Who Does YOUR Shirts?

Al Capone Does My Shirts

by Gennifer Choldenko
This book is about a kid named Moose Flanagan and what happens to him when his family moves to Alcatraz Island in the San Francisco Bay. Moose knows that his family is moving to Alcatraz so that his sister, Natalie, can be closer to the Esther P. Marinoff School, which has an excellent reputation for kids like Natalie. But it’s hard to remember all that when his dad is hardly ever home anymore (he works two jobs for the prison) and Moose has to take on extra responsibilities with the care of his older sister since they no longer have family close by. It’s weird living so close to serious criminals like Scarface Al and Machine Gun Kelly and acting like this is all perfectly normal. Then Moose catches the attention of the warden (and not in a good way), in spite of trying to do the right thing. In the end, Moose discovers that it’s best to just come clean and that there’s nothing wrong with having Natalie for a sister.

I loved this book from the top of my head to the tips of my toes. Moose is such a great guy, you just want to meet him in person and throw the ball around with him a little. The way he and the other kids on Alcatraz balance life on the island and school on the mainland, you’d think it was the most normal thing in the world. But I’ve been to Alcatraz Island, and it’s creepy! I can’t blame Moose for being a little freaked out a first. But my favorite thing about the whole book is how funny it is! You wouldn’t think a book about a prison and a family with so many problems would be funny, but it is. And in the end, it’s surprising where hope finally comes from. After reading this book, my only regret is that I wish Al Capone had done MY shirts.

Reviewed by Ms. Meghan Beshara

The Real John Henry?

Ain’t Nothing But a Man by Scott Reynolds Nelson is a book that strives to answer a question that I’ve heard over and over as I’ve read John Henry stories to students.  Was John Henry a real person?  Nelson documents the questions he asked himself and the numerous sources that he sought out in his journey to find the answer to this question.  Although this book doesn’t give quite enough information about all of the details that Nelson uncovers, it does lay out how difficult it can be to find the answers to your wonderings.  Nelson had to ask numerous times at libraries for records to be released for him to review.  It seemed that no matter where he turned, he ran into roadblocks in his research.  I loved the realistic description of how fun and challenging research can be.  In the end, Nelson provides substantial evidence to give the answer to his question.  You’ll have to read to find out if John Henry really was a real person.  At the conclusion of the book, Nelson:

  • tells how his research will continue (as all research should)
  • explains what it takes to be a historian with 6 stages of work & descriptions
  • gives suggestions for further reading with descriptions of what each reading contains
  • includes a note about the sources he used
  • includes some information about the different versions of the John Henry son

If you have ever been interested in learning more about John Henry and who he may have been or if you are interested in what it takes to crack open a historical mystery, stop by the media center and check this book out today.

Almost Astronauts

I don’t consider myself an avid reader of nonfiction, but there was something about this book that begged me to read it. I’m so glad I did because it pushed me to see another side of the space program, a side that I probably wouldn’t have really paused to think about had it not been for this book. Almost Astronauts is about the Mercury 13. Thirteen women took rigorous tests that were much more demanding that those faced by men all in the hopes of being considered for the space program. There were multiple barriers in their way, and in the end, they never became astronauts due to their gender. However, they did pave the way for women to become astronauts years after their own struggles to become astronauts. Some of the shocking aspects of this book for me were things said by John Glenn and Lyndon Johnson. I’ve always thought of John Glenn as a hero, but this book pushed me to see him as a heroic man who did not believe that women or minorities should ever be allowed to become astronauts. Lyndon Johnson viewed women as a minority and believed that if women became astronauts then all minorities would have to be allowed to become astronauts. This book does not hold back in revealing how even today, women are not receiving the recognition that they deserve within certain fields. Even the way the news broadcast stories about astronauts is challenged in this book. This book is for anyone who has a dream and needs inspiration for how to never give up, even when you aren’t achieving your dream. It’s for girls and boys, men and women. I’m so glad that I took time to read and I hope you do too.  Stop by our media center to check it out or look for it in a bookstore or public library near you.


We are so fortunate to have access to countless resources online at our school. Students are becoming increasingly active using the technology we have and using the Internet to find information and connect with friends both online and at home. With this great resource comes the chance that students may experience cyberbullying among friends. We typically see this happen in our upper grades students. I wanted to let you know that we have a great new book in our library called Cyberbullying: Deal with it ctrl alt delete it. This book has scenarios, information, and even quizzes to tell if you are a cyberbully or if you are being bulled online. It is appropriate for students, but it’s also a great resource to read in a classroom or as a family.

