Saturday, January 25, 2014

Tweets, Skype, and Pink Icing

"Always be yourself.  Unless you can be a vampire unicorn.  Then always be a vampire unicorn." - Drew Daywalt

This quote hangs on our classroom wall.  It's very popular in our third grade room, mostly because it came from Drew Daywalt, author of The Day the Crayons Quit.  (And also because vampire unicorns are the best.)

We love not only this picture book, but Mr. Daywalt himself.

Maybe love isn't the best word.

Adore would be more like it.

A few months ago, we reached out to Mr. Daywalt via Twitter because his book was having a huge impact on our Writing Workshop.  So many students were inspired by the format and the hilarious personification.  You can read about that experience here

We recently were able to Skype with Mr. Daywalt on a very cold Thursday afternoon.  (And yes, we know it was 60 degrees in L.A. that day.  Thanks for sharing, Mr. Daywalt.) We were crazy excited and nervous.  After all, THIS was the author of one of our favorite books...and authors are rock stars!

Well.  Not only did Mr. Daywalt show us the actual box of crayons that inspired his book, but he also showed us each individual crayon from the box while discussing their personalities!  My students were in awe.  I was too.

He later answered our questions and encouraged us to keep writing and illustrating - but not necessarily to stay inside the lines.  We learned that pink is his favorite color.  It was perfect, as we are talking so much about stereotyping lately.  

Our Skype session motivated my students' writing and reading lives.  Definitely.

But more than that, talking with an author they love pushed their thinking even beyond their literate worlds.  Drew Daywalt likes pink?  He colors outside the lines?  He reads The Twits?  I could teach my students that it's ok to be different, but hearing it from a rock star makes it true.

The next day was my student Ivy's birthday and she brought in cupcakes to celebrate.  Unfortunately, there were only 12 Star Wars cupcakes. The rest were Elmo or Princess cupcakes with pink or green icing.  

"Mr. Daywalt's favorite color is pink," one boy said as he ate the pink icing.  "Yeah, it doesn't matter what color it is," said another.

Vampire unicorns forever.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Must Read in 2014

Alright, I'll do it.  Every year I know I have that To Be Read list on Goodreads, but I've never set a yearly goal for myself.  

Sure, I've immersed myself in #bookaday during the summer or during vacations from school.  But this will be new.  I must conquer that book stack that is taking over my house!

Thank you to Carrie Gelson for inviting me to participate in Must Read in 2014!  You can find information about #mustreadin2014 and links to other bloggers at:

Also, the book nerd community of Indianapolis has an awesome event happening on Twitter this year, too.  You can find it at #Read26Indy.  The goal is to read 26 books, of whatever genre or length, and post about the titles using the hashtag #Read26Indy.

Join us!

Here are my titles, in no particular order:

MG novels:

1. Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu  Read Jan. 2014
2. The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell Read Jan. 2014
3. Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
4. Hound Dog True by Linda Urban Read Feb. 2014
5. Cardboard by Doug TenNapel (Graphic novel) Read July 2014
6. The Hypnotists by Gordon Korman
7. The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp by Kathi Appelt Read Feb. 2014
8. Doll Bones by Holly Black Read July 2014
9. Every Day After by Laura Golden
10. The Big Fat Cow That Goes Kapow by Andy Griffiths Read March 2014
11. Comics Squad: Recess! by Jennifer Holm Read at #nErDcampMI, July 2014
12. Wake Up Missing by Kate Messner Read July 2014
13. Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder
14. Like Carrot Juice on a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg Read Fall 2014
15. Coraline by Neil Gaiman Read April 2014
16. Wonkenstein by Obert Skye Read May 2014
17. Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee
18. The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes Read Jan. 2014
19. A Tale Dark & Grimm #1 by Adam Gidwitz Read March 2014
20. Three Times Lucky by Sheila Turnage
21. Nightingale's Nest by Nikki Loftin
22. The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths Read Summer 2014
23. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd Read April 2014
24. Pictures of Hollis Woods by Patricia Reilly Giff Read May 2014
25. How to Outrun a Crocodile When your Shoes are Untied by Jess Keating Read June 2014
26. Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff Read June 2014
27. Amulet, Vol. 1: The Stonekeeper by Kazu Kibuishi Read July 2014
28. Shredderman: Secret Identity by Wendelin Van Draanen Read June 2014

YA novels:
1. Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
2. Allegiant by Veronica Roth Read Jan. 2014
3. Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell Read Jan. 2014
4. The Fifth Wave by Rick Yancey Read Jan. 2014
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie Read June 2014
6. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale Read Feb. 2014
7. This Side of Paradise by Steven Lane
8. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart Read May 2014 - in one morning.  That's how much I enjoyed this book!
9. Landline by Rainbow Rowell
10. Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell
11. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith Read March 2014
12. Monument 14 by Emmy Laybourne Read July 2014
13. Paper Towns by John Green
14. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green Read July 2014

Adult novels:
1. David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell
2. Anansi Boys by Neil Gaiman
3. And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
4. Inferno by Dan Brown
5. Goldfinch by Donna Tartt
6. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - Reread June 2014

What other books are in your To Be Read stack?  Please share!