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Practically Paradise
Inside Practically Paradise

Talking to the books

Shh! Don’t tell anyone, but every year when I begin putting all of the books away, I actually talk to the books. It’s the real reason why I don’t mind straightening alone the 3,000 plus books that are currently checked out and being returned this week. If you were to eavesdrop, you’d hear this:

Well, Principal from the Black Lagoon! I thought you were long gone and hightailed it out of this school. I haven’t seen you in so long. All of the other faculty members kept coming in and out. Where were you?

There you are, Franny K. Stein! I knew there were more of you out there somewhere. I kept showing the students on the OPAC that I owned more, but then you were never here.

Where have all you Magic Tree House books been? Traveling through time? You must get magically checked out the second you’re brought back.

Wow! You  I Spy books are looking pretty bad this May. I don’t know if you can hold on until we reorder copies in the fall. How much tape do we have in you to hold you together?

Library of Doom books. I swear I kept trying to snatch you when you’d come in but no one wanted to share you. Poor 4th graders have been waiting for you all month. Maybe I can sneak some of them in to read you in the library while I’m putting away the rest of the books. If Michael Dahl knew how popular you were, he’d personally come to my school and sign you for the students. Maybe having the poster in the hallway helped because the kids are asking for you by name.

Clementine! I can tell the girls loved you. You have heart stickers all over the bookmark inside. They didn’t warn me about that in the review in Book Page.

Welcome back Special Ops series from Bearport. I just knew you were going to be so popular. If I hadn’t put you in the library myself, I would have sworn there was only one of you. Where have all of you been? Some of you seem to have seen a little combat yourself, but you seem to have held up pretty well.

Bailey School Kids, you guys are multiplying. I swear you all fit on this shelf last year. What’s been going on behind my back?

Hey, you books, how are you going to fit in these shelves? Maybe I’m going to have to weed some of you. Look at the shape of some of you! If a new librarian comes in here in the fall, she or he’s going to think I never weed. I wish my budget was higher so I could order new copies of some of you and then send you books home to be read-to-death by children. Do you think you can hold on for a few more circs?

Okay, I think you blog readers get the picture. Imagine 6-7 hours of this nonstop. Maybe I’ll podcast some of our shelving tomorrow. It’s also the day I print overdues and dramatically moan to the students that they have lost some of my favorite book friends. Little do the students know, how true that is.


  1. lisa senz says:

    Hi Diane–
    I wanted to let you know that Nick of Time by Ted Bell just landed in bookstores and I wanted to send you a finished copy. It is already #14 on Amazon overall and #2 in hardcover children’s books. He did some telelvision and radio yesterday with Glenn Beck and the book is soaring! Glenn raved about it to no end. Anyway, as you were the first one to review the advanced reader’s edition and recognize how great the book was, i wanted to write. Also, we just got a starred School Library Journal. Best, Lisa p.s. I didn’t have your direct email so I”m going this route!

  2. Diane Chen says:

    Thanks for the reminder Lisa. My email address isn’t on here anywhere that I can find so I’m posting it here in convoluted format to attempt to block more spam
    dianerchen is located at
    Is that a successful clue?