Category Archives: Library News

Jennifer Nielsen – Gr. 5 Virtual Author’s Visit

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Jennifer Nielsen – December 11th

Grade 5 is in for a special reading treat with a virtual author’s visit from one of ASIJ’s favorite visiting authors on December 11th at 10:50.  I don’t know any author who can write such compelling historical fiction, adventure and dystopian novels.  Quite frankly, when I read The False Prince several years ago, it became my favorite adventure of all time!  I am honored that Jennifer is so graciously giving up an evening to do a virtual author’s visit with our students.  

Ascendance Series

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Congratulations to This Year’s BookMark Challenge Winners!

There were hundreds of submissions this year and it was extremely difficult to pick just four winners per grade level. Due to the high quality of this year’s entries, there are more winners per grade level. Thanks to everyone who participated in this year’s library bookmark challenge.

Grade 1

Kodai 1B, Liam 1H, Ellie 1R, Hal 1R, Sara 1R, Miki 1F, Shin 1R & Kayra 1S

Grade 2

Kieran 2D, Madeline 2D, Verity 2D, Cora 2P, Yamato 2P, Yurika 2P, Alisa 2T, Emily 2T, Ana 2Y & Emma 2Y

Grade 3

Mya 3B, Neela 3B, Samay 3B, Ayu 3T, Connor 3T & Owen 3T,

Grade 4

Ako 4I, Ken 4I, Luca 4I, Anna 4M, Greg 4M, Jasmine 4M & Riley 4S

Grade 5

Ryan C. 5C, Joongi 5F, Sofia 5F, Callie 5H, Kei 5H, Kiera 5H, Dylan 5R, Rania 5R, Helena 5V, Isabelle 5V, Leah 5V & Pia 5V

Note: Photos of the winning bookmarks will be posted on the library blog and displayed in the library windows later this week!

The Final Countdown Results

Which grade level checked off the most boxes the last month of school?

Survey Results: I read…

  • a favorite book – 92 students
  • out loud to someone – 84 students
  • a picture book, regardless of my age – 83 students
  • a fiction book – 109 students
  • a nonfiction book – 76 students
  • a graphic novel or comic book – 95 students
  • a book in a genre I had never read before – 59 students
  • a digital book – 86 students
  • an audiobook or read-along story – 83 students
  • a book on a Kindle – 38 students
  • a news or magazine article – 56 students
  • the first book in a series – 89 students
  • a book with a girl main character – 88 students
  • a book with a boy main character – 94 students
  • read outside – 66 students
  • read an award-winning book – 66 students
  • read a recipe or the directions to make something – 70 students
  • a book that has a movie based on it – 82 students
  • a rhyming book, poem or novel in verse – 59 students
  • a book that was a parent’s favorite when they were a kid – 55 students
  • a book that was recommended to me – 70 students
  • a book and recommended it to a friend or sibling – 62 students
  • a book that was a present – 78 students
  • a book in a language other than English – 60 students
  • a book set in another country – 80 students
  • a book by an author whose nationality is different than mine – 76 students

20 Minutes A Day, Goes A Long Way

Just 20 minutes a day,
Summer slide goes away!

Tips for Parents

Set aside 20 minutes every day for reading.

Share your enjoyment of books with your child.

Read the same book with your child and discuss it.

Continue to read aloud to your child, even after they read independently.

Encourage your child to choose a book to read aloud to someone else.

Broaden your child’s horizons by helping to select from a wide range of subjects & genres.

Encourage your child to read whatever they enjoy, even if it appears to be too easy or too hard.

If your child is multilingual, have your child practice reading in all their languages.

21 Questions to Ask Your Child about a Book

Interesting Articles about Reading

Summer Checkout Success!

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The bookshelves are looking mighty bare in the ASIJ Elementary Library.  After three days of patrons visiting the library to checkout books for summer reading, the checkout statistics are phenomenal this year.  Without bribes, prizes or golden stickers, over 2x as many books were checked out this summer than last summer.

