Friday, November 14, 2014

Picture Book Month Smackdown Tuesday, Nov. 18th

I am a Picture Book Month Ambassador. Which means I get to read lots and lots of wonderful picture books and read some aloud to kids and in general have free license to shoot my mouth off about how much I love picture books and how they are great lesson starters.

When my principal put me in charge of morning announcements this year she did not realize that I had been wishing for this very thing to come true. I seize my chance to start morning book talks along with the weather report and daily reminders. The great thing one got upset about my little book commercials, in fact the reverse was true. Teachers and students begin to ask me "Do you know that book you talked about this morning about counting monkeys?" or "May I borrow that book about that biography, Black Elk that you talked about this morning?" I am so glad teachers and students are getting these micro book reviews each morning. What surprises me is that I never seem to run out of ideas for presenting books for the day. I love my library and try to squeeze in as much time for cataloging new books each week as I can possibly mange.

Join us Tuesday, November 18th 12:30 CST/1:30 EST for a collaborative Picture Book Month Smackdown. The following educators will be joining us along with their picture book loving students to share favorite book titles and brief summaries. Here is the PBSmackdown link or watch below.
Twitter hashtag is #pbsmkdwn

Participating schools include:
Andy Plemmons, school librarian in Athens, Georgia
Jenny Lussier, school librarian in Durham, Connecticut
Cathy Potter, school librarian in Falmouth, Maine
Kathy Kaldenberg, school librarian in Solon, Iowa
Shawna Ford, school librarian in Weatherford, Texas
Julee Murphy, school librarian in Corpus Christi, Texas
Christina Brennan, school librarian in Pennsylvania

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Monkey Fun! It's Monday, What are You Reading? November 10, 2014


It's Monday! What are you Reading is a meme began by Sheila at Book Journeys as a way to share what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and what is in store for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading. I first learned about it from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki of Unleashing Readers and have become a regular linked up blog. Thanks #PLN

Picture Book Month Day 10 theme:  Numbers                   View the calendar here  

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. Visit the Picture Book Month website    

Count the Monkeys is all sorts of fun and children and adults alike love the surprises on every page and most especially the ending. What a delightful book. Counting couldn't be more fun! 

Count the Monkeys on this page
Count the Monkey Ideas on Pinterest

These are a few of the books I have been working with students with this past week.

First a book with no pictures and then books with no words.

Writer B. J. Novak has created a book kids love to hear read aloud. Students from three years old to sixth grade students have begged for me to re-read this book again and again. I even enlisted the art teacher so they could hear another adult's reading performance. The book literally has no pictures but its filled with humorous text instructing the reader to read precisely what is written. Those are the rules, you must read the text exactly as it is written. 

We also explored several wordless picture books with students reading together in small groups and sharing their interpretations.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney

Simply beautifully illustrated.

Chicken and Cat Clean Up by Sara Varon

My students are big fans of Sara Varon's books. Bake Sale, Chicken and Cat, Rabbit and Robot, and  Odd Duck.

Mr. Wuffles by David Wiesner 

One of my favorite books. It's so cool to try to figure out the alien language in this wonderful nearly wordless book. 

Unspoken by Henry Cole

This is a beautifully illustrated wordless picture book and the story is so clearly evident in every page. I find it incredibly rewarding to use this book with students because they really get into the story and their interpretation of the illustrations.

 YA Books I am reading this week:

 Emerald Green by Kerstin Gier                                 If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Happy Reading!

Friday, November 7, 2014

Picture Book Month Day 7: Bubba the Cowboy Prince

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative 
that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. 
Visit the Picture Book Month website 
Picture Book Month Day 7 theme: Royalty
View the calendar here

Ye-haw! I love a good fractured Texas fairy tale. Helen Ketteman is the champion of this genre in my book. She has a series of fantastic Texas themed stories. I think you would enjoy Bubba the Cowboy Prince. This book definitely requires the use of a heavy Texas accent. Happy reading!

Bubba is bossed around the family ranch by his wicked step daddy and his nasty stepbrothers, Dwayne and Milton. Bubba never complains, though. He’s a real cowboy – tough as leather and cute as a cow’s ear!

When Miz Lurleen, the purtiest rancher in Texas, decides to throw a ball to find herself a feller, Bubba has to stay at home. “You smell more like the cattle than the cattle do,” taunt Dwayne and Milton.

But with the help of Bubba’s Fairy God-cow, and a little Texas magic, Miz Lurleen finds the cowboy Prince she’s always dreamed of. With it’s western language and humor, the Texas retelling of Cinderella will really rope in the readers.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Picture Book Month Day 6: Ocean

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative 
that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. 
Visit the Picture Book Month website 
Picture Book Month Day 6 theme:Ocean
View the calendar here


Take a PEEK inside Down, Down, Down

“More humans have walked on the moon than have visited the deepest spot in the sea.” pg.1
This beautifully detailed picture book begins with a view from outer space looking down on our blue planet home and allowing us to imagine ourselves as part of a deep sea diving team traveling down through the deepest depths of an ocean world. Readers are introduced to three zones of the western Pacific Ocean and the life that lives within them. With every page turn, the background colors deepen to darker colors just as light struggles to reach the deeper depths of each zone. The deeper the depths, the more beautifully terrifying creatures lurk within a world hidden from human eyes.

Visit the creator of Down, Down, Down -Steve Jenkins

author & Illustrator Steve Jenkins biography

diagramWeaveFish_small.jpgOcean Literature connections-activities, books, kid friendly web sites:

Ocean animals printables
Origami sea creatures activities

Quick and easy project: Weave a Fish

Interactive activities:

Visit Cousteau Kids for ocean adventure activities. (Cousteau Kids Online)

Visit Ocean Life for Kids Interactive ocean life learning activities 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Picture Book Month Day 5: Seasons

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative 
that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. 
Visit the Picture Book Month website 
Picture Book Month Day 5 theme: Seasons
View the calendar here

Leaf Trouble and Other Colorful Tales
Autumn is my favorite time of year-not too hot, not too cold. There is only one wee problem. I live in a area that is abundant in palm trees and very few trees with leaves that change colors. Thank goodness for all the wonderful picture books that let me live out my dream of beautifully Autumn colored leaves falling into gentle crunchy piles ready for kids to pounce in. 
Leaf Trouble
Author: Jonathan Emmett
Illustrator: Caroline Jayne Church
Publisher: The Chicken House
Publisher description: When Pip Squirrel wakes up one morning to find his home tree fallin to pieces, he goes nuts! Scampering about frantically, he starts gathering up leaves in colorful pawfuls.. But try as he may to stick them back on their branches, it's hopeless: They keep coming off. It's only when his wise, reassuring mama explains what happens in autumn that Pip begins to understand why...all the leaves keep falling down!

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf
Author and Illustrator: Lois Ehlert
Publisher: Harcourt Inc.
Publisher description: This is the story of a sugar maple tree and the child who planted it. As they grow up together, the child watches the tree through all the seasons. Ehlert uses watercolor collage, leaf-shaped die cuts, and pieces of actual seeds, fabric, wire, and roots in this rich introduction to the life of a tree.
Fantastic Fall Lesson plans and activities
Scholastic Seasonal Changes lesson plan and printables
Artsy Leaf Rubbings activity
Leaf Man 
Author and Illustrator: Lois Ehlert
Publisher: Harcourt, Inc. 
Fall has come, the wind is gusting, and Leaf Man is on the move. Is he drifting east, over the marsh and ducks and geese? Or is he heading west, above the orchards, prairie meadows, and spotted cows? No one's quite sure, but this much is certain: A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows.
Leaf Man sample pages
Leaf Man teacher guide

Season Activities for younger children:

I love the colors of Fall and these Fall Sensory Jars from Blogmemom look great and offer teachable learning moments, 

Anyone who knows me, knows how much I love kid's hand-print art. I have dozens of my own children's hand-prints in cookbooks, favorite novels, and hanging on the walls. I don't think any art is more beautiful than watching your child develop and grow through the years. I like this example from Teach Kids Art

Monday, November 3, 2014

Picture Book Month Day 3: Insects

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative 
that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. 
Visit the Picture Book Month website

Picture Book Month Day 3 theme: Insects

Martina the Beautiful Cockroach by Carmen Deedy
Author-Carmendeedy's web site

Martina is a wonderful book that I have used in my library lessons. It is fun and an interesting folktale plus it has cockroaches. How cool is that?

Click here to For a Martina Activity: Take a look at the "other side of the story."
Students can write a story from the point of view of Martina’s rejected suitors, using this book activity.

Learn a little Spanish vocabulary from Martina
Un poquito de espanol Martina style

A taste of Martina's Cuba

Click on the picture below to learn about real Cuban cockroaches.

Click here to explore Yucky Roach World!

Yummy cockroaches

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Picture Book Month Day 2: Elephants

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative 
that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. 
Visit the Picture Book Month website  
Picture Book Month Day 2 theme: Elephants

My pick for day two is a book our art teacher introduced to me. Elmer the Elephant. 

Elmer the elephant is quite a different type of elephant. Instead of a gray hide, his skin is a patchwork of colorful colors. He is also an upbeat, friendly, lively sort of fellow but lately he is suspecting that his elephant family might be laughing at him. Elmer devises a plan to hide his colorful exterior by covering himself in elephant berries which makes him look just like the other elephants. Elmer soon finds out that our outward appearance cannot hide our inner selves and he rejoices in becoming himself again. This is a wonderful teaching book and is ripe for connection activities.

Elmer the Elephant projects on Pinterest

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Picture Book Month Day 1: Travel-Oh, the Places You Will Go!

Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative 
that celebrates the print picture book during the month of November. 
Visit the Picture Book Month website  

Picture Book Month is here again and I have been looking forward to it for a long time. This is a wonderful chance for older students to pull PBs off the shelves again and enjoy the type of books they enjoyed so much just a few years ago.

The wonderful thing about picture books is that many have become more sophisticated and in-depth in their storytelling. I loved and adored Go Dog Go by P. D. Eastman when I was a kid and now I am enjoying wonderful read alouds like You Will Be My Friend By Peter Brown. I love books that give kids a chance to offer their opinions and help them learn a valuable life lessons.

We are living in a wonderful age of picture books. There are so many talented writers and illustrators creating brilliant books. I only wish the publishing industry was experiencing more success and profitability. I can't bear to think of how many terrific books that have not been published due to lack of funding.

Here is my pick the first day. It is a book that offers so many possibilities and encouragement.
Look at the daily themes here: Picture Book Month Calendar
Day 1 theme: Travel
Oh, the Places You'll Go! by Dr. Seuss