April 17, 2014


Recently I gave a presentation at Chicago State University which was hosted by the College of Education.  This event was a celebration of National Library Week 2014.  It was really great to hear presentations about the new Archives and Record Management concentration  offered by the Department of Information Studies.  Below is the a copy of my presentation and a description:

The Wendell Phillips Academy High School Pinterest page has been active since the fall of 2013. The page/account was established as a result of the numerous pictures, videos that have been created over the last four years by staff and students. This curation tool has been very helpful in several ways.
First, it provides students, teachers, community and interested stakeholders with a portal for information about events taking place at Phillips. Academically, the boards have served as a teaching tool during Black History Month, Women's History Month and Poetry Month. Students and teachers are able to access organized links to articles, pictures and videos are a variety of subjects. Through our history board, visitors of Wendell Phillips Academy High School are able to learn more about our illustrious history within the Bronzeville community and contributions to the city of Chicago. Lastly, the boards support all things positive at Phillips high school!
Follow us today at: http://www.pinterest.com/auslwpahs/.

April 13, 2014

Behind the Paws!

Here's the latest episode of Behind the Paws. What's new: - BTP students talk about their trip to Spain - an animation segment created by Devin and voiceover by Myiah - A blooper/outtake reel Hey, it's spring break! Enjoy!



Meet Antonio La Cava, a retired Italian teacher who travels around the country in his "bibliomotocarro" or "librarymotorcar" to get children excited about books.  

April 10, 2014

Conversations at the Circulation Desk

Conversations at the Circulation Desk is a video series that I have created that celebrates the teen mind. Videos shared in this series feature some of my students and the insightful, funny and prolific things that they say.  All students who appear in this video series have approved the use of their image and have had their parent sign a media release form for the school.

My student Erianna talks about how I helped her identify great resources for her research paper.  Happy School Library Month!

Poetry Month - Chicago

#Repost from the MissDomino Blogspot

This winter was rough on Chicago and everyone is looking forward to the warm weather over the next couple of months.  I'm happy that the weather is turning for the better, but it also makes me very uneasy.  During this time of year, violence around the country heightens in many cities and young people are at risk.   I'm concerned for my cousins and my students safety.

I want to repost Jazmine McKinney's poem, 'Chi City Youth' to for many reasons.  This spoken word poet eloquently describes the violence that Chicago's youth must face daily.  McKinney's vivid description of the day-to-day struggle is not to be taken lightly and she does not hold back.  This video is a 'real' and provides the listener with a true account of life in Chicago's from the lens of a young person.  

This video is part of a projected funded in part by a City of Urbana Arts grant and produced by University of Illinois PhD student Raymond Morales.   I encourage you to listen 12 audio works and several videos by six Illinois artists.   The audio is available for download on Morales website at The Show 1045.  

Like my friend said, "Poetry is a way for young people to express themselves, allow them to use a pen, paper and their authentic voice as their instrument."

My Co-Workers

My co-workers know me well.  Check out this cool magnet!

Circulation Desk Display

I let my students create this circulation desk display.  It's a combination of Poetry Month and my birthday celebration.  Somehow, they figured out a way to fit Wendy Phillips in.  My students....you've gotta love them!

April 9, 2014

Mouse Squad Digital Meet-Up Presentation

Yesterday's presentation for the Mouse Squad Digital Meet-Up was a great experience!  Here's the YouTube recording...Enjoy!

April 8, 2014

Mouse Squad Digital Meet-Up

I will a presenter for tonight's Mouse Squad Digital Meet-Up.  Topics discussed will be the integration of social media projects for the Behind the Paws students news program, Phillips social media presence and digital projects.

If you would like to learn more about Mouse Squad and/or listen in on today's Google Hangout, register here:  http://mousesquad.org/DigitalMeetUp_4-8-14

FAQ's About the Mouse Squad Digital Meet-Ups

The live meet-up will be held at 5pm EST on Tuesday, April 8th.

