Monday, November 30, 2009

Library Chaos

I am surrounding by a sea of boxes.  I've had so many wonderful volunteers we will be finished packing by Wednesday!!  The district moving man even stopped by and said they would begin to move boxes over to Highland by Wednesday as well!!  We are not only right on track but way ahead!!  I am so excited!!

Be Peaceful-

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Tree Farm

Now that Thanksgiving has passed us and with such lovely Midwest weather we decided to go Christmas tree shopping yesterday.  The day was so filled with friends and enjoying the outdoor weather I forgot about blogging until my head hit the pillow last night! 
We did find a beautiful tree! 

Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Friday

I missed writing a post yesterday even though I challenged myself to do it every day in November but...yesterday was Thanksgiving and I was busy with family events all day.  We are at my mother's home in the woods and she not only does not have wireless but her one computer is in the basement away from all social flurry.  If I had escaped to the basement to blog it would have meant abandoning the family. 
I did
1. Help my mother cook.
2. Play with my children and 2 cute nephews.
3. Drink wine.
4. Take a lovely walk with sibling, husband, sister-in-law, various children and bouncy dog.
5. Eat pumpkin pie smothered in homemade whip cream.
6. Read and knit a little.
7. Dishes.
8. Smile a lot!!

What I did not do! 
Today I
1. Took an early morning walk.
2. Watched an excessive amount of Wii played by children and men.
3. Cooked some more.
4. Did more dishes.
5. Counted my blessings.
6. Drank  a little more wine.
7. Really relaxed.
8. Did some Wii bowling with Everyone before brother took the wii game away!!

Happy Thanksgiving to all and happy no shopping day!!
p.s. as an older sister I adore watching my youngest brother parent-it brings great joy to my life to see what an incredibly good and relaxed parent he is to his two active sons.  Does anybody else experience this joy with their siblings?
Be Peaceful~

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Half way

I'm halfway through Jodi Picoult's Vanishing Acts and I am very anxious to finish it.  If you haven't read any Picoult you should because she puts in so much research and each of her books are about such far-reaching topics!!  This one involves a father who kidnaps his child to keep the her away from an alcoholic mother.  Lots of twists and turns in the plot and great characters including a love triangle and a unique Native woman who dispenses interesting advise.

I'm on the fifth chapter of The evolution of Calpurnia Tate and love it also!  It makes me feel smarter and very scientific!
We are off for our own three days in the woods...

Everyone safe travels...

be peaceful-

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!                                                                                   Is it wrong to want to share the same book twice for TT?   Here is my teaser:       

          "The stairs were notoriously loud, so I pleated up my white cotton nightgown and slid down the banister as I'd done my whole life.  It was fast and quiet transportation, but I'd misjudged in the dark and braked late and hit the square newel post hard enough to earn myself a nice blue bruise on my behind, a two-weeker at least."  p. 81 The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Monday, November 23, 2009

New Library

Here is one quick photo of the reading teepee in the library at our new school. I haven't been to the new building yet but our lead teacher was kind enough to snap the photo on his tour so I could see it. The man in inside is a construction worker.   I begin packing all library materials next week officially.  I thought I should share a picture so as I continue to talk about this exciting new space you can see why I'm excited.  The architect kept calling it a teepee but I don't know if that is accurate or sensitive.  I need a catchy name for it.  Any ideas??

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Ari Hest

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Reading Challenge

My first!
Join me-really how hard can it be!!
Check out the rules and sign up over at J. Kaye's Book Blog.

Friday, November 20, 2009

3 Choices

I am caught between 3 exciting book choices.

1. The evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly
2. Envy, the third Luxe by Anna Godbersen
3. Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

Tough choices, I know!!  I have two long distance friends getting ready to read Calpurnia Tate with me-then we hold an online book conference.  We have yet to really make the book conference work, it a right tool problem but we are still working on it.  We've read 13 reasons why and Liar together thus far.

