The Abe Books are Out!

This year, I was fortunate enough to help pick the Illinois High School Reader’s Choice Award nominees for 2017.  Even though I was on the round one committee, and many of my favorites were passed up, I couldn’t be happier with the list this year.

Here it is!  Click on the covers to go to the Amazon page for each title (they are affiliate links).

I’d love to know what you think of the list… let’s talk about it in the comments!


Happy Reading!



The Best Young Adult Books of 2015

In an epic year for young adult lit, in the midst of a YA golden age, these are the 2015 books that made us laugh, cry, ship, reread, and stay up late, that inspired us to add too many exclamation points to our emails and too many gifs to our…

Sourced through from:

Celebrate National Library Week on Twitter!

There are two Twitter celebrations that I know of so far…

#ilovemylibrary – Tweet about how awesome your library is all week!

#librarymade – Tweet things that have been made in the library for a chance to win a $100 gift card from ALA!

If you hear of any others, please let me know!  Let’s be as LOUD as possible this week!


Rebecca Caudill and Abe Award Bookmarks – FREE PRINTABLES!

The Illinois Reader’s Choice Award for Middle School reaches all the way down to 4th grade as well, so I always offer both the Abe Award books and the Caudill books for my kids- the 8th graders DO NOT want to read the Caudills, typically.

Here’s the Abe list

and here’s the Caudill list.

I became aware of a great idea when I presented at the Kane/DuPage Librarian Institute Day in February… the Librarian at Batavia High School runs a promotion where they will buy lunch for students who read at least 5 Abe nominees (Read a Bunch for a Free Lunch!).  I’m mean, so I changed it to 10 Caudills or Abes for my school.  Bwa ha ha!

Abe_Caudill Poster

I created these bookmarks to promote the awards and our lunch promotion.  Please feel free to use them!

2015-16 Rebecca Caudill bookmarks

2015-16 Abe Award bookmarks

Happy Reading!


BBC News – Harper Lee to publish Mockingbird ‘sequel’

BBC News – Harper Lee to publish Mockingbird ‘sequel’.

via BBC News – Harper Lee to publish Mockingbird ‘sequel’.

Teaching Research in Middle School and High School

I always try to get into classes when they are starting some sort of research project for the first time.  I talk about Boolean searching, citing sources (even for pictures), and our databases.  The first few times I did this (a few years ago), I explained the databases and then I could see the kids were like, “yeah whatever.”  They used Google for their research while I cringed.

I needed to spice it up.  So, I added the Tree Octopus and the horrible MLK site, and wow did that work.  If you don’t know, you can google Tree Octopus, and a very credible-looking site will come up.  If you google Martin Luther King, the first site that comes up after wikipedia is one created by a white supremacist group.  These actually got them thinking about the fact that I’m not lying when I tell them that you can’t believe everything you read on the internet.

Sometimes, I even pull up this site, and say, “See! Any yahoo with a computer can make a website!”

Today, I found another great resource- one that I think will hit my kids even harder.  These are two pictures posted by ABC for an expose 20/20 did on counterfeit merchandise.  The news feature was pretty interesting- I highly recommend checking it out.  I love this- one of the websites in the picture is the real one, and one is a fake…

In both cases, the one on the right is the fake.

How great are these examples for teaching kids to use databases?  It really shows that even when you are diligent about using good sources, you really can’t trust google searching for academic research.

Copyright in Education

Copyright can be tricky for teachers.  We know that the usual rules don’t apply, but what are the rules that do?  In the sage words of one of my favorite professors at NIU, Rebecca Butler, “It depends.”  What’s more, the internet has made the world of copyright a lot more gray.  Intellectual property is easy to access and use, whether legally or not.

I found this great flow chart on Tech and Learning’s website.  If you don’t already know, you can find them at – and they publish a print magazine for FREE.  It’s really good.

Hope this helps!