Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Happy Holidays!`

Holiday books are so much fun! Kindergarten and second grades looked closely at the story and illustrations in Jan Brett's Wild Christmas Reindeer. Then, we watched the video on her website as she described what inspired her to write the book. The first graders considered the importance and impact of a book's illustrator as we compared five versions of Clement Moore's The Night Before Christmas. They voted on the illustrator that most closely matched their mental images of the story. Jan Brett, who is very popular here at Parish, was the hands down winner!

The library rocked when the Pre-K classes danced the Santa Pokey decked out in jingling antlers.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Holiday Card Project

Mrs. Barrett and the Broncos joined me in our first online project. This Holiday Card Project was organized by Jennifer Wagner. The students created 22 holiday cards with greetings and information about our school. We sent them to other schools in our group around the world. We have started receiving cards from those schools. Our group includes one school in Scotland, several in different parts of Canada, one in Hawaii, and others in various states in the US. It has been so much fun reading the cards and using online tools like Google maps to explore the areas around the other schools. We are hoping to find a class in our group to visit via Skype. This has been a fantastic way to learn about other people and places, and it may provide the beginning of a global conversation!

Holiday Card Project
Make yours @
Make yours @

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Just Grace Book Club

Thirty four second grade girls signed up for our very first Book Club Lunch in the library. Just Grace was a huge hit with this group! Super powers were discovered, big questions were discussed, and laughter was sprinkled throughout the meeting. Readers are clamoring for the other books in the series. Second grade boys are next...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Jessica Harper Visits on Skype!

The first grade just had a great Skype an Author visit with Jessica Harper . She is the author of some fantastic books that we have in our library. We read several of them during story time. The first graders were very excited and prepared with questions for our visitor. Ms. Harper told us that her Cleo books are real stories about her own childhood. We loved Uh-Oh, Cleo and reading about "Stitches Saturday" when Cleo had to go to the hospital and get nine stitches. There will be a waiting list to check out Underpants on My Head which is about a family camping trip. We'll be watching for new Cleo books in the near future!
We send a big thank-you to Jessica Harper for donating her time to visit with us and fuel excitement for reading and writing!

Friday, November 6, 2009

A Place for Wonder

When I heard Georgia Heard and Jennifer McDonough talk about their soon to be published book, A Place for Wonder, at the NCTE Annual Convention last November, I knew that it would be a fantastic reference book that the teachers would love. It is really inspiring me to try to find new ways to make our library a place that encourages curiosity, creativity, and exploration. First to make the "wondering" scene was a HUGE green caterpillar that spun a cocoon within an hour of rescue from the sidewalk and coming into our library. As the children ask questions, make observations, and look for answers about him, they will learn more about nonfiction reading and writing. Nic Bishop's new book, Butterflies and Moths, will be getting a lot of attention!
If you find items that you think your friends would like to wonder about, please bring them in.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Just Grace Book Club

All second grade girls are invited to join the Just Grace Book Club. It's easy to join...just check out the book (we have 16 copies,) read it, and be ready for a fun lunch in the library one day in December to talk about it. I'll bring dessert! This is one of my favorite book series for girls. I just love Grace with her super power of empathy! Sign up at the check out desk, and be ready for a great read!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Mary Amato Visits Parish!

Our Skype visit with Mary Amato was a fantastic treat for the second grade. She told us a little bit about her new book, Take the Mummy and Run. It's on our next book order, and there's already a waiting list to check it out. She described how her own childhood with her sisters provided the background for The Chicken of the Family, and she gave some wonderful and encouraging words about writing. The second graders surprised Mary with our own version of Please Write in This Book that was inspired by her original story. This was our first adventure using Skype, and we can't wait to explore other ways to open up the walls of our library!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Halloween is just around the corner, and monster stories filled the library this week. Glad Monster Sad Monster: A Book About Feelings by Ed Emberley gave everyone in Pre-K I a chance to look out at their friends from behind a mask and express their ideas. We added in Emberley's Go Away, Big Green Monster! for a monstrously fun story time!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Guest Readers

One of the most exciting happenings in the library is when older students read to younger students! These second graders found that Mary Ann Hoberman's You Read to Me, I'll Read to You books are perfect for two voices. They give readers an opportunity to practice fluency and to read for an eager audience. Our new Flip video camera is getting a workout!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

David Shannon's Birthday

One of our favorite authors/illustrators, David Shannon had a birthday this week. We celebrated by reading some of his books in the library. The pre-k II and kindergarten enjoyed three of his finest and funnniest...Alice the Fairy, Good Boy, Fergus, and Duck on a Bike. The kindergarten practiced making tallies by voting for their favorite on the SmartBoard. Many were heard saying, "I can't decide. I loved them all!"

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Skype an Author

I have been reading a lot about Skype an Author, a network of authors who are willing to meet and visit with students for ten to fifteen minutes at no charge via Skype. We are so lucky to be meeting Mary Amato on October 28 on the SmartBoard in the library. We loved her book, Chicken of the Family, which was on our Panther Paw list last year. Please Write in This Book is another of her books that is sure to be enjoyed by second graders who like to read funny books. It's about a teacher who leaves a blank book in the writing corner and invites the students to write to each other in it. It is fun to get to know the students by reading their entries in the book. We'll be working on making a list of questions to ask Mary Amato. I can't wait to meet her!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Can You Make a Scary Face?

Can You Make a Scary Face? is one of those books that I just love reading out loud. It's wild and crazy fun! Jan Thomas is the author. She has the funniest sense of humor, and all of her books are favorites for story time. Her illustrations are simple and bold. We're going to paint scary faces in the style of Jan Thomas for our October library bulletin board. Be prepared for a fright!

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Guys Read!

Jon Scieszka's Guys Read, is a fantastic web-based literacy program for boys. He says that his mission is to help boys become self-motivated life-long readers. I love his site! He includes lists of books that guys might be interested in, and several of the most popular and fun male authors list their own favorite reads. I'll be checking this list the next time I order books for our library!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Christoph Niemann and The Book-Toothed Dinosaur

Last spring I noticed an article in the New York Times describing the renovation of some children's libraries in the Bronx. When I saw his "Book-Toothed Dinosaur," I e-mailed the artist, Christoph Niemann, to tell him that I loved his mural. He replied and offered to let us to make a print so that we could enjoy his work in our library, too. Long time Parish teacher, Marilyn Calwell, provided for the printing and framing as a retirement gift to the library. Perfect! You'll smile when you see this big dino...look closely!

Christoph Niemann has a great new book out. The Pet Dragon: A Story about Adventure, Friendship, and Chinese Characters will be a favorite read-aloud during story time this year. When the second graders begin their study of Ancient China, they will love rereading this book and looking closely at how the artist incorporates Chinese characters into his illustrations in a way that shows how they resemble the things that they symbolize. This book will make you want to learn more about Chinese writing and maybe even give it a try yourself!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Little Mikey

Our library pet, Little Mikey, molted the day before school started. It was a difficult molt for a tarantula who is over 16 years old. After resting on his back for two weeks in the library office, he is on his feet and ready to entertain and amaze children. He was the perfect subject for a discussion of the differences between fiction and nonfiction books. Be sure to stop in the library to examine Mikey’s old exoskeleton and read a few of our favorite books about spiders.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our Reading Roots

In her book, The Book Whisperer, Donalyn Miller wrote about our reading roots. She included a quote from William Wordsworth.
What we have loved
Others will love.
We will teach them how

Our back to school display in the library includes pictures of teachers and staff reading books that were important to them as beginning readers. It is fun to see what books led to the book lovers that we all became.