Archive for September 2009

Decline the Invitation –

September 27, 2009




Warning:  This post contains strong spiritual beliefs. 







I was actually surprised by a student’s book request this week. 
A tall boy came to the circulation counter with a girl hiding behind him. 
He proceeded to ask, for her, whether or not we had a certain book in our collection. 

In the brief nano seconds before I responded, I pondered why was she not able to ask for herself. 
Did she enjoy being controlled by a dominate male?
(I have a VERY strong opinion of the Snow White/Cinderella/Sleeping Beauty Syndrome.)  
Did she not want me to know that she had an overdue book?  Was she afraid of me?  Students usually are when I have confiscated their cell phones for the umpteenth time.  In any case, I don’t see my big intimidation factor. 

“No, I’m sorry, we don’t have The Shack as part of our library collection,” I said addressing the girl directly.  “But, I do have it at home.  I bought it; when I’m finished, I will bring it in for check out.”  The girl ducked back behind the teenage boy and he nodded saying that they would check back.  I hope I’m around the day she finds her spine. 

The reason I was surprised, was that the student was asking for a book that I thought had some spiritual significance.  We’ve had years where students check out the Left Behind series like crazy, sadly that is the only series that we have with any spiritual truth behind it. 

I started reading The Shack at the beginning of summer vacation. 
Briefly, the book is about a father, who after the death of his daughter receives an invitation presumably from God, to spend the weekend at the shack where his daughter was killed. 
If you are invited to read The Shack, I would encourage you to decline. 

I had heard that it was a great new work of Christian fiction.  An allegory.  It’s not.  I thought it would be a book with spiritual truths that I could introduce to the library collection and to the students.  No such luck….

Contrary to some blog posts and reviews, it is not a fast read.  I found it to be laboriously long.  As a parent, the last thing I want to read, is a book about a child being murdered, even if it is fiction; even if the lead character’s relationship with ABBA Father will be strengthened and renewed by the conclusion of the novel.  I will not see the conclusion of this book.  No, that’s not true, I will force my self to read through to the ending, but I find the book to be disturbing to my spirit;  too much of the content smacks up against the Solid Rock of Who I know to be Truth. 

I’ve done some online research since the teenager asked me for The Shack this week. I thought it was just me, that only I had trouble wading through the story line, accepting the author’s suggestion that God the Father is female.  Was I the only one who was protesting, to having the concepts of Universalism shoved down my throat?  I found that I was not. 

Some people blogged about how moving they found the book.  One individual stated that “I can’t remember sitting  in a classroom and being moved to tears by a novel before, certainly not one in the “Christian” market.”  Personally, I was moved to close the book and silently berate myself for picking up such trite nonsense.  

If you want to read a good work of Christian allegory, then your best choices would be: 
The Pilgrim’s Progress by John Bunyan, The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis &  Hinds’ Feet On High Places by Hannah Hurnard. {DE19EE9A-7793-4FF7-9B3F-7EED15B6E11B}Img100

Now before you assemble picket signs and gather outside my library protesting that I am censoring books, put your paint brushes away.  The Shack will join the library collection after it has been catalogued and processed.  If a student asks me for my recommendation I will advise them that if he/she wants to read it- Read it as Science Fiction.  If they believe a boy can sparkle, they’ll believe this. 

The following are links – If you want to Read More About It….…/the-shack-by-william-p-young.php  


The Graveyard Book

September 20, 2009


With the lack of available funding, often it is several months before we get new YA novels in the library. Let’s be honest…sometimes we only get new books when I go out and purchase them with my own money.  I am not complaining, there’s nothing I enjoy more than wandering a book store for hours, unless of course it’s curled up in a comfy chair with hot tea and a good book.  However, Hot Hubby can be a bit discouraged when he sees the bank balance dipping below safe levels. 

My sister-in-law kindly passed along the next “new” book for my library.  Her book club has just finished reading The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman.  In early 2009, The Graveyard Book was awarded by ALA, the John Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature.  I think the cover is fascinating.  Do you see what I see? 

I was doing research for next month’s bulletin boards and I came across a book trailer for The Graveyard Book, that you can see at the link below.

Mr. Gaiman actually kept me company this weekend.  While I was printing photos, finding ideas and using my Cricut for lettering, etcetera, I found the site below.  It has videos of Mr. Gaiman reading all the chapters of his book while on tour around the country. 
Excellent!  I can’t decide whether to have him read the rest of it to me, or if I shall curl up in the comfy chair, and read it myself. 
…I do have a weakness for English accents.  Enjoy.

97 Things to Do Before…..

September 2, 2009


This post is going to be one of my Bulletin Boards on a Budget.  Library budgets are tight these days, if you even have one. When I get really creative, it’s my own money I use to buy the supplies for the display.  I designed this bulletin board with items I already had on hand. 

The book was part of our library collection. 
The card stock were colors we purchased a few years ago. 
(500 sheet packs – on clearance – gotta love ’em))
Clip art printed on my computer from Microsoft office. 

I found this book in May of this year and as soon as I saw it, I knew that it was going be a great bulletin board for back to school.  We have a new class of seniors that are already getting sentimental about graduation.  They have time to accomplish some if not all of the goals in this book and still do their homework. 

If you work at the elementary school level you could easily tweak some of the suggestions around to apply to grade school children.  Many of the 97 things should apply to everyone, even adults.  E.g. Spend quality time with your grandparents, Go green, Make peace with a sibling.

I picked out card stock from what we had on hand, in complimentary colors to the book cover; green, yellow and orange shades.  (The book cover is a green color rather than the blue tone that it came out to be in the photo.)  Using my computer, I chose a font that closely matched that of the book and printed out the things I’d chosen to suggest on card stock.  I used clip art in Microsoft Office to illustrate the numbered things.  When I typed in “argument” to the search window, I got happy faces…being not so happy.  I really liked the piggy bank for #78 “Open a Savings Account.”

If you want to spend the extra money you can print out the illustrations in color or even use actual photos.  If you have library helpers, this could be their first assignment in your class.  Design a bulletin board using this book.  I would actually be afraid to suggest this as an assignment.  One of the “97 things” was to “Practice Safe Sex.”  I would like to start the year off right and NOT spend any time in the Principal’s office explaining my “great bulletin board idea.” Best to leave the Safe Sex discussion for the Health teacher’s class.

From the scraps that were left over, I punched squares, circles and triangles to make accents of color around each “numbered thing.” (I don’t know what else to call them.)  : )


The student comments have been positive. 
“Mrs. Hot, can you show me how to start  a scrapbook?”  
“I’ve signed up for Mr. Twinkle-toe’s dance class after school.” 
“Oooh, that’s really cool, Mrs. Hot!”  (I have to agree.) 
I left the book on the counter so that students can browse through the suggestions, and they have. 
Chalk up another point for Mrs. Hot.