Thursday, December 31, 2015

Must Read in 2015-Final Update

This year has really gotten away from me! I can't believe it is the last day of 2015! I had a really bad reading year after my April update. I got into many reading ruts and couldn't get back on track! I'm hoping 2016 will be a better reading year!

I only had 18 books on my Must Read in 2015 list. Out of those 18 books I read 15! Which is really not bad, but I was hoping to add more as the year went on. Below are the 15 books that I did read from my list. There were lots of others that I read, but were not on my list. 





I'll post my Must Read in 2016 soon. I can't wait to see all the other posts, because I'm looking for some chapter books and nonfiction books to add to my list!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Little Tree by Loren Long

23846038As I posted yesterday I really loved Little Tree by Loren Long. It is a great fall story and his illustrations are gorgeous! But a Facebook post by Matthew Winner really got me to thinking about my life and leaves that I've been hanging on to. I have been feeling very overwhelmed this year. I'm trying to do a lot in school and at home. I can't seem to get caught up or even get ahead. This book has really made me realize if I don't let go of somethings, there is no way for me to grow. I can't keep hanging on to everything because it will ultimately hold me back from moving forward. I woke up today feeling more at peace and was actually able to accomplish a lot. 

Also in Matthew's Facebook post he link to his new project All The Wonders. There is a post by Danielle Davis about a leaf badge craft. I love the idea of it being a "merit badge" for letting go! Now I just need to find someone to make a badge for me because I have no talent in sewing! If you haven't checked out All The Wonders, I highly recommend it! Great people doing great things for the kidlit world.

So thank you Loren for writing such an incredible book! And thank you to Matthew for making me reevaluate somethings in my life!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, November 9, 2015

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 keep trying to get posts up, but it seems right now life seems to be working against me. I've been reading, so I'm going to try a post this week! I also have to get my books on my shelves on Goodreads. I am doing very bad with my Goodreads challenge this year. 

24941005I've been reading quite a few picture books lately. The three that I'm going to post about were sent to me from Penguin Young Readers. The first book is Happy! by Pharrell Williams. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I just love the song and our theme for this school year is "be happy" so it fits. The real photographs of kids are so much fun to look at. It is a very fun book, but I thought that the upbeat nature of the song doesn't translate as well in book form. I know that this one will be a popular one, when I put it in my collection.

23846041The second picture book is Pom Pom Panda Gets the Grumps by Sophy Henn. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. When I got this book I had a bad case of the grumps, so it was a perfect book for me to read! Pom Pom Panda is just having a very bad day and like many of us he takes it out on the friends around him. This is a great book to use in the classroom to show that we all can make mistakes but we need to apologize. Can't wait to share this one with my teachers! Plus, I just love the front cover illustration!

23846038The third picture book is Little Tree by Loren Long. I don't think I have ever read a book by Loren Long that I haven't loved!, this one is no exception! I truly loved this book! Click here for a summary on Goodreads. On the first read this is a great book about fall. But after reading a thought provoking Facebook post by Matthew Winner, I reread the book and realized how much more there was to this book. I'll be posting more about this book and Matthew's post tomorrow. I highly recommend this book. I'm going to have to buy another copy of this book for myself because I need this book in my personal collection.

What have you been reading?

Keep checking back this week for some more posts!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Book Smiles!!

I've got lots of Book Smiles today! I've got a post up again, so that is two times in one week!!! And more importantly, I'm out of my reading rut!!

Read my post from yesterday about the books that dragged me out of my reading rut. Once I finished with all of those I started on three picture books. All three of the picture books were sent to me by Penguin Young Readers. 


The first picture book I read was Dewey Bob by Judy Schachner. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I love this book! The story is so sweet and the illustrations are beautiful!! I read the story and then had to go back and start at the beginning to just take in the illustrations. This is not one that you want to pass up. I can't wait to share this book with my kids!

140686The next picture book was The Greatest Game Ever Played by Phil Bildner. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This book is all about the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and the Baltimore Colts. I am a huge football, so this book totally appealed to me. I love how the story of the boy and his dad was intertwined with the story of the New York Giants baseball team leaving New York. The illustrations by Zachary Pullen added so much to the flow of the story. The expressions on the crowds faces made me feel all the excitement that those who were actually attending the game must have felt. This one will soon be going in my football display.

