Summer Escape (Summer 2017 Issue)

Subscribers: Check out our Summer 2017 bonus online issue at SLC online! Find out how some of your fellow librarians spend their summers and get inspired. Click on the article titles below to read more.

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Table of Contents

SUMMER ESCAPE

Free-Range Professional Learning by Susie Highley

The YALit Lover’s Travel Guide by Jennifer LaGarde

Mindfulness in the Library by Brooke M. Davis


Continue reading “Summer Escape (Summer 2017 Issue)”

Thoughts on ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference

ALA’s annual conference offers an opportunity for librarians to hear about the latest initiatives, ideas, award-winning books, authors, illustrators, websites, apps, tech tools…and so much more. But perhaps most importantly of all, it presents a chance to simply meet with fellow librarians, to reminisce with old friends, meet new ones, to share ideas and concerns. And, at the end of the day — after attending panels and checking out the exhibitors including, of course, stopping by to hobnob with our own Becky Snyder  (and Keith Chasse, Sharon Coatney, Jessica Gribble, Kevin Hillstrom, Barbara Ittner, David Paige, Cleta Walker, and Blanche Woolls) — it’s your time to let your hair down, enjoy the company of your colleagues, and to eat, drink, dance, and be merry. Oh, yes, and to advocate, always with the advocating!

We’re sure you learned many things that furthered your professional development and that you can use in your own library, and had lots of experiences that will make for some warm and fuzzy memories. In that spirit of learning and sharing, we asked some of our editors to share a few of their takeaways on the conference. And please, if you’d like to share any of your thoughts, leave a comment or give us a tweet; we’d love to hear from you!


Liz Deskins, our curriculum editor for reVIEWS+, jumped in with what might be everyone’s first thought as they gather at the conference:

“There are so many librarians! All different kinds, with a variety of interests and specialties; but all are happy to talk with you. We are family!”

Liz also felt it worthwhile to point out that “AASL is a democratic microcosm; it is wonderful to watch it in action.” And let’s not forget the books: “Books, in many formats, are still exciting and worth standing in line for.”

Here’s Liz taking advantage of the chance to meet with fellow librarians Jeffrey DiScala, Deb Logan, and Susan Yutzey. And who’s that sitting beside her, can that be David Paige?

Continue reading “Thoughts on ALA’s 2017 Annual Conference”

Serving Black Youth — Part Two

Yesterday we spoke with Dr. Sandra Hughes-Hassell and Dr. Casey H. Rawson to find out more about their new book. Today, we present a sneak peek of their new video workshop on SLC. This professional development workshop briefly covers some of the key concepts from their work on equity and the need to change our thinking about serving Black youth.

In this sneak peek, Dr. Hughes-Hassell discusses enabling texts, why they are important, and what to look for when including them in your collection.

Subscribers can access the full workshop here.

Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth, edited by Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Pauletta Brown-Bracy, and Casey H. Rawson covers key research concepts and includes profiles of school (and public) libraries that are working to effect change.

 

Serving Black Youth — Part One

One of the new books from Libraries Unlimited that we’re particularly excited about is Libraries, Literacy, and African American Youth, edited by Sandra Hughes-Hassell, Pauletta Brown-Bracy, and Casey H. Rawson. This book tackles the issue of making libraries welcoming to Black youth and addressing the needs and desires of this population in the interests of promoting equity and social justice. The text covers key research concepts and provides illustrations of best practices by offering profiles of school (and public) libraries that are working to effect change.

In their introduction, the authors say that rather than a how-to guide, they want their book to “spur dialogue and reflection about how libraries must change” in order to better serve African American youth. In the interests of building on this dialogue, Dr. Hughes-Hassell and Dr. Rawson were gracious enough to answer  some questions for us about their work.

And, stay tuned! Sandra and Casey also created a professional development workshop for SLC on these same issues. Tomorrow we’ll post a sneak peek of the video.

Continue reading “Serving Black Youth — Part One”

June Author of the Month Deron R. Hicks

Mystery, history, and Vincent Van Gogh—these are at the top of my list of favorite things. You may well imagine, then, how  thrilled I was to run across a book that incorporated all three, Deron R. Hicks’ The Van Gogh Deception. On top of that, he also has a Shakespeare mystery series. I think I’m in love!

Be sure to look for our review of The Van Gogh Deception, which received a highly recommended rating in the May/June issue of School Library Connection. Subscribers can see our complete archive of reviews here.

