Friday, 4 October 2019

The Power of Zines

This year, one of the options our student librarians had to get their Gold Library Award was to make a book review zine.  I brought this in mid-way through the year, after rediscovering how cool zines are, and after coming across #bookbento on Twitter.  

The Gold Library Award has always been something that only our more self-motivated student librarians achieve, as unlike the Bronze and Silver Awards, students choose whether they want to work towards it, and they do it on their own time. 

I am really pleased with the quality of the zines produced, and also with the amount of times I've seen other students picking up the zines and looking through them.  In the past, we have had students write up book reviews on an A4 piece of paper and we've put these in a folder.  Hardly anyone ever looked in the folder.  I think the cute format helps, as the zines are small and more tactile.  Picking up these little zines and flicking through them is fun.  We keep them in a little box on the issues desk.  

We had some students fold the zines wrong, or forget to add some of the elements, so next year we will offer students pre-folded zines and make a checklist of the items we require.  We will also ask students to have their teachers certify that they have produced their best work, as we had a couple of borderline zines and we think this is the best way to work out what a particular student is capable of producing.

Here is my example of a book bento:

Here is more information about Book Bentos, and in case you're wondering, here's how to make a zine.  

Changing the format of the book reviews to zines has been a big success as it has significantly increased the number of students reading them.  I would highly recommend giving it a go.

Here are our updated instructions for our student librarians (the checkboxes don't work here but you get the idea):

Making a Book Review Zine

  • Mrs Simms can show you how to make one from an A4 piece of paper, or can give you a pre-made one.  Write in the zine while it is folded up, so you don’t end up with any upside-down pages.
  • The aim is to share your love for a book and entice other students to read it
  • Choose a chapter book (fiction or non-fiction) that you love that is in our library (if it’s not in our library, ask for it to be bought).
  • You must work alone
  • DO NOT give away the ending of the book!  Give just enough information to make students interested in reading the book for themselves.
  • Tick the checkboxes off so you don’t forget anything

  1. Cover - Title of book and author - Make it look awesome!  Use colour!
  2. Short summary of the plot - Don’t give the ending away!
  3. Question - Ask a dramatic question about the plot of the book e.g. What happened after Harry was taken to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry?  
  4. Three-word review - Use: 
    1. A noun that isn’t found in a lot of other books in the library e.g. darts, Titanic, braces, 
    2. An adjective that describes the book e.g. terrifying, hilarious, heart-warming
    3. One other word of your choice
  5. Book Bento - A collection of nicely displayed objects that have featured in your book (Mrs Simms will print out your photo if you need her to. Send it to email address).
  6. Other great books I recommend 
  7. Your name and class
  8. Draw a picture or leave it blank - your choice!

Book Review Zine Checklist
  • I have checked with Mrs Simms that no-one else has chosen the book I want to review
  • The cover page has the title of the book, author, and where it is in the library
  • I have given a short summary of the plot, but not given the ending away
  • I have included a dramatic question about the plot of the book
  • I have made a book bento
  • I have included a three-word review
  • I have recommended some other great books
  • I have included my name and class
  • My teacher has confirmed that this is my best work ___________________  (teacher’s signature)

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Lucky's Book Chat

Over the summer holidays, I had a good think about our Library Llamas Youtube channel.  This is something I set up last year, with the aim of connecting our students with books by taking advantage of a format they enjoy i.e. videos.

I decided to film a new segment for the channel called "Lucky's Book Chat".  I developed this for a number of reasons:

  • I wanted a way to share my own book knowledge.  Not surprisingly, I read quite a lot, and I wanted a way to recommend books to students myself.  Having an adult share books is not as exciting as a Llama though, so, spoiler alert, I became "Lucky the Llama".
  • I wanted to improve the regularity with which we upload videos to the channel.  In terms of establishing a bigger audience, from what I've read it's important to start uploading on a regular basis, preferably at least once a week.  By having a segment that I produce, I can increase the number of videos we upload (although even one video a week can be difficult when I have other work/family commitments).
  • I wanted to broaden the range of students who contribute to the channel.  By not having students commit to being in a Library Llamas Book Club, and instead have them agree to make one video with me, I hope to be able to entice a larger number of students to participate in the channel.

