Thursday, June 25, 2015

Week 5 Journal - LIB 5060

It's the last journal!!!!! Last week of class, here we go.

Tonight, we have the final presentation for the class. I'm really excited to share what my group has come up with to benefit our selected library.

More than that, I'm excited to share the results of my retake of the quiz we took at the beginning of the summer session!

My new score: 50

You are a culture sensitive person, and people will recognize you as one.  If your score is above 50, however, you are probably sensitive and broad-minded in some areas only.  Actually it is easy to be culturally sensitive if one does not hold very firm beliefs about anything.  Look through the questions again and note where you picked up high rather than low scores.  Were these questions in which personal comfort was directly concerned, or in which convictions or very strong ideological beliefs were touched upon?

Now, before, my score was in the 60s. I've grown a lot over the course of this class, I think. I feel like the presentations have really opened up my mind to a lot. I don't know if my mind has been changed or anything like that, but I do know that I'm much more sure of what I believe, if that makes sense. I know that I'm still very anti-censorship, but I understand why some people think it's ok. I'm not ok with dating or marrying someone of a different race, but it makes some people happy, so good for them. I'm a religious person, but I get that some people are not, and that doesn't make them bad people. It's just made me more open minded, I think. I also believe that librarians have to be open minded because they are going to serve people from all sorts of cultural backgrounds, and it's unfair to not be as helpful just because you don't agree with someone's personal choices/history.

What a great thing to have realized! :)

As far as our group goes, I hate to grade each person in my group. I'm never a fan of doing this (who is?)

Audra was absolutely phenomenal. She took charge of the group and helped everyone stay on track and organized. She also worked really hard on putting all of our ideas into words on the papers and helped us stick to deadlines. I love working with her in class, because her paper writing is very similar to mine, so we usually do well together. Audra truly deserves an A in this class. She's a great person to work with.

Rebecca is just a great person. She kept things lighthearted and was definitely a great group member. She and Tiffiny made sure we had a great understanding of the Mooresville library, since they lived close to it, and she always did her part with the research of everything.

Tiffiny worked so hard on our BlendSpaces for the presentation. She is the technological one of the group. She would get the BlendSpace going, add pictures, and share it with all of us so that she could really contribute to the group. She isn't as much of a paper writer, so she was very excited to be able to contribute in this way (and I was happy that I had someone in my group who truly enjoyed creating presentations, because this is not my strong suit).

Rachel always did everything that was asked of her. She helped Tiffiny with the BlendSpace and did a great job during the presentations. She always knew exactly what she was supposed to present, and she did a great job of encouraging the rest of us while we presented.

My job was a combination of it all. I always helped and contributed with research by adding my thoughts and findings onto a Google Doc. Then, I would help edit down the papers into something smoother that we could turn in. I checked grammar and turned things into more academic writing (that's my specialty - editing!). During the presentations, I thought I did a decent job conveying information to the class.

Anyway, thank you so much for a great summer semester! I will see you in class tonight, Dr. B! Thanks for everything!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Week 4 Journal - LIB 5060

This week, we were supposed to go and check out everyone's space that was created for Part 3 of the Culture Project.

My group decided to create a very simple, streamlined space where everything was labeled in English and Spanish. We created posters/flyers in Spanish and English, labeled each section, and used selection criteria that allowed us to choose titles that would be appealing to Hispanic/Latino patrons, whether that meant the book/media was about current issues, written by a Hispanic author, etc.

One of the spaces that I really liked was the LGBTQ library space. I think this is a really hard group to serve, especially without getting any flack from outside community groups. I think a neat way to make sure you include books/resources for this group is to have them cross-referenced as LGBTQ but also as whatever else they are: adult fiction, young adult, and children's. That is exactly what this group did. I especially liked the videos section. I think videos are really helpful for this group, in particular.

I liked the space created for Seniors, but I still feel like it was a bit stereotypical of your traditional elderly person. It was very creative, with sections on travel, retirement flyers, grandchildren, etc. But what about those elderly patrons who don't care about any of that? What about elderly patrons who are still working, have no grandchildren, and are looking to the library for other resources? Shouldn't there be a fiction section that highlights literature about people their age? I know that, personally, I identify more with literature about people my there have to be seniors that feel the same way, right?

The homeless space was one of my favorites, if not my absolute favorite. I loved the wall with mirrors and the poetry hung on the wall. I liked that they included recreational reading as well as resources for the homeless AND books about homelessness. That was really awesome. Include a little bit of everything because these people are not just homeless; they're also real people. I loved the posters. It just made this feel like a really welcoming space. Bravo.

I wanted so much more from the teen space. I loved the idea of including books written by teens. I think that was really neat. I think a lot of research went into creating this space, but I was missing the technology that I think a library needs to include to really reach teenagers these days. E-books would be great to incorporate here. Something about Overdrive access? I don't know. I just felt like it was lacking.

As I see these other libraries, I'm thinking of what else I could've added in our library. I feel like everyone kind of went with just the stereotypes of what they thought each culture would like, and they didn't think of these people as more than their culture. I know the point of the project was to really think about how to serve the culture, but can't you get so caught up in their culture that you miss who they are as a person? It makes me think back to the personal cultural narrative. There were so many things that make me who I am. I don't think trying to serve one aspect of my culture would be beneficial for me. I don't know (just spitballing ideas).

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Week 3 Journal - LIB 5060

Another week of presentations are done!

This week, we had to present on the best practices for our culture in the library. My group presented based on research that we found that would make the Mooresville (or any) library better serve the Hispanic/Latino population. Overall, I think we could sum it up by saying we need to incorporate more bilingual signs, bilingual books, books that are written by Hispanic authors, and we need to reach out into the community to partner up with a liaison from their culture. Simply advocating for their culture will do wonders!

Next week, we have to design a space that shows how we would support our cultural group. I'm really excited to build out a library. I love projects like this. They let us get creative and design our own libraries the way that we would want them!

We also were supposed to read the article "The Culture of Comfort" by Annette de Faveri. This was quite eye opening, honestly. The whole article talked about how librarians themselves are a barrier in the library. And then, the last paragraph was just fantastic:

"We need to make ourselves and our institutions inclusive and accessible. We need to create policies, programs and services that are committed to equitable communities. To do this we must shed our culture of comfort. We need to emphasize ideas over tasks, and processes over solutions. We need to insist that experiences and effects are as significant a measure of our success as counting heads at a library program. Collectively we can debunk the myth that the current definition of the library and librarian is complete and needs only to be reproduced to be successful. This is not a "them or us," or an "old versus new" split in our profession. It is simply the recognition that if we are indeed society's most egalitarian institution we must become egalitarian." 

Yes. All of this. This is perfect. Not often do I read an article where I passionately agree with something that someone else has said. This article, though, summed up exactly how I feel about the library. I love the ideas of putting ideas above the tasks themselves. That librarians have the power to make the library truly equal for everyone. This was just perfect.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Week 2 Journal - LIB 5060

This week, in class, we had to present on the specific culture that we chose for our project. My group has chosen to focus on the library in Mooresville, NC. We are specifically focusing on the Hispanic/Latino population because they are greatly underserved in this area.

We've done some research and we found out that this group is 16% of the area's population, which correlates with the national population of Hispanics and Latinos. Even though they are a good chunk of the population, they are still not being served like they should. This is partially due to lack of awareness about how to actually serve their community and partially due to a lack of caring, I believe. I think libraries forget, sometimes, that their job is to serve the community - including minority cultures.

In class, after presentations, I realized that there are other populations out there that are being underserved. A group presented on the elderly and we had to immediately have a conversation about stereotyping. It's not something I think about in relation to the elderly, but after the conversation we had, it's absolutely true. We tend to just assume that the elderly population in an area are helpless. That they don't know how to use technology and they won't know how to do anything for themselves. This just isn't true. The elderly just aren't a population that I have ever really thought about in any other way. That's interesting though, because my dad is officially a Senior Citizen. He's one of the most technologically inclined people I know. That presentation really opened my eyes to a lot of stereotyping.

Another interesting presentation was the one on teenagers. Before this presentation, I wouldn't have considered teenagers to be an underserved population anywhere. Now, I could see how they would be underserved in any public library. They have one small section in my personal public library, and past that, they don't have anything. They need more access to technology. They just don't get what they need in the traditional public library setting.

I can't wait to keep going with these presentations and learn more about each population. This has already opened my eyes up so much, and it's just the first week!

Sunday, May 31, 2015

Week 1 Journal - LIB 5060

Testing my cultural sensitivity:

I've always thought of myself as relatively sensitive to other cultures. Then, I took this cultural sensitivity test. These were my results:

Score: 67

That put me in this category:

You are not as culturally sensitive as many people, and if your score is higher than 80 you are basically an insensitive type of person.  This will lead to clashes and short-term friendships.  It will also mean that little things trouble you far more than they should and that you may waste emotional energy on what is really rather insignificant.  It is very likely that you count yourself as someone with high principles, who tends to stick to important things rather than trivia.  If you can get a wider experience of life and greater genuine contact with people, however, your will be more culturally sensitive, and in the end you will feel happier for it.

Not as sensitive as most people. Wow. I do like the part of this that says "you count yourself as someone with high principles, who tends to stick to important things rather than trivia." That's definitely me. 

But wow. I really thought I was more sensitive than that.

Hopefully, throughout this class, I'll grow as a person a little. I know we have to retake this quiz in 5 weeks, so we will see.

Culture in the library:

There is a stereotypical culture in the library, specifically the public library: Cold, quiet, not welcoming, unfriendly, stuffy. That's not a good thing. People don't typically go to the library around here. It's a place that I love going, but people only tend to go there if they need to.

I want to be the kind of librarian that works to change that culture. I remember how excited I used to be when I was a little girl about going to the library. I want all kids (and adults) to be that excited about it. I've learned so much about how to accomplish that in my time at ASU. I just can't wait to implement it all.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Advocare 24 Day Challenge - Cleanse Phrase Wrap-up

As you know, I've been doing the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge.

The first phase of this challenge is the Cleanse Phase. In this phase, you use the products below and work on ridding your body of toxins that will prevent the effective absorption of key nutrients.

Advocare Spark - I used Fruit Punch and Pink Lemonade

Herbal Cleanse - Fiber Drink, Probiotics, and Herbal Cleanse Pills

OmegaPlex - Essential Fatty Acids (like fish oil, but better)

Catalyst - Supposedly, it's like "liposuction in a bottle," or so I have read.

Ok, so those are the products you need during this phase of the challenge. It lasts from Day 1 - Day 10 of the 24 days you're on the challenge.

A few things made me nervous about this challenge:
  1. Lots of products to remember to take at different times of the day.
  2. I read a ton of horrible comments about the fiber drink.
  3. The cost.
  4. Clean eating when I don't like vegetables. 

