Reading, Teaching, Learning

Monday, March 17, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? and Slice of Life Challenge - Day 17 - Champion Ducks


First, I have to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY, LIBBY!  It's my oldest daughter's 21st birthday today.  I remember my anesthesiologist was Irish, so Irish jigs were playing during my Cesarean, and the nurses put a little green bow in her hair while exclaiming, "Look at all that hair!"



These are memes started by Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey, and I'm excited to participate, along with many other bloggers, in reviewing books I read the previous week. I'll be reviewing picture books through adult books. 
  
 
EARLY MIDDLE GRADE BOOK
 
The Year of Billy Miller
 
 
 

This is a sweet story about Billy, a second grader with a big heart and honest feelings. My favorite chapter was the one about his love/hate relationship with his sister.  I think younger middle grade readers will like it. I love Kevin Henkes because he find beauty and humor in simple things. 

 
MIDDLE GRADE BOOK
 
A Snicker of Magic
 
 
 
I wrote about this book and my Mock Newbery Club's Skype visit with her on my Celebration Saturday post, but I'm not done talking about her or her fabulous book yet!
 

You can see Natalie (just barely) on the screen with us.  Brady (2nd front left) is holding the Jeni's Ice Cream we ate during the Skype visit.  We sent some to Natalie as a thank you, too!

Spindiddly! I just finished what is destined to become a children's literature classic. I knew I was in for a treat when one of my sixth graders, who read it for my Mock Newbery Club and is a voracious reader, said, "This is the best book I ever read. It has everything I like." Wow. I know what she means now. It's funny, poignant, compelling, magical, and real. I have so many post-it flags marking favorite parts that I couldn't possibly write them all, but I'll include some:
- A sister is like a super-forever-infinity friend.
- But there is was. I'm fairly certain LONELY'S most natural habitat is a school cafeteria.
- I can very often tell how much a person loves another person by the way they say their name. I think that's one of the best feelings in the world, when you know your name is safe in another person's mouth. When you know they'll never shout it out like a cuss word, but say it or whisper it like a once-upon-a-time.
- Some miracles are big and flashy, and others are sweet and simple.
- Home isn't just a house or a city or a place; home is what happens when you're brave enough to love people.
Lloyd's writing reminds me a little of Ingrid Law, Kate DiCamillo, Sharon Creech, and Deborah Wiles, and that's factofabulous! 


YOUNG ADULT
 

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
 
 
                                 
 
 
 
I'm a big fan of Holly Black.  My kids read her Spiderwick Chronicles when they were young, and we met her and Tony DiTerlizzi when they visited The Blue Manatee years ago.  I LOVED Doll Bones, a 2014 Newbery Honor Award winner.  This one, however....yikes!!!  This is no Twilight romance - it's a dark and violent vampire story. Black's writing is captivating and creepy. Not for the faint of heart or younger teens! Great ending.
 
Here are pictures when we met Holly Black and Tony DiTerlizzi in 2004


 
CURRENTLY READING and LISTENING TO
 
Celebrating Writers: From Possibilities to Publication Dairy Queen (Dairy Queen, #1)
 
What are YOU reading this week?
 


In case this is your first time reading my slices, here is my focus for the challenge: my fifth graders and I are participating in the Slice of Life Challenge this month, and they're writing memoirs.  I thought I'd do the same kind of writing - memory writing - throughout the challenge. I'm going to be writing around photographs and memorabilia.
 
 
     This batch of Pekin ducklings in 1979 were a treasure!  I raised ducks from ducklings each year.  Aren't they cute?!  I remember my dad and I training them to come to their pen for the night with fishing line.  We'd stand on opposite sides of the pond where they'd be swimming, and we'd gently nudge them to the shore and herd them in to their pen where food would be waiting.  After awhile, I could just call them in for the evening because they'd know food would be waiting.  Being in their pen for the night would keep them from getting eaten by nighttime predators (it didn't always - that's another future post!).
 
     I showed three of these ducks at the Warren County Fair that summer.  They were champions!  I was so proud.  A ritual of the fair is the auction.  At the end of the week, all the animals are auctioned off, champions bringing in the most money.  I couldn't believe someone bid $100 for my ducks!  The people who bid on animals usually arranged for them to be butchered and prepared for the freezer - some were individuals who supported 4-H, and some were businesses like Bob Evans who not only wanted to support local farming, but wanted advertising.  I was excited that I made $100, but I was really sad that my ducks were going to get turned over to someone else.  I can't say that I was the type of country girl who became toughened by animals dying or sent off to be butchered/slaughtered.  I was more the Fern type in Charlotte's Web.  I got attached to my animals.  But I was surprised by the person who bought my ducks (I don't remember who it was); he gave them back to me!  I was so happy! I got to bring my champion ducks home.

 
Carrying the ducks to the fair barn with my dad.
 

Wearing the blue ribbon I won for Champion Ducks! I also won a blue ribbon for showmanship.
 

I can remember wanting a trophy for poultry so badly at the fair, and in my last year, I won two!  Don't you love the chickens on top?!
 
 
 


 
 
 
 
 

 

30 comments:

  1. I had to head over to the public library website and request Slice. Happily I saw it is on order...and not one copy but four. That's a good sign!

