Summer Reading Lists

Mostly the lists in my school stayed the same as last year’s. 2 new non-fiction titles were added to the 7th grade list: one by Jim Murphy and one by Russell Freedman. Both about WWI. The 7th grade will be reading “War Horse” this year and they wanted a WWI title available to support the text.

I added some new titles to the 6th grade list like, ‘Fish,” “Word Snoop,” “Out of My Mind,” and “One Crazy Summer.” I am curious to see how many students read any of these new ones added.

Public libraries and schools–working together

In the May, 2012, issue of School Library Journal, the results of a recent survey by this journal is analyzed in the article “It Takes Two.”  The first alarming statistic is that only 30% of the respondents to the survey say that their library collaborates with local schools to coordinate book purchases that support the school curriculum; only 9% of public libraries surveyed say they work directly with school librarians and teachers to purchase materials that would help with homework assignments. 

SLJ has been advocating closer ties between school and public libraries.  This is especially important now, they believe, because of the serious budget reductions facing all libraries. Now is the time to join forces.

A great deal of the data collected is broken down in easy -to-read graphs, which makes it simpler to analyze the information and compare results.

One section of the article discussed how public libraries could better service its student population.  Three suggestions:  “savvy staffers, soft furniture and a dedicated separate space” for kids and YA. We are on the right track.

I found this article, read it for a complete picture of the problem, very interesting in view of our efforts here to work with our local schools and trying to align our purchases to support school curriculum and to try to create a welcoming environment for our local students.


“In One Person”

Being a John Irving fan, I eagerly awaited his new novel “In One Person.”  Having been disappointed with two of his last three novels, I didn’t even attempt to read “Until I Find You,” I so wanted to like this one.  Irving does not disappoint.  He is back the groove that produced “The World According to Garp,” “Cider House Rules,” “A Widow For One Year,” and, of course, “A Prayer for Owen Meany.”

Not one to shy away from taboo subjects–abortion, religion, sexuality, Irving has created in his newest novel a sexually brave story that is funny, outlandish, and extremely insightful.  William Abbott is bisexual.  Irving has said, …”life is so hard for sexual outsiders,” and, therefore, it makes him love them more.  We follow Billy from his New England prep school days to his time in Europe, NYC, San Francisco, and finally back to Vermont and the same school he graduated from in the early 1960s.

The characters that inhabit Billy’s world are straight, gay, transgender, men, women, girl friends, boy friends, tolerant and intolerant.  The AIDS crisis is an import backdrop, and Irving does not shy away from very graphic descriptions of the symptoms and treatment of HIV experienced by many of his characters.

Irving’s writing flows so fluidly that reading his words is easy even though many of the events depicted are tragic.  This time around there are no overblown plots, the characters are tightly drawn and the hidden secrets gradually unfold and in the end, which for Irving is the beginning because he writes the last sentence before he begins a book, William Abbott comes home and truly knows not “to make me a category before you get to know me.”

We need to talk about Kevin – DVD

This movie shifts back and forth, between present, when the mother (Tilda Swinton) is trying to put her life back together, and the past horrific events that lead up to it. Her marriage and career seem on track until the birth of her son. He is on the path to being a psychopath from day one. He cries nonstop as an infant and refuses any interaction with his mother as well as any love she can muster. It is fascinating to witness the animosity between the two, and she mightily tries her best to “mother” him. I won’t disclose the end. Wonderful, wonderful acting. I found the movie absolutely fascinating.

Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L.Going

This YA novel was written by a Sullivan county author whose mom was a children’s librarian in Chester, I believe. It was published in 2003 and relates the story of Troy, an overweight suicidal teenager who becomes friends with a punk rocker who enlists Troy to be the drummer in his band. Except that he’s not very good at playing the drums. I haven’t read the book yet, but there is a movie coming out based on the novel. I watched the trailer and it looks like it will be a good movie. The story of how it came about is really neat, read about it here. I’m so happy for the author; what a great break for her.