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 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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