Society of School Librarians International

The Society of School Librarians International (SSLI) was organized as a national, independent school library association. SSLI has an annual conference in a different city each year.

The conference programs are considered the highlight of the year by many SSLI members. To be considered for SSLI Book Awards, all books must be submitted by the publishers.

Operating as usual


Please join us in Aruba from Wednesday, October 3rd through Friday, October 5th, 2012, to celebrate the International in the Society of School Librarians International. We are certain you will come to love this friendly and safe island as much as we do. Aruba is located just off the coast of Venezuela and is far enough south that it is well out of the hurricane zone. Sea breezes and comfortable warm temperatures make this island an ideal location all year long.
The hotel we have chosen for this conference is the Renaissance Marina Hotel right in the heart of downtown Oranjestad, Aruba. The hotel is a part of a complex that includes a restaurant, a casino, and a nice up-scale shopping mall. You really don’t have to leave the property to enjoy yourself and spend your money. If you also want to feel you are on a cruise, just board their speed boat for a ride out to their private island – complete with a beach and a snack bar. Renaissance hotels are associated with Marriott hotels. The room rate at the Renaissance Marina Hotel is $139 per night for a single and $149 per night for a double room, plus tax. These rates include a very nice continental breakfast. This is an adults only hotel. The family friendly hotel is the Renaissance Ocean Suites right across the street. The room rates at this property are $179 for a single, $189 for a double and $199 for a triple, plus tax. The rates also include a continental breakfast.
Our meetings will take place in conference rooms near the Renaissance Ocean Suites. Please call 1-800-223-6388 to make your reservation; press option 1 and tell the operator that you want the Society of School Librarians conference rate. Be sure to mention code SSL and specify which hotel you want. Please do not delay as these rates are only being held until September 3, 2012. If you have any problem making your reservations please contact us.
The following is a brief outline of the program we have planned for this conference. You will get a more detailed agenda when you register in Aruba.
Wednesday evening, October 3rd – 6:00 p.m.
Book reviewers will meet in a conference room near the Renaissance Ocean Suites Hotel. We will serve a light dinner while our hard-working book reviewers decide on their final choices for the 2012 SSLI Book Awards.
Thursday, October 4th
We will board a bus at 9:00 a.m. for a tour of the island. The morning will include stops at the National Park, the Ayo Rock Formation, the Natural Bridge, and the Bushiribana Gold Ruins. We will stop at Paseo Herencia where you can have lunch and do some shopping. This site is right in the center of the “High Rise” section of Aruba. This is the section of the island that has many resorts, hotels and timeshares. Before returning to our hotel, we visit the California Lighthouse and the Alta Vista Chapel.
Friday, October 5th
We have scheduled five local speakers. The program will begin at 9:00 a.m. in the conference room near the Renaissance Ocean Suites Hotel.
“Chido” from the Aruba Department of Culture will talk to us about the history and culture of Aruba. He will also talk to us about the Aruba Certification Program.
Astrid Britte4n is Director of the Aruba National Library. She will tell us about the library programs.
Liliana Erasmus is a local children’s writer. Olga Buckley is also a local children’s writer. Both Olga and Liliana will tell us about the project they founded, “Bon Nochi Drumi Dishi” with a goal to promote reading among children and to stimulate parents to read to their children every day.
Desiree Correa is a local author and a consultant to the Ministry of Integration, Infrastructure and Environment. She is also a full time high school Spanish teacher.
All three of these ladies write their children’s books in Papiamento, which is the local language of Aruba.
We will have a one and a half hour break for lunch. There are several restaurants and fast food establishments right across from the conference rooms. They include a Subway, a Dunkin’ Donuts, a pancake house and our favorite Chinese restaurant.
Don’t worry, we have not forgotten about dinner Thursday and Friday nights. We have chosen two local restaurants that we hope you will enjoy. Both meals are included as part of your conference registration fee, and both restaurants are located a short distance from our hotel.
Thursday evening we will eat at Que Pasa. This is a casual restaurant that is also a bar and an art gallery. The food is good and the setting is fun and relaxing.
Friday evening we will dine at the Driftwood for a taste of authentic Aruban food. We will join many local families at this meat and seafood restaurant.
Planning a conference in a foreign nation where we could not pick up a phone and call speakers and hotel representatives has presented us with many challenges that we have faced in the past. We have to thank many people on the island for their help and cooperation. Chief among these is Darice Solognier, ACB Conferences and Events Assistant from the Aruba Tourist Authority. Darice has gone out of her way to help us at every step of the way. She arranged for speakers and many other contacts. We could not have done this without her assistance.


2011 Annual Conference
Savannah On My Mind
Savannah was a perfect Southern Belle as we enjoyed several days of Southern hospitality during our October 2011 SSLI Annual Conference. The Hilton Savannah Desoto Hotel was a further extension of that hospitality. Our members enjoyed the central location, hearty breakfasts, and friendly, helpful service. Remember this was the South. We may not have eaten healthy, but we did eat well. The food was good and the atmosphere historic at the centuries old Pirate’s House Restaurant You could just see her smiling face and the batches of butter as we enjoyed the buffet at Paula Deen’s Lady and Sons Restaurant.
As usual, our diligent, hardworking book reviewers did an excellent job Wednesday night. The fruits of their labor appear in the 2011 SSLI Best Book Awards list. The evening was also a chance for our members to catch up with each other since we last met.
Thursday was a bit chilly, but the sun was shining and we had a chance to enjoy the charms of Savannah. It was a bit bumpy as our trolley took us along the cobblestoned waterfront area with its many shops and restaurants. We were taken back to Savannah’s elegant past in a visit to the Owens-Thomas House, a splendid example of an English Regency-style home. The Juliette Gordon Low House was equally impressive and historically significant because it is the birthplace of our founder of the Girl Scouts of America. I was hoping to buy some thin mint cookies, but there were no cookies on sale at that time. Our visit to the magnificent Cathedral of St. John the Baptist was another highlight of our day.
We want to thank all of our Friday speakers. Our two authors, Sheron Coffey and Bess Chappas were happy to personally autograph copies of their books, Hannah Banana and Kiki and the Red Shoes for purchase by our members. Our members enjoyed each presentation and will now be able to share these books with others at home.
Most of our speakers were former teachers. Ted Eldridge was also a principal and university instructor. We all enjoyed his stories about Savannah and were sorry there was not enough time to hear even more of them. On a walk the next morning, Jeannie and I encountered Ted leading a group of people on one of his walking tours of Savannah. We were glad to see each other again. Ted reminded us that we are all now friends and not just strangers in Savannah.
Lillian-Grant Baptise got us all participating and involved in her lively Gullah-style stories. Once again, we ran out of time as she had other commitments and we needed to break for lunch.
Our final speaker of the day was a bit of a departure from our usual presenters. A. Dragonblood AKA Bryan Woods was our first Goth. He soon won us over with tales of his many experiences as a children’s author, screenwriter and ghostwriter for some well-known television series. Young Will and his proud grandparents were enthralled.
We ended the afternoon with our annual SSLI membership meeting. People signed up to review books for the coming year. We also discussed plans for next years’ meeting. The prospect of meeting in Aruba met with general approval. Jeannie and I have been working on the possibility. We have been in contact with someone from the Aruba Tourist Authority. She should be getting back in touch with us shortly with the names of potential speakers and the cost of a bus for a one day tour of the island. We have already been to Aruba and have a hotel in mind and have two or three possible restaurants to check out. We hope to plan a conference for next October. Please let us know if any dates in October 2012 are bad for you. We will keep you informed about our plans for 2012.
We also need to thank Alissa Boyd from the Savannah Public Library for all her assistance. She was most helpful in recommending potential speakers for our conference. We hope that she was able to make good use of the books we donated to her library.
Before you left, I hope you had a chance to experience Wagaween in Savannah. That Saturday, people dressed their dogs in costumes and came downtown where the store owners handed out doggie treats. It was a lot of fun. We saw some interesting signs and Jeannie got to pet a lot of dogs on our walk around town.


