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Styling Librarian #WhateverWednesday

Today’s focus: Animal Rights - It is fun to reflect on one thing each week that really catches my attention, entertains me, and is special enough I just have to share it with the world.

Here’s my Whatever Wednesday Randomness:  

I’ve shared before about animal rights but recently a lovely Facebook friend Deborah Underwood shared this little clip, thought it would be good to share. Interesting to learn more about chickens and also think from another perspective.

 Vimeo Movies don’t embed as well on WordPress (Why, not too worried about it…)
Love this little video- Meet Little Miss Sunshine- great campaign in Australia for rights and awareness distribution – called: “That ain’t no way to treat a lady.” – mission to eliminate factory farming…
http://vimeo.com/89058823

Meet Little Miss Sunshine from Animals Australia on Vimeo.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Thank you again to “Eat the Book” for the Whatever Wednesday meme: http://mretome.wordpress.com David Etkin’s words: “Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. A cool quote or poster, a picture, student work, a video—you know, WhateverEnjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.”

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

Styling Librarian Author Interview with Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Author
Work in progress!

Work in progress!

. I absolutely adore watching the talent that is Debbie Ridpath Ohi. She is a generous sharing author and illustrator who has the most creative way of looking at the world. Such a fantastic person to get to know. I first heard about Debbie a few years ago and enjoyed following her multiple Facebook pages in addition to Twitter and her blog. I adored the book she illustrated with Michael Ian Black and am so excited that Naked! is being released soon! I’ve been anticipating the book for around a year now, can’t wait! I contacted Debbie to see if I could be part of the book release celebration for Naked! and was quite honored when she said “yes”… Thrilled and honored to be a part of celebrations and ALSO get to know Debbie through this interview quite a bit more!

Without further ado, here’s the interview with the fantastically talented Debbie Ridpath Ohi!

Naked at Buckingham Palace

Naked at Buckingham Palace

What was your favorite childhood book memory?

One of my favourite childhood book memories: When one of my grade school teachers read an entire book aloud to our class, a chapter at a time. The book was CALICO CAPTIVE by Elizabeth George Speare. I remember being skeptical and somewhat impatient at the idea of having a book read aloud to me. I was too old to be read to, after all! But then I got totally caught up in the story, as did the rest of the class. I was so eager to find out what happened next that I ended up going to the library and borrowing the book to finish it.

Are there any authors or books that you liked as a child that you still read now?

Yes, most of them. I love seeking out books I loved as a child and rereading them. One of my favourite rereads: DANDELION WINE by Ray Bradbury. Now that I’m illustrating children’s books as well as writing them, I’ve also been going to the library and seeking out childhood favourites like SWIMMY by Leo Lionni and SYLVESTER AND THE MAGIC PEBBLE by William Steig to not only enjoy the story again but also to appreciate the art from a new perspective.

Have you read any children’s literature books recently?

Atheneum/Simon & Schuster is reissuing Judy Blume classics in chapter book, middle grade and YA formats, and I was picked to do cover illustrations for the middle grade and chapter books, as well as interior illustrations for three of the chapter books.
I’ve always loved Judy Blume, so it just gave me an excuse to reread my favourites. How cool is it that I get to read Judy Blume books and say it’s part of my work? I’ve also been reading other Judy Blume books that I missed reading when I was younger. What I’m finding: Judy Blume books are just as relevant to young people now as they were years ago.
Judy Blume books I’ve read and reread recently: Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret, Blubber, Deenie, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Iggie’s House, Starring Sally J. Freedman As Herself, It’s Not The End Of The World, Freckle Juice, The One In the Middle Is The Green Kangaroo, and The Pain And The Great One. 
Judy Blume Book Covers

Judy Blume Book Covers

What was a favorite genre you read as a child?  How have your tastes changed as an adult?

As a child, my favourite genre was science fiction, fantasy and horror. I still lean toward those, but also enjoy contemporary settings as well. What’s important, regardless genre, is a story that pulls me in right away.

Do you still have any of your books from when you were a child?

I still have my copy of DANDELION WINE, which was a birthday gift from my sister. Most of my childhood reading was with library books, so I didn’t get to keep them. Our dad used to take us to the library every week, and we’d all come home with stacks of books.

Are you in a writers group? If so, has it helped you?

I’m in a critique group called the MiG Writers (http://migwriters.blogspot.com), a group of six middle grade and YA authors who critique each other’s work as well as post about the craft and business of writing for young people. It was fun to actually meet in person at the SCBWI Winter Conference in 2013. Each of us brings something different to the group, and we learn a lot from each other as well as encourage and support one other throughout the year. The members are Andrea Mack, Susan Laidlaw, Kate Fall, Carmella Van Vleet, Christina Farley and me. Photo:

Group

I’m also a member of the Toronto Area Middle Grade and YA Author Group (https://www.facebook.com/TorKidLitNews), which meets once a month for drinks and dinner. I love these casual get-togethers…fun and inspiring!

Do you have a key writing tips for kids?

I'm Bored Cover

I’m Bored Cover

Don’t talk down to them. Kids are smart and savvy.

If you think that writing for young people is easier than writing for adults, you’re wrong.
Before you start writing for young people, read recently published books for young people to see what’s out there. I’ve seen so many manuscripts by aspiring children’s book writers that sound like old-fashioned classics, making it clear that they aren’t familiar with the current children’s book industry.
And advice for aspiring picture book writers: Leave room for the illustrator! New picture book writers sometimes assume that the illustrator’s role is just to draw what it’s in the text, and they feel the need to describe everything (“so the illustrator knows what to draw”.) An experienced picture book writer trusts the illustrator.

Do you have a new book being released in the next year? :)

Why, thank you for asking! :-)
Naked! book cover

Naked! book cover

In 2014, I’ll have eleven (!!) books coming out with my illustrations. One is NAKED!, a fun picture book written by Michael Ian Black and illustrated by me (Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers). I illustrated the covers of seven Judy Blume classics being reissued in middle grade format by Atheneum/S&S: Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, Deenie, Then Again, Maybe I Won’t, Blubber, Iggie’s House, Starring Sally J. Freeman As Herself and It’s Not The End Of The World.

I also did the covers AND interior illustrations for three chapter books: Freckle Juice, The One In The Middle Is The Green Kangaroo, and The Pain And The Great One.

Frecklejuice Mix Sample

Frecklejuice Mix Sample

How do you feel about the development and growth of the e-Book industry?

