Do Not Disturb – Busy Reading

Posted August 24, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Literature

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All of the books I ordered for the library have arrived. I’m a happy camper. Each night I settle into my favorite comfy chair and read. I finished the Newbery book, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, and loved it. It’s filled with humor and sprinkled with tidbits of interesting historical facts. It also has the gross factor that is sure to delight some. Think spewing blood, old gnarly hands, dead people, and murder all combined to make a great story based on events in Jack Gantos’ early life. This is a great pick – especially for boys.

Another book I particularly enjoyed was Step Gently Out written by Helen Frost with photographs by Rick Lieder. It’s a picture book that combines Lieder’s gorgeous close-up photographs of tiny creatures accompanied by Frost’s sparse but lyrical test. The book includes back matter with the names and information about each of the featured creatures. Absolutely beautiful!

Right now I’m busy reading Capture the flag by Kate Messner. History, mystery, and intrigue. So please, do not disturb. I’m busy reading.

Color Me Shocked

Posted August 21, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

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I am a librarian in a very unique school. It’s old. Through the years, there have been many add-ons and changes. The library used to be the girls bathroom, the kindergarten room is the old library, and the art room and pre-k room share space with the cafeteria. A patchwork of floor coverings can be found throughout the school – hardwoods, carpet, tile, and epoxy floor covering. (You can drive your truck on it!)

The hallways and classrooms are a rainbow of colors:

Halloween Orange

In-your-Face Yellow

Boring Baby Blue

Shocking Pink

Pond Scum Green

Putrid Purple

For those of you who are charmed by colorful areas, this could be called a Fun House of Learning, but for an interior decorator, it’s a House of Horrors.

I reside in the In-Your-Face-Yellow room. The color can bring out your sunny personality, or it can give you a killer headache. No matter what, I find our school is a perfect teaching tool for preschoolers to learn their colors.

Get ready, little ones. Your first library experience will be a walking field trip around the school and then it’s time for books – books about colors.

Here are some classic books mixed in with some new ones that are perfect color choices.

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

Red Sings from the Treetops:  A Year in Colors written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

In a Blue Room written by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

For Fun:

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow

For Art Lovers:

Vincent’s Colors  by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vincent van Gogh

Color me read!

The Sound of Music – Forty-Three Years Ago

Posted August 17, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Special Days

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Woodstock! I’m not talking about Charles Schultz’s feathered comic strip character. I’m talking about a place where artists like Sly & The Family Stone, The Who, Joan Baez, and Carlos Santana sang songs that included  “I Want to Take You Higher,” “Pinball Wizard,” “Bad Moon Rising,” and “Evil Ways.” Woodstock was a Who’s Who of rock, blues, and folk legends. Word got out that it was the place to go – the place to be.

Beginning on August 15, 1969, an explosion of young people descended upon a sleepy town in upstate Bethel, New York. It was a time of political unrest and the peak of the Vietnam War. For three-plus days, hundreds of thousands of people showed up to listen to music mixed in with rain, mud, sex, and drugs. Advertised as the Woodstock Music & Art Fair, this music festival made history.

The unexpected crowds caused a multitude of problems. There was a colossal traffic jam, long lines for toilets, insufficient food, and rain – rain that turned the field into a muddy mess. No matter. Those that were there grooved to the music. Richie Havens’ “Freedom,” Jimi Hendrix’s rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner,” and the unique voice of Janis Joplin filled the country air. Can you feel the beat?

That was forty-three years ago. It was a time and a place that will never be repeated. Even if you weren’t alive, their unforgettable music still resonates today for all to appreciate and enjoy. In honor of this historic event, celebrate these legendary artists by rocking out to their music. And while you’re at it, check these out.

A Documentary:  Woodstock: Three Days of Peace & Music 

A Young Adult Novel:  Janis Joplin: Rise Up Singing written by Ann Angel

A Picture Book:  Jimi:  Sounds Like a Rainbow:  A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix written by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe


Posted August 14, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writing

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Over a week ago I ordered new library books with money I received from a generous parent. The books have started to arrive. Oh, joy! It’s like having Christmas every day!

One of the first books that graced my doorstep was BookSpeak! Poems About Books written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Josée Bisaillon. Each page has a clever poem about books and their contents. Character, index, conflict, and illustrations are just a few of the topics addressed. To add to the charm of this book are Bisaillon’s illustrations. They are lively and colorful which makes it all the more fun to read this work of genius. As a librarian, I find this book not only entertaining but also a perfect teaching tool. It’s truly delightful!

