Sunday, October 22, 2017

Happy Halloween!

Thank you Ms. Shuborna and Mr. Shoyab for creating our awesome Halloween displays.

Have a spooky Halloween!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Leveling Books

A professional read!  Interview with Fountas and Pinnell from School Library Journal that touches on the leveling of classroom libraries. At the schools I've worked at, school libraries are not leveled but classroom libraries are. This article contradicts that thinking in regards to leveling classroom libraries.

"We certainly never intended that children focus on a label for themselves in choosing books in classroom libraries." (Fountas &Pinnell)

and even better....

"It is our belief that levels have no place in classroom libraries, in school libraries, in public libraries, or on report cards."  (Fountas &Pinnell)

Fountas and Pinnell Say Librarians Should Guide Readers by Interest, Not Level

Our recent article on reading levels and the dangers of using strictly prescribed leveling systems in libraries for young readers sparked much dialogue and debate. One of the most popular and widely used reading systems is the "A to Z" gradient, developed by Irene C.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Denton Little's Death Date by Lance Rubin

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Halloween is coming so how about a creepy, but funny, sci-fi read?  Denton Little's Death Date by Lance Rubin, was not a novel I thought I'd like at first, but I was surprised how engaging it was.  Even though the title sounds morbid, this book kept me laughing.  I'll definitely be reading the sequel, Denton Little's Still Not Dead

This summary is from Amazon because they say it so much better than I do:

Denton Little’s Deathdate takes place in a world exactly like our own except that everyone knows the day on which they will die. For Denton, that’s in just two days—the day of his senior prom.
Despite his early deathdate, Denton has always wanted to live a normal life, but his final days are filled with dramatic firsts. His anxiety builds when he discovers a strange purple rash making its way up his body. Is this what will kill him? And then a strange man shows up at his funeral, claiming to have known Denton’s long-deceased mother, and warning him to beware of suspicious government characters. . . . Suddenly Denton’s life is filled with mysterious questions and precious little time to find the answers.
Find Denton Little's Death Date in our library at: SCI-FI F RUB 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Parent Tea: Social Media

Here's a funny video about parents and technology that we shared at our recent Parent Tea on social media use.

Need more informational resources on social media?  Try Common Sense Media for media reviews and parent/family guides!

Awkward Things Your Parents Do With Technology

Cricket, director. Awkward Things Your Parents Do With TechnologyYouTube, Boldly, 19 Dec. 2014,

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Humans of New York Stories by Brandon Stanton

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Aside from the odd Facebook post, I have not read a lot of Humans of New York stories.  I know...I'm a bit behind on this popular project started by Brandon Stanton.

I picked this book up during back-to-school night and couldn't put it down (except to talk to parents, of course!)

The images are superb and it is amazing to hear the many stories people have to share.

I did a bit more research and found the website: There are lots more stories to be found here!

Check out the website and check out the book from our library: 974.7 STA

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Beat the Band by Don Calame

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Beat the Band is the second book in the Don Calame's series that began with Swim the Fly.

Another hilarious book by Don Calame that made me laugh out loud!  It's the beginning of tenth grade and Coop gets a semester-long project in health class about safe sex.

He's paired with "Hot Dog" Helen for the project and decides the only way to win back his reputation is to win the Battle of the Bands contest at school.

Unfortunately, none of his band members actually play an instrument.  "Will Coop regain his “cool” before it’s too late? Or will the forced one-on-one time with Helen teach him a lesson about social status he never saw coming?" (

A very funny book that is great for middle and high school boys!  Find Beat the Band, and the rest of this series, in our library at: HUMOR F CAL.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Banned Books Week

It Banned Books Week! Celebrate your freedom to read!
Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community - librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types- in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular. (
Find out more about banned books week here: What is Banned Books Week?

Come to the library to check out a banned book or have a look at the mugshots of our MS/HS teachers who were caught reading banned books.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

The Conspiracy of Us by Maggie Hall

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This is my new favorite series!

Think a YA version of the Da Vinci Code...

I read all three books in the series this summer.  The third and final book was released in July and I went to Barnes and Nobel on release day and made them go find it in the back; it hadn't even been unpacked yet.  I have never done that before!

After years of moving from place to place with her mother Avery's remaining family has found her.  "It turns out her newfound family can shut down Prada when they want to shop in peace, and can just as easily order a bombing when they want to start a war." ( They are part of a worldwide secret society called the Circle, and believe Avery is the key to an ancient prophecy.

To unravel the mystery , Avery must follow a trail of clues around the world with two "keepers" who work for the Circle, Stellan and Jack. Can they keep the most powerful families in the world from starting World War 3?

Find all three books in the The Conspiracy of Us series in our library at: MYSTERY F HAL

Thursday, September 14, 2017

International Dot Day

International Dot Day is celebrated on September 15th.  This day honors the picture book The Dot written by Peter H. Reynolds.  Dot Day encourages people of all ages to celebrate creativity, collaboration and courage.  In the MS/HS library, we observed International Dot Day by exploring the Quiver App, an augmented-reality coloring app, to make dot pictures come to life.  Here are some photos of Grade 6 students making their drawings appear to jump from the page.  

