Oh, books. I love you, I love reading you, but I haven’t been writing about you for almost a year (except occasionally over at GeekMom). I still keep track of what we’re reading…for the most part. The list can be a little patchy, but it’s there. So I’ve decided it’s time to jump back into some book talking here in this space, and I figured I’d start with some of the things Hannah and I are reading together.
Mo Willems Season doesn’t fall on the calendar at the same time every year, but every Mo Willems Season is like Second Christmas to me. Everyone seems a little nicer during Mo Willems Season; a little wittier, a little more delightfully absurd. There’s an extra spring in my step the week I teach the kids how to draw The Pigeon. I am almost deliriously cheerful the week a new crop of kindergartners is introduced to Reginald Von Hoobie-Doobie. And I always need to take a moment to collect myself during Knuffle Bunny Week, when Knuffle is passed on to the next generation. Elephant and Piggie, Cat the Cat, Leonardo, Amanda, Goldilocks. This year I have decided to extend the festivities into June.
What makes this year’s Mo Willems Season even more awesome is the fact that April is the 10th anniversary of the publication of Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, Mr. Willems’ first book. I know I’m down to the wire here with one day of April left, but I am still celebrating the start of the festive season during anniversary month. And there are some pretty great ways for anyone to be celebrating the big anniversary.
Like this new anniversary set, with smaller editions of 3 Pigeon books in their own bus box:
I can’t believe it’s been more than a week since I’ve posted. I’m not even sure why, this week just went really quickly. Last weekend was full of awesome birthday celebrations, which I will post more about in the next few days. And it’s just been quick and a little exhausting. We’re trying to work out a new morning and evening routine here, so we’ve been kind of hyper-focused on that. But the end result is that I have a pile of stuff to post about now, including the fact that Hannah turned 11 months old yesterday!
My in-laws used to get nervous that they gave me too many books as gifts, that I’d get tired of them. They have learned by now that nothing makes me happier, and they’ve joined my own family in helping me build my library every year. And this year, the selection of books I was given was pretty astoundingly good. Some of these were on my own wishlist, some of them were given with great thought and care, and one of them was a gift to myself.
I love this time of year at school. Every year during the short Thanksgiving week I have the 3rd and 4th graders help me change The Library Tree from fall to winter. It’s a small thing, but I love those rituals.
My fabulous and amazing mentor Dee sent this out today, and I love it. Zazzle is now selling prints, tees, bumper stickers with this Burning Through Pages graphic (in addition to some other equally outstanding book nerd goodies). I support everything about this.
I cannot overstate what a marvelous fall read-aloud Bob Raczka’s Fall Mixed Up is. I have read it to all of my 1st grade classes, my Multiply Disabled class, and I’m getting ready to read it to my kindergarten classes. I think this might even be my favorite read aloud of the year so far.
I bought this book last year hoping to get some use out of it, but I guess in my pregnant haze I decided it would be too confusing after all to read with classes. Not to mention the fact that I was furiously trying to squeeze in all of my Big Important Units with each grade before I went on maternity leave—we were kind of rushed last year. But this year I brought it out, and it was a huge hit.
Last week was Respect Me Week at school. We focused on anti-bullying education as well as just general acceptance–it was a big school-wide week of tolerance. I suggested and loaned lots of various titles to the classroom teachers and then kept a few to use in my library classes. Here’s what we did:
When I was in high school we lost my stepfather to lung cancer. He was sick for a full 2 years and passed away right before my sophomore year midterms. That experience is still so vivid in my memory that it overshadows and colors a great deal of my high school experience. It made me awkward and quiet for the first 2 years of high school, a 180 from the boisterous kid I had been. And not an advantage when I switched from public to Catholic school for 9th grade and knew absolutely no one. I disappeared almost entirely into an obsession with movies to avoid thinking about death and my own mortality every single day. Kids were mean. I was withdrawn. Guidance counselors wanted to talk about it, and I found myself inventing feelings about the situation to make them feel better, to give them a problem they could solve to soothe their extremely kind and earnest need to help me process the experience. I felt empathy for them because they so wanted to fix it.