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January 2012, Volume 4, Issue 1

Continuing Education Alert

Check Your Calendars!!

SDLA Legislative Day
January 12

ALA Midwinter Meeting
January 20-24

Digital Learning Day
February 1

Read Across America Day
March 2

Teen Tech Week
March 4-10

PLA Annual Conference
March 13-17

National Library Week
April 8-14

World Book Night
April 23

Featured e-Resources of the Month
Find Your "A-ha!" Moment

Children's and YA Services


Read Aloud Survey: We Asked ~ You Responded

Looking for a great new book or story to read aloud to your students? For the past month, librarians around the state were asked to share their successful new read alouds. The results, by possible grade levels are:

Elementary (PK-5):

  • Charlie the Ranch Dog by Ree Drummond (2011)
  • Betty Bunny Loves Chocolate Cake by Michael Kaplan (2011)
  • 999 Tadpoles by Ken Kimura (2011)
  • Holler Loudly by Cynthia Leitich Smith (2010)
  • Pie by Sarah Weeks (2011)
  • Llama Llama Holiday Drama by Anna Dewdney (2010)
  • Rudolph's Night Off (w/DVD) by Baxter Black (2011)
  • The Underpants Zoo by Brian Sendelback (2011)
  • Cheshire Cheese Cat: A Dickens of a Tale by Carmen Agra Deedy & Randall Wright (2011)
  • The Croaky Pokey by Ethan Long (2011)
  • Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin (2010)
  • Interrupting Chicken by David Ezra Stein (2010)

Middle School (6-8):

  • Thank You, Miss Doover by Robin Pulver (2010)
  • Rudolph's Night Off (w/DVD) by Baxter Black (2011)
  • Conspiracy 365: January (Book 1 in the Series) by Gabrielle Lord (2010)
  • OK For Now by Gary Schmidt (2011)

High School (9-12):

  • The Christmas Coat: Memories of My Sioux Childhood by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (2011)
  • Perfect by Ellen Hopkins (2011)
  • Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King (2010)
  • Chime by Franny Billingsley (2011)
  • Blood Red Road by Moira Young (2011)


Young Naturalist Awards deadline is March 9

The Young Naturalist Awards is a research-based science competition for students in grades 7-12 to promote participation and communication in science. The 2012 contest deadline is March 9. New this year, you can submit your entry digitally starting Jan. 3. For more details and guidelines visit the official website at


Teen Tech Week invites you to Geek out @ your library

This Teen Tech Week, March 4–10, YALSA invites you to Geek Out @ your library! This year's theme encourages libraries to throw open their physical and virtual doors to teens and showcase the outstanding technology they offer, from services such as online homework help and digital literacy-focused programs to resources like e-books, movies, music, audiobooks, databases and more.


Reviewing is rewarding for me, why not you?

By Lisa Hazlett, University of South Dakota

Is there anything better than being snuggled in your favorite reading place with a great young adult literature (YAL) book? Yes! Imagine holding the newest title by any hot YAL author—and you are reading it months before its release. Catnip, anyone?

I'm Lisa Hazlett, professor of secondary education at The University of South Dakota, and I review YAL (novels and professional titles) for Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA), whose journal features all things young adult (grades 6-12) for librarians, public school teachers, and post-secondary educators like myself, who specialize in young adult literature.

Reviewing is challenging, as we are allotted 200-250 words, meaning a sentence must convey a paragraph, and a word, a sentence. I currently have the pleasure of sponsoring a teen reviewer, Twila Sweeney, daughter of my friend and colleague William Sweeney. Teens are nominated by senior reviewers, approved by VOYA, and then partnered with their nominator, with VOYA having approximately 20 teen reviewers from ages 12-18 throughout the country. While adult reviews focus upon plot summary, critical analyses, and readership recommendations, teen reviews are largely personal, evaluative comments.

Twila is 14, and our reviewing begins by reading the same novel. I require her to make notations while reading as I do, recording names, dates, places, main events, story elements (main character narrates, written in blank verse), and personal comments (drags in the middle, contrived ending, suspenseful subplot), and we discuss the book and our comments halfway through and after finishing.

Twila's commentary allows me to re-enter the contemporary adolescent world, quite different from my present adulthood. I may feel a character or situation is unrealistic; Twila asserts it is spot on. I usually realize endings quickly, but Twila may not, reminding me teens will enjoy the coming surprise. One novel featured clever wordplay I relished, but Twila missed or was confused by some, so I upped the book's reading level.

I complete my review, then Twila and I finish hers—75 words total—together, and she must also select her words carefully. We usually agree regarding our novel, so our reviews complement, rather than repeat, one another's. If disagreeing, Twila's review reiterates my points for contrast. Finally, we rate the book from one to five on both quality and popularity, with ratings meant for average teens. We also designate grade levels, using middle (6-8), junior high (7-9), senior (10-12), and YA/Adult, i.e., an adult title widely read by adolescents.

Perhaps most importantly, Twila shares her books at school, providing the novel and author a surprisingly large audience. VOYA's website is a YAL must, and you are welcome to email me at Reviewing is rewarding for me, why not you?





awards, books, reviews, survey, technology, teens, USD, YALSA

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