what I'm preordering right now

Every summer, right before school starts back, I spend several days online researching upcoming releases. I like to get everything preordered so it just arrives on the day of publication. I particularly enjoy building up some excitement for big releases before they arrive...last year we all about lost our marbles waiting for Amulet: Firelight. It was too perfect because the day of its release, I had a bunch of kids reading outside and we saw the UPS truck drive by, causing us all to erupt in loud cheers.

So far, here's just a handful of what I have ready to preorder:

Ghosts by Raina Telgemeier

Yeah duh. Telgemeier's complete domination in middle grade continues. I'm excited about this one and one copy is not going to cut it. I've ordered three, which is not enough either.

We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

This is the third "Hat" book and if it's anything close to I Want My Hat Back and This is Not My Hat, it will be in instant classic in the library.

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

Yeah...While I don't love Pilkey's books, I can appreciate them for what they are: a gateway into reading for those who don't want to. HA! I'm thrilled to see something new that's not more Captain Underpants.

Return by Aaron Becker

Becker's wordless series has a special place in my heart. It's just so beautiful. So far we've had Journey, Quest, and now this final (?) installment.

Moo by Sharon Creech

It's a new Creech novel. No other explanation needed...it just must be ordered.

A Child of Books by Oliver Jeffers

I always look forward to new releases from Jeffers. However, they can be hit or miss. I don't love all of his books, but this one looks like it might be a winner...in the same vein as The Incredible Book Eating Boy or Stuck.

Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe and her Unicorn Adventure by Dana Simpson

I get genuinely excited about new Phoebe books. These graphic novels (which are great for BOTH boys & girls regardless of the front covers) are hilarious! I love the unicorn so much whose name is Marigold Heavenly Nostrils. Perfection.



elementary library picks of 2015

Closing out another year. These were my favorites this year at work.


Lenny and Lucy
Phillip and Erin Stead are at it again. I love their illustration's so much. The story here is unique and slightly creepy. I paired this as a read aloud with Wild by Emily Hughes and Where the Wild Things Are. Kids loved these three together.

The Day the Crayons Came Home
I don't think it's possible to write this post without including it. They are insanely popular for a reason. So clever and funny.

One of the many beautiful wordless picture books out there year. I want them all for myself!

The Only Child
Another wordless--this time  with over 100 pages of brilliant, heartbreaking illustrations. It is a combination picture book/graphic novel. 

First time illustrator, quojing, is from China and this story addresses the overwhelming loneliness felt by the massive generation of single children now coming of age.




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Roller Girl by Victoria Jamison
Endearing graphic novel about roller derby. Great for girls or boys. It's funny, has a little edge to it, but with good taste.

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty
Creepy story that takes place in the basement of the Biltmore Estate? Ca. 1920? Sign me up!

The Marvels by Brian Selznick
Over 600 pages which are gilded along the edges. Beautiful book! Over 2/3 of the pages are just pictures, similar to Selznick's other books. This is a very sophiscated tale of New York City, Shakespeare, and the theater in general. I was way impressed.

Crenshaw by Katherine Applegate
Boy, Katherine Applegate really knows how to make you feel ALL the FEELS. Her last novel won the Newbery, The One and Only Ivan. I read it aloud to third grade every spring, so when this came out a couple months ago, I snatched it up. We are about to finish this one with fourth grade. It is a bit of a downer, but so so good. Short chapters, it gets right to the point.

back on track...

I'm reading again! Praise be! While I'm still behind, I'm closing in ever so slightly on that 52 for 2015 goal. Here's what I've been reading:

Currently listening to not one, but TWO audiobooks!

A Spool of Blue Thread by Anne Tyler and Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling. Of course, the Kaling is wonderful...the Tyler one? I'm unsure...anyone else read it out there? Thoughts?

It's a big week in the library for fourth grade...a NEW Brian Selznick book came out yesterday! After his beloved The Adventures of Hugo Cabret and Wonderstruck, we were eagerly awaiting this one. I stayed up late last night to finish and get it the first person on the waiting list today. SO GOOD. Loved loved loved it.

Last I managed to finish up not one, but two other books! One super fast memoir, Mortality by Christopher Hitchens. Hilarious and deep all at once. The other, a fluffy novel, Days of Awe. Good, but nothing to rave about.

Let's be honest, I'm mostly just speeding through this stuff so I can start Elena Ferrante. Thinking about saving it for the plane in October...

chapter books


Chapter books. Y'all know that I really enjoy my day job as an elementary school librarian. However, I am a huge picture book fanatic. I'm not as keen on chapter books....I love them of course, but if I had my druthers, we'd be picture booking it all year long.

I especially enjoy working at school after the holidays. I find that after we get through the onslaught of Halloween through New Year's, the kids and staff come back ready to settle into a routine.

Thus, I always start chapter books with classes in January. Now, inevitably we'll get messed up with snow days, but so far, so good.

Earlier this week I was trying to decide what to read with second grade. I always read a different book to each grade, but  this year I'm reading different books with different classes. I find that each and every class has a personality of its own and I have tried to select books that are tailored to the individual classes.

Here's a quick look at some of the books we're reading right now. I'm still working on picking the others. Any ideas out there?

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Happy reading!

this week in the elementary library...

The_Stranger_(Chris_Van_Allsburg_book)_cover_art I always read this one to first grade in September. I'm a devout Chris Van Allsburg fan. I love anything and everything he does and this one, The Stranger, is particularly weird and wonderful. It's about the coming of fall without being corny and literal. It's bizarre and amazing.

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I suggest reading it to 25+ six year olds and then ask hem what they think happened...the answers can be priceless.




this week at the elementary library...

otto-the-book-bear-by-katie-cleminson-10433-p Such a sweet book this week. This week I'm reading (among other bear books, Corduroy and Baby Bear) Otto the Book Bear to kindergarten.

It's a wonderful celebration of books and libraries in general. Otto is a little bear who "lives in a book on shelf in a house." He gets left behind and has to find a new home in the big city library. It's just sweet and lovely.ottothebookbear Ottoblogottobook2ottothebookbearotto-the-book-bear3otto-the-book-bear6

this week at the elementary library...

Manfish This week, third graders get the pleasure of hearing the book, Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau. Written by Jennifer Berne and Illustrated by Eric Puybaret. There are so many amazing picture book biographies. This one is a win-win because the illustrations are insanely beautiful, the writing is great, and the kids love that it is a true story.

Pages-from-Manfish_Interior-1 So much of diving is ancutting1

I am pretty much obsessed with Eric Puybaret's illustrations. Decided to look around and see what else he has done. Oh dear, look at these!

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8b79e06be7efb5ac4f5bd5b8eec2041c (1) e6d428ed855722cc977c886f83813479 (1) Pretty! I would love to have one of these hugely blown up and framed. I tend to think that about almost all my favorite illustrations...ha!

This week at the elementary library...

2013-08-02_1375466491As I've said before, I really love my day job as an elementary school librarian. We started back school on Thursday. Yes, I'm fully aware that's still in July. We are on "year-round" school, which I'm pretty excited about. Two week break in October!

This year I want to share more about my job,, including weekly posts featuring authors, illustrators, or books that I have read to kids in the library that week. Since I've been at this school for a couple years now and know most the kids, the first few days were a lot of fun.



This week I'm reading Library Lion to all the first grade classes. I love love love this book. Wonderful illustrations by Kevin Hawkes and a charming story from Michelle Knudsen. I like to read it at the beginning of the year because it's about breaking rules in the library...and how that can be a good thing sometimes?!? Some people may think that's a little nuts to read it to kids on the first few days of school, but whatever, it works for me.

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Can't wait to share more fun things from the library. Happy reading!

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore


Have I mentioned how much I enjoy my new job?


Because I get to research, read, and show kids stuff like this. William Joyce is a brilliant illustrator, writer, and filmmaker who created this wonderful short film that received the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 2011. There is a beautiful picture book to accompany it, which I will be reading to my students this week, along with showing them the film.

So beautiful. Enjoy!

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illustrations by Allen Say

I am lucky enough to be constantly surrounded by children's books in my new job. Children's book illustrations are probably on my top ten list of things I generally LOVE LOVE LOVE.

I love that I will get to consistently read new books and see many books that I have missed since being young enough to sit in a library and look for hours.

How beautiful are these illustrations from Allen Say's excellent picture book, Grandfather's Journey, Caldecott Medal winner for 1993.

source, source, source, source