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Friday, January 22, 2010

And we have a winner...

Not a great picture (my iPhone camera isn't all that great), BUT..we do now have names for the P.R. staff in the Library.
Meet Little Foot and Ducky (on the right)

Today was a feeding day, so the newts spent the morning in a dish of warm water with a little bit of Mighty Newt to dine on.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Relief for Haiti

The information coming out of Haiti this week is just heart-wrenching. The stories, the pictures, the fact that aid workers from the UK couldn't even land on the island, but had to land in the Dominican Republic (at least that's what Katie Couric said on the CBS The Early Show today.)

There is one thing that stood out to me this morning, watching Secretary of State Hillary Clinton this morning, talking on The Early Show. One positive thing, I should say.

We now have a way to text our desire to donate money to relief efforts. Who would've thought? How many people always have the best of intentions to hop online to a website or call an 800-number, but never actually do it? How many get frustrated because they don't have time to sit on hold when they do call the 800-number?

But how many people are willing to sacrifice 30 seconds to send a text?

So, I've been doing a little research this morning. If you're so inclined, here are some ways to donate, via text, to Haitian aid efforts:

American Red Cross
Text "Haiti" to 90999 to donate $10. The amount will be billed on your next statement.
Read the press release here. The Baltimore Sun reported online this morning that more than $800,000 had been raised via text and online donations for this disaster. One person commented that the ARC's Facebook page listed the total at nearly $3 million already. You can also donate online through a secure website. (FYI..AT&T and Verizon have both stated that customers will NOT be charged any fee for the texts and 100% of the $10 will go to the Red Cross)

Yele Haiti (there should be an accent over the 1st e)
Text "yele" to 501501 to donate $5. The amount will be billed on your next statement.
Wyclef Jean, musician and native Haitian, formed this organization in 2005 as a "grassroots movement that builds global awareness for Haiti while helping to transform the country through programs in education, sports, the arts and environment" (from the website) They also help with mobilizing emergency aid measures. You can also donate online through a secure website

Just some ideas. If you know of any others, feel free to post them in the comments

Very cool video...

Certainly something to think about as educators. Our students are quickly outpacing us when it comes to technology--and we're still using overheads and showing VHS movies.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Introducing--New Library Staff

Two North American Newts have been added to the AHS Library Staff. They're living in our bog habitat (aquarium) and have already grown a little in just a few days.

Currently, we're running a naming contest. The newts official job is PR for the library.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: Mercury (Hope Larson, April 2010)

In 1859 French Hill, Nova Scotia, Josey Fraser has just met handsome Asa Curry -- a man with a mysterious and traveled past. While quickly winning young Josey's heart, Asa reveals a secret ability to locate gold on the Frasers' farm. But there is darkness in the woods...and in Asa.

In the same town one hundred fifty years later, Tara Fraser is dealing with the aftermath of her house burning down; a house that has been in her family -- and Josey's -- for generations, when Tara discovers a pendant that turns out to be much more than a simple heirloom. As Josey's story plunges into tragedy, Tara's emerges with the promise of gold.

Confession Time...

I've never picked up a graphic novel to read for pleasure. And yes, I'm now on a graphic novel committee so I should be reading lots of graphic novels, but I actually picked this one up for myself. The cover was pretty. What can I say? Ok, and the story sounded interesting.

Mercury captured my attention quickly. The story swaps back and forth between Josey and Tara's stories and times. Josey falls in love with a con artist who has a very real and uncanny ability. Tara is trying to fit in and find her way after losing her home, and in a real sense, her mom to a job in another city. Both are trying to determine who they are as individuals, in their families.

The stories could each, with some fleshing, stand alone. Tara's story is realistic to the point that YA readers will identify with her quickly. The main characters are well-developed and likeable. Josey's story will appeal to the supernatural/romantic interests. Again, these are characters are fleshed out well. The two stories mesh together, easily. The frequent skips between the two are executed easily. It made think of the scene changes in a soap opera--easy to follow and easy to jump back into the story line when you returned. Larson's story writing abilities are definitely a plus to this graphic novel. I feel like this is a mark of a well-written graphic novel--that the story can stand easily and very well without the illustrations.

The illustrations are wonderful and just lend so much to the story, which is to be expected, but would also stand alone. The raw emotions and the characterization on each face is simple beautiful. The people from each of the eras actually look different--as if those without modern conveniences are drawn to show the harder life of the gold rush era. The detail, the transitions. I was simply wowed and can easily understand Hope Larsen being an Eisner award winner.

All in all, for my first "by my own choosing" graphic novel, I'm very impressed. I don't do stars or what have you, but this is definitely toward the top of my list.

For more information visit the Simon & Schuster page.

Review: In the Woods (Robin Stevenson, 2009)

It's a bundle of blankets. I pull back the top layer cautiously, and there it is. Not a raccoon or a cougar or anything that belongs in the woods.
It's a baby.
pg. 16)

It sounds like a problem novel (and there's more than one addressed in this story) when you read the blurb on the back. But it's really more than that. It's a coming of age story and one filled with facts and realistic dealings with mature issues. A quick, but compelling read good for the Hi-Lo kiddo or discussion with a small group.

More book info

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

So, in perusing the web and "shopping" for new blogs and links, I found the 2010 YA Reading Challenge. This one is EASY for me, so I decided to get in on it. I will obviously be going for the "Super Size Me" Challenge!

The specifics:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, click here.

2. There are four levels:
--The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
--Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.
--Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.
--Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

3. Audio, eBooks, re-reads all count.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your Young Adult novels will be listed. Include the URL so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

For more info, visit J. Kaye's Book Blog: New Reading Challenge

****You do NOT need to review your books. That is optional.****

1. In the Woods by Robin Stevenson
2. Mercury by Hope Larson
3. The Kid Table by Andrea Seigel
4. Good Behavior by Nathan L. Henry
5. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater (sequel to Shiver)

Monday, January 11, 2010

Mailbox Monday...Just a quick spattering of what's new at the library...

A new box arrived from Junior Library Guild last week. There are several interesting titles and I can't wait to  get them all processed and out on the shelves.

In the Woods by Robin Stevenson (Orca Soundings, 2009)
When Cameron rescues a baby abandoned in teh woods, everyone says it is a miracle. A stroke of luck that he just happnend to be there, riding his bike along that trail, and heard the baby's cry. But Cameron has a secret: it wasn't just luck. He was there because his twin sister Katie begged him to go. Did Katie know about the baby? Is she covering for someone? At first Cameron just wants some answers...but once he knows the truth, he has to decide what to do with it. (from the back of the book)

The Omnivore's Dilemma: the Secrets Behind What You Eat (Young Reader's Edition) by Michael Pollan (Dial Books, 2009)
"What 's for dinner?" seemed like a simple question—until journalist and supermarket detective Michael Pollan delved behind the scenes. From fast food and big organic to small farms and old-fashioned hunting and gathering, this young readers' adaptation of Pollan's famous food-chain exploration encourages kids to consider the personal and global health implications of their food choices. In a smart, compelling format with updated facts, plenty of photos, graphs, and visuals, as well as a new afterword and backmatter, The Omnivore's Dilemma serves up a bold message to the generation that needs it most: It's time to take charge of our national eating habits—and it starts with you.  (From the publisher)

Pretty Dead by Francesca Lia Block (HarperTeen, 2009)
Something is happening to Charlotte Emerson. Like the fires that are ravaging the hills of Los Angeles, it consumes her from the inside out. But whether it is her eternal loneliness, the memory of her brother, the return of her first love, or the brooding, magnetic Jared-she cannot say. What if it's something more...
Something to do with the sudden tear in her perfect nails. The heat she feels when she's with Jared. The blood rushing once again to her cheeks and throughout her veins.
For Charlotte is a vampire, witness to almost a century's worth of death and destruction. But not since she was a human girl has mortality touched her.
In what way will you be transformed?
Until now.
(from the front cover flap)

Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists. Mailbox Monday is hosted at The Printed Page.

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