Books That Give You the Feels

This bulletin board display was inspired by one of my favorite young patrons, who loves to read realistic fiction that tugs at her heart.

There are a substantial number of 4th-6th grade students who aren’t interested in books with magic, time travel, unicorns, mermaids, fairies, or dragons; they want to read books that include angst, confusing dilemnas, tragic family circumstances, kids facing big life challenges, and equally big disappointments. They want books that elicit strong emotions, and allow them to experience intense scenarios they may never encounter in their real lives, in a safe way: on the pages of a book.

With suggestions from one of the online librarian groups I am a member of, I printed and laminated small covers of the books in the school library that make eyes water and hearts ache.  I placed a book rack under the bulletin board with all the available books, to make picking one up to read just-that-much easier.

These are stories that demonstrate the importance of empathy, perseverence, overcoming adversity, and deal with tough topics–often more than one–such as disfigurement (Wonder, Firegirl, The War that Saved My Life), cancer (Ida B, Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes), neglectful/absent/abusive/alcoholic parents (Rain, Reign, True…Sort of, Because of Winn-Dixie), disabilities of all sorts (So B. It), orphans and foster children trying to find their place in a world that seems not to care about them (Echo, Counting by Sevens, Pictures of Hollis Woods, Missing May), financial hardship (Faith, Hope and Ivy June, Out of the Dust), families that are separated by death, distance and grief (A Dog Called Homeless, Walk Two Moons, Our Only May Amelia, Chasing Redbird, The Boy on the Porch), friendships that are strained or severed (The Thing About Jellyfish, Breadcrumbs, When You Reach Me), mistreated animals (One and Only Ivan, Flawed Dogs, The Underneath, Shiloh), and lots of dogs that die. Lots and lots of dogs that die (Where the Red Fern Grows, Old Yeller, Love That Dog, Marley and Me, Sounder).

Are there any popular books in your library that belong on this bulletin board too?  Leave me a comment!

And pass the tissues, please.

Book Graveyard – Books That Have Had Their Final Checkout

Here is a book graveyard display, made with books that have met an awful end.

At the beginning of each school year, I give a book care talk, and usually hand out damaged books to random students, and let them guess what happened to them–spilled on, chewed by a dog, little sister colored in it. They enjoy guessing what befell the unfortunate books.

This year, I decided to try something different, and let students pay their last respects to these books on display. Nothing too fancy, just some gray construction paper and a Sharpie marker for the headstones. 

I found inspiration from fellow blogger and Assistant Library Director, Rebecca, at Thank you for sharing your ideas.


It’s Always Time to Read

FullSizeRender-1I’m getting bulletin boards ready for the start of the new school year. Here’s one I finished today. Each book title has a number between 1 and 12 in it. Lily, a student volunteer, did a great job of searching the Destiny catalog and locating the books needed for each number.

The titles I used were: The One and Only Ivan, The Two Princesses of Bamarre, Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days, The First Four Years, Across Five Aprils, Now We Are Six, Counting by 7s, Ramona Quimby, Age 8, Dreams into Deeds: Nine Women Who Dared, Ten True Animal Rescues, Eleven, 12 Again.

I always allow kids to check out books even if they are part of a display (isn’t that the point?), so I have a few back-ups handy: One Came Home, Eight Keys, etc. (I am secretly hoping no one checks out 9; I have no replacement in my collection.)

Below is a picture in progress. I used four T-pins to affix each book stand to the bulletin board.  Even though they are aligned when empty, they required adjusting after books were added, to account for size differences.

IMG_8973I’m all ears, if you can suggest other back up titles with numbers in them in the comments.  Especially nine!

Scrabble Library Bulletin Board

Scrabble Bulletin Board DSC04964

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m fortunate to work with some insanely creative co-workers in Youth Services at the public library. They are such an inspiration to stretch my bulletin board making skills, just to do my part to keep up the high standard.

Nearly every shift I work there, patrons exclaim their delight at the many whimsical bulletin boards, and tell us how much they appreciate them. After they are taken down, I’ve been permitted to re-install some of them at the elementary library where I also work, so they are given a second life, with all new patrons to appreciate them.

Today, I’m sharing this Scrabble board display with you, created by one of my co-workers to go along with the current game theme.

Student Poetry in the Library


A Book Enlarged Poem

When one of our wonderful consultants at the elementary school worked with students on poetry last year, she came to me with a few poems students wrote relating to books and reading, and inquired if I would like to display them in the library. How fast could I say, “Of course!”

Together we made library displays with the poems. She did the beautiful lettering on large white paper, and I cut out some decorations to go with them on black card stock, and installed them. I free-handed the book with a flock of birds flying out of it. The book and birds are affixed with T-pins, not staples, so I was able to give them a 3-D effect by pulling sections outward on the T-pins. Then my wonderful son gave me a Silhouette Cameo for Christmas, and I used it to cut the other display shapes (tree, grass, girl sitting on a book, book with bookmark, music notes).

They make me smile every time I read them, and the students are proud to point them out to their friends when they are in the library.

The Book

The Book

Upon a shelf
left there to stay

The popular books all taken away
where they can laugh and let their words play

The mystical books of wizards and elves
The scary horror stories of ghosts on the shelves

But alas, that’s nothing like me
I’m just a story ’bout a girl and her tree

The new books go in, the old go out
There’s hustling and bustling going about.

I inhale the smell of new brandished leather
The gilded gold spine that holds it together

That’s not just like me, my color is rust,
and I only smell of moth balls and dust

I’m on the shelf for days, weeks
But then at dawn, a new sun peeks

Then yes, yes, yes, I knew it was true
The librarian says, “This book’s just for you.”

I shine with joy, I dance with glee
For I am a book ’bout a girl and her tree.



The Lonely Book

The Lonely Book

There sat a lonely book
It was the kind of book that nobody took

It sat on the shelf with nobody there
Other books passed by it without a care

Finally the lonely book met a lonely girl
And they hit it off in their lonely world

They walked off feeling fine
The loneliness won’t be back for a while




I am the music of reading
My melody is the beating of words in my head
It moves to the rhythm of my eyes
ripping down the page
With harmonies of overwhelming silence