Friday, September 28, 2012

Thought of the Day...

Both of my oldest girls were sick this week, and I got to thinking about how some of my favorite reading memories happened when I was snuggled up in bed sick and my only company was a good book!  It also made me think about how a good book can always make us feel a little bit better.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Grab Bag Thursday: My Life...In Books

A couple of weeks ago,I read Andrea Cheng's excellent book, The Year of the Book, which, among other things, is about a girl who loves to read.  When Anna is asked by her teacher to create a timeline of her life, she includes her favorite books and when she read them.

That got me thinking.  What would my own timeline of books look like?  Which books have made a big enough impact in my life that I can remember when and were I read them?  Well, here's the answer to those questions!

This is an interactive timeline of my books!  Here are the books that have made a big difference in my life, placed on the timeline on the year in which I read them.  I've also included a little explanation of each and why it was such an important book for me!  I'm still working on adding books, but this is definitely a start! Click on each book to learn more about why it's special to me.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Video of the Week

Book publisher Candlewick Press has recently launched a "We Believe in Picture Books" campaign, during which they will post one video about the power of picture books each day for a year.  While browsing through these, I was thrilled to come across this one of David Ezra Stein.  He's talking about how he illustrated and wrote Interrupting Chicken, the book I'm sharing with 3rd graders this week!

Be sure to hop over to the We Believe in Picture Books page to take a look at even more great videos!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Book Talk Tuesday: Marla Frazee

This week's book is a fun read about a persnickety group of kids and the mom who puts up with all of them!

The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Marla Frazee, introduces us to the seven Peters children and their very different (and very particular) tastes in food!  Poor Mrs. Peters is just about fed up with feeding each kid a different food, each prepared in its special way.  Then one day, as they attempt to give their mother a special birthday gift, the kids find a way to satisfy everyone's taste buds!

If you're looking for a funny story about families, this is your book!  I especially love the illustrations by Marla Frazee.  You'll notice lots of great details in each of the pictures, and you'll probably find that there's even more to the story in the illustrations.

If you like this one, you might also enjoy these:

And, if you like Marla Frazee's illustrations, be sure to check out this one:

Learn more about Marla Frazee at her website!

Monday, September 24, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Every Monday, the awesome duo at Teach Mentor Texts hosts their What Are You Reading? meme so that anyone who loves children's literature can share the titles they've recently enjoyed as well as their reading plans for the week!  Thanks, Jen and Kellee!
Be sure to head over to the Teach Mentor Texts blog to find out what everyone else is reading!

I just finished reading My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt.  I've always wanted to read this one, especially since I so enjoyed her novel, When Zachary Beaver Came to Town, but I finally picked it up because of a book by another author!  Last week, I finished The Year of the Book, by Andrea Cheng, and her main character, Anna, loves to read.  One of my favorite things about The Year of the Book is the way we get to watch Anna lead a reading life.  As we follow Anna on her story, we also learn about the stories she's exploring through her reading, and, you guessed it, My Louisiana Sky is one of those stories.  So, thanks, Anna for inspiring me to finally dig in to this one!

My Louisiana Sky is one of those books whose characters are easy to fall in love with even though there's nothing easy about them.  Tiger Ann is a strong, endearing narrator, whose love for her family carries her through every storm she encounters.  I love that she is able to recognize her own insecurities and to work through her doubts while remaining true to herself and the ones she loves.

Read-alikes:  When Zachary Beaver Came to Town by Kimberly Willis Holt, Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage, Rules by Cynthia Lord, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, Wonder by R.J. Polacio, Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer L. Holm, Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles, Missing May by Cynthia Rylant, The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron

Last week, I also read these titles:

A Dog Called Homeless was, as predicted, a tear-jerker.  It definitely made my top 10 list of books about dogs, but, like all good dog books, it's about so much more than the dog!  When Cally loses her mother and begins to have difficulty communicating with her father, she decides to stop talking altogether.  Some special friends (a few of the two-legged variety and one of the four-legged variety) end up convincing Cally that her voice is worth listening to.

I didn't need a fortune-teller to predict that I would love The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, the third novel in Tom Angleberger's Origami Yoda series!  The usual cast of characters is back, minus Dwight, and a new foldable Star Wars character is doling out advice.  Tommy, Harvey, Kellen and the gang soon realize, however, that even a paper fortune-teller guided by the force can't replace Dwight in all his weirdness!  Can the fortune wookiee help their friend, or is Dwight forever lost to the dark side?  As usual, I loved Angleberger's humor, and I love that he writes about kids who are genuinely interested in helping each other out!  I'm so excited that the series isn't going to end with Fortune Wookiee!

