It’s a Panda Baby!

I’m writing this extra special post because I just watched Lun Lun, Zoo Atlanta’s Female Giant Panda, have her baby on the panda cam.  Many of the students already know how much I love pandas.  I followed Lun Lun’s first baby, Mei Lan, very closely with my third grade class 2 years ago.  I just happened to logon to Zoo Atlanta’s panda cam tonight as I was working on my other blog post and I was so lucky enough to see her have the baby live.  She is already being a great mother and protecting her new baby, which is just about the size of a stick of butter.  You can watch panda cam by visiting

Decatur Book Festival August 30

Well, I’ve spent a very hot day in Decatur at the Decatur Book Festival, but it was well worth it.  The day kicked off with Madeline and the Cats of Rome.  This is the first Madeline book in 50 years.  The author, the grandson of the  original author, read the book aloud and answered questions from the crowd. 

Next, we heard from Matthew Reinhart and Robert Sabuda.  I’ve met Robert Sabuda before, but it was such a treat to see both of these pop-up masters working together.  They demonstrated how to make some simple pop-ups and really demonstrated how 2 people who work so closely together can also think so differently.  I stood in line in the blazing-hot sun for 45 minutes to get my Dinosaur and Fairy pop-up books authographed, but it was well worth it.

Next, Rob Scotton shared his Russell the Sheep books and his latest book, Splat the Cat.  He read through both books and pointed out the many details in the illustrations.  It just reminded me of how important the illustrations are in a story.  Sometimes I go too fast and miss some of the details that illustrators like to hide in the pictures.  Students are usually better at seeing the details than adults, though!

Sarah Prineas shared her book, The Magic Thief.  This book is getting rave reviews by fans of Harry Potter.  One of the neatest aspects of this book is that she had to invent a whole new language that is used in the book to give clues to the reader.  A key is located in the back of the book to help decode the language.  When she signed my copy, she left me a message in this code and I had to decode it when I got home.

The last author of the day was Tony DiTerlizzi.  He is the illustrator/collaborator of the Spiderwick Chronicles, but he was promoting his new book, Kenny and the Dragon.  He was an amazing speaker.  His humor and high energy really kept the crowd going and he showed off both his storytelling and artistic skills for the audience.  He autographed my personal Spiderwick books, The Spider and the Fly, and Kenny and the Dragon.

I’m going back tomorrow for more.  Mrs. Plemmons is very excited about meeting Patrick McDonnell, author of Mutts Comics.  I will also get to hear from Doreen Cronin and Deborah Wiles.  There are also many great vendors.  I’m trying not to spend too much money, but I keep finding things that I just “have to have”.  Check out the pics from today.

First Book Builder Order

Today we placed the first order of books from our book builder program.  This program will run the entire year giving you opportunities to dedicate books for many different occasions.  We will place an order at the end of each month.  Thank you so much for this great start to the program.  It is truly helping us to build our collection and get books that students and teachers are requesting.  Here is a list of the books that are on their way:

Adventures of Captain Underpants: an epic novel
Bad dog, Marley!
Because of Winn-Dixie
Beginning, a muddle, and an end : the right way to write writing
Boy who was raised by librarians
Captain Underpants and the attack of the talking toilets : another epic novel
Castle Corona
Dare to be scared : thirteen stories to chill and thrill
Dog diaries : secret writings WOOF Society
Don’t let the pigeon stay up late!
Escape! : the story of the great Houdini
Great joy
Igraine the brave
Lightning thief
Mabela the clever
Marley : a dog like no other
Mary Poppins
Max’s dragon
Max’s words
Mermaids on parade
Miraculous journey of Edward Tulane
Scared witless : thirteen eerie tales to tell
Shake, rattle & roll : the founders of rock & roll
Skeleton man
Tale of Despereaux : being the story of a mouse, a princess, some soup, and a spool of thread
There’s a frog in my throat! : 440 animal sayings a little bird told me
This book is haunted
Today I will fly!
Vile village
You read to me, I’ll read to you : very short scary tales to read together      