I know others will disagree, but I like ebooks. Yes, there is the tactile pleasure of handling a print book, the rustle of pages, the feel of the paper etc. that can’t be matched by ebooks. Lending print books is far easier than lending ebooks. From a practical standpoint, though, I like ebooks because they don’t take up physical space and I can therefore get more of them without having to face the reality that I have way more books than I can possibly read in a lifetime. :-)

Mimis Dilemma

Naked early sketches

Naked early sketches

I also love the idea of being able to easily carry my personal library with me, wherever I go. Whenever I was going away on a trip, I used to spend an embarrassing amount of time agonizing about which book(s) to take with me. With ebooks, I don’t have to make a decision — I just take them all!

However, it’s different with picture books. I still strongly prefer print picture books over electronic. I’ve tried the latter, but it just isn’t the same experience. The screens are too small. The colours are different. Also, the picture book read-aloud experience is different. The interaction between the child and adult and images/text on the printed page is far more intertwined and intimate than is currently possible on an e-reader.
A print picture book can be owned and loved by a child in a way an e-reader could never be (“this is MY book”), the pages growing dog-eared and sometimes chewed on.
Also, not everyone can afford an ebook reader. Print books in libraries remain a vital resource for communities, and I can also see how the role of librarians may gradually change as technology advances.
In the end, though, the format isn’t nearly as important as the content. A good story trumps all, whether electronic or on paper.
I could go on waaaaay too long on this topic, so I’d better stop now else I’ll never finish the interview. :-)

Did you always plan on a writing/illustrating career or if not…?

Evolution-Naked-TopOfStairs-1000I’ve always wanted to write books for young people, but assumed that I would need to do it on the side. I graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.Sc. and worked as a computer programmer/analyst for the head office of Toronto-Dominion Bank for a couple of years before realizing that this wasn’t the right career for me. It was a tough decision, but my husband Jeff (then my boyfriend) convinced me to quit and said he’d help support me so that I could pursue my creative dreams.
Fast forward to 2010, when my friend Beckett Gladney (artbeco.com) convinced me to enter the SCBWI Portfolio Showcase….and I got my first children’s book contract! (http://kidlitartists.blogspot.ca/2010/09/how-rejection-got-me-book-deal-my.html) It’s been a crazy and wonderful journey.

What truly influences you as a writer/illustrator?

Everything around me (the people, the places I go, the books I read and things I see) goes into the melting pot.
Naked Color Proofs

Naked Color Proofs

If you weren’t a writer/illustrator, what occupation would you be working in?

I used to do some songwriting and performing with my music group for fun (http://urbantapestry.org), and I do miss making music for and with people. I’ve played flute on some of my friends’ albums years ago and in an alternate life, I could see myself pursuing a career of writing music (songs and soundtracks) or being a studio musician. Not the lead singer/musician type, but more background-ish. You can hear my flute on my friend Chris Conway’s Alien Jellyfish song: http://chrisconway.bandcamp.com/track/the-alien-jellyfish-song-2
The Pain and the Great One

The Pain and the Great One

Did any teacher or mentor specifically influence you in your career?

My eighth grade teacher, David Smallwood. Mr. Smallwood was the first teacher to really encourage me in my creative writing, and I was so motivated that I used to write many short stories (some illustrated!) just for him to read. At the launch of I’M BORED, he not only made a surprise appearance but also presented me with a folder full of my old stories, which he had kept all these years (!). I was deeply moved.
The first children’s book industry professional who showed interest in my work was Lee Wardlaw (http://www.leewardlaw.com). I met Lee through my father-in-law, and she was kind enough to critique one of my first attempts at a middle grade novel. I learned so much from Lee! She recommended me to her agent, Ginger Knowlton at Curtis Brown, and now Ginger is my agent.
In 2010, I was honored to be chosen for the SCBWI Mentorship Program, and had a chance to learn from Cecilia Yung (art director at Penguin), David Diaz, Rubin Pfeffer, Priscilla Burris, Pat Cummings and Bridget Strevens-Marzo. I still keep in touch with some of them, especially David.
Naked Ceiling Sketches

Naked Ceiling Sketches

*Do you have any favorite topping you like on your pizza? 

Pear. My brother-in-law Rick McKay (a chef at Broadway Farms Markethttp://www.broadwayfarms.com/) likes experimenting with different toppings, and I fell in love with one of his experiments, which was pear and some unusual cheese. Nomnomnom.

Sentences to finish if you don’t mind:

The best advice I’ve received for my profession was….

…to start attending SCBWI conventions. I did, and look what happened (http://kidlitartists.blogspot.ca/2010/09/how-rejection-got-me-book-deal-my.html).

The habit I never break for my writing/illustrating practice is…

…nonexistent, since my habits tend to change over time.
Kangaroo Jump Time!

Kangaroo Jump Time!

If someone had told me…

…when I was younger that I’d be illustrating Judy Blume books someday, I would have laughed hysterically.

Why do people always assume…

Naked early sketches

Naked early sketches

…that networking and using social media came easy to me? I’ve had so many writers and illustrators say to me, “Oooh, you’re so lucky that you’re so good at social media and talking to people at conventions and so on. I’m way too shy / quiet / insecure.” To be clear: I am an introvert. It was *very scary* for me to leave my cozy and safe office cave to start attending writer/illustrator conventions and meet people in person at first. What I found: that it wasn’t nearly as horrible as I expected, and I even had FUN. I so wish I had started going to conventions and trying to meet others in the industry earlier in my career.

Using social media was another learning experience. I’m sure I’ve made almost every kind of social media gaffe and mistake possible. I put together my Twitter Guide for Writers and Illustrators (http://inkygirl.com/a-writers-guide-to-twitter/) in hopes of helping others avoid making my mistakes.

Bottom line: Don’t let fear hold you back from reaching your goals. Keep trying new things, pushing beyond your comfort zone on a regular basis.

Debbie, you forgot to ask me…  What am I working on this coming year?

