Wednesday, January 31, 2007

NY Times Book Reviews

When it comes to the NY Times Book Reviews, I'm a skimmer and a scanner. I check titles, authors, and reviewers. It's most rare that I read a complete review if all three are unfamiliar. Only great reviewers can snag me in to read all about a book I know nothing and care nothing about. I admire those reviewers.

It's equally rare when a reviewer I love reviews a book I will likely love. That happened in the January 21 issue of the NYTBR: Roy Blount, Jr. reviewed E.B. White's LETTERS OF E.B. WHITE: REVISED EDITION.

Almost every week, I hear Roy Blount, Jr. on NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me!, so when I read his review, I could "hear" his voice. I took E.B. White's essays with me to Europe in 1988 and found them to be the perfect read on trains in foreign countries. GAK! It's been almost 20 years since I read his essays! No time like the present to work on his letters.

The essay on the back page of that same issue was quite humorous as well: Joe Queenan claims that he never buys a book unless a major reviewer says it is "Amazing." He writes, "Previously I had limited my purchases to to merchandise deemed "luminous" or "incandescent," but this meant I ended up with an awful lot of novels about bees, Provence or Vermeer." Hmmm....I think I read those books!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Thank Goodness For the Public Library!

Starting next week, each of my 25 students will become a member of a literature circle group, or mini book club, that meets once a week. The groupings are based on my understanding of each child as a reader and as a social being in this class. Each group met last week to chat about what they've been reading independently and what they might like to read with their group. They gave me their ideas and I spent hours last weekend on the Columbus Metropolitan Library website and at the Northwest Branch gathering books.

A group of three boys wants to read graphic novels. I picked Akiko by Mark Crilley (graphic novel version) for them. I think they can read a book a week and there are five books, so that gives me some time to find what will come next. I'm thinking Hikaru No Go by Yumi Hotta, but CML doesn't own it, and I haven't read it all the way through. I may have to buy three copies and the game Go.

A mixed gender group of four included both graphic novels and pets on their wish list. I am ordering multiple copies of Travels of Thelonious by Susan Schade from the library, and I will join this group in reading this book for the first time. It is a graphic novel hybrid (part graphic novel, part novel novel) and it has animals for characters. Thelonious is a chipmunk (apologies, Thelonious for originally saying you were a mouse). I wonder if we will make connections to Despereaux as we read?

A big group of six asked to read mysteries. A-Z Mysteries are perfect for them, but I'm not sure who's read which titles. I was glad to find that Ron Roy is continuing past the 26 books in the series with A-Z Mysteries Detective Camp. Northwest Branch had six copies of this title! Perfect!

A group of four capable readers wanted to read Mary Pope Osborne books, but not necessarily her Magic Tree House books. I have copies of Revolutionary War on Wednesday and the accompanying nonfiction research guide, and copies of Osborne's Tall Tales from which they can choose.

The last group is the literature circle that's been meeting weekly all through 4th grade and continuing this year in 5th grade. At the beginning of the year, I had them go back to my shelves of multiple copy sets of novels and pick the ONE they wanted to be sure the group read in 5th grade. We laid them out, counted them up, and found that we have a book a month for the rest of the year! This is exactly the process my adult book club uses to set our yearly reading agenda. Here's what they chose: Time Cat by Lloyd Alexander, The Last Treasure by Janet Anderson, Wringer by Jerry Spinelli (that's what we're reading now), Riding Freedom by Pam Munoz Ryan, The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett, Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles, and The View From Saturday by E.L. Konigsburg. (That last one is my pick. A farewell present to some extraordinary 5th graders who will hopefully continue to be extraordinary no matter what middle school brings in the way of pressures to be ordinary.)

Again, I say, "Thank goodness for the public library!" I couldn't have provided all of these resources without the ability to BORROW most of them!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Jennifer Holm Interview

What a great day for interviews! Miss Erin has a great interview with Jennifer Holm talking about Newbery Honor book PENNY FROM HEAVEN!

China In My Heart



I have been trying to get my hands on this book for a while and my good friend just sent a copy from me. CHINA IN MY HEART is a story written by a six-year old girl about her adoption. It is a great story--one that I am excited to add to our collection of books about adoption. As a mom of an adopted daughter, I keep my eye out for books that are true to the experience of adoption. This one is right from the heart. I applaud the publisher for publishing these books by kids. I am excited to share it with my daughter. I can also see sharing it with my students as a model for writing. It seems hard to find in the US. I think it is published in Canada.

Marla Frazee

Since Marla Frazee is one of my favorite authors of the week (TOTALLY loved WALK ON! and am sooooo excited about CLEMENTINE!), I am happy to tell you that you can hear a great interview with her at Just One More Book. What a treat!

(And the quote on the home page of her website is so brilliant!)

Cool Babymouse Stuff!

You may have already seen this site but I just discovered it. Lots of fun Babymouse stuff! Mugs, shirts, bumper stickers.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

More Strong Girls in Children's Literature

I am loving my Sunday visits to HipWriterMama. Each Sunday, she highlights strong females in children's literature. She is the mother of 3 daughter and created the lists because:

"I want my children to read about strong girls who can take on whatever life gives them and still find hope, heroism and strength without losing a sense of themselves. I want them to have strong girl role models so they have something to aspire to, to dream about, to think about."

Another reason to look forward to Sundays!

(And don't forget about Jen Robinson's list of 200 Cool Girls in Children's Literature)

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Books About Books and Reading

A while back, I mentioned my collection of books about books and reading. I think it's really important to talk to kids about their identities as readers--experiences, tastes, behaviors, etc. I find that books are often a great jumpstart for kids--a way to help them begin to think about themselves as readers. So, over the years, I've collected mostly picture books to help me start these conversations in the classroom. I've also found poetry, excerpts from other books, etc. I also have some novels that are about literacy but I find that short text works best to start lots of great conversations. Below is a list of my current favorites. If you have any to add, let us know in the comments and we'll try to compile the list. We could try for "100 GREAT CHILDREN'S BOOKS ABOUT BOOKS AND READING"!

(I also have books that start conversations with kids about writing, but I don't have that list as organized! I'll try to share that sometime soon too!)


One of my favorites to use with kids is excerpts from Anna Quindlen's book HOW READING CHANGED MY LIFE. So many great experiences around books and reading!


