Reading Along I-94: Cloudette

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Jen is calling April: It’s A-OK to Reread in April. We have decided to reread books we both loved this month for our book club. Be sure to check out her blog: Teach Mentor Texts

Cloudette

JEN: We have made it to the end of our month of rereading! It has been so much fun to take time to revisit favorites and to be able to talk to you about them. Thanks for joining in on the It’s A-Okay to Reread in April Challenge. The last book we are discussing this month is Cloudette by Tom Lichtenheld. How can you look at the cover of this book and not love it? I love it.

COLBY: Tom Lichtenheld is brilliant. I’m so excited to talk Cloudette.

JEN: Here’s what you had to say about Cloudette on GoodReads: “I am a giant Duck Rabbit fan, and this book by Tom Lichtenheld makes me so happy that he is a children’s book author. Cloudette is a book about a fun-loving cloud that doesn’t feel like she belongs in the sky that she lives in. She wants to make a difference, but she cannot figure out her place.”

COLBY: I’m always up for a story about an underdog. I remember cheering the first time I read Cloudette. It’s such a fun read.

JEN: The message in Cloudette is so strong. It is so easy to feel like I am just one little human being on this planet teeming with of gobs of people. Sometimes I feel like one little me can only make so much of a difference but this book reminds me that if I put my mind to it, I can accomplish a lot. And what I accomplish may only touch a few people, but it still makes a difference somehow.

Books are such an amazing venue for sharing these brilliant ideas. I have learned so much about myself and others and the world from reading and talking about books. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without all the characters and the stories I carry around with me in my heart.

Look at what Charlotte and Ivan have taught us about speaking up for yourself and others and trying something when it seems like there may be no hope. Look at what Auggie has taught us about kindness and compassion for others. Look at what Marty teaches us about acting outwardly with respect for others when you might feel another way inside.

Look at what Bear and Rabbit teach us about messing with bears and their precious, pointy, red hats…

COLBY: Ha! I love what we’ve learned from all of those characters. Especially Bear and Rabbit. :)

Talking about the message and theme in stories are some of my favorite book conversations with fourth graders. It’s fun to see what they take away from books. I love when they take away something totally different from what I took away. It’s always fun to have those conversations. A great book is able to touch different readers in different ways. I think Cloudette is a great book.

JEN: I have noticed that when I read picture books with older students, recognizing the message and theme is really important. My older students like to be read to but talking about the overall message and then about what they can take away from the message and how they can apply it to their own life is what seems to be critical in reading picture books with older students. I love when they have a different understanding of the book from me! It’s through these discussions of great books that we grow as readers and as people.

Dobry 1935 Newbery Medal

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When Mr. Schu asked me about Nerdbery I thought we was nuts. As we reach the half way point of the ’30s I still think he nuts, but I never expected making silly videos would be such a fun ride. Mr. Schu, thanks for being nerdy with me.

Be sure to check out what Mr. Schu has to say about Dobry on his blog: Watch.Connect.Read

Dobry

By: Monica Shannon

Dobry

I made a #nerdbery update about Dobry when I first starting reading this “classic” Newbery Medal winning book.

5 MUST Read 2012 Middle Grade Novels/Chapter Books

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My goal when I began 2012 was to read 1000 books. As of 3:19 P.M on April 22, I have read 545. I’d say that I’m off to a pretty good start. I decided to reflect on my reading and write a little bit about 20 books that stand out.

Tuesday: 5 Great Pre 2012 Reads

Wednesday: 5 Great Re-Reads

Thursday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Picture Books/Graphic Novels)

Friday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Middle Grade Novels and Chapter Books)

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A Topps League Story: Jinxed

By: Kurtis Scaletta

Illustrated By: Eric Wight

A Topps League Story: Book One: Jinxed!

Chapter Book + Baseball + Groovy Illustrations = Awesome

I wish this Topps League series existed when I was in elementary school.

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Marty McGuire Digs Worms

By: Kate Messner

Marty McGuire Digs Worms!

Sometimes I read a book and can’t wait to share it with students. Sometimes I read a book and I can’t wait to share it with my own kids. Marty McGuire fits into both of those categories. I think Kate and Brian are an amazing team, and I hope Scholastic publishes a whole slew of Marty McGuire books.

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The Mighty Miss Malone

By: Christopher Paul Curtis

The Mighty Miss Malone

The Mighty Miss Malone seems like one of those books that you either love or hate. I’ve been noticing a lot of not so favorable reviews of Newbery Medal-winning author CPC’s latest novel. I’m in the LOVE category. Deza Malone is a character that I take with me everyday to school. She’s the type of girl that makes you want to be a better person, teacher, dad, citizen. I can’t get her out of my head (and I don’t want to).

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Wonder

By: RJ Palacio

Wonder

When I had 10 pages left in Wonder I had to stop reading. I didn’t want the story to end. I placed the book on a bookshelf and tried to forget about it. No matter how hard I tried, I  couldn’t stop staring at it. Wonder was then moved from the bookshelf to the closet. I managed to wait 3 days before reading the final 10 pages. I’ll never forget reading Wonder for the first time.

I’m very excited to begin rereading Wonder as an audio book next week.

