Thanks for visiting our blog. Please explore our website, too, at www.metisinnovations.com!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Mackin Ain't Slackin'!

To our delight, we have recently learned that Mackin Educational Resources is providing custom cataloging with shelf-ready processed books using our Metis categorization system.  For more information you can contact us directly by emailing:  Iwantmetis@gmail.com

Or you can contact Mackin's representative, Deann Hoff: 800-245-9540 
Mackin Educational Resources
3505 County Road 42 West
Burnsville, MN 55306

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A school library adopts Metis in Brooklyn

We are packing up the camera and taking a field trip. We'll visit a new Metis library being set up, organized and labeled. Maybe we'll get to hear some of the students' reactions, too!

Check back for some photos of our excursion.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Step Gently Out

I have been reading this lovely book to my 2nd grade classes this last week. We are in the middle of our Mock Caldecott unit and I am ever hopeful that a book illustrated with photographs will one day bear a Caldecott Medal. Surprisingly, my students have really taken to this quiet book and appreciate the beautifully composed close-ups of insects.

But where to put it? My original thought had been to catalog the book under Verse (after all it is a poem) but I worried that it wouldn't be found there. I began to ask my classes where they would want this book. I expected them to say Animals - Bugs. On the last page there is a paragraph of information about each insect featured in the book. Interestingly, about 80% of my students have asked me to catalog the book under Nature. When I express my surprise "isn't it a book about bugs?" and worry "will anyone find it in Nature?" I am assured by their articulate comments: "it's a book about nature, about looking at things around you." and "its more than bugs, Tali."

So, into Nature it will go where hopefully many people will have a chance to explore it's beauty and the world beyond it.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Helpful Complaints

Well, it was bound to happen.  Yesterday I walked into the lower library to find a colleague in distress.  When I asked her if she needed some help finding books, I think she uttered something like, "I hate this new system."  My eyebrows shot up in disbelief.  Really?  I had never heard anything like that before. I downplayed my surprise and sincerely asked, "What do you mean?" (Because in all seriousness, it's this kind of honesty that we hope for from all of our users so that we can improve Metis to better serve everyone, not just the students.) 

To answer my question, my very literate colleague added, "It was easier when you just searched by the author's last name."   

Hmm?  Sometimes, I thought.  But what if you don't know who the author is?  And then it dawned on me that this was her first visit to our library since her leave of absence last year.  She had never attended any of our 5 to 10 minute introductions that explained Metis.

Gesturing toward the computer, I asked, "May I show you how to use the catalog?"  We typed in the title of the first book and found it exactly where she had been looking based on her intuition.  We proceeded to type in the next two titles and it turned out that we actually don't have them in our collection.  Her fourth request had an "ask" logo on top of the image in the catalog which means that there is some special circumstance going on, and the browser should ask the librarian about it.  Did my colleague leave the library totally satisfied?  Probably not since she walked away with only one book when hoping for four.  But we'd be hard pressed to blame it on Metis. 

Before implementing Metis last year, we promised our administrators that if our new system did not work well for everyone, we would promptly resurrect Dewey.  We truly welcome questions, concerns, recommendations and even criticism, if it helps to enhance our community's library experience. Yesterday's exchange was definitely helpful.  We will look into the two missing books to see if we should add them to our collection.  Unfortunately, her fourth book is out of print so we can't do much about that. (Amazon doesn't even have a copy.)  And lastly, with pleasure, I will continue to show anybody who wants to learn, how to use the computer catalog to search for books using Metis.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Addressing the "Dewey Dilemma"

My colleague received an email sent by a college professor, in which she expressed valid concerns that echoed frequently asked questions regarding the “Dewey Dilemma.” She wondered how our creation of Metis could possibly be worth the time and effort when ultimately, all we have done is created a “parallel dimension” of Dewey. 

We understand how daunting it is to think of adopting a brand new system that replaces Dewey.  Really.  We do.  But Metis is far more than Dewey “without the numbers.”

Metis is an investment: an investment of time, energy, labor, sweat and yes, sometimes tears.  But ultimately it continues to be an investment that pays off on a daily basis.

Last week for instance, a second grade teacher dashed into our library with about 45 seconds before our Kindergarten class was scheduled to arrive.  She asked, “Is this a bad time?  I need to find some books on voting.”   Before Metis, I would have suggested that she come back in 45 minutes or at the end of the day in order to not disrupt the expected class.  I no longer had to do that.  Instead, I welcomed her and simply pointed to the  “Community” section and said to look under Government.  Within minutes she returned to the checkout desk, and handed me 3 books (one fiction, two non-fiction)  exclaiming, “Wow!  It’s so organized in there.  Thank you.”

If our library collection were still arranged using The Dewey Decimal System, this quest for multiple books on voting would have taken much more time, and in all likelihood, required assistance from a librarian. This kind of independent, and successful searching for books happens every day, by teachers and students alike.  So to us, the four librarians here at Ethical Culture, the last thing Metis has been, is a waste of time. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Wonderful conversation on Twitter

In a Twitter chat on October 11th, the four of us joined SLJ experts and dozens of other thoughtful library professionals to chat about leaving Dewey and making an alternative system. So many great ideas and comments!

We are taking some time to review the questions we discussed and will expand on our answers (beyond the 140 characters). Check for the FAQ on our website, soon.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Chat with us!

School Library Journal will be hosting a Twitter Chat on October 11 at 9:00 p.m. (Eastern).

Join us to discuss reasons for staying with or leaving Dewey, questions about Metis, concerns about student learning, ideas about better signage...or just say "hi."

Tweet you soon, #sljdewey !

Friday, October 5, 2012


Last week I took my 3 girls to our local public library for some new reading. My 4 year old happily deposited herself on the floor with a basket of paperback Berenstain Bear books. My 7 year old went off to find something new in the series section. And my 10 year old wanted Smile by Raina Telgemeier, so she walked over to the Graphic section. Two minutes later she came back to me and said she couldn't find the book. So, we walked over together looking for the letter "T" and scanning the shelves.
No luck.
We went over to the computer catalog to look up the book and found that its call number is "J GRAPHIC 617.46 T" in some branches or "GRAPHIC 617.465 T" in others. Alright, close enough, I thought, and we headed back over to the Graphic section to find the non-fiction.
No luck.
Having no choice at this point we walk over to the librarian's desk to ask for help. "Oh, yeah," she says, "that's actually in the non-fiction section."

WHAT?!? Who thought that putting a graphic memoir in Dentistry was a good idea? But more than that, who is actually going to be able to find that book? Not only because the cataloging is not intuitive but because the call number makes no sense in relation to where the book is actually shelved.

Over on LM_Net there has been a rousing discussion about the pros and cons of trying alternate classification systems. One of the arguments against alternatives, is that children can walk into any library and find a book in the same place. Well, that might be but it seems at NYPL it depends on the branch you're in. Let alone if you happen to be in Queens where it would be under "617.64 T" or in Brooklyn where you'd find it in "J FIC TELGEMEIER." Some might argue that this is an exception, but it's not. Maybe we've gotten so used to "tweaking" Dewey that we don't even realize how different it is from place to place.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Labels have arrived

Our Category Labels are here!

Come take a look and pre-order what you need for your library.


Monday, October 1, 2012

Our Article in October Issue of SLJ

We are very excited about the latest issue of SLJ. It features an article by the four of us about Metis: why, what and how. You can find it at Are Dewey's Days Numbered?

Saturday, September 29, 2012

I Want a Truck Book

It has been a whirlwind of a summer and every time I sit down to write a post something else needs to be done: books need to be cataloged; laundry needs to be folded; corn needs to be husked. But today is the day!

You might be reading this because you managed to attend our presentation at ALA "I Want a Truck Book." I had the pleasure of sitting on a panel with Gretchen Casserti from Darien Public Library and Debbie Cooper from Stark County Library on using different cataloging systems with the zero to 5 set. This was such a great experience! Often, as a professional, you wish for the time to examine your practice in a thoughtful way. Writing this presentation really helped us begin to articulate what exactly we have done and why we created Metis. If you want to check out the slides you can find them on slideshare. I've also posted my original intended speech here but if you've ever heard me speak you'll know that what actually was said wasn't really the same as what I wrote. It does have all of the same points and helps to explain the slideshow.

We've been working this summer on writing a FAQ, a how-to workbook, and reproducing our labels so that other libraries can use them. Hopefully, you're going to start seeing some of this posted here soon. As always, if you have any questions please send us an email.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Joy of Metis

A couple of my favorite things about our new category system Metis, are the proud independence and literal joy I witness daily when students begin their search for books to take home.  
Today for instance, a second grade girl called out, “Andrea, will you help me find a book?”  Answering her with my standard reply, I said, “Sure Alice.  What kinds of books do you like?”
“Funny!” she declared emphatically.
“OK, so where do you think you could find a funny book?” I asked.
Confidently, she pointed to the humor shelves.   Within moments she picked up a book called Spooky Riddles and started reading out loud…seemingly, to whomever would listen: “What yard will kids never play in?” she bellowed. 
She grinned as 4 other students came toward her quietly and curiously, waiting for the answer.  “A graveyard,” she roared. This triggered not only a stream of laughter, but also a desire for everyone else to pick up his or her own joke book.  While the other students took turns cracking each other up with their own jokes, Alice made her way back to me and questioned privately, “Andrea, what’s a grave yard?” 

