Weekly Reading: Jan 26, 2016

Week 3 of this year’s READolution! Below are the books I read for the first time ever this past week. Cheerful reading, y’all!

Picture Books and Early Readers:

Transitional and Chapter Books:

Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robot (Ricky Ricotta #1) by Dav Pilkey

SUMMARY: Ricky Ricotta’s the target of bullies everywhere, until he befriends an evil robot who becomes his best friend and crime-fighting partner.

Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel

SUMMARY: Convinced that passing her upcoming Luck Test will change her life, Sadie prepares as much as possible – saving her birthday wish and  performing lucky rituals – but changing from an Unlucky to a Lucky is harder than it appears.  Grades 2-5.  (c)2016.

All Paws on Deck (Haggis and Tank Unleashed #1) by Jessica Young

SUMMARY: A punny, homophone-filled tale of two friends with tails, whose imagination takes them from their boring yards to the adventurous, exciting high seas. Grades K-3. (c)2015.

Nonfiction & Graphic Novels: none this week :(

Young Adult Novels: none this week :(

What’s new in Valentine books

Love is (almost) in the air, according to every mass retailer.  But hold the candy, save the flowers: it’s books that foster the feeling of love that make me swoon.  Here’s are a few titles from the last two years that have me feeling the love. Can’t wait to pick these up at the local library or bookstore and share with J-girl, my boy H, and the children at #ReadAloudTuesday!

Library Lessons: Jan 11-15, 2016

Week 18!

The K’s continued the author/illustrator study of Ezra Jack Keats. We read Hi, Cat! this week, using illustrations and events from the story to infer Peter’s age (a CER question!).  While reading, we noticed Archie looking at his reflection in a store window. Students were able to list as many places as possible where they could see their reflection.  Open-ended questions like this allow all students to participate and feel successful!


As this week was the ALA Youth Media Awards, I combined the Newbery Medal, Caldecott Honor and WCCPBA (our state award) to share Last Stop on Market Street with the 2nd graders. Understanding that it won the top honor for best words and was a runner-up for best pictures, students have the chance to vote for it in March as their favorite nominee in Washington.  Perhaps the most powerful conversation came with how little they knew of soup kitchens – less than 10% had even heard the phrase. This story of serving others – of Helping the Rest, as our school believes – should serve as a springboard for future lessons and service projects.


The 4th graders had a follow-up to last week’s lesson on Henry Box Brown. Using the databases at KCLS, we researched primary sources in 19th century newspapers. This coincided with the announcement that KCLS and my school district have partnered to provide all students K-12 free access to the library’s digital offerings, regardless of library card possession. All they need is their student ID number, and the online offerings are available free of charge. Suffice to say, the 4th graders were VERY pleased to see how easy it was to access e-books via web browser. A few later used their recess time to further test the full offerings of the new service!

The 5th graders continue our weekly Lunch & Listen series. They were quite moved by Matt de la Pena’s Last Stop on Market Street (even those students who heard it last year in library class). They also laughed through Jules Feiffer’s Rupert Can Dance and Adam Rubin’s Big Bad Bubble before heading back to class. Of note, almost half the students who come for lunch stay through recess to listen to more stories. I love this and happily read even more!

Weekly Reading: Jan 11 & 18 2016

Weeks 1 and 2 of this year’s READolution!

Picture Books and Early Readers:

Transitional and Chapter Books:

My Family Adventure (Sofia Martinez #1) by Jacqueline Jules

SUMMARY: When Sofia blends into the background of her familia, she enlists her cousin to help her stand out on picture day. Includes glossary of Spanish words used within the story.   Lots of white space, color illustrations throughout. (c)2015

Night of the Living Worms (Speed Bump & Slingshot #1) by Dave Coverly

SUMMARY: Tired of always being bested by big brother Early Bird – who always gets the delicious, tasty worm – sleepyhead Speed Bump works with buddy Slingshot to devise a plan to get a worm on his own. Lots of white space, black/white illustrations throughout.  (c)2015

A Mysterious Egg (Dino Files #1) by Stacy McAnulty

SUMMARY: When his grandparents discover a mysterious egg  fossil on their archaeological dig, future paleontologist Frank witnesses the event of a lifetime: the hatching of a dinosaur! (c)2016

Nonfiction & Graphic Novels:

Young Adult Novels:

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy

SUMMARY: Self-professed fat girl Willowdean thinks Private School hottie Bo is fine and pageants are a waste of time…until the day that Bo thinks she is fine and she voluntarily signs up for the Miss Teen Blue Bonnet Pageant. (c)2015

All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely

SUMMARY: Rashad, picking up some chips and a drink at the corner shop, is pummeled by a cop for purportedly shoplifting and resisting arrest. Quinn witnesses the beating and is sickened when he realizes the cop is his best friend’s brother. Written in tandem, this seamless story from two perspectives leaves readers pondering the truths of priviledge and racism.  (c)2015

Library Lessons: January 2016

Week 17 of the school year, week 1 of 2016!

It MUST be January, since the kindergartners began the Ezra Jack Keats author/illustrator study.  Stories by EJK make me so very happy. Rereading these stories aloud and sharing them for the first time to the K’s is one of the highlights of my year!

With very squirrelly K’s this year, I was happy to lead an abbreviated Rhyme Time (Humpty Dumpty, Tommy Thumbs) and read 2 stories: Goggles! and Whistle for Willie. We even had a bit of time for critical thinking questions and check out!

Students focused on similar EJK questions from previous years:

  • Before reading Goggles!, students are asked to think of as many types of goggles – protective eye ware that is not sugnlasses – as they can.
  • After reading Whistle for Willie, students are asked to predict how Peter might be based on what they heard/saw in the story. Most common answer this year: 6!

One class had time to start thinking of how old Peter was in both stories. In the coming weeks, we’ll construct a chronological display of EJK books with Peter based on Peter’s perceived age. This is a great Claim-Evidence-Reasoning question, too!

The 2nd graders made connections between a WCCPBA nominee and a local news story. A gorilla at our Woodland Park Zoo had a new baby a few weeks ago, and it seemed like the perfect time to share Katherine Applegate’s Ivan: the remarkably true story of a shopping mall gorilla. Stressing that the story was entirely true, students were horrified that such treatment to animals could occur. Cries of “that’s just MEAN!” were often mumbled during the read-aloud.  Sharing the news of our zoo’s new baby gorilla – with pics to boot – cemented the concept that animals deserve to be treated with humane respect.

The 2nd AND 4th graders had a mini-lesson on Readolutions to start their classes. Examples were given, tracking was explained, and homework was given (!!!). All families were emailed, explaining Readolutions and library goals. Students have a week to write their goal and return it to the library. Next week, I’ll type their goals and make progress charts (to be kept on their library circ pass). If they forget to bring back their work, they can come in during recess to set an appropriate goal.

The 4th graders had a whole-group discussion on historical fiction vs nonfiction prior to listening to Henry’s Freedom Box. One student came up with a brilliant definition: “historical fiction takes place in a non-fiction point in time”. Nicely worded, Alex! Informed that our read-aloud was, indeed, historical fiction, students created questions that would help expound on the fact/fiction points of the story. Next week, we’ll use KCLS databases to research their questions and learn more about the true story of Henry Box Brown.

And my beloved 5th graders! They showed up in droves for the first Lunch and Listen of 2016! What a treat they had: two nonfiction stories, both brilliant and well-received.

They were particularly impressed with the musical prowess of Trombone Shorty, as we watched a YouTube video of the then-13-year-old’s phenominal skill. Perhaps the most impressive to them was that he did all the voices of the parents/teachers in the recent The Peanuts Movie!

2016 ALA YMA’s: my reactions

Now that I’ve mostly stopped trembling –  adrenaline rush! – here’s my reactions to some of this morning’s ALA YMA announcements. I’ll focus on the awards / books I know best or should’ve known better. And there will be reaction selfies. Because why not!

Last Stop on Market Street picked up big hardware this morning, including the Newbery Medal AND a Caldecott Honor. What a thrill. Seriously: What. A. Thrill.  I am SO happy that this touching, important story won big and will have a long-lasting impact.  William Blake’s Inn aside (because it’s poetry), Last Stop on Market Street is the FIRST picture book to win the Newbery Medal. AND! It’s the second book to ever to have a Newbery/Caldecott combo (after William Blake’s Inn). Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson – a kidlit dream team!

My reaction? Stoked! I was shaking after this announcement! Also: is it too much to hope that de la Pena – best known for his YA work – will write more picture books?


My girl J was pumped to hear that Roller Girl now sports some serious hardware. So am I: year two that a GN was honored by the committee with a Newbery Honor. No reaction shot from her…she was asleep this year (West Coast time and all).  This is when from Easter, when not even candy kept her from reading it:

As for me?


…and that’s all for the reaction selfies. Really.

Quite happy that The War That Saved My Life AND Echo also picked up Newbery Honors. They are great titles for upper readers (and adult readers!) with solid circulation among my 5th graders (though I’ve got TWTSML in galley form…soon to be solved!) . Newbery, you outdid yourself this year: a picture book, a graphic novel, and 2 chapter books.  Well done.

The Caldecott to Finding Winnie – I haven’t read it yet: I’m #24 of 65 on hold, and it’s been over a month. No excuses anymore: it’s now ordered and on the way! Nonfiction for the win is always a good thing…especially since it was the one of the major genres (poetry being the other) not covered by the Newbery. And that it’s focused on such a kid-friendly topic – Winnie the Pooh – is icing on the Caldecott cake!


Trombone Shorty, as a LSU girl who holds New Orleans close, my heart sings with joy today! Your story was much appreciated by 5th graders in last week’s Lunch and Listen. And now you are a double-winner!

Kevin Henkes once again shows that his titles, regardless of genre or age range, garner close inspection by the committees.  His quietly beautiful (and patient) story was recognized with TWO awards: a Caldecott Honor AND a Geisel Honor to Waiting.

Speaking of the Geisel…I was so, so off. Supertruck and Waiting aside, I haden’t even heard of the other 2 winners: A Pig, a Fox, and a Box and Don’t Throw it to Mo! Shame on me! Not to fear: they’re (also) on order. Also: hearing the name Mo announced during the Geisel – not followed by the surname Willems – was totally surreal. That would’ve been a good selfie reaction shot, but alas: I was tweeting.

And speaking of Supertruck: my 6yo is very, very happy that a book he loved won an award. And that’s the point of the Geisel, yes?  :)

Jerry Pinkney won the day. Two awards for lifetime achievement. It was time.

Jason Reynolds had a big day. Two CSK Honors for All-American Boys and The Boy in the Black Suit. I’m surprised that neither won the award, but it’ll happen in due time: he’s too big of a talent.  Also adding All-American Boys to my TBR pile right now. As much as I loved The Boy in the Black Suit (see Mock Printz), you think I’d have read his other YA from 2015…

Also big author honors to David Levithan and Jackie Woodson. The Edwards Award is the one I remember most from my MLIS program – we had to read a book from each of the winning authors. Levithan joins an esteemed group. And Woodson’s Arbuthnot Lecture should be fabulous, given her strength in storytelling.

IMG_4376 IMG_4397

Among other announcements:

VERY happy that Fish in a Tree and The War That Saved My Life picked up the middle grade Schneider Family Book Award! The committee couldn’t choose between the two, and I don’t blame them. These stories of children overcoming disabilities – physical and learning – are winners among children. Having a shiny new sticker is a well-deserved bonus.

The Porcupine of Truth won! Yippee! I feared it would be overlooked…but the won the YA Award from the Stonewall Committee.


The Printz once again proved that we never know what that committee is going to do. Bone Gap won the award (YAY Laura Ruby!), but I haven’t read either of the two honor titles: Out of Darkness and The Ghosts of Heaven. My TBR pile grows larger :)


Those – among others – stand out among this morning’s awards. Now 10amPST, it’s time to get going with my morning (um, shower). I’m thankful to work part-time and blog on Mondays…especially today. Reactions? Share freely, but Be Positive! Cheers, readers!

2016 ALA Youth Media Awards

What a morning! Up super-early: Betsy Bird‘s Google Hangout at 4am PST, then for the ALA YMA’s at 5am.  Not sleepy in the slightest, this is my favorite day of the year.

And the early alarm time was worth every minute of lost sleep.

Here are the big winners, going in reverse from how they’re announced at ALA.  I’ll recap my reactions in a future post (and believe me, there are reaction shots!)

2016 Newbery Medal Winner: Last Stop on Market Street written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson


2016 Newbery Honor Titles:


  • Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  • The War that Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
  • Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

2016 Caldecott Medal Winner:Finding Winnie illustrated by Sophie Blackall, written by Lindsay Mattick  


2016 Caldecott Honor Titles:

  • Last Stop on Market Street illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de la Peña
  • Trombone Shorty illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews
  • Waiting illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes
  • Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford

2016 Geisel Award Winner: Don’t Throw It To Mo! by David A. Adler, illustrated by Sam Ricks


2016 Geisel Honor Titles:

  • A Pig, a Fox, and a Box written and illustrated by Jonathan Fenske
  • Supertruck written and illustrated by Stephen Savage
  • Waiting written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

2016 Siebert Award for Nonfiction: Funny Bones written and illustrated by Daniel Tonatiuh


2016 Siebert Honor Titles:

  • Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans written by Don Brown
  • The Boys Who Challenged Hitler written by Phillip Hoose
  • Turning 15 on the Road To Freedom written by Lydia Blackmon Lowery

2016 Pura Belpre Award Illustration Winner: Drum Dream Girl illustrated by Rafael Lopez, written by Margarita Engle


2016 Pura Belpre Illustration Honors:

2016 Pura Belpre Award Author Winner: Enchanted Air by Margarita Engle


2016 Pura Belpre Author Honors:

2016 Printz Award for YA Literature: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby


2016 Printz Honor Titles:

2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards: Author Winner – Gone Crazy in Alabama written by Rita Williams-Garcia


2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards: Author Honors

2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards: Illustrator Winner – Trombone Shorty illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews


2016 Coretta Scott King Book Awards: Illustrator Honors

…and still MORE goodness from the webcast!

Great job, ALA committee folks! Job WELL done!