Category Archives: Recommended Reading

A Renaissance of Reading Just for You

Here are some of my favorite links since last I dropped in on you.

I see that Google has opened up registration again for their Power Searching with Google class.  Totally worth it.

Here’s three searching tips from the teacher, Google’s own Dan Russell.

Did you see that the new Kindles are out?  And that the basic Kindle is now only $69?!  More of our students and teachers will be getting them soon.  This article discusses the changes Amazon is bringing to reading, calling it Amazon’s Renaissance of Reading.

Although, points out YA author John Green, Amazon seems to be perpetuating the myth that the only person involved in the creation of books is the author in this post, On Self-Publishing and Amazon.

Oh, and be skeptical of those Amazon reviewers.

Which makes some people come up with new ways to “read” the Amazon reviews.

And finally, you probably heard about Judy Blume’s cancer, but have you read this great article from the Atlantic, Judy Blume Still Has Lots to Teach Us?  Well you should.  It’s great.

Jim Randolph
Partee Elementary
Snellville, GA

Navigating the Information Tsunami: Engaging Research Projects that Meet the Common Core Standards, K-5

Cherry Lake Publishing has a new and exciting book coming out called, Navigating the Information Tsunami:  Engaging Research Projects that Meet the Common Core Standards, K-5.  This text offers 18 projects, three from each grade level K-5, that go well-beyond fact recall.  These lessons are all grounded in the new Common Core Standards and focus on quality student research from our earliest learners to our older elementary students.  Each lesson is written by an educator who is an expert on the many literacies involved in research projects, the school teacher-librarian.  While the  lessons are written for classroom teachers, they all incorporate collaboration with the school librarian at some point during the project.  Also within the pages of the book, there are many graphic organizers and tips on topics such as citing sources in a multimedia world, creative commons images, what to do when Youtube is blocked, and more.  I encourage every elementary library in Georgia to own at least one copy of this book.  There are even featured lessons from Georgia librarians, Andy Plemmons & Linda Martin.  Check out the attached flyer and order your copy today!

Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA

May Links

It has been a crazed month.  My calendar poked me this morning and let me know that today is my GLMA posting day and I got nothing.  So I’m going to take the time-honored blogger escape hatch and share some of my favorite links from the past month.

The ALA has released their list of the most challenged books in 2011.  The thing that caught my eye under the Hunger Games entry was the “satanic/occult references.”  Huh?  I don’t remember those.

RIF has a funky new look (via Boing Boing). I like it.

Reading books can make you a better person.  We’re just sure of it. But it’s always nice to hear specifics.  How Homer P. Figg Made Me a Better Person.

The Nerdy Book Club (blog title envy!) has a great post on Top 5 Reasons to Let Kids Choose Their Own Books.

I know you’ve probably already seen these posters, but I just wanted to put them here just in case to share the awesome.

Congrats to Dr. Shaq.

And, finally, this was the month that saw the passing of a children’s lit. giant.  Or Wild Thing.  There were many words written, but Fuse #8 has the best collection of them.

Have a great last few days of school everyone!

Jim Randolph

Partee Elementary

Snellville, GA

Committee Members Needed: Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers

Good afternoon,

Next month, the Georgia Peach Book Award for Teen Readers winner and two honor books will be announced at the Kennesaw State University’s Annual Conference on Literature for Young Adults.  Just a reminder that the voting for this year’s award ends on March 15.  Teens vote online at the Peach Award website:
The committee is now accepting applications for the 2012 -2013 Committee.  If you currently work with teens at the library, love YA books, and love to read (and get tons of free books) then this is the committee for you!!!  This 12 member committee reads and reviews over 100 YA novels and non-fiction texts each year.  In February, the committee selects the 20 nominees for the upcoming award; then Georgia teens vote for their top three titles.  Comprised of both high school media specialists and public library staff who work with teens, this committee provides insight into current YA literature trends and the opportunity to review the best of the best titles available.

If you are interested in becoming a committee member, please take a look at the website for more information about the Peach Award and to complete your application.  And if you have any questions or need additional details about the committee, please do not hesitate to email or call me–I am happy to help!

Mary K. Donovan

Media Specialist

Mill Creek High School


Vice-Chair, GA Peach Book Award for Teens

The Reading Promise: A Review and an Idea

My daughter has already had a book read to her every day since she was born

Happy Father’s Day!  For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been enjoying The Reading Promise: My father and the books we shared by Alice Ozma.  This was such a fitting book to read as I think about my own relationship and reading life with my 18-month old daughter, but the book connected with me in so many more ways as well.

The Reading Promise is Alice Ozma’s memories of a reading streak that she achieved with her father from the time she was in 4th grade until college.  Her father, an elementary librarian (see another connection?), had seen his older daughter move away from wanting to be read to, so he vowed he wouldn’t let that happen with his youngest daughter.  Even though they already enjoyed reading together often, they decided to make a commitment to read together every day for 100 days.  When they accomplished that, they set their sights on 1,000 days and just kept going.  Alice recounts the stories of her life and how the streak seemed to come into every aspect of her life from informing her questions about growing up to coping with life topics like divorce to finding the conversations to have with her father.  The book is about so much more than just the streak.  It surrounds the reader with ideas and themes such as:

  • a single father doing everything he can to provide for his family
  • the importance of immersing yourself in the written word
  • how a solid foundation in stories can inform every aspect of your life, including your successes and your struggles
  • the changing roles of libraries and librarians
  • the challenges of holding to a commitment
  • the value of daily family time
  • how literature can be a doorway to the most difficult conversations in life
  • the dangers of censorship

After seeing where “the streak” took this now 22-year-old, I can’t help but think about my own life and my own students and families.  What would happen if every family in my school started a streak?  What would it look like?  How would it change the culture of my school?  How would it impact student achievement?  What roles could technology play?


So much has developed since Alice Ozma experienced the streak with her father.  I could imagine families using blogs, wikis, and shared documents to document their streak.  Tools such as Skype or Face Time could be used stay in touch on nights when they might be away from one another. E-books and the many tools that accompany them such as highlighting, sharing, and note-taking could further support family discussions.  At the same time, more traditional print books and journals could still be a valuable tool as well.  I think so often there is a mindset that it’s technology or paper when in reality it’s a combination of them all.  We must harness the wealth of tools at our fingertips and find ways to incorporate them into our lives.


At the end of The Reading Promise, there is a form that can be used to create an actual promise to read together as often as possible, to protect the written word in whatever format it takes, and to celebrate the joy of story.  It makes me curious, and I’m thinking a lot this summer about how this idea might come to life in my school next year.  I encourage you to read this book and consider this too.


Andy Plemmons

School Librarian

David C. Barrow Elementary

Athens, GA