Saturday, May 29, 2010

I'm Just Like My Mom; I'm Just Like My Dad

I'm Just Like My Mom; I'm Just Like My Dad/ Me parezco tanto a mi mama; Me parezTitle: I'm Just Like My Mom; I'm Just Like My Dad
Author: Jorge Ramos
Illustrator: Akemi Gutierrez 
Publication Date: 2008
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book  
Summary: This book tells the story of how a little girl is just like her mom and then you can flip it over and it tells a similar story of how a little boy is just like his dad.  The text is simple, but emphasizes how much we resemble people in our family.   
What I Think: Peanut and I had fun reading this book - he wanted to read the girl side because I'm a girl and I wanted to read the boy side because he's a boy!  Of course, we had to read both sides...many times!  It was fun to see how the kids were like their mom or dad and then we compared how Peanut is like me and how he is like his dad.  I love how this could generate ideas for young writers to write about their families and maybe extend into personal narratives.
Read Together: Pre-K - 3
Read Alone: 1 - 3  
Read With: When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth, by Jamie Lee Curtis  
Snatch of Text: "When I'm mad, my forehead wrinkles just like my mom's."  "When we drink hot chocolate together in the morning, I get a mustache just like my dad's." 
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Personal Narrative, AAAWWUBBIS, Memoir
Writing Prompts: Write a personal narrative about a special time you spent with one of your family members.  Write about your favorite memory of someone in your family.  Write a poem about how you are like your mom or your dad or someone in your family.    
Topics Covered: Family, Memories   
Translated to Spanish: Yes! Me Parezco Tanto a Mi Mama; Me Parezco Tanto a Mi Papa


Friday, May 28, 2010

Dashner Giveaway Winner!

The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality)
The votes have all been tallied and a number was chosen using  I am excited to announce the winner of Teach Mentor Texts' first giveaway for The 13th Reality by James Dashner is...


Check your e-mail, Kail!  Thank you everyone for joining in on the BEA/armchair BEA fun this week and for entering the giveaway.  I'm going to get back to reviewing books now!  Check back for new reviews...and in mid-June there will be yet another giveaway!  


Thursday, May 27, 2010

BEA -Dashner Giveaway

The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality)The Journal of Curious Letters (The 13th Reality)
By James Dashner

This blog is barely off the ground, but it's due time for a giveaway!  I looked at all the authors who I would want a book signed by if I was at BEA this week and then wandered around the bookstore to decide which book I would want to give away.  I ended up choosing The 13th Reality: The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner.  I thoroughly enjoyed The Maze Runner and this book is the first of another series.  

I haven't read this book myself, but I'm very intrigued.  Here's what the back cover reads:

"What if every time you made a choice that had a significant consequence, a new, alternate reality was created - the life that would've been?  What is those new Realities were in danger?  What if it fell to you to save all the realities?
Atticus Higginbottom, a.k.a. Tick, is a regular thirteen-year-old boy living a regular life until the day a strange letter arrives in his mailbox.  Postmarked from Alaska and cryptically signed with the initials "M.G.," the letter informs Tick that dangerous - perhaps even deadly - events have been set in motion that could result in the destruction of reality itself.  M.G. promises to send Tick twelve riddles that will reveal that on a certain day, at a certain time, at a certain place, something extraordinary will happen.  
Will Tick have the courage to follow the twelve clues M.G. sends him?  Will he be able to solve the riddles in time?  As M.G. warns Tick, very frightening things are coming your way.  Will you join Tick and his friends on an amazing journey through the Realities?  What will your choice be?"

Doesn't it sound curious?  Here's what you can do to enter the giveaway:

Leave a comment about what you think of Teach Mentor Texts - 1 entry
Follow my blog and leave a comment - 1 entry
Add my button to your blog and leave a link in a comment - 1 entry

Tweet or blog about this giveaway and leave a link in a comment - 1 entry

Please leave a separate comment for each entry and don't forget to leave your email so I can notify you if you win.  Giveaway ends Friday, May 28th, 2010 at 9:00 p.m. CST.  This contest is limited to U.S. residences only.  The winner will be announced at Teach Mentor Texts and also via e-mail.
This giveaway has now ended.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

BEA - Blogger Buddy Interview

Since I can't be at BEA meeting up with other bloggers, I'm excited to participate in the Armchair BEA activities!  Today I would like to introduce you to Jeanne from Necromancy Never Pays.  I was lucky enough to "meet" Jeanne and interview her about her reading life!
If you could name one book – picture book or novel – that every child/tween/teen should read in their lives, what would it be and why?

I think every teenager should read Cory Doctorow’s novel Little Brother, because it’s about the dangers ahead if Americans choose what they see as “safety” over liberty, and it demonstrates ways kids can make a difference.

Who or what would you accredit to fostering your lifelong love of reading?

