Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Welcome to Library Lions interviews. Raising a Roar for Libraries

Friday, May 31, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians across the U.S. Today we’re celebrating Cavalcade of Authors Part 2 with Jeff Burlingame's article recently featured in the magazine The Medium. 

Jeff Burlingame (showing his prized Cavalcade tee shirt) is the NAACP Image Award-winning author of more than 20 nonfiction books for both teens and adults. He also was one of Cavalcade’s featured authors this year. 

 Take nearly 1,000 middle school and high school students from seven districts in two states,
bus them to a community college in southeastern Washington on a Friday morning in March and let them spend the day listening to, learning from — and occasionally crying over meeting — 16 prominent YA authors from across the United States. What you get, according to Pura Belpré-winning Texas author Guadalupe Garcia McCall, “is a buzzing, lively hive where both students and authors can meet to discuss the most important of interests: reading good books.”

(Guadalupe Garcia McCall and student)

The lively hive has a name, Cavalcade of Authors, and it’s an annual event founded in 2008 by second-generation school librarian Michelle Lane. A librarian at Enterprise Middle School in Richland, Lane came up with the idea for Cavalcade of Authors the previous fall while attending the annual Pacific Northwest Writers Conference in Portland, Ore.   

(Michele Lane)
I was listening to science-fiction author Tim Zahn talk about how he would much rather discuss and teach writing at a visit than talk about himself,” Lane said. “He went on to mention the Teen Book Festival in Rochester, N.Y., where the librarians brought authors together to talk to kids about their books. I thought, ‘I could do that at my school!’” 

Lane said she spent her entire 220-mile drive home from Portland refining her plan. Six months later, seven authors and 70 students gathered at Enterprise for the inaugural Cavalcade of Authors. As news spread, more schools and authors jumped on board and the event eventually had to be moved across the Tri-Cities to Columbia Basin Community College.    

Signing up to attend Cavalcade of Authors does not entitle students to a Monopoly-like get-out-of-school-free card. In fact, attending actually creates more homework. To qualify for Cavalcade, each student must have read at least one book from each of four of that year’s featured authors.

(Front Row Left to Right: Michelle Lane (Director), D.J. MacHale, Jeff Burlingame, Holly Cupala, Suzanne Selfors, Maureen McQuerry, Lisa McMann, Veronica Rossi, Brandon Dorman, and Kelly Milner Halls. Back Row: Jonathan Maberry, Gregg Olsen, Jonathan Auxier, Trent Reedy, Chris Crutcher, and Brandon Mull. Guadalupe Garcia McCall not pictured)

Students who read at least eight books were given a T-shirt to wear to the event. The sea of teens wearing shirts adorned with the motto “Read for Life” filling the school’s auditorium at the end of the 2013 event, held March 1, proved that students went above and beyond the qualification requirement.  

                                   (Kelly Milner Halls workshop) 

As if a free T-shirt was not enough, students were given extra incentive to read more in 2013. Doing so entered their name in a drawing for one of two NOOK Simple Touch Readers, both donated by the local Barnes & Noble. The store also hosted a well-attended book signing featuring all 16 authors the night before the main event, and donated 10 percent of each Cavalcade-related book sold back to the cause.

(D.J. MacHale)

                                   (Veronica Rossi with students)
The chain bookseller was hardly the only company to contribute to Cavalcade. Local businesses donated food, gave a discount on hotel rooms for the authors, and prizes for the top three finishers in two grade-defined writing contests for students. Grants also helped pay the bills, which included transportation costs and honorariums for the authors, many of which donated their time or dramatically reduced their appearance fees to contribute to the unique event. Lane’s total budget in 2013 was roughly $25,000. Volunteers, including Lane’s fellow librarians, teachers, community activists and even students, staffed the event.

