Monday, April 30, 2012


I always check my book release calendar on Sunday evening. I cannot believe the number of highly anticipated books that have a birthday tomorrow. It is an EPIC book release day.

Insurgent by Veronica Roth. HarperCollins.

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore. Penguin.

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean. HarperCollins.

The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan. Hyperion.

The Invaders:The Brotherband Chronicles by John Flanagan. Penguin.

The Hero's Guide to Saving Your Kingdom by Christopher Healy. Walden Pond Press.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Tomorrow is El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Day of the Child/Day of the Book)

Tomorrow my students and I will celebrate El día de los niños/El día de los libros (Children's Day/Book Day). It is a yearly celebration that "emphasizes the importance of advocating literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds."

ALSC launched a new website that contains resources to help you plan your own Día celebration. Watch Pat Mora's introduction to the new site.

Visit Día's website for book recommendations, to download the Día Resource Guide, and to learn more about this special day.

Last year Shannon Miller, Alyson Beecher, and I celebrated
Día together. Our students took turns reading the Spanish and English parts of Pat Mora's Book Fiesta!

Spread the word about Día by sending an e-card.

Borrow Book Fiesta! from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

The Newbery Challenge: Dobry

Mr. Colby Sharp and I are on a mission to read every Newbery Medal winner. Today we are chatting about Monica Shannon's Dobry. Happy watching!

Surf on over to Colby's blog to watch his video. Thanks, Colby!

My cat makes his first #Nerdbery appearance. :)

Mr. Jonker is creating new covers for every Newbery Medal winner. I'm a huge fun of his Dobry cover. It's the one on the right.

I had a challenging time getting my hands on a copy of Dobry.

Borrow Dobry from your school or public library.

Friday, April 27, 2012

On Hold @ the Library: April 2012

On Hold @ the Library is a monthly event that encourages you to submit a picture of a #HoldShelf. Each photograph provides a snapshot of what readers are excited to read. Thank you to everyone who retweeted the event and submitted a photograph.

Mr. Jonker starts us off:

Anne from So Tomorrow:



Mary Clare:

Mary Morgan:
Ame Dyckman has these items on hold at her public library:

Robot Zombie Frankenstein! by Annette Simon

Chloe and the Lion by Mac Barnett and Adam Rex

Oh, No George! by Chris Haughton








Look for more #HoldShelf pictures next month at 100 Scope Notes.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Floors by Patrick Carman

During Patrick Carman's book tour for Floors (Scholastic, 2011), he dropped by Donna Kouri's school library to meet her fourth- and fifth-grade students. He entertained and encouraged every student and teacher in the audience. Her students are still talking about him and his action-packed books.

Donna and I chatted in a Google document about Patrick's visit. I wrote the first part of seven sentences and she finished them. Thanks, Donna!

*My students and I prepared for Mr. Carman's visit by reading excerpts from Floors and watching the videos on his website.

*Patrick Carman is incredibly friendly and child-centered.

*The most memorable part of his visit was the hilarious stories he told from his childhood.

*I connect my students with authors to build their confidence as writers and build enthusiasm for reading.

*My students learned that by telling stories you are setting the stage for writing.

*You should read Floors if you love wildly creative stories.

*Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if the Patrick Carman mania has died down. It has not.

Visit the official Floors website to watch seven videos about Floors.

Carman's Skeleton Creek series is one of the most popular series in my school library. If you like spooky stories, check it out.

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

Look for Floors #2: 3 Below on September 1, 2012.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An Amazing Book Club Discussion with the One and Only Katherine Applegate

It is no secret that fourth-grade teacher Colby Sharp and I are on a mission to tell everyone about Katherine Applegate's The One and Only Ivan. We give Ivan shout-outs in #nerdbery videos, exchange multiple messages per week about Katherine's pitch-perfect storytelling, text each other about our plan to get Ivan into readers' hands, and, most importantly, discuss how Ivan is on its way to classic status.

