Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The Christmas Genie

If you could make one wish and have it come true, what would you wish for?  That's what I asked our third through fifth graders at Allen before I started reading The Christmas Genie. 

It's the last day of school before Christmas vacation and Alex, Chase, and the rest of Mrs. Walter's fifth-grade class couldn't wish more for that final bell to ring.

But the day takes a crazy turn when a mysterious meteorite crashes through their classroom window and a genie pops out. He will grant just one wish for the whole class to share. Be careful what you wish for!

(review taken from

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Six Flags Read to Succeed Program

Allen students have the opportunity to participate in the Six Flags Read to Succeed Program. Each student who reads for 6 hours by February 22, 2013, will earn a free Six Flags ticket to use this summer. 

Review the reading log below.

*This sheet should be used to record what and how long your child reads. 
*Each child should complete 6 hours or 360 minutes of recreational reading.
*Parents should initial each entry and then sign the reading log to verify that six hours of reading has been completed.
*Children can read books, magazines, newspapers, or comic books.  Reading for homework or a class assignment does not count.
*Kids can read independently or with an adult.
*The completed reading form should be returned to the child's teacher or librarian by February 22, 2013. 
*Late entries will not be accepted. 


Monday, December 3, 2012

Too Many Toys by David Shannon

Before reading this book, I asked our kindergarten readers which toy they absolutely would never think of giving away.  I heard a chorus of Legos, American Girl Dolls, bikes, Hot Wheels, play make-up, and many others.  The students could really relate to the character in this book who never wanted to get rid of any of his prized possessions. 

Caldecott Honor winner and bestselling author-illustrator David Shannon makes readers laugh aloud when young Spencer's mountain of toys becomes overwhelming. A book that will be read again and again.

Spencer has too many toys! His father trips over them, his mother falls over them, and the house is overflowing with junk. Now its time to give some of the mountain of goodies away, but Spencer finds it hard. In the end, he fills a box, but decides the one toy he can't part with is the box!

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Author David Shannon

This week in the library, we've been highligting one of my favorite authors...David Shannon.  Did you know that he wrote and illustrated his first book when he was just five years old?  There were only two words in this book, No David, because those were the only two words that he knew how to write at that time.  He drew a picture of something he wasn't supposed to do, and then wrote the words No David at the bottom of the page.  He then drew another picture of something he wasn't supposed to be doing and wrote No David at the bottom of that page, too.  He continued with this format for the rest of the book.  When he became an adult, his grandmother showed him the No David book she'd saved for him, I bet you can guess which book it became! 

Our kindergarteners are about five years old... the same age David Shannon was when he wrote his first book.  I asked them to write a word that they knew how to spell on our white board.  I think you'll be impressed with all the words our kindergarteners know!

Our students enjoy all of the "David" books that Mr. Shannon has written.  Did you know that David Gets in Trouble is #3 in our Top Ten Favorites that are checked out at Allen? 

I have a lot more to write about David Shannon, so please check back to learn about the other books we read by this great author! 

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Splat Says Thank You!

Don't you just love Splat the Cat?  In Splat Says Thank You!, Splat the Cat's trusty mouse friend, Seymour, needs cheering up, and Splat wants to help. He's been working on something special for Seymour—not just a thank-you card but a thank-you book! His book lists all the sweet and often hilarious reasons Splat is thankful for their friendship like the time that Splat gets his toe stuck in the bathtub faucet.  How do you think Seymour helps Splat get his toe unstuck?  Want to hear what some of the students at Allen Elementary suggested he try?

Call 9-1-1
Ask for Mom and Dad's help
Pull on Splat's toe. 
Dig his toe out with a stick.  OUCH!
Turn the water on full force to make his toe fall out..
Use butter to make his toe slippery.
Call the doctor.
Seymour could run down the pipe and push his toe out.
Burn through the metal faucet
Break the faucet open.
Tie a rope to Splat's toe and yank it out.
Saw through the faucet.

You'll have to read the book to find out how Seymour really helps Splat! 

 The funny adventures that Splat and Seymour have had together, complete with animated illustrations and a laugh-out-loud text from bestselling author and illustrator Rob Scotton, will leave Splat fans thankful to know this cat-and-mouse duo.  (review taken from

Monday, November 12, 2012

Thank You, Sarah

We the people of the United States...
Almost Lost Thanksgiving
Yes. That's right!
Way back when "skirts were long and hats were tall" Americans were forgetting Thanksgiving, and nobody seemed to care!
Thankfully, Sarah Hale appeared. More steadfast than Plymouth Rock, this lady editor knew the holiday needed saving. But would her recipe for rescue ever convince Congress and the presidents?
Join acclaimed author Laurie Halse Anderson on a journey of a woman and a pen that spanned four decades, the Civil War, and five presidents, all so you could have your turkey and eat it too! (review taken from

Friday, November 9, 2012

Grace's Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving smells fill the house. Grace is making a list of the things she's thankful for: yummy food, a loving family, and the fact that that her dog didn't eat all the pies. Find out how people celebrate this special time of year!  How do you spend Thanksgiving? 
Look for other books in this series that teach about additional holidays. 

