Tuesday, April 15, 2014

‘Anything But Typical’ by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Book cover: Anything But Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin. Abstract swirling designs erupt from a boy's white-silhouetted head
In Anything But Typical, 12-year-old narrator Jason Blake confronts the contradictions of the neuroptypical world. His creative-fiction writing is a valuable strength that he draws upon for insight.

In Jason, author Nora Raleigh Baskin has given this reader a character with whom she found plenty to relate.

Anything But Typical was a recipient in 2010 of the Schneider Family Book Award, ages 11 to 13 division, which honors “artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.”

Anything But Typical and Erin Frankel’s Weird! trilogy are the newest editions to my list of recommended books for people on the autism spectrum. I curated this list to highlight books that I believe to be of value to an autistic readership.

National Library Workers Day

Libraries work because we do. Happy National Library Workers Day, always on the Tuesday during National Library Week. How do you plan to celebrate?

Monday, April 14, 2014

National Library Week: Judy Blume is honorary chair


Sunday marked the start of National Library Week. Judy Blume, author and intellectual freedom advocate, is the honorary chair.

In a public service announcement, Blume emphasizes that libraries are having to do more with less and that shrinking budgets demand hard choices. “So many people depend upon libraries for free job searches, free internet access, health care information and resources that support education.” Blume urges listeners to get involved with their libraries.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

‘Coaching Ms. Parker’ by Carla Heymsfeld

Book cover: Coaching Ms. Parker by Carla Heymsfeld. Ms. Parker stands at bat, a catcher in position behind her, inside a giant baseball mitt. Leaning over the top of the baseball mitt is a group of cheering students.
A reluctant reader finds himself in the position of teacher in Coaching Ms. Parker by Carla Heymsfeld (Bradbury Press, 1992).

On the day that his book-reading journal is due, Mike’s fourth-grade class is interrupted by the sixth-graders’ challenge: an annual baseball game pits the sixth grade against the elementary school teachers.

Tradition demands that Mike’s teacher play, but baseball is “not her sport.”

Mike and Ms. Parker work out a trade: He will coach her in baseball, and she will help with his reading. The fact that Mike’s sister is playing for the sixth-grade team adds complications to their agreement.

The team-sports setting of this story may appeal to reluctant readers. I also think children will enjoy the role reversal that puts a child in a mentor’s role.

Coaching Ms. Parker can be found in the Bellview Elementary School library. It is also shelved in the Ashland branch, Jackson County Library Services.

Cross-posted to the Facebook page of Jackson County Library Services

‘Handbook for Dragon Slayers’ by Merrie Haskell

Book cover: Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell. A young woman, seated on a horse, looks up at a dragon flying overhead.
Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell (Harper, 2013) features a heroine constrained by social expectations at odds with her own ambitions. As a princess, Tilda will one day rule the holding of Alder Brook. More than anything, however, she wants to be a scholar and a writer of books.

Compounding her troubles are the surreptitious wardings against the “evil eye” directed at Tilda by her subjects because she has a misshapen foot.

The story of how Tilda finds her peace and achieves her desires is sure to inspire readers. Handbook for Dragon Slayers is the 2014 recipient of the Schneider Family Book Award, ages 11 to 13 division, for its portrayal of the experience of a person with a disability.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Jackson County library programs earn child literacy awards

Jackson County Library Services' library card. Caption "EXPLORE" above silhouette of hiker with a wooded mountain background
Children’s literacy programs administered by Jackson County Library Services (JCLS) have earned it an Outstanding Ready to Read Grant Project Award from the Oregon State Library (OSL).

Katie Anderson, youth services consultant with the OSL, will present the award at 9:30 a.m. April 23 during the Jackson County Board of Commissioners Meeting. The meeting will be held in the Jackson County Courthouse Auditorium, 10 S. Oakdale St. in Medford.

JCLS was also designated a Best Practice Library for implementing three “best practices” in library services identified by the OSL as having the greatest impact on children’s reading proficiency. Specifically, these are services to children outside the library (outreach), summer reading programs, and early literacy training for parents and childcare providers.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Children’s library book displays: Ideas for May?

Earlier this evening, I posed this question via the #LibChat weekly Twitter-based chat among library professionals (thank you, Natalie Binder for relaying it) and now I’m asking the question here: In children’s library services, what book-display themes are people considering for May?