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Showing posts from February, 2013

Bookmarked Members Review YALit

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Here is a link to the February 20th edition of SLJTeen with reviews by three teen members of the high school book group, Bookmarked. 

Students Enthralled with Cory Doctorow

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Cory Doctorow traveled straight from the airport to PFTSTA today to speak to the 135 members of the high school. I was thrilled to have an author who would be interesting to the boys. He has a wonderful talk that he has given at all the previous stops on his tour, but that did not deter him from letting the students see how passionate he is about technology, privacy, freedom of information access and a whole slew of Internet issues that weren't even in our consciousness twenty years ago.

Some of the students said that he really didn't talk about his books. In essence he did. All the issues that are real to him including his stories of schools that issued laptops to students then spied on those students at home, companies that rented laptops then spied on their customers in compromising positions, and the US government prosecuting citizens who violate the computer fraud and abuse act are all included in his fictional novels about Marcus Yallow in some way. His books are set in…

OMG, Ruta Sepetys Blew Us Away

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Ruta Sepetys spent an hour entertaining the juniors with stories of her life before she became an author and after when she spent years researching the historical background of her two novels, Between Shades of Grayand Out of the Easy. The students were an enrapt audience as she told each funny and harrowing tale that she experienced. 

Initially, Ruta, wanted to sing opera, but found out early on that she was no good at it. So with her finance degree, she figured out a way to combine her love of music with management and build a career. She began her career in Hollywood as a music manager and spent 22 years as a manager.  We are so lucky that she finally ditched that job and chose to write. Her first book is based on her family's history in Lithuania. The students were riveted by how she applied the "method acting" that she experienced in Hollywood to her research. She spent hours locked in a train car that was used to transport Eastern Europeans to the Russian death cam…

Bookmarked Skypes with Corey Whaley

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I am such an author groupie. To me, meeting the authors that I read is like meeting a Hollywood star. I am so in awe of what they do. There are librarians who become writers, but that will never be me. I can write in this blog, but fiction is not something that I can do. My imagination just doesn't work that way. 

I have met Corey Whaley, author of Where Things Come Back, several times. I just adore him. In October, I saw him at an event in Baton Rouge, LA and asked if he would visit us at PFTSTA when he returned to Louisiana. He recently moved back to the northern part of the state but driving to New Orleans is a hike. His schedule just wasn't going to allow a face to face visit, so I opted for the next best thing, Skype. He readily agreed. 

Bookmarked meets every Monday during lunch, so that is when we scheduled our Skype session. Corey didn't really have anything planned, and neither did we. I started the ball rolling with a question about Perks of Being a Wallflower by…

Exciting Week of Authors Planned

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I must have been crazy when I planned our return to school from Mardi Gras break. 

On Monday, Bookmarked will be skyping with Corey Whaley, the author of Where Things Come Back. Corey recently moved back to Louisiana but in the northern part of the state. I was hoping that we could get him to visit us in person, but his schedule just wasn't going to allow it. He agreed to the skype, and I think that the students in Bookmarked will probably enjoy that visit almost as much. 
Then on Tuesday, I was able to schedule Ruta Sepetys, author of Out of the Easy, to come visit us. She is making a world tour for her book, and her time in New Orleans is really tight. However, this book is set in New Orleans, and I had several students who read it and loved it. I thought it was one of the best books that I have read in a really long time. So I knew that I wanted her to visit Patrick Taylor. Unfortunately, she is coming during the lunch period, and we can't hold her talk in the cafeteria. W…

New Library Finally Framed

The new building for PFTSTA is right on target for completion. We are due to open for the first day of school in August 2013. Unfortunately. I have only been able to see it from the outside. My principal, Jaime Zapcio, has taken a number of hard hat tours. Lucky for me, she knows how much I want to see the library. The short video above shows how the new library looks with sheet rock. I can't wait until I have a space where I can fit every book on a shelf and don't have to have piles of papers surrounding my circulation desk. I am also dreaming of that natural light and windows where I can look out and see the tops of the trees surrounding the school.

Teens Review Fantasy, Realistic and Historical YA Fiction

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Bookmarked members are enjoying the 2013 titles from a variety of publishers. In this edition of SLJTeen, the students wax poetic about some of the titles and endorse all of them as good reads. Click here to read the reviews.

I Interview James Patterson

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Today, my interview with author James Patterson was published. You know, the article practically wrote itself because he talked, and I listened. I did have to come up with the questions but that wasn't too difficult. Click here to read my article in the newest edition of SLJTeen.

The timing of this interview coincides with a contest that Mr. Patterson is sponsoring called The Funniest Kid in North America. He is in search of funny kids across the country. All a kid has to do is write some jokes, perform them on a 60 second video and then submit the video to the contest. Click here to open the link to read all about how to enter.

Follett Challenge has Begun, Please Vote for PFTSTA

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The PFTSTA Library needs your help to win the Follett Challenge and $60,000 in resources for our library. You can help by casting your vote everyday until March 15th. Don't worry, I will remind you again if you forget. We are moving to a new building, and we need the resources to complete our new space. Click here to open the link to vote.

Continuing the Advocacy for School Libraries in Louisiana

Today I got an email from the president of the Louisiana Library Association (LLA). Of course, I wasn't the only one to receive it. She sent it out to all members of LLA who are subscribed to the listserv. During our fight in December and early January to ask BESE not to change the language about libraries in the Louisiana handbook for school administrators, Bulletin 741, I was working with the Louisiana Association of School Librarians (LASL). I am glad to see LLA on board with the movement to keep librarians in all schools. The president of LLA wrote a great letter imploring all librarians to begin a grass roots effort to write to local newspapers and state legislators about the importance of librarians in schools. 
I am posting it in its entirely here. If you live in Louisiana, we need your help to spread the good word about school librarians. 

February 4, 2013 My dear colleagues, In lieu of LDOE and BESE recent actions, we have much work to do to get Louisiana's school librar…

Using News Articles to Write Gists in Social Studies

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I did this same lesson last semester with the students in Mr. Johnson's social studies classes. I thought it was very successful, so I wanted to share it with you. Everyday when students arrive in Mr. Johnson's room, they begin the day with a gist. They are suppose to find a news article on-line and then write 10 words summarizing the article that they read. For the first few weeks of the semester the students were allowed to go to any site they chose to find news articles. With the world at their fingertips, the students still selected CNN, BBC or Fox News ninety-five percent of the time.

I know that I am a dinosaur, but I explain to the kids when they visit the library for this lesson that I was lucky to have access to my local newspapers in my school library much less newspapers from India or Japan. I then show them how I have collated a number of sites that they can use to find newspapers and news magazines from across the globe, many in English. To keep the students from…