Saturday, August 26, 2006

Call for Opinions--What's the Most Useful Way to Organize these Growing Lists?

Wow! Our list of librarians (infamous and/or great) in literature is growing by leaps and bounds. The list of books that might work well for introducing kids to the library, to library etiquette, book handling and other like topics is also growing--just not quite as quickly. Both are growing quickly enough that I'm finding it difficult to find particular titles. What I'm wondering is: what do you think is the best way to organize lists like this? I've thought about arranging it by recommended age levels, then by author, then title (or title THEN author), but thought it better to just ask. I don't always agree with recommended ages for these books, but I figure that it's a starting point at least. At any rate, your ideas on this will be most appreciated.

Meanwhile, happy reading!!!

Friday, August 25, 2006

LITA National Forum--Take a look at their schedule

First held in 1998, the LITA National Forum has become a highly regarded annual event for those whose work involves new and leading edge technologies in the library and information technology field. For more information and to see a detailed schedule of forums (including ones on wikis, blogs, preservation and much, much more) go to:

2006 LITA National Forum

October 26–29, 2006

Downtown Sheraton Hotel
Nashville, Tennessee

NetVille in Nashville: Web Services As Library Services

Early registration has been extended through September 1, 2006

The Library and Information Technology Association (LITA) is pleased to offer the 2006 National Forum

The 2006 LITA National Forum, held October 26–29, 2006 at the Sheraton Nashville Downtown Hotel, in the heart of Nashville, provides a wealth of opportunities for growth and development. In addition to keynote sessions, there are 33 concurrent sessions and 11 poster sessions planned where you're sure to find practical advice, new ideas, and tested solutions to technological issues you encounter every day.

View the complete Forum schedule and session descriptions
Two full day pre-conferences provide opportunities for hand-on experiences and in-depth discussions
Keynote sessions enrich each day's programming
Register now and save $50—early registration has been extended through September 1, 2006
Reserve your housing at a discounted rate of $109 per night at the Forum website
Hope to see you in Nashville!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Upcoming Books Featuring Librarians from Toni Buzzeo

Greetings! Just received word that Toni Buzzeo's next picture book (due out in October for Ubstart) will feature a librarian. It's called: Our Librarain Won't Tell Us ANYTHING! A Mrs. Skorupski Story, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa. Our Librarian features characters who are 4th graders and is about accessing materials and information in the library and research projects. Toni plans a sequel, entitled Fire Up With Reading: A Mrs. Skorupski Story, also from Upstart, in 2007. Fire Up is about a schoolwide reading incentive program. (Thanks for the info Toni!) If you get a chance, cruise on over to Toni's website . The site includes curriculum guides and links, book reviews, and information about author visits.

These two books will bring our list of 100 Great &/or Infamous Librarians up to 30. We're getting there!!!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

School Book Fairs

Not too very long ago, I posted a request for comments about school book fair companies on my favorite school media listserv, LM_Net (which, if you're not familiar with it and are in school media/library work, is a GREAT resource). I'm sharing the list of links on the various school book fair companies, as well as a link to a great article about school book fairs. If you're interested in LM_Net, you can check out information about them at

If you are wondering about whether or not to even DO a bookfair, check out:

Scholastic: to formulate "wish lists."



Bedford Falls:

Turtle Express:

Local Bookstore Bookfairs: Contact local bookstores, such as Barnes and Noble and Borders--sometimes they will work with schools to arrange an in-store book fair for the school.


Personalized Book Fairs:

Just Us:

Mrs. Nelson's Book Fair Company:


School Book Fairs Limited:

Friday, August 18, 2006

Juvenile Series & Sequels Database

I cannot tell you how many times I've wondered about what book comes next in a series, and if you work with children at all, you have probably been asked umpteen gazillion times "what book comes next in the _____ series?" Well, if its a series the publisher hasn't bothered to number for you, or if the series number has been covered up by labelling or just plain worn off, here's the site for you. Mid-Continent Public Library's Series and Sequels database has over 22,000 books in series/sequels listed in three categories (young adult, juvenile and juvenile easy), with defintions for each of the categories. The site is located at:

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Book Lists Are Addictive

Boy o boy o boy o. I had no idea that book lists and blogs could be so very addictive. Having originally swiped the idea for a 100 Great &/or Infamous Librarians list from Mary Lee and Franki's "A Year of Reading" at (where they are compiling of list of 100 Great Teachers in literature) it came to my attention that I should also thank and credit Jen Robinson for HER lists of cool boys and girls in literature on Jen Robinson's Book Page at

These lists are great for adding to my "to read" pile, introducing me to new authors and titles, and reminding me of old faves that I might have forgotten. As a fledgling blogger, I haven't yet figured out how all of this linking and backtracking works, but I have included links to these sites and a few others on my side bar. Now I need to start a NEW list of blogs that I watch.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Books on Book Care &/or Library Etiquette

Suddenly children are looking glazed, teachers and librarians are looking shell-shocked, traffic has gone wonkier than usual and school supplies are flying off the shelves. Have people gone mad? Well, that may be beside the point, but it may simply be that it's back-to-school time again. That in mind, I've started yet another list (mayhap this dragon might someday get organized?), this time of books that can be used to help teach the care and handling of books and library etiquette, or just to introduce kids to the library. My humble beginnings of this list are on the sidebar. If you have any favorites, please chime right in. Here's to a great start to the new school year!!!

