Best Book I Have Not Read

Writing, Reading, Teaching, Life, Attempting to Balance it All

NCTE here I come! October 31, 2008

Filed under: professional development — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:36 pm
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I am so excited! I just made my reservations to go to San Antonio NCTE 2008! This will be my first national convention and I’m practically doing a jig! Tomie dePaola, Two Writing Teachers, poetry from one of my district’s Middle School teachers. Should be fantastic!


Did I Do It? October 30, 2008

Filed under: Facebook — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:08 am

Did I really just figure out how to link wordpress and facebook? I don’t know-this is the test.


Inkheart October 27, 2008

Filed under: book turned into movie,books — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:57 pm
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Seems like it’s a year of making books into movies. I found this preview of Inkheart, another book I’ve enjoyed that I hope they don’t mess up by making a book that is not true to the original story.


Authentic Learning-Book Bistro-book talk at its best! October 26, 2008

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Several years ago I found this idea in a Booklinks magazine and modified it to use in my classroom. Imagine my pleasure to have my fourth grade daughter bring home an invitation to participate with her class in a very similar Book Bistro. I’ve added pictures from the event, but they don’t really do it justice.

Imagine an adult book club-ususally a small group of people, chatting (and eating or drinking) about a book they have read or are reading. It might be the same book, or it might be different books. Usually it is a relaxed time and the participants leave feeling energized and maybe with a new title or two jotted down for future reading.

That’s what the Book Bistro is for us. Instead of a contrived oral book report, students gather in small groups with a volunteer adult and talk about their independent reading book. The adult brings a book to share as well-maybe it’s one they are reading, or an all-time favorite. Students see that reading and talking about their reading is a life-long skill.

The students have had lots of modeled book talks by teachers, librarian, and parents so it is comfortable for them to follow that same format. The parents have a little rubric the teacher has talked them through ahead of time-it really just helps keep the conversation flowing as some parents are more comfortable asking authentic questions or helping dialogue flow than others.
We finish with snacks and usually kids walk around to other groups to see what else they might want to know more about.

A great activity that I can’t recommend enough. Thank you Laura and Susan!!


The Boy in Striped Pyjamas trailer October 25, 2008

Filed under: book turned into movie,books,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:44 pm
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I saw this for the first time on Educating Alice’s blog. I read The Boy in Striped Pyjamas last year after reading The Book Thief (loved it!) by Markus Zusak and Yellow Star (loved it as well!) by Jennifer Roy. I actually found the story believable, despite many others’ objections. I’ve had nine and ten year olds before who have never heard of 9/11. The first time I encountered this, I could hardly belive it, but every family has their own beliefs about how much you shelter or expose your child to. Back then when there was not the media exposure that we have now, and Bruno grew up seeing people in uniform, I do think it is possible, though not typical or likely that he would not know what was going on. Perhaps he just couldn’t allow himself to know what was happening. You read stories of mothers who don’t “know” that their child was being molested by their husband or boyfriend. The human psyche can be fragile and sometimes protects itself to an unusual extent.


bees, snails, & peacock tails by betsy franco & steve jenkins October 24, 2008

Filed under: books,Everyday Math,KidLit,kidlitosphere,picture books,read alouds — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:23 am
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I’ve really liked all the Steve Jenkins books that I have read and this is no exception. The artwork alone was enough to get me to purchase the book, and the narrative is just as strong. 

Our school uses the Everyday Math program and I was immediately struck by how both the first grade teachers and the sixth grade teachers could use the book to tie into patterns.

bees, snails, & peacock tails: patterns & shapes…naturally is a great new must-have to any library or classroom.


“Study a beehive

and you will see

the mathematical genius of the bee.

The hexagons

you’ll find inside

fit side

by side

by side

by side.

This math is passed


from worker bee to worker bee!”



The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins October 23, 2008

Filed under: books,KidLit,kidlitosphere,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 11:56 pm
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Wow! I just finished reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins and I have goosebumps all over, including my scalp and tops of my ears (that’s a first)!

I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book since I read a review of it on Jen Robinson’s site and others over the summer. I somehow managed to block out that they were reviewing it from an ARC. I desperately wanted to read it before school started as I knew it could take potentially much longer than I wanted to finish it once the year started.

I finally got it from an inner-library loan and could hardly wait to read it, until… I read the front flap. Then I wasn’t so sure it was a book for me after all. The idea of a fight to the death on live TV seemed pretty horrifying and reminded me of a similar premise for a movie,The Condemned  which a high school friend of mine made that I was unable to go see , ( I am very anti-violence in media-sorry Scott).

Jen Robinson should take it as a bigvote of confidence that I was willing to go ahead and keep this book at the top of my stack based on her review. There were alot of things that could have easily moved it to the bottom for years:
1-I don’t love science fiction.

