The Magic of the 2017 Solar Eclipse

I was so blessed to be able to enjoy the 2017 solar eclipse with my family.  We spent the weekend camping at Santee State Park and watched Monday’s eclipse from our pontoon boat on Lake Marion.  The weather cooperated beautifully with us, and we couldn’t have asked for a better view.  It honestly was an awesome once-in-a-lifetime experience, and it was over much too quickly.

In spite of being warned that it was more important to remain in the moment rather than trying to get pictures — which wouldn’t turn out well anyway — we did take a few photos.  This one doesn’t come close to doing the eclipse justice, but it’s special to me because it’s my unique personal memento of an event I’ll never forget.

Being a librarian whose thoughts are never far from books, I couldn’t help but compare my eclipse experience with the one described in Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass.  This book has been a favorite of mine since it was nominated for the South Carolina Children’s Book Award in 2011, and I’ve both read it and listened to the audio version which is performed by three different narrators representing the book’s three main characters, and is extremely well-done.

To quote the book’s summary: “At Moon Shadow, an isolated campground, thousands have gathered to catch a glimpse of a rare and extraordinary total eclipse of the sun. Three lives are about to be changed forever:..Told from three distinct voices and perspectives, Wendy Mass weaves an intricate and compelling story about strangers coming together, unlikely friendships, and finding one’s place in the universe.”

From the professional reviews:

“The astronomical details are fascinating and lyrically incorporated into the narrative. Readers who like quietly self-reflective novels like Lynne Rae Perkin’s Criss Cross or Jerry Spinelli’s “Stargirl” books will also enjoy this compelling and thought-provoking story.”
School Library Journal  *starred review*

“Ally, Bree and Jack, three very different souls, converge at the Moon Shadow Campground to witness a solar eclipse. Mass has crafted a beautiful tale of preteen angst and growth under a glorious sky. The planetary research into our universe and the world of eclipse chasers is not only impressive but woven together in a way that makes this book hard to put down.”
Modesto Bee

“Mass succeeds in making the eclipse a truly moving experience for her protagonists and her readers.”
Horn Book

Wendy Mass

 

I’ve blogged about Wendy Mass before, as she’s quite a favorite at my house and you really can’t go wrong with any of her books.  But as of this week I truly owe her my gratitude for preparing me six years ahead of time for one of the most amazing events of my life!  THANK YOU WENDY!

 

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Multicultural Children’s Book Day Recommendations

MCCBD 2015

Multicultural Children’s Book Day is January 27!

Spearheaded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book and Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom, MCCBD is intended to “raise awareness of kid’s books that celebrate diversity and get more of those books into classrooms and libraries.”  Visit the site to learn more.

I came up with a selection of titles from my school library that are perfect for this project, and I used Thinglink to add links to additional resources for the books and authors.  Just hover over the book covers to see and click the links!

Chapter Books:

      

           

Picture Books:

      

What books would you add to this collection?  Please share in the comments!

 

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Books for the Last Days of School

Are you looking for some read-alouds for the last few days of school?  Try one of these:

The Last Day of School  The Last Day of School by Louise Borden
This cover illustration (by Adam Gustavson) just says it all, doesn’t it?!?  But despite the exuberance of embracing summer with both arms depicted shown here, this is actually a somewhat sentimental look at the special moments of the year that have brought Matthew to the last day of school, and his determination to find just the right time during the day to give Mrs. Mallory the special gift he has for her.  A realistic look at what goes on during the last day of school.

Lizzie and the Last Day of School  Lizzie and the Last Day of School by Trinka Hakes Noble
Sure, most kids are just relieved to put school behind them and get on with having fun, but for the students who enjoy school this book will speak to their sense of sadness that the year is over.  Her teacher, Miss G, and also feeling a bit blue but the ending allows them both to look forward to the summer cheerfully.  Sharing this read-aloud offers a perfect lead-in to discussing the all special things that happened during the school year, and the activities that everyone is looking forward to during the break.

Last Day Blues Last Day Blues by Julie Danneberg
This book acknowledges that while the kids are looking forward to being away from school for the summer, there are things they will miss: being away from their friends, the class pet, and their favorite school lunches.  When their teacher announces she will miss the kids, they begin brainstorming ideas for a gift that will remind her of them during the break.  A colorful look at how a close-knit “classroom family” approaches the looming summer separation.

What Do Teacher Do After You Leave School What Do Teachers Do After You Leave School? by Anne Bowen
Kids who can only imagine their teachers as stern, rule-enforcing party poopers will be surprised and delighted by this boisterous look at how the adults at school behave after the kids leave.  Illustrator Barry Gott perfectly captures the exuberance of teachers roller skating down the halls, sliding and swinging on the playground, engaging in a cafeteria food fight, and more.  I sometimes share this book first without showing the illustrations, and ask kids to draw their own pictures to match the text.  Then we compare what they drew to Gott’s artwork, and brainstorm other things teachers might do when their students aren’t around.

My Teacher's Secret Life  My Teacher’s Secret Life by Stephen Krensky
In the same vein is this fanciful look at what happens when teacher Mrs. Quirk (who surely lives at school) is spotted at the supermarket, the mall, and the park.  Does she really have a life outside the school?  This is not an end-of-the-year book, but the “quirky” artwork by Joann Adinolfi makes it a winner for sharing.

What are your favorite read-alouds for the last week/day of school?  Please share them in the comments!

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Children’s Book Week 2016

CBW2016  Happy Children’s Book Week!

Established in 1919, Children’s Book Week is the longest-running national literacy initiative in the country. Every year, commemorative events are held nationwide at schools, libraries, bookstores, homes — wherever young readers and books connect!

You can download and print some wonderful resources to celebrate reading this week, including a poster by Brian Won featuring characters from his book Hooray for Hat! and a bookmark by Cece Bell based on her graphic novel memoir El Deafo.

CBW2016Poster   CBW2016Bookmark

You can also print lesson plans and activity kits for kids of all ages, and right now the awesome site TeachingBooks.net is offering a collection of free resources for all the Children’s Choice Book Award nominees, including videos!  Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page for the links to each category.

Are you doing something special for Children’s Book Week?  Tell us about it in the comments, or tweet me at @LibraryLoriJune

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Seuss-y Snacks

I will miss celebrating Read Across America Day this year (waahh!) because I’ll be attending the S.C. Association of School Librarians Conference but I thought I’d share a little of last year’s celebration.  I arranged for some education club students to walk over from the middle school next door to serve as guest readers for our lower grade classrooms.  I wanted to provide some snacks for them as a “thank you” that would highlight a few books by Dr. Seuss in honor of his birthday, and here’s what I came up with:
seusstable

Here are some close-ups:
Cat in the Hat hats (strawberry and banana slices)
and One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (goldfish)

cathats

Hop on Pop Popcorn
hoponpopcorn

Brown Bar-ba-loots from The Lorax (chocolate teddy grahams)
brownbarbaloots

Pink Ink Drink from One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish (strawberry soda)
pinkinkdrink

The middle schoolers really enjoyed interacting with our students, and I could tell they put a lot of time and enthusiasm into preparing their read-alouds.  What are you doing to celebrate Read Across America Day?  Tell me about it in the comments, or tweet me @LibraryLoriJune

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Happy Ultimate Pi Day!

Ultimate Pi Day
Only once a century do we experience Ultimate Pi Day: On March 14, XX15 at 9:26:53 (a.m. and p.m.) the date and time line up to 3.141592653  Awesome!

Pi in the Sky  I can’t let Ultimate Pi Day go by without giving a shout out to a book by one of my favorite authors, Wendy Mass.  Her novel Pi in the Sky takes us to outer space for a funny and informative science fiction adventure.  With pie!

In Wendy’s own words:

“The germ of the idea for Pi in the Sky came from a quote a middle-schooler gave me. It was by astronomer Carl Sagan: ‘If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first invent the universe.’ My brain just started churning that quote over and over until a story started to form. I’ve always loved reading science fiction—starting with Ray Bradbury when I was younger—and I felt ready to take on the challenge.”

She actually started her career writing nonfiction for kids, so she’s no stranger to researching science and math.  It actually took her three years to do the research for this book before she felt ready to write about astronomy, evolution, and astrophysics on a level that students could understand.

Learn more about the book:

And here’s a link to some classroom resources for Pi Day.

I’ll leave you with the Pi Episode of Math Bites with Danica McKellar.

It’s true this is the only Ultimate Pi Day we’ll see in our lifetime (the next one will be on March 14, 2115) but Pi Day is celebrated every year on March 14.

Do you know of any other good Pi books or resources?  Please share them in the comments!

 

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WWW: International Dot Day Website

 

This week’s WWW (Weekly Wednesday Website) is….

dot day logo

The International Dot Day website!

http://www.thedotclub.org/dotday/

Monday, September 15, is International Dot Day, inspired by the book The Dot by Peter Reynolds!

In Peter’s words: “In this book, we meet a girl named Vashti who has convinced herself she can not draw. Her teacher dares her to make a mark. Vashti makes one little dot on her sheet of paper… which turns out to be the beginning of her creative journey!  But The Dot is more than a book about art. It is a book that encourages us to be brave about expressing ourselves. It gently reminds us to start small and explore the IDEA. It is also a tribute to great teachers who know how to use humor, “off-the-path” approaches, and who have the vision to see the possibilities in EVERY student. The book ends off with Vashti sharing this gift with others, beginning a ripple of inspiration.”

If you want to use Dot Day to inspire your students, you can…

  • Click here to download a copy of the Dot Day Educator’s Handbook
  • Share the book with your students via Tumblebooks  (I’m sharing it with 4th and 5th grade during related arts this week.)
  • Schedule a class visit to the library next week for a Dot Day story time or art activity
 p.s. A link to this week’s WWW is posted at http://www.netvibes.com/weeklyweb, along with all of the previous WWW websites.
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