It’s Monday – here are some books you might enjoy

Pressure Point is the second book that I’ve read from the Game Face series. I highly recommend it. There’s a lot of pressure when you’re one of only four 7th graders who’s made the team and even more when you’re in the starting team. You have to stay cool.  You have to play smart.  You have to … Torry feels pressure to play well. He wants to keep his spot as a starter so he gives his all, all the time. What if that’s not good enough?  Read Pressure Point to find out how Torry works to play hard and be a great teammate.

Birdie is a crafter. She loves making things with her hands. She loves the idea that ordinary things can become extraordinary creations with a little thought, effort and time. Making things transforms Birdie. She becomes more than a girl – she is Crafty Cat. But when Birdie gets to Monster Craft Camp and discovers the janitor and the librarian are leading it rather than a Crafty King, AND, that Anya is there, she’s not sure what will happen. Birdie has to find a way to make the best of each challenge as she crafts her way through her day. It’s a good thing she has Evan and Cloudy. They help her cope with difficulties and disappointments.  This is a great story friendship and understanding.

On top of that, the directions for all the cool monster crafts are at the end of the book.

It’s Monday – here are some books you might like to read!

Thanks to Rachael and her mom we have the first book in a new series called The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, The Jolly Regina by Kara LaRue.  Kale and Jaundice Bland are twins.  Their parents left for an errand several years ago and the girls are still waiting for them to return.  While waiting they follow the same routine each day.  Here’s how it goes:

“Jaundice and Kale pride themselves on their exacting routine.  After breakfast (plain oatmeal with skim milk, a cup of weak tea on the side) they tend to their business of darning other people’s socks, which takes the better part of the day.  Each allows herself one ten-minute break, during which she eats a cheese sandwich on day-old bread and drinks a glass of flat soda while gazing out the window, watching the grass grow.”

Their normal evening entertainment was reading to each other from the dictionary.  But then came the knock on the door.  What followed was a surprise or rather a predicament.  The girls were taken (in a burlap bag that caused chaffing) to the Jolly Regina to become deck swabs for Deadeye Delilah.  Being part of a pirate crew is quite a change for the Bland sisters.  It’s hard work and pirates are not always all that nice.  You’ll have to read the book to find out how Kale and Jaundice escape their predicament.  Will they develop a taste for adventure, or will their longing for quiet routine take over?  These “bland” characters will make you smile.


If you’re into sports you’ll like Between the Stick by Rich Wallace.  Griffin likes playing soccer for his local rec. league.  He plays defense and he’s good at it. In fact, this season his team is undefeated.  The team works hard and plays hard, but they have fun too.  That is, until the goalie sprains his wrist and is out for the rest of the season.  Now it’s up to Griffin to take his place in goal.  It’s hard work and a lot of pressure.  What seemed like a maybe championship season for Griffin, isn’t as easy as all that anymore.

Griffin and his teammates are into winning.  But when things don’t go their way, they handle it with style.  It’s exciting to find out how the season goes in this soccer story of the Game Face series.

It’s Monday – here are some books you might enjoy

I’ve got some great new books for our classroom.  Some of them add on to series I’m know you’re familiar with. The Princess in Black and The Mysterious Playdate is lots of fun.  You have to love Princess Magnolia and Frimplepants, who along with Princess Sneezewort and Corny, vanquish the monsters.  You have to smile at their secret identities – it’s just what readers do.  There is a new addition to the Bad Guys series. This time they’re In the Attack of the Zittens.  It is plain old silly.  Full of laugh-out-loud characters in crazy situations.  And the laughs are bound to go on because the evil guinea pig, Dr. Marmalade has just sent issued an ultimatum from his new lair on the Moon.  Will he finally achieve his dream of world domination…or will The Bad Guys find a way to thwart his plans?  We’ll have to wait for the next installment in the saga.  In the meantime we can reread the first four books and snicker as we turn each page.

Dogman – A Tale of Two Kitties is one I know many of you are waiting to read.  It’s my favorite one of the series so far.  Petey is back with a plan to  eliminate Dog Man along with the rest of the police force.  Petey is sure this plan can’t fail…until it doesn’t go as he wants.  Throw a U Clone ’em Machine, Flippy the Psychokinetic Fish (with newly added bionic parts) and a factory of Living Spray into the mix, and you’ve got an action packed adventure full of danger, heartache and joy.  Yup, joy.  It’s the first book that George and Harold have written since they’ve become mature 5th graders – they’ve become more serious about their comics.  I think they pulled it off nicely,  After you read it, let me know if you agree.

The last book in the pile that I’m going to write about is Salsa Stories by Lulu Delacre.  This is realistic fiction, not funny, but full of heart. It’s New Year’s Day and Carmen Teresa is excited to be with her whole family.  Her abuelas, tias, tios, cousins and family friends are gathering for their traditional meal.  Mama is making her special sauce for the arroz con pollo – the house is full of laughter, conversation, and the wonderful cooking smells that mean celebration .  Carmen receives a gift from Dona Josefa, and as she thanks her she asks, “What should I write in this book?”

Dona Josefa’s creased face lights up with a her smile.  “There are many things you can write,” she says.  Perhaps you will want to keep a journal like I did.”
“Or,” offers Abuelita, “you could write about things that have happen to you when you were younger.”

“Yes.  Or maybe, you could collect stories from our family and friends,” suggests Mama, “since everyone is here today.”

“Stories – ahh, cuentos!” calls Abuelito from his seat in the dining room table where he has been eavesdropping.  “I have a great story for your book…”

And so the stories begin and Carmen is surrounded by wonder and love.  The stories are from all over the Spanish speaking world:  Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Argentina and more.  They are magical.  Each also all has a special food as part of it.  The recipes are included.  Yum!

I wonder if our class could collect family stories centered around celebrations and times when families eat together.  I wonder what we’d discover!  Want to give it a try?


It’s Monday – here are some books to check out

Sorry – I’ve been away from the blog for a week.  I’ve been setting up the classroom.  As you know, that’s a LOT of books to move, dust and re-shelf.  It’s mostly done now.  The room looks different, but I like it.  You’ll still be able to find a lot of the books you love – some new ones too.  I hope you’ll visit – you’re always welcome to browse the shelves.

Two of my new favorites are Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) and Bobby the Brave (Sometimes) by Lisa Yee.  It is the beginning of 4th grade.  In the first book, Bobby and his best friend (sort-of), Holly meet up at the Labor Day Fiesta.  It’s hard for them to show they are best friends.  There seems to be this unwritten rule about girls and boys being friends at school.  And this becomes magnified when Holly begins to spend more time with Jillian Zarr and her posse.  Bobby’s in the middle of lots of things.  He wants to make his family proud, but he’s not sure how.  He’s just “ordinary.”  His sister is the quarterback of the high school football team.  Yup, that’s right.  Their dad is, “The Freezer”, a retired professional football player – but Bobby hasn’t received any of those abilities.  His younger sister, a 5-year old devotee of Princess Becky’s Planet, always wears a crown and carries a wand in case she needs a little magic.  Bobby thinks he could use some, but so far magic hasn’t worked for him either. There are also his guy friends, Chess and St. James and they’re great, but not always successful.

As you read these books, I bet you’ll smile at the things Bobby does, sometimes because they are funny and sometimes because you’ll know exactly how he feels.  There’s the race for student representative, the class picture, the field trip to Huntington Garden, and a class play-  along with goldfish instead of a dog.  Bobby shows us that it’s not easy to know what to choose and how to be – it seems important to tell others how you feel and to do the best that you can to be kind.

You’ll find out more about these books and even see a video of a soccer playing goldfish at Lisa Yee’s website.  Enjoy!  Let me know if you read them.  I’d love to know what you think – how close are they to what you’re thinking and feeling as you begin your 4th grade adventure?

Keep enjoying great books!

It’s Monday – here are some books to read

I’m off to a two-day writing camp today.  I’m excited and am looking forward to dreaming of new ways to grow writers in 3E.  One way is to share great books… What are you reading that you think others would like?

