Hippo! by Jeff Newman

I am clearly lazy when it comes to writing but in my defense, I have been crazy busy over the past couple months. I am down to two classes left before getting my M.S.L.S. and I just received a promotion at work. Throw a husband and a 3-year-old in the mix and there is little room left to do anything else.

So, that’s why I am back with my first book review in months and it was written by my 3-year-old, Roman!

I’ll preface by saying this was a cute book that lets the pictures do most of the storytelling. You will want to read it with a lot of expression to elicit the type laughter I got from Roman. With that said, here we go.

Tell me about your book Hippo, what do you think about it?

NO! RHINO!

Did you like the book?

Yeah, that was funny.

What was funny about the book?

Because.

Because why? What was funny in the book?

FIX THE SIGN-O!

Who is in the book?

Rhino. Hippo-ma-pomanus.

Do you think other kids should read Hippo?

Uh-huh.

Why?

Because they want to.

Well, there you go. A professional, high-quality review by a toddler. Seriously, guys, check it out for your 3+-year-olds. ūüėČ

So I am addicted to conferences… my review of TXLA17

I was incredibly fortunate in that my employer paid for a full conference pass to TXLA17. This was my first conference and first time receiving professional development outside of work and oh my word, I am now addicted. Sign me up for ALA Annual, TXLA18, and whatever else I can attend!

First, can I talk about ALL. THE. SWAG?! I met around a dozen authors who gave me free signed copies of their books and I managed to score dozen more ARCs. Check out my list below! I ended up with seventy new books, mostly YA, some middle grades, kidlit and adult fiction. I was incredibly sore from carrying 3-4 bags both days. Some of my favorite authors included Bob Shea, who told me “It will be alright,” when I indicated that I was the mother of a 3-year old boy, Jeff Zenter, who is from Nashville, which is close-ish, to my hometown of Louisville, KY. He is also INCREDIBLY friendly (because he’s from the midsouth)! Also, I really liked Jenny Han, who had on the most adorable banana-patterned dress and gave out nail decals!

In addition to books, I was able to add to my notepad drawer at work with several post-it notes and note pads from different vendors and UNT!

Y’all thought I was joking…
Some of the flair from the conference (minus the UTSA Fiesta pin).
My first librarian-related item and a sweet bag!
Putting the swag into pictures… plus I got a bunch of new totes!
Starbucks nail decals? Yes, please!
Friday’s lines to get into the exhibit hall – out the door!
random swag!

Of course, it wasn’t just free stuff; professional development also took place. On Thursday, I attended 1 work-related session and one fun session. At my first program, I listened to staff from UTA Libraries discuss their implementation of card swipe and how they combine user data from the card swipe entry and exit with data from Voyager, Illiad, study room reservations, and the registrar (all while scrambling any identifiers like student ID numbers) to determine if library use correlates to student success – very important in an era where we CONSTANTLY have to prove our worth to stakeholders. They project to have preliminary results next year.

On Friday I attended two mini sessions, one on planning your library career and the other on leadership lessons for managers. I also attended a larger session that featured a presentation from the director of Anythink Libraries. Cool but not as applicable to academic libraries.

In total, I attended to sessions for fun: Writers of Mystery (where I listened to fascinating personal stories from Joseph Kanon, Randall Silvis, and Josh Malerman) and my favorite, Kidlit vs. YA Authors: Lip Sync Battle 2, essentially a lip sync battle between various authors. So much hilarity.

If you are interested in knowing what titles I received, here you go! Hopefully I will review them soon!

