Monday, July 28, 2014

Newbery Challenge 2000

I had not read even one of the books from the year 2000, so this was an interesting challenge.

The medal winner:

Christopher Paul Curtis is one of those authors whose work is something I'm always going to read. I read and loved The Watson's Go to Birmingham - 1963, Elijah of Buxton and The Mighty Miss Malone. Bud Caldwell is an orphan living in Michigan in 1936. The story opens with an awful experience in foster care. Then Bud decides to travel from Flint to Grand Rapids to find the man he thinks is his father, based on flyers his mother had advertising a jazz band. I loved the same things @MrSchuReads mentions in his #nerdbery video.  I was so excited when Deza Malome showed up! Bud, Not Buddy is definitely on my top 10 list of Newbery winners.

Newbery Honors

I loved Tomie dePaola's picture books growing up. This is the beginning of a biographical series. It reminds me of a beginning reader book because of the short chapters and overall length of the book. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to meet Tomie dePaola in September at Scuppernong Books.

This book is so, so sad. Two girls lose their baby sister, and are sent off to live with their aunt, who has no children of her own. The younger sister refuses to speak, traumatized by what happened. Their grief and getting fed up with their aunt leads them to climb up on the roof (as seen on the cover), refusing to come down. The story begins there and everything else is told in flashbacks. It is set in a North Carolina, which is interesting, but the sad topic made it hard to read.

I blogged about this book in this post.  @colbysharp referred to this book in his #nerdbery video for Bud, Not Buddy.

I have already read Holes, the 1999 Newbery winner, and A Long Walk to Chicago, the only Honor book for that year so on to 1998!

Monday, July 21, 2014

#booksmiles #1

My twitter friends started a hashtag called #booksmiles. You write a blog post about a book that makes you smile and post it with the #booksmiles hashtag on Twitter.

A book that makes me smile:


1) Ana is a middle schooler I could identify with growing up. Very shy, having a few close friends.

2) Ana's family is interesting.  Her parents work at a zoo. She has a twin brother who is social and outgoing. Her grandfather is a star, and comes to town with his reality tv show film crew in tow.

3) The romance is sweet, without being over the top.

4) I love what happens to one of the bullies.

5) Book 2, How to Outswin a Shark Without a Snorkel will be released on January 6, 2015. Plus, there will be a Book 3!

6) Finally, the author, Jess Keating, is friendly and awesome! We struck up a friendship on Twitter in June, and I got to meet her at #nErDcampMI. She was one of 12 authors who gave their time to work with kids at Nerd Camp Jr. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

My visit to Naperville

One of the reasons I was excited about #nErDcampMI was meeting Twitter friends, and Twitter celebrities. @MrSchuReads falls into the latter category for me. He is a school librarian from Naperville, IL. He was on the 2014 Newbery Committee that helped select Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo as the winner of the greatest prize in children's literature. He blogs at Watch.Connect.Read, featuring interviews with author/illustrators, author visits, book trailers and more. My biggest obsession is the #nerdbery challenge he started with @colbysharp, a 3rd grade teacher from Parma, Michigan and organizer of #nErDcampMI. Colby is a Twitter celebrity too, and another person I was also excited to meet. He and Colby read every Newbery winner from 1922-present. They are currently working on a Newbery Honor challenge where they each choose one Honor book to read, starting with 2014 and going backwards. The videos are posted every Saturday, and watching them is a part of my weekend routine. I created a post here with all the videos.

I'm not sure if anyone else ever feels this way, but I kind of felt like a creepy stalker on Twitter, following Mr. Schu's every Tweet, favoring and retweeting most of what he posted. My opinion of him as a celebrity made me nervous to meet him.  I should not have been nervous.  He knew who I was immediately, and after talking to him for just 20 minutes, I could tell that he was a kind and wonderful person, definitely living up to his persona online. He even signed my copy of The One and Only Ivan. I found out about this wonderful book from Mr. Schu and he is definitely an ambassador for the book. Read his Nerdy Book Club post today where he introduces the trailer for the nonfiction companion, Ivan: the remarkable true story of the shopping mall gorilla.

After leaving Michigan, we planned to travel to Wisconsin for a wedding, stopping by Chicago for one day on the way. What a perfect opportunity to visit Mr. Schu's hometown, Naperville, IL.  The weather when we got there was perfect, especially for a North Carolina girl used to 90+ degrees and extreme humidity.

Anderson's Bookshop is the store where Mr. Schu buys all his books. I can't tell you how excited I was to see this sign.

Children's book display on pirates.

I decided to bring everyone back books as souvenirs. I wanted to find Squish #6: Fear the Amoeba for Charlotte. Sadly, they didn't have a copy.  Of course being at Anderson's made me wonder about Mr. Schu. I did tweet very excitedly that we were there.  I was going back to the children's section and who did I see? Mr. Schu.  And he gave me a copy of the Squish book I had just asked for in the store!  Of course, everyone knew Mr. Schu, and I found out he even gets mail at Anderson's! 

