Sunday, February 26, 2017

The Dragonflies and The Explorers Meet Kara LaReau (Via Skype That Is!)

The Dragonflies and the Explorers were super excited to meet author Kara LaReau. We started off with Kara reading to us her book Mr. Prickles: A Quill-Fated Love Story. She shared with us that most picture books have cute cuddly animals in them and she wanted to try something different. So, she thought about animals that were not cute and cuddly, a porcupine it was! The name Mr. Prickles popped into her head and so did Miss Pointypants and the story took off from there. She also shared with us that as a child she had a hard time fitting in because she wanted to be friends with kids who didn't really want to be friends with her. She then found friends that loved her for who she was, which is just like Mr. Prickles.
Did you know that Kara started coming up with stories when she was in kindergarten? She would tell a story to her mom, who would write them down. Kara would draw the pictures for the story. Then they would make a cover for it and staple all the pages together. She remembers that one of those stories was called The Man and the Plant.  We discovered that she writes in an office at her house, which is where she was Skyping to us from. Her favorite part of writing a book is coming up with a good idea and figuring out how to solve a problem that she has come across in her story. She also loves coming up with funny names for her characters. 
We had lots of questions about The Infamous Ratsos. We were super excited to find out there are going to be 4 books in the series! The next in the series will be called, The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid. We can't wait for it to come out. We were wondering about what it was like to win the Geisel Award for the Infamous Ratsos.
We asked Kara if she hides anything in her books. We were the first people to ever ask her that! She says that she does write little jokes to herself in her books. Plus in Mr. Prickles, illustrator Scott Magoon, put in some funny details in his pictures. To see what she means, check out Skunk's neckwear.
Our final question. In Hawaii we like to eat shave ice. If you could eat shave ice with any author, who would it be? Her answer? Kate DiCamillo, who is a friend of hers that she hasn't seen in awhile and was just thinking about earlier in the day. She also shared with us that frozen lemonade is popular where she lives. It sounds yummy!
Thank you so much Kara for spending time with us. We had so much fun with you and loved learning from you.

Friday, February 24, 2017

And That's A Wrap on World Read Aloud Day 2017!

WOW! 20 Skype sessions in a week! 
Thank you so much to everyone we Skyped with during World Read Aloud Day/Week! We loved meeting all of you and getting a chance to know your class and a little bit about where you live. A special thank you to all the authors we meet! We had so much fun with you! Most importantly, we loved sharing stories and poems with all of you!

Monday! The Shooting Stars kicked off our celebration by reading poems from Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer with Heather Temske and some of her 4th grade students in Georgia. It turns out both of our classes were learning about poetry! We also learned about some of the foods that Georgia is known for.  Our kids were most curious about grits and after hearing about them, some of them are willing to give them a try.

 The Manatee's were disappointed that their Skype session was cancelled due to a snow day. They were also super bummed that a snow day would never be an option for them. We are working to reschedule it. UPDATE: We got to meet some of Ms. MacDonald's second grade students this week! We read It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton and had time to answer a few questions before we had some technical difficulties and had to end our Skype.
The Traveler's read one of their favorite books, The Day The Crayon's Quit by Drew Daywalt out loud to some of Denise Shekleton's 3rd grade students in Iowa. They enjoyed learning about Iowa and the huge temperature difference we have, their 34* vs our 80*.

 Tuesday!  Na Kupulau met some of Joe Romano's students in Vancouver, Washington. He and I read The Day the Crayon's Quit by Drew Daywalt to our students. We then chatted, asking each other about questions about where we lived. We shared with some about some of our favorite foods.
We also had two author Skype sessions today! We met Julie Falatko and Adam Lehrhaupt. You can read all about them in separate blog entries.

Wednesday! The Buff and Blue Crew started things off by Skyping with some of Amanda McCoy's kindergarteners. We read Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to be in This Book) by Julie Falatko and It Came in the Mail by Ben Clanton to them.  They then taught us how to say "World Read Aloud Day" in sign language.  So cool!

The Smart Surfers met with children in Connecticut. We read poems together from Mirror Mirror by Marilyn Singer followed by Same, Same But Different by Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw. We had a chance to find out some of the similarities and differences between our two states and  between things we like to do and eat.

Na Honu had a chance to Skype with some of Craig Seaholes second graders in Washington. The students read Yo! Yes? by Chris Raschka together. We then all read Fireflies together from Joyful Noise by Paul Fleischman.  After asking each other  some questions, it was time for us to say goodbye.

Thursday! We had 6 author/illustrator Skype sessions! We had so much fun meeting Anica Mrose Rissi, Laura Murray, Jess Keating, David Huyck, Josh Funk and Monica Carnesi. You can read all about those Skype sessions in separate entries on this blog.

The Reid Runner's started the day off by reading Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena with some of Ms. Waterich's sixth grade students in Buffalo, New York. We enjoyed taking takes sharing the story and then learning a little bit about where each of us live. We especially enjoyed sharing about the foods we like to eat.
The Bruin's read Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds to some of Mrs. Gaughen's kindergarteners in Minnesota. We loved hearing them laugh as we read it to them.

The Fantastic Foxes met with some of Ms. Jenkins fourth grade students in Illinois. First they read The Hair of Zoe Fleefenbacher Goes to School by Laurie Halse Anderson to us. We couldn't decide which book we wanted to read to them so we let them choose. They chose Creepy Carrots. We had so much fun reading it to them.
Na Lupe met with some of Ms. Mabry's library club members in New Mexico. They were from Illinois, Italy and Peru. They read us three stories. We got to hear At the Same Moment, Around the World, The Day the Crayons Quit and Same, Same but Different.
We loved celebrating World Read Aloud Day! Maybe we can celebrate with you next year!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Seahorses Meet Monica Carnesi (Via Skype That Is!)

The Seahorses had a chance to meet author/illustrator Monica Carnesi during World Read Aloud Day. They loved having a chance to hear her read Little Dog Lost. It turns out she first heard about the story while listening a news program and the story really stuck with her because it was about kindness and courage. She also shared with us some photographs of the original rescue of Baltic and shared a bit about the rescue. We had no idea that they searched for Baltic's owner, putting the story on the Polish news, but they never found them. 
Monica shared with us that she lost count how many times she wrote and rewrote Little Dog Lost, but she knows it was at least 25 times. What was great is that she learned something every time that she rewrote it. She had to redo the pictures over again too, as many as 5-10 times! We also discovered that while pictures and words usually come at the same time for her, when it came to Little Dog Lost, the words came first since she had to do some research.
Monica began writing stories in first grade for herself and her family. She loved drawing, reading and books. 
We asked her what it felt like to be an author. Here is what she said.
We found out that she is working on her 3rd book right now. While the ideas are still forming, we know it is about cats. We had a chance to see some of the beginning pictures. How cool is that?!
It was then time for our final question. In Hawaii we like to eat shave ice. If you could eat shave ice with any author, who would it be? She chose David Ezra Stein because they are both author/illustrators, she loves his illustrations and they both wrote books about hibernation. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Na Nai'a Meet Josh Funk (Via Skype That Is!)

As we were getting ready to head into the mini K-1 library, a kindergartner marched up to me and began hopping up and down. "We get to meet Josh Funk today! I am so excited! Meeting Josh Funk is going to be so much fun!" That child was right! We were about to have a lot of fun with our pal Josh Funk for World Read Aloud Day.

Josh started off  reading us his new book, Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast: The Case of the Stinky Stench. The kids and I just loved the story and laughed throughout his reading it. We discovered that he had begun thinking about a second book in the series as soon as he saw the picture of the bean avalanche in Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast. Did you know that it took the illustrator, Brendan Kearney, one week to draw all the beans?! Josh also loved the world that had been created inside of the refrigerator and wanted to explore it further. We had asked him where the idea for Stinky Stench came from and discovered that it had started as a holiday book. The publishers didn't want to have it out only at holiday so it morphed and turned into the fun story we shared today.
What else did we learn? Well, he wrote and rewrote Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast 15 times! He writes at night and on the weekends, usually in bed. Sometimes he listens to music while writing and sometimes he writes on his phone. His children no longer fight about what to have for breakfast since they are old enough to make their own breakfast now. He encouraged us to read as many books as we can and to write anything that we want to, even if it is silly and gross. He told us that he once wrote a poem about cat poop for his wife!
We also know what his next projects are going to be! He showed us the cover of his book It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk, which is about Jack not really wanting to climb the beanstalk. He is also writing a coding book and thinking of ideas for another Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast!
We loved spending time with you Josh! Thank you so much for giving us a sneak peek of your next book. We are super excited to share it with all the other kids in our school.

Need some cool stuff for to use with your students or children that tie into Josh's books? Check out this page. Warning, the songs are ultra catchy and will be stuck in your head for days.

Wanna hear more from Josh? Check out the  Let's Get Busy Podcast

Monday, February 20, 2017

Na Hoku Meet David Huyck (Via Skype That Is!)

Na Hoku had a chance to meet illustrator David Huyck during World Read Aloud Day. Not only did they get a chance to meet him, but they got a chance to draw alongside him! How cool is that?!
David shared with us that the first book he illustrated was a graphic novel called One Spooky Night. Since it was about Halloween, he decided to make a mini comic book to hand out to trick-or-treaters that year. The class wishes they could have gone trick-or-treating at his house that year!

David then read to use If Kids Ruled the World. Before he started though, he shared with us that he sneaks frogs into everyone of the books he illustrates. It turns out he also drew his dad and grandma into the book. He even snuck in a drawing that his daughter had made for him. How cool is that!
Then it was time for us to get our very own drawing lessons from David! Talk about lucky! The kids raced to get their clipboards, paper and pencils and got ready to learn how to make a monkey from his book Manners Are Not For Monkeys. He made it so easy for us to follow along step by step. This is how we started.
Our pictures turned out amazing!
David then asked to name some animals. We shouted out, "Cheetah!" "Dog!" "Bird!" "Elephant!" "Monkey!" Then he asked us to name some jobs, "Doctor!" "Basketball Player" "Dentist!" "Illustrator!" He then took all of our ideas and created a new creature right there on the spot! We were blown away! Some of the kids created right alongside him.

We had so many questions for David. We found out that his favorite part of illustrating is thinking about what the character will look like. He prefers to draw with pencils, your average, ordinary, everyday number 2 pencil that we all have. The tip of the pencil allows him to make tiny marks or thick marks. It allows him to draw anywhere at anytime and never crashes or needs to be plugged in. Beaver Pond by Alvin Tresselt is one of his favorite books. We discovered he is working on two books ideas. We are super excited about that.
He LOVES toast! Why? Because what's better than warm bread with melted butter dripping into the holes? His favorite type of toast is a rye caraway seed toast. 
He has visited 49 of the 50 states. Which was hasn't he visited? Ours!
Our final question: In Hawaii we love to eat shave ice. If you could choose an author or an illustrator to eat it with, who would it be? Shel Silverstein because he is kind of nuts and makes funny and cuckoo drawings.
Thank you so much David for spending time with us. We had an absolute blast meeting you and drawing with you! We hope we can do it again someday.

Wanna hear more from David? Check out the Let's Get Busy Podcast

Sunday, February 19, 2017

The Gecko's and Na Kukui Meet Jess Keating (Via Skype That Is!)

