Best Book I Have Not Read

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

Twitter Thoughts July 29, 2009

Filed under: adult learners,technology,Twitter — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:38 am

Get your twitter mosaic here.

Let’s start with the basics. People who don’t Tweet have no idea what Twitter is or why you would want to use it. I was one of those people a year ago. I remember sitting on the couch having my husband explain it to me one more time and why it might be good for my blog for me to begin to Tweet. I’m sure I looked at him as if he’d grown another arm.

According to Wikipedia Twitter is “a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers…”

Franki at A Year of Reading started the conversation (Check out her Choice Literacy article in the Beyond Gadgets series. Get a subscription to Choice Literacy as a gift to yourself for the new school year.). Her blogging partner Mary Lee followed with her Love/Hate Relationship with Twitter. Myself-I go back and forth between the two.

Things I like~

I can get book review links from bloggers, authors, publishers, and just plain people I don’t know, but have similar interests to me…

I can get cooking advice from Christopher Kimball or Chef Ann any time he/she feels like giving it to me

I can get an instant answer to my “Is my tongue going to fall off?” question

I can get news updates from Columbus

I can win books! (Three times lucky!)

Things I don’t like~

The biggest would be how author’s Richard Peck’s keynote made me feel about how Facebook and Twitter are to paraphrase, “Going to end civilization because we aren’t supposed to stay in touch with our elementary school crush and know what our teen-aged child is doing every moment of their lives!” I think he mentioned something also about it being a form of “peeping Tom”. I’m pretty sure I was sending Tweet updates at the beginning of that speech.

Getting updates on people’s moods

I’m also in complete agreement with Mary Lee about the time sucker it can become. I feel the same way about my $#*& e-mail!

Still trying to explain how it looks like I’m on Facebook all the time (I have my blog and Twitter hooked to my Facebook account).
I tried several Twitter helpers to help me manage all my Tweets and Tweeple, have settled on TweetDeck. Before that, I might have someone send me a direct response and not know about it. It has also helped me categorize so the Tweets from Blogging world people can be separate from all the general Tweets that might not be something I have time or interest in reading.

The biggest challenge for me with Twitter, moderation! Finding the sweet spot between TMI/time sucking and useful up to the minute updates.

The end of my ramble…


Diary of a Wimpy Kid Ice Cream Truck Tours to Promote Literacy! July 28, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:02 pm

Wimpy4_Ice Cream TruckCheck out the whole story over at SLJ ~!

Tuesday, August 18th the Ice Cream Truck will be in my neck of the woods. What about yours?


Preparing for August July 27, 2009

Filed under: school,TCRWP,writing conferences,writing workshop — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:54 pm
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Depending on which side of the pendulum you ride, hearing the words Back to School can either strike dread and form a pit in your stomach or produce euphoria! 

I go back to work full-time August 3rd, part-time this week.

I should figure out a way to word it better. It doesn’t sound nearly dramatic enough that way.

I have been working full-time this summer as the mother of two young children, but August 3rd sees the recombination of full-time work outside the home with full-time work inside the home.

My children don’t care for what that means for them.

Neither does my husband.

Me? I’m most worried about keeping my house ready for a showing at a moment’s notice. I will get this thing sold! I will admit I had a spring in my step as I headed into school office on my way to work. 

It is the last week of July and I am preparing for the class I will be teaching next week as well as trying to get my head wrapped around another week out-of-town for work-all sandwiched around picking up my daughter from camp in Michigan, and her 10th birthday.

I’m not afraid to admit that life does get easier for me when the kids go back to school in 3 weeks because that at least reduces my mom-guilt and need to be in too many places at once. I am not a mom who has ever cried or thought about crying when school starts. I actually feel kind of bad for those moms who feel that Back to School equals loss or a tear-worthy event. Mom-guilt makes me wonder if it means I’m not as dedicated of a mother as they are. Common sense tells me that I LOVE school and have a hard time imagining anyone not LOVING school. School is such a part of childhood, like losing a tooth or falling off your bike, that it has always just been part of the rhythm of my children growing up. I find it fascinating that there are moms who have parties to celebrate their children going back to school and others who have parties to mourn the same thing. I’m going to be at school having a great time with their children, no judgement attached.


Here’s what August has in store for me:

The first week of August I am teaching a class for Teachers on Writing Workshop and conferring with writers.

The second week of August I am back at Columbia’s TCRWP for a week of intense training in Writer’s Workshop.

The third week has me in consulting meetings throughout buildings and with teachers who have willingly given up one of their last free days to meet and plan with me for this upcoming year.

