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    Tour of the Library

    Welcome to the library! I work at an international school. Our library serves approximately 250 students from preschool through twelfth grade. We have around 8,500 books and videos (and counting!) that students can check out.

    Here’s what it looks like when I’m not inside the library or when the door is closed. (See those green forms? I’m hosting a reading program to win a Kindle Fire this semester. I’ll do a post on that sometime soon.)


    Library door


    There are two rooms in the library. This is the main area. You can see my desk to the left, work tables for library classes, and the reference and periodical section to the right. The preschoolers through sixth graders have library class once a week for about 40 minutes. Several students pop in during their free time or during recess.


    Teacher's desk and reference section


    I updated a lot of the signage this year. Here’s the “Take Care!” rules for the library, the books, and each other. (The “Take Care!” signs can be downloaded for free at


    Library Take Care signs


    Another new set of signs is the “May I Take it Home, How Many, and How Long” series:


    Library check out signs


    The main room also houses the non-fiction books:


    Non-fiction section


    Elementary students learn about the Dewey Decimal system during library classes:


    Non-fiction signs


    We also have a reading nook and pillows for the kids to use during their reading time:


    Library reading nook


    The other section is the fiction room:


    Fiction room


    We have lots and lots of picture books:


    Picture books


    And leveled reading step books:


    Picture and step reading books


    There is a large juvenile fiction section:


    Juvenile fiction shelves


    And a small, but ever growing secondary fiction section:


    Secondary fiction section


    This year, I added two new bookcases to hold book series. (The elementary grades especially love Geronimo Stilton, The Magic Tree House, and A to Z Mysteries!) I feature new and recommended books on this short shelf:


    Featured books and the series shelf


    The library is a pretty cool place! Personally, I can’t wait for it to be even cooler when the fall weather finally gets here:


    Library temperature


    Are there any new books you’d recommend for me to purchase this year?


    Elementary Read Aloud Books

    I was a bookworm when I was younger. I’d get in trouble because I’d read by my night light when I was supposed to be sleeping. On a third grade questionnaire, I remember I wrote down librarian as my dream job. Little did I know!

    This has been my first year as a teacher and librarian in Turkey. The previous librarian left behind many wonderful resources, which have been crucial to my ability to function.

    One of the great joys of my position is sharing stories with students. I see the preschool through sixth grade classes once a week for 40 minutes. I’ve mostly relied on the read aloud lists that were left for me. Here’s what we’ve been reading this year (excluding the picture books for the preschoolers, kindergartners, and first graders):


    Second grade read aloud list
    I started by reading picture books to the second graders. After the first several weeks, we moved onto chapter books.

    • My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett – This is a Newbery Honor Book. The kids enjoyed the story and thought the animals were funny.
    • Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary – While the second graders seemed to like this book for the most part, some of the boys got bored with it. There may have been a bit of a disconnect since Ramona is a kindergartner. Some of the chapters were a little long and I’d split them into two for the sake of attention span.
    • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren – Both the boys and the girls really liked this book! I may need to hunt down the movie for next year.


    Third grade read aloud list

    • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald – I remember my teacher reading this book when I was in elementary school. The third graders loved it! After we finished reading, I had them create their own Piggle-Wiggle cures. Several of the students really picked up on the format of the chapters where the mom calls another mom who tells her to call Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle. (Download my free Piggle-Wiggle Cure worksheet!)
    • Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar – This was another hit. There were always lots of laughs from both the story and the pictures.
    • Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald J. Sobol – My third grade teacher Mr. Connor loved to read us Encyclopedia Brown books. After I read a chapter, the students tried to figure out how Encyclopedia solved the case. They got it right several times!


    Fourth grade read aloud list

    • The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – Almost half of the fourth grade class this year was ESL (English As A Second Langauge). They learned leaps and bounds since the first day of school, but this book was tough for them to understand. I wish I could have shown them the movie at the end, but I didn’t have a copy. It’s a classic and good for students to know, but I may reevaluate it as a read aloud book for next year.
    • No Talking by Andrew Clements – This year’s fourth grade class definitely had a boys versus girls spirit, so they loved this book. We did several exercises that mimicked what the students were doing in the book, like telling a story using 3 word sentences and only writing notes back and forth.


    Fifth grade read aloud list

    • The Boys Start the War and The Girls Get Even by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor – The copy in our library is a 2-in-1 book, and we read both. The fifth graders enjoyed the story and competition.
    • The BFG by Roald Dahl – The students laughed at the funny words the BFG said.


    Sixth grade read aloud list

    • Alcatraz versus the Evil Librarians by Brandon Sanderson – The sixth graders loved this book! It kept the attention of both the boys and girls. Some of them even tried out the writing style in their papers. The book has humorous characters and a wild plot. This is the first book in a series of four. We have the second book in our library, but the third and fourth books must have had limited printings. A hardback copy of the fourth book is listed on Amazon for over $140!
    •  The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – This fantasy novel was written in 1872, and the writing style reflects the era. There are several ESL kids in sixth grade, but even for the native English speakers, the text was over their heads at times. Sometimes after reading a passage, I’d stop to make sure they understood what was happening in the story. It’s quite long, and I don’t think we’ll be able to finish this book before the school year is over.


    Are there any books you’d recommend for next year?



    Students Say The Funniest Things: Part 2

    Our international school has approximately 250 preschool through 12th grade students. I see all of the elementary classes once a week for library and some high school students for an elective. David has his 6th grade classroom and also sees many of the elementary and middle school kids for Bible and Character Development. Here are a few quotes from the past couple of months.


    Kids waiting outside



    Conversations with a 2nd grader:
    “Mrs. Benedict, are you and Mr. Benedict married?”
    “Yes, we are.”
    “Why don’t you have a baby?”
    “Well, we haven’t been married very long and haven’t decided to have a baby yet. Besides, if I had a baby, I wouldn’t be able to teach you! Would you rather me be your teacher or have a baby?”
    “Have a baby!!! Pleeeeeease?!”



    Quotes from a Chinese kindergartner during David’s Bible class:

    I sat down funny, so she looked up, smiled and said, “Today I look like Mr. B is very funny. Today look like a funny and happy day for Mr. B.”

    When I introduced the lesson, Jesus Calming the Storm, she said, “Why we talka about Jesus all day long? Because-ah my mom, at home-ah, talk about Jesus too.”

    And on a different day:
    “Mr. B, your face look like so funny today!”



    I always read a book to the kids during their library time. The kintergardeners love to ask, “Why?” or “How come?” as I am reading. I always tell them, “Keep listening! We’ll find out!” The kindergartener mentioned above caught onto this.

    Mrs. B always say we’ll find out. We’ll find out! We’ll find out!”

    For the rest of the book, every time I finished a page, she would say, “Why? …We’ll find out!” She got such a kick out of it and laughed and laughed.



    3rd grader during computers talking to a friend:
    “Windows 95 is old. Everyone always talks about how great it is, but it is so old!”



    I went to pick up the 2nd graders for library. While we were waiting for everyone to line up, one girl said, “Mrs. Benedict, I like your shoes!”

    I said, “Thank you!” I was wearing my pointed-toe metallic flats.

    They look like elf shoes.”

    You think so? I guess they kind of are my elf shoes!”



    D: My Italian student walked into my classroom one morning and handed me his iPad and headphones. He said, “Mr. Benedict, you have to listen… Is very good song!” I placed the headphones on my ears and what I heard was mind baffling. The voices of the Backstreet Boys sang, “I want it that way.”



    D: One morning, an ESL (English as a second language) preschool student said, “Poopy.”
    I said, “That is not a very nice thing to say. You need to watch your mouth. That’s not appropriate.”
    As tears welled up in his eyes, I instantly knew I had hit a language barrier.
    Through sobs and deep breaths he blubbered, “I can’t even see my mouth!”
    (That’s the last time I tell an ESL student they need to watch their mouth!)



    I had the first graders for library one day. I showed them the cover of the book The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein and told them the title. Next, I turned the book around to show them the picture of the author and told them, “This is who wrote the book.”

    One of our new students who does not know a lot of English shouted, “This boy is no beautiful!”

    Take a look:


    Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree cover



    » Read Students Say the Funniest Things: Part 1



    Library Book Sale

    This week is a short week with two half days for parent/teacher conferences and Thursday off for Thanksgiving. Today was the first day of parent/teacher conferences.

    Keeping with the plans of the previous librarian, I ran the annual Library Book Sale to raise funds for new books. Our school receives many donations, not all of which we can use or have room for in our library. We also include damaged and other discarded books in the sale. There were several hundred magazines and picture, juvenile fiction, adult fiction, and non-fiction books. All items cost 1 lira regardless of size or condition.


    Students browsing books at the book sale.


    Kids and parents stopped by before class, during breaks and recess, and in between conferences. I can’t believe how quickly everything sold! There are not nearly as many books left for the sale tomorrow. I was also amazed that people purchased the ratty, worn books. There was one book with its front and back cover completely torn off. And yet, someone liked the book enough to purchase it!

    Seeing the joy in the kids’ eyes was a lot of fun for me. Very few books were in new condition, yet they were so excited to have new books to read and call their own.  It made me want to pull all of the unprocessed books and put them in the sale. (Don’t worry – I didn’t!) Several kids came back to the sale three, sometimes four times today.

    I can relate. I was an absolute bookworm when I was younger. I’d get in trouble for reading by my nightlight when I should have been in bed. I remember filling out a worksheet in 3rd grade that asked about my dream job. I wrote down librarian. Since 3rd grade, my dreams and aspirations went down different paths. I never would have guessed I’d become a librarian so many years later!

    It was also surprising to hear the students talk to their parents. We have an English-only rule during the school day. I did several double takes when I heard kids speaking a different language. Many of our students speak English so well I had no idea it wasn’t the language they spoke at home.

    Literacy is a gift denied to many. I pray our students will have a lifetime love of reading.


    [box]“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” – Frederick Douglass[/box]


    [box]“To read is to fly: it is to soar to a point of vantage which gives a view over wide terrains of history, human variety, ideas, shared experience and the fruits of many inquiries.” – A. C. Grayling[/box]


    [box]“There is more treasure in books than in all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island.” – Walt Disney[/box]