Monday, December 11, 2006

Witch Catcher

Have you ever seen a witch ball? I have one hanging in the window of my home. The idea is an old one -- something from the middle ages, when a belief in witches was common. Many homes of the time hung a beautiful glass ball in the window. It was thought that a witch would be intrigued by the beautiful colors and would be drawn into the gall---captured for eternity.
In Mary Downing Hahn's newest book, Witch Catcher, 12-year-old Jen comes into possession of a witch ball.
Jen and her father have just moved into an enormous old home. In the backyard is a crumbling stone tower. Against her father's wishes Jen investigates. She finds a beautiful witch ball that she hangs in her bedroom window. The ball accidently breaks and Jen releases a fairy who has been held captive for generations. Moura, a local antiques dealer and love interest to Jen's father, is far more interested in capturing the fairy, and the fairies friends, than she is in marrying Jen's dad. Moura is actually a witch! --- Read this new book and see what evil she is capable of!

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Ghost's Grave

Josh is definitely not having a boring summer with Old Aunt Ethel! In the backyard treehouse Josh meets the ghost of a coal miner who was killed in a mine explosion. Willie (the ghost) has been waiting for decades for a friendly soul to help him. In 1903 Willie lost his leg in a mining accident. Two years later, in 1905, he was killed. Willie hasn't been able to "move on" because he hasn't got over his anger about dying. Enter Josh..... Willie wants Josh to dig up his leg and rebury it with the rest of him!! Obviously Josh doesn't want to be arrested for grave robbery, but he does want to help Willie. Read the book - see what Josh finds when he digs up the leg - and how it ties into a local robbery. This is a good mystery by Peg Kehret.

The Amazing Life of Birds........

The rest of the title: The Twenty-One Day Puberty Journal of Duane Homer Leech, As Discovered By Gary Paulsen is a quick and fun read!! Duane is 12 years old (plus one week). Puberty has hit. Along with it come zits and lots of embarrassing situations. How about dropping your tray of food in the middle of the cafeteria. Why do these things always seem to occur in front of the girl he wants to impress? Read the book to find out what ELBOWS are! Another great Gary Paulsen story. Find it on the "New Book" shelf!

Haven't been blogging

I know, I know......I haven't been blogging much. The school year is busy. I'm still reading - just not getting to the computer to write about it:)
Take a look at the new books in both the Tipler and Sunset collections. If you click on the "Visual Search" button in Destiny, you will see New Books for Fall 06 listed. Give it a try!!

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Chat and Chew

The first session of Chat and Chew met today during lunch hour. We had some great conversations about books, made some good connections between our books (and even some movies!)and in-between talking we even ate lunch!! Sign up in the Media Center if you are interested in joining us!!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Dr. Franklin's Island

I enjoyed reading Dr. Franklin's Island by Ann Halam. Lots of Tipler and Traeger students have read the book at my suggestion. I always compare it to the TV series, LOST. At the beginning of the book there is a plane crash. The main characters, three science students, find that they are the only survivors. They have washed up on an isolated tropical island. There isn't any sign of civilization. One of the characters disappears. As the other two go in search of him , they are kidnapped and taken to a scientific facility. At the facility they are held against their will. Their bodies will be used for scientific experiments. Read the book and see what happens to them.
Students have always pointed out the similiarities between this book and a movie, The Island. (PG13) I fnallly rented it this weekend. I wasn't disappointed. It was a great sci-fi adventure. I can see why they suggested it to me. The "lucky" people in this futuristic community win the lottery and are able to leave their underground home to live on The Island.
Read the book and then rent the movie. Let me know what you think

Monday, September 25, 2006

Chat & Chew

Chat & Chew - Have you signed up?
Do you like to read? Do you like to eat? How about having lunch in the Media Center with Miss Weiss and Mrs. Helm? Sign up now in the library to reserve your lunch hour with us. Bring your lunch and the book you are currently reading. We'll have the entire lunch hour to share our reading ideas!