As our forever-leaping columnist Stacey Rattner has written in the pages of School Library Connection, children’s book authors are the school librarian’s rock stars. And it is definitely one of the perks of my job that I get to have a little one-on-one with these rock stars and get to know them on a somewhat more personal level. Another perk? I get to share their stories with you. So, without further ado, let me introduce you to the author of the highly recommended The Van Gogh Deception, rock star Deron R. Hicks (whose books, by the way, are anything but much ado about nothing!). Continue reading “June Author of the Month Deron R. Hicks”

“We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction.” A Supplement for LIS Faculty

We are pleased to continue our series of learning experiences designed for use with school library candidates in graduate/professional programs, including pre-service school librarians and practitioners working as educators while earning their credentials. This month, Carl A. Harvey II, Topic Center Editor for Organization & Management, has provided a series of activities to help faculty in using the text from our May issue for assignment instructions or online course modules.

Current subscribers can access the referenced articles via the hyperlinks below. (Magazine subscribers who still need to register for their login credentials at no extra cost may do so here.) As always, new subscribers are warmly welcomed into the SLC community, or we invite you to sign up for a free preview of our online platform.

In this issue of School Library Connection, which focuses on how to connect our students to diverse books, Leslie Preddy reminds us that, “although diversity is currently a social and politicized buzzword, it is important for us to remember school libraries have a history with understanding and embracing diversity in our community. It is through meeting the needs of the populations we serve that we intentionally, and in a natural manner, incorporate compassion and respect through the instruction, programming, and collections we design for our schools.” In many articles this month, our authors explore the diverse collections found in our libraries and the diversity of the patrons who use them, offering potential connections and points of discussion to LIS courses that focus on collection development, children’s literature, young adult literature, and library instruction.
—Carl A. Harvey II, Instructor of School Librarianship, Longwood University, Farmville, VA Continue reading ““We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction.” A Supplement for LIS Faculty”

Redefining Reading: Comics in the Classroom

If you haven’t already heard, graphic novels and comics are gaining popularity with librarians as their value in promoting reading fluency, especially among beginning readers, reluctant readers, and ELL students, becomes more apparent. In this piece from our archives, Deborah B. Ford shares some ideas on using graphic works in your library or classroom.

Subscribers can always find more great articles in our archives. Not yet a subscriber? Click here for more information.

The Return of the Saturday Matinee!

Recently we decided to do Saturday Matinees @ the IMC, a teacher’s lending library for San Diego Unified School District staff. These one-hour classes for teachers focus on the resources available to them. With Comic-Con just around the corner, I decided to do “Comics in the Classroom”

Literature? Comics? Yes, comics. When was the last time you looked at a comic without reading? Don’t you have to determine sequence of events, character, plot, and resolution? And don’t forget that these panels have a beginning, middle, and end in as few as three squares. Using Follett Destiny as a search tool, I found a website, professorgarfield.org, that allows you to sort the panels into correct sequence, and then you have to answer questions about them. It is not as easy as you might think!

Comics in the Curriculum

Teachers can use comic books and graphic novels (fiction and nonfiction) to teach curriculum and standards. Publishers see the interest that students have in graphic novels. Some companies have published graphic novels of the classics. These versions make it easier for second language learners or students reading below grade level to grasp the storyline, as well as give them some background for reading the original. Stone Arch books and Capstone Press have created graphic libraries of content related curriculum. Now students can read what they want and learn something while doing it. As with any literature, teachers and librarians will want to pre-read before using graphic material with students. Continue reading “Redefining Reading: Comics in the Classroom”

Diversity in Your Collection: Recommended Titles

In today’s age of social media and instantaneous communication, the world seems smaller than ever before. With so many people across so many diverse countries, cultures, and backgrounds in contact with one another—and often part of our school communities—it is important to acknowledge and promote a global perspective among young learners. This is particularly relevant for libraries, where diverse characters and stories can offer readers windows into the lives of characters very different from themselves. Below is a list of titles recommended by SLC reviewers that focus on characters from various backgrounds and walks of life, all experiencing problems, joys, fantasies, and ordeals that readers from anywhere in the world can recognize and relate to.

