You are currently browsing the archives for August 2009.
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The son chooses his books for deployment

  • Posted on August 31, 2009 at 9:30 PM

Last weekend I spent time at Ft. Bragg with #1 and #3 sons. #1 son has headed overseas to Afghanistan now and we were able to spend some quality time while he organized "his" soldiers and helped them finish last minute details before deploying. Being a proud mama, I have to share a few quick photos:

Son chooses his books to carry with him. Michael Crichton’s Next and Robert Olmstead’s Coal Black Horse.
Son packs his Tennessee state flag sent by state senator Mae Beavers. He has had bragging rights in his barracks with the flag hanging and is taking it to his "tent" away from home. He taught others how to contact their state senators to ask for flags.
#3 and #1 sons tolerate their weepy but proud mama. I will smile and be supportive to my son and all our sons & daughters serving. Those of you who are facebook friends of mine have seen more photos.

Now #1 son will be in the same country with #2 son. #3 and #4 are still home with me in Tennessee. Tonight one of their friends announced he was joining, too.  There are many reasons why Tennessee is called the Volunteer State. 

While we were on Ft. Bragg, I did visit with two of the base librarians for a few moments. They let me know the soldiers should ask their chaplains for "book kits" and the librarians will send them books. I made sure all of #1 son’s friends knew this right away. One of them told me that he had been planning to ask for care packages of books as soon as he wrote. You just don’t know what’s out there until you start investigating. I was so pleased to see #1 son packing books for the plane ride. We know he’ll share those with others and I’ll keep shipping more over.

I’ll be posting soon about opportunities for you to be involved in sending soldiers books and care packages. They love to get notes.

Can a poetry book surprise you? The Tree That Time Built caught me

  • Posted on August 28, 2009 at 6:00 AM

I don’t usually participate in Poetry Fridays* because I don’t have access to enough poetry books to give you, the reader, outstanding resources every week. When I read a poetry book that dazzles me, I have to share it with you right away. The Tree That Time Built is an excellent example of poetry meeting science and logic meeting language. This 200-page book may become your reading and language arts teachers’ favorite tool for teaching figurative language, poetry, Tree That Time Builtscientific observation, and thinking skills.

The Tree That Time Built: A Celebration of Nature, Science, and Imagination is edited by Mary Ann Hoberman and Linda Winston. Hardcover available October 12, 2009 for only $19.99. The Tree That Time Built includes one audio cd with poetry read by Marilyn Singer, Alice Shertle,  Mary Ann Hoberman, Patricia Hubbell, Bobbi Katz, Ogden Nash, X. J. Kennedy, Linda Winston, Joseph Bruchac and more. Click here to listen to the poem Feathers by Joseph Bruchac.

The theme of this book revolves around the beginnings and gradual evolution of life on earth. The collection of over 100 poems is arranged in such a way that the reader is compelled to continue exploring the world of nature through a poet’s view. I picked up this title to glance through and read a few poems before bed one night, but something unexpected happened. I was hooked! I couldn’t put it down. The Tree That Time Built is such a powerfully integrated book of poetry and science that I had to read the entire book immediately. I found myself making notes, dog-earring pages of poems to emphasize figurative language, and thinking – doing lots of thinking. One of my favorite poems that also teaches co-evolution is Cross-Purposes. Track 15 explains the scientific question and Track 16 is the author reading the poem. Click here to listen to Track16 – the poem Cross-Purposes.

Cross-Purposes by Mary Ann Hoberman 
The fickle bee believes it’s he
Who profits from the flower;
But as he drinks, the flower thinks
She has him in her power.

Her nectar is the reason
That she blooms, the bee is sure;
But flower knows her nectar 
Is there merely for allure.

And as he leaves, the bee believes
He”ll sample someone new;
But flower knows that where he goes,
Her pollen’s going, too.

Did you know… "Both reptiles and amphibians live on every continent except Antarctica, but amphibians, unlike reptiles, are absent from island populations. As Darwin noted, amphibians and their eggs are easily killed by immersion in salt water." This poetry book defies it’s label. It cannot be simply a book of poetry because it informs you of scientific facts while inspiring a contemplative approach to nature.

