Celebrating the New School Year, a Wonderful County Fair, and Giving the Old Blog a Kick in the Pants!

It’s mid August.  You know what that means.

We just finished with this.


And this.


And that means it’s almost time for this.


And, since this blog is desperately in need of something to breathe life into its poor, neglected soul, I think it’s time for this.


Who doesn’t love a great giveaway?

So, here’s the scoop.  We’ll give away a class set – 25 paperback copies – of The Beef Princess of Practical County to one lucky teacher.  We’ll throw in a copy of the fantastic Classroom Companion written by the great folks at Illinois Ag in the Classroom. (They give them away on their website, but hey, it sounds like a bonus, doesn’t it?!)  UPDATE:  On Friday, August 16th, Illinois Ag in the Classroom sweetened the deal!  They have promised to add a class set of BEEF Ag Mags and a class set of LIVESTOCK Ag Mags to the prize!  WOW!  These Ag Mags are colorful, info-packed newspapers for kids.  Thanks, AITC! You’re the best!

The Beef Princess of Practical County is middle grade fiction published by Delacorte Press, Random House Children’s Books. It won a 2010 International Reading Association Children’s Book Award and the 2011 Nebraska Farm Bureau Children’s Ag Book of the Year.  It follows 12-year-old Libby Ryan as she prepares to show a calf at the Practical County Fair, and if offers a glimpse into farm life in the rural Midwest.  It is suitable for grades 3 – 8 to read independently or as a classroom read-aloud.

To enter, leave a comment below telling if you are a teacher or librarian or administrator or one of those super-generous parents who scouts out freebies for their child’s school AND tell us your favorite part of the back-to-school season.  The contest will end at MIDNIGHT (ooooo ~ ooooo ~ oooo!) Eastern Daylight Time on August 31, 2013, at which time one person will be selected randomly (perhaps by goat) as the lucky winner!

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So, good luck!  I’m looking forward to hearing from all of you who can’t wait to get back to the books!  Don’t you just love a great



Me too!

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19 comments on “Celebrating the New School Year, a Wonderful County Fair, and Giving the Old Blog a Kick in the Pants!”

  1. Lindsay

    I’m a first grade teacher. Thanks for holding a giveaway!!

  2. Bridget Caldwell

    I am a new Ag literacy coordinator I could use the books to impact various schools and/or my daughter-in- law just got hired from 1st to 5th grade and is in dire need of books!

  3. Dennis Bunda

    I am an 8th grade social studies teacher in Nortwest Indiana. My favorite thing about starting a new school year is meeting and getting to know a new group of kids!

  4. Jayne McBurney

    This is awesome! Thank you for promoting literacy AND agriculture! You ROCK!

  5. Anne geier

    I would use the books to educate my first graders about the fair because it is an awesome event and I grew up going to the fair. I believe I was even sitting next to you when you took that picture of Seth! My favorite thing about the back to school season is working in my classroom knowing I get to go to the fair in the evening to see my fair family and eat good food. Good luck to all! Michelle you are a one of a kind person and I am so blessed to know you personally!

  6. Brittany

    I’m a teacher education student and hope to teach 5- 7 grade somewhere – definitely incorporating agriculture. I’m so excited for my classes to start because I finally get to start my practicum hours. Already collecting books to use. Thanks!

  7. Jennifer Frances

    I am and 6th, 7th and 8th grade Family & Consumer Science teacher, who also teaches Keyboarding and Computers.
    My favorite part about the school year is seeing the students having a great time seeing their friends again, and starting the year with a fresh start and eager to learn.

  8. Sherri

    I am a 3rd grade teacher. My favorite part of starting a new year is the excitement for learning the students have. I hope to inspire them to value life-long learning! Thank you for your generosity!

  9. Susan Niven

    I am a Special Education Teacher in a K-5 building.
    The best part of the year is the fresh excited kids as they begin a new year!

  10. Kevin

    I am a 8th grade science teacher in a urban school. I created an ag unit to get my students connected to their food, clothing, and fuel. This would be a great way to get my students to have a book club over agriculture. The best part of a new school year is seeing the kids faces get excited for upcoming events.

  11. Kathy Frankenberg

    I am a k-8 art, music, pe, and history teacher. My favorite part of the new school year is scheduling a guest author for our farm theme right to read week. Michelle can you please send me some of your open dates?

    • Michelle

      Hi Kathy! Will email you with some possible dates. Right to Read Weeks are popular for author visits. Sounds like fun!

  12. Lana

    I am one of those parents looking for freebies, a former English teacher, and current president of our county Farm Bureau. My favorite part of the back-to-school chaos used to be seeing new and familiar faces in my classroom. Now that I have retired, I’m doing the “Happy Dance” as the bus drives off with our girls! Glad they are getting back to learning! Ok, I’m also tickled to have a bit of peace and quiet around the house as well.

  13. Glenda

    I am an Indiana Farm Bureau Ag in the Classroom volunteer, offering free ag lesson programs in grades K-12. Our students love agriculture books especially relating to Indiana farms.

  14. Tarah

    Hi Michelle!

    I am the teacher from Minnetonka, MN whose wonderful 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders you Skyped with last spring. Remember us? You sent us that wonderful pile of postcard/bookmarks and you were so kind to skype with us, thank you! We live in a suburb of Minneapolis, so we LOVED reading about Libby and her adventures, and I would love a class set of Beef Princess in order to do great class literature studies with your book!

    My favorite part of the beginning of the school year is the excitement of meeting my new students and the enthusiasm they walk through the door with. Priceless….I can’t wait!

    Tarah Cummings

  15. Deb Tyo

    Hi Michelle! I can’t wait until my sixth graders walk through my classroom door on the first day so I can start talking books again! Throughout the summer I spy wayward kids in the library or in the book section in a store and start recommending titles to them. I can’t help it! 🙂

  16. Abby

    Hi Michelle:

    I am a third grade teacher at Evergreen Elementary, you came and visited us during our right to read week last year. What I enjoy the most about back to school time is the excitement the kids have when they come and how excited they are to meet their teacher:)

  17. Jane Draheim

    It is the thrill on the students’ faces that I enjoy the most about back-to-school. Our theme this year is Read Like A Rockstar. You inspired the students at Evergreen Elementary School last spring to help kickoff Right to Read Week. We are a rural community in OH and our students are busy preparing for the county fair next week. Winning a set of your books would be so appropriate for inspiring our students to read!

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