This meet-up will be held over Google On-Air. Fill out the short registration form below, and you'll get an email shortly before the meet-up begins with a link to join via your Google+ account.

You can create one here, or you can come back to this post and the YouTube livestream will be embedded above (you just won't be able to join the conversation). Please fill out the registration form below to get a reminder email before we begin.

If you can't join us during the meet-up you'll be able to watch a recording later on YouTube. This post will be updated with the link to the recording after it's over.

Register for the Mouse Squad Digital Meet-Up

April 6, 2014

School Library Month in Chicago

#Repost - American School Library Association Website

School Library Month (SLM) is the American Association of School Librarians' (AASL) celebration of school librarians and their programs.  Every April school librarians are encouraged to create activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in a student's educational career. 

Chicago Public Schools librarians are celebrating too!  A new Twitter page has been created by CPS Certified School Librarians this weekend to highlight the GREAT things Chicago school librarians are doing every day with students in their libraries.   Follow this Twitter page to view projects, pictures and read articles about school libraries.  Don't have a Twitter account?  You can view the tweets by logging onto:

Meeting a Chicago Legend

On Friday, some of the members of the Behind the Paws student news program met a Chicago legend:  Robin RobinsonFOX-32 News.  Robinson visited Phillips High School on Thursday and Friday to learn more about the Phillips Affinity Leadership Program.  Serving Chicago as a news reporter for over 30 years, Robinson states, "I am having a love affair that just gets better with time."  I think those of you who are Chicagoans will agree, we have had a love affair with Robinson.  She is a trusted and respected news reporter who highlights the positive things that are taking place in Chicago.  
Say cheese Jordan and Myiah
I can remember watching her on the news when I was a teenager.  I felt a sense of pride seeing a brown skinned woman like myself on television representing Chicago's African-American community.  She inspired me to study Television Broadcasting/Journalism in college and I'm certain she has inspired others.  #ClassAct  

Enjoy the pictures below!
Jacari, star athlete, honor student and member of the
Behind the Paws student news program is interviewed by Robinson
Shameless Plug:  My Affinity group,  The GOALDiggers, tied for first place this week!

Robin Robinson's picture and quote courtesy of WFLD-FOX 32 News

National Library Week

#Reposted from American Library Association: National Library Week

Libraries and librarians have a powerful and positive impact on the lives of Americans on a daily basis. Their stories are key to communicating the value of libraries.   National Library Week is the perfect opportunity to encourage your community to tell the story of how the library has changed their life.

It's time to celebrate in Chicago and around the country!

April 4, 2014

Beyond the Cross Fire

Senior Terrance M. is interviewed by @BeyondCrossfire crew members for their upcoming documentary.   The teens are from California and have traveled across the country to ask other teens a simple question:  How can we reduce the amount of violence in our country?
Visit their Twitter page @BeyondCrossfire and tell them what you think! @ChiPubSchools

April 2, 2014

Accused by Yasmin Shiraz

Author, Yasmin Shiraz
Yasmin Shiraz has written another winner!  I was fortunate to receive an advance copy of Accused and my students and I can't put it down.  I had read the prequel, Retaliation several years ago.  At that time I was a citywide coordinator for the Mayor Daley's Book Club for Middle School.   After reading Retaliation and observing the similarities between D.C. and Chicago teens, I knew that the students  would enjoy reading the book.  I was right.  Coordinators from across the city emailed commenting how much their clubs enjoyed the story.

I was really excited to hear from Shiraz and learn that she has cleverly continued the story of Ahmed and Tashera in Accused.   I don't want to give away key elements of the story so I have copied the synopsis from Shiraz's website for you to review.  This book is a recommended read for late middle school students through high school.  Stay tuned for an interview of Yasmin Shiraz in an upcoming blog post.
An easier and more peaceful life seemed to be destined for Ahmed and Tashera when they left Washington, DC and entered Georgia Atlantic University.  But when Ahmed is accused of a crime that he didn’t commit and begins to be tried in the media, his popularity plummets, his self-esteem suffers, and his dreams of playing college basketball disappear.

Meanwhile, there is a serial rapist on campus who has been attacking freshman girls at record numbers and forcing them to keep silent. As Tashera learns about the girls, she begins to close in on the rapist. But is the attacker too crafty to be caught? Will the state prosecutor ignore key evidence to instead focus on the fame that comes with convicting a high profile basketball star?

Tashera is beyond stressed as she divides her time between trying to find enough evidence to clear Ahmed while at the same time stopping the rapist who roams the campus of Georgia Atlantic.  Ahmed and Tashera’s journey into a new life away from home is more challenging than they ever thought that it would be.

Using Ebooks to Serve Different Student Populations

I will be a panelist on a upcoming webcast sponsored by OverDrive and School Library Journal!
When:                     Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 3:00 PM – 4:00 PM ET
Cost:                        Free
Can't listen live?     This webcast will be archived for viewing

Synopsis:    From reluctant readers and English language learners to kids with special needs, students of all backgrounds and abilities can benefit by using ebooks. Join us as our expert panel of school librarians discusses ways to use ebooks to promote literacy across a variety of student populations. During this free webcast, we’ll explore proven techniques for leveraging ebooks to help meet the instructional needs of different types of students. Plus, you’ll glean practical tips on the best ways to engage readers of all ages and reading levels.

Behind the Paws Featured in The Chicago Citizen Newspaper

Recently, the Behind the Paws students news program was featured in The Chicago Citizen Newspaper.   I am so proud of my students.  They have worked very hard to master the use of technology, write for broadcast, and shoot/conduct interviews this year.  Here's the link to the story and enjoy!

Wendell Phillips' "Behind the Paws" Program Gives Students Unique Voice by Lee Edwards

April 1, 2014

School Library Journal & Street Lit.

Special thanks to Dr. Joyce Valenza for her help in spreading the word about the 2014 Street Lit. Book Award Medal winners.  The SLBM list was featured on her NeverEnding Search blog today for School Library Journal.

Here's the link to the article and enjoy! - Street Lit and School Libraries by Dr. Joyce Valenza

Happy Birthday!

A belated birthday present from my student.  So sweet!

2014 Street Literature Book Award Medal Winners/Honorees

Hello all!  Serving on the Street Literature Book Award Medal Committee has been a joy these past couple of years.  Below is a repost of this year's winners from  http://www.streetliterature.com/.    #StreetLitForever - Enjoy!
For RELEASE: 2014 Street Literature Book Award Medal (SLBAM) Winners and Honorees

The 2014 Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) Committee is proud to announce the award winners for 2013 publications. The following winners and honorees were nominated based on popularity of books as read by the public in school, academic, and public library settings. In other words, the SLBAM honors what street lit readers are reading and deeming as their best authors and titles for the 2013 publication year.

The SLBAM Committee conducted three nomination rounds where they reported on field research of patron readership and reader response to street lit in libraries across the country. The committee discussed all nominated titles. The "Emerging Classic" category recognizes a street lit-plotted or -themed book that was published during or before the year of nomination but continues to be in popular demand by the reading public. Another special category, "Author(s) of the Year", recognizes an author or writing team whose publications were particularly well-received by the reading public during the nomination year. Aside from the "Emerging Classic" category, books eligible for SLBAM nomination were required to be published between January 1, 2013 - December 31, 2013.

Readers really resonated with the epistolary-styled book authored author/actor Hill Harper. A long-time activist for social justice, Harper's writings back to inmate letters is awe-inspiring and a clarion call for everyone to acknowledge that if one of us is imprisoned, then, we all are. This title was constantly requested last year, in its hardback version. It is also available on Kindle, and the paperback is due for release in April 2014.

