One for the Record Books

April 2017

BL Gray’s Library Is Over 200 Books Richer

Mrs. Pray happily received a shipment of over 200 books to improve the collection in her library. The selection choices were inspired by students, teachers, and professional collaborations and recommendations. Students were incredibly excited to get their hands on the new books. “We’re so happy to see new books in the library!” Estrella Fonseca exclaimed. “It’s great to know Mrs. Pray takes our thoughts into consideration when she orders books,” she added. Mrs. Pray plans to update the relevancy and accuracy of her the library’s nonfiction selection year after year by referencing a collection analysis report.

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PHS Librarian Trains Support Staff

PHS Librarian Janie B. Flores offered Staff Development to paraprofessional, secretarial and clerical staff on Monday using the Testing & Education Reference Center software and other Links. Staff searched through potential careers and online testing opportunities to improve their personal/professional goals. The staff also researched possible occupations and viewed statistics from the Occupational Outlook Handbook. They enjoyed using the Texas Reality Check interactive software to arrive at per month expenses through personal lifestyle selections. Overall, the staff appreciated the opportunity to learn from the available digital resources offered at Pioneer High School.

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Shimotsu Students Use Learning.com

Mrs. Bewley guides students to Learning.com to complete the mandatory lessons. Students in grades 3-6 must complete two lessons. One is "Communicating Online: Cyberbullying" and the other is "Sourcing and Ethics." Our district is committed to educating our students about ethical use of computer information and staying safe online.
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Jessie Jensen Elementary

Students at Jensen Elementary dressed up for National Library Week. They chose their favorite book character to model.
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Aloha! RD Martinez Elementary Celebrates AR Success!

Ohana means family…our RD Martinez Elementary family encourages reading by celebrating with the students who met their AR goal for the 5th Reporting Period Hawaiian style.

We had Hawaiian dress up day, students were treated to snack and watched “Lilo and Stitch” in the library.

Way to go students! Readers are Leaders!

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Doctors Hospital Renaissance NICU Book Drive

John H. Shary Library partnered with DHR hospital to create a library in the NICU by hosting a book drive. There were various drop off locations throughout the Rio Grande Valley as well. The book drive helped create a library of children’s picture books for mothers to read to their babies in the NICU. It also helped promote the importance of reading to children at a very young age. We collected over 1,000 children’s picture books for this great cause.

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Magic in Poetry Contest Winners

SA3 and SHS students were encouraged by their librarian Nicole Cruz and their teachers to enter the Magic in Poetry Contest. This contest was sponsored by the library in honor of National Poetry Month. All students who entered received a participation certificate. Winners will receive a place certificate and prizes from Barnes and Noble. It may be said that Writing is a window into the soul.

The overall winners for the two voice poem category are Nancy Lopez and Claudeth Gindl for Me and My Owner

The overall winners for the single author poems are:

1st place Dibany Guerra- Erroneous Perception

2nd place Kaitlyn Rubio-Rainbows

3rd place Abigail Ollave-I Wore the Mask

4th place Geovanny Martell-Away from Home

5th place Anastasia Cruz-Coach’s Daughter

Honorable Mention

Ericka Perez-People Do Whatever

Jared Palomares –Dancing Façade

Congratulations to all and special thanks to contest judges Rebekah Gerlach, Elida Salinas, and Elizabeth Gongora.

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Family Literacy Night @ O Garza Elementary

O. Garza hosted a Family Literacy Night with our students on April 5th. Students and parent were able to read together and work on their AR goals. We loved seeing our kids and parents read and enjoy many fantastic stories together.

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Barnes & Noble Summer Reading Challenge @ Lloyd & Dolly Bentsen

Bentsen students are working hard on summer library theme, Fly Away With Books. Students are encouraged to continue reading during the summer by participating in Barnes & Noble’s Summer Reading program. This summer reading programs gives students the opportunity to receive a free Barnes & Noble book by reading eight books. Students are very excited about receiving a free book.

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Brain Hive Challenge @ Donna Wernecke Library

Students at Wernecke were challenged by Mrs. Ramos, librarian, to use a new resource available to them this year via the Region One database package. The students were entered in a raffle for reading one or more books on BrainHive, an online book site. The students pictured above were three of 12 winners!
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Lip Sync Competition @ Hinojosa Elementary

Librarian Elizabeth Moreno sponsored a Lip Sync competition for teachers, staff, and students. She provided trophies and medals for the winning entries.
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STAAR Preparation at SNJH Library

In order to assist teachers with STAAR preparation the Library Workroom has been transformed into a study room for small group instruction.

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B.L. Gray Jr. High Celebrates Librarian Wenndy Pray

“I’m truly honored to work at this campus,” expressed Mrs. Pray. B. L. Gray celebrated their librarian in festive fashion during the month of April. Her office was decorated with the “extra special” theme, and she enjoyed pastries with parents and staff as well. “She represents the type of librarian who strives for excellence on the daily basis;” said principal Lori Ann Garza, “it is through her efforts and drive for success that she has a strong impact on our students’ learning and their renewed interest in the library.”

