It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10-17-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

princessandthepony

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

This is such an adorable and funny book. I highly recommend it as a read aloud. The Princess and the Pony was at my Scholastic book fair and it was a big hit.

dory-3

Dory Fantasmagory: Dory Dory Black Sheep by Abby Hanlon

I love Dory. She is so quirky, creative and funny. Abby Hanlon really understands kids as a former first grade teacher. I know this series is a hit as a read aloud! Run don’t walk to pick up the series now. And while you are running….run over to All The Wonders for a great podcast and more resources about Dory Fantasmagory!

a-perfectly-messed-up-story

A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell

My mentor and fellow librarian, Travis Jonker recommended that I read A Perfectly Messed-Up Story at the beginning of the year to talk about book care in the library. There could not be a more perfect book for this discussion. The students just love the book. It is hilarious and shows how messed up a book can get if you don’t take care of it. A great read aloud for the library!

So what have you enjoyed reading recently?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , | 6 Comments

Calling All Authors! Blog Tour For Write This Down

write-this-down-by-claudia-mills

Write This Down by Claudia Mills

Write This Down will appeal to students that love to write. I know as a kid I loved to write stories and often dreamed of being a published writer just like Autumn. Claudia Mills does a wonderful job showing Autumn’s growth as a writer while she struggles with a change in family dynamics. Will Autumn become a published writer? And will her relationship with her brother and family strengthen or unravel in the process? Read Write This Down to find out!

Claudia Mills agreed to share some thoughts about writing craft from her new book Write This Down. Thank you Claudia for sharing your process!

First Person versus Third Person: Which Is Better for This Story?

by Claudia Mills

One of the most crucial decisions an author has to make in crafting a story is the choice of point of view. Should the story be told by an omniscient narrator who has a godlike ability to enter into any character’s head at will? Or by the main character, speaking directly to the reader in his or her own voice? Or in a third-person narrative that nonetheless stays throughout in the head of the protagonist, tracking his or her perceptions and emotions? Or even from multiple perspectives, switching back and forth from chapter to chapter?

I prefer to write in what writers call “third-person limited point of view”: a third-person narration that sticks closely inside the main character’s head. Of my 57 published books, 53 have been third-person books. I love third-person limited point of view because it has much of the directness and intimacy of first person, but allows for more sophisticated language than a child might be capable of. First-person narration can sometimes feel too generic: a bland, flat “every kid” way of speaking, or too much like an adult’s cutsey attempt to sound kidlike.

For Write This Down, however, I felt that I had to tell Autumn’s story in first person. After all, Autumn is a writer. I’ve written books about other girls who like to write, but Autumn is my most writerly writer: she defines herself as a writer, and the conflicts she faces as a writer seeking publication are what drive the story. So I felt that, as a writer, Autumn should get to narrate her own story, in her own way.

As I wrote, though, I discovered a danger I hadn’t realized about first-person writing. I started to fall in love with the sound of Autumn’s voice, adoring the access I suddenly had to every single one of her thoughts and feelings. I was on a first-person roll, luxuriating in being so fully and thoroughly inside my main character’s head. But the reader didn’t need to know every single one of Autumn’s thoughts and feelings. Who really wants to take up residence that claustrophobically inside someone else’s consciousness? When someone tells you every single thing she thinks and feels, she starts to sound pretty darned self-centered. Readers may react with the sentiment I saw once expressed on a T-shirt: “You must be mistaking me for someone who cares.”

The only solution: cut, cut, cut. Make sure that all thoughts and feelings expressed are directly relevant to the story, not mere witty, pleasant asides. Keep returning to what gives a story its needed momentum, not interior monologue, but action. Ruthlessly, I hacked a full ten pages out of the final draft just from cutting commentary of Autumn’s that went on too long.

I still love some of the bits that had to go, so I’ll share one of them here. Autumn, who has decided to win her brother’s respect and her crush’s love through her writing, ruminates on the famous saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.” You can be the only people in the world who have a chance to read it!

When I get home that afternoon, after Monday ballet with Kylee, I decide to look up the person who said the pen is mightier than the sword. I want to find out if he had ever done anything especially mighty with his pen, given how much he’s inspired me to do something extra-mighty with mine.

