Sunday, May 2, 2010

Module #15

Module #15- Forever by Judy Blume
Blume, Judy.
Forever. New York: Simon Spotlight Entertainment, 2003.
Summary: Katherine thinks she has found true love when she starts dating Michael. As their relationship develops they both believe their relationship will last forever. Katherine makes the decision to give up her virginity to Michael after carefully consideration and precaution. They can't imagine that their feelings for each other will ever change. Katherine even begins to make decisions about her future (college) based on Michael even though her parents warn her about making such decisions. After a summer apart, Katherine is surprised to see that her feelings begin to change, and her first last does not last forever.
Tattered Cover says: This story captures so perfectly the intense feelings of first love. I love the fact that it is neither nightmare nor fairytale. The boyfriend does not turn out to be a jerk, Katherine does not wind up pregnant but they also do not end up getting married and living happily ever after. Teenagers will get to see a very realistic love story in Forever.
How to use this in a library: I would love to see this book in a mother/ daughter book club. In the book, Katherine and her parents have such open communication. I think this would be a great way to open up the communication between mothers and daughters about such a touchy subject.
"No preaching (Blume never does) but the message is clear; no hedging (Blume never does) but a candid account by Kathy gives intimate details of a first sexual relationship. The characters and dialogue are equally natural and vigorous, the language uncensored, the depiction of family relationships outstanding."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books. ALA Best of the Best Books for Young Adults.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Module #14

Module #14- The Color of Absence: 12 Stories of Loss and Hope
Howe, James. The Color of Absence: 12 Stories of Loss and Hope. New York; Simon Pulse, 2001.
Summary: This collection of 12 short stories by different authors deals with the difficult subject of loss. Each story is about loss in some form from the death of a grandparent to ending a chapter in life. The stories are very authentic in portraying the feelings associated with loss yet instill a sense of hope.
Tattered Cover says: Although I was reluctant to read a book on such an obviously sad subject, I did find myself laughing as well. This book shows that loss is an important part of life and with it comes growth and change. As we become stronger and more appreciative of the present, we get a sense of hope for the future.
How to use this in a library: I think students could analyze the different methods used to write about loss and use this book in conjunction with a writing lesson with the writing teacher. The students could go on to write their own short stories on the subject.
Publishers Weekly (January 13, 2003)

"Addressing the emotional life of adolescents, the author of the Bunnicula books collects a dozen works (one of which he penned himself)," wrote PW. Walter Dean Myers's "Season's End" covers much more than the close of baseball season; in "Shoofly Pie," Naomi Shihab Nye explores the way humor and sadness live side by side; and Jacqueline Woodson and Chris Lynch collaborate on "The Rialto."

Monday, April 26, 2010

SLIS 5720 Conclusion

At the beginning of this course I stated that I thought I was pretty strong when it came to technology. I know now that I have a LOT more to learn. I feel like I've just barely uncovered the potential of Web 2.0 tools and classroom technologies. I don't know that I will ever again be naive enough to think I am "strong" in technology. With constantly changing innovations, I know now that I will always be a student of technology. I've accepted this and have vowed to stay proactive with new technologies and how they are used. While I cannot become an expert at everything, I will keep an eye out for those technologies that will contribute to a better library experience. To help with this daunting task, I will stay in touch with younger generations and let them have input into what technologies are offered in the library. I will read blogs and contribute to wikis. I am thinking of starting a wiki for library patrons to contribute their ideas for the library. I would like to blend the traditional library settings with virtual by incorporating social networking sites where patrons can share the books they read and users can add their own content. Users will be able to do their own booktalks for their peers to see. I am excited about sharing this part of my job with the students. I will have them as my coworkers, championing books alongside me. I am positive the will be better at "selling" the books than I am, and that does not sadden me. When the message of literacy is given by their peers, it is much more effective! My library patrons will become a part of the library themselves as their ideas shape the information technology within.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Module #13

Module #13- The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
Warner, Gertrude Chandler. The Boxcar Children. Niles, Ill. : A. Whitman, c1977.

Summary: Four children head out on their own after their parents death. They are running away from being sent to the grandfather's house, whom they've never met but are sure is not very nice. After the children find an abandoned boxcar in the woods, they decide to make it their home. Henry, the oldest goes to look for work in town as the younger children Jessie, Violet, and the youngest, Benny, take over making the boxcar a home. The kids enjoy their new home and take pleasure in the small treasures they find. Eventually, they find out that the kind man who has hired Henry is their grandfather. He moves the boxcar to his backyard as a gift to celebrate them moving in with him.
Tattered Cover says: A very wholesome and easy to read book. Kids will be drawn to the idea of living alone without adults and making do in the woods. I love this story and think the easy wording is great for below level readers.
How to use this in a library: With its easy readability, this would work great for a literacy circle of kids with reading disabilities. The fact that it is a chapter book, yet easy to read, will make it a great way for these kids to feel included.
by Amanda Porick "Mandie Porick"
I read these books in 3rd grade. I'm 25 now. I still think fondly about the times when I read the Boxcar Children series. I still remember the vivid explaination by Gertrude Chandler Warner of the treasures the children find including a cup with a chip in it that they use to survive while living in the boxcar.

This is one of the many books that helped me develop a great love for reading. As an educator, I can now say that this is one of the literary gems out there that is timeless for students (and adults) of all ages to enjoy.

Monday, April 19, 2010

SLIS 5720- Handheld Devices

With $10,000 to use on handheld devices, I would first look at the composition of my library patrons and try to support their needs as is suggested in Nancy Courtney's Library 2.0 and Beyond (2007.) I will be using my current elementary school in this case. The majority of my students are considered low income. They are also considered "at-risk" due to being English language learners. Our school makes sure every household receives a free computer. Therefore, most of the students at my school have access to computers at home. However, because of financial difficulties, very few have access to internet. My students, for the most part do not have access to email or printers.Homework or projects that require technology aren't practical for these students. For these reasons, I think it is very necessary to buy MP3 players that can be used as storage devices so that students can transport their work between school and home. Also the MP3 players can also be used to read aloud directions to students for at home work (since most parents cannot read the English directions.) In addition, books and songs can be read abd sung aloud onto the MP3 so that the students can read/sing along with them at home (again because the parents are often unable to read with their children.) There are many uses for MP3s in schools with a majority of English language learners. To get the most bang for my buck, I would spend the majority of my money on MP3s ($5,000). In an elementary school, I also have to be aware of what is appropriate for the responsibility level of the students for this reason the rest of my purchases will be for check out by staff only. I would buy a few gaming devices like Nintendo DS or Sony PSP ($3,000) and make them available for checkout by teachers to use in the classroom. There are lots of educational games out there and these forms of education are motivating to even the most reluctant learners. I would also buy a few Blackberries or IPhones ($2,000) for staff members that need to be accessible to teachers during the day for questions and help. These would be for personnel such as the Principal, Vice Principal, Behavioral Specialists, counselors, instructional facilitators and even for teachers who are out at trainings or field trips and need to be able to stay in touch by email. I believe, considering the age and demographics of my school, this would be the most efficient use of my money.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Module #12

Module #12- Martin's Big Words by Doreen, Rappaport
Rappaport, Doreen. Martin's Big Words. New York: Jump at the Sun/ Hyperion Books, 2001.

Summary: This book tells the tale of how young Martin felt growing up during the segregation years. As a boy he sees the signs denoting what was for "whites" and what was for "blacks." Even to a child, this was obviously wrong. Martin's Big Words tells of the strength and bravery MLK had in taking a stand for what he knew was right. Through very simple and carefully selected quotes, Rappaport weaves a great account of the life of a great man.
Tattered Cover says: This is a great introduction for young reader's learning about one of the most influential leaders of our time. The easy to read, big words are meaningful and strong. The artwork is beautiful and captures the feelings and inspiration of this great man.
How to use this in a library: I am a big believer that research should be introduced at a young age. I think this a great book for young reader's to use in research for a biography of great American leaders.
Horn Book starred (Spring, 2002)

The text is a mix of finely honed biographical narrative and appropriate quotes from King himself, emphasizing the concept that from his youth Martin had sought to inspire others with his words. The essential events of King's life are presented in a straightforward yet moving style. The facts are extended by breathtaking collage illustrations. A chronology and informative notes from author and illustrator are included.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Module #11

Module #11- Harvesting Hope by Kathleen Krull
Krull, Kathleen. Harvesting Hope. San Diego: Harcourt, 2003.

