Friday, April 29, 2011

Children's Book Week is a time-honored tradition and is dedicated to spreading the word about children's literature and encouraging the joy of reading. Next week at Allen, we will celebrate Children's Book Week in several ways:

We are fortunate to have so many wonderful books in the Allen Library. Although we are a new school of only two years, our collection continues to grow and grow. Students will have the opportunity to guess just how many titles we have. Prizes will be given to the child in each grade level that comes closest to guessing correctly.

Another way we'll be celebrating is that students who don't have overdue books will get to check out an extra book. Kindergarteners will check out two books next week, and all other grade levels will check out three. This is always a very popular activity!

Students will also be designing bookmarks to illustrate their favorite stories. A panel of judges will select one winner from each grade level. Copies of the winning bookmarks will be made available at the Allen Library. The following form that supplied more details was sent home in Thursday folders.

It's going to be a great week of reading!!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Another Golden Oldie

Even as a child, I've always had a fascination with the holocaust and events surrounding World War II. That's probably due to the fact that part of my ancestry comes from Germany, and I still have relatives living there to this day that I've never met. While my German paternal great grandparents were vacationing in New York, they had a grandfather. Being born in the United States made him a U.S. citizen. Years later, when his German government was trying to force him to join the army, he played his American card. He and my grandmother were able to move to the United States. Isn't it amazing how a couple of events can change the lives of families for generations to come? I hope to visit Europe some day, but until then, I can read about Germany and its people. Books take you places!

The following book didn't take place in Germany but a neighboring country...Denmark during the time of World War II. I loved this story, and especially appreciated the note at the end of the book by its author telling which events from the story were fantasy and which were fact. I won't give everything away, but how proud the Danes must be for being able to smuggle seven thousand Jews under the noses of German officials to safety!

Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated". Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life. An ALA Notable Book. A "School Library Journal" Best Book of the Year. Teacher's Guide. BDD Online-Teacher's Resource Center. F LOW
(Review taken from

Sunday, April 24, 2011

I became a librarian about ten years ago. Since that time, I've really tried to stay current in the new books that I read. Sometimes, though, there are popular books that are older than ten years that I haven't read. When someone asks me if I've read one of these titles, I am almost embarrassed to say (gulp) no! So, I'm going to make an effort to read some of the golden oldies.

The third graders are excited about a book that they're reading in class...Honus and Me by Dan Gutman. Of course, I had to know what all the buzz was about. After reading it, I have to agree that it is an awesome book! In my opinion, a good book does three things: it entertains, informs, and helps me learn something about myself. This book did all three.

Joe Stoshack is beginning to think life can't get much worse. The thing he likes best in the whole world is baseball. He knows everything there is to know about the game...except how to hit home runs. His specialty seems to be striking out. But Joe's life is about to change in the most amazing way. . .

When Joe gets a job cleaning old Miss Young's attic he's not too happy about it. The place is filled with tons of worthless trash, and he's only getting paid $5 for hauling it out. Suddenly Joe finds a little piece of cardboard. He's holding the world's most valuable baseball card. Joe is rich-really rich-but it's more than that. Suddenly-strangely-Joe is face-to-face with the player on the card...traveling through time with one of the greatest ballplayers who ever lived. F GUT
(review taken from

Monday, April 18, 2011

Can you think of anything better than hearing the giggles of children? One word makes them do just that...underwear. During our recent book fair, I ran across a couple of books that I'll be sharing with the kiddos this week on that very theme. Let the giggles begin!

"Aliens love underpants, in every shape and size,But there are no underpants in space, so here's a big surprise..."
You probably thought aliens came down to Earth with a view to taking over the planet - but, no, they simply want to steal your pants!
This zany, hilarious tale, delightfully brought to life by Ben Cort's vibrant illustrations, is sure to enchant and amuse the whole family. With a madcap, rhyming text, perfect for joining in, this story is fantastically fresh and funny. They'll be laughing their pants off!

On a wild and windy day all the washing blows away. Socks and vests, a woolly hat, and far worse than all of that - Charlie's Superhero Underpants! Disaster! Charlie sets off around the world to find them. He discovers a fine French Fox wearing sister Sophie's Socks, he finds a pair of llamas, wearing brother Ben's pyjamas...But Who has got Charlie's Superhero Underpants?

In the following book, I found it interesting that in the sixteenth century, people wore underwear to protect their fancy outer clothing. Since those clothes were so difficult to wash, they relied on their undergarments to keep them clean. Their underwear, though, was only washed a few times a year! Yikes!!!
You know how you tell your kids to be sure and change their underpants every day? Well, researchers are working to invent fabrics that will only have to be changed once a month! Seriously????

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Mrs. Helm's class adopted me this year, and have they ever been good to this librarian! For my birthday in March, they gave me a lovely basket full of goodies. This week for Teacher's Appreciation Week, I've been showered with gifts...teacher breakfast, beautiful flowers, a Mexican luncheon, and a basket of surprises.

Thank you so much, Mrs. Helm's class. It was so sweet of you to remember me. I love being spoiled!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Charlie Anne is devastated when her father must go north to build roads after the Depression hits. She and her siblings are left with their rigid cousin, Mirabel, and a farm full of chores. The only solace Charlie Anne finds is by the river, where the memory of her mother is strongest.

Then her neighbor Old Mr. Jolly brings home a new wife, Rosalyn, who shows up in pants—pants!—the color of red peppers. With her arrives Phoebe, a young African American girl who has also lost her mother. Phoebe is smart and fun and the perfect antidote to Charlie Anne's lonely days. The girls soon forge a friendship and learn from each other in amazing ways.

But when hatred turns their town ugly, it's almost more than they can bear. Now it's up to Charlie Anne and Phoebe to prove that our hearts are always able to expand. F FUS

Librarians, since prejudice is such a strong theme in this story,a great activity would be to bring a white and brown egg to school. After observing the outsides of the eggs and cracking them open to expose the insides, have students discuss how the eggs are alike and different. Of course, the only difference is the outside color of the eggs. Relate what they learned about the eggs to the people in the story. This is an activity that I learned from the blog Primary Perspective.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

When his parents surprise Jason with a family vacation to California, he is totally excited. Not only will he get to fly, he’ll have a chance to try out for Masquerade Mania! That’s before he learns that they will be camping cross-country in a sardine can (at least that’s what the contraption looks like). Jason’s willing to do just about anything to get a chance to be on Mania. But isn’t wearing pink underwear, enduring the stares of fellow campers, and putting up with his pain-in-the-neck sister above and beyond the call of duty? F ROB (review taken from

Since the main character in this story hoped to get on his favorite game show, I plan to introduce this lesson with the students by hosting a game show of our own. Every game show needs a buzzer, so I'm going to ask the music teacher if I can borrow two different hand held musical instruments. After asking a trivia question of the two participants at the front of the room, the first one who rings his buzzer will get to go first. The characters in the book are Texans, so I'll probably start off the game by asking questions about Texas...What is our state flower?, What is the capital of Texas?, etc.

This is a story that your kiddos will surely enjoy!

Monday, April 4, 2011

The little boy from The Best Place to Read can now read by himself, and he's looking for an audience. But everyone--his parents, siblings, grandparents, even his dog!--is too busy to hear a story in this fun and lively tale. When our young reader finally settles in to read to his toys, he gets a surprise visit and learns that the best time to read is whenever you have loved ones to listen! With catchy, rhyming text and vibrant illustrations, this is the perfect read-aloud--anytime!
E BER (synopsis taken from