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!

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


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!