Book Jacket Illustrator Crush


I have a book crush. Not just one book. Lots. I didn’t even realize it at first. I bought Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier when it came out and loved the cover. Looked intensely at the cover. Never looked to see the creator of the cover though. When The Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein came out, I bought that book because of the cover. Loved that cover. Never looked at who designed that cover. (and PS, I LOVE the stories within these books too!)

Then, I received an ARC of The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein at the NCTE conference this past November. I saw the cover and thought, “this looks like the same cover designer!” And that’s when I looked and saw who it was that designed these charming, silhouette-featuring, beautiful, detailed (I could go on and on) covers. Gilbert Ford.

I have a book cover/illustrator crush on Gilbert Ford. It has become a scavenger hunt now. I will go into book stores and scan over books and see something that sticks out to me as looking familiar. I pick up the book, open to see the cover designer, and there is his name. I buy the book. And, wait! What’s that? Could it be? Another book designed by Gilbert Ford? Why, yes, yes it is! I must have it! So, I indulge.

And what’s better than a cover design? A full blown picture book illustrated by Gilbert Ford! My nerd is showing, isn’t it?? Mr. Ferris and His Wheel written by Kathryn Gibbs Davis is fully illustrated by Gilbert Ford! I knew I had to have this book. I savored every page of his blue-purple illustrations with the contrasting orange-yellow throughout. I love this book. My class loved this book. We love Gilbert Ford’s illustration style.

About two weeks ago my class received a shipment of Kate Messner’s newest middle grade book, All the Answers. One of my students said, “Miss Palmer? I think the same person who created the Lemoncello book cover, created this cover too.” So, we opened it up. Yep. Gilbert Ford. My students are recognizing illustrations based on style. That is so cool!

If you would like to see how many books you may have that have covers designed by Gilbert Ford you can visit his website and click on “Portfolio” to see his work, especially the books that may be in the hands of your students or stingily sitting on your own bookshelves (like some of mine! Book crush, OK?!)

Now, as you can see, I haven’t posted something in a while but something sparked me to write up this post. When I was checking my Twitter feed, I saw this tweet.

It made me think about how I give credit to authors in my tweets but don’t always fit the illustrator on most times. I need to try harder because it takes a lot of people to make a book special from the front cover to the back. This idea of #PicturesMeanBusiness makes me realize that yes, I do buy books based off of the covers. I do buy books because of the illustrators, too. I also buy books because of the editors or publisher. It’s like the lead singer of a band- we need the lead singer and we also need to remember the “band” behind creating a book into real life.

So, now you know my book cover/illustrator crush. Who is yours? I’d love to know I’m not alone in my extreme nerdiness!


Monday Reading + New Book Tuesday Mash-Up

Monday Reading

So, one post is better than nothing, right?!

As far as my plans for this week’s reading, I have to include my new purchases!

Weekly reading plans:

* Finish Flora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo- I know, I know. I’ve been putting it off because I know I’m going to love it and not want it to end. I know you’ve done this, too my nerdy friends!

* Finish A Year Without Autumn by Liz Kessler. I started this as a part of the #vbcbooks (Virtual Book Club) and fell asleep and missed the chat. I will read the archive when I finish the book!

* Finish Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin. Sigh. I love this book. I wrote about this book in my last post and I really did decide to do a book club featuring this book along with Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White and Small Steps: The Year I Got Polio by Peg Kehret. I think this will be a nice mixture of fiction and nonfiction and probably cause some inquiry projects to be started…

* Read The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney- So this is a new book purchase and I just started reading it ten minutes ago and it is SOOOOOO good. I hope that I can read this one with my fifth graders (we read A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park last year as a read-aloud) as I know they will love it HOWEVER, it was in the New Teen Fiction at Barnes & Noble so I’m a little worried. Fingers crossed that I can read it!

* I also plan on reading The Gorilla Doctors by Pamela S. Turner and The Watcher by Jeanette Winter to spark our research unit and focus in on scientists’ characteristics of observation and determination to really research and share with the world with my class.

* We are also reading The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm AND One for the Murphys by Linda Mullaly Hunt for the Global Read-Aloud #GRA14. Yep. I couldn’t pick between the two. I love them both. Can’t have favorites, right??

