Category Archives: Booktalks

Talk at home about…reading around the world!

Hello CCS Readers! I’m Simone, a former CCS student and current intern in the library. I’m introducing a new reading challenge for all middle school readers: Around the World Through Books! I spent a lot of time traveling around Europe this summer and fall, and was inspired to bring my experiences and love for reading and travel back with me. There are so many fantastic books written with young adult readers in mind that are set all over the world — in all time periods, with or without fantastical elements, and featuring all sorts of perils and adventures! There is simply so much to be learned and enjoyed from immersing yourself in other cultures.

To encourage students to take up this challenge, Mrs. Huestis and I have even offered a special prize for any student who reads six books, each set on a different continent (excluding Antarctica): a free book at the Scholastic Book Fair in February! These six books can be any genre, and don’t need to come from the CCS library (books read for a class certainly count as well). In order to get your free book, be sure to ask at the circulation desk for a Reading Passport, and get a stamp from Mrs. Huestis every time you read a new book. To help get you started, below is a list of suggested books from each of the six continents I’ve compiled (featuring fantastic infographics from EpicReads.com). If you’re looking for more Young Adult suggestions, feel free to find me on Mondays in the library, or check out my own book blog at gwenkatelibrary.wordpress.com!

YA Books Set in North America:

CCS Library Recommendations:

These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly: New York City

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: New York City

Snow White by Matt Phelan (Graphic Novel): New York City

Around the World  (Graphic Novel) by Matt Phelan: All over the world!

Front Lines by Michael Grant: New York, California, etc.

Walk on Earth a Stranger by Rae Carson: California

Ghosts by Raina Telegemeier (Graphic Novel): California

The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson: Boston

The Curse of the Blue Tattoo by L.A. Meyer (Book 2): Boston

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee: Alabama

Day of Tears by Julius Lester: Georgia, Kentucky

The Secret Hour by Scott Westerfeld: Oklahoma

Red Glass by Laura Resau: Mexico

House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer: US/Mexico

YA Books Set in Europe:

CCS Library Recommendations:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K Rowling: U.K.

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy: London

The Dark Unwinding by Sharon Cameron: London

Secret Letters by Leah Scheier: London

The Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason: London

Bloody Jack by L.A. Meyer: London

The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman: London

Mark of the Thief by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Ancient Rome

Nobody’s Princess by Esther Friesner: Ancient Greece

King of Ithaka by Tracy Barrett: Ancient Greece

Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs: Wales

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: Paris

Midwinterblood by Marcus Sedgwick: Scandinavia

The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer: Scandinavia

Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George: Norway

East by Edith Pattou: Norway

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire: Russia

Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski: Czech Republic

Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier: Transylvania, Romania

My Bonny Light Horseman (Book 6) by L.A. Meyer: France

Viva Jacquelina! (Book 10) by L.A. Meyer: Spain

The Book Thief by Marcus Zuzak: Germany

Maus I: A Survivor’s Tale by Art Spiegelman (Graphic Novel): Poland

Courage and Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs, and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson: Denmark

YA Books Set in South and Central America:

CCS Library Recommendations:

A Company of Swans by Eva Ibbotson: Brazil

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson: Brazil

City of Beasts by Isabel Allende: Brazil

Enrique’s Journey by Sonia Nazario: Honduras

Colibri by Ann Cameron: Guatemala

Grab Hands and Run by Frances Temple: El Salvador

YA Books Set in Oceania:

CCS Library Recommendations:

Nation by Terry Pratchett: South Pacific Island

Magic or Madness by Justine Larbalestier: Australia, New York City

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta: Australia

In Too Deep (The 39 Clues #6) by Jude Watson: Australia, Indonesia

I am the Messenger by Marcus Zuzak: Australia

Jasper Jones by Craig Silvey: Australia

Wildlife by Fiona Wood: Australia

Zac and Mia by A.J. Betts: Australia

Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden: Australia

The Wake of the Lorelei Lee (Book 8) by L.A. Meyer: Australia

YA Books Set in Asia:

(No infographic available)

CCS Library Recommendations:

Cinder by Marissa Meyer: China

Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale: Mongolia

Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin: China

Starry River of the Sky by Grace Lin: China

When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin: China

Eon by Allison Goodman: China

Toads and Diamonds by Heather Tomlinson: India

Peak by Roland Smith: Nepal

Huntress by Melinda Lo: China

Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott: Japan

The Mark of the Golden Dragon (Book 9) by L.A. Meyer: China

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus: Japan

Alphabet of Dreams by Susan Fletcher: Ancient Persia

Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood (Graphic Novel) by Marjane Satrapi: Iran

YA Books Set in Africa:

(No infographic available)

CCS Library Recommendations:

Sphinx’s Princess and Sphinx’s Queen by Esther Friesner: Ancient Egypt

Ink and Bone by Rachel Caine: Egypt

Bad Girls: Sirens, Jezebels, Murderesses, and Other Female Villains by Jane Yolen and Heidi E.Y. Stemple: Ancient Egypt (also Russia, USA, London, etc.)

