May 31, 2015

Summer Reading and Book Suggestions

While I miss seeing my students over the summer months, I do enjoy the extra time I get to spend reading books.  I hope my students take advantage of this special time and continue to read throughout the summer.

The last few weeks of school I spend time with each classroom to discuss the importance and rewards of reading over the summer.  I promised students who read a specific number of books an extra recess party when they return to school in the fall.  There will be music, popsicles, and a free book!  More information can be found at the media center's website. The Hilliard Public Library asks elementary students to read twelve hours between May 3oth to August 1st - that's about 15 minutes a day.  Students who participate in this summer reading program can earn free prizes like coupons, a book, and entry into a raffle to win a bike!  More information can be found at:

To encourage students to read over the summer, I book talked some new and exciting books.  Below are the lists organized by grade level.  All of these books can be found at the Hilliard Public Library.

Happy summer reading to all my students!  I hope to see you at Teacher Tuesdays at the public library, at summer check out, or at the Little Free Library.  May your summer be filled with exciting adventures and experiences both real and fictional.  Enjoy your summer, day by day and book by book!

Grades Kindergarten & 1st
Max & Milo books by Heather & Ethan Long
Ordinary People Change the World books by Brad Meltzer
Extraordinary Warren books by Sarah Dillard
Ink & Scribbles books by Ethan Long
Mr. Ball books by Michael Townsend
Chicken Squad by Doreen Cronin
The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale
Aqualicious by Victoria Kann
Ballet Cat by Bob Shea
Palace Pets books by Tennant Redbank
Lego Friends (DK Readers) books by various authors
Ten Rules for Being a Superhero by Deb Pilutti
Dino-Boarding and Dino-Wrestling by Lisa Wheeler
Ninja by Arree Chung
Ricky Ricotta’s Might Robots books by Dav Pilkey
Lego Star Wars (DK Readers) books by various authors

Grades 2nd & 3rd
Undead Pets books by Sam Hay
Snoop Troop books by Kirk Scroggs
Bird and Squirrel by James Burks
Mr. Puzzle books by Chris Eliopoulos
Platypus Police Squad by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
The Treehouse Books by Andy Griffiths
Anna & Elsa chapter books by Erica David
Lego Friends chapter books by various authors
The Never Girls by Kiki Thorpe
Ricky Ricotta’s Mighty Robots books by Dav Pilkey (Dan Santat illustrator)
Sasquatch and Aliens by Charise Mericle Harper
Arnie the Doughnut books Laurie Keller

Grades 4th & 5th
The Zodiac Legacy by Stan Lee
The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein
Science Fiction
The Imaginary Veterinary books by Suzanne Selfors
Game Over, Pete Watson by Joe Schreiber 
Realistic Fiction
The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett
Rain Reign by Ann Martin
Historical Fiction
Ranger in Time books by Kate Messner
I Funny books by James Patterson
The Contract and Hit and Miss by Derek Jeter
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison
Scary Tales books by James Preller
Eddie Red Undercover by Marcia Wells
School for Spies books by Bruce Hale
El Deafo by Cece Bell

May 25, 2015

Themed Browsing Boxes for Home

My job as a teacher librarian often carries over into my home life. Aside from conducting frequent story times for my daughter by reading aloud our favorite children's literature, my home is full of books. In fact, our home library grows on a weekly basis - my husband truly believes I have a book shopping problem! What I'm most proud of is how I organize the books in my home. Like a true librarian, I make themed browsing boxes similar to classrooms and libraries.

Last November Colby and Alaina Sharp posted a blog on Nerdy Book Club outlining a formula to raise readers within your own home. Some of their tips include modeling reading as a parent, celebrating books and authors, visiting the library, and bedtime reading.  Not only do I follow many of the Sharp's suggestions, but I'd like to promote and influence the organization of home libraries with themed browsing boxes. 

Themed browsing boxes are a great way to show case a collection of books and keep books fresh and interesting. My daughter has a box for nonfiction, Disney princesses, Mo Willems, Fly Guy, and a seasonable collection. It’s important to keep the books moving and provide a variety of fresh and exciting books.  Every few weeks the books in my daughter's seasonal browsing box changes. They change for each season and holiday, and even include back-to-school books and birthday books. I own many books to build collections but I also get books from the public library. The seasonal books that I own are stored away and only brought out once a year making these books exciting and an annual tradition to enjoy together. It’s also important to keep the books easy to access.  I keep browsing boxes in my daughter's room, the playrooms, and even in our family room. Wherever my daughter plays, there are books. They are easy to grab and enjoy often. As a result, books and reading have become a daily habit for my daughter. She often chooses books over toys, something that warms my librarian heart.

If you're looking for a way to organize your home library or create excitement for books in your home, I highly recommend themed browsing boxes. If you'd like a collection of titles, below is a list for books about “summer” to get you started. Periodically, I'll add more themed suggestions throughout the year on my blog so check back often.

The bottom line, themed browsing boxes are not just for classrooms and libraries. They're for readers no matter where they exist, creating habits of mind and growing young readers page by page.

List of books about “summer” – for toddlers to tweens
Froggy Plays T-Ball
Froggy Learns to Swim
The Night Before Summer Break
The Penderwick's: a Summer Tale
How I Spent My Summer Vacation
Beach Bugs
Olivia Goes Camping
Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer
Rainbow Fairies: Joy the Summer Vacation Fairy
Let it Shine
I See Summer
Mouse's First Summer
A Day in the Sun (Frozen)
Magic Tree House: Stage Fright on a Summer Night & Summer of the Sea Serpent
Summer According to Humphrey
Biscuit's First Beach Day
Biscuit Goes Camping
Princess Celestia and the Summer of Royal Waves (My Little Pony)
Micky Mouse Clubhouse Minnie's Summer Vacation
Welcome Summer
Dora's Summer Parade
How Do You Know it's Summer
Lego Friends: Summer Adventures
Hello Kitty: Hello Summer
Baby Loves Summer!
What Happens in Summer?
Mr. Sunny is Funny
Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown
Camp Rules! (Katie Kazoo)
The Baby-sitter’s Club: The Summer Before
Lawn Boy
The Summer Vacation from the Black Lagoon

May 17, 2015

The Challenge Continues . . . Buckeye Book Award Reading Challenge 1983

And the reading challenge continues!  As stated in a previous post, my librarian friend Ashley Lambacher of the Book Talker and I are hosting the Buckeye Book Award Reading Challenge.  Our goal is to read all the past winners from the children’s book category in chronological order from 1982 to the present.  I will read the K-2 picture book winners and Ashley will read the 4-8/3-5 chapter book winners.  Today I continue my challenge by reading the second winner of the K-2 Buckeye Book Award in 1983, Grandpa’s Ghost Stories by James Flora.

Grandpa’s Ghost Stories remains one of the best scary books of all times.  It’s about a young boy listening to ghost stories on his grandfather’s lap during a thunderstorm.  Grandpa describes his own adventures of finding a skeleton in a sack, being trapped in the Warty Witch’s cave, and held captive by a witch and her werewolf before wishing himself back to the safety of his own home.  Author and illustrator, James Flora’s haunting tale still gives me the shivers.  I find the part when the children are being turned into spiders particularly disturbing.  But the story truly comes to life with Flora’s eerie illustrations.  The pen and pencil sketches are enhanced with the monochromatic blue coloring.  The spooky images set the thunderstorm and midnight-hour feel beautifully.  I remember reading and loving this book as a child.  As a reread it as an adult, I appreciate the ghost stories and haunting images with more depth than I did as a child.  It remains a classic and noble winner of the K-2 Buckeye Book Award in 1983. And don’t forget . . . the ghost stories continue in a follow up titled, Grandpa’s Witched Up Christmas – also a memorable creepy tale with the same eerie imagery. 

Ashley, what Buckeye Book Award winner are your currently reading?  Can’t wait to hear your take on the 1983 chapter book winner.

Would you like to join Ashley and I as we read through Ohio’s award winning books?  We welcome any and all who are interested in participating in this fun reading challenge.  For more information, see my post on 4/27/15.