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Two teachers think about and write about their lives as readers -- readers of children's books, professional books, and adult fiction, nonfiction and poetry. Yes, we still want to try to have read the Newbery, but our reading lives are much bigger than just that.
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Starring Jules #1: Starring Jules (As Herself)
by Beth Ain
Scholastic, on shelves March 2013
Jules is a list maker, a worrier, and a girl with a whole lot of pizzazz. Her friendship with Charlotte is on shaky ground, but she is hopeful that she'll become friends with the new girl from London.
Jules' pizzazz is spotted by a talent scout and she is given a chance to try out for a mouthwash commercial. The only problem is that that mouthwash is orange flavored, and Jules has an irrational fear of the flavor of oranges.
This is going to be a fun series for readers who love Clementine, Frankly Frannie and Just Grace. Although Jules has an artist mom, a chef dad, an apartment in New York City, and a teacher from Cuba ("...her English sounds like the music they play on the beach in Florida."), Jules is ordinary enough to strike a chord with all kinds of readers.
White Fur Flying
by Patricia MacLachlan
Margaret K. McElderry Books, on shelves March 2013
Alice and Zoe's family in White Fur Flying is involved in Great Pyrenees (Pyrs) rescue/fostering. They have enough space and time and love to take in Pyrs until the right home can be found for them. They even have a rescued parrot named Lena who is quite the talker.
In a parallel/opposite story, the new family next door to them consists of a stiff aunt and uncle and very scared and silent nephew, Phillip, who is staying with them while his parents work out some difficulties.
The patience and insight of the girls and the unconditional love of the dogs work together to bring all the threads of this story to a satisfying conclusion.
Hope to see you there!
Watch for tweets all day Saturday at #DubLit13.
Like Bug Juice on a Burger
by Julie Sternberg
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Abrams, on shelves April 2013
This sweet little novel in verse is the sequel to Like Pickle Juice on a Cookie
In this book, the main character, Eleanor, is going to go to summer sleep-over camp. Her grandmother gives it to her as a gift, remembering that Eleanor's mother loved it when she was Eleanor's age.
Eleanor does NOT like camp -- the food is bad, she's the only one who can't swim, and she misses her parents and New York City.
Luckily, she makes a new friend. Joplin is VERY tall and VERY different from Eleanor, but she winds up making ALL the difference to Eleanor.
SOME DAYS ARE LIKE THAT
My teacher’s sitting in her chair,
her head between her hands.
She’s mumbling and muttering…
I think she just said SAND!
This really isn’t like her.
I know she lives to teach.
But that was unmistakable…
my teacher just said BEACH!
© Mary Lee Hahn, 2013
It's been a rough week. Sometimes the only thing that kept me sane was my poetry writing goal.
I Haiku You
by (Ohio author) Betsy E. Snyder
Random House Books for Young Readers, 2012
review copy from my classroom library
What (or who) do you love? Betsy Snyder's twenty haiku love poems will definitely make you want to write a few of your own.
Here are some my students came up with to share with you today -- Happy Valentine's Day!
cute little faces
hopping around behind me --
look, it's the bunnies!
I love chocolate!
It melts on my tongue so slow.
Chocolate is the best!
I share my cookies with friends!
Cookies are my world!
I love monster trucks.
They do front flips and back flips.
They go really high.
They're with you always --
annoying you, comforting...
but they're still family.
Buzzer beater: SWISH!
I really like basketball --
the best game ever.
Pizza, I love you.
Pizza, pizza, you're so good.
Pizza, so good and juicy.
Dance, dance, I love it!
Every day my body moves.
I cannot stop it!
Japan is the best!
Japan has yummy food, so...
Japan is the best!
Dark carmel chocolate
with a little bitterness --
it's really creamy.
Your chocolately taste
is really really yummy.
Brownies are awesome!
Your music is the best.
You guys are so funny.
Oh, One Direction!!
I love oatmeal,
brown sugar especially.
It smells really good.
I so love bacon!
So yummy in my tummy!
So, so delicious!
I mentioned in a post last month that some of the Columbus Dispatch Kid Readers (with the help/supervision/blessing of their parents) have joined Goodreads.
Let's back up a minute and just talk about the ways we adults keep track of what we've read. My mom has a little notebook where she writes down titles and authors. She's a voracious mystery series reader, and she needs to keep track of which books in which series she's already read. My friend Lisa is the keeper of our book club's history of reading. She's got a list that goes all the way back to our club's first book together, Lucy Calkins' THE ART OF TEACHING WRITING, which we read when it was new. I was inspired by a fellow writer for the (now defunct) OSU publication THE W.E.B. to read a children's book a week (or if not a book every week, then at least 52 children's books a year). That was back in the mid-1980's. I have a whole shelf full of notebooks listing all of the books I read for about 25 years. Then, in 2007, Goodreads came on the scene. For a few years, I kept both my notebook and my Goodreads listing, but my reading record is now completely digital.
Okay. So we keep track of what we read.
But what if we'd been doing that since we were 10 or 11 years old?
It's been amazing to watch these kids explore and play on Goodreads. First they entered just the book they were currently reading. But that soon expanded. One girl keeps a list of her 5th grade reads in her Take Home folder as well as in her Language Arts binder; she entered all 50+ books she's read this year. After that, I saw other lists expand all the way back to favorites from their early reading years. They've started creating bookshelves -- learning the power of tagging -- and they're marking books as "To Read" -- planning ahead for future reading.
I heard from a parent that sending messages is a popular facet of Goodreads -- the account was created through the mom's email, and her daughter is now getting more emails than she is -- many with the sole content being, "Hi!"
That might be a somewhat trivial part of the way the students are using Goodreads, but they are also following authors' reviews, becoming fans of authors, collecting quotes, setting reading goals, and creating book quizes. Not just taking quizes, creating them and inviting the other Columbus Dispatch Readers to take them!
Up until now, Goodreads has simply been a place for me to log the books I've read. These kid-readers have explored it like a playground, finding every interesting nook and cranny and trying it all out for themselves. I can't wait to watch their reading habits change and evolve as they move through middle school, high school, and beyond. (We'll just assume for the sake of argument that there will still be both an Internet and a site called Goodreads that will last that long as well...)
I was at Cover to Cover last Saturday, too. Like Franki, I didn't so much have a shopping list of books
I was hoping to find, as I had some readers
in mind that I was hoping to steer in a new reading direction with my purchases.
Historical fiction is a book gap for me and for many of my students. The huge bag of historical fiction picture books I brought from the public library was pretty much of a bust for getting them to dig into more historical fiction, so I'm going to pull every historical fiction novel off my shelves and book talk them along with the four books from the I Survived series
that I picked up. Navigating Early
is also technically historical fiction, and I'm anxious for the Rubik's Cube Savant and his Sidekick to read this book. Watching them solve The Cube reminds me of the way Early thinks about Pi.
For my middle-of-the-road boy readers, I'm hoping that Gordon Korman's Island trilogy
will a.) introduce them to a new author, and b.) get them going on some non-graphic novels. Gary Paulsen's new book with his son, Road Trip
, will have to wait until I've read it. (How much school work can I delay so that I can get this book read?!?!)
Dragonbreath is a good hybrid series -- a little bit graphic novel, a little bit text novel -- and it's very funny. I haven't been able to keep up, but I've read at least four of them
. Book #8 is Dragonbreath #8: Nightmare of the Iguana
. I'm trying not to buy any more graphic novels this year because a significant chunk of my collection has gone missing, but I couldn't resist just this one.
Because of Karen
, I bought The False Prince: Book 1 of the Ascendance Trilogy
. (I also bought it for my Kindle app -- it was the Kindle Daily Deal last Saturday!) Looks like we won't have to wait too long for book two!
Like Franki, the minute I saw Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
I had to have it, and Franki knew I wouldn't be able to resist I Haiku You
(more on that one in a future post).
The new Elephant and Piggie (Let's Go for a Drive! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)
)...do I even need a reason to own more Mo Willems?!?
All I can say about this purchasing spree at Cover to Cover is -- GOOD THING I HAD A GIFT CERTIFICATE!!
I made a trip to Cover to Cover this week and picked up a stack of books. It is so different shopping as a classroom teacher than it was to shop as a librarian. I understand the way kids are changing as readers. I know which books are being passed around. And I can predict ways I can stretch a child from one type of book to another. Today's trip was one with few expectations. I didn't really need anything so I wasn't sure what I was looking for. But a few titles caught my eye because I knew they might move readers. I left with a bag of a few new titles that I am excited about and a few not-so-new titles that I think might be perfect for a few students ready to grow in new directions as readers.
I am very excited about Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
--I loved Singer and am excited about this new book of Reverso poems.
I read about Athlete vs. Mathlete
on the blog Mary Lee's kids are keeping about 2013 books. Columbus Dispatch Kid Readers
is a great resource for 2013 books and I think it will be an expensive blog for me to read.
I also picked up some new Goosebumps titles. A few students have had their first Goosebumps experience with the graphic novel so I thought I'd share some of these with them. I picked up some brand new ones as the one I have are old and tattered. Excited to see if these hook anyone.
One of my students, a Hunger Games fan, just decided to try the Gregor series because he loves Suzanne Collins. He read Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1)
which is the only one I have in the room. So I thought I'd pick up #2 and #3 in case more kids start reading this. Not many kids read it before Hunger Games but it seems to be more popular now.
I have a group of kids who has been reading We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson. In January, they discovered Walter Dean Myers book The Journal of Biddy Owens, the Negro Leagues, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948
and loved it. I realized that there are more historical fiction books in this journal form by Myers so thought I'd pick a few up. I think the kids who liked the other book may like them. I also think they might appeal to my I Survived fans.
And I am MOST excited about Lisa Graff's new book A Tangle of Knots
. I love Lisa Graff and have yet to be disappointed by any of her books. This one looks fabulous and I hope to read it soon!
Ode to the Word on the Tip of My Tongue
The best thing...
I love how you...
© Mary Lee Hahn, 2013
by Clare Vanderpool
Delacorte Press, 2013
review copy ARC provided by Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers
It's been a long time since a book has grabbed me by the collar and sat me down in a chair and refused to let me up until I finished it.
Navigating Early wiggled its way into my school bag and forced me to read during SSR time, as I ate lunch, and while my students were at art.
I fell in love with Jack, from flat, wide open Kansas, who pukes the first time he looks at the ocean. And I fell in love with Early, who listens to Billie Holiday when it rains. I fell in love with the stories within the story -- the travels of Pi that match both the digits of Pi as well as the adventure Jack and Early have in the backwoods of Maine.
I couldn't help myself -- I dogeared the page corner at Chapter 21 -- the first time I can ever remember encountering fly fishing in a children's book (not to mention a spirited argument about why Jesus could possibly have been "a likely candidate for fly-fishing").
Navigating Early is mysterious and magical, brimful of surprising characters, and with an ending that's a sigh of satisfaction.
Move Navigating Early to the top of your must-read list. You won't regret it.
Also reviewed by
Kevin at Kevin's Meandering Mind
Katherine at Read, Write, Reflect
Colby at Sharpread
Amelia Bedelia Fiftieth Anniversary Edition
by Peggy Parish
illustrated by Fritz Siebel
Greenwillow Books, 1963/2013
review copy provided by the publisher
Hard to believe that Amelia Bedelia has been blundering along taking life literally for fifty years. I bet she still makes a mean lemon meringue pie!
This Fiftieth Anniversary Edition of the original picture book comes with seven pages of backmatter, including original advertisements, The Story Behind the Story with information about both Peggy Parish and Fritz Siebel, and a timeline of the ways Amelia Bedelia has been portrayed in illustrations from 1963 to the present.
It doesn't seem fair that while all the rest of us have been aging these last 50 years, Amelia Bedelia has been getting younger -- she began as a somewhat grandmotherly housekeeper and now she's a skinny legged girl in polkadot tights!
Peggy Parish's died in 1988, but her nephew, Herman Parish, continued the series in 1995. Amelia Bedelia can now be found in I Can Read! books (levels 1 and 2) and in short chapter books.
At Cover to Cover the other day, Beth handed me a stack of books she thought I'd like (She's nice like that:-) One of the books was one I knew I had to have once I saw the cover. BRAVE GIRL: CLARA AND THE SHIRTWAIST MAKERS' STRIKE OF 1909 Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
written by Michelle Markel and illustrated by Mellissa Sweet.
This is a great picture book biography about young Clara Lemlich who fought the working conditions and led the largest walkout of women workers in US history.
I loved the story. It brings an important issue to a level that young children can understand without taking away the seriousness of it. It is also a story of a person we don't read about often, but who made a huge impact on our world.
I have been trying hard to figure out how to make our upcoming government unit more accessible to my 4th graders. Such big concepts. Books like this seem to be perfect in helping kids understand democracy, the constitution and how laws are made/change/etc.
Looking forward to sharing this one with kids.
I was excited to get a package from Chronicle this week that contained two upcoming wordless picture books. I feel like I can never have enough of these if they are good ones. So many opportunities to teach and explore for all ages. I love when I find new ones to add to my collection.Inside Outside
by Lizi Boyd is a gorgeous new wordless picture book that captures ordinary days and the way one boy spends them both inside and outside. There are fun die-cuts in most of the pages that connect the story and that add fun to the book. Lots to notice on each page. And the color choice is unique which I love. Kids will want to revisit this book often and really, it just makes me happy to read it. I love the story as well as the art and the details make it even more fun.
The other book is Flight 1, 2, 3
is one that didn't draw me in from the start but one that I fell in love with once I opened it up! Now, this book will definitely draw young readers in with the cover--trains, trucks, planes, and cars do that and this cover has lots to look at (airplane, airport, etc.). At first I thought this book would be like the Donald Crews classics about forms of transportation but I was thrilled to see that it was so much more. The book takes the reader on a journey they will take if they go on a flight--from the cab ride to the airport to getting to the destination, this book captures the experiences of travelers today. I love the inclusion of throwing away liquids before security as well as the stop at the restroom before getting on the flight. But I also love the fact that the author has taken the wordless to a new level with information. Throughout the book are signs you will see in the airport as well as a diagram of the seating on a plane. A bird's eye view of how the planes are organized at gates is also shown. This book is really packed and fun to look at. I can imagine young children will look at it over and over again. So many possibilities for conversations and learning!
Both of these books are due out in March!
We have a BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) policy at school. Early in the year, most of my kids didn't have their own devices and those that did pretty much used them for ebook reading. A Kindle, a Nook, an iPod touch. But since the holidays, more of my students have mobile devices.
Smart phones, iPods, Kindles, Nooks, etc. All of a sudden in January, kids are involved in all kinds of writing projects and they understand the power of these tools beyond ereading. They watch me take photos of their work on my iPhone/iPad to drop into my conference folder. They've seen me take notes on my phone when we have a guest speaker or when I need to remember something. They knew I had my twitter feed up during the Newbery announcements (not for them to follow as it was filled with inappropriate spam) but just in case the live feed stopped working. We have one cart in the school that houses laptops, ipads and ipods. They learned some apps early and have used the iPods/iPhones/iPads for videotaping, notes, photos, etc. as the year has progressed have started using their devices in new ways. I have an old iPod and and iPod shuffle that I want to add to the mix of what is available to kids and the kids are (very quickly!) learning new ways to use their devices for learning.
With all of this comes lots of learning for me. I have a Kindle Fire, but have no idea how to get a child's writing from their Kindle Fire to my dropbox. I have an iPod but again, my notes feature has a setting that automatically drops it in my email. One student mentioned a DS and I have never actually touched one of those. So, lots of learning for me. How to find the right tools for kids on devices I don't know and how to get their work to where it needs to be. If a child writes a blog post on their iPod, I have to figure out how to get that when the children do not have email accounts. Not huge things, but interesting challenges, nonetheless.
As I've been reading to find information on these issues, I have come across some great articles. I have tried to look at articles that do not focus on 1:1 schools, but schools like mine that have some devices and a BYOD policy. I am going to add these to my Pinterest board so I have them at my fingertips. These are mostly articles I'd read before but with more devices, we have more opportunities for learning. I find at this age, parents of students are very supportive of their students using these devices for their learning. We are all trying to find apps that will help them as readers, writers and learners.
I am excited about the whole BYOD option, especially now that so many more students have a tool. Between the ones they bring in and the school's technology, kids are really changing the focus on their learning. And I am learning lots too.
Here are the posts/articles I've read recently to help me make sure I am thinking broadly about the way devices can be used. If you have any others, I'd love to add them to my reading list!Some Schools Actually Want Students to Play With Their Smartphones in Class
Not many photos in January.
It was a good month, nonetheless.
MY LIFE IN MUSIC
When I get in a rut
I remind myself:
rhythm needs jazz.
When I lose my focus
I remind myself:
jazz needs rhythm.
© Mary Lee Hahn, 2013
In January, I created a rut for myself -- I wrote a poem a day for Kathryn Apel
's Month of Poetry (#MoP13) Challenge. My routine was to get up, exercise/walk, then sit down and write a poem before getting ready for school. To be able to to ready to sit down at the kitchen table and produce a poem meant that I had to have been "writing" all day long (maybe in my dreams) and during my early morning walk. By "writing" I mean constantly thinking about what I would write for the next day's poem: looking for the story, the scene, the emotion, the rich words that sounded just right together.
The biggest gain was the habit and the attitude of mind. Every poem wasn't great, of course. Very few came even close.
And there were losses. At first I couldn't figure out how to be a good group member on the private #MoP13 site where we posted our poems and commented on others'. I was posting at about 6 AM, which was near midnight in Australia when most of the other participants had already posted, commented, and gone to bed. The more I managed to get involved in the #MoP group, the less I visited Twitter (where I was already sporadic) and FaceBook (which resulted in being the last to know about things like a certain broken wrist).
I'm going to keep this rut in February, but I'm going to jazz it up a bit. I'm going to add some time (a poem every TWO days), use the dictionary (similar to, but not exactly the same way Amy LV
did last April), and require every poem to rhyme. I'm also going to take today off (partly because I know what my first poem will feature a "green door").
Music -- and poetry -- need both.
April has the roundup today at Teaching Authors
Last month, I started a monthly series on upcoming books I am excited about
. I am not sure where January went but it seems that it is time for February's list already! I have read so little this month that I was afraid to look ahead --the last thing I need right now is to add more books to my TBR pile! But, there are some books that you just MUST have! These are upcoming books that are MUST-HAVES for me in February!
One of my very favorite professional books of all times has a new edition coming out. WHAT A WRITER NEEDS
by Ralph Fletcher is one of the books that changed my teaching. It is one of the staple books that helped me learn to teach writing and it was the first book by Ralph Fletcher that I read. This 2nd edition of this book is coming out in February. Just looking at the Table of Contents makes me happy--reminds me how much I learned when I read this book and how many times I've gone back to the book in the past 20 years. (And Ralph Fletcher will be the keynote at the Dublin Literacy Conference
on February 23. If you haven't registered, you should check it out!)Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems
by Marilyn Singer
is a follow-up to one of my favorite books, Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
. Both of these books are filled with Fairy Tale "reverso" poems. They are fun reads and I continue to be amazed at what the process of writing reversos is. So excited about this second round of reversos from Singer!Lisa Graff
is one of my favorite middle grade authors. I was thrilled to discover that she has a new book coming out in February called A Tangle of Knots
. If you don't know Lisa Graff, you will definitely want to read The Thing About Georgie
, Umbrella Summer
and The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower
I can't seem to find enough sports nonfiction to keep my students happy! So I was thrilled to seeBecoming Babe Ruth
coming in February. I love author, Matt Tavares
and from what I've read this is a great and well-researched story.
I am always paying attention to good, upcoming YA (even though I don't get a chance to read nearly as much as I'd like to!). But the book I have on my list to remember about in February is Pivot Point
. Love the whole concept and the issues around the choices we make.
And finally, a March 1 release (but close enough to February that I thought I'd include it here is Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist
by Jane Yolen
and Rebecca Kai Dotlich
. I love anything fairy tale but this one looks especially fun. First of all, I am excited that Jane Yolen and Rebecaa Kai Dotlich worked together on this one. Love those two! Secondly, I love the idea of hearing the voices of fairy tale characters in poem form. I am VERY excited about this one!
I joined Google Plus right away when I first got an invitation. I played around a bit but never got to involved with it. Then at NCTE, Bill Bass told me I needed to do more with Google Plus. When I pushed for what it had to offer that I didn't already have access to in my other social networks, he said, "Google Hangouts". I went home and didn't think much about it until it was time to write our NCTE 2013 Convention proposal. Bill organized a Google Hangout for the three of us writing the proposal (Ann Marie Corgill, Bill, me). Since that first Google hangout, we've met about our proposal, I had other meetings for projects scheduled and in our classroom, we had a visit from Ruth Ayres via Google Hangou
t. In January, I have participated in several Google Hangouts and I am hooked!
If you don't know anything about Google Hangouts, they are similar to Skype--real time live chat to whoever you want to talk to in the world. But Google Hangouts provide for lots more than just a live chat. First of all, you can chat with a group of people. From what I understand, one Google Hangout can accommodate 7-8 people. At first I thought this was overwhelming but the talk that you can have with a group from all over the world is definitely a plus. I have had many conference calls in my life but to sit and see people and talk as if you are all sitting in the same room makes a difference in the thoughtfulness of the work.
There are also ways to work on a Google Doc together in a Google Hangout. So, if you are creating a proposal or a piece of writing or a presentation, the Google Doc can be shared in the hangout and participants can work on it live in the Hangout. It is easy to share Google Docs and other things from your screen directly to the Google Hangout.
I see huge potential for Google Hangouts with classrooms. Connecting a few classrooms for an event or conversation could be really powerful in helping kids see the connectedness and globalness of our work.
And then there are the "toys". The sound effects and props that are just plain fun. Katie DiCesare was at my house working on something a few weeks ago and so we visited a bit with Ann Marie via Google Hangout. Since it was new to us all, we played around with the props. For a very long time. The playing part was very fun and we realized Google Hangouts are not only great for professional work but great to just visit with friends who live far away.
|Ann Marie, Katie and I playing around with the props in a Google Hangout!|
I am a phone girl. I like to talk while I am doing 10,000 other things walking around the house. But Google Hangouts has helped me realize the power of live chatting--how much better the conversation is (whether I am working on a project or just visiting with friends) when we are kind of sitting in the same room. If you haven't had time to try out Google Hangouts, I would definitely give it a try.
It's Time to Say Goodbye
When we met
he would stay for
He was welcome --
Now it's been
a whole month.
He must go soon for sure.
But he fits now
We forget that
© Mary Lee Hahn, 2013
Yes, it's true. Our Christmas tree is still up. It still makes us happy every day. It's time, though. We know it's time. We'll say goodbye this weekend.
It was January 2005. As always, I was very excited about the announcement of the Caldecott and Newbery Awards. There was no social media and we had not started blogging....yet. Mary Lee and I had our own little conversations and predictions and we were pretty much never completely right.
But, on the day that Kira-Kira was announced as the winner of the Newbery Award, I was totally annoyed. Not only had I not read the book but I'd never even HEARD of it. I could not figure out what the committee had been thinking... I had spent my whole year reading great children's literature and making predictions about what might win. I understood that my pick probably wouldn't win, but to have a book win that I'd never heard of was quite heartbreaking.
As a dutiful 5th grade teacher, I bought a copy of the book (hard to find since no one seemed to have it on their radar) and read it in a sitting or two. I read it quickly so I could bring it into my classroom. It was okay. I enjoyed it okay. I didn't love it and I certainly did not think it deserved to win the Newbery.
The next Monday, I brought it into class. I did a semi-pathetic book talk and said to my class, "This is the book that won this year's Newbery. I read it this weekend. It was good. I didn't think it was great but it was good. I am not sure why it won the Newbery, but it did. If you want to read it, here it is." (maybe not that pathetic, but close!). Well, one of my avid readers, Katie, jumped on it. She said she wanted to read it and off she went.
