One Small Thing by Erin Watt




While everyone is gearing up for the best of 2019, I thought I’d do a little “throwback” to 2018 with the book I just listened to.  How it escaped my reading in 2018, I don’t know, but I really enjoyed it!  Great for school libraries who carry YA fiction!! Here’s the link to the booktalk If you can’t watch the embedded video 🙂  Enjoy!!




PSYCH! New thriller book review: S.T.A.G.S by M.A. Bennett

35926234._SY475_I posted a new book review last night on a GREAT thriller! S.T.A.G.S. by M.A. Bennett will grab you attention and keep you there for a twisted ending you weren’t expecting!  It was definitely on e of those books I saw as a movie and a modern perspective on a timeless short story (you’ve probably read!) Here’s the link to my new 90 second book review! Enjoy!!

Oh, the Horror! GREAT YA books for October

What, exactly is horror?  To me, monsters come in all shapes and sizes.  They can be real or unreal.  They can be your next door neighbor or in the your closet when the lights go out.  For some reason, I can read horror, but I CANNOT watch it (Paranormal Activity scarred me for LIFE!)  Teens love terror, so here’s a great booklist with a little blurb on several books to share with them, including some throwbacks you should dig back up and some humorous horror too, for those who don’t want to truly terrifying.

38116996The Past and Other Things That Should Stay Buried by David Hutchinson.  2019, Simon Pulse.  Dino keeps it together when he begins the task of preparing his best friend, July, for her funeral.  But then he REALLY needs to keep it together when she sits up and asks what’s going on!  Nothing can be more confusing (and smelly!) hanging out with your dead best friend and trying to figure out what’s going on.  You’ll laugh your way through this one!




35068432I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer by Michelle McNamara.  2018, Harper.  This non-fiction adult book is a first hand look of the author’s life as she grew up in California in the hunting grounds during the 70’s when the Golden State Killer was loose.  She details her experience and those of the victims through primary source documents.  Not for the faint at heart.




34324484._SY475_Not Even Bones by Rebecca Schaeffer.  2018, Houghton Mifflin.  Helping your mom with her job can be satisfying, especially if you’re the one that gets to dissect them.  But when you don’t do something correctly and it’s you getting parts cut off, that’s a whole other thing, especially when your parts bring the most money in on the paranormal black market.




37506333._SY475_The Sacrifice Box by Martin Stewart.  2018, Viking Books.  Word of caution, do NOT mess with ancient boxes in the middle of the forest.  And whatever you do, do NOT put sacrifices in the box, make a pact and then break it!!  If you do, the evil undead will come back, not only for you, but for your town!





35926234._SY475_S.T.A.G.S by M.A Bennett.  2018, Delacorte Press.  There is nothing more scary than a group of teens who have dark and evil intents.  And what’s even scarier, is that adults ALLOW them to continue some dark family traditions to ensure they stay in control.  Nothing better than a psychological thriller with beautiful monsters!





33385217Uncanny by David Macinnis Gill.  2017, Greenwillow  Books.  Willow Jane doesn’t understand the dark power behind a old family heirloom her mother has.  She also doesn’t know the Shadowless have come back to not only retrieve the heirloom, but also to use Willow Jane to become even more powerful.  Set in modern day Boston, book captures new and old horror that only Boston can.






28367592Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics.  2016, Harlequin Teen.  Lucy’s mother has passed away, and she lives in an isolated mansion with her father, who makes himself quite absent.  But spending time in the attic has become a catalyst to dark, evil things and soon Lucy can hear scratches and voices in the wall…right behind her bed… Amy is making a name for herself in the realm of YA horror, so you MUST check out all of her books!  Daughters Unto Devils was HORRIFYING!



28962906._SY475_Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalo.  2016, Jimmy Patterson Books.  There can be no truer monster than Jack the Ripper, and in this book (the first of a stand-alone series), one very headstrong girl finds herself in the same circle as the mysterious murderer…Maniscalo’s other books have her chasing the Devil in the White City and Dracula, among others (2017-2019)!




13530957THROWBACK!  The Infects by Sean Beaudoin. 2012, Candlewick.  Nothing can be more scary or hilarious than bad fried chicken, a field trip into the wilderness, and your friends turning into zombies!





90 second vlog review: I’m Not Dying With You Tonight


I’m teaching a master’s course in diversity literature for children and young adults and WISH I had read this in time to put it on my syllabus!!!  EXCELLENT diverse title and highly recommended for JH/HS. It’s really interesting how the authors created a microcosm of the greater issues that surrounds what is happening within the book Here’s my vlog review for it. Enjoy!

Recycled DIY: Fall Pumpkins Using Weeded Books

IMG_1374Hello everyone!  This weekend, I got a little crafty because I just needed a break, and crafting is definitely a de-stressor for me.  I posted this on social media and several people asked me to post instructions for them.  SO….I created a Youtube video that’s short and chock full of different ideas (four in all!) for creating unique Dollar Tree pumpkin DIYs.

PS- I’m using a different camera, so I look REALLY filtered (NOT on purpose!)…must change those settings!  This was my first DIY video, so apologies about not centering as well as I should have, but I couldn’t re-shoot.  It’s all good!  Enjoy!!

