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Sandwiches! Part II

Copy of Sandwiches Part II

In many of the social psychology and business books that I enjoy reading (Grit by Duckworth, The Power of Moments by Chip and Dan Heath, The Power of When by Michael Breus, The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin) use an element of self-reflection to understand how your personality plays in to the scheme of things. Like your Myers-Briggs score, it’s true that a leopard doesn’t change its spots and I have been and will always be a rule follower, an upholder, a person with both intrinsic and extrinsic motivations for how I conduct my life.

It’s why when so many fell off the Edublogs year-long blogging challenge within a few weeks to months, I completed it. It’s why I enjoy a Book Riot month-long bookstagram challenge. So when I set my mind to making every sandwich in the Deering and Lentz graphic cookbook Sandwiches! I knew I’d have fun and see it through. And I’ve brought my kids along for the ride. They’re enjoying the loads of factoids along with the preparation while my husband is feeling stifled by the fact that we try to adhere as closely as possible to what’s in the book. Though there is room for experimentation!

Here are the images from the next set of sandwiches we’ve made: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert ones, oh my!

 

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Five for Friday

Five for Friday

Last night was the last book group meeting of the year that I facilitate through a local cooperative. With the size of the group and timing, we can usually share 1-3 books each, but I realized I’ve read so many fantastic books lately that I had a hard time choosing. So, it’s perfect for a five for Friday (and the last Friday of the school year with only one more school day left)!

 

Dread Nation by Justina Ireland

Shamblers aka zombies are being made out of the Civil War dead in an alternative history where African Americans are still oppressed. Jane is at a combat school for African American girls where she will learn to use the tools of combat to keep people safe from shamblers. But her cheeky attitude to “remaining in her place” gets her into trouble with the powerful leaders and she’s sent away to a town out west that is off. It’s her job, along with a band of others, to discover the truth and take down these leaders while searching for answers about her mother and Red Jack. It’s an adventurous, action-oriented, imaginative story that is as intense as it is funny, ambitious, and unique.

Illegal by Eoin Colfer with Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano (illustrator)

The graphic novel format does justice to the story of a fictional boy, Ebo, who along with his brother leave their homeland to cross the desert and eventually the Mediterranean to find their sister and peace. Colfer and Donkin’s storytelling and Rigano’s artwork create an emotional platform for sharing an immigrant’s journey with several scenes eliciting the same response I had to several scenes in Don Brown’s Drowned City about Hurricane Katrina. Multiple copies on order for it’s future release.

Be Prepared by Vera Brogsol

So, quick story: I’m currently doing the Book Riot Riotgrams challenge for June and Thursday’s post needed to be “ice cream/sweet treat”. Literally the day before, I read and adored Brogsol’s new graphic memoir, Be Prepared, in which she includes the Stewart’s Shops sign as she’s driving to summer camp. Stewart’s is a community-minded convenience store in our area that has amazing ice cream. So, what was a librarian to do?

2018-06-07 15.20.44

Go to Stewart’s, get a seasonal flavor (Mounds of Coconut) ice cream cone, and ask a Stewart’s employee to take a picture of me with the ice cream, Brogsol’s book, and the Stewart’s logo in the background. Mission accomplished (and the ice cream was delicious). But the book itself is everything that is right with sharing the universal experiences of tweendom. The awkwardness of making friends. The prospect of not having them and how we earn them, and who is worth our time, all while sharing pieces of her Russian culture as a Russian summer camp. The olive-toned colors bring out the story in a way that makes the expressive characters pop and readers enjoy the beauty of nature.

Hey, Kiddo by Jarrett Krosoczka

Hearing him speak this past week about the experience of writing his life’s story and turning it into a graphic novel was powerful. And while I have yet to watch the TED talk that inspired the graphic novel, it details his upbringing with his grandparents after they took him from his heroin-addicted mother (he never knew his father until later) and how he became an artist with their often tumultuous support. Yet, my favorite scene is when he pays homage to Jack Gantos (who I adore and we had the pleasure of hosting in our schools) as an impetus for his own craft. It’s raw and really real.

Teen Trailblazers: 30 Fearless Girls Who Changed the World Before They Were 20 by Jennifer Calvert and Vesna Asanovic (illustrator)

Add this to the stack of new informational nonfiction that highlight the stories of women who have accomplished something great in their lives in order to recognize the value of women throughout history. While some of them are starting to blend together, Calvert’s focuses on women who accomplished this even before they turned twenty years old is themed. The easy-to-read format features little-known and well-known women that inspire the next generation of kids to take charge in changing the culture when and where it’s needed. And it’s currency cannot be neglected since one of the women featured is Emma Gonzalez from Parkland High School in the aftermath of the school shooting in her school just several months ago.

Which one are you picking up first?

 

 

Failing forward

FailingForward

Today is Thursday. Today would have been day two of three days of adulting classes at the library run during our four lunch shifts. But yesterday afternoon I cancelled day two and three because of the failure of day one.

