A Book That Makes Me Smile: Puppy Pool Party! by Seth Casteel

smile book

 I don’t know if you have noticed….but the news is a tad bit depressing and crazy right now. So for my own sanity I’m focusing on books that make me smile. If you love adorable pictures of puppies…this book will make you smile too! Check it out!

Puppy Pool Party 2

Kids will love this book! I’m looking forward to adding it to the library in the Fall.

So what books make you smile? Use the hashtag #booksmiles on Twitter and let me know in a blog post or Tweet. Happy Reading!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-18-16

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My son Sam and I are enjoying some books together this summer. And I’m also reading some books on my own.

Books I finished last week:

Sophie

I finished reading Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier for the #vbcbooks chat TONIGHT! This book is such a great fantasy adventure book! I love the main character Sophie Quire because she is a book mender and lover of books.

Sophie Quire

Great News! Jonathan Auxier is joining our #vbcbooks chat TONIGHT: July 18th at 9 pm EST on Twitter! Please join us!

Gertie

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley (Out Oct. 4, 2016)

My friend Michele said it best when she said, “I like Gertie’s gumption!” I couldn’t agree more! I just love how Gertie is always on a mission…to be her best self! I hope that Kate Beasley writes another book about Gertie in the future.

Books Sam and I finished last week:

The 39 story treehouse

Sam and I finished The 39-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Illustrated by Terry Denton. We are now reading the 52-Story Treehouse.

Franny k stein

Sam and I listened to the first Franny K. Stein book. It is a fun early chapter book series! This series will appeal to students that love monsters and science fiction approached in a humorous way.

So what did you love reading last week?

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What I learned at Nerd Camp 2016!

This is my fourth Nerd Camp but it seems like I am always learning new things each time I go! It is hands down my favorite conference! I love that it is a grass roots conference started by a few book nerds in 2013. A huge thanks to Colby Sharp, Alaina Sharp, Suzanne Gibbs & the Nerd Camp Team for all your hard work!

Now on to what I learned this year….

I learned that you should bring tissues to the Nerd Talks!

kathy poster

Kathy speaking

Hi Roomie- You Rocked Your Nerd Talk!

Kathy Burnette, Teri Lesesne, Pernille Ripp, Raina Telgemeier and Donalyn Miller all made me wish I had packed tissues. They all gave inspirational speeches! My take away: Books Save Lives!

I learned that Colby Sharp isn’t kidding when he says he has a big surprise for Nerd Camp!

Surprise!

kate dicamillo speaking

I still can’t believe that Kate DiCamillo was at Nerd Camp! Her nerd talk was full of heart and so inspirational. There is magic in the world….in the form of writing and books.

I learned that I never know what to say to authors….especially authors I adore!

Kate signing

“I love your books!” (I’m sure she’s never heard that before!)

I learned that Travis Jonker is right…..

John Schu

John Schu’s Presentations are Energetic and Wonderful!

John and 2 Kates

The Oprah Winfrey of Books in Action!

I also learned….

Carrie loves Peanut Butter M&M’s.

Don’t believe the author rumors about Kurt!

Kathy loves hugs….strike that….reverse it!

The Big Boy statue has a crush on Melissa!

Jason is camera shy!

Rachel is wicked funny!

Don’t let Ann get hangry!

Lesley makes beautiful book jewelry!

In other words….

I learned the BEST thing about Nerd Camp is….

nerd camp friends

Nerdy Friends!

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The Top 5 Reasons Why I Love Nerd Camp!

Top 5

I can’t believe Nerd Camp will be celebrating year four next week! It has been amazing being a nerd crew member from the beginning in 2013. Each year it gets bigger and better thanks to the 3 main organizers: Colby Sharp, Alaina Sharp and Suzanne Gibbs. I’m very excited to help out again this year! And I thought I would share the 5 reasons why I love Nerd Camp! If you haven’t been to Nerd Camp yet….maybe this will convince you to join us! Here’s to many more years of Nerd Camp and letting our book nerd flags fly!

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5. Lots of Learning!

Check out the first day sessions this year! And the day 2 (un)conference is awesome too!

Donalyn slide

Donalyn Miller presenting at Nerd Camp

4. Nerd Run

Okay. I’m not a runner….but I can walk. So I am all about Team Saunter! I will be sauntering at Nerd Camp again this year.
nerd camp run

 Go Team Saunter!

3. Nerdy Authors

There are so many amazing authors coming to Nerd Camp this year! Check out the list! So awesome how many authors have been willing to come to Nerd Camp Jr. to make it special for kids!

 Nerd AuthorAuthor Kristen Kittscher and I getting Nerdy!

2. Nerdy Friends

One of the best things about Nerd Camp is meeting up with friends! I’m looking forward to seeing old friends and making new ones again this year.

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 The First Nerdy Dinner in 2013

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I’m hanging with my Nerdy Pals!

1. The Nerdy Crew

There are many more volunteers each year as Nerd Camp grows. It is great to look back and see the small crew of people that started it all. I can’t wait to help out again this year!

nerd camp gang

 The Nerd Crew in 2013

As you may have guessed….I think Nerd Camp is wonderful! Here is more information about this years event! We even have a theme song! What are you waiting for? Come join the fun!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-4-16

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My son Sam and I are enjoying some books together this summer. And I’m also reading some books on my own. This week we are still reading some of the books we started last week. I also read some great picture books this week.

Books I finished this week: 

piano

A super silly picture book and perfect for summer!

Surf's Up

Another fun summer read! I love the fun message about reading and getting lost in a book!

What do you do

I think this book would make a great mentor text for writing, reading and solving problems! I also love the illustrations.

Books we are continuing to read this week:

The 39 story treehouse

 I’m reading a chapter a night to Sam at bedtime.

Sophie

I’m currently reading Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier for the #Vbcbooks chat in July! This book is such a great fantasy adventure book! I love the main character Sophie Quire because she is a book mender and lover of books.

Sophie Quire

Great News! Jonathan Auxier is going to join our #vbcbooks chat on July 18th at 9 pm EST on Twitter! Please read this fabulous fantasy book and join us in July!

So what great books have you read lately?!

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Top 5 Early Readers!

Top 5

I think it is very difficult to write great early reader books. Here are my top 5 favorites of 2016 so far that make it look easy! These authors/illustrators knock it out of the park and make engaging, fun early reader books for children.

5. Duck, Duck, Porcupine! by Salina Yoon

This is a new early reader series that I think my Kindergarten-2nd Grade students will love!

duck, duck porcupine

4. Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea

My students love all of Bob Shea’s books. This series is a hit in my library.

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3. We Are Growing! by Laurie Keller (out 9-20-16)

So excited about this new early reader that comes out in the fall. You can’t go wrong with Laurie Keller and Mo Willems! Brilliant!

We are Growing

2. The Cookie Fiasco by Dan Santat (out 9-20-16)

This book is hilarious! Another amazing team up: Dan Santat and Mo Willems equals funny! I can’t wait to share it in the fall with my students! They will love it!

The Cookie Fiasco

1. The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

This one is a hit! Mo Willems ends the Elephant and Piggie series on a high note! One of my all time favorites in the series.

The Thank You Book

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6-27-16

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 My 7 year old son, Sam and I are enjoying books together this summer. We love listening to audio books that we borrow from the library while we drive. We are also reading a series at bedtime. He reads a book of his choice that he can read on his own and then I read a chapter from the series we are enjoying. It is a great way to share our love of books! Check out our favorites this week!

Books we finished this week: The 13 story treehouseThe 26 story treehouse

I’ve been reading this series to Sam. It is so silly, fun and creative!

Audio books we finished this week:

Alvin Ho 1

Alvin ho 2

The audio books for Alvin Ho are hilarious. I love that they went with a child reading the books. He does an awesome job. My son is afraid of a few things…okay a lot of things…so this was a perfect series for him to listen to with me. My son was laughing so much. It was great fun for both of us!

Books we are reading this week:

The 39 story treehouse

You guessed it! We are continuing on with the series. I’m reading a chapter a night to Sam at bedtime.

Sophie

I’m currently reading Sophie Quire and the Last Storyguard by Jonathan Auxier for the #Vbcbooks chat in July! This book is such a great fantasy adventure book! I love the main character Sophie Quire because she is a book mender and lover of books.

Sophie Quire

Great News! Jonathan Auxier is going to join our #vbcbooks chat on July 18th at 9 pm EST on Twitter! Please read this fabulous fantasy book and join us in July!

So what great books have you read lately?!

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Top 10 Read Aloud Books 2016!

Top-10

So this was my first year at my dream job! Is it still my dream job?! Absolutely!!!

What do I love most about my job as a teacher-librarian? I get to read aloud a book to each class that comes for media each week. I adore sharing my love of books with my K-4th grade students! It is hands down the best part of my job!!

Here are my Top 10 favorite read aloud books from my first year as a media teacher!

The Man Who Walked Between the Towers

10. The Man Who Walked Between The Towers by Mordicai Gerstein

My fourth grade classes were hanging on every word and loved that this book was based on a true story. Many students watched it again on the BookFlix website when we were in the computer lab.

 

The Secret Subway

9. The Secret Subway by Shana Corey; Illustrations by Red Nose Studio

My fourth grade students also loved this story based on the first subway in New York City. Plus, the artwork is amazing! A must read!

Boats for Papa

8. Boats for Papa by Jessixa Bagley

My third grade students…actually all my students grade K-4th adored this book. It was our mock Caldecott winner. This book was so interesting to read to all grade levels. The book opened up great discussions about what students thought happened to Papa.

 

Wacky Wednesday

7. Wacky Wednesday by Dr. Seuss ; Illustrations by George Booth

This was a really fun book to read to celebrate Dr. Seuss’ birthday in March. The kids loved pointing out all the wacky pictures. I also loved dressing up as the Cat in the Hat to make it extra fun!

 

The Dot1

Dot Day

6. The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Students had fun celebrating Dot Day at the beginning of the year. Students made Dots using coffee filters and crayons after the read aloud and song. I loved the students creativity. Every dot was different!

 

The Thank You Book

5. The Thank You Book by Mo Willems

K-2nd grade students love Piggie and Elephant! So The Thank You Book was a huge hit! The last book in the series is one of my favorites! I highly recommend it as a read aloud!

 

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4. Ballet Cat: Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea

My first grade students love this early reader series! Bob Shea is the king of funny and the second book in the series is even funnier than the first.

 

Wolfie the bunnie

3. Wolfie The Bunny by Ame Dyckman; Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

I’m a huge fan of Ame Dyckman’s books and her books with Zachariah OHora are the best!! Wolfie The Bunny is one of my favorite read aloud books of all time! My students adore it too!

 

The East Bunny's Assistants

Easter Bunny

2. The Easter Bunny’s Assistant by Jan Thomas

This is the perfect read aloud for K-1st grade around Easter time. My students loved it! Plus, it was a lot of fun to dress up as the Easter Bunny.

 

One Big Pair of Underwear

1. One Big Pair Of Underwear by Laura Gehl; Illustrations by Tom Lichtenheld

There is nothing better in this world then hearing kindergartners laugh! And this is the book that made my kindergarten students laugh the loudest. They just loved this book!

So what were your favorite read aloud books this year?! Please share some of your favorites in the comments section.

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Top 10 Circulated Books 2016! #IMWAYR

Top-10

Any guesses on the top 10 books at my 2nd-4th grade school? It looks like a few popular authors are dominating the shelves! Take a look!

 

52 story treehouse

10. The 52- Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths; illustrated by Terry Denton

Dreaming of big fun in a treehouse? So are my students!! These books are a hit in my library. My 7 year old son loves them too! Please keep them coming Andy and Terry!

 

Bad kitty goes to the vet

9. Bad Kitty Goes to the Vet by Nick Bruel

Bad Kitty is hilarious! I’m not surprised that this mischievous cat made the Top 10!

 

The Babysitter's club

8. The Baby-Sitters Club: Claudia and Mean Janine (Graphic Novel) by Raina Telgemeier based on the novel by Ann M. Martin

It’s awesome to see this series in graphic novel form. My students are loving it! You may see Raina’s name a few more times on this Top 10 list!

 

I love dogs and puppies

7. I Love Dogs and Puppies by Nicola Jane Swinney

Kids love animals! And cute puppies are the best!

Hilo book 1

6. Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed to Earth by Judd Winick

Students love Hilo! My prediction is that the second book in the series (Hilo: Saving The Whole Wide World) will be on the top 10 list next school year!

 

Diary of a Wimpy Kid 9

5. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul #9 by Jeff Kinney

You knew it was bound to happen, right? Of course Diary of a Wimpy Kid is in the Top 10! And there may be another one down the road on this list….

 

myths busted

4. Myths Busted! 2: Just When You Thought You Knew What You Knew… by Emily Krieger; illustrations by Tom Nick Cocotos

I just realized we don’t have Myth Busted! 3. Now I know… I need to get that one for next year!

smile

3. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

I told you Raina would be back! Students love Smile. So do you think Sisters made the list too?

 

Sisters

2. Sisters by Raina Telgemeier

Yup. You were right! Sisters made the number 2 spot! I’m going to predict that Ghosts will be in my top 10 next year! I know my students are excited to read it! So which book took home the #1 spot?!

 

diary of a wimpy kid 10

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Old School #10 by Jeff Kinney

I think as long as Jeff Kinney keeps writing….He will be in my top 10! Keep them coming! Kids have mad love for Diary of a Wimpy Kid! I’m glad Jeff Kinney decided to Double Down on the series! Book 11 comes out in November!

So what are your students reading?

Check out more Top 10 circulation posts: thebrainlair and 100scopenotes

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Saturday Songs and a Book: The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price

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I read The Remarkable Journey of Charlie Price by Jennifer Maschari over spring break. The book is a beautiful story about a boy and his sister who long to get their mother back in their lives. So much so that it leads to heartbreaking choices.  It made me think about the loved ones I have lost and how tempting it would be to change the circumstances just so I could have them back in my life one more day. I think death is surrounded by what-ifs and just-one-more-times.

What if we had that one more time? What would we say? How would our lives be changed if we could go back and see our loved ones one more time?

CHARLIE PRICE

The first family member I remember losing when I was a kid was my Nana Ohs. She was truly one of a kind! There will never be anyone to take her place in the brash and blunt department. She was seriously outspoken and often hilarious. It was hard to know if it was Nana Ohs talking or the booze. But I loved her so much. I remember getting ice refills for her drinks often. But man….the wit on my Nana. Now that I am older….I think I can forgive her for the times that it was for sure the alcohol talking. At the time…part of me knew… but it still hurt. I would love to see my Nana Ohs again and give her another hug. I would say, “I love you and I forgive you.” This Beatles song always reminds me of her every time I hear it. Let it be.

I also thought about one of my best friends that I lost in 2013 to suicide. Sandy had THE BEST LAUGH! I will never forget her laugh or her carefree spirit. She was one of the funniest people I have ever met. When you lose someone to suicide the “What ifs” never seem to stop. What if I had called her that day? What if we had kept in better touch? Was there more I could have done to have gotten her help? So I really do wish I could see Sandy once again. I would have a lot of questions…but mostly I would give her a huge hug and say, “I love you and I forgive you….I hope you forgive me.” Every time I hear this song I think of Sandy.

That is the power of a beautiful book….to helps us remember, love and forgive our lost loved ones…and also to have the courage to go on….

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Star Wars Reading Month: May the Reading Force Be With You!

Confession: I LOVED the new Star Wars movie! I’ve always been a fan of Star Wars but I think my fandom has reached new heights with the latest movie. I know my students are crazy about Star Wars too. So of course our reading month theme had to be Star Wars: May the Reading Force Be With You! Check out all the fun Star Wars reading activities we did in March!

First, I updated the Battle of the Books from a knights theme to Star Wars. I was able to find most of the pictures on the Internet and then I altered them in Publisher. In fact, 3 out of the 5 images I found here. So thank you @Hafuboti for the awesome posters!

Battle of the books Star Wars

Battle of the Books

Star Wars Bulletin Board

Book Wars

Then I add the scores to the bulletin board and posters for the top 4 teams that made it into the finals!

final four star wars

I really enjoyed updating the theme and the students loved it too!

leah at assembly

Next, it was on to our school wide goal for reading month! Princess Leia shared our goal at a school wide assembly. Our goal was to reach 100,000 minutes to defeat the dark side! The dark side didn’t think we could do it….

Star Wars minutes

The lightsaber in the beginning…

Star Wars Light Saber blank

The lightsaber after all reading logs were turned in!

star wars final light saberThe dark side shouldn’t have doubted us. The students reached the first goal of 100,000 minutes in 3 weeks. Then we set a 2nd goal to blow up the Death Star by reaching 150,000 minutes! We reached that goal too and students read over 158,000 minutes for the month of March. The students loved the visual of the lightsaber getting colored in as they got closer to their goal.

And if you are going to have a school wide reading goal….You have to have fun Star Wars bookmarks to go with the goal! I found Star Wars bookmarks on Teachers Pay Teachers.

star wars bookmark

I also love doing book raffles in the library. During reading month many of the weekly raffles were Star Wars themed, of course!

Star Wars raffle

Finally, my favorite night in March was our Star Wars themed Literacy Night! We had 7 rooms for students to visit and enjoy!

The Death Star Book Walk Room: Everyone left with a book!

Book walk room

book walk room 2

The Bookmark Room: Students could use many materials to make their own bookmark including Star Wars stickers!

Bookmark room

The Snack Room: Popsicles!

Popsicle

The Flashlight Room

flashlight room

Guest Readers in the Library

Guest Reader

Outer Space Game in the Computer Lab

computer lab

Star Wars Sing Along Room

Star Wars sing along room

Students also had a blast posing with BB8!

star wars pose

Okay…maybe students weren’t the only ones that had fun at Literacy Night!

Nancy

star wars pose 2

Thanks for my checking out my blog post! May the reading force be with you!

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Join the 2016 Nerdlution!

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Join the revolution! Join the resolution! Join the NERDLUTION!

The 2016 Nerdlution starts TODAY (Jan. 4th)  and lasts 50 days- till February 22nd. You can make one goal or many on what you would like to work on for 50 days! Just use the hashtag #nerdlution on Twitter to share your goals and progress. We promise to cheer you on!

My 2 goals this year are joined together!

#1 Read at least one chapter book a week!

circus mirandus

#2 Blog about the chapter book I read each week!

These  2 goals are great for me because I need to get back to blogging regularly…my poor neglected blog!

And I would like to read more chapter books because…..

  1. Chapter books make me happy!
  2. I can give more book recommendations to students and teachers (or anyone who will listen).
  3. It will help me find great books to purchase for both my school libraries.

So with my Nerdlution in mind……

I highly recommend that you read Circus Mirandus by Cassie Beasley! If I had to name my favorite chapter book of 2015….Circus Mirandus is it! I love this book because it is about hope, magic, dreams, courage, friendship and most of all love!!

Plus, the illustrations are exquisite!

CircusMirandus4

What was your favorite chapter book from 2015? Have you started your Nerdlution? Join in the nerdy fun today!

 

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Five Faves For Friday Fun! 5 Books That Make Me Smile!

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5 Books That Made Me Smile This Week! 

 

smile book

 

tooth fairy cat

 

Here Comes The Tooth Fairy Cat

by Deborah Underwood

Illustrated by Claudia Rueda

Cat Always Makes Me Smile!

 Mr Putter and Tabby

Mr. Putter & Tabby Smell The Roses

by Cynthia Rylant & Arthur Howard

 Full of Sweet Smelling Surprises

 

 sidewalk flowers 1

Sidewalk Flowers

by JonArno Lawson & Sydney Smith

Stop And Pick The Flowers!

 

 Little Elliot Big Family

 Little Elliot Big Family

by Mike Curato

Friends Make The Best Family

 

Hilo

Hilo: The Boy Who Crashed To Earth

by Judd Winick

 Hilo Equals A Hilarious Adventure!

 

What five books made you smile this week?

 

 

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Five Faves For Friday Fun! Halloween Favorites!

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Here are my top 5 favorites for Halloween fun!

 

Zombie in Love

Zombie in Love

by Kelly DiPucchio

Illustrated by Scott Campbell

Rotten Love Is Just Funny!

 

NightGardener_cover_final

The Night Gardener

by Jonathan Auxier

 Scary, Creepy, Heart-Pounding Read

 

Doll BonesDoll Bones

by Holly Black

Reader Beware: Creepy Doll Nightmares!

 

 

Crankenstein

 Crankenstein

by Samantha Berger and Illustrated by Dan Santat

Even Cranky Kids Will Laugh!

 

Creepy Carrots

Creepy Carrots

by Aaron Reynolds

 Illustrated by Peter Brown

Winner: Best Halloween Read Aloud 

 

What are your five favorite Halloween books?

 

 

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Five Faves For Friday Fun! The Monster Edition!

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 You will have a monster good time reading these 5 books this Halloween season!

 

I Loathe You

by David Slonim

You will love the loathing!

I loathe you

 

 Even Monsters Need Haircuts

by Matt Mcelligott

 Monsters Need Interesting Hair Too!

 My teacher is a Monster

My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)

by Peter Brown

This Monster Book Has Class!

 

Monsters Love Underpants

 Monsters Love Underpants

by Claire Freedman and Illustrated by Ben Cort

Bloomers Blooming On Monsters: Win!

 

 

The Little Shop of Monsters

The Little Shop of Monsters

by R.L. Stine and Illustrated by Marc Brown

Funny Creepy Monsters For Sale!

 

 

 What are your five favorite monster books?

 

 

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Five Faves For Friday Fun!

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I really want to write a weekly blog post. However, I do not write blog posts quickly…..I agonize over every little word. So I am going to keep it sweet and simple! 5 favorite books every Friday….each with a 5 word review! This should be FUN!

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate

Imaginary Cat Steals Readers’ Hearts!

 Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast by Josh Funk

Sweet Sticky Fun Read Aloud!

The Day The Crayons Came Home

by Drew Daywalt and Pictures by Oliver Jeffers

Come Home To More Laughter!

The Day the Crayons Came Home

 

 Waiting by Kevin Henkes

The Waiting Was Worth It!

waiting

 Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Rolling Over with Girl Power!

Roller-Girl

What were your five favorite books this week?

 

 

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Books alone are not enough! Teachers Need Reading Champions!

Books change lives

I have always heard that books change lives….. I think that is true. But I believe that is half the story. I think for me….people who love books change lives… is even more accurate! I love to read and my love of reading has always been encouraged by the important people in my life. Would I love to read as much without reading mentors? I have been extremely blessed to not only have reading mentors in my childhood but also in my adulthood.

The Book Whisperer1975269_10202483612984338_1539668900_nDonalyn Miller is my reading champion.

Jennifer LaGarde wrote this wonderful blog post about students needing a reading champion. I completely agree with her post. But it got me thinking about how adults need reading champions too. In fact, I strongly believe that the reading champions in my adulthood have changed my life! I know as an adult my thinking was changed by the book titled The Book Whisperer. But my life was changed when I was able to hear the author Donalyn Miller speak at a conference. Her book changed my thoughts about teaching reading and reignited my passion for reading. But meeting her is what changed my life!

NerdyBookClub

How did Donalyn change my life? Donalyn encouraged everyone at the conference to get on Twitter to network with other amazing teachers, librarians and authors. Honestly, I really had no urge to get on Twitter before Donalyn mentioned it. I thought of Twitter as a social media platform for celebrities to talk about themselves and I really didn’t care to hear about what Ashton Kutcher had for dinner. But I got on Twitter and my educational world exploded for the better. I soon found my tribe thanks to Donalyn! My tribe is The Nerdy Book Club: a group of people that are just as geeked out about books as I am! I tweeted with passionate educators, librarians and authors from all over the country and even the world. My passion and love for reading grew and I was excited to share my love for reading with my students. I now have a community of reading champions to lean on for encouragement and support as an educator, librarian and friend. Can you imagine if every teacher had a community of reading champions to lean on?

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My Voxer pals at Nerd Camp!

I truly believe that the reason I am an elementary teacher librarian today is not because of a book but because of the people in my adult life that love books! So a huge thank you to my reading champions: Donalyn Miller, John Schu, Travis Jonker, Margie Myers and Colby Sharp. And of course all my amazing Nerdy Book Club pals on Voxer, Twitter and Facebook. You are the reason I wanted so desperately to become a teacher librarian! I hope with all my heart that I inspire students and other educators to love reading as much as you have inspired me the last four years.

book nerd friends

My book nerd pals!

So my mission my first year as an elementary librarian is to change lives by being a reading champion. It is a very big goal!  But I know I will continue to learn from my reading friends and mentors. I plan on blogging about my teacher librarian adventures here. So Happy Reading and here’s to a NEW and exciting school year!

Reading Champion

 

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Our TOP 5 Read Aloud Books!

My second grade students and I brainstormed 27 of our favorite books we read this year! Then I had them vote for their top 5! Here are the 5 books that came out on top!

#5   Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

CharlotteWebpic

My second graders think Wilbur is…..

Wilbur

An oldie but a goody! My second graders love animals and this classic tale is one of the very best fiction books about animals. It is a hit every year with my second grade students.

#4  Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon

Dory Fantasmagory

This is my new favorite book to read aloud to my second grade students. They think this book is hysterical!

DoryFantasmagory2-300x192

The author Abby Hanlon is a former teacher and just gets kids! I am looking forward to the next book in the series which is coming out on July 7th!

Dory and the Real True Friend

#3  Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtliff

Rump

I’ve read Rump: The True Story of Rumplestiltskin the last 2 years with my second grade students and they love the butt jokes and all the fun fantasy creatures. Some of my students were already reading and enjoying the sequel at the end of the year!

Jack

#2  Fake Mustache by Tom Angleberger

Fake Mustache

I love mustache themed books! How about you? I’ve read this book aloud the last 3 years and my second grade students love it! When we finish reading all our mustache themed books we have a fake mustache party!! It is so fun to see my students wearing their fake mustaches!

Mustache Party

#1  Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel

After I read Bad Kitty aloud to my class my Bad Kitty bin in my classroom library was always empty! So I am not surprised it is in the number 1 spot! If you do not have Bad Kitty books in your classroom library….you need to fix that problem ASAP! My students adore the Bad Kitty series. My favorite memory this year is when one of my reluctant readers was reading Bad Kitty during silent reading and I could hear him laughing hysterically the whole time. He couldn’t get enough of the Bad Kitty series. So you need to keep them coming Nick Bruel!!

What books did your students love this year? I’d love to hear about it in the comments section! Happy Reading!

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Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniversary Blog Tour: What if you could live forever?

TuckEverlasting-BlogTour

It is the 40th anniversary of Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt! Macmillan is celebrating by releasing a anniversary edition of Tuck Everlasting with a foreword by Wicked author Gregory Maguire. The anniversary edition is on sale TODAY- January 20, 2015! Check out this awesome post by Publishers Weekly about how Tuck Everlasting is being celebrated!

Tuck Everlasting 40th Anniv_Cover Image

What if you could live forever?

The first time I read Tuck Everlasting was in college for a children’s literature class. The book single-handedly renewed my love for children’s books. Before I read Tuck Everlasting in college I would have jumped at the chance to live forever! I mean….Who wouldn’t want to live forever?! As a book nerd for example…..I would finally have the time to read ALL the books!

I think Tuck Everlasting really speaks to the power of books and how they can change you….forever! For me, after reading Tuck Everlasting I no longer wanted to live forever. I’m not sure when Winnie Foster made her decision about the spring….but for me it was right after I finished reading Tuck Everlasting in college.

I can’t imagine my life without my friends and family. But to watch them all pass on without me would be even harder to bear. I wouldn’t want to live forever without the people who make my life worth living. Tuck Everlasting made me realize…I like being part of the wheel.

You Can't have living

 So I urge you to read or reread Tuck Everlasting. It is a book that will make you think differently about life and death. It is a book that will change you whenever you choose to read it. That is why this book has been loved for 40 years and will continue to be loved by many generations of readers….possibly forever. And that is a forever I can embrace.

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Join The Virtual Book Club: #vbcbooks!

I can’t believe that Beth Panageotou and I are on our 3rd year of co-moderating the virtual book club chat: #VBCbooks on Twitter! We started our first chat with the book Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass on July 8, 2013!  We have been having a blast discussing books every month since then. Beth and I are very excited about this year’s list of books! Check it out!

Please join us for our first chat of 2015 on Monday, January 12th at 9 p.m. EST on Twitter! Use the hashtag #VBCbooks. We are going to be chatting about the book How To Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating! In fact, Jess Keating is going to be joining us tomorrow during the chat. So have your questions ready for her! Also, check out Jess Keating’s newest book: How to Outswim a Shark Without a Snorkel!

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Must Read and Nerdlution 2015!

Must Read for 2015!

Goals….Glorious Goals! It is the New Year! So here is my Must Read 2015 list!

I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had read 11 out of 14 must read books from my original post: Must Read 2014!

I still want to read!Half a chanceLulu's Mysterious Mission

boys of blur

Plus these 12 books to make it 15 Must Read books for 2015!

Chapter Books

Rain Reign

All the Answers

The Quirks

Secrets of Shakespeare's Grave

The Honest Truth

Stella By Starlight

Picture Books

A Crankenstein Valentine

Wolfie the bunnie

Goodnight Already!

Mr. Ferris and his wheel

Zombie in Love 2

A boy and a jaguar

I can’t wait to read all these amazing books from 2014 and 2015!

nerdlution-2015

I am also joining Nerdlution 15 on Twitter!

A Nerdlution is basically a resolution! I like that it is for 50 days and by then it is hopefully a habit! I haven’t done very well with my nerdlutions. So I think the problem is too many goals! I have 2 goals this time!

quit-diet-soda

Goal 1: Drink less pop! Soda pop has been bothering me physically so this will be easier to do than in the past. I will have one soda pop a day or less. I am switching to water or flavored water the rest of the time.

exercise1

Goal 2: Exercise 3 times a week! I really need to get moving to lose weight! I will do exercise videos at home for 20-30 minutes.

I’m looking forward to following everyone’s progress on their goals at #nerdlution15!

And just because I love this song! Happy New Year!

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Happy Blog Birthday Mr. Schu!

Happy 4th blog birthday to Mr. Schu and Watch. Connect. Read.

Here are the 4 reasons that Watch. Connect. Read. is my favorite blog! I think it has a lot to do with Mr. Schu and the things he loves to share the most on his blog.

Mr. Schu loves…..

1. Book Trailers

There Are Always Book Trailers on Watch. Connect. Read:

December 31, 2010

December 15, 2014

2. Animals and Books About Animals

He loves squirrels, dogs,  cats and of course gorillas…..

This is the blog post I share with my students after I read The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate: Watch. Connect. Read.

(And animals love Mr. Schu!)

As you can see in this Newbery Challenge Video!

3. Traveling….with books of course!

Rocket’s Summer Road Trip!

4. Spreading Book Love!

Check out his Book Release Calendar!

His top 10 most viewed posts which include Author Interviews and Visits!

And of course The Top 20 Books of 2014!

Happy blog birthday, Mr. Schu! Thank you for your inspiring blog! I look forward to reading all of your awesome posts in 2015!

I am giving away 1 copy of Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson to celebrate Mr. Schu’s blog birthday. The giveaway ends on 12/31/14 at 11 p.m.

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

 

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Celebrating 2 years of blogging! My top 2 books of 2014!

I can’t believe I have been blogging about books for 2 years! I’m celebrating by sharing my top 2 books of 2014!

Okay….You really didn’t think I could celebrate just 2 books, did you?! How about 10 books….2 of my favorites in 5 different categories?!

Fiction Picture Books

Beekle

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole 2

Nonfiction Picture Books

Ivan

The Right Word

Middle Grade

A snicker of magic

Natallie Lloyd shares background information about her book on her blog!

The Night Gardener

Jonathan Auxier shares the soundtrack for The Night Gardener on his blog!

Graphic Novels

El Deafo

Sisters

Early Readers

The Princess in Black

leroy ninker

Thank you for following my blog! I’m looking forward to 2015 and celebrating more books together!

I am giving away 2 books from this list of books! The winner gets to choose the 2 books! The book giveaway ends at 11 pm on 12/30/14!

Good Luck and Happy Reading!

 

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25 Days of Picture Books: A Celebration!

Celebrating 25 days of Picture Books!

My students and I had a great time unwrapping a book  for 25….okay actually…. 26 days! It was so fun for each student to unwrap their book and get to read it first. Then I read each book aloud to the class. Each child signed their book as the first reader. Finally, I took their picture with their book. I love all the smiling faces! And now we have 26 amazing picture books in our classroom library for all to enjoy!

Day 1

Luke with book

Day 2

Book and Xander

Day 3

Keara with book

Day 4

Book and Keegan

Day 5

book and Aurora

Day 6book and Travis

Day 7

book and Adam

Day 8

book and Brennan

Day 9

book and Mason

Day 10

book and Ethan

Day 11

book and Olivia

Day 12

book and Pepe

Day 13

book and Janet

Day 14

book and Jeremiah

Day 15

book and Chloe

Day 16

book and Rhys

Day 17

book and Brianna

Day 18

book and Issy

Day 19

book and Ashton

Day 20

book and Maddie

Day 21

book and Nataly

Day 22

book and Makenna

Day 23

Book and Connor

Day 24

book and Suriyah

Day 25

book and Mr. Z

Day 26

book and alecia

A huge thank you to Margie Myers-Culver and John Schu for donating books! Also, a huge thank you goes out to Travis Jonker, Janet Allen and Kevin Zaschak for reading to my students! I’m looking forward to unwrapping picture books again next year! Happy Reading!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 24-26!

upwrap book quote by Lester Laminack

We are celebrating Day 24-26 of 25 days of picture books in my class!  What?! 26? A new student started this week so we have a bonus book! I can’t believe the picture book unwrapping is over! I am excited to do this all over again next year! So much fun!!

Book Reveal for Day 24-26!

Day 24

Day 24 picture book wrapped


Quest cover

It was great to read Quest with my students. We discussed it as we were reading it. We noticed important clues in the pictures that told us what was happening in the story.

Day 25

Day 25 picture book wrapped

book and Mr. ZThis was the perfect book for my principal! My students just loved every minute of it! We had a blast! I highly recommend this book as a read aloud!

 Day 26

Day 26 picture book wrapped

Louise Loves ArtMy students loved this bonus book which was added for my new student. We talked about siblings and art as we were reading the story.

My students and I loved unwrapping picture books and I can’t believe the unwrapping is over! I’m planning one more post to celebrate all the books we read together. So check back later this week! It should be a fun post!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 19-23!

upwrap book quote by Lester Laminack

We are celebrating Day 19-23 of 25 days of picture books in my class! This was the last full week. We only have 2 more picture books to reveal next week. Wow! That went fast!!

Book Reveal for Day 19-23!

Day 19

Day 19 picture book wrapped

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild

My students love this book! It was fun to watch Ashton and a friend smile and laugh while reading this book together.

Day 20

Day 20 picture book unwrapped

This Book Just Ate My Dog

My students loved this book! A huge thank you to Margie- our book giving angel! I found a music video you might like Margie. Check it out!

Day 21

Day 21 picture book wrapped

The Twelve Dogs of Christmas

My students joined in as I was reading this book! We read the whole book together. They loved looking for the cat on each page.

Day 22

Day 22 picture book wrapped

Giant Dance Party

Makenna loves to dance so this was the perfect book for her. She also loved the ending of the book. You can’t help but love the pictures. They make you want to get up and move!

Day 23

Day 23 picture book wrapped

kid sheriff and the terrible toads

 I can’t get enough of Bob Shea’s books! They are hilarious. Seriously, you had me at a kid sheriff riding into town on a tortoise. They are a huge hit with my class too!

I hope you are having a wonderful holiday season. What books have you been enjoying with your class? Happy Holidays and Happy Reading!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 16-18!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

We are celebrating day 16-18 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom! It was a short week because of the Thanksgiving Break.

Book Reveal for Day 16-18!

Day 16

Day 16 picture book wrapped

My Pet Book

 

My students and I love this book about a very low maintenance pet!

Day 17

Day 17 picture book unwrapped

There was a cold lady

My student Brianna loves these books! I knew she hadn’t read this one yet! She kept telling me how much she loved it all day!

Day 18

Day 18 picture book wrapped

Love Monster and the Perfect Present

The perfect book to share during the holiday season. Will Love Monster find the perfect present? You will have to read the book to find out!

I can’t believe this was the last day of Picture Book Month for my students! Wow! That went fast!! But the picture book fun isn’t over yet! We are unwrapping picture books in December too! We still have 7 more books to unwrap when we return from Thanksgiving break!

Happy Picture Book Month and Happy Thanksgiving!!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 14 and 15!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

We are celebrating day 14 and 15 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom! Yesterday we had a snow day…so we read 2 books today!

Book Reveal for Day 14 and 15!

Day 14

Day 14 picture book wrapped

One Big Pair of Underwear

My student Jeremiah loved this book! How could I tell? He would just randomly say the title throughout the day. So funny! My students were laughing at this book all the way through. I love that they caught the message of sharing. They also got a kick out of the end papers as much as I did. You gotta love the underwear tent!

Day 15

Day 15 picture book wrapped

Chloe was very excited to write her name in this book and she couldn’t wait for me to read Little Elliot, Big City aloud! You can’t get much sweeter than Little Elliot! My students noticed that this book was also about sharing! Yes-Life is better with friends! And speaking of friends…..Thank you so much for giving this book to my class Margie! You are the sweetest friend! We need to share a cupcake soon!!

Happy Picture Book Month! I hope your weekend is filled with books and cupcakes. And most of all I hope you get to share them with friends!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 12 and 13!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

We are celebrating day 12 and 13 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom! Yesterday we had a snow day…so we read 2 books today!

Book Reveal for Day 12 and 13!

Day 12

Day 12 picture book wrapped

 

My class LOVES the Pigeon books! My student Pepe is a huge fan! So he was thrilled to be able to read this book first!

Day 13

Day 13 picture book wrapped

Mrs. Allen’s first grade class joined in the picture book fun! Both our classes had a hat day! Then Mrs. Allen unwrapped and read Hooray For Hat by Brian Won to everyone!

Hooray for reading buddies!

Mrs. Allen and book

Wow! I can’t believe how fast reading month is going! I hope you are staying warm and enjoying a good book with a friend! Books are best when shared….just like hats!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 11!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 11 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

Book Reveal for Day 11!

Day 11 picture book wrapped

Telephone got the seal of approval from Olivia! She said, “Mrs. Barnes-I love this book!”

My students and I also Skyped with my friend Margie! We had a blast reading Telephone together and sharing our favorite picture books. I can’t wait to Skype with Margie again in December!

If you haven’t read a book by Mac Barnett you are missing out! My friend Mr. Schu interviewed Mac Barnett on his blog. Check it out here!

How have you been celebrating picture book month? I hope you are staying warm and reading! Happy Picture Book Month!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 10!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 10 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

Book Reveal for Day 10!

Day 10 picture book wrapped

My teacher is a Monster

I knew I had to have Ethan unwrap My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown when I found out he was writing a story about an evil teacher. Hmm…Should I be worried that now many of my students are writing about an evil teacher?

My students really enjoyed this story. They love how the teacher changes as the story progresses.

Another wonderful week of picture books! I’m excited for week three! We have many fun activities planned this week around picture book month! It is going to be a blast!

Have a great weekend and happy reading!

 

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 8 and 9!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is a double book day today! I am posting about Day 8 and 9 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom! I was sick on Wednesday (Day 8) but my student was still able to unwrap his book with the sub. I was bummed I wasn’t there. We read book 9 today and the students LOVED it! I mean L-O-V-E-D it! I had one student ask if that could be her book on her day too. It was a big hit!

Book Reveal for Day 8!

I forgot to take a picture of day 8 wrapped up! I blame it on the fact that I wasn’t feeling well.

I love the LIVE version of the book by Eric Litwin!

Book Reveal for Day 9!

Day 9 picture book wrapped

The Day the Crayons Quit

The Day the Crayons Quit is such a fun read aloud! My students loved it!  Their favorite page…..

The Day the crayons quit peach

We are having a blast discovering awesome picture books in second grade! How is your picture book month going? What picture books are you loving right now?

Happy Reading and remember to Support The Crayons!

Sam Support The Crayons

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 7!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 7 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

Book Reveal for Day 7!

Day 7 picture book wrapped

Thump, Quack, Moo: A Whacky Adventure by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Betsy Lewin

Thump, Quack, Moo

 A perfect book for my student that lives and works on a farm!

So what picture books have your students been enjoying this month? I hope you are having a great time reading picture books! Happy Reading!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 6!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 6 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

We had a special guest today! So which book did Mr. Jonker read to my class?!

Book Reveal for Day 6!

Day 6 picture book wrapped

The book is wrapped and ready!

Mr. Jonker- superworm wrapped

Mr. Jonker is super excited to unwrap the book!

Mr. Jonker SuperwormAnd the book is….

Superworm by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Mr. Jonker reading superworm

My students loved listening to Mr. Jonker read the book!

Mr Jonker First Reader signature

And he got the official “First Reader” treatment! Mr. Jonker signed his name in the book!

Hip, Hip, Hooray! What a great day with our guest reader! Thanks Mr. Jonker!

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 5!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 5 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

Book Reveal for Day 5!

Day 5 picture book wrapped

 

Splat the Cat dreams big

Splat the Cat Dreams Big by Rob Scotton

Aurora loved this book! She couldn’t wait for me to read this book out loud to the class. She is a huge fan of Splat the Cat!

Day 5 was also awesome because Mr. Jonker and I were able to Skype with Mr. Schu and his second graders! We had a great time reading We Are In A Book by Mo Willems together!!

This project makes me so happy and I am so excited for week 2! Make sure to check back tomorrow to find out which book my school librarian Mr. Jonker is going to unwrap and read to my students! They are going to love it!

This video has nothing to do with picture book month but it makes me almost as happy as sharing picture books! Enjoy!!

 

 

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 4!

Picture Book MonthIt is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 4 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

 Book Reveal for Day 4!

Day 5 picture book wrapped

Book 4:  Hot Rod Hamster: Monster Truck Mania! by Cynthia Lord and Illustrated by Derek Anderson

Hot Rod Hamster Day 5

My students went crazy for this book. I knew I had a winner when Keegan unwrapped the book and some students said, “Oh, I want that book!” I reminded them that it was going in our classroom library so everyone would get to read it.

I had so much fun reading this book to my class! The students loved sharing what ride they would ride or what kind of cotton candy they would choose. Now I know I need more Hot Rod Hamster books in my library.

Check out Mr. Schu’s interview of author Cynthia Lord on Watch. Connect. Read.

Also, check out Cynthia Lord’s fabulous website here.

Happy Picture Book Month! How are you celebrating?

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 3!

Picture Book Month

It is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 3 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom!

 Book Reveal for Day 3!

Day 3 picture book wrapped

Keara read the book during read to self time and said to me- “I love this book!” And I thought….I love this project! The student book love made my day!

Book 3: What If You Had Animal Hair!? by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Howard McWilliam

If you had Animal Hair

After I read this book aloud my class was all abuzz about their favorite animal and which animal hair they would choose!

Happy Picture Book Month! How are you celebrating?

 

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 2!

Picture Book Month

It is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

It is day 2 of 25 days of Picture Books in my classroom! My students are getting excited to find out which book they will unwrap! They were talking about which day is their day to unwrap a book and read it first!! I am thrilled they are excited!!!

Book Reveal for Day 2!

Day 2 picture book wrapped

 

Day 2 Ninja book

 

My students were mesmerized while I was reading Ninja by

Arree Chung! This book was a HUGE HIT in my classroom!

Happy Picture Book Month! How are you celebrating?

 

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25 days of Picture Books: Day 1!

Picture Book Month

It is picture book month! So let’s celebrate! Check out the picture book month website here for awesome resources!

My students and I are celebrating by unwrapping 25 picture books for our classroom library during the month of November and part of December! A different student is going to unwrap one new picture book each day. The student will unwrap the book, read the book first during read to self time and sign the book as proof that they were the first to read it! Then I will read it aloud to the class and it will be a part of our classroom library.

November Calendar for PBM

Book Reveal for Day 1!

Wrapped Book 1

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole

My students LOVED Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen.

They of course had their theories about the end of the book!

“Oh! They were digging up!”

“They fell off into an opposite planet.”

“They are in China where everything is backwards!”

Thank you for the book Mr. Schu!!!

Happy Picture Book Month! How are you celebrating?

 

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I Got Soul…

Sometimes there are songs that you just want to crank up and sing really loud in your car when no one is in it! I have been kind of “meh” lately. So this song makes me feel inspired and passionate again. It isn’t a new song….but I love it.

 That is kind of how I have been feeling about books lately too. I have read some great books mind you….but I’m just kind of in a “meh” phase I guess. Well, I found a series that makes me feel like the power of story matters! I want to shout from the top of my lungs…”Read This Series!” It isn’t a new series…..but I love it!! It renews my faith in the written word and inspires me as a reader.

I love the Giver series because of the passion that surrounds books, creativity, nature and human kindness in the stories. The books make me want to be creative. I wish I could bottle up this feeling….

I am going to listen to the last book in the series. The first three books have all been excellent on audio book.  I am excited and scared to read it. For some reason the last book in a series usually disappoints me. I’m taking a leap of faith that this series will be different. I can only hope it has as much creativity and soul as the last three books.

lowry-giver-quartet

What books have renewed your faith in creativity and inspired you?

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Fall Into a Great Book!

Or books that make me as happy as this song….

Hug Machine

 

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

You will want to hug this book after you are done reading it!

 

Nana in the City

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo

You will want to give this book to the hip, loving Nana in your life!

Mr. Schu interviewed Lauren Castillo on his blog Watch. Connect. Read.!

 

Ivan

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate and Illustrated by G. Brian Karas

I am happy the touching, true story of Ivan will be out in the world on October 7, 2014!

Check out this amazing post about Ivan on the Nerdy Book Club blog!

What books are you loving in September?

I am giving away one copy of Nana in the City! The giveaway ends at 10 p.m EST on September 22, 2014.

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The top 5 reasons why nErDcampmi makes me smile!

nerdcampI was smiling so much last week my cheeks hurt! Why you may ask….because I attended nErD Camp MI for 2 days in Parma, Michigan! It was a wonderful experience and I encourage you to come next year. It will be a conference you won’t forget!

Here are the top five reasons why I was smiling for 2 straight days at nErD Camp!

1. Learning!

You will come home from nErD Camp with great ideas for your classroom, library, family and yourself.

Nerd Camp slide

Colby Sharp gets nErD Camp started!

Donalyn slide

Donalyn Miller shares how to encourage students to become wild readers.

2. Books!

You will take home awesome books that have been donated from amazing publishers, authors and bookstores!

Here are just two of the awesome books that made me smile from nErD Camp!

The Troublemaker

Comics Squad Recess

3. Exercise!

nErd Camp has it all….including a 5 K Run!

nerd camp run

You know you want to join Team Saunter next year! We had a blast!

4. Authors!

nErd Camp had so many amazing authors donate their time! They made nErd Camp and nErd Camp Jr. awesome!

Jenni Holm

 Jenni Holm is Skyping with students for Nerd Camp Jr.

5. Friends!

And most importantly I was able to see my Nerdy Book Club friends! I loved seeing and hugging old friends again and also meeting new friends for the first time in real life…not just on Twitter!

RoomiesReuniting with my MRA roomies!

Ann King and me

 I met my friend Ann for the first time in real life. What did we talk about? Underpants books of course!

nerd camp fun

Thanks for the pictures Donalyn Miller.

I had a great time helping out the Nerd Crew with the nErD Camp set up.

Babymouse

Babymouse and I would love to see your smiling face next year at nErD Camp MI! So mark your calendars NOW for July 6th and 7th 2015!

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A Book That Makes Me Smile: Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger and CeCe Bell

smile book

The Fourth of July holiday always makes me smile. I can’t wait to celebrate and watch the fireworks on Friday.

So what is the perfect book for the Fourth of July? Crankee Doodle by Tom Angleberger with pictures by CeCe Bell.

crankee doodleThis book is so funny! You must check it out! I hope that Tom Angleberger and his wife CeCe Bell collaborate on future projects. What a wonderful team!

So what books make you smile? Use the hashtag #booksmiles on Twitter and let me know in a blog post or Tweet. My fellow nerdy friends and I are posting weekly and using #booksmiles to share our favorites. Please join us!

Happy 4th of July and Happy Reading!

 

 

 

 

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Happy Birthday!

Dear DeerTravis,

 

Happy Birthday To YouI thought I will Surprise my friend

But then I remembered  Oh No!

You took a Journey or was it a Quest?

Travis' adventure to lasvegas !

The land of caldecott-medal2014caldecott_550x477!!!!

So you may not see my post on your birthday. But if you do….

I have some advice for you while you are in Vegas:

I’m Being Frank      Don't Play With Your Food

SeriouslyThat is not a good idea!

And stay away from The Riverman and the Creepy Carrots

Have a Wild

and Wonder -ful birthday!

Your

 One Cool Friend,

me

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A Book That Makes Me Smile: Underpants Dance by Marlena Zapf

smile book

Okay, if I’m going to dance in my underpants….it has to be in the summertime. Seriously, is there any time more carefree?

Thankfully for my friends, family and neighbors….I don’t dance around in my undies in public. And I will only admit to it here on my blog…anyone else? anyone?

Underpants Dance

Lily McBloom hasn’t quite learned that lesson yet. And what better way to mortify everyone…especially your older sister than to show off your lacy pink underwear at school, in your neighborhood and even at the museum?!

I thought this was a fun book and it put a smile on my face the minute I saw the cover.

So what books make you smile? Use the hashtag #booksmiles on Twitter and let me know in a blog post or Tweet. My fellow nerdy friends and I are posting weekly and using #booksmiles to share our favorites. Please join us!

Happy Reading and Happy Dancing!

 

 

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A Book That Makes Me Smile: Hooray For Hat! by Brian Won

smile book

I have many reasons to smile….

1. It is summer vacation!

2. I get to spend more time with my son Sam!

3. I have time to read more books!

I love when books make me smile! Don’t you?

And speaking of books that make me smile…

If you are feeling grumpy….. nothing will end your grumpy mood like the new book Hooray For Hat by Brian Won!

Hooray For Hat

I dare you to watch this trailer and not smile. It can’t be done!

Feeling Happy? Now check out Brian Won’s Website!

Need To Smile More?! Mr. Schu interviewed Brian Won on Watch. Connect. Read.

Want some icing on that happy cake? Go buy Hooray For Hat now or borrow it from your local public library.

I can’t wait to share Hooray For Hat with my students in the fall. I plan on having a hat day to celebrate.

So what books make you smile? Use the hashtag #booksmiles on Twitter and let me know in a blog post or Tweet. My fellow nerdy friends and I plan on posting weekly and using #booksmiles to share our favorites. Please join us! Happy Reading!

 

 

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Interview: Ninja! Author Arree Chung

Ninja

Happy Book Birthday to Arree Chung! Kids are going to love his debut picture book Ninja! Adults too! Who doesn’t want to be a Ninja?!

I am excited to interview Arree. My questions are in red followed by Arree’s thoughtful answers in black.

So did you want to be a Ninja when you were a kid? How about now?

When I was a kid, I wanted to be either an NBA basketball player or an artist.  I’m okay with not making the NBA.

In becoming a published author/illustrator, I feel like I just got drafted by MacMillan and am playing my first year as a rookie.

Now, I just want to be the best picture book ninja I can be.

What was your inspiration for this book?