My parents read to me, had books in our house, and took me to the library. We didn’t watch television on school nights, so I had more time to read than other kids my age.  I think my love for poetry was fostered by my mother’s love of reading rhyming poems--like from Dr. Seuss and Robert Service--out loud.

As a parent, what did you do that was successful in encouraging your kids to read?

Read out loud to them and brought home books I thought they would like.  I still try to read some of the books they’re reading so we can talk about them.

If you could choose any character from children’s through YA books to visit for a day, who would you want to visit and what would you do with him/her, what questions would you ask him/her?

Can I have a bunch of quick visits in that one day?  I’d like to go to Narnia and talk to the Beavers and find out what trout tastes like when it’s cooked right after being caught, and I’d like to to to Weetzie Bat’s LA and dance with her whole family at one of their picnics under the trees, and I’d like to fly using strap-on wings at the cavern on the moon of the Heinlein story “The Menace from Earth,” and I’d like to swim with Percy Jackson and see the deep parts of the Pacific ocean.  Three hours at each place; it can work!  In fact, if I get a whole 24 hours, I could stretch it by going to sleep under the stars of Lorien while the elves sing.

Can you describe what makes an ideal reading spot for you?  

February through September: Hot sun, sand, surf, a beach chair, and an umbrella.  October through January: an easy chair in front of a roaring fire with my feet on an ottoman and a cat in my lap.

Since your blog name started with a Would You Rather? question, can you create a Would You Rather? question for young readers?

Would you rather get a wish from the Psammead in Six Children and It or half a wish from the coin in Half Magic?

How would you finish the sentence: Reading is…

An essential ingredient in my day.  If I don’t read or hear enough of a story, I don’t have anything interesting to muse over as I go about my daily business.

Thank you, Jeanne, for sharing more about yourself and your reading life!  It doesn't surprise me that you were read to as a child and had access to books - that's what all the research and literature seems to say about fostering a lifelong love of reading for students.  I completely agree with your recommendation of Cory Doctorow's Little Brother.  It is a very interesting and thought-provoking book!  And as far as your Would You Rather? goes...I'm going to have to go read those books first and get back to you!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

BEA "Dream" Author Signings!

My husband is a veteran when it comes to tracking down athletes for autographs.  In the past few years, I have been slowly gathering my own autographs - but not from sports figures - from authors!  I'll never forget meeting Lynn Reid Banks when I was in intermediate school.  She came to talk to our class about The Indian In The Cupboard.  It was awesome.
More recently, I have met Sharon Draper, Terry Trueman, Gordon Korman, Dave Lubar, Ann Brashares, Ralph Fletcher, Meg Cabot, Peter Yarrow, S. E. Hinton, and Julie Andrews.  It's so interesting to hear each talk about how they come up with their stories and how much work goes into their books.

I couldn't believe the loooong list of authors who are signing at BEA this year.  It definitely made me wish I could be there!  Believe me, if I was, I'd so be line for these authors:  

Kate DiCamillo - I read Tale of Despereaux with one of my students this year and she completely fell in love with the story. Edward Tulane is my personal favorite of hers!

Cory Doctorow - I'd have to hear more from this author, Little Brother was such an interesting book, it was pretty cutting edge and intense to me.  I can't believe this author would be anything but intriguing.

Ridley Pearson - I love the Disney-related books just because Disney World is one of my favorite places on Earth and I love the idea of sneaking around after park hours!  

Jon Scieska - Peanut gets so excited to read about the Trucktown crew.  I have to name all the characters on the inside flap of the books. 

Brandon Mull - The Fablehaven series just completely rocks.  I love the characters and how Mull creates a whole new fantasy world and intertwines stories.

Lemony Snicket - Don't you just want to see what this guy looks like in real life?  He is so enigmatic, I'd just have to get a glimpse of him with my very own eyeballs!

Mo Willems - Knuffle Bunny.  Knuff said!

Rick Riordan - I'd love to hear more about his new book in person!

James Dashner - I recommended Maze Runner for book club a few months ago and we all loved it.  I heard someone hailing it the next Hunger Games.

Judith Viorst - A signed copy of Alexander? I'm there.  Total classic.

Doreen Cronin - I love the Diary books for teaching perspective, but I also love those crazy barnyard characters! Moo!

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Story For Bear

A Story for BearTitle: A Story For Bear 
Author: Dennis Haseley
Illustrator: Jim LaMarche
Publication Date: 2002
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: One day, a bear comes upon a woman reading in the woods.  He carefully approaches to listen to her read even though he doesn’t understand what she is saying.  Day after day, he returns to listen to her stories.
What I Think: The warm colors and illustrations in this book matched with the descriptive text make such a relaxing and entrancing story.  It reminds me of reading with Peanut curled up in bed after a long day, quiet and cozy.  This book brings to life the magic of reading.
Read Together: K - 8
Read Alone: 3 - 8
Read With: Wild About Books By Judy Sierra
Snatch of Text: “The bear gazed up at her as she said the words and turned the pages.  He couldn’t understand any of what she was saying.  But as he listened to the sound of her voice, happiness washed over him like waves.”
Reading Strategies to Practice: Visualizing, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: $100 Words, Descriptive Writing, Sensory Details  
Writing Prompts: Write about your favorite memory of reading with someone.  Imagine your own sanctuary, or where you feel most calm, and describe with sensory details. 
Topics Covered: Love of Reading, Friendship
Translated to Spanish: No

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mathilda and the Orange Balloon

Title: Mathilda and the Orange Balloon  
Author: Randall de Séve
Illustrator: Jen Corace
Publication Date: 2010
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: Mathilda, a young sheep, realizes she can be anything she wants to be despite the drab world around her if she uses her imagination.
What I Think: The illustrations make this book refreshing.  Mathilda has such a great energy.  As the school year ends and one group of students I work with has been writing about their middle school experience and looking towards their future, this book gives me hope for them.  It’s a simple, uplifting story that just emanates hope and optimism.
Read Together: 4 - 8
Read Alone: 4 - 8
Read With:
Snatch of Text: “…the bright orange balloon floated by.  It caught Mathilda’s eye while she was grazing.  Mathilda had never seen anything so magnificent.  At once, something inside her woke up.”
Reading Strategies to Practice: Making Connections, Author’s Purpose
Writing Strategies to Practice: Metaphor, Simile
Writing Prompts: Write about a dream you would like to achieve and what steps you will take to achieve that dream.  Choose a color and write a poem using similes and metaphors to describe what that color means to you.
Topics Covered: Ambition, Attitude, Hope, Dreams
Translated to Spanish: No  

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wild About Books

Title: Wild About Books
Author: Judy Sierra
Illustrator: Marc Brown
Publication Date: 2004
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: The animals at the zoo get excited about reading and writing when the librarian accidentally parks the bookmobile at the zoo.  By the end of the book all the animals are “wild about books”!
What I Think: This was the perfect book to kick off the school year for me.  I read about how important it is for kids to have access to books and to find books that match a student's reading abilities and their interests.  There is nothing more important to me as a teacher than helping students develop a love of reading.  I love the energy in this book and how excited the animals get when they have books to read!
Read Together: K - 8
Read Alone: 3 - 8
Read With: And To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street, Dr. Seuss; school or classroom library rules/procedures/expectations; community library information
Snatch of Text: “Forsaking their niches, their nests, and their nooks,
They went wild, simply wild, about wonderful books,
Choosing thin books and fat books and Cat in the Hat books
And new books and true books and heaps of how-to books.”
Reading Strategies to Practice: Just-Right Book, Finding a Reading Spot, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Rhyme, Alliteration
Writing Prompts: Describe your ideal reading/writing spot.  Explain how to find a just-right book.  Explain how to take good care of books. 
Topics Covered: Reading, Writing, Genres, Creating an Environment for Reading, Responsibility
Translated to Spanish: Yes – !Que Locura Por La Lectura!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Dirt On My Shirt

Title: Dirt On My Shirt 
Author: Jeff Foxworthy
Illustrator: Steve Bjorkman
Publication Date: 2008
Genre/Format: Poetry/Picture Book
Summary: This book is a collection of funny poems about family, friends, and other kid related topics like staring contests, roly polies and pretending.
What I Think: I love Jeff Foxworthy’s humor so I love the poems in this book!  There are a few about family members that would be great to use to get students brainstorming about a poem to write about a family member.  My favorite is “Friends”!
Read Together: K - 5
Read Alone: 3 - 6
Read With: Other poetry collections - Shel Silverstein or Jack Prelutsky
Snatch of Text: 
Friends come in all colors
And sizes and shapes
Friends share their jump ropes
And friends share their grapes
They like the same jokes
And they like the same shows
They lend you their ear
And they lend you their clothes
I don’t think I could bear it
Life is much better
With good friends to share it
Reading Strategies to Practice: Reading Fluency, Making Connections
Writing Strategies to Practice: Characterization, Rhyme, Alliteration, Anaphora, Poetry
Writing Prompts: Write a poem describing your more unique relative.  Write a poem about what you like to do with your best friend.  Write a poem about where you imagine your bed can take you.
Topics Covered: Family, Friendship, Adventure, Humor, Differences, Dreams
Translated to Spanish: No

