Tuesday, January 29, 2013

It's Treat Tuesday!! Reading & Snacking!

It's my favorite day of the week!  The day where I share books and snacks! Thanks to Shannon Houghton for this great meme picture and Niki Barnes for the great idea!

As usual, I start out Tuesday just sure that I won't be able to get this post in on time, and then I finish a book that I must share!!  

Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is a wonderful historical fiction story based partly on Larson's own great-grandmother's experience as a homesteader in Montana in the early 1900's. Hattie, who has bounced around from relative to relative after her parents die, is given land in Montana by an uncle she never knew.  Hattie sees this as an opportunity to create a home for herself and not be indebted to anyone.  She has a year to "prove up" the land and meet certain requirements before the land will be hers.  This year proves to be very challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. 

 I loved this book for many reasons!  I loved that Hattie is a strong female character which an incredible will to succeed and a very strong work ethic!  I loved the many other characters that Larson wove throughout this story!  I loved Hattie's ability to see what relationships were worth her time, and which ones weren't!  I loved her ability to be optimistic, even in difficult times!  I loved that this book made me laugh and cry!  And I especially love that through Twitter and The Nerdy Book Club, I find out about exceptional books such as this!!  

And because I loved this book so much, I felt it was only fitting that I pair it with Valentine's candy!! Chocolate hearts & Kisses!  Yum! Yum!

Happy Reading and Snacking!!  

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fall 2012 Library Statistics

Do you ever wonder what goes on in the Curtis Library?  Here is a peek at what we accomplished during the Fall Semester!  Looking forward to a busy Spring Semester!!  

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

It's Treat Tuesday!! Reading & Snacking!

It's my favorite day of the week!  The day where I share books and snacks! Thanks to Shannon Houghton for this great meme picture and Niki Barnes for the great idea!

I really didn't think I was going to get this in today, but I got a book order in and FINALLY got to read Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex!  This book is HYSTERICAL and I know my students are going to LOVE it!!  In fact, I am scrapping what I had planned tomorrow and THIS is what I am reading to my 2nd and 3rd graders!  

I am pairing this fabulous book with my favorite snack of this time of year- Thin Mints!! (As a side note, I have decided that Girl Scout Cookies should not be sold so soon after New Year's Resolutions have been made! ;)

Back to the book! Chloe is lost in a forest and meets a lion (well she was SUPPOSE to meet a lion!), when the author of the book and the illustrator get into a little disagreement about parts of the book!  I was laughing out loud at this book.  Then I found the book trailer that made me laugh even more!  

What a way to end the night AND what a way to spend my day tomorrow!  Can't wait to share this book!  Happy Reading & Snacking!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Welcome Back! New Beginnings, New Opportunities

Students come back in the morning, and I feel like it is the first day of school all over again.  There is an excitement that surrounds new beginnings... changes we can make, goals we can set, and new books to recommend!  :)  To me, that is one of the best things about being in education-- all of the "new beginnings."  Whether it is the beginning of the week, the beginning of the month, the new six weeks, or the new year, we are given the opportunity to refresh and improve more than once, and I am thankful for that! 

This week I am looking forward to working with 4th-6th grade students on information literacy.  The students are working on reading informational text and researching various topics.  I will be discussing with them how to evaluate resources and where they can find valid, appropriate information related to their topics.  We will look at good sources and not so good sources, and learn how to tell the difference.

With the younger students, I will be sharing with them previous Caldecott winners in anticipation of the newest medal winner. The Caldecott Medal is awarded each year to the illustrator of the most distinguished picture book from that year.  Students will look at previous winners and analyze why the book was awarded the medal.   Then we will look at books published in 2012 that have the potential to win, and students will attempt to predict this year's winner. 

I will also share Kadir Nelson's I Have a Dream with some of my classes and let them talk about dreams they have for this school year. It will be a wonderful opportunity for goal setting! 

This is a beautifully illustrated book that enhances the famous speech by Dr. Marin Luther King, Jr.  I have been anxious to share this with the students since receiving it awhile back, and I hope that they will enjoy it as much as I did when I read the book.  