2-The similarities I imagined to a yucky movie.

3-the inside jacket flap

Despite all the above mentioned things, I opened the book, and once I started reading, I could not stop. I tried taking the book with me everywhere so that I could try to squeeze in extra minutes reading. That didn’t work-besides the obvious reasons, I also found myself wanting to read and savor the book in quiet, without constant interruption. I started finding reasons to go to bed early so I could keep reading! 

The main character, Katniss, is a wonderfully strong female protagonist. I was instantly pulled into her personality-the protective, yet loving nature as you see her with her younger sister beginning with the first paragraph; the proud, protector who has kept her family alive all these years. You soon find out that the book is set in a future that is a result of terrible disasters such as war and famine. Panem was the resulting “winner”, and an uprising in the surrounding thirteen districts, resulted in “The Dark Days” and “The Treaty of Treason”. Peace is kept by reminding citizens annually with The Hunger Games of their disobedience and what becomes of those who rebel.

Annually, citizens names are put into a drawing for the district within which they live. There is a system based on how starving your family is that determines how many times your name is added to the draft for the televised fight to the death. One boy and one girl from each district are “reaped” and then prepared in the capital for the “games”. Katniss volunteers to replace her sister, whose name was drawn against many odds.

The boy Peeta is also a very sympathetic character. Years ago, he took a beating for giving food to a starving Katniss. An act of kindness that was uncharacteristic of region 12, their home district.

I could go on and on about this book, but due to the constraints of time, and my desire to read Hate That Cat, I strongly encourage you to read this book! Young adults and adults alike will have a hard time putting this one down. It would also be a great book for those searching for something after the Twilight series.


Book Fair Books Bonanza

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:18 pm

This week is the Scholastic Book Fair at the elementary and intermediate school and I of course spent too much money there. I’ve also had the opportunity to be in proximity to Cover to Cover twice this week as well. I think I have shown remarkable restraint all things considered. 
So what did I buy?


Remembering Mrs. Rossi-Amy Hest


Ivy + Bean: Take Care of the Babysitter-Barrows

My Friend is Sad-Willems

Roxie and the Hooligans-Naylor

Emmy and the Incredibly Shrinking Rat-Jonell

A Crooked Kind of Perfect-Urban

Allie Finkel’s Rules for Girls: Moving Day-Cabot

Voyage of the Slaves: A Tale from the Castaways of the Flying Dutchman-Jacques

Poppleton in Winter-Rylant

Reptiles: True or False-Berger

Won’t You Be My Kissaroo?-Ryder

The Hello, Goodbye Window-Juster 

Goldie Locks Has Chicken Pox-Dealey

The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig-Trivizas


Big Smelly Bear-Teckentrup


God’s Dream-Tutu

Redwall-Jacques (new edition)


Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem-Prelutsky

Dr. Frankenstein’s Human Body Book: The Monstrous Truth about How Your Body Works-DK

Barnstormers Book 3-Long and Bildner

Today and Today-Issa & Karas

If You Give A Cat a Cupcake-Numeroff

Thump, Quack, Moo: A Wacky Adventure-Cronin

Bees, Snails, Peacock Tails: Patterns and Shapes…Naturally-Franco& Jenkins


Brian Jacques visit October 22, 2008

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:14 am

Brian Jacques gave a great presentation to the audience at Cover to Cover Bookstore.

He talked to the kids about being a writer and how all you need is an imagination.

Jacques also “read”, complete with his great rolling, brogue.part of chapter 2 of Redwall that introduces the villain Cluny the Scourge.

Definitely worth the trip. My son was in awe!


The Kaleidoscope Kid: Focusing on the Strengths of Children with Asperger Syndrome and High-Functioning Autism October 21, 2008

Filed under: books,KidLit,kidlitosphere,picture books,read alouds,school — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:57 am
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The Kaleidoscope Kid  is written to remind children with Asperger Syndrome or high-functioning autism of their many special gifts and to make others aware of them, too.

These children possess a kaleidoscope of intellectual strengths and unique personality traits. Their outlook and creative ways are as variable and colorful as the view through a kaleidoscope.” 

Larson The Kaleidoscope Kid 

I hadn’t seen this book before we bought it for our elementary school guidance counselor. She and one of our intervention specialists were familiar with the author’s other book Chameleon Kid and had found it to be a successful read-aloud with primary students who are in inclusion kids with children with Asperger Syndrome or Autism.  This book is presented as a series of attributes and related poems that celebrate positive traits of all children. One two page spread is K-I am Knowledgeable with a poem entitled Dinosaurus Infomaurus.  Bright colors, and primary shapes will appeal to young children and the book would be great to use at the beginning of the year as you develop your classroom community. It would be a great book to use with guidance programs as you talk about how we are all unique.