Download the app or stop by the library to try out the Quiver App on our iPads.

Print more Quiver coloring pages here:

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

The Selection by Kiera Cass

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Over the summer, I read the first three books in The Selection series by Kiera Cass.

In this dystopian romance, thirty-five girls are chosen to enter The Selection for the opportunity to escape the caste system in what was formerly the United States. The girls live in a palace and compete in a reality show for the heart of Prince Maxon. 
America Singer did not want to be Selected because she's not interested in being a queen and it means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her.
And as the Amazon summary says so elequently
"Then America meets Prince Maxon—and realizes that the life she’s always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined."
If you liked The Hunger Games series, I think you'll like The Selection series.   Find the whole series in our library at: ROMANCE F CAS

There are five books in The Selection series.  I have only read the first three so far.  The last two in the series take place 20 years later.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

The Patio is Open!

Come enjoy our new library patio!  I know it's a bit hot and humid now, but the weather will be perfect in a few weeks.  Eat your snacks and lunches out here or just hang out with friends.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Welcome back!

Welcome back to a new school year! 

What did you read this summer?  I read all three books in the The Conspiracy of Us trilogy by Maggie Hall and it is my new favorite!  More on this exciting trilogy soon... 

All three books are available in the library.  
Call Number: MYSTERY F HAL

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Where is Ms. Shuborna?

You know it's almost summer holiday when you issue bills for lost textbooks and they magically start reappearing!!

Have a great summer break!

Sunday, June 4, 2017


I recently discovered Symbaloo and have updated our library homepage in Destiny so students have easier access to our library resources.  Students like having all our frequently used links in one place as well as the icons.

I've included sections for:
  • Databases
  • Image searches
  • Reading/Books
  • Social Media
  • Citing Sources
Do you have good resources you think I should add to our library Symbaloo?  If so, let me know!  Create your own Symbaloo here.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Wonder...THE MOVIE!

I am very excited for the movie version of the book Wonder by R.J. Palacio to come out next November!  Watch the trailer below and if you haven't yet read Wonder or the companion novels, find them in our library.



808.88 PAL

*Images from

Movie Trailer: 

Monday, May 29, 2017

Summer Reading List

 (Newport News Public Schools, 2017)

Need something to read this summer?  Find ideas at these websites:

2017 ALSC Summer Reading Lists - The Association for Library Service to Children publishes recommended summer reading lists for children from Birth-Grade 8.  Find a printed copy of the Grade 6-8 list in our library!

YALSA Book Finder- Need a new YA book?  The Young Adult Library Services Association is designed for teens from 12-18 and can suggest some great summer reading!

Here is what is on my summer reading list so far:




Works Cited:
Summer Reading. Digital image. Newport News Public Schools. Newport News Public Schools, 2017. Web. 24 May 2017. <>.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

New Board

Found this idea on Pinterest and modified a bit for our library.  Others always comes up with the best bulletin board ideas!  Thanks Mr. Shoyab for taking on this project.

Works Cited:
B, Mrs. "Back to School: Ideas & Resources." Pinterest. N.p., 20 July 2015. Web. 24 May 2017. <>.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Embassy Row Series by Ally Carter

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Embassy Row is Ally Carter's newest series.  I was drawn to the first book, All Fall Down, while living in Moscow.  Two embassy kids (one Russian, one American) in a fictional European town; the setting sounded a bit like the lives of our students, minus the murder mystery!
Grace lives with her Grandfather, a US Ambassador, on Embassy Row.  She is convinced her mother was murdered.  Her family is trying to convince her she's crazy.  Grace is convinced she will find her mother's killer and make him pay.
The first two books in this series follow Grace as she uncovers secret after secret.  The plot kept me guessing and is full of unexpected twists and turns. The third book?  I can't wait to read the conclusion to the Embassy Row series when it arrives to our library in August. This series will appeal to lovers of mystery and suspense with a little bit of glamour and social politics thrown into the mix.  Embassy Row makes for great summer reading!
Find the first two books, All Fall Down and See How They Run,  in our library: MYSTERY F CAR
Look for Book 3, Take the Key and Lock Her Up in August!

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

The Good Muslim by Tahmima Anam

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I recently read The Good Muslim for my book club.  Tahmima Anam is a Bangladeshi writer and I was excited to read something about Bangladesh.
The Good Muslim takes place immediately after the Bangladesh War for Independence.  It explores the rise of religious fundamentalism after the war through the eyes of family members.  I found this story very good, but also very upsetting and sad.  
In fact, I can't really put my thoughts on this book into words just yet, so here's what Amazon (2017) says about The Good Muslim:  

In the dying days of a brutal civil war, Sohail Haque stumbles upon an abandoned building. Inside he finds a young woman whose story will haunt him for a lifetime to come. . . . Almost a decade later, Sohail's sister, Maya, returns home after a long absence to find her beloved brother transformed. While Maya has stuck to her revolutionary ideals, Sohail has shunned his old life to become a charismatic religious leader. And when Sohail decides to send his son to a madrasa, the conflict between brother and sister comes to a devastating climax. Set in Bangladesh at a time when religious fundamentalism is on the rise, The Good Muslim is an epic story about faith, family, and the long shadow of war.
 I recommend this book to anyone interested in the culture/history of Bangladesh and anyone who likes sad stories!
Find The Good Muslim in the Bangladesh Collection of our library: BC F ANA 

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

What to do with old library books?

Book Art!

In collaboration with our middle school art teacher (99.9% of the credit goes to him- I just donated the books) we have new art displays in our library!
When I arrived this year, I found our non-fiction section to be very outdated.  The massive book weed resulted in several big, thick books that were perfect for recycled book art.  The MS students worked very hard to create these masterpieces:

Monday, May 1, 2017

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle

The Accident Season by Moïra Fowley-Doyle has been on my "to read" list since I ordered it for the library I used to work at in Moscow.  But, I sort of forgot about it and happened to pass it while shelving the other day.  I was intrigued by the fact it was compared to We Were Liars, which I liked.
This mystery is set in Ireland and is about a family who experiences an accident season every October.  Each year, people get hurt, people die, and this accident season is predicted to be the worst yet by Cara's friend Bea.  So, why not throw an epic Halloween Party at a haunted house?  The book does a good job at blurring the line between fantasy and reality and exploring the secrets people keep.
The Accident Season was a good, slightly creepy, mystery.  In the end, I enjoyed this book, but I felt there were a few unanswered questions in the end.  There's more I still want to know (or didn't figure out) and as this not a series, I guess I will be left wondering.
See if you can figure out all the answers! 
Find The Accident Season in our library: MYSTERY FOW

Thursday, April 27, 2017

"Airhead" Series by Meg Cabot

I just finished reading the last two books in the Airhead series by Meg Cabot.  (See my post about the first book, Airhead, here.)

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I loved this series!  I thought is was a perfect mix of sci-fi, mystery and romance.  Being Nikki continues the series about what life is like for Em Watts now that her brain has been transplanted into the body of a supermodel.  The mystery of her operation gets even more mysterious when she finds out Nikki's mother is missing.  Runaway concludes the series....all the mysteries will be solved and you know how I love happily every after endings!

A highly recommended trilogy.  Find the first two books, Airhead and Being Nikki in our library.  Runaway, the third book, will be coming to our library soon. I purchased it for myself in eBook format because I couldn't wait to see how the series ended!

Call number:  ROMANCE F CAB

Sunday, April 23, 2017

"Secrets of My Hollywood Life" by Jen Calonita

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Secrets of My Hollywood Life was my other spring break read about the lives of famous people.  This is a great middle grade read and the author gives away many "secrets" about famous people throughout the book.  Jen Calonita would know as she used to be the editor of Teen People and a journalist for many other entertainment magazines.
Secrets of My Hollywood Life is about the glamorous life of teen star Kaitlin Burke.  However, Kaitlin is exhausted and wants to see what it would be like to be normal.  So she devises a top secret plan to blend in, but will it ruin her career?  Find out in the first of six books in this series!
Find Secrets of My Hollywood Life in our library: 

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Poetry Month

 Here is my favorite poem:

I found this funny sign for Poetry Month for our display. We a bit behind this year given it's already April 19!

Thanks to Pinterest for the image, traced to the Literary Hoots Blog and several other libraries around the United States.  Oh, the fun of trying to cite Pinterest!

Ms. Shuborna created our book display with some of our "better-looking" poetry books to try and generate some interest.  Poetry is a hard sell in MS/HS.  I weeded non-fiction this year and would have had to weed 99% of the poetry if I were to go by checkouts alone.

Monday, April 17, 2017

"Airhead" by Meg Cabot

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We just returned from April break and my reading list consisted of books about being famous.  I've had a few students ask for these types of books and I wanted to be able to recommend a few.  Plus, who doesn't like to read about the trials and fun of famous people?!
I picked up Airhead by Meg Cabot based on a Goodreads list for this topic and became hooked enough that I plan to read the next two in the series. Em Watts is your average tomboy.  One day, after a strange accident she ends up in the body of famous supermodel Nikki Howard.  How did this happen and what will Em do?  Can a former tomboy be a supermodel?  Read and find out!

Airhead is a bit sci-fi, a bit mystery and a bit romance.  It is classified under our romance fiction section, but I may move it once  I see how this series turns out because I think it appeals to a broader audience than just romance lovers!
Find Airhead in our library: ROMANCE F CAB

Thursday, April 13, 2017