Zoey and her cat, Sassafras, explore the world with the eye of a scientist.  Zoey uses goggles, like most scientists do, to protect her eyes.  She runs experiments and uses the information she learns through them to make changes and to answer questions.  The changes and the questions she answers though, are about creatures from the magical world.  In Dragons and Marshmallows, Zoey has to discover how to help a sick baby dragon.  It takes her a while, but eventually she discovers what dragons need to thrive.  If you like science, but also enjoy living in a world full of magical possibilities, make sure to read all of the books in this series. They are lots of fun.

Last year I read some of the books in Brad Meltzer’s Ordinary People Change the World series.  We had Abraham Lincoln, Jim Henson and Albert Einstein in our classroom.  I remember Gavin reading them and asking if we had others. We didn’t then, but now we do.  The books in the series are quick biographies highlighting a special trait that made each of these people stand out and helped them change the world.  Rosa Parks teaches us to stand up for ourselves.  Martin Luther King, Jr. teaches us that eventually we can accomplish dreams when we stand together.  Helen Keller teaches us that we can overcome obstacles if we remain determined.  And Jackie Robinson teaches us there are many ways to be brave.  On his website, Brad Meltzer says, “These aren’t stories of famous people.  This is what we’re all capable of our our very best days.”  I believe that too!  I can’t wait to discover all you can do!

What books do you recommend?  Let us know what you’ve been exploring!

As always, Happy Reading!

It’s Monday – here are some books to read

I’m starting to feel a touch of blue in and around getting ready for next year.  Next week I’ll get my class list.  I’ll send out letters to 3E 2017-2018.  You’ll be getting your letters too.  It’s exciting to think of a new school year, but … I still read with you in mind.  All summer long I’ve been finding books that made me think of all of you.  Some great new series and some stand alone books that I think you’d all be interested in.  This week I’ve read the new Stick Dog and I wonder if Gavin and Zack have read that.  I found a new-to-me series called Misty Inn and I think Samantha will really like that.  Charise Mericle Harper (author of the Just Grace books) has a new series about a cooking show competition.  I think Gabby, Julie and Mackenzie will like that.  I think Max and Sully will like Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World.  I know you’ll all find your own way to terrific for you books – but if you ever need a suggestion or want to borrow something, please stop by.  I’d love to keep sharing books with you from our classroom or on the blog!  Let me know what you’re reading too!  I love new suggestions. ♥

Here’s some of what I’ve been reading this week.  I discovered the Misty Inn series this week.  I found it through a review of the 7th book in the series, Teacher’s Pet.  I thought it sounded interesting, so I purchased books 5, 6 and 7 at the bookstore.  I read them in backwards order and think they’re great – so needless to say, I’ll be getting books 1-4 soon.  In book 7 school has just started again, and Willa’s first assignment is to  make a how-to presentation to her class.  It is supposed to share something important to Willa so the class will get to know her better.  There are lots of things Willa could teach people how to do, but it’s challenging to come up with a topic that shares something important too.  As you read, you discover that Willa’s family has recently moved from Chicago to Chincoteague.  Her family has a new inn and her dad, a chef, runs a restaurant there.  The inn is called Misty Inn in honor of Marguerite Henry’s book, Misty of Chincoteague .  Family, horses, food and the inn are all important to Willa – finally she creating and cooking with her dad for her how-to topic.  Cooking only happens when you can get all the right ingredients… You’ll have to read Teacher’s Pet to find out how Willa’s presentation goes.  If you have an interest in horses or just like to read about family and friends similar to you, make sure to check this series out.  Willa, her brother Sam and friends, Sarah, Lena and Chipper are fun to spend time with.

It’s October and Stick Dog and his pals are hungry again.  I bet you can imagine some of the things the friends do in Stick Dog Craves Candy.  At first they’re frightened of the witches, but on closer observation they discover that this might be a pretty amazing night.  Of course Karen get’s distracted, PooPoo offers to slam into a tree, Stripes comes up with an outrageous plan and Mutt shakes out all the tools he can.  In the end, there are several ways that Stick Dog helps his friends to an incredible stash.  Nothing new, but fun all the same.  If you’re a Stick Dog fan, make sure to check this new addition out.