Interested in found poems? Many of your students are aware of these thanks to William Shatner’s poetic interpretation of Sarah Palin’s speech.  Found poems are "made from an existing piece of writing that is taken out of its original context and rearranged upon the page." Bobbi Katz chose several passages from Darwin’s journal to transform into a found poem called Journal Jottings of Charles Darwin

Do you know what Candlemas, a Christian holiday, is or when it occurs? I do after reading the description at the bottom of the poem called The Seed Eaters by Robert Francis. Hint: those of you looking to acknowledge Groundhog’s Day on an older level than preschool will be fascinated in the history of this holiday. 

I confess the glossary of this book delighted me. Yes, readers, the glossary. I had enjoyed the experience of reading these poems, but then I turned to the glossary and an entirely new way of utilizing this book appeared. Look at some of the terms defined: adaptation, alliteration, altruism, assonance, concrete verse, convergent evolution …  Does this inspire you like it inspired me? 

Middle school teachers will embrace this title for language units and science teachers will integrate descriptive language into their teaching. The CD included with this book enables the shyest teacher to share the love of poetry and words orally with their students. Listen to the poem The Tree That Time Built by Mary Ann Hoberman.

I appreciated the paragraphs about each poet that comes at the end of the book in the "About the Poets" section. While planning with teachers during the summer, they indicated their intent to have every student research biographical information on a different poet. Where will I find poets for 1000 students? The Tree That Time Built gives me hope that there are good anthologies available for middle school readers. This is a must-have title.

*Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Chicken Spaghetti blog has an explanation.

Do you do discipline contracts?

  • Posted on August 25, 2009 at 10:08 PM

I don’t. Do you? Does it work for you? Is it worth the time? I’m wondering this tonight since I was reading a hit on LM_NET about contracts. Some people send them home for students and parents to sign. I don’t. I think back to a teacher at UIowa who always said, "What are the possible choices? Yes, no, hell no, I don’t care?" Will people read the contract and "opt out" of library? How do I feel when I sign off the forms for my sons every year? I remind them to please behave so they don’t suffer any of the dire consequences listed. The forms all blur in my mind and by the end all I can remember is they should "Be Good!"

My school is working on Cooperative Discipline this year. We talk about hands-joined discipline instead of hands-off or hands-on. What will that mean in the library?

I’ve been thinking about this. As I do orientation with classes I talk about the word RESPECT. I talk about their actions and how they "show" respect. I ask them to think about how they want to be treated. 

Then I make it very clear that that room is THEIR library and it will be as wonderful a place as they make it. The students are excited. The students are begging to volunteer already. The students are submitting their ideas to make the program better. But if we don’t cooperate, it will be chaos.

Call me a stuck-in-the-mud, but I’d rather rewrite our program every year together than spell it all out and hand it out to them to sign. I did make a bookmark with a couple ideas I had like asking them to bring a pass and to use a shelf marker to keep things in order. I demonstrated how this was asking everyone to respect their time by keeping things organized so they could find it. But when it comes down to creating the climate, that’s up to the students. Our library will be as wonderful or as chaotic or as dead as they make it. How about yours?

Who on Earth is Aldo Leopold?

  • Posted on August 24, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Who on Earth is Aldo Leopold? cover Readers, I receive a HUGE number of nonfiction titles to preview. I’m doing my best to tell you about many of them, but sometimes I run across one that demands I share it with you immediately. This book,  Who on Earth is Aldo Leopold? Father of Wildlife Ecology, will not wait its turn.

Written by Glenn Scherer and Marty Fletchernonfiction monday
Publisher:  Enslow
ISBN 978-1-59845-115-3
Date: 2009
Pages: 112
Series: Scientists Saving the Earth  
Other scientists in the series: Dian Fossey, Rachel Carson, Jane Goodall, Sylvia Earle , Archie Carr

Publisher’s Description: Aldo Leopold was an American ecologist, forester, and environmentalist. He helped create the world’s first designated wilderness area. He was also influential in the development of modern environmental ethics and in the movement for wilderness preservation. In this biography, authors Glenn Scherer and Marty Fletcher chronicle the life and work of Aldo Leopold, who has been called the most significant conservationist of the 20th century.

When I opened the box and saw this title, Who on Earth is Alan Leopold?, I echoed that several times "Who is that? Why is he important? Why haven’t I seen a biography on this person before?" Once I began reading, I wondered again why publishers haven’t shared more on Alan Leopold. Then I remembered… Ah! publishers are publishing only the biographies that they have determined school librarians will purchase. They don’t take huge risks these days.

