Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's a Kate Messner January!

It's been a Kate Messner January for me!  I had several books of hers that were on my list to read.  I've read other books by Kate before, and what has always stayed with me is her talent.  Most authors stick with not only a particular genre, but also an audience.  Kate doesn't.  She can equally write for young readers as she can for middle grade.  She writes mysteries, adventure and historical fiction with ease.  I spent this first month of 2015 exploring some of her books.

For the transitional chapter book reader

Product Details
Ranger in Time Rescue on the Oregon Trail 
This book is the first in this historical fiction series for primary/elementary readers.  Ranger, a golden retriever, has been trained to be a search and rescue dog, but hasn't been able to pass his training due to his inability to stay focused, especially from squirrels.  Ranger finds a special first aid kit that has him time travel to a point in history where someone needs his help.  
In this first book, Ranger travels back to the Oregon Trail to help young Sam Abbott's family arrive safely to the Oregon Territory.  Rich with history that is embedded in a great story, kids are going to be learning U.S. and world history without trying!  I can't wait to see all the adventures Ranger will be taking his readers on.
This first book includes author notes that give additional information about search and rescue dogs, as well as historical information on the Oregon Trail.

For the middle grade reader

Product Details
All the Answers
I had heard wonderful things about this book and was excited to start it.  Imagine what it would be like having a pencil that gave you answers.  Not only to homework and tests, but also about people and situations.  With every upside, there is a very equal and hard downside.
Kate surprised me a couple of times with this book.  I don't want to give away anything, so I can't talk about them, all I can say is I really had not seen them coming.
I loved the main character, Ava.  She has a very authentic voice for middle grade readers.  Her concerns, her interests will be very relatable for readers.  I think you can't fool young readers.  They know when authors are talking down to them through their characters, and when the authors just get them.  Kids are going to really like Ava.

Product Details
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z
I had this on my TBR list since I joined Goodreads.... and I don't remember how many years ago that was!  Glad I finally got to it!
After reading this book and All the Answers, I realized that Kate is a master at getting the MG voice just right.  I think Gianna and Ava would be friends.
Kate also ties different story lines and problems together with a deft hand that never feels forced or rushed.  Things come together at the right time and leave the reader with a satisfied feeling.

Product Details
The Exact Location of Home
On the one hand I feel lucky that I had not read Gianna Z until when I did because I was able to go straight into this e-read.
With Gianna's voice fresh in my head, I was still able to transfer to Zig's voice without confusing the character.  That's because Kate defines her characters so well - each have solid traits that make them unique.
I loved falling into Zig's story.  Still focusing on family, much like Gianna, but with Zig's own twists and turns.
This book can be read on its own, but any reader will be glad to pick up both stories!

For the writer/teacher

59 Reasons to Write
Does Kate know me??  I laughed when I heard about this book, because it was like she had gotten into my head!  I DO NOT like writing.  I'm scared.  I'm so unsure of what I'm doing.  Yeah, I know, I'm writing this post.  But I feel like I ramble.  I feel like I don't come off sounding professional.  I don't always know what to write.  Isn't writing when you come up with stories for picture books or novels?  Or you research for a nonfiction book?  I know there are many purposes so why do I feel like I can't write?
I really can't wait to dig into this book.  I'm hoping to read through it, but then dig into it more this summer with other colleagues.  Anyone interested??

Hope you have discovered Kate Messner like I have!  I can't wait to read more of her books and continue to share them with teachers and students.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 1.28.15


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!

Here are the nonfiction books that jumped out of the stack this week!

Earmuffs for Everyone!: How Chester Greenwood Became Known as the Inventor of Earmuffs
Earmuffs for Everyone! by Meghan McCarthy
Kids will enjoy this story about the history of earmuffs.
Chester Greenwood's story is an interesting one, especially
since he took the original earmuff and made it even better.
This would be an interesting concept to explore
with students - take an invention, but improve upon it!
I thought the organization of the book was a bit off.
It was kind of all over for me.

Lady Liberty: Candlewick Biographies: A Biography
Lady Liberty * A Biography by Doreen Rappaport
I really liked the idea of The Statue of Liberty being
the subject of a biography!  Rappaport features many
of the key people involved with The Statue of Liberty - from her
conception to her introduction to the United States.
Told from those voices, it makes this book sound
more varied, which I think will appeal to students.

