5 Things I Loved About Last Week #celebratelu 2/7/15

celebrate link up

Ruth Ayres hosts a weekly celebration at her blog. I appreciate this reminder to reflect on the positives of my week.

1. My week kicked off with the ALA Youth Media Awards announcements, which I watched live. I was so excited that librarians heeded the call of #weneeddiversebooks and recognized the power they have in “blessing” diverse books with lots of shiny stickers. This year, the awards lists were not the usual “whitey whitey whiteville” (to borrow Betsy Bird’s phrase). There were some bold and exciting choices, and diversity of format was also honored for the first time (graphic novels won Newbery, Printz, and Caldecott honors; a verse novel won Newbery gold; memoir took two of the three Newbery slots). I loved following the conversation on Twitter and sharing the #booklove excitement with many other readers.


2. On Tuesday, I booktalked the awards winners in Children’s Lit class. We kicked off class with Alan Rabinowitz’s Schneider Family Award winner, A Boy and a Jaguar, as our read-aloud (such a good readaloud!), then I booktalked a big stack of winners. Most of the picture books were checked out and read during our independent reading time, and a student who claims to hate reading hustled to be the first to borrow The Crossover! It was lovely to be able to pull so many award-winning titles right from my very own bookshelves without any trip to the library needed–or any delay trying to purchase titles that are currently “temporarily out of stock.” There’s no way I would have read so many of the winners already if it weren’t for my wonderful nerdy online reading community. #imwayr rocks!


3. Frances discovered some new high places this week. For the first year or so of her life, Frances was not much of a jumper. She had weak, floppy back legs that could barely support her. The vet considered her mutey toes (she’s a mitten kitten) to be a sign of inbreeding and compromised genetics. Deeply offended on Frances’s behalf, I took it upon myself to perform kitty physical therapy and stretched and exercised her back legs every day. And now she has grown up into the perfectly vigorous little hybrid I always knew she was.


4. I shared the picture #booklove in a colleague’s course on the Theory & Practice of Teaching Writing. We were supposed to talk writing. But I don’t know how to talk about writing before we actually write together. I read Patricia MacLachlan’s What You Know First and asked students to freewrite about what they knew first. That’s one of my favorite prompts for writing classes. Most of these students are strong writers anyway, but I was still stunned by the beauty of what they came up with when invited to write through a very powerful prompt.

what you know first5. I spent my morning commute listening to spoken word poetry. And the whole day was better because it started off with poetry.






17 responses to “5 Things I Loved About Last Week #celebratelu 2/7/15”

  1. Crystal Avatar

    I too loved the youth media awards this year. It was great to see the Newbery choices and others. It’s great to see Crossover, BGD and El Deafo getting honored and having so much publicity. I am not really a cat person, but you almost have me convinced though my allergies probably wouldn’t be. Your Frances is amazing. 🙂

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      It was definitely my favorite year ever of ALA awards! I love thinking about how many students will now have a chance to read The Crossover, all because it’s got the shiny gold sticker. I think I’d be very bored if we didn’t have our cats to entertain me. Before adopting kids, I was very worried one would have an allergy! Thankfully, no.

  2. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    Awww… i love that your kitteh defied the odds. 🙂

  3. jarhartz Avatar

    Thank you for the things you loved. I love Frances, your stack of books, your boy and those videos. Those videos… are Perfection.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Aren’t those poems wonderful? I am obsessed with the Malcolm London poem. Be sure to check out his poem “Never Too Late”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LwH8sobnCyI

  4. carriegelson Avatar

    Whoa = those videos. Like a strong cup of delicious coffee, I am inspired. Wow, words. Thanks for celebrating all of them!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I’m definitely missing the spoken word this semester. Since I’m not teaching a writing class, I haven’t been listening to it. I think I’ll be changing that!

  5. Michele Avatar

    Love the picture of Frances and your son! And love that Frances is a tough kitty 🙂
    And I totally agree, #IMWAYR does rock!!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Frances is a funny little cat. She has no sense of self-preservation but trusts that when she falls off of something (as she frequently does), hands will be there to catch her–as they always have been. It’s a pretty special universe she lives in.

  6. Linda Baie Avatar

    I love your kitty story, & that pic with your son. Our old cat of long ago climbed like that, slid down our banister-yikes-never fell! I too was happy about the awards & that I’d already read them, & you’re right, thanks to #IMWAYR. Thanks for the poems, both stories, both truths.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Frances has never been much of a climber but she’s been spreading her wings lately. Her other obsession is mirrors on the wall–she’s constantly climbing on furniture and trying to knock the mirrors down and then watching with great interest as they clunk to the floor. So far nothing has been broken! It was so much fun to have already read so many of the award winners. All thanks to #imwayr!

  7. Kendra Avatar

    Frances! You go Kitty! 🙂 I adore that picture of Frances and your son. I’m really getting into #IMWAYR. When I have time, I’m really enjoying it!

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      I schedule my Monday mornings around #imwayr! Breakfast, an hour of reading, then I write my Monday post and comment on other posts–and make gigantic TBR lists!

  8. Elizabeth Avatar

    This is making me realize how earthbound my cats are. Plum can go as high as the kitchen counter, if there is food on it, and Posy can only reach the bathroom sink by jumping on the toilet first. They are climbing wimps! I’m a bit embarrassed.

    1. Elisabeth Ellington Avatar

      Kitty used to jump onto the tops of open doors and hang out there: she’d actually leap from the floor, which is crazy. But I’ve never had another cat do it. Frances is accessing this particular door from the stove, and I have no idea how she’s planning to get down. She’s not a particularly graceful cat and flounders and flails and nearly loses her balance up there. Ryan has had to rescue her several times.

  9. […] celebration of leapy cats, ALA Youth Media Awards, and picture book […]

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