Friday, April 12, 2019

The Chinese Emperor's New Clothes ( Ying Chang Compestine)

Since I have many Chinese students in my class, they were really keen to read this book. They all listened attentively. The story moves quickly enough but still is a good story for a substantial read at the carpet. I wondered if it really is a Chinese legend or just the creativity of the author. The author's note at the end was fascinating. The author loved to read forbidden books. It was a way to trick the rulers in China who banned certain books. She said due to the lack of books and other entertainment, she and her friends would pass the time by reciting stories from the illegal books they had read. This story is one she made up, adding her own twist to it, after hearing The Emporer's New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen. The picture of the author at the end, taken during the Cultural Revolution in China, is delightful!

Goodreads says:

Ming Da is only nine years old when he becomes the emperor of China, and his three advisors take advantage of him by stealing his stores of rice, gold, and precious stones. But Ming Da has a plan. With the help of his tailors, he comes up with a clever idea to outsmart his devious advisors: He asks his tailors to make “magical” new clothes for him. Anyone who is honest, the young emperor explains, will see the clothes’ true splendor, but anyone who is dishonest will see only burlap sacks. The emperor dons a burlap sack, and the ministers can’t help but fall for his cunning trick.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

The Whopper (Rebecca Ashdown)

In my class, we have been talking about how you feel when you do what you know you should versus how you feel when you don't do what you know you should. This book was a great connection to that story. In this story, adults can't see The Whopper but it slowly becomes a big monster that takes over Percy's life.

Goodreads says:

This humorous, quirky story is about a little boy who tells a lie, only to be followed around by his guilt in the form of the Whopper, a hungry and persistent monster. As Percy's guilt grows, so does the Whopper, until finally the Whopper EATS Percy! Percy at last realizes that he must tell the truth in order to keep the Whopper from growing any bigger. An appealing and warmhearted story about how a little lie can quickly grow out of control.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Sweep: The Story of A Girl and Her Monster (Jonathan Auxier)

This is one of those books that I'd love to read with kids. It's a little too much for grade 3 though, I think.  It made me want to read more by this author. It came highly recommended and did not disappoint.

The main character, Nan, really drew me in and had me cheering for her. It made me want to learn more about the history of child labor and sweeps and caring for orphans. A good twist to the lovely Mary Poppins stories. It's kind of a fairy tale, historical fiction book full of good cliff hangers and plot twists.

“ Brooms Up!”

“With brush and pail and soot and song!
A sweep brings luck all season long!”

Goodreads Says:
For nearly a century, Victorian London relied on "climbing boys"--orphans owned by chimney sweeps--to clean flues and protect homes from fire. The work was hard, thankless and brutally dangerous. Eleven-year-old Nan Sparrow is quite possibly the best climber who ever lived--and a girl. With her wits and will, she's managed to beat the deadly odds time and time again. 
But when Nan gets stuck in a deadly chimney fire, she fears her time has come. Instead, she wakes to find herself in an abandoned attic. And she is not alone. Huddled in the corner is a mysterious creature--a golem--made from ash and coal. This is the creature that saved her from the fire. 
Sweep is the story of a girl and her monster. Together, these two outcasts carve out a life together--saving one another in the process.


March 30, 2019 – 
page 8
 2.17% "Why does before get a capital: The first rule was you never asked another clinber about his life Before."
March 30, 2019 – 
page 32
 8.7% "The Sweep had never understood how a person could sleep through a sunrise. "It's like Heaven itself is offering you a gift you're too lazy to open.""
March 30, 2019 – 
page 35
 9.51% "...Miss Meyhew's Seminary (?) for Young Ladies"
March 30, 2019 – 
page 72
 19.57% "Nan watched Charlie watching his first sunrise. His eyes were impossibly wide.

It's like heaven itself is offering us a gift."
March 30, 2019 – 
page 72
 19.57% "Home is a safe place to put your things so burglars don't touch them."
March 30, 2019 – 
page 146
 39.67% "The best way to inspire a love of reading is to read something you love...even if it is difficult."
March 30, 2019 – 
page 130
 35.33% ""I did not have big arms then," Charlie said. "I used my head to push the bricks away. And then I helped in my Charlie way.:
Nan was surprised to hear how clearly he remembered all this. He was usually quite forgetful. "What do you mean by your 'Charlie way'?" she asked.
The creature shrugged and looked down at his hands. "Um..." Loose soot crumbled from his fingers. "I made it wake up in you.""
March 30, 2019 – 
page 131
 35.6% "Nan shook her head. "Made what wake up?"
He looked up at her. "Your heart.""
April 10, 2019 – 
page 131
 35.6% "Nan shook her head. "Made what wake up?"
He looked up at her. "Your heart.""
April 10, 2019 – 
page 166
 45.11% "Nan told Charlie about the whole thing. How the baby Jesus was born in a basket and how a wicked kind tried to kidnap him but then a big bearded angel named Father Christmas fought the king...he tossed the baby Jesus down the chimney of a girl named Mary, and that was the first Christmas present." every year in winter, Father Christmas spends one night bringing presents down the chimneys of good boys and girls"
April 10, 2019 – 
page 180
 48.91% "That's how it works, doesn't it? We are saved by saving others."
April 10, 2019 – 
page 212
 57.61% "My whole life, folks have treated me like I was nothing-just because of how I looked. And maybe that's the problem. If we all could just ignore the way other people looked, then we could see who they really were."
April 10, 2019 – 
page 234
 63.59% "Nan woke from a dream about the Sweep. He had been mending her coat, as he often did, and she had noticed something about his own clothes -how worn and tattered they had become. With every stitch he gave her, he lost one of his own."
April 10, 2019 – 
page 282
 76.63% ""It ain't going to happen ma'am," Whittles said. "We're inside their houses every day - right under their noses. It's been this way for hundreds of years. Some folks are very good at not seeing things they don't want to see.""

Stand Tall! A Book About Integrity (Cheri J Meiners)

This was a great book to read and discuss as we read. The “Ways to Reinforce the Ideas in Stand Tall!” was really great too. I've had trouble finding books directly about integrity.

Goodreads says:

Integrity is an important trait for children to develop—especially as they grow, learn, and have more opportunities to make choices for themselves. With this encouraging book, support children in knowing right from wrong, making positive decisions, keeping promises, and staying true to themselves. Back matter includes advice for teaching integrity at home, at school, and in childcare.

Being the Best Me Series:
From the author of the popular Learning to Get Along® books comes a one-of-a-kind character-development series. Each of the first six books in the Being the Best Me! series helps children learn, understand, and develop attitudes and positive character traits that strengthen self-confidence and a sense of purpose. Each book focuses on a specific attitude or character trait—optimism, self-esteem, assertiveness, resilience, integrity, and forgiveness. Also included are discussion questions, games, activities, and additional information for adults. Filled with diversity, these social story books will be welcome in school, home, and childcare settings.

Monday, April 8, 2019

Goldi Socks and the Three Libearians

Super cute. The story is based on Goldilocks and the Three Bears only the bears are librarians and Goldilocks goes into their house, which looks like a book. She talks about the five finger rule for finding a book that is just right.

Goodreads says:

Avid reader Goldie Socks wanders into a house made of books, and she must find just the right book and right reading spot.

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Outer Order, Inner Calm (Gretchen Rubin)

I'm a big Gretchen Rubin fan. I've read The Happiness Project, The Four Tendencies and Better Than Before  (which I try to re-read about every six months). Since I enjoyed all of those so much, I pre-ordered this and was happy to get it as soon as it came out. I think it's definitely one to re-visit annually.

This one is different than the others. It's a quick read with a really narrow focus: lots of tips for organizing. One thing I love about Gretchen Rubin is that she doesn't get stuck on one way to do things. I read The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up and didn't love it because she was too prescriptive with one right way to de-clutter and organize. Gretchen Rubin recognizes that there are a lot of good ways to accomplish the same thing. I especially connected with the section on the importance of the words we use (instead of apologizing for being late, thank people for waiting....instead of mindlessly wandering, explore and so on). She had some good tips. I read it while we were driving on a family trip and found myself anxiously looking forward to getting home to implement some of the strategies.

Goodreads says:

Bestselling author of The Four Tendencies and The Happiness Project Gretchen Rubin illuminates one of her key realizations about happiness: For most of us, outer order contributes to inner calm. In a new book packed with more than one hundred concrete ideas, she helps us create the order and organization that can make our lives happier, healthier, more productive, and more creative. 

In the context of a happy life, a messy desk or crowded coat closet is a trivial problem–yet Gretchen Rubin has found that getting control of the stuff of life makes us feel more in control of our lives generally. By getting rid of things we don’t use, don’t need, or don’t love, as well as things that don’t work, don’t fit, or don’t suit, we free our mind (and our shelves) for what we truly value. 

In this trim book filled with insights, strategies, and sometimes surprising tips, Gretchen tackles the key challenges of creating outer order, by explaining how to “Make Choices,” “Create Order,” “Know Yourself–and Others,” “Cultivate Helpful Habits,” and, of course, “Add Beauty.” 

When we get our possessions under control, we feel both calmer and more energetic. With a sense of humor, and also a clear sense of what’s realistic for most people, Gretchen suggests dozens of manageable steps for creating a more serene, orderly environment–one that helps us to create the lives we yearn for.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Because of Winn Dixie (Kate DiCamillo)

This is one of those books that when I finished it, I couldn't believe I hadn't read it before. It's definitely one to re-read. It is also one of those books that made me cry - which is pretty rare. It might have been because I read some chapters aloud to my class. (I always get so much more from a book when I read it aloud) All the heartache Opal has over her mother really pulled at my heart strings. We are doing this book for grade 3 book club this month. I'm going to put a poster up for kids to add a picture and 10 things about their pet, like Opal likes to list. She learns 10 things about her mother and later lists 10 things about Winn Dixie. There are plenty of laugh out loud moments in this book. It would be a great read aloud - if only the grade fours didn't often do it as a novel study.

Goodreads says:

Kate DiCamillo's beloved, best-selling debut novel is now available in a paperback digest edition.

Kate DiCamillo's first published novel, like Winn-Dixie himself, immediately proved to be a keeper—a New York Times bestseller, a Newbery Honor winner, the inspiration for a popular film, and most especially, a cherished classic that touches the hearts of readers of all ages. It's now available in a paperback digest format certain to bring this tale's magic to an even wider circle of fans.

The summer Opal and her father, the preacher, move to Naomi, Florida, Opal goes into the Winn-Dixie supermarket—and comes out with a dog. A big, ugly, suffering dog with a sterling sense of humor. A dog she dubs Winn-Dixie. Because of Winn-Dixie, the preacher tells Opal ten things about her absent mother, one for each year Opal has been alive. Winn-Dixie is better at making friends than anyone Opal has ever known, and together they meet the local librarian, Miss Franny Block, who once fought off a bear with a copy of WAR AND PEACE. They meet Gloria Dump, who is nearly blind but sees with her heart, and Otis, an ex-con who sets the animals in his pet shop loose after hours, then lulls them with his guitar.

Opal spends all that sweet summer collecting stories about her new friends and thinking about her mother. But because of Winn-Dixie or perhaps because she has grown, Opal learns to let go, just a little, and that friendship—and forgiveness—can sneak up on you like a sudden summer storm.