Addressing the concerns:
  1. Well, clearly, I decided the cost was worth it. I just wanted to give something a try. I knew I needed to boost my metabolism and reset my body. This was the way I chose to do it. I had seen how well it worked for a friend of mine and I knew that, if she could do it, I could do it too.
  2. The challenge comes with a handy Daily Guide. I leave this out on my counter at all times and check things off when I do them. There is also an app on my phone that will remind me to take products at certain times (like, when I'm at work).
  3. The Fiber Drink.....ugh, I'll explain more on that in a second.
  4. Clean eating..........ok, this was the hardest part of the challenge. I already meal plan, but I had gotten so lazy about cooking. As a matter of fact, when I told my boyfriend that I was going to cook at home for 24 straight nights, he laughed at me. So far, so good, but it was hard getting the motivation at first. Also, I'm addicted to coffee. With the exception of my pregnancy, I've had coffee every day (multiple cups of coffee) since I was 17. I'm 24, almost 25 now.
So, here's how the cleanse went for me:

Day 1: 
  • 5:30 AM - Advocare Spark and Catalyst first thing. Ok, Spark is really good. I'm not kidding. The fruit punch kind of tastes like Koolaid. I can handle this for 24 days.
  • 5:35 AM - AM Yoga
  • 6:00 AM - Breakfast. The dreaded fiber drink (and yes, it really is disgusting. I'll give tips for getting it down below) and food. I chose to drink a protein shake for breakfast for the first three days, just to make sure I was getting good nutrition first thing. 
  • 9:45 AM - Snack time! I ate a banana.
  • 12:00 PM - Lunch time. Salad with chicken. Lite Raspberry Vinaigrette dressing. Delicious
  • 4:00 PM - Snack time! I would eat fruit or veggies with hummus. Just depended on what I had on hand. Sometimes, I would eat a rice cake or two.
  • 6:00 PM - Dinner time. Omegaplex (2 capsules) with food. I'm going to include my dinner meal plan for the first 10 days below.
  • 8:00 PM - PiYo, day 1. Hello, Chalene Johnson. I've missed you.
  • 9:30 PM - Bed. Yes, this is early but I was exhausted. I took my crazy pills with the herbal cleanse tablets and passed out.
Water intake for the first day was about 12 cups. I peed all day long. I had to get someone in to watch my class twice so I could go pee.

Nothing happened on the "cleansing" end. Not to worry. It's just day 1!

Day 2:

Went through the exact same process as Day 1. Same breakfast, same lunch, different food for dinner. Same products. Easy!

Bad caffeine headache today. It went away around 3:00 PM...but I had to teach all day long feeling like someone was cutting my head into pieces.

Day 3:

Went through the exact same process as Day 1-2. No headaches. No cleansing. My body is starting to get adjusted to the water intake.

Day 4:
  • New product today! Adding in the probiotic at breakfast. No more Fiber drink either! Thank the Lord.
  • Finally cleansed a little today. Nothing major. This cleanse is definitely gentle, as promised.
Day 5 - 7:

Same as Day 4. Body is starting to become more regular, which is something I've always struggled with. Didn't exercise at all this weekend. Way too tired.

Day 8:
  • Return of the dreaded fiber drink. Three more days of this crap. I can do it.
  • No more herbal cleanse pills at night.
  • Everything else is the same!
Day 9 - 10:

Same as Day 8. My body has definitely become more regular throughout this process. No more bloating. I've been quite gassy though (TMI, sorry!). I looked it up, and this is a side-effect of all of the extra fiber I've been taking in. Remember, 6 of these days started with the fiber drink, AND I'm eating fruits and veggies...something my body is not used to doing.

Dinner Meal Plan:

  1. Lemon Chicken with Herbs, Salad.
  2. Baked Swai, Green Beans
  3. Grilled Italian Chicken, Corn
  4. Grilled Tilapia, Salad
  5. Roasted Garlic & Herb Chicken, Green Beans
  6. Olive Garden for my sister's birthday - I had Baked Tilapia and Shrimp with a side of steamed broccoli. Salad, of course, which was sad because I really wanted Chicken & Gnocchi soup. The saddest part of all? No breadsticks. This was depressing and very difficult.
  7. Garlic & Herb Chicken, Green Beans
  8. Baked Swai and Tilapia, Corn
  9. Turkey Meatloaf and Light Mashed Potatoes (I really needed the extra carbs at this point)
  10. Leftovers from the night before.

At this point, I'm about salad-ed out. I've had a salad 8/10 days for lunch AND sometimes with dinner. 

Now, for the best part of this whole cleanse - THE RESULTS:

Over the course of these 10 days, I lost:
  • 6 pounds!
  • 5 inches!
Average weight loss on the challenge is anywhere from 5-15 lbs. I've already lost 6 on the cleanse! That's exciting!

Do I think the products alone caused the loss? No. I'm a realist. I changed the way I was eating, completely.

Do I think the products helped a lot? Yes, absolutely. Without them, I wouldn't have gotten off of coffee/soda. Without them, I wouldn't have been inspired to make these lifestyle decisions. The strict schedule of this cleanse pushed me to do things that I normally wouldn't have done.

Hopefully, I'll see even more results with the rest of this challenge. There are a lot of pills that go with the next part of this challenge. I might have to set alarms on my phone to remember to take them all at the appropriate times. I'm hopeful!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Starting the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge

Losing weight sucks.

Like, no joke. It sucks.

A friend of mine has recently done the AdvoCare 24 Day Challenge. She lost 15 lbs with the challenge. I was so impressed with her before and after pictures and results that I decided I would give it a shot. I have tried just about every fad out there, just to see what the hype is. Call it a natural curiosity, if you will. I've done Body by Vi (which, to be fair, I loved) and Plexus Slim (not a fan, honestly).

I received my package in the mail yesterday. Pretty quick turn around, actually. I ordered it on Wednesday and received it Saturday around midday. Not too shabby!