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Jensen Staff Appreciate Mr. Ramos

Mr. Ramos is the librarian at Jessie Jensen Elementary. He works before school, during school, and after school to make the library fun and inviting to all campus community members. He is an important member of the team.
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DEAR time @ Shimotsu Elementary

Shimotsu celebrated Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.) on April 12, Beverly Cleary's birthday. Sixth grade students participating in DEAR.
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O. Garza 5th 6 Weeks Celebration

O. Garza students celebrated meeting their AR goals for the 5th 6 weeks. Students enjoyed a snack of chips and juice while they watched a movie. The 5th 6 weeks had many more students meeting or exceeding their AR goals. We are very proud of our O. Garza students!

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RD Martinez Elementary celebrates National Library Week!

Ms. Zulema Garza, RD Martinez Elementary librarian, enjoys treats, flowers, posters and cards from the students in honor of National Library Week.

2nd Grade Mrs. Tenorio and Mrs. Sanchez presented Ms. Garza with Thank You banners and cards.

A surprise party was held afterschool for Ms. Garza in honor of School Librarian Day.

A Big Thank You to all!

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Photos on display at SNJH Library

The students in Mrs. Galvan’s Photography class are displaying their best photos in the library, so they can be seen by the whole student body.

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Texas Library Association Conference in San Antonio

The TLA Conference provides librarians with plenty of opportunity to attend professional development sessions, meet with vendors, and network with library leaders across the state. Nicole Cruz, SHS and SA3 librarian and Class of 2005 TALL Texan poses with Susi Grissom-2005 Classmate. Susi was awarded the Standing TALL award at this year's TALL Texan Social. Mrs. Cruz has been recruited to be a TALL Texan Mentor this year. There are only 6 mentors selected from the entire state.
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Learning about Online Safety with New Tech Tools

Students at Wernecke had the privilege of using new technology purchased at the campus to complete some online technology lessons in the library. The Google Chromebooks allowed for an easy, streamlined experience to complete the lessons in the library.

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Prayonbooks: Book Review

Two young teens meet in a transitional part of their lives. Lily, who is really Timothy, is a transgender teen who is trying to come into her own, both with her family and at school. She has the support of her sister and mother, but her father is struggling to come to terms with the son he used to have. Dunkin, who dislikes his name of Norbert, is new to the neighborhood, but he also struggles with a sense of belonging, bipolar episodes, and a missing father. Lily and Dunkin foster a friendship that brings them both across the threshold of acceptance in their own worlds and with each other.

This is Mrs. Pray blog entry on this book: http://prayonbooks.blogspot.com/2017/03/lily-dunkin.html
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Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow

17-year-old Charlie Davis has just survived a suicide attempt and finds herself in a rehabilitation clinic. The girls/women around her are all cutters, just as she is. Although the clinic is her haven--warm place and decent meals, she is released to fend for herself before she is ready to take on the world. A friend invites her to Arizona, where she meets up with interesting characters who test her daily struggles to erase the pain she feels inside. Charlie’s journey is captured through intense, diary-like chapters about “girls who write their pain on their bodies”. My take: The not-so-pretty reality about the struggles of addiction.

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Maude Book Review by S. Zulema Bewley

Maude by Donna Mabry (Published independently, 2014)

(For Adults) Written in simple language, Maude is the story of Donna Mabry’s paternal grandmother which begins with her birth in 1892 and ends with her death in the 1960s. Mabry has pieced together a remarkable story of a strong and courageous woman who faced innumerable challenges all her life. Yet her faith in God never wavered, nor her determination to provide for her family. Mabry spent many weekends and school vacations with her grandmother where they shared a room. Every night, Maude would tell a story of some part of her life, never in chronological order, but always something amazing. Mabry has connected all those memories chronologically to create a tragically beautiful biography. Although a small part of the book is fictionalized, Maude’s voice comes through in a raw and honest way.

Our staff book club read this book last year. Maude is the type of story that stays with you. We wanted to know more about Maude when the last page was turned. I contacted Donna Mabry and she graciously granted us a phone interview. What a joy it was to hear her recount some of her grandmother’s stories and to answer some of our questions. I recommend Maude as a great summer (or anytime) read.

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Book Review by Jessie Jensen Librarian Adalberto Ramos

Beneath by Roland Smith is a fictional story about two brothers who are introverts with parents who care only about themselves. The older brother, Coop, runs away after an argument with his parents. He later contacts his younger brother Pat, nicknamed Meatloaf, with some clues as to where he is. Pat, with the help of some strangers in New York City, is able to go underground where his brother has been living. He encounters an underground society and also a group of evil people who want to hack the government. This is a good book for boys who are reluctant readers from about sixth grade and up.
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Lost & Found by Shaun Tan Book Review: Zulema Garza

This book is a great read because the author used short, simple sentences to discuss important issues like hopelessness, depression or loneliness.

Although the story is short, the vivid, unique illustrations, take the reader on a journey about what adult and children may feel as they battle feelings of despair.


The illustrations set the stage for the explanation of things we may not always have words to explain. Shaun Tan has a unique artistic style that can be compared to Tim Burton. The illustrations are used to describe feelings. The girl in the story is feeling hopelessness and the imagery used in all the literal sense helps the reader understand the tone. However, there is always hope at the end of the journey.

