The Literary Gator

Newsletter for the Brimmer and May School Libraries

Spring 2014 Edition

As of April 8 the winter newsletter had 1,700 views on smore.com. Thanks for reading.

Research is Blooming in the Library

Seniors are finishing up their thesis defense papers. Mrs. Dolan visited their English classes, reviewed how to find scholarly sources, and has been meeting with students in the library throughout the semester.


11th graders in Ted Barker-Hook’s class are researching a controversial aspect of World War II and incorporating their arguments into an ibook. Sources include primary sources from books, databases, and selected websites.


10th graders in Ted Barker-Hook’s classes are writing research papers on World War I. They are selecting reference books, scholarly works, and primary sources to back up their arguments.


8th graders are working on a China research project in their humanities classes for which they create a persona and tell the story of an imagined traveler’s journey during a period in China’s history. Easybib online notecards help them organize their research and use information ethically. Sources include books, online databases, credible websites found using Sweetsearch.com, and primary documents from universities and museums.


6th graders in Brian Purcell and Andrew Ferrara’s classes are writing research reports on an element of life in Ancient Greece, using Gale Virtual Reference Library, library books, and Sweetsearch.com to find sources. In order to find images that they can reuse without violating copyright they are using Creative Commons. Citations are streamlined using Easybib.


Kindergarten has been studying the seven continents. During library class Ms. Ambrose shows each continent on a flat wall map, a globe, an atlas, and through an iPad app that reveals photos and verbal descriptions of each continent's particulars. She then reads a book that relates to each continent. Students are encouraged to understand the difference in the type of book read (fiction or non), and to understand the difference between a fact and an opinion.


4th and 5th grades learned about web evaluation. 5th grade used what they learned to enhance their exhibition on Squanto to assess whether he was a hero, villain, or victim.


3rd grade learned how to access the library catalog on their Ipads, which they used in researching topics to prepare for their Egypt exhibition.

8th Grader Declares Reading her Inspiration

In the eighth grade, students speak annually before an audience of peers and others about what or who inspired them. Antonia von Litschgi chose reading as her inspiration. Her reading was nurtured throughout her time as a student here since kindergarten. Through reading she learned about prejudice, developing empathy, understanding friendships, and bravery. She ended with a video presentation which included a quote of George RR Martin: "A reader lives 1000 lives before he dies...The man who never reads lives only once."

Staff Picks Recently on Display in the Reenstierna Library

Featured Title: Far Far Away by Tom McNeil

Why are the children in the town of Never Better disappearing? This novel recommended for ages 12 and up unveils the answer through the experiences of Jeremy Johnson Johnson, a boy who can hear the helpful ghost of Jacob Grimm in his head. Check this one out if you like dark suspense with a touch of horror, modern day fairy tales, convincing deep characters, plot twists, and a story to savor. Recommended for fans of Neil Gaiman and Patrick Ness.

Author Ruthie Knapp Visits

Ms. Ambrose invited Ruthie Knapp, author of five Off the Wall Museum Guides for Kids, to visit with third grade to enhance their study of Egypt. Ms. Knapp, a gallery instructor at the Museum of Fine Arts, leads collection tours for children and adults. She discussed how she went about researching and writing the book Who Stole the Mona Lisa?, a delightful, popular picture book chronicling the painting's theft. She also recalled stories from her youth, which evoked peals of laughter from the students.

Birthday Book Program Update

The birthday book program in which parents sponsor a book purchase in honor of their child’s birthday has been supporting Brimmer and May’s libraries for twenty years. The parents’ association generously organizes the campaign, which is led this year by Elisabeth Kandiah. So far this year we have had 40 birthday book donations and a total of $2,200 dollars has been donated thus far. Thank you for your support parents!

Recorded Books Read by Faculty up for Bid at Bloom Auction

Parent Julie Nijmeh has assembled a lively group of books read by faculty and recorded on a CD. Both CD and the accompanying books will be offered at the Bloom Auction. Twohy’s Outfoxed read by Ms. Ambrose will be recognized especially by students in Pre-K through first.