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Posted on in Children

Wordless Picture books , the illustrations carry the entire story. Also they can be a great equalizer for pre-readers and those who speak different languages. These books come in a variety of formats from simple concept books, narratives, graphic novels and puzzles. 

From Reading Rockets here are some ways to share wordless children's books:

  • Recognize that there are no "right" or "wrong" ways to read a wordless book. One of the wonderful benefits of using wordless books is how each child creates his own story (or stories!) from the same pictures.
  • Spend time looking at the cover and talking about the book's title. Based on those two things, make a few predictions about the story.
  • Take a "picture walk" through the pages of the book. Enjoy the illustrations, which are often rich with detail. Look carefully at the expressions on characters' faces, the setting and the use of color. Talk to each other about what you see. These conversations will enrich the storytelling.
  • Enjoy the pictures and point out a few things, but don't worry too much about telling a story yet. Just enjoy the pictures and get a sense of what the book is about.
  • Go back through the book a second time and get ready for some great storytelling! Consider going first and acting as a model for your child. Ham it up! Have characters use different voices, add sound effects and use interesting words in your version of the book.
  • Encourage your child to "read" you the book with his story. Focus on the words your child uses when he tells the story. Help your child expand his sentences or thoughts by encouraging him to add information from the illustration's details. One way to encourage more details is by asking "W" questions: Who? Where? When? Why?
  • Finish your wordless book sharing by asking a few simple questions: What pictures helped you tell the story? What was your favorite part of your story? Have you had an experience like the one in your story?

 Sharing wordless books is a terrific way to build important literacy skills, including listening skills, vocabulary, comprehension — and an increased awareness of how stories are "built," as the storyteller often uses a beginning, middle, end format. For a book with few words, you'll be surprised at all the talking you will do, and all the fun you'll have!

 Book Jacket for: ABC dream

ABC Dream by Krans. New Picture Book-KRA


Book Jacket for: The chicken thief

The Chicken Thief by Rodriguez.  Picture Book- ROD


 Book Jacket for: Draw!

 Draw! by Colon. Picture Book- COL


Book Jacket for: The farmer and the clown

The Farmer and the Clown by Frazee. Picture Book-FRA


 Book Jacket for: Flashlight

 The Flashlight by Boyd. Picture Book- BOY 


Book Jacket for: Flora and the flamingo

Flora and the Flamingo by Idle. Picture Book- IDL There are more Flora books, including one coming out in May.

Book Jacket for: Fox's garden

Fox's Garden by Camcam. Picture Book- CAM 


Book Jacket for: Pool

Pool by Lee. Picture Book-LEE


Book Jacket for: Sidewalk flowers

Sidewalk Flowers by Lawson. Picture Book- LAW 


Book Jacket for: Skunk on a string

Skunk on a String by Lam. New Picture Book- LAM


 Book Jacket for: The line

 The Line by Bossio. Picture Book- BOS 


Book Jacket for: Shadow

Shadow by Lee. Picture Book- LEE


 Book Jacket for: Where's Walrus? : and Penguin?

 Where's Walrus? And Penguin? by Savage.  Picture Book- SAV


Happy Reading! Cathy 






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After the story: Use this 4-step process to help reinforce the character trait featured in each story:


  1. DESCRIBE: Talk with your students, and have them talk with one another, about what they think the main point of the story was.  What character trait did the story define? How do you know? Why is it important? Can you make a connection to the story from your own life?  Make a poster together, or have the students write or draw in their journals about this character trait.

  2. DEMONSTRATE: Have a few students act out what the character trait looks like, feels like. Role playing different ways student can  demonstrate this character trait will help reinforce the behavior.

  3. PRACTICE: Plan activities where each child has to take a turn to practice the featured character trait.  

  4. PROMOTE: Promote, support, and encourage children as they initiate and engage in behavior that demonstrates the character trait. Catch them being kind, flexible, honest, confident, etc.!


Do Unto Otters by Keller. 

A delightfully illustrated tale, demonstrated by the Otter family,  of the importance of following the Golden Rule!


 Book Jacket for: Rude cakes

 Rude Cakes by Watkins.  Picture Book- WAT

A hilarious story about manners that sweetly reminds us all that even the rudest cake can learn to change its ways.


 Book Jacket for: Stick and Stone

 Stick and Stone by Ferry. Picture Book- FER

A whimsically illustrated story that illustrates the power of friends sticking together.


Book Jacket for: The crayon box that talked

The Crayon Box that Talked by DeRolf. 

A charming tale that teaches young readers that when we all work together, the results are much more colorful and interesting.


 Book Jacket for: The invisible boy

 The Invisible Boy by Ludwig. Picture Book- LUD

A heart-warming story about a boy that nobody ever seems to notice or think to include..until a new kid arrives in class and he finds a way to shine.


 Book Jacket for: My mouth is a volcano!

 My Mouth is a Volcano by Cook. 

An entertaining story that addresses the universal challenge of teaching children the value of respecting others by listening and waiting for their turn to speak.


Book Jacket for: Enemy pie

Enemy Pie by Munson. Picture Book- MUN

A compelling tale with charming illustrations that serves up a sweet lesson about the difficulties and ultimate rewards of making new friends.


 Book Jacket for: Don't squeal unless it's a big deal : a tale of tattletales

 Don't Squeal Unless it's a Big Deal by Ransom. Picture Book- RAN 

A highly entertaining story that teaches young readers when to ""squeal"" on important issues and when to try to work it out alone.


Book Jacket for: Lacey Walker, nonstop talker 

Lacey Walker, Nonstop Talker by Jones. 

Lacey Walker loves to talk. She talks all day, and sometimes all night. But when she loses her voice, Lacey learns the importance of listening.

Book Jacket for: Too shy for show-and-tell 

Too Shy for Show and Tell by Bracken. 

