Monday, March 31, 2014

The April #SharpSchu Book Club

Colby Sharp and I hope you're able to participate in the next Sharp-Schu Book Club meeting on April 22. 

I am giving away a copy of Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets! and Water Can Be... 

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 3/31 to 11:59 p.m. on 4/2. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Geisel Challenge: Week 1

Welcome to the first week of the Geisel Challenge. Mr. Colby Sharp and I will post a video every Saturday for the next eight weeks. We hope you'll participate in this short and rewarding challenge.

Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas by Cynthia Rylant; illustrated by Sucie Stevenson 

"So, all of her books have that gentleness to it. That kindness. She's done picture books, novels, is readers, she has an incredible range. Poetry. Beautiful volumes of poetry. Someone who has her own style and her own voice." - Anita Silvey 

Hi! Fly Guy by Tedd Arnold 

Learn more about the Fly Guy series. 

Tedd Arnold talks about the Fly Guy series. 

A Splendid Friend, Indeed by Suzanne Bloom 

Suzanne Bloom reads A Splendid Friend, Indeed 

An interview with Suzanne Bloom 

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa by Erica Silverman; illustrated by Betsy Lewin 

The book trailer for Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa: Horse in the House 

Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day by Jean Van Leeuwen; illustrated by Ann Schweninger 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

The Duck and Goose Go to the Beach Trifecta

 Margie Myers-Culver, Colby Sharp, and I are celebrating Tad Hills' Duck and Goose Go to the Beach. I hope you have a blast jumping from blog to blog. Ready, set, start reading!  

Thank you for publishing Tad Hills’ picture books!  He visited my school library shortly after Rocket Writes a Story came out. My students and I are huge fans of Tad, Rocket, Duck, and Goose.  

Scenario: You’re shopping at Books of Wonder when you spot a family looking at the picture-book section. You decide to tell them about Duck and Goose Go to the Beach. Ready, set, booktalk! 

Schwartz and Wade: Have you ever been really excited about going somewhere new but also really scared? Here’s a picture book about exactly that. Duck wants to have an adventure. Goose doesn’t. After all, why would they leave the meadow, where they are perfectly happy?  But when Goose does agree to join Duck, and they find themselves at the beach, he loves it! And guess who doesn’t? The sand’s too hot on Duck’s feet, the roar of the waves is too loud. Duck just wants to go back home. As is true with every Duck and Goose book, you’re sure to recognize yourself in these characters, and come to understand that it’s good to be open to new adventures--but also that it sure is nice to go home. 

What’s next for Rocket, Duck, and Goose? 

Schwartz and Wade: In July, 2014 we are publishing Tad’s first leveled reader--Drop it, Rocket! It’s a Level 1 Step-Into-Reading title. Then five months later in December 2014, we are publishing a second--Rocket’s 100th Day of School. Leveled readers feel like a perfect step for the next Rocket books. On the Duck & Goose front, we have a new board book about colors in the works for Spring 2015,  in time for Easter. 

What is one thing that you want everyone reading this post to know about your imprint? 

Schwartz and Wade: Well, that it’s not just the two of us making books over here. We have an art director, Rachael Cole; a senior editor, Annie Kelley; and an assistant editor, Stephanie Pitts. We all collaborate with our authors and illustrators, and put our hearts and souls into every book we publish. We hope when people see a book with our imprint on the spine, they associate it with high quality and know that we have worked hard to make it the best book it can possibly be. (Also, we are new to Twitter and really want more followers!) 

I always look forward to when Publishers Weekly announces your forthcoming list. It is evident that you believe in the power and importance of quality picture books. Please tell us about three picture books from your spring list. 

Schwartz and Wade: There are so many books we love that are coming along, so this is a challenge, but here you go. In addition to Duck & Goose Go to the Beach in spring, we have Sparky! a book about a girl and her unlikely new pet, written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by new picture book illustrator, Chris Appelhans; The Dandelion’s Tale, a moving story about the importance of storytelling by debut author Kevin Sheehan and debut illustrator Rob Dunlavey; and Elizabeth, Queen of the Seas, based on a true story about an elephant seal by extreme swimmer Lynne Cox and illustrated by this year’s Caldecott medalist, Brian Floca. 

Please finish these sentences: 

Picture Books are a way for young readers to expand their worlds—to learn about a world outside of their own.

Reading is a way for readers to connect with others like themselves, to help them understand themselves better, and to feel less alone. 

I am giving away one copy of Duck and Goose Go to the Beach

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. I am giving way one copy of Duck and Goose Go to the Beach

2. It will run from 3/25 to 11:59 p.m. on 3/27. 

3. Please pay it forward. 

Visit Margie's wonderful blog to read her review of Duck and Goose Go to the Beach

Mr. Colby Sharp interviewed author-illustrator Tad Hills. 

Duck and Goose Go to the Beach will be released on April 8, 2014. 

Monday, March 24, 2014

March #HoldShelf

It is time to send Mr. Travis Jonker a photograph or a video of your hold shelf. 

Here are Mr. Jonker's directions: 

  • Snap a photo, make a Vine, heck – draw a picture of your hold shelf and email it toscopenotes @ gmail dot com.

  • Tweet a picture. Please include #holdshelf and @100scopenotes in your tweet.

  • Please send your submission by 8:00 p.m. (EDT) on Sunday, March 30.  Travis will collect them all in a gallery going up on Monday, March 31.

Are you ready to discuss Harriet the Spy tomorrow?

The Sharp-Schu Book Club is discussing Harriet the Spy tomorrow night at 7:00 CDT. I hope you'll join us!  

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch

My students participate in three readers' choice book award programs: Caudill, Bluestem, and Monarch. The Caudill winner was announced a week ago and Bluestem and Monarch were announced on Friday. Drum roll, please! 

2014 Rebecca Caudill Award Winner

Wonder by R.J. Palacio 

2014 Bluestem Award Winner

Wonder by R.J. Palacio  (Wow, it is a good year for August Pullman!) 

                   2014 Monarch Book Award Winner

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School by Laura Murray and Mike Lowery 

The following interview was originally posted on August 9, 2013. I wrote the words in red, and Laura wrote the words in black. 

The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School is a funny twist on the classic tale, told by the Gingerbread Man himself –

“I began in bowl. I was not yet myself,
just a list of ingredients pulled from a shelf.”

But this time, he isn't on the run… he's sliding down handrails, hiding in lunch bags, and spinning in the Principal's chair—all on the quest to find the children who made him 

I was a teacher before becoming a writer, and this story was inspired by my students’ favorite unit – the school Gingerbread Man Hunt. At its heart, the story is about belonging and acceptance, which is what I want for every child out there.

Mike Lowery’s illustrations are fresh, funny, and so endearing!  The comic/graphic novel style is just genius in my opinion.
The illustrations are really child-friendly as well - the kids at my school visits get such a kick out of being able to draw a close approximation of the little guy. I’ve heard comments like, “Hey, look! Mine’s pretty good – maybe I could be an illustrator too someday.”  When I hear that seed of an idea, it makes my heart happy!


The companion book is a “fired-up, follow-up” called The Gingerbread Man Loose on the Fire Truck, where the same little determined Gingerbread Man falls out of a classmate’s backpack on a field trip to the fire station, and is discovered by a hungry, crumb-snatching Dalmatian! An adventure ensues…
This book idea grew from our annual school Fire Station visit for October Fire Safety week. The students were always in awe, and the fire fighters were so friendly and genuine, letting the children try on their gear, explore the fire engine, and spray the hose. They also did an incredible job teaching the students about fire safety.
I started to envision how much fun it would be to put the Gingerbread Man and his class in that setting and see what adventures might happen.

School visits ROCK! They are one of my favorite "joys" of being a writerI love hearing the giggles and seeing the smiling faces full of mischief, wonder, and creative energy. When I visits schools, it's my goal to entertain, inspire, and show kids' how to let that creative energy bloom.
And the things kids say crack me up – at one of my recent school visits, a little guy in the front row was so excited to tell me that he was a writer too. I said, “Awesome! What do you write?” And he replied, “I write comics, my newest one is called…
What a title! What an imagination! I told him that I could already picture the illustrations for that one, and I would totally pick it off the shelves in a bookstore.
I’d also love to share the pictures below to show the incredible creativity of librarians, teachers, and parents. It is a blessing to work with these dedicated folks - they truly make books “come alive” for children.

A school library decorated so that kids could act out 
scenes from the first book -MISSING posters and all.

School Staff dressed like the GB Man, greeting kids in the auditorium. You should have seen the kids’ faces!

An awesome book nook created by teachers and kids! Who wouldn't want to read in this cool GB house?
I think book trailers
·are an incredibly fun way to capture attention and create anticipation for a book.
· tap into kids’ “visual” sides.
· would make great middle-grade class projects for the kids’ favorite books.

Picture books are magic, wonder, and adventure all wrapped up in a 32 page mini-art show.

Reading is when you hear your voice in a character’s voice, and understand others by walking in their shoes (or their little cookie feet.)

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me Where in the World is the Gingerbread Man?  Can you name the places he’s been? 
(This is a mapping game we have fun with at school visits. Would you like to test out your geography too?) 

Congratulations to R.J. and Laura! 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

A New Sharp-Schu Challenge

Colby Sharp and I decided on our new challenge during the Michigan Reading Association's annual conference. 

Katherine, thanks for filming us!

I hope you'll join us in reading all the Geisel Medal and Honor winners. Come back next Saturday to find out what we have to say about Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas; Hi! Fly GuyA Splendid Friend, Indeed; Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa; and Amanda Pig and the Really Hot Day

(P.S. I am s-l-o-w-l-y getting over laryngitis, which is why I cleared my throat about 4,000,000 times during the video.) 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Naperville Reads

Donna Kouri, a familiar face on this blog during our yearly reading road trip, hosted three energetic authors during this year's Naperville Reads celebration. Donna dropped by to chat with me about her successful event. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Donna! 

Naperville Reads is a wonderful annual event that draws the community together in a celebration of literacy. Students throughout town read books by the same author and each year a grade is selected to attend a presentation by this author. It is a perfect chance to celebrate fabulous literature and to build community by doing so. Most years both an adult author and a children’s author are selected. 

This year instead of one author, Naperville Reads hosted twelve authors! Harper Collins sent in twelve Class Acts authors to do presentations throughout the community. These authors formed of teams of three and went to schools to entertain students with a game show type presentation that can be best described as a literary smack down.

The Class Acts is a highly engaging program. Students learn about three authors and have fun participating in a game show where the winning team is awarded a set of Class Acts books. Laughter and hijinks abound during a Class Acts assembly. It is truly a reading rally and is so much fun to be part of.

Jeramey Kraatz’s The Cloak Society is a suspenseful trilogy that explores good vs. evil. It is full of heroes and villains and is perfect for that student who loves comics but wants a novel to read. Jeramey Kraatz created characters with unique powers that keep the reader’s attention page after page. It has been a favorite in our library since Jeramey Kraatz first visited our school last year. 

Tim Green told my students that sports are wonderful but the lessons you learn from sports are even more powerful. Sports teach you compassion, kindness, and teamwork. It is great to be good at sports but it is even better to be kind. He discussed RJ Palacio’s Wonder with students and told them it was a life-changing book that all students should read. 

The Seven Wonders series is full of excitement and suspense. Fans of the 39 Clues series flock to this series and eagerly await the release of new installments.

Visit the official website

We prepared for the Class Acts authors by learning about each one. We learned their background and read excerpts of their books. We watched book trailers and excitedly awaited the day they would visit our school. The 5th grade represented Team Tim Green and dressed in sports attire and the 4th grade represented Team Jeramey Kraatz and dressed as superheroes and villains. 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about the generosity of HarperCollins. They sent twelve authors instead of one. The authors remained in Naperville for most of the week, which allowed over 8,000 students to see them in the school setting. It allowed Naperville Reads to reach a whole new level. You should also have asked about some of the shenanigans that occurred during the evening events. Who knew Jeramey Kraatz and Chris Krovatin could look so fabulous in wigs?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Photos and Vines from Kate DiCamillo Day!

"Stories Connect Us" - Kate DiCamillo 

Dear Reader, 

Today my students and I hosted Kate DiCamillo, a Newbery Medalist and the current National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. Kate's National Ambassador speech resonated with every person in the room. She has the ability to reach all types of readers: shy readers, outgoing readers, dormant readers, super readers. Kids and teachers came up to me all afternoon to share how her visit touched their hearts. Kate DiCamillo is going to make a HUGE difference over the next two years as she travels around the country telling audiences about the importance of children's books and education. I wish I could beam her to every school library. 

Kate, thank you for writing timeless stories and for always speaking the truth. You have a lot of fans in Illinois. 

Happy reading!


A table filled with Kate's favorite books. 

A six-second tour of my school library.

I love this display.

Margie sent me this beautiful flowers.

Stickers for Kate DiCamillo Day.

Kate's cupcakes!

Kate's cake!

We celebrated Kate's birthday.

Kate's water bottles.

I love these signs! 

"With a warm, lively personality and a boisterous laugh, Ms. DiCamillo would appear a natural fit for the post of ambassador, which asks for an ability to relate to children and an overall contribution to children’s literature." -Julie Bosman

Visit the official website for The National Ambassador for Young People's Literature. 

Kate DiCamillo presented at the 2009 National Book Festival.

"I decided a long time ago," DiCamillo says, "that I didn't have to be talented. I just had to be persistent."

You don't want to miss this interview with Kate DiCamillo.

Kate DiCamillo received the 2013 Kerlan Award. 

Travis Jonker and I named Bink and Gollie the best book of 2010. 

"Starting as one of the most rejected writers, Kate DiCamillo has become one of this century’s most acclaimed authors. For those who like to use manuscript drafts with young readers, several versions of Because of Winn-Dixie can be found online here." - Anita Silvey

Mr. Travis Jonker sat down with Ambassador Kate.