Book Review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017


No Limits: No Boundaries! My Journey Through the ABC’s. By Julian English & Natasha Moulton-Levy. NEO Press Inc. 2016. 36 pages. ISBN 9781944788568.

Despite being born 15 weeks premature with brain damage, having multiple health complications, and learning disabilities, Julian doesn’t let any of that stop himself from living a meaningful life and learning about the world through association. Written in first-person narrative and using bold print, multiple photo collages, colorful layers and contrasting backgrounds, this book is designed more like a personal scrapbook. Julian shares how he has learned the alphabet in his own way through travels and hands-on experiences around the world with his family. Each letter of the alphabet is linked to a different location. A description of the their visits are included with every page, along with Julian’s personal account of the experience. He also shares his personal challenges as well as his successful moments throughout the book. With help from his mother, No Limits: No Boundaries! My Journey Through the ABC’s chronicles how Julian takes on the world with curiosity, courage, and persistence. Julian’s story provides hope and inspiration for all children, especially special needs children, and proves that one can overcome life’s challenges with plenty of love and support and the will to keep thriving.





Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2017 (1/27/17) is in its fourth year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day holiday, the MCBD Team is on a mission to change all of that.

Current Sponsors:  MCBD 2017 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. Platinum Sponsors include ScholasticBarefoot Books and Broccoli. Other Medallion Level Sponsors include heavy-hitters like Author Carole P. RomanAudrey Press, Candlewick PressFathers Incorporated, KidLitTVCapstone Young Readers, ChildsPlayUsa, Author Gayle SwiftWisdom Tales PressLee& Low BooksThe Pack-n-Go GirlsLive Oak MediaAuthor Charlotte Riggle, Chronicle Books and Pomelo Books


Author Sponsor include: Karen Leggett AbourayaVeronica AppletonSusan Bernardo, Kathleen BurkinshawDelores Connors, Maria DismondyD.G. DriverGeoff Griffin Savannah HendricksStephen HodgesCarmen Bernier-Grand,Vahid ImaniGwen Jackson,  Hena, Kahn, David Kelly, Mariana LlanosNatasha Moulton-LevyTeddy O’MalleyStacy McAnulty,  Cerece MurphyMiranda PaulAnnette PimentelGreg RansomSandra Richards, Elsa TakaokaGraciela Tiscareño-Sato,  Sarah Stevenson, Monica Mathis-Stowe SmartChoiceNation, Andrea Y. Wang


We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts HERE.

MCBD Links to remember:

MCBD site:

Free Multicultural Books for Teachers:

Free Kindness Classroom Kit for Homeschoolers, Organizations, Librarians and Educators:

Free Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents:


Just Keep Swimming


My son at swim lessons: Back floating in 14 ft.

It’s been 5 months since my last post and for many graduate students, you don’t often look back on your projects unless they still serve a purpose for you. Since then, it’s been a whirlwind of a ride, but I’m still on the journey into Libraryland. While in the middle of LIBS 602 (the course that required that I create this blog) and working at ODU’s Learning Resource Center (my graduate assistantship), I was offered an opportunity to become a teacher librarian and I accepted. Shortly after concluding my year-long graduate assistantship, I had one week to enjoy a brief summer break with my family before becoming a new library media specialist. Simultaneously, I had to take one more graduate course for the endorsement, student teaching, which in my case became a semester-long mentorship where instead of shadowing a teacher librarian in an unpaid internship, I am the teacher librarian with nobody to shadow and learning everything on my own (with the support of colleagues), one day at a time.

With winter break behind us, we’re nearly halfway into the school year. If you had asked me five months ago what I would envision myself to be doing in 2017, I would have had only one response: survival. Since I began this journey in the summer of 2013, it hasn’t been easy trying to keep myself afloat, trying to figure out how to balance life as a mother, military spouse, graduate student, book reviewer, teacher, and now, teacher librarian. It’s been physically and emotionally draining, but I’m still here, doing the best I can every day for myself, my family, and my students.

And, like everyone else, I’m counting down the days! But first, we have to get through this last snow day. Then, make it to spring break. From there, we have to hold on just a little bit longer until we can float aimlessly away, putting school momentarily behind us, as we enjoy a well-deserved summer vacation.

Conference Proposal

webtools.pngWe’ve reached the end of the semester and this is my final assignment. My brain is more analytical than artistic, so creating a lengthy presentation without using PowerPoint wasn’t easy for me to create without reverting to old habits. Customizing each slide without a template has definitely been a challenge for me! Powtoons latest changes and updates also made it difficult to figure out, and I noticed that some objects that were previously free are now worth a fee. There was also more of a lag while creating and editing each slide that wasn’t there the last time I created a project with Powtoon. I felt like this digital tool was really testing my patience as I made every move with an impending delay from the application.