Here's what it looks like:

It was a nice sized package, about 6 lbs total. I went ahead and unboxed it (and of course, took the obligatory photo of the products stacked up way nicer than they will be for the next few weeks):

With the 24 day challenge, you get 5 products:
  1. Spark (two boxes - enough for the whole challenge) - kind of like their energy drink. This is what I am most excited for.
  2. Herbal Cleanse - for the cleanse phase (days 1-10) - contains probiotics, herbal cleanse pills, and the dreaded fiber drink (the part that I am least excited about)
  3. MNS C - vitamins and other supplements that you take during the Max phase (days 11-24)
  4. Meal Replacement Shakes - for breakfast during the Max phase (days 11-24)
  5. Omegaplex - you take this during the entire challenge.
I added on another product - Catalyst. Supposedly, this product is amazing. I've even heard it called "liposuction in a bottle." I'm skeptical, but we will see. I start taking that tomorrow morning and take it for the whole challenge.

The package also came with an insert that explains the challenge and tells you exactly what to do each day. It's laid out nicely. Pretty simple, I think.

After I got all of the products, I realized I needed a plan. Now, I'm usually pretty good at meal planning, but I have sucked beyond the telling of it here lately. Boyfriend is always teasing me about how little I cook. When I told him I meal planned and went grocery shopping, he laughed. Now I have to do it, just to prove him wrong ;)

Here is my meal plan for the week:

Currently, I'm baking chicken for the salads every day this week. We will see how that actually turns out.

I'm also starting PiYo again tomorrow. The farthest I've ever made it is Week 3. I love it; I'm just lazy. Sigh.

I have a plan. I have the products. I have the correct mentality. I have everything I need. I will be posting regularly to keep track of how I'm doing on the challenge. Part of me really doesn't think it will work. The rest of me really wants it to work. It takes 21 days to make a habit. This is 24. Hopefully I will form some good habits that I can take with me long after the challenge ends.

I'll keep you posted ;)


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Reflection #10 and #11 (Two Weeks, One Blog): Social Justice and Global Awareness/Environmental, Ethical, and Other Social Issues

Social Justice.

This is a buzzword that you hear a lot these days. Simply put, it is when you put forth ideals of a just society by challenging injustice and valuing adversity. There are plenty of books that deal with issues like this. We have had to read eight books all about this issue over the past two weeks. Because they are all dealing with the same overall issue, I decided to combine them into one reflection (hope that's ok!).

Two of these books are repeated from weeks before: An Unspeakable Crime: The Prosecution and Persecution of Leo Frank and The Iguana Tree. The first book mentioned above is all about the persecution of a factory superintendent, Leo Frank. The people initially arrest a black watchman, but then turn to this Jewish-American superintendent. They proceed to gather evidence to try and persecute him for the crime. The second book is about these boys who cross the border from Mexico into the US and look for work in the Carolinas. It is all about the struggle they face on their journey to freedom. This one isn't social justice as much as it is global awareness - teaching students what kinds of things really go on in the world around them. Students can be so jaded and naive when it comes to issues like this, having never gone through them themselves.

The other books that we were to read over the course of this week can be ranked in the same two categories: Social Justice and Global Awareness. There is some crossover of course, in the books like I am Malala and Sold, but they all tie in to these overarching themes.

The article added to the eight books for these two weeks was incredibly powerful. On the very first page, I loved this quote:

"Literature has the power to transform our thinking. It can be a window into the world to help us recog- nize and understand the problems and injustices that pervade societies and make us realize that we need to take action to make a difference."

How powerful is that? Literature has that kind of power in our lives. Just a book? Wow. That's huge.

That really makes you think about the kind of power that teachers and librarians truly have. By simply recommending a book to a student/teenage patron, you are opening up their eyes to the injustices of the past, of the present, of the world. You're teaching them about the world and inspiring them to make a difference.

I really liked the section of this article that gave all of the ideas for literary response. I think I will be adapting them for use in my classroom with the novel that we are starting after spring break - The Fault in Our Stars. Not social justice or global awareness, but still neat ideas that I can use.

Bibliographic Information:

Alphin, E. (2010). An unspeakable crime : the prosecution and persecution of Leo Frank. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.

Hiaasen, C. (2005). Hoot. New York: Yearling.

Lai, T. (2013). Inside out & back again. New York, NY: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers.

McCormick, P. (2008). Sold. New York: Hyperion Paperbacks.

Perkins, M. & Hogan, J. (2008). Rickshaw girl. Watertown, MA: Charlesbridge.

Skloot, R. (2011). The immortal life of Henrietta Lacks. New York: Broadway Paperbacks.

Smolen, L., & MacDonald, S. (2009). Adolescent Literature and Reader Response: "It's about Global Awareness and Social Justice!" International Journal of Learning, 15(10), 207-212.

Stone, M. (2013). The iguana tree. Spartanburg: Hub City Press.

Yousafzai, M. & Lamb, C. (2013). I am Malala : the girl who stood up for education and was shot by the Taliban. New York, NY: Little, Brown, & Company.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Reflection #9: Disability and Differences

I love that there are books out there that touch every aspect of life. So far for this class, we've read books about LGBTQ issues, diversity, multicultural struggles, books that have been banned/challenged because of controversial content, and now, we've read books that have characters with disabilities or something that makes them just a little bit different than other characters.

I first read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key. This was such a great read. Poor Joey. He struggles with his ADHD so much. He gets into all kinds of trouble. I felt so bad for him. I hurt through the whole book, just like I hurt for my students who are struggling with this. It is so hard for them to stay seated for 8 hours a day, not talking, and listen to teachers talk about things that they don't completely understand. The focus aspect is hard enough, but when you are hyperactive on top of it, it's like the world is working against you. I think this book is perfect for anyone who is struggling with a similar disorder, or for someone who knows someone like Joey.

