healing, uproarious road trip across the United States” (Entertainment Weekly). Their spectacular fall from riches to rags brings the Wangs together in a way money never could. It’s an epic family saga and an entirely fresh look at what it means to belong in America.

All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

This beautifully written story is about a blind French girl and a German boy whose paths collide in occupied France as both try to survive the devastation of World War II.

Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

World War II is drawing to a close in East Prussia and thousands of refugees are on a desperate trek toward freedom, many with something to hide. Among them are Joana, Emilia, and Florian, whose paths converge en route to the ship that promises salvation, the Wilhelm Gustloff. Forced by circumstance to unite, the three find their strength, courage, and trust in each other tested with each step closer to safety.

The Other Einstein by Marie Benedict

The Other Einstein offers us a window into a brilliant, fascinating woman whose light was lost in Einstein’s enormous shadow. It is the story of Einstein’s wife, a brilliant physicist in her own right, whose contribution to the special theory of relativity is hotly debated and may have been inspired by her own profound and very personal insight.

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by [Bivald, Katarina]The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

Broken Wheel, Iowa, has never seen anyone like Sara, who traveled all the way from Sweden just to meet her book-loving pen pal, Amy. When she arrives, however, she finds Amy’s funeral guests just leaving. The residents of Broken Wheel are happy to look after their bewildered visitor—there’s not much else to do in a dying small town that’s almost beyond repair.

The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by [Patrick, Phaedra]The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper by Phaedra Patrick

Sixty-nine-year-old Arthur Pepper lives a simple life. He gets out of bed at precisely 7:30 a.m., just as he did when his wife, Miriam, was alive. He dresses in the same gray slacks and mustard sweater vest, waters his fern, Frederica, and heads out to his garden.
But on the one-year anniversary of Miriam’s death, something changes. Sorting through Miriam’s possessions, Arthur finds an exquisite gold charm bracelet he’s never seen before. What follows is a surprising and unforgettable odyssey that takes Arthur from London to Paris and as far as India in an epic quest to find out the truth about his wife’s secret life before they met—a journey that leads him to find hope, healing and self-discovery in the most unexpected places.

Lilac Girls: A Novel by [Kelly, Martha Hall]Lilac Girls by Martha Hall Kelly

An ocean away from Caroline, Kasia Kuzmerick, a Polish teenager, senses her carefree youth disappearing as she is drawn deeper into her role as courier for the underground resistance movement. In a tense atmosphere of watchful eyes and suspecting neighbors, one false move can have dire consequences.

The Little Red Chairs by [O'Brien, Edna]The Little Red Chairs by Edna O’Brien

One night, in the dead of winter, a mysterious stranger arrives in the small Irish town of Cloonoila. Broodingly handsome, worldly, and charismatic, Dr. Vladimir Dragan is a poet, a self-proclaimed holistic healer, and a welcome disruption to the monotony of village life. Before long, the beautiful black-haired Fidelma McBride falls under his spell and, defying the shackles of wedlock and convention, turns to him to cure her of her deepest pains.

My Name Is Lucy Barton: A Novel by [Strout, Elizabeth]My Name is Lucy Barton by Elizabeth Strout

Lucy Barton is recovering slowly from what should have been a simple operation. Her mother, to whom she hasn’t spoken for many years, comes to see her. Gentle gossip about people from Lucy’s childhood in Amgash, Illinois, seems to reconnect them, but just below the surface lie the tension and longing that have informed every aspect of Lucy’s life: her escape from her troubled family, her desire to become a writer, her marriage, her love for her two daughters. Knitting this powerful narrative together is the brilliant storytelling voice of Lucy herself: keenly observant, deeply human, and truly unforgettable.

Girl in the Blue Coat by [Hesse, Monica]Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse

Amsterdam, 1943. Hanneke spends her days procuring and delivering sought-after black market goods to paying customers, her nights hiding the true nature of her work from her concerned parents, and every waking moment mourning her boyfriend, who was killed on the Dutch front lines when the Germans invaded. She likes to think of her illegal work as a small act of rebellion.

