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Your part matters

6 Nov

The cold and rain have returned to the Pacific Northwest. I put flannel sheets on my bed and baked cranberry-pumpkin bread this weekend. When Lucy and I went out for a walk, few people were on the street and Lucy turned right around and headed for home as soon as she had done her business.

I was warm and cozy at home when I heard about the latest tragedy.   Fortunately, the characters of Come With Me, written by Holly M. McGhee and illustrated by Pascal Lemaître, reminded me, and younger readers,  that it is important to get out of my cozy comfort zone and be a positive part of the world.

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Publisher’s Summary:

McGhee’s website has a great explanation of the story behind the book. It is worth reading.

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This week’s booktalks 9/5-9/8

8 Sep

After the summer break, I am back to book talks.

Last year, I ran into a little problem. As the end of the year approached, I couldn’t remember which books I had already book-talked. At the beginning of the year, I wrote them in my planner, but somewhere along the way, less than a month into school, I stopped. This year, I plan on writing the date of the booktalk in the back of the book.  It violates many of my personal rules, but it will be helpful – if I can keep it up.

Wednesday, I introduced our first read aloud: Posted by John David Anderson. This is a great read aloud…I had their attention. Even the kid who was reading his book under the table closed his book to listen!

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Wednesday, I booktalked Wishtree by Katherine Applegate. By their reactions, it is clear that some of my students also consider The One and Only Ivan a heart book.

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Today’s book will be Refugee by Alan Gratz. I haven’t written about this one yet, but will soon.

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We need this book

18 Aug

What I didn’t tell you about in my blog posts about the ALA conference, was how delightful it was to meet Katherine Applegate.

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When I descended the stairs to the room where the MacMillan dinner was being hosted, she was the only person there. She explained that the hosts had stepped out for a moment to take care of some business and she was left in charge. She was a wonderful hostess and an easy conversationalist.

I had already received an advance reader’s copy of her new novel, Wishtree,  so I got the one I received that evening personalized for my sister, who I felt bad about abandoning that evening. We have both read our books and both loved it. We both cried.

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Publisher’s Summary: Trees can’t tell jokes, but they can certainly tell stories. . . .

Red is an oak tree who is many rings old. Red is the neighborhood “wishtree”—people write their wishes on pieces of cloth and tie them to Red’s branches. Along with her crow friend Bongo and other animals who seek refuge in Red’s hollows, this “wishtree” watches over the neighborhood.

You might say Red has seen it all. Until a new family moves in. Not everyone is welcoming, and Red’s experiences as a wishtree are more important than ever.

Funny, deep, warm, and nuanced, this is Katherine Applegate at her very best—writing from the heart, and from a completely unexpected point of view.

This is a beautiful story. It is one of the books on my Mock  Newbery list and it would make an excellent beginning of the year read aloud.  It doesn’t come out until September 26th,  and it skews slightly younger than my students, but I am still thinking about reading it to my students. It is just that beautiful.

 

 

Happy birthday to we!

23 Dec

My sister and I turn 52 today. It makes me giggle to say this because, although my body has given me some trouble lately, my mind feels young. Maybe that is because I work with you people. Who knows. I don’t have a ton of pictures of myself as a tiny tot, but this is one of my sister and I with Mamère, our maternal French-Canadian grandmother.

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She passed away not long after this and I have no memory of ever meeting her. There are very few shots of me smiling as little person.

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It surprises people to learn that I didn’t grow up surrounded by books. We went to the library and we had books in the house, but I wasn’t obsessed as a child the way I am now. I blame that on Mrs. Lew, the New Hamburg Children’s Librarian.

The year I was born, 1964, saw the publication of a few children’s books now considered classics.

Believe it or not, Flat Stanley, who is still being sent and photographed around the world, first appeared in 1964. He’s had many incarnations, but the story remains well-loved.

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Charlie and the Chocolate factory also appeared in 1964. It, too has seen many covers.

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Harriet the Spy has also evolved.

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Other books came out that year:

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang  by Ian Fleming

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Across Five Aprils  by Irene Hunt

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The Pushcart War  by Jean Merrill

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The Giving Tree  by Shel Silverstein

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This week’s book talks

6 Nov

No theme to the book talks I gave this week. Just good books.

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Why we read

2 Oct

In 2013, Neil Gaiman delivered a speech entitled “Why Our Future Depends on Libraries, Reading and Daydreaming” to The Reading Agency in London. You can watch the speech on Youtube,  listen watch and read the text on The Reading Agency’s website, or simply hold the text in your hands and read it, along with many other essays, in Gaiman’s recent collection of essays, The View From the Cheap Seats. 

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I highly recommend that you make the effort to see what Gaiman has t say on this topic. You will nod your head in agreement because, if you read this blog, you are a reader.

Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston clearly believe in the same power of books and reading. His new picture boo, A Child of Books,  says the same thing as Gaiman, though in simpler language.

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Publisher’s Summary: New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston deliver a lyrical picture book inspiring readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine.

A little girl sails her raft across a sea of words, arriving at the house of a small boy and calling him away on an adventure. Through forests of fairy tales and across mountains of make-believe, the two travel together on a fantastical journey that unlocks the boy’s imagination. Now a lifetime of magic and adventure lies ahead of him . . . but who will be next? Combining elegant images by Oliver Jeffers and Sam Winston’s typographical landscapes shaped from excerpts of children’s classics and lullabies, A Child of Books is a stunning prose poem on the rewards of reading and sharing stories—an immersive and unforgettable reading experience that readers will want to pass on to others.

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Where will your reading take you today?

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets Book VS Movie

29 Jul

We had to turn in our laptops in June. They will be replaced in late August when we go back. Although I miss having a second computer at home for the summer, I will mostly miss it for the sticker I had on the front, which was given to me by a former colleague.

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I recently finished listening to Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

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It took a little longer than I’d planned because I was listening in the car and I am not driving as much these days. It was great fun reconnecting with the Hogwarts gang and I noticed more humor in the books than I remembered. I also noticed more omissions in the movie adaptation. As I listened, I could visualize the movie in my head, which is why certain missing bits stood out.

The book opens on Harry’s birthday, while the movie begins with Dobby and  the imminent dinner party with the Masons. When Ron, Fred & George come to get Harry at the Dursleys’ house, the book mentions that Fred & George have to break into the cupboard to get Harry’s trunk, then carry it up the stairs. Not in the movie.

The first really big omission is what Harry sees in and hears in Borgin and Burkes. Rowling was ding some serious foreshadowing in the book, but Harry doesn’t really hear anything in the movie.

The book has several other significant things that the movie does not.

  1. The book’s Deathday Party is completely omitted, necessitating the movie to come up with a different way for Harry to encounter the frozen Mrs. Norris.
  2. Hermione saves Harry from the rogue bludger in the movie, but Fred & George restrain it in the book.
  3. The book is full of foreshadowing of Ginny’s role in the Chamber of Secrets, but none of this appears in the movie.
  4. The Valentine’s dwarves of the book are completely missing from the movie, which I think is a crying shame.

The Harry Potter Wiki has an extensive list of differences at the bottom the Chamber of Secrets page. 

I have Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on hold. I am #13 in line on 11 copies. Fortunately, I have a few other audiobooks I can listen to in the meantime.

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