Friday, November 30, 2012

It's Poetry Friday! Taking A "Poetry Break!" with Alan Katz

  by Amy Merrill1
NYSRA, Syracuse, NY October 2012:  Taking a "Poetry Break!" with author Alan Katz!  

Amy Ludwig VanDerwater is hosting today's Poetry Friday Round-Up at The Poem Farm!  Be sure to visit her blog for lots of poetry delights!




“Alan Katz: A Silly Dilly Author”                                                                                           

NYSRA Conference 2012 attendees may have been lucky enough to experience a relaxing, humorous, and inspirational breakfast and/or conference session with funny-man and author, Alan Katz!  Mr. Katz has a long list of credits to his name, including, having written for television shows, games shows, children’s programing, newspapers, comic books, poetry books, trading cards, games, picture books, and much more!  Mr. Katz inspired and entertained his audience by sharing his own writing stories and inspiration for their creation.  One such strategy is for writing parodies.  First one must select a well-known song, then count the number of syllables in each line, and finally change the lyrics to match your topic.  Singing silly songs is what led Mr. Katz to create silly poetry and tales.  He has always enjoyed writing and writing about the ordinary, which is often funny and silly.  A major source of writing inspiration has always come from his experiences with his own family.  Mr. Katz’s many songs, poems and stories have sprung onto the page as a result of something his children have said or done.  Additional advice for achieving one’s dreams, offered by Mr. Katz, is “if you want to be a writer (or whatever interests you), you need to get out there and write (or do whatever it is you want to do)!  
Alan Katz’s book titles include:

                                                                                                                                     Poems I Wrote While No One Was Looking

Don’t Say That Word!  
Several Silly Dilly Songbooks      
Karate Pig

Be sure to check out these funny and engaging poetry books, silly song books, and picture books!  You will also not want to miss Alan Katz's website.  Click here to visit his site! 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Literary Quote: Expect Miracles

I am realistic.  I expect miracles.  
~Wayne Dyer

As we enter into the winter holiday season, we become especially mindful of all the joys of the season.  I feel though, that everyday is a blessing.  We should expect great things from our everyday lives, no matter what the time of year.  For me, family, good friends, pets, delicious food, and of course, books offer daily opportunities for miraculous happenings!  

Take time today (and everyday) to read something great!  

Here is a fabulous suggestion for something great to read . . . 

Here is an inspiring true story about an abandoned kitten who makes a small town library his home.  If you don't already, Dewey Readmore Books, a loveable cat will have you believing in miracles!

Picture book version.

Librarian, Vicki Myron (with Bret Witter) tells the story of Dewey the Library Cat in this heart-warming true story. 
Visit The Spencer Library's website to read or listen to an excerpt from the book.   

A version for middle grade readers.
Dewey's Christmas adventures are featured in this holiday picture book. 

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Thanksgiving Quote

In honor of Thanksgiving I'd like to share a special song that is a favorite of a special friend and colleague.  What a beautiful song with beautiful sentiments, especially as we look forward to spending Thanksgiving with our family and friends.  

Thanks a lot to my friend, Ellen!  

Thanks a Lot 
   by Raffi 

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for Sun in the sky.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for clouds so high.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for whispering wind.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the birds in the spring.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the moonlit night.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the stars so bright.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the wondering me.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for the way I feel.

Thanks for the animals,
Thanks for the land,
Thanks for the people everywhere.

Thanks a lot,
Thanks for all I've got.
Thanks for all I've got. 

You can find Thanks a Lot on Raffi's album, Baby Beluga.        

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Picture Book Quote: A Bad Day

When I went to bed Nick took back the pillow he said I could keep and the Mickey Mouse night light burned out and I bit my tongue.  The cat wants to sleep with Anthony not me. 
          It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. 
          My mom says some days are like that.  

~Alexander from Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst 

Picture Books: Connecting With Characters

  by Amy Merrill1
Mrs. Erin Mellander with her favorite picture book.
Today we welcome the kindergarten consultant teacher from Calvin Coolidge Elementary School, Mrs. Erin Mellander!

Here's her favorite picture book and the story behind why she loves it!

Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day by Judith viorst

It has always been one of my favorite books because it is so truthful. Sometimes it seems that no matter what you do, the day is doomed. I always felt the author was being so honest about what it was like to be a kid. I grew up as the middle child and I sometimes felt like I was the only one who didn't get what I wanted. I really related to Alexander! As a teacher who works with students who have A LOT of bad days, I read this to them to let them know that there is always another day. When you have another day....there is another chance to get it right!