A Treasure: CyberBee

Sometimes you go questing for treasure, sometimes treasure falls into your lap. CyberBee was one of the latter variety for me. CyberBee is an incredible site dedicated to questing for Internet "curriculum treasures" and bringing them together on one site ( Some of the great interactive "lessons" include: copyright (,
Treasure Hunts" with links to discover some excellent Websites (, research tools for finding, evaluating and citing Web info (, and some handy step-by-step tutorials "designed to make technology easier" ( The site is easy to navigate and has some excellent resources that could be used in the library, in the classroom, or at home. It's well worth checking out. While I've included some links on this post, I will be adding a link to the site in my sidebar under " More Treasures." Happy hunting!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Redecorating the Cave

TheBookDragon felt the need to redecorate, and so opened a HUGE can of worms. Please pardon the mess (and the lost links and lists)--I'm hoping to get better organized,as soon as I can find my blasted LIST!!!

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The Magician's Boy by Susan Cooper

The Magician’s Boy by Susan Cooper. Illustrated by Serena Riglietti

The Boy wanted, more than anything in the world, to learn magic, but his master the Magician always said “Not yet, Boy. Not till the time is right. Not yet.” So the Boy polished the Magician’s magic wands, weeded the garden where the magic herbs grew, fed the white rabbits that the Magician pulled out of his hat, and during performances, helped the Magician perform the story of “Saint George and the Dragon.” His job was to pull the puppet strings while the Magician told the story. One fateful night, as the Magician called for each character to make his “appearance” one the puppet theatre stage, he called for “Saint George”—but St. George was nowhere to be found.

The Boy was terrified. He stepped out from behind the theatre and stood there shaking. “I’m sorry, Master,” he said in a very small voice, “Saint George seems to be missing.” The children all booed loudly. The Magician looked odwn with yes so angry that the Boy was afraid he would turn him into a rabbit. The Magician’s tall figure seemed to grow and grow, towering over the Boy, and he pointed a long finger at him. “Then you must find him!” he hissed. The finger came very close, with its long sharp nail. “You will go where you must go, through all the Land of Story, until you find Saint George!” He swung his arm so that his long dark-blue sleeve swung past the Boy‘s face, and the Boy saw gold moons and stars flash by, and felt himself falling, falling. . . .”

In his journey through the Land of Story, he meets the living and breathing puppets from the play; the old woman who lived in a boot (although he’d always thought it was supposed to be a shoe); the Pied Piper, Pinocchio; Jack, the Giant and the Giant’s wife, and, among others, a talking signpost that tells him “Only a child can find the way to bring Saint George back to the play.” Does the Boy find the way? Does he bring St. George back? To find out, you have join the Boy in the Land of Story—read The Magician’s Boy by Susan Cooper.

Geography Club by Brent Hartinger

Title: Geography Club
Author: Brent Hartinger
Publication Info: New York, HarperTempest, 2003
Age Groups/Grades: Reviews rate this as 12+ (Grades 7-12); however, in more conservative communities, it would probably be best placed for 15+/Grades 10+

Topics: sexual identity, high school social group interaction, intolerance

Summary: “A group of gay and lesbian teenagers finds mutual support when the form the ‘Geography Club’ at their high school.” (Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication data)


Russel Middlebrook is an average high school sophomore. He doesn’t stand out in sports or in specific social groups. He’s not unpopular—he has friends, but he feels alone. Yes, he’s an average high school student, but he has a secret--he is gay, and he’s pretty sure he’s the only gay student at his high school.

That night in my bedroom, I logged on to the Net. I said I’d never actually been naked with a guy, but it’s possible that once or twice I might’ve gone to a gay chat room and maybe even gone off for a private chat with a guy or two. I refuse to say any more about this on the grounds that it may incriminate me, but I will say that mostly we really did just chat about innocent things, like how long had we known we were gay and which actor did we think was cute.

The fact is, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely; I may not have been completely alone in life, but I was definitely lonely. My secret mission—four years in an American high school—had been an involuntary one, and now I desperately wanted to be somewhere where I could be honest about who I was and what I wanted. I had plenty to say on the topic, but no one to say it to—not my friends, definitely not my parents (don’t get me started). The Internet gave me people to say it to. Problem is, they weren’t real. (Pages 11-12)

After this discussion, Russel goes into an online chatroom for gay teens and notices that his city’s name has been added. Could there be another gay teen in his town? His school? If Russel identifies himself to this other person, all his careful work at “playing it straight” could just blow up in his face. What would you do? Would you go meet this person? Whether you’re gay, straight, or not really sure, you won’t want to miss what happens next.


