Friday, February 24, 2017

House Arrest by K.A. Holt

2015, Chronicle Books

12 year-old Timonthy is writing in his journal.  He doesn't want to do it, but his probation officer and psychologist told him he had to in order to ensure the judge his actions wouldn't be repeated.

What he did wasn't felonious, according to him.  All he did was swipe someone's credit card and make a $1000.00 purchase on it.  But it wasn't for him, it was for his sick baby brother Levi. And well, for his mom too, who is working two jobs on her own to make ends meet.

They still don't have enough food.  Timothy is still in need of clothes that fit him.

Timothy remembers one of the last best moment of his life.  It was the day Levi was born.  His dad was so excited and proud to become a father again.  But life changed.  Levi was born with only a small hole in his trachea.  Because of this he has to have constant care and attention.

His dad couldn't handle it, so he left....

Now, Timothy and his mother are doing all they can to make sure Levi stays alive and breathing, including doing all of the nasty stuff, including suctioning mucus, cleaning up constant throw-up, and listening to the sound of the breathing machine.

Now, he's under house arrest, but couldn't love his baby brother more.  His love is very protective too, including when a nurse comes in and Timothy knows she's not doing her job.  He also protects himself from letting people, including Mrs. B and Officer James, know too much.  They don't need help, or do they? His best friend Jose, and his family, help out. And then there's the mysterious benefactor leaving amazing stuff on their front door. And slowly but surely, Timothy is cracking, and his journal reveals to those who are helping in just how much he truly needs, both physically and emotionally.

But his baby brother is still getting very ill, making ICU visits a regular thing.  How long before his mother implodes?  What can a 12 year old kid do?

This quick novel in verse will take your through a one year journey of brotherly love and sacrifice.  It will also take you on the journey of one young man's self-awareness and the grit and determination he has to make sure family stays together.  You hear his joy, but you will also hear his pain, anger, and desperation.  Be ready....this may make you cry, a definite sign of an excellent book. Highly recommended addition to any junior high or high school collection.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

15 Science Fiction Reads for Young Adults

A list of great sci-fi for teens, including sequels and link to pdf 

Burning Midnight by Will McIntosh.  2016, Delacorte Press

Illuminae by Amy Kaufman and Jay Kristoff.  2015, Alfred A. Knopf. Sequel Gemina, 2016 

The Diabolic by S.J. Kincaid.  2016, Simon & Schuster

The Fever Code by James Dashner.  2016, Delacorte Press

Fire Sermon by Francesca Haig.  2015, Gallery Books.  Sequel The Map of Bones 2016

Where Futures End by Parker Peevyhouse.  2016, Kathy Dawson Books.

Scythe by Neal Shusterman.  2016, Simon & Schuster

Replica by Lauren Oliver.  2016, Harper Collins
Stars Above by Marissa Meyer.  2016, Feiwel and Friends

Mr. Fahrenheit by T. Michael Martin.  2016, Balzer + Bray

Alive by Scott Sigler.  2015, Del Rey.  Sequel Alight 2016

Dark Energy by Robison Wells.  2016, HarperCollins

Legend: The Graphic Novel by Marie Lu.  2015, G.P. Putnam's Sons

Flawed by Cecilia Ahern.  2016, Feiwel and Friends.

The Taking by Kimberly Derting  2014, Harper Collins.  Sequels: Replaced, 2016; The Countdown, 2016.

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

15 Ways to Use Snapchat and the Library

So, yesterday a colleague and friend of mine, Sarah Thomasson, sent out an email that started me down the path of using Snapchat.  I can be like one of those kids in left field that sees a butterfly...and I'm off doing something else.  Well, Sarah sent me a big butterfly and shared the fact that Snapchat can be used as a QR code reader!

You know what that means?

Students will be more likely to scan QR codes using their favorite social media site  than having to download a site that are favorited by educators.  And off I went down this path of resistance to blow it wide open.

I confess, I was one of those people who wasn't going to Snapchat....at all.  Why?  Because it was for "another generation" beyond me, I didn't want to learn something else, I was fine with what I already have.  But then Sarah's butterfly kicked my butt!  That is NOT the right attitude to have!  If social media is going beyond the standard, then I should hold myself up to that standard too!

So....ideas just started FLYING!  I'm going to write them down really quick so I won't forget them either!