  1. Little Monsters by Kara Thomas
  2. Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden
  3. What to Say Next by Julie Buxbaum
  4. The Go Between by Veronica Chambers
  5. Dear Martin by Nic Stone
  6. Gertie Milk & the Keeper of Lost Things by Simon Van Booy
  7. The Losers Club by Andrew Clements
  8. Odd & True by Cat Winters
  9. Waste of Space by Gina Damico
  10. Goodbye Days by Jeff Zentner (author of The Serpent King) *AUTOGRAPHED!*
  11. Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin *AUTOGRAPHED*
  12. Lostboy by Christina Henry
  13. Rocket and Groot: Keep on Truckin’ by Tom Angleberger
  14. A Sky Full of Stars by Linda Williams Jackson
  15. Dear Reader by Mary O’Connell *AUTOGRAPHED*
  16. Goldeline by Jimmy Cajoleas
  17. The Many Worlds of Albie Bright by Christopher Edge
  18. You Don’t have to Say You Love Me by Sherman Alexie
  19. The Beast is an Animal by Peternelle van Arsdale *AUTOGRAPHED*
  20. One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson
  21. The Life She was Given by Ellen Marie Wiseman
  22. Finding Mighty by Sheala Chari
  23. To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han *AUTOGRAPHED*
  24. The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid *AUTOGRAPHED*
  25. When I Am Through with You by Stephanie Kuehn
  26. Dinosaur Empire! By Abby Howard
  27. The Frog Princess Returns by E.D. Baker
  28. Burn Town by Jennifer McMahon
  29. Release by Patrick Ness
  30. Breaking by Danielle Rollins
  31. Ballet Cat: What’s Your Favorite Favorite by Bob Shea *AUTOGRAPHED*
  32. The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart *AUTOGRAPHED*
  33. Loving Vs. Virginia by Patricia Hruby Powell *AUTOGRAPHED BY ILLUSTRATOR*
  34. The Hearts of Men by Nickolas Butler *AUTOGRAPHED*
  35. We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Grey Carlisle *AUTOGRAPHED*
  36. Tales from the Haunted Mansion Vol. II
  37. Defectors by Joseph Kanon *AUTOGRAPHED*
  38. Two Days Gone by Randall Silvis *AUTOGRAPHED*
  39. Black Man Wheel by Josh Malerman *AUTOGRAPHED*
  40. Max Tilt: Fire the Depths by Peter Lerangis
  41. Forest of a Thousand Laterns by Julie C. Dao
  42. Absolutely Alfie and the Furry Purry Secret by Sally Warner
  43. Rapunzel and the Lost Lagoon by Leila Howland
  44. Here Lies Daniel Tate by Cristin Terrell
  45. Behind Closed Doors by Miriam Halahmy
  46. Animal Rescue Center: The Homeless Foal by Tina Nolan
  47. The Tiny Hero of Ferny Creek Library by Linda Bailey
  48. In a Perfect World by Trish Doller
  49. We Come Apart by Sarah Cossan & Brian Conaghan
  50. Note Worth by Riley Redgate
  51. Midnight at the Bright Ideas Bookstore by Matthew Sullivan
  52. In 27 Days by Alison Gervais
  53. The Book of Massively Epic Engineering Disasters: 33 Thrilling Experiments for Young Scientists by Sean Connolly
  54. Genuine Fraud by e. lockhart
  55. Just Fly Away by Andrew McCarthy
  56. This Would Make a Good Story Someday by Dana Alison Levy
  57. Of Mess and Moxie by Jen Hatmaker
  58. Genevieve’s War by Patricia Reilly Giff
  59. Royce Rolls by Margaret Stohl
  60. The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail by Neta Lohnes Frazier
  61. Lone Stars by Mike Lupica
  62. I See London, I See France by Sarah Mlynowski
  63. The Glass Spare by Lauren DeStefano
  64. Carmer and Grit by Sarah Jean Horwitz
  65. The Unexpected Life of Oliver Cromwell Pitts by Avi
  66. Revenge of the Star Survivor by Michael Mershcel
  67. Time Twisters: Time and Space by Kathryn Lay
  68. The Boy Who Harness the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer *AUTOGRAPHED*
  69. A Cat is Better by Linda Joy Singleton *AUTOGRAPHED*
  70. Blobfish Throws a Party by Miranda Paul *AUTOGRAPHED*

 

#EarthDay and #libraries – what the what?