Light, Camera, COOK is the first book in the Next Junior Chef series.  In it four kids meet for the first elimination round of the competition.  There’s Rea, who’s learned to cook with her grandmother, Oliver, who’ taken lessons with some to the best chefs in the world, Tate, who’s an inventor who love to mix tastes and cuisines and Caroline, who’s been around great food all her life in her family’s bistro.  At the end of the week, one of the kids will be asked to leave.  It’s pretty interesting to read about the story behind the tv drama and to read about how these very different chefs can root for and support each other even when they know they may be left behind.  I can’t wait to read the next (I’m guessing) three books in the series to find out who wins the competition, but also to discover what the four kids do with all they learn along the way.

What have you been reading this summer?  Do you have any suggestions for me?  Please share them in a comment.  Happy reading – so many books…

It’s Monday – here are some books to read

For a while I’ve noticed The Magic Shop series in the library, but I’d never read any until last week.  They are great stories AND they share great magic tricks too.  I think you’ll enjoy the characters – they are just beginning 4th grade – and you’ll relate to their challenges and friendship dilemmas.  I made a ChatterPix review for the first book in the series:

Check out all four titles in the series.  If you learn how to do one of the magic tricks, please make sure to come and show me..

You’ll also enjoy The Silver Jaguar Society mysteries by Kate Messner.  In the first, Capture the Flag,  Anna, Jose and Henry come together save The Star Spangled Banner (yes, the real one that flew over Fort McHenry in the War of 1812) before it is lost forever.  It’s an exciting adventure that happens in the Washington DC airport when all flights are canceled in a spring snow storm.  The good guys and the bad guys are all trapped together which makes for some pretty tense moments and some very creative thinking.

Check out the other series and books I’ve been reading this week in the Library sidebar.  I’d love to know what you’re reading this summer too!  Leave a comment.

It’s Monday – here are some books to enjoy!

If you like realistic fiction, Claudia Mills is the author for you.  Her characters are true – just like kids in our classroom and school!  Nora is from a family of scientists. She observes, questions and notes things around her.  She’s about to become an aunt, and so her notebook is full of things about babies at home.  She’s also looking forward to (and planning on winning) the upcoming science fair at school.  But changes in the rules partners her with pink-loving Emma. Ugh!  Nora’s world is thrown even more off kilter by the role and fate of the character she been given for the Oregon Trail project.  Science experiments with variables and constants meets pinkness and baby visitations.  Just when you think Nora can’t stand another thing… turn the page to see what happens.  Nora is strong and opinionated – so is Emma.  Read The Nora NotebooksThe Trouble With Babies to find out how they work through their issues.  You’ll be glad you did.

Last summer I discovered books by Suzi Eszterhas.  She is a wildlife photographer and conservationist. She uses some of the money she raises through books sales to support wildlife organizations and rescue operations throughout the world.  This summer I’ve added two books to that collection.  Sea Otter Rescue takes readers to the Alaska SeaLife Center in Seward, Alaska.  We learn about efforts there to save orphaned sea otter pups found stranded and alone on the shore.  It takes many people, each doing a  special job, to rescue the otter pups and prepare them for the places they will live for the rest of their lives.  Did you know adult sea otters are the size of German shepherds?  Did you know that otters are born with a coat of super-thick fur called a “float coat” so they won’t drown?  You’ll learn lots about both otters and the rescue mission conducted by the wildlife team found on the shores of Resurrection Bay.

The second book is Moto and Me – my year as a wildcat’s foster mom.  While on the Masai Mara in Kenya to photograph and write about animal life there, Suzi became the foster mother to serval kitten.  Moto (fire in Swahili) was separated from his family by a fire racing across the savanna.  At two weeks old Moto needed specific care.  First he needed to feel safe and cared for as part of a family.  Then he needed to learn how to survive by being able to come and go as all serval kittens do.  Over the course of eight months Moto learned how to survive in the wild.  One night Moto went out on his nocturnal hunt and did not return to Suzi’s tent.  He was later seen by other rangers who knew him.  Moto, now an adult cat, was on his own in the savanna.  I learned so much about servals and more about how humans impact the environment – sometimes help, isn’t.