Sam is a quiet little boy who hates show-and-tell. Just thinking about it gives him a stomach ache. He must find a way to conquer his fear of show-and-tell.

 Book Jacket for: Crabby pants

 Crabby Pants by Gassman. Picture Book- GAS 

When things don't go Roger's way, he becomes very difficult. However, he thinks he has found a solution to being such a crabby pants.


Book Jacket for: You get what you get

You Get What You Get by Gassman.

Melvin throws enormous fits when he doesn't get his own way. He must figure out how to deal with disappointment. After all, you get what you get and you don't throw a fit!

  Book Jacket for: Lying up a storm

 Lying Up a Storm by Cook.  

A colorful story that helps young readers understand not only the consequences of telling a lie, but also how one lie can often lead to many more. And although lying can be a normal and sometimes healthy response, telling the truth is always the best way to go.


 Book Jacket for: What if everybody did that?

What if Everybody Did That? by Javernick. 

A delightful tale that shows what the consequences would be if everybody engaged in thoughtless behavior- the world would be a mess!

 Book Jacket for: The most magnificent thing

 The Most Magnificent Thing by Spires. Picture Book-SPI

A charming story about persevering when we are frustrated and stuck.



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Posted on in Children

Earth Day is celebrated on Friday, April 22 this year. I found some really interesting resources to share with you.



Discovery Education offers a breadth and depth of digital media content that is immersive, engaging and brings the world into the classroom to give every student a chance to experience fascinating people, places, and events. All content is aligned to state standards, can be aligned to custom curriculum, and supports classroom instruction regardless of the technology platform.



Ocean First Education, passionate educators, scientists, divers, and explorers, seeking to guide users to a greater understanding and appreciation of ocean science and conservation. Through in-depth, multi-disciplinary instruction, we take our students to the intersection of fascination and education, creating a deep connection with the ocean’s vital marine ecology.


Book Jacket for: Green queen 

Kylie Jean, Green Queen by PeschKe. J Fiction PES 


Book Jacket for: Katie saves the Earth

Katie Saves the Earth by Manushkin.  Easy Reader- Man


 Book Jacket for: Every day is Earth Day

 Every Day is Earth Day by O'Connor.  Bay- Favorite Friends- Easy Reader- OCO 


Book Jacket for: Earth Day crafts

Earth Day Crafts by Gnowewski. JNF 363.7052 GNO 


 Book Jacket for: Earth Day-hooray!

 Earth Day- Hooray! by Murphy. JNF 513 MUR  


Book Jacket for: Maya & Miguel : rain or shine

Maya & Miguel: Rain or Shine by West. Easy Reader- WES 






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As I work today, the campus is a buzz because Presidential Hopeful John Kasich is visiting the Community and Senior Center. Then I ran across this article in School Library Journal about a game called "Win the White House: by iCivics.    A popular, interactive, and nonpartisan game that engages kids in the electoral process has been updated. Geared for grades 4–12, “Win the White House” is a free activity that enables students to create and manage their own presidential campaign, while traveling from state to state, presenting on the issues and battling for electoral votes. First released in 2012, the game has received a significant revise for the 2016 U.S. presidential election.



iCivics is a non-profit organization dedicated to reinvigorating civic learning through interactive and engaging learning resources. Our educational resources empower teachers and prepare the next generation of students to become knowledgeable and engaged citizens. They have other games to play here


Book Jacket for: Fake mustache : or, how Jodie O'Rodeo and her wonder horse (and some nerdy kid) saved the U.S. Presidential election from a mad genius criminal mastermind 

Fake Mustache: or, how Jodie O'Rodeo and her wonder horse (and some nerdy kid) saved the U.S. Presidential election from a mad genius criminal mastermind by Angleberger. J Fiction- ANG 


Book Jacket for: I can be-- president

I can be President by Webber. Easy Reader- BAR 


 Book Jacket for: Daisy for president

 Daisy for President by Peschke. Series- Growing Up Daisy  


 Book Jacket for: The election-day disaster

 The Election Day Disaster by Roy. J Series- Capital Mysteries


Book Jacket for: LaRue for mayor : letters from the campaign trail

LaRue for Mayor by Teague. Picture Book- TEA 


 Book Jacket for: Voting in an election

 Voting in an election by Hamilton. JNF  324.63 HAM


Book Jacket for: If I ran for president

If I Ran for President by Steir. JNF 324.973 STE


 Book Jacket for: Eyewitness vote

 Eyewitness Vote JNF 320 STE 


 Book Jacket for: See how they run : campaign dreams, election schemes, and the race to the White House

 See How They Run by Goodman. JNF 324.94 GOO 









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 Book Jacket for: How Lunchbox Jones saved me from robots, traitors, and Missy the Cruel

How Lunchbox Jones Saved me from Robots, Traitors and Missy the Cruel by Brown. J Fic- BRO


Book Jacket for: The big battle 

The Big Battle by Scollon.  Easy Reader - BIG


Book Jacket for: My robots : the robotic genius of Lady Regina Bonquers III 

My Robots: the robotic genius of Lady Regina Bonquers III by Olander. J Fic- OLA


 Book Jacket for: Ungifted

 Ungifted by Korman. J Fic- KOR


Book Jacket for: Mindstorms. Level 1

Mindstorms: Level 1 by Hixon. NewJNF 629.89 HIX  {We also own Mindstorms- Levels 2,3, and 4 by same author}


 Book Jacket for: The Robot book : build and control 20 electric gizmos, machines, and hacked toys

 The Robot Book by Mercer. JNF 629.89 MER


Book Jacket for: Cool robots

Cool Robots by Kenney. JNF 688.72 KEN


 Book Jacket for: Robots

 Robots by Tuchman. New Easy- TUC


Book Jacket for: Under their skin

Under Their Skin by Haddix. New J Fiction- HAD


 Book Jacket for: If you're a robot and you know it

 If you're a robot and you know it by Carter.  PRE/SC- Great Read Alouds-CAR 


Book Jacket for: Little robot

Little Robot by Hatke. New J Graphic Novel- HAT


Book Jacket for: Zoobots : wild robots inspired by real animals 

Zoobots by Becker. JNF 629.89 BEC















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One of my favorite authors, artist and poets is Douglas Florian.


