Monday, April 25, 2016

Books of the Week, Apr 25

Elementary - Jazz by Walter Dean MyersA collection of illustrated poems that celebrate the roots and various styles of jazz music, such as ragtime, bebop, and swing.
811 MYE @ the school library

Middle School - Jazz by Christopher HandysideChronicles the origin and development of the American jazz movement describing the instruments, sounds, and techniques that characterize jazz music; as well as profiles of jazz legends including Louis Armstrong, Billie Holiday, and John Coltrane.
781.65 HAN @ the school library

High School - Jazz: A History of America's Music by Geoffrey C. Ward and Ken BurnsTraces the history of jazz music from its origins in New Orleans through the twentieth century, and looks at the lives and contributions of some of the genre's greatest composers and performers.
781.65 WAR @ the Library

Find these and more at your school library!

Friday, April 22, 2016

I must know all the things!

I must know all the things! 

I need to know how my car works so when it makes a noise I can figure out if I should be concerned or not. I need to know about the furry creature that seems to have taken up residence in my backyard so I know if I can shoot it or not. I need to know about the election process because there are some people I REALLY don't want to be president. I need to know why we have daylight savings time even though I think it's the stupidest thing in the world. I need to know how my body works, how we process our food, and who the monarch of England was before Queen Elizabeth (happy birthday by the way).

Basically I need to know all the things.

But it's not that I need to know them all right now and be able to recall them at a moments notice. What I really need to be able to do is know where to find the information (making sure that it is accurate and not a load of crock).

That's where encyclopedias come in handy. Encyclopedias have vast wells of knowledge presented in a straight forward manner. It can tell you the facts about any person, place, or thing that you want to know about.

My family was lucky enough to own a set of encyclopedias that sat right on top of our entertainment center. Growing up on a farm without cable, the internet, or air conditioning, there were hot summer days where you didn't want to move but you needed something to do. I often found myself grabbing a random volume of that encyclopedia and flipping through it seeing what new, weird things I could learn about. Animals were always a favorite, but people and places where fun to look at too. I wanted to fill my mind with bits and pieces of the world that I was going to grow up and go into.

Now with all the distractions of modern electronics and media, it's harder for kids to understand that having quality information, like what you find in an encyclopedia, is important.

Soap box alert! -- My students always want to go to Wikipedia for their research projects. They think because it has the suffix "pedia" that it is just as good if not better than any other encyclopedia. However, I disagree with them to a point. I love Wikipedia .... for personal use. It's great to be able to look up information about a band you heard off, get recaps of TV shows you missed, or get quick facts about a place you are visiting when it doesn't really matter if the informational is factual or not. If you look at Wikipedia many of the facts are even correctly cited, leading to original source material. BUT, and here's where the problem lies, no one ever cares enough or wants to spend enough time checking those when they are looking for information. All we want is the quick fact, no matter if it is right or wrong. Well Wikipedia can be edited by anyone, any time, so the facts you're going to get are a gamble. I tell my students that because you'll never know if it is a true day or a lie day, Wikipedia just doesn't work as an academic source.

HOWEVER, we do have access to a great online encyclopedia that is fact checked and edited by professional staff. The Encyclopedia Britannica is available for free to all residents of Wisconsin through Badgerlink so we can learn about the world around us from a credible source. Before Wikipedia, Encyclopedia Britannica was the name in encyclopedia land.

So here's the bottom line, and I applaud you for actually reading this whole thing - we want to know things. We are a curious species. But we need to be well informed individuals. Encyclopedias are one of the easiest and quickest ways to get informed about a topic so you can KNOW ALL THE THINGS!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Books of the Week, Apr 18

Elementary - The Time of the Fireflies by Kimberley Griffiths Little
When Larissa Renaud starts receiving eerie phone calls on a disconnected phone in her family's shop, Bayou Bridge Antiques, she finds herself directed to the river bank near her house, where a cloud of fireflies take her on a journey through time to learn the secrets of her family's past--and save their future.
FIC LIT @ the school library

Middle School - Chronal Engine edited by Greg Leitich Smith
Eighth-grader Max, his older brother Kyle, and new friend Petra travel in time to the Cretaceous period to rescue Kyle's twin, Emma, who was kidnapped from their grandfather's Texas ranch. Includes author's notes about the facts behind the story,
FIC SMI @ the school library

High School - The Door in the Moon by Catherine Fisher
When Jake is kidnapped through the obsidian mirror, Sarah follows him into the past depths of time. Their fates, along with that of the mirror itself, will be decided at a masked ball.
FIC FIS @ the Library

Friday, April 15, 2016

3 Books that WI Kids Love

Every year students across the state read and vote for their favorite book. The Wisconsin Golden Archer award is given out for the books that our very own kids love. Though nominees are chosen by a committee of library media specialists, the winners are chosen by Wisconsin students by a vote done every spring.

