Posted in Banned and challenged books, Freedom to read, Reading and Library Advocacy, Uncategorized

Get your hands off our books!

Spent this week’s lessons talking about banned and challenged books, as it was National Banned Books Week (September 25-October 2). After discussing this photograph of a wonderful library display which I right-clicked from a Pinterest page (I’d love to know who created it so I could give this person due credit!) I discussed more contemporary banned books, such as the Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Divergent series. screenshot-2016-10-02-16-09-10

I also set up this display:

banned-booksto illustrate what would be missing if the books on this cart were actually eliminated from the library. I believed that the students were clear I was the ADVOCATE for open and free information and access. I had them take their (sometimes vocal) sense of indignation, and write me a response to the idea of either censorship in general, or the removal of THEIR favorite children’s book on the banned and challenged lists.  Not everyone made this connection, so I got a few threatening messages about “taking away their Junie B. Jones.” (I did not, nor would I)

By the time I’d taught this lesson to the fifth class or so (I teach these lessons to 25  4th-6th grade classes in a week) I realized I needed to physically remove the CAUTION tape. They needed this sense of closure.

Here is the article I had them read for further information: (“Fact Monster” is a great elementary level online database.)

And here are some of the most insightful responses from 5th and 6th graders.

“Books are banned to protect others, frequently children, from difficult information. Adults don’t want their children to be scared. I think that children should be able to read those books. These books boost up their imagination.”

“The witchcraft (in Harry Potter) seems reasonable because they are all witches!”

“The reason given why Harry Potter books were banned is because, ‘It promotes witchcraft.’ Just because there is witchcraft, does not mean people will take it seriously. Also, it said that Harry Potter sets a bad example. I disagree. He only does things for the good of the school and his friends.”

“If you banned Harry Potter, you might as well ban all the other books.  If you WERE to ban Harry Potter, I would come and find you and do something quite unpleasant.  Your Harry Potter loving student…”

“I don’t understand why The Wizard of Oz is banned because women play the main roles! That is criticizing all woman and also, I mean seriously, banning the book because it had a witch in it because of the fake witch burnings! Women who were healers got burned for no reason!”

“I think…some of the boys I know act just like the Lion, Tinman, and the Scarecrow. I do understand that in earlier days women were not treated well.. but that is stupid.

“I think ‘The Hunger Games’ shouldn’t be banned. ‘The Hunger Games’ may be about some type of murder but it isn’t real and I don’t think people understand that! This isn’t ever gonna happen and parents should tell their kids if they read it that they won’t do what happens in this book, and that it is fake!”

P.S. If your children end up being advocates for first amendment and open access to information , it wasn’t me. They came ready to fight 🙂 It was quite glorious. 




Posted in Uncategorized


To get excited about the books available at the upcoming Colbert Book Fair, (starting this Monday, November 23, and continuing after Thanksgiving Break, thanks to the advocacy of PTO president Tami Dillon and the generosity of Scholastic, to give our families more time to shop..the five days without power put all things like this on hold! So now that we (hopefully?)  all have power, Please take time to watch these wonderful book trailers presented by the authors and illustrators themselves!

Also, please watch this beautiful little film that talks about the vital opportunities for reading and development that are made available by book fairs, Feel good about purchase you make, and the contribution they are to your children’s lifelong relationship with reading.
There will also be a chance to donate books to Colbert families who may not be able to spare as much extra funding.. in keeping with this fair’s theme “MONSTERS” you’ll be able to place the gifted books into the mouth of a “book eating monster”

Ok well this is how Bertha the book eater looked on my daughter’s head. She will look different attached to whichever mechanism her body will be. 🙂


Posted in Digital Citizenship, Netiquette, Uncategorized

Digital Citizenship: if you wouldn’t say/do it in person, don’t say/do it online either!

Next week is Digital Citizenship Week, and we’ll be learning the foundations of manners on the internet, as well as thinking carefully before posting, how to keep yourself from making a career-limiting move 15 years before you will be trying to make a career, and protecting yourself from being cyber-bullied or victimized by people with no netiquette!

Digital citizenship can be defined as the norms of appropriate, responsible behavior with regard to technology use. And just as librarians lead our students on the shortest, richest path of wisdom through books, naturally we also impart our best practices for efficient information gathering online! It’s a big task, and I, for one, am grateful to be imparted with the privilege of leading children through such an exciting and innovative journey!

Posted in Uncategorized


Loved using “Storybird” today at Colbert Elementary. To get Storybird from any computer, ipad, kindle, Nook, etc (it doesn’t work that well on a hand-held device) you may either go directly to, but I recommend you go to Colbert or Midway (or which ever Mead elementary school you attend) library website > databases > Informational Tech tools > Presentation tools > Storybird. Create an account by using your school-issued username and then use that same username and add (or any other email address you would like ) and your school-issued password.

Click “CREATE: and go wherever the art leads you. The “create poem” allows you to drag and drop phrases into poems,

and the picture book pages allow you to write stories that match with which ever painting strikes you.

Screen Shot 2015-10-14 at 3.35.23 PM

Here’s what I threw together, then decided I would make a book  of out takes from famous fairy tales. Will I finish? Probably not! Creativity is an in-the-moment thing, right?!

I always recommend that beginning, aspiring, not-quite-inspired-yet- or blocked writers start with the ridiculous, just as I did.

Posted in Uncategorized

Reconsidering Censorship


In honor of “Banned Books Week” which happened without my mentioning it last week, simply because I’m NEW and didn’t want to stir anything up (and this is a much richer conversation for middle school and above as we discuss topics of civics and freedom of the press) I am posting a story I wrote for the Inlander last year about parents’ struggles to control the media their children are consuming. It speaks especially well to the good fight of school librarians everywhere. If I must say so myself.

Posted in Uncategorized

Maker Spaces

MAKER SPACES are the next generation of library. There are already some of these set up at the Spokane Public Library, and I could be talked into creating these spaces here. Perhaps the 3-D printer is something we could work up to…

See this video for a quick introduction about their purpose and possibility. Expect more in 2016-2017!

SOOO Cool, right?!maker-space-master

Posted in Uncategorized

Learning Curve

It’s true, my darling students at both Midway and Colbert Elementary schools in Mead have had to roll with the learning curve that is inherent in technology. Or, okay, me and technology? As I work with my fellow library media technology teachers to streamline our Ipads, Chromebooks and iMacs to a unified Google platform, there are frozen pages, slow servers, and more than a tiny amount of “winging it” when technology fails to do what is expected to do!

So thank you to all the students for their patience, and for being willing to enjoy my witty banter as I work to fill their minds with new strategies for using technology safely, as well as my enthusiastic selling of current and classic stories I believe will best enhance a meaningful relationship with reading. Thank you to those families who dropped by the Open House at Midway to hear about all the resources available on the district library website. I am attaching a link to an article that explains well the role of libraries and librarians in the emerging digital realm of classroom learning. (click below)