Category Archives: Great Authors

Punching Authors

I recently got back from the Illinois Reading Conference, and was able to get a bunch of books signed for Bubba! I always store these signed books in our guest bedroom (so I can give them to Bubba as gifts when special occasions come along), but I’ve been adding so many signed books to this collection that I’m running out of places to store them all… I may need to get a bigger room!

 

Anyway, I thought I would just share a picture of some of the new books Bubba will have to look forward to in the future:

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I also thought I’d share some of the pictures I took with authors while I was there:

 

 

I never tell them that I’m going to smile and point, but I may need to provide authors with some sort of a warning in the future… Jay Asher (author of 13 Reasons Why) thought I was going to punch him when went to point at him! I feel really bad that I startled him, but he had a great sense of humor about it. I Tweeted my apologies, and this was his response:

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Needless to say, I had a good time… and I can’t wait to give Bubba these books at just the right time in the future!

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What’s Your Suggestion?

A few months back, I used all the “Bonus Points” (from my Scholastic Reading Clubs account) and purchased the Junie B. Jones Complete Collection and the Magic Tree House library.  Obviously, I won’t be reading these to Bubba anytime soon, but I figured I would start stocking up his shelves with some classic series books for when he’s reading on his own.

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Does anybody have suggestions for other series books I should get for him?  I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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A Wonderful Surprise

Months ago, Bubba and I were reading through a bag of books when we came across a couple good ones by Jill Esbaum.  I always enjoy reading the back flap of dust jackets to learn more about the author and illustrator, so I was surprised to find that Mrs. Esbaum lives on a farm just minutes from where Bubba and I live!

I ended up going to Mrs. Esbaum’s website to learn more about her, and I was amazed to see how many books she’s had published!  There were both fiction and nonfiction, and they all looked interesting!  Of course, our little library didn’t have all of them, so I placed a “hold” online and within a week or two, they arrived at our library.  Bubba and I got started on them right away, and it wasn’t long before I was thinking, I need to see if she could come to my school and talk to my students!

Next thing you know, I was back on her website to see if she does author visits… and she does!  After emailing back and forth a few times, she agreed to come speak to my kids (at a very reasonable price) in early December!  For the next month or so, I spent 15-20 minutes each day after lunch reading her books to my class to prepare them for her visit.  The kids loved them so much that, not only did we read most of her books, we also looked at her website and found an interview she had given online to learn more about her.

The kids were really excited when the day finally came for her to visit the class (it was the first day in a LONG time that I didn’t have a single student absent)! Mrs. Esbaum told the kids some great “behind-the-scenes” stories about her books, read one of her new books that comes out in January, shared a copy of another book that comes out in May next year, and answered all the questions the kids could think to ask.  Not only that, she signed more than 60 books (one for each student in 1st grade at my school – and a few more for Bubba and my niece and nephew) before she left!

Needless to say, my students and I were thrilled to have such a kind and talented author visit us!  I’m already thinking about asking her to come back every year to speak to each of my new classes… and you can bet I’ll make sure Bubba’s teachers and classmates get the same experience!

It’s cool to think that it all happened because of this little journey Bubba and I started earlier this year… I wonder what other surprises are in store for us as we continue trying to read every picture book in our library!

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How Little I Know…

One of the best things about trying to read Bubba every book in our little library is that I’m constantly reading books by authors that I’ve never read before.  There have been a couple occasions where I went from never having heard of an author to a huge fan of their work!

Take, for example, author Emily Gravett.  Just the other day, I’d never heard of her, or read any of her books.  However, when we got to her section of the shelf, I was blown away by how many books she’d written – as well as the quality of each of those books!

From simple books, like Orange Pear Apple Bear, The Odd Egg, and Blue Chameleon (which Bubba really enjoyed) to Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (which I thought was very interesting), the more I read, the more I wondered how I had never heard of Emily Gravett before!

I have a feeling that, as Bubba and I travel on our journey, we’ll continue to “discover” other great authors like Emily Gravett… and prove the old saying true, “The more I learn, the more I learn how little I know.”

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My Bad Habit

I’ve got a bad habit that I need to come clean about… I’ve got a habit of buying Newbery Medal winning books whenever I get a chance.  I like to think that Bubba will appreciate having so many award winning books when he gets older, but in the back of my head I know he probably won’t read most of them.

I keep buying them, though.  I buy them at bookstores, garage sales, Goodwill stores, and book fairs.  I just can’t pass up on an opportunity to buy a copy of a Newbery that I don’t have yet!

As of right now, I’ve got every Newbery Medal winner from 1967 to the present (and a smattering of others between 1922 and 1967).

Is this normal?  Should my wife be taking me to a Twelve-Step program to break me of this addiction?  Hopefully when Bubba gets older he won’t look down on his father for this habit!

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Five Stars

Apparently I have really high expectations when it comes to rating books on Goodreads.  Most of the time, I’ll rate books as three (out of five) stars, and if I really like a book, I’ll rate it as four stars.  Out of all the books Bubba and I have read so far, I’ve only rated one of them as five of five stars.  It’s called “One” by Katheryn Otoshi.

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Here’s how Amazon describes it:

“Blue is a quiet color. Red’s a hothead who likes to pick on Blue. Yellow, Orange, Green, and Purple don’t like what they see, but what can they do? When no one speaks up, things get out of hand — until One comes along and shows all the colors how to stand up, stand together, and count. As budding young readers learn about numbers, counting, and primary and secondary colors, they also learn about accepting each other’s differences and how it sometimes just takes one voice to make everyone count.” 

Obviously I’m not the only person who likes this book…  When I checked Amazon to get the description above, it had 81 ratings… and EVERY SINGLE PERSON gave it 5 of 5 stars!

I love this book because it has all the right things you would want a child Bubba’s age to learn (like colors and numbers), and the lesson of the story is one that can be (and should be) repeated over and over in childhood.

This is the first book on our journey that I feel is good enough to buy a copy to keep at our house, and I think you would agree if you read it, too!  Check it out and tell me what you think of it!

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