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?
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?
On Monday, a package filled with 25 children’s books left for Mumbai, India with Josa’s Dad. He was going to Mumbai on business and offered to take some books with him.
Mumbai, formerly known by the name Bombay is located in the state of Maharashtra. It’s considered the financial capital city of India. It’s the most populated city in India and one of the top most populated cities in the world with over 14 million people. Mumbai is far away from Seattle!
Because Mumbai is so overcrowded, not everyone has the same advantages as we have in Seattle. The Dharavi area of Mumbai is home to thousands of people, many of them children. Unfortunately there aren’t enough school buildings or even books for all the children who want an education. That is why Josa’s family thought that might be a good place to share some of the extra books we have.
The students in Ms. Holder’s class helped prep the books for the first shipment. Each student signed a bookplate inside the book. Our principal, Mrs. Paul signed one too!
After everyone signed a book, I put them in an envelope for the trip. They left with Josa’s Dad a few days ago.
I was worried that 25 books wouldn’t make much of a difference when there are thousands of children who need books. Josa’s mom very kindly reminded me about the story of the starfish. Have you heard of this story? I had forgotten about it and after she told me about it, I realized she’s right.
We are making a difference. The actions of our students do matter. Twenty five books will help…One book at a time!
Have you ever been to India?
How do you matter at school or at home or in your community?
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!
Sometimes events happen that we don’t understand and it makes us feel sad and confused. That’s how I am feeling right now and maybe it’s how you are feeling. When I feel this way, I turn to my family and books to help me feel better.
This weekend I asked my friends to tell me the titles of their favorite books to read to first graders. Here are their ideas. I hope you will find one of these books and then curl up with a loved one to read it together.
Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
Let’s Go for a Drive
Pete the Cat, Rocking in my School Shoes
Julie B. Jones, First Grader (any title)
Dragon’s Fat Cat (and any others in the Dragon Tale series)
The Kissing Hand
The Little Engine that Could
I Love it When You Smile
Make Way for Ducklings
H. A. Rey
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Dick and Jane
The Clock Struck One
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
This list could go on forever and ever because there are hundreds and hundreds of wonderful books. If you like to draw, I know you will like Happy by Mies van Hout. It might give you some ideas of how to draw your own feeling pictures.
To end this post, Reese and Kasa also want you to know about one they would like you to read. Maybe you can sit down with special person in your life, a favorite pet and enjoy it. It’s called Snow Dog’s Journey by Loretta Krupinski.
What book would you add to our list?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
Last month Pete the Cat left on a trip to Australia!
He arrived safely and has been having heaps of fun! The word “heaps” is used in Australia when we say “lots”, such as lots of fun. Check him out in the Bird of Paradise plant in BB’s backyard!
BB has been writing about his adventures and I hope you will visit her blog to find out all the details.
Please leave her a comment and let her know you visited. Here is the direct link to her blog.
What do you think Pete should do while he is “down under”
What season is it in Australia now?
Do you think Bird of Paradise plants would grow in Seattle?
Why designate a month to picture books?
Don’t we all love picture books already? The answer is simple. With the birth of eBooks, iPads, Kindles, Nooks and other online reading devices, many feel traditional printed picture books may be on the way out.
This is the 2nd annual celebration of Picture Book Month. Founder Dianne de Las Casa decided it was time to celebrate picture books in their printed format so she created an initiative to designate November as “Picture Book Month”.
We always celebrate picture books in our library. However, we have also added some art to the mix in our lessons. Here are the highlights of our week.
What says Thanksgiving Day more than turkey, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie?
The Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade!
For more than eighty-years, children young and old, have been delighted by the bobbing and swaying gigantic balloons that float down the streets of New York City in the parade.
Melissa Sweet tells the true story of Tony Sarg, the puppeteer who was the inventor of the Macy’s parade balloons. After we read this book, some of the classes also made Balloons Over Broadway mini-boxes and finger puppets. You can get this activity and more at the Houghton-Mifflin website here.
Thanksgiving is a time to reflect and say thank you. While this book is not a traditional Thankgiving Day book talking about the Mayflower and pilgrims, it is a book about the importance of thanking friends for all the things they do for each of us.
In first grade, we used the Splat the Cat Activity Kit and added a fall leaf. Students wrote what they are thankful for during this holiday season.
If you want to read a funny chapter book to entertain you during the Thanksgiving holiday week, pick up a copy of Junie B., First Grader: Turkeys We Have Loved and Eaten (and Other Thankful Stuff). Find out how cranberry sauce in a can, exploding biscuits and rainbow sprinkles relate to Thankgiving and first graders. I guarantee this book will have you laughing in minutes!