Decatur Book Festival

Those of you who haven’t made any plans for Labor Day Weekend might want to check out a unique event in Decatur.  The Decatur Book Festival will host numerous authors talking about their books and signing autographs.  Of interest to me is the Target Children’s Stage.  Authors such as Tony DiTerlizzi (Spiderwick), Doreen Cronin (Click, Clack, Moo Cows that Type), Patrick McDonnell (Mutts Comics), Robert Sabuda (numerous, amazing pop-up books), Sarah Phineas (The Magic Thief), and many more will be speaking about their writing.  This is such a rare opportunity to see so many talented authors in one place, and the best part is that the event is FREE.  My wife and I are planning to go to both days and spend most of our time at the children’s stage.  In addition to authors, there will be lots of activities related to books and reading.  This is a great family outing, and I just thought I would pass it along in case you are interested.

Book Builders

Today was the first day that the Barrow Buddy Book Builder program started.  I wanted to take this opportunity to thank so many of you for your support.  Today, we received 15 flyers back from people who wanted to dedicate a book from our wish list to put into our media center.  I am so thrilled with the support from our community to provide our children with quality books to enjoy.  I’ll be placing our first order soon, and students who dedicated a book will be the first to checkout the book and show it on BTV.  We’ll continue to add to our wish list and we’ll keep this program going all year.

First Week

We had a wonderful first full week in the media center.  The beginning of the week was extremely busy, and then checkout slowed down toward the end of the week.  I hope to see students continue to come checkout books individually as well as with their class.  I’ve attached a six minute podcast that talks about things we covered in orientation this week as well an introduction to our book dedication program, the Barrow Buddy Book Builders.  Have a great weekend!

Orientation Podcast

Second Day Breaks Record

Well…I just thought we checked out a lot of books yesterday.  Today, six more classes and a few other students visited the media center and checked out 286 books.  For those of you wanting to do a math problem:  We checked out 222 books yesterday.  Today we checked out 286 books.  How many more books did we check out today than yesterday?

I have really enjoyed chatting with students about books.  I can tell that this is going to be such a wonderful job.  I love hearing about the students’ interests.  We’re already finding areas where we need to build up our collection based on student interest.  We’re taking notes and we’ll try to buy some new books throughout the year.  Also, many books were returned to the media center today because students had already finished them! Many of our new books are getting rave reviews from students.  I enjoyed hearing what students thought about the books that they returned.  We’re off to a great start.  Keep checking out those books.

First Day of Checkout

Today was a whirlwind.  We had six classes visit the media center.  I spent time introducing myself to all of the students.  Then, we shared a book together.  Grades K-2 are hearing The Shelf Elf and Grades 3-5 are hearing Wild About Books.  We have taken time to talk about taking care of our media center and its books so that it will be available for us everyday.  Students were eager to checkout books.  Many of them checked out our new books, while others found old favorites to check out again.  In all, we checked out 222 books today.  I was very impressed.  Here are a few pics of students enjoying the first day.

Ready for Checkout

The media center will open for checkout on Monday.  Most classes have already signed up to come to the media center for an orientation and a time to checkout.  Once students come to orientation, they will be free to visit the media center anytime their teacher allows them time to come or when they come in small groups or classes.  It’s going to be a busy week next week.  I’ll post an update on how our first week of checkout goes.

On another note, you will eventually be able to search our card catalog from home.  Right now, it can only be searched at school.  We are in the middle of switching our ciruclation systems, so it will take some time to make everything transition smoothly.

First Day

Well…the first day of school went really well at Barrow.  I enjoyed meeting so many of you last night at A Taste of Barrow.  Several classes came through today to say hello.  Next week, teachers have signed up to bring their classes to the media center for the first time.  We’ll be doing an orientation to the media center, and of course reading a great book too!  I look forward to seeing all of the students next week and start checking out lots of great books.