Monday, March 30, 2015

#HoldShelf Gallery: March 2015

I have a large group of students who visit the library almost every day to place books on hold and to check on the status of their holds. After they place a book on hold or pick up a special book that is waiting for them on the hold shelf, they often look at displays, have conversations with me, and find something they didn't know they needed. The hold shelf brings readers to the library. 

Let's take a look at what readers around the world are excited to read. 

Travis Jonker's shelf

My shelf

Bernard Zell Anshe Emet School's shelf 

Jessup School's shelf 

Coudersport Elementary School's shelf

Elizabeth Husketh's shelf

Apollo's shelf 

South Mebane Elementary's shelf

Westchester Elementary School's shelf

Dana Frank's shelf

Perryton Junior High's shelf

Rush Creek Elementary School's shelf 

Gretchen's shelf 

Angie Woodson's shelf 

Megan's shelf 

Linda's shelf 

Mrs. N's shelf 

Maria's shelf

Campbell Middle School's shelf 

Brenda Kahn's shelf

Wallace Elementary School

Shari Butterfield's shelf 

Amy Ball's shelf 

Diane Brown's shelf 

Jamie Jensen's shelf 

Amy Timmins' shelf

Jennifer Gordon's shelf 

Debbie Alvarez's shelf 

Book Tasty's shelf 

Irving School's shelf 

Sharon Peterson's shelf 

Mrs. Greer's shelf 

King County Library's shelf

Rebecca Wynkoop's shelf

Bethe Marie Lehman's shelf 

@BooksonBikes' shelf 

Carver Middle School's shelf

Chad Reno's shelf 

Bryant Elementary School's shelf

Oak School's shelf 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Last Week Told Through Vines


I checked out these books from the Naperville Public Library. 


In honor of The Day the Crayons Quit winning the 2015 Monarch Book Award, first graders wrote about their favorite colors. 


What's on the hold shelf? 


Newbery Medalist Katherine Applegate visited Anderson's Bookshop. 


This display in my home office makes me ridiculously happy. 

Good thing Sea Rex arrived with sunscreen! :) 


I cannot see my nieces without giving them a stack of books. 

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Happy Saturday, Mr. Sharp!

Hi, Mr. Sharp,

Happy Saturday! I hope you had the best time at the Michigan Reading Association Annual Conference last night. I enjoyed reading the tweets and watching the vines. 

Have a safe and fun drive to Alabama with your family! 

Happy spring break! 


Please visit Colby's blog to watch his video. 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Illustrator Christopher Silas Neal

Many of you are getting ready to work in your gardens and beautify your yards. Before you start digging in the dirt, I recommend you read Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. It is a scrumptious treat from cover to cover. 

Illustrator Christopher Silas Neal dropped by to chat with me about Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt, Kate Messner, animals, picture books, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and he wrote the words in black. Many thanks, Christopher! 

Kate Messner and I have worked together on two books. The second of those books is out now. It’s called Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt. Kate writes, I draw, Chronicle books puts it all together to make something delightful and informative.

The illustrations for Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt were really fun to make! Along with many different flowers and vegetables, you’ll find drawings of a skunk, a rabbit, a snake, and a praying mantis.

My favorite thing about summer is that I ride my bike to my studio every single day. Oh, and I love the beach.

Animals are amazing. I can’t stop making books about them.

When I was in elementary school I loved Michael Jackson. I had an outfit with one glove that sparkled. Then I saw a Michael Jackson cover band and afterwards gave my glove to the female lead singer. She was amazing and felt she could make better use of the glove than I ever would.

Picture books are magic and reading is nourishment.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me about my cat Fabrizio. He’s an Italian, orange tabby. Weighing a hefty 19 pounds doesn’t stop him from chasing robins in our garden. He sleeps a lot and is always hungry. I may be writing a book inspired by him.

Borrow Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

A Q&A with the Stars of How to Surprise a Dad

Hi, Brother! Hi, Sister! This is the first time I've interviewed fictional characters. Thanks for agreeing to this interview. I know you have a million other things you could be doing right now.

You two are the masters of planning surprises. Please tell us about three of the surprises you planned for your dad. 

Brother: First of all, “Thank you, Mr. Schu!”  We’ve never been interviewed before.  It’s always, always Jean-the-author who gets interviewed.  

Sister: Yep, ditto to the thank you!  Okay, so my favorite surprise isn’t in the book.  One fall, we secretly planted crocus bulbs.  Dad had no idea until spring came, and the flowers peeked through the snow.  

B: I loved hiding hearts everywhere because weeks and weeks later he’d still find a random, forgotten heart.  

S: Another favorite was when we made a secret treasure map of our yard for his birthday surprise.  It was fun to plan, and it was hilarious to watch him follow the clues.  

Illustration Credit: Lee Wildish

The cake you made for your dad is really something. How could someone recreate it? 

B: It’s tricky, but with icing—lots of icing—it's easy.  First, make the shape of your dad’s head by piling up a bunch of cupcakes or by stacking different-sized cake layers.  Cover the pile with lots of icing. Use candy, nuts, and fruit bits to add his face, plus glasses, beard, mustache, hair, and ears.  Go wild!  That’s what our illustrator, Lee Wildish, did.

S: Or keep it simple.  Use just one layer of cake.  With a little icing, make your dad’s face on the top, flat part.  Kinda like decorating a pancake.  So much easier.

Illustration Credit: Lee Wildish 

What five words best describe your dad?  

S:   Outdoorsy.
B:   Ticklish.
S:   Good-listener. 
B:   Super-reader.

Please finish these sentence starters: 

Picture books are where we come alive! It's the only place we come alive!

Reading is exciting—alone or with others!

It’s exciting for me now, but I had a really hard time learning to read.  (So did Jean-the-author when she was a kid.)  I worked hard, and it seemed like everyone around me caught on easily.  I kept working hard and still I had trouble.  It didn’t seem fair.

B: Yeah, it wasn’t fair, because she did work hard.  And boy, did she get frustrated.  

S: Our author got frustrated too. But then finally, I learned to read. So if you’re struggling, hang in there. Keep trying and you will eventually learn to read. And like me, I bet you’ll LOVE reading!  

Jean Reagan and Lee Wildish...

S: . . . are a great team.  Jean sometimes gets a little too sappy or serious.  Lee ups the silliness.  In fact, I think he sometimes steals the show with his illustrations!

B: Did you know these two have never met? They haven’t even emailed each other directly. They communicate only through their editors and art directors. Surprising, isn’t it?

Illustration Credit: Lee Wildish 

Mr. Schu, you should have asked us...

B: ...if we’re going to star in another book.  Well, we’re not in their next book which is about  Santa.  But, I’m hoping we’ll be in the book after that. Mr. Schu, you’ll like that one—it’s about teachers, including a librarian, of course.

S: I want to be in the recess illustration, because I know some cool tricks on the monkey bars.  

B: I hear the classroom pet is an iguana, so I hope to be in charge of feeding and exercising it.  

B & S: Thanks, Mr. Schu.  Maybe you can interview us again when we're in another book.  Happy reading!

Thank you, Brother, Sister, and Jean Reagan! 

Borrow How to Surprise a Dad from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

A Message from the Children's Book Council

Voting for the Children's Choice Book Awards-- the only national book awards program where the winners are picked by young readers -- is open at until May 3!  

Visit the resource page for teachers, packed with fun ideas to kick start your school's celebration!
  • Display the finalists in your class.
  • Encourage kids to read and vote for their favorites online.
  • Turn your classroom into a polling place! Print copies of the ballots (children's ballotteen ballot), then host a polling day or create a ballot box. You can then tally and enter students' votes into the group ballot.
  • Use "I Voted" stickers, Awards banners, and more from our digital toolkit.

Last year, over 1,200,000 young readers made their voices heard! 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Happy book birthday to The Penderwicks in Spring!

I'm having a difficult time believing it is the fifth day of spring. Is that snow falling and falling and falling outside my window? Is Elsa playing a trick on me? 

If you're in a similar situation, I know what will make you feel better. Run out to your local independent bookshop and buy a copy (or 10) of The Penderwicks in Spring. It will help you get excited about spring and transport you to a happy place. You'll thank me later! 

National Book Award winner Jeanne Birdsall dropped by to celebrate The Penderwicks in Spring. I wrote the words in red, and she wrote the words in black. Thank you, Jeanne! 

Filmed on December 1, 2014 

The Penderwicks are back! The Penderwicks in Spring tells the story of music, loyalty, secrets, and more music. Introduced is the newest Penderwick, toddler Lydia, who drives the rest of the family nuts. Especially Ben, who would have preferred to end up with at least one brother, for heaven’s sake.

I hope Nick Geiger comes across as one of the big hearts at the center of the book. While I was writing The Penderwicks in Spring, one of my nephews, also named Nick, did two tours with the Army in Afghanistan. Keeping Nick Geiger safe helped calm my fears for my nephew. I’m delighted to report that the real Nick is now indeed safe, stationed in Texas, and has a cool dog named Clyde.

When I was Batty’s age  I was in fifth grade, the best of all my years at school. (Thank you, Miss Farrell.) I was devouring Louisa May Alcott’s books, had crushes on a series of boys, and got to star in the class play—the literal heroine in an old-fashioned melodrama. Duncan Seidel was the hero, and Peter Simpson the villain. Peter made an excellent villain. During one performance, when I had to throw him the mortgage money, my too enthusiastic toss sent the packet flying off the stage and into the audience. “D—m you,” he hissed at me, still in character, and leaped off the stage to retrieve it. True genius.

Did you know that I named Gardam Street, where the Penderwicks live, after Jane Gardam, an English author? The writer Patricia MacLachlan recommended her books to me, and now I’m recommending them to everyone else. Also, I named Cameron, the Penderwicks’ town, after Julia Margaret Cameron, a 19th century photographer who was a big influence on me back when I was still a serious photographer. Cameron also happened to be Virginia Woolf’s great-aunt, but that isn’t why I like her. (True confessions: I’m not much for the Modernists.)

Broadside Bookshop is my favorite bookstore in the world not just because I can walk to it from my house (everyone should have a bookstore around the corner), but because the people who work there are funny, friendly and know exactly what books I like best. Mr. Schu, I know why you’re asking—I slipped it into The Penderwicks in Spring! Batty loves it there, too.

School libraries are not just rooms where books are kept on shelves, but welcoming worlds that call out to be visited and wandered through. Reading isn’t an instinctive skill. It must be nurtured and, above all else, modeled. The best school librarians (I’m looking at you, Mr. Schu) do this with great skill and dedication, enriching many children’s lives along the way.

Reading is my haven and my joy. As soon as I learned how to read, books became a large and vital part of my everyday life. On the one hand I had reality—school, my friends, my family—and on the other, balancing all that, whatever book I was reading at any given moment. I went from book to book to book, with never a space in between. Even now, I don’t like the feeling of being without a book. As soon as I finish one, I pluck the next from my over-flowing shelves, to have it waiting for me, pulsing with words and characters, with a different world.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me if I can sing! No, alas, not at all. I’ve always had the soul of a singer, but not the pipes. I’m living my dream through Batty.

Borrow The Penderwicks in Spring from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

What is on Your #HoldShelf?

Mr. Travis Jonker and I want to see YOUR #HoldShelf. 

It is easy to participate. 

  1. Locate a shelf used as a waiting area for books your patrons have put on hold.
  2. Photograph/video/Vine that thing like no tomorrow.
  3. Email your photo/video to mrschureads (at) gmail (dot) com, or tweet it @MrSchuReads with the hashtag #holdshelf. Submit your hold shelf pictures by Sunday, March 29. The gallery will go up at Watch. Connect. Read. the following day.
  4. Thank you! 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The April #SharpSchu Book Club Meeting

Mr. Colby Sharp, Margaret McNamara, Victoria Jamieson, and I hope you'll join us on Poem in Your Pocket Day to discuss A Poem in Your Pocket and Roller Girl. I cannot wait to find out which poem you'll carry in your pocket. 

Borrow A Poem in Your Pocket and Roller Girl from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshop. 

Saturday, March 21, 2015

A Message for Mr. Sharp and an Interview with Maripat Perkins

Dear Mr. Sharp, 

I hope you're having a wonderful day. Are you excited for MRA and spring break? I'm sad to miss MRA for the first time in three years, but I'm excited to spend time in New York City. Good times! 

Instead of filming a video this week, I'm sharing my interview with Maripat Perkins. We chatted about Rodeo Red, Molly Idle, picture books, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and Maripat wrote the words in black. 

Have a great day!


Visit Mr. Sharp's blog to watch his Saturday video. 

Rodeo Red and Rusty are probably curled up surrounded by a load of library books right about now.

Did you know Sideswiping Slim is actually a lot like my daughter was when she was little. She liked nothing better than to mosey into her big brother’s room and take off with anything that wasn’t nailed down.

Molly Idle’s illustrations are Full and Rich. There is something so scrumptious about her scenes. After reading one of her books, or enjoying her images for Red, I feel well fed and completely satisfied.

Picture Books are stackable, so it’s important to take out as many as you can carry. (I often wish libraries provided grocery carts. I would take books out by the cartful!)

Download the Tomfoolery-proof Guide to Hostin' Rodeo Red's Roundup

Reading is essential. Not quite on par with breathing, but pretty durned close.

Mr. Schu, you should have asked me What’s the Best thing about being a new author? Meeting Lots of people who Love picture books as much as I do!

Thank you, Maripat! 

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