A Place for Turtles
A Place for Turtles by Melissa Stewart
What a gorgeous book!  Stewart's accessible text and 
additional facts paired with Higgins Bond's beautiful illustrations
make this a must-see book!  Whether you're doing a unit on conservation
or animal adaptations, I would definitely add this book to it!
I find sea turtles fascinating and this book is one I want for my collection.

Did you see today's Nerdy Post?  My daughter and I review Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson.  I love that my daughter wrote her perspective!  You can read it HERE.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

SoLSC 1.27.15 A Mock Celebration!


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

I can't believe that ALA Midwinter weekend is upon us!  I remember last year being home from school because of a "Cold Day".  I had been working out at the gym and got home but had missed the first few awards.  It was exciting to see the titles of many books I had either read or were on my TBR list or I had at least heard of before!  As the presentation went along, my daughter woke up and watched it with me.  We were so excited to see winners.  It really was like watching the Emmys or Grammys.  I was definitely more excited to see these winners!  I remember thinking back then how most of our students, and probably staff, were unfamiliar with the awards, and probably the books.  Since then, I set out to "encourage" (my OLW from 2014) everyone at my school to read more, especially the books that may win an award next Monday!
To help with this endeavor, we set up our "Mocks" at school.  It was a choice, but almost all teachers participated!  It has been exciting to see the students get excited about the books that were read to them.  They started making connections between books and noticing the art across different series.  They talk about whether or not the story is told through the illustrations.  The younger kids talk about whether "it made them want to turn the page" (a Geisel qualification).  Since the books have been shared as a read aloud, that means the teachers have been exposed to this great literature that they might not have been exposed to otherwise.
We kept the procedure easy and adaptable.  The Kg and 1st grade teachers participated in the Mock Geisel.  We had a poster made for each class showing the criteria and told the students they were honorary Committee Members.  The same went for our 2nd and 3rd grade classes who participated in the Mock Caldecott.  We even had two 4th grade classrooms participate in the Mock Caldecott.  The classroom teachers read the books and the kids discussed.  I created a Padlet for both the Geisel and Caldecott books and added the book trailers (if available) that the teachers could share.  We provided the teachers with black and white copies of the covers of the books.  Many of the rooms displayed them somewhere.  Some classrooms rated the books with stars.  Some classrooms wrote comments from the kids.  I love that there is discussions occurring about the books in the rooms.  And with using the criteria, what a great authentic way to closely read these texts!
I wrote about our Mock Newbery Club HERE .  We read 4 books and met 4 times to discuss.  We had 20+ students at each club.  Our most popular book was The Night Gardener.  We had a diverse group of kids participate and many "repeaters" month after month!
The teachers have all been given the webcast link.  I think it's going to be fun to see the excitement on the day of the awards presentation.  I love that it won't just be me this year :)
Here are some pictures from the various classrooms.



Here are our Mock lists.  

Mock Newbery
Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff
The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier
The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer Holm
El Deafo by Cece Bell

Mock Caldecott
The Right Word by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Quest by Aaron Becker
Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
Beekle by Dan Santat
Maple by Lori Nichols
Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads by Bob Shea, illustrated by Lane Smith
Neighborhood Sharks by Katherine Roy
Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle
The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo
My Teacher is a Monster by Peter Brown
Ivan:  The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla by Katherine Applegate, illustrated by G. Brian Karas
The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee
Sparky by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood, illustrated by Jonathan Bean
A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey, illustrated by Floyd Cooper
Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo
Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
Emily's Blue Period by Cathleen Daly, illustrated by Lisa Brown
Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman
Little Elliott, Big City by Mike Curato

Mock Geisel
Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
My New Friend is So Fun by Mo Willems
Hooray for Hat by Brian Won
Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli
Found by Salina Yoon
Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin
Fly Guy's Amazing Tricks by Tedd Arnold
Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo
Waiting is Not Easy by Mo Willems
Ninja by Arree Chung
Little Elliott, Big City by Mike Curato
Naked by Michael Ian Black
Ling and Ting:  Twice as Silly by Grace Lin
Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood

I shared with our Newbery Club some other books that I thought had a "chance" at winning.  Seeing as our Newbery Club consisted of 4th graders, I had to try and match content with the grade level.

I'm interested in getting feedback from the teachers to see their thoughts.  I wonder how they will want to change it for next year?  I'm very grateful that our principal believed in this and purchased the books needed for our school library.  I think the kids will be excited to check these books out again and again!

Monday, January 26, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.26.15

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.

I spent all week reading the most amazing book.  It slowed down my reading, but it was worth it.

