Whew! Another unit on the Geisel, Caldecott, and Newbery medals comes to a close for me and my urban elementary students. What a fun ride we had. My kiddos applauded loudly for They All Saw a Cat and Du Iz Tak? Whooted and hollered enthusiastically for We Are Growing!, and gave a thumbs up for Freedom Over Me and The Girl Who Drank the Moon (though most of my students won’t be able to read quite that high). We did put a frown on when our beloved Pax didn’t take home a Newbery, but it still has an honored spot in our school library for we love it so! After all, it did make the National Book Award Longlist.
So, what unit does an elementary PA librarian turn to next? Why, the PA Young Reader’s Choice Award unit, of course! This past August, I wrote of this award here on Eastern Penn Points. As a committee member, I get the privilege of reading and nominating books for our 4 lists. Then I get together with some amazing PA school librarians a few times a year to talk about them! Can you say LUCKY!!!
I read a beautiful book today to my 1st and 2nd grade classes titled Raindrops Roll by April Pulley Sayre. This book is on the K-3 list this year. To get the children in the mood, I Youtubed a gentle rainstorm video, turned the volume up slightly and we gathered on the carpet to hear it read aloud. The soft pitter patter of rain and mild thunder rolls sent chills down our spines and totally engulfed us in the moment as we enjoyed her stunning photographs.
A few weeks ago I shared Lend A Hand: Poems About Giving to some of the classes. My school is going to be participating in a “Dude. Be Nice.” week in February and I plan on making these poems part of this celebration of kindness. Included are poems about donating your hair, sharing your lunch with the shy new girl sitting all alone in school, spending time with an elderly neighbor making music together, and joining with others to clean up a dirty stream.
How do you get that “reluctant” boy reader to find his love of the printed word? Give him The Terrible Two by Mac Barnett and Jory John, and watch the devouring begin! But you better have The Terrible Two Get Worse on hand just a day or two later because that same boy will be asking for it and so will all his friends, boys and girls alike! This book is on the grades 3-6 list along with Circus Mirandus, Fort, and the adorable Ms. Rapscott’s Girls.
We always include spectacular nonfiction choices as well. This year sharks and spiders grabbed our attention with Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands and I’m Trying to Love Spiders.
In addition to reading and nominating books, committee members create lesson ideas, Prezis, Powerpoint presentations, booklets, book talk scripts, and activity sheets for teachers and other librarians to use with the books. Perhaps you can invite a school librarian to jump on board with PA Young Reader’s Choice for the 2017 new year.
To see our complete lists and resources, please visit: http://pyrca.wikispaces.com/2016-17+Nominated+Titles and https://pyrca.wikispaces.com/+Best+Practices+and+Helpful+Hints
Nadine Poper is the librarian at the Amanda Stout Elementary School in Reading. This is her 5th year serving on the PA Young Reader’s Choice Award committee. She is the lover of dachshunds and is a foster home for Coast to Coast Dachshund Rescue. She has two self-published picture books about wiener dogs too. Visit her website at Nadinepoper.weebly.com. Twitter Facebook