A Girl Named Disaster by Nancy Farmer: Zimbabwe, Mozambique

Golden Boy by Tara Sullivan: Tanzania

Over a Thousand Hills I Walk with You by Hanna Jansen: Rwanda

The White Giraffe by Lauren St. John: South Africa

Now Is the Time for Running by Michael Williams: Zimbabwe

Around the World with Dorthy’s List:

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton: Vermont

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands: London

Somewhere There is Still a Sun: A Memoir of the Holocaust by Michael Gruenbaum and Todd Hasak-Lowy: Prague

Waiting for Unicorns by Beth Hautala: The Arctic

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

Night on Fire by Ronald Kidd: Alabama

A Night Divided by Jennifer A. Nielsen: Berlin, Germany

The Lightning Queen by Laura Resau: Mexico

Echo by Pan Munoz Ryan: Germany, Pennsylvania, California

Good luck and enjoy!

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Filed under 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Booktalks, Global Citizenship, Guest Posts, Middle School

Talk at home about…picture book inspiration!

November is Picture Book Month! Here are some highlights from library land that have been inspired by picture books.

Our youngest learners have finished their Global Read Aloud books. Some classes learned all about the Author Amy Krouse Rosenthal via an author study. Some have been listening to a read aloud of The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes. Our thinking about big ideas contained in these stories went beyond the walls of our building! We shared our thinking and learned from others via tools like ChatterPix, ThingLink and Padlet. We also opened up conversations with good old fashioned postcards, which led to a high-tech impromptu Skype visit with a classroom in Michigan! We realized that we had many things in common with these other students!

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We have also turned the library into a literary cafe this month, hosting a “Book Tasting” for 6th graders learning and writing about courage. We wanted students to have access to books that would allow all of them to have an entry point to information about people, both famous and not-so-famous, who exhibited courage in a variety of ways. Picture book biographies proved to be the best resource. Picture books for 6th graders? Absolutely, yes. Here’s why!

Book Tasting is an engaging and efficient way to share lots of books with students! Normally, it would take me more than one class period to book talk a sufficient amount of titles, hoping that each student would hear about something that interested them. The Book Tasting format, in contrast, allows students to be in the drivers’ seat, so to speak. Tables are set up in a cafe like arrangement, each one pre-set with about ten titles. Students rotate tables about 5 times, with just enough time to sample at least one item from each table. They are encouraged to look at illustrations and text features, read a paragraph, and a bit of the authors’ note. Menus help students keep track of their favorites, and give me the information I need to match each reader with a book that interests them!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 6th Grade, Books, Booktalks, Collaboration, Kindergarten, reading, Writing

Talk at home about…reading our way through the week!

We are just getting ready to begin our third week of school! We’ve already experimented with our new “Creation Station”, listened to Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award book talks, explored the library to find books that will inspire us, and read – LOTS! I’ve found a few books to read aloud as we think about the skills and habits of mind we need to support our learning and big dreams. Here are the titles we shared that prompted discussions about our hopes and dreams.IMG_4961 (1)

My Pen by Christopher Myers is a celebration of individuality and the power of our imaginations. My students worried at first about the black and white illustrations, then realized the words made the colors come to life in their minds. This is what I call a quiet yet powerful book. Some books get my students jumping out of their seats. Some, like this one, still their bodies as they really focus on what they author is trying to say.  This was the best story to read aloud as we are getting ready to implement a ‘Creation Station” maker space in our library!

What do You do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada, ill. by Mae Besom encourages readers to think about the bravery it takes to have an idea and share it with the world. Ideas, once nurtured, can grow beyond just ourselves. My students particularly loved poring over the illustrations in this book, thinking critically about what they meant and how they related to the text and the author’s purpose. I can easily say this is one of the best books I have ever shared to get them thinking out loud about what they see and how it relates to each of them as individuals.

How to Read a Story by Kate Messner, ill. by Mark Siegel is the perfect book to share the joy of reading. It falls under the “why didn’t I think of that idea” category! It is simply brilliant. It takes readers through the steps of choosing a book that is just right, sharing it with a friend, and gives reminders about how to read the words and give voice to the characters. I loved reading it, and my students created a wave of bodies with outstretched arms afterwards. They couldn’t wait to get their hands on it!

These authors and illustrators have truly inspired us. I can’t wait to see where that inspiration takes us!

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, Authors, Books, Booktalks, Elementary, Kindergarten, Readalouds, reading

Talk at home about…the stories we share!

photoWe know that when our students are able to choose what they read, they are more likely to develop strong vocabulary and writing skills. From a librarian’s perspective, I also see that choice in reading allows students to explore the world around them in a safe way. It encourages curiosity, and develops empathy skills.

This week, while enjoying time with 4th graders , I learned that the core idea for their current literacy unit was “story ideas take many forms.” As I listened along with the students to the ways in which different authors shape their stories, I couldn’t help but think about the connections students are able to make with many forms of stories if they are given the power to make their own choices as readers.

