Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Woman in White

As mentioned before, I love listening to books.  When I walk my dog in the wee hours of the moring, an audio book makes a great companion.  I am still taking advantage of the books I was able to download from this past summer.  My current facination is with The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins.  Such a disturbing and fantastic book about the injustices of women in the 1800's, done in a multi-narrative depiction of a marriage-for-money gone wrong. SYNC paired The Woman in White with the modern ghost story, Anna Dressed in Blood, by Kendare Blake, so I have reason to believe that the connection is significant.  Since I am reading Anna Dressed in Blood concurrently with the audio selection, I cannot wait to see where they both lead me. 
The characters in The Woman in White are so believable and Collins' description of them so vivid, you will love Marian, and love to hate Count Fosco and Sir Percival Glyde.  A love story, a mystery, a thriller; this book has it all!  So much danger and intrigue has me waking each early morning with ease, as I look forward to putting in those earphones and putting on my walking shoes.  Whether it's the audiobook, the print, or the digital vesion, you will find yourself wrapped up in the mystery of Lady Glyde's life. 

Ghost story paired with The Woman in White

The dangers of Twitter

I opened my Twitter account this fall.  At first I didn't do much with it; hardly followed it, and rarely Tweeted.  Now, I'm addicted.  First of all, I mostly follow authors, publishers, and book sellers.  This is where it gets dangerous for me.  I love to read.  If I could read books, especially Young Adult books for a living, and get paid the same I do now, I would be the absolute happiest person on the planet!  However, I have to do my reading in my spare time, which considering I am a mom of two, a wife, a teacher, and all the other hats I wear, is actually not so bad.  My daughters have caught the reading bug, seeing me do my reading at home.  I guess there are worse things I could pass on to them, like my bad cleaning habits (I would rather read, than clean!). Twitter has been dangerous, because I keep buying books!  First, I would see this new series by a favorite author, or a new author, or whatever; and I would HAVE to have the books!  Now, I'm buying Kindle books on sale, for $1.99 or $2.99.  Not a big deal, but when you add them all up...!
Next, Twitter has been dangerous because I enter EVERY contest that's offered!  Of course to do so one must Tweet the offer, hence, more time on Twitter!  Kind of circular, right?  Another way that Twitter has become addictive is when someone re-Tweets me.  Especially if it's an author.  OMG, I just love that!  But I can tell you, my family is getting a bit tired of me telling them when and which of my Tweets get re-Tweeted, and by whom.  I feel like I am getting a bit boring in my dinner-time conversation when everything evolves around Twitter: which books I found/bought, who re-Tweeted me, what cool pictures I saw, etcetera, etcetera!
On a more serious note, some students have recently caused a stir in the district with their inane Tweets about fights, sex, and bullying.  What's worse is their innate ability to get disgusted by adults, teachers and administrators, for caring what they Tweet. It is so hard for teenagers to see past today into their future 5, 10 years down the road, but with Twitter's popularity and usefulness, those inane Tweets could really haunt them when they try to get into college, get a job, or even start a healthy relationship. 
Such are the dangers of Twitter.  It is so easy to say what we want, see whatever others are saying, and goodness knows, be persuaded to purchase items we don't need but sure do want!  So beware. Twitter has been fun, but I think it's time for me to cut back a bit.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Picture books for...well, everthing!

Looking to use a picture book to teach courtesy? Maybe alliteration?  These librarian approved resources are just the place to look to use pictures books to teach...everything!

Port Washington Public Library graphic
Betty Buenning's Picture This
Jana Starnes' Picture This!
Carol Hurst's Children's Literature Site
Nancy Keane's Picture Books To Teach Elements of Fiction
Shutta Crum's Using Picture Books to Teach Literary Techniques
Keith Schoch's Teach with Picture Books
and lastly
LibraryThing which you need to join to get the best perks.

Have fun, and remember, students are never too old to enjoy the amusements and benefits of a great Picture Book!

These resources are thanks to the many contributors of the much used LM_NET, the School Library Media & Network Connections.  If you are a librarian and/or teacher, this resource is invaluable. Here is the information, if you would like to join the listserv:
* To contact an LM_NET Moderator:
* LM_NET Help & Information:
* LM_NET Archive:
* EL-Announce with LM_NET Select:
* LM_NET Supporters:
* LM_NET Wiki:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

QR Codes are Cool!

I just created a couple QR codes for my students/parents so they can download my contact information, even this Blog web address was included! 
I created one with an image embedded in it (a stack of books, of course!) and one in my favorite shade of green (Granny Smith) without an image.

So super cool!  All students need to do is use their smartphone to scan the code and voila!, the contact info shows up and can be saved into their Contacts.  They can download a FREE "QR Code Reader" App from their smartphone applications market in order to scan QR codes from their phones.

What a great way to use 21st Century technology and get info out to students and parents! 
These are the websites I used:  for creating one with an image, and for ones without an image in them
Start creating your own QR codes today!

Check out this QR code with my Twitter account on it.  You can even scan it right from the computer screen.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Things They Carried, by Tim O'Brien
ISBN: 978-0618706419
Paperback: $8.97
They carried physical items with measurable mass, they carried figurative items with immeasureable weight.  They were kids who killed other kids, and that weighed the most. It was Vietnam and it was what is was, they did what they did, and they carried it all. 
O'Brien speaks in a voice that is real and at times difficult in that reality.  I had a hard time with some of the war stories, their weight being too much at times.  There is death, despair, humor, love, trust, and friendship woven throughout the tales spun by O'Brien.  It's a heavy book, but one both adults and teens should read, bringing forth both the horror and awe of Vietnam.  Read it and it may change your life.


Tuesday, September 4, 2012

I Just Listened to...

I love audiobooks…

Thanks to SYNC Summer 2012, I have a whole library of great “listens”.  I am addicted to audio books, especially when I walk with my dog early each morning.  This summer SYNC Summer 2012 gave away 2 audio books every week, for FREE!  They linked together a modern Young Adult book to a Classic.  For example Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen was linked with Irises by Francisco X. Stork.  I just finished listening to Irises and thoroughly enjoyed it. 

Mary and Kate, sisters in El Paso, must learn to live on their own after tragedy strikes their family, again.   Brought up by their strict father, these girls are no strangers to responsibility and discipline, what they need to learn is how to LIVE.  Boys, clothes, hobbies, dreams, life all need to be rediscovered as they fight through the tough rules set by their father; rules they no longer need to obey, but that they are finding difficult to let go. 

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Chaos Walking Book One

The Knife of Never Letting Go, by Patrick Ness

Hardcover, $12.97 
ISBN: 978-0763639310

When Earth becomes overcrowed, a group of forward thinking adults head to a new planet to reestablish a more simple way of life.  However, when the native inhabitants of the planet become involved, the adults make a decision that will change everything.
Main character, Todd Hewitt, is the youngest member of his town at 13 years old.  There are no women and with his upcoming 14th birthday, new changes are ahead for Todd.  At 14 everyone changes, but is it for good or bad?  Todd's guardians will do anything to keep Todd from being initiated on his 14th birthday, including making him run away.  As events unfold, Todd stumbles upon a crashed spacecraft and soon realizes that more Earthlings are on the way and the first one is a girl his own age.
A page-turning, fast-paced saga about the coming of age, self-discovery, perseverance, and survival; readers of all ages will learn respect for Todd and cheer him on more than any other protagonist!
 Other books in the Chaos Walking series include The Ask and the Answer and Monsters of Men.