Marcelo in the Real World was another book that pulled on my heartstrings. When Marcelo was forced to work in the mailroom at the law firm instead of with the ponies at his school, I was upset for him. I know this is all supposed to teach a lesson about overcoming adversity and whatever, but books like this just upset me.

The book about Temple Grandin was inspiring. I've always found her story to be inspiring, in general. She overcame so much and worked to create new methodology in relation to herding cows. She embraced her disability and excelled because of it.

The two articles for the week were also very interesting (not as interesting as the consumerism articles from last week that I absolutely loved, though ;) ). I loved the three reasons for writing a literary character with a disability: "to teach about a disability, to focus on the life of an individual with a disability, or to tell a story that happens to include an individual with a disability." Kids need characters like them in literature so they don't feel so alone. This is especially true of children with disabilities. They need to see themselves in something so that they can relate.

I love the idea of teaching about disabilities and differences with picture books. I think that giving students a more creative approach to such a difficult concept gives students the freedom to question and think before they make a decision. Students are quick to judge one another and will sooner laugh and mock than just accept someone who is different from them, especially when they are younger. It's because they just don't understand why the difference exists. The older they get, the more accepting they become, but it is still hard to understand. Picture books can really help teachers and students address these difficult concepts.

Bibliographic Information: 

Gantos, J. (2014). Joey Pigza swallowed the key. New York: Square Fish, Farrar Straus Giroux.

Lok, C. (2009). Book Therapy: The Power of Picture Books for an Inclusive Classroom. California Reader, 42(2), 24-28.

Montgomery, S. (2012). Temple Grandin : how the girl who loved cows embraced autism and changed the world. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Stork, F. (2011). Marcelo in the real world. New York: Scholastic.

Wopperer, E. (2011). Inclusive Literature in the Library and the Classroom. Knowledge Quest, 39(3), 26-34.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Reflection #8: Marketing & Merchandising, Series Books

This has been my favorite week to read material for thus far. I love to think about consumerism and how it affects today's youth.

Both articles that were required reading for this week talked about what consumerism is, what a market child is, and how it affects kids. An example of this from the article would be American Girl. Children don't request a specific doll, typically. Not at first. The parents or grandparents, someone in the life of the child, recommends the doll or gives the child the doll. With the doll comes the American Girl books and movies. The child then becomes more and more familiarized with the American Girl character. When the child goes to the library, they want more books focused on their favorite character. They want to watch more movies about their character. It is not that their imagination is stifled in anyway. The kids can still play and make up stories about their doll. It's all about familiarity and comfort. They want to stick with what they know.

The same can be said about a lot of the series books that we read today. The Hunger Games is a HUGE series right now. It has completely blown up. Suzanne Collins must be loving that. But, really, we read the books first. After we loved the first book, two more came out. We read them because we loved the characters in the first book. We were all about the relationships between Katniss and Peeta or Katniss and Gale, depending what ship you're on. We wanted to read to find out what happened after Katniss and Peeta BOTH won the hunger games. Then came the movies. Of course, the trailer alone sparked book sales. People wanted to see the movie having read the book, and then the movie came out and made books popular all over again. This series has continued to rise in the ranks as the movies continue to be made. We continue to read and purchase these books and movies because of our familiarity and love for the fictional characters.

The negative aspect of this consumerism and market child mindset is that it prevents a lot of students from branching out and trying new things. Teens get so wrapped up in what they know and what their friends are doing/reading/watching that they don't try anything new. I am thankful that I was always so curious about new books that I was constantly discovering new things. But it worries me that today's youth is not like that. I don't think their imaginations are stifled because of it, but I do think that there is a limit of some kind that happens because of it. Hmmm....something to think about, for sure.

Bibliographic information:

Bickford, J. (2010). Consumerism How it Impacts Play and its Presence in Library Collections. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 8(3), 53-56.

Carman, P. & Pease, J. (2009). Skeleton Creek. New York: Scholastic Press.

Collins, S. (2008). The Hunger Games. New York: Scholastic Press.

Larbalestier, J. (2009). Liar. New York: Bloomsbury U.S.A. Children's Books.

Sekeres, D. (2009). The Market Child and Branded Fiction: A Synergism of Children's Literature, Consumer Culture, and New Literacies. Reading Research Quarterly, 44(4), 399-414.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Reflection #7: Multicultural Representations

In literature, there are many different ways that different cultures are represented. This has been an issue, especially when it comes to the American Indians and African Americans. Most authors are white. This is a well-known fact. Most award winning authors are white men. This was discussed in a previous reflection. I don't tend to think about such things. I just read for pleasure, not for analysis. However, this week required more analysis than I anticipated. 

The first article that I read this week was "Two Professors Critique the Representations of Africans and African Americans in Picture Books." It was very interesting to me that the study chose a white professor and an African American professor. I suppose they did this to balance out any bias. It was a great idea and it was eye opening in many aspects. There were several things that the white professor, Margaret, did not even notice until the African American professor, Wendy, pointed them out.

The pictures in the book sometimes did not match the tone of the prose/poetry on the page. I usually just interpret everything as a whole; I don't look at the individual pieces. They did.

They also noticed that most of the stories that were about Africans or African American families painted people in a positive light. This is unrealistic for family life, period...but especially untrue of the hardships that African American slave families had to go through in the past. Same thing for African families. The themes present were mostly positive and uplifting as well - like "hope."

It made me curious as to why they always produce fictional picture books like this. Are they meant to inspire students of color? Are they meant to give them hope that they can overcome their past? Are they meant to remind students of how far their families have come these days? I'm not sure. It's fiction.

The books for the week are great examples of multicultural literature. From the harrowing story of crossing the border from Mexico presented in The Iguana Tree to the trial of a black watchman in An Unspeakable Crime, stories about multicultural experiences are everywhere. Most of them end in a positive manner with these same happy themes present, like "hope" and "overcoming adversity." These books do as well.

I wonder if there are fictional books that present the darker side of these multicultural experiences. I'd love to read one, just for historical purposes.

Bibliographic Information:

Alexie, S. & Forney, E. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. New York: Little, Brown.

Alphin, E. (2010). An unspeakable crime : the prosecution and persecution of Leo Frank. Minneapolis: Carolrhoda Books.

Gangi, J. M. (2008). The Unbearable Whiteness of Literacy Instruction: Realizing the Implications of 
the Proficient Reader Research. Multicultural Review, 17(1), 30-35.

Smith-D'Arezzo, W. M., & Musgrove, M. (2011). Two Professors Critique the Representations of Africans and African Americans in Picture Books. Equity & Excellence in Education, 44(2), 188-202.

Stone, M. (2013). The iguana tree. Spartanburg: Hub City Press.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Reflection #6: LGBTQ Characters & Themes

Just one article this week!? This can't be real life? I feel like there is so much more information out there on LGBTQ literature and why it matters to the library.

Although, this article was packed with good information.

I thought it was interesting that one of the first questions asked, jokingly, about an LGBTQ book is whether or not the character dies. It leaves out the possibility for a novel with these themes having a positive, uplifting ending. What does that say for our LGBTQ students or teenagers who are just looking for answers within the pages of these novels? That it always ends in tragedy? While I'm not a supporter of LGBTQ anything, I am glad that these novels have grown and evolved to give students/readers something more positive to look for in the books.

Another big evolution in GLBT literature is the inclusion of more books about transgendered characters. This was not something that anyone felt comfortable discussing until recently. These books give confused teens another resource - characters with whom they can identify.

For me, as a future librarian, I will do just what the article for this week said to do: "put them on the shelf and treat them like any other book." I'm not going to be promoting these titles and I won't be recommending them, but I'll include them in my library. I'm not censoring information because I don't agree with it. That's ridiculous.

The two novels for this week: Between Mom and Jo and Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe fit perfectly into this category. In the first mentioned book, Nick has a family with two moms - his birth mother and her wife, Jo. They have marital issues and he feels completely alone throughout the struggle. He feels like he's in the middle of it. This is a book that you can identify with if your family has issues, period. It doesn't matter that he has two moms...but if you are in a situation where you have two moms, it makes the subject matter even more relatable. The book mentioned second, Aristotle...,  is going to be more helpful for those teenagers who are struggling with their sexuality in that Dante is very open about his, and Ari is not. It's a slower read, but it really makes the reader think. That's the point of LGBTQ books, I think. To make you think. To make you curious. To push you.

Bibliographic Information:

Camacho, H. (2011). Where GLBT Literature is Going and Why It Matters. Voice of Youth Advocates, 34(2), 138-139.
Peters, J.A. (2006). Between Mom and Jo. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers.
Saenz, B.A. (2014). Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Reflection #5: The Politics of Book Awards

For this week, we were required to read three children's books: Dead End in Norvelt, The Lock Artist, and Tuesday. These are all award winning children's books. It is obvious why they are award winning. Dead End in Norvelt is absolutely hilarious and the characters are very real. The Lock Artist leaves you wanting to know more about Mike and his past. I didn't want that book to end. Finally, Tuesday is a very well done picture book that won the Caldecott. I actually use pieces of this picture book to teach my 7th grade students how to analyze a text.

The articles, however, were the more interesting pieces for me this week. One piece of information that caught me about the Caldecott winning books were that the authors are overwhelmingly male. The only time that the number of females outweighs the number of males was in the 1960s - a time devoted to women's rights and other controversial issues. That surprises me. I would have assumed that anything related to picture books would have been more female than male. I'm not sure why I was under that impression, but I was dead wrong.

This trend continues into the books themselves. Only 17 (or 23%) of the award winning Caldecott books have a strong female leading character. That means that 77% of Caldecott books are written with a male leading character and, on top of that, the majority of them are written by male authors.

My thought: WHAT ABOUT MY FEMALE READERS?! I know that you can identify with a male character if you are a female, but why should you have to? Why doesn't this seem like a fair competition? Hmmm...just food for thought, I suppose.

Moving on to the Newbery Award.

Patricia Gauch wrote an article called "What Makes a Good Newbery Novel?" and used it to try to define what makes a book Newbery-worthy. Her first thought: a remarkable character. Yes. Yes, yes, yes. An award winning book must have an award winning character. Stereotypical response. I wanted more. On top of a character, Gauch says that "the stage of a Newbery book is key" and that this stage must be right for the hero/heroine. Sure. Setting and situation are important. Then, she said the thing that makes it different: "one of the surest marks of a Newbery is its last moments of story. Last scenes." So you need to have a remarkable character, a stage that fits the hero/heroine, and something pivotal happening in the story's last moments. This information made me want to attempt to write a Newbery-worthy story ;)

Then, I read the last article.

So many good points were made in the article "Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?" Basically, it echoed my original thoughts on award winning books. Just because it has won an award doesn't mean it is a good read. I have always struggled to love these award winning books. Growing up, my parents would buy the Newbery winners for me to read, and I would hate them. The only one that I can remember loving was Bud, Not Buddy and I had to read that for a class assignment. So, reading this article didn't shock me at all. I'm not surprised that librarians are not vouching for these newer winners.

There needs to be new, fresh criteria for selecting what books receive the award. I'm just not sure what that criteria is.