Publishers know the state curriculums around the country include people like Abraham Lincoln, Harriet Tubman, Martin Luther King, Jr.,. Cesar Chavez, and George Washington Carver. Look at how many biographies you have already on your shelves for a limited number of people. Where are the new and interesting people that we want to learn about? Librarians, whenever you see new people, you need to purchase those books and send the message that we are a diverse group and we need a more divergent group of biographies to offer our students – especially in middle school when they are sick & tired of rehashing the same biographical information year after year. Give them something new this year. Give them the Scientists Saving the Earth series.
I went around to the middle school science teachers in my building and asked them what they knew about Aldo Leopold. Can you imagine their frustration when his name didn’t ring any bells? Science teachers are like librarians and they want to KNOW their subjects – all of them. The teachers were happy to tell me lots of facts about all the other members of this series and they practically snatched this title out of my hands to skim quickly so they could discuss him intelligently. We agreed that his contributions to science and his view of "the land ethic" were so significant, that our students must study this father of wildlife ecology.

I love this book! I like the way it is laid out, the mixing of black and white and color photos throughout the text, how fluidly the text reads, and the design features that break a great deal of information into manageable chunks of text. I love how the authors do not shy from controversy but they point out the positions and ideals that Aldo Leopold expressed that WERE controverisal at the time. The authors write:

"Leopold’s belief that all plants and animals in an ecosystem are valuable and have a right to exist for their own sake is still controversial."

Mom, that means you cannot continue to kill every snake you see, set them on fire, drown them, and then jump up and down on their remains. According to Aldo Leopold, those snakes form an integral part of our ecosystem because "the elimination of one "problem" species leads to other, unanticipated problems." 

Readers, these titles are an excellent addition to your middle school science collection. Expect heavy usage.

2 middle school/YA books for Fairytale lovers

  • Posted on August 19, 2009 at 12:00 AM

A tale of two fairytales for modern kids. Both being released in September, both take fairytales to a higher modern level.

The Witch's Guide to Cooking with Children Dreaming Anastasia
The Witch’s Guide to Cooking with Children by Keith McGowan with illustrations by Yoko Tanaka. Henry Holt. ISBN: 978-0-8050-8668-3, 192 pages, b&w illustrations. Publication Date: September 2009 Dreaming Anastasia: A Novel of Love, Magic, and the Power of Dreams by Joy Preble. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky. ISBN: 9781402218170
Price: $9.99 Publication Date: September 2009

Curling up with Sports books? Me? Yes! And you should curl up with Team Spirit, too.

  • Posted on August 17, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Practice what you preach, librarians. Read a variety of materials. Recommend a variety of books. Don’t just Matt Christopher - The Basket Countsfocus on your own interests but seek out books to entice new readers into your library. Read nonfiction. nonfiction mondayFor me, sports and sports fiction reading seemed laborious. That’s until I began reading through the box of books from Norwood House. These are some impressive sports books. 

You haven’t ordered from Norwood House, you say? Well, let me tell you some special things about them. They are the company that produces those easy reading Margaret Hillert books. They do the easy reading fairytale books for beginning readers. They also have redone a large number of the Matt Christopher books with really enticing covers that even I couldn’t resist. Would you believe I was curled up with The Basket Counts instead of my favorite mystery author this weekend? Norwood House has that series of Joke books we need the entire set of and one of my top picks for nonfiction series this year "A Great Idea." But, what truly is my high interest for middle school is the Team Spirit series.

Team Spirit - Baseball - The San Francisco GiantsThis year the library information specialists in my district have been instructed to plan and teach at least one collaborative lesson with every teacher in the building every nine weeks. That’s every teacher including art, music, physical education, band, choir, etc. While I was taking ID photos of staff members, I mentioned this to the physical education teachers. They seemed skeptical because they have nearly 100 students in each of their blocks for the 3 coaches to teach. They couldn’t envision using the library for that many students. 

I mentioned how many exciting new sports books we have received in the past year, including the new Norwood House books. One coach skeptically said, "I suppose they’re all professional sports teams." 

"Oh, no!" I assured him. "We have a large variety of college sports teams, too. Individual teams, regions and conferences, health, safety in sports, a huge variety."

