Sunday, February 23, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? February 24

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

My last Monday post was on Feb. 3. 
So here are the highlights from the last few weeks.

Picture Books
by Desmond Tutu 
Illustrated by A. G. Ford
An excellent book about the power of forgiveness.
Grades 1-5

by Greg Pizzoli
This adorable crocodile swallows a watermelon seed. He becomes more and more afraid as he imagines what the seed might do inside him. Fun book for younger kiddos pre-K-2. 

by Germano Zullo
Illustrated by Albertine
It is difficult to summarize this book. A young boy goes an a journey of sorts to see his grandmother. It is a picture book with many layers to it. If you liked Journey by Aaron Becker, then you may like this one as well. Could be used with many different ages. 

by David Elliot
Illustrated by Holly Meade
A beautifully illustrated book of short ocean animal poems. Great for grades K-3. 

by Takayo Noda
These poems are told through a child's letters to the Earth. Accompanied by gorgeous illustrations, this book is sure to interest kiddos in grades K-4. 

Middle Grade
I finished reading....
by Cynthia Lord
 I love Cynthia Lord and her latest book is wonderful! 
She is a master story-teller. This book is a story of new friendship, loss, change and 
coming of age. I highly recommend it for grades 4 and up. 

by Jaleigh Johnson
I may need to do a full review of this complex book and even then I won't be able to do it justice. It is a dystopian fiction novel that I recommend for grades 4 and up. 

Finished listening....
by Cynthia Lord
I LOVED this book. A small island in Maine decides to have families take in children in the foster care system to increase the enrollment at their school. The state has threatened to close the school because of the low population. 
If you liked One for the Murphys this one is for you. Grades 4-8. 

Currently Reading
by Dave Burgess

Starting soon
by Natalie Lloyd
A big group of kiddos, my partner teacher and myself will be reading A Snicker of Magic together as a book club.  Excited!

What are you reading friends?

Post a Picture of Your Pile

I have posted about my piles of books before.  I thought it might be fun to periodically post a picture of a pile or two.  If you make piles like me, then you know that each pile has its own story.

Recently I have started to cover my hardcover books with jacket covers and my well-loved paperbacks with a plasticy cover hoping to make them last longer. This pile is waiting for me to cover them. 

This is my "I hope to read soon" pile.  There are two library books under the Reading Teacher journal. Maybe I'll get to them today. 

What's in your pile?

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Celebrating This Week-Winter Break

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. 

I am trying to get my blogging mojo back. It has been a while since I have been able to post regularly. This week I am celebrating my vacation. 

In Maine we have a week's vacation in February. Unless you go away to some place warm, or you love snow, February vacation can be kind of anti-climactic. Despite the TON of snow we received, my family managed to squeak out a pretty nice vacation. Here is what I am celebrating from the past week. 

1. Time
The school weeks are always rush, rush, rush.  It was so nice to ease into the days with long, lazy mornings.  There was time to talk, time to play, time to watch movies and time to read.  I love having nothing planned and just seeing what the day brings. 

2. Anniversary
Although our anniversary usually gets overshadowed by other things, my husband and I celebrated 13 years of marriage this week. Since he also works in a school (he is a school secretary at my son's school) we got to spend lots of time together this week.

3. Organization
The amount of clutter our family manages to create never ceases to amaze me. We were able to spend some time decluttering and organizing.  Molly's room got a bit of a makeover. My husband painted it two new, bright colors (she said she wanted a "happy room). We also got rid of some junk and bought her a desk. It feels like the room of a "tween" now and less like a little girl. I'm not sure how I feel about that. 

My son TJ found the paint while he was playing upstairs alone. No, this wall was not supposed to be yellow. 

4. Party!
TJ, turned 8 years old this week. I can't believe how fast time flies. It was nice to have our family get together to celebrate. His favorite gift was a new lamp with 6 different colored shades. 

5. Friends
On Friday I got to have a long, rejuvenating lunch with my two favorite nerdies, Susan Dee and Cathy Potter. It was so great to sit and talk. We got to talk about books (and a few book-related topics) for over two hours! It was heaven.  

6. A "Warm" Day
I have to admit, I do not love snow. Yes, I live in Maine where the winters are long, cold and very snowy, but I don't really enjoy winter. However on Thursday it was unseasonably warm here, reaching into the 40's, so my family and I went sledding. We had a blast! This winter has been very long and it was great to play with the kids outside. 

What are YOU celebrating this week? 

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday- Rachel Carson and her Book that Changed the World

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

Rachel Carson and Her Book 
That Changed the World
by Laurie Lawlor
Illustrated by Laura Beingessner
Published 2012 by Holiday House
Copy obtained from public library

If you don't know anything about Rachel Carson, this book gives a great overview of her journey to becoming a biologist and changing how people look at the environment. After writing two books about the ocean: The Edge of the Sea and The Sea Around Us, she began to notice disturbing trends in the environment. Determined to show the government and the American people how toxins were affecting the environment, she wrote perhaps her most important book: Silent Spring. This book detailed how poisons like pesticides were polluting the air and water and what it meant for people and all living things. The epilogue describes the changes in environmental policy were put in place after Carson's death as a result of Silent Spring.  This book is written in a manner that is appropriate for grades 2-5. 
Here are some of the most interesting tidbits:
*When she was eleven, Carson had a story published in a children's magazine. This is when she decided to become a writer.
*She was a shy person who had trouble fitting in socially at college. She would much rather go to the science lab than a party or dance.
*Rachel was inspired to become a biologist because of a biology professor named Mary Scott Skinker. 
*Although she never married, she adopted her niece's 5-year-old son. 
*She wrote Silent Spring while bedridden with cancer and never lived to see the effects of her book. 
*Sadly, Rachel Carson died at the very young age of 56. 

This book could be used.....
As part of a unit on biographies.
As part of a science/ecology unit.
To discuss how writing can change the world. 

More Information

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Mary had a Sleepy and Faux Paw by Julia Dweck

by Julia Dweck
Illustrated by Wilson Williams, Jr.
Published 2013 by Xist Publishing
Kindle Edition provided by author in exchange for my honest thoughts

This book follows the familiar pattern of the classic Mary had a Little Lamb nursery rhyme, but this time Mary has a whole different problem-Mary's sheep won't wake up. Mary tries everything to wake him including turning on bright lights, spraying water from the hose, playing loud music and taking him dancing. Each of these attempts to wake him are accompanied by illustrations that are fun and silly that will entertain young kiddos. Does she ever wake him? Sorry, I won't tell.  
As a fun activity, kids are invited to find Whiskers the mouse on each page.  The author also provides information about the true story of Mary had a little Lamb and activity pages at the end of the book. 
Kids in Preschool-Grade 1 will have a lot of fun with Mary had a Sleepy Sheep. It would be a nice addition to a nursery rhyme unit. 

Faux Paw 
by Julia Dweck Illustrated by Wilson Williams, Jr.
Published 2013 by Xist Publishing
Kindle edition provided by the author in exchange for my honest thoughts

Faux Paw is an adorable book about a little boy named Walden Bear who decided that he wanted to be a bear when he grew up. Although his teacher, Mrs. Hunter, said it was impossible, his supportive mother told him he could be whatever he wanted to be, dressed him up as a bear and sent him off to school. While at school he reads about bears, digs up the school yard while scavenging for food and "hibernates" during nap time. 
The next day the rest of the class comes all dressed up. When the teacher arrives to a classroom full of little "animals" she quits her job. She is then replaced by a teacher who lets the students be who (or what) they want to be. 
The cartoonish illustrations are really sweet. The back of the book contains a page of interesting facts about bears and an animal print matching activity. In my opinion, students in preschool-grade 2 would enjoy this book. 

Visit Julia Dweck's website for more info about her books. 

Friday, February 14, 2014

February Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway

Kindle Fire Valentines
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7" (or $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash).
All New Kindle Fire HDX 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
      Giveaway Sponsors
  Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:   Giveaway Details a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Nonfiction picture Book Wednesday- A Little Book of Sloth

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

by Lucy Cooke
Published 2013 by Margaret K Elderry Books
64 Pages
Copy obtained from public library

I wanted to hold a baby sloth in the worst way as I read this adorable book. Lucy Cooke writes about a sloth sanctuary in Costa Rica. Not only does she give interesting information about sloths, but she introduces the reader to individual sloths and makes you fall in love with them. Her writing is funny and entertaining and her compassion for sloths really shines through her narration. The illustrations are heartbreakingly adorable. Kids will absolutely love it! Read it, if not for the information, then for the cuteness. 

Here is a link to the sanctuary's website
Click here for more books about these huggable animals. 

Check out his video about the Sanctuary.

Monday, February 3, 2014

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? February 3, 2014

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

Here is what I read last week.

Picture Books
by Kadir Nelson
I have said it before and I will likely say it again, Kadir Nelson is a genius!  The story is adorable and the illustrations are fantastic!
Grades K-3

Middle Grade
by Nikki Grimes
This beautiful novel in verse is about Gabby the day dreamer.  To the frustration of her parents and her teachers, Gabby is constantly lost in her day dreams. Finally one teacher embraces the value of imagination. 
Grades 3-6  

by Jennifer A. Nielsen
Shadow Throne provides an action-packed ending to the Ascendance Trilogy. LOVED it!
Grades 4-8 

Currently Reading
by Cynthia Lord

Currently Listening
by Cynthia Lord

What Are You Reading Friends?

Saturday, February 1, 2014

February Kindle Fire HDX Giveaway

February Kindle Fire 
Win a Kindle Fire HDX, Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash ($229 value)   This is a joint AUTHOR & BLOGGER GIVEAWAY EVENT! Bloggers & Authors have joined together and each chipped in a little money towards a Kindle Fire HDX 7".
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or $229 Gift Card (International)
  Or $229 in Paypal Cash (International)
      February Sponsors
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  3. Feed Your Reader
  5. Romance Through the Ages
  7. Buried Under Romance
  9. Author Inger Iversen
  11. Jenna Does Books
  13. Author Jennifer Laurens
  15. Author Bonnie Blythe
  17. Author Bella Street
  19. The Reporter and the Girl
  21. Author Brinda Berry
  23. The Storybook Kingdom
  25. More Than a Review
  27. Bea's Book Nook
  29. Bookroom Reviews
  31. The One With The Fairy Tales
  33. MyLadyWeb: Women's History and Women Authors
  35. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  37. I Heart YA Fiction
  39. My Devotional Thoughts
  41. Kindle and Me
  43. Clever Me
  45. Every Free Chance Book Reviews
  47. Author Karey White
  49. Author Aubrey Wynne
  51. Author Kimber Leigh Wheaton
  53. A Leisure Moment
  55. Author Louise Caiola
  57. Author Christie Anderson
  59. Author Carol Malone
  61. Immortal Ink Publishing
  63. Author A. Wrighton
  65. Author Heather McCoubrey
  67. Attack of the Books!
  69. Rumor Has It
  71. Barb's Wire - eBooks & More
  73. Author Linda S. Prather
  75. Tressa's Wishful Endings
  77. Laurie Here
  79. Author Heather Gray
  81. Author Kelly Martin
  83. Author Brenda Maxfield
  85. A Southern Lady's Book Blog
  87. Author Paige Ryan
  89. Confessions of a Librarian in Training
  91. My Nook, Books and More
  93. Lori's Reading Corner
  95. Author Elizabeth Woodrum
  97. Author Kristin Wallace
  99. Author Jo Grafford
  101. Writer Wonderland
  103. Author Jaret Martens
  105. Author Christi Corbett
  107. Author Derek Rempfer
Sign up to sponsor the next Kindle Fire Giveaway:   Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). There is a second separate giveaway for bloggers who post this giveaway on their blog. See details in the rafflecopter on how to enter to win the 2nd Kindle Fire HDX 7". Ends 2/28/14 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 participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 
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