I’m finishing up writing and illustrating WHERE ARE MY BOOKS?, my very first own picture book! It’s coming out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in 2015.
I’m illustrating SEA MONKEY AND BOB, a picture written by Aaron Reynolds, which comes out from Simon & Schuster Books For Young Readers in late 2015.
I’m illustrating RUBY ROSE ON HER TOES, a picture book written by Rob Sanders and coming out from HarperCollins Children’s in 2016.
And I’m also illustrating MITZI TULANE: PRESCHOOL DETECTIVE, a picture book written by Lauren McLaughlin, published by Random House Children’s Books in 2016.
It’s going to be a very busy but fun year!!
For connect with Debbie Ridpath Ohi, visit these places:

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. If you wish to read other author interviews, please visit this page: http://thestylinglibrarian.com/authors-celebrated/ I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

 

Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading

Reading

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I’m having a brief sharing week as I am presently hanging out somewhere in Asia… having a huge family adventure and hopefully enjoying many books… Prewriting many posts so that I can focus on new books, fun family adventures, and not be focused on the blog…

Still honestly traumatized by:

Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina - Realistic Fiction, YA- 10th grade and up – This brilliant, upsetting, powerful book should be partnered with Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell. It is one of those stories that brought me back to my middle school/high school days dealing with school bullies. How Piddy deals with the situation of a bully targeting her at school and home is quite a true to life example of how the victim feels guilt and tries to protect loved ones from hearing about the bullying. So grateful that this book won awards AND that I was able to get the eBook of it. Worth every minute of this capturing book. Couldn’t stop reading it! Goodreads Summary: “One morning before school, some girl tells Piddy Sanchez that Yaqui Delgado hates her and wants to kick her ass. Piddy doesn’t even know who Yaqui is, never mind what she’s done to piss her off. Word is that Yaqui thinks Piddy is stuck-up, shakes her stuff when she walks, and isn’t Latin enough with her white skin, good grades, and no accent. And Yaqui isn’t kidding around, so Piddy better watch her back. At first Piddy is more concerned with trying to find out more about the father she’s never met and how to balance honors courses with her weekend job at the neighborhood hair salon. But as the harassment escalates, avoiding Yaqui and her gang starts to take over Piddy’s life. Is there any way for Piddy to survive without closing herself off or running away? In an all-too-realistic novel, Meg Medina portrays a sympathetic heroine who is forced to decide who she really is.”

Early Chapter Book:

Secret Ninja Spies – Champion Takedown by Alex Ko - Adventure/Suspense – Not my favorite series to read aloud, second book I’ve read to my son. Reading what HE wants to hear vs. what I want to read… which is what being a mom is about, right? I’ve been able to avoid Pokemon thus far! Well, this is an entertaining spy story with kids who are counted on in a secret spy society in Japan, this is great for those reluctant readers who just want a great action book with very clear good and evil characters. Completely realistic as well. Goodreads Summary: “Champion Takedown Josh and Jessica are thrilled to be in Japan for the Olympics – but disaster hits the Games when the Japanese athletes are struck down with a suspicious illness. The twins’ high-kicking granny and her team of ninja spies are desperate to investigate …but they’ve been thrown in jail for a crime they didn’t commit.”

:) Looking forward to sharing other book thoughts in the coming weeks… for now, having fun somewhere in Asia…

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

Styling Librarian Hong Kong Update Catch Up 2 April 2014

View before hurricane hit area... was much darker, felt like nighttime at 9:30am.

So, continuing from last week’s post catching up on life activities. So far I shared about moving to a new apartment, our decision to stay here in Hong Kong through 2016, and my surgeries that I’ve since recovered from… now, more on life here in Hong Kong in the past two months:

Supporting #4Nathalie

Supporting #4Nathalie

#KICKASPS Video created… I already blogged about this on a #WhateverWednesday post… extremely important and special to me, link to post above plus this video connects to it:

IMG_2331

Round escalator, supporting 4Nathalie

Round escalator, supporting 4Nathalie

I was laid up for a little while after the surgery, left the apartment carefully at quieter times of the day when I wouldn’t be in crowds getting bumped. My constant companion:

My constant companion as I recovered from surgery.

My constant companion as I recovered from surgery.

When we did venture out I randomly took pictures. I started using Instagram, LOVE IT, and so I now have some interesting pictures collected:

I was really happy to go back to work. Quite a relief to get permission… still being careful and pacing myself but enjoying the days… Next week’s post will help me catch up on two months of school activities!

Happy day, reason kiddo was tolerant about moving.

Happy day, reason kiddo was tolerant about moving.

When we moved, we promised our kiddo that we’d get him a bunk bed. We decided to invest a little money in a new bunk bed that had a built in desk and a little space to organize his books and beloved Lego collections, here’s the installation:

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Doug was able to get us Hong Kong Sevens tickets to see rugby… Went on a Friday which is a quieter day. I thought it was well attended. Honestly, I was a little overwhelmed by the experience, but in a good way. Fantastic for people watching in addition to learning about rugby!

Hong Kong Sevens video compilations:

Next week will be my last “catch up” post- will include library activities… Hope everyone has a wonderful week!

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If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

Styling Librarian Book Review: Rose and the Lost Princess and Book Giveaway

Saturday Book Share
Rose and the Lost Princess

Rose and the Lost Princess

Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb – 4th grade and up, Fantasy – Are you fond of fantasies? Downton Abbey? I’m terribly fond of both. When I read a recommendation for reading this book, someone suggested that the two – fantasy and Downton Abbey are combined in Rose and the Lost Princess, sold!
I already was lost in the original story about Rose and the discovery of her magical abilities when she was sent to work at a wizard’s home… but this book was a perfect stand alone and also a fantastic sequel. I loved getting lost in reading about the mob mentality that begins soon after the book begins and additionally how our main character Rose has to deal with ignorant, scared bullies. The story that ensues is a thick, complicated mystery that has fascinating adventures developing from a festival to a complicated relationship with a royal family to a special, complicated deception…

Rose and the Lost Princess by Holly Webb - 4th grade and up – Fantasy –  Goodreads Summary: “The second spellbinding adventure with Rose… Turning the worn pages of her spell book, Rose can’t believe how much her life has changed. Once a poor orphan, and now an apprentice to the King’s chief magician! But when the country’s beloved Princess vanishes, everything changes. As rumours of dark magic fly through the city, the King asks Rose for help. She must find the missing Princess – before all is lost.”

Quite honored to be part of a blog tour for Rose and the Lost PrincessPart of the tour is the chance for one of you, my wonderful readers, to give away one copy of the book to US & Canada recipients only. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the following form: either fill out below or click this link: http://goo.gl/m0zjw8

Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

ISBN: 9781402285844; April 1,2014; $6.99; U.S.; Juvenile Fiction/Independent Reader; Trade Paper

About Rose and the Lost Princess: Rose’s whole life has changed in a matter of weeks. She’s gone from being a lonely orphan to a magician’s apprentice, though she’s learned that power comes at a price. Even Rose’s friends don’t seem to trust her anymore, especially when rumors of dark magic begin to swirl through the city.

Then the country’s beloved princess vanishes, and the king asks Rose for her help. She must find the missing princess and put a stop to the evil magician behind the kidnapping… before all is lost.

Holly Webb

Holly Webb

About the Author: Holly was born and grew up in southeast London but spent a lot of time on the Suffolk coast. As a child, she had two dogs, a cat, and at one point, nine gerbils (an accident). At about ten, Holly fell in love with stories from Ancient Greek myths, which led to studying university. She worked for five years as a children’s fiction editor before deciding that writing was more fun and easier to do from a sofa. Now living in Reading with her husband, three sons, and two cats, Holly runs a Guide unit. The Rose books stem from a childhood love of historical novels and the wish that animals really could talk.

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Many other people are celebrating this release!!

 

rose1 rose2

About Pull up a chair, it’s a Saturday Book Share: I’ve had many books I review that I just want to feature. Simple and easy, celebrate a new book encounter. So that’s what Saturday Book Share is about for me, celebrating books! Perhaps some days I’ll share the book with a short reading of a portion. Or perhaps other days I’ll just share a glimpse of the book.

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post). I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

Styling Librarian: Favorite Flawed Characters – TOP 20 Book Recommendations Realistic Fiction

Realistic Fiction

I’ve posted about some favorite realistic fiction books that touched my heart in the past and Wonder by R.J. Palacio is certainly one of the “tops” in that list, but I thought I’d share what I’d recommend to students that come asking for another book like Wonder… I’ve also already posted about books with multiple points of view… so here’s the next focus: flawed yet celebrated characters to love…

1. See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles

2. One for the Murphys by Lynda Mulally Hunt

3. Hound Dog True by Linda Urban

4. Counting by 7′s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

5. Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

6. The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg

7. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper

8. Rules by Cynthia Lord

9. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen

10. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine

11. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

12. Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis

13. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos

14. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu

15. Tiger’s Fall by Molly Bang

16. Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead

17. White Crane by Sandy Fussell

18. Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis

19. Hank Zipzer Series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

20. Alvin Ho Series by Lenore Look

Realistic Fiction

Special books- in detail now:

1. See You at Harry’s by Jo Knowles – 4th grade and up – Prepare yourself for heartbreak- this is a 4 out of 4 tissue book! Goodreads Summary: “Twelve-year-old Fern feels invisible. It seems as though everyone in her family has better things to do than pay attention to her: Mom (when she’s not meditating) helps Dad run the family restaurant; Sarah is taking a gap year after high school; and Holden pretends that Mom and Dad and everyone else doesn’t know he’s gay, even as he fends off bullies at school. Then there’s Charlie: three years old, a “surprise” baby, the center of everyone’s world. He’s devoted to Fern, but he’s annoying, too, always getting his way, always dirty, always commanding attention. If it wasn’t for Ran, Fern’s calm and positive best friend, there’d be nowhere to turn. Ran’s mantra, “All will be well,” is soothing in a way that nothing else seems to be. And when Ran says it, Fern can almost believe it’s true. But then tragedy strikes- and Fern feels not only more alone than ever, but also responsible for the accident that has wrenched her family apart. All will not be well. Or at least all will never be the same.”

2. One for the Murphys by Lynda Mulally Hunt - 4th grade and up – Just loved this story, unforgettable. Here’s another 4 out of 4 tissue book! Goodreads Summary: “Twelve-year-old Carley Connors can take a lot. Growing up in Las Vegas with her fun-loving mother, she’s learned to be tough. But she never expected a betrayal that would land her in a foster care. When she’s placed with the Murphys, a lively family with three boys, she’s blindsided. Do happy families really exist? Carley knows she could never belong in their world, so she keeps her distance. It’s easy to stay suspicious of Daniel, the brother who is almost her age and is resentful she’s there. But Mrs. Murphy makes her feel heard and seen for the first time, and the two younger boys seem determinded to work their way into her heart. Before she knows it, Carley is protected the boys from a neighbourhood bullly and even teaching Daniel how to play basketball. Then just when she’s feeling like she could truly be one of the Murphys, news from her mother shakes her world.”

3. Hound Dog True by Linda Urban - 3rd grade and up – Touching story, a special favorite. Goodreads Summary: “Do not let a mop sit overnight in water. Fix things before they get too big for fixing. Custodial wisdom: Mattie Breen writes it all down. She has just one week to convince Uncle Potluck to take her on as his custodial apprentice at Mitchell P. Anderson Elementary School. One week until school starts and she has to be the new girl again. But if she can be Uncle Potluck’s apprentice, she’ll have important work to do during lunch and recess. Work that will keep her safely away from the other fifth graders. But when her custodial wisdom goes all wrong, Mattie’s plan comes crashing down. And only then does she begin to see how one small, brave act can lead to a friend who is hound dog true.”

4. Counting by 7′s by Holly Goldberg Sloan - 5th grade and up – How do you touch other people in your life? Do you help them for the better? Goodreads Summary: “Willow Chance is a twelve-year-old genius, obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions, who finds it comforting to count by 7s. It has never been easy for her to connect with anyone other than her adoptive parents, but that hasn’t kept her from leading a quietly happy life… until now. Suddenly Willow’s world is tragically changed when her parents both die in a car crash, leaving her alone in a baffling world. The triumph of this book is that it is not a tragedy. This extraordinarily odd, but extraordinarily endearing, girl manages to push through her grief. Her journey to find a fascinatingly diverse and fully believable surrogate family is a joy and a revelation to read.”

5. Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin - 5/6th grade and up – Quite an interesting story that addresses technology, autism, and more. Fascinating perspective. Goodreads Summary: “Jason Blake is an autistic 12-year-old living in a neurotypical world. Most days it’s just a matter of time before something goes wrong. But Jason finds a glimmer of understanding when he comes across PhoenixBird, who posts stories to the same online site as he does. Jason can be himself when he writes and he thinks that PhoneixBird—her name is Rebecca—could be his first real friend. But as desperate as Jason is to met her, he’s terrified that if they do meet, Rebecca will only see his autism and not who Jason really is.”

6. The View from Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg - 5th grade and up – LOVE this book, never tire of recommending it. Goodreads Summary: “Mrs. Olinski, paralyzed in a car crash ten years ago, returns to teaching and chooses four unlikely sixth-grade Academic Bowl team, who become unlikelier champions, in more than the state competition. Julian, the strangest one on the school bus, invites Noah, red-haired Nadia, and silent Ethan, to tea.”

7. Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper - 4th grade and up – Fantastic characters, storyline, and a little to realistic. This is a 3 out of 4 tissue book! Goodreads Summary: “Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there’s no delete button. She’s the smartest kid in her whole school, but no one knows it. Most people, her teachers and doctors included, don’t think she’s capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again. If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows . . . but she can’t, because Melody can’t talk. She can’t walk. She can’t write. Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice . . . but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.”

8. Rules by Cynthia Lord - 4th grade and up – Honestly, you should read EVERY book by Cynthia Lord, they’re fantastic. This one rises to the top as my favorite. Goodreads Summary: “Twelve-year-old Catherine just wants a normal life. Which is near impossible when you have a brother with autism and a family that revolves around his disability. She’s spent years trying to teach David the rules-from “a peach is not a funny-looking apple” to “keep your pants on in public”-in order to stop his embarrassing behaviors. But the summer Catherine meets Jason, a paraplegic boy, and Kristi, the next-door friend she’s always wished for, it’s her own shocking behavior that turns everything upside down and forces her to ask: What is normal?”

9. Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen - 5/6th grade and up – Interesting characters, great to hear from two voices. Goodreads Summary: “Flipped is a romance told in two voices. The first time Juli Baker saw Bryce Loski, she flipped. The first time Bryce saw Juli, he ran. That’s pretty much the pattern for these two neighbors until the eighth grade, when, just as Juli is realizing Bryce isn’t as wonderful as she thought, Bryce is starting to see that Juli is pretty amazing. How these two teens manage to see beyond the surface of things and come together makes for a comic and poignant romance.”

10. Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine - 4th grade and up – 4 out of 4 tissue book- seriously, so much in one story… Goodreads Summary: “In Caitlin’s world, everything is black or white. Things are good or bad. Anything in between is confusing. That’s the stuff Caitlin’s older brother, Devon, has always explained. But now Devon’s dead and Dad is no help at all. Caitlin wants to get over it, but as an eleven-year-old girl with Asperger’s, she doesn’t know how. When she reads the definition of closure, she realizes that is what she needs. In her search for it, Caitlin discovers that not everything is black and white—the world is full of colors—messy and beautiful.”

11. Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko - 5th grade and up – Love this series! Goodreads Summary: “Today I moved to a twelve-acre rock covered with cement, topped with bird turd and surrounded by water. I’m not the only kid who lives here. There’s my sister, Natalie, except she doesn’t count. And there are twenty-three other kids who live on the island because their dads work as guards or cook’s or doctors or electricians for the prison, like my dad does. Plus, there are a ton of murderers, rapists, hit men, con men, stickup men, embezzlers, connivers, burglars, kidnappers and maybe even an innocent man or two, though I doubt it. The convicts we have are the kind other prisons don’t want. I never knew prisons could be picky, but I guess they can. You get to Alcatraz by being the worst of the worst. Unless you’re me. I came here because my mother said I had to.”

12. Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis - 4th grade and up – Very interesting and loved the adults in the story as well! Goodreads Summary: “Emma-Jean Lazarus is a lovable oddball who thinks she can use logic to solve the messy everyday problems of her seventh-grade peers. It’s easy: she just follows the example of her late father, a brilliant mathematician. Of course, the more Emma-Jean gets involved, the messier her own life gets. Suddenly she’s no longer the person standing on the outside of all social interactions. But perhaps that’s a good thing?”

13. Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos - 4th grade and up – This series has helped many reluctant readers, fantastic! Goodreads Summary: “Joey Pigza can’t sit still. He can’t pay attention, he can’t follow the rules, and he can’t help it — especially when his meds aren’t working. Joey’s had problems ever since he was born, problems just like his dad and grandma have. And whether he’s wreaking havoc on a class trip or swallowing his house key, Joey’s problems are getting worse. In fact, his behavior is so off the wall that his teachers are threatening to send him to the special-ed center downtown.
Joey knows he’s really a good kid, but no matter how hard he tries to do the right thing, something always seems to go wrong. Will he ever get anything right?”

14. The Real Boy by Anne Ursu - 4th grade and up – I was on the edge of my seat through the entire reading of this book! A favorite! Goodreads Summary: “On an island on the edge of an immense sea there is a city, a forest, and a boy. The city is called Asteri, a perfect city that was saved by the magic woven into its walls from a devastating plague that swept through the world over a hundred years before. The forest is called the Barrow, a vast wood of ancient trees that encircles the city and feeds the earth with magic. And the boy is called Oscar, a shop boy for the most powerful magician in the Barrow. Oscar spends his days in a small room in the dark cellar of his master’s shop, grinding herbs and dreaming of the wizards who once lived on the island generations ago. Oscar’s world is small, but he likes it that way. The real world is vast, strange, and unpredictable. And Oscar does not quite fit in it.
But it’s been a long time since anyone who could call himself a wizard walked the world, and now that world is changing. Children in the city are falling ill, and something sinister lurks in the forest. Oscar has long been content to stay in his small room in the cellar, comforted in the knowledge that the magic that flows from the trees will keep his island safe. Now, even magic may not be enough to save it.”

Tigers Fall

15. Tiger’s Fall by Molly Bang - 3rd grade and up – Be prepared, there are many dark, sad moments through this book, but the uplifting nature of the ending is just so fantastic and touching… Goodreads Summary: “Lupe loves nothing better than riding her father’s horse, El Diablo. Fearless and agile, she rampages around her rural village in Mexico like a tigrilla (little tiger), which is her father’s nickname for her. But one day Lupe falls while climbing a tree. Paralyzed from the waist down, she will never again be able to ride El Diablo. Her life might as well be over, she thinks.
At first Lupe is filled with rage and self-pity. Her family brings her to a center run by and for disabled people, to recuperate. Despite the evidence around her, she refuses to believe that disabled people can be happy and self-sufficient, and she can’t believe that these people think their lives are worth living. But slowly the people and the spirit of the center help Lupe realize that she, too, has something to offer.”

16. Liar and Spy by Rebecca Stead - 4th grade and up – LOVE THIS MYSTERY! The book did break my heart at times but in such a good way… Fantastic. Goodreads Summary: “Georges (the s is silent) has a lot going on. He’s having trouble with some boys at school, his dad lost his job and so his mum has started working all the time - and they had to sell their house and move into an apartment.
But moving into the apartment block does bring one good thing – Safer, an unusual boy who lives on the top floor. He runs a spy club, and is determined to teach Georges everything he knows. Their current case is to spy on the mysterious Mr X in the apartment above Georges.But as Georges and Safer go deeper into their Mr X plan, the line between games, lies, and reality begin to blur.”

17. White Crane by Sandy Fussell - 4th grade and up – I’ve had many reluctant readers LOVE this adventure that is packed with action and adventure. Goodreads Summary: “Niya Moto is the only one-legged Samurai kid in Japan, famous for falling flat on his face in the dirt. The one school that will accept him is the Cockroach Ryu, led by the legendary sensei Ki-Yaga. He may be an old man overly fond of naps, but Ki-Yaga is also known for taking in kids that the world has judged harshly: an albino girl with extra fingers and toes, a boy who is blind, a big kid whose past makes his loath to fight. A warrior in his time, Ki-Yaga demands excellence in everything from sword-fighting to poetry. But can the rag-tag Cockroaches make the treacherous journey to the Samurai Trainee Games, never mind take on the all-conquering Dragons? In a fast-moving, action-filled tale that draws on true details of feudal Japan, Niya finds there’s no fear they can’t face as long as they stick together – for their friendship is more powerful than a samurai sword.”

