Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Paideia School and the Chamber of Seniors

School has begun, and hooray!  A literary senior prank!

We may never know where they got the GIGANTIC albino Burmese python that highlighted their Tuesday Morning Meeting show of 'seniority,' but for sure the Class of 2015 knows its children's literature.  I suppose there's a natural affinity between Paideia Pythons and Harry Potter's Basilisk (oh dear, does that mean we're all relegated to Slytherin?), and yesterday snakes slithered throughout.

During the traditional opening 'first eraser' pitch, seniors tossed little rubber snakes like confetti out into the darkened theatre.  Later on during the meeting, they dropped a banner from the catwalk while the curtains opened to reveal 4 seniors holding the full display of the afore-mentioned python (12 feet? longer?).  Notice the cleverly inserted '15' in the 'Rise Up'?

Then, yesterday at lunch, I noticed this warning posted on the student announcements board in the High School commons.

The 2014-2015 is open, and off to a smooooooth start.

Friday, August 15, 2014

You Can Learn a Lot from a Book (Soldier Dog Edition)

Did you know that 5% of deployed military dogs develop PTSD (post-traumatic stress syndrome)?  I didn't know the percentage, but after reading Robert Crais' detective novel Suspect last year, I did learn that war dogs can suffer from "shell shock," as WWI veterans termed it.

Do you get a thrill when things you've learned start to pop up all around you, adding to and confirming your new pocket of knowledge?  Call me a librarian :-), but I just love it.  And I was inspired to write this post over the summer when National Geographic's June cover article was "Hero Dogs: A Soldier's Best Friend," and featured Layka, a German Shepherd soldier dog just like Maggie, the canine heroine of Suspect.

The accomplishments of canine soldiers are also explored in a non-fiction book published last year (more literary synchronicity) titled Soldier Dogs: The Untold Story of America's Canine Heroes.  There's even a recent graphic novel that tells the based-on-true-stories accomplishments of combat dogs in three different wars: Dogs of War.

If you love dogs, are interested in details of military life, or just get a thrill from learning about new things from a bunch of different sources, you can learn a lot from a book.  I hope you read (and learned) this summer.

School's about to start.  See you next week!

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Reading Roadtrip Extras:
My Epic Family Roadtrip #1 -- There . . .

Well, I did promise more Reading Roadtrip ideas in June (see the pdf poster of books for each of the 50 states here, and its awesome inspiration at here), but as with most of the items on my summer "to do" list, this one didn't happen as planned or on schedule.  In honor of my own "Epic Family Road Trip,"  these first 8 extra lists are set in states along the outward bound leg of our family vacation itinerary.  I'm reading a book for each state along the way (YA novels and non-fiction, and adult fiction too), and I'm definitely giving myself a "Roadtrip Warrior" badge when school starts!

I hope y'all have been travelling and reading (or, travelling through reading --  an excellent summer activity :-)  Enjoy the last month of summer vacation!

My book --  Wings to the Kingdom  by Cherie Priest √
(Chickamauga, Georgia,  near Chattanooga)

More Georgia reads
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Peace, Love and Baby Ducks  by Lauren Myracle
Kira, Kira by Cynthia Kadohata
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
Gone With the Wind (duh!)  by Margaret Mitchell
Endangered Species  by Nevada Barr
The Year the Lights Came On  by Terry Kay

South Carolina
My book -- The Distance from the Heart of Things  by Ashley Warlick
(Edisto Island)

More SC reads
Copper Sun  by Sharon Draper
He Said, She Said by Kwame Alexander
Clover  by Dori Sanders
Virals (#1)  by Kathy Reichs

 North Carolina
My book  -- Crow  by Barbara Wright √
(Wilmington - historical fiction about the 1898 coup d'etat & race riots)

More NC reads
Kitty Hawk (I, Q series #3)  by Roland Smith
Elemental  by Antony John
What Happened to Goodbye  by Sarah Dessen
Shine by Lauren Myracle
Surviving the Applewhites  by Stephanie S. Tolan
Paper Covers Rock  by Jenny Hubbard
Dovey Coe  by Frances O'Roark Dowell
Jim the Boy  by Tony Earley

