Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Read Kiddo Read

James Patterson has a website named ReadKiddoRead. He offers suggested reading for different age groups: 0-6, 6 & up, 8 & up, 10 & up. He also has a list of "Almost Can't Miss Sure Shot Books for Boys." It's easy to navigate, colorful and offers lists of "if you liked this try" for titles. It also offers places to buy the book chosen...wish they could have put a note to try your local library. All in all it could become a very useful site. Check it out.

Monday, December 15, 2008

New Reading Tips for Babies and Toddlers

Reading Rockets is one of my favorite go to sites for literacy. They have added two new print- out of helpful hits for parents of babies and toddler. They are also available in:

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tales of Beedle the Bard

I got my copy today and read it at lunch. I really expected not to like it. Everything I had read by her was so Harry centered, this would have to be a disappointment. Right? Wrong! I actually enjoyed reading the tales. The notes from Albus Dumbledore were not as good, but I enjoyed hearing his voice again. Plus his writing about the anti-Muggle movement made me think of Hitler and the Jews or any hate group that is against another group simply based on the where they were born or the color of their skin. It is so totally irrational. His notes also helped put a stronger light on our own fairy tales.

I think my favorite tale was "The Fountain of Fair Fortune." Which one was yours?

Two other related notes:
1. The book was printed here in Indiana.
2. At the end of the book there are 3 pages taking about her charity Children's High Level Group. The type of orphanages found in Oliver Twist seem to still exist in Romania, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia and the Czech Republic and the CHLG is working to give these children a different environment, and plans to expand to other countries in Europe.

Friday, December 5, 2008


Have you ever noticed there is now an award for most every area of children's book (i.e. early readers, picture books, non-fiction, fiction) except for board books? There is local lady would has wanted for years to get a national award for board books, but it just has not seemed to take off. Today I read a new blog, Readertotz, that "aims to raise awareness of the infant-toddler book as a significant format of children’s literature." It began Dec. 1, 2008 and may be something you will want to add to your RSS feed.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Nearest Book Meme

Swing by Rufus Butler Seder

* Get the book nearest to you. Right now.
* Go to page 56.
* Find the 5th sentence.
* Write this sentence - either here or on your blog.
* Copy these instructions as commentary of your sentence.
* Don't look for your favorite book or your coolest but really the nearest.

My book did not have 56 pages, so I went to the 6th. It has only 3 sentences so I counted the the sentences until I got to 5. What does this say about me? That I'm a children's librarian!

Healthy Toys

Healthy Toys had a new look and updated website just in time for the holiday season. This site reports on testing of children's toys for toxic chemicals and gives an overall rating on 1500 toys. They also give specific results on cadium, chlorine, lead, arsenic, bromine and mercury.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Oddest Book Titles of the Year

In case you missed it, The Diagram Oddest Book Title of the Year Winners (taken from the last 30 years this year) are:
1st Place: Greek Rural Postmen and Their Cancellation Numbers
2nd Place: People Who Don't Know They're Dead
3rd Place: How to Avoid Huge Ships

Now you know.

Online Suicide

It is important that we use the suicide of young Abraham Briggs online as a teachable moment. Would students know what to do if they saw this happening? Would they succumb to the "Bystander Effect" where no one does anything because they are a part of the crowd watching? If they wanted to do something would they where to go or who to call?

The best place to go or call is the The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Plus they have profiles on MySpace and Facebook.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Intellectual Espionage -- Food for Thought

Why has American literacy continued to fall? "Looking back, abundant data exist from states like Connecticut and Massachusetts to show that by 1840 the incidence of complex literacy in the United States was between 93 and 100 percent wherever such a thing mattered. Yet in 1818 we were a small-farm nation without colleges or universities." Some interesting facts and possible reasons are shared in Educational CyberPlayGround.

You as the Dewey Decimal System

Okay, I'll join in the game. I put in name and birthday and here is what I got? What number are you?

Nancy's Dewey Decimal Section:

449 Occitan & Catalan

Nancy = 41435 = 414+35 = 449

400 Language

Linguistics and language books.

What it says about you:
You value communication, even with people who are different from you. You like trying new things don't mind being exposed to unfamiliar territory. You get bored with routines that never change.

Find your Dewey Decimal Section at Spacefem.com

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Greenprint If you didn't see this in GreenPrint is a nifty quick download that maximizes your printer's output to save on paper and ink. There's a version for Windows (free) and a version for Macs (which costs $29 and has a 30 day free trial). Either version of the software highlights and removes unwanted pages, creates PDFs with one click (OK, that's worth it right there), helps you decide what to print and not to print, and keeps a tally of paper, trees, and money saved. How neat is that?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Jonas Brothers and Walter the Farting Dog

Just in case you have not heard yet...Fox has signed The Jonas Brothers to star in an adaptation of Walter the Farting Dog, based on the picture books by William Kotzwinkle and Glenn Murray. The film begins shooting next spring.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Free Automatic Bibliography Composer

Easy Bib makes writing a bibliography or footnote in MLA or APA style simple, easy and free. Just type in your information in the form they provide and they put it in the correct format.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Children and the Financial Crisis

Slate gives an interesting slideshow suggesting books to share with children about going through a financial crisis. It is a good starting point for a display. What other titles can you suggest?

Thursday, October 9, 2008


TeachingBooks.net is a time-saving portal to thousands of online resources that support exploring children's and young adult books and their authors--from David Macaulay to J.K. Rowling, from Dr. Seuss to Shakespeare. They have now entered into a partnership with Book Links. "Starting with the September 2008 issue of the monthly e-newsletter Quick Tips, Book Links magazine has teamed up with TeachingBooks.net to give readers free access to online author interviews, discussion guides, book readings and Web sites that support the titles and authors covered in each issue."

While exploring the site I discovered a page where you can have author's names pronounced for you by the author. Fun, useful and you don't have to be a registered user to use it.

If you have not explored TeachingBooks.net before it is worth a few minutes of your time to do so.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

2 Useful Websites for Spelling and Pronouncing

Ever look up a word in the dictionary and was not sure on the pronunciation? howjsay is the site for you. It will look up the word and then you will hear the correct way to say it.

Then if you want to spell check your complete website, blog, wiki go to Spellist. Type in your URL and you get a list of possible misspelled words on it very quickly.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Internet Overdose Song

Do you ever have days when you feel like this?

Sail Away at the Library

This video won Special Audience Programming in the 2008 Texas Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors Programming Awards.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Monday, September 8, 2008

No to Age Banding

There is a website dedicated to doing away with "Age Banding" or putting age levels on books. Their description is:

We are writers, illustrators, librarians, teachers, booksellers, publishers, educationalists, psychologists, parents and grandparents. Some of the undersigned writers and illustrators have a measure of control over what appears on the covers of their books; others have less.

But we are all agreed that the proposal to put an age-guidance figure on books for children is ill-conceived, damaging to the interests of young readers, and highly unlikely, despite the claims made by those publishers promoting the scheme, to make the slightest difference to sales.

We take this step to disavow publicly any connection with such age-guidance figures, and to state our passionately-held conviction that everything about a book should seek to welcome readers in and not keep them out.

At a recent meeting Philip Pullman ( the author of His Dark Material trilogy) gave a 20 minute speech on his opinion of the perils of age banding. It is interesting. If you read it, post a response here. I would find this an interesting topic to discuss.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

How the Google Generation Thinks Differently

In a Times Online article Catherine O'Brien is lamenting about her son's style of studying for exams. The article has some interesting observations and at the end she summarizes the difference between those who grew up in the digital age, and those who didn't. I'm not sure this a result of when we came to the digital world or simple age. As a young person (1960's and 70's) I was very much like the "natives" just with different types of inputs.


Digital natives

Like receiving information quickly from multiple media sources.
Like parallel processing and multi-tasking.
Like processing pictures, sounds and video before text.
Like random access to hyperlinked multimedia information.
Like to network with others.
Like to learn “just in time”.