    The Format

    In order to make it easier to be able to regularly produce the segment, I decided to create a general format for the video, which gets tweaked from week to week.  At the start of the video, I have the students tell Lucky a joke.  They pick the joke, the only criteria being that they'd have to be comfortable telling it to Mrs Fraser (our acting principal).  Then both Lucky and the student talk about a great book that they have read.  I try to have some kind of prop that leads into the discussion about the book that Lucky has read.

    After the book discussion, Lucky says that they have to go and do something a bit unusual - parachuting, skiing etc.  Then, while the student is doing a voice-over asking for subscribers and comments, there is a green screen, stop motion or other creative scene with the student interacting with their book in some way.  This part is something I really enjoy, but it's stretching my film and editing skills!  I'm learning a lot from YouTube tutorials :)

    What I've Learned so Far

    • To keep the chat conversational, I don't have the students learn a script.  I ask them to think about a joke, and what they want to say about their book, and what they might want to do creatively at the end.  What I have found is that I need to go over with them a bit more about what they've decided to say about their book.  At the moment they also need help with the creative side, although once I tell them a general idea then they build on that really well.  As they watch more of the Lucky's Book Chat videos, and see more of what can be done, I imagine they will have more ideas of their own.
    • I have a half hour slot in which I film, and that means things need to move quite quickly.  I do this during class time, and not at morning tea like we did last year, as it means there is much less background noise.  Having a different child each week means that the teachers have been happy for me to take them out of class for this, as it is a one-off.
    • I do the filming myself, which means I turn the camera on and then go and hide behind the chair.  The problem with this is that I can't see what the students are doing, and I am always scared that I'm not hidden properly behind the chair!  It has been working fairly well though.

    If you like this video then please like and subscribe!  Even better, leave a comment if you like the books we discuss.

    Tuesday, 1 January 2019

    Top 15 Books of 2018

    I haven't ranked my favourite books before.  In previous years, I've just listed my five star reads in different categories (picture book, fiction, non-fiction etc).  One thing I've noticed from putting the covers of the books I've read on my door is that I've had a fair few students ask me to name my top five books I've read, or even worse, my top three!  It's hard!  But I am up to the challenge, and this year I'm going to be strong and decisive and choose the top 15 books I've read (I can't possibly choose any less than that!).  

    15.  How to Bee by Bren MacDibble

    Bren MacDibble won a number of NZ and Australian book awards for her story about a future where real bees are extinct and children must pollinate flowers by hand.  It wasn't surprising to find out that Bren had grown up on a farm, as her descriptions of life on one are particularly vivid.  This book isn't all about farms though, as Peony's mother takes her from the home she lives in with her grandfather and sister and brings her to the city to help her earn money.  Domestic violence, poverty and agoraphobia are all part of this impactful and compelling book.

    14.  Boy Underwater by Adam Baron, illustrated by Benji Davies

    Cymbeline Igloo has never been swimming but somehow manages to boast that he's a brilliant swimmer just before his first school swimming lesson.  He's borrowed a pair of his dad's old swimming togs, and let's just say that size does matter when it comes to togs!  This book has an amazing combination of laugh-out-loud humour and heartbreaking sadness.  It deals with some big issues - like death and mental health.  The nine-year-old protagonist, Cymbeline Igloo, is a lovely character, whose voice shines through as being really authentic.

    13.  The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones by Will Mabbitt, illustrated by Ross Collins

    This is a hilarious story about Mabel Jones, who commits "The Deed" and ends up on The Feroshus Maggot (a pirate ship).  I listened to the audiobook, which I highly recommend because the narrator, Toby Jones, is marvellous with voices.  I love the characters' names, like Omynus Hussh and Captain Idryss Ebenezer Split, and the use of the narrator (who stops in the middle of the action to eat a pickled onion!).  One of our Year 5 & 6 classes read this book and we got to Skype with Will Mabbitt, which was a lot of fun.

    12.  Mighty Jack and the Goblin King by Ben Hatke

    I loved "Mighty Jack" and this sequel is just as fantastic.  Ben Hatke, who also wrote the "Zita the Spacegirl" series, is one of my favourite graphic novel author/illustrators.  In this book, there's lots of action and drama, with both Jack and Maddy getting to fight the bad guys.  The story is interesting, the art is great, and the last!  I can't wait for the next book.

    11.  The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin

    This was another book I enjoyed listening to in audio form this year.  Pacy, also known as Grace, is Taiwanese-American and this book gives a nice glimpse into what everyday life for her is like.  I really appreciated this beautifully written insight into the life of someone with a different culture to me.

    10.  Julián is a Mermaid by Jessica Love

    Julián is riding the subway with his grandmother when he sees women dressed up as mermaids.  He is captivated and on his return home, he sets about creating his own costume made from a curtain and a fern.  It is the grandmother's reaction to Julián's outfit that makes this picture book so heart-warming.  The illustrations are also special, with many of the background characters unique and memorable.

    9.  The Sloth Who Came to Stay by Margaret Wild, illustrated by Vivienne To

    This is a lovely story about the importance of slowing down and taking the time to appreciate things.  Our Year 5 & 6 students loved it, it came runner-up in our Picture Book World Cup.

    8.  The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by Rafael López

    Jacqueline Woodson's poetic text combines with the striking art of Rafael López in this wonderful picture book.  It starts with "There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you" and goes on to encourage children to share their stories and find friends that are "a little like you - and something else so fabulously not quite like you at all".  Beautiful.

    7.  Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick

    The Hilo series of graphic novels is one of my all-time favourites and this, the fourth book in the series, did not disappoint.  The artwork is superb, especially the giant robot monsters that are intent on squashing towns.  Izzy's inventions - a tiny, floating rhino that sneezes and keeps bugs away without hurting them, a skunk that makes popcorn, a parrot that sings in Italian, made from a microwave oven - are hilarious.  Yet the book doesn't shy away from some more emotional storylines.  The backstory about why Razorwark is fighting humans is very poignant.

    6.  Wishtree by Katherine Applegate

    This book is told from the perspective of an oak tree called Red.  This immediately made me apprehensive, because it didn't sound like the kind of book I'd enjoy (trees can't move, how was this book going to be interesting?).  However, I'm a fan of Katherine Applegate's "The One and Only Ivan" so I gave this book a go.

    I was pleasantly surprised - this book gave me the feels!  There are lovely interactions between Red and his friend, a crow called Bongo, as well as the other animals that call Red home.  Humans are part of the story too, with the arrival of a new family to Red's neighbourhood making his role as "wishtree" even more important.  Add to that the lovely dashes of humour in the book (I love the way the animals name their children!) and this turns out to be a small but perfectly-formed book.

    5.  Dear Sister by Alison 

    This story is a lovely exploration of a brother/sister relationship when there is a large age gap between them.  It is told via a series of letters and messages from the brother to his sister.  The book is short and filled with excellent illustrations, making it instantly appealing to students.  It is a fun, sweet book that manages to make you go "awwww".

    3=  Nevermoor by Jessica Townsend

    Morrigan Crow is cursed, blamed for all the misfortunes of those around her, and due to die at midnight on Eventide.  Instead, she is whisked away in a giant metallic spider to a magical city named Nevermoor.  

    There are some wonderful characters in this book, and author Jessica Townsend has done a fantastic job of making the world come alive in your imagination.

    3=  Wundersmith by Jessica Townsend

    Wundersmith is the second book in the Nevermoor series, and it was, thankfully, just as good as the first.  Which is why I have made them both 3rd equal!  I tried very hard to read Wundersmith slowly so I could remain in Nevermoor as long as possible!  

    Jessica Townsend avoids overly long descriptive passages and yet I could still see Nevermoor really vividly in my mind.  I really enjoyed Morrigan's new adventure and now it is on to waiting impatiently for the next one.

    One of my highlights of 2018 was being able to hear Jessica Townsend speak at Southwell School.  I took a carload of students, the first ones who read her book, and as soon as she walked in they went "ohhhhh" and were starstruck.  "She's my dream author," said one.