Ahhhhh…the joy of independent browsing.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Searching vs. Browsing?

In response to a post about Metis on the ALSC blog, some commenters argued that we were mistaken in being concerned about our students understanding the way that Dewey worked, and that all that mattered essentially was that one could search for items in the online catalog, obtain the call numbers and then locate the items on the shelves. That got me thinking. Most of our work in this area has been in relation to elementary age children, but these statements seemed to go beyond that to the heart of the subject classification process itself.
As my colleague Tali pointed out, if all you need from shelf order is a code that you can locate on the shelf, what is the point of an elaborate classification system? One might as well put books in accession number order. It would certainly save a whole lot of trouble.

There must be a reason why subject order was chosen by Dewey to organize the physical collection. Amazingly enough, I found the first edition of Dewey (1876) on Project Gutenberg. I thought he might explain why he chose subject order, but in his introduction he seems concerned mainly with the internal order of his system and the use of decimals. It seems as though the prevailing system at the time was one in which there was a fixed location on the shelves for each item, which would not change as the collection grew. One of Dewey's innovations was relative location, in which items were placed in relation to each other and might move to different shelves as the collection grew. He discusses these issues, but more or less assumes the validity of subject order.

So what is the point of a shelving system arranged by subject? A.C. Foskett, whose textbook (The Subject Approach to Information) I used in library school, has this to say:
"There will be many occasions when readers will approach the collection without any particular need in mind but wishing instead to be able to select items at random. To help in this situation, our system should permit browsing; a reader should be able to follow a casual train of thought as well as a planned search. (London: Library Association, 1996; 5th ed., pg. 26)
Later in the same book he asks, "Why is classified shelf arrangement helpful?" and answers:  "There are two important reasons. The first is to satisfy the browsing function; readers like to wander round the shelves and find books which attract them." (pg. 213)

Similarly, Robert M. Losee of the UNC Chapel Hill Library School writes that "the classification system essentially supplies a browsing path from one documents to another."  (How to study classification systems and their appropriateness for individual institutions. In Classification: Options and Opportunities, ed. Alan R. Thomas. Binghamton, NY: Haworth, 1995, pg. 45)

So if we acknowledge that the reason for a subject-based shelving system is to permit browsing, we then surely have to ask the next question:
What kind of subject-based classification system is going to encourage the users of my library to browse productively so that they are led to books which are of interest to them? We think that this is a question worth asking and trying to answer, rather than submitting to the monopolistic dominance of Dewey as a supposed one-size-fits-all system.
The question puts users at the center of the issue, and keeps them there. Ultimately, that is the essential thing.

Monday, April 23, 2012

"I Vant to Read about Vampires"

     Sans the accent, this is a question we get all the time these days. The interest in vampire books is still riding high, even though the heyday of Twilight, at least among would-be younger readers, seems to be over. 
     I recently bought five books in a series called Vampires (Rosen, 2012) and was cataloging them this morning. The books had arrived with Dewey numbers on their spines, which needed to be changed to call numbers in our new system, Metis.
     This simple process turned into a wonderful illustration of how our system parts ways with Dewey, and why we wanted to leave Dewey behind us.
     Each book in the series had a different call number, by discipline or subject area: Vampires in Mythology was in 398, Vampires in Literature in 809, Vampires in Film and Television in 791.43, Transylvania: Birthplace of Vampires in 949.8, and Dracula: The Life of Vlad the Impaler in B VLAD.
    I categorized them all in U SCARY MONSTERS.
When my newest vampire fan comes in tomorrow morning, I'll tell him to look in the "Scary" section under "Monsters." I'm confident he'll find them all with ease, and that the film buffs, literary experts and history fans won't miss any of them.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

METIS Main Categories

Weve had some requests for more details about Metis, so we are posting the main categories here. Were working on making the full schedules available in the near future.

When we devised the main categories we tried to be, first and foremost, very pragmatic. We were not interested in a system that reflected the state of human knowledge, or that showed an accurate relationship, in academic terms, between one branch of knowledge and another. Instead, we tried to devise a system with our users and their needs and interests at the center, and our curriculum, collection, and library geography a very close second. Our categories are concrete for the most part, reflecting things, genres or fields of interest, not disciplines.

You can see the influence of library geography/layout and the various ages of our users in the choices we made with our fiction categories (X, Y, Z).

We settled on an alphabetic designation for each category in order to achieve an order that made sense. Alphabetical order by name of category would result in Adventure followed by Animals, etc., which would have been unhelpful. We are a school library without any extra space, so we couldn't create display islands which contained related categories. Our system had to work with a strictly linear shelf display. The alphabet code seemed the best choice: it synchronized well with the alphabetical order of the sub-categories; it reflected skills the students were already learning; and it provided us with a base of 26 categories.

Our library has two rooms, PreK-2nd grade, and 3rd-5th grade. The categories in the two rooms are almost identical, but not quite. Category A is Facts in the Upper grade room (for almanacs, world records, etc.), but Concepts in the lower grade room (for alphabet, number, shapes books). The nature of the lower grade books dictated that categories G MakingStuff and H Arts in the upper grades room became GH Arts and Crafts in the lower grades room.



A. Facts (Upper grades); Concepts (Lower grades)

B. Machines

C. Science

D. Nature

E. Animals

F. Pets

G. MakingStuff

H. Arts [For Lower grades, GH is a single category, Arts and Crafts]

I. Sports

J. Ourselves

K. Community

L. USA (Then and Now)

M. Countries (Then and Now)

N. Languages

O. Traditions

P. Tales [including all mythology, religious stories, folk tales]

Q. Verse

R. Humor

S. Mystery

T. Adventure

U. Scary

V. Graphic

W. Memoirs

X. Fiction (Upper grades); Picture Stories (Lower grades)

Y. Beginning Fiction

Z. Middle Fiction

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Metis goes live!

You might have heard of us from our recent post on the ALSC blog.

We're so excited that so many people are interested in what we're doing and coming to take a closer look! We really weren't expecting this much traffic but it definitely points to the fact that many of us are interested in exploring other options to Dewey. We searched high and low for a system that we felt was created for children; modified BISAC didn't do it for us. In the end, we made our own.

We are in the process of putting together a FAQ, a more robust website and workbook to help you understand better what we're doing and how you could implement it in your own library. Please check back, add us to your RSS feed, or email us iwantmetis at gmail.com so we can let you know when we have new materials to share.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Earl knew

Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet is not only a great read but chock full of information. Congratulations to Melissa for winning the Sibert Medal! To see all the medal winners visit the ALSC webpage.

PS - Earl is the library Yeti. He was created by the son of our Shop teacher in a puppet making class at the School of Visual Arts and was featured that year at Rockefeller Center in NYC.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Creating Our New System

We began working on creating a new classification system with a palpable sense of terror and excitement. We knew the task was huge. We had no idea if we were up to it. We began at the beginning. The process involved a great deal of thinking, talking and pushing at each other's arguments to try to find the flaws, book and online research, anecdotal research on our students, and experimenting with sections of our collection.
Although we had no idea yet of the details, we were clear about our objectives. Our new system had to include the following characteristics:
  • It had to be child-friendly. By that we meant that it had to begin with the thought categories and language used by children of various ages.
  • It had to encourage browsing. That meant that the order and the sections and sub-sections had to be clear not only to the librarians, but also to the students who were using the library.
  • It had to be flexible. By this we meant that it had to be capable of being used or adapted for use by a range of ages (4 through 11); it had to be capable of growing as time went on, as the world changed and as our collection grew. In addition, we knew that the idea that we were going to devise a universal scheme with everything already included in it, as Dewey had done, was not at all what we had in mind. We would tailor our scheme for our collection and for our users, and do our best to leave options open for change in the future.

In order to ensure that we met these requirements, we came up with the following ideas that informed our subsequent work:
  • We needed a strong central visual component, especially for the younger students, but also to help orient older students, so that it was clear with or without reading skills which section students were browsing in.
  • Our use of code had to be minimal, if we used it at all, i.e. we had to use whole language in our call numbers and on our spine labels.
  • Our order had to be simple and clear.

We settled on the following general plan:
  • We would use primarily alphabetical order. While younger students struggle with this, it is a skill which is taught beginning with the alphabet in the earliest grades, so that the rudiments would be present even for the youngest students. It is a skill that is still used in classrooms, with print dictionary and encyclopedia use. Where alphabetical order was not possible or would be confusing, we would use a straight number order.
  • Because alphabetical order of the main classes would result in an unhelpful overall order, we decided on a single piece of code: each main class or category would be given a letter of the alphabet. That letter would be the ordering device for the main categories. This would allow us to put related main categories together, regardless of their position in the alphabet.
  • Within main categories we would use primarily alphabetical order for the sub-categories. This would give students a clear order when browsing, and allow for maximum flexibility and adaptability in terms of future changes and expansion. In a few cases this order was unhelpful, and in these cases we opted for a straight numerical order.
  • Each category would have a visual symbol or image associated with it, which would appear on the spine label, as well as on posters and signage.
  • We decided, and this turned out to be a crucial decision, that we would give up the idea of a system which classified books in as specific a way as possible. Instead, we opted for something we have called "categorization," based on some of the ideas in a system in the East Sussex Public Libraries in the UK in the 1980s: we would put books in helpful categories, and dispense with author cutters except where helpful (fiction and poetry). Overall, this meant that many times there would be more books with the same call number than with Dewey. Our job would be to keep those categories manageable and of a helpful size.
  • Particularly in the lower grades library (PreK-2) we decided on another crucial principle: we would mix fiction and nonfiction in categories, identify whether they were fiction or nonfiction on the spine, but interfile them on the shelves. That would mean that a kindergartner looking for a book about dogs would find both fiction and nonfiction in the "Dogs" section, but would be able to see which books were fiction from the spine label.

So far so good. But what were the main classes to be, and how would we figure them out? Stay tuned for the next installment.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Why We Don't Dewey

When we four librarians gathered in the library office just over a year ago to watch the Darien Public Library's Powerpoint about their new system for their preschool section, it didn't take long for us to make the leap to deciding that we wanted to do something similar, but for PreK-5th grade. For anyone watching, their reaction might have been surprise at our willingness, scratch that: enthusiasm, in dispensing with the Dewey Decimal Classification System with such rapidity. The truth is that we, like many librarians, had been dissatisfied with Dewey for many years.

What was it that we disliked so much? Even if we disliked it, surely a system which has been tried and tested, is almost universally used in school libraries, and is seen as an essential part of running a library in a professional way, would be preferable to anything that we could come up with. Not so, we were quick to argue.

Here’s why.

The purpose of the Dewey system is to pinpoint as closely as possible the subject or topic covered by the book. The number generated, combined with the “cutter,” (usually the first three letters of the author’s last name), provides an almost unique call number, which enables the person searching for a particular book to identify the book quickly, assuming that you first searched the catalog and found the call number, then were able to located that call number’s place in the sequence of books on the shelves and third, that the book was in the correct place in the sequence. These are pretty big assumptions, especially when the majority of your users are in the second grade or below.

PROBLEM 1: Division by Discipline. Dewey divides the universe of knowledge into ten main classes. This division is predominantly by discipline. You can see the division by discipline clearly in the 300s, the Social Sciences main class. For example, 306 is the number for Culture and Institutions. Under this one finds all kinds of institutions, including religious institutions, political institutions, family, sexual relationships, etc. When last did an 8-year-old show an interest in “institutions” as a topic? Maybe it doesn’t matter too much if you’re only interested in providing access through specific catalog searches, and all of your users are going to be looking for books with a call number in hand. The truth is that most of our users are browsing: looking along the shelves for interesting or useful books. That means that we want to put related books together as much as possible. This simply isn’t served by putting books about political institutions next to books about family structures on the one hand, but separating books about kids’ feelings about their families in one main class from the books about family structures in another.

Dewey simply doesn’t group books on related topics from a child’s point of view. For example, non-domestic animals and pets are separated on the shelves by the topics of: inventors; the human body and medicine; engineering; various kinds of transportation, including space travel; robots; and gardening and farming. As another example, sewing and knitting are in different main classes. I could go on and on.

PROBLEM 2: Bias. The Dewey system was invented by an American steeped in the Western intellectual and cultural assumptions of the 19th century. Despite many changes and updates, the basic structure remains. For example, Christianity takes up no less than 70% of the 200s Religion main class, leaving Judaism, Buddhism and Hinduism all with numbers on the far side of the decimal point.

PROBLEM 3: Numerical Code. For children, this may be the biggest barrier to access caused by Dewey.

First, the code is opaque and far too complex to teach in detail to students. We teach that the 700s are Arts and Recreation, including sports, and then we expect students to find baseball books at 796.357, or football books at 796.334.

Second, while some numbers are fairly short (3 or 4 digits), most are longer. A book on lions has a number that is 7 digits long (599.7442); a book of folk tales from Vietnam, if one has a substantial collection and subdivides by country, has a 9 digit number, almost a phone number and area code (398.209597).

Third, there’s the decimal aspect, which is there, it seems, simply because Melvil Dewey loved decimals. Students learn about decimals in math only in third or fourth grade, i.e. more than half of our students have not learned about decimals.

Fourth, to add insult to injury, in order to find a book on the shelf students must be able to put decimal numbers of up to 6 numbers to the right of the decimal point IN ORDER. Or, rather, be able to insert a decimal number on a slip of paper in their hand into the order on the shelves. Libraries are the only place in the universe that I’m aware of that require this particular skill. Enough said.

All in all, we had become convinced over the years that Dewey, rather than enabling our students to find what they needed, created barriers for them. It sometimes seemed that our students found what they wanted despite Dewey rather than because of it. We wanted to believe that it was possible to do better.

When we saw the inspiring example of the librarians in Darien creating a system with preschool children and their needs at its center, we began to believe for the first time that we could do something similar for our students.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Mock Caldecott 2012

With the real Caldecott announcement just a couple of weeks away, the second grade is wrapping up its Mock Caldecott by looking at not one, but two books in the final week.

I had originally planned on sharing Joyce Sidman's new poetry book Swirl by Swirl illustrated by Beth Krommes. After reading it with two classes, I realized I just wasn't connecting to it as beautiful as the book was. We have spent the last several months talking about technique, color, line and perspective by looking at Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell, All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson, and Emma Dilemma by Kristine O'Connell George and Nancy Carpenter. We visited the Society of Illustrators to see the Original Art exhibit they present every November. My students were primed to talk about art and picture books and they could tell I wasn't feeling it.

Back to the drawing board. Sifting through lists and blog posts I found 2 promising titles.
Standing in the bookstore, I realized I couldn't make a decision between Salley Mavor's A Pocketful of Posies and Giles Laroche's If You Lived Here.
I would have to use both.

Maybe it's my enthusiasm for the amazing art in these two books, but the children have embraced them. They notice all the details: seashells and wooden beads, shadows on the snow, and never fail to amaze me with their thoughtful comments and their excited promises to vote for one
of these books. Will one of these two late entries win our Caldecott? We'll find out next week.

Friday, January 6, 2012

A little library ditty

Part of the joy of being an Assistant Librarian here at Ethical is I get to act like I’m not listening to idle conversation while checking out books to the students.

A kindergartener chose to take a Miami Dolphins football book yesterday, and proudly exclaimed his love for the team. The girl behind him chimed in, “My dad likes the Dolphins too, but he loves the Yankees: but not more than he loves me and my sister. First he loves me and my sister, then he loves the Yankees, then he loves chocolate ice cream.” She seemed to pause and reflect deeply for a moment and with deep conviction she corrected her statement. “No wait! Wait. First he loves me and my sister and my mom. Then he loves the Yankees. And then he loves chocolate ice cream.”

---Andrea Dolloff

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Visit Brian Selznick's World

A city---an adventure---a new book!

Perhaps your family saw the film Hugo during the vacation and were wonderstruck. Prolong the wonder with Brian Selznick's new illustrated novel, Wonderstruck and explore the additional resources listed below to deepen your understanding and enjoyment.

Selznick's story takes you on a journey from the woods of Minnesota to the World’s Fair city panorama in Queens, NY and from the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan to the skyline seen from New Jersey. You will want to explore the sights with your own eyes after seeing them through Selznick’s--and you can!

The Panorama of the City of New York is amazing, and it's one of the real locations you can visit. Constructed for the 1964 World’s Fair, this architectural model includes every single building in all five boroughs, and it's still being updated! Walk up the ramp around this landmark and see if you can find your home. I found the Ethical Culture building and my apartment building.

Until January 15th, 2012, if you take a trip to the Queens Museum of Art where the panorama is found, you can see an exhibit of Selznick’s drawings and sketches for Wonderstruck. Additionally, the links below offer a virtual field-trip and other resources to add to your enjoyment of the book.

If you comment on any entry in our blog by the end of January, you will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of the book.

Related Websites:

Detail of Selznick's sketch of the Museum, from Wonderstruck, photographed 12/2011 by J. Still.