Summary: Cesar Chavez was born and spent the first part of his childhood in Arizona on his family's farm. In Harvesting Hope, Cesar describes his childhood in Arizona as peaceful and happy, filled with wonderful memories of family gathering. After a devastating fire and his father's death, Cesar and his other family members are forced to move to California as migrant workers. Moving from place to place in search of work, Cesar is shocked by the changes in his life. As Cesar becomes aware of the poor conditions of migrant life and the lack of right it entails, he is determined to do something about it. Starting off brave yet shy, Cesar works to get the migrant workers to united for their rights. Always staying true to his ideals of peaceful change, Cesar eventually wins rights for the migrant workers. Chavez continues his fight until his death.
Tattered Cover says: This is a beautiful story about a very brave man. The author successfully captured the drastic change in living conditions Chavez experienced. I was enthralled by this sweet, shy man who worked for such an important cause. It is a heart wrenching book that everyone, adult and kid, should read. I highly recommend it!
How to use this in a library: This book should be read aloud to every student! Cesar Chavez is an inspiration to everyone who has a dream. He is a champion for the underdog. The issues of racial segregation between Hispanics and whites is not well known but should be. With the high (and growing) percentage of Hispanics in the U.S., teachers need to ensure that their history is taught and the work of Chavez is not forgotten.
Kirkus Review (July 1, 2003)

"Cesar Chavez, like his heroes Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, believed in non-violent change. He fought ceaselessly for the rights of migrant farm workers to have a decent living conditions and a living wage. Krull does not offer a birth-to-death biography, instead focusing on the influences of his early years, the organization of the National Farm Workers Association, and the first contract with the grape growers. She portrays Chavez as a quiet, patient, strong-willed man who believed implicitly in his "causa" and worked tirelessly for his people. She presents additional events in his life and the circumstances of his death in an author's note. Morales uses bright acrylic colors that flow across the pages, mirroring the constant movement in Chavez's life. The overall look of the work is reminiscent of a Diego Rivera mural. Krull and Morales introduce a long-neglected figure from recent history to a new audience in an informative, eye-catching manner. A notable achievement."

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Module #10

Module #10- Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793. New York: Aladdin Paperbacks, 2002.

Summary: 16 year old Matilda "Mattie" Cook lives with her mother and grandfather running a coffehouse in Philadelphia. The epidemic becomes personal when Mattie learns that their servant girl has died of yellow fever. This begins Matilda's journey of coping and survival as the disease decimates the city, turning the place into a ghost town. With her mother missing, Matilda mess grow up quickly and learn to take care of herself and her grandfather who becomes ill. After the death of her grandfather, Mattie faces hunger, robbers, hostile neighbors, and illness. She comes to rely on her former cook, a free African American with whom she has a special relationship. Together they forge ahead to survive the fever.
Tattered Cover says: This book has been carefully researched and gives rich details about the era in which it is set. Each chapter begins with quotes from books or correspondence of the late eighteenth century. I thoroughly enjoyed and learned a lot from this novel. It proves you can learn much about history from a fictional story.
How to use this in a library: Students and teachers can use this book to back up and extend teaching about life after the America Revolution. The details about politics, cities, and the inclusion of famous people (Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, etc.) will allow readers an insider's look at life in the 1790's.
Reviews: "
Publishers Weekly (March 4, 2002)

"PW called this ambitious novel about the yellow fever epidemic that ravaged 18th-century Philadelphia "extremely well researched. However, larger scale views take precedence over the kind of intimate scenes that Anderson crafted so masterfully in Speak." Cahners Business Information.

Friday, March 26, 2010

SLIS 5720-The Machine is Us/Using Us

I think Prof. Wesch gave the video such a title in order to point out the dynamic versatility of Web 2.0. Although it may feel like technology is constantly getting ahead of us, we are, in fact, the driving force behind web 2.0 tools. As we work on the web, we are constantly coming up with ways to make it more user friendly, more accurate, and therefore, more expressive. With so many contributors, it can sometimes make "the machine" feel unstable, fickle and even volatile. I believe that the video was trying to make a statement that while technology is evolving at amazing speeds, we are in control. It does not have to be the elusive and erratic "machine" some make it out to be. By staying on top of web 2.0, we can tame the "machine." Learning and educating ourselves on Web 2.0 changes our point of view from an "erratic machine" to a flexible tool. We can mold it to meet our needs. We are no longer just the users, we are the creators.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Module #9

Module #9- The Seance by Joan Lowery Nixon
Nixon, Joan Lowery. The Seance. New York: Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980.
Summary: Even though they live in the same house, Lauren and Sara could not be more different. An orphan living with her aunt, Lauren is skinny, shy, and unremarkable. Sara, a ward of the court due to wild behavior, is curving, gorgeous, and has all the boys' attention. Lauren is secretly jealous of Sara and wishes she would just go away. One night, Lauren gets her wish. During an ill-fated seance, Sara goes missing. Her body turns up the next morning followed by the body of another girl who also went to the seance. Lauren sets out to find the murderer in order to prove her innocence and more importantly escape ending up the next victim.
Tattered Cover says: This book is a quick read with an interesting setting, Eastern Texas swamplands. While it's not the most riveting or inventive storyline, it entertains. The list of characters is kept short especially for a mystery. Its simplicity will make it good for beginning mystery readers.
How to use this in a library: I think this book would be good to recommend to struggling readers who are interested in mystery. Most mystery books have complex plots and long lists of characters to keep up with. The Seance is surprisingly simple and easy to follow.
Reviews: "This is not a supernatural story, despite the title, and not a locked-room mystery either -- which we learn in pretty short order, by the way; I'm not spilling any late-harvest beans! The writing shows obvious talent. THE SEANCE is just not a very good mystery, in my opinion, so my recommendation is as lukewarm as a West Texas night in early spring." review by Wordwalker on

Monday, March 15, 2010

Module #8

Module #8 Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
Westerfeld, Scott. Uglies. New York : Simon Pulse, 2005.
Summary: Tally Youngblood lives in a future world were everyone upon turning 16 undergoes an operation to make them physically perfect or "pretty." Anyone who has not yet undergone the surgery is called an "Ugly" and those who have are called a "Pretty." Tally cannot wait to be a "Pretty" and live in New Pretty Town with the rest of her older friends. Then Tally meets another Ugly named Shay who doesn't care about being pretty and wants to leave behind the city forever. Tally's life gets complicated when she is sent to retrieve Shay from the outsiders secret city. Tally learns that being pretty comes at a high cost and her world and priorities change forever.
Tattered Cover says: Fantastic book! Uglies had me turning pages all night long. It is a mesmorizing world of perfection and abundance. Some of the self asborbtion and obsession with appearance hit close to home. A great read for teenagers or adults!
How to use this in a library: Uglies would be great to use to compare with current events. Using advertisements and gossip magazines, students will have a blast making comparisons to the fictional world of New Pretty Town. The consequences of the obsession with beauty and judging people by their appearances can be discussed.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Module #8

Module #8- Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
Meyer, Stephenie. Twilight. New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2005.
Summary: Bella Swan is the new girl in Forks, a small rainy north west town. Not long after moving to live with her father, Bella notices some strange kids at school. They are unusually attractive, pale, and anti social. After several awkward encounters with one of the males, Edward, Bella starts to wonder what his secret is. Edward steps in and saves Bella from her clumsiness and accident prone nature. First when she almost smashed by an out of control car and second when she gets lost and almost becomes victim of a rape. Soon Bella learns that Edward is a vampire who both cares about her and at the same time wants to suck her blood! Edward constantly battles his desire for her both physically and mentally. When Bella becomes the target of another vampire, Bella must choose between her life and saving her new ill fated love.
Tattered Cover says: The tension and frustration of these star crossed lovers matches perfectly the sexual tension of teenagers. This is a page turner. Twilight is a totally absorbing read! The characters and setting seem so real which is an amazing accomplishment for a writer of science fiction. Somehow Meyer makes everyone want to be in love with a vampire and live in a world where dangerous and beautiful creatures abound!
How to use this in a library: Great book for a book/fan club. This book would also be great for reluctant readers. Kids seem to be obsessed with this book and the series and I can see why. I would introduce it to anyone who says they do not like to read.
School Library Journal (October 1, 2005)

"Headstrong, sun-loving, 17-year-old Bella declines her mom's invitation to move to Florida, and instead reluctantly opts to move to her dad's cabin in the dreary, rainy town of Forks, WA. She becomes intrigued with Edward Cullen, a distant, stylish, and disarmingly handsome senior, who is also a vampire. When he reveals that his specific clan hunts wildlife instead of humans, Bella deduces that she is safe from his blood-sucking instincts and therefore free to fall hopelessly in love with him. The feeling is mutual, and the resulting volatile romance smolders as they attempt to hide Edward's identity from her family and the rest of the school. Meyer adds an eerie new twist to the mismatched, star-crossed lovers theme: predator falls for prey, human falls for vampire. This tension strips away any pretense readers may have about the everyday teen romance novel, and kissing, touching, and talking take on an entirely new meaning when one small mistake could be life-threatening. Bella and Edward's struggle to make their relationship work becomes a struggle for survival, especially when vampires from an outside clan infiltrate the Cullen territory and head straight for her. As a result, the novel's danger-factor skyrockets as the excitement of secret love and hushed affection morphs into a terrifying race to stay alive. Realistic, subtle, succinct, and easy to follow, Twilight will have readers dying to sink their teeth into it".-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Module #7

The Earth, My Butt, and other Big Round Things by Carolyn Mackler- Module #7
Mackler, Carolyn. The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things. Cambridge: Candlewick Press. 2003.
Summary: Virginia is a 15 year old who feels like an outcast in her near perfect family. She is overweight, doesn't speak French, and not popular. Virginia lives by her self made "Fat girl code of conduct." After her brother is expelled from college for date rape, she learns that her family is not as perfect as she thought. After a mini breakdown and bout with self destructive behavoir, Virginia begins to discover who she is and what makes her happy. Virginia realizes that being herself isn't that bad.
Tattered Cover says:Following Virginia's thought process is an emotional ride. The reader will be fighting for her even when she seems to be fighting against herself. This book is very realistic and hits on some very tough issues such as date rape, self mutilation, anorexia/bulemia, and self esteem. It is very relavant to today's youth.
How to use this in a library:This book would be perfect for a girl's book club. Given all the issues in the book, a librarian could tie in having the girls research some of the topics and even have some guest speakers to speak about things such as cutting or eating disorders.
Reviews: " Fifteen-year-old Viriginia Shreves is the blond, round, average daughter in a family of dark-haired, thin superstars. Her best friend has moved away, and she's on the fringes at her private Manhattan school. She wants a boyfriend, but she settles for Froggy Welsh, who comes over on Mondays to grope her. The story follows Virginia as she tries to lose weight, struggles with her "imperfections," and deals with the knowledge that her idealized older brother has committed date rape. There's a lot going on here, and some important elements, such as Virginia's flirtation with self-mutilation, are passed over too quickly. But Mackler writes with such insight and humor (sometimes using strong language to make her point) that many readers will immediately identify with Virginia's longings as well as her fear and loathing. Her gradually evolving ability to stand up to her family is hard won and not always believable, but it provides a hopeful ending for those trying stand on their own two feet." Ilene Cooper, American Library Association, Booklist

Monday, March 1, 2010


Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech- Module #7
Creech, Sharon. Ruby Holler. New York: Harper Collins. 2002.
Summary: Two orphans, Florida and Dallas, are "hired" to go on trips with an elderly couple. After years of disappointment at the hands of adults, the twins are wary. Through love kindness and understanding the couple earns the twins trust. The twins finally find themselves with a loving home.
Tattered Cover says:
This is a touching story about the power of love. Readers will laugh at the antics of Florida and Dallas and cry of the sweet relationship of the old couple.
How to use this in a library:
This book would be great for a discussion of character changes. It would be fun to chart the changes of the twins from their level of trust to the eventual breaking down of their defensive wall against adults.
Reviews: "This poignant story evokes a feeling as welcoming as fresh-baked bread. The slow evolution of the siblings who are no angels parallels the gradual building of mutual trust for the Moreys. The novel celebrates the healing effects of love and compassion. Although conflicts emerge, readers will have little doubt that all will end well for the children and the grandparently Moreys." Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Monday, February 22, 2010


There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom by Louis Sachar- Module #6

Sachar, Louis. There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom. New York: Yearling. 1987.

Summary: This is a story about a boy name Bradley Chalkers who, in all honesty, is a bully. Bradley does not excel in school, has repeated 4th grade, and is quite sure that he will have to repeat 5th grade too. Bradley deals with his frustration and lack of self esteem by bullying other kids. His parents and teachers are at a loss as to what to do. In comes Carla Davis the new school counselor. She has very unconventional methods and eventually is able to encourage Bradley to excel. As he starts seeing success as something achievable, he self esteem rises and he is able to show everyone what he is capable of.

Tattered Cover says:

This story is rings true with very realistic situations and writing. The main character is annoying and likable at the

time. You find yourself cheering for Bradley, hoping he can overcome his biggest enemy, his own self doubt.

How to use this in a library:

With such a complex main character, this book would be great in a character study. Students could analyze the traits of Bradley, Carla,and other characters in the story. This book would also be good in teaching about dealing with bullies.


Saturday, February 20, 2010


Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka- Module #5

Scieszka, Jon. Squids Will Be Squids. New York: Penguin Putnam. 1998.

Summary: If you want to write a not so nice story about someone, just change their name to Tortoise or Lion and call it a fable suggests the book Squids Will Be Squids. This is a collection of modern fables with funny stories teaching lessons as silly as "he who smelt it dealt it" to "don't believe everything you see on tv."

Tattered Cover says:

These silly fables will keep you laughing and wanting more. Students will be able to relate to the characters (even if

they are animals.) Teaching funny lessons about friendships, attitudes, and even farting, this books is definitely going to

read over and over by anyone who gets their hands on it!

How to use this in a library:

I think this book could be used in studying the genre of fables. The lesson could be extended to encourage students to write their own fables using the characteristics of fables found in the book.

Reviews:n Squids Will Be Squids: Fresh Morals, Beastly Fables, Scieszka and Smith offer a new twist on fables, as their earlier works did for fairy tales. The stories are billed as "fables that Aesop might have told if he were alive today and sitting in the back of the class daydreaming," and their morals include "Don't ever listen to a talking bug" and "You should always tell the truth. But if your mom is out having the hair taken off her lip, you might want to forget a few of the details." "As with all successful parodies ... the reader does not need to know the original to appreciate the caricature," New York Times Book Review contributor Patricia Marx

Monday, February 15, 2010

Module #4

Julie of the Wolves byJean Craighead George- Module #4

George, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves. New York: Harper Collins, Publishers. 1972.


Miyax, or Julie as her friends call her is torn between the modern world and the old Eskimo ways. Julie lives with her loving and wise father, Kapugen, who teaches her the Eskimo ways. However, her way of life is threatened by a new law saying she must attend school and Kapugen going away to war.. Julie decides to run away after moving to the home of a man she has been promised to marry and learning of her father's presumed death. She escapes an attempted rape and tries to get to San Francisco to a friend. Getting lost in the wilderness along the way, Julie must remember her father's teachings to survive in the tundra.Julie is aided by the wolves who have finally accepted her presence.

Tattered Cover says:

Julie of the Wolves is a wonderfully insightful story. There aren't many books that give us a look into the little known Julie of the Wolves has adventure, tragedy, and culture.

culture of Eskimos. It was very interesting to read about the survival techniques and wolf behaviors. I give this book an A+, thoroughly interesting.

How to use this in a library:

This is definitely an great adventure story and would be great for both boys and girls. It would be perfect to use in a study of Native American tribes and cultures.


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Module #3

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan-Module #3
Munoz Ryan, Pam. Esperanza Rising. New York City: Scholastic. 2000.
Summary: Esperanza Rising is a tale of surviving hardships and change. Born well off and a little spoiled, Esperanza lives on a ranch in Mexico with her family. After her father's death and a tragic fire, Esperanza moves to Los Angelos to live as a migrant worker. Esperanza must learn to overcome the shattering differences in in former life and this new difficult one. Throughout everything, Esperanza struggles to keep her dignity and find happiness in a new and unjust world.
Tattered Cover says: This is a very touching book. Every kid could learn important lessons about bravery, strength, and hard work through Esperanza's struggles. This book instills respect for the common worker and those who struggle everyday just for a better life.
How to use this in the library: This book would be great in a study of the Great Depression to give other points of view. Most books on the Great Depression and the migration to California are based on "Okie" tales. This would also be great for Hispanic Appreciation or a cultural awareness project. However, I wouldn't want to pigeonhole this great literature to just ethnic literature. This is a book ALL students should read.
Reviews: Ryan uses the experiences of her own Mexican grandmother as the basis for this compelling story of immigration and assimilation, not only to a new country but also into a different social class. Esperanza's expectation that her 13th birthday will be celebrated with all the material pleasures and folk elements of her previous years is shattered when her father is murdered by bandits. His powerful stepbrothers then hold her mother as a social and economic hostage, wanting to force her remarriage to one of them, and go so far as to burn down the family home. Esperanza's mother then decides to join the cook and gardener and their son as they move to the United States and work in California's agricultural industry. They embark on a new way of life, away from the uncles, and Esperanza unwillingly enters a world where she is no longer a princess but a worker. Set against the multiethnic, labor-organizing era of the Depression, the story of Esperanza remaking herself is satisfyingly complete, including dire illness and a difficult romance. Except for the evil uncles, all of the characters are rounded, their motives genuine, with class issues honestly portrayed. Easy to booktalk, useful in classroom discussions, and accessible as pleasure reading, this well-written novel belongs in all collections. Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, School Library Journal

Monday, February 8, 2010

Module #4

Out of The Dust by Karen Hesse- Module #4

Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. New York: Scholastic Press, 1997.


Billie Joe has a very hard life full of unlucky breaks. One day at home, her pregnant mother mistakes a bucket of kerosene for water and accidentally sets a fire. As she goes out to get Billie Joe's father from the fields, Billie Joe tosses the kerosene out the front door, hoping to save the house from total destruction. Unfortunately, she doused her mother, who is returning from the fields. Ma gets set on fire and is never the same. Billie Joe's dreams of playing piano are also halted when she burns her hands trying to save her mother. Billie Joe's mother dies giving birth and then the baby dies as well. With the dust storms causing trouble and her father becoming more and more distant, Billie Joe runs away. After a trying week away, she returns home and begins to build a relationship with her father. Her life starts to look more hopeful.

Tattered Cover says:

This story, written in verse, was very interesting to read especially since I'm from Oklahoma. I grew up listening to the hardships

of the Dust Bowl days and was intrigued to read a story about life during those hard years.

How to use this in a library:

This book would be great to incorporate into a history lesson about the Dust Bowl years. It would be great to work together with the history teacher and really bring to life this time period by doing a book study.


Kirkus Review (1997)

Billie Jo tells of her life in Oklahoma during the Dust Bowl: Her mother dies after a gruesome accident caused by her father's leaving a bucket of kerosene near the stove; Billie Jo is partially responsible--fully responsible in the eyes of the community--and sustains injuries that seem to bring to a halt her dreams of playing the piano. Finding a way through her grief is not made easier by her taciturn father, who went on a drinking binge while Billie Joe's mother, not yet dead, begged for water. Told in free-verse poetry of dated entries that span the winter of 1934 to the winter of 1935, this is an unremittingly bleak portrait of one corner of Depression-era life. In Billie Jo, the only character who comes to life, Hesse (The Music of Dolphins, 1996, etc.) presents a hale and determined heroine who confronts unrelenting misery and begins to transcend it. The poem/novel ends with only a trace of hope; there are no pat endings, but a glimpse of beauty wrought from brutal reality.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Module #3

Flotsam by David Wiesner-Module #3
Wiesner, David. Flotsam. New York City: Houghton Mifflin Company. 2006.
Summary: A curious boy finds a mysterious old camera on the beach. He goes to get them film developed and finds pictures of an imaginary underwater world. The last photo shows a girl holding a photo and at closer look, in her photo is a boy holding a photo and so on. From details in the photos you get a since of the cameras past. The boy continues the cycle by taking a picture of himself holding the photo and then throws the camera out to sea for future beachcombers.
Tattered Cover says: A very interesting book. There are no words therefore leaving the reader to come up with their own story. The pictures really are the star of this book with images that have much detail and convey a whimsical other world.
How to use this in the library: Young readers will be able to come up with their own words to "read aloud" this story. It allows all levels of students to enjoy and participate. Readers can also infer where the camera came from and what is the lesson in the story. Students could also draw a picture of themselves with the camera and draw pictures of what they would have taken pictures of if they found the camera. The pictures could make an interesting display for the library.
Reviews:Starred Review. Kindergarten-Grade 4–A wave deposits an old-fashioned contraption at the feet of an inquisitive young beachcomber. Its a Melville underwater camera, and the excited boy quickly develops the film he finds inside. The photos are amazing: a windup fish, with intricate gears and screwed-on panels, appears in a school with its living counterparts; a fully inflated puffer, outfitted as a hot-air balloon, sails above the water; miniature green aliens kowtow to dour-faced sea horses; and more. The last print depicts a girl, holding a photo of a boy, and so on. As the images become smaller, the protagonist views them through his magnifying glass and then his microscope. The chain of children continues back through time, ending with a sepia image of a turn-of-the-20th-century boy waving from a beach. After photographing himself holding the print, the youngster tosses the camera back into the ocean, where it makes its way to its next recipient. This wordless books vivid watercolor paintings have a crisp realism that anchors the elements of fantasy. Shifting perspectives, from close-ups to landscape views, and a layout incorporating broad spreads and boxed sequences, add drama and motion to the storytelling and echo the photographic theme. Filled with inventive details and delightful twists, each snapshot is a tale waiting to be told. –Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

SLIS 5720- Technology Assessment

I am proud to say that I have a lot of strengths when it comes to technology. I was recently recognized as a "technology star" by the IT department in our district. This is a reward that is given to teachers who emphasize the use of technology in the classroom and incorporate it in lessons as much as possible. I try to stay up on new Web 2.0 tools and love showing them off to students. I always give my students options when it comes to projects (Photostory, blogging, Microsoft Publisher, etc.) and enjoy seeing their excitement and creativity.
Having said all this, I know I have weaknesses. I never seem to have enough time to learn all the capabilities of new technology. I am definitely guilty of just scratching the surface of what a technology can do and moving on to something else before I learn about their full potential. As soon as I learn one technology and am teaching my students, I hear of a new and better technology that would have worked better. I never can seem to keep up with technology, but I guess that is just how it is.
As a teacher and soon as a librarian, I will continue to try and stay educated on technology. I will continue to promote the use of it and educate students on how to use it, not only for entertainment purposes, but as great ways to express themselves in their work. I will attend all the professional development classes I can to learn more. I think creating a media technology club would be a great way to have students help me stay on top of the ever changing technological environment.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Module #2

Wilder, Laura Ingalls. Little Town on the Prairie. New York: Harper & Row, Publishers. 1971.