    2.  Restart by Gordon Korman

    Chase falls from a roof, hits his head and loses his memory.  When he returns to school he realises that while some kids like him, others appear scared of him, and he doesn't know why.  Those two sentences are all that's needed to entice many students to read this book!  

    I love that this book is told from multiple perspectives as it really adds insight into the impact of the actions of the bullies in this story.  There's some great humour in the book too, making it a lot of fun to read. 

    1.  Front Desk by Kelly Yang

    Mia Tang is a Chinese immigrant to the United States.  She lives in a motel and she manages the front desk while her parents clean the rooms.  Mia experiences bullying, racism and poverty and both her family and other immigrants in the story are taken advantage of and treated poorly.  Despite these circumstances, Mia shows tolerance, hope, perseverance and love.  

    This is an important story that will hopefully encourage children to understand the experiences of new immigrants better and to feel more empathy with them.  It's a book that I've been recommending to anyone who will listen!

    NB: Make sure to get this cover, we got a second copy with a different cover that was far less appealing to our students (we ended up copying this cover and pasting it over the other copy).

    Sunday, 23 December 2018

    To All the Books I've Read This Year

    Back in July, I posted about displaying the covers of the books I had read.  Have a look at that post for my rave about how successful it is as a form of book promotion.  

    On Wednesday, I opened the library for the first of our summer holiday afternoon sessions.  That was the last day the library will be open for the year, and I took the opportunity to take photos of the library door and adjacent windows that were covered in the books that I have read in 2018.

    107 books - must try to beat that next year!  When we open again on the 9th of January (just for the afternoon) I'll remove all the covers and put up some new ones.  One of our library volunteers also helps out at another school and she is going to take the covers and turn them into a lovely display for them.

    I have read some absolutely fantastic books this year and I'll be posting my top 15 early in the new year.  I was going to start early like some bloggers have, but I'm listening to this great audiobook at the moment that I strongly suspect will make it into the top 15...

    Have you read the end-of-year posts from some of the wonderful children's literature bloggers?  Travis Jonker is a U.S. elementary school librarian who writes 100 Scope Notes.   He has listed his top 20 books for the year.  The National Library's blog lists the 2018 outstanding children's and YA books.  However, due to the sheer number of posts, it is Betsy Bird's A Fuse #8 Production with her 31 days, 31 lists posts that are responsible for most of the rather large piles of library books teetering on my floor.  At least I'll have plenty of books to put on my door & windows next year! (only counting the ones I read in 2019, I'm disappointed I won't get to put the ones I read for the rest of the year up there).

    Have a lovely Christmas and a Happy New Year!  For Christmas we're going up to my brother's place in Auckland and will spend some time near the beach, if the weather behaves itself!  

    Saturday, 13 October 2018

    Skyping Author Will Mabbitt

    Last term, we had a Skype visit with author Will Mabbitt.  It was the first time we've ever done one, and it was so successful I hope that it won't be the last!  If you haven't done a Skype visit before, here's a bit of information on how it came about and what we did.

    Setting up the visit

    The visit was set up through social media.  I had tweeted to Will when his books were in our Picture Book World Cup earlier this year.  'I Can Only Draw Worms' made it to the semi-finals of the Year 5 & 6 Picture Book World Cup, and 'This is Not a Bedtime Story' (with Fred Blunt illustrating) got to the semi-finals of the Year 1 & 2 Picture Book World Cup.  I hadn't heard of Will prior to that, but after both his picture books did so well I tweeted to Will that I was going to seek out his other books.  He mentioned that Year 5 & 6 students would like his Mabel Jones series and that he did free Skype visits for schools reading them.  Fortunately, I found an enthusiastic teacher who agreed to read "The Unlikely Adventures of Mabel Jones", which her students loved (I listened to the audiobook version, which is hilarious - Toby Jones, who narrated, does great voices for each of the characters).

    Once the class had finished the book (and confirmed that they liked it!), I contacted Will again and we set up a time to Skype with him.  He's English so there was a big time difference to contend with.  We arranged to start at 9.15am our time, which was 10.15pm for him.  I was REALLY careful to get the dates and times right for both of us.  It was Tuesday for him and Wednesday for us and I didn't want that to cause any confusion.

    Will sent me his Skype details and I made sure that Skype was working on my laptop (I tried to Skype with someone outside the school).  I'm glad I did as there were some network issues that our I.T. guy had to fix.  On the morning of the Skype, before class started, I gave Will a quick call to make sure everything was still working.

    Skyping with Will

    I won't lie, it was a bit awkward to start with.  There's a delay while you wait for a reply and Skype is not my favourite medium of communication.  I also had technical problems!  Argghhh!  I had to reconnect twice before I stopped airplaying to our TV and just used my laptop.  It wasn't ideal but at least the connection stopped cutting out.

    Once we got going, the Skype visit was a huge success.  The kids had thought of some good questions to ask, and Will was as funny as his books are.  We learned a lot about things like what changes are made when his books are published in different countries, why it's good to be the author AND the illustrator of a book (you get more money!) and why Will writes about pickled onions.  Will then read from his picture book "I can only draw worms" and talked about his latest book "The Embassy of the Dead".  Afterwards, Rebecca, the class teacher, talked with her class about what they had learned and then shared that learning, and some photos, on Seesaw (our school platform for sharing learning with parents).

    The kids really enjoyed having Will's book as a class read and then being able to talk with him about it.  The following week we happened to have a Scholastic Book Fair in the school and luckily for Will his "Embassy of the Dead" book was available.  I had to order in extra copies as it proved to be very popular.  There are also still reserves on the library copies of the other two books in the Mabel Jones series.

    I love this photo - doesn't it look like Will has just worked out he's trapped in a laptop?!!

    More authors to Skype

    On Twitter recently, I found a link to an old article about authors who Skype with classes and book clubs for free.  Given it was written in 2009, I would use this as a starting point and investigate the authors further on their own websites.  If you're in NZ and belong to the NZ Book Council, they offer Skype visits as one way of bringing a writer or illustrator to your school.  Nothing beats a real live author/illustrator visit but Skype is a great alternative when a personal visit isn't possible.  Talking with an author straight after you have read their book is a special experience and definitely worth the effort if the author is willing to give up their time.

    Sunday, 22 July 2018

    Fun with Library Llamas

    Our book club's Youtube channel, the Library Llamas, has been up and running for over four months.  Earlier this year, I blogged about getting started.  We now have 40 subscribers, 18 videos (with two more coming as soon as I finish editing them), and over 1,000 views.  It has been a big learning curve, but a fun one.  

    One Club becomes Two

    It became clear that if students didn't want to appear on camera then they didn't get as much out of the club.  I had already planned to start a Year 5 book club after I got through Book Week in Term 2, and I decided to allow those Year 6 students who weren't connecting with the Library Llamas to join as well.  The new club, the Pink Fluffy Unicorns (yes, the boys voted for that!), is run using the key ring challenge format that was so successful last year.  I now have around 14 students in the Library Llamas (more manageable) and 40 in the Pink Fluffy Unicorns (!).

    One thing that I'm proud about is that both my book clubs have students in them that are dyslexic and/or struggling readers.  They're often brought along by their more bookish friends, but they stay because they're comfortable in the club and are able to read and discuss books at the level that is right for them.


    Initially, the kids all wanted to set up their own themed 'channel' within our channel.  So far though, I've not had any of them do a second video on the same theme!  Lately, I've been encouraging students to make videos that tie in with two areas:

    • Llama drama - scenes based on books
    • Llama listens - a short book review with our llama puppet (which they get to name).
    We also have 'Book Buzz', which is the interviews we've done with visiting authors and illustrators.  I've enjoyed these interviews and the kids have done really well with them.  The feedback we've had from our guests has been positive too, with one saying that they felt so special when asked to be interviewed.

    The other playlist we have is 'Double Trouble', which has more in-depth book reviews, done by two student librarians (not necessarily Library Llama members) wanting to earn their gold certificates.  I do give student librarians the option of getting their gold certificate by doing written book reviews, I am careful not to require on-camera appearances as that can disadvantage shy students.

