Andrea Cremer Author Visit

Andrea Cremer photo
Andrea Cremer

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The Mira Costa High School Library is pleased to announce that Andrea Cremer, a best-selling author of the Nightshade series and a History Professor at Macalester College, is visiting our school on January 13, 2012, and will be speaking about her craft during a session in the library from 2 PM – 3 PM. The third installment in the series is being released on January 3. We hope you will take advantage of this opportunity to hear an author speak in a small group session. Students are invited to sign up at the library to attend her talk. They must obtain permission from their Period 6 teachers to attend.

The library has some copies of Ms. Cremer’s first two books to borrow, but we encourage you to also consider purchasing one or more to enjoy and get autographed. All students who purchase books will have the opportunity to meet Ms. Cremer and have her books signed during the visit. This visit has been arranged for us by {pages} bookstore, a local Manhattan Beach independent book vendor. A portion of the profits for books purchased at Mira Costa before or during the visit will benefit our library. If you are interested in ordering books in advance, please complete the book order form and return it to the library. You can also purchase books on the day of the visit.

Ms. Cremer will also be visiting {pages} at 4:30 PM on January 13, and our library is grateful to {pages} for arranging our school visit.

You can learn more about Andrea Cremer and her books on her website.

Download an order flyer.

Cyber Sunday Parent Review


During the recent California School Library Association Annual Conference in Pasadena last month, the organization held the first ever “Cyber Sunday,” an event open free of charge to the community with some of digital literacy’s top experts providing sessions on many different aspects of digital citizenship. Shirley Shoda, a Mira Costa parent and library volunteer attended. I asked her to write a guest posting:

“My main reason for attending Cyber Sunday was to learn about ways to protect my family on the net.  I signed up for a session called Parent Support: Young Children Online.

“The first portion of the session was covered by Daryl Hulce, Program Administrator for USA-SOS Internet Challenge.  This program is an Internet Safety Program for 3rd thru 8th graders, backed by the FBI and is designed primarily for participation by schools.  The students answer a series of questions to earn points.  The schools then compete against other schools to win a prize.   Some of the topics include Virus Protection, On-Line Predators, Reputable Sites, and Social Networking.  (There are 17 topics in all).  The program is designed like a game, making it very kid-friendly. 

“The second portion included an introduction of Nooks for Books by a rep from Barnes and Noble, explaining how this technology can be used in the classroom and at home.  Everyone in the audience actually got to play around with a Nook!

“In addition to these talks, I received some helpful handouts, such as “A Parents’ Guide to Facebook”, presented by, explaining about how kids can socialize smartly and safely on the web.  It covered topics like “Why you should be honest about your age”, “How to choose friends wisely”, “Configuring who can see what you post”, and “Limiting who can see your info or search for you”.  These topics were extremely informative not only for my children but for me as well.  

“Cyber safety will continue to be a hot topic in our household as we use the web more to connect with others.  I feel that having attended Cyber Sunday has definitely helped me become better equipped in protecting our privacy and ensuring our family’s safety online.” 

Thanks so much for contributing, Ms. Shoda.

Connecting Our Library Club Across the Country

virtual book club map & books

One great activity that has been occurring at the Mira Costa Library has been the growth and development of TLC: The Library Club, now in its second year. Last school year when we established the club, it was primarily a group to support library programs, and the club met every other week. I very much appreciated the help the students offered with our D.J. MacHale author visit, with library displays, contests, PR, and more. They also conducted a very successful book drive and sent the collected books to a shelter. This Fall, the students took the initiative to expand our club by meeting weekly and incorporating more discussions of books in addition to supporting the library.

Then, in October, we had the opportunity to expand our club beyond our school when I responded to a generous open invitation from Joyce Valenza, Teacher Librarian at Springfield Township High School in Pennsylvania, to join several school library clubs in a virtual book club discussion of Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. Despite some technical difficulties with my computer and the challenges of time differences, our club members were able to join the group for approximately a half hour of a lively discussion of this engaging book. And, they are looking forward to “Round 2,” when we have revisit Hunger Games after the movie comes out in March.

photo of TLC Members discussing Blood and Chocolate
TLC Members discussing Blood and Chocolate

On December 1, we had our second virtual book discussion about Blood and Chocolate by Annette Curtis Klause. Two of the other schools – Springfield Township HS in Pennsylvania, led by Teacher Librarian Joyce Valenza, and Van Meter in Iowa, led by Shannon Miller –  were able to attend this session, and one student who was ill even Skyped in from home. The students enjoyed a very lively debate about the different characters and clearly had very divergent views about how sympathetic they were. I was so impressed by their insightful comments and their ability to disagree with each other while always remaining polite and considerate.

Photo of TLC Members discussing Blood and Chocolate

We are now reading Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret and plan to compare it to the new Hugo film in January.

To bring the groups together, we have been experimenting with different platforms, including Google + Hangouts and Skype. These are some of the tools that we teacher librarians have been using for webinars, virtual conferences, and professional organization meetings. Communicating across the miles in this way has also offered our students an opportunity to practice virtual meeting skills they are sure to be using in many other contexts.

I know that I have been enjoying the opportunity to communicate across the miles – and connect and plan with talented Teacher Librarians Joyce Valenza, Shannon Miller, Michelle Luhtala, Colette Cassinelli, and Amy Lott – at least as much as our students.