Saturday, November 29, 2014

Bellview Elementary School library ‘Top 10’

It came as no surprise to me that Oregon Battle of the Books featured titles occupy all 10 places this month on the Bellview library Top 10. Students have formed teams and are assigning responsibilities to read each title on the list. And in Bellview library, I am continually asked if I have this-or-that book.

‘Getting a Life with Asperger’s’ by Jesse A. Saperstein

Book cover: Getting a Life with Asperger's by Jesse A. Saperstein. Image depicts a computer-game figure attempting to leap from a beam to a higher-elevation point.
The greatest take-away message for me in Getting a Life with Asperger’s, Lessons Learned on the Bumpy Road to Adulthood (Perigee, 2014) is author Jesse A. Saperstein’s emphasis on people with autism being “role model[s] from day one.”

“Society is aware of us as having a disability, and the characteristics deemed to be negative have more lasting power. Let’s collectively step up to the plate to show that our positive characteristics may eventually overshadow any rocky moments.”

Saperstein envisions himself as a Catcher in the Rye for his younger peers, referencing a mission by J.D. Salinger’s character Holden Caulfield, to save young children from getting too close to a cliff. And Saperstein writes with direct, first-hand experience about that metaphorical cliff.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

One Man and His Beard: New library campaign song


Given my gratitude this Thanksgiving as a lifetime user of libraries, it seems fitting to pass along word about a new library video campaign from One Man and His Beard, a “Libraryfied” version of The Bee Gees’ “Tragedy.”

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

School librarians viewed as ‘extraneous’

My assignment this week for LIBT 210, School Library/Media Center Services, was to respond to the question, “Why are libraries experiencing a budget crisis?”

Official staff photo, Bellview school

Close-up head and shoulders photo of Cynthia M. Parkhill wearing eight-paneled, dark red hat with brin and button that says, 'Books Rock.'

My official staff photo for Bellview Elementary School is by Lifetouch School Portraits. I received an official ID badge, along with prints in several sizes.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Autism book list: Fiction divided by age

Stack of books on a table
Books out from the library
The growing roster of fiction on my list of books for people on the autism spectrum could easily stand as an independent list of autism “read-alikes” — except that entries vary as to age of target readership as reflected in the age of the main character. So this morning, I subdivided the fiction into juvenile, young adult and adult categories.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Blogs by library professionals

Cynthia M. Parkhill's Bitstrips cartoon avatar stands at library table that is covered with books.
Cartoon avatar puts me in good standing among library bloggers
Comic avatars seem to be a frequent practice among public and school library bloggers that I examined for an assignment this week in LIBT 210, School Library/Media Center Operations. So with my Bitstrips comic avatar, I fit right in with the writers of these four blogs.

‘Rain Reign’ by Ann M. Martin

Book cover, Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin. Image shows the silhouettes of a girl and dog running through a field during an evening rain.
The people in Rose Howard’s life get angry with her sometimes for her insistence on following rules. Her tendency to point out every driving infraction got her kicked off the school bus.

Rose’s dog Rain provides consolation and solace in her lonely life. Rain’s name is extra special because it’s a double homonym; the words “Rain,” “Reign” and “Rain” all sound alike, but have different meanings.

Rose’s father lets Rain outside during a terrible storm, and the dog becomes lost. To find her beloved dog, Rose carefully executes a systematic and detailed plan.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Common Core: Emphasis on evidence

A broadcast on NPR’s All Things Considered about Common Core State Standards points to a significant shift in how children are taught to engage with text.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Bullying in children’s books by Ludwig and Keats

Photo of a book, Goggles! by Ezra Jack Keats, on top of a folded, crocheted green zig-zag afghan Photo of a book,Trouble Talk by Trudy Ludwig, illustrated by Mikela Prevost, on top of a folded, crocheted green zig-zag afghan

Two very different portrayals of bullying emerge in Goggles!, written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats (1969) and in Trouble Talk, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Mikela Prevost (2008).

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hattitude: Earflap cap with brim from sweater

Earflap cap with brim, constructed from repurposed sweaters. Outer layer is of boiled wool, patterned in shades of olive and brown, with the brim a solid olive ribbing. Inner layer is of light green ribbed material. With the hat is a pair of arm-warmers, cut from sleeves of the sweater that forms hat's outer layer. In background: a canvas tote holds thread and pieces of hats for sewing.

Teen Crafternoon on Monday with the Ashland library Teen Department presented a perfect opportunity to make a cap with earflaps from two repurposed sweaters.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Teen Crafternoon: Repurposing sweaters

Hands and forearms wearing "wristers" of black knit material, decorated with gray zig-zag pattern with red circular accent sewn on.
Ashland Teen Library on Facebook
Teen Crafternoon continues with the Ashland Public Library’s Teen Department at its new time, 3:30 p.m. on the second Monday of each month.

This coming Monday, Nov. 10, teen librarian Esther Mortensen will guide us in upcycling sweaters into bracelets, arm and boot cuffs, hats and stuffed animals. Sweaters will be provided, but participants are encouraged to bring one to upcycle if they’d like.

Friday, November 7, 2014

‘Informational’ materials in Bellview library

Sign bearing the word Informational and Dewey Decimal number range 000 to 596

I took down the “Non-fiction” directional signs today in Bellview Elementary School library. Where they’d originally designated Dewey Decimal System number ranges for materials shelved by subject, I put new signs that use the word “Informational.” With students being taught to identify and read “informational” text, I felt it was important that we use consistent language when communicating these concepts.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

RVUUF: Part-time third- to fifth-grade teaching job

Calligraphic flame in chalice. Circular text above and below the image reads, May faith in the spirit of life/ And hope for the community of earth/ And love of the light in each other/ Be ours now and in all the days to come.
Source of image: Unitarian Universalist Society:
East, Manchester, CT
Among my many “hats” is the role of Administrative Coordinator for the Religious Explorations program at a church in Ashland, Oregon, the Rogue Valley Unitarian Universalist Fellowship (RVUUF).

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

‘The Doubt Factory’ by Paolo Bacigalupi

Book cover: The Doubt Factory by Paolo Bacigalupi. Gridded image of the left side of a woman's face in three-quarter view, her eyes looking upward to her left and the viewer's right. A tagline next to the top word in the book's title reads, "You Believe What They Want You to Believe."
Alix Banks thinks she knows what her dad does for a living. He works in public relations, making sure his clients get good publicity. Where’s the harm in that?

But then Alix’s luxurious private school becomes the target of a sophisticated prank. And a mysterious stranger makes contact with her and raises an unsettling possibility: that Alix Banks’ father isn’t just in public relations.

In a “four-story tagging job,” the numbers “2.0” drip red from a building’s windows, and “thousands and thousands and thousands of rats” swarm their way out of the building.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

‘The Tale of Despereaux’ by Kate DiCamillo

Cover: The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo. Colored-line drawing image of a mouse running, carrying a needle "sword" with a piece of red thread tied through the needle's eye.
What struck me when reading The Tale of Despereaux by author Kate DiCamillo (for my Children’s Literature class), was her use of a narrator speaking directly to the reader, setting the scene, commenting on the action, and on the motives in the characters’ hearts.

To suspend disbelief, DiCamillo scrupulously honored the rules she had established for the world where the story is set. In a video interview produced by Wadsworth Cengage Learning, she talks about one such rule, that the rats, mice and humans can all understand each other. This rule is very consistently maintained throughout the story.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Saturday, November 1, 2014

‘The Lunar Chronicles’ by Marissa Meyer

Book cover: Cinder by Marissa Meyer. The cover image is the side view of a woman's calf and foot in a high-heeled red shoe. A metallic structure, reminiscent of joints and bones, is faintly visible inside her leg.
Related to my class discussion of fairy tales (and their heroines) this week, I recommend reading The Lunar Chronicles, a series of Young Adult science fiction novels by author Marissa Meyer.

Each book in the series is modeled after a fairy tale, and centers upon a heroine and her “prince.”

With my longstanding interest in “fractured” fairy tales, reading this series was natural for me. And because my comments address the story mid-series, they may unavoidably contain “spoilers.”