The bookshelf in our classroom is on wheels. It has been pushed into a corner and was neglected over the years. As I have been reading more and more to the students on a daily basis, I have found the bookshelf becoming a new focal point for my students. At the end of the day, I'm finding books pulled off of shelves and left on chairs and on the floor. One student loves to take books into our "break room" to read. Students have started reading to other students. The simple process of reintroducing the bookshelf and all of the magical stories it contains has enlivened the classroom and the students. And even though many of the books are decades old, the stories and the messages they contain are still applicable today. The "Power of the Bookshelf" is one we can all encourage and share!
A month ago, I started a new job working with special needs kids. Three of them have non-verbal autism. One has a family who speaks a different language at home. I've been pondering ways to connect with him. He has a smile that lights up the room, and a giggle that makes me giggle. He will repeat words on occasion, but I am perplexed by what he understands and what he doesn't. Books have helped to change all that.
Every day, I make an effort to read to him. He loves the pictures. He's fascinated by the words on the page. As I read along, I see his energy change during the story. I see his smile and hear him laugh during the funny parts. He gets it. Books have created a bridge.
I've discovered his favorites (mostly Dr. Seuss), and some of his most loved topics/subjects. I can't wait to read more with him. It is something I look forward to each day as I drive to work. I do not know what the day has in store for me, but I can guarantee it will include books, some giggles, and a connection that would've never happened without that bound collection of written perfection...a book!
Happy World Read Aloud Day!
Two times this week, I found myself searching for a book on our library website. The first was while I was scrolling through social media and came across the story of Nadia Murad, a Yazidi woman who escaped sexual enslavement by ISIS and was recently awarded the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize. I typed in www.fvrl.org, did a quick search for her book, "The Last Girl: My Story of Captivity, and My Fight Against the Islamic State", clicked "place hold" and Voila! So easy! So quick!
Then, yesterday as I was attending my son's Winter Band Concert, his instructor was introducing one of their songs called "Escape From the Deep". He explained how the song was written about the sinking of the USS Tang submarine during WWII and how 9 men astonishingly survived. I did a quick search on the library's catalog website for "Tang Submarine" and found the book titled, "Escape From The Deep" by Alex Kershaw. Within ten seconds the book was placed on hold.
How amazing is it that we have technology available at our fingertips in which we can have access to so much knowledge. And how extraordinary is it that our libraries have such a magnificent assortment of books available for us to read. And not only that, but now we have multiple options as to how we want these books delivered to us--in actual book form, Kindle, Audio, large print, etc.!
It is a truly marvelous time to be alive!
What book will you search for next? www.fvrl.org
When my children were just babies, I started a new holiday tradition with them which involved books. I loved the idea of counting down the days until Christmas, but I didn't want to give them candy or toys every day. Next to our little count down calendar was a small one and a half foot tall fake evergreen tree. In each pocket of the count down calendar was a small ornament for the tree and I would include a note with a special holiday activity that we would do together that day: bake cookies to share with the neighbors, cut out paper snowflakes, make fudge for extended family, color a holiday picture to send to their grandparents, etc. It was a wonderful time spent together and of reflection of family and friends. I also added a special holiday themed book under the tree for each day in December leading up to Christmas. We would snuggle up by the big Christmas tree and read it together. Every morning my daughter would run downstairs and (hopefully-some days I'd forget and have to sneak it in during the day) find the book waiting for her next to the little tree. Unfortunately, what I hadn't counted on was my daughter remembering EVERY book she had gotten the previous year. I had hoped of "re-using" some of the same books from prior years, but to no avail-she remembered all of them because I had read them over and over to her so many times. This meant that the entire year leading up to Christmas, I was always on the lookout at local thrift stores for bargain holiday themed books to put under our countdown tree. However, when my son arrived, I realized I now needed TWO books for each day. I was so grateful Paws-n-Claws thrift store had children's books for .39 cents back then (I don't recall that our old library had a book store). Fifty books at .39-.99/ea adds up really quick, especially when you are a stay at home mom trying to be frugal. But, it was a tradition I am so grateful to have started. My kids already loved books and being read too, but this was the icing on the cake. This helped them realize how learning (especially from books) is a treasured gift.
I hope your holidays are merry and bright! Here's to another year of fun family traditions!
Some of the holiday books we still put next to our big tree every year. My kids don't look at them much anymore, but I have so many fond memories of some of them...I just can't seem to part with them, and they make for a nice holiday decorations. (Both of my children LOVED "Kitten's Christmas"!) Do you have any holiday traditions that involve books? Share in the comments below.
Last night, my son and I made homemade pumpkin pie (from an actual pumpkin!) and the most beautiful rolls. We brined the turkey and it's in the fridge...just waiting. The house smelled of homemade fresh bread as we closed our eyes and fell asleep. It was perfect.
Today, it is my hope to keep things relatively calm and enjoy every minute with my family. I have so much to be grateful for. In 3 1/2 yrs my daughter will be off to college with my son close behind. I cherish our time together. Parenthood is a truly remarkable journey of juxtapositions. We want our children to grow, while at the same time wishing for time to stand still. We desire clarity and calm, but tend to learn most during the mess and chaos. I want them to be safe, yet I need them to make mistakes, while I'm still nearby to help them...and when the mistakes, hopefully, won't be as dangerous and significant. And just as they are preparing to spread their wings, I too must focus on my life's next adventures.
I am so grateful for the Friends of the Cascade Park Library. Everyone welcomed me with open arms. It has become a community I can learn from, grow with, and belong, and that is truly something to be thankful for. We all have our differences, yet we share a strong desire to support our library which brings us together. That kinship should be celebrated.
So as you gather around our tables today to feast, please know how grateful I am for each of you. Thank you for welcoming me into your "family". It's an honor.
If books are magic, then our librarians and volunteers are the magicians. They are the ones who make magic possible for us to hold in our hands. Our volunteers work hard every day to sort and organize the books in the bookstore. The librarians order, plan, and know where all the books are in the library. With a flick of their wands (pencils), they can locate just about any book you might need and/or want! Magic!
When you see one of these magicians, speak softly and kind. Be grateful for those who know and share the magic with us. They are a rare and wonderful. As they light our paths with sparks of brilliance, may we remember to appreciate all that they do.
To all of our bookstore volunteers and our amazing librarians, "Thank you!" Thank you for bringing the magic of books into our lives each and every day.
We all know that books can take us on adventures to magical, far away lands. But as I was sitting at the latest FVRL Foundation's Author and Illustrators dinner this past week, I began to contemplate how books provide us with a different kind of magic.
Our library bookstore sells donated books which then helps support the library provide all kinds of magical "things" to our communities: from jugglers, llama visits, dancers, bookclub books, equipment, magicians, movies, and so much more. You wouldn't think a .50 cent book, could make much of an impact, but it does because its not just one book and it's not just one person.
Your book donations make this all possible. Your love of reading and desire to learn make this all possible. It's our beautiful, diverse community coming together to support our libraries which in turn support our beautiful, diverse communities. What a magnificent literary cycle of support! Spread the magic--read a book, donate a book, repeat!