3 books to read before August 21st’s total solar eclipse!

People across North America are pretty excited about  the rare upcoming coast-to-coast total solar eclipse happening on August 21, 2017. On this day, the sun will completely hide behind the moon, darkening the sky and causing  a rapid temperature drop. To best see this natural phenomena, it is best to be situated somewhere along the narrow travel band, called the path of totality, where the eclipse will be moving along.

To gear up for this awesome celestial event, check out these 3 titles from a local library near you! They are guaranteed to be out of this world!

Life As We Knew It– Susan Pfeffer

770 Lexile

Through journal entries, sixteen-year-old Miranda describes her family’s struggle to survive after a meteor hits the Moon, causing worldwide tsunamis, earthquakes, and volcanic eruptions.

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2001: A Space Odyssey-Arthur C. Clark

1060 Lexile

The spacecraft Discovery is on a voyage to the outer edge of the solar system. Within the craft are two increasingly frightened navigators, three frozen hibernauts, and a computer named Hal.

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That Hideous Strength-C.S. Lewis

960 Lexile

Finding himself in a world of superior alien beings and scientific experiments run amok, Dr. Ransom struggles with questions of ethics and morality, applying age-old wisdom to a brave new universe dominated by science.

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Book summaries from www.arbookfinder.com
Lexile information from fab.lexile.com




Library Life: Consumables

Every summer schools across our district begin receiving pallets full of consumable workbooks. The workbooks are learning tools, providing students tangible core subject resources which can be highlighted, underlined, and taken home. 

Because the workbooks are made by different companies, the labeling is not consistent across different subject areas or grades. It is so important to know your resources! It makes sorting boxes a lot faster and easier which means materials are ready for distribution on day 1. 

Library Life: Textbook Transfers

One of the things I do as a media specialist is process textbook transfers. Our school library acts like a unit in a larger system of many other school libraries. Materials assigned to our site can be transferred to other schools within our district and we can request and receive materials from other sites too.

This is a cost-effective way of ensuring that students across our district are provided the materials they need without having excess inventories in any one school. It works because classes are set up to address the needs of learners so the quantity of leveled material is dependent on the learning level of students. For example, if one school does not have a large quantity of students needing “level a” books then those books can go to a school where the books are needed.

Summer is a prime time to begin receiving requests and begin requesting textbook transfers. Just a few days ago I received a request for a textbook transfer from another middle school. Before I could even begin to send the books, however, there were several steps I needed to take.

First, I made sure that inventory numbers were accurate (I’m pretty finicky about this and will triple check things just to be sure). Then, I verified that we would not be needing all the books in our inventory and that I had enough books to send out. Finally, I began the process of physically hauling the books out of storage and preparing them for transfer. I manually scanned each book to create a transfer record and to digitally transfer the site location for each textbook.

Luckily, we had just received new textbooks last week and I had not thrown out those boxes! I was able to use all of them to pack up the books for our District Warehouse Operations to come get. They will deliver the books to the new site. Happy learning!

Book Review: Wonder

With it’s upcoming film adaptation, Wonder, by R.J. Palacio, is again captivating reading audiences everywhere. The book, published in 2012, has won numerous awards and was seen on the New York Times Best Seller list. And after finally reading Wonder  for myself this weekend, I can certainly see why!

A quick synopsis of the story immediately alerts the reader that they are in for a delicate, yet inspiring read. The story about August “Auggie” Pullman, a 10-year-old with a facial deformity trying to fit in at elite Manhattan private school, is sure to make readers ponder their own privilege of beauty in a world where appearance is everything. And yet, this book is much more than that.

The book begins with the narration of August,  but as narration alternates to different characters, one begins to sees the delicate ripple effect one life may have on a sea of individuals and how each ripple shapes the world. The story blossoms outward, beginning with the the growth of one little boy,  and with each narrative adding the bloom of a sister, a friend, etc, until one sees a garden of growth, complete with the thistles and thorns which inevitably accompany every garden.

The book does not shirk away from the inevitable ugly truths, but by confronting the realities of the seemingly meaningless cruelty of the universe, Wonder manages to reveal the subsequent call to kindness which confronts humanity daily. Choose to be kind.


Author & Illustrator Feature: Nancy M. Berrios

Eric Carle, Dr. Seuss, Beatrix Potter… all famous children’s book illustrators who prove that style and creativity matter. While you may have grown up with these author/illustrators’ works on your shelves, the name Nancy M. Berrios may be new to you. An indie publisher and creator of Visibly Present Imagery,  Berrios’s books are a refreshing and unique take on children’s illustrating. Bright, bold colors combined with inspiring scenes make her collection a must for young readers everywhere.

A former educator and life-long Christ follower,Berrios’s stories focus on either biblical principles or character development. In addition to stand-alone stories, many of her books have companion workbooks useful for home-education or bible school settings. She is also developing a line of digital interactive books to engage young digital citizens.

If you haven’t checked out her books, I highly recommend that you do!cumq2qdwwaaao66




Library Life: Bookshelf Makeover

Last year, I rescued a rusted metal bookshelf on its way out to the dump. It was just too practical and filled with potential for me to pass by. My co-worker’s daughter who was volunteering suggested we repaint it, but I wasn’t sure I was ready to commit to a painting project and we wrapped it in paper instead.


Our happy little paper-wrapped shelf weathered the year quite well. Aside from a little pencil sketch one side and a wad of gum, no harm was done. The paper did start fading, however, and a paint project became inevitable.

I headed to Wal-Mart where I ran into two of my fellow teacher friends who gave me advice on which kind of spray paint to use and helped me pick out colors. We chose a vibrant royal blue and gold yellow to match our school colors. The shelf would be blue and I would use the the Ellison machine to make a paw-print template to represent our school cougar mascot. I returned to work the next day armed with paint and determination.

After setting up a spray area outside the back door of the media center, I was ready to begin my project. The whole project took two Phases. Phase one, I sprayed the the whole thing blue and let it dry. Phase two,  I used the paw-print template to make a paw-print trail. I had a junior painter (my co-worker’s daughter again!), assist with this phase. All in all, it was a pretty easy project which I probably should have done last year!




Ed Tech Review: Twitter

Twitter is a great way of building a network and an easy way to share articles, links, and ideas. In the past year or so I have really worked to build my network on Twitter by following as many media specialists, librarians, and libraries as I can find. Now my feed is filed with snippets of real-time library life across the world.

Some groups even hold live chat sessions on various topics which are usually very though provoking and inspiring. All you have to do to participate is answer the question, interact with other participants and use whatever #hashtag they are using. The #hashtags link all conversations which are using the #hashtag.

If you are not on Twitter, I would highly recommend joining! The usability of the site is fairly simple even for novice social media users. And if you do join, remember to follow me @LibCharleen!


Book Review: The Hate U Give

Angie Thomas’s debut novel, The Hate U Give,  is unlike any YA book I’ve ever read. Raw and real, it dares broach potentially polemic topics such as racism and police brutality with balance and dignity. Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter tells her story of growing up black in America, inclusive of the ugly bits, the parts we wish didn’t exist. As she struggles to make sense of the murder of her childhood friend and find her place, we are faced to consider the ramifications of the hate we give and provided the hope to inspire change. The Hate U Give Book Review