Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t forget?
Did it make you laugh? Cry? Shout?
Today’s post is about my favorite books from 2012. These are the standout books from a year of reading. Even though I may have read them months ago, I still think about them and consider them book friends. When I see the cover, or think of a passage from the book, I get a smile on my face. Not all of these books were written in 2012, although most of them were. I am in the process of reading all the Newbery Medal winners, so one book was published years ago. All, except the young adult books are available in our library. I hope you will stop in and check them out!
Tomorrow the American Library Association will announce all of the Youth Media Awards at their Mid-Winter Conference here in Seattle. I will be at the press conference for the very first time! I can’t wait to see what books won medal and honor awards. Above any other books, I have my fingers crossed for The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate and Wonder by RJ Palacio.
Here are my standouts from a year of reading!
Categories: Favorite Graphic Novels, Favorite Picture Books, Favorite Non-Fiction Picture Books,Favorite Middle Grade Novels, Favorite Young Adult Novels, Favorite Audio Books
So there you are…my favorites. Not all will win awards tomorrow at the ALA conference. However, they have already won a special award in my heart because each of these books has touched me in a very personal way. I’m looking forward to lots of reading in 2013 and seeing where my reading travels take me!
Were any of these books favorites for you this year?
Is there a book I should have included?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
Do you like mystery stories?
Do you love animals?
If you do, then the Zoo Animal Mystery stories are just for you!
Each of the title in the Zoo Animal Mysteries series focuses on one animal. Through a series of clues, you have to guess what animal is featured in the book. The trick is to solve the mystery before the animal is revealed at the end. You can read more about the zoo animal mystery series on the Capstone Press website.
Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes used those fun books as the structure for their own Zoo Animal Mystery stories.
First we researched facts and took notes. Then we wrote out our sentences for the story. We typed the stories on powerpoint and added Creative Commons photos to illustrate the pages. The projects from Mrs. Kassel-Day, Ms. Valenta and Mrs. Staples class are featured in this post.
What animal was your favorite to learn about?
If you could make a zoo animal mystery, what would you choose?
Vincent Van Gogh – what painting do you think of when you hear his name? Starry Night? The Sunflowers? The Yellow House paintings? Van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists. Between 1881 and 1890 he painted over 900 paintings, yet sold only one during his lifetime.
Van Gogh’s works come to life during my favorite time of year when Mrs. Lustgarten and I team on some art related lessons. Learning about artists seems to bring the spring and summer warmth into the long, dark winter days of Seattle. A few years ago, the Lake Washington Schools Foundation granted me funds to purchase art appreciation books for our library.
Then a trip to France where I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre and the Orsay Museum in France and Claude Monet’s house in Giverney cemented my love for many of the great artists. Ever since, our art leader, Mrs. Lustgarten and I have coordinated some lessons to link the library to art. We sit down together and brainstorm ideas of how our students can learn about famous artists along with using the tools within the library.
This year in addition to focusing on particular artists, we are bringing the art of the Caldecott winners to the forefront of some lessons.
The Caldecott Medal and Honor awards are given to the illustrators of the most distinguished picture book for children of the year. The illustrators use a wide variety of art techniques and in our student lessons, Mrs.Lustgarten is having some classes imitate the medium of the illustrator. In our library classes, we are reading the newest winners and learning more about the award and the different medium artists have used through the years.
Kindergarten has focused on some of the work of Vincent Van Gogh. In first grade, the students read Katie Meets the Impressionists, Katie’s Sunday Afternoon, and Degas and the Little Dancer, and watched a dvd about Claude Monet’s life as an artist. In art class, they created artwork using the pointilist style of George Seurat.
Second and third grade is learning more about the Caldecott award, the work of author/illustrator Mo Willems and his “pigeon”, as well as Henri Matisse. Fourth grade is focusing on scratchboard art, the style used in The House in the Night, the 2009 Caldecott Medal winner.
The fifth and sixth grade classes are involved with a long-term research project. They are learning the 5 steps of research in a biography project about a famous artist. Using books and the internet, students must find the basic facts about their artist. Then they will create a Wordle and Fakebook page about their person. The last step is to film a biography interview where they pretend to be the artist they have researched. The biography museum idea came from Mr. Avery in Massachusetts. You can see examples of the biography videos here. My goal was to have the students experience the research process before they begin their exiting Expert’s Projects for their classroom teachers.
The culminating project for the 5th and 6th graders in art will be to create a pennant imitating the style of the artist they have researched. These pennants and videos will be available for viewing at the Art Walk in June.
What famous artist have you learned about?
What was the name of the one painting Van Gogh sold during his lifetime?
Have you ever been to an art museum before?
Who would you choose to research if you could do a biography project?
Thanksgiving is only days away and we have been reading some of Mrs. Hembree’s favorite Thanksgiving Day holiday books in the primary classes.
Tuyet is dismayed when her Vietnamese/American family wants to eat duck for Thanksgiving Day dinner. When she returns to school after the holiday, she soon realizes that many families don’t eat turkey at Thanksgiving either! Tuyet realizes matters is spending time with family and friends, not what food they eat. Nominated for the Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award for 2012.
Thanksgiving Is by Gail Gibbons provides information about the origins and meaning of Thanksgiving in America, and describes many of the symbols and traditions associated with the holiday, including feasts and parades. (Follett description)
A group of schoolchildren go on a field trip to Farmer Mack Nugget’s farm. When they realize that the fat, and friendly turkeys are about to become Thanksgiving dinner, they rescue them from the dreaded ax. Dav Pilkey’s story always generates some Thanksgiving laughs.
Check out these original Thanksgiving stories!
The fourth grade students have also been in the Thanksgiving spirit! Ms. Holder, Ms. Lawson and Mrs. Raffel’s classes each wrote a class turkey story, some with original illustrations. I think you will enjoy the creativity of these funny turkey day stories!
What is your favorite Thanksgiving story?
Have you every written a Thanksgiving Day story or poem?
What does your family like to do on holidays?
Thanks to a generous grant from the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, our library has
118 new, blazing hot books!
If you are a younger reader, you are going to love, love, love these books! Every new non-fiction book had to pass Mrs. Hembree strict wow criteria questions.
Is it a fun book to read?
Is it an exciting book to read?
Is it action packed?
Here are the new car books to select from. No boring books in this group!
To go along with our math focus at school, some of the new books are math related.
“Crunch, crunch! The farm’s horse loves munching apples.
Can you predict which color of apple the horse will eat next?
The horse has six red apples and two green apples.
Is it more or less likely she will pick a green apple?”
So, what do you think the answer is? Find out inside the book Pigs, Cows, and Probability!
I know a lot our students love joke books, so I added more to our collection! Here’s a sample from the Jokes about Bugs:
“What did the bug say after it hit the window?
If I had the guts, I would do it again.
I also bought a new series called Easy Magic Tricks. These books teach you how to perform magic tricks with playing cards, coins, straws, balloons, and more! There are plenty of ideas here to challenge our budding magicians!
Not all of the books are fact or non-fiction books. We also have some new everybody picture books for our younger readers. They are housed on a special shelf too!
It seems like there are never enough Star Wars books in our library, so look at the new ones we’ve added!
This group of books includes early chapter books that are both fun to read and a little bit longer than the usual picture book. These are perfect for our readers who are ready to read chapter books.
Ten more Backpack Buddies have been added to our expanding Backpack Buddy collection. Inside each backpack is a book, a matching puppet, a journal and instructions on what to do. They are a super fun way to practice reading at home!
If you check out one of these books from our Bulldog Library, I hope you will let me know what you think about them! You can leave a comment on the blog or you can tell me in person! I am even hoping some people what to give me a review on film with our new Flip cameras! Imagine that….YOU can be a Bulldog Reader Star!
Our LWSF grant is also featured on the Lake Washington Schools Foundation Spotlight page! You can read the full article here.
What do you think about our new books?
Which ones do you want to check out?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
Sunday, October 16th is Blog Action Day! Bloggers around the world blog about the same topic on the same day! The topic this year is FOOD, which coincides with World Food Day! The goal is to have bloggers around the world raise awareness of important topics.
Bloggers from over 80 countries are joining this worldwide event, including some of our blogging buddies. You can read about 2KM & 2KJ’s post about FOOD. One of their student’s Jarrod is also participating in the event. Go to Jarrod’s Awesome Blog and read how he is participating!
So, how does a library blog participate in a Blog Action Day on the topic of Food? That’s easy!
We can talk about international cooking!
Our students come from over 25 different countries. On any day, you can hear students or parents conversing in numerous languages from every continent in the world! We have students from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, North America and Australia/Pacifica.
What do they have in common?
Where do they come for new recipes to cook at home?
Look inside lunch boxes around our campus and you will find a huge variety of international style lunches! While one person might be having a peanut butter sandwich, the person sitting next to them might be eating a tortilla or using chopsticks to eat rice. Nobody thinks twice about the international flavor of our lunches here.
It’s also why our cooking section of the library is such a well-loved shelf!
Stop by sometime and check out our cookbooks!
And don’t forget, sometimes cooking is Out of This World!
Do you ever cook international food?
What do you think about being part of a worldwide event?
What kind of cookbook should we add to our collection?
Did you know that if Benjamin Franklin had his way, our national bird would have been the wild turkey? Yes, it’s true! After the 13 colonies voted for independence from Great Britain, the colonists decided they needed a national emblem or official seal. Most of our founding fathers felt that the bald eagle represented freedom, spirit and integrity. At that time, tens of thousands of these magnificant birds lived in North America.
Benjamin Franklin was not a fan of the bald eagle however. He thought it was a bird of “bad moral character” because they were known for taking food from other birds! He didn’t think the eagle was a “proper emblem for the brave and honest.”
Instead….Ben Franklin thought the wild turkey offered a better choice. It is a respectable bird and an original native of American. “A bird of courage” he wrote.
Against Franklin’s views, the Second Continental Congress accepted the Great Seal of the United States with a bald eagle in its center, not a turkey. Now, we see the bald eagle on coins, paper money, many US stamps, and military coins and pins.
Our third graders have been learning about national symbols and emblems. To tie-in with that theme, Ms. Valenta’s 2/3 class did some bald eagle research in their library class. With the help from Mr. Monteith and Airman Anthony Hembree, US Air Force, the students were each assigned to research 3-5 facts about a specific part of the bald eagle. Then they recorded their facts and we made a movie using Microsoft Photostory3. You can view the movie below.
In the Seattle area, we are spoiled because hundreds of bald eagles call our area home. It is not unusual to see them perched high in the tops of trees or swooping down to the water to catch a salmon.
Recently, I found out about a live camera that shows a pair of bald eagles 24 hours per day from Mrs. Yollis’s Classroom Blog. Her students have been viewing the eagles and making comments on her blog. If you click on this Live Eagle Camera link, it will take you to the eagle camera in Iowa. Please note that when you first click on the link, there is a 20-30 second advertisement, and afterwards, it switches to the live camera.
There is also a live camera on a bald eagle nest on Lake Washington in the greater Seattle area. This camera is maintained by the Department of Fish and Wildlife. Click here to view the WildWatch eagle camera in Washington.
Have you ever seen a bald eagle in person?
What new fact did you learn from our Bald Eagle video?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
On Friday, we were honored to have a special guest, Dr. Joe Appiah-Kusi, MD visit the Bulldog Library. According to Dr. Joe’s website (as he likes to be called), a physician and international scholar was born in Ghana into the Bonwire Royal family. He was educated in Europe and the United States and is a Researcher, Professor, Educator, Storyteller, Historian and Humanist. He has been a resident of the Seattle area for twenty-five years.
Dr. Joe came to help one of our 6th grade classes learn more about his birth country. Ghana is a country in West Africa, bordered by the Ivory Coast on the west and Togo to the east.
Dr. Joe also helped us learn that the naming of a child in the Asante culture is often dependent on the day you were born, your gender, and the order of your birth. For example, if you were born on a Monday, the Twi word for Monday is Edwoada.
However, your birth day name would be Kwadwo if you are a boy and Adwoa if you are a girl. The first president of Ghana, was named Kwame Nkrumah because he was born on a Saturday (Kwame) and he was the 9th child of the family, (Nkrumah).
After another lesson on the signficance of women and family in Ghana, Dr. Joe helped us learn how to count to ten in Twi. Here are the numbers from 1-10 in Twi.
One – baako
Two – mmienu
Three – mmiensa
Four – enan
Five – enum
Six – nsia
Seven – nson
Eight – nwotwe
Nine – nkron
Ten – edu
Watch the video, with Dr. Joe and Osei leading our volunteers as they learn how to count in Twi!
If you are interested in more information about Africa, we have a brand new series in the library: Celebrating the Peoples and Civilizations of Africa published by PowerKids Press. We also have other new books about African countries in the Letters from Around the World series.
This book introduces the readers to twenty-six African people by depicting a custom important to each. The author lived and studied in Ghana and completed extensive research in order to prepare her book with accuracy and detail.
The Bulldog Readers sincerely thank Dr. Joe for visiting our library and helping us learn about his beautiful country.
What did you find interesting about Ghana or its customs?
Have you ever traveled to Africa?
What country did you visit?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
Our visitors come from all over the world!
Thinking about all the visitors we have had since September, I wondered how we could illustrate our visitors “Bulldog Readers style”.
Here are our visitors in books by continent!
Europe- England, Wales, Ireland, Scotland
It’s a 21st century world. Google! Bing! Yahoo! The internet is available 24/7.
Yet, there is still a great use for books.
They bring the world to your finger tips!
What do you notice about our country books?
Have you ever traveled to any of these places?
Are you a visitor from one of these countries?
Tell us about it!
MUMMIES & their mysteries By Charlotte Wilcox
Student Review by Gavin
Mummies have been found on every continent. Egyptian mummies have been discovered deep inside pyramids. The Incan empire believed in life after death and that every one deserved to be mummified, so millions of mummies remain in baskets all along the west coast of South America. The flint Mammoth cave is located in the state of Kentucky where there is a message written on the cave wall left by a mummy looters. The four corners region of the U.S. is where ranchers found the first native basket makers mummy in 1889. Mummies have even been found preserved in the ice of the South Pole, northern Canada, Alaska and the Alps. These are the remains of sailors and explorers, hikers and nomads from ranging up to 2500 years ago. Scientists have discovered that China has some of the best preserved mummies in the world. The mummies were wrapped in 20 layers of silk cloth, placed in 7 nested coffins, and surrounded by 5 tons of charcoal and 3 feet of clay.
Buddhist priests were known to go on a starvation diet for 3 years, and when he died his body would be embalmed, painted with ink or dye and placed in a barrel. But that’s not all, a huge number of mummies have been found in European Bogs. If you are on a quest to find a mummy, Denmark or Northern Germany are the places to go, more mummies are found there than anywhere else in the world. Today you can usually see mummies on display in museums or private homes in many places around the world.
I think mummification is kind of sad because of how the people died and what has been done to their bodies. The steps to making a mummy are rather strange to me.