They were so pleased. One of the coaches said, "That’s what we’ve been needing. I want the kids to go to college and dream college-sports first, not professional." 

Now they are waiting for my list and ideas. What an opportunity and they know they are helping me to meet my district requirements. 

Let me tell you about some of the series from Norwood House that impressed me. Team Spirit is a definite top pick. You cannot go wrong with owning all of these titles. New this season is the professional hockey series including:Team Spirit - Hockey - Chicago Blackhawks

The reading level for Hockey is 5.5 with the company suggesting an interest level of grades 3-6. These are absolutely perfect for grades 6-8 middle schoolers, particularly the reluctant readers. In 48 pages, there is an intense amount of information. These titles will not go out of date quickly because they are more than just current record books. They combine history, legend and lore with mathematical facts and dates.

Each title in the Team Spirit series includes historical information on the team, information about the standout players in the series, current information about the team today (2008-2009 info), information about their playing fields/arenas, numbers of seating, costs, numbers of uniforms retired, basics on logos & uniforms, highlights of the big wins, biographical sketches on the "Go-to Guys", biographical sketches on "Modern Stars", behind the scenes information on the coaches, "One Great Day" highlighting one most important day in the record books, "Legend Has It" about some of the most interesting trivia for the team, "It Really Happened" with an amazing event in team history, team spirit about the colors, fans, mascots, a Timeline of events, Fun Facts, "Talking Hockey" (or whichever sport) with famous quotations, "For the Record" with the statistics sports fans devour, "Pinpoints" that uses a map to indicate where key parts of the teams history has occurred, information about a key term of the sport – for hockey it was Faceoff, an extensive glossary and list of other words to know plus a bibliography of "Places to Go" for more information including places to visit, websites to explore, and books to read. 

What impressed me most about these books was how much was intertwined into these 48 pages. I can’t say crammed in, because each page reads fluidly. Yet they managed to get the great heroes of hockey into these pages in such an interesting way that new fans of the history of hockey will be born. Author Mark Stewart managed to include:
Stan Mikita, Gordie Howe, Bobby Hull, Wayne Gretsky, Domink Hasek, Tony Esposito, Chris Chelios, Ed Balfour, … 75 different players in the Chicago Blackhawks book alone. 

Team Spirit - Football - Michigan WolverinesWhat about the college teams? I read with great interest The Michigan Wolverines and The Ohio State Buckeyes. College football fans know about their great rivalry (oldest football rivalry in the country) so these were appropriate team titles to come first. 

Did you know that The Michigan Wolverines’ stadium is called The Big House and that they lead the nation in attendance? More than Team Spirit - Football - Ohio State Buckeyes100,000 fans at every game since the mid1970s. 

Favorite facts from the Ohio State Buckeyes book? The story of how Keith Byars was so fast, he ran right out of his shoes. Football aficionados know this story. Do you? Do you know which role in the marching band is most valued? The person Team Spirit - Basketball - Boston Celticswho dots the i in Ohio, of course.

Whether you are a fan of baseball, football, basketball, or hockey, you are going to love these books. I believe the similarity in layout will prompt students to cross-over sports and read a wider variety in the series. The Team Spirit – Baseball set includes 30 team titles plus 4 in Spanish. The Team Spirit Basketball set includes 30 titles plus 4 in Spanish including the four newest titles:

  • The Golden State Warriors
  • The New Jersey Nets
  • The Oklahoma City Thunder
  • The Orlando Magic

Sixteen of those basketball titles were published in 2009. The set should capture a large percentage of the country’s favorite basketball teams. 

Team Spirit - Football - Tennessee TitansThere are 32 Team Spirit Football titles. Of course, I had to read The Tennessee Titans book and mourn Steve McNair’s passing again. If you haven’t experienced football in the South, you haven’t experienced football. I’ve seen many a father carry a football in to their newborn just to touch it. Is this a ritual to ensure their love of the game? I searched to be sure "The Music City Miracle" was described in all its glory, but if you weren’t there or watching it live, you don’t know how wonderful it felt to be a Titan fan that day. 

I hate to admit it, but everytime I’ve been at the Coliseum on Titan Game Days, it was to work the concession stands as a fundraiser for my son’s high school choir. I still enjoyed the enthusiasm of the crowds.

