Monday, October 17, 2011

THE Answer

Months ago, as I was preparing to leave for the ISTE conference, I read an article in The New York Times about staffing cuts in public libraries.  The article also discussed budget cuts in public libraries. The article angered me so much that I had to write.  This poem titled, THE Answer was created.

Thinking about the poem, The Hangman by Maurice Ogden, I tried to create a piece that would highlight the absurdity that closed libraries don't affect student performance.  Keep in mind, it's a work in progress.  One of the first people I showed this to compared it to a Dr. Seuss story.  Not exactly what I was going for... Your comments and suggestions will be appreciated.

NOTE- Please link people to this blog if you wish to share the poem.


THE Answer by T.K. Love
Into our school, the governor came to visit.
Looking important in a pressed suit…resplendent.
Gathered was a group of teachers, students, parents
Looking forward to the governor’s comments.

The governor scanned the crowd, looking quickly.
Looking for constituents…but bleakly.
Briskly unfurling the budget, grasped in hand.
Calmly the governor shared the budget plans.     

“This state is in need of a fiscal diet.”
I’m here to trim the fat.” The crowd stayed silent.
“Shrink this budget in half, by one million.
Then gauge other excesses, I’m not feeling.

Two schools will become one, no more P.E.
Get rid of any clubs for diversity.
The school day, I’ll just cut that thing in half;
each school will get rid of forty of their staff.

Or…we could close the libraries. Save tons.
Who uses them anyway? Your daughters? Sons?
Why not spend the money on technology?
Do research on Google and Bing. They’re both free.”

The governor’s closing statement had the mob.
Just by closing libraries, they could save jobs.
Just by closing libraries, kids would have computers
There’d be less  thinkers in the world.  More doers.

With one quick stroke of a pen and one fell swoop,
Libraries in the state were closed. Other points…moot.
The library books were stored in warehouses.
Dells and Macs  were moved – enhancing tech prowess.

It didn’t haunt them until a year later,
when the state’s test scores were in the newspaper.
“Lowest of the low” the bold headline stated.
“Why State’s scores Head South” were topics debated.

The first year, a state panel was created.
The topic of the schools’ decline were debated.
The second year, studies of the score meltdown.
Professors and researchers visited towns.
 Third year…the state still saw a steady decline.
Parents and teachers were losing their minds.

Not until the fourth year, at local diner was it said,
That maybe the scores were low because no one read
for enjoyment, information… gather info.
Could scores be low because the libraries were closed?

Students had no place to go with their questions;
they could no longer expand their classroom lessons.
Surfing the web had become a way to be.
Maybe, just maybe these kids needed to read.

“Just read?”  some questioned.  “How could that be a need?
Closing libraries was the answer. We agreed.”
So public and school libraries remained closed
And to this day, no one in the state knows
why the state’s scores declined, but I’m sure that you do
because your public and school libraries were left open to you.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Check it out!!


Teenreads.com

Some people wonder what resources I use to locate books that may interest me. One source is teenreads.com. It's a great website that offers reviews, contests and dialogue about YA Lit. The website also has a section about books that have been made into movies, a question of the month, and a poll. You can even choose to have a monthly newsletter sent to your email address. Check it out!!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Follow @tlovesbooks

@tlovesbooks: I will share my summer reading list with you by Sunday. RT @WeAreTeachers: 8 tips for putting together a summer (cont) http://tl.gd/ai8emh Shared via Tweetcaster

USA Today- book round up

Book roundup: Young-adult novels http://usat.me/47317000

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My Current Obsession

OK.  I will admit it.  I'm currently obsessed with dystopian and postapocalyptic literature (YA Lit. primarily).  It all started two years ago when I read Life as We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer.  The idea of an asteroid hitting the moon and causing various natural disasters to ripple across the world was fascinating.  I found myself trying to figure out what I would do if I was in such a situation.  Would I be as whiny as Miranda?  Would I be as resourceful as Miranda?  Would I be as heroic as Miranda? To top it off, gas prices were on the upswing around that time (just as they are now) and I started thinking...what if?  What if there was a shortage of water?   What if there was a shortage of food? What if I needed to work with my neighbors to make it through the ordeal?  Needless to say, I started keeping some bottles of water handy and got to know at least one of my neighbors.

After reading the book, I baited my students with some of the same questions; I introduced the book during a book talk (preceded by a short video I created with One True Media). The kids were hooked; I ordered more books and even selected it as a book club selection.  Dangling from a hook without a care, that's what I was:)

As I waited for the sequel to Life as We Knew It, I further entangled myself by reading other dystopian literature such as Epic by Conor Kostick (unexpected and delicious morsel), The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (original, phenomenal and exhilarating bite) and Unwind by Neal Shusterman (satisfying treat).

Currently, I'm attached to a series of books by Michael Grant called the Gone series.  In Gone, kids are shocked when everyone over the age of 15 disappears in Perdido Beach, California.  Adults.  Older siblings. All gone.  What remains?  Just kids - some who have acquired special powers and some who are afraid to deal with the changes in their environment (mutated animals and an orb that seems to have surrounded the whole county) due to a thirteen years of unknown exposure to radiation.


I'm reading the third book in the series, Plague, and I am looking forward to reading the other books in the series.  I'm also looking forward to finding more selections to whet my appetite and looking forward to my next bite of dystopian/apocalyptic literature.


