The Lonely Book

February 11, 2018

Image result for the lonely book

By Kate Bernheimer  Ill. by Chris Sheban

Your heart will be swept away to that special book tucked away in your heart. Memories of reading the delightful pages transport you to a different time and place. Riding Freedom is one such book for me (by Pam Munoz Ryan). Its pages aren’t worn yet, but it’s set in a special place. Do you have a book that has grown old, pages worn or ripped, but the story goes on and on? The little girl finds one such book. She reads it over and over until one day, she can’t find it at the library. It’s been placed in the basement for the book sale. The book is lonely and wants its story to touch a heart.

The Lonely Book is a wonderful way to inspire children to connect with stories. Maybe you read it at the beginning of the school year and get them excited about finding books in the library. Maybe you read it on a special reading day to remind kids that they can explore worlds and gather new ideas. Maybe you read it just to let them know your readerly-life and the power reading can give. It brings your imagination to life.


March – In like a Lion?

March 1, 2015

The forecast today is between coming in like a lion or going out like a lamb. I definitely know more sunshine is needed and less cold would be appreciated. Thinking of a lion, a book came to mind by Michelle Knudsen (illustrated by Kevin Hawkes). The cover of Library Lion emulates warmth, reading pleasure and friendship.

The lion visits the nearby public library. He enjoys hearing a good story (don’t we all?) and roars when it is finished. Miss Merriweather is particular about her rules in the library. Lion knew he could follow the rules and became a big help to Miss Merriweather. One day, she has an accident and the only way to get another employee’s attention was to roar. Knowing he had broken the rules, the lion left. In the end, the lion is found and an explanation about the rules was shared:

Sometimes there was a good reason to break the rules. Even in the library.

I love how we can discuss with our children that rules are necessary, but sometimes exceptions happen for the good of those around us. As you begin your school year or even as a refresher, Library Lion opens the opportunity to discuss how rules are guidelines for a classroom, school to run smoothly. But, sometimes the circumstance changes the rules for the good of the person.

To hear the book read on Storyline Online, click the video below.

Savorings for reading and writing for Library Lion:

  • Love of Reading
  • Friendship
  • Community Building
  • Varied Sentences
  • Character Traits

That Book Woman

January 12, 2015

Connecting children with books – a goal for each teacher. Books are waiting to enlighten and expand children’s minds.

Heather Hansen brings history to life in the That Book Woman. In the 1930s, President Franklin Roosevelt founded the Pack Horse Library Project. The dedicated women (and some men) traveled into the Appalachian mountains of Kentucky to bring books to the families who had no access to libraries and few schools.

Told through the point of view of the oldest son, the narrative prose shares Cal’s feelings about reading. Chicken scratches is all the paper held. Cal’s younger sister delighted in the treasure of a book, reading each moment she was spared.

Not until the Book Woman risked her health and life, riding through terrible snow. What makes the woman brave the fierce elements? Cal began to read and asks his sister to teach him. In the spring, when the trail is passable, the Book Woman returns. This time, Mama thanks her for making a reader out of two of her children.

Inspiring. Today, bookmobiles bring books to remote places and the book burros in third world countries carry on the tradition of the Book Woman. We can be Book Women and Men to our students daily.

To view a video of the book, click here.

Savorings for reading and in writing for That Book Woman:

  • Love of Reading
  • Book Blessings
  • Passage of Time
  • Dialect
  • Community service

A to Z Book Collector

June 5, 2013

Hello Book Lover,

My eye caught a fun read by Kelly DiPucchio called Alfred Zector Book Collector. I love collecting children’s books. My husband says I have a mini library in my literacy room. I smile and wish for one more.

Alfred loves books too. He finds comfort and laughter in books. Alfred is so zealous in owning books, he collects and trades with everyone. While Alfred is reading his books, the town has become dull. They have no books. One line that saddens my heart is

There were children who’d never been read to before!”

Oh my goodness, I love reading books to children. It’s their delight that inspires me to find more books. Currently I’m teaching summer school to fourteen kindergarteners. Reading a great book captures their attention and their faces light up. We are having fun!

Alfred realizes the joy of sharing a great book. With books from A to Z, the community awakens through his contribution.

Reader, know that I find joy in sharing a good book with you. May the children who’s lives you touch be blessed with a good book each day!

With a kindred heart,

Mary Helen

Savorings for reading and in writing for Alfred Zector Book Collector:

  • Rhythm and rhyme
  • Love of books
  • Community building – touches on not fitting in; sharing with others
  • Vivid Verbs
  • Passage of Time

The Bookshop Dog

August 22, 2011

The Bookshop Dog intrigues me. I found the book at a used bookstore. It’s not new (copyright 1996), but new to me.  Cynthia Rylant is not only the author but also the illustrator. As I read the book, I kept wondering where she got the idea for the book. A dog-lover will relate to this book.

A young lady takes her dog everywhere, even to work. She owned a bookstore and name it after her dog, Martha Jane’s bookshop. Her customers loved the dog and business was flourishing.

A dilemma  arises when the lady has to go to the hospital. Several customers wanted to keep Martha. It was Martha who chose her handler – one man who visited the bookshop weekly. I think this book is a great example of how a decision creates the problem in the story.

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Bookshop Dog:

  • Play on words
  • Magic of 3 – postman, policeman, band director
  • Problem/ Solution
  • Character traits

Winston the Book Wolf

August 19, 2011

Marni McGee theme in Winston the Book Wolf is the love of reading. Winston the Wolf feeds on words. He loved eating books. When banned from the library, Rosie(with a familiar looking red-hooded sweatshirt) came to his rescue. She asks why he eats books.

Words are so delicious!”

Ian Beck interweaves characters from familiar fairy tale stories – the Three Little Pigs, Little Red Riding Hood – throughout the setting. Winston transforms into Granny, the Story Lady, who reads at the library. What a great way to start the school year, inviting kids into the world of reading.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Winston the Book Wolf:

  • Spin on a familiar story
  • Problem/ Solution
  • Character emotion
  • Vocabulary
  • Magic of 3

Dirk Yeller

August 17, 2011

Dirk Yeller is a cowboy with itches in his britches! People are nervous around him. When Dirk asks for help, no one seems to have the solution … except for Sam. Sam is curious and begins following Dirk everywhere. He seems to understand Dirk’s energy and shows him to his quiet place – the library.

The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town by Mary Casanova shares the importance of the library and how reading can capture a variety of interests. Ard Hoyt adds more to the story on the end papers. In the front, you will see the wanted poster, including Dirk’s profile. In back, the newspaper announces Dirk and the librarian wed. What a change reading had on this character!

“And ever since, the library has become the busiest place in town, especially for folks curious, restless minds – like Dirk Yeller and me.”

Savorings for reading and in writing for The Day Dirk Yeller Came to Town:

  • Magic of 3
  • Voice
  • Transitions
  • Similes – “sweet as pecan pie
  • Apostrophe – ‘cuz, shootin’

Warsaw Community Public Library new book


Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book

August 15, 2011

This book is creative and fun. As the school year begins, you want to engage your students through read alouds, enticing them to revel in the joy of reading.  Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book by Julia Donaldson will grab the daydreaming child’s attention and show him a creative way to read. The reading and writing connection is linked through this storytelling text.

The end papers display a bookshelf with books, which foreshadow the events in the story. Each two page layout links one scene to the next. As Charlie begins to read those books, the reader views the illustrations through Charlie’s eyes. One story leads to another, which leads to another, and eventually circles back to Charlie reading a book. Fun! I think your boys will find this book interesting and funny.

Set in a poetic, rhythmic rhyme, the reader is carried away on an adventure in every scene. The humor sprinkled throughout will delight all our listeners.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Charlie Cook’s Favorite Book:

  • Circular ending
  • Transitions
  • Love of Reading – it’ an adventure!
  • Humorous
  • Foreshadowing

Will You Read to Me?

August 12, 2011

Denys Cazet pens an adorable narrative that will capture an book lover’s heart. Hamlet, the pig, loves to read and write. With a notebook in hand, Hamlet notices his surroundings and writes. His sensory description captures the beauty of the moment. His sentiment for literature is not shared by his family, though. As Hamlet consistently asks, “Will You Read to Me?‘,  his pig parents seem to be interested in other daily activities, such as eating.

Searching for someone to share his poetry with, Hamlet takes to interacting with his reflection. Unbeknown to him, an animal audience listens and asks for more. Surprised, yet pleased, Hamlet obliges.

Savorings for reading and in writing for “Will You Read to Me?”:

  • Hybrid text – narrative with poetry inlaid
  • Sensory Detail
  • Living like a Writer
  • Child-like conversation
  • Past-tense verbs – shouted, shoved, pushed
  • Magic of 3 – “The breeze rattled the cattails, brushed Hamlet’s face, and then it was quiet.”



Dog Loves Books

July 22, 2011

I fell in love with this book! Dog Loves Books is dear to my heart! My writing group met this past Tuesday, and I shared this book with them. “It is so me,” to which they agreed.

Dog loves everything about books and decides to open a book store. While he waits for customers, he stays busy reading. Louise Yates illustrates how the characters of his book come alive and is a fun introduction of visualizing during reading for children. Finally, a little girl comes to the bookstore for a book, and Dog knows just the right one for her. He knows his books and how to match his customers with a just-right book.

I feel such a connection to this book as I love reading children’s books and then sharing them with kids. I believe I’m going to begin the year sharing this book with classes, sparking a love of reading with them.The illustrations support the simple text and allow you to linger over the meaning.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Dog Loves Books:

  • Visualizing during reading
  • Every day happening
  • All About example – although this book is a narrative, the theme is centered around an interest and young children could use this book as a mentor text, sharing their interest in a similar way
  • Grammar – the simple text allows you to focus on sentence structure; several different types of sentences are used, simple to complex

PES new book 🙂