It’s a good thing all of the Norwood House Press books have reinforced library covers because these books are going to be read over and over. For all those parents who tell me their child doesn’t read, just looks at sports magazines – these will be a huge hit. There is so much to each title. I can think of many a grown person who will want to read these, so I won’t be surprised when the students tell me the book is overdue because their dad is reading it, too. 

Now, if I can just get Mark Stewart to hurry up and write about the Nashville Predators for hockey, and the top women’s college basketball teams in the country like the Tennessee Vols, I’ll be satisfied. Well, let’s see. How about soccer teams? Golfers? Top tennis players? Hmmm. Who are we overlooking? How about a series on the top tournaments for each major sport – the bowl games for example, the Final Four celebration, the NHL Stanley Cup finals, the top races? I think we can keep Mark Stewart busy writing for a long time and I’ll be eagerly waiting to see what else he produces.

Optimism and Realism

  • Posted on August 12, 2009 at 9:28 PM

Beginning of schools are so fun because we are invincible. We know we can do anything. We can do everything. We can say "no" to unrealistic requests. We can stay focused on our primary roles. We can get everything done because we are professional, organized, knowledgeable, and dedicated to our students. We will stay healthy and be balanced.

Then comes reality. We get assigned extra duties, extra tasks. We lose track of ourselves helping others. We want to please everyone at the beginning of the year. Every cart or piece of equipment we deliver is so eagerly received. Every book we match with the curriculum is grasped excitedly. How do we balance it? What’s that two-letter word again?

I’m wondering what types of extra duties you have this year. These are some of the extras I’ve heard from some librarians. Let’s add to the list. 

web page
textbook inventory 
student indentification photos
Beta/National Honor Society/Gentleman’s Club
School newsletter
Spelling Bee
Geography Bee
National History Day
Science Fair
athletic events ticket takers
athletic directors
cheerleading coach
drama coach
PTSO rep
curriculum teams
leadership teams

What’s missing?

The Quiet Zone

  • Posted on August 10, 2009 at 12:00 AM

Maybe we worry too much about shushing students. While I was window-shopping at the Parent-Teacher Store, I saw the sign below. My friend Jackie gave it to me as a back-to-school present. As I was packing it in the boxes & boxes of things to take to school Monday, both of my 17 year olds pulled it out and tried to take it. 

They both insisted they wanted it for their own rooms so everyone (friends & family) would know they wanted quiet in their room. I think they only want quiet in the morning as they try to sleep in, but they insist that they need quiet time throughout the day. 

Looks like we’ll be getting out the markers and yellow paper.

Box #3 to give – Picture books and ABDO series

  • Posted on August 9, 2009 at 4:06 PM

I’m including a variety of my favorite picture books that you may or may not have seen this past year. Also, in this box are some easier nonfiction titles from ABDO.