Here are my ratings (out of five stars) for this week's books:
The Seven Silly Eaters by Mary Ann Hoberman * * * *
The Lotus Seed by Sherry Garland * * *
The Camping Trip That Changed America by Barb Rosenstock * * * *
The Art of Miss Chew by Patricia Polacco * * *
The Shark King by R. Kikuo Johnson * * * *
One Hen:  How One Small Loan Made a Big Difference by Katie Smith Milway * * *
There's a Nightmare In My Closet by Mercer Mayer * * * *
A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean * * * *
The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee by Tom Angleberger * * * *
Zinnia and Dot by Lisa Campbell Ernst * * *
The Garden of Abdul Gasazi by Chris Van Allsburg * * * *
Aunt Isabel Tells a Good One by Kate Duke * *
Benny and Penny In the Toy Breaker by Geoffrey Hayes * * *
Teach Us, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish * *
The Boy Who Cried Wolf by B.G. Hennessy * * * *
Old Cricket by Lisa Wheeler * * *
Play Ball, Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish * *
The Story of Hanukkah by Amy Ehrlich * * *
Little One Step by Simon James * * *
My Louisiana Sky by Kimberly Willis Holt * * * *

This week, I'm looking forward to starting Libba Bray's latest, The Diviners.  Although I love YA fiction, I don't typically read a lot of it during the school year, because I usually try to read books that are written at the age level of the kids who use my library.  BUT I've heard so many good things about it, and I absolutely love everything Libba Bray has ever written, SO I'm going to allow myself this one!

I'm also continuing to listen to an audio recording of L.M. Montgomery's Anne of Green Gables.  I have a feeling it's going to take me a while to listen to the whole thing-mostly because I have limited listening time available to me at the moment, but I'm enjoying getting re-acquainted with this long-time favorite of mine!  I've noticed that, as an adult reader, I'm finding much more humor in Anne Shirley's escapades; whereas, as a child, I felt a great deal of sympathy and injustice on her behalf!

Have a great week of reading, everyone!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

This Week in the Library...

This week, we'll be sharing stories about some great storytellers!

3rd grade will be listening to David Ezra Stein's Interrupting Chicken.  Watch the book trailer below to find out more about Little Red Chicken and her very patient Papa.

4th grade will be listening to Clever Jack Takes the Cake by Candace Fleming.  You can read more Jack tales by clicking here.  Here's a book trailer that tells a little bit about Jack.

5th grade will get to hear a book talk about Rodman Philbrick's The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg.  Here's the author himself reading aloud from Homer P. Figg.

I'm looking forward to sharing these great stories with you!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Grab Bag Thursday: I PICK a "just right" book!

Happy Thursday, everyone!  This six weeks in the library, we've been learning about how to choose a "just right" book by singing the IPICK rap!  Check out these second graders from Cumberland Elementary singing IPICK, and see if it gets stuck in your head for the rest of the day!

Remember to IPICK your books before you check them out!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Video of the Week

This week's video was produced by Reading Is Fundamental in support of their "Book People Unite" pledge to provide books for kids.  I love all of the characters who appear in this video!  Do you recognize all of them?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Book Talk Tuesday: Barnum's Bones

This week's book talk is a great non-fiction picture book about a man who loved bones!

Barnum's Bones, by Tracey Fern, tells the story of Barnum Brown--a young man whose parents gave him an unusual name because they hoped he would grow up to do great things.  They never dreamed that their son would grow up to be one of the greatest dinosaur hunters who ever lived!

Barnum uncovered more dinosaur skeletons than anyone had before him, and he was responsible for the discovery of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.

Read more about the book at author Tracey Fern's website.

Here's a picture of Barnum uncovering the T. Rex skeleton:
And here's what the skeleton looked like once it was put together and displayed in the museum:
Do you notice anything wrong with the skeleton in the picture above?  (Hint: Take a look at this NPR video about how T. Rex moved.)

And here's a great video about Barnum and his discoveries, including many pictures of Barnum on his archaeological digs, as well as pictures of the dinosaur skeletons he discovered:

And, if you enjoyed Barnum's Bones, you might also like Buffalo Music, also by Tracey Fern, which tells the story of Mary Ann Goodnight, the woman who was responsible for forming one of the first herds of buffaloes to live in captivity.  Check it out at our library!

Monday, September 17, 2012

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Every Monday, the awesome duo at Teach Mentor Texts hosts their What Are You Reading? meme so that anyone who loves children's literature can share the titles they've recently enjoyed as well as their reading plans for the week!  Thanks, Jen and Kellee!
Be sure to head over to the Teach Mentor Texts blog to find out what everyone else is reading!

As of today, I'm about 50 pages in to A Dog Called Homeless by Sarah Lean, which is, so far, a touching story about a girl who decides to take a pledge of silence further than expected.  I'm curious to see what will happen when Cally befriends her new neighbor and if her father will change how he interacts with Cally because of her silence.

Last week, I also read:

There were so many stand-out titles I read this week, but, if forced to choose a favorite, I think it would have to be Oh, No!--whose rhythmic refrain just begs to be read aloud, and whose bold page-spanning illustrations beg to be shared!  (And anyone who knows me knows that I love to read aloud, and I LOVE to share books!)  Here are my ratings (out of five stars) for this week's reads:

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems * * * * *
The Tooth Mouse by Susan Hood * * * *
The Underwear Book by Todd Parr * * *
Annie and Helen by Deborah Hopkinson * * * *
Olivia and the Fairy Princesses by Ian Falconer * * *
LLama LLama Time to Share by Anna Dewdney * * *
The Monsters' Monster by Patrick McDonnell * * * * *
Oh, No! by Candace Fleming * * * * *
I'm Bored by Michael Ian Bla 
Penny and Her Doll by Kevin Henkes * * * * *
Barnum's Bones by Tracey Fern * * * *
We the Kids by David Catrow * * * *
Dandelions by Even Bunting * * * *
Abandoned! A Lion Called Kiki * * *
Earthling! by Mark Fearing * * * *
Skippyjon Jones in Mummy Trouble by Judy Schachner * * *
Water Dance by Thomas Locker
Desert Elephants by Helen Cowcher * * *
The Recess Queen by Alexis O'Neill * * *
Skippyjon Jones in the Dog House by Judy Schachner * * *
Hooray for Reading Day by Margery Cuyler * * *
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Malachai Gerstein * * * * *
Benny and Penny in Lights Out by Geoffrey Hayes * * *
The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng * * * *
Pig Picnic by Patricia Hubbell * *

This coming week, I am looking forward to finishing A Dog Called Homeless, even though I have a feeling that it'll have me in tears before I finish it!  I also finally got my hands on a copy of Tom Angleberger's The Secret of the Fortune Wookiee, which I cannot WAIT to dig in to.  (I have a feeling it'll cheer me up after I finish Homeless!)  I also feel like I did a much better job of reading more picture books last week, so I'm hoping I can keep that up this week!

Have a great week, and don't forget to READ!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

This Week in the Library...

Since Monday is Constitution Day, this week all classes visiting the library for a read aloud will be listening to We the Kids by David Catrow, which is an illustrated version of the Preamble to the Constitution!  Click on the cover below to find out more about this great book.

And, if you want to know more about the Constitution, check out Scholastic's Constitution Day site with tons of great videos!

Or, watch this video of "We the People."

Have a great week, and happy Constitution Day!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Thought of the Day...

Happy Friday!  Today's Thought of the Day comes from one of my all-time favorite authors, Roald Dahl!  Have a great weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grab Bag Thursday

It's Grab Bag Thursday, so here's something to make you laugh!

In the library this six weeks, we've been talking about what it feels like to read a "just right" book, and several people have told me that a "just right" book is so good that you can't put it down!

Here's what reading a "just right" book feels like to me!

funny gifs

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Book Talk Tuesday: Zita the Spacegirl

It's Book Talk Tuesday!  Today's book talk is one of this year's Bluebonnet Nominees!

Zita may not look like a hero, but when her best friend is transported to another galaxy, Zita has no choice but to come to the rescue! Transported to a strange new intergalactic world, Zita and her band of new friends (including an over-sized mouse and some misfit robots) must race to save Joseph before an asteroid destroys them all!

Check out the Zita book trailer to learn more:

And visit the Zita website to learn more about Zita and her friends.

If you like Zita the Spacegirl, then try one of these books in our library:
  • Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
  • Sardine in Outerspace by Emmanuel Guibert
  • The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi
  • Binky the Space Cat by Ashley Spires

Monday, September 10, 2012

Hey, I Just Met You...

Have you ever read a book that was SO GOOD you just couldn't wait to share it with someone?  Come by the library today to get your very own "read it maybe" bookmark, and keep sharing your favorite books with the world!

It's Monday! What are you reading?

Every Monday, the awesome duo at Teach Mentor Texts hosts their What Are You Reading? meme so that anyone who loves children's literature can share the titles they've recently enjoyed as well as their reading plans for the week!  Thanks, Jen and Kellee!
Be sure to head over to the Teach Mentor Texts blog to find out what everyone else is reading!

Last night, I stayed up (past my bedtime) to finish David Levithan's Every Day-the story of A, who wakes up every morning in a different person's body.  A usually spends his days trying to change as little as possible in the life he's inhabiting, but that all changes when he meets Rhiannon.  This is an inventive and unconditional story about the sacrifices we make for love; a great young adult read!

I also finally read Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes this week, and it was just as entertaining as Pete's other books.  What a great back to school story!

This week, these two titles are at the top of my TBR pile.  I'll be honest, I'm eager to read The Year of the Book because I'm in love with the cover.  So much for not judging a book by its cover!

I'm also hoping to get back into the swing of reading more picture books this week!

Have a great week, everyone!

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Week in the Library...

All grade levels will be remembering the events of September 11, 2001 by reading the touching story, 14 Cows for America by Carmen Agra Deedy.

Watch this book trailer to learn more about the book:

To learn more about the story behind the book and about the 14 cows today, visit the 14 Cows for America website.

To learn more about September 11, 2001, please visit Scholastic's excellent news website about the events that occurred on that day.  Click on the logo below to visit the site.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

2012-2013 Bluebonnet Nominees

It's a new school year, which means that there is a whole new set of Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominees!  These 20 books are about everything from how hot dogs are made to Benjamin Franklin coming back to life, BUT they all have one thing in common: they're great books!  Click on any of the slides below to find out more about these amazing stories!