Librarians release 2015-2016 Horned Toad Tales list

January 29, 2015

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CFISD elementary school librarians who comprise the Horned Toad Tales committee showcase the newly released books for 2015-2016. Pictured (back row, L-R) are: Ruth Wiesmann, Farney Elementary School; Debbie Hall, Millsap Elementary School; Laura Bissey, Willbern Elementary School; Alana Wilkin, Duryea Elementary School; Pattie Lane, Tipps Elementary School; Tracy Moritz, Frazier Elementary School; and Liz Budnek, Keith Elementary School; and (front row) Kristi Schleier, Post Elementary School; Gina Moss, Warner Elementary School; Kim Katz, Moore Elementary School; and Paula Morgan, Sampson Elementary School. 

Jan. 29, 2015—CFISD elementary librarians released the 10th annual Horned Toad Tales list on Thursday—a list of 20 recommended books for students in grades 3-5 for the 2015-2016 school year.

The list dates back to 2005, when a group of librarians felt the need to find books that are appropriate, safe and promote good literature and a lifelong love of reading.  

"The books that are nominated for this list have a ‘wow’ factor,” said Paula Morgan, Sampson Elementary School librarian. “A book is only nominated if the reader thinks, "Wow, this was a great book’ as the last page is read.”

After a yearlong evaluation process and hundreds of books read (“I personally read about 250,” Morgan said), the following books featuring a 2013 or 2014 copyright date were chosen for the Horned Toad Tales list:

  • Almost Super by Marion Jensen
  • Archie Takes Flight by Wendy Mass and Michael Brawer
  • The Case of the Time-Capsule Bandit by Octavia Spencer
  • Dash by Kirby Larson
  • Desmond and the Very Mean Word by Desmond Tutu
  • Emma and the Blue Genie by Cornelia Funke
  • Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
  • Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger
  • Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
  • Jasper’s Story: Saving Moon Bears by Jill Robinson
  • Lawless by Jeffrey Salane
  • The Lion Who Stole My Arm by Nicola Davies
  • LuLu’s Mysterious Mission by Judith Viorst
  • The Map Trap by Andrew Clements
  • Memoirs of a Hamster by Davin Scillian
  • Mr. Ferris and His Wheel by Kathryn Gibbs Davis
  • Odd, Weird, and Little by Patrick Jennings
  • Sunny Sweet is so NOT Sorry by Jennifer Ann Mann
  • The Vanishing Coin by Kate Egan
  • When the Beat Was Born: DJ Kool Herc and the Creation of Hip Hop by Laban Carrrick Hill

The books underwent a detailed nomination process by the 11-member Horned Toad Tales committee. If a book was nominated, all committee members read it and voted on it. The list will be published and distributed to all elementary librarians, who stock the books in their school libraries and include them on the following year “Name That Book” list.

“These books are exposed to thousands of Cy-Fair students every year,” Morgan said. “The parents and students absolutely love them.”

The following 11 librarians comprise the Horned Toad Tales committee:

  • Kristi Schleier, Post Elementary School;
  • Gina Moss, Warner Elementary School;
  • Kim Katz, Moore Elementary School;
  • Tracy Moritz, Frazier Elementary School;
  • Debbie Hall, Millsap Elementary School;
  • Laura Bissey, Willbern Elementary School;
  • Pattie Lane, Tipps Elementary School;
  • Liz Budnek, Keith Elementary School;
  • Ruth Wiesmann, Farney Elementary School;
  • Paula Morgan, Sampson Elementary School; and
  • Alana Wilkin, Duryea Elementary School.

The Horned Toad Tales list was named in honor of former Matzke Elementary School librarian Jackie Hopkins, who has gone on to become a published children’s author. One of her first big published books was named The Horned Toad Prince.

Students who read five of the 20 books (or have the books read to them) get to vote for their favorite book in February of each year. The Horned Toad Tales committee contacts the author of the winning book and sends him/her a horned toad trophy.

Morgan said she and her librarian peers are thrilled to celebrate 10 years of celebrating quality children’s books.

“If you’re a librarian and it’s important to you, it is so worth it to put good books in the hands of kids,” she said. 

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