Sunday, October 31, 2010

I Love Books

I have created a new page related to Every Child Ready to Read called "I Love Books", with tips on incorporating a story time into your day and on reading the book Brooms Are For Flying by Michael Rex. Find a link to it on the right hand side of this page, and happy reading! Let me know what you think!

Peril on the Sea

Book Information
Cadnum, Michael. Peril on the Sea. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.

My Summary and Review
In the tradition of Pirates of the Caribbean, Peril on the Sea is a thoughtful but thrilling action/romance novel set in 1588 on the high Seas. Sherwin is a young writer/shiphand on board the "Vixen" under the notorious privateer (legal pirate) Captain Fletcher. War with the Spanish Armada looms in the distant future, though Captain Fletcher does not plan on fighting any battles. The story quickly changes after young Katherine joins the crew to safeguard a shady deal between Captain Fletcher and her father, also a captain. A small romance blooms between Sherwin and Katherine, while a Spanish warship appears, and the "Vixen" is now in dangerous waters.

This is a fast-paced read from Michael Cadnum, who was a National Book Award Finalist in 2000. Peril at Sea will be enjoyed by young adults who have a taste for history and/or romance. Sherwin is a believable idealist writer/sailor who is exposed to underhanded dealings of privateers, yet who manages to keep his morals straight. Katherine is a strong female character who knows how to drive a hard bargain. Through Captain Fletcher, Michael Cadnum has created an unreliable character of mixed allegiances. This book also has informative historical references to notable English pirates/privateers and to life on the sea long ago that fit well into developing the plot.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

This Book Is Overdue! by Marilyn Johnson

This Book Is Overdue!: How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us AllBook Information
Johnson, Marilyn. This Book is Overdue! How Librarians and Cybrarians Can Save Us All. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 2010.

My Summary and Review
Picture this: an online site that allows for user reviews of products and services, and which allows users to customize their settings. This online site has an in-person counterpart. Both the virtual and physical locations are techno-friendly and dedicated to providing excellence in customer service.

Sound like a bookstore, or some other retail environment? Think again! Marilyn Johnson's This Book is Overdue! provides a friendly, up-to-date look at the library world.

Librarians are defenders of freedom of information and of privacy, especially in the age of the Patriot Act. They are enthusiasts who take information services to the streets, offering Radical Reference Services. They enjoy sharing information, so it should be no surprise that many embrace electronic/digital technologies, including Second Life, blogs, audio books that can be downloaded to mobile devices, and online chatting. In fact, one 2009 study of university library chat transactions in Alberta, Canada, revealed that local library staff met the library reference transaction standards 94% of the time.

Marilyn Johnson has published a delightful, refreshing take on the library world. The section on Second Life really highlights the tech-savvyness of many librarians, and would make anyone who thinks that libraries are only for books think twice. This book is a must for anyone who values their public library or who wishes to become a librarian.

Personal Note
I particularly enjoyed reading about the "library book cart event" at the American Library Association's summer event. Having pushed many book carts myself, I would have enjoyed seeing this library performance.

Further Reading

Meert, D.L., & Given, L.M. (2009). Measuring quality in chat reference consortia: A comparative analysis of responses to users’ queries.” College & Research Libraries, 70(1), 71-84.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

New page: Fun with Vocabulary!

Fun with Vocabulary! is a new page on this blog! On it are a tip for developing vocabulary skills with young children, and a review of "Cherry Pies and Lullabies" by Lynn Reiser, which is a great book to use for vocab development. Let me know what you think of the new page!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henrietta LacksSkloot, Rebecca. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Crown Publishers, 2010.

My Summary and Review

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks was written powerfully. In 1951, Henrietta Lacks, a young mother, died from a vicious form of cervical cancer. Prior to her death, a doctor removed some cancer cells without her permission, and had the cells grown in a lab culture. Over several years, her cells (named HeLa cells) were used in countless experiments, benefitting the field of medicine and medical industries. For many years, her family never knew of her cells' importance, and faced many struggles, including poverty.

