Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Three Little Pigs Storybook App

My first graders are evaluating iPad storybook apps. I pay attention to how easily students navigate the app, whether they play a game before reading the story, and jot down their facial expressions. I ask each group to rate the app from 1 to 10, with 1 being the lowest and ten the highest. Nosy Crow's The Three Little Pigs is earning the highest marks. I love listening in on their discussions and learning what matters to them in an app.

* "I like how the people spin around when you press on them."

* "The blue arrow helps me turn the page."

* "I didn't see the blue dot until you showed it to me."

* "I like looking for hidden things."

* "The person reading the book has a nice voice."

* "This story is a little too scary for me."

* "I love this story. It is fun and funny."

*"Can we read this book again?"

*"It feels more like I'm watching a movie than reading a book."

* "I like how the characters walk down the street."

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Take a Look Inside My Anderson's Bag

Books Mentioned
in the Video

Bigger Than a Breadbox by Laurel Snyder

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

Heart and Soul by Kadir Nelson

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

A Very Babymouse Christmas by Jennifer and Matthew Holm

Cover Image

Squish: Brave New Pond by Jennifer and Matthew Holm

Cover Image

Monday, September 26, 2011

Meet Amy Blaine, Lisa Morris Wilkey, and Shannon Miller

I spent five incredible days in Washington, D.C. I attended School Library Journal's Leadership Summit and the National Book Festival. I returned to school today with dozens of exciting stories to share with my students. Thank you to School Library Journal and all the amazing librarians, authors, illustrators, and publishers who shared stories, discussed the new world of reading, and made me feel welcome.

During the National Book Festival, I wandered in and out of events with three top-notch school librarians. I asked each librarian to share a favorite library or book memory.

Amy Blaine's favorite book as a child was Make Way for Ducklings.

Lisa Morris Wilkey read the Little House series over and over.

Shannon Miller has always wanted to be a librarian. She loved to play library as a little girl.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm back from Washington, DC

I just returned from School Library Journal's Leadership Summit and the National Book Festival. I need to finish lesson plans and other tasks, but I wanted to share three videos I watched while I was away. Tomorrow I'll post some videos from the weekend. Happy watching!

Peter Brown talks about YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!

Lisa McMann reads from The Unwanteds.

William Joyce discusses The Guardians of Childhood.

Borrow these titles from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories by Dr. Seuss

Publisher description:

It's the literary equivalant of buried treasure! Seuss scholar/collector Charles D. Cohen has hunted down seven rarely seen stories by Dr. Seuss. Originally published in magazines between 1950 and 1951, they include "The Bear, the Rabbit, and the Zinniga-Zanniga " (about a rabbit who is saved from a bear with a single eyelash!); "Gustav the Goldfish" (an early, rhymed version of the Beginner Book A Fish Out of Water); "Tadd and Todd" (a tale passed down via photocopy to generations of twins); "Steak for Supper" (about fantastic creatures who follow a boy home in anticipation of a steak dinner); "The Bippolo Seed" (in which a scheming feline leads an innocent duck to make a bad decision); "The Strange Shirt Spot" (the inspiration for the bathtub-ring scene in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back); and "The Great Henry McBride" (about a boy whose far-flung career fantasies are only bested by those of the real Dr. Seuss himself).

On shelves September 27, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Okie Dokie Donuts: Open for Business

Thank goodness the rain did not keep me away from the 57th Street Children's Book Fair. Thanks to you and your new graphic novel, Okie Dokie Donuts: Open for Business, I have the perfect book for a fifth grader who visits the library every morning. He stands in front of the graphic novel section and shouts, "Where are the new graphic novels?" Every morning. I'm not exaggerating. Tomorrow morning I will shout back, "Okie Dokie Donuts." I might even shout it three times, because it is so much fun to say. Okie Dokie Donuts. Okie Dokie Donuts. Okie Dokie Donuts. Okay, sorry. I'll stop.

I am not known for my musical prowess, but it does not stop me from singing in the library. Your book's catchy opening number begs to be sung. "There's a little place in town that you should's a hot donut service that's sure to grow. Run by a woman...strong and wide! Big Mama is the name...and she works with pride."

Thanks for writing a funny and entertaining graphic novel that is is perfect for all ages. I look forward to the second volume.


Mr. Schu

Okie Dokie Donuts (Story 1): Open for Business!

Borrow Okie Dokie Donuts: Open for Business from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Erica Perl Celebrated International Dot Day


Erica Perl celebrated International Dot Day by virtually visiting Shannon Miller's gymnasium, Mrs. Linde's classroom, and my library. That's a lot of Skype miles. She read Dotty, discussed her creative process, encouraged students to "make their mark," tried on hats, and answered questions. We had a few technology hiccups, so Erica created the following video.

Books Mentioned in the Video

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Video Interview with Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson, authors of The Familiars series

Anderson's Bookshop, the best bookshop in world, hosts pre-publication events. The bookshop provides ARCs before the event for educators, students, and bloggers. You're required to read the selection and come ready to discuss it with the author(s). It is a very intimate setting. I was lucky enough to attend Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson's pre-pub event for The Familiars (2010).

One year later, Adam and Andrew returned to Anderson's to discuss the second book in The Familiars series, The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown. One of my fifth graders is obsessed with the Familiars. When he found out Adam and Andrew were visiting Anderson's, he gave me four questions to ask them.

Question 1: How did you come up with the idea for The Familiars?

Question 2: What's the best thing about writing with a friend?

Question 3: Why is Gilbert (a frog) obsessed with eating flies?

Question 4: Which animal would you pick as your familiar?

Thank you, Adam and Andrew, for taking time out of your busy schedule to answer my student's questions.

I'm giving away a signed copy of The Familiars.


Rules for the Giveaway

* The contest runs from September 17 to 11:59 PM on September 21.

You can fill out the entry form or retweet the link. Please include @MrSchuReads in the tweet.

* If you win The Familiars, I will send you an email or a direct message.

* You must be at least 13 to participate.

* Pay it forward. :)

Borrow The Familiars: Secrets of the Crown from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Tomorrow is International Dot Day

Shannon Miller and I are celebrating "International DOT Day" together. DOT Day is on September 15th, which is when The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds was first published in 2003. On this day, Peter andFableVision Learning challenges people all over the world to "make your own mark and see where it takes you."

We have been doing a lot at our schools to get ready for this super fun day.
The students are welcomed into my library with this display.
And can learn more about Peter and FableVision here.
Shannon and her students created this new display in the Van Meter Elementary Library and they are enjoying all of the new books they added to their collection too.
Last week, a big group of Shannon's 7th and 8th graders created beautiful DOT art work outside. She wrote about this day on the Van Meter VOICE blog.... Today The Students Made Their Mark....On Each Other, The World, and ME!
She created signs for DOT DAY on the library and art room doors. The students created signs throughout the school with the banners.
And my students started decorating paper with their DOTS too.

To celebrate in the libraries this week, we have planned a lot of literacy and art activities for the students. We are going to be painting and drawing with watercolors, using iPads, finger paints, crayons, colored pencils, and sidewalk chalk. There is even an activity involving coffee filters, markers, and water bottles..

Shannon and I hope you celebrate International Dot Day. Make your mark.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Happy Birthday to Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco

Cover Image

Rules for the Giveaway

* The contest runs from September 13 to 11:59 PM on September 16.

You can fill out the entry form or retweet the link. Please include @MrSchuReads in the tweet.

* If you win Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco, I will send you an email or a direct message.

* You must be at least 13 to participate.

* Pay it forward. :)

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Interview with Candace Fleming

Candace Fleming is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction. Visit her website to learn about her biographies (Amelia Lost), historical picture books (Boxes for Katje), novels (The Fabled Fourth Graders of Aesop Elementary School), and picture books (Clever Jack Takes the Cake). Thank you, Candace Fleming, for writing books that I recommend on a daily basis.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rocking with Pete the Cat, Eric Litwin, and James Dean

Earlier today, New York Times bestselling team Eric Litwin and James Dean visited Anderson's Bookshop. They were in town to promote their new picture book, Pete the Cat: Rocking in my School Shoes. Music + books + paint + happy children = a great afternoon.

