YA Books to Movies… So Many!

Wow, I am really impressed with the number of Young Adult books that are being made into movies this year. Here’s a few of my personal favorites:

A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness: this book about a boy who is losing his mother to cancer is simply fantastic. The all-star cast, including Liam Neeson and Sigourney Weaver, Felicity Jones, and Lewis MacDougall, ensures that this movie will be a hit. It came out in late December 2016.


Thirteen Reasons Why, by Jay Asher: Another heartbreaker, about a girl who commits suicide but leaves behind 13 audiotapes detailing the acts of the people who impacted her life in such a negative way. Selena Gomez is producing this one on Netflix, due out March 31.


Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass, by Meg Medina: I love anything by Meg Medina; she presented at my school and she’s just as wonderful in real life as she is in writing her characters. This YA award winning book, about a girl who transfers to a new school and is set upon by “mean girl bullies”, is going to be a Hulu series sometime next year. Way to go, Meg!


Wonder, by RJ Palacio: As a middle school librarian, we had the entire 8th grade read this book. It speaks so powerfully about accepting people with differences, tolerance, and learning empathy. I can’t wait to see it on the big screen, with Jacob Temblay as Auggie and Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson as his parents. It will be on the big screen in April.


Allegiant, by Veronica Roth: If you watched Divergent, Insurgent, and Allegiant part I, you’re probably ready for the final installation of the series. Starring Shailene Woodley as Tris and Theo James as Four, the movie will be out on June 9.


The Breadwinner, by Deborah Ellis. When eleven year old Parvana’s father is taken away by the Taliban for having an education, she must disguise herself as a boy and work in the market in order to earn money for her family. Produced by Angelina Jolie, The Breadwinner will be an animated movie this fall.


Plenty to read and watch this year! All six of these books are available at the ACHS library, and most likely at your local library or Overdrive.


Book Page Wreath

This week I decided to make a book page wreath, to perk up the library and to use at my book club’s annual holiday book exchange. It has been a couple of years since I made the last one, but the steps are pretty simple.

  1. Look for a book in your discard pile- in this case, I found an Edgar Allan Poe anthology that was falling apart.  I decided to try steeping some of the page edges in tea, but I only steeped them for an hour or so, which wasn’t really enough.img_9563
  2. Roll or fold up about 75 cones of paper.  I tried to imagine them as the cones you might see at a county fair that would hold popcorn or peanuts. Staple them about one inch from the bottom. img_9564
  3. Trace a circle about 9″ in diameter, with a smaller circle about 7″ in diameter. I used a bowl I found in the staff lounge and used the upper edge and the lower base for my circles. You can use cardboard or foamboard. img_9565
  4. Start stapling the cones onto your circle. Do a whole outside edge, folding the tips towards the back, then do a whole ring inside those.img_9566
  5. Add a third, and then a fourth ring. I made four rings, just because I had enough cones already made.  I’ve seen book wreaths with anywhere from 3 layers to 7.img_95676. For the last layer, glue them in instead of stapling, so the staples wont’t show. I felt it needed a little pop of color, so I added a couple of ornaments:img_9577
  6. And that’s it, really! Now you have a wreath made out of a book that you were going to throw out anyway.

Enjoy the holiday season!

Visiting Walden

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I come to die, discover that I had not lived.” –Henry David Thoreau

On our way to Boston this year for Thanksgiving Break, we decided to stop at Walden Pond, and discover our inner transcendentalists. The pond is only about half an hour outside the city, near the small town of Concord (site of the Lexington and Concord Battle of the Revolutionary War).

We visited the replica of the cabin that Thoreau built, on the land owned by his friend Ralph Waldo Emerson. The cabin is quite simple, holding only a cot, a desk, and a wood-burning stove. Inside the cabin is a list of how much the materials cost.


Next we walked around the lake, or pond. It is actually quite deep- it is 108 feet deep in the middle, and was formed by glaciers 10,000 years ago. It’s a kind of lake called a “kettle lake” because of the shape it makes, and because it has not river going into or out of it.  In the 1800s, the lake would freeze over, and they would cut blocks of ice from the lake and put the ice on ships to send down to the Caribbean and even to India. The water is very clear and very pure. Around part of the lake is a sandy beach, and people go swimming there in the summer.


On one side of the lake, a few meters up the hill from the water’s edge, you can see the foundation from Thoreau’s cabin. For years no one knew exactly where the cabin had been; it wasn’t until 1940 that an amateur archaeologist went out and started digging around in the woods, looking for the exact spot.  He found the footings for the chimney and now a marker shows the spot where the house was. About 700,000 people visit the Walden park every year now.



Emmanuel Yeboah Visits My School


Ms Stacy and I meet Emmanuel

Last year, a picture book featuring Emmanuel Yeboah came out, written by Laurie Ann Thompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls. Emmanuel was born in Ghana with only one leg, and by the law of the land, should have been killed at birth. Instead, his mother raised him and encouraged him to get an education, work hard for what he wanted, and to help others.


When Emmanuel was in his early twenties, he wrote to the Challenged Athletes Foundation requesting a bike so that he could ride around Ghana and raise awareness for others like him who had disabilities. With reporters in tow, he rode 400 miles around Ghana, interviewing others and sharing stories along the way. Later, the Challenged Athletes Foundation invited him to the US to have an operation that would prepare him to receive a prosthetic. With this prosthetic, he has now participated in triathlons, played on amputee soccer teams, and biked across America.

In his spare time, Emmanuel meets with school children, libraries, and lawmakers around the world to help influence policies and laws that will help disabled people.  Through it all, he is a reminder to all of us that one person, no matter what physical shape you might be in, can truly make a difference in the world.

In September, several librarians in my county worked together to bring Emmanuel to five of our schools and speak to our students. Later that night, my husband and I took Emmanuel to dinner and talked to him about his life. At the end of the week, Emmanuel flew to from Northern Virginia to Dallas to start a 25 day bike ride, which will end with him visiting the White House.

Find out more about Emmanuel’s challenging and inspiring life by visiting his website, http://www.emmanuelsdream.org.  Watch a video of Emmanuel speaking at our school on my youtube channel.