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.