Wednesday, September 28, 2016

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

Last Wednesday, the kindergarten, first, and second graders enjoyed a visit from Masai Maggie, who is "Wild About Reading"!  She made all sorts of puppets come to life, shared facts about animals, performed magic tricks, and read a story about an elephant who needed to sneeze.

Hearing and vision screenings took place in the library on Thursday and Friday.  Thanks to all the school nurses who gathered to screen our growing campus!

Ms. Margocs attended the monthly district librarians' meeting on Friday, where she listened to presentations on great learning trips for educators, picked books to read and review, and got to play with her food to make an owl:

This week, we continue to celebrate Banned Books Week by displaying many children's books that have been frequently challenged in the United States.  Do you see any of your favorites on display?  

We have another author visit on Monday for our third and fourth graders!  Book fair is right around the corner, too; be on the lookout for the sales leaflet in your backpack next week!

Monday, September 26, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

This week is special for libraries, writers, and others who deal in the written word across the United States, as we celebrate Banned Books Week.

Banned Books Week 2016

Today, I want to share some of my personal favorite books from the "Frequently Challenged Children's Books" list published by the American Library Association.  
  • Judy Blume's Are You There, God?  It's Me, Margaret was a rite of preteen passage and a gateway to important talks about adolescence with my mother.  I was Margaret, navigating the fear and curiosity of impending puberty.  I still have the book on my shelf.
  • Dr. Seuss was a part of my childhood, my children's read-alouds, and continuing favorites of my elementary students.  Hop on Pop:  The Simplest Seuss for Youngest Use will be one of my favorites to (hopefully!) share with my grandchildren one day.
  • Long road trips would not have been as much fun without our Where's Waldo? books by Martin Hanford.  As an educator, I now realize we were building an eye for detail and visual literacy--and we just thought we were having fun trying to find Waldo!
  • I was glad to be introduced to Robie Harris' It's So Amazing! and It's Perfectly Normal! books during my master's program.  I bought them for my own children, and left them on the coffee table as a resource for facts about puberty and relationships.
  • Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time was one of the first science fiction books I read as an elementary student, and worth the re-reading with my lunchtime book group.  The story is just as relevant and awe-inspiring today.
  • I read The Giver by Lois Lowry for the first time with a book lunch bunch last year.  It's a cautionary tale about personal rights and freedoms that readers can connect with current events.
  • Mary Rodgers' Freaky Friday was on my bookshelf before Jodie Foster, and then Jamie Lee Curtis and Lindsay Lohan made it popular on the big screen.  Who doesn't love a tale on the classic theme of walking a mile in another's shoes?
  • My children grew up with the Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling; I'm fairly certain they were the longest books my daughter read--and happily did so--in elementary and middle school.  They are on my home shelf as well, thanks to a generous uncle.
Shel Silverstein's A Light in the Attic, Elizabeth George Speare's The Sign of the Beaver, and Mildred D. Taylor's Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry round out my list of books I've read and enjoyed as a child and into adulthood. My guess is that a few of your favorites are on the challenged books list as well.  Your favorites may not be mine; as I tell my students in the Book Nook of our library, "It's okay if you don't like every book I share.  Not every book is for every reader, and not every reader likes every book."  I trust them to learn their preferences and boundaries as they navigate through our library collection, becoming independent readers with critical thinking skills.

Banned Books Week 2016
It's Monday; what "banned books" are you reading this week?

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

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

Our library is a busier than usual!  We will be closed for checkouts on Thursday, 9/22, and Friday, 9/23,  due to hearing and vision screenings for our school.  To accommodate our classes, we've been doing mini-checkouts of 15 minutes apiece.  We are glad our teachers are flexible with their schedules; we're REALLY grateful for our volunteers who have helped us keep up with the flood of book returns with these compacted days.

We received some new books this past week...and they have all been checked out!

Today, kindergarten through second grade is in for a treat, as Masai Maggie comes to our school to get "Wild About Reading"!  There will be pictures in next week's library update!

Next Monday, the semi-finals for the 4th and 5th grade Spelling Bee will be in the library during our flex time.  Stay tuned for more news about upcoming author visits and our biggest event of the semester--BOOK FAIR!

Monday, September 19, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Visit the sites above for more book reviews!

I've had the pleasure of reading four wonderful books this week!

Kate Messner's How to Read a Story, illustrated by Mark Siegel:

This was our first Round Rock ISD Armadillo book to read in our Book Nook this school year.  It's a perfect fit for September, as our littlest students are searching for books they'll enjoy and share with classmates and family members.  My favorite spread is where we are advised to change our voice to suit the characters; I reminded my second graders that this can happen mentally, too, as they venture into their chapter books.

