Books To Read The Fourth Week of School, Part 4

ChrysanthemumChrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes, is about being proud of your unusual name. Before Chrysanthemum goes to school, her parents dote on her. They tell her how perfect she is and how they love her name; that it’s simply the best name EVER. The trouble begins when she goes to school and someone makes fun of her name. Why would someone say that her name is not perfect? Of course it is. Isn’t it? Chrysanthemum begins to have doubts. Now, she doesn’t want to go to school. Poor Chrysanthemum. Not even her parents can convince her that her unusual name is beautiful. Finally someone comes along and tells Chrysanthemum that her name is one of the loveliest names she’s ever heard of. This gives her her confidence back. A lovely little book.

Miss Bindergarten Gets Ready for KindergartenMiss Bindergarten is a book I’d recommend for, what else?… beginning Kindergarten. It’s too cute. I love the heroine Miss Bindergarten. In case you haven’t heard of it, there’s a series of books with Miss Bindergarten and her class. Most famously, Miss Bindergarten Celebrates the 100th Day of School. In this book, Miss Bindergarten prepares for the first day of Kindergarten.

Alexander and the Terrible

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, is about the worst day ever. It’s just one of them days! Everyone has them. This book captures that terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day perfectly. It is such a cute little book. It all centers on Alexander who is having one of the worst days of his young life. It actually began the night before when he fell sleep with gum in his mouth; now there’s gum in his hair. He tripped on his skateboard and dropped his sweater in the sink while the water was running. From then, he could tell that it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day. His best friend is no longer his best friend, and his mom even forgets to pack his dessert in his lunch. He thinks that he’s going to move to Australia! The day just keeps getting worse and worse as it spirals out of control. The book ends with his mom telling him that some days are just like that, even in Australia.

listen_buddyListen Buddy, by Helen Lester, is about a little rabbit, named Buddy, who just doesn’t listen. He simply does not pay attention. This ends up getting him in trouble. Buddy’s mother sends him on different errands. This book teaches how to follow directions.

David Goes to School, by David Shannon, is one of my favorite books. TheDavid goes to school title is self-explanatory. It’s about the little boy, David, who goes to school. The author, David Shannon, wrote his first book when he was 5, called No, David, No! Those were basically the only words he knew how to spell, no, and his own name. This book picks up where the other one left off. It’s very good for pre-K or Kindergarten. It teaches about misbehavior & its consequences as young David misbehaves the whole day and makes a series of excuses as to why he’s misbehaving. At the end of the book we see David washing all the desks until they sparkle. However, all is not lost as David is given a pat on the head and a gold star. Even though we love David, we still see that there are consequences for misbehavior.

Books To Read The First Weeks Of School, Part 3

Miss MalarkeyMiss Malarkey Leaves No Reader Behind, by Judy Finchler, is a book I could have written myself. It’s about a teacher who loves to read trying to inspire the same desire in her students. The exciting part begins when the school enters a contest to read 1,000 books. However, Miss Malarkey doesn’t just want the students to read for the contest, she wants them to actually appreciate the joy of reading. The problem begins when four boys refuse to cooperate. One by one, Miss Malarkey finds three of them books they love. They now find themselves reading books instead of playing video games. Finally, Miss Malarkey finds a book for the last one. He wants to be the one to read the 1,000th book.

human race

Is There Really a Human Race?, by Jamie Lee Curtis, is a good book. (I’m running out of synonyms here!). I read it to my class to help them understand that, even though we look different, we’re all the same.

take a kiss to school

Take a Kiss to School, by Angela McAllister, will help those children who don’t want to go to school because they’re afraid their moms will miss them too much. So, the mom in the story comes up with a way to reassure her daughter that she’ll be okay while she’s at school. She fills her daughter’s pockets full of kisses so she can take them out and use them when she needs it. Somehow the mom manages to make it through the day without her daughter. It kinda’ reminds me of my separation anxiety from Phillise when she went to school. Cute! Very cute!

tightrope poppyTIGHTROPE POPPY the High-Wire Pig, by Sudipta Bardhan-Quallen, was a sweet little book about following your dreams. This book is a must read for anyone who dreams of a career path out of the ordinary. Poppy wants to be a tightrope artist. Even though this is not the typical thing that a pig does, she decides to leave home and follow her dreams. The circus owner welcomes her aboard and tells her to practice. She tells him that she doesn’t need practice. When her big day comes, she falls in front of everyone. She is so embarrassed that she wants to quit but she doesn’t. She takes the owner’s advice and practices. When she gets her chance again, she is the hit of the show. All of her practice and perseverance pays off. The message- You can do anything you want to do. Live your dream.

I Hate to Read by Rita Marshall,I hate to read was a book I received straight from the publisher to review in advance. I liked it. In the book the title character, Victor, is a good kid, but he was a victim of the “I Hate to Read” syndrome. He hates to read. That is until he meets the crocodile in the white coat who introduces him to the many adventures he can experience in a book. Trust me, your students will love it. By the time you finish reading the book, some of your students may very well learn to love reading. Check it out!

Inspired Me!

I am so inspired. I got a dose of inspiration from last weekend’s Los Angeles Black Book Expo. There were many authors & wanna-be authors there. I am one of them. One of the key things that inspired me was this psychologist/writer/publisher from Texas (I cannot remember her name right now). She gave a workshop on finding your true writing style based on your personality. I have to say that it was spot on. She basically told me about myself, books I like to read and write, and how I write them from the personality inventory I filled out.