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The One and Only Ivan

By: Katherine Applegate

The One and Only Ivan

I don’t believe in jinxes. I think that it is okay to talk about a no-hitter in baseball during a baseball game, and I think that it’s okay to talk about a bowler that is a few strikes away from a 300 game. However, I will not in this blog post mention any book medals (I don’t want to jinx it). What I will say is that I have never seen a book do to fourth graders, what The One and Only Ivan has done to my students.

I think that The One and Only Ivan the best third and fourth grade book in 60 years . I’m still madly in love with that 60-year-old book about a pig and a spider, and I think that if I live 60 more years that I’ll still be in love with The One and Only Ivan. I just hope that Ivan’s medal is a different color.

5 Superb 2012 Picture Books and Graphic Novels

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My goal when I began 2012 was to read 1000 books. As of 3:19 P.M on April 22, I have read 545. I’d say that I’m off to a pretty good start. I decided to reflect on my reading and write a little bit about 20 books that stand out.

Tuesday: 5 Great Pre 2012 Reads

Wednesday: 5 Great Re-Reads

Thursday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Picture Books/Graphic Novels)

Friday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Middle Grade Novels and Chapter Books)

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Here Come the Girl Scouts

By: Shana Corey

Illustrated By: Hadley Hooper

Here Come the Girl Scouts!: The Amazing All-True Story of  Juliette 'Daisy' Gordon Low and Her Great Adventure

I adore everything Shana Corey: her skills as an editor, her amazing books, and her wealth of book knowledge. I can’t imagine how a library could feel complete without Here Come the Girl Scouts!. Don’t believe me? Here’s what my 4th graders had to say about Ms. Corey’s book:

*I loved her biography, because she didn’t dread on with all the parts that don’t need to be said. I love how it is in the form of a picture book, because then it is a fast and fun read, and you can see pictures of the adventures, so it is way more awesome. EPIC AWESOMENESS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I really love her books.

*I loved the book. It was awesome (not like other biographies).

*I like how the book is set up. It’s like she knew exactly where to put every part. It is really cool how she knows these facts, and how she knows how not to make it boring.  I use to hate biographies, but now that I have read this book, I finally want to give biographies a chance.

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Boy + Bot

By: Ame Dyckman

Illustrated By: Dan Yaccarino

I hope every young reader gets a chance to experience Ame Dyckman’s Boy + Bot. Ame’s book makes me so happy. I can’t think about it without smiling, and I think about this book a lot.

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Squish 3

By Jenni and Matt Holm

Squish #3: The Power of the Parasite

Just when you think the brother sister team of Jenni and Matt Holm can’t get any better, they give us Squish 3. My fourth graders think this is the best Holms’ best work. They may be right.

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Lunch Lady and The Mutant Mathletes

By: Jarrett J. Krosoczka


Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes (Lunch Lady, #7)

I love Lunch Lady, but my love for the series is nothing compared to the love my fourth graders have this wonderful series.

Also, my mom is a lunch lady, so I hold these books close to my heart:)

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Chopsticks

By Amy Krouse Rosenthal

Illustrated By: Scott Magoon

Chopsticks

Learning how to be a friend and learning how to be independent is hard. My fourth graders often struggle with these skills, so the more books about friendship and independence the better.

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Be sure to check back tomorrow to see my favorite chapter books and middle grade novels of 2012.

5 Fantastic Re-Reads

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My goal when I began 2012 was to read 1000 books. As of 3:19 P.M on April 22, I have read 545. I’d say that I’m off to a pretty good start. I decided to reflect on my reading and write a little bit about 20 books that stand out.

Tuesday: 5 Great Pre 2012 Reads

Wednesday: 5 Great Re-Reads

Thursday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Picture Books/Graphic Novels)

Friday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Middle Grade Novels and Chapter Books)

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The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

Tom Angleberger

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

I keep re-reading and re-listening to this book. I cry each time. During my most recent rereading, I cried in a totally new spot. If you are an audio book fan I strongly recommend this book on audio. The 5 narrators totally knock this book out of the park.

Charlotte’s Web

By: E.B. White

I think Charlotte’s Web may be the best elementary age novel ever written. Rereading it helped me to realize that this book truly is amazing and timeless. A 2012 book that I will blog about at the end of the week reminds me a lot of Charlotte’s Web.

The Library

By: Sarah Stewart

Pictures By: David Small

The Library

The Library is an easy book to love. After meeting Sarah and David at a children’s literature breakfast, I fell in love with this book all over again. This probably sounds dumb, but seeing how cute of a couple they are, made me love this book even more.

The Ox Cart Man

By: Donald Hall

Illustrated By: Barbara Cooney

I just love the cleverness of The Ox Cart Man. As I write this, I realize that I’ve never read this book to students. That makes no sense. I need to read and discuss this book with kids. I’ll have to fix this soon.

Hound Dog True

By: Linda Urban

Hound Dog True

I feel blessed that I was able to share Hound Dog True with my students as a read aloud after holiday break. Each time I re-read Hound Dog True I appreciate it more. Sometimes when I re-read, I start to find things I don’t like about books that I loved the first reading. With Hound Dog True, each time I read it, I realize that I didn’t love it enough in the previous reading.

