Butterfly Wings

Our Life in Posts and Pictures

Make a Splash, Read May 20, 2010

Filed under: Display Cases,Library — anet smith @ 3:18 pm

Last display case of the school year – highlighting the summer reading program. We’ll be going Monday to register for it and then on following Mondays we are in town (our pool is closed on Mondays).

I’ve spent most of the week helping close down the library. Repairing books, making new labels, cataloging new books. I’ve read several juvenille biographies – the Obama girls, Mamie Eisenhower, Queen Elizabeth I, Marie Antoinette, and others. M & L (espeically M) prefer non-fiction books and I must say, I do too!

I am still finishing Crazy Love and yesterday at the library I found, for parents only, getting inside the head of your kid. It is by Shaunti Feldhahn – I recently read her book, for women only and did the study at church. It was excellent. It really helped me understand some of the things my husband has been saying for years.


The Butterfly April 2, 2010

Filed under: Butterfly,Historical Fiction — anet smith @ 7:17 am

I was prompted to read The Butterfly when a student asked for books on the Holocaust. (I also found Someone Named Eva, by Joan M. Wolf.)

Patricia Polacco wrote The Butterfly about an event from her aunt Monique Boisseau Gaw’s childhood. Monique lived in Nazi occupied France and befriends a “ghost girl”. The friend is actually not a ghost, but a Jewish girl, Sevrine, who is hiding with her family in Monique’s cellar. The girls secretly spend time together and Monique brings things from the outside world in for Servine to see. One night she brings a papillion, a butterfly, in and the girls release it. Servine longs to be as free as the butterfly.

This is a heartwarming tale of friendship, courage and selfless giving. It does not gloss over the evil of dark parts of World history, but presents them truthfully in a way that would be appropriate for children (perhaps grade three and above). Ms. Polacco says on her website that “children understand more than we give them credit for”.

An author’s note is included in the book that gives historical background of her family being part of the French underground and resistance and information on what happened to Monique and Servine’s friendship.

If you haven’t visited Patricia Polacco’s website, you should. She has written and illustrated many wonderful tales from her life. The site (click here) also has e-postcards of Polacco’s art that you can send.


Our Fabulous Friends at the Library March 27, 2010

Filed under: Display Cases,Library — anet smith @ 8:00 am

I wish that I had gotten more into display cases at the beginning of the year. I love doing them! I think there’s only time left to do one maybe two more before school is out. 8 more weeks! This display has stuffed animal book characters and their books. Some are fiction and some are “E” everybody books.

I’m also determined to make a giant refrigerator filled with books for children to select. “Cool Picks For Hot Days”. Now, if it would just get hot enough before school is out…….

Also wanted to share another blog, www.justonemorebook.com
It hasn’t been updated recently because the one of the authors is battling cancer. However, it has great book reviews and author interviews. Most of it is available in podcasts. Great use of media!


Team Up For Reading March 4, 2010

Filed under: Display Cases,Library — anet smith @ 4:29 pm

Still loving being in the library at school. This is my latest display case. Today, I worked on labeling new books. I love new books! It’s great reading the picture books, but I must say there are some um…interesting books out there for tweens. I have always wished that Focus on the Family reviewed books like they do movies. While FOF does some limited book reviews (and they are hard to find!), I found a great blog that reviews teen literature. It is http://teenlitreview.blogspot.com/


“There’s Snow Place Like the Library for a Good Book” January 23, 2010

Filed under: Display Cases,Library,Winter — anet smith @ 11:45 pm

I don’t have anything wonderful or witty to say about this, I just wanted to post the display case I did at work. I actually did it in the middle of December and my goal was to make somthing that would work for Christmas, but we wouldn’t have to change right away after break. It worked! This week we’ll be changing it because magazine sales and book fair are coming up. Have I mentioned I love my part time job?


HOOT – Contemporary Realistic Fiction December 3, 2008

Filed under: Contemporary Realistic Fiction — anet smith @ 12:33 pm


Hiaasen, Carl.  Hoot. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2002.  ISBN:  0375829164



Two story lines run simultaneously in Hoot until they come together in the end.  New kid, Roy M. is trying to fit in at Trace Middle School (Coconut Grove, FL) and has encounters with a bully.  He works tirelessly to solve the mystery of the straw-blond strange looking boy he sees running by the school bus and then he joins in the cause to save the burrowing owl’s habitat that is slated for construction of a new pancake house.  In the meantime, Officer Delinko is trying to solve a case of vandalism at a construction site.  Many off-beat funny mishaps occur also including his police car being painted while he is asleep inside.  Everyone comes together in the end for a demonstration of environmental activism.



I laughed out loud while reading this book and as I blogged earlier, it kept my attention when I needed a diversion. 


One professional review of the book said there were “several unlikely scenes,” but I think to a middle-school reader, all the scenes were very believable.  Hiaasen did an excellent job at pacing the book without revealing too much information.  This always left new information to discover even down to end with the true name of “Mullet Fingers”.


I thought this was an excellent activism novel on a level that middle-schoolers could relate to and comprehend.  It was peppered with the way one feels when he moves and family issues.  Although Roy discovers something wonderful about his Dad, not all of the characters have positive outcomes in their family situations.  This kept it very real for all readers.


I haven’t read Hiaasen’s adult fiction, but I understand from reviews that Hoot follows his style.  As someone who has been writing about Florida since he was six years old and is currently writing a column for the Miami Herald, I believe he is accurate at capturing the correct culture, plot and setting for this book.


Hoot is definitely a hoot!



BOOKLIST:  “In this thoroughly engaging tale of how middle-schooler Roy Eberhardt, new kid in Coconut Cove, learns to love South Florida, Hiaasen lets his inner kid run rampant, both the subversive side that loves to see grown-ups make fools of themselves and the righteously indignant side, appalled at the mess being made of our planet.”


HORN BOOK:  “Hoot is quintessential Hiassen – a mystery/adventure set in South Florida, peopled with original and wacky characters.”



*Topics for discussion include:  activism, bullies, burrowing owls, endangered species, environmental issues, family relationships, and vandalism.

*This would be an excellent book for the class to take the lead on what topic is most important to them and what kind of response activities would be best.  Possibilities include: writing a letter to the editor, research, activist responses, take on counselor’s role for a character of the book or poetry.

*For chapter quizzes both printable and online, http://www.mce.k12tn.net/reading58/hoot.htm

*Author’s website, http://www.carlhiaasen.com/


A STEP FROM HEAVEN – Young Adult Literature December 2, 2008

Filed under: Young Adult — anet smith @ 4:46 pm


Na, An. A Step from Heaven. New York: The Penguin Group, 2001. ISBN:  9780142500279



2002 Michael Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

“I am a sea bubble floating, floating in a dream. Bhop”.  Young Ju at age four hears about Mi Gook (America) and thinks it must be Heaven.  A year later Young and her family move to America where she hears from her uncle that America is close, but not Heaven, it is a step from Heaven.  Young quickly learns this to be true as her family encounters many acculturation and life difficulties.  There is adjustment to school in a new country with a new language, her parents have to work many hours and they still have difficulties making ends meet, Young’s baby brother is born and her father automatically favors him because he is a boy, and her father’s alcoholism grows worse and violent.  Even through the adversity, Young Ju flourishes as she gains understanding of herself and her mother.  The novel ends with Young Ju getting ready to go to college.  She is still a dreamer, “I am a sea bubble floating, floating in a dream. Bhop.



This is a thoughtful engaging story.  In author An Na’s first novel, she presents Young Ju’s story in vignettes where the “voice” grows with Young as she moves from four years old to a young woman.  Na does an excellent job of fully developing the characters by their actions, thoughts and interactions.  A Step from Heaven is book that I read from cover to cover in one sitting because I was drawn in to Young Ju’s life, and I wanted to know how she resolved her identity and family conflict.


The mix of Korean thought and words and the book being in first person present tense was confusing to me at first, but it did not last long because the writing is so emotive and nicely done.  Since it was written by a Korean author, I believe the culture described to be authentic.  Many times I wondered if the story was autobiographical, but in bonus material included, the author said that it was not. 


Immigrants will relate to Young Ju being caught between being Korean and being American, and all teens will relate to at least one of the family struggles or friendship and identity issues portrayed.



BOOKLIST: “…the coming-of-age drama will grab teens and make them think of their own conflicts between home and outside. As in the best writing, the particulars make the story universal.”


PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY: “The journey Na chronicles, in Young’s graceful and resonant voice is an acculturation process that is at times wrenching, at times triumphant and consistently absorbing.”


SCHOOL LIBRARY JOURNAL: “Na has effectively evoked the horror and small joys of the girl’s home life while creating sympathetic portraits of all of the members of the family. A beautifully written, affecting work.”



*Have students imagine themselves going to another country to live and write about difficulties fitting in or understanding the culture of their new country.

*Read while studying immigration.

*Topics of discussion: moving, acculturation, friendship, family violence/alcoholism

*Author’s website: http://www.anwriting.com/index.html