December 24, 2011

Christmas Storytelling at Our Library, ala Dr. Seuss

Our Third Annual Christmas Storytelling Hour for our alumni keiki was a huge success!

Here are some photos for you to enjoy ---

Keana, Austin, and Julian volunteered to read The Cat in the Hat.

The Whos performed a choral reading of How the Grinch Stole Christmas
The keiki enjoyed the stories.
Afterwards, Kaulu served Who pudding, made by the Whos' leader Jos Reber Akoi '84.

I look forward to this little event every year! Reconnecting with alumni is such a joy.

And meeting their children? I can't even begin to describe how wonderful that feels.

I have the best job in the world!


December 15, 2011

"I have always imagined Paradise will be a kind of library" -- thanks, Kay!

"I have always imagined Paradise will be a kind of library." --Jorge Luis Borges

This is what I found on my desk this morning... thanks so much, Kay! On my Christmas tree this will go, and you will always be on my mind when I decorate every year.

More than that, this lovely ornament will be a treasured addition to my reading figurine cove in my home (that collection is worthy of its own blog post!).

You really shouldn't have, Kay -- no need for gifts! But you must have known how happy this would make me.

Thank you so much, and I wish for you and your family much happiness during this holiday season, and beyond.


December 2, 2011

Shakespeare Festival FUN at our school today

My seventh grade advisees had so much fun at the Shakespeare Festival today!

They were in one of many little groups making the rounds throughout campus to enjoy performances by the Sophomores. Each Middle School group watched scenes from four plays. Our group watched (with rapt attention) Love's Labour's Lost, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, Twelfth Night, and Comedy of Errors. And the games after each scene were so much fun! We laughed a LOT (and ate a lot of candy) ...

Congratulations to our Sophomores for doing such a fantastic job with The Bard!


November 28, 2011

Seabury Readers: Which of these Best Teen Books for 2011 should we order for the library?

Hi, Everyone,

Just found this list of the

--> link --> Best Teen Books of 2011 <-- link <--
from Kirkus

Tell me which ones you want me to order by checking them off on the Google Form below:

(you must be signed in to your SH account to view the form)



November 13, 2011

Reading Dante's Inferno - Ms. Sefton's Nine Circles of Hell Project

Every year around this time, Ms. Sefton asks her Sophomore English students for a "creative representation" of Dante's Inferno. She's always thrilled with the results.

Isabella caused the biggest stir this year with her nine-layer cake, covered with interesting ingredients like coconut (some burnt), red vines, gummy worms, chocolate chips, chocolate chunks, spray frosting, sprinkles, and (hard-to-work-with) fondant. Satan was represented by lichee and licorice.

The cake took three big sheet pans, many hours of preparation, and a vivid imagination to complete.

Feast de résistance!

After everyone admired Isabella's work of art, it was plates all around for classmates, followed by helpings by other classes. By the end of the day, the masterpiece was gone.

Isabella's (modest) comment? "It was more fun than doing a drawing."

A couple of days later, Ms. Sefton gave me a tour of her classroom, with the other creative representations still out. She pointed to a hell quilt meticulously crafted by Andie, who cleverly used color to show the intensifying heat.

Color quilt with 3-D effect.
Ms. Sefton continued around the art-filled room and stopped at a piece created by Valentin, who graduated last year. "I cried when I first saw this." Ms. Sefton said softly.

Watercolor by Valentin

(Valentin is attending School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He has his own artist Facebook page.)

Ms. Sefton pointed to a stuffed creature in the corner. "We've had to stitch him up a couple of times -- the students just love him!"

She was referring to a stuffed Cerberus designed and hand-sewn by Dominic, a couple of years ago. Dominic just happened to be in the area, so we cajoled him into having a photo taken with his three-headed creation.

Cerberus with its creator
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Ah yes, the imagination ... it's such a wonderful thing. And we are the joyful beneficiaries.

Congratulations to all of Ms. Sefton's students, for their fantastic "creative renditions" of Dante's Inferno throughout the years! 



I wonder what next year will bring ... 

October 23, 2011

Proof-Positive that My 7th Grade Advisees Love to Read

My advisees love to read!

I found this out last week -- it all happened so quickly!

As our advisory period was ending, I fired a series of quick-response questions to my advisees. Last question was (totally unplanned, I swear):
"What books do you absolutely love that you would recommend?"
Turned out, almost everyone recommended a book series -- an unexpected bonus! Proof-positive in my opinion that my advisees are excited about reading ... :)

Here's the list, enthusiastically shouted out to me in rapid-fire fashion: 
Iron Fey series by Julie Kagawa 

The Lost Hero series by Rick Riordan 

Cahills vs. Vespers series by Gordon Korman, Jude Watson, Peter Lerangis, Linda Sue Park, and David Baldacci
The Tiger's Curse series by Colleen Houck 
Inheritance, the last book in the Eragon series by Christopher Paolini, due out November 8, 2011
Watch Christopher Paolini as he completes the final page of his series.

And the book?
Miss Peregine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

Did I mention (this week) how much I love my job? 


September 13, 2011

Wanna Know What Our Seniors Read?

I'm always looking for good books for our students to read. (You: Tell me something I don't know, Ms. Lindsay...)

So when I discovered Mr. Hodara's Senior English website, with a discussion board revolving around what Seniors read over the summer, I was all eyes.

I loved reading the posts!

Mr. Hodara kindly gave me permission to share the summer reads that his students discussed.
(in no particular order)
  1. Go Ask Alice, Anonymous
  2. Water for Elephants, Gruen
  3. *Shanghai Girls, See
  4. The Lovely Bones, Sebold
  5. *The Color Code, Hartman
  6. Hunter Games, Collins
  7. Mockingjay, Collins 
  8. Catching Fire, Collins
  9. *Eyes of the Emperor, Salisbury
  10. Under the Blood Red Sun, Salisbury
  11. Dreams From My Father, Obama
  12. Travels with Charley, Steinbeck
  13. Lock and Key, Dessen
  14. That Summer, Dessen
  15. Along for the Ride, Dessen
  16. Gone With the Wind, Mitchell
  17. Looking for Alaska, Green
  18. The Path of the Assassin, Thor
  19. Artemis Fowl: The Time Paradox, Colfer
  20. Ender's Game, Card
  21. *A Dance with Dragons, Martin
  22. The Fellowship of the Ring, Tolkien
  23. The Two Towers, Tolkien
  24. *The Rogue Crew, Jacques
  25. *The Evolution of Calpurina Tate, Kelly
  26. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling
  27. Into the Wild, Krakauer
  28. *The Sicilian, Puzo
  29. Fahrenheit 451, Bradbury
  30. *At First Choice, Sparks
  31. Shantaram, Roberts
  32. *Again to Carthage, Parker
  33. A Long Way Gone, Beah
  34. *Pipe Dreams, Slater
  35. Angela's Ashes, McCourt
  36. *The Social Animal, Brooks
  37. A Room With a View, Forester
  38. Feed, Anderson
  39. Battle Royale, Takami
  40. Forever, Blume
  41. Speak, Anderson
  42. Siddhartha, Hesse
  43. *Thin, Rich, Pretty, Harbison
  44. The Glass Castle, Walls
  45. The Warlock, Scott
  46. A History of Pi, Martel
  47. *Haunt Me Still, Carrell
  48. *Maps of Bones, Rollins
  49. Fallen Angels, Myers
  50. Animal Farm, Orwell
  51. Hatchet, Paulsen
  52. *Golf Is Not a Game of Perfect, Rotella
  53. Angels and Demons, Brown
  54. *Seven Summits, Bass, et al.
  55. Nine Stories, Salinger
  56. Blink by Malcolm Gladwell
  57. Outliers, Gladwell
  58. Freakonomics, Levitt and Dubner
  59. Brunelleschi's Dome, King
  60. Ishmael, Quinn
  61. *Flags of Our Fathers, Bradley
  62. A Million Little Pieces, Frey
  63. The Devil in the White City, Larson
  64. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Larsson
  65. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Larsson
  66. *Procession of the Dead, Shan
  67. *Crazy for the Storm, Ollestad
  68. The Hobbit, Tolkien
  69. On the Road, Kerouac
  70. White Oleander, Fitch
  71. *Ahab's Wife, Naslund
  72. *Admission, Korelitz
  73. *The China Study, Campbell
  74. *Uncommon Criminals, Carter
  75. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Shaffer and Barrows
  76. The Diary of a Young Girl, Frank
  77. *The Hawaiians (Version Often Untold)
  78. The Help, Stockett
  79. *Leviathan Wakes, Corey
  80. The Naked Sun, Asimov
* = We don't already have these. Ordering ...

Our Seniors know I treasure these book reviews. Here's a blast from the past (remember Middle School Readers Advisory at lunch?), for our Seniors' enjoyment.

Review of The Guardians of Gahoole, 4:06 min.

MAHALO to Brendan, for allowing me to share this golden oldie!  His recommendations have helped a lot of our Middle School readers over the years. And there were other lunchtime book reviewer stars too: Laura, Kyla, Justine, Nick, Haley -- thanks very much!


August 17, 2011

Caught In the Act of Reading (for Fun!)

No, not homework, but reading for fun!

Took this photo in the Middle School this morning, and got permission to publish...


August 12, 2011

Thanks, Bear! Ordering These Science Fiction and Fantasy Books Right Now...

Thanks to alum Bear Rost for sharing the link to this nice list from NPR's annual summer survey (60,000 responders).

FYI: The books are the most popular, not necessarily the most literary.
Our library has many of these books, and I'll be ordering those we don't have. 


August 9, 2011

You Have No Idea How Ridiculously Happy This Reading Photo Makes Me

I collect reading photos from my Facebook friends, many of whom are Seabury alumni.

I love ALL of the photos I collect. But this one? This is the Best. Photo. Ever.

Paul is an '82 graduate, and this is his dog Sam. Paul's caption on Facebook?
"Sam loves a good story ..."
Here it is 29 years after Paul graduated, (where did the time go?) and Paul is reading one of my all-time favorite books about -- you guessed it -- a boy and his dog. The photo mirrors the story.

Here are three reviews of David Wroblewski's fabulous book:
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle: Reviews (on the author's site)
Talking to Dogs Without a Word (NY Times review)
Why Oprah Loves Edgar Sawtelle (
People ask me almost every day when I'm going to retire. And I always say to them that I love my job. This photo is yet another reason I really do mean what I say. Rewards pop up in the most unusual places. (Go ahead, click on the image to enlarge it)

And yes, of course we have copies in the library!


P. S. Thanks, Paul :)

July 29, 2011

Agatha Christie was a Surfer! How Cool is That?

I think Mrs. Martelles and other And Then There Were None aficionados will love this little tidbit of information (or, she may already know).


July 5, 2011

"Your Next" Series: Read, Film, Game, Present - A COOL Set of Sites!

Thanks to Richard Byrne for his suggestion of Your Next Read, which is a visual search engine for finding books. Here's a nice description and review of Your Next Read by AppAppeal.

The site will be a fantastic addition to our library's list of book-finding sites
Find a Book to Read

I notice that Your Next Read co-founders Robert Boland and Marko Dukic also created three other sites using the same design:
Your Next Game: Video Game Recommendations
Your Next Present: Present Recommendations
Your Next Film: Film Recommendations
The series taps the expertise of its audience -- a social media feature we've come to expect. They all have a thumbs-up, thumbs-down method for reader input. Simple and effective -- I like it!

The sites are ad-free; the creators get a small percentage of any book, film, present, or game you purchase from Amazon. See their Support Us page for Books.

You can sign up, but you don't need to.
"Signing up allows us to store your preferences, remember your recommendations (so you can see what you've already recommended when you return) and hear about updates and improvements to the site."
I find this transparent business model clean, elegant and inobtrusive, and I think the "Your Next" series services will be extremely helpful for our students and teachers.

Can't wait to see how these sites develop!


June 30, 2011

Try These Funny (and other Terrific) Books for Tween Girls, Sarah!

No, Sarah, I hadn't forgotten your request for "a list for 4-7th grade girls" in response to my blog post: These Books Will Make Teen Boys Laugh :D

Not sure if you meant any good books for girls that age, or books that would make girls laugh.

Here's a site that lists funny books for girls:
From "Funny Books for Girls" by Engelfried

You can do a search on Story Snoops, a book suggestion site that I trust, to find books using various criteria. My search for funny books that have a girl as a main character, for ages 9-12, yielded these results:
The Franny K. Stein Mad Scientist series by Jim Benton
Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Judy Blume
The Effy Maloney series by Mary Hershey
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow
Forever Rose by Hilary McKay
Geek Chic: The Zoey Zone by Margie Palatini
Olivia Kidney by Ellen Potter
The Dork Diaries series by Rachel Renee Russell
I So Don't Do Mysteries by Barrie Summy
Coincidentally, another Sarah who loves reading
The sites below list books that aren't necessarily noted for humor (although they may indeed be funny), but they are likely to be terrific:

Great Books for Girls - The Top Picks of over 150 teachers, librarians, and girls themselves

Hoagies' Hot Topics Reading List: Girls and Young Women

Adventure Books for Middle School Girls from LM_Net (informal school librarian network)

Books - Tween Girls - Parents and Summer Reading from (trusted) Good Housekeeping

Books for Girls from List is divided into four categories and searchable by reading level. aBookandaHug is a wonderful social reading and list-making site for children.


And of course there are sites that list funny books for both boys and girls. Here are two I like:

Funny Books for Third Through Sixth Grade Students from Oakland Library
Funny Books for Kids « I'm Just Sayin


There are many other sites, but these are the ones I recommend.

Hope this gets your 4-7th grade girl reader started, Sarah! (I think Selma might be interested in this list too)


June 14, 2011

These Books Will Make Teen Boys Laugh :D

ALL of us like to laugh!

But here's a great list especially for teenage boys, from author and screenwriter Don Calame, courtesy of The Guardian:

Don Calame's top 10 funny teen boy books

And since we're on the topic of books for boys, here's a super list that's sure to please, from one of our former English teachers:

Mr. Latendresse's Books for Boys

Happy reading!


June 7, 2011

Bye bye Borders...

The music, kids, and gift sections, and the check-out counter - 6/2/11

What does the recent closing of our Borders bookstore in Kahului mean to our Maui community?

Here are some of my friends' thoughts. 

My friend Susan Pirsch, our school counselor, says it so eloquently . . . 

"I loved going into the old Borders (ouch it hurts to write old). The coffee was pretty decent and I loved walking around with a cup checking out new arrivals, the religion section and when the mood struck, looking at history and current affairs books. The clerks were familiar faces and the "hand sells" were usually worth buying. I always ran into people I hadn't seen forever. It was a great time killer between things and what joy to walk out with a new stack of books to find new acquaintances in and to visit new places with!

I miss it a great deal and find myself at a loss for reading material. When I see a book I want I have to go online to order it. I am trying to have a bookstore experience with Powells but the multi-week wait for my purchase is trying. And where can I find new publications? Where can I see what "Granta" has published or "The Sun" or "Tricycle?" Do I now have to subscribe just to not miss anything?

I am now an isolated reader--just me and my Nook. I hate that I can't share my books easily with it and that buying a real book requires a trip to Lahaina.

This is a present I wish were different. I miss Borders and am sad its management thought buying knick knacks (like the fuzzy neon Christmas statues) made sense. They made some bad decisions and we book lovers are paying for it with real life style changes..."


