How Do You Burp in Space?

Have you ever wondered how the astronauts do normal things in space?


Kaito has the perfect book to answer those questions! I can bet he would like to meet Chris Hatfield to ask him this question and more. Who is Chris Hatfield you ask? Kaito, do you know?

Recently Miss Y, one of our librarian friends in Australia, drove seven hours from her home to Canberra to meet Chris Hatfield. Sadly she was not able to get a photo of a book signing with him, but she sent us this photo with some other astronauts and a blog post about her visit.

miss y and astronaut

Last year I followed Canadian astronaut, Commander Chris Hadfield on
Twitter while he was on the International Space Station for 5 months.
Each day he would tweet incredible photos of Earth that allowed us to see
our planet in a new way. He also made videos of what life was like living
on the space station and he also sang and played guitar with Canadian
children to from space for Music Monday. You can read about this on our
LRC blog.

Commander Hadfield has written a book called ‘An Astronaut’s Guide to Life
on Earth’ that I have read a few times now! He decided to become an
astronaut at 9 years of age and worked hard to make his dream come true.
When I heard he was visiting Australia for the first time I knew I had to
hear his talk called ‘The Sky is Not the Limit’. I booked tickets to see
him in Melbourne where I live and also in Canberra which is a 7 hour drive
from Melbourne and both times he was truly inspiring! Sadly I didn’t get
my book signed, but I did find two ‘astronauts’ in Canberra for a fun

Commander Hadfield has a new book coming out in October called ‘You are
Here: Around the World in 92 Minutes’ with photos he took from the Space
Station. Mrs Hembree and I are both very excited to hear he is also
working on a picture book with the wonderfully creative Peter Reynolds –
we can’t wait until it’s published!

When Commander Chris Hadfield visits Seattle make sure you go and see him.”

Thank you so much Miss Y for sharing this post with us! We will have to be out the lookout for when Commander Hatfield comes to the Seattle area for a visit. I can’t wait to see what he does with Peter Reynolds! Thank you Kaito for your photo! It was perfect timing to receive two photos about space and astronauts this week, especially one from another continent! Now we have photos from Australia, Europe, North America, and Africa.



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Never a Mariner

I’ve been at sea for most of the summer.


It started right after school ended when I found my shell collection. It had been missing for a couple years, but we found it in the garage tucked behind some boxes. I was thrilled because I have been collecting shells since I was a little girl. I always come home with a shell from every beach I walk along. I also like to buy pretty shells. I just have a  “thing” for shells and the ocean. In fact I love the ocean so much, that I can’t live far from the water. Except for a brief summer in Denver, and a year in Germany, I have only ever lived on the East coast or West coast where I can see salt water within minutes.


That box of shells inspired me to create a new ocean/shell display in our living room so I could get those shells and seastars out of the box where we could see them every day. Then I went back East with my daughter to see my family, traveling around Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, New Jersey and New York. We were near the ocean every chance we could get, walking along the shore, collecting shells or enjoying some time in the sun or fog.

Nubble Lighthouse, Maine

Nubble Lighthouse, Maine

The Motif, Rockport, Massachusetts

The Motif, Rockport, Massachusetts

Hampton, Maine

Hampton, Maine

I started and ended my vacation in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Gloucester was settled in 1623 and was one of the first English settlements in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It’s known as America’s oldest seaport and if you have ever eaten Gorton’s fishsticks, they come from Gloucester!

 The Gloucester Fishermen Memorial honors the thousands of lives taken by the sea.

When I’m in Gloucester, I visit my cousin, the owner and captain of the Aaron and Alexis. Captain Swicker is a cod and lobster fisherman and knows first hand how dangerous the sea can be.


On my last day in Gloucester, he took me to the Bookstore of Gloucester to outfit me with some books he wanted me take home, share with the family and read.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy

Reading Fatal Forecast, Lone Voyager, and the Perfect Storm immersed me into the lives of famous Gloucester fishermen. Fatal Forecast is the true story of Ernie Hazard, a fisherman aboard the Sea Fever, who during a hurricane was thrown overboard and survived fifty hours alone in a tiny life raft. Of the three books, this was my absolute favorite. It’s a terrifying tale with a happy ending, unlike The Perfect Storm. This book was made into a movie and filmed in Gloucester. Again, it’s the story of fishermen caught out in the fishing grounds in the Atlantic in 1991 in what was known as a ‘perfect storm’ – not perfect as in nice, but perfect as in the worst storm nature could put together with 100 foot waves and hurricane winds. Many of the fishermen and women made it home, but not the crew of the Andrea Gail. (I do not recommend the Perfect Storm for young readers due to language, and serious subject matter.)


I saved the Lone Voyager- a story about Howard Blackburn and his absolute love for sailing in the late 1880’s for last. In the winter of 1883, Howard and a crewmate were in an open dory (a small boat) and got separated from the main schooner during a blizzard. For five days he rowed himself toward land and when he eventually reached the shore, his hands were frozen to the oars, and his friend was frozen to death. While Howard lost all his fingers, and most of his toes from frostbite, the disability never stopped him from life on the sea. He went on to record the fastest solo sail voyage across the Atlantic. Of course, this time has since been beaten, but the fact that Blackburn sailed alone without fingers is still an amazing feat.