NEW Book Tuesday- What’s going in my classroom library this week:
-The Red Pencil by Andrea Davis Pinkney–had to get this book ASAP due to tweets that were happening about it plus loved A Long Walk to Water and thought this will be a good companion.

-The Rat by Elise Gravel- I absolutely think this series is awesome and hilarious and I was so excited to see the disgusting rat as the new critter being featured. My kids love them and I know we will be using these as mentor texts for our research mentioned above!

-pack of dorks by Beth Vrabel–I have not heard anything about this on any blog or tweet (unless I missed it because I do get overwhelmed!) but I saw origami animals and the title had the word “dork” so I pretty much felt like I needed to get it. Plus, on the back there are all of these quotes from authors that remind me of books like Wonder, Out of My Mind, Absolutely Almost, Mockingbird, … So, I’m taking a chance and I’m pretty sure I won’t be disappointed!

Aw, Nuts! by Rob McClurkan–picture book with a squirrel on the cover. Any of my students know that if it has a squirrel on it, Miss Palmer’s gonna buy it and read it aloud! I guess it’s a thing… Is it the year (or 2 years) of the squirrel?? There sure do seem to be as many books about squirrels as there are running around my back yard or getting themselves stuck in the garbage can with a too-big-piece-of-food-that-won’t-fit-out-of-the-hole-they-gnawed-in-it. Yes, they really did gnaw a hole to go in and out.


Anyway, that’s the plan and those are the new additions to my library. I know I will get a box with a bunch of new releases tomorrow so I’m super pumped about that!! I will just have to beat the UPS man to the door so that I can sneak that lovely package in…

Read on, readers!

New Book Tuesday: What’s Being Released into the Classroom Library


Going along with when books are published and the awesomely amazing Mr. Schu’s Book Release Calendar, I figured I would add my own book releases into my classroom library for the week. Chances are high that I will have at least a new book a week (even if I have to sneak them in the house and hide the receipts…or UPS man…).

This weekend, while waiting for my daughter at a friend’s birthday party, I shopped the local VoA and Goodwill for books and found some definite additions. I am also going to include why I bought them. If this helps you in some small way, I am glad!

This week’s purchases included:

Mr. Chickee’s Funny Money by Christopher Paul Curtis

-Love CPC books so I bought because of author brand

On the Run: Chasing the Falconer’s by Gordan Korman

-Have a couple in the series but didn’t have the first one!!

Flying Solo by Ralph Fletcher

-Already had a copy and now two kids can read and discuss together

Animals of the Rain Forest: Ants by Christy Steele

-We will be investigating the rain forest and ants is a part of our research so this fit in perfectly!

The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh

-one of my favorite science fiction books- see a copy, buy a copy!

Darth Paper Strikes Back by Tom Angleberger

-umm…hello, I have a rule that if I see a Tom Angleberger, I must buy it- treasure!!!

Island: Book Two by Gordan Korman

-Adding to the series collection for multiple readers

Freefall by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams

-Have Tunnels and Deeper and did not have the third in series- Score!!

Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix

-MPH is one of my favorite authors-haven’t read this one yet, author brand

43 Old Cemetery Road: Over My Dead Body by Kate Klise

-Have books in series, love this author and how she writes using different structures/formats, always buy

Skeleton Man by Joseph Bruchac

-Students read Eagle Song last year as fourth graders and liked this author, trying other books by author- this one seems scary so it’s going in the “Books To Give You Chills” bin for sure!

Baseball Great by Tim Green

-Love Tim Green, visited my school years ago, I love reading his books and so do kids so I will always buy his books when I see them!

No Talking by Andrew Clements

-I’m going to sound like a broken record but Andrew Clements is a long-time favorite. I have all of his books, rush out to get the new ones when they come out and will always buy hardcovers and this one was a hardcover so I snatched it up to add to the collection.

pictures of hollis woods by Patricia Reilly Giff

-I haven’t read this one myself- had a copy of it in the Newbery Honor bin and then read about it on Twitter from someone I follow that loves it- read the back and realized that it will be a follow-up read for students who loved One for the Murphys (Global Read Aloud) as themes are similar…that way students aren’t waiting and fighting over the book now that we are getting more copies!