What are you reading?
1984  advanced  although  always  brave  changes  city  contemporary  controlled  depicts  disaster  dystopia  dystopian  event  exchange  experience  features  future  group  higher  huxley  identify  if  intuitively limited  living  lower  new  novel  often  overpopulation  own  patterns  people  place  qualities  questions  reader's  reservation  revolution  society  standard  story  technology  terribly  than  trends typically  usually  world

Flygirl Soars


There are two well-known criteria for a good piece of historical fiction (HF).  
1.  The HF should teach you something about the time period.
2. The HF should accurately present the time period through dialogue, setting and accurate facts.


I'd like to add a third.  HF should be so good you forget you’re learning something and just be entertained.  The third requirement, I fear, would be a statement that would be met with some resistance (especially if you love historical fiction).  For that reason, I will stick with the two.

For these two reasons, Flygirl by sherri l. smith is a great novel.  This is the story of Ida Mae Jones, a teenager growing up in Louisiana during the early forties.  She and her family live a meager life as they deal with the loss of her father, a former pilot. Ida Mae's chances of becoming pilot are lessened by the fact she is woman; however, the door is completely closed when she realizes that only Caucasian women are allowed join the Women Air Force Service Pilots (WASP).

It is after her brother is declared missing, after he enlists in the Army, that Ida Mae decides to use one attribute that she's seen as hindrance to her advantage - her light skin color.  Ida Mae decides to "pass" and pretend to be white in order to join the WASPS.  During her training, Ida Mae learns how to control and navigate planes, as well as how to blend in with the other women in her unit.  It is during these learning experiences that she also learns about her own strength, the strength of her family and the strength within her own community.

The strength of the book is the writer's ability to blend in the historical facts regarding the WASP program, as well as her ability to use dialogue that draws the readers into the lives of the characters.  From idealistic and tenacious Ida Mae to gung ho and rebellious Jolene and naive and resilient Lilly, smith maneuvers through various topics while piloting a masterful example of historical fiction.

Pop Packs Quite a Wallop


Pop by Gordan Korman took me by surprise.  Typically, I don't go for his books.  I know. I know. He's a popular author; he's written popular books.  For some reason, I wasn't his biggest fan. Until now.  Whether your a football fan, a fan of realistic fiction or you just love books with teenagers who have issues, this book is for you.

The book opens with Marcus, the new kid who hopes his dreams of joining his new school football team as the quaterback will be realized...just as soon as he works on his passing.  It's only after he meets a kooky, old man during one of his solo practices that he realizes he also needs to work on his ability to pass under pressure, as well as his ability to pass without fear of being hit.  This fear of the "pop" is lessened with each impromptu practice with the old man who seems to have the strength of a stallion.

It's only after he goes to football try outs, that he realizes his dreams of being a quarterback on a previously undefeated team won't be realized, especially when he is made back up quarterback, iced out by the star quarterback, Troy, and ostracized by his teammates. The iciness between Marcus and Troy only increases when Troy's ex-girlfriend, Alyssa, shows interest in the new kid.

The push and pull Marcus and Troy is a good one, and the back and forth banter between Marcus and Alyssa is entertaining, but the heart of the story is the relationship between Marcus and his football guru.  A man, he later learns, is a retired NFL player, Charlie Popovich, known for making hard hits. It's through a series of hits (on and off the field) that Marcus realizes the toil the constant pops have made on Charlie's life.

 Read an excerpt here!!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

More 2 Come

I had an idea that I would post something before my next review.  Just so you would know I am serious about sharing information about books (sometimes technology).  My next review will be for a book titled, Flygirl, by Sherri L. Smith.  Let me just say, it was a wonderful read and I can't wait to share my thoughts with you.

I also want to share my thoughts with you regarding websites such as www.goodreads.com and www.shelfari.com, as well as the benefits of phone apps for books, such as the Kindle, the Nook, Amazon and Google.

Continue to check me out:)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Matched Imperfectly

Matched (2010) by Ally Condie


I read this book after reading reviews that compared Matched to The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins.

Premise-
In order to prevent strife and turmoil, Cassia's society determines the daily meals of the citizens, as well as their careers and the whether a person will be able to marry and have children.  Those who are selected to be married must particpate in a Matching ceremony where they are introduced via teleprompter to the person they will marry.  It is at her matching ceremony, that Cassia is introduced to her match, her best friend, Xander, who lives on the same street.  It becomes more complicated when Cassia learns her Match may have been a mistake and her true match may be Ky, another neighbor boy.

My Musings
From the beginning, I saw the similar ties: the opening scene describing a routine society event, the society based on rules created to promote unity and safety, and a female character with a best friend who is a boy; however, the similarities end there.

Matched doesn't have the fire of The Hunger Games and never seemed to light a fire in me. I wasn't concerned for Cassia's welfare. Even the love triangle between Cassia, Xander and Ky, an Aberration in the society doomed to a life of hard work and other hardships, didn't excite me.

If you're looking to be matched to a book that has dynamic characters, action and romance, this book isn't for you. You may want to read The Hunger Games again in order to reignite the flame created by Katniss and the citizens of Panem.

 http://matched-book.com/