Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wild Rumpus!

I had a great time getting to know the Wild Rumpus book store in Minneapolis. What a unique place. They even have a cute door within a door.

I have been to the cities many times, but had never stumbled on this fun spot. I met the chickens and saw the chincillas, ferrets, cats, doves, and cockatiels. 

They have a great spooky house in there that houses their scary books. 

I loved the atmosphere. There was some great music playing (Putumayo) and there was a casual feeling with all the critters wandering around and people reading. The art on the ceiling was cool too.

After a visit at the bookstore, I stopped by a branch of the public library too. 
It was a great day for reading.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I have read some fantastic books this week and some bummers too.

Newbery Challenge: The Cat Who Went to Heaven wasn't too bad, but Waterless Mountain was not one I will ever read again or recommend. It was a story of the Navajo people through the eyes of a white woman. Review here. Most people were more generous than I, but I just didn't like it.

Caldecott Challenge: Abraham Lincoln was not one of my favorites either. It was too much of a tall tale type of book. Alphabet City was a fun way to see the alphabet - found city objects. I loved re-reading Snowflake Bentley. Finally, Peppe the Lamplighter was a nice immigrant story though the dad was hard to accept for awhile.

Books for Adults: I was happy to get Readicide through Inter-library loan, but I also ordered it for my professional collection. and it just arrived. It is a fantastic look at how we kill the love of reading and how we can avoid doing that. I also read the adult novel After You'd Gone which was coincidentally somewhat similar to the Young Adult books that I read.

Middle Grade: Eye of the Storm by Kate Messner was exciting and fun.

Picture Books: Apple Pie ABC was cute. The Cazuela the Farm Maiden Stirred is a bright and engaging cumulative tale with a recipe that I am dying to try. And Waiting for the Biblioburro was precious.

Young Adult: If I Stay and Where She Went by Gayle Forman were both amazing. Where She Went was part of the Nerdy Awards nomination list so I started with that, but soon realized it was a sequel so I had to read the first one too. I read both of them in less than 24 hours. They were that compelling. Having a free afternoon helped too though. :)

For next week, I am working on re-reading Kashmira Sheth's books Boys Without Names and Blue Jasmine. I will also work on Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze and some Caldecotts. I am also hoping to get to Why We Broke Up. 

Our Hold Shelf

Travis Jonker over at 100 Scope Notes in cooperation with @MrSchuReads have announced a sharing of hold shelves. You may read Jonker's explanation at #Holdshelf is Coming! It is really quite interesting to watch what students are requesting in the library. Here is a slightly blurry photo of what was left on our hold shelf mid-afternoon on Friday.

I also took a screen shot of those pending. I guess you can tell that Alan Silberberg visited our school via Skype. I had to purchase some more copies of his book Milo, but they aren't in circulation yet, so many students are waiting.

It will be fun to see what turns up on our shelf over the next few weeks. It is certainly one way to know what it is that our students are wanting to read.

Monday, March 12, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Newbery Challenge: This week the big finish was with The Trumpeter of Krakow which wasn't half bad. It had a bit of mystery, adventure, royalty, alchemy, and love.  It still might not hold the attention of modern day elementary students, but it was better than many we have read so far.

Caldecott Challenge: I quite enjoyed So You Want to be President. It was filled with random facts about presidents and the presidency. The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship was amusing. The Glorious Flight was entertaining and educational too. White Snow, Bright Snow made me wonder if we would get snow this month since the calendar in that book said March. The illustrations weren't my favorites. Drummer Hoff was certainly bright and bouncy, but a bit strange. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble was fun. The final one I read this week was Marshmallow. That bunny is really adorable.

STEMS Books: I was lucky enough to go to a STEMS resource afternoon to look at all kinds of great books. All the Water in the World is fantastic. I also liked Friends: True Stories of Extraordinary Animal Friendships. It reminded me of A Friend Like You by Askani which I like a smidge better.  I saw a lot of other great books, but didn't get to read them all. I did order many of them so will get to them later this year.

Picture Books: We had a big treat when Linda Urban read Mouse was Mad to my first grade class. I finally read The Goodbye Cancer Garden which was really an excellent view of the journey of a mom with cancer and how her family works through the treatments together.  Rhyming Dust Bunnies, Nothing but the Truth, and Listen to My Trumpet were part of World Read Aloud Day celebrations. Cheech the School Bus Driver was one I buzzed through while window shopping. It was okay. Invisible by Katja Kamm was a rather unique and quite bizarre little book. Things become invisible as they pass into a background that matches them.  A Few Blocks was quite creative artistically. Brother Sun, Sister Moon was just beautiful. Crafty Chloe made me smile and The Fantastic Flying Books of Morris Lessmore was just a neat experience. 

2011 Nerdy Nominees: Roots and Blues: A Celebration was worth the wait. I love Arnold Adoff. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was creepy and it completely sucked me in. How to Save a Life had me a little conflicted because I was getting tired of some of the teen voices and that doesn't usually happen. Maybe it is because I have two teens in my home, but I wanted a break. Eventually though, the voices ceased to bother me because the story took over.

In honor of Women's History Month, I read Amelia to Zora: Twenty-Six Women Who Changed the World. Amazing women and well written.

Two more books this week were Kristy's Great Idea (Babysitter's Club Graphic Novel) and The Three Weissmanns of Westport (adult fiction).  I liked the graphic novel, but the Weissmanns was another one where certain character voices became annoying.

