Sunday, December 28, 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:

The Coming Week:

These are three books I am reading right now. I will likely read a few more including Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier and a few others too. Have a great week of reading! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge


Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. I am thankful that she has this challenge because I know I have read more nonfiction texts as a result.



This is a gorgeous book about a topic that never gets old. My students go back to the shark section of the library repeatedly. They are endlessly fascinating creatures. The illustrations in this book are fabulous and the information is from a different angle than I usually see. I have been to San Francisco many times and never knew that a white shark feeding area was so near. Seeing how and why they feed there kept me glued to the page. 

Here are two videos that show Katherine Roy creating the illustrations for the book. 



You won't want to miss this one! Happy reading. 

Sunday, December 21, 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 had so many wonderful reading experiences over the past week! How Far Do You Love Me? was probably my favorite picture book, but there were so many that were good. Flashlight employed very clever illustrations. The Farmer and the Clown was beautiful as was The Iridescence of Birds

As for the chapter books, Greenglass House was a page turner for me. I dropped right into that house and didn't want to leave. It helped that it happens the week of Christmas and I read it next to our tree. The No. 1 Car Spotter had me in stitches. It is so fun. I will have to be purchasing that one. Here's a bit from the book: 


Finally, I also finished Dreaming in Indian. 


I'll be reviewing it over at Rich in Color in early January, but let me just say that it is amazing. Here is the trailer and then another video with the editors talking about the book. 



The Coming Week: 
I'm still listening to The Joy Luck Club & Blue Shoe, but I will be reading many others this week. I have one more day of teaching and then I will be starting winter break #bookaday. Donalayn Miller explained it last year on her blog. I have a whole pile of books waiting to be read. Here are a few of them:


Have a wonderful week of reading!


Saturday, December 20, 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 week.

Here are things that I celebrated this week:

* I was interviewed for the blog Latin@s in Kid Lit. It was fun to share.

* The other blog I am regularly part of is Rich in Color. This week it was featured as one of the "12 Blogs of 2014" on one of the School Library Journal blogs. It was fun to start the day off seeing this tweet:
* A student gave me a holiday card that said, "Thank you for doing writing club. I really enjoyed having a place to write in. It was the funniest, best club ever!" We no longer have a space for writing club, but I hope the students continue to find space and time to write for fun.

* My son is home from college for break!

* The groomer had time for my dog and so he is now poofy and adorable.

* My husband made dinner Friday night when I didn't even want to think - let alone cook.

The week flew by, but fortunately, my list of things to do before the holidays is shrinking rapidly. I hope you have many things to celebrate. 

Monday, December 15, 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 didn't finish many books this week, but the ones I did finish were excellent. The Family Romanov was a fascinating look at the Romanovs. Candace Fleming did a nice job of presenting the information in a way that showed the complexities of their lives and the influences that led to their downfall. The Night Gardener gave me chills, but also gave me a lot to think about. I like that in a book. There's a bit of philosophical pondering over several topics including the difference between stories and lies. The Turtle of Oman was a beautiful story of the love between a boy and his grandfather. There are other things happening in the book, but that relationship warmed my heart. Sylvia's Spinach will be a welcome addition to our library because it supports our garden project so well. Many of our students are like Sylvia and are leery of spinach. The publisher, Readers to Eaters, sent me the book for review along with some of their other titles. I will review it more thoroughly later, but our garden coordinator was excited when I shared the great titles about food literacy.

The Coming Week: 

I am having to slow myself down reading Stephen King's book On Writing. It's not like a typical nonfiction book since it is made up of so many stories. It reads like fiction so I am loving it aside from learning about writing. I'm listening to Blue Shoe in the car when I am not listening to holiday music. I have only read Anne Lamott's nonfiction in the past. I started The Joy Luck Club ages ago and abandoned it, but this time it's on a Playaway so I'm listening while folding clothes and knitting. Maybe I will finish this time. Dreaming in Indian is amazing. It's full of vibrant illustrations and powerful poetry and text. I'm still taking my time with it, but will be reviewing it later this week.

Aside from those that I'm currently reading, I have a huge pile of books waiting for break that I may sneak into again. I already snagged several of them as you might have noticed. If you have a pile waiting for break, be sure to share it on Twitter with the hashtag #WinterTBR or email them to nerdybookclubblog@gmail.com. The Nerdybookclub is collecting pictures of TBR stacks. I just have a hard time waiting. I think I'll be snagging The Madman of Piney Woods before next week.


What will you be reading?

Sunday, December 14, 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 week.

Here are things that I celebrated this week:


* We started to relocate and downsize our library the day before Thanksgiving break and we finished early this week. The job was huge, but we're very happy with the results.


* Experiencing The Hour of Code with my students is a treat. It's exciting to see them figure things out and then help each other.

* We got a box of lebkuchen and other treats from Germany and they are so yummy.

* I enjoyed participating in the Nerdy Book Award nominations. It's so fun to look back on favorite titles from 2014.

* Watching and hearing my daughter sing The Messiah with the local university choir was a fantastic experience. The orchestra and choir sounded fabulous and put us in the holiday mood.

* My daughter and I also went to see the Nutcracker. It was special because we know the young woman that danced the part of the Sugar Plum Fairy. We had a lovely evening together.

I hope that you had some wonderful celebrations in your week!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

The Savage Fortress Book Tour



Title: The Savage Fortress
Author: Sarwat Chadda
ISBN: 978-0545385176
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Pages: 304
Genre: YA, MG, Fantasy, Adventure

Plot Summary: The gods and monsters of India roar to life in this thrilling fantasy!

After three weeks of vacation, Ash Mistry is ready to leave the heat and dust of India behind him. Then he discovers a gleaming gold arrowhead hidden in the sands---a weapon used to defeat evil King Ravana in legend.

At least, Ash is pretty sure it's only a legend . . .

But when Lord Alexander Savage comes after Ash, the legends are suddenly way too real. Savage commands an army of monstrous shapechangers called rakshasas, who want only to seize the arrowhead and restore Ravana to power. As they hunt Ash through magnificent fortresses and brutal deserts, he must learn to work with a powerful rakshasa girl named Parvati, and find the strength within himself to fight on no matter what. Because this isn't just a battle to stop the end of the world. It's a battle to stop the end of reality as we know it.

No pressure.

My thoughts: The Savage Fortress caught my attention soon after its release. Evil kings, shape changers, and young people trying to save the world seemed like an excellent combination. I wasn't disappointed either. Ash and his adventures kept me reading at a furious clip. I'm happy to recommend The Savage Fortress to my fantasy fans.

"His heroes are Prince Rama and the demon-slaying Kali. Isn’t it about time you met them too?" This quote is found in the bio on Sarwat Chadda's blog - and is so true for me. Here in the US, many children (like myself) grow up with the Greek, Roman and even Norse myths and legends, but miss out on those from India. The Ash Mistry series is an excellent opportunity to explore some of that culture and meet new heroes and monsters. For those readers already at home with these personalities, the book is likely even more interesting.

If you haven't started the Ash Mistry series, get on it. You'll be glad you joined the adventure.


Book Tour Info: This mini-review is part of a book tour arranged by Diverse Book Tours. Be sure to stop by some of the other blogs for more information and reviews.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday


Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. I am thankful that she has this challenge because I know I have read more nonfiction texts as a result.

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
by Joyce Sidman & illustrated by Rick Allen


As I am typing this, I hear the clink of sleet on the window. It is so interesting to learn about how animals survive the bitter winter cold. I'm not sure I needed a mental image of thousands of snakes curled up together though. Eek!

There are twelve poems in the collection - each about an animal or part of nature in winter. She used a variety of poetic forms and provides a glossary that includes the nature terminology, but also explains a couple of the poetry terms. 