    Llama Drama!

    One of our Year 2 classes really enjoyed this video:  

    Apparently, several of the students went around afterwards yelling "Roar!, roar!, roar!" all around the playground!  They also tried it in the Reading Wonderland, where the video was shot, but were told off by Esther (our library assistant who unfortunately hadn't seen the video!).

    Lessons from Filming

    • One of the biggest technical problems we have is that we often film at morning tea, and it is very noisy outside.  I also think we could improve with better camera techniques, so I have contacted our local tertiary institution and am in the process of setting up a visit from a person from their Moving Image team.  I think the kids will enjoy getting ideas to make their videos better, I know I will.
    • So far, I have turned down one video after we filmed it.  It is a fine line, I don't want to crush creative ideas, but at the same time there does need to be a certain standard for our videos.  Fortunately, the boys took it well and have gone on to make other, better, videos.
    • I accidentally filmed one video where the boys were wearing their name badges!  I'm trying to work out if I can blur these somehow or if we will need to reshoot.  I do specify that due to privacy reasons all students must remove their name badges, but I'm often busy filming and organising and I obviously forgot to remind them this time.

    Author Feedback

    One thing that has been a thrill for the students is when they've received feedback from the authors of the books they have reviewed.  Here are a couple:

    The students are still full of energy, ideas and enthusiasm and I'm looking forward to seeing what we come up with for the rest of the year!

    Monday, 9 July 2018

    Displaying your Reading History

    Last year, I started displaying the covers of the books I was currently reading.  Here's what I was reading last week:

    This display has generated a bit of interest.  Recently, I've had students ask me why it's taking me so long to read "The Heroes of Olympus" series!  (In my defence, I've been listening to the audiobook versions only while exercising and doing chores and I obviously don't do enough of either of these things!).  

    Fortunately, once I'd finished reading a book and had removed the cover from this display, I kept it.  I thought I might have a use for it someday.

    A few months ago, I saw a post from librarian Zac McCallum, on the NZ school library listserv.  Zac has a wall filled with ALL the books he has read so far this year.  It looks colourful and interesting, and given I had most of my covers in a pile already, it was easy for me to implement.  I put them on my door:

    I had no idea how much interest this would generate.  Far more than my "currently reading" display.  It is a great way to show students, and teachers, the amount and variety of children's books I read.  Many have asked about particular books, and have gone on to read them themselves.  I make sure that I only include books that are in our library (well, except for "Illegal" by Eoin Colfer, I put that up but I'm still deciding whether I think it is suitable for a Year 1-6 primary.  If you've read it, I'd love to hear what you think).  I do read a lot of children's books from our public library, but if they're not good enough for me to buy for our school library I don't put them on my door.  I also don't include picture books (too many!) or the YA and adult books I read.

    This display has given me some unexpected benefits:
    • When asked to recommend a book, I have a quick way to remember all the good books that I've read so far this year.  
    • I can point out a cover as I talk about a book so a student can see what it looks like.
    • I'm finding filling up the door surprisingly motivational!  It is quite satisfying to move a cover from the "currently reading" display onto the door.  And it is pleasing to see the space on the door filling up!

    I am really pleased with how successful this display has been and would highly recommend doing it.

    At the end of the year, I'm going to take a photo of the door (and possibly the adjoining windows if I fill the door up) before removing all the covers.  

    I'm also thinking that I should promote this idea to the teachers in our Teachers' Reading Group when we meet again early next term.  Earlier this year, I encouraged them to display the covers of the books they have read aloud, and some of them have been doing that.  Displaying the books they have read themselves would take it one step further (and perhaps encourage them to read more children's books).

