Friday, May 29, 2020

Where's The 2020 Summer Reading List???

June 1 update -- The High School list is published!  Junior High is guaranteed to be published by Friday afternoon.  This year the lists are going to be digital only, but in two layout versions.  One is horizontal (as in previous years): two columns per page, better for printing and for viewing on a computer screen.  The other version is new this year. It's a one-page-at-a-time vertical layout, and it works really well when downloaded to a mobile device into the iBooks or Kindle apps. 

One advantage of digital -- color covers!

AARRRGGGHHH!  It's on the way, I promise.  Online school is its own particular time warp, and I'm running behind (according to earth year timing).  The plans are laid, but the typing is delayed.

The Summer Reading booklets for Junior High and High School are in the works, and the publication goal is June 1.  You can always refer to the 2019 booklets if you're looking for reading recommendations (last year's good books will be good books this summer too!), but if you're anxious to find out what the 2020 reading requirement for your grade might be, click on the images below for downloadable pdfs.

Junior High School 

The in-a-nutshell info is: all rising 7th and 8th graders are to read The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora, and complete one project based on what happened in the story.  Junior high students should also read 3 additional books (fiction or non-fiction, it's up to you), and complete a response form for each one.

2029 JH preview p1
2020 JH Summer Reading

High School

Rising 9th & 10th students can choose their reading from within a general category specified by the English department. Rising 11th & 12th graders may have specific requirements assigned by their fall 2020 English teacher.  All high school students should read a minimum of 3 books, a combined total of required reading and free choice books.

Thursday, April 30, 2020

SYNC's Free Audiobook Program Is Back!

• SYNC Free Audiobook Program -

Today is the start of the 2020 SYNC summer audiobook giveaway -- each week, participants can download two FREE young adult audiobooks, to keep forever. Some will lean to the older interest-level (up to adult), some younger.

This week's theme is "Perceptions." The audiobooks offered are The 57 Bus (non-fiction) by Dasha Slater, which was a recent faculty Diversity Book Club selection, and a novel, Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson.

These two will only be available for download through next Wednesday, May 6. On Thursday, SYNC will release another pair, also available for one week.

Register for Thursday reminder emails at  Audiobooks will download and play in the Sora digital app (get it at Google Play or the App Store). You don't even have to know or have a Paideia Library account info to use it for SYNC books.

Directions on how to get started with SYNC, whether you already use Sora for library ebooks & audiobooks, or you're brand new to the idea, are in the SYNC Frequently Asked Questions section.

I'll be happy to troubleshoot if needed; just (virtually) give me a holler. And as always, contact me if you need to get your Paideia Library account info to borrow thousands of ebooks and audiobooks with Sora.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Family Book Club Ideas

An upper school parent just emailed to ask for reading suggestions for their grandparent/teenager "virtual" book club.   What a great idea -- the grandparents are staying isolated for health reasons, the teens are avid readers, and a shared book discussion can be Zoomed with plenty of prompts to keep the conversation going.

Here's what I came up with, a mix of fiction, non-fiction, classics & contemporary, adult & YA, that ought to offer enough choice to keep the family book club going until we can ALL go out again.

Paideia's junior high book club is having our first "virtual" meeting on Tuesday.  The book is Graceling, which is far too good to skip discussing just because we can't talk in the same room.  We're all set to Zoom!

If you have any favorite multi-generational reading ideas, share in the comments below!

Books for a Family "Virtual Book Club"
(title with * can be borrowed from our Sora digital collection

• Any of Jules Verne's adventure novels (Around the World in 80 Days; 20,0000 Leagues Under the Sea*, and others)

A Study in Scarlet, by Arthur Conan Doyle, the novel that introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world, or any of the Sherlock Holmes short story collections*

• Dread Nation* by Justina Ireland. Nominally YA alternate Civil War history with zombies, but it's really an a subversive action/thriller about race, passing, societal expectations by class & gender, and weapon-wielding girl power!  A New York Times YA bestseller, with the sequel just released this spring.  👍

• The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane* by Kate DiCamillo.  It's theoretically elementary, but author Ann Patchett just wrote an essay for the New York Times declaring it a "life changing book." 

• True Grit by Charles Portis

• Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry

Frankenstein* (Mary Shelley) or Dracula* (Bram Stoker)

• The Boys in the Boat* by Daniel James Brown (non-fiction) -- I'd go for the Young Reader's edition.  It took me FOREVER to read the original adult edition. It's good, but so detailed.

