Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Pete the Cat and Penny Dreadful

Just as I suspected, Pete the Cat was a hit tonight at our Open House.  I wore my red tennies in his honor and bought the Nook version of the book.  Parents and students wandered through the LMC and tried out the Nook Colors.  They loved to hear the story of Pete and his colorful shoes.  The greatest part was when the singing would start.  Their faces would light up and there were smiles all around.  I am getting super excited about sharing Pete with my classes next week . 

It's getting late, so I am off to bed to curl up with Penny Dreadful by Laurel Snyder .

 I am almost finished and it will be the perfect way to end the day.  This book has an old-fashioned sweetness to it, but isn't icky sweet.  Penny comes from a wealthy family and is rather bored in her beautiful well-kept home.  She wishes for some kind of change and certainly gets it.  Her father abruptly leaves his job.  Now with a limited amount of money and a load of bills, they move to a ramshackle old house in the country with a crew of quirky tenants.

I really loved when Penny and her friend were talking about fiction and non-fiction.  Penny's life seemed a lot like the fiction book she had just been reading.  Her friend's response is that she should read more non-fiction (biographies about scientists, explorers or magicians) because they were "...more interesting. Less like real life."  I am off to read and snooze. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Yoda and Darth

A desolate space landscape with many moons awaits its moment of glory.

A battle has begun in our LMC.   Origami Yoda and Darth Paper are using all of their power and skill in the ultimate showdown!

The kids loved Origami Yoda and I am sure that there will be a waiting list for Darth Paper Strikes Back! by Tom Angleberger

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Friendship Doll

I just finished a very satisfying book called The Friendship Doll by Kirby Larson.  It was a bit like Hitty and Edward Tulane in that it followed a doll on its life journey touching many other lives on the way, but it was quite unique too.  The characters were very rich in personality.  It also provided snapshots of history along the way.  The book tells of a handmade doll from Japan that is a member of the Ambassadors of Friendship.  In 1927, Japanese children sent 58 dolls to the United States in a gesture of friendship to American schoolchildren.  The dolls were sent all around the country.  This book highlights the journey of one specific doll and her impact on many different people along the way.  I look forward to sharing it with my students.

I am also eager to try the craft suggested by Valerie on her site Jump Into a Book.  She provides excellent photos and a tutorial for making origami friendship dolls.  It looks like a lot of fun and I will just have to make time to do it soon.  I am sure many students will enjoy that activity too.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


This looks like it could be a ton of fun! Click here for the website.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Origami Yoda

Tonight is an Origami Yoda night.  When the book first came out I made a little Origami Yoda finger puppet, because who can read the book without trying that?  But I decided I wanted to make a larger version for my library at school.  The first one I made tonight followed the instructions found in the book which I found on the author Tom Angleberger"s Blog.  There's even a video to show people how to fold that one at the Star Wars website.

Not content to do the easier version in a larger size, I felt the need to make the cover version in a larger size.  Yikes.  That one is not for the faint of heart.  I was getting just a little frustrated with all of the crazy folds.  I don't know if I he's correct, but Yoda is mostly recognizable, so to my mind, he is close to being done.  

When I finish my tweaking, Darth Paper will be coming to life.  I just read that book last night and of course had a blast.  

Okay, I just finished Darth Paper.  Wahooo!  I am not sure Darth is too pleased to be at our house.  He seemed a bit put out when my daughter said, "Oh, he's so cute.  I want to hug him."  He's about 2 feet tall and is probably pretty sensitive about that.  And on top of that, I forgot to bring home paper for his lightsaber.  He is likely feeling vulnerable.  Poor guy.  

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Book Trailers

In Jen Malphy's class today she shared some of the book trailers that her students have created.  Making trailers is a great creativity opportunity.  They are also just a lot of fun to watch.  You can visit the book trailers on her site and learn how to help students make their own.  There is another fantastic place to see book trailers.  Mr. Schu Reads posts tons of engaging trailers.  I love stopping by his blog just to see the amazing trailers he finds.  Mr. Schu is so excited about books and reading and he finds all kinds of fun trailers like this one

Monday, August 15, 2011

E-Reader Fun

Today I had the opportunity to learn more about my new NookColors and how to use them effectively in school.  Jen Malphy is doing an excellent job teaching all about e-readers.  It was really helpful and I finally got a lot of questions answered.  She has a ton of great resources on her ereadersintheclassroom wiki.

