Meet the new HVLA co-Vice President

Welcome to HVLA’s newest board member, Ayana Mbaye!

Ayana Mbaye is a 6-12th grade librarian at Professional Children’s School. She obtained her MLIS with a specialization in school librarianship from Pratt Institute. She began her library career at the NYPL for the Performing Arts library at the age of 17. Since then, she has worked in an academic library and various independent schools in NYC. She has even taken her librarianship skills abroad to teach students and collaborate with educators in the Samburu region of Kenya. She loves the Wizarding World, wildlife, visiting museums, traveling and her 12 year old mainecoon Brooke.

A Look Inside the Caldecott Committee

Christine Nassar, First Program Librarian at The Dalton School and HVLA President, spoke with Ramona Caponegro about her experience as a member of the 2023 Caldecott Committee.

CN: Alright, well, thank you so much for being here with me. Do you want to introduce yourself ?

RC: Sure. So I was a member of the 2023 Caldecott Committee and in my day job, I’m the curator of the Baldwin Library of Historical Children’s Literature at the University of Florida.

CN: Great. We have some questions from elementary students, and some questions from librarians. The first question from our students was how did you get onto the committee?

RC: I was appointed to the committee by the President of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), part of the American Library Association, which is the organization that runs the Caldecott Award. And I was probably asked to be part of the committee because I have been on other committees for ALSC beforehand. 

CN: Amazing. I think this was my favorite question. How many books did you have to read as part of this process? And, how do you decide which one wins?

RC: So I had to read over 700 books for this process. Most of them were picture books, but we also read early readers, chapter books with illustrations, and graphic novels. So if it has pictures and it’s by an American author/illustrator and published in the United States in 2022, I probably got to look at it.

Continue reading “A Look Inside the Caldecott Committee”

We are such stuff as dreams are made on, with apologies to the infinite monkey theorem and ChatGPT

by Bernie McCormick

Bernie McCormick is the Chief Technology Officer of Mary McDowell Friends School. The views in this blog post are his own, and not necessarily reflective of the views, opinions or position of Mary McDowell Friends School.

Bernie is part of the team running the NYSAIS Roundtable for Information Professionals and Educational Technologists: Education in an AI World, to be held on Thursday, January 26th, 2023.

When I set out to write about AI and how it will impact not just K-12 Education, but humanity at large, I thought to start out with an excerpt from Phaedrus, and make some connections to externalized knowledge, the nature of thought and being, and tie in the Socratic argument as a model of instruction and learning.  Turns out, Matt Bluemink did a way better job than I ever will in his 2017 article in Philosophy Now (and again more recently in the New York Times  by Zeynep Tufekci). 

This is going to be tougher than I thought.  I have a good span of dark tunnel to run through before I get to the light at the end. I was really depending on Plato and Socrates to help out here, particularly the part that passed the room where everyone was strapped to their chairs watching shadow puppets…

Continue reading “We are such stuff as dreams are made on, with apologies to the infinite monkey theorem and ChatGPT”

Cozy Up with a Book: Winter Break Recommendations from the Board!

As we head into winter break, the HVLA Board is here to help you fill your days with our favorite recent reads! Read on for a handful of titles for all ages and our thoughts on why they deserve a spot in your TBR pile. Wishing the entire HVLA community some restful and joyful time away from school.

Picture Books

“I can’t be the only person who pre-ordered this months in advance. Like the others in this series, Creepy Crayon really invites the reader to break out their best suspenseful, creepy voices. In addition, this one invites some discussion about academic integrity…. but in a fun way.”

– Gwen

Gibberish had me at every page turn!  I admire everything about this picture book, from the plot, to the illustrations rendered in pencil sketches and watercolor, to the overall book’s design—this title is a gem!  Vo masterfully uses the illustrations, nontext imagery and eventually the printed word, to depict the experience of a young immigrant child named Dat, who is learning English for the first time. Gibberish works on so many levels, and I’m most excited to share it with the pre-readers, whom I suspect will be able to relate with Dat, when he says, “Gibberish was in the books and in the air.” (Recommended for Ages 5-10)”

– Angela

“Though a few years old now, this beautiful poem/biography/love letter to A Snowy Day delights me each time I revisit it, whether with children or on my own! “Snow is nature’s we-all blanket.” Read this and feel all the feelings about the power of stories, representation, and poetry.”

– Megan

Chapter Books

“Surprising no one, Kate DiCamillo has done it again! While I will admit I was not impressed by the description, DiCamillo had me hooked from the very first page.”

– Christine

“This book is a couple of years old now, but I’ve already read it several times this fall. It makes a great class read aloud for K-1 (especially if one is willing to make up tunes for the crocodile’s silly songs), and is a favorite bedtime story in my household (read in a couple installments).”

– Gwen

Graphic Novels

“A graphic novel so wild and beloved it has its own merch! Dynamic duo Mac Barnett and Shawn Harriss have created such a silly fun story that will have readers of any age laughing out loud. Also includes tons of supplemental material online, like “live cartoons” complete with animation and sound effects by the authors themselves.”

– Christine

“I really enjoyed this feel-good fantasy graphic novel, and quickly found each of the characters appealing. As much as any character, though, I am fascinated by the witches’ basement, and wish I could spend a few afternoons there.”

– Gwen

Young Adult

“This is a sweet, fast-paced novel told from the perspective of high school Junior Yamilet. Yami and her brother Cesar are starting over at Slayton, the local Catholic school, to get away from the drama in their (former) friend groups. At Slayton, Yami and Cesar are bonded by their experience as the new, Brown kids. Over the course of the school year, they’ll find out that they share a closely guarded secret, too. This is a sensitive story told with compassion and empathy for misfits and the systems they live in, full of funny social media and pop culture references that bring the characters to life. ”

– Elaine

“Probably my favorite new realistic young adult read in years, We Deserve Monuments is a story of love and community packed with so much heart. The story navigates generational trauma, coming out, and the weighted history of small town life in the south. I read the ARC way back in March and have talked about it at least once a week since!”

– Megan


“This is a book about mothers. Maybe yours or theirs, maybe you know one— maybe it’s about you. Amid the chaos of modern life, the characters in the stories of Look How Happy I’m Making You are observant and empathetic, offering a knowing glance to the reader when one might be feeling a little less than stellar about one’s life choices. The stories feature people mothering each other, mothers of infants, motherless adults, and those who poet and scholar Maggie Nelson might call “the many gendered mothers of [their] heart.” Each one imperfect, complex, and reflective.”

– Elaine

“This speculative wonder of an adult debut reimagines US history in the wake of the Mass Dragoning of 1955 – an event in which thousands of women spontaneously turned into dragons and flew away from their lives. It is weird, smart, and all about freedom of information and freedom of identity. It also features some very, very good librarians. <3”

– Megan

Small Press Preview & Fall Meeting 2022

On Thursday, November 10th, HVLA librarians gathered for our fall meeting and Small Press Publisher Preview at the Nightingale-Bamford School – our first in-person, indoors gathering in nearly two years! Librarians enjoyed refreshments, mingling, book displays, and a warm welcome from HVLA President Christine Nassar before hearing from an exciting roster of small press publishers about new and soon-to-be-published titles.

Librarians heard from representatives from the following small presses:

  • Astra Books for Young Readers
  • Elsewhere Editions
  • Enchanted Lion Books
  • Greystone Kids & JY Press
  • Lee & Low
  • Little Bee Books
  • Nobrow Press
  • Pow Kids
  • Tapioca Stories

The evening closed with raffling off the many books generously donated by the small presses and, as a result, many happy school librarians with new titles to add to their collections.

Many thanks to all of our visiting publishers, the Nightingale-Bamford School librarians and facilities team, and Angela Perna (HVLA VP) for coordinating to host a wonderful in-person gathering. Please find helpful links to resources below!