Saturday, June 18, 2011

Books Made Into Movies--A Great List

Just a quick visit to your favorite search engine will net you several different lists of children's and YA books that have been made into movies. Heck, I've got a running list posted on the right of this blog. Tonight, I was tickled to find a list that has a lot more going for it. If you have a little free time, take a look.

So, why bother with yet another list? This one goes beyond being "just another list" because it is a collaborative work-in-progress that includes:
1. Titles of both the books and the movies (when the two differ)
2. Dates of the different movie versions (and wow! that was an eye opener!)
3. Links to more information

Just a note about wikis in general--Wikis are handy tools and great forums for allowing many people to combine their knowledge into one virtual location. That said, a few words of caution may be in order, especially if you are unfamiliar with wikis in general, or Wikipedia in particular. Wikipedia seems to be doing a nice job of labeling articles that may need more work, however, because there are often so many different contributors, there are differing degrees of detail and accuracy. Some links may take you to entries with a large amount of information, complete with references. Others may take you to entries that are little more than place holders, holding only the name of a book or movie, and waiting for some enterprising soul to fill in the gaps. In cases like these, if you find yourself wanting more information about any of the movies that are listed, you can always take at look at the Internet Movie Database, aka IMDb, at

I warn you, a visit to this list or to IMDb may lead you into a lengthy trip down memory lane. Grab some popcorn and enjoy!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Great Kapok Tree by Lynne Cherry

Two men walk into the rainforest, one leaving the other to begin chopping down one of the great kapok trees. The man chops at the roots of the tree but soon tires. He sits down to rest and soon falls asleep to be visited by denizens of the rainforest, whispering in his ear the many reasons why he should spare the great tree. Will he continue to chop down the tree? Would you?
If you use this story as a read-aloud, be sure to share it using a document camera to really take advantage of the amazingly detailed, beautiful picture spreads. Be sure to spend some time on the endpapers. Some of my students really got into seeing how many creatures they could find and identify on each spread, kind of like a Where's Waldo or an I Spy.
A quick search with your favorite search engine will give you lots of ideas for using this story for a wide variety of lessons--easily adaptable for a wide range of age groups. Be sure to take a moment on the author's bio blurb on the book flap and visit the author's website at

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Mud Puddle by Robert Munsch

Jule Ann is a little girl with a big problem--every time she goes outside, a Mud Puddle jumps on her head! She gets mud in her ears, mud in her eyes and even mud in her nose and each time, she has to take a bath and get dressed all over again. After several baths and clothes changes, Jule Ann decides to try a new strategy--wearing a raincoat outside. To see if she's ever able to go outside without a mud puddle ambush, be sure to read this one (& don't forget the sound effects!)

(This book is available on Tumblebooks and it has been a sure-fire crowd-pleaser with my students. The kids LOVE the sound effects Robert Munsch (who reads this story on Tumblebooks) makes when he reads about cleaning out Jule's ears and nose.) If you're a fan of Robert Munsch, be sure to visit his website at You can click and drag on the book covers and see what he has to say about the book or hear him read the book out loud. Way cool.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Crayon Box That Talked by Shane Derolf, illustrated by Michael Leitzig

Have you ever been teased? Made fun of because of some esoteric difference--be it clothes, hair, accent, height, weight, what you bring for lunch, being "too smart", being "dumb"? Regardless the comparison that's being used, do you remember how it made you feel? Well, this story, may just help remind us all about the Golden Rule.

The many-hued crayons in this crayon box simply do not get along--teasing, arguing, treating each other poorly--until a savvy little girl buys the box, takes it home, and uses each of the colors to draw a picture.

The final lines, combined with the changes in those oh-so-expressive crayon faces (kudos to Mr. Leitzig for this), provide a simple but powerful catalyst for thought and for discussion.

"We are a box of crayons,
Each one of us unique.
But When we get together...
The picture is complete."

Enjoy this title as a short and sweet read aloud that may just help a child realize that differences are to be celebrated--not mocked or feared. Or use your favorite search engine to explore some of the many different lesson plans out there to make this title a catalyst for discussions of the Golden Rule, prejudice, bullying and tolerance. You might be surprised at who this story may help. One of my favorite memories from last school year? The big grin from one of my very shy ESL students as she checked this title out after a wonderful student-driven discussion after we read this story. Another bonus? The book can be a great lead-in to discussing how we can determine moods and feelings based on facial expression--and seeing the expressions on crayons helped to make this story one that any student, regardless of their own personal differences, can relate to.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Books & Quilts

One of my teachers has a great project that she does each year with her students. They create a book quilt, a design made on paper with student-drawn pictures based on books they've read. Each student's book quilt reflects what they've read--for class, for fun. What a wonderful idea! Made me think of my own virtual book quilt--me. My life, made up of all the bits and pieces, new and old, books read, memories shared--and how my own book quilt is ever changing--evolving with each new book read, story told, experience. I'm no poet, but these thoughts, these pictures in my mind, led me to write the following--an attempt to explain these thoughts.

Books & Quilts--Life Design

Scraps of old favorites--
shirts, skirts, pants,
Stories shared
Memories of times past.

Bits of new-found fabrics--
colors catch the eye-
New-found treasure,
Stories to be.

Cut. Shaped. Pieced.
Beauty and comfort
Old and new
Bound together

New design,
New purpose,
Life enriched.

Piper Reed, Navy Bratt by Kimberly Willis Holt

A series I will be happy to recommend to my readers who are fans of Junie B., Amber Brown, & Judy Moody. As the story opens, Piper's mother (an artist) and the Chief(Piper's father, a Navy mechanic)announce to their 3 daughters that they will be moving from their home in California to Pensacola, Florida. As a career Navy family, this isn't the first time that the Reeds have moved, but this move hits Piper hard. The Reed home in California was their first ever that wasn't on-base and their first where Piper was able to have a tree house and her own club--The Gypsy Club. Will she be able to make new friends? A new club? Even if there is no tree house? And what about school? What if her teacher asks her to read in front of the class? Piper is dyslexic. Add to these worries the fact that her father will be leaving for a 6-month tour and you can see that Piper has a lot on her plate. But maybe, living near the home base of the Blue Angels, Piper Reed, Navy Brat, can find her new place in their new home.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Generation Dead by Daniel Waters

If you pick this book up expecting a "typical" zombie story (hordes of shuffling undead slogging about, losing body parts and eating brains), you'll be disappointed. This isn't that kind of zombie book. In fact, it's not really a zombie book at all. It's a YA story of teens dealing with school, family, friends and the drama and humor that can be so overwhelming under even the most "normal" of circumstances. What makes this story different is that "normal", at least in the U.S. now includes dead teens who aren't. Dead. Well, not exactly. For some reason (and theories abound), some teens in the U.S. have simply not stayed dead. They're not exactly alive, and certainly not the same as they once were, but they're walking, talking, and yes, going back to school.

This story takes the reader outside the bounds of differences based on skin color, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or any of the other myriad things that often make someone a target of bigots and bullies and puts discrimination into terms of life and un-life--made real by characters who are interesting and situations (barring the whole undead thing) that most everyone can relate to on some level.

Thought-provoking, interesting, and left me wanting to know more.