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Mad props to David Etkin for starting Thirstday!
I do, in fact, drink things other than espresso! Drinking caramel tea from Teacup, brewed in my rad glass teapot and sitting on my tea warmer from Remedy Teas. (Seattle has a bazillion great tea places.)
I’ll admit, I took the above picture and applied the vignette filter before I had read much of Jarrett Krosoczka’s The Frog Who Croaked. I anticipated a pseudo-film-noir book, kind of in the style of Chet Gecko.
Nope! Jarrett’s first chapter book (he wrote all the Lunch Lady books) has more of the tone of a buddy cop film. The urban issues he includes are LEGIT. The book takes place in the fictional Kalamazoo City, but it definitely reminded me of a different troubled city on the opposite side of Michigan. I would honestly include this book in a reading list for the MSU economics course on public policy.
I’m sure every single post about this book will include the following video, but there’s a good reason. It’s definitely one of my top five TED talks. Yesssss.
Thanks to the Walden Pond Press folks for the ARC and for being so kind to the Nerdy Book Club at ALA Midwinter.
Tuesdays are always pretty hectic with math team in the afternoons, and they’re even worse when I don’t have planning time.
I’m not much of a sweet snacky person. Bring on the bread.
NOMNOMNOM. Snappy Dragon green onion pancake.
You know what’s inside that building? DELICIOUS FOOD IS INSIDE THAT BUILDING.
And the book I’m reading is Castle in the Air by Diana Wynne Jones. It’s the companion novel to Howl’s Moving Castle. I discovered Diana Wynne Jones when I read her book Earwig and the Witch during my Paul O. Zelinsky book frenzy this fall. Which reminds me, I still need to publish the post about our Skype with him. GAH.
Anyway. Off to read and snack some more.]]>
This is my new favorite way of contributing to IMWAYR, just by taking a screenshot of recent additions to my GoodReads 2013 book challenge.
GUESS WHAT ELSE I’M DOING THIS WEEK? Getting started on winter report cards. I already finished my favorite part, personal student comments. For the third year in a row, I’m running my comments through Wordle. Here’s what I’ve got this time around.
Have a fantastic week!]]>
All I can really add to the conversation is to humbly provide recommendations for books I connected with this year. I’ve tried to filter out some of the great books you probably know about (Wonder, Green, etc.), unless they particularly resonated with me. Some months have more books than others, because some months I read more than others. You can tell when I was finishing my National Boards.
I didn’t consciously chose to include more nonfiction than most lists I’ve seen, but I do want to point out how important I think it is to highlight more traditional expository writing. YES, lyrical nonfiction books are fantastic, but we do a disservice to our kids when we aren’t seeking out good books of the type they’ll encounter when they’re doing research, even if they’re not as thrilling for us to read.
I owe a lot to the book recommendations from Nerdy Book Club folks who I’ve given shout-outs below.
I’ve included children’s books and adult books, and not all of them were published this year. Images were either created by me or swiped from GoodReads.
TRUTH TIME. I actually like the trailer for C. R. Mudgeon better than the book itself. Do yourself a favor and watch (or rewatch) Julian Hector’s work:
Watch me pimp out The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place on Mr. Sharp’s Nerdbery video:
Phew! What a year! I eagerly await your input on these selections.]]>
This summer I undertook an enormous project with an inspirational, equity-focused, growth-mindset colleague. We labeled, organized, catalogued, and PIMPED OUT all the books in her classroom library.
I say “all.” When I say “all” I mean “on the way to all.” She has a bazillion books, many acquired from a retired teacher, and we’ve still got a dozen or so boxes that we’re continuing to process.
This is me with Ms. Emily Koyama, taking a break from crazy room setup at the end of the summer. Emily inherited a mess of a room, through no fault of its most recent inhabitants (the talented and much-missed Shauna Iseri and Bree Howle). She was hired three days before students came to Wildwood in September 2011 and signed a one-year temporary contract, so she wasn’t really at liberty to clear out the room.
So she had books. They were everywhere. And yet nowhere at the same time, because they weren’t effectively getting into kids’ hands.
Emily is a strong woman. She isn’t afraid of big change. Or big projects. Or insanity. So this summer, we decided to give her library a makeover.
First we needed to know which books were hers. We put her name in every book. All of them. Hundreds of them. We recruited students. We returned missing library books to the school library (oops) and borrowed books to their rightful owners (oops).
We had a bajillion piles. Here’s what Emily’s room looked like. Sort of. A visual for the tl;dr crowd.
We had an assembly line.
1. Books lived here when they weren’t ready for any of the following steps because they needed their hardcover dust jackets laminated. We’re poor. We didn’t have book covers. So we laminated them. And then taped them on.
2. Here were the books that needed old owner’s name crossed out and Ms. Koyama’s name added. Neatly. Legibly. Kids get super excited to help and before long, you can’t read anything. Or spine labels are stuck on the wrong side and the books are taped closed. So, as always, setting expectations and creating exemplars is critical.
3. Books stayed here until one of us could find the AR level. Now. Before you scream at me, Wildwood uses AR. Although I admit that it’s a flawed system, I see NO PROBLEM in giving kids ONE tool to help them zero in on POTENTIAL good-fit books.
4. Books that were already leveled and taped (or didn’t have an AR level) waited here for Emily to enter the ISBNs into Booksource.
5. Books sat on a table off to the side while they waited for AR tape.
6. After everything was labeled and catalogued, I sorted the books by genre, series, or author.
Finally, we made book basket labels, numbered the backs of the books so they matched their corresponding baskets, and straightened everything up!
For a more detailed(!) account of setting up a classroom library, check out my sweet five-part series, culminating in a tour.