South by Southeast

Anthony Horowitz is one of my favorite authors. The Alex Rider books are among my favorites. This book, South by Southeast, is a Diamond Brothers Mystery. Tim Diamond, the world's worst private detective and his brother, Nick, are the main characters. As is typical in the other Diamond Brother Mysteries, the brothers are broke. They get themselves involved in another crazy mystery. A stranger, Jake McGuffin, offers Tim $50 for his old raincoat. McGuffin says he must disguise himself - a gunman is after him. A short while later they find the stranger, almost dead in a phone booth. The stanger is able to whisper a few words which sound like "south by southeast". The brothers take the information to Chief Inspector Snape. Snape investigates, but all the evidence is gone---no dead man, no phone booth. He promptly throws the Diamond Brothers in jail. Tim does have a clue though. In the dead man's coat there is a key for room 605 at the London Internation hotel. As soon as they are released from jail they head to the hotel to look for clues. It turns out the world famous assassin, Charon, killed McGuffin. His next target is Kusenov, a famous Russian diplomat. If he is killed it is feared that it will create an internation incident and nuclear war will break out. Of course, the Diamond Brothers are in the thick of it. Read this funny, yes funny, fast-paced mystery and see if the brothers can solve the mystery!

Friday, September 08, 2006

Welcome Back

The new school year is off and running. I've been reading many books but haven't taken the time to blog about them. My absolute summer favorite was City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau. Lina and Doon live in the 200-year-old underground city of Ember. The power is failing. There are outages that leave the entire city in darkness. Lina finds an ancient message that tells how to escape the city. The problem is, parts of the message have been destroyed. Read this exciting book and see how Lina and Doon work to decipher the message.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

A Dog's Life: The Autobiography of a Stray

I finished reading this excellent dog story at Long Lake during one of our recent hot days! Ann Martin is an author many upper elementary and middle school students will recognize. She is the author of the 2003 Newbery Honor book, A Corner of the Universe. She also writes the Baby-Sitter's Club books.
In A Dog's Life you meet Squirrel, a stray puppy. This book is her life story, from puppyhood to adulthood. Squirrel remembers her first home - an abandoned shed. After her mother disappears, she and her brother, Bone, leave the safety of their home and venture out into the world. They bravely cross highways with cars whizzing by and scavenge through trash cans for food. Bone is found and taken in by a family, leaving Squirrel to fend for herself.
If you are a dog lover you have to read this book and see what happens to Squirrel!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

The Lightning Thief

Are fantasy and mythology your "thing"? If so, you have to read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan! The Greek gods are alive and well in New York City. Percy (Perseus) Jackson, the main character, is a half-blood. He is the son of Poseidon, the Sea God, and a mortal woman.
As the story begins Percy is kicked out of yet another boarding school. He returns home to New York City for the summer. As he and his mother set out on a beach holiday, they find themselves chased by a strange creature. This "creature" turns out to be the minotaur!! With the help of a boarding school friend, Grover -- who just happens to be a satyr, he escapes to Camp Half-Blood. Here he finds other half-bloods. Read this exciting adventure book. You will meet Hades, Zeus, other assorted Greek heroes, and many MONSTERS!!!!!

The Lightning Thief

Are fantasy and mythology your "thing"? If so, you have to read The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan! The Greek gods are alive and well in New York City. Percy (Perseus) Jackson, the main character, is a half-blood. He is the son of Poseidon, the Sea God, and a mortal woman.
As the story begins Percy is kicked out of yet another boarding school. He returns home to New York City for the summer. As he and his mother set out on a beach holiday, they find themselves chased by a strange creature. This "creature" turns out to be the minotaur!! With the help of a boarding school friend, Grover -- who just happens to be a satyr, he escapes to Camp Half-Blood. Here he finds other half-bloods. Read this exciting adventure book. You will meet Hades, Zeus, other assorted Greek heroes, and many MONSTERS!!!!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Hush Little Digger