Rebecca Skloot covers the HeLa cells' story quite clearly. Readers who aren't medical specialists can understand her descriptions. More importantly, Skloot gives a human face to the development of the field of field of bioethics in the 20th century.

Who has the final say over the medical testing of humans and human tissues: patients or doctors? And should patients know all the risks regarding the tests in which they are participating?

One subject addressed in this book is particularly horrifying: researchers in the 1950s did not seek patient consent or disclose all pertinent information before involving patients in medical tests/trials. New information has been published that is relevant to the medical history provided in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. In 2009, information was discovered about a 1940s study in which 696 Guatemalan prison inmates were intentionally exposed to syphilis by American researchers.

Amidst this bleak historical period, Skloot draws an overwhelming portrait of the struggle of a human family to survive and to understand the seemingly impossible information about the use of their mother's tissues to further scientific knowledge.

Further Information

Rebecca Skloot interview with Steve Paikin on Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's "The Agenda".

Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. U.S. sorry for Guatemala syphilis experiment. Updated October 1, 2010.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

New Page!

There is a new page on my blog! Fun With Books 2! discusses how to develop story telling/narrative skills with young children. Check it out! Feel free to comment on it too! It is on the right side of the screen!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Checkered Flag Cheater by Will Weaver

Checkered Flag Cheater: A Motor NovelBook Information

Weaver, Will. Checkered Flag Cheater. New York: Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2010.

My Summary/Review

Checkered Flag Cheater is a breezy teen read. With a straightforward plot, plenty of "car talk" and lots of racing action, this book will be sure to please teens who are into cars and racing. Will Weaver's many years of experience in racing add a realistic layer to this novel.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

The Sunshine On My Face by Lydia Burdick

The Sunshine on My FaceBook Information
Burdick, Lydia. The Sunshine on My Face: a Read-Aloud Book for Memory-Challenged Adults. Baltimore, MD: Health Professions Press, 2005.

My Review/Summary
This rare little gem is a picture book that invites conversations with older adults who face memory challenges, including Alzheimer's and dementia. Sentences are simple, and they highlight enjoyable aspects of daily life. There are helpful instructions and accompanying questions that stimulate conversation and involve the adult being cared for in the reading process. This book creates the opportunity for many warm, loving (even if short!) conversations.

The author, Lydia Burdick, holds a master's degree in Clinical Practices (psychology), and wrote the book while caring for her mother, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

My Notes
My grandmother, at the age of 97, enjoyed reading this book to me. She and I enjoyed the page "I love to be hugged by someone I love" , which always led to at least one big hug. We generally read only a few pages at a sitting, and we always saved the "hugs" page for the happy ending.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Ready to Read!

I am starting a series of pages attached to this blog on early reading, since I enjoy leading children's story time sessions. Each page will feature a literacy tip, and a book review of a picture book that teaches that strategy. These are based on the American Library Association's Every Child Ready to Read Program. Feel free to check out the links on the right sight of this page. As new tips get added to each page, and new books are reviewed, the reviews will be moved to the main area of the blog and a link will be included within the Tip section on an as needed basis.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Department Stores by Claire Masset

Department Stores by Claire Masset. Shire Publications, 2010.

For those who enjoy shopping, this is a slim history on the development of department stores in Britain. Readers can breezily flip through the many pages filled with historical photographs and early advertisements. To quote the famous Henry Selfridge, this book demonstrates that a department store is a "social centre, not a shop."

It now seems funny that Harrods, after installing its first escalator, offered smelling salts to help customers recover from the ride. How lifestyles have changed over the past hundred years! And what an enjoyable, colourful trip through the past!

Liked this one?
Check out The Victorian Hospital for more British history in a slim, quick book.

My Notes

Readers might get a good laugh from an early Harrods ad, proclaiming it to be one of the cheapest stores in town! I would like to add that the font size in this book is quite small.