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Gertie Reese Foy has a plan to become the greatest fifth grader in the whole school. And if there’s anyone who can actually pull it off, it’s Gertie.

Her plan starts easily enough. Phase One is supposed to be a breeze. She’ll write and deliver the best summer speech the teacher has ever heard, thereby earning the title of Greatest Fifth Grader. Then, she’ll march herself right over to the housey house on Jones Street where her mother, Rachel Collins, has lived since Gertie was a baby.

When Rachel Collins took off all those years ago, the only things she left behind were a locket, Gertie’s father, Frank Foy, and  Gertie. It was all well and good until just a few days ago, when a For Sale sign popped up on Rachel Collins front yard.

That was why Gertie was on a mission.  “She’d show up on her mother’s front porch, gleaming with greatness, swinging the locket on its chain, and she’d say, breezy as a gale-force wind, ‘Didn’t want you to forget this while you were packing.’ “ And then her mom would know, once and for all, that Gertie didn’t need her anyway.

Throw in a new seat-stealing student, Mary Sue Spivey, a zombie frog, a class play, and handfuls of stolen chocolates and you’ve got a winner.

Full of hope and heart, laughs and love, Gertie’s Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley, illustrated by Jillian Tamaki, (Farrar, Strauss, Giroux, 2016) is sure to be a classic.


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Maybe Something Beautiful

November 30, 2016

It’s December! With the turning of the calendar to the final month of 2016, it’s time to look ahead to celebrations and gatherings with family and friends. My suggestion? Kick off the month with Maybe Something Beautiful:How Art Transformed a Neighborhood by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell, illustrated by Rafael López. Based on the true story of […]

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November 13, 2016

NATIONAL AMERICAN INDIAN HERITAGE MONTH and THUNDER BOY JR. by Sherman Alexie Celebrate National Native American Indian Heritage Month – all November – by celebrating Native American literature. Ask your library or bookstore for books written by Native Americans. See through their eyes. Listen to their voices. Here is a new picture book to enjoy […]

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The Heart of the Matter

November 9, 2016

  Heart Maps: Helping Students Create and Craft Authentic Writing (Heinemann, 2016) is Georgia Heard’s newest book and while I haven’t had time yet to dig deeply into my personal copy, it seems an appropriate book to suggest for teachers looking for ways to help students make sense of the events in our world. Maps have been part […]

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A Passion for Picture Book Biographies

November 6, 2016
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Thankfall for Fall

October 30, 2016

WONDERFALL by Michael Hall (Greenwillow Books, 2016) Fall comes as a gentle breeze that jiggles an oak tree full of leaves in various shades of green. Acorns fall from the tree: Plink. Plunk. Plop. “Peacefall.” The days grow longer, the colorful oak more beautiful, with bright pops of orange, red, and the changing colors of the season. “Beautifall.” Digitally-rendered […]

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October 26, 2016

ONE NORTH STAR, A COUNTING BOOK  By Phyllis Root and illustrated by Beckie Prange and Betsy Bowen ONE NORTH STAR is so much more than a counting book, it is visual and poetic trip through Minnesota’s “bog and marsh, along river and lake, across prairie and into woods.” The images and words compliment each other […]

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