In a Blue Room In a Blue Room by Jim Averbeck and illustrated by Tricia Tusa. Harcourt, Inc. 2008 I expected this title to win far more awards last year. Hope you caught AFuse#8‘s review. Ted Edinger, the Blog Artist for Practically Paradise, reviewed this, too.
Wild Boars Cook Meg Rosoff, author of Meet  Wild Boars, returns with Wild Boars Cook.  I love that you can download the Reader’s Theatre script from the Macmillan / Henry Holt site. These disgusting wild boars are back! Looking for a read-aloud where your students are listening for adjectives? Try Wild Boars Cook.
Cover for Little Quack Little Quack by Lauren Thompson with pictures by Derek Anderson is now available as a reinforced library bound book from Spotlight / ABDO. As the SLJ review said: “Whether counting up or counting down, this early introduction to math provides a painless lesson, and the “quack-u-lator” across the bottom of the pages that “adds” ducklings to the pond makes it even more fun.”
Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson and Jane Chapman remains one of my favorite rhyming read-alouds. I’m happy to have a super sturdy copy of this title to pack. It is a Reinforced library bound edition published in 2009 by Spotlight / ABDO. How many copies did you have to buy when your bookfair copy fell apart? You NEED this title. ISBN 978-1-59961-487-8
Mrs. Claus Explains It All Mrs. Claus Explains It All by Elsbeth Claus & illustrated by David Wenzel is from Sourcebooks, 2008. Need a holiday title that answers questions that are received yearly at the North Pole? You’ll want to hear it straight from Mrs. Claus.
Doctor Meow's Big Emergency Doctor Meow’s Big Emergency by Sam Lloyd was originally published in England and brought to America by Macmilla / Henry Holt in 2008. I enjoyed finding subtle differences in culture in the illustrations. If you look closely, you’ll see the steering wheel is on the right side  in one picture. Still, for tiny tots, this tale of Kiss-It-Better Hospital is a syrupy sweet story of everyone getting along.
Who Ate All the Cookie Dough? by Karen Beaumont and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin is such a favorite of mine that I asked  Macmillan / Henry Holtin my blog review last summer to please make a printable poster of the title. THEY DID! and you can download it from their site.
Willow by Denise Brennan-Nelson and Rosemarie Brennan with illustrations by Cyd Moore. I reviewed this title in my blog post Willow and the Dreaded Art Teacher. Since the name of my hometown school when I was growing up was WILLOW, this is appropriate. It may be called River Valley now, but my father and I both graduated from Willow High School.
The Yellow House Mystery: Boxcar Children Graphic Novels by Rob M. Worley and Mike Dubisch. From the classic Gertrude Chandler Warner series, ABDO released this set of graphic novels in cooperation with Albert Whitman. I’m sending Book #3
Dump Trucks by Amanda Doering Tourville: Book Cover Dump Trucks (from the Mighty Machines series pictured at left) by Amanda Doering Tourville & Zachary Trover. I’d read Dump Trucks to preschoolers right before playing with my trucks in the sand. Didn’t you play with trucks and cars growing up? I loved the construction vehicles.
Martin Luther King, Jr., Day
(Holidays – Count and Celebrate!
) series by Fredrick L. McKissack and Lisa Beringer McKissack
(Holidays – Count and Celebrate!) series by Fredrick L. McKissack and Lisa Beringer McKissack
 Science Hospital: That’s Gross! A Look at Science by Julie Murray. I’ve read many titles by Julie Murray over the years. I love the hospital use of leeches and maggots in this book!
Alcatraz to Zanzibar: Famous Places From A to Z by Colleen Dolphin. ABDO SuperSandCastle. I like the list of other interesting places to study around the world. Great list for geography research. This book may inspire wanderlust at an early age.
  Cool Biological Clues: What Hair, Bones, and Bugs Tell Us by Esther Beck is a title in the Checkerboard How-To Library COOL CSI series.  I’d like to read the entire series, especially while I’m watching NCIS and CSI. Yes, readers, I have been known to act like Abby complete with ponytails and black lipstick after watching an NCIS marathon.
Good Manners in Public by Katie Marsico: Book Cover Good Manners in Public by Katie Marsico.
Intended for young learners, I probably would make this a second-priority purchase after Capstone’s Manners in Public.
Cows Moo! by Pam Scheunemann is part of their SandCastle Animal Sounds set. These smaller sized books include factual information in rhyming format. Each page has a large font sentence written for transitional readers and a more difficult to read inset of information that includes words like ruminant, compartment, communicate, and manure. I appreciate the information in the back on how people make cow sounds around the world.
Crime-fighting Animals( Series - Going To Work: Animal Edition ), Julie Murray, 160453561X Crime-Fighting Animals (Going to Work Animal Edition) by Julie Murray. Did you know that dalmatians were known as carriage dogs because they helped clear the path for horse-drawn fire carts?

<sigh> Another Sunday, another day spent packing a box of books, re-reading each one and hoping they find a reader to love them.

Box #3 to give – The Weekly Reader titles

  • Posted on August 9, 2009 at 2:02 PM

Gareth Steven’s Weekly Reader Social Studies Know Your Government series:

The format for these books is quite simple and very appropriate for young elementary students – particularly in second and third grade when these government leaders are studied. The chapter headings are:

  • Who is the President?
  • What Does the President Do?
  • How Does a Person Become President?
  • Famous Presidents

There is a balance of Democratic and Republican leaders. Wonder which mayors are included? Shirley Franklin of Atlanta, Georgia; Sarah Palin of Wasilla, Alaska; Michael Bloomberg of New York City, NY, Antonio Villaraigosa, Richard M. Daley of Chicago, Illinois; John Tyler Hammons of Muskogee, Oklahoma; Grover Cleveland of Buffalo, NY; Tom Bradley of Los Angelos, CA, and Rudolph Giuliani of New York City, NY.  