Bibliographic Information:

Crisp, T. and Hiller, B. (2011). Telling Tales about Gender: A Critical Analysis of Caldecott Medal-Winning Picturebooks, 1938-2011. Journal of Children's Literature, 37(2), 18-31.
Gantos, J. (2013). Dead End in Norvelt. Harrisonburg: Square Fish.
Gauch, P. (2011). What Makes a Good Newbery Novel? Horn Book Magazine, 87(4), 52-58.
Hamilton, S. (2011). The Lock Artist. New York: Minotaur Books.
Silvey, A. (2008). Has the Newbery Lost Its Way? School Library Journal, 54(10), 38-41.
Weisner, D. (2011). Tuesday. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Reflection #4: Censorship & Banned Books

Censorship and banned books are issues that we, as librarians, will always have to deal with. This was very thoroughly discussed in the readings for this week (the four articles and two books).

First, the article on children's views of censorship had some great points. I found it incredibly interesting that Sarah, one of the children used in this study, felt that censorship as a whole was negative because "reading, like is good for people and you should be able to read whatever you want." but she then goes on to explain that some material should be available in the library, but limited to a particular audience (like older kids). The overwhelming idea from the students was that parents should not be able to place limits on what children read, even if some thought that they could stop them if it was "really bad." As librarians, we have to make the literature available to everyone, but make sure that it is in the appropriate location (this was agreed on by the kids as well).

Another article this week, "Issues and Trends in Intellectual Freedom for Teacher Librarians," focused more on labeling books for content and even having to remove them from the library because of content. The big phrase in this article was "The more things change, the more they stay the same." We have all of this developing technology, which is awesome, but our thought processes are still staying the same when it comes to controversial material. One librarian reported that they have had five titles removed from their school librarian because of content, and while that is up to the director, it still is unfair that we have to censor material.

The other two articles have to do with a book that has been challenged multiple times because of its content - And Tango Makes Three - a picture book that delves into LGBTQ themes. While the book is carefully researched, contains endearing characters, and is very well-developed from a literary standpoint, it makes some readers/patrons uncomfortable because it is targeting young children (being a picture book). When reading the article about the creators of the book, it is clear that there was an agenda in making a book like this. One of the authors, Justin, made it his goal to provide support to queer students while at Harvard and jumped on this project. While I don't agree with this being for younger children, and I'm not a supporter of the LGBTQ scene, I do not think that we should censor any material. I'm a big advocate of having all available information out there and patrons can pick and choose what they want from what we have.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is another book that has been challenged because of its content involving witchcraft and wizardry. I find this absolutely preposterous. There are tons of books that are within this fantastic world and this particular series was targeted because of it's popularity.

Censorship shouldn't happen and books should not be banned. Period. If a kid can see that, we, as librarians, should see that as well.

Bibliographic Information:

Isajlovic-Terry, N., & McKechnie, L. (2012). An Exploratory Study of Children's Views of Censorship. Children & Libraries: The Journal of the Association for Library Service to Children, 10(1), 38-43.
Macock, A. (2011). Issues and Trends in Intellectual Freedom for Teacher Librarians. Teacher Librarian, 39(1), 8-12.
Magnuson, M.L. (2010). Perceptions of Self and the "Other": An Analysis of Challenges to And Tango Makes Three. School Library Media Research, 131-139.
Richardson, J., & Parnell, P. (2005). And Tango Makes Three. New York: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Rowling, J.K. (1999). Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. New York: Scholastic.
Storts-Brinks, K. (2010). Censorship Online. Knowledge Quest, 39(1), 22-28.
Young, C.A. (2011). Creating a Controversial Picturebook: Discussions with the Creators of And Tango Makes Three. Journal of Children's Literature, 37(2), 30-38.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Reflection #3: The Debate over AR and Reading Counts

Accelerated Reader is one of those things that is debated a lot. I have never heard of or seen Accelerated Reader used in a good, productive way. That doesn't mean that it can't be done or that it isn't done in some areas. It's just usually one of those things that people seem to do because they are told to do it, not because they believe in its value.

After reading "Accelerated Reader Can Be an Effective Tool to Encourage and Bolster Student Reading," I might just be persuaded that AR can really be effective. The story in this article about Billy, the student who couldn't read on grade level, was inspiring. I wish I had a program like this that I could use with my 7th graders who don't read on grade level. I have one student in particular that I would like to sit down and work with. He's a very reluctant student who uses the phrase "I just can't understand why we have to have a reading class when everyone knows how to read good in 7th grade" all the time. I have to remind him that he is no longer in a reading class - that we are now in English/Language Arts - and we focus more on the analysis of text. He thinks it's stupid and a waste of time, even though he isn't on grade level himself. AR could really help him out.

The article "Reading Management Programs: A Review of the Research" also inspired me to want to use these programs in my own classroom. It helped me understand that it's all in the implementation of the program. They shouldn't be used punitively, but only to encourage students to read voluntarily and make progress. There are extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, which I like the ideas of incorporating in all things, not just with AR or Reading Counts! programs. Apparently, research also shows that these reading programs truly are effective in promoting student progress in reading. If research backs it up, who am I to argue?

The last article that was required for us to read this week was all about the controversy surrounding AR. In "Accelerated Reader: The Controversy Continues - A Literature Review of the Effectiveness of Accelerated Reader in Increasing Reading Achievement and Student Motivation," a lot of my original issues with the program were brought to light. For example, the quizzes are simple. They only focus on basic comprehension and don't inspire a lot of critical thinking about the text. My job as an ELA teacher requires students to think critically about a text and analyze the decisions the author has made in creating the work of fiction or nonfiction. AR quizzes are too simple and do not reflect any of my Common Core standards. On the other side of that, some students that I teach are lacking in the basic comprehension of grade level texts. I find myself having to explain things that I should not have to explain to thirteen year old students. Maybe, if they had used AR throughout elementary school, they would be closer to grade level and be able to comprehend these more complex texts. Overall though, according to this article at least, the "jury is still out" on whether or not AR and other reading management programs really do improve student achievement and increase their motivation.

