Book Spine Poetry

2014-04-22 13.42.03Want a quick, engaging activity to celebrate National Poetry Month and get students exploring the library? Try some book spine poetry!

Just invite/take a class to the library, show a quick example, and let students work alone or in pairs (more fun) to create their own mini-masterpieces!


Here’s a link to a gallery created by some of our 8th grade students.

The best part? This is fun for all ages :-)


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/21/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Books: 

friendsI read the anthology Friends, edited by Ann M. Martin and David Levithan, in order to find some short stories to use with my reading intervention class. Many well-known authors’ stories are included, and while the stories were interesting enough, I found very few to be excellent and/or memorable. I did enjoy Meg Cabot’s “Connie Hunter Williams, Psychic Teacher,” in which she thanks the woman who forced her to do multiple edits of stories in fifth grade because she would need the experience someday. And this week, my group and I will be reading Pam Munoz Ryan’s “The Friend Who Changed My Life” because we’ll be able to make some great connections to it.

halfbadI finished my e-galley of Half Bad by Sally Green well after it had already been published, but better late than never. I was very intrigued by the beginning of this books as a nameless boy described the cage he was kept in, his daily routine, and the woman imprisoning him. As the story unfolds, we find that they boy, Nathan, is born of a White Witch mother and Black Witch father, and, thus the outcast of the community. In fact, Nathan’s father, Marcus, is the most powerful and ruthless Black Witch the Council has encountered in a long time. Although I sympathized with Nathan and the prejudice and cruelty suffered by him, his quest to reach the powerful Black Witch Mercury to get Three Gifts on his 17th birthday which will lead to the development of his special power(Gift) at times seemed as overly-long as this sentence. There was much waiting for something to happen when I wanted the story to keep the mystery and fast pace of the beginning. That said,  I enjoyed the world-building–as the story took place in an alternate today where “fains” (normal humans, or muggles for the HP fans) exist oblivious to the epic struggle between the White and Black witches. I find this a worthy read for fantasy lovers, particularly those who tend toward action rather than romance (although there is a bit of that, too.)

Currently Reading:

missperegrine'shomeMiss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been on my TBR list for quite awhile, and it is one of the two books I am giving for World Book Night so I figure I had better be prepared to talk about it Wednesday!




On Deck:

beforeyougosnicker of magic




It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/14/14

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a meme started by Book Journey. The folks over at Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers have given it a children’s/YA spin. I thought it would be a fun way to recap last week’s reading and give a sneak peek of my TBR pile.

Last Week’s Book: 

Robert Lettrick FRENZY middle grade horror

Only one book finished again this week. I am finding I take longer to read e-books than print books. Too many distractions on the iPad, I think. Even though I charged my Nook, I still haven’t put it back into regular use. I think I’ll see if that helps.

The book I read was Frenzy by Robert Lettrick. I was intrigued by the Netgalley description of this horror novel for middle grade/YA readers, so I thought I would give it a try. The setting is a summer camp, where our protagonist, Heath, and friends (and enemies) are having a pretty typical experience until the animals start to exhibit rabies-like symptoms and to attack humans. One bite from an affected creature instantly kills the victim. This happens very much at the beginning of the novel, so the bulk of it is Heath and other campers fleeing to safety–and getting picked off in gruesome ways on their journey. Interestingly, the animals are deathly afraid of water, so much so that they die when doused with it. The campers learn that fact early, and it greatly assists in their escape efforts.

The horror scenes were very well done–with suspenseful build-up, narrow misses, and gory hits. However, there were a few things about the book that fell a little flat for me. Throughout the story there are hints that something is wrong with Heath, including a big one when another camper, Will, sees the OxyContin roll out of his bag. Heath asks Will not to tell, and says that the camp supervisors don’t know about it. Later on it is revealed that Heath’s cancer has moved out of remission and he is refusing treatment. I can’t suspend disbelief enough to think that Heath’s parents would send him to camp without disclosing such a serious medical condition to the adults in charge and giving such a strong pain medication directly to the nurse. I also find the fate of the antagonist, Will, somewhat problematic. Will is set up from the beginning as a brilliant but manipulative person. More than once Heath and Will discuss whether Will is orchestrating events to ensure his own survival, even if that means sacrificing others. At the climax of the book, Will seems to put himself in danger by leading the animals away while the others make it to a building. This seems out of character for him, so I expected something to come of it later, but at the end of the story Will is found dead from bat bites and no further explanation is given It seems like maybe his character just needed to be out of the way for the ending, which is a shame since the dichotomy between Heath and Will is so strong throughout the rest of the story.

This Week’s Books:


I am reading the anthology Friends, edited by Ann M. Martin and David Levithan to see if I want to use any of the stories in my intervention class. I have only one class this last quarter, so my time in the library is greatly increased!!! :-) :-) :-) I also plan to start Half Bad by Sally Green, which I got from Netgalley so long ago that now the book is published…sigh….

On Deck:

snicker of magic

Books and Bites: April Foolishness

Today, the local teen librarians and I welcomed 60+ middle school students to the library for a lunch filled with giggles, snorts, and bathroom humor. I admit I must take credit for sharing both the “poop” book and the “fart” book. I guess I’m working with the right age group :-)

Here are the funny books we shared: