Wednesday, February 21, 2018

February Bulletin Boards

Now that I have finished posting all about our World Read Aloud Day Skype sessions, I can share the February Bulletin Boards.
I love decorating the library for Valentine's Day!
I am hoping that this is the year that Greg meets the love of his life, someone who can turn that frown upside down.
In honor of the Winter Olympics we are highlighting a variety of winter sports.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

The Sea Horses Meet Anica Rissi (Via Skype That Is!)

 Our final Skype to celebrate World Read Aloud Day was with author Anica Rissi and her dog Arugula. The Sea Horses love the Anna. Banana books and have had some amazing classroom discussions about friendship, unkind words and divorce because of the first book in the series, Anna, Banana and the Friendship Split. They couldn't wait to meet her and learn some more. 
We started off with meeting Arugula, her 9 1/2 year old dog, who the kids were dying to meet. It turns out that when she takes Arugula out for a walk he likes to go looking for cats. The cats don't really want to meet him, but he bounces around and runs in circles when he meets them. She read us a chapter out of Anna, Banana and the Little Lost Kitten. The kids loved it and couldn't wait to hear what was next in the Anna, Banana series. We got to see the cover for Anna, Banana and the Recipe for Disaster. We know it is going to be about recipes, friendship and dog disasters. As of right now there are 8 books planned in the series. We know what the 7th book in the series is  about but we're keeping that a secret.

Did you know she has never met the illustrator of the Anna, Banana books?! We got to see some of the preliminary sketches for Anna, Banana and the Little Lost Kitten and then compare it to the final version in the book. It was neat to learn how the illustrator selects what she is going to draw, she can make a funny moment even funnier with her pictures or can help highlight some emotions.
We also found out Anica wrote her first book at the age of 4! It was called Anica's Book of Poisonous Things
 We then started talking about Anica's picture book The Teacher's Pet. Did you know she didn't know what Bruno was going to be until she saw the picture?! That's so crazy! She was so surprised and just loved the idea. When we asked her which she liked writing better, picture books or chapter books she shared she liked them both for different reasons. When you write a picture book, only half of it is yours. It's fun to see what the illustrator will add for their half of the story. She shared that when you write a chapter book you get to know the characters really well and can go deep with their emotions. 
Before we ended our time together we asked her for some writing advice. Here is it.
1) Read a lot! Think about what you liked about you read and what you didn't like. Why did/didn't you like it? 
2) Give yourself permission to write the world's worst story that no one would ever want to read. After you do that, revise it and make it better.
3) You don't know what should happen next in your story? Are you bored with it? Go outside, take a break, come back and just make up random things  in the book. They can be crazy, just keep going!
Thank you Anica! The Sea Horses and I had so much fun with you and our time with you was the prefect end to our week long World Read Aloud Day celebrations!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

The Dolphins Meet Anna Raff (Via Skype That Is!)

The Dolphins, kindergarten ones this time, were so excited to Skype with illustrator Anna Raff during World Read Aloud Day. They had been paying close attention to her illustrations for a few weeks and couldn't wait to meet her. While our Skype started with some technical issues, we quickly fixed them and were ready to go! She read You Are NOT a Cat to us. The kids thought it was hilarious and loved hearing her read it to them.
She then shared a secret with them about the cover. If you take the book jacket off, you will see a set of ears on both the front and the back over. If you lift it up to your head, you can pretend those are your ears! The crazy thing is that she hadn't meant for this to happen and didn't even realize you could do this until about 2 months after the book was published. How fun is that!
 We had so many questions for her and couldn't wait to ask them. Here's what we found out:
1) She loves to draw pigs! In fact, her favorite character to draw was in The Wrong Side of the Bed and is of a pig at a dinner table. 
2) Her favorite book to read when she was the students age was Green Eggs and Ham, which we all love.
3) She loves to create her pictures right from where we met her. It is a drawing board that tilts and had been her grandfather's. He wasn't an artist though. She feels very professional when she sits at it.
4) We got a super duper sneak peek of what she is working on right now! It is totally top secret but I will tell you that it was an illustration for a poetry book about planets. The kids and I freaked out when we saw one of the pictures! The kids gave the illustration a huge huge thumbs up and can't wait for the book to come out so they can see the rest of her illustrations and read the poems that go with them.
5) She likes to cook. So do her mom, dad and brother. She finds it very relaxing.
Before we ended our time together we asked her if she had any advice for us about illustrating. She shared that we should draw every day, don't stop and not be embarrassed by what we draw. If we keep it up we will watch our ideas grow! That is such great advice.
We had so much fun with you Anna! Thank you for spending time with us during World Read Aloud Day!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

The Dolphins Meet Beth McMullen (Via Skype That Is!)

The Dolphins, 4th grade ones this time, had a chance to meet author Beth McMullen for World Read Aloud Day. They truly enjoy her book Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls and loved that they not only had the opportunity to meet the author behind the book, but that they also got to hear her read from the book! 
The class was dying to know if Mrs. Smith was going to continue. We discovered that not only is book two in the series, Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls: Power Play coming out in July but she is planning on a third (July 2019) and possibly a fourth in the series. Hooray! The kids were surprised to learn that book one in the series took a year to write, while book two only took 4 months!
Some of the kids wanted to know if she was going to write a spy school series for boys and while that is not in the works, she has recently submitted an idea for a graphic novel. We are keeping hush hush about that but hope that it happens.
 Beth encouraged us to read and read a lot. She says there are so many amazing books out right now that she reads several a week and loves to share her favorites with other people. She told us about The Someday Birds, Vilonia Beebe Takes Charge and Prisoner of Ice and Snow. What does she doing when she's not reading and writing? She likes to hike in the woods, travel and she spends a lot of time driving her kids around to different activities.
She encouraged us to write. She shared that anyone can be an author because we all have stories to tell and that there are so many ways to tell that story. Maybe we don't tell it with paper and pencil, maybe we record it, maybe we draw it out, maybe we act it out, it doesn't matter how you choose to share it, just tell your story and don't be afraid. Great advice!
Thank for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day Beth! 

