Mock Newbery 2014 Club Summer #1 Meeting

Mock Newbery 2014 Club Summer #1 Meeting

Monday, February 24, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

These is a meme started by Teach Mentor Texts.  I participate in it every week.


The Shadow Throne (The Ascendance Trilogy, #3)

How it all began:
What a great series - funny, action-packed, adventurous - just the perfect middle grade/YA fantasy series. I finished this one on the plane to Florida, and I never once thought about the fact that I had to go through Minneapolis instead of taking a shorter direct flight because it kept me so entertained! Jaron is such a great character. I'll miss his reckless, but brave antics, his humor, and the journey on which he and Jennifer Nielsen brought us. Satisfying ending, too! I have a student, Gabby, who finished the series before me and REALLY wanted to talk about it! I love that.  Several students are passing around the finale now.
The Dream Thieves (The Raven Cycle, #2)

This book is for the TEENS in your family, not middle graders.
I listened to this one as well as The Raven Boys, and while I LOVE the narrator of this series, I feel like I need to go back and READ both these books. Stiefvater is so witty and smart, and there are so many nuances, twists, and turns in this book, especially, that I think I missed a lot by listening to it. This one shed more light on Ronan, and the fact that he could steal things from dreams was captivating, and Kavinsky was downright evil. Then there's the Gray Man. There's not as much focus on Blue, and I missed that. I seem to have more questions than answers, and I think when the third one comes out, I'll start from the beginning and read them all straight through.  With all that being said, I'm a big Stiefvater fan.  I think she's an amazing writer for teens (and adults)!
I was almost done, and my library e-book loan expired. :-(  Will finish it up soon.  This is my book club book.
Never Let Me Go 
Oh my gosh - I can't wait to finish this one on audio and review it! SOOOO creepy and not for middle graders!
My family loves to read, too!  My daughters are at a stand still for now - that happens! I'm going to send Libby The Raven Boys on her Kindle. ;-)
My husband:
He's really enjoying this author right now!

The Last Man (Mitch Rapp #13)
My mom:
The Sea Captain's Wife
My dad:
Look Behind Every Hill: A Western Duo

What are YOU reading this week?  Students and Parents - I'd love for you to comment and let us know what you're reading. :-)

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Nonfiction Wednesday - #nf10for10

On my regular blog, I participate in Nonfiction Wednesday, so I am going to start posting it here, too.  Good nonfiction books are coming out all the time!  I know you'll love a lot of these books.  Feel free to visit other blogs that participate.  Also, I'd love for you to comment!

I'm excited that Alyson Beecher, at Kid Lit Frenzy, is continuing her Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge for the third year in a row.
Today, my Nonfiction Wednesday is going to be a little different.  First, I'll include my regular, weekly review on a nonfiction picture book:
 The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art
This is the fascinating story of Vasya Kandinsky, one of the pioneers of abstract art. He was a proper boy in Russia, studying math, science, and history (the illustrations show him as bored and uninspired while doing so) until he was given a box of paints. When he mixed the colors together, he heard a hiss that turned into a symphony. Now he was motivated and inspired! The music he heard in the colors drove him to paint wildly, not properly like his teachers wanted him to. He tried to conform again and went to law school and then art school. Even at art school, he tried to paint what his art teachers wanted, but he wasn't happy. Only when he abandoned landscapes and still lifes and painted to the music he heard was he happy. When he finally chose his true passion, abstract art was born, and people came to appreciate it. It wasn't about what people saw, it was about what it made them FEEL. The author's note in the back is fascinating - we know now that he probably had synesthesia (read this book as a companion book to A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass). Photographs of his gorgeous paintings follow the author's note. Great story and illustrations!  Read Mr. Schu's wonderful interview with Barb Rosenstock:
Now on to the second part of my post today...

I'm participating in this fantastic #nf10for10 event,  hosted by Cathy Mere, Mandy Robek, and Julie Balen!  Oh my, it's so hard to narrow any favorites list down to ten, and I had to think about how I wanted to do that.  I decided to go with a theme topic, and when I read The Noisy Paint Box, I thought about all the wonderful nonfiction picture books I've read about art and artists!  I knew I had my theme topic!  My Top Ten Nonfiction Picture Books about Art and Artists (in no particular order):

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave
Beautifully illustrated book about a slave in South Carolina in the 1800s who would make pottery and carve poems into them. I can't wait to meet the illustrator of this beautiful book,  Bryan Collier, at the Dublin Literacy Conference this Saturday!  My potter friend, Karan Witham-Walsh, uses this book in her high school ceramics classroom.
The Mad Potter: George E. Ohr, Eccentric Genius
Since this biography won the Sibert Honor medal at the 2014 Youth Media Awards, and it was the only one I hadn't read in that category, I remedied that as soon as I could! George E. Ohr was indeed an eccentric genius. I love how he held on to his imaginative artistic ideals even in the face of the Industrial Revolution. The photographs throughout of him and his handlebar mustache and his beautiful pottery are wonderful. I bought this book for the classroom library!
Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard
Another Sibert Honor medal winner this year!  I LOVED this book! This book is about birds, but there is definitely an art element.  I am a bird geek, and I spent many hours as a child drawing birds (why did I stop?) and raising chickens and ducks. I still love watching birds come to the feeders, especially on a snowy day. This book reminded me about why I love them so much! It's a very "busy" book - lots of information, drawing tips, even comics and humor. My daughter gave me drawing pencils and a sketch journal for my birthday after I read this.
         Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing        
I was fascinated by this book about Randolph Caldecott.  I love the many illustrations included by Caldecott, his story of fulfilling his life's dream, and the design of this book. I was also interested in the people he rubbed shoulders with and inspired: John Tenniel (illustrator of Lewis Carroll's Alice), George du Maurier, George Eliot, and Beatrix Potter. We also learn about the evolution of the picture book and inner workings of this famous man.
Henri's Scissors: with audio recording
5. Henri's Scissors by Jeanette Winter
I love books about artists and how they get their inspiration. This is an interesting biography of Henri Matisse and how his art developed over time. Late in life, Matisse was confined to a wheelchair, and that's where he started creating his famous paper cutouts.
Diego Rivera: An Artist for the People
This is a good account of Diego Rivera's life and development as an artist. His romantic life was a bit of a soap opera; he was married to artist Frida Kahlo twice. The paintings and photographs throughout the biography are wonderful, and there is a note about Mexican history and Rivera's artistic influences in the back.
A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin
A Robert F. Sibert Honor Book

Winner of the Schneider Family Book Award

An ALA-ALSC Notable Children's Book
Winner of the NCTE Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction for Children

  Horace Pippin was the personification of passion and determination. He overcame his disability, an injury to his right arm sustained during WWI, to continue making art.   I loved the real photograph of him at the end. 
Hanging Off Jefferson's Nose: Growing Up On Mount Rushmore
Lincoln Borglum was the son of the sculptor of Mt. Rushmore and took over the gargantuan task of finishing the massive sculpture. It's unbelievable how a work of art like that can be imagined and executed. This is a great book  about art, determination, and human ingenuity.    
Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream
This biography is told in poem form and contains quotes by Audubon. This would be a good companion book to A Nest for Celeste and Okay for Now because those books have Audubon in them.

 Balloons Over Broadway: The True Story of the Puppeteer of Macy's Parade
2012 Sibert Medal
   This is the story of Tony Sarg, the inventor of the Macy's parade puppets/balloons. The illustrations are whimsical and fascinating, and I love the problem-solving process Sarg went through to figure out how to make the puppets/balloons in the parade. Great stuff! You'll be inspired to figure out how things work and make your passions into vocations!


 I couldn't help it - once I got to school, I had to check in my book crate labeled "Art" to see if I forgot any titles, and sure enough!  Here are three bonus books that I have in my classroom but haven't read yet - I'm going to take them home tonight!

Georgia in Hawaii: When Georgia O�Keeffe Painted What She Pleased Fabulous: A Portrait of Andy Warhol Chuck Close: Face Book
Do any of these books interest you?  Tell me which ones!

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Mock Newbery Club 2015

The ALA Youth Media Awards, the day I look forward to all year, happened January 27th!

