Monday, April 23, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I enjoy reading several books at once...but it does take longer to actually finish a book that way.  So this weekend, I picked up my copy of a picture book biography I obtained at TLA:
It's no accident that the tone of this book is familiar and loving; Keith Haring: The Boy Who Just Kept Drawing is written by one of Haring's baby sisters, Kay.  Family memories are interwoven with the development of Keith's drawing style.  Several of his works are featured in the illustrations and highlighted at the end.  I love that they include pictures drawn by their father, who encouraged his children's creative efforts.

I was privileged to meet the illustrator and author at the "Speed Dating the Bluebonnets" event at TLA!



Keith Haring must have been a special person, indeed; the illustrator, Robert Neubecker, spoke highly of Haring's talent and generosity.  Neubecker had the opportunity to meet Haring while working at The New York Times, and is lucky enough to have one of Haring's drawings framed on his own wall.  

I was vaguely familiar with Haring's work before this book; now I feel as if I know the artist's heart.  I am excited about sharing this vibrantly illustrated biography of a kind, generous artist in my Bluebonnet Reading Program lessons next year.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the Sommer Library?

We are back on a regular schedule this week!

Kindergarteners are reviewing our Armadillo reading list to prepare for voting on their favorite book next week:
Thanks to RRISD's fabulous Armadillo Readers' Choice Committee!

First and second grades are wrapping up their last Armadillo read-aloud with My Awesome Summer by P.Mantis, a nonfiction picture book about an interesting insect.

Third graders are reviewing the results of the library end-of-year survey and giving Ms Margocs suggestions to improve the library program next year.

Fourth graders are reading metaphorical poems and drawing what they think the poems are about.  It's an interesting reveal at the end of the lesson!

Fifth graders are learning some of the bells and whistles of our online Gale resources to help with an upcoming research project.  Last week, Ms Margocs was invited to Ms Gagliardi's room to celebrate with students who participated in the Slice of Life Story Challenge--blogging every day in March.  Fifteen fifth graders--and Ms Margocs--blogged for 31 straight days!

If you have misplaced a book, please make every effort to find it! The most common places for finding library books seem to be classroom and home bookshelves, under car seats, in a sibling's bedroom, or in a classmate's desk.  We prefer not to bill for a lost book until a month has passed, because they are often found by then!

It seems hard to believe, but we only have two-and-a-half more weeks of checkouts for the students.  All books are due back to the library by Monday, May 14th, which means the last day for class checkouts will be Friday, May 4th!  Students will still come to the library to return books and receive lessons and read-alouds through Friday, May 11th.

We are on the downhill slide to summer--keep on reading!

Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Road trips are great for reading, so I packed two books for our trip to visit our son in college this weekend.  Unfortunately, much of our car time was spent in darkness; I need to invest in a book light!

I'm making headway on Rick Steves' Travel as a Political Act, and decided to start a review book as well:
 
The Boy Who Knew Everything by Victoria Forester is a sequel to The Girl Who Could Fly.  Three chapters in, and I'm already comparing it to Marvel's "X-Men".  The cast of child characters are gifted with extraordinary abilities of flight (Piper), intelligence (Conrad), strength, telekinesis, electricity, weather control.  

The story opens with a conflict between Conrad and his father, a powerful senator.  Conrad gets sent to a special school for children with unusual abilities, but manages to escape with Piper's help.  He is taken in by Piper's farming family; it is there that he is told by the mysterious J that his real father is not who he seems to be--a matter complicated by the election of the senator as President.  What are the President's plans, and how do they involve the children?

With short chapters that move along quickly, this is a great book for middle grade superhero fans!  It's Monday; what are you reading this week?

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the library?

Testing--that is what was happening in the library yesterday and today this week.

The books were laid flat for testing in the library.