About 3 days later, Katie requested a conference with me. She came to the table with my copy of Kira-Kira filled with sticky notes. She said, "Mrs. Sibberson, I think you need to read this book again. You said you didn't think it was that great but I started marking these amazing lines in the text and look at how many there are! I think you must have really missed a lot of this book because it DEFINITELY deserved to win the Newbery."
I have since reread Kira Kira (as did many other students in that 5th grade class) and it is one brilliant book. It is a book that has stayed with me for years and years and years. I am now a huge fan of the author and am dismayed with myself for not being open to the book during my first read. Instead of being annoyed at it winning, I should have been thrilled at the chance to discover a new book that I had not known about before the award announcement. And I have Katie to thank for helping me see what I could not see on my own.
So, every year at this time, especially on this day, I thank Katie for everything she taught me that day. She taught me about books and awards and about being a reader. It is on the eve of the ALA announcements, when I am wishing, wishing, wishing for my favorite books to win awards, that I try to remember to be open-minded and to celebrate the winner--no matter what happens. I remember that I may have missed lots in a book that others could see so clearly. I remember that there are so many good books and I love the journey of discovering them far more than I love award day. And I remember that no matter which book wins, this is another great opportunity to have amazing conversations with fellow readers.
Thank you, Katie and Happy Newbery Eve, Everybody!
(And to help you understand tomorrow's decision a bit better, don't miss Monica Edinger's post at Nerdy Book Club, Top Ten Things You May Not Know About the Newbery Award
For more It's Monday! What Are You Reading? posts, visit Kellee and Jen's blog, Teach Mentor Texts
Nancy Gilson, features editor at the Columbus Dispatch, asked me if I had a group of students who would like to help compile the Dispatch's yearly list of best children's books
. (I've been on the panel for several years now.) Boy, do I ever! About twenty fifth graders from across the entire grade level have signed on to read as many 2013 books as they can this year -- including through the summer and the first couple of months of middle school. We keep in touch and share opinions on a Kidblog blog. Many of them have also joined Goodreads. That's another post for another time -- what it's like watching voracious kid readers use that site as their reading playground.
We took an after-school, parent-drivers "field trip" a couple of weeks ago. We visited the two library branches the kids are most likely to use, met the librarians, located the reserve areas, and a couple of students who didn't have one yet got a library card. Then we trekked down to Cover to Cover Books for Young Readers
. Sally, the owner of CTC, generous to a fault, had a cart heaped with 2013 ARCs to give to the student-readers! We've also received ARCs from Abrams, and review copies from Groundwood and Kids Can Press. Great fun!
Some of the 2013s I've read won't be out until March, so I'll just tease you with the covers, and review them closer to their release dates:
Here's what I've got on deck:
Franki and I had a little email conversation late last week. It went something like this:
She: "Are we ignoring the Newbery this year?"
Me: "Kinda. I'll do a 'Newbery Surprises' post on Tuesday because all the winners will be new to me.
And then the biggest surprise of all:
I've read it three times (self, aloud to fourth graders, aloud to fifth graders).
And right there on my picture book shelf were the Caldecott and several honor books!
There's a Coretta Scott King Author Honor book on my chalktray...
...and we just confirmed the Coretta Scott King Illustrator, Bryan Collier for the 2014 Dublin Literacy Conference.
I listened to the Odyssey Award winning audio book.
This Stonewall honor book is being passed through my two fifth grade classes like wildfire...
...and this one needs to be read by every high school and college student.
Pete the Cat, with his attitude ("Did he cry? Goodness NO!") and his Zen-like reminder that "Buttons come and buttons go," made the Geisel Honor list.
So the biggest surprise that came with this year's ALA Youth Media Awards? How many I know, and own, and love!
For all the winners, check out ALA's Official Press Release
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I love to add new wordless books to my collection so I was very excited to get this new book Flora and the Flamingo
by Molly Idle
in the mail from Chronicle Books. I LOVE LOVE LOVE this book! It is a very sweet story of friendship and the expressions on the little girl's face make me happy. But there is an added feature to this book--there are flaps to lift throughout the book! (Molly is a new author for me so I am excited to check out more of her books!
Here are two videos that give a good sneak peek but if you love wordless picture books, you'll definitely want this one! (This comes out next week:-)