Rack up Those Reading Minutes!

Have you been to the library lately?

la foto-6b

check out Ulises and Pakal are at our local library earning more minutes toward their summer reading goals for the KCLS summer reading program. They have already read 500 minutes and earned their halfway prize. Now they are on their way to earning the finisher prize! Every year the KCLS offers a free summer reading incentive program. It’s easy to participate.  Just stop by your local branch of the KCLS library and pick up worksheet. Not in town?  Download a reading log or sign up online and track your minutes virtually. Go here and sign up now! Just remember, the deadline to submit your minutes is August 31st! Thanks for sending in your photo Ulises and Pakal!

deadweather

I have also been reading this summer.  If you like Pirates of the Caribbean or wild adventure stories, especially ones with kids, pirates, blood, stumps and gore, then you will want to read Deadweather and Sunrise by Geoff Rodkey. Josa gave me this copy with high recommendations. I agree with him. This story of Egg, a 13 year old boy who lives on Deadweather, a pirate infested island with his Dad and siblings will take you on a fun, read-in-the-summer entertaining romp of a story! (You can read it in Australia in the winter too, but since it’s summer here, it seemed an appropriate description.) The sequel New Lands is already published, so once you finish one, get the next one and read it too. Then tell me about it, but not too much. I want to find out what happens to Egg, Millicent and Guts and the rest of the crew when they leave Port Scratch.  I tweeted yesterday that I really enjoyed the story and today I noticed this on the author’s  Twitterfeed:

deadweather snipGeoff has his own website http://geoffrodkey.com/ which I highly recommend you visit. Look for yourself, especially the letters to his son at summer camp. The underwear issue is particularly good.

rebel

I fell in love this summer with Rebel McKenzie. Rebel is an aspiring paleontologist and wanted more than anything to go to the Ice Age Kids’ Dig and Safari summer camp. Instead of digging up prehistoric bones, she has to dig deep into her bucket of patience and discover ways to keep her nephew Rudy occupied while she babysits all summer. Things get really crazy when Rebel decides to enter into the Miss Frog Level Volunteer Fire Department Beauty Pageant. I love Rebel’s free-thinking ideas and love of science. She knows how to speak her mind, although not always with the best manners. But that’s why I love her!

overtheedge

Most readers who know me also know I love a good mystery! I think I was born a mystery reader because all my best childhood reading memories involve a mystery story. I also love to travel. That’s why this series about our national parks is so awesome. You can travel to one of our parks and enjoy a great mystery all at the same time! This book takes place at the Grand Canyon, and brought back great memories of my recent trip there.

shoelessjoe

If you are a baseball fan, then Shoeless Joe and Me should go on your reading list. This is one of the Dan Gutman baseball card time-travel adventure series books. Go back in time and learn more about why Shoeless Joe, one of baseball’s greatest outfielders was banned from baseball. Was he given a raw deal? Check it out and find out!

bugjuice

When I was a kid, I loved going to “sleep-away camp”. The food, camping, swimming, games and dirt was the highlight of my summer. However, Eleanor hates camp! She hates the bugs, the dirt and especially the lake when she finds out she has to be in the “baby” swim group. Will she change her mind about camp, or get out of dodge and back home where things are normal? The book is the sequel to Pickle Juice on a Cookie, but you don’t have to read one before the other.

JH Paperboy

Do you remember Darth Vadar – specifically the voice of Darth Vadar? Here is a link to a video some of his best quotes. The man behind the voice is James Earl Jones and what you may not know is that he barely spoke for eight years. His stuttering problem was so severe that he chose not to talk, rather than deal with the hardships of stuttering. The book Paperboy is set in Memphis in 1959, and 11 year old  Victor, has a similar problem to James Earl Jones.

“The reason I hate talking to people who don’t know me is because when they first see me I look like every other kid. Two eyes. Two arms. Two legs. Crew-cut hair. Nothing special. But when I open my mouth I turn into something else. Most people don’t take the time to understand what’s wrong with me and probably just figure I’m not right in the head” (page 5)

Once I started Paperboy, I couldn’t put it down. Paperboy is about stuttering. It’s also about facing problems head-on as a kid and dealing with reality. Reality is when you take on your best friend’s paper route, talking to strangers and working through the hardships of not being able to communicate what you really want to say, when you want to say it. If you have ever  struggled with stuttering, or know someone who has, then this book will have even deeper meaning for you. Like James Earl Jones, the author Vince Vawter suffered through a stuttering problem in his childhood years. This book is partly his story, and partly the story of a boy you won’t soon forget.

secretzoo

I went  hiking today with Reese and Mrs. Adair. I brought along Secret Zoo just in case I had a chance to read a couple pages. It seemed like the perfect book to have on a hike in the Pacific Northwest, home of the infamous Sasquatch! A whole bunch of angry, nasty Sasquatches is who the scouts find when they ventured into the Secret Zoo after Megan. This is book one of a fantasy/adventure series. Except for the huge pawprints Reese made in the river mud, thankfully we didn’t see any signs of Sasquatch.

reese

***********

What have you been reading this summer?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

Send me those photos too!

Print Friendly

Happy Vacation Reading

Do you recognize this reader?

Hannah2

Hannah recently visited Lake Chelan in eastern Washington and did some awesome vacation reading! She is reading one of the Cupcake Diaries books, a popular series about the friendship of some girls. These books are available in paperback and now in eBook version too. If you want to know more, visit the Cupcake Diary website. Thanks for sharing your photo Hannah! What will you read next?

Being on vacation is the perfect time to get some reading done! I did the same thing while I was on vacation with Mr. Hembree on our southwest vacation. Dog even checked out the mystery books in the Zion National Park bookstore! I bought a copy of Over the Edge for our new library. It will be available in the mystery section.

dogzion

grandc

pageAZ

bryce

coralsands

In the photo above, I am holding Skinny-Bones by Barbara Park. Skinny-Bones was written in 1982 and is still a very funny book to read! Alex is a 6th grader who is just not the best baseball player in the world. He does have a great sense of humor though, and uses it to help him get out of a lot of sticky situations! You might recognize that very famous author name too! Do you remember what other books she has written?


Have you been reading too this summer? Send me a photo and I will get it published on the blog. Just have your parents send it to:

gmail

Keep Reading!

Mrs. Hembree

Print Friendly

For the Younger Readers

 

What have you been reading so far this summer?

IMG_0670

Reese was doing some newspaper reading this morning. Apparently he didn’t like what he read, so now we have a shredded mess all over the living room floor! Nice! Well it’s Saturday and I have been doing some reading since school let out.After reading Destiny Rewritten, I decided to move to some new chapter books that younger readers would enjoy.

book2

You can’t go wrong with any of Lunch Lady graphic novel series. This time a terrible technology villain invades the school and steals everyone’s gizmos and gadgets. Yikes! Will the Lunch Lady solve the dilemma?

book3

Jennifer S. Holland has a new non-fiction series perfect for kids just starting to read chapter books. If you like animals, you will love these short stories about the friendships between some pretty unlikely animals.

book4

Magic Tree House fans will like book #49 Stallion by Starlight. This time Merlin the Magician wants Jack and Annie to find the secret of greatness. What makes a person great? To find the answer they travel back in time to ancient Macedonia to meet Alexander the Great and his famed horse Bucephalus.

book 5

 

Newbery winning author Patricia MacLachlan’s new book is perfect for dog lovers. Zoe’s mother rescues Great Pyrenees dogs. “Pyrs”, as they are called for short, are large, yet gentle 140-150 pound, white fur dogs. When Phillip moves in next door, he becomes friends with one of the rescue puppies. Will the puppy help him speak again?

book6

Any girl who loves the Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor will adore her newest chapter book series. A little bit fancy, a little bit Nancy Drew, and a little bit mysterious fun, these books will entertain transitional picture book to chapter book readers.

book7

Mystery fans will love the funny new mystery series by the author of the Lunch Lady series. The author Jarrett J. Krosocaka will be our featured guest author next year, so make sure you keep up with all of his latest books!

home_banner_img

I hope these books will give you some ideas for the upcoming weeks! Tomorrow I’ll be traveling to San Antonio, Texas to attend the ISTE technology conference! I’ll be going to classes and finding out all sorts of different ideas to use in our library lessons in the fall!

Keep Reading! Mrs. Hembree

 

Print Friendly

What is Your Destiny?

 

destiny

What is your destiny for this summer?

Are you destined to go on a vacation with your family? Will you take the time to hang out with friends? Will you have the chance to sleep in and not worry about the alarm clock? My summer destiny is all about books, and that’s a GOOD thing!

stack1

Finally I have the time to read for long stretches of time and catch up on the books I on my “have to read list”. I brought a big pile home for the summer. I don’t know if I’ll get to all the books in my piles, but I’ll sure give it a try.Sometimes there is a hidden power that makes me pick up one book before another. I’ve learned to trust that inner voice and listen to it. That’s why I picked up Destiny Rewritten first.

 book 1

 Destiny Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice seemed like the obvious choice in this time of change. You can see in the background of the photo the world we’ve been living in this school year. Construction! The old school is going to be torn down, and in August we’ll be moving into the new school. In fact, the piece of wall hanging off, is part of the wall to our old library, and the windows up above in the new building is our new library.

Kathryn sent me this signed copy a few weeks ago. I set it aside because I wanted to have the time to savor it. I first heard about Kathryn when I read her book, The Year the Swallows Came Early. I loved it from paragraph one. Last year her novel, A Diamond in the Desert captured the Japanese-American experience in the internment camps in California during the 1940′s and I made a book trailer about the book. Yes, I guess you could say I’m a fan of Kathryn Fitzmaurice.

Sometimes fans get presents, and that’s what I got! A signed copy from Kathryn! If you are a fan of poetry, realistic or romance fiction, I urge you to add this book to your summer reading list. It won’t let you down.

Destiny Rewritten is the story of 11 year old Emily, who really, really dislikes poetry. Not a problem, right? A lot of kids don’t like poetry. No big deal. Wrong!

When your mother is a poet, is an English professor at the local university, and names you Emily Elizabeth after her favorite poet Emily Dickinson, you are supposed to like poetry. Except, not this Emily. She likes romance fiction and writes letters to to the romance writer, Danielle Steele, hoping she will write back and help her with her problems.

Because she has a very big problem. Is she destined to be a poet? If so, why can’t she even write a simple line of poetry without feeling like someone asked her to solve the problems of mankind?

To make matters more complicated, her mother is a bit of a free-spirit  who didn’t document all those special moments of Emily’s childhood in a baby book like the other moms. Instead, the highlights were written in her rare copy of the The Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson, purchased the day before Emily was born. Was that chance? Was it kismit?

Chapter One

Things (that seemed to have nothing to do with me, but did, and) that changed my life:

“My destiny was decided in a secondhand bookstore the day before I was born when my mother, Isabella, found a book of poems. She’d been searching for a name for me, something that would set my life’s direction. ….Then, there is was, a first edition of Complete Poems of Emily Dickinson…..”She will be named Emily, and she will be a poet,” my mother declared.”

 A MAJOR crisis strikes when the book is lost. Emily’s mother thinks it’s all part of her destiny, but Emily will have none of that type of thinking. She’s more pragmatic than her mother and needs answers to important questions. For example she wants the answers to the identity of her father. Her mother won’t tell her outright because she thinks Emily will find out when the time is right. Emily wants to know whether it’s okay to like romance fiction and happy endings more than gloomy poetry by a dead poet.

I loved every page in Destiny Rewritten and am glad I saved reading it for a special time. It authentically captures the topsy-turvy feelings middle grade girls. It seemed like the perfect book to close my school year. My own destiny is a bit in limbo as we close down one school, pack up and prepare for a move to a new school.  Yet, I have a feeling that September will open a happy chapter in a new library adventure. In the meantime, I’ll be reading, and reading, and reading!

You can find a copy of Destiny Rewritten by Kathryn Fitzmaurice at your local library or bookstore. In the fall, it will be located in our Realistic Fiction section.

***************

Have you ever thought about your destiny?

Is it different than what others thought?

Have you ever done something that didn’t make sense at the time, and then seemed absolutely perfect later on?

Leave a comment and let me know!

Print Friendly

Apple Pie and Baseball

What is more American than apple pie?

By Scott Bauer, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Scott Bauer, USDA ARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

For all the baseball fans out there, there’s a new non-fiction book that will give you hours of reading entertainment!

baseball

Have you always wished you could visit the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York? For those of us on the west coast, this is a big dream. However, now Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame brings the Cooperstown Hall of Fame into your own house. In full color, nearly 200 objects from  the museum are described with their backstories. Stories about the San Diego Chicken costume, the lyrics of “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and Lou Gehrig’s glove from 1939 are just three of the highlights in this book.

honus

You will find Inside the Baseball Hall of Fame at your favorite bookstore  or public library today.

******************

What do you special part of baseball history do you hope is in this book?

Print Friendly

Learning the 3 P’s with Chopsticks

 

There is something about eating with chopsticks that changes things. First of all, unless you are really good at it, you can’t eat fast. The process is super s….l….o….w. It  takes some coordination and practice to maneuver two sticks in one hand and pick up food. According to the Mobile Cuisine Chopsticks fun facts page, when you use chopsticks, you involve over 30 joints and 50 muscles in the fingers, wrist, arm, shoulder as well as thousands of nerves.

Second, when you are around other people who can’t use them very well, it’s funny.  At first it’s frustrating. Then when you look around and see that every other person is having the same problem, it’s time to laugh. Food can go anywhere and everywhere when you use chopsticks.

The 3 P’s

Last, a person can learn about the 3 P’s. That’s persistence, practice, and patience! Becoming a master of chopsticks requires all 3 P’s. Once you become skilled with chopsticks, you can eat anything (except maybe broth)! It feels just like riding a two-wheeler bike without falling down!

Those are some of the lessons we learned after we read Chopsticks by Amy Krouse Rosenthal. Chopsticks is about a pair of chopsticks who are the best of buddies. They do everything together, but when one gets hurt, they have to learn how to manage on their own.

It feels uncomfortable and lonely in the beginning. Before long, things change and what was so difficult at first, is just a memory.

To find out what it’s like to use chopsticks, we had a little practice session. Everyone got a pair of chopsticks and a cup. Tables partners shared a plate of cereal. The object was to get as many pieces of cereal from the plate into the cup. No fingers allowed! We got frustrated. We had fun! We got to eat cereal!

Chopsticks is one of the nominees for the  2013 Washington Children’s Choice Award. More fun activities for this book can be found on her Chopsticks activity guide. If you like Chopsticks, you’ll probably enjoy Amy Krouse Rosethals’ other books too! Give Spoons or Exclamation Mark a try.

*************

What was your first experience using chopsticks like?

What are some things that come in pairs?

I used transition words to start new paragraphs. Can you name them?

Print Friendly

Honus Wagner Card Sells for $2.1M

On Saturday, the rare 1909 Honus Wagner baseball card sold for $2.1 million  in a public auction to an unnamed bidder. Honus Wagner was a Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop in the early 1900′s and considered to one of the greatest baseball players of all time.

There are only about 50 of these cards left in existence, which makes them extremely rare. The story is that Honus Wagner made the American Tobacco Card pull the card because he had not granted them permission to print the card. He did not want children buying cigarettes to get his card.

The story of Honus is the first book in Dan Gutman’s baseball adventure series. It’s the story of a boy who finds the Honus Wagner card and finds he use it to travel through time.

Dan Gutman wrote this book in 1993. He submitted it to a publisher in 1994 and within two months it was rejected. He tried again and it was rejected again. He was rejected SEVEN times before HarperCollins – publisher #8 said, “yes! we like it!” You can read more about his rejection story on the Dan Gutman website.  

The book is now available in an audio version, was made into a TV movie called The Winning Season, and a play that was performed in four different cities, including Seattle. The importance of persistence is an important message that Dan shares with his readers on his website:

The good news is that there are now ELEVEN books in his baseball adventure series! Ted and Me is the latest book to be published. It’s about baseball legend Ted Williams and is Gutman’s 100th book to be published!

If you would like to learn more about the story of the T206 Honus card, ESPN has produced a 15 minute video about the history of this baseball player and the famous cards. Click here for that link. You can find Gutman’s adventure series in the sports section of our library.

*************

Why do you think this collector paid this much money for a baseball card?

If you could create a sports card about a person, who would it be and why?

 

Print Friendly

The Calder Game

The Calder Game by Blue Balliett is a mystery story linking art sculpture with intrigue. The book description reads, “When Calder Pillay travels with his father to a remote village in England, he finds a mix of mazes and mystery…including an unexpected Alexander Calder sculpture in the town square.

Calder is strangely drawn to the sculpture, while other people have less-than-friendly feelings toward it. Both the boy and the sclupture seem to be out of place…and then, on the same night, they disappear!”

I thought about this book on the weekend, when I visited the Olympic Sculpture Park in Seattle with Mr. Hembree. It was a beautiful sunny day, and the first thing we noticed was the gigantic Alexander Calder sculpture called The Eagle. We walked around it and under it and looked closely at his signature on the side.

 In this view from underneath the sculpture, you can see what looks like the eagle head or beak (or at least that is what it looks like to me)!

 

 The last picture shows Calder’s signature on the side of the piece and the date.

 

I don’t think this is the Calder that disappeared from The Calder Game, but isn’t it fun imagining it could be? Here is a link to a book trailer  I found for The Calder Game by Gaia, a student in Mrs Scavone’s class from June 2011.

The Calder Game is available for check out  F BAL  MYSTERY.

************

What sculpture did you see in the book trailer?

Have you ever seen an Alexander Calder sculpture before? Which one?

What piece of art would you write a mystery about?

 

 

 

Print Friendly

Flora the Flamingo Backpack Buddy

We have three new backpack buddies to add to our collection! Two titles are very familiar - Go Dog Go and Knufflebunny.

We also have a new title – Flora the Flamingo

In this wordless picture book  a friendship develops between a girl named Flora and a graceful flamingo, as they learn to dance together.   Check out the book trailer about this very fun new book!

Flora the Flamingo Book Trailer

<

We now have 48 backpack buddies to choose from. Each one has a backpack, a book, matching puppet and a journal. Backpack buddies are available for check out in grades 1-3.

*************

What is your favorite backpack buddy?

What book (fiction or non-fiction) would you suggest?

 

Print Friendly

A Book Review from Denmark

We have a special treat today! A few weeks ago three of our former students stopped by to visit with their parents. They were here on vacation and were visiting their former teachers and friends in the Seattle area.

PebbleGo Europe Kids Map Denmark is the country north of Germany.

All of three students love to read! Lucily for them, I had just come from the American Library Association mid-winter meeting with numerous Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of books. ARCs are copies of books that people read and review and check for errors before they are officially published. Think of them as preview copies.

It’s always fun to have a new book that nobody else has yet, so all three students went home with some new books to read for the flight back to Denmark. Mathias not only read his book, he sent us a review for the blog too!

Here is Mathias’ review of House of Secrets by Chris Columbus and Ned Vizzini. It will be officially released on April 23, 2013.

Setting: The story first takes place in Sea Cliff, San Francisco, then later in a mysterious world of adventure.

Characters: The Walker family is composed of five members.

Mr. and Mrs. Walker, were recently in a lawsuit because Mr. Walker, who is a doctor, had cut an eye into the back of his patient. They were sued by the family of the man, and used almost all their money to defend themselves.

Brendan Walker, the middle child, a computer geek and a quite smart kid. He is also very much into Lacrosse and his quick thinking saves them on several occasions.

Cordelia Walker is the oldest and smartest kid of the family. She is an avid reader and helped solve many of the problems the family were to face.

Eleanor Walker is the youngest and appears to be the most dumb. However she does show quite an appeal for helping and a very smart and quick brain, despite being dyslexic. She is also very much into horses.

Plot: A family of five are searching for a new house. Their real estate lady finds a nice house on the edge of Sea Cliff, a place known for it’s beautiful houses. At first the family is a bit worried that the house may not be as nice as the real estate lady says (their price range for houses is rather low) however they were all proved wrong. When they arrived it was a beautiful three story house, full of amazing furniture and stunning features that made the house almost seem too good to be true. This was made true when they heard the price. Their jaws dropped and they immediately decided to buy the house.

Soon after they bought the house strange things started happening. Brendan and Eleanor were seeing strange figures and shadows day after day. Brendan even thought that the statue which stood in the back had come alive and talked to him.

The next day something strange happened. First the old lady who says she lived next door comes by. Her name is Dahlia Kristoff, the relative of Denver Kristoff who used to live in this house. Brendan goes crazy on her, thinking she was the woman who had turned into the statue. After the old lady leaves the kids start doing some digging. Cordelia find out that according to a picture upstairs, she’s a 105 years old and missing a hand. Not long after the doorbell rings again. Thinking that the pizza has arrived, Mr. Walker goes over to the door and opens it. Outside stands Mrs. Dahlia again, and as soon as Mr. Walker opens the door, she steps in. Immediately she transforms. She is now bald and only a skeleton of herself. Her right hand is missing, just like Cordelia thought and she looked downright scary, especially with the brand new pair of skeletal wings that had just erupted from her back. Mrs. Walker started calling the police, but for a gust of wind that snatched up the phone and cracked it on a pedestal on the other side of the room. Then weird things start to happen. Dahlia Kristoff starts flying up, and every item currently in the vicinity start flying up. They form a vortex of flying items just zooming around the room. The two parents are knocked out by flying objects, but somehow the kids manage to stay conscious. Dahlia starts shouting about her long lost father’s (Denver Kristoff) reincarnation and suddenly everything goes black.

My Thoughts: I think this book is amazing. With all of the mystery happening in only the first instance of the story, it provides a great lead into the book. The book itself is astonishing. The idea of having an entire story based on the fusion of three books is downright fascinating. The different characters in this book are amazingly unique, in such ways that even you can’t see the events they’re going to make happen before they do. The things that happen from every angle, like betrayal, love and unexpected friendship just makes this book one of the best books I’ve ever read.

Thank you Mathias for this awesome book review! I can’t wait to buy a copy for the library in April when it comes out!

Print Friendly