Day one was about healthy body and mind and featured our teaching assistant in the library whose physical and mental fitness is attributed to a very solid routine that he’s developed over his lifetime that stretches him and invigorates him. Then it included the public library who constantly run programs, activities, and provide countless materials to build our capacity for knowledge much like the school library. But in the big, bad world of adulthood, school libraries are replaced with public libraries after graduation. It would have been followed by finances on day two and transportation on day three where community organizations and businesses would have a few representatives to impart wisdom and knowledge. But I made the call after less than a handful of students came for each period on day one. I envisioned a few classes and/or a packed corner of seniors oohing and ahhing over the new knowledge they have going forward.

That did not happen and it is okay. I drowned my sorrows with a blow pop at lunch when the seniors  (who were still here and using the school library) said they were either here to work on final projects and therefore not coming or were completely not interested.

Upon reflection, it was likely not the best timing with literally several days left in the school year. Combine that with a later-than-usual prom date of this coming Saturday and they’re more distracted with signing yearbooks and those last projects than learning some new things or reinforcing the knowledge that they have resources to use when they leave the sanctuary of their high school.

success and failureI will always use these opportunities (after a little bit of sadness) to improve for the next time. This was the library’s first attempt at adulting classes. And I failed. But my favorite image and line is to “fail forward”. This won’t mean I’ll give up on library programming. Actually, completely the opposite, I’ll use Maya Angelou’s “when you know better, do better” and come at it again from a different angle, some more student input, and better planning for when to share the resources we’ve amassed.

Has anyone else had this happen to them? What are your best tips and tricks for when things don’t go as planned?

 
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Posted by on June 7, 2018 in Events, Librarian Life

 

Over the moon for To the Moon!

OvertheMoonforToTheMoon.jpg

IMG_0349While I absolutely enjoy my adult fiction and nonfiction as an adult reader, my teen audience is what I think about most when reading. And after enjoying the Memorial Day holiday with plenty of books and outdoor reading (an indoor reading due to the rain), I find myself appreciative of publishers who adapt adult novels for teen audiences who will eventually grow into readers of the adult novels too.

Though, I daresay that these young reader adaptations are done so phenomenally well that a reader may never need to read the adult version. This is true of Malala Yousafzai’s story, The Boys in the Boat, and Chasing Lincoln’s Killer. I’ll add one more to the list: To the Moon!: The True Story of the American Heroes on the Apollo 8 Spaceship by Jeffrey Kluger and Ruby Shamir whose adult novel by Jeffrey Kluger is Apollo 8: The Thrilling Story of the First Mission to the Moon.

Favorite characters: Of course, they need to be the real-life astronauts who took the mission when preparing for a later mission that left them in space during Christmas 1968. Each astronaut: Bill Anders, Jim Lovell, and Frank Borman all shined with their personalities through Kluger’s adept writing and research with a particularly telling scene at the end when Kluger describes an epilogue of sorts after Apollo 8 and what the men went on to do: Borman smacked the pod they had just returned to Earth in and walked away, never looking back while the two other men went on to continue in the space program.

Favorite scenes: Each scene where Kluger skillfully describes the mission control station or training facility. I was particularly struck when he explains how you can tell the success of the mission based on the smell, look, and temperature of the food sitting alongside the NASA employees during the missions. In contrast or relationship to their faces and conversation when things go right and when things go wrong. It is thrilling to feel like a reader is working on the mission too.

Earthrise_Anders_ToTheMoonRefFavorite quote image: I had to look it up because I knew that it wasn’t the “blue marble” image, but when Kluger explains Anders’ shot of Earthrise, I had to bring up the image to get the full scale of some of the captivating images that they would have seen and excitingly, captured for us earthlings to see. It demonstrates the importance of not only space travel but the undying power of an image to put us in our place– in history, geographically, emotionally.

So while I can’t put my finger on one thing that made this story great, it was a confluence of all of the pieces of great storytelling. Narrative nonfiction chronicling the space race, astronauts and the sacrifices they and their families make, the inherent danger, the dreams we all have to be bigger than ourselves, but told in a way that the everyday person can understand it and be along for the ride. Who wouldn’t want (as Marilyn Lovell knows) to be gifted with a Christmas Day present from “the man in the moon”?

And in closing, back to my appreciation for young readers editions, here are a few others I’d like to see adapted for a younger audience: Jane Goodall’s In the Shadow of Man, Trevor Noah’s Born a Crime, Bill Schutt’s Cannibalism, and Sy Montgomery’s The Soul of an Octopus.

 

Sandwiches! Part I

Sandwiches Part I

About two weeks ago, I sat down to my snack-based lunch at work where I use this time less to “have lunch” but more to read and unplug for a brief time from the hundred  interactions per hour as a high school librarian.

