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December 9, 2014 Cozy Up With a Good Book Challenge By Lindsey Petlak
Grades PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12

    It’s that time of year again: hustle, bustle, family, friends, and lots of other fabulous festivities. While I love it all, I’m going to be honest and say that it can get to be a little much! Last week, I received the absolute coziest blanket in the world, and on it is embroidered the following: “Happiness is reading with a warm blanket.” SO TRUE.

    This made me stop and think about two things:

    1. As I’m choosing holiday gifts for friends and family, I’m going to make books a part of those special presents (and might include a cozy blanket, too), because they truly are the gifts that keep on giving.

    2. Amidst all of this hustle, and bustle, and in the wake of what’s sure to be a long, bone-chilling Chicago winter, I need to slow down, grab this coziest of blankets, and snuggle up with a good book (at least over winter break).

    Inspired by this previous book challenge post, by fellow Top Teaching Blogger, Meghan Everett, I decided our class would start our own book challenge, with a cozy winter twist. Everyone loves a good challenge — viral phenomena like the Ice Bucket Challenge more than prove that. Since it’s WAAAAAY too cold in Chicago for that type of challenge, I’m going to use the slogan on my blanket as inspiration and hope you’ll join along. My students each chose a book they’ve recently read (or are still reading) to recommend to a friend. They are then challenging their friend to not only read the book, but to pass the recommendation along to someone else. We’re calling it our “Cozy Up With a Good Book Winter Challenge.”


    As you can see below, my kiddos had a blast prepping for and recording their challenge videos.


    Our Class Book Challenges:

    See my student recommendations in the videos below, and tag along for the ride! It only took me one afternoon to introduce the challenge to my class, have them decide on a book to recommend, write a quick 2-3 sentence script, record their videos (15 seconds or less), and then pass the challenges along to classmates, friends, and family. Share your classroom challenges by tagging me on Twitter (@lindseypetlak) or posting a link to your video reel in the comments section below. Please use the hashtag: #cozybookchallenge. Have fun with this and glean happiness out of knowing you’re truly spreading joy this holiday season and throughout the winter months by participating in this challenge and sharing the love of READING with others!


    Parent Book Recommendations:

    I’ve been working on a little book reading challenge myself. This challenge is specifically for the PARENTS of my students, but the books I’m recommending would be great for any parent of third to fifth grade students. These books are all texts we read which correspond and exemplify the yearlong literature themes that we focus on in our class: Perspective, identity, independence, and interdependence. See below for details and descriptions. I KNOW you’ll want to pick them up for a good read, and to recommend them to YOUR class parents, too!  

    WARNING: You may (if you’re like me) tear up and/or flat out CRY while reading many of these titles, but it’s worth it!

    • In the Year of the Boar & Jackie Robinson: A Chinese girl immigrates to New York in 1947 and assimilates into a strange culture of tough kids, stickball, and the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    • Shiloh: Eleven-year-old Marty Preston realizes that sometimes, you will do almost anything to save a dog you love.

    • Bud, Not Buddy: Fed up with cruel foster homes, 10-year-old Bud hits the road in search of a father he never knew.

    • Julie of the Wolves: A 13-year-old Eskimo girl becomes lost on the tundra and is protected by a pack of wolves.

    • Frindle: Mischievous Nicholas Allen invents a new word for pen — frindle — and soon it takes root beyond the school, and beyond the town!

    • Hana's Suitcase: In March 2000, a suitcase arrived at a children's Holocaust education center in Tokyo, Japan. The mystery of the suitcase takes her back through seventy years, to a young Hana and her family, whose happy life in a small Czech town was turned upside down by the invasion of the Nazis.

    For the month of December, you can take 33 percent off of everything (except LEGOs) in the Scholastic Store. Just click on the coupon!

    I hope you'll accept the "Cozy Up with a Good Book" winter reading challenge! I can't wait to see the challenges you film and post! Take some time to get cozy and READ this winter! #cozybookchallenge


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