Friday, November 30, 2012

You're Invited: Biblioball 2012

This short video invitation says it all.  But for those of you who like to have things spelled out:  December 8th, 2012, 8pm, The Bell House in Brooklyn.  Click here for tickets.

Hope to see you dressed up, getting down, and getting literary!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Programming Spotlight: Arts & Dreams


Bronx Hope Social Workers and Reading Specialist show off their affirmations. 

Last week, Bronx Hope students had the opportunity to participate in one of two Arts & Dreams-led empowering art workshops. Students and staff learned about the power of positive affirmations and then made some of their own! Many thanks to Laura, Patricia and Zyambo. --Anja Kennedy

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Saint Iggy by K.L.Going

It is a week before Christmas and third-year freshman, Iggy Corso, has been suspended again (this time it’s looking permanent), but that is hardly the worst of his concerns.  His mom has been missing for weeks, presumably on a meth-fueled bender, and his father is too drunk or stoned to care.  With his principal’s admonition to do “something that contributes to the world” ringing in his ears, Iggy makes a plan.  It has five steps:
1. make a plan
2. get out of the Projects
3. do something with [his] life
4. change everyone’s mind about [him]
5. get back into school
For assistance and advice he turns to his friend and mentor, Mo, a wealthy college dropout with an escalating drug habit that is about to get them both into a lot of very serious trouble.  Can Iggy’s relentless optimism and drive get both their lives back on track?  How many ways can a sixteen year old, with little education and no skills, contribute to the world?

Written in the first person, from Iggy’s perspective, Saint Iggy is a gritty, urban drama with an amusingly wry voice.  Despite its Lexile level of 1190, Saint Iggy’s generous use of whitespace, and realistic teen voice, make it an accessible and engaging read for a fluent high school reader. --Regan Schwartz

Going, K.L. Saint Iggy. New York: Harcourt, Inc., 2006. Print.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Programming Spotlight: International Games Celebration

Fun!  On November 14th and 15th students at Passages 4 largest sites participated in the American Library Association’s International Games Day.  Students recalled their favorite games from childhood and school, thought about the purposes of games, played games, and reflected on the value and roles of games in their lives.  Our libraries offered board games like chess,  Bananagrams and Scrabble, video games like Big Brain Academy, and word games like crossword puzzles, Scattergories and word searches. Social work team members contributed their engaging presence and socio-emotional expertise, and Literacy for Incarcerated Teens provided essential funding. Game on!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Papertoy Monsters: 50 Cool Papertoys You Can Make Yourself by Brian Castleforte

Like monsters?  Wish they weren’t quite so large and dangerous?  Have I got the book for you!  Paper Toy Monsters is a treasure trove of so-ugly-they’re-cute miniature monsters you build yourself.  Armed with a little time, some glue, and a lot of patience, you can craft an army of tiny, full-color monsters with names like Lil Vamp, Wolfman Joe, and Halloweeny.  Rated “easy” to “advanced,” there’s a monster for everyone.  Once you’ve worked your way through all of the artist-designed monsters, there are templates for you to design your own!

Not only is Paper Toy Monsters a craft book, it is a wonderful introduction to the features of nonfiction texts and technical writing.  With a table of contents, headings, subheadings, pictures with captions, and multi-step directions, there is plenty of information for students to explore. --Regan Schwartz

Castleforte, Brian. Papertoy Monsters: 50 Cool Papertoys You Can Make Yourself. New York: Workman Publishing, 2010. Print.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Programming Spotlight: Papertoy Monsters

To celebrate the start of our non-fiction unit, on November 8th Passages Academy Libraries simultaneously ran a program across three of its sites.  The Horizon, Bronx Hope and Crossroads libraries invited classes to participate in the crafting of paper toy monsters.  Students explored features of non-fiction text and technical writing by reading and following written instructions from the title Papertoy Monsters.  The book which comes filled with perforated pages of pre-designed monsters, instructed students to remove the pieces from the book and fold and glue them in order to create a three dimensional figure.

During the program students were brimming with excitement as they pulled pieces apart and glued them together.  Many verbally requested to make more monsters, stay an extra period or come back the next day.  After the program ended a student passed by the Horizon library smiling and saying “I have a lot of monsters.  I made seven!”.  A review of the book is coming soon! --Claudio Leon

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Take Me There by Carolee Dean

Dylan Dawson seems to take after his dad, the convicted cop-killer; a fact which has dogged him his entire life.  From the streets to juvie and back again, Dylan can’t seem to get his act together, not even long enough to learn to read.  Dylan was on probation, working at an auto shop, staying clean and falling in love with the girl of his dreams. Then life threw him a deadly curve ball and now he’s on the run from the law with his best friend and heading to Texas to get some answers from his father on death row.  But, Dylan and his father are both running out of time. Will Dylan find what he needs to get life back on track before it’s too late?

The pro-literacy message of Take Me There may, occasionally, come on too strong, but fans of Simone Elkele’s Perfect Chemistry series will find another good girl/troubled boy romance to get wrapped up in.  While the text has a Lexile of 760, the story is told through flashbacks, excerpts from Dylan’s father’s memoir, and straight narration, creating a more challenging reading experience. --Regan Schwartz

Dean, Carolee. Take Me There. New York: Simon Pulse, 2010. Print.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Save the Date: Biblioball

image by The Desk Set

Dear Readers,
Grab your calendar (in whatever form it may take these days) and set aside the evening of December 8th because you won’t want to miss the Desk Set’s annual Biblioball at the Bell House in Brooklyn!  All proceeds benefit Literacy for Incarcerated Teens, whose hard work and generosity make much of our work possible.  Hope to see you there!