Monday, January 21, 2013

Learning, Growing & Figuring It All Out!

I am well into my 2nd year as a library media specialist and each day I learn something new and  realize how much there is still to learn. On a constant quest to be a little bit more knowledgeable each day,  I have relied a lot on Twitter.  Through this tool, I have discovered books, tools, and  techniques that help me be a better librarian.  I have also "met" people who have offered advice and feedback that are important in order to grow. And in November, I was even asked to write a guest blog for The Nerdy Book Club, which was huge to me because many of the people I learn the most from on Twitter are part of The Nerdy Book Club!!

It is funny to look back over the last year and a half, and think about how often I felt like there was so much I didn't know, almost an unwritten code that I wasn't privy to.  Honestly, there are still hashtags I don't understand, ways to post that I'm unclear on, and great people I'm not following yet, but the learning that takes place every time I open Twitter is invaluable.  And I feel in awe of the people who seem to read 100's of books (even before they are able to be bought!), post about the books in their blogs, and then Tweet so effortlessly!

I have also been envious of the people in my PLN that were reading books before they were even able to be purchased!  HOW were they getting these books??  Part of that unknown area for me... And then I went to my first library conference, TLA last April.  WOW!  So many great sessions and so many treats to be had!  I discovered ARCs, and grew muscles over those three days of visiting the exhibit hall and dragging bags of books around!  I didn't even realize at the time the treasures I had, and the gifts I could share with my readers back at school!  But, TLA only comes around once a year...

Even though I have access to many books in my school library that I have yet to read,  there is still that desire to get the next book in a series as soon as you can, even before you can buy it!  Recently, that book was The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielsen.  Thanks to my librarian friend, Nitza, I had read, The False Prince, the first book in this series, last fall and could not wait until the next book came out.  People started talking about it on Twitter about a month ago, and I was so anxious to get my hands on the book.   THEN I  found out about from my Twitter friends!  For readers who blog, review and share with others, you can request ARC ebooks!  AND The Runaway King was one you could request! I couldn't believe my luck!! I submitted my information and requested books I was interested in, and amazingly enough, I was approved for The Runaway King as well as a couple other books that were all abuzz on Twitter!  I felt like I was now in on the secret!!  Thanks to my Twitter PLN, I get a little more knowledgeable each day!

I can't wait to share with you how FABULOUS The Runaway King is, but that is a post all on its own!

Happy Learning, Growing & Reading!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Holiday Reading

For clarification purposes, I had previously used this blog for one of my graduate classes while earning my MLS.  I've decided to now use it for sharing thoughts separate from my library blog.  As an elementary librarian, not all of the books I read are suitable for my students, but I would like to share them with someone!  So I will now use this blog for that purpose, as well as other reading I am doing!  I will then use my library blog to hi-light events in our library.  Now let's just hope I can keep up with both of these! 

I love holidays for a variety of reasons: spending time with family, catching up on rest AND the time it gives me to read!!  This past week, I have been spending a lot (just ask my husband!) of time reading!  I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge just in the nick of time (on December 31st!!) by reading a few new picture books I had brought home from school.  Here are some of the books I have enjoyed this week:

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
I have heard about this book for quite awhile from many people on Twitter, but had yet to read it.  Since everyone gets books for Christmas in our house (surprise, right!) I bought this for my 14 year-old daughter.  She was going on a road trip a couple of days before Christmas, so I let her open it early.  It was finished before the road trip ended!  The book then went to my niece, who, by her own admissions, doesn't read much.  Two days later I got a text that said, "I finished the book yesterday!" and "It was so good!!"  Finally, it was my turn to read it!

Like them, I devoured the book and found it to be just as good as everyone was saying!  No surprise, it is a New York Times #1 Bestseller!

Hazel, a sixteen year-old diagnosed a few years earlier with cancer, meets Augustus at a cancer support group meeting and quickly falls in love with him.  The characters have a quirkiness about them, that has the reader falling in love with both of them! When Hazel shares with Gus her favorite book and the questions she has for the author about the ending of the book, Gus makes it his priority to connect her with the author. This book will make you laugh our loud and shed a few tears, and it will stay with you long after you finish it!

Pick up the book and a box of tissues and start reading!

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
by Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno 
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book and learning about the Acerra family.  I've had this in my library for a few months and had seen talk of it through my Twitter PLN, so it was one I packed up to read during the holidays.  It is an easy to read book about this amazing family that consisted of 12 boys and four girls.  With 12 boys, who all loved playing baseball, it was a natural fit for them to form a baseball team.  I love reading a book and learning something new.  I didn't know that there were several family teams playing baseball around this same time.  Not only were the brothers great athletes, they also demonstrated good character.  Six of the brothers fought in World War II, and all six came back home.  This book is sure to be a favorite with baseball lovers, but is an enjoyable read for anyone!
Visit the Author's Website for more information about this remarkable family!
Twelve Kinds of Ice
 by Ellen Bryan Obed and Illustrated by Barbara McClintock
 If I could pick a theme for the books that I have read, without meaning to have a theme, it would seem it is FAMILY, which is very appropriate for this time of year when we are surrounded by family!  Twelve Kinds of Ice is a quiet, peaceful book about the coming of winter demonstrated by the thickening of ice.  Living in Texas, this is a book that allowed me to experience winter in a much different way than what I am accustomed to, which is a gift I am taking from this book. 
As the first signs of ice appears, one family prepares for another wonderful winter when they will be able to eventually create their very own ice skating rink to share with their family and friends. This is when the "Perfect Ice" has finally arrived.  The joy that this family experiences each winter, waiting through the different phases of ice, helps the reader enjoy  the simpler things in life.  This book is a wonderful example of how to really see and appreciate all that nature has to offer.
During this week I have read several other picture books and chapter books, and then finally I decided to make my goals for the new year.  I have set my goal for the Goodreads Challenge at 250, with an additional goal to remember to put all of my books into Goodreads!  :)  My hope is that I will reach this goal quickly and easily and then adjust accordingly!  Happy New Year and Happy Reading!!