IMWAYR – Challenge Week 9

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I have been reading more books on my Challenge list!  To learn more about my challenge, and to view my list of books, head over to the 100 Children’s Book tab at the top of the page!


I hope your Thanksgiving holiday was filled with good food, good company, and some reading!  Here’s what I read this week off of my Challenge list.

The Novel

This week I read The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.  This novel is the story of Milo’s adventures in a crazy world filled with King Azaz of Dictionopolis, the Mathamagician of Digitopolis, the Princesses Rime and Reason, a time-keeping dog Tock, and a giant Humbug.  He goes through extraordinary measures to bring peace to this world.  Along the way, he learns to look at his world a little differently.  He returns eager to discover the world around him.

I’m not going to lie – I thought this book was just as confusing and odd as the old cartoon version.  There were a number of times in the beginning that I thought the author spent too much time describing things.  The ending was super compacted – like he just rushed through the last 25 or 30 pages.

Did you see the 1970 movie?

All in all, I’d say this is a three star book.  I’d recommend it for reading during read aloud time or as an exercise in descriptive language.  You could even have students read/listen to it and then illustrate based on the text.

The Picture Book

One of the cool things I got to do over break was go to the bookstore and buy some of my favorite books from this semester as Christmas gifts.  Great fun!  I bought this one for my youngest niece, but read it before I wrapped it  (shhh….don’t tell)

Pat the Zoo allows young ones to explore the textures of different animals at the zoo.  There is the fluffy lion mane, the scaly turtle shell, and (my favorite) the sticky frog tongue!  This is going to be so much fun for my niece, especially as she begins to explore the world with her hands!


Well, that’s what I read over Thanksgiving week.  How about you?  Did you read anything good?

I have only 2 Challenge Weeks left….what is a must read that hasn’t been read?

Let’s talk below….

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Harry Potter Thursday #13

HPMOTW (2)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Uncorked Thoughts!  Check out the blog-hop and other cool stuff over there!

The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object, quote etc. from the books/ films/ J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related!


Today’s Potter Question: Rename the books from Hermione’s point of view.

Oh, Hermione.  She is a bookworm who blossomed into a beauty.  Brave. Smart.  Sarcastic.  I love her.  In honor of Ms. Granger, here are my books renamed from her prospective.

Hermione Granger and “It’s levios-ah!”

Hermione Granger and “Don’t wimp out boys!”

Hermione Granger and “A prisoner? Really?”

Hermione Granger and “You should have asked me to the Yule Ball Ronald!”

Hermione Granger and “Free the House Elves”

Hermione Granger and “Will we ever study again?”

Hermione Granger and “Let’s just finish this!”


What do you think?  How would you rename the books from Hermione’s point of view?  Let’s talk below….

Wishlist Wednesday #13

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Pen to Paper. This meme is where you showcase one book that is on your wishlist and that you can’t wait to get off your wishlist and into your hands.


Welcome to an awesome weekly meme:  Wishlist Wednesday!  This is a blog hop to share something that I am very excited to read…but haven’t read yet!

It’s almost Thanksgiving.  That means in a mere 48 hours I can start getting ready for Christmas!  So, even though I won’t watch Christmas shows or listen to Christmas music until Friday, I thought I would put a Christmas book on Wishlist Wednesday.

Quomodo Invidiosulus Nomine Grinchus Christi Natalem Abrogaveri – How the Grinch Stole Christmas in Latin! is translated by Jennifer Morrish Tunberg and Terence O. Tunberg.  It’s the classic tale in a classic language.

This book has been on my wishlist for a number of years.  I love the Grinch and I love Latin.  (Spoiler…..I’m a big old nerd!)  I cannot wait until I have this book under my tree and in my hands.  If anyone wants to get me a Christmas book, this should be the one!


Follow the link and join the blog hop!

 

IMWAYR – Challenge Week 8

ItsMondayGraphicThis week I two more Challenge books and then spoiled myself and read a choice book!  To learn more about my challenge, and to view my list of books, head over to the 100 Children’s Book tab at the top of the page!


The Challenge Books

This week’s Challenge picture book was one that I have been waiting to read for nearly a month!  Llama Llama Red Pajama, by Anna Dewdney, was a cute picture book about young Llama Llama heading off to bed.  However, he keeps getting scared.  He calls for his Llama Mama, but she doesn’t come right away.

This is an amazing little book filled with rhymes and gorgeous illustrations.  Also, the amazing line, “Please stop all this llama drama and be patient for your mama.”  Llama Drama!

My Challenge novel this week was a re-read for me.  Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater, is the tale of an out of season house painter who receives an amazing package from his favorite Antarctic explorer.  Mr. Popper and his family embark on an amazing journey of having a penguin, then a second, then a whole family!

I know I read this in 5th grade.  I remember that I liked it then, but I didn’t remember much about the plot.  I liked this book overall.  However, there is a twist in the plot that left me loudly questioning the book.  My husband actually had to ask if I was okay.


Spoiling Myself

I have a couple of books lined up to read over Thanksgiving.  But I needed to read something else, so I decided to spoil myself.  I have bought a lot of books this semester that I haven’t read yet.  I grabbed one of those and was very happy with my choice.

Crenshaw, by Katherine Applegate (author of The One and Only Ivan), is the story of Jackson and his family, and Jackson’s imaginary friend Crenshaw.  Crenshaw is a giant cat with coloring just like a penguin, fingers instead of paws, and wisdom for his kid.

