Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Creepy Reads

Picture Books

image via Amazon

Middle Grade

especially creepy when paired with online video

Young Adult

I am not typically drawn to creepy stories (not liking nightmares), but these are some that I have stumbled on and admired. Which creepy tales have thrilled you?

*Images are from Goodreads unless otherwise noted

Monday, October 28, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Picture Books

Moonday was slightly bizarre, but certainly creative. Having a moon in your backyard is not exactly anything I had ever imagined.  I'm a Frog! made me smile. I love Elephant and Piggie. It did remind me a lot of the book Ribbit! another pig wanting to be a frog. They would be fun to read together.

Middle Grade

Every Day After was a look into the Great Depression, emotional depression, family and friendship. Lizzie fights hard to make her father proud and learns a lot about herself in the process. I enjoyed Lizzie's courage.

Young Adult

I was looking forward to Winger after hearing so many positive things, but I hadn't actually read a review so didn't know what to expect. I knew there would be humor and there was plenty of that. There are many funny bits and a lot of cringe-worthy moments, but the book has more than that and it managed to make me cry.

The Coming Week:
I am almost finished listening to Fangirl and have been enjoying it. I will start If I Ever Get Out of Here soon and I need to start Allegiant soon before I accidentally see a spoiler. There have already been enough hints and "outrage" comments that I am wondering all sorts of things. Have a great week of reading!

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Diversity Notes for the Week

Book News and Reviews

Ricky Martin's book Santiago the Dreamer will be released November 12.

Review: The Silver Six via School Library Journal and via Charlotte's Library

Cover Reveal of This One Summer by Mariko & Jillian Tamaki (interview too) via LA Times Hero Complex

Happy Book Birthday to Freakboy by Kristin Elizabeth Clark via Diversity in YA

Beverly Slapin's review essay of Salt by Helen Frost via American Indians in Children's Literature

Review of the Day: Ghost Hawk via School Library Journal

Review: Untold by Sara Rees Brennan

Boxers and Saints via School Library Journal

Book Lists

Piles of Poetry via Rich in Color

5 Native Writers via Léonicka

Author Highlights and Interviews

Mitali Perkins shares about Open Mic

Interview with Gene Luen Yang about Boxers and Saints on NPR


Free Webinar: We NEED Diverse Books! Exploring Issues of Diversity in Children's & YA Literature

Articles and/or Blog Posts

Discussions on Cultural Diversity by Caroline Starr Rose

From the Archives

Native American Month 2012 via American Indian's in Children's Literature

Other News

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Dreaming Up

Image via Lee and Low

I reviewed Dreaming Up: A Celebration of Celebration back in May and I had been waiting for a chance to share it with my students. Yesterday, there was finally space again after the book fair and we could celebrate building together. I wrote about it on our school reading blog. Here are a few pictures of the structures the first graders created after being inspired by Christy Hale's poems, pictures, and fascinating building facts.

If you haven't had a chance to read it yet, grab it soon. Students loved the book and especially the chance to create their own structures.

Friday, October 25, 2013

National Day on Writing

The National Day on Writing happened earlier this week. This year the theme was #write2connect. For me, writing has been all about connecting with other people over the past few years. My blogs and those of others, twitter, Facebook, e-mails, texting, participating in write-ins for NaNoWriMo and other avenues I have surely  forgotten involved writing and connecting. Sharing, expressing myself, learning, questioning, getting to know people and reaching out to others have all happened through writing.

I have grown as a writer through connections I made on Twitter. Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts shares her writing and more importantly her writing journey with us through her blog and Twitter. She is also a part of the fabulous experience that is Teachers Write. Spending part of the summer interacting with other educators around writing is fun and a great stretching experience. I have appreciated the prompts, hints, teaching, and sharing involved there.

Being a part of a blogging team has also been a way of connecting with others too. This spring I became part of Rich in Color and have been able to work with four others who have diversity in literature as a high priority. I feel like I learn from them as I read their posts and deadlines help keep me writing.

The writing on twitter may be brief, but the many connections I make through "mini-blogging" are priceless. My professional learning network has expanded through Twitter and has influenced my teaching for the better.

NaNoWriMo has also been an eye-opening experience. It stretches me even more than blogging because I typically don't write fiction. I don't think I had written fiction since a creative writing class in college. That was over 20 years ago. As a child I didn't sit around writing stories except for assignments - and then I wasn't happy about it. I tended to do fanfic and nothing original. Writing fiction is HARD. What I loved about NaNo though were the write-ins. Getting together with other people and sharing a tough experience is crazy fun - especially when you get to drink hot chai, eat fabulous crepes and have live jazz in the background.

Beyond that, the second year, I wrote a book that delved into some tough times in my own past. I shed about a bucket full of tears that month looking back into some of the events that shaped me. Digging into the past was difficult, but writing it down helped me come to peace with some things. I connected with the child I used to be and found some healing in the words filling my pages. I am not sure if that story will be shared with anyone, but writing it got me talking to people about things that we hadn't dealt with in the past and connecting with them in new ways.

Writing is one more way to communicate with people, but it is also a way we learn about ourselves. Writing is an expression, but also a path to understanding how we see the world around us. How are you connected through writing?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Preparing for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo)

I successfully completed NaNoWriMo 2011 and 2012 (on the very last day). I had a hard time deciding whether or not to do it again, but a former student talked to me the other night about my very first novel and told me that I should do another one. She and a few girls from my school book club had asked for copies of it. They are the few that have read it. That tipped the scale in NaNo's favor.

Now that I have made my decision, maybe some actual planning is in order, but instead of outlining or even thinking of characters, setting or plot, I am gathering helpful quotes and links. I think this is procrastination at its best. :)

Writerly Quotes

Helpful Hints
Things you need in the first scene by Susanne Lakin

How to Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps from Glen C. Strathy

Are You Ready to NaNo? by Nephele Tempest

NaNoWriMo Etiquette via Errol

Advice for Making it Through NaNoWriMo via The Dirigible Plum

The book Little Red Writing

Debs and Errol have some fun comics and videos to get you going or distract you or at least make you laugh. See a great example here:

Written? Kitten!

National Day on Writing - Write to Connect by Katherine Sokolowski

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Walking the Labyrinth

There is a labyrinth near the place where I drop off my daughter for orchestra practice every Saturday. I knew it existed, but had never visited it until a few weeks ago. It is a nice way to de-stress and get centered (pun not intended, but it is true in both instances). I have walked a few labyrinths in the past: the one at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco was the first one I experienced and that was many years ago.
Grace Cathedral Photo by Nancy McClure with CC Attribution 
I also visited one in Milwaukee that was indoors a couple of summers ago. That was a completely different experience with candles and multiple people using it at the same time. I think there may have even been music playing. I liked the feeling of being part of a group, yet still being alone in the space.

The first time I visited our local labyrinth was a warm sunny day. I didn't try to meditate or pray or anything. I just focused on being there in the moment to experience the feeling of the place. There was still greenery on the walls surrounding the labyrinth, flowers blooming and many plants crowded the corners of the courtyard. The labyrinth sits below street level so it feels very secluded and peaceful even though there are muffled sounds from the traffic. I loved that feeling of peace. There aren't so many times in my day when I give myself permission to just "be" without a task. I have time for thinking when I am running, but then my body is also quite occupied and I am very conscious of my movements and am making decisions often. With my feet on a prescribed path, my body and brain don't have to make decisions. I think that is what I liked the most. I was there with no time constraint so there was no question of how fast to go just at a comfortable pace - no question of which way to go either. There was time to feel the sun on my face, listen to the birds chirping, hear the ivy rustling against the brick wall, notice the plants courageously growing in the cracks between the bricks and settle into the moment. 

The second visit the weather was cooler and I had a companion - a black squirrel who kept following me around and chattering. Again, I had to periodically remind myself to stay in the moment and not think about other things, but it wasn't hard to stay right there. Once again, I felt at peace and had a relaxing time.

This past Saturday was challenging though. I had difficulty keeping my mind off of the many things that I need or want to do in the coming week. Afterward I thought that it might be a good idea to take along a journal and use one of the benches to sit and write down a list of things I need to do and thoughts that I am having before I begin. I guess I needed to following Grace Cathedral's instructions before starting. I didn't realize there are instructions for these things. There is always more to learn.