Here are others:

Picture Books
SOUPER CHICKEN by Mary Jane and Herm Auch
WOLF by Becky Bloom
BOOK by George Ella Lyon
TOMAS AND THE LIBRARY LADY by Pat Mora
THE GIRL WHO HATED BOOKS by Manjusha Pawagi
AUNT CHIP AND THE GREAT TRIPLE CREEK DAM AFFAIR by Patricia Polacco
THANK YOU, MR. FALKER by Patricia Polacco
READING GROWS by Ellen Senisi
LIBRARY LIL by Suzanne Williams
THE LIBRARY by Sarah Stewart
THE DAY EDDIE MET THE AUTHOR by Louise Borden
THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA by Jeanette Winter
THE OLD WOMAN WHO LOVED TO READ by John Winch
JAKE'S 100TH DAY OF SCHOOL by Lester Laminack

Poetry
GOOD BOOKS, GOOD TIMES by Lee Bennett Hopkins
THE BOOKWORM'S FEAST by J. Patrick Lewis
PLEASE BURY ME IN THE LIBRARY by J. Patrick Lewis


Books From Which I Use Excerpts
HOW READING CHANGED MY LIFE by Anna Quindlen
LIFE IS SO GOOD by George Dawson
LOOKING BACK: A BOOK OF MEMORIES by Lois Lowry
AMELIA HITS THE ROAD by Marissa Moss
QUOTATIONS FOR KIDS by J.A. Senns

* * * * * *

Here's a link too good to keep in the comments: A Notes from the Windowsill annotated bibliography of book-books by Wendy E. Betts. THANKS!

Friday, January 26, 2007

Poetry Friday--Newbery Award Edition

The Book Not Taken
(apologies to Robert Frost)

Two aisles diverged in my favorite bookstore,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one reader, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where the bookshelves ended;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it contained all the books my fellow bloggers were reading;
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
The carpet equally stained with salt (brought in on boots from the icy walk).
Oh, I kept the first for another day
Because I believed the Newbery pick would be found
In the aisle I chose
Yet knowing how my record stands on picking picks,
I was pretty sure I'd be back, and pretty quick.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
A week after the Newbery was announced:
Two aisles diverged in my favorite bookstore, and I --
I took the one that didn't contain the winning book,
And that has made no real difference at all
Because it has STILL been a fun year filled with great books
And lively bloggerly conversations!

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Orbis Pictus Awards Announced



NCTE (The National Council of Teachers of English) announced its Orbis Pictus Awards this week. The winner was Quest for the Tree Kangaroo by Sy Montgomery. This award is given for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children.

Five Honorable Mentions as well as other recommended nonfiction from 2006 are listed. It is a great list of new nonfiction titles.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Racing to Beat the Movie Release

I wasn't sure what I wanted to read aloud next to my class. Last week we finished RUBY HOLLER by Sharon Creech, one of my all-time favorite read-alouds. Creech's pacing and descriptions make it easy to listen to and visualize, and the characters (and the situations they get into) are just enough over the top to be crowd pleasers for the 9-11 crowd.

I wasn't ready to plunge into the more serious BLOOD ON THE RIVER: JAMESTOWN, 1607 by Elisa Carbone no matter how well it would integrate with our upcoming social studies unit on Colonial America.

Then I saw the TV commercial/movie trailer for BRIDGE TO TERABITHIA (book by Katherine Paterson). My heart sank. I Googled the movie release date -- February 16. Is there enough time to get this book into kids' heads before the movie version kills personal imagination and visualization? It's worth the try. In years past, I've managed to "save" TUCK EVERLASTING for one class, and BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE for another. I'll be proud to add this book to my list of "saves."

(What am I going to do about reading aloud the ending of this multiple-hankie book, you ask? I'll deal with that when I get there. I managed to read aloud EACH LITTLE BIRD THAT SINGS without a tear by thinking, "Ice cream, sunshine, puppies, pizza!" the whole time I was reading the words that caused tears to stream down my face with no sign of stopping the first time I read the book.)

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Graphic Novels' Awards Debut


The Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature

AMERICAN BORN CHINESE by Gene Yang

The perfect choice: universal YA story of the desire to be accepted, to be one of the many instead of one of the few (or worse, one of the "others") told in a format (graphic novel) that is still a bit of an outsider wanting to be accepted.

If you are new to graphic novels, this is a great place to start. But don't sit down expecting to read this the way you read straight text. And don't kid yourself thinking it will be easy. First of all, reading graphics works different brain muscles than reading text, so you might find that you need to read more slowly. And you might also need to read more slowly because this is a richly complicated story -- actually it is three stories that start as separate strands which come together in a very satisfying ending.

Read an excerpt here. (Thank you Children's Illustration for the link.)




The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal Honor Book

TO DANCE by Siena Siegel

Here's the proof that "graphic novel" is not a genre, it's a publishing format. In fact, it would probably be best to drop the word novel, and insert the genre name one would use if the story were not told in sequential art. This book, then, would be known as a work of graphic memoir.

Again, a great story with the universal message that some of the passions of our youth might be lost to the practicalities of adulthood...but not necessarily lost forever.

More on the Awards...

This is kind of like the day after my birthday (when I was much younger, of course). The anticipation was over and I started to look forward to my next birthday. I started to feel like that about the awards yesterday. That the fun was over and it was time to look forward to next year's award day. But, I am discovering that the fun continues! Hearing what others are saying about the winners is almost as much fun as waiting for the winners to be announced! I have been busy reading others' thoughts and reflections on this year's awards. So, if you don't want the award fun to end, check out these great posts!

If you have not read much on the winner THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY, Kelly of Big A, little a, has a great review posted as part of THE EDGE OF THE FOREST.

Betsy at FUSE #8 is back from her work on the Newbery Committee. She has posted about the experience on her blog.

Thanks to Jen Robinson, I read this great post by Cynthia Lord, author of Newbery Honor book RULES.

Thanks to Julie at Children's Illustration for the link to this excerpt from the Printz winner, AMERICAN BORN CHINESE
and a link to an interview with the illustrator of TO DANCE--another amazing graphic novel that won a Siebert Informational Book award.

Roger Sutton at Read Roger has a post reflecting on his work with the Laura Ingalls Wilder Committee selection of James Marshall.

Erin at Miss Erin shares her thoughts on the awards.

On a controversial note, Anne at Librarianne has a post concerning the "rumor" about ALA award committee members being banned from blogging. Certainly an interesting debate.

And, last but not least, Lisa Yee has announced the long awaited winner of the Lisa Yee's Bodacious Book Title Contest

Monday, January 22, 2007

Reflections on the 2007 Awards

Here's how close I came this year: I bought Hattie Big Sky on Saturday.

At least the winner isn't another two-word title.

I don't know what else to say. We read like fiends. Because of blogging, we were so much more in tune to what the rest of "the world" was talking about and liking. We thought that between the two of us, we'd have it this year. Sigh.

Oh, well, let's get on with A(nother) Year of Reading!

ML

I am pretty happy with the winners. I am totally bummed about JEREMY FINK and YELLOW STAR but these feel like good picks. Here is how I did this year:
I read and loved PENNY FROM HEAVEN.
I read and loved RULES.
I asked for THE HIGHER POWER OF LUCKY on Saturday at Cover to Cover but they were all out. So, I have to wait with the rest of the world.
I haven't read HATTIE BIG SKY.

I do think we were better informed this year. Because of the blogging world, I feel like I read really good books. I didn't waste time reading anything that wasn't worthwhile.

I am surprised that the books were all books with girl characters. The two I read had strong girl characters. You can never have enough strong girl characters, but I do think it is interesting that there are no books with a male protagonist.

(If you want to find more books with strong girl characters, check out HipWriterMama's list here.)

So, I guess this is when A(nother) Year of Reading begins. Our goal of reading the Newbery turned out as usual. Neither of us had read the Newbery. Nothing new. So, we'll try again in 2008! The fun is always in the reading and the guessing!

Franki

Awards

Newbery Medal

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron, illustrated by Matt Phelan (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson)

Newbery Honor Books

Penny from Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm (Random House)
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson (Delacorte Press)
Rules by Cynthia Lord (Scholastic)

Caldecott Medal

Flotsam by David Wiesner (Clarion)

Caldecott Honor Books

Gone Wild: An Endangered Animal Alphabet by David McLimans (Walker)
Moses: When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom, illustrated by Kadir Nelson, written by Carole Boston Weatherford (Hyperion/Jump at the Sun)

2008 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecturer

David Macaulay

Batchelder Award

Delacorte Press, publisher of The Pull of the Ocean, by Jean-Claude Mourlevat, translated from the French by Y. Maudet

Batchelder Honor Books

Delacorte Press, publisher of The Killer's Tears, by Anne-Laure Bondoux, translated from the French by Y. Maudet
Hyperion/Miramax, publisher of The Last Dragon, by Silvana De Mari, translated from the Italian by Shaun Whiteside

Carnegie Medal

Mo Willems, author/illustrator, and Weston Woods Studios, producers of Knuffle Bunny

Geisel Medal

Zelda and Ivy: The Runaways, by Laura McGee Kvasnosky (Candlewick)

Geisel Honor Books

Mercy Watson Goes for a Ride, written by Kate DiCamillo and illustrated by Chris Van Dusen (Candlewick)
Move Over, Rover!, written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Jane Dyer (Harcourt)
Not a Box, by Antoinette Portis (HarperCollins)

Sibert Medal

Team Moon: How 400,000 People Landed Apollo 11 on the Moon by Catherine Thimmesh (Houghton)

Sibert Honor Book

Freedom Riders: John Lewis and Jim Zwerg on the Front Lines of the Civil Rights Movement by Ann Bausum (National Geographic)
Quest for the Tree Kangaroo: An Expedition to the Cloud Forest of New Guinea, written by Sy Montgomery, photos by Nic Bishop (Houghton)
To Dance: A Ballerina's Graphic Novel, written by Siena Cherson Siegel, illustrated by Mark Siegel (Simon & Schuster/Richard Jackson and Simon & Schuster/Aladdin)

Wilder Medal

James Marshall

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Something Fun While You Wait...

While you wait for the book awards to be announced tomorrow, you might pass the time by checking out this amusing post about the Golden Globe Awards at Suburban Turmoil called THE GOLDEN GLOBES: A RECAP.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

CYBILS ARTICLE

I wrote an article for CHOICE LITERACY, sharing some of my thoughts on the CYBILS picture book short list and the CYBILS experience. It is here if you 'd like to read it.

Runaway (Thrownaway?) Mock Newbery Winner

MotherReader is famous for her loathing of "that bunny book." Now she's put that abhorrence to good work in Tulane Readers Theater. She has taken the idea of Mock Newbery Awards to a new level. In fact, we may have to name the new award the "Raspberry Awards: Pbbbbbbbbtt!"

I used to kinda like the story of Ed's heart warming up over the course of +/- 20 years of hardship. It's sort of the slow-motion version of the Grinch's heart growing two sizes. But now...well, when you look at it that way...

Newbery Hope #1--A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE

Well, the more I see what everyone else is picking for the Newbery, the more my top pick seems a bit selfish, and definitely very "yesterday." I admit, I haven't kept up with my Newbery reading in the last month or so, first because of my immersion in graphic novels for the Cybils nominations, and now because I am trapped in Kars, Turkey in a nonstop snowstorm and social, political, and religious upheaval (SNOW by Orhan Pamuk, for book club).

Why do I love A TRUE AND FAITHFUL NARRATIVE?

••strong female character who is a reader and writer, and who does not compromise her talents and her hopes for her future even when it means giving up her dream of owning a bookstore
•detailed sense of time and place in history that doesn't overwhelm the storyline
••reader gets to watch over Meg's shoulder as she struggles with her writing
••timeless message about overcoming cultural prejudices by learning about other cultures

Friday, January 19, 2007

POETRY FRIDAY!



Poetry Friday! Poetry Books That Are Fun to Read Aloud


Early in my career, I taught at a school that had doughnuts and coffee for teachers each Friday in the teachers' lounge. It was a great way to start our Fridays--chatting with colleagues in a relaxed setting. I learned how important these traditions are when setting the stage for positive interactions. I thought that something like this would be great to do with children. Didn't they deserve a relaxing, talk-filled Friday morning too?

When I realized that my students were reading very little poetry, I thought the combination of poetry reading and doughnuts might help them to see the fun in poetry. For the past few years, Poetry Friday has been a tradition in our classroom. Parents sign up to bring in a morning snack (usually donuts and juice boxes) once or twice during the school year. They are able to send them in with their child, drop them off on their way to work, or come in to enjoy poetry and donuts with us.


(This is the beginning of an article that was just posted on Choice Literacy’s website. You can get to the rest of the article and the list of poetry books that are fun to read aloud here.)

Thursday, January 18, 2007

More Newbery Thoughts

Fuse #8 is collecting first choice predictions for the Newbery. I read through them and feel good about almost every one mentioned. There are so many books that I feel are worthy this year. I definitely have my favorites but I am trying to read some of the books that I seem to have missed--books that are popping up on a few lists. I just finished Rules by Cynthia Lord. Loved it!!! I also started A Drowned Maiden's Hair and am really loving it too. I am hoping to fit in a few more hours of reading before the big announcement on Monday. As I read the mock lists and blogger predictions, I wish I could get through all of them sooner!

After School Snack

Bacon of the Month Club.

Need I say more?

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

A Graphic Blog

No, not sexually explicit or violent. No, not comics. GRAPHS. On index cards. (Hence the name, Indexed.) A blog where every post is a graph, and every graph is a smart and funny comment on modern life.

Thank you, Borderland, for this link.

Book Review: THE ARRIVAL

THE ARRIVAL
by Shaun Tan
Lothian Books,
an imprint of Hachette Livre Australia
South Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
2006

Review copy provided by publisher

Every detail of this book is worth lingering over. The cover is designed to look like an antique leather-bound book, and the story's art has a photographic feel as well. All of these details lend this story of the immigrant experience an authority that allows the reader to accept the strangeness of the world depicted in the illustrations not as a literal strange new world, but as an artistic representation of the strangeness that an immigrant encounters no matter where he moves: there are barriers of language, food, and finding work; there is loneliness, isolation, and longing for loved ones. But at every turn, there are those who will help. Those who have their own stories of leaving, abandonment, and exile.

The most amazing thing about this intricate and subtly nuanced graphic novel is that it is silent. No words whatsoever.

In his essay about the book (Click on the cover image and scroll down. Take your time, because the pictures are amazing!), Shaun Tan describes his move from creating picture books to creating this graphic novel. He had never read many comics or graphic novels, so he turned to Scott McCloud's Understanding Comics to Japanese manga and to Raymond Briggs' The Snowman for information and inspiration. When you look at the layout of some of Tan's pages, you can definitely see Brigg's influence. The moments when the reader must "read" the emotions on a face or in a gesture are very reminiscent of manga.

I can't wait to share this book with my 5th graders. I think it will deepen their thinking about immigration. I'll have to share the book with small groups so that they can see the pages and talk...even though the book is silent, I'm sure they won't be! It'll be fascinating to see what 11 year-olds make of it!

RELATED LINKS:
Here's my favorite website for helping kids to understand the waves of immigrants who have come to America, beginning with the Native Americans crossing the land bridge from Asia.

A review from a New Zealand blogger.

Anna Quindlen on Writing

If you haven't seen Anna Quindlen's latest column in Newsweek, it is definitely worth the read. It is called WRITE FOR YOUR LIFE. It reminds us of the power of writing to make sense of our lives and our worlds. (I think it says lots about why blogs are becoming so popular too.) She is one of my very, very favorite writers and I love all of her work, but this one says so much to all of us about writing.

Newbery Hope #1--JEREMY FINK

A grand suggestion was made by Betsy at Fuse #8 that we write about why our Newbery Hopes-Predictions made the list. So, I'll start with this one.

I LOVED JEREMY FINK AND THE MEANING OF LIFE by Wendy Mass. I would LOVE to see it win the Newbery. It is a great present-day story that made me feel the same way that I did when I read FROM THE MIXED UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER as a child. Jeremy Fink is a character that is very real, one that sticks with you. I felt like this book had lots to offer kids in the upper elementary/early middle school grades. It was a great story with a great male and female character. There was lots of anticipation as you cheered for Jeremy to find the keys to the box left by his father.

I guess when I think about my favorite Newbery winners, BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, TALE OF DESPEREAUX, and WALK TWO MOONS come to mind. JEREMY FINK seems to be more in line with WINN-DIXIE and WALK TWO MOONS. They all three seem like great stories for kids. Stories about real, believable kids that stay with you long after you are finished reading them. When I read, I read for the characters. I look for characters like Claudia in FROM THE MIXED UP FILES because she has stayed with me through my adult life. I also think that these stories all have compelling plots--you want to see how things turn out for the characters. I am a true believer that you can make sense of the world best through great fiction. JEREMY FINK is a book that I think can do this for this generation of kids.

I have worried lately that many of the Newbery winners seem to be more Young Adultish to me. Several are books I would have difficulty sharing with my 10 and 11 year olds. The topics are sometimes too sophisticated and the themes would not mean much to them yet. I think BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE and WALK TWO MOONS were great examples of realistic fiction for kids--brilliantly written from an adult perspective AND very real for kids today. Each was a story with characters and a message that kids could relate to and could stay with them for a lifetime.


I am recommending it to everyone I know and I am having big trouble lending out my own copy:-) I think it is definitely a huge contribution the field of children's fiction.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Classroom Design

For those of you looking for ways to redesign your classroom, The Sisters, Joan Moser and Gail Boushey (authors of THE DAILY FIVE) have added some great new photos to their website. I know I need some inspiration about this time of year to refresh the space in the classroom. Joan and Gail are all about beautiful spaces for learning. If you visit their site, you can also read about their upcoming DVD and their "featured favorites". A site packed with great stuff for teachers. Definitely worth a visit for so many reasons!

New Favorite Quote

I would highly recommend a visit to the blog Throwing Marshmallows. (Found it thanks to Mother Reader :-) I knew it was a good blog for me to add to my list as soon as I read the top quote. It is the best quote on learning I have seen in a long time. She has lots of great posts about books, reading, learning, etc.

After School Snack

Do you love dark chocolate? (What a silly question, I know!) M&Ms Dark Chocolate now has a game for you. They've hidden 50 visual puns concerning 50 scary movies in a Brueghel-type painting. I'm as lousy with movies as I am great with children's book titles, so I won't even tell you my score. Don't go unless you have some time to kill!

Edge of the Forest With Horn Toot Included

Franki has a great article in the newest issue!

She won't toot her horn, so I will: TOOT, TOOT!

