We're getting there! This has been a lot of fun--can't believe we are already halfway through!
I've completed a quarter of my #100adoredbooks! Woohoo!
It's been so fun sharing some of my favorites from the library. Also, especially bittersweet given that I now know I will be leaving (relatively) soon.
If you want to know more about these titles, check out my instagram: @graylinsporter
I've "known" Allie Lehman on the internet for years and she is awesome! I always enjoy her social media feeds, but I have especially loved seeing her complete #The100DayProject.
I was inspired by her project to paint for 100 days straight, which was inspired by The Great Discontent's original #The100DayProject. I love challenges such as these and feel like this might be the perfect time to do something like this. I was especially motivated after listening to her interview with Elise Joy on the Elise Gets Crafty podcast.
While I am most certainly not interested in creating something from scratch for 100 days in a row, I want to commit to sharing something I love.
Come February, my job situation will drastically change. We are still undecided on what exactly will happen come next school year with my library job. I love it so much, but there are many factors and all this talk of "you can't have it all" seems to make sense now.
I love my job and want to enjoy it as long as I can, so I have decided to share 100 favorite books from my elementary library. I will be posting every morning on Instagram, follow along! @graylinsporter
Oh and remember Jane Mount and her Ideal Bookshelf prints? I fully intend to create a piece of collage with all 100 covers for the baby's room....that will be a major project. I hope to share it's progress here.
I saw this illustration on pinterest and thought "that's just about right!"
I'm going to try and check in on Wednesdays in addition to my Sunday posts.
It's the first day of school today! I stayed a touch longer than usual yesterday and have the library pretty much ready. I'm excited to read this book to first and second graders today...brand new and so cute!
I want some brown leather booties. I have my eyes on these. But given how the list of "crap to buy" is getting very long (I will not be having baby showers...more on that later), I feel like they might have to be put on hold.
I have checked out the DNC. I know, I need to watch, but it all worries me at this point. Except for Michelle Obama. She is incredible.
Hope you are having a great week!
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
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.
As I was unpacking my big boxes of books last week, I made a fun discovery. Without even realizing it, I ordered three different books all illustrated by Julie Morstad.
A few years ago I picked up her earlier book, When I was Small, for a friend. So I suppose I've been drawn to her illustrations for awhile. Enjoy!
I love picture books and nobody is ever "too old" for them. There, I said it, now we can move on. There are so many amazing picture books that appeal to all ages. I was inspired by sweet Danielle to write this post -- I have been wanting to share more recommendations from my day job as an elementary librarian. I am constantly browsing and buying kids' books, I might as well share the love. Each week I want to highlight a couple books, new and old, that I love.
Aviary Wonders, Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual (Kate Samworth)
This is an experimental book that is both hilariously weird and depressing. It shed light on the rapid extinction of many species while at the same time making you laugh and gawk at the beautiful illustrations.
The Man Who Walked Between the Towers (Mordicai Gerstein)
This is a fun, medium length book with lots of fun foldouts and vertical/horizontally flipped pages. It tells the (now overplayed) story of Phillipe Petit walking between the Twin Towers. The kids cannot believe it's based on a true story, so I always show this the trailer for the documentary Man on Wire directly after reading it to them. They can't believe their eyes!
Closing out another year. These were my favorites this year at work.
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.
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.
I was inspired to write this post after reading one of my favorite Buzzfeed listicles of late: What 17 Adults Learned from Rereading Their Favorite Childhood Books.
I'm constantly reading picture books, graphic novels, and middle-grade chapter books at work. Our oldest grade is fourth, so I miss out on all of the YA stuff and, honestly, I'm totally okay with that.
Since starting work as an elementary librarian, I've been very focused on catching up--reading new stuff and all the stuff I've missed in the past tweny years (HA!). Easier said than done for sure.
I recently finished an absolute stunner. A.F. Harrold's The Imaginary is easily the best middle-grade chapter book I've read in years. So creepy and so DEEP. If you're not a kid, don't have kids, and don't work with kids, you should still read it. It's seriously insane.