Carolyn and I both read Squish on the way home. I knew my 8-year old would LOVE it and we wouldn't get to read it once she had it. When we got home and I gave it to her, Charlotte jumped up and down yelling, "It's Squish."

I am very lucky because Mr. Schu is scheduled to present at the North Carolina School Library Media Association conference in October. The conference will be held in Winston-Salem, NC, where I was born and grew up. I know Mr. Schu will be busy, but I hope to treat him to lunch or dinner, and spend some more time talking with him. He is definitely still a Twitter celebrity, but he is also a friend.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Panic! at the #nErDcampMI

I am one of those who would consider herself a reader, never a writer, a mindset I plan to change. #nErDcampMI was a huge, life-changing experience. Instead of trying to cover the whole thing, I am going to write a Slice of Life-type post about it.

Waking up in Dublin, Ohio on July 7th, I was completely pumped to travel the rest of the trip to Michigan (started out in NC) for #nErDcampMI. I enjoyed our trip through the Ohio countryside, including the site of two Amish horse and buggies. I think it was around Ann Arbor that the panic started to set in. I could feel my heart pounding and I started sweating. By the time I was walking into Western School, I thought I was going to throw up (and I really had to pee).

I recognized Niki (@daydreamreader) right away. Instead of greeting her warmly like a normal person, I looked down and mumbled my last name. I grabbed my swag (including my free copy of The Troublemaker), thinking to myself, "How many books are in here?" I hightailed it to the restroom.

I was still extremely flustered when I entered back into the commons. I saw @colbysharp. I wanted to greet him, hug him, thank him for everything, but I couldn't move. I thought, "What have I gotten myself into?"

Thank God for Donalyn Miller! @donalynbooks was greeting people at the name tags. I waited my turn to talk to her, even though I was still anxious. She recognized my Twitter handle, called me friend and hugged me. I should have been thinking, "How in the world does she know me?" Instead, I thought, "I'm going to survive this."

I knew I had to move on because everyone wanted to talk to Donalyn. I smiled hesitantly at a few people, checked out the EIGHT books in my swag bag and decided I needed some water. As I was filling up a water bottle, my Twitter librarian friend Michelle Simpson greeted me. Talking to @m_simpson and her husband, Chris, caused my anxiety to ease completely. I knew as it was time to go to the first session that not only would I survive #nErDcampMi, but would experience the best (un)conference of my life. And I did. See you nerdies in 2015!

Monday, July 7, 2014

#nErDcampMI poem (15 words or less)


A sea of faces
Alone in a crowd?
Heavens no!
Readers are one tribe.

Not a poetrina like Mary Lee Hahn, but enjoyed learning.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The one about obesity

So in two days I'm leaving for a road trip to the Midwest. One of the things I'm looking forward to most is attending nErDcamp, MI. Having followed the Nerdy Book Club blog and blogs from several members and making connections on Twitter for the past few years, I'm excited about meeting and learning from these people in person. However, that excitement is also accompanied by anxiety. In the past, I would have kept this to myself, but in the spirit of bravery found in The Nerdy Teacher's post about depression, I decided to share.

I recently read Butter by Erin Jade Lange. This book was recommended to me by a Nerdy Book Club post. Butter is a morbidly obese high school student who plans to eat himself to death in front of a live audience over the Internet. His social coping mechanism is try to fade into the background.  Except for an online relationship, where he pretends to be another person, and a friend from Fat Camp, Butter has no friends. Once his peers find out about his last meal plans, he is jolted to a place of popularity, sitting with the cool kids at lunch and getting invited to parties.

Butter's experience struck a nerve. I'm not suicidal, but I am a morbidly obese person. I know why I am here.  I loathe vegetables and love sweets. I am too sedentary; I need to put my books down and participate in more physical activities. I know I need to make changes. Even though I have tried time after time to do so, and I often feel like I am a failure, I will keep trying to make those changes. Not because of wanting to be popular or fit into a bikini, but because I want to see my children and my grandchildren (should I be blessed with them) grow up. 

I have a bit of anxiety about walking into a nErDcamp, MI where I do not know anyone. What will they think when they see someone of my size. Will the high school have those desks attached to the chairs that I might not fit in?

What helps me cope with this anxiety is the belief I have in this wonderful community of readers.  How could a group that champions the "Choose Kind" message of Wonder show me anything but kindness?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Links to #nerdbery challenge videos

This post is a collection of links to videos made by Mr. Schu, a school librarian, and Colby Sharp, a third grade teacher as part of their Newbery Challenge.  These videos have been such a blessing to me and a wonderful part of my Saturday each week. If there was a Newbery Challenge fan club, I would be president (because I am obsessed).  I am still kind of in shock that I will get to meet them both in person very soon at nErDcamp MI.

The title links are to the Goodreads page for that book.  Some of the title/author names differ slightly. I have included the titles/authors as they appear on the ALA list of Newbery Winners.

Mr. Schu's video links are to his blog:  Unfortunately, about seven of Mr. Schu's videos and two joint SharpSchu videos are no longer available, but since Mr. Schu includes resources related to the books, I've included links to his blog anyway.

Colby's video links are to his blog:

The majority of the Newbery medal videos were filmed in 2012 and 2013.  The video for Flora and Ulysses was filmed in May 2014 and the videos for the honor books began in June 2014. I will add other Newbery Honor videos as they are published.

Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo (Medal)  Mr. Schu and Colby's video
The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes (Honor) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Colby's Seven Stories Up Bonus Video
Mr. Schu's Newbery Challenge: The David Wiesner Edition
Bonus Newbery videos:  Mr Schu's video / Colby's video

The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video
Bomb: The Race to Build - and Steal - the World's Most Dangerous Weapon by Steve Sheinkin (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
Three Times Lucky by Shelia Turnage (Honor) Colby's video 

Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Breaking Stalin's Nose by Eugene Yelchin (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai (Honor) Colby's video

Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night by Joyce Sidman (Honor) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (Honor) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
The Surrender Tree by Margarita Engle (Honor) Colby's video

Good Masters! Sweet Ladies!: Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson (Honor) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Rules by Cynthia Lord (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
Penny From Heaven by Jennifer L. Holm (Honor) Colby's video

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Show Way by Jacqueline Woodson (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Campbell Bartoletti (Honor) Colby's video

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko (Honor) Colby's video
The Voice That Challenged a Nation: Marian Anderson and the Struggle for Equal Rights by Russell Freedman (Honor) Mr. Schu's video

The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Crispin: the Cross of Lead by Avi (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
Surviving the Applewhites by Stephanie S. Tolan (Honor) Colby's video

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video
Carver: a Life in Poems by Marilyn Nelson (Honor) Mr. Schu's video
Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath (Honor) Colby's video

A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Holes by Louis Sachar (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video




Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

The Giver by Lois Lowry (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Missing May by Cynthia Rylant (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video





The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Medal) Mr. Schu's blog (video unavailable) / Colby's video

Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt (Medal) Mr. Schu's blog (video unavailable) / Colby's video

A Visit to William Blake's Inn: Poems for Innocent and Experienced Travelers by Nancy Willard (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Jacob Have I Loved by Katharine Patterson (Medal) Mr. Schu's blog (video unavailable) / Colby's video

A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal 1830-1832 by Joan W. Blos (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Roll of Thunder, Here My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Grey King by Susan Cooper (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

M.C. Higgins, the Great by Virginia Hamilton (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Slave Dancer by Paula Fox (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Summer of the Swans by Betsy Byars (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Sounder by William H. Armstrong (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The High King by Lloyd Alexander (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Up a Road Slowly by Irene Hunt (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Shadow of a Bull by Maia Wojciechowska (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

It's Like This, Cat by Emily Neville (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Onion John by Joseph Krumgold (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Rifles for Watie by Harold Keith (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorenson (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Carry On, Mr. Bowditch by Jean Lee Latham (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Wheel on the School by Meindert DeJong (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

...And Now Miguel by Joseph Krumgold (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Secret of the Andes by Ann Nolan Clark (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Door in the Wall by Marguerite de Angeli (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Twenty-One Balloons by William Péne de Bois (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Miss Hickory by Carolyn Sherwin Bailey (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lensky (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Rabbit Hill by Robert Lawson (Medal) Mr. Schu's blog (video unavailable) / Colby's video

Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (Medal) Mr. Schu's blog (video unavailable) / Colby's video

Adam of the Road by Elizabeth Janet Gray (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Matchlock Gun by Walter Edmonds (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

Call It Courage by Armstrong Sperry (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

Daniel Boone by James Daughtery (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Thimble Summer by Elizabeth Enright (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

The White Stag by Kate Seredy (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Roller Skates by Ruth Sawyer (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Dobry by Monica Shannon (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Invincible Louisa: The Story of the Author of Little Women by Cornelia Meigs (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Young Fu of the Upper Yangtze by Elizabeth Lewis (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Waterless Mountain by Laura Adam Armer (Medal) Mr. Schu video and Colby's video

The Cat Who Went to Heaven by Elizabeth Coatsworth (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

Hitty, Her First Hundred Years by Rachel Field (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Gay Neck, the Story of a Pigeon by Dhan Gopal Mukerji (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Smoky, the Cowhorse by Will James (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Shen of the Sea by Arthur Bowie Chrisman (Medal) Mr. Schu and Colby's video

Tales from Silver Land by Charles Finger (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Dark Frigate by Charles Hawkes (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Bonus: Colby Starts The Dark Frigate

The Voyages of Doctor Doolittle by Hugh Lofting (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem van Loon (Medal) Mr. Schu's video / Colby's video

Mr. Schu's 1st Video

Mr. Schu explains the Newbery Challenge

Colby: Newbery Challenge Launch

If I've made errors or omissions, feel free to correct me.