Saturday, January 31, 2009

Template Update

I love the Kidlitosphere! Thanks so much to The Bookworm's Booklist for posting ideas to update your blog for new bloggers here. Down in the left sidebar she links to a few changes you can make. I've always wanted a nice three column layout. So I went to her link for Tips for New Bloggers. They've listed a variety of changes you can make - depending on your current template. I used the Three Column Thisaway changes. It was so EASY!! I can't thank them enough. Here is a link to the specific changes I made. Check out their right sidebar for more ideas. Hooray! Hooray! I love it!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Newbery and Printz Award

Today was the big day - the ALA announced their Annual Media Award winners.

I always check to see if I've purchased the Printz award winner, the Newbery, and one or two Alex Award winners. I'm ashamed to say that out of all the books awarded medals - we only have one - The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau Banks by E. Lockhart which was pretty awesome!

So tomorrow I will put in a purchase order for:

  • Jellicoe Road by Mellina Marchetta - Printz Award
  • Nation by Terry Pratchett - Printz Honor book
  • Octavian Nothing, Volume II - Printz Honor
  • The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman - Newbery
  • The Underneath by Kathi Appelt - Newbery Honor
  • The Savvy by Ingrid Law - Newbery Honor
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson - Newbery Honor

I'm especially psyched about the Newberys because I'm doing a special 6th grade book club this year and it will be awesome if I can use these books. 6th is my hardest grade to choose books for. I'll read these right away and see what's what. I'm going to look at Nation for 7th grade. It looks like a good girl/boy book.

30 Day Challenge - Week 3

Goal - Eat more veggies/fruit especially veggies

I had a really good week. My only bad day was Tuesday. I was pretty much glued to the inauguration and didn't stay on my schedule. The rest of the days were pretty awesome. Eating more fruits and vegetables actually make me eat less of the bad stuff (I usually snack on chocolate!). I just hope I can keep this up. It's slightly more expensive to have the good stuff!

I have incorporated a salad into dinner every night and my daughter and I both enjoy that!

6 Good days!!!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

In My Mailbox - Week of January 25th

I found this idea on Story Siren's blog here. Each week (if possible) you post about books you've bought/borrowed/received etc. You then link to others and they can link to yours. I'm going to try this out.

Books I bought:
Of course, I'm trying NOT to buy so many books. I haven't bought any in awhile but I will have some coming later this week! Check back next week for cover stories.

Books I borrowed:

This is Diamond Willow by Helen Frost. It might be a Newbery contender and I thought I'd read it before the awards are announced on Monday, January 26th.

Books I received:

In Mike We Trust by P.E. Ryan. I received this from HarperTeen on Twitter. They also giveaway books on Myspace and Facebook. You agree to post a review and then email it to them. Great program.

In Mike We Trust is the story of Garth after his dad dies. His uncle, Mike, comes to visit and Garth feels like he can get on with his own life now. Soon Uncle Mike has Garth questioning his values though. I look forward to reading this one. It sounds like a modern-day Hamlet, sort of a teen version of The Story of Edgar Sawtelle. I'll tell you about it soon!

Not much this week. Which is ok by me!! I still have some library books to read.

What's in your mailbox?

Blog Focus

Hmm...I've been reading a lot of blogs lately, mostly ones that focus on reviewing books. My hope has been to learn how to review books in order to do them better because I'm not very good at it. I wanted YA book reviews to be my focus. This would be a great fit with the job I have now.

But that's not the job I want. I want to be a book buyer/seller. Ultimately, I want to own a teen-centered bookstore hangout. I would be in charge of the buying and promoting the books. I enjoy matching people with books.

My favorite sentence starters are "Ooh, you need to read..." or "OMG, hang on, I have just the book for you...". I actually keep books in my office, waiting for the perfect student to come along so that I can get the joy of giving it to them.

My next favorite thing is discussing books with people, even if we disagree! I just get so jazzed up! Of course, if I gave you the book and you loved it...Oh.My.Word. so freakin' sweet!

How do I work that into a blog? I work full-time. I have 3 more classes to take. I will be running three book clubs. I have to find an internship. Can you have a blog without readers? How do people get readers?

Many questions to ask myself...stay tuned.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Book Discussion Groups

Starting book discussion groups at school next month. Different books for each grade. Students will get to choose books except for the first one, which I picked. Here are my choices:

8th grade

The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness

7th grade

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

6th grade

Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson

I'm a little nervous about the 8th grade pick because I haven't read the book yet. The reviews have been great thouhg. I'll have it read by next week and hopefully won't have too many regrets!

Monday, January 19, 2009

30 Day Challenge Weekly Check In

Goal: 5 or more fruits and veggies per day.
Week - January 12 - January 18

This week was the hardest. We had two snow/cold days on Thursday and Friday, so no school. Also, eating more fruits/veggies has side effects I had not anticipated. I was fine until Friday when I became a little stir crazy and bored and didn't want to eat the same selections ONE MORE DAY! I ended up only having one fruit that day but ventured out in the cold weather and bought more fruit to add to the mix.

All in all: 5 good days - 2 bad.

Book Goals - Part 5

I've found that I need a lot more practice at book reviews. So I've been reading a variety of blogs and review magazines so that I can practice. My former reviews sound terrible, even if I liked the book! So I will read more reviews of the books after I try to write my own. This will help me to see what I'm missing and what I can do better.

Here are some blogs I like:
YA Books and More
The Reading Zone
Guys Lit Wire
YA Author's Cafe
Boys Blogging Books
The Shady Glade
Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast
Not Your Mother's Book Club
Book Club Girl
Emily Reads
Readergirlz - much more than reviewers, they focus on books with strong, female leads and they help you to run a book club by listing invite, food, and music ideas as well as additional books to read if you liked the monthly selection.

I also realized that book blogs are only a very small part of the blogs I read in google. I read blogs by authors, agents, bookstore owners, and librarians. I've rearranged my tabs to better reflect this separation so that I can focus on the reviewers. Of course, many blogs do more than one thing so these are just my demarcatiions.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Skim by Mariko Tamiki

Kimberly Cameron, aka Skim, is a high school student trying to make sense of what's happening this year. She thinks she wants to be Wiccan so she visits a "circle" with her friend Lisa. She feels like an outcast and the only person who understands her is Ms. Archer, whom everyone else feels is weird. Lisa and Ms. Archer help Skim get through the year, each in her own way.

I thought Skim was enjoyable and felt the writing and pictures went well together. Due to mature themes, I would recommend this one for high school and above.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Library Score!

I scored at the library today. 2 adult books, 4 YA books, 2 MG books, and 2 Graphic Novels. It was so awesome! Here's what's on the reading list:
  • The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry
  • Dogface by Jeff Garigliano
  • What I Saw and How I Lied by Judy Blundell
  • Big Fat Manifesto by Susan Vaught
  • Impossible by Nancy Werlin
  • Does my Head Look Big In This by Randa Abdel-Fattah
  • Alcatraz and the Scrivener's Bones by Brandon Sanderson
  • The Graveyard by Neil Gaiman
  • Skim by Mariko Tomaki
  • Into the Volcano by Don Wood

I am so excited. I don't even know which to start with. Probably Impossible because that might be on the Printz list. I do hope Little Brother gets the award though. Every student I've given it to has praised it. I found both Graveyard and Into the Volcano in the Children's section which surprised me. I'll do the Gaiman next to see if he'll be up for the Newbery.

I'm not that hot about the awards though after I read the White Darkness, last year's Printz. I had a hard time finishing that book and no matter how I try to promote, it doesn't get a good review. Anywho, award programs are a post for a different day.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Book Reading Goals - Parts 2, 3, and 4

I have a list of around 24 classics that my fellow teaching friend and I compiled and are slowly working our way through. I've added an additional 19 books that I want to read. I am going to alternate between these two lists with the hopes that I finish 10 classics each year for the next four years.

So, that's part 2 of my reading goal - read 10 classics.

I know I also want to read some non-fiction and had some conversations with the aforementioned Nonfiction Analysis teacher, one of the 7th grade Science teachers and one of the 7th grade Social Studies teachers. I will be looking for some good memoirs that don't have to be read in order and can be read aloud, some books on alternative fuel sources, and some books that give us a clearer picture on what's happening in the Middle East.

If possible, I would like to read some trade books that tie into the nonfiction I want to read.

You know, that all sounds like too much!! But, it's worth a shot.

Ok here are my goals:

1. Keep one master list of books I want to read - try to list them on the blog and review them when read.

2. Read 10 classics this year. Use the list from #1.

3. Read some nonfiction - preferably ones that would be useful to the seventh grade team.

4. Read some fiction that mirror the nonfiction titles.

Whew, it's only January and I'm overwhelmed. I'm going to try these out for a few months and see how things are going and see if I need to make some changes.

