Sunday, September 23, 2018

September 23, 2018

Read what your child is reading (sometimes).
Reading is a social activity. We want to talk about what we have read with someone else who has read it too. I think I've always enjoyed reading because it is a safe way to experience what others may go through without having to experience it myself. Sharing books provides the opportunity to have conversations you might not normally have with others. Take advantage of this. Read the same books. Have the conversations. And take advantage of the family book club opportunities we will provide you.
Lisa Lesinski, the Barrington Public Library children's librarian, and I are hosting monthly family book clubs around some of the RI Children's Book Award nominees. The first "Rooster Readers" meeting is on Tuesday, October 2 from 6:30-7:30pm at the Barrington Public Library. Sign up on the BPL Kids homepage or sign up in person when you are visiting the children's room of the library. Can't make this one? Be on the lookout for more opportunities throughout the school year both at our school and the public library. 
Screenshot from the Barrington Public Library Kids' page

Do you love dogs? Have you ever wondered what they are really thinking? This may be the series for you. Told entirely from the dog's perspective, you can feel how much author Victoria J. Coe adores dogs and their humans. Our library has all three titles in the series. Fenway and Hattie in the Wild, the fourth installment, comes out in May 2019.

Fenway and Hattie (Fenway and Hattie #1), (2016)
by Victoria J. Coe
Goodreads summary link

This week's featured RICBA title is  the first in a popular graphic novel series. 

Nightmare Escape (Dream Jumper #1), (2016)
by Greg Grunberg, Lucas Turnbloom, and Guy Major

Goodreads summary link

Gary D. Schmidt is an author you want to meet and hear speak at the RI Festival of Children's Books and Authors on October 13th. He has written so many incredible books. The one I'd like to highlight won the Newbery Honor in 2008. I listened to this one on my commute years ago when my son was a toddler. I'll never forget him laughing along with me when the rat came through the classroom ceiling. This historical fiction read is definitely worth a read (or listen)!

The Wednesday Wars, (2007
By Gary D. Schmidt

Goodreads summary link

I am ordering this book as a Mock Sibert title. It shows how two people with passion and vision worked to achieve their goal.

Otis and Will Discover the Deep: The Record-Setting Dive of the Bathysphere, (2018)
words by Barb Rosenstock and pictures by Katherine Roy

Goodreads summary link

The Thing That Lou Couldn't Do, (2017)
by Ashley Spires

Goodreads summary link

Sunday, September 16, 2018

September 16, 2018

Set a personal goal to read more widely.
Donalyn Miller, educator and author of books The Book Whisperer and Reading in the Wild, and co-author of the new Game Changer! Book Access for All Kids is one of my heroes. She has informed my teaching in immeasurable ways. In fact, she said one of my favorite quotes to support last week's tip: Honor your child's reading identity. "We complain that kids don't read then bemoan their choices when they do."
Donalyn Miller created the 40 Book Challenge as a way to get her students to read more widely and have successful reading experiences. We all get stuck in reading ruts and this is a great way to guide us and bring us out of our comfort zones. It is not a contest. In fact, for Open House this week I put out 40 Book Challenge grids with the 2019 RI Children's Book Award list of nominees on the back for some solid recommendations. Students would notice the display, take a paper, and say, "What do we get if we finish this?" My response: "You'll be a smarter, better person than when you started."

This challenge is not necessarily about finishing the whole grid. It is about having more successful reading experiences than the last school year. It is about providing choices for our children. The reading part is not a choice. What you read is the choice. It is about guiding our readers towards more choices. It is about trying a new genre and hopefully realizing you like it more than you had anticipated. This grid is just an example. You could let your children/students customize it based on a genre conversation.
When you build a culture of reading in your classroom, in your school, in your home, you motivate readers and give them a safe place to stretch themselves and try something new. It would be extra awesome if your children/students saw their parents/teachers challenging themselves to read more widely as well. I'm happy to send grids to you if you email me! I do fear that I'm not giving Donalyn Miller's idea justice. To learn more, I highly recommend reading The Book Whisperer. Here is a blog post by Donalyn Miller where she revisits the 40 Book Challenge.

Amazing news! Stuart Gibbs is coming to An Unlikely Story, Jeff Kinney's bookstore less than an hour away, on October 5th for an author event celebrating the release of his latest book in this wildly popular series.When you're on the site, I recommend signing up for email notifications. They always have incredible authors doing events.

Spy School Goes South (Spy School #6), comes out October 1
by Stuart Gibbs
Goodreads summary link

There is no book trailer for Spy School Goes South but here's one for Evil Spy School to give you a feel for this series.

Wow, this one stole a lot of our hearts last year. I'm so glad to see it on the RICBA list!

Her Right Foot, (2017)
words by Dave Eggers and pictures by Shawn Harris
Goodreads summary link

This week's featured festival illustrator has won the Pura Belpre award five times! Her latest picture book just debuted on September 4th and is getting so much praise. I cannot wait to add it to our library collection. 

Dreamers, (2018)
by Yuyi Morales
Goodreads summary link

We don't own this yet but we hope to get a copy soon. In fact, we are starting to think about our "Sibert Smackdown" nominee list and this could be a contender. Want a peek into the "Sibert Smackdown"? Check out this link from Melissa Stewart's blog. 

Saving Fiona: The Story of the World's Most Famous Baby Hippo, (2018)
by Thane Maynard
Goodreads summary link

Fifth grader Samara created a terrific book trailer using Adobe Spark. She recommends last May's 
Kids Read Across Rhode Island choice. 

The First Rule of Punk, (2017)
by Celia C. Perez
Goodreads summary link

Samara's Book Trailer

Sunday, September 9, 2018

September 9, 2018

It's an exciting week! We have gathered and trained our amazing library volunteers and this week we will be up and running for book check out! And great news: the teachers who have Monday and Wednesday library classes and I worked out a schedule this week to allow every child the opportunity to check out a book.

Audiobooks are not cheating. 
They are reading with your ears. 
Going on a road trip? Want a story the family can share? Have a child who is resistant to reading? Try audiobooks. With a public library card you can easily access audiobooks through Overdrive eZone. It's another way for your child to fall in love with reading. Here's an article that lists the benefits way better than I could. 

I love this line by Penny Kittle: "The difference between a reader and a non reader is a plan." I try hard to provide opportunities for our readers to make a reading plan by giving them time to explore new titles while creating a "TBR" (to be read) list and recommending titles through these weekly posts. Book series are a great way to ensure readers have a plan. When a person gets invested in the characters of a series, they explore new problems and circumstances with the comfort of characters they already know. This week's series spotlight is for our readers who enjoy action, adventure and humor!

The Genius Files series by Dan Gutman

Mission Unstoppable (Genius Files #1), (2011)

Goodreads summary link

Miss Lisa, the new head librarian of the children's department at Barrington Public Library, and I are teaming up to do a series of Adult and Child book clubs around the RI Children's Book Award nominees. I believe we are calling it "Rooster Readers."
How it works:
1. An adult family member and child sign up to take part in the discussion.
2. An adult family member and child secure a copy of the book title through the public library or through an avenue of their own.
3. An adult family member and child read the book in preparation of the meeting.
4. An adult family member accompanies their child to the first meeting from 6:30-7:30pm at the Barrington Public Library on Tuesday, October 2nd. 
The first book we are meeting to discuss is the graphic novel I am highlighting below.  If you are interested in taking part, please check the Barrington Public Library's website for details and to sign up.  (If you can't find the link just yet please give Miss Lisa a few days to get it up on the site). 

The Time Museum, (2017)
by Matthew Loux
Goodreads summary here

Okay, here's the news I've been bursting to tell you since last Spring...Graphic novelist Kazu Kibuishi will be coming in from California to the Book Festival on Saturday, October 13th. 
But wait! There's more!
Kazu Kibuishi will be coming to our school for an author visit on Thursday, October 11th! 
Our readers have been (not so) patiently waiting for the eighth Amulet book entitled Supernova to come out and they don't have long now. It will be out on September 25th. 

Supernova (Amulet #8), Coming Soon! September 25, 2018
by Kazu Kibuishi

Goodreads summary link

There is no book trailer for Supernova yet, but I thought you'd like get a feel for Kazu's studio.

This new nonfiction book by Jess Keating is part of the batch of books I'm ordering in the next month or so. In the meantime, animal fans can read Pink is for Blobfish, What Makes a Monster?, and Shark Lady by this dynamic zoologist turned author.  If she sounds interesting to you too, check out her website.

Cute as an Axolotl: Discovering the World's Most Adorable Animals (The World of Weird Animals) , (2018)
 by Jess Keating 

Kirkus Review link

This week fifth grader Ben has created a book trailer using PowToon. He has done an outstanding job and serves as a good model for others. I sent an email to parents last week explaining my book trailer criteria as well as five different ways students can create book trailers. Please share that criteria sheet with your children because I'd love to get students recommending to other students each week.

One Dead Spy (Nathan Hale's Hazardous Tales #1), (2012)
by Nathan Hale

Goodreads summary link

Saturday, September 1, 2018

September 2, 2018

The first week's two days of school went by in a hot and humid haze. This weekend's weather has been just beautiful to rest and recover. I know the heat is coming back next week but hopefully this is the last of it. On the bright side, I've worked out my schedule so that I will get to see EVERY class next week and I'm so excited to get started!

Honor your child's reading identity.

I like this research tidbit so much that I made it part of my email signature. Let your child decide what he/she wants to read. Even if it’s not a book or a genre you would choose, and even if your child reads a book multiple times, let your child decideWould you want to be told what you have to read? I'm a parent and have to remind myself to walk the walk as well. Here's a personal reflection of mine doing just that.

Star Wars: Jedi Academy series

The Principal Strikes Back (Jedi Academy #6), 2018
by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Goodreads summary here

Watch the Jedi Academy book trailers here

Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, (2017)
by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Goodreads summary here

There's nothing better than when a book comes out by an author who visits your school. Melissa Stewart has been visiting our fourth graders during Reading Week in April for a few years now. She is passionate about nonfiction text, and has helped so many educators start to think more deeply about the importance of nonfiction for all readers. 
The only thing better than a book coming out by an author who visits your school is a book trailer made in one of your friend's classrooms! Massachusetts educator Lesley Burnap and her third graders helped Melissa Stewart to create what you are about to watch!

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers, (2018)
words by Melissa Stewart and pictures by Stephanie Laberis

Goodreads summary here

Barbara O'Connor is an author who visited our school for over a decade. She has since moved to North Carolina. However, the distance does not dim our love for this beloved author. She has a brand new book out that Emma, one of our former HMS students and now middle school student, gifted to the students of Hampden Meadows. What a great way to be remembered! We will all benefit from Emma's thoughtfulness and generosity.

Wonderland, (2018)
by Barbara O'Connor

Goodreads summary here

There is no book trailer for Wonderland at the moment. Sorry!

We are very lucky to have a Kid Lit Festival practically in our backyard every October. I will be highlighting an author or illustrator who will be there each week leading up to the event. This week I have the pleasure of introducing an author whose books always tug at my heartstrings. This next book is one of my front runners for the 2019 Newbery award. It is the first book I've read in which I desperately wanted to have the main character as a student in my class. 

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle, (2018)
by Leslie Connor

Goodreads summary here

We end with an incredible new fourth grader named Kate who has created a book trailer to recommend a mystery series she really enjoys. I hope to end each post with a student created book trailer. I will be sending out a separate email with some ways children can make them. In the meantime...enjoy!

Mystery of the Ivory Charm (Nancy Drew #13), 1974
Carolyn Keene

Goodreads summary here