It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?


I’m reading THE NOT VERY MERRY POUT-POUT FISH by Deborah Diesen and illustrated by Dan Hanna. With it being so close to Thanksgiving and Christmas around the corner, this is the perfect book to share with children of all ages.  Pout-Pout is worried about finding the PERFECT gift.  Boy, do I know that stress.  In a world that starts the Christmas commercials before Halloween, this is a great book to remind up about gifts that come from the heart.

Diesen nails the rhyming and rhythm in this books which makes it so fun to read aloud.  Here’s an example:

A gift should be “big,”
And a gift should be “bright.”
And a gift should be “perfect”-
Guaranteed to bring delight.
And a gift should have “meaning”
Plus a bit of bling-“zing,”
So I’ll shop till I drop
For each just-right thing ”

Will Pout-Pout find THE perfect gift?  He has Miss Shimmer to guide him but I’ll let you read to find out how Pout-Pout solves his dilemma.  I can’t wait to share with my students,

Dan Hanna’s illustrations are bright with details which students will pour over to find surprises.


Want to know more about  Deborah Diesen? Here’s an AUTHOR Q&A: CLICK HERE


Dan Hanna answers questions, CLICK HERE


  • Author Deborah Diesen ( is a former bookseller and librarian. She lives in Grand Ledge, MI.
  • Illustrator Dan Hanna ( has over ten years experience in the animation industry. His work has appeared on BBC America and the Cartoon Network. He lives in Oxnard, California.
  • The series debuted with The Pout-Pout Fish in 2008 and was a Time Magazine “Top Ten Children’s Book.” Since then, Mr. Fish has won over the hearts of millions of young readers as he Goes to School, faces the Big-Big Dark, learns to Smile, discovers how to Dream, and plays Hide-and-Seek. Today there are more than 2.5 million Pout-Pout Fish books in print.

If you live in the eastern part of the country, you’re in luck as Diesen and Hanna are on book tours.


Deborah Diesen

November 14, Square Books, Oxford, MS
November 16, Country Bookshop, Southern Pines,
November 17, Books & Books, Coral Gables, FL
November 18, Vero Beach Book Center, Vero Beach, FL
November 19, Little Shop of Stories, Decatur, GA
November 20, Octavia Books, New Orleans, LA

Dan Hanna

November 15, WORD Books, Jersey City, NJ
November 16, Carmichael’s Bookstore, Louisville, KY
November 17, Towne Books, Collegeville, PA
November 18, Cover to Cover, Columbus, OH
November 19, Lake Forest Books, Lake Forest, IL
November 21, Andersons, Naperville, IL

Title: The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish
Author: Deborah Diesen
Illustrator: Dan Hanna
Published: 2015
Pages: unpaged
Reading Level: K and up
Publisher: FSG
ISBN: 978-0-374-35549-4
Source: Received a review copy from PR by the Book for the Blog Book Tour.


Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week


Thank you Ruth for offering a place to connect and share celebrations.


THIS.  I have a poem in it.

Poetry anthology


Students are writing poems for their poetry postcards.  I love this time of year when I prepare to send out post cards.

Would you like one?  The information gathered will only be used by me to send you a poetry postcard in April.

Go to this FORM.


My after-school Poetry Rocks group. They are learning poems to share at a celebration in April for National Poetry Month.


A successful Cat in the Hat night at my school on March 3 (further back than this week but it has to be mentioned). I love that families come to hear teachers read.  You never know how many there are until they come from the classrooms for cake.  This year 76 families attended.  We have a student population of almost 500.


Happy birthday, Albert Einstein.  One of my favorite people.  Love this quote by him.

images  What are you celebrating?

Poetry Friday: Haiku Books

Thank you Paul for accepting this late entry.
I am so happy to be here this Friday and share three haiku books of note. These are three nominations of the almost forty for the CYBILS poetry award.
HI, KOO! A YEAR of SEASONS Written and illustrated by Jon Muth. Published by Scholastic. What can I say about Jon Muth that hasn’t been said? He takes readers through the year with haiku that doesn’t follow the standard 5-7-5 syllable, three line form. And without overplaying the alphabet theme, this book goes through the alphabet. “Koo” is our panda guide throughout the book. I really liked the author’s note at the book’s beginning.
Book source: from the public library.

NINJA MOUSE written and illustrated by J.C.Thomas. Published by
SuperUltraGo! Press.
This is a book that I feel middle graders will return too again and again. There’s something mysterious about the presentation. A mouse ninja? It’s it’s illustrations are rendered in such a way that I have read and re-read it several times. There’s a quietness to the story. At the end, the author explains more in depth about writing haiku Japanese versus American. I appreciated that but wished he would have abandoned the 5-7-5 form.Book source: a review copy was sent by the publisher.
SANTA CLAUSES by Bob Rackza. Published by Carolrhoda Books.
graders. They loved it. I think the illustrations and text are a perfect match. The students and I loved the little secret nods to other literature such as The Christmas Carol and Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. And the students loved the aurora haiku. Yes, it uses the 5-7-5 form but it read aloud with ease.
Book source: from the public library.


Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

It’s Monday; What Are You Reading?


Thanks to Teach Mentor Texts for providing a gathering place for readers.

+-+792672032_140I finished A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graf. It’s a book that I need to reread.  I was reminded of Savvy by Ingrid Law.

It was a rather fun Sunday as my 9 YO grand girl finished her Meadows’ Fairy book and had her nose in Because of Winn Dixie.

Last week, I read the following books to K-3.  They are part of the 2014 Readers’ Choice Awards for Washington state:


Pluto Visits Earth by Steve Metzger


Out of This World by  Amy Sklansky


Goldilocks and The Three Dinosaurs by Mo Willems

We vote next week on the twenty nominees. What are you reading?

Poetry Friday: “Sound Waves” by Amy VanDerwater

On Wednesday, Amy stopped by to have tea and talk about her award winning book, FOREST HAS A SONG. Today she’s backed with a poem published in the POETRY FRIDAY ANTHOLOGY for SCIENCE.
Listen to Amy read her poem:

Sound Waves

If you have ever seen the ocean
throwing cold waves from her hand
pulling shells from mighty depths
tossing each upon wet sand,
you can understand how sound waves
move like water through dry air.
One-by-one, vibrations follow
pressing sounds from here-to-there.
Sounds can pass through liquids.
Through gases. Solids too.
But sounds waves moving through the air
are sound waves meant for you.
Violin or thunderstorm —
each will reach your waiting ear
to play upon a tiny drum.
This is how you hear.

© Amy Ludwig VanDerwater

Poetry Friday is held at Rogue Anthropologist. Thanks, Kara.

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading?


Head to Teach Mentor Texts for discover what others are reading.

I started The Hangman’s Daughter by Oliver Pötzsch. We’re reading it for this month’s book club.


I am reading A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graf as well.


On Thursday of last week, eleven students lunched with author and poet Susan Blackaby.  She asked them what they  liked to read.  Since the group was K through fifth grade the responses varied.  A fifth grader is in the midst of the Divergent series. The kinder said she has her mom read to her and a third grader is into the Magic Tree House series.

Another fifth grader  is reading Harry Potter books and pleased that his reading had improved two levels.  I was really struck by his comment.  This is a boy who in first grade was taking off his shoes and socks while I was reading to his class.  He was “too hot.” He was a boy who the younger grades reminded me of Leo, the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus.  He has bloomed and it’s just taken time.  I wish in our crazy data driven and assessment crazy culture that we could remember that some student take time.  And that the greatest gift parents could give their kids is the love of reading.  That’s what his family has done as they are all readers.

What are you reading?

It’s Monday, What are You Reading?

Last week I was sidelined with asthma so I caught up with some books that have been on my TBR pile.

The One And Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate

May B.: a Novel by Caroline Starr Rose

The Mighty Miss Malone by Christopher Paul Curtis

Find out what others are reading at Teach Mentor Texts.

It’s Monday. What Are You Reading? 2/17/2014


Here are what students are reading at school these days:

Aiden, 5th grader: Mark of Athena by Rick Riodan
Noah, 5th grader: books on the Boston Tea Party
Kaidence, 4th grader: Helen Keller
Michael, 5th grade: Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements and book two of Harry Potter by J. K. Rowling
Tessia, 4th grade, Christmas in Camelot by Mary Pope Osborne

I am listening to The Roundhouse by Louise Erdrich in preparation for my book club next Sunday. I just started The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate.

What are you reading? Link up at Teach Mentor Texts.

Celebrate: Five Star Things About the Week


As always, I am grateful to Ruth Ayres’ blog for providing a place to celebrate.



Author and story-teller, Dawn Prochovnic, came to our PreK Story Time.  She taught us sign language for the colors and shared her book, See the Colors.  We had a great time and I know the colors in sign language now.



Wednesday was my birthday.  Cupcake on the left was from a second grader who is my birthday twin.  The right cupcake is from PTA.  So very thoughtful! And delicious.



The Super Bowl and our School Spirit Day.  Friendly rivalry.  Brandi, on the left, is in New York to cheer the Seahawks to victory.  She’s soaking it all in.  Deb, on the right, secretly hopes that the Hawks win but she had to show here Bronco love.


Winner!  I retweeted a tweet of MrJohnShu. and minutes later I had won a signed copy of this book:

Flora and Ulysses

It arrived in the mail today!  Woohoo!


An email from another teacher librarian colleague asking me to do an author visit with her after school reading club with Solace in Nature, my photography and haiku book.  What an honor.

What are you celebrating?

Poetry Friday: Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems


On this last day of January, here’s a selection from a new book, Ask Me: 100 Essential Poems by William Stafford, edited by Kim Stafford. Kim was asked by Graywolf Press to select one hundred essential poems for his father’s one hundredth birthday.


This image is from The Friends of William Stafford website. What a fabulous way to introduce a new generation of readers to William Stafford.


Poetry Friday is held at The Miss Rumphius Effect. Thanks, Trisha.

Happy Friday.
Happy Poetry.