Monday, July 24, 2017

My Summer Discoveries that You Must Know About!

I had a summer filled with learning and thinking. I was lucky to connect with so many people and each time I left to go to a conference, etc. I had great intentions of blogging each event. However, time got away from me and those good intentions never turned into blog posts. But I discovered so many things that I want everyone else to know about that I need to share them. So here, in no particular order, are some of my favorite summer discoveries that I think are worth sharing!

An App
And do you know about Flipgrid. I was lucky enough to hear Sara Kajder speak twice this summer and both times she shared the amazing things students were doing with Flipgrid.  Definitely an app I'll be checking out this year!

A Podcast
If you do not regularly listen to the Voices from  the Middle podcasts, I would start now.  In the latest episode, middle school ELA teachers talk to amazing author, Jason Reynolds. Once you listen to this one, you'll probably want to go back and listen to all of the episodes but this one is definitely a current favorite for me!

A Voice of Wisdom
I learned about Claire Wineland from this recent CNN story. I am inspired by her message and all I have learned from her about life and living and being healthy in the few short weeks since I read this article. I've watched some of her TED Talks and her Zappos talk-lots to learn from Claire, for sure. 

I was lucky to attend this year's #Nerdcampmi and I cannot tell you how powerful the opening Nerdtalks were. I captured a few of my favorite words in a recent blog post

If you missed the Nerdtalks, Chad Everett and Donalyn Miller published the text of their speeches and I highly recommend reading and rereading both. 

Resources to help think about #weneeddiversebooks
I was lucky to hear Donalyn share her presentation, Books for a Better World. Of course I learned about so many books I didn't know about.  Donalyn was generous to share her slides from the talk on Slideshare. 

The Stenhouse Blogstitute is a favorite annual online event. This year, I especially loved Kathy Short's piece, Teaching Globally to Make a Difference in the World. Her post has several great resources that you'll want to know about if you don't already.

Elizabeth Bird's post, Where Are All the Black Boys: A 2017 Assessment and Comparison is an important read with an embedded booklist.

I discovered The Journey Project (The intersection of research, resources, and outreach to support gender expansive and transgender youth, families, and educator advocates.) recently and think it is a great resource for parents and educators. I needs to spend a bit more time on the site but I am especially interested in The Inclusive Classroom Library Project that is part of this site.

ILA Panel
I attended an amazing panel at ILA in July titled Disrupting a Destructive Cycle: How Literacy Drives Social Change. I was able to hear and learn from Nikole Hannah-Jones (If you don't know her work, you should read as much of it as you can). I learned about Salaam Reads, a new book imprint that we should all know. And Cornelius Minor's opening talk at this panel is one that I keep reflecting on. The live event is archived on ILA's Facebook page so you can watch it there. And then follow all of the panel members on Twitter, etc.

New Blogs to Follow
Classroom Communities is a new blog with an amazing list of contributors --one that focuses on classroom community and relationships. Happy to have this blog in the world!

This Teaching and Coaching Life is a new blog by the amazing Stella Villalba, Always something amazing to learn from Stella! So glad to be able to learn from her through this new blog.

And I was excited to discover the math site, Building Math Minds and to learn that they are hosting this FREE Math Virtual Summit with some amazing speakers.

Jess Keating
I have always been a fan of Jess Keating and her work. This summer she launched a new free magazine called The Curious Creative. Each issue is packed with great stuff so you'll want to subscribe for sure!

And finally, if you have not tried McDonald's ROLO McFlurry, it is a happy treat!  Not sure when this was invented because I just discovered it a few weeks ago but well worth it on a day you need a special treat!

So many great discoveries so far this summer! Enjoy!

Friday, July 21, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Timing is Everything

Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes State Park

timing is everything

how we measure the seconds between
     toast and charcoal
     insult and injury
     impact and airbag
hands up, palms forward--stop!

how we measure the seconds between
     boom and sparkle
     joke and punchline
     notice and wonder
hands out, palms cupped--more!