Digital immigrants

Like slow and controlled release of information from limited sources.
Like singular processing and single or limited tasking.
Like processing text before pictures, sounds and video.
Like to receive information linearly, logically and sequentially.
Like to work independently.
Like to learn “just in case”.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Go Green and Kill the Screen Savers

I just read on Yahoo Green! that screen savers are no longer necessary if you have a flat screen LCD monitor. One large telephone company took all the screen savers off their computers and that alone saved tons of carbon dioxide.

Tasha Tudor Dies

Tasha Tudor died June 18 at the age of 92. Her illustrations were the first ones I fell in love with when I discovered children's literature. Her illustrations were also the first ones I was able to recognize upon first seeing. In reading about her evidently she was "green" before it was chic to do. The New York Times obituary said, "She wore kerchiefs, hand-knitted sweaters, fitted bodices and flowing skirts, and often went barefoot. She reared her four children in a home without electricity or running water until her youngest turned 5. She raised her own farm animals; turned flax she had grown into clothing; and lived by homespun wisdom: sow root crops on a waning moon, above-ground plants on a waxing one."

Another trait she was known for was being optimistic. Somehow I saw that in her works.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Gangs in Allen County

I attended a workshop yesterday on gangs in Fort Wayne. I was reminded of many things I had forgotten. We all know the different signs of gangs -- graffiti, specialized handshakes, tattoos, clothing. What I did learn was that gangs are most easily found and joined on Facebook, MySpace and YouTube. They said that the gangs watch who view their pages, and then give them an application to join. An interesting fact--if our gang unit in the police department find an Allen County student holding guns on their MySpace page they are expelled from school.

Other related tidbits:
The most surprising thing I saw was a picture of Williams sisters while doing the milk mustache ad flashed the Crypts sign. (The "c" around the waist.)

Some people are confusing cliques with gangs. The obvious difference is a clique is non-violent, whereas gangs are. (I wonder who was confusing them.)

The numbers you see in gang names usually refer to a letter of the alphabet. For example 13 is the letter M and stands for Mexico. When you see 13 in a gang name that means they are Mexicans.

We know one major reason that kids join gangs is for protections and/or a feeling of family, but did you know that it is common for gangs member to turn on their own gang and kill them? Sort of negates the reason for joining doesn't it?

Two websites were given to learn more. Know Gangs is a website for the entire United States, and you can search by city or county. Unfortunately Allen County has no info, but it's still a good place to begin if one knows little about gangs. They give examples of the handshakes, clothing, etc. The National Gang Crime Research Center gives really good background and research data on gangs in the US.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Home Schooling in Germany Cause For Lost of Custody

A new federal law in Germany gives family courts the authority to take custody of children "as soon as there is a suspicion of child abuse," which is how that nation's courts have defined homeschooling. Not only are the parents fined, & possibly get jail time they also could lose custody of the children. The World Net Daily said this is just another step in "carving away family rights." They even go so far as to compare this to the time of Hitler. Maybe that comparison is a little drastic, but it does seem to be the wrong direction to go.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

San Francisco Web 2.0 Expo

I watched a video posted on the Librarian in Black blog and found it fascinating as well as informative. It was 15 minutes with Clay Shirky. He expounded on how Social Networking is akin to the Industrial Revolution and gave me a better understanding about the importance of Web. 2.0. I decided to explore to see if there were other videos on the San Francisco Web 2.0 Expo site and there are. I couldn't stop watching. I was enchanted. All that I have watched were 10 to 15 minutes of very interesting and useful nuggets of info. There are things like how Google catches spam (not email spam), WordPress, Photophlow, Videophlow, Dash and on and on and on. Not just what they do, but why and how. I can't wait to find the time to watch the rest.

When you go to the site click on Video of Keynote Presentations. Warning: Prepare to spend more than a little time there.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Powerset -- a new search engine to watch

There is lots of buzz about the new search engine Powerset . It only searches Wikipedia now, but word is they may expand to the net, and give Google a run for its money. Powerset Vs. Google: Semantic Search Smackdown on AppScout gives a good comparison as it stands now.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Anti-teen Mosquito Noise

Do you think this real or just an "April Fool" type joke? The British do have a different sense of humor. I once saw a film by BBC news on harvesting spaghetti. It was hilarious, but this is weird.

