Thursday, May 12, 2016

Goings On Around Town - May- June

As always there is lots going on at Books of Wonder. These events caught my eye

Launch Party for Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan
Sunday, May 15th, 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Help Books of Wonder and authors SARAH WEEKS and GITA VARADARAJAN celebrate the launch of their newest novel for middle grade readers, Save Me a Seat, a delightful celebration of friendship in the face of adversity and difference.
Off-Site Launch Event for Draw the Line by Laurent Linn
Tuesday, May 17th, 6:00 PM – 9:00 PM
Join Books of Wonder in celebrating the launch of LAURENT LINN's new book Draw the Line at the Society of Illustrators at 128 E 63rd St. (between Park and Lexington Avenues). LAURENT LINN will open the evening with a short presentation, followed by a book signing. There will be a cash bar and refreshments available.
The Raven King Tour
Sunday, May 22nd, 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Join Books of Wonder as we welcome NY Times bestselling author MAGGIE STIEFVATER in conversation with her editor, NY Times bestselling author DAVID LEVITHAN for the release of the fourth and final book in The Raven Cycle, The Raven King!
Great Middle Grade Reads
Sunday, May 29th, 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM
Get ready for some GREAT MIDDLE GRADE READS as FIVE fantastic authors present their latest tales of adventure with your young readers. GORDON KORMAN, DAN GUTMAN, JULIE SALAMON, ED MASESSA, and GAVIN BROWN will be here starting at 1pm and you won't want to miss a page!

A selection of events at various Barnes and Nobles

Barnes and Noble, Tribeca

Three Magic Balloons  Julianna Margulies

Tuesday May 17, 2016 4:00 PM This afternoon, we welcome actress Juliana Magulies. She'll be here to discuss her new book Three Magic Balloons. Priority seating with book purchase. This will be a wristband event. Please call the store for details

Barnes and Noble, 86th St

Friday June 10, 2016 7:00 PM Join us at 7:00PM for our Trivia Blast, created by Penguin Teen and Random House's First In Line, who will send one winner in every store advance reader's copies* of the most anticipated new teen books. *Advance reader's copies will be preselected by the publisher. #BFESTBUZZ 

Barnes and Noble, Tribeca
Matt de la Pena
Saturday June 11, 2016 11:30 AM  Special Instructions:Like us on Facebook for event updates. 

The Society of Illustrators is proud to announce a celebration of the Comic and Cartoon Art Annual! Opening Reception and Awards Presentation

Friday, June 17, 2016

Society of Illustrators
128 East 63 Street
New York, NY

Doors open at 6PM
Awards Ceremony at 7PM

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Participating in New York State's Charlotte Award

In the fall, many HVLA librarians and students had a blast predicting which book would win the Newbery medal. Part of the challenge for librarians was trying to figure out which books to put on the shortlist. I found this both engrossing and agonizing in equal parts! (Well, maybe not agonizing, but I did worry that we would completely overlook the winner and honor books). With the Charlotte Award, organized by the New York State Reading Association, this is not an issue, since a list of ten books is supplied for each age category. Charlotte fever is running high at A-S right now (pizza voting parties are next week) so I thought I would share a little about how and why we do it.

We offer the The Charlotte Award to boys in the 4th Grade and it has become an excellent stepping-stone to our Newbery Challenge program which we run for boys in Grades 5-7. The brilliant thing about the Charlotte Award is that the winner is chosen by children living in New York state, so when we have our celebration party we actually get to vote online.

NYSRA requires students to read at least six of the books in order to vote. I have to say I’m a little tougher on our boys since I ask them to read all ten books. This is because a number of the titles in the grades 3-5 age group are picture books. In addition, I introduce the award by reading one of the books aloud, enabling all of our boys get a star on the progress chart immediately.  

If I had to name a drawback to the Charlotte Award, I would say that although thought provoking, some more challenging titles would fit my student population better. That said, the fact that many of the books are quick, easy reads ensures very high participation. In addition, the selection is not always as up-to-date as it might be. For example, one of the books on the shortlist is El Deafo.
However the boys are enjoying nearly all of them, including books that they wouldn’t normally pick up.

One other thing to bear in mind is that the Charlotte Award only takes place every other year.This took me by surprise last year and I had to  scramble to find a replacement. Last year’s 4th grade proudly took part in South Dakota’s Prairie Pasque award! As out-of-state participants their votes didn’t actually count but the selection of books was great and with our usual system of incentives and quizzes in place, the program was just as popular.

I’m looking forward to our voting parties next week. The motivation that pizza provides cannot be overestimated and I think about three-quarters of the grade will be able to attend. Of course, we will be having that all-important conversation about which book merits the award and why, but we will also just be reveling in the fact that we have this shared reading experience. This morning I conducted a parent focus group to discuss the library. The reading challenge programs emerged as one of the things the parents appreciate the most. At the end of the day, building a community of readers is my central goal, and the Charlotte Award helps to get us there.

For more information about the Charlotte Award, check out their website.

Sarah Kresberg
Library Director, The Allen-Stevenson School

Sunday, March 13, 2016

2016 NYC Teen Author Festival — Happening!

Each day promises special YA treats, in locations throughout Manhattan and Jersey City.  Everyone's getting in on the fun — NYPL, Books of Wonder, McNally Jackson, WORD.

I just spent 20 minutes trying to summarize the best offerings of this week, without leaving out any great events....and it's impossible.

Then I thought about copying and pasting the entire schedule — because it's that good! You won't want to miss any of it! 

...But that would be an unwieldy blog post.

How about you visit the main schedule page, and look over the events — there's sure to be a few that interest you.

Discussions about Young Adult literature and stereotypes and social change and adult perspectives and influential music and personal essays and navigating being an author in a social-media-world.
Readers Theater with  authors!
...tons and tons of YA Authors!

and a performance by YA's best garage band, Tiger Beat (Libba Bray, Daniel Ehrenhaft, Barnabas Miller, Natalie Standiford)

Make a week of it!

alterrita. "Libba Bray and Tiger Beat cover "Dear Prudence." YouTube, 19 Mar 2009.

Friday, March 4, 2016

Resource Share — Did you know you have access to 100+ magazines?!

In a bit of a digression from school library news, this is a general celebration of our public library system and a specific resource-share from Brooklyn Public Library.

I’m currently obsessed with Brooklyn Public Library’s relatively recent digital offering of over 100 magazines via Flipster.

When I first read about this, I suspected it would be a long list of not-very-interesting, pretty-much-free-anyway magazines.
But then I looked into it… how wrong I was.

Horn Book! — School Library Journal!  The New Yorker! (cartoons included!)  Mother Jones and National Review!  The Atlantic!  Vogue!  People!  Time!  Real Simple… Rolling Stone... O Magazine… Consumer Reports… !

As well as children’s magazines like: Ask, Cricket, Cobblestone, Ladybug, Sports Illustrated Kids!

And so many more…

All of the most recent issues and a selection of past issues are available.

Once logged in with your BPL account, you can view a magazine in your browser or you can view on your device via the Flipster app for Android, iPhone or iPad.

Making this even more unbelievable, when using the Flipster app, your downloaded magazines can be read offline...on the subway, in the park, wherever!

Whether on a desktop/laptop or a smaller screen with the app, the Flipster interface is beautiful — easy to navigate, zoom, isolate an article, flip pages, and return to table of contents.

Ask Magazine April 2016 with Flipster

While exploring this tremendous resource, take a moment to appreciate the public library system we have here in New York.  
[Anyone who lives, works, attends school or owns property in New York State is entitled to library cards from New York Public, Brooklyn Public, and Queens Library!  That’s wild.]  

Back to school libraries.... 

Do you promote the public library in your school?
In addition to increasing access to titles and information, using the public libraries binds our students as citizens to the world beyond our schools — it’s an object lesson in how we benefit individually when we, as a group, invest in public resources.

How can we make our students and families more aware of the resources lying in wait for them — e-books, audiobooks, magazines, Bookflix, Tumblebooks — so perfect for home-use, subway-use, waiting-in-the-doctor’s-office-use, etc.?

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Finding the Firebird: Hosting Misty Copeland

by Maria Alegre
First Program Librarian, The Dalton School

In September of 2013, I read the picture book Firebird by Misty Copeland, illustrated by Christopher Myers. I knew of Misty through my interest in ballet, but the world would come to know and love her the following year when her book would go on to receive the Coretta Scott King Award for best illustrated book and she would receive the Jack Ezra Keats New Authors Award Honor.