Laura Ingalls lives on the prairie in the Dakota Territory in late 1800's. Laura loves life on the prairie even though life is not easy. Laura and her family must work hard to maintain their homestead, produce enough food to survive the hard winters, and send Laura's sister Mary to the college for the blind. However Laura family still finds time for fun. As the town grows, the people of the town join together in putting on activities to pass the long winter days. This is a book about the joys of working hard as a family and the simple pleasures of nature, family and community.

Tattered Cover says:

This book was such a wonderful surprise! I was enthralled by the simplicity of the portrayals of everyday life on the prairie. The Ingalls family did not have time for superficial things and the straightforward manner in which this book is written reflects that. This is a book that reminds us all to not forget the simple pleasures of life. For such an unassuming book, it may just hold the secret to true, love, and working together towards a common goal.

How to use this in a library:

Being a historical semi autobiographical book, I think this would be great for a book club that could tie in some American history lessons about the time period. Students could be asked to look up non fiction books about homesteaders and how they contributed to the expansion of America. Projects for the book could be for students to build models of the town and use them as a exhibit in the library to display the Little House series.


"The little settlement that weathered the long, hard winter of 1880-81 is now a growing town. Laura is growing up, and she goes to her first evening social. Mary is at last able to go to a college for the blind. Best of all, Almanzo Wilder asks permission to walk home from church with Laura. And Laura, now fifteen years old, receives her certificate to teach school.

And so continues Laura Ingalls Wilder's beloved story of a pioneer girl and her family. The nine Little House books have been cherished by generations of readers as both a unique glimpse into America's frontier past and a heartwarming, unforgettable story." 1942 Newbery Honor Book, Notable Children's Books of 1940–1954 (ALA)

"Young readers will still enjoy the quaint memories of Laura Ingalls' life on the prairie, which was first published in 1941. Each chapter is a short story in itself. Together they tell of Laura's life as a fifteen-year-old. Mary moves away to college, Almanzo begins courting Laura (although she doesn't actually realize it), and the novel culminates with Laura testing for teacher certification earlier than expected. She's needed at a school 12 miles away, and readers will close the cover of this book curious to read the next one to find out how Laura fares in the classroom. Although some time has passed since this story actually occurred, readers will relate to naughty students in the one room schoolhouse, Laura's concerns about her studies, and a rivalry with the jealous Nellie Olson. Reading this book is also a great education on life in pioneer times: the endless chores, hard work, and threatening weather that will cause any reader to appreciate the comforts of the 21st century. 2004 (orig. 1941) Mary Loftus- Children's Literature

Friday, January 29, 2010

Module #2

Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban-Module #2

Hoban, Russell. Bread and Jam for Frances. New York City: HarperCollins Pub. 1962.


Little Frances loves bread and jam. The problem is, she doesn't want to try anything else. After seeing that Frances finds fault with any food besides bread and jam, her parents decide to teach her a lesson. Frances is then given bread and jam for every meal. At first, this seems to be a good thing. However, Frances soon learns that variety is a good thing when it comes to eating.

Tattered Cover says:

This is a great book for teaching kids that too much of a good thing can end up bad. I love the way the author incorporated rhyme into the story with Frances singing about her food. The suddle way the parents teach Frances her lesson is entertaining. The book shows healthy eating habits and also incorporates some appetizing descriptions of meals.

How to use this in the library:

Bread and Jam for Frances would be a great story to use in the library for a health lesson for primary aged students. After the story, students could do an activity requiring them to make healthy choices to put together a healthy meal. They could do this whole group with pictures of choices of food on a Power Point. Also, students could be encouraged to look for other books such as kids cookbooks to come up with healthy meals they could have at home.


"Frances loves nothing better than jam and bread, and turns up her nose at other kinds of food. Then her mother starts giving Frances jam and bread for breakfast, lunch and dinner. ``What I am/is sick of Jam,'' Frances sings to herself. That's the end of Frances's jam-only days, as she discovers, in her own winsome way, that variety really is the spice of mealtimes." Publisher's Weekly 1987