Although she now has more than five years invested in Cavalcade of Authors, Lane’s primary goal remains the same as it was during her brainstorming car ride home from Portland in 2007. “Our goal is to create an authentic writing-conference experience for our students in grades 6-12, where writers come together to discuss their craft,”she said. “Students who still are attending Cavalcade and have been with us since we started have been introduced to 50 different authors. The sixth-graders who started this year — if they stay with us through their senior year — will have been introduced to around 100 different authors.”
(Check out Cavalcade Author's Hall of Fame)

With strong local media coverage and growing coverage from across the region, it does not appear Cavalcade of Authors will be doing anything but expanding in the near future. That is fine with Lane, who envisions a three-day event attended by students from across Washington and northeastern Oregon. It could be held in various geographic regions. A majority of those who have seen and experienced the Tri-Cities-based Cavalcade of Authors appear to support Lane in her quest. So do the authors who have seen firsthand the changes they can make in students’ lives.

                                   (Jonathan Maberry's workshop)

“Cavalcade of Authors was the kind of event where readers and writers could share in their love of books,” said Jonathan Maberry, a New York Times best-selling author and a featured Cavalcade presenter in 2013. “Fast-paced, lots of fun, and a great learning experience for everyone, including the pros there as guests. [It was] a high-water mark for all such events.”

                                      (Gregg Olsen's workshop)
Gregg Olsen, another New York Times best-selling author and 2013 attendee agreed. “I can’t think of a better, more impactful experience than what occurs between authors and young readers at the Cavalcade of Authors,” Olsen said. “Small groups. Large groups. Literary. Popular fiction. Nonfiction. Everything and everyone comes together in a crazy, cool mix. Simply put, this is one festival that does what so many others promise — it brings everyone face to face. I will never forget it.”

 The students got as much out of the event as the authors.


“They’re known all around the world for their books and I actually get to go home and say I met an author,” a Chiawana High School ninth-grader named Elena said at the end of the 2013 Cavalcade of Authors. “If someone’s reading a book, [I can say], ‘I’ve met that author.’ That’s so cool. This is the best day ever.”

Cavalcade of Authors website

Thank you, Jeff for your terrific article!


Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.

Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot. 


Wednesday, May 15, 2013


Happy Children’s Book Week! And welcome to a Special Edition of Library Lions. This week we’re Roaring for the Cavalcade of Authors now in its 5th year!

The Skinny
Cavalcade of Authors yearly conference is dedicated to providing the secondary students of our region access to some of the best Young Adult authors of our modern era. Our special interest is to celebrate Pacific Northwest Authors while introducing students to a variety of genres and subject matter and to furthermore, promote reading and writing within our community. We provide for our participants an authentic writing conference experience where students can learn from the ultimate mentors: the authors of the books they are reading.
Cavalcade 2013 Authors

(Front Row Left to Right: Michelle Lane (Director), D.J. MacHale, Jeff Burlingame, Holly Cupala, Suzanne Selfors, Maureen McQuerry, Lisa McMann, Veronica Rossi, Brandon Dorman, and Kelly Milner Halls. Back Row: Jonathan Maberry, Gregg Olsen, Jonathan Auxier, Trent Reedy, Chris Crutcher, and Brandon Mull. Guadalupe Garcia McCall not pictured)

[All Cavalcade photos by Aaron Pelly Photography]
The Day Begins . . .   
Students arrive by 8:00 at Columbia Basin College and are ushered to their first session by high school student volunteers who know the campus.  The first session starts at 8:15 and lasts one hour.  Students attend three sessions of their choosing that they’ve signed up for through their school librarian.

Check out the wonderful workshops our Authors offered this year!

(Students arrive for Brandon Mull's workshop)
                                                      (Gregg Olsen's workshop)

(Kelly Milner Hall's workshop)

Students have 15 minutes in between sessions for autographing and connecting with the authors and passing time. 


                                   (Suzanne Selfors and Savannah, Gr.7, from Desert Hills MS)
                                                           (Lisa McMann signing)
(Veronica Rossi with students, Persephone D Angeli, Nelly Ruelas-Mendoza, Payton Griffith, and Elizabeth Fredrick)

Cheers for Cavalcade!