Classroom Library Instructional Series
Part 1: Supplies
Part 2: Getting Started
Part 3: Filling the Shelves
Part 4: Library Upkeep
Part 5: Adding to Your Collection
Classroom Library Tour
Oh, also, I just rediscovered this tip video for library book sales.
Phew. What have you found that works in your classroom library streamlining process?]]>
This year, I don’t know if I’m going to get a book box. I’ve been checking books out from the library a TON, reading free classics on our McHoughtKindle, and frankly, most of my book purchases have been turned over to my classroom. Oh, and did I mention this is the first Christmas in 28 years that I’ve spent without my parents?
So when I finally made it over to the post office, where they’ve been holding my box of American Girl books since October (whoops), I decided that in case I don’t get a book box this Christmas, I’d count this one instead.
When we moved from our Lake City apartment, we had more than 60 boxes of books. Sixty. And there were still more back home in Michigan. I think this American Girl box might be among the last of them.
I first learned about the American Girls in early second grade. Laura Ingalls Wilder had made me a historical fiction NUT, and the series fed my addiction through most of my youth.
It’s possible at this point that you don’t fully understand the depths of my love for the world of American Girls. Everyone had a favorite American Girl, right? Mine was either Felicity or Molly. Many people owned an American Girl, right? It’s a bit embarrassing, and I’m aware of the privilege I had in my childhood, but I’ll admit that at the time, I had all of the American Girl dolls. All of them. And the books. And the accessories.
These were acquired over a lengthy period. Namely, my entire youth. I never got tired of receiving accessories for gifts or purchasing them on my own with saved spending money. After a while, I could even decode the heart-shaped labels Pleasant Company stuck to the bottom of every American Girl box to identify what was inside.
But it was always about the books.
The paperback sets, because hardcovers took up more room and weren’t really worth it. You’ll notice in the photo above that I also have Kit. But Kit is one of the newer American Girls, Shannon, you say. CORRECT. I GOT KIT FOR CHRISTMAS IN COLLEGE BECAUSE SHE WAS AWESOME AND FROM THE 1930S WHICH IS AN AMAZINGLY INTERESTING HISTORICAL PERIOD AND ALSO SHE WAS A NEWSPAPER REPORTER LIKE ME. WHAT AN AWESOME PRESENT!!!!! But aren’t the new slipcases ugly?
Did you know my mom worked at a bookstore when I was in school? BECAUSE SHE DID AND LOOK AT WHAT SHE SCORED FOR ME! They were like book group guides and I filled them out in my BEST HANDWRITING because I KNEW I WOULD WANT TO KEEP THEM FOR FOREVER.
Remember when they first introduced the Girl of Today? And there was only ONE outfit you could get for her? I asked for her, but was totally disappointed there were no books. Note the rad stencil I could have used to write my own Girl of Today stories, but I didn’t because writing the TALE of the GIRL of TODAY was intimidating.
There they are (don’t the Kit books look out of place? :( The times, how they change)! Staples of my bookshelves for so many years, finally reunited with me in Seattle!
I’ve missed you, ladies.
At home with some of my other children’s books. <3
I know I should have linked all the book titles to the authors’ websites or to my reviews, but that seemed like too much work and I wanted this to be fun.
Books I Liked That Got Some Hype
But Not As Much As They Should Have
Books That I Really Don’t Understand
Why Anyone Published Them
Books That I Couldn’t Finish (but I still plan on trying!)
Book That Was Good But Totally Ruined
by an Overdescriptive Back Cover Blurb
Books I Randomly Picked Up And Really Liked
Grown-Up Books You Should Read
Best Books With a Message
Books I Want To Hold Onto And Cuddle
And Reread Again And Again
Best Author Discoveries/Rediscoveries
Unlike Trudi, I was not drawn to Bigger than a Bread Box because of the cover art. For months, the only cover art I saw was about the same size you see above — thumbnails on GoodReads and Facebook and Twitter. I didn’t find it dazzling. I actually thought Rebecca looked mighty scary. I didn’t understand why Laurel was all pleased with the cover art until I got a full-sized copy in my hands. Then, I was sold.
Speaking of bread books, I also didn’t get the cover of Breadcrumbs at first (I shrank the image to the left so it was about the size of the icons I see). Similar situation. I saw all the buzz about it on GoodReads and blogs, but I didn’t even realize there was a GIRL and a bunch of WOLVES on the cover until my copy arrived at the library (I’m blind). MUCH more interesting at full size, and very lovely. I thought the book was going to be much “prettier” until I saw the cover in person. It reminded me of Kira Kira, which bored me out of my skull.
Is scaling something book cover designers consider when they lay out a novel? Is a book’s appeal in a smaller size more important now, with thumbnails accompanying many social media references? Or is it comprable to the way it was in the past, when thumbnails appeared in publisher catalogs?
I suppose it’s always a matter of taste, right? I mean, for example, the designer of Countdown made a deliberate choice to have a bolder, straightforward design. Do designers pay attention to the tone of the book? If so, how do gross oversights like those in The Romeo and Juliet Code and The Trouble with May Amelia happen? Does it just come down to designer and publisher preference? I know Laurel once told me authors don’t have much say in cover design. Am I overthinking this?
Books to NEVER BUY FULL-PRICED. They are at every Goodwill imaginable.
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.)
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.
Feel free to add any other titles in the comments!]]>
One of the neatest sights we saw was actually at a house where no one was home.
What an excellent use of limited space! Maybe they were out at the library getting more rad books when we stopped by! (you can see my welcome letter, gift book, and contact info magnet on the ground in front of the door)
This honestly made my day. I’m so tickled when we find families who ardently support reading.
*Ms. Willard just got married this summer and she will still be Ms. and she will still be Willard! She is my kindred spirit!]]>