Children's Book Week - Friends stop by to share their thoughts...

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I asked teachers and librarians to respond to the prompt - "Books can take you anywhere..."  Several of my favorite teachers, librarians, bloggers, and booksellers have stopped by to share their thoughts on books this week.  For the last day of Children's Book Week, we have a wonderful collection of thoughts on books by a group of book lovers who truly know their books.

Kellee Moye, Middle School Teacher, FL -

Books are like an extremely strong telescope. They are the gateway to the entire universe. When you enter a book, it takes you into a new life, a new setting, a new situation and forces you to live in the shoes of someone else. It is a way to explore aspects of lives and history that we could never be part of. Where the Wild Things Are takes you to a fantastical island filled with monsters, The Giver takes you to the future where the government restricts our rights, every day takes us into the mind of a person who is more than just himself, and Hurt Go Happy puts us in the shoes of a young girl trying to protect something that can't protect itself and trying to overcome her past. These are all places that I would never be able to visit without the help of these books. Books build empathy, experience, and understanding all needs that all make their reader a better person and it is pretty entertaining along the way!

Follow her on twitter: @kelleemoye

Mary Ann and her first story.

Mary Ann Scheuer, Teacher/Librarian, CA

Books have always been the perfect escape for me, taking me back in time, to distant lands full of adventure, or just next door to meet a new friend. They let you see how you might want to act in a situation, or just how NOT to treat a friend.

My kids are always amazed that I don't remember lots of my friends from junior high, but I remember the books that were my friends. I loved The White Mountains trilogy by John Christopher - such an exciting, daring adventure that asked fundamental questions about human nature. I loved learning about history from books like Escape from Warsaw, by Ian Serraillier - this let me see a side of history that I knew was important to my family's history, but from the safety of a story that was both exciting and scary, and one with a happy ending.

I only wish I read more nonfiction as a child, that I was able to find more nonfiction that took me to different places and times. My brothers and I loved looking at our family's collection of National Geographic magazines. But I don't remember nonfiction grabbing me the way it does now.

I do connect to stories, and love the way I fall into a story and live with the characters. This is what creates that sense of being taken away.

Follow her on twitter: @maryannscheuer 

Sophie Riggsby, Book Aficionado & Blogger, NV - 

Books can take you anywhere -- to a secret garden, to a land filled with wizards, witches and magic, to a different time you would've never otherwise seen.

When I was young the first books I loved were C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Edward Eager's Half Magic. I'm an only child and reading about those large families who found magic in their everyday lives made the possibility so very real to me.

To this day when I see an antique wardrobe, I open it and think, "Narnia?" And when I'm looking for change in my wallet, I find myself hoping to spot an odd, perhaps, magical coin. These books, these special books that we trip across in our childhood stay with us forever. Remember that next time you visit a book store or library. Are you ready for your next journey?

Follow her on twitter: @sophieriggsby 

Jen Pino, Bookseller, CA -

Books can take you anywhere means just that. They can transport you into a world that the author makes you a part of instead of where you actually are at the moment. You can instantly be sent to a world such as the dystopian future that is The Giver or sent to one of fantasy and magic such as the world that is Harry Potter or The Unwanteds. Whatever the case may be, books lift you off your seat and help you to imagine things that could only be possible in them.

Follow her on twitter: @jenapino

Thuy Lam, Blogger, CA -

"Books can take you anywhere..." I have always loved reading. I can't remember a time when I did not read. Growing up in a small suburb, books were a way for me to experience the world.Though my town was by no means tiny, it often felt that way. There was only one high school and most of the kids in school had known each other for most of their lives. Reading allowed me to travel to new places, learn new things and meet new friends. I went to the local library religiously, often taking out 10 or more books at a time. I then proceeded to stay up all night reading them. I guess not much has changed. Today, I still love reading for the same reasons. Life is normally pretty stressful - worrying about work, money, family and all those other little things that can bog us down. But reading lets me forget all of that for a little while. I love letting my imagination go and losing myself in a book, whether it be for a few minutes or a few hours. There is a quote "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies said Jojen. The man who never read lives only one." (George RR Martin), and I believe this is true. And I plan on living many more lifetimes before this one is over.

Follow her on twitter: @fishgirl182

Children's Book Week - With a Little Help From My Friends...

