Imagination: Don’t Leave Home without It

Posted September 13, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

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“The man who has no imagination has no wings.” ~Muhammad Ali

Tuesday was my birthday and I imagined the numbers in my age were transposed. I immediately felt younger. I bounced around like a kid. I had more energy than usual. My mind was sharp, and my tongue was froth with wit. It was a magical day.

That evening when I looked into the mirror, I no longer saw that fresh young face I had worn all day long. I saw my mother! I guess that was her birthday gift to me – to carry on the family genes. Age happens, but imagination rocks!

Without an imagination, you’re stuck. You have no place to go – nothing to fill the empty spaces of your day. Think what this world would be like if we didn’t have “imaginators” like Walt Disney, Marie Curie, Steve Jobs, Harriet Tubman, Albert Einstein, Georgia O’Keeffe,  Benjamin Franklin …

Everyone needs an imagination. From early on, children’s minds need to be stimulated to help them develop their creativity and play. How can this be accomplished?  The picture book!

The picture book is an amazing tool. The pictures, words, sounds, characters, and story all work together to expand a child’s imagination and play. The more books children are exposed to the wider their world becomes. Children begin to develop language skills and make connections between what they see and hear. And don’t forget the emotional bond derived from sitting in the lap of a loved one, sharing the whole experience of reading a book together.

Here are some great picture books, both old and new, to get you and your child started on the road to imagination.

It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw

Press Here by Hervé Tullet

Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Not a Box by Antoinette Portis

And to Think that I Saw It on Mulberry Street by Dr. Seuss

Little Cloud by Eric Carle

The Hello, Goodbye Window  written by Norton Juster, illustrated by Chris Raschka

Frederick by Leo Lionni

Roxaboxen written by Alice McLerran, illustrated by Barbara Cooney

Tuesday by David Wiesner

Flotsam by David Wiesner

Iggy Peck, Architect  written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

Worried

Posted September 7, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Writing

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Kevin Henkes wrote and illustrated a charming book called Wemberly Worried. Wemberly worried about everything. She worried about big things, little things, and everything in between. She worried about the crack in the wall, the hissing radiator, and the tree in the yard. Then came a new worry – school. Despite all Wemberly’s worries, she finds out there is one thing she doesn’t have to worry about anymore. And that’s school.

Sometimes I feel like Wemberly. There are lots of big and little things to worry about – family, work, dust bunnies …

Another thing I worry about is finding enough time in the day to do all that I want to do. I love writing my blog, but sometimes I feel I’m not doing it justice. So I’ve made an executive decision. I will no longer be posting on Tuesdays and Fridays.

But DON’T WORRY!  I’ll be posting on Thursdays from now on, continuing to inform and entertain the masses. Tune in next Thursday to see what’s up!

“A day of worry is more exhausting than a week of work.” ~John Lubbock

CAPTURE THE FLAG

Posted September 4, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Middle-Grade Books

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I’m always looking for great books to encourage my library students to read. I recently finished reading Capture the Flag written by Kate Messner. Mystery, history, and intrigue make this book a winner for my third through fifth graders.

The story begins with a gala reception taking place at the Smithsonian Museum of American History. Three seventh grade students on winter break are in attendance. Anna, daughter of a senator, is a budding writer for her school newspaper in Vermont and is hoping to interview a senator who is running for president in the next election. José, whose mother worked on the restoration of the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write “The Star-Spangled Banner,” is more interested in reading his book than the goings-on at the gala. Then there’s Henry who is glued to his video game on his computer and could care less about the artifacts and history his Aunt Lucinda has been immersing him in all week long.

They three become unwitting accomplices when a freak snow storm leaves them stranded at a Washington, D.C. airport and they learn “The Star-Spangled Banner” flag has been stolen. Anna believes that the thieves are snowed in, too, and convinces José and Henry to help find who took the flag and return it to its rightful place.

Kate Messner does an excellent job ramping up the tension as events unfold. A man with a snake tattoo, a politician gone bad, a Secret Society, and a young boy and his dog all come into play. Readers are sure to get caught up in the action as Anna, José, and Henry cooperate with one another and use their talents and ingenuity to catch the thieves. Recovery of the flag and unexpected friendships make for a satisfying ending.

Check out Kate Messner’s website and blog here.

Ready, Set, Read!

Posted August 31, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Avatar Friday

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School starts Tuesday morning at 8:05. I’m ready. The library is ready. I hope the kids are ready!

Here’s what they’re thinking.

When teachers get old, like over fifty-five, they’re always in a bad mood. ~Lindsey, age 8

If you do badly on a report card or test that you take home on a Friday, you should wait until Sunday night to ask your parents to sign it. ~Hannah, age 14

When teachers are mad, they don’t blink. ~William, age 12

You should not mess with the principal. ~Nicholas, age 9

For more funny quotes, check this out.  www.generationterrorists.com/quotes/kids.html

Teaching with A BALL FOR DAISY

Posted August 28, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Classic Books

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The Caldecott Medal winner, A Ball for Daisy, by Chris Raschka is a wordless book about a dog and her special ball. There are underlying themes of loss and friendship which Raschka expertly conveys with his bright and charming illustrations.

This book presents teachable moments and lends itself to preschool through first grade curriculum in numerous ways. If you’re using it in your classroom or library, here are a few suggestions for extended activities.

For preschoolers:

While sharing the book, have students name the colors used by the illustrator. Discuss the expressions on Daisy’s face as the story progresses. Is she happy? Is she sad? Why? What happened? Engage students in conversations about what makes them happy or what makes them sad.

For kindergarten and first grade:

To aid in language development, have students retell the story in their own words as you page through the book.

It’s never too early to talk about the different parts of the book – character, setting, problem, solution, beginning, middle, and end.

Promote imagination. Have students make up a new story about Daisy and her friend and draw illustrations for the story. This can be done as a whole group activity or in smaller groups.

However you choose to use this delightful picture book, make sure to enjoy the story from beginning to end!

If you’d like to watch and hear Chris Raschka talk about his books and illustrations, click here.

Do Not Disturb – Busy Reading

Posted August 24, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Literature

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All of the books I ordered for the library have arrived. I’m a happy camper. Each night I settle into my favorite comfy chair and read. I finished the Newbery book, Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos, and loved it. It’s filled with humor and sprinkled with tidbits of interesting historical facts. It also has the gross factor that is sure to delight some. Think spewing blood, old gnarly hands, dead people, and murder all combined to make a great story based on events in Jack Gantos’ early life. This is a great pick – especially for boys.

Another book I particularly enjoyed was Step Gently Out written by Helen Frost with photographs by Rick Lieder. It’s a picture book that combines Lieder’s gorgeous close-up photographs of tiny creatures accompanied by Frost’s sparse but lyrical test. The book includes back matter with the names and information about each of the featured creatures. Absolutely beautiful!

Right now I’m busy reading Capture the flag by Kate Messner. History, mystery, and intrigue. So please, do not disturb. I’m busy reading.

Color Me Shocked

Posted August 21, 2012 by cathyso3
Categories: Picture Books

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I am a librarian in a very unique school. It’s old. Through the years, there have been many add-ons and changes. The library used to be the girls bathroom, the kindergarten room is the old library, and the art room and pre-k room share space with the cafeteria. A patchwork of floor coverings can be found throughout the school – hardwoods, carpet, tile, and epoxy floor covering. (You can drive your truck on it!)

The hallways and classrooms are a rainbow of colors:

Halloween Orange

In-your-Face Yellow

Boring Baby Blue

Shocking Pink

Pond Scum Green

Putrid Purple

For those of you who are charmed by colorful areas, this could be called a Fun House of Learning, but for an interior decorator, it’s a House of Horrors.

I reside in the In-Your-Face-Yellow room. The color can bring out your sunny personality, or it can give you a killer headache. No matter what, I find our school is a perfect teaching tool for preschoolers to learn their colors.

Get ready, little ones. Your first library experience will be a walking field trip around the school and then it’s time for books – books about colors.

Here are some classic books mixed in with some new ones that are perfect color choices.

Baby Bear Sees Blue by Ashley Wolff

Red Sings from the Treetops:  A Year in Colors written by Joyce Sidman and illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski

In a Blue Room written by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa

Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

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

Little Blue and Little Yellow by Leo Lionni

A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni

Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh

Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf by Lois Ehlert

For Fun:

I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! written by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by David Catrow

For Art Lovers:

Vincent’s Colors  by The Metropolitan Museum of Art and Vincent van Gogh

Color me read!


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