Adult Non-Fiction Honorees:
-- Soul Train: The Music, Dance and Style of a Generation by Quest Love.
-- Mom & Me & Mom by Maya Angelou.
-- Undisputed Truth by Mike Tyson and Larry Sloman.

Author and publisher Wahida Clark has a loyal readership that responds to her books consistently. Clark's works are always authentic in their voice and in their uncompromising representations of what goes on in the hood. Wahida keeps it real in her Thug Love series, of which "Honor Thy Thug" is the latest installment. Readers couldn't get enough of this title in 2013.

Adult Fiction Honorees:
-- The Prada Plan 3: Green-Eyed Monster by Ashley and JaQuavis.
-- Murderville 3: The Black Dahlia by Ashley and JaQuavis.
-- Fly Betty by Treasure Blue.

Saddleback Educational Publishing specializes in publishing relatable and readable fiction and non-fiction for struggling readers. This nicely packaged 10-volume series has engaged teen readers throughout the country since its release in early 2013. Librarians report that this series of 48-paged biographies successfully attracts reluctant readers.

Young Adult Literature (fiction and non-fiction) honorees:
-- Grace, Gold, and Glory My Leap of Faith by Gabrielle Douglass.
-- Way too Much Drama by Earl Sewell.
-- Butterfly: A novel by Sylvester Stephens.

NYT Bestselling duo, Ashley & JaQuavis continue to grasp readers with their Murderville trilogy, Murderville: The First of a Trilogy (2011), Murderville 2: The Epidemic (2012), and Murderville 3: The Black Dahlia (2013). This woven tale of Liberty's journey from Sierra Leone to the Americas and back, is a powerful testament to the rich tapestry of stories that the street lit genre continues to convey.


Wahida Clark is a New York Times bestselling author who has long been noted for her pioneering contributions to contemporary street lit, as well as her commitment to the evolution of the genre. Known as the Queen of Thug Love, her "Thug Love" series has garnered an immensely loyal readership throughout the years. A  2007 SLBAM Adult Fiction winner, Wahida's latest novel, "Honor Thy Thug," has graced her in the winner's circle again with winning the 2014 SLBAM Award in the Adult Fiction category as well. Clark is a Cash Money Content author and she also runs her own publishing company, including a young adult imprint.

For more information about the Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) or if you are interested in participating on the committee, visit the StreetLiterature.com website for a historical listing of SLBAM Awards.

2014 SLBAM Committee Members:

K.C. Boyd, M.A., M.Ed., M.L.S., is the Library Media Specialist at the acclaimed Wendell Phillips Academy High School in Chicago, IL. Boyd is a nationally sought-out lecturer on street lit and urban young adult reading practices. Known as "The Audacious Librarian", KC blogs about young adult street lit/urban fiction at http://theaudaciouslibrarian.blogspot.com/.

Marvin DeBose, Sr., M.L.S., is an Adult/Teen Librarian with the Free Library of Philadelphia (PA). An often sought-out panelist for discussing street lit in libraries, Marvin manages the largest street lit public library collection in Philadelphia, and also runs a teen street lit book club where they discuss their readings on Facebook. Marvin blogs at Mr. Philly Librarian.

D.L. Grant, Jr., M.L.S., is an Assistant Branch Manager with the San Antonio (TX) Public Library System. Grant is studying for his doctorate's degree in English studies.

Patrice Grimball-Smith is a Librarian Assistant in Young Adult Services for the Charleston County Public Library System in Charleston, South Carolina. She is also President of the Readers in Motion Bookclub.

Vanessa Irvin Morris, M.S.L.S., Ed.D., is the convener of the Street Lit Book Award Medal (SLBAM) Committee (note: Dr. Morris only votes when there is need for a tie-breaker). Vanessa is the author of the Street Literature blog, and the award-winning publication, The Readers Advisory Guide to Street Literature (2011). A librarian with over 25 years' experience, Vanessa teaches library and information science at a private research university in Northeast USA.

For media inquiries about the SLBAM awards, contact: vanirvinmorris@gmail.com.