Friday, November 21, 2014

The Book Fair Is Coming!

Teachers, sign up to bring your class to the Book Fair, click here!

Students, parents, and teachers, please visit the book fair website!

Monday, November 3, 2014

This Week in the Library...

This week we're reading poetry!

Third grade will be reading Marilyn Singer's Mirror, Mirror.
Here is the author reading from her book:

Fourth grade will be reading Pirates by David Harrison

Fifth grade will be reading novels in verse, including these:

Listen to the author read from her book:

Here's the author talking about Home of the Brave:

Read more at the author's website.

Here's a great book trailer for Love That Dog:

Learn  more at the author's website.

Monday, October 27, 2014

This Week in the Library...

This week, we're reading spooky Halloween Stories!

Third graders will be reading Bone Dog by Eric Rohmann.  You can see some of the great illustrations from the book at Macmillan's website.

Fourth graders will be reading The Widow's Broom by Chris VanAllsburg.  Find out more about this mysterious book at Chris VanAllsbrug's website.

Fifth graders will be reading an excerpt from Wait Till Helen Comes by Mary Downing Hahn.  Find out more about the book and read a chapter online at Mary Downing Hahn's website.

Monday, October 20, 2014

This week in the library...

We're getting in the Halloween spirit with some spooky stories!

Third Grade will be reading Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Peter Brown.

Here's a great video of illustrator Peter Brown talking about his inspiration for his illustrations.

Fourth Grade will be reading The Stranger by Chris Van Allsburg.

You can find out more about The Stranger at Chris Van Allsburg's website.

Fifth Grade will be reading The Ghosts of Tupelo Landing by Sheila Turnage.

Check out the book trailer for this book here:

Friday, October 17, 2014

#IYL Roxie and the Hooligans

Some of our fourth graders have read Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's Roxie and the Hooligans in class, so I created this IYL for those who are looking for something similar to Roxie!

Monday, October 13, 2014

This Week in the Library...

This week, we are FALLing for some great books!

Fifth graders are listening to a book talk about The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner.

You can read more about Gianna here, and this great video asks some children's authors what kind of tree they would be:

Fourth graders are listening to Autumn: An Alphabet Acrostic by Steven Schnur.

Third graders are listening to Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller & Anne Wilsdorf.

Listen to the author read her book!

Have a great week!

Friday, October 10, 2014

#IYL Halloween

Leaves are on the ground and there's a chill in the air.  (Okay, so maybe not in Texas, but still...) It's almost Halloween!

To get you ready, here are my favorite Halloween stories!

Monday, October 6, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme each week!  Please be sure to visit these awesome blogs for lots of great reading suggestions!

This week, I finished (and loved) Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate.  I've seen novels in verse done well, and I've seen them done poorly, and this one is done well.  I was amazed at how Applegate was able to capture Kek's emotional journey in so few words.

I also read these chapter books last week:

The Lemonade War was a fun read; I really enjoyed the brother/sister relationship between Ethan and Jesse, and I love that they solve their problems on their own, without adult interference.  

Roxie and the Hooligans was recommended to me by some fourth graders who read it aloud in their classroom.  Roxie reminded me of Pennypacker's Clementine and Dahl's Matilda; she's resourceful, brave, and smart--what else can you ask for in a heroine?  

Patricia MacLachlan has a knack for writing kids with real problems without turning a story sappy, and that knack doesn't fail her in The Truth of Me.  It was a quick read, but it packed a powerful punch.  

I'm still ruminating over Margi Preus' West of the Moon.   I like the skillful integration of folktales and realistic fiction, but I didn't really feel the impact of the story until I read the author's note about what inspired her story.  I almost wished I had read it first, as it cast a different perspective on the story.

I also got a chance to make a trip to the local bookstore in Austin, and was able to take a peek at these picture books:

This week, I'm two chapters into The Boys of Blur, and I'm already loving how the long, rambling, repetitive sentences imitate the boys' running.  I'm also enjoying the combination of football, mystery, and magical elements.

This Week in the Library...

This week, all classes who visit the library will be learning to use the Destiny Quest mobile app to search for books in our library!

You can download the app to your own device and find our library at

Here's some more info:

Friday, October 3, 2014


If you like books that make you Laugh Out Loud, then you'll love these!

(Click to enlarge!)

Monday, September 29, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme each week!  Please be sure to visit these awesome blogs for lots of great reading suggestions!

After finishing a very looooong adult book yesterday, I picked up something that's been on my "to read" list for quite a while. I've read The One and Only Ivan a few times now, and love it dearly, so I've been meaning to read this one for some time.

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate tells the story of Kek, a Sudanese refugee who arrives in Minnesota having lost his parents and brother. I'm only 30 pages in, but I'm already enamored with the way Kek's innate joy leaks out of him, despite the difficulties he's been through.

What are you reading this week?

This Week in the Library...

This week, we're reading books about troublemakers!

Third grade is reading Strega Nona by Tomie DePaola.

When Strega Nona leaves him alone with her pasta pot, Big Anthony is determined to show the townspeople how it works.

Here is one of my favorite re-tellings of Strega Nona:

Fourth grade is reading The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka.

This book is a spoof on the three little pigs story, this time told from the wolf’s point of view.

Be sure to check out Jon Scieszka's awesome website for more information about this and his other books!

Fifth grade will be listening to a book talk about Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.

Also, be sure to check out the author's website for more information about Al Capone, Alcatraz, autism, and more!

Friday, September 26, 2014

Introducing #IYL (If You Likes)

Each Friday, starting today, I'll be posting an "If You Like..." poster of book suggestions.  Typically, I take a book that students have read together in class, or another popular title, and make recommendations that are similar.

Our third graders read Freckle Juice at the beginning of this school year, so our first #IYL of the school year is "If You Like Freckle Juice!"  Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

During the week of September 15th, Smithville Elementary celebrated Dot Day!  Our students listened to the story of The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds.

Then, we created our very own dots and put them together for an amazing display!

Wow!  what an amazing way to "make our mark!"

Monday, September 15, 2014

This Week In the Library...

September 15th is International Dot Day--a day to celebrate creativity, courage, and collaboration.  Inspired by Peter H. Reynolds's The Dot, SES students will be thinking about how they'll make their mark this year!

Check back soon to see how we celebrated!

Monday, September 8, 2014

This Week in the Library...

This week, students will be learning about the Bluebonnet program.  Every year, the Texas Library Association chooses 20 books for the Bluebonnet reading list.  Any student who reads at least five of these can vote for their favorite on Bluebonnet voting day in January!

I'll be sharing these read alouds with the classes visiting the library this week:

Third Grade will be reading The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt.

Fourth Grade will be reading Lester's Dreadful Sweaters by K.G. Campbell

Fifth Grade will be reading excerpts from Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Don't forget, these are just a few of this year's excellent Bluebonnet nominees!

You can find out more about this year's Bluebonnet Books by clicking here.

Have a great week!