Friday, March 14, 2008

Laugh a Little, Laugh a Lot

After a long, tough week, I searched through my carts of "to-be-read-as-soon-as-possible" books, looking for potential ticklers. Eureka! I found some. First there was Chester by Melanie Watts (2007), a story about writing a story. Chester continues to interrupt the author and write corrections to her story with his red marker. Laugh out Loud! The cover is even marked for the award to follow.

Then I read The Cow Who Laid An Egg by Andy Cutbill (2008). Cow is feeling rather ordinary until the chickens decide to help her out. A surprise ending brought much needed laughter into my office.

Finally, a sister team that never fails to bring a chuckle or two- Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel's new picture book, Help Me, Mr. Mutt. Mr. Mutt, is full of sage advice for the dogfolk who write to him. The Queen (a cat with great cattitude) consistently offers a second opinion in this humorous tale of a power struggle.

I think I will start the weekend off with a new novel that has been compared to Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Iris, Messenger by Sarah Deming (2007, Harcourt). The first paragraph begins like this: "The main difference between school and prison is that prisons release you early for good behavior. School lasts about thirteen years no matter how good you are. Also, prison food is better." So far, so good...

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Tried and True Picture Books

Our elementary library staff development meeting took place at the new Serra Mesa Public Library. Over 50 people were in attendance. We began the training with a reading of It Could Always be Worse by Margot Zemach (1976). What followed were easy to use ideas about how to share some of the best of the oldies but goodies that you may already have in your library. The list came from the NY Public Library List: 100 Picture Books Everyone Should Know.

Whether you have 15 minutes or even less, be sure to begin each story with an introduction and conclusion of sorts– title, author, illustrator– as well as some catch that will connect kids to the story. I used my recent travel experiences as a post reading example of how it could always be worse. (Note to self: Never say "it could always be worse out loud!)

Library Connection: Have kids write or draw about their “worse experiences.” Writers say that a good story takes an ordinary experience and gives it a problem, make the problem worse, and then make it worse again. If you do it one more time, you have a story.

Use this idea as a way to introduce a book while you check books in. Remember to push the cart on the floor, as kids frequently want what someone had last week. Place a sign on the cart that says, “Too Popular to Shelve!”

Other ideas included assigning areas of the library to students to pull books to the edge of shelves, or looking at shelves to make sure books weren’t lost in someone else’s neighborhood. You can also use the time to post a question kids can talk about or even have them locate an answer. From which book to which author, taking a few minutes at the beginning of the period allows time to get ready for checkout.

Finally, we ended with Goin' Someplace Special by Patricia McKissack (2001). The library is a place where everyone is special. So no matter what happens in our daily life, though it could always be worse, we must remember that each child who comes through our door deserves the best that we can give him or her. A room with books is a warehouse. Add a librarian and you have yourself a library.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Books for Boys 2007

In addition to the books I list in my seminar handbook, there are some 2007 titles that are not to be missed. Chalk it up to publisher deadlines. They are as follows:

