Monday, November 9, 2015

Here is the link to my "Mrs. Merrill's Book Break! Taking Time to Share Great Books" presentation for the New York State Reading Association, on November 10, 2015 in Saratoga Springs, NY. 

NYSRA Presentation 11/10/15

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Newbery Medal Challenge: 1922

The Story of Mankind by Hendrik Willem Van Loon.

Although I'm glad that I read the first ever, Newbery Medal winning book, I know for a fact that I will not be recommending it to other readers.  Reading this book felt like I was reading a history text book, not a children's book. I'm so very happy that today there are so many wonderful children's books that I can read and recommend to young readers.

  Here's a quote that from the book that I found quite interesting:

"Why should we ever read fairy stories when the the truth of history is so much more interesting and entertaining?" ~ Hendrik Willems Van Loon

If you're interested, you can read the book for free at Project Gutenberg.

Check out what Katie Burke has to say about her experience reading The Story of Mankind, at Reader Writer Librarian.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Newbery Medal Reading Challenge

I first learned about the Newbery Medal Challenge on Mr. Schu's blog, Watch Connect Read.  

 For a couple of years I followed the progress of Mr. Schu, Mr. Sharp, and others,via blog posts and other social media.  I thought about joining the challenge, but was in the process of finishing my library school program and pursuing a position as a school librarian.  I also didn't have a friend or colleague that was interested in taking the challenge with me.  

Fast forward a few years and here i am, beginning my third year as an elementary school librarian and my sixteenth year as a reading specialist (both positions are half time, blending and blurring, uniquely in my Pre-K - 5th grade building).  

My interest in pursuing the Newbery Medal Reading Challenge has continued and so, I decided to ask my friend and colleague, Katie Burke of, Reader Writer Librarian, to join me in taking the reading challenge.  Knowing that Katie and I both share a love of books, reading, and libraries, I decided to invite her to take the challenge with me.  Being that she is a fellow book nerd, she agreed!  So, here we go!  

After lots of text messaging and conversations, we've decided to begin at the beginning, read the first ever Newbery Medal winning book, and work our way to the present. Here are some other "rules" for our reading challenge:

1.  We'll attempt to read one book per week.  Knowing that we are busy, both personally and professionally, if a book a week doesn't always work out, that's ok.

2.  We'll post some sort of response to the books we read, either through a blog post, review, or video.  

3.  We plan to share our reading challenge with our students.  

Here is a list of the Newberry Medal Winning books beginning in 1922 and leading up to the present.  

Newbery Medal Winners, 1922 - present  

 Let the Reading Adventure begin! 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

NYSRA Charlotte Book Award - 2016 Intermediate Ballot

Check out the books on the ballot!

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Lisa Shurtliff

Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

The Right Word:Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Bonus Video ~ An Interview with Cece Bell 

Cartboy and the Time Capsule by L.A. Campbell

As Fast As Words Could Fly by Pamela Tuck, illustrated by Eric Velasquez

 Read author and illustrator interviews here.

View the Teacher's Guide here.

Rags: Hero Dog of WWI: A True Story y Margot Theis Raven, illustrated by Petra Brown

Like Carrot Juice On a Cupcake by Julie Sternberg, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

Download the Teacher's Guide here. 

The Legend of the Jersey Devil by Trinka Hakes Noble, illustrated by Gerald Kelley 

 Read about the author, Ms. Noble here. 

Grumbles From the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices With a Twist by Jane Yolen and Rebecca Kai Dotlich ; illustrated by Matt Mahurin

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Sharing Some of My Favorite New Books

The following books are some of my most favorite titles from the last year or so. They are are listed in any particular order. 

Picture Book Picks: 
The Book With No Pictures by B. J. Novak

Bully written & illustrated by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Exclamation Mark! by Amy Krause Rosenthal, illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld

Hooray for Hat! written & illustrated by Brian Won

I'm My Own Dog written & illustrated by David Ezra Stein
A Library Book for Bear written by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady McDonald Denton

Mustache Baby written by Bridget Heos, illustrated by Joy Ang
Spakry! written by Jenny Offill, illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

The Pigeon Needs a Bath written & illustrated by Mo Willems 
The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 

When You Wander by Margarita Engle

Tiny Creatures: The World of Microbes written bt Nicola Davies, illustrated by Emily Sutton

Thomas Jefferson Builds a Library written by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by John O'Brien

Beavers by Gail Gibbons 
Things That Float and Things That Don't written by David Adler, illustrated by Anna Raff

Mysterious Patterns: Finding Fractals in Nature by Sarah C. Campbell and Richard P. Campbell

Ben Franklin's Big Splash: The Mostly True Story of His First Invention written by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by S.D. Schindler

My Pet Book by Bob Staake 

Are the Dinosaurs Dead, Dad? written by Julie Middleton, illustrated by Russell Ayto 

Nugget and Fang: Friends Forever - or Snack Time? written by Tammi Sauer, illustrated by Michael Slack

Bear and Bee by Sergio 

Found by Salina Yoon

Jack by Tomie DePaola

Maple by Lori Nichols

Elephant's Story by Tracey Campbell Pearson

Sophie's Squash written by Pat Zietlow, illustrated by Ann Wilsdorf

Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli

Bear Has a Story to Tell written by Phillip Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead

Blizzard by John Rocco

Dusk by Uri Shulevitz

Fox Forgets by Suzanne Bloom

Chukfi Rabbit's Big Bad Bellyache: A Trickster Tale told by Greg Rogers, illustrated by Leslie Stall Widener

You Are Not My Friend, But I Miss You by Daniel Kirk

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd

Mr. Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

Construction written by Sally Sutton, illustrated by Brian Locvelcok

The Crocodile Who Didn't Like Water Gemma Merrino 

Middle Grade Must Reads:

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

Duke by Kirby Larson
El Deafo by Cece Bell

Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein

Gingersnap by Patricia Reilly Giff

Grumbles From the Forest: Fairy-Tale Voices With a Twist Written by Jane Yolen & Rebecca Kai Dotlich, illustrated by Matt Mahurin 

The Legend of the Jersey Devil by Trinka Hakes Noble

 Pluto’s Secret by Margaret Weitekemp

The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus written by Jen Bryant,
illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Rump: The True Story of Rumpelstiltskin by Liesl Shurtiff

The Steadfast Tin Soldier by Cynthia Rylant

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Celebrating ALA's 2015 Youth Media Awards

Let's celebrate some of 2015's award-winning books!

The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend,illustrated and written by Dan Santat and published by Little, Brown and Company, a division of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

 The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded annually , to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

 The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus,  illustrated by Melissa Sweet, written by Jen Bryant, and published by Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.

Winner of . . . 

The Sibert Medal
The Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Medal is awarded annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished informational book published in the United States in English during the preceding year. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. 


a Caldecott Honor Medal

The Randolph Caldecott Medal is awarded annually , to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children. The award is administered by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association.

Visit author Jen Bryant's webpage here.

Brown Girl Dreaming, written by Jacqueline Woodson, is the King Author Book winner. The book is published by Nancy Paulsen Books, an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) LLC.
The Coretta Scott King Author Medal

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values. The award is administered by the American Library Association's Ethnic and Multicultural Exchange Round Table


A Newbery Honor Medal


A Sibert Honor Medal

Listen to Ms. Woodson read from her book.


El Deafo by Cece Bell, illustrated by Cece Bell and published by Amulet Books, an imprint of ABRAMS. 

A Newbery Honor Medal


Listen to Ms. Bell talk about her experiences as a child and why she wrote El Deafo.