2 copies of Stranded by Jeff Probst

-Students went crazy for this book and there is a waiting list but now two more students will be super pumped when they see 2 more copies!

Guys Write for Guys Read Edited by Jon Sciesczka

-Didn’t have this but have all of the Guys Read series. Can’t wait to share some as mentor texts and read-alouds and offer to uninspired readers to hook them!

Midnight for Charlie Bone by Jenny Nimmo

-Have a big group of students reading Harry Potter for the first time and I will recommend this as a “If you like HP, then you may like Midnight for Charlie Bone” because I know I did!

The Graduation of Jake Moon by Barbara Park

-Who doesn’t love Barbara Park books? Saw it, snatched it.

The Templeton Twins Have an Idea by Ellis Weiner

-Haven’t read it but was one I kept looking at so this time I bought it!

Hot Hand by Mike Lupica

-Adding to my Sports Fiction bin with some basketball books. Just because I stink at basketball doesn’t mean I won’t have kids who want to read about basketball.

Loser by Jerry Spinelli

-Had one copy, need 2. It’s Jerry Spinelli- author brand.

Fourth Grade Rats by Jerry Spinelli

-Read above.

The Twits by Roald Dahl
-My favorite Roald Dahl book. I love to cackle out loud when I read. And when I do, I am always reading The Twits.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by JK Rowling

-Can never have too many HPs

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

Dog in Charge by K.L. Going (illustrated by Dan Santat)

-Love Dan Santat’s illustrations first of all. Bonus that I love K.L. Going’s words that go along with it!!

Our Wild World: Sea Turtles by Lorraine A. Jay

-Have a student who wants to be a marine biologist…adding more aquatic animal books seems logical…:)

Our Wild World: Sharks by Laura Evert

-See above. Oh, and it is a book about sharks. Never a bad thing.

Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner (a extra special one that had a message written inside the back)

-One of the best books to really get into during read-aloud. And with an extra special message, I couldn’t resist!

Books that came in the mail this week:

Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin (see previous post)

-Read about from Twitter and blogs

Aliens on Vacation by Clete Barrett Smith

-Seemed interesting…

Kaliedoscope by Salina Yoon

-doing an Author Spotlight on Salina Yoon so wanted other books by her to cherish.

It’s Monday, What Am I Reading- September 29, 2014

Monday Reading

Blogging is still new to me and I am noticing that I am posting more in my head than I am actually posting in real life on the blog. So, it is Monday and I really, really, really do want to share what I will be reading this week.

The book that I just read in the few minutes I just had sparked me to write this post. I am only a chapter in. It’s that good.

The book is Fleabrain Loves Franny by Joanne Rocklin and it has my head and heart in a swirl. I knew it was going to have something to do with one of my all-time favorite classic give-it-as-a-present books, Charlotte’s Web but I didn’t know that it was going to lead me to do something else (like finally write another post!).

Here’s what happened while I read:

1) Stared admiringly at the cover (love the cover that goes around to the back) and hoped I wouldn’t spill or smudge on the beautiful paper that it is .

2) Opened it up to start reading and saw from the Contents that this was going to be a Historical Fiction-which I was not expecting but intrigued

3) The small little insect that is so life like I tried to brush it off of the paper. Yes, I really did.

4) Found out that Franny was in the Children’s Hospital and that

5) She had polio. I have a book bin titled “Diseases” with books about Dr. Salk and Polio and the Iron Lungs. I am completely thinking I have to read this book to kids and investigate Polio and the Iron Lung with them…

6) The nun, named Sister Ed, comes in like I do in my own classroom (heart is beaming!!) with a book that was just published named Charlotte’s Web to read aloud to Franny while she is in the Iron Lung.

Ok…so now I’m thinking, oh my gosh. I am going to have to read Charlotte’s Web, investigate polio with nonfiction texts and read aloud Fleabrain Loves Franny. I am now going to offer an afterschool club. I don’t know what it will be called but it will involve these books. Maybe it will be called “Some Books” :).

Just when I thought I knew which books I was going to share with my class for read-alouds, writers continue to foil my plans with their stories that just begged to be shared and discussed and loved. But, seriously, I hope the writers never stop.


