Blog Update

Hello friends!

Maybe you've noticed I've been MIA from my blog...maybe your life has gone on without pause.  Regardless, I wanted to let you know what's been keeping me busy :)


Lately, most of my spare time has been spent finalizing some exciting changes to our library.

  • Student Book Reviewers:  What do you get when you combine curious, talented students with my never-ending TBR pile?  Student Book Reviewers!  I am chomping at the bit to get this program up and running.  A special THANK YOU to those students piloting this endeavor...and stay tuned for more information on how YOU can be involved!

  • Genre-fying the Library:  I am (beyond) excited about this!!!  There is much debate surrounding the practice of organizing a library collection by genre.  And even those in favor of this "book store" approach can't seem to agree on a set list of genres.  I spent a great deal of time researching YA genres, teen reading habits, student lingo and circulation statistics.  The end result is a list of genres I feel best represent my current future collection...and my students.  (I wonder if Dewey had this much trouble creating his system?!  And no...I am not trying to compare myself to Dewey...I've just grown to appreciate his contribution to my field even more...)  The newly organized collection will be ready for the start of the 2013-2014 school year!

  • Space Management:  Hold on to your hats...our library will be seeing a huge furniture reshuffle in its near future :)  The current layout simply does not meet the needs of the students.  Imagine the following...iPad centers, electronic device charging stations, small reading nooks, writing labs, study group corners.  They are all a part of the plan!

SO...that's what I've been up to the past few weeks.  No...I have not fallen off the face of the earth.  Yes...I am receiving review requests and processing them as quickly as possible.  I thank you for your continued support and look forward to keeping you posted on the progress of the above projects!

Happy Friday!  ~Mrs. Beamer

BOOK REVIEW: The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

Title: The Glass Castle
Author: Jeannette Walls
Published:  January 9th, 2006 (first published March 1st, 2005)
Source: purchased eBook

From Goodreads:
Jeannette Walls grew up with parents whose ideals and stubborn nonconformity were both their curse and their salvation. Rex and Rose Mary Walls had four children. In the beginning, they lived like nomads, moving among Southwest desert towns, camping in the mountains. Rex was a charismatic, brilliant man who, when sober, captured his children’s imagination, teaching them physics, geology, and above all, how to embrace life fearlessly. Rose Mary, who painted and wrote and couldn’t stand the responsibility of providing for her family, called herself an “excitement addict.” Cooking a meal that would be consumed in fifteen minutes had no appeal when she could make a painting that might last forever.

Later, when the money ran out, or the romance of the wandering life faded, the Walls retreated to the dismal West Virginia mining town—and the family—Rex Walls had done everything he could to escape. He drank. He stole the grocery money and disappeared for days. As the dysfunction of the family escalated, Jeannette and her brother and sisters had to fend for themselves, supporting one another as they weathered their parents’ betrayals and, finally, found the resources and will to leave home.

What is so astonishing about Jeannette Walls is not just that she had the guts and tenacity and intelligence to get out, but that she describes her parents with such deep affection and generosity. Hers is a story of triumph against all odds, but also a tender, moving tale of unconditional love in a family that despite its profound flaws gave her the fiery determination to carve out a successful life on her own terms.

For two decades, Jeannette Walls hid her roots. Now she tells her own story. A regular contributor to, she lives in New York and Long Island and is married to the writer John Taylor.

Mrs. Beamer's Review:
I loved this book...loved everything about it.  The above Goodreads blurb does an outstanding job of summarizing this memoir.  The book is addicting...both heart-wrenching and heart-warming.  

Full disclosure...I only read this book because it was mentioned as possible required reading for the 10th grade Honors English class at our school.  Controversy has followed this memoir since its publication - mainly regarding its age-appropriateness for high school students.  I needed to see (read) for myself.  Bottom line...whatever critics of this book believe, in my opinion, the positives WAY WAY WAY outweigh the negatives.  Personally, I can't wait for my own children to read it.  I won't dissect the validity of this book in relation to the course objectives, etc (I'll leave that to the English teachers!).  But I will say this memoir offers countless opportunities for discussion and reflection.  

Jeannette's childhood is one of disbelief.  I often found myself thinking " is this lifestyle even possible today?!"  Yet, as riveting as her upbringing was, what hooked me were the relationships between the family members.  Jeannette does an outstanding job of sharing her family with the reader.  I felt like I understood it it all made sense (even when, in theory, it shouldn't).  Read it for yourself.  It's outstanding.

Mrs. Beamer’s Wrap-Up Rating: 0-5 (0=none, 5=lots) click here for more info
Language: 3.5
Violence: 1
Sexual Content: 2.5
Drugs/Alcohol: 3
Recommend for High School Libraries: YES
Comfortable With My Child Reading: high school

Meet the Author:  Jeannette Walls is a writer and journalist.  She was born in Phoenix, Arizona.  She graduated with honors from Barnard College, the women's college affiliated with Columbia University.  She published a bestselling memoir, The Glass Castle, in 2005.  The book is being made into a film by Paramount.

Monday @ MHS Library...

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Prepare for some Twitter fun!  In the not-so-distant future we will be using this social media tool to hone our vocabulary skills :)  Details coming soon!

Overdue Books:

Remember to return your library books...there are long wait lists for our popular titles!!  

Have a wonderful week!  
~Mrs. Beamer