A new resource for bibliophiles like me!

I discovered a new resource online yesterday that I’m super excited about!! Internet Archive is an amazing site dedicated to the goal of having a copy of every book ever published. They have even more books than Project Gutenberg.

I looked up the Sid Fleischman McBroom Books last night and found them all. You can borrow 5 books at once and read them in your browser or download them to the Adobe Digital Editions app.I did find, though, that some of the downloads aren’t readable. When I opened up McBroom’s Zoo I could kind of see the pictures but none of the words. There were multiple copies so I’ll keep trying.

I highly recommend you check out the site and sign up for a free account. They have other media as well; a search for Muppets brought up multiple magazines. They have books that are out of print and some video files too. It’s worth browsing again and again.

Happy reading!


Not for kids.

I’ve been sick for a few days and I have the dreaded book fair looming over me this week, so I’m going to post some humor today. Now keep in mind, my sense of humor may not be the same as yours, but the fact that these parodies exist means I’m not the only one.

This is from a list of picture book parodies I found on Purple Clover, it’s not G-rated.

Or. How about these two from Huffington Post?

This one made me giggle too.

It’s from Gray Flannel Suit.

This was just on Pinterest.

This is from Creators.Vice.com.

So now I’ll just leave you with one last piece of advice:

My Library: fun stuff!

After a crazy-busy summer and start to the school year, I finally had a chance to get some fun new decorations put up in the school library.

I redid the truffula trees that I mark the table colors with. Those are sink plungers that I spray painted green, then striped with acrylic paint (yay, painters tape!) The tops are dollar store plastic leis. You get all six colors in a bundle for a dollar and I bought 15 bundles. Last year I clipped the loops but the kids picked at them constantly. These aren’t cut so they should last a lot longer.

I thought my clock was pretty blah, so I bought teal-striped paper straws and red Pom-poms. After gluing them on, I just taped them to the wall. Easy-least but with a big impact. I love that it looks both mid-century modern and Seuss-ish.

Last year I decided to pull some beautiful vintage books out of circulation. Today, I added my personal collection of old book covers. It makes an eclectic mix that I love.

The project I’m most excited about is finally getting to add the Emerald City to my Oz collection. I used green glass vases, bottles and miscellaneous containers to make the display. The ones that weren’t originally green were dyed using Elmer’s glue and food coloring.

So those are my fun additions for now. I have a few other ideas but I’m not quite done working them out yet. I’ll share them when I do!

Fuzzy Mud

One of my job perks this summer is getting to help with clubs – Lego Club, Cooking Club, Crochet Club, Coding Club and the Tween Book Club. One of the girls who comes to multiple clubs was adamant that I read this month’s book, Fuzzy Mud by Louis Sachar.

I’ve discussed other Sachar books before, Wayside School. I also love his book Holes, but Fuzzy Mud very different from them. It has a menacing feel to it, so this book is geared more towards 5-7 grade students.

The story is set in a private school in Pennsylvania. Tamaya is a 5th grader, Marshall is a 7th grader and Chad is his bully. Marshall leads Tamaya through the woods one day so that he can avoid a fight with Chad. Chad finds them, and to help Marshall, Tamaya grabs a handful of a strange tar-like mud that has a fuzz of moss on top, and shoves it into Chad’s face.

The story progresses quickly from there. Tamaya developes a strange rash on her hand that keeps spreading and Chad goes missing. There are transcripts from a environmental hearing where the safety of a new alternative fuel is being debated spread between the chapters. The fuel uses a genetically modified slime-mold for energy. Is it safe? What if it wasn’t contained? What if there was a leak into the surrounding countryside? 

Sachar has also put in clues as to how quickly the problem is progressing. The chapter headings show an illustration that might just be a Petri dish. For Chapter 1 there is a single dot in the dish. As the story progresses, it begins to look more and more like this:

The ergonym in the biofuel doubles every thirty-two minutes. As the story builds towards its climax, we also see simple math equations:

2 x 1 = 2

2 x 2 = 4

2 x 4 = 8

It doesn’t take long for the equations to create very high numbers.

2 x 67,108,864 = 134,217,728

2 x 134,217,728 = 268,435,456

Tamaya, Marshall and Chad are in grave danger and no one knows it. The kids have to overcome all of their fears to make it through.

The True Story of Ten Dogs

Stay: the true story of ten dogs is a book about the power of love between humans and dogs.

Luciano Anastasini is from a very, very long line of circus performers. He was an amazing performer until he fell 50 feet breaking so many bones that it took four operations to put him back together. It looked like his performing days were over.

Amazingly, he refused to give up on his life in the circus and instead decided to try something new. He reasoned that the new act would be his second chance so he wanted animals who also needed a second chance.

Luciano adopted his first 5 dogs that no one else had wanted. A dog who couldn’t stop running into things, a thief, a biter, a digger and a stray. Because he loved them, and saw each dog as worthwhile, he came to see their hidden talents and helped them overcome their problems.

Luciano was able to create an act where the dogs were silly and happy because of their wonderful lives with him offstage. He even started taking in more dogs that seemed unlovable.

We are grumpy, scruffy, restless, broken. We have done things we wish we hadn’t. But inside each of us, there waits an infinity of dazzle, color, humor, hope, sadness, joy…an endless parade of clowns.

We just need someone to open the door, to see us. And to believe.

Kate DiCamillo wrote that quote in her introduction to the book. I don’t think she was just talking about dogs.

I’m a big believer of rescuing animals, dogs and cats. And I can’t wait to share this story with my students. I think more than a few might decide rescuing is the way to go as well.

As a side note, I want to say that I love the circus! 

As a little girl, I would happily tell you that I wanted to be a circus clown when I grew up. I still do–although I have realized that in my job I get to perform for happy children every day, making them laugh with my silly antics, and there seem to be more than a few circus monkeys wandering the school’s halls. So maybe I achieved my goal after all.

Don’t Judge a Book By Its Cover 

Or maybe you should. I am often in awe of the amazing artwork that is used for books. If it didn’t matter, wouldn’t the title just be printed in block letters?

But sometimes, covers just end up weird. For example, today I was sorting the unused dust jackets for future use–I often use them as topical decoration in the school library. I have years worth and I sometimes inherit them from other teachers. As such, sometimes I have a jacket but no longer have the book. Today I found one like that.

There is nothing wrong with this book, and I’m sure it has a place in most libraries…but I am disturbed by both the title and the illustration. I’m just not feeling it. 

Now for the weirdest cover I’ve seen in my library:

It’s probably a great book. The Berenstains write fabulous stories that teach morals and family friendly lessons. But I just can’t get past that creepy guy on the cover.

What can I say? I’ve got a warped sense of humor and little things amuse me. For more weird books you should visit awfullibrarybooks.net.

Author Spotlight: Deborah Hopkinson

Time to talk about another favorite of mine, Deborah Hopkinson

I first realized what a great writer Hopkinson was when I read Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek. It tells of a harrowing incident where a young Abe Lincoln almost drowned in Knob Creek, Kentucky. I love reading this story aloud, I get to use my quasi-southern accent (my husband and I lived in Kentucky for 4 years.) Abe is saved by his good friend but that friend does not figure into Abe’s later life. This  quote from that story sums it up perfectly:

I own quite a few of Hopkinson’s books at school. Here are just a few:

I really like to read Apples to Oregon aloud too. I’ve mentioned  one of her chapter books, The Great Trouble, a mystery of London, the blue death and a boy called Eel in one of my previous posts.

Hopkinson is quite a prolific writer and I’m excited to buy some new titles next school year. Here are a few on my wish list:

I think if you give these books a try, you’ll find a great story mixed with history is an unbeatable combination.

Heart of a Champion

I’m not really much for sports fiction. I don’t really follow want sports as a habit and I just am not drawn to the titles. But I have athletic daughters and so I could tell you how TaeKwonDo works and the basics of softball. Thank goodness for my softball knowledge because it lends itself to baseball on a basic level.

My daughter read Heart of a Champion by Carl Deuker in 7th grade reading and loved it. She told me at least 10 times that I should read it too. Normally if a student recommends a book I will try to read it and I always thank them for the recommendation. I want them to know I respect their opinions. So when it’s my own daughter recommending the book, I know I have to read it.

She was right, it’s a great book. Some of the baseball specific terminology went over my head but that didn’t stop me from seeing the real message of the book. I appreciated the kids’ reading teacher choosing a book that shows how badly underage alcohol use can turn out. 

I have been told that the book Runner by the same author is another one I should read. Now I just have to add it to my miles-long “to read” list.

More than books

I’ve had the idea bouncing around in my head to post about the many ways I find to read beyond physical books.

  •  Listverse is probably my favorite website. The site has many writers writing about the world around us, so it’s not fiction. I can read about history, science, mysteries bizarre events or just pull up random lists. I feel like it’s a reasonably trustworthy site and I trust the information.
  • Pinterest, specifically I like to read pins from the history board but the science boards interest me too.
  • eBooks – I like iBooks, Amazon eBooks, Nook Books, and WattPad. Free=awesome in my book, so I’m often found reading self published books that can be awful or diamonds in the rough.
  • Library eBooks & Audio Books – our library uses Overdrive Media and One Click Digital. I love these sites! If my girls and I go traveling without my husband, we always download a few books to listen to in the car.

I’m not much for reading magazines or newspapers but sometimes I need a break from the kids books I read. I like unsolved mysteries, historical oddities, and new scientific finds. When I want fiction I often go looking for a good post-apocalyptic or zombie book, and I like said, I like them free.

It’s hard to remember what life was like before the Internet made it so easy to read about new things. I read a lot of books but finding the really obscure titles wasn’t easy in a small midwestern town.

Are there any great sites I’m missing out on? Tell me, I’d love to know so I can try them myself!