Picture Books

This Orq. (He Cave Boy.)
This Orq. (he cave boy.) by David Elliott
4/5 stars
I've had this book marked as to-read in my Goodreads file since August 23.  I've probably been on hold for it at the library since sometime in October.  It finally came in!  It was worth the wait, as I found myself laughing out loud several times.
Definitely the precursor to all of the "I want a dog/cat/iguana/pet" stories that we've read!  Loved this spin.  The beautiful illustrations by Lori Nichols (Maple) made me appreciate the story even more.

A Wonderful Year
A Wonderful Year by Nick Bruel
3/5 stars
Love the winter story.  I know exactly the feeling, how long it takes to pull ALL that winter gear on!  I laughed out loud to that one.
The fall story was sweet and elicited a little, "awwww" out of me.
The spring and summer story fell very very flat.  Not impressed at all.

Young Adult

All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven
5/5 stars
You can read this review if you want, or you could just run out immediately and get this book.
This book has been compared to The Fault in our Stars, but in my opinion, it's no where near.  I know many people have immense love for TFIOS, but I never did.  What bothered me the most was the way the two teenagers spoke to each other - in this deep philosophical manner.  I don't know teenagers who do that.  This book had authentic kids, going through really hard times that kids should not have to ever go through or deal with.  The story of Finch and Violet pull you in.  You feel hope, but you also feel their despair.
Niven has written about hard subjects - suicide and mental illness.  What I appreciated the most was her ability to write about these topics yet keep it authentic for her audience.  
This book pulls you in and doesn't release you until the last page.  Actually, scratch that, it hasn't released me yet.
I loved this part, "What if life could be this way?  Only the happy parts, none of the terrible, not even the mildly unpleasant.  What if we could just cut out the bad and keep the good?"
"The thing I realize is that it's not what you take, it's what you leave."

Currently Reading

Greenglass House
Green glass House


Stella By Starlight

What are you reading?  Did you read All the Bright Places?  What were your thoughts and reactions?

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Celebrate This Week! 1.24.15

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

Happy Small Celebrations Saturday!

1.  My weekend can begin!
I had to run 12.5 miles today, after running 4 miles yesterday.  It was one of those tasks that was hanging over my head going into the weekend.  It's done and I can enjoy the rest of my weekend!

2.  School Visit
We had the opportunity to visit Dr. Maria Walther's 1st grade classroom this week.  It was a great visit that sparked a lot of great conversation.  We've been piecing together so many different parts of the puzzle - curriculum and best practices - but we haven't quite fit everything together yet.  After this visit, a few more pieces fell into place.  She has some great professional literature books for K-2 classrooms.  I highly recommend them!

3.  Fantastic News
We got great news about my young niece this week.  My niece is deaf, but we found out this week she has cochlear nerves which makes her a candidate for cochlear implants.  

4.  IRA
I've been trying out Jennifer Serravalle's Independent Reading Assessment the past two weeks.  The results have actually been really interesting.  We've used running records to assess students for so long, and while they give you great information, it assesses students reading a short passage.  But can students hold the same understanding over a longer piece of work?  I found out that my reading students cannot, and this helped me pinpoint areas of need.  I'm looking forward to seeing their growth over time.

5.  Brilliant Books
I love when I read books that when I put them down, I'm unable to think about even starting another book.  I'm always sad when those books are over but the journey was always amazing.  This time it was Jennifer Niven's All the Bright Places that left me with this amazing feeling.  If you haven't checked it out yet, run to your closest bookstore!

Hope your weekend is wonderful!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 1.21.15


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!

The Story of the Selma Voting Rights Marches in Photographs
The Story of the Selma Voting Rights Marches in Photographs
by David Aretha

In honor of Dr. King's observed birthday this week, I'm going to spotlight a book that is about an event that has been discussed quite a bit recently due to the movie being released - the Selma marches.  

While the text in this book is on the dry side, I loved the amount of photographs used in the book, great primary sources.  I like the many photos that show the people that were instrumental in the march - it helps kids match faces to the names they are reading about.  This visual piece is instrumental in helping history come alive for many young readers.  

Other books I have in my TBR pile about this time in history include:
Because They Marched by Russell Freedman
Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

SoLSC Creating lifelong life skills 1.20.15


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

Genius Hour.  Passion Projects.  Classrooms all over have started implementing this time to allow students to pursue their interests, to learn more about their passions.  After the research, students present their findings to others.  Now, imagine.  Let's say a student is very excited about his project.  It's something he's been working on for awhile.  He's put the proverbial blood, sweat and tears into this project.  It's his baby and he's proud of it.  Now it's time to show others.  He's got everything he's worked on and produced it into a book.  He explains to his audience a little snippet about what he's worked on.  He pulls out his book to share.  And his audience shrugs, and tells him, it's not something they are really interested in.

