Monday, February 17, 2014

#IMWAYR for February 17

It's Monday! and What are you reading? Link up with Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki form Unleashing Readers to see what others are reading.

The only good thing I can say about snow days at this point in the year --- They make great reading days! My school system worked today to makeup our snow day from last week. As of now we are completely out of snow days. I don't want to miss any more. 

I finished a few in my "to read ASAP" stack. Thoroughly enjoyed them all!

First up - The Maze Runner Series by James Dashner!!!

LOVED them! My students checked them out today so I'm glad I remembered to bring them with me to school. In case you haven't heard of these, basically Earth has been partial destroyed by sun flares. In the middle of all the planetary chaos, a biological virus is released from a lab. Of course it's highly contagious and deadly. While trying to escape the "Cranks" and the "WICKED is good", the children of the maze must complete the task of trying to save the citizens of Earth. 5 Stars!!! My middle school students are keeping these off the shelves! 

The fourth book The Kill Order, the series prequel, was released last month, it's definitely going on my school's wish list.

One of my students requested some I Survived books by Lauren Tarshis.
I picked up and read a few!

I read the ones about 911, Gettysburg, Pearl Harbor, and Hurricane Katrina. Will be picking up more of these. These are great for your students who love historical fiction. Ms. Tarshis includes historical details at the end of each book. A bonus for students and teachers who love reading history.
All of the ones I read were on a 4th grade reading level. I've got students from third - sixth reading them. 5 Stars!!!

Going to try to get more of Rick Riordan's Kane Chronicles read this week. Since my boys high school basketball team is playing for the district championship tomorrow night, not sure how much reading will get done this week. (and to think I thought basketball was almost over...)

Keep Reading!!! I will.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

CYBILS - The Finalists with My Hits and Misses!

The CYBILS winners and finalists were announced on Friday. I was fortunate to serve as a round two judge for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books, the best part - getting to read some of the new books from 2013! I definitely have recommendations for my lower grade teachers and librarian BBFs. (The winners and finalists in all the other categories are on the CYBILS website.)

I blogged about the winners on Friday. My committee chose one Easy Reader and one Early Chapter book.  (Very difficult to pick the top one! We had several great books from which to pick.)

The runner-ups for Easy Readers: (Recommend all of these for Kindergarten or First Grade readers!!!)

A Big Guy Took My Ball! Mo Willems

Love Mo Willems! Another great piggy and elephant adventure. This time Gerald and Piggy have a possible bullying issue. Of course it ends with friendship. 5 stars

Joe and Sparky Go To School by Jamie Michalak

I had never read a Joe and Sparky book until January. It was terrific. I'm going to be adding more of Michalak's titles to our school library. From the illustrations to the great lines, a wonderful read for your beginners. Cute! Cute! Cute! 5 stars

Love is in the Air by Jonathan Fenske

Who would imagine a balloon falling in love with a kite? Only Jonathan Fenske! Adorable. Perfect for beginners. 4 stars

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes

Who doesn't like Kevin Henkes? Not one in my world. Penny finds a marble and keeps it but then worries it might belong to someone else? If you love the adventures of Penny, you will love this one!
5 stars

The Meanest Birthday Girl by Josh Schneider

I'll be honest at first I didn't like this one, but then I reread it. Totally enjoyed it the second time around. It's a cute little story about happens to those mean little girls. Sometimes we can be mean. Dana likes to pinch and take things that are not hers! A perfect birthday present helps Dana overcome her "little" problems. 4 stars

Finalists for Early Chapter Books:

This category was a little easier to chose from.  I definitely had my favorites!