New beginnings, new opportunities to connect books and readers.  It is sure to be a wonderful week!  Happy Reading!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Holiday Reading

I love holidays for a variety of reasons: spending time with family, catching up on rest AND the time it gives me to read!!  This past week, I have been spending a lot (just ask my husband!) of time reading!  I finished my Goodreads Reading Challenge just in the nick of time (on December 31st!!) by reading a few new picture books I had brought home from school.  Here are some of the books I have enjoyed this week:

Brothers at Bat: The True Story of an Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team
by Audrey Vernick and Steven Salerno 

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed reading this book and learning about the Acerra family.  I've had this in my library for a few months and had seen talk of it through my Twitter PLN, so it was one I packed up to read during the holidays.  It is an easy to read book about this amazing family that consisted of 12 boys and four girls.  With 12 boys, who all loved playing baseball, it was a natural fit for them to form a baseball team.  I love reading a book and learning something new.  I didn't know that there were several family teams playing baseball around this same time.  Not only were the brothers great athletes, they also demonstrated good character.  Six of the brothers fought in World War II, and all six came back home.  This book is sure to be a favorite with baseball lovers, but is an enjoyable read for anyone!

Visit the Author's Website for more information about this remarkable family!

Twelve Kinds of Ice
 by Ellen Bryan Obed and Illustrated by Barbara McClintock

 If I could pick a theme for the books that I have read, without meaning to have a theme, it would seem it is FAMILY, which is very appropriate for this time of year when we are surrounded by family!  Twelve Kinds of Ice is a quiet, peaceful book about the coming of winter demonstrated by the thickening of ice.  Living in Texas, this is a book that allowed me to experience winter in a much different way than what I am accustomed to, which is a gift I am taking from this book.
As the first signs of ice appears, one family prepares for another wonderful winter when they will be able to eventually create their very own ice skating rink to share with their family and friends. This is when the "Perfect Ice" has finally arrived.  The joy that this family experiences each winter, waiting through the different phases of ice, helps the reader enjoy  the simpler things in life.  This book is a wonderful example of how to really see and appreciate all that nature has to offer.

On the Road to Mr. Mineo's
by Barbara O'Connor

This is a vividly told tale about the appearance of a one-legged pigeon in a sleepy little town and how it brings interest and excitement to an otherwise boring summer. 
Stella has longed for a dog to fill the empty dog house that sits in her front yard.  When she discovers the pigeon, she is happy to make it her pet instead of a dog.  She has to convince her timid friend Gerald to help her with this quest, which sometimes proves difficult.  She also must beat all the other townsfolk who have their sites set on the one-legged pigeon. 

This was in my TBR (to be read) stack for much too long, and I wish I had read it earlier!  I can't wait to pass it on to a reader when we get back to school! 

Drawing From Memory
by Caldecott Medal Winner Allen Say

Allen Say's memoir is full of information, photographs, and illustrations which show the reader what Say experienced while working to achieve his goal of becoming an artist. What the reader takes away is that setting goals and staying true to the course, regardless of others' thoughts, is important. "Let your dear child journey" is quoted a few times in the book, something that Say first heard from his mother. Amazingly, she sent him off on his own at the young age of 12, and he persevered  This book honors those who helped Say achieve his goals. 

One of my favorite books by Say is The Lost Lake about a boy and his dad who go camping one summer.  The boy has come to visit his father for the summer, and the father is so busy with work that he spends little time with his son.  One morning he surprises his son by telling him they are going camping at a lake that he camped by as a boy.  Although there are challenges getting to the lake, the special time the father and son spend together is just what they both needed.  

Having read the memoir, I wonder if there is some personal connection to the book and the distant relationship between the father and son. 

During this week I have read several other picture books and chapter books, and then finally I decided to make my goals for the new year.  I have set my reading goal for the Goodreads Challenge at 250 books (I read 150 books in 2012), with an additional goal to remember to put all of my books into Goodreads!  :)  My hope is that I will reach this goal quickly and easily and then adjust accordingly!  Happy New Year and Happy Reading!!