Best Book I Have Not Read

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

New Picture Book by Lois Lowry September 26, 2009

Filed under: blogs,books,narrative writing,picture books — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:04 pm
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I was so excited to see a picture book by Lois Lowry this evening.  crow callCrow Calls is a beautiful story illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline and tell’s Lowry’s own story from her childhood.

Crow Calls takes place when Lois was a young girl, a big outing with her father has just returned from a long absence away during World War II is heart-warming. The illustrations are perfect for the mood and tone of the book, as well as the hunting season.  A photo of Lois Lowry as a child in the plaid, hunting shirt highlights Ibatoulline’s artistic talent.

I can hardly wait to share this book with my colleagues and their students next week. A perfect complement to our personal narrative work we’ve been doing!

If you check out Lois Lowry’s blog you can see everyday life for her, along with beautiful photographs.


It’s Hard Keeping Up… September 24, 2009

I don’t know why I am finding it more difficult to keep up with my blog lately. I guess it’s that school is at a full, rolling boil! I haven’t had much time to read either. I actually think it might be related to the ages (and phases) my children are currently.

Even though I haven’t been blogging about it, lots of good things continue to happen. The good news is:

I have gotten to experience and fall in love with so many different groups of students this fall as they get started with writing workshop.

I had a great PD day with a grade level that I didn’t have much of an opportunity to work with last year. The dedication to kids and learning in my colleagues is always so inspiring.

I was able to talk a small group of teachers into spending their own money to travel to the Teachers College Reading and Writing Project’s Fall Reunion . You can’t beat Katherine Patterson and Lucy Calkins in one venue! Legal teacher crack!


My Two Cents—borrowed from Michael Smith September 7, 2009

Filed under: blogs,Obama — bestbookihavenotread @ 1:07 pm
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Blog entry from The PrincipalsPage blog:


President Obama Doesn’t Need a Visitor’s Pass to Speak to Students.

The President wants to talk to the students of America. Evidently, his intention is to encourage students to take their school year more seriously and take greater personal responsibility for their education.

Not so fast.

We are going to need to see an ID.

Somebody needs to stop by the office, sign in, and get a visitor’s badge before he will be allowed to speak to kids.

Mr. President, you just can’t just show up and demand an audience with our students.

Who do you think you are?

This idea of the President of the United States addressing school children has sparked a great deal of discussion.

Educators have been debating this speech for the last couple of weeks. It has been a topic of discussion on Twitter, Plurk, listserv’s and blogs.

In my mind, schools have reacted rather predictably.

The speech is a new idea.

So it must be a bad idea.

Far too many adults seem to be forming their opinions based upon their political beliefs.

Personally, I think this idea needs to pass the “Say It Out Loud Test”.

This method is tried and true.

If you want to see if something is a good idea or a bad idea… simply say it out loud.

So here I go. “President Obama wants to speak directly to school children so he can encourage them to work hard and take school seriously.”

Sounds good to me. Plus, I am willing to give him the benefit of that doubt because he is… The President of the United States of America.

All too often teachers and administrators complain about schools not getting well-deserved respect.

Now the President wants to help by encouraging students to do better… they must do better.

I say we give him a chance.

Just this once, let’s not be overly paranoid about a stranger speaking to our students.

Let’s give a new idea a chance before we sit around and come up with a long list of reasons why it won’t work.

This is a great opportunity to not only teach students the importance of listening, but also the importance of respecting the highest office in the land.

So, echoing Michael Smith, I don’t think enough can be said about the importance of respecting the highest office in the land. Thank God we live in a country where we get to believe and vote as we will every four years.

If we want our children to respect adults (something many of us feel is an area of “Needs Improvement”), starting with the President seems like a really good place to me. ANY president Shouldn’t Need a Visitor’s Pass to Speak to Students.


1 Year Anniversary and I’m trying to hold the wheels on the bus… August 7, 2009

Filed under: blogoversary — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:27 am
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It’s my Blogoversary! bday cake

For you non-bloggers, that is my one year blogging anniversary!

This is my 340th post and have gone from having an average of 800 readers a month to 6800 readers per month. That seems like a lot to me!

As my tag line says, “writing, reading, teaching life, attempting to balance it all” and it certainly feels like one of those days where the balancing is really hard.

Started off the work week waking to what I thought was one of dogs was dying (got on roller coaster-Thank God she wasn’t dead);

ending the work week by:

taking my kids to a babysitter (sore subject with the husband-“Why are we paying for a sitter when you aren’t being paid to work yet?” (I know all you teachers understand that conflict-Does anyone REALLY think we get our rooms ready in the half day they give us work in our rooms. Get real.),

teaching the last day of a workshop for teachers (I think it went really well-our focus within the writing workshop was on conferring and I was able to really use the TC Literacy Coach Institute to help us prepare for the year),

meeting at bank to sign over the documents over for someone else to be PTO treasurer  (yahoo!)

picking up kids from sitter (“Stop talking Mom and hurry up! We need to go pick up my birthday balloons!” It is my daughter’s birthday!)

trying to clean mini-van (I never understood what my friend meant when she used to say that an animal would have no problem surviving for a week in her car on the crumbs until a couple years ago) to be able to transport six girls out to dinner for my daughter’s 10th birthday-headed to her favorite sushi restaurant (My mother’s question of, “Is your arm bleeding or is that just dirt?” is telling. For the record, it was neither-it was melted chocolate from who-knows-what.)

Sandwich in a few jealous fits by younger brother about the impeding birthday party and some searches for a gift for the birthday girl and whew.

Wondering if I can have a glass of wine before the party or do I need to wait until afterwards?

The year of blogging has been a real learning experience for me. I can’t believe I’ve managed to write so many posts, read so much, and still held it all together as much as I have. And even though my daughter informed me yesterday in a pre-birthday melt-down that she hates my job and hates that I am going to NYC again, I still love my job and can’t imagine life without working a school with kids, teachers, and all the wackiness that makes up a school-year.  So whether today is your first day of school, or you still don’t start for a month, I hope you are all looking forward to the possibilities this new year holds for us.

Thanks for reading Bestbookihavenotread!


Another Book Give-Away July 6, 2009

Filed under: blogoversary,blogs,book reviews — bestbookihavenotread @ 7:02 pm
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Over at The Reading Zone, Sarah is giving away an autographed copy of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl by Barry Lyga to celebrate her second blogoversary. Congratulations and THANKS to Sarah for all the great reviews! You can win by signing up for her newsletter and leaving a comment on any of her posts!

I have to say I remember reading her very first review of Into the Wild by Beth Durst and adding it to me To-Be-Read Pile.


The Best Kids’ Books Ever… finding a new blog July 5, 2009

Filed under: blogs — bestbookihavenotread @ 2:30 pm
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It’s only fitting that today as I am in New York City at a friend’s home and I open up the New York Times, ‘The Week in Review’ has a column titled “The Best Kids’ Books Ever“! 

If you go to the columnist’s blog, On The Ground, you can see what he lists as the best Kid’s Books Ever which include, The Hardy Boys (my son and husband agree), Harry Potter, and the less known Freddy the Pig series (loved him so much I have bought the re-releases of some of them-can’t get my own kids interested). 

If you go to his blog, you can see the 900+ comments by readers sharing their opinion about the Best Kid’s Book Ever. 

The best often blurs with “my favorite” for me, especially when I think back to books from my childhood. Books I read over and over again as a child included:
The Little House of the Prarie series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Besty and Tacy books by Maud Hart Lovelace (illustrated by favorite childhood illustrator Lois Lenski-which leads me to Strawberry Girl and all books by Lois Lenski-I can even picture where in the library they were located during my childhood and how I kept searching in case there was a title I missed-not very likely as she died when I was five years old, but maybe the library would buy a new-to-me book!). 

The Chronicles of Narnia series by C.S. Lewis 

Baby Island by Carol Brink 

Shoeshine Girl by Clyde Bulla

The Bobbsey Twins by Laura Lee Hope 

The Trixie Beldon series by Julie Campbell (I personally did not care for Nancy Drew)

Cherry Ames Nursing Student series by Helen Wells

Madeline L’Engle books including The Wrinkle in Time and A Ring of Endless Light: The Austins Family Chronicles 

One of my all-time favorite childhood books has a title that alludes me to great frustration. I can tell you where it was in the library, the gist of the book, and how when I went to check it out for the 23rd time, I was devastated that the library had “weeded” it out of their collection. 
Maybe you know the title from your childhood. There was a family (I think of many boys) that took in an orphaned girl  during the Revolutionary or Civil War. One brother (I want to say his name was something like Lamont) loved her secretly, left for war and returned to find her engaged to his brother who had not been gone for the war.  I know that is not much of a gist, but still to this day I am bothered by not knowing the title of the book and my inability to read it one more time.  


What are your favorites? Please feel free to comment and leave titles-I’m hoping for a new Best Book I Have Not Read.


Author Blogs April 28, 2009

Filed under: blogs,book reviews,books,read alouds,young adult — bestbookihavenotread @ 4:47 pm
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While poking around on the internet after finishing Graceling by Kristen Cashore, I found her blog This Is My Secret (great title!)

My favorite entry (so far) starts with a quote from Sherman Alexie

“A lot of people have no idea that right now Y.A. is the Garden of Eden of literature.”

I think there are many of us in the world of KidLit/Blogland who definitely agree with that statement! 
Kristen Cashore has a list of her recommended YA books for all age readers and there are some great other titles in the comment section. Check it out!


My husband says I’m addicted to the Internet January 29, 2009

Filed under: bloggers,blogs,Twitter — bestbookihavenotread @ 8:00 am
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I don’t think I agree with him. Completely. Part of my “addiction” might also be described as an over-reliance on the Internet. I still do plenty of non-internet activities. 

E-mail, Google Calendar-they are a necessary part of my working life. I love that Google Calendar e-mails me my calendar for the day at 4:34 a.m. and that I can have it send reminders about items as often as I like. 

Blogs, Twitter-I am pretty fascinated by the instantaneous access to information.  No longer do I have to wait until the next day to read about Gov. Strickland’s State of the State address. Multiple sources of info are tweeted, posted, and blogged-almost instantly as the speech takes place. 

I don’t think it’s an addiction or an over-reliance. I’ve decided to embrace those 21st Century Technologies as they appear-try to figure out the good and the bad of them to decide if they’ll be helpful to me in any part of my life and then move on.  

Being me, I will feel the need to add some more about the good and the bad over the next several days, so be prepared. Or just skip the blog entries or notes on this topic.


Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers get together to celebrate Award Winning Books January 26, 2009

Filed under: award winners,bloggers,blogs,Newbery — bestbookihavenotread @ 10:07 pm
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img_1706Central Ohio KidLit Bloggers just can’t get enough of Cover to Cover or books! To celebrate the annoucements of the award winners, we met at our favorite book store and then had dinner at Northstar Cafe. It can’t get much better than that!

Me (Bestbookihavenotread), Karen (half of Literate Lives ), Sally Oddi (bookstore owner extraordinaire!), Katie (Creative Literacy),  Authentic Learner authors,  Franki Sibberson (half of A Year of Reading), author Amjed Qamar (Beneath My Mother’s Feet), and Mary Lee (other half of A Year of Reading).

I’m sure you’ve read the Newbery announcements, but here you go:

The Graveyard Book-Neil Gaiman (posted MouseCircus link last week, but just bought tonight)-Franki wins since she and Sally are the only two who have already read it!


The Underneath-Kathi Appelt (reviewed here-so glad it is recognized for the amazing book it is!)

Savvy by Ingrid Law (started, but loaned to a student and haven’t finished)

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson 

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba’s Struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle

Caldecott:  The House in the Night illustrated by Beth Krommes and written by Susan Marie Swanson (Love her Tweets and her book To Be Like the Sun! Will need to purchase this asap!)


“Child of a Blogger” January 5, 2009

Filed under: blogs,book clubs,books,KidLit,kidlitosphere — bestbookihavenotread @ 9:46 pm
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I just arrived home from Book Club and received the update about bedtime from my husband. We both had to laugh about the following story that took place while I was gone.

My son (age 6) was trying to decide what to read at bedtime tonight. My daughter (age 9) overheard her brother and said the following,

“Mabye I can help. I’m the child of a blogger. It’s just who you want picking out your literature.”

So we are not quite sure what is most amusing, the fact that she referred to herself in third person or that she used the word “literature”. Either way it is classic and I take it as a huge compliment.

The same daughter did not want me to go to Book Club tonight and was pretty sure that I should let her come so she could hear grown-ups talk about books. She has also decided that she should be allowed to have her own blog to review books. She declared that if I am going to read 100 books for a challenge, that she certainly will as well.

Amusing, but also endearing. This same child is the one I’ve written about in the past. The struggle to get her hooked reading a book in the past has been a sore spot for me. Fortunately we seem to have moved past that hurdle.

It’s certainly the nicest thing I’ve heard so far this week.