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Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Awards season!

ALA announces the Youth Media Awards and our fifth-graders are set to celebrate.

The mock Newbery club had a very close contest; we did the voting last week, just in time to watch for the real winners. Wonder was the favorite of our 21 students.

All told, our students read six or seven books from this year's crop and discussed them in a private online forum. Next year, we hope to start a faculty mock Newbery. Has anyone reading here tried that?---we'd love to hear how that worked.

Congratulations to the committee members and the honorees!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

And the winner is...

The surveys have been surveyed, the totals tallied. We have a winner folks! This year's 2013 Mock Caldecott winner is.... Unspoken by Henry Cole.

Our short list included: Extra Yarn, Nighttime Ninja, Red Knit Cap Girl and Step Gently Out, and Unspoken.

I must say I am pretty darn happy that a group of second-graders chose this book over some of the competition. It would be pretty easy to assume that Nighttime Ninja would sneak away with the prize but it wasn't to be so.

About Unspoken my students said, "I loved how he used just pencil and made it old-fashioned" and "It was very creepy" and "it's so real, & so calm, & peaceful, & I can't believe the illastrater(sic) just uses pencil to make that texture."

Pretty impressive stuff!

You can see how other Mock Caldecott contests played out here at Horn Book Magazine
and of course see what wins the actual Caldecott Medal this year!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The Hazards of Libraries

I'd be less than forthcoming if I didn't admit to how daunting checking books in and out of our library can be: during the winter months, that is. Its hazards might not meet the naked eye but trust me, they exist. 
When the adorable, sweet and lovely five year old approaches my desk with watering eyes, an oozing nose, and a spurting mouth while handing me the few books he has chosen to keep himself company during his recovery, I desperately appeal to the flu-Gods: "Please please please spare me just one more time today.  Please."  A prayer, a plea, a crazy lady's internal dialogue, call it what you will, I am on my knees in my mind's eye begging for mercy.
I've been doing this for 12 years now, flu-shot in-tow...and every year, no matter how committed I am to my own OCD behaviors, I still manage to get at least one or two colds, throat infections, or flues that knock me out for days at a time...which leads me to my most recent doctor's appointment.
It started out as per usual: Dr says, "So what's going on?"  I give him the same-o-same-o.  He places a big popsicle stick in my mouth.  I say, "Ahhhh." He says, "Oh, yeah.  You've got a nasty throat infection. Let's get you some Z-Pac."  And usually, I'm good to go.
This time however, as he casually removed his latex gloves, he asked , "So how's the library?"  Throat infection notwithstanding, I nodded positively and gave him a "Metis" briefing, and this is where it got good.
For the next few minutes his own inner-crazy-lady took over.  "That's great," he said in earnest.  "I had the worst library experience with my daughter a couple of weeks ago."  Naturally, I was intrigued and needed to hear more, I implored, "What?  How could that be?  Tell me.  Tell me.  What happened?"
Leaning against his counter-top and gesturing like a maestro, he continued passionately, "Yeah, it was astounding to me.  First we spent about a half hour looking on the computer for possible books for her research project.  (She is in high school.)  Then we spent no less than 45 minutes looking for 4 books which MIGHT be able to help her.  Two of the books were no where to be found, the third book was so out-dated it was useless.  And the fourth book was checked out already by someone else."  With what sounded like bewildered conviction he added, "It never occurred to me that we might spend over two hours in a library searching for books and come away completely empty handed.  I mean it was a complete waste of time."  Again he repeated emphatically, "It just never occurred to me that we wouldn't find what we needed in a big public library.  I mean in this day and age of technology, to come away with nothing from a beautiful and grand Library.  I mean that's just obscene.  Libraries have to evolve with the rest of the world."  Here's the best part: he concluded by saying, "So what you're doing in your library with Metis sounds great.  Really great."  I said, "Can I quote you on that Doctor?"  And he said, "Definitely."