I have learned one main lesson on my summer sea-vacation. First, while I love the ocean – the smells, the sand, shells – I respect how dangerous it is. My cousin lost 800 traps in the storm of ’91 and I still remember how afraid we all were for the fishermen at sea. I love to go out on the boats and be on the open sea, but only in nice, sunny, summer days. When the storms hit, I want to be inside a house, warm and dry. I am a landlubber librarian, who only can take trips on the ocean through stories. I will leave fishing to the experienced mariners, and pray that they come home safely from every trip they take.



Do you prefer land or sea?

Have you ever been on the ocean in bad weather?

Leave a comment and let us know! 


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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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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!


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?

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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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Zoo Animal Mysteries

Do you like mystery stories?

Do you love animals?

If you do, then the Zoo Animal Mystery stories are just for you!


Each of the title in the Zoo Animal Mysteries series focuses on one animal. Through a series of clues, you have to guess what animal is featured in the book. The trick is to solve the mystery before the animal is revealed at the end. You can read more about the zoo animal mystery series on the Capstone Press website.

Our 2nd and 3rd grade classes used those fun books as the structure for their own Zoo Animal Mystery stories.

First we researched facts and took notes. Then we wrote out our sentences for the story. We typed the stories on powerpoint and added Creative Commons photos to illustrate the pages. The projects from Mrs. Kassel-Day, Ms. Valenta and Mrs. Staples class are featured in this post.



What animal was your favorite to learn about?

If you could make a zoo animal mystery, what would you choose?

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Art Appreciation in the Library

Vincent Van Gogh – what painting do you think of when you hear his name?  Starry Night? The Sunflowers? The Yellow House paintings? Van Gogh is one of the world’s most famous artists. Between 1881 and 1890 he painted over 900 paintings, yet sold only one during his lifetime.  

Van Gogh’s works come to life during my favorite time of year when Mrs. Lustgarten and I team on some art related lessons. Learning about artists seems to bring the spring and summer warmth into the long, dark winter days of Seattle. A few years ago, the Lake Washington Schools Foundation granted me funds to purchase art appreciation books for our library.

Then a trip to France where I had the opportunity to visit the Louvre and the Orsay Museum in France and Claude Monet’s house in Giverney cemented my love for many of the great artists. Ever since, our art leader, Mrs. Lustgarten and I have coordinated some lessons to link the library to art. We sit down together and brainstorm ideas of how our students can learn about famous artists along with using the tools within the library.

The water lily pond at Claude Monet's estate in Giverney, France.The water lily pond was the inspiration of the gigantic paintings by Monet.


This is one of the gigantic water lily panels by Monet. They are on display in the specially designed Oval Room at the Orsay Museum in France.


This year in addition to focusing on particular artists, we are bringing the art of the Caldecott winners to the forefront of some lessons.

The Caldecott Medal and Honor awards are given to the illustrators of the most distinguished picture book for children of the year. The illustrators use a wide variety of art techniques and in our student lessons, Mrs.Lustgarten is having some classes imitate the medium of the illustrator. In our library classes, we are reading the newest winners and learning more about the award and the different medium artists have used through the years.

Kindergarten has focused on some of the work of Vincent Van Gogh. In first grade, the students read Katie Meets the Impressionists,  Katie’s Sunday Afternoon, and Degas and the Little Dancer, and watched a dvd about Claude Monet’s life as an artist. In art class, they created artwork using the pointilist style of George Seurat.

Second and third grade is learning more about the Caldecott award, the work of author/illustrator Mo Willems and his “pigeon”, as well as Henri Matisse. Fourth grade is focusing on scratchboard art, the style used in The House in the Night, the 2009 Caldecott Medal winner.


 The fifth and sixth grade classes are involved with a long-term research project. They are learning the 5 steps of research in a biography project about a famous artist. Using books and the internet, students must find the basic facts about their artist. Then they will create a Wordle and Fakebook page about their person. The last step is to film a biography interview where they pretend to be the artist they have researched. The biography museum idea came from Mr. Avery in Massachusetts. You can see examples of the biography videos here. My goal was to have the students experience the research process before they begin their exiting Expert’s Projects for their classroom teachers.

The culminating project for the 5th and 6th graders in art will be to create a pennant imitating the style of the artist they have researched. These pennants and videos will be available for viewing at the Art Walk in June.

What famous artist have you learned about?
What was the name of the one painting Van Gogh sold during his lifetime?
Have you ever been to an art museum before?
Who would you choose to research if you could do a biography project?
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Celebrating Thanksgiving with Books

Thanksgiving is only days away and we have been reading some of Mrs. Hembree’s favorite Thanksgiving Day holiday books in the primary classes.