I was not really sure if I would enjoy reading this way, but I am definitely getting used to it.  One night awhile back I needed to sit waiting alone for a long time and I looked all over my car for a book.  I figured I was out of luck, but suddenly realized I had about 40 books in my backseat in the Nook.  Fabulous "Duh!" moment.  So far I have read several picture books and two full length novels and it is starting to feel natural to hold this funny device.  I don't really think I will ever completely lose my love for paper books, but I am enjoying the e-readers and really look forward to using them with my students.  I think they will love reading on them and creating books to put on them.  I can't wait to get started!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Back from Vacation

Vacation was wonderful!  I had almost no opportunity to indulge in online activity because of our remote location.  There was plenty of time for hiking, swimming, laying on the beach, and of course - reading.  We stopped by a few places that had book exchange corners. I loved grabbing something random to read and leaving behind something I didn't need anymore.  Those little corners are always a fantastic find and just make my day.  They are like a little present out of the blue.  It inspires me to start a corner like that in our staff lounge at my school.

Recently I saw that some people are super serious about "little libraries" as they call them.  Little Free Library seems to have a great idea for supporting reading anywhere and everywhere.  Maybe I will do something like that too in the future.  People have so many fun ideas.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My School Shoes

I am so excited about Pete and his school shoes.  Last week I finally met Pete the Cat.
He is truly rockin' in those shoes.  Hopefully I can find a great pair myself.  School is just around the corner and I know my students are going to have a blast getting to know Pete.  People sure seemed to love him at this library visit.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

10 For 10 Inspiration

Okay, I have to admit that the 10 for 10 Picture Books event also had something to do with starting a blog. Cathy from the blog Reflect and Refine and Mandy from the blog Embrace Learning want to know which ten picture books we cannot live without.  I started thinking about my list about a week ago and it keeps changing.  It is quite a challenge to narrow the list down to just 10 because there are so many fabulous books for children, but I will give it a shot.

1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle - this book is the earliest book I can remember as a child.  It seems to delight children over and over again.  With the little holes to play with and the bright beautiful illustrations, this book is always a winner.

2. The Happy Hocky Family by Lane Smith - no matter how many times I read this book, I howl and so do the kids.  Lane Smith's humor is quite cracked and sometimes I am not even sure why we are rolling on the floor, but there we are.

3. Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton - who can resist this great competition between these tough guys?

4. Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell - this biography is fantastic.  The illustrations are gentle like Jane and the mix of real drawing and photographs with the illustrator's work is perfect.

5. Here's a Little Poem by Jane Yolen and Andrew Fusek Peters - it is stretching definitions to consider this a picture book since it has a few too many pages, but I just wouldn't survive without some poetry.  Children love the No-No Bird (a child stomping his feet and throwing a tantrum) because they have all seen or done the very same thing and the poem about ice cream is a winner too.

6. Sitti's Secrets by Naomi Shihab Nye - is a truly beautiful story of family and place.  This explores the relationship of a young girl with her Palestinian grandmother.  They don't speak the same verbal language, but the language of love does the job.

7. No David! by David Shannon - absolutely hilarious - enough said.

8. We are in a Book! by Mo Willems - Elephant and Piggie may be simple characters, but they are sly and silly too.  I love this book about books and reading and so does almost every child that has the good fortune to meet this book.

9. Mrs. Katz and Tush by Patricia Polacco - we have a heartwarming and beautiful tearjerker here.  It is a great way to see some parallels with the Jewish and African American experiences.  Beyond that, it is a fantastic example of community.

10. My People by Langston Hughes and Charles R. Smith Jr. - the photographs are fantastic and of course the poetry is too.  I love seeing the beauty and joy in the faces of his people.  You can't help but smile in response.

Here I Am

I am here.  Is anyone else?  I heard about a 15 Minutes a Day Challenge and decided that writing a blog might be more fun than filling those pages in my notebook.  Even if nobody else visits this blog, I am hopeful that I will learn something and be better able to teach students about blogging.

I cannot remember a time when reading hasn't been a huge part of my life.  As far back as my memory goes, I have had books around me.  They have been friends, lifelines, comic relief, educational and often pure escape.

On this blog I hope to share a bit about the many books I am reading and some of the cool lit things that I stumble across on the Internet.