Websites for Winter Break

Students! Parents! Teachers!

While you are enjoying your Winter Break, you may have some extra time on your hands, and maybe, just maybe, you will find yourself staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what to do. (Or you'll have played the same game for so long that your eyes are starting to hurt. Time to do something different! Something ::gasp:: educational!) 

If you find yourself in the black hole of boredom, or if you just want to stretch your mind a little in between all that holiday cheer and hot cocoa, check out some of the websites listed on our Lab Links page.

I've also highlighted below some other websites that connect to recent library lessons. Happy clicking!

For the past two weeks, fourth grade students have been listening to and reading poetry by Jack Prelutsky. His website is SUPER kid-friendly and includes poems he's written, pictures of his childhood, and letters that kids have written to Jack, among other things.

I love how graphic this website is! What an eye-catcher. And the noises in the background are kind of fun too. :)


I just discovered this wonderful website while searching for animated fables to use with third grade students. We've been reading many of Aesop's fables in the library, and it was nice to end our unit with an animated retelling of some of these stories. 

But fables are not all you'll find on this site! Also included are fairy tales, folk tales, nursery rhymes, Arthur stories, holiday stories, and much more! Plus there are related games, activities, and more resources for teachers and parents. Some content is for subscribers only, but you can access most of the videos online for free. 


Fourth and fifth grade students have been learning about internet safety, and this website is our go-to source. Not only does it have videos and activities about how to be safe online, but it also helps kids think about their actions online and tells how to get help if something makes them feel sad or uncomfortable. 

There is also a parent/teacher version of this website at http://www.netsmartz.org, where you can download the videos, activities, and lesson plans if you register for free on the site. Like I said, this is THE place to go when talking about internet safety!


I confess, I haven't used this website for library lessons. But! It's TOO good not to share. FunBrain is chock full of things to do! Did you know that you could read the first Diary of a Wimpy Kid book online?  You can also play the great Japanese numbers game, Sudoku, or create your own silly MadLibs. No matter what mood you're in, FunBrain has the game for you! (They didn't pay me to say that. I just really like their site.)


When you find yourself bundled inside from the cold and wanting to do something online, go check out one of these sites! 

It's just three days away, folks. Happy Winter Break. :) 
Image from the Cute n Tiny blog


Greek Mythology

Call me Hades. 

My full name - His Royal Lowness, Lord of the Dead, King Hades - is a bit of a mouthful. 

I rule the Underworld. The ghosts of the dead travel down to dwell in my kingdom. If they were good in life, they get to go to an eternal rock concert, where really great bands play on and on forever. The ghosts of the not-so-good? They have to wander around, trying to memorize an endless list of really hard spelling words. And the ghosts of the wicked? You don't want to know.
(from Have a Hot Time, Hades! by Kate McMullan)

I bought the Myth-O-Mania series by Kate McMullan for the library recently and nearly all of them have been checked out by 5th grade students already. These books are similar to retold fairy tales, except that they're retold myths! Each book focuses on a different god, and the style of writing is just hilarious. I'm reading the Hades book right now, and I have to stop every so often just because I'm laughing so hard that my cheeks start to hurt! :D Students have been asking for more books like the Percy Jackson series (The Lightning Thief books) by Rick Riordan that are based on mythology, so I think this new series will be a hit.

Here are a couple of other Greek mythology books added to the library recently:

Treasury of Greek Mythology by Donna Jo Napoli, illustrated by Christina Balit (2011)

This book is gorgeous! It includes 25 Greek gods and goddesses, from the famous Athena to Poseidon to the lesser-known Hephaestus to Jason.

Each chapter focuses on a different figure, with full-page, full-color illustrations by Christina Balit and the story of the person written by Donna Jo Napoli, who is known for her retold fairy tales.

Below is an illustration of Gaia, Mother Earth.

Michael Townsend's Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders (2010)

I just bought this book last year, but it's already seen countless circulations and has visited the Book Hospital twice - it is well-loved!

This is a collection of comics telling those beloved Greek myths. It starts like this:
"The book you are about to read contains nine bizarre and wacky tales that take place in a Greek-tastic myth-o-rific world!!!"

The comics style really appeals to students, and Townsend does a great job of explaining the stories in narration balloons. 


This Week @ the Library (11/28 - 12/2)

With only 3 weeks in between Thanksgiving and Winter Break, we'll be reading snow stories in kindergarten to get us reading for that cold, wet stuff. We'll start with one of my favorites - a retelling of Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Jan Brett's The Three Snow Bears. Since most students know the Goldilocks version, we'll begin the library lesson with an oral retell by students, then read Brett's tale, and if time, we'll compare the two. Oh, the illustrations in this book (in all her books!) are just fantastic!

First and second grade students have been reading nominees for the 2012 Monarch Award, a Readers' Choice Award for K-3 students in Illinois. Next on our list is Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Look at the cover of the book - is it a duck? Or is it a rabbit? We try to figure it out in this story, but I won't give away the ending! I'll be using the SmartBoard with this book and borrowing a Notebook lesson from Librarian Tonya Ellis of East Elementary in the Jefferson City Public Schools. We librarians love to share. :)

It's time for our Fables unit in third grade! Today was our first day learning about fables - short stories that teach lessons through a moral. We read selections from Michael Hague's Aesop's Fables. Since the writing is concise but a bit advanced, I asked students to retell the stories using their own words and then tell me what they thought the moral of the story was. We read classics like "The Hare and the Tortoise," "The Lion and the Mouse," and "The Fox and the Grapes." Students enjoyed these quick stories so much that they asked for more fables next week!

From now until Winter Break, fourth grade students will be studying the poet Jack Prelutsky. This week, we'll read aloud from his collection called My Dog May Be a Genius and explore his website on the SmartBoard. If we have time, I've pulled all of his books that we own at the King School Library (over 20!), and I'll let students explore his works on their own.

This week, a children's librarian (hi Lynn!) from the Urbana Free Library will be visiting us at King to present booktalks to our fifth grade students. We always look forward to hearing from our local librarians! :)


The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss (2011, Random House) is a collection of seven short stories that were originally published in magazines from 1950 to 1951. They are published together in this one anthology with an introduction by Charles D. Cohen, a renowned Seuss scholar.

I'm thrilled to have this new Seuss collection in the library and can already think of ways to use some of these stories with students!

"The Bippolo Seed" is the classic story of a magical seed able to grant wishes. McKluck the duck wishes for something modest, a week's worth of food, but a cat comes by and persuades him to wish for something more. The two get carried away with their greed and end up losing the seed. And the moral of the story is...

"The Rabbit, the Bear, and the Zinniga-Zanniga" is a fantastic trickster tale! A bear is about to gobble up a rabbit when the rabbit gets the clever idea to count the bear's eyelashes and warn him that he's going to die because he has an uneven number of lashes on each side. What to do? Why, the bear must climb up the Zinniga-Zanniga tree to sniff the growing powers of the flowers - while the rabbit runs away!

"Gustav, the Goldfish" tells the tale of a little boy who doesn't follow directions. He feeds his new goldfish, Gustav, a whole box of food instead of the pinch he was instructed. And Gustav grows big as a whale! Oh, how will he ever survive?

"Tadd and Todd" is about a set of identical twins who are always described as two peas in a pod. No one can tell them apart, and Tadd is fed up with being confused with his brother. So, Tadd dyed his hair (and Todd copied him), then changed his outfit and added all sorts of ridiculous accessories to distinguish himself from his twin. But of course, Todd was making the same changes, and in the end, they were both okay with being two peas in a pod.

"Steak for Supper" is an odd little story about a boy who grumbles to himself on his walk home that he has steak for supper every Saturday night. His father has warned him not to talk when he walks because you never know who might be listening. An Ikka overhears the boy and starts following him because he'd like some steak too, and he spreads the word to others. Pretty soon there's a whole crowd following the boy home expecting steak for supper, only to find that tonight they're having stew instead. And the boy has learned his lesson. But is this a lesson to be learned? Hmm, I just don't know.

"The Strange Shirt Spot" reminds of What Happened to Marion's Book?, and I think I just may use it when talking about book care in the library, even though it has nothing to do with a book. A boy has been playing in the dirt and gets a spot on his shirt - he does everything he can to clean the spot, but the spot jumps from one thing to another and ends up right back where it started. What do you think his mother said when she saw it?

"The Great Hungry McBride" is a sort of inspirational story I could see using with students who have no idea what they want to be when they grow up - the kind who don't really think about the future or have any dreams at all. Henry McBride has SO many dreams that he doesn't want to just have one job when he grows up, but instead he'll have five. Reminds me of Oh, the Places You'll Go!

For more about The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories, go:


Family Reading Night!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own.  And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.
(Excerpt from Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss)

You are INVITED!
What?     Family Reading Night
Where?   King School
When?    Thursday, November 17 from 6:00 - 7:30

Will reading take you into the depths of the jungle or hurl you into a blizzard? Will you fly to the moon or travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving? Come to Family Reading Night this Thursday to find out! You'll travel to new places with the exciting stories teachers will be reading! 

After our readers have finished reading in their rooms, join us in the gym for a final celebration! We'll be performing Seuss' Oh, the Places You'll Go!, having a raffle, giving away books to every student, and providing a healthy fruit treat to end the night. Hope to see you there! 

Want to know what I'll be reading at Family Reading Night? Here's a sneak peak :)


New picture books!

Oh, how I love walking into the library on a relaxing Friday afternoon and finding a big, white box full of new books just waiting for me behind my desk. I'm like a kid in a candy store! No, a toy store! A video game store! I tear the box open and slowly take out each book, remembering why I bought each one and savoring the feeling of their cool, shiny covers in my hands. I really, really love new books. And I love sharing them too. As teachers walk in the door, getting ready for our meeting, I introduce them to our new lovelies. This book is perfect for you! Come and look! NEW BOOKS! You'll love them! Students will get their chance to check out these new books on Monday, but I thought I'd share some of them here first...

Jack and the Beanstalk
Jack and the Beanstalk by Nina Crews
published 2011 by Henry Holt & Co

I love this Jack story because of the illustrations. They're photographs! Crews has used a photo-collage style to tell this story, and I love how modern it makes the tale feel. I also like the twist at the end - no one dies, thankfully, and the giants have a happy ending.

The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece
The Orphan: A Cinderella Story from Greece by Anthony Manna and Soula Mitakidou, illustrated by Giselle Potter
published 2011 by Schwartz & Wade

Cinderella stories are very popular at the King School Library. We have so many cultures represented in our Cinderella collection, but I don't recall a Grecian one. This story is indeed very Greek - I love the explanation of why this girl is an orphan even though her father is alive (it's a Greek thing) and the fact that the prince is found not hosting a silly ball but instead attending church on Sundays. A very nice retelling of a familiar tale.

Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed
Five Little Monkeys Reading in Bed by Eileen Christelow
published 2011 by Clarion Books

Christelow writes a variety of Five Little Monkeys stories, but this one is obviously my favorite. These monkeys just can't get to bed because their books are so interesting that they want to read them all. After four books, Mama says it's time for bed - Lights out! Sweet Dreams! No more reading in bed! is her rhyme once she finds that the monkeys have disobeyed her and are reading in bed. First, it's a sad story that makes them sob, then a scary ghost story, and finally a funny story that has them giggling gleefully. At the end, when they're finally worn out and ready to fall asleep, they hear laughing and crying from the other room. I think you can guess what the monkeys will find... 

Big, Bigger, Biggest!Big, Bigger, Biggest by Nancy Coffelt
published 2009 by Henry Holt & Co

You may, like me, think this book is about size comparison, but you would be mostly incorrect. Although there are big, bigger, biggest-like comparisons of animals on each page, what's more are the adjectives used to describe these animals. For example, a snail says, "I'm slowest! I'm sluggish. I'm lethargic. I'm lackadaisical!" Ooh! What vocabulary! Use this book with older students to improve the adjectives in their writing, or use it with younger students to introduce them to new vocabulary. No matter the age group, it's definitely a book to be shared! 

Mudkin (Carolrhoda Picture Books)Mudkin by Stephen Gammell 
published 2011 by Carolrhoda Books

When I think about this book, I get a little giddy inside. It makes me smile until my cheeks hurt. I love the whimsical watercolor illustrations - they make me starry-eyed and swoony. And the story itself is not so bad either. Okay, it's wonderful. A little girl ventures outside after a day of rain to play in the mud. There she meets Mudkin (the creature on the cover), who thinks she looks like a queen and should in fact be his queen. The two travel to her kingdom, complete with a castle and subjects. While there is very little text in this book, the illustrations tell the story quite well. And when there is text, we can only read what the little girl has to say because Mudkin's responses are written in mud scribble. Oh, what a perfect opportunity to teach inference skills! Love it! 


Toon Books

Library lessons in first and second grade usually involve some kind of read-aloud. Especially now that we're working on reading the books nominated for the Monarch Award, the Illinois Readers Choice Award for grades K-3. We have a poster of the 20 Monarch nominees by the reading chair in the library, and students love to see what we've already read and what we'll read soon. Check the library catalog to see which books are nominated this year!

One Monarch nominee this year is a graphic novel, or comic book, called Little Mouse Gets Ready by Jeff Smith. We have the physical book in the library, but I decided to share this story with students by using the online reader at Professor Garfield's website (shown below). Here you can read the book yourself or you can have the author read it to you. Of course we wanted to hear Jeff Smith read his story! 

What's great about the Toon Book reader on Professor Garfield's website is that it has 11 different books to choose from - and they're translated into 5 different languages! In one especially excited second grade class, we read Little Mouse Gets Ready first in English, then in Chinese (with a couple of our students reading along), and finally in Spanish. What a rich cultural experience! 


Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson

Scary Godmother by Jill Thompson (2010, Dark Horse Comics) is a collection of five previously published comics about - you guessed it, Scary Godmother. The stories can be read in any order, really, and can easily stand alone (as they originally did). In the first story, Hannah Marie, the sweet little leading lady, gets scared while trick-or-treating with the big kids, but her Scary Godmother comes to the rescue. The stories are less scary and more playful, with lots of wit and rhyme.

We received this graphic novel at the King School Library a couple weeks ago along with a box full of new books, but I've just had the chance to finish reading it. And boy, was it good. One of my students (hi Steven!) saw me when I was unpacking that box o' new books and commented that Scary Godmother was a movie (or tv show?), and I said - well, I bet the book came first AND it's better. Maybe I didn't say that, but I sure thought it. And even though I haven't seen the movie, I'm pretty sure I'm right on both accounts.

Jill Thompson is a fantastic artist. Her illustrations draw you in, paint a spooky yet not too creepy picture, and let you get lost in the details. The text is a mixture of prose and dialogue (word balloons & thought bubbles) and each story has a clear beginning, middle, and end - which is important for me to note because it's something we strive to teach students.

What I LOVE about this book, though, is its size. It's HUGE! And it's FULL-COLOR! There's no way that you could fully appreciate Jill Thompson's bold and intricate illustrations on a smaller scale. Oh, how I love it. And I know students will love it too - you know, once I return it. :)

2012 Bluestem Award

This year, 4th and 5th grade students are invited to participate in the 2012 Bluestem Award, thanks to two generous grants we received at the King School Library - one from the Illinois School Library Media Association/Library Book Selection Service and the other from the Snapdragon Book Foundation.

The Bluestem Award is a Readers Choice Award for Illinois students in grades 3-5. It's meant to serve as a bridge between the Monarch Award, which 1st and 2nd grade students at King participate in and the Rebecca Caudill Award, which is for 5th-8th grade students. The books on the Bluestem list are selected by Illinois librarians and teachers and reflect both classic children's literature and new works.

This week, I'll be sharing with 4th and 5th grade students the 2012 Bluestem Award nominees and the way our Bluestem program will work at King School. Here's a quick rundown:
  • There are 20 titles on the Bluestem Award list. At King School, we have at least 4 copies of each book. You can check the online catalog to see what we have currently available in the library.
  • Students who read at least 4 nominees from the list will be eligible to vote for their favorite in March. 
  • Students who read at least 6 of the nominees from the list will be invited to a voting pizza party in the library. 
  • Students will complete an "I Read a Bluestem!" form for every nominee they read in order to be entered in a monthly free book raffle.
  • I will mark off each student's reading progress on a Bluestem Bingo card. If a student reads 4 books in a row on their Bingo card, they will receive an extra entry in the free book raffle.
  • The student who reads the most Bluestem nominees will receive a special prize! 

I'm so excited to start sharing these books with students tomorrow!


Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

I'm a little embarrassed to say that I have never read Flat Stanley - until today. In my mailbox this afternoon, I found a large manilla envelope with my very own "Flat Stanley" to visit with me this week. So, of course, I had to read the book first before I could get started with this project!

Stanley Lambchop was flattened by a falling bulletin board on a day that forever changed his life. His parents and brother were surprised, but they kept a positive attitude and made Stanley feel comfortable and loved. Stanley really wanted to visit some friends in California, but it's too expensive to fly or take the train. But since Stanley is flat, he can fit in an envelope and travel through the mail, which is exactly what he does.

And so began the Flat Stanley Project. Teachers, students, and Flat Stanley lovers all over the world have created their own Flat Stanley adventures! Mrs. Turner, a fourth grade teacher at my school, is keeping the project alive with her own class - which is why I received that Stanley-sized envelope in the mail today! Her students created their own flat people and kept a journal for two weeks. Now it's time to set their flat friends free to visit with someone else for a week. I'm so happy to be chosen! My Stanley will travel to Chicago with me over the weekend, walk along the river, go to a carnival, see some fireworks, maybe do some shopping, and much more! I'll be sure to post pictures after our vacation together. :)

P.S. So, you know how there's an app for everything? Yep, Flat Stanley has his own app too!


First days of school!

We're back! School officially started on Wednesday for students in grades 1-5 and half of kindergarten. Today was the first day that we had all students in attendance at the same time since kindergarten only had half classes on Wednesday and Thursday. We did our PBIS Walkthrough this morning so that students could learn the expectations of being Respectful, Responsible, and Ready in all areas of the school, including the library. It was a busy busy morning, but I was SO happy to get to see every single student in the building!

This week, I only got to meet 9 of my classes. I will meet the rest of my classes on Monday and Tuesday. The first week back is always about expectations, introductions, and getting comfortable in the space and as a community. Here are some of the books I read to get students excited about reading and the library:
BookBox: embed book widget, share book list


End of Summer Reading

Are you ready for school to begin? In just a couple days, students will be back through our brand-new doors, and the school year will be underway. But I'm not there yet. Yes, I'm planning and unpacking and cleaning and making sure that everything is ready for this first week of school BUT I'm also taking a little time to enjoy these last bits of summer this weekend. And that means, of course, that I'm catching up on some much-needed summer reading.

I had a miles-long list of books I wanted to read this summer, and I knew I would never get through all of them, but one that I really wanted to read was Ida B. The fabulous Ms. Carr recommended this book to me one day last year, and she didn't have to say much besides "you'll love it" for me to want to read it. So, finally, many months later, I found it in our work-in-progress library and read it last night.

Ida B... And Her Plans to Maximize Fun, Avoid Disaster, and (Possibly Save the World) by Katherine Hannigan
published 2004 by Greenwillow Books

Ida B is a lively, precocious girl. She lives on an orchard farm in Wisconsin with her mother, father, cat, and dog, and she has big plans to enjoy her life to the fullest. Every day is an adventure - she makes friends with the trees and talks to the brook (which really does babble) and has a positive attitude that made me grin. But during one of her conversations with the trees, Ida B learns that she is about to fall on hard times. She refuses to believe it, but the trees don't lie. Her entire life is about to change, and Ida B needs to decide how to deal with it. Will she make the best of a difficult situation or will she harden her heart to the people who love her?

I love (love love) Ida B! She is a pure, true, honest soul. She's not perfect, by any means, and she makes some poor decisions, but she learns from her mistakes and tries to make things right.

I'm so happy I read this book when I did because it inspired me to start this school year with a bang. Ida B has some very distinct school experiences first as a five year-old who's never had to follow so many rules and later as a fourth grade student who might actually like school after all thanks to her wonderful teacher Ms. Washington. I sure hope I can be as nurturing, thoughtful, and creative as Ms. Washington! This is one book I'll be recommending to all of our incoming 4th and 5th grade students. :)


Home away from home

Living in Italy has been wonderful this past month. It actually feels like home away from home. Genoa is very easy to get around by foot, bus, or train, and I have visited many parks, museums, libraries (duh), shops, and towns. I took my first boat ride the weekend before last, just around the marina, and have taken two more since! I love feeling the sea breeze blow through my hair (even though the end result is not pretty to look at!). I haven't strayed too far from Genoa because I'm not all that interested in being a tourist. I'll save that for another vacation spent with family or friends. This is just me, on my own, living in a new place for a short amount of time and learning to adapt to the culture.

Some of my favorite things so far:

THE FOOD - Oh, the food! Where can I find myself some focaccia in Urbana? And not the American kind that's so dry and dense and filled with unnecessary herbs. No no, I mean, the light and almost fluffy Italian kind with just enough oil and salt to make your mouth water. Yum. I haven't taken a picture of any yet because I'm too busy stuffing my face with it!

Then, of course, there's the gelato. No one should go through summer without some ice cream, and the Italians are no exception. I go out for some gelato just about every day. My favorite flavors are fondente (dark chocolate), pistacchio (pistachio), nocciola (hazelnut), and fragola (strawberry - with actual seeds!).

Finally, can I just say that the pasta here is infinitely better than any other pasta I have ever had in my life? Today, I had spaghetti with homemade ragu (meat sauce), which is about as basic as you can get, right? Doesn't matter - still beats any spaghetti I've ever had back home. There are just so many styles of pasta and sauces to accompany them. There's a place that makes fresh pasta and sauces a couple towns from here, and they sell them to the local grocery stores, so that is what we usually eat. I have some spinach ravioli stuffed with cheese and artichoke waiting for me in the fridge...

THE WALKS - One of the best parts about not being a tourist is that I don't ever feel hurried. I can take leisurely walks to nowhere, to just discover the neighborhood slowly. And I did that quite a bit my first few weeks here. I got horribly lost many times, but eventually I'd find a street I recognized and be able to find my way home. Nervi has some beautiful places to walk - through the large park and along the sea - and so many little alleyways and pedestrian-only streets to get lost in. When I first took the bus to Genoa, I aimed to find "the shopping street" (Via XX de Settembre), but ended up walking up and down four other major streets before I found it. The city is not on a grid nor does it have any sensible layout! All the more fun, I suppose.

THE LEISURE - This is in fact a foreign concept to me. Why am I not working?! Adjusting to my life here has been a huge change from my busy, busy work schedule, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it. I have so many ideas for next year and so much I want to do! But while I'm in Italy, I'm trying really hard to focus on enjoying my summer vacation. That doesn't mean I'm not reading blogs or keeping up with tweets, but it does mean that I'm not lesson planning! I am definitely reading, though! My new Kindle has been a lifesaver. :)

Well, this blog entry wouldn't feel complete without some more library vs. bookstore photos:

Italian translations of the Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer 
at the Biblioteca De Amicis (children's library) in Porto Antico, Genoa

Junie B. Jones gets a name change in Italy to Giulia B.
Also at the Biblioteca De Amicis in Porto Antico

 The Guinness Book of World Records is popular EVERYWHERE! As evidenced by this book store display in Porto Antico. Pop culture abounds too - there's Thor and Captain Jack Sparrow. 


Italian libraries and bookstores

I know that summer vacation is supposed to be about relaxing, spending time in the sun, and enjoying time off from school... but I can't help myself. I had to visit the local library the very first week I got to Nervi, Italy. And I've been to a few bookstores too. Hey, this is fun for me - I'm curious about what Italian children read!

This is a book display in the children's section of Nervi's public library. I spy a Wimpy Kid, do you?

Photo also taken at the Nervi public library - Geronimo Stilton is VERY popular! 

This is a bookstore display - Hannah Montana is an international superstar!

Do you recognize this one? Third - fifth grade girls couldn't get enough of Dork Diaries last year. 
I wish I could take home a box of books from here! There are some fantastic Italian authors that are popular as well as other European authors that we just don't get in the U.S. But the prices! Oy, I thought American books were expensive, but oh no, Italian books are far, far more costly. Everything is, really. Oh well, I like to visit the bookstores and libraries anyway. :) 

But I have to say, I sure do miss the Champaign Public and Urbana Free Libraries back home!

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