Hard Luck is here!

Need to read the latest book in the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series?


You’re in luck! We have two new copies! You might be in Hard Luck though because they are popular. Come let me know you want it, and I will put you on the reserve list! I saw this Hard Luck van photo. I wonder where you have to be to get to see it in person!


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A Boy and his Dog

How much do you love your dog?

Are you brave enough to give him away?

duke picm

Duke, by award winning author Kirby Larson, is set in Seattle during World War II. Hobie’s father has been sent to Europe to fight in the war. Everyone is doing their part to support the war movement and Hobie hopes if he helps too, his dad will come home faster. When he finds out there’s a program where he can “lend” Duke, his German shepherd, to Dogs for Defense he is torn.



The poster in his classroom seems to be screaming at him. Are YOU doing all you can?  Hobie struggles inside. Is he really doing everything he can to help his dad? He’s saving all his dimes to buy war stamps. He’s helping his Uncle Tryg and trying to be the man of the house for his mom.



Is it enough? Hobie has spent hours training Duke and the military could use him to sniff out mines or help patrol borders. It is important work and Duke would be a great defense dog.

From the moment Hobie says yes, and watches Duke leave, he regrets his decision. What if Duke doesn’t come home? What if his Dad doesn’t come home? Does Hobie have what is takes to be this brave? You will have to read Duke and find out!

Duke launch collage

Kirby had a book launch party at Third Place Books recently. She talked about her love of history, the research about Dogs for Defense and the backstory she used from her own family that developed into the book. You can also watch an interview with Kirby talking about her book.

Kirby is a serious dog lover and a portion of the proceeds went to Reading with Rover, a local reading organization where children read to dogs and practice their reading in a fun and non-stressful way. Along with some other Reading with Rover teams, Reese and I had the opportunity to attend the launch of Duke at Third Place Books.

IMG_2028cAll the copies sold out and I think Kirby found some new fans for her books! Kirby also signed copy for our library! Thank you! Check out Duke at your local library or buy a copy at your favorite bookstore. If you would like to learn more, visit Kirby Larson’s website and find out about other books she has written.


Could you give up your dog or other pet for a good cause?

How can students help other people?





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Protect Your Online Privacy

How well are you keeping your personal information private?

Creative Common Photo: Flickr

Creative Common Photo: Flickr

Are you keeping your private information secure with strong passwords? This is the question we have been talking about in 4th and 5th grade as part of our digital citizenship unit.


Year after year, two passwords stay at the top as the most used passwords for online accounts. Do you know what they are?

#1 = Password

#2 = 123456

While easy to remember, these passwords open you up to easy access by hackers. A better idea is to choose a password that is easy for you to remember, but hard for hackers to figure out. Here are some suggestions:

  • more than 5 characters – best is at least 8
  • a combination of UPper and LOwer letters, numbers and symbols
  • AmSt$@Nd
  • initial letters of a sentence with meaning for you.
  • For example: Jane Smith runs at Juanita Beach Park in 2013  === JAsmR@JbP13
  • stay away from using personal information like your address, name, phone number, pet names, etc.

 Using computers is now a part of everyday life. Protecting your privacy and digital footprint are important rules to stay safe when you are online. Be Smart, Be Safe!


What do you think is another popular password?

Do you use an app to store your passwords? Which one?




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Bully Free Starts with Me

Did you know that you have the right to stand up to bullying?


As part of National Bullying Prevention Month, I have paired two powerful books for  first and second graders to open the conversation about how it’s not good to be mean to other people.


Bully by Laura Vaccaro Seger is a the story of a bull, who is bullied by a bigger bull. It hurts his feelings, but instead of standing up to the bigger animal, he begins bullying other, smaller animals calling them names like Slow Poke, an Pig. Eventually a Billy Goat stands up to him and shows him that he is hurting his friends and the bull stops.

Bully is a great book because it teaches the importance of reading both illustrations and text. Minimal text and simple illustrations draw attention to the emotion and tone of the words. When the words Pig! are typed in a large font, the children know immediately that Bull is name calling. When he says, “sorry” with tears in his eyes, they understand that he has made a change.


Enemy Pie,  written by the Washington state author Derek Munson, tells the story of a boy who thinks he is the enemy of Jeremy who just moved into the neighborhood. When Jeremy doesn’t invite him to a party and laughs at him when he strikes out at a baseball game, Jeremy decides to make an “enemy list”. He hangs the list in his treehouse and then tells his dad about his problem.

Luckily, Dad undertands the problem with enemies, and makes his son some Enemy Pie to give to Jeremy. When the recipe calls for him to spend some time with Jeremy and get to know him, this young boy learns that often all we need to do is spend time with an other person and get to know them. Before you know it, you’re not enemies anymore, you are best friends.

Here is a video of the story Enemy Pie, narrated by Camryn Manheim.


What steps can you take to stop people from bullying you?

What kind of Enemy Pie would you make?

Leave us a comment and let us know!

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Real Boy Book Trailer Debut

Have you read The Real Boy yet?

Imagine a story that combines fantasy + fairy tales +cats +adventure + wizards + magic + friendship into one magical  middle grade fantasy novel by Anne Ursu. Like a favorite wool cloak, Real Boy will wrap you inside a wondrous tale of magic and friendship. It is a joyful, amazing story that will surprise you over and over by the author of Breadcrumbs.

RB - Blog Tour Banner
Since early October blogs around the kidlitosphere have been celebrating THE REAL BOY with reviews, giveaways, interviews, and posts from author Anne Ursu, illustrator Erin McGuire and editor Jordan Brown. In this last stop of the blog tour, we debut our book trailer THE REAL BOY.

This post is a part of The Real Boy blog tour hosted by Walden Press Books. If you would like to read previous blog posts, check out the itinerary below.

Monday, 9/30 – Maria’s Melange – Maria’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Tuesday, 10/1 – There’s a Book – Danielle’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Wednesday, 10/2 – sharpread – Colby Interviews Anne
Thursday, 10/3 – Novel Sounds – Elena’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Friday, 10/4 – Word Spelunking – Aeicha Interviews Anne
Saturday, 10/5 – The Hiding Spot – Sara’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Sunday, 10/6 – The Brain Lair – Kathy’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Monday, 10/7 – Read, Write, Reflect - Anne Talks Oscar with Katherine
Tuesday, 10/8 – Librarian’s Quest – Margie’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Wednesday, 10/9 – Buried in Books – Heather’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Thursday, 10/10 – The Book Monsters – Kristen’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Friday, 10/11 – Cari’s Book Blog - Cari’s Take on The Real Boy + An Interview with Anne
Saturday, 10/12 – Unleashing Readers – Kellee Interviews Illustrator Erin McGuire
Sunday, 10/13 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – Gina’s Take on The Real Boy + Giveaway
Monday, 10/14 – Heise Reads and Recommends – Editor Jordan Brown Interviews Anne
Tuesday, 10/15 – Bulldog Readers Blog – The Bulldog Readers Debut Their Book Trailer
And here are all the blogs featuring exclusive artwork from THE REAL BOY.
You can find THE REAL BOY at your local school,  public library, or your favorite book store today!

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Thinking about Digital Footprints

What does your digital footprint look like?


There is no better time to think about your digital footprint than at the beginning of the school year. This fall we are concentrating our intermediate library lessons on the themes of digital citizenship. In 2007 the International Society of Technology Educators (ISTE) published their National Educational Technology Standards for Students.

These are basic rules for using technology appropriately (Etiquette), communicating effectively (Communication), and protecting student safety (Rights and Responsibilities).

A person’s Digital Footprint is the digital trail they leave each time any electronic or computer device is used. Just sent an email?   Played an online video game? Sent a photo to a friend? You left a digital footprint in each of these situations. You have the choice on whether your digital trailer is positive or negative depending on how you manage it. (CommonSenseMedia)

We watched a video introducing the concept  of person’s digital footprint.


The vital lesson to be learned is that a person’s digital footprint LASTS! It’s actually more like a digital tattoo than a footprint.  Like tattoos, your digital footprint is extremely difficult to remove.

When we learn about the importance of digital citizenship and the mark we are making on the world, it’s not a time to be scared. It’s an opportunity to make that mark thoughtfully knowing you are creating a digital legacy for yourself.

 We also talked about not sharing your “YAPPY”.

What is YAPPY you ask?
This acronym is a trick to remember what to NEVER post online.
Y = Your full name
A = Address
P = Phone number
P = Passwords
Y = Your plans

The next time to get online you might even want to find out what your digital footprint looks like already. Get together with your family and make a game of it. Simply go to your favorite search engine and type your name. See what pops up! Who has the most hits?


What does your digital footprint look like?

How do you leave your digital mark the most?

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Scenes from Washington

Have you ever been to Washington, DC?

Mr. Hembree and I traveled to “DC” recently. It was a whirlwind trip leaving Thursday evening and returning Sunday evening. We went to attend the Bammy Awards. My last blog post explains more about why we went.

We flew all night and as soon as we could on Friday, we started sightseeing. Our nation’s capital is filled with museums and memorials. In two days you can’t possibly see it all, but we did our best to see the sights on our Must-See List. We saw the original Declaration of Independence, The Constitution and the Bill of Rights. We walked from one end of the National Mall to the other.

The National Book Festival was happening during the weekend too, so I was even more excited about being there. We saw Katherine Applegate, Kirby Larson and Jon Klassen. I wanted an autography for our library copy of That is Not My Hat, but gave up because the line was too long.

The Bammy Awards on Saturday evening was pretty spectacular. We dressed up in our fancy clothes, traveled in limos to the ceremony and even got to walk a red carpet. The best part of the evening was having time to talk with other teachers and librarians from around the country. I also had time to meet Mallory, who was the 1st student Bammy Award winner for her Ugandan service project. Mallory is a fabulous example of a student who saw a problem and thought of a way she could help. Her work matters.

Here is a movie of the highlights of our trip. I hope you enjoy it!




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Greetings from Washington!

Have you ever been to Washington,DC, our nation’s capital?

Mr. Hembree and I are here for the weekend. We flew from Seattle to Washington, DC. or 2,763 miles!

dc map

It’s a long trip for just a weekend, but in this case we thought it would be worth it. We came to attend the Bammy Award ceremony on Saturday evening.


Earlier in the summer, I found out that I won the 2013 School Librarian Educator Voice Honoree Award.



This award isn’t about being the best of something. As the website says, “The goal of the Educator’s Voice is to surface great work being done by educators who are way off the radar screen.”   You can read more about the Bammy Awards here and the Educator Voice Awards here. Both the Bammy nominees and the Educator Voice Awards will be given out at Arena Stage. The Bammy Awards has been called a “magical” evening of fun where educators are treated like rock stars, driven to the venue in limousines, and escorted into Arena Stage via the red carpet. Everyone is expected to attend in “black tie attire” – tuxedos for men and evening wear for the ladies.


Thank you to the students, parents, colleagues, and friends who voted for me and made this weekend possible. I especially would like to thank Pauline Roberts, a colleague in Detroit, Michigan and Sonja Delafosse, a colleague in Everett who launched this journey.  Your support and belief that it’s okay to push the limits of what a school librarian can do in the classroom keeps me motivated and laughing! 


To my wonderful family on both coasts, especially Joe who is my loudest cheerleader, and Tara who has now started her own PNW Runner Blog, thank you for always being there for me. And to my Dad, who was my original teacher mentor,–this is for you. In the heavens above, I hoping you’re watching. Thanks also go to Nancy L, who wasn’t able to log her vote online, but instead wrote me the most beautiful personal note a teacher could receive.

I would not even be receiving this award with my network of librarian, school district, and teacher friends near and far.  Thank you! You teach me something new everyday. These connections with each other push me to grow as a person and educator.


Before we attend the Bammys, we will be visiting some of the sights in Washington, DC. We hope to visit or see the Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument, the Vietnam Memorial, the White House and the National Mall.


I’m really excited about the National Mall because that’s where the National Book Festival will be held on Saturday and Sunday! It’s a librarian dream come true – attending the book festival + meeting lots of famous authors + attending the Bammys + seeing lots of friends all in one weekend!


I brought some library books with me in hopes of meeting the authors and getting their autographs. I will definitely line up to see Katherine Applegate again,  the Newbery Award winner for The One and Only Ivan. I also hope to met Jon Klassen who wrote the Caldecott winner That is Not my Hat.

See you back at school on Monday. I’ll share photos from our trip when I get return!


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Reading Movie Magic

Where did you read this summer?


Where  did you read this summer? Was here or there? Near or Far? To keep their reading skills sharp our readers kept reading all summer long. 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 added a dose of silliness! We got caught reading in super fun or super silly places! We had…..drum roll please…..

Custom Glitter Text


Each one of our participants will receive a special bookmark, a free bag of popcorn and a starring slide in our yearly Super Summer Reading movie! Thank you everyone for participating. A special thanks to all the families who took the photos, sent them and gave permission for them to be included on our blog! You rock!



What was your favorite book from the summer?

Leave me a comment and let me know!


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Celebrate Creativity, Courage & Collaboration

Do you know what day this is?


International Dot Day, a global celebration of creativity, courage and collaboration, began when teacher Terry Shay introduced his classroom to Peter H. Reynolds’ book The Dot on September 15, 2009.

The Dot is the story of a caring teacher who dares a doubting student to trust in her own abilities by being brave enough to “make her mark”. What begins with a small dot on a piece of paper becomes a breakthrough in confidence and courage, igniting a journey of self-discovery and sharing, which has gone on to inspire countless children and adults around the globe.”


We will be celebrating Dot Day with thousands of teachers around the globe this week by reading and doing activities with The Dot, Ish, and Sky Color. You can also celebrate at home. All you have to do is to make your mark. Try something new. Create something.Write or sing a new song. Honor your creativity and join the movement. Make a blank book and fill its pages with words and art of your own!

Everyday is a DOT DAY when you cherish and celebrate creativity.


How did you celebrate Dot Day?

How are you creative?

Leave me a comment and let me know!

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