Our school library contains a collection of over 20,000 print-and-paper books. If we take into account our online offerings, that number increases in ways I can’t even begin to count. We are constantly sharing books with our students. Booktalks are one of my favorite ways to share stories and show students the variety of books there are to choose from. Over the past week or so, I have been talking about Red Clover and Dorothy Canfield Fisher books. Both of these reading programs offer a wide variety of quality literature for our students to choose from. Take a look at our home page to explore some of the books on your own!

Here are some other links you might like to visit:

Red Clover Book Award Program (K-4)

DCF Book Award Program (4-8)

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 4th Grade, 5th Grade, 6th Grade, 7th Grade, 8th Grade, booklists, Books, Booktalks, DCF, Kindergarten, Middle School, Primary, reading, Red Clover

Talk at home about…a great first week!

Ok, so it hasn’t officially been a full week yet, but we are certainly off and running! The library has been bustling with books leaving the shelves in the hands of teachers and students alike. I have enjoyed welcoming each face, and have also had the opportunity to be a part of classroom activities in preparation for some wonderful collaborations that are already in the works.

Here are some of the books I’ve already shared with our younger students. Each in it’s own way celebrates books, reading, new beginnings, and the stories that we each have to tell!

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A Library Book for Bear by Bonny Becker; illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

My Teacher is a Monster!…No, I am Not! by Peter Brown

Today we will be sharing booktalks! Can’t wait to see 6th graders this afternoon to talk about the new Dorothy Canfield Fisher Book Award. Kids’ choice is something to celebrate!

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Filed under 1st Grade, 2nd Grade, 3rd Grade, 6th Grade, Books, Booktalks, DCF, Readalouds, reading

Talk at home about…where the year went!

When school begins in late August, it always seems as if the year ahead is long, just waiting to be filled with learning. Then April break happens, and…poof! It seems as if those last few weeks go by in an absolute blur. CCS staff congratulated 8th grade graduates last night, and waved goodbye to our K-7th graders this afternoon. Another school year is over, but I’d like to celebrate some of the learning that has happened over the last few weeks in the library.

We have helped students research, research, research! From independent topics to those framed by curriculum, students from grades 3-8 have been exercising their very best inquiry habits. We’ve seen tons of use of our print and digital resources. Curious about how to find resources yourself? Ask one of Miss Leach’s (former) 3rd graders! They learned how to use our Destiny Quest library catalog in order to help them become experts in a topic of interest. Not only did they create tutorials for YOU on how to use the library catalog, they also wrote their own informational books in class! They celebrated their hard work this week by sharing their books with Ms. Lubic’s (former) 1st graders. Click here to see & listen to a sample how-to crash course on using Destiny Quest!

We have also celebrated reading and writing. Ms. Lubic’s class participated in our 6×6 Reading Challenge, a partnership with the Charlotte Public Library aimed at highlighting the power of reading whatever we want to read! In class, they wrote book reviews of their favorite titles as part of their writing unit; during library time, they added audio and visual layers using the StoryKit iPad app. Then, we added their written reviews as well as their StoryKits to our library catalog. Now that Miss Leach’s class has taught you how to use Destiny Quest, go there and search for Stink: the Incredible Shrinking Kid by Megan McDonald. Click on the cover, then on one of the links under “Electronic Resources”  to see a sample. To read the review, simply click the “Reviews” tab. Enjoy! Need more options? Ask one of Ms. Lubic’s (former) 1st graders. Need help? Ask one of Miss Leach’s (former) 3rd graders!

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In recent weeks, we have also hosted readathons, student-created book talks, and poetry readings. We have talked up summer reading opportunities, tracked down over 1,000 library books, genrefied our fiction collection, and generally celebrated all the learning that has happened in our library space over the past year. We can’t wait for next year!

 

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Filed under 1st Grade, 3rd Grade, Booktalks, Collaboration, Destiny Quest, reading, Research, Writing

Talk at home about…Opportunities for Connections!

Students make connections when they are provided opportunities to use skills in a variety of ways. I’d like to highlight some connections being made recently in our school library.

Mrs. Little’s 6th graders are participating in historical fiction book clubs. This is one of my favorite collaborations with Mrs. Little! TBook Clubhe titles students are reading are set during the Revolutionary War, which is also their Social Studies focus at the moment. Students are able to integrate what they learn in the classroom into their reading experiences. It makes for quite lively discussions! In addition, they are practicing their literacy skills by reading complex text, discussing and questioning content, and yes…making connections!

Other examples are students’ “6-Second Book Bytes”, created to promote books and to get each other excited about our recent book fair. In these super-short book talks, students needed to pull out three or four subjects or key words related to one of their favorite books.  They needed to think big in order to get small words that captured the content of their books. They used the Vine app to create their finished products. This experience gave students an opportunity to think about those all-important key words. These handy things are crucial in so many ways. They help us to be effective searchers of everything from the library catalog to Google. They provide us with a way to personalize the content we find or create (think Twitter hashtags for example). It was amazing to see students as content-creators, forging pathways for connections by promoting favorite books.

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Filed under Book Groups, Books, Booktalks, Collaboration, InformationLiteracy, reading