5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Tom Booth

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It has been a while since I’ve done a 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 interview. I’m excited to be back in the game of talking with book creators. Tom Booth’s picture book Don’t Blink (6/6/2017 Feiwel & Friends) is super fun, and kids are going to LOVE it. Be prepared for lots and lots of staring contests.
5,4,3,2,1 Interview
1. Can you tell us a little about DON’T BLINK?
DON’T BLINK is about a bright-eyed girl who welcomes an assortment of furry and feathered animal friends to join a staring contest with the reader, as long as they all follow the one rule: “Just don’t blink!”
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2. What is the best part about being a book creator?
The best part about being a book creator is when a child learns something from your book and then applies that lesson in a new and creative way. I recently witnessed a little girl learn about a staring contest for the first time. Within minutes she was blinking intentionally just to get a rise out of her dad who was trying to teach her how to play. With a little twist she made the game her own. 
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3. What’s the hardest part of being a book creator?
Every now and then an idea comes almost fully-formed and in one moment, while others take their time to develop in your mind. I think one of the hardest parts of being a book creator is having the patience to not rush an idea that needs time to grow. And harder still, is knowing when to stop developing an idea to avoid overworking it. 
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4. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick?
My favorite book growing up was “The Mysterious Tadpole” by Stephen Kellogg. I’ve always wanted to spend a day feeding a friendly sea monster cheeseburgers in a public pool. 
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5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom?
Never allow yourself to believe that you can’t create something spectacular. All new ideas are rough at the beginning, and only become great ideas when they’ve been toiled over. Every great author and illustrator struggled in the beginning, and only became great after practice, practice, and more practice. Just remind yourself that you will get better as long as you push yourself to improve with every drawing or story you make. So, the next time you feel like your story or drawing isn’t turning out the way you hoped, take a deep breath and follow through!
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Tom Booth is an author, illustrator, and art director. Born on the twelfth day of the twelfth month, Tom made his earliest marks — sometimes on his parents’ antique kitchen table — growing up just outside of Philadelphia. (bio was taken from Tom’s website)

5 Things I Loved About Last Week

I haven’t written a “5 Things I Loved About Last Week” post in a while. I miss reflecting on the week as a whole, so I decided to try and get back into the swing of things.

1. Worm Club A couple of my students started a worm club last week. How cool is that? They are all about hunting worms, but never hurting worms. It is fun to see kids come together around their passions. Even if their passions are things like worms.

A couple of my students started a worm club last week. How cool is that? They are all about hunting worms, but never hurting worms. It is fun to see kids come together around their passions. Even if their passions are things like worms.

2. Pioneer Day

My third grade daughter’s class spent a day last week in a one-room school house. She was so excited for the day, and it did not disappoint. I’m thankful that she has a teacher that creates unforgettable moments.

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3. Mr. Lemoncello’s Great Library Race

On Friday, I finished Chris Grabenstein’s forthcoming Mr. Lemoncello book. The third book in the series. I absolutely loved it. Kids are going to be so happy jumping back into this series, and they will learn a whole lot about how failure can be a good thing.

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4. Bearded Dragon

We spent pretty much all of Tuesday taking the state test. It was a looonnggg day. We finished with about 20 minutes left in the day. One of my students had his dad bring in his bearded dragon. We spent the last part of our day with the dragon, and it was awesome. The kids loved thinking about how the bearded dragon’s physical adaptations. It helped turn a long day into a good day.

5. My Readers

I love my readers. I love that hearing about the books that they are reading, and my heart sings when I think about how much they have grown this year as readers. We only have three weeks left, and that isn’t enough time for me. I’m going to miss them. They are ready for fourth grade, but I am not ready to say goodbye.

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Who Am I Reading For?

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Next fall. I’m going to be moving from third grade to fifth grade. The first thing that I thought about was the books that I am going to get to read aloud to my students. The second thing that I thought about was all the great books that I’ll get to book talk.

I wrote a post asking people to share with me what books they think would make great read alouds in a fifth-grade classroom. The titles recommended were fascinating. A lot of books that I expected popped up in multiple recommendations: Wonder, Fish In A Tree, The War That Saved My Life. I was surprised to see Because Of Mr. Terupt being recommended so many times. The first thought that came to my mind was ugh, I don’t have time to read this book. That thought really bugged me. If so many people love this book that I haven’t read, why don’t I have time to give it a chance? The answer wasn’t what I wanted to hear. I think that the reason that I felt like I didn’t have time to read Because Of Mr. Terupt was because I was reading for the wrong reasons. At times I get so caught up in reading the new books everyone is talking about on Twitter and Facebook, that I forget to slow down and just read what I want to read. I’m never going to be able to read everything (typing that sentence really sucked).

I don’t want my students to ever feel like reading is a competition or a contest. If I don’t want them to look at reading that way, why in the world am I allowing myself to get look at it that way?

I’m going to read books that are potential read alouds for my fifth-grade classroom.

I’m going to read books that I think my own children might like.

I”m going to read books that I can book talk to my students.

I’m going to read books with characters that don’t look like me.

I’m going to read books that make me a better person (husband, father, leader).

I’m going to read books that make me a better teacher.

I”m going to stop feeling sorry for myself because of all the books I can’t read, and focusing my energy on all the book that I can read. 

PS-I started reading Because Of Mr. Terupt a few days ago. I’m a little more than half done. It is shaping up to be one of the best books that I have ever read.