Thursday, August 27, 2009

Slam Dunk

Written by Kate Jaimet
Most enjoyed by 5th through 8th graders

Slam really wants to be chosen for the Ontario Under 17 basketball team. He's the assistant coach of the high school girl's basketball team, not to check out the girls but in the hopes that it will help him make the Ontario team. He's got some great players to coach, including Inez, his star point guard, and Ifrah, the team's six-foot center. The girls' team is on the verge of going to the playoffs, making a sweet end to a great season. But when Inez shows up at a game with a black eye, the sweet end takes a sour turn. Inez won't say how she got the injury and Slam is sure it's the work of a nasty opponent. But when Inez and her mother begin receiving hate mail delivered to practices, Slam realizes he's up against an enemy a lot rougher than another basketball player.

If you're a fan of basketball, 'Slam Dunk' is a book you'll want to read. Part sports story, part mystery, it's a great look at how a team pulls together for a teammate. Slam, Inez, Ifrah, and the other players are likeable and believable. The action moves pretty quickly, both on and off the court. If you need to get psyched for basketball season already, here's the book for you!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Max's Words

Written by Kate Banks
Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Most enjoyed by Kindergartners through 3rd graders

Max's big brothers both have collections. Benjamin collects stamps while Karl collects coins. Max would like to have a collection of his own, but what can he collect? How about words? Max's collection begins with small words like 'the', 'a', 'was', and 'in'. But pretty soon, he's collecting bigger words. Color words, food words, words that make him happy. When his piles of words become to big for his desk, he puts them on the floor and begins to make stories from them. Soon, Benjamin and Karl want to join him, taken in by the magic of Max's words.

Max cuts his words from newspapers and magazines. When he uncovers a new word in the dictionary, he writes it on a scrap of paper. Why not try doing the same with new words you discover? This could be a great daily activity if you're just learning to read or if you want to increase the number of words you already know. If you're a first or second grader, you'll meet new 'Words to Remember' each week in your reading book. Try writing each word on a piece of paper and see how many you have after one month of school, then two months of school and so on until the end of the year. I'll bet you'll soon be like Max and have mountains of words in your collection. Now, what kind of story can you tell with all those words?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Track Attack

Written by Betty Hicks
Illustrated by Simon Gane
Most enjoyed by 2nd through 4th graders
AR Reading Level 3.0
AR Points 1.0

Meet Jazz. She's a super-fast runner, ready for a super track season racing in the 100-meter dash. Her problem? Her dad! If only Dad weren't so embarrassing to have around. Dad used to be a track star and he's sure he's got all the perfect runner's moves for Jazz. But many of Dad's suggestions go against what Jazz's coach teaches the team. And his track-side antics leave Jazz wanting to hide with each race. Is there a nice way to ask Dad to cool his excitement? Will his behavior hurt Jazz's track season?

'Track Attack' is part of a series called 'Gym Shorts', each title focusing on one aspect of physical fitness. What I really liked about this book is the way it included fitness information into the story. Coach shares tips about proper running form with Jazz and her teammates, letting you, the reader, in on the tips too. There are a few race warm-up exercises to help you get ready for races. None of these tips and tricks takes away from Jazz's story, meaning you'll learn some great fitness stuff without realizing it!

Jazz figures out how to handle her dad with the help of her teammates. She also learns to be a better runner, something you'll want to start doing when you finish 'Track Attack'!

Monday, August 24, 2009

A New Year Begins!

Pencils are sharpened, folders labeled, and butterflies are flying. Not in the air, although you can still spot a few Monarch's hovering here and there. No, these butterflies are the kind that flutter in your stomach, the ones you feel just when something exciting is going to happen. I'll bet you can feel them yourself right now, or if you're reading this late in the day, you felt them before walking in to school this morning. They're the special first-day-of-school butterflies. The ones that bring the promise that this year will be better than last, filled with more friends, more fun, and of course, much better grades.

I'm feeling those butterflies, too, today, as I begin to plan this year's activities for the library. I hope to continue some of the great things we did last year, but also add some new activities to keep reading alive and fun for you. Can you think of anything you'd like us to do in the library this year? If you have some ideas, stop by the library and let me know. Together, we can make this a fantastic year, one full of great books and reading!