Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Immortal Fire/ Book Whispering versus Book Flinging

The Immortal Fire is the third and final installment of Anne Ursu's Chronus Chronicles (after The Shadow Thieves and The Siren Song). Charlotte and Zee have survived the epic sea battle where Poseidon was turned into a sea cucumber by Philonecron, who now has Poseidon's trident and is bent on destroying humanity and taking over Olympus for himself. Mr. Metos returns to help the cousins fight against a variety of threats, including one that destroys their school. It's difficult, since no one else knows that only these two can thwart Philonecron. However, the gods are starting to make themselves and their acts visible to the world, so the cousins join the Prometheans (through Mr. Metos) and try to use The Immortal Flame to their advantage. Adding to the confusion is Steve, the son of Zeus, who has to decide whether to overthrow his father as the prophecy has foretold, or save the mortal world. Packed full of action and mythological references, fans of mythology will be pleased with the conclusion to this story.

While still funny and snide, there were some changes in voice and tone that made this one harder for me to get through than the last. Perhaps this was rushed a little? All of these books are very large (this was 500 pages), and perhaps could have been more completely edited. Still, I'll buy it.

Ah, Ms. Miller. The Book Whisperer is a wonderful resource for "Awakening the Inner Reader in Every Child" and is packed full of wonderful ideas, but it made me feel totally inadequate. I love the idea that Ms. Miller's students are allow to pick their own books and are expected to read 40 every year. It's so true that the more students read, the better they like to do it. But after last week, I feel like The Book Flinger. We checked out 1275 books in four days, and there are still 400 overdue books. The library is a mess and I feel like I an just not connecting because my eyes are crossed with busy-ness. So, thanks to this book, I am going to take a deep breath and reboot. These are the things I can do today:
1. Know my books.
2. Know my students.
3. Show enthusiasm for books and reading.
4. Make the library a clean, happy and inviting place.
5. Expect that every student can enjoy reading with the right book.

This is my focus today. I'll take care of that pesky purchase order mistake before the students get here, refill my recommendations shelves, tidy things up, and make a concerted effort to get The Right Book to The Right Student at The Right Time.



  1. You are certainly a force for good for your students! To be so inspired after being so busy is an inspiration to your readers. Thanks for keeping it both real and positive.

  2. I, too, was enthralled yet overwhelmed after reading THE BOOK WHISPERER. I think the key is to make small changes while continuing to model your passion for reading.
    I love your blog!

  3. For what it's worth, I think that you do an amazing job of reading a wide range of books, while keeping the interests of your students in mind. It's easy, as an adult reader of kids' books, to stop thinking about "well, this isn't my cup of tea, but my kids who like XYZ are going to like this one". I'm always noticing you doing that, and it's a great reminder for the rest of us. Thanks!

  4. You are a soul sister!

  5. I have The Book Whisperer around here somewhere. I keep trying to find time to read it. Our elementary routinely checks out 300+ books a day, the HS more like 30 (which is actually a vast improvement over the days before I got a para who is a terrific advocate for books). I serve 1100 kids in two buildings and grades K - 12. Some days enthusiasm is hard to find.

  6. Anonymous9:22 PM EST

    Book flinging is also important! Somedays are better for whispering and others for shouting!

  7. I love the way you write your book reviews! To the point but with lots of personality. I'm also enjoying getting this insight into your work as a school librarian. Looking forward to following your blog.

  8. Anonymous5:31 PM EST

    I totally feel you on the "Book Flinger" days. I'm a solo librarian in a busy middle school full of active readers, and there are days when I've got classes double-booked all day just to check out books. There are definitely days when I've built a wall of returns to be reshelved around the circulation desk and my manga addicts are sneaking in for the fourth time that day just as I'm trying to close up that make me want to scream. This post is a good focus point and reminder to summon patience for the most immediately rewarding part of the job: putting good books into many hands.