1. Bagels--We made bagels for the first time using the King Arthur Flour recipe. They have a great site for recipes and a great blog showing you how to do the recipes. Here's the link to the blog: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2013/01/13/asiago-bagels-pretty-cheesy/ We used Parmesan instead of Asiago cheese. Delicious!
2. Lists--I love the ALA and NCTE awards. I love lists like BFYA and Notables. I find lots of new books to read on these lists--and love seeing friends on them as well. Special congratulations to my friend and writing partner Jo Knowles for making both BFYA and Notables with her book See You at Harry's. I love this book!
3. Not a lot of variety of birds around in January. Here's a frequent visitor to my feeder, a red-breasted nuthatch:
4. During January I read 34 picture books! I've found some fun ones in my random-pulling-off-shelves. A couple favorites: Little Bird by Germano Zullo, Henry and the Cannons by Don Brown, Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger.
5. And now it's February! Better get those taxes done!
Sometime around the end of December, someone (Carrie Jones?) posted on Twitter about literary resolutions. At the same time donalynbooks and the Nerdy Book Club talked about Reading Gaps--areas or genres that are gaps in usual reading.
I realized that I always make literary resolutions: # of books I'm going to read during the year, # of adult or nonfiction, things like that. I always have piles of books to read and never enough time to read them. My little notebook is filled with lists of books I've heard of and am excited about.
Here's evidence. These are the books on my "I want to read them right now" pile:
There are more piles behind them. And on the next shelf. And by the bed. And the last thing I need is another list/pile of books to read.
But I like the idea of literary resolutions. And I like thinking about my reading gaps (besides adult and nonfiction).
I'm already reading the Newbery winners in order from 1965 forward with jbknowles. That's an easy literary resolution to continue and one I'm really enjoying. (We're up to discussing Summer of the Swans, the 1971 winner.)
Carrie had made a resolution to borrow and read two books off a shelf in the library every week for this year. I liked that idea, but changed it to fit a reading gap as well. I will take out 5 random picture books from a new shelf in the library each week and keep track of what I read. So far, I'm enjoying this. I've taken out my 5 each week plus a few on display. And, because I'm thinking about picture books, I seem to notice them more in reviews and bookstores, so I've tried to find some of the ones I hear about.
My other reading gap is graphic novels. I'm going by librarian recommendations on this one since I feel like I know nothing about them. Last week I read and enjoyed Mercury by Hope Larson. I'll read any by Raina Telgemeier. If you know graphic novels I should read, let me know!
Current Books: Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli
Moxie and the Art of Rule Breaking by Erin Dionne
Yesterday I walked home with my kindergarten nephew G after school. He was telling me about his day (both real and imagined, that's how he is) then stopped and asked, "Do you know the song 'Follow the Drinking Gourd'?"
I told him I did, and he proceeded to tell me about it. His class had read the picture book and they were singing it in school. Through his snack, he kept asking me questions: Which side were the good guys? Did brother fight brother? What were slaves? Were there slaves in Vermont? Why didn't the slaves fight their masters?
I had a copy of Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco, so we read it. It took us almost an hour. "Wait," he would say. "I have a question." He had lots. Why didn't Pink's mother follow the drinking gourd? Why was it against the law to learn to read? Why? Why? Why?
At the end of the book, I read the closing words that ask the reader to say Pink's name before shutting the book and vow to remember him.
"Are we going to do that?" G asked.
"Sure," I said.
He hopped off the couch and stood very straight. "Aren't you going to do it with me?" he said. "You have to do it with me."
I wasn't sure what he wanted me to do. We needed to say Pink's name and remember him. But I stood up next to him.
"Let's do it together," he said. He stood up as tall as a five-year-old can. We said "Pink" together, and with one arm in front and one arm in back, he took a deep bow.
He will remember Pink.