The Sweetness of Books

Happy Summer Vacation!

The Bulldog Readers have been sending in their photos showing what fun it can be to read in the summer! Maybe their choices will lure you to the library this summer.





I hope you are having a great vacation! I am having a great time on the east coast visiting my family. On Friday we went to New York City and I saw the New York Public Library. Yesterday we went to the Bronx Zoo. Don’t forget, you can be included on the blog. Just have your adult family member email me the picture.
summer read email pic
Simple and easy!
Happy Reading!
Mrs. Hembree

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For the Younger Readers


What have you been reading so far this summer?


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.


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?


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.


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?


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.


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!


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


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Favorite Books of 2012

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!

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Skyping with Stephen McCranie

Skyping! Skyping! I’m SO glad someone invented Skyping!



    Today Ms. Holder’s library class skyped with author Stephen McCranie. Stephen is the author of the Mal and   Chad graphic novel series.

   Instead of having the author come to our school, we visited with him virtually.

  A  few weeks ago Mrs. Hembree found out on Twitter that Stephen was offering to skype with teachers and librarians. She signed up and our school is one of over 70 schools Stephen will “virtually” visit this fall.



During the call we watched him draw on his computer. First he taught us that comics are stories + pictures.

Then to develop our own story, he had us answer two questions:

  1. What does my character want?
  2. What is preventing my character from getting what he or she wants?

We decided that our character, Tara, wanted to own a bakery, but her family wasn’t very supportive of that idea. She ran away, met a baker and learned how to become the baker she always wanted to be.

After that we had a quick demonstration on how to draw a picture. We learned it’s easy if you use shapes like circles, squares or triangles. As Stephen drew on his computer, we tried to guess what famous characters he was drawing!

In the last portion of our visit, Stephen asked us to start a story. Then before our eyes, he drew a scene from our story.

While he was drawing, he also answered our questions.

We found out that he has loved comics since he was about 5 years old. He drew his first comic strip for a school newspaper in college. He likes comics because they are a great way to express yourself. They are an artform with a lot of potential.

He reads lots and lots of books and really enjoys the Bone series by Jeff Smith. Stephen said he believes that creativity is like a muscle in your head. When you practice you get better over time. If you want to get better at drawing , you need to draw and practice every single day. The tools for drawing don’t really matter. Pencils, crayons, pens – use whatever you want and draw, draw, draw.

His favorite book is the new one coming out on December 6th!

We will be sure to buy a few copies for the library! After about 30 minutes, our time was up! It was a great first Author Skype experience! Thank you Stephen for visiting the Bulldog Readers! If you are looking for Stephen’s books, here they are.  We have both available for check out in the library. You can also link to his Mal and Chad website here.



What do you think our story was about?

Have you ever skyped with anyone? Do you like it?

What is your favorite graphic novel or comic series?













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Our Babymouse Day!

Yesterday was quite a day with our guest author Matt Holm!  If you aren’t familiar with the Babymouse books, they are graphic novels, which are like comic books, but much longer. They are also funny – really, really funny! Okay, not all graphic novels are funny, but the Babymouse ones are!

Matt co-authors the books with his sister Jenni. She writes most of the dialog and he illustrates. He explained how every book starts with a storyboard, like they do for movies. The storyboard is their book map – it helps them flesh out the details of the plot, illustrations and dialog.

Jenni and Matt don’t live near one another, so they work separately and then email their drafts back and forth. It takes a lot of revisions before it gets to the printing stage! One book took 14 revisions before it was right! Most of their books take about a year to complete.

After the background presentation, some kids had the chance to suggest new situations for Babymouse and come others were involved in a Babymouse “draw-off”! Who could draw Babymouse fast like Matt? We have some awesome Bulldog Illustrators!

A special huge shout out to the Bulldog PTSA for providing funding so Matt could visit our school and to Parkplace Books for supplying books for kids to buy! Thank you!!!


What is your favorite Babymouse book?

What plot suggestions do you have for Babymouse?

I think she needs to be on America’s Next Top Mouse-Model!

Leave us a comment and let us know what you think!

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Matt Holm Visits on Wednesday


The Bulldog Readers will host the author Matthew Holm on Wednesday for two presentations for the 3rd-6th grade students. Matthew and his sister Jennifer co-author the wildly popular and PINK graphic novel series Babymouse.