This week I read a lot of fun picture books.  You’ll have fun reading them too.  Check them out in the library side bar.  Share 7 Ate 9 – the Untold Story with your family.  There are so many hidden math puns in the words and illustrations it takes a while to catch them all.  World Pizza is also a fun twist on a wish gone awry by a sneeze – peace…, pizza…  It may not be that bad.

It’s Monday – here are some books you might like

Remember our celebration of kindness during the Global Kindness Project, when we read a variety of refugee stories?  Well last week I discovered this picture book. I hope you’ll all read it and then share it too.  Where Will I Live by Rosemary McCarney, one of Canada’s ambassadors to the United Nations, shows how children are asking that question in so many places in our world today.  It is a beautiful call for help and action.  Share it with your families and see what you can do.

Super Turbo is by Lee Kirby, the author of Captain Awesome.  It’s a new series about super hero school pets.  It will be a quick read that will make you smile.  Can you imagine our fish saving the school from a rodent take-over while we were away because of a snow day?

I’ve been in an Elise Gravel phase.  You might like a view into her sketchbook where she captures ideas for writing in If Found…Please Return to Elise Gravel.  You might like nonfiction Disgusting Critters series.  You can learn about head lice, flies, slugs, and more in a way that will make you shiver and giggle at the same time.  Or you might want to explore the picture book, The Cranky Ballerina.  It will make the dancers in our class smile.  And finally you might enjoy Olga, a graphic novel/chapter book hybrid.  Olga looks at things in a scientific way.  She observes “stuff” to learn about it.  Her passion is animals.  She loves everything about them (they may even be better than people).  While looking, she discovers an animal unlike any other.  He seem to be from nowhere – maybe outer space.  He’s smelly and makes the sound she names him after, “Meh.”  And so begins Olga’s adventure to discover all she can about Meh, keep him safe and find a way to make him happy.  You’ll enjoy the adventure – it doesn’t go as smoothly as planned.

These books are on the lighter side of things.  If you’re interested in  something more serious, check out the library in the sidebar.  I’m curious to know what you’re reading.  Leave a comment to let me know.


It’s Monday – here are some books to enjoy!

Yes, I course I’ve been reading.  There is a “book-a-day” challenge that I’ve been trying to complete.  So far, so good…

I discovered The Space Taxi series by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer.  Did you know that there are actually aliens on Earth?  The Intergalactic Security Force knows this and tries to keep it secret.  You see, most Earthlings are quite ready to believe and understand so Archie Morningstar and his dad run a taxi service so aliens and come and go as needed.  Things go quite smoothly, until a solar flare temporarily interferes with the equipment and signals needed for safe travel.  What will happen to the Aliens on Earth?    This is a fun series to “explore.”

What would you do if on the day you turned 10, you discovered you were a Wonder? What would you do if you realized just by saying your name, “Aleca Zamm,” you could stop time?  Would you want that power or not?  What are the pros and cons of being a Wonder rather than a Dud?  The books in this series are written as one continuing story.  The first two have been published.  I hope that next are soon.  Read Aleca Zamm is a Wonder and Aleca Zamm is Ahead of Her Time to discover how wonder-full (or not) special gifts can be.

If you’re looking for something a little more challenging and a lot more CREEPY, you should try Curse of the Boggin book 1The Library.  There is something under Alec Swenor’s bed.  He’s trying to say calm about it.  After all, he’s nine.  But something is there for sure.  It left a scratched message “Surrender the Key” and that’s just the beginning of what happens if you’re connected to The Boggin.  This is a terrifically scary tale – it’s creepy in all the right ways.  It will leave you wondering – What if? What’s next?  It’s over, but not really?  How will the Boggin return?

I’ve added some other book suggestions to the shelf on the right.  Check those out too!  Happy Reading!