Monday, November 5, 2012

Bluebonnet Books

If you come to The Allen Library, you'll probably not find a Bluebonnet Book on the shelf.  Why?  Our third through fifth graders are keeping them checked out.  If they read five Bluebonnets, they'll get to come to a voting celebration at the end of January to vote for their favorite one.  To learn more about these great books, the students recently used the iPads in the library to scan QR codes that took them to a Bluebonnet author's website, a Bluebonnet book's book trailer, or a website that pertained to a Bluebonnet book.  Bluebonnet Books are the best!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Allen All-Stars are gearing up for book fair!  Next week, the students will be previewing it to make out their wish lists.  On Friday, all Allen dads are welcome to join us for coffee in the library to shop at the book fair with their favorite kids.  You will find the schedule of events for next week posted below.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to call the Allen Library. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This week in the library, grades one and two have been learning about the 2x2 program.  In this program, twenty books are chosen from librarians all over Texas that they feel are great titles for primary children to read.  Students who listen or read to all the 2x2 books, fill in their boot, and return it to the library, get a surprise from me.  A form like the one below was sent home with first and second grade students.  If you need another form, feel free to click on the one below and print it off. 

So many of the 2x2 books are fun to read, so it was difficult for me to decide which one to read first to grades one and two.  I knew that I couldn't go wrong with a dog book... especially one by Lois Ehlert. 

Would you believe that Ralph the dog can talk? Yip, yip, yip--it's true! With bestselling author Lois Ehlert's simple, funny, call-and-response text and bold, playful collage illustrations, this fresh, young book is sure to get little ones laughing (and talking to their dogs!) review taken from

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Library Dragon

The first week of school...I love it!  New school supplies, clothes, friends, and BOOKS are all so much fun. 

I'll be reading The Library Dragon to grades 1-4.  It's a story about a librarian who is such a dragon that she doesn't even want the children to touch the books in the library.  Thank goodness this story has a happy ending, but it's a great springboard for discussing library guidelines. 

Thursday, May 31, 2012

I have a lot of catching up to do on this blog.  It's been very busy, and the month has FLOWN by!  There is another blog that you'll want to follow this summer that the Frisco ISD librarians will be sponsoring.  While there, you'll find weekly themes, book reviews, reading lists, and book recommendations.  Can't wait to see you there! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

GREEP BOINK MEEP! The three little aliens are happily settling into their new homes when the Big Bad Robot flies in to crack and smack and whack their houses down! A chase across the solar system follows in this out-of-this-world version of the classic Three Little Pigs tale. Margaret McNamara (How Many Seeds in a Pumpkin?) and Mark Fearing (The Book that Eats People) have created a humorous and visually stunning story that kids will adore—and that will introduce them to the planets and the solar system. The endpapers even include a labeled diagram of all the planets.  (review taken from

Friday, May 4, 2012

A Big Thank You!

I want to send a special thank you to the students and parents in Mrs. Henry's third grade class. You have done so many nice things for me this year, and my heart is full of gratitude!  This week for Teacher Appreciation Week, I loved receiving the beautiful flowers, tasty treats, and ADORABLE poster with notes from the students written on library cards.  Thank you for being so sweet to me!   

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Who doesn't love Froggy?  In the library this week, we're reading Froggy Goes to Hawaii. 

Froggy can't wait to get to Hawaii. He's got big plans! Surfing, swimming with the fish, learning to dance the hula -he'll be busy every moment. But somehow, when lovable, trouble-prone Froggy's around, nothing goes as planned.  (review taken from

After hearing the story, the kids drew a picture of their favorite vacation and wrote about it on the back of their paper using:

Who-Who did you go on vacation with?
What-What did you do? 

When-When did you go?
Where-Where did you go on vacation?
Why-Why was it the best vacation ever?

Many of the kids checked out books about different places they'd like to go, because they know that books take you places! 

Reading About Froggy Was "Ribbiting"!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

President Research

In second grade rotation, we've been researching our United States presidents.  The students were each assigned a president that they knew nothing about.  After a little reading, though, that certainly changed.  These are the booklets that they used:

Don't you love their art work?  

They took notes to answer questions about their president.

The boys and girls learned some new terms that were helpful in citing their source.