Other books I am reading:

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (trying not to read this one too fast…)

Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo

Just finished: Half a World Away by Cynthia Kadohata


It Is/ Was Monday, What am I Reading…

book list

So, I’ve always loved reading the book meme “It’s Monday, What Are You Reading” which I first started following on Jen Vincent’s blog Teach Mentor Texts. I thought this was a great idea as a way to share titles as well as to set goals. This is something I would like to try with kids maybe using Kidblog. We’ll see how that goes!

I know I am an hour or so after the “Monday” deadline but I would rather post this late than never because I am notorious for getting myself off the hook!

So, here goes my list (it’s still summer/no school so it will be a long one!):

Fiction Picture Books:

Sock Monkey Boogie-Woogie A Friend is Made by Cece Bell

Bee Wigged by Cece Bell

Sock Monkey Rides Again by Cece Bell

Oh No! Not Again! (Or How I Built A Time Machine To Save History) (Or At Least My History Grade) by Mac Barnett Illustrated by Dan Santat

Nonfiction Picture Books:

The Cart That Carried Martin by Eve Bunting Illustrated by Don Tate

Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art by Barb Rosenstock Illustrated by Mary Grandpre

Clara and Davie: The True Story of Young Clara Barton by Patricia Polacco

Lifetime: The Amazing Numbers in Animal Lives by Lola Schaefer Illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal

Little Dog Lost by Monica Carnesi

The Case of the Vanishing Honeybees: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle

The Farewell Symphony by Anna Harwell Celenza Illustrated by JoAnn E. Kitchel

Mumbet’s Declaration of Independence by Gretchen Woelfle Illustrated by Alix Delinois

The Tapir Scientist: Saving South America’s Largest Mammal by Sy Montgomery Photographs by Nic Bishop

Stronger Than Steel: Spider Silk DNA and the Quest for Better Bulletproof Vests, Sutures and Parachute Rope by Bridget Heos Photographs by Andy Comins

Flight of the Honey Bee by Raymond Huber Illustrated by Brian Lovelock

Northwest Passage by Stan Rogers Illustrated by Matt James

Underworld: Exploring the Secret World Beneath Your Feet by Jane Price Illustrated by James Gulliver Hancock

Graphic Novels:

Into the Volcano by Don Wood

Marble Season by Gilbert Hernandez

Wonderland by Tommy Kovac and Sonny Liew

Copper by Kazu Kibuishi

Little White Duck: A Childhood in China by Na Liu and Andres Vera Martinez

The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Mud-Slinging Moles by Maxwell Eaton III

Kit Feeney: On the Move by Michael Townsend

The Fog Mound: Travels Thelonious by Susan Schade and Jon Buller

The Wizard of Oz Adapted by Ben Caldwell

Binky: License to Scratch by Ashley Spires

Ariol: Happy as a Pig by Emmanuel Guibert and Marc Boutavant


Peter Nimble and His Fantastic Eyes by Jonathan Auxier

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier

The Map Trap by Andrew Clements

OK, folks. That’s a total of 31 books. As of now, I have read completely 9 of them and started 2. I hope I reach my goal because books are due back to library Thursday and I have the #vbcbooks chat next Monday to be prepared for- I can’t wait! I noticed that I have a lot of NF in this list so that is awesome! And thanks to Sara Ralph and her blog Ralph Reads, she inspired me to check out the graphic novel section at the public library-I didn’t even realize there was a specific section! Now I know where I’m heading every trip to check out the huge selection offered to help me decide which ones to purchase for the classroom.

OK, I better get readin’!

El Deafo by Cece Bell-5 Spark Share

5 Spark Share

I don’t know how I got to be a lucky, lucky reader this week but I did. I was leaving my house and my other half takes out a package that looks like a book. I have already come clean about my addiction to books so he was none-too-thrilled that there was yet another book in the mailbox. However, I was confused because I knew that I didn’t have one coming. What could it be?? EL DEAFO!!! To the rescue! I jumped up and down and felt an overwhelming sense of “I won the lottery!” I was ecstatic to say the least. I read the book that day and tweeted my love for it. Now, it is my first book that I am doing my “5 Spark Share” that will be my structure for sharing books with readers. I hope you enjoy the post and if not, I know you will enjoy the book!