Total Summer Checkouts 2015 3,944 books

Total Summer Checkouts 2014 1,806 books

My goal this year was to support and encourage independent reading and wild readers.  I do not think I could have ended my first year as the ASIJ Elementary Librarian on a happier note.

Ms. Pretz’s Top Picks – 2014

We’re nearly half way through 2014 and I have several favorite reads.  If you are looking for some great reads, check out one of these books.


In 1835, when his father is put in a Philadelphia debtor’s prison, twelve-year-old chess prodigy Rufus Goodspeed is relieved to be recruited to secretly operate a chess-playing automaton named The Turk, but soon questions the fate of his predecessors and his own safety.

upside down in the middle of nowhere

At the end of August 2005, ten-year-old Armani is looking forward to her birthday party in the Lower Ninth Ward of New Orleans, where she and her extended family live, but Hurricane Katrina is on the way, bringing destruction and tragedy in its wake.

hope is a ferris wheel

After moving from Oregon to a trailer park in California, ten-year-old Star participates in a poetry club, where she learns some important lessons about herself and her own hopes and dreams for the future.

lantern sam

In 1937, ten-year-old Henry Shipley must rely on a talking cat named Lantern Sam and a kindly conductor named Clarence to help solve the kidnapping of a young heiress aboard the Lake Erie Shoreliner passenger train.

boys of blur

When his stepfather moves them to Taper, Florida, in the Everglades, twelve-year-old Charlie discovers a secret world hidden within the sugar cane fields, as well as new family connections and friendships.

mark of the dragonfly

Since her father’s death in a factory in the Dragonfly territories, thirteen-year-old Piper has eked out a living as a scrapper in Merrow Kingdom, but the arrival of a mysterious girl sends her on a dangerous journey to distant lands.

nightingale's nest

In this twist on “The Nightingale,” Little John, despite his own poverty and grief, reaches out to Gayle, an unhappy foster child living next-door who sings beautifully and hides a great secret.

the riverman

Fiona Loomis claims she is visiting a parallel universe where a nefarious being called The Riverman is stealing the souls of children and the boy she asks to write her biography because she fears her soul may be next.

a snicker of magic

The Pickles are new to Midnight Gulch, Tennessee, a town which legend says was once magic–but Felicity is convinced the magic is still there, and with the help of her new friend Jonah the Beedle she hopes to bring the magic back.

seven stories up

In 1987, while her mother sits in a Baltimore hotel at the deathbed of a grandmother twelve-year-old Annie never knew, Annie travels back fifty years and shares adventures with the lonely girl who will grow up to be her feisty grandmother.

under the egg

Her grandfather’s dying words lead thirteen-year-old Theodora Tenpenny to a valuable, hidden painting she fears may be stolen, but it is her search for answers in her Greenwich Village neighborhood that brings a real treasure.

half a chance

Lucy, with her mother and her photographer father, has just moved to a small rural community in New Hampshire, and with her new friend Nate she plans to spend the summer taking photos for a contest, but pictures sometimes reveal more than people are willing to see.

ophelia and the marvelous boy

Ophelia, a timid eleven-year-old girl grieving her mother, suspends her disbelief in things non-scientific when a boy locked in the museum where her father is working asks her to help him complete an age-old mission.

the ghosts of tupelo landing

When Miss Lana accidentally buys a haunted inn at the Tupelo Landing town auction, Desperado Detectives–aka Mo LoBeau and her best friend Dale–open up a paranormal division to solve the ghost’s identity before the town’s big 250th anniversary bash.

bird chan

Twelve-year-old Jewel was born on the day her brother Bird died and lives in a house of silence and secrets, but a new boy in her Iowa town may help find the answers Jewel wants despite her Jamaican grandfather’s warning that he is a “duppy,” a malevolent spirit.

the night gardener

Irish orphans Molly, fourteen, and Kip, ten, travel to England to work as servants in a crumbling manor house where nothing is quite what it seems to be, and soon the siblings are confronted by a mysterious stranger and secrets of the cursed house.

west of the moon

In nineteenth-century Norway, fourteen-year-old Astri, whose aunt has sold her to a mean goatherder, dreams of joining her father in America.

the spy catchers of maple hill

Hazel Kaplansky and new student Samuel Butler investigate rumors that a Russian spy has infiltrated their small Vermont town, amidst the fervor of Cold War era McCarthyism, but more is revealed than they could ever have imagined.

Reading Matters

“Kids who don’t have educationally rich summers will be nearly three years behind their peers by the time they reach the end of the fifth grade… Much like we would expect an athlete or a musician’s performance to suffer if they didn’t practice regularly, the same thing is true for young people when it comes to reading performance.”
— Ron Fairchild, Founding CEO, National Summer Learning Association

Reaading Results

Start With A Book: Read-Talk-Explore All Year Long

summer readingIs your child fascinated by dinosaurs, planes, bugs, birds, animals, the moon and stars, art, thunder and lightning? Do you have a young detective, explorer, or superhero at home? Does your child love reading poetry, myths, or tall tales with you? Start with a book … and see where your child’s imagination goes!

American Library Association

The lists are full of book titles to keep children engaged in reading throughout the summer.  Three Summer Reading book lists are available for K-2nd, 3rd– 5th and 6th-8th grade students.

The Best Children’s Books of the Year, 2014 Edition 

These lists are compiled by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street College in New York City.

Books 4 Boys

Here you’ll find awesome boy-approved* book suggestions, FREE downloads, and plenty of fun stuff to keep the boys you know reading and—most of all—having fun.

Children’s Choice Awards

A listing of this year’s Children’s Choice Awards Books can be found on this blog post.

Guys Read

Guys Read is a web-based literacy program for boys founded by author and First National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature Jon Scieszka. The mission of Guys Read is to help boys become self-motivated, lifelong readers.  This site contains great lists and every month features a “Book of the Month”.

HAISLN Recommended Reading Lists 2014

This list of titles has been compiled by librarians at member schools of the Houston Area Independent Schools Library Network (HAISLN).  It includes both fiction and nonfiction books by some of the best authors for children.

Horn Book Summer Reading Recommendations

Need suggestions for beach reading or books to bring to summer camp? Horn Book has hand-picked some of the top ten in each age range, all published 2013–2014, that are ideal for the season. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.

I Hated Reading Until I Read This Booklist for Boys

Ask a boy who hates to read what he does like to do, and you’ll get a surprising array of answers.  Everything from playing sports to building models, to dinosaurs and animals to cars, machines, and movies – the funny ones, the sci-fi ones, and the scarier the better. So let that be your guide.  Find books that plug into his hobbies and interests – books he’ll want to tell his friends about – and he’ll be hooked.

Interesting Nonfiction for Kids

Discover books that show how nonfiction writers are some of the best storytellers around. Learn how these writers practice their craft: research techniques, fact gathering and detective work. Check out how they find unusual tidbits, make the facts interesting and write something kids will love to read. Explore how photos and illustrations are integrated with the text to explain an artist’s vision of the world. Consider what subjects are flooding the market and what still needs a voice. Rethink nonfiction for kids.

Read Kiddo Read

This site was created by author James Patterson and inspired by his experience as a parent trying to ensure that his son didn’t just like to read, but loved to read.  His lists contain newly printed books and modern “classics”.

Reading Rockets Themed Books and Activities for Summer Reading

This site contains lists for 24 different learning themes.

Teacher’s Choices 2014

Each year since 1989, the International Reading Association’s Teachers’ Choices project has identified outstanding trade books, published for children and adolescents, that teachers find exceptional for curriculum use. Parents, also, will find here books good for reading aloud and for help answering questions prompted by tours to a farm, aquarium, or museum or by other shared family activities such as television viewing.


Tips for Parents

  • Share your enjoyment of books with your child.
  • Talk over your reading.
  • Continue to read aloud to your child even after he or she reads independently.
  • Encourage your child to choose a book to read aloud to someone else.
  • Broaden your child’s horizons by helping to select from a wide range of subjects.
  • Encourage your child to read whatever he or she enjoys even if it appears to you to be too easy or too hard.
  • Let your child see your enjoyment of your own reading.