Monthly Archives: October 2016

Real Monsters & Ransom Riggs Photos in Google Drive

Morning Book Chat

Hopefully everyone has obtained a copy of “Miss Peregrine” and are following along the suggested reading timeline.  If you are, you’ll have already come across my favorite part of the book right in the prologue!  As a librarian who LOVES folklore (remember Stone Soup???), the following quote explains (to me) why our traditional folk stories have endured through generations…

“Grandpa had told him some of the same stories when he was a kid, and they weren’t lies, exactly, but exaggerated versions of the truth.” p.17

In “Miss Peregrine,” the main character rationalizes Grandpa’s unbelievable stories by making them a symbol for the real horrors in the world.  The “monsters” were the Nazi soldiers, their “peculiarity” was being Jewish during WWII, and their “miraculous powers” were that these orphans escaped the ghettos and gas chambers.

Let’s apply this idea to “Little Red Riding Hood.”  What do you think the wolf symbolizes?  What do you think the original storytellers were trying to warn audiences about?  Are there “real” wolves in the world?

Can you think of other examples in folklore?

Hands-On Activity:  Ransom Riggs-inspired Photos Now in Google Drive Folder

Check out last week’s “rule of thirds” photographs in the Google Drive folder.  Please use the techniques in Click It Up a Notch to take and upload this week’s compositions into the “limb chop” folder.


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Miss Peregrine’s Hands-On Project… Photography!

The author of Miss Peregrine, Ransom Riggs, was inspired by the flea market photographs he collects.  See his collection at

What makes a good photograph anyway?

Day 1:  Photography Basics

The Click it Up a Notch blog offers some “rules” of photography…

– Rule of thirds
– Limb chops
– Leading lines
– Fill the frame
– Negative Space
– Catchlights
– Backlighting
– Low light
– Window light

Let’s use our Macs and what we have in the library, from puppets and books to dark corners and bright windows, to create compositions applying these rules.  Using these guidelines, you’ll see an improvement in the pictures you take.

Next time… Special effects

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Suggested Reading Timeline for “Miss Peregrine”

This is a suggested timeline for reading our first book and the one that I’ll be following.  Since this is a extracurricular club, you are not required to follow this timeline, however, I do recommend you keep up because those are the chapters we will be chatting about as we work on our hands-on projects.  As always, please come see me if you have any questions or concerns and let’s talk about it!

  • October 7-14th:  Book Club Planning; Get your copy of “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children.” I know this has been a difficult title to get a hold of due to the surge in movie-based popularity. Come see me if you still can’t find one.
  • 10/21:  Book-based Activity (Recommended Supplemental Reading:
    • Start Browsing/Reading!
  • 10/28: Book-based Activity
    • Read Chapters 1, 2
  • 11/4: Book-based Activity
    • Read Chapters 3, 4
  • 11/11:  School Closed for Veteran’s Day… No Book Club
    • Read Chapter 5
  • 11/18: Book-based Activity
    • Read Chapters 6, 7
  • 11/25:  School Closed for Thanksgiving Recess… No Book Club
    • Read Chapter 8
  • 12/2:  Parent-Teacher Conference Day… No Book Club
    • Read Chapter 9
  • 12/9:  Book Discussion Breakfast… Come hungry and ready to chat about what you loved, hated, and was just meh.  Remember to think in terms of our Book Discussion Guidelines.
    • Finish Chapters 10, 11, & Supplemental Interview (If it’s in your edition or, if not, you can read Ransom Riggs’s About Me and Photographs pages on his website.).
  • 12/16:  Vote on next book


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Our first book is…

The votes have been counted and our first book is Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016).  We will partner with the Westhampton Library to see the movie version once it becomes available on DVD/Blu-ray.

Sixteen-year-old Jacob, having traveled to a remote island after a family tragedy, discovers an abandoned orphanage, and, after some investigating, he learns the children who lived there may have been dangerous and quarantined and may also still be alive.
From the Publisher
The #1 New York Times Best Seller is soon to be a major motion picture from visionary director Tim Burton, starring Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Samuel L. Jackson, and Judi Dench.

A mysterious island.An abandoned orphanage.

A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow–impossible though it seems–they may still be alive. 

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

“A tense, moving, and wondrously strange first novel. The photographs and text work together brilliantly to create an unforgettable story.”–John Green, New York Times best-selling author of The Fault in Our Stars

“With its X-Men: First Class-meets-time-travel story line, David Lynchian imagery, and rich, eerie detail, it’s no wonder Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children has been snapped up by Twentieth Century Fox. B+”–Entertainment Weekly

“‘Peculiar’ doesn’t even begin to cover it. Riggs’ chilling, wondrous novel is already headed to the movies.”–People

“You’ll love it if you want a good thriller for the summer. It’s a mystery, and you’ll race to solve it before Jacob figures it out for himself.”–Seventeen

