Friday, May 28, 2010

Great Reads for Your Ears!

If you like to listen to your books, here's an incredible FREE opportunity over the summer. Audiofile magazine, which reviews and promotes all kinds of audiobooks, is sponsoring free downloads of some very awesome Young Adult and classic books, two a week, during July and August. You can go to the Sync page for more information, and to download when the time comes.

Here's what you can hear for FREE from the Sync giveway. The links go to reviews on the Audiofile magazine website.

Available July 1 - July 7
The Angel Experiment by James Patterson
Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Available July 8 - July 14
Over the End Line by Alfred C. Martino
The Power of One by Bryce Courtenay

Available July 15 - July 21
Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Available July 22 - July 28
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Available July 29 - August 4
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Available August 5 - August 11
Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

Available August 12 - August 18
Coming Soon...

Available August 19 - August 25
Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare

Available August 26 - September 1
Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers
Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The downloads are managed by Overdrive, a company that manages audiobook borrowing for many public libraries, including our local DeKalb County Public Library system. The thing that makes Overdrive interesting to me is that they swear their audiobook loans will work on Apple players (iPods & iTouch -- there may be some conversion download program to download, though). Sync says their giveaways are definitely all Apple friendly -- they're a Mac-based office! I'll be testing the downloads from the DeKalb Library on my MacBook and iTouch and will report back before the Sync giveaway.

UPDATE: I've been playing around with "borrowing" audiobook downloads from the DeKalb Library. Many of them are "iPod compatible" -- this means they can be downloaded on a Windows computer and transferred to iPod (these are called WMA audiobooks). If you have a Mac computer, you have to look for audiobooks in mp3 format ONLY. The folks at Sync are making sure that the titles they're offering for free this summer are mp3s, so mark your calendar and start listening!

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Edge Poems: #14 - A Class Act

Jennifer and Tony's junior high students class all got creative with poetry. Some of the class poems are below.

by Edward

another poem by Edward

poem 1 by Christine

poem 2 by Christine

by Callie

by Amelia

another poem by Amelia

by Aly

a second poem by Aly

Friday, May 7, 2010

Don't Let the Cat Wander . . .

Popular YA author Lauren Myracle made a return visit to Paideia this past Tuesday, visiting two of our Junior High homebase classes. Lauren spoke to large groups of upper elementary girls last fall, when she talked about her path toward becoming an author and the experiences she has had with writing realistic books about girls, relationships and the sometimes embarrassing parts of growing up. She was a tremendous hit.

Recently Lauren found out that in 2009, her TTYL novels were America's #1 most challenged books for young people. In the library world, that's quite an honor!! With this on her mind, Lauren's junior high talks focused more specifically on controversy and challenges to her books, usually by well-meaning parents anxious to protect their daughters from the hard parts of adolescence. She read e-mails she's received, some outraged (and outrageous), and some thoughtful and open to conversation. Lauren also talked the place that reading has in risk-taking and experimentation while growing up and figuring things out. Synchronistically enough, two days later the guest speaker at High School faculty meeting echoed some of the same ideas. Risk-taking is inseparable from growing up; isn't it much safer to experience a huge mistake in the pages of a story, than by doing it in real life?

Lauren was in Atlanta on a national tour to celebrate that same day's release of her newest novel, Thirteen Plus One, the fourth in the Winnie series featuring best friends in Atlanta. She read a hilarious excerpt from the book to both classes, enjoyed by both boys and girls. In Martha and Greg's class we got a little lagniappe (as my mother used to say) -- fellow author and tour mate Sarah Mlynowski arrived fresh off the plane from New York. She treated us to an excerpt from her most recent novel, Gimme a Call, and also surveyed the class for what advice they, as junior high students, would like to give their elementary-aged selves.

One student advised himself not to drop an orange from the 72nd floor (they got thrown out of the hotel). Another suggested not flushing an orange down the toilet. The prize (a Hershey Kiss) went to Helen, who would like to be able to tell her younger self not to let the cat wander around the menorah on the last night of Hannukah. Poor kitty caught fire!

Lauren and Sarah's new books will be in the library as soon as this week's order arrives, just in time for summer checkouts. Thank you, ladies, for a great morning of books and fun.

Edge Poems: #13 - We're Not Done Yet!

The end of April sped by in a blur, and now National Poetry Month is officially over. At Paideia, though, there are still several more student poems to share with you. So I will.

This one stands out, not only because it's a good one, but because it's by our youngest poet, a 5th grader in Martha and Brian's class. He's left it untitled; I think I might title it "Uh-Oh!"

by Ean Berry

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The End, and a Beginning

This school year is the first time we've ever had a student assistant for both long terms, and it's been great. The only bummer is that he's a senior, graduating in a couple of weeks, and yesterday was his last day as Library Assistant. Off to University across the border in the fall, and a new chapter in life.

One of the most wonderful things about our school is that it's preK-12, and there are many opportunities for big kids to interact with little kids every day. Aamir, I don't know how often you hang out with little kids in everyday life, but you sure are good with them. Have a great summer, and as you go off to UBC in the fall, be sure to make friends with the librarians and remember your plans to work in an orphanage somewhere. Both will be glad you did.