    Here's my It's Monday!

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    1. Uh oh, Deb - Slice is the meme/link up for the writing, not a book I was talking about, but who knows - maybe the book, Slice, is good. Ha.

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  2. I really enjoyed Billy Miller. I know some kids who will really like the book. Can't wait to share it with them. I just loved A Snicker of Magic! One of my favorite reads in 2014!

    I must admit the book trailer got me really interested in The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. I'm not one who usually read a lot of YA fiction. But this one has really caught my interest. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. The book trailer is compelling, isn't it?! Beware...you're in for a creepy story! ;-)

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  3. So much to enjoy in this post. Happy Birthday to your daughter! I am reading A Snicker of Magic and savoring each moment. One of my students bought it at the book fair and she wants us to read a chapter a day and discuss it. Talk about student driven instruction!
    I'm also enjoying your memories and especially the pictures. Your students are learning a lot about you. How are they responding?

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    1. Thank you, Margaret! My students like hearing about my past life, I think. :-) They especially like the funny animal stories like the rooster and the goat. Enjoy A Snicker of Magic!

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  4. I loved your review of Snicker when I saw it on Goodreads. It's just an amazing book. I'm trying to find an opportunity to read it with a bunch of kids this year. I would love to hear their discussion! Happy Birthday to your daughter! Beautiful smile!

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    1. I saw your comment on Goodreads - thank you! It was so fun talking to Natalie Lloyd. She is so friendly and sweet!

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  5. :) Enjoying your Slice of Life in addition to hearing your opinion of books as always... Hooray for author Skype opportunities... just love A Snicker of Magic. Can't wait to read The Coldest Girl of Coldtown... waiting for a library hold. Happy reading week to you!

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    1. Thanks! Skyping with authors always makes reading and writing come alive for kids! It's so great that authors do that for us. :-)

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  6. I too cannot say enough about Snicker of Magic. Happy birthday to your daughter. It sounds like the delivery room was quite fun that day!

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    1. Ha - "fun" is a strong word. ;-) It's more fun reminiscing than it actually was at the time. ;-)

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  7. I can't wait for my copy of Snicker to arrive! Trophies for poultry sounds so exotic to me - and they certainly look like champion ducks to me.

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    1. Oh, enjoy it when it comes!! I love that you are a city girl reading about my country girl days. :-)

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  8. Happy birthday to your daughter!! I keep meaning to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown but I haven't had a chance, I must prioritize it! :)

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    1. Thanks, Danielle! If you like real vampire stories, you'll love it!

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  9. Happy Birthday to your daughter! Enjoy your reading week!

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  10. Don't you just love it when your child has a birthday. You get to remember that very special day they were born.

    I just finished A Snicker of Magic and really enjoyed it. It reminds me of 11 Birthdays and Saavy, Billy Miller was such a sweet family story. I just checked out The Coldest Girl in Cold Town and look forward to cracking it open.

    Guess what? I had a pet duck named Pequito when I was a kid. It was a much more fun pet than my Billy Goat, badger or javelina. My mother loved animals so we always had some injured animal living with us.

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    1. Yes! I love birthdays! :-) And who doesn't love recapping the day your child was born?! ;-) Ha - I love that you had a duck, too! You had a badger and a javelina?! Wow!

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  11. Love the duck photos! What fun! I absolutely adored The Year of Billy Miller. Such a perfect little read. Henkes is kind of brilliant!

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    1. Henkes must be such a kind-hearted guy - he writes stories about such kind-hearted characters!

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  12. *Sigh* I could talk about A SNICKER OF MAGIC all day. I'm still trying to figure out how I can make it work to drive to TN the weekend of April 26th to go to Natalie's book launch party. I love this book that much.

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    1. Wish you could've joined us for the Skype session, Beth!

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  13. So fun to see the young you with your ducks, Holly, and happy birthday to your daughter! I hope I'll find A Snicker of Magic this week at our Scholastic book fair. Someone else also mentioned that new Holly Black-sounds good, but yes, creepy. I loved Billy Miller! Thanks for such a good post!

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    1. Definitely snatch up A Snicker of Magic!

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  14. I am still waiting on Snicker of Magic, but I know that it will be worth the wait after all the good things I have been hearing. I love your slice!

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    1. Thanks, Crystal - YES, it will be worth the wait! Enjoy!

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  15. I don't even know where to begin with everything you've written in today's post. I'm reading A Snicker of Magic next, that's it. It's at the top, and I'm ordering the Kevin Henke book. I love him. All of your pictures are awesome! Happy birthday to your daughter--she still has great hair! And the ducks are fabulous!

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  16. Hello there Holly, so nice to see all these photographs - of you when you were younger and your beautiful daughter who just celebrated her birthday. Greetings all the way from Singapore! :)
    I'm excited to read Snicker of Magic - it looks like a title I'd really enjoy. What a gift to be Skyping with the author herself! Your kids must be thrilled! I have the entire set of Spiderwick Chronicles but haven't gotten around to reading any of them yet. Great to see photographs of Tony Diterlizzi (whom I adore) and Holly Black as well. Hard to imagine that was ten years ago! :)

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