Booktalks + Vine!

Last week was mid-winter break.  Before heading out on a school-free week, I booktalked 10 titles to my 4th grade classes.

To help students remember what titles were shared, I made a short video using Vine.  It’s also a great advertisement for fabulous books! When using Vine in our library, the focus is always on literature & learning.  Enjoy!

Library Lessons: Feb 2-6, 2015: Fabric, Persuasion, Cyberbullying

Week 22!


2nd Grade:

No iPads yet – teachers are still using them for reading testing.  Until then, we’re revisiting persuasion using a WCCPBA book AND working in claim-evidence reasoning!

4th Grade:


We started our lesson by reviewing the four reasons people go online (to find information, to communicate, to be entertained, to shop).  I focused on one of the four reasons – communication – and shared with students this video from Common Sense Media:

After viewing, we picked up our PPT on Slide 5.  As a group, students filled in the Venn Diagram detailing the similarities and differences between cyberbullying.  One of the best parts of this discussion  was when an astute 4th grader said he’d rather be bullied in person, because when you’re cyberbullied you have no power.  When it’s face-to-face, you can do something about it right away.

cyberbullying-pptCyberbulling PPT for grade 4

At the end, I shared a commercial I’d seen over the weekend during the Super Bowl.  Given that we live in Seattle – and our Hawks were playing – I knew it would’ve been seen by many.  Showing it again showed that cyberbullying happens to everyone and that THEY have the power to make a change (not Coke!).

After check-out, I gathered the class back together to watch one final clip from Common Sense Media.

This was one unit with big impact and one that parents are thrilled is being taught.  Today’s volunteer – a local news anchor – shared with another teacher that she was so thankful that cyberbullying and appropriate online behaviors were being taught in school.  That’s what happens in the library: teaching and learning for the 21st century and beyond!  :)

Read-Aloud Tuesday: 2/24/15 – BEARS!


Welcome! On Read-Aloud Tuesday I read aloud in my son’s Montessori classroom (ages 3-6).  Young readers are demanding and honest: I strive to share the best of the best with them each week.

This week’s focus: BEARS!


The Bear Just Ate Your Sandwich by Julia Sarcone-Roach

It started with some delicious berries in the forest.  Bear stuffed himself and, like all good meals, promptly fell asleep…in the back of a pick-up truck headed for the big city.  Waking up, he meanders through the sights and smells of the city.  Coming upon a park, he finds – and eats – your sandwich.  This – according to the narrator, a tiny dog – is what really happened to the missing sandwich.  With a wink and nod toward Audrey Wood’s classic Red Ripe Strawberry and Big Hungry Bear, Sarcone-Roach’s written a tale that was a delight to the littles.  Share with ages 3-9.  NEW IN 2015!

goodnight-alreadyGoodnight, Already! by Jory John

Bear is tired.  Neighbor Duck is not.  Snuggled in for the night, Bear drifts off to sleep…only to be repeatedly woken by Duck.  No matter the idea (playing cards, reading books) or the distraction (borrowing ingredients, emergency house visits) Bear responds with a simple, emphatic “No.”  He just wants to sleep, and tells Duck “Goodnight, already!” each time he shows him the door.  With a classic switcheroo ending and spot-on illustrations (Davies is a genius!), this story had the students requesting more before the last page was turned.   Highly recommended.  Share with ages 3+.  NEW IN 2015!

a-bed-for-bearA Bed for Bear by Clive McFarland

Bernard is tired, but his cave is not right: it is too crowded, too big, and not right for sleeping.  So he sets off.  But Frog’s lilypad bed is too wet, Bird’s nest bed is too windy (and breakable!), and Rabbit’s den is too tight.  Finally, the little mouse who has followed Bear across the forest asks Bernard what, exactly, he wants.  And it turns out, he had it all along.  A perfect story to show that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.  Perfect for winter/hibernation units.  Share with ages 3-7.  (c)2014

You-Are-Not-SmallYou Are (Not) Small by Anna Kang

Two nameless bear-like creatures star in this brief story highlighting perspective.  The purplish one is called small, but it’s really the orange who is big.  Orange can’t be big – there are many like him – so Purple must be small.  The argument ping-pongs until two unexpected visitors arrive, showing how one can be both big AND small at the same time.  Ample white space, bold characters, and large, clear font make this perfect for sharing aloud.  Perspective has never been so fun!  Highly recommended.  Share with ages 3+.  (c)2014.

Read-Aloud Tuesday: 2/10/15


Welcome! On Read-Aloud Tuesday I read aloud in my son’s Montessori classroom (ages 3-6).  Young readers are demanding and honest: I strive to share the best of the best with them each week.

This week’s focus: stories with friends (plus a classic!)

hooray-for-hatHooray for Hat! by Brian Won

Elephant’s grumpy.  Nothing cheers him up, until he spies a gift.  Opening it, he finds a hat!  Putting it on brings a smile to his face, and he has to show his friend Zebra.  Zebra, though, is also grumpy.  Showing kindness, Elephant shares part of his hat.  Down the animal line goes this circular tale – one animal is sad, another shares a piece of the hat – until, finally, the hat cannot be shared.  Or can it?  Bold illustrations, bright colors, and a sharing-is-caring theme make this a brilliant choice (and a favorite of the listeners today!).  Share with ages 3-6.  NEW IN 2015!

paul-meets-bernadettePaul Meets Bernadette by Rosy Lamb

Paul’s goldfish life is the same: swim up, down, left, right, near, far.  That’s it…until Bernadette arrives.  With her, Paul learns to see the world outside his bowl, to imagine the possibilities, and to make a friend.  Gentle and heartwarming, this is a brilliant choice for sharing with those you love.  Share with ages 4+.

seb-and-hamishSeb and Hamish by Jude & Niki Daly

Seb and his mom are off to a friend’s house.  Ringing the doorbell, Seb hears barking.  “Go home,” he says.  But in they go, after Hamish’s owner puts him in the bedroom.  Playing and exploring, Seb makes his way to Hamish’s door.  And when he sneaks a bit of snack underneath, he discovers that Hamish isn’t as scary as he first thought.  A gentle story good for kids who fear new situations or people.

chicka-chicka-boom-boom-coverChicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault

“A told B and B told C, ‘I’ll race you to the top of the coconut tree!””  And so begins the classic read-aloud experience.  All the lowercase letters run up the trunk to start with a rhyming, rhythmic chant.  But what goes up must come down…BOOM BOOM!  The injured letters (including black-eye p and loose-tooth t) are picked up by their uppercase parents.  As night falls, though, the letters can’t resist sneaking up the coconut tree again.  A must-read, must-own title.  Highly recommended.  Share with ages 2+.

Read Aloud Tuesday: Feb 3, 2015


Welcome! Read-Aloud Tuesday is when I read aloud in my son’s Montessori classroom (ages 3-6).  Young readers are demanding and honest: I strive to share the best of the best with them each week.

This week’s focus: snowy diversity.


The Reader by Amy Hest

The reader – a young boy – sets off from his house with a suitcase, a cooler, and his dog.  Destination: the top of a snow-covered hill.  Making tracks with his sled, the reader perseveres through the cold, wet, tiring snow as his dog jumps, leaps, and runs to the hilltop.  Once there, a nice snack sets the stage for a snowy storytime.  Cozy and comforting, this story pairs well with Peter in The Snowy Day (below).  Castillo’s art is eye-catching.  Share with ages 3+.


The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Peter wakes up one morning to find his world covered in snow! Like all kids, he sets out to explore it, making crunchy footprints, smacking snow-covered trees, and thinking about joining a snowball fight.  After a long day of fun and play, Peter tucks one last snowball in his pocket before going inside to get warm and hope for more snow.  Keats is a master, and this is his masterpiece.  A classic story that’s still current today, Peter and his iconic red snowsuit should be read – and enjoyed – by all.


Same, Same but Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Elliot lives in America.  Kialash, India.  When these two boys on opposite sides of the world become pen pals, they realize their differences are outweighed by their similarities.  From families to homes, school to language, the boys share their lives and realize: “Same, Same…Different!”  An outstanding choice to read-aloud.  Share with ages 3+.


Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

CJ, fresh from Sunday church, braves the rain and boards a bus with his Nana.  He wonders why they ride the bus when his friends have cars, asks about the blind man who can hear the colors, and wishes he had music devices like the big boys.  With each wish, wonder, and question, Nana responds with thoughtful, gentle wisdom.  When they arrive on Market Street, all CJ can see are run-down buildings and graffiti-covered walls.  It’s Nana who opens his eyes to the beauty that surrounds them as they make their way to their destination, the soup kitchen.  Robinson’s illustrations are bold, breathing life into big-city life.  de la Peña’s written a real winner.  New in 2015!

A Month of Reading: January 2015 FICTION

So many books, so little time…and so, so true.

To keep track of what’s getting read around here, this is the first of a monthly round-up called A Month of Reading (#amonthofreading on the Twitter-sphere).  And since this grand idea was dreamed up today and my memory is only so good, here is the FICTION I read in January 2015.  February will include separate NONFIC and PICTURE BOOK posts.

Book that’s flying off the library shelf:  The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett (new kid in school? no problem. be the prankster…unless one already exists!) Three copies at school and a hold list a mile long.  This is THE new series!  New in 2015!

Book I can’t stop raving about: The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart (cancer + adventure? yes. a hopeful, action-packed story of determination and friendship.)  Find a copy…this is a must-read!  New in 2015!

Book that begs to be read over Winter Break: My True Love Gave to Me by every YA author I love (romance! short stores! holidays! what’s not to love?! it was even fab after the holidays! plus, Matt de la Pena writes some fab romance! Swoon!!)

Book made for readers who love storytelling: West of the Moon by Margi Preus (luscious language captures Astri’s struggles as she tries to escape and rescue her sister. folklore + fiction at its finest!)

Book for readers who are looking for a great family story (that happens to celebrate diversity): The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Dana Alison Levy (adoption, soccer vs drama, social challenges, new schools, challenging neighbors…a well-rounded family story with 4 boys and 2 dads. oh, and an ice rink that gets built in the backyard!)

Book that features the REAL Giving Tree: The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier (your wish is it’s command…but at what price? solidly creepy, this is one compelling story!)

Book to give to a rising middle-schooler: The Swap by Megan Shull. (a bit like Freaky Friday. what you think you see isn’t always as it seems. walk in another’s shoes to see what life is REALLY like).

Book for readers who like their fiction fun and fantastical: Space Taxi #1 Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass (riding on his first night shift with dad, archie takes off…literally! perfect for young emerging readers.)

Book that helps readers accept – and make sense of – life’s big challenge: The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern (cool dad + wheelchair? unfortunately, yes. gotta figure out how to make life work? yep. maggie’s growing as she makes the best of a tough situation.)

Read Aloud Tuesday: January 27, 2015

Welcome! Read-Aloud Tuesday is when I read aloud in my son’s Montessori classroom (ages 3-6).  Young readers are demanding and honest: I strive to share the best of the best with them each

 Here are this week’s books – some of the best of 2014!


Maple & Willow Together by Lori Nichols

Big sister Maple, first seen in Maple, is back.  Young Willow’s grown into a perfect pal; they play together, eat together, even sleep together.  But big sisters can be domineering.  And little sisters can be pesky.  And while sisters don’t always get along, Maple & Willow show readers how to work through the tough times and enjoy the good ones.  Luminous illustrations.  Share with ages 3-9.  New in 2014!


A Perfectly Messed-Up Story by Patrick McDonnell

Little Louie’s ready to tell his story…but wait! What’s that?  Jelly?  Peanut butter?  CRAYON?!  How can he possibly tell his story when you, the reader, keep messing it up?  A laugh out loud story about how “perfect” might just not be so perfect after all.  Share with ages 3+.  New in 2014!


Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio

Mrs. Poodle has four pups: Fi-Fi, Foo-Foo, Ooh-La-La, and Gaston.  As she teaches her pups to sip, to yip, and to be full of grace, Gaston’s siblings excel.  Not Gaston.  He struggles, but never gives up (nor stops smiling!).  When the family meets Mrs. Bulldog and her pups – Rocky, Ricky, Bruno, and Antoinette – the dogs realize that a grave mistake has been made.  Or has it?  A beautiful story showcasing that families are more about what you are (not what you look like), this is a crowd-pleasing story.  Robinson’s art is particularly notable.  Share with ages 3+.  New in 2014!