Monday, October 30, 2017

Walking and Listening to "Wishtree"

wishtree by Katherine Applegate
Listening Library 
2 hours, 34 minutes

Narrator: Nancy Linari

Red is a 216 year old oak tree, who people flock to every May 1st to hang their hopes, dreams and wishes on.  She is not only a holder of these, but also home to various animal species who live in her hollows and branches. Every night, Samar, a new child in the neighborhood, sneaks out of her house and visits Red, sitting quietly amongst the animals. Samar has had a hard time making friends, which is made worse when someone carves a message into Red meant for her and her family. When Red learns what the message says she is determined to find a way to make Samar's wish come true.

I have been waiting and waiting to get my hands on the audiobook for wishtree. The day it arrived I could not wait to get home, get my walking shoes on and start listening. From the moment Nancy Linari began to read the poem, I was hooked.  Her voice was kind, gentle, soothing, wise, calm, just as I imagined Red to be. Katherine Applegate has woven together another amazing story of friendship and acceptance which will touch so many children. This audiobook is a must listen.

The mornings this weekend have been absolutely stunning. 

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Walking and Listening to "The Great Treehouse War"

The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff
Listening Library
4 hours and 12 minutes

Narrators: Ariana Delawari and a full cast

When Winnie's parents announce they are getting divorced they come up with what they think is the perfect way for her to split their time between them equally. Three nights at each parents house and one night on her own, in a treehouse. While this may not sound ideal to you, it is ideal for Winnie, especially when her parents start trying to one up each other with their crazy random holiday celebrations. Sure Peach Cobbler Day may sounds like fun, but Winnie's father takes it to the extreme and insists on making the world's largest peach cobbler. Winnie tries to explain to him that all of these celebrations are causing her grades to suffer, that she is in jeopardy of failing fifth grade if she doesn't ace her report, but he isn't listening. To make matters worse she learns she is going to lose her treehouse time. With that, Winnie decides to take matters into her own hands and goes up to her treehouse vowing to not come down until her parents come and talk to her together. Her friends decide to join her on her strike and soon The Treehouse Ten is born, each with their own set of demands for their parents and getting them to come down isn't as easy as one would think.

This story is written as a memoir of the Treehouse Ten and the events leading up to the sit-in, as well as during and after with each character contributing to it via post-it notes. Ariana Delawari and the cast do an amazing job relaying the post-it comments and I didn't feel as though I was missing anything by not actually seeing them. I enjoyed all of the vocalizations by the various cast members especially since they all sounded their age. I liked the little musical interludes and sound effects during the how-to's that some of the Treehouse Ten shared and breaking news stories. This was as a fun book to listen to.

Favorite Chapter Title: Advice and Frozen Waffles: Fourteen Days After What Happened Happened

A look up into a Hala Tree as I was walking

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Walking and Listening to "Short"

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan
Listening Library
6 hours 34 minutes

Narrator: Tara Sands

Auditioning for The Wizard of Oz was not on the list of things Julia had planned to do over the summer, but it wound up being the best/most important thing that she did. Landing a role as a munchkin, not a shock because of her size, Julia embarks on a journey that helps her realize being small on the outside doesn't mean you are small on the inside. 

Tara Sands narration matches Julia's personality and feels authentic to a child of that age. Her narration held my attention, had great pacing and was a joy to listen to. The one little hang-up I have with the story is the amount of time that Julia spends with adults. I realize that her best friends were away for the summer and that is just that, summer. I understand that the adults are essential to her growth and seeing herself in a different way, but how realistic is it for a child to spend that much time with adults outside of their own family members? Does this deter from the story? No, just something that stood out to me.

I just loved the way the sky looked on this particular morning as I was out walking.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Beekle: An UnImaginary Maker Project

"Only if you believe in them, can you see them."
"If you are lonely and need a friend you could have one."

As Jodie and I began planning our first maker activity, we knew we wanted to start with the theme of friendship. We decided that Beekle would be the perfect jumping off point for the project as it lends itself to not only amazing discussion but to endless possibilities creatively. Our pre-reading discussion was amazing as the kids shared what they knew about imaginary friends and why someone would have one.
After reading the book, we discussed how not all imaginary friends look alike and as we looked at the pictures we saw that each friend was holding something that told us what they were good at or liked to do.  When some of the kids said they wanted to climb a tree with their imaginary friend we asked them what their friend would need to have to be able to climb. Or if you were to ice skate together what they would need to have. We then shared with the students that they would be creating their own imaginary friends. They were beyond excited.

We started off by having them draw their imaginary friend. The amount of detail that they put into their drawings was amazing.
 Not only did they have to draw their friend, but they had to share with us what they would do together and what supplies they thought they would need to make their friend become unimaginary.

Once they were done, they had to check-in with us and we asked questions about how they planned on creating it, what supplies were going to be used for what part of their friend and for additional information on their design.
Emily and her imaginary friend (below) would be going to the hairdresser together and that she was planning on using feathers for her hair. She is cloud shaped so she could easily travel alongside her and the stars on her face were sensors to let her know that Emily was nearby.
Jamie's dragon is a queen hence the cape and the crown. Since they would be walking in the rain together she made sure that the dragon was wearing boots. Sebastian made sure that his dragon had a saddle on his wings so he could easily ride on him.
Our second meeting couldn't come fast enough. The kids were super excited to begin to create their imaginary friend. We started off by taking the kids on a supply tour, a station tour and discussed over-shopping for supplies with them.
We also reviewed glue gun safety and talked about how to use the cardboard scissors. This is just a small sample of the supplies they had access to and the stations.
 We had tons of cardboard boxes outside with two dremel saws for the kids to use.
 We were finally ready to get started! Each child got a cardboard box (soda boxes from Costco) to use as their shopping carts and off they went. 
Gluing, cutting, taping, sawing, drawing, coloring you name it, they were doing it! Some kids were going back to their designs and checking what they had drawn against what they were creating and making modifications as they worked. Listening to their conversations, seeing how they were helping each other when they got stuck and hearing them compliment each others designs was icing on the cake. 
 Towards the end of our second day, the kids were wanting their imaginary friends to play together and some even began to create homes for them to live in. 
During our third session together some of them began creating those homes while others were still finishing up their friends.
 Seeing their designs came to life was phenomenal. Here's just a handful of the finished products.
But it didn't stop there! As the kids had been working Jodie had picked up on some of the things the kids were saying and she could just tell that they all had stories about their imaginary friends that they wanted to share. After asking the class about it, they decided to write down their adventures with their unimaginary friend down. These are still works in progress and will be shared here once they are done. I got a little sneak peek of them and they are so fun!

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

October Bulletin Boards

Halloween, my favorite holiday! I don't think there is one inch of the library that doesn't have some sort of Halloween decoration on it and I love it!

Frankly, We Love Books
Carve Out Time To Read
I decided to recycle the sun from last month and turn it into a pumpkin.
 Not even a great Halloween costume can make Greg happy.