The Edge of the Forest

The January issue of The Edge of the Forest is up! A great issue with articles, interviews, book reviews and more! If you have not checked it out before, Kelly publishes a new issue each month. Every one is packed with great articles dealing with children's lit.

Monday, January 15, 2007

TENSIONS AND TRIUMPHS IN THE EARLY YEARS OF TEACHING

Esme at PlanetEsme shares a great letter on her blog from a preservice teacher. She then goes on to remind us how a knowledge of children's literature is one of your best tools as a teacher. I would also add that it makes teaching and learning so much more fun!

She brings up some interesting points about new teachers. I loved her book EDUCATING ESME: DIARY OF A TEACHER'S FIRST YEAR when it came out. It gave us all great insights into the challenges faced by smart, new teachers. I also like a new one on a similar topic: TENSIONS AND TRIUMPHS IN THE EARLY YEARS OF TEACHING published by NCTE this fall. (The copies were sold out at the NCTE convention when I visited the booth--it is THAT good!)

"The authors recount their experiences from the preservice year through the first six years of teaching. They share moments of joy and success, but they also tell hard stories about obstacles that drive the knowledge, enthusiasm, and energy of new teachers underground and cause many to leave the profession"

I read this book and recommend it to educators at all experience levels. As a new teacher, it will help you to know that you are not alone--that we all struggle to match the visions we have for our classrooms and students. As an experienced teacher, it reminds me all that our newest teachers have to offer and how best to support them and to welcome them into the world of teaching.

Mock Newbery Round-Up


We're a week away from the announcement by the ALA of the official winners of the Newbery Award, named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery and awarded annually by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

Here are the UNOFFICIAL picks, as of today:

A Year of Reading
Franki's Picks:
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Mary Lee's Picks:
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge (I know, I KNOW! But I refuse to take it off!)
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant

Educating Alice:
The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant
A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz
Wabi by Joseph Bruchac
Alabama Moon by Watt Key
Porch Lies by Pat McKissack
Gossamer by Lois Lowry

Semicolon:
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
Alabama Moon by Watt Key
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
Rules by Cynthia Lord

Mother Reader:
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Shug by Jenny Han
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata

New on 1/16 from Children's Literature Book Club:
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
Rules by Cynthia Lord
Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass

Nina's Newbery chose A Drowned Maiden's Hair by Laura Amy Schlitz.

Born Librarian reports on the choice of Kansas City librarians: Gossamer by Lois Lowry.

Sullivan County BOCES
picked Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy, Isaac Newton by Kathleen Krull, Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata, Porch Lies by Pat McKissack, and The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

Rhode Island Librarians chose The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo.

Northport-East Northport (NY) Public Library Newbery Book Club chose Gossamer by Lois Lowry.

Allen County (IN) Public Library chose Clementine by Sarah Pennypacker.

Anderson's Bookshop has a list of 25 from which they'll be choosing this week.

Wake County (NC) Public Library has a short list of 8. No announcement date given.

Stillwater Public Library has a short list of 11 (scroll down) and it looks like they will announce January 17 or 18.

Reading With a Teacher's Eye, Ear, and Imagination

Franki and I have been working together and growing together as teachers for so many years, there's not much more I can add to her list of questions she asks herself as she reads with a teacher's eye.

I'll just say, "Ditto for me."

The one thing I would like to add is the role my imagination plays in making decisions about books for my classroom. If it's a book that seems like one I might want to use for a read aloud, I imagine myself doing just that. I "hear" what the words would sound like read aloud, and I "listen" to the conversations we might have at certain points in the book. I can imagine what individual children might say, and when the class might laugh out loud.

If it's a book I think my best readers will enjoy independently, I imagine, as I read, what I will tell them about the book as a hook to get them into it. Because I know my students' reading tastes and reading histories, I think of ways I can pitch this new book in the context of what they've been reading in the past few months.

If it's a book for my struggling readers, I imagine myself seated next to them as they read, and I try to find the parts they might struggle with so that I can build their prior knowledge before they start reading, or mark a few pages with a sticky notes to let them know they need to come talk to me when they get to those parts.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Newbery Hopes--Reading With a Teacher's Eye

Betsy at Fuse #8 suggested that we write about the reasons for each book on our list of Newbery Predictions. We thought that was a good idea, but we must remind you again that we are really not good at this! We just do it for the fun of having an excuse to read as many new children's books as possible!

We both read middle grade novels with the eye of a teacher. We are familiar with the Newbery criteria and love the anticipation of waiting for the winner to be announced. I consider my main job on the day of the ALA announcements to be to get as many of the winning books as possible to share with my students the next day.

This is part of the bigger picture of my teaching. I think it is hugely important for kids to be part of the world of reading outside of the classroom. Paying attention to new books, internet sites, movies-from-books, author gossip, awards etc. all help them to be part of the world of readers that has nothing to do with school. I think this is a critical part of my job--hooking them up to this world that I love so much! One that they can be part of for their entire lives. This Newbery/Caldecott piece is just one part of that. Inviting them to be part of a big day in the world of children's literature.

As a teacher, here is how I make decisions about books and questions I ask myself when reading a new book:

**Is this book so amazing, that I should read it aloud to my students? (Since in the course of the year, we only have time to read about 10 novels, the book has to be REALLY good to meet this criteria.)

**Will this appeal to most students in my classroom or is it one that will appeal to a certain group of kids with certain tastes as readers?

**Which books is this like? Are there other popular books that give me the same feeling when I read it?

**Am I really excited to bring this into the classroom or am dying to tell other teachers/friends about it?

**Is this book surprising in some way?

**How does this book compare to other books by the author? How does it add to his/her body of work? (I LOVE finding great books by new authors or books that change my view of an author completely!)

**Do I think about these characters long after I am finished with the book?

**Is it hard for me to move to another book when this book is finished because I don't want this one to be over yet?

**Do I find myself getting online to look for other books by this author right away?

**What do the reviews say? I always check the reviews. I know that I am reading with the eye of a teacher and not an expert in children's lit. So, I trust the reviews and blogs and read them carefully to see what others are saying about the title.

**I pay attention to any real-world issues in the book that I need to be aware of as a public school teacher. Is the issue written in an age-appropriate way? Is it presented to this age group in a way that will help them make sense of it or one that I see as too much for this age?

