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Diane Colson's picture

Introductions and how this group can help you

Hello everyone,

Let's have a round of introductions so that we can kick start some group cohesion. Also, please share either a favorite picture book that you like to use with tweens/teens, or an idea for a booklist.

I'll start. I've been a YALSA member since 1999, and have had the privilege to serve on a number of selection and award committees, as well as some process committees. The high point of my career was an appointment as chair of the 2015 Printz Committee. (I'll Give You the Sun won the award that year.) I currently serve on the YALSA Board of Directors. My day job is as the librarian at a tiny career college.

I used to love using picture books as part of my booktalks to middle and high school students. That is no longer part of my life. But I wanted to get involved when Becky O'Neil expressed an interest. So thank you, Becky!

So what's your story?


Tina Ham's picture

Hi, I have worked for Tulsa Public Schools for 23 years. This is my 16th year serving students as a Library Media Specialist. Before becoming a librarian, I taught pre-school and 1st grade.

I earned my Masters of Library and Information Studies from the University of Oklahoma in 2004; Bachelor of Science in Early Childhood Education from Northeastern State University in 1992. In 2006, I achieved National Board Certification in Library Media/Early Childhood through Young Adulthood and renewed this past year. 

September 2009, I was awarded the Polly Clarke Award by the Oklahoma Association of School Library Media Specialists. This award is awarded to an Oklahoma school library media specialist who has been instrumental in the establishment of an exemplary library media program which serves the instructional needs of teachers, students, and administrators. 

In my spare time, I love to cook. I am a certified chef. Of course, I like to read and I enjoy spending time with friends and family. 

I am trying to become more involved with YALSA and ALA. My sister is very involved with YALSA. I look forward to being a part of this group.

As an Early Childhood educator, I love using Children's Books. One of my favorite units I have collaborated on is a Cinderella Unit. During this unit, we study the elements of fairy tales. I have taught this to 7th and 8th graders. I begin the unit by reading Smoky Mountain Rose by Alan Schroeder. I love this book!


Elsa Ouvrard-Prettol's picture


I've been the Library and Media Instructor at Natomas Charter School, a TK-12 charter in Sacramento, CA, since 2009. I have a BA in English and a MA in Teaching French as a second language, and I hope to enroll in a MLIS program soon.

I was awarded a in-school award in 2013 and the S.A.R.A. Lighthouse for Literacy Award in 2014; I have presented at local librarian conferences on different topics, and I'm currently a California School Librarian Association representative for my region and a member of the YALSA Research committee (through which I have been able to write an article on cultural competence, which you can read in the latest issue of YALS). I'm also a Google Educator (level 2), as my school has integrated the Google Apps Suite. Finally, I'm part of an ALA group revamping documents on how to respond to adults who appear to be on their way to challenge JUV or YA books. 

I believe that being connected makes me a better librarian. I am very happy to be in this group for I believe that picture books can really help students - and not just the ELs, the struggling readers or the reluctant readers! 

A colleague (middle school ELA teacher) and I have used A Fine Dessert this year and last year to kick off a discussion about whitewashing, (systematic) racism, and then branch off to other diversity issues. It is a very powerful read since the book really isn't about race at all; and it brings the point across really well. 

I've also used Jacqueline Woodson's wonderful Each Kindness with my 8th graders, during an intro to To Kill a Mockingbird (Woodson's book was used to introduce the theme of class issues in the novel). The general message of kindness was, as I told them, a good thing to be reminded about every once in a while. Considering how quiet and solemn they were at the end of the book, I'd say that Woodson's book is efficient - no doubt thanks to the wonderful writing and poignant illustrations.


Thank you,

Elsa Ouvrard-Prettol
Library and Media Instructor
Natomas Charter School

Velear Schrupp's picture


I am currently a K-8 Librarian, Middle School Advisor, and Curriculum Chair at a Highly Gifted school in Los Angels, CA. I have been here for 7 years teaching Information Literacy skills and providing Library services.  Starting in August 2017 I will be leaving and beginning a new adventure. I will be the Library Director and a member of the Innovation Team for a TK-12 school in Irvine, CA. Here I will be running 2 libraries, creating a cohesive TK-12 library program/curriculum, and working with a team of teachers/administrators to integrate the use of 2 Markerspaces. 

I received my MLIS in 2008 and have been working within the Library filed for 15 years and in an Independent school Library setting for 11 years. I take an Information Literacy/Design Thinking/Collaboration approach to the creation of K-12 library curriculum. The focus is on skill development.  Working in a school library provides a unique opportunity to connect with students and see their growth throughout the years. I love working with all the grade levels. Each students and age brings interesting insight and I enjoy celebrating where students are and how they grow and connect. 

One picture book that I enjoy using across grade levels is Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson to engage in dialogue and support the development of Social-Emotional skills. We have been diving into the notion of what is kindness and what do our actions say about us. Life and people are multifaceted and the shifting of dialogue/lens about what/who is good and bad is proving to be very powerful. 

I have also used the following as a vehicle to launch Design Thinking units, class integrated units, and assist students in connect to people and situations. 

Baseball Saved Us by: Ken Mochizuki

Elephant Man by Mariangela Di Fiore 

Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant's Story by: Duncan Tonatiuh

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez & Her Family's Fight for Desegregation by: Duncan Tonatiuh


I look forward to collaborating.