Showing posts sorted by relevance for query lisa graff. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query lisa graff. Sort by date Show all posts

Monday, July 14, 2014

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff.  is a MUST READ in 2014. It is so good that you should rearrange your TBR stack and put this one on top. I actually think it is so good, that you should read it even if you don't read much middle grade fiction.  I can't think of anyone I know who shouldn't put it at the top of their stack.

I am a HUGE Lisa Graff fan.  I think her books are PERFECT middle grade novels. There are not many authors who can write for that age with enough depth to actually change the readers who read the books, and also in a way that it is accessible to 9-11 year olds. Lisa Graff is one of those authors.
I loved The Thing About Georgie when it came out years ago and I have loved everyone one of Graff's books, especially Umbrella Summer and The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower .

Absolutely Almost may be Lisa Graff's best book yet (even though her others are amazing!). The book is about a 5th grader named Albie who is not so good at anything. He struggles with lots of things, pretty much everything, including learning.  Albie is a character you love from the very start.  He is a great kid, someone you'd love to hang out with.  He has so many strengths and his new babysitter sees all of them. Albie comes to learn lots about himself in this book. I checked around on the web and pretty much everyone loves this book. If I haven't convinced you to read it, here are some other reviews:

Review by Betsy Bird

Carol's Corner

Barbara O'Connor

Two Reflective Teachers

Debbie Alvarez

And read all of the Lisa Graff books that you haven't read while you are at it. I love them all!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Lisa Graff is 3 for 3!

I have to admit, I was a little bit worried when I picked up my copy of Lisa Graff's brand new UMBRELLA SUMMER at Cover to Cover this week. I LOVE Lisa Graff. I recommend THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE as a read aloud to almost everyone who asks for good middle grade read-alouds.  I love THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER. Bernetta is one of those characters who has stayed with me--I find her popping into my brain once in a while. So, as I was saying I was a little bit worried about this 3rd book.  Could it really be as good as her first two?  Could it meet my expectations?

Well, UMBRELLA SUMMER was a wonderful read. I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED it! Lisa Graff has created another great middle grade novel. This book is about Annie--another character who I am sure will stay with me for a very long time.  Annie is a worrier (those of you who know me well can see instantly why I can so easily relate to Annie as I am quite a worrier too:-) But Annie has only been a worrier since her older brother's sudden death a few months earlier.  She is pretty sure that if she is careful, she can avoid lots of really bad things.  

This is the story of grief and friendship and all of the the things that go along with that.  As Annie continues to worry, she meets a neighbor who helps her through her sadness.  She also discovers that sometimes a good book can help you make sense of things. It was difficult not to cry while reading this book. Possible, but pretty difficult.

For a third time, Lisa Graff has created great characters, a story with great themes and lots to think about.  She seems to nail 10-11 year old kids and their issues.  She definitely knows what a great age those middle level kids are--so smart and so amazing.  She captures the age well again with Annie.  This is more than a story about death and grief, although it captures those well. 

I would definitely read this book aloud to 3rd, 4th, 5th graders.  I love the title and think that kids could have great conversations talking about the title and theme because of it.  It is very accessible to this age reader.  The 3rd graders at our school LOVED The Thing About Georgie so they will be thrilled to see this new book by one of their favorite authors! (I will have to buy another copy for the library because I am keeping this one for myself!)

So, I am already anxiously awaiting Lisa Graff's next book. I am amazed that she has written 3 perfect books in 3 years. Not to put any pressure on her, but I am hoping she continues to write at least a book a year.  

Did I mention that I LOVE the cover???

Monday, March 10, 2008

The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower

I just finished reading Lisa Graff's second novel, THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER. The funny thing is that at the same time, I am reading aloud THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE to my class at school. (They are loving it--there is so much to talk and think about. It is an engaging story and Graff has a way of creating the perfect amount of depth for upper elementary readers--not an easy thing to do!)

I am picky about my read alouds. With 9 months of school, we only get through about 9-10 books a year. So, I have to be very picky. When I read THE THING ABOUT GEORGIE last year, I knew it would make a great read aloud. I have the same feelings after finishing THE LIFE AND CRIMES OF BERNETTA WALLFLOWER.

The book is great for lots of reasons. It is a fun read--the plot is totally different from other books for kids this age. Bernetta has been set up by her best friend Ashley. The consequence is that Bernetta won't be able to attend the private school she has attended since Kindergarten anymore. She just doesn't have the $9000 to attend. But she comes up with a scheme to make the money and the adventures begin.

