Snow Day Rituals

20 Feb

Last year, we missed 10 days of school due to snow.

This year, we have had no snow days. It doesn’t seem fair. It seems especially unfair that we had snow this weekend and icy streets Monday morning – President’s Day – a day with no school.

There is hope. Snow is in the forecast, though it is hard to say if there will be enough to impact the school day.

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There are myths about how to ensure a snow day. The one we used at my previous school was simple: wear your pyjamas inside out.

A quick online search reveals that other places have other traditions  Here are a few

1. Place an ice cube in the toilet and flush it (one for each inch of snow you want). Alternatively, I also found a site that says to flush six ice cubes. It was also very clear that it must be ice cubes, not crushed ice.

2.  Several sites suggested sleeping with a spoon under your pillow.

3. Run around the kitchen table five times before bed (and chanting “I want it to snow” three times in a row).

4.  Eat ice cream for dinner.

5.  Do a snow dance on your front yard (while wearing your PJ’s inside out).

6.  Go to the freezer and open the door and dance singing SNOW DAY, SNOW DAY, SNOW DAY!

7. Put a spoon in the freezer.

8.  Put a white crayon in the freezer. Then,  put it under your pillow when you go to bed.

I am not doing any of these tonight, but who knows how I might feel later in the week.

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Upside down and backwards

19 Feb

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I’ve heard (and used) this quote about Ginger Rogers a number of times. I hadn’t realized it originated in a Frank and Ernest comic!

I got to thinking about it because I just read a new picture book biography of Elizabeth “Libba” Cotten, self-taught blues and folk musician, singer, and songwriter. Libba: The Magnificent Musical Life of Elizabeth Cotten is written by Portland Musician Laura Veirs and illustrated by Tatyana Fazlalizadeh.

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Because she was left-handed she played the guitar “upside down and backwards”, a refrain that repeats throughout the book and that brought to mind the Ginger Rogers reference.

Libba Cotten was convinced by her pastor to give up the guitar, saying she played “Devil’s music”. Later in life, she became the housekeeper for  Ruth Crawford Seeger and, in a house full of music, she rediscovered her passion. She made her first recording in 1958 at the age of 62.

This picture book biography includes an author’s note that gives more details about Cotten’s life and Veirs’ lifelong connection to her work, as well as a list of sources.

Here she is, playing her most famous song, “Freight Train”.

 

This week’s book talks

16 Feb

It has been a whirlwind week! Although I was only at school for three days, I managed to talk about seven books.

Wednesday, I shared the Sibert winner and honor books.

 

Thursday, I book-talked Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly, the winner of the Newbery Award.I wrote about this book back in May. you can reread my post here.

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Friday,  I book-talked Vincent and Theo by Deborah Heiligman. I won the YALSA Award for Nonfiction and was a Printz Honor book.

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OMG!

15 Feb

Today, during independent reading, I will finish Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman.

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I thought about bringing it with me to Denver, but didn’t want to be distracted from my work. I love it that much.

I wrote about it o February 5th, so I won’t go into details about plot. Let me just say that Shusterman surprised me, and as someone who reads a lot, that doesn’t happen often. He has also managed to add new characters that take this second book in the series to a completely new level.

Neal Shusterman will be a Powell’s Books in Beaverton tonight at 7 pm. See the details below.

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Writing the blurbs

13 Feb

Nine people. Five books.A winner and four honor books.

The four Sibert Honor books were divided evenly among eight of us, assigned by our Chair. Our mission : a 50 word description of the book and a mere 20 words for authors and illustrators.

The struggle was real. How can you truly explain the merits of a book in  a mere 50 words?

The night before, before our final vote, our chair held the gold medal to each and we gave reasons why they deserved the gold medal. We should have recorded it.

My partner and I, assigned  Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix  started by brainstorming the words and ideas we had thrown out during the previous evening’s discussions. Form that we edited until we had word-smithed this:

Part biography, part culinary adventure, this vibrant and energetic book captures the essence of the LA street food scene. Graffiti-inspired art and hip-hop flavored text blend food, community and identity into a delicious feast for the eyes and ears that reflects the melting pot of America.

We were a little over 50 words, but hoped we’d be forgiven.

Summing up an author in 20 words was nearly impossible. We wrote and rewrote, trying to capture the facts without sounding boring. Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix had two authors and an illustrator. Here is how we described them:

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of many award-winning children’s books. She lives in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and tries to eat kimchi every day.

June Jo Lee is a food ethnographer and co-founder of Readers to Eaters. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, she now lives near Seattle. This is her first children’s book.

Pioneering graffiti artist Man One grew up in Los Angeles, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount. He is a global leader in the movement to legitimize graffiti art.

While we were writing our honor book, our chair started to work on the blurb for the winner,Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner. My partner and I finished early so we were then tasked with the bio. The winner gets a 50-word bio, but even so it was difficult because the author of a very serious book has a really great sense of humor that we wanted to capture. Here is what we write:

Larry Dane Brimner is the author of 200 books and divides his time between Tucson and San Diego. He taught elementary, high school and university for 20 years. Despite the seriousness of his many award-winning books, his presentations to schools are a blend of stand-up comedy and storytelling. He believes everyone has a story to tell.

Once all the blurbs and bios were written our chair read them all aloud. And then we got to place the stickers. Each pair placed the sticker on the book they wrote up. I can’t begin to tell you how emotional this was.

Our Books – #alamw18

12 Feb

Here are the winners that my committee selected:

The winner is:

download-1Twelve Days in May: Freedom Ride 1961 by Larry Dane Brimner, is published by Calkins Creek, an imprint of Highlights. 

In 1961 on the seventh anniversary of the Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, 13 freedom riders boarded two buses in Washington D.C. bound for New Orleans. The riders were willing to risk their lives to challenge illegal Jim Crow practices on interstate buses and in bus terminals.

“Spare text, bold graphics and arresting photos combine to take young readers on a 12-day journey through the Jim Crow American south of 1961,” said Sibert Medal Committee Chair Tali Balas.

Larry Dane Brimner is the author of 200 books and divides his time between Tucson and San Diego. He taught elementary, high school and university for 20 years. Despite the seriousness of his many award-winning books, his presentations to schools are a blend of stand-up comedy and storytelling. He believes everyone has a story to tell.

The Sibert Medal Committee selected four Honor Books:

download-2Chef Roy Choi and the Street Food Remix, written by Jacqueline Briggs Martin and June Jo Lee, illustrated by Man One and published by Readers to Eaters Books.

Part biography, part culinary adventure, this vibrant and energetic book captures the essence of the LA street food scene. Graffiti-inspired art and hip-hop flavored text blend food, community and identity into a delicious feast for the eyes and ears that reflects the melting pot of America.

Jacqueline Briggs Martin is the author of many award winning children’s books. She lives in Mount Vernon, Iowa, and tries to eat kimchi every day.

June Jo Lee is a food ethnographer and co-founder of Readers to Eaters. Originally from Seoul, South Korea, she now lives near Seattle. This is her first children’s book.

Pioneering graffiti artist Man One grew up in Los Angeles, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts at Loyola Marymount. He is a global leader in the movement to legitimize graffiti art.

download-3Grand Canyon, written and illustrated by Jason Chin and published by Roaring Brook Press, a Neal Porter Book.

Through magnificent panoramic illustrations, meticulously researched diagrams and lucid text, Jason Chin has created a book as grand as the canyon itself. Readers join a father-daughter pair on an imaginary hike through the canyon’s ecological communities, inviting readers to look at this unique natural wonder.

Award-winning author/illustrator Jason Chin lives in Vermont with his wife and children.

51xIv8iq+rL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Not So Different: What You Really Want to Ask about Having a Disability, written by Shane Burcaw, illustrated by Matt Carr and published by Roaring Brook Press.

In this candid book, award-winning writer Burcaw answers ten frequently asked questions about his life with a disability in a humorous and approachable manner. Carr’s brilliant photos of comically-staged scenes, along with family shots and outsized graphics, add to this book’s tone and liveliness.

Bestselling author Burcaw, a professional speaker and president of Laughing at My Nightmare, Inc., lives in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

Matt Carr, based in Brooklyn, New York, has a background in photojournalism and has received awards for his visual storytelling.

download-4Sea Otter Heroes: The Predators That Saved an Ecosystem, written by Patricia Newman and published by Millbrook Press, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc.

Chemical runoff from California’s farms kills seagrass. But in Monterey Bay’s Elkhorn Slough, the seagrass is thriving. Why? Readers dive into the waters of the slough along with biologist Brent Hughes as he doggedly pursues the answers to this puzzling ecological mystery.

Patricia Newman has authored several books that introduce children to scientific exploration and discovery. She lives in Northern California.

The award was established by ALSC and named to commemorate Mr. Robert F. Sibert, founder of Bound to Stay Bound Books, Inc., of Jacksonville, Illinois. Sibert is known for his early work in establishing standards of bookbinding.

 

Members of the 2018 Sibert Medal Committee are Chair Tali Balas, Convent of The Sacred Heart, New York; Madeline J. Bryant, Los Angeles Public Library; Ericka C. Chilcoat, Merced County Library System, Merced, Calif.; Marna L. Elliott, Swarthmore, Pa.; Adrienne Gillespie, Beaverton School District, Portland, Ore.; Danielle Hartsfield, University of North Georgia, Cumming, Ga.; Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Ore.; Debra Marshall, Farmers Branch, Texas; and Mary Michell, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library.

Day 4 in Denver – #alamw18

11 Feb

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Sunday morning, I was up early for the MacMillan Children’s “Rise and Shine Breakfast. I had to leave a before the presentations ended, for my final Sibert meeting.

This meeting was fun. We divvied up the books and wrote the text for tomorrow’s announcement and the press release.  The criteria are tight. The winner of the award gets 50 words for the description of the book, 25 words to quote content or comments and another 50 words for the author and/or illustrator bio(s). Honor books get even less: a 50 word description of the book and a mere 20 words for authors and illustrators. It was fun, intense work.

Once each group finished, we read aloud what we’d written. And then we placed medals on the books that will appear in the YMA presentation. It felt like a coronation.

I spent some time in the exhibit hall later and shipped home some books. Then, I went back to my hotel for a nap. I can’t tell you how exhausting the process has been. It has been wonderful, but I am pooped.

We reconvened Sunday evening to call the winners. Let me just say, there were tears and cheers, from all of us and on the other end of the phone.

You can watch the presentation live here at 8 a.m (Mountain Time)

 

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