National Book Lovers Day


I’m grateful to live in a world where there is no shortage of reading material to satisfy curiosity, escapism, and the beauty of the written world to evoke a range of emotions in readers.

Thank you to all authors for feeding the book lovers of the world.

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Posted by on August 9, 2019 in Events, Miscellaneous


Bringing it together


I regularly contribute to a few other blogs in addition to this one. This has taken shape over the last several years and focuses on a different kind of audience though ultimately it still boils down to books, reading, teaching, and librarianship. So in an effort to share out some of the other posts that often don’t make it back to this one, here is a post to bring it all together.

  • YALSA’s The Hub
    • A division of the American Library Association the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) uses The Hub to share out current recommendations for some of their virtual committees. This year, I sit on the Best Fiction for Young Adults (BFYA) 2020 committee. You’ll see several of my posts alongside other committee members’ and the other committees as well.
  • Times Union‘s Books Blog
  • Nerdy Book Club
    •  A national blog that celebrates a love of reading when it comes to children’s and young adult literature and is the brainchild of Colby Sharp, Donalyn Miller, Katherine Sokolowski, and Cindy Minnich.

Ballet biographies and the real thing

This post originally appeared on the Times Union Books Blog

Confession: It took me three decades to see a ballet; I’ve never even seen The Nutcracker. But last night, I attended Coppelia at the Saratoga Performing Arts Center amid the humidity for their 8pm performance with my two elementary-aged boys and husband. 

I was better prepared for a few reasons: my Pilates instructor, a former ballerina, gave me a Cliffnotes version of what Coppelia was about. And second, I’m a book nerd and had read Misty Copeland’s biography Life In Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina.* Like my post about a beer class connecting to reading, I read to learn as much as I find experiences to learn from and both came together last night. 

The biography balances her personal and professional realms allowing amateurs to understand the world of classical ballet. Copeland had a roller coaster life moving often based on her mother’s new love interest and entered ballet later than most. She battled against prejudice while working hard to perfect her skills to access the elite schools and companies to showcase her talent. 

What I liked is that she name-dropped sparingly. When reading celebrity biographies there is nothing worse than reading pages and pages of names of people I could care less about: I’m reading their biography because I want to know about them. I also liked that she focused on being a black woman in art by finding her voice and also celebrating it dancing on stage with Prince at his concerts to bring ballet to a different audience. Her audience widened again when she did an Under Armour commercial showing off her grace and athleticism that I discovered online afterward. 

And that athleticism is on full display with the breathtaking cover as it is on the stage watching any ballet. I guess aside from looking at a performance like Coppelia as a wordless picture book (I am a librarian after all) that was my other takeaway. I am more astounded by the power and grace of their execution than I am about the moves themselves (or their actual French names). In the book, Copeland regularly shared how arduous the practices were alongside maintaining her body for peak performance. This was a culmination of that appreciation. 

Whether I’m reading books about dead bodies or animals, it’s apparent that I love learning through books. Copeland’s biography is an entry point for those who like me haven’t ever seen a ballet. So I ask you, have there been books that you’ve read that have prepared you for an experience or activity? Share in the comments below! 


*Young reader’s editions are adapted books for a teen or tween audience adjusted for both interest and reading level from the adult version. Many adult biographies have been adapted including Sonia Sotomayor, Trevor Noah, Malala Yousafzai, or Ibtihaj Muhammad. 


Packing with no reading in sight


This past weekend I was going to be doing an overnight with family and running a race. Literally no ability to read because there would be a birthday party, a race, and a family lunch. But what did I do?

I packed two books.




Sometimes they go too quick, but when waiting for my Goodreads app to load on my phone, there’s always a quote that pops up. Yeah, you like those too? Who doesn’t love a good quote? I have no less than four quote images saved to my phone’s camera roll and many more on Pinterest to ponder. Here was the most recent one that struck me:

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Why yes, Mr. Lewis, you are correct. I blogged about my foray into making every sandwich in the Sandwiches! book by Deering and Lentz. I’m reading through every book Bee Wilson, a food academic, publishes. So clearly I have the food thing down (and my Instagram is a lot of the yummy treats I bake). And this blog? It’s pretty much all about my life and career as a school librarian reading my way through young adult like… it’s my job.

I’ve yet to find the best way- other than reading on a device- to read and eat at the same time because I always get gunk on the pages or can’t hold the book right while stabbing at something on my plate. No matter what, tea usually nearby. They certainly combine admirably.

Are there food/beverage combinations that you find yourself regularly pairing? Is there some larger cosmic reason that food and reading go well together? I agree and love the mystery of why.



A serie-ously informative series


One of my favorite things is to discover nonfiction series books that are dependable, informative, and eye-catching. Ones like

  • Wicked History and History’s Worst
  • Captured History
  • Actual Times or the newer series Big Ideas that Changed the World by Don Brown
  • Ordinary People Change The World
  • Olympians graphic novel mythology series by George O’Connor
  • Who Is/Who Was; What Is/What Was

just to name a few. And after reading Teri Kanefield’s newest in her The Making of America series focused on Franklin D. Roosevelt, I’ll now always have my eye out for the next one. I actually realized I missed a few of them, but have some time to catch up: when Roosevelt’s hits shelves this fall know that she’s already hard at work on number six featuring Thurgood Marshall.

DisabilityinBooksWhat works well for the series is the chronological organization of biographical information that is equal parts intrigue and straight facts. There’s a humanity in Kanefield’s delivery that does not dilute the truth, yet weaves a story of a person hellbent on creating an America that they had envisioned as they rose to notoriety.fame. With a mix of photographs and eye-catching covers, they’re as star-spangled as the flag.

The monumental task of telling their stories is made just a tad easier in that loads has been written about them since they’re historical figures. But it’s the angle that Kanefield uses that makes them refreshing for a middle grade and young adult audience (plus interested adults re: nerdy librarians!)

If you haven’t read the first through fourth, get them. Have the fifth, Roosevelt’s pre-ordered and then find some stuff to read in between because Marshall’s won’t be out until spring 2020. Let’s leave the woman in peace so she can research and write because I know I’m waiting patiently over here.


In the club


Monday is the last day of regular classes before exams. So this past Friday was the last Friday of the school year and also the last meeting of our school’s Anime Club. It meant a two-hour party that included senior sendoffs, food, officer elections for next year, and more food… and a few tears.

The president, vice president, treasurer, and secretary were all seniors. They said a few words while fellow club members shared kindnesses back and just as I was finishing up to transition us to the next activity, my voice broke and I was a bucket of tears. These kids. Each week for 1-2 hours in addition to their regular visitation of the library proper every day, I had a lot of face time with them. And I won’t forget it.

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That’s why as librarians we get out and get involved in more than just what’s happening in our libraries. We’re running clubs, we’re providing community service, we’re volunteering ourselves to enrich the work we do each day with our students. With that, take a moment to think- if you’re not already involved in the larger school community, what’s one thing you can do to contribute?


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Posted by on June 16, 2019 in Librarian Life