Yesterday, Ms Margocs had test administration duties, but today, she didn't!  Our kindergarten and first graders who missed out on their library time Tuesday and Wednesday had the opportunity to check out books in their classrooms today.  Kindergarteners also learned a lot about praying mantises in our last Armadillo book of the year:


Last week, Ms Margocs went to the Texas Library Association's annual conference in Dallas!  She learned a lot of new ideas to incorporate into our library program, and brought back some new books to share as well.  Apparently, Mrs. Haga and Mrs. Woodul let the kindergarteners check out two books each while Ms Margocs was gone (wink, wink), so they are now allowed to do so for the remainder of the school year!

Second through fifth grade students took a library survey while Ms Margocs was out.  We are happy to report that over 97 percent of those students like or love coming to the library!
Forms response chart. Question title: How was your library experience this year?. Number of responses: 754 responses.

The books are now back on display, with several new titles added to our collection!

These titles in particular were recommended by our Stallion Readers' Advisory Club:
The library will be open and back to business as usual tomorrow (Thursday, 4/12).  We are looking forward to seeing you in the stacks!

Monday, April 9, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

I attended our annual Texas Library Association's Annual Conference in Dallas last week, and came back with a LOT of books for our library--and even more book recommendations to add to our collection.  I'll talk more about those in the library post!

My current read was purchased on a whim, after hearing Rick Steves talk about the book in his keynote speech at our opening session of the conference.

Steves is as engaging on stage as he is in his PBS travel shows.  He equated libraries with travel--both open our minds and broaden our understanding by exposing us to cultures and people who are different, yet the same in many ways.  We need to humanize that which we've been told to fear.  It's a two-way street; when we travel, we allow others to see us as fellow humans, too.

His book, Travel as a Political Act:  How to Leave Your Baggage Behind, is now sitting on the arm of my couch.  Half a chapter in, and I'm already hooked.  If you have any upcoming graduates of high school and/or college, and they are planning to travel before jumping into school again, this may be the perfect graduation gift.

Monday, April 2, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Welcome back from our long spring holiday weekend!  What did you read with those extra hours off from work and school?

On Friday, I started and finished my first Bluebonnet nominee for the 18-19 school year:
This ghost story had me on the edge of my seat almost from the beginning.  This is not a "cutesy" ghost story; there is evil afoot in the Raine's new house, and it must be stopped.  

Harper has always seen things that most others can't--or won't--believe.  After a traumatic incident which she can't remember, the family relocates to Washington, DC.  Harper senses something wrong immediately, though she can't quite explain it--until her brother starts acting bizarrely, weird dreams begin to affect her sleep, and Harper ends up injured in two freak accidents.  With the support of a new friend, as well as some cemetery ghosts and ancient cultural wisdom from an unexpected source, Harper may be able to help her brother--and herself.

There are some scenes in this book that will make adults think of the movie "The Exorcist", as well as other supernatural horror films.  If your child is skittish after reading a scary book, this story may need to wait awhile on the shelf.  I was glad I read it in the daylight!

It's Monday, and I think I'm ready to move on from ghost books for awhile!  What are you reading this spring?

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

It's Wednesday! What's happening in the Sommer Library?

Did you see our "Library in the Lobby" on Tuesday?  Our usual location was being used for testing, so Ms Margocs and Mrs. Woodul stocked the carts and set up shop just around the corner from the office.  Several classes and individual students stopped by for checkout; it was fun to see all the classes pass by on their way to specials and lunch!

We were back to regular operations in our library space today.  No lessons this week since we doubled up last week, so lots of classes came in, checked out some great books, and spent time reading.  A great way to spend a rainy day!

We are expecting a shipment of new books tomorrow--ninety-six of them!  Keep your eyes peeled for the "Check Out What's New" display.

Ms Margocs will be at the Texas Library Association's annual conference for much of next week, learning lots of ways to be a better librarian for our Stallions.  While she's gone, second through fifth grades will take a library survey, and kindergarten and first grade will have their read-alouds.

Enjoy your three-day weekend!  Squeeze in some reading--Happy Spring!