Friday, June 22, 2018

#ALAAnnual: New Orleans!

I arrived in the Crescent City late yesterday afternoon for the conference proper, which starts this afternoon. My flight actually landed in NOLA early but is was a long haul before I got to my hotel. This was partly due to traffic and mostly due to the fact that I opted for a shuttle instead of a cab. Anytime I've ever taken a shuttle, I'm invariably the last to be dropped off and the first to be picked up on the return trip. Then the line to check in was long. My very cheery hotel clerk tried to get me to upgrade my check-in explaining that I would be getting over a hundred dollars worth of perks for just sixty extra dollars per night. My travel-addled mind could not compute. I almost said yes until I realized that I rarely eat hotel breakfasts and I never use the health facilities. This tickled me though:

I adored Interrupting Chicken and enjoyed reading it to my classes back when I was a K - 8 librarian. I am looking forward to revisiting her. (It's my room key, btw)

After settling in to my room, I set out into the steamy, mostly cloudy evening to walk the neighborhood. I did a lazy loop that included part of the French Quarter and headed back via the riverwalk, which offered no breezes. I would've walked longer but realized that I was starving and hadn't eaten much. The very entertaining shuttle bus driver and my seat-mate spoke about barbecued oysters so that was on my mind. 
They were delicious. I also ordered fish and chips, which were tasty but I got full quickly and they went to waste. I did not ask for a doggy bag because I couldn't be sure that there was a fridge in my room. There was. Oh well. Fish is best eaten hot, I think.

I had a great night's sleep and am ready to set out to pick up my registration materials, grab a beignet and wait for a shuttle to pick me up. I'm joining some friends for a tour of the Whitney Plantation. It was suggested in the backmatter of a book I read a few months ago. A conference friend organized the shuttle and I was in! I will post about the experience later. 

Fact Friday: Sharing Posts: the spread of fake news by Stephen Currie

Sharing Posts: the spread of fake news by Stephen Currie. 80 p. Referencepoint Press, August, 2017. 9781682822975. (Own)

THINK before you post/ share posters adorn most of the hallways at my school. Is the post True, Helpful, Inspiring, Nice and Kind. In my digital citizenship units, I ask my students to hit the pause button before posting or sharing posts to ask themselves, "Is it true? Is it necessary? Is it kind?"

4 I like that. When in doubt, ask a librarian.

I've added this to my school and personal collection. I also bought an unlimited access e-book and am planning several lessons using it next school year. 

Thursday, June 21, 2018

#tbt: Babe by Dick King-Smith

Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. 128 p. Random House Children's Books, 

#tbt features Babe the Gallant Pig by Dick King-Smith. Originally published in Great Britain in 1983, entitled The Sheep-Pig, it was published in the U.S. in 1985. In 1995, it was adapted into a successful film. It is the story of Babe, a piglet that Farmer Hogget won at a livestock fair by guessing its weight. As a sheep farmer, he has no use for a piglet, but his wife decides to keep him and fatten him up for holiday dinner. Poor Babe is frightened in the unfamiliar surroundings but the sheep-dog, Fly and her puppies take him in and teach him the ways of the farm. This is a gentle, humorous story about belonging and kindness. The movie adaptation stayed true to the book and was excellent.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Waiting on Wednesday: Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey

Brawl of the Wild by Dav Pilkey. Dog Man #6. 224 p. Graphix/ Scholastic Inc., December 24, 2018. 9781338236576.

Overview: Is Dog Man bad to the bone? The heroic hound is sent to the pound for a crime he didn’t commit! While his pals work to prove his innocence, Dog Man struggles to find his place among dogs and people. Being a part of both worlds, will he ever fully fit in with one?

My students and I just love Dav Pilkey. Dog Man is such a hoot and the puns in the titles are utterly hilarious.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Teen Tuesday: Reckless by Cornelia Funke

Reckless by Cornelia Funke. 394 p. Reckless series #1. Little, Brown and Company, September, 2010. 9780316056090. (Own.)

Germany's version of J.K. Rowling has created an original fairy tale in the tradition of the brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm. In Reckless, Jacob and Will's father has disappeared. Twelve-year-old Jacob travels through the mirror in search of him. He's unsuccessful but returns with treasures from Mirrorland. He continues his search and treasure collecting for twelve years until his brother, Will follows him into Mirrorland, is injured by a goyl and is slowly turning to stone. Now, Jacob must find the Dark Fairy if his brother is to be cured. This dark and creepy tale would thrill the original Jacob and Will. It will not be to a reader's taste if he or she prefers the "Disney version" of fairy tales.

Monday, June 18, 2018

Middle Grade Monday: Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart. Unabridged audiobook on one MP3 CD. 6 hours and 42 minutes. Read by MacLeod Andrews. Scholastic on Brilliance Audio, 2017. 9781536681796. (Own)

Twelve-year-old Jonathan Grimsby sits handcuffed in a boat speeding across the choppy sea on a chilly evening. He's seasick and scared and the pilot of the boat isn't helping things by taunting him about the evil place he's about to enter. Slabhenge is a stone reformatory that sits on a rock of an island off an un-named coast. It used to house an insane asylum; but Jonathan doesn't care. When Jonathan is ushered into the headmaster's office. He's made to kneel on a device called a Sinner's Sorrow, which, after a few minutes, causes the kneeler to suffer excruciating pain. But Jonathan doesn't care. The next morning, all the boys are trooped up to the roof to stand balancing in the pouring rain. Again, Jonathan doesn't care. He feels he deserves everything he's getting. 

What terrible thing did Jonathan do to land in Slabhenge? The reader does not find out till the very end of this Holes meets Lord of the Flies thriller. Often over-the top but nearly constantly suspenseful, readers are quickly drawn in and ignore the plot holes. Well, young readers do. They drove me a bit berserk. That said, I booktalk Scar Island like crazy for my tweens who like gothic suspense and plot-driven books. 

One of my favorite narrators performed this one. His many voices and brilliant pacing kept me involved; though I figured out Jonathan's crime well before the reveal. Enough clues were sprinkled throughout that observant readers will too.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Fact Friday: Double feature audio review: Girling Up and Boying Up by Maiyam Bialik

Fact Friday presents a double feature:

Girling Up: how to be smart, strong and spectacular by Mayim Bialik, PhD. Unabridged audiobook on three compact discs. 3 hours, 44 minutes. Read by the author. Listening Library, 9781524780388. (Review from audiobook borrowed from public library.)

Boying Up: How to be Brave, Bold and Brilliant by Mayim Bialik, PhD. Unabridged e-audiobook. Read by the author. Listening Library, 2018. 978052551982. (Review of e-audio borrowed from public library.)

There is not a lot of difference in content between these two chatty, informative audiobooks. Bialik provides information on the opposite sex in each. I felt like I was listening to the same book. That's fine. The experience was pleasant, positive and earnest, sort of like listening to your friend's cool mom. Listening without the book deprives the reader of the line drawings, but it did add that human, "mom" dimension. The science of puberty is presented in easily understandable, straightforward language with lots of reassurances that most everyone's experience is "perfectly normal." There is a lot of talk of acceptance with a discussion about gender roles and ideals of masculinity and femininity, which leads into talk about gender fluidity. There is little to no conversation about same sex attraction in Boying Up and none that I can remember in Girling Up.

Boying Up had snippets of unattributed "He Said" additions to compensate for the fact that the author isn't a total expert on the male experience. Neither volume breaks new ground with the content, but the author's name recognition and encouraging tone should make this easy for tween and teen readers to relate to.