Jone Rush McCulloch blogs as MsMac at Check It Out. She’s a teacher librarian in a K-5 school and is serving as a judge for the Poetry category. In order to get better acquainted, we asked her a few questions.
A: Since February 2006
Q: Why do you blog?
A: I started blogging with many questions: could it be a way to reach the parents in my school, would students care about reading my blog, and how can I promote student work? I have a library web page but it is laborious to work on. Also, I wanted an avenue to write. In October, I launched a personal writing blog, http://deowriter.blogspot.com. I have discovered that I use the school blog mainly for weekly info about my library classes and Poetry Friday.
Q: What do you especially like about children’s books?
A: The variety. The ability to read a book to students Monday-Friday and see the joy in many faces. The ability to put books in students’ hands to read and then have them tell me how much they love the book. More adults should read children’s books; they don’t know what they are missing. For example, I just finished reading Thin Wood Walls by Dave Patneaude. Here is a serious topic (Japanese internment camps, which I had no idea existed until I was an adult) written in a manner that can be read at many different levels.
Q: Which is your favorite book that didn’t make the short list?
A: Not for poetry but for Young Adult Fiction: The Love Curse of the Rumbaughs by Jack Gantos. My adult reading group is reading it for February.
Q: Do you ever disagree with your students about books?
A: I think that sometimes the students look at me weird because I prefer the Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo to the Harry Potter books.
Q: Which fictional character would you like to meet most?
A: I would love to have Skippyjon Jones in my library for a day. My students are absolutely ga-ga for him and we would want to go on an adventure with him. I would also like to have Karana from Island of the Blue Dolphins visit so I could talk with her about growing up in that time period and Joe Hanada from Thin Wood Walls to teach me haiku.
Recently Jone wrote about "what she is thankful for in children’s literature." Here are some of her responses:
- for the ability to share my love of reading with my students. Being a teacher librarian is the best job in the world.
- the wide range of poetry books to read aloud and use as models in teaching poetry, especially Naomi Shihab Nye and Valerie Worth. Love their books.
- the growing list of great early chapter books by authors such as Cynthia Rylant, Barbara Park, and Jack Gantos.
- Jenny Nimmo’s Charlie Bone series along with the Spiderwick series, and the Harry Potter series. They get students reading.