**Is there depth to this book that is accessible to my students? Is the theme one that students can understand from the book or one that is not really accessible to them in the writing?

**Can most of the students in my room read this book on their own? What will the challenges be for their independent reading? How can I support them in getting past these challenges if they choose to read it independently.

So, later this week, and before the Newbery Announcement on January 22, I'll share my thinking about a few of the books on my list. I just wanted to process what it is I think about when creating my list of Newbery Hopes.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

ANOTHER AWARD FOR YELLOW STAR!



Since YELLOW STAR is one of my VERY favorite books of the year. And since we got to meet the author, Jennifer Roy at her Cover to Cover signing, I am thrilled that it is receiving so many awards. Thanks to Fuse #8 for the news of the 2007 Sydney Taylor Book Awards, which recognize the best in Jewish Children's Literature. Congrats Jennifer Roy..again! Yellow Star deserves every award it gets!

CLEMENTINE



I seem to be using part of this month catching up on the books of 2006 that I haven't had time for. It is actually the only time of year that I am not jealous of all of the people out there who get boxes of review books! I am too far behind to read ahead at this point in the year.

CLEMENTINE has been talked about on lots of blogs. Mother Reader put it on her list of "Not Newberyish Selections". I purchased it for my classroom and could not seem to get my hands back on it to read it. I lucked out on Friday when I noticed one of my students finishing the last page. I ran over to ask her if I could read it next. Seemed that someone was already ahead of me in line. So, I checked with the child who was next on the list for Clementine and she needed a few more days to finish the book she was reading. So, I got the book for the weekend--promising to have it back on Monday! (I know, it would have been easier to buy another copy of the book...)

Anyway, I LOVED it! Laugh out loud, loved it! I was intrigued by the book because such a range of readers seem to love it. But once I read it, I understood why. It is pretty brilliant. Very funny from a child's standpoint. And the writing style is hysterically funny for adults too. With lines like, "But then a great idea popped into my head. I am lucky that way: great ideas are always popping into my head without me having to think them up," you cant help but LOVE Clementine. There is a sophistication in the humor that appeals to a variety of readers. It is a short book and a fun, light read. But, there is depth in the character and the humor. (even the author bio is pretty amusing) It seems pretty appropriate for a read aloud in grades K-1 and still a great read for readers in 3-5. A pretty perfect book!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Poetry Friday: The Art of Storytelling

We've been having lots of fun with storytelling in my classroom, thanks to the game, Pitch a Story. In this game, each player or team begins with a card from the character deck, and a card from the challenges deck. (The core of every story: someone wants something.) As you move your piece around the board, you might pick up props, settings, or other characters that you'll have to incorporate into your story. When you land on a "pitch place," you get a minute or two to plan your story based on the cards you're holding, and then you "pitch" your story in much the same way that "Writers, producers and directors "pitch" their story ideas as punchy, pithy presentations to Hollywood film studios, TV networks, Broadway theaters, and book publishers."

How perfect that Garrison Keillor has a storytelling poem for today's poem on The Writer's Almanac!

The Art of Storytelling
by Louis Simpson

Once upon a time there was a shocket,
that is, a kosher butcher,
who went for a walk.

He was standing by the harbor
admiring the ships, all painted white,
when up came three sailors, led by an officer.
"Filth," they said, "who gave you permission?"
and they seized and carried him off.

So he was taken into the navy.
It wasn't a bad life — nothing is.
He learned how to climb and sew,
and to shout "Glad to be of service, Your Excellency!"
He sailed all round the world,
Was twice shipwrecked, and had other adventures.
Finally, he made his way back to the village ...
whereupon he put on his apron, and picked up his knife,
and continued to be a shocket.

At this point, the person telling the story
would say, "This shocket-sailor
was one of our relatives, a distant cousin."

It was always so, they knew they could depend on it.
Even if the story made no sense,
the one in the story would be a relative —
a definite connection with the family.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Get to Know "Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast"

The girls at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast have a fabulous idea. My favorite blog idea since Lisa Yee's book title contest! They will be interviewing various bloggers so that we get to know them better. And they started with themselves! It is an interview that is great fun to read. When you read it, you realize how lucky we are to be part of the kidlitosphere. You will learn some VERY interesting things about Jules and Eisha, like that Jules can sing the alphabet as it appears on the keyboard (I believe this calls for a podcast AND a post explaining exactly how this happened!).

Enjoy the post. I look forward to more interviews on the site!
Thanks Jules and Eisha for a GRAND idea!

Nina Gives Us some Newbery Scoop

Nina of Nina's Newbery has a great post called "The Juicy Part". In the post, she tells us how her Mock Newbery committee went about choosing the Mock Newbery winner. She also gives us a few insights about how the actual Newbery committee makes the difficult decision each year. So, check it out for the inside scoop:-) Unfortunately, Nina won't be blogging about 2007 books since she'll be chairing the Newbery Committee!

But, Monica at Educating Alice will be part of the Newbery Committee and will be sharing her thoughts on books that she reads during the year.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Caldecott Hopes

I have read quite a few picture books this year. Lots of the CYBILS shortlisted books are not eligible for the Caldecott. But, I did see lots of great picture books during my reading for the CYBILS and throughout the year. Here are the ones I hope win the Caldecott. I don't know if they are all eligible, but I love them all. (And, I am not good at predicting these either...)

The Princess and the Pea by Lauren Child
In My Heart by Molly Bang
Fancy Nancy by Jane O'Connor
Hippo! No, Rhino by Jeff Newman
Adele and Simon by Barbara McClintock
Walk On!: A Guide For Babies of All Ages by Marla Frazee
The Place Where Sunflowers Grow by Amy Lee-Tai

Reading for TWEEN Girls

So, I have a friend who is looking for some good books for her 12 year old daughter. She is dying to read Chick Lit stuff but so much of it includes so much dealing with sex. I am trying to find books that are appropriate for 11-12 year olds but that feel like Chick Lit. Bindi Babes? Help!

I have no idea what we read at this age. I must have gone straight from Betsy and the Boys to Flowers in the Attic!?

If you have any suggestions, I am going to buy her a stack of good, appropriate-for-a- 5th-grade-girl books for her birthday.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Blog Addiction Justified

So, how can you not be addicted to blogging with contests like this? Thanks to Fuse #8 for alerting us to this hysterical new contest on Lisa Yee's blog. The contest has only been up for a day and the submissions are already quite amusing. There are even good prizes! Enjoy!

Warped History

Time Warp Trio Graphic Novels v. 1, 2
NIGHTMARE ON JOE'S STREET and
THE SEVEN BLUNDERS OF THE WORLD
created by Jon Scieszka
adapted by Zachary Rau
adapted from the teleplay by Peter K. Hirsch
review copies: personal purchase for my 4/5 classroom because I'm a sucker for anything that says "graphic novel" right now.


Time Warp Trio website


Does it count as a graphic novel if it's just screen captures of the animated TV show with speech bubbles added? I'm thinking is more like TV with page turns.

That said, the graphic novel series has remained true to what the real TIME WARP TRIO books do best: give kids a fun peek at a moment in history.

In NIGHTMARE ON JOE'S STREET, Frankenstein appears in Joe's house and the trio plus Frankenstein warp back to the mid-1800's to link up with Mary Shelley and get the monster she created back to her. In the course of the story, they also run into Mary's husband Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Lord Byron.

In THE SEVEN BLUNDERS OF THE WORLD, the trio travels to ancient Babylon, visiting the Hanging Gardens of Babylon while they're there trying to find the evil time-warping thief who stole The Book (the magical book that allows/causes the trio to time travel). In this volume, they meet King Nebuchadnezzar and Queen Amyitis.

Yes, these are definitely "book candy," but at least they have been "vitamin fortified" with a small dose of history.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Newbery Picks and Round-Up Invitation

A Message from Franki:

For those of you that don't know the history of our blog, we have been friends for a long time--throughout our teaching careers. A few years ago, we decided to meet more regularly to talk about books and then added a bit of fun to the meetings. We decided to try to predict the Newbery Winner each year. Since we were not very good at this, we changed our goal to have READ the Newbery winner before it is announced, so we started focusing on reading and talking about new chapter books for kids each year. This didn't go so well either. (Last year I won because I had CRISS CROSS in my Amazon shopping cart--had never read or seen it, but I had heard of it!). This is when Mary Lee had the idea to blog about our reading. We have come to terms with the fact that we don't have any idea what will win and we are never right. But it is still fun to play! So, each year, we still give it a shot. Below are our top 5 hopes/predictions along with other chapter books of the year that we've loved. Since we started our blog with this Newbery goal, we'd love to do a round-up of everyone's Newbery predictions/hopes. If you post your Newbery predictions, let us know in the comments and we'll do a round-up in about a week so we have it up and ready before the Newbery is announced on January 22.

Franki's Picks:

Jeremy Fink and the Meaning of Life by Wendy Mass
Yellow Star by Jennifer Roy
The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
Gossamer by Lois Lowry
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

Others I loved:


Part of Me by Kimberly Willis Holt
Penny From Heaven by Jennifer Holm
Fairies of Nutfolk Wood by Barb Bentler Ullman
Babymouse by Jennifer Holm
The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
to dance by Siena Cherson Siegel


Mary Lee's Picks:


Gossamer by Lois Lowry
Fly by Night by Frances Hardinge
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
A True and Faithful Narrative by Katherine Sturtevant

Others I loved:

Babymouse by Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm
The Book of Story Beginnings by Kristin Kladstrup
Blood on the River: Jamestown 1607 by Elisa Carbone
American Born Chinese by Gene Yang
Castle Waiting by Linda Medley

...and although this is an unlikely pick for the Newbery, I want to highlight it here because the deepest and most topical messages are sometimes found in the most unlikely places:

How to Speak Dragonese (Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III) by Cressida Cowell

"However small we are, we should always fight for what we believe to be right. And I don't mean fight with the power of our fists or the power of our swords...I mean the power of our brains and our thoughts and our dreams.

And as small and quiet and unimportant as our fighting may look, perhaps we might all work together like the numberless armies of Ziggernastica, and break out of the prisons of our own making. Perhaps we might be able to keep this fierce and beautiful world of ours free for all of us..."


Soooo, Happy Newbery Season! Send us your posts for the round-up!

Friday, January 05, 2007

Mail Order Mayhem

MAIL ORDER NINJA, v. 1 and 2
story by Joshua Elder
illustrations by Erich Owen
Tokyopop Manga Readers, 2006
Review copies compliments of the author

Timmy has a problem with bullies...both the thuggy kind, like Brock Breckenridge, and the stuck-up rich girl kind, like Felicity Dominique Huntington. He thinks he'll solve his problem by ordering his very own ninja from the Jacques Co. toy catalog, but wouldn't you know it, having your own ninja and winning the election for student body president causes almost as many problems as it solves. In volume 2, Felicity ups the ante by ordering her very own mail order ninja army which wreaks havoc at the school dance and turns the whole town of Cherry Creek, Indiana into an Orwellian nightmare with Felicity herself as Big Sister.

These books are a whole lot of fun! They are chockful of sight gags and puns, the situations are preposterous, and the characters are exaggerated stereotypes (all except for Timmy's 5th grade teacher, Ms. Sarah Melton, who received a "100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature" nomination for disco dancing with Timmy's ninja in the second book). Kids will love these books. They are part of Tokyopop's Manga Readers series, and are perfect for the targeted age group: 8-12. An 8 year-old will love the action and adventure, and a 12 year-old will be able to get more of the puns and jokes. With the promise of six books in the series, they will all be anxiously waiting for the next volume. I know I will!

Poetry Friday!



If you haven't seen the book READ AND RISE by Sandra Pinkney, this is the introductory poem by Maya Angelou. I collect books about books and reading that I use to start conversations with my students about their own reading. I just added to this one to my collection.

Reading is the pathway
From the dungeon
To the door

Freedom

Reading is the highway from
The shadow to the sun

Freedom

Reading is the river
To your liberty
For all your life to come

Let the river run

Learn

Learn to Read

Maya Angelou

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Thank You, Tricia!

You supplied the last three teachers we needed to get to 100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature!

The last three added were Miri, in Princess Academy, by Shannon Hale, a great teacher when she returned to the village; and Mrs. Fibonnaci and Mr. Newton in Math Curse and Science Curse by Jon Scieszka, who must be great teachers based on the mathematical and scientific thinking they inspire their (and our) students to do!

