Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I feel like I dropped of the face of the earth electronically! Since last Thursday the Internet and phone connections on island have been acting wonky, or not working at all. The teachers and administrators were coming in the library at Montessori to ask me why the library Internet connection was working and the others weren’t. I had no idea, but I was glad it was so I could download MARC records from Follett’s Alliance Plus. Such a slick and easy way to get records into Destiny. But, when I got home the Internet was not working. Nor was it all day on Friday. It came up long enough for me to check email on Saturday morning and then went down again. Sunday it was down all day so we decided to try and get me online via a dial-up and our land line wasn’t working either! Yesterday it was up and down all day, but I did get some grading done when it was up. Today I am home in bed with an intestinal bug, but at least I am online – well, some of the time – it keeps dropping out on me. Finished the August Reader’s Advisory column for Library Media Connection and got that emailed in. I should be working on my Annual Review for ECU but I am afraid to switch computers for fear the Internet will go down on me and the printer isn’t configured on my laptop yet. Life was so much easier before all this technology came about!

Looked through the list of the cool YA authors who will be at the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents (ALAN) Conference, which is part of the larger National Council on Teacher of English (NCTE) Conference in Nashville this November. I am introducing Janet McDonald so I excited about going. Although I have been a member of ALAN for many years I have never gone to their conference. I guess it is at or near Opryland. J

I wallowed in an early chapter novel this a.m. as I lay in bed feeling sorry for myself and my upset tummy. Colleen O’Shaughnessy McKenna’s Third Grade Wedding Bells? is an absolutely delightful book. It would be a great read aloud in a 2nd or 3rd grade classroom as well as for kids to read on their own. Poor Gordie – he can’t get a break from the verbal taunting of Lucy Diaz, the most talkative and intelligent (in her opinion) student in class. She hasn’t given Gordie a break since he forgot his lines in the last play and ran off the stage. But, they join forces when they think their teacher might be getting married and moving. I had forgotten how much fun these early books are. I’d buy the whole Third Grade Series for a primary school library and suggest all four titles for read aloud in the classroom.

My latest YA novel read was Beth Goobie’s The Dream Where the Losers Go. Goobie is one of my favorite YA authors from Canada and she didn’t let me down with this book. Wow! This was one heck of creepy read, but one that would not let me go. I loved every minute of finding my way along with Skey as she maneuvered through her dark dream tunnels. She could feel carvings on the wall while she felt her way along the outside walls, figuring out how many tunnels there were – it varied from dream to dream. Then a boy joins her in the dream tunnels. She can’t see him but she hears him. From his breathing she can tell he is scared and when she calls to him he runs away. He is afraid of someone getting him. She picks up the rock he kicks into the center of the cavern to make sure there isn’t a pit. The rock is still in her hand when she wakes up the next morning. It becomes a talisman for her – she keeps it in her pocket. Skey’s waking hours are not much better than her scary dreams. She is in a treatment center for self destructive behavior – she cut up her arms with a razor blade. Skey is the girlfriend of the head of the Dragons, a gang of vicious rich kids. Jigger has complete and total control of Skey and threatens her if she even looks at another guy. Matter of fact, he and his gang beat Lick, her school protect partner, to the point of hospitalization because he spent time at the treatment center with her working on their project. There is a connection between Skey and Lick – could it have anything to do with the dream tunnels? What Skey and Lick discover about the tunnels may be their way out of the dreams.

Now let’s see if I can copy and paste this into my blog before the Internet goes down again!