Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Children's Christmas Book Tradition

As I am getting ready to put away all of my Christmas things I am reminded of a wonderful tradition we had for years in our family.

For years I wrapped 25 Christmas books and let the kids open one each night and I read it to them.  It's a Christmas countdown.  We read "T'was the Night Before Christmas" on the 24th, along with the Christmas story.  We made a big deal out of this, lit candles and took turns unwrapping the books.  (I had 7 children, thus the "take turns" part.)  If it was a bit too long, I might just tell the story or we would read a chapter a night along with an easy book as well, but it was always a fun tradition, sometimes with hot chocolate to drink. 

A bit of insight I had this year - it would be a good idea to wrap the books before putting them away, so that it isn't such a chore during that "oh so" busy time after Thanksgiving.  This could be a good New's Years Day activity for the older kids to help Mom with for next year.  -Just a thought.  My children loved this activity each year.  We have let it go now.  Traditions are like that.  You keep them until you grow out of them, but we still read many of the books together each year.  I have 2 teens at home now.  I read lots of the books to the grandkids if they are here and have given some of them away to my children for their children.  (Giving a Christmas book to each family or older child for their children is another great tradition.)  I try to remember that traditions come and go and that books can be a great part of many traditions for the holidays.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Quote from Charles Dickens on Christmas

Found this on my sister's blog from Charles Dickens and just love it.

"Happy, happy Christmas,
that can win us back to the delusions of our childhood days,
recall to the old man the pleasures of his youth,
and transport the traveler back to his own fireside
and quiet home!"- Charles Dickens

Merry Christmas to all!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Happy Birthday to Acclaimed Author Eve Bunting - Dec. 19th


Photo By Olan mills

Eve Bunting

Eve Bunting was born in Ireland and came to California with her husband and three children. She is one of the most acclaimed and versatile children's book authors, with more than two hundred novels and picture books to her credit. Among her honors are many state awards, the Kerlan Award, the Golden Kite Award, the Regina Medal, the Mystery Writers of America and the Western Writers of America awards, and a PEN International Special Achievement award for her contribution to children's literature. In 2002, Ms. Bunting was chosen to be Irish-American Woman of the Year by the Irish-American Heritage Committee of New York.  Here are just a few of her books.

  • The Seasons of the Sioux
    My father cuts a moon-counting stick that he keeps in our tipi. At the rising of the first moon he makes a notch in it. "A new beginning for the young buffalo," he says. "And for us." In this beautifully written story by acclaimed author Eve Bunting, a young boy comes of age under the thirteen moons of the Sioux year. With each notch in his...
    On sale: 2/16/2000

  • thing close to him. Together with his "totally unsurpassed" friend Grace, William begins a campaign to reverse the county commissioners' decision. But with a community divided on the issue, and the bully Ellis Porter trying to stop them at every turn, will they be able to save Riley's life? Celebrated author Eve Bunting shows William's determined struggle...
    On sale: 3/26/2002
    Additional formats:

  • tree, she discovers that what he discovers that what he has given her is far greater than she'd ever imagined. A testimony to the wondrous ties of family and heritage, this glorious picture book brings together the beautiful writing of acclaimed author Eve Bunting and the exuberant paintings of artist Karen Barbour. . I Have an Olive Tree...
    On sale: 4/7/1999

  • swept into the festivities by Grandfather, Aunt Ana, and the whole village. Finally, Carlos begins to understand Mama and Papa's love for the place they left behind, and realizes that home can be anywhere, because it stays in the hearts of the people who love you. Eve Bunting and David Diaz-the Caldecott Medal-winning team behind Smoky Night- collaborated...
    On sale: 8/21/1998
    Additional formats:

  • it should be. "A beautifully crafted story that captures...the emotional landscape of an emerging step-family."—Language Arts. "The briskly paced novel will capture many readers...Once again, Bunting hits home."—BL. . The In-Between Days
    On sale: 2/16/1996

  • For one family the traditional Hanukkah celebration has a deeper meaning. Amidst the food and the festivities, Grandma and Great-Aunt Rose begin their story -- the one they tell each year. They pass on to each generation a tale of perseverance during the darkest hours of the Holocaust, and the strength it took to continue to honor Hanukkah in the only...
    On sale: 9/21/2004

  • Is anybody there? For Marcus Mullen, being a latchkey kid is no bigdeal. Every day after school, he picks up his key from it's hiding place in the oak tree in the yard, and spends the afternoon working on his bike or cooking dinner for his mom and himself. It's been like that ever since his father died, and Marcus has never minded -- until the day...
    On sale: 10/19/2010

  • Where are the world's stinkiest sneakers? Colin has spent weeks perfecting his sneaker odor for the Stinkiest Sneakers in the World contest. If he wins, he'll get three brand-new pairs of Slam Dunkers sneakers: one for himself, one for his little sister, Amy, and one for his best pal, Webster. But now, after weeks of working toward stinky perfection...
    On sale: 4/14/1995