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

I took the title of my poem from today's poem at The Writer's Almanac. Gerald Locklin uses the timing of one event for his poem, but I got to thinking about the range of emotions possible within brief moments. What are some moments you'd like to have stopped or to held onto?

Katie has the Poetry Friday roundup today at The Logonauts.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Amina's Voice, The Gauntlet, and Salaam Reads

I have heard so much about the new book, Amina's Voice by Hena Khan. I read it this week and am so glad I did. This book is getting lots of buzz and lots of starred reviews and it deserves all of these things.  The middle grade book is about Amina,  a Pakistani-American Muslim girl who has an amazing voice. But she is not comfortable using it in front of an audience. As she tries to make sense of challenges and changes that come with growing up, her local mosque is vandalized. This book is a must-read/must-have..

Amina's Voice is a Simon and Schuster publication. I just learned of Simon and Schuster's newish imprint--Salaam Reads--one that we should all know:
"Founded in 2016, Salaam Reads is an imprint that aims to introduce readers of all faiths and backgrounds to a wide variety of Muslim children and families and offer Muslim kids an opportunity to see themselves reflected positively in published works. The imprint, which takes its name from the Arabic word for “peace,” plans to publish books for young readers of all ages, including picture books, chapter books, middle grade, and young adult."

I didn't realize it until I spent some time on the website, but I just purchased another book from this imprint-- The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi who was on an author panel at Nerdcamp. This sounds like a great fantasy adventure for middle grade readers and I am anxious to read it as well as some of the other upcoming releases I read about on the Salaam Reads site.

I was lucky to hear Zareen Jaffery on a panel at ILA this week.  She was part of a panel called "Disrupting a Destructive Cycle: How Literacy Drives Social Change".  Her words were powerful and I would highly suggest following her (@ZareenJaffery) and her work.

If you have read Amina's Voice, The Educator Collaborative (@TheEdCollab) is hosting a Summer Book Club on Tuesday, July 18 from 8:00-9:00 p.m. about the book. The author, Hena Khan will be joining the chat so it is sure to be a worthwhile hour with great conversation and learning.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Mac and Cheese

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Faruk Ateş

Dear Mac and Cheese,

I’ve got to hand it to you,
you perfected the whole dissemblance thing.
I mean, it was flat-out brilliant
disguising yourself in that box for all these years,
allowing generations of beginning (or lazy) cooks
to transform dust and rocks
into a creamy bowl of comfort.
Box-made, your color is, though, disturbingly unnatural.
Not quite the orange of the namesake fruit
nor of a winter sky at sunset.
Neither oriole nor monarch.
Not autumn or amber.
Perhaps closest to road gang prison uniform,
a subtle hint to alert the most observant cooks that
the box is actually a trap.
Half a lifetime of cooking wasted, spent colorblind and imprisoned,
I’m free now, and so are you.
I’ve grated a big mound of cheddar and American,
mixed in noodles, poured on cream, baked until crunchy on top.
We’ve escaped, and nothing can stop us from moving on
to smoked gouda, bacon, fresh peas, and a crisp panko topping.
Your palette is now my palate.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

Sincerely, Mac and Cheese

I know I cannot erase the facts:
they will grow up motherless;
he will be achingly lonely.

Stir into me the courage of a wooden spoon,
bake me with a searing love,
deliver me to be eaten one spoonful at a time,

the same way a vast grief must be consumed.
This is all you can do.
This is all I can do.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

My mentor text for these two poems was David Hernandez's book, Dear, Sincerely. His poem, "Sincerely, the Sky" was featured recently on The Writer's Almanac. I loved it so much that in a rare move, I clicked through to his book on Amazon. After a peek inside the book, I knew I wanted to own it.

There are 10 Dear or Sincerely poems in the book. I took the conversational tone of my first poem from Hernandez's "Dear Death." My sincerely poem is most like his "Sincerely, Paper Gown."