                             (Guadalupe Garcia McCall and Bianney, Gr. 8. Clara Brownell MS)

“I loved how many people attended [Cavalcade of Authors].  It was great to see so many students at my sessions!  I really loved showing them what I do to write, and sharing my experiences as a writer with them.  I also loved that I saw many Hispanic students there that I would not have reached otherwise.  Thank you. Cavalcade of Authors is a buzzing, lively hive where both students and authors can meet to discuss the most important of interests…reading good books.”  Guadalupe Garcia McCall

(Kelly Milner Halls)
“[I enjoyed most of all] the author dinner and hanging out with all those great kids the day of the event.  It was all terrific. Sharing in the wonder that was the Cavalcade of Authors may have been a job, technically.  But it was so much more.  Speaking to hundreds of eager young people at a well-organized festival with more than a dozen other exceptional authors was a sheer pleasure.  The kids left with inspiration and warm memories.  The authors did, too.  Clearly, the Tri-cities population values their young people and the future that will soon be in their capable hands.  This was an exceptional experience, all the way around.”  Kelly Milner Halls

(Jeff Burlingame)

“Being a featured author at Cavalcade of Authors is like taking the stage to front a world-famous rock ‘n’ roll band for two days.  From the moment you arrive, its fun, fervor, and fantastic.  For students, attending Cavalcade of Authors is like being in the crowd when that band—your all-time favorite—performs in an intimate setting in your hometown for you and 1,000 of your closest friends.  Cavalcade of Authors isn’t just an excellent Eastern Washington conference.  It’s an excellent conference, period.”  Jeff Burlingame

                                                                   (D.J. MacHale)
“[With the Cavalcade of Authors] it’s all about the kids.  Being able to speak to such a large group of interested readers is a rare treat.  Usually during school visits, maybe 20% of the group really wants to be there.  With Cavalcade, it was 100%.  You can’t beat that.  Also, the entire event was buttoned up and well run.  That’s not always the case. The Cavalcade of Authors should be called ‘The Cavalcade of Kid Readers.’  Being able to speak to a thousand interested, engaged young readers is like author heaven.  I can’t wait to do it again!”  D.J. MacHale

                                                                     (Trent Reedy)
“I liked Cavalcade of Authors because, not only did it foster a love of reading and writing for young people, but it was a practical, useful opportunity for young writers to learn more about the craft of writing.  It was wonderful to see excited young writers carefully taking notes and working to improve their writing. Cavalcade of Authors is a good opportunity for young people to foster their own love for reading, and it is a great opportunity for young writers to get excellent writing instruction from some of the best authors of books for young people.”  Trent Reedy

                                                               (Jonathan Maberry)
“Michelle...I wish I'd been able to give you a big good-bye hug. This was such a wonderful event and I had the best time. You and your crew throw a first-class event --professional, smooth, and fun!  Although I've never been to the Tri-Cities area before, I can now say that I've made real friends here.  If I can ever be of assistance with future events, either as a presenter or as a resource to contact some of my colleagues, you have but to ask. Again...thanks for everything!  You so rock!”  Jonathan Maberry

Teachers’ Roars
“It’s simple.  Kids who like to read, read.  Cavalcade brings relevant, high-interest authors from near and far to eastern Washington.  Students who never dreamed they’d meet real authors, listen to their stories, learn first-hand about their craft, and interact with them personally get a chance to do just that.  My students devour the books.  They argue, share secrets, and quote them.  They are as affected, dazed, and amazed as if they were meeting rock stars.  In fact, they are.” – Doug Lane, 6th grade teacher, Enterprise MS

“It is so awesome to see so many of our kids get excited about reading because of your awesome event! I am even more amazed than last year at the level of interest and hope to see it continue to grow and grow as an opportunity for our students.”  Tammy Fisher, 7th/ 8th grade Reading Teacher, Clara Brownell MS

                                                    (Maureen McQuerry's workshop)

“Cavalcade gives students the opportunity to experience authentic writing from published authors.  Often, they discover a common bond with these people who get paid to write!” – Colette DeHaan, 7th grade LA teacher, Enterprise MS

                                               (Jonathan Maberry signing)
Student Roars"They're known all around the world for their books and I actually get to go home and say I met an author. If someone's reading that book, [I can say], 'I've met that author.' That's so cool!," Elena, 9th grade Chiawana HS