Misty’s ‘Under Armor’ sportswear ad would inspire millions as her ballet school rejection letter was read aloud, belittling her late age and too large frame (code: too black) as she danced with power and grace in defiance of her critics. As her commercial went viral, so did her popularity. She was on the cover of Time Magazine in their ‘100 Most Influential People’, she performed for President Obama, she toured with Prince, she guest-starred in a hit Broadway musical and finally she achieved her dream of becoming the first African-American prima ballerina in the ABT’s (American Ballet Theater) 76 year history.

She will also be celebrated for her visit at The Dalton School, where she read her book aloud to students K-3, although this may be low on her list of accomplishments.

Actually, I take that last part back.

Two years ago, I swallowed my hesitation of reaching beyond my realm and contacted her publisher for a visit. I told myself, “We’re not all that different.” I’m a New Yorker, she’s a New Yorker. She wrote a picture book, I’m a librarian. She mentors young children of color, I teach K-3 students at an independent school with a mission of equity and inclusion.

What is the harm in trying to dance with the Firebird? Why not reach for the stars?

At the time, I believe I may have been one of the first school librarians to contact her about a visit. To my amazement, Misty wanted to come! Perhaps because I asked Misty before she became world famous, perhaps because her I asked her before she became and award-winning author. I can speculate forever, but I think the main reason is the one that is the most obvious – a librarian reached out and asked her to share her inspiring stories with a school of young children, and she said yes!

Although I always do my homework for author visits, I went above and beyond for Misty.  I researched the rest days and off-season for ABT performers, I asked my administration for car service recommendations, I helped facilitate the largest signed book sale in the Lower School’s history. I created a multimedia presentation to introduce her visit. When I googled what she might like for breakfast upon arrival, I decided to reign it in a bit.

All of it was worth it. While there was an undeniable element of being star struck by someone whom I have admired from afar, in the end we both had the same mission that day. We both wanted to enrich the lives of children by introducing them to someone who had an inspirational story about their determination and victory in the face of rejection and prejudice.

The great space between us grew closer. Misty admired our library, she gushed over our students and she marveled over the intelligent and thoughtful questions our children asked her. She spoke to them kindly and she hugged them freely. There has been no question that Misty Copeland has received many accolades, however reading her book to my students and sharing her story isn’t a small one. After all, it took one afternoon at a Boys and Girls club to introduce ballet to a young Misty Copeland and change her life forever.

Who knows what great things my students may accomplish after one morning when they were introduced to Misty Copeland?

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

How Do I Love Thee, Google Docs? Let Me Count the Ways.

By Natasha Goldberg, Middle School Librarian, The Chapin School

I’ll be the first to admit it wasn't love at first sight.  Google Docs didn’t sit well with me until this year. The thought that Sergei Brin & co. were privy to / owned my work product was not a pleasant one.  It reminded me of our families’ common homeland, the Soviet Union, where envelopes arrived in one's mailbox having been pre-opened and sloppily re-sealed.

However (and perhaps this is just the post-traumatic Soviet disorder talking) I’ve now come to the conclusion that Google is our savior. Really, truly, I believe it’s the platform of creativity and progress and answers.

And so, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I’d share three ways Google (specifically, Google Docs) has transformed Chapin’s middle school library program this year.  


It’s been infinitely quicker and more rewarding to create presentations since I’ve switched from PowerPoint to Google Slides. Here’s one entitled Citing a Web Site (enhanced here by cameo appearances by Parker Posey and Gru! Hello, generation gap.)   

I had a 5th grade student play teacher and dramatically read aloud the text, and no one fell asleep.   Amazeballs.


Sharing bibliography.  When students activate the comment feature, reviewing bibliography becomes an act of social networking.


Sharing research product.  
N.B.  If you've never used Google slides, the easiest way to start is to navigate to
and hit the red New button on the left side of your screen.  Then, select Google Slides from the dropdown.
  • Students create Google slides to mimic the old-fashioned index card note taking many of us grew up with (one source/topic per card, 3-4 bullets of notes max).  
  • The bibliographic information is kept in the Notes section of the slide so that students can do parenthetical citations in their final essays.   
  • Teachers and librarians, in turn, are able to comment directly on the slide with feedback.  Here's an example from a current project we're doing with the 7s on the Harlem Renaissance. 

How about you? Any G-doc success stories? Please share! Share your misgivings, too.  I may have downed the Kool Aid, but I’m eager to learn more about what concerns you in terms of this platform.