Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

YA Literature

Book Reviews!

Amie Grosshans

This semester we are required to write three book reviews and post them to our class Google site.  We can read any YA books we want, but one of them has to feature a minority and/or LGBTQ+ character and one has to be a non-fiction or an informational text.  There are two parts to the reviews: the first is a very short blurb, two or three sentences, that explains the gist of the book, and the second is a more thorough review.  I have written one review so far and am working on the second.  Surprisingly, I had a much easier time writing the small blurb than I did the full review.  For me, it was fun to think of how to condense the book down to two or three sentences.  It forced me to think of the overarching theme of the book and what the main character is experiencing.  I knew I only had a limited amount of space to use and that helped me focus on the most important details and themes.  I love playing with words, so I really enjoyed…


Skills learned from SLT

Peggy Hogan-Rao

  I am so close to being done with my studies at Simmons. When I look back at my courses at Simmons, I feel like all I want to say is thank you. I have one step into the door of working professional and one foot still in the door of graduate student. As I am slowly creeping into the role of a library teacher, I am using the skills that the Simmons School Library Teacher program has equipped me with to be a library assistant in an elementary school library.     In my LIS 406 course Management of School Libraries, I learned valuable skills in outreach to the community. When you work in a school library, it is good to partner with local bookshops for book orders, but most importantly the local public library. In the school where I work now, we are working very closely with the public library’s children’s librarian to give children access to information resources.     LIS 461 the Curriculum and Instructional Strategies for the SLT (School Library Teacher) gave an overview of…


Compare and Contrast

Amie Grosshans

I’m still feeling a twinge of disappointment after dropping the database class but overall I’m having a much easier time keeping up with schoolwork, and I’m a lot less stressed.  So, yay!  I’m also really enjoying being able to focus on a single class.  This week’s topic in Collections and Materials for Young Adults was particularly interesting, as we focused on young adult non-fiction adaptations.  We had to read Stamped from the Beginning by Ibram X. Kendi and its YA adaptation, Stamped by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, both of which chronicle the history of racism in the United States.     While I read a lot of YA fiction, I don’t read YA non-fiction at all.  Truthfully, I never gave too much thought to the genre before this week.  I thought most young adults would gravitate towards reading adult non-fiction, because that’s what I did when I was younger, but that’s not the case for everyone.  I happen to love history and biographies, but I know they can be boring, depending on the author and style.  So adapting adult non-fiction for young adults makes a lot of…


A Tough Choice

Amie Grosshans

I made the difficult decision to drop my database class last week.  Since I missed the add/drop grace period, I’ll get a “W” on my transcript, but luckily that won’t affect my GPA.  It will, however, affect my graduation date because it was too late to sign up for a different class.  Instead of graduating in December, I’ll now be graduating in May.  I’m bummed about that because I was so excited to be almost done.  In the grand scheme of things, waiting another five months to graduate is not a big deal, but I still feel disappointed.  However, I know this was the right decision because I was struggling with this class.  I could have pushed through, but ultimately I decided that I don’t have the time or energy to do that right now.  I am stressed enough with all the COVID stuff and this class was just adding more stress to my life.  Even though it stinks, my peace of mind is already better.  Now I only have to focus on one class, and I won’t be extra stressed trying to get everything…


Books, Books, and More Books

Amie Grosshans

            The semester is still young, but I’ve already read five books for my Young Adult Literature class!  I definitely panicked when I saw this on the syllabus.  The professor had sent out an email a few weeks before the semester began to let us know that we had to read three books for week 2, but since I signed up for the class late, I didn’t get the news until the first week of class.  Thankfully, the books were quick reads, and I had more notice for the two books I had to read for week 3.   While it requires a lot of reading, this class has been amazing so far.  I signed up for it mainly because I love YA literature, but I also signed up because I wanted to read out of my comfort zone.  I’m used to reading books of my choosing.  I gravitate towards mysteries, fantasies, and other light reads.  This isn’t a bad thing, but I think it’s important as a librarian to be familiar with all types of books.  I wanted to get familiar with books and…


Ready to Go!

Amie Grosshans

Classes started last week.  I’m excited to get back into a normal routine again, especially since the world is still so uncertain.  I might not be able to count on much right now, but I know I can count on my schoolwork and deadlines to give me a bit of normalcy, and I’m grateful for that.  My classes run from Tuesday-Monday and Thursday-Wednesday, and I’ve started to plan out the days I work on each class.  I like to create my own routine and get a little bit of work done every day so that I am not cramming everything in on the due date.   This semester I’m taking LIS 458, Database Management, and LIS 483, Library Collections and Materials for Young Adults.  I had intended to take LIS 532R, Reader’s Advisory, but it ended up being a synchronous online class—meaning each session was at a specific time—and unfortunately, the time didn’t work out with my schedule.  While I’m disappointed about that, I am very happy with the classes that I chose.  I can tell already that Database Management is going to…


Book Bound in Boston

Peggy Hogan-Rao

Perks of living in Boston and being a library school student: meeting famous children’s/YA authors. Just a couple weeks ago, my Writing for Children professor ended class early so a couple students can go meet Rainbow Rowell at Brookline Booksmith. Rowell is the author of Eleanor & Park, Fangirl, and Carry On! About a week ago, Brown Girl Dreaming author Jacqueline Woodson was at Harvard Book Store, and then last Saturday, they hosted R.J. Palacio. If that name doesn’t sound familiar, R.J. Palacio is the mastermind behind the Wonder books, and is known for her character Augie Pullman. Before I was able to meet R.J., I had the privilege of meeting six authors at an amazing awards ceremony and reception for the Horn Book hosted at our very own Simmons University. My Writing for Children professor had strongly encouraged us to attend last Friday, and I’m am so glad she did! While I met so many amazing authors, I unfortunately wasn’t able to meet Angie Thomas, the famous woman behind The Hate U Give. Although…


I Can’t Believe How Many Books I’ve Read!

Peggy Hogan-Rao

Reflecting on the end of the semester, I keep thinking ‘I can’t believe how many books I have read!’ I created my goodreads.com account in December or November, after hearing about a local high school librarian who used it to track books she read. I thought it would be good to set a goal in January, around the time of the new year. This was before I enrolled in LIS 481: Library Collections and Materials for Children. I thought to myself ‘I’ll create a goal of 50 books. It’ll be super hard to read 50 books by the end of 2019.’ Well, our final reading journal assignment in LIS 481 was due a few days ago. I checked my Goodreads account, and I have read 31 books so far. Wowza, that’s a lot! Want to know the secret? In Library Collections and Materials for Children (a required course for anyone in the School Library Teacher Concentration or Children’s Literature Dual Degree) we are required to read 27 books throughout the semester. Children’s literature qualifies as…


The Particularities of Writing for People

Hayley Botnen

As I mentioned last week, April seems to be the month of literally everything being due. My biggest struggle–like every semester–is trying to learn to write for particular professors. I have my own writing style. I use it when I blog. I use it when I do my NaNoWriMo months. I use it in emails and Facebooks posts. I write the same way pretty much everywhere. But when I have to write for class, I try to spruce it up. Most people realize that you speak in different “registers” depending on who you’re speaking with: friends, family, professors, clergy, strangers. This also tends to happen with writing. When I write for school, I try to focus on certain facets of writing which I pretty much ignore otherwise. These facets are generally concepts I’ve been taught in school: don’t use “I” in academic papers, don’t end sentences with prepositions, make sure you have a thesis, avoid passive voice, and other “standard English” rules. However, one thing I always seem to forget is the subjectiveness of writing…


Don’t Censor Me

Alison Mitchell

I’ve become a little obsessed with the American Library Association’s Code of Ethics and Freedom to Read statement.  The idea that anyone can access any kind of information at a public library is so egalitarian and so truly democratic, and really appeals to me.  I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and was a little taken aback the other day by an exchange at my local branch library. Some relevant information: the librarian working that day was not one of the regular librarians, all of whom know my family very well, so this was someone with no information about me or my kids. my older daughter reads and comprehends well above her grade level (3rd grade), and looks younger than her actual age (8). she selects her own books, and independently chooses to stop reading if the text or subject matter is too much for her. Back to the story. One of the books we were checking out was Wonder by R.J. Palacio (which turned out to be fabulous — I highly recommend it).  I…