Thursday, July 24, 2014

Upcoming releases from Chronicle Books

Two great follow-ups to two of last year's most memorable picture books are making their way to readers very soon.

Here's what Chronicle Books has to say about these upcoming releases. 

Flashlight
By Lizi Boyd
On sale August 12, 2014
Click HERE for look inside Flashlight.
There’s no need to be afraid of the dark when you have your trusty flashlight! In the follow-up to the acclaimed Inside Outside, Lizi Boyd creates a wordless world that reveals secret friends with the beam of a Flashlight.

Flora and the Penguin
By Molly Idle
On sale September 30, 2014
Click HERE for look inside Flora and the Penguin.
Flora is back for an encore! In Flora and the Penguin, the heroine we met in the Caldecott Honor book Flora and the Flamingo finds a new feathered friend.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Best Book in the World by Rilla (Flying Eye Books)

Australian-born Rilla Alexander has created an ode to reading that is both whimsical and understated.

The Best Book in the World by Rilla
(July 29, 2014)
There is something special in this book that transcends the work itself. Rilla has crafted a story about the power of books to take us places, but in her text it's as if she has written an incantation to breathe the words alive. I say this not only as a teacher librarian, but as a person who would consider chanting these words aloud to the smiles and excitement of a room of children as we prepare to embark on a story adventure.

Here's a sample of the text:
"Take the first step. Turn the first page. Read along. Read out loud. Or in your head. Follow the story. Up, under, over here. Where will it take you next?"
The design work is beautiful throughout the book and the illustrations have an almost retro feel, perhaps hinted at through the color choices or the use of strong geometric shapes throughout the spreads. While capturing the notion of the shared experience of stories as well as the adventures in which a good book can place you in the center, the pictures are vibrant and communicate not only a great joy, but also a propulsion forward.
The book's pace slows nicely to a stop at the conclusion where we see the main character carried off to bed to sleep in the arms of a good book, reminding us that the story doesn't stop at the last page because we can simply turn back to the start and enjoy it again.
 Rilla Alexander's print work is beautifully packaged into a story that's as much about the adventure of storytelling as it is about reminding us all what we draws us to books time and again.

You can preview The Best Book in the World on Flying Eye's site through a photo set showcasing Rilla's outstanding work.

Additional resources and fun:
Rilla Alexander's homepage
Rilla on Twitter (@byRilla)
Sozi on Twitter (@iamSozi) - Sozi is the main character in The Best Book in the World and this account reveals many of her adventures in and about the world

Note: Review copies sent from the publisher.

ISTE through Selfies.

Earlier this week I spoke with Sherry Gick, my GeniusPal and collaborative partner, on the Let's Get Busy podcast about the importance of building meaningful professional partnerships with others in your building and through your PLC (You can listen to the episode by clicking here). These relationships serve to support our students and provide them with a deeper, more meaningful learning experience, but they also serve to challenge us, the members of the relationship, to learn and to grow and become something better than our former selves. It's for this reason I believe the term educational soul mate is gaining some traction.

Today I'm dedicating this blog post to the great friends I encountered at the 2014 ISTE conference in late June/early July. Some are new. Some have known me a while. And some I met for the first time face to face despite connecting over Skype more than a dozen times. It's these relationships and for these relationships that I continue to emphasize the importance of connecting with others online.

The point cannot be overstated.

In a profession as solitary as can be that of a teacher librarian, finding that professional learning community that can support professional growth, introduce you to new tools or practices, and, most importantly, reinvigorate your instruction can be the tipping point in whether or not you have staying power in your current role.

So apropos to Atlanta, where ISTE was hosted this year, and on the conversation of friends, let's crank up track 11 of The Zombies' classic album Odyssey and Oracle and look rehash those people who help me grow and become not just the teacher librarian I am today, but the one I will be tomorrow.


I met some names I knew from Twitter and some new people.


I met some people IRL that, thanks to Skype, felt like old friends.




I got to see friends whom I now look forward to running into whenever we travel to professional conferences.



I made new memories with friends.


I got this glorious pic sent to me of my #Wondertwin holding a copy of my book.

And I have photo-evidence of what brought me out to ISTE (this time at least) in the first place: The Wandoo Planet Team and ISTE's publication of the book I co-authored.


And I'm saving a place for when I meet you, reader. Because it means a lot to me that you've been on this journey with me and that you've allowed me to share all of my experiences with you.

Can I send you off with a blessing? Would you mind?

Okay... here we go...

May your photos be filled with the people you love. The people who see light in you. The people who challenge you to grow out of yourself and into something even more beautiful. And may you see those people reflected in everything that you do. For it is in the journey together that we truly come to understand ourselves and one another.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Let's Get Busy with teacher librarian Sherry Gick

Episode 66: Talking epic karaoke competitions, drastic paradigm shifts, and letting your nerdiness shine.
Sherry Gick (@LibraryFanatic), teacher librarian in Rossville, IN and author of the Library Fanatic blog, stops by to talk about educational soulmates, building collaborative partnerships within the school building, and adopting a willingness to fail.
Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode Notes
Earth Pals project
GeniusCon project
Collaboration friends mentioned: 
NancyJo Lambert (@NancyJoLambert)
Andy Plemmons (@plemmonsa)
Shawna Ford (@ShawnaFord1)
Shannon Miller (@ShannonMMiller)
PD is not a 4-Letter Word (ISTE Ignite Session by Jennie Magiera)
Jennie Magiera on Twitter (@MsMagiera)

Sherry and Matthew's Most Excellent Guide to Collaborative Partnerships
1. Seek out newly hired teachers or teacher librarians.
2. Start with a friend in the building or on social media.
3. Be transparent in your intentions, interests, and nerdiness.
4. Be flexible. Be willing to put yourself out there, let collaboration affect your ideas, and be comfortable when things don't work out exactly how you envisioned them.
5. DTR - Define the Relationship. Be clear on what you want to accomplish and set a date with an accomplishable goal you can work toward.
6. Follow up after the project concludes. Take time to reflect and evaluate. Consider if timing is right to begin a new collaborative project together.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Let's Get Busy with the author illustrators of Simply Messing About

Episode 65: Talking picture book art, process, supplies, and inspiration.
Simply Messing About (@SimplyMessAbout) is a blog about the creative process of making picture books. The creative minds behind Simply Messing About, picture book author illustrators Renee Kurilla (@ReneeKurilla), Tracy Bishop (@TracyBishopArt), Christina Forshay (@ChristinaForshay), and Laura Zarrin (@LauraZarrin) stop by to talk about sketchbooks, Tracy's pen collection, and helping other artists and people in the kidlit community along the path of creating art for children's literature.
Download for FREE on iTunes, using the Stitcher mobile app, or at LibSyn.

Episode NotesSimply Messing About homepage
Renee Kurilla's homepage
Renee on the Let's Get Busy podcast (ep. 54)
Christina Forshay's homepage
Laura Zarrin's homepage
Purchase Books from your local independent bookstore
Ninja by Arree Chung
Don't Turn the Page by Rachelle Burk
The Sketchables blog
The Picture Book Junkies blog (@PBJunkies)
PiBoIdMo (Picture Book Idea Month)


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