This book would make a good read aloud for lots of reasons:
1. The plot is fun and will keep kids engaged.
2. There is a strong girl character, which is always good.
3. This is a book with a strong girl character that I think boys will also enjoy. The male characters and the plot will keep boys engaged. It is sometimes hard to find books with girl characters that boys will stick with, but this one will appeal to boys and girls.
4. There is lots to talk about as Bernetta makes the decisions that she does, decides about right and wrong, and learns about who she is.
5. Lisa Graff writes a great ending--ties things up in a way that works for this age group.

There are lots more reasons but these are my top 5 of the moment. I have many others because I LOVE this book!

I can't wait to see what Lisa Graff does next! (By the way, she has a very fun website and blog--well worth checking out! It would also be well worth your while to check out the Lisa Graff interview at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast....and the one at Mother Reader...and the one at Miss Erin.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Will You Be at #dublit15?

We are busy getting ready for #dubli15!  We are excited about this year's speakers! This is year 26 for the Dublin Literacy Conference and I've loved every one.  This one looks to be especially exciting.  If you haven't registered,  you can register on the Dublin City Schools website.  There will be 2 keynotes, concurrent sessions all day, a relaxing lunch with time for chatting with colleagues and book shopping/autographing. What better way to spend a Saturday?

Our featured speakers and authors this year are:

Chris Lehman (@iChrisLehman) will kick off the day with the morning keynote.  I fell in love with Chris's work when I heard him present on his book Energize Research for Reading and Writing. If you don't know the book, I highly recommend it. His new book (with Kate Roberts) is Falling in Love with Close Reading--another professional book I love. I love Chris's work because he helps us look at teaching in a way that is both intentional and joyful.  Looking so forward to hearing him at #dublit15!

Colby Sharp (@colbysharp) will be doing three sessions at the conference. Colby is one of the founders of the Nerdy Book Club and Nerdcamp. He is a 3rd grade teacher who blogs regularly at SHARPREAD.  Colby's work is always centered around giving kids voice.  If you don't already follow Colby on Twitter, you'll want to add him for sure!

The amazing John Schumacher (or Mr. Schu as you may know him) will also be presenting at the conference. John is a librarian and the person I rely on for book recommendations through his blog, his goodreads account and his Book Release Calendar.   John seems to know every children's book and every children's author out there and he shares his knowledge generously! You can follow him on Twitter at @mrschureads.

Clare Landrigan Tammy Mulligan (@ClareandTammy) are the authors of Assessment in Perspective.  They also blog regularly.Their work, like Chris's focuses on both intentionality and joy. Their book on assessment reminds us that it is about the story of a child-not just test scores--that help us as teachers.  We were part of their blog tour when their book was published and you can read their interview here.

We have 2 children's authors this year and we couldn't be more excited!

Lisa Graff (@lisagraff) will be the afternoon keynote speaker at this year's conference. When you search our blog for "Lisa Graff", you will notice we've been big fans forever.  There is not often a year that goes by that I do not read aloud a book by Lisa Graff.  And her newest book Absolutely Almost is a favorite of 2014!  A must read for sure!

Paul O. Zelinsky (@paulozelinsky) Caldecott and Caldecott Honor award winning illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky was inspired to make illustration his career when, as a sophomore in college, he took a course that was co-taught by an English professor and Maurice Sendak. Paul has most recently illustrated Z is for Moose and Circle, Square, Moose.

There are lots of other great sessions too!  You can access the conference brochure to see all of the amazing sessions being offered throughout the day.  The two of us will be part of a fast-paced IGNITE session (A-6) led by the amazing Tony Keefer.  IGNITE: Literacy in the Digital Age!  We've never had an IGNITE session at #dublit so are looking forward to trying this out!

We hope you can join us for a fun Saturday of learning and books and colleagues!

Monday, June 18, 2012


Back to IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING! I love this tradition created by Kellee and Jen at TEACH MENTOR TEXTS. My reading list grows every Monday when I read about everyone else's reading!

I read some great books this week. I am trying to focus my reading on new 4th grade titles as well as series that I may have missed in the last few years.

THE TEMPLETON TWINS HAVE AN IDEA by Ellis Weiner is a great new middle grade novel that looks to be the first in a series.  This book is about twins who have an inventor for a father.  But they get kidnapped because of one of these inventions. The kids are clever though so it is quite a fun adventure. The book reminded me a tiny bit of The Series of Unfortunate Events in the storyline/crazy adventure and the humor combined.  I love the humor in this book. The narrator talks to the read often, usually with quite a bit of sarcasm.  This would make a fun read aloud for older middle grade readers with a sophisticated understanding of sarcasm and humor. I am already looking forward to the next book in this series.