This is the set of books they used to learn about the presidents  They were written on a good level for second graders but were challenging, too.

Next week, we're going to start learning about poetry.  The boys and girls weren't too excited when I announced what our next study would be, but I can't wait to show them how much fun poetry can be!  Make sure that you come back to see the exciting things we're going to do.  

Monday, April 9, 2012

We are super excited about the book fair that is coming up soon at Allen.  Below you will find the activities planned for this week, as well as, the preview schedule for each class. 

Monday, April 2, 2012

Would you mind being friends with someone who looked very different from you and your other buddies?  Meet August (called Auggie for short).  He has to attend school for the very first time and he's in the fifth grade.  Going to a new school would be scary enough, but he has a facial deformity that he knows will set him apart from his other peers.  This is a great book to learn about the courage it takes to be different. 

I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August (Auggie) Pullman was born with a facial deformity that prevented him from going to a mainstream school—until now. He's about to start 5th grade at Beecher Prep, and if you've ever been the new kid then you know how hard that can be. The thing is Auggie's just an ordinary kid, with an extraordinary face. But can he convince his new classmates that he's just like them, despite appearances?

R. J. Palacio has written a spare, warm, uplifting story that will have readers laughing one minute and wiping away tears the next. With wonderfully realistic family interactions (flawed, but loving), lively school scenes, and short chapters, Wonder is accessible to readers of all levels.  (

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

New for 2011-2012, Frisco ISD now has ebooks and audiobooks available for download from Overdrive. 

Getting started is as easy as 1,2,3!

1.  With your parent's permission, download the free Overdrive app to your iDevice, Kindle, or computer. 

2.  Find Frisco ISD Libraries.

3.  Search for the book of your choice, and use your school id # to check out the book you want just like you do at school!

You are allowed two Ovedrive checkouts.  Make sure you read them in two weeks.  At the end of that time, they will mysteriously disappear!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

If your dog could talk, what do you think he'd say?  That's the question I asked the kindergarten and first grade students before reading this adorable book about one very cute puppy. 

A dog is a man's (and a child's) best friend--but it's tough when your best friend can only bark, yip, growl, and howl!Young readers will empathize with this sweet and funny story of a boy who begs his dog to talk. Tim Bowers' humorous pictures give a glimpse of what life might be like if dogs could crack jokes, chat on the phone, and even sing lullabies! (review taken from

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Third grade book club will begin next Monday at 7:30 in the library to finish a book that I started reading this week during classroom story times.  The name of the title is How to Steal a Dog. 

Before I started reading this book, I asked my students if it was ever ok to steal.  The kids unanimously answered that it wasn't.  However, after reading a couple of chapters and asking the same question, the students weren't quite so sure.  This is a great book to teach about the concept of empathy and that making the right choices aren't always easy.  Sometimes answers aren't as simple as they seem. 

Half of me was thinking, Georgina, don’t do this. Stealing a dog is just plain wrong. The other half of me was thinking, Georgina, you’re in a bad fix and you got to do whatever it takes to get yourself out of it.

Georgina Hayes is desperate. Ever since her father left and they were evicted from their apartment, her family has been living in their car. With her mama juggling two jobs and trying to make enough money to find a place to live, Georgina is stuck looking after her younger brother, Toby. And she has her heart set on improving their situation. When Georgina spots a missing-dog poster with a reward of five hundred dollars, the solution to all her problems suddenly seems within reach. All she has to do is “borrow” the right dog and its owners are sure to offer a reward. What happens next is the last thing she expected.

With unmistakable sympathy, Barbara O’Connor tells the story of a young girl struggling to see what’s right when everything else seems wrong.  (review taken from

Thursday, February 23, 2012

If you were to give advice to a younger kid who'd never ridden the school bus before, what would you tell them?  That's exactly what I asked our third through fifth graders before I read this awesome book. 

Kyle is dreading his first trip aboard the school bus. Luckily, his big brother, James, is a school bus expert. James gives Kyle ten rules for riding the bus that he absolutely, positively must obey if he wants to avoid getting laughed at or yelled at, pushed around, or even pounded. During his fateful ride, Kyle grapples with each unbreakable rule. Along the way, he discovers that the school bus isnt so bad, and he may even have a thing or two to teach his brother.  (review taken from

I almost didn't read this to the fifth graders but was so glad that I did.  Guess who laughed the loudest?  :)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Our first graders are research rockstars!  They have spent time lately in the library researching different ocean animals.  They first got a lesson from Mrs. Hobbie explaining some of the fundamentals of research...or those things that make it easier.  Some of these included the use of the table of contents, index, and glossary.  When the firsties found out that they didn't have to write in whole sentences, they thought that was awesome!  They hadn't heard that before this year.  This is the research planner that they used to gather their information. 

