Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge


Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Non-fiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction.

This week I finally got to read The Cosmobiography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka. Wow! Sun Ra, or Herman Poole Blount as he was named at birth, was a very interesting individual. This picture book biography is a great blending of music, art, and facts about an imaginative and creative man. I was glad to find some recordings of his music online. Jazz was inventive and left a lot of room for experimentation. Sun Ra was all over that. Listen and observe in the trailer below.

 
I was happy to find this great article/author interview over at the Smithsonian website. I'm looking forward to sharing this bright and interesting biography with students and the art teacher.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slice of Life



The Slice of Life Challenge was created by the people over at the blog Two Writing Teachers. The challenge is to write about some part of your day and share it each Tuesday.


Last Monday I went to the library preparing for my final summer checkout. At first I was alone and worried that students wouldn't show up. There were plenty of things to do while I waited like catching up on my email and weeding the non-fiction section. I got busy, but was happy to see students slowly join me. Some used apps on the iPads, some read, and some were on the hunt for great books to check out.

Seeing students in the library enjoying themselves was wonderful, but soon one of the students gave me a special gift. His mother came into the library to pick him up and they were about to go home. He stopped his mother and asked, "Did you know Mrs. Brunelle is an author?" His eyes were enormous and he had a big smile on his face. Then he asked me to tell her how many books I have written. I wrote a simple one last year that featured Pete the Cat in summer vacation pictures. Using Shutterfly it was made into a hardcover book that circulates in our library, but he was also referring to the three novels I wrote for NaNoWriMo.

He remembered from the past school year when I told the students about my crazy month-long writing adventure. I've finished NaNoWriMo three times so I have three complete novels to my name. Just this summer at NerdcampMI, I publicly stated that it has taken a while, but I am beginning to feel like a writer. I'm supported online by mentors and a fantastic writing community.

That young man made my day and my week. He sees me as an author and a writer when I have barely started to claim that role. It was surprising and encouraging. Now I am even more determined to help my students to also see themselves as writers.

Monday, August 25, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelfImages via Goodreads unless otherwise noted. 

The Past Week:
       

I read quite a few middle grade books this week. My favorites were Boys of Blur and The Return of Zita the Spacegirl. Boys of Blur was a page turner for me. I sped through it with all of the action. My sixth grade teacher read Beowulf out loud to us and so it has always been a favorite for me. Nelson managed to weave Beowulf into a realistic fiction setting and did it with style. Zita was simply fun. I also enjoyed the section at the back showing the evolution of the Zita graphic novel. The Missing Chancleta and The Mystery of the Mischievous Marker were both light mysteries that were fun to zip through. I will review them later this week if all goes according to plan. I read How to Train Your Dragon because it is one of our Battle of the Books selections this year. It was cute, but not my favorite fantasy.


With the events going on in Ferguson, these two books about peace caught my eye. The first one by Halperin is a collection of quotations about peace. I think I will post some of them around my library this year. Peace One Day is the story of World Peace Day and how it has come to be what it is now. I will likely use this or a part of it on or near September 21st (the official UN peace day) for our video announcements. For more titles that are related to social justice and activism in young adult lit, please visit my post at Rich in Color. There are also titles that have been tweeted with the hashtag #KidLit4Justice.


I finally finished I'm Chocolate, You're Vanilla. I appreciated a lot of the things she had to say and will use some of her advice at my school. It was eye opening to see that we may often be assigning adult meanings to some of the things that our very young students are saying about race. This was a good reminder that our youngest children aren't usually carrying around a lot of racial baggage. The adults and others around them toss that luggage their way as they age.

The Coming Week:
I'm reading Celebrating Writers: From Possibilities Through Publication. I had just decided not to do NaNoWriMo this year and now I am having second thoughts. Yikes! Anyway, I think I will be finishing this book soon. I will also read something to review for Rich in Color. I just started Kinda Like Brothers for a review too. I am listening to The Coldest Girl in Coldtown on CDs and Traveling with Pomegranates: A Mother-Daughter Story on Playaway. Other than that, I am not sure what I will be reading, but I will try to fit a few more books in during this last gasp of summer break. What are you reading?

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Celebrate!


Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres has a link-up on Saturdays where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every day. I have been out of town and so busy that I haven't been able to write a Celebrate post since July. Yikes!

Here are some of my celebrations from the past few weeks.

* We had an amazing time with out Japanese exchange student. My daughter was with her family in Japan for four weeks and then she came to stay with us for four weeks. She really touched our heart. We will miss having her positive and sweet spirit in our home. It was hard to say goodbye.

Visiting the Badlands
* Our South Korean exchange student arrived safely and is beginning to feel comfortable here in our home. He joined us for our trip to Montana and had a lot of fun seeing Yellowstone - especially the bison. He is now part of our high school soccer team and is getting to know other students. He will be with us for ten months. We've done a long term exchange once before. It's hard work the first few weeks navigating a new parent/child relationship with a stranger, but things are going well so far and we look forward to a great year together.

We were close enough to hear the bison
* I finished RAGNAR with 11 other women last Saturday. That was quite an adventure. It took us about 36 hours to run our 204 miles. In the meantime, we had lots of fun together.

The Whole Team
Van #1
* I had a blast at Zumba class. Because of our vacation and things we were doing with our exchange students, I missed many classes, but Tuesday I got to go again. Zumba always lifts my spirits and gives me energy. We have two fantastic teachers that tag team through the class and they are both so positive and fun that we can't help but have a wonderful time even though we are working hard.

* Summer has been full of adventures with family and friends. We had a lot of fun. It's also nice to be getting back to school and a regular routine. I have gone to school several times this week. Though there are challenges with our building renovation and some other things, there are also wonderful staff and students that will help make it a great year anyway.

* Summer is winding down, but I am getting to read a lot of books this last week or so. Yay!

Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.



If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelfImages via Goodreads unless otherwise noted. 

The Past Week: I only finished one book this week and that was an audio book I have been listening to for several weeks called China Dolls by Lisa See. My teen daughter informed me that some of it was sappy. That would be the romance part and I have to agree a bit. The conversations were sometimes a little over the top. It was entertaining though and the plot went ways I didn't always expect. 

Other than that, I didn't really read anything except I started (25 pages only) reading The Boys of Blur. I am loving it and will likely rip through it now that I am back home from the craziness of RAGNAR. That was a 36 hour relay running race that I just did this past weekend. It mostly sucked up my whole week as I prepared for it and participated. It was also pretty awesome.



This Week: I will be finishing The Boys of Blur for sure, but then I have a whole box of middle grade books to choose from that I brought home for school so I'm not sure what will come next. I will be sure to read though as summer is winding down and work starts up again for real next week. Happy reading!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelfImages via Goodreads unless otherwise noted. 

I was on vacation for a while so my reading was a little different for the past week and a half. Here are the books that I have been reading during my trip to Montana and Wyoming.




It was fun to venture into a few books that I wouldn't normally read. It was a lot of fun to read books that were locally centered around Yellowstone and Montana like Imagination Vacation Yellowstone, The Whistling Season and Who Pooped in the Park? I brought a few from home that I had been looking forward to: The Shadow Throne, Mambo in Chinatown and West of the Moon and they were all perfect for a relaxing trip. 

I am a bit scattered doing laundry, catching up on mail and other business, so am not sure what I will  be reading in the coming week. I am sure to find something fun though. What are you reading?

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Vacation Reading



I am enjoying my vacation in Montana. From the porch I can stare at Mt. Republic when I pause in my reading. We've stayed here with family before so I knew there would be many shelves of books to read and looked forward to dipping into those. Last time I found Kahlil Gibran and A River Runs Through It along with Death in Yellowstone and many children's books related to Montana, Wyoming and Yellowstone. 

I brought several books, but have already exhausted my small supply (West of the Moon, Shadow Throne, and Mambo in Chinatown) so now I am digging into books that I typically wouldn't choose. I didn't do my normal It's Monday post, but you can stop by my Goodreads shelf to see what I have found so far on our trip. I am reading Crossing Open Ground by Barry Lopez and have The Whistling Season by Ivan Doig waiting in the wings. I look at it as a way of expanding my horizons when I read from someone else's bookshelf. 

If I don't find anything that works, there is a trading post one mile away that has two shelves of books that are $2 each or free if you trade. There is no library or bookstore, but there is one more location for free books. The town dump is rather fun. You take your trash there, but they also have a recycling bin for aluminum, another bin for old clothes and a series of shelves for books. People are encouraged to leave them there for others and choose some for themselves. 

I could purchase some electronic books, but I think I am going to go ahead and stretch my reading muscles with new authors and genres. Wish me luck. ;)