Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Nonfiction Wednesday, Picture Book Month, and Mock Caldecott 2014 Club

Thanks to Kid Lit Frenzy, I made a goal to read more children's nonfiction this year which I will be featuring on my blog every Wednesday.
I loved the nonfiction book I read this week!
Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing
I was fascinated by this book about Randolph Caldecott. Since we're celebrating the 75th anniversary of the medal and November is Picture Book Month, it's the perfect time to read about him. I love the many illustrations included by Caldecott, his story of fulfilling his life's dream, and the design of this book. I was also interested in the people with whom he rubbed shoulders and inspired: John Tenniel (illustrator of Lewis Carroll's Alice), George du Maurier, George Eliot, and Beatrix Potter. We also learn about the evolution of the picture book and inner workings of this famous man. I'd love to share this book with my class as an introduction to Picture Book Month and our Mock Caldecott Club in which we will celebrate 2013's picture books. I can't wait to see which book my class will favor as the winner of the 2014 Caldecott Award.

I would love to see The ABC of It: Why Picture Books Matter!

Here are some books I'll share and have the kids review in my classroom in November for our Mock Caldecott 2014 Club:
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 Flora and the Flamingo
Tea Rex Bluebird
Nelson Mandela Paul Thurlby's Wildlife
The Boy and the Airplane The Matchbox Diary
The Mighty Lalouche The Story of Fish and Snail
Inside Outside Carnivores
This Is the Rope: A Story From the Great Migration Little Red Writing
Hello, My Name Is Ruby Building Our House
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Tea Party Rules
Ribbit! Once Upon a Northern Night
Something Big Oliver and his Alligator
Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great Hank Finds an Egg
Something to Prove: The Great Satchel Paige vs. Rookie Joe Dimaggio The Longest Night: A Passover Story
Crankee Doodle On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein
If You Want to See a Whale A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
 Open This Little Book Exclamation Mark
Did I leave any of your favorites out?  I can't wait for Picture Book Month!!

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

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.
These are the books I read this week:
Tea Party Rules
This book is laugh-out-loud funny and adorable. K.G. Campbell's illustrations complement Ame Dyckman's text perfectly. The expressions, body language, and subtle jokes within the pictures are priceless.  Love the cat.  I see this paired with Tea Rex by Molly Idle!
"Never forget who you are." 
A student lent this to me and wanted me to listen to it, so of course, I did. Creepy and violent! There were a couple of times I cringed when I thought about my fifth grader listening to it. It's a vampire story. The main character, Gene, is one of the few humans left and has to stay alive by disguising himself as a vampire - no smiling, no sweating, no coughing, no shivering, no body hair, no body odor, and of course, no falling in love, etc., in order to blend in to this post-apocalyptic vampire-ruled society. Unfortunately, he gets chosen as a hunter in a macabre hunt (shades of Hunger Games and "The Most Dangerous Game") of hepers - humans who have been trained to be the victims. In a cruel twist, Gene eventually becomes the hunted. Lots of goriness and tense action will appeal to zombie fans!  The ending will make you want to read the sequels.  The Trap will be released November 5th.
 Far Far Away
It took me a little while to get into this story, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. It's a National Book Award finalist this year. McNeal's writing is excellent. I loved his adult novel, To Be Sung Underwater, and now I want to read everything he's written! This was a perfect time for me to read this book - right after our unit on fairy tales, but this one is definitely for young adults and not intermediate children. Jeremy, the main character, has a ghost looking out for him - Jacob Grimm himself, who happens to also be the narrator. Jacob must protect Jeremy from A Finder of Occasions, an unknown menace trying to bring Jeremy to harm. Ginger, flirty and rebellious, befriends Jeremy and becomes entwined in a real-life scary fairy tale with him. Jacob must help save them both in the end. "In the tales, horrific evils are routinely perpetrated against innocents - maidens are butchered before our eyes, children are devoured - yet in the end, justice is meted out, and bodies are reassembled and restored to life. Innocence is rewarded; cruelty is punished." This quote and book reminds me of Adam Gidwitz's (author of The Tale Dark and Grimm and its companions, favorites of my 5th and 6th graders) article: http://www.reading.org/general/Public... I'll be curious to see if this book wins the National Book Award and maybe a Printz.
Taming of the Team: How Great Teams Work Together
Taming of the Team by Jack Berckemeyer

I read this book in preparation for Jack Berckemeyer's visit to our school this week and my role on the leadership team working with him. He did our keynote speech last year for our in-service day before school started, and he was hilarious. This book has a lot of great ideas for teaming in middle school. I remember when I was teaching in the 90s, teaming was big, and I loved working that way - our school was committed to it. I'd love to see the concept come back. I'm sure it never went away in some schools, but I haven't worked in a true team setting for a long time. The unfortunate thing is to get the extra team time, it requires money, and I think that extra time is what makes teams work the most effectively. Even without that time, though, we can do things to make our teaching less isolated and more collaborative, which is best for everyone. My favorite ideas in the book are the index card activity and the 3-5-3 Action Plan. I also love the idea of creating a team name and identity. I look forward to working with the author this Wednesday, and I'm excited that my school is committed to learning from him.


   Sisterland  A Sense of Wonder: On Reading and Writing Books for Children


   Half Brother


My mom:

We're reading this together!

My dad:

Pecos Crossing

My 20-year-old:

The Turn of the Screw

My 17-year-old:

Just finished

The Sun Also Rises

for AP Lit.  I want her to read The Paris Wife - it would be a fun follow-up!  Unfortunately, because of AP classes, there isn't much time for independent fun reading.

My husband is working on this series:

What are YOU reading this week?