1. Of course, QR codes....

2. learning from my followers!!!  Ideas come from all over!!

3. Highlight the great things happening in the library with a story so people can see the importance of school libraries.

4. doing quick booktalks

5. sharing book covers from a certain genre or collection

6. A quick reminder to students about what's happening

7. before and after pics or videos

8. Using those silly filters on books with faces (a librarian shared hardcopy of these...I want to try digital now!)

9. monthly library "story" update

10. Snapchat school events I attend (to show librarians DO things other than "librarian-ish" things)

11. Quick preview of new library resources

12. testimonials on the importance of libraries from teachers, admin, students

13. take a pic of a tweet you're going to send to "smash" two social media apps together instead of typing it all over again

14. do a library mystery theater or "escape room" type of program

15. answering the age-old question, "What do librarians do all day??"

This was a QUICK overview of my enthusiasm spilling over today but I hope you can use these ideas as well as SHARE great ideas via comments with everyone.  And if you want to follow me, I'm at nhstexlibrary

Have fun, and start Snapchatting!

See you on the filtered side!!








Saturday, February 4, 2017

Blood, Bullets, Bones: the story of forensic science from Sherlock Holmes to DNA

2016, Balzer & Bray.  Written by Bridget Heos

Turn on any television network, and you'll find programming about murder, mystery, and a savvy team of solvers.  It seems there is an interest in forensic science, but it's also a science that is very broad.  And that's where this amazing YA book comes in.  It captures the history, as well as the interest found today in our modern society.

Not only is this a book about forensic science, but it's also about the history of forensic science.  How long has this practice been instituted (far longer than the FBI and CSI)?  How has forensic science changed over the centuries?  These are just a few questions this book will answer.  It also includes some interesting facts including:

The word "coroner" derived from the English word "crowner," (SUPER interesting how this came about!)

The very first FBI group, which happened in Europe, not the States

The trend of murder in the 1800s - early 1900's (not, it's not guns either)

How forensic science investigation has changed from the macabre to the technological.

The best part of this is that there are numerous different cases Bridget Heos inserts that gives the readers as sense of where this science was during that particular time. Readers will have insight into the science AND the judicial side as well and how that has morphed into what it is today.

 This isn't a book filled with scientific vocabulary. From testimony to "expert" witnesses, admissible information to complete accidental findings, Heos takes the reader on a scientific journey that will pique curiosity, perhaps make you cringe a little, and explains this exacting science in a narrative format that young adults will be drawn to.  Heos  inserts cases into the narrative, but also historic and current images that solidifies what forensic science looks like.

Highly recommended for upper JH to HS and beyond.

Monday, January 23, 2017

Library Valentine's Day Toolkit

I'm gearing up for that time of year when pink and red make their once a year debut and the smell of roses and candy permeate the air.  Yep....it's time to decorate for Valentine's Day!!  

I thought of a few things I could do and started searching for library pick-up lines.  Some were great, some were not so great for public schools.  But I wanted something new, different, updated!  So taking some time to brainstorm, here are the library pick-up lines I came up with (snigger away because they ARE cheesy!) Most of the them are from my addled brain and the last few are commons ones found online.  

Makerspace so I can sit by  this beautiful angel

I can predict future library trends with you and me in it!

Reader’s Advisory Warning: You’re about to meet your soulmate!

I’m looking for true love and covering all my (data)bases to make it happen!

It’s Destiny that I’m going to Discover true love!

You make my heart go into Overdrive!

I’m looking lips(Mackin) good to capture your attention!

I’d like to (C)engage in some conversation with you

But wait!  There's MORE!  You can find even more cheesy goodness in this secondary toolkit I created, complete with two YA books posters, and all the pick up lines ready to print and use.  

I plan on using mine on the bulletin boards, to tape around the library, and even stick on cardstock sized bookmarks to put in the books ♥ ♥ ♥

Here's the link to the folder with everything in it.  And yes, please use this however you'd like ☺

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Sketch noting and the library

Technology....it has been mainstreamed into education and can manipulated in ways to accommodate any students needs and the projects they are working on.  It is the apogee of innovation of the 20th and 21st century. 