Babymouse is a very funny mouse who seems to have loads of trouble as she makes her way through elementary school. The Babymouse series has won many awards including the Gryphon Award in 2006 and the ALA Notable Children’s Book Award.


However, the best award a children’s book can earn is a vote from KIDS! Babymouse is the winner of multiple Children’s Choice Awards and is nominated again for the 2011 award. Babymouse # 12: Burns Rubber is one of the choices for the 3rd-4th grade book of the year. Only children can vote for this award at the following website: until April 29, 2011.

Babymouse has her own Facebook Fan page I Heart Babymouse!  at She even has her own song! The song, “This Is Babymouse!” was written and produced by Brooklyn-based drummer and composer Marty Beller, with lyrics by Matt Holm and vocals sung by Matt and Jenni. 


We have been preparing for Matt’s visit by reading some of the Babymouse books together and in small groups. We have learned some important Babymouse facts.

  • Babymouse seems to get herself in lots of trouble
  • Felicia Furrypaws loves to torment Babymouse
  • Babymouse loves to daydream
  • Babymouse has a very cranky locker
  • Her best friend is Wilson, a weasel 
  • Babymouse books have a different levels of humor
  • Mrs. Hembree laughs at different parts than the kids

We are looking forward to Matt’s presentation on Wednesday and learning more about this really fun series. Matt’s books are for sale and he will be signing purchased books on Wednesday! See Mrs. Hembree for details.

Until Wednesday, here is a short video with information directly from Jennifer and Matt about their book series, Babymouse! Click on the link to view!


Which one of the Babymouse books is your favorite?

Have you ever met Matt or Jenni Holm?

Tell us about it!




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February Student Book Reviews

February Book Reviews on PhotoPeach


Deltora Quest by Emily Rodda – Review by Julius

This is a magical and mysterious book about wizards and sorcerers. There are two boys that are best friends and one happens to be the king of all the land. The king’s best friend, Jarred is accused of trying to kill the king. He is banished from the palace and has to survive in the poor town of Del.

            Suddenly he finds out that there has been a great darkness that has been attacking Del for a long time. His son and his partner in crime have to set out and find the stones that complete the belt of light and defeat the shadow lord. CAN THEY SURVIVE?

            There are many reasons why I liked this book. Here are a few; this book has a lot of adventure and fantasy, and I love adventure and fantasy. Also, this book reminded me of Harry Potter because it has that whole wizards and wands defeating the darkness effect.

Another reason why I love this book is that it was very suspenseful. Throughout the book, I was so scared to turn the page because you didn`t want something horrid to happen to the characters, but yet you didn`t want to stop because you were also dying to know what happens next.   

  This is a quite easy read and is fairly short. I really recommend this book to any age, although you have to be a fantasy and adventure lover because this book contains a lot of it.  Even so, you should still give this book a go because I am betting you will like it.

Little Brother by Cory Doctorow -Review by Blake

 This is a great, fun filled book about Winston, but please calls him Marcus. He is only 17 years old, but he has figured out how the system works and he works the system; a smart, fast and wise, networked world.  He has no trouble outwitting his high school surveillance systems.  His whole world changes when he and his friends skip school and get caught in the after math of a terrorist attack in downtown San Francisco.  He is captured by the Dept. of Homeland Security and whisked away to a secret asylum.  Read the book to find out the rest!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Ugly Truth by Jeff Kinney – Review by Elliott

This is about a kid named Greg who is having a hard time in middle school. He is trying to fit in with all the so called popular kids. He also just lost his best friend, but deep inside they still want to be friends. They are both trying to find new friends, but keep ending up together somehow. You will be taken on a long and funny ride with Greg as you experience his life and his friends. Be sure to read the other books first, as this is number 5 in the series. If you like really funny books, this one is for you!

Captain Underpants and the Wrath of the Wicked Wedgie Woman  by Dave Pilkey- Review by Mark

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes action because it is funny and it has a lot of fighting in it.  It is really interesting because the teacher turned into a villain and had hands coming out of her hair!!  The author gives a lot of details in the story; for example when they were about to go to sleep and they heard something in the bushes and it turned out to be the Wedgie Woman! She took them and made a portrait of George and Harold so the other children would not notice that they are not there.  The author makes the story interesting and you do not want to do anything until you finish it.

