Whew! I am exhausted! No one warned me that a conference could be so tiring. I feel like I need to take a few days vacation just to recuperate. But it was sooooooo much fun! I can't wait to go back next year! I might even be a presenter if I can get my act together enough to submit a proposal.
While at the 44th Annual Conference for Children's Literature, I picked up a few new books and those are the books I will be reviewing for this week's
First up is a fun little book I found in the book store...
Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don't) by Barbara Bottner
I must admit, I got this book because I liked it, although I am sure there are some kids who would enjoy it, too. It's about a little girl named Missy who doesn't like to read, but Miss Brooks is determined to find something she will like. Nothing Miss Brooks suggests tickles Missy's fancy (isn't there always at least one student like this every year), until she finds the perfect book...about warts. It's actually her mom that finds the book, but I love that neither Miss Brooks, nor Missy's mom give up on Missy or tell her, well, I guess you just don't have to read, then. Sometimes it does take a lot of digging to find what a patron is interested in. Such a cute book. Loved it! Would make a great gift for any librarian, too!
Next, I picked up a few books from some of the guest authors at the conference.
I Need My Monster, by Amanda Noll
Such a cute story! It's about a boy whose monster goes fishing so he is looking for a substitute monster for the evening, but he just can't find one as good as his monster. I read this book to my three year old son when I got back from the conference. He was mesmerized by the illustrations, which were created by Howard McWilliam. Both Ms. Noll and Mr. McWilliam were at the conference. They were the closing act, as it were. It was so much fun to hear about how Amanda came up with the idea for I Need My Monster and to actually see the process Howard went through to create the pictures. They didn't even meet in person until the first day of the conference, which they said is very typical of authors and illustrators. Everything goes through the editor. I really learned a lot from listening to them speak.
Here are a few of the illustrations in the process that Mr. McWilliam shared.
And I also picked up this little chapter book...
Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles
This book is about a young girl, Ruby Lavender, who lives with her single mom and her grandmother, Miss Eula. Ruby has a very close relationship with her grandmother. They write letters to each other every day and leave them in the knot hole of a tree. They even steal, or uh, rescue chickens together. But one day, Miss Eula, decides to go to Hawaii to visit her other, new granddaughter. Ruby feels abandoned, but as her grandmother would say "Life goes on." While Miss Eula is away, one of three hens that Ruby and Miss Eula rescued lays some eggs. Ruby is very excited and can't wait for them to hatch. A new neighbor also moves into town and Ruby befriends their niece who is staying with them for the summer. Little does she know that by befriending Ruby, great adventures await her. Such a good book, and I think I enjoyed it even more because I heard straight from the horse's mouth how this book was written, who the characters were designed after, and the meaning behind it all. Deborah Wiles is such a friendly and funny woman. She was actually the first guest author to speak at the conference and she kicked it off well. I was pumped for the rest of the weekend after hearing her. And I was so happy to have met her. She actually lives in Atlanta so I might be able to have her come visit my school! I also picked up 3 of her other chapter books, but I have not read them yet. I expect they will be just as good. You can follow Deborah on Pinterest by going here. You can find her website here.
Not only did I get to hear some great guest authors speak, but I also attend some fabulous sessions conducted by other library media specialists and reading teachers. There were so many wonderful topics to choose from, it was difficult to narrow down my choices, but I finally settled on these four:
iCan with iMovie!
This sessions was presented by Cristina Dover of Midway Middle School. I found out about some really cool iPad apps that can be used to make movie trailers. I was excited to show my 10 year old when I got home. He wasn't impressed, though because he said his friend had already showed him them. I am going to have him help me make some practice book trailers to show my students at my school, since he knows all about these apps. I was exctied about them, anyway. The apps demonstrated were Action Movie (free), Extreme FX (free), and iMovie ($4.99). You can see a YouTube demo of Action Movie here.
Motivate Me to Read. I Dare You! How to Motivate Boys to Engage in Reading
I choose this session because when I interviewed for my position, one of the things I was asked about was how I could get boys motivated to read. I am always looking for new ideas since I know this is a concern at our school. In this session, I heard the research of David W. Brown, Jr, a teacher at Murdock Elementary. He told of some ideas he used to get his boys to want to read and the research behind why he did what he did. One of his successful ideas was holding an All Guys Reading Night where he invited boys and a significant male role model in their lives to come to school for a couple of hours one night and do nothing but read. They were encouraged to bring a tent, a blanket, and a bunch of books. Mr. Brown provided snacks and beverages throughout the night for the participants. He said it was a hit and the boys were begging to do it again. Another idea he shared was that of the Male Mystery Readers Program where he invited males from the community to come read to classes, but the classes never knew who was going to show up. Some examples of readers he gave was a police officer who read Officer Buckle and Gloria, A pizza delivery guy who read the book Hi, Pizza, and a marine recruiter who read the book The Wall. He had even more ideas like having students create a cooking show based on a recipe they read, creating a wax museum where students dress as historical figures and give biographical information about that person based on what they've read, book buddies where a higher grade student pairs with a lower grade student, and Fantastic Friday Reading Events which varied from week to week. He including reader's theater, poetry puppets (students read poetry using puppets), word wall raps (students rapped the meaning of words on their word wall) and news casts (giving a book report in the form of a character interview like on the news). Tons of great ideas that not only I can use, but I can share with the teachers at my school to use in their classroom.
Dr. Seuss and Social Media: Online Opportunities for Children's Literature
This session was presented by Brittany Cuenin of Lander University and Jeannette Tripplet of Van Plet Elementary School. Brittany and Jeannette shared websites that could be used to get children excited about reading. Some of the websites mentioned were Goodreads and Pinterest (for finding ideas), and many of the free book websites I mentioned in this post, like Storyline Online. The main idea was to get educators to use online tools to get students motivated to read because that's what students like...technology. This was the session that really got me thinking about being a presenter next year. There were so many websites that neither presenter had heard of (like Edmodo and We Give Books) that I knew of which it made me think that maybe I had something worth sharing, too. So, I am going to look into it.
Book Clubs: Nuturing Life-long Readers
The final session I went to was about book clubs and it was presented by Heather Sitler of Chase Street Elementary. She made a Google Site with all kinds of information about running a book club. She gave some great tips and tricks which are listed on the link as well. You can find the link here.
And of course in between each session, there were the wonderful guest authors to enjoy. In addition to Amanda Noll, Howard McWilliam, and Deborah Wiles, Angela Johnson, Molly Bang, and Pat Mora also spoke. They all gave some wonderful messages. Here are some pictures of the day:
Yummy treats were served both days. I was surprised to see a buffet of snacks and refrigerators of free juices, soft drinks and water...all for free. I think I might have a gained a few pounds in those 2 days. LOL
I was able to get seven library books autographed!
Amanda Noll and Howard McWilliam
Love this autograph!
What an awesome weekend! I can't wait to do it again!