Monday, March 31, 2014

My Must Read in 2014 April Update

Back in January I decided to join fellow blogger friends Carrie Gelson from There's a Book for That, Linda Baie from Teacher Dance and Maria Selke from Maria's Melange for the Must Read in 2014 Challenge. Our Must Read lists consist of books we want to make sure we read` this year. In my case the list is a combination of books I have been meaning to read and books I don't want to miss.

Here is my update.

My original list:


I am pretty happy with my "progress" so far. 

Books I have read:

They were all as good as I hoped. I am a HUGE fan of Cynthia Lord. I simply adore her novel RULES so I was excited to read her newest book Half a Chance It was just terrific. I was also happy that I put her novel Touch Blue on my list. I loved it and so did a few of my students. The Shadow Throne, was a wonderful conclusion to Jennifer Nielsen's Ascendance trilogy. Then, of course Kirby Larsen is brilliant with writing historical fiction. Duke is a fantastic book that occurs during WWll. I am not a dog-lover, but I absolutely LOVED it. I am so glad it made our Maine Student Book Award list for next year. The two professional books were valuable reads for me. Ruth Ayres reminds us to celebrate writing and writing in authentic ways in Celebrating Writers.  Dave Burgess had me all jazzed up after reading his book, Teach Like a Pirate.  He offers real strategies to revitalize your teaching. 

I am currently reading:

Looking forward to reading:

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Celebrating this Week-March 29, 2014

Every week, Ruth Ayres over at Discover. Play. Build. invites people to share celebrations from their week.  Please visit and consider linking up your own celebration. 

This will be short because I am getting ready to leave for a long weekend away with my hubby! so, of course, that is what I am celebrating. After the last few weeks of parent-teacher conferences, report cards and my daughters play for 3 weekends, my husband and I are heading to North Conway, New Hampshire. 

This is a tradition we started 5 years ago. Like most busy, working parents, we get very little time together. This makes it hard to stay connected as a couple. We don't go our on many dates because our son has autism and only a few family members are prepared to care for him. So this is the one weekend a year we spend together with NO KIDS! Don't get me wrong, obviously I love my kids, but I am also human and need a break every now and then. 

We spend 2 nights in NH. We shop the outlets, soak in the hot tub, talk, eat and sleep in. It is a wonderful weekend of relaxing and connecting. Of course the conversation always seems to drift back to the kids, but that's ok. 

I apologize that I won't be able to read or comment on blogs today, but I gotta go pack!!

Enjoy your weekends friends!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-March 19

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website. 

This week my picture books focus on two important women who love nature. 
by Patrick McDonnell
This is a biographical book about a very young Jane Goodall. As a girl, Goodall had a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee. Even as a child, she loved to be outside in nature and dreamed of growing up to help animals. Well, you know how that turned out.  
I love how this book takes a very important woman and looks at her as a child. After all, every influential person started out as a child with a dream. With simplistic text and lovely pictures, this book is great for children in grades K-2. 

by H. Joseph Hopkins
Illustrated by Jill McElmurry
I had never heard of Kate Sessions before reading this book. She grew up surrounded by trees and never imagined that she would live in a place that did not have many trees. Then she moved to San Diego. With its intense heat and dry climate, SanDiego was not an ideal place for trees to thrive. Kate made it her mission to research trees that could grow in such conditions and soon began planting trees in parks throughout San Diego. Several years, and many trees later, she had organized efforts to plant almost a million trees. 
I love Kate's determination and her passion for nature. She serves as an important role model for us today about the difference one person can make in the world. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?-March 17, 2014

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Again, two weeks have passed since my last #IMWAYR post. I have been super-busy at school with conferences and equally busy at home. Here is what I managed to read in the last two weeks. 

Picture Books-Fiction
by Candace Flemming
Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Neat story where children watch their father try to build many inventions that don't seem to work. Finally with everyone's help, lots of trials and many errors, he builds a "submarine".

Picture Books-Nonfiction
by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by Matt Tavares
I love books about Helen Keller. This one is beautiful!

by Gloria Huston
Illustrated by Susan Condie Lamb
This true story of a librarian who wanted a real, brick library, but ended up traveling in her bookmobile is touching. A great book for any book lover. 

by Caroline Kennedy
This poetry collection would be a nice addition to any library. It is filled with classic poems and is organized into several categories. There should be something for everyone in this lovely compilation. 

Early Chapter Books
by Harper Paris
Illustrated by Marco Calo
This series is new to me. Although not a lot happens, I think young kiddos will enjoy reading a real chapter book. It has lots if pictures and large print. Grades 2-3

by Troy Cummings
I really love this series for young or developing readers. I plan to review it further in a future post. Grades 2-4

Professional Book
I finished....
by Dave Burgess
There are so many tips offered in this book to energize your teaching. Highly recommend it!

Still Reading...
by Natalie Lloyd
Our lunchtime book club is enjoying this book very much!

What Are YOU Reading Friends?

Stack-It-Up Sunday-March 16, 2014

Each stack has its own story. 

It seems that most Sundays I don't have anything in particular to talk about, but I always have stacks of books. If you didn't read my Celebration post about book piles, you can find it here

Here are some of my current stacks.

This is an early chapter book series that I picked up at our school book fair. 

I won this set of books from a Biblionasium giveaway.  There were 5 books, but I gave 2 away. 

I used my Books-A-Million gift card from one of my students to purchase 2 more early chapter books from the Greetings from Somewhere series and Ken Jennings' book about Greek Mythology

What's in YOUR stack?

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Celebrating This Week- Parents, Performances and Publications

Every week, Ruth Ayres over at Discover. Play. Build. invites people to share celebrations from their week.  Please visit and consider linking up your own celebration. 

Again, I have had to take a break from blogging due to a very school and family life. This week I have many things to celebrate. 

Parent-Student-Teacher Conferences
This was conference week at school. Although it is a crazy, busy week, I really enjoy talking with families. Together, my partner teacher and I hosted 48 conferences! It is so nice to discuss the students' progress in school and just to look back on our year together so far. 

My Daughter's Play
Molly is in the cast of Beauty and the Beast Jr. performed by Windham Center Stage Theater. She is the Old Beggar Woman, a wolf and a townsperson. I love watching her up on stage. When she is performing with her friends she is so happy. She displays a wonderful confidence that I love to see.  

My First Article for Choice Literacy
I was thrilled to have my first article published for Choice Literacy this week. It is about using your own reading to model reading strategies. I was also fortunate to have Brenda Power from Choice Literacy visit my classroom on Monday. She is such a smart and respected educator and it was so nice to have her with us.

Sticking With It
I am happy to celebrate nearly three weeks without having any sugar. I began the Whole30 Challenge three weeks ago and really can't believe I have managed to stick with it. I am rather proud of myself and I feel great! 

What Are YOU Celebrating This Week? 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday- Boys of Steel

My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website. 

by Marc Tyler Nobleman
Illustrated by Ross MacDonald

Goodreads Summary
JERRY SIEGEL AND Joe Shuster, two misfit teens in Depression-era Cleveland, were more like Clark Kent—meek, mild, and myopic—than his secret identity, Superman. Both boys escaped into the worlds of science fiction and pulp magazine adventure tales. Jerry wrote stories, and Joe illustrated them. In 1934, they created a superhero who was everything they were not. It was four more years before they convinced a publisher to take a chance on their Man of Steel in a new format—the comic book. The author includes a provocative afterword about Jerry and Joe’s long struggle with DC Comics when they realized they had made a mistake in selling all rights to Superman for a mere $130!
Marc Tyler Nobleman’s text captures the excitement of Jerry and Joe’s triumph, and the energetic illustrations by Ross MacDonald, the author-artist of Another Perfect Day, are a perfect complement to the time, the place, and the two young visionaries. 

My Thoughts
I knew nothing about who created Superman before I read this book.  I found it to be very interesting. I loved how Jerry and Joe loved to read and write as kids. They were not traditionally "cool" guys so they wanted to create a hero with an alter-ego that was like them. They faced rejection but didn't give up on Superman for 3 years. Sadly they did sell the rights to DC comics for next to nothing. 
The illustrations feel like you might be reading a comic book and support the story very nicely.  The author's note in the back is full of more interesting information about these two creative men. This is a nice one to add to your biography collection, especially for comic book lovers. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Book Blast for The Orphan Thief

Disclaimer: This is a book blast post meant to advertise the book. I have not read this book. 

  The Orphan and the Thief An adventure that will keep you and your kids spellbound.
Toad thought it’d be easy to steal from Mr. Edward P. Owl. Unfortunately for Toad, he isn’t the best of thieves. Caught in the act, he’s in more trouble than ever before. Now to save his hide, Toad must track down five rare potion ingredients for Mr. Owl. Or else.All Melena Snead wants is her family back, but after the Miggens Street Fire, that isn’t very likely. Orphaned and miserable, forced to work in an apothecary, she’s determined to find Milo, her missing brother. No matter what. When Melena finds Toad ransacking her apothecary, Toad gets a nasty shock: apothecaries don’t carry Mr. Owl’s ingredients. Luckily, Melena’s willing to help, for a price. With Melena’s pet Spit-Fire dragon and Toad’s enchanted talking beer mug, they embark on a fantastical journey, traveling the country in search of the potion ingredients. But can they gather all of them in time, what with monsters, pirates, and axe-wielding thieves? And if they do, is there an even greater danger waiting for them at the end?

Excerpt: Panicking, Toad rushed, “Come on, Gent. There’s gotta be somethin’ that ya want! My prices are reasonable!” “The price is your life,” Mr. Owl stated, gently placing the dragon statue upon the desk. Mr. Ogg stopped again, his ham-sized hands falling back to his sides. Toad fell silent, too stunned to dare hope that he wasn’t about to be killed. “Let me explain how this will work, Mr. Toad. If tonight was like any other night I would happily see your neck snapped and toss you out like the bit of filth that you are.” He gave a heavy sigh. “However, the Hickory Guard have become annoyingly tedious ever since that upstart became Captain.” “Ya mean Dowell?” asked Toad. “The man has become so inflated with self importance that he’s actually having me followed. Can you imagine? Me?” “That’s … awful?” said Toad awkwardly, unsure how to respond. “So, you will forgive me for not wanting to waste Mr. Ogg’s talents on you with so little preplanning.” He gave the window a casual glance. “I’m sure a guard is stationed outside somewhere and disposing of your body without detection will be troublesome to say the least.” “Pardon me, sir,” Mr. Ogg interrupted, “but it would be no trouble.” “Ah, Mr. Ogg! How I like you!” Mr. Owl cheered. “Always ready to break a neck. Good fellow!” “We can stash him in one of the upstairs rooms,” Mr. Ogg continued in his deep, ocean floor voice. “I’ll make sure he won’t bleed.” “But a body, even in such a large house, will be difficult to hide if Dowell decides to search the place, as he has been hinting at for the last fortnight. No, no, my man. We cannot afford the risk of housing him here.” Toad sat still in his chair. It wasn’t every day that his own murder was discussed in such a light, conversational manner.  
M.L LeGette: Melissa Lee LeGette has been writing seriously since she was a teen. She loves an old world vibe with a magical twist, and she puts her full focus on creating believable characters--even if they happen to be a talking beer mug. Her books are targeted for children and teens, but have been enjoyed by adults of all ages. She lives in Georgia where she helps run a family farm, so her nails are a fright.

Praise: [LeGette is] able to twist her unique fairy-tales to fit the imagination of children and the attention of adults. Five stars ... The Orphan and the Thief is definitely worth reading! -- Abigail / Goodreads Review M.L. Legette conjures up a captivating magical tale in The Orphan and the Thief. I loved this story and I could not put my Kindle down until I finished the last page. This charming story is so good that it may very well become a classic. -- Karen Dowdall, Author of Delphi Altair: Strange Beginnings

Blast Giveaway $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 3/23/14 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 
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