5 Quotes/Lines that Struck Me:

“It’s been two weeks since the hospital. Just because I can’t hear good doesn’t mean I can’t look good.” “That’s the dumbest question I ever–wait a minute! Here’s my chance to get out of this!” “Best-or worst-of all, I can even hear Mrs. Lufton when she USES THE BATHROOM!” [cackle] “Oh, why do I even care what other people think.” “Sixty-four seconds! I am El Deafo! I am a champion!” [I love the grittiness Cece shows her PE teacher. Nothing like proving disbelieving people wrong!]

4 Things I Adored about this Book:

I loved the progression from 4 year old Cece to the tween Cece and the trials and tribulations in between. I adored Cece’s love for wearing bathing suits and being true to herself. In this same area, I loved that she was honest with the struggle of knowing who she is and feeling the pressures of fitting in. I loved the *crush* and her thinking/thoughts about it and the power of the rosette! I loved the realness and honesty displayed in the story and the “A Note from the Author” at the end.

3 Types of Readers I Think Will Be Sparked:

Readers who love Graphic Novels! Readers that loved Smile and Drama by Raina Telegmeier will absolutely love El Deafo! Readers who are going through uncomfortable growing pains (which is life!) and need to know that they are not alone and will turn out fine!

2 Connections I Made:

The word “macaroni” that is also in the book Cece Bell illustrated with husband, Tom Angelberger Crankee Doodle. I know it is a small thing but I didn’t say my connections were going to change the world. I just love that both books have macaroni in it. It is a fancy word. I also found a connection to my all-time favorite book, The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. It is a short snippet but enough to give it away to those that know and love that book- and it is during read-aloud time (my favorite part of my teaching day)!

1 Good Reason to Go Read It Right NOW:

Well, I know that the book isn’t released until September 2, 2014 but the minute you get it, read it because it is a gem. You will wish you were friends with El Deafo. You will feel like hugging the book because you probably can’t hug Cece when you finish and trust me, you will want to hug the book. It is a 5-hug book!

Thank you to Abrams books for sending an ARC my way! It was the best surprise ever!

The Second Library to Spark Readers!


I’m doing it. I’m finally starting my blog. I’ve been gently nudged for about four-ish years to start one. So, I just have to say what I think about books and reading for myself first. Because, when we write, we should, first and foremost, write for ourselves. It’s a gift if you are lucky to have an audience and I hope that I do.

I ask my students to reflect and connect on their reading life, so now I am just taking it to another level. A level in which, I hope, they can read, comment and hopefully be inspired by-even after they have left the physical room at the conclusion of the school year. Because each year, I work hard to build a community. One that respects, reflects and inspires one another. We read. We write. We problem solve. It’s what we do. I want them to have a place to come to that will keep their fire for reading going.

I will write to remember the books I have read and what I thought.

I will write to spark other readers who love books like I do or are maybe just dipping their toes in- students (past, present and future), future teachers, current teachers, people who love to read to their own kids, people who want to just randomly read to kids they don’t know while in the library or bookstore…

I will write so that I can share so that more kids find books that fit them. That turn them into readers or continue to keep their fires burning.

Why the name The Second Library? Well, I have to come clean. I am a book-buyer-aholic. I lovingly refer to them as “bookies.” I LOVE BOOKIES! I love new books. I love old books. I love finding great books at thrift shops. I love bookstores. I love the authors that write the books. I just…… them. I am a book collector. [PS: When you read those last lines, you need to read them excitedly and flap your arms and hands like you are a 6 year old].

As of right now, I have over 4,000 books for my classroom. When the librarian at each of the schools I have taught at come to my room for a book they don’t have, I am called the “Second Library.”

People always comment on how I probably already know about “this book” or that I probably already “own this book” or what is a good book for “this topic” or this “kid”. I am a classroom teacher who doubles as a librarian-in-disguise. I’ve always loved libraries. And librarians. And I wish that I was a real live librarian. I used to play library when I was little and made little paper pockets just like the library books had. I actually still have some books that have those library pockets. I have been building my classroom library even before I had a classroom. I know books are the key to everything. They teach us about the world and about people in our world and worlds imagined.

My hope is to just share that love with all who want to read! Let’s get reading!