Saturday, September 30, 2017

What they're (really) reading: September 2017

By keeping a pulse on what our students are checking out at our middle school library and keeping a close eye on which books are circulating heavily, I feel that I can spend the small budget I have more wisely by choosing books I know will have a greater likelihood of circulating widely.

Each month I'll feature some books that are on the "heavy rotation" list in our library. They're not necessarily new, shiny, or covered with awards -- they're just what the kids want.

Secret Coders 
by Gene Luen Yang
Graphic Novel

Welcome to Stately Academy, a school which is just crawling with mysteries to be solved! The founder of the school left many clues and puzzles to challenge his enterprising students. Using their wits and their growing prowess with coding, Hopper and her friend Eni are going to solve the mystery of Stately Academy no matter what it takes.

A Bad Case of Stripes
by David Shannon
Picture Book

In order to ensure her popularity, Camilla Cream always does what is expected, until the day arrives when she no longer recognizes herself. (We recently visited an elementary school and our middle school students read a picture book to an elementary classroom. This was one of their picks!)

Kristy's Great Idea
by Ann M. Martin/Raina Telegemeier
Graphic Novel

Follows the adventures of Kristy and the other members of the Baby-sitters Club as they deal with crank calls, uncontrollable two-year-olds, wild pets, and parents who do not always tell the truth.

Homework Machine
by Dan Gutman
Humor Fiction

Four fifth-grade students--a geek, a class clown, a teacher's pet, and a slacker--as well as their teacher and mothers, each relate events surrounding a computer programmed to complethomework assignments

There's a Fungus Among Us: True Stories of Killer Molds
by John DiConsiglio

Explains how fungi can help and harm people; discusses cases of deadly fungi found in Utah, Ohio, and British Columbia; and includes an interview with a mycologist.

by Lisa McMann
Mystery/Fantasy Fiction

Ever since she was eight years old, high school student Janie Hannagan has been uncontrollably drawn into other people's dreams, but it is not until she befriends an elderly nursing home patient and becomes involved with an enigmatic fellow-student that she discovers her true power.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Posted by John David Anderson

by John David Anderson
Walden Pond, 2017
Realistic Fiction

What It's All About:

In middle school, words aren't just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends, or make you enemies. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking.
  •  Anderson reminds us that bullying takes place in many forms: when cellphones are banned from Branton Middle School, the student population is thrown into a frenzy, which only increases when kids find a new way of communicating throughout the day—Post-it notes.
  • The characters, both adult and teen, are vivid, flawed, and approachable. Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 5-8...and here's the teaching guide!

What Else You Should Read:
  • Mr. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
  • The Best Man by Richard Peck
  • Restart by Gordon Korman

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