Tag Archives: literature

Picture Book Month: Books

12 Nov

12“I am a child of books. I come from a world of stories…” And so starts the journey of a little girl who travels through the pages of books using her imagination on the way. If you to are a child of books, you’ll thoroughly enjoy pouring over these pages as the author and illustrator used text for classic literature throughout the book as part of the illustrations. I don’t want to give too much away, but this book is a delight to read and one that I need to add to my personal collection!  Continue reading

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What Makes a Book a Classic?

5 Jan

classic-literature-006Just Google “classic literature” and you’ll come up with dozens upon dozens of lists that are each a little unique about what they consider a “classic.” Although an older story, “In Literature, What Makes a Classic?” on NPR is a great discussion/interview with  Alfred A. Knopf editor Sonny Mehta and writers Joan Didion and Z.Z. Packer of what makes a book a classic and what books may be popular, but not a classic.

So, why am I thinking about classics right now? As I’ve mentioned before, my library is currently working on a massive weeding project to update our collection and remove old volumes that are MUSTIE. And somehow, I volunteered myself to take on the 800s, that’s right, Literature.  I’ve got everything from how to write a book to every piece of literature under the sun including classics, short stories and poetry.

So now I’m spending time trying to create a core collection of titles that we want to ensure we have in our collection and allowing other material (i.e. short story collections and a lot of poetry) go. But, what do I keep? What do I get rid of? How much time is required to make a title a classic? And what about classic titles that are not European-based? And then you have to think about demand? What title are our high school students required to read? And where do we put these classics – in nonfiction or in our paperback Classics collection?

As you can see, I still have a ton of questions. And a lot of work to do. So let me know what you consider a classic and what I should include in my core collection.

Picture Books in the Classroom – Not just for storytime!

11 Sep

I tweeted this story yesterday, but thought that it was so interesting that I wanted to get the chance to comment on it today. Yesterday, on the School Library Journal website they posted an article titled, “Teachers Find Many Reasons to Use Picture Books with Middle and High School Students.”  The writer spoke to a number of middle school and high school teachers who use picture books in their classrooms to assist in critical thinking, learning as an English Language Learner, as an introduction to classic text and to create a community of readers.

For many students, I would expect classic picture books can take them straight back to their childhood.  I think picture books can make English class more accessible for students, because picture books seem unassuming and inviting.  Picture books also make a great study for vocabulary, which is why it’s so important to read aloud to your children every day.  The rich vocabulary is very different from every day spoken word and studies show that children are more ready to learn when they get to school if they’ve been read to regularly at home.

In the library, it’s not uncommon that I’ll hear a parent talking with a child saying, “Oh, don’t take that baby book, you’re a big kid now.”  And it breaks my heart, picture books are not just for babies, in fact they aren’t the best choice for babies at all.  They’re great for absolutely everyone, including preschoolers, elementary, middle school, and high school students, not to mention adults.  And don’t even get me started on the art that book illustrators create, it can be absolutely stunning!

It’s a Busy, Busy Day!

23 Apr

Today is a busy day for literature – it’s William Shakespeare’s birthday, World Book Day as designated by UNESCO and Adopt a Library Day!  So where do I begin?

William Shakespeare was baptized on April 26, 1564, so many historians believe he would have been born a few days before, some suggesting that April 243rd is the Bard’s birthday.  If you’re looking for more information about this poet and playwright, check out the Folger Shakespeare Library!

Today is World Book Day, not this World Book Day, but this one!  Today is considered “World Book and Copyright Day” by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).  “On World Book and Copyright Day, UNESCO invites all women and men to rally around books and all those who write and produce books.”  This initiative is also supported by the International Publishers Association, the International Booksellers Federation and the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions.

And finally, today is also Adopt a Library Day created by Lynn Gaubatz, a classical musician trying to aggregate a list of places that want and need gently used, donated books.  The thought behind this organization is to provide books to people in need and I love the idea of sharing literature.  It’s difficult as a library sometimes to accept donations.  We receive a lot of books and it does take time to go through bags and boxes to review everything and decide what to do with them.  In our library, we accept only children’s books and if they can, they will be added to our collection, otherwise they are added to our Used Book Sale of which benefits library programming.  I’ll be honest, we get a lot of stuff – moldy, dirty books, books that have been scribbled in, water damaged and more.  It’s not often that we receive books that can be added to the collection – usually these are popular series books that we could use additional copies of or have been read once by a child and are in almost pristine condition – like I said, it doesn’t happen very often.  But, if there are libraries and other organizations out there that can use these books, then that’s great.

Some people do have to realize that many libraries are short on space and cannot add all the books they want to.  They also don’t want to be adding outdated, incorrect books to the collection either.  If you have books to donate, call your local library to check their policy and if they don’t accept books, try calling a local thrift store, Goodwill or Salvation Army.  These organizations also collect donated books.  And if you’re looking for an company/organization that’s promoting literacy and keeping an eye on their own carbon footprint, check out Better World Books, where we send many of weeded books to keep them out of landfills!

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