Bubble popped.

There is so much we teach students.  We help support them in their work and learning.  But we also teach students how to be good listeners.  How to be supportive.  How to give positive feedback.  How to be a supportive audience.  Even when the topic is not our favorite.

But how do we ensure that these lessons continue into adulthood?  How do we make sure our students become good listeners - to listen and be positive even when it's something that doesn't interest us?

Because the scenario that I presented, actually happened to my dad this weekend.  My dad has recently entered into the world of retirement.  But he doesn't know what to do with himself.  He's worked most of his days and evenings and into the nights for my entire life. Time to relax and slow down is a foreign idea for him.  He knew this day would come and he's prepared himself for this and had started his own passion project in advance.  Now, he's seen his efforts come into fruition.  He's always been a huge crossword puzzle fan.  But he doesn't stop at your standard puzzle, he's gotten into all of these different kinds of crosswords.  So, what did he do?  Combine his passion and his knowledge of business and make a new kind of crossword book - diagramless puzzles.  I have never been a words person and this type of puzzle is crazy hard for me.   But I enjoy talking to him about this project because he lights up and has this energy when he shares it.  However, this weekend he was sharing his book and what he did with another couple.  Neither person even looked at the book when he shared it.  The man just said, "I'm not a puzzle person."  No questions were asked.  Conversation shut down.  It's happened in other conversations he's had too.  So, I get it.  I'm not a "puzzle person" either.  But I know how to be polite.  I can tell when someone is interested in sharing what they are doing and when I'm talking to them, I know how to listen, ask the right questions and let the person share their thoughts.  It's what we try and get our students do.  How is it that adults have forgotten to be polite?  When did they forget how to listen?  Ask questions?

I hope our students are holding on to what we practice.  I hope they are internalizing these lessons and will recall them as they continue to grow.  

There's more to teaching than what is written in the common core or any other standards.  We're also in the business making sure that our kids have compassion and empathy.  And that's a lifeskill everyone needs.

Are you someone that enjoys crossword puzzles or know someone that is?  You can take a look at the ones my dad put together here and here.  He's thinking about making some for kids that would go with science and social studies units.  I'm glad he's continuing his passion.

Monday, January 19, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.19.15

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.

You can tell it was a full week of school.  The reading amount went drastically down!  More picture book reading than longer books.  Looking forward to Monday being off and having time to catch up a bit!

Picture Books

The Great Big Book of Families
The Great Big Book of Families by Mary Hoffman
5/5 stars
I loved the start of the book, "Once upon a time most families looked like this...." and it shows a mom, dad, brother, sister, dog and cat outside of a nice home.  The book goes on to show there are all kinds of families, homes, occupations, who works in a family, celebrations, pets, etc.  I love the diversity of this book and how it lays it out in a very matter-of-fact manner.  Bottom line, families care for each other.  

The Bear Ate Your Sandwich
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach
4/5 stars
Cute story.  I think this would be good to use to show narrator.  There is a twist at the end, but it would be have fun to have kids make predictions who the narrator is up until that point.

How to Grow a Friend
How to Grow a Friend by Sara Gillingham
4/5 stars
Loved the bright illustrations in this story!  I think this book would be a fabulous addition to a Kg/1st grade classroom at the beginning of the year to start the year discussing how to make and grow friendships.

Last Stop on Market Street
The Last Stop on Market Street by Matt DeLaPena
4/5 stars
I like the story - a young boy, CJ, and his Nana take a bus ride to the other side of town.   CJ laments about what he is missing, but is taught a valuable lesson by his Nana.  I am really excited to use this book as a read aloud.  I think there is a lot to be discussed - setting and theme, particularly.  I think it would be really fun to use this book with Lauren Castillo's Nana in the City.

Supertruck by Stephen Savage
4/5 stars
Do you have a young boy (Kelle and Ricki, I'm looking at you!)? Do you have a Pre-K/Kg little one?  This book is so perfect for them!  Or for anyone who loves a good superhero story!

Middle Grade

The Exact Location of Home
The Exact Location of Home
 by Kate Messner

5/5 stars
I am so glad Kate continued the story of Gianna and Zig, this time told from Zig's point-of-view.  It can be read as a stand alone novel, or as a companion to The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.  This January has been a month of Kate Messner for me.  I'll write more about her books in a later post.

Currently Reading

All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places
 by Jennifer Niven

Yeah, it really is that good.  I will finish it this week.


I have Greenglass House and See You at Harry's waiting for me.  One is checked out from the library and one is on my #mustreadin2015 list.  So many books....

Hope it was a happy reading week for all!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Celebrate This Week! 1.17.15

It's always good to end the week on a positive note.  Sometimes we concentrate on the negatives.  We have a choice.  Choose positive.  Choose to celebrate.  I will be joining Ruth Ayres and her weekly link-up, Celebrate This Week.  Check out all the other celebrations HERE

Happy Small Celebrations Saturday!

1.  My daughter
I'm so proud of my daughter and her swimming.  I know I've talked about her a lot, but I think it's important to be proud of our kids' accomplishments and to let them know how proud of them we are!  My daughter swam her first 500yd freestyle swim last night at her meet.  That's 20 lengths of a pool.  So impressed.  I've never seen her so nervous before.  I could tell she was having trouble getting her breathing down which was making it hard for her.  But she finished it strong, then went on to take over 3 seconds off her 200 free a little over an hour later!  So cool.

2.  Nerdy Breakfasts
Last Sunday I went to breakfast with Jen Vincent (@mentortexts).  It was so nice to talk about reading, writing, books, and teaching - face to face!  One of the things she shared with me was the concept of using a bullet journal.  Kate Messner shared her bullet journal on her website HERE.  I love post-it notes.  They are all over my desk at school, at home.  I'm hoping to try this journal to keep my post-it notes a bit more contained.  I also want to have a place to plan some writing ideas.

3.  Writing
Well, celebrating a start to writing.  I really don't like writing.  I feel like what I do is ramble.  I don't know how to make it just right.  This week I won a copy of Kate Messner's 59 Reasons to Write.  I'm hoping it makes me think a bit differently about writing.

Just a few small celebrations, but they make me smile!  Off to do some reading.  That also makes me smile!

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 1.14.15


I am excited to join Alyson Beecher and other friends in this weekly challenge.  Finding great nonfiction picture books isn't a challenge anymore, there are so many wonderful books to be read now!  The challenge is sharing them with as many people as possible so they can find this wealth of literature to share with our young readers.  Thanks to Aly for starting this weekly link-up and thanks to all who join in!

Here are the NFPB that jumped out of the stacks this week!

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth
Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang
Informative text, I think would be great to show elementary students
how to read the complex text.  Very informative notes at the back of the book.
Penny Chisholm's illustration are bright and eye catching.

Saturn Could Sail: and other fun facts (Did You Know?, #7)
Saturn Could Sail and Other Fun Facts by Laura Lyn DiSiena and Hannah Eliot
Great new addition to the series.  This one is all about space - includes facts about
gravity, the sun, planets, stars and galaxies!
This would be a great addition for space units - even with the new standards,
individual pages could be used to reinforce concepts.

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel's Dream by Laurie Ann Thompson
This is a beautiful book about a great man who has
done much for his country in spite of a physical handicap.
I have such a connection with this book and glad
I could use it as a mentor text for my daughter!
I will be writing more about this book in a future post!

Can't wait to see the other NFPB this week!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

SoLSC Sleepover Camp. Harder for the parents or the child? 1.13.15


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

Letting your child grow up is hard.  I am very close with my daughter.  I think it's because we are always together.  We go to separate schools, but after school, we are together.  Either I'm bringing her to her after school activities, and even those, sometimes we do those together - twice a week she has swim practice and I have masters swim practice at the same time, in the same pool.  On the weekends, we're together.  My daughter requires intense surgeries with long recovery times that has us relocating to Florida together for an extended time.  I'm with her everyday during that time.  We butt heads and argue frequently.  But I'm the parent she goes to when she needs help or when she is dealing with an upsetting situation.  I love it.
But letting her grow up is hard.  She's been asking to go to swim camp this summer.  Several girls from her team are going and I've heard positive things about it.  It's hosted by a college that is about a 50 min drive from our house.  It is a 5 day camp and it looks like she will learn a lot.  But it's a sleepover camp.  She won't be home for 5 days.  She's ready.  I'm not sure I am.  I worry about her staying organized.  I feel like there will be a trail of her things that stretch from her dorm room to the pool.  She's going to need her friends to walk behind her and make sure they grab all that would be lost!
I worry she won't take her allergy medicines.  I worry she won't get up on time.  I'm worried she'll stay up too late and then feel poorly the next day.  I worry she won't eat her meals because she'll be too busy talking.  Funny with all my worries I don't worry about what she'll do in the pool - I know she'll be fine there!
I have to trust my daughter's care with people I don't know.  I have to trust that they'll do right with her.  I have to trust that all my conversations with my daughter about what is right and what is wrong will stay with her when I'm not there giving her the "eye" to help remind her.
When do we stop worrying as a parent?  Don't worry, you don't have to answer that.  I already know.
This will be the longest 5 days of my life.  I'm going to feel like a part of me is gone.  I'll be really glad to see her when camp is over.  
Funny how her leaving is hardest on me.