The 2016 winners were announced this week.

At the primary level (grades K-2) the winner was The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak. "In this book with no pictures, the reader has to say every silly word, no matter what".

At the intermediate level (grades 3-5) the winner was Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul by Jeff Kinney. "The Heffley family road trip starts off full of promise, then quickly takes several wrong turns--with everything from a fender bender to crazed seagulls--but even the worst road trip can turn into an adventure, and this is one the Heffleys will not soon forget."

And at the middle school level (grades 6-8) the winner was Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. "In graphic novel format, Raina Telgemeier shares the story of her relationship with her younger sister."

You can find the 2016 winners and many of the past winners at your school library. The full list of winners can be found at .


Friday, April 8, 2016

Libros Nuevos


Now that I've exhausted my Spanish abilities, I thought I could keep going with something I do know about - the new books we have in the library that may have an Hispanic tint!

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh
A brief biography of nineteenth-century Mexican printer and artist José Guadalupe "Lupe" Posada, who was best known as the creator of the calaveras, pictures of skeletons doing various activities, that are an integral part of the Day of the Dead celebrations in present day Mexico.

Mango, Abuela, and Me by Meg MedinaMia's Abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can't read the words inside

Maximilian and the Bingo Rematch: A Lucha Libre Sequel by Xavier Garza
Everybody is fighting in sixth-grader Maximilian's world as his elderly aunts battle for the Queen Bingo trophy, his masked uncles wrestle for the tag-team title of the world, and his sweetheart and the "new girl" battle for Max's heart.

Low Riders in Space by Cathy Camper
Lupe, Flapjack, and Elirio customize their car into a low rider for the Universal Car Competition to win the cash prize that will enable them to buy their own garage.

Red Hot Salsa edited by Lori Marie Carlson
Presents a collection of poems written in both Spanish and English on being young and Latino living up in the United States.

There are many other new books, ebooks, audiobooks, and videos we have added to our collection in the past month or so. You can always see what is new, what is popular, and everything we have by visiting and choosing the appropriate building. Students can login to Destiny using their normal username and their lunch code for their password. 

If you have any trouble or would like more information, please contact me at aolson[@]

Monday, April 4, 2016

Books of the Week, Apr 4

April is National Poetry Month!

Elementary - The Death of the Hat: A Brief History of Poetry in 50 Objects by Paul B. Janeczko
A collection of poems about objects, from the Middle Ages when poets would have written about a sword to the present when their topics might be a birthday card.
808 DEA @ the school library

Middle School - Troy Thompson's Excellent Poetry Book edited by Gary Crew
Sixth grader Troy Thompson and his teacher, Ms. Kranke, face a challenging year of learning about poetry with humor and feeling.
811 CRE @ the school library

High School - Falling Hard: 100 Love Poems By Teenagers edited by Betsy Franco
Contains one hundred poems written by teenagers, and explores romantic love from a variety of sexual orientations, along with obsession, heartbreak, and more.
811 FAL @ the Library

Friday, April 1, 2016

The solution to all your book problems!

This conversation is a common one in the library:

Student: I need a book.
Me: Well, what do you like to read?
Student: I don't know.
Me: Okay. Is there a certain genre you like? Science fiction? Mystery? Sports? Horror?
Student: Well, I liked the book XXXXXX. But I don't know what to read now.

Books aren't like many other sources of entertainment out there. Unless you're willing to read the first 20 pages of many books before you find one to finish, you're going to have to put in some time up front in order to pick one that suits your tastes. (Think of it like being more choosy when watching YouTube. Instead of watching 15 seconds of a lot of videos before deciding you like one enough to watch it all the way through, you read the descriptions of and comments to see what it's about and what other people thought. Then you watch it.) Yes, this will take more time. But If you're going to be putting in 2-10 hours reading a book, you want to make sure it's a good one.

Behold! There's a website to help you!

If you've read at least one book that you have liked, the website NoveList can point you to others you may like. This website database is purchased via Badgerlink for residents of Wisconsin (thank you WI government for keeping this funded!).

Click here for a direct link to NoveList. Or you can always find it on Don't Google for it or it might ask you for a username/password. (If you ever find that it DOES ask for a login, you can use your public library card number.)

How to Search for Read-alikes in NoveList

If you need help, stop by the library or email me!