“It was nice to see a Hispanic author since I am Hispanic myself.”  Park MS

“[I learned] you’ve got to dig deeper in order to get where you want and what you want.”  Cristianna, Grade 8, Park MS
“[I was] inspired to never give up and write what you believe.”  Nicole, Grade 7, Park MS

                                                   (Mark, Gr. 7, Horse Heaven Hills MS)

“Cavalcade was like a treasure trove of advice on writing and how to keep enjoying it.  It has changed my view on how books are made forever.”  Sydney, Grade 6, Enterprise

“[Jonathan] Auxier’s session [was my favorite] because he included student interaction and as a group we completed a ridiculous, but funny story.” – Timmy, 7th grade

“I liked them all because they all were interesting and the information that they shared was really cool. Some things they share really inspired me.” – Adriana, 8th grade
Special Moments:
A student (Elena) from Chiawana High School during her session with Jeff Burlingame, was gifted a get up that much resembled Elvis. 

When she left Jeff’s session – she was walking through the crowds of kids shouting, “This is the BEST day EVER!!”  Later she was interviewed by the news station – it totally brought tears to my eyes.  I was so excited for her and proud of all our students who attended that day!

ONE LAST BIG ROAR On average our 800+ kids are reading 6 books between August and January to attend Cavalcade.  Many of them continue reading Cavalcade books long after the event is over.  These kids are spreading the word to others about the great books they are reading, creating a reading climate in our schools!

Also, Cavalcade sponsors a writing contest where three places are awarded for each of both High School and Middle School entries. 
                          (Vance, Gr. 8 Enterprise MS, 1st place Short Story Contest)
Let’s Link:

Cavalcade of Authors
Cavalcade Facebook 


Stay Tuned for Cavalcade 2013 Part 2 coming to LL blog soon!


Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.

Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. If you have a Young Authors conference like Cavalcade you would like to highlight. We'd love to showcase your conference.
Contact Janet at
jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot. 

Thursday, May 2, 2013


Welcome to Library Lions interviews Raising a Roar for libraries and the outstanding librarians serving youth in schools and public libraries across the U.S. Please Roar today’s guest, the great guybrarian, Paul Warner!

My name is Paul Warner and I am the teacher-librarian for over 1,100 6th – 8th graders at Shahala Middle School in Vancouver, WA (right across the Columbia River from Portlandia!). The students call me JEDI WARNER the GUYBRARIAN because of my love of Star Wars and all things sci-fi fantasy. 

If you walk into our library you are likely to see books displayed with posters and life-size standees of sci-fi fantasy characters, kids learning with Mr. Warner using various film clips connected to sci-fi fantasy books, patrons listening to sci-fi fantasy instrumental music while they work and read, and you’re likely to be greeted by an enthusiastic Guybrarian dressed as a Jedi, a wizard, or some other fun sci-fi fantasy character.

The Skinny:  
What I love most about my work is connecting reading with fun activities. For example, every month we hi-light a different genre and promote books in that genre by making fun library videos for the whole school to see. We also make fun videos to promote new books available. Many students and staff love to be in these productions, and after the videos are shown those books start flying off the shelves! I have included Youtube links to a few of our videos below. 

Photo scene from school video
Youtube links:

To promote new books we received through purchases and donations, we made this video for the school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IX6I6KkJD0

To promote the genre of mystery/horror we made this funny video for the school: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HVW8ueEInLM
Video to promote our sci-fi family night & book fair event: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LaG-Ky96bCQ

Video after our sci-fi night to celebrate by showing everything we did: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWYONaVNClw

We have the most fun of the year at our annual Sci-Fi Fantasy Family Night & Book Fair.

We do lots of activities like Lightsaber making

Costume contests

Trivia games, Origami Yoda, collectibles, projects connecting sci-fi and real science technology, and much more! 
This year Mr. Warner dressed as a Jedi Knight, Assistant Librarian Mrs. Royster became Princess Leia, and one of our teachers was Doctor Who! Plus we have special guests stop by from the 501st Legion, an international organization of costumed Star Wars characters that have a local chapter nearby. Last year they brought a clone trooper and Darth Vader, and this year they brought Imperial stormtroopers and a real, life-size, working R2D2 robot that interacted with library visitors!

