Summer Reading

It’s hard to believe, but summer is almost upon us! All students who are returning to IST next year, and have returned all their library materials, may check out books for summer reading starting on Monday, June 4. Permission slips for elementary students went home this week (secondary students do not need a permission slip). Please send a bag to carry books home–IST library bags may not go home for the summer.

This week in the library, elementary students have been learning about some different options for summer reading. One great option is, which is also available as a free app and can be downloaded onto your mobile device. Using the IST login, students can read a wide variety of picture books, graphic novels, and chapter book with TumbleBooks. Log in to the IST Library for the TumbleBooks login information, or stop by the library and we can help you set up the app.

Celebrating Poetry Month

April was a whirlwind of poetry activities and celebration in the IST library! Some of the ways we celebrated poetry were through:

  • Displays of poetry and novels in verse
  • A poetry listening station
  • Poetry postcards that were delivered near and far
  • A magnetic whiteboard and poetry magnets
  • Poetry quizzes and prizes during the last week of Poetry Month
  • Poetry activities at lunchtime
  • Reading poetry outside
  • Exploring poetry websites (these are some of our favorites:,, and
  • Hosting the Star Kids Book Fair in the library

April was so busy and full of fun and excitement that sometimes we forgot to take photos! We did manage to take a few, so please enjoy these photos from Poetry Month at IST.


Happy Year of the Dog!

It has become an annual tradition in the IST elementary to decorate classroom doors for Chinese New Year. This year library staff were thrilled to see several dog book-inspired doors in the hallways. If you haven’t seen these classroom doors yet, be sure to stop by the elementary school and check them out!

And while you’re here, why not stop by the library and pick up a dog book to help celebrate the Year of the Dog? Here are just a few of the “dog” books available at the IST library.

Panda Book Voting Next Month

Panda Book voting is coming up in February! Have you read some of this year’s nominees? Copies of the Panda Books are available from the IST library in multiple languages. Stop by the library and pick up a Panda Book nominee!

Here are a few that the IST Librarians recommend.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (recommended by Eleanor Surridge)

What did I like about it? It’s young adult fiction that takes on relevant issues of privilege and race and perspective and violence without being churlish or condescending.

Who should read it? Anyone interested in a thoughtful teen perspective, solid YA writing and a bit of backstory on American cultural references.

When is the movie coming out? Probably in 2018. IMDB lists a full cast and it’s being directed by George Tillman Jr. who directed episodes of the TV series Power, Luke Cage, and This is Us. Not that a movie version should be a motivation to read a novel but this book is on many “Best of 2017” lists and the fact that the film is in production is testimony to its popularity and impact.

This title is available in English and German.


 See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng (recommended by Linnea Simon)

What did I like about it? This is a funny and charming story that is told in a very interesting and unique way. Alex, the main character, makes audio recordings on his “golden iPod”, and each chapter is a transcript of these recordings. With his dog, Carl Sagan, Alex travels to a rocket festival where he plans to launch his golden iPod into space on a rocket that he built. Along the way Alex forms unexpected friendships and makes new discoveries about himself and his family.

Who should read it? I recommend this book for anyone in grade 5 or up who is interested in reading about rockets, science, unusual families or unique friendships.

This title is available in English and German.



We’re All Wonders by R.J. Palacio (recommended by Eleanor Surridge)

“Look with kindness, and you will always find wonder.”

What did we like about it? Palacio has created a picture book featuring Auggie and his dog, Daisy, imagining a world that is kind and accepting. The book promotes the acceptance of difference and the power of the imagination.

Who should read it? This is a lovely book to share with younger readers who struggle to fit in or for those who can benefit from a reminder that appearances are superficial and are not an indication of a person’s character or potential. In other words, this is a book for everyone.

New STEM books

To help support IST’s STEM initiative, the library has recently purchased over 100 new books on STEM-related concepts. These books cover a wide range of science, technology, engineering and math-related concepts. Please stop by the library or browse our OPAC to see some of these new books. We are spotlighting a few of these new books below:


City by Numbers, by Stephen T. Johnson

Paintings of various sites around New York City—from a shadow on a building to a wrought-iron gate to the Brooklyn Bridge—depict the numbers from one to twenty-one.




Going Up! Elisha Otis’s Trip to the Top (part of the “Great Ideas” series) by Monica Kulling

Simple text and illustrations explore the lives of famous inventors Nikola Tesla, Lillian Gilbreth, Elisha Otis, and Elijah McCoy in this set of biographies.



Engineered! Engineering Design at Work, by Shannon Hunt & James Gulliver Hancock

Engineers find creative solutions to problems using their math, science and technology skills. Learn the steps of the engineering design process, and then see it come to life in stories of real-world engineering ingenuity.




Cleonardo, the Little Inventor, by Mary GrandPre

With the town’s annual Grand Festival of Inventions coming up, Cleonardo is determined to invent something impressive to enter, something that will impress her inventor father Geonardo.



Try This: 50 Fun Experiments for the Mad Scientist in You, by Karen Romano Young

Provides instructions for fifty kid-friendly science experiments and an explanation of the science involved, as well as more than twenty bonus experiments, science fair tips, and STEM connections for each project.





The Young Chef: Recipes and Techniques for Kids Who Love to Cook, by Mark Ainsworth, Culinary Institute of America

Introduces cooking skills and recipes for children.





Curious Constructions, by Michael Hurst & Matt Johnstone

This book looks at 50 unique structures, including Biosphere 2, Paul Bunyan statues, and the Great Wall of China.





Green City, by Allan Drummond

The story of Greensburg, Kansas, a town that rebuilt completely “green” after a deadly tornado.




The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science, by Sean Connolly

Provides step-by-step instructions for fifty experiments that explain the principles behind thirty-four breakthroughs in science.







Trash Talk: Moving Toward a Zero-Waste World, by Michelle Mulder (part of the “Orca Footprints” series)

Books in this series cover a range of environmental and social issues, including reducing trash, conserving water, farming, and other global issues.






International Schools Library Week

The IST library celebrated International Schools Library week with fun and exciting activities all week long. We kicked off the week with a launch of the Panda Book Awards, which encourages students to read, share, and vote for their favorite books in four categories. This year’s Panda Book Award nominees are:

We shared the books with students through the week, and helped create buzz about the books with Panda quizzes and prizes all week long.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, we hosted the Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore book fair. Many students, teachers and parents browsed and purchased books at the book fair.

On lunchtime on Monday and Wednesday, elementary students were invited to participate in “Monster Crafts” in the library. We had a lot of fun doing activities that were inspired by the book “Crafty Cat and the Crafty Camp Crisis” by Charise Mericle Harper.

We wrapped up the week with Character Dress-Up Day and the elementary library assembly on Friday morning, and “Celebrating 20 years of Harry Potter” with grades 6-8 students in the afternoon. Watch this space for photos from Character Dress-Up Day and the “Harry Potter” event coming soon!