Do you remember the childhood song, Hush Little Baby, Don't Say a Word, Mama's Gonna Buy You a Mockingbird"? My son, Jimmer knows it is time to go to sleep when he hears that song. In fact now he says, "No, Mama" when he hears it start. We have a new version of this song in our house..... Hush Little Digger by Ellen Olson-Brown. This book is wonderful for any young child obsessed with trucks. This describes Jimmer perfectly.
In the book a little boy's dirt pile overflows. The father finds him all kinds of trucks: a red backhoe, a front-end loader, a big dump truck...... You get the idea. It is every boy's fantasy.
As I write this we are in Kansas, where, to my son's astonishment we visited "Big Brutus", the second largest truck in the world.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Red Midnight

Red Midnight is the newest, EXCITING, book by Ben Mikaelsen, the author of Touching Spirit Bear. As the story begins 12-year-old Santiago and his 4-year-old sister, Angelina make a desperate escape from their Guatemalan village. Soldiers have come - families have been killed and homes are burned. Santiago and Angelina are chased through the jungle and narrowly escape with only the clothes on their backs. Their entire family - parents, brothers and sisters - have been killed!
Their journey to the United States begins. Following his dead uncle's instructions he takes his kayak. Although Santiago has only sailed a few times, he tries to navigate the boat thousands of miles to Florida. He and his sister face numerous obstacles - rough ocean waters and no food or water. Where do they end up? Will they find safety in the United States? Will the government even allow them to enter? Read this exciting survival story.

Monday, May 08, 2006

What is Ms. Sankey reading?

Hi everyone! If you've been in the Media Center recently, I'm sure you've seen me, Ms. Sankey. I'm Mrs. Helm's student teacher and I will be here until the end of the school year in the afternoons. I wanted to let you know some great things I've been reading.

Defiance by Valerie Hobbs is one of our new books. Toby, an eleven-year-old boy, is on vacation. He meets Pearl, who is an elderly woman who lives up the street in a very run down house. Pearl is going blind but is still as spunky as ever. There's something Toby's not telling her though...he has cancer. And he's not telling his parents that he feels a new lump on his side. Toby will do anything to enjoy his summer and not have to go back to the hospital.

Escaping into the Night by D. Dina Friedman is another new book. Are you interested in the Holocaust? I am and in this book, I learned even more about it. Halina is a Jewish girl who escapes from the Polish Ghetto. But this isn't your ordinary escape story. Halina goes deep into the forest to join an encampment of all Jewish people who are desperately trying to survive World War II. This is a Holocaust story you've never read before.

Bodies from the Ash: Life and Death in Ancient Pompeii by James M. Deem is a gruesome but intriguing book. Have you ever heard of Pompeii? It's a city which was in Italy but is now extinct. How does a city become extinct you ask? Vesuvius was a volcano which the city was near. The people of Pompeii believed greatly in the volcano but one day it covered the city when it erupted. In this book you will see pictures upon pictures of the excavated ruins. Even if you check out this book to look at the pictures, you'll be amazed.

Now I know some of you are working on biographies, and you'll want to check out Anne Frank by Josephine Poole. This picture book is an easy way to learn about one of the most widely known Holocaust victims. Have you read the Diary of Anne Frank? Have you ever wondered about the girl before the diary? This book will tell you all about Anne as she grew up, what she was like as a girl, and who her family was. This is a sure-fire way to learn about the famous Anne Frank.

See you soon!

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Cinderella Stories

Most everyone is familiar with the Disney version of Cinderella. How about reading a Cinderella story from a different culture?
Last night I read Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story by Tomie de Paola and Sootface: An Ojibwa Cinderella Story retold by Robert D. San Souci. Adelita takes place in Mexico. Sootface is a traditional story of Northeast and Great Lakes Native Americans. Both have sisters or stepsisters who are not kind to Adelita and Sootface. Adelita has a cruel stepmother. Sootface doesn't have a mother. Read the stories to see the other similarities between these and the traditional fairy tale.

