1.28.19 It’s Monday! What are you Reading? It’s CALDECOTT DAY!!!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week


the titles we are currently reading.}

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What students said about The Remember Balloons:

  • This book had colors and it had really good detail and I like how the story went.

  • I loved how each one of the balloons were based 9n a different story. Also the older you are the more balloons you will have.

  • I chose this book because the illustrations really tell the story and the illustrations represent special things to the character in this book.

  • I chose this book as the winner because it was really interesting how it used metafores to tell a bigger story.

  • I think this should be the winner because it has symbolism, but this symbolism is very easy to figure out, and it has lots of detail, with good decoration.

  • I picked this book because I felt like it really had a meaning it showed something that happens in real life but they made it even more interesting they made it fun.

  • I chose this book because it had lots of meaning. For example for every balloon that someone had, that is a memory. Towards the end the kid soon asks about his grandpa’s balloons and he starts to let go (forgets the memories). After the grandpa dies, the kids gets all his grandpa’s balloons because while he was listening he was making memories.

  • I think the remember balloons because it reminded you on how many memories you have. I say this because she was seeing all of the things she remembered

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What students said about Blue:

  • I think this book is my winner because it’s about a dog growing up and the dogs name is Blue. At first I didn’t understand the book then I realized the dogs name was Blue and then I read it over again and I understood the book more.

  • I think it’s the winner because he had lots of colors that means something

  • I chose blue as my winner because of the story the pictures told. The words didn’t tell the story but only assisted it to help explain the story a little better. Also the clever cutouts were very interesting. The pictures told this story about how the kid had a dog named blue then lost the dog. Later they got a new dog named blue. It was very clever how it used a dog to kind of get to your emotions to like the book even more.

  • This is the book I choose to be the Caldecott winner because it is a very nice book and it actually tells a deep story.I also like this book because blue is my favorite color.

  • I choose this book as the winner because it is an amazing book and has very good illustrations.

  • I choose this book because it was all happy then sad and then happy so it had a really good ending. It had really good pictures to go along with the book and I just think it should be number one.

  • Cause the book was literally the same turnout and the book basically was copy of my life.

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And now….
the official winner chosen by the Caldecott committee:
A stunningly beautiful book and great choice. This is Ms. Blackall’s second win.
Here are the honor books, which will look familiar, too:




In a future where the Population Police enforce the law limiting a family to only two children, Luke, an illegal third child, has lived all his twelve years in isolation and fear on his family’s farm in this start to the Shadow Children series from Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Luke has never been to school. He’s never had a birthday party, or gone to a friend’s house for an overnight. In fact, Luke has never had a friend.

Luke is one of the shadow children, a third child forbidden by the Population Police. He’s lived his entire life in hiding, and now, with a new housing development replacing the woods next to his family’s farm, he is no longer even allowed to go outside.

Then, one day Luke sees a girl’s face in the window of a house where he knows two other children already live. Finally, he’s met a shadow child like himself. Jen is willing to risk everything to come out of the shadows — does Luke dare to become involved in her dangerous plan? Can he afford not to?


My Thoughts….

Terrifying. And BORING! The thought of trying to stay hidden and unseen sounds awful. I sure felt bad for Luke and cheered for him as he met Jen. Because of her family, her situation was totally different, yet so much the same.

It must have been so strange for him to be so unknowledgeable about the world outside his house. Jen had her internet connections — Luke was like a young, naive child.

I was impressed by how big a story Haddix could write with such a small setting.

Of course, that all changes at the end of this book. The setting is about to get much, much bigger.



Period 2&3 read 4 books this past week.

Period 5&6 read 12 books this past week.

Period 8&9 read 21 books this past week.















1.24.19 {BOOKflix Friday} APRIL HENRY BOOKS

Today is BOOKflix Friday!

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.

Get the popcorn ready.


 Meet author April Henry:


If you like thrillers and suspense, this is for you.

But only if you can handle it.

About the book
Sixteen-year-old Cheyenne Wilder is asleep in the back of her mom’s car when it’s stolen from the pharmacy parking lot. Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia—she’s also blind. Griffin, the teenager who was stealing packages out of parked cars, hadn’t meant to kidnap her; he just impulsively stole the car with her in it. But once Griffin’s dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of Nike, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. Will Cheyenne be able to survive this harrowing ordeal and escape? And if so, at what price?


