school-library-journal

I would like everyone to know that the teachers in the English Dept at Alamogordo HS do not agree with the knee jerk reaction of pulling Neverwhere from the Dept. library. It has been successful as a supplemental novel and since our goal is to get students engaged and encourage their thinking, this novel is a keeper — the students love it. The passage the parent is referring to is not graphic, but it is an adult type situation…a very briefly visited one.

I am sorry our school administrators did not stand up and support the material the way we all would have expected them to do. Also, as much as we hate to expose anyone for not speaking the truth, this parent had publicly stated that the school was “forcing” her student to read the novel (not true), and she also stated that the school never offered her daughter an alternate selection when she objected to Neverwhere. This statement is one that we will vehemently deny. The mother is stating inaccurate comments publicly. I work with the teacher in question – a very capable and intelligent young woman that is an asset to the English Dept.- and she immediately provided an alternate novel to the student as soon as the mother made the first known objection to Gaiman’s novel.

We simply cannot stand for banning a book for hundreds of students this year and in the years to come because a single parent objected over one brief passage on ONE page. Making inaccurate comments about the teacher (whom the parent chose not to even meet, but publicly disrespected her and questioned her credentials in spite of that), saying we forced anyone to read a text she objected to, or stating that no alternative assignment was offered is absolutely false. Teachers are sensitive to the needs of their students.

Our students have enjoyed Gaiman’s novel for almost ten years, and it saddens us to think that our future students will not have the same opportunity.

The teachers in the English Dept are opposed to any form of censorship. This situation is being handled incorrectly, it makes our school and our town appear as if we are fine with suspending the use of a book that is used by middle and high schools across the country and around the globe. We are not fine with it, and we want people to know that.

— 

Kathy Wallis commenting in School Library Journal on the banning of NEVERWHERE at Alamogordo High School, New Mexico.

The original article reported from the parent’s point of view has gotten nationwide play, can we boost the signal on this as well please?

School Library Journal has a kickass new Diversity Issue—the second in their history. The stories are just about as relevant as you can get:

Q. You’ve said previously that Reading Rainbow was the hardest, most rewarding thing you’ve done in show business. Is that still true for you?

A. I had to learn a new business. I had to learn the technology business. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done in my life. When you think about reinventing a well-known and beloved brand, the thing that kept us up nights was the fear of failing to meet expectations. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done…and the most rewarding. I love that I am able to focus at this point in my life on the mission, the continuing mission, of getting kids excited about literature and reading.

Flying Twice as High: Reading Rainbow 2.0 | SLJ Talks to LeVar Burton - The Digital Shift

Isla and the Happily Ever After has received a *starred review* from School Library Journal:

"Fans will relish appearances by characters from Perkins’s Anna and the French Kiss and Lola and the Boy Next Door in this sweet, charming series third that will make readers feel like they’re in Paris too. Realistic characters, spot-on dialogue, and a truly delightful romance make for a novel that will delight the author’s fans and win her legions of new ones.”

Huzzah! Thank you, SLJ!

an interview, a backyard, and of course, a trampoline.

Here’s an interview I did for School Library Journal plus a few photos from the backyard. Forget the books – look at the blood, sweat and tears in the paint job on that cubby house…So nice talking to Angela Carstensen, and a great hour or two with James Horan. Check out his latest (and brilliant) photo exhibition, ‘Irish Horse’, here:

http://www.australianphotography.com/news/head-on-exhibition-irish-horse

As for what to take out of this interview?

I’m so glad one of my dogs ate all the protective crap around the trampoline…

The collaboration between We Need Diverse Books and School Library Journal will involve a variety of initiatives concerning diversity in children’s literature, including an event during the 2016 ALA Midwinter Meeting.

More exciting news! So much going on and it’s all great! Thanks SLJ!

Persepolis’ Restored to Chicago School Libraries; Classroom Access Still Restricted | School Library Journal

Barbara Jones, director of ALA’s OIF and FTRF executive director, responded in a letter addressed jointly to Byrd-Bennett; David Vitale, president of the Chicago Board of Education; and Rahm Emanuel, mayor of Chicago, seeking an explanation and urging that the book be returned to classrooms. “While we applaud the CPS Department of Libraries for adhering to its own very well-crafted policies on school library collection development…we remain exceedingly troubled by the standing directive to remove the book from classrooms,” Jones said.