Session title and description: “Power Play on Presentations” – Why rely on PowerPoint when you can captivate your students and enhance your lessons with online photo editors, audio tools, comic and storyboard creators, and video and presentation tools? Add a new dimension to the teaching and learning experience by exploring and incorporating digital tools!

Here is the link to my presentation:








AASL’s Best Websites & a Blog to Follow


In our final week, we have to choose three websites from AASL’s Best Websites 2015 that are of most interest to us and also a blog that we’d like to follow. My favorites are: Bookopolis, Hstry, and My Storybook. Bookopolis is “a social network and book discovery tool that lets students safely connect with peers to share book reviews, recommend books, and discover the next book they can’t wait to read” (Sheneman & Riedel, 2016). It’s similar to Goodreads and its focus is to to build a strong community of engaged readers and writers in 2nd to 6th grade. Teacher tools are included (for monitoring and commenting on student work) and students can create book reports (practice opinion writing), leveled book reports (comprehension and critical thinking skills), and complete a reading log (track daily reading). Students also can discover other books based on customized preferences such as: reading level, reading style, and genre. Or, they can see what other “Readers Also Liked” in addition to Kid Picks categorized by grade and genre. In the library, I would definitely use this tool to engage my students and help them to become more excited about reading. It’s a good place for students to share their opinions about the books they’re reading with their peers.

Another website of interest is My Storybook It teaches digital literacy and storytelling. For students, there are step-by-step lessons on how to write a story, how to create a storybook with characters, pictures, drawings, and news, and options to publish, share, or print the book. Sharing the book online is free; a printable eBook is only $5. I would use this tool to help students become enthusiastic about writing. It’s a good tool for collaboration and students will learn to love customizing and creating their own stories.

The third website I’m very interested in is Hstry This digital tool lets users create free interactive timelines and promotes collaboration and engagement among students. Teachers can track students’ progress, assess work, and provide feedback. Students can also view community timelines that enhance content areas. Educators can access Hstry bundles which include interactive timelines and lesson plans developed for elementary and middle school students. This tool would be good to use collaboratively with social studies and history lessons. I like the idea of students customizing interactive timelines based on what they’re currently learning. Students will become more invested in learning about history with this helpful digital tool.

As far as a blog I’d like to follow, I already follow the Adventures of Library Girl and The Daring Librarian, so I’m adding Ms. Hamilton’s blog, The UnQuiet Librarian, to my list. She’s a high school librarian in Georgia, blogger since 2007, and a 2011 Mover and Shaker. She is “decidedly unquiet when it comes to sharing [her] voice on issues that impact librarianship and learning” (Library Journal, 2011). Ms. Hamilton posts about the innovative programs at her school, with plenty of details, photos, and illustrations. Browsing through her most recent posts, I have already found interesting content I want to learn more about.


Library Journal Archive Content. (2011). Buffy Hamilton: Movers & shakers 2011 change agents. Retrieved from

Linforth, P. (2016). Internet, global, Earth. Retrieved from CC0.

Sheneman, L. & Riedel, K. (2016). How to build a community of engaged readers. Retrieved from


Layered Reality


My sister, Sarah, with a Pokémon

Last week, it started with a social media post and the above picture of my baby sister. She was at a local restaurant with friends and shared a picture of a Pokémon character. At the time, I didn’t think anything about it other than she still loves things that are reminiscent of her childhood. Although I remember Pokémon from the late 90s (I was a teenager), I didn’t watch the show, play the game, or collect and trade the cards. I was busy surviving my freshman year of high school and watching The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. It took me a few days (and conversations on my friends’ social media posts) to make sense of what was currently happening as they were sharing their Pokémon adventures.

With Pokémon Go becoming the world’s latest smartphone app craze–it’s been downloaded 20 million times since its release last week–and as much as I’d like people to explore the outdoors without it, I can accept that it has mass appeal and learn from it. Pokémon Go is a form of augmented reality (AR), where digital information is integrated with a “user’s environment in real time…[it] uses the existing environment and overlays new information on top of it” (Rouse, 2016). Digital media is now merged with the physical world and a smartphone, tablet, or another electronic device is used in conjunction with an internet connection, computer software, a compass, camera, and GPS. It’s like a virtual Easter egg hunt and it’s apparent that people want to play a game that gets them off the couch and outside searching for virtual hotspots to find digital monsters and supplies. As long as people practice safety and an awareness of their surroundings while playing it, I can deal with the temporary madness, since it’s encouraging these monster hunters to visit and learn about places in their immediate environment, including libraries, museums, historical sites, and local parks.


My sister and her boyfriend at Mt. Trashmore Park, Virginia Beach

Within school libraries, augmented reality gives the librarians an opportunity to showcase a library’s programs and share displays that will encourage users to learn more about the library’s resources. Videos can be placed on hotspots like the circulation desk, reading center, and computer lab with how-to-videos and instructions. During a library tour, students can witness book characters come to life sharing their stories while they scan a bookshelf.

QR codes are another form of layered reality. It is a quick response, machine-readable code format that provides easy access to information via a smartphone. Unlike augmented reality, it can only direct a user to information such as a website, whereas AR is more interactive and uses an image to trigger augmented content. School librarians can use QR codes during Back to School night, where students and their families can participate in a school tour and scavenger hunt. They would scan the QR code and listen to an audio recording welcoming them to the library. QR codes can also be used to share book recommendations and reviews created by students and placed near the corresponding bookshelves.

Here is a QR code I quickly created using



Rouse, M. (2016). Augmented reality (AR). Retrieved from



My 3-D Print Design

Reading-BookmarkI’m finally happy with my 3-D design! I went through so many ideas and created three different designs before I decided to settle on this one. This design took many revisions to get to the finalized product, and I also had to incorporate lknettleton’s (2015) hot air balloon because I was getting frustrated trying to figure out how to make one on my own.


Here’s my audio promotion:



Lknettleton. (2015). Hot air balloon, hanging. Retrieved from CC-BY-SA 3.0

3-D Printing, Coding, & Robots


3-D Printing: Here at ODU’s Learning Resource Center, the Library Science department has this 3D printer, the MakerBot Replicator. Alongside the previous graduate assistant, I’ve learned the basics on how to create, modify, and print designs. I’m not an expert at all and I’m still learning, but from my experience, Chad Sansing (2015) is correct about its maintenance stating that “a 3-D printer takes a lot of work and troubleshooting.” Depending on the intricate designs (size, shape, and details) on a particular project, it can take an hour or more to complete. With this 3-D printer, add-ons are required to update it periodically, which increases the time to complete a project. This week, our assignment is to create an original 3D design, and as of now, it’s taking me some time to decide on what I want to make. In the meantime, I posted a short video on 3-D prints and in case you missed it, click here. Among schools and school libraries, 3-D printing can be used with the library’s maker space, STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) projects, and other content areas. Examples include printing landforms and the Earth’s crust in earth science, replicas of artifacts in social studies, and math manipulatives.

Coding: In regards to coding, I feel like we’ve come a long way to get young children interested in the beginning steps of programming. Prior to the synonymous use of coding  and programming today, programming was known as “the formal act of writing code” (Prottsman, 2015). Now, coding “has resurfaced as a much more playful and non-intimidating description of programming for beginners” (Prottsman, 2015). Back in the early 90s, when I was in the sixth grade, I loved playing computer games and I was really interested in how they were made. That interest never went away and by my sophomore year in high school, I took a computer programming course. Writing code didn’t come easy to me back then, so I frequently partnered with the only other girl in class and a couple of guys that weren’t too busy playing Final Doom. Twenty years later, I’ve retained a basic understanding of basic programming, and although I rarely use it now, I have been able to do simple things like tweak the html code for this blog when something wasn’t working the way I wanted. Within the schools and school libraries, I am yet to witness firsthand the implementation of coding. I’ve heard about the Hour of Code and think it’s a wonderful idea where children of all ages can experience how computer science can be fun and a platform for creativity. Through learning the language of devices such as the robots, Dash and Dot and Bee-Bot, and apps like Kodable and Scratch Jr., students can manipulate characters and create their own stories and games. They also learn how to think critically, solve problems, communicate their ideas, and gain understanding from their mistakes.

Robots: While robots from Vex, Lego Mindstorm, and the humanoid NAO are commonly used in schools to teach STEM concepts, it’s also possible to use robots to teach literacy. For example, Gretchen Robinson from Northwoods Elementary School of Technology has programmed their NAO robot to read stories aloud to the Kindergartners. Her second graders were learning economic terminology and ABBI (Awesome Bot Bringing Innovation) was able to describe the term and use visual recognition to let the students know if they found the correct term on the flashcards. Using robots in schools and school libraries captures students’ attention and engages them right away. Many students are more willing to participate in lessons with a robot because they find it fun and less intimidating to answer than with a teacher and not know or have the right answer. Robinson says that students want “to collaborate and to work on a lesson for as long as it takes to understand the concept” (Schwartz, 2014). They don’t want their time with the robot to end.

As educators and students become more familiar and active participants with 3-D printing, coding, and programming robots, students’ interests will be piqued into learning more about computer science, coding/programming, and robotics, as they get older.


Prottsman, K. (2015). Coding vs. programming — Battle of the terms! Retrieved from

Sansing, C. (2015). 3-D printing: Worth the hype? Retrieved from

Schwartx, K. (2014). Robots in the classroom: What are they good for? Retrieved from