And now…


“Take her out back and finish her off.”

She doesn’t know who she is. She doesn’t know where she is, or why. All she knows when she comes to in a ransacked cabin is that there are two men arguing over whether or not to kill her.

And that she must run.

In her riveting style, April Henry crafts a nail-biting thriller involving murder, identity theft, and biological warfare. Follow Cady and Ty (her accidental savior turned companion), as they race against the clock to stay alive, in The Girl Who Was Supposed to Die.



Book 1 in the Last Seen series.

About the book
Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.  

Awesome pics and writeup on the author’s site. Don’t miss it.

Book 2

When a woman’s body is found in a Portland park, suspicion falls on an awkward kid who lives only a few blocks away, a teen who collects knives, loves first-person shooter video games, and obsessively doodles violent scenes in his school notebooks. Nick Walker goes from being a member of Portland’s Search and Rescue team to the prime suspect in a murder, his very interest in SAR seen as proof of his fascination with violence. How is this even possible? And can Alexis and Ruby find a way to help clear Nick’s name before it’s too late?




Sometimes authors have to make serious decisions about their books:


1.18.19 {BOOKflix Friday} A DOG’S WAY HOME

Today is

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.

Get the popcorn ready.



A Dog’s Way Home Movie Tie-In 

A Novel

By W. Bruce Cameron


With four hundred miles of dangerous Colorado wilderness separating one brave dog from her beloved person, Bella sets off on a seemingly impossible and completely unforgettable adventure home.

A Dog’s Way Home is a beautifully told, charming tale that explores the unbreakable bond between us and those we love. This is a fantastic and exhilarating journey of the heart that brilliantly speaks to the incredible power of love and resilience of spirit that tie us together.

If this book sounds good to you, you might also want to check out:

1.14.19 It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? BECAUSE OF MR. TERUPT

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week


the titles we are currently reading.}

One of the cool things about reading a book with Libby on my iPad is that I can also have the book downloaded on my phone and sync it up.
My challenge to myself this year is to use down time or waiting time to READ rather than to idly scroll through Instagram or Facebook. 
It’s working so far 🙂
(All book blurbs are borrowed from IndieBound.)





Features seven narrators, each with a unique story, and each with a different perspective on what makes their teacher so special.

It’s the start of fifth grade for seven kids at Snow Hill School. There’s . . . Jessica, the new girl, smart and perceptive, who’s having a hard time fitting in; Alexia, a bully, your friend one second, your enemy the next; Peter, class prankster and troublemaker; Luke, the brain; Danielle, who never stands up for herself; shy Anna, whose home situation makes her an outcast; and Jeffrey,who hates school.

Only Mr. Terupt, their new and energetic teacher, seems to know how to deal with them all. He makes the classroom a fun place, even if he doesn’t let them get away with much . . . until the snowy winter day when an accident changes everything—and everyone.
My Thoughts…
I’ve been hearing about and seeing this book for YEARS. It’s been on my mental TBR pile even if it wasn’t on the list of books here. When I was searching for a book to read on my iPad and saw it while I scrolled, I seized the chance to download it.
I think BOMT came out around the same time as Wonder and had a lot of people thinking about the importance of getting to know people around us without assuming who they are or why they are. The multiple POVs helps get that message across as we’re able to see into the heads and hearts of the characters. 
There are surprises, too—and not just THE surprise that gets teased in the blurb above. 
I’m always thinking about how I as a teacher can be a bigger positive influence on my students and the people around me. This book and the character of Mr. Terupt are motivations for me to be kind and gentle and look below the surface.
I think teaching is one of the most noble professions… but also one of the most challenging. In my classroom I have many students—each unique; each dealing with his or her own struggles, family situations, and inner life. How do I know what each of them is going through? How do I figure out how to treat each one fairly so she or he can be successful and meet his or her potential? How do I leverage this to help my students learn what they need to and accomplish the required work?
Not easy, but very rewarding.
There’s a great quote this book brings to mind: 


If you end up reading this book, you may also want to follow up with:






Period 2&3 read 6 books this past week.

