Monday, June 24, 2013

Summer Readin' - Had Me A Blast!

Last week, I email this to my fourth grade students from last year.  I thought I'd post it on All-en-a-Day's Work as well.  My friend, Dana, and I were chatting on the phone and she asked me what I ordered... here's the list!  Enjoy.

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Good Morning, 

I hope your summer is off to a good start... full of fun, family, and reading (and some math and some writing and perhaps some investigating of creatures living in your backyard)!

My summer is off to a grand start. I spent a week in Minnesota working with teachers there (I also got some cheese curds in Wisconsin and visited the town near where Laura Ingalls was born).  I came home with a few books (surprise) and some artwork from local artists in the places we visited.  I spent three days with Lauryn's first grade teacher, Mrs. Franklin, and her husband (my wife and Lauryn went with me) who now live in Minnesota in a quaint little town.  I had dinner with Mr. Muma's old boss and went to his house to visit.  My wife and I joked about perhaps moving to Minnesota when I retire in five or ten years or so!  

This week I've spent time reading and writing and reading and writing some more.  I'm on about page three of a new book, but I've also been doing some other writing as well.  I am babysitting Tonka, my son's dog.  She and Timber are keeping me on my toes (right now they are sleeping on my toes).   

I wanted to update you on my book purchases (for those of you who gave me gift cards especially) over the past week.  It's been so much fun reading other teacher's blogs and making a list of "must haves" for the classroom.  So much fun, in fact, that I decided to send you the titles so you'd know what I purchased (and perhaps nudge you to do a bit of book investigating on your own).  

I thought maybe a trip to the library with a few titles in hand would add to your summer reading.  You know, it's just as important to read 20 (make that 30) minutes a day in the summer as it is during the school year.  Lauryn's favorite summer reading includes the free pamphlets that we find when we go to the zoo, museums, etc.  We're all rereading some of our favorite "picture" books this summer (that's a silly term - they are more than picture books) and talking about them.  We're also trying to spend time without the noise box (television) on... especially now that "The Voice" is over.  I'm also trying to write about my reading every day.  

Most of these titles aren't novels, but rather the kinds of books that we, as writers, use as mentors to nudge our writing.  Just in case you're interested, here's what I ordered:
  • Just in Time for Christmas by Louise Borden (a dog story by a friend of mine--she's a fabulous writer; so kind and funny in real life)
  • His Name was Raoul Wallenberg by Louise Borden (if you loved Hana's Suitcase, you'll love this one)
  • The Matchbox Diary by Paul Fleischman (yes, that Fleischman family)
  • The Journey That Saved Curious George: The True Wartime Escape of Margret and H.A. Rey by Louise Borden (also a good cousin text to Hana's Suitcase)
  • The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarlane (this is an adult book that I thought looked intriguing)
  • Forest Has a Song: Poems by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater (this would have been good to have during our ecosystem study, plus her name is fun to say)
  • The Truth of Me by Patricia MacLachlan (this is brand new and hasn't been released yet, but I preordered it)
  • Gone Fishing: A novel by Tamera Will Wissinger (a short novel in verse, a good read aloud... and great poetry, lots of ideas to nudge writing in our "Write at Home" notebooks.  And again, isn't Will Wissinger just fun to say outloud!)
  • My First Day by Steve Jenkins (great nonfiction mixed with narrative, a great repeating line book)
  • Lullaby by Jane Chelsea Aragon (simply because I love Salt Hands and Ms. Aragon lived fulfilling, writing life... by the way, Salt Hands is NOT easy to find)
  • Winter Harvest by Jane Chelsea Aragon (again... she's a great writer)
  • Georgia's Bones by Jen Bryant (she wrote A River of Words and this is about a famous artist named Georgia O'Keefe)
  • A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin by Jen Bryant (a cousin text to A River of Words, perhaps)
  • Ice Bear: In the Steps of the Polar Bear by Nicola Davies (my daughter won't let me have her copy and I love this book)
  • The Train Jumper by Don Brown (he wrote Bright Path)
  • Abe's Fish: A Boyhood Tale of Abraham Lincoln by Jen Bryant (surprise, another book by her)
  • Mack Made Moves by Don Brown (another great Don Brown book... I think I have-or will have-most of them now)
  • White Owl, Barn Owl by Nicole Davies (I love her mix of nonfiction and narrative... she wrote Bat Loves the Night)
  • Rare Treasure: Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries by Don Brown (he's one of my favorite writers, as you know)
I also ordered these books used:
  • Together by George Ella Lyon (my paperback copy is kind of falling apart - illustrated by Vera Rosenberry)
  • Mail Myself to You by Woody Guthrie (illustrated by Vera Rosenberry)
  • Let it Begin Here!: April 19, 1775: The Day the American Revolution Began (Don Brown - about an important time in our history)
  • Dolly Madison Saves George Washington (Don Brown - haven't read this one yet and can't wait!)
  • The Notorious Izzy Fink (Don Brown - this looks really good)
  • Ruth Law Thrills a Nation (Don Brown - an aviation heroine)
  • All Stations! Distress!: April 15, 1912: The Day the Titanic Sank (Don Brown - to add to my growing Titanic collection)
  • The Good Lion (Don Brown - Beryl Markhams' story)
  • Uncommon Traveler: Mary Kingsley in Africa (Don Brown - another adventurous woman)
  • Across a Dark and Wild Sea (Don Brown--which I think I may already have... but it's amazing)
  • Moonpie and Ivy by Barbara O'Connor (I wonder why?)
  • Barefoot Dancer: The Story of Isadora Duncan by Barbara O'Connor (Hmm....)
  • Fame and Glory in Freedom, Georgia by Barbara O'Connor (one of her early books)
  • Greetings from Nowhere by Barbara O'Connor (a copy for the room)
  • Read to Me by Judi Moreillon (my friend Paul, from Indiana recommended this one, and he teaches high school and uses it with his kids - I always trust his recommendations)
  • Sing Down the Rain by Judi Moreillon (just a beautifully illustrated story and I've been thinking a lot about rain lately)
Again, enjoy your summer!  I hope that you'll find some quiet time to reflect and reenergize before school starts in August.  I'll think of you fondly as I prepare for a new adventure with a new group of learners. 

All the best, 

Mr. Allen


  1. Thanks for your support of my work - and this great post.

  2. Wowza! That's quite a list. I better get on it.

    - @newfirewithin