#booklove for Valentine’s Day

This weekend, I realized it was time for me to take care of my Valentine’s Day cards. I’ll be out of the classroom Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and it would be just my style to wait until Thursday morning to pull something together. I decided to combat this today instead of working on my National Boards. (oops)


These cards smiled at me at Target this afternoon. The handwriting is all done using a Lamy fountain pen from Goulet Pens with Deep Magenta ink by Diamine.

I was originally going to write some quality about each student that I loved, but I decided to do book recommendations instead. On the inside, I wrote “I love ______________, and I hope you will love it too!” Here’s what I came up with for my 2nd and 3rd graders:

Photo1Here’s wishing you a happy early Valentine’s Day! Support VDAY if that’s your jam. Which it should be.



The Invention of Hugo Cabret SANS PICTURES?

I’m beyond excited and apprehensive about seeing Hugo. I’m not ready to talk about the movie yet, because it makes my brain hurt (THIS MIGHT BE THE BEST MOVIE EVER, UNLESS IT’S NOT), but there was an ad that popped up on GoodReads that I felt ready to comment on.

You probably can guess I’m all about encouraging people to read the book before they see the movie (I made a pretty impassioned speech at the Thanksgiving dinner table yesterday), but I don’t get it. How would this even work?

I mean, how?



A movie, I get. Especially on a meta level — take a look at this FABULOUS blog post Roger Ebert put together. But an audiobook? Thoughts?

(ALSO: One final movie concern. The bit with Hugo hanging onto the arms of the clock all Safety Last style had BETTER be in a dream sequence.)

Must-Have Books for Classroom Libraries

After seeing a search term directed to my site looking for must-have classroom library books, I realized I’ve never put together any sort of list of this type. This is in no way a comprehensive list, but just my thoughts today.

Books to NEVER BUY FULL-PRICED. They are at every Goodwill imaginable.

  • Any Newbery award-winning book published after 1950 and before 2000.
  • The Chalk Box Kid
  • Poppy, by Avi (unless you’re looking for a class set)
  • Junie B. Jones books
  • Magic Tree House books
  • Captain Underpants
Books that are always checked out of my classroom library.
  • Guinness Book of World Records
  • Books of lists
  • Books of facts
  • Scary stories (either the series or just scary books in general)
  • Any graphic novel ever written.
  • Book adaptations of movies or TV shows.
  • Anything we’ve just done as a read aloud (Moral: BOOK TALK EVERYTHING)

Books that are new-ish and you might not have heard of before.

Not to go all hipster cat on you, but unless you obsessively follow book blogs and tweets, you might want to check out these pretty great books you probably haven’t read yet. (Why not?!?! They’re so amazing! It’s OK, I know you’re busy.)

  • Sidekicks, by Dan Santant
  • Books in the Squish or Babymouse series, by Jennifer and Matthew Holm
  • The Strange Case of Origami Yoda
  • Marty McGuire, by Kate Messner
  • Wonderstruck, by Brian Selznick

Author Studies

These aren’t necessarily going to go on your shelves for students to check out and read independently, but these authors make for GREAT shared reading and read aloud texts. They have the added benefit of often being under-checked-out in school libraries, so an author study can boost their circulation. I’ve starred authors whose books are often available at library book sales and thrift stores.

  • Tomie DePaloa
  • Steve Jenkins
  • Gail Gibbons*
  • Gerald McDermott
  • William Steig*
  • Kevin Henkes
  • Jan Brett*
  • Patricia Polacco (I honestly always had some reservations because although she’s awesome, I also thought she was a little cheesy, but I haven’t found a single student or teacher who doesn’t like her)

Feel free to add any other titles in the comments!

BookTalk 111910

I suppose the Thing-A-Day project happened at the perfect time, because I am still going through the enormous stack of books I checked out from the Seattle Public Library. Here’s another batch:

And you can read a pretty fantastic piece on the author/illustrator of Forever Friends here, at Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast. Side note, there are so many incredible librarian / teacher / mother children’s book review sites. It’s absolutely overwhelming.


Book Talk 111810

I’m participating in the Thing-A-Day project, where you produce one craft item or creative piece every day for a set period of time (I’ll be doing it for a month). This month, I’ll be posting new content to this site every day. Hooray for you, ladies and gentlemen!

I have a ton of books that I need to review because they are desperately overdue at the Seattle Public Library. Enjoy this book review:


Book Talk

Here’s this week’s book talk!

Additionally, I spoke about Dinosaur National Monument at the end of the video. Here are a few pictures of what the area actually looks like. It’s amazing!

Dinosaur National Monument and Green River
In front of the fossil wall.