Sunday, July 25, 2010

Got Picture Books? Winners

The Got Books? Event has come to an end and what a great event it was!  Thanks so much to everyone who stopped by, left comments, and signed up for my picture book give away.  Not only did I gain over 30 new followers but I found some great kid's lit bloggers as well.  

Congratulations to the following readers who each won a hardcover picture book:

Mary Elizabeth at A Novel Idea won a copy of Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen (Kevin Hawkes, illustrator). Her favorite picture book was Friday Night is Papa Night by Ruth A. Sonneborn.

Jennifer at Extreme Reader Book Reviews won a copy of Bob and Otto by Robert O. Bruel and Nick Bruel. Like me, Jennifer couldn't choose just one favorite.  Some of her favorites include Where the Wild Things Are, Moon Bear, and Little Rabbit's Loose Tooth.

Emily, who is a third/fourth grade looping teacher, won a copy of  The Eraserheads by Kate Banks.  Emily's favorite picture book as a child was Goldilocks and the Three Bears.  She remembers her parents reading it to her every night and reveals that she secretly believed she was Goldilocks!

The Monster at the End of This Book, Alexander and the Horrible, Terrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, and The Little Engine That Could.

Again congratulations to all three winners!  I plan to do another book give-away right before the start of school, for me the first week of September.  And thank you to everyone...both those who have already been following and everyone who found me through the Got Books? Event for reading The Book Maven's Haven! 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Got Picture Books?

Welcome to the first annual Got Books? Event!  Here at The Book Maven's Haven I am highlighting the importance of picture books by giving away three hardcover picture books.  Traditionally, picture books have been used primarily in elementary school classrooms.  As I moved from the kindergarten classroom to my current position as a fourth/fifth grade teacher, I knew that I didn't want to leave  picture books behind.   There would be opportunities to use picture books in powerful ways across my teaching day.   Vacca & Vacca state in Content Area Reading:Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum that a picture book "has the potential to act as a magnifying glass that enlarges and enhances the reader's personal interactions with a subject" ( 2005, p. 161).  So true!  They are a quick and convenient way to help older students activate their prior knowledge.  There is a new focus on picture books that deliver difficult content in simple language.  Contemporary picture books explore issues such as homelessness, war, drugs, death, violence, racism, and divorce. Using picture books as mentor texts for student writing is another way I have found to use them, as they contain vivid language and a variety of text structures.  The beauty of using picture books in the upper grades (and I believe in  middle and high school too) is that they can be read aloud in a few minutes and provide students with information connected to the concept or skill being introduced.  They can be used for increasing fluency and expanding students' vocabularies.  Picture books can be used to help differentiate instruction and make learning more fun and interactive for students of all ages.  Really the possibilities are endless! Picture books are an integral instructional tool whether you are teaching kindergarten or high school English!  Don't leave them on your shelf collecting dust!

So you may be really need to add some more picture books to my collection, whether it be a home library or classroom library.  Well here is your chance!  To enter my book give away, simply register here for an opportunity to win one of these three hardcover picture books.  
Library LionBob and OttoThe Eraserheads

You can earn up to three additional entries by:

1.  Leave a comment on one of my blog posts. 
2.  Follow The Book Maven's Haven on Google Friend Connect.
3.  'Like' The Book Maven's Haven on Facebook OR 'Follow' me (@literacydocent) on Twitter.

The Got Books? Event runs from 12:00 a.m. July 23rd through 11:59 p.m. July 24th (EST).  Don't forget to check out all of the other amazing blogs participating in this weekend's event here!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wanted: The Perfect Pet

Wanted: The Perfect PetWanted: The Perfect Pet
by Fiona Robertson
G.P. Putnam's Sons (Publisher)
Copyright Date 2010 (USA)
Recommended Age: 5-10
Review copy purchased for my classroom library.

Henry wants a pet...but not just any pet.  He wants a dog...a dog with PERSONALITY!  So he sets out find his perfect pet, placing an ad in the daily newspaper.  Enter a duck, who has no friends...or even a name!  One day while reading the newspaper, the duck sees Henry's ad and decides HE  would be the perfect pet.  He designs a clever disguise and sets out to meet Henry.  But,  as is usually the case when you try to be something you are not, Duck's true identity is revealed leaving Henry in a quandary!  Rather than making a rash decision, Henry takes the time to research the duck's pros and cons...and in the end realizes that the duck truly is the PERFECT pet for him.  

I purchased this one last night while I was at Borders and couldn't wait to book talk it to the graduate students in our Summer Reading Clinic this morning!   There are several ways I can see this book being used.  First of all it will be a wonderful read aloud.  The book's messages of being who you are, accepting differences, and unexpected friendships will offer wonderful discussion opportunities with students. I think it could also be used to encourage some creative writing by asking students to create their own 'perfect' pet and write about it.    It's a fantastic edition to my classroom library and I am really looking forward to sharing it with my fifth grade students!  

This delightful story is told in three chapters (I love that!) with mostly black, white, and gray line drawings that add to the mood of the story seamlessly.  An endearing story of friendship and acceptance, this is Fiona Robertson's first book to be published in the United States.  The mix of irresistible illustrations and charming characters is the perfect recipe for making this one a sure hit with readers of all ages.  

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Well, another week has come and gone!  I can't believe I have hit the half way mark of my summer vacation.  What a fantastic summer it has been so far...with much more fun and reading still to enjoy! Over the weekend I got to visit the library with my niece and nephew...always a grand event!  You would never guess we do this every other week when they visit by the excitement they emote when I announce it's time for our Saturday morning visit.  My  six year old niece picked out the picture books I read this week...she always tries to find ones that I have NEVER read.  Not an easy task but she is persistent!  And of course I love every moment of the search!  She did great this week.  I was also able to get to some titles that aren't necessarily new but are new to me!   So I will get right to what I read this past week...

Picture Books:
How Do You Wokka-Wokka? How Do You Wokka-Wokka?(Candlewick Press, 2009) by Elizabeth Bluemle and illustrated by Randy Cecil  is an exciting, vibrant story in rhyme with children who wokka-wokka dance their way through the book. Preschoolers especially have their own brand of nonsense words and this rhythmical tale will be lots of fun to read to them.  I can just picture a classroom full of children practicing their "wokka in their own crazy way." It's wokka-wokka party time!

Hip-Pocket PapaHip-Pocket Papa (Charlesbridge, 2010) by Sandra Markle and illustrated  by Alan Marks) is an informational book about the Australian Hip-Pocket frog which no larger than a human thumb-nail.  I personally learned a lot from the text and the illustrations are beautiful.  Well suited to classroom units on rain forests, food chains, or frogs, this book would be  great paired with Nic Bishop's Frogs.

Kisses on the WindKisses on the Wind (Candlewick Press, 2009) by Lisa Moser and illustrated by Kathryn Brown  is a poignant tale about the feeling of having to say goodbye to someone you hold very dear.  Set during a time in our history when families were moving westward, Lydia and her grandmother help each other as they prepare to say goodbye.  One of my favorite lines of the story reads "Then I hugged Grandma a long time.  I breathed her in deep so I would not forget.  I listened to her heartbeat and my ears remember."The soft illustrations add meaning to the words, depicting a close knit family and the vast countryside and the emotions of saying goodbye.

Wizard from the Start:The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas EdisonWizard from the Start:The Incredible Boyhood and Amazing Inventions of Thomas Edison (Houghton Mifflin, 2010) by Don Brown  is a wonderfully written and illustrated biography that reads like fiction.  The book focuses on Thomas Edison's life from approximately age 8 through his mid-20's.  As a boy, Thomas struggles in school causing his mother to remove him after a 'daydreaming' incident.  But once he gains an appreciation for book, he becomes a voracious reader, taking it upon himself to read everything he can get his hands on.  This book will be a great addition to my Biography basket!

Middle Grade:

The People of Sparks (Books of Ember)The People of Sparks (Books of Ember) (Yearling, 2005) by Jeanne DuPrau is the second book in the Books of Ember series.  While not new, this is a new series to me and one that not only I enjoy but I think my students will really enjoy it too.  Depicting a post-apocolyptic view of the world, after wars, plague and famine have wiped out most of the human race and the few people left are struggling for survival, this book sends a very clear message:  there are no winners in war, and making peace means taking giant risks. Students who like Lois Lowry's The Giver will also enjoy this series and it would make a great book for a Literature Circle or Book Club.

The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze Of Bones - Library Edition (39 Clues. Special Library Edition)The 39 Clues Book 1: The Maze Of Bones  (Scholastic, 2008) is a series that my libriarian has been after me to read for two years now!  I know...what took me so long right?  I was asking myself the exact same thing after reading just one chapter! I can't wait to book talk this series when we get back to school.  My students are going to love the twists and turns.  And I love the fabulous history that is embedded throughout the story!  I usually only read the first book in a series because I am trying to get through so many books, but this is one series that I think I will have to read all the way through!

The Secret SchoolThe Secret School (Sandpiper, 2003) by Avi is another fantastic, historical fiction read aloud for my classroom!  Fourteen-year-old Ida Bidson's dream is to become a teacher. But in her remote, poverty-stricken region of Colorado, most dreams don't come true, and those that do take hard work, devotion, and sometimes, just plain luck. But luck seems to be going against Ida when, two months before the end of the term, the teacher must leave to care for her sick mother. Stingy Mr. Jordan, the head of the school board, refuses to hire a teacher this close to the end of the school year. So Ida takes it upon herself to be the teacher, and run the school in secret, so that she can graduate eighth grade and be eligible to attend high school in the fall.  I love the message of this hard working determined girl, who doesn't let anyone or anything get in the way of her dreams!

S.O.R. LosersS.O.R. Losers (HaperCollins, 1986) by Avi is a humorous book with an important message.  It's okay to not be good at something, including sports!  When a group of intelligent and talented, but not athletic, seventh grade boys are required to participate on a soccer team at their sports minded-school, they realize that 'success' isn't always measured by the score on the board but by being who you are, regardless of what other people think.  Perfect for readers who enjoy humor and sports, this title is particularly good for reluctant readers.

So what's on the agenda for this week?  I plan to finish up (and I really mean it this week!) Countdown by Deborah Wiles, Spilling Ink by Ellen Potter and Anne Mazer, and Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko.  I will also be working on a post about using Author Studies and getting ready for the Got Books? Give Away Event this coming weekend. You will want to be sure to stop by July 23rd-25th to enter my picture book give away.  I also hope to get to these titles...

Guardians of Ga'hoole Boxed Set, Books 1-4Artemis Fowl Book 1 (Promotional Edition)Theodore Boone: Kid LawyerSPHDZ Book #1! (Spaceheadz)The Night FairyWhat Happened on Fox Street

You can join in the fun of It's Monday! What Are You Reading  by visiting  Shelia at One Person's Journey Through the World of Books.  And how cool is this...she offers prizes for those who read and comment on 10 blogs!  Who doesn't love prizes???  Leave a comment! go leave one on nine other posts and you are in!  Good Luck!