The literature and nonfiction section - 6/2/11
Chris talks about his father:

"My father's favorite thing to do down country was to go down to Borders, pick up a few good books and magazines, and sit in the cafe with a cup of coffee. Now that it's closed, I'm trying to encourage him to look up new things to read on his new iPad, even though you can't beat the atmosphere of a good bookstore coffeehouse..." 


Lindsay will miss Borders too: 

"I used to work at Office Max, and I would often spend my lunch break at Borders looking through all of the books. I was still in high school at the time, so I had the luxury of having the time to read books that weren't assigned to me for schoolwork! I used to pick out a book or two every week or so. I'm going to miss the Borders in Kahului terribly. I know there is a Borders Express in the mall, but it feels like such a watered down version of the brick and mortar bookshop I've come to know and love. I love my Kindle, and I use it often-- but there's still something so satisfying about feeling the weight of a book in your hand and flipping through the pages. And nothing smells quite like a new book! I was very upset when I came home this summer break and learned it closed."


Stephen simply said: 
"RIP Borders"
And as for me? 

I tweeted @anuheayagi in March:  
“Borders closing isn’t all about buying books. [It’s] sad because we’re losing a vibrant PLACE that serves as a barometer of who we are and what we value.”
Anu included the tweet in her Maui Vents article, which cheerfully outlined the other places people could now buy books on Maui: 

Beyond Borders: Thought the closing of the Dairy Road store is the end of book-buying on Maui? Think again

Last evening, as I was enjoying tapas and crepes with some fellow Maui librarians, the subject of the closing of Borders came up. There was a collective sigh of dismay and regret.

"What can we as librarians do to make up for the loss of Borders?" someone asked.

We bandied about ideas for recapturing some of the richness that surrounded our Borders Kahului store. 

So-o-o-o, stay tuned ... :D

Do you have any ideas?


June 6, 2011

11 Great Summer Reading/Learning Resources for Teachers (tweet tweet)

Twitter Bird Sketchphoto © 2010 Shawn Campbell | more info (via: Wylio)

Summer is brand new and looming LARGE in my own little corner of the Twitterverse!

Here are 11 12 resources I recently found on Twitter that are worth sharing with those who might have missed them.

Why via my tweets? 'Cuz it's fun to show how Twitter works (140 characters or less) and who's tweeting (many educators we respect and can learn from) and why one might want to join the conversation (it's rich with ideas and content). [End of plug.]

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦  

RT @accordin2jo @jenniferlagarde: RT @shannonmmiller Summer Resources for Young Adults created using @Weblists #HASL11 Mon Jun 06 14:45:40 +0000 2011

Nice overview! » How to Create an Awesome Summer Reading List « via @MoodleMckean #HASL11 Fri Jun 03 20:28:14 +0000 2011 

GR8 MODEL! Summer reading 2011 style! Courtesy of NYPL et al. Mahalo (TY)! #HASL11 Fri Jun 03 19:28:11 +0000 2011  

Teachers, What's on Your Summer Reading List? - #TLChat #HASL11 Thu Jun 02 09:35:05 +0000 2011 

Student Opinion Question | What's on Your Summer Reading List? - #TLChat #HASL11 Thu Jun 02 09:10:31 +0000 2011 

GR8 Suggestions for teachers! »Cool Cat Teacher Blog: The Books of Summer 2011 Edition « #titlechat #reading Wed Jun 01 14:29:55 +0000 2011 

On Our Minds @ Scholastic » Summer reading across the nation! #reading #summer #TLChat #HASL11 Wed Jun 01 00:11:42 +0000 2011 

GR8 sortable Middle School Summer Reading List 2011 from Follett via @mswist @LM_Net #TLChat #HASL11 Tue May 31 04:20:11 +0000 2011 

What Will You Learn this Summer? 26 Professional Development Resources | Teacher Reboot Camp #HASL11 Sat May 28 12:47:32 +0000 2011 

Inspiring, thank you! » Encourage Other Teachers Even When School is Out for Summer by @coolcatteacher #edchat Fri May 27 14:38:18 +0000 2011 

2011 Summer Rejuvenation Guide: 10 Teacher Tips For Getting The Most Out Of Your Summer | Edutopia #HASL11 Thu May 26 14:11:28 +0000 2011  

UPDATE 06/06/11 pm - added #12:

This is happening in less than an hour! TL Virtual Cafe - June 6 - DIY Summer Reading #TLChat #yalit #kidlit Mon Jun 06 23:08:52 +0000 2011

♦ ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦   



May 29, 2011

What was your favorite book as a child?

Following Scholastic's lead, I asked this question of my Facebook friends a month ago. (Where did the time go?)

They could choose any time during their formative years. And, yes, my comment is in there too.

* * * * *

Michelle The Classic Winnie the Pooh. And ALL the Laura Engle's books :) I still want a little house on a prairie !!

Susan One Kitten is Not Too Many. My sister read it to me so often I memorized it and just like that I could read!

Emily Age 3 to about 6- Where the Wild Things Are. Ages 6-10 The little House on the Prairie series. Age 3 to present any Dr. Seuss book.

Julia Little House on the Prairie series. I still read them today! Then I also got HOOKED on the Black Stallion series. I also read a ton of Nancy Drew, but got bored pretty quickly as they are the same over and over...

Sally Anything by Dr. Seuss throughout my childhood. Nancy Drew mysteries. Mr. Popper's Penguins.

Jim Tales of a Fourth Grade nothing, Super Fudge...

photo © 2007 Jesse Wagstaff | more info (via: Wylio)Rachael Miss Suzy, The Berenstain Bears, Cookie Monster and the Magic Cookie Tree, The Jumble Bears or anything else by Molly Brett

Brian Encyclopedia Brown detective series from about 2nd grade to about 4th grade.

Jim Ender's Game is a fav too!

Mike ‎"You should have been here an hour ago" Phil Edwards - Inspired my move to Hawaii :)

Ben Winnie the Pooh - lots of stuff in between- Lord of the Rings...

Moka ‎"Oh the Thinks You can Think" - Dr. Seuss

Azi By Enid Blyton.."The Famous Five"...

Nancie ‎"The Phantom Tollbooth." Loved that one.

Anne Charlotte's Web

Virginia Wizard of Oz, the Secret Garden, all the Narnia books, all the Beverly Cleary books

Jackie Abraham Lincoln's Biography.

Adrea Eloise by Kay Thompson!!!

Connie Dr. Doolittle Books - i read every one!

Ned Black like me. I read it back in high school. A wonderful eye opener that is fast, easy, informative, and very enjoyable reading.

Shannon Momotaro, The Firebird, King Stork for fairytales. A Wrinkle In Time, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Laura Ingalls series (of Little House on The Prairie fame) However, To Kill A Mockingbird is still one of my most favorites. I still read it about every 2 years and find something new in it each time.

Denise Mine was The Phantom Tollbooth as well. (Also, The Monster at the End of This Book (with Grover)

Ned And if we may ask "what is your favorite book?" (addressed to me, Linda)

Linda I learned to read in the same way Susan did, with a Golden Book: Animal Friends by Jane Werner. I didn't keep the original. I looked for years for a copy and finally found one on eBay. It's now in a plastic cover on my "We LUV Reading" glass bookshelf, which is filled with reading figurines and what-nots. The book celebrates the needs of each animal. The other book that had a profound influence on me is Black Like Me (same choice as you, Ned) by John Howard Griffin -- this book definitely colored (pun popped up in my mind, unintended but appropriate!) my view about prejudice.

Jamia Black Beauty

Virginia Oh I forgot All Creatures Great and Small and the other books in that series, and of course the Anne of Green Gables series! :)

Robin Felber Ohhh, Linda. I forgot to submit mine. My childhood favorite was an English series called "Green Knowe." It is no longer in print, yet there is talk of making a series of movies. I loved these books so very much. They were magical and wonderful!

(second update -- Rebecca Serle is a Seabury Hall alum)
Denise Hi, Linda! Did you know about this blog post that Rebecca Serle wrote several months ago? Ten Top Classic Children's Books

* * * * * * *

Thanks so much to my Facebook friends who took the time to comment. You make my life rich.

And since Dr. Seuss was mentioned more than once, I'm adding this fantastic book trailer created by Rebecca Warnberg, an elementary ed major at the University of South Alabama.

(Side trip: to learn more about Rebecca and how up-and-coming teachers might be viewing technology use in the classroom, view her enlightening 8-min. Final Reflection Video for EDM 310)

. . . What about you? What was your favorite book, growing up?


April 17, 2011

Looking for the book I LIVE IN THE FUTURE & HERE'S HOW IT WORKS -- in print, on an ereader, or on a mobile phone

Interesting how works!

I tweeted the following:

7 Must-Read Books on the Future of the Internet | Brain Pickings #HASL11 #tlchat

A few hours later, as I was reading The jasmont daily, a paper "shared by Glenda Morris + 818 followed people on Twitter", I noticed that my tweet had generated a video in the Media section, about the book I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works by Nick Bilton.

What a COOL concept: No matter if you're reading the book in print, on an e-reader, or a mobile phone, you can interact with the content. This means entering a discussion with other readers, or watching videos.

With the book in print, you can use a QR code reader.

Check out the video:

The bottom line? I love that the book in print is offered as an equal option for those who prefer the format, rather than as an either/or proposition.


I'm definitely purchasing I Live in the Future & Here's How It Works for our library! (in print)


@nickbilton's Twitter description: "Lead Technology Writer, The New York Times, Bits Blog. NYU/ITP Adjunct Professor. Book Author: 'I Live in the Future & Here's How it Works'"

April 12, 2011

Letter by Letter P i c t u r e l e s s Books is Hoping to Create a New World of Words

P i c t u r e l e s s books -- what a fascinating concept! Here's how it all began, what it is, and where it's going, by guest blogger, alphabateer (and Seabury alum) Adrea Peters:

Teff and I met in graduate school at Seton Hill University where we wandered the halls looking for a quiet place to create every chance we got. It’s a low residency program, meaning we were there for a week every six months or so and we milked every moment of that time. Both of us had intense demands on us in our home states so this was a time of escape for us. Teff was a semester ahead of me and when she graduated we vowed to stay in touch. We both graduated in the children’s lit track so we decided to be writing partners. Or as I remember it, Teff told me that’s what we were doing and I said, “sounds good.” One day (that’s the modern version of Once upon a time) we were chatting and Teff told me about a book idea she had written a proposal for and done all the research on, but hadn’t written it. It was for a positive word alphabet. I loved the idea. So that evening, I went on and made her a book. A couple weeks later it arrived and I mailed it off to Teff as a gift—to inspire her to move forward with her genius idea. I’d never seen her proposal. We didn’t even talk about the words she planned to use. That was the beauty of it. Almost every word I’d chosen was in her original list. A partnership was born.
Adrea and Teff
We wrote a bundle of alphabet books in record time and I started making them on… but the one issue was cost. When you are making only a few books, the cost was high—like $12-20 per book. We had no strategy. We had no real plan but we were spending chunks of change. Thus, we went back to our ABCs and decided to pause. We literally did not mention it in conversations for the next several months. We always have plenty to talk about anyway! Actually it would be hysterical to record one of our b o u n c i n g business calls. We jump from kids to pets to advertising to loans to food to vitamins to love to friends to book covers to apps to iBooks to Kindle to Twilight to publishers back to kids to boyfriends to Facebook to Twitter to books. There we usually stay for a while passing ideas back and forth back and forth. But that’s the way business works now. At least business at p i c t u r e l e s s! Light and easy. Fun and flowing. We believe that’s how business should, and can be.

And that is exactly how we awakened from our pause. I had just returned from a writing workshop in Guatemala where I had the incredible opportunity to work with Francesco Sedita of Penguin Publishing on my children’s novel, and from our brainstorming, I saw an opportunity to take the piece a new direction. So of course, I was looking for a distraction from the lonely hours I would be embarking on for that re-write! A week or so later Teff called and said, “I’ve got it.” I asked what she got J. She said, “We’ll do the books for Kindle. It’s free to publish!” My response: “Let’s.” We were off and running again and published seven books on Amazon within a few weeks.

What are we exactly?

We l o v e to be a wee vague about this because we are words. And with words, the possibilities are endless. Teff and I consider ourselves alphabeteers. We create alphabets. Sometimes as a whole alphabet, sometimes just a letter, and sometimes a bunch of letters to make words. Words can go a n y w h e r e and that is what we’re planning on doing… Cards, Notecards, many more Books, Twitter, Facebook, Magnets, Stickers, Clothing, Sheets, Towels, and our biggest project to date: Apps! We’re doing them for iPhones, iPads and all the Google-driven phones—Droids, Androids, etc.

Our alphabets fall into six categories:
a n g e l series

These are alphabets with a positive word followed by an affirmation. Z, Zany, Be zany! B, Beauty, You are beauty.

c a n v a s series

These are art, of any sort. Simple one... letter and word. b is for brush, c is for cartwheel.

e x p l o r e series

This alphabet explores the more scienc-y, math-y subjects. It is a word and a fun definition. E is for El Nino. . . when the Pacific gets super warm.

i m a g i n a t i o n series

These cover emotions and inspirations. The format changes on these depending on the emotion. Example: When you feel yucky, be yummy!

n o t h i n g series

This is a nonsensical series and kind of hard to describe. N is for Never Night is a title in the series... they are words that you can't really see... but that we hope you can imagine and form in your mind. Ur Txtbk is a book in the series, which is an alphabet of texts! And coming soon in the series: Study guides for vocab on the SATs!

w e l l n e s s series

This is our newest book set... and the name says it all. First book will be W is for Walnut. In this book there is a healthy food and three ways to prepare it... A is for avocado... on toast, in salad, in guac.

Why? Why do we do it?

We love words, but it is more than that. We wanted to create something that emphasized decompression and expression simultaneously. Thus we are picture less . . . to imagine more (our tagline). We hope that by not offering pictures or images, our readers will imagine what the words means to them. We have so many amazing stories coming back to us of what people did with the words—dances choreographed, paintings painted, poems and songs written and many, many discussions sprouting out of a word in one of our books. That is what it’s about.

We ask three main q u e s t i o n s when we create anything:

1. 1. Is it fun?

2. 2. Do I feel good when I create, read or experience it?

3. 3. Does it make my mind do something? Relax? Energize? Think? Wonder? Create?

To have guidance with a lot of freedom has been a terrific model for us. We do what’s fun, feels good and titillates our minds. To us, it doesn’t get much better than that, and if it does, we’re happy to find out.

What are our immediate plans?

We have started to release one book a month on Amazon and Apple iBooks. We teamed with a great designer, David Abbott, for new book covers so we will also be re-launching our first releases with brand new covers. Very exciting! Our next release is this week for:
We just got our first loan and with that money we will be creating our first Alphtapp. It will be based on our “flagship” book, A is for Angel. That was the hardcover book I created for Teff that is now a vintage classic because there are only a few printed, and our main seller on Amazon for Kindle. In the app, people will be able to read the book, make their own words and post letters and words to Facebook and much more, but I can’t say because it’s a surprise in the updates! What we love most is that people will be able to interact with the books/words in these apps and make things of their own with the letter! Oh how we love that because that is how we feel about them. Like they are our friends that we get to hang out with and share.

We absolutely want to turn Wednesdays into “W O R D Wednesdays” on Facebook! All over Facebook, words, words, words. Facebook is such an excellent tool for a company like ours. It allows us to interact with our readers/worders all the time, all around the world. Words, just words. And it is such fun! We have a ball playing with everyone on Facebook. It is meant to be fun—that is all. Just post a word. It’s addicting! We love it!

