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!
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.
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?
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!
Today was Father’s Day and to celebrate Mr. Hembree and I went to a car show.
Did you know car shows are perfect places to read? Every car has descriptions about the vehicle – the engine size, power, how it was restored, etc. We spent two hours looking and reading! Check out our very first summer reading photos!
Mr. Hembree is the classic example of a person who likes to read, but just not stories. He is a non-fiction reader! He likes to read about cars. He likes to read and learn how to fix something. He likes to read to learn!
What kind of car would you like to see at a car show?
What kind of reading do you like to do?
It’s time for our 3rd annual
Super Summer Silly Reading Program!
It’s just as important to read in the summer time as it is during the school year. To make it a little more fun, we add a dose of silliness! We get caught reading in super fun or super silly places!
It’s super easy to participate! Here are the directions:
1. Choose a book! Any book – paper, audio, or electronic (iPad, Nook, Kindle)
2. Snap a photograph of yourself reading this summer! It can be silly or serious. It can be a picture of you here or there or anywhere! Do not hurt yourself or your book! No underwater reading!
3. Ask your parents to email the photograph to Mrs. Hembree between now and September 1, 2013. Send to my blog email address:
***Important Parent Note: By emailing the photograph, you grant Mrs. Hembree permission to post it on the Bulldog Reader Blog http://bellbulldogreaderblog.edublogs.org
4. Prizes will be given to everyone who participates. In the fall, I will make a poster of all of our photos and hang it in the new library!
5. Have fun! The best part about reading in the summer is making your own choices on what to read! Twenty minutes a day all summer long will keep your reading skills sharp and ready for the fall.
Need an idea for what to read? Keep checking the blog. I plan on posting ideas and review all summer long. Plus don’t forget about the awesome Dig into Reading program at any of the KCLS libraries this summer.
Count your minutes with me and get to 1,000 minutes by August 31st!
What book will you read first this summer?
Leave a comment and let us know!
What is more American than apple pie?
For all the baseball fans out there, there’s a new non-fiction book that will give you hours of reading entertainment!
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.
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?
Today is Memorial Day.
The last Monday in May is a holiday to give tribute to the men and women who have lost their lives serving in the US armed forces. Originally it was known as Decoration Day, to commemorate the Union and Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War.
Not to be confused with Veteran’s Day that celebrates all who have served their country, Memorial Day is reserved for those who have died while serving their country.
It is a common tradition to decorate the graves of soldiers with American flags and fresh flowers. The President of the US also places a wreath on the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington Cemetery in Washington, D.C.
I hope as we enjoy the day off from work and school, visit with friends and family, we will also remember the purpose of the day and pause to reflect on their sacrifice to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.
USAA has made a short video: Honor the Fallen: USAA’s 2013 Memorial Day Ceremony. The voice in the background is former President Kennedy.
It’s almost Children’s Book Week! I hope you will join me in celebrating the joys of reading next week and in the weeks beyond!
You may be like us and have to hold off the crazy celebrating for another time because it’s state testing. However, there’s lots we can do to quietly spread the word. Here are a few ideas…
Download Grace Lin’s official bookmark and learn how to draw a Chinese dragon using letters.
Vote for your choice of children’s books in the Children’s Choice Book Awards.
Maybe you love to write! Why not try out these story starters?Are you a fan of Jack and Annie? Check out the story starter by Mary Pope Osborne. Where would you take Jack and Annie on a cold, shivery morning?
These ideas plus lots of reading puzzles are waiting for you on the official Children’s Book Week website. Check them out today and start celebrating ahead of time!
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?
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?
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?
I don’t know about you, but I love surprises! Every book I read is a new surprise. What will be inside? What story will unfold? What characters will I meet? Will the story grab me and not let me go?
Surprises come in blogs too! Our BulldogReaders blog got a big surprise this week. We were selected as one of the Top 25 Educator Blogs for 2013!
Here is the comment that we received,
You’ve been honored in EducationWorld’s Top 25 Educator Blogs for 2013 list. The list represents EducationWorld’s favorite educator blogs to follow in 2013, and our team thinks that your work is worth celebrating.
Wow! What an incredible honor to be mentioned by Education World. I had no idea our blog was even being considered, so this is a super surprise! I can’t wait to visit the other blogs there and learn something new from them!
What’s the best surprise you have had lately?
Leave us a comment and let us know!