Janssen at Everyday Reading got me hooked, absolutely hooked on the Luxe series and the third one has been waiting on my actual tbr pile since Halloween weekend.  This one has been taunting me but I've had other had-to-reads until now.

The Jodi Picoult choice while not as thrilling perhaps-only because it is older- has been languishing on my hurry and read pile because it belongs to someone else.  A few years ago my friend Jess and I had a thing about reading all the JP books and this is one of a few I missed.  I did start it the other night and just like other Picoult stories it has me intrigued.
I think these three will easily carry me through Thanksgiving.  I'll be required to do my share of the cooking but the down time will be relading time at the log cabin in the woods. 

Read what SLJ has to say about Calpurnia Tate.
I found an excellent interview w/ author Jacqueline Kelly at HipWriterMama

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

Okay, maybe nobody else is counting but I promised to blog every day through November and I'm trying so hard to stick to it.  I finished The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society the other night; two days after my church book club met to discuss it...I loved the book and our meeting!  I did have trouble with the letter-style of the book at first but then the characters grabbed me.  I would like to live in Guernsey-seemed so comforting in its pastoral environment.

I'm exhausted with lots on my plate and here is why:
 my mini-list:

1. Tonight I made 50 chocolate-covered pretzel sticks; festooned with Christmas theme sprinkles for our church bazaar, which takes place on Saturday.  Mine do not look like the photo but they do look pretty great-photo to follow soon.

2. I am organizing a team of volunteers to move our library from old to our new building right after Thanksgiving.  Lots of volunteers and not enough boxes so far.

3. Tuesday night we had our school literacy night-it was great and Maribeth Boelts was lovely!
4. Tomorrow my principal "observes" me for teaching licensure renewal.
5. My mother is calling me more than twice a day to make arrangements for upcoming holiday break, from which I need a break from already!! Love you Mom!

6. And last but really most important my teenager is sick with an unknown non-H1N1 virus-we think he has water poisoning from drinking stale water out of a bottle left too long in his basement gaming room.  Uhh, and this has caused him to miss two days of school and probably tomorrow.  This occurred one day after he had top shelf braces applied.  Really, how fun can this be for him??

7.  I love this kind of post from others because it gives me a glimpse into someone else's life yet when I do it I feel like I'm whining.
And you out there-how is your week??

Be Peaceful-

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Boycott Blues

This wonderful picture book features a hound dog with a guitar for a narrator and tells the story of the 1955 bus boycott in Montgomery, Alabama.  The text flows like a blues song and brings this important historical time to life because kids can't help but be pulled in. Focusing on this part of Rosa Park's story inspires us to really see how brave she was as well as all the people who carried on this life-changing boycott.  As a peaceful teacher it offers me the opportunity to speak of  non-violent protests on a grand scale.
The illustrations are very surreal, match the text so well and make you stop and really look. I love Brian Pinkney's artwork-Max found two sticks is one of my favorite picture books.

I read Boycott Blues today to fifth grade students as part of our ongoing history quest; most of them were mesmerized.  The few that weren't just can't seem to help themselves.  They understood the story enough to ask good questions before, during and after we read the book.  It's very beneficial to have books just like this in order to understand important moments in history better without being dry and wordy.
Boycott Blues; How Rosa Parks inspired a nation (2008)
illustrated by Brian Pinkney.  
5/5 peaceful stars

Click here for The Reading Tub's review.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday-Calpurnia Tate

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.
Anyone can play along!
Just do the following:

Grab your current read
Open to a random page
Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teasers:
"Um. Do you..." I had made a hope-to-die promise I wouldn't tell.  And while I myself did not know of anyone who had died after breaking one, it wasn't worth the risk."
p. 138 The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly

Monday, November 16, 2009

Maribeth Boelts

Tomorrow night at our school we are hosting a brand new event; Literacy Night for parents and students.  We will have four stations for everyone to listen to a "story time" come to life!  We are featuring A Bad case of stripes by David Shannon, the entire Fancy Nancy series (Nancy will "be with us"), nursery rhymes and Kate DiCamillo, focusing on her chapter books.  I will be doing a reading of The Magician's Elephant (click here for my review).  I am excited for tomorrow night because it is all about sharing books with our students, trying to get parents to do more reading at home-all good things-but I'm thrilled because we are hosting a real live local author!! 

