Monday, September 10, 2018

Back To School

Back To School

It is so exciting to be back to school with students in the building.  Specials didn't have classes these first few days, due to early release. I did have groups of tours come through and loved seeing their excitement. 

Students got a big whale-come as they entered the library.

At the end of the first day with students are staff was worn out but happy.

This week we will go over manners and expectations. In the library we will share the book The Library Lion by Michelle Knudson. We also read this week Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak and we created our very own Wild Thing Crowns. We talked about the connections to our mural on the library wall and what connections we could make to the book.

Kindergarten also, shared Tuesday by David Wiesner and Chalk by Bill Thomson as we talked about picture reading. Then we checked out books for the first time.

We started working on our names and we read Chrysanthemum By Kevin Henkes and Bill and Pete by Tomie DePaola.

In first grade we also shared the Library Lion and went over the manners and expectations in the library. We read the stories Mrs. Watson Wants Your Teeth and created our own books.

Welcome back to school friends,

Mrs. Shamhart

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

A Visit From Clifford In The Library

Clifford Made A Visit To Kennedy Library

What a fun day it was to have a visit from Clifford. Every class took a photo and every student took an individual photo with Clifford. We were all so excited to see our storybook character come to life right in our very own library.  Bringing literature to life is so much fun for our students.

Fall Has Arrived

We welcome fall with a 90 degree day. I am looking forward to the cooler temps.
I already have my fall reading list planned and my weekends are jammed full of fall activities
until Thanksgiving.  I am posting my fall bucket list with you and we will be discussing some of the fall activities we are most looking forward to this coming week.

My Reading Reviews

 You is written from the male perspective and was quite entertaining (Joe is insane). Joe Goldberg is the epitome of unbalanced. His addiction and compulsion with women, especially Beck, was beyond intriguing.

While the second person point of view definitely delivers an intimate and intricate feel. This point of view gave readers the first hand insight into the mindset of our male lead.

Joe is infatuated with Beck. After their first meeting he begins stalking Beck. He steals her phone and starts retrieving messages and viewing messages she has sent. Joe is able to find out everything he wants to know about her through social media. 

Joe goes to some dark places to keep Beck close. 

This is a psychological thriller that won't let you down. This is a re-read for me and I enjoyed it just as much this time through as I did the first time I read it.  ***** Stars.


After I finished reading You by Caroline Kepnes I had to read Doctor Sleep By Stephen King as it was often referenced in Kepnes' book. As a fan of The Shining, I wondered from time to time what would have become of the fictional Danny Torrance and was pleased King decided to let his readers know. Danny is now an adult who drifts from place to place, using alcohol and drugs to dull his psychic gift. Guided by his invisible childhood friend Tony, he eventually settles in a small New England town, gets clean and begins working for a hospice, where he earns the nickname Doctor Sleep for his ability to help those dying pass over. A young girl named Abra Stone reaches out psychically to Danny from time to time and they become friends. He is unaware of a band of human parasites called the True Knot who travel the country in an RV caravan searching and feeding on children with psychic gifts until this band targets Abra, whose powers are stronger than even Danny's. Danny finds himself thrown into a battle for Abra's soul in the place of his nightmares, the site of the Overlook Hotel.

 Any Dream Will Do by Debbie Macomber

 Many of you that read my blog know that I really enjoy Debbie Macomber. Her books are easy to read and often feel like home to me. I don't miss a book. I often pre-order her books just to make sure I get them as soon as possible. This book was sent to me by my OTSP Secret Sister. This is a swap group I am a part of and have shared about the group in previously.

This is a wonderful read about Shay Benson. She adored her younger brother, Caden, and that got her into trouble. When he owed money, Shay realized she would do anything to help him avoid the men who were threatening him, and she crossed lines she never should have crossed. Now, determined to start fresh, she finds herself in search of a place to stay and wanders into a church to escape from the cold.

Pastor Drew Douglas adored his wife. But when he lost her, it was all he could do to focus on his two beautiful kids, and his flock came in a distant third. Now, as he too is thinking about a fresh start, he walks through his sanctuary and finds Shay sitting in a pew.

The pair strike up a friendship. Drew helps Shay get back on her feet, and she reignites his sense of purpose—that, over time, turns into something deeper, something soulful, spiritual, and possibly romantic. Even Drew’s two children are taken with this woman who has brought light back into their lives. Perhaps most important, Shay learns to trust again as she, in turn, proves herself trustworthy to her adopted community.