I say I look forward to it all year because my Mock Newbery Club starts meeting early - in February, and we start reading new books right away, talk about the characteristics of award winners, and begin making predictions.  We meet over the summer at our local library to continue the conversations, and reconvene in the fall.  In December we make our predictions and talk about our favorites.  Then we anxiously await the announcements.  I sometimes do a short Mock Caldecott unit, also, in November or December.  My students know I love picture books, and they do, too, so we choose our favorites for that.  They knew that Journey was my pick for the Caldecott. 
Mock Newbery Club  Favorite
Mock Newbery Club's Honor Picks
Other Mock Newbery Club Favorites
   The Water Castle Doll Bones
 Paperboy The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp The Boy On The Porch
  PRINTZ HONOR                                                                           HONOR YALSA
Favorites for Caldecott
                                      HONOR               HONOR
Mr. Tiger Goes Wild Journey Flora and the Flamingo Hank Finds an Egg The Story of Fish and Snail The Day the Crayons Quit
Favorites for Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award
              HONOR       HONOR FOR
                                 SIBERT, CALDECOTT
Look Up!: Bird-Watching in Your Own Backyard Locomotive Paul Thurlby's Wildlife Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909 On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest--and Most Surprising--Animals on Earth
Favorite for YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults
Courage Has No Color: The True Story of the Triple Nickles, America's First Black Paratroopers
We did pretty well predicting!!  My fifth graders know I love the awards because they've known me for a year and a half, so we watched it together.

I was sad when Journey didn't win the top prize, but Locomotive is absolutely deserved of it, and I was happy for Brian Floca.  I was very happy for Aaron Becker that Journey won an Honor, though, and I know the committee does the best job possible!  Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is such a sweet book.  Interesting that two of the Honors books were wordless.  I loved that my students and I had read so many of the winners!  Lots of us loved Flora and Ulysses, and how perfect was it that our new Ambassador of Children's Literature, Kate DiCamillo won the top award!!  Lots of us loved Doll Bones by Holly Black and Paperboy by Vince Vawter, too!   I wrote about Flora and Ulysses on a Celebration Saturday post not too long ago:

We celebrated Kate DiCamillo at our Mock Newbery Club meeting in December because I finished Flora & Ulysses: The Illuminated Adventures and LOVED it!  After book talking it, we watched this video and all enjoyed it:

I also wrote about it in a It's Monday! What Are You Reading?  post:
"Holy bagumba!" I loved this book! Kate DiCamillo is a magician with words and stories. I love how she combines fantasy, friendship, and quirkiness in all her books to make unforgettable characters. This one involves a squirrel who gains superhero powers after being sucked into the Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner (weird, I know, but somehow this story element works) and captures the heart of Flora who names him Ulysses, of course. He is a poet and valiant friend, keeping Flora company in her self-professed cynical world. Flora's mother is a romance writer who seems more attached to her tacky lamp than Flora, and William Spiver is the temporarily blinded nephew of the lovable neighbor, Tootie. Flora's parents are divorced, thus her cynicism, but she still believes in superheroes and becomes Ulysses's mentor, giving him his "wings." Even though this book seems suitable for younger elementary kids, it is not for the faint of heart - lots of incredibly challenging vocabulary words are imbedded into life philosophies and sophisticated themes. Here's a smattering of some of the words: malfeasance, vanquish, eradicate, obfuscation, nefarious, euphemism, unremitting - see what I mean? I loved the ending and can't wait to share this with my Mock Newbery Club. Will they like it? I hope so! I feel about Kate's books the way Flora feels about Ulysses when he flies: "It was as if some small peace descended.  The world became dreamy, beautiful, slow."
And yes, my Mock Newbery Club loved it! :-)

I hung up my personalized "The Journey Never Ends" print in my classroom, but first I snapped a picture:

 Congratulations to all the award winners!  Thank you for doing what you do. 
Here's to 2013 books! 
Now for 2014.  Let the reading begin!  Our 2015 Mock Newbery Club meets for the first time on February 4th (postponed because of snow to Feb. 11th).  The journey never ends!!

There was an NPR segment on the winners:

Full list of Award Winners: