Monday, January 18, 2010

And the winners are...

Newbery Medal

"When You Reach Me," written by Rebecca Stead, published by Wendy Lamb Books, an imprint of Random House Children's Books

Newbery Honor Books

"Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice" written by Phillip Hoose, published by Melanie Kroupa Books/Farrar Straus Giroux, an imprint of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group
"The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" written by Jacqueline Kelly, published by Henry Holt and Company
"Where the Mountain Meets the Moon" written by Grace Lin, published by Little Brown and Company Books for Young Readers
"The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg" written by Rodman Philbrick, published by The Blue Sky Press, an imprint of Scholastic Inc.

Caldecott Medal

"The Lion and the Mouse" illustrated and written by Jerry Pinkney, published by Little, Brown and Company Books for Young Readers

Caldecott Honor Books

"All the World" illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton Scanlon, published by Beach Lane Books
"Red Sings from Treetops: A Year in Colors" illustrated by Pamela Zagarenski, written by Joyce Sidman, puslished by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Printz Award

"Going Bovine" by Libba Bray

Printz Honor

So, I was 1 for 3.  Going Bovine came out of nowhere for me.  I read the first 2 pages and put it down... now I'm going to have to give it another shot, since I typically like Libba Bray (Great and Terrible Beauty).

Happy reading!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

ALA Awards Announced Tomorrow!

I think that I will not be able to sleep tonight in anticipation... you can keep the Golden Globes.  I'm on the edge of my seat for the book awards on Monday morning!  Caldecott, Newbery, and Printz awards, among others, will be named at 7:45 am.  If you want to watch the webcast, click here.

The Lion and the Mouse by Jerry Pinkney- my pick for the Caldecott Medal

I stand by my personal pick for Newbery, The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo (even though she probably won't be chosen since she's a previous winner).  But I would be pleased as punch to see Grace Lin get a nod, since she's written some wonderful books that have been overlooked.

The Printz Award for young adults has me a bit perplexed.  When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead has been getting all the buzz.  Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson is a solid choice, too, but has limited appeal since it's a "girl" story.  My choice:  Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Elementary Geography

Coming off the holiday break, I'm getting my plan together for our "geography club" (for lack of a better term) that meets here once a week.  It's a small group of 8-10 year olds, and we're focusing on culture with a little bit of mapping thrown in for good measure.  The plan is to hop around the world in one year.  Here are some of the resources I've found to be particularly helpful:

Scholastic Atlas of the World
This is our go-to book for basic info on every country we study.  It's very detailed and could easily be used for much older students.  We use it mostly for detailed maps and to fill out our country fact sheets that I print from Enchanted Learning.

My First Picture Atlas
It looks like this particular one may be out of print, but there are two things about it that I love, and that you could find in another similar book.  First, it's huge.  It's about 11'x14", which makes it great for group work.  The maps inside are large, bright, and cartoony, which makes it very easy to see borders, capitals, and other important landmarks.  When the kids are doing their map work, this is the one I prop up for them to use as a reference because it is so bold and easy to follow.  The National Geographic Picture World Atlas looks just as good and is available from Amazon and other retailers.  I wouldn't use either of these beginner atlases as my only map source since they are very basic, but they are a very nice addition to use along side a more detailed book.                            
                                  Usborne Stories from Around the World
While the kids are working on their maps, I often read to them a traditional story from the country we are studying.  This Usborne title is a nice collection of 22 stories, each 5 to 6 pages long.  It's nicely illustrated, and the print is large, which makes it nice for read-alouds.  The text is written so that most 3rd to 5th graders could read it independently (similar to other Usborne story collections such as their Greek myths or fairy tales).

Kids Multicultural Craft Book by Roberta Gould

This book contains 35 craft projects from around the world. Each entry also contains a good amount of cultural information about the author's experiences in that country (and even includes some photographs from her travels). The craft ideas are very good, have detailed instructions and are not babyish (no paper plate masks, etc.). The only downside for our class is that a good number of them require several steps or long drying/setting times between steps, but for most families this would not be a hindrance.

Unicef's Children Just Like Me  Meet the families of about 40 children from around the world and discover what their daily lives are like!  The kids absolutely love this book, as it brings to life the similarities and differences between cultures in sweet and simple ways.

Another similar book is Children from Australia to Zimbabwe: A Photographic Journey around the World by Maya Ajmera & Anna Rhesa Versola.  This book has more information about the geography and the larger culture in each of the countries, including favorite foods, sports, past times and holidays.
My group likes to cook, so we've used two different books for our recipes.  First is Eat Your Way Around the World by Jamie Aramini.  This one includes a full meal for each country, so we usually choose one or two pieces to make (usually dessert!).  There are also great cultural references included such as how food is served and what traditional foods signify in that country.  And the recipes are delicious, which doesn't hurt.
Kids Around the World Cook! is the other one I find myself grabbing.  The recipes are simple and traditional, and the recipes are arranged not regionally but by course.  So, all the drinks are together, all the desserts are together, etc.  This makes it easy to prepare just a side dish or a beverage to sample the country's flavors without pulling out all the stops for a full meal.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders

Okay, so I'm in a bit of a rut with the Greek myths, I know, but this one was too fun to pass up.  It releases January 7, but I got an early look at it and it's a keeper.

Amazing Greek Myths of Wonder and Blunders by Mike Townsend is an irreverent spin on the Greek myths - think Captain Underpants meets Homer.  The stories, though, are unchanged.  Any fan of The Lightening Thief series or Diary of a Wimpy Kid will be drawn to the humor and whimsy of this story collection.  The publisher's recommendation is ages 9-12, but I think the book would interest the younger set (boys!) as well with it's bright glossy pages and excellent illustrations.

Check it out.