Sunday, August 20, 2017

Mask of Shadows by Linsey Miller

Sourcebooks Fire, August 2017

Sal's life is one of stealth and swiftness.  After a war that ruined the lands and completely annihilated Nacea and its people...his people, he had to resort to thievery in order to survive.  But one fateful encounter with a lady will change his path from one of stealing goods to one of stealing lives for revenge....

The queen now rules over the lands and has put an end to dark runes and magic.  But her reign is in  time of shifting and danger, where she must be protected at all costs.  To ensure the safety of the queen four Hands, or assassins are assigned to her:  Ruby, Emerald, Amethyst, and Opal.  But when one of the hands die, an audition opens to replace this position.  Twenty-three people come forward to audition, from noblemen to thieves, including Sal and his thirst for vengeance of those nobles who killed his people.

But realization begins to dawn when the rules of the audition are explained.  Only one will survive and that person will become Opal.  Everyone who auditions will have the opportunity to kill or be killed.  It's a fight to the death and one Sal intends to win.

As the deadly audition begins, trickery and conniving create a cat and mouse game that slowly decimates the twenty-three to three...but who will win and become the new Hand?  And are the liaisons people they can trust or not?

Miller weaves a tale that will enthrall fantasy readers.  Although the book does contain violent episodes, it also contains elements of castles, magic, truth and romance.  Miller adeptly creates a world where even those you think are safe aren't, and those that are evil don't succumb to good. In the events that surround Sal and those he must fight against, lies a small but very unique part of the main character's life.  She introduces the reader to a gender fluid character, but like those assassins and auditioners in this book, she introduces him subtly and without fanfare, making this topic understated instead of in your face. For the more mature fantasy reader, the novel has hints of GoT readers will find and the story will have them begging for the next installment.  Highly recommended.  HS

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Copyright and the Classroom

This was a presentation I created for professional development for teachers.  It's something they really need to understand before school starts, so feel free to use it to teach the importance of copyright, fair use and Creative Commons.  This was created after reading Renee Hobbs's book, Copyright Clarity, a MUST READ for all educators, administrators and librarians!! Click below to get to the PDF of this presentation

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Young Adult Literature Resources and Booklist

Had an amazing day with librarians throughout the Dallas area!!  Here is the presentation I did for the Summit :)

Enjoy and start reading some great books TODAY!! :)

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Smashing Research: Engaging Students and the Research Project

I and my friend, Sue Fitzgerald, had the honor of being chosen to present at the American Library Association Annual Conference in Chicago this year.  When she and I talked about our topic, we thought it would be relevant to not only talk about the importance of research, but also how to make it more engaging and student-owned.  Here is the presentation (which I can't believe I forgot to add!!)
It contains ideas for:
Project-based learning
Smashing apps to create a digital research project
TON of websites
Unique ways to combine sites for projects
Examples of excellent student proejcts

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Five Important Things For the New School Year

Happy new school year!!  The gears are starting to turn and school openings are around the corner.  School campuses are caught up in a whirlwind of professional development, campus training, and many other things that will pull them from what they want to be doing - working in the library.  If you only get one day to do this, here are some things to keep in mind and keep your mind from whirling.

1 Everyone has that to-do list for the beginning of the school year.  There are some pretty important things on that list, but take a second look.  What are some of those things you can wait on?  Sometimes lists can be an overload and focusing on completing all of them isn't productive.  Instead of the frenzy of getting things done, look over and think what should come first


2. You can't do it all yourself (although we try!).  Being a librarian is being part of a collaborative environment.  Asking others for help and asking others to help are two very different but important activities we should do on a daily basis.  Be it your admin team, campus departments or even people outside your library walls (other librarians, consultants, virtual PLN) make a call or write an email. It will make a difference.


3. Learn a new tool this year.  Try something you've never tried before and work it into your presentations and curriculum with students.  There are a ton of great new tools out there from collaborative videos (Flipgrid) to curation (Follett Destiny Collections) to new Google tools (try Blocks) and so many more.  Look at ways you can use them, but more importantly, how your campus can use them.


4. The best libraries are one that are open and ready for anyone.  Look at your spaces and start defining them.  Creating a successful learning commons takes time, but with a little ingenuity, you can create one area that is different from what was there last year.  A table, some interesting bins of low tech makerspace, a 3-D printer, whiteboard paint, signage can all help create a feeling that there's something new and different.


5. Read.  That's pretty simple, right? the world of librarianism, it's easier said than done.
 Prfoessional needs of your own and others will play right into reading time.  Educators and librarians know reading makes an impact (It's the "R" in STREAM) so make sure you have time to read and share that love and excitement.  There's nothing like the feeling of changing even one student from a non-reader to a reader.