This book has won several awards and honors, is thoughtfully written, witty and definitely thought provoking. I suspect that most readers will recognize some of their own high school cliques, the cafeteria(!), and maybe even some of their own peers. Russel’s voice rings true in the sense of every high school student’s search for their own identity, their own place. It was no surprise to find out that it was semi-autobiographical. It might suffer somewhat from the notion that it’s just “a gay book,” which would be a real shame because there really is something there for anyone who is in or who has ever been in high school.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A BookDragon Quest: 100 Librarians in Children's/YA Literature

The quest? A search for 100 librarians from Children's and YA literature. In my reading from the last few years, I've noted that a lot of books include reference to their characters' librarians--and how that librarian made a difference (be it good or bad). I will qualify that "great" doesn't necessarily mean "good"--as an example, Madame Pince, the Hogwarts librarian? She is downright scary! That said, she embodies enough of the stereotypical "mean librarian" qualities to make her a great character. So, I invite you to join me in finding those librarians in literature. Post a comment when you find one (or several) and we'll add our list to the collection of lists that are making my "to read" pile get entirely too big.

Please note that I am SO totally swiping this idea from Franki Sibberson and Mary Lee Hahn from their blog "A Year of Reading: Two Teachers Chat about Books and Reading."

You can find them at

Take a look at their list of 100 "cool" teachers in children's literature. Thank you Franki and Mary Lee for a wonderful blog!

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood by Meredith Ann Pierce

Title: Treasure at the Heart of the Tanglewood
Author: Pierce, Meredith Ann
Publication Info: New York: Viking, 2001
Age Groups/Grades: Ages 12+
Topics: Identity, Wizards, Magic, Fantasy

Summary: Hannah is a healer in search of her identity and place in the world after she defies the wizard she has served for more years than she knows and sets out with her animal companions to locate the faraway queen who might be able to save the life of the injured young prince who has come to fight the fierce golden boar.

Booktalk: Hannah is a gifted young healer who lives at the edge of a deep, dark wood known as Tanglewood. She has no human friends, no memory or her past, nor any idea as to why flowers and herbs grow among her hair, but these plants always seem to be just the right ones to help the various ailments presented by the poor local cottars, but these folk never stay long and seem to be afraid—whether of her or the forest, she is not certain. But she is starting to wonder. Her only companions are Old Badger, Magpie, and three half-grown foxes—all of whom she can converse with—none of whom the cottars seem able to understand. Her only other human contact is with the wizard, but she only sees him when the moon is right and it is time to take him the tea she makes from the plants she pulls from her hair. She has tried to speak to the young knights who come to the wood occasionally, and has even thought to warn them—that none who enter ever leave—but they do not seem to hear her. The cottars speak of a treasure in the Tanglewood and a monstrous golden boar, but Hannah, who is not afraid of the wood has never seen sign of either boar nor treasure? Why are the cottars so afraid? Why can neither she nor her animal companions remember anything of their pasts? Is the Wizard her friend? What is the treasure at the heart of the Tanglewood? To find out, read this book by Meredith Ann Pierce.

Notes: There is discrepancy among the various reviewers as to the recommended ages—with some saying 9 up and others saying 12 up. My personal feeling is that the language might be difficult for some of the younger or less adept readers because the language patterns are more old-fashioned and medieval sounding (for lack of a better description). That said, I remember just loving some of the older writing styles with unfamiliar words and dialects when I was in middle and high school. I would be more inclined to booktalk this for the older students and just recommend it individually to younger ones who seemed to enjoy similar reads.

Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen

Title: Sammy Keyes and the Hotel ThiefAuthor: Van Draanen, WendelinPublication Info: New York: Borzoi Books (Knopf), 1998Age Groups/Grades: Ages 10-13/Grades 4 – 6

Topics: mystery/detectives, grandmothers, robbers

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Sammy, who lives illegally at her grandmother’s “seniors only” apartment sees a crime committed while she’s looking through her binoculars—and the thief sees her. Booktalk: Sammy Keyes’ life is already crazy. She’s living illegally with her grandma in a seniors-only apartment complex while her mother tries to find an acting job out in California. While looking through her binoculars at the “seedy hotel” across the road—when her grandma has specifically told her NOT to be she sees someone who looks vaguely familiar committing a crime and then, the thief sees her. No way the thief could be sure she saw him right? Well, maybe not if she hadn’t waved at him. To complicate things, her grandma’s neighbor has taken to spying on the apartment trying to prove that Sammy’s living there, which means that Sammy and her grandma have to get pretty creative to get Sammy in and out. Oh, and did I tell you that, on the first day of middle school, Sammy gets poked in the butt with a pin and gets suspended? Will the neighbor catch Sammy? Will the thief figure out who she is and come after her? Will her entire seventh grade year come crashing down around her? Read Sammy Keyes and the Hotel Thief by Wendelin Van Draanen to find out.

Notes: As an avid mystery fan, I am all too often looking for a new series to read when I “catch up” with a favorite author’s latest. Looking at the genesis of this illness, I realized that it started in elementary school when I got hooked on two mystery series--the Three Investigators (Hitchcock) and Nancy Drew (Keane). Reading each new book in those two series was like having a mini-reunion with old friends. Sammy Keyes promises to be a series and a character well worth revisiting.