Archive | January, 2018

Oregon Book Award Finalists – The YA Edition

31 Jan
The Oregon Book Awards honor the finest accomplishments by Oregon writers who work in genres of poetry, fiction, graphic literature, literary nonfiction, and literature for young readers.You can find out all the 2018 Oregon Book Awards finalists here. I have listed the LESLIE BRADSHAW AWARD FOR YOUNG ADULT LITERATURE nominees below. Most of these are new titles to me – I have already placed them on hold.
The Oregon Book Award winners will be announced at the 31st annual Oregon Book Awards ceremony on Monday, April 30
 Judges: Rachel DeWoskin, Lamar Giles, Jennifer Longo
Kenn Amdahl of Eugene, Jumper and the Apple Crate (Clearwater Publishing Company)
Kelly Garrett of Portland, The Last to Die (Poisoned Pen Press)
Fonda Lee of Portland, Exo (Scholastic)
Paula Stokes of Portland, This is How it Happened  (Harper Teen)
Laini Taylor of Portland, Strange the Dreamer (Little, Brown Books for Young Readers)


30 Jan

If anyone sees me, I thought, I‘ll be in trouble.

Regardless of that thought, I dragged a chair over to the display window and stood on it as I opened it and took out what I wanted. And sure enough, just as I was stepping down, work samples in hand, my principal came walking down the hall.

“You should always have a spotter if you are standing on a chair,”she said, smiling. She knows the rules, but understands a short teacher’s reality.


Farewell, Kate!

29 Jan

I was a bit under the weather this weekend and I have been madly rereading and fact-checking my Sibert nominees, so I’ve not read a lot that I can post about.  I did learn that one of my favorite audiobook narrators, Katherine Kellgren, passed away earlier this month. She is the sort of narrator that brings a book to life. If she reads it, I would check it out. I would even search the libraries audiobooks using her name as my search term!

Her are some of my favorites, narrated by Katherine.

First, she narrated all twelve books in the Bloody Jack series, by L. A. Meyer.


She narrated two very funny books  My Lady Jane, for teens, and Ms. Rapscott’s Girls for elementary-aged readers.

She also read a number of picture books and adult fiction, from adventure and mystery to romance.

The next time you are looking for a great audiobook, see what you can find that is read by Katherine Kellgren.


This week’s book talks 1/22-26

26 Jan

I had an out of building meeting on Monday, but still managed to talk about five books. I am sneaky that way.

Tuesday, I shared Making Bombs For Hilter by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch, who lives in the town where I did my last year of high school.


Wednesday, the kids clearly needed something less serious, so I chose Zombie Baseball Beatdown by Paolo Bacigalupi.


Thursday, I caught up and gave them a twofer: two books by N. H Senzai, N. H Senzai. Escape from Aleppo, her new book, and  Saving Kabul Corner.

download  saving-kabul-corner-9781442484955_hr

Friday, I shared Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella, just because I love it.




R.I.P. Ursula K. LeGuin

24 Jan

I think Neil sums up nicely why fans are mourning.


23 Jan

My hands are better than they used to be. In fact, all of my skin is much better than it has ever been. Every once and I while though, I feel that tear, the one that lets me know I need to redouble my efforts moisturizing my hands.

It has been so bad in the past that once, when I was writing under the document camera a student actually said, “Ms. Gillespie, your hands really freak me out!”

Sometimes, they really freak me out, too.

But not right now.

Although there are a few problem areas, right now, only  the knuckle on the middle finger of my right hand freaks me out. There is a canyon that runs perpendicular to the folds of the knuckle. I can’t say it hurts, really, but I am certainly aware of its presence. I do, however, take great pleasure watching the canyon fill with cream, turning it white, from the red it was before. It brings a kind of relief – a flexibility of the skin where there was only tightness before.

It is an ongoing battle. Really more like skirmishes these days. Anyone with eczema has to constantly channel Winston Churchill and say

“We shall defend our skin, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the fingers, we shall fight in the crooks of our elbows, we shall fight on the feet and the  backs of our knees, we shall fight on the forehead we shall never surrender.”


Two of my favorite things

22 Jan

Unsurprisingly,  two of my favorite past-times are knitting and reading. A perfect stormy day in the Pacific Northwest combines the two – I can knit while listening to an audiobook!

This rainy weekend, I spent a little time not knitting, but reading about fans of my two favorite past-times.

Baabwaa & Wooliamwritten by David Elliott and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, is an amusing tale that shows the power of story.


Publisher’s Summary: Baabwaa is a sheep who loves to knit. Wooliam is a sheep who loves to read. It sounds a bit boring, but they like it. Then, quite unexpectedly, a third sheep shows up. A funny-looking sheep who wears a tattered wool coat and has long, dreadfully decaying teeth. Wooliam, being well-read, recognizes their new acquaintance: the Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing! The wolf is so flattered to discover his literary reputation precedes him that he stops trying to eat Baabwaa and Wooliam. And a discovery by the sheep turns the encounter into an unexpected friendship.

The book is funny, and, in this time of entrenched  beliefs opposite sides of a great chasm, it offers an intelligent way to bridge the gap.

This week’s book talks 1/15 – 19

19 Jan

Because of MLK Day, we had no school Monday, but I gave the kids a twofer on Tuesday.

Tuesday, I booktalked David D. Levine’s two books in the Arabella Ashby series: Arabella of Mars,  and Arabella and the Battle of Venus.

Unknown   51n89qIzabL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_







Wednesday, I shared Invisible Emmie by Terri Libenson.


Thursday, because my class LOVED Posted,  I shared John David Anderson’s Ms. Bixby’s Last Day.



Friday, just for fun, I shared To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han






Gimme a second

17 Jan

Second books in series are sometimes disappointments. Not so the second book in David D. Levine’s Arabella Ashby series, Arabella and the Battle of Venus.


Publisher’s Summary:  Arabella’s wedding plans to marry Captain Singh of the Honorable Mars Trading Company are interrupted when her fiancé is captured by the French and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp on swampy Venus. Now, Arabella must find passage to an enemy-controlled planet in the middle of a war, bribe or fight her way past vicious guards, and rescue her Captain. To do this she must enlist the help of the dashing privateer, Daniel Fox of the Touchstone and build her own clockwork navigational automaton in order to get to Venus before the dread French general, Joseph Fouché, the Executioner of Lyon.

Once on Venus, Arabella, Singh, and Fox soon discover that Napoleon has designed a secret weapon, one that could subjugate the entire galaxy if they can’t discover a way to stop Fouché, and the entire French army, from completing their emperor’s mandate.

I love the mix of actual history and fantasy. The Napoleonic Wars have spread to space. Despite many obstacles, Arabella remains a plucky heroine with a can-do attitude. Cameo appearances by Napoleon and Admiral Nelson made me grin and willingly suspend my disbelief. Of course they went to Venus!

Although written with an adult audience in mind, I have added this series to my 6th grade classroom library and boo-talked the series this week. I think I hooked a few kids!

Alas, i will have to wait until next year for the next volume,  Arabella the Traitor of Mars.

Dryer repair by the numbers

16 Jan


The email said the dryer technician would call Monday between 8 and 10 am. I read, I knit, I waited. He called at 10:14.

In his call, the technician said he’d arrive between 2 and 5 pm. I read some more. I knit some more. I waited some more. He arrived at 4:55.

Of course, my dryer wasn’t demonstrating the problem I called about. However, as the technician turned the knob and pushed the buttons, it did a few other things I’d never seen before. It began to work when he pushed the CANCEL button.

Fortunately, it was all part of the same component, the User Board, which he replaced by 5:45. We sat down and did the paperwork. I knew ahead of time what it would cost.

$99 just to show up                                                                                                                             122 flat labor rate                                                                                                                             361 for the part                                                                                                                                    $571 for peace of mind

Yeah, I had to wait… a lot. But there is one less dryer in the landfill. And yeah, I had to spend a lot of money. But right now, I am feeling really happy that this is what I see.




%d bloggers like this: