Today is officially the 2nd week of summer vacation... and I am a little behind schedule with my 100 book challenge! Yikes! Well, I'm sure you know why. There are so many glorious things to do in the summer. I've spent whole days playing with Finn, of course. We went to a strawberry orchard and petting farm. We worked on our own back yard orchard (one single cherry tree and a tomato plant) and ran through the sprinkler. I spent two days at a professional learning conference with some of my amazing colleagues. I've started the process of priming and re-painting some "new to us" furniture. We've had play-dates with other tots, visited several parks, ate lots of ice cream, and I baked a pie and 40 oz of jam. Summer is incredible! But we have to remember to make time for reading, too. Which isn't such a hard thing to do if you find the right books. And to be honest, Finn reads about 10 books each day. But without counting Finn's books... here is my summer reading update:
1. I Love You Michael Collins, by Lauren Baratz-Logsted, 240 pages, Ages 8-12 (give or take)
For my gushing review, check out my first attempt at vlogging (ha ha). If you can't tell from the video, I LOVED IT. What I learned from this book: Michael Collins is the astronaut who stayed with the rest of the Apollo 11 ship while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldren landed "the Eagle" on the moon. Why? Because someone had to stay with the ship and keep it orbiting the moon so that it would be there when the astronauts were ready to return to Earth. What I learned from "vlogging": Even though the book showed up backwards while I was recording, my phone is smart enough to flip the video around so that it is not backwards any more. No wonder they call them "smart phones" (hoooo bad joke)
2. Twindergarten by Nikki Ehlrich, illustrated by Zoey Abbott
A picture book about twins headed off to their first day of kindergarten in *gasp* two different classrooms! How will they survive? The relationship between the twins is lovely, especially how they know just how to comfort each other. Sweet, fun, relateable for many children, not just twins. Trying something new, especially something as big as kindergarten, can be scary. But also "absolutely, positively, awesome".
3. Pax and Blue by Lori Richmond
I read this when I first received it in the mail (and a package of bookplates and stickers and other lovely goods from Lori Richmond herself!) but after a quick read I set it aside and sort of forgot about it. That's how a lot of things go for me in the spring. Hopefully a bunch of the 100+ books I read will be re-visiting books I did not give enough attention or finishing books I skimmed and didn't finish during the school year. This one is a lovely book about friendship, how you can find friends in unexpected places, and knowing just what to do for your friend when they are in trouble.
Have you seen the movie trailer for Wonder yet? I can't stop watching it! I am amazed by the excellent casting. This book is near and dear to my heart, so I am glad to see the preview looks like it will live up to my very high expectations. Wonder is definitely on my list of 100 books I'll be reading this summer so that I can have the story fresh in my mind when the movie comes out in November!
Speaking of which... Olivia will be turning 9 on July 12th, and to celebrate, she donated the book Wonder to the Hamilton library! I know this is going to be a popular one in the fall, so I am so glad to have a new copy for the library. Happy birthday, Olivia, and thank you for participating in the Birthday Book Club!
Today we were visited by two amazing librarians from Troy Public Library, Ms. Meaghan & Ms. Emily. Students learned about the "Top Ten @ TPL", a list of 10 simple activities they can do to earn prizes all summer long. Keep an eye out for a flyer with more info that all students will get to take home. Although the program does not begin until June 17th, you can register TODAY! Go here to sign up:
It's the busiest time of year - which may explain why I haven't updated my blog a whole lot lately... Between the two book fairs, M-step testing, working on our new Maker Spaces, so many meetings, and all those things that need to happen to wrap up the end of another school year and prepare the library for next year *whew, take a breath* There's so much to do and so little time. But I'm always looking for ways to steal minutes and read more books. Here are some fun new books I have enjoyed in the last two weeks.
Beya does! And while she shares that birthday with her twin brother, she doesn't have to share her birthday book while she has it checked out for the next two weeks. Thankfully, Beya is excellent at sharing, and will be sharing Hallie's Horrible Handwriting with all of Hamilton. Thank you for sharing, and happy 7th Birthday, Beya!
I often surprise students with this fact: When I was in elementary school I did not love to read. I had (and still have) terrible eye-sight and got headaches and frustration when reading. I loved listening to books, and I feel strongly that I developed my love of reading by being read to. Listening to my mom, my teachers, and even my friends read aloud was one of my favorite things. But reading books all by myself? Nope.
It wasn't until middle school that I started to really get excited about reading. I attribute that to a friend who introduced me to the fantasy genre. But I think that because I was not an avid reader as a kid, I missed out on a lot of "favorite series" that adults my age grew up with. For example, the Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder. When my book club decided they were going to "re-read" these books for nostalgia's sake I jumped aboard, embarrassingly admitting that I was reading them for the first time. Now I am thrilled to be half-way through this series so that I can finally talk to my students about it and truly know what it is like. Now whenever I am asked to recommend a historical fiction series I know just where to go... but I do give kids this warning:
My impression of the series so far - the first book was boring. I just wasn't wild(er) about it (sorry). This is a big deal-breaker for kids. If the first book in the series can't hold my interest, why should I keep reading? Well, the second book got a little better, and the third (which isn't about Laura's family at all but about her future husband, Almanzo) is better still, but it wasn't until I read On the Banks of Plum Creek that I got really into this series. Oh man! That book is full of action. So many crazy things happen to Laura and her family while living in the dugout on Plum Creek. I have read two more books in the series, but this one is still my favorite. So if you started Little House in the Big Woods and abandoned it because it wasn't holding your interest... try Plum Creek. Just give it a go. You won't be sorry.
Sophia celebrated her 6th birthday on April 6th! Happy golden birthday, Ms. Sophia. And thank you for celebrating by donating this lovely copy of Planet Kindergarten to the Hamilton Library. Pretty soon you'll be blasting off to Planet 1st grade!
Happy Birthday, Caleb! This Birthday Boy donated a brand-new copy of Dragons Love Tacos to the library, and it has already been checked out by many avid fans. We can't get enough of those taco-lovin' dragons. Enjoy your Birthday, Caleb.... and watch out for the spicy salsa!
Fans of the 39 Clues series and Blue Balliet's books will enjoy Jennifer Chambliss Bertman's Book Scavenger. The story of twelve-year-old Emily, an avid reader and lover of puzzles. Emily plays the titular game Book Scavenger, wherein people hide books all over the country and leave puzzles and riddles as clues to find them. Emily's parents, who are both freelance writers, move from state to state every few years with a goal of living in all 50 states. And this has always been exciting for Emily. Until they move to San Francisco, where she makes her first good friend (James) and gets involved in a dangerous new game of riddles and codes, chasing books all over town, while being chased by dangerous criminals. Will Emily solve the game in time? Will she be able to maintain her friendship with James? Will her family uproot her and move again? I won't say - you will have to read to find out.
But I will tell you this... All the while I was reading this book I kept thinking, "I really wish this game were real! I would love playing Book Scavenger!" Guess what... The game is real! And there are scavengers hiding and finding books right here in Troy, Michigan. I have decided to join in the fun and will begin hiding books in the area. I hope you will join me in the game and try to find them. Here is the Book Scavenger website: http://bookscavenger.com/ And here is a list of books hidden and found in Troy, MI: http://bookscavenger.com/?s=Troy%2C+Michigan
I'll be hiding books in other areas as well, and plan to continue hiding books as long as I can. So keep an eye on the map of hidden books to see if one pops up near you!
If you enjoyed Book Scavenger, the sequel: The Unbreakable Code, comes out on April 25th, 2017!
A big happy birthday to 3rd graders Megan Sims (2/28) and Gabriel Morán (3/2)! They're celebrating their birthdays by donating two new books to the library. Megan's Geronimo Stilton Kingdom of Fantasy book and Gabriel's Big Book of Space are sure to be huge hits with Hamilton students. I can't wait to read them, too!