It was snowing this morning, our first true snowfall during the school day. A colleague came in and said “the library is a snow globe!” What a perfect word to capture the view from here…
I apologize for the prolonged absence from my small corner of the book world. During the break, I spent a week in Barcelona (my first trip to Spain!) and then it was Christmas and then there was cleaning up, catching up, and reading to do. Now, I wonder how it can possibly be January 5. Coincidentally, I am reading The Folded Clock by Heidi Julavits that opens with this reflection about time:
“The ‘day’ no longer exists. The smallest unit of time I experience is the week. But in recent years the week, like the penny, has also become a uselessly small currency. The month is, more typically, the smallest unit of time I experience.”
Today, notes from the past few weeks and a look ahead….
First, Barcelona. I’ve been lucky to visit many beautiful cities, but I was completely enchanted by Barcelona. The old city is full of narrow streets that you can wander for hours – stopping for tapas along the way. Gaudi’s buildings seem to have been touched by magic. And the roof top views from the city’s churches are spectacular. It was one of those memorable trips that cast a temporary spell. I actively resisted any thought of home or school during the week, not because I don’t love those places, but because Barcelona offered a portal to something else. I was willingly pulled in.
The only downside is the bookshops which sell books written in Spanish! I know it’s to be expected, and it did save me some money. Not being able to read the books in Barcelona did not prevent us from browsing though:
There were some delightful finds that I recognized immediately: The Storm Whale in Winter, This Moose Belongs to Me, and in the third picture, it’s the Wimpy Kid!
And some not so delightful finds that I could figure out!
One of my favorite things to do in bookstores in other countries is to compare the covers of bestselling books. Here is one that caught my eye in the Dublin Airport, but I didn’t have time to count how many “little pieces” the cover actually has.
After Christmas I was in Barnes and Noble in Hingham. In line to buy a magazine, I eavesdropped on a conversation between a middle school-aged girl and her mother. The girl was holding a book which I unsuccessfully craned my neck to see. She was clearly excited to get home and read.
When I heard her say to her mother “this is the first book series that made me put my phone down,” I couldn’t stop myself from asking what series has made her so enthusiastic about reading. Her answer……The Selection by Kiera Cass.
One of the best holiday gifts to the Inly Library was this set of bookends.
I submitted a book order this week and just looking at the list of new books gave me anticipated happiness. So many good books ahead:
Egg, Kevin Henkes’ 50th book and….
R.J. Palacio’s picture book, We’re All Wonders, among others.
But one of the first picture books to capture my heart in 2017 is a gentle book with a timely message: The Lonely Giant by Sophie Ambrose.
Admittedly, the first thought to pop into my mind when I looked at the cover was The BFG by Roald Dahl.
But rather than eat snozzcumbers, this giant lives in a cave where he pulls up trees “as though they were weeds, heaving and hurling huge logs like spears,” and engages in other generally destructive behavior. As he pulls the trees and smashes things around, his forest home gets smaller and the birds all leave. Who can blame them? But when he sees a cute little yellow bird, the giant decides to put it in a cage so he can enjoy the bird’s song whenever he wants. Unsurprisingly, the bird does not feel like singing in a cage, and ultimately, the giant realizes his mistake and lets her fly. The bird inspires the giant to look at the result of his “heaving and hurling” and realize the damage he has done. Hmmmmmm – any messages here? This would be a good book to read to kids to spark a discussion about our responsibilities to care for the environment. It’s also a sweet story, and we can use those any day.
To kick-off 2017, we are asking Inly’s students, teachers, and parents to add the title of their favorite book to our Post-It display. I added the first blue square – Charlotte’s Web. No surprise there. So far, we have Post-Its for Serafina’s Promise by Ann E. Burg, The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart, We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen, and The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak – along with so many others, including books for adults. I’ve seen two Post-Its for To Kill a Mockingbird and am expecting to see more. If you are an Inly parent, make sure to add your sticker to the board. If not, email requests are accepted!