The last book I want to include this week is Hello, Hello by Matthew Cordell. I think every family needs to add this book to their collection. In fact, Matthew has a blogpost listing 26 reasons why every family needs to read this book. You can read that post here.
It’s a story of what we really need to remember as we move forward into a very connected, very digital age.
Using simple text, charming watercolor illustrations, and animals in unusual places (flying fish and whales in the sky?), Cordell tells the story of Lydia, who helps her family remember that there is a time and place for electronics.
For a few minutes in the upcoming days, I hope you will set your gadget aside, and go outside to jump in those leaves and have some silly, crazy, outside fun!
What is your favorite balloon in the Macy’s Day parade?
What friend would you by thankful for this month?
What gadget could you give up for a day?
Pete the Cat is a good friend of Mrs. Hembree. This weekend he came home with her so he wouldn’t be lonely sitting in the library all weekend.
On Saturday morning, Mrs. Hembree got up and walked into the dining room.
What did she see?
Pete the Cat was stuffing himself into a really big envelope!
“What are you doing Pete?” she asked. Pete started singing!
“Where are you traveling to Pete? I see there are some letters on the envelope. Does that say Australia?” Mrs. Hembree asked Pete.
“YES! Australia!” Pete exclaimed! “I’m going to Australia and I’m singing this song!”
“Pete, won’t you be scared? Australia is a long way from Seattle! It’s not even in North America!” said Mrs. Hembree.
“NO!” he shouted! “I won’t be scared! I’m going to see my friend and I’ll be singing my song!”
“Tell me Pete, how did you decide to go to Australia? Do you know someone there?” asked Mrs. Hembree.
Pete said, “Do you know BB our Blogging Buddy? She asked me if I could come visit! So I decided since it started raining here, that I would visit her in Australia.
Did you know Australia is in the Southern Hemisphere? When it’s fall here, it’s sunny and warm there because it’s springtime! I’m going to have fun and I’m going to be singing my song!”
“Ok Pete. It sounds like you know what you want to do and who you want to see! Let’s go to the post office and get you on the road!” Mrs. Hembree said.
“Thanks Mrs. Hembree! Don’t forget! I’m going to see BB and I’ll be singing my song!” Pete waved goodbye and was gone in a flash. She could hear in the background faint sounds of his song…..
Oh no! Australia is a long way from here!
Do you think he will get lost?
Will he have fun?
Will he get back in time to go to Prague?
Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!
Are you rocking in your school shoes?
Are you singing in your school shoes?
Are you dancing in your school shoes?
In kindergarten and first grade WE ARE and it’s lots of fun!
Eric Litwin is the author of the Pete the Cat books. He and artist James Dean have created Pete, a blue, happy, “you can’t get me down” cat. He knows how to learn! He knows how to have fun! And…he knows how to sing! We watched a live reading of Pete the Cat and got our groove on!
We also did some fun Pete the Cat activities while learning about colors, guided drawing and counting.
We watched and listened to Miss Shy do her re-telling of Pete in this fun video!
Pete has a new book that just came out on September 25th! I can’t wait to read it! To learn more about Pete’s books visit his website.
This summer, my husband and I took Pete the Cat on our trip to Oregon and California. He helped me read maps along the way because in many places there was no internet or cell phone service! We got to read maps the old-fashioned way!
Here is a little video of our trip with Pete. Enjoy!
What stuffed animal would you take on a trip with you?
Have you ever used a state or country map to guide you?
What should Pete do next?
It’s easy to hug dogs or cats or bunnies or goats. But how to you hug a porcupine! Author, Laurie Isop, author of How Do You Hug a Porcupine visited our school for World Read Aloud Day to help us find out! This was also the day we dressed up as favorite book characters!
Laurie presented to the kindergarten – second grade classes. First she talked to them about porcupines and their quills.
They even had a chance to touch a giant quill from an African porcupine.
She explained that after she won the Cheerios -Spoonful of Stories Award last year, Cheerios put a small paperback copy of her book in both English and Spanish in every single Cheerios box! Then her publisher Simon & Schuster published the book in the hardcover version. You can read about this prize here.
Then she treated the students to a reading of her book.
We had a special raffle and 4 students won one of the paperback copies and one student won a porcupine puppet.
Following her presentation, students who purchased copies of her book stayed in the library and watched Laurie sign their book.
Laurie’s visit was courtesy of our local independent book store, ParkPlace Books in Kirkland! Thank you Park Place!
When Laurie is not writing books, she and her husband Paul run a wedding photography business. All of the photos for this blog post were furnished by Paul Isop of Studio 6.