One very interesting partnership that combines manual creativity with technology is the art of sketchnoting.  What is that, you say?  Sketchnoting if a form of notetaking where students are asked to use sketches and creative elements to "write" information.    When once there was a time where doodling was considered wasteful, now these doodles and sketches, if directed on the correct path, can lead to better retention of information.
sketchnotes from booktalk
Think about it...when students take notes, they're copying the exact words right off the screen onto a sheet of paper or digitally.  It's rote work (remember these iconic words? "Buehler...Buehler...")

But with sketchnoting, a notetaker has to not only listen attentively to what is being said, but also translate that into images and words that reflect the information given.  Students are using multiple brain functions to capture information.  

So why aren't educators doing this more often?  I think there are two simple reasons:
1. No one is teaching them (it's still relatively new)
2. Students WILL push back on the idea (because they don't want to give up Easy Street notetaking)

https://www.slideshare.net/secret/DFr4kVPGi300JR
But with persistence it CAN happen and work well!  This summer, I put my skills to the test and brought a one hour sketchnoting presentation to a conference.  This was attended not only by teachers, but administrators and students too.  It was well-received, and I was equally gratified to know the students sitting in this presentation enjoyed learning the process as well.  

In a time when classes are now custom-designed with a rubric of information being taught at specific intervals and modules, sometimes, it's nice to break out and teach something totally new to students. It may not be in the curriculum, but the value of what sketchnoting can do is innumerable.  

Here is the presentation I created.  It isn't bulky, because it's such a hands-on experience, but look through it and challenge yourself to sketch the examples.  Then take it to the classroom!  

Monday, January 2, 2017

New Year, New Reading Challenge! Are you Up for It?

There are a ton of reading challenges out there, but I decided to create one with tweens and teens in mind, as well as making the library and librarian, library associations, and people in their lives an integral part of it.  Here's the infographic I made (with links) AND as a bonus, a link to a Google Doc, which you can print out and share :)  And if you can't see the infographic on the blog, here's the link online
Happy New Year, Happy New Year's Reading!!!


Thursday, December 15, 2016

The Fall by James Preller

The Fall by James Preller.  2015, Fiewel and Friends

There is one less person that will attend school in the fall, and it is noticed by everyone.  Funny thing was, she wasn't noticed at all, until...

Morgan was an unassuming girl, but Sam knew who she was.  An accidental meeting led Sam to "accidentally" meet Morgan again and again.  Eventually, their friendship grew.  But Morgan knew something was wrong.  Sam didn't want to be seen in public with her, even avoiding his friends so they couldn't be seen.  But why?

And when Morgan finds out the truth, she decides the better option is not to be a part of it..or any part of life...and when the school finds out about the incident, the reaction is different.  Some are upset this could happen.  But then there are others who make sure that what they did is kept secret - from teachers, counselors, parents - everyone.

This affects Sam most, who was one of the last ones to post on her social media.  He has to look in the mirror everyone knowing he was a part of the tragedy.  He is also one who is full of the "what ifs" as well as trying to keep this dark ugly secret from surfacing.  And he knows what could happen to him if he decides to tell someone.

To Morgan, there seemed to be no alternative to the bullying that was happening everyday, in and out of school.  To Sam, there is an after alternative that could break him and lead him down the same path Morgan was trapped in.  What to do?  What to do....

This is a book about a teen who has to come to terms with choosing to be popular over choosing to do the right thing.  To cope with his grief, the readers get to see how his life has changed in real time, but most importantly, how his life has changed emotionally through his journal.

Powerful, impactful, recommended for readers who delve into this genre. 7-12

Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu


Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu.  2016, Roaring Brook Press

Small towns are places where people know each other and neighbors are everyone.  It's a place where people will recognize an unusual car.  They watch out for other people's kids as well as their own, and help create that small town feel that just feels right....

But one day, four years ago, Ethan was taken while riding a bike.  But when another boy goes missing from the same town, it is a pattern, not chance.  Thankfully, both boys are found and returned home but the aftermath is difficult.

Ethan is now fourteen years old.  He's missed out on life and has to deal with PTSD as well as behavioral and relational issues.  His mother hovers and he doesn't want to talk to his therapist about what happened.  Instead, he copes through blocking out what happened.  But then he meets Caroline. Her little brother was the other kid help captive but he can't talk to anyone because of his autism.

While Ethan has the means to go to therapy, Caroline's family doesn't, and the best way to deal with it is to pretend it never happened.  Her brother's life is unraveling, and Caroline is desparate to help.

She wants to know what happens, Ethan wants to forget it.  Together they begin down a path of friendship that allows for cathartic release, which both of them really need.

Powerful book from start to finish.  Two lives unfolding right in front of the readers' eyes allows for a wider perspective, but Caroline's and Ethan's friendship in the novel create another different perspective all of its own.  It's not only about victims, but about families too.  Highly recommended 7-12












Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Observations of a Librarian in the 21st Century

Wow...can't believe we are already sixteen (nearly seventeen) years into the 21st century!  Do you remember saying something in high school like, "When it's 2015 I'll be (fill in the blank) years old!" Education is changing to adapt, and so is the pedagogy.  And it's all because society and culture impact teens today so much more differently than ever before.  With that in mind, I came up with some things I believe a 21st century library should be aware of.

1. Teens are connected, and so are adults

via GIPHY
Walk down any hall of a high school and you'll see cell phones, laptops, tablets, and headphones galore! Make sure libraries are connected as well.  This is now the standard norm, so libraries should not only be book driven, but device and peripheral driven too. 



2. Learning is done more through video than ever before

via GIPHY
Youtube, TedTalks, MOOCs...watching and learning are more accepted than ever before.  When most new web tools have intro videos, take advantage of it.  Create screencasts to "teach" students.  Being visible is now done in front a camera and libraries should put themselves in the spotlight.



3. Reading preferences guide people and libraries.

via GIPHY
Some like e-books, some like hardcopy.  Paperbacks, hard copy, newspapers, magazines.  Kindle, Nook, Overdrive, Follett, Netgalley, Edelweiss, and sites for fan fiction are diverse, but they have one thing in common - people who read use them for pleasure, and academic pursuits.  And it make libraries re-think the concept of shelf space.




4. The virtual world is a lot larger than the physical one.

via GIPHY
 We don't live in a world where teens get home, eat a snack and do their homework.  It's now more like get home, eat something, binge watch Neflix, check Snapchat or Twitter, then do homework...at midnight...or later.  Make sure the library can meet them there.  Create an online presence ASAP!




5. Handwriting is old school.  Keep that in mind when you're creating signage

via GIPHY
There are actually teens out there who only know how to write their name in cursive because of documents.  Sigh.... And if that's the case, you know they can't read it.  So make sure that if the library has displays, signage, or posters, that they use a font that to reach all users. Be cursive aware!


6. Social Media is the new telephone



via GIPHY

Personal landlines are passe.  Teens today may not understand how a pay phone works, much less a party line.  They communicate en masse with social media.  And when they "talk" to each other it's through text.  Calling someone? That's ancient! Leverage these for the library so teens can communicate their way, making the library easier to access.



7. There is significant relationship building happening online.


via GIPHY
 Just when you thought you knew it all, catfishing for teens has taken on a completely new meaning.  Relationships of all kinds begin online and then can become face-to-face.  From using Remind for classes or Groupme for people with similar interests, there are ways libraries can create an online academic relationship with students.




8. Teens have an entrepreneurial spirit.

via GIPHY
 Interesting fact: the founders of Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat's average age is TWENTY-TWO.  Don't underestimate the genius of teens.  They are changing our future.  Heck they even created a new language adults had to learn - emoji, which began in the late 1990's and now has over 800 characters used in countless devices.



9. Teaching is not about lecture, but a participatory culture

via GIPHY
It's one thing to talk to teens, but it completely morphs when teens talk, create, and group together to learn.  Make the library that place where teens are learning in all sorts of ways.  If we are worried about their interaction with people because of their obsession with devices, participatory culture MUST happen. 




10. Libraries should not just have books....they should have a whole lot more

via GIPHY

And I'm not talking about computers (although that would be nice!) Think about things that could be checked out to patrons that are out of the norm.  How about gardening tools?  Anyone love to bake? Crafters could always use knitting needs and crochet hooks.  Sports equipment doesn't always have to belong in the gym and budding artists can save money by checking out brushes. JACKPOT!

Friday, December 2, 2016

'Twas the Night Before Techmas 2016 edition

For the past two years, I've created an infographic showing some great webtools for the classroom. So, if you have time and want to try out new tools, try these!  Click on the icons to take you to the sites listed.
And if you missed the last two here are the links:
Techmas 2014 edition           Techmas 2015 edition