Summertime and the Readin’ is Easy

Boston’s winter of 2015, one that evidenced that the climate beyond the wall in northern Westeros is creeping ever non-fictionward, is finally melting into spring.  The trees have leaves, the flowers have blooms, and nary a closed-toe shoe is to be seen on the campus of Wheelock College.

As such, it is time for Commencement and the Wondrous Thing that Follows Soon After Commencement:  summer.  With summer comes the ability to shake off the shackles of assigned reading and the time to choose any book one wants to read for fun.  In the past I have dedicated this time to beach reads or camp- themed books.  However, the ideal of freedom to read whatever I wanted spurred me to look for books written by authors who were free to publish whatever they wanted, how they wanted.  Self-published books are not what they once were.  Great writing, gripping stories, and even sleek covers are the new norms of independent authors.  Here are a few that deserve prime space on your shelf.

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A Magic Dark and Bright by Jenny Adams Perinovic:  I have been carrying around this book since the day it arrived.  Heroine Amelia Dupree sets out on a creepy quest to find out the posthumous fate of her brother Mark.  Set in Asylum, Pennsylvania (look it up: there really is an Asylum Township), the setting was so evocative of my childhood, that I was transported to my early winters where I stood on my back porch and gazed at a cemetery’s gravestones on the hillside.  Though a ghost didn’t haunt the woods near my house, there were a fair share of creepy houses and mysteries hanging around in the foliage.  As Amelia teamed up with the mysterious Charlie Blue to uncover Asylum’s terrible past, I grew increasingly creeped out about going home for vacation.  Pennsylvania is more gothic than you might think.  Read this book, no matter what state you find yourself in this summer.

shreddedShredded by Karen Avivi:  Extreme sports are not my go-to form of entertainment.  However, I still found myself routing for Josie Peters in her quest for BMX domination.  Not since Catherine Gilbert Murdock’s Dairy Queen series have I found a sports-themed book so riveting.  There is a romance budding through these pages, but it never crowds the pulse-racing, gravity-defying pull of Josie’s central mission towards greater athleticism.  This is also a book about friendship, and how young women can be competitive without becoming catty.

oneOne by Leigh Kopans:  This is the first self-published fiction book I read thanks to Amazon’s Kindle Unlimited.   Not unlike sports books, I am also unlikely to pick up a book about superheroes.  I admit that I totally picked this book because of its beautiful cover and was richly rewarded.  Merrin Gray is born into a world where two powers make you a “Super,” and no powers make you a “Normal.”  Merrin has one power; she can hover.  Without a second power to propel herself forward, she is forced to neither fly nor be content to walk among other Normals.  Merrin quests to score an internship at the Biotech hub to try to rectify her plight through chemistry.  There she meets a boy like her and discovers there’s a more sinister undercurrent to the world she’s always taken for granted.  Fast-paced and page-turning, this book will leave you scrambling for its sequel, the aptly named Two. 

Though I won’t be gracing the pages of the library blog for the glorious summer months, I will be leafing through the pages of still more books.  Do you know any good self-published or indie books?  Leave them in the comments and I will be sure to check them out!

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Congratulations to our graduating seniors in Special Education!

I recently had the pleasure of attending capstone presentations by our graduating seniors in Special Education. During the spring semester, these students conducted group action research projects on self-selected topics, such as teacher beliefs about inclusion; transition planning for adolescents with special needs; and siblings of children with special needs.  The event, held on our Brookline campus, featured video presentations by each group, as well as individual reflections on students’ personal growth and professional development at Wheelock.

Photo of 13 smiling Wheelock students

The graduating class of 2015 in Special Education

As these graduating seniors reflected on their development as special educators, I was as impressed as ever by our students’ compassion, dedication, and sense of professional mission.  As a librarian who consulted with these groups early in their research process, I was especially thrilled to hear how their semester-long research projects had empowered them with knowledge that they would carry forward into their teaching practice or graduate study.

Congratulations to all of our graduating seniors in Special Education, including Braelan Martin, Tatiana Duarte, Meghan Trelegan, & Emma McLaughlin; Emily Jestus, Paige Dillon, Mallory Johnson, & Ashley Domaldo; and Becca House, Talia Mango, Rachel LeBlanc, & Sarah Hassett.  As you begin your professional careers, you’re bringing inquiring minds, professional skills, and a lot of heart to your future students and communities.  They’ll be lucky to have you.

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Play with your Food!

91df2c88d25db8ce28e57367eb545918 Saxton Freeman and Joost Elffers are masters at playing with food. In their hands oranges get frustrated, strawberries give kisses, and kiwi’s mug for the camera. In their many books, including Food Play, How are you Peeling?, and Food for Thought, the pair use the natural shapes of fruits and veggies to create dynamic characters and clever scenes.GR-130_6_2_3

 

The images in the books tell their own stories without words, making them work for kids of all ages–even adults will get a kick out of the creative ways fruits and veggies are turned in to recognizable faces and transformed into other objects.

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Using the creativity demonstrated by Freeman and Elffers, teachers, parents, and other caregivers and fun-thusiasts can encourage kids to make their own fun and silly faces from fruits and vegetables. Finding inspiration in the foods that are best for young people can make them both fun to play with and fun to eat. What characters are hiding in your fruit bowl? Get creative and find out!

 

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Did you know today is National Take a Chance Day?

And did thou know’st today is National Talk Like Shakespeare Day? Or National Lost Dogs Awareness Day?

One thing I like to do from time to time is look at the website, nationaldaycalendar.com, which lists national day-long celebrations of events and things beyond the official holidays. Some are highly-recognized and reflect important issues, like the National Day of Silence last week.   Others are completely obscure and have dubious or unknown origins, like National Peanut Cluster Day back on March 8.

Here are a few upcoming national days and some Wheelock College Library items you may want to pick up (or just stay online and access since this is 2015 and we have ebooks and streaming videos) in recognition:

Ascruffypril 30: National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day
The Scruffy Puppy by Holly Webb; illustrated by Sophy Williams
Bella’s excitement over her new shelter puppy, Sid, is slightly dampened by her friends and their snooty attitude towards shelter dogs. Bella enters Sid into a dog show to show her friends that dogs are wonderful no matter if they’re pedigreed or from a shelter.

saharaspecialMay 5: National Teacher Appreciation Day
Sahara Special by Esmé Raji Codell
Sahara is heartbroken and struggling in school after her father left and her only solace is writing.  After she loses her motivation to turn in schoolwork, she has to repeat the 5th grade, which sounds awful at first.   However, she gets a new and unconventional teacher who supports and inspires Sahara and her fellow students.

Teachers Know What Works Experience, Not Statistics, Confirms What Will Work by Keen Babbage
There are many books out there about improving schools.  This particular one brings the focus to teachers and how based on their experiences, teacher input is invaluable in discovering what works in the classroom with and for students.

May 9: National Lost Sock Memorial Day
A Pair of Socks by Stuart J. Murphy; illustrated by Lois Ehlertapairofsocks
A sock searches the house for its lost mate. This children’s book is perhaps the only one out there told in the point of view of a sock!

Not a book about lost socks, but one of my favorite moments involving a sock separated from another occurred in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets.

closingfoodgapMay 9: Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day
The Red Wagon (DVD): Facing Hunger / Directed by Dave Raizman and Jim Ritvo ; Producer, Jim Ritvo.
This documentary tells the story of individuals and families in rural Vermont struggling every day to feed their families and having to rely on the charitable food system of food banks, soup kitchens and food shelves.

Closing the Food Gap  : Resetting the Table in the Land of Plenty by Mark Winne
Not really a book about hunger, but author and food activist, Mark Winne examines the issue of poverty and its effect on on food choices.

May 15: National Endangered Species Day
Endangered Animals by Ben Hoare and Tom Jackson
This book takes a look at creatures around the world that are currently threatened with extinction, along with the ways that we can help them survive.atlasofendangered

The Atlas of Endangered Species by Richard Mackay
This atlas profiles species lost, threatened and surviving today through full-color maps and graphics.  It covers the environmental impacts of human development including climate change and damage caused by deep-sea trawling and mining.

May 22: National Vanilla Pudding Day
puddingComplete Allergy-Free Comfort Foods Cookbook Every Recipe Is Free of Gluten, Dairy, Soy, Nuts, and Eggs by Elizabeth Gordon.
The definitive reference for recipes free of gluten, dairy, soy, nuts, and eggs.

Pudding a Global History by Jerry Quinzio
No specific coverage on vanilla pudding, but still an interesting read about pudding!

May 25: National Tap Dance Day
happyfeetHappy Feet (dvd)
Mumble is unlike other emperor penguins.  Instead of singing a heartsong to attract mates, he tap dances to the tune.   After he is cast out of his penguin community, he meets an unorthodox group of penguins and they embark on a series of adventures.

Where the Action Is: Tap Technique, Part 1
Learn how to tap dance!  Seriously, the above is a link to a tap dancing instruction video provided by our streaming video subscription, Academic Videos Online.

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Showing Appreciation to our Student Workers

Gift Bags

As part of National Student Employment Week, Library student workers received Dr. Seuss gift bags full of snacks, toys, bookmarks, and school supplies.

When you visit the Library, theirs is the first face you see.  With a smile and a friendly tone, they answer questions, refer you to a variety of campus services, help you checkout reserves, assist you with locating materials in the library, and troubleshoot various technical issues that arise.

When not assisting patrons, they help keep the stacks orderly, make sure returned items are properly shelved, provide valuable feedback on how they and their peers perceive library services, and process new materials for use.

If you have not guessed already, I am talking about the Library’s talented, dedicated, and hardworking student workers, without whom the Library could not function.  Indeed, by providing the first interaction that many patrons have with the library while simultaneously completing important tasks that keep the library running, student workers are vital to the Library.

Day in and day out, I know that I can depend on our student worker staff to provide outstanding service and for that I am truly grateful.  That is why I would like to acknowledge our exceptional student worker staff and thank them for all that they do to further the Library’s mission and help us meet the information needs of the Wheelock College community.

I would like to extend my immense gratitude and appreciation and wish the student workers listed below a happy Student Employment Week:

  • Caitlyn Britton
  • Caitlyn Ennis
  • Caprice Mitchell-Scott
  • Cathryn Fernandes
  • Chelsea Leclerc
  • Claudia Barnard
  • Gleidymar Rivera
  • Jenna O’Leary
  • Kaleigh Carrington
  • Kate LaGattuta
  • Kiara Valentin
  • Kirsten Robinson
  • Mia Mendoza
  • Miles Carey-Snow
  • Nicole Shine
  • Torri Plank
  • Tyler Valois
  • William Weir
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