Full-Text Reviews
Booklist (May 15, 2011 (Vol. 107, No. 18))
On the brink of his sixteenth birthday, something terrible happens to Jacob—something so terrible that it splits his life into two parts: Before and After. Before, he was an ordinary young man with a peculiar but doting grandfather. After, he discovers he isn’t so ordinary after all. Nor are the “peculiar children” he meets at Miss Peregrine’s home. Riggs’ debut uses the framework of a horror novel to tell a more far-reaching tale with symbolic overtones of the Holocaust. Though the author’s skill does not always match his ambition—his pacing is particularly uneven—his premise is clever, and Jacob and the children are intriguing characters. The book is made even more intriguing by the inclusion of a number of period photographs that seem almost Victorian in character and that expand the oddness of the proceedings. An open ending suggests the possibility of a sequel.
Kirkus Reviews (April 1, 2014)
Riggs spins a gothic tale of strangely gifted children and the monsters that pursue them from a set of eerie, old trick photographs. The brutal murder of his grandfather and a glimpse of a man with a mouth full of tentacles prompts months of nightmares and psychotherapy for 15-year-old Jacob, followed by a visit to a remote Welsh island where, his grandfather had always claimed, there lived children who could fly, lift boulders and display like weird abilities. The stories turn out to be true–but Jacob discovers that he has unwittingly exposed the sheltered “peculiar spirits” (of which he turns out to be one) and their werefalcon protector to a murderous hollowgast and its shape-changing servant wight. The interspersed photographs–gathered at flea markets and from collectors–nearly all seem to have been created in the late 19th or early 20th centuries and generally feature stone-faced figures, mostly children, in inscrutable costumes and situations. They are seen floating in the air, posing with a disreputable-looking Santa, covered in bees, dressed in rags and kneeling on a bomb, among other surreal images. Though Jacob’s overdeveloped back story gives the tale a slow start, the pictures add an eldritch element from the early going, and along with creepy bad guys, the author tucks in suspenseful chases and splashes of gore as he goes. He also whirls a major storm, flying bullets and a time loop into a wild climax that leaves Jacob poised for the sequel. A trilogy opener both rich and strange, if heavy at the front end. (Horror/fantasy. 12-14)
Library Journal (May 15, 2011)
Sixteen-year-old Jacob Portman no longer believes the stories his grandfather told him when he was a little boy. These are obviously fairy tales about children with mysterious abilities, such as a girl who could levitate and a boy with bees inside him, and not real memories from his grandfather’s childhood. Grandpa’s sepia-toned photographs of his strange friends also seem fake to Jacob. However, when he gets a chance to visit the island where the stories took place, he can’t resist delving into his grandfather’s past. Could these odd children really have existed? VERDICT An original work that defies categorization, this first novel should appeal to readers who like quirky fantasies. Suitable for both adults and a YA audience. Riggs includes many vintage photographs that add a critical touch of the peculiar to his unusual tale.-Laurel Bliss, San Diego State Univ. Lib. (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly (April 25, 2011)
Riggs’s atmospheric first novel concerns 16-year-old Jacob, a tightly wound but otherwise ordinary teenager who is “unusually susceptible to nightmares, night terrors, the Creeps, the Willies, and Seeing Things That Aren’t Really There.” When Jacob’s grandfather, Abe, a WWII veteran, is savagely murdered, Jacob has a nervous breakdown, in part because he believes that his grandfather was killed by a monster that only they could see. On his psychiatrist’s advice, Jacob and his father travel from their home in Florida to Cairnholm Island off the coast of Wales, which, during the war, housed Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. Abe, a Jewish refugee from the Nazis, lived there before enlisting, and the mysteries of his life and death lead Jacob back to that institution. Nearly 50 unsettling vintage photographs appear throughout, forming the framework of this dark but empowering tale, as Riggs creates supernatural backstories and identities for those pictured in them (a boy crawling with bees, a girl with untamed hair carrying a chicken). It’s an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters. Ages 12-up. (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


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Welcome to Book Club!

Welcome to the first day!  We will discuss how we would like to run book club and vote on our first book and activities.

A few important notes…

  1. Once we choose the book, it is YOUR responsibility to get the book. Due to a change in loan policies at the Suffolk County Libraries, sadly, I can no longer provide books for our members. I suggest that you or your parents call the Westhampton Free Library at 288-3335×4 so they can Interlibrary Loan the books for you.
  2. All of our books choices must be professionally reviewed as appropriate for 6th grade and middle school students. However, often times these “Young Adult” books are turned into movies that are rated PG-13 instead of PG. Please remember all movies are optional and at the discretion of parents’ comfort levels.  If parents would like a copy of the book you are reading to help make an informed decision, please ask the public library to order two!
  3. If you have any questions about Book Club, please ask Ms. Andria at school, email at, or call 325-0203×128.

Here are some book-to-movie options from  the Internet Movie Database, but be aware that this is an external site and while we hope our school’s filter keeps us safe, let Ms. Andria know if there are any problems so we can fix it.

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