What does the year have in store? Everyday Math version 3 adoption in full swing; a Writing Units of Study Calendar that has each grade level having a dedicated 4 and half days to meet before each new unit of study in writing commences; further training of staff in reading assessments; Response to Intervention work-working to get the buildings in-sync and not falling into a cart-before-the-horse trap; Professional Learning Communities throughout the district; Book Studies.  And of course all the emergencies that can’t be planned for that crop in the day, week, life of a school. 


It’s going to be a great ride.


Life’s Not Always Fair

Filed under: authors — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:06 am
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My young friend Christopher’s cancer has returned. He spent fifth grade going through treatment. The cancer’s only been gone since April and now it’s back and it’s not the end of July. He looked so great-happy and healthy over the Fourth of July. Wilms’ spots in his lungs. Surgery this past week and an aggressive two year plan of chemotherapy for his sixth and seventh grade year.

My friend Christopher loves to read and to do Legos.

Christopher’s Wish is to go to England and meet his favorite author-Brian Jacques! I gave Christopher an autographed copy of Doomwyte , the newest Redwall book, while he was sick last year.  Brian Jacques was at Cover to Cover and I got so lucky when I decided to get a copy for Chris. To be able to give a voracious reader a new book they haven’t read, is really a gift to the giver! I’ve already started compiling a stack of books for Christopher that perhaps he hasn’t read-it lets me feel like I can do something to help him, when really I can’t.

Maybe you can help? If you can help Christopher’s wish come true, please donate to

Make a Wish Foundation

No amount is too small. Do you live in Central Ohio? How about participating in the Merill Lynch 5K Bull Run 2009 in the Arena district of Columbus, Ohio to support Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Make-a-Wish Foundation of Central Ohio. It’s on my calendar and will be good motivation to keep up the running I recently restarted after a year’s rest. My children are both game to do it and there is a walk/run for kids as well as a Fun Walk for adults.

I also think it would be amazing if Children’s authors and illustrators would donate autographed copies of their books (The publisher should really be the one to donate) to Children’s Hospitals that treat children with life-threatening diseases. I’m sure that Christopher is not alone in having a book-related wish!


Great Reading in July July 26, 2009

Filed under: authors,book reviews,book turned into movie,KidLit,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:31 pm
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I haven’t been blogging much lately between getting my daughter to camp and having my son think her being gone means he is now an only-child whose whims I have nothing better to do than fulfill! On the other hand, I have been getting some great reading done.

Recently read:

Mudshark by Gary Paulsen-short, quirky, not quite sure what I think of it. I wouldn’t rush out to buy it in hardback. mudshark

Edward’s Eyes by Patricia MacLachlan-see 100 Scope Notes or A Year of Reading review. Wow! An amazing book.edwardseyes

The Lightning Thief: Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan (See PBS Parents Booklink’s article about the author Rick Riordan) Loved it! Surprised I hadn’t read it before. Even more surprised that my public library does not have ANY of the series. (I’ve been told they are there in the YA section-I will verify, but sure that I must be wrong) If I was an intermediate or middle school teacher, I would definitely want to read this aloud before the movie is released February 12, 2010.

The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart (see Jen Robinson or semicolon‘s review) or check out the series’ website, The Curiosity Chronicle. Hate to say that I really had to make myself finish this book, although the last fourth flew by.

Beautiful Stories of LifeThe Beautiful Stories of Life: Six Greek Myths, Retold by Cynthia Rylant (I had bought it because I love Cynthia Rylant and worry that kids don’t know some the “older” myths, fables, and fairy tales. Thought it would be good to read-aloud to my own children. It was a great coincidence that I started reading The Lightning Thief- right after this book. I love that The Lightning Thief will get kids familiar with many of the Greek myths that otherwise might not be that interesting to some readers.)

Recently won from a Twitter contest: The new released Slugger series=4 books so far= (formerly known as Barnstormers) by Loren Long and Phil Biloner-I do love the new covers! Thanks Children’s Book Review!

Recently viewed: While at the movies with my son this weekend (G-Force in 3-D, what else?) previews for both book related movies Where the Wild Things Are and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs were being featured. Obviously they are taking the picture book at a starting point for the movies, but hmmm….are movie writers out of original ideas? Is it cheaper for studios to option books and adaptations? I wonder… Also recently viewed on DVD, Coraline. Creepy, but not as scary as I bet it was on the big screen!

Currently Reading and upcoming reads:

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott (recommended by Lucy Calkins)

A Quick Guide to Making Your Teaching Stick by Shanna Schwartz (re-reading in preparation for an upcoming workshop class I’m teaching)

Lily’s Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff (re-reading for Mother-Daughter Book Club)

20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (had to stop reading it because it made me keep crying)

Neil Armstrong Is My Uncle and Other Lies Muscle Man McGinty Told Me by Nan Marino (How can you resist a title like that?)

