Monthly Archives: January 2014

Trailer looks good but time will tell

We’ll I am happy to finally see the full trailer for the fault in our stars,but I have to be honest I get nervous with these movies. I also hope that this is not much exposure for Shailene Woodley, she is talented but I don’t want to see her get too big too fast.

Now for your viewing pleasure:


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2014 Winners Announced

It was a very exciting morning for book lovers and book nerds alike.   Awards were announced for the 2014 best in children’ s literature. And though some of my predictions didn’t come through, I did pick a winner.

Congratulations to the 2014 Winners!

Newbery Medal Winner
Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo  (picked this as the possible winner. just saying)

Newbery Honor Winners
One Came Home by Amy Timberlake
Doll Bones by Holly Black
The Paperboy by Vince Vawter
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes

Caldecott Medal Winner
Locomotive by Brian Floca

Coretta Scott Kind Award Winner
P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

Schneider Family Award Winners
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (for middle school readers ages 11-13)
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (for teens)

Printz Award Winner
Midwinter Blood by Marcus Sedgwick

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Filed under Art, Awards, Books, Reading

Book Reviews

I have been very lucky to work with Library Media Connection (LMC) magazine as a reviewer.  I enjoy being able to view titles before they come out and get the opportunity to give my opinion.   I take two sides to reviewing.

1) I look from the eyes of a librarian and reviewer.  I look for the quality of the writing, the character development, and the movement of the plot.  I resist the urge to not read other reviews of the title until I am done with mine. I do not want any outside influences.  Because I know that my opinion might be different; and I don’t want their opinion changing how I write my review.  My main goal as a reviewer is, what would make me or my students pick this up?

Which brings me to…

2) I try to look through the eyes of my students.  I am lucky in the sense that I oversee two libraries, it provides me with the opportunity to see a variety of reading styles and trends.  And a majority of the books that I review are geared toward middle school ages readers, so I focus on how my students would react to seeing this title on my shelves.  Would they want to read it?  What can I say to make them want to read it?  As a librarian my goal is to see more students reading for pleasure, so being a reviewer allows me the opportunity to get a jump on who to promote new titles.

So my goal for this post is to share with you some of the titles that I have had the chance to review. I will not be showing all of them, but a good amount and the ones I feel you should check out.  I hope you, and your young readers, enjoy them. (sorry of the lack of cover images. My service is on the fritz today)

The Problem with Being Slightly Heroic by Uma Krishnaswami

Killer Species #1:  Menace from the Deep by Michael P. Spradlin (this is part of a series)

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

The Last Wild by Piers Torday (this is the first of a series)

Good Crooks series by Mary Amato

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Google in Education

Happy New Year!  I took a little bit of break to collect some ideas and start on some posts and I am ready to start sharing again.  The first post for the new year is going to focus on using Google in the classroom and in education in general.  My school has recently provided all students with a Google account and access a Google drive to help streamline the process of homework, papers, and other classroom assignments.  However, There are several other options that Google has available that will provide the teacher and the student the opportunity for a more enriching learning experience.

1) Google Alerts
This feature provides a flexibility to receiving updates for a particular topic of interest.  The alert will be send directly to the student’s mailbox so the information is completely up-to-date. This is perfect for those using current events or news stories in their classroom activity and is helpful for reports dealing with ever changing events.

2) Google Books
Ahhhh, I couldn’t go one highlight without mentioning Google Books.  Forgive me I am a librarian so yes books will be at the top of my list.  And yes, I know they are in digital form but I am not totally against the digital book.  Do I think they should have an actual book of course but the digital book works just as well…but that is another topic.  Back to Google Books.  This tool is amazing for students to access millions of books and preview them for free.  It allows students to reference countless books on any subject matter to gain a greater level of understanding on said topic.

3) Google Talks and Hangouts
I love this option for video chatting with a group of people.  The feature allows for up to 10 individuals to conference in on the same video call at the same time in order to talk about ideas, discuss a book,  voice concerns for a project, etc.  I have used this feature actually with my two book clubs.  Each school was reading the same book and we were able to have a larger book discussion through the hangout option.

4) Google Scholar
Probably used more by high school and college level individuals, this feature provides the Google user the ability to research scholarly literature from multiple sources.  The latest articles, abstracts, and books can be downloaded directly into the users mailbox, and all information can be cited, and public profiles can be created.   This is wonderful for those students working on larger more detailed research papers and theses.

5) Google Calendar
The online agenda.  This is option allows the student to schedule when projects and assignments are due and even share their calendar with other users.  Also alerts can be sent through a text message or email in order to help the student submit assignments on time.

Overall Google helping the students interact with each other and educational information in a new way.  They are providing the tools for the student Google user to become a more active participant in their learning process and succeed in new ways.

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