New Bluestem Books!

Getting up at 5 a.m. on a Saturday is not a usual thing for me, but on Saturday, Jan. 30 I did in order to drive from Ottawa to Wheeling for the Bluestem meeting. This was the big day for choosing the 20 book titles to be on the 2011 master list for readers in grades 3-5 and this was the first meeting for all of us from throughout the state to meet together. Classroom teachers, Title I teachers, school librarians, public librarians and reading specialists make up the selection committee. Visualize the state of Illinois map and we came from every corner of the state.

The day started out with each of us giving a short 1-2 minute talk about a title we had been assigned to read. All of us were given slips of papers with the titles divided into groups of 5 titles each. Pros and cons as to why or why not the title should be included on the final list were given. A yes or no vote was indicated for the titles. From the count, the top 31 titles were then indicated. After more discussion, the list was narrowed to a final 15 titles. The last 5 titles were then selected after additional discussion. In all, we spent more than 6 hours of discussion on these titles and this was after each committee member had spent numerous hours reading the 50 books that had appeared on the original reading list we were given in October.

The list of titles will be posted at http://www.islma.org/Bluestem.htm in the near future but for those of you anxious to know what these titles are, they are:


Ivy and Bean by Annie Barrows



Nic Bishop Frogs by Nic Bishop



No Talking by Andrew Clements



The BFG by Roald Dahl



Kenny and the Dragon by Tony DiTerlizzi



Sky Boys: How they Built the Empire State Building by Deborah Hopkinson



Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat by Lynne Jonell



Henry’s Freedom Box by Ellen Levine



The Year of the Dog by Lin Grace



Being Teddy Roosevelt by Claudia Mills



Hachiko Waits by Leslea Newman



Boys of Steel by Marc Tyler Nobleman



How to Steal a Dog by Barbara O’Connor



The Houdini Box by Brian Seltzer



Dodger and Me by Jordan Sonnenblick



Where I Live by Eileen Spinelli



Stand Tall, Abe Lincoln by Judith St. George



Shredderman: Secret Identity by Wendilin Van Draaneen



Oggie Cooder by Sarah Weeks



The Aurora County All-Stars by Deborah Wiles

-Mrs. Woeckel

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