Subscribers can always find reviews of other great titles like this at reVIEWS+

Save Me a Seat
Author: Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan
Price: $16.99
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Grade Level (as recommended by Reviewer/SLC): Grades 4-8

When his family moves to the United States from India, fifth grader Ravi Suryanarayanan struggles to fit in at his new school. Ravi is used to being a superstar student, but he quickly learns that his American classmates think his accent, clothes, and lunches are unusual and not impressive, even giving him horrible nicknames like “curry head.” Little does Ravi know that his classmates also group him with Joe Sylvester, a struggling student who is bullied and feels like an outsider because of his family’s financial problems. When Ravi and Joe are sent to the same Special Education teacher’s classroom, an unlikely friendship slowly takes off and is solidified as they find a common enemy in Dillon Samreen. The reader sees Ravi and Joe’s unique perspectives through alternating chapters and even finds a glossary for each character in the back of the book. This heartfelt novel would be a great addition to any library collection, especially one seeking more diverse books.

Reviewer: Tracy Scaglione, Library Media Specialist, Dorsett Shoals Elementary, Douglasville, Georgia
Rating: Highly Recommended

The Head of the Saint
Author: Socorro Acioli
Price: $16.99
Publisher: Delacorte Press (Random House)
Grade Level (as recommended by Reviewer/SLC): Grade 6 & Up

Samuel, a boy of 14 who lives in rural Brazil, carries out his mother’s last wishes by journeying to sleepy Candeia to meet his grandmother and light a candle at the foot of Saint Anthony. Rejected by his grandmother, Samuel finds refuge in the large, hollow head of Saint Anthony that rests on the ground. He soon hears voices of women that come to pray to Saint Anthony for a miracle. Samuel also hears haunting songs that reverberate in the saint’s head twice a day. In an effort to expel the women so he can discover the source of the singing, Samuel tries to grant the prayers of the women. His plan backfires as the wishes are successful, bringing in many more people. Candeia becomes a hotbed of pilgrims and the locals try to profit from the sudden influx. Quirky characters, funny occurrences, forgotten family secrets, and poignant memories make this story appealing to all. This book is a standout in diverse young adult literature.

Reviewer: Lisa Castellano, Library Media Specialist, Larkspur Middle School, Virginia Beach, Virginia
Rating: Highly Recommended Continue reading “Diversity in Your Collection: Recommended Titles”

Connecting Diverse Students with Diverse Collections

This month’s One-Question Survey revisited a question we asked back in 2011: “How much of your resource budget is spent on materials in languages other than English?” In analyzing the latest results, Dr. Maria Cahill sees positive developments and the nuances of collection development.

We hope you use these surveys to help you reflect on your own practices.  Subscribers can view our archive of past surveys here or check out the complete May issue, “We Read Diverse Books: Connecting Our Diverse Collections to Our Instruction,” here.

How Much of Your Resource Budget Is Spent on Materials in Languages Other than English?

 

 

In the write-up for the August 2011 One-Question Survey Gail Dickinson wrote, “We want our collections to reflect the faces of our students and the faces of our world. We want to present information and ideas to our students in packages that describe their world and the world beyond them. The last bastion of acceptance may be examining the collection to see if it fits the most basic definition, i.e. are the materials in the languages that our students speak?”

At that time, Gail concluded that school library collections did not reflect the diversity of the students, but she also acknowledged that it was possible, though not probable, that the 1QS participants might be serving “in schools where there are no speakers of other languages.” Coming back to this question nearly six years later, our results paint a much more positive picture, but they also point to the nuances of collection development. Continue reading “Connecting Diverse Students with Diverse Collections”

Meet Bethany Barton, May 2017 Author of the Month

With a book titled Give Bees a Chance and a personality that absolutely buzzes with excitement, it’s tempting to introduce Bethany Barton with a metaphor about bees, but that risks a stinging rebuke from those allergic to puns so I’ll drone on no longer and invite you to read on.

 

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and this picture can certainly tell you a lot about Bethany Barton, artist and writer extraordinaire. Her books, such as I’m Trying to Love Spiders and This Monster Needs a Haircut, are as fun as she is, filled with her doodles, drawings, and imaginings that tell important stories about bees and spiders and monsters and friendship and patience and more. Her most recent book, Give Bees a Chance—which received a highly recommended rating from our reviewers—is not only absolutely ADORABLE, it’s informative too. And while Bethany was taking a few moments to stop and smell the flowers that owe their existence to bees, she was gracious enough to also take some time to answer a few questions. Continue reading “Meet Bethany Barton, May 2017 Author of the Month”