A Child of Books is co-authored and co-illustrated by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston:
I have revisited this story several times since it arrived on my doorstep, finding something new in the illustrations and some nuance I missed during the previous read.  The concise text is a powerful call to feed our imagination and color our world by reading fiction.  Readers who pay attention to the teeny text in the pictures will be introduced to snippets of childhood classics that may spark further reading.

I Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino, chronicles the traditions of storytelling beginning with cave dwellers around a fire:
I've been a fan of Yaccarino's illustrative style since I read his Unlovable and Five Little Pumpkins to my own children.  His newest book is one I would share with students at all levels.  Yaccarino takes us from oral traditions and cave paintings, through hieroglyphics, the printing press, digital reading...and back to storytelling around a campfire.  It's a great way to spark a conversation about our own family stories.

Simon Sinek's latest book, Together is Better:  A Little Book of Inspiration, is a condensed version of his teachings in a picture book format:

Ethan M. Aldridge's illustrations are inked in black with red highlights,  and tell their own story to complement Sinek's text.  I would use this book with children by reading each page, then asking them how it is illustrated in the accompanying picture; the details are just as important as the text.  Adult fans of Sinek will appreciate the afternotes that further explain his message of leadership by service. 

It's been a great week to read picture books; what's on your reading list this week?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

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

Tomorrow is "Power Up at Your Library Day"!

Libraries across the state of Texas are celebrating the many ways we support our communities through access to information, technology, learning opportunities, and creativity.

In the Sommer Library, we've been using our Next Gen iPads this week to explore the great databases we can access for learning, such as Britannica School, CultureGrams, and World Book Online.

Mrs. Hafner's class is using the the iPads with the Educreations app to show their understanding of the order of operations for math:

Our library hosted the Robotics Club last night, and will host Newspaper, Byte Size, Destination Imagination, Math Pentathlon, and Spelling Bee clubs and events in the coming weeks.

Our students and learning community are powered up at our Sommer Library!

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

This northwestern-Austinite does not venture downtown often, but when a famous local author announces an important book launch, I'm making my way there!

Of course I got lost along the way and was fashionably late, but caught most of Bethany Hegedus' speech as she talked about surviving the events of September 11, 2001 in New York City.  A chance meeting shortly afterwards with Arun Gandhi inspired her to ask if he was interested in co-writing a picture book of his experience with his grandfather, Mahatma Gandhi--and he agreed.

We were fortunate to host Bethany Hegedus and Arun Gandhi at our school a couple of years ago, when they shared their first book, Grandfather Gandhi, illustrated by Evan Turk.

The lesson in Grandfather Gandhi is how to channel one's anger in a productive manner.  I appreciate the way Gandhi doesn't negate the feeling of anger; instead, he uses it as fuel for positive change in the world.

The book launched today is the sequel, Be the Change.

Be the Change teaches us that waste can lead to violence--a connection I never thought of before reading this book.  The saying "Live simply, so others may simply live"--another quote of Gandhi's--is the underlying message that I heard while reading the beautifully illustrated collage pages.  I will be revisiting my shopping habits, and paying more attention to the food we throw away.

There is a lot of talk about emotional intelligence and social skills in educational circles; these Grandfather Gandhi stories are a good start to discussions with students at all levels.

It's Monday!  What did you read this past weekend?

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

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

Our most popular books in the library this past week have been series:  Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney, Geronimo Stilton, and Goosebumps by R.L. Stine.  We had FULL shelves of these titles, and they have ALL been checked out!  The Bluebonnet Award Nominees have also been flying off the shelf!

We've had a visitor in our library for the past two weeks!  She doesn't have a name yet, but she's been helping our kindergarteners and first graders learn how to care for books.  Treating books like babies keeps them in good shape, so we can share them for a long time.

Our older students have been reviewing our library expectations and learning about tools to narrow a search for materials on our Enterprise online catalog.  Using the "Subject" and "Material Type" limiters can make a search more efficient.

Remember, you can access our online catalog from any internet connection!  Just click on "e-library" on our Sommer Library website:

Next week, we'll have some exciting news about upcoming events in the library!  Stay tuned, and keep reading!

Monday, September 5, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Happy Labor Day!

This past week, I read On Our Way to Oyster Bay:  Mother Jones and Her March for Children's Rights (CitizenKid).  This story was not included in my American history lessons in school; I wish it had been!  Narrated by a fictional eight-year-old mill worker in 1903, it is the story of real-life activist Mary Harris Jones and her fight for the enactment of child labor laws.  "Mother" Jones organized a march from Kensington, Pennsylvania to Oyster Bay, New York to confront President Theodore Roosevelt and personalize the plight of children forced to work due to poverty, often in dangerous situations.

Written by Monica Kulling and illustrated by Felicita Sala, this picture book is perfect to share with upper elementary through high school--and especially timely for today's Labor Day holiday.  Mother Jones was an activist for many labor-related issues; for more information, visit the following links:

I hope you are taking a break from work today; spend some time reading!