Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!

I finally finished Finding Serendipity this week.  I love this book not only for the action-packed adventure, but also for the strong connections to becoming a writer.  I tabbed many pages for strong examples of Words of the Wiser for writers.  I plan to recommend this book to teachers at our next children's literature study group!

I was surprised to see in the author's note that Angelica Banks is actually not one writer, but two - Heahter Rose and Danielle Wood!  I hope to read A Week Without Tuesday later this spring!

Goodreads Summary:
Something is broken in the land of story. Real and imaginary worlds are colliding—putting everything and everyone in grave peril. Tuesday and Baxterr, at the request of the Librarian, and with the help of Vivienne Small, venture to find the Gardener—the one person who can stop this catastrophe. On their way, they'll meet friends and foes, and discover strengths they didn't know they had. Will they be able to save the land of story? 

New Book Purchase
This beautifully illustrated picture book tells the story of Anne Frank from the perspective of the tree outside her window.  Using this text as a read aloud will certainly inspire students to ask questions about Anne and World War II.  The Tree in the Courtyard is a wonderful mentor text for word choice and personification (or anthropomorphism).  One of the features that will make the greatest impression on readers is the explanation in the Afterword of how saplings from this chestnut tree have been planted in a number of American locations that are noted for freedom and tolerance.  I think this is a beautiful text to pair with a biography of Anne Frank or to include in a unit of study on World War II.  I look forward to sharing it with teachers!

 Recent Notice and Note Read Alouds

I was excited to share Last Stop on Market Street this week in a few third grade classrooms to launch the Words of the Wiser signpost.  I hope to craft a blog post soon to share some classroom examples of my recent work with the Notice and Note signposts in third and fourth grade classrooms.

I've been a huge fan of Wolfie the Bunny since last spring!  I pulled it back out this week to share in classrooms this week for the Again and Again signpost.  I'm sure it will be a bit hit!

 Currently Reading
I was hooked by this book in the very first chapter! You don't need to be a dog lover to fall head over heels in love with Fenway, the energetic Jack Russell terrier.  I love that this story is told from his perspective!

 On Deck
I've seen rave reviews for this title, so I moved it to the top of my TBR stack!

Monday, March 21, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!

Favorite New Picture Books
There are so many things I love about The Bear Report!  First of all, I think it's an outstanding mentor text for informative writing in the primary grades.  Sophie is struggling with a homework assignment asking her to write facts about polar bears when Olafur arrives in her living room.  As they explore the Arctic together, Sophie learns first hand many facts about polar bears.  I love that the text is told through a conversation between Sophie and Olafur.  The Bear Report would be an outstanding choice for encouraging students to look closely at the illustrations to gain a deeper understanding of the text.  I can't wait to share this beautiful book with our primary teachers!

I've seen this title included on many lists as a recommended read aloud title for encouraging a growth mindset in our students.  I could not agree more!  I love that it reminds our students that learning a new skill requires courage, grace and determination.

Recommended Early Reader Series
Grace and I have been checking out lots of early reader series in the last few weeks.  Here are some of our new favorites!
We loved that this book included three short stories.  It's a perfect transition for Grace, as she needed to make predictions and inferences in each story.  She also loved the characters!  I hope Eve Bunting continues to add titles to Frog and Friends!

Bink and Gollie is also organized as a collection of three short stories.  Because each story includes a great deal of dialogue between the two main characters, Grace and I took turns reading the lines of the characters, which was a great way to practice fluency!  We loved the personalities and shenanigans of Bink and Gollie!

We are huge fans of Elephant and Piggie books, so it's no surprise that we are now in love with 
Ballet Cat!

 Currently Reading
I've been working my way through this incredible adventure for the past few weeks.  Our schedule at home has been so busy that I haven't had as much time to read as I would like.  I know that middle grade readers would love the adventure and strong characters in Finding Serendipity.  

My goal is to finish it this week and begin working my way through my growing book stack!  I'm not sure where to begin, but I think Fenway and Hattie and Maybe a Fox will be moving to the top of the pile!

Monday, March 7, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for hosting this meme!

Unfortunately, I did not get my books posted last week, so here's what I've been reading during the last 2 weeks!

I would love to use this book in classrooms as a mentor text for personification!  I'm sure that many children will relate to the dark in the closet, the dark in the basement and of course, the dark in our bedroom!  One night Laszlo meets the dark when the lightbulb in his nightlight burns out.  Jon Klassen's illustrations add to the perspective in this great text!

I love every book in the Ordinary People Who Change the World series.  I am excited to use this text in a fourth grade classroom this week to launch the Notice and Note signpost of Words of the Wiser.  I think students will have a lot to say about the use of our power to lead and help others.  I plan to look closely at a few pages in the text, especially the last page which states the wise words, "When others see your example, they'll stand with you.  It's the only way the world ever gets changed.  Together."  I hope to have students connect these Words of the Wiser to their own lives!

I am a huge Melissa Stewart fan!  I absolutely love the text and layout of this book.  Each page has a beautiful simile about the many uses of feathers, as well as a text box describing an example of a bird using its feathers for each specific purpose.  I love the scrapbook design, complete with pins, decorative edges and clear tape!  The labeled sketches are absolutely beautiful. I would love to share this book with students as a mentor text for word choice.  

Out of the Woods is a memoir based on a true story from the author's grandfather.  Set in the early 1900s, Antonio worked at the hotel his mother managed.  One day a great fire spread through the area and forced all of the people of Gowganda into the lake to safety.  The author described how all of the animals of the forest joined the townspeople in the water as the fire tore through the forest.  The beautiful illustrations and moving story make for a great read aloud.  I'm so glad that our primary school librarian shared it with me last week!

I can see why this book gets rave reviews!  I love the pairing of beautiful poems with informational sidebars about winter.  The poems represent a variety of narrative styles from first to third person, which would be neat to share with students.  I would love to use any of the poems in this book during writer's workshop, especially when studying word choice and figurative language.

I can't wait to share this book with the teachers at our primary school!  Each page includes a letter to an animal with a question and the animal's informative response.  Creature Features is a fun read aloud, but it is also a great mentor text for informative voice.  I'm sure students would love to use this structure to create their own informative writing piece!

My daughter, Grace, and I finished the second book in Ellen Potter's Piper Green series.  We loved Too Much Good Luck as much as Piper Green and the Fairy Tree.  Piper is hilarious as she struggles with a new student and a personality conflict with her teacher.  I am highly recommending this series to teachers in our primary school! 

I finished The War That Saved My Life last week.  What a beautiful book that pulled on my heart strings until the very end.  I was anxious to discover if Ada and Jamie would stay with Susan in the end. I could not agree more with Shelia Turnage's review, " I love Ada's bold heart, keen wit, and amazingly fresh point of view.  Her story was riveting.  I was with her every step of the way."

Currently Reading

I received an advanced copy of A Week Without Tuesday at nErDcamp Northern New England in January, so I decided that I needed to get my hands on Finding Serendipity first.  I am loving Tuesday's quest to find her mother in the place that stories come from.  I reread page 81 a few times savoring every word.  The passage when the librarian explains to Tuesday how writing really works would be perfect for close reading.  I absolutely love the message that the magic of writing a story comes from within the author!

Can't Wait to Read
This week I won a Twitter book give away from Kali Wallace (@kaliphyte) for one of the titles from the @TheSweet16s! It was a tough choice because I would like to read them all, but I picked Fenway and Hattie! I can't wait to read this book and share it with students and teachers!