The Gecko's and Na Kukui had a chance to meet author and zoologist Jess Keating during World Read Aloud Day. Our Skype session was filled with "Ewwww," "Yuck!" "Cool!" "That's gross!" and "No Way!" which for a second and third grader equates to the best Skype session possible. I mean who doesn't want to know that sea cucumbers breathe out of their butts? We love these kinds of facts!
Jess blew us away with amazing animal fact after amazing animal fact from her not yet  published book What Makes a Monster? She wowed us with facts about the Japanese Giant Hornet, the Aye Aye and the Wolverine Frog. You will be as blown away as we were when you learn about these animals. Here's a tiny bit of information about the Assassin Bug.
The loudest and biggest "Ewww's" came when she told us all about the Tyrant King Leech. You are going to have to wait until August to read what Jess told us about it. It will make you scream in disgust and awe too! She explained to us that she tells us about these animals because she wants us to know that just because an animal may be gross or disgusting, doesn't mean it's dangerous. 

Jess shared with us that the most dangerous animals that she has encountered are sharks, skunks and a wolf one day when she was out hiking. She told us that these animals really don't want to hurt us. Wolves are her favorite animal. The coolest thing about a wolf is that when the parents are away, they will make sure there are other adults wolves there to babysit the younger wolves. Her second favorite animal is a blobfish which has a parasite coming out of it's mouth (cue the eeew's!).
Jess also LOVES popcorn! She eats it 1-2 times a week with her favorite flavors being plain white cheddar. But she also loves Chicago mix. We had a chance to see some of her plasticine art, which is just amazing and incredibly realistic. She is currently working on one that is a wolf. 
Our final question: In Hawaii we love to eat shave ice. If you could invite an author to eat shave ice with you, who would you pick? She choose J.K. Rowling because she has a lot of questions for her.
Thank you so much Jess for spending time with us and sharing amazingly cool and disgusting animal facts with us. We had a great time with you and forever fans were created that day.

Jess has also created some amazing videos full of crazy cool animal facts. You can watch them on her youtube channel: Animals for Smart People
You can also hear more about Pink is for Blobfish  on the Let's Get Busy podcast.

The Mindful Musubi Meet Laura Murray (Via Skype That Is!)

The Mindful Musubi had a chance to meet author Laura Murray during World Read Aloud Day. Since the second graders had started the year off with her book, The Gingerbread Man Loose in the School, searching all over campus for a runaway gingerbread man, they were super excited to meet the author behind it all.

She shared with us how the idea for the first book came from her experience as a kindergarten teacher and a unit the she started the school year with. The kids were blown away that she rewrote it 50 times before it was published! She stressed how important it is to keep at your writing, to never give up and make it the best that it can be. She shared that when she wrote her latest book, Gingerbread Man Loose at the Zoo, she had to do animal research and made a visit to the National Zoo. There she saw a naked mole rat for the first time and knew that she had to include one in the story. As she read the book to us as we shouted out "man" every time she said "gingerbread." We also shouted out answers to all the riddles that were sprinkled throughout the book. You can hear her read us some of the book in the video below.
Other cool things that we learned during our time together? She has an idea wall in her office where she pins ideas, pictures and other things that may inspire her. She has a lot of picture book ideas, some of which aren't finished yet and she has been working on a middle grade book! She loves books like Beautiful Oops!, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, Fly Guy, Stink, Clementine and Three Ninja Pigs. We shared with her where we think the Gingerbread Man should go next, the beach was the most popular answer although he runs the risk of being eaten. 
Our final question: In Hawaii we love to eat shave ice. If you could eat shave ice with any author, who would you choose? The answer is J.K. Rowling! We also found out that she and her family visited Hawaii two years ago and they loved eating shave ice while they were here.
Thank you so much Laura for taking the time to share a story with us and answer all of our questions. Thank you also for encouraging us to write and share our ideas.

Wanna hear more from Laura? Why not listen to the Let's Get Busy podcast.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Dragonflies Meet Anica Mrose Rissi (Via Skype That Is!)

