Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 12.31.14

NF PB 2014

We know that a big part of the CCSS is to include more informational texts into ourstudents' reading.  I quickly discovered I had a "gap" in my reading diet - the genre of informational texts!  To help me fill the gap this year, I am going to participate in Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays!  This is a great link-up hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.  Please visit this website to see other educator's link-ups.  My goal is to read at least one informational text each week and post information on the blog.  The more books and subjects I read, the more I can encourage (my #OLW for 2014) other teachers to use in their classroom! 

Nonfiction Picture Books

I read a lot of books.  This year I read more than a lot of books.  I think this was an amazing year for kid lit.  The writing was amazing.  
Looking back, here are some favorites:

Feathers: Not Just for Flying
Feathers Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
I love the organization of this book.
Great for animal adaptation unit!

Barbed Wire Baseball
Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss
Great book for kids to help them become
aware of this period of US history.

A Boy and a Jaguar
A Boy and A Jaguar by Alan Rabinowitz
LOVED this book.  Heartstrings biography.

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
The Right Word by Jen Bryant
Bryant and Sweet team up again.
Illustrations are amazing and I love how they add to the text.

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes
Tiny Creatures by Nicola Davies
Another book that is organized so well.
I love how Davies explains a complex subject for young readers.

Creature Features: Twenty-Five Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do
Creature Features by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
I love how this book takes the form of Q&A letters from the animals.

Fall Leaves
Fall Leaves by Loretta Holland
Still not sure if this is categorized as fiction/non-fiction, but
I loved the poetry and fall information.  
Beautiful illustrations!

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California's Farallon Islands
Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy
I think this was one of my favorite NFPB this year because
of the use of watercolors in the illustrations.
It handled the subject of sharks well for young readers - 
pages with lots of info, pages with shorter text.

Mr. Ferris and His Wheel
Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis
This is another favorite.  Great illustrations to go along
with engaging text.  Perfect nonfiction.

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla
Ivan The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate
This is my favorite.
It took me a few reads, but I think Applegate captured 
the feeling we all hold dear to our hearts when we think about Ivan.

There were so many amazing nonfiction books written this year.  I'm excited to see kids want to read nonfiction because of the writing, because of the illustrations, because of the learning.
Look HERE for my favorite 2014 Picture Books.
Look HERE for my favorite 2014 Chapter Books and Graphic Novels.

Happy reading and may 2015 be blessed with more books!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Favorite Chapter Books and Graphic Novels of 2014

Chapter Books

I read a lot of books.  This year I read more than a lot of books.  I think this was an amazing year for kid lit.  The writing was amazing.  There were so many lines, so many characters, so many plots, that stuck to me.
Looking back, here are some favorites:

A Snicker of Magic
A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd
This is one of the first books I read this year and I'm still thinking about it.
I love Felicity and her words.
(don't tell the others, but this may be my favorite)

Circa Now
Circa Now by Amber McRee Turner
Circa is still in my heart.

Absolutely Almost
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
Albie is in my heart too.

How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes Are Untied
How to Outrun a Crocodile When Your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating
This was the wittiest book of the year.  Smart and funny.

We Were Liars
We Were Liars by e. lockhart
Wow.  I can't talk about this book unless you've read it too.  

The Great Greene Heist
The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson
Probably the most fun book I read this summer.

The Night Gardener
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
Holy creepy, yet amazingly written book.
(don't tell the others, but this may be my favorite)

The Fourteenth Goldfish
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
Holm made science cool.

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, #1)
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo
Kate has an amazing way with words.

The Quirks in Circus Quirkus
The Quirks A Circus Quirks by Erin Soderberg
I love this series for kids.  Not everyone can write for this age.

Brown Girl Dreaming
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson
I'll say it.  Go ahead.  Put one more shiny gold sticker on this book on Feb. 2.

The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry
The Storied Life of AJ Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin
Had to throw this adult read onto the list.
This book should be dedicated to Nerdy Book Club readers everywhere.

Here's my favorite Graphic Novels

Bird & Squirrel on Ice
Bird & Squirrel on Ice by James Burks
I love Bird.  I love Squirrel.
They are the best friends to watch banter since Jerry and George.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
I'm pretty sure Raina wrote this book for anyone who grew up in the 80s.
Hello, Strawberry Shortcake doll...

El Deafo
El Deafo by Cece Bell
Cece is an amazing woman.

There you go.  After putting this list together it makes me want to go back and read them again.
I posted my favorite 2014 Picture Books HERE
Tomorrow I will share my favorite 2014 Nonfiction Picture Books.
What were your favorites?

SoL #OLW reflection 12.30.14


Slice of Life is a weekly event hosted by Two Writing Teachers.

Remember way back at the beginning of 2014, when many people posted about their One Little Word?  My word was encourage.  Somehow between January and now, I had forgotten what I meant by that word.  Somehow, 11 months passed, and I'm looking back on what I wrote, and I'm astounded by how much my one little word happened.  


Almost 12 months ago I wrote:

And somewhere, in all of this, we forgot what we're doing.  Loving reading.  It's our job to do that.  To show kids how to love reading.  To help them understand what type of reader they are.  To share books.  To love books. 