Monday, May 01, 2006

No Right Turn

Are you a classic car fan? If you are, you need to read Terry Trueman's newest book, No Right Turn. Jordan has been sneaking into his neighbor's garage and "borrowing" his 1976 vintage Stingray Corvette. It is only a matter of time before Jordan is caught.


What happens when you die? Author Gabrielle Zevin tries to answer this question in her book Elsewhere. Liz is almost 16 years old. She is a victim of a hit and run driver. As the story begins she finds herself on a cruise ship to the island of Elsewhere. She is greeted by the grandmother that died before Liz was even born. Liz struggles to find her place in Elsewhere. She is angry that her life ended before she turned 16. Telescopes allow a view back to earth. Liz becomes obsessed with following the lives of her family and friends. This is an extremely creative book! Read it and discover the world of Elsewhere!!!


Have you ever wanted an extreme makeover? In Scott Westerfeld's book, The Uglies, that is exactly what happens. Tally is eagerly anticipating her 16th birthday when she will be transformed from an "ugly" to a "pretty". After she meets Shay and they run away to the outside world of "Smoke" Tally isn't so sure "pretty" is what she wants. The sequel is The Pretties. Eventually it will be a trilogy.

Catch Up!

The new carpeting is in the media center. Things are finally back to normal:) I've been doing lots and lots of reading, but really neglecting the blog. Here are some GREAT new books that I've been reading.........

Death Mountain by Sherry Shanan -- If you like survival stories you'll enjoy this. Two girls, Erin, an experienced hiker and Mae, the exact opposite of Erin, are separated from the rest of their group during an electrical storm in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. The two girls fight to survive hunger, freezing nights, exhaustion, and injuries. Just like the characters in the story, the author survived a deadly lightning storm on the same mountain.

Double Identity by Margaret Peterson Haddix -- Just a few days before her 13th birthday Bethany's parents drive her to a different state to stay with an aunt she never knew existed. Bethany has no way to contact her mom and dad. There are many family secrets that have been hidden from her. Read the book and find out what they are!

Monday, April 03, 2006

What I Believe by Norma Fox Mazer

This new book will appeal to those of you who like to read Sonya Sones books. It is written in a narrative prose format. You will not find too many traditional paragraphs in this book.
As the story begins you meet Vicki. Vicki's life is drastically changing. Her father has been laid off from his well-paying job. Finally, extreme debt has forced the family to sell their home in the suburbs and move to an apartment in the city. Changes, changes, changes......... Vicki is trying to make sense of everything. If you like realistic fiction you will enjoy this book!

The Lambkins

The Lambkins is one of Eve Bunting's latest releases. Evil Mrs Shepherd (and she really is evil!) has kidnapped Kyle, Mac, Tanya, and Lulu. She is holding them hostage in her home, but not exactly..... What do I mean?
All the kids have been injected with a shrinking formula which was invented by Dr. Magnus Shepherd, a famous genetic scientist. Each week Mrs Shepherd gives them the shot which keeps them at a height of about 8 inches! They live inside a dollhouse in the Shepherd basement!
Escaping becomes the focus of everyone's efforts. After much planning, Kyle is able to escape in a bag of dirty laundry. He is tossed into the washing machine. He does manage an exciting escape, only to chased and caught by Mrs. Shepher in a butterfly net.
Will the four ever find their way out of the house? Read the book and find out!