Colby and I created an Edmodo group for a small group of fourth- and fifth-grade students to discuss Ms. Applegate's masterpiece. I smiled whenever I logged into Edmodo and read their thoughtful and serious discussions. Message after message stressed how The One and Only Ivan touched their hearts and minds. Ivan's story inspired them to learn more about the real Ivan and become ambassadors for a future award winner.

Today, as a culminating event, our book club connected with Katherine on Skype. She talked about Ivan for fifteen minutes, discussing her research and writing process. After her inspiring and informative presentation, our students asked thoughtful questions. Her responses were articulate and brilliant. I wish you could have seen my smile.

As soon as the Skype session ended, my students thanked me over and over for including Katherine and Colby's students in our book club discussion.

Katherine and Colby, thank you for a memorable day. I'm off to Anderson's Bookshop to buy two copies of The One and Only Ivan.

Reader, if you're interested in owning a copy, please fill out the form below.

Borrow The One and Only Ivan from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Colby's students wrote this poem about The One and Only Ivan.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Thursday is Poem in Your Pocket Day

Poem in Your Pocket Day is one of the best days of the year. It is SUPER SIMPLE to participate. Between now and Thursday morning, please select a poem to carry with you to share with colleagues, teachers, librarians, students, booksellers, pets, mail carriers, strangers...the list goes on and on.
Shannon Miller sent me Poem In Your Pocket for Young Poets. It is a collection of 100 poems with detachable pages. It may be too late to pick up a copy for this year's celebration, but keep it in mind for next year.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin and James Dean

Pete the Cat and his Four Groovy Buttons, the third book in Eric Litwin and James Dean's popular series, hits shelves on May 1, 2012. I stumbled upon its trailer when it had only one view. I bet many of you can imagine my excitement. Words like yippee, huzzah, w00t, and score left my mouth.

Prepare yourself.
It is hard not to smile, sing along, and dance to this catchy tune. Happy watching!

Pete the Cat was a candidate for the 2012 Road Trip Mascot Contest. He found himself neck and neck with Rocket for second place. This proves that readers young and old are wild about Pete.


Borrow Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Guest Post by Author Lynda Mullaly Hunt

I invited author Lynda Mullaly Hunt on Watch. Connect. Read. to discuss the book trailer for her debut novel, One for the Murphys. Thank you, Lynda!

Thanks so much, Mr. Schu for having me on your blog; I do love it, but it makes me miss teaching.

In marketing my debut novel, One for the Murphys, one of the new adventures I've had is my foray into the world of book trailer creation.

Being the research fiend that I am, I read all kinds of how-to articles. I watched several trailers, taking note of approaches that could work for my book. There are some beautiful quiet trailers, but most that I found were fast-paced with images that flash—riveting intros to fantastic books. Could I do a MURPHYS trailer with strobe lighting effects and pounding music? I thought it seemed a bit like painting flames on the side of a 1977 Datsun200SX.

Okay, it may sound like I’m dissing my own book—I’m not. It just so happens that this Datsun was my first car. I’ve had fancier ones since but, in many ways, I still love this car most of all. Perhaps it wasn’t super-flashy, but it was a memorable ride. A car I was happy to settle into for long trips. It had hidden treasures, things about it that one wouldn’t have expected to find (such as the old street sign welded to the bottom to keep the driver seat from coming through the floor). I still remember the smell of warm vinyl on a summer day. I have memories of that vehicle that make me laugh and some that deeply sadden me. It was a memorable part of my life. And it was a remarkable car.

So, in putting a book trailer together, I took a step back to consider what my book’s strengths are. I hope those may be in character development and emotional authenticity and in the unfolding of stories within stories.I also hope that the ride will be memorable with its emotional unfolding of a girl who’s been folded up too tight for too long. My greatest hope is that Carley, Toni, and the Murphys will feel as real to readers as they do to me.