* I know my love of reading increased ten-fold this past year with the help of my Twitter friends.  I read the books that were good, great and amazing.  And every time I fell in love with a book I talked about it.  With friends, with colleagues and most importantly, with students. 
* I encouraged everyone at school by making reading visible.  I posted what I was reading and helped make students more aware of awards, like the Geisel Award and reading them to the kids. We hosted a book party where staff got to interact with new books and had time to go through them. 
* We skyped with authors. 
* Every grade level at our school had the opportunity to participate in Mock Awards:  Geisel, Newbery and Caldecott.
* We talked about Lines That Stick to Me and staff and students collected them.
* I brought in stacks and stacks of my personal books to school.  Some were donated to my school library but most went into the hands of my reading students.  Most of my students don't know who they are as a reader.  Most don't have a place to go to find books.  Most don't know what they want to read.  Our reading team has worked really hard at helping our students find books, read and finish them, be excited about them and want to come back for more.  I don't want to be their only source, but I'm happy to help them on their way.
* We have talked a lot as a staff about reading.  We know it is important to have our students be readers, but so many of our teachers have lost their reading life.  It's really easy to do that when life gets in the way.  I've worked on encouraging them to regain some of that life back.  Not everyone is willing to try.  Not everyone is able to get back into it.  I continue to encourage all to become readers and I'm always happy to give a recommendation.  I love the conversations I've had with colleagues about what they've read.  I'm encouraged by our progress.
* I've taken a lot of steps this year to learn all that I can and think about what I need to do to encourage the readers I work with.  This past year I went to Anderson's Children's Literature Breakfast, NerdCamp in Michigan and NCTE.  I have daily conversations with my PLN and learn from them everyday.  I thank them for the energy and renewal they give my reading life.

As 2014 went on, I began to think encourage meant working with others.  Encouraging them.  I learned a huge lesson there.  It's not about encouraging others to be where I want them to be or to be where I think they should be.  It means meeting people where they are at.  Moving forward together.  This is a lesson that is hard for me.  I'll encourage myself to work on it in 2015.

2014 has been a transformative year for me.  Looking back, it has been enlightening to see how far not only I've come, but the people around me, have journeyed. It was a good year.  I'm encouraged for what's to come in 2015.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Favorite Picture Books of 2014

Picture Books

I read a lot of books.  This year I read more than a lot of books.  I think this was an amazing year for kid lit.  The writing was amazing.  There were so many lines, so many characters, so many plots, that stuck to me.
Looking back, here are some favorites:

Quest by Aaron Becker
What a follow-up!  I love that their journey continues.

Flora and the Penguin
Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
I love this storyline even more!

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend
The Adventures of Beetle by Dan Santat
The artistry amazes me every time I read this book.

Flight School
Flight School by Lita Judge
Because who doesn't need some help with the technical parts?

Naked! by Michael Ian Black
I love when he's caped... but mostly naked!  
I have yet to find a child who does not love this book.

The Troublemaker
The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo
This book made me fall in love with Lauren's work.

Nana in the City
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
Because everyone should have a Nana like that.
And the Central Park (at least that's where I envision it to be) page... It's glorious!

Ninja! by Arree Chung
"I am dishonored." LOVE that page!

Hooray for Hat!
Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won
Who doesn't want to say, "hooray for hat!"

Little Elliot, Big City
Little Elliot Big City by Mike Curato

Louise Loves Art
Louise Loves Art by Kelly Light
This book has one of the best first pages of a book.

Blizzard by John Rocco
Maybe if I read this book everyday it won't snow...

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett
This is my favorite picture book of 2014.
I loved it when I read it.
I loved it even more after talking to people about it.
I loved it most after hearing Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen talk about it.
Best kid lit ending EVER.

So there you go.  Favorite Picture Books of 2014.
Tomorrow favorite Chapter Books of 2014.

What was your favorite picture book?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12.29.14

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

The holidays kept me busy, but it has been so wonderful getting a chance to read.  I look forward to reading even more next week.  I have a couple of #mustreadin2014 books I am trying to finish up before midnight Thursday!
Here's what I got to this week:

Picture Books

All the World
All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
5/5 stars
I can't believe I missed this book for so long.  The message is sweet, but it's the illustrations that just kept my eyes on the pages.  Marla Frazee is amazing.  I guess that's why it was a Caldecott Honor book.

The Bat Boy and His Violin
The Boy and His Violin by Gavin Curtis
4/5 stars
I picked this one up because it was mentioned in Jennifer Serravallo's Small Groups book. It is a great book for so many comprehension strategies. 

A Letter for Leo
A Letter for Leo by Sergio Ruzzier
4/5 stars
Sweet friendship story.  I liked it, but saw some other stronger stories this year. 


Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole
Santa Clauses:  Poems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka
5/5 stars
My daughter and I counted down to Christmas by reading a haiku each night.  If you haven't seen this amazing book, be sure to check it out before next December!  It's a beautiful addition to your holiday collection.

Middle Grade

The Runaway King (The Ascendance Trilogy, #2)
The Runaway King by Jennifer Nielson
5/5 stars
How I loved going back to Sage's world!  Once I got drawn into the story, it was hard to put down.

Young Adult

My True Love Gave to Me: Twelve Holiday Stories
My True Love Gave to Me edited by Stephanie Perkins
4/5 stars
I adored this collection of young adult holiday stories.  Short stories always amaze me - how quick and tight the story must be.  Great writing.

Currently Reading
I have two books on my #mustreadin2014 list that I'm determined to get to:

Better Nate Than Ever
Better Nate Than Ever

The Thing About Georgie
The Thing About Georgie

Happy Reading, everyone.  Can't wait to see what 2015 brings!