Poetry Friday Peeps are celebrating National Mac and Cheese Day, which is today, July 14! Be sure to visit the roundup at Tabatha's The Opposite of Indifference for more yummy and cheesy Poetry Friday posts!

(In breaking news -- and a total buzzkill for the national holiday -- macaroni and cheese from a box is dangerous for your health.)

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Wise Words from #nerdcampmi 2017

I was blown away by the powerful Nerdtalks at this year's Nerdcamp. Below are some of the words that have lived with me since I heard these brilliant speakers share their thinking. 

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Stenhouse Blogstitute

Stenhouse kicked of their annual Blogstitute today!  We (Franki and co-author of Still Learning to Read, Karen Szymusiak) wrote the first post, "Sticky Note Strategies for Transitional Readers".  You can find the post here and then follow the Blogstitute for more great posts by Stenhouse authors!

Thursday, July 06, 2017

Poetry Friday -- Love Song to Reading

Hooray for a book of poems that celebrates reading...

The WONDER of reading words
"...that fly like birds
from pages
in your book
to branches
in your brain
where they sing
like soothing
summer rain."
The JOY of learning to read.
"I longed so to read.
This was my hope.
This was my need." 
All the KINDS of reading we do:
Cereal Box
Sports Page
Road Signs
Field Guides
Google Searches
Birthday Cards
Sunday Comics
The ways reading COMPLETES us:
"Every single thing you read
becomes a part of you." 
"A book gives you a double life." 
The ways reading CHANGES us:
"An open book will make you kind." 
"Charlotte taught me what to do." 
"I'm a reader.
I explore." 

Thank you, Amy, for a book that readers of all ages and stages will want to hug and share and read over and over again until it falls apart.

Read! Read! Read!
by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
illustrated by Ryan O'Rourke
Wordsong, September 2017

Carol has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Beyond LiteracyLink.

For next week's Poetry Friday Roundup, Tabatha has invited us to write/share poems in honor of National Mac and Cheese Day, which falls on Friday, July 14 this year. Start cooking up an oozy, gooey Poetry Friday post!! (It's optional, but it was so much fun when we celebrated Billy Collins at the beginning of his birth month back in March.)

Friday, June 30, 2017

Poetry Friday -- My Little Town

Home Town
by William Stafford

Peace on my little town, a speck in the safe,
     comforting, impersonal immensity of {12 miles from} Kansas.
Benevolence like a gentle haze on its courthouse
     (the model of Greek pillars to me)
     on its quiet little bombshell of a library,
     on its continuous, hidden, efficient sewer system.

Sharp, amazed, steadfast regard on its more upright citizenry,
     my nosy, incredible, delicious neighbors.

Haunting invasion of a train whistle to my friends,
     moon-gilding, regular breaths of the old memories to them—
     the old whispers, old attempts, old beauties, ever new.

Peace on my little town, haze-blessed, sun-friended,
     dreaming sleepy days under the world-champion sky.

I'll miss going home this summer...but first-home will just have to wait there in the midst of the wheat fields and under the blue, blue sky (my photo doesn't do the sky justice) while I fully settle back into now-home and give myself these weeks devoid of commitments so I can unravel and relax into ME.

**Edited to add, read this article: The Busy Trap. Wisdom: "...the best investment of my limited time on earth was to spend it with people I love." and "Life is too short to be busy."

Diane has the Poetry Friday Roundup this week at Random Noodling.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Rhino in the House


What? Doesn't everyone have a rhino in their living room?

You mean there are people out there who don't have a rhino who competes with the cat for a spot on their lap?

You're telling me that your pet rhino doesn't have a favorite read aloud?

Rhino in the House: The True Story of Saving Samia
by Danial Kirk
Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017
review copy...well, I had to have it, didn't I?

Rhinos are my spirit animal, so when Cover to Cover Children's Books started their inventory reduction sale before their move, the rhino who'd been living there for a few years came home with us.

At our other favorite local independent bookstore, Gramercy Books, I found this book and now I have an easy answer when anyone asks me who I would be if I could go back to any time in history. I would be Anna Merz so I could start a rhino sanctuary, find an abandoned baby rhino, and raise it in my own home. I would name her Samia, and I'd put her to sleep by letting her curl up on my lap while I sat in bed reading aloud to her to calm her down. I would learn what her grunts, squeaks, snorts, and toots meant. And I would help her transition to being an independent wild rhino. Oh, the adventures we would have together!

The story of Anna Merz's dedication to the conservation of endangered species, especially rhinos, is touching and funny, but most of all, inspirational. We need to raise up a new generation with her passion for doing the right thing and making the world right again.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Reading Without Walls

Revenge of the Green Banana
by Jim Murphy
Clarion Books, 2017
review copy provided by the publisher

The Reading Without Walls challenge gets you out of your reading comfort zones and introduces you to new characters, settings, genres, or formats.

A funny story set in a Catholic school in the late 1950's that features a group of 6th grade boys (and one wacko second grader) plotting a revenge of reciprocal humiliation on Sister Angelica, their teacher, is definitely not my bailiwick. I described some of the details and read aloud a couple of scenes to the resident Catholic School Lifer, and he thought it all rang very true (and was very funny). Would a reader without such a resource buy into the Catholic School setting? Are the references to the 1950s/1960s strong enough to give a clear sense of "historical" fiction? Perhaps, perhaps not, but any reader who wants to enjoy a funny story about an underdog who tries to get revenge, but who stumbles on his own foibles at every turn, will enjoy this book.

Jimmy is a troublemaker who has a reputation (and a big fat red folder of his misdeeds) preceding him. He wants to change this year, but there's no way to get a fresh start with a reputation like his. It definitely seems like Sister Angelica has it out for him, but with 62 in the class, I have just a bit of empathy for her. To survive the odds of 1:62, being a little bit proactive with the behaviors seems like a plan. In contrast to her apparent targeting of Jimmy in class, the scene where Jimmy teaches Sister Angelica to shoot a basketball lets her humanity and personality shine out, which is why I'm cutting her a bit of a break, although not enough to add her to our list of 100 Cool Teachers of Children's Literature!

Friday, June 23, 2017

Poetry Friday -- History

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Found Animals Foundation

by Robert Penn Warren

History, shaped like white hen,
Walked in at kitchen door.
Beak clicked once on stone floor.
Out door walked hen then;
But will, no doubt, come again.

I won't suggest any possible parallels to The News of the Day. I'll let you chuckle to yourself and wish for whole flocks of chickens to clean up the kitchen floor.

This gem comes from You, Emperors, and Others: Poems 1957-1960 by Robert Penn Warren, the newest addition to my collection of poetry books signed by U.S. Poets Laureate.

Heidi has today's Poetry Friday roundup at My Juicy Little Universe, along with a shiny diamond of a poem written by her second graders.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Surprise Endings

The Book of Mistakes 
by Corinna Luyken
Dial Books for Young Readers, 2017
review copy from the public library

This book is a celebration of mistakes...mistakes that can be seen as good ideas if you don't get stuck thinking they are mistakes. Just when the book seems to be getting repetitive, it gets complicated, and then it takes your breath away. This will be a fabulous #classroombookaday.

XO, OX: A Love Story
by Adam Rex
illustrated by Scott Campbell
Roaring Book Press, 2017
review copy from the public library

What's it called when a book is told all in letters? Epistolatory. Yeah. That's what this is. Ox loves Gazelle and tells her so in adoring letters. Gazelle does NOT love Ox and tells him so in increasingly irritated responses. Until...

Make sure you study the endpapers before and after reading. What do you know about the two characters from the beginning end papers? (Ox loves lots of things; Gazelle loves...herself.) And what can you infer from the ending end papers? (Lives have been changed. Anything is possible.)

This will be another fabulous #classroombookaday.