SHUT UP!! She even told me that I was a procrastinator. I am! And one thing, in particular, that I’ve been procrastinating on is getting my book published that I wrote 2 years ago. I wanted it to be a picture book, but it’s more suited for a young adult novel.

First of all, the story that I want to publish, began as an essay for one of my classes @ APU. My professor loved it. Once I thought about it, I loved it too. It was a pretty great little story to have been written in two days. It was quite good. Good enough to be published. I’ve let others read the story and they’ve agreed also. However, I’ve been so nonchalant about polishing it off and getting Dakota to illustrate it, since he’s such a fantastic artist.

So, I spoke with the publisher about my lack of inspiration in getting it published. Since she’s a psychologist also, I asked her why I do that. She told me. So, now I’m trying to get up the inspiration to get the story together and send it off to the publisher.

Sam & Dakota are out the house, so it’s kinda’ peaceful. I might start tonight. How ’bout that? How ’bout now?

Books To Read The Second Week Of School, Part 2

stand_tallStand Tall, Molly Lou Mellon, by Patty Lovell, is a great book about self-esteem. Molly Lou Mellon has teeth nearly as big as her head, she sounds like a bull frog, and she’s the shortest kid in her class. However, none of that stops her from believing in herself. She learned it from her dear old grandma-LOVE YOURSELF NO MATTER WHAT! Some students will identify with Molly, who’s the underdog who triumphs in the end.

Secret of the Peaceful Warrior, by Dan Millman, was a fantastic book. peaceful warriorMy students loved it. One of my students even asked if I could buy him one (I did!). He wanted to earn it. Why did my students love it so much? Well, the book deals with bullying, friendship, and turning negatives into positives. The book begins as the title character, Danny, meets an older gentleman by the name of Socrates while he’s running from a bully. It’s kinda’ like a Karate kid book. Socrates teaches Danny about the peaceful warrior. A contradiction? I know. Read it and you’ll understand.

peabodyMr. Peabody’s Apples, by Madonna, was quite impressive. This led me to wonder if she wrote it, herself, or if she had someone ghost write it for it. Anyway!I loved this book. It deals with gossiping and its harmful effects. I read it to my students because of all the gossiping my students were doing. In the book, Mr. Peabody is the victim of vicious gossip. He teaches the perpetrator a lesson he’ll never forget.

The Color Of Us, by Karen Katz, is a book to read eventhe color of us in a homogeneous environment (I don’t know where that exists). Itcelebrates the different colors of everyone. It shows us how we’re alike, and how we’re different.

a child is a childA Child is a Child, by Brigitte Weninger, is a wonderful book to build a sense of community. It shows that you can love someone who doesn’t look like you. My students loved it. They almost didn’t get the point I was trying to make, at first. At the time I read this book, there was a lot of name calling going on in my classroom. Once I finished the book, the students were really quiet. I asked them if they thought the idea of a mouse, who’s gray, raising frogs that are green was silly. Initially they answered yes. However, after a discussion, they agreed that it didn’t matter what color everyone was, as long as the animals (kids) were taken care of.

Mission Impossible Assignment # 3: School Shopping On A Budget

Okay, all you shoppers out there. Boy, do I have an assignment for you: School Shopping on a budget. Should you choose to accept this assignment, you may encounter a store full of shoppers, some rude, some not. You may also stop and park @ several locations looking for the perfect deal. Well, lucky for you I know where to shop for uniforms, so look no further. I’ve found the perfect place; at least it’s the perfect place to get school uniforms at unheard of prices.

Listen up. Here’s how the mission began and ended in one place. During the summer I received a notice from Phillise’s school stating that uniforms are now mandatory. The only requirement, a navy blue or white shirt with any color bottom. Yeah! That means waaaaay less money I have to spend.

Since I knew I had a nearly impossible mission (less than $200 for 2 children) and funds are low, I decided to run to FALLAS PAREDES’ warehouse. I knew I’d find great deals there. I always do.

Was I right fellow shoppers? Yep, I sure was. I got the same deal as last year: a grey jumper & a burgundy jumper for $1 each. Yep, you read right- $1 for the jumpers. So, I got her 2 grey ones, 1 burgundy one, a navy blue skort (@ $6.99), and 3 white uniform shirts @ $1.99 each, for a grand total (after taxes) of $17.52.

@ Target, I bought 20 pairs of underwear, 6 camis & 20 pairs of socks for a grand total of $26.32. @ Old Navy, 2 weeks ago, I bought some white sneakers with black polka dots for $10.97.

So, for Phillise’s sneakers, uniforms, underwear & socks, I paid a grand total of:

$17.52 + $10.97 + $26.32= $54.81

Having only 2 children to buy school clothes is so much easier since they both wear uniforms. David even has some from last school year. I will recycle @ least 2 shirts and 1 pair of pants. So, fellow shoppers, did I accomplish my impossible assignment of school shopping for 2 children for $200 or less? Well, that remains to be seen since I still have to buy David’s shoes, uniform pants, and shirts. However, last year, I simply went to Big 5 for the shoes. Looks like I’ll be going there again this year. I will keep you posted.

If you’d like to visit the warehouse, here’s the information.


15001 S. Figueroa St.

Gardena, CA 92048


Don’t believe it, check it out for yourself.

P.S.- I am seriously going to take pics of Phillise in her uniforms and I will scan my receipt from Fallas Paredes.