Posted May 28, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, Class activities

Today in Mrs. Keane’s library class, I asked the students to write a book review of a book they have LOVED in their time here at CPS. I was pleased with the results: here are some of them.

cardboard1CARDBOARD by Doug Tennapel
If you’re a person who likes action then this graphic novel is for you.

It’s Cam’s birthday and his dad is really poor and looking for money for a present. He went to his boss and his boss gave him 78 cents so he starts driving back to his house. But then he sees a stand on the side of the road and stops at it. It is selling toys. Then the store clerk gives him suggestions and he gives him a cardboard box, but what Cam’s dad doesn’t know that it is magical. So he buys it for 78 cents and drives to his house. And Cam loves it. They build a pro boxer and he names him Bill and that night he comes alive. But these stupid bullies spray Bill’s legs the next day. So they have to build a cardboard maker and make Bill new legs. Then the bullies steal it and they make evil Cardboard people and monsters. Can Cam and his dad get it back or will the town be overrun with these horrible creatures?


Inkheart_bookINKHEART by Cornelia Funke
When Meggie sees a mysterious stalker outside her bedroom, and Mo, her father, is kidnapped by mysterious men just for a book, she is caught in the story (literally) of her missing mother. An evil maniac, a white washed assassin, and a scarred fire-eater came to being and forced Meggie’s mother into it. To escape the clutches of the maniac Capricorn, Meggie must harness the magic that subdued her own mother to the paper prisons of the pages of Inkheart.


spiderwickTHE SPIDERWICK CHRONICLES  by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Spiderwick Series is amazing. It brought me to a whole different world. The books are about three kids and their Mom living in an old house that has a circle of mushrooms around it to keep the trolls out from their house so they can’t get to the book that has every little secret about the secret life. The writing is more than descriptive. If you read the first book you would be amazed and you would most likely read the whole series. When I was reading it, it felt as though it was happening.


naturegirl200x305NATURE GIRL by Jane Kelley

Want to know a great book? Well here’s one, Nature Girl. If I had to put this book in one word it would be AMAZING! This book is about a girl who gets lost and travels part of the Appalachian Trail. She ran away from her sister, then realized she was just going to visit her friend, who couldn’t come with her for summer vacation because her mom has cancer. When I read this book, I tried to put it down about ten times, but I couldn’t, because I wanted to know how her adventure ended. Did she get eaten the bear? Did she get caught? Did she ever find her way to her friend’s house? This book taught me not to ever wander off because you might get lost.


holesHOLES by Louis Sachar

This book will leave you on the edge of your seat. This book is about a boy named Stanley Yelnats. He’s accused of stealing a pair of shoes, but did he? You will have to read the book to find out. There’s also other exciting things going on all throughout the book. I think it’s an amazing novel and once you start reading it you won’t want to stop.Stanley also goes to a camp where he has to dig holes because they think he did something bad a.k.a steal the shoes.You should read this book – it won’t disappoint you, trust me.



This book is about a boy named Leo who sells newspapers. Leo is poor and he needs money for his family. Leo gets bullied by two kids named Fletch Skies and his “sidekick” Wilkie Barnes.But one day something happened that is considered an earthquake. Do you think he will survive or not? This book will leave you at the edge of your bed.


the new girlTHE NEW GIRL by Meg Cabot
This book made me feel better and not scared when I found out I was moving to a new school. This girl named Ali is moving to a new school and she is very nervous because in her old school she got bullied. This book gives you advice on moving to a new school. That is why I read it when I found out I was moving to a new school.
I read this whole series they are really good books. I could not let go I was so into it.

junie bJUNIE B. JONES, BOSS OF LUNCH by Barbara Park

This  is a hilarious book.

When Junie B. goes to lunch, with her lunch box from home, and everyone else has lunch from school, she sees a sugar cookie on her friend Herbert’s tray. When she takes a bite out of it, the cookie reminds her of the lady in kindergarten who used to bring cookies into her class. “Mrs. Gutzman”, yells Junie B., then she sees her in the kitchen. She runs into the kitchen and gives her a hug and goes on talking, What will happen when Junie B. goes in the kitchen? What will Mrs. Gutzman do? I read this whole series with my Mom when I was in second grade. It was really funny and Junie B. has a really good personality.



Posted May 14, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

Tags: ,

Ahhhh, “Learn Something New” day. This is one of my favorite special projects in Fifth Grade every year. The students are challenged to take home a non-fiction book that will teach them something, and then share it with the class. We’ve had everything from go-karts to fairy houses in the past. Here are a few standouts from Mrs. Keane’s class this year:

boywhoharnessedthewind_zunonWhen the students had finished sharing their learning, I read THE BOY WHO HARNESSED THE WIND, by William Kamkwamba.  This is the ultimate “learn something new” book!  It is the true story of a fourteen-year old boy living in drought ravaged Africa who learned how to make a windmill to bring electricity and running water to his poor village.  And how did he learn to make the windmill?  From a BOOK that he got at his LIBRARY!!  Hurray for creativity and determination.

WHAT THE MOON SAID by Gayle Rosengren

Posted April 13, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, Good Read-Alouds

Tags: , ,

imgresI just read a great historical fiction book that I found touching and moving. WHAT THE MOON SAID is about an extremely likeable young girl and her family relocating from Chicago to a farm in Wisconsin during the Depression (1930’s) after Pa loses his job. Despite the harsh conditions – the farm is rundown, has no electricity or indoor plumbing – Esther loves the animals and responds to the adventure of living “pioneer style”.  Esther desperately wants her mother , a Russian immigrant who is very superstitious, seeing signs in everything from rings around the moon to the number of birds on the fence post, to show her some affection.  She wants her to be more like her best friend’s mother, but Ma is caught up in the grind of farm life. Through the course of the book, we see Esther respond to tough issues involving school, sickness, and a new best friend, yet she never loses hope or the willingness to try again. If you like the “Little House” books by Laura Ingalls Wilder, WHAT THE MOON SAID gives you the same feeling.  The past is brought to life as a charming, believable young girl deals with real life situations in ways that make you cheer for her.


