Wednesday, September 14, 2011


September 23rd he first official day of fall! This is my favorite season for many reasons... the leaves change, the days get shorter, pumpkins decorate the front steps and the smell of autumn fills the air. Of course, I also love fall because there are so many fun books to read and fall-related crafts to create.

Everyone loves a good picture book! The following selections will inspire kids of all ages to jump into a pile of leaves, write poetry, carve pumpkins, admire the trees, and design a leaf creature!

Mouse’s First Fall by Lauren Thompson
 One cool day Mouse and Minka venture out to play. From leaves of all colors — red, yellow, orange, and brown — to leaves of all shapes and sizes — from pointy to round — Mouse learns that fall is a season full of fun! And before the day is done he just might take the biggest leap of all.

Leaves by David Ezra Stein
It’s a young bear’s first autumn, and the falling leaves surprise him. He tries to put them back on the trees, but it doesn’t work. Eventually, he gets sleepy, and burrows into the fallen leaves for a long nap. When he wakes up, it’s spring—and there are suddenly brand-new leaves all around, welcoming him.

It's Fall by Linda Glaser
Simple text and bold, beautiful paper sculpture cover the animal life, plant life, weather, a night scene, clothing small children would wear, as well as the general feelings and sensibilities associated with the fall season. 

Autumnblings by Douglas Florian
This collection of poems and paintings welcomes fall with all the crisp energy of a joyful tumbling run. A companion volume to the highly praised Winter Eyes and Summersaults, Autumnblings proves once again that Douglas Florian is a poet for all seasons.

Leaf Man by Lois Ehlert
Fall has come, the wind is gusting, and Leaf Man is on the move. Is he drifting east, over the marsh and ducks and geese? Or is he heading west, above the orchards, prairie meadows, and spotted cows? No one's quite sure, but this much is certain: A Leaf Man's got to go where the wind blows.  

The Little Yellow Leaf by Carin Berger
As all the other leaves float off and fly past, Little Yellow Leaf thinks, I'm not ready yet . As the seasons change all around, Little Yellow Leaf holds on to the tree. Still not ready . Will Little Yellow Leaf ever be ready? This is a story for anyone who has ever been afraid of facing the unknown—and a celebration of the friends who help us take the leap.

It's Pumpkin Time! by Zoe Hall
A brother and sister get ready for Halloween early- by planting their own pumpkin patch! Readers will discover the simple joys of gardening and enjoy watching the exciting transformation from pumpkinseed to jack-o'-lantern.

The Reasons for the Seasons by Gail Gibbons
A scientific explanation of how the position of Earth in relation to the sun causes seasons, and the wonders that come with each one of them.

What is your favorite fall picture book?

Enjoy the season!

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Sunday, September 11, 2011


On September 11, 2001, I was teaching on an army base in the south. At 10:00 a parent came into my classroom and said, "I think you need to go to the library." She watched my class as I walked into a dark office in the school media room.  I was shocked at what I saw on the tiny televison screen. Replays of planes hitting the World Trade Center, the South Tower collapsing, talk of lost planes, and the uncertainty of what was coming next.

My fourth graders were sent home early, as many parents were preparing to deploy. I was seven months pregnant and wondering if I would be alone in the delivery room, without my soldier. I remember that day like it was yesterday and the feelings still make me shiver.

I couldn't make it to school the next day. Security was so tight on the base that I waited in line at the gate for 4 hours before turning around and heading home. School was cancelled and I worried about my students.

Finally, on September 13, I was back in my classroom. The kids were eager to talk about the recent events and what it meant for us, the military families. I thought it would be appropriate to let the kids write and draw about what was on their minds. One student was concerned about her relatives in another state. Others wrote about their morning or plans for the weekend. Of course, most wrote about the bombings and the video clips they had seen on the news over and over and over again. I took all of the pages and made a book for myself. It was as therapeutic for me to read through the thoughtful responses, as it was for my students to share their feelings with me...

I still have the book and I read it every year on September 11. My students are now high school graduates and living all over the world. I think about them as I do all of my former students, but the brave class of 2001-2002 will always hold a special place in my heart.

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Tuesday, September 6, 2011


As you may know, this summer I read a bunch of girl recommended books. I enjoyed the challenge and added amazing new books to my library! Thank you to everyone who shared their favorites with me! All of the recommended books can be found in the margin to the right, if you are interested.

Now, it's time to move on to my favorite topic: Boy Books! As the mother of boys, I am an expert on this subject. I can have thoughtful conversations with my male students on the topics of cooky cavemen, Vikings, demigods, time-warping, Muggles and robots. I can even recommend books based on their interests. Yes, I'm that good.

One concern I hear from parents on a regular basis is, "My son does not like to read." My advice is this...
  • Let boys choose books that look interesting to them. Many times we tell boys to put down the comic book and read a "real book." Well people, READING is READING. Graphic novels, magazines, comic strips and science reference books require reading too.
  • Read with your child. Choose books to read and discuss. Kids are never too old to listen to a good book. Pick the first book in a series and they may become hooked! Plus, your child will benefit from listening to your fluency and expression, hearing new words in context AND sharing time with you!
  • Ask what other boys are reading. Ask a librarian, a teacher, the boys hanging out at the bookstore. Check online, read blogs, read reviews on book sites like Amazon, Library Thing or Shelfari. There are great books out there and people are talking about them!
Here are a few of my favorite resources on the topic of Boys -n- Books. If you have another site to add, or a book to recommend for boys, please add a comment below!

For a selection of tried and true boy books, check out the "Recommended by Boys" list on the right.

Happy reading!

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