• The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind* by William Kamkwamba & Bryan Mealer- -- non-fiction, either the adult or Young Reader edition

• All Systems Red: The Murderbot Diaries #1 by Martha Wells  -- short sci-fi novel starring a self-aware cyborg unit discovering its humanity

• Tom Sawyer* by Mark Twain (not Huckleberry Finn, leave that for lit class or college)

and I should also add

Becoming*, the bestselling autobiography/memoir by Michelle Obama.


Tuesday, March 31, 2020

It's Not Too Late to Get a Public Library Card

While we're all sheltering at home, 
many Atlanta-area public libraries are offering temporary library cards for access to downloadable ebooks, audiobooks, magazines, databases and more.  

I think Paideia Library's online services are pretty cool, but we can't offer everything.  Confession -- I am a patron of three (yes, 3) Georgia public library systems in addition to Paideia's!  We are a preK-12 school with a particular mission.  The public library's mission is broader, with a much bigger audience, so they have bigger digital collections with more resources for grownups, as well as great stuff for the prek-12 crowd.

So if you've been wondering what else might be out there while we're all staying at home, check out your local Public Library.   Atlanta's two biggest public library systems, DeKalb County (DCPL) and Atlanta-Fulton County (AFPL) library systems, make it pretty easy for their residents to apply for a temporary card.  Others (Cobb and Gwinnett, and several other county systems) offer some sort of e-library services to their residents too.

Below are links to the best information I can find so far; you may have to dig a little bit, or do an IM chat with the librarian on duty, but they're all working on it.

The temporary library cards will be good until the physical library branches open up again. After that you'll need to go in person to turn it into a permanent card.

Try it -- I bet once you have tasted the cool things a public library can offer you, FOR FREE, you'll never want to be without a library card again!

Atlanta-Fulton County Library

DeKalb County Public Library

Cobb County replied to me today -- they are doing temporary cards for adults (18 & older) only.  If you're not 18 yet, get a parent to apply and use that card (it's ok).   Parents may submit temporary card requests or any questions with the online chat or email form at  

The Henry County Library System is issuing temporary digital cards to Henry County residents (good for 60 days, access to our digital collections). Email with your request.

Click here for links to Cobb, Forsyth, Gwinnett 
and Cherokee County (Sequoyah Regional) libraries.

If you don't see your county system listed, look in the list of Georgia-wide PINES network libraries to see if it's a member of that group.  Online applications appear to be available.  

And of course, if you're a Paideia student or parent, email me if you have any questions or need some troubleshooting assistance.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

"What We're Reading" Goes Virtual

No book cover printouts to display 
by classroom doors right now, 
but Paideia teachers gotta' read!

Saturday, March 21, 2020

One Phrase, Three Directives

From the New York Times Book Review:

 stay safe, stay healthy, stay reading

I've finished Frogkisser by Garth Nix (a lovely middle/upper grades re-imagined folk story of magic and strong-minded princesses.

I'm about halfway through Uprooted, by Naomi Novik (the first book by last month's HS book club choice, Spinning Silver).  I do enjoy (and perhaps identify with) stories of women who discover power in their values and family background, and use it to vanquish evil and self doubt.

Next up: rereading Graceling by Kristen Cashore for JH book club, and reading (or listening to) Michelle Obama's Becoming, the HS book club choice.  I did listen to Obama's interview/gab session with Oprah Winfrey in the SuperSoul Conversations podcast, and I'm primed to go!

The plan is to do 'virtual' book club conversations via Google Meet or Zoom.  That will be worked out soon.  If Reese Witherspoon and Oprah can have online book clubs, then by-gosh-by-golly, Paideia can too!

What have you read so far during the Great Distancing??

Thursday, March 19, 2020

IMAX At Home: A Limited Time Offer (We Hope!!)

Along with so many other group/public activities, IMAX theatres around the country have closed for a month or so, but several IMAX films are now available to watch at home.  America's Musical Journey is streaming for free on YouTube; others through Amazon Prime, or Vimeo on Demand. 

Whether watching as an educational activity with kids (be sure to download the educational guides for each film), or watching for sheer entertainment, it's something different to do.  I haven't been to an IMAX theatre in years, so there are several on this list that I plan to check out soon.