William C. Morris Debut YA Award

Starting in 2009 there is a new young adult literature for best book "written by a first-time author writing for teems." It is being handled by Yalsa and all the details are on their website. What I really like about this award is part of the criteria for choosing the book is its appeal factor to a wide range of teen readers. It must have excellent literary value, but also (dare I say it?) it will include the popularity factor. I like that.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Computer keyboards can be dirtier than a toilet

According to a British consumer magazine "Which? Computing" a computer keyboard can be 5 times (!) dirtier than a toilet seat. Ewww

Friday, April 25, 2008

Help in Keeping Up with 2.0

Do you sometimes feel like you are drowning in 2.0 and in no way can keep up with what's what?
On Educause Learning Initiative they recently published a list of all the 2.0 gadgets and gave a short one paragraph description of them. You may not use all the technologies listed, but at least now when you hear their names you will know what it does.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Lookybooks -- Useful or not?

Lookybooks is a website that shows pictures books in their entirety. Its mission is to offer people a look at the entire book before they buy it. At first look I thought what a great idea and we could direct our children there to actually read the book online for free, but alas, on closer look that won't work. The books load quickly and you turn the pages simply by clicking on the book, but the print is too small to read.

I know a good picture book doesn't need words, but more often than not, words are needed to tell the story. If you increase the font size for this website it does not increase the size of the book. If you zoom in, it becomes so fuzzy it is not readable. For librarians purchasing books for their patrons it is important to be able to read the story. So for me, I don't see much use for this website in my job of book selection.

A View of reading by Jon Scieszka includes "stupid reading."

I have copied this from an interview/article by |The Washington Post on the Chicago Tribune website, April 1, 2008. We all knew he was a great choice for U.S. National Ambassador for Young People's Literature, but his message also hits the nail on the head.

The way he sees it, parents and teachers should:

•Give children freedom to choose what they want to read rather than what adults think they should read.

•Expand the definition of reading to more than novels. "Nonfiction, graphic novels, comic books, magazines, online, audio books—I think all that works. It all helps turn kids into readers."

•Stop demonizing other media. "Don't make computers and TV and movies the bad guy. Those things aren't going to go away. I think we did ourselves a disservice in the past of saying TV is bad, reading is good. It's not that cut and dried."

Scieszka calls himself "a fan of stupid reading."

"I've been a big champion of stuff like 'Captain Underpants' and 'Junie B. Jones,' " he said. "It horrifies some parents and teachers because it is not grammatical and there are misspellings, but that is fun reading."

And fun, he said, is the ticket to getting youngsters to read, especially those children for whom reading is difficult.

Books that appeal to a child's interests can avoid what he calls "the death spiral," which goes like this: "It's where kids aren't reading and then are worse at reading because they aren't reading, and then they read less because it is hard and they get worse, and then they see themselves as non-readers, and it's such a shame."

Scieszka was born in 1954 in Flint, Mich., and received a bachelor's degree in writing from Albion College and a master's of fine arts from Columbia University. He spent several years teaching 1st through 8th grade, spending the most time in 2nd grade, where many children learn to read. That experience, he said, helped him realize how hard it is for many children to learn to read.

Reading, he said, is not an elective in life, but a necessity.

"Why do we care if people are reading?" he said. "Can't we watch YouTube forever? The answer is no. Because your brain will turn to mush."

Monday, March 10, 2008

Home Schooling may become illegal in California

According to Time online there is a move to make home schooling without a teaching degree illegal in California. This will be interesting to watch since California has a record of doing things "first." I'm not sure a teaching degree is required, but maybe some sort of test of the one doing the teaching would be helpful. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Just how dangerous is the Internet to children?

An interesting blog on this question is found at Monkey Speaks. Walter Minkel suggests that is not as bad you think it is and gives a few numbers to back his thoughts.