One my favorite poems is about Pluto and it is found in the book:

 Book Jacket for: Comets, stars, the Moon, and Mars : space poems and paintings

 Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars. JNF 811.54 FLO 


Book Jacket for: I love my hat

 I Love My Hat  Picture Book- FLO 


 Book Jacket for: Poem Depot : Aisles of Smiles

 Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles  JNF 811.54 FLO


Book Jacket for: A pig is big

A Pig is Big  PRE/SC Bay Animals Stories- FLO






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 Book Jacket for: And then it's spring

 And then it's spring by Fogliano. Picture Book- FOG


Book Jacket for: The thing about Spring

The Thing about Spring by Kirk. Picture Book- KIR


Book Jacket for: It's spring! 

It's Spring! by Glaser. Picture Book- GLA 


 Book Jacket for: Fletcher and the springtime blossoms

 Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms by Rawlinson.  Picture Book- RAW


Book Jacket for: 999 frogs wake up

999 Frogs Wake Up by Kimura. Picture Book- KIM


Book Jacket for: Split! Splat!

Split! Splat! by Gibson. Picture Book- GIB


 Book Jacket for: When spring comes

 When Spring Comes by Henkes. New Picture Book- HEN 


Book Jacket for: Outside your window : a first book of nature

Outside your Window: a first book of Nature by Davies. JNF 508.2 DAV


 Book Jacket for: Busy in the garden


Busy in the Garden by Shannon. JNF 811.54 SHA 










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Visit the Barnard Crossing Branch Library during Spring Break and you could win a visit to the Longridge Locker! We are excited to have Longridge students visit us at the Barnard Crossing Branch. Thanks again to Mrs. Bednar and the staff at Longridge for encouraging students to read!

Who: All Longridge students

Where: Barnard Crossing Branch Library (2808 Dewey Avenue)

When: March 28 - April 4 (Please note the library is closed 3/25 through 3/27)

How: By reading as many books as you can and doing the following:

  • Check out a book.
  • Complete a reading response sheet, available at Barnard Crossing Branch Library.
  • Bring the sheet back to school after the break and give it to your teacher OR give it a staff member at Barnard Crossing.
  • The school will collect all completed reading response sheets and put them in a drawing. If your name is drawn, you will win a trip to the Longridge Locker to select a prize!
  • One winner will be selected from each grade level.
  • The more books you read, the more chances you have of winning!

Why: Because reading and visiting the library is fun!

Longridge Elementary School Crest



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The Seventh Most Important Thing


My friends from Brightly have another selection for the Family Book Club. 

The Seventh Most Important Thing by Pearsall. New J Fiction- PEA

The events depicted in this month’s book selection changed one boy’s life — how will reading together change your family?

Best For: Families with children ages 9 – 13


What It’s About: In a rage of grief, 13-year-old Arthur Owens throws a brick at James Hampton, the neighborhood “Junk Man,” and injures him. Arthur looks like he’s bound straight for juvie — until Mr. Hampton comes up with an alternative punishment. Arthur is sentenced to become a “junk man” himself, collecting seven indispensable items from local trash bins for a project Mr. Hampton has in mind. Arthur’s work for Mr. Hampton, along with the friendships he forms along the way, help heal Arthur’s pain and give him a new sense of purpose and hope.

Major Themes: Grief, art, friendship, and redemption.

Why We Picked It: James Hampton was a real American artist whose work was acquired by the Smithsonian. We love the way this fictionalized glimpse into his life shows how broken things can be made beautiful, how very little is as it first seems, and how the same is often true of people, too. We think you’ll find this book rich with meaningful ideas to discuss. 

Suggestions for Younger Readers: If you have children who are too young to read The Seventh Most Important Thing, try one (or more) of these picture books:

jacket image for Beautiful Oops!

Beautiful Oops! by Saltzberg. 


Book Jacket for: Ish 

Ish by Reynolds. 


 Book Jacket for: Dream something big : the story of the Watts Towers

 Dream Something Big by Hutts.  


Book Jacket for: Magic trash : a story of Tyree Guyton and his art

Magic Trash: a story of Tyree Guyton and his art by Shapiro. 


Snacks Mentioned in the book:

  • Caramel Corn 
  • Chili
  • Cornbread
  • Orange Soda 


The Seventh Most Important Thing is filled with symbolism just waiting to be uncovered and interpreted. What does it all mean? That is up to you, the thoughtful readers, and that’s the fun of book club! Show your kids how to listen and continue the discussion by building off of the previous comment. Model strong critical thinking and analysis for your kids by using examples from the book (and your own life) to support your opinions. And, as always, encourage everyone to be respectful and kind. Click here for printable discussion questions. 

Discussion Questions:

  1. Why does the Junk Man believe getting hit by the brick was an act of God?
  2. What is the difference between retribution and rehabilitation? Which do you think is a better punishment?
  3. What other characters besides Mr. Hampton make a difference in Arthur’s life? How?
  4. Hampton took broken things in Guam after his first vision to create something beautiful from them. How is this a bigger life lesson?
  5. What are the Seven Most Important Things? Do you remember when each one appears in Arthur’s life? See if you can make a list of the items and when they show up for Arthur. What else is happening in his life at those moments that might make the objects important for him?
  6. Where there is no vision, the people perish” is Mr. Hampton’s favorite Bible verse (Proverbs 29:18) and he shares it with everyone. What do you think it means?
  7. Why does Mr. Hampton call his cart a chariot and people saints?
  8. Arthur thinks Mr. Hampton is the reason he helps Squeak, something the “old” Arthur wouldn’t have done. Do you agree that Arthur changes throughout the story because of Mr. Hampton? How so?
  9. Hampton says that hell is easy to create but creating heaven takes a lifetime. What does he mean? Do you agree with the museum people that the throne — and heaven — reflect us?
  10. Do you believe in a heaven or paradise? If so, what do you think heaven is like? Why?


 What to read next: read these picture books about friendship, loss and compassion:


 Book Jacket for: The can man

 The Can Man by Williams.  


Book Jacket for: Mrs. Katz and Tush

Mrs. Katz and Tush by Polacco. 


Book Jacket for: A mama for Owen 

A Mama for Owen by Bauer. 


Book Jacket for: Maddi's fridge 







Maddi's Fridge by Brandt. Picture Book- BRA 


Read these Middle Grade Books about friendship, loss and compassion:


 Book Jacket for: The hundred dresses

 The Hundred Dresses by Estes. J Fiction -EST


Book Jacket for: The war that saved my life

The War that Saved my Life by Bradley. 


Book Jacket for: Circus Mirandus 

Circus Mirandus by Beasley. J Fiction- BEA


Book Jacket for: Bridge to Terabithia

Bridge to Terabithia by Patterson. J Fiction- PAT 













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This is not a post about e-books or books that are apps for a tablet device. This post is about books that beg to be interacted with as you read them. So explore and enjoy! 

Book Jacket for: Press here


Press Here by Tullet. Pre/Sc- Bay Great Read Alouds- TUL  Herve Tullet has written many wonderful books. Click here to see the list. 


Book Jacket for: Tap the magic tree

Tap the Magic Tree by Matheson. Pre/Sc- Bay Great Read Alouds- MAT 


Book Jacket for: Axel Scheffler's flip flap safari.

Axel Scheffler's Flip Flap Safari - Picture Book SCH 


Book Jacket for: Touch the brightest star

Touch the Brightest Star by Matheson. PRE/SC Bay Great Read Alouds - MAT  


 Book Jacket for: Tree : a peek-through picture book 

Tree by Teckentrup. New Picture Book- TRE


Book Jacket for: Is there a dog in this book?

Is there a dog in this book? by Schwarz. Picture Book- SCH



 Book Jacket for: Can you make a scary face?

 Can you make a scary face? by Thomas. Picture Book- THO  


Book Jacket for: Huff & puff

Huff & Puff by Rueda. Picture Book- RUE 


 Book Jacket for: Ocean : a photicular book

 Ocean: a photicular book by Kaufmann.  JNF 551.46 KAU


Book Jacket for: Animals upside down : a pull, pop, lift & learn book

Animals Upside Down by Jenkins. JNF 591.5 JEN



 Book Jacket for: I spy pets

 I spy pets by Gibbs.  Pre/Sc Bay Great Read Alouds- GIB There are a bunch of I Spy books by Gibbs, check them out here.


Book Jacket for: Star wars : Millenium Falcon YT-1300 : a 3-d owner's guide

Star Wars Millennium Falcon YT-1300: an owners guide by Windham. JNF 791.4375 WIN 


 Book Jacket for: Castles

 Castles by Chateau-fort. JNF 940.1 Jue








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This year celebrates the 20th Anniversary of National Poetry Month, according to 

The library is celebrating in several ways, mostly for teens and adults so make sure you check the following library events:

  • Teens - participate in our Haiku contest. Entries are due March 24. There are several art classes to help you enhance your Haiku, teens and adults are welcome to attend. Check out our online calendar of events, make sure to register, space is limited. 
  • Teens and Adults- Film Discussion: Louder than a Bomb! is a film about passion, competition, teamwork, and trust. It’s about the joy of being young, and the pain of growing up. It’s about speaking out, making noise, and finding your voice. It also just happens to be about poetry. Saturday, April 2 from 2-3:30 pm. Registration is necessary. 
  •  RIT's Mental Graffiti will be at the library on April 19th to demonstrate performance poetry and help you dissect a poem. Opportunities to perform are available after the workshop. 


The children's room has a great collection of poetry for everyone.  Look in call number j 811.54 or ask anyone at the information desk and we can bring you to the poetry section. 

I found these great ways to celebrate National Poetry month, let me know if you tried any of them.

  • Blackout Poetry- Using pages from discarded books and sharpies, create poetry by leaving select words visible and blacking out the rest. {Second Hand Prose has books for this project very inexpensively.}

Passive programming for YA section. Pages from weeded books and Sharpies. Participants create poetry by leaving select words visible and blacking out the rest.:



















  •  Book Spine Poetry- find some books and create away.  Here is a article about how to create in case you need ideas. Feel free to share some of your favorites.


  • The 5 Week Poetry Challenge- The rules are free and flexible. Each week’s post contains a poem to print out and display in your home. The primary objective is to read a poem out loud with your kids at least once a day for a week. Each post also contains extension ideas and further resources for more ambitious kids and parents. 

 5 week poetry reading challenge that is perfect for beginners.










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Brightly a website that believes reading has the power to illuminate children's lives has a monthly Family Book Club. Here is this month's selection along with activities. 

Welcome to this installment of the Brightly Family Book Club, where we encourage families to read together, explore important topics through books, and have some fun! The idea of a family book club is that everyone in the family reads the same book and then gathers together to discuss it and take part in book-themed activities. You can even pair up with other families to double the fun. It’s a great way to spend time together and encourage a lifelong passion for books in your children. Now on to this month’s pick! I accessed this blog on February 15, 2016.


Stella by Starlight by Draper. Teen Fiction- DRA 

Best For: Families with children ages 8 – 12.


What It’s About:  Stella is an 11-year-old African-American girl growing up in the segregated South. When she and her brother witness a Ku Klux Klan meeting, her family and community rally together. She admires her father’s courage in registering to vote and discovers her own courage as she faces learning challenges, racism, and life-threatening danger to her loved ones.

