Tuesday, January 28, 2014

ALA Youth Media Awards and Many Thanks

Girl Standing Behind Stack of Big Books
Image from www.mycutiegraphics.com
Wow, is all I can say. This year was a new experience for me since I watched them live on the internet. Last year I was excited to hear on Twitter all about the winners. Watching the awards live to it to a whole new level for me. I couldn't tear myself away from the computer screen during that time period. I made sure to have my pencil and paper handy to jot down some titles. I had quite a few to list! I was very happy with the Caldecott selections and the Newbery selections this year.  I'm always thrilled when the Newbery is elementary friendly. I started showing my students the book trailer for Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures right away. Each month my assistant and I pick a chapter book and a picture book to highlight. In February, the chapter book I highlight will be Flora and Ulysses and the picture book will be Journey by Aaron Becker. Just in case you didn't know, Journey is a 2014 Caldecott Honor book!

As I sat and listened to the awards I was also reflecting on how many of the books that were named I've read or are on my to-read list. I thought about how these last two years of being on Twitter and have been blogging more often have given me experiences and introduced me to people that I might have never interacted with. I feel that those people I have connected with have made me a better read teacher librarian. There are so many books that without their reviews and recommendations I would not have picked up. These same people have inspired me with their teaching ideas and lessons. My students are benefiting so much by your knowledge. So thank you for inspiring me, keeping well read, and helping me create a wonderful PLN!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, January 27, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey. The kid's version was started by Jen at Teach Mentor Text and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.

Since all last week was snow days for me, I was able to read two books that I have been wanting to read for quite a while.  If I had known that I would have been out of school all week, I would have made a trip to the library.

15809629The first book that I read was Lincoln's Grave Robbers by Steve Sheinkin. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Wow, is all I can say.  I never knew there were any plots to steal Lincoln's body!  Sheinkin once again has made a nonfiction book read like a fiction story.  I found myself captivated by the events that lead up to the dramatic conclusion.  I also learned some neat facts that I used to stump my father, who is a huge history buff!  I considered that an added bonus! This is the third book that I've read by Sheinkin and I haven't been disappointed.  The other two that I read of his were Bomb (about the atomic bomb) and a biography about Benedict Arnold.  If you haven't read any of his book, I suggest you get to a library and read them.

The second book that I read last week was "The President Has Been Shot": The Assassination of John F. Kennedy by James L. Swanson.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I've always been fascinated by the events surrounding the assassination of JFK. (This is what happens when you have a history buff for a father.)  I wasn't alive during those fateful days, but after reading this book I feel like I lived them. This was a very powerful and emotional book for me.  As I was reading I got so emotional involved, even though I knew what the final outcome would be.  I even shed some tears when thinking about all that was lost that fateful day for the Kennedy family and our country.

After reading the book about JFK's assassination, I was so emotionally drained. I needed something completely different.  Since I hadn't been able to leave my house because of the snow I picked an old favorite to start again, Harry Potter. Right now I'm on book three.

What have you been reading?  What should I read next?

Happy Reading!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Must Read in 2014

I always seem to have the never ending list of books that I've labeled to read.  I think those of us who are true readers will never come to the end of that list!  I'm a little late to the start of this challenge, but I'll be joining Carrie Gelson from There's a Book for That, Linda Baie from Teacher Dance and Maria Selke from Maria's Melange for the Must Read in 2014 Challenge.

Mine is a pretty long list but, I've already got some of the books on hold at the public library.  So I'll be tackling a few books soon. But I know that I will be adding more as some new books are published during 2014.

Here are my books:






Like I said earlier, I know that I'll be adding more to the list as more great books are published during 2014 and after the Caldecott and Newbery Awards are announced tomorrow.

Happy Reading!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Saturday, January 25, 2014


Discover. Play. Build.

Every week, Ruth Ayres over at Discover. Play. Build. invites people to share celebrations from their week.  Please visit and consider linking up your own celebration.

Well, my first celebration is that this is my third post in one week!  In my last post I talked about being in a bit a a blogging slump.  I think this link up might be just what I need to start working my way out of it.

My second celebration is that I think I'm out of my reading slump.  Because of being sick for the last part of 2013 I was not doing much reading except for a few familiar romance novels.  I've been doing a lot of reading in January!  This past week was a snow week for me.  So I got to read quite a few books that I've been meaning to read.

I know this is a short post, but I'm getting back in the habit of posting!

What do you have to celebrate from this past week!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Friday, January 24, 2014

Snow Days

Snowman Catching Snowflakes
Image from www.mycutiegraphics.com
Wow, my three day weekend has turned into a nine day weekend!  I know I'm going to be sad in late June when we are still in school, but I have enjoyed being home.  

I'm so excited to be able to post before Monday.  I seem to have just gotten in the habit lately of just posting on Monday.  I really want to post more, but many times unsure of what to post about.  I'll go for a stretch and post quite a bit.  Right now I think that I'm in a bit of a blogging slump. Any suggestions to get out would be helpful.

15815410On Monday I posted about the great picture books that I read last week.  I also managed to read a few chapter books as well.  I had been waiting for quite a while to read Hold Fast by Blue Balliett.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I loved all the literary references in this book, especially to Langston Hughes poems.  I am a huge fan! Balliett shows how awful homelessness is from a child's point of view.  The story did drag for me at some points. This isn't a book for every child, it is one that I will pick and choose who to recommend to read it.