My inspiration for this book was just small idea doodle from my sketchbook.

ninja sketch

After that, I just really wanted to capture the feeling of being sneaky and going on a secret mission.  As the book developed, there were more layers of storytelling to put on.  It was a lot of fun to make!

ninja pic1

What advice would you give to my second grade students about being a artist and writer?

Follow your instincts.  Follow that little voice inside of you.

Commit and stick with it.

Practice lots and don’t listen to anyone who says you can’t do it.  Find great mentors.  For as many people who say that you can’t do it, there are others who have done it and will help you grow and learn.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions and really go for it.  Try your best.  When you get discouraged or frustrated, rest.  Give yourself a break and when you’re ready, go at it again.  You’ll get there.

If you don’t know what you want to do, that’s ok.  Try lots of things.  And don’t be afraid to quit if you aren’t passionate about what you are doing.  Quitting things you aren’t in love with allows you to find things you can be passionate about.  It’s much easier to work hard when you love what you do.

The world is craving for great things to be created so go do what you’re meant to do.  Being an artist isn’t easy; it takes courage, heart and support but the end result is so rewarding.

I wrote a zillion words about my journey to being a picture book artist on my blog!

dragon ninja

What were your favorite children’s books growing up? What are your favorites now?

Oh, so many!  I really loved Ronald Dahl’s stories.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and James and Giant Peach were my favorite.  I also loved Frog and Toad and Shel Silverstein’s poems.

Of course, there’s Dr. Seuss.  (Horton Hears a Who and the Lorax), Richard Scarry, William Stieg, Leo Lionni and so many others.

More recent books I love: Olivia, Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, The Day the Crayons Quit, Mr. Tiger Goes Wild…too many to list!

class visit

Any advice on how to channel your inner Ninja?

Ha, ha!  I love this question.  I don’t think kids need advice on how to do this.  They do this on their own naturally.  I love hanging out with kids and because they help me channel my inner Ninja.  I learn a lot from kids.  I love how they are unafraid and curious about the world.  That is your inner Ninja.

Who inspires you and keeps you going as an artist/person?

Children.  Other artists who dare to make amazing things.

My uncle is a big inspiration.  His passion is physics and education.  When he was in high school, he designed a physic experiment that worked so well, his teacher offered to buy it from him!  Later, he founded his own company, PASCO, which makes products that focus on physics education.

I’ve always been so impressed with how he treated other people and how he lived his life.  He used his ideas to improve the lives of others.  He’s like a super hero to me in that way.  He also married Aunt Shelley who gives me love and listens to me.  She also used to send me cookies during valentines when I was in college.  They are such amazing people.

family pic

My parents also are inspiring.  My mom is the funniest and most spontaneous person I know.  She is unconditionally loving and CRAZY.  I think I get my creativity from her.  My Dad was always the stern, steady, logical one in the house.  My parents taught my brother and I the value of hard work and sacrifice.  They immigrated to the US speaking very little English.  They both gave up their professional careers and worked blue collar jobs to give us the opportunity to pursue our dreams.  I don’t take that for granted and am very thankful to the both of them.

Please check out arree.com for more information about the book Ninja and author Arree Chun! And turn into a Ninja HERE at Ninjafy Me! 

Thank you Arree for your thoughtful answers and sharing your book creation journey with us! 

 

 

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Review: Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle

Were you a theater geek before you were a book nerd? Hey, that’s ME! *raises hand*

Theatre Geek

Well then you will adore Nate Foster and the two books he stars in….. Better Nate Than Ever! and Five, Six, Seven Nate!

 

 

Nate is a boy who dreams of nothing but starring on Broadway and seeing his name in lights (sound familiar?)!  So will his dream come true? Or will it be squashed in the Big Apple before it can even get started?

 

Next big question for you lovers of all things musical….. Are you following Tim Federle?

Girl, you should be! He is hilarious not only in his books but on Twitter also! Here are some of my favorite tweets from Tim Federle for your viewing pleasure. Read them and then go follow him already.

When somebody says “I love you” for the first time a romantic way to say you agree is you look in their eyes and just whisper “Retweet.”

The first person who complains how “hot” it is outside gets banished to Elsa’s ice castle till next January.

Do you quietly giggle every time somebody says “hump day”? YOU TOO COULD WRITE MIDDLE SCHOOL FICTION!

OMG. Just discovered I dropped a cookie on the kitchen floor last night. Thank God for the 28,800-second rule!

You NEVER know when your everyday actions could be touching somebody’s else’s life. For instance, you’re standing on my foot, sir.

So what are you waiting for? Get out there! Sing, dance and read Tim’s books in……the… rain?!

And YOU are going to LOVE Nate!

Don’t believe me?! Maybe Jennifer Hudson can convince you!

 

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Must Read in 2014!

Books I have Read so far in 2014 (and think everyone else should add to their Must Read list)

2014 Picture BooksbluebirdBluebird by Lindsey Yankey: Beautiful. Amazing and Creative.

MapleMaple by Lori Nichols : The tree hugger in me…..loves this book.

Emily's Blue PeriodEmily’s Blue Period by Cathleen Daly and Illustrations by Lisa Brown: Wonderful illustrations and such an important topic-divorce.

dont-play-with-your-foodDon’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea: This book is so fun and funny! You gotta love Bob Shea’s books!

What's your favorite animalWhat’s Your Favorite Animal? by Eric Carle and Friends: This book has kid appeal written all over it!

2014 Chapter Books

 A snicker of magic A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: I just think this book is the sweetest kind of magic!

Seven Stories UpSeven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder: A magical story about friendship and family. It makes me wonder…..Who would I love to go back in time to see as a child?

Oldies but Goodies Read in 2014!

When You Reach MeWhen You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: Brilliant Mystery! The first book I have ever wanted to reread the minute it ended! If you haven’t read it….you are missing out!

RulesRules by Cynthia Lord: I recommend the audio book! If for some reason you haven’t read this book (like me) then you need to read it! I loved Wonder and Out of My Mind so this book was right up my alley! I loved it!

14 more Books I am excited to read in 2014!

I am currently reading: five, six, seven, Nate

I loved Better Nate Than Ever! So I am thrilled to be reading the sequel Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle.

I can’t wait to read!

BeekleCheck out the book trailer and you will want to read Beekle too!

found

I love books by Salina Yoon and this one looks so adorable!

Peanut Butter and JellyfishThe book trailer is so cute! Check it out!

Quest

Journey was hands down my favorite picture book in 2013. So I can’t wait for Quest on August 26th!

Happy Birthday Babymouse

My class and I will be celebrating the newest Babymouse book on April 22nd!

Comics Squad RecessWow! All these amazing artists in one book! July 8th is so far off but worth the wait!

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up

This has instant hit written all over it! My students love Mercy Watson. Leroy will also be well loved on August 26.

Lulu's Mysterious Mission

Lulu is back! This series is hilarious!

FourteenthGoldfish_CoverThe Fourteenth Goldfish has already been chosen as a Global Read Aloud book for the fall. I can’t wait to read it on August 26th!

the-riverman-aaron-starmer

I had to buy this book because Donalyn Miller and Travis Jonker gave it five stars! It will be my next read after Five, Six, Seven, Nate.

Half a chance

I loved Rules. So this is also high on my list to read right away.

NightGardener_cover_final

I’m thrilled that we will be chatting about Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes and The Night Gardner for Virtual Book Club in August. The Night Gardner is being released on May 20th.

boys of blur

The Boys of Blur has been getting a lot of buzz on Goodreads and Twitter! I am looking forward to reading it.

So what books have you loved so far in 2014? And what books are you looking forward to reading this year? I’d love to hear about your favorites in the comments section.

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