Sunday, June 1, 2014

Graphic Novels are a Good Thing


Why should kids read graphic novels or comics? Simply because children want to read them.  There are some truly fantastic tales that have complex story lines and strong characters.  And they are not just for boys, a couple of my favourties feature powerful girls like Zita the Space Girl and Amelia Rules.

These novels come in a range of genres: humour, mystery, fantasy, adventure, wordless, biography, myths, historical fiction and science fiction.  They do help reluctant readers but they can be enjoyed by all. Even as an adult, I enjoy reading them for a change. Think of it as a throw back to your youth!

Like any book, there are some that are only appropriate for older children. This has been a struggle in the library since different parents have different views on violence in literature, much more so when it is visually represented rather than in text. What one parent considers as a rather chaste picture of violence in a classic TinTin another parent may find offensive. Often for young readers, I'll ask for parent approval of certain graphic novels. Also, they are requested to then read them at home rather than the classroom to respect the wishes of other parents. Here is a good list that I use when recommending comics for different grade levels. Graphic novels enrich and broaden a reader's comprehension skills. Of course, a child shouldn't just read comics, and in our library they are limited to two at a time, it's a matter of balance. I recommend trying out this quality form of literature!

If you're looking for a birthday gift that will be well received, try a graphic novel. There are some great lists including one from the American Library Association.

Still not convinced? Below are some articles about the benefits of graphic novels and how they can linked with the curriculum.

These Arent Your Fathers Funny Papers: The New World of Digital Graphic N...: EBSCOhost


Friday, May 30, 2014

Why is Maya Angelou a legendary icon?

As an educator I wish I could use words as powerfully as Maya Angelou. She weaves tales that can be straight forward (tell it from the hip) that there is no misunderstanding her meaning, which the children love. In her adult literature, messages are shared symbolically, beautifully so, and her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings she be required reading for any student of life.

Ms. Angelou's values are solid; she encourages young people to be strong, stand up for their beliefs, to be honest, understand their fears, follow their dreams and be the power behind change.

In our libraries we have a handful of her work. The elementary has a wonderful book called 'Life Doesn't Frighten Me'.

My hope is our students of the future will continue to be inspired, empowered and enthralled by her words.

Life Doesn't Frighten Me
by Maya Angelou

Shadows on the wall
Noises down the hall
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Bad dogs barking loud
Big ghosts in a cloud
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Mean old Mother Goose
Lions on the loose
They don't frighten me at all
Dragons breathing flame
On my counterpane
That doesn't frighten me at all.
I go boo
Make them shoo
I make fun
Way they run
I won't cry
So they fly
I just smile
They go wild
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Tough guys fight
All alone at night
Life doesn't frighten me at all.
Panthers in the park
Strangers in the dark
No, they don't frighten me at all.
That new classroom where
Boys all pull my hair
(Kissy little girls
With their hair in curls)
They don't frighten me at all.
Don't show me frogs and snakes
And listen for my scream,
If I'm afraid at all
It's only in my dreams.
I've got a magic charm
That I keep up my sleeve
I can walk the ocean floor
And never have to breathe.
Life doesn't frighten me at all
Not at all
Not at all.
Life doesn't frighten me at all.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Books, Könyvek, 서적, Bücher, 书籍

Children love picture books, and this is not surprising but what may be surprising is their fondness for books that are in different languages.

We discovered that children were interested in checking out books that weren't in English or their mother tongue. They happily sat and made up stories of their own and pointed out other features of text like sentence length, word endings or how the words looked. 

Dual language books are a wonderful thing, and in an international school it helps children to learn about another language and their culture, thereby creating tolerance. There are some really interesting blogs and articles about the power of dual language books. I wish there were more available, somebody should be making a fortune of translating favourites into dual language tales. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

The Roller Coaster Ride of Being an Integrationist

As a 21st century librarian I spend only half my time in my library space, the other half I spend in classes working in the virtual world. My role is to integrate. The goal of integration is ensure that the same research and literacy skills are taught both through a grade level and differentiated vertically along grades.

Integrationists are not a new fad in teaching but colleagues are often unsure where I fit. The American Association of School Libraries has done it's research. Leading librarian Melissa P. Johnston stated in her work that integration is   "... leading to uncertainty concerning how school librarians enact this role in practice."

Building a shared vision  is a challenge and takes time.

Here's a brief summary of my feeling and thoughts of my journey thus far. Check back in a year to see the differences!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Scholastic Book Fair

Our PSA is hosting a Scholastic Book Fair next week from Tuesday (Gr. 3, 4, 5), Wednesday  (Multiage, Kindergarten, Gr. 1, Gr. 2)
Friday ( 1pm - 4pm everyone). Books are set at reasonable price of 500 - 2000 HUF. This is a perfect time to expand your personal libraries.

The Stacks is a great website sponsored by Scholastic and gives students the opportunity to browse digital books in different ways. Students can look browse through different genre tabs. The video tab has a treasure trove of goodies like book trailers, interviews with authors and features some celebrities. 

Visit the site to see what Scholastic has to offer and then come to the Book Fair to see if you can find some new books!

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What Happens When a Group of Librarians Get Together?

Librarians are definitely a form of tech geek and my last teacher librarian workshop was a good example of this. I've developed refined my focus and I need to better promote the great digital resources we already have: get more ebooks into the minds of our young readers and encourage our students to use the research tools like Webpath express and OneSearch before they even think to try Google.

Watch this space for  little reminders of some of the goodies we have to offer.

Why is this an awesome tool? It reads books online aloud and students can follow the text.

1) Log into

2) Open the Library and Technology tab - There's a link to the library website and below there's a list of logins for our subscriptions

3) Open the blue 'Read Aloud' tab - click on Tumble Books Library and then explore

Friday, March 28, 2014

We need you

Our students are eager readers and we try to keep them satisfied by quickly getting popular titles back on the shelf. 

It is wonderful that we have enough books that each student can have 10 books on their account but in order to maintain that number we need help getting titles back into their place on the shelves.

Shelving is a simple and relaxing task. You just need to know the alphabet and how to count. It is rather satisfying to empty a cart full of books and see things organized and in their place.

If you have a half an hour before picking up your child or after dropping them off we would love to have some help shelving books. If you're interested please stop by the library and speak to Ms. Cooper or Ms. Ildiko. Thank you.