The Heaven Shop

Deborah Ellis' books often focus on world issues. Her newest book, The Heaven Shop, is set in Malawi, a country in Southern Africa. She has written several other books that you will find in the media center. The Breadwinner Trilogy takes place in Afghanistan.
The Heaven Shop focuses in on the problem of children left orphaned from AIDS. Binti, is the 13-year-old main character. Her mother has died, presumbably from the disease, and as the story begins her father is sick. When he dies Binti and her siblings are sent to live with cruel relatives. An abusive uncle takes in Binti, but warns his own children to "stay away from her." He believes that Binti carries the HIV virus and her touch will infect his family. Binti is separated from her older sister and younger brother. Eventually she runs away, searching for "Gogo", her grandmother who she does not know. Is the family reunited? You will need to read the book to see what happens to Binti and her brother and sister.
All royalties from this book are being donated to UNICEF!!

Thursday, March 30, 2006

The Naked Mole-Rat Letters

Isn't this an usual title for a book? The Naked Mole-Rat Letters by Mary Amato is just one of the many new books available for checkout. I will admit...I've been reading lots of the new books, but not always blogging about them.
I am half-way through "mole-rat". It is a funny book! Frankie's father starts a long-distance, email romance with a zookeeper from the Washington Zoo. Ayanna (AKA Ratlady) is the naked mole-rat keeper at the zoo. Frankie has been intercepting her father's emails and replying to "Ratlady". She does not want her father to become involved in a relationship.
I don't know how the book is going to turn out. Frankie and Ratlady are still emailing. And her father??????? Do you think the mole rats are cute?

Monday, March 20, 2006

New Books!!

It is one of my favorite times of the year....NEW BOOK time! Stop in and check out the books that Mrs. Fauske has processed. New materials are available for both Tipler and Sunset. Use the "Visual Search" button in Destiny to find all the titles with just a few clicks.

Monday, March 13, 2006

The Old African by Julius Lester

Wow!! That is about all I can say after reading this book! This book is inspired by an African legend about the "Old African", a man who led a group of slaves into the ocean, saying they were walking back to Africa.
As the story begins on a Southern plantation a young boy is tied to a tree and whipped. The Old African puts himself "in the boy's head", giving him the courage to survive the whipping. That is what the Old African does -- he can read thoughts, he can ease pain or cause pain. He uses his powers to take his people back to their homeland.
The story uses flashback to show how the Old African and other members of his village were brutally rounded up and put on slave ships. The author realistically portrays the conditions as the ships crossed the oceans. Back in the present, Riley, the plantation owner wants the Old African dead. Read the book to see what happens to the people.... but know that the cruelity displayed by Riley and other white men is shocking. The book ends with a very hopeful message.
This book has received a Parents' Choice Gold Medal Award.

Among the Hidden

This Wednesday Book Club will be discussing Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix. I read this book when it was first published in 1998 and thoroughly enjoyed rereading it again this past weekend.
For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Luke is the third son in the family. Population Police strictly enforce a law that allows families to only have two children. If Luke hopes to survive he must live as a "Shadow Child". This means he can never go outdoors, go to school, or even eat supper at the table with his family. If he is "found out" he will be taken away.
Somehow Luke discovers that their are other hidden children, just like himself. He makes the decision to risk his life by contacting another girl in his neighborhood. Jen has thought up a plan to give other third children the same rights as others. Luke is faced with many decisions that will determine his fate.

Some Friends to Feed; The Story of Stone Soup

Are you familiar with the story of "Stone Soup"? This book is a new retelling of the story by Pete Seeger and Paul DuBois Jacobs. Parents may recognize Pete Seeger's name. He is a 1960-1970's singer and songwriter. Some of his songs include "Where Have All the Flowers Gone" and "Turn, Turn, Turn".
This version of "Stone Soup" takes place in Germany during the time of the Thirty Years War (1616-1648). A starving soldier wanders into town. No one has any extra food to help him. Read the story to see how the soldier "persuades" the townspeople to each contribute to the soup. By joining together we can often accomplish miracles.
The book also includes a CD with the story and Seeger's original "Stone Soup" song. Check it out!

Monday, March 06, 2006

Dr. Seuss Day

Dr. Seuss Day was celebrated on Thursday, March 2. It was the 102nd anniversary of the birth of Theodor Seuss Geisel. Story times all week were filled with Seuss stories and trivia. On Thursday Sunset students participated in round-robin-reading of several books. It was a fun day!
Have you read a Seuss story in the last ten years? If not, pick one up. I just reread THE LORAX. I know I must have read this in elementary school, but didn't remember it. It is a great book with a wonderful environmental theme.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Bird by Angela Johnson

Last week I read several books, but haven't taken the time to post information. It was a busy week in the media center!
Bird by Angela Johnson was one of my favorites. Bird is a 13-year-old girl. Her stepfather, Cecil, has left the family. Bird runs away in hopes of finding and convincing him that he must come back home. Her journey takes her from Cleveland to Alabama. Her story is intermingled with Ethan and Jay's. How are they all connected? Bird is hiding out in a shed on Ethan's family's farm. Jay is mourning the sudden death of his brother. Ethan is recovering from heart surgery. You must read the book to see how all the character's lives are intermingled.

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Doll with the Yellow Star

Did you like reading NUMBER THE STARS? Do you like reading Holocaust stories? If so, give this book a try.
THE DOLL WITH THE YELLOW STAR is a new book by Yona Zeldis McDonough. Claudine, the main character, is an 8-year-old Jewish girl living in France. Even though times are difficult--Hitler's troops are everywhere and there isn't enough food -- she receives a beautiful doll for her birthday. Claudine names her doll Violette. Soon, Violette, along with Claudine and her parents, is wearing a yellow star on her clothing. War continues. Claudine and Violette are sent to live with relatives in America. Claudine must make the adjustment to living in America without Violette who was lost on the ship. Finally the war ends and Papa arrives -- alone!! He and Claudine travel back to France and try to put their lives back together. Read the story to see what happens to Claudine and her family.
This is a good book for 4th - 6th grade students.

Monday, January 30, 2006

My Thirteenth Winter : A Memoir by Samantha Abeel

What is a memoir? It is an autobiographical account of a person's life that usually covers a period of time -- not their entire life. I just finished reading MY THIRTEENTH WINTER. Samantha was diagnosed with a math learning disability when she was in middle school. Dyscalculia prevented her from telling time, opening a locker, doing basic addition or even counting change. For years she tried to hide the fact that she couldn't do these things. Samantha struggled to look like a "normal" student. This memoir covers her life from elementary school through college. Do you like to read stories about real people. Look for this book in the 921 section of the library!

Monday, January 16, 2006

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Over the weekend I finished reading HOOT. The book club will be discussing this book on Tuesday after school. For some reason??? I put off reading the book until now. Once I got into the story, I couldn't stop reading.

Roy, along with several "friends", are trying to save the tiny, burrowing owls from the Mother Paula's Pancake House construction site. The police are trying to find out who is behind the vandalism at the site. There is sabotage -- spraypainting a police car, alligators in toliets, and poisonous snakes. Read the book to see if the owls are saved.

Hiassen's newest book is called FLUSH. It is available in the Media Center.

Monday, January 09, 2006

New Books

Almost better than presents from Santa????? New books have been arriving in both the Tipler and Sunset libraries. Mrs. Fauske is busy processing. Watch for them on the "New Book" shelves. You can also find them listed on the visual search of the Destiny system.

Vacation Reading

I made two excellent picks for my holiday reading. Try PRIVATE PEACEFUL if you are interested in a good World War I story. The Peaceful brothers - Thomas and Charles - enlist in the war. The story follows their life from childhood through their war experience.
BOUND is a Chinese Cinderella story. Everyone knows the story of Cinderella, but this is one of many versions that take place in China. Take note: One of the daughters, Mai Lee, is going through the very painful process of foot binding. See Mrs. Helm for a detailed explanation of what is involved in foot binding.