Scaredy Squirrel Sequel



My good friend Larry (who knows more about children's books than anyone I know) told me that a sequel to SCAREDY SQUIRREL by Melanie Watt was coming. I checked it out and found that SCAREDY SQUIRREL MAKES A FRIEND is due out in the spring! I am not a big fan of sequels but I am a HUGE FAN of Scaredy Squirrel. I am VERY excited about this book. Has anyone seen it yet? Can't wait!

More Great 2006 Picture Books

Reading the 111 books for the CYBILS was quite fun! I loved talking about which we would shortlist. But, I also loved finding some surprises in the boxes. I found several GREAT picture books that I hadn't seen before. Emily at Whimsy Books reviewed one of them this week. I thought I'd highlight two others that I fell in love with.


A PLACE WHERE SUNFLOWERS GROW by Amy Lee-Tai—
This story is told in English and in Japanese. It is the story of a little girl living in the Japanese Internment camps, homesick for the beauty of her old life. This story is based on a true story of the author’s grandmother and is a a great story of hope.

A COACH'S LETTER TO HIS SON by Mel Allen is an essay in picture book form. I am always looking for great essays to share with my students, either for booktalking or for samples of good writing in the genre. A father speaks to his son about the way baseball has changed and hopes to regain the joy of the game in this time of competitive, organized sports.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Donald Murray's Influence

Those of us in literacy education have all been impacted by the work of Donald Murray. His work with teachers and writers has taught us all so much. He passed away last week and his final column for the Boston Globe was published this week. I never knew him personally, but his work has been a huge influence on my own work and my own writing. The literacy community will definitely feel his loss.

PlanetEsme Picks

Esme of PlanetEsme picks her top 2006 books. She has some great categories and some great book titles. She has great categories ("Favorites for Sharing in a Classroom", "Mad me laugh the hardest"...)If you have any bookstore gift certificates left, there are some great books listed. (Ha! I know, it has been DAYS since you received those gift certificates. I know mine are all gone:-(

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

What a Great Year to be a Blogger!

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Happy Birthday to A Year of Reading! We are one year old today! What a great year it's been! We feel very lucky to be part of an amazing group of kid lit bloggers! We have so many people to thank--people who have made the kidlitosphere such fun!

We can use the term "kidlitosphere" thanks to Melissa's post at Here in the Bonny Glen when she invented it in June. It hit big and fast and was picked up by Wands and Worlds and made official by Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy. As of today's post, the word gets 538 Google hits when searched! Thanks Melissa!

Here are some other highlights from 2006!

In JANUARY, we had no idea what we were doing. So, there was probably a lot of great stuff going on but we totally missed it all!

In FEBRUARY, Betsy at Fuse#8 revealed her first Hot Men in Children's Literature which has become quite the tradition! Aside from her great book reviews and her knowledge of what is going on in the children's book world, the Hot Men are another fun thing to look forward to regularly from Fuse #8.

Also in FEBRUARY, Kelly at Big A, Little a published the first issue of The Edge of the Forest! This has been a great monthly online journal that we all look forward to!

In MARCH, Gregory K at GottaBook started to share his ODDAPTATAIONS which have been quite fun to read and try!

Poetry Friday was also instituted in MARCH! So many of us participate in that each Friday. Thanks, Kelly!

In APRIL, Gregory shared his first Fib which have also become something we all look forward to on his blog.

In MAY, Mother Reader issued the 48-Hour Book Challenge. We did not notice this until it was well under way. (We had just discovered Mother Reader and became quickly addicted!). We were VERY disappointed about not participating but we are anxiously awaiting the 2007 Book Challenge as well as any other contests that Mother Reader devises!

Read Roger was the first kid-lit blog that we discovered! He hooked us into the blogging world and connected us to so many of our other favorites! In JUNE, Read Roger let us know that Nina, of Nina's Newbery would be the 2008 Chair of the Newbery Committee. Since our blog started out as a way to think about the Newbery, we were very excited to start reading Nina's blog!

In JUNE, Jen Robinson had the great idea to compile a list of Cool Girls in Children's Literature and Cool Boys in Children's Literature. What great lists! She inspired many of us to start our own lists. In JULY, we started collecting our list of 100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature. The Bookdragon compiled a list of Librarians in Children's Literature. Jen started a great trend and the kidlitosphere created some popular lists!


In AUGUST, we celebrated Blogday when we got tagged by A Chair, A Fireplace and a Tea Cozywith a blogday meme . We participated along with many other bloggers everywhere!

In August, Rick Riordan posted about summer reading and got many of us thinking and writing about that topic.


In SEPTEMBER, Educating Alice became one of our new beloved blogs and shared with us her thoughts about naming a blog .

In OCTOBER, BookBuds and Big A little a unveiled the CYBILS and Children's Literature Book Club created the logo. So many of us have had such a great time talking about the great books published in 2006 and the publishers have been very supportive. Thanks to Anne and Kelly.

In NOVEMBER, Amy at the SLJ Blog interviewed us for her blog!

We also attempted our first author interview in NOVEMBER with Ralph Fletcher.

DECEMBER was an exciting month!
3 Silly Chicks revealed the winner of their caption contest. We are still laughing and are amazed at how many clever entries there were! We had fun following the contest. More exciting news when author Mo Willems started a blog!!

Thanks, everyone! We've had a fun time blogging with all of you! Looking forward to our 2nd year:-)
Franki and Mary Lee

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year!

Lots going on in the Kidlitosphere today!
CYBILS are posted on several sites.
Many bloggers have posted favorites from 2006.
Liz at A Chair, A Fireplace, and A Tea Cozy has already started her list of Best Books of 2007!!

The very fun and creative Golden Fuse Awards have been unveiled.

Gregory at Gotta Book has a new Fib contest!

SLJ Blog has favorite posts of 2006 listed.

And one of my favorite January 1 posts, a great guest post by PunditMom on Mitch McDad's blog. A must read for all of us writing New Year's Resolutions.

Cybils Top 5s Are In!


THE ULTIMATE DAY OF TOP 5s!










Top 5 Poetry

Top 5 Nonfiction Picture Books

Top 5 Fiction Picture Books (Franki's committee)

Top 5 YA Fiction

Top 5 Nonfiction (Middle Grade and YA)

Top 5 Middle Grade Fiction

Top 5 Graphic Novels age 8-12 and
Top 5 Graphic Novels age 13+
(Mary Lee's committee)

Top 5 Fantasy and Science Fiction