LS and IS Summer Reading 2012

Making summer plans? In the Campus Center Library , we are too! Summer Reading books can be ordered beginning Friday March 23rd up until Wednesday April 18th, 2012. Order forms will be avail on the school website, from Mrs. Potwin in the CCL, as well as sent home in knapsacks of children in LS and IS the week of March 19th, 2012.

Or click here to access the Lower School order form (entering PK-grade 3).

Or click here to access the Intermediate  School order form (entering grade 4 -6).

 Or click here to access the Middle School order form (entering grade 7).

Reading lists for children entering grades 8-12 will be made available in May 2012.

Please instruct your child to read each book twice (once at the beginning of summer, then again in August before opening day). Making notes at the end of each chapter helps greatly. Supporting activities will be made avail for each book to help impress the novels’ theme. In many cases your child will be completing some sort of activity / lesson relating to the book upon their return in September.

Additionally, grades 2-6  will be asked to complete the accompanying AR test on their summer reading novels, usually in the first week back. Please be prepared to take the reading test during the first week .

Purchasing the book from this order service is entirely optional, as that many children prefer to read the ebook version and to download it from our Overdrive library. And remember, the public library is another great (free) source for tracking down summer reading titles….in an air conditioned climate!

Help your child be prepared for a new 2012-2013 school year!

If your child is entering……

Pre Kindergarten (read with a parent)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by  Bill Martin

An alphabet rhyme/chant that relates what happens when the whole alphabet tries to climb a coconut tree.


Please read one of the books listed below with your parent.

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

In verse, Sam-I-am tries to persuade a reluctant acquaintance to partake of his favorite foods–green eggs and ham.


Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Two children sitting at home on a rainy day are visited by the Cat in the Hat who shows them some tricks and games.

Grade 1

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon (to be read with parent)

Faucet,  well,  rain,  cloud,  sea … from each of these comes water. But where does water go? To find out, honey, turn the page, dive in with tongue or toes, with eyes and ears and nose and wonder at the flow of this great world’s life story.

Grade 2

You will be required to read both books.

Amelia Bedelia  by Peggy Parish

A literal-minded housekeeper causes a ruckus in the household when she attempts to make sense of some instructions.


Apples to Oregon : being the (slightly) true narrativeof how a brave pioneer father brought apples, peaches, pears, plums, grapes, and cherries (and children) across the plains  By Deborah Hopkinson    (to be read with parent)

Apples, ho! When Papa decides to pull up roots and move from Iowa to Oregon, he can’t bear to leave his precious apple trees behind. Or his peaches, plums, grapes, cherries, and pears. Oh, and he takes his family along too.

Grade 3

You will be required to read two books  in total. One from the Continent list, the second a Magic School bus chapter book of your choosing.

Selection one book :


Mr. Popper’s Penguins  by Richard Atwood (AR 5.6)

Mr. Popper trains his band of penguins to star in a vaudeville tour.


The Great Egyptian Grave Robbery by Sara Pennypacker (AR 4.4)

Asked to travel to Egypt to help with an urgent archaeological expedition, Flat Stanley suspects that he might be helping grave robbers and must rely on his quick thinking, unique flatness, and new friends to make things right.

Classic Starts: Jungle Book  by Lisa R Church (AR 4.5)

This abridged edition is a retelling of the adventures of Mowgli, a boy reared by a pack of wolves and the wild animals of the jungle.


Sadako  and the Thousand Paper Cranes by Eleanor Coerr  (AR 4.1)

Hospitalized with the dreaded atom bomb disease, leukemia, a child in Hiroshima races against time to fold one thousand paper cranes to verify the legend that by doing so a sick person will become healthy.

Year of the Panda By Miriam Schlein (3.4)

A Chinese boy rescues a starving baby panda, and in the process learns why pandas are endangered and what the government is doing to save them.

(South America) 

Secret of  the Andes by Ann Clark  (AR 4.7)

An Indian boy who tends llamas in a hidden valley in Peru learns the traditions and secrets of his Inca ancestors.

Most Beautiful place in the world by Ann Cameron (AR 4.2)

Growing up with his grandmother in a small Guatemalan town, seven-year-old Juan discovers the value of hard work, the joy of learning, and the location of the most beautiful place in the world.