We’d like to expand our reach on Twitter as well! Tweet tweet a word of the week! That campaign will roll out in the coming weeks… We want something fresh and fun so we’re letting our j u i c e s brew!

My personal goal is to be featured in a story by Seabury Alum, Becky Worley on Good Morning America! That would be so much fun I can’t even begin to express it!

And last but not least… I made something to surprise Teff and I think you’ll see that on Facebook and our blog before April is done! Shhh. It’s a surprise. But I’m thinking giveaways!!!


Best of luck to Adrea and Teff on their c r e a t i v e journey! As for me? I'll be thinking of words for “W O R D Wednesdays".

My one question is, could the words be in another language? 
H o 'o m a i k a 'i, for instance, which means congratulations, in Hawaiian.

H o 'o  m a i k a 'i, Adrea and Teff. You really are making a difference for our children.


April 6, 2011

Why read to kids?

Guest post by Ms. Susan Pirsch, our counselor, who absolutely loves reading.

My first memory of sadness caused by something other than what one of my six older siblings did to me was listening to my mom read:

My dear, do you know how, a long time ago,
Two poor little children, whose names I don’t know,
Were stolen away on a bright summer day
And lost in the woods, I’ve heard people say.

And when it was night, how sad was their plight.
The sun, it went down, and the moon gave no light.
They sobbed and they sighed, together they cried,
‘Til the poor little things, they lay down and died.

And when they were dead, the robin so red
Brought strawberry leaves and over them spread,
And all the day long, he sang them this song:
“Poor babes in the wood, poor babes in the wood.*

My mom and I later laughed about how it tortured me and we wondered what possessed her to tell that story to a three-or four-year-old kid but when I look back, I know how it added to who I am. 

Right there, on her lap, holding one of the red encyclopedias that held this favorite story of mine, I became aware that others suffer, too.  In that way, I woke up a bit and began feeling a little bit more for others.

*The Babes in the Wood - English Children's Songs - England

* * * * *

April 5, 2011

Discovering Poet Punk Roberto Bolaño

Just discovered poet bad guy Roberto Bolaño's quote:
"In one way or another, we're all anchored to the book. A library is a metaphor for human beings or what's best about human beings, the same way a concentration camp can be a metaphor for what is worst about them. A library is total generosity."
This led me to:

I am now fascinated by this literary punk! 

He created the infrarrealismo movement, along with Mario Santiago Papasquiaro, in the 70's. He was posthumously awarded the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction for his novel 2666.

I decided to order The Savage Detectives (possible senior novel?) and The Romantic Dogs (Soph colonial poetry offering?)...

There's also a new book coming out in May: Between Parentheses of Bolaño's Essays, Articles and Speeches, 1998-2003.
Between Parentheses collects most of the newspaper columns and articles Bolaño wrote during the last five years of his life, as well as the texts of some of his speeches and talks and a few scattered prologues. “Taken together,” as the editor Ignacio Echevarría remarks in his introduction, they provide “a personal cartography of the writer: the closest thing, among all his writings, to a kind of fragmented ‘autobiography.’” Bolaño’s career as a nonfiction writer began in 1998, the year he became famous overnight for The Savage Detectives; he was suddenly in demand for articles and speeches, and he took to this new vocation like a duck to water. Cantankerous, irreverent, and insufferably opinionated, Bolaño also could be tender (about his family and favorite places) as well as a fierce advocate for his heroes (Borges, Cortázar, Parra) and his favorite contemporaries, whose books he read assiduously and promoted generously. A demanding critic, he declares that in his “ideal literary kitchen there lives a warrior”: he argues for courage, and especially for bravery in the face of failure. Between Parentheses fully lives up to his own demands: “I ask for creativity from literary criticism, creativity at all levels.” -- product description
Ordered it ...

And, yes, I ordered 2666, too.

What an interesting literary journey this turned out to be, and it all started out with that fabulous quote about libraries ...


P. S. Here are more Bolano quotes, from Wikiquote.

April 1, 2011

MEMIDEX: COOL DICTIONARY (PLUS) SITE for Readers, Word Lovers, Learners, Everyone ...

Tweet it from the highest rooftops!
MEMIDEX: Very cool dictionary (but so much more!) site RT @ via @ [@mauilibrarian2's actual tweet dated March 29]
Not too many in my close circle tweet (yet) -- they're very busy teaching + I'm happy to be a tweet filter of sorts. So here's a rough translation:

Larry Ferlazzo (of Websites of the Day fame) retweeted @englishcomp's (English Companion's highly-esteemed Jim Burke) tweet about this fantastic resource. You can click on the hashtags #words, #engchat or #etymology, which I added, to explore the latest related tweets containing those tags. is a shortened URL service (one of many) you can use so that you'll have more room for "meat" in your 140-character tweet.

And, YES, Memidex is that cool.
"With its millions of reference links along with other features such as auto-suggest, adult-filtering, mobile support, and free tools, Memidex is one of the quickest and easiest ways to get and compare online definitions, synonyms, etymology, and audio pronunciation." 
-- from Memidex announces Internet's first definition, audio, and etymology index of its kind - press release via PressReleasePoint

I went to the site's Free Memidex Tools page and found the code for a search box, which I embedded below. I'll embed it on our library's site too.

