Sunday, October 26, 2008

What's New in Children's Books?

I had a "busman's holiday" kind of Saturday...and time well spent. I attended "What's New in Children's Books?" on October 25th, sponsored by the Foundation for Children's Books, an annual gathering highlighting young authors and newly published books for children and young adults. Adults interested in books for young people heard from children's bookseller Alison Moore about the best of the new books, always a treat, and we heard from three book creators -- Jeff Mack, Marcella Pixley, and Jeff Kinney -- each with a unique perspective on their lives as authors and artists. If you look very closely at the notebook Jeff Kinney is holding below, you can see the seeds of his Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a smash-hit series of books based on his own grade school life. He was delighted to autograph his books for Lawrence School library readers.


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

David Macaulay Webcast

Yesterday the Lawrence School Library tuned in to a webcast sponsored by Houghton Mifflin Company. Award-winning book creator David Macaulay talked, in a real-time presentation, about his newest book The Way We Work: Getting to Know the Amazing Human Body to students around the country -- and presumably the world. Our fifth and sixth graders, who use Macaulay's books (Castle, City, Pyramid and others) in their curricula, packed together in the library. Several students volunteered to be reporters, recording the Who-What-Where-When-Why-How of the webcast. Salient observations were how totally immersed Macaulay becomes in doing the research for each of his books and also how much he feels he needs to learn about each topic, given that he starts off as a layperson related to that topic. The point of view of a beginner provides him an incentive to be very clear in words and illustrations, so that readers can join him in understanding the complexities of his subject.

At times the webcast was pixelated or the sound jumpy -- no surprise given that many, many schools were viewing the site at the same time. We learned that we still need to be patient with this kind of digital delivery, that is is different from viewing a previousy-downloaded document. The potential for on-the-spot learning experiences is tremendous, however, and we hope to try it again soon!

Monday, October 06, 2008

Election Glossary

Words are certainly an important part of a library, and glossaries are a wonderful way to highlight words that are particularly important at a given time. Thus it was great fun to put up a bulletin board containing over two dozen important words about democracy and the electoral process in our country. Our glossary contains concept words, such as "democracy" itself, and very specific words, such as "polling place," where many parents will go in early November, possibly taking their children with them to experience the process of voting. The glossary, over 20 feet long, is providing inspiration for many discussions about the presidential election, campaigns, and our form of government. We also have many books on display inside the library.

KF, conducting a cookie campaign of its own, placed campaign posters for chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin and M&M cookies below our display, and election day will be a busy time in the hallway as many voters at Lawrence School express their preferences!