A Whole New Ballgame March 04

To the Read Aloud! by Phil Bildner

This one time, for read aloud, we read Kathi Appelt’s Kissing Tennessee. Everyone did individual projects. Then we turned the classroom into the Stardust Dance. This other time, for read aloud, we read Cynthia Rylant’s I Had Seen Castles. That was our first read aloud following 9/11. We were together 9/11. We’ll always be together […]

SD_cover_hi March 03

From Everywhere and Nowhere by Philip C. Stead

Where do your ideas come from? I hear this question more than any other. Sometimes the answer is easy. For example, take the first book I made with my wife, Erin, A Sick Day for Amos McGee. Due to an unlikely series of events I was asked to come up with a story in about […]

Sketch113194837 March 02

Taking Ownership of His Reading Life by Jaymie Dieterle

My husband and I started investing our son’s reading life early on. He had a shelf of Sandra Boynton books in his bedroom before he was born. We read multiple books during the day when I was home with him as well as at bedtime. As a toddler, I often found him “reading” to his […]

fish in a tree - final cover March 01

Who is Travis Nickerson from Fish in a Tree? by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Fish in a Tree is about a sixth grader named Ally Nickerson who thinks she’s dumb. She isn’t dumb, but she does have undiagnosed dyslexia until she meets Mr. Daniels, her new teacher. Ally learns that, although dyslexia poses some challenges, it also has some special gifts wrapped up inside of it as well. She […]

how it went down February 28

Books That Make Us Cry (Part Two) Collected by Donalyn Miller

Grab a tissue. We pick up where we left off in yesterday’s post–sharing our sad book favorites. And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard I bought And We Stay last summer because it earned a starred review somewhere. Knowing that the book was a tear-jerker, I never seemed in the right mood to go into the […]

bridge to terabithia February 27

Books That Make Us Cry (Part One) Collected by Donalyn Miller

Last spring, one of my fifth-graders, Heavenly, spent all of recess sitting under a tree finishing the final chapters of Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s One for the Murphys. Strolling around the playground, I gave Heavenly a wide berth when I walked near her reading spot. I knew where Heavenly was in the story and I didn’t […]

sad authors February 26


When I was a kid, I used to dress up in my mother’s nightgowns, layers and layers of lace and silky chiffon, draped across my shoulders, sometimes veiling my face, but always trailing behind me like the train of a wedding gown. I would play “Peter and the Wolf” and “Arabian Nights” on the record […]

titanic making of a doomed ship February 25

“I Need a Book about the Titanic” by Lucretia Brattin

One subject in history has it all:  tragedy, mystery, mayhem, social classes, celebrities, science and romance.  I am referring to the story of the Titanic. In our school the “official” study of the Titanic begins in the fourth grade reading anthology.  Students read the short story Finding the Titanic by Robert D. Ballard.  This story […]

I Don't Want to be a Frog February 24

Finding the Words by Dev Petty

Sometimes I read posts here with a bit of envy. I read about people who went to their school library at recess and curled up with a book at every opportunity. I read about people who knew from birth that words and language and books would define their life, as a writer or a librarian […]

edward tulane February 23

Teacher with Tissues: Showing Students How Books Tug at Your Heart by Kathleen Sokolowski

“Are you crying?” one of my third grade students asks incredulously, as the rest of them look on, wide-eyed and silent. I sniffle, too choked up to answer.  I was, indeed, crying, surprised by my emotions as the tears spilled over.  Reading aloud Kate DiCamillo’s brilliant book The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane, I’d anticipated struggling […]