Check It Out

Books and life in a school library

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Poetry Friday: “Things I Love Poem”

The Monday Poetry Stretch at The Miss Rumphius Effect featured writing a poem about the things you love.  Mine took shape in the form of a pantoum.

Early Morning

 things I love
early dawn, wake before sunrise
slipper shuffle to writing room
coffee in hand

early dawn, wake before sunrise
word play, journal time
coffee in hand
quiet blankets the house

 word play, journal time
old photograph invites a poem
quiet blankets the house
darkness gives way to gray

old photograph invites a poem
rain and wind strike up a chorus
darkness gives way to gray
grasp the pen and begin

rain and wind strike up a chorus
slipper shuffle to writing room
grasp the pen and begin
things I love

 Laurie Purdie Salas is rounding up the poetry today.  Enjoy.

Happy Reading.


Off to New Jersey

Last year, my aunt’s friend encouraged us to have a two generation photography show at the Church House Art Gallery in the First Reformed Church, Pompton Plains, NJ.  Over tea and talk, my aunt and I decided to include a third generation, niece/great niece, Marcelle.  There are thirty photos on display.

Here it is that  day which I board a plane bound for the “Garden State.”  What it not known by my aunt is that Marcelle is arriving with me.  A weekend of “Rush MacCulloch” women.

It is possible that my computer won’t be out much. My aunt does not have Internet.  I have not gotten Internet service for my Blackberry.  I may be the only person in the world like that.

Journal  I have.  I will keep notes for posts when I return.

On another note, the beginning of the school year has been challenging.  Later start time means later get home time.  I am still adjusting.  Do you know how many posts I have written in my head?  It didn’t help that in September there were two deaths in our family and news of  family/ex-family that have terminal illnesses.  Brings you up short, makes you think about what is important.

Have a wonderful fall weekend.  Nominate those wonderfu, wonderful book.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Emily Bronte

I discovered a great Emily Bronte poem in my newly acquired book, A Year Full of Poems by Oxford. Found the book in Canada at a used book store.  It was in great condition.  Wonderful compendium for poems each month.


Fall, leaves, fall: die, flowers away
Lengthen night and day
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.

–Emily Bronte

While I am not looking for drearier days, I do love the changing seasons. Kelly at Crossover is in charge of Poetry Friday today.  Thanks, Kelly.

My bookclub meets this Sunday. We are discussing the Guernsey Literary and Potatoe Peel Society.

Happy Friday.  Happy Reading.

Get Ready, Get Set, Nominate

Tomorrow, October 1, 2009 is a very big day in the Kidlitosphere.  Tomorrow is opening day to nominate your favorite titles in many categories for the 2009 CYBILS.

Last year, I was on the Nonfiction Picture Book committee. Oh my, what a grand experience.  This summer I was honored when contacted to be the organizer for this category.  The panelists and the judges will be announced soon and we are all looking forward to our work.

A title can only be nominated once in a category so be prepared with perhaps your top five  favorites.  You may only nominate one title per category. Be sure to nominate by October 15, 2009.  That’s when nominations close.

Look here for updates.  On February 14, 2010, the winners will be announced.

Happy Reading.


Non-fiction Monday: Constitution, Banned Book Week, and Bill of Rights

This is “Banned Book Week”. I love teaching about this week to fifth graders. It gives me an opportunity to tie in the Constitution and the Bill of Rights at a level of their understanding.

Today, I put lots of books on the tables for the students to examine and come up with a list of common traits. Of course, no one thought about books being challenged or banned. 

Then I asked for them to stand up if they had read some of the books: Bridge to Terabitha, The Goosebumps series, The Captain Underwear series, Harry Potter, etc. You get the drift.

Then we talked about that these books had all been challenged.  And it was here that I could book talk the following books:

From the “We the People” series, The Bill of Rights  by Michael Burgan.  It is a no frills, very factual explanation of the Bill of Rights, what they are and how they are formed.  Complete with maps, illustrations, photos, and great appendices, this is a great jumping off spot for the First Amendment.

The other book, We the People by Lynne Cheney, tells the story of the how the Constitution was written.  Cheney offers up quotes, great sources at the end of the book.  I think it gives a clear picture about how the founding fathers struggled.  Really great to use in the beginning of the school year as classrooms are establishing their rules and expectations. Greg Harlin illustrated the book.  He has done the painting for several of Cheney’s books.

It is always fun to see the faces on students regarding my own experiences with book challenges, with learning that the have a right to read but until they are 18, their parents can also tell them what not to read, and the surprise that some books are on a challenged list. 

The conversation today, provided a wonderful follow up to last weeks, “choosing a “good-fit” book since knowing what is appropriate for your family’s values and beliefs ties back to book selection.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Wendie’s Wanderings.  Head over and see what is happening in the world of nonfiction this week.

