Tech Tip – Library Extension for Chrome

If you’re a Chrome user, try adding the library extension:

With this extension, you can see what items are in the library as you browse Amazon & Goodreads. Check it out!

Posted in @ the library | Leave a comment

SLJ’s Day of Dialog, 2017

Photos & tweets from Day of Dialog, with a few comments and observations in between. Moderated my very first panel of picture book creators – -What an amazing day!


Posted in awards, nonfiction, picture books, reader's advisory, travel | Leave a comment

Poetry, Programming, & Translation


Discover an early pioneer in the field of computer science – Ada Byron Lovelace. A great introduction for early elementary age students that gives them the model of an intelligent, inquisitive, creative young woman with an amazing imagination and dreams of flying (in the 19th century!) Her ability to make connections among disparate fields was a key to her success. When viewing the mechanical loom, Ada learned of punch cards being used to direct machines . . . not unlike programming a computer. She became friends with Charles Babbage, who was working on what he described as  “the analytical engine” — now known as the first computer.

I was delighted to discover that Lovelace was a fine translator. She translated an article from the Italian into English which explained how Charles Babbage’s analytical engine worked. Additionally, her “notes from the translator” are much longer than the article itself. Lovelace described how this remarkable machine could be used — and it was her vision to see what it was capable of that was really remarkable: “writing text, composing music, reproducing images, even playing games like checkers or chess.”

Jessie Hartland’s gouache illustrations are colorful and appealing. They include many specific details, including scientific notation, images of mechanical looms and Babbage’s Difference Engine,  and locations and famous people (identifiable by the objects in the thought balloons above their heads). What a challenging book to illustrate!

For more about the book and a teacher’s guide, visit:


this School Library Journal article offers many resources for exploring Ada, women in science, coding, and Lord Byron (and more!) in the classroom.





Posted in @ the library | Leave a comment


What do you know about Lithuania? I certainly didn’t know much before reading Ruta Sepetys’ books. I knew it was one of the Baltic states, taken over by the Soviet Union in the early yeshadesofgray_bookars of World War II and kept as one of the buffer states during the Cold War. Lithuania became independent in early 1991 — with only short lived interference  from the crumbling Soviet Union.

Before reading Sepetys Between Shades of Gray, I knew little about Lithuania. I didn’t give much thought to what Soviet occupation meant. How much brutality lies underneath those few sentences on the subject in a textbook. That anyone seen as part of the intelligentsia, that is, anyone with an education, — teachers, doctors, lawyers, and yes, librarians — all were rounded up and deported. Homes, belongings, possessions lost, families divided. Sepetys draws upon her own family history in her writing, as she is of Lithuanian descent.  Fifteen year old Lina narrates the harrowing tale of her families removal, the long journey on the train, work in a labor camp, and final journey to Siberia.

Salt to the Sea reveals another story often hidden from history — the story osaltf the sinking of the Wilhelm Gustloff, the worst maritime disaster in history. As World War II draws to a close, refugees are fleeing the Baltic States through Poland and Prussia from the advancing Russian army, who pillage everything — that is, everything that the Germans have not destroyed as they are retreating. Refugees, children, soldiers alike seek an escape, a way out. Told from four different narrators whose stories intersect, this is another powerful and eye-opening story from

The links above will take you to Sepetys own site, and I highly recommend listening to her talk about her research and tell the story in her own voice. It also includes more history of the Wilhelm Gustloff, more about displaced persons of the Baltics during the war, and about refugees.

I’ve been thinking about these books quite a lot recently. Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia, joined NATO in 2004. With all the talk of NATO in the recent election cycle, what are the people of the Baltics concerned about these days? It is more important than ever to learn and remember history. In the Author’s Note section of Salt to the Sea, Sepetys writes: “If historical novels stir your interest, pursue the facts, history, memoirs, and personal testimonies, available. These are the shoulders that historical fiction sits upon. When the survivors are gone we must not let the truth disappear with them. Please, give them a voice.”

Posted in @ the library, Book reviews, historical fiction, international books | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The Birth of an American Terrorist Group


That’s the subtitle of Susan Campbell Bartoletti’s 2010 book They Called Themselves the KKK, one of the many books that has been on my mind lately. I remember hearing the author speak that year about her research for the book and attendance at a weekend-long Klan meeting. Her description was vivid and chilling, and is well worth reading — scroll down past the awards and stars the book received to find it.

Posted in Book reviews, nonfiction | Leave a comment

Spring Trends, 2016

Recently I had the opportunity to speak to two classes of education students at Otterbein University about most anticipated new books and trends in publishing for grades 4-6 and teens. It was a challenging and fun way to review the field — from one librarian’s perspective. I’m sharing the presentations here because I’d love to hear your thoughts on what’s trending these days. And they are already beginning to date — as is inherent with such topics. Please note — this is not at all comprehensive . . . I just had to stop collecting new ideas at some point!

What’s New in Literature for Young Adults – Spring 2016

What’s New in Literature for Young Readers – Spring 2016


Posted in @ the library, Book reviews, reader's advisory | Leave a comment

Caldecott Musings . . . 2016


caldecott1It’s that time of year . . . so many “best of” lists are out and the excitement is building toward the announcement of the Caldecott Medal, named in honor of nineteenth century English illustrator Randolph Caldecott. It is awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children published during the previous year.

Here are some of my favorites . . . it’s been a good year! What do YOU think is the most distinguished American picture book published in 2015?


If you vote “other” please write in your choice in the comments. Thanks!


Posted in awards, Caldecott | Leave a comment

Into the Woods we go! Picture This 2015

schenkerThis year’s Picture This program (an annual summer program on the art of children’s books) focuses on fairy tales. We began with Nick Sharratt’s The Foggy Foggy Forest, which allows children to guess what fairy tale characters are in the shadows. Then we took a closer look at  German illustrator Sybille Schenker‘s magnificent cut paper illustrations.schenker2


To help the children think of a fairy tale, but distill it down to one illustration, we looked at mimimalist fairy tale posters — without the title and they tried to guess the story. I think they enjoyed the guessing aspect and also the different fairy tells helped them to pick one of their own, instead of having 20 images of Red Riding Hood.

We did suggest beginning with cutouts of trees or a forest, as these are relatively easy to make (fold a piece of black cardstock in half, cut rectangular shapes out — irregular is better — can make fatter or thinner, etc.). The results were really striking.

Can you guess what this one is?

dwarves1(Hint: count the number of hats)


Does anyone feel the wind changing?


Here is “The Little Old Lady who was not afraid of anything” (by an artist with an October birthday — she tried to think of a story that went with that time of year.)

collage1Another was inspired by Frozen:


while another stuck with a classic favorite:

IMG_7085and this one reflects the minimalist mindset:


and I like how this artist added branches to her trees:


Posted in @ the library, art, library programs, picture books | Leave a comment

Eleventh birthday morning means owls are arriving!

Image | Posted on by | Tagged | Leave a comment

The Final Chapter: seventh and final meeting of the Harry Potter Reading Club

The seventh and final meeting of the Harry Potter reading club is tonight! at Westerville Public Library

Image | Posted on by | Tagged , | Leave a comment