Visit Eric Litwin's website to listen to more of his fun and dynamic songs.

Can you hear the enthusiastic children in the audience? I cannot wait to share Eric's original and hip songs with my students.

Eric is a former classroom teacher. I think he should teach and perform in my library every Thursday afternoon. :)






James Dean created this painting during the presentation.


Borrow Pete the Cat: Rocking in My School Shoes from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

iPad Storybook Apps

Last weekend, I went a little wild downloading iPad storybook apps. The "BUY APP" button is a dangerous little guy. I kept saying, "Oh, I need that app. Oh, and that one, too." I was pleased to find trailers for most of the storybook apps. These two trailers and apps stuck out from the rest...

Rocket and his teacher are two of the sweetest characters. The storybook app has beautiful animations, tons of interactivity, a "Read To Me" option, and games.

Borrow the print version from your school or public library.

Sylvester's Band is a high-energy story that will appeal to preschoolers and kindergartners. My kindergartners will explore this engaging app next week. I predict they will love it.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Darth Paper Strikes Back

Thanks to Colby Sharp and Kelly Butcher for the link.

8:00 - "Mr. Schu, where's The Strange Case of Origami Yoda?"

9:10 -- "Is my copy of Darth Paper Strikes Back in yet?"

9:50 - "Can you show me where Darth Paper Stikes Back is?"

10:30 - "I don't remember how to place a hold. Will you help me put Darth Paper Strikes Back on hold?

11:15 - "I'm here to pick up my copy of The Strange Case of Origami Yoda."

1:00 - "I just finished reading The Strange Case of Origami Yoda. Where's the second book?"

2:15 -- "Wow!!!! I just finished Darth Paper Strikes Back. It is a-w-e-s-o-m-e!!!!"

3:30 -- "Do you have any origami paper?"

Tom Angleberger is a rock star in my school library. Thanks, Tom!

Borrow The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Mr. Sharp Loves to Read you think Mr. Sharp loves to read? His students probably went home and said, "Wow, I have this crazy teacher who LOVES TO READ. It's going to be an awesome school year. I love fourth grade." Thank you, Mr. Sharp, for sharing your enthusiasm with us and your students.

Books Mentioned in Mr. Sharp's Video

The Babymouse series by Jennifer and Matthew Holm

Sidekicks by Dan Santat

Bigger than a Bread Box by Laurel Snyder

The Lunch Lady series by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Morning with Peter Brown

My school library was the first stop on Peter Brown's YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! book tour.

YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!   by, Peter Brown

Every school week should start with Peter Brown dropping by your school library. During his presentation and book signing, he made each child feel special and comfortable. He treated each child with respect and infused the perfect amount of humor into his presentation. My students will remember Peter's visit for the rest of their days. Thank you, Peter Brown!

I asked my students to jot down what they liked about Peter's visit.

*"I loved hearing about how Peter Brown became a better artist by practicing."

*"Peter is an inspirational person."

*"YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! is the best book I've ever read."

*"Peter's Buffy story was hilarious and cute."

*"Peter Brown is very funny. "

*"He is a talented artist and writer."

*"We were thrilled to meet him. We hope he had a good time, too."

*"I like his books."

*"It was neat to see how Peter draws Lucille Beatrice Bear. I'm going to try drawing it at home."

*"It was fun to watch Peter Brown draw Lucy. He is a fantastic author."

*"I'm glad he shared his first picture book with us. It made me feel happy."

*"YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! is a great book to share with everyone you know."

*"I liked how he talked about himself as a kid. I loved that he enjoyed drawing and reading."

*"Peter Brown has been a good artist practically his entire life."

*"He writes hilarious books."

*"My favorite part of today was when Peter Brown read aloud YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!"

*"I wish I could draw Lucy."

*"Peter Brown is the best artist in the world."

*"My favorite Peter Brown book is The Curious Garden."

*"I hope he makes a third Lucy book. Lucy is the best character."

Peter started making picture books when he was six years old. The Adventures of Me and My Dog Buffy was one of his first picture books.

Behind the scenes of YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND!

Watch Peter draw Lucille Beatrice Bear.

It takes Peter about a year to create a book.

Borrow YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.