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Book Review by Isabel Quintero


Ugly Cat and his mouse friend, Pablo, loved to go on adventures. They decided to go to the local park where a food festival was being held. Ugly Cat’s favorite snacks are paletas and if he didn’t have one, “He would surely die.” Ugly Cat and Pablo decided to come up with a plan to get a paleta from a little girl. Pablo would scare her, she will scream, and drop the paleta and chicharrones, but it didn’t go as planned. The little girl captured Pablo and wanted to feed him to her pet snake, Rocco. As Ugly Cat manages to free Pablo, a misunderstanding arises. Pablo thinks that Ugly Cat has decided to eat him. Will the two friends be able to get through their mishaps and understandings? Read this energetically written book with black and white illustrations that captures the silliness of their adventure. It has a touch of Spanish words and the Latino culture throughout the book.

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Book Review on Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game

Chess Not Checkers: Elevate Your Leadership Game

by Mark Miller

As a chess sponsor/coach this book caught my attention by its’ name. The book focuses on Blake a business manager that makes an upward lateral move from one corporation to another. Blake quickly learns that while having strong leadership skills, being completely in charge of a multimillion corporation will require a different perspective in leadership. Being overwhelmed with a lack of cooperation with his new employees and an unorganized work environment, Blake quickly calls out to his mentors to coop with his new leadership demands. Blake finds a mentor that directs and changes his ways of thinking about leadership. Success doesn’t come over night and Blake must not only change is way of leadership but also change his employees way of thinking about teamwork and commitment. The book was defiantly not about how to play chess but did relate the complicity between leadership and chess. I like how it provided clear leadership examples and demonstrated the ability to learn and grow in leadership. I especially like how the Blake was able to use his mentors to learn and grow. It demonstrated the important of having and surrounding oneself among strong leaders.

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Rapid Review by SNJH Librarian Darvin Koenig

This Land Is Our Land: A History of American Immigration by Linda Barrett Osborne

Immigration, the big topic of our time, or is it? You may be surprised to know that the debate over who should be able to immigrate to the United States and who can live here permanently has been going on since the birth of our Nation. You may also be surprised


to find out that the United States has banned different people groups throughout its history. For anyone who wants to know the history of immigrants and the impact they have made in the United States this is the book for you.

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Recommended Title from Mrs. Ramos

“Runt” by Nora Raleigh Baskin is a book about sixth-grade bullying told from various perspectives. The main character Elizabeth, deals with the issue of fitting in and experiences the humiliation of cyber bullying. This book exposes a very relatable topic for junior high students, while exposing the thoughts of the bullies and those being bullied. Baskin uses different characters throughout the novel to show how difficult it can be to figure out “where you belong” in the animal kingdom of middle school. This is a great book to recommend to reluctant readers since the chapters are short and the topic is engaging and relatable to readers.

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Animal Poems Published Posthumously

Valerie Worth, a recipient of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1991, was an incredible crafter of poems. Her poetry spoke of little and seemingly insignificant creatures and things: crickets, a slug, an amoeba, pebbles, a safety pin, a hose, weeds, potatoes, and mud. Yet, in her “small” poems, she made the mundane seem marvelous; she carved the commonplace into fine art. ANIMAL POEMS is quintessential Worth—another tour de force of poetry writing. Its poems are embedded with rich vocabulary and the precise use of words. Pick up this book at the SHS library and enjoy.
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Book Bytes by Samantha Silva, O Garza Librarian

In Mustache Baby, Billy is born with a mustache. When Billy is making good choices he has a most daring Good Guy Mustache. When Billy makes bad choices he has a devious Bad Guy Mustache. Billy loves being a good guy. He pretends to be a martial artist, a Spanish painter, and even a man of the law. He wants to make his neighborhood the best it can be! But, when Billy starts to make bad choices he realizes that the consequences may be more than he can handle.

In Mustache Baby Meets His Match, baby Billy meets his new best friend Javier. Javier was born with a beard in the same way that Billy was born with a mustache. Javier and Billy become fast friends. Billy shows Javier all the wonderful things he can do like working on the railroad and being a magician. Javier, in turn, shows Billy his own bear wrestling, tree chopping talents. Soon Billy and Javier are fighting over who should be the hero and who is the sidekick. Very soon Billy’s Bad Guy Mustache and Javier’s Bad Guy Beard start to make an appearance as the two become more and more competitive.

Bridget Heos’ stories are funny and engaging. Both books bring up everyday struggles such as making good choices and friendship competitiveness in fun and silly ways. The imagination of the main character Billy really appeals to young audiences. Joy Ang’s illustrations give each page a well-rounded story that will lead readers to new discoveries each time they read the stories and view the illustrations. These books are favorite bedtime stories for my family and definitely wonderful additions to any collection.

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Nicole H. Cruz, SISD Lead Librarian

"One for the Record Books" was recognized by the Texas Library Association for a PR Branding Iron Award in 2016. Submit photos and stories by the deadline each month to be included in "One for the Record Books." Please make sure any students are not on the "Do Not Photograph List" before submitting their photos for publication.