18. The Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis - 5/6th grade and up – This whole series is fantastic. Goodreads Summary: “Since the Taliban took over Afghanistan, 11-year-old Parvana has rarely been outdoors. Barred from attending school, shopping at the market, or even playing in the streets of Kabul, the heroine of Deborah Ellis’s engrossing children’s novel The Breadwinner is trapped inside her family’s one-room home. That is, until the Taliban hauls away her father and Parvana realizes that it’s up to her to become the “breadwinner” and disguise herself as a boy to support her mother, two sisters, and baby brother. Set in the early years of the Taliban regime, this topical novel for middle readers explores the harsh realities of life for girls and women in modern-day Afghanistan.”

19. Hank Zipzer Series by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver - 4th grade and up – What a popular series! Fun and quick paced… Goodreads Summary: “For Hank, fourth grade does not start out on the right foot. First of all, he gets called to the principal’s office on the very first day of school. Then the first assignment his teacher gives him is to write five paragraphs on “What You Did This Summer.” Hank is terrified-writing one good sentence is hard for him, so how in the world is he going to write five whole paragraphs? Hank comes up with a plan: instead of writing what he did on vacation, he’ll show what he did. But when Hank’s “living essay” becomes a living disaster, he finds himself in detention. Strangely enough, however, detention ends up becoming a turning point in his life.”

20. Alvin Ho Series by Lenore Look - 3rd grade and up – One of my favorite books (and authors) of all times. Alvin’s great flaw is his inability to speak a word at school, but does that deter him from being a burst of energy at home? No. Do his parents treat him any different than his siblings? No. Highly recommended!!! Goodreads Summary: “Alvin Ho is an Asian American second grader who is afraid of everything—elevators, tunnels, girls, and, most of all, school. He’s so afraid of school that, while he’s there, he never, ever, says a word. But at home he’s a very loud superhero named Firecracker Man, a brother to Calvin and Anibelly, and a gentleman-in-training, so he can be just like his dad.”

Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

Styling Librarian #WhateverWednesday Amazing Animation

Today’s focus: Amazing Animation – It is fun to reflect on one thing each week that really catches my attention, entertains me, and is special enough I just have to share it with the world.

Here’s my Whatever Wednesday Randomness:  
Oh my goodness, a lovely Facebook friend shared a video (not my favorite, not sharing here) that was shared through The Animation Workshop, what an incredible outlet! So excited to share my favorites from this channel! I was lost for a while watching these!

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Thank you again to “Eat the Book” for the Whatever Wednesday meme: http://mretome.wordpress.com David Etkin’s words: “Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. A cool quote or poster, a picture, student work, a video—you know, WhateverEnjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.”

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

Styling Librarian #IMWAYR It’s Monday What Are You Reading?

Reading

Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts  and Unleashing Readers for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! I’m having a brief sharing week as I am presently on a night train to Vietnam… having a huge family adventure and hopefully enjoying many books… Prewriting many posts so that I can focus on new books, fun family adventures, and not be focused on the blog…

Loved reading:

Cress – The Lunar Chronicles #3 by Marissa Meyer - I’m was completely lost in this book. Since my husband read this book before me he completely understood my howl of frustration at the conclusion though. CANNOT WAIT for the next book. I think I’m as anxious for the following book as I was for the Hunger Games books to be released… Such a great premise, memorable characters you care about immediately, and interesting plots that interweave fairy tales with a distinct dystopic society. This time Cress’s story which is slightly mentioned in the prior book connects with Rapunzel. Pretty fantastic to have a rapunzel like character be stuck on a satellite! Goodreads Summary: “In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.
Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who’s only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.
When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.”

Picture book time:

Ghost Train by Paul Yee, paintings by Harvey Chan – 1996 – What a gorgeous, touching book following a young girl whose father goes to the US to work on railroad development and how she is able to mystically help many people… just beautiful. Goodreads Summary: “Winner of the Governor General’s Award, the Amelia Frances Howard-Gibbon Illustrator’s Award, the Elizabeth Mrazik-Cleaver Award and the Ruth Schwartz Award. This powerful, unforgettable and multi-award-winning tale is based on the lives of the Chinese who settled on the west coast of North America in the early 1900s. Left behind in China by her father, who has gone to North America to find work, Choon-yi has made her living by selling her paintings in the market. When her father writes one day and asks her to join him, she joyously sets off, only to discover that he has been killed. Choon-yi sees the railway and the giant train engines that her father died for, and she is filled with an urge to paint them.
But her work disappoints her until a ghostly presence beckons her to board the train where she meets the ghosts of the men who died building the railway. She is able to give them peace by returning their bones to China where they were born.”

Poetry Special Times:

What the Heart Knows – Chants, Charms & Blessings by Newbery Honor Winner Joyce Sidman, illustrations by Caldecott Honor Winner Pamela Zagarenski – This is a book full of thoughtful poetry that accommodates every reader, young and old. Children will not “get” every poem in this book, which is just fine, something that should be challenging. Goodreads Summary: “What the Heart Knows: Chants, Charms, and Blessings is a collection of poems to provide comfort, courage, and humor at difficult or daunting moments in life. It conjures forth laments, spells, invocations, chants, blessings, promises, songs, and charms. Here are pleas on how to repair a friendship, wishes to transform one’s life or to slow down time, charms to face the shame of a disapproving crowd, invocations to ask for forgiveness, to understand the mysteries of happiness, and to bravely face a dark and different world. These words help us remember or grieve; they bolster courage and guard against evil; they help us celebrate and give thanks. This elegant gift book also includes a red ribbon for readers to mark their favorite poems. Poet extraordinaire Joyce Sidman won the Newbery Honor Medal for Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night and continues to write poetry for children that has been called “fresh,” “inspiring,” and “accessible” to her young audience. She is intrigued by the idea of “words of power”—chants and charms that were once believed to have real influence in everyday life. Caldecott Honor-winning Pamela Zagarenski’s beautiful art captures a world of emotion and the essence of Sidman’s words.”
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Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader!  Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

FTC Required Disclosure: This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you). Additionally this site is a Powells Books affiliate, and purchases made through the linked book covers may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2013 by Debbie Alvarez of The Styling Librarian. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @stylinlibrarian or at my Styling Librarian Page on Facebook.

Styling Librarian Hong Kong Update Catch Up 1

Flowers from colleagues. So kind.