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis – Review by Devon

      Have you ever felt so lonely, that you want to rip the despicable out of everybody you never met? Well I could tell you, not the best idea…. But don’t try to explain this to Buddy….. I MEAN BUD!

 Bud is not too bright, which means that his imagination can lead to some drastic things, but cause some great adventures… Would you try to escape from a foster family with a boy who sticks pencils up your nose and makes your nose drip in the puddles of blood, when they lock you outside the house in a scary dark shed?  I guess not, but Bud can’t stop himself.   He’s pretty smart which greatly adds to the adventures of Bud Cosweld on the lam!

 This book is amazing… a perfect book for anybody who wants to read an amazing story they can’t put down.  This book is my favorite!

Eldest by Christopher Paolini–Review by Moses

 Eldest, the second book of the Inheritance series is a timeless fantasy! After the death of Durza (Gallbatorix’s right hand man) and the victory for the Varden, Eragon suffers from a fatal scar from the duel with Durza in the first book. Too make matters worse Adjaid, king of the Varden and Murtagh dies, Eragon mourns for them. Meanwhile Gallbatorix is planning something to avenge his defeat. I recommend Eldest for older readers because of violence. I really enjoy this book, Check it out today!

Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan -Review by Jack

           “Look, I don’t want to be a half blood.” This is what Percy Jackson said before he started his long journey. He did not know the gods were tangling him in a mystery of the stolen lightning bolt. One that no simple person would have imagined. He could see what no normal person could see. Percy never wanted to be a half-blood. He just was.  

This book is about his big adventure to unlock the mystery of Zeus’s stolen lightning bolt. Only Percy and his two friends are on the journey. All the Greek gods think he stole it, except his father. Percy was set to have an adventure he never asked for. One a half blood had to face, even though Percy never asked to be a half blood, or have a marvelous adventure. It was hard enough with the mystery of his father’s disappearance and his mom’s terrifying boyfriend.   

If you like the Greek gods, or want to read about a half blood’s exclusive adventure, this is the book for you. I recommend this book to everyone.

Bella The Bunny Fairy by Daisy Meadows- Review by Diana

Bella is a fairy that had a bunny until Jack Frost took the magical bunny. Rachel and Kristy are both best friends they also are friends to the fairies. The setting is in Rachel’s cousins house at Easter.  The pets found a hole in the castle wall, so they escaped to the human world. Will the friends rescue the bunny or will the goblins take the bunny back to the castle?  Read this book to find out.

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Did You Say Talking Chipmunks?

Enter  into the world of talking animals with Thelonious Chipmunk!  All the animals wonder….did humans really exist or are they just some kind of ancient legend?

Everyone tells Thelonious that humans aren’t real, but he believes he has proof they really did exist.  Join Thelonious on his adventure from the City of Ruins to Fog Mound to find out where the humans really went.

 The Fog Mound series by Susan Schade and Jon Buller are part graphic novel,  regular novel,  adventure,  fantasy  and science fiction!

Josa donated these books to our library and hopes you will join him on a Theolious Chipmunk adventure.  He says these books are good because “they are the type of book with writing and comics. They tell a good story about a chipmunk on an adventure. It’s just so cool to imagine that a chipmunk could go on this kind of adventure!”  You have to read them to find out more! Find them in our graphic novel section of the library!


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Book Review:Ook & Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future by Dav Pilkey

ookTo all readers who have loved the Captain Underpants series…stand up and celebrate! Dav Pilkey has a new graphic novel. From his website Pilkey writes: 

“This all-new Graphic Novel tells the sensational saga of two silly cave kids named Ook and Gluk (Note: “Ook” rhymes with “duke” and “Gluk” rhymes with “duck”). Ook and Gluk have a pretty awesome life growing up together in Caveland, Ohio in 500,001 BC. But their lives take a turn for the terrible when an evil corporation from the future invades and conquers their quiet, pre-historic village.”

If you love Dav Pilkey’s humor, read every Captain Underpants book three times, then you will definitely want to read Ook and Gluk: Kung-Fu Cavemen from the Future. Look for it on our Graphic Novel shelves in the library. Reviewed by Mrs. Hembree

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