Candidates are familiar with a wide range of children's, young adult, and professional literature in multiple formats and languages to support reading for information, reading for pleasure, and reading for lifelong learning.
“Give me a man or woman who has read a thousand books and you give me an interesting companion. Give me a man or woman who has read perhaps three and you give me a dangerous enemy indeed.” Anne Rice wrote these words in her novel The Witching Hour. As I reflect on my school library education, I’m not sure that I yet qualify as “an interesting companion.” But as I reexamine literature-based artifacts from my graduate program, I am utterly certain that I am no “dangerous enemy.” Through six annotated bibliography projects and one GoodReads digital bookshelf, I have demonstrated breadth of literary knowledge, both in terms of audience and format.
Representing my expertise in children’s literature are a “Magazines for Kids” annotated flier, a practical annotated bibliography of children’s literature, and an annotated bibliography of children’s reference materials. After researching a wide variety of children’s magazines, I selected my top five exceptional children’s magazines for inclusion on my poster. “Magazines for Kids” is intended to serve as a quick reference guide for teachers and parents. Magazines are exciting for children because of their glossy pictures and ever-changing features; they can also seem less daunting to a reluctant reader. Of the titles included, Odyssey: Adventures in Science, and Ranger Rick are predominantly science periodicals with reading and math curricular tie-ins; Ask and National Geographic Kids are science and social science periodicals with reading and math curricular tie-ins, and Click is a literary/artistic periodical with some mathematical curricular tie-ins. Together, they address all curricular areas, as well as top children’s informational interests, such as animals, creative writing, and fun facts. I also selected each of the five magazines based on their strong interactive web presence, providing for a digital literacy component.
The Children’s Literature Annotated Bibliography features citations and brief, enticing synopses of eighty-seven high quality children’s texts. It is intended for teacher and student perusal. The bibliography includes both fiction and nonfiction texts in the following categories: Easy Fiction and Caldecott Winners, Intermediate Fiction and Newbery Award Winners, Maryland Black-Eyed Susan Nominees and Award Winners, Folk and Fairy Tales, Science, History and Biography, and Poetry. The reference bibliography focuses specifically on nonfiction reference materials appropriate for the wide age and reading level ranges present at an elementary school. It is designed to serve as a librarian’s materials order and is divided into headings and subheadings, covering an extensive range of subject matter. The Print Sources section includes Bibliographies; Directories, Almanacs, Yearbooks, and Handbooks; Dictionaries, Thesauri, and Encyclopedias; and Geographical texts. The Electronic Resources section includes the subdivisions of General Sources, Biographies, Dictionaries and Encyclopedias. Two of the databases included in this section, Brainpop and World Book Online include Spanish language editions, perfect for the linguistic needs of the ESOL/bilingual population.
I was first drawn to the career of school librarian when I took the course, Adolescent Literature, as an undergraduate. Taking the graduate version of the course, Literature for Young Adults, three and a half years later, I displayed further detailed familiarity with young adult texts by developing a Young Adult Literature Annotated Bibliography featuring twenty-five entries. Each of these entries includes a target age range, genre listings, a summary, a personal reaction section, and a bulleted, overarching evaluation which includes additional recommendations for target audience based on gender and interests. The collection of evaluation features selections from the genres of nonfiction, biography, memoir, realistic fiction, diversity, teen chic lit., science fiction, supernatural, mythological, suspense, and graphic format. All of the included selections were determined based on YALSA awards and best books lists as well as recommendations of students and colleagues. Selections range from J.K. Rowling’s The Tales of Beedle the Bard, Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly, and Candace Fleming’s The Great and Only Barnum, suitable for young adults beginning at ages eleven or twelve, to books suitable for much more mature young adult audiences, such as the Welch family’s The Kids are All Right and David Small’s graphic format memoir, Stitches.
My knowledge of professional literature and sources is exhibited not only in the selection tools I used to compile these extensive annotated bibliographies but also in two online resource bibliographies and a Goodreads digital bookshelf filled with materials on literature circles and reading groups. All of the professional lists were designed for high school English teachers. The web-based professional listings are “Weblink Biography: Valuable Web Pages for Teaching Four American Novels,” which provides resources and lesson ideas for teaching The Scarlet Letter, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Great Gatsby, and To Kill a Mockingbird, and “Lesson Plan Resources for the High School English teacher, which highlights the best of free online resources and materials including Web English Teacher; The Folger Shakespeare Library; PBS Teachers 9-12 Reading and Language Arts; NCTE’s Read, Write, Think; and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Big Read initiative.
These materials that I have assembled after pouring over awards lists, websites, and selection tools showcase the highest quality materials in a tremendous variety of formats for children, young adults, and education professionals. They clearly display my personal growth as a library media candidate – my efforts to become a literary expert in this field. If I was to amend these lists, other than continuing to strive for the most current resources, I would make two changes. First, I would include more varied resources for the differing language needs of the students. My annotated bibliographies include digital databases for Spanish speakers but do not address hardcopy texts in foreign language or non-Spanish languages. These modifications could be tailored to the individual population of the school where I was employed. The other alteration would be to devote more attention to amassing professional resource lists for teachers outside of my content area of English. My work up to this point demonstrates a biased favoritism toward teachers in this subject area, and I would want to provide valuable resources to teachers of all content areas.
Over the course of my graduate program, I have prepared to meet the literary needs of all potential members of a K-12 school community -- be they primary, intermediate, or secondary students, be they teachers, counselors, or administrators. I am familiar with a wide range of children’s, young adult, and professional literature in multiple formats and languages to support reading for information, reading for pleasure, and reading for lifelong learning. I have spent years of my life reading, selecting, and annotating the best literary resources: magazines, picture books, fiction and nonfiction texts, reference books, professional websites, etc. And yet, I conclude my Master’s degree study knowing that I have only just scratched the surface. There are so many more exceptional resources available and so many more exceptional resources that will become available over the course of my career. I look forward to making it my mission to myself serve as a walking literary resource, knowing that I can never allow myself to become outdated and that there is always room for growth.
Children's Book Annotations
Elementary Reference Bibliography
Young Adult Book Annotations
GoodReads Bookshelf - Literature Circles and Reading Groups
Weblink Bibliography - Valuable Web Pages for Teaching 4 American Novels
Lesson Plan Resources for the High School English Teacher