With Sonia Sotomayor’s recent swearing in as Supreme Court Justice, your students will be looking for books on judges. Each title in this series has 1-2 web links in the "To Find Out More" section. These are written for elementary students and will help librarians find additional sources. The Judge title includes the link to Inside the Courtroom and King County Superior Court Kids Web Site. I would not have found these on my own easily. I wish I’d found those sources before my sons became teenagers and I had to experience a courtroom firsthand (See, I never said I had a perfect life)

I also have the Conoce Tu Gobierno series in Spanish, but since my hometown has no students speaking only Spanish, I’m sending those to my Spanish class in middle school for practice. 

I’m packing four titles each from both the English only and the bilingual English/Spanish series Let’s Learn About Dinosaurs/ Conozcamos a los dinosaurios:

  • Allosaurus/Alosaurio
  • Ankylosaurus/Anquilosaurio
  • Diplodocus/Diplodocus
  • Oviraptor/Oviraptor

The only material that is different in these series is the list of books in the For More Information section. The English only title suggests additional titles in only English, while the bilingual series suggests bilingual titles. Every elementary library searches for dinosaur books. These seem perfect for K-1 students and are great for parents who have never read-aloud nonfiction before. I’d have to create bookmarks for the students to check off until they had read all in the series. There are ten titles total in this series, and I hope the librarian will add these additional dinosaurs:Giganotosaurus

Tyrannosaurus Rex

Another partial series I’m including is the Where People Work What Happens at a Supermarket?and the bilingual set Where People Work / ¿Donde Trabaja La Gente? I wish I had them all to send because these are my very favorite books I’m packing in this box. I wish they were out when I was in elementary school because they would have made teaching this unit MUCH more interesting than what I witnessed. There are 18 titles currently in the set. I choose the Where People Work series to be an essential preschool-K set.  I’m sending:

What Happens at an Airport?
What Happens at an Amusement Park?
What Happens at an Aquarium?
What Happens at a Supermarket? 
What Happens at a TV Station?
What Happens at a Vet’s Office?

In a perfect world I’d also be sending the titles below but I don’t have them:

What Happens at a Bakery? (makes me hungry thinking about it)What Happens at a Party Store?
What Happens at a Bike Shop? (kinesthetic learners take heart)
What Happens at a Crayon Factory? (this title looks fascinating! I love my colors and could never afford more than 12 while growing up)
What Happens at a Dairy Farm? (I’ve seen one before so would like to compare)
What Happens at a Firehouse? (Fire Safety units in ? October are always in need of new titles)
What Happens at a Horse Farm? (Is it all fun and riding?)
What Happens at a Magazine? (as an adult, I am very interested in this title)
What Happens at a Museum? (You mean there is work behind those exhibits? Just kidding)
What Happens at a Party Store? (There’s a career you probably didn’t think of)
What Happens at a Recycling Center? (Needed for our green and environmental units. Think Earth Day)
What Happens at a Toy Factory? (Can you imagine who checks this out in December?_
What Happens at a Zoo? (We’ve all wanted to work there. Let’s read and make it a reality)

My reminiscence:  When I was in elementary school, we took the bus (a big to me then) to Cherokee, Iowa, and toured the supermarket – although we called it the grocery store. I was utterly fascinated with the bread slicing machine. To this day, I want to slice the bread. They even gave us samples from the bakery. My brother Randy Ritts has worked at the Hy-Vee store since he was 16 and is their deli manager. I’m glad that someone in our family cooks, but I had no idea how often grocery stores take inventory. That’s not mentioned in this title that is perfect for preschoolers and kindergartners.

The Animals That Live in the Rain Forest set in English is the last series I’m packing today from Weekly Reader Science. I’m packing Animals That Live in the Rain Forest / Animales de la selva, the bilingual set, for my new Spanish teacher. The animals I’m including are:Jaguars

Toucans and Other Birds

I was thrilled to see Jaguars since both the rainforest unit and the big cats unit can use this title. Plus, all of the big cats are favorites for new readers. Since these titles are intended for the youngest readers, they meet their intended audience. First grade teachers, rejoice!