Monday, December 19, 2016

Books of the Week, Dec 19

Elementary - Winter Days in the Big Woods adapted from the little house books by Laura Ingalls Wilder
A little pioneer girl and her family spend the winter in their log cabin in the Big Woods of Wisconsin.
E FIC WIL @ the library

Middle School - Winterdance : The Fine Madness of Running the Iditarod by Gary Paulsen
This account of one man's obsession with racing dogs and running the Idatarod, the famous dog-sled race across Alaska, recalls his journey through the barren, moon-like, arctic terrain
921 PAULSON @ the Library

High School - After the Snow by S.D. Crockett
Fifteen-year-old Willo Blake, born after the 2059 snows that ushered in a new ice age, encounters outlaws, halfmen and an abandoned girl as he searches for his family, who mysteriously disappeared from the freezing mountain that was their home.
FIC CRO @ the Library

Friday, December 16, 2016

Stretch Your Stamina

It's almost winter break and while some families have exciting plans, some students will have a lot of down time during the week and a half off. Instead of letting them submerge themselves in a video game, TV show, or sleep (seriously, who sleeps for 14 hours a day!), why not encourage them to read a book.

According to a study done in 2015 and reported in the New York Times, the average adult attention span is just 8 seconds. Attention span was defined as “the amount of concentrated time on a task without becoming distracted.” No wonder we all feel like we have ADD some days!

Sitting down and reading is a great way to stretch your stamina in concentration. I'm using the term "reading" loosely here to include reading a paper book, reading an ebook, and listening to an audiobook. Focused listening takes just as much concentration as "normal" reading, because you are still focused on comprehending the story, analyzing the action and details, and predicting what will happen next.

Luckily, even over school breaks the SCC library can help with all your reading needs!

Students in grades K-12 have access to ebook and digital audiobooks via Destiny Discover 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. The number of books we have changes as I'm buying more ebooks and audiobooks all the time, but currently we have:
  • 798 ebooks and 164 audiobooks at the elementary
  • 927 ebooks and 324 audiobooks at the middle school
  • 818 ebooks and 179 audiobooks at the high school
You can access each building's individual Destiny Discover by visiting and searching for St Croix Central in a browser. You can also get the Destiny Discover app for Apple and Android devices.

Logins are available for students of SCC in grades K-12. If you need one, please contact me or stop by the library!

Happy holidays and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Books of the Week, Dec 13

No only are these great paper books, they are great audiobooks!

Elementary - Bink & Gollie by Kate DiCamillo and Alison McGhee
Two roller-skating best friends--one tiny, one tall--share three comical adventures involving outrageously bright socks, an impromptu trek to the Andes, and a most unlikely marvelous companion.
Listen to the audiobook on Destiny Discover

Middle School -Pax by Sara Pennypacker
When he's forced to give up his pet fox Pax, Peter decides to leave home and find his friend.
Listen to the audiobook on Destiny Discover

High School - Hole in My Life by Jack Gantos
The author relates how, as a young adult, he became a drug user and smuggler, was arrested, did time in prison, and eventually got out and went to college, all the while hoping to become a writer.
Listen to the audiobook on Destiny Discover

Friday, December 9, 2016

Short Story Contest Winner!

The SCC High Library ran a short story contest in November as part of NaNoWriMo, National Novel Writing Month. Students entered original or fanfiction stories throughout the month, with a total of 24 entries. These were read by the ELA teachers and myself, and the student with the best story received an Apple TV. Most of the stories have been posted on if you would like to read them.

This year's winner is Kylee Daivdson, (pictured with Ms. Olson) who wrote a wonderful fanfiction story based on the Fire Emblem: Awakening video game. Congratulations Kylee!

Monday, December 5, 2016

Books of the Week, Dec 5

Some oldies but goodies!

Elementary - Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.
FIC MAC @ the school library.

Middle School - Midwife's Apprentice by Karen Cushman
A homeless medieval waif who names herself Alyce is taken in by the village midwife, befriends a cat, learns about delivering babies, and confronts failure when an infant dies.
FIC CUS @ the school library.

High School - Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
Seventeen-year-old Richie Perry, just out of his Harlem high school, enlists in the Army in the summer of 1967 and spends a devastating year on active duty in Vietnam.
FIC MYE @ the Library.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Reading is a Gift

"There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all."–Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

I don't know how to express its importance. Maybe that is because I've never found it unimportant and can't fathom why anyone would. It's kept me company on lonely days. It's shown me happiness in places and situations I couldn't imagine. It's been a source of hope and understanding when I've needed it. It's given me empathy for people unlike myself, with an understanding of why they are the way they are and why I am the way I am. But most of all it's been a way to connect. My love of reading is an important part of me, and I believe reading should be an important part of everyone's lives.

"Great books help you understand, and they help you feel understood." –John Green

In my elementary years, I don't remember having a love of reading. I remember going to the library and learning about the card catalog, though I'm not sure why since the school had just purchased a computer catalog system to replace it, but I don't remember checking out books or sitting for hours reading. My love of reading didn't start until middle school from my recollection.

"There’s nothing wrong with reading a book you love over and over." –Gail Carson Levine

My school was fortunate enough to have a RIF program. The Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) program gave away books to students once or twice per year. Every student went down to the auditorium, where table after table was set up with stacks of books from every genre, reading level, and length. Sometimes you picked up a book that had an interesting cover without giving it much thought. Sometimes you skimmed the back cover and found one that you had never heard of but sounded interesting. And sometimes you were lucky enough to pick up the book that everyone was excited for (Harry Potter was such a book for me).

"A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted at the end. You live several lives while reading." –William Styron

On this particular RIF day in middle school, I skimmed through the tables with the rest of my class. All of us standing in front of these tables, some of the students grabbing any book in front of them just to be done, while others like myself took some time to actually look. I don't remember that title of the book that caught my eye, but the author certainly became a favorite - Lurlene McDaniel.

"You know you’ve read a good book when you turn the last page and feel a little as if you have lost a friend." –Paul Sweeney

Lurlene McDaniel writes books for middle school age children, and the stories usually revolve around a young adult who has some sort of illness to be dealt with (cancer, diabetes, transplants, etc) and there is usually a hint of a romance in it. So basically it's middle school appropriate books that sound like Lifetime movies. Yep, that's what pulled my interest. But once it had me, boy was I hooked.

"Where is human nature so weak as in the bookstore?" –Henry Ward Beecher

Every trip to the mall my family took included a stop at Waldenbooks. And to the back corner of the book store I went, looking through the books in alphabetically order until I found M. And there they were - a whole shelf of books by Lurlene McDaniel. Eventually my trips to the book store and gifts at holidays built my McDaniel collection to upwards of 30 books. I read and reread them over and over again. Eventually I branched out into all the Little House books, other teen romances, and suggestions from teachers. From then on wherever I went, I had a book with me; my love of reading had taken off.

"If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all." –Oscar Wilde

So what is the point of this story. The SCC community didn't need to know about my story, about the RIF program or about my youthful love of Lurlene McDaniel. The point is the gift. The gift of that first book, even though it was for school, even though I got to pick it, even though at the time I probably wasn't as enthused about it as I would later be, that gift made all the difference in the world to me. It made me into the book and story lover I am today and led to a career I truly enjoy.

"Any book that helps a child to form a habit of reading, to make reading one of his deep and continuing needs, is good for him." –Maya Angelou

So as you go into the holiday season and start purchasing gifts for loved ones young and old, consider adding a book to your offering. You never know when a book will spark a persons imagination and passion, for reading or for anything else in life.

Need some help figuring out what might be a good book to give as a gift? Check out these websites!