 Currently Reading

The River of No Return by Bee Ridgeway,
 I just started reading this book it is fantasy and romance.  I love the time travel aspect and I'm looking forward to reading more.

 Best Day Ever by Kaira Rouda
This is another psychological thriller. This book I am reviewing but I have been anxiously awaiting its recent release.

Kid Lit Exchange:

I am a reviewer for Kid Lit Exchange and I am currently reviewing The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser
Happy Reading!
Mrs. Shamhart

Monday, September 18, 2017

Showing That Our Character Counts

Character Education Day:

This week we had a fun filled day of Character education. With rotations to support respect, responsibility, caring, honesty and citizenship. In the library we worked on caring and sharing a few books. Horton Hatches The Egg By Dr. Seuss and How To Heal A Broken Wing by Bob Graham. Both of these books are wonderful examples of caring for our young students.  I was pleasantly surprised by our discussions after each book. Our students made some great connections to our caring character trait. We also watched a short video to promote honesty and trustworthiness. After the video we had a recess break and enjoyed popsicles outside.
(My favorite quote during character ed. day)

In The library:

This week we worked on an author study of Tomie DePaola and enjoyed Strega Nona and some of her stories, in our first grade classes. Next week we will make some birthday cards for Tomie DePaola and mail them to him. (He always writes us back). Kinder classes heard the stories of Bill and Pete and oh what fun they were.

Our Fall Reading Challenge was sent home this week as it starts on September 15th - December 15th.
Adults can also participate and if you are going to join in on the fun send me a message and the bottom of this post or send me a note to school. Anyone can join in on the fun.

Reviews from Kid Lit Exchange Network:

Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of these books - all opinions are my own

Cursed Legacy by Anna K. Lane
This book was offered through Kid Lit Exchange I was told it was sci-fi but it is so much more than that. It's fantasy, YA and dystopian. It has mystery, adventure even a bit of romance and magic.This is the first book in the series Aeterna Chronicals. I can honestly say I am hooked. Kallum Farron is a 17 year old boy living on the planet Levitar a world under a dome. He is a bakers apprentice and aspires for more. He wants a relationship with Yadira and aspires to work in the control center. When he takes a test that could offer him the opportunity to make this all happen...Something goes very wrong and a cascade of strange events plagues him and the dome in which they reside. He is on a journey to save the world of Levitar. He will need to find out the secrets of his past and his own identity. I found it difficult to put this book down. 

Halfway Normal by Barbara Dee
Is about a girl who returns to school after two years of cancer treatment. Barbara Dee's ability to capture the voice of children and their perception of parents and adults is both spot on and insightful.
Norah made many mistakes in this story but I found myself cheering her on throughout.

The element of Greek mythology (which I love) was neatly woven in such a way that it correlated to  Norah's journey perfectly. I can appreciate the amount of research that needed to go into this book to make that seem so effortless. 

This book is for all readers, it has something for everyone. I found myself laughing, shaking my head and empathizing. It is funny, heartfelt and inspiring. It should be in all middle school classrooms and libraries. I simply loved it.

Bubbles by Abby Cooper

This is a wonderful middle school read, I actually think 4-8th graders would love it. It is another win for author  Abby Cooper. If you are a fan of Sticks and Stones you won't be disappointed in Bubbles
Sophie Mulvaney is 12 years old and has had her life turned upside down. Mom has lost her job and her boyfriend, Sophie feels responsible. Sophie is surrounded by thoughtful and supportive adults,
her teacher, neighbor and therapist. Sophie begins seeing the therapist after she starts seeing peoples thoughts, which are displayed in bubbles over their heads. This is fun, fast paced read you will fall in love with.                                                                                                                      

Happy Reading,
Tula Shamhart

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Books, Fall Swaps, and a Reading Challenges

 Pumpkin Spice Latte

Hard to believe but it is already that time of season and I had my first Pumpkin Spice Latte from Starbucks. What? Really? Already!

Reading Challenge:

I promised to share here on the blog the reading challenge once I had it prepared. I will be passing this out to students this week. 

3 Months
14 Books
1 Challenge

September 15-December 15

 This reading challenge is  for students and adults alike...It is supposed to be fun but also challenging. For me it will definitely be a challenge. Leave me comments or posts if you will be joining in on the fun. I would love to know what you are reading. Kiddo's can earn a special reward for completing this challenge. All they have to do is turn in the titles of the books they read or had read to them at home to qualify.


1. Read a book written by an author you have never read before.

2. Read a book you already have at home but haven't gotten around to yet.

3. Read a book about a dog as the main character. (ex:Clifford's Manners)

4. Read  a book about a career you are interested in (Ex: Firefighters Fight Fires)

5. Read a book with a color word in the title. (ex: Red Are The Apples)

6. Read a book with a number word in the title.  (ex: The Three Little Pigs)

7. Read a Dr. Seuss Book

8. Read a holiday book (any holiday)

9. Read a book about the tooth fairy

10. Re-read a book you enjoyed.

11.Read a book about the fall.

12. Read 3 books from three different genres (ex: Picture book, Mystery, Fairy tale)


1. Read a book written by an author you have never read before

2. Read a book you already have at home but haven't gotten around to yet:

3. Read a book written in the decade you were born

4. Read a book that takes place in the state/province you were born ( I was born in Illinois)

5. Read a book titled The ____'s Daughter or The ____'s Wife 

6. Read a book originally written in a language other than English

7. Read a book with a number in the title. It could be an actual digit or a number like "hundred" or "thousand." No arbitrary numbers allowed (several, few, many, ect.)

8. Read a book set during Christmas or another winter holiday

9. Read a book recommended from a friend. (I would be happy to recommend one to you)

10. Read a Pulitzer Prize winner or finalist for fiction. 

11. Re-Read a book

12. Read three books from three different genres (one book for each genre)
Mystery/ Romance/ YA  or any other genres


Many of you know that I am in many swaps through the reading circles I am in. I have met and acquired many friends through these circles. Friends that are teachers, librarians, bloggers, authors, parents and students. All with a love of books and reading.

I am in a six month swap called OTSP Secret Sister which is a swap by the wonderful ladies over at On The Same Page. This is my 5th session in this group and I have made friends all over the country with this group. It runs much like a secret santa type swap. We send a package to our secret sister once a month. Sometimes we find out who are pal is but I enjoy trying to figure out who it is over time with clues from our pal. We write letters and communicate each month as well. These relationships are quite a blessing.
My August swap package from my 
Secret Sister

Cozy up and Read swap

 is a swap is a swap I absolutely love, by a friend over at A Reader in Love. In this swap we pick a book we want to share and 2 books from our swap buddy's list. A Reader in Love has these books swap throughout the year. I try to get involved with each and every one. I have met some amazing people and created some lasting friendships through this swap. I will share my Cozy up and read package when it arrives.

I'm Currently Reading

I have a few books I am starting right now. 

I am reading Into The Water By Paula Hawkins

I am also listening to Any Dream Will Do By Debbie Macomber

Happy Reading,
Tula Shamhart

Welcome September

 Welcome September...

Where did summer go?

Gerry Brooks:

Many of you have seen Gerry Brooks on social media. His school oriented videos bring to light some of the many things, teachers and school staff deal with, in a school setting. He is just funny. Over the weekend my friend and I went to see him on his Hall Pass Tour.

My Friend Susan McConnell and Gerry Brooks
My purchase at the show.
Kind People are my kind of people.

In the library

All students will be checking out books this first week of September.
Letters were sent home with students to remind parents of check out days. Monday and Wednesday for our 1st graders and Monday and Thursday for our Kindergarten classes.

Mrs. Berns first graders
 on their first check out day of the school year. 

Mrs. Brunner's Kindergarten class
on their first check out day of the school year.

 Mrs. Willey's Kindergarten Class
complete with crowns from our story
 Where The Wild Things Are
By Maurice Sendak

We also have had the first opportunity to go to our Golden Ticket Store. The Golden Ticket Store is an incentive program we use in our school and in our grade schools. Students earn golden tickets for good behavior. Once a week or once every other week students will come to the library to spend their tickets on prizes. Things offered at the store are snacks, books, bookmarks, pencils, pencil top erasers, pencil grippers, gel pens, small notebooks, puzzles, crayons, color books, water bottles, crayon boxes and pencil bags.
Mrs. Berven's First Grade Class
with their purchases from the 
Golden Ticket Store

Read Aloud Reviews

I enjoy lending my view on books in general. I hope one of these books make it into your hands and enables you to share it with a kiddo you love. Trust me they won't be disappointed. 

toys go out

Toys Go Out This is the first book in a trilogy about a group of toys and their adventures in and out of a girl’s bedroom. The three main toys are Lumphy the buffalo, StingRay, and Plastic, a bouncy ball.  Author Emily Jenkins has a wonderful knack for transferring their emotions, anxieties and joys of childhood experiences and discoveries onto the toys. There is a lot of humor in the book, too, as the toys engage in gentle absurdities, such as when Lumphy intentionally dips himself in peanut butter so he can visit his friend the Washer in the basement, or when Plastic tries to discover just exactly what she is. Readers with a joy and wonder of the incredible (such as myself) will especially enjoy Jenkins’ writing.

my father's dragon

  My Father's Dragon Yes, this trilogy of books is on the top of my book list to recommend. I include it here because, frankly, it always takes me by surprise that I still meet people who have never heard of My Father’s Dragon.  Not everyone has had equal exposure to children’s books ( like myself). This is my number one recommendation for a very first chapter read aloud. I am not exaggerating when I say we have read all three books several times. The story follows Elmer, who runs aways with a knapsack full of assorted items like rubber bands and lollipops. He is on a mission to rescue a baby dragon, but he can only do so if he is clever enough to get past a bunch of rather self-absorbed wild animals. It is that good.

8 class pets

  8 Class Pets + 1 Squirrel + 1Dog =Chaos This summer,  I read this read aloud to a group of 1st-3rd graders and the kids laughed so hard during the reading of  this story. The book begins when a dog chases a squirrel into a nearby elementary school. The squirrel runs from classroom to classroom leaving chaos in its wake. Each chapter is narrated in the first person by the various class pets that inhabit the classrooms. The pets range from hamsters to snakes to fish to birds and getting their different perspectives on the ruckus and life in a school is extremely entertaining to say the least.

  The Story of Diva and Flea is a delightfully charming new early chapter book by Mo Willems and illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi. I recently added this book to our collection in the library because first of all who doesn't love Mo Willems and honestly the story is amazing tale of adventure and friendship. In Paris, the adventurous Flea convinces the intimidated Diva to take a trip around the city to explore the wonder of life outside on the streets. Then Diva assures Flea that inside an apartment isn’t so scary and the two friends embrace how much greater their world is now, for knowing each other.

Happy Reading,
Mrs. Shamhart

Monday, August 28, 2017

Back To The Library

Back To School

Back to school is a very hectic time, not only for parents and teachers but also for students. It can be
an exciting time but it is definitely a busy time for all. Remember that getting our kiddo's back to their fall schedules will help a lot.

Sneak Peek At The Library

 Our new door decoration for back to school, our school store for good behavior is fully stocked, our library is ready for check out and our mural of Where The Wild Things Are was finished in May by our friend Mrs. Christine Frakes. She is simply amazing.

Plans for Library Lesson

This month is a month of getting to know each other. We will talk about expectations, manners and rules for school and the library. We will then discuss just how to take good care of our library books.
Kinders will learn how to picture read and finally, we will check out our first books.

List of back to school books I use in the library 

For our K-1 students for the first few weeks of school.

A Bad Case Of Stripes
No, David!
David Goes To School
David Gets In Trouble   By David Shannon

Minerva Louise 
Minerva Louise At School
A Friend For Minerva Louise
Minerva Louise and The Red Truck   By Janet Morgan Stoeke

Tuesday By David Wiesner
Chalk By Bill Thomson  

Clifford's Manners  By Norman Bridwell
You're Finally Here By Melanie Watt
If You Take A Mouse To School By Laura Numeroff

Reading Challenge

I'm working on a reading challenge for our students. I will be posting here as soon as it is complete.
I will have a challenge for students but also for adults that might be interested. I will send the challenge home with students, adult challenge will only be posted here on the blog.

My Summer Reading List

My last blog post I indicated that I would share my summer reading list and I did a lot of reading.
A few of these titles were sent to me through Kid Lit Exchange or through publishers or authors.






I hope these titles will spark your interest.

Happy Reading,

Tula Shamhart