We Love Our New Books

Well, as promised, another shipment of new books is here. This shipment has a lot of new chapter books and picture books. Check out the pics of students ready to go on a journey with these new books. Also, here’s a sampling of some of the tiles in this shipment.

  • Whales on Stilts
  • Tumtum and Nutmeg
  • Puzzling World of Winston Breen
  • Bearwalker
  • Codetalker
  • Counter Clockwise
  • Girl Who Could Fly
  • Coraline
  • Hermit Crab
  • Crossroads
  • Friendly Four
  • Deep and Dark and Dangerous
  • Castle of Cats
  • Ghosts Grave
  • Library Mouse a Friends Tale
  • Almost Astronauts
  • What the Dickens
  • Mousehunter
  • Mudshark
  • Thanks to the Animals
  • Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
  • Alfred Nobel
  • The Arrival
  • The Boy Who Grew Flowers
  • and many, many more……………

Authors Visiting Athens

I just love to hear authors talk about their books and see where they get their ideas and what their process for writing is like. I’ve already mentioned the Decatur Book Festival as a great road trip to take in order to meet numerous authors. However, if you can’t travel that far, there are some authors coming to Athens that you might be interested in.

Carol Hennesy, author of the Pandora series will be at the Athens Borders on August 20 at 7PM and August 22 at 11AM. There will time for Q & A as well as autographing. The Pandora series blends fantasy with information about Ancient Greece and Mythology. It’s a great series for girls, but can be enjoyed by all!

Sunday August 30 2:00PM at the Athens Borders, Donny Seagraves will be discussing and autographing her new book, Gone From These Woods. This book is getting great reviews. She is a local Athens author who has been published by Random House.

Take advantage of these opportunities to meet and learn from published authors.

New Books are Arriving

Our first shipment of new books arrived in the media center today. I just finished unpacking the boxes and getting them ready to be checked out tomorrow. Are you a fan of Babymouse? How about Magic Pickle? Would you love to read the boxcar children as a graphic novel? Are you in the mood for some poetry? Stop by the media center and check out what’s new. Here are some pictures to give you a sneak peak. See you tomorrow. Come early! These titles won’t be on the shelf for long!

Coming Soon! The Decatur Book Festival

I wanted to alert you early about a tremendous opportunity coming up in Decatur, GA September 4-6. The Decatur Book Festival brings authors from around the globe to the city of Decatur for a weekend of celebrating great books. Of interest to me (and I’m sure you) is the Target Children’s Stage. This stage will host award-winning children’s authors who will talk about their books and hold autographing sessions. In addition to the Target Stage, there are numerous vendors selling books of all vareities. There are multiple stages which will host authors of adult books as well. Explore the website and see what interests you. I attended for the first time last year and have vowed to never miss this incredible opportunity again. You don’t get to see this many award-winning authors in one place very often. Hope to see you there!

Highlights at the Children’s Stage:
-Kate DiCamillo!!!!!!!! author of Because of Winn-Dixie, Tale of Despereaux, Mercy Watson, Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, & more

-Loren Long-illustrator of books such as Wind Flyers, Drummer Boy, & Toy Boat

-Peter McCarty- author/illustrator of the Hondo & Fabian books

-Judy Schachner-author/illustrator of Skippyjon Jones

-Jon Scieszka-author of The True Story of the Three Little Pigs & The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales

-James Dean-artist of Pete the Cat

Let’s Take a Journey

I’m very excited to start off a new school year in the Barrow Media Center. We have many new faces at Barrow this year, and I look forward to meeting each one of you.

Our theme in the media center this year is “Take a Journey @ your Library”. I love to go on journeys. This summer, I traveled to Alaska and saw the beauty of that state. Every day was an adventure. I was only there for 7 days and I experienced only a small taste of what Alaska has to offer. There’s no way I could see all of that state, so what do I do about that….? Well, I can take a journey @ the library. I can read books that take place in Alaska like “The Good Dog” or “Akiak”. I can follow a blog of the Iditarod. I can research more about the wildlife that I saw on my trip. When the Iditarod starts, I can choose a favorite musher and track him/her on the trail. I can learn about the Natives of Alaska and how Alaska has changed through the years. These are just a few of the journeys I can take by exploring the resources in the library.  Visit our NetVibes page to see some of the resources I might research.

FireShot capture #2 - 'David C_ Barrow Elementary Media Center (20)' - www_netvibes_com_barrowmediacenter#Alaska

The library is my ticket and yours to journeys all around our world and beyond. What journeys have you taken this summer? Were they actual travels, travels in your imagination, travels on the Internet, or travels through a book?

Tell us about your journeys on here or stop by our journey bulletin board in the Barrow Media Center to display some information about your journey.