(North America)

Classic Starts : Anne of Green Gables (AR 3.9) retold from the Lucy Maud Montgomery original by Kathleen Olmstead

This abridged edition is a retelling of the tale of Anne, an eleven-year-old orphan, who comes to live on a Prince Edward Island farm and proceeds to make an indelible impression on everyone around her.

The Amazing Mexican Secret by Josh Greenhut (AR 4.1)

When Flat Stanley’s mother needs the secret ingredient for a special recipe, Stanley mails himself to Mexico to track down its mysterious maker.


The Australian Boomerang Bonanza by Josh Greenhut (AR 4.1)

When his brother uses him as a boomerang on a beach near the Great Barrier Reef, the wind takes Flat Stanley halfway across Australia to the Outback.

The search for the sunken treasure : Australia by Elizabeth Singer Hunt (AR 5.6 )

Secret agent Jack Stalwart travels to the Great Barrier Reef in search of a missing diver and treasure.


Classic Starts: Hunchback of Notre Dame retold from the Victor Hugo original by Deanna McFadden (AR 4.0)

This abridged edition is a retelling of the tale set in medieval Paris, of Quasimodo, the hunchbacked bellringer of Notre Dame Cathedral, and his struggles to save the beautiful gypsy dancer Esmeralda from being unjustly executed.

Select one book from the Magic School Bus Chapter book series by Johanna Cole

Grade 4

Students are asked to read two books from the following list.           

The Mystery at Disney World  by Carole Marsh   (AR 4.4)

Mystery follows Christina, Grant, Crystal, and Mick on their vacation to Disney World, where they need a little luck and loads of creativity to solve their latest case.

Deadly Waters:  A Mystery in Everglades National Park by Gloria Skurzynski (AR 5.4)

While visiting the Everglades National Park with their parents, the Landon children uncover the mystery of dying manatees and learn important lessons about the natural environment.

The Music of the Dolphins  by Karen Hesse  (AR 3.4)

Using sophisticated computer technology, a fifteen-year-old girl who has been raised by dolphins records her thoughts about her reintroduction to the human world.

The Kingdom Keepers by Ridley Pearson (AR 4.2)

Finn Whitman, an Orlando teen, is hired to be hologrammed as a Disney World park “guide” but soon finds himself being transported into the Magic Kingdom in the dead of night to help fight a group of Disney villains, led by Maleficent, who want to take over Disney World–and maybe more.

Great Wide Sea  by M.H. Herlong. (AR 4.1)

Still mourning the death of their mother, three brothers go with their father on an extended sailing trip off the Florida Keys and have a harrowing adventure at sea.

The Mystery of the Hidden Beach (Boxcar Children #41)  by G.C. Warner (AR 4.2)

While visiting the Florida Keys, the Aldens encounter suspicious characters, strange incidents at night, and a plot to steal valuable coral.

Grade 5

Incoming grade 5 students will be reading a total of two novels.

Everyone will be reading:

A Week in the Woods by Andrew Clements (AR 5.3)

The fifth grade’s annual camping trip in the woods tests Mark’s survival skills and his ability to relate to a teacher who seems out to get him.

Then select one book from the following list.

Wilbur and Orville Wright: Young Fliers by Augusta Stevenson (AR 3.7)

Presents the boyhood of the brothers who flew the first airplane in 1903.

Clara Barton: Founder of the American Red Cross  by Augusta Stevenson (AR 4.2)

A biography focusing on the youth of the nurse who organized the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., in 1881.

The Courage of Sarah Noble by Alice  Dalgliesh (AR 3.9)Remembering her mother’s words, an eight-year-old girl finds courage to go alone withher father to build a new home in the Connecticut wilderness and to stay with the Indianswhen her father goes back to bring the rest of the family.

The Lemonade  War  by Jacqueline Davies (AR 4.1)

Evan and his younger sister, Jesse, react very differently to the news that they will be in the same class for fourth grade and as the end of summer approaches, they battle it out through lemonade stands, each trying to be the first to earn 100 dollars. Includes mathematical calculations and tips for running a successful lemonade stand.