 

NEED by [Charbonneau, Joelle]Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

She's Come Undone (Oprah's Book Club) by [Lamb, Wally]She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

Meet Dolores Price. She’s thirteen, wise-mouthed but wounded, having bid her childhood good-bye. Beached like a whale in front of her bedroom TV, she spends the next few years nourishing herself with the Mallomars, potato chips, and Pepsi her anxious mother supplies. When she finally rolls into young womanhood at 257 pounds, Dolores is no stronger and life is no kinder. But this time she’s determined to rise to the occasion and give herself one more chance before really going belly-up.

 

A Gentleman in Moscow: A Novel by [Towles, Amor]A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

In 1922, Count Alexander Rostov is deemed an unrepentant aristocrat by a Bolshevik tribunal, and is sentenced to house arrest in the Metropol, a grand hotel across the street from the Kremlin. Rostov, an indomitable man of erudition and wit, has never worked a day in his life, and must now live in an attic room while some of the most tumultuous decades in Russian history are unfolding outside the hotel’s doors. Unexpectedly, his reduced circumstances provide him entry into a much larger world of emotional discovery.

My Sunshine Away by [Walsh, M.O.]My Sunshine Away by M. O. Walsh

In the summer of 1989, a Baton Rouge neighborhood best known for cookouts on sweltering summer afternoons, cauldrons of spicy crawfish, and passionate football fandom is rocked by a violent crime when fifteen-year-old Lindy Simpson—free spirit, track star, and belle of the block—is attacked late one evening near her home. As the dark side of this idyllic stretch of Southern suburbia is revealed, the close-knit neighborhood is irreversibly transformed.

 

The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by [Estes, Kelli] The Girl Who Wrote in Silk by Kelli Estes

Inara Erickson is exploring her deceased aunt’s island estate when she finds an elaborately stitched piece of fabric hidden in the house. As she peels back layer upon layer of the secrets it holds, Inara’s life becomes interwoven with that of Mei Lein, a young Chinese girl mysteriously driven from her home a century before. Through the stories Mei Lein tells in silk, Inara uncovers a tragic truth that will shake her family to its core — and force her to make an impossible choice.

The Pink Suit: A Novel by [Kelby, Nicole]The Pink Suit by Nicole Mary Kelby

On November 22, 1963, the First Lady accompanied her husband to Dallas, Texas dressed in a pink Chanel-style suit that was his favorite. Much of her wardrobe, including the pink suit, came from the New York boutique Chez Ninon where a young seamstress, an Irish immigrant named Kate, worked behind the scenes to meticulously craft the memorable outfits.

While the two never met, Kate knew every tuck and pleat needed to create the illusion of the First Lady’s perfection. When the pink suit became emblematic, Kate’s already fragile world–divided between the excess and artistry of Chez Ninon and the traditional values of her insular neighborhood–threatened to rip apart.

*Excerpts and book covers from Amazon.com.

Happy Reading!

Darlah Zweifel, Meade County High School Teacher Librarian

KASL Publications Chair

 

Contributors: (from listserve)

Anne Hall, Shearer Elementary

Wilanne Stangle, Covington

Sharon Carvell, Clark Elementary School

Emily Dawson, Boone County

Ashley Hunt, Southside Elementary

Jill Dunavent, Owen County Lower and Upper Elementary

Jennifer Perkins Propes, Abraham Lincoln Elementary

Sarah Price, Wright Elementary

Tracy Elrod, Hillard Collins Elementary

Anna Cummins, Taylor Elementary

Jennifer Mann, Adair County Primary Center

Carolyn Reid, Pendleton County High School

Ashley Coulson, Fulton County

Lisa Shields, Eastern High School

Wendy Stoll, Western Middle, School for the Arts

Dorie Raybuck, Jessamine Middle School

Sarah Clement, WKU

Kristin Sickling, Ballard Memorial High School

Jennifer Payne, Boone County

Lisa Hughes, Lone Oak Intermediate

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edible Book Contest

The Lexington Public Library partnered with Fayette County Schools to promote an author visit of C. C. Payne whose latest book is, The Thing About Leftovers and developed an Edible Book Contest to coincide with the event. The public library created a rubric for the contest and shared it with the schools in the district. Once everyone knew the logistics for the author visit and city-wide contest, individual schools worked backward to plan events in their own building.

At Henry Clay High School, we invited and promoted the HC Edible Book Contest for all students in our building. We publicized on social media, school broadcasts and announcements how the entries would be scored, using the exact rubric the Lexington Public Library would be using for their city-wide competition.Then waited for the entries to roll in.The top three entries, as judged by parents from our PTA, were then taken to the public library for the city-wide competition.

In all, 13 entries were submitted. Check out the pictures below to see some of the creations.

Reflecting back on the contest, I think it’s one that could be done independently at the school level, in conjunction with other schools or a public library. I loved the idea of having students write a paragraph tying their project back to the book. Next time, however, I may include guidelines for this part of the contest that include having students type their paragraphs, specifically requiring the name of their book, the author, complete sentences, and proofread for grammar and spelling before their final submission.

One of the great things about this contest is it can be any time during the year! Our information flyer is here.  

 

 

 

 

mermaid

moose

Guest KASL Blogger,

Amanda Hurley, National Board Certified Teacher
Library Media Specialist, Henry Clay High School
President-Elect, KY Association of School Librarians
Co-Chair KY Bluegrass Awards 9-12 grade Master List

 

Some photos submitted by

Alaine Carpenter, LMS
Morton Middle School
1225 Tates Creek Road
Lexington, KY 40502
(UKY) 381-3533 X1116
alaine.carpenter@fayette.kyschools.us
 

 

#GoOpen

cropped-KASL-with-border-24b9t0c-283z2fx.pngIn October 2015, the U.S. Department of Education launched #GoOpen. The purpose of the campaign is promote the use of open-sourced educational resources or OER in districts and schools across the country. The initiative is promoted through the Office of Educational Technology, an office within the US Department of Education. As part of the press release, the Education Secretary, Arne Duncan stated, “In order to ensure that all students – no matter their zip code – have access to high-quality learning resources, we are encouraging districts and states to move away from traditional textbooks and toward freely accessible, openly-licensed materials. Districts across the country are transforming learning by using materials that can be constantly updated and adjusted to meet students’ needs.” OER”s can then be modified and share without the worry of copyright violations.

Here are a few open-source resources that you may want to explore:

oer

OER Commons (https://www.oercommons.org/) OER Commons describes itself as “a dynamic digital library and network. Explore open education resources and join our network of educators dedicated to curriculum improvement.”

academic-earth

Academic Earth (http://academicearth.org/) states it is a “collection of free online college courses from the world’s top universities.”

ck12

CK12 (http://www.ck12.org/), “provides a library of free online textbooks, videos, exercises, flashcards, and real world applications for over 5000 concepts from arithmetic to physics to journalism.”

mit

MIT Open Courseware (https://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm)—states that it “is a web-based publication of virtually all MIT course content. OCW is open and available to the world and is a permanent MIT activity.” There are online textbooks, demonstration videos, audio/video lectures and much more. Take some time to explore the “Highlights for High School” page as well, https://ocw.mit.edu/high-school/

khan

Khan Academy (https://www.khanacademy.org/) offers practice exercises, instructional videos, and a personalized learning that allows learners to study at their own pace in and outside of the classroom with great supplemental resources to share with students. For students that have taken the PSAT or SAT, they can link their College Board account to Khan for a personalized study program as well. Another feature I like is the single sign-on. Students that are part of a GAFE district can sign in using their school Google account. I believe you can also make a connection with Google classroom  through this venue.

edx

edX (https://www.edx.org/) – “EdX offers free online courses and classes. Find the latest MOOC from the world’s best universities including MIT, Harvard, Berkeley, UT and others.”

amazon

Amazon is now getting into the game with its Amazon Inspire. Released in beta format in June, Amazon Inspire is platform of free resources for teachers and educational institutions .After signing up, educators will be able to upload resources as well as search for materials by subject or grade level and download to adapt to specific needs. If you’d like to request access, click here https://www.amazoninspire.com/access and sign up. I’ve requested access myself and I’ll let you know how it goes.

Take some time to explore some of the resources mentioned above and let me know what you think. For more details on #GoOpen commitments made by school districts and technology companies, go to http://tech.ed.gov/open.

Guest KASL Blogger
Shannon Bosley
Library Media Specialist
Dixie Heights High School
859-341-7650 ext. 172

Sharing my Summer Professional Development

Sorry this is so late. I had a marathon week of professional development two weeks before I had to start back to school. Time just flew away from me. School started and boom, my blog post got put on the back burner.

I am in the process of getting Symbaloo certified. I really do like Symbaloo. If you haven’t tried it, I highly recommend it. I made a symbaloo page of just some of the many things I learned about at my summer professional development in July. Just click on the link below and check out some of the great stuff I discovered this summer. Most of it can be used with all ages from K-12th grade.

