Book Talk Tuesday: Our Only May Amelia

Just finished listening to Our Only May Amelia by Jennifer Holm.  It was her debut novel in 2001 and was selected as a Newbery Honor book. 

May Amelia is the youngest child and only girl of Finnish immigrants living in southwest Washington in 1899.  The setting encompasses the Nasel River and Astoria, Oregon.  May Amelia has seven older brothers whom she’s always chasing after.  She’s an adventure seeker and wants nothing to do in becoming a “Proper Young Lady.” 

Holm weaves in plenty of adventures for May Amelia.  From being in the river when the logs are released upstream to seeking out the healing services of a Chinook wife to investigating the wild town of Astoria, readers will be engaged and wondering what May Amelia will do next.

There’s  danger, heartbreak, and laughter throughout the book.

Again, Holm has drawn on the stories of her relatives who lived in the area at the turn of the century. 

I suggested it to third and fourth grade teachers as a great read aloud.

Book Talk Tuesday is hosted by the Lemme Library.

Happy Reading.



Nonfiction Monday: Dazzling Dragonflies: A Life Cycle Story


Dazzling Dragonflies: A Life Cycle Story by Linda Glaser is packed with facts in a story like narrative.  The opening line:
“Hello mama dragonfly.  You dip down to the water and lay a clutch of eggs.” 

The book leads readers from the hatching of eggs to life as a nymph wondering when the wings will arrive.  As the nymph matures, it leaves the water to molt one last time with wings.  Readers find out the many ways that dragonflies move and what they eat.  The book ends with the “sparking of new life” and a new mama dragonfly leaving a new clutch of eggs. The cycle of life complete.

The water color collage illustrations by Mia Posada enhance the text beautifully by including details. The appendix includes a “FAQ” section about dragonflies, a resource of websites, and illustrations which identify dragon flies.

I recently used this book with first graders.  They are in the midst of an insect unit and have had several different insects in their rooms to observe.  I asked the question: “What do you know about dragonflies?” and we made a list.  Then explaining that readers read for information to answer questions and expand their knowledge, we read the book. Throughout the reading I stopped to ask what new information we could add.  It was a great lesson. Students were engaged by making comments that connected their classroom studies with the book.

Title: Dazzling Dragonflies: A Life Cycle Story
Author: Linda Glaser
Photographer: Mia Posada
Date Published: 2007
Pages: 32
Reading Level: K-3
Publisher:Lerner Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8225-6753-0
Source of Book: In library collection

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by History with a Twist. Thank you, Vicky.

Happy Monday.  Happy Reading.

Poetry Friday: First Grade Poetry

Part of my duties as a teacher-librarian is to cover two overload classes at another school.  This year I have two first grade classes.  We have been working on animal poems  following a reading of  Nest, Nook, and Cranny by Susan Blackaby.


 Big tail
Eats lots of grass
Makes a tapping sound
Runs fast




 Big wings, flapping wings
They’re around waiting, eating
Bugs on the ground




 Paws, claws
Pounces and bounces
Searching for mice, fish, and birds
To pounce on
Cute and cuddly to owners




 Big mouth
Slither on ground
Searching for meat and mice




 Swims fast swim, swim, swim
Swim fish like bubbles, bubbles
Bubbles so they can pop them
They like to pop them
A lot
They love the sea.




 Eats bugs.
They can’t climb trees
They are slow.
They are very, very, very
Slimy and wet


Poetry Friday is at My Juicy Little Universe.

Happy Friday.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Nikki Giovanni

On May 11th our entire certificated staff received one of two letters; one that said you had a job but the district didn’t know where and the other a “Reduction in Force” or “RIF”, meaning worse case scenario, if teacher librarians are chopped because of budget, you have no job. This because our state legislature is in limbo with the state budget, therefore we are in limbo (between a 10-26 million deficit for our district).

At our library leadership meeting yesterday, our group of  seven sat at the table to plan an upcoming in-service.  Where does one start? Act as if we will remain unscathed and our program won’t be demolished, use the time to  celebrate our successes, or  have a white elephant exchange of old discarded library media items?

On the drive home, I remembered the Nikki Giovanni poem about her first memory of librarians.  It seems fitting today to share that poem and remind my colleagues to hang on.

My First Memory (of Librarians)

by Nikki Giovanni

This is my first memory:
A big room with heavy wooden tables that sat on a creaky
      wood floor
A line of green shades—bankers’ lights—down the center

Heavy oak chairs that were too low or maybe I was simply
        too short
            For me to sit in and read
So my first book was always big

 In the foyer up four steps a semi-circle desk presided
To the left side the card catalogue
On the right newspapers draped over what looked like
            a quilt rack
Magazines face out from the wall

The welcoming smile of my librarian
The anticipation in my heart
All those books—another world—just waiting
At my fingertips.

Poetry Friday is held at Julie at the Drift Record.

Happy Reading.


Book Talk Tuesday: Turtle in Paradise

I just finished listening to Turtle in Paradise  by Jennifer Holm.  Wished the book had been out two years ago when I went to visit my aunt and uncle living in Key West.  I missed out on a couple of good places to visit (and I thought I had visited them all).

Readers will fall in love with Turtle, an eleven year old who hates Shirley Temple. It’s 1935, middle of the Great Depression  and jobs are few and far between.   Turtle’s mom gets a housekeeping job with a woman who doesn’t like kids.  She’s sent from New Jersey to Key West to live with her relatives she’s never met.

Key West offers a whole new adventure for Turtle.  Boy cousins, a mysterious grandmother that she thought was dead according to her mother, and possibly of hidden treasure and Hollywood endings, Turtle comes into her own as an eleven year old.

I loved how Holm wove in historical bits and the flavor of Key West is there.  My next trip there will include a meal at Pepe’s, the oldest restaurant in Key West.  While I was listening to it, I really wanted to just board a plane and go!

As with many of Jennifer Holm’s books, Turtle in Paradise is based of family history and lore.  It received a 2011 Newbery Honor Medal.  I am looking forward to the day on of her books receives the Newbery Medal as her book are so worthy of it.

More book talks listed at The Lemme Library.

Happy Reading.


Nonfiction Monday: Watch Me Grow!

Watch Me Grow! A Down-to-Earth Look at Growing Food in the City by Deborah Hodge has been an excellent addition to the library collection.  It’s a companion book to Up We Grow, published last year.

If you live in the city, finding a place to grow food can be an adventure.  But look to roof tops, front porches, backyards, balconies and windowsills and there’s plenty of room.  Hodge and photographer, Brian Harris show you city gardens of all shapes and sizes.  Tips for growing a variety of gardens such as pizza garden, and a herb garden are featured in green text boxes.

The book is divided in four sections: Growing, Sharing, Eating and Caring.  It’s an inspirational read that will make you want to go outside to plant a garden.

Title: Watch Me Grow!
Author: Deborah Hodge
Photographer: Brian Harris
Date Published: 2011
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K-5
Publisher: Kids Can PRess
ISBN: 978-1-55453-618-4
Source of Book: Gift

It’s happening for Nonfiction Monday at Shelf-Employed. Find out what others are reading.

Happy Monday.

Nonfiction Monday: Goliath: Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire

Do you like stories about heroes?  Animal heroes? What about stories of action and drama?  Well, look no further than Claudia Friddell’s Goliath: Hero of the Great Baltimore Fire.  Until reading this book last fall, I didn’t know that there was another large fire in the early 1900’s other than the San Fransisco fire and earthquake.

It’s a quiet Sunday in February 1904.  Time for the morning inspection.  Goliath is anxious, snorting, twitching, and just not being able to stand still as was expected of the fire horses.  Besides the cold of winter the wind was kicking up. 

Just as one of the men in the stable was to take Goliath out the alarm sounded.  Goliath had smelled the fire.  Within seconds, Goliath and his team were transporting the Hale Water Tower, a five ton, 65 foot extension that blasted water into the skyscraper windows.  They reached the fire just as the building exploded.  Goliath’s heroic actions saved his company. 

The Baltimore Fire burned over one hundred acres and destroyed two thousand business. To find out what happened to Goliath and his team, you’ll have to get and read the book.  Fridell includes an afterward about the fire and a glossary of fire terms.  Besides learning about a historic fire and Goliath, the book would be an excellent read with students who are learning how to determine importance when reading.

Troy Howell’s illustrations pull readers into the story through sweeping two page spreads.  I love the fire reflection in the eye of Goliath on the cover.

Title: Goliath: Hero of the
Author: Claudia Fridell
Illustrator: Troy Howell
Date Published: 2010
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K-5
Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press
ISBN: 978-1-58536-455-8
Source of Book: Copy from the publisher

Nonfiction Monday is hosted at Jean Little Library.

Happy Monday.  Happy Reading.