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.

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! 

Upcoming Library Events

Please mark your calendars for these upcoming events in February and March:

Panda Book Voting: February 13-17. The Panda Book Awards is a reading initiative that invites students from participating schools to vote for their favorite books published in 2014-16. Students can vote for books in four categories: Younger, Middle, Older, and Mature Readers. All students will have the opportunity to vote in the library during the week of the 13th to 17th.

Grade 10 Personal Project Exhibition: February 22. Come celebrate the hard work of our grade 10 students when they present their final projects on Wednesday, February 22nd. This is the culmination of a year-long research project by the students.

Star Kids Book Fair: March 2 & 3. IST community members will have another opportunity to buy quality children’s books from a variety of publishers at this spring book fair hosted by Beijing’s Star Kids bookstore.

Interview with Stephan Pastis, Panda Book Award Winner

4 - Timmy Failure - Top 8 August to November 2013

Stephan Pastis is the author of Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made, the first book in the series about boy detective Timmy Failure. This book won the Panda Book Awards for Middle Readers this year. Our library book distributor, Follett, interviewed Mr. Pastis at his home and created a video from that interview.

Students in grades 3 to 5 will be watching the interview in their library sessions and will be invited to checkout other detective stories from the library collection.

If the video below doesn’t load, click here to go to a separate window.

IST Library Parent Book Selection for March

The IST Library Parent Book Club met last Friday to discuss the book Me Before You, by Jojo Moyles. This novel is the story of an unlikely couple: Lou, adrift without ambition, and Will, a young man recently quadriplegic. Our discussion of the book touched upon a range of topics, from the experience of quadriplegics to international perceptions of assisted suicide and the appeal of the emotional tear-jerker as a genre. We all agreed that the book was sad, but no less enjoyable because of it.

Cover for Gone Girl, by Gillian FlynnThe book selection for March is Gone Girl, by Gillian Flynn. Gone Girl is a psychological thriller about a young wife who disappears. Her husband is framed for her murder when her diary is found. Full of twists and thrills, Gone Girl is one of those books you can’t put down. It will be made into a movie with Ben Affleck and Rosemund Pike as the husband and wife.

The IST Library Parent book club is open to all Tianjin expats who love to read. Please register online for each meeting via the blog’s book club registration widget on the left sidebar.

Panda Book Award Voting Started

Voting for the 2014 Panda Book Awards started yesterday at IST, and will continue until Friday, 21 February. We are voting with 21 other international schools in China. I imagine they’re just as excited as we are to find out the results next week.

The Panda Books Award is a reading initiative that promotes reading among the students of the international schools in China. There are four categories with 8 books in each category. The categories are:

  • Younger Readers – for students to grade 3
  • Middle Readers – for students from grade 3 to 6
  • Older Readers – for students from grade 5 to 9
  • Mature Readers – for students from grade 9

Students are invited to read each of the 8 books in the category of their choice. At IST, all elementary students have read, or have listened to the reading of, the Younger Reader titles. All elementary students will be voting on that category, with the older elementary students also invited to vote in the Middle and Older categories depending on their reading level.

Any member of the IST community who has read in any of the categories is invited to vote. We ask that you only vote once in each category, but if you have read books from all four categories, then be sure to vote for your favorite from each one. Come to the library and we’ll show you how.

Results will be published next week, once all votes from all schools have been tallied. Stay tuned!

Not too shy to share? What was your favorite Panda Book this year? I’ll admit to have a really hard time choosing my favorites, but in the Older Readers category, the book Wonder has my vote. It’s a wonderful book about an unique child and the community that surrounds him.

Daily Quizzes Started Today

The daily quizzes on the Panda Book Awards books start today.

Come to the library to fill out a ballot or two in the categories which you will be reading.

A daily prize in each category will be selected from the ballots entered each daily. Winners will be announced in the daily notices of elementary and secondary.

What are you waiting for? Come to the library to fill your ballot — and enjoy the Beijing Book Fair on tomorrow and Wednesday.

Daily Quizzes 2013

Celebrate our International Library

International Schools Library Week is fast approaching! Get ready to celebrate our library and our international community starting from Friday, 18 October. Here’s a breakdown of our activities

  • 18 October – Character Dress Up Day
    • Come to school dressed as a character from a book. Superheroes and princesses are okay, but it’s really more fun if you pick a character from a book that you have enjoyed. Stay tuned for costume ideas on this blog.
  • 18 October – Grade 1-2 Library Club Assembly
    • 8:25 am in the grade 2-5 playroom
    • Come to kick off International Schools Library Week (ISLW) in style with the Grade 1-2 Library Club, who is working hard rehearsing for the best ISLW assembly yet!
  • 22-23 October – Beijing Book Fair
    • The Beijing Foreign Languages Bookstore will set up in the library on Tuesday, 22 and Wednesday, 23 October.
    • Hours are 8:00 to 5:30 both days. 
    • Hundreds of English language books will be for sale. 
    • Take a break from the parent-teacher conferences and visit the book fair. 
    • Cash only, sorry. 
  • 25 October – Drop Everything and Read (D.E.A.R.)
    • Friday, 25 Oct, 10:05-10:20
    • Join us in the library or read in your classroom/homes
    • Be counted – pledge to read on our handy online form (coming soon)
  • Weeklong – Official 2013 Panda Book Awards Launch
    • Join 30 other international schools in China as we read the books shortlisted for the 2013 Panda Book Awards shortlist
    • Get a Panda Book Awards bookmark. Collect all 4!
    • Take a quiz and get a prize
    • Daily prize winners in each category
    • Starts Monday, 21 October

International Schools Library Week flyer