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I asked teachers and librarians to respond to the prompt - "Books can take you anywhere..."  Several of my favorite teachers stop by to share their thoughts on books.

Cynthia Alaniz, Teacher (and soon to be Librarian), TX -

"Books can take me anywhere. I've been to Malawi (LAUGH WITH THE MOON by Shana Burg), Maine (TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord, and the Moon (THE MOON OVER HIGH STREET by Natalie Babbit). I have been to a WATER CASTLE (by Megan Frazer Blakemore) and seen THE DARK (by Lemony Snicket). I have done the HOKEY POKEY ( by Jerrry Spinelli) and visited THE 13-STORY TREEHOUSE (by Andy Griffith). I've learned to HOLD FAST (by Blue Baillett), write haikus (I HAIKU YOU by Betsy Snyder), appreciate the EXCLAMATION MARK (BY Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld), and work through A TANGLE OF KNOTS (by Lisa Graff). I've become friends with a STICK DOG (by TOM WATSON), a flamingo (FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO by Molly Idle), and a dog named HOMER (by Elisha Cooper). And along the way, I met a gorilla that brought me joy and also broke my heart (THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate). I wonder where I will go next! I wonder what I will do next! I'll find the answers in the next book I read!"

Follow Cynthia on twitter @utalaniz

Colby Sharp, 4th Grade Teacher, MI -

"Books can take me to any location both inside and outside of this world. They can also take me into the heads of children experiencing things that I never experienced."

Follow Colby on Twitter: @colbysharp 

Jen Vincent, Teacher Leader/Teacher Mentor Program, IL -

"If only I had a passport filled with stamps from all the places I have visited as a reader over the years. It would be a magical passport that once opened, pages upon pages would burst out, flipping uncontrollably like an endless accordion. Books can take readers anywhere and my book passport would be a living testament to the extent of the possibilities that books give to readers. I've stood tall next to Molly Lou Melon, I've gone to school with Velma Gratch and her way cool butterfly, I've shopped at Ollivander's with Harry Potter. I've swam with alligators, spun webs with spiders, and watched the first Macy's parade when upside down puppets filled the sky. I've been around the world, in alternate universes, and out of this world without leaving my couch. Books have allowed me to stretch my imagination and take part in countless experiences that would never be even remotely possible in real life. And I'm a better person because of it. By visiting all these places and people, time periods and time zones, I have exponentially grown as a person and I love sharing books with kids and giving them a chance to add a stamp to their own book passports. It's exciting to imagine how many stamps I have in my passport and how many magical pages are yet to be filled. I can't wait!"

Follow Jen on Twitter: @mentortexts

Beth Shaum, 6th Grade Teacher, MI -

"Books can take you anywhere... doesn't just mean that the stories inside can take you to new places in your imagination, but in a more profound way, books can take you anywhere in life. Lifelong readers are lifelong learners and if you're a lifelong learner you can do anything."

Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethshaum

Truck Stop Blog Tour, Giveaway & A Special Guest Post

Yes, Anne Rockwell has a new book out.  Truck Stop was released on yesterday, May 16, 2013 by Viking Juvenile.  As a new teacher, many of my first books for my young students were written by Anne Rockwell.

One of my favorites was Apples and Pumpkins which was prominently featured in several lessons and projects that I did with students.  I probably have several paperback copies of this book that I took apart, ran through the laminator, and re-stapled so that little hands wouldn't damage the books.

Imagine how thrilled I was to discover that not only would I get to be a part of the blog tour for Truck Stop, but Anne Rockwell along with illustrator Melissa Iwai would be stopping by to share their responses to my Children's Book Week prompt "Books can take you anywhere..."?!  Thanks to Blue Slip Media for helping to coordinate the blog and a giveaway of Truck Stop.   

Anne Rockwell answers "Books can take you anywhere..."

Anne Rockwell - Photo credit @2013 Oliver Rockwell

It’s true that books can take you anywhere, including that cozy diner off the highway heading north or south, deep in the woods, where the truck stop is ready with a good-smelling cup of hot coffee, and whatever you are hungry for.

