New Faces, New Places

Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2011 by Anita

On Tuesday, I’ll have the chance to present with a whole panel of wonderful librarians at the annual ISTE conference in Philidelphia.  The panel was organized by the great Doug Johnson, one of the rock stars of school librarianship.  If you don’t read his Blue Skunk blog, I encourage you to check it out.


Philly, here I come!

Posted in conferences on June 20, 2011 by Anita

I’ll be headed to Philidelphia on Sunday for the ISTE conference.  I’m excited to be presenting as part of a SIGMS panel.  There’s TONS of great stuff going on for school librarians, and some of it will be streamed live and shared. 



     Check on the SIGMS events! 


I’ll have the chance to present with a panel of fantastic fellow librarians.  Check back here all week to find out more!

Ten Miles Past Normal

Posted in Uncategorized on May 10, 2011 by Anita

Janie Gorman wants to be normal. The problem with that: she’s not. She’s smart and creative and a little bit funky. She’s also an unwilling player in her parents’ modern-hippy, let’s-live-on-a-goat-farm experiment (regretfully, instigated by a younger, much more enthusiastic Janie). This, to put it simply, is not helping Janie reach that “normal target.” She has to milk goats every day…and endure her mother’s pseudo celebrity in the homemade-life, crunchy mom blogosphere. Goodbye the days of frozen lasagna and suburban living, hello crazy long bus ride to high school and total isolation—and hovering embarrassments of all kinds. The fresh baked bread is good…the threat of homemade jeans, not so much.

It would be nice to go back to that old suburban life…or some grown up, high school version of it, complete with nice, normal boyfriends who wear crew neck sweaters and like social studies. So, what’s wrong with normal? Well, kind of everything. She knows that, of course, why else would she learn bass and join Jam Band, how else would she know to idolize infamous wild-child and high school senior Emma (her best friend Sarah’s older sister), why else would she get arrested while doing a school project on a local freedom school (jail was not part of the assignment). And, why else would she kind of be falling in “like” with a boy named Monster—yes, that is his real name. Janie was going for normal, but she missed her mark by about ten miles…and we mean that as a compliment.

– Summary from goodreads

People who know us well know my husband and I try to live simply.  We don’t live on a farm, but we grow a lot of our own food, try to live a low impact life, and make frugal decisions.  For a couple of years, I’ve been following a bunch of simple living blogs, and Jenna at Cold Antler Farm is one of my favorite bloggers.  So imagine my surprise and excitement to discover that Frances O’Roark Dowell’s new YA novel was inspired by Cold Antler?  Apparently Jenna was pretty surprised, too.  She was curious to find out more, understandably, and interviewed Frances to find out.

Sugar Changed the World

Posted in blogs, create your own, low tech ideas, music, ya lit on April 28, 2011 by Anita

When encouraging kids to read, we can’t neglect informational books.   And we can’t forget to promote wonderful informational books. There are so many online connections to history and science that can help bring an informational book to life that the pairing seems obvious.

For their book Sugar Changed the World: A Story of Magic, Spice, Freedom and Science, authors Marc Aronson & Marina Budhos also created a website to share the sights and sounds of the history of sugar.  The Sugar Changed the World website includes music and dance, web links, a teacher’s guide and more.

Be sure to let readers know about the site.  Place a mailing label with the website and a brief description in the front or back of your library’s copy of Sugar Changed the World.
And don’t stop there!  Create your own guides for informational books both in the book and online.  See our low-tech label ideas and sample pathfiners on our wiki!

Don’t miss Marc Aronson’s blog, Nonfiction Matters, for daily discussions about informational books.

Beatle Meets Destiny

Posted in create your own, curriculum, pathfinders, ya lit on April 22, 2011 by Anita

Imagine your name is John Lennon, only everyone calls you Beatle.
And then you meet your dream girl and her name is Destiny McCartney.
But what if you’re already with the perfect girl?
A novel about change, chance and everybody doing the wrong thing.

-summary from goodreads

When we think of pathfinders, we usually associate them with class projects.  But, if you’re anything like me, you know some of the most exciting research takes place outside the classroom, when you find a topic that really, really interests you: a new hobby, a bit of history… a favorite band.

So why not create pathfinders for popular topics that kids might want to pursue on their own?  Or, better yet, have the student “expert” create the pathfinder for you?  A lot of kids will jump at the chance to create a resource list on their favorite topics.

Think outside the box when creating a pathfinder.  Traditionally, pathfinders were handouts given to students when they came to the library.  Then we started posted them on websites.  But how to organize them?

One great alternative is using a social bookmarking site like delicioius.   It’s an easy way to keep track of recommended links for student use, but you can also use tags to create pathfinders within delicious.

The Beatles

For popular topics like The Beatles, use delicious to bookmark informational sites, links to information about movies on the Beatles, links to video clips, audio clips… and don’t forget to link to books in your online catalog.

With some topics, you can even include fiction books on the topic!

Don’t miss out on other great pathfinder tools, like

Jog the Web


And don’t miss Joyce Valenza’s Neverending Search for the perfect pathfinder platform!

Authors Are Rockstars!

Posted in podcasts, ya lit on April 21, 2011 by Anita

Check out Authors are ROCKSTARS!, a monthly YA Lit podcast!

Debut episode:

An interview with Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.  How can that NOT rock?!?

Waiting on Wednesday

Posted in Uncategorized on April 20, 2011 by Anita

“Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine,that spotlights upcoming releases I can’t wait to read!

The Name of the Star (Shades of London, #1)

Coming September 29th

I have so many books on my to-read list that have already been released that it seems almost shameful to be waiting on more.  But this one sounds irresistible – something a little different from Maureen Johnson.  I love her contemporary fiction and can’t wait to see what she’s done with this history laced thriller.

“The day Louisiana teenager Rory Deveaux arrives in London marks a memorable occasion. For Rory, it’s the start of a new life at a London boarding school. But for many, this will be remembered as the day a series of brutal murders broke out across the city, gruesome crimes mimicking the horrific Jack the Ripper events of more than a century ago.”

Summary from Goodreads

But even before The Name of the Star is released, Johnson has another new book. The Last Little Blue Envelope, sequel to 13 Little Blue Envelopes, is coming out April 26th.  In anticipation, you can download 13 Little Blue Envelopes FOR FREE from now until the sequel’s release date!

13 Little Blue Envelopes (Little Blue Envelope, #1)     The Last Little Blue Envelope (Little Blue Envelope, #2)

Here is the link for Kindle

For Nook

For Sony reader

Read more about Maureen Johnson & her books on her blog or follow her on Twitter @maureenjohnson !