November 17

Making a book…from start to finish with handcrafted paper!

Step 1:

Make your handcrafted paper!


Ingredients list:

scrap paper of varying kinds (envelopes, junk mail, copy paper with mistakes, lol)

a large shallow container (large enough to fit the screen splatter)

a blender

2 screen spatter guards

one towel and one sheet

a sponge


and depending on what additives you’d like: food coloring to dye it, pressed flowers, colored food grade dust


  • Gather bits of waste paper and tear into smallish shreds (6-8 pieces of paper/junk mail) per one sheet of handcrafted paper
  • Place into blender (use one specifically for this purpose as the chemicals from the paper can leach into the blender)
  • Pour hot water over paper and set timer for 10 minutes to allow paper to absorb the water and make it easier to blend.
  • If you wish to add colorant to the paper, do so now…food coloring, turmeric, etc. 

pour pulp into pan with water

  • While you’re waiting for the paper to soften, pour  a few inches of water into your pan.
  • When the timer goes off…Pulse blender several times to create pulp/slurry


  • Add the pulpy slurry to the water in the pan and stir
  • Dip the splatter guard into the pan and allow the mixture to coat the splatter guard. (You may need to attempt this several times at first to evenly cover the screen…ask me how I know, LOL

slurry mixture on screen

  • Place the screen on a dry towel and cover with the second screen splatter guard.
  • Press a dry sponge onto the screen to push the water out of the slurry mix on the screen and into the towel.
  • Once you have done this a few times, carefully tip the damp slurry mixture on the splatter guard onto the dry sheet…gently tap the screen to release it.

press the sponge to take out water

  • (THIS STEP IS OPTIONAL: sprinkle  food grade pearl dust onto the paper)




tap gently to release

  • Leave to dry for several hours OR you could gently blow dry the paper with a hair dryer, this will take 30 or more minutes and will produce a curled edge, but you can iron it!




Finished paper







Text matters!

  • Here is where you decide what to put for your text…I have horrible handwriting, so I have chosen to type my text out., otherwise, no one would be able to read my book!
  • I have typed my text/printed it out (make sure it is going to fit on the pages of your book, you may need to adjust the formatting. 
  • This allowed my text to be in the format needed to fit on the pages as well as go with the theme of the book.
  • Once the text is printed out, cut it to fit the size of your pages.
  • Paste the printed text onto the hand crafted paper. 



Ok, so as well as not having good penmanship, …I cannot draw, stick figures look better than what I can put onto paper! So, what’s a book maker going to do??? 

Thank God for STAMPS! Yes, I purchased some stamps and ink to go along with the theme of my book: mermaids and ocean life.



Illustrations/text 2

Illustrations/text 3

Illustrations/text 4

The end


Preparing to bind your book:

Materials needed:

hand crafted paper


card stock… at least 2 sheets…mistakes happen!

hole punch (you can either use a single or multiple one)

twist ties (at a minimum 1, but have more on hand in case you change your mind)

ruler (measure your hole distance so that they align correctly)



  • Decide on what shape/size you want your book to be
  • Cut the card stock to desired size
  •  Decorate the cover and write the title name and author.
  • Measure the paper and cut accordingly
  • At this point, depending on what you are doing with the cover, decorate it and write the title on it.
  • Measure the card stock to ascertain where to place the hole punch and create the holes
  • Measure the paper to place the hole punch and create holes  



  • Place the front and back cover onto the paper and align with the holes
  • Push the twist tie through each hole and twist to create a tight bind repeat for as many holes as you have





August 24

Hungry for a new book??? Reserve your table selection today!

 Reserve your class Book Tasting in the school library to check out the new historical fiction titles! Graphic novels, e-books and print titles…


Who is invited to a book tasting??? 

Any class who wishes to come!

What is a book tasting??? 

Book tasting gives students the opportunity to sample some juicy reads in a short period of time and come away with a wish list of titles. Students come to the library with their classroom teacher. There are tablecloths on the tables with books at each place serving instead of plates. The students take a seat at each place setting with a book and a menu (titles/authors are on the menu, along with questions and comment sections). The students get 4 minutes to rotate through 6 books each.

When can I schedule a book tasting?

During any open library time…check the calendar to be the FIRST to schedule yours!


Allies Gratz, Allen
Armstrong & Charlie Frank, Steven
Betty Before X Shabazz, Ilashya
Brown Girl Dreaming Woodson, Jacquline
Compass South Book 1 Larson, Hope
Fever 1793 Anderson, Laurie Halse
Goddess of Yesterday Cooney, Caronline B
Gold Rush Girl Avi
Juba! Myers, Wlater Dean
Louisanna’s Way Home DiCamillo, Kate
Lucky Broken Girl Behar, Ruth
March: Book 2 Lewis, John
OLYMPIANS ZEUS King of the Gods O’connor, George
One Crazy Summer Williams-Garcia, Rita
Pharaoh’s Daughter Lester, Julius
Resistance Book 1 Jablonski, Carla
Spy Runner Yelchin, Eugene
Stella by Starlight Darper, Sharon
Stone Underpants Lisle, Rebecca
Sunny Rolls the Dice Holme, Jennifer
The Age of Bronze A THOUSAND SHIPS Shanower, Eric
The Devil’s Arithmatic Yolen, Jane
The Night Diary Hiranandani, Veera
The Upstairs Room Reis, Johanna
The War that Saved My Life Badley, Kimberly Brubaker
The Witch of Blackbird Pond Speare, Elizabeth
August 23

The StoryWalk® at Slater… combines with a delicious sampling of new historical fiction titles!

