What's happening at the BSS LIbrary!

Book recommendations and events from Blessed Sacrament School Library in Walpole

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Summer Reading

I love the summer because it is when I can catch up on all the books I’ve been meaning to read. I hope you all find time to read some great books this summer!  Here is the link to the Summer Reading page, plus some of my suggested reading lists:

Summer Reading

Be sure to let me know about all the great books you read this summer!

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The Easter Egg by Jan Brett





There is a great link to Jan Brett’s book The Easter Egg.  There is a video of a read aloud of the book, as well as a video interview with Jan Brett, who gives some background on writing the story and how she used real animals as models for the illustrations.  All of Brett’s books are works of art, and it is always fun to study the illustrations in the borders of each page.



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Historical Fiction and Generosity in 3rd Grade

Boxes for KatjeWe read an historical fiction picture book in third grade this week called Boxes for Katje.  Katje lives in Holland just after World War II, and the people in her small town of Olst do not have much food or warm clothes to wear.  When Katje received a package from a girl named Rosie in America, she and her mother (and the postman!) are overjoyed! The package included a bar of soap, a pair of wool socks, and a bar of chocolate.  When her mother and the postman say that they have not tasted chocolate in year, Katje immediately breaks the bar into three pieces for them each to share.  The sharing continues throughout the story, with Rosie and the residents of her town in Indiana sending more and more packages with food, shoes, warm clothing, and (more) chocolate.  Each time a package arrives, Katje shares with all of her neighbors.

We talked about how the people of Olst viewed these items as luxuries (although we take a lot of these things for granted).  Today was the coldest day of the year, and I asked the students if they could imagine not having warm socks or a coat to wear.  Brrrrrrrr!  A great example of January’s character trait of the month (generosity), exemplified by both Rosie and Katje.

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Animals are getting ready for winter!


Students love hearing animal stories, and there are so many great ones about how animals survive in the winter.  First graders enjoyed listening to Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart, about animals who hibernate in fields, forests, ponds and wetlands.  I told them that the next time they go ice skating, think about all the animals that might be hibernating beneath that ice!


strangerKindergartners enjoyed the beautiful photographs taken by Carl Sams II and Jean Stoick in Stranger in the Woods.  This book features photos of deer, rabbits, owls, porcupines, mice and other animals as they try to figure out who the mysterious creature is in their woods.  The book reminds readers the importance of taking care of the animals during winter by leaving them food to eat, and even includes a “recipe” for a snowman of carrots, nuts and seeds.

bear-cover1Pre-K listened to Bear Has a Story to Tell, by Philip C. Stead and illustrated by Caldecott Award winner Erin E. Stead (A Sick Day for Amos McGee). Bear tries to tell a story to his friends Mole, Frog, Mouse and Duck, but they are all busy getting ready for the winter. Tired himself, Bear settles down for the winter too. But when spring arrives, he forgets the story he wanted to tell.  Being good friends, they all help to remind him of the details.  A great story showing what the different animals do to survive the long winter.

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2nd Grade and Penny and Her Marble

Penny and Her MarbleKevin Henkes (one of my favorite authors) has a series of books about Penny the mouse. This series is a bit different from his regular mouse picture books; it reads more like an early chapter book. It tells the story of Penny, who finds a marble in her neighbor’s yard.  Her neighbor, Mrs. Goodwin, is old and couldn’t possibly play with marbles, Penny thinks.  But it’s so shiny and blue that she takes it anyway.  Through her actions (she can’t eat, can’t sleep, and doesn’t even want to help her mother bake sugar cookies!) and by looking at the illustrations, the reader realizes the guilt that is weighing on Penny. Only when Penny returns the marble and confesses to Mrs. Goodwin does Penny finally feel relieved, guilt-free, and jubilant (the ending is a happy one!).

I told 2nd graders I chose this book especially for them because 2nd grade is a very special year.  After some questioning, they realized it was because they received the sacrament of Reconciliation. We talked about choices and how everyone makes mistakes, and that God is always willing to forgive our sins when we ask for forgiveness.  Great story without being too “preachy!”


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Christmas Audiobooks!

I dug out a few Christmas audiobooks our students made over the years.  You can listen to them on the Audiobook page link. Enjoy!!

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Perseverance is the Character Trait for November

snowOften character traits are difficult to understand, so I like to read books to my classes where the characters demonstrate the particular trait.  It helps the students see the trait “in action.”  Brave Irene by William Steig is one of my favorites to share.  Poor Irene travels through a blizzard to deliver a gown to the princess for the ball, and nothing will stop her from her destination…not even when the dress blows away in the wind.  The Glorious Flight and Snowflake Bentley are two nonfiction Caldecott Award winners that are fine examples of  a character displaying perseverance.  And I love that this is the trait for the month of Thanksgiving, so I can read Thank You, Sarah, another nonfiction book about Sarah Hale who fought for Thanksgiving to become a national holiday.  It took her 38 years of fighting her cause and writing letters to every President, and she finally achieved her goal in 1863 when President Lincoln took her letter to heart and declared it a national holiday.

brave irene glorious sarah

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6th Grade Audiobook Project is Complete!

For several weeks now my sixth graders have been working on our annual audiobook project.  The students choose a book to read, either individually or in a group, and we record them reading the book and burn the recording to a CD.  These CD’s are used in the younger grades for their classroom listening centers.  I encourage the readers to read at a slow pace and with lots of expression to keep the listeners engaged. Students used their iPads and the Garageband app to complete their recordings, and also had to design a cover for the CD case.  These cases included a picture of the reader(s), the book cover, and also some autobiographical information to introduce themselves to the listener.

Yesterday both classes visited the 2nd and 3rd grade classes to explain the project they have been working on and to introduce themselves and the book that they chose to read.  The younger students are really excited to listen to this year’s recordings! I posted the files to the Audiobook page of this blog so you can all listen for yourselves.  Enjoy!




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iPads in the Library



After many years of using desktops in the library, it was certainly time to update.  We now have a few iPads in the library, and I’ve been showing some classes some handy apps that are useful to search our library catalog and to read/download ebooks.  These ebooks are available for our students to read on any computer/device, and with a login (provided by Mrs. Ferguson), students can download the titles to their own iPad or Android. The Brytewave app is a free app that can be downloaded here.


destiny quest app


Destiny Quest is an app that allows our students to search the BSS Library Catalog.  It will allow them to perform a search to see what books or ebooks we have in our library and find out whether they are available or not. If they are not available, a student can place a hold for the title.  Students can even write reviews on a particular book, and read how others have rated that book. Another great feature is the ability for students to see what they have checked out and when they are due, and they can also keep lists of books they have read or what to read.  Many possibilities! Destiny Quest can be downloaded here.



More information about how to access these ebooks can be found here on my Ebooks page of this blog.




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