Thursday, July 29, 2010

Altered Books

Wondering what to do with mounds of weeded books? 

Might I suggest an altered book project?

For the past few years at our campus we have recruited the art teachers to work with the art classes to create treasure from trash for an awesome display during Teen Read Week.  The kids love it, the art teachers love it, and I love that the old books are given a chance at a new creative life. 

As I weed our collection (an on-going task, of course)I place the best candidates for altered books in a special area.  These books are then delivered to the art teacher and the fun commences!  Each project is special and unique and the kids are so proud of their work.  These works of art attract a lot of people into the library to gaze upon them and marvel at the work. 

As a scrapbooker I had been aware of this "paper" craft for some time, but was really inspired to let loose with it after attending a workshop at a small library conference a few years back--the East Texas Library Summit--- put on by my good friend and colleague Sharon Gullet (a wonder of a gal!)  I've added a long list of websites put together by the arts girls who spoke on the topic, Ms. Allen & Ms. Merritt, so a special thank you to these ladies. 

Some of our students chose to make gifts for a parent, some chose to make "Dream" books, others made journals, and some created a work of art to hang on the wall.  Whatever they chose to do, they had a blast doing it and it got those creative juices flowing about possibilities.  And that's what life is all about, right?  The wonderful possibilities.

And thanks to the students from my middle school who made these awesome altered books! 


Monday, July 26, 2010

Let the water flow...

There have been *far too many to count* moments over the past few years in my professional life that the librarians in general (and perhaps me, in particular) have had to deal with...well, let's just say some unfairness.  I know we are not alone in this.  At one point or another we all have faced or will face (or maybe even continually face) obstacles that seem incredibly unfair. 

If you've read much of my blog you know that I have two simply amazing girls. The youngest is just a bit over 1 year and so we watch a lot of toddler shows at my house. With that being said, I have fallen a bit in love with the video posted.  We caught it on an episode of Jack's Big Music Show on Nick, Jr. (which, sadly, is no longer being made) and the little one loved it so much she danced the entire time.  My older one loves it because the star of the video is now in one of her favorite shows, Victorious (man, is this kid ever talented...he is flippin' amazing!)

Anyway, I decided to post this in the hopes that on those days that just feel like you're doing all you can to simply make it through; you've tied a knot and are just barely holding on, that perhaps this song will lift your spirits, too. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010


Imagine my surprise when I checked my blog today to find that my background from "the cutest blog on the block" had been removed.  I have no idea what happened there, but it was quite unpleasant to find that my blog background had changed to plain black---making my words pretty much disappear.  Flippin' great. 

Now, I know there isn't any possible way for some blog-and-otherwise template creator site to let everyone who has ever used their creations know...Hey...we are deleting your might just wreck your work.  I get that.  But still...was a bit taken aback. 

So now here I sit, madly trying to fix my blog so it is at least readable with my now-angry 1 year old hitting my leg demanding that mama get off the dang computer.  She literally keeps pushing the slider thingy (that's techie speak for you uninformed) that holds the keyboard back into it's little hidey-hole.  Really lovely stuff. 

I have so many things to write about--we had to ship our computer off to be fixed (nope, it still isn't fixed, but we have custody of it this weekend anyway) and I felt lost as a goose.  I have read tons of books yet to be reviewed and am working on some library stuff (again with the techie speak--sorry!) that I'd love to share.  Maybe tonight when the wee one is asleep.

Until then,
Read on, gentle readers; read on.
Mrs. S

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

"Blood of my heart.
 Life of my life.
 Body of my body.
 Soul of my soul."

I just adore a wonderful Southern gothic novel.  There's something about the South--the languidness;
the history & humidity, I suppose, that has a certain je nais se quoi, if you will, for big stories.  Particularly for a novel that is rife with mystery and magic and painful regret.  Beautiful Creatures is just such a novel and I loved it even more than I supposed I would at first glance.

