Sunday, August 30, 2015

Declaration: I Love Children's Books!

One of my NC teaching standards as a school librarian is: 

School Library Media Coordinators promote reading as a foundational skill for learning (

For me, this is the reason I became a children's librarian. I feel that I have become a role model in this area. I have learned so much from Donalyn Miller and John Schu. Our district threw off the chains of Accelerated Reader a few years back. As mentioned in Travis Jonker's School Library Journal Article, Postcards from Nerdcamp (, I felt empowered by attending in 2014 and implemented unlimited circulation in my school library.

We have to be very careful what we say to developing readers because what we teach them could become ingrained into their reading identity for life. That's more important than this year's state test scores.

I still have a hard time abandoning books, and there are still people shaming me for reading children's books! Just this summer, a relative asked what I was reading and remarked, "You're always reading kids' books." I usually mention I'm a children's librarian in response, like this is my profession and I have to read kids' books. 

This past weekend, I was almost brought to tears in a video I made that mentioned the effect of a children's book that inspired me. Then the author responded with a Tweet of encouragement. 

Children's books aren't obligations! They are special and wonderful. The authors are amazing people who care about children and educators. I am proud to say that I read them! I read them because I love them. The books are why I am a librarian, not the other way around. 

And this whole double-shelved bookcase of adult books? 

It is time to let most of them go to readers who will actually read them. I'm contacting the Friends of the Library in my teaching community who have a store off-site.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Bob Shea

So catching up on my #pb10for10 posts which I altered to feature 10 awesome picture books over a number of days. Today I am featuring three books - 2 written and illustrated by Bob Shea and the last written by Jory John and illustrated by by Bob Shea.

So every little girl will want to read this book; it had a unicorn, rainbow colors and sparkles. However, when you start reading, you meet the funniest goat in all of English literature, and he has some real problems with this uppity unicorn. What's even more amazing is the lesson that is taught at the end of the story. 

If you have follow me on Twitter, you have probably seen my I love Ballet Cat posts and I really, really do. However, I am not going to talk a lot about this book because:
1) you should join the #SharpSchu Twitter conversation on Tuesday August 19th.

2) I have a special story to share: my youngest daughter and rising 2nd grader is reading on grade level. She is not ready to read most chapter books, yet thought that is what she should be reading and tried to abandon picture books. I did not push, helped her read beginning chapter books like Junie B. Jones, although they were pushing the frustration level. Once she read Ballet Cat (about 25 times, but I've read it over and over a lot myself), she went back to reading picture books!

I attended the Scholastic Book Fairs Reading Summit in Charlotte this summer. Former school librarian and now Ambassador for School Libraries with Scholatic Book Fairs, John Schu, gave me the opportunity to read a F&G of I Will Chomp You. Books where the characters interact with or have an awareness of the reader or that they are in a book are great because the kids enjoy them so much during read alouds. This book reminded me of a book from my childhood, The Monster at the End of the Book with Grover from Sesame Street. It was released on August 4th. 

As a school librarian and a parent, I highly recommend these books for public, school, classroom and home libraries.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

NC 2015 School Year

I totally flaked and didn't do a picture book post today. There will be one tomorrow. Instead I'm tackling a hard topic: teaching in North Carolina. The NC government still has not passed the state budget. The fiscal year began on July 1st. This is a GOP that has complete control of the three branches of state government, yet are unable to pass a budget. They have cut education, given inequitable raises, tried to end teacher tenure (and are still wasting taxpayer dollars even though they have been told by two courts that the law is unconstitutional), etc. They clearly are incompetent at their jobs, and do not care about children or the future of our state. 

NC is a right to work state. Teachers cannot unionize or go on strike. I understand if people are frustrated, and feel the need to move on to other states to make more money or maybe pursue a career outside of education.

However, if you are a teacher and you walk in a classroom on August 24th (except for schools who have already started), I know that you are going to give 100% to your students. We are not going to punish them for the failures of our legislation. We are professionals and we love our students. We are not in this for the money; if we were, we would have never stepped one foot into our classrooms. We will protect our students from bad legislative polices for as long as we possibly can; we have been doing so for years.

I would bet most of the ladies and gentlemen in our state legislature consider themselves to be Christians. I pray that they find it in their hearts and minds to do the right thing for the children of our state. 

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Nana in the City

So apparently #pb10for10 was only supposed to be for one day. I blame this mistake on the fact that I've contracted a miserable summer cold. I also tend to want things my way so I'm just going to celebrate for 10 days. My theme: these books are AWESOME! Authority: 30+ yrs. as a booknerd.

So Lauren is amazing, and I was totally nervous and barely spoke to her at #nErDcampMI. Here is another book of hers you should check out:

In this Caldecott Honor winning book, a boy spends a magical time with his grandmother in New York City. 

just bought a copy of this for my home at the Scholatic Book Fair Summer Reading Summit. I have a library copy, but it is always checked out so I haven't brought it home. My husband read it to my children and informed them that he knew Nana was not pronounced the English way because Lauren's last name was either Italian or Spanish (his grandmother was Italian and the girls' call his mother the Italian pronunciation of Nana). When I asked Lauren, she gave me the perfect answer, "You may pronounce it however you'd like." Of course, now all three girls want to go to NYC. I haven't been there since 1999 so I hope we get to go sometime soon!

Monday, August 10, 2015

The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo

Mommy: "Get out or I will ban you from this bathtub!" 7 yr. old: "Fine, that just means I'll never take a bath again." No, this isn't a story from a picture book; this happened at my house this morning. Christine (or Beanie as she was nicknamed by her Auntie Amy when she was the size of a bean) was forgetting that we live in a house with 2.5 bathrooms, making her life without bath threats quite idle.

Despite her beginnings as a perfect baby (perfect delivery, perfect nurser, perfect sleeper), she is now known as The Troublemaker. She certainly makes life interesting.

I love the picture book of the same name, written and illustrated by Lauren Castillo. In this story, a beloved stuff animal disappears, and an older brother makes it his mission to find it. When I heard they were giving away 50 copies at #nErDcampMI 2014, I told my mother and daughter that we had to get up at 5 am so we could make it from Ohio (where we had traveled to from NC the previous day) so that we could make it to Parma, MI so I could get a copy. 

Christine loved the book and it is still one of our favorite books to read together. I ordered a copy for my school library and it is almost always checked out.