Saturday, April 30, 2011

Dear _____ and _____: Pack Your Bags!

Total votes: 1,322

First place: Frankie Pickle (299 votes)
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Second place: Owly (297 votes)


What an exciting week! Days have been filled with thoughts of which character will adventure out west. Each year my friend Donna and I like to spice things up - this year we invited everyone to help select our road trip buddy. Thanks to your participation, we ended up with 1,322 votes. Thank you to everyone who voted and retweeted this goofy project.

In an unexpected twist, two companions will join the fun. Voting was so close we could not, in good conscience, leave Owly home. It would be like inviting Art but not Max --or sending a postcard to Bink but not Gollie. Inspired by Dan Gutman’s recent book, The Genius Files, Owly will join the fun and pose for photographs at offbeat Roadside America sites. Frankie Pickle will visit museums, libraries, bookshops, and other exciting attractions. Tune in July 5 to follow their adventures. You never know what they will discover, but if Knuffle, Pigeon, and Scaredy’s adventures are any indication, it will be a trip you will not want to miss.








I love this Frankie Pickle advertisement as much as the German Origami Yoga book trailer.


We will visit the Owly Store to buy magnets and buttons.


Andy Runton discusses Owly's first-ever animated adventure.


Borrow Frankie Pickle and Owly from your school or public library. Follow their adventures @ Adventureoutwest.com .

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tuesday is TV Night

Tuesday evenings are devoted to television. Every other evening is devoted to books. A few moments ago I stumbled upon the book trailer for Michael Hall's Perfect Square. This book is perfect in every way. I also discovered two trailers for books on my to-read list. Each trailer will gets its own post in the near future. For now, enjoy the book trailers. Happy Watching!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Out of My Mind


Out of my Mind gives a voice, literally, to those who otherwise lack one. Sharon Draper highlights Melody’s struggle and allows the reader to focus on her abilities, rather than her disabilities. You cannot help but pause and consider how you have unintentionally treated those who may face a similar struggle. Out of My Mind is difficult to get out of your mind. It changes the way you think about those differently-abled. (Travis and I named it one of the best book of 2010.)


Out of My Mind

Browse inside Out of My Mind.


Dr. Sharon Draper is a former high school teacher and the 1997 National Teacher of the Year. She provides detailed study guides for each of her books. Download the Out of My Mind guide.


Sharon Draper reads the first chapter of Out of My Mind.


The Sassy series is popular with my third through fifth graders.


"The loss of any library pains me." -Sharon Draper


Sharon talks about the "Draper Paper."

Borrow Out of My Mind from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Vote for Mr. Schu's Road Trip Buddy



A dear friend and I started the best tradition: SUMMER ROAD TRIPS! Our students vote for a character they think deserves a vacation. Previous winners include Knuffle Bunny, Pigeon, and Scaredy Squirrel. The winning character gets the chance to leave the pages of their books and go on the trip of a lifetime. They find themselves photographed at tourist destinations across the country.

Knuffle Bunny dropped by the laundromat where his troubles began.

Knuffle Bunny Returns to the Laundromat


Pigeon did not get to drive the bus but drove a racecar at Disneyland.

Don't Let Pigeon Drive The Car


And last year Scaredy got over many of his fears.

Scaredy's Done With the Heat


Please take a look at this year's candidates and then vote for the one you would like to see out on the open road. Voting ends on April 29, 2011.







Pete the Cat by Mr. Eric and James Dean




















Wilbur from Mo Willems' Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed





Monday, April 18, 2011

Little Chicken's Big Day



Tomorrow is Little Chicken's Big Day's book birthday! Happy birthday, Little Chicken!

Katie Davis, the illustrator of Little Chicken's Big Day, read it to my second graders on World Read Aloud Day. My students wrote Jerry and Katie Davis a letter about their awesome book trailer.
Dear Katie and Jerry Davis,

We love your book trailer. The chicks are adorable and funny. Our favorite part is when the chick has an egg hat.

Thank you for reading it to us on World Read Aloud Day.

Thank you,

(signatures below)

P.S. I hear you cluckin', Big Chicken.

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Little Chicken's Big Day

Read an excerpt from Little Chicken's Big Day.



Katie Davis has one of the best author websites. Check it out!





Watch Katie read her first picture book, Who Hops?


Katie recommends Marilyn Singer's Mirror Mirror.


Katie shows us what being a children's author is really like.


Borrow Little Chicken's Big Day from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

El día de los niños/El día de los libros




San Rafael Elementary School, Van Meter Community School, and Brook Forest Elementary School will use Skype to celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros; Children's Day/Book Day together. Students will participate in literacy activities, discuss the importance of books, and read Pat Mora's Book Fiesta.


Thank you, Alyson Beecher and Shannon Miller, for connecting our schools on this special day.





Visit the official Día page to learn more about Día, download resources, and search for events in your area.


Book Fiesta! is the perfect picture book to read on El día de los niños/El día de los libros; Children's Day/Book Day.







"Languages matter. Languages are beautiful." -Pat Mora



"Teachers and librarians are important people." -Pat Mora



Pat Mora talks about her book Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué rico!


Borrow Pat Mora's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What a Week: Brown, Pinkney, and Van Allsburg

Mr. Schu's Schedule



Marc Brown hides his children's names in his illustrations.


Learn how Marc came up with the idea for Arthur.


Watch Marc Brown draw Arthur.


Marc Brown teaches you how to draw Arthur.


Tuesday: Award winning author/illustrator Brian Pinkney stopped by Anderson's Bookshop to discuss his illustrations.



Wednesday: Squeal!!! Two-time Caldecott Medal winner Chris Van Allsburg discussed his books at Anderson's Bookshop.


Chris Van Allsburg shares the inspiration for Bad Day at the Riverbend.


The Chronicles of Harris Burdick will be published on October 25, 2011.


Chris Van Allsburg taught himself how to draw.

Thursday: I celebrated Poem In Your Pocket Day with schools around the country.


Shannon Miller shared the poem in her pocket.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Happy 95th Birthday, Beverly Cleary!


Today is Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary's 95th birthday. I asked children and adults what they liked about Beverly's books. Everyone was willing and excited to chat about Beverly and Ramona.


*"My favorite book is Ramona and Beezus. It reminds me of my sister and me." -5th grader


*"I like Muggie Maggie. We read it in second grade." -3rd grader


*"I loved Ramona's World. It is a great book!" -5th grader


*"I love Ramona Quimby, Age 8! It reminded me of how much I disliked learning cursive." 5th grader


*I think Ramona is very cute in all the books." -5th grader


*I read the entire Ramona series in 8 days." -Mr. Schu


*I loved all of the Ramona books." -Alyson


*The Ramona books. Ramona brought me such joy--she was unabashed and rambunctious...kinda like me as a kid. :)" -Lucia


*"I remember Ramona getting into all sorts of mischief. She always seemed like she had so much fun. I secretly wished I had some michevious adventures like she did." -Donna


*When I was about 7 years old, life didn't get much better than a Ramona book. I remember laughing a lot. - @Bibliophile81


*"Ramona and Beezus is my favorite. 50 years ago I was Ramona--still am today!" -Randi Alison


*"My favorite book is Ramona and Her Mother. Her books are very relatable. I clearly remember as a child wanting to put all the toothpaste in the sink like her, but was too scared that I would have to use it all in a bag. She [Beverly Cleary] is the reason I became a teacher and LOVE books." -Angela Kroner


*When Ramona jumped through the hole in her house, I met a friend for life." -Sarah

*Definitely Ramona and Her Father. I love her persistent compassion. And the car ride to the pageant was a great moment." -Sasha



"I think the emotions of children don't change--their life situations change." -Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary answers questions about her books and her life as a writer.


Ramona and Beezus was released in movie theaters on July 23, 2010.


Enter The World of Beverly Cleary. Make sure you check out Fun & Games.

Grab a book and drop everything and read. Celebrate D.E.A.R. Day every April 12.
Today Anita Silvey's Children's Book-A-Day Almanac celebrates Henry Huggins and Beverly's 95th birthday.


Anita Silvey discusses Beverly Cleary's life and books.

Where I Read This Summer: On Klickitat Street


I read on Klickitat Street.
Borrow Beverly Cleary's books from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

A Sick Day for Amos McGee


Amos McGee, a gentle zookeeper, arrives promptly at work every day. The animals enjoy his company and depend on him. He plays chess with the elephant, runs races with the tortoise, sits with the penguin, lends a handkerchief to the rhino, and reads stories to owl. What will the animals do when Amos wakes up sick? Take care of him, of course! Erin Stead’s awe-inspiring illustrations convey the importance of friendship and have a calming effect. I hope Philip and Erin Stead continue to make books together. Add this future classic to your must-read list. (Travis and I named it the #2 book of 2010. It went on to win the 2011 Caldecott Medal.)




Browse inside A Sick Day for Amos McGee.



Stanley and Morris announced the 2011 Caldecott winners.


Travis Jonker attended the ALA Youth Media Awards press conference.


Anita Silvey celebrated A Sick Day for Amos McGee on National Doctor Day.



Phillip Stead's next book, Jonathan and the Big Blue Boat, will be released on June 7, 2011.

Borrow A Sick Day for Amos McGee from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.


Monday, April 4, 2011

Sticky Burr

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We all have a favorite place to read: Starbucks, deck, library, chaise lounge. I love reading a new book in my favorite chair. In those moments I am physically present in my house, although mentally I am anything but present. I am immersed in the characters and setting. There are times when I would love to ignore the phone and requests to meet for dinner--to return to the "real world"--as I am content in the author's world.

When I book talk certain books I think about where I was when I read them. Here's a few that come to mind:

Charlotte's Web = Mrs. Vilender's Second Grade Classroom
Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians = Anderson's Bookshop
Babymouse: Queen of the World = Corner Bakery
The Unfinished Angel = a flight to NYC
Adam Canfield of the Slash = Dominican Republic
Love, Ruby Lavender = Go East Again '10
And the focus of today's post:
Sticky Burr = a flight to Las Vegas
The lady sitting next to me probably wondered, "Does this man ever stop laughing and smiling?" Children find what they need in books. In Sticky Burr, young readers find humor and a happy place. Thank you, John Lechner, for Sticky Burr and Burrwood Forest.



John Lechner accepts the Oregon Association of School Libraries' Beverly Cleary Children's Choice Award.

Play Sticky Burr's Fantastic Flying Game!


Spend a few hours exploring The Wonderful World of Sticky Burr. I highly recommend MUSIC, FUN STUFF, and FAN CLUB.





Clever Stick "is the story of an unlikely hero on a journey of self-discovery."


Mr. Moon is a short animated film created by John and his sister Amy Conley.

Borrow Sticky Burr from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.