My Weird School Series

My Weird School #1: Miss Daisy Is Crazy!Title: My Weird School and My Weird School Daze series 
Author: Dan Gutman
Illustrator: Jim Paillot
Publication Date: 2004-2007 and 2008-2010
Genre/Format: Humor, Fiction/Chapter Book, Series
Summary:  These are a series of super silly stories for early readers.   The main characters have all sorts of funny experiences with the funny adults at their school.
What I Think: I've only read one of the books in these series', but it was definitely funny and I can see how these would appeal to young readers.  I read one chapter with one of my students and we were cracking up that A.J., one of the main characters, was so open about disliking school and that his teacher felt the same way!  
Read Together: 1 - 3, This might be a good text to read with ESL students because it is so humorous but simple!
Read Alone: 1 - 5
Read With: For younger readers, these might tie in with Amelia Bedelia stories - which there are tons of now: Peggy Parish's, Now I Can Read books, and an updated version by Herman Parish (Peggy's nephew).  These would also be great books that would lead into the Wayside School series by Louis Sachar.  
Snatch of Text: Chapter 1 of Miss Daisy is Crazy gives an idea of who Miss Daisy is and that she wishes she was watching TV and eating bonbons instead of teaching!  Chapter 1 of Mr. Klutz is Nuts starts the same way, with a good description of how wild Mr. Klutz is!  
Reading Strategies to Practice: Retelling, Figurative Language
Writing Strategies to Practice: Characterization
Writing Prompts: Write about someone eccentric from your life.  Write about a person who fits into a stereotype, but put the character in a situation or setting that defies the stereotype.
Topics Covered: Fiction, Humor, School
Translated to Spanish: No  

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Velma Gratch and The Way Cool Butterfly

Title: Velma Gratch and The Way Cool Butterfly 
Author: Alan Madison
Illustrator: Kevin Hawkes
Publication Date: 2007
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
Summary: Velma is the youngest of the three Gratch sisters. She is on her way to 1st grade where she wants to make a name for herself.  When her class studies butterflies, she learns all she can about them by reading books at the library.  Her trip to the conservatory takes a fun twist that makes for a great ending.
Read Together: 2 – 8, I would definitely recommend this to be read to older students because the language/word choice is amazing.
Read Alone: 4 – 8, The language is great in this book, but there are lots of $100 words.
Read With: The Very Hungry Catepillar By Eric Carle; non-fiction about the life cycle of a butterfly
Snatch of Text: “Velma’s small smile pretzel-twisted into a full-blown frown.” 
“Delicate wings slowly folding, antennae twitching, weightless and wondrous, the insect sat.”
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Inferences, Predicting
Writing Strategies to Practice: Descriptive Writing, Alliteration, Word Choice, $100 Words
Writing Prompts: Describe what you imagine it would feel like to have a butterfly land on you.  Use alliteration to describe your favorite animal.  Write about a time in your life when you felt unique.
Topics Covered: Feelings, Individuality, Family, Envy
Translated to Spanish: No 

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The Lemonade War

The Lemonade War
Title: The Lemonade War
Author: Jacqueline Davies
Publication Date: 2007      
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
Summary: Jessie and Evan are brother and sister and they get along pretty well until a letter arrives from school announcing that because Jessie is jumping to 4th grade but some kids have moved away there will only be one 4th grade class.  That means Jessie and Evan will be in the same class!  Evan is not happy but Jessie can’t figure out why.  Before they know it, they’re in a war to sell more lemonade in the few days before school starts again.
What I Think: I love this book!  There are so many great things about this book that make me ecstatic that I came across it.  I love that each chapter alternates from Jessie to Evan’s perspective.  I love the relationship between siblings – I have a sister and I know how hard it can be to get along sometimes!  I love the incorporation of running a lemonade stand and how business works on a level kids can understand.  I really love the description of the emotions the kids feel as they war against each other when really deep down they do love each other. 
Read Together: 3 – 6, Great as a read-aloud!
Read Alone: 4 – 8, I think this would be great for middle schoolers who are struggling with reading – the language is easy to read but I think it would maintain their interest.
Read With: Flipped By Wendelin Van Draanen; Lawn Boy By Gary Paulsen;
Snatch of Text: “She opened the door and felt the full heat of the day on her skin.  It was like some giant had blown his hot, stinky breath on her.” p. 19 
The beginning of chapter 11 is a great example of the disappointment Evan feels at one point during their “war”, it’s towards the end of the book but I don’t think it will spoil the ending if you read it as an example of personal narrative for disappointment - p. 143-148.
Reading Strategies to Practice: Perspective, Characterization
Writing Strategies to Practice: Writing from different perspectives, Personal Narrative
Writing Prompts: Write about at time in your life when you experienced disappointment.  Write about a family event from the perspective of two different family members.  Persuade someone to take a risk – jump off the high dive, go snowboarding, eat sushi.   
Topics Covered: Family, Perspective, Feelings, Ambition, Disappointment, Pride, Taking Risks
Translated to Spanish: No

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/28/2023

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