In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson by Bette Lord (AR 4.6)

In 1947, a Chinese child comes to Brooklyn where she becomes Americanized at school, in her apartment building, and by her love for baseball.
The Sign of the Beaver  by Elizabeth George Speare (AR 4.9)

Although he faces responsibility bravely, thirteen-year-old Matt is more than a little apprehensive when his father leaves him alone to guard their new cabin in the wilderness. When a renegade white stranger steals his gun, Matt knows he has no way to shoot game or to protect himself. Only after meeting the proud, resourceful Indian boy Attean does Matt begin to understand the way of the Beaver clan and their growing problem in adapting to the white man and the changing frontier.

The Magician’s Nephew by C. S Lewis (AR 5.4)

When Digory and Polly try to return the wicked witch Jadis to her own world, the magic gets mixed up and they all land in Narnia where they witness Aslan blessing the animals with human speech.

Chasing Vermeer by Blue Balliett ( AR 5.4)

When seemingly unrelated and strange events start to happen and a precious Vermeer painting disappears, eleven-year-olds Petra and Calder combine their talents to solve an international art scandal.

Grade 6

Students are asked to read two novels when entering sixth grade. One  from the  English list, one from the World Cultures list.

English (Select one book to read)

Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis (AR 5.4)

In 1859, eleven-year-old Elijah, the first free-born child in Buxton, Canada, a haven for slaves fleeing the American South, uses his wits to try to bring to justice the lying preacher who has stolen money that was to be used to buy a family’s freedom.

Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (AR 5.5)

Two boys are outcasts.  They team up for a series of imaginative adventures that bring them discoveries.

 Hurt Go Happy by Ginny Rorby (AR 5.2)

Thirteen-year-old Joey Willis has been deaf since the age of six, but her mother has never allowed her to learn sign language. Everything changes when she meets Dr. Charles Mansell and his baby chimpanzee, Sukari.

Travel Team by Mike Lupika (AR 5.4)

After he is cut from his travel basketball team, the very same team that his father once led to national prominence, twelve-year-old Danny Walker forms his own team of cast-offs that might have a shot at victory.

The View from Saturday   by Konigsburg, E. L.

(AR 5.9)

Four sixth-graders are chosen by their wheelchair-bound teacher to compete in an academic competition. Along the way, these four tell their own stories of who they are and how they build a team.

The Watsons Go to Birmingham –1963 by Christopher Paul  Curtis (AR 5.0)

The ordinary interactions and everyday routines of the Watson’s, an African-American family living in Flint, Michigan, are drastically changed after they go to visit Grandma in Alabama.

Truesight by David  Stahler Jr.  (AR 6.0)

In a distant frontier world, thirteen-year-old Jacob is uncertain of his future in a community that considers blindness a virtue and “Seers” as aberrations.

World Cultures (Select one book to read)

Chu Ju’s House by Whelan, Gloria (AR 5.2)

In order to save her baby sister, fourteen-year-old Chu Ju leaves her rural home in 1976 China.  She earns food and shelter by working at several jobs, yet, she wonders if she will ever see her family again.

Diamonds in the Shadowsby Caroline Cooney (AR 5.1)

The Finches, a Connecticut family, sponsor an African refugee family of four, all of whom have been scarred by the horrors of civil war and who inadvertently put their benefactors in harm’s way.

Elephant Run by Roland Smith  (AR. 5.0)

Nick endures servitude and beatings after his British father’s plantation in Burma is invaded by the Japanese in 1941. When his father and others are taken prisoner, Nick, stranded with his friend Mya, plans a daring escape and rescue on elephants.

Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan ( AR 5.3)

Esperanza Ortega grows up on a large ranch in Mexico, but her life suddenly changes when her father is killed.  She and Mama leave their comfortable life behind when they are forced to flee to a Mexican farm labor camp in California.

Heart of a Samurai: Based on the True Story of Nakahama Manjiro by Margi  Preus  (AR5.4)

In 1841, Manjiro is rescued by an American whaler after a terrible shipwreck.   The fourteen year old boy, who had always dreamt of becoming a samurai, becomes the first Japanese person to set foot in the United States.

A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park (AR 5.0)

This story is based on the life of Salva Dut, a man who began a project to dig water wells in Sudan.  Eleven year old Salva becomes separated from his family when the Sudanese Civil War reaches his village in 1985.  He must walk with other Dinka tribe members through Africa in search of a safe place.

Listening for Lions by Gloria Whelan (AR 5.7)

Left an orphan after the flu epidemic in British East Africa in 1919, thirteen-year-old Rachel is tricked into assuming a deceased neighbor’s identity to travel to England, when her dream is to return to Africa and rebuild her parents’ mission hospital.

A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (AR 6.6)

Tree-ear, a thirteen-year old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself.

The Well of Sacrifice by Chris  Eboch ( AR 6.3)
When a Mayan girl in ninth-century Guatemala suspects that the High Priest sacrifices anyone who stands in the way of his power, she proves herself a hero.

Grade 7

Students will be asked to read a total of two novels

  • Kensuke’s Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo
  • A second book from a list to be send home with your report card.

Literary Characters I would like to friend on Facebook…..

Sadly, I admit to wasting away part of my holiday weekend with Facebook.  (Never mind the  piles of laundry which need my attention.)  Eoin brought me our current bedtime novel to read,  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. We are enjoying reading many of  the classics together;   I,  reliving them from my childhood.  Many of these characters are like old friends whom I am reconnecting with, much like Facebook is a source for people to reconnect with  others. I then began to think about  fictional characters I would like to friend on Facebook.

Here are a few.  And why.

Elizabeth Bennett…one of the most complicated literary characters ever written.  Pride and Prejudice is one of the great romances of all of literature but yet extra special because it seems so romantic and realistic.   Elizabeth became attractive  to Mr. Darcy when he discovered her true personality, despite   not holding the same status as was required of couples in Victorian England.  Jane Austen introduces a couple that is not glamorized by beauty but fall in love with the personality of the other. Austen created characters with contrast.  Besides, I so love the Colin Firth movie version of Mr. Darcy.

Anne Shirley of Anne of Green Gables devilish curiosity, personal strength, helped her overcome the harsh hand life deal this orphan and as a result became a teacher. I so love her vivid use of imagination.

Charlie Buckett from Charlie and the Chocolate factory.  While this is a current read in the Potwin household,  I am reminded of Charlie’s kind  and gentle disposition as well as his honesty, despite being presented with the opportunity to profit greatly by deceitfully  participating in industrial candy espionage.  Besides, I would warn him to stay away from the  nasty Veruca Salt.  Not only is she a spoiled little girl, but has dreadful manners.

Nora Krank from Skipping Christmas by John Grisham, became multi million dollar grossing movie Christmas with the Kranks.  Anyone who celebrates the Christmas holiday with as much vim and vigor as Nora has my undying appreciation. I can totally relate to her and teh demands of holiday preparation.  Plus, I would love some of her holiday decorating tips.

Paddington Bear ( who, admittedly,  is really not a person).  Perhaps  meeting up for coffee…or tea…would be a better  initial meeting , before deciding to ‘friend’ Paddington.  I am not sure about having an actual meal with a bear, though in the whimsical spirit of this blog,  I would elect to have a proper British tea, including marmalade sandwiches, with the  Bear from deepest, darkest Peru,  most likely in Harrod’s Food Court..or possibly Fortum and Mason’s…or the like.  Hold the cream …I know that Paddington would make a mess of the cream and then I would be responsible for wiping off his whiskers. And use paper cups,  I do not wish to be responsible for  broken china.

Edgar Allan Poe’s Raven,  though I would choose when  to accept this friend request…..distinctly not  in the  bleak  December. Yes, I too choose to read as a form of escapism, though not  for seek solace  of  Lenore’s lost.  And yes, I too feel for the narrator’s sense of undying  devotion, though perk up buttercup…madness is not the answer.

Colin in the Secret Garden.  I would love to discuss his transformation from  doom and gloom to being a sunny optimist.

Eloise…living in that New York hotel for so long, I am sure she has become accustomed to  a certain level of service and a ” joie de vie” when approaching life.  Friending Eloise would be a must.  When she returns from Paris, of course.

Babar…I want more tidbits of life behind the palace walls.

Birdie Boyers…the Strawberry Girl  depicts Florida Cracker life,  in lieu of a friend request perhaps a nice meal out on the town, perhaps a strawberry short cake  desert would  be welcomed.  I would like to  learn more about how she   applied herself to hard work around her. If there is one thing which I value above all else in this world, it  is hard work and those who apply themselves to a challenge.