As always, Sidman weaves together words in a beautiful way. In "Vole in Winter," a vole describes the snow above him as "a blanket made of sky-feathers!"

And I have to say, the illustrations are gorgeous. Also, watch for the fox. He is on the cover in the middle of a leap. If you want to know what that looks like in real life, watch this video. The fox is also on many of the pages of the book. I know that children will enjoy hunting for the fox on the pages.

I had never been to Joyce Sidman's website, but it is a fantastic poetry resource. If you teach poetry or want to experiment with your own poetry, she has pep talks and suggestions. I will be visiting her site again soon.

Aside from Winter Bees, if you wish to teach about winter, there are a few other picture books I would recommend. 


Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal


Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Illustrated by Mary Azarian


Illustrations by Robert C. Kray


by Francisco X. Alarcón
Illustrated by Maya Christina Gonzalez


It's not precisely nonfiction, but it could be argued so I'm including it anyway.
Besides, my students adore it!
Rabbit's Snow Dance by James & Joseph Bruchac
Illustrated by Jeff Newman

Here's a video with the author explaining the story:


Do you have any favorite nonfiction picture book titles focused on winter? Please share them if you do. Happy winter!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Review: Bramble and Maggie

Title: Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl
Author: Jessie Haas
Illustrator: Alison Friend
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 52
Availability: On shelves now
Review Copy: Final copy via publisher

Summary:Maggie wants a pony to ride and take care of, and to prepare she's been reading a big book on horse care. Meanwhile, Bramble is bored with giving riding lessons and walking in circles. She's looking for just the right person to take her away from her routine. Is it a perfect match? Maggie loves Bramble as soon as she sees her, but there are some things Bramble has to be sure of. Will Maggie let Bramble venture into new places? Will she protect Bramble from strange objects in the yard? Will she, most importantly, know when Bramble needs her undivided attention? This charming and funny early reader is an ideal match for young animal lovers and anyone who has ever longed for a friend who truly understands.

My Thoughts: Bramble and Maggie begins with a chapter from Bramble's perspective. I'm glad that we got to know the horse first. She is a bit of a pill. She's been giving lessons for so long that she's become bored with the whole process and is finding ways to liven up the day. She has a lot of spunk and personality.

In the second chapter, readers learn about Maggie. She's a girl who is completely horse crazy. She's been studying up and is ready to take on the challenge.

This is a sweet and funny early chapter book that will inspire giggles and smiles. It reminded me of Cowboy Kate and Cocoa. Horse fans will love it especially since it makes owning a horse seem like something anyone can do. Maggie doesn't live on a farm or have a barn. Maggie just makes a stall out of a garden shed. This may be quite inspirational for those children who have been begging for a horse.

If you are looking for more early/transitional chapter books, this one with short and interesting chapters will be just the thing.

Sunday, December 7, 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: 


The Princess in Black is a very fun and cute adventure. The Princess has ninja skills and uses them to help keep monsters in check despite the expectation that Princesses are ladylike and only wear pink. It's great that it is in an early chapter book format. 

Foreign Gods, Inc was quite unique. I read it for the Africa Challenge and for the Diversity on the Shelf Challenge. It's an adult title and deals with a man who is contemplating stealing a deity from his hometown in Nigeria. He is rather desperate for money and believes that he could sell it for a high price in the U.S. It was a slow start for me, but ultimately I found it fascinating in a grim way.

Grim was also a good word for The Key that Swallowed Joey Pigza. Joey is once again in a tough situation. His homelife is such a challenge. His mother has sunk into depression and his father has run away. He is left to take care of his baby brother. Joey is determined to be positive though and is using all kinds of coping skills. It's a hard book to read, cue sound of cockroaches crunching, but has humor and all kinds of heart.

I will be reviewing Tea Party later in the week. I got an ARC from the publisher. It's a cute picture book and how can I resist something about tea parties? I drink tea multiple times a day.

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold is a fantastic collection of shivery poems about winter animals and plants. I loved the combination of poetry and non-fiction text.

In preparation for the final edition of The Hobbit in theaters this month, I listened to a radio version. We also watched the first two movies this weekend. I am eager for the movie, but not for the tears I will shed.

The Coming Week: 
I've started listening to Anne Lamott's fiction title Blue Shoe, but am between books otherwise. I have a lengthy list planned for my winter break. I've been putting a bunch of books on hold so I will have many choices. A few of them may get read ahead of time because I just can't wait. *eyes The Family Romanov sitting on the floor* I think I will finally get to Dreaming in Indian this week and maybe Escaping the Tiger

Have a wonderful week full of reading adventures.

Saturday, December 6, 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 week.

* I'm participating in Write Daily. This is a writing challenge that is hosted by Linda Urban. I'm celebrating that I have been writing more this week and posting to my blog more often. I wrote for four days straight. Yesterday though, I didn't make my goal. I planned to, but this week I have stayed almost 2 hours after work every day. We're going through a renovation and we (me and two aides) had to move almost half of the library to a new location and we're boxing up the rest. This is an exhausting job. When I came home yesterday I sat on the floor until my husband brought home dinner. We watched the hobbit together and I went to bed. No writing was accomplished, but my brain and body relaxed and I spent time with family. I was disappointed this morning when I realized I hadn't written, but today is a new day.

It's fun for the students to hide in and around the boxes during the shift.

* The library move is a struggle. Doing all of my regular tasks with moving on top of it is wearing me down. Almost every free moment is spent shifting books, packing them, or making decisions about the new or old library space. I would love to say that it's exciting and I am looking forward to the new space, but right now I have my head down and am just trying to get through. There is a small light shining at the end of the tunnel though. All of the books that are staying in our new mini-library are moved and there is only one more bookcase of nonfiction to be packed on Monday. We still have the chapter and picture books to pack, but there are fewer of those. It's beginning to feel manageable.

* One of our pre-k teachers left that fun note seen in the center above. Chocolate always helps when I am stressed and it is wonderful to know that others are behind us and understand the stress of the move.

* Because of my schedule, I won't see all of the classes during the Hour of Code week, so I started some of those lessons already. It was fun to see the students enjoying the Hour of Code program online and some of my earlier grades were interacting with the apps Kodable and Light Bot. One child was not as thrilled though. He is a true Nerdybookclub guy. When he realized what we were doing he said, "I don't want to play a game on an iPad, I just want to read a book." He did manage to learn a little about coding and enjoy himself, but he was happy when we got to checkout time and he could finally get to the books.

* My daughter is performing in many musical events this season. We get to go see her at one of the local universities this weekend. It's an honor choir with nominated high school students along with the university choir. They're singing portions of the Messiah and she has been looking forward to this for quite some time.

* Finally, I got our Christmas cards ordered and they came in the mail. I haven't sent any in about six years so this is a step in the right direction. I've written a few of them already and am hoping to get the majority mailed this weekend. I'm enjoying the Advent Season and while cards add more work, it's also nice to send out greetings to people we don't see often and think of them.

I hope that your week was full of celebrations big and small.

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Review: The Missing Chancleta and Other Top-Secret Cases

Title: The Missing Chancleta and Other Top-Secret Cases/La chancleta perdida y otros casos secretos
Author: Alidis Vicente
Publisher: Piñata Books
Pages: 64
Availability: On shelves now
Review Copy: Final copy via publisher

Summary: Flaca’s chancleta, or flip flop, has gone missing! She prepares to investigate the theft: “Pencil and notepad: in hand. Straw hat for disguise: on. Magnifying glass: Check.” She interviews each of her family members, all of whom are suspects. Oddly, their stories check out, so Flaca will have to dig deeper to find the culprit.

Normally, Detective Flaca a pale, scrawny second grader doesn’t allow civilians to read her confidential case files. But young readers willing to sign the confidentiality agreement that appears before the three top-secret cases included in this bilingual collection are in luck!

In “The Case of the Missing China,” Flaca discovers small pieces of china or oranges for those who grew up in Puerto Rico in a fruit cup included in her lunch. She’s allergic to oranges, so she immediately suspects someone is trying to harm her. But who could it be? And in “The Case of the Lost Salsa,” Flaca is dismayed to learn she will have to dance salsa at her older sister’s quinceanera. Attending the birthday party is bad enough, but performing in front of everyone is unimaginable! When Flaca starts dance lessons, she realizes her “salsa” is missing. She uses her finely tuned detective skills to locate her lost dancing abilities, ultimately discovering that one’s inner “salsa” can’t be found with pencil and paper.

Narrated by Detective Flaca in hard-boiled detective style, this bilingual collection of inter-related short stories for intermediate readers will appeal to seasoned and reluctant readers alike. And Flaca will surely inspire a host of amateur private investigators!

My Review: Detective Flaca tells about her investigative exploits in chatty case files and is kindly allowing readers to view them. Of course, with her detective skills, she is able to find crimes where nobody else might notice. The stories are quick and fun so will be great for students just entering the chapter book world.

Detective Flaca's voice is amusing. She takes herself and her detective work very seriously. When she is given a fruit cup that includes oranges that she is allergic to, she calls it an assassination attempt. This is no joke so Flaca is following every lead, taking notes, and using all the tools of the trade even if she has to improvise. For instance, she uses her grandfather's glasses in place of a magnifying glass. I had to admire both her creativity and her curiosity. She's an excellent example of someone who wonders all of the time.

A special feature is that this is a bilingual flip book. If readers start on one side, the text is in Spanish. If they flip it over, the text is in English with a few key words in Spanish. There are plenty of context clues, so even English only readers will be able to understand the Spanish vocabulary.

I would recommend this book for students who enjoy mysteries or like reading about characters that question their surroundings and live in a state of wonder. It's a great early chapter book for any collection.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - The Favorites


Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more non-fiction. I am thankful that she has this challenge because I know I have read more nonfiction texts as a result.

In July I posted my favorites of the year at that point. I've read about 75 non-fiction picture books that were new to me this year (not including re-reads at school with my classes). Here are some of the standouts:


My favorites are a mixture of old and new. I'm so glad that there are such good quality nonfiction books available for our students and I love to share them.

Tuesday, December 2, 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 then give feedback to at least three other bloggers.

Worth a second read at home :)
"Do you ever stop reading?" I heard an incredulous voice ask from above. 

I glanced up and said with a smile, "I'm resting between sets - and no, I don't stop reading if I can help it." 

My co-worker had found me at the YMCA on an exercise mat. I was on my back holding a book above my head reading as I rested between sets of my ab workout. Originally, I had only planned to read while I rode a stationary bicycle, but I had the books next to me when I started my floor workout and couldn't resist. Emily's Blue Period was one of the books I brought and one chapter between sets was just about the perfect amount of time for resting.

Donalyn Miller (author of The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild) would call this "reading in the edges." She says, "Sneaking precious minutes here and there for reading is an acquired skill" (p. 11 RitW). It's something that I mastered in childhood - carrying books with me to all sorts of activities and reading whenever I was stuck someplace. Even if I was without a book, I read anything I could find such as encyclopedias, telephone books (not kidding - the ads could be fun & some of the names too), magazines of all kinds, and ingredient lists among other things. Sure I prefer to read a lovely book in a cozy chair with tea and tons of time, but I capture reading moments in many other locations gathering minutes that eventually add up to hours. 

Stealing time like that makes me feel like I am getting away with something and those extra minutes of reading are like unwrapping an unexpected gift.

Monday, December 1, 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: 

Due to National Novel Writing Month and the fact that I was woefully behind, I had precious little reading time this week, but I did manage to read Backwards Moon. I won an ARC online. It's a chapter book for the younger set. It would be nice for those advancing through the Magic Treehouse Books. It isn't very long, but there are no illustrations and the words are smaller and closer together. It centers on a two young witches. Their group of witches are in danger and the two youngsters are the ones tasked with saving everyone. It's what I would think of as an entry level fantasy chapter book. 

The other book I got to read was The Pilot and the Little Prince. It was a picture book biography of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry by Peter Sis. I enjoyed it, but find it somewhat difficult to read the text when it is tiny and all over the page embedded in the illustrations. This is mainly due to my aging eyes, but I did wonder if my students would do the work necessary to chase the text around. The illustrations are pure Peter Sis and I enjoyed the whimsy. A favorite illustration is paired with the text saying, "follow the face of the landscape." The next two page spread then shows a desert area with faces in the hills.

The Coming Week: 
I have been reading Foreign Gods, Inc. for several weeks, but I may just get through it this week. I also want to start reading some of the Newbery contenders that I haven't gotten to yet. I am not sure what I am getting to read because I haven't been able to plan well lately with all of the writing taking up my time. It will be a surprise I guess. Have a great week!


Saturday, November 29, 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 week.

This week was chock full of celebrations.

* My son is home from college for Thanksgiving. After his accident in October, we are more happy than ever to see him. 

* I finished my NaNoWriMo novel a few minutes ago one day ahead of schedule. Whew! It is always fun, but does make it difficult to get everything else done. 

* We've started pulling out the decorations for the Christmas season and I am excited to make the house cheery. It is especially fun knowing that our exchange student is getting to experience holidays that are new and different.

* We have started to move things in my school library into the much smaller space due to our renovation. I've condensed our nonfiction section to two large two-sided bookshelves on wheels. Several students have asked if I am going to pack our graphic novel section, but that is staying for sure. I would have a mutiny if I packed those for any length of time. I have half of the chapter book section moved and it begins to seem that our mini-library just may work. 

* We started prepping for hour of code this week. I created accounts and introduced Hour of Code with a few classes. I'm excited because since we did some things last year, it seems that this year will be even more fun and a lot of learning will be happening.

* Thanksgiving dinner was delicious. We have had some wonderful food this week and it has been in even better company.

There have been things to cry over this week too. The grand jury verdict in the Ferguson case broke a part of me. I don't understand how so many people believe that this is not about race. That paired with the shooting of Tamir Rice have me feeling a little hopeless. I have to wonder, when will the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter be unnecessary and what will I do to help make that happen?

Monday, November 24, 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: 

National Novel Writing Month really puts a damper on my reading. I only finished three books at home besides the picture books I have been re-reading at school with my classes. My favorite book this week was El Deafo. It's is a fantastic middle grade graphic novel. I read it because the CCBC-net discussion was focusing on graphic novels this month and that was one of the titles. I had also been meaning to read it so I was glad I had the extra encouragement. Cece Bell shared some of her own experiences as a child this story. She was born hearing, but became deaf when she was a young. She shares what that was like with humor and heart. I loved reading El Deafo and will be sure to hand it to many students.

A Writer's Notebook was a nice reminder of the many ways that a writer can utilize a notebook to capture moments in life that can be used in our writing. I am looking forward to doing some of the things Ralph Fletcher recommended. Students may appreciate seeing the work of young students highlighted along side of work of professional writers .

I reviewed Hunt for the Bamboo Rat over at Rich in Color. It was a high energy survival story that takes place mostly in the Philippines during WWII. Readers get to see the war from a different perspective since the protagonist is Japanese American working for the U.S. military.

The Coming Week:
I am way behind on my National Novel Writing Month project so I may not get to very many books. If I do read something it is likely to be picture books for Alyson Beecher's Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge. I will be re-reading on of my favorite books, Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Building with a few more first grade classes and finishing up reading the Golden Archer Nominees with a few classes:

The Dark by Lemony Snicket
The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
Oh, No! by Candace Fleming
Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses by James Dean
That Is Not a Good Idea! by Mo Willems

I hope you have a great week filled with wonderful reading experiences!