Period 5&6 read 16 books this past week.

Period 8&9 read 12 books this past week.













1.11.10 {BOOKflix Friday} The LEGEND Trilogy by @marielu

Today is

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.

Get the popcorn ready.


Marie Lu’s


Sometimes it gets tiring waiting for the next installment of a series or trilogy. The plot gets murky and the characters difficult to recall.

Sometimes I like reading a series that is ALL published so I can move quickly from one book to the next and keep my momentum.

If you feel at all the same, here is a great opportunity for you!

The trilogy is completed. And yes, the books are better than the trailers.



What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths – until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.



June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?



He is a Legend.
She is a Prodigy.
Who will be Champion?

June and Day have sacrificed so much for the people of the Republic—and each other—and now their country is on the brink of a new existence. June is back in the good graces of the Republic, working within the government’s elite circles as Princeps Elect while Day has been assigned a high level military position. But neither could have predicted the circumstances that will reunite them once again. Just when a peace treaty is imminent, a plague outbreak causes panic in the Colonies, and war threatens the Republic’s border cities. This new strain of plague is deadlier than ever, and June is the only one who knows the key to her country’s defense. But saving the lives of thousands will mean asking the one she loves to give up everything he has.


It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

{Celebrating the books we’ve read in the past week


the titles we are currently reading.}

I JUST told my wife that I read/finished five books over break. WOW.
She looked over to me from the other side of the couch where she was reading and responded, “Yeah, I fell out of love with reading for a while. I realize I just needed to find a good book — one I really liked, not one I was settling for.”
Yeah, that’s it, isn’t it? It’s all about finding the RIGHT book out there.
If you’ve found one: AWESOME!
If You aren’t enjoying reading (and perhaps feel like you never have): THERE IS A BOOK OUT THERE THAT’S PERFECT FOR YOU… LET’S FIND IT!
(All book blurbs are borrowed from IndieBound.)
Sequel to


“Reichs knows exactly how to mix action, suspense, and characters into a breathless read.” —Marie Lu, New York Timesbestselling author of Warcross

The blistering sequel to the instant New York Times bestselling Nemesis by Brendan Reichs.

Noah Livingston knows he is destined to survive.

The 64 members of Fire Lake’s sophomore class are trapped in a place where morals have no meaning and zero rules apply. But Noah’s deaths have trained him-hardened him-to lead the strongest into the future … whatever that may be. And at any cost.

Min Wilder knows that survival alone isn’t enough.

In a violent world where brute force passes for leadership, it’s tempting to lay back and let everyone else battle it out. But Min’s instincts rebel against allowing others to decide who lives and who dies. She’s ready to fight for what she believes in. And against whomever might stand in her way.
My thoughts….
Crazy craziness and insanity. Some parts of this remind me of the Gone series in a way: All adults are gone, survival, teams, choosing up sides and allegiances… I listened to this every chance I got. I still have lots of questions. Will they be answered in the third book? (Is there just one more left?)
Listened to
Sequel to


In Cory Doctorow’s wildly successful novel Little Brother, young Marcus Yallow was arbitrarily detained and brutalized by the government in the wake of a terrorist attack on San Francisco–an experience that led him to become a leader of the whole movement of technologically clued-in teenagers, fighting back against the tyrannical security state.A few years later, California’s economy collapses, but Marcus’ hacktivist past lands him a job as webmaster for a crusading politician who promises reform.
Soon his former nemesis Masha emerges from the political underground to gift him with a thumb drive containing a WikiLeaks-style cable dump of hard evidence of corporate and governmental perfidy. It’s incendiary stuff–and if Masha goes missing, Marcus is supposed to release it to the world. Then Marcus sees Masha being kidnapped by the same government agents who detained and tortured Marcus years earlier.Marcus can leak the archive Masha gave him–but he can’t admit to being the leaker because that will cost his employer the election. He’s surrounded by friends who remember what he did a few years ago and regard him as a hacker hero. He can’t even attend a demonstration without being dragged onstage and handed a mike. He’s not at all sure that just dumping the archive onto the Internet, before he’s gone through its millions of words, is the right thing to do.
Meanwhile, people are beginning to shadow him, people who look like they’re used to inflicting pain until they get the answers they want.Fast moving, passionate, and as current as next week, Homeland is every bit the equal of Little Brother–a paean to activism, to courage, to the drive to make the world a better place.
My thoughts….
Though certainly entertaining, this was NOT as good as the first book. It could have been, but the climax failed to build to the point of danger and relief. Doctorow’s attention to detail and the amount of strange tech he knows is fascinating. The Dark Net. 3D printing with sand. Even cold brew coffee (one of my favorite parts).