I am a huge Lisa Graff fan and was thrilled to discover her new book DOUBLE DOG DARE. I love Lisa Graff because she is a brilliant middle grade author. She understands the age she writes for and she is able to tackle difficult subjects in a way that makes them accessible to middle grade readers.  She combines the perfect combination of serious issues and humor to write great books. In this book, a new student moves in.  A battle for the news anchor job begins and each of the people wanting the job agree to "double dog dares".  The dares are fun and kids will love to read about the dares, and how each turns out.  Embedded in the funny story about dares are issues of moving to a new town, friendship, family, divorce and more. This is a perfect book for 4th and 5th graders--one that will hook them from the very first chapter.

A series book that I read this week (recommended by Tony Keefer) was THE CHAMELEON WORE CHARTREUSE:  A CHET GECKO MYSTERY by Bruce Hale. I was not familiar with this series and was happy to find a new one that might engage some 4th graders. I enjoyed the book and will definitely include a basket of these in my classroom. I am not a huge middle grade mystery fan but this is a good mystery series. The word play in this book was my favorite part. Clever language makes the story fun to read.

My friend Tammy sent me a new picture book biography that I loved. QUEEN OF THE TRACK:  ALICE COACHMAN: OLYMPIC HIGH-JUMP CHAMPION by Heather Lang is the story of the first African-American woman to win a gold medal at the Olympics.  I love good picture book biographies, especially those that introduce us to stories of people who are not as well-known as they should be.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Book Purchases

I made a trip to Cover to Cover this week and picked up a stack of books.  It is so different shopping as a classroom teacher than it was to shop as a librarian.  I understand the way kids are changing as readers. I know which books are being passed around.  And I can predict ways I can stretch a child from one type of book to another. Today's trip was one with few expectations. I didn't really need anything so I wasn't sure what I was looking for. But a few titles caught my eye because I knew they might move readers.  I left with a bag of a few new titles that I am excited about and a few not-so-new titles that I think might be perfect for a few students ready to grow in new directions as readers.

I am very excited about Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems --I loved Singer and am excited about this new book of Reverso poems.

I read about Athlete vs. Mathlete on the blog Mary Lee's kids are keeping about 2013 books. Columbus Dispatch Kid Readers is a great resource for 2013 books and I think it will be an expensive blog for me to read.

I also picked up some new Goosebumps titles.  A few students have had their first Goosebumps experience with the graphic novel so I thought I'd share some of these with them.   I picked up some brand new ones as the one I have are old and tattered. Excited to see if these hook anyone.

One of my students, a Hunger Games fan, just decided to try the Gregor series because he loves Suzanne Collins. He read Gregor The Overlander (Underland Chronicles, Book 1) which is the only one I have in the room. So I thought I'd pick up #2 and #3 in case more kids start reading this.  Not many kids read it before Hunger Games but it seems to be more popular now.

I have a group of kids who has been reading We are the Ship by Kadir Nelson.  In January, they discovered Walter Dean Myers book The Journal of Biddy Owens, the Negro Leagues, Birmingham, Alabama, 1948 and loved it.  I realized that there are more historical fiction books in this journal form by Myers so thought I'd pick a few up. I think the kids who liked the other book may like them. I also think they might appeal to my I Survived fans.

And I am MOST excited about Lisa Graff's new book A Tangle of Knots. I love Lisa Graff and have yet to be disappointed by any of her books. This one looks fabulous and I hope to read it soon!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Coming Soon: February

Last month, I started a monthly series on upcoming books I am excited about.  I am not sure where January went but it seems that it is time for February's list already! I have read so little this month that I was afraid to look ahead --the last thing I need right now is to add more books to my TBR pile!  But, there are some books that you just MUST have! These are upcoming books that are MUST-HAVES for me in February!

One of my very favorite professional books of all times has a new edition coming out.  WHAT A WRITER NEEDS by Ralph Fletcher is one of the books that changed my teaching.  It is one of the staple books that helped me learn to teach writing and it was the first book by Ralph Fletcher that I read. This 2nd edition of this book is coming out in February. Just looking at the Table of Contents makes me happy--reminds me how much I learned when I read this book and how many times I've gone back to the book in the past 20 years. (And Ralph Fletcher will be the keynote at the Dublin Literacy Conference on February 23. If you haven't registered, you should check it out!)