Traditionally, Earth Day has been about recycling, conserving water, biking and walking instead of driving, and picking up litter. In this new era, that simply won’t suffice. Today, I want to talk about the significance of librarians and libraries to Earth Day.

If you believe in alternative facts and do not find fake news to be fake at all (or a real issue) then this post is for YOU. And there are a lot of people who believe fake news. Check out this infographic from Statista, a credible, research and statistics database.  On the left you will find fake headlines, and real headlines on the right. Beneath the headline is the number of people who remember seeing the headline and believed it to be very or somewhat accurate. What this says to me is that people are believing nearly everything they read! This is dangerous!

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I don’t condemn these individuals, rather, I think more education is needed. Somewhere along the line, the ball has been dropped in teaching individuals how to evaluate sources.

But since this is an Earth Day post, let’s talk about¬†the scientific method, a tried and true method for evaluation. There are¬†six steps in the SM.

  1. Observation РWhat is occuring? What do you see? Are you interested in discovering more? What is happening?
  2. Question Р Create a question you can use in your experiment. Why is this happening?
  3. Hypothesis – This is where you suggest an answer to your question based on your observations.¬†I think this is happening because…
  4. Experiment – This is where you test your hypothesis (an educated guess). It’s not just ONE experiement, but rather a series, and the data from each will help you in Step 5.¬†I will test my hypothesis.
  5. Analysis – In this step you will review your data from your series of experiments.
  6. Conclusion –¬†What did you discover from your experiments?¬†

scientificmethod1

Of course, facts don’t come from¬†one¬†scientist employing the SM. At first theories are developed based on tests using the SM. Remember theories, laws, etc. from school?

When multiple scientists have conducted the same experiment and receive the same result, we generally consider that knowledge as fact. Why? Because it has been tried several times and there is evidence of the truth. So does that mean if you read that a study concluded XYZ to be factual I can share that information as truth? NO! Let me give you a famous example:

We are all aware of the on-going vaccine debates. Many individuals believe that vaccines cause autism but there isn’t any actual evidence. But what about that study? In 1998, a study was conducted by Dr. Andrew Wakefield that showed a significant link between autism and vaccines. The report spread like wildfires and is¬†still spreading today. But it was wrong. In 2011, the British Medical Journal conducted an investigation that discovered Wakefield deceived the public and damaged public health. Wakefield’s study was full of errors,¬†admitted errors. Furthermore, it’s been reported that Wakefield was not honest in the medical history of his patients. And finally,¬†no other studies¬†have come to the same conclusion as Wakefield. As a result of his misinformation and individuals not following proper information evaluation, vaccines administered against measles, mumps, and rubella dropped. And sure enough, diseases that were nearly eradicated reemerged a few years ago, most notably at Disney Land in California.

So how does one evaluate information? In this digital age it involves a few clicks of your mouse and keyboard! Let me give you a few infographics! The first one has been shared by libraries everywhere and is concise. The second gives you more information!

how-to-spot-fake-news_440px

fake-news_18951668_1acdd519b8f5731d468537b41f377d29e865c1c5

If you are unsure if something is trustworthy, you can always seek out a librarian. We can help you come to that conclusion. In fact, many of us are actively involved with universities and the public to help fight the spread of misinformation (also known as fake news and alternative facts). Which brings me to my next point: why libraries matter in this fight against misinformation and fight for science.

In addition to teaching individuals how to evaluate information, we also provide access to that information for many who do not otherwise have the means. Local and university libraries spend millions of dollars on research databases, online news subscriptions, books, magazines, and films. We can help students and the public locate quality information! Check out what your libraries are up to, now.

Librarians-digital-age-infographic-540x3871Librarians-worth-infographicLibraries-of-the-future-540x3057Why-support-local-library-infographic

On this Earth Day, I implore you to read, research, cross-check, and question what you see on the internet, TV, and in newspapers.

