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Jason Reynolds @ the 2018 National Book Festival

Jason Reynolds was recently named the Ambassador for Young People’s Literature (see the CBS interview here: , and he is using this platform to empower young people around the country to “GRAB THE MIC: Tell Your Story”. So, we went looking around the internet for encouraging and interesting videos where Jason Reynolds takes the mic and tells his story. We found this from the 2018 National Book Festival.

Jason expresses that when he writes a book, he keeps in mind that it is important to tell the stories of real people so that kids who read his books will see themselves. He talks about connecting to other people’s experiences through literature, and how he makes his characters real. His stories feature characters who go through emotional times, yet still handle these things with humor and humility.

“My mother always says, ‘Don’t ever trust nobody who is all cry and no laugh.’ Right? I think that like, if we were being honest about humanity, there’s no way that we could talk about the bad things without talking about the joy.” – Jason Reynolds

It is also especially powerful when the audience members ask him really thoughtful, interesting questions, and he devotes his full attention to them. It’s worth watching until the very very end.

If you want to see which Jason Reynold’s books we have in our OverDrive account, click here:

Advocacy Day!

Tomorrow is Annual Library Advocacy Day! Each year library advocates from across NYS convene in Albany to voice support for funding and policies that benefit libraries. We know that if you’re not already scheduled to go, you probably can’t get out to go to Albany tomorrow. BUT there are things you can do from home!

  1. Call your legislator’s office
  2. Tell him or her how important your library is to the community and its voting citizens
  3. Tell him or her that increased funding for libraries and School Library Systems is ESSENTIAL and CRITICAL
  4. Use NYLA’s advocacy tools to help you shape your personal message
  5. Join in virtually! Post to your Facebook wall, Tweet about Library Aid, or add a button to your library’s website.

See NYLA’s Advocacy Day Website:


Celebrate Presidents Day!

We celebrate Presidents Day on Monday with a national holiday. In our county it also kicks off February break! Learn all about the history behind this holiday with SAFARI Montage and Learn 360!

Presidents Day

(Click title to open video in SAFARI Montage)
Learn about the history behind Presidents Day in your K-4 classroom with this 20 minute video all about Presidents Day.


Presidents Day: Holiday Facts and Fun

Learn all about George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, and how we celebrate these two U.S. presidents in February. Follow it up with the video quiz in section 5.

Tomorrow is Valentine’s Day – and if you missed our post last week, you can find it here.

Have an excellent February Break!


New Learn360 Titles

Learn360 recently added almost 700 titles to its collection. These titles are newly embedded into our SAFARI Montage platform.

We’ve created some playlists to help you better navigate these titles:

Featured Playlists:

United News (Collection of newsreel footage from the 1940’s) – Grades 6-adult

Universal Newsreels (Collection of newsreel footage from the 1930’s) – Grades 9-12

Prelinger Archives (Collection of newsreel footage from 1920’s-1940s, covering topics such as Charles Lindbergh’s Flight, the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl, etc.) – Grades 9-12

The WPA Film Library (Footage from the 1920’s – 1940’s) – Grades 9-12

Looks International (Footage from the 1920’s – 1940’s) – Grades 9-12

Ferguson’s Career Tips – Grades 9-12

Highlights for Children (Animated Stories from highlights) – Grades PreK – K



Coming Soon from Simon and Schuster!

Lots of great books are scheduled for publication this year. Over the next few weeks, we’ll be featuring some of the books we are excited about.

Today, we’re covering books coming from Simon and Schuster for grades K-5.

(click each book cover to get to the Simon and Schuster page and click Product Details to see the release date):












For a complete list visit the Simon & Schuster Website.

New Workshops Added to PD Catalog

We’ve added two new workshops to our catalog!

Coming up on March 12 from 3:30 pm to 4:30 pm, Mark D’Annunzio will be holding a webinar:

Using iMovie (on the iPad) in your Classroom

Whether you’re new to video production, or experienced with the iMovie app already, this workshop will be a great introduction (or refresher) to one of the most popular iPad video editing apps for education. Join Mark D’Annunzio in this hour-long webinar where he will show you how to use the app, and how teachers use it in the classroom. iMovie is free, and a great way for students to creatively express complex ideas in a digital media format.

An iPad with the free iMovie app is required for the webinar. If you do not have an iPad, you can borrow through our Multimedia or Model Schools service. Contact for information on the borrowing process.

Register here:


Then, on April 30th from 3:30 pm to 5:00 pm, we’ve added a new hands-on workshop:

Stop Motion Video using Mini Green Screens

Teach your students to create frame-by-frame animation (Stop-Motion) on the iPad using two free iPad apps and a green screen pizza box. Stop Motion Video is a creative and fun way for students to express complex ideas in a digital media format. Leveraging green screen technology allows your students to “think outside the pizza box!”

Whether you’re new or experienced with green screen video production, stop motion animation, or the iMovie and iMotion apps, this workshop will be a great introduction (or refresher) to a creative way for students to show what they know. Spend and hour-and-a-half with Mark D’Annunzio and Liesl Toates delving into the creative process in this fun, hands-on workshop.

Register here:

Resources for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is coming up in just over a week. Use these resources to celebrate!

Pair this Weston Woods video with the book! (click to watch video in Safari Montage).

Get some exercise with Slim Goodbody and learn all about the history of Valentines Day in this 10 minute Deskercise video:

Pair it with a makerspace project and have students make some cards for their loved ones.

Want to share some ebooks and audio books with your students? Try these books for all ages – scroll down for MS/HS books & click the book cover for more info.:

90-Second Newbery Film Festival Recap

The NINTH Annual 90-Second Newbery Film Festival was in Rochester on Saturday for it’s premiere screening at the Rochester Museum and Science Center. At least 21 young filmmakers were in attendance. James Kennedy (author of The Order of Odd Fish) hosted with Bruce Coville (author of you can click here because there are too many books to list).  Over 350 people attended the premiere.

The 90-Second Newbery is a Film Festival where students of all ages create short (90-seconds or less) films that re-tell a Newbery winning or Newbery honor book. In order to accomplish this, students must be able to boil down major plot points to the most important facets of a book. 90-seconds is not a lot of time! It seems like a very difficult thing to do. And yet, students all over the country are turning out thoughtful, witty, funny, poignant retellings each year.

If you haven’t checked this film festival out yet, please see James’ very informative blog. This link takes you to his wrap up of this year’s Rochester festival, where you can view some of the featured videos:

Get your students started on this incredibly fun, creative project for next year’s festival!

Library of Congress Surplus Books Program

Did you know that the Library of Congress gives away its surplus books to libraries around the country? It does!

Yes, there are some caveats to the program, but what a cool idea! Here’s the long and short of it:

  • These surplus books are donated for collection development purposes, not to be sold for raising funds for the library.
  • The receiving library has to be a full-time, tax-supported or nonprofit educational institution: school, school system, college, university, museum or public library.
  • Participating organizations must select materials in-person at the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.
  • Receiving libraries are responsible for making arrangements and payment for the shipping of the selected materials.

If you are interested, you can find more information and application instructions at the Library of Congress website:


Makey Makey Music

March is Music in our Schools Month. So to celebrate we’ll make some music with Makey Makey!

In our workshop on Wednesday, March 4th (3:30 pm – 4:45 pm), we’ll make some musical instruments and hook them up to the Makey Makey so we can play them through the computer. This workshop is intended for School Librarians, but teachers can attend if they attend with their building librarian.

Register here: