Monday, October 10, 2016

Gertie's Leap to Greatness Blog Tour!

One of my 4th graders leaping on 10/4, Gertie's Book Birthday!

I'm honored to be the next stop on Kate Beasley's Gertie's Leap to Greatness blog tour!  That just makes me leap even more!

I was one of the lucky ones to get to know Gertie before anyone else when I received my arc last month.  I couldn't stop leaping and you won't either once you read the first line!  You can read my whole first review here:  GERTIE REVIEW

Once you read it you can't stop yourself from leaping into the Gertie fanclub.  At least I can't.  So...I found a few podcasts to listen to.  First "The Yarn" is dedicating many episodes to the making of "Gertie." Here's the first episode with Kate Beasley and Jenni Holm (Yes, THE Jenni Holm talking about her first book)  The Yarn Podcast #30

THEN, on my podcast kick I found Matthew Winner's interview with Kate on ALL THE WONDERS.  This was a great one and kept me intrigued throughout my run yesterday.  I could listen to Kate speak for many hours.  Matthew talks about this book being a great read aloud.  I completely agree and Matthew is a great reader aloud, if I must say so myself.

A couple of weeks ago I passed my arc along to a Mackenzie.  Mackenzie was in 5th grade last year and one of my star readers.  She went above and beyond in reading during our Mock Newbery project and for the past two summers attended almost every single one of my total of ten summer book groups.  She loves to read and has wonderful insight to share when chatting about books.  Needless to say, I miss her now that she is in middle school.  But I knew she would be the perfect person to share my arc with. I almost stopped in my tracks Yesterday I received an email from her:

Wow, this book stopped me in my tracks. It is soooo good!! Thank you so much for sending me this book, I absolutely loved it. The way the author narrates Gertie was perfect, so perfect that I finished the book in a day. I loved all the characters, especially Junior's jumpy personality. This will definitely be a Newbery winner. The kids down at CES will leap for this book, literally. Again, thank you sooo much for this book!

I almost stopped in my tracks when I read that because in the "All the Wonders" interview, Matthew brings up the exact same point that 11 year old Mackenzie does about the narrator!

Later today I received this from Mackenzie:

Leap into adventure with Gertie as she aims to become the best fifth-grader in the whole universe. From Zombie Frogs to sweet chocolates, this is a girl you can't beat.

Definitely a good opening line to a review that can't be beat!


When I was asked if I would join the blog tour, I was told I could highlight someone who goes above and beyond and spreads the joy of reading.  I couldn't come up with just one.  I'm surrounded by people like that.

Fifth grade math teacher, Brenda Kelliher, is amazing.  She is an innovative teacher, thoughtful, works long hours for the kids, attends all sporting and arts events that her students are in and is one of the most creative people I know.  Even though she teaches primarily math, she loves to read and is always asking me for book recommendations.  She tries to read as many books from our Newbery list as possible and even held a lunch book group last year to be more involved.  Brenda's creativity really shines when it is author visit time and she writes a song for the author that we make into a music video with her students.  In her next life, Brenda needs to be a songwriter and music video director.  I KNOW Brenda would LOVE to write a song if Kate visits.  Hint-Hint. And of course, Brenda leaps with me whenever I request her to!

Here we are the day of the "Hoops Against Hunger" basketball game last Spring

Alissa Pryde and I always joke that she is going to set up a second desk for me in her first grade classroom. Alissa and I collaborate so much that her students think of me as their second teacher. Another creative teacher and one who goes above and beyond, Alissa and I love working together on many projects but most especially Mock Geisel.  We had first graders reading nearly 20 books independently and critiquing them based on Geisel criteria.  These kids Skyped with authors, determined their favorites and stood by those winners in a debate.  It was incredible!  We met authors and librarians through this project who have now become our friends and kids continue to check out daily our Geisel books from last year.  We are very excited to start the project again in a few weeks!

Alissa and I doing a random leap in the hallway last year!

Lastly, I cannot write about colleagues who spread the joy of reading without mentioning fifth grade ELA teacher and my co-teacher on so many projects, Sid Reischer.  It started out with him taking a leap with me four years ago when I asked if he would do a Newbery project with me and the whole fifth grade.  Now it is almost the entire ELA curriculum for the quarter.  Not only do we do Newbery together but we collaborate with authors, the Towers Falling project, phenomenal research, July trips to NYC to plan for the fall, author visits and so much more.  Sid and I complement each other so well both in the classroom and out.  I feel like I owe part of my success in the library to him.  Sid reads. I read.  The students all read and we are all happy.  I can't wait for Sid to meet Gertie.

Sid and I leaping at Little, Brown and Company when we visited them this summer

So go find your colleague who is "Great Like Gertie". Let them know how much you appreciate them and then take a leap together--literally and figuratively. It will be a win-win for everyone!


  1. Stacey, I LOVE this post!!! Thank you for this, and for all the wonderful leaps!

  2. Love these LEAP pics!! And can't wait to read Gertie. :-)