Maribeth Boelts will be at our school from 6-7, talking to everyone about writing and reading and she will sign books after.  This should be a wonderful event for all involved.  I will try hard not to blabber and gush to much when I meet her.  I saw on her website she has a new blog-perhaps she will grant me an interview.
Click here for my review of Maribeth's book, Before you were mine.

Sunday, November 15, 2009


My baby (now 14) boy goes to the orthodontist tomorrow!!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Weekend Update

Early this morning I had a sorority meeting at my local B & N/Starbucks-for those of you paying any attention~I'm really not the sorority type!  This is Alpha Upsilon Alpha, part of the International Reading Association, so it all makes perfect sense.  One of my teaching mentors  at my local alma mater recommended me for induction into the "society"-luckily I did not have to gulp goldfish or wear an odd robe and we mostly talk about reading, teaching and books.

 Today we met for "Books and Brunch" and it was a blast!  There was lots of quick and exciting conversations on a variety of topics.  I was able to share a variety of books (Luxe was the first on my stack to share) and we did discuss (one of my other favorite topics) blogging!!   There were only 7 of us there and truly, the meeting took way longer than I expected (10-1) but it was really enjoyable.  This is my first year in the organization and we are trying to grow in ideas and membership.  I will admit I was sad we spent so much time talking leaving me  no  browsing time-at all!!

One of the seven at the meeting was  published author and a writing instructor at Wartburg, Barbara Harken and it was great to share ideas with her.  I bought a copy of her book, had it signed and will make time soon to read it.  Click here for her website.

Okay, the rest of the day I watched football and socialized with adult libations but the morning did start off very intellectually-stimulating!!
I should have been reading The Guernsey Literary and Potato....for Monday's book club!!! Yikes!

And how was your Saturday spent??

Friday, November 13, 2009

End of the day

Sunsets are beautiful to watch.  I watched one tonight with peaceful girl and we enjoyed the colors blending together.  It was the in-between to a pleasantly busy day.  The rest of the evening I ushered at a play at UNI-Marat/Sade...truly odd play with amazingly beautiful costumes.  To end my evening I made brownies awhile I'm catching up on Tivo'd Monk.  Still the sunset was my favorite part although the smell of brownies permeating the house is pretty wonderful.

Tomorrow I have a meeting at Barnes and Noble about reading!!
So what was the best part of your day?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Thursday Thoughts

I recently  challenged myself to post every day and so far I've done it!!  Yeah to me.  Except today I can't think of anything to write about so....I'm just going to write about my day!
I'm in the middle of watching The Dark Knight (Heath's last movie, audible sigh from me).  We had to stop it last night because it was getting too late for me.  My teenage son feels I need to see the movie (his rite of passage for me) even though I didn't want to see Heath in such a bizarre and scary role.  I don't like violence-surprise! and this movie has a ton of it yet I am going to grin and bare it for him an finish it tonight.

I am in the process of reading something very interesting, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel and Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.  I have to finish by Monday evening for my book club meeting.  I dislike going and feeling unprepared.  When I started the book I kinda thought I wasn't going to like it because it's written in letter writing format between several characters.  Now that I'm more than a few pages into I've developed a relationship with the characters, especially Juliet.  She's written with such a great sense of humor!

I made a delicious potato soup for dinner specifically for the teenager; he had spacers added to his teeth preparing  for braces on Monday, the 16th.  His mouth is sore and his menu consists of yogurt w/ honey, chocolate pudding, chocolate ice cream and ramen noodles.  I thought the soup would change it up a bit but only my husband and I liked it.  I guess "delicious" depends on who you talk to...