 Tuyet is dismayed when her Vietnamese/American family wants to eat duck for Thanksgiving Day dinner. When she returns to school after the holiday, she soon realizes that many families don’t eat turkey at Thanksgiving either! Tuyet realizes matters is spending time with family and friends, not what food they eat. Nominated for the Washington Children’s Choice Picture Book Award for 2012.




 Thanksgiving Is by Gail Gibbons provides information about the origins and meaning of Thanksgiving in America, and describes many of the symbols and traditions associated with the holiday, including feasts and parades. (Follett description)



   When the turkey slides out the door and into the pond, a series of food disasters happen to the Tappleton family. They too realize that family is more important than special food on this holiday.


    A group of schoolchildren go on a field trip to Farmer Mack Nugget’s farm. When they realize that the fat, and friendly turkeys are about to become Thanksgiving dinner, they rescue them from the dreaded ax. Dav Pilkey’s story always generates some Thanksgiving laughs.



Check out these original Thanksgiving stories!

The fourth grade students have also been in the Thanksgiving spirit! Ms. Holder, Ms. Lawson and Mrs. Raffel’s classes each wrote a class turkey story, some with original illustrations. I think you will enjoy the creativity of these funny turkey day stories!




What is your favorite Thanksgiving story?

Have you every written a Thanksgiving Day story or poem?

What does your family like to do on holidays?

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Blazing Books are Here



Thanks to a generous grant from the Lake Washington Schools Foundation, our library has

 118 new, blazing hot books!

The non-fiction Blazing Books Grant shelf

 If you are a younger reader, you are going to love, love, love these books! Every new non-fiction book had to pass Mrs. Hembree strict wow criteria questions.

Is it a fun book to read?

Is it an exciting book to read?

Is it action packed?

Here are the new car books to select from. No boring books in this group!

 To go along with our math focus at school, some of the new books are math related.

“Crunch, crunch! The farm’s horse loves munching apples.

Can you predict which color of apple the horse will eat next?

The horse has six red apples and two green apples.

Is it more or less likely she will pick a green apple?”

So, what do you think the answer is? Find out inside the book Pigs, Cows, and Probability!

I know a lot our students love joke books, so I added more to our collection! Here’s a sample from the Jokes about Bugs:

“What did the bug say after it hit the window?

If I had the guts, I would do it again.

I also bought a new series called Easy Magic Tricks. These books teach you how to perform magic tricks with playing cards, coins, straws, balloons, and more! There are plenty of ideas here to challenge our budding magicians!

Not all of the books are fact or non-fiction books. We also have some new everybody picture books for our younger readers. They are housed on a special shelf too!


 It seems like there are never enough Star Wars books in our library, so look at the new ones we’ve added!

This group of books includes early chapter books that are both fun to read and a little bit longer than the usual picture book. These are perfect for our readers who are ready to read chapter books.

Ten more Backpack Buddies have been added to our expanding Backpack Buddy collection. Inside each backpack is a book, a matching puppet, a journal and instructions on what to do.  They are a super fun way to practice reading at home! 

If you check out one of these books from our Bulldog Library, I hope you will let me know what you think about them! You can leave a comment on the blog or you can tell me in person! I am even hoping some people what to give me a review on film with our new Flip cameras! Imagine that….YOU can be a Bulldog Reader Star!

Our LWSF grant is also featured on the Lake Washington Schools Foundation Spotlight page! You can read the full article here.


What do you think about our new books?
Which ones do you want to check out?
Leave us a comment and let us know!
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Blog Action Day- Food


Sunday, October 16th is Blog Action Day! Bloggers around the world blog about the same topic on the same day! The topic this year is FOOD, which coincides with World Food Day! The goal is to have bloggers around the world raise awareness of important topics.


I am proud to take part in Blog Action Day Oct 16, 2011
Bloggers from over 80 countries are joining this worldwide event, including some of our blogging buddies. You can read about 2KM & 2KJ’s post about FOOD. One of their student’s Jarrod is also participating in the event. Go to Jarrod’s Awesome Blog and read how he is participating!

So, how does a library blog participate in a Blog Action Day on the topic of Food? That’s easy!

We can talk about international cooking!

Our students come from over 25 different countries. On any day, you can hear students or parents conversing in numerous languages from every continent in the world! We have students from Africa, Europe, Asia, South America, North America and Australia/Pacifica.

What do they have in common?


Where do they come for new recipes to cook at home?

The Library!

Look inside lunch boxes around our campus and you will find a huge variety of international style lunches! While one person might be having a peanut butter sandwich, the person sitting next to them might be eating a tortilla or using chopsticks to eat rice. Nobody thinks twice about the international flavor of our lunches here.

It’s also why our cooking section of the library is such a well-loved shelf!

Stop by sometime and check out our cookbooks!

And don’t forget, sometimes cooking is Out of This World!


Josa cooks with R2D2!


Do you ever cook international food?
What do you think about being part of a worldwide event?
What kind of cookbook should we add to our collection?





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