Meet Caleb and Bobby Gene, two brothers embarking on a madcap, heartwarming, one-thing-leads-to-another adventure, for fans of As Brave As You by Jason Reynolds, Merci Suarez Changes Gears by Meg Medina, Front Desk by Kelly Yang, and One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia. Friendships are forged, loyalties are tested . . . and miracles just might happen.

Caleb Franklin and his big brother Bobby Gene are excited to have adventures in the woods behind their house. But Caleb dreams of venturing beyond their ordinary small town.

Then Caleb and Bobby Gene meet new neighbor Styx Malone. Styx is sixteen and oozes cool. Styx promises the brothers that together, the three of them can pull off the Great Escalator Trade–exchanging one small thing for something better until they achieve their wildest dream. But as the trades get bigger, the brothers soon find themselves in over their heads. Styx has secrets–secrets so big they could ruin everything

Five best of the year lists!
NPR, HornBook, Kirkus Reviews, SLJ, Shelf Awareness
My thoughts….
Remember—I started this one and thought I lost it? I found it.
On my bedside table.
That tells you what my bedside table looks like, right?
I couldn’t help but be reminded of Bud, Not Buddy at the beginning of the book. Caleb had an interesting outlook on life just like Bud did. But that comparison didn’t hold true for the rest of the book. Also, this is a modern story, not historical fiction.
Styx is a fascinating character, but so is how Caleb and BG interact with him and with each other. There are LOTS of themes the author is developing in here. 
Ms. Magoon and Mr. Reichs (Nemesis), both have degrees from Vermont College of Fine Arts. My buddy Eric, who also has his degree from VCFA, has met them both. Crazy, right?
Sequel to


From the New York Times bestselling author Kwame Alexander comes Rebound, a dynamic novel in verse and companion to his Newbery Award-winner, The Crossover, illustrated with striking graphic novel panels.

Before Josh and Jordan Bell were streaking up and down the court, their father was learning his own moves. In this prequel to Newbery Medal winner The Crossover, Chuck Bell takes center stage, as readers get a glimpse of his childhood and how he became the jazz music worshiping, basketball star his sons look up to.   

A novel in verse with all the impact and rhythm readers have come to expect from Kwame Alexander, Rebound will go back in time to visit the childhood of Chuck “Da Man” Bell during one pivotal summer when young Charlie is sent to stay with his grandparents where he discovers basketball and learns more about his family’s past.  
My thoughts….
This felt slow at first, and almost too similar to the Crossover. But I pressed on, and things quickly changed for the better. Sometimes I had a tough time remembering who I was reading about–it felt like Josh/Filthy from the first book. The cool thing about prequels is realizing why things are the way they are in the actual first book. That’s why it’s best to NOT read the prequel before the first book (in my opinion).
Will there be another book in this series?
 A cute book about beginning a new school year and feeling/looking/sounding/eating different from those around you. I might use this as a beginning-of-the-year book to share with my classes.  Great illustrations as well.




Period 2&3 read 11 books this past week.

Period 5&6 read 20 books this past week.

Period 8&9 read 30 books this past week.













1.4.19 {BOOKflix Friday} Jason Reynolds and the TRACK TEAM series

Today is BookFlix Friday!

Few things can draw a reader to a new book like a book trailer can.

Get the popcorn ready.



This is the first in a series of books about runners on a track team. The series is called Track Team Series. This is book #1.


From Simon & Schuster:

Ghost wants to be the fastest sprinter on his elite middle school track team, but his past is slowing him down in this first electrifying novel in a new series from Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award–winning author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Running. That’s all Ghost (real name Castle Cranshaw) has ever known. But Ghost has been running for the wrong reasons—it all started with running away from his father, who, when Ghost was a very little boy, chased him and his mother through their apartment, then down the street, with a loaded gun, aiming to kill. Since then, Ghost has been the one causing problems—and running away from them—until he meets Coach, an ex-Olympic Medalist who sees something in Ghost: crazy natural talent. If Ghost can stay on track, literally and figuratively, he could be the best sprinter in the city. Can Ghost harness his raw talent for speed, or will his past finally catch up to him?

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The style was fast-pasted and in the language was from a city kid’s mouth. I like when books start rather innocently, but then pack a twist or lesson. This is that book.

Start this video at :49.

Reynolds continued this series with:


A newbie to the track team, Patina must learn to rely on her teammates as she tries to outrun her personal demons in this follow-up to the National Book Award finalist Ghost by New York Times bestselling author Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Lu. Patina. Sunny. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics if they can get their acts together. They all have a lot to lose, but they also have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves.

Patina, or Patty, runs like a flash. She runs for many reasons—to escape the taunts from the kids at the fancy-schmancy new school she’s been sent to since she and her little sister had to stop living with their mom. She runs from the reason WHY she’s not able to live with her “real” mom any more: her mom has The Sugar, and Patty is terrified that the disease that took her mom’s legs will one day take her away forever. So Patty’s also running for her mom, who can’t. But can you ever really run away from any of this? As the stress builds up, it’s building up a pretty bad attitude as well. Coach won’t tolerate bad attitude. No day, no way. And now he wants Patty to run relay…where you have to depend on other people? How’s she going to do THAT?



Sunny tries to shine despite his troubled past in this third novel in the critically acclaimed Track series from National Book Award finalist Jason Reynolds.

Ghost. Patina. Sunny. Lu. Four kids from wildly different backgrounds, with personalities that are explosive when they clash. But they are also four kids chosen for an elite middle school track team—a team that could qualify them for the Junior Olympics. They all have a lot of lose, but they all have a lot to prove, not only to each other, but to themselves. Sunny is the main character in this novel, the third of four books in Jason Reynold’s electrifying middle grade series.

Sunny is just that—sunny. Always ready with a goofy smile and something nice to say, Sunny is the chillest dude on the Defenders team. But Sunny’s life hasn’t always been sun beamy-bright. You see, Sunny is a murderer. Or at least he thinks of himself that way. His mother died giving birth to him, and based on how Sunny’s dad treats him—ignoring him, making Sunny call him Darryl, never “Dad”—it’s no wonder Sunny thinks he’s to blame. It seems the only thing Sunny can do right in his dad’s eyes is win first place ribbons running the mile, just like his mom did. But Sunny doesn’t like running, never has. So he stops. Right in the middle of a race.

With his relationship with his dad now worse than ever, the last thing Sunny wants to do is leave the other newbies—his only friends—behind. But you can’t be on a track team and not run. So Coach asks Sunny what he wants to do. Sunny’s answer? Dance. Yes, dance. But you also can’t be on a track team and dance. Then, in a stroke of genius only Jason Reynolds can conceive, Sunny discovers a track event that encompasses the hard hits of hip-hop, the precision of ballet, and the showmanship of dance as a whole: the discus throw. As Sunny practices the discus, learning when to let go at just the right time, he’ll let go of everything that’s been eating him up inside, perhaps just in time.



Lu must learn to leave his ego on the sidelines if he wants to finally connect with others in the climax to the New York Times bestselling and award-winning Track series from Jason Reynolds.

Lu was born to be cocaptain of the Defenders. Well, actually, he was born albino, but that’s got nothing to do with being a track star. Lu has swagger, plus the talent to back it up, and with all that—not to mention the gold chains and diamond earrings—no one’s gonna outshine him.

Lu knows he can lead Ghost, Patina, Sunny, and the team to victory at the championships, but it might not be as easy as it seems. Suddenly, there are hurdles in Lu’s way—literally and not-so-literally—and Lu needs to figure out, fast, what winning the gold really means.

Expect the unexpected in this final event in Jason Reynold’s award-winning and bestselling Track series.


Reynolds has a bunch of other great books as well:

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