23645086The last picture book I read was An A From Miss Keller by Patricia Polacco. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I should know better than to read a book having to do with teachers by Patricia Polacco without a tissue handy. I think my favorite books written by Patricia Polacco are when she writes about her teachers. I didn't think I could ever love a book as much as I loved Thank You, Mr. Falker, but I love this one just as much. With both of these stories I think back to my 4th Grade teacher, Mrs. Newton, who made such a difference if my life. She truly turned my views of school around and made me see that school didn't have to be a negative place. Even though I was the daughter of a teacher and principal, I had some very bad school experiences. Mrs. Newton changed my world and I wish that I could find her again to say thank you.

I also have started another chapter book, Chasing Secrets by Gennifer Choldenko. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. After reading the summary on the book flap, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. But by page 15 I was hooked! I'll post more once I finish it!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, October 5, 2015

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 have really struggled with posting to my blogs. One reason is that school has started and I am beyond busy! I'm mentoring two new Media Specialists and unofficially mentoring another. I have a new assistant that I'm having to train as well. All of this has lead me to being in a HUGE reading rut. I have really struggled to even finish picture books. Usually when I'm in a reading rut I rely on my go to books (the Harry Potter series) to get me out of it. But this time I couldn't even focus on reading any of the series!! 

24611884I think this weekend I have finally broken through my reading rut! I finished seven books! Only three of the seven were picture books. The weather here this weekend was rainy, windy, and just plan gray. It made me not want to do anything. So I picked up a chapter book that I had received from Penguin Young Readers, The Odds of Getting Even by Sheila Turnage. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is a Mo and Dale mystery. It is the third book in series that started with Three Times Lucky. In my opinion, this series keeps getting better with each book. I loved that Dale took on a bigger role in this book. He really came into is own. I hope that Sheila Turnage will continue with Mo, Dale, and all the others in Tupelo Landing for a few more books because I'm not ready to say good-bye to them yet!

23281892Once I finished The Odds of Getting Even, I picked up another book from Penguin Young Readers. This time it was Harriet the Invincible by Ursula Vernon. She is the creator of the Dragonbreath series. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is such a great story because it is not your typical princess story. I love when books/stories take a bit of a left turn from where you think the story might go based on the cover. I can really identify with Harriet because I am not a girly girl either. I would not make a good princess at all! I can't wait to share this book with my kids.

2588165023398871I was on roll with having finished two books. I then moved on to nonfiction. It is no secret I am a huge fan of the Who Is, Who Was series. I was sent, from Penguin Young Readers, two of the newest in the Who Is series: Who Is Jeff Kinney (Click here for a summary on Goodreads) and Who Is Malala Yousafzai (Click here for a summary on Goodreads). I learned so much about both of these individuals. Both are very interesting people who have led very different lives. I now want to read I Am Malala Yousafzai to find out more about this very brave girl. I know that that the Jeff Kinney book is going to be a huge hit at the book fair in a few weeks. I just loved how Jeff Kinney's younger brother Patrick was the author for this biography.

With four books under my belt, I then moved on to three picture books and began another chapter book. I'll post about them tomorrow. My goal is to get back posting and being a presence on Twitter. I miss the friends that I've made there and I need to connect again. I've been feeling rather adrift and alone lately and I need to start making connections again.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libaryjo92)

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Has It Really Been Five Months???

Looking back, I can't believe it has been five months since I last posted anything on this blog! I don't know where the time has gone! I got so overwhelmed at the end of last year and was too busy over the summer to post. I have a lot to post. I've been reading some, not as much as I would have hoped! My summer was fun filled and super busy and I can't believe that I'm back in school. Consider this post a huge update on my #nerdlution!

Since January, I have been really working on making some changes in my life. I've written about the quote that my principal posted on Facebook in January that really hit home and started me on my journey. The quote is: "I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to feel like that anymore or ever again. So I changed." This quote put into words what I have been feeling for a while. When it was right in front of me, I couldn't ignore the feelings anymore. I had been gaining weight over the past few years and in January I was the heaviest I had ever been. I knew what I was eating and that I needed to change, but wasn't ready to make in until January.

Since January I have lost 57 pounds!!! I didn't do a program or special drinks or special food. I put my Fitbit and the Fitbit app to good use. I really focused on portion control by using the app to set about how many calories I should be eating. I used the app to journal all that I ate. I even tried my hardest to journal my mistakes. Having to keep a journal was the most important part for me. It helped hold me accountable and having it on my phone made it so easy for me. I had those "cheat" days when I didn't write down anything. But I made sure that I got right back on track the next day. I also made sure I was getting at least 10,000 or more steps in each day. Most days I stayed after school and walked for at least a half hour. This helped make sure that I hit my step goal.