There is also more books with Alexander. Alexander who used to be rich last Sunday and Alexander who's not( do you hear me? I mean it!) going to move. I also love both of these Alexander stories and when I started building my own classroom library, the boxed set of these stories was the first thing I bought!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mother Goose Monday: Character Cupcakes!

  by Amy Merrill1
A cracked up Humpty Dumpty cupcake designed by my daughter, Sarah Merrill!
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall!
All the king's horses
And all the king's men,
Couldn't put Humpty together again!

Character cupcakes are a delicious way to celebrate any rhyme, poem, or picture book!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Poetry Friday (on Sunday!): Picture Book Previews

Happy Poetry Friday (on Sunday)!  It's been a very busy week but it's never too late to celebrate Poetry Friday!  Friday's Round-Up was hosted at Think Kid Think

Picture Book Poems . . . 

While preparing for a Book Break, I discovered a delightful surprise!  On the back cover of the book was an adorably, fun and whimsical poetic preview.  This short poem became the perfect way to present a Book Break! 

Here is the poem . . .  

Once upon a time, 
There was a bear,
Who came upon 
Some underwear. 
Too big?
Too small?
Too tight?
Which ones would fit just righ?
Find out Bear's favorite pair,
So his bottom won't be bare!

Picture books and poetry are perfect partners!  Whether you are lucky enough to discover a little poem as part of a book's preview or you pair a picture book and poem with the same theme, the two go hand in hand!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Celebrating Picture Book Month: Penguin Group Warehouse Sale 2012

  by Amy Merrill1
Round 1 purchases!
Attending the Penguin Group Warehouse book sale is one of many great ways to celebrate Picture Book Month!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Literary Quote: Picture Books Are For Everyone

Picture books are for everybody at any age, not books to be left behind as we grow older. The best ones leave a tantalizing gap between the pictures and the words, a gap that is filled by the reader’s imagination, adding so much to the excitement of reading a book.                                                                            ~Anthony Browne, UK Children’s Laureate, 2009-2011

What are your favorite picture books?  Everyone has a memory associated with a favorite picture book or two (or one hundred and two!).  Although I personally have SEVERAL favorite picture books and am continually finding new ones to love, I do have a favorite from childhood.  
This was a treasured little book that soon became one of my favorites!  As a child, I had to spend quite a bit of time in children's hospitals.  Each time I prepared to take the trip to enter the hospital, my beloved Grandma would cuddle me onto her lap and read this story to me as many times as I wanted to hear it.  Although I wasn't going to have my tonsils removed, I was able to identify with the little girl in the book as she also prepared for her own hospital stay.  Besides all of the obvious reasons that this was one of my favorite books as a child, I also really loved the sound of the little girl's doctor's name: Dr. Constantanople!  I looked forward to hearing Grandma say his name and I loved to repeat it.  Dr. Constantanople!  

I would love to find a copy of this Little Golden Book that was important to me so long ago.   What a glorious way to relive memories of my Grandma who is no longer with us!  Thanks Grandma for sharing those special moments with me and for putting my mind at ease about my hospital stays. 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Celebrate Picture Book Month With Poetry!

 Donna at Mainely Write  is the host of today's Poetry Friday Round-Up.  Be sure to visit and become immersed in poetry!

Poems to Celebrate Picture Book Month!

Piles of Picture Books 
 by Charles Ghigna 

I like reading picture books.
I sit and take my time.
I listen to each story.
I listen to each rhyme.
Read the entire poem at Charles Ghigna's Blog. 

One of my favorite little poetry anthologies . . .

Good Books Good Times 
by Lee Bennett Hopkins

Good books.
Good times.
Good stories.
Good rhymes.
Good beginnings.
Good ends.
Good people.
Good friends.
Good fiction.
Good facts.
Good adventures.
Good acts.
Good stories.
Good rhymes.
Good books
Good times.
This month, one of the ways  my students and I will celebrate Picture Book Month, is by reading and reciting poetry about books!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Happy Picture Book Month 2012!

November is Picture Book Month!

Founded by author and storyteller, Diane de Las Casas, Picture Book Month is an international literacy initiative that celebrates the joys of the printed picture book!

Be sure to visit the official website that celebrates Picture Book Month to read daily essays about the importance of picture books.  Each day will feature a new essay by a different author/illustrator.