Go ahead, try it out for yourself!

As you can see,

Definition results include Wikipedia, Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the American Heritage Dictionary, New World Dictionary, Wiktionary, Macmillan British Dictionary, Oxford Dictionary, and Random House Dictionary.

Eytmology results include: Online Etymology and Wiktionary.

Audio Pronunciation results include Wiktionary, Macmillan British Dictionary, Macmillan American Dictionary, and the Free Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Pronunciation, and Google Dictionary.

... WOW!

Why does this reader-word lover-learner love Memidex so much? It's all about having the ability to make comparisons quickly. Our students and teachers need more sites like this.

Most excellently done, Memidex! A big MAHALO (TY) for putting together such an amazing, highly useful educational site!


Memidex is a company based in Montreal. The News tab on the site will take you to a history of the development of the app.

March 16, 2011

Library Going to the Dogs: You Can Check One Out at the Yale Library!

Did I mention how much I love dogs (and libraries, and books and reading)?

Monty, a border terrier mix (photo courtesy of Above the Law)
This article caught my attention (via @LibraryJournal):

I can't tell you how tickled I was to see this, and I'm hoping that the program will indeed help stressed-out students!

Here's the original announcement made in September, complete with the card catalog listing!

from Above the Law: A Legal Tabloid

And from the Yale Daily News:

Two personal connections for me: 
Here are more feel-good articles about Monty:

Yale Law's new ufference librarian: Monty the dog - Yale Alumni Magazine blog
Yale Law School May (or May Not) Have a Therapy Dog for Students - Education - GOOD

And here's a nice article about the value of therapy animals:

Animals can help humans with all kinds of therapy from St. Louis Today


Maybe we could do something at our school. Kathy of Hawaii Canines for Independence sounded enthusiastic when I mentioned it ...


Next Young Adult Borders Book Club Read - About a Boy by Nick Hornby

The Borders Young Adult Book Club's next pick is

About a Boy
by Nick Hornby

The book discussion will take place:

Saturday, April 16, 2011
3:00 pm
The Borders on Dairy Road
Kahului, Maui

Check out a synopsis and some reviews of About A Boy at Nick Hornby's Official Website.

Nick Hornby & Jasmin Tabatabai lesen photo © 2009 Admiralspalast Berlin | more info (via: Wylio)

For more information, contact Laura Mayron.


Come by the library to borrow/reserve, or use the library's suggestion/reserve box.

March 13, 2011

GREAT reading recommendations from some Facebook friends, ala PBS

I asked this question of my Facebook friends last week.

"What book are you reading right now that you'd recommend to others? Why?
(same question PBS asked on Facebook)

Look at the variety of delicious responses!

Julia: Currently reading Franklin and Eleanor: An Extraordinary Marriage by Hazel Rowley. Recently finished The Descendants - a novel about a family in Hawaii. Just did a blog post today about this!

Joy: Decision Points, George W. Bush. It's interesting to learn about the man as well as the former President, how some decisions were made and why...Not an easy position to hold - often a lonely spot to be in. Loving it!

Wendy: Through the Storm: A Real Story of Fame and Family in a Tabloid World by Lynne Spears... reading it out of pure curiosity, but loving the way it paints such a small town way of living as it reminds me of home.

Okee: The Hunger Games...thanks to my daughter who recommended the series to all three, pretty intense'll be Morpheous Road series because I got the 2nd book for free but waiting for the 1st one to be off of "hold" status.

I added this great trailer made by a student (not one of ours)

Rosemary: Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. True story about WWII.

Susan: Just finished Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt. Highly recommend to people who like southern stories with uplifting, fun characters! Am on the prowl for my next read.

Jennifer: I am reading The Help" it. Luke (my 5 year old) loves anything that has to do with dinosaurs...ANYTHING!

Debra: A sixth grade student shared What-the-Dickens: the Story of a Rogue Tooth Fairy by Gregory Maguire. Just started it.

Azi: Nani and I like to read James Patterson novels...don't we Nan..?

Val: I'm re-reading A Tale of Two Cities, because we are now in the worse and best of times. I'm also re-reading Once Were Warriors, loved the movie, but simply love the book. Both have to do with generational poverty...

Nani: I do like James Patterson and Jonathan Kellerman, but the most recent book I read was Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein. She's a journalist and has written for the New York Times. She tackles the effects of the girlie-girl culture on our young daughters. It was a hilarious read, rather informative (based on research), and has taught me to emphasize that there are other colors in the spectrum besides pink :)

Nani: Zoe likes the Biscuit books by Alyssa Satin Capucilli. They're the first books she's read by herself that have a storyline :)

Steve: Breakfast at Sally's by Richard LeMieux...story of a true local from this part of Washington...riches to rags and he lived on the street with his dog before pulling himself out of a slump...inspiring and humbling. A true testament to the good and pure side of human nature and its instinct to survive no matter what.

Rachael: Owen and Mzee ... because they inspire Great Love and Reverence for all life...

Penny: I may have mentioned this one before; Hannah Coulter by Wendell Berry. Such a lovely, quiet yet inspirational read. Now reading Even Silence Has an End a memoir of a woman held in captivity in Columbia for six years. Ingrid Betancourt.

Thanks so much, readers!


Ordering now ...