"AWESOME!" shouted a second grader when we ended our Skype session this morning. The Dragonflies had a chance to meet author Anica Mrose Rissi for World Read Aloud Day. They were lucky enough to get an ultra sneak peek of the upcoming Anna, Banana, and the Little Lost Kitten. Anica read them the first chapter entitled, "Just My Luck." We loved it and can't wait to read the whole book in May!
Anica shared with us that her brother would call her Lou and she would call him Chuck, which is why she named Anna's brother that. We also learned that she spent two years writing the first Anna, Banana book. She shared that she would show the book to her friends and get their thoughts on it. One friend would tell her one thing about the character Sadie and another would tell her something completely different about Sadie. Very confusing!
The class was excited to ask Anica questions. They wanted to know where she did her writing. The answer? You'll have to watch the video below.
This class is fascinated by pen names and we discovered that Anica wrote
under a pen name for Everything Pirate. The kids asked her what she liked better, writing picture books or writing chapter books. She likes them both for different reasons. She likes chapter books because she really gets to know the characters and it's fun to write about them. She likes finishing the words in picture books, giving it to an illustrator to create the pictures and getting to see the pictures for the first time. She has two picture books coming out, one young adult book and is writing a sixth Anna, Banana.
We had a chance to meet her dog Arugula who is an 8 1/2 year old long legged hound mutt. There were a lot of "Ahhhhh"s when they met him. Our final question, "In Hawaii, we love to eat shave ice. If you could eat shave ice with any author who would it be?" Her pick? She had two. One was Natalie Babbitt. She has two copies of her book Search for Delicious. She also would invite Abby Hanlon, author of the Dory Fantasmagory series because her books are so funny.
As our Skype was ending, I let the class know that they had received a package from Anica. They loved their signed bookmarks, especially the paw print O's!
Thank you Anica for a fabulous Skype session. The kids and I enjoyed our time with you this morning.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Na O'opu Meet Adam Lehrhaupt (Via Skype That Is!)

According to Adam Lehrhaupt,"Cookies fuel the writing process," especially Double Stuff Oreos. Did you know that Adam Lehrhaupt likes to write while sitting on his couch with lemonade and Double Stuff Oreos nearby? He'll write a word like, "princess" on his iPad, sit back, look at his word with great pride and then have an Oreo to reward himself. It's information like this that had Na O'opu laughing throughout their Skype visit with Adam.

Adam read his latest book  I Will Not Eat You to us. The kids were super excited about this especially since they had only gotten to see a trailer for it prior to our Skype session. We couldn't believe that he had to rewrite it 28 times before it became a book! We also learned a very important lesson from the book, "Don't poke a dragon!"

We had a bazillion questions to Adam. We wanted to know all sorts of things like, "What is your favorite book to read out loud to your sons?" Where the Wild Things Are, which was met with a lot of, "I love that book!" We had predicted that he had named one of his dogs Puck because he loves hockey. It turns out, his sons named him that because they love hockey, but he likes to tell people he was named after Puck from A Midsummer's Night Dream. We also know that his dog Thor is weird but that Puck is crazy, stealing shoes and running away with them.
The class was dying to know where Zoe was going on her next adventure. It turns out, she is heading to school but we have to wait until June to see how that adventure goes. As the kids and I had been getting ready for our Skype, I had shown the kids a picture of Adam reading WARNING Do Not Open This Book! to a monkey. They wondered why he was doing such a crazy thing. You can find out why in the video below.

We ended our time together with one final question: "We love shave ice here in Hawaii, if you could have shave ice with an author, who would you go with?" He chose two authors, Stephen King and Mac Barnett. 
Thank you so much Adam for spending time with us this afternoon and making us all laugh. We had a blast.

Wanna hear more from Adam? Why not listen to the Let's Get Busy podcast featuring Adam and illustrator Matthew Fortsythe talking about Please Open This Book!