Summer Professional Development Symbaloo

I am going to make this post short and sweet. Please let me know how you use some of the great resources listed. I love learning how people use all of this wonderful technology.

Have a great New School Year!!

 

So What Do Librarians Do in the Summer Without Students?

              

photo from missmarymcgill.com          photo from pinterest.com

Beep….beep….beep…goes the scanner as I do inventory in the empty library during my extended employment. Inventory seems like such a boring job. Putting books in order, scanning books, moving books, repairing books….is this all there is to being a librarian? Many do not see a need for doing an inventory now that most libraries are computerized. I remember doing inventory, when I first became a librarian years ago, using the cards in the card catalog to reconcile the shelves. Shelf order was VERY important then.

                                                              photo from  http://www.es.uzh.ch/

So, why is inventory so important? I think it is important for a librarian to know their collection. I think it is really important to do a complete inventory when you are a new librarian or move to a new or different school. You really get to physically know the collection which will better prepare you for ordering and recommending items to your patrons. As I scan books, I notice things like “oh, I have multiple copies of The Secret Life of Bees.”  I need to let my English teachers know this so they can recommend this book when they do lit circles and need multiple copies of books.  With budget cuts, we need to utilize what we already have in the library. When I came across the literary help books I remembered that the AP classes always do literary criticisms. They often have a difficult time finding exactly what they need online.  We have copies of various literary criticisms on various AP books. I need to encourage AP students to browse the AP helps shelf before they choose an AP fiction book to read.

As I inventory the 300’s, 500’s and 600’s, I realize how quickly these items out date themselves. I have some really nice reference science books and books on various research topics, but they get lost in the old stuff. Some people have a difficult time with weeding, but in these sections, weeding is almost always necessary and easy to do. Many times newer reference or nonfiction informational books have a list of web sites as references. Your teachers can use these with students for research or more in depth study of a topic. Are you familiar with your Science Standards? On what topics do you need books? Doing inventory helps you beef up sections to align with the Standards.

Maybe you want to do a rotating partial inventory. Just inventory a section at a time. With computerization, this is now easier than ever. Maybe just inventory your most circulated areas. Maybe you want to inventory the sections that aren’t circulated as much and you can find out how you can weed and make this section much more attractive to your students. Maybe one of your student growth goals is to increase circulation in a certain area or genre. An inventory, weeding, and data from this area would be a must.

During inventory, I also find out why some books never get circulated. Sometimes it is because they are in bad shape, the covers are just outdated and do not appeal to teenagers, or they might be found better in a display or promotion of some sort. I think it is worth purchasing newer classics with appealing covers if it will get kids to check them out, especially if there is a movie coming out. 🙂

My library aide likes to find all of the little “issues” we call them when we inventory; books that had been marked lost at one point, now found, books that were checked out to someone but got put back on the shelf and didn’t get scanned in properly, books with spine injuries in need of repair, books in the wrong home on the shelf,…as a side bar, don’t you hate it when you look up a book on the card catalog and it is suppose to be available, on the shelf, and you can’t find it in the library anywhere!…. yeah, those types of issues.

I also love all of the wonderful hidden treasures I find doing inventory.  I find books that I totally forgot we had, books I can’t wait to read, and books I can’t wait to recommend. Some of my teachers call me their personal librarian. I know them so well, that when I find a book that I think they would enjoy, I check it out to them and stick it in their mailbox with a little note.  They love this! Talk about great PR. There are some students I can do this for as well. I can’t put the book in a mailbox, but I can send them an email or catch them the next time I see them in the library and say, “Hey, look at this book I found. I thought of you when I saw it.” They love it!

photo from www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

But what else is there to do during extended employment besides inventory?

Brainstorm and work on ideas for library and/or reading promotion. Last year in our district, we tried to do a reading promotional each month at our schools. Summer is a good time to research on Pinterest, the Librarian’s Listserve, and at conferences to get new ideas for promoting reading in your school.

Clean up records, patrons, card catalog, shelves, and displays.

Send notices home to those who forgot to turn in their books at the end of the school year.

Catch up on professional reading pertaining to the library and literacy.

A chance to clean up, throw out, and go through stuff that needs to be thrown away.

How about giving that library web page a facelift? It is difficult to find quiet time throughout the school year to revamp your web page, but extended days are a good time to do that.

Work on book orders for the coming year. If you are like me, I just create a wish list or basket on Barnes & Noble or Permabound as I discover books I want to order then all I have to do is print out the list and write up a purchase order.

Let your creativity shine by updating displays, signage, brochures, bookmarks, or anything else you like to create for your library. We do not always have time during the busy school year to design new items.

Redecorate- Every two years or so I like to totally redo parts of the library. This keeps it looking fresh and renewed. Some of you have even painted, decoupaged, or totally moved and changed your entire library. Kudos to you!  The kids always love coming in on Open House night and looking to see what has or hasn’t changed. This is why I enjoy going to Summer Refresher. I always find new ideas from the host school. Also if you attend your district meetings, check out the host schools and get even more ideas from them. And then of course there is Pinterest. If you do not use Pinterest, you must! It is one of my favorite techy past times, or as I like to tell my students, one of my favorite time killers.

Organize your library files in Google drive, or One Drive, or whatever cloud storage of your choice. Yes, I said cloud storage. Our school just had us to convert to Google storage from our hard drives on the computers. We had a share drive we used and it was getting too full. So, we converted to Google drive since we are a Google education school. I converted last summer and I have to say that I love it. If you haven’t tried cloud storage, you must. There were too many times that I needed something that was stored on the share drive at school and I was working on lessons at home and needed it. I used a thumb drive for a while, but the cloud storage is the way to go. You can mark your files as private and only share what you want to. I try to clean out my files every Summer. If I don’t, I have to sort through tons of stuff that I don’t need or will never use again to find my “daily go-to’s” .

Spice up that library orientation bit you share each year with new students; kindergartners, sixth graders, freshmen, or whoever is new to your building. There are always new ways to share information for the “newbies” in the building. I am updating my library brochure and tweeting it and putting it on the library Facebook page. If students bring it in signed by a parent, I am going to give them an AR point. I might even have parents email me that they read the brochure and give the student one point. Not sure how well it is going to go over, but you never know until you try. Here is my brochure.

How about starting that Makerspace you have been wanting to start. Summertime is a good time to find materials at yard sales, beg from friends who are cleaning out garages and attics, or make a wish list to order once school starts. Start small with one table or corner and grow from there. I started with just one cabinet. It was not used a great deal this year, but the kids have started talking about the cabinet in the library with fun stuff to do in it. They stopped by after testing to check it out. In high school, you just take your opportunities when you can get them to draw teens into the library.

How about creating book talks to share with your students next school year. Some of you librarians are super with these. I do individual book talks with students one-on-one when they come in and ask what is good to read. Those of you in middle and elementary schools get to do lots of book talks. What a great way to share your love of books with kids. I am going to try and do at least one or two book talks a week virtually on Twitter and our library Facebook page. I know it is not the same as sharing one-on-one with students, and I will continue to do this with kids as needed,  but I want to reach a bigger audience.

How about getting acquainted with different series of books. Students are always coming up and asking for the next book in a series. Are you familiar with the various series in your library? We have a series notebook my assistant put together, for her own benefit as much as for the kids. One librarian shared she marks the series on the spine with colored numbers. I tried using author plates on my shelves this year. The kids could find their favorites easier and know where the books go on the shelves.

authorplates authorplates2

 

Another thing I do over the summer as a librarian is send a report to my principal, and sometimes even my superintendent. I report the results of the inventory, library usage reports, AR/STAR usage reports, different collaboration efforts with various teachers, the number of classroom visits I had with various teachers, new things I tried in the library for promotion, and the number of new items added to the collection. I try to do a quarterly report after each nine weeks through out the year as well. It is important to let administrators know how much the library is utilized and how important it is to students and teachers. We have to be our own advocates since we are a department of one in our buildings.

The final thing to remember to do over the summer is to recharge those batteries and relax. Enjoy some reading. How can we recommend those books if you don’t read them ourselves. Catch up on what new items that are out there that fit your library’s reading levels. What new series are out there? Mark in your phone calendar when certain “got to have books” come out so that you can get them in your library. That is one reason why we have such great circulation rates is that we try to keep new and hot books on our shelves and available to students who maybe can’t just click an order button and get their own copy.  Just make sure you share your favorite summer reads with your fellow librarians. As hard as I try, I can’t read them all.

cartoon from www.colbymarshall.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

Summer Reading Program Ideas

In my Intro to Teaching dual credit class, our final assignment was to develop a continued Summer learning calendar for June and July. They had to come up with activities to  help students to continue learning over the summer so that they will be less likely to lose reading and thinking skills. I encouraged my students to come up with activities that would be engaging, educational, yet fun.  Then, someone posted on the librarian’s listserve about their summer reading challenge. I thought, what a great idea for a blog post. Here are a few of the Summer reading challenge/program/activities that were shared with me or that I found online. Click on the titles for print outs or web links.

Zoneton Middle School Summer Reading Challenge by

Bethany Voight

Library Media Specialist, STC, STLP

 Zoneton Middle School

Bullitt County Public Schools

502.869.4419

This Summer Reading Challenge consist of a grid of reading activities with various points attached according to time and effort required. Students who complete the challenge which requires 3 activities to be completed will receive a prize and points according to the items completed. It also includes a reading log.

*Google images search harrypottermoviememorbilia.blogspot.com

Highlands Middle School Summer Reading by

Stephanie Griffith

Library Media Specialist

Highlands Middle School
2350 Memorial Parkway
Fort Thomas, KY 41075

Phone: 859.441.5222

 

Each time students read a book, they fill out the information about the book with their name in a Google form on the library’s web page. Each time they read a book and fill out a form, their name gets entered into a drawing for gift cards. There are winners at each grade level, 6th, 7th and 8th. The drawing takes place when they return to school in the Fall.

  

Monroe County Middle School Summer Reading Challenge

by Nancy Holder

Librarian

Monroe County Middle School

600 S Main St

Tompkinsville, KY 42167

(270) 487-9624

We are having a summer reading challenge for all of our students. Incoming 6th graders have been given information. Students will log their minutes on the Scholastic website. Each student is challenged to read at least 1000 minutes over summer break.  There are four levels of awards for students who read. Everyone that logs their minutes will earn free time. Students who read between 250-999 minutes will earn an ice cream sundae and free time. Students who read over 1000 minutes will earn pizza, ice cream sundae, and free time. The top readers in each grade level will go out to a restaurant to eat. I am working with some area businesses to see if they will sponsor gift certificates and have a drawing.

Students also sign the Summer Reading Pledge on the Read KY website.

 

Barnes-and-Noble

Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Program

The Barnes and Noble summer reading program for kids gives kids a free book when they read 8 books over the summer.

Their summer reading program for 2016 is called Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Triathlon.

 

KY Summer Reading Program

The theme this year is wellness, fitness, and sports. This web link will send you to lists of ideas for readers of all ages. Make sure you collaborate with your public library to make your summer reading program even stronger.

 

ALSC Summer Reading Lists

ALA summer

ALA Summer Reading Program Ideas

This link from ALA will give you some background and tips on various Summer Reading programs nation wide. It will give you links to grant opportunities and theme ideas. Be sure to share your ideas with ALA so that they can add them to their archives. You can also find some age appropriate reading lists.

 

Best of luck in planning your Summer Reading Challenge. If you have a great success with your program, why not consider presenting at one of the KASL conferences such as Summer Refresher or the Fall Conference.

 

 

So Have You Read the Book About………….?

I work in a high school library and I feel like I have the best job in the world for someone who loves books. We have classics, we have young adult books, we have some adult titles for those mature readers and the faculty, and we have children’s picture books for some of our low readers and FMD students. I have the best of all worlds in books. “What new books have you read lately?” is what I often get asked by teachers and students. “How do you know what to order?” I often get asked by library science students who observe or visit for the day. Those are very good questions.  I rely on many different avenues when it comes to book selection for our high school library.

First, you have to consider your location and the make up of your student body. What do your patrons like to read? What do you get the most request for? What are your circulation stats? All of these come into play when considering what to order for your library. I also ask my teachers if they would like for me to have copies of certain books in the library for kids to have access to. Some of our English classes order class sets of books, but once in a while, a kid will leave their copy at home or lose a copy and they need a library copy for the day. Also, our social studies department has required reading in AP European History and AP U.S. History that the kids have to purchase themselves. Not all students can afford to purchase their own copies, so I try to have extra copies of those titles available to students.

wishlist

We actually keep an old school “Wish List” on the counter. When students recommend books or request certain series of books often, we put them on the “Wish List.” When we actually order the books they requested and they find the books on the shelves, they get so excited. I think this gives the kids ownership in their library.