Posted March 30, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

Mrs. Bullen’s class has been working on puppet shows in library classes recently.  They wrote their own little plays, which happen to have a lot of singing in them.  I have found that kids really love to perform! Here are Shelby, Nadia, J-Lyn, and Brooklyn performing their show for the kindergartners:

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Posted March 28, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

Third graders celebrated the wonderful AMERICAN GIRL book series with a tea party this past Wednesday. Each of the sixteen students attending the party read five American Girl or historical fiction books and wrote a book review. The party was the culmination of a lot of hard work, so we went all out and had music, special tea food, and fifth grade waiters and waitresses. Here are some pictures from the festive lunchtime party!

Adler serves tea to the girls.

Adler serves tea to the girls.


Janna seems interested in the tarts that Ava is offering!

Janna seems interested in the tarts that Ava is offering!


Even the boys dressed in their best for the party.

Even the boys dressed in their best for the party.


Maddie surveys the scene.

Maddie, a fifth grade waitress, surveys the scene.


Everyone made bookmarks with American Girl stickers after eating their lunch.

Everyone made bookmarks with American Girl stickers after eating their lunch.


Posted March 13, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Class activities

It’s a week late, but here are some highlights from Crescent Park School’s 2014 READ ACROSS AMERICA DAY!  Many Dr.  Seuss books were read and celebrated in the individual classrooms during the school day, and then the entire school assembled in the gym at 1:45 to read silently together.  Before the reading started, though, the Fifth Graders presented a quick song and dance.  Mrs. Keane’s class, during library class,  took the words and tune of “Kung Fu Fighting” and turned it into “Kung Fu Reading”.  They invited students in the other two Fifth Grade classes to join them onstage, after giving up 4 recesses to practice.  Here are some of pictures of their exuberant delivery:


Everyone loved the kicking move

Everyone loved the kicking move

These kids loved being on stage!

These kids loved being on stage!

Utah dressed as the "lightning"

Utah dressed as the “lightning”

Here is a scene of the school “silently” reading in the gym:

Photo Mar 03, 2 15 07 PM

And at the end of a busy day, Bella proudly showed me her Dr. Seuss stuffies:

Photo Mar 03, 2 31 28 PM

Great way to end the day!

FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo

Posted February 28, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Award Winners, Book Reviews

Tags: , , ,

flora_cvr_usatoday_rev-3_4This year’s Newbery Award, given to the most distinguished book for children by an American author, goes to FLORA & ULYSSES by Kate DiCamillo.  The author of many popular books such as THE TALE OF DESPEREAUX,  BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE, and the MERCY WATSON series, this is a smart, heavily illustrated story with a lot of humor and heart.

Flora is a lonely girl.  Her mother spends all her time writing romance novels, and Flora doesn’t see her father very much (her parents are divorced).  Flora reads a lot of old comic books about “the great Incandesto”, a superhero.  One day she looks out the window and sees a squirrel getting sucked into the neighbor’s vacuum cleaner.  Flora saves the squirrel, who now seems….different somehow.   Has he become a superhero?  How will Flora’s lonely life change because of this squirrel named Ulysses?

EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett

Posted January 21, 2014 by cpslibrary
Categories: Award Winners, Book Reviews, For Younger Children, Mrs. Raymond's favorites, New Books 2013 school year


imgresIt’s winter, and we’re all trying to stay warm…plus have a few laughs. I’ve been reading EXTRA YARN by Mac Barnett in lots of my library classes. It is an award-winning  picture book fable about a little girl named Annabelle who lives in a dreary black and white town. She finds a box full of yarn of every color and knits sweaters for everyone in town, plus the pets and the houses, but the yarn never runs out! When a greedy archduke sails in from across the sea and steals her box of yarn, you might think that would be the end of her yarn adventures. The ending puts a smile on everyone’s face, and reinforces the notion that good always triumphs over bad, and kindness can transform a community. EXTRA YARN will give you a warm feeling on a cold winter day.

The Christmas Truce of World War I

Posted December 16, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, For Older Children

Tags: , ,

Last year I discovered these three books about the famous Christmas truce that happened during World War I.  In varying degrees of illustration and text, all three books tell the amazing true story of the Christmas Eve in 1914 when the British and the Germans stopped fighting, sang Christmas carols together (in different languages),  exchanged small gifts and conversation, and even played a rousing game of football.  My fifth grade classes have truly had their eyes opened by this gem of a story, which gives us a glimpse of peace and humanity in the midst of the harsh, violent realities of war.

The “BOO” books by J.H. Lee

Posted November 26, 2013 by cpslibrary
Categories: Book Reviews, New Books 2013 school year


What are the most popular books in the CPS Library lately?  The “Boo” books by J.H. Lee.  Basically they are pictures with captions of this adorable Pomeranian who has been groomed to look like a teddy bear:

When Bella, a second grade student, asked me if I had any books “about the dog who looks like a teddy bear”, I went to the internet and quickly found what she was talking about.  I now have two copies of each of the books, and they are checked out the minute they come back.  Sometimes it’s nice to just enjoy a picture book that make you say “awwwwww” on every page.