Books for Boys 2007- Not to be Missed
The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian - Alexie, Sherman. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Little, Brown, 2007., 229p
The alchemyst : the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel - Scott, Michael Dylan. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Delacorte Press, 2007., RL 6, 375p
Alfred Kropp : the seal of Solomon - Yancey, Richard. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Bloomsbury, 2007., 327p
Attack of the Turtle : a novel - Carlson, Drew. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Eerdman's Books for Young Readers, 2007., RL 4, 149p
Big bug surprise - Gran, Julia. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Scholastic Press, 2007., RL 2.3, 32p
Bugs : poems about creeping things - Harrison, David L. {IL K-3, 811} -- Wordsong, 2007., RL 2.7, 55p
Casey back at bat - Gutman, Dan. {IL K-3, -E-} – HarperCollins Publishers, 2007., RL 3.6, 32p
Chaucer's Canterbury Tales - Williams, Marcia. {IL 5-8, 821} -- Candlewick Press, 2007., RL 5.3, 45p
The chicken dance - Couvillon, Jacques. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Bloomsbury Children's, 2007.
Cracker! : the best dog in Vietnam - Kadohata, Cynthia. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007., RL 5.1, 312p
The dangerous book for boys - Iggulden, Conn. {IL 5-8, 031} -- Collins, 2007., RL 5.9, 270p
Diary of a wimpy kid : Greg Heffley's journal - Kinney, Jeff. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Amulet Books, 2007., RL 5, 217p
Dino-dinners - Manning, Mick. {IL K-3, 567.9} -- Holiday House, 2007., RL 2.7, 28p
Disgusting foods - Miller, Connie Colwell. {IL 5-8, 641.3} -- Capstone Press, 2007., RL 3.6, 32p
Dogku - Clements, Andrew. {IL K-3, 811} -- Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007., RL 2.6, 36p
Elijah of Buxton - Curtis, Christopher Paul. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Scholastic Press, 2007.
Encyclopedia horrifica : the terrifying truth! about vampires, ghosts, monsters, and more - Gee, Joshua. {IL 3-6, 001.9} -- Scholastic, 2007., RL 6.6, 129p
The end - LaRochelle, David. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007., RL 3.2, 36p
Epic - Kostick, Conor. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Viking, 2007., 364p
Evil genius - Jinks, Catherine. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Harcourt, 2007, 486
The explosive world of volcanoes with Max Axiom, super scientist - Harbo, Christopher L. {IL 5-8, 551.21} -- Capstone Press, 2008., RL 5.1, 32p
Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School - Fleming, Candace. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Schwartz Wade Books, 2007.
Face to face with grizzlies - Sartore, Joel. {IL 3-6, 599.784} -- National Geographic, 2007., RL 6.1, 32p
Flush! : the scoop on poop throughout the ages - Harper, Charise Mericle. {IL K-3, 392.3} -- Little, Brown, 2007., RL 3.8, 25p
Foolish physics - Townsend, John. {IL 5-8, 530.09} -- Raintree, 2007., RL 6, 56p
Formula One cars - Schuette, Sarah L. {IL 5-8, 629.228} -- Capstone Press, 2007., RL 3, 32p
Frankenstein - Burgan, Michael. {IL 5-8, 741.5} -- Stone Arch Books, 2008., RL 3.3, 63p
Good sports : rhymes about running, jumping, throwing, and more - Prelutsky, Jack. {IL 3-6, 811} -- Knopf, 2007., RL 4.6, 33p
Gotcha for guys! : nonfiction books to get boys excited about reading - Baxter, Kathleen A. {IL PF, 028.5} -- Libraries Unlimited, 2007., 269p
Gregor and the Code of Claw - Collins, Suzanne. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Scholastic Press, 2007., RL 5.5, 412p
Gut-eating bugs : maggots reveal the time of death! - Denega, Danielle. {IL 5-8, 614} -- Franklin Watts, 2007., RL 5.5, 64p
How to save your tail : if you are a rat nabbed by cats who really like stories about magic spoons, wolves with snout-warts, big hairy chimney trolls-- and cookies too - Hanson, Mary Elizabeth. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Schwartz & Wade Books, 2007., RL 6.9, 93p
The incredible book eating boy - Jeffers, Oliver. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Philomel Books, 2007, RL 2.2, 32p
The invention of Hugo Cabret : a novel in words and pictures - Selznick, Brian. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Scholastic Press, 2007., RL 6, 533p
