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Posts by Miranda J. McDermott

Booktalking "The Thing About Luck" by Cynthia Kadohata

Twelve-year-old Summer learns much about the farming process and the wheat crop from working on combine farms with her family. Thunder is a 95-pound Doberman pincher who is her constant companion. He follows her everywhere, and he is always pleasant and willing to pour love into her heart.Read More ›

Booktalking "Weedflower" by Cynthia Kadohata

Sumiko is a 12-year-old Japanese girl living in California in the 1940s. Unfortunately for her, Pearl Harbor has an especially negative impact on her life, due simply to her racial background. The government sends her and her family to a permanent relocation camp in Poston, Arizona; its official nomenclature is the Colorado River Relocation Center. The filth and overcrowded conditions in the camps are deplorable.

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Children's Literary Salon in Retrospect: Common Core on January 4, 2014

Marcie Colleen, Picture Book Education Consultant, Amie Wright, Selection Supervisor, MyLibraryNYC, and Daryl Grabarek, editor of School Library Journal's (SLJ) enewsletter, Curriculum Connections joined host Betsy Bird to discuss how teachers, students and parents are grappling with the new standards. I was interested to discover that New York City's new schools chancellor, Carmen Farina, endorses Common Core standards.

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Booktalking "Mahjong All Day Long" by Ginnie Lo

Everyone loves mahjong, a Chinese tile matching game. When you play mahjong, you can hear the clicking of the tiles.

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Booktalking "Crisis in Employment" by Jane Jerrard

Many people without computer access utilize public libraries in order to apply for jobs online. (Many minimum-wage jobs now require online applications.) Customers also use the computers to prepare resumes and file claims for unemployment benefits. Public libraries can let funders know how their services are assisting job seekers in order to secure funding.

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Booktalking "Money Secrets of the Amish" by Lorilee Craker

Use it up, wear it out, make do, or do without. That could be considered the mantra for the Amish. They are experts at money saving and penny-pinching, but they do not live in a state of deprivation. Americans tend to want to discard materials as soon as they show the least signs of wear; we tend to be in love with new, shiny things. Much of the marketing we are bombarded with every day features items that we can completely live without, and sometimes our lives are much easier without them.

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Booktalking "Good Morning China" by Hu Yong Yi

In the morning in China, everyone chooses different activities. People in the park have their morning fun. One person is resting by the lotus pond. Another one cycles, some people play badminton, and some are stretching. Other people are dancing, some with swords or fans, and others in a waltz. Some people play chess and others play card games.

Harmony, peace, and simplicity are at the center of this work. What do you do in the morning?

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Booktalking "Children's Literature Gems" by Elizabeth Bird

Getting kids excited about reading is the name of the game. If you are interested in pursuing children's librarianship or you are new in the field, this is the book for you. Slim and easy to read, it provides a few key pieces of advice that will help any new children's librarian. The introduction gives you a taste of the author's background and experience.

Interspersed in the book are a variety of book lists, including baby books, great read-aloud picture books, overlooked novels and picture books, and 100 children's books that belong in every library.


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Booktalking "The Stone Girl" by Alyssa Sheinmel

"Sethie" (Sarah Beth) decides that being thin is more important than attending yearbook meetings at school. Her best friend Janey helps her buy skinny jeans with a waist size one inch larger than Janey's. Sethie sleeps with Shaw, a boy who always makes her feel cold, rather than college kid Ben, whose hand feels warm on her skin.

Sethie drinks copious amounts of water to prevent weight gain. She begins vomiting up her 

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Booktalking "America's Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money" by Steve and Annette Economides

The word cheapskate has a negative connotation in our society, but there are many ways in which people can save money and live better. Financial stressors can break up relationships and lead to unnecessary anxiety in people's lives.

Shopping less frequently can lead to fewer impulse buys. Coupons can help, but it is important not to purchase items simply because you have coupons for them. Eat leftovers since so many people waste money on food that never gets eaten. All successful businesses have budgets, so do not feel restricted by creating a household budget. Write 

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Children's Literary Salon in Retrospect: Dolls and Children's Literature on December 7, 2013

We were lucky to have authors Yona McDonough, Christy Ottaviano, Krystyna Poray Goddu, Laura 

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Booktalking "The Read-Aloud Handbook" by Jim Trelease

Reading brings pleasure to people, and we need to nurture kids' reading interests, regardless of whether or not the kids' preferences mirror our own. If reading always seems like a chore, and if kids are constantly drilled on reading what they are not interested in, they will avoid the printed word like the plague.

Parents, teachers, and librarians reading to kids about books that they are enthusiastic about can nurture the development of bibliophiles. Even reading series books has been shown to increase people's vocabularies, etc. People learn vocabulary by reading 

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Booktalking "Tyrannoclaus" by Janet Lawler

Ready for Christmas with dinosaurs? Then this is the book for you. Tyrannoclaus (a Tyrannosaurus rex) has presents for stegosaur girls. He has tasty treats for 

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Booktalking "The Christmas Wombat" by Jackie French

This wombat likes eating, sleeping, and getting Christmas stockings. He particularly likes eating carrots. When he finds Christmas reindeer eating his carrots, the wombat gets grumpy. Creatures stealing his carrots is not acceptable behavior.

Luckily, however, he finds a way to get the reindeer to help him find more carrots! He rides on the runners of the reindeer's sleigh in search of carrots across the globe, from toucans in Central American rainforests to igloos in Canada.

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Booktalking "Dewey's Christmas at the Library" by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter

It is Christmas at the library for the kitty! Dewey has come a long way since last winter when he was rescued by Spencer Library director Vicki from the book-return drop. This year he is ready and enthusiastic for Christmas at the library. He loves everything about the season: gift bags, red yarn galore, and a Christmas tree that 

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Step Into a Story Book: "The ABC of It" Exhibition at the Library

The Library makes it convenient to see fantastic displays of children's books with its The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter exhibit in the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building that is going on through March of 2014. I was inspired to visit the display by the fact that its curator, Leonard Marcus, is being 

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Booktalking "The Twelve Bots of Christmas" by Nathan Hale

Santa glides across the sky in a spaceship-like vehicle pulled by four metallic reindeer above a city that is reminiscent of Futurama cartoons. 

On the first day of Christmas, the robot gets a cartridge in a gear tree. Every day, for a week and a half, the happy robot receives mechanical approximations of the gifts bestowed in the original

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Booktalking "The Gingerbread Pirates" by Kristin Kladstrup

Jim and his mother were making gingerbread men on Christmas eve one year, and Jim suggested transforming the cookies into gingerbread pirates. His mom concurred. However, Jim did not want Santa to eat Captain Cookie (complete with a toothpick peg leg), so he took him to his bedroom that 

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Children's Literary Salon in Retrospect: Picture Books on November 2, 2013

I have been curious about how picture books are constructed and illustrated, and the latest Children's Literary Salon addressed exactly that topic. Betsy Bird, Young Adult Materials Specialist at NYPL organizes and hosts the monthly program for enthusiasts of children's literature. She let the audience know that author/illustrators Peter Brown, Steve Light and Sergio Ruzzier would give brief presentations 

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Special Libraries in Focus: the Metropolitan Museum of Art

I know that the Met is one of the major art museums in New York City, so I was thrilled when a librarian from the Watson Library agreed to give staff from NYPL a tour of the Watson and Nolen libraries, which are open to the public, free of charge. The librarians provided us with tours of both the Watson and Nolen libraries, and staff were allowed to ask questions. The librarians who led our tour were very knowledgeable and friendly. The Met libraries are a great resource for anyone wishing to research art history.

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