Follow Follow: A Book of Reverso Poems by Marilyn Singer is a follow-up to one of my favorite books, Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse. Both of these books are filled with Fairy Tale "reverso" poems.  They are fun reads and I continue to be amazed at what the process of writing reversos is. So excited about this second round of reversos from Singer!

Lisa Graff is one of my favorite middle grade authors. I was thrilled to discover that she has a new book coming out in February called A Tangle of Knots. If you don't know Lisa Graff, you will definitely want to read The Thing About GeorgieUmbrella Summer and The Life and Crimes of Bernetta Wallflower.

I can't seem to find enough sports nonfiction to keep my students happy! So I was thrilled to see
Becoming Babe Ruth coming in February. I love author, Matt Tavares and from what I've read this is a great and well-researched story.

I am always paying attention to good, upcoming YA (even though I don't get a chance to read nearly as much as I'd like to!).  But the book I have on my list to remember about in February is Pivot Point. Love the whole concept and the issues around the choices we make.

And finally, a March 1 release (but close enough to February that I thought I'd include it here is Grumbles from the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices with a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich.  I love anything fairy tale but this one looks especially fun.  First of all, I am excited that Jane Yolen and Rebecaa Kai Dotlich worked together on this one. Love those two! Secondly, I love the idea of hearing the voices of fairy tale characters in poem form.  I am VERY excited about this one!

Friday, January 08, 2010

Predicting the Caldecott and Newbery Winners 2010

Well, it is that time of year again--the whole reason we started this blog in the first place! "The 2010 ALA Youth Media Awards will be held during the ALA Midwinter Meeting in Boston on Monday, January 18, at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center! The announcements will begin at 7:45 a.m. and will be once again covered on Twitter

(" And, as always, I can hardly wait!

This week, our wonderful Dublin Branch librarian, Loren Scully came to work with our 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. She shared criteria for the Caldecott medal and showed some past winners-things she has noticed about them since they've won. She also shared several new books that are getting a "buzz" and shared some different techniques that illustrators use. It was a great few days of learning and every class was glued to all that Loren had to say. Next week, the kids will have a chance to take a look at 70 of the best picture books from 2009 trying to predict the one that they think will win. Loren's prediction for the Caldecott Medal? The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney. After she shared this one with kids, many kids agreed that it was truly amazing.

My very favorite picture book of the year, as you all know is OTIS by Loren Long and it is my hope and prediction for the Caldecott. Really, if you take a close look, it is clear that Loren Long is quite brilliant. (Adrienne Furness fell hard for this one too:-) I love The Lion and the Mouse (who doesn't?) too so I will be thrilled with either one. The other book that I think would be a great winner is CHICKEN LITTLE--it might make my "Books I Can Read a Million Times" but I haven't tried it out yet. I love it more every time I read it.

And what about the Newbery? I am so not sure this year--well, honestly, I am never right so this is nothing new. But, I just don't know. I LOVED UMBRELLA SUMMER by Lisa Graff. I LOVED WHEN YOU REACH ME by Rebecca Stead and I LOVED ALSO KNOWN AS HARPER by Ann Haywood Leal. I LOVED 11 BIRTHDAYS. It is very fun and smart--I am a huge Wendy Mass fan. I know that these predictions aren't really supposed to be about the books I love, but this year, I decided to go that way.

The problem is, I still have so many great books on my next-read pile. Books I have heard such great things about. There are also lots of great YA books that could win but I am thinking those will win the Printz.

BIll and Karen over at Literate Lives are doing their "Looking for Newbery" series again--reviewing one book a day that they believe is a contender. So many great books! And don't miss the ongoing conversation at Heavy Medal. And lots of the Mock Award committees will be meeting this week to do their final voting.

So, my predictions could definitely change by the 18th. I just love the anticipation of it all and the talk about the books afterward. The Columbus bloggers will be celebrating the awards together that morning--no matter what they may be-so it should be a fun day for sure:-)

Friday, March 27, 2009

Blog Carnival-END the R-Word

If you have not seen the "We Need a New "R" Word" video created by 16-year old Noah Gray and all of the follow-up work this group is doing, today is the day to make time to watch. Take some time today to watch this video and others created by people around the world as part of this campaign.

Tuesday, March 31 has been named SPREAD THE WORD TO END THE WORD:

"It is time to “Spread the Word to End the Word,” and on Tuesday, March 31, events throughout the United States and around the world will make people stop and think about their hurtful and disparaging use of the word “retard.” "

As part of the campaign, Laura at "25 Days to Make a Difference" is hosting a Blog Carnival.