    Sunday, 27 May 2018

    Picture Book World Cup

    Last week, was our school's Book Week.  I had a number of things planned, I talked about them here.  The big event for the week was our Picture Book World Cup.  The idea of a Picture Book World Cup is that classes read two books and vote for one of them to advance to the next round.  Here are some of our Library Llamas Book Club describing how it works:

    I picked up the idea from author Jonathan Emmett, and ran our tournament as suggested in his article.  The only difference was that we have a large school - 34 classes (including two satellite classes).  To make it manageable, I split the school into three different World Cups - one each for our Year 0-2 classes, our Year 3-4 classes and our Year 5-6 classes.  I had a number of new picture books (new to our library) and decided to use those so everyone, students and teachers, would discover some new books.  Here are the books I used:

    If I had to choose again, I would try to include more books by New Zealand authors.  We have plenty in our library, we just didn't have many new ones I could use.

    I didn't have themes like Jonathan Emmett did, I think using new books made that too hard.  Like Jonathan, I tried to include non-fiction picture books where I could (and the winner of the Year 5 & 6 Picture Book World Cup was a non-fiction book).

    Here are the instructions I gave our teachers.  I had to remind teachers that I wanted the votes for each book, not just the overall winner, and there was a bit of confusion around them having to vote twice on the Tuesday.  I also had to be careful to track down relieving teachers and explain what they needed to do, and to intercept students who returned books to the library and not my office!  I was lucky that I had backing from senior management, with the understanding that participating in the Picture Book World Cup could be counted as part of the literacy programme for the week.  Overall, the week went really smoothly.  It was as successful as I'd hoped it would be, culminating in team assemblies which had kids cheering loudly as the two top books battled it out and the final winner was announced.

    In order to make it as exciting as possible, I made up some slides and shared them with our team leaders so they could use them at their assemblies.  I also included some of the tweets from authors and illustrators I had received during the week:

    Here are the overall winners:

    Year 1 & 2

    Year 3 & 4

    Year 5 & 6

    I have had great feedback from students, parents and teachers about how popular the Picture Book World Cup was.  It was a really fun event to run and I'd highly recommend it!

    Update  Here is what one of the classes thought about the books in their Picture Book World Cup:

    Saturday, 31 March 2018

    Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy - An Autocompleted Children's Book

    One of my favourite American bloggers is Travis Jonker, the elementary school librarian who writes 100 Scope Notes.  He's done a few posts with autocompleted children's books, where he starts typing the beginning of each line of the book into Google, and lets autocomplete finish them off.  I thought it would be fun to do a NZ version of this, using Hairy Maclary from Donaldson's Dairy by Lynley Dodd.  The autocompleted parts are in bold.

    Out of the shadows
    and off to see the wizard
    went for broke
    from Russia with love

    and Hercule Poirot
    as big as an elephant

    with hearts burning
    from dusk till dawn.

    Bottoms up
    covered in itchy bites,
    Hercule Poirot
    as big as an elephant

    and hairdressing
    from Donald Trump.

    Muffin break
    like a bunch of lemmings,
    Bottoms up
    covered in itchy bites,
    Hercule Poirot
    as big as an elephant

    and hairdressing
    from Donald Trump.

    all skill no luck,
    Muffin break
    like a bunch of lemmings,
    Bottoms up
    covered in itchy bites,
    Hercule Poirot
    as big as an elephant

    and hairdressing
    from Donald Trump.

    Schnitzel stir fry
    with a very special person,
    all skill no luck,
    Muffin break
    like a bunch of lemmings,
    Bottoms up
    covered in itchy bites,
    Hercule Poirot
    as big as an elephant

    and hairdressing
    from Donald Trump.

    With arms wide open
    they see me rollin
    past the point of no return
    to the forest of firefly lights.
    They snuck into America
    and they swam right over the dam,
    when suddenly,
    out of the woods

    the toughest tongue twister

    said Scarface Rapper.

    Off with a stick
    a waiter and a how to book,
    a scatter of stardust
    and a clatter of clogs,
    went school closings,
    with a very heavy heart,
    all skill no luck,
    Muffin break
    like a bunch of lemmings,
    Bottoms up
    covered in itchy bites,
    Hercule Poirot
    as big as an elephant

    and hairdressing
    from Donald Trump.

    I really want to know what you could do with a stick, a waiter and a how to book!

    Image: Lincoln Simms

    When I checked these autocompletes on other devices they weren't always the same...interesting.

    Thanks for the idea Travis, I had a lot of fun!