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Shining Light on School Libraries With a $500 Holiday Contest

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Every year at 49thShelf.com we run a holiday contest that ends up with one lucky member winning a lot of books. This year is no different and our holiday contest is on until December 12th, so don’t miss your chance to win big!

This year we are using our contest to shed light on an important issue that is very close to our hearts (and we guess many of yours as well): school libraries.

Year after year, studies tell us that teachers and teacher-librarians spend hundreds of their own dollars to buy books and learning materials to help stock their classrooms and libraries’ shelves. Without teachers’ own contributions and school fundraising events, school libraries can turn into barren rooms that aren’t fun for children, diminishing the likelihood that these children will grow up with a love of—or even a capacity for—reading. This is especially true in low-income areas.

The Ontario Library Association confirms that, “Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

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“Students who are in schools without a staffed and resourced library program are not receiving the same education as students who have school libraries.”

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To support teacher-librarians and …

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Top Shelf: Best of Julie Booker's Notes From a Children's Librarian

Too often, great blog posts and lists get buried in the web’s relentless tendency to favour the new over the old. That's the reason for Top Shelf, a series that shines a spotlight on the best of 49th Shelf lists and posts, no matter their recency.

For quite some time, Ms. Julie Booker, children's librarian and author of the critically acclaimed Up Up Up, has been knocking out incredible posts for those interested in great kids' and YA books; we call it Notes from a Children's Librarian. Here's a round-up of some of our favourites—click on the text link or book jacket for the full list of books captured in Julie's posts.

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Enviro Fiction Picks: Environmental issues can be so vast and complicated that for kids, simple, compelling stories are often the best way to instill a respect for our natural world and a sense of what they can do to be good to it. Julie picks out four books here for different age ranges.

 

Funny Books for Young Readers: Lest we ever forget, it can be hard work being a kid, especially given the ever-changing social dynamics at …

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Notes From a Children's Librarian: Great Sequels (and Great Cats)

Our children's librarian columnist, Julie Booker, on very good kids' series where cats (and/or superheroes) figure large.

My three-year-old goes nowhere without his Iron Man. Held tight in the crook of his armpit, this obsession with the foot-high plastic figure forces him to experience life as a one-armed boy. When he spotted Ted Hughes’ novel, The Iron Man, on the kitchen table, he demanded to hear the story. Luckily, a few perfectly placed illustrations hit the plot points necessary to capture a toddler’s interest. He asked for it again and again, carrying the book around for days, which made for a very crowded armpit. I don’t think Hughes would have been surprised. The book is brilliant in its simplicity, pared-down language and action-oriented sentences.

Hughes knew just what to leave out. Written in 1968, it’s still a hit with the tween crowd, opening with the Iron Man standing atop a cliff. “How far had he walked? Nobody knows. Where had he come from? Nobody knows. How was he made? Nobody knows.....His great iron head, shaped like a dustbin but as big as a bedroom....” He topples, his body parts lie scattered on the beach. A hungry seagull picks up an eye, unites it with a hand, allowing the figure to reassemble itself. A small boy named Hogarth becomes the compassionate liaison between the terrified villagers and the "monster." It’s a fabulous, classic fable. I was thrilled to find the 1993 sequel, The Iron Woman, on my library shelves. Much lesser known, …

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