All posts by tpretz

I am the elementary librarian at The American School in Japan.

Welcome Back


Are we still practicing the 4W’s when we are in the library?
Yes, Yes and Yes!

Where do I go for library news and information?
Go to The Noisy Librarian Blog 

Where do I go to look up titles, check my account, and hold information?
Go to Destiny Discover and Sign in with Google. 

What do I need before checking out a book?
Helping Hand

How many students can safely browse for a book in an aisle?

What is the maximum number of books I may check out?

How many days until my books are overdue?
2 weeks

When can I check out books?
Library class
Recess ( Grades 1-2 beginning September 23rd and Grades 3-5 beginning September 9th)

How many students are allowed to sign in during recess times?
30 students 

Where do I return my library books?
Book Drop Box located outside of…the library, office, or second floor of the cafeteria building.
DO NOT put books in a Book Drop Box on library days. Bring your books with you for Mrs. Notter to check-in.

What is the maximum number of books I can put on hold?

When may I pick up books that I placed on hold?
After you receive a Google chat message from Ms. Pretz or Mrs. Notter, please come to the library to pick up your book.

Librarian Picks: Week of August 23

These are books I have read this week that support ASIJ’s Portrait of a Learner, DEI and SEL.

As I read books this year, I will modify the catalog to make it easier for you to search for books to support ASIJ’s Portrait of a Learner. Catalog Search by Subject Example below:

Rain Boy by Dylan Glynn

Prompt to promote a class discussion: “Play was better together.”

Global Citizenship/DEI/SEL

The Big Umbrella by Amy June Bates

Prompt to promote a class discussion: “Some people worry that there won’t be enough room under the big umbrella,” the narrator warns. “But the amazing thing is…there is.” 

Global Citizenship/DEI/SEL

Pair Rain Boy and The Big Umbrella with Be Kind by Pat Zietlow Miller or One by Kathryn Otoshi

The Circle of Caring and Sharing by Theresa Larsen-Jonasson

Prompt to promote a class discussion: “The animals took turns passing the stick to speak. Some gave a loud roar, and others a squeak.


The Whatifs by Emily Kilgore

Prompt to promote a class discussion: “Do you ever have good Whatifs?”


Speak Up, Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell

Prompt to promote a class discussion: “Speak up for anyone who might need help.”



Summer Reading – 2021

All it takes is a stack of great books and a commitment to read every day!

To support our students with their summer reading goals, the ASIJ Elementary Library allows returning students to check out books during summer vacation. If your child is interested in participating in summer check out, please complete the summer checkout parent permission form below. 

Click on link:  Summer Checkout Parent Permission Form

due May 31st

  • This form is required for returning students to check out books.
  • This year, homerooms will have a specified time for students to check out their summer reading books.
  • Students will be limited to 10 print books.
  • All books are due on student orientation day in August.

Ms. Pretz’ Recommended Reading Lists

(Click on the hyperlink above to access Ms. Pretz’ recommended reading lists.)

Best Books of the Year 2020

(collated by Ms. Pretz – ASIJ ES Teacher-Librarian)

SORA App How To Access Tutorial and How to Navigate SORA Tutorial

Step 1: On your iPad install the SORA app from the Apple Store or Google Play Store. On your laptop point your browser to

Step 2: On SORA find The American School in Japan (tap). 

Step 3:  Then sign-in using your ASIJ Student Gmail login.  

All ASIJ Student Gmail logins start with the students’ graduation year followed by last name and first initial. Example:

All ASIJ Parents should log in using “The Gate” username and password is the number on the back of your ASIJ ID card.

Step 3:  Tap the Explore tab (binoculars icon). 

Step 4:  Tap Open Book or Open Audiobook to read or listen to the book. Tap Options to renew or return the book.

Step 5: Go to the SORA bookshelf icon and click on OPTIONS to return a book early or to renew a book.  

Please email or for assistance using this app.

Kidcast Recommendations

Podcasts to educate, encourage curiosity, build passion, and an added bonus…they are entertaining!


Today’s top stories and current events, all nonpartisan and age appropriate.

Wow in the World

Join hosts Guy Raz and Mindy Thomas on a journey away from your screens, inside your brain, out into space, and deep into the coolest new stories in science, technology, and innovation.

Story Seeds

On each episode, kids collaborate with famous authors to grow their story ideas


Tumble is a science podcast for kids, to be enjoyed by the entire family. We tell stories about science discoveries, with the help of scientists!  Join Lindsay and Marshall as they ask questions, share mysteries, and share what science is all about.

The Past & the Curious

This amusing podcast features people telling interesting, little-known stories from history with an emphasis on fun and humor. 

But Why

But Why is a show led by you, kids! You ask the questions and we find the answers. It’s a big interesting world out there.On But Why, we tackle topics large and small, about nature, words, even the end of the world.Have a question?

Source: School Library Journal

Gr. 4 Virtual Author’s Visit – Grant Faulkner

 Grant Faulkner is the Executive Director of National Novel Writing Month,  co-host of the podcast Write-Minded, a member of the Oakland Book Festival’s Literary Council, a member of the National Writing Project Writers Council, a member of Lit Camp’s Advisory Council, and a member of the Aspen Institute’s Aspen Words’ Creative Council. Beyond his adult fiction he has written Pep Talks for Writers: 52 Insights & Actions to Boost Your Creative Mojo and Brave the Page. I am honored that Grant is so graciously giving up an evening to do a virtual author’s visit with our students. During his visit he will offer tips about how get started writing and helpful ideas about what to do when the words just aren’t quite coming out right.