If you use Follett Destiny, students can create accounts and rate the books they read, suggest books for the library, and keep a list of books they have read and want to read.  On their log in, if they search the card catalog for a title and we do not have it, there is a +make a wish button. They can click on this and recommend a book. They also tell why they wish for you to order this book.

 

destiny wish list

If you have been a librarian in the state of Kentucky very long, you know you also have to have copies of the Bluegrass Award books. Every year in the Spring, a list of the books that will be competing for this award are released by grade level. At the high school level, I can often purchase some of the middle school titles, as well as the high school titles. Students will be asked to vote for their favorites and the votes are always due April 1st. The next year’s list of books to consider is usually released shortly after the votes are turned in.  The teachers and librarians that create these book lists usually do an outstanding job of choosing books that interest kids and teens.

KBA2015 kbastickers

Another source I use to help me pick the hottest and newest reads is to join email lists from various book vendors or library/librarian news sources.  There are tons out there and they are all very willing to add you to their email list. Here are a few that I really like and recommend.

Booklist Online READ Alert  – This newsletter is sponsored by ALA. It usually has a theme and introduces many books on various genres. They recommend Adult books, Youth books, and Audio books. There are many links on the side to various booklists and webinars.  Since it is sponsored by ALA, I know books that are recommended are of good quality and for the most part are age appropriate.

Booklist Online REaD ALERT

 

Simon & Schuster has a newsletter that you can sign up for that previews different books, gives you the heads up on new releases, gives book club book recommendations, and offers free excerpts of books. You can browse authors A-Z or book titles by new releases or book club recommendations.

Simon & Schuster

 

Booklist Delivers is also sponsored by ALA. It is more of a quick share on one book. It might be the anniversary of a special edition of a book, a long awaited release of a squeal in a series, or it could be a new author with a new book. All types of books from preschool to young adult to popular adult fiction are feature in the daily Booklist Delivers emails.

 

Library Love Fest is sponsored by Harper Collins Publishers and they also bring you lots of new book previews.  They give great previews of upcoming new books, or books that have gotten rave reviews from book clubs, editors, or fellow librarians. They often feature links to author’s blogs and they have Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest buttons so that you can share items on social networks.

Library Love Fest - Library News

 

Booklist’s Quick Tips is a School and Libraries newsletter that is sponsored by ALA. They preview books from all age groups, give you the ISBN number, a summary of the book, and recommended grades and ages. There are lots of elementary and preschool books listed, as well as young adult titles. They often list webinars available and a list of their editors you can follow on Twitter. Which leads me to the social media aspect of how I find new and exciting books for the library.

 

Twitter-For-Writers-And-Authors

If you haven’t jumped into the world of Twitter yet, you must! Even if you don’t have much to say, you can learn so much just by lurking and following different people, especially authors. What better way to find out when an author is releasing a new book than from the author themselves. I follow some of my favorite authors and love to hear about what inspires their writing, their travels, and what they love to eat 🙂 I use my Twitter account to share new books we get in the library and sometimes I will get a like and a follow from authors, publishers, or even fellow librarians.

Instagram is also a great way to get to know authors and publishers. I started an Instagram account for the library and I follow several authors and book lovers such as Silas House, Maggie Stiefvater, Laurie Halse Anderson, Epic Reads, Sarah Dessen, Scholasticreadingclub, ALA, etc.  I do not post a whole lot on the Instagram, but I lurk on it quite a bit. Epic Reads is always posting pictures of stacks of books they love.

author blog instagram

And of course the best way to learn about new books is to attend a district KASL meeting, Summer Refresher, or the KLA/KASL Fall Conference. I learn about all kinds of new books coming out from my fellow librarians. I always have an open note on my iPad or phone to add new titles and authors. Follow fellow librarians on Facebook and see what they are reading and recommending. I also use Goodreads.com This site/app allows me to organize the books I have read and want to read. Follow someone on Goodreads and find out the hottest new books coming out. You may also get an invite to chat with authors you have read or a chance to win a free book from a favorite author.

I just figure there can never be too many sources for finding good books.

Feel free to share how you find out about the hottest new reads.

Happy Reading!