Monday Fun Thing

This week it’s an app! I’m sure most of you know this one by now, but it doesn’t hurt to remind you.

classroomYes, Google Classroom can be downloaded onto your phone or tablet. I actually like the layout on the app – with the classes loaded in one column, as opposed to the grid on my laptop.  You can check your assignments, load papers, even type right into the assignment if you like typing on your device (I’m old, I don’t like the tiny keyboards on my phone).

You can download Google Classroom for free for both iThings and Android. (And while you’re at it, check out the apps for Docs, Sheets, Slides, and Drive. You never know when they might come in handy.)

Books. Games. Life Is Good.

20151105_093703I read Book Scavenger over the summer and absolutely loved it. This had a whole bunch of things I love…books, games, cool bookstores, San Francisco.

Emily’s family has just moved, again. Her parents are on a mission to live in every state, so that means about one move a year. This time it’s to San Francisco.  Emily, therefore, doesn’t spend a lot of time trying to make friends. Instead she gets lost in books and hopes not to be noticed.

The move to San Francisco is exciting because it’s the home of Garrison Griswold, who created the online game Book Scavenger. Just as Emily arrives in town, Griswold becomes ill and there’s talk of a secret game for people to play. Emily and her new friend James accidentally stumble into the game and are now the targets of some really bad guys.

Lots of fun intrigue and suspense, all related to books in this one. Just what you need for a long weekend!


No, that’s not some secret code. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Every November, people all over the world sign up to attempt to write a novel in one month. I’ve never tried it. Don’t know that I would. But it’s a neat project and I know people who have tried it (although no one I know has yet published a novel from this exercise).

So, why do I bring this up? Because it’s an unspoken part of today’s featured book.

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld is actually two novels for the price of one. One story is about Darcy, an up and coming YA novelist who has moved to New York as she finishes edits on her about to be published debut novel…which she wrote during the month of November. (Although NaNoWriMo is never explicitly mentioned.)

The second story is Darcy’s novel about a girl named Lizzie who is trapped in a terrorist attack at an airport. In an attempt to “play dead” and escape the terrorists, Lizzie discovers that she can cross over into the world of the dead. She also discovers she can see ghosts, including the one that’s been hanging around her home.

The chapters alternate, so you get a little bit of Lizzie, then some Darcy, then back to Lizzie. This book is also a good argument for knowing classic literature, because then you can laugh at a girl named Darcy writing a book about a girl named Lizzie. (Here’s why it’s funny.*)

We have both the print book and the audiobook. Westerfeld is a fun writer, who can write all sorts of things…steampunk alternative history, dystopia, suspense/thriller. I almost always enjoy hanging out in one of his books.

*Yes, I linked to Wikipedia. This is one of those times when it’s a good resource.

I Ain’t Afraid of No Ghost

Happy Halloween! I love this time of year. Horror movies. Creepy stories. As someone who likes a good fabricated scare…I’m in my element. So, for those of you who are like me, and like a good creepy story, I’ve got two new books for you.

20151030_090251I read The Nest by Kenneth Oppel in about an hour. Because I couldn’t put it down. Because if I did, my heart my have exploded from the suspense and anxiety. I could hardly breathe while reading this story. The story is about a boy named Steve who has been working on dealing with his severe anxiety. Then his little brother is born with serious health issues that have his parents constantly worried. Steve has always had nightmares. But suddenly, his dreams are more calming and soothing. Until they’re not. There are some illustrations in the book by Jon Klassen who does adorable children’s books like This Is Not My Hat and I Want My Hat Back. His illustrations for this book. Terrifying. I may never be able to give a child one of his books again.

20151030_090218The second book is probably more for the high schoolers. The blurb on the cover of Daughters Unto Devils by Amy Lukavics says, “Imagine Stephen King writing Little House on the Pairie” (Cat Winters). I really can’t add anything beyond that except that I finished this book before going to be and had to pick up a light and funny book to calm myself enough to go to sleep.

And, if you’re like me, and enjoy creepy things, try looking up the singer Jonathan Coulton and his song “Creepy Doll.”

Happy Halloween. And if anyone wants to share their Reese’s Cups on Monday, you know where I am.

I Think the Title Speaks for Itself

In honor of today’s student council inductions.20151028_084432I Am a Genuis of Unspeakable Evil and I Want to Be Your Class President by Josh Lieb

I have nothing to add.

Monday fun Thing – Library World

This is a repeat of an app from last year, but it will be a perennial one, so get used to it.

libraryworldLibrary World is our circulation and catalog system. With this app, you can search for any book in the library, see if it’s available, and put it on hold. So, if you think of a book you really want to read at 7.30 at night, look it up on Library World and put a hold on it. When  I come in the next morning, I’ll get an email letting me know that you’ve requested that book and I’ll grab it and check it out to you.

The app is available for iOS as well as Android. When you set it up, it will ask for a library name and password. Our name is “hill top” (two words, no capitals) and you can leave the password blank.

And don’t forget the web version of the Library Catalog! Go there now! Bookmark it!

Mrs. Gillespie as Fan Girl, Part 1


Today’s books are from one of my favorite authors, Gary D Schmidt.

The Wednesday Wars chronicles the trials and tribulations of one Holling Hoodhood. In Holling’s school, everyone is dismissed early on Wednesdays so they can go either to CCD class or Hebrew School. Holling, being neither Catholic nor Jewish, does not get to leave early. He is the only student left in Mrs. Baker’s class every week. She decides that this would be a good opportunity for him to learn some Shakespeare. He’s convinced that this is her punishing him for being the only student left. And thus begins a year long battle that will include baseball, bullies, the Vietnam War, acting, and track.

One of Holling’s good friends is Doug Swietck. A few years after the events of the Wednesday Wars, Doug’s family moves to a new town…and Doug gets his own story. According to Ryan S, this is the worst book he’s ever read. I think that just shows Ryan’s lack of good taste. But he does have a point, Doug’s life is tough and he’s got bad thing after bad thing that happens to him. But there are some good things. One of which is a librarian!

(Also sneaking into the picture is First Boy, the story of a young boy who is living alone on a farm in New Hampshire and who becomes a hot topic in a presidential race.)

I picked these books today, not just because I LOVE Gary D. Schmidt as an author, but because he’s in town! He has a new book out, Orbiting Jupiter (which we will have in the library on Monday). And as part of his book tour, he’s stopping at Children’s Book World in Haverford tonight!!!! The event starts at 7. And if you want to see me all gushy and totally fan girl over meeting someone I really admire, this is your chance.

I’ve mentioned these events before and I’ll say again, author events at Children’s Book World are fantastic because it’s a small place, you get to really talk with author, ask any questions you want, and get your books signed. If you’re really brave, you can also get your picture taken with the authors (I’m always too shy to do this). But it’s definitely worth going if you can.

(And if you follow that link to the event, you can see when I will next be fan girling.)