hmsREADS Blog

words of wisdom from your favorite HMS librarian

How to Review a Biography

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In order to write a book review of a biography, there are several things you need to include.

Paragraph One:

  • Introduce the title and author of the book. Provide a sentence or two that tells why the subject of the book is important or noteworthy. For example, if you read a book about James Madison, you would write that he was the 4th president of the United States.
  • What are the author’s qualifications? Do you know what type of research was done to write the book?
  • What is the scope of the book? Does the book cover the entire life of the subject or only to a certain point (age)?

Paragraph Two:

  • What are the author’s major findings in the book?
  • Do you feel like there was ample information about the subject?
  • Was anything left out of the book?

Paragraph Three:

  • After reading the book, what questions do you still have about the subject?
  • What audience do you recommend this book to?
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What I’m Learning


About two weeks ago, one of my friends convinced me to learn to play the ukulele! I am not entirely without musical ability, but it has been years since I played an instrument, so I’m a tad apprehensive. Growing up, I took piano lessons for 10 years and was in the band for 7 years (I played percussion). In case you don’t know, the ukulele is a stringed instrument, similar to the guitar. However, it is much smaller than a guitar and has 4 strings instead of 6. I’m having a lot of fun with my ukulele and hope to have learned some songs by the end of 2017!



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3 Sentence Summary: THE PRINCESS KNIGHT

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The Princess Knight by Cornelia Funke is a charming picture book, perfect for girls and boys ages 2-10.

3 Sentence Summary:

Violetta was a tiny princess, taught to be a knight by her father, the king. She practiced in secret and became better than her brothers because she was nimble and quick. When her father held a tournament with her hand in marriage as the prize, she entered in disguise and won!

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Getting Gritty

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Recently, I’ve been reading Grit: The Power of Passion and Perseverance by New York Times bestselling author and psychologist Angela Duckworth. I’ve found this nonfiction book to be both interesting and inspiring. It shares how successful people become successful: with grit. Grit refers to the deliberate practice and effort practiced by those who are most successful in their fields. Something I just read made me think of the blogging that the HMS students are doing, especially in 8th grade Pre-AP Language Arts. The book emphasizes the concept shown below: 

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As you can see, effort shows up twice in this diagram! Many of our 8th graders wrote goals for themselves at the beginning of their blogging journey. If that’s you, please take this information to heart! Deliberate practice, whether in sports, dance, academics, or public speaking, pays off big time, despite the discomfort and lack of fun that often accompanies such practice. But Duckworth shares with us that “the alternative to deliberate practice – mindlessly ‘going through the motions’ without improvement – can be its own form of suffering (pg. 135).” My hope is that all of the students at HMS see success and that they will put in the gritty effort necessary to achieve big this year! For the students that are blogging this year, remember that being deliberate with every post will absolutely help you to become better bloggers and writers.

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Read & Ride!


 This year, the HMS Library is introducing a new program called Read & Ride. Students will be able to come to the Library during their Silent Sustained Reading (SSR) Time to read their book while riding an exercise bike! We have two bikes, and they will also be available before school, after school, and during lunch (if you check out a lunch pass). Come check out the bikes when you next visit the library!

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Multiple Intelligences: My Results


I recently took an online Multiple Intelligences Assessment, which you can access here. There are eight types of intelligence that have been recognized among humans: Language, Spacial, Logic/Math, Body Movement, Musical, Social, Self, and Nature.

My results showed that I am strong in three areas. The first is Self (Intrapersonal), which means I know myself and have an understanding of my feelings, reactions, and needs. The second intelligence is Social (Interpersonal), which means I enjoy being around people and generally am successful in my interactions with others. The third intelligence the assessment netted for me is Language (Linguistic). This surprised me, because I do not speak multiple languages! However, as an avid reader, I have a strong interest in words.

After reading the descriptions of each of these intelligences, I agree that they are the intelligences that I am strongest in. Also provided in the assessment results are suggestions for me to increase my intelligence in these areas. Here are a few that I think I will try!

  • interview my family (specifically, my parents)
  • keep a journal
  • use brainstorming methods before reading (I’ve never done this before!)
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We Have Such Awesome Students!


Thanks to these students for being willing to let me film them for an upcoming presentation I am doing about blogging! They were terrific!

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Top 10 Favorite Series


I've been asked what my favorite books are a few times lately, and as you can imagine, this is a very hard list to determine. So . . . I've decided to make 2 lists, one for my favorite series, and (in a future post), one for my favorite stand alone books. Please note: I am only including favorite middle grades and young adult books in these lists. Enjoy!

  1. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  3. The Rangers Apprentice by John Flanagan
  4. The Ascendance Trilogy by Jennifer Nielsen
  5. Beyonders by Brandon Mull
  6. Fablehaven by Brandon Mull
  7. The Giver Quartet by Lois Lowry
  8. Percy Jackson & the Olympians by Rick Riordan
  9. The Rule of 3 by Eric Walters
  10. Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer
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The 12 Days of Christmas


Happy Holidays HMS!

On the twelfth day of Christmas, my librarian gave to me

Twelve nonfiction books,

Eleven creative comics,

Ten genre sections,

Nine brilliant biographies,

Eight scratch-n-sniff bookmarks,

Seven desktop computers, 

Six medieval flags,

Five knights at attention,

Four book recommendations,

Three wooden shields,

Two Library Aides,

and a book to read over Winter Break!

By: Jacqui Daves

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Giants of Science



Last week I read two biographies by Kathleen Krull, both of which are from her “Giants of Science” series. I had previously read Isaac Newton and Leonardo da Vinci, other books from this series, so I knew that I already appreciated her writing style and would likely enjoy these.

First I read Albert Einstein. Although I am a former Social Studies teacher, there was much I learned about Einstein and his life. For example, he wrote his papers on relativity in less than a month! The other book I read in this series was Charles Darwin. I learned that dinosaur fossils were found at the same time that Darwin lived. What an amazing (and confounding) time that must have been!

Each of Krull’s biographies cover the entire life of the person she is writing about. These books are written in a narrative nonfiction style, which means the information is delivered in the form of a story (more like fiction). Since this series is about the leaders in science throughout history, it is important to include descriptions of their scientific achievements, which Krull does. Actually, Krull does an amazing job of making the “science” easy to understand. In Albert Einstein, Krull describes the theory of relativity in a way that made complete sense to me – something none of my science teachers were able to do! Each book is illustrated, and the illustrations are top notch.

I would highly recommend any and all of Krull’s books to students ages 10+. They are excellent sources of information for research as well as being enjoyable books to read, especially if you like to read biographies.

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