Check back tomorrow to see some of my favorite picture books and graphic novels of 2012 (so far).

5 Fantastic Pre-2012 Reads

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My goal when I began 2012 was to read 1000 books. As of 3:19 P.M on April 22, I have read 545. I’d say that I’m off to a pretty good start. I decided to reflect on my reading and write a little bit about 20 books that stand out.

Tuesday: 5 Great Pre 2012 Reads

Wednesday: 5 Great Re-Reads

Thursday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Picture Books/Graphic Novels)

Friday: 5 Great 2012 Reads (Middle Grade Novels and Chapter Books)

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The Pull of Gravity 

By: Gae Polisner

My friend Jen and I loved talking about Gae's book together earlier this year.

I don’t read a lot of young adult fiction, but this year I am trying to read more. I have read a handful so far, and one book stands out: The Pull Of Gravity by Gae Polisner. I am completely in love with this book. I don’t know what makes a great YA book, what I do know is that I would have LOVED this book when I was in high school.

The Fantastic Voyage of Owen Jester 

By: Barbara O’Connor

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester

I have no idea how I missed Barbara O’Connor’s The Fantastic Voyage of Owen Jester. This is one of those books that make you want the weekend to go by faster, because you can’t wait to get it into the hands of your students.

Hattie Big Sky

Kirby Larson

Hattie Big Sky

I love Kirby Larson, and I love her MG novels. This is one of those books that after you read it, you are so interested in the historical piece, that you get on Google and look up everything you can to learn more. I’m not an expert on homesteading, but by golly, I know a heck of a lot more than I did before I fell in love with Kirby’s book.

Caddie Woodlawn

By: Carol Brink

Caddie Woodlawn

I couldn’t talk about pre-2012 books without mentioning at least one Newbery Medal winner. Mr. Schu and I are rereading all the Newbery Medal books. Every. Single. One. I think that I’m giving Caddie a slight edge as my favorite, so far. It gets a slight nod over The Invincible Louisa.

Jellaby

By: Kean Soo

I’m so glad I FINALLY got a chance to read Jellaby.  I think it’s one of my all time favorite graphic novels. I have no idea why this book is out of print. It makes me so sad.


Check back tomorrow to see my favorite re-reads of 2012.

 

Reading Along I-94: Marty McGuire

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Jen is calling April: It’s A-OK to Reread in April. We have decided to reread books we both loved this month for our book club.

COLBY: If more books like Marty McGuire existed in the world I would be happy guy. Marty is one of my favorite chapter book characters.

JEN: I agree! Kate does a great job of capturing Marty’s spirit. Her attitude comes to life on the pages. Her characters feel like real kids. I found myself wanting to recommend Me…Jane and The One And Only Ivan to Marty since she enjoys Jane Gooddall. It’s not often that I find myself wanting to share books with a character in a book.

COLBY: I LOVE that you want to recommend books to Marty. I’m sure she would love The One and Only Ivan. Who wouldn’t? This makes me think of all kinds of characters that I want to recommend books to, but I want to stay focused on Marty.

The biggest reason that I love Marty is because I know that one day I will share the book with my three children. I’m sure my son will love how much Marty loves science, and I want my daughters to see how cool Marty is. I think that all of Kate’s female protagonists are examples of the type of girl that I hope to raise: smart, creative, not normal. Normal is so BORING.

JEN: I have boys to raise but I hope my boys are always up for something fun. Boring is not in our vocabulary at our house. We do lots of fun stuff and they are usually excited and ready to go. I love that. I don’t want them to say, “No, thanks” when friends want to do something fun…or better yet, I want them to be the ones saying, “Come on!” and finding fun things to do. I also want them to be really thoughtful and kind while still being cool dudes.

I love all the silly names Marty comes up with…although she would NEVER call anyone names. My favorite is on page 46:

“If I were allowed to call people names, I’d call Mrs. Aloi Princess-Pushing Tattle-Tale right now.
But I’m not.
So I don’t. Especially since she’s a teacher and everything.”

I love all the times she talks about wanting to call someone names, but it cracked me up when I read the part about the teacher.

COLBY: I love the names that Marty calls people in her head. I think it’s good for kids to see that it is okay to be frustrated with people, but it’s not okay to always say out loud what you’re thinking inside your head.

JEN: That’s so true! We all think not-so-nice things once in awhile. I love how Kate writes all of her characters. I love Marty’s parents – especially her teacher-dad with his “Learning Is Fun!” tote bag. I love it. How cool is Mrs. Aloi with her maracas? She’s cool. As a Nationally Board Certified Teacher, I love that Mrs. Aloi works with Marty’s family and with people in the community. She calls Marty’s parents as soon as she wants them to talk to her about the play. She invites James Jackson from the local college to work with the kids on their play. She also uses the theme of the play and carries it over into different disciplines. Mrs. Aloi rocks.

COLBY: Since we kind of know Kate, I always try to think if the characters in her books are inspired by people in her family.

Thanks for talking Marty McGuire with me. I hope that Kate, Brian, and Scholastic team up for a bunch more books.