Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Book Trailer of the Day: And Then It's Spring by Julie Fogliano



And Then It's Spring's book trailer makes me want to take a nature walk. The music is meditative and soothing. Erin Stead, recipient of the 2011 Caldecott Medal, creates another inspiring and beautiful world. I look forward to seeing the final copy on February 14, 2012. Hmmm...maybe I'll give away copies for Valentine's Day.


Julie Fogliano has spent her entire life reading children's books. Now she stays up way too late writing her own books while eating cereal. She lives in the Hudson Valley with her husband and their two boys. They make her very tired, but give her lots of good ideas. This is her first book.

Erin E. Stead first met Julie Fogliano while working together in a New York City bookstore. Today she lives in a 100-year-old barn in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with her husband, Philip, who is an author and illustrator, and with whom she co-created A Sick Day For Amos McGee, winner of the 2011 Caldecott Medal, for Roaring Brook Press. Erin creates her illustrations using woodblock printing techniques and pencil.

*Author and illustrator information taken from here.


And Then It's Spring will be released on February 14, 2012.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chicken's Butt's Back by Erica Perl



Erica Perl, the master of middle-grade fiction and picture books, Skyped with my first graders to celebrate Picture Book Month. She chatted about how she created Chicken Butt, discussed the importance of reading, and shared some *top secret* information about her forthcoming picture book. My kids and I love Erica Perl. Thank you, Erica, for being a Picture Book Champion.

The first graders had positive things to say about Chicken Butt's Back and Erica's virtual visit:

*"I had fun reading the boy's parts. They are always in red."

*"Chicken Butt is a funny character. "

*"I am going to make my own Chicken Butt story. It is a fun book."

*"I like that it uses the word butt on almost every page. "

*"Chicken Butt's Back has words that sound like each other but have different meanings. The witch is funny."

*"You should read Chicken Butt and Chicken's Butt's Back."

*"Erica Perl was funny on Skype. I like her hats. I want a Chicken Butt hat."

*"We are making our own rhyme time books. Erica taught us about them."

*"I am glad Erica's train came on time."


Borrow Chicken Butt's Back from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Anderson's Mock Newbery List

It appears that many of my book buddies are asking the same questions about the 2012 Newbery Medal winner:

1. On January 23, 2012, will I feel happy/surprised/shocked/speechless?
2. Did I read the 2012 winner?
3. Have I heard of the 2012 winner?
4. Will I sleep during January?
5.Why do I care so much???

Anderson's Bookshop, the world's best bookshop, released its Mock Newbery list last month. The next five books I read will come from Anderson's list. How will I select the five books? I could read the list in alphabetical order by title. Or I could read them according to:

1. Page number count
2. Texture
3. Color
4. Publication month

I'm not really digging these ideas. What if I put the titles in a hat and randomly drew five titles? B-I-N-G-O, Mr. Schu!





Sunday, November 27, 2011

Movie Trailer Time - The Secret World of Arrietty ( Based on Mary Norton's The Borrowers)


Residing quietly beneath the floorboards are little people who live undetected in a secret world to be discovered, where the smallest may stand tallest of all. From the legendary Studio Ghibli ("Spirited Away," "Ponyo") comes "The Secret World of Arrietty," an animated adventure based on Mary Norton's acclaimed children's book series "The Borrowers."

Arrietty (voice of Bridgit Mendler), a tiny but tenacious 14-year-old, lives with her parents (voices of Will Arnett and Amy Poehler) in the recesses of a suburban garden home, unbeknownst to the homeowner and her housekeeper (voice of Carol Burnett). Like all little people, Arrietty (AIR-ee-ett-ee) remains hidden from view, except during occasional covert ventures beyond the floorboards to "borrow" scrap supplies like sugar cubes from her human hosts. But when 12-year-old Shawn (voice of David Henrie), a human boy who comes to stay in the home, discovers his mysterious housemate one evening, a secret friendship blossoms. If discovered, their relationship could drive Arrietty's family from the home and straight into danger. The film hits theaters Feb. 17, 2012..

-Description taken from the official website.

When I was in third grade, I read Mary Norton's The Borrowers. The movie trailer does not remind me of the book from my childhood. I plan on rereading it in the next few weeks. You can borrow it from your school or public library. If possible, buy it from an independent bookshop.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

"A vote for Babymouse is a vote for cupcakes!"


(Thanks to Colby Sharp for sharing the link.)

Babymouse has made more guest appearances on Watch. Connect. Read. than any other character. Babymouse and Jennifer and Matthew Holm are icons in my school library. My kids think they are rock stars. (Well, duh...they are!)

Babymouse for President will be released on July 10, 2012. If you visit my library next month, it will look like Babymouse's campaign headquarters. I have dozens of ideas rattling around my library brain. Stay tuned!


Cover Image

Friday, November 25, 2011

Have you voted for School Library Journal's Trailee Awards?

(Thanks to Teresa Schauer for creating the Trailee Awards Animoto video.)

There's still time to vote for School Library Journal's Trailee Awards. The deadline for voting is December 31. The winner will be announced at the American Library Association's midwinter meeting.

Click here to vote.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Top 5 Most Circulated Books, 1st Quarter

During the first quarter, my school library hosted Peter Brown, Richard Peck, Kate Messner, and Linda Urban. We Skyped with Eric Wight, Erica Perl, and Dianne de Las Casas. Students checked out 6,923 items and renewed 348 items. A record! It was an extremely busy and rewarding quarter.

The following five titles have never taken a break on the shelf. Thank you to the authors and illustrators for motivating my students to read.





Marty McGuire by Kate Messner



Squish #2: Brave New Pond by Jennifer and Matthew Holm


Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco by Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Book Cover


Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco by Jarrett J. Krosoczka


You Will Be My Friend! by Peter Brown: Book Cover


YOU WILL BE MY FRIEND! by Peter Brown


The Last Council (Amulet Series #4), Vol. 4 by Kazu Kibuishi: Book Cover




Wednesday, November 23, 2011

A Pet for Petunia by Paul Schmid



I have read 1831 books during 2011. If you asked me to name every title, I couldn't. If you asked me to name the picture book I have recommended to the most kids during 2011, the answer would spring from my mouth in one billionth of a second: A PET FOR PETUNIA. Paul Schmid deserves one of my paychecks, because he makes my job easier. Whenever I find Petunia in the book drop, I dance around the library singing its praises to anyone who will listen. I have thrown it (gently) at a third grader. Truth! (No one was injured.) If you regularly check this blog, you know that when I get behind a book I want EVERYONE to know about it. I give it a birthday party, hang signs all over my library, and give away copies. I want you to read A Pet for Petunia. Now! You will laugh, smile, and feel an urge to share it with every child in your life.

Thank you, Paul Schmid, for creating a hugely successful picture book.



Borrow A Pet for Petunia from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Visit Paul's website to learn about his forthcoming picture books.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady: the sketchbooks of Jarrett J. Krosoczka


The following description is taken from Jarrett's website:

Jarrett is celebrating ten years as a published author/illustrator with Monkey Boy to Lunch Lady: the sketchbooks of Jarrett J. Krosoczka. A decade's worth of sketchbooks were curated by designer John Lind and Jarrett penned essays on the creative process behind each book in his bibliography. Photos of book tour stops and field notes on Jarrett's literary career are also included, along with an introduction by radio host and art educator Mark Lynch. It's a small way to say thank you for all of your support.

100% of proceeds from this book benefit the Joseph and Shirley Memorial Youth Scholarships at the Worcester Art Museum, which provides free tuition to art courses for children in need.


Visit Jarrett J. Krosoczka's website to purchase digital and print copies. While you're on his website, check out his graphic novels and picture books, too.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Inspiration Behind Super Diaper Baby 2.

In the following video, Dav Pilkey discusses the inspiration behind Super Diaper Baby: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers. I added it to this week's booktalk presentations for grades two through five. Thanks to Dav Pilkey and Scholastic for creating this engaging video.



I considered adding this video to an earlier post that discusses how much my kids love Dav Pilkey. I think it deserves its own spot, however.

Super Diaper Baby #2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers (Captain Underpants Series)

Borrow Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Why Picture Books Are Important by Mr. Schu


Author and storyteller Dianne de Las Casas invited me to participate in International Picture Book Month. Every day in November, a different picture book champion explains why picture books are important. I'm today's Picture Book Champion. Thank you, Dianne!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Becky Anderson Chats with Lauren Oliver About Liesl and Po



Publisher description:

Liesl lives in a tiny attic bedroom, locked away by her cruel stepmother. Her only friends are the shadows and the mice—until one night a ghost appears from the darkness. It is Po, who comes from the Other Side. Both Liesl and Po are lonely, but together they are less alone.

That same night, an alchemist’s apprentice, Will, bungles an important delivery. He accidentally switches a box containing the most powerful magic in the world with one containing something decidedly less remarkable.

Will’s mistake has tremendous consequences for Liesl and Po, and it draws the three of them together on an extraordinary journey.

Liesl & Po by lauren Oliver

Borrow Liesl & Po from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Listen to the Liesl & Po song.



Watch the top-notch book trailer for Liesl & Po.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A Thursday Afternoon with Kate Messner and Linda Urban



OK, I'll admit it. I have the best job in the world! (At least it's the best job for me!) Award-winning authors Kate Messner and Linda Urban spent yesterday afternoon with my second, third, and fifth graders. Linda and Kate delivered amazing booktalks, discussed their writing and research process, and modeled what true friendship looks like. During the book signing, they provided writing advice and asked thoughtful questions. Thank you, Linda Urban and Kate Messner, for the stories you write, the respect you show readers, and for turning kids into avid readers.


























A student asks Linda Urban why Hound Dog True is written in third person.


Kate Messner discusses her forthcoming novel, The Eye of the Storm.


This video demonstrates just one of the many things Kate Messner does to get a scene just right.


Kate Messner shares where she got the idea for Sea Monster's First Day.



Look for their books at your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.


Thursday, November 17, 2011

An Interview with Divya Srinivasan, Author and Illustrator of Little Owl's Night


I am thrilled to welcome author and illustrator Divya Srinivasan to Watch. Connect. Read. Her picture book debut, Little Owl's Night, is perfect to share during Picture Book Month. It follows a cute and curious owl "whooo" loves the sights and sounds of the night forest.

Thank you, Divya, for writing and illustrating an endearing picture book that I will donate to Toys for Tots and Anderson's Book Angels. The recipients will be greeted with a gift tag like this one:




Divya Srinivasan: The book follows Little Owl's flight through his beloved night forest. He takes in the sights and sounds, visiting his fellow night-animal friends. When it's time for Little Owl to go to sleep he wonders how night ends, and his mother describes the dawn as it unfolds.


Divya Srinivasan: When I was small, I wanted to live in the illustrations of my favorite picture books. Pictures and their stories gave me a dreamy place to visit anytime. In my artwork for children, I try to create something that would have sparked excitement and wonder in me as a child. I've been an illustrator for a while, and with any drawing, I usually have a story about it going on in my mind. Little Owl's Night is my first time to write the story down along with the pictures, and share it with others.




Divya Srinivasan: I don't listen to any music when I'm writing or when I'm planning out an illustration. When I'm illustrating though, I sometimes listen to instrumental music, but mostly I devour audio books and audio plays.


Divya Srinivasan: I loved my Little Golden Books, especially those illustrated by Gustav Tenggren: The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Lively Little Rabbit. The artwork was beautiful and cozy even while sometimes being a little scary. (The hungry crocodile watching plump, oblivious Saggy Baggy was a spread I simultaneously feared and adored.) I also enjoyed books with puppet diorama illustrations because they looked so real in a way, like photo stills of a real puppet world. I'm not sure we had any Caldecotts at home, but we did have a lot of Amar Chitra Kathas, beautifully drawn Indian comic books that told stories about the Hindu gods and other Indian tales. Those are still among my favorites.

Because I didn't grow up with many classic picture books, I first read Where the Wild Things Are, Good Night Moon, and Madeline as an adult. When I decided I wanted to get serious about making picture books, I started an ongoing list of ones I should read either because they were award winners or recommended to me. I can't even guess at how many stacks I've brought home from the Austin Public Library over the past several years. So, I'd have to say that for a while now, every month has been a Picture Book Month for me, which makes me feel pretty lucky!


Divya Srinivasan is an illustrator and animator living in Austin, Texas. Her illustrations appear in New Yorker magazine, and she has done work for This American Life, They Might Be Giants, Sundance Channel, Sufjan Stevens, and Weird Al Yankovic, among others. Divya was also an animator on the film Waking Life. Little Owl's Night is her first book. (Bio taken from here)

Download Little Owl's Night wallpaper for your computer, iPad, and iPod.


Borrow Little Owl's Night from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.