The Story of the Giant Sequoia + a Giveaway

The Story of the Giant Sequoia + a Giveaway.

via The Story of the Giant Sequoia + a Giveaway.

sierra extra large



I am so excited to read this beautiful new book!

After visiting the Merced Grove of Sequoia’s in Yosemite this summer, this book is just the thing I need!

If we’re going to categorize it, it is both informational and lyrical. In my mind, that makes it nonfiction. What does the Library of Congress say? It is poetry, and thus would be catalogued and shelved with the poetry.

How can it be used in the classroom? To teach both informational and narrative text types, and the figurative language of poetry. It could be used to teach research, and how research can be presented in a variety of ways.



Review: Father’s Chinese Opera by Rich Lo

I know what is next on my reading list!

Waking Brain Cells

fathers chinese opera

Father’s Chinese Opera by Rich Lo

A first person account of a little boy who spent a summer backstage at his father’s Chinese opera in Hong Kong. He watched the actors, the orchestra, and all of the vibrant action of the acrobats. The boy approached the top acrobatic actor and asked if he would train him. He promised to work hard to learn all of the complicated movements. After practicing for awhile, the boy announced that he was ready for the stage now, but his trainer laughed at him. The boy was heartbroken until his father explained that it had taken him many steps of training to earn the right to lead the opera. So the boy began again, this time starting in the lowly role of flag boy onstage but also adding his own movements too.

Lo reveals in his Author’s Note that he grew up with his father…

View original post 146 more words

Top Ten Things People Said 5th Graders Couldn’t Read – But Did by Taylor Meredith

Beautiful book, and wonderful thoughts about it!

Nerdy Book Club

Each year, I have tried to choose unexpected texts solely for the purpose of making my fifth graders think. I want them to think about themselves, our community and the world around them.


And in these unexpected choices, I found myself also forced to think….what if we made it a classroom practice to closely examine each text? …what if we ignored grade level stereotypes and make discoveries that changed our reading lives?


Picture books, poetry, political cartoons and advertisements are no longer unconventional “5th grade” texts but texts that will take us on reading adventures and teach us lessons that go straight into our reading hearts.  In this spirit, these are texts that people said 5th graders couldn’t read. But read we did.

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy

The Pigeon Wants a Puppy by Mo Willems

While Mo Willems is highly entertaining for readers of any age (Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs

View original post 948 more words

Review: El Deafo by Cece Bell

How can we guide children to tell their own stories through mentor texts? This book by Cece Bell is a beautiful example of graphic memoir as mentor text.

Waking Brain Cells

el deafo

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Author/illustrator Cece Bell has created a graphic novel memoir of her loss of hearing as a child. At age four, Cece contracts meningitis and the disease takes away her ability to hear. At first Cece attends school with other children who have hearing loss and wear hearing aids, but then she is sent to first grade with a new super-powered hearing aid, the Phonic Ear. Her new teacher has to wear a microphone, one that she sometimes forgets to take off (even when she uses the bathroom) which leads to some rather interesting sounds! But along with these superpowers come some ethical questions and some technical problems. As Cece copes with her hearing loss, she is also living the normal life of a child, attending school, making new friends, all with a big hearing aid on her chest.

Bell writes with a great honesty here…

View original post 144 more words

Ten Picture Books I Could Read with My Eyes Closed by Jennifer Brittin

Nerdy Book Club

“My Dear Lucy,


I wrote this story for you, but when I began it I had not realized that girls grow quicker than books. As a result you are already too old for fairy tales, and by the time it is printed and bound you will be older still. But some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. You can then take it down from some upper shelf, dust it, and tell me what you think of it. I shall probably be too deaf to hear, and too old to understand a word you say, but I shall still be


your affectionate Godfather,

C.S. Lewis”

I love the magical feel of these words written for the dedication of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.  “Someday you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again.”   Each time I read…

View original post 959 more words