Archive for February 2014

SOPHIE’S SQUASH Comes to Visit

February 27, 2014

Yesterday was a great day! Pat Zietlow Miller, author extraordinaire, visited St. Francis Xavier School.

Pat’s debut picture book, Sophie’s Squash, has done exceedingly well. Not only did her book receive FOUR starred reviews, but it is also a Charlotte Zolotow Honor Book and an Ezra Jack Keats Honor Book. Wow! That’s says a lot about Pat and her talent as a writer!

The students at St. Francis were thrilled with Pat Zietlow Miller’s spot-on presentations and reading of her book. She spoke about how to look for ideas, about revisions and editing, and how a picture book goes from a manuscript to a finished product. With a PowerPoint presentation, samples of edits, folds and gathers (F&Gs), and fun tattoos for the younger set, Pat captured the students’ attention. She and Sophie’s Squash left everyone with lots of food — or is that squash—for thought.

Here are some highlights of the day.


Pat Zietlow Miller arrives!


Pat signing copies of Sophie’s Squash.


Pat reading Sophie’s Squash to kindergarten, first, and second graders.


Pat showing 4K  a “Sophie.”


Pat giving a PowerPoint presentation to the third, fourth, and fifth graders.


Pat mesmerizing sixth, seven, and eighth graders.

Some reactions and questions from students.

From a 5K student:  “I’m going to write a book when I get home.”

Pat asked 4K students, “What do you need to write?” One student quickly answered, “Glasses!(Did you notice Pat wears glasses?)

 Heard when students found out Pat dedicated Sophie’s Squash to her daughter, Sonia. “Sonia’s famous.”

Asked what was going to happen to Bernice, the squash, as she got older — the answer:  “She’ll melt.”

Also heard:  “I don’t like squash.”

Asked by a third grader:  “Do you ever get frustrated?” (Oh, yes!)

Heard from one of the first graders after receiving a squash tattoo, “I got a tomato!”

At the end of a successful day, the St. Francis students couldn’t let Pat leave without taking home a bag of squash that included student suggestions on what to do with them.



Dinner in a bag!

St. Francis Xavier thanks Pat Zietlow Miller for coming to their school.

Watch for more of Pat’s books coming in the future.


Monkey See, Monkey Do

February 20, 2014

One book missing from our school library was CAPS FOR SALE written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina. I’m sure somewhere along the way it was either lost or damaged and was never replaced. The horror of it all!


This book is a classic! Its simple text and story line are perfect for preschoolers and kindergarteners. Esphyr Slobodkina’s narrative and illustrations capture the attention of young readers and keep it with the silly antics of the monkeys as the peddler tries to retrieve his caps. In just 672 words, the author included color concepts, left-right directions, repetition, and a mixture of just-right ingredients to produce an entertaining story that begs to be read again and again.

CAPS FOR SALE is no longer missing from the shelves of our library, and it shouldn’t be missing from yours!

Read to Your Child Day On Friday

February 13, 2014

February is a short month full of exciting days. It’s Library Lovers Month. So love your library! It has books galore and offers a variety of activities for the family. While you’re loving your library, celebrate Valentine’s Day and Read to Your Child Day on the fourteenth! February is a perfect combination of love and books.

There’s a marvelous quote by Emilie Buchwald that says, “Children are made readers on the laps of their parents.”

If you want your child to be a reader, be a role model. Let your child see and hear you reading.

Start as early as possible. A perfect time to introduce reading to your precious baby is when you’re pregnant. Check out picture books from the library and read them out loud. This is a great way to find children’s books you enjoy and to begin to build a home library.

Choose books that have great illustrations and not a lot of words. Rhyme, repetition, sound words (onomatopoeia-love this word!), and silly words make for great first books. Visit the library often. Make it your favorite go-to place. Soon, instead of you reading to your child, your child will be reading to you.

Garrison Keillor said, “A book is a gift you can open again and again.” On Valentine’s Day, give a book to someone special. It’s a perfect way to say I love you.

There are myriads of absolutely wonderful picture books available, but here are a few of my favorite classic picture books. Many of these also come as board books which are just the right size for toddlers to hold.

Goodnight Moon written by Margaret Wise Brown

The Very Hungry Caterpillar written by Eric Carle

Pat the Bunny written by Dorothy Kunhardt

The Tale of Peter Rabbit written by Beatrix Potter

The Runaway Bunny written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd

The Snowy Day written by Ezra Jack Keats

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? written by Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle

Guess How Much I Love You written by Sam McBratney and illustrated by Anita Jeram

The Little Engine That Could written by Watty Piper

The Napping House written by Audrey Wood and illustrated by Don Wood

The Olympics of Sports and Reading

February 6, 2014

The journey is the reward. ─Chinese Proverb

The opening ceremonies of the XXII Olympic Winter Games begin tomorrow in Sochi, Russia. Familiar winter sports such as alpine skiing, bobsled, cross-country skiing, curling, figuring skating, ice hockey, luge, snowboarding, and more will be watched by millions of sports enthusiasts.

Athletes from all over the world spend years and long hours training in hopes of securing a place on an Olympic team. From opening ceremonies to closing ceremonies, the air is charged with excitement. The Winter Olympics provide us with the opportunity to see talented athletes who have the passion and work ethic to succeed in a competitive sport.

A phrase written by Stanley Ralph Ross and made popular by ABC’s Wide World of Sports will ring true for athletes as the games progress.

The thrill of victory… and the agony defeat…

Good luck to all!

Do you like the Olympics? Try the Olympics of Reading with these titles.

The Treasures of the Olympic Winter Games by Olympic Museum; International Olympic Committee (Carlton Books, February 4, 2014)

The Winter Olympics written by Nick Hunter (Heinemann, 2013)

Olympic Poems written by Brian Moses and illustrated by Roger Stevens (Pan Macmillan, 2012)

Yes, I Can!: The Story of the Jamaican Bobsled Team written by Devon Harris and illustrated by Ricardo Cortes (Waterhouse Publishing LLC, 2008)

Winter Olympics Sports Series for Kids

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