Usually I focus this reading time on nonfiction, manga, or graphic novels, so I had pulled Sandwiches!: More Than You’ve Ever Wanted to Know About Making and Eating America’s Favorite Food by Alison Deering and illustrated by Bob Lentz. I’ll admit that the title was intriguing but the cover was absolutely magical. It’s bright colors, big sandwich, and cool font is the epitome of great advertising through cover design. As I hunkered down for the next thirty minutes, I was giggling, huh!-ing, and flipping through the pages like mad learning about the first known reference to a club sandwich to why the rise in supermarkets post-WWII led to the popularity of the BLT because tomatoes and lettuce became produce available all year round (58). I also ick-ed my way through some of the recommendations for customizing some of them. I shouted over to our technology guy to ask if he had heard of a name associated with a classic Italian submarine sandwich hero/hoagie/grinder that is apparently used by upstate New Yorkers (sadly he nor I have heard of that term EVER– so if you live in upstate New York and have used the term wedge, I want you to contact me!).

But herein lies the reason this book got a triple-five star rating from me. I learned stuff. It was about food. It was graphic. It was entertaining. It had a vivid pictorial style that grounded the book while keeping readers engaged. Readers can tell the author and illustrator had fun working on this project if from nothing else than their bios at the end where they add their favorite sandwich and how to make it. I resolved then and there to make every sandwich in the book and document it on my Instagram. Luckily, Deering and Lentz really did their research because I have sandwiches for breakfast, lunch, dinner, AND dessert (umm, the ice cream SANDWICH people!)  So thank you.

I’ll share just a few of the pictures and sandwiches so far, including my first post committing to making every sandwich. I received quite a few comments about friends wanting to come over after that! And it was apropos that the first sandwich was made when a friend who appreciates good food (and good books) was visiting. You’ll see several posts throughout the next few months sharing my culinary journey paying homage to “America’s favorite food”.

Have you ever been inspired to do, create, or build something after reading a book? Please share in the comments!

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#PresentationMode

PresentationMode

Yesterday was a good day. An early morning run, then a walk with the dog. A new dress for a presentation with a group of fabulous ladies: two school library system directors, one reading specialist and professor, and two school librarians (me included). It was a day designed to discuss books and empowering our readers at every level.

With a keynote that shared how our varying perspectives of how we interpret what we read and what we seek out is usually a very conscious decision. We bring an experience to any book we read that is different from the person sitting next to us and we should be conscious of that and respect the reader. And the message of her keynote led perfectly into my presentation that went next about young adult books since I chose to focus on names: who we are as individuals and striking up a conversation simply by getting to know someone by asking their name.

I covered names of my author crushes (James L. Swanson, Caitlin Doughty, Rae Carson to name a few), fabulous names for books (The Hate U Give, Dumplin’, Puddin’), moms (Allegedly, I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter), dads (The Inexplicable Logic of My Life, My Brother’s Husband), girls (The Nowhere Girls, What Girls Are Made Of), boys (The Prince and the Dressmaker, Words on Bathroom Walls), and a whole lot of series, niche student readers, and popular titles with my students. Could I have talked the whole day away? Of course, but there were wonderful conversations interspersed in my my presentation about topics and challenges presented in books, getting books in the hands of readers using their subtopics as a way to diversify their options, and why series books are magic. You can find my presentation and the booklist here.

And once I was finished, the day was just warming up because then it moved on to middle grade titles and then elementary titles. But I’m at the high school, why would I need to hear about middle grade and elementary titles? Librarians should always know what’s new, popular, and discuss-able at every level in part because librarianship means finding the right book for the right reader or the reader’s needs. It might be a teenager wanting a book to read with their cousin, it could be a teacher wanting to use a picture book in their middle school classroom, and any host of possibilities in between.

It’s no secret that readers advisory is my favorite part of librarianship so a day like yesterday was just as good as spending the day booktalking. The next opportunity to share about books to professionals will be with the effervescent Stacey Rattner, my partner-in-crime aka The Leaping Librarian, in July and our theme is #getbooked.

 

Are you ready for this conversation?

AreYouReady

 

2017-02-14 15.14.12-2There is no greater purpose for me than when someone, anyone, approaches me to ask for a book recommendation. Be it a student, a faculty member, or my own mother. Multiply this love by one thousand when I’m asked to present to others about books and reading.

This week I’ll be presenting with some of my favorite people: people who love books and spread the love and their appreciation for what books can do. Specifically children. But where do you begin to organize a presentation about them? You most certainly need a thread. A theme. A focus. Because without it I’d literally be a rambling, excitable mess spewing sunshine and rainbows for the printed page and those that write them.

Sometimes the theme is a given, like the hottest books of the year (or yet to come), sometimes like in past presentations they were about books that can inspire activism or that celebrate the vibrancy of people’s life experiences. This one didn’t necessarily have a theme other than to give librarians a chance to hear about books, whether they’ll be adding them to their collection, reading them, recommending them, or sharing them with content teachers. It’s also about celebrating what books can be for us.

After mulling it over, I settled on approaching my talk of young adult books with the theme of names, as in “what’s in a name?” Fabulous titles and authors, the books of my favorite students, books for a specific type of student all inspired by the fact that in a lineup that includes covering elementary, middle school, and high school…. I’m going first! If you’ll be at the presentation on Thursday, you’ll hear more about why I’ve decided to take this approach, but until then, keep reading! And if you won’t be at the presentation, keep reading! And then read my follow up post later this week with some of the titles I shared.