So many great books, so many great characters…many of them are like old friends.  I look forward to revisiting them,  perhaps not through Facebook, though through readings with my son as he grows to love the expressive written word as much as I do.

Distopia…..or in search of a perfect world

As the new year rolls in, I am trying something new. Broadening my reading horizons, if you will.   Normally, I do not read young adult fiction, much lest distopian fiction.

With the popularity of the much anticipated Hunger Games movies ( yes, they are based on books by Suzanne Collins) , I thought that I would try a few novels in this vein.
Below is a list of some of my recent reads, distopian, young adult style.  If you like the Hunger Games storyline, then you might like to move on to some of these titles.
Westerfield, Scott. Uglies.  Pretties.  Specials. Extras. series
Condie, Allie. Matched. Crossed.
Buchoz, Pam. Candor.
Roth, Veronica. Divergent. Insurgent.
Oliver, Lauren. Delirium.
Of course, the traditional classics must be included in this list
Orwell, George. 1984.
Bradbury, Ray. Farhenheit 451.
Huxley, Adolf. Brave New World.

Keep reading, my friends.

Selby Library Teen Center Opens

It looks a bit like an Apple Computer store. Lots of glass and modern touches. But it’s not. It’s the new area of the Selby downtown library devoted to teens.

The southeast corner of the library that once housed video and music media over the past six months was transformed into an area devoted to teen-age interests. Friday afternoon the wraps were literally taken off the $1.2 million renovation, as brown construction paper was ripped from the glass walls.

The first teens in the audience rushed to the computers, while others browsed the books. The facility was made possible by the William and Marie Selby Foundation, the Rotary Club of Sarasota and the Quigley family in commemoration of a lost son.

Totems Architecture drew the plans and Dooley-Mack did the construction. Nora Patterson, chair of the Sarasota County Commission, said, “Libraries are more than anything else our love of the pursuit of knowledge. They are sacred places.”

She said the county was “committed to maintaining the excellence of the library system.”

reposted from

Overdrive’s 1st Anniverary at Saint Stephen’s

October 11th, 2010, our third library, an electronic digital download service called Overdrive went live at Saint Stephen’s Episcopal School.  This service offers  free ebook and audio book digital downloads to our Falcons community and can be downloaded from anywhere in the world you have an Internet connection. Now Kindle compatible! Initially the service  was designed for children in grades 4-5-6.  Now,  we are branching out to grade 7 as well as grade 3.    All you need is your library barcode # ! Easy as pie. (Hint: IS students, look in your study buddy front cover).  Barcodes and instructions will be sent home  during the first week of October to all students in grades 3 through to grades 7.  Please feel free to ask for help…

‘Let It Snow’ to become a movie

This posting is in celebration of 199 more days until Christmas 2011…..those of my friends know of my love of of all things Christmas.

Paramount Pictures-based Fake Empire  movie production company has acquired the right to  Let it snow : three holiday romances ,  an anthology of three intersecting short stories by young-adult novelists John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. The script is to be written by Jordan Roter (fingers crossed that he will be true to the original  novel which so many of us have come to love).

In this charming trio of interconnected novellas, a massive snowstorm on Christmas Eve acts as a catalyst for romance in the lives of three teens. In Maureen Johnson’s tale, Jubilee Express, after Jubilee’s train becomes snowbound, she seeks shelter at a nearby Waffle House, along with a squad of hyper cheerleaders. In John Green’s story, A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle, a guy summons three friends to the Waffle House, where the combination of cheerleaders and cheesy waffles prompts big realizations. Finally, in Lauren Myracle’s entry, Patron Saint of Pigs, self-absorbed Addie atones for cheating on her boyfriend (who was stuck on Jubilee’s train) by proving she can be an angel for someone else, even if that someone is only a pet pig. Johnson’s playfulness, Green’s banter, and Myracle’s sincerity mesh well here, resulting in a collection that is imbued with optimism and warmth. The plotting is tight, and each end loosed by one author is tied up by another like a bright Christmas bow. It is a great read at anytime of year,  though one of my favorite books due to the team work of three creative young adult writers who tightly control their characters and setting  into one cohesive story.

No release date set for the film.

as cited from