My book -- The Dream Thieves  (Raven Boys #2) by Maggie Stiefvater  √
(Henrietta, a fictional town in rural SW Virginia)

More VA reads
Second Summer of the Sisterhood  by Ann Brashares

Washington, DC
My book -- District Comics: An Unconventional History of Washington, DC 
(lesser known bits of DC history in graphic novel vignettes)

More DC reads
The President's Daughter  by Ellen Emerson White
The White House (I,Q series #2)  by Roland Smith
All-American Girl  by Meg Cabot
Nearly Gone  by Elle Cosimano

My book -- Tale of Two Summers  by Brian Sloan
 (Wheaton, MD and Washington, DC)

More MD reads
Boy Toy by Barry Lyga
The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl  by Barry Lyga
Dicey's Song and Homecoming  by Cynthia Voigt
Blood and Chocolate  by Annette Curtis Klause
Avalon High   by Meg Cabot

My book -- Independence Hall (I,Q #1) by Roland Smith
(Philadelphia, of course)

More PA reads
Life As We Knew It  by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Fever 1793  by Laurie Halse Anderson

New York 
If I Ever Get Out of Here  by Eric Gansworth  √
(so new in our library it's not catalogued yet)
(upstate Tuscarora reservation, near Buffalo, and includes a trip to Toronto)

More NY reads
The Dead and the Gone  by Susan Beth Pfeffer
Suite Scarlett  by Maureen Johnson
Chains  by Laurie Halse Anderson
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You  by Peter Cameron

Toronto, Ontario (Canada)
Scott Pilgrim's Precious Little Life  by Bryan Lee O'Malley

More Toronto reads
Aceleration  by Graham McNamee
Sketches by Eric Walters
Tagged by Eric Walters
The Rule of Thre3  by Eric Walters

ps - if we have the book, links go to the book info in the Paideia Library catalog

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Random Summer Post:
Harry Potter Author NOT A Billionaire

Holy kittycats!  The shame . . .

Forbes Billionaire List: JK Rowling Drops from Billionaire to Millionaire Due to Charitable Giving

Amazing, astonishing, and faith-renewing. She gave away too much to stay in the Big Leagues.  Would that we all had this opportunity, and seized it.  You go, Joanne!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

2014 Reading Lists Are Ready!

Click an image above to download a pdf file of its reading list.

The elementary reading list is on Natalie's site, The Pithy Python.

The Thing About Ebooks

An added feature in each list this year is information on the Paideia Library's new ebook offerings. Each booklet has information and links on how to get set up to borrow ebooks, and titles in the list that are included in the digital collection are marked with an E icon.

Why the big ebook push?  Well, it's especially exciting for me because our community can still borrow and read from the library collection even while the library is closed.  We have offered the "Summer Checkout" program for as long as I can remember (after all, what are the books going to do in the library over the summer?), but the ebooks can allow even more readers to enjoy the same title.

From the digital collection, the circulation period is a maximum of 3 weeks, and the book is automatically available to the next person right away (no waiting for an overdue book to be returned).  Over a 10-week period, a book can be checked out by at least three different readers, and possibly more, since ebooks can be returned early.

Plus More Lists of Lists!

There are so many zillions more good books than can be included in any one reading list, and yes, each year some good books are deleted from the list in order to make room for more new good books. So this year, the lists of awards for teen books are still in the front, but additional lists of lists are included at the back.  AND, check back to the pages of this blog over the summer for more reading suggestions. 

50 States of Young Adult Fiction

This is a geographic reading list I created (liberally adapted from one created by listing one YA novel set each of the 50 United States (plus a few territories).  Junior high readers can participate in a 'reading road trip' challenge, to read at least 5 novels set in states that touch one another -- as if they drove from the first state to the last.  Over the summer I will add to the list of novels for each state (in a blog post, so check back!), so readers have more than one option per state as they map their 'road trips.'  The current list is at the back of both the junior high and the high school lists, and if you click the map you can download a copy of the poster with cover images and QR codes for more info on each book.


The cover image on the high school reading list is slightly adapted from a free wallpaper image, "Tree of Books," created by Russian graphic artist Vlad Geramisov. is based in the eastern Siberian city of Irkutsk, just upriver from Lake Baikal, the deepest freshwater lake in the world, and just across the border from Mongolia.  His art and characters are distinctively unique and a great deal of fun -- be sure to check out VladStudio's offerings this summer and beyond!  Geramisov's "Internet Cafe" wallpaper, of a group of nightowls reading on their iPads, was my MacBook desktop for ages.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hideously Overdue (but I've Got A Freebie For You Too!)

Folks, it's coming. Really. The High School Summer Reading List is in the works, and if I have to stay up all night all week, it will be in the mail by Friday am.  It's been a wonderfully crazy spring, lots going on in the library and I'm just plain behind schedule. (fyi - the junior high list went out a week ago, so I'm only half hopeless :-)

However . . .  the pool is open for summer checkouts!  Students are welcome to come in anytime to select their summer reading. As always, books that go out for the entire summer go on a parent library account, and a student must bring in the parental permission for that (a signed note or an email to me, giving permission and taking responsibility for all materials that go out on the parent account).  Junior high and high school students don't need a parent present, just the note.  There is a limit of 40 items per family, and the due date is September 1.

I will be in the library until noon on June 6, at which time we'll close for the summer.  Come in during the day, or after school, anytime until then. Students are welcome to make their chosen stacks (aka "shopping carts") of selected books, and can take them home when the parental permission is received.

Please call or email me if you have any questions about how any of this works.

The Freebie -- 
Awesome FREE Audiobooks

Every summer, Sync (a Young Adult program of AudioFile) presents a season of paired new and classic works for listening, for FREE.

Each week, Sync gives away two complete professionally recorded audiobook downloads – a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic title. Each pair of audiobooks can be downloaded for free for a 7 day period only (if you miss it, you miss it), but can be listened to at any time and as often as you wish.

During Summer 2014, at least 4 young adult titles on this year's Paideia summer reading lists are included, plus Shakespeare, Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes and more.  But really, anything and everything on this list is a fine summer reading choice.

You'll need the Overdrive app to listen to the Sync audiobooks.  Go to  to find out how to listen.

Here's the season schedule -
to sign up for weekly email reminders, go to

May 22 – May 28 -- right now! Hurry!!
CRUEL BEAUTY by Rosamund Hodge, Narrated by Elizabeth Knowelden (Harper Audio)
OEDIPUS THE KING by Sophocles, Performed by Michael Sheen and a full cast (Naxos AudioBooks)

May 29 – June 4
CONFESSIONS OF A MURDER SUSPECT by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro, Narrated by Emma Galvin (Hachette Audio)
THE MURDER AT THE VICARAGE by Agatha Christie, Narrated by Richard E. Grant (Harper Audio)

June 5 – June 11
ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill, Narrated by Meredith Mitchell (Tantor Audio)
JULIUS CAESAR by William Shakespeare, Performed by Richard Dreyfuss, JoBeth Williams, Stacy Keach, Kelsey Grammer, and a full cast (L.A. Theatre Works)

June 12 – June 18
CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein, Narrated by Morven Christie and Lucy Gaskell (Bolinda Audio)
THE HIDING PLACE by Corrie Ten Boom, John Sherrill, Elizabeth Sherrill, Narrated by Bernadette Dunne (christianaudio)

June 19 – June 25
I’D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU, BUT THEN I’D HAVE TO KILL YOU by Ally Carter, Narrated by Renée Raudman (Brilliance Audio)
ANNE OF GREEN GABLES by L.M. Montgomery, Narrated by Colleen Winton (Post Hypnotic Press)

June 26 – July 2
FORGIVE ME, LEONARD PEACOCK by Matthew Quick, Narrated by Noah Galvin (Hachette Audio)
OCTOBER MOURNING: A Song for Matthew Shepard by Lesléa Newman, Narrated by Emily Beresford, Luke Daniels, Tom Parks, Nick Podehl, Kate Rudd, Christina Traister (Brilliance Audio)

July 3 – July 9
TORN FROM TROY by Patrick Bowman, Narrated by Gerard Doyle (Post Hypnotic Press)
PETER AND THE STARCATCHERS by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, Narrated by Jim Dale (Brilliance Audio)

July 10 – July 16
CLAUDETTE COLVIN: Twice Toward Justice by Philip Hoose, Narrated by Channie Waites (Brilliance Audio)
WHILE THE WORLD WATCHED by Carolyn Maull McKinstry with Denise George, Narrated by Felicia Bullock (Oasis Audio)

July 17 – July 23
THE CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE by Nancy Springer, Narrated by Katherine Kellgren (Recorded Books)
THE ADVENTURES OF SHERLOCK HOLMES II by Arthur Conan Doyle, Narrated by David Timson (Naxos AudioBooks)

July 24 – July 30
HEADSTRONG by Patrick Link, Performed by Deidrie Henry, Ernie Hudson, Ntare Guma Mbaho Mwine and Scott Wolf (L.A. Theatre Works)
THE STRANGE CASE OF DR. JEKYLL AND MR. HYDE by Robert Louis Stevenson, Narrated by Scott Brick (Tantor Audio)

July 31 – August 6
DIVIDED WE FALL by Trent Reedy, Narrated by Andrew Eiden (Scholastic Audio)
THE RED BADGE OF COURAGE by Stephen Crane, Narrated by Frank Muller (Recorded Books)

August 7 – August 13
LIVING A LIFE THAT MATTERS by Ben Lesser, Narrated by Jonathan Silverman and Ben Lesser (Remembrance Publishing)
THE SHAWL by Cynthia Ozick, Narrated by Yelena Shmulenson (HighBridge Audio)

Right now I'm enjoying listening to Jasper Fforde's Shades of Grey (no, not that one. This one's funny!!!!) and have downloaded Cruel Beauty and Oedipus from Sync.  I'm still working on Les Miserables, but that's a multi-year challenge.   What will you listen to this summer? 

Friday, May 16, 2014

High School Reading Club Today:
Room by Emma Donoghue

The book for our final meeting of the year is Room,
by Irish author Emma Donoghue.

Short author bio (from her website):

Born in Dublin in 1969, Emma Donoghue is a writer of contemporary and historical fiction whose novels include the bestselling Slammerkin, The Sealed Letter, Landing, Life Mask, Hood, and Stirfry. Her story collections are The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits, Kissing the Witch, and Touchy Subjects. She also writes literary history, and plays for stage and radio. She lives in London, Ontario, with her partner and their two small children.

Official publisher's book trailer -

The publisher's Reading Group Guide questions are here -

Short interview with Emma Donoghue:

Another interview with the author on

More questions (in Janet Maslin's New York Times review)

  • Was the world inside Room somehow safer than the world outside?
  • Will it be damaging for Jack to have to share his mother with new people in her life—or with the people she left behind?
  •  Will Ma still be content to do nothing but interact with her frisky son?
  • Is it harder to choose freely from a whole bowl of lollipops than to have no choice at all?

About the Fritzl case (Donoghue's direct inspiration)

More to think about - quotes from books Ma reads to Jack
--> why this reading list for Room? how do these books relate, illuminate or expand the story?

Click the drawing for an interactive model of Jack's Room.

Inspiration & research for the book

Author Aimee Bender's New York Times Sunday Book Review 

Emma Donoghue talks about writing Room (in The Guardian)

New Yorker chat with the author (transcript) -

Author Q&A with readers of Real Simple

You can even download Jack's handwriting as a font for your computer!