Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Mother-Daughter Book Club April 20, 2009

Filed under: book clubs — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:41 am
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We had a darn good time at the first Mother-Daughter Book Club. Here are four of the seven girls who are participating (plus a little sister). We had a great time discussing Scat by Carl Hiaasen. It was the first Hiaasen book for all moms and daughters. I just now thought of this, but all three families represented today, have a mother who was/is a teacher:) Here is a link to Maggie’s review (She’d love a comment if you have time?)

Maggie wanted to have a door prize, so she picked a little magnetic bookmark that she gave out through a drawing of names.  Next month Little House in the Big Woods was picked by the next member and I am really excited to re-read one of my favorite childhood books!

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Welcoming Bo to the White House April 19, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:29 am

My friend Robin alerted me to this great website. It’s perfect timing for Poetry in April as well as the welcoming of the “First Dog” to the White House. Kristine O’Connell George is a poet with beautiful books that kids will just devour.  Her “Little Dog” Poems welcome Bo and all of us to enjoy poetry. Here is just one great example…

bo_first_dog_textHere’s another little excerpt that I also love. Check out this poet and website! You and your students will love it!

 

"The teacher holds my hand
 and opens a special box
 of things with secret voices..."  
 Excerpt from "Music Class" 
 The Great Frog Race
 

I guess it was inevitable: The Hunger Wars-the movie April 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:36 pm

Suzanne Collins is writing the script for The Hunger Games-the movie. Lionsgate acquired the rights. I’ve read that 2011 is the release date. Entertainment Weekly has a write-up as well. 

Check out this link, but don’t you dare enter the contest-the lunch and pin are mine! You do have to write a creative 500 word essay, but I’m willing to give it a shot! When I met the author at NCTE she had a Mockingjay pin on I admired and yes, she is incredibly nice!

September 1st is way too long to wait for book 2-Catching Fire.

 

The Cafe Book by Gail Boushey and Joan Moser “The Sisters” April 15, 2009

I became a fan of “The Sisters” with their publication for The Daily Five: Fostering Literacy Independence. Even though the book was aimed at more primary students than my fourth graders were, I was game to give some of their strategies a try. I had been a huge proponent of individual reading conferences for many years, but the management of the rest of the class as well as the organization to ensure I was meeting with students in a way that met their needs was still a challenge. The Sisters got me with their quote, “Did those things (centers, projects, worksheets…)just keep our kids busy or were they engaged in literacy tasks that will make a difference in their literate lives.” Their concerns mirrored many of mine.cafe

You can read the entire Cafe Book book online. I made it about halfway through before my copy arrived in the mail Friday.  You can also hear a  blog interview on Stenhouse to see some more information from the sisters. They do also have their own website-part free, most subscription.  

The Cafe system makes record-keeping and organization accessible for teachers who feel often feel overwhelmed by the management of workshop or conferences.

They are coming to Columbus, Ohio this summer for some workshops in conjunction with Choice Literacy and I am thrilled a few of the elementary teachers I work with will be in attendance.  They did a great job presenting at the Dublin Literacy Conference-very engaging and had me laughing quite a bit. My favorite story was from the one sister who tried to make post-it notes into wearable jewelry so she wouldn’t keep losing them. 

Many of us have made their “Pensieve” notebooks and love having all our records in one place. It’s a nice complement to any reading or writing workshop, not just one new thing to try.

 

Scat by Carl Hiassen April 14, 2009

scat

I feel a little strange admitting this, but I have never read a Carl Hiaasen book before. Hoot did come out the year my son was born (the first of three years of getting up with him a minimum of three times a night), so that probably has something to do with it. It’s not that I didn’t think his books looked or sounded interesting, but there was always something else that kept coming up that would bump Hoot further down in the stack. That of course, was until Scat.  

I commited to reading Scat when it was the title my daughter selected for the first meeting of The Mother-Daughter Book Club.  This book has guaranteed I will read both of Hoot and Flush, and think I’ll try some of his adult fiction as well!

Scat is a book that pulled me on one level and then kept me thinking on different levels all the way through.  

The characters of Nick, Marta, Duane Jr. are well developed and feel like people you can relate to. Many of the other characters, are just as well-developed. Mrs. Starch, the mean, missing teacher; Mr. Wendall Waxmo the sub who wore tuxedos and always taught page 160 on Tuesday, no matter the day or subject; Twilly; the detective; Duane’s grandmother.

The environmental theme is woven throughout the story and arrives in surprising packages. Part mystery, part comedy, this book kept me thinking long after I closed the cover. The timely, yet unfortunate, issue of soldiers coming home wounded from Iraq is also handled in way that makes the issue very accessible to younger/middle aged readers. Nick’s determination to become a lefty like his dad really struck a nerve in my heart. 

Interestingly, when we went to get it from the library, it was in the YA section, which I found initially surprising. There are a couple “dumb ass” comments, and the danger/mystery might be too much for some intermediate readers. Nonetheless, it kept my daughter and her friends turning page after page through all 384 pages!

A must-read that would also make a terrific read-aloud. Maybe some science teachers might be brave enough to try it as a read-aloud in their content area!

 

Piper Reed Give-away April 10, 2009

Filed under: authors,books,reluctant readers,series — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:14 am
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PIPER REED AND COMPANY ARE COMING THIS AUGUST!

 

  

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But you can win an advance copy now!
 