Gatlin, South Carolina is not a place where anything new happens...where much of anything at all happens, to tell the truth about it.  Ethan Wate has lived his whole life ready to blow out of town the first chance he gets.  He dreams of far-off universities and adventures around the globe.  His family has been here for generations. 

Lena Duchannes (rhymes with rain) doesn't just shake things up by moving into town to live with her reclusive, eccentric uncle--she forever changes Ethan's world when he realizes she is the girl of his dreams....literally.  There is a soul connection between the two that cannot be logically explained away or denied.  Of course, with Lena's family, that pretty much sums up, well, everything.

"There was a curse.
 There was a girl.
 And in the end, there was a grave."

Oh yes, there is much more than meets the eye in this seemingly placid Southern town. 

Lovely & intoxicating; lush & captivating--- this book is a must read.

You can visit the authors' website at:  And the official US fansite at
I can hardly wait for the sequel--Beautiful Darkness--due out in stores October 12th.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Ah, the wisdom of the Old Spice guy...

'nuff said!
Read on, gentle readers; read on.
mrs. s

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The Lost Conspiracy by Frances Hardinge

Hathin is a member of the Lace, an ancient tribe of outcasts who wear constant smiles which show the glitter of their jeweled teeth.   She is the constant companion and caretaker of her sister Arilou, a member of the Lost---a group of people who have the ability to travel without their bodies and can, in fact, separate all their senses to experience different things at the same time.  For years their village has helped to hide signs that perhaps Arilou is not what she seems, and this ruse is threatened by the arrival of a set of Lost Inspectors. 

When the unthinkable happens and their village is destroyed Hathin knows it is up to her to save them  both.  She leads them to find a mysterious rogue group of Lace and begins her quest for vengeance by receiving the butterfly tattoo--the mark of the revengers. 

"Our enemies think that Lace make good victims and scapegoats.  They are wrong.  They think that they can strike at us and we will do nothing but scatter and hide.  They are wrong.

"You have been wronged beyond endurance by powerful foes, Hathin.  Pity them for not knowing what that means..."

This book is a gorgeous, lush, magical work.  It has lovely, rich characters and a haunting storyline; the stuff of dreams, and of nightmares.  Fraces Hardinge takes bits of many tribal cultures--their legends and  unique beliefs and weaves them together with a heaping dose of her own imagination to create a powerful story. 

I highly recommend this one, as well as her gorgeous Fly By Night novel.  For more information on s. Hardinge, you can visit her online at

Read on, gentle readers; read on.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

just wondering...

I had an excellent Independence Day weekend as I got to read as my hubby drove on our way to visit family.  I have a stack of Lone Star hopefuls yet to tackle, but some of my recent reading has me wondering if I've really crossed that line.  You know, become, one of them.  Gotten O-L-D.

I've always been a believer in reading and in letting people choose what they wish to read.  I don't think of myself as a censor or a member of the dreaded reader police.  I am, however, a midde school librarian.  The patrons I serve are ages 11 to 16.  I have sweet little babies that come to me at age 11 as well as children who already have children of their own.  My patrons, my kiddos, my teachers run the gamut. 
With all that being said  I have noticed that when reading novels meant specifically for children (for that is, in fact, what they still are whether they like to think of themselves that way or not!) I NOTICE language and sexual situations more and more.  Not mild language, but F-bombs.  And I guess I'm really trying to figure out what I think about it all.  Apparently I'm not as bothered by violence in books for this age, but what can I say....not very European of me, is it? But then, I am not, in fact, European. 

Is this art imitating life?  Does life then imitate art?  Yes, yes, I KNOW they hear it in their music, in their movies, in the hallways.  Does that make it okay?  Even the kids themselves have told me it is more shocking to see it in a book than to hear it in a song.  They are already desensitized to it in music. 

The thing that gets me is that these are beautifully written, lovely books that I'm talking about---not trash by any means---that happen to have what I consider to be content that are for a mature audience.  If they were movies would these kids be allowed in without sneaking in? 

Any thoughts?

Read on, gentle readers; Read on!