Major Themes: Family, community, African-American history, power of the human spirit, racism, civil rights, kindness, and fairness.

Why Brightly Picked It: Stella by Starlight is a beautiful narrative based on the life of the author’s own grandmother. We love Stella’s introspection and courage as well as the artful embedding of important history throughout Stella’s story.

A Word of Caution for Sensitive Readers: The story depicts and alludes to ugly acts of racism, including the beating of a child, lynching, and arson. Key characters also endure great danger and near-death experiences.

Suggestions for Younger Readers: If your kids are too young to read Stella by Starlight, try these picture books:


 Book Jacket for: White water : inspired by a true story

 White Water: Inspired by a True Story by Bandy.  


Book Jacket for: New shoes

New Shoes by Lynn. 


Book Jacket for: The story of Ruby Bridges

The Story of Ruby Bridges by Coles. J Bio- BRI 


Some things you may want for your Family Book Club: click here to see about these ideas. Scroll down to the middle of the blog. 

Other books to read civil rights and everyday heroes fighting for human rights:

Book Jacket for: Sit-in : how four friends stood up by sitting down

Sit-In: How four friends stood up by sitting down by Davis.  J Non-Fiction j323.119 PIN


Book Jacket for: The other side

The Other Side by Woodson. 


Book Jacket for: One crazy summer

One Crazy Summer by Williams-Garcia. J Fiction- WIL

 Book Jacket for: Glory be

 Glory Be by Scattergood. J Fiction -SCA  


Book Jacket for: The lions of Little Rock

The Lions of Little Rock by Levine. Teen Fiction- LEV


Book Jacket for: Crow [electronic resource]

Crow by Wright.  















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Chapter Book Chat 


I found a great resource for recommending great books for emerging and newly emerged readers. This School Library Journal Column called: Chapter Book Chat.  {Accessed 2/11/16} This column is written by Abby Johnson, she is the youth services manager at the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library in Southern Indiana.

Welcome to Chapter Book Chat, a new column exploring and recommending great books for emerging and newly emerged readers. The transition from simple texts and works with mostly illustrations to books with increasing amounts of text, less images, and a more “sophisticated” big-kid look can be one of the most exciting—but also challenging—times in a young reader’s life. This column will help highlight themes and subjects of great appeal to this audience, suggest fun activities or lesson plan tie-ins, and offer tips and best practices for engaging independent readers in your library.

Ask a class of elementary school kids, “Who likes animals?” and you’re certain to get a loud response. Animal stories let kids experience the lives of pets or wild animals vicariously, often including details about animal behavior or care that allows children to experience having a pet, whether or not they actually have one in their home. Pet owners, meanwhile, are often eager to read more about the animal members of their family.


Animals see the world differently than humans, and anthropomorphized animal stories challenge kids to look at the world in a different way. We might assume that a teacher and students are in charge, but as Humphrey, the classroom hamster from Betty Birney’s series shows us, he’s really the one taking care of everyone. Animals are often small—many are even smaller than children—and the way they experience the big world around them speaks to a child’s point of view.

No matter the reason, many newly independent readers are drawn to these tales and will happily devour book after book in a series. Here are a few recent titles perfect for chapter book readers.


 Ranger in Time

 Ranger in Time: Rescue on the Oregon Trail by Messner.  


Dog lovers will jump on board this historical adventure story. Ranger, trained as a search-and-rescue dog, loves nothing more than helping humans…except maybe chasing squirrels. When he digs up an enchanted artifact in his backyard, he finds himself transported back in time to the Oregon Trail, where he comes across a family to watch over. Historical details are included organically, making this book a good fit for kids who enjoy learning about history as much as they love animals.

Activity or Lesson Plan Tie-in: Books in the “Ranger in Time” series would blend in nicely with social studies units about different time periods in history. Or, pair this book with a nonfiction title such as Wilderness Search Dogs, from Sara Green’s “Dogs to the Rescue” series (Pilot, 2013), to give kids a better idea of rescue work.

Check out the book trailer for Rescue on the Oregon Trail here:

And don’t miss Scholastic’s classroom guide:


Book Jacket for: The world according to Humphrey

The World According to Humphrey by Birney. J Fiction- BIR


The sassy hamster narrator of this series is definitely the star of the show. As Humphrey watches The World According to Humphreyover the children (and adults) in Room 26, he figures out ways to help them solve their problems, from encouraging the shiest student to speak up to helping the custodian find a girlfriend. This is a great choice for kids who like funny books. It would make a great read-aloud, especially for classes safeguarded by pets of their own.

Activity or Lesson Plan Tie-in: Pair this series with nonfiction books about pet care, especially for kids who have or are interested in getting a pet. See if a volunteer from your local animal shelter could visit your class to talk about choosing a pet and becoming a responsible owner. Students could practice descriptive writing by focusing on their pets or practice persuasive writing by arguing why they should get a pet or why theirs is the best ever.

Work with students to create lists of the tasks the students carry out to take care of Humphrey and the projects the hamster undertakes to look after the humans. Discuss and vote on who is really in charge of Room 26.

 Penguin has created a helpful classroom guide for this series:


 Book Jacket for: Nuts to you


Nuts to You by Perkins. J Fiction- PER

After Jed the squirrel is picked up by a hawk, he manages to escape, but he’s dropped far away in an unknown part of the forest. Luckily, his bushy-tailed friends are watching over him, and they set off to rescue their wayward pal. Along the way, the critters realize that humans are cutting down trees and they must get back home to warn their community that they’re in the path of destruction. Though there is danger, this is a fun story with a highly developed squirrel society; readers may particularly enjoy hearing the names Jed and company have for the human creations in their forest, such as the “frozen spiderwebs” (cell phone towers). It also has a strong ecological message and will interest kids who care deeply about nature.

Activity or Lesson Plan Tie-in: This is a great book to highlight when talking about ecology. What actions do the squirrels take to protect their community and what can kids do to help protect the environment? Take a nature walk and try to see the world through a “squirrel’s eye-view”. What names would the furry creatures give to the human objects that you would see?







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I found this wonderful column in School Library Journal. Judy Freeman, Children's Literature Consultant has a monthly column highlighting Captivating Read Alouds. The column contains a short read alike booklist also. {Accessed 2/4/16}

Looking for a read-aloud that will entertain, enthrall, intrigue, and elucidate? Join me in this new column as I highlight books guaranteed to captive and delight kids. Each post will focus on a title published during the past year that offers a great reading and listening experience. Included for each are classroom extension ideas and a short read-alike booklist to share.

Use the plot description below as the basis of a booktalk or read aloud the first chapter to students during a library visit and pass the book on to the teacher to continue. These stories will also make terrific book club, literature circle, and guided reading selections.

Educator Guide to Penderwicks is available.  


Here is this month's Captivating Read Aloud: The Penderwicks in Spring by Birdsall. J Fiction- BIR 












Five years have passed since we last spent time with the Penderwicks, and plenty has changed in their household since the first book, The Penderwicks, won the National Book Award in 2005. You don’t need to have read the other titles in the series to revel in this one, however, as it is a stand-alone story of the ever-tumultuous and now larger-than-ever Penderwick family. The limited omniscient narrator, so perceptive and understanding, alternates her gaze this time between Batty, almost 11, and her stepbrother Ben, eight. Oldest sister Rosalind is now a freshman, away at college, and Skye, a senior in high school, will be going off next year, followed by Jane, a junior. The newest addition to the family is irrepressible two-year-old Lydia, whom everyone adores.

Hound Penderwick, “the best dog the world had ever known,” died six months ago, and Batty, who was closest to him, is still grieving for him, and even considers herself responsible for his death. Her dad and stepmother, Iantha, have promised not to get a new dog until Batty is ready, but she doesn’t think she can ever trust herself with another dog.

At school, there’s a new music teacher, Mrs. Grunfeld, who, when she hears Batty sing, tells her she has a “rare and beautiful voice” and recommends voice lessons. Batty thinks of her newfound talent as a singing sprite lurking in her mouth. Her motto, in Latin, is “Musica anima mea est,” or “Music is my life.” (Your kids can come up with their own mottos and discuss the most important talents in their lives.) Here are some of the songs Batty can’t help but sing: “Swinging on a Star,” “Here Comes the Sun,” “Brush Up Your Shakespeare,” “High Hopes,” Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, and, most important in the final chapter, “I’m Always Chasing Rainbows.” You can find the lyrics online to reprint along with YouTube versions of the songs so your kids can listen and/or sing along.

Recognizing that her parents, who already pay for her piano lessons, are worried about family finances these days, Batty decides the thing to do is to find a way to earn money to pay for a voice teacher. With Ben’s help, she makes business cards that say PWTW (Penderwick Willing to Work), thinking she can perhaps do light dusting or be an older person’s companion. Instead, she lands an unexpected job walking an obese dachshund named Duchess. Your kids can brainstorm some ways a kid might make money and track how Batty’s new business changes her life.

Batty is supposed to write ten book reports for her teacher before the end of the year, and though it is now April, she hasn’t written a single one of the dreaded things yet. She has certainly read many wonderful books, however, including Masterpiece by Elise Broach, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson, and Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce, all of which you can introduce to your own readers. Have them come up with a list of books they think Batty should read next, with a one-sentence reason as to why she (and others) should read it.

And then there’s Ben. Aside from his stepfather, Ben is the only male in the Penderwick household. He digs up rocks; fends off precocious Lydia who loves him madly and follows him everywhere; and talks in alphabetic name code (AKA the military alphabet or the NATO Phonetic Alphabet) with his best friend, Rafael. Nick is waiting eagerly for his idol, the Penderwick family’s honorary big brother and neighbor, Lieutenant Nick Geiger, soon to have three weeks leave from the U.S. Army where he’s been stationed overseas.

Rosalind comes home from college with her new, know-it-all boyfriend, Oliver, a self-proclaimed film expert who is very handsome but insufferably pompous and obnoxious. In short order, he manages to rankle or offend every single member of the family, though no one wants to upset Rosalind by telling her what they think of him. Then Nick arrives and soon has all of the Penderwick siblings working out. He tells Batty, who considers herself helpless at sports, “Sports build character” and wants her to find one she loves. (Ask your listeners what sports they love and why, and which one they think Batty would enjoy and why.)

When Batty eavesdrops on her sister Skye’s conversation, she overhears a family secret that is so personally devastating, it turns her life upside down. Readers and listeners will ache for Batty as she tries to cope with her anguish. Ask them what they think Batty should do. Perhaps they can write her a letter with advice and/or support, sympathy, and understanding to help Batty (and themselves) rally.

As always, the narrative is rich with dialogue, humor, and the oversize personality of every member of this dynamical family, plus their friends and boyfriends. With the delicious chaos of everyone talking at once, following the characters’ colloquies is like watching a free-form tennis match. Kids can turn some of the dialogues into brief Reader’s Theater scripts to act out.

My favorite of the series so far, this volume will also send kids rushing to read the others on their own. Will baby sister Lydia, who is such a stellar presence in the book, get her own story in a couple of years? One can only hope we get to hang out with all the Penderwicks again before long.

If you’re interested, there’s an Educator’s Guide to all four of the Penderwick books.

Other Family Stories to Enjoy:


The Other Penderwick books by Birdsall. J Fiction- BIR 


 Book Jacket for: Stella by starlight

 Stella by Starlight by Draper. Teen Fiction- DRA


The Saturdays by Enright. 


Book Jacket for: The misadventures of the family Fletcher

The Misadventures of the Family Fletcher by Levy. J Fiction- LEV 



 The Casson Family Series by McKay. J Fiction MCK   


Book Jacket for: In the footsteps of Crazy Horse

In the Footsteps of Crazy Horse by Marshall. 


Book Jacket for: Sisters

Sisters by Telgemeier. J Graphic Novel- TEL


 Book Jacket for: Surviving the Applewhites

 Surviving the Applewhites by Tolan.  Teen Fiction- TOL 




Rita Williams-Garcia's books.  














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Visit the Barnard Crossing Branch Library during February Break and you could win a visit to the Longridge Locker! We are excited to have Longridge students visit us at the Barnard Crossing Branch. Thank you to Mrs. Bednar and the staff at Longridge for encouraging students to read during February Break.

Who: All Longridge students

Where: Barnard Crossing Branch Library (2808 Dewey Avenue)

When: February 13 - February 21 (Please note the library is closed 2/14 and 2/15)

How: By reading as many books as you can and doing the following:

  • Check out a book.
  • Complete a reading response sheet, available at Barnard Crossing Branch Library.
  • Bring the sheet back to school after the break and give it to your teacher OR give it a staff member at Barnard Crossing.
  • The school will collect all completed reading response sheets and put them in a drawing. If your name is drawn, you will win a trip to the Longridge Locker to select a prize!
  • One winner will be selected from each grade level.
  • The more books you read, the more chances you have of winning!

Why: Because reading and visiting the library is fun!

-Miss Karen

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We love books at the Greece Public Library. We hope you check out a few of these suggestions. Happy Valentine's Day!

Picture Books:

Book Jacket for: Here comes Valentine Cat

Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood

Summary from Catalog: The "New York Times" bestselling Cat is back just in time for Valentine's Day--but he's not interested in giving a valentine to any old "dog." This homage to classic comic strips is perfect for fans of "Pete the Cat," "Bad Kitty," Mo Willems's Pigeon books, and of course, Cat's two previous capers, "Here Comes the Easter Cat" and "Here Comes Santa Cat." Cat does NOT like Valentine's Day. It's much too mushy, and no way is he making anyone a valentine--especially not his new neighbor, Dog. Dog refuses to respect the fence: He keeps tossing over old bones and hitting Cat in the head But just as Cat's about to send Dog an angry "valentine" telling him exactly what he can do with his bones, Dog throws a "ball" over the fence. What is Dog playing at? Cat is in for a hilarious--and heartwarming--surprise in this story about being perhaps too quick to judge.

Book Jacket for: Love Monster and the last chocolate

Love Monster and the Last Chocolate by Rachel Bright

Summary from Catalog: When Love Monster receives a box of chocolates as a gift, he has second thoughts about sharing them with all of his friends.

Book Jacket for: Happy Valentine's day, Mouse!

Happy Valentine's Day, Mouse! by Laura Numeroff

Summary from Catalog: Join Mouse from If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as he celebrates Valentine's Day with all the friends he loves.


Chapter Books:

Book Jacket for: Secret admirer

A to Z Mysteries: Secret Admirer By Ron Roy

Summary from Catalog: It's Valentine's Day in Green Lawn! But Dink, Josh, and Ruth Rose just aren't feeling the love this year. Valentine's Day was so much more fun when they were little. Then they each start getting messages and clues from a secret admirer! Can the kids figure out who wants to be their Valentine? The alphabet is over, but the mysteries continue in this eighth A to Z Mysteries Super Edition, featuring a 26-letter secret message hidden in the illustrations.

Book Jacket for: Valentine's day disaster

Geronimo Stilton: Valentine's Day Disaster by Geronimo Stilton

Summary from Catalog: Who is Geronimo Stilton? That's me! I run a newspaper, but my true passion is writing tales of adventure. Here in New Mouse City, the capital of Mouse Island, my books are all bestsellers! My stories are full of fun - tastier than Swiss cheese and tangier than extra-sharp cheddar. They are whisker-licking-good stories, and that's a promise! It was Valentine's Day in New Mouse City, and love was in the air. I couldn't wait to celebrate! I had sent valentines to all my friends and family members. But when I opened my mailbox on February 14th, it was empty! Had my friends forgotten about me? Was I destined to spend the most romantic day of the year alone in my mouse hole, sobbing into a box of chocolate cheesy chews? This Valentine's Day was shaping up to be a real disaster!

Happy Valentine's Day,

Miss Karen





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Music is the universal language of mankind. – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow


We learn so much when we listen to music. Music inspires creative movement. It calms at rest time. It fosters listening skills. Through music children can learn about patterns. Through singing children learn rhymes and new vocabulary. National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)


We offer several ways to experience music with your child.




With Freegal and your library card, you download and keep 5 songs a week, per library card. So if your family has 4 library cards, you can download and keep 20 songs a week.  When you go into Freegal you can go to genres and select Children's Music, or any genre you are interested in listening too. The home page lists the top singles and albums. 


The children's department music collection. I purchase music just like I purchase books. If you have some favorites we are missing just let me know.  



We have Instructional Music- this music teaches and invites creativity. 


Book Jacket for: Move and learn.

Move and Learn by Kimbo.


Children's Music - this collection is the biggest and contains a lot of our favorites. 


Book Jacket for: Frozen [sound recording]                                                       Book Jacket for: 1989


 Holiday Music- we have music for all sorts of holidays.


Book Jacket for: Drew's famous Easter fun [sound recording].                                    


So listen to some music today with your child! 












Tagged in: music
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I saw this great article on Twitter about math and animation. It is something that sounds fun and educational. 


Here are some books and other resources we have to make math fun. 


There are Homeschool Kits on a variety of Math topics; Math and Literature, Math Problems and Math Skills. The kits are broken down into K-2 and 3rd-5th subject material. 