Details at Kimberly’s blog:
 

 

 

 

My fourth grade daughter loves Piper Reed and has entered her name in the drawing. Piper is a great character and I used her to hook my daughter in third grade (using an audiobook of the first book) when she was unsuccessfully picking just-right books for herself. I give Piper Reed some of the credit for helping me turn that corner with my daughter from reluctant reader to book-lover. Look for an interview with the author soon!

 

 

 

SLJ’s Battle of the (Kids’) Books starts next Monday April 9, 2009

Filed under: award winners,blogs,book reviews,books — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:09 am
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From School Library Journal’s blog:

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About the Battle
School Library Journal’s Battle of the (Kids’) Books is a competition between 16 of the very best books for young people published in 2008, judged by some of the biggest names in children’s books.

Roger Sutton, editor in chief of The Horn Book, will be judging the very first match. Print out the brackets here.

A longtime player and judge in this sport, Roger was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books and a children’s and young adult librarian. 

Match 1: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume II: The Kingdom on the Waves vs Ways to Live Forever

Match 2: The Graveyard Book vs The Trouble Begins at 8

Match 3: Chains vs Washington at Valley Forge

Match 4: Here Lies Arthur vs Tender Morsels

Match 5: The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks vs We Are the Ship

Match 6: The Hunger Games vs The Porcupine Year

Match 7: Graceling vs The Underneath

Match 8: The Lincolns vs Nation

What’s the baddest book of them all? Our all-star panel of judges is about to decide! 

Follow the action as 16 of last year’s best books compete in a winner-takes-all tournament to determine the nation’s top title.

 

Unlike the Newbery short-lists, I am not going to read frenetically to try to be able to have an opinion on different rounds, but will be following along as an interested bystander. I also see a couple titles I am unfamiliar with that I’ll need to find out more about.

 

Teaching Second-Grade Writers by Lucy Calkins April 8, 2009

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The entire title of this little gem is Reading Writing Project Workshop Help Desk: A Quick Guide to Teaching Second-Grade Writers with Units of Study by Lucy Calkins and is available from Heinemann. I picked it up when I was at TC in March and I can’t find it on the website yet, but if you are a second grade teacher, literacy coach, staff developer, or curriculum director I highly recommend picking it up as soon as you can. This 76 page pocket-sized professional development resource ($8.00) would be great to add to your Primary Units of Study set. Even if you aren’t using UOS, I still think this would be a valuable resource.  Something I love in the first chapter is the proposed overview of the year (also known as a shared curricular calendar). Each chapter then goes on to explore each month’s unit of study more closely. It has some great recommendations for modifying the UOS if your first grade and kindergarten teachers are also using UOS.

The second grade study group of writing workshop is going to start reading this as soon as we can get additional copies. All are game for trying their proposed calendar. With the research and thinking that is behind all TC Reading and Writing Project work, I don’t know how their calendar can do anything but help us work together to get even better.

I think it’s an exciting time to be a teacher of writing and reading. What a gift this little book is!

 

What I’m Currently Reading April 7, 2009

Filed under: audiobook,books,KidLit,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 6:46 am
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Just finished Scat by Carl Hiaasen. It’s one of the best books I’ve read! Now I need to read Hoot and Flush!

Bedtime reading Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O’Connor with my daughter.

Bedtime reading Roscoe Riley Rules #1 Never Glue Your Friends to Chairs by Katherine Applegate with my son.

Listening to The Calder Game CDs by Blue Balliet in the car when I’m by myself.

Listening to Beyond Spiderwick #1 The Nixie’s Song by Holly Black and Tony diTerlizzi and Past Perfect, Present Tense: New and Collected Stories by Richard Peck with my children in the car 

Currently and actively reading The Art of Teaching Reading by Lucy Calkins, Graceling by Kristin Cashore (recommended to me by one of my former students-he even brought it to me at school-I love that!)

Started but yet to finish: Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson, Dandelion Fire by N.D. Wilson (they are both good, I just got distracted)

need to start, but haven’t Room With a View by E.M. Forester, Drood by Dan Simmons

 

New Books April 6, 2009

Filed under: audiobook,book reviews,books,KidLit,kidlitosphere,picture books,read alouds — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:36 am
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The goals: spend less than $75 on new books Saturday, find new release books I hadn’t read yet, try to include one each for my son and daughter to get excited about. Here’s how it ended up

Word Builder by Ann Whitford Paul (beautiful new picture book with a construction crew taking letters and eventually turning them into a book) 

The Pet Sitter: Tiger Taming by Julie Sykes (a series from England starring a young pet-loving boy. Will be good for my son as he is not ready for Magic Tree House, but insists on chapter books that look “grown-up”)

Smoke by Mavis Jukes (I’m not sure what gravitated me towards this book. The cover has a cat in profile, the title is the same as one the characters in the book Scat I just finished, I need a new read aloud for my son and thought this would be a nice change from Wimpy Kid, thought he would love the cowboy connection. I’ll let you know.)

Recycle This Book: 100 Top Children’s Book Authors Tell You How to Go Green Edited by Dan Gutman (Good short stories are sometimes hard to come by and 100 by authors such as Ralph Fletcher and Gail Gibbons can’t be beat!)

Change Has Come with illustrations by Kadir Nelson (Kadir Nelson’s drawings, Barack Obama’s words-need I say more?)

The Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths by Cynthia Rylant (Love Cynthia Rylant. Love that this myths are retold at a level that I can use to introduce them to my children and students)

Total Damage $71.96

I’m pretty excited about my haul!