It is a challenge to catch up on over two months of activities in a few posts (because I enjoyed a month of posting about our adventure into China over Chinese New Year holiday), but here we go:

In the last two months, we had major events at home such as moving to a new apartment and my having two surgeries. I’ve been back at work now for a few weeks and am doing well. Two major medical crisis in one school year feels a little extreme, but that’s how I roll I suppose. Grateful to be around and recovering from my talented surgeon’s work.

Liz Million Author/Illustrator Visit

Liz Million Author/Illustrator Visit

At school we had a few special events: book giving day, book character day, author visit with Liz Million, Skype visits with Patrick Carman and Tara Lazar, and many special readers in the library as well.

I’ll share catch up posts for the next few weeks. Our family will be going on a major two week adventure journeying into China, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore. We’ll have many night train journeys along the way in addition to many other modes of transportation… so I expect this catch up on life activities will be the closest posts there will be to “real time” updates for a while. I am pretty certain that these two weeks coming up will be many, many posts. Which isn’t a bad thing!

Catching up with our family:

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First off, yarn bombing is quite amusing. I noticed it at the top of the steps I walked up and down every day, had to snap a photo… cute little mushrooms at the bottom.

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Next, my coworkers and I went to support a former staff member’s new restaurant/bar that opened up- in Central, called Gweilo Bar and Grill. Had yummy food treats and a variety of drink selections. The buy one-get-one-free deal worked out quite well. Hong Kong friends, check it out: http://gweilohk.com/

1898194_10202391760408597_877869392_nThere is a very specific reason that we don’t have any other pets beyond our sweet dog Dulcie: Dulcie herself. She was a nervous wreck when my husband brought home Peanut, the long haired guinea pig, from one of his school’s year 2 classrooms. Such a cute, mellow little creature. I used to own a hedgehog for numerous years and adored him… fun to visit with another creature for a weekend… But for around a week afterwards, our dog Dulcie prowled our small apartment checking the place from corner to corner to make sure that Peanut wasn’t there anymore. Fun visit for our family to distract us from the move that was looming over our heads the following weekend!

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Interesting to try out a local dessert place that’s speciality was to make egg custard in an egg shell. Doubt this would be sold in the US with all the regulations around there but boy this was darn yummy and a pleasant surprise. Fun to explore new places and try things we normally wouldn’t venture towards…

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Moving… moving… moving…

Big announcement: We decided to stay at Hong Kong for two more years beyond the original contract. So, I signed a renewal to work at my school for two more years, thru 2016. We’re excited about this change. It is incredible to experience life here. I’m at an incredible school that I love working at, my son is thriving, and my husband is enjoying Hong Kong as well… hard to not return to Oregon, we miss family and friends there, but we feel like we’re not done here.

So, since we’re happy and staying for a few more years, we decided to move to a different apartment. We had a wonderful apartment opportunity that opened up so we grabbed it and moved over to Causeway Bay. It was terrible timing and a little bit of a struggle to move when we did, but we’re now settled and happy here in a larger apartment with friends in the same complex… Really special to feel settled and a little more at home.

IMG_2268We said goodbye to the construction that our apartment faced and that we lived with for 1 1/2 years. That didn’t make me feel too sad, ridiculously loud some days, especially weekends… We hired a wonderful moving company to pack us up and move us over to the new apartment. It worked out pretty well, moved in and unpacked from a Saturday afternoon to a Sunday evening.

Old apartment:

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New apartment:

We found a restaurant that’s become our new healthy “go to” restaurant… YUM. Vietnamese Pho place:

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Then the next day I went in for surgery. Took 10 work days of rest and then I went back the following week… I still am being careful but really grateful for life’s opportunities, good health care, insurance, and a caring patient administrators and colleagues.


If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

Styling Librarian Tech Update: Instagram

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View before hurricane hit area... was much darker, felt like nighttime at 9:30am.

View before hurricane hit area… was much darker, felt like nighttime at 9:30am.

Oh the possibilities of Instagram… I love stealing time to try out new things, especially having enough time to add a new program to my everyday life. Now sometimes other applications need to fall by the wayside and then other times the application turns out to naturally integrate into routines and lighten the load on others…

Instagram turned out to lighten my load…

I knew Instagram would probably fit my style but I was tentative about jumping into a new app, quite protective of my time online. So months ago my talented teacher librarian friend Dianne @dimac4 mentioned how much she appreciated Instagram on her blog, I took her post seriously.
http://librarygrits.blogspot.hk/2013/07/instagramming.html

I first thought, “I’m not a talented photographer and I have no time for another program.” Then three weeks ago, I thought, “WHY NOT”. So I jumped in. I was just recovering from a surgery so I was moving around slowly and able to take my time on not so crowded Hong Kong streets, this allowed me to look at new things… I clicked here and there. I set up my account: “stylinglibrarian” - http://instagram.com/stylinglibrarian

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Helpers Rights, articles collected, eyelashes top= negative messages, bottom = supportive/caring voice

Helpers Rights, articles collected, eyelashes top= negative messages, bottom = supportive/caring voice

Now, Dianne is talented. She is additionally quite savvy about hashtags and networking with others. Presently, I’m just beginning but appreciating another outlet. What I appreciate most is being able to post images simultaneously to Twitter and Facebook when I’m posting on Instagram. This application is almost as useful for sharing pictures as it is to use Hootsuite to schedule posts on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Additionally, I appreciate being able to tweak and edit my images in other apps like Pic Stitch before I share on Instagram. Lovely option.

Cool, right?

Now, when I joined Instagram, I decided to follow all my talented friends on Facebook automatically. This was useful but I wanted to follow others like authors, publishers, etc. I went on a search for lists of Instagram quality posters and came across two that were useful:

http://www.epicreads.com/blog/19-young-adult-authors-to-follow-on-instagram/

http://bookriot.com/2013/12/12/ten-authors-publishers-follow-instagram-2/

While I was noodling around online I came across an interesting idea-

Pacman in old neighborhood.

Pacman in old neighborhood.

Visual Storytelling Instagram article:

http://randomnotes.randomhouse.com/visual-storytelling-instagram/

Another stage to using Instagram.

Inspired.

So, thrilled to add another bit of technology to my repetoire, especially since it helps rather than hinders. Going on a huge Asia adventure in a week will lead to many pictures shared, hope my followers/friends don’t mind! Again, my account info: “stylinglibrarian” - http://instagram.com/stylinglibrarian

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

Styling Librarian #WhateverWednesday YouTube and the Mind

Today’s focus: Playing with your Mind – It is fun to reflect on one thing each week that really catches my attention, entertains me, and is special enough I just have to share it with the world.