Sullivan - Photo credit @2013 Oliver Rockwell

I love to travel, and have seen a lot of the world, including most of the United States. But no matter where I go, there’s still a yearning for the safety and comfort of home. The American truck stop mom and pop diner is as worthy of tribute as the French sidewalk café, the Italian trattoria, the British pub, or those many Chinese 24-hour open restaurants lining Ghost Street in Beijing or a mountain road inn that’s been nestled in the remoter parts of China for centuries. I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last three years in such places because my son, my Chinese daughter-in-law, and Littlest Grandson, Sullivan Wong Rockwell, live there. When I saw Chinese patrons rinse their chopsticks in their green tea before using them I was reminded of our own roadside home places and the seemingly essential need humans the world over have for familiar food and companionship. TRUCK STOP is the story that came out of this. And of course, there was also Sullivan’s love for big trucks and work machines, a love he shares with so many children.

Note: Sullivan Wong Rockwell reading his first book not yet knowing that his NaiNai (Mandarin Chinese for paternal grandmother) wrote and illustrated it many years ago for another little boy who grew up to be Sullivan’s BaBa.

Ilustrator, Melissa Iwai answers "Books can take you anywhere..."

“Jamie? Jamie…? Hellooo?”

When I am being ignored by my 8-year old son, Jamie, my emotions can range from annoyance to exasperation. But there’s one occasion where he gets a free pass: When he’s reading a book. I can tell he’s in another place and time. And I fully understand and appreciate that. A great story can have that effect on a reader. Fortunately, I grew up experiencing the same wonderful feeling.

My favorite thing to do from the time I was 4 or 5 years old was visiting the library (we didn’t have a bookstore back then in our small town!). Looking at the collection of picture books there, I would be transported to other worlds. We’d check out a collection to bring home, and I’d look forward to many hours of visiting those places again and again. My favorites at that age were Maurice Sendak’s books, Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (I could pore over the text and pictures for hours every day), the Lois Lenski book series of the “Small” people, and many others.

Through the years the list has grown and changed of course, but I still get the thrill of anticipation of “story travel” when I begin a new book.

So the next time my son isn’t responding to me asking him something, and his nose is buried in a book, I’ll save it for later and let him enjoy the journey.

Stop by Melissa's blog for activity sheets:

For the next blog stop, check out As They Grow Up on Saturday, May 18, 2013. 

Enter below to win a copy of Truck Stop.  US mailing addresses only: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Children's Book Week - The Top Five Books That Transport Me to a Different Time by Hannahlily Smith

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I asked teachers and librarians to respond to the prompt - "Books can take you anywhere..."  Over the course of the week, I will be sharing their responses.  Hannahlily Smith is the Teen Librarian in a Public Library in Eastern Tennessee.

I admit it. I am one of those strange people who will ask you the question (usually shortly after I have met you for the first time) “If you could live in any point in history, when and where would it be?” Responses to the question have ranged from the purely annoyed to the absolutely fascinated, but I am consistently intrigued by the answers. What makes us choose a particular era over any other? What does this say about our personality? And would we want to change our mind if we could actually live in the time we have chosen?

Your wonderful blog administrator sent me the prompt “Books can take you anywhere” and I immediately thought of my favorite get-to-know-you question. Because my favorite place books take me is to different times. I am a huge Historical Fiction fan. Books let me live, for a moment, in the skin of people, long dead (if they ever lived to begin with) and allow me to experience cultures and eras so vastly different from my own. So the following list of five children’s books are my personal top five books that transport me to a different time: books that show me what life could have been like if I really got my wish to live during another point in history.

5. ANY HISTORICAL FICTION BY JENNIFER L. HOLM So first I was going to put the May Amelia books. Then I was going to put Boston Jane. Then I remembered Penny from Heaven…and Turtle in Paradise. How could I choose? I feel like each of her historical fiction novels show me what life was like for an American girl in different decades of history. Of course, Jennifer L. Holm’s characters are stupendously done, but it’s her little details of setting that truly make me feel like I am in 1930s Key West…or 1850s Washington…or so many different times and places.

4. Once by Morris Gleitzman OH HOW I CRIED reading this book. As anyone who can claim to be somewhat widely read, I’ve encountered my fair share of Holocaust stories. This is the one that made me feel like I was THERE, suffering with Felix and Zelda. It is not a nice feeling. This is not a book I want to ever read again, but I feel like it is such an important book. It’s crucial for our future to have people like Gleitzman who can vividly make us experience the horrors of our past.

3. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken I was an English major in college. I read so many Victorian novels (loose, baggy monsters, we called them) that I’ve lost count. I LOVE Victorian novels, (you are looking at the #1 Sherlock Holmes obssessee in high school), and I think they have a very identifiable style of prose; one that is terribly difficult to replicate for a late 20th or early 21st century author. The only author I’ve read that truly made me feel like I was IN a Victorian setting is Joan Aiken. I don’t know how she did it, but this tale of two spunky girls who undergo some harrowing circumstances reads just like a Sensational Novel from 1865 to me. Plus, unlike many Sensational Novels from 1865, Wolves is tons of fun.

2. The Death Defying Pepper Roux by Geraldine McCaughrean If I were talking about ALL books instead of just children’s books, my #1 book that transports me would be by this author: her Printz Award-winning The White Darkness. Just thinking about that book for this post made me so cold I had to go put on a sweatshirt. Effective stuff. This book is equally effective, just in a different way. The Booklist review says it’s full of “Plucky Misadventures” which, I think, is just about the most perfect two word synopsis I’ve ever read. I don’t remember any of the characters with great detail (Although I remember that I thought they were brilliant) and I don’t remember much about the episodic plot, but I can still remember the setting of 1930ish France running about, escaping ordeals, with Pepper Roux.

1. The Sherwood Ring by Elizabeth Marie Pope. Here it is. My number one book that transports me to a different time. I first encountered this book at my local library when I was in middle school and I loved it so much I literally hand-copied every word so I could have my very own copy (the book was out of print and this was long before one could buy no longer published books on Ebay). I used to dress up and pretend I was these characters. I have not read this book since I was probably 14 (even though I own 3 copies). I am scared to; scared to change my fond memories of it. But, if I close my eyes, I can still imagine myself in Revolutionary War Era New England, with Peaceable Sherwood and Barbara Grahame.

Thanks Hannahlily for sharing your top 5 books that transport you to a different time!  I knew there was a reason I liked you - we both love Jenni Holm and historical fiction.

You can follow Hannahlily on twitter: @hannahlilys and on pinterest, here

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Miss Moore Thought Otherwise

Author: Jan Pinborough
Illustrator: Debby Atwell
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Young Children (March 15, 2013)
ISBN: 978-0547471051
Source: Personal Copy
Audience: 2nd to 5th grade
Biographical * History * Libraries  

Description from GoodReads:
Once upon a time, American children couldn’t borrow library books. Reading wasn’t all that important for children, many thought. Luckily Miss Anne Carroll Moore thought otherwise! This is the true story of how Miss Moore created the first children’s room at the New York Public Library, a bright, warm room filled with artwork, window seats, and most important of all, borrowing privileges to the world’s best children’s books in many different languages.

My thoughts on this book:
When I was thinking about which book to feature this week for Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday, I immediately knew that I had to feature MISS MOORE THOUGHT OTHERWISE: HOW ANNE CARROLL MOORE CREATED LIBRARIES FOR CHILDREN by Jan Pinborough.  Along with Franklin K. Matthiews (Librarian of the Boy Scouts of America), and Frederic G. Melcher (Publishers Weekly), Anne Carroll Moore founded Children's Book Week

Children's Book Week Poster

When I saw this poster for Children's Book Week in 1921, I couldn't help but think that the slogan "More Books in the Home!" is relevant today for many of our children in impoverished communities.

In 1906, Anne Carroll Moore became the Superintendent of the Department of Work with Children at the New York Public Library.  Pretty impressive title, especially when you realize that Moore was responsible for the children's programming throughout the NYPL branches.  She was also instrumental in the opening of the Central Children's Room at the NYPL in 1911.

NYPL Children's Room 1913

Pinborough's Miss Moore Thought Otherwise focuses primarily on Moore's work at NYPL.  The text is readable and allows children to grasp the beginnings of something that many of them take for granted - Children's Rooms in their local libraries.  Readers will also develop a clear sense for the strength, passion, and beliefs that propelled Moore in her life's work.  Atwell's folksy illustrations pair well with the tone and time frame of the story, as well as, reflect on Moore's place of origin (Maine).

Have fun celebrating Children's Book Week and the next time you step into your local library's Children's Room take a moment to thank the amazing women who helped start it all.

For more information about Jan Pinborough: website | facebook | twitter | book page

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction book reviews: