Wednesday, April 26, 2017

New OTTER Award Titles for 2018

Announcing the 2017-2018 WLA OTTER Award Nominees

The OTTER Award – Our Time To Enjoy Reading – is sponsored by the Washington Library Association: School Libraries Division.  A newer award established in 2015, the committee is pleased to announce the 2017-2018 nominated titles.  

  • The Bad Guys: Episode 1 by Aaron Blabey (Scholastic Inc.)
  • Lola Levine Is Not Mean! by Monica Brown, illustrated by Angela Dominguez (Little, Brown)
  • The Great Pet Escape (Pets on the Loose) by Victoria Jamieson (Macmillan/Henry Holt)
  • The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Matt Myers (Candlewick)
  • I am Jane Goodall by Brad Meltzer, illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos (Penguin/Dial)
  • All Paws On Deck (Haggis and Tank Unleashed) by Jessica Young, illustrated by James Burks (Scholastic Inc.)

The goal of the OTTER Award is to highlight titles that encourage children to continue reading as they transition from picture books to longer chapter books.  Our motto is “books kids like, not books adults think kids should like”, and student feedback is taken into consideration when selecting the nominees.  A maximum of six titles are selected each year.  Nominated books should include developmentally-appropriate content, vocabulary, layout, and appeal.  Voting occurs in late April, and children should read at least two of the titles on the list. The winning title is announced in May.  For more information, please visit

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Ranger in Time Series

The Ranger in Time Series by Kate Messner is a wonderfully accessible historical fiction series with a dog as the main character, and you know, kids love dogs.  If you are looking for a step up from Magic Tree House, but your student is not quite ready for heavier historical fiction, then this should be on your list to read.  Ranger is a loveable, yet flawed, dog, who just wants to do his job and go home.  He went through all of his search and rescue training, but failed because he couldn't stop chasing those squirrels! When he find a mysterious first aid kit in the garden one day, he puts it on and travels back to 1850 where he helps a family traveling on the Oregon Trail. All of his training is put to use as the family meets up with many hardships along the trail, and Ranger helps out with them all.

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In the second book, Ranger travels back to Ancient Rome and finds himself in a gladiator school with a young slave that is trying to help train a reluctant gladiator.  Ranger does his best to to help the young boy including confronting a lion and rescuing someone from a burning building.

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In this third book, Ranger finds himself helping two young runaway slaves to find freedom.  They travel many miles, and Ranger must be brave to stand up to the angry slave hunters and even wolves.

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At the end of every story, there comes a time when Ranger's first aid kit starts to call him back, and Ranger knows that he has completed his job.  The kids in the story seem to understand that Ranger must go and give him a small token to remember.  When he returns to present day, he keeps his gifts and the first aid kit safely stored under his blanket, until next time.

I am excited to share these with students, and I especially enjoyed the afterword by the author where she shared how she researched for each book and found inspiration.

Look for the first Ranger in Time, Rescue on the Oregon Trail, on the the WLMA OTTER Award list for 2016-2017.

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

Top 10 Circulated Picture Books

I am completely stealing this idea from Travis Jonker,, but I was intrigued by the idea of being honest with myself and the world (wide web) about what books my students really check out time and again.  So here is the list for my school.

10. MY NEW FRIEND IS SO FUN! by Mo WIllems

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9. I'M A FROG! by Mo Willems

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And now for something different..

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5. LET'S GO FOR A DRIVE! by Mo Willems

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4. I BROKE MY TRUNK! by Mo Willems

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3. WAITING IS NOT EASY! by Mo Willems

I guess it is not going to be a sweep for Mr. Willems this year.

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2. GREEN EGGS AND HAM by Dr. Seuss

And the Number One Picture Book for 2016 is...

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1. DON'T LET THE PIGEON DRIVE THE BUS! by (who else) Mo Willems

Maybe you can tell that I love Mo Willems' books, and I am super excited that he will be in Seattle next Thursday, June 9 at Elliott Bay Books!