Thursday, May 19, 2011

Keep Calm

One of my favorite library blogs, the Lemme Library recently posted this awesome graphic, reminding us to "Keep calm and rock on!"

I loved it so much, that I was inspired to make my own:

It's a hectic time of year, so hopefully these will remind us to take a few deep breaths and have fun!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: The Duchess of Whimsy

Click here for more great Book Talks!

Why do things the ordinary way when it's so much more fun to be different?

The Duchess of Whimsy prides herself on being an individual. Fond of throwing elaborate soirees to which she invites the most eccentric of guests, the Duchess, under strict orders from her father, also reluctantly includes the Earl of Norm in her list of courtiers. Because he deeply admires the Duchess, the Earl makes several attempts to impress her in the most elaborate of ways, but, alas, the Duchess can't help but find the Earl excruciatingly ordinary.

When one of the Duchess's grand get-togethers risks ruination because of a missing cook, her friends gallantly try to prepare a meal worthy of her extravagant standards. While the rest of the court chases after pigs or embarks on other culinary escapades, the Earl does what he does best--the ordinary. Although the Duchess initially turns up her nose at the Earl's dull grilled cheese sandwich and milk, after a reluctant tasting, she discovers that what she thought was ordinary is actually quite spectacular!

Peter de Seve's fantastical and intricate illustrations capture the effortless individuality of Randall de Seve's characters. A book about liking others for their differences, The Duchess of Whimsy is a fun and, well, whimsical look at what makes each of us extraordinary. If you're the type to break away from the crowd, this book is for you! If you're the type to blend in to the background, well, this book is for you, too!

More about the Duchess...

This book's illustrator, Peter de Seve, has lots of experience dreaming up whimsical characters! He created characters for movies like Finding Nemo and Ice Age!

Listen to the book being read in this video:

And click here to read a New York Times article about how food plays an important role in this book!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Mrs. G.'s 2011 Reading Goals: April Update

It's a little late, but here's my monthly update on my 2011 reading goals!

To read about the goal I've set for this year, click here!

I'm looking forward to summer so that I have lots of time to read! What will you be reading this summer?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Book Talk Tuesday: Marty McGuire

Recess just isn't the same for Marty McGuire anymore. Bossy-pants classmate, Veronica Grace, has taken over the playground and makes all of the girls in Marty's class wear floofy dresses and tiaras while learning to dance the waltz. Marty would much rather catch frogs in the school pond or pretend to be Jane Goodall, rescuing chimpanzees, but when she learns that she's been cast as the princess in the class play, it seems that Marty will be forced to wear a tiara after all!

Can Marty play the lead role and still be true to herself? Find out if the show will go on--Marty style--in Kate Messner's Marty McGuire!

Click here to visit Kate Messner's site and to learn more about Marty McGuire!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Children's Book Week in Review

Whew! What an amazing, busy, fun week it has been at SES as we celebrated some of our favorite books in honor of Children's Book Week!

One of the most exciting parts of the week was our whirlwind of Skype author visits. Several groups got the opportunity to Skype with actual children's book authors. All of the authors we spoke with were so generous and thoughtful. We learned so much about their books and about how and why they write!

On Tuesday, 4th graders ate lunch with author Eric Luper, who told us about his new book for kids, Jeremy Bender and the Cupcake Cadets. We actually spoke to Mr. Luper on the day that Jeremy Bender was officially released, so the kids concluded the Skype visit by singing "Happy Birthday" to the book! Our students were very interested to learn that when Mr. Luper is not writing books, he is actually a chiropractor! They had lots of questions for him about his job experiences and about how he became a writer. We especially loved hearing Mr. Luper read a chapter of Jeremy Bender aloud to us!

On Wednesday, Mrs. Sweeny's class Skyped with author Kate Messner, who has just released Marty McGuire, the first book in a series for young readers about a tomboy who has to play the princess in the school play! The kids loved hearing Ms. Messner read about Marty's adventures, and did a great job of predicting what might happen to Marty based on the pictures in the book. Our third graders had lots of great questions about what it is like to be an author, and they were surprised to learn how much work writing a book really is! We also learned that one of Ms. Messner's favorite parts of being an author is that she gets to meet other authors; she was especially excited when she got to meet one of her own favorite authors, Judy Blume! We're so grateful that Ms. Messner, who is a teacher, spent her own lunch break with us on Wednesday. Here's a picture she tweeted of us!

Thursday's event was a Skype visit for 5th graders with author Jennifer Trafton. Ms. Trafton has just released her first book, The Rise and Fall of Mount Majestic, which is about an island with a sleeping giant living underneath it! The kids were so excited to meet Ms. Trafton and her dog, Misty. I was so impressed with the excellent questions these students had, and many expressed an interest in someday becoming writers themselves. Ms. Trafton had great advice for these aspiring young authors; she encouraged them to read and write as much as possible, starting now! (She even shared a poem that she had written when she was in 5th grade!)

We also spent the week voting on our favorite children's book character in this year's Battle of the Books! And the winner is...Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid! Congratulations, Greg, and thanks to everyone who voted!

Finally, we wrapped up Children's Book Week on Friday with a school-wide Read-In. That's right, the entire school headed over to our administration building, where we shared stories and read silently as a group. Thanks so much to our guest readers and to all of our students who did such a great job of reading! What a great way of bringing this exciting week to an end!

Friday we also revealed the Children's Book Week quilt that everyone has been working on this week! Each class chose a book to celebrate and then created a paper quilt square which reperesented their book. The squares were then assembled into a "quilt," which will be on display in the library!

Thanks to everyone who helped make this such a fantastic week at SES!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Battle of the Books!

In celebration of National Children's Book Week, Smithville Elementary will be holding its very own Battle of the Books contest this week!

Choose your favorite character in the form below, then click "Submit!" Find out who won Friday morning at the school-wide Read-In!

5/6/11: Voting is now closed! Thanks to everyone who voted!