For the coming week, I plan to read Vanished by Sheela Chari, Hitty (for Nerdbery), and the new Marty McGuire. I will also read Delirium by Lauren Oliver. Other than that, I will likely hit a few Caldecotts too. I never realize how many books I read until I post this, then I am a little shocked at the number.  I wonder if the trend will continue. I so love to read.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

World Read Aloud Day Continues

The fun and learning just keeps rolling on here at our school.  Today two of our fifth grade classes got to visit with author Michael Scotto.  He shared about his chapter books and read one of his picture books to us.

We will have to watch the book trailer for his chapter book sometime soon.  It sure makes me want to read the book.

Next, one of our Pre-K classes had a great visit from some students at Cooper Elementary in Burlington, WI (led by @pageintraining).  They read us these really funny books:

Then, one of our first grade classes was lucky enough to visit with Michael Scotto too.  They had a fun time listening to his book and asking a ton of questions.

 We even saw a picture of his very own tornado dog.

World Read Aloud Day just keeps going, and going, and going, and going. Tomorrow another Pre-K class will have a Skype visit with some 5th grade students that will read with us. On Monday, second grade will visit with the author of the I Spy books, Jean Marzollo, and by then, all of the grades will have had a visit of some kind. I love it when there is an event that gets us trying new things and working with people from other places. These kinds of visits get us pretty excited about reading.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

World Read Aloud Day is Finally Here!

For WRAD we started off our day with a poem on announcements. One fifth grade class also got to Skype with Alan Silberberg.  That was a real treat. He read from Milo: Sticky Notes & Brain Freeze and even read the beginning of a book that hasn't yet been published.  It seems like this new book is going to be pretty awesome. I wish I had caught a picture of the kids laughing. They had a wonderful time.

I will keep adding more pictures and information as the day goes on.  It should be a great day!

Just finished sharing Dust Bunnies and Elephant & Piggie in the lunchroom to first through fifth grade as they came through. Fun times. One of our subs even helped and she was an awesome reader.

One of our first grade classes got to meet Linda Urban.  She has written some excellent chapter books and this very fun picture book called Mouse was Mad

Her read aloud was really fun.  

The kids had a great time making mad faces at the beginning and happy faces at the end just like mouse.

Some of our first graders read aloud to book characters.

One of our 3rd grade classes even got to visit with Mr. Sharp's class in Michigan. We talked about our favorite books and had some fun read alouds too.

The final Read Aloud activity of the day was when our whole fourth grade Skyped with Mr. Schu's first and second graders. We read poetry to them and they read Elephant & Piggie to us.  It was a lot of fun.  Whew.

I love, love, love World Read Aloud Day!!!  And the fun is just beginning. Some of the classes weren't able to Skype today, so we have more tomorrow, Friday, Monday & next Wednesday.  Thanks to all the authors, teachers, and students that read with us today.  We loved meeting you all. 

Monday, March 5, 2012

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

Whew! It's been quite a week. I had an exhausting event on Friday and Saturday to prepare for, but recovery was nice as I was able to just read for most of Sunday and catch up.

Newbery Challenge: I finished Gay-Neck: The Story of a Pigeon which was the 1928 Newbery winner. I actually enjoyed this one, but am really not sure that young children would be the right audience. I liked the cultural aspects that I learned throughout the story of this boy and his pigeon in India. This seems to give an authentic picture of life near the Himalayas.

Caldecott Challenge: It was a slow week for the Caldecotts.  First I read Blueberries for Sal the 1949 winner, which is one of my all time favorites. The pictures are fabulous, but it is just such a wonderful mother-love story and a great view of the natural world. Interesting too was that I read a New York Times post about the lack of such views in recent children's literature just this week. The second Caldecott I read was If I Ran the Zoo. See my not so positive review here.

2011 Nerdy Nominees: I have slowly been chipping away at these over the past few months. I really enjoyed the ones I hit this week -  Graphic novels Hera: The Goddess and Her Glory and Feynman.  Feynman got a little complicated, but as he seemed to point out often, we don't always have to understand everything. I also got to experience Elephant Scientist another fabulous book in the Scientist in the Field series.

Seuss books: In my classes I shared Hooray for Diffendoofer Day, And to Think that I Saw it on Mulberry Street, There's a Wocket in My Pocket, and I Can Read with My Eyes Shut. All of these were met with smiles and laughter.

Random Non-fiction: The Boy Who Bit Picasso is a great introduction to the man and his art told through a child's perspective. I loved it.  Black and White: The Confrontation of Reverend Fred L. Shuttlesworth and Eugene "Bull" Connor was intense. It reminds me of how bad things have been for some people and how courageous some people have been in the face of injustice.  Finally, I did read one adult book What Remains: A Memoir of Fate, Friendship and Love. It was a little like reading a People magazine, but with more depth.

Random fiction: I read quite a few family books. Sunday is for God is a look at a family and their typical Sunday routine. It is a quiet, peaceful, and homey book.  I was finally able to read The Great Wall of Lucy Wu and I really loved it. It is a family book. It is a growing up book. It is a wonderful middle grade novel.  And the last one I read of the week made me cry. A New Year's Reunion: A Chinese Story shows a father coming home for the New Year celebration. This is happy, but it is also sad because he is a migrant worker and this is the only time of the year that he is with his family. The pictures are beautiful and the story more so. 

For this coming week I plan to start The Trumpeter of Krakow for the Newbery Challenge, I will read some more Caldecotts, and I mean to read a few more 2011 Nerdy Nominees like Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, How to Save a Life, and Roots and Blues: A Celebration among random books that come my way.  I am also looking forward to hearing a lot of good readers on World Read Aloud Day so I will get to experience some books that I am not necessarily expecting.  Have a great week reading!