Monday, November 16, 2015

Literary Events Around Town

1. Join La Casa Azul Bookstore at the Mosaic Literary Conference in the Bronx!
Saturday, November 21, 11:00am - 5:00pm
This year’s conference will focus on the #BlackLivesMatter teachable moments, social and artistic movements that have risen out of Ferguson, MO, Baltimore, MD. and other police and community actions.
Event address: Bronx Museum, 1040 Grand Concourse (at 165th Street), Bronx, NYC

Free event, register online

2. Gene Luen Yang Thursday November 19, 2015
An Evening with Gene Luen Yang at the Society of Illustrators 
Also check out their AMAZING exhibits!

3. Earnest Hemingway through January 31, 2016
Earnest Hemingway: Life in Letters and Writings at the Morgan Library

Come hear about the projects of two of the Center for Book Arts residents as they speak about their artistic journey. 

- Christina Karvounis

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Library Passports!

In the Brooklyn Friends School Lower School Library, orientation of the space is always part of our fall routine. Last year, we initiated a brand new way to show our first graders around the space: Library Passports!

We turned learning about how to navigate the library into a real journey. First, a large kraft paper map is drawn. We offer students a bird's eye view of our library space and talk about where the physical surroundings fall: bookcases, chairs, circulation, the front door. 

Then, we move into the books in the bookcases. Each week, we visit a new destination, and decorate a card (to be stamped, of course!) to our library passports!

For example, next week first grade will visit the picture book area. We will walk around the area, the listen to a story from the section. We will look at a handful of examples from this section. Then, students will take their passports and locate a book of their choice from the section to take a closer look. Upon completing their "journey" to that section, they will draw a representation of the picture book section into their passports and have it stamped. 

Journey complete! We will repeat this for the nonfiction, biography, folklore, and early reader sections.

We also choose 1 or 2 volunteers who would like to add color to our map! We take 2"X1" strips of white paper and students can illustrate a "cover" of a book to glue to the corresponding section on our kraft paper map. This adds to the visual appeal of the map, while also offering concrete examples of what can be found in the various sections of our LS Library.

If you are interested in hearing more, please do not hesitate to reach out to mef or more information at ckarvounis(at)brooklynfriends(dot)com.
- Christina Karvounis

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Mock Newbery Project at Brooklyn Friends School

Sixty students walked into the Brooklyn Friends Middle School library to the sound of Europe’s “the Final Countdown,”  and gathered on the rug in front of a large projector screen.  The air was electric with excitement and anticipation as teachers and librarians presented booktalks and book trailers for 15 Mock Newbery selections.  Students scribbled down notes for their favorite titles on clipboards in their laps. We librarians, myself new to Brooklyn Friends School, and Angie Ungaro, were excited.  The teachers were excited.  Would our excitement translate to our kids?
This was the “rollout” of the new Mock Newbery Project at Brooklyn Friends School, an integrated part of the 5th grade independent reading curriculum. The Newbery Book Award is a prestigious book award that is awarded annually to the best literature for children published that year by an American author. Many independent school libraries have taken on the tradition of a Mock Newbery selection process. We have taken the Mock Newbery tradition to the next level this year, by partnering with the 5th grade Humanities classes and incorporating the Newbery book selection process into the curriculum.  After the “rollout” event, the kids selected their top seven books and from there were assigned  three titles to read.

In the summer, we worked with the humanities teachers, reading selections that were getting some Newbery buzz on the web and blogosphere.  After deliberating over email and a quick lunch meeting, our group settled on  a list of 15 books.  The humanities department decided students would read three books each and write reviews of the books.  Teachers also developed an edublog for the students to post their reviews  and share with each other.  Angie and I have incorporated lessons into the classroom covering the history of the Newbery Award and selection process, as well as some tidbits about other book awards.
The students are having a blast reading their books and discussing them amongst themselves. The process seems to be running smoothly. We purchased several copies of each book, and the only real challenge we have faced is how to make sure everyone has a book from the list to read.  We had our first big swap day this past week, where all books were to be returned and given to the next readers on the list. Many students want to read more than three titles, jump ahead to their next book or read something else from the list so we have been doing our best to accommodate as many readers as possible, utilizing Kindles and Audible books as well to support different reading styles.   This is  a good problem to have, to not be able to keep up with the demand for books!  Voting will begin later in the year.  I’m sure the kids will get a kick out of the voting process, choosing their own winner and finally seeing which book is officially awarded the prestigious honor in January.

Our Mock Newbery Selections:

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
George by Alex Gino
Echo by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart
Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle
Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia
Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom by Lynda Blackmon Lowery
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest
Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar
Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley
The War that Saved my Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Paper Things by Jennifer Jacobson
Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead
The Boys Who Challenged Hitler by Phillip Hoose

-- Emily Valente