Tag Archives: Katherine Applegate

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.

 

 

TOUCHSTONES

23 Mar

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On Sunday, Donalyn Miller wrote a post entitled Touchstones, that talked about reading experiences and books that have been meaningful to people at different points in their lives. I think everyone who read that post has been thinking about their touchstone books. I certainly have and inspired by Donalyn and by another slicer named Beverly,  here are a few of mine.

First and foremost, comes The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf.

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Originally published in 1936, this was the first book I read where I made an intimate connection to a charter. I was a quirky little kid, big-eyed and diffident. Like Ferdinand, I often felt out of step with everyone around me. But here was a book that showed me that I was not alone in my solitude. I can still get weepy talking about Ferdinand, almost 50 years after I first picked it up.

In grade two or three, our library-less  school got a school library. the first book I checked out was Charles Dickens’  A Tale Of Two Cities. I’d heard of it and knew it was a classic, so what the heck. I got called the classroom door the next day and interrogated about checking out the book. I felt like I had done something bad and was embarrassed about using the school library after that. As an adult, I vowed to never make a child feel that way about any book.

My most important touchstone during elementary & middle school was not a book, but a librarian. Lynn Leu was the children’s librarian at my local library. She was the first person who really talked to me about books.

One of the touchstone books of my teen years was Mrs. Mike by Benedict and Nancy Freedman.

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I read this multiple times while I was a teen and never tired of the story. It appealed to my sense of wanderlust and showed me a young woman who defied convention and  did not shy away from working to attain what she wanted.

More recently The One and Only Ivan has become a touchstone. Aside from the fact that it is a beautiful book, it came just as I lost the library job I loved so much. I connected with Ivan in a way I never expected and I actually burst into tears when it was announced that Ivan had won the Newbery Award.

Facing my book fears

28 Aug

Have you ever been afraid to read the next novel by an author after you have discovered that the first one you read is your heart book?

I was given an ARC of Katherine Applegate’s soon to be published Crenshaw at the ALA conference.

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It has been sitting in a box waiting for me to get the courage to read it. You see, The One and Only Ivan  is a heart book. I may or may not have coined that term, but I stole it from the dog world, where a “heart dog” is that once in a lifetime – maybe twice if you’re truly blessed – soul mate dog. So, a heart book is the book that speaks to your soul.

It is a tough act to follow.

I got up the courage to read it yesterday and consumed it in one sitting, it was that good. Although Crenshaw might not make it to heart book status, it is definitely worth reading.

Publisher’s summary: In her first novel since winning the Newbery Medal, Katherine Applegate delivers an unforgettable and magical story about family, friendship, and resilience.

Jackson and his family have fallen on hard times. There’s no more money for rent. And not much for food, either. His parents, his little sister, and their dog may have to live in their minivan. Again.

Crenshaw is a cat. He’s large, he’s outspoken, and he’s imaginary. He has come back into Jackson’s life to help him. But is an imaginary friend enough to save this family from losing everything?

Beloved author Katherine Applegate proves in unexpected ways that friends matter, whether real or imaginary.

This is a beautiful book and I think Applegate truly captures the spirit of a fourth grader, and the way they think, in Jackson. If I were teaching 4th grade again, this might have become my new first read aloud.

#alaac15 – Day 3 – Even better!

28 Jun

Day two was so good I didn’t imagine day 3 could be better, but it was!

I started the day by getting up at 5 so I could make my 6:45 breakfast with Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group. We got a huge bag of books and got to hear short speeches from Jack Gantos, Katherine Applegate, and a few others!

I went to the exhibition hall next, which I found a little overwhelming. It is CRAZY what they are giving away! Fortunately, I was mostly on a mission for debut YA we the committee hadn’t heard about yet, so I wasn’t being too greedy. My first stop was Little Brown, where i had a lovely chat with the person there. I felt things were going well, so I asked if they had arcs of A.S. King’s new novel, and I got one!

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It turns out the nice person I was talking to was her editor!

From that high, I decided to go back to my room and drop off my load before my committee meeting. By the end of the day, her is what I had, so I am glad I did.

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I am really worried about packing on Tuesday morning!

After lunch I headed into my committee meeting. I had met 4 of the 8 others on the William C. Morris Committee the day before, and we’ve met virtually every month. So this was our first face to face. You never know what you sort of mix it will be, but we are a good mix and got a long well. We talked books and logistics, but mostly books.We nominated a few more, rejected some more and assigned some titles. When the meeting was over a few of us went back to the exhibits before our dinner and panel with Random House.

Let me just say, that  have never been wined and dined like I was last night!

We were at a restaurant on the Embarcadero called The Waterbar, which overlooks the Bay Bridge.

After appetizers and drinks on the patio, we moved indoors to  a panel with 3 YA debut novelists, moderated by David Levithan.  The menu was designed around the themes of each of the authors’ books, which we were given! Each course , and there were 4, somehow captured something about each novel. At the end of each course the authors rotated so we could talk with them about their books. It was a spectacular evening.The four of us who went all felt that this might have been one of the best professional evenings of our lives. One of my colleagues got each author to sign his menu!

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I got home late, but happy.

 

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