30 Day Challenge - Week 1

This week I did pretty well on my challenge. My goal is to increase my intake of fruits/veggies from 2 per day to 5 per day. I've included fruit for breakfast, midmorning snack, lunch, and afternoon snack. That leaves a veggie for dinner. I hope to include one serving of veggies with my lunch to add some variety and additional color this coming week.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The 30 Day Challenge

Each year HipWriterMama does a 30 challenge to help all of us kick off the New Year in style. You decide on a goal and you check in with her weekly. In this Year of Me, I want to eat more fruits and vegetables. I normally have fruit with breakfast and some veggie with dinner and that's it...two servings. Experts recommend 5 - 9 servings.

My goal is to each at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables. I'm going to do this buy adding fruit to my lunch, and snacking on fruit instead of chocolate! I can see this will have many benefits! Since I have breakfast at 6:30 and lunch at 12:15, I can use a mid morning snack and then I'm usually home by 5:30 or 6:00 which leaves time for a late afternoon snack.

This first week I bought some single serving packs of craisins, some apples and bananas, and I always eat fruit with breakfast. I just need to decide how to incorporate more veggies.

I'm working on it. Any ideas?

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Book Reading Goals - Part 1

I have two or three places where I keep track of books I want to read: My Amazon cart, a cute little journal that a friend gave me, and whatever notebook I'm using at the time I stumble across an interesting title or synopsis.

Today I tripped onto PJ Hoover's blog and she has a goal of 50 books this year and a list of some she wants to read. They cross genres and age groups.

As part of the Year of Me, I'm going to start listing my books in one spot - my cute little journal. I will start traveling with it, like I do books I'm currently reading. Then I can peruse my master list when I'm looking for a new read!!! So, without further ado, I am now going to make sure that my 73 item cart matches with the little book.

My next goal would be to take a tip from Emily Reads and link to the books after I read and review them.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The Plan of All Plans...May 19, 2009

My I Wanna Read It physical pile has fallen over and gotten out of order. It is also out of hand. These seem to be going First in Last Out instead of First in First out!

I'm trying to review every book I receive which has slowed me down and it seems to be adding unnecessary pressure.

So this post is to help me organize the books I have and to move them when reviewed. The order is gleaned from my In My Mailbox posts and my Library Loot posts as well as New Arrival posts:

Bold - Library Book
Purple - received from publisher
Green - asked to receive/won from contest/blog tour

Absolutely, Maybe by Lisa Yee
Happenstance Found by PW Cantanese
Waiting For Normal by Leslie Connor

Confetti Girl by Julia Lopez
Samurai Shortstop by Aan Gratz
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Storm: Infinity Code by EL Young

Drood by Dan Simmons
Big Splash by Jack Ferrariaolo

Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin
In Between by Jenny B. Jones

Dust of 100 Dogs by AS King
There's No Place Like Here by Cecila Ahern
Last Summer of Me and You by Ann Brashares
The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
The Alchemist by Paul Coehlo

Young Samurai by Chris Bradford
The Extraordinary Adventures of Ordinary Boy by William Boniface
Say the Word by Jeannine Garsee
The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston
Death Run by Jack Higgins
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

Willow by Julia Hoban
Jerk, California by Jack Friesen
Wake and Fade by Lisa McMann
Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Radiant Darkness by Emily Whitman
My Life In Pink and Green by Lisa Greenwald
Three Girls and Her Brother by Theresa Rebeck
Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes

This Is What I Want to Tell You by Heather Duffy-Stone
Triple Shot Bettys in Love by Jody Gehrman

Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell When It Happens by Susane Colasanti Need by Carrie Jones Jumped by Rita Williams-Garcia Same Difference by Siobhan Vivian The Song is You by Arthur Phillips

Sleepaway Girls by Jen Calonita
Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiana
Lesson Learned by Earl Sewell
Initiation by Susan Fine
Death By Bikini by Linda Gerber
Far From You by Lisa Schroeder
Heartbreakers by Pamela Wells
Vamped by Lucienne Diver

Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn - BT 6/12

Scribbler of Dreams by Mary E. Pearson
Miracle Girls by Anne Drayton
My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

Storm: The Ghost Machine by EL Young Storm: Black Sphere by EL Young
Skeleton Creek by Patrick Carman

Being Nikki by Meg Cabot Breathing by Cheryl Renee Herbsman Reality Check by Peter Abrahams

Blood Water by Dean Vincent Carter Extreme Kissing by Luisa Plaja
Spook's Apprentice by Joseph Delaney Flightsend by Linda Newbery
Solace of the Road by Siobhan Dowd
Dragon Whisperer by Lucinda Hare Bang, Bang, You're Dead by Narinder Dhami
Dread Pirate Fleur by Sara Starbuck The Sorceress by Michael Scott Sebastian Darke by Phillip Caveney

Exit Music by Ian Rankin
Sisterchicks by Robin Gunn - BT 6/8 City of Fire by Laurence Yep Never Slow Dance with a Zombie by E. Van Lowe Children of the Dawnland by Kathleen and Michael Gear
My Dating Disasters Diary by Liz Rettig

Leftovers by Heather Waldorf Neil Armstrong is My Uncle by Nan Marino

Wings by Jason Lethcoe All of the Above by Shelley Pearsall Great Call of China by Cynthea Liu

Dessert First by Hallie Durand

Cybils - NonFiction Middle Grades/YA Finals

Here are the finalists in the Cybils NonFiction MG/YA category:

King George: What Was His Problem? Everything Your Schoolbooks Didn't Tell You About the American Revolution by Steve Sheinkin
Historian and textbook author Steve Sheinkin provides a factual, fun chronicle that traces the American Revolution from start to finish.Humorous chapter titles and illustrations, entertaining facts, and labeled maps make learning history lots of fun.
-Jill Tullo (The Well-Read Child)

We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Kadir Nelson connects with readers in his history of Negro League baseball told from the first person point of view of an "everyman"player. The engaging narrative combined with stunning oil paintings capture the joy and passion of the players who were surrounded by hatred and inequality.
-Jill Tullo (The Well-Read Child)

Ain't Nothing but a Man: My Quest to Find the Real John Henry by Scott Reynolds Nelson with Marc Aronson
A field trip into the mind of a historian. Historian Scott ReynoldsNelson invites readers to follow him as he uses artifacts,photographs, and other documents to put together the pieces of a real-life historical mystery.
-Carol Wilcox (Carol's Corner)

Swords: An Artist's Devotion by Ben Boos
Ben Boos' well written and visually stimulating book was a pleasure to read. The illustrations were detailed and the history fascinating. Children of all ages will pore over this book as they trace the sword designs through the ages. Ben relayed the use of the sword throughout the ages including the Middle Ages and the age of the Samurai. Ben's drawings illuminated not only the variety of swords used but his love for this "formidable tool".
-Kathy Burnette (The Brainlair)

Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers by Nancy Amanda Redd
Leave your embarrassment at the door, because this book combines refreshing candor with no-holds barred topics, untouched photos, andinformation backed by a leading physician to help empower teen girls. The photos are somewhat shocking, but important for girls to see sothey know their body is normal. Don't let your teens get the wrong information from their friends...let them get empowered with realinformation and love the body they're in.
-Vivian Mahoney (HipWriterMama)

Lincoln Through the Lens by Martin Sandler
John F. Kennedy may have been the first television president, but Lincoln Through the Lens makes a strong case for recognizing AbrahamLincoln as the first photographic president. From the earliest known photo of Lincoln to the only one taken after his death, Martin Sandlershows how the sixteenth president was captured on film, and how he used the images to his advantage.
-Sarah Rettger (Archimedes Forgets)

11 Planets: A New View of the Solar System by David Aguilar
My Very Exciting Magic Carpet Just Sailed Under Nine Palace Elephants (10-year-old Maryn Smith's winning entry for the National GeographicChildren's Book Planetary Mnemonic Contest). So begins this engaging introduction to the newly classified solar system. Stunning artwork,cool facts on how the planets are named after different gods and goddesses, simple explanations and an informative glossary make this abook young astronomers will enjoy reading.
-Vivian Mahoney (HipWriterMama)

The Year We Disappeared: A Father-Daughter Memoir by Cylin Busby and John Busby
In summer, 1979, Cylin Busby was nine years old, living with her parents and two older brothers on Cape Cod, Massachusetts when herlife changed in a matter of minutes. Cylin's father, John Busby, a policeman, was on his way to work when a car pulled up next to him andshot off the bottom half of his jaw. THE YEAR WE DISAPPEARED is a memoir, told by Cylin Busby and her father John, in alternatingchapters, of the terrible year following Busby's shooting. A terrific real life crime read!
-Carol Wilcox (Carol's Corner)

2009 - The Year of Me

Happy New Year! This will be my year. The year of taking care of myself. This will include a variety of things such as finding out what I need from: my house, my job, my family, etc. Putting myself on the front burner. Utilizing my ADD. Making the most of the time I have. Little by little. So I'm going to spend some time deciding what I want and slowly going there. No more rushing around and making everything urgent. Slowing Down. I can't do it all and I don't want to. But what I can do...I want to do well. I have some specific goals: organizing at home and work, exercising and eating better, spending more time with friends and family, blogging more, etc. They will all come into it. I'm so excited for me.

As inspiration, check out this video on HipWriterMama's blog.

Go get 'em!


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