If you read the blog and his observations are true, do you believe it all about newspapers wanting to scare people away from Internet just so they will read newspapers instead? I don't. I believe it more because people do not understand the technology, and therefore don't trust it. Your thoughts?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Valentine's Day

Valentine's Day is soon upon us and it is not too soon to brush up on its lore. Educational CyberPlayGround give us a nice summary, plus some extra tidbits of information. Not only is there the history of Valentine's Day & the day's traditions, but did you know that the right way to kiss begins in the womb? Plus a few numbers are given, e.g. 180 million - Number of Valentine's Day cards exchanged annually, making Valentine's Day the second-most popular greeting-card-giving occasion. (This total excludes packaged kids valentines for classroom exchanges.)

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Free Music


Quoted from

"Sunday we discussed apparently great news: a company announced making a deal with the major labels to provide DRM-free, ad-supported music. There's just one problem with that. Reuters reports that the Big 4 music labels have denied having any deal with Qtrax. Contrary to Qtrax's reports, Sony BMG Music Entertainment and Warner had publicly denied that they had agreed to back the new Qtrax service. Universal Music, the largest of the group, said it also had not signed a deal for the new Qtrax service and is still in discussions. EMI Group said that while its song publishing unit has an agreement with Qtrax, its recorded music arm, EMI Music, does not. EMI Music, Sony BMG and Warner all previously had agreements with Qtrax, which was testing a paid music download service. Sources say those agreements expired in the last year and did not cover the new free, ad-supported model now being promoted by Qtrax. Qtrax did not immediately respond to further queries about its agreements with other companies."

Qtrax.com - Launches today with a catalogue said to be of more than 25m songs. Users will be able to download for free but must watch streamed ads and can't burn songs to CD or, at least initially, transfer them to their iPod.

We7.com - Backed by former Genesis frontman and internet visionary Peter Gabriel, it secured another £3m in funding last week. Free downloads are supported by 10-second audio ads attached to the song.

Imeem.com - Following two years of negotiation, the US social networking site became the first to agree deals with all four major labels in December. Users can watch any music video or listen to any song within the site. Its UK launch will be later this year.

MySpace.com - One of the first, and still most popular, social networking sites with music at its core.

Facebook.com - Applications such as iLike allow users to listen to and recommend music within the confines of the site.

Last.fm - Recently signed a licensing deal with all four major labels and indies to allow any track to be listened to up to three times.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Importance of Play

Dolphins play by making bubble rings.

Monday, January 21, 2008


How did I miss this site before? OPAL (Online Programming for All Libraries)
This site provides free online "workshops" on items of interest to a library. For example, they are offering a workshop at two different times on Friday, January 25 about virtual worlds for youth. While the focus will be on Whyville whose median age is teens, an overview of virtual worlds for youth and their relevance to libraries will be given. The workshops last about an hour.

Check it out.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Poster for Black History Month

There is a website you may find of interest for Black History Month. The Brown Book Shelf offers a poster showcasing African American authors for each day of the month. You could use it to set up a book display with some of the authors listed.

Top Ten Blogs for Libraries

Interesting list of blogs you might try if you are new to blogging and wondering which are the best.
This list comes from LISNews.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

A make you feel good story

CNN reports on the "One Laptop" effort and how it has been received in a Peruvian Village. I'm sure it is not the perfect answer, but it sure is on the right track. The article will only be available until 1/24/08

Monday, January 7, 2008

2007 Fastest Rising Search Terms in the US
  1. iphone
  2. webkinz
  3. tmz
  4. transformers
  5. youtube
  6. club penguin
  7. myspace
  8. heroes
  9. facebook
  10. anna nicole smith
Notice how many apply to children? Have you done any programming with any of them?

Friday, January 4, 2008

Ten things that will change your future

I found this article in one of the e-newsletters I read and found it interesting. The Ten Things That Will Change Your Future includes the "Chumby" and the One Laptop Per Child initiative. All the things listed I feel are quite likely to happen. What do you think?