Here’s my Whatever Wednesday Randomness:  

Every once in a while, I slow down to enjoy Brain Pickings, came across an article that I really enjoyed about lucid dreaming… led me to a new YouTube channel to enjoy and subscribe to!
Here’s the links that led me there and where I’ll go next.
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/10/12/the-science-of-lucid-dreaming/
Can YOU control your dreams? Here are some interesting strategies to do just that, might be helpful for someone who is dealing with nightmares, etc.:

So… how does science enchant the brain? Enjoyed this as well:
http://www.brainpickings.org/index.php/2012/08/10/power-of-music-animated/

Also, I know I’ve shared favorite YouTube channels before, (THIS LINK) here’s another one:
http://www.youtube.com/user/AsapSCIENCE?feature=watch
Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Thank you again to “Eat the Book” for the Whatever Wednesday meme: http://mretome.wordpress.com David Etkin’s words: “Whatever Wednesday — a chance to post something I’ve seen that I’m diggin’. A cool quote or poster, a picture, student work, a video—you know, WhateverEnjoy!… and consider posting your own Whatever.”

If you enjoyed this post, please consider following my blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.

Styling Librarian: How I became a teacher librarian #whylib

whylibI watched a stream of Twitter and then blog posts unfold a few weeks ago and thought it would be interesting to throw my experience of becoming a teacher librarian into the mix of voices. Here’s the original post that inspired me:
http://barrowmediacenter.wordpress.com/2014/03/29/tell-your-whylib-story-for-school-library-month/

Here’s a pretty good explanation about what happened next:
http://www.thelibraryfanatic.com/2014/03/whylib-my-story.html

All the participants of #whylib posted their story here: http://padlet.com/wall/whylib I spent a few hours reading over people’s experiences, wow. We’re so lucky to work in a sharing, caring field where we pass along ideas and enjoy inspiring others, especially lucky since people come to the library from so many diverse fields. I am quite grateful to be in a career that I’m passionate about and can express my interests in so many ways, including this blog!

bookdebbieI think what brought me to every stage of my education career was this question:
“If I don’t follow my passion now, then when?”

Back when I first officially became an educator, I’d finished my Bachelors in Education getting dual certified in Special Ed., Elementary Ed, and endorsed in Art Ed. and was so proud and excited to be hired at the school where I had student taught. I loved the colleagues, enjoyed working with the students and already felt part of the community when I settled in. I appreciated the district I was teaching in because they had extended education workshops offered throughout the year and within that first four months of teaching Special Education, I noticed I’d taken six classes in the evenings. I thought, “Hmm, I certainly am keeping up my momentum of learning… but I’m not as happy or passionate about this position as I expected to be.” I found myself drawn to the library. There was a fantastic school librarian and library assistant there who didn’t mind sitting down and chatting constantly about books, lucky me! I had always been honestly obsessed with children’s literature and found that I just kept wanting to understand more about the workings of the library, read more children’s literature, teach more technology, and integrate research skills into my student’s learning experiences….

So, soon I realized that my interests were actually leading me towards becoming a teacher librarian. “If I don’t follow my passion now, then when?”
I decided that even though I was just at the beginning of my special education career it would be wise to keep up my passion, interest, learning momentum and begin exploring the teacher librarian field. I applied and was accepted into a Masters program forty-five minutes from the place I was living and committed to driving there two nights a week plus weekends. I kept my teaching job and also worked on the Masters which seemed to go smooth enough considering. I loved applying knowledge I was learning in context and was able to reduce my position as special education teacher to .8 so that I could be in the library more often. I also loved working in the public library over the summer. I knew I was going in the right direction…

litldebbie

So… “If I don’t follow my passion now, then when?” – I got my Masters within a year of beginning it. I had drive, passion, and was really excited to jump into my “own” library. Luckily, it didn’t work out that way. I moved to a new state (just over the border from Washington to Oregon) was able to get a job at a school that already had a talented teacher librarian so I had the beautiful bonus experience of working with a fantastic colleague who helped shape, guide and inspire me! I loved being able to collaborate, share responsibilities, and learn with a colleague. I wish all educators could begin like this… even if you have a hard time sharing, it is extremely helpful to have a partner like this. I know now with online resources we have our PLN, professional learning network, and I’m constantly inspired by people all over the world but actually working together with another person every day was invaluable. *Still so grateful Heidi!!

DebbieandPeteAfter a year in that fantastic position, I knew that the position would soon be cut due to another school opening up down the street so I applied for another teacher librarian position and was hired… at my lovely library where I thrived for 12 years. I loved being there. It was a fantastic experience. I enjoyed growing, supporting others, adopting PYP, primary years programme, at the school, and more. It was a fantastic choice to shift to being a school librarian that was also still challenging, invigorating, and fulfilling. Once I was in the field of teacher librarians I was thrilled to meet up and collaborate with colleagues in my district and around the state. I enjoyed this field for thirteen years in Oregon. In around 2006 the teacher librarians in my district started feeling pinches in positions, the economy took a terrible turn. We had to fight for specialist positions for six years. It was exhausting and frustrating as the last year led to Beaverton School District cutting 51 of 52 teacher librarians. The library staff were shuffled into random positions based on their certification. It was heartwrenching. I now watch from afar and see how library assistants are now called librarians and the library programs have declined. I know fantastic library assistants work their hardest to maintain successful programs to accommodate readers. I honestly believe that having a certified teacher librarian at every school who is focused on literacy, technology, and research instruction, collaborating and supporting educators, and inspiring families to embrace learning in various ways is imperative.

Luckily for me personally I decided once again: “If I don’t follow my passion now, then when?” I saw through six years of fighting that the end was near and I wanted to be my own advocate, decide my fate, so I decided with my husband’s full support to look into teaching abroad. We were luckily able to move to Hong Kong after I had a Skype interview with four administrators at Bradbury School. I love being here as a teacher librarian, still able to pursue my passions, be a leader, inspire readers, celebrate technology, work with fantastic administration and incredibly talented colleagues, and support information literacy in this position. Sure, I look back on my past and terribly miss the colleagues, students, and community that I loved being with for 12 years but I’m also looking ahead and enjoying what life opportunities we have in the future. I’m in my second year as a teacher librarian at Bradbury and signed a contract to stay here for two more years. Feeling lucky every day…

debbielastday

Hope others are able to look within and find out their passions and follow them as I have… those passions might need to be supported with a second and third job but sometimes that’s what it takes…  How lucky we are to be in a time where we are connected around the world with a little electricity?
I’m so grateful to my parents for being my initial enthusiastic literacy support system, for my first school I was at that had NO school librarian so that when we moved and I went to my new elementary school and walked in the library I knew I was in my second home… and also fondly remember the friendly, welcoming eyes of the librarians who supported my daily visits in all my educational settings over the years. I feel incredibly lucky to welcome, learn from and inspire my students in my school library. I feel like this is one of the best jobs and careers…

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