School Library Month, Poetry Month and so much more in April!

Jeannie.Standal's picture

April is National Poetry Month! And it is National School Library Month! And National Humor Month!  In April we can celebrate National Library Week, Idaho Library Snapshot Day, National Karaoke Week (who knew?), Read a Road Map Week, and everyone's favorite, April Fool's Day, followed closely by Tell a Lie Day.  And don't forget Arbor Day.  So much!  Here's the breakdown:

National Poetry Month:

Shakespeare, some say the greatest poet of all time, is a staple in many classrooms and is a great option for National Poetry Month. There are lots of study assists and companion texts to help students understand the plot and dialog, and these might add a few laughs along the way.

OMG Shakespeare from Random House brings four of the Bard's plays into the digital age. To date, the series includes Srsly Hamlet, YOLO Juliet, Macbeth #killingit, and A Midsummer Night #nofilter. These titles could be interpreted as satirical and funny, or a complete dumbing down of classic literature. You judge, either way, they are a kick. Be award that some do include references to profanity (WTF, etc., with those terms defined in the glossary). (Gr. 9-12)

William Shakespear's Star Wars: Verily, A New Hope by Ian Doescher is Star Wars, Shakespeare-style. Star Wars in iambic pentameter works unexpectedly well, and it's funny. Even R2D2 beeps and squawks with the right rhythm and gets to break the fourth wall with some dialogue in English. The most quotable lines from Star Wars are included: "'Tis but the ship that hath run the Kessel/Accomplish'd in twelve parsecs, nothing more." And the fun continues with The Empire Striketh BackThe Jedi Doth Return and the rest, ending with The Tragedy of the Sith's Revenge.  Its a fun way to ease into the sometimes difficult language of Shakespeare.

Sometimes graphic novels play better with students. Classical Comics (www.classicalcomics.com) has a large selection of classics from Shakespeare.  Besides the student-friendly format, they offer their books in original text (Shakespeare's words), plain text (modern, but formal English), or quick text (casual English), and in a variety of formats.

National School Library Month:

The American Association of School Librarians (AASL) celebrates school librarians in April. This year's theme is School Libraries Transform Learning, with Megan McDonald, author of the Judy Moody series, serving as the 2016 spokesperson. AASL encourages school librarians to use the month to "host activities to help their school and local community celebrate the essential role that strong school library programs play in transforming learning." (AASL website at http://www.ala.org/aasl/slm). There are a variety of free resources available at the AASL website, along with a PSA from Megan McDonald that are free to use. There are even detailed instructions on how to embed the PSA on your website, blog, or favorite social media platform. Go to  http://www.ala.org/aasl/slm and start planning how to shine the spotlight on the valuable and essential learning that happens in the school library! Bonus: AASL includes templates to use to ask your school or district administrators or your city officials to proclaim April School Library Month.

National Humor Month:

Calling all jokesters: April Fools' Day (April 1st) kicks off National Humor Month! This month help students benefit from the funny, release those awesome endorphins, and get hooked on books by displaying the funniest books in your collection. Here's an idea*: display "Books that Make you Laugh Until you Snort," or "Wet Your Pants," or whatever is appropriate for the students you serve. In a recent thread on yalsa-bk-request@lists.ala.org, librarians chimed in with the books that made them laugh out loud including: Going Bovine by Libba Bray (YA), Carter Finally Gets It by Brent Crawford (YA), Me, Earl, and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (YA). Some of our favorite funny titles for younger readers are: Percy Jackson (Gr. 6-8), Chomp by Carl Hiaasen (Gr. 6-8), Dead End in Norvelt (Gr. 6-8), the Last Boy at St. Edith's by Gjertsen Malone (Gr. 4-7), all the Captain Underpants by Dave Pilkey (elem), Mother Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins (Picture Book), Click Clack Moo Cows that Type by Darleen Cronin (Picture Book).

Learn more about Funny Literacy at http://www.humormonth.com/funny-literacy.html.

Some other moody display ideas could be "Books that Make you Ugly Cry," "Books that Make you Want to Change the World," and "Books that Scare Your Pants Off." Other ideas? Please send them our way!

*Alicia Ahlvers from Henrico County Public Library in Virginia posted the "mood collection" idea on the YALSA list-serve.  A great place to find information and opinion on all things YA Lit.

Idaho Library Snapshot Day 2016 (April 10-16-ish):

It's coming up during National Library Week. It's a perfect opportunity to shine the spotlight on the important work done every day in your library by detailing the work done in one day. It is super easy to participate and ICfL provides some tools to help. Pick a day around National Library Week, then go to http://libraries.idaho.gov/IdahoSnapshot and get all the details! Idaho Library Snapshot Day is a fine addition to your School Library Month and National Library week celebration plans; and *BONUS* you end up with some very useful data when it's time to talk about the school library!

Tell a Lie Day (April 7th):

Why do we need a Tell a Lie Day? Telling a real whopper of a lie is sort of like telling a great story. You know, spinning a yarn, telling a tall tale, repeating fish stories. You remember Paul Bunyan, Pecos Bill, and Brer Rabbit?  All great lies. So make it fun and see who can tell the biggest lie - it might turn into the best story.

Read a Road Map Day (April 5th):

Cartography (the study and practice of making maps) involves science, technology, and artistry - definitely a STEAM subject. Plus maps are so much fun! Put away the technology, pull out a few of those old maps and have students map a trip. How many miles? What might they see? How long will it take? Can they make a map of their own? And then comes the real challenge: refolding the map.