Library Displays: An Awesome Resource

Library displays are the best way for our kids to discover new books.  The books on the shelves are for the kids who already know what they want.  We should never assume that our kids can figure it out on their own- even if they don’t want our help.  Ever notice how fast you have to refill the display books? There’s an excellent reason for that.

I love this Padlet, made by Jennifer LaGarde (Library Girl). We need to all add to it, stat. 🙂



Wreaths Change the Entire Look of My House: A Lesson for Our Libraries

I am blown away by how much of an impact a wreath can make.

Over the weekend, I taught myself how to make Deco Mesh Wreaths.  I first saw them at a craft fair, and loved the look.  I didn’t love the kitschy embellishments that most crafters seem to add.  For instance, a Halloween wreath with a big hat in the middle and witch legs dangling from it.  I want to class up my front door, and I just don’t think that does it.  Totally my opinion.

Here’s the Halloween wreath I made…

And the Thanksgiving one that I will put up next month!

Really, decorating of any kind just adds warmth, comfort, and a sense of familiarity.  That’s why I never hesitate to decorate in the library.  I don’t worry about offending anyone and I try to be inclusive of all. I just can’t stress enough the difference it makes to the kids.  Here’s what Sue and I did for Halloween:

Your typical window clings…

These guys kind of remind me of Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo:

I love our book display.  The ghosts, especially.

This guy’s eyes flash red when he detects motion, which is actually terrifying.

These are removable, but I kind of like them…

The pumpkin lights just catch your eye immediately.

The best part is that decorating really gives the kids something to talk to you about.  It’s a natural icebreaker.  And, it’s just a little way you can show your students that you care about them.

Have a great Halloween!


A Great Way to Get Kids Thinking about Plagiarism

Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Here’s What Happens When Your Joke Goes Massively Viral On Twitter

Caroline Moss

Jul. 15, 2014, 10:57 AM 798,639 40

via Oh Hi Becky Farmville Tweet Goes Viral – Business Insider

Man, I wish Scott hadn’t used the F word in his original tweet.  However, I think that we can still use this as a really relevant case study on plagiarism (with a little, um, censorship).

The gist is this: a random guy tweets something funny.  Other people steal his tweet and repost it as though it were their own.  Even famous people.  One comedian even accuses Scott of plagiarizing him.

Scott’s thoughts on the experience are fascinating- I loved that he said that he doesn’t understand how people can read something, relate to it, and then say “yup, that’s mine now,” without giving one thought to how it effects the person who created it.

I think that this example is so much easier for kids to “get” than what we’ve used in the past.  I love it.  It’s mine now — with proper attribution, of course. 🙂




Wow. Having a blast at BEA. Right now, I’m sitting in line (yup- popped a squat on the floor) to meet Jennifer Niven. Already met David Levithan, Ransom Riggs, and Gayle Forman. It is a good day. 

Infographic Library Displays!

Last year, my parapro, Wendy, and I were having fun doing some quality professional development on Pinterest one day, and we had an idea.  We decided to take some of those great Infographics that Epic Reads and others are always posting, and to turn them into some amazing library displays.  We were tired of the same old, same old.

Here’s some inspiration for you. 🙂  The only supplies you need are a color printer, some time, some good markers, and a die cutter (I used my Silhouette Cameo, but you can use whatever you have).

We turned this:


Into THIS!


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I was really happy with that one.  I think it is my favorite.  But this one was pretty boss, as well…

We turned this:


Into THIS:


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And this year, I did this one…



Became THIS:


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How did we survive before Pinterest?  Check out Epic Reads for more great infographics, too.  They are so creative over there.

For those of you who are heading into Spring Break tomorrow (ME!), enjoy!  Here in Chicagoland, it is supposed to snow today. Grrr. 😡

Happy Reading!


5 Questions with Stacey Kade

My high school will be hosting its very first Writers Week in April.  We have a lot of great stuff planned.  There is one thing, in particular, that I am really excited about.

On a whim, I decided to reach out to bestselling author Stacey Kade, to see if she would be up for coming to talk to our kids.  I knew that she lives in the area, and thought, what the heck.  She said yes!  This is going to be such a great experience for our students.  I can’t wait.

Stacey has written two excellent series, The Ghost and the Goth series, and the Project Paper Doll series.  And, for anyone who didn’t read the free short story about Will and Alona, you’re welcome (Spoiler alert! Do not read this if you haven’t read the series.).

I had the opportunity to ask Stacey FIVE QUESTIONS in anticipation of her visit next month, and for our students, Stacey gives a challenge in the last answer…

Why do you write?

I write to entertain myself first. To tell myself a story. And because it becomes an itch beneath my skin if I go for too long without writing. 🙂 But it’s also my job. And I feel that’s important to emphasize. I have deadlines and requirements that I must meet, just as anybody does with a job. It’s not simply about what I want to do and when I want to do it. It’s more complicated than that, especially as a full-time writer.

Which of your characters would you love to have lunch with?

Ha! Um, all of them? Seriously, for the ones I’m writing now, I have all kinds of questions. And for the ones I’ve already written, I’d love to catch up with them and see how they’re doing since last we “spoke.” It could be like a reunion buffet. 🙂

Do you have a “writing ritual?”

I’ve trained myself to write anywhere, mainly because if you become too dependent on certain elements being present that will stop you from making progress. If you tell yourself, “I can’t write unless I have a certain pen or I’m in a certain place,” then you’re giving yourself an out on writing that day. And if you’ve got a deadline, you can’t afford that lost time. Being on book tour and a tight deadline for revisions several years ago broke me of that way of thinking.

That being said, I firmly believe in the power of ritual and training your brain to understand that this sequence of events means, “It’s time to write.” I do all of my drafting at the coffee shop near my house. I have a preferred seat and a preferred drink while I’m there, too! 🙂

What new thing of yours are you most excited about?

Oh, gosh, this year is big, and I’m really excited! I have two new books coming out in the same year, for the first time, and they’re less than three months apart. My first adult romance, 738 DAYS, is coming out on June 7, and that was a story that I wanted to write for years but never thought I’d have the chance. And my first YA contemporary, FOR THIS LIFE ONLY, comes out on August 30, and that is also a story I didn’t think would sell (due to controversy, religion, etc.)  It’s deeply personal to me as a pastor’s kid myself. My main character, Jace, is a pastor’s son. Jace suffers a near-death experience after a car accident, one that kills his twin. But when he doesn’t see God or the light or angels during his near-death experience, he finds himself kind of lost and questioning, which doesn’t go over well with his family or the church.

What should I have asked you but didn’t?

Hmm. Not sure but I think the answer is 42. (I will give away a book to the first person who comes up to me and tells me the source for that reference.)

You can read more about Stacey and her books at her website.

Amazon links to Stacey’s books:

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Happy Reading!



School Library Month 2016


I can’t believe it- School Library Month and National Library Week are right around the corner.  This year, ALA seems to be going all in with their #librariestransform campaign.  I’ll definitely take to Twitter to participate.  And I absolutely love the free printables they are offering on their website this year.  You can find them here and here!

The Libraries Transform toolkit is available here and it is super cool.

And try as I might, I can. not. find the best thing again.  So, hopefully I won’t get in trouble for sharing it with you here.  It is a free printable, in blue or green, and it looks like this:


Since I can’t find it, and I want you to be able to use it, here it is:

Blue Version  Green Version

I’m going to wallpaper my school with these next month!

Do you have plans for School Library Month or National Library Week?  Share them with us!

Happy Reading!