We just came back from the high school play at my son's school and it was a very funny rendition of Arsenic and Old Lace.   I have to rent the movie and see Cary Grant as Mortimer!  I don't remember it being that funny but I was pretty young when I saw it!!

Oh, and my big news of the day was that I accomplished my observation today.  My principal came and watched my lesson with a small group of Special Needs students.  I read Big Red Barn and Goodnight Moon both by Margaret Wise Brown-we were looking for rhyming words. MWB was so amazing for her time.  the students loved both books and are ready to explore some of her other books next week. We put together rhyming cards and played a rhyming game on Scholastic's website.  It was a fun-filled 30 minutes of rhyming words and the observation went very well!!  One done, One still to go!

Okay, so a great, great day and I'm really looking forward to Saturday because I have a Saturday morning meeting at B & N, for coffee and book talks!  I hope your day went just as well!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Journey of Dreams/Picnic_Basket Request

Journey of Dreams by Marge Pellegrino is set in Guatemala during the 1980's political upheaval .  It is the story of Tomasa and her family's decision to leave their tiny village and head north, walking toward first the border of Mexico and then to the U.S. border.  Tomasa's mother leaves with the oldest son, Carlos because young boys have been captured in the village and forced to serve as soldiers.  It becomes obvious within a short time that it is time for the rest of the family to go as soldiers take over their village during a festival.

Their entire journey is filled with risk and mishaps, especially trying to cross the river between Guatemala and Mexico.  Once in Mexico, Tomasa, her brother Manuel and the baby Maria live temporarily in a park while the father goes off to work everyday.  Eventually they are lead to a "safe convent" where they can stay  in one room.  A visitor from the U.S. brings news of Mother and Carlos and within a few monthes the family is together again in Phoenix. While they endure many hardships there is hope along the way.  Because the author has such a close connection to Central American refuges I felt a real sense of loss for Tomasa's character.  She loved her life, as "poor" as they were, they were rich in culture, the beauty of the land and their own family strength.  While still in their village Tomasa describes her home:
"Through the open door, the late afternoon sun deepens the blue of the sky. At this moment of the day, the green of the field and pine trees beyond glow.  The blue and green next to each other look magical.  The green crops grow from the gifts of the sky and earth.  And we, the people of the corn, grew from those crops.  Maybe that is why I often weave blue and green next to each other." p. 23
I also greatly appreciated the father's story-telling abilities and that they had these rituals every night when   together.  If you enjoy reading about other cultures or refuge experiences this book is well-worth it. It is a hope-filled and satisfying journey.

Marge Pellegrino's blog
Click here for a map of Guatemala-it would have been a very long journey from Guatemala City!
Politics and Prose provides a synopsis here.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

TEASER TUESDAYS, a weekly bookish meme hosted by Should Be Reading asks you to:
Grab your current read.

Let the book fall open to a random page

Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.

You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book       
                                                       recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
                                                       Please avoid spoilers!           

My teasers:
"Them German soldiers was as hungry as we was-with bloated bellies and no body warmth from food.
Well, I was tired to death of boiled potatoes and turnips, and I would have soon turned up my toes and died, when the Vega came into our port."
p. 146 The Guernsey Literary Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer      and Annie Barrows

Monday, November 9, 2009

Liar by Justine Larbalestier

Micah is one of the strongest characters I've ever met in a book.  In Liar she explains her life in before and after segments; before Zach died and after Zach died. Zach is the boyfriend killed in an extreme and mysterious manner; the catalyst to help us meet Micah.  It seems easier as a grieving person to remember the before as amazing and the after as without reason.  There is a second major part to this brutal tale but I'm not going to tell it here because its just worth it to read it and find out the mystery yourself.  Zach's death is enough of a crisis to deal with for most.  Add that to the fact Micah lies, lies, lies-she doesn't know how to not lie but it's a defense mechanism;  a way to keep alive and sane. She keeps thinking she wants to stop lying as if it is something she has chosen but she really has no choice but to continue to spin lies!!  The love story between Zach and Micah is deep and I loved reading their together moments:

