Texas Google Summit or #TXGOO17

Screen Shot 2017-05-25 at 8.07.08 AMI had such a great time presenting at the Texas Google Summit this past weekend. Every time I have attended, I find it to be one of the most practical and helpful conferences. I always walk away with several tips I can’t wait to apply to my class or library when I get home.

This year I had the privilege of presenting a session titled “Google Apps for Librarians.” I had a much bigger turnout that I expected and I can’t wait to do this again in the future. Librarians really are the nicest people. Here is a link to my presentation. Feel free to share it with anyone you like. One of the biggest piece I feedback I received was that I need to include more on incorporating Google apps in an elementary library. Since I spend my days in high school world, I don’t have any experience with little ones.

Do you have ideas on how to use Google apps in an elementary library? If so, email me at librarianbailey@gmail.com or post a comment on this page. I might feature your ideas in my next post!


To Kill a Mockingbird


Title of Book: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

GoodReads Rating: 4.25


This is a charming and inspiring classic about Scout, her family, and neighbors in a small town in Alabama in 1936. The novel is episodic in nature as the author uses witty humor and intelligence to show Scout’s gradual movement away from naivety in regards to racism, sexism, and classism, and other facts of life.

APA Reference of Book:

Lee, H. (2006). To Kill a Mockingbird. New York, NY: Harper Perennial Modern Classics.

My Impressions: 

This novel is one of those classics that everyone assumes you have already read, especially when you are an English teacher. However, I never read it high school like so many other people did. Then in college, my professors assumed I already had. I am so glad I finally got to read it because it lived up to the hype. The novel is definitely sentimental; however, I think it is inspiring and beautifully written. It deals with important issues – racism, sexism, classism – subtlely yet with a clear voice. I did not find it to be as preachy or angry as modern social justice novels. I was also surprised to find that the trial is only about 1/3 or 1/4 of the book. The way everyone talks about it, I assumed it was most of the novel. However, most of the novel is focused on Scout and her adventures with her brother Jem and her friend Dill. Overall, this classic is emotional and inspiring, yet easy to read. I highly recommend it to both high schoolers and adult readers.

Professional Review:

Harper Lee

Between the ages of 6 and 9, Scout Finch has doubts about whether she wishes to grow up to be a lady. She much prefers the free, boyish life she enjoys with her older brother, Jem, and his friends. She also enjoys an open relationship with her widowed father, Atticus, a local attorney and perennial legislator.

Though many of the family’s adventures are told, Scout’s life during these years centers on two events, her developing relationship with Boo Radley and her father’s defense of Tom, a black wrongly accused of raping a white woman.

Scout discovers that while the mentally deficient Boo Radley has been a curiosity to her, he has been lovingly caring for her. She and her friends watch the house where his family keeps him hidden and speculate about him, sometimes cruelly. Various signs show Scout that Boo’s interest in them is friendly and protective. Scout becomes sure of his goodness when Boo saves her and Jem from a murder attempt.

This lesson in tolerance is often repeated in the novel. Tom’s trial reveals the degree to which the whole town needs to understand what Scout learns. Because he proves the likelihood of Tom’s innocence, Atticus must endure scorn, anger, and the attempted murder of his children. Despite Atticus’ successful defense, the jury recommends the death penalty.

Scout’s innocent perceptions reveal how family, class, race, region, and religion can be barriers to tolerance and sympathy. The openness to experience that Atticus cultivates in her helps her to look closely at people and to withhold judgment until she understands them.

To Kill A Mockingbird. (1990). Magill Book Reviews,

Library Uses:

This book should definitely be highlighted on the “Classics” shelf on a library. Perhaps the librarian could even make a poster advertising it. Many students are turned off by Classics because they find them difficult to read. However, To Kill a Mockingbird is a very approachable novel. I believe most 8th graders could read and understand it with confidence.

On the Day I Died


Title of Book: On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave by Candace Fleming

GoodReads Rating: 3.67


This book was a collection of horror short stories, all based, at least partially, on facts. They were not presented chronologically but instead ranged from the late 1800’s up until present day.

APA Reference of Book:

Fleming, C. (2012). On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave. New York, NY: Schwartz & Wade.

My Impressions: 

Normally, I do not enjoy horror stories. However, I found the history behind these stories to be very interesting. In addition to the “creepy” aspect, the reader also learns quite a bit about the culture of various time periods. For example, one story detailed the gang rilvalry between Al Capone and other gangsters in the 1920’s and 1930’s Chicago. In addition, a different story told about the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Overall, I enjoyed the historical aspect of these stories and the fact that most of them were creepy instead of violent.

Professional Review:

Gr 4-7-Mike is driving home on a stormy night on a winding country road when a dripping wet girl suddenly appears in his headlights. He stops the car and offers her a ride. Inside the car, she removes her saddle shoes and places them on the floorboard. After dropping her off, Mike discovers that her shoes are still in the car. When he attempts to return them, he is met at the door by an elderly lady who tells him this happens every year on the anniversary of her daughter’s death. If he really wants to return the shoes, she says, he must go to the cemetery just up the road. At the gravesite, he discovers a moldering mound of old saddle shoes and soon is encircled by a group of disparate apparitions, all teenagers intent on describing for him the bizarre circumstances of their deaths. So begins the parade of nine other spooky tales (Schwartz & Wade, 2012) by Candace Fleming, each from a different time period from the 1860s to the present, and all of them set in the Chicago area. Mixed in with the more standard fare for this genre are a few truly scary stories and one kitschy piece that’s a takeoff on The Blob. There is a different narrator for each tale, with mixed results. Still, this will make for frightfully good listening.

Frostick, C. (2012). On the Day I Died: Stories from the Grave. School Library Journal, 58(10), 65-66.

Library Uses:

High school students are often involved in so many activities before and after school that they do not have time to read novels. Thus, this collection of short stories, along with other genres of short story collections, should be used to create a recommendation list for students in this situation. They can often read one story in one sitting, rather than stopping mid-story in a novel. In addition, horror and mystery are very popular with high school students so they would really enjoy the stories in this collection, especially around Halloween.