My book trailer for One for the Murphys is my invitation to others to enter that world; I have tried to capture the essence of the story with it.And if you ever climb inside the book to take the journey with them, I do hope you enjoy the ride. I’d love to hear about your trip.

Lynda Mullaly Hunt is the author of middle-grade novel, ONE FOR THE MURPHYS (Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin), winner of The Tassy Walden Award: New Voices in Children’s Literature. She is also a former teacher and Scenario Writing coach. Lynda has been Director of the SCBWI-NE Whispering Pines Retreat for six years. Lynda lives with her husband, two kids, impetuous beagle and beagle-loathing cat.
"An astonishing debut! Lynda Mullaly Hunt's direct style of writing has readers rooting for Carley Connors and all of the Murphys from start to satisfying finish.”

~~Leslie Connor, ALA Schneider Family Award-winning author of Waiting for Normal and Crunch.

“This is a beautiful book, filled with hope. You’ll cry and laugh along with Carley as she learns to lower her defenses enough to love—and, more surprisingly, be loved. It’s a story you’ll long remember.”

~~Patricia Reilly Giff, Newbery Honor-winning author of Pictures of Hollis Woods and Lily’s CrossingLook for One for the Murphys on May 10, 2012.
Lynda's blog is called Raised by the Apple Trees. She shares her "thoughts on children's books, the writers/editors/agents behinds those stories, the business of publishing, and the craft of writing."

Rules for the Giveaway
1. The giveaway runs from April 22 to 11:59 p.m. on April 29.

2. You must be at least 13 to enter the drawing.

3. Please pay it forward. :)

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Newbery Challenge: Invincible Louisa

Make sure you head over to Colby Sharp's blog to hear what he thinks of Invincible Louisa.

Newbery Challenge - Invincible Louisa

My goal is to snap a picture with every Newbery Medal winner.

I bet Travis Jonker (AKA Scope Notes) shed at least one tear when Picnik closed on April 19. He used Picnik and other photo-editing tools to create the cover on the right. Nice work, Scope!

I shot this video the day I checked out Invincible Louisa. A goose wanted to eat it.

Borrow Invincible Louisa from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Show Us Your #HoldShelf

Travis Jonker and I joined forces last month to make On Hold @ the Library a monthly event. What in the world am I talking about? Press play.

On Friday, April 27, I will post a picture of my hold shelf. If you would like your hold shelf included in the post, please send it to me before 8:00 p.m. on April 26. Thank you!

*Email the photo to MrSchuReads at gmail dot com.
*Tweet the photo using #HoldShelf.
*Post the photo to your blog and let me know in the comments.

The Sixty-Eight Rooms and Stealing Magic by Marianne Malone

Katherine Sokolowski is a fifth-grade teacher in Illinois. She inspires her students to be lifelong readers and writers. Her lucky students Skype with authors, connect with students and teachers around the world, and invite local authors into their classroom. Marianne Malone, the author of The Sixty-Eight Rooms and Stealing Magic, spent a morning with Katherine's students.

I asked Katherine to complete the following sentence starters using no more than twelve words.

*My students and I were excited about Marianne Malone’s author visit because most of them had never met an author in person before.

*My students walked away from Marianne’s author visit inspired to try and write their own stories.

*I connect students with authors because I want them to see that authors are “real” people too.

*Marianne Malone stressed the importance of living life like a writer, open to ideas.

*You should read The Sixty-Eight Rooms and Stealing Magic because the children are relatable and the story is exciting.

*The Throne Rooms
are a magical place several students have now gone to visit.

*Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about Donors Choose! My project was for a copy of Stealing Magic for every students. These are now treasured gifts. (Sorry! Over 11 on that one.)

Katherine, thank you for dropping by Watch. Connect. Read. to tell us about your successful author visit.

Download The Sixty-Eight Rooms discussion guide.

Borrow The Sixty-Eight Rooms and Stealing Magic from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.