Stepping into the World of Comics

mausI recently read¬†The Complete Maus¬†for my comics and graphic novel course.¬†I attempted to read Maus I several years ago but could not find a purpose. I think I wanted to read it simply because of the acclaim but the sadness of the Holocaust kept me away. Since it was required now, I had no choice. And, I devoured it very quickly! The work is magnificent. What I enjoyed the most is how human Vladek is portrayed ‚Äď an angry, curmudgeonly old man who must save, save, save.

I did not find the topic of the Holocaust to be too emotionally upsetting in Maus as I have in other works (Night or Number our Stars for example) or history books. Speigelman’s art was not as graphic as one would think when dealing with such a heavy subject ‚Äď part of this could be because it was in black and white so instead of seeing red blood you saw a black puddle. Another reason could be that humans were not used in most of the graphic novel, mice rather. There were two scenes that stand out that were difficult to me. The first was when the crying children were swung against the wall and the second was when we discovered that Artie’s brother was poisoned. If you notice, though, the full scene of the children being killed (against the wall) was not presented. It almost looks as though it was erased.

 

I have also read Deadpool Vol. 1: Dead Presidents (three stars), The Watchmen (four stars), and many years ago I read Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic (five stars). Funhome, assigned in my history of sexuality in the U.S. course, was the first graphic novel I ever read and really stuck with me. When I was still working in the public library, a teenage girl approached me looking for graphic novels based on true stories. Her mother was with her and this was the first book that came to mind.

All three of these titles remind me history (even though Deadpool is tongue-in-cheek/slapstick humor) and how graphic novels can frequently be utilized in the classroom. Librarians, teachers, and, parents, please understand that there are so many benefits to using these in the classroom or letting your children read them.

  • increased vocabulary
  • increased interest in reading
  • strengthened skills (memory, sequence, understanding language, reading comprehension)
  • children with autism have the opportunity to learn about emotion through graphic novels

Teaching with Graphic Novels

Raising Super Readers: The Benefits of Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Literacy & Graphic Novels: Why There’s Nothing Wrong with Teens Reading Graphic Novels

Up next:

 

When patrons don’t care or won’t care¬†

I had a patron today come looking for The Pocket Style Manual, 6th edition, an item that we keep on reserve. She was using it for Chicago style. At first she wasn’t sure what the title was, just that she needed The Chicago Style Manual. I said, “Let me recommend this to you, A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations by Kate Turabian. I used it when I had to use Chicago style and it’s excellent.” This woman was immediately dismissive. She said, something to the effect of, “No. I can’t use that Chicago styles, I need this style. My professor said I have to use this.” It’s so frustrating to not be taken seriously, to want to explain that there aren’t multiple Chicago styles and that the book she was asking for has more than Chicago in it; it also has APA and MLA. There was no use. I had to just keep quiet and say OK. 

Module 10: The Sons of Liberty

51EfLeOYnuLLagos, A. & Lagos, J. (2010).¬†The Sons of liberty. New York, NY: Random House Children’s Books.

Summary: Graham and Brody are two runaway slaves from the Sorenson Plantation. seeking the help of Benjamin Lay, the friend of Benjamin Franklin. Benjamin Franklin’s son, William, a member of the royal army discovers the boys and tricks them into becoming a science experiment where he tortures them with electricity. He leaves them for dead only to his father to find them transformed with new powers. Benjamin Franklin takes them under his wing, and with the help of Benjamin Lay, embarks on a journey to train the boys to become fighters for what readers can only imagine will become America’s independence (the story ends too soon).

Impressions: My fascination with history is what attracted me to the book and I would hope that a graphic novel such as this, though incredibly far removed from fact might spark some child’s or young adult’s interest in the subject as well. I had a few issues with the graphic novel however, aside from some hand written text that was difficult to read (it was written in a cursive font and would have been easier to read at a large size), there was a difficulty in understanding the plot.¬†I missed a key fact in the story. At the beginning, Ben Franklin’s son (I don’t remember if he was identified at that point) is taking animals to be tested with electricity. Later, I¬†thought¬†his son killed two runaway slaves but it turns out he was torturing them with electricity and other scientific experiments. As I was reading, I thought Franklin had found them dead and brought them back to life with electricity, in a Frankenstein type manner. The Lagos brothers could have been more clear in stating this fact or maybe I need to go back over these two sections.

Review:¬†Colonial America isn’t your usual locale for superheroes, but such is the case here. Graham and Brody are runaway slaves, fleeing a cruel master and his slave hunter. Before they left, they were instructed to find the abolitionist Benjamin Lay, but first they encounter none other than Benjamin Franklin. Unfortunately, his son, William, has been using his father’s discoveries in electricity to play Dr. Frankenstein and subjects the two boys to electrical experiments. After they recover, they find out that they have gained an inexplicable and ill-defined set of superpowers. Under the tutelage of the Yodalike Benjamin Lay, the boys learn about their heritage, their abilities, and the African martial art dambe, of which Lay is a master. While this unique story certainly has possibilities, its flaws far outweigh its successes. Not only does the plot verge on the nonsensical, but it also meanders, changing direction and tone, and characters come and go without resolution. The colorful computer-aided artwork is at times dramatic, but it is also often clumsy and lacking any real emotional import. Other problems include the font chosen for Benjamin Franklin’s writing, which is illegible at times. Poor execution makes this a secondary purchase at best.

Davey, D.P. (2010, July). [Review of the book¬†The Son’s of Liberty, by A. Lagos & J. Lagos].¬†School Library Journal,¬†56(7), p. 106-7.

Library Uses: Since graphic novels are becoming increasingly popular, it might be fun to start a graphic novel club or have a Learn to Write Graphic Novels night at the library. An expert from the community could be invited (or we could teach ourselves or just take a shot at it!) and spend an evening or afternoon drawing panels and writing.

Module 9: Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word

imagesRaczka B. (2011). Lemonade: And other poems squeezed from a single word. New York, NY: Roaring Book Press. 

Summary: Raczka takes single words and turns them into poetry, some of which are riddles and puzzles. He takes poetry and turns it into a game. For example, Raczka will take the word lemonade and form a poem using only the letters from lemonade. Or from the word pepperoni: one pie / no pepper / no onion.

Impressions: Children, I believe would find this highly acclaimed poetry book fun. Afterall, it attempts to take a so-called boring subject and make it fun. As a child, I enjoyed puzzles like this and would sit for hours trying to solve them. When I read this book, all I could think of was a mind-numbing game of Boggle (how many words can I find) or the game of how many words can be formed from this one word. The book honestly was irritating for my 28-year old self (I have little patience anymore). I don’t have time for the weird spacing. I’m anal retentive and like things orderly and organized. It’s cute, clever, but for me, definitely not something I can get with.

Review:¬†“Raczka credits Andrew Russ for inspiring him to try his hand at creating poems by rearranging the letters of a single word. The letters that make up each word in the 22 selections are placed directly under the matching letters of the original word, which is used as the poem’s title. The resulting odd spacing of letters and words adds an element of puzzlement to the deciphering of some words and requires a certain facility with the English language, along with the capability for recognizing words whose letters are placed horizontally, vertically or diagonally; backwards or forwards; separated by one space or six, or an entire line with no punctuation included. Each poem is printed on the verso of the following page with words in correct order. A clever, catchy, and challenging collection.”

Scheps, S. (2011, May). [Review of the book Lemonade: and Other Poems Squeezed from a Single Word, by B. Raczka]. School Library Journal, 57(5), p. 137.

Library Uses: I appreciate the value of the book and what it is trying to do and I can definitely see how it could be used to promote poetry awareness. During national poetry month, this book could be used to inspire kids to create similar poetry.