Dragonbreath # 9 Case of Toxic Mutants by Ursula Vernon

If your young readers enjoy graphic novels, they will love the Dragonbreath series. Its vocabulary and the length will challenge the younger readers. I can see my upper grade reluctant readers grabbing this one. Danny dons the role of detective to find Grandpa's missing dentures. Going to have to find some more Dragonbreath books for my students. Predict they will be a huge it with the third and fourth graders. 5 stars

Kelsey Green, Reading Queen by Claudia Mills

Kelsey's school hosts a little reading contest. Of course Kelsey wants her class to win. (Not sure I liked the format of the reading contest. I want my students to read for the love of it not to put numbers/titles on a reading log.) Kelsey read books below her ability just to count as another title read. She did help a fellow student with a book. Think my girls will like this one more than the guys. Wasn't my favorite but still 4 stars.

Lulu and the Dog From the Sea by Hilary McKay

If you students read the Judy Moody series, they will enjoy Lulu. Cute, great storyline, will highly interest your girls. Lulu loves animals. When her family rents a cottage on the beach, the landlord warns them about a stray beach dog. Lulu decides to befriend the dog and try to teach it to behave. Cute will give this one 4 and 1/2 stars.

Life of Ty: Penguin Problems by Lauren Myracle

I didn't enjoy this book as much as I thought I would. I felt like the storyline was lacking or underdeveloped.  The whole idea of a good kid "accidently" taking home a baby penguin from the aquarium during a school field trip was ridiculous. Could have been so much more... I'm going to pass on this one for my library. Do I have to give it stars?

Violet Mackerel's Natural Habitats by Anna Branford

Another one for my girls who read Judy Moody! Violet loves small things. After finding a ladybug in her backyard, she tries to create a home for it with disastrous results. Violet ends up helping her older sister with a science project and learning a lot about ladybugs. 4 stars

Other members of my panel were:
Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy
Travis Jonker from 100 Scope Notes
Freya Hooper from One Great Book
Niki Barnes from Day Dream Reader

Tons of fun, maybe next January?

Keep Reading

Friday, February 14, 2014

Hip Hip Hooray! the CYBILS were announced today!

It's time to announce the winners of the CYBILS for 2013! To see what won in every book category visit the CYBILS website.  I was fortunate to serve as a round two judge for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books. So without further delay:

Easy Readers Winner -

Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf  by Dosh Archer

It’s a busy day at City Hospital where Doctor Glenda, and Nurse Percy have their hands filled assisting a little girl in a red coat who had lost her grandmother.  The excitement of the day only increases when Pengamedics wheel in a choking wolf.  Can Nurse Percy put aside his fears of wolves in order to assist Doctor Glenda? And what is that thing or is it a someone stuck in the wolf’s throat? With dogged determination, Doctor Glenda and her team work to save the choking wolf and rescue whoever is stuck.  
Dosh Archer brings a new twist to a classic favorite in Urgency Emergency! Big Bad Wolf. with laugh out loud text, Archer delivers up a fast paced adventure that will delight both beginning readers and adults who read alongside them. Thought the text is accessible to developing readers, children will discover some new connections with multiple read-throughs with this book. In the end, Archer provides children with an opportunity to celebrate alongside Doctor Glenda and her team for a job well done.

Early Chapter Book Winner -

Home Sweet Horror (Scary Tales) by James Preller

Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary!!!
Liam Finn and his sister just moved into the old Cropsey house. Their father has transplanted his family from Hopeville to Upstate New York. Liam and Kelley are both opposed to the move, but since the death of their mother eighteen months earlier the family is struggling to survive. Upon moving into the house, Liam begins to hear strange noises and even receives a threatening message in a mirror.  When Kelley’s friend, Mitali, comes for a visit and summons “Bloody Mary”, the tale quickly escalates to a spine-tingling conclusion.
Preller takes an urban myth and creates an enjoyable little tale of horror that will appeal to the lower grade students. Bruno’s illustrations insert an appropriate amount of creepiness that adds to the ambiance of the tale.  Younger readers will appreciate this scary tale without the graphic and gory details of older horror reads.  This little page turner could become a camp fire classic!

These books will make great additions to your library or the lower grade classroom libraries.

Keep Reading! and Happy Valentine's Day!!!

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