Celebrate School Library Month with a Big Universe Read-In

School Library Month 25th Anniversary Logo

It’s fitting that I begin blogging for Big Universe this month, as it is School Library Month and  National Library Week (April 11-17, 2010) is just a few days away. The theme this year is “Communities Thrive @ your library”. What better way to bring your community together than through hosting a Big Universe Read-In? Read-Ins are all about bringing people together to share books. This year I introduced our K-5 elementary student to reading books online on Big Universe and talked to them about becoming authors on the website in the future. Four times a year we host something called, Saturday School, where entire families come to our school to participate in educational activities. This year our theme is Earth Day. In addition to learning about conservation and actively beautifying the school and the surrounding community, families will visit our school library and learn from their children how to log into and read books on the Big Universe website.

Screenshot of embed code for The River Song book

It’s simple to embed Big Universe links on your own website. Big Universe provides an embed code for every book on their website. Your audience will view the book covers on your website, click the desired book, and begin reading! I used the embed code on my own library wiki to highlight Earth Day themed books. Now my families need only to surf to our homepage to view the Earth Day related selections!  I also included some Spanish language selections as 97% of our students are English Language Learners who primarily speak Spanish at home. I am am excited about the possibilities! Maybe during our next Saturday School, families will create books together.

Earth Day related books on Big Universe:

Excerpts provided by Big Universe

River Song

by Steve Van Zandt (author), Katherine Zecca (illustrator)
Rivers make beautiful music – from the trickle of snowmelt to the burble of a full-flowing stream. Here the famed children’s musical ensemble, the Banana Slug String Band, celebrates rivers as a fascinating, ever-changing source of life and joy. The CD includes their vibrant rendition of “River Song.”

All Around Me, I See

by Laya Steinberg (author), Cris Arbo (illustrator)
With eyes wide open to the mysteries of nature, a child on a hike discovers that “a leaf is a boat for a beetle” and that “a nest is a cradle for eggs.” Tired from her long walk, she sleeps – and in her dream she flies like a bird and marvels at the beauty around her. This planet that is home to so many creatures is magical when seen through the eyes of wonder.

By Land, Sea, or Air

by Barbara Gregorich
Do you know that… 
Linen comes from a plant? 
Catfish have two sets of whiskers? 
The world’s largest dog is the St. Bernard?
12 Exciting Titles
Discover true science facts and interesting details like these in this collection of engaging, nonfiction stories. Readers will enjoy learning something new! Each 8-page story features clever illustrations that captivate even the most reluctant readers.

The One Sea

by David Pierce Hughes
Listen now and you will hear The Humpback Whale,the Polar Bear,the Albatross and the Leather Back Turtle among many other sea creatures tell us in verse of their plight,and the whispering Wave warns us of their eventual extinction if we don’t care for The One Sea.

The One Tree

by David Pierce Hughes (author), Richard Perrot (illustrator)
This stunning full colour Manga style book is told from an ecological perspective by artist and poet David Pierce Hughes. This is the moving story of how the One Tree is befriended by a boy, of its destruction and its eventual renewal.

Felina’s New Home

by Loran Wlodarski (author), Lew Clayton (illustrator)
Felina the Florida panther loved growing up in her forest home, until the forest starts to shrink! Trees begin to disappear, and Felina doesn’t understand the new busy highway in the neighborhood. Other animals are in danger, too. Will Felina find a way to survive as humans threaten to ruin her home? Environmental science writer Loran Wlodarski gives children a look into deforestation and endangered animals in Felina’s New Home: A Florida Panther Story, complemented by the detailed, emotive illustrations of Lew Clayton. Learn whether the animals in Felina’s forest adapt to the new human presence and what children can do to keep wild animals safe, happy, and healthy.

The Tree

by Dana Lyons (author), David Danioth (illustrator)
An 800-year-old Douglas fir ponders the many things it has seen in the natural world as it hears bulldozers coming, and then people arrive to save it from destruction.

Keisa Williams (aka Ms. K) is a K-5 School Librarian at Monarch Academy, a public charter school in Oakland, CA. She is certified in secondary and elementary education (MLIS and MEd) and loves collaborating with teachers and integrating technology into her library lessons. She considers herself a “Technology Diva” and “Gadget Junkie”.

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