“The pen is mightier than the sword” was first said by Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839. A lot of other people had already said sort of the same thing, in different words. Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Thomas Paine saying, “Go on doing with your pen what in other times was done with the sword.” Both of those Thomases had uber-mighty pens. Jefferson used his pen to write the Declaration of Independence – it’s hard to find anything mightier than that. And Thomas Paine wrote this pamphlet called Common Sense that talked a lot of undecided people into siding against the British in the American Revolution. Still, Jefferson didn’t really say to Paine that the pen is mightier than the sword, more that the pen is the new sword. Bulwer-Lytton’s line is more quotable.

Here’s the really ironic and pitiful thing. Bulwer-Lytton is also the person who started one of his novels with the line “It was a dark and stormy night.” This is apparently a terrible first line, though to be honest, I don’t see what is so terrible about it. It gets copied a lot, but that doesn’t make it terrible. Anyway, some people think this line is so terrible that there is a whole contest – I’m not making this up – called the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, where people write terrible first lines on purpose to get prizes.

So the person who wrote that the pen is mightier than the sword is now mocked on an annual basis for how un-mighty his own pen was.

I love ironic things like that when they happen in the world.

I hate when they happen to me in my own life.

Thanks again Claudia for your insightful thoughts on writing craft. It was great to learn more about Autumn and this well known saying, “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

Make sure to check out the rest of the Blog Tour!

Calling All Authors! Blog Tour for WRITE THIS DOWN

September 27: Ruth at ruth ayers writes

September 28: Cindy at Charting By the Stars

September 29: Melanie at Two Writing Teachers

September 30: Niki at Daydream Reader

October 1: Kathy at The Brain Lair

October 2: Maria at Maria’s Mélange

Posted in Blog Tour | Tagged , | 2 Comments

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9-26-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

write-this-down-by-claudia-mills

Write This Down by Claudia Mills (Out September 27, 2016)

This book is perfect for students who love to write. The main character Autumn would love to be a published writer. However, she has to make a hard choice between her passion for writing and her family.

waiting-for-snow

Waiting for Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold and illustrations by Renata Liwska (Out Nov. 1, 2016)

This book is adorable. I think students could totally relate to being impatient about the first snow coming just like Badger. I love the fun ways Badger’s friends try to help him get the snow to come. A great book to use to discuss the seasons and patience.

 

this-book-is-out-of-control

This Book is Out of Control! by Richard Byrne (Out Oct. 4, 2016)

I love reading This Book Just Ate My Dog and We’re in the Wrong Book to my students in the library. So when I heard This Book is Out of Control! was coming out I was excited. The students are going to love the third book in the series. Ben, Bella and their dog are back for another adventure. This time the remote doesn’t seem to be working for Ben and Bella’s toy. Or is it? Students will love this fun, interactive story!

seven-and-a-half-tons-of-steel

Seven and a Half Tons of Steel by Janet Nolan and Illustrated by Thomas Gonzalez

The USS New York is a special navy ship. Why? It all has to do with September 11, 2001! A wonderful nonfiction story about how wreckage from the World Trade Center was used in the making of a very important ship. A ship that will always remember.

So what have you enjoyed reading recently?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9-19-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

they-all-saw-a-cat_fc

I love this clever book. A great book to use for perspective and how we all see things differently.

the-haunting-of-falcon-house

If you love mysterious ghost books with a twist ending….this book is for you!

Dragon Masters

Students love the branches books. Dragon Masters is a great early reader series for students that love dragons and adventure.

Bad Kitty Meets the Baby

Sam and I have been enjoying this hilarious series!

I’m currently reading:

write-this-down-by-claudia-mills

 

So what have you enjoyed reading recently?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

The Haunting of Falcon House by Eugene Yelchin

the-haunting-of-falcon-house

Prince Lev Lvov goes to live with his aunt at Falcon House. As he explores his family estate, he soon looks up to his heroic ancestors and longs to be like his grandfather. However, he soon realizes things are not as they seem. Prince Lev must battle a haunting force that threatens to tear his life apart. Will Prince Lev be victorious?

falcon-house

The Haunting of Falcon House by Eugene Yelchin is a great book for students that enjoy creepy, mysterious ghost stories. I loved the build up to the twist ending. I wanted to reread the book after the shocking ending. The illustrations add another layer of spooky to the story.  If you love ghost stories….this book is for you!

Check out Eugene Yelchin’s website to find out more about him and his books.

Posted in Book Review | Tagged | 1 Comment

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-29-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

Inspector Flytrap

I’ve been looking forward to this early reader series ever since I heard about it from Tom Angleberger and CeCe Bell. I’m a huge fan of them both. Students will love the wacky characters! Will Nina the Goat eat all the clues? If so, how will Inspector Flytrap solve the case? This is a great first mystery series for younger students. I’m so happy that Tom and CeCe teamed up again! Keep the funny books coming!

