Saturday, September 29, 2012

Celebrate Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week 

(September 30 - October 6, 2012)

"Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association."

To kick off this important celebration for book lovers everywhere, I'd like to welcome Teacher Librarian, Peg Gates.  Peg is a dedicated and knowledgeable teacher librarian that divides her time between two elementary schools in my district.  A  little reading fact about Peg is that her favorite place to read is – on her back porch in the summer, with a glass of iced tea and some goldfish!

Peg tells us about this celebration that promotes the freedom to choose what we read . . .  

What is Banned Books Week?
     What do Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl and Maurice Sendak’s classic In the Night Kitchen all have in common? Believe it or not, each of these well-known works of literature has been banned from some libraries! Challenges have been made to their inclusions in collections based on supporting witchcraft and wizardry (Harry), being too depressing and too imaginative (Anne) and nudity (Night Kitchen).
Every year, the American Library Association (ALA) recognizes our “freedom to read” (ALA website, by highlighting and celebrating those books that have been eliminated from or restricted in library collections due to censorship. This year (September 30th – October 6th) marks the 30th anniversary of this celebration, which each year consists of an updated list of challenged books and recognition of the  “efforts of librarians, teachers, students, and community members who stand up and speak out for the freedom to read” (ALA website).
Why is it important to celebrate Banned Books Week?
A quick look at other books on the list makes this an easy question.  In addition to the classics mentioned above, consider a library without James and the Giant Peach, The Five Chinese Brothers, and the beloved poetry of Shel Silverstein. Modern YA novels dealing with subjects facing young teens, such as bullying, adolescence, drug use and suicide have been challenged. Because of the collective support of many parents, teachers and students, these books have remained on the shelves, continuing to be a source of inspiration and solace for their readers.
      Have I ever had books challenged in the library?
Oh, yes. While I’ve never received a formal challenge filed with the school district, I have been approached about removing books from the collection for various reasons. The most common observation from adults is that the material contained in the book is too mature for our level. Students point out pictures that they find to be “inappropriate.” Generally, the parents have been right – and I’ve sent the books to the middle school. And the students – well, the items tend to stay in the collection, and they love to share them with friends!
Thanks for sharing Peg
If you have not already read one of these challenged books, you may wish to check them out at your school or public library . . .



Friday, September 28, 2012

Poetry Friday: Celebrating Libraries





Today's  Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted at Paper Tigers.  
Be sure to visit them and take a "Poetry Break!"

Celebrating Libraries  . . . 

As I mentioned earlier this week, it is Library Card Sign-Up Month.  I am a library lover and when I began my studies to get a degree in School Library & Information Technology, I embarked upon a new library adventure . . . every town that I visit, I make it a point to have my picture taken in front of that library (or inside of it).  I am not usually a big fan of being photographed but I make an exception when it comes to libraries (and anything related to books and reading)!  

Yes, Atlantic City, NJ does have a library!

A very small but quaint library in beautiful Cape May, NJ.

Besides having my picture taken in and around libraries, I also began collecting books and poems about libraries. They are the topic of some of my favorite books and poems.  In honor of this celebration of libraries, I thought I'd share just a few of these gems . . . 

First up, Amy Ludwig Van Derwater at the Poem Farm has a fabulous post entitled,  I Can, where she discusses the joys that libraries bring.  I Can is a beautiful poem about what having a library card can do for us!  

Amy has another lovely library poem, The World for Free.  It is one that I read and reread often, since she shared it in a bookmark format! 

I absolutely adore J. Patrick Lewis' Please Bury Me in the Library!

Bagert's poem, Library Cheer, is one of my students favorites!  Last year we read it in a reader's theater format.  The students selected books mentioned in the poem to use as props when they performed it. 

Be sure to "check out" these library poems!  Please share any of your favorite library poems and traditions by leaving them in a comment. 








Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Literary Quote: Calling All Library Lovers!

She manufactured library cards 
and checked out books to friends, 
then shocked them with her midnight raids 
to collect the books again.
~ Sarah Stewart (regarding Elizabeth Brown)

The Library by Sarah Stewart and illustrated by David Marshall (Square Fish 1995)

September is Library Card Sign Up Month.  This week's literary quote is from this lovely tale about Elizabeth Brown, a true book-lover (and collector)!  Bookish individuals, library lovers, book collectors, and all those who love to read, will want to read this heart-warming and funny story about how one girl's love for books and reading led to the start of a town's library.  

