Catching Up: TBR Challenge

As we march into March, I realized I had some catching up to do.  I signed up in January (a tad bit late) to be a part of the TBR Challenge. So this weekend I just connected with the Yahoo group and put in my list there. This led me to realize that I should update readers in what I have read to date! 

So, drum roll, please:

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. LaFleur

Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin

Glass by Ellen Hopkins

Three already.  I just got Where Mountain Meets Moon by Grace Lin and Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graf from the public library so those should be my next books along with one of the three adult books.

Happy Reading.

Ms Mac


Poetry Friday: Hosting, The Kyrielle, and Poetry Month Announcement

I look forward to the prompts each Monday at The MissRumphius Effect.  This week it was the Kyrielle – a kyrielle is divided into couplets, each pair of lines ending with the same word which acts as the refrain.

Well, I racked my brain (some weeks they pop right in and other not so much).  

 Ode to Poetry Friday

Winter poems, spring poems, poems for today
come along, play along, it’s Poetry Friday

Old favorites, poetry stretch, original word play
Share one, share two it’s Poetry Friday

Some interview what poets have to say
others review the latest on Poetry Friday

Don’t be shy, linger awhile, and enter the fray
I’m rounding  up links, it’s Poetry Friday

Leave your link, don’t delay
Will post them in a blink, it’s Poetry Friday

I have three more poems at Deowriter.

Other Kidlitosphere poems to read can be found here:

The O’Dark-Thirty Crowd (PST)

Laura at Author Amok: “Birmingham, 1963” — Carole Boston Weatherford’s picture-book in verse about the Civil Rights Era church bombing that killed four young girls.

Jeannine Atkins blogged about writing poetry from history, and how it’s a bit like making soup.

Jama at Alphabet Soup is sharing Taylor Mali’s “The the Impotence of Proofreading.”

Linda has an original poem, “After the Storm.” 

Happy Birthday, Irene, who is sharing a e.e. cummings poem, “So Many Candles”.

Jenni Bell has an original poem, “Ritual.”

Lauara Salas presents “Slobbery,” from her poems about pets book. Some people have written some fabulous 15 Words or Less poems at It’s not too late to join in!

Jim Danielson is  checking in with an original olympic haiku.

Mary Lee at A Year of Reading has some song lyrics that “spoke” to her this week.

Janet at Across the Page shares a Linda Pastan poem called “What We Want.”

Tabatha Yeatts  posted about her daughter’s family poetry project.

Sally at PaperTigers shares Maira Kalman and her Max books.

Elaine at Wild Rose Reader got her Internet back in time to give us an original acrostic titled MARCH.

Karen is in with a poem from Thomas Merton. It’s here

Sara checks in with some Seuss love and thoughts on “serious play.

The Book Maven brings us her first contribution to Poetry Friday after reading the posts for awhile.

Mid-Morning Break

Martha C.  has Charlotte Zolotow’s “No One Would Believe.”

Kim of Portland offers “The Tongue”.

Tiel Aisha Ansari has written and original sonnet  Butterfly Watching .

Ruth is thankful for surviving and earthquake and shares a Wallace Stevens poem HERE.

Christine is sharing part two of an original poem by her  daughter, putting a new spin on Alice in Wonderland.

Tricia has the poem “Birds Small Enough” by Donald Revell.

Father Goose posted the “The Smell of Old Books” at FATHER GOOSE blog.

Cazzy Librarian is mourning the loss of her cat HERE.

Today at TeachingAuthors, April Halprin Wayland shares a “very, very, VERY rough draft” of an original Question Poem in her Writing Workout.

Kelly has “Percy Bysshe Shelley‘s Lines: The Cold Earth Slept Below”. 

Evening Dessert

Tanita has more winter poetry.

Breanne has a discussion of using poetry circles much like literature circles HERE.

Amanda has a review of Think Again, a collection of poems, over at my blog, A Patchwork of Books.

Another birthday has Stacy thinking about middle age with the poem, “Crossroads” at Some Novel Ideas. Have a wonderful day on Saturday, Stacy.

Anastasia has a Community Helpers book for PreK-1: Police: Hurrying! Helping! Saving! by Patricia Hubbell, as a 6 traits writing model (for grades 2 and up.)

Anne Shirley is in her brand new home, with a favorite poem by Wallace Stevens: “The House Was Quiet and the World Was Calm.”

Elaine honored her mother who turned 92 on Wednesday with a poem at Blue Rose Girls. The poem is titled “February Twilight” and was written by Sara Teasdale.

At Random Noodling I look at the new issue of Prune Juice.

Kurious Kitty looks at After Frost: An Anthology of Poetry from New England.

At Kurious K’s Kwotes you’ll find a quote by Robert Frost.

Nicole has a post about Willy Wonka. 

I think I got everyone who commented.  After the mid-morning break, school got wild.  Had a book discussion group for lunch. Discussed  The Thief Lord with 8 boys and 1 girl.  Very fun.



Would you like an original poem delivered to your mailbox instead of a bill?  Email me your address at macrush53 at yahoo dot com.  I will send you an original student written poem.

Please leave you links in the comments.  I will try to update throughout the day(may not be in a blink) between classes.

Happy Reading. 


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

I finished Wild Things by Clay Carmichael.   It’s a stunning debut novel about 11 year old Zoe, who’s orphaned and sent to live with her uncle.  She’s not big on trusting adults and neither is the feral cat she tries to befriend.   Carmichael tells this story by alternating first person narrative and third person narrative of the cat.  The language and characters transported me to the back woods setting of the story.  Zoe and the cat are not the only wild things, other characters come into Zoe’s life and reappear.   Learning to trust, redemption and the power of love are pretty powerful themes that don’t hit you over the head with a hammer.  I can totally see why there was chatter about this book and awards.  I suspect it might end up on reader choice nominations. 

I am listening to The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate by Jacqueline Kelly.  This debut novel  received the Newbery Honor Award and the audio is a delightful to listen to on my way to work. 

Would my clientele read these books though?  I would probably have to sell them on the idea.  What I notice is that kids like to go for the comfortable, the easy.  And by going to easier choices, they fail to build their reading stamina.  It’s a reason that I am so thrilled to be working with fifth graders in a book club setting.  The fifth graders have been meeting weekly, responding to blog entries.  This week I have some of their responses to some of the reader choice nominations:

Candy Shop War     

The Candy Shop War is an amazing book that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys mystery, fantasy and adventure. The book focuses on four kids Nate, Summer, Paul (nicknamed Pigeon) and Trevor. When the four kids start working for Mrs. White, the owner of a new candy shop in their town, she give them suspicious jobs and candy that makes some odd things happen…

This is a book that I had a very hard time putting down. I have heard that so many people liked it and that they couldn’t put it down either! You never know what’s going to happen next. It is amazing book to read at any time. I am sorry for other people who are in fifth grade book club because they don’t get to read it as their book until March.

 –Emily F.

 Dear Summer,

 If I were you I would definitely wouldn’t have trusted Ms.White either. Did you actually get to feel like what it would have been like to be doing what that candy can do? I think it would have been fun to have that type of candy here in real life. I wish that could happen where I’m going to live which is Kemmerer. I would think that would be totally awesome. I wish you were my best friend and could move with me because I don’t always make friends when I move. I’ve moved form Long Beach to Wheatland to Laramie to Hanna to Gold Bar to here and now to Kemmerer. I’ve gotten used to moving but this is the first place I have ever had a really good relationship with my friends. Even though I want to move back to Wyoming I don’t want to move either it’s really tough for me.



Dear Syvia,
If I was a Jew I wouldn’t think that I would survive from the hunger. From the not being treated well and from the having to hide at night from the Nazis taking the kids away from their parent. I wouldn’t think that I would survive from that kind of stuff. One question I have for you is how were you so brave??? How did you stay for a long time with eating only bread almost everyday? Another question I have was how were you able to stay in that cellar with not very much food, having to babysit your little cousin and not having any sunshine or light around you. I think I wouldn’t have survived without any light and without any games to play with and without any visitors visiting you! I was amazed how when you were in the cellar the Nazis came and found you and didn’t really do anything they just kind of kicked you, screamed and then left because they were losing the war. I think that you are really lucky how people saved you when they saw all the yellow stars. I hope you enjoy my letter!

 From: Lina

 Happy Reading.


NonFiction Monday: 73 to 7 to 1 CYBILS Announced Yesterday

Panel One whittled the field of 73 titles down to the “Spectacular Seven”.  Panel Two determined  the “Outstanding One” from the seven finalists.

And that book, if you have been away from the Internet this weekend is The Day Glo-Brothers by Chris Barton; illustrated by Tony Persiani, published by Charlesbridge and nominated by: Cynthia Leitich Smith.

I never thought much about how the day-glo paints, the ones I used senior year of high school to paint peace signs and slogans on my legs, came into being.  That is until I read Barton’s book.

It’s a terrific read. First, it tells a story about the resiliency of two young men who didn’t give up in the face of adversity.  When Bob’s injury forced him to abandon a career as a doctor, he and his brother, Joe, decided to invent colors that glowed.

Second, it’s a tale about the scientific process in action.  Readers get a sense about of the successes and the failures in creating glowing colors.  I see this book being used to pump up participation in the annual science fair.

Finally, the work that Barton put into the book, the original research, and the fact that this is the first of its kind about the brothers is  genius.  I have really thought a lot about this since my first reading of the book.  Again, in the school world, the book can be used as a mentor text for research.

The kid factor will play in big here.  How fun is it to read about two people with a somewhat zany idea?  Tons of fun.  

 Persiani’s illustrations are genius as well… the very subtle, dull colors at the beginning of the book fall way to the day-glo we know today.

And a big thank you to my fabulous round two panel:

J.L. Bell

Roberta Gibson

Shirley Duke

Carol Rasco

Janssen Bradshaw

They worked tirelessly to declare a winner.  All the CYBILS Awards can be found HERE.

Nonfiction Monday is at  The Art of Irreverence.  Thanks for hosting.

Happy Reading.


Who’s Reading What Wednesday

It seems as though the weeks fly by and I haven’t posted my regular Wednesday post.  I decided in January to read all the 2010 Newbery contenders before the award was announced.  I was envious of the Ohio gathering to compare notes and celebrate the honors bestowed on January 18.  Am going to figure out a way to get a group in the Portland area next year to make predictions.

Soo…I have read the following books:

Love, Aubrey by Suzanne M. La Fleur.  Perhaps my favorite read thus far.  I love the idea of the letters that Aubrey is writing and am particularly interested in the handling of grief in this book.  La Fleur never is preachy and yet you feel the loss suffered by Aubrey.

The Small Adventures of Popeye and Elvis by Barbara O’Connor was a fun read.  It was a nice change of pace from Love, Aubrey.  O’Connor is one of my favorite new authors, having just read How to Steal a Dog for our regional readers’ choice awards.

All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg was incredible.  I love the free verse format.  I know those Vietnam vets, how troubled some of them returned.  It really tugged at me.

Anything but Typical by Nora Raliegh Baskin. Wow.  I could not put this down either.  Glad that I wasn’t on a Newbery committee.  Tought choices.  I think it would make a terrific read aloud. So much to talk about.

I am in the midst of Wild Things and have Also Known as Harper, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate (on CD to listen to and from work), and When You Reach Me as well as Captain Nobody.

What are you reading these days?

Happy Reading.  And thankfully, our levy passed yesterday WOOT!


Nonfiction Monday: Flags of the World

Why are kids fascinated with flags?  They just seem to love looking at books with flags, my flag display in the corner of the library, and the flag pages of the almanac.

They will be happy to see this new book, Flags of the World by Sylvie Bednar.  Bold and colorful, Bednar has divided the book into sections throughout the globe: Europe, The Americas, Oceania, Africa, and Asia.

Each section has a two page spread with all the flags for that region and a globe to show where in the world.  Some pages include a “fast facts” about the country.  Bednar has researched the meaning and symbolic nature of each flag.  Did you know that the white in the United States flag signifies honesty while the red is for courage and fervor?  The blue of our flag is for loyalty, friendship and justice.

Canada’s flag uses white to symbolize the snow-covered regions of that country, and the red stripes to honor the soldiers who died in WWI.  The stars on the Brazilian flag was one of my favorite facts: they are the exact configuration of the stars in 1899, the year Brazil proclaimed itself a republic.

Colorful and attractive, readers of all ages will be reading about the flags of their favorite countries.  They may develop a little wanderlust along the way.  The book includes and index and table of contents.

Title: Flags of the World
Author: Sylvie Bednar
Published: 2009
Pages: 187
Reading Level: All
Publisher: Abrams  Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-0-8109-8010-5
Source of Book: Send by publisher

Great Kid Books is hosting Nonfiction Monday this week.  Enjoy!

Poetry Friday: Responding to Prompts

Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect: snow
Haiku Bones: uncanny
HaikuVery Much: honey
One Single Impression: blowing the curve

city snow ballet
uncanny semblance between
desert sand tangos

dances end, silence lingers
weather blowing the curve


snow begs us to play
followed by tea with honey
forget daily grind

Can’t help myself this week.  Great Kid Books is hosting Poetry Friday.

Happy Reading.


Non-Fiction Monday: Minty by Alan Schroeder

I just placed many of the African-American collection out for displays throughout the library in honor of Black History Month.  One of my favorite books is Minty a Story of Young Harriet Tubman by Alan Schroeder and illustrated by Jerry Pinkney. 

I like this book because it tells about Harriet Tubman as a little girl, when she went by her childhood name, Minty.  Harriet Tubman was stubborn. In fact her daddy said, “If you head is in the lion’s mouth, it’s best to pat him a little. Your head’s in his mouth, Minty, but you sure ain’t doin’ any pattin’. Youre’ just fixin’ to get your head bit off.”

She was known as a “problem slave”.  In Minty, we get a bird’s eye view of what her childhood was like.  We learn about the stories she told to her rag doll, how she learn to skin a squirrel and read a tree.   While being  stubborn and sometimes bold, these character traits helped her lead the Underground Railroad and rescue hundreds of slaves.

This biography reads like a story.  Schroeder states in the beginning that there is some ficitionalize scenes but he wanted to give an account of her early childhood, something that there is not much written about.  He uses researched facts to tell a story about one of the most important women of this Civil War era.

The book includes an author’s note and Pinkney’s  watercolor and colored pencil illustrations complement the text wondrously.

Title: Minty a Story of Young Harriet Tubman
Author: Alan Schroeder
Published: 1996
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: All
Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0-8037-1888-8
Source of Book: Library collection

Wild About Nature has the nonfiction round up this week.  Here over and check it out.

Happy Reading.