Large Print and Its Impact on Readers: Guest Blog Post

aSZKt543_400x400Hello everyone!  This blog post is all about large print and what a valuable part of the library collection it can be!  I was recently introduced to Sabine McAlpine, whose passion for large print led her to her current position as Strategic Director at Thorndike Press, which also partners with Follett School Solutions to provide large print to create a more inclusive library for all types of readers.  Before starting at Thorndike Press 20 years ago, Sabine volunteered at public libraries, running story time, reading with children of all ages, and putting the FUN in reading.  A reluctant reader herself, her compassion and drive to reach children where they are continued as she was accepted as a reading coach, volunteering weekly at local schools, supporting and helping to create a culture and love of reading.  Now that you know a little more about her, let’s get started!

Hi Sabine!  Thanks for doing this guest post!  Could you share with us some common fallacies about large print?

One of the first hurdles for educators to overcome is the perceived stigma associated with large print. They often think of large print as a medium for older adults or the visually impaired and the books will be larger in size.  When in fact, we publish hundreds of high interest, award-winning, and curriculum favorites in large print. These books are changing the mindsets students have about their own reading capacities and reading experience. In research conducted by Project Tomorrow, nearly 60% of middle school students stated that they were better able to stay focused and did not lose their place due to distractions when reading the large print book. In addition, Thorndike Press takes the potential stigma seriously. Our books are similar in size and weight to the standard print edition. They are produced with the same cover art and illustrations as the original edition, and do not feature the words “Large Print” on the outside of the book. All Thorndike Press titles are unabridged and hardcovers are library bound and have a 100% guarantee on the binding.


So glad you are printing for demographics for young adults!  A question most people, including myself have is how can you fit an entire book into large print when they look like they have the same number of pages?

I have been asked this question more times than can count! To explain this, I typically show an example of Harry Potter in regular and large print and my answer is, “it’s magic!” The magic is our paper, a high quality, high opacity, thinner paper that ink does not bleed through. This allows us to keep the book a similar size. Thorndike Press large print books are in a 16-point, Serif font, with increased white space, which is less intimidating to a student, and has been proven to lessen decoding and tracking issues and increase fluency and comprehension.


That’s a great example to share (because would doesn’t like Harry Potter!)  So, what readers are most drawn to large print and why?

It has been amazing to watch, hear, and see all different types of students drawn to the larger font format, but most notably are those that what we define as striving readers. With large print striving readers have exhibited increased engagement and academic achievement, creating equity in their learning environment. Teachers overwhelmingly identify “easily distracted” and “lacking comprehension of what they are reading” as defining characteristics for their striving or reluctant readers. In the Project Tomorrow study, three-quarters of teachers said that their students reading below grade level demonstrated evidence of increased reading comprehension and better retention with the large print books. 95% of these teachers committed to continual use of large print in their classroom. A significant impact has been noted for students learning English and special education students. Almost two-thirds of teachers said that the large print text resulted in faster acquisition of English by ELL/ESL students.


Thanks for sharing stats from Project Tomorrow!  Another question librarians and educators ask is if  large print books are still valuable in the age of e-book technology and font size?

This is an interesting question as there’s a common misunderstanding that because the font size can be increased with e-books that they could offer the same results as the print book. While we believe that students can gain from all reading resources, studies have shown that retainment, enjoyment, and comprehension increase when reading the print format. The average student spends 9-10 hours on a screen a day with eye fatigue setting in after only 90 minutes. When asked, more than 50% of students in grades 3-12 said that school reading experiences would be more enjoyable if all books were in large print. Project Tomorrow also found that students who read large print text have increased student growth in Lexile levels and higher student comprehension scores even when reading large print books above their reading level.  Additionally, 69% of reluctant readers said that they enjoyed reading the large print text more than any other class books during the school year.


I’m learning so much from this myself!!  So, let’s get tap into our more creative side.  What would be some creative ways to display large print to capture attention?

Media specialists and teachers are so amazing. They are the experts in increasing engagement. Most educators place their large print titles in a separate area, near their new books or graphic novels, when introducing the new format to students, parents, and teachers. I’ve seen great displays and and one that comes to mind was “Magnify Your Reading.” Media specialists are fantastic at book talks, like you, Naomi, and always bring the large print, simply showing the students an available format that can be less frustrating or overwhelming. Recently, I’ve had several media specialists and teachers add large print to their book discussion groups, lit. circles, and classroom collections. One librarian shared that she sees it as no different than offering other formats, like graphic novels, as literacy intervention resources that inspire reading and build confidence.


Thanks for sharing that display!  Finally, what are your future projects with Thorndike Press and large print?

We are thrilled to launch the Project Tomorrow white paper with a webinar on EdWeb, “Support Positive Literacy Outcomes with Large Print.” In addition, with the confluence of September being National Literacy month and the amazing results from the research, this sparks opportunities with mainstream media. We will be working with the District Administrator Magazine to share our results in October, holding several webinars with School Library Journal in January, attending all major national and regional shows, and offering free professional development to districts. I’m very excited to share that we will also offer a session at TLA 2020, “Reading Success Matters: Increase Literacy and Reading Engagement with Large Print,” with amazing panelists: Becky Calzada, Library Media Services Coordinator, Leander ISD, Carter Cook, Director Library Services, Fort Worth ISD, Julie Moore, Media Services Coordinator, Arlington ISD, and Renee Newry, Media Services Coordinator, Irving ISD.

Thanks Sabine for sharing your time and information!  I really enjoyed working on this post with you!