Library Laughs:
We’ve had a couple of really funny days in the library this year. One was on “Talk Like A Pirate Day” when I became a pirate and any kids who entered the library and talked like a pirate to me while checking out a book got some candy (“pirate booty”).

Then later this year we collaborated with our amazing ASB program to have an all-school “Dress Like a Book Character” Day!

We gave prizes to kids who checked out any book featuring the character they were dressed up as.  All day long the library was filled with laughs and smiles as Katniss, Batman, Laura Ingalls, Chewbacca, Ponyboy, Hogwarts students, pointy-eared elves, manga characters, various Avengers, Percy and friends from Camp Half-Blood, and some very entertaining Spongebobs checked out books about themselves!

It was also really funny to see the looks on the kids’ faces when they saw the Guybrarian’s character: Darth Potter. 

I couldn’t decide if I wanted to be Vader or Harry, so I combined them in one costume, held up books about both characters, and greeted kids with a deep voice stating: “Luke…I am your new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher!”

A Lion’s Pride of Programs:  
I really want visitors to know more about all the on-line tech tools and assistance we provide for our students and staff.  For research work and non-fiction reading we can help kids learn how to use databases such as Worldbook and eLibrary instead of just randomly searching the web, and help link kids up to ebooks and to professional, trusted web sources on any topic they need.  For presentations, I offer help for kids and teachers to create podcasts about books or topics of study, digital video book trailers, and presentations on any topic with the use of web tools such as Prezi, Glogster, Picmonkey, Pixton, Storybird, Tagxedo, Animoto, and Educreations. 

We’ve also started creating QR Codes on books to take readers on-line to author sites, book trailers,quizzes, interviews, and more. We are also proud of our after school Eagle Book Club in the library,which focuses especially on sci-fi fantasy books.

In addition to reading and discussing books together, we also create technology projects connected to the books by using many of the tech tools listed above.

After reading Ender’s Game, The Eagle Book Club made this book trailer video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9w49-8-osTk

Readers Roar:
“Reading is awesome because it allows me to journey to Middle Earth, Camp Half-Blood, and other worlds, all without leaving my own land.” – Max (7th grade)

“I like reading because you never know what will happen to the characters next, and sci-fi fantasy has such intense paragraphs.”  - Ruth (6th grade)
“I love reading because it takes me to a place and time I can’t go in real life.” – Hibbah (8th grade)

“Reading helps me imagine things.” – Damian (6th grade)

“Reading is like a movie in my head.” – Caledonia (8th grade)

“I can’t remember the last time I went to a library book fair, but I got so excited to go to the Sci-Fi Night that Jedi Warner planned!  After that I started reading some sci-fi!” – (6th grade boy)

"I want to thank you for the Sci-Fi Family Night you hosted for the community.  I brought my son and we had a fantastic experience meeting some of his STAR WARS favorites. We loved visiting with other families, picking out books, and dressing up for the costume contest.  Even days later, my son is still talking about how wonderful the night was. You made his month!"   - Anna 

"Sci-Fi Family Night was a huge opportunity for students to see the two way connection between science and science fiction. That event, our library, and Mr. Warner have inspired students to read more and connected the science department to the library in new ways."  -  Mr. C. (8th grade science teacher & parent)

“It was quite remarkable to see so many people at the Sci-Fi event that were energized about science fiction and reading! Great to see such a diversity of community members there with a wide range of interests participating in a common event around a shared love of science fiction books, movies, and games!  -  Mr. P. (8th grade math teacher & parent)
Note to LL readers. Excuse the white background above. It's some kind of befuddling glitch! Thanks
“I have never before seen kids so excited about coming back to a school's library for an evening event, but they talked about the Sci-Fi Night and Book Fair as it approached and they were still talking days after it." -    Mrs. E. (8th Grade Language Arts & Social Studies teacher)

Book Brag: Currently, our most popular books are by Suzanne Collins, Rick Riordan, Veronica Roth, and James Dashner.  Collins’ Hunger Games series continues to be checked out by kids who saw the film but haven’t yet read the book, or students who want to read the sequels before the next films are released.  Riordan’s Percy Jackson series, Kane Chronicles, and Heroes of Olympus series are continuously checked out from our library.  Dashner’s Maze Runner series has become very popular and hard to keep on the shelf, and Roth’s Divergent and Insurgent are constantly requested.  I believe all these books are hugely popular because sci-fi fantasy stories of adventure or dystopian struggles have such great appeal to this age group, especially if the stories include a hero’s journey coming-of-age tale and the age of the characters in the books is close to the reader’s age too.

Author! Author!
This is only my third year in the library so I haven’t had very many author visits yet, but I really want to because during my 16 years as a language arts and social studies teacher I attended some great author visits and saw the positive affect they have on the kids.  I think the perfect visit involves the author reading some from her work, sharing about her own life, using a visual presentation, teaching about the craft of writing, and having a Q & A session about her books and reading & writing in general.  If time allows, I think it is great to have the kids actually do a little writing of their own while with the author.  I saw a writer do this once with a class of kids by getting them to brainstorm ideas to get down on paper and encouraging them to start keeping journals of ideas that could later develop into writing pieces; it was very inspiring to the kids and adults in the room who did actually start keeping writing journals after that visit. 

For me personally, my 3 favorite author visits have been:  (1) When Holocaust survivor Alter Weiner, author of the book From A Name to a Number, came to my library with stories and visuals to teach the students about the Holocaust;

(2) When Frank McCourt, author of Angela’s Ashes and Teacher Man, came to the high school where I taught and shared with the students about the importance of always asking questions in reading and in life;

and (3) When Henry Winkler, author of the Hank Zipser series (and Fonzie from Happy Days of course), came to a local bookstore and spent a few minutes 1-on-1 with my son to give him inspirational advice on how to be a writer (had a very positive influence on my son).

Photo Meeting Henry Winkler2

Library Lion’s Last Roar:
I want to roar loudly for all those school librarians & guybrarians out there who take the time to work with and teach lessons to the students.  Every week I am teaching whole classes and 1-to-1 with students about reading skills, research skills, writing skills, technology skills, presentation skills, and the important critical thinking skills needed so much in the information overload world we live in today.  Too often I run across folks who think all a school librarian does is sit at a front counter and check out books all day; therefore, they incorrectly and unfortunately view such a position as unimportant and expendable.  So I also want to roar for the Library Lions website and all the authors, teachers, principals, and students out there trying to spread the word in this country that our librarians are not expendable and are so much more than just book-checker-outers, but are actually professionally trained educators collaborating with classroom teachers and working with students on so many crucial skills today, in addition to the important job of helping them find books to read. 

Also, let’s roar for all the librarian hard work and passion that goes into reading promotions and community building and outreach, plus all the behind-the-scenes work of obtaining the right resources and reading materials for multiple subject areas and grades to help diverse young people with a wide variety of reading levels, interests, and needs.  I have always believed that librarians must have the magical powers of The Force in order to accomplish all that they do, but since joining their distinguished ranks I have begun to realize that librarians actually ARE The Force that keeps libraries working for kids.

Let’s Link:
Blog:  I would like people to know about my blog for sharing and learning about how today’s technology tools can be used in education.  It’s a Google blog called Educational Tech in the 21st Century.  I would LOVE for people to go there and join up with my blog so we can share tech tools and ideas!  Here is the URL: http://21stcenturylearnerandteacher.blogspot.com/

Library Website: Our Shahala Middle School library website, with many tool and links, is part of the Schoolwires system right now at the following URL: http://schools.evergreenps.org/domain/1871 However, by this July our district is leaving Schoolwires so our library website will be changing to a Google website sometime during the Summer.  I will have the new link for it sent to Library Lions as soon as it is available.
Twitter: I have also started using Twitter to connect with educators, authors, and librarians and would love to connect with more folks!  On Twitter I am:  @jediguybrarian

                                    ~            ~          ~

 Thank you, Paul, for your terrific interview! May the force be with you!

Love Libraries? Give a Roar in “Comments” below.

Note to Librarians: If you’re a Youth Librarian working in a school or public library we’d love to hear about you and your library. Contact Janet at jlcarey@hotmail.com for an interview slot.