However, this Buzzfeed list got me thinking--how about I share what I loved as a kid? I was homeschooled remember? Reading was big and Tuesdays were sublime. We went into Louisville with my Mom and Grandmother and spent major time and money at Hawley-Cooke Booksellers. Kentuckiana natives: remember Hawley-Cooke?!
I spent many hours eating Rally's (THOSE FRIES THOUGH) in the backseat of a red Volvo with my head down in these books. I've left off the classics like Charlotte's Web and Little House for a reason. Those are a given. These are ones I think need a little love. Today, I've got two very special ones for you.
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor
This series is so simple, yet so perfect. It's like Laura Ingalls Wilder transplanted in early 1900s Jewish New York City. The descriptions of the meals at the high holy days are worth it alone.
There are many passages depicting the various shops in the village, the food, the people:
"And wherever there was a bit of space too small for a regular stand, one could be sure to find the old pretzel woman. Her wrinkled face was almost hidden inside of the woolen kerchief bound round her head. Her old hands trembled as they wrapped up the thick, chewy pretzels."
This book is just full of lovely characters doing great things.
Remember Me to Harold Square by Paula Danziger
This book. Oh, where do I start?
I loved the audiobook of this one. I'm sad to say that it's only available via audio cassette on Amazon and I can't seem to find who read it?! HELP!?
Again, this book is another love letter to NYC. Can you tell I was more than a little obsessed with the Big Apple as a kid?
We vacationed there and I always said that I would live there one day. Before Andrew and I reunited the last month of college and decided to head to Norway, my plan was to head to NYC straight out of UNCA. I will always kind of wish I had lived there, but I'll take Norway, Scotland, and Austin. They were worth missing Manhattan forI suppose.
Yeah, I've shared this before a couple of years ago. But I don't care, it's too wonderful! Every year at school, I show this to the kids for Valentine's.
Kindergarten is always super fun to watch this with...they freak out!
It makes it even better if it suddenly stops in the middle (dang iTunes) and one of them yells out "Mrs. Porter! Did you run out of internet!?!?!" Ahhhh....to be six years old.
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?
Since last week was basically none existent for me at work...I had a different sub every day! Which means this morning I found the library in the state pictured above. Whoa. Things get a little crazy around this time. In two weeks we've got fall break, everyone's burned out and coughing.
No better time than to start on our spooky Halloween read alouds. Kids love spooky stuff. I don't read anything truly scary, but things with a subtle level of creep. Started with Lemony Snicket's The Dark today.
This book came out last year and it became an immediate favorite with all my library patrons. We love it's playful language and Jon Klassen's illustrations are always amazing. The kids always know them from other favorites like I Want My Hat Back and Extra Yarn. One of my favorite things about Klassen's illustrations is the color palette. Not the typical colors used in children's books...they are muted, earth tones most of the time, but it works.
If you want to read this alongside another book, I suggest I Need My Monster by Amanda Noll. That's what we're doing this week and the two pair very well together.
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.
I suggest reading it to 25+ six year olds and then ask hem what they think happened...the answers can be priceless.
I love this biography of John Lennon, John's Secret Dreams: The Life of John Lennon by Doreen Rappaport, illustrated by Bryan Collier. The illustrations are strewn with lyrics, which is always nice.
To enhance the experience, I've been showing Ed Sullivan clips along with other fun Beatles videos.
I love my job, but a little part of me dies every time a kid says gleefully that Big Time Rush (who? what?!) is better than The Beatles. HA! They were trying to get me and they did.
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.
I have posted about this before, but I can't help myself, I've got to share it again. This week in the library we broken in our new Smartboard by watching The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. I show this to all grades every year. They all love it--it's just 15 minutes of perfect. Watch it here:
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.
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!
As 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.
Can't wait to share more fun things from the library. Happy reading!