You can really see the difference in the two pictures below. The first picture was taken in 2013 at the entrance to the Crystal Cave in California. I was still about 10 pounds from my heaviest in that picture. I'm on the left and my parents are on the right. The second picture was taken this summer in the Badlands. I really enjoyed my vacation this summer. I was able to complete the 3 mile round trip hike to Delicate Arch without a lot of trouble and I wouldn't have been able to do it as easily 50 pounds heavier.

I'm enjoying starting this year feeling healthy and happier. Now I just have to get back to Tweeting and Blogging again. I'll be posting some updates to my reading soon! Thanks if you have read this to the end!

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Four Month Update to My Nerdlution 2015

Back in January many on Twitter were posting about their #nerdlution for 2015. I posted a link to mine, which was a little bit different than most. You can read my original post here. Well now I'm four months into my nerdlution and I wanted to post an update. As a reminder, here are my four big realizations that I came to as I reflected back on my recent years.
  1. I need to make time for me! I can't just keep focusing on school.
  2. I need to make some healthier choices with food and exercise.
  3. I need to declutter some areas in my house. I keep a lot of "things" that I need to let go.
  4. I need to get back to being a presence on Twitter and blogging again. I've really missed it.
Four months in and I'm doing really well. I'm still having the most success with realization number 2. Since January I have lost 37 pounds! I have not been at the weight that I'm at in over 5 or more years! I am very proud of myself because this has taken a lot of work on my part. My principal just posted a quote on her Facebook page that really sums up where I was at in January. The quote is: "I just woke up one day and decided I didn't want to feel like that anymore or ever again. So I changed." This quote is exactly what I felt in January and I made the changes I needed in order to get me on the path that I'm on today.

I have begun to declutter some of my house. Over spring break I was able to take four bags of clothes that don't fit anymore and donate them to our second hand store. It killed me to have to give away some of my favorites, but if they don't look good because they are too big I just can't keep them. I still have a lot of work to do, but I'm making plans for over the summer.

I have been on Twitter and blogging again. Not as much as I would like, but I'm getting there. I think if I continue to focus on my one little word for the year, balance, I might accomplish more. If I work on balance, I might have more time for me as well. 

Things are not perfect and I wouldn't expect them to be, but I feel much better than I did in January. I can't wait to see where I'm going to go from here.

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, April 27, 2015

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.

This week is Book Fair week in my library. Well actually, Thursday and Friday of last week started Book Fair. I get so excited over new books! My students know how excited I get over the Book Fair. It gets them even more excited.

Since I was prepping for the Book Fair last week, I didn't do a lot of reading. I did a lot on Saturday when I was recovering from Friday. This day was packed with six scheduled classes, students coming in from recess, 2 huge family events, and two emergency drills. I didn't get to each lunch until 3:30 pm after we dismissed the kids. I read three picture books, two nonfiction picture books, and one chapter book.
The first picture book was Rodeo Red by Maripat Perkins and illustrated by Molly Idle. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This book was a fun read. I just loved the whole cowboy theme to it. The book would be a great book for those who are getting a new sibling. This is Maripat's first picture book! I can't wait to see what comes next from her. I can't say enough good things about Molly's illustrations. Different from her Flora books, but still has that whimsical elements that I have come to love.

22747796The next picture book was Marilyn's Monster by Michelle Knudsen and illustrated by Matt Phelan. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is just such an awesome book! I loved how Marilyn didn't settle for waiting for her monster to find her, she broke the mold and went after what she wanted. Even when everyone was telling her to be patient, Marilyn decided to listen to herself. This book lends itself to so many great lessons. And everyone loves a good monster stories. Matt's illustrations are very soft and really fits with the whole tone of the book.

The last picture book that I read was Finding Spring by Carin Berger. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is an absolutely gorgeous paper collage illustrated book. I am such a sucker for paper collage illustrations! This was such a great story to read just when spring was starting where I live. After the long hard winter we have had, I really was happy to read a spring tale. Maurice, the young bear, is like any young child and wants to find spring after his mom tells him it is coming. This is a great story for that time when we are transitioning from winter to spring. 

20484662The chapter book that I read was Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This was such a great transitional chapter book. Dory is the typical little sister that lives to play with her older siblings. Though, they don't feel the same way. I loved how there was a mixture of "made up" adventures and events that I have seen happen with my friends kids. This is one book that everyone will want to check out. I can't wait to see the next Dory adventure. This book was sent to me by Penguin Young Readers to review.

Check back on Wednesday for my reviews of Nature's Perfect Package Egg by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page and Winnie: The True Story of the Bear Who Inspired Winnie-the-Pooh by Sally M. Walker and Jonathan D. Voss. I would do it tonight, but my eyes are starting to grow heavy.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, April 20, 2015

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.

Well, I had very good intentions of coming back last week and posting again, but little did I know on Monday how crazy my week was going to become. I ended up having four meetings, with two being on the same day. So it was mainly just a survival week for me. I'm scheduling time this week to blog again!

With having all those meetings I really didn't get to read a lot. I've got three picture books and a link to one that I have already reviewed from Penguin Young Readers. I've also got a chapter book from my upcoming Scholastic Book Fair that I read. I also will be sharing what I'm reading now/next.

First up, the chapter book from Scholastic. It is TombQuest: Book of the Dead by Michael Northrop. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I read this book because it is going to be in my upcoming Scholastic Book Fair and I thought it sounded interesting. This is the first book in a series. Looking on Goodreads, this is not going to be like other Scholastic series, all the books will be written by Michael Northrop. I enjoyed this book because I'm always fascinated by the Egyptian culture. I think this is one that the kids will really enjoy because it has a lot of action, adventure, and a bit of grossness.

22522289Now onto the picture books. Ever since I listened to Matthew Winner's Let's Get Busy Podcast episode 131 with Greg Pizzoli I've been wanting to read his newest book Tricky Vic The Impossibly True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I first read through this book from cover to cover because I have been waiting so long to read it. Then I had to go back through and reread it to savor the experience! I am in awe of Greg Pizzoli's talent. He is such a versatile author/illustrator because this book is so different from the others books that he has published. The idea to use a fingerprint as the main characters face is just genius! It really reinforces the knowledge that most didn't know what Tricky Vic looked like. The variety of art work in this book just makes it even better. I highly recommend you pick this one up if you haven't and make sure you peek under the dust jacket to look at the front and back cover.

22504706The next two books have a yarn theme in them. The book is Knit Together by Angela Dominguez. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is a sweet story about a daughter who loves to draw and loves to watch her mom knit. The daughter wants to try knitting, but finds that it is not as easy as it looks. I loved the way the author had them end up working on a project together. The author also did the illustrations for this book. Every time I looked at the illustrations, I could feel the love that Angela has for her mother coming through. It was neat to read on the back flap how she and her mother worked together on the project that the two characters did. I enjoyed this one and gave my mom a hug the next time I saw her.

22521940The second yarn themed book is Edmund Unravels by Andrew Kolb. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Loved this story so much! It is a great story about being able to get out and explore the world, but still remembering where you came from. I even got a little teary eyed while reading this book, but I know it is because of my good friend's son who is graduating from high school this year. I think this book might have to be part of his graduation gift this year.


Another book that I got from Penguin Young Readers that I had already reviewed is Peanut Butter & Cupcake by Terry Border. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Click here to see my review from August 2014.

I will be back to post this week. I've already scheduled my time to write another post on my Google Calendar with two reminders!

I've got three books on my radar for this week, Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon, Mr. Pants: Slacks, Camera, Action! by Soctt McCormick, and The Iron Trial by Holly Black and Cassandra Clare.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, April 13, 2015

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 always start the week with good intentions of coming back and blogging again, but it hasn't been in the cards yet. I am determined to post again this week! That being said, I didn't get a lot of reading done because this was my first week back after Spring Break and it really kicked my butt!

20454079I was able to get three books read, two chapter books and a graphic novel. The first book I read was Snoop Troop: It Came From Beneath the Playground by Kirk Scroggs. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This book came with my book talk kit for the Spring Book Fair. It was a fun read and I can really see the kids enjoying it. There is a lot of illustrations and "things to do" in the book. It is a great mix of chapter book and graphic novel. It looks like this will be the first in a new series.

23309659The second chapter book that I read was an ARC from Simon & Schuster of The Secret Cookie Club by Martha Freeman. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This book is due to be published on May 19th. This book is about four cabin mates at summer camp who are not really getting along, until their counselor teaches them about "flour power". She gets them to bake cookies and they learn about working together. The rest of the story involves each of the girls having a problem, one of their cabin mates writing a letter and sending cookies that helps them figure out an answer. This book was a very easy read. I can see many of my students enjoying this book. The best part, in my opinion, is all the recipes for cookies in the back!