Math Fiction to read about:

Book Jacket for: Max's math

Max's Math by Banks. Picture Book- BAN


 Book Jacket for: Bedtime math

 The Bedtime Math Series is great.  j510.76 OVE 


Book Jacket for: Annika Riz, math whiz

 Annika Rizz, Math Wiz by Mills. J Fiction- MIL


Book Jacket for: The rookie bookie 

The Rookie Bookie by Werthheim. J Fiction- Wer 


Book Jacket for: The 14 fibs of Gregory K. 

The 14 Fibs of Gregory K by Pincus. J Fiction- Pin 


 Book Jacket for: Teddy bear addition

 Teddy Bear Addition by McGrath. j 513.21 MCG 


 Book Jacket for: Count, add, subtract! fun with math, music, and movement / [sound recording] :

 Count, Add, Subract! Hap Palmer. J Instructional Music- Palmer


Book Jacket for: 10 minutes a day problem solving : 3rd grade math workbook

The Math Made Easy 10 Minutes a Day Problem Solving workbook series covers 2nd-5th grade math.  Homeschool - j 510.76 MCA 


 I'm counting on you to enjoy these resources. 









Tagged in: Book Suggestions Math
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On Monday, January 11, 2016. The American Library Association announced their annual book awards. A link to the complete list of winners is here


John Newbery Medal for the most outstanding contribution to children’s literature:


Book Jacket for: Last stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street,” written by Matt de la Peña, is the 2016 Newbery Medal winner.


Three Newbery Honor Books also were named:


Book Jacket for: The war that saved my life

“The War that Saved My Life,” written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

Book Jacket for: Roller girl

“Roller Girl,” written and illustrated by Victoria Jamieson  

Book Jacket for: Echo a novel / [audiobook] :

Echo,” written by Pam Muñoz Ryan.


Randolph Caldecott Medal for the most distinguished American picture book for children:


Book Jacket for: Finding Winnie : the true story of the world's most famous bear

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear,” illustrated by Sophie Blackall, is the 2016 Caldecott Medal winner. The book was written by Lindsay Mattick.


 Four Caldecott Honor Books also were named:


Book Jacket for: Trombone Shorty

Trombone Shorty,” illustrated by Bryan Collier, written by Troy Andrews


 Book Jacket for: Waiting

“Waiting,” illustrated and written by Kevin Henkes


Book Jacket for: Voice of freedom : Fannie Lou Hamer, spirit of the civil rights movement

Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” illustrated by Ekua Holmes, written by Carole Boston Weatherford


Book Jacket for: Last stop on Market Street

Last Stop on Market Street,” illustrated by Christian Robinson, written by Matt de le Peña. 


Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award for most distinguished informational book for children:

Book Jacket for: Funny bones : Posada and his Day of the Dead calaveras

"Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras,” written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh, is the Sibert Award winner.

Four  Sibert Honor Books were named:

Book Jacket for: Drowned city : Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans

“Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans,” written and illustrated by Don Brown


Book Jacket for: The boys who challenged Hitler : Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club

The Boys Who Challenged Hitler: Knud Pedersen and the Churchill Club,” by Phillip Hoose

Book Jacket for: Turning 15 on the road to freedom : my story of the Selma Voting Rights March

Turning 15 on the Road to Freedom: My Story of the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March,” written by Lynda Blackmon Lowery as told to Elspeth Leacock and Susan Buckley


 Book Jacket for: Voice of freedom : Fannie Lou Hamer, spirit of the civil rights movement

 “Voice of Freedom: Fannie Lou Hamer, Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement,” written by Carole Boston Weatherford, illustrated by Ekua Holmes.









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The National Council of Teachers of English  Orbis Pictus Award Award  was established in 1989 for promoting and recognizing excellence in the writing of nonfiction for children. The name Orbis Pictus, commemorates the work of Johannes Amos Comenius, Orbis Pictus—The World in Pictures (1657), considered to be the first book actually planned for children.

Although only one title is singled out for the award each year, up to five Honor Books are also recognized. Eight additional recommended books can be named.


Award Criteria: 

Each nomination should meet the following literary criteria:

Accuracy—facts current and complete, balance of fact and theory, varying point of view, stereotypes avoided, author's qualifications adequate, appropriate scope, authenticity of detail


Organization—logical development, clear sequence, interrelationships indicated, patterns provided (general-to-specific, simple-to-complex, etc.)


Design—attractive, readable, illustrations complement text, placement of illustrative material appropriate and complementary, appropriate media, format, type


Style—writing is interesting, stimulating, reveals author's enthusiasm for subject; curiosity and wonder encouraged, appropriate terminology, rich language



In addition, each nomination should be useful in classroom teaching grades K-8, should encourage thinking and more reading, model exemplary expository writing and research skills, share interesting and timely subject matter, and appeal to a wide range of ages.


The 2016 Winner


Book Jacket for: Drowned city : Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans 







Drowned City: Hurricane Katrina & New Orleans by Don Brown. New Teen Graphic Novel - BRO 


2016 Honor Books


Book Jacket for: Funny bones : Posada and his Day of the Dead calaveras

Funny Bones: Posada and his Day of the Dead Calaveras by Duncan Tonatiuh.   


Book Jacket for: Growing up Pedro

Growing Up Pedro by Matt Travers.  JNF J 796.357 TAV


 Book Jacket for: Mesmerized : how Ben Franklin solved a mystery that baffled all of France

 Mesmerized: How Ben Franklin solved a mystery that baffled all of France by Mara Rockliff.  


Book Jacket for: Swan : the life and dance of Anna Pavlova

Swan: the life and dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder. 


Book Jacket for: Terrible typhoid Mary : the most harmless and yet most dangerous woman in America : a true story of the deadliest cook in America

Terrible Typhoid Mary: the most harmless and yet most dangerous woman in America: true story of the deadliest cook in America by Susan Campbell Bartoletti. New Teen NonFiction 641.5 BAR






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