The Slater Middle School Library has over 20 new historical fiction titles!

Across from the main entrance to Samuel Slater Middle School, along the fence, is our new feature, StoryWalk® at Slater. The book, Stone Underpants by Rebecca Lisle, Richard Watson (Illustrator) is attached to the fence.  Read the book, scan the QR code and sign the guest book! Take a selfie and Tweet about it: #SlaterSpartensread and #SamuelSlaterreads, then come in to the library to explore all of the other new titles we have!

Check out the book trailers, author interviews and reviews of some of these new titles below:





April 19

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian Book Discussion


Ryan, Dawn, Olivia and I met to discuss the novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. We all concurred that the novel was fantastic and compared it’s style to that of Diary of a Wimpy Kid, by Jeff Kinney, because of it’s use of humor and drawings to engage the reader and it’s universal appeal.  The group also reached the consensus that the novel would be best for ages 13 and up for reasons of talk of suicide, and self love.  The pervasive idea that Native American Indians were treated so horrifically, and still are in the current day and age was appalling to the group.  We were aghast that Junior had to have ten teeth removed at the same time with little anesthesia….how inhumane and gut wrenching for us to read and acknowledge what happened in the not so distant past. This led us to talk about racism against other ethnic groups as well as racism around the world. It was difficult to pull the group back  and remind them that the United States of America is not the only country that deals with racism and that it is endemic to the majority of countries in the world. This group discussion was the most intense one and brought out raw feelings and emotions from several of the participants.

April 11

Introduction to new technology via TECH TOOL SMACKDOWN 2019!…thanks Colleen King and Susan Straub!

WOW!  The plethora of new tech tools that I have been introduced to in just one week is totally amazing!

The first one that I interacted with was Colleen King’s introduction to: Google Spotlight Stories  

(Carrs, 2018)

This tool is a VR (Virtual Reality for those not in the know) that you can download onto your phone and interact with a story in a way that I have never done before!  Once I downloaded the app, it turned my phone into a VR viewer of the story content on Google Spotlight Stories.  By moving my phone from side to side and up and down, I could see different angles of the story.  I watched, Age of Sail, directed by John Kahrs, and as I moved the viewfinder, I could see the endless horizon of water, the entire side of the steamer, and the entirety of the long shadows cast by William and Lara as they stood on the steamer that rescued them. Yes, I am a fan and cannot wait to show it to my 5 year old niece.

The next one is Susan Strab’s find of: MLA Citation Maker (Oregon School Library Information System)

This is a potential game changer. I was the long-term substitute English teacher at the middle school level and witnessed glaring citation errors in the students’ work.  They seemed to feel that as long as they copied and pasted the website they found the information from, and usually only one source, that they had done their job of citing the source. They all knew that they needed to cite their work to avoid plagiarism; but the mechanics of proper MLA citation were not something they understood.

April 7

Wikipedia….Yes or No???


(Infographic World, 2014)

My initial knee-jerk reaction to this question was a distinct and firm…NO!  I clearly recall having a former student gleefully chortle about how he had gone on to Wikipedia and changed something to make it completely irrelevant and absurd while researching information for his science class. (This after I had sternly admonished my classes to NOT use Wikipedia as a reliable source for their papers!) I was completely aghast and was unfortunately not surprised that he had done something like this (yes, you would not want to meet this student anywhere ever…shivers still just thinking about him)

However, that was over 10 years ago.  Today is a new day, 2019, and Wikipedia is much improved and stricter with their policies so that kind of irreverence is quickly and succinctly removed.

After looking at the Wikipedia Instructor Basics: How to use Wikipedia as a Teaching Tool I was very impressed and actually began to change my mind as I perused potential valid uses for teachers and students at the university level.  I’m not so sure it would work at the middle school level, which is what I currently teach, although the students may be able to handle the assignment regarding adding illustrations to an article. My students are very adept at taking pictures and video.  After I had done the assignment for this class on making a multimedia book trailer and showed them one on the book, Monster, that we are reading, they wished they could use more multimedia tools to make book reports. I believe that this would be a big hit and thinking further on it, could see designing a lesson, including a field trip, around the author, Avi, since he lived in Providence at one time, and I checked and there are no pictures of his home in Providence? We could also check out other historical buildings and or streets that other famous authors lived on and bring this whole project full circle with a bulletin board display outside of the library with the pictures and novels they are associated with, and links on the school and library website to showcase their work.  also have them explain the detailed planning and thought process regarding their assignments.

Another aspect of working on the illustrations for Wikipedia that has me intrigued is, “created videos that demonstrated audiovisually what articles describe in words.” ( Wikimedia Foundation, 2013, p.4) We know that not everyone learns in the same way and that pictures are a way to describe something without words, so anyone in any language,  and for the most part of any age as long as they have the correct reference point,  can understand it’s meaning. For many people, having that audiovisual aid is crucial to their learning and may even be essential.   In fact, the brain processes images 60,000 times faster than it does text. And it’s more accustomed to processing images—ninety percent of the information sent to the brain is visual, and 93% of all human communication is visual.”  Retrieved from I can also see that this would be very beneficial for those students who are English Language Learners.

March 24

Teen Library event…Harry Potter

I saw a poster advertising a fun family event for all ages.  It was an Open House for a Harry Potter Day.  Anyone could attend, it was free of charge.  There would be games, crafting, photo props, exhibitions, crafts and wizards galore.  While I am aware that Harry Potter has an insane following, I was not aware how ginormous the event would be. It was booked to be ongoing for two hours.

When I arrived, there was not one single parking space to be had anywhere…people parked illegally everywhere.  Although there was a shuttle that people could use to park elsewhere, far more wanted to be right there.  I worried about the regular patrons/the elderly??? Although there was advertising well in advance for this event, when they arrived to get a new book, use the internet, or find a new movie,  and couldn’t find a spot to park…did they just keep going and leave???

I entered the front doors and was immediately greeted by students attending Hogwarts…waiting outside the train station to give me a playbill and welcome me. I then entered the train station and it was filled with props to encourage patrons to take photos. When I questioned the students who were stationed there about how they came to be working this fun event, they said they had volunteer hours to fulfill and this was an awesome opportunity to finish them.

There were all manner of patrons dressed as their favorite character, as well as the librarians themselves.  The next room was where you could make your wand, make a Magical Creature,  a personalized quill, make your own tote bag with your school colors flag on it, and make a mandrake to name a few. The URI Quidditch team was there to show off their moves and teach like-minded young (or older) patrons how to participate.

All in all it was a fun filled event and I learned that they were expecting over 500 patrons to attend! 350 had registered before the event. For me, it was very overwhelming as I am not a crowd fan…but from the looks of it, everyone else was having a wonderful time!

(Leyden, 2019)

March 21

Book Trailer! and reflection on creating a multimedia presentation

Hearts of Resistance by Soraya M. Lane


Book trailers are going to be so much fun to create with my students.  I can think of several right now who would be totally into this and create outstanding book trailers.  I will have to suggest this to the English department head as an alternative to a book report. The technology aspect of creating a multimedia book trailer was a bit daunting… scary even…but I can do it…I am an intelligent woman…right???!Creating a multimedia presentation  has been one of the most frustrating endeavors to date.  I felt so overwhelmed and nervous that I would be not be able to finish on time, as this was a huge learning curve for me.

Sigh.  I first attempted to use Adobe Spark.  It crashed 4 separate times…yup, I was determined to make it work…my computer said otherwise.

So, PowerPoint it was.  I challenged myself to learn how to use Powerpoint more than putting pictures onto a slide.

After surfing the internet for my images…I then put them onto slides…easy peasy…hahahahahahaha.

Even the audio part was cool…although I could not figure out how to get the audio to continuously play for more than one slide???

So…am happy with my work…now on to the real fun stuff!!! (Insert total sarcasm here) My computer wouldn’t allow me to convert the presentation into a movie? (yes, I should have YouTubed it?) This was a frustrating several hour challenge…computer 2 me 1…

I then randomly asked a store cashier if she knew how to make a presentation into a movie…she said…cue singing angels here…SCREENCASTIFY What??? Hello, McFly…I had heard of this tool, but had never used it…AMAZING!!!

When I was able to download the app…it recorded me watching the screen??? How do I get that out of there??? Can I edit it??  No, I would have to pay to upgrade???  Then I finally figured out that I could cover my camera…that worked, phew!

The joke is still on me… it took forever to upload??? What?? I had never uploaded a video before and had no idea it was going to take all night??? and then the recording still was not working correctly…I could hear background noises like me breathing??  LOL ok, maybe not that so much…but it was still not right???

OK, so  over the next several hours…I believe I used 20 of the free 50 uploads on Screencastify??? Honestly, I just wanted to go to bed…sleep, must sleep…brain  no longer working…can’t take it…. however, I finally finished and in the morning…I will have to start on another project…

All in all, I am quite grateful that I had to accomplish this task.  I feel that I can empathize with my students and fellow teachers when things go horribly awry, but at the same time…how proud and excited when it all comes together into something wonderful.