Books to movies

If, like me, you stayed up too late last night watching the Academy Awards, maybe you’ll be interested in knowing which of the nominees started out in a printed format. Paste Magazine has a run-down of the 2018 films based on books.  My favorite books on the list: Boss Baby by Marla Frazee, Breadwinner by Deborah Ellis, and, of course, Wonder by RJ Palacio (on top of the list of most circulated books so far this year). I also love the book Ferdinand, but just don’t feel like the movie version does the book justice – feels more like a very loose adaptation. I also love all things Marvel and X-Men so Logan was fun for this comics fan.

Read Across America

This week leads up to Read Across America day on Friday, March 2. This has traditionally been tied to a celebration of Dr. Seuss’s birthday and, while we will talk about Dr. Seuss this week, we will also use this as an opportunity to talk about books we love and why we love them. If you happen to read this, ask your child(ren) what book(s) they love and why. And, if you haven’t already, read a book based on that recommendation. It’s empowering as a reader to have our recommendations taken seriously and, who knows, you may discover a new author or book! Happy Reading!

Fifth Graders have a way with words

I have been reading Death by Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart to the fifth graders. In the book, the main character Ben enters sweepstakes in an effort to win a grand prize, which could bring a large cash grand prize and help his mom pay back rent owed on their apartment and stave off the looming threat of eviction. Ben’s dad, the primary wage-earner, passed away, and his mom is trying to her earn CPA in order to get a better job than her waitressing gig; she has one last exam to take in order to earn her certificate and take a job at an accounting firm waiting for her. Ben is gifted at writing catchy slogans and has found a new contest from the Royal-T Toilet Paper Company where the winning slogan promises a $10,000 cash prize, enough to pay their rent and fill their mostly-empty fridge. 

As a way to connect the fifth graders to Ben’s way with words, I broke up each fifth grade class into small groups and charged them with creating a slogan for a new bookstore that was opening in the area (the fictitious House of Books). Then each class had to figure out how to present their slogan to the rest of the class. Finally, I had each class judge the slogans of another fifth grade class to find a winner in each class. The winning group got to select a free library activity for their entire class. 

The assignment: 
There is a new bookstore opening called The House of Books and they need a slogan. The hope is that the slogan will stick in people’s minds. In 25 words or less, come up with a slogan. The focus of this project will be: 
Creativity: You will show this by focusing on what makes House of Books different, what sets it apart. 
Relatability: What is your target audience (the other fifth grade classes/readers).
Memorability: Is this slogan one that can be easily remembered and will it stick in people’s minds?

The description of the space: House of Books is a new bookstore. The building is a large, old house. It is located right off a highway and there are no other shops in the immediate area. House of Books has a cafe serving coffee, drinks, baked goods, and sandwiches. There are several reading areas with comfortable seats. The focus of the bookstore is new books and there will be authors visiting and other events held there. Hopefully, it will become a destination for those passing through town and also for local townspeople. 

I was impressed with the level of creativity and level of cooperation exhibited by the groups. A (mostly) fun time was had by all.
The winners from each class: 
House of Books: When You Walk Inside, The Books Come Alive
House of Books: The Place Where Imagination Lives
Get a Hook On Your Book, Come on Down and Take a Look at House of Books
Open Your Eyes and R(adical)E(xtraordinary)A(wesome)D(iscover)!
House of Books: Read It, Eat It, and Enjoy It!
Grab a Bookie, Eat a Cookie at the House of Books
House of Books: Read, Eat, and Repeat 
Get That Coffee, Get That Book at the House of Books

Comic Books Can Make You Smarter

If you have a minute on this quiet, snowy day, this video is an amazing explanation about the power of comic books (which many people call graphic novels). I have had many students at HBS explain that they are “not allowed” to read graphic novels from either a parental edict or at the gentle suggestion by their teachers that they can read “better” books. I do understand this inclination to dismiss this medium of content delivery, but listen to Gene Luen Yang, a former Ambassador for Children’s Literature (it’s 4 minutes of your time) and maybe ask yourself, when did we start putting a qualifier on reading? And what does that tell the child/reader before you about the reading choices to which he or she is gravitating if the books that they LOVE are being defined by people that they respect as “less than”. All food for thought. 

Maine Reading Awards

Throughout the month of January, all HBS 2nd and 3rd graders will be listening to or reading many of the books from the 2017-18 Chickadee Award List and talking about quality picture books. After hearing at least three titles, all students will be invited to vote for her/his favorite one and HBS will submit a ballot with our votes to the Chickadee Award Committee in March. 

Similarly, the 4th and 5th graders have been reading or listening to the Maine Student Book Award books. There will be a voting party for any 4th or 5th grader who has read at least three of the books and filled in a short summary form (located in the library from Mrs. O’Connor, Mrs. Veilleux, or Mrs. Reiche) by mid-March. 

Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone had a fun and relaxing winter break and that you all received at least one great book to read. Can’t wait to see you in 2018! 

Some new books that just published or will publish soon that we’ll have in the HBS Library:

Dog Man and Cat Kid (Dog Man #4) by Dav Pilkey – I bought 6 copies!!!!
Hilo Book Four: Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick
Phoebe and her Unicorn in the Magic Storm (Book 6) by Dana Simpson
Notebook of Doom #13: Battle of the Boss Monster by Troy Cummings 
The Bad Guys in Intergalactic Gas, (The Bad Guys #5) by Aaron Blabley
The Bad Guys in Aliens vs. Bad Guys (The Bad Guys #6) by Aaron Blabley
All’s Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson
Learn to Draw: How to Draw Five Nights at Freddy’s
The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate (Princess in Black #5) by Shannon Hale
Chill of the Ice Dragon (Dragon Masters #9) by Tracey West
Dory Fantasmagory: Head in the Clouds, Book #4) by Abby Hanlon
Weird But True #8 and #9 by National Geographic
Minecraft Guides by Mojang, Guide to Creative, Guide to Redstone, and Guide to the Nether & the End
Owl Diaries: The Wildwood Bakery (Book #7) by Rebecca Elliott
The Honest Truth and Some Kind of Courage by Dan Gemeinhart
The Leviathan Trilogy by Scott Westerfeld