Monday, January 12, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 1.12.15

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.

What do you do when you have below 30 degree wind gusts and you're off school?  You read!

Picture Books

Stormy Night
Stormy Night by Salina Yoon
3/5 stars
Bear, the star of Yoon's Found from last year, is back with his found Floppy the Bunny!  This time, Bear is fearful of a thunderstorm that is outside his home.  Bear finds that the true comforts in the face of something scary is having your parents, a treasured stuffed animal and a book with you!  I loved seeing the cameos of Penguin and Pinecone in the illustrations.  Pair this book with Blue on Blue by Dianne White during spring storms!

What If...?
What If...? by Anthony Browne
4/5 stars
I think this would be a fun book to use to show inferring with young students.  Joe can't remember the house number for his friend's party and by looking at the homes and windows of the home, Joe has to figure out if it's his friend's house or not.

First Snow
First Snow by Peter McCarty
4/5 stars
What would it be like to experience snow for the first time?  Young Pedro finds out!

In Our Mothers' House
In Our Mothers' House by Patricia Polacco
5/5 stars
Beautiful story that shows what being in a family is all about - loving and caring for each other.  Polacco tells a wonderful story about children growing up in a home with two moms and the traditions and love in the home.  Beautiful.

Please, Mr. Panda
Please, Mr. Panda by Steve Antony
3/5 stars
This one missed the mark for me.  When I think of books that have a sarcastic, humorous edge, I think of I Want My Hat Back.  I feel like Please, Mr. Panda tried for that same edge, but it didn't give me that same chuckle.

Hermelin: The Detective Mouse
Hermelin the Detective Mouse by Mini Grey
4/5 stars
Fun mystery, detective book.  I liked going back and using the text to fill in what I didn't see in the illustrations.

Transitional Chapter Books

The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken: The Next Misadventure (Chicken Squad Adventure, #2)
The Case of the Weird Blue Chicken by Doreen Cronin
4/5 stars
I love these sarcastic chicks.  Every adventure of their's makes me laugh.

Middle Grade

The Way to Stay in Destiny
The Way to Stay in Destiny by Augusta Scattergood
5/5 stars
I mentioned last week that I had finished this beauty of a book the night before my post went up and just didn't have time to write about it.  I absolutely adored this book, it was beautifully written, has a fantastic setting and awesome characters.  The relationship between the main character, Theo and his reluctant guardian, Uncle Raymond are at the front of the story.  I love that Scattergood keeps their relationship real, and doesn't sugar-coat it.  The setting of Destiny, Florida (which sounds so good during this cold snap we're having) is just as important to the story as the Rest Easy Rooming House and what it offers to Theo.
Some of my favorite lines:
pg. 99 "That's what happens.  You start off dreaming one thing about your life.  But you have to be ready for what turns up."

pg. 101 "When she asked if I wanted to play for her recital, I figured I'd have more time to practice before being thrown to the leotarded wolves."

pg. 145 "Nobody in the history of the universe ever learned one single fact worth knowing on the last day of school."

pg. 176 "I don't have a clue what I'm talking about, but I'm making my wishes big."

Don't miss this book!

Pie by Sarah Weeks
5/5 stars
I really enjoyed the characters in this story.  I think the main character in this story, Alice, would have been friends with Theo, from The Way to Stay in Destiny.

The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z.
The Brilliant Fall of Gianna Z by Kate Messner
5/5 stars
I love that the books I've started with in 2015 have all been amazing.
What amazes me about this book is the voice of the author, Kate Messner.  She understands kids.  She understands her audience.

Currently Reading

The Exact Location of Home
The Exact Location of Home by Kate Messner


All the Bright Places
All the Bright Places by Jennifer Nevin
I've heard amazing things about this one!

Have a wonderful reading week!