Back to School!

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The students and teachers are slowly getting into the rhythm of the new school year. This past week included lots of settling in moments, including one where a class walked into the library and caught me totally by surprise. New schedule – and I hadn’t checked the time.  Oh well. It was a happy surprise!

The kids had lots of questions about this year’s picture book theme for the 1st through 3rd grade classes. Here’s how it works: each week when the lower elementary classes visit, we read a book that fits into that year’s theme. Last year – picture books from around the world. We made it through the entire year of library visits without reading one book by an American author.  The year before that – the alphabet. I began the first week by reading a picture book by an author whose last name began with A. The second week B – I think we read Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown.  And, yes, we did find a picture book for the letter Q: Henry’s Awful Mistake by Robert Quackenbush.

This year, new books are on the docket. I want to introduce the kids to some of the wonderful new picture books that are being published.  Like adults, some of our seven-year-olds have set routines. They make a beeline for their favorites – Angelina, trucks, cats, dinosaurs, Pinkalicious, or whatever their latest obsession is. I want them to see some of the creative and funny and beautiful new books that have been published over the past couple of years. We are going to read books published in 2011, 2012 and, in a few months, 2013.  The first week we read was Boy and Bot by Ame Dyckman. I’m keeping a list for the weeks ahead – but there are more than enough books from which to choose. I’ve already put aside Leo Landry’s new book, Trick or Treat, to read during the last week in October.

The middle school kids had a lively discussion of their summer reading this week. I love hearing what they all selected from the summer reading list and, more importantly, if they think the book should be on next summer’s list. One of our teachers suggested that we print pictures of the covers of the books they read this summer and ask them sign the ones they read, compare notes, and get ideas about what to read over the course of the year. I think the books with the most signatures were Fever 1793 by Laurie Halse Anderson and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Here’s a picture of a few of the signed sheets.

By next week, I will know the class schedule, the middle school students will be reading The Alchemist, the 6th graders will be reading Holes, and the elementary kids will hear another new story – the year has been launched!

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