The Three Billy Goats Gruff
by Jerry Pinkney
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017
review copy from the public library

Speaking of endpapers, here is another book with great rewards in the end papers. (And another to save for #classroombookaday!)

The fourth in Jerry Pinkney's retellings of fables and folktales, this one is (again) nearly perfect in every way. Pinkney doesn't just give us another predictable retelling. He adds several twists that make the story even bigger than the original. In his version, the ogre gets a taste of his own medicine, highlighting the recurring nature of verbal bullying. But the ending holds a surprise. There are clues, subtle in the last spread of the story as well as the final spread with the author's note, but obvious in the final endpapers, that the billy goats' hearts are big enough for forgiveness, and the ogre's is open for redemption. That's a surprise ending worth replicating!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Math Books for the Classroom

How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit On a Plane? by Laura Overdeck is a fun new book that I discovered thanks to someone sharing on Social Media!  It was released a week or so ago and I ordered it right away. This book is a full of questions you can answer yourself using math. There are chapters that categorize the questions--Animal Math, Nature Gone Wild, Math for Your Mouth and more. Each two page spread poses a question and gives the info you need to solve the problem. It also answers and explains the reasoning for the answer. For example--How many times do dogs take a bath a year?--and then goes on to investigate. I see this as a great book to use for openers for Math Worksop or in a variety of ways to just have fun with math.

Animals By the Numbers: A Book of Infographics by Steve Jenkins is a book of visuals. The infographics on each two-page spread are all about animals and each infographic is very unique.  Reading each page takes time and attention to detail and I can see doing Notice and Wonder thinking routines with these pages. These are great pages to linger over as you talk about data, displaying information, comparing things and more. And of course this book has Steve Jenkins fabulous illustrations so it can be used in coordination with some of his other books like Down, Down, Down.

Finally I need to thank my friend and colleague Maria Caplin for introducing me to this book.  Mind Boggling Numbers by Michael J. Rosen is another one that is great fun!  This is a book that is similar in concept to How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit On a Plane? as it also asks questions of readers and then goes on to think through the math.  This book also includes great graphics and. visuals....and some humor!

I am happy to have discovered three books that have great ideas for young mathematicians. And these are definitely for older elementary students. Excited about sharing these 3 books with my 5th graders in the fall.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


I love online book chats. I love the flexibility and the range of thinking that happens when you read with people who are in different teaching situations, etc. And I love the flexibility of reading and discussing at my own pace.  I joined #NCTEreads last month. #NCTEreads is an ongoing month-long chat on Facebook and Twitter. I was a bit worried about joining as the book, Teaching Reading with YA Literature: Complex Texts, Complex Lives, was not at all my area of expertise or work. As a reader, I love YA lit--no question. However, I wondered if I would have anything to contribute or whether I'd be able to connect with the conversation since I teach 3rd grade. But I know the book and I know author Jennifer Buehler (@ProfBuehler) is brilliant so I decided to join.  I'm sooooo glad I did!

Although the book focuses on YA pedagogy, there are so many threads that cross age and grade.  So much got me thinking in new ways about my role in the classroom. It helped me think about the bigger goals we have for students, and to think about books in new ways.

Not only that, but the Facebook group was full of fun events.  A podcast with the author was shared and there were live events with YA authors! I was able to attend one of the live events with author Deborah Heiligman. What a great event. It was a conversation between Jennifer and Deborah about her newest book, Vincent and Theo which sounds fabulous. It was recently named the Boston Globe-Horn Book Nonfiction Award winner and it's already received several starred reviews! It was a great chat and I was so happy to be able to watch it live on Facebook!

Toward the end of the month, #NCTECHAT will continue this conversation about YA Literature on June 25. #NCTECHAT is a monthly one-hour chat on Twitter. I am excited to learn more and to get new things to think about. One of the things I am loving about #NCTECHATs is that I keep learning new things and meeting new people. I've been brave enough to join chats that are not my area of interest or expertise and every time I find brilliant people who push my thinking.

If you teach middle school or high school, I would definitely recommend this book and joining this conversation.  NCTE members can still join the Facebook group, and everyone is welcome to join in on Twitter on 6/25. If you are an elementary teacher and you are still wondering whether a book and conversation about YA has anything to do with you and your teaching, here are some of my favorite quotes from the first half of the book:

"I recognized that young adult authors were drawing me out of my own life and into the larger world.  They were helping me think about who I was and who I wanted--and didn't want--to become." (p. 2)

"When students are assigned books they can't understand, and when they sit in classrooms where they listen to others talk about literature instead of reading it themselves, they are shut out from the opportunity to be readers." (p. 3)

"If helping students become readers is partly about helping them form reading identities, it's also about patience and progress over time." (p. 6)

"I want to suggest that there are two key dimensions of text complexity, and we need to attend to both in our teaching. Complexity can be found in the text--in the overall quality of an author's writing and thinking. But complexity can also be found in what readers do with texts--in the meanings they create based on their purpose, context and motivation for reading. This means that as we evaluate texts for their inherent measures of complexity, we also need to explore how and why texts become complex for individual readers." (p. 29)

"Even as teachers adapt their approach to meet the needs of particular students in specific contexts, there are four qualities we can expect to find in common across these classrooms: Qualities of
(1) belief that the work is important; (2) discussions that blend personal response and literary analysis; (3) a sense among students that they are known and valued; and (4) collective investment in a shared experience." (p. 53)

The first #NCTEreads has been such a great experience for me. I've read a great book, met great people, heard from a new author, and I have so much more to think about.  Loved the experience!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Reading Without Walls

National Ambassador For Young People's Literature, Gene Yang, is encouraging ALL readers to try Reading Without Walls: "I want every kid — every reader, really — to explore the world through books. Books have played a vital role in getting me outside of my comfort zone. I believe they can do the same for you." He encourages readers to try reading a book about a character who doesn't look like or live like you, or a book about a topic you don't know much about. You can also stretch into a format you don't usually read for fun.

Refugees of war-torn countries are often in the news these days, and sometimes sitting in our very own classrooms. How do we talk to our students about what's going on in our world with both accuracy and sensitivity? How do we help them understand the journey of their classmate? How do we help them imagine the unimaginable? How can we give them hope, even though the situation seems hopeless?

Stormy Seas: Stories of Young Boat Refugees
by Mary Beth Leatherdale
illustrated by Eleanor Shakespeare
Annick Press, 2017

This collection of stories of boat refugees gives historical context to today's news. A timeline in the beginning gives brief examples from around the world from 1670-1914, and another after the main text gives modern day (post-WWII) examples from 1939-2016. The main text tells five stories of escape -- stories that older readers (grades 6-12) could read independently, but that younger readers (grades 3-5) might need to read with an adult in order to process concepts such as anti-semitism, people smuggling/human traffickers, and the grim reality of detention centers. Each of these five stories ends with hope, telling about how each of the refugees has made a new life through hard work, education, or the passion of art (photography, filmmaking).

Where Will I Live?
by Rosemary McCarney
Second Story Press, 2017
review copy provided by the publisher

Even the youngest readers can experience empathy for refugees with this book of vivid photographs from around the world accompanied by simple text: "Sometimes scary things happen to good people. / When soldiers fight or danger comes / families must pack their things and search for a safe place to live." The question "Where will I live?" is the refrain all through the middle of the book, but it ends with hope, "I hope someone smiles and says "Welcome home." I hope that someone is you."

Come With Me
by Holly M. McGhee
illustrated by Pascal Lemaître
G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young, September 2017

The character in Holly McGhee's picture book could very well be the someone wished for in Where Will I Live? She sees all the scary news and is afraid, but her parents show her that the world can be healed with small acts of kindness. In just a few words, this book packs a powerful message that every person is able to and responsible for changing the world into a place of kindness and acceptance.

Hello Atlas
by Ben Handicott
illustrated by Kenard Pak
Wide Eyed Editions, 2016

What better way to get started on healing the world with kindness and acceptance than by being able to say HELLO! in many languages?!? One of the things I love best about this atlas is that the native/indigenous languages of each continent are represented predominantly (along with single examples of speakers of the common languages -- English, Spanish, etc.) This is a fabulous representation of the diversity of our world, but especially of our continent. A "window" for those of us who only speak the dominant language, this book shows that the native people in our country are not a thing of the past, but living (and speaking!) among us today. And what a powerful "mirror" for those who speak one of the original languages. Be sure you download the free app so you can actually hear the languages spoken!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Poetry Friday -- IF

Flickr Creative Commons Photo by Nicholas Flook
Did you see my post yesterday? If not, I'll wait a minute while you check it out.

Here's what happened in my notebook after I wrote that review. On the left, I listed (mostly) concrete ordinary items. On the right, I listed some of the not-always-fun things about adulting. Then, I paired them up (mostly) randomly.

Here are some of my IFs. I'm not sure IF they are a poem, but they were definitely fun to write! You give it a try!


If houseplants had jobs,
the commute would kill them.

If birdbaths had children,
the yard would be filled with puddles.

If the screen door paid bills,
the currency would be slams and breezes.

If clocks made investments,
only time would tell if it was all worth it.

If measuring cups had power of attorney,
responsibility would be calibrated.

If a window left a last will and testament,
it would be completely transparent.

©Mary Lee Hahn, 2017

Carol has the Poetry Friday roundup today at Carol's Corner.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Laughing Out Loud

If Apples Had Teeth
by Shirley Glaser
illustrated by Milton Glaser
Enchanted Lion Books, August, 2017
review copy provided by the publisher

You will want this book. It might change the way you look at the world.

Some of the IFs are practical:
"If apples had teeth, they would bite back."
"If a kangaroo was fond of you, he could carry your books home from school."

Some of the IFs rhyme or have alliteration:
"If a rhinoceros wore a sweater, he would look a lot better."
"If horses had hat racks, they would be reindeer."

But some of the IFs make you drop your chin:
"If eggs were made of glass, you could count your chickens before they hatched."
"If trees were pink, they would be nevergreens."

Did I mention the art? Very whimsical and fun!

Did I mention that this is a reprint from 1960, a year that may or may not have significance in my life? Here's a bit from Enchanted Lion about why they've brought this book back:
"Enchanted Lion's catalog currently pursues three different acquisition routes: origination, translation, and reissues. It feels important, especially in this moment, to bring back books that might otherwise be lost to time. We've published some treasures, including three André François books, this Glaser book, and our upcoming Jacqueline Ayer books. We're currently looking at another Glaser book and have begun working with out of print Remy Charlip books, which we're thrilled about. 
IF is a book that needed to be brought back. It's playful, smart, beautiful...we're so glad it hasn't been lost.

In terms of the art, the illustrations are hand drawn ink illustrations. A part of why they're so vivid and visually stunning is due to Pantone spot coloring process."
Excuse me while I open my notebook and see if I can write some IFs of my own!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Books I am Adding to My 5th Grade Classroom Library

Summer #bookaday is off to a great start. This week I discovered three books that I'll add to my classroom library this fall.

The Exact Location of Home is an upcoming novel by Kate Messner. It deals with issues of family, friendship and homelessness.  As always it is very well-done for middle grade readers and I imagine great conversations around this book.

I finally had a chance to read A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner after hearing so many good reviews of Rookie of the Year and Tournament of Champions. I love the characters in this book. This is another that will invite great conversations. It definitely did not disappoint and what a plus that there are now three books in this Rip and Red series.

Wishtree is the newest book by Katherine Applegate. A story of community, hope and healing that will engage readers from the first page.  The combination of Applegate's writing and her message make this one a must-have.