After reading these articles, I'd love to give it a shot.

Bibliographic Information:

Luck, S.A. (2010). Accelerated Reader: The Controversy Continues - A Literature Review of the Effectiveness of Accelerated Reader in Increasing Reading Achievement and Student Motivation. Illinois Reading Council Journal, 38(2), 3-9.
Hansen, L.E., Collins, P., & Warschauer, M. (2009). Reading Management Programs: A Review of the Research. Journal of Literacy & Technology, 10(3), 55-80.
Solley, K. (2011). Accelerated Reader Can Be an Effective Tool to Encourage and Bolster Student Reading. Knowledge Quest, 39(4), 46-49.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Reflection #2 - Graphic Novels and Transliteracy

When people think of libraries, they tend to only think of the books on the shelves. It's hard for people to remember that a library is so much more than that. It is a center for information. This information comes in so many diverse formats. Last week, I reflected on e-books. This week, it's all about graphic novels and transliteracy.

The first article we had to read this week, "Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe," discussed many different formats for books, including ebooks, interactive storytelling, and interactive fiction. This is something that is incredibly interesting to me. I've always loved the "Choose Your Own Adventure" books. They allow you, as a reader, to control the story. While I am a fan of linear storytelling in which you follow a clear beginning all the way to the clear ending of the book, there is something so refreshing in choosing your own path through a work of fiction.

Interactive storytelling is also of interest to me. The article describes it as a way for children to have "different ways to access the content of the story." I think this is something that is very useful for our children. Not all kids learn in the same way. For them to have the option to have a story read to them, turned into a game, or to read along with highlighted text is very useful. I think these diverse types of fiction would be very useful in the classroom as well. As a teacher, I could see the benefit of having multiple types of the same novel going on in the same classroom. It would help students!

The other article we had to read was "Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels." I loved the way that this article defined media literacy - a combination of "several languages or forms of communication" which include pictures, audio, and the written. This is another thing that we, as teachers and librarians, have to keep in mind. The combination of pictures, audio material, and written material helps our students learn. It puts together many of the different learning styles into one piece of text. This is why graphic novels can be so helpful for our students. It allows them to grapple with material that they may not have grappled with before. It opens their minds, as well.

The primary readings for the week - Skeleton Creek, The Arrival, and Tuesday - are examples of transliteracy and graphic novels that the articles discussed. Skeleton Creek is an interactive piece of fiction that gives readers a chance to get involved in the text. The Arrival and Tuesday are graphic novels with little to no text. They force readers to use images to create a story in their minds. The Arrival is very dark, whereas Tuesday is a lighter text. These two texts show how diverse graphic novels can really be.

Bibliographic Information for these texts:

Carman, P. (2009). Skeleton Creek. New York: Scholastic Press.
Lamb, A. (2011). Reading Redefined for a Transmedia Universe. Learning & Leading with Technology. 39(3), 12-17.
Monnin, K. (2010). Teaching Media Literacy with Graphic Novels. New Horizons in Education, 58(3), 78-84.
Tan, S. (2007). The Arrival. New York: Arthur A. Levine Books.
Weisner, D. (2011). Tuesday. New York: HMH Books for Young Readers.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Reflection #1: The World of E-Books

This week, we were required to read any children's book in an electronic format and three articles about e-books.

I'll start with the e-book that I chose. I read Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney. I had read this book before, in print. My students love to read books from this series. However, I much preferred reading it in an electronic format. I was able to read the entire book in about thirty minutes. While I am a fast reader, the e-format made it a lot easier to complete the reading. Overall, it is a faster process of analyzing and gaining information, in my opinion. I love the features e-readers provide their readers: highlighting, making notes, accessing an online dictionary, etc. You can do these things with print, but an e-reader makes it so much simpler.

As far as the articles go, well, a few things stood out to me. First of all, it shocks me that e-books are more expensive than print books for a library. I think there were things mentioned in the articles that I hadn't thought about before. When consumers purchase e-books from places like Amazon, the Kindle edition is typically cheaper than a print version. When libraries purchase e-books, however, they have to pay for the content and license to share that content with their patrons. This raises the cost. Then, when the license runs out, they have to make the decision whether or not to repurchase. Just from that alone, I can see why libraries are very hesitant to purchase e-books. The article "Purchasing E-books in Libraries" mentioned that "...82 percent of public, and 44 percent of school libraries are already offering e-books,..." and after reading these articles, I can understand why the others haven't gotten on board yet.

The article "E-Book versus Print" showed that in a public library, print books circulate more than e-books (or at least in that particular library). While that is good news for the library as a building, as a center for information and BOOKS, it almost makes you wonder why public libraries offer the option at all, especially with the cost concerns. Other studies that this article mentioned are solely limited to academic libraries. I can understand why the trend in academic libraries is that e-books are used two to three times more than print books. It's all about ease of access to information. As a graduate student myself, I'd rather pull up a book on my MacBook or iPad, find the information I need quickly, and not have to worry about checking out a print book just to use for one paper. It makes the process much simpler.

One of the biggest "issues" that libraries face today is the growing demand for e-books. Some might even say that e-books and e-readers make libraries and librarians obsolete. This is absolutely not true. In fact, Steven Roxburgh, author of "The e-Future," states that he's not worried about librarians at all. He says that "we'll always need librarians to organize, track, and deliver content."

This is a brilliant time for authors and illustrators. Their content is being sold, shared, and read more and more now that e-books are as popular as they are. The issue is whether the library should be another outlet for patrons to get e-books. I say, yes. Offer the most popular titles and don't worry about the rest. The most popular titles will be circulated and you will get a return on your investment.