The list below is from a Tennessee Aquarium newsletter; check out their live Penguin, Otter and Shark cams too.

Never Stop Learning!!!

(from the Tennessee Aquarium newsletter)

... our friends at MacGillivray Freeman Films have opened up a portion of their film library for you to experience at home. Most of these amazing films come with educational guides for additional fun and learning.
America's Musical Journey
A cross-country journey celebrating the unique diversity of America's musical heritage.
Available for streaming on: YouTube (free) (as well as Apple TV and GoUSA TV via Roku).

An educator guide is also available. 

Coral Reef Adventure
Two filmmakers travel the world documenting the planet's coral reefs and the creatures that call them home.
Available for streaming on: Amazon Prime
An educator guide is also available. 

A playful, up-close look at the dolphins of Alaska, Patagonia and the Bahamas. 
Available for streaming on: Amazon Prime 
An educator guide is also available. 

Dream Big 
This inspiring celebration of innovations big and small and the amazing engineers behind them will change how you think about engineering. 
Available for streaming on: Vimeo on Demand
An educator guide and educational videos are also available.  

Humpback Whales
A journey into the mysterious world of one of nature’s most awe-inspiring marine mammals.
Available for streaming on: Vimeo on Demand
An educator guide and educational videos are also available.   

National Parks Adventure
The ultimate off-trail adventure into the nation’s untamed wilderness in places like Yosemite, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon and many more.
Available for streaming on: Vimeo on Demand
An educator guide and educational videos are also available. 

The Living Sea
Celebrates the beauty and wonder of the ocean as it explores our relationship with this complex and fragile environment.
Available for streaming on: Amazon Prime

Van Gogh: Brush with Genius 
A moving look at the artist’s journey from the time of his first canvases at age 27 to his death 9 years later—a period during which he painted more than 900 paintings.
Available for streaming on: Amazon Prime

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Come Stock Up on Your Reading Supplies!

Anytime is a good time for reading! Except while driving or riding a bicycle . . .

Escape the doldrums! Junior high & high school students are invited to check out fiction and non-fiction books from the library to have on hand at home over the next few weeks.

In addition, if you'd like to get set up to borrow ebooks and audiobooks from our Sora/OverDrive collection, email Anna at for instructions and account info.

Parents and students from 3rd grade up can have their own Sora accounts.

Reading is a fabulous way to go outside when it's raining, or travel when you're stuck at home.

For extra credit:  If you have a public library card, Sora can also be used to check-out and download K-12 books and audiobooks from your public library system.  

With Sora's sister app, Libby, you can access the entire public library collection.

Put your tax dollars to work for more books!

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

School Supplies

I also have a stash of index cards and lined notebook paper, plus a few different iPad/Phone chargers to loan. We aim to be a full-service establishment here at the Paideia Library!

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Out With the Old:
A Goodbye to Perfectly Good Books

There comes a time in every librarian’s life when it becomes necessary to weed out Perfectly Good Books. I know because I’ve been here long enough that I personally bought most of them for the collection. Ouch!

It's been a while, but today I put out another FREE BOOK cart in the JH & HS library.  Some of the books on it are donations we already own (I always ask the donors if it's ok for books to end up as a Free Book), some were highly-reviewed novels from 10-15 years ago that have never have been read by anybody but me, or they might be duplicates of a formerly hot title that we only need one of now. 

With non-fiction, it's probably woefully out of date (Quick and Easy Web Pages from 2001??) and doesn't need to be in the world anymore with incomplete or inaccurate information (these usually go straight to book heaven -- do not pass Book Cart, do not collect $200). "We are not an archive," is a useful weeding mantra.

Until writers stop writing and publishers stop publishing, some things just have to go, to make space for the Brand New Books. Here’s hoping many of these volumes find new readers before they land in their final resting place.

Because . . .


Friday, January 31, 2020

A January Routine: French Picture Books on Display

Displaying the picture books created by the high school French 2 classes has become a regular January short term event.  This is one of the final projects of the fall Long Term, and students take their creations back in the spring Long Term so they can make a video of the book, another big project in French 2.

Yesterday was the end of January 2020 Short Term, and the display came down today (high school teacher work day).    Enjoy this sampling of the fall term "Livres d'Images en Français" from Joanna Gibson's French 2 students.