As teachers, helping students see the power of their words is critical. Here at A Year of Reading, we believe books are one of the best ways to start conversations and to help all of us understand the world. We are taking today to share a few of our favorite books that we would use in the classroom inviting long-term conversations about hurtful words. These aren't all books specifically about intellectual disabilities but the conversation is the same. I love the idea of this day. I also know that conversations like this can and should be ongoing throughout the school year. Books are often a good way into these conversations as readers come to know and love the characters they read about. Here are some of the books we've used in the past that help begin and continue conversations about the power of our words.

Rules by Cynthia Lord
Be Good to Eddie Lee by Virginia Fleming
Along Came Spider by James Preller
So B. It by Sarah Weeks
Emma Jean Lazarus Fell Out of a Tree by Lauren Tarshis
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (thanks for this addition, Jenny:-)

**We are posting this today, a little early, in hopes that many people from the Kidlitosphere join in on the Blog Carnival to support this important campaign.

Monday, July 06, 2015

Live Blogging from #Nerdcampmi Monday and Tuesday

JWe know we didn't do such a great job of live blogging from All Write, as we had planned. But Franki will be at #NerdcampMi and she'll be adding live updates to the blog as the throughout the event. This is one of our favorite events of the year so we'd also recommend following it on Twitter if you are not attending.  (We will update on the top of the post each time we update so read from the bottom up!)

A session about writing for The Nerdy Book Club blog by Donalyn Miller and Cindy Minnich.

We love that we can connect with people all over the country at Nerdcamp!  But we also love having time to learn within Dublin colleagues.

Session on Nonfiction Mentor Texts led by Jen Vincent!

I went to a great session led by John Scovill on Reading Engagement in the Upper Grades.  You can access the resources from this session here:

Look what I got!--DAY 2

Dublin's very own, Jessica Ardela was the first female to finish the Nerd Run 5K!! wooohoooo!

Team Saunter ready for Nerd Run!

Really, there is nothing better than hearing John Schu (@mrschureads) talk about books!! 

So happy to have s chance to hear Brad Wilson (@dreambition)) talk about digital writing!

Amazing kickoff to Nerd Camp today!  Brilliant talks by Ruth Ayres, Pernille Ripp,  Sue Haney, Lisa Graff and Donalyn Miller.

After dinner, Jillian (@heisereads) invited us to see all the new picture books she got at ALA last week.   Katie (@katiedicesare) and I went down. And we made new friends over books--, Aliza (@alizateach) and Kim (@fins025) Such a fun way to end the day!

Within minutes of arriving, we ran into one of our fave authors  (and fave #teamsaunter teammates) Jess Keating (Jess_Keating).  She happened to have her two upcoming books in her bag--wow!  We are excited about both of them. The third in her Middle Grade Novel series and a new nonfiction book, Pink if for Blobfish)

Marisa (@MarisaReads) pulled out her new Selfie Stick--purchased jut for the occasion!

About 30 of us started off the fun with dinner at Klavon's.  Our annual #nerdcampmi tradition now!

Monday, March 02, 2015

Math Monday -- A Mosaic is an Array!

Yes, I know it's a stretch to share my monthly mosaic as a Math Monday post, but #arraychat is a real thing on Twitter! Math in the real world. It doesn't get any better.

Row 1 -- The first three are from North Market. The last one in this row and

Row 2 -- the first one in this row are a glimpse of hope for spring! The next three are William and his sunbeam, what a kitty has to do when his sunbeam gets too warm, and the face of a contented cat.

Row 3 -- #DubLit15 -- my Tech Kids, Chris Lehman learning from Franki's Tech Kids, Lisa Graff signing, the cookies donated by Wonderopolis for our afternoon snack.

Row 4 -- The walkway to Tucci's for the after-conference author dinner -- a winter wonderland. In contrast, don't get me started about the over-plowing of our street. Why do so many streets go unplowed, and yet the Snow Warriors come back again and again to our street, plowing shut every driveway on our street repeatedly and throwing slush up onto cleared-off sidewalks. There's no good reason for it.  (deep cleansing breath) The third shot is a jazzy shot of a jazz band at Natalie's. Next is a science shot -- the dark leaf got warm enough to melt down into the snow beneath it.

You can see all these pictures larger and un-cropped on Flickr here.

It's Math Monday! Join Mandy at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for the Math Monday link up!