22504701The graphic novel that I got to read was Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I LOVED this book. It had so many strong female characters and good role models for girls of today. I also like how Victoria Jamieson didn't shy away from the hardships girls and their friends seem to face when leaving elementary school. It is never easy being a girl tween/teen and I'm glad the struggles were not sugar-coated. I have always been in awe of the females who participate in Roller Derby. This book is such a tribute to those who participate! I highly recommend this book to everyone!

I hope to read some more this coming week. I'm still working on trying to find the balance in my life between work and "me time". I will be back to post this week an update to my Nerdlution. I have made some progress and want to give an update.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)

Monday, April 6, 2015

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.

It is my last day of Spring Break. While I am sad that it is over, I'm excited to start this last part of the year. Even though I have been doing other things around the house during Spring Break, I've also been reading!
I've got three chapter books and four picture books that I've been reading. I'll start with the chapter books. All of these chapter books I have been eagerly waiting to read. The first book is Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg and illustrations by Matthew Cordell. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is the third book about Eleanor. I have loved them from the start. This is a great book for those students who are ready for a little bit more in their chapter books, than Junie B. and Magic Treehouse.

22313641The second chapter book is All The Answers by Kate Messner. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Kate Messner has done it again; this book is awesome! Once I started it, I had to know how it ended. I think at one point or another in our lives we have all wished for something to provide us with answers. Ava, the main character, finds a magic pencil which provides her with answers. The question then becomes does she really want to know all the answers. I can't say enough good things about this book. As one of my Twitter friends pointed out page 61 is a page that members of the Nerdy Book Club will love!

22856146The third chapter book that I read was The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Anyone who calls themselves a reader has always imaged characters coming to life and being able to interact with them. When Billy starts reading books in Dr. Libris' cabin, this seems to start happening. I enjoyed this book. I was interested to see how Chris Grabenstein would follow up after Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library. I love that he kept books and reading as an important part of the core of the story. Since I work in a school library, nothing can really top Escape From Mr. Lemoncello's Library, but this books is high in my list of good books. Though, as an adult, I wanted a little more from the ending. I know my students won't feel the same way. I can't wait to share the book with them.

22546632Now onto the picture books. The first book is newest from Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin, Click, Clack, Peep! Click here for a summary on Goodreads. I have always enjoyed these books from this duo that take place on the farm. Though I haven't been overjoyed with the last few offerings, but this one brought a smile to my face. Everyone on the farm is watching an egg and waiting for it to hatch. All of Doreen Cronin's book are so popular in my library I know that this will be no exception. This is a great spring story.

22749702The second picture book I read was Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. This is a good book about friendship and can help lead a discussion in the primary grades about bullying. It is a book with very simple text and the illustrations compliment the text so well. I hadn't heard about this book. I picked it up at my mentee's book fair because the cover really spoke to me. I will be sharing it with my teachers at the end of month when my book fair happens.

22521929The next two picture books, I received from Penguin Young Readers. The first is Look by Jeff Mack. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Wow, this is a very powerful book with only two words. This book has an important message, even though there is very little text. I am a huge Jeff Mack fan and this book didn't disappoint. I feel that too many of our kids our spending way too much time in front of some type of screen. Unfortunately many of them are not reading books, which is sad. I would hope that some parents can take a lesson from the book and put down their devices and interact with their kids. This book will be published tomorrow.

20840305The second book from Penguin Young Readers is By Mouse & Frog by Deborah Freedman. Click here for a summary on Goodreads. Loved, loved, loved this book! I really liked the story within a story. It made for a great way for students to see how to use their imagination when writing a story. Sometimes if you are writing a story, in my opinion, the more outrageous the better. One of my favorite parts of the whole book takes place at the end of the book. Frog asks "Who is Deborah Freedman?" and Mouse responds "I have no idea." This conversation is happening as Mouse is adding himself and Frog as authors under the copyright date. I love when an author can make little fun of himself/herself. This book is due to be published on April 14th.

I'm gearing up for the last part of the year. I'm still in shock that we are already in April! I don't really know where January, February and March went. It seems like they were gone in the blink of an eye. I hope the rest of the year slows down a bit, so I can get my projects completed.

Happy Reading!!

Stacey (@libraryjo92)