Category Archives: Thursday Tales

The Tale of the Banned Books

Banned Books Week has been observed since 1982. The purpose of this week is to celebrate the freedom to read any and all books. This year we will be observing the 30th Banned Books Week from September 30th-October 6th.

Reprinted by permission of the American Library Association.
Each year people challenge books because of their content. Sometimes they are justified, sometimes they are not. For instance, once Brown Bear, Brown Bear was banned in Texas because of the author’s name.
The most challenged books of 2011 were…
10. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
9. Gossip Girl (Series) by Cecily Von Zieger
8. What My Mother Doesn’t Know by Sonya Sones
7. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
6. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
4. My Mom’s Having A Baby! A Kid’s Month-by-Month Guide to Pregnancy by Dori Hillestad Butler
3. The Hunger Games (Trilogy) by Suzanne Collins
2. The Color of Earth (Series) by Kim Dong Hwa
1. ttyl; ttfn, l8r; g8r (Series) by Lauren Myracle
Books are challenged for various reasons. Some of these books were challenged for drugs, offensive language, racism, insensitivity, and religious viewpoints.
To see a list of banned or challenged classics with reasons click here.
Sometimes even picture books get challenged, such as:
A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstien
The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstien
Where’s Waldo by Martin Handford
Little Red Riding Hood
Sleepy Beauty
What’s your favorite “banned” book?
In honor of Banned Books Week, we are hosting a Celebrating Literacy Giveaway! The giveaway will begin on September 30th and will run through October 6th. Check back with us next week to win some great literacy resources!

Llama, Llama…

Anna Dewdney. According to her bio on Amazon, she has been a middle-school teacher, school bus driver, waitress, mail-carrier, and daycare teacher. Where do llamas come in to those professions?

Regardless of where the idea came from Ms. Dewdney has 10 awesome llama books. The newest edition to the family is Llama Llama Time to Share. The book was released earlier this month. In this fun story, Llama Llama gets new neighbors and has a hard time sharing his toys with Nelly Gnu. This is a great read aloud for those little ones that still find sharing to be a bit difficult. These books always provide a silly, yet realistic picture of the little things kids go through.


Be sure to checkout Llama Llama’s website for some great teacher resources and a couple games. There are printable activities listed for some of the books and a section on creating an author study.

Gooney Bird!

We’re a few years behind the curve with our Thursday Tales this week. Is anyone else a fan of Gooney Bird Greene? This little girl is full of spunk! We just love her over here at Creation Castle.


The Gooney Bird books are written by Lois Lowry (author of the Anastasia series, Sam Krupnik series, The Giver trilogy, and many more!). All five of the stories follow Mrs. Pigeon’s second grade class. Gooney Bird is certainly an eccentric character and it is fun to watch her progress through the second grade.

Unfortunately, we picked up the fourth book in the series (without even knowing it was a series)! Luckily that didn’t take away from the awesome read. It just made us go pick up the four other books this morning.


Gooney Bird is So Absurd, picks up with the class in January. Each day Mrs. Pigeon begins the day with a poem. The students enjoy learning about new poetry and working with one another. Things are going great until there is some unexpected terrible news – Mrs. Pigeon mother dies. Gooney Bird helps her class create a meaningful poem for their teacher and they perform it with the principal.

As a teacher, it is easy to read this book and see the events that unfold actually take place in your own classroom. From Mrs. Pigeon’s calming hand on a student’s shoulder to the little boy who just has too much energy who occasionally needs to dance it out. Not only will you relate to the story, but so will your students!

We’re creating a packet to go along with Gooney Bird is So Absurd that will be finished just in time for our Sunday Sales (hint, hint). You’ll find chapter questions, poetry activities, and a few extra fun things included! If you’re not ready for winter, we’ll be working on Gooney Bird and the Room Mother next. In this book, Mrs. Pigeon’s class is getting ready for a Thanksgiving pageant.

What are some of your students’ favorite books to read?

Thursday Tales!

Grandparents Day is celebrated in many countries in different ways and at different times. Here in the States, we celebrate on the first Sunday after Labor Day. So for 2012… September 9th!

According the the National Grandparents Day Council, we use this day to honor our grandparents, give grandparents the opportunity to show love for their grandchildren, and help kids recognize the strength and guidance they can receive from their grandparents and other adults.

It is often easy to express the sentiment of a holiday through literature. There are many books available that are written specifically for Grandparents Day.


For our Thursday Tales this week, we wanted to look at a book that doesn’t scream Grandparents Day. Instead, we wanted to highlight a book that is truly portraying a special bond between a grandfather and his granddaughter in a normal setting. We chose to look at Ain’t Nobody a Stranger to Me by Ann Grifalconi. If you are familiar with this book, you might be thinking… it’s a wonderful story, but I would only use this to talk about slavery.
Upon closer examination, you will notice the special moments that are shared between this young girl and her grandfather. As the grandfather tells her of how he and his wife escaped to freedom, the girl is learning about her family history and grasping a better understanding of why her grandfather is so proud to be free and own his apple orchard. The sweetest moment comes toward the end of the story when the young girl plants her apple seed in the orchard while symbolically “planting a memory”. It is hard to find a more heartwarming story. If you have a favorite Grandparents Day book to share with your students already, remember to look this one up if you teach about slavery!
We also wanted to let you know about a great giveaway going on this week! Our friend Amy, over at Adventures in Teaching is hosting a Teachers’ Timesavers Giveaway!
Stop by her blog for a chance to win 15 timesavers from different TpT sellers! You can even win one of our products. We have donated our Understudy: Substitute Resource Binder from our Hollywood Theme Collection. This is a great tool to help you keep everything a substitute would need in one place. We hope you go check out the giveaway and wish you luck!