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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Are These Titles Popular With You?

The ShowMeLibrarian has completed a survey and put the results together in a graph to show what book series are popular in middle grade libraries. Here's the graph:

All of the series listed are available at our libraries and are also popular. What do you think? Do you agree with the rankings? Have you read any of the books in these series?

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Let's Go Racin'!

Students in K - 2 read the Goldfinch-nominated Hot Rod Hamster by Cynthia Lord and created their own hot rods for the hamster. Their hamsters are now racing around our libraries! The teachers' guide at Cynthia's Lord website provided us with this wonderful idea!

Close-up of the race track at South Prairie Elementary
Finished Race Track at South Prairie Elementary: Traffic Jam!

Race tracks at Dallas Center Elementary

Some DC Elementary kindergarten students show off their hot rods and hamsters, too!
Kindergarten students with their hamsters

Monday, February 25, 2013

Read Across America Day, Mar. 1, 2013

Celebrate Read Across America day on Friday, Dr. Seuss's birthday! All across America, students are taking the Reader's Oath:

You can see the cast from last year's movie The Lorax celebrating Read Across America Day by rhyming in the video below:

Or, if you want to visit Dr. Seuss's website at to watch videos, learn about the books and characters, or play games or different activities.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Snapshot of My Reading Life

The World Read Aloud Day 2013 Blogging Challenge topic for the week is A Snapshot of My Reading Life. This could be a favorite place to read, my bookshelf or library or classroom, a book from childhood that I still re-read today, my favorite person to read with. . . anything that brings joy to my reading life.

So, here are the snapshots. I'll keep it short and simple. My favorite people to read with--and who bring me joy!--are my own two daughters, and we love to be comfortable when we read. :)

Audrey, 3, reading in her jammies on the couch.
 Holly, 4, reading with her blankies & Pooh chair

Here are Mrs. White's two favorite people to read with. Having kids and reading with them has added a whole new layer to my world and life as a reader. Who knew there were so many amazing picture books!  And, now that my daughter is reading the Harry Potter series, I am able to experience the books and their world all over again.


Sunday, February 17, 2013

World Read Aloud Day Blog Challenge: Now & Then

It's another World Read Aloud Day post! 
This week's WRAD post is about the reader you are now vs. the reader you were then. Mrs. Ellis has always been a reader, even when it caused her to be car sick on family vacations when she was growing up! :) That love for reading is what probably sent her into teaching English and reading, and it certainly inspired her to become a librarian! So. . . here she is as a child (EEK! Look at those glasses!), and here are her responses to Now & Then.

1. At 10 years old, I thought everyone in the world should read Sarah Bishop. I found this girl's story riveting, and I thought everyone should know about her family's struggles and her own journey.
Now I think everyone in the world should re-read their favorite children's book as an adult. Those are dear memories worth living again and again! My choice? The Story of Ferdinand the Bull. 

2.  When I was 10, I wanted to listen to my teacher Mrs. Gaulke read aloud to me. 
She was the first teacher who consistently read aloud to me and introduced me to some of the books that are my favorites even today--like Island of the Blue Dolphins. If I could listen to anyone read aloud to me today, it would be my own children. One of my proudest accomplishments is that I have passed along my love of reading to them!

3.  As a 10-year-old, I didn't really have a favorite character to impersonate when I read aloud. But now, my favorite character to impersonate is Skippyjon Jones. Hands down--he's the winner, mi amigos!

4.  At 10 years old, my bookshelf was filled with biographies and realistic fiction. How I wanted to be Annie Oakley! Now, the genre that takes up the most room on my bookshelf is fantasy. The Fablehaven series and the Harry Potter series are just two of the many.