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Smart Surfers Meet Margaret Dilloway (Via Skype That Is!)

The Smart Surfers kept the World Read Day Skype sessions going by meeting author Margaret Dilloway.  The kids having been reading the Japanese folktale Momotaro their whole lives and have enjoyed reading her chapter book version of it. 
She read to us from the book and shared that she doesn't have a third book in the series in the works. The kids were excited to learn that her book is being adapted into an animated movie by Fox Animation and that it is in the pre-production stages.
The kids and I had talked about how she has written both for adults and children. We wondered which she liked better. She said that they are very different experiences. When she writes for kids it's fun, she gets to remember what it was like when she was that age and she gets to make up fantastical stuff. She loved reading A Wrinkle in Time as a child because she could relate to Meg. She also liked to read the Corduroy books because it's fun to do all the voices.
The kids loved that she had lived in Hawaii for a year and we wanted to know what she liked to do while she was living her. She loved going to Waimanalo Beach and snorkeling at Haunama Bay.
We had to know what sort of advice she had for us as writers. She said that we needed to read and read a lot of different varieties and styles. She shared that we can take events from our own lives that maybe didn't go quite as we had planned and re-write, having the event go as they would have liked and see where that takes us. 
Thank you for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day Margaret. We enjoyed out time together.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

The Travelers Meet Elly Swartz (Via Skype That Is!)

Our World Read Aloud Day Skype sessions continued when The Travelers met with author Elly Swartz. The kids had been enjoying Finding Perfect and were super excited to hear more about her latest book, Smart Cookie, which had come out just 2 days before we met her. We were lucky enough to have her read to us chapter 17,  Code Red Hot Chili Peppers from Smart Cookie. We loved it and can't wait to get our hands on the book.
Here's just a few of the things we learned during our time together.
1) When she was a child she loved to read Ramona, Eloise and books by Judy Blume. Why? They were all spunky, mischievous and independent characters. When her kids were younger she liked to read The Secret Shortcut and Mick Harte was Here to them. She shared some of her other favorites with us like Rules, The Someday Birds and Rambler Steals Home.
2) From the time she decided to be an author to when her first book was published it, 15 years passed! Talk about dedication. She realized that writing was something she loved more than she hated rejection. She encouraged us to find our passions and to not let "no" knock us off our path. Amazing advice!
3) She loves everything about writing realistic fiction. She doesn't intentionally sit down to write it, it is just the story and voice that come out. Kids can connect with the characters and relate to them, which is huge.
4) When she first meets her characters it's just like meeting a new person, they are just getting to know each other, but by the end of the book they are super good friends.
5) While she had written 4 unpublished books prior to Finding Perfect, which took 8 years to write, those stories didn't go to waste. They taught her how to be a better writer and all taught her an important lesson.
6) Once her books are published she doesn't read them! 
7) She loves the words "hullabaloo", "pickle" and "cock-eyed". Why? because the sound musical and are just plain fun to say. Her family teases her and say she sounds like her grandma. We had fun saying them with her and agree that they are fun to say.
Thank you Elly Swartz for spending time with us. We loved laughing and learning from you!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Dragonflies Meet Marcie Colleen (Via Skype That is!)

The Dragonflies were beyond thrilled to spend time with author Marcie Colleen during our World Read Aloud Day celebration. They are fans of Super Happy Party Bears and Love, Triangle. Whoops and hollers could be heard coming from the library when the kids got to see the upcoming Super Happy Party Bears, Cruising for a Snoozing book, as well as  the cover of her upcoming picture book, Penguinaut.  When they learned they were the first ever to see Penguinaut they were just beside themselves. We can not wait for these books to come out!
Marcie read Love, Triangle to us, which we loved.
What else did we learn?
1) She loved to read Curious George when she was a child and she still loves him today. She likes to watch the cartoon and even had her picture taken with him at Universal Studios. 
Her absolute very favorite book to read out loud is Dance! Dance! Underpants! by Bob Shea.
2) She goes to the library every Wednesday to write. Why? writing at home can be lonely, so every Wednesday she meets a fellow writer there and they both work on their stories, go out to lunch, talk about what they are working on and head back to the library to write some more.
3) She has idea folders. She writes ideas on big and little pieces of paper and index cards. When the ideas are worthy of a folder, she makes one for it, puts all the ideas that go along with it inside and works from there. We got a chance to see one of her folders and some of the ideas that were inside of it. Super cool!

4) Ever wonder how she came up with all of the names for the Super Happy Party Bears? We did! It turns out that when she was sent the first pictures of the bears they were all doing something and that something/action inspired their names. For example one bear was blowing bubbles which is how Bubs got his name. One bear was wearing glasses and became Shades and the Purple One is an homage to Prince.
We ended our time together by getting some great writing advice from Marcie. She asked us if we had named our stuffed animals, which most of us had, and told us that we should make up stories about them. The stories could be about what they do when we are at school or what they do at night while we are sleeping. We need to get our imaginations going! Great advice!
Thank you so much Marcie Colleen for helping us celebrate World Read Aloud Day! We had so much fun reading with you and learned so much too!