If you’re looking for books that teach about writing, here is another one that you’re sure to enjoy. Mary Jane and Herm Auch’s hilarious The Plot Chickens is one not to miss. Lots of fun wordplay and illustrations make this book a winner when it comes to introducing the writing process. The elements of writing come alive as Henrietta, the chicken, writes a book of her own with a little help from her relatives in the chicken coop. This book is eggs-actly the right choice for beginning writers.

Results of Anniversary 36

Posted August 10, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

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“Our wedding was many years ago.  The celebration continues to this day.”  ~Gene Perret

If you read my blog on Tuesday, you would know it was our wedding anniversary. It’s been thirty-six blissfully crazy years. If you’re wondering, I didn’t get three dozen roses, but I did get a beautiful bouquet of flowers that had roses in it.

We had a lovely dinner with champagne in Waterford glasses we had purchased in Ireland some years ago. My husband grilled my beef tenderloin steak to perfection. Two thumbs up to him! We laughed as we reread our old anniversary cards. And like previous years, we lit our wedding candles, gazed into one another’s eyes (two seconds), kissed (one second), and made a wish for the future. And then …

We went to bed at ten o’clock and went to sleep!

Check this out:  Older Love by Warren Hanson, Waldman House Press, 2003

Blissfully Crazy

Posted August 7, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Life

Tags: , , ,

Today is our wedding anniversary. I remember when Tom called to ask me out on our first date.

“Tom who?” I asked.

“We met at a party in your building about two months ago.”

“It took you a while to call,” I said.

“It took me that long to get to the S” section of my little black address book,” was his reply. (Stefanec is my maiden name.)

I secretly smiled and thought this guy is bold. Since I wasn’t doing anything, I agreed to go out with him and see what he was really like. As they say, the rest is history.

It’s been thirty-six blissfully crazy years. We’ve stopped doing an all-out celebration on our anniversary. We’ve even stopped buying each other cards. What do you do with the card after it sits around on the fireplace mantel for a few days? You feel bad throwing it away so you keep it in a drawer somewhere.

We came up with a solution to card-buying on birthdays and anniversaries. We go to a card store and browse. We choose our favorite card and exchange it with one another. After reading it, we return the cards to their rightful places. We’re saving money and trees. We’re being green and not spending any green!

This year’s card exchange is different. While cleaning out the basement – a never-ending job – I found some old anniversary cards. Perfect choices right at our fingertips!

Notice the little card at the bottom of the picture. That came with a dozen roses on our twelfth anniversary. If Tom is as intelligent and romantic as I know he is, I’m thinking he should chose that card and include some roses with it. Three dozen roses is a perfect number for thirty-six years. Hey, think of all the money we’ve saved over the years by not buying cards. I’m worth it!

This evening we’ll be enjoying a quiet dinner at home and rereading old anniversary cards. Hopefully the aroma of my beautiful anniversary roses won’t be too distracting!

Books! Books! Books!

Posted August 3, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Libraries, Literature

Tags: , , ,

I’m a school librarian, who, like so many other librarians, has to work with a meager budget.  When it comes to purchasing books, often times, there is little left to go around. Sigh.

In June I was given a monetary gift by a very generous parent to purchase new books for our library. I’m elated to know there are those who genuinely care that books are made available in the school library for children to enjoy. I am so lucky!

Since then I’ve been reading books, book blogs and reviews, trying to find appropriate books that will excite, entertain, and motivate students to read, read, read.

These are the books I’ve chosen. I hope our pre-k through fifth grade students will be pleased when they see them. If you have any other suggestions, I’d be happy to hear them.

For Younger Students:

Z Is for Moose written by Kelly Bingham and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

A Ball for Daisy by Chris Raschka

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Sight written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Over and Under the Snow written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal 

Goldie and the Three Hares written by Margie Palatini and illustrated by Jack E. Davis

Minette’s Feast written by Susanna Reich and illustrated by Amy Bates

Blackout by John Rocco

For Everyone:

Swirl by SwirlSpirals in Nature written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Beth Krommes

BookSpeak!:  Poems About Books written by Laura Purdie Salas and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost and Rick Lieder

Picture Books for Older Students:

Junkyard Wonders by Patricia Polacco

Just in Time, Abraham Lincoln by Patricia Polacco

For Older Students:

Pie  by Sarah Weeks

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

Mr. and Mrs. Bunny–Detectives Extraordinaire! written by Polly Horvath and illustrated by Sophie Blackwell

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

The Case of the Deadly Desperados by Caroline Lawrence

Capture the Flag by Kate Messner

Summer of the Gypsy Moths by Sara Pennypacker

Remarkable by Lizzie K. Foley

Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos

That’s all folks!


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