Here is a review of The Library . . .
“A story told in witty rhyme, about a bookish Elizabeth Brown, who . . . takes her greatest pleasures in life from her literary treats . . . This is a funny, heartwarming story about a quirky woman with a not-so-peculiar obsession. Cheers for Elizabeth Brown, a true patron of the arts.”—School Library Journal

Monday, September 24, 2012

Mother Goose Monday: Must-Haves

Mother Goose Must-Haves . . . 

Every parent, caregiver, educator, and child will want to make sure that their personal library collection includes at least one great collection of nursery rhymes.  folklorist, Iona Opie collaborated with Rosemary Wells to create two of the best Mother Goose books around.  The rhymes have been carefully selected to ensure that children today have the opportunity to experience the best of the classic nursery rhymes.  Each rhyme has been illustrated with Wells' classic animal characters in her signature bright colors.  The artwork in these two treasuries will have readers exploring the smallest of details. 

 "These rhymes are like sea glass, each one different, ground down to its perfect shape through centuries of repetition.”       ~Rosemary Wells

“I suppose my message in life is ‘nursery rhymes are good for you."  ~Iona Opie

Friday, September 21, 2012

It's Poetry Friday: Poem Posters

  by Amy Merrill1

Poem Posters

Today's Poetry Friday Round-Up is being hosted by Renee at No Water River.  
She has lots of "Poetry Candy" for us to sample.  Make sure you indulge your poetry sweet tooth!

Poem Posters . . . 

 As Martha Stewart would say, "they're a good thing."  What are Poem Posters you ask?  Poem Posters are exactly what they sound like.  They are posters created by using the text of a "Poetry Break!" poem and some sort of visual (clip art, illustrations, craft items, etc).Last year I began to create Poem Posters to leave in the classrooms after I presented a "Poetry Break!"  Teachers and their students were able to revisit, read, and recite poems every day.  

One teacher used a clothesline, strung across her classroom, to hang the Poem Posters.  Students were able to read and recite "Poetry Break!" poems from the entire school year.   At one time, she needed to use the clothesline for another purpose and had to remove the Poem Posters.  Students were surprised to see that the poems were not in their usual place and were quite disappointed.  The teacher had to reassure her students that the poems would soon be returned to their proper place.  

  by Amy Merrill1

Poem Posters are fun to make and they become a much loved part of the classroom.  Poem Posters give students and teachers daily opportunities to take a "Poetry Break!" at any time and on any day! 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Word Wizard Wednesday: Word Collectors

Our journey into the magical, wonderful world of words begins when we open a book . . . 

Words make our life more meaningful!
Words give us the amazing power to turn an ordinary day into an extraordinary day!

To the observant reader, who enjoys collecting words, words seem to leap off of the page and into one's mind.  Many readers even collect interesting, unique-sounding,, and unusual words and keep them in a notebook or on scraps of paper.   Selig is one such collector. In Roni Schotter's delightful picture book, The Boy Who Loved Words, readers encounter a book that is chockablock with delicious words!  Selig's word collection can also be found in a glossary at the end of the book.  This tale is sure to inspire readers to begin their own word collection (or add to their already existent treasure-trove)!  Giselle Potter's multi media (pencil, ink, gesso, watercolor, collage and more!) illustrations add to the story's inspiration and whimsy.  One of my personal favorite aspects of Potter's illustrations, are her scraps of paper, covered with words that are scattered about on each page. 

A must-read for any Word Wizard!
Praise for The Boy Who Loved Words . . . 
Schotter blends magical realism with a tongue-tingling narrative to create an ode to the power and purpose of language.  An inspiring choice for wordsmiths and anyone who cherishes the variety and vitality of language.” Starred Review, School Library Journal
 "A charmingly prolix tall tale.  An 'exultant encounter, chockablock with tintinnabulating gusto.  A gift to precocious children and teachers as well.  (See tantalizing glossary appended.)"  Starred Review, Kirkus 

 This week's Word Wizard Words . . .