2011 Book Awards
Language Arts – Picture Books
Best Book
Ramsey, Calvin. Ruth and the Green Book. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2010.
Honor Books
Blumenthal, Deborah. The Blue Dog House. Peachtree, 2010.
Young, Judy. A Book for Black-Eyed Susan. Sleeping Bear Press, 2011.
Wardlow, Lee. Won Ton. Henry Holt, 2011.
Brooks, Erik. Polar Opposites. Marshall Cavendish, 2010.
Laminak, Lester. Three Peacocks and a Hen. Peachtree, 2011.
Bunting, Eve. Will It Be a Baby Brother? Boyds Mills Press, 2011.
Van Booy, Simon. Pobble’s Way. Flashlight, 2010.
Brennan-Nelson, Denise. Willow and the Snow Day Dance. Sleeping Bear Press, 2011.
Huling, Jan. Ol’ Bloo’s Boogie-Woogie Band. Peachtree Press, 2010.
Language Arts – Grades K-6 Novels
Best Book
Broach, Elise Missing on Superstition Mountain. Henry Holt, 2011.
Honor Books
Atkinson, Elizabeth I Emma Freke. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2010.
Cheng, Andrea. Where Do You Stay? Boyds Mills Press, 2011
Grant, Katy. Hide and Seek. Peachtree, 2010.
Greenwald, Tommy. Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading. Roaring Brook Press/MPS Marketing, 2011.
Hof, Marjolin. Mother Number Zero. Groundwood/House of Anasi, 2011.
Mills, Claudia. Fractions=Trouble. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2011.
Roy, Jennifer. Mindblind. Marshall Cavendish, 2010.
Stine, R. L. It’s the First Day of School Forever. Feiwel and Friends, Macmillan, 2011.
Axelrod, Amy. Your Friend in Fashion, Abby Shapiro. Holiday House, 2011.
Language Arts-Grades 7-12 Novels
Best Book
Nitz, Kristin Wolden. Suspect. Peachtree Publishers, 2010.
Honor Books
Roy, Jennifer. Mindblind. Marshall Cavendish, 2010.
Perez, Ashley Hope. What Can’t Wait. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2010
Bick, Ilsa J. Draw the Dark. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2010.
Demas, Corrine. Everything I Was. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2011.
Knowles, Jo. Pearl. Henry Holt, 2011.
Haines, Kathryn Miller. The Girl is Murder. Roaring Brook Press/MPS Marketing, 2011.
Enderle, Dotti. Crosswire. Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills Press, 2010.
Smith, Alexander Gordon. Death Sentence Escape from Furnance. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2009.
Cross, Gillian. Where I Belong. Holiday House, 2010.
Social Studies – Grades K-6
Best Book
Fullman, Joe. Ancient History. Dorling Kingsley, 2011.
Honor Books
Shecter, Vicky A. Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen. Boyd Mills Press, 2010.
Fleur, Starr, ed. What Do You Believe? Dorling Kindersley, 2011.
McClafferty, Carla K. The Many Faces of George Washington. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2011.
Freedman, Russel. Lafayette and the American Revolution. Holiday House, 2011.
Bozzo, Linda. Service Dog Heroes. Enslow, 2011.
Rubin, Susan G. Irena Sendler and the Children of the Warsaw Ghetto. Holiday House, 2011.
Waldman, Neil. A Land of Big Dreams. Lerner, 2011.
Brill, Marlene T. Annie Shapiro and the Clothing Worker’s Strike. Millbrook, 2011.
Gondosch, Linda. How Did Tea and Taxes Spark a Revolution? Lerner, 2011.
Top Series Choice
True Book About Various Native Americans. Children’s Press, 2011
Social Studies - Grades 7-12
Best Book
Stokes, Jamie. Muslim World. Facts on File, 2011.
Honor Books
Holzer, Harold. Father Abraham: Lincoln and His Sons. Calkins Creek/Boyds Mills, 2011.
Shecter, Vicky A. Cleopatra Rules! The Amazing Life of the Original Teen Queen. Boyd Mills Press, 2010.
Jarrow, Gail. Lincoln’s Flying Spies: Thaddeus Love and the Civil War Balloon Corps. Calkins Creek/
Boyd Mills, 2010.
Swift, Richard. Gangs. Groundwood Books, 2011.
Perl, Lila. Genocide: Stand By or Intervene. Marshall Cavendish, 2011
Donovan, Sandy. Middle Eastern American Experience. 21st Century Books, 2011.
Freedman, Russel. Lafayette and the American Revolution. Holiday House, 2011.
Kallen, Stuart A. We Are Not Beasts of Burden: Cesar Chavez and the Delano Grape Strike. 21st Century Books, 2011
Encyclopedia of American Environmental History. Facts on File, 2011.
Science – Grades K-6
Best Book
Stewart, Melissa. You’ve Got Nerve: Secrets of the Brain. Marshall Cavendish, 2011.
Honor Books
Markle, Sandra. Faulty Hearts: True Survival Stories. Lerner, 2011.
Slade, Suzanne. What If There Were No Sea Otters? Capstone, 2011.
Benoit, Peter. The Krakatau Eruption. Scholastic, 2011.
Cleary, Brian. Green Beans, Potatoes, and Even Tomatoes: What Is In the Vegetables Group?
Millbrook, 2011.
Marzollo, Jean. The Little Plant Doctor: A Story About George Washington Carver. Holiday House, 2011.
Dunning, Joan. Seabird in the Forest. Boyds Mills, 2011.
Graham, Ian. Science Rocks! Dorling Kindersley, 2011.
Munro, Roxie. Hatch. Marshall Cavendish, 2011.
Smalley, Ruth Ann. Shelia Says We’re Weird. Tilbury House, 2011.
Science – Grades 7-12
Best Book
Goldsmith, Connie. Battling Malaria. 21st Century Books, 2011.
Honor Books
Johnson, Rebecca. Journey Into the Deep . Millbrook, 2011.
Walker, Sally. Frozen Secrets. Carolrhoda/Lerner, 2010.
Sonenklar, Carol. Anorexia and Bulimia. 21st Century Books, 2011.
Jones, Phill. Genetic Code. Chelsea House, 2010.
Tomecek, Stephen. Food. Chelsea House, 2010.
Elkins-Tanton, Linda. The Earth and the Moon. Facts on File, 2010.
Ebner, Aviva. Forensic Science Experiments. Chelsea House, 2010.
Downer, Ann. Elephant Talk. 21st Century Books, 2011.
Gardner, Robert. Recycle: Green Science Projects. Enslow, 2011.





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