Jackson’s family is going through financial difficulties.  This is not the first time Jackson remembers becoming homeless.  As he realizes that they are going to bed hungry more often, his childhood imaginary friend Crenshaw shows up.  Jackson is “much too mature” to have an imaginary friend, but Crenshaw persists.

It was an amazing tale that focuses on this young boy who is trying to be strong and responsible so as not to worry his parents.  This is an honest portrait of a family who is facing difficulties, a young boy who is trying to be mature and handle things that are actually very, very difficult, and the comfort that we can find in our imaginary, and not so imaginary, friends.


So that is it for this week.  Have you read any of these?  Which picture books off my Challenge List do I need to make SURE I read?  What did you read this week?  Let’s talk below…

Welcome to the Virtual Classroom!

Computers and the internet have given us teachers a really nice present:  the ability to open our classrooms and allow the world into them!

Computers?  The world?  This is a KidLit blog?  What are you talking about?
skypeinclassroom
Photo CC – by mrmayo

Why, it is virtual author visits!  This week I read Kate Messner’s Skyping Renaissance article and it made me even more excited to open my classroom up to the world.  Messner presents us with interesting facts about having authors or other experts visit classrooms virtually.  This is amazing – especially when you live in a small town not very near to an airport.  By arranging a Skype (or Google Hangout) author visit, your students get a chance to meet with some of their favorite authors, ask questions, and take part in our global world.

Would I want virtual author visits?  YES!

There are so many advantages to using technology in a middle grades reading classroom, and Skyping authors is only one of them.  If Skype author visits can be arranged with students’ favorite authors, or the author of the class novel or class read aloud, students will be able to get a connection with someone they may not otherwise have the chance to meet.  They can ask the author questions.  The author can share tips, tricks, and anecdotes.  These are experiences that my middle grade, small-town students may not otherwise get.

There are drawbacks to Skype author visits.  The biggest would have to be issues with internet connectivity.  In our small, Wyoming town the wind often blows – which makes our internet spotty on the best of days.  Issues with technology speed also impact the ability to use Skype.  As technology evolves at a rapid pace, schools are not always able to afford to update classroom technology at that rate.  When classrooms or schools do not have the latest technology, connectivity and processor speed can severely impact the ability to use Skype.

However, if it is important enough, we can advocate for the technology and invite the world into our classrooms!


 

So….who’s on my author visit dream-list?

First, let me say that I would want my students to choose an author they are fans of and want to have visit us.  When they are excited, I think they will be more motivated to be engaged during the visit.

Secondly, I think that participating in an event like the Global Read Aloud, where my students can interact with students across the globe, would be a milestone experiences for them.

So, my personal list?

J.K. Rowling – She is hilarious on Twitter and seems very open to communicating with fans.

Dan Santat – I have recently discovered his work and am in awe of his abilities.  Also, my students love his books.

Katherine Applegate – I absolutely loved The One and Only Ivan and cannot wait to read Crenshaw.  She also seems to be a very active author who visits with students across the country.

Gregory Maguire – So, he’s not necessarily a children’s author (although he wrote the hilarious Leaping Beauty), but he is probably my favorite author of all time.


Who would be on your author visit list?  Do you think that virtual author visits are something you’d like to try?  Let’s talk below….

Harry Potter Thursday #12

HPMOTW (2)

Harry Potter Moment of the Week hosted by Uncorked Thoughts!  Check out the blog-hop and other cool stuff over there!

The aim of this meme is to share with fellow bloggers a character, spell, chapter, object, quote etc. from the books/ films/ J. K. Rowling herself or anything Potter related!


Today’s Potter Question:  What is your favorite JKR moment?

I don’t know that I have one moment, but rather many moments that I love J.K. Rowling.  I am new to the Twitter-verse this semester, and she is the first author that I followed.  It has been worth it.

Ms. Rowling posts on everything from rugby…

to her favorite charities….

to exchanges with her fans….

So, if you do not currently follow J.K. Rowling on Twitter, I strongly urge you to follow her.  There is not a day that at least one of her tweets makes me laugh, smile, or think.


What is your favorite J.K. Rowling moment?  Have you checked out her Twitter feed?  Let’s talk below…

Wishlist Wednesday #12 – Flora & Ulysses

Wishlist Wednesday

Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted over at Pen to Paper. This meme is where you showcase one book that is on your wishlist and that you can’t wait to get off your wishlist and into your hands.


Welcome to an awesome weekly meme:  Wishlist Wednesday!  This is a blog hop to share something that I am very excited to read…but haven’t read yet!

Flora and Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures, by Kate diCammillo and

illustrated by K.G. Campbell, has been on many a classmate’s #imwayr blog!  It has been on my Amazon wishlist and To Be Read List for a while.  I’ve finally just broken down and ordered it.  I can’t wait to read it!

It begins, as the best superhero stories do, with a tragic accident that has unexpected consequences. The squirrel never saw the vacuum cleaner coming, but self-described cynic Flora Belle Buckman, who has read every issue of the comic book Terrible Things Can Happen to You!, is just the right person to step in and save him. What neither can predict is that Ulysses (the squirrel) has been born anew, with powers of strength, flight, and misspelled poetry — and that Flora will be changed too, as she discovers the possibility of hope and the promise of a capacious heart.  (Courtesy amazon.com)


Follow the link and join the blog hop!