Monday, November 28, 2011

The Book Fair is Coming!

The Book Fair is coming to Smithville Elementary next week! Click on the picture above to learn more about it!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monsters are taking over the library!

Check out what the 3rd Grade GT class made!

Be sure to come by the library to check these creatures out for yourself!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

This Week in the Library...

This week, we're commemorating Veterans Day by reading some stories about brave soldiers and special memories. You can find out more about Veterans Day (and even play some Veterans Day games) here!

3rd Grade is listening to The Wall by Eve Bunting, which tells the story of a father and son who visit the Vietnam Wall Memorial in Washington, D.C. Here's an excerpt from the story:

4th and 5th Grades are listening to Nubs: The True Story of a Mutt, a Marine, & a Miracle by Major Brian Dennis, Kirby Larson, and Mary Nethery. Kirby Larson's website has a great video of the book, an audio excerpt, and a picture gallery of Nubs and Major Dennis.

Here's a video of Major Dennis arriving home from Iraq and being reunited with Nubs:

And here's Major Dennis telling his story on the Ellen show:

Friday, November 4, 2011

Look who showed up in the library today!

Those of you who have peeked inside the library office know that I am a HUGE Kermit the Frog fan. So, I was SUPER excited to see Alyssa wearing this hat in the library today! So cute!

Thought of the Day...

This Week in the Library...

This week, since all grades are currently studying drama, we've been doing some Readers Theater in the library.

Third grade read an adaptation of Book! Book! Book! by Deborah Bruss. Here's a video version of the joke that inspired this book! I love the acting in it, too!

Fourth grade read The Frog Prince Continued by Jon Scieszka, a very funny story about what happens AFTER "happily ever after." Here's a great video of some students from a public library performing the readers theater play.

Fifth grade read excerpts from Good Masters! Sweet Ladies! by Laura Amy Schlitz, which tells the story of a medieval village through the voices of the young people who live there. Here's a great slideshow of some of the book's beautiful illustrations.

And here's a picture of Ms. Peace's class performing an excerpt from "Will the Plowboy." Josh is playing the part of Will, while Jarron is the narrator.

Monday, October 17, 2011

This Week in the Library...

We are continuing to explore biographies in all grades!

3rd Graders are listening to The Fantastic Undersea Life of Jacques Cousteau by Dan Yaccarino. Here's a great book trailer for the book, featuring some of Dan Yaccarino's awesome illustrations!

4th Graders are continuing to listen to Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg. Click here to learn more about Annie Edson Taylor's heroic trip over Niagara Falls in a barrel!

5th Graders will be listening to excerpts of Prairie Visions: The Life and Times of Solomon Butcher by Pam Conrad, and will be learning about photographer Solomon Butcher, who documented Nebraska history when he traveled the prairie photographing pioneer families and their homes. Click here to learn more about Solomon Butcher and to see some of his photos. And here's a great documentary about Solomon Butcher and the people he photographed:

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Shadows

The Shadows
by Jacqueline West

Olive and her parents have always lived in very bland apartment complexes with plain white walls and no surprises. When they suddenly buy an old completely furnished house, Olive is curious to explore it. She
begins to discover very strange things including secrets in the basement and cats that are much more than they seem. Olive must confront her deepest fears as she races to protect her newfound friends from the darkness lurking inside the house. The Shadows is the first volume in the Books of Elsewhere series.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
by Marilyn Singer

Fairytales written
Up and down
Back and front
Characters good and bad
Poetry unveiled.

Unveiled poetry
Bad and good characters
Front and back
Down and up
Written fairytales.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Storm in the Barn

The Storm in the Barn
by Matt Phelan

Eleven-year old Jack Clark is beginning to think he may have dust dementia, a new disorder in 1937 Kansas where it hasn’t rained for so
long people are starting to see strange things. There is water and a presence in the barn that he cannot explain. Is his imagination playing
tricks on him? By combining history and fantasy, this original graphic novel explores the hardships of the Dust Bowl era in a distinctive magical way.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story

Black Elk's Vision: A Lakota Story
by S.D. Nelson

“Everyone must choose to walk with the water of life or the weapon of destruction.” These are the words Black Elk receives from the Six Grandfathers to share with his people. Told from Black Elk’s point of view, S.D. Nelson vividly describes the plight of the Lakota and their struggles to maintain their way of life. His message of hope is further brought to life by historical photographs and dynamic illustrations.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Witch's Guide to Cooking With Children

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children
by Keith McGowan

So you think Hansel and Gretel is only a fairy tale, right? Meet Sol and his little sister Connie who have just moved into a suburban neighborhood curiously devoid of children. Their father and stepmother are acting very strange, meanwhile the next door
neighbor’s dog keeps digging up funny looking bones. With unique illustrations by Yoko Tanaka, this modern twist on the classic fairy tale is creepy fun.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott

Louisa: The Life of Louisa May Alcott
by Yona Zeldis McDonough

Louisa May Alcott loved to have strawberry parties with her sisters andenjoyed their frequent pillow fights. But, her first love was writing. She
spent the majority of her time outdoors where she composed poetry and stories that grew quickly in popularity. Discover little-known facts about
the well-known author of Little Women in this intriguing biography of Louisa’s complicated rags-to-riches story.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Balarama: A Royal Elephant

Balarama: A Royal Elephant
by Ted and Betsy Lewin

Meet Balarama the Royal Elephant who is leading the celebration on the last day of Dasara in India. His debut as the specially selected chariot carrier is imminent. Will he be successful? Filled with vivid images and fascinating pageantry this book is an amazing tribute to these popular animals.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (According to Susy)
by Barbara Kerley

According to Susy Twain, her father Mark is “perfect except he hasn’t extraordinary teeth.” And so begins this innovative biography partially written by thirteen-year old Susy. Complete with energetic illustrations and instructions on how to write your own biography, this book shows a whole other side of a beloved American author.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

This Week in the Library...

This six weeks, all grades will be exploring nonfiction texts, specifically biographies and autobiographies.

3rd Graders will be reading Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell, which tells the story of Jane Goodall. You can read about Me...Jane here. Here's a video about Jane:

4th Graders will be reading Queen of the Falls by Chris Van Allsburg, the story of Annie Edson Taylor, the first daredevil to go over Niagara Falls in a barrel!
Here's a slideshow of some pictures of Annie and her famous barrel:

If you'd like to know more about Niagara Falls, Annie Edson Taylor, or other famous Niagara daredevils, click on her picture below:

Here's a video of one of the daredevils who followed Annie's lead and went over the falls in a barrel. Can you imagine what it must have felt like on the inside of this barrel?

And finally, here's a video of the author/illustrator, Chris Van Allsburg, talking about his book, Queen of the Falls:

5th Graders will be hearing excerpts from Jon Scieszka's autobiography, Knucklehead. Scieszka is a funny guy, so be sure to check out his entertaining website! And here's an interview with Scieszka...

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

This Week in the Library...

This week, third grade will be focusing on setting in folk tales, and fourth and fifth grades will be exploring poetry!

Third grade is listening to Strega Nona, a traditional Italian tale retold by Tomie dePaola. Strega Nona, or "Grandma Witch" has a magical pasta pot that provides her with a neverending supply of pasta. Strega Nona's helper, Big Anthony, has been warned to stay away from the pot, but his curiosity gets the better of him! Click here to watch a video of the story!

Fourth grade will be listening to Pirates, by David L. Harrison, a collection of poems about all of the most dastardly sea dogs!

And fifth grade will hear excerpts from Love That Dog by Sharon Creech, the story of Jack, who thinks poetry is for girls, until his teacher makes him write some of his own! Here's a great book trailer for Love That Dog:

Monday, September 19, 2011

September 19th is Talk Like a Pirate Day!

That's right, today is Talk Like a Pirate Day! So, practice your "Arrrrr's" and your "Aye, matey's," and celebrate by reading one of these great library books:

Create your own video slideshow at

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Happy Birthday, Tomie dePaola!

Today is author Tomie dePaola's birthday! dePaola has written LOTS of wonderful children's books, but he may be most well-known for his Strega Nona series of stories. Listen to Strega Nona in the video below:

Or, if you're short on time, watch this shorter version made by a fan!

American Girl, In the Beginning

On this day, in 1986, the first three American Girls, Kirsten, Samantha, and Molly, were introduced! They started a series of books that now includes 11 different characters. American Girl books tell the stories of girls growing up during different periods of history. If you've ever wondered what it was like to go to school in a one-room schoolhouse, or to have a birthday party during World War II, or to celebrate Christmas during the Great Depression, pick up an American Girl book in the Historical Fiction section of our library today! Find out more about the American Girl characters here.

And here's a preview of a movie based on the books about American Girl, Kit:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Friday, September 2, 2011

September's Character Trait: Honesty

The character trait of the month from Building Good Citizens For Texas is honesty.

Here are some great questions about honesty to think about:

What does it mean to be honest?
Why is honesty important?
What are the consequences of dishonesty?

If you'd like to learn more about honesty, try one of these books from our library:

Teachers, for resources and lesson plans about this month's character trait, click on the binder below:

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How embarrassing!

This week, third graders have been learning how to put books on the check-in cart. They've learned that a book should never "show it's underwear" (like the book in this picture), but should always be placed with its spine out and call number down.

Third grade is doing such a great job of taking care of our library!

Mrs. Bull's GT Class: Author Study

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Our Vision...

This year's vision statement, as written by our faculty and staff:

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


by Mina Javaherbin

Soccer is played all over the world and brings people together in sport. In this picture book, set in a dusty township in South Africa, a group of boys gather to play with a new regulation ball. But danger lurks in a gang of bullies that roam the streets. Can they keep their ball and play their game?
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Amazing Faces

Amazing Faces
by Lee Bennett Hopkins

"The night is beautiful, so the faces of my people" says Langston Hughes in this multicultural collection of 16 poems by various well-known authors. The verses portray varied emotions and backgrounds, while the watercolor illustrations perfectly capture the differences and similarities within all of us.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Turtle In Paradise

Turtle In Paradise
by Jennifer L. Holm

Life for Turtle in 1935 is no day at the beach. Her mother's new job means that she gets shipped off to live with family members she has never met. Life in Key West, Florida is definitely not like those annoying Shirley Temple movies. Her new encounters and adventures help her come out of her shell. Photos and notes at the back of the book show what life was really like for author Jennifer Holm's great grandmother, whose memories inspired this humorous historical novel.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Imogene's Last Stand

Imogene's Last Stand
by Candace Fleming

"I have not yet begun to fight!" quotes Imogene Tripp when the town Mayor wants to tear down the historical museum in order to build a shoelace factory. Imogene begins her own battle of presidential proportions to save the museum.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Out of My Mind

Out of My Mind
by Sharon Draper

Melody is just a regular kid that wants all the same things that every fifth grader wants. The only difference is she is confined to a wheelchair and she cannot speak because she has cerebral palsy. Do you think you know what that's like? Sharon Draper defies your every pre-conceived notion about kids with special needs in this powerful novel.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Duchess of Whimsy

The Duchess of Whimsy
by Randall de Seve

Will a simple sandwich unite an extraordinary royal with an ordinary fellow? This beautifully illustrated, delicious, delectable, divine, and whimsical fairy tale proves that people are not always who they seem, and that simple things mean a lot.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

SES reads: Bone

On this morning's announcements, Mabrey recommended Jeff Smith's Bone series. Read more about it on our book recommendation wiki, SES reads!

Thanks for the recommendation, Mabrey!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Happenstance Found

Happenstance Found
by P.W. Catanese

Happenstance awakes in a cavern beneath an active volcano, remembering nothing about himself or his life. When he is rescued by the extraordinary Lord Umber, the irascible Oates, and the mysterious Sophie, he begins a fast-paced adventure full of peril and discovery. As he tries to evade the watchful eyes of the assassin on his trail, will Happenstance discover his true identity--or the real reason that Umber has chosen him? Find out in this first installment in the Books of Umber series.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit

Wild Times at the Bed and Biscuit
by Joan Carris

Grandpa Bender along with Ernest the mini pig run The Bed & Biscuit, a boardinghouse for wounded animals. In this second adventure, the local wildlife shelter calls on Grandpa and the animals to nurse a wounded Canada goose, a cranky old muskrat, and two feisty fox kits back to health. When the fox kits run away, Ernest and the residents of The Bed & Biscuit scramble to make sure the wild animals are ready to return to their natural habitat. Will Ernest finally make the kits understand that they only want to help?
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy

The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy
by Dori Hillestad Butler

King is a lovable mutt with an unmistakable voice. Although loyal and true to his family, King find himself in the P-O-U-N-D when his owners suddenly vanish. Thankfully, he is rescued, renamed Buddy, and soon smack dab in the middle of another mysterious disappearance when his new master also goes missing. Will Buddy's mental lists of clues and his strong sense of smell be enough to bring Connor home? Follow Buddy's adventures in The Case of the Lost Boy, the first book in "The Buddy Files" series.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Hallelujah Flight

The Hallelujah Flight
by Phil Bildner

They fly through the air with the greatest of ease...well, to the best of their ability anyway! Known as the "Flying Hoboes," James Banning and his co-pilot Thomas Allen made history by becoming the first African American pilots to fly across the United States. Their mission was to inspire people brought low by the Great Depression. The relied on the help of the townspeople they met along the way, who helped them keep their "flying jalopy" going. Based on a true story, The Hallelujah Flight is an adventurous tale of strength, courage, and ingenuity.
[Summary from The Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity

The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity
by Mac Barnett

Little does Steve Brixton, aspiring detective, know that checking out a book on quilting from the library will be the beginning of his first case. Falsely accused of working for a criminal mastermind by ninja librarians, Steve turns to his trusty Bailey Brothers' Detective Handbook to solve this case of mistaken identity. Adventure and humor fill this fast paced clever mystery. The Case of the Case of Mistaken Identity is the first volume in the Brixton Brothers Series.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

The Strange Case or Origami Yoda
by Tom Angleberger

A nerd you say Dwight is, but on his side Yoda is. Tommy is starting an investigation to figure out how the original Yoda puppet that Dwight insists on keeping on his finger doles out such relevant advice. Kids present evidence (or lack thereof) trying to figure out if Yoda is real or something out of Dwight's imagination.
[Summary from Texas Bluebonnet Award Master List]

Bluebonnet Rewards

(Click to enlarge)

Friday, August 26, 2011

2011-2012 Bluebonnet Books

This year, Smithville Elementary is going to Rock the 'Bonnet!

If you would like to take part of this challenge, here's what you need to do:

Read as many Bluebonnet books as you can

Respond to each book you read on the Smithville Elementary Library Blog

When you respond to a Bluebonnet book, please follow these guidelines:

  • Write at least three sentences about the book

  • Don't tell what the book was about

  • Tell what you liked or didn't like about the book

  • Tell what your favorite part of the book was

  • Tell what other book or movie the book reminded you of

  • Write in complete sentences

  • Use ONLY your first name in your post

Click here to see the rewards you can win for posting Bluebonnet responses!

Ready to respond? Choose the Bluebonnet book you've read:

Thursday, August 25, 2011

A sign of some avid readers

Look who got caught reading!

This morning, when I walked into the library, I fould our library mascot, Squirmy the Bookworm, hungrily reading a book! SES loves to read, and so does Squirmy!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Tuesday, August 23, 2011