The Fortunes of Indigo Skye by Deb Caletti (YA-picked up in NYC)

What I REALLY want though is a new BestBookIHaveNotRead to jump all those and take me to a new world. I’m on the look-out. It must be time for a trip to Cover to Cover!



Filed under: Uncategorized — bestbookihavenotread @ 3:43 pm


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How Cool is it that there is a Betsy-Tacy Society July 23, 2009

Filed under: authors,books — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:32 pm
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I find it remarkably cool that there is a society (The Betsy-Tacy Society) that has restored the Maud Hart Lovelace homes ofbetsytacy book characters Betsy and Tacy. I loved those books growing up. Even though they were betsyhousewritten in 1940’s, those girls could have easily been my best friends.  I loved reading about the things they did and my best neighborhood friend, Lori, and I would frequently have their adventures.  Every time they have been re-released, I’ve pounced on them in the bookstore to add to my collection.

The Betsy-Tacy Convention just wrapped up in Mankato, Minnesota. It sounds like fun was had by all and that author Meg Cabot was a huge hit with the audience. You can read the convention highlights over at Book Club Girl’s blog.

Wow-now I can dream of going to Patricia Polacco’s farm in Michigan AND Betsy’s home in Minnesota. Don’t tell my husband I dream of book-themed vacationing!

You can get a sneak peak at the upcoming re-releases here-they look great and very true to the original illustrations. forgetmenots


Shared Curricular Calendars July 17, 2009

Filed under: TCRWP — bestbookihavenotread @ 5:22 pm
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Units of Study for Reading, Units os Study for Writing, and Shared Curricular Calendars seems to be  hot topics of thought and discussion among teachers.

Here are a couple links to sites I had found this spring when I was looking for resources.

Calkins Graduate Students reading units of study

 Denver City Schools curriculum site-they aren’t really “TC”, but a modified version with a strong ELL component/support (Scroll to the bottom-they are by grade level and unit).

Heinemann writing supports for units of study


YA authors team up July 15, 2009

Filed under: authors — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:54 am


“Last December, Albert Borris suffered a massive stroke—and though he’s managed to make a full physical recovery, Borris still has a severe case of aphasia, a neurological condition that affects his ability to communicate with others by disordering his language between thought and expression, in his case hampering both speech and writing. That makes promoting his debut novel, Crash Into Me, an impossible task—but his friends in the Class of 2K9, a group of nearly two dozen YA and middle grade authors making their publishing debuts this year, are determined to spread the word about Borris’ novel.

We’ve long believed that it’s as important for authors to promote their colleagues as it is to promote their own work; from the broadest possible perspective, anything that keeps a “culture of readers” thriving benefits all writers. But we’re truly moved to see how the Class of 2K9 has come together to help another writer when he needs it most.”

from BoingBoing

There’s been quite a lot of press around the blogging world about this book. crash into me is not light reading-teens with suicidal tendencies meet up through an on-line forum and head on a road trip.


Quick Reviews July 14, 2009

Filed under: book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:55 am
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Peter Rabbit Munch! Peter Rabbit Naturally Better board book-a beautiful new board book that I picked for a friend’s new baby-love that each page looks “munched”.peterrabbit

The Problem with the Puddles by Kate Feiffer (intermediate aged readers) Love the illustrations which will help support those transitional intermediate readers. A great story about a family whose parents agree on nothing! Through an adventure together trying to find their lost dogs, they find there really aren’t so many things worth disagreeing about.

problem puddles

Lucky by Rachel Vail (YA)-A very fun YA read-very timely with the economy going south daily. The main character, Phoebe’s, mother has lost her well-paid job, leaving the family in a big financial pinch. Going from privileged child who wants for nothing, to having to tell her friends she can’t afford her part of their lavish, middle school graduation party, Lucky is a fun read. Gorgeous, the “sequel” (and part of a planned trilogy) focusing on Phoebe’s sister, just was published in the end of May. Sure to be a hit with YA readers looking for some light, realistic fiction.

The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (“grown-up”)-a great mystery read in a non-traditional mystery format. Margaret Lea, a young woman who rarely leaves her father’s rare and collectible book store, lives most of her life through the characters she reads. Selected by a famous, reclusive author to write her biography, Margaret partakes on the quest to find truth in Vida Winter’s story-telling. The story of dysfunctional twins, and the people who attempt to raise them, including a governess, pulls the reader into this book that allows the author’s knowledge of literature to shine through in a way that is pleasing for any reader. For the lover of literature, shades of Jane Eyre will be evident. thirteenth tale