Tuesday, March 30, 2021

book suggestions + poetry month

April is fast approaching and it is Poetry Month! Think about entering the annual poetry contest at the Children's Bookshop; keep a poem in your pocket (at least on April 29, Poem in Your Pocket Day!), and read some poetry this month! 

Here are some newer poetry titles you might enjoy:

Woke: a Young Poet's Call to Justice
by Mahogany L. Browne

The Proper Way to Mreet a Hedgehog and other How-to Poems
by Paul Janeczko

Whoo-ku Haiku: A Great Horned Owl Story
by Maria Gianferrari

I Remember: Poems and Pictures of Heritage
compiled by Lee Bennett Hopkins

All of the above are available in our school library and through the public libraries. 

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Book suggestions

 Book Suggestions

Lupe Wong Won't Dance by Donna Barba Higuera

Lupe Wong is going to be the first female pitcher in the Major Leagues.

She's also championed causes her whole young life. Some worthy…like expanding the options for race on school tests beyond just a few bubbles. And some not so much…like complaining to the BBC about the length between Doctor Who seasons.

Lupe needs an A in all her classes in order to meet her favorite pitcher, Fu Li Hernandez, who's Chinacan/Mexinese just like her. So when the horror that is square dancing rears its head in gym? Obviously she's not gonna let that slide. I loved this book! Lupe is funny and has a quirky and loyal group of friends to help her get through the challenges of middle school. 

Starfish by Lisa Fipps 

Ever since Ellie wore a whale swimsuit and made a big splash at her fifth birthday party, she's been bullied about her weight. To cope, she tries to live by the Fat Girl Rules--like "no making waves," "avoid eating in public," and "don't move so fast that your body jiggles." And she's found her safe space--her swimming pool--where she feels weightless in a fat-obsessed world. In the water, she can stretch herself out like a starfish and take up all the room she wants. It's also where she can get away from her pushy mom, who thinks criticizing Ellie's weight will motivate her to diet. Fortunately, Ellie has allies in her dad, her therapist, and her new neighbor, Catalina, who loves Ellie for who she is. With this support buoying her, Ellie might finally be able to cast aside the Fat Girl Rules and starfish in real life--by unapologetically being her own fabulous self.

Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable and Stephanie Yue

Twelve-year-old Katie is dreading the boring summer ahead until she realizes the mysterious neighbor who hired her to catsit is one of the city's greatest supervillains. This graphic novel is a page-turner! 

Monday, March 15, 2021

Book suggestions + more!

 Book suggestions:

A Game of Fox and Squirrels by Jenn Reese

Samantha and her sister Caitlin arrive at their aunt's home because life with their mother and father has been hard. Caitlin's arm was broken in the latest round of violence and instability which caused the social workers to decide that the sisters should live with their aunt. Sam is given A Game of Fox and Squirrels, a card game, when she arrives. Then one day the fox from the game, Ashander, shows up in Sam's room and offers her an adventure and a promise: find the Golden Acorn, and Sam can have anything she desires. But the fox is hiding rules that Sam isn't prepared for, and her new home feels more tempting than she'd ever expected. As Sam is swept up in the dangerous quest, the line between magic and reality grows thin. This book is a balance of realistic and fantasy fiction -- equal parts of both. 

Isaiah Dunn is My Hero by Kelly J. Baptist

Isaiah is now the big man of the house. But it's a lot harder than his dad made it look. His little sister, Charlie, asks too many questions, and Mama's gone totally silent. Luckily, Isaiah can count on his best friend, Sneaky, who's always got a scheme for getting around the rules. Plus, his classmate Angel has a few good ideas of her own--once she stops hassling Isaiah. And when things get really tough, there's Daddy's journal, filled with stories about the amazing Isaiah Dunn, who gets his superhero powers from beans and rice. Isaiah could use those powers right about now! This short novel is based on a story found in the collection called Flying Lessons. Realistic fiction. 

Smithsonian Digital Jigsaw Puzzles & Coloring Pages! 

Try this link which connects you to lots of different images from the Smithsonian's collection of images. Select how many pieces your puzzle should have and move the pieces around to complete the image! 

Color some of the images from the Smithsonian. Click on the link and print out the black and white PDF-- then add your own color with crayons, colored pencils, markers, whatever materials you have at home! 

Monday, March 8, 2021

Library class updates

Despite this unusual year I have been meeitng with K - 3 classes regularly and we are making progress through the topics I would address in a "regular" year. Here's what we're up to:


I see kindergarten classes weekly in person. Hopefully as the weather improves we can have some outdoor storytimes as we did in the fall. 

We have been reading the Bear and Mouse stories by Bonnie Becker. We're reading four titles in the series: A Visitor for Bear; A Bedtime for Bear; A Birthday for Bear and A Library Book for Bear. These are fun stories with repetition that the kindergartners now know to expect and reminders about being flexible and not making up your mind as to whether you like something or not before you try it! Bear is a particularly inflexible character so we can all learn some lessons from him about trying new things! 

First Grade:

I was seeing first graders over Zoom on their at home days, but now that they're all in person I can see them at school! We have read Caldecott possibilities and some nonfiction titles. Now we are reading some of my favorites like Alfie the Turtle That Disappeared and The Bear Ate Your Sandwich. We will read some insect-themed books soon, too, to coordinate with students' study of insects in class. 

Second Grade: 

We meet weekly on Zoom on students' at home days. We learned about the Caldecott Medal and read some books that might win the Caldecott. We also read a series of folktales called "pourquoi tales" because they answer the question how or why about something in nature. We read books like How Chipmunk Got His Stripes and Coyote Places the Stars. We have recently begun a series of four nonfiction books that are candidates for The Cook Prize

Third Grade:

We meet weekly on Zoom on students' at home days. This winter we learned about the Caldecott Medal and voted on our favorite Caldecott possibilities. We recently finished a sequence of mystery picture books including The Mystery of Eatum Hall and Grandpa's Teeth. Students were very motivated to pick out suspects, clues and red herrings! We are about to read a series of four nonfiction books that are candidates for The Cook Prize

Fourth and Fifth Grade:

Fourth and fifth graders are encouraged to participate in the Massachusetts Children's Book Award. Students read from a list of 25 titles and then we'll vote in April on our favorites. I have several students who are making great progress through the list! We own many as ebooks and audio books and students can certainly also request a print copy of any of the MCBA books. 

I have also seen fifth graders about once a month for book talks. 

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Book suggestions

Book suggestions 

Efren Divided by Ernesto Cisneros

Efrén Nava’s Amá is his Superwoman—or Soperwoman, named after the delicious Mexican sopes his mother often prepares. Both Amá and Apá work hard all day to provide for the family, making sure Efrén and his younger siblings Max and Mía feel safe and loved.

But Efrén worries about his parents; although he’s American-born, his parents are undocumented. His worst nightmare comes true one day when Amá doesn’t return from work and is deported across the border to Tijuana, México.

Now more than ever, Efrén must channel his inner Soperboy to help take care of and try to reunite his family.

Gone to the Woods by Gary Paulsen

Beloved author Gary Paulsen (Hatchet) portrays a series of life-altering moments from his turbulent childhood as his own original survival story. If not for his summer escape from a shockingly neglectful Chicago upbringing to a North Woods homestead at age five, there never would have been a Hatchet. Without the encouragement of the librarian who handed him his first book at age thirteen, he may never have become a reader. And without his desperate teenage enlistment in the Army, he would not have discovered his true calling as a storyteller.

Museum of Science at Home: The Museum of Science provides a rotating group on online activities for those learning at home. Current activities include: videos about the journey to Mars; a link to their daily livestream of "birds of prey" or their "virtual planetarium". See the schedule and all links when you click on the link above.