Saturday, February 28, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: EllRay Jakes Rocks the Holidays!

Christmas novel Brian Biggs illustratorEllRay Jakes Rocks the Holidays!
by Sally Warner; illustrations by Brian Biggs
Viking Books (October 16, 2014)
Chapter Book


Third-grader EllRay dreads the upcoming Winter Wonderland school assembly in which he must emcee and sing "Jingle Bell Rock."

Why You'll Love It:
  • I know I'm always looking for more holiday-themed chapter books. The kiddos can't get enough of them!
  • I love that the main character is someone my boys can relate to.
  • The quick pace, authentic dialogue, and cartoon illustrations scattered throughout are great for reluctant readers who need that extra nudge to get started on a great series.
Who Should Read It:

Perfect for grades 2-4...and here's the curriculum guide

What Else You Should Read:

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Top 10 Graphic Novels...So Far

Graphic novels -- the great equalizer.

Loved by both boys and girls, advanced and reluctant readers alike, there's something for all kiddos in this category. Here are the top titles so far this school year.

10. Bone: The Great Cow Race by Jeff Smith

happy birthday babymouse by jennifer holm book cover graphic novel

9.Happy Birthday, Babymouse by Jennifer Holm

pokemon diamond and pearl platinum by Hidenori Kusaka book cover

8. Pokemon Diamond and Pearl Platinum 2 by Hidenori Kusaka

lunch lady and the picture day peril by jarrett krosoczka book cover

7. Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril by Jarrett Krosoczka

Pokemon black and white by Hidenori Kusaka book cover graphic novel

6. Pokemon Black and White vol. 2 by Hidenori Kusaka

Earthling by Mark Fearing book cover graphic novel

5. Earthling! by Mark Fearing

Sidekicks by Dan Santat book cover graphic novel

4. Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Smile by Raina Telgemeier book cover  graphic novel

3. Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke book cover graphic novel

2. The Return of Zita the Spacegirl by Ben Hatke

Lunch Lady and the Mutant Athletes by Jarrett Krosoczka book cover

1. Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes by Jarrett Krosoczka

Don't forget to check out our Top 10 lists for nonfiction, picture books, and chapter books as well!

Saturday, February 21, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold

winter bees and other poems of the cold by joyce sidman book cover nonfiction poetryWinter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
by Joyce Sidman; illustrations by Rick Allen
Houghton Mifflin (November 4, 2014)
Nonfiction poetry


A collection of poems that explores how animals survive the cold during the winter season. Provides additional facts about the animals and the season. 

Why You'll Love It:
  • While most poems address familiar topics (snowflakes, moose, trees, chickadees), springtails (snow fleas) and skunk cabbage (an early flowering spring plant) will be new to many.
  • Each poem is accompanied by facts as well as a glossary in the back of the book.
  • This book perfectly marries poetry, science, and art! Check out the hand-colored linoleum blocks used in the illustrations:

hand-colored linoleum blocks used in the illustrations

Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 1-5...and here's the educator's guide.

What Else You Should Read:

Friday, February 20, 2015

Top 10 Picture Books...So Far

As far as picture books go at our school, it's all about the "P" -- as in Pinkalicious, Pete the Cat, and Pigeon.

My kiddos threw in a few other titles for good measure. And they obviously love Christmas books year round :)

10. Pete the Cat : Rocking In My School Shoes by Eric Litwin

9.  Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin

8. Fly Guy and the Frankenfly by Tedd Arnold

7.  Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late! by Mo Willems

6. Pete the Cat Saves Christmas by James Dean

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

4. Pinkalicious by Victoria Kann

3. Pigeon Wants a Puppy! by Mo Willems

2. The Pigeon Needs a Bath! by Mo Willems

1. Pete the Cat : I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin

Also check out the Top 10 Graphic NovelsTop 10 Nonfiction and Top 10 Chapter Book lists.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Take Away the A

Take away the A by Michael Escoffier book cover picture bookTake Away the A
by Michaël Escoffier
Enchanted Lion (Sep. 9, 2014)
Picture Book


Text and illustrations look at how subtracting a single letter from a word can make an entirely different word.

Why You'll Love It:
  • Kris Di Giacomo’s illustrations add another level of wit and whimsy to Michaël Escoffier’s word shenanigans. For instance, dice, as ice, chill poker players’ drinks. For G, a glove falls in love—and scurries to a crosswalk after his paramour, an octopus.
  • The silly situations and fun details (almost all the characters are either animals or inanimate objects, and a mouse reappears in many of the illustrations), invite readers to linger over the artwork.
  • Sure to inspire children to craft their own word pairings: craft and raft? Pair and air? The possibilities are endless. I can't wait to have students make a class book using this as a mentor text.
Who Should Read It:

Great for grades 1-3...and here's the book trailer:

What Else You Should Read:

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Mentor Text In Action: The Day the Crayons Quit

I've always been inspired by other media specialists that I work with and I'm so lucky to have these ladies as friends who want to collaborate and share their work with each other. My friend Sarah of Everything Library has a knack of sparking teachers' interest with cool books in her library, as seen in this post. She inspires me to really try to connect new books with my teachers on a daily basis.

I was talking to a teacher at my school the other day and I practically begged her to read Drew Daywalt's The Day the Crayons Quit to her class when she asked me for a book suggestion on personification. There are so many great writing extensions that students and teachers can do with this book! If you haven't read it, please remedy this now.

Her students responded to the book by writing letters, much like the ones in the book, from the perspective of the different colored crayons. Here's the result:

mentor text personification elementary

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Books By Theme: If You Like Frozen

Disney Frozen movie Ana and Elsa

From casual fans to the totally obsessed, readers who enjoy Disney's Frozen will love these adventurous stories about Scandinavia, sisters, and snow.

Ophelia and the marvelous boy by Karen Foxlee chapter book Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy
by Karen Foxlee

Ophelia, a timid eleven-year-old girl grieving her mother, suspends her disbelief in things non-scientific when a boy locked in the museum where her father is working asks her to help him complete an age-old mission.  Grades 4-6

Icefall by Matthew Kirby book coverIcefall
by Matthew Kirby

Princess Solveig and her siblings are trapped in a hidden fortress tucked between towering mountains and a frozen fjord, along with her best friend and an army of restless soldiers, all awaiting news of the king's victory in battle, but as they wait for winter's end and the all-encompassing ice to break, acts of treachery make it clear that a traitor lurks in their midst. Grades 4-7

Swindlers by Lauren Oliver book cover
The Spindlers
by Lauren Oliver

Accompanied by an eccentric, human-sized rat, Liza embarks on a perilous quest through an underground realm to save her brother Patrick, whose soul has been stolen by the evilest of creatures--the spider-like spindlers.Grades 4-6

What would you add to the list? Feel free to share in the comments below :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

This Librarian's Quick Picks: Tales of Bunjitzu Bunny

Tales of Bunjitzu Bunny by John Himmelman book cover Tales of Bunjitzu Bunny
by John Himmelman
Henry Holt & Company (October 18, 2014)
Beginning Chapter Book


Although she can throw farther, kick higher, and hit harder than anyone else at school, Isabel, aka Bunjitsu Bunny, never hurts another creature, unless she has to.

Why You'll Love It:
  •  With a female protagonist and a boy-friendly subject, this book will have a wide appeal for the early chapter book audience.
  • The spare illustrations support the text but leave much to the imagination of the reader.
  • Each chapter contains a moral or lesson disguised in an entertaining package that's easy to take in.
Who Should Read It:

Great for 1st-3rd graders.

What Else You Should Read:

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Top 10 Fiction Chapter Books...So Far

Well, today's stats show me that the diary format is KING in chapter book world here at our school. As you'll see below, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Dork Diaries, and Big Nate completely dominated our top 10 list, making no room for anything else!

I think I need to develop some "If You Liked This Book" type of list for these series to get my kiddos hooked on some new series.

10. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

9. Dork Diaries: Tales from a not-so-graceful ice princess

 8. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever

7. Big Nate Goes for Broke

6. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth

5. Dork Diaries: Tales from a not-so-smart Miss Know-It-All

4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Third Wheel

3. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Greg Heffley's Journal

2. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck

1. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw

Also checkout the lists of Top 10 Picture Books and Top 10 Nonfiction Books!

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Top 10 Nonfiction Circulating Books...So Far

Blogger extraordinare Travis Jonker of 100 Scope Notes fame posts the top circulating books in each category every spring from his school library's collection. It's a great way to see what kids really want to read, not just what gets great reviews or what the adults THINK the kiddos should be reading.

I love to see what books are also popular here at our school library and sometimes I see one I don't have yet and really need to order. So, I thought I'd run some reports and see what's a hit halfway through the year here at my school and post it by category: nonfiction, chapter books, picture books, and graphic novels. Here goes!

 10. Pteranodon : the giant of the sky by David West

I love that this book made the list! It's a nonfiction picture book length book in a graphic novel format and my young ones love it.


9. Origami Birds and Butterflies by Lisa Miles

We are in the middle of an origami craze in the library. My free origami paper when you check out an origami book might have something to do with it...

8. Miami Heat by K.C. Kelley

Can't beat the basketball books. No brainer.

7. I Spy Extreme Challenger by Walter Wick

The I Spy books remain a perennial favorite. Definitely need to replace a few of our well-loved copies.

6. Lego Harry Potter: Building the Magical World by Elizabeth Dowsett

Although the Harry Potter books themselves are not moving off the shelves much these days, anything LEGO is HUGE!

5. Tennessee Titans by Tim Robinson

With the Titans playing about 45 minutes north of us, it's no surprise this book remains in pretty much constant circulation.

4. Minecraft Combat Handbook (and others in the series)

Frankly, I'm surprised this one isn't in the #1 slot! These books are never on the shelf, and the hold list for all the Minecraft titles is a mile long.

3. Ripley's Believe It Or Not: Strikingly True

Ahh Ripley's...the reluctant reader's best friend. I love it when a group is gathered around a table during checkout time and says, "Mrs. Counts! You've gotta come see this!" Books like these really highlight the communal side of reading and of sharing our reading experiences with others.

 2. Minecraft Essential Handbook

There you are again, Minecraft!

1. Ripley's Believe It Or Not 2014

Snakes in nose = genius.

Also check out the Chapter Book and Picture Book Top 10 Lists!

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