So summer vacation started TODAY! I had a completely amazing day AND I got to start on my summer reading! I’m setting a challenge for myself to read a book every day. Want to join me?
So here’s how I started. My best girl friend recommended a book to me. I started reading it a few days ago and I woke up early this morning thinking about it so I got up and finished it! It was a really interesting story about a man who runs a bookstore. He didn’t really want to run a bookstore but his wife thinks he would be a great bookseller, so they have a book store in a small community in an island off the coast of the north eastern United States. Unfortunately, his wife is killed in a car accident and he’s left to run a store he didn’t really want anyway. There are a series of very surprising (but not unbelievable) events that are connected by quotes from famous short stories. It was definitely a grown up book and such a fun book to read.
The second one was a picture book (it’s easy to read a lot of books if they are short!). This one is not yet out in print-I read it as an advanced readers copy from a group called Netgalley. It’s called “I am not a number” by Jenny Kay Dupuis. It’s based on a part of Jenny’s grandmother’s life story. When Jenny’s grandmother, Irene, was a little girl, she was forcibly removed from her family (along with her two brothers) and sent to a boarding school as part of the Canadian government’s effort to eliminate the Native American (they call it First Nation) culture. The boarding school was one horror after another, including physical abuse. It does have a happy ending. But this probably isn’t a book for little kids-it is a picture book and the text is very straightforward and not too complicated, but the issues raised are big. This is going to be a great one for our unit on social issues.
I really hope you’re going to join me in my reading challenge. I’d love to hear from you! If you are interested in being a guest blogger and having your words here, please send me a message!
We are very excited that author Henry Cole is coming to visit S D Spady on April 13! Everybody at school is going to get a chance to hear him speak and we can’t wait! If you aren’t sure who Henry Cole is, let me give you a little background.
Henry is a terrific illustrator, in addition to being a great writer. He’s illustrated lots of books with other authors as well as writing and illustrating his own. I have two favorites so far. My first favorite is “Unspoken”. It’s a wordless picture book about a girl living during Civil War times. It seems like it would be a book for really little kids (it doesn’t even have any words!) but the story is so big that I don’t think little kids would get all of it. When I read it with bigger kids, they are so excited to make connections to the story and discover things in the pictures. It’s really a great book.
Here he is book talking “Unspoken”.
My new favorite book is called “On Meadowview Street”. It’s about a little girl who moves into a new house on Meadowview street and finds that there’s not really a meadow and not much a view. She’s out in the yard with her dad one day and notices a flower and asks him not to cut it down. He complies and she ropes off part of the yard. The next week, there is another flower and then another until pretty soon, they don’t need the lawn mower any more. The family starts adding pieces to offer homes to more animals. It’s a lovely tribute to the idea that we can have nature anywhere. I know my kids are going to love this one.
And here he is drawing a picture of Celeste from “A Nest for Celeste”.
We are going to start participating in an exciting event called March Madness! Just like the college basketball tournament, there will be rounds of play, with one final winner, but our contestants will be books!
Here’s how it’s going to work for us. There will be two different brackets, one for picture books and one for middle grade chapter books. The bigger kids can participate in both brackets. The littler kids will need to stick with the picture books. There are two lists for each bracket-one fantasy fiction, one realistic fiction. On March 1st, the organization that started the event will release the list in order of seeding (just like the basketball event!) and we’ll start having the vote offs. In the meantime, we’re going to be reading the books so we’ll be able to start voting (or maybe caucusing!) to see who the winners are at are school. No matter what, it’s going to be a lot of fun!
The book fair is here at Spady, YAY!!! The kids will all have a chance to come and have a look at the books during the media time this week and the parents have an opportunity to come during our open house this week. Here are some of the completely awesome books that are available.
The first one is a picture book. It’s called “I Wish You More” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and illustrated by Tom Litchenheld. It’s a very pretty picture book about wishing positive intent for someone else. It’s full of little truisms like “I wish you more will than hill.” or “I wish you more Woo Hoo! than Whoa!”. What’s really great about this one is that you can read this one a million times for lots of different reasons. One teacher I showed it to wanted to give it as a gift to her pregnant daughter. One wanted to give it to her partner on their five year anniversary. One kindergarten teacher looked at it and said it would be great for teaching beginning sounds and another teacher thought it would make a great mentor text for writing. See what I mean? Everybody I’ve shown it to loves it. You will too.
The second one is a graphic novel and they only have it in a paperback copy at my book fair, but I’m going to need to get in hardback for my library, because this one is going to get checked out A LOT. It’s called “Sunny side up” by Jennifer Holm and Matthew Holm. They are a brother and sister team that have written a series of graphic novels called Babymouse and Squish. The kids LOVE those and this new one, while more serious, they are also going to love. In fact, I hauled it out at my fourth grade book club on Friday and just flipped through the pages so the kids could see it and they started moaning “Please…. must read….” Music to my ears! The pictures are gorgeous and the story is awesome. Sunny is 11 in 1976 and is going to spend the summer with her grandpa in a retirement community. She had big plans to spend her summer with her best friend at the shore, but because of a cataclysmic event (which is alluded to through the book but finally told almost at the end) she ends up with grandpa. Grandpa’s idea of big fun is different from hers and kids are in short supply in the 55 and older community where he lives. It’s a great story and did I mention how awesome the art work is? Full color and very eye catching. Don’t miss this one.
The last one is historical fiction and it’s another one I’m going to need to get in hardcover because I can already tell it’s going to get a lot of play. It’s called “A Night Divided” by Jennifer Neilsen. Jennifer Neilsen wrote one of my favorite series-a fairy tale series- that started with “The False Prince”. Her books move at a super fast pace so they are extremely hard to put down. She also manages to write about some of the most interesting characters you’d ever want to meet. In this case, she’s telling the story of Gerta who lives in Berlin in 1961. She has two older brothers and a mom and dad who love her. Her parents and older brothers lived through World War 2 (she was a post war baby) and are trying to make a life in eastern Berlin. Her dad believes that the Russians are not taking the country in the right direction and is concerned enough that he wants to go to the west. Mom wants to stay (she has a good job and her mom lives out in the countryside). Dad decides that he and one of the older brothers will go to the west and see if they can find a place to live and jobs and be back in a day or two to get everyone else. Except that overnight, the Russians build the Berlin wall. This book shows what it must have been like living near the wall and some of the things that happened. I think the kids are going to love it.
So how’s your summer reading going? I’m a little behind where I thought I’d be… I’m only on 20 so far and as of today we have had 23 days of summer vacation. I’m not discouraged though because I’ve been reading some really great books. If you like chapter books, you should totally look for this one, called “Circus Mirandus”. It’s about a boy named Micah who lives with his grandfather. His grandfather is really sick and actually, it doesn’t look good. However, the grandfather seems to think that there is a chance for a miracle because he was promised one from the Lightbender in the Circus Mirandus. I loved this one. It has magic and I loved the characters and I loved the writing. It was a terrific story.
If you liked “Lions of Little Rock” by Kristin Levine, you should look for her other book called “The Best Bad Luck I ever had”. It’s set in Alabama in 1918 and the main character, Dit, is a boy hoping for a new friend. There is a new postmaster coming to town and they’ve heard the postmaster has a son about Dit’s age. It turns out the postmaster DOES have a child, but she’s a girl and they are African Americans. This book had some great language (awesome similes!) and I loved the character of Dit and his new friend, Emma. There are some very interesting pieces about the civil rights movement as well as the influenza outbreak. It was terrific.
And if you are looking for a picture book, you might look for one called “Red: A Crayon’s Story” by Michael Hall. This one is a funny one about a crayon that has been mislabeled. The crayon is blue but it says red and although it tries to be red, it’s really blue. I liked this one a lot.
Today we celebrated all the reading we have done with the kids who used iPods to read this year. The wonderful Ms. Marilyn supplied donuts and juice and we all came together to talk about the great books we read. It was so much fun! I’m looking forward to seeing everyone in the fall so we can talk about all the amazing reading we did over the summer! Thanks Ms. Marilyn!
There is a really awesome website you might want to know about it. It’s called GoNoodle and it’s sponsored by the Miami Children’s hospital. It has lots of different videos with positive messages and opportunity to move in lots of different ways. It’s really fun and there are different kinds of activities for lots of different kinds of kids. They are also going to have something called Camp GoNoodle this summer that you might like to look at it. Here’s a link.
Wahoo! We’re having another free book fair this year! That’s right, the Children’s services Council of Palm Beach county has donated books so everyone at S D Spady Montessori Elementary (and all the other schools in Palm Beach County) will get to take home a free book for the summer! What an awesome way to kick off our summer reading!
Our free book fair is going to be on Monday, May 11. During their fine arts time, all the kids will get to come and pick out a book. They will also get a book mark, a sticker so they can write their name on the inside of the book and a bag to put the book in. We are so looking forward to the free book fair once again! Thanks Children’s Services Council!
We’re having such a great time with the book fair! It’s always lots of fun to see all the new books and what could be better than new books?
The book fair is going on through the end of the week (February 28), which is a bit unusual for us. The book fair will be open during Spady Fest on Saturday, February 28! So if you didn’t get a chance to come during the week, you can totally come on Saturday! See you at the fair!
Did you ever want to meet the author of your favorite book? We have a really awesome opportunity here in South Florida, next week is the Miami Book Fair. It was started by Mitch Kaplan, who owns a completely amazing independent bookstore called Books and Books. He started the book fair as an opportunity to get authors to come and connect with their fans and it’s grown to be one of the biggest book fairs in the nation. That means we have access to some stupendous authors for the price of admission to the book fair! Some of the authors you might like to hear are Kazu Kibuishi (the author of the Amulet series), Katherine Applegate (the author of the Newbery award winner The One and Only Ivan), or Tony DiTerlizzi (the author of the Search for Wondla and the Spiderwick Chronicles) as well as fun activities for kids.
The Miami Book fair is this weekend-November 19-21. Here’s the website Check it out, it’s terrific!