Tomorrow my students and I will celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). It is a yearly celebration that "emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds."
ALSC launched a new website that contains resources to help you plan your own Día celebration. Watch Pat Mora's introduction to the new site.
On Hold @ the Library is a monthly event that encourages you to submit a picture of a #HoldShelf. Each photograph provides a snapshot of what readers are excited to read. Thank you to everyone who retweeted the event and submitted a photograph.
During Patrick Carman's book tour forFloors (Scholastic, 2011), he dropped by Donna Kouri's school library to meet her fourth- and fifth-grade students. He entertained and encouraged every student and teacher in the audience. Her students are still talking about him and his action-packed books.
Donna and I chatted in a Google document about Patrick's visit. I wrote the first part of seven sentences and she finished them. Thanks, Donna!
*My students and I prepared for Mr. Carman's visit by reading excerpts from Floors and watching the videos on his website.
*Patrick Carman is incredibly friendly and child-centered.
*The most memorable part of his visit was the hilarious stories he told from his childhood.
*I connect my students with authors to build their confidence as writers and build enthusiasm for reading.
*My students learned that by telling stories you are setting the stage for writing.
*You should read Floors if you love wildly creative stories.
*Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if the Patrick Carman mania has died down. It has not.
It is no secret that fourth-grade teacher Colby Sharp and I are on a mission to tell everyone about Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan. We give Ivan shout-outs in #nerdbery videos, exchange multiple messages per week about Katherine's pitch-perfect storytelling, text each other about our plan to get Ivan into readers' hands, and, most importantly, discuss how Ivan is on its way to classic status.
Colby and I created an Edmodo group for a small group of fourth- and fifth-grade students to discuss Ms. Applegate's masterpiece. I smiled whenever I logged into Edmodo and read their thoughtful and serious discussions. Message after message stressed how The One and Only Ivan touched their hearts and minds. Ivan's story inspired them to learn more about the real Ivan and become ambassadors for a future award winner.
Today, as a culminating event, our book club connected with Katherine on Skype. She talked about Ivan for fifteen minutes, discussing her research and writing process. After her inspiring and informative presentation, our students asked thoughtful questions. Her responses were articulate and brilliant. I wish you could have seen my smile.
As soon as the Skype session ended, my students thanked me over and over for including Katherine and Colby's students in our book club discussion.
Katherine and Colby, thank you for a memorable day. I'm off to Anderson's Bookshop to buy two copies of The One and Only Ivan.
Reader, if you're interested in owning a copy, please fill out the form below.
Poem in Your Pocket Day is one of the best days of the year. It is SUPER SIMPLE to participate. Between now and Thursday morning, please select a poem to carry with you to share with colleagues, teachers, librarians, students, booksellers, pets, mail carriers, strangers...the list goes on and on.
Shannon Miller sent me Poem In Your Pocket for Young Poets. It is a collection of 100 poems with detachable pages. It may be too late to pick up a copy for this year's celebration, but keep it in mind for next year.
Thanks so much, Mr. Schu for having me on your blog; I do love it, but it makes me miss teaching.
In marketing my debut novel, One for the Murphys, one of the new adventures I've had is my foray into the world of book trailer creation.
Being the research fiend that I am, I read all kinds of how-to articles. I watched several trailers, taking note of approaches that could work for my book. There are some beautiful quiet trailers, but most that I found were fast-paced with images that flash—riveting intros to fantastic books. Could I do a MURPHYS trailer with strobe lighting effects and pounding music? I thought it seemed a bit like painting flames on the side of a 1977 Datsun200SX.
Okay, it may sound like I’m dissing my own book—I’m not. It just so happens that this Datsun was my first car. I’ve had fancier ones since but, in many ways, I still love this car most of all. Perhaps it wasn’t super-flashy, but it was a memorable ride. A car I was happy to settle into for long trips. It had hidden treasures, things about it that one wouldn’t have expected to find (such as the old street sign welded to the bottom to keep the driver seat from coming through the floor). I still remember the smell of warm vinyl on a summer day. I have memories of that vehicle that make me laugh and some that deeply sadden me. It was a memorable part of my life. And it was a remarkable car.
So, in putting a book trailer together, I took a step back to consider what my book’s strengths are. I hope those may be in character development and emotional authenticity and in the unfolding of stories within stories.I also hope that the ride will be memorable with its emotional unfolding of a girl who’s been folded up too tight for too long. My greatest hope is that Carley, Toni, and the Murphys will feel as real to readers as they do to me.
My book trailer for One for the Murphys is my invitation to others to enter that world; I have tried to capture the essence of the story with it.And if you ever climb inside the book to take the journey with them, I do hope you enjoy the ride. I’d love to hear about your trip.
Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of middle-grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature. She is also a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Lynda has been Director of the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for six years. Lynda lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat.
"An astonishing debut! Lynda Mullaly Hunt's direct style of writing has readers rooting for Carley Connors and all of the Murphys from start to satisfying finish.”
~~Leslie Connor, ALA Schneider Family Award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch.
“This is a beautiful book, filled with hope. You’ll cry and laugh along with Carley as she learns to lower her defenses enough to love—and, more surprisingly, be loved. It’s a story you’ll long remember.”
~~Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily’s Crossing
Katherine Sokolowski is a fifth-grade teacher in Illinois. She inspires her students to be lifelong readers and writers. Her lucky students Skype with authors, connect with students and teachers around the world, and invite local authors into their classroom. Marianne Malone, the author of The Sixty-Eight Rooms and Stealing Magic, spent a morning with Katherine's students.
I asked Katherine to complete the following sentence starters using no more than twelve words. *My students and I were excited about Marianne Malone’s author visitbecause most of them had never met an author in person before.
*My students walked away from Marianne’s author visitinspired to try and write their own stories.
*I connect students with authors becauseI want them to see that authors are “real” people too.
*Marianne Malone stressedthe importance of living life like a writer, open to ideas.
*You should read The Sixty-Eight Rooms and Stealing Magic becausethe children are relatable and the story is exciting.
*The Throne Roomsare a magical place several students have now gone to visit.