Their teachers then instructed them to draw a picture of their animal and using their notes to write three to five good sentences about what they'd learned.

Learning about ocean animals rocks! 

We'd like to thank the many parent and grandparent volunteers who assisted us each day with research. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Do you ever find it difficult to keep track of the time you read each afternoon?  Here is something to try.  Ask you mom or dad for a piece of gum.  Chew it while you read.  Once the flavor is all gone, it's ok for you to stop reading.  Of course, you don't have to!  You can go right on if you'd like.  Here's a little poem to help you remember this tip:

Reading books can be so fun...
Especially while you're chewing gum!
Read the story while you chew.
And when the flavor's gone you're through!

(I found this neat idea at via pinterest.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

The cutest kitty in the world is back with a fun and sweet valentine story in Love, Splat

 It's Valentine's Day and Splat has a special valentine for a certain someone in his class. Her name is Kitten, and Splat likes her even more than fish sticks and ice cream. But Kitten doesn't seem to like him at all--she always ties his tail and pokes his belly when she sees him. And then there's Splat's rival, Spike, who also likes Kitten. Will Splat's heartfelt valentine win Kitten's paw in the end?

In this funny follow-up to "Splat the Cat," Rob Scotton captures the highs and lows of a first crush with humor and understanding. (review taken from

As an extension to this story, I had the second grade students make a valentine web by writing and illustrating five things that they love about somone in their life. 

I'm positive that the recipients will enjoy receiving them as much as the children loved making them! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

We've been super busy at the Allen Library, but that hasn't left much time for blogging.  I'll try to get caught up in the next few days to let you know what we've been doing.. 

Last week, we had sixty-five kids in grades third, fourth, and fifth vote for their favorite Bluebonnet Book.  What a tough decision they had to make!  Their top three picks were:

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

The votes of our Allen students were then added to the votes of other school children all over Texas.  Collectively, they gave the honor of Bluebonnet Book of the Year to (drum roll!)... 


Here's a great clip of Author Tom Angleberger as he speaks about receiving this awesome award.

Next week, those sixty-five students who voted for their favorite Bluebonnet Book will enjoy celebrating in the library.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Have you ever read Snowmen at Night or Snowmen All Year?  The second graders have been listening to these stories this week.  The illustrations are beautiful and full of detail!  After hearing the stories, students used black construction paper and colored chalk to draw a detailed picture of what they would do with their snowmen if they were made of magical snow and stayed around all year long.  The activity was a little messy but so much fun!

Have you ever built a snowman and discovered the next day that his grin has gotten a little crooked, or his tree-branch arms have moved? And you've wondered . . . what do snowmen do at night? This delightful wintertime tale reveals all Caralyn Buehner's witty, imaginative verse offers many amusing details about the secret life of snowmen and where they go at night, while Mark Buehner's roly-poly snowmen are bursting with personality and charm. From the highly successful team that created such winning titles as "Fanny's Dream," "Snowmen at Night" is fabulous, frosty, and fun

In this lighthearted, funny follow-up to the previous Snowmen bestsellers, our young narrator dreams of a non-melting snowman friend who joins him for all of the year's events. They ride a roller coaster together, dive into a swimming pool in the summer, watch the Fourth of July fireworks, and trick-or-treat on Halloween.

It's hilarious, happy wish fulfillment that kids will adore. As Kirkus said of the first book, "It would be difficult not to fall in love with this rollicking flight of imagination."

(Reviews taken from

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Happy Birthday to our wonderful Mrs. Bowden.  Thank you for being such an awesome library aide.  Mrs. Bowden is pictured with some students from Mrs. O'Connell's kindergarten class.  They have adopted her for the school year.  The flowers and other special surprises made her day! 

Monday, January 23, 2012

Did you know that today is National Pie Day?  Do I ever have the perfect book for you.  It's simply called Pie.  I knew it would be a treat as soon as I saw that its author was Sarah Weeks.

From the award-winning author of SO B. IT, a story about family, friendship, and...pie!

When Alice's Aunt Polly passes away, she takes with her the secret to her world-famous pie-crust recipe. Or does she? In her will, Polly leaves the recipe to her extraordinarily surly cat Lardo . . . and then leaves Lardo in the care of Alice.

Suddenly Alice is thrust into the center of a piestorm, with everyone in town trying to be the next pie-contest winner ... including Alice's mother and some of Alice's friends. The whole community is going pie-crazy . . . and it's up to Alice to discover the ingredients that really matter. Like family. And friendship. And enjoying what you do. (review taken from

I'm off to go make one of my family's favorite pies...cherry.  What kind do you like best?