Thursday, June 7, 2012

Free books for iPad and Kindle

Below are a few public domain books that look interesting, recently converted to ebook formats and available to download for free from Project Gutenberg.  The first one could be a Kindle beach read -- it's been compared to Peyton Place!
  • Published in 1839 as Darwin's "Journal and Remarks", and also known as Darwin's Journal of Researches, this is his account of the second exploratory voyage of his ship the HMS Beagle, from 1831-1836. A vivid and exciting travel memoir as well as a detailed scientific field journal covering biology, geology, and anthropology, Darwin's notes include comments illustrating his changing views at a time when he was developing his theory of evolution by natural selection
  • Published in 6 volumes, from 1776-1789, "the work covers the history of the Roman Empire, Europe, and the Catholic Church from 98 to 1590 and discusses the decline of the Roman Empire in the East and West. Because of its relative objectivity and heavy use of primary sources, at the time, its methodology became a model for later historians. This led to Gibbon being called the first "modern historian of ancient Rome."

Friday, June 1, 2012

School's Out --
Let the Reading Begin!

For the last couple of weeks, it's been busier after school than during the school day.  Why?  This is when both elementary and the junior high/high school libraries have been checking out books and audio books, on parent accounts, with a late August due date. From mid-May through the end of school, we welcome and encourage the Paideia community to come stock up on reading and listening for the long summer break.  Elementary students come in with their parents to select and check out, while older students can come in on their own (with a note from the parents.  Since we make them responsible for several hundred dollars of books, it seems only fair to get an ok in writing).

Believe it or not, it's really exciting to have so many parents and students flood the library for their summer reading options!   When we first started the summer checkout program, it was mostly elementary parents taking advantage of it, but now, as those first summer reading customers have gotten older, more and more junior high and high school students anxiously await the arrival of their summer reading lists and the day we open for summer checkouts.  As of this morning, the last day of school, I am thrilled to note that there are at least 700 books and audiobooks checked out to 42 high school and junior high families, and they're still coming.  Yay!

It's not common for school libraries to allow books to go out for the entire summer, for reasonable reasons.  It works for Paideia because we want to do all we can to promote reading over the break, and we have a small and known community with a vested interest in the library.  We are not open for academics in the summer, and what are the books going to do while we're closed?  Books need a vacation too, and, thanks to summer checkouts, our books have been to Italy and Norway, and all over the USA as well.

Every spring, Natalie and I revise and add to our Summer Reading lists, which are more like annotated 'readers advisory' guides than anything else.  Paideia's summer reading requirement?  "Read 5 (elementary), 6 (jh) or 4 (high school) books" and you can pick from any of the hundreds in the list, or any others that appeal to you.  Now, if you're in 10th grade, you're probably not going to get away with reading 4 Magic Tree House books, but we almost always find that kids go to their own level and interests.  We just want kids to read, and for that purpose, and quantity is as good as, or better than, 'quality'.  We want summer reading to be FUN! 

All three of the Paideia summer reading lists are available online as PDF downloads.

So find a title that sounds good, head to your nearest public library (first) or indie bookstore, and put up the Do Not Disturb sign while you disappear into the pages.  Maybe you'll feel like Julian Smith if you're interrupted?

Click here if the video doesn't load.

Have a fabulous summer!!