Iron thunder --a Civil War novel – Avi. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Hyperion Books for Children, 2007.
Jack Plank tells tales - Babbitt, Natalie. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Michael di Capua Books, 2007., RL 3.9, 128p
Jesse Owens : fastest man alive - Weatherford, Carole Boston. {IL 3-6, 796.42} -- Walker, 2007., RL 4.9, 32p
Julius Caesar : the boy who conquered an empire - Galford, Ellen. {IL 3-6, 937} -- National Geographic, 2007., RL 6.9, 64p
The Land of the Silver Apples - Farmer, Nancy. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007., RL 4.8, 496p
Lawn boy - Paulsen, Gary. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Wendy Lamb Books, 2007., 88p
The longest season : the story of the Orioles' 1988 losing streak - Ripken, Cal. {IL K-3, 796.357} -- Philomel Books, 2007., RL 3.5, 32p
Mr. Chickee's messy mission - Curtis, Christopher Paul. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Wendy Lamb Books, 2007., RL 4.8, 230p
Mysteries of the mummy kids - Halls, Kelly Milner. {IL 5-8, 393} -- Darby Creek Pub., 2007., RL 7.8, 72p
The mysterious Benedict Society - Stewart, Trenton Lee. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Little, Brown, 2007., RL 6.4, 485p
The name of this book is secret - Bosch, Pseudonymous. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Little, Brown, 2007., RL 5.7, 360p
The Neddiad : how Neddie took the train, went to Hollywood, and saved civilization - Pinkwater, Daniel Manus. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Houghton Mifflin, 2007., RL 5, 307p
Nic Bishop spiders - Bishop, Nic. {IL K-3, 595.4} -- Scholastic Nonfiction, 2007., RL 3.3, 48p
No talking - Clements, Andrew. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2007., RL 6.9, 146p
On the wings of heroes - Peck, Richard. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Dial Books, 2007., RL 5.1, 148p
Owen & Mzee : the language of friendship - Hatkoff, Isabella. {IL 3-6, 599.63} -- Scholastic Press, 2007., RL 6, 34p
Pirates don't change diapers - Long, Melinda. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Harcourt, 2007., RL 2.9, 42p
Princess Justina Albertina : a cautionary tale - Davidson, Ellen Dee. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Charlesbridge, 2007., RL 2.3, 32p
Rally cars - Braulick, Carrie A. {IL 5-8, 796.7} -- Capstone Press, 2007., RL 3.1, 32p
The real story of stone soup - Compestine, Ying Chang. {IL K-3, 398.2} -- Dutton Children's Books, 2007., RL 2.9, 30p
Rex Zero and the end of the world - Wynne-Jones, Tim. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Melanie Kroupa Books, 2007., RL 5.8, 186p
A samurai never fears death : a samurai mystery - Hoobler, Dorothy. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Sleuth/Philomel, 2007., RL 6.7, 198p
Sardine in outer space. 3 - Guibert, Emmanuel. {IL 3-6, 741.5} -- First Second, 2007., RL 3.4, 102p
Satchel Paige : don't look back - Adler, David A. {IL K-3, 796.357} -- Harcourt, 2007., RL 4.5, 32p
Slam dunk! - Robinson, Sharon. {IL 3-6, -Fic-} -- Scholastic Press, 2007.
The snack smasher and other reasons why it's not my fault - Perry, Andrea. {IL 3-6, 811} -- Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2007., RL 7.1, 33p
Snakehead - Horowitz, Anthony. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Philomel Books, 2007.
Stink and the world's worst super-stinky sneakers - McDonald, Megan. {IL K-3, -Fic-} -- Candlewick Press, 2007., RL 2, 130p
The tale of Pale Male : a true story - Winter, Jeanette. {IL K-3, 598.9} -- Harcourt, 2007., RL 3, 32p
The Titan's curse - Riordan, Rick. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Miramax Books/Hyperion Books for Children, 2007., RL 5.3, 312p
Tracking trash : flotsam, jetsam, and the science of ocean motion - Burns, Loree Griffin. {IL 5-8, 551.46} -- Houghton Mifflin, 2007., RL 7.3, 56p
The wall : growing up behind the Iron Curtain - Sis, Peter. {IL 3-6, 943.7} -- Frances Foster Books, 2007., RL 3.2, 50p
The Wednesday wars - Schmidt, Gary D. {IL 5-8, -Fic-} -- Clarion Books, 2007., RL 5.6, 264p
The wizard heir - Chima, Cinda Williams. {IL YA, -Fic-} -- Hyperion, 2007., 458p
Wolf! Wolf! - Rocco, John. {IL K-3, -E-} -- Hyperion Books for Children, 2007., RL 3.7, 32p