Sunday, October 24, 2010

Texas Book Festival

If you're a book lover, the Texas Book Festival in Austin is the place for you! The Texas Book Festival began 15 years ago to support library literacy programs around the state. Every year, authors with new books from all around the world gather inside and outside the Texas Capitol. I spent my festival time in the children's "Read Me a Story" tent where I met three-time Caldecott winner, David Wiesner and listened to him read his newest creation, Art and Max and his incredible book, Flotsam. I loved meeting and learning from authors Keith Graves (Chicken Big), Sara Pennypacker (Clementine, Friend of the Week), Anna Dewdney (Llama Llama Holiday Drama), Bonny Becker (Bedtime for Bear), Chris Barton (Shark vs. Train), Tim Tingle (When Turtle Grew Feathers), and Peter Brown (Children Make Terrible Pets). A highlight for me was the 2011-2012 Texas Bluebonnet Master List Announcement Party led by brilliant authors Michael Buckley and Dr. Cuthbert Soup.
I bought a lot of new books for our library and the authors autographed them for our Parish Readers. Fun!

Create your own video slideshow at

Friday, October 22, 2010

Little Mikey

Little Mikey, the popular library pet tarantula, lived with us at Parish for over 15 years. Mikey died last week. Mikey had a VERY long life for a spider. Over the years, many, many Parish students watched Little Mikey quietly sit under his log and shivered when he occasionally climbed the glass to the top of his home. The children, teachers, and parents have been writing some of their thoughts and memories about Mikey in a book that we'll keep in the library. Little Mikey inspired wonder and fascination for years and years. He will be missed!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Surprise Skype Reader

Our surprise reader was REALLY a surprise for one of our Pre-K friends. Her older sister, a student on our Midway campus, joined us in the library via Skype. The third grade sister had a spellbound audience as she told Mo Willems's story of Leonardo, the Terrible Monster. It was so much fun! I hope that we'll see many more of our Midway friends with us at story time back in the Hillcrest Library!

Illustration Study

The kindergarten and first grade are immersed in an illustration study in writing workshop in their classrooms. They are learning about how an illustrator makes decisions about pictures and how it is very much like making decisions about words as a writer. In the library this week, we looked closely at Emily Gravett's books. We noticed some of the techniques that she uses in her illustrations to show time passing and movement through different spaces. Her pictures capture expressions and reveal so much more of the story than the words alone provide. Her books are just fun to see and read! I bet some young writers will experiment with some of the illustrator's craft that they noticed in Emily Gravett's books as they work on their own books.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Happy Birthday, Spot!

There's always so much excitement around Blessing of the Animals at our school. I always look for favorite books about dogs and cats to read in the library. This year, Spot books by Eric Hill celebrate 30 years. The Pre-K loved looking at his books and exploring the Fun With Spot site on the SmartBoard. Happy birthday, Spot!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Boys Read

There's so much excitement for reading happening with the second grade boys this year, and they are coming to me and initiating the most fun conversation about it! I keep hearing, "Mrs. Maher, have you ever read...?" As they describe in detail the series that they've discovered, their eyes twinkle, and it is obvious that they've found books to love. Here's what they're saying...

Trading Cards by BigHugeLabs

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Destiny and Dinosaurs

There's always something to celebrate in the library! This month it's dinosaurs. Did you know that our library has 210 books about dinosaurs on the shelves? Look for yourself. Our Parish libraries recently upgraded our software to Destiny. Click here and take some time at home to explore and look for books that you might want to read. The 2nd graders are doing a great job finding books in the library!