Jones also called the directive to restrict access “a heavy-handed denial of students’ rights to access information” that “smacks of censorship.”

Vanishing Girls Reviewed by School Library Journal!

Different as night and day, sisters Nick and Dara are practically joined at the hip. Nick is perpetually the cool and calm older one who calls the shots. Dara is always tagging along, longing to be in the spotlight. That was before the accident that left Dara injured and Nick shaken to the core. Now, the siblings barely speak to each other; they live together but never cross paths. Nick gets a job at a local amusement park and begins to interact with people again, mostly with her longtime best friend, but also with her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Parker. As the summer continues, a young local girl goes missing and Nick finds herself getting more involved with the ensuing drama than she ever expected. The situation comes to a boiling point at Dara’s birthday dinner when she disappears too, and it’s up to Nick to piece the story together and discover what has happened to her sister. Like in her “Delirium” series and Before I Fall (2010, both HarperCollins), Oliver’s characterizations and background stories are well-developed and compulsively readable. The relationship between Nick and Dara drives the plot and is very realistic. The twist the author incorporates at the end is dramatic without being absurd and was completely unexpected. Recommend to teens looking for a well-written work with a juicy ending. They will not be disappointed.–Morgan Brickey, Marion County Public Library System, FL

But the opportunities are myriad if we view patrons as whole people with needs beyond what any one department or service point can offer. For example, we must collaborate with fluidity and serve college students who also need life-skill support—or even pleasure reading. If we work to create this kind of culture, provide this kind of service, everyone will benefit.
— 

The End of Turf | Editorial, by Rebecca Miller

Rebecca’s first editorial as libraryjournal & schoollibraryjournal's joint EIC is a fiercely intelligent thing of beauty. 

In an informal study of the top banned books since 2000, young adult author and Diversity in YA cofounder Malinda Lo reveals that 52 percent of challenged titles have diverse content or are written by a diverse author.

In an e-mail to School Library Journal Malinda Lo comments on the reaction she received after sharing her research publicly:

“I’ve been very gratified by the positive response to the post, and I hope it makes everyone involved with censorship issues look beyond the stated reasons for a book challenge, because I suspect those publicly stated reasons are sometimes hiding ulterior motives.”

3

schoollibraryjournal:

SLJ’s Karyn Peterson chatted with LeVar Burton about Reading Rainbow’s new initiatives.

Stay tuned for the article!

Swoon. Seriously. I don’t think I could handle meeting LeVar. I tried to explain this to some of my coworkers yesterday and ended up describing for like five minutes the scene in Star Trek: Insurrection where Geordi sees a sunset for the first time. So, basically:

2

The School Library Journal blog, “100 Scope Notes,” has highlighted some top “gotta see” picks for Fall 2014 and one of them is John Martz’s A Cat Named Tim and Other Stories

“To my eyes it has two things going for it — humor and cuteness. That’s an impressive one-two punch for kids.” — Travis Jonker, School Library Journal

Check out the rest of their picks here! And get ready for the kid-friendly cat comics event of the century a double launch with Britt Wilson’s Cat Dad, King of the Goblins at Little Island!

youtube

This blog post, Sesame Visits Rikers Island, is really powerful. They’ve developed a bilingual toolkit for parents, caregivers, kids, teachers & librarians to use, Little Children, Big Challenges: Incarceration

At a time when 1 in 28 children in America has an incarcerated parent, there are many things public libraries and library staff can do to help kids, parents and other caregivers. We talked about this a lot at the Public Library Think Tank hosted by School Library Journal in April. Nicholas Higgins is the Director of Community Outreach for NYPL and he spoke very movingly about the work that NYPL does at Rikers Island. You can read more about it here: Prison Libraries: Public Service Inside & Out.

Without media specialists in the schools, the district is scrambling to find other ways to give students the library access that they need. Elyria is planning to work with the local public libraries to see how they might be able to step in with electronic links or even bookmobiles, says Stephens. In addition, principals will be asked to run libraries, with teachers then managing students in the libraries, he adds.

“They’re expensive for us to run,” he says of school libraries. “We want students to have access but not spend as much money on them.”

The library is not just about access to the resources, it’s about access to competent information professionals that can teach students.

I also find the personal element, knowing your students, to be so important. As much as the public library may be able to help, it’s not going to be the same as having a professional in the school.

This makes me feel ill.