"He brushed his lips gently along my cheek.  I didn't move.  The shock of it froze me.  Why had he done that?  He'd never looked at me that way.  He'd never really looked at me any kind of way.
His lips were dry and warm.  No other part of us touched.  Blood moved faster through my veins and capillaries.  Without willing them to, my lips parted slightly.  An "oh" escaped from me."  p 52

This is just a really incredible story of a young woman dealing with so much and you feel for her no matter what-no matter what!!  Here is Justine Larbalestier's site to learn more.   The controversy over the cover was well worth it and the second one works for my mental images. The second girl is the character that would have pretended to be a boy!
Recommended for high school- 5/5 peaceful stars.
Other reviews of Liar:

The Ya Ya's 
Lauren's crammed bookshelf
The Book Smuggler's

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Green Books

Booking Mama's post from today turned me on to a new concept and I have to share it with everyone!  It kind of amazes me how things can almost pass you by.  I'd never heard of Eco-Libros before but now I'm ready to plant trees for every book I read.  I wish I would have known about their challenge previously but I will find a way to particpate anyway. 

I spent time at my public library today and found several books with the help of Tina, who happened to be there with her youngest.  I "found" Jodi Piccoult's new-ish Handle with care, which I have not read yet.  Now I have to read it in 7 days!!  I really have to start The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Anne Schaffer because my book club meets in two weeks and I haven't started.  I also have to finish Year of the dog (tonight) for tomorrow's 5th grade book club.  Crazy-Yes!!
Other books I found at library:
The shadow speaker by Nnedi Okorafor-Mbachu (for teen and me to read)
Looking for alaska by John Green (I want my teenager to read it when he finishes Liar)
The bite of the mango by Mariatu Kamara (for teen, husband and myself to read-high hopes)
Satchel; The life and times of an american legend by Larry Tye (for husband-he loves baseball history)
The year we disappeared; a father~daughter memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby(for teen and me to read)
My goal was to finish reading Journey of Dreams by Marge Pellegrino but so much got in the way this weekend.  (Like my mom showing up last night by surprise:)
I need to finish lesson plans for this week, my observation MAJOR lesson plan to be handed in to my principal tomorrow and make an Asian dessert for 5th grade book club tomorrow! 
What the heck was I even doing picking out books at the library or hanging around on the computer!!  I know most of you can relate to this whirlwind schedule!  Tell me what your crazy drama looks like??

Be peaceful-

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Picture Books

Peaceful girl and I read a fantastic picture book last night at bedtime. 
Homegrown house by Janet S. Wong and illustrated by E.B. Lewis is a story about transition and finding your comfort right where you are.  The young  narrator tells us how she's moved from house to house as her family experienced change through new jobs.  Now she lives some place within walking distance from her Grandmom and she likes where she is, even though it's not a dream home.  Her Grandmom says:
" it takes time to settle into a house, to learn to love it right, to make it feel homegrown."

Mom gets a raise so they house hunt for a better house but our young narrator works hard to convince her parents the house they live in now is their perfect house!!  She wants to be close to Grandmom and all that her house has to offer-she wants consistency in her life!

I moved many times growing up as we followed the journalistic dreams of my Dad.  Moving can be exciting but at some point you get tired of leaving your friends behind, finding new favorite spots.  This book exemplifies that struggle very much for this young girl.  E.B. Lewis' illustrations are very natural and draw you more into the story.  Recommended-5/5 peaceful stars

Friday, November 6, 2009

Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Two weeks ago I was so excited when my two new boxes of Titlewave books arrived because inside was a copy of Sent! I read it over that next week and loved it. I didn't want to put it down-life always gets in the way though and I did have to stop more than a few times-but I was always anxious to pick it back up!
Sent (2009) is the second in Margaret Peterson Haddix's new Missing series. Click here to read my thoughts on Found, the first one in the series.
This outstanding new series  mixes history with  sci-fi time-taveling fun! Most children would love to find out they are related to royalty-and in this book 13-year-old Chip is Edward V, King of England and Alex is his younger brother Richard,  Duke of York.  Edward is worried their uncle, Richard of Gloucester is going to have them killed and take the throne for himself.   Jonah, Chip, Alex and Katherine travel back to the 15th Century to "fix time"  and interesting things happen to teenagers trying to fit into language, mannerisms and costumes of a very different time period. I loved imagining independent Katherine existing in a the not-to-female-friendly 15th Century!  I don't know a lot about this historical era but it is very exciting to read  all the mystery and intrigue of the day!  Highly recommend this series and cannot wait to see where the next book will take us.  5/5 peaceful stars
Looks like she has a brand new book out in November!!  No mention of when the third Missing book will be out though.

I know you're all asking "what else was in those boxes of new books??"
For curious minds here is a partial list:

Allie Finkle's Stage Fright by Meg Cabot
43 Old Cemetary Road; Dying to meet you by Kate Klise
Julia Gillian (and the quest for joy) by Alison McGhee
the entire new and improved Herculeah Jones mystery series by Betsy Byars
The Clever Stick by John Lechner
Elephants cannot dance! by Mo Willems
A pocket can have a treasure in it by Kathy Stinson
Read it, don't eat it! by Ian Schoenherr

Yeah, more forthcoming reviews to write:)
What about you?  What has you excited this week?
Be Peaceful,

ps: the book fair has been busy today as well-and it has taken me all day to write this (yikes!) because of bfair business and visitors stopping by -Tina from booksaremything dropped by and bought two books!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Busy Book Fair Day

It's conference time in the Cedar Valley and during this time it is tradition for the library to hold a book fair!  I thought today would be a slow start today and I would have plenty of time to blog...that didn't happen so here I am posting at 9:56!  I'm glad it was busy (my feet hurt though) and I'm ready to go home.

Here are highlights from what people were reading and buying at the fair.

Diary of a wimpy kid; dog days by Jeff Kinney-hands-down most popular book bought by kids
Boys are dogs by  Leslie Margolis
Allie Finkle's Rules for girls, Best Friends and Drama Queens by Meg Cabot
I spy fly guy by Tedd Arnold for the younger set

Nonfiction rocked a lot as well:
See how they run; campaign dreams, election schemes, and the race to the White House by Susan E. Goodman (okay, so nobody bought this one but lots of people looked in it.)

Tomorrow's another day at the fair.
Tomorrow is probably won't be as busy
then I will be able to write in the middle of the day!!

Be Peaceful...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Halloween List

I read quite a few Halloween books over the last few weeks and I fell in love with a few.  While it is after Halloween I share them with you so you will be prepared for next year. 

Last night Peaceful girl and I read Hush, Baby Ghostling (2009) by Andrea Beaty and Pascal Lemaitre.  This writing team is also responsible for the great Doctor Ted and Firefighter Ted.  We really liked the coziness of Hush, Baby Ghostling and little girl loved comparing ghostling's life to hers.   "Ahh, he's going to bed during the day."  "Ohhh, he likes the lights all out-not one bit of light." It was cool to listen to her figure out ghost mama loves her baby too!  4/5 peaceful stars

One of my favorites this year is Boris and Bella (2004) by Carolyn Crimi and Cris Grimly.  I read this to Peaceful girl, because it is about a messy monster (like her) and Peaceful husband, because it's a sweet love story!  Boris is neat and tidy and Bella, quite messy and they, of course, don't like each other!  When each decide to have a Halloween party they are sadly disappointed when they find out everyone is heading to Harry Beastie's party instead.  They can't resist and end up there themselves-the rest is monster history!  If this book is ever made into a feature length film I vote for Helena Bonham Carter to play Bella!! 5/5 peaceful stars

I actually read Anne Rockwell's (2001)Pumpkin Day, Pumpkin Night  a lot in the last few weeks.  It demonstrates how a fiction book, with imaginary characters, can give us true information.  This book does a great job of showing students the whole pumpkin to jack-o-lantern experience.  Not all students get to design, scoop out slimy pumpkin guts, and create a glowing pumpkin face-this book does just that.  I am a big fan of Anne Rockwell's books.

The Perfect Pumpkin Pie (2005) by Denys Cazet is a rollicking fun time of a read with any grade.  The detailed illustrations lend a creepy atmosphere and the refrain will have kids "reading" with you.  It goes like this:
"Pumpkins, pumpkins, pumpkin pie! I must have one before I die.  It must be round and brown as toast, or I'll haunt this house a hungry ghost.  It must be perfect, or a ghost I'll stay, and haunt this house and never, ever go awaaaaaaay!" said by the creepy and dead Mr. Wilkerson.

Pumpkin Circle-great nonfiction read-aloud as well!  What were your favorite Halloween books this year?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Here is my teaser:

"We walk amongst the trees as we continue along the outskirts of this village. The burnt smell is not fresh, but days old. Some of the buildings have no roofs." p. 95, of Marge Pellegrino's Journey of Dreams

Okay, I couldn't resist that third sentence-it was so descriptive and matches up with teaser #1 And teaser #2. Politics and Prose synopsis.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Every day blogging...

I've decided to try a writing experiment! I know this has been done by others en masse but on my own I just want to try and blog every day through November. It's a grateful month-and I'm grateful to my blog for the joy it brings me so I am going to give it more attention. I blogged yesterday about Abigail Iris, the one and only and today I am just putting my challenge in writing.
I did read this fantastic book (Our children can soar; a celebration of Rosa, Barack, and the Pioneers of Change) over the weekend and plan to share it with 5th grade this week. This book takes us on a journey from the beginning illustration of slavery and the Civil War, George Washington Carver and ends with Barack Obama's historic campaign for the presidency. On one hand this book captures the hope and spirit of not only that campaign but our history of change (slow, yes) but through its simple statements it shows how our previous knowledge helps us understand the world around us. If one were to read the book and not know who George, Jessie, Hattie or Ella were the story would not make as great impression. It is all this background knowledge we need to get to our students before they can understand other books like A Friendship for today, Chains, The Watson's go to Birmingham, or Elijah of Buxton. This book would make a great introduction for many lessons on U.S. History but will make a perfect example of understanding schema for fifth grade students. I love it when a great book like this comes along, which makes it easy to explain a monumental point to students.

Of course, I can't really finish talking about this amazing book without mentioning the beautiful illustrations created by 13 different illustrators! They are Caldecott- worthy; simple yet meaningful.
Marian Wright Edelman writes a glowing forward to show the giant leaps this book demonstrates! She says "African American history is the collective story of many, many people who never gave up and never turned around, but instead always quietly took that next step forward in faith so their children would be able to go even farther and have better lives."
Highly Recommended 5/5 stars

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Abigail Iris

Abigail Iris; The one and only by Lisa Glatt and Suzanne Greenberg and illustrated by Joy Allen is a very well-written elementary chapter book for the 3rd and 4th grade student. It tells the story of one sweet Abigail Iris who really loves her family (she is "one of many"); she is a little jealous of her "only" friends. Abigail Iris has an older stepbrother and shares a bedroom with her older sister while her three friends are all sibling-free. "Onlies" get expensive shoes like Heelies, new clothes and exciting Spring Break vacations. Genevieve invites Abigail Iris to join her family on a trip to San Francisco! The drive to San Francisco, the stay at the Francis Drake Hotel and the adventures they have in-between show Abigail Iris why being "one of many" has it's bonus moments as well. This book is wonderful teaching tool without being overly didactic. Peaceful girl and I read this book at bedtime and it created alot of great conversation about families, finances and traveling. The illustrations are whimsical and very much add to this perfect little chapter book. 5/5 stars
Find Lisa Glatt's website here, Suzanne Greenberg's site here, and Joy Allen's creative site here!
Other great posts about Abigail Iris from Kiss the Book,
Semicolon, and Booktopia.