I had the opportunity to meet the author of this Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award nominated book, Lindsay Stoddard, at the DCF Award conference this past spring. A Hanover High School graduate and former teacher, Ms. Stoddard was very engaging and loves to visit schools. On top of that, she wrote a fabulous book set in Vermont, that I knew the students would love, so I decided to read her novel, Just Like Jackie, with both fourth and fifth grade this year, in the hopes that we can get Ms. Stoddard to come to OQS to discuss it with the students!
So far the students have been very engaged in Ms. Stoddard’s storytelling style, and how she captured the voice of her main character, Robinson Hart, a troubled girl who lives alone with her grandpa. Our discussions have been very thoughtful regarding character motivation, setting, the conflict and predicting possible resolutions, as well as the plot. I have been thoroughly impressed with how deeply the students have been willing to dive into Robinson and the other characters in this story, and their ability to use evidence from the text to back up their assertions.
As we continue reading this book over the course of the year, I look forward to many more thoughtful discussions and personal connections to the character and her problems. I know kids are going to be rooting for Jackie all year long!
Banned Book Week is here! The kids are on the lookout for OQS’s Most Wanted (aka me), who is happily spreading the word about the gift of Intellectual Freedom and sharing any and all books here in the OQS library. We’re talking about how libraries are here as the ultimate haven for research and knowledge, and the role of the library in our community. We’ve had amazing conversations based on these fun and silly pictures!
Students in fourth and fifth grade also watched this video from the American Library Association, which explains why censorship is an issue for libraries and last year’s 11 most challenged books in America.
Finally, I shared this article with older students about the recent banning of the Harry Potter series in a Nashville private school, which led to a lot of interesting discussion! Students understand that parents have every right to decide what is appropriate for their children to read, but we wondered if the same was true for a school administrator or a teacher? Students had a lot to say on the subject!
I always love reminding students that libraries are a place they can trust to get the facts, as well as how lucky we are to live in a country where they have the right to any and all information (deemed appropriate by their families). So much great discourse and impassioned feelings, as well as fun!
Hispanic Heritage Month began this week and I loved sharing these amazing titles with kindergarten, first, and second grade. Pairing stories of Hispanic families and culture along with the fantastic addition of Spanish class here at OQS makes for a more authentic experience for our young readers to fully appreciate this vibrant heritage.
Lucia the Luchadora was definitely the favorite (mine, too!), and now I’m going to have buy the sequel to keep up with the demand! Lucia is an awesome, confident, dynamic character that all the kids loved! I wouldn’t be surprised if we have a few luchadoras or luchadores at OQS this Halloween!
Check out my entire book display, including novels and non-fiction, on my Instagram! I noticed as I was making this display that I don’t have nearly enough novels that celebrate Hispanic culture. If you have any recommendations, please let me know!
Kindergarten, first and second grade read books last week about non-conformity and being comfortable and confident enough to be yourself. I think it’s good to start the school year on the note of self-expression and individuality. I want everyone in the library and at OQS to know that we are free to be ourselves, and there are some really awesome picture books to help remind us.
The kids love these first two stories about characters who are willing to take risks and go against the crowd, and Red is a great example of how others can have certain expectations and assumptions about you based on your appearance. All celebrate freedom of expression and uniqueness! Other titles that I have read in the past along these lines are Not Quite Narwhal and Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed.
Here in the library, everyone is welcome, and everyone is welcome to be exactly who they want to be. I love reading stories that emphasize that!
This week was tech-heavy for grades 3-5. With students eager to be allowed onto the computers and iPads to search for books themselves, a refresher course in how to use the online card catalog was in order. Starting next week I will encourage the students to find their books themselves, especially in non-fiction. Time to become friends with Dewey Decimal numbers!
After that, students competed in teams to prove who knows the OQS Library the best via a rousing game of Jeopardy. There were laughs, some tears, a little frustration, but overall the most engaged conversations about spine labels and genres we’ve ever had! Nothing like a little competition!
Library introductions are over! Looking forward to starting our Dorothy Canfield Fisher Award-nominated book with 4th and 5th grade, Just Like Jackie, next week! 2nd and 3rd grade will begin a short, early chapter book, Dory Fantasmagory! Hope you all have a great weekend and find time to curl up with a good book!
4th and 5th graders brainstormed expected behaviors in the library and then used the “Be Like Bill” meme generator to create new reminders for the library! Whatever we can do to keep the library a safe and entertaining place to be, and when students take the initiative to encourage others to use PAWS-itive behavior, I’m all about it!
I can’t believe we are now underway with what is my FOURTH year in the Ottauquechee School Library, which just so happens to be one of my very favorite places in the whole wide world. We started out this year talking about big ideas like, What is a library? and expected behaviors, and of course we have already read many amazing stories about starting school and being kind.
Some of my favorite moments have come from our conversations about What is a library? and the students’ responses range from the mundane (a place to check out books, a place for quiet, a place to read) to the positively heartwarming. A place where everyone is welcome. A place where happiness happens. A place to be amazing. All the happy library feels!
Older students made humorous memes to remind students about how to behave in the library and take care of its materials modeled on the viral “Be Like Bill” memes. Needless to say, there were very amused and creative!
Whatever I need to do to get kids to remember expected behavior!
Next week the older kids will have a chance to show their skills at navigating the library with some good old fashioned Jeopardy, and then we will review how to use the library online catalog. As much as I know it’s important to lay the groundwork for appropriate library usage, I can’t wait to start reading books together and getting to know the kids as readers!