Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Destiny Practice

I love to watch the second graders working to use the online catalog to find books more independently. This is especially great when they come to the library to read and I'm busy teaching a class. We decided that it would be fun to practice using Destiny this week. A challenge was given to see how many books they could find in the time allowed (about 15 minutes.) Each class was divided into teams of two or three. Team members drew a card that had a picture of the cover of a book with the author's name hidden. They searched Destiny for the book title, wrote down the call number and the author's last name, found the book on the shelf, held its place with a marker, found the title page and illustrator's name, and replaced the book. They had heaps of fun, learned more about the library and catalog, and grew as collaborators and team players. It was definitely an unquiet library. All agree...we will do it again!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Ivy & Bean Day

Ivy and Bean are best friends. The two young characters in the fun series by Annie Barrows didn't plan on being such good friends, but they discovered that their differences didn't get in the way of enjoying each other, having fun, and getting in trouble together. Twenty nine of our second grade readers celebrated Ivy & Bean Day with a book club lunch in the library. We found out that most of these girls think that their personalities are more like Bean's, but unlike Bean, many of these girls like to shop. (See the Wordle of favorite stores.) Gummyworm cupcakes were dessert (a reference to book one where real worms landed on Bean's sister.) Some of the girls have already read all seven of the books and are excited about the eighth, No News is Good News, which is brand new and will be here in the library soon.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Be Creative Every Day!

Being creative is more than just using your imagination and having clever ideas. It requires action...making something. It is the way we learn and the way we maintain excitement about learning. In the library this week, first and second graders reminded each other of all of the different ways that we are, crafts, music, building construction, sports, science, invention, writing...and more. We enjoyed two new books written by Herve Tullet - PRESS HERE and THE BOOK WITH A HOLE. We also reread a favorite by Natalie Portis, NOT A BOX. The clever Draw a Stickman adventure website was the perfect partner for these inspiring books with its "Be creative every day!" message. We have a place in the library for creators to share their work, and we already have exhibitors! Be sure to check out the creations of our Parish readers. Be creative every day!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Batty About Books!

Second grade boys...ALL OF THEM...gathered on the playground picnic tables for what surely should turn into the ANNUAL "Batty About Books" lunch. There was so much excitement about this event that was focused around reading and books. Everyone told about a book that they really like and recommend to others. There were some familiar titles and some that we don't have in the library yet. Some of these will be put on the next book order based on the recommendations of these readers. Watch for the bookmark with our Parish guys' good-reads suggestions.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Storybook Pumpkin Patch

The invitation began with "Optional...just for fun!!" but a lot of Parish readers opted to fill a pumpkin patch with storybook characters. Some pumpkins were done by individuals, and some were the creations of collaborative groups of friends or family. The result...a real Halloween TREAT!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Texas Book Festival

I always put The Texas Book Festival in Austin on my calendar as soon as it's announced. It is a fantastic weekend for readers of all ages! I hang out at the children's tents most of the time. The greatest authors are there talking about their books. They take time to sign them and visit with readers, too. This is where the Texas Bluebonnet list for the next year is announced. I love being there to hear great authors unveil the list. This year I was so thrilled to see Eileen Christelow, Jack Gantos, Rosemary Wells, William Joyce, Emily Jenkins, Paul Zelinsky, Phil Bildner, Michelle Knudsen, Doreen Cronin, Marla Frazee, John Scieszka, and Keith Graves. Watch for some fantstic new titles signed by the author in our library.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Library Visit With Amanda

It's always fun to visit with former Parish students. Today, the first and second graders were treated to a storytime with former student and newly published author, Amanda Havard. Amanda's young adult book, The Survivors, is her first published novel and the first in a five book series. Amanda chose to read Goodnight Opus by Berkeley Breathed to a very attentive young audience. The story has the message that "sometimes it's good that we look for a way to depart from our text and get carried away." Amanda realized, when she was a Parish first grader, that she loved to make up stories and write them down. She found something that she loves to do, and she isn't afraid to try new things and depart from the text in her own life. Inspiring!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Make a New Friend Challenge

Collaboration was the key to the "Make a New Friend" challenge. Small groups pooled their efforts and worked together with so much excitement. It was super fun to watch. Some searched the online catalog for hints about unfamiliar book characters. Some teamed with a partner to roam the shelves. Others searched classroom libraries looking for familiar faces. Some devoted recess time to look for books. The teams that completed the challenge won books, but the REAL prize was working with classmates and finding some new friends in these books.

Friday, September 9, 2011


A second grader was curled up reading in the library. When I walked by, she looked up and said that she loved reading biographies. I knew that she was the perfect ambassador for this sometimes forgotten part of our library. Maybe this will be the first of a series of commercials for our library. I love what she has to say!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Reading Rocks!

We're back! What a great first week!
The PreK classes LOVED Pete the Cat Rocking in My School Shoes! They sang and rocked along with Pete. Here's a trailer for the book that started our year in the library. Warning: This song will get stuck in your head!

Kindergarten, first, and second grade classes all received a "Welcome to the Library" gift of Byrd Baylor's Everybody Needs a Rock. The book gives tips on how to find a good that fits and feels good in your hand. We thought about what tips we could give for finding a good book. These Panthers had great ideas and advice.

If you haven't had a chance to see our giant list and slideshow of the "Best Book I Read This Summer," be sure to stop by in the library and take a look.
If excited smiling faces give a hint, I think that this will be the most fantastic year of reading ever.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kindergarten Rocks!

The first day of school is almost here. Everyone on campus is bustling around getting ready. Exciting times! There are some, though, who may have a little anxiety mixed in with the excitement about the first day. There may be a few "what if" questions that beg to be answered. Katie Davis must remember her first day jitters. Her book, Kindergarten Rocks!, is perfect reading for this time of year. Last May, some of our own kindergarten experts gave advice and words of comfort to those Pre-K II friends who are now coming to kindergarten for the first time. Listening to them, I know for sure that our Parish kindergarten rocks! Thanks to Mr.Shu for the inspiration!

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Where Are Panthers Reading This Summer?

Parish readers can be found with a book anywhere. Where are you reading this summer?

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Summer Kick-Off at BooksmArt

Parish readers were so lucky to have the chance to see and hear some of the very best children's authors and illustrators at the Dallas Museum of Art's BooksmArt Festival. The day was loaded with fun and activity for book and art lovers of all ages. Some of our Parish friends met David Wiesner, the author/illustrator of Art and Max. I was so excited to meet Jerry Pinkney, the illustrator of the Caldecott winning The Lion and the Mouse. I also was thrilled to meet Norton Juster who wrote the almost 50 year old beloved classic, The Phantom Tollbooth and my very favorite of all...Caldecott winner, The Hello, Goodbye Window.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Circulation Champs!

These books were big favorites in our library! They were the top 10 most circulated on our campus. If you haven't read these, you will definitely want to give them a look! Happy summer reading...remember to send me your pictures!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Kindergarten Skype

Mrs. Lee's kindergarten class met up with a kindergarten class in North Carolina via Skype today. Mr. Monaco joined us in the library as we visited with some of his old friends from Ravenscroft. The kinders shared some of the books that they had created in writing workshop. Both classes had written "All About" books and learned about illustrators' craft this year, so they had much in common. They practiced reading with their loud and clear "Skype voices" and listening to new friends hundreds of miles away. We saved some time for a few tricky and fun riddles, too!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

First Grade Read-a-Thon

It's Read-a-Thon Day! One morning in the spring of every year, the first graders race down the sidewalk to their classrooms juggling pillows or pillow pets and heavy bags of books. The day revolves around books, reading to self or listening to reading. This year, many of the readers made the library the site for part of their day. Every nook, corner, and cranny housed a first grader absorbed in a book. Fantastic!

The Gift

When I saw the big beautifully wrapped box on the circulation desk I remembered that a second grade girl had casually mentioned that she brought something for the library. I found her on the way back to her classroom from chapel. She smiled and came with me to watch the opening of the treasure. Inside were dozens of books from her bookshelf at home that she had read, enjoyed, and chosen to share with others. She had sorted the books by series and tied them together with ribbons and bows. While we looked over the titles, she reminisced about reading them and the people who had given them to her. She clearly loves books, recognizes the gifts that they are, and wants to share the joy that they promise. I'm thankful for the gift for the library, and I'm so very proud that our young readers celebrate books with such gusto.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Book Fair

I love the book fair. I know that it's a ton of work for the volunteers, and it always comes at a busy time, and the library routine is put on hold for the week, but the JOY on the faces of the shoppers is priceless. I love watching the kids find books that they can't wait to read. The ones with money in their pockets work so hard to build their book piles within their budgets. The ones without money are so focused on making a "wish list" to share with parents at home. The ones shopping with parents have the greatest conversations surrounding books. This week, we're back to our regular routine, but there is still much talk about the book fair and the books that are being read and loved.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Poetry Picnic

I learn so much from reading other librarians' blogs and tweets. Franki, at A Year of Reading, had the terrific idea of having a poetry picnic in the library. The idea was to create a place for the kids to explore and get their hands on different types of poetry. I thought that sounded like a fun way to celebrate Poetry Month, so I tried out some of the activities that she described and added a few of my own. Here's what we enjoyed at our picnic:

Poetry TagTime was on my Kindle. It is an e-book only collection of 30 poems by 30 of the best children's poets. I love reading the connections that they make with each other's poems. This was a great way to try out the Kindle.

Poetry for two voices is so much fun! MESSING AROUND ON THE MONKEYBARS was a favorite on our Panther Paw list. The YOU READ TO ME, I'LL READ TO YOU books are also great fun. I loved listening to the giggles as friends read with friends.

The REAL giggling happened with the "Sing a Poem" takers. I'M STILL HERE IN THE BATHTUB had some very talented singers!

POETRY SPLATTER on RIF's website was enormously popular (Thanks, Franki!) Everyone had fun dragging over words to create and print their own poems. These were terrific collaborative efforts.
I put a shortcut to GIGGLE POETRY on our library computers. This was another picnic favorite!

Everyone still remembers A SOCK IS A POCKET FOR YOUR TOES and our visit with poet/author Liz Scanlon Garton earlier this year. We used some library pockets to experiment with making "pocket poems" We had long skinny paper available for list poems like those in Georgia Heard's book FALLING DOWN THE PAGE. Paper and markers were out for those who explored DOODLE DANDIES and other collections of shape poetry. Second graders examined AFRICAN ACROSTICS and SPRING and then made their own name acrostic poem.

One first grade girl said emphatically, "We should do this Poetry Picnic EVERY year!" I think she's right.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

"One Read"

Parish readers are amazing! Every year we have a "Hillcrest One Read." Jake Drake, Bully Buster by Andrew Clements was this year's pick. This book is not only a fun to read series, but the subject (bullying) makes for some great discussion. Eighty four...yes, 84 first and second graders and twenty six faculty and staff signed up for this after school meeting/celebration. Students and teachers had about three weeks to read the book, and we met in the library at the end of the school day this Wednesday. After stowing the backpacks away, we headed to the gym for "Bully Buster Cake." Next, two teachers teamed up with small groups of seven or eight readers to enjoy book related activities and to talk about the book. There was some excellent and enlightening discussion in these groups! We all met up in the library to end the afternoon with an unforgettable "Super Bully" performance co-starring two of our most talented friends from the Midway campus assisted by our amazing lower school counselor. I LOVED this celebration of reading, the excitement leading up to the event, the laughter, and the learning. I LOVED hearing teachers say to each other at the end of that l...o...n...g day, "I like doing this. It's fun!"

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Panther Paw Winner!

Students, parents, and teachers have been so busy since January reading and talking about the books on this year's Panther Paw list. Every student in K - 2nd grade and many parents voted this week for their favorite. I'm always so happy to see that all of the books receive votes. We had a fantastic list of books to read this year! THE WINNER - The Buddy Files: The Case of the Lost Boy is the first in a great series by Dori Hillestad Butler. There has been a huge interest in the other books in the series. I have notes from students who are so excited to find a new series to love.
Anyone who read all 20 books was eligible to put their name on a paw for a drawing. The winner got a copy of all of the books for their classroom. A lucky first grader was so happy to hear her name announced. Her friends in her classroom were happy, too!
Congratulations to all of our Parish readers!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Invention Convention is this week at Parish. It's always fun to read about people who think, collaborate, work through obstacles, and finally see their creations enjoyed by others. We have two great books about inventors and inventions on our Panther Paw list, and they both have a lot of fans! Pop! The Invention of Bubblegum by Meghan McCarthy was a fun read aloud in the library this week. First and second grade LOVED hearing the story while chewing some of Walter Diemer's delicious pink Double Bubble. There were some impressive bubbles!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Books We Love!

The first grade girls gathered in the library for our annual "Books We Love" lunch. All of the girls came with a book that is one of their favorites. We just eat, chat, and share what makes this book special. It is so much fun to hear the thoughts and ideas. It's the perfect reading celebration for Valentine's Day!

Books We Love on PhotoPeach

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Author Visit!

You probably read about our visiting author, Susan Stevens Crummel in an earlier post. Wow! She sure knows how to captivate and inspire a crowd of young readers and writers! In three presentations, she described how she and her illustrator sister, Janet Stevens, and illustrator friend, Dorothy Donohue work together on their incredible, award winning books. Puppets and our own students helped make the stories come alive.
It was fun, fun, fun to have a library full of excited, laughing, and learning children!
Be sure to check out the notes our own Parish pets wrote to Mr. Mutt asking for advice. We LOVE that book!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Guys Read Alvin Ho

For the second year, the second grade guys met for the Alvin Ho Allergic to Girls, School, and Other Scary Things Book Club lunch in the library. The book was a hit with this group and again inspired some fantastic conversation! The guys made their own list of things that others should know about them and things that scared them. They came up with their own superhero names. They made a connection with Alvin when he talked about the best time he ever had with his dad, and every boy told about a great time that he had shared with his own dad. We watched a quick advertisement for Johnny Astro, the toy that Alvin's dad loved when he was a boy. We also took a quick look at where there are a lot of lists of books that might be particularly fun for guys. I'm hoping for some recommendations for future book club titles from the boys.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mother/Daughter Book Club

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin was the perfect book for our 2nd Grade Mother/Daughter Book Club! Our library rocked with excitement for an hour after school with 32 book lovers talking about the book's themes of connectedness and thankfulness. We snacked on peaches, eggrolls, springrolls, goldfish, mini goldfish cupcakes and green tea. Grace Lin's video of
the background and her thinking behind the book. We tested the net that tricked the monkeys (a basketball net was perfect!)
We took an online quiz about the book all together on the SmartBoard. We talked about how the meaning of Minli's name (quick thinking) suited her. Then we helped each other think of what name would suit us. We talked about The Old Man in the Moon's red thread and how we are connected as we tied the names together.
This group is an artistic bunch! The dragon creations are fantastic.

Take a look at what the girls had to say about the book.
Grace Lin has written many books that we have in our library. I bet they'll be well read this year!
Everyone went home with a dragon pearl, and (I hope) memories of a wonderful time spent reading together.