Pirasaurs! is a great book for kids that love dinosaurs….and bonus…the dinosaurs are pirates! Let the fun begin! This book sails into stores this Tuesday, August 31st! I featured the quiz on my blog last Thursday. Click on the link below to find out: Which Pirasaur Are You?

https://www.qzzr.com/c/quiz/256474/which-pirasaur-are-you

I’m currently reading:

Dragon Masters

Bad Kitty Meets the Baby

So what have you enjoyed reading recently?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Which Pirasaur Are YOU?!

So Which Pirasaur Are You?!

Wait! You don’t know what a pirasaur is….

Well, it is a Pirate Dinosaur of course! And Pirasaurs are taking over the high seas on Tuesday, August 30, 2016!

You MUST own this picture book! Students are going to love Pirasaurs! by Josh Funk and Illustrated by Michael H. Slack! This book has adventure, swashbuckling and deck swabbing! And did I mention the dinosaurs are pirates?! You can’t get more fun than that! The perfect book to read aloud for International Talk Like A Pirate Day on September 19th! And it goes perfectly with the Scholastic Pirate Book Fair theme this Fall!

So what are you waiting for?!

Take the Quiz: Which Pirasaur are YOU? Click on the link to find out!!

https://www.boombox.com/widget/quiz/fi9xdWl6emVzLzI1NjQ3NA

Posted in Book Review | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-22-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

nine, ten 2

A powerful book that brought me back to that day fifteen years ago. The author does a wonderful job weaving four different stories/perspectives together. I think this is an important book for students to understand what happened on September 11, 2001 and how it changed us all.

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog

I love this book for growing readers. Students need someone who will just enjoy listening to them read. The last time I was at my public library they had a dog there with his owner and children were reading to him. The kids absolutely loved it!

My son and I finished this book last week:

Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray

That Bad Kitty is so bad…..and funny! My son really enjoyed Bad Kitty and is excited to read the next book in the series.

So what have you enjoyed reading recently?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , | 8 Comments

Hey A.J., It’s Saturday! Blog Tour

I’m excited to share my review of  Hey A.J., It’s Saturday! by Martellus Bennett. Make sure to check out all the blog stops for fun giveaways and more information about this creative book!

Book Summary: 

A.J. Is an imaginative girl who finds another world that is strangely right downstairs in her kitchen. So strange there’s already a feast, breakfast being served by creatures and beasts.

Oh! What is going on in this kitchen of hers? Pancakes! Waffles! Scrambled eggs! And a Jamaican Giraffe?

Breakfast will never be the same. Ever!

My Review:

The illustrations in the book are lively and fun! A.J. has quite an imagination when it comes to breakfast time. I think students will love this book! They will be able to relate to A.J.’s love of animals, breakfast food and most of all Saturdays! I think students will want to write their own imaginative stories about what animals can do on a Saturday. 

About the Author Martellus Bennett:

Martellus aka The Black Unicorn is a BIG dreamer. He lives in a magical house with his wife Siggi and daughter Jett where everything comes to life when it gets dark or there’s food on the table ( which is pretty much all the time). He’s usually a bit overwhelmed by all of the creatures bouncing around knocking things over in his head and in his house, but that’s nothing a creative ninja can’t handle. Marty received his PhD in awesomeness from the highly prestigious Orange Dinosaur University where his focus was coloring outside of the lines and making stuff with his creative and funny bones. The A.J series is inspired by his daughter Austyn Jett (A.J.) and their adventures together.

Oh yea, he’s a Pro Bowl Tight End for your favorite NFL team.

Check out the Hey A.J. It’s Saturday website: www.heyaj.com

Find author Marty Bennett on social media: Twitter Instagram

Order Hey A.J., It’s Saturday! at the Hey A.J Shop.

And find the app on iTunes and the Google Play Store.

Check Out More Blog Tour Stops

Jen at Teach Mentor Texts – 8/16

Niki at Daydream Reader – 8/17

Michele at Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook – 8/18

Jessica at Little Lake County – 8/19

Linda at Teacher Dance – 8/20

Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers – 9/4

Enter to Win: Hey A.J. Kids-Sized T-Shirt and Bookmarks!

Giveaway Ends 8-20-16

Thanks to The Imagination Agency for sending me this title
and providing a prize pack for one winner from my site!

Posted in Blog Tour | Tagged , | Leave a comment

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-15-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

Finding Perfect

I finished Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz (out October 18, 2016).  I highly recommend this book. Molly is a girl struggling to keep it all together after her mother leaves her family behind for a job far from home. I felt the stress and anxiety Molly felt as her inner voice and outer world start falling apart. I’m looking forward to adding this book to the school library in October.

School's First Day

This is the book you need to read on the first day of school! In fact, School’s First Day of School made me tear up a bit at the end. This book is sweet, funny and will tug at your heart strings. A perfect read aloud for the first day to calm the most jittery child….or teacher.

The Not So Quiet Library

I just love Zachariah Ohora’s illustrations! The Not So Quiet Library is full of humor! I can’t wait to share it as one of my first read aloud books this school year! I know kids are going to love it! I’m sure my library isn’t going to be quiet either. There will be much loud laughter instead! And I’m okay with that.

I’m currently reading:

nine, ten 2

My son and I are currently reading:

Bad Kitty vs Uncle Murray

So what are you reading this week?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , , , | 5 Comments

My Favorite Bulletin Boards! (Part 2)

My Favorite Bulletin Board Ideas (Part 2)!

I’m starting to think about what bulletin boards I want to put up this school year. So I am looking back at bulletin boards I have done in the past. Here are some more of my favorite book inspired bulletin board ideas. If you can’t get enough bulletin board ideas… Here is Part 1 of my favorite bulletin boards. Feel free to take any ideas and make them your own this school year.

Book Characters for President!

Bad Kitty vs Babymouse

This is a fun idea you can try this year. We had students vote for Bad Kitty or Babymouse for President four years ago. This year Travis Jonker and I are going to do the same thing again but with different book characters. Here is a post about book characters for president.

25 Days of Picture Books!

25 days of pb 1

 25 days of pb 225 days of pb 3I decided to celebrate the holiday season in my classroom by unwrapping picture books each day. Every student in my classroom unwrapped a picture book and read it first after I read it to the class. The student also signed the book and we added it to our classroom library for all the students to enjoy. Here is the post about 25 Days of Picture books if you want more information.

Star Wars Bulletin Board

Star Wars 1

Star Wars 2

I really enjoyed last years reading month theme: Star Wars! The students loved it too! Here is a post with more ideas for a Star Wars themed reading month.

Poem in Your Pocket!

Poem in Your Pocket 1

Poem in Your Pocket 2

My favorite day in April is Poem in Your Pocket Day! The students all pick a poem and put it in their pockets. Then they read their poems to other teachers and staff. It is such a fun way to share poetry! I love it! Here is more information about Poem in Your Pocket Day!

So what are your favorite bulletin board ideas?! I would love to hear what you do to get kids excited about books and reading in your library or classroom!

 

 

 

Posted in Favorite Bulletin Boards | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-8-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Books I finished last week:

Tiara on the Terrace

I finished reading The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher. I’m excited to talk about this book TONIGHT: August 8th at 9 pm EST for the #Vbcbooks chat on Twitter! Have your questions ready for Kristen because she will be joining us for the chat! See you TONIGHT!

City Shapes

City Shapes would be a great book to use when introducing shapes or geometry. The students will really enjoy the illustrations and finding all the different shapes on each page. I really love the illustrations in this book.

Poor Little Guy

Poor Little Guy has a fun and surprising ending. I think this book will make a great read aloud! I’m excited to see students reactions when I read it this coming school year.

So what are you reading this week?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

My Favorite Bulletin Boards!

My Favorite Bulletin Board Ideas (Part 1)!

I never feel like I have enough time….but I’m one of those weirdos that loves putting together fun bulletin boards for school. My favorite bulletin boards also serve as a way to recommend books to students. I’m already starting to pin ideas that tie in to book recommendations for this school year. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite bulletin boards from past years. This is my first post about some of my favorite bulletin boards. I will have a second post with more ideas next week. Also,  feel free to modify any bulletin board ideas to use at your school this year!

My Reading Life Bulletin Boards

Book Door

My Reading Life Door

Reading Life library board

My Reading Life Bulletin Board

I got the reading life door idea from Donalyn Miller, the author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild. I use it every year to get students excited about reading and to show them I am a reader. I include books I’ve read as recently as over the summer to older books that were a favorite when I was a kid. Now that I am in the library, I try to change up the books through out the year. I talk about the board at the beginning of the year and also point out when I’ve changed some of the books. I love when I see students using my reading life board to pick out books in the library.

Choose Kind Bulletin Board

Wonder-ful books

Travis Jonker and I made this bulletin board based on books like Wonder by R.J. Palacio. We picked books that deal with anti-bullying and kindness.

Welcome Back Books!

Welcome Back Books

The Welcome Back books where all school related and were books to use at the beginning of the year. Travis Jonker and I put it together for the library.

Mock Caldecott

Mock Caldecott books

The Mock Caldecott bulletin board Travis and I put together. Travis had second grade teachers (including me) read each book to the students and rate them. The students loved it. We tallied up the totals and shared the Mock winners with the students.

Mock Caldecott 2014

We also made a bulletin board of past winners.

Award Winning Books

We posted the actual winners of the Caldecott, Geisel and Newbery Awards.

I realized that I have more bulletin boards to share….So look for more bulletin board ideas next week on my blog.

So what are your favorite bulletin board ideas?! I would love to hear what you do to get kids excited about books and reading in your library or classroom!

 

 

 

Posted in Favorite Bulletin Boards | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8-1-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

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:

The Cat on the Mat is Flat

Sam and I finished reading The Cat on the Mat is Flat by Andy Griffiths and Illustrated by Terry Denton. We took turns reading it. I would read a page and then he would read a page. It is so fun reading together!

Sparkle

Yes, this book is adorable just like the cover! It also has a great lesson on acceptance! I know my students will love this book up!

I am currently reading:

Tiara on the Terrace

I am currently reading The Tiara on the Terrace by Kristen Kittscher. I’m excited to talk about this book on August 8th at 9 pm EST for the #Vbcbooks chat on Twitter! Have your questions ready for Kristen because she will be joining us for the chat! See you then! Happy Reading!

So what are you reading this week?


Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Vote Books for President!

Vote

Okay, yes I know books can’t run for president… But I would totally vote for books to be president (depending on the books of course)!

 

This election year has been…..interesting. So interesting that sometimes books come in handy! If you are like me and you want to share the love of reading and the election process with students… Here are some interesting reads for this election year. I plan on posting more books as the election season draws near. Here are 5 that have my vote!

 

Thomas Jefferson 2

A fascinating biography about Thomas Jefferson’s love of books and how he helped rebuild the Library of Congress.

 

Brick by Brick

A book about the people who built the White House.

“The president of a new country
needs a new home,
so many hands work
together as one.

Black hands,
white hands,
free hands,
slave hands.”

 

Abraham Lincoln

This is a great first biography book for younger students about Abraham Lincoln. 


Bad Kitty for President

A hilarious way to teach students about the election process. Students love Bad Kitty!

 

Babymouse for President

Babymouse is running for president of the student council. One problem….so is everyone else. Will Babymouse win? I do love her slogan…A vote for Babymouse is a vote for cupcakes! 

 

Bad Kitty vs BabymouseIn 2012 my librarian friend Travis Jonker and I had fun with the election season. The students were able to vote for their favorite book character for president. Bad Kitty won! But Babymouse was still a good sport and gave the whole school cupcakes! 

cupcakes

What books do you plan on sharing this Fall during the election season?

Posted in Top 5 | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7-25-16

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

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:

52 story treehouse

Sam and I finished The 52-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Illustrated by Terry Denton. Now we have to wait for the next book in the series to come out. While we are waiting we are going to read other books by Andy Griffiths.

fullofbeans

I finished Full of Beans by Jennifer L. Holm (Out August 30, 2016)

I loved the audio book for Turtle in Paradise! In fact Turtle in Paradise is my favorite book by Jenni Holm. So I was excited to read more about Beans and the Diaper Gang in the prequel to Turtle in Paradise! I loved learning more about Beans and his family. It was a funny and touching story about Beans and his community surviving the Great Depression. I highly recommend it!

So what did you love reading last week?

Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , | 5 Comments

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!

Posted in BookSmiles | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

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?

Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , | 5 Comments

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!

Posted in Nerd Camp | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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!

nerdcamp

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.

nerdy gathering

 The First Nerdy Dinner in 2013

nerd friends pic

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!

Posted in Top 5 | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

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

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

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?!

Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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.

shea_ballet-cat-dance-dance-underpants2

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

Posted in Top 5 | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

 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?!

Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading? | Tagged , , | 16 Comments

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!

 

shea_ballet-cat-dance-dance-underpants2

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.