16131070One that I just happened to pick up off the library shelf was Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrington.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  The title and cover illustration made me curious about this book.  I was not disappointed in this book.  Sarah Nelson is a 12-year old who has a lot on her plate.  She is a very quirky kid, with a plant for a best friend.  Sarah and her dad have moved around a lot during her short life.  It gets to be summer vacation and Sarah worries that she have a typical boring summer.  But it turns out to be anything but a typical boring summer.  I don't see this as being a book for elementary students, but definitely for middle school.

The last chapter book that I had a chance to read was Flora and Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I've owned this book for quite a while, but hadn't read it.  I'm not usually a big fan of chapter books with animals as main characters.  I really loved this book.  The characters were just quirky enough to captivate me, but not so quirky that I couldn't relate.  The vocabulary might trip up some readers.  I can't wait to get this book into my catalog so that I can start recommending it to my students.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, January 20, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey. The kid's version was started by Jen at Teach Mentor Text and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.

I was going to post during the week last week, but I forgot it was the ending of the semester and I would be working like crazy to finish up grading.  That was all so I could spend yesterday working on report cards.  So I didn't get to post anything or read much.

16002008I got to read Odd Duck by Cecil Castellucci.  I LOVED this book.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I loved Theodora, who feels she is a perfectly normal duck.  She sees nothing wrong with anything that she does.  But one day Chad moves in and she labels him an odd duck.  I loved the friendship that develops and that it is tested. 
There are many days that I consider myself an odd duck, which made it so easy to see myself in this book.  

I also read Warning Do Not Open This Book by Adam Lehrhaupt.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This book made me laugh out loud so many times!  I know my students will love it.  This will be one that is not on the shelf for very long.  It reminded me a lot of Count the Monkeys by Mac Barnett.  Which is a great book too, if you haven't read it!


I was excited to read Little Red Writing by Joan Holub.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I just love fractured fairy tales and stories that take a familiar tale and put a new spin on it.  Even though this is a familiar tale, I don't think a lot of younger students would understand all the word play and the sophisticated language.  I can see it being used in 3rd grade and above. Also the illustrations by Melissa Sweet and wonderful!  I'm just beginning to realize how many books that I have loved for the illustrations, are by Melissa Sweet.

I will post about the chapter books Hold Fast by Blue Balliett, Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrigton and Flora & Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo in the next few days.  I need a break from the computer because I have almost spent 12 hours in front of the computer today.  I did have a few break to do laundry and eat, but I've had enough screen time!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, January 13, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey. The kid's version was started by Jen at Teach Mentor Text and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.

I'm so excited because I actually have books to post!!  I know that I'm feeling better because I've been able to read a lot of new to me books.  I've been reading a lot of picture books.  These are ones that have been talked about as being possible Caldecott Winners.  

The first book is Bluebird written and illustrated by Bob Staake.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  This is a beautifully illustrated wordless picture book!  I'm not a huge fan of wordless picture books, but I liked this one.  I just love the friendship that develops between the boy and the bluebird.  I knew about the ending and it still caught me.  I won't spoil it if you haven't read it.

15791057The second book is Steam Train, Dream Train written by Sherri Duskey Rinker and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads. After reading this book, I just wanted to curl up in bed and go to sleep.  The is a wonderful bedtime story.  I loved how the illustrations had dark blue overtones to make you constantly think about nighttime.

13642600The third book is A Splash of Red:  The Life and Art of Horace Pippin written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet.  Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  Wow, I can't say enough good things about this book.  I had a little background knowledge of who Horace Pippin was and his paintings, but I learned so much more with this book.  I loved how the illustrator didn't just create illustrations to go with the text, she also added Pippin's own words into the illustrations.  This is one book that I will be adding to my personal collection.

The fourth book is Mr. Tiger Goes Wild written and illustrated by Peter Brown. Click here for a summary on Goodreads.  I loved this book!  I love anything that Peter Brown creates!  If you have ever felt like there was a lack of excitement in your life, then you know exactly how Mr. Tiger feels.  One day he decides that he needs more fun in his life and he goes wild.  This book really spoke to me and my inner child.  The illustrations made me feel like I was right there in the jungle watching Mr. Tiger going wild!  

I also fit in a few other pictures and two chapter books Hold Fast by Blue Balliett, Sure Signs of Crazy by Karen Harrigton.  I'll post my thoughts about these later on during the week.  I also started Flora & Ulysses:  The Illuminated Adventures by Kate DiCamillo.  I had to put Sidekicked aside for a while.  I just couldn't get into the book right now.  I'll try again in a few weeks.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme was started by Sheila at Book Journey. The kid's version was started by Jen at Teach Mentor Text and Kellee at Unleashing Readers.

The last time I posted was December 9th.  I still wasn't feeling well and I went from bad to worse.  During December is I was so sick it was just enough for me to get up and go to work every day.  Then it got worse over Christmas break.  So I took a break from posting on the blogs, tweeting, and getting on Facebook.  I didn't do much reading of kids books while I was sick. They just didn't hold my interest, not even a short picture book.  But I still did do some reading even though I was sick.

Here comes my deep dark secret.  When I am that sick I want familiar happy stories, so I pulled out my collection of romance novels.  I have found when I'm that sick, I pull out those books because I know the stories so well, that I don't have to think at all.  I think that I read about 15 books from my collection throughout December.

I'm hoping to throw myself back into reading starting tonight.  I've got a pile of picture books that are being used in a lot of Mock Caldecott programs.  It been such a long time ago that I started Sidekicked by John David Anderson, I'm going to start over because I don't remember the beginning.

Do you have any deep dark reading secrets?

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)