  • Thirteen-year-old Brodie Lynch was ready for the perfect summer of adventure along the awesome Blackwater River. That was before everything changed forever. When a harmless prank goes too far, the unthinkable happens. Brodie's lies make him a hero, but inside, his guilt tears at him like the treacherous current of the Blackwater itself, which has become...
    On sale: 8/8/2000
    Additional formats:

  • Right from the beginning I was suspicious of the man. Right from the minute he got on the bus. Maybe it was because he acted so strangely about the bag. But mostly it was because of the way he looked. And because my ears started tingling at the sight of him—an ancient warning of danger, not to be ignored. Six months after 9/11, everyone wanted...
    On sale: 6/30/2009

  • Friday, December 7, 2012

    Friday Fiction: "Maniac Magee" Lesson Plans

    Sam and I are reading Maniac Magee together.  Wow, what a great story this one is!  Just saying, if you haven't read it, it's a winner, not only is it a Newbery Winner, but a winner on Sam's list and that's really "saying something."

    Maniac Magee Lesson Plans

    Find teacher approved Maniac Magee lesson plan ideas and activities

    "Knot" the Whole Truth: Writing a Modern-Day Story with a Tall Tale's Voice
    Beyond Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, tall tales can be a great way to teach young writers about word choice and voice in their writing. Using Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee and the Six-Trait Writing Process, they begin to write their own modern-day tall tales placing emphasis on exaggeration, metaphors, and similes. The lesson plan includes all necessary worksheets and resource links.

    6th - 8th
    3.0/5 Stars
    Rest in Peace, Maniac Magee
    Scholars read Maniac Magee and create epitaphs for each of the major characters using precise words reflecting the individual characters personality and nature. They will learn what an epitaph is and practice writing their own. They can work in groups or independently.

    Literature Response Journal:  Maniac Magee chapters 14-21
    Young scholars examine chapters 14-21 of the novel Maniac Magee in groups. In this literature response journal instructional activity, students are given prompts to respond to regarding the reading.

    4.0/5 Stars
    Identifying Plot Conflicts
    Students determine plot conflicts. In this plot conflicts lesson students read Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli. Students search for 'Character vs. Character' and 'Character vs. Self' conflicts within the story.

    Lesson 5: Character and Relationship Changes
    In this reading comprehension lesson, students, after reading the novel, Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli analyze characters and their roles in other peoples lives. Students interact with plot conflicts and character relationships. Students fill out 2 specific charts as directed. Students relate how people change over time in the novel and then relate similiar changes in their own lives with an array of pictures that they are asked to bring to class.

    3rd - 5th
    4.0/5 Stars
    Guided Reading Lesson Plan: Maniac MaGee
    Students start a week-long novel unit by activating their prior knowledge. In this reading comprehension lesson, students read, Maniac MaGee a few chapters at a time, and discuss what they read as they go along.

    5th - 6th
    4.5/5 Stars
    Theme Matters
    This useful approach to determining themes based on specific details from a book is aimed at readers of Jerry Spinelli's Maniac Magee. It could also easily be adapted for use with other books or readings. The class identifies recurring events and topics and, with guidance, develops theme statements and discusses author's message. Some materials are accessible only if you sign up for a free account with Well worth it.

    3rd - 6th
    3.0/5 Stars
    Maniac Magee: Life Without Problems
    Young readers discuss how they would deal with problems faced by the main character in Maniac Magee. They write down their own problems and exchange them with others to analyze and provide possible solutions. They establish a "Dear Abby" box where problems can be dropped off for responses. Be sensitive to potential problems.

    5.0/5 Stars
    Maniac Magee
    Students examine the theme of racial prejudice while reading Maniac Magee. They discuss assumptions and their effects. They retell the story through skits or other methods. They stage a talk show and act as characters from the novel.

    Thursday, December 6, 2012

    December Calendar and Christmas Books

      December 1 - Birthday of Jan Brett
    • Home for Christmas - This picture books features one of Brett's entertaining stories about trolls.
    • Jan Brett's Christmas Treasury - This large holiday book includes 7 winter and holiday stories, each of which was previously published as a separate picture book.
    • The Three Snow Bears - Brett's retelling of the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears is set in the Arctic and features an Inuit girl.
      Sundown December 8 through December 16 - Hanukkah
    • Celebrate Hanukkah _ This nonfiction picture book, with brief text and many illustrations, provides a good introduction to Hanukkah.
    • Hanukkah Haiku - The use of haiku and festive illustrations make this informative book particularly appealing.
    • Top Hanukkah Books - This is an annotated directory of a number of the best children's books about Hanukkah.
      December 26-January 1 - Kwanzaa
    • Celebrate Kwanzaa - This nonfiction picture book, with its many colorful photographs, does a good job of explaining the African American celebration.
    • Favorite Children's Kwanzaa Books - Here you'll find a mix of Kwanzaa fiction and nonfiction for children.


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