Posted in Top 10 | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

IMWAYR-2015-logo-300x300

Posted in It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Top 10 | Tagged , , , , | 4 Comments

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

book and notes

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….

Posted in Saturday Songs and A Book! | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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!

Posted in Reading Month | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Join the 2016 Nerdlution!

nerdlution-button-tiny-01

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!

 

Posted in Nerdlution | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

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

Happy-Friday-Quotes-Tumblr-8

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?

 

 

Posted in BookSmiles, Five Faves for Friday Fun! | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Faves For Friday Fun! Halloween Favorites!

Happy-Friday-Quotes-Tumblr-8

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?

 

 

Posted in Five Faves for Friday Fun! | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Five Faves For Friday Fun! The Monster Edition!

Happy-Friday-Quotes-Tumblr-8

 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?

 

 

Posted in Five Faves for Friday Fun! | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Five Faves For Friday Fun!

Happy-Friday-Quotes-Tumblr-8

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?

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

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?

nerd friends pic

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

 

Posted in Reading Champions | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Tuck Everlasting Blog Tour | Tagged | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in VBC books | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

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!

Posted in Must Read Books, Nerdlution | 7 Comments

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!

 

Posted in Blog Birthday | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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!

 

Posted in Blog Birthday | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | 1 Comment

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

 

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books, BookSmiles | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in 25 Days of Picture Books | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Blog Tour: Waiting For Snow

waiting-for-snow

Waiting For Snow by Marsha Diane Arnold and Illustrations by Renata Liwska

Badger is impatiently waiting for it to snow. His friends try to cheer him up. Badger learns that patience wins when it comes to the weather. This is the perfect book to read for this time of year. Students will relate to Badger’s impatience. My own son can’t wait for the first snow and to go sledding in the winter. I love Marsha’s sweet story of friendship and patience. The illustrations are as soft and sweet as snow fall. Or are they as cozy as a cup of hot cocoa? Either way….they’ve won me over. Waiting For Snow (almost) makes me wish it would start snowing soon.

Check out author Marsha Diane Arnold’s website for information about all her wonderful books!

marsha

Follow the blog tour:
October 31st, Monday – Cynthia Alaniz, Librarian in Cute Shoes
Nov 1st, Tuesday – Alyson Beecher, Kid Lit Frenzy
Nov 2nd, Wednesday – Dylan Teut, Reading with Mr. Teut
Nov 3rd, Thursday – Mia Wengen, Pragmatic Mom
Nov 4th, Friday – Margie Myers-Culver – Librarian’s Quest
Nov 6th, Sunday – Matthew Winner – The Best Book Ever (This Week)
Nov 7th, Monday – Niki Ohs Barnes, Daydream Reader
Nov 8th, Tuesday – Bridget and the Books

Posted in Blog Tour, Book Review | Tagged | 2 Comments

Blog Tour: Gertie’s Leap To Greatness

Gertie

Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley

Gertie’s mission is to be the greatest fifth grader in the whole wide world! Gertie isn’t the fastest, the tallest or the smartest student but she has pure determination! Gertie never gives up! I love the journey that Gertie goes on to try and reach her grandiose goal. She is spunky. Gertie has gumption.

gertie-2

And Kate Beasley has me loving Gertie from the first line, “The bullfrog was only half dead, which was perfect.” You know from the first line that there is going to be a lot of mischief, trouble and laughter. Gertie and her two best friends are in for a lot of mishaps on their way to greatness which include zombie frogs, fancy haircuts, dramatic auditions, fancy chocolates….and lots and lots of Twinkies.

One thing for sure….Gertie is great! A great book for everyone to read! In fact, teachers should read this book aloud to their students. Go ahead….just take the leap!

kathy-and-i

Kathy Burnette and I at Bookbug in Kalamazoo

The awesome people at Macmillan asked me to nominate someone I think is great like Gertie. I nominated my friend Kathy Burnette. She received a copy of Gertie to celebrate her greatness.

Kathy has gumption just like Gertie. She is truly one of a kind. I love Kathy because she stretches my thinking. She goes above and beyond as a librarian, teacher, mother and friend. Kathy is quirky just like Gertie. She loves coffee and coffee mugs….but forget the hugs. I think to truly understand how great Kathy is you just need to listen to her powerful Nerdy Bookcast. Thanks for being you, Kathy!

Check Out More Great Gertie Posts!

Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook

Sharp Read

Nerdy Book Club

Watch. Connect. Read.

Posted in Blog Tour | Leave a comment