Get ready.  It is almost time to nominate for the CYBILS.  Nominations open October 1 and close October 15.  You can nominate one book per category. If the book has already received an nomination, be ready to nominate something else.

Poetry Friday: Haiku Riddles

Tricia (The Miss Rumphius Effect) challenged us to write haiku riddles based on the book If Not for the Cat by Jack Prelutsky.  I shared that book on this blog a while back.

Here are two I wrote this week:

thin spaghetti legs
neck, limber long gathers fish
graceful in flight

grey scarf of dawn
weaves diamond dewdrops in, out
top fir boughs vanish


Do you know what they are?  Did you guess Blue Heron and Fog?  Lots of great poetry can be found at Susan Taylor Brown.

Happy Reading.


Non-Fiction Monday: Night Sky

So last week a student came to me and asked, “Do you have a book with a camp for watching the total eclipse and a boy named Jack?”  I raised my eyebrows because it just did not sound familiar.  Asked my assistant and she didn’t have a clue.  Emailed the rest of the elementary library media specialists and sure enough a response, “Every Star a Soul by Wendy Mass”. Well it was sent to me and I read it on the out of town trip this weekend. 

I know what you are thinking. This is Nonfiction Monday not what MsMac read this weekend.  Well, this morning I perused the book fair which was magically put up in my absence last week. 

Lo and behold, Night Skyby Tammi Salzano jumped out at me.  What a perfect companion book for Every Star a Soul.

The 48 paged book is chock full of constellations, an explanation of the name and when to best see them in the sky.  Unlike H. A. Rey’s The Stars, Night Skyfeatures the constellations from actual photos with the lines drawn atop.  There is a list of the 10 brightest stars in the sky, a glossary, and other sky watching treasures.  And of course, the publishers added some “glow-in the -dark features.

Any stargazer is going want to get this book and use as a resource.  I wish I would have had it this past weekend as I looked at the Milky Way. (Where I was had very little light pollution.)

Title: Night Sky
Author: Tammi Salzano
Date Published: 2009
Pages: 48
Reading Level: Middle grades
Publisher: Tangerine Press
ISBN: 978-0-545-13832-1
Source of Book: Book Fair Display

It is almost time to nominate your favorite books to the CYBILS.  Panelists and judges for each category will be announced soon, very soon.

The third Kidlit Con will be happening in Washington, D.C. in October.  Organized by non other than Mother Reader, it should be fabulous.  I am soooo sorry not to be attending(family committments) More information is here.

Nonfiction Monday is hosted by Bookends. Thank you for letting others nknow about great nonfiction.

Happy Reading.


Poetry Friday: Work Poem

The Poetry Stretch prompt at The Rumphius Effect was to write a poem about work.  Here is my contribution for the week:

Library Lady

library lady
what have you read lately?
need a book to take me places
library lady
do you have?
need a book to make me soar
library lady
what’s the book with a boy name Jack?
need it to write a report
library lady
why did my dog have to die
need a book to hug
library lady

Wild Rose Reader is hosting Poetry Friday.

Non-Fiction Monday: Nic Bishop Butterflies and Moths

It’s getting time to think about those Cybils’ nominations for this year.  Nominations open next month for a limited time. 

Last year, Nic Bishop Frogswon in the  Nonfiction Picture Book category for the CYBILS. This is no surprise as his photos are luscious, intriguing and readers are left wondering how he  captured that shot.  If you go to his website, he explains the how to in detail and tells about some of his trickery.

So I will not be surprised if Nic Bishop Butterflies and Mothsis nominated.  This book is once again fabulously photographed.  His facts such as there are 1790,000 moths and butterflies species in the world, one  butterfly has a wingspan of almost a foot, and identifying the difference between moths and butterflies will fascinate the youngest readers. The photos support the text and I know my students will be pouring over this book for hours. I mean did you know the luna moth is mouthless?

BTW, it is not too late to become a CYBILS panelist or judge.  Please email cybils09 (at) gmail (dot) com and include the following:

  • subject line sez “cybils 09 judge”
  • include your name, blog name and URL
  • let us know your 1st and 2nd choice genres
  • would you prefer round 1 or round 2 judging?

You might want to read more about being a panelist or judge here.  I am heading up the Nonfiction Picture Book category so I will be looking for passionate bloggers about nonfiction.

Have you signed up for Kidlit Con 09?  It will be fabulous! Hosted by the fabulous Mother Reader in Washington, D.C.  I am not able to attend (sniff!)  But it’s shaping up to be a great event.  Visit here to sign-up.

Finally Tricia at The Miss Rumphius Effect is hosting Non-fiction Monday.

Happy Reading.