5.  When I was 10 years old, I didn't really consider writing my own stories or books. I did, though, as a 3rd grader write a nonfiction story about dinosaurs. I shared the story with my teacher (Mrs. Gaulke again!) and my classmates, but no one else. Now, the book that inspires me to write is every clever ABC children's book--Bad Kitty is one of my favorites! Who knows. . . maybe one day I'll have a children's story about Sneaky Horse in libraries everywhere! :)

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Happy 15th Birthday, Harry Potter!

Can you believe it?! Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is 15 years old this week! To celebrate the occasion, Scholastic has released the series again, and this time with all new cover art--check it out:
If the style of the artwork looks familiar to you, it might be that you've read the Amulet series. The illustrator of the new covers is Kazu Kibushi, whose work appears in all of the Amulet graphic novels. 

Kibushi at first turned down the offer to illustrate the new covers. He told Scholastic, "When I was asked to submit samples, I initially hesitated because I didn't want to see them reinterpreted! However, I felt that if I were to handle the project, I could bring something to it that many other designers and illustrators probably couldn't, and that was that I was also a writer of my own series of middle grade fiction." He also said that he wanted the new covers to look as though they could stand the test of time. 

So, what do you think? You can vote on the new cover art in the poll at the right side of this page. Also, check back to see the new covers as they are revealed.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

What's So Special About Reading Aloud?

World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) is March 6, 2013, and to recognize the occasion, we thought we'd share why reading aloud is important and our plans for WRAD 2013.

Some Mrs. Ellis's favorite books were read alouds--Island of the Blue Dolphins, Hatchet, Stotan!, The Story of Ferdinand the Bull. Listening to books strengthened her imagination and encouraged her to think and problem solve right along with the characters. These books also became some of her life-long favorites.

To celebrate WRAD 2013, Mrs. Ellis's 2nd grade class will Skype with another elementary librarian and her classes. Neither of us has celebrated WRAD before, so we're taking small steps and plan to share and read aloud our favorite books and some of the Goldfinch books for the year. 

If you want to know more about WRAD 2013 and what others are planning, you can visit

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Adventures of Captain Underpants App Available!

Captain Underpants, the much loved superhero from Dav Pilkey, is now available as an app! You can read the stories, create and name your own avatar, play story-related games, and even move through examples of Flip-O-Rama! Check out the trailer from YouTube and then visit the App Store to download the Captain Underpants app.

Dav Pilkey also has a new Captain Underpants book coming out--the 10th one in the series! You can watch him talk about the book in the trailer below:

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Owen & Mzee: Another Goldfinch Nominated Book

Michelle Glennon's book Owen and Mzee: A Little Story about Big Love is one of the Goldfinch-nominated titles for this year. Glennon's book is based on the original book Owen & Mzee: The True Story of a Remarkable Friendship.

Students in grades K - 2 watched the PBS video about Owen and Mzee; click HERE to watch it. We also visited Owen and Mzee's official website to sing-along and to create our own videos.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Childrens' Authors and Illustrators Week, Feb. 3 - 9, 2013

The first week in February is set aside as Childrens' Authors and Illustrators Week. The Childrens' Author Network supports the event as a way to make books spring to life and inspire a love for life-long reading and writing.
Want to see an illustrator at work? Click HERE to see Scholastic's videos of Jeff Smith of the Bone graphic novels series and Jim Benton of the Dear Dumb Diary series--among others--creating some of their illustrations.

At South Prairie and at DC Elementary, we looked at popular author/illustrator pairs with kindergarten students in November and December. Featured authors/illustrators included Robert Munsch with illustrators Michael Martchenko and Lea Daniel, Audrey Wood with illustrators Bruce Wood and Don Wood, and Doreen Cronin with illustrators Betsy Lewin and Harry Bliss.
After reading Aaron's Hair by Munsch, students identified a problem and solution, which were written on combs and placed in Aaron's hair. 
After reading many of Wood's alphabet books, kindergarten students also read Piggies and drew their own piggies after tracing their hands.
Finally, after reading Cronin's Diary of a Worm, we visited BookFLIX and talked about the differences between fiction and nonfiction books.