I look forward to experiencing the labyrinth through different seasons and different times of the day. If you haven't done it, I would highly recommend trying it at least once. If you wonder where to find a labyrinth, there is a directory to find one near you.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Tuesday Trailers

The Real Boy book trailer debut happened as part of the blog tour. I was so excited to find it here on the Bulldog Readers blog.

And here is an adorable picture book trailer for a book I had never heard of before: Herman's Letter

Monday, October 21, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Previous Week: 
Picture Books

Of the three, Dusk was my favorite. Like the companion book Snow, Dusk is a quiet, somewhat contemplative type of book. It made me smile to see the many holiday lights lighting up the dusk. Little Red Writing was especially fun because I happened to read it on the National Day on Writing. It was also a reminder that NaNoWriMo will be here very soon and I may have to cut through the underbrush of my novel to stick to my path. Mister Whistler was amusing. Anytime characters are in boxer shorts, my students are sure to giggle.

Middle Grade 

I reviewed The Twistrose Key here. Fun fantasy. In Bluffton, Matt Phelan brought the past alive. It also inspired me to check YouTube to refresh my memory of Buster Keaton.

Young Adult 

I listened to Liar and enjoyed the audio. The title really explains a lot. This is a book that cannot be talked about much without giving away too much, but let's just agree that the title is very appropriate. Monstrous Beauty is a haunting story that pulled me in and wouldn't let me go. I think it was my favorite of the week. I don't go in for mermaid stories, but this one had fantasy, mystery, romance and tragedy so there was a lot going on besides the mermaid thing.


Biographies have always interested me and this one is no exception. I reviewed it here. I loved learning more about Caldecott, but even more about the evolution of picture books.

The Coming Week:
I am in the middle of Winger and am finding it amusing. I also found the audio of Fangirl today! Score. I started listening to it while doing the laundry and making dinner. I know I need to read some books for review this week, but also have a huge pile from the library - maybe P.S. Be Eleven and Every Day After. Have a great week of reading!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Notes on Diversity

Book News and Reviews
cover image via Indiebound

Review: Death Dickinson and the Demented Life of Frenchie Garcia via Rich in Color

Review: Ghost Hawk via American Indians in Children's Literature

Review: Salt via American Indians in Children's Literature

Review: Here I Am via Reading Through Life

Cover image via IndieBound

Book Lists
7 Multicultural Romances via Rich in Color

Diverse Children's Literature for Halloween via Lee and Low

New Releases via Rich in Color

YA Friendly Books About Transgender People via Malinda Lo

Author Highlights and Interviews
Living on the Edge: an interview with Alex London via The Pirate Tree

5 Things Jessica Martinez Learned While Writing The Vow via Diversity in YA

Introducing Open Mic Contributor Greg Neri via Mitali's Fire Escape

Video Interview of Gene Luen Yang via We Talk

How I Began My Writing Career by Ellen Oh via Printsasia

E.M. Kokie Interviews Sara Farizan via Malinda Lo

Diversity in YA: An Interview with Malinda Lo and Cindy Pon via Hello Giggles

Q&A with Author-Illustrator Don Tate via CBC Diversity

Meet Pura Belpré on Book Box Daily

Articles and/or Blog Posts
Heck YA Diversity! Glossed Encounters via Forever Young Adult

CBC Diversity Newletter

President Obama, Mascots, Children's Literature, and American Indians via American Indians in Children's Literature

Tu Books Friends and Family Sale - 35% off + free shipping through Oct. 22

Giant YA Pride Giveaway from Malinda Lo

Review: Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing

Title: Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing
Author: Leonard S. Marcus
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pages: 64
Available: August 27, 2013
Review Copy: Library Copy

Summary:Randolph Caldecott is best known as the namesake of the award that honors picture book illustrations, and in this inventive biography, leading children’s literature scholar Leonard Marcus examines the man behind the medal. In an era when the steam engine fueled an industrial revolution and train travel exploded people’s experience of space and time, Caldecott was inspired by his surroundings to capture action, movement, and speed in a way that had never before been seen in children’s picture books. Thoroughly researched and featuring extensive archival material and a treasure trove of previously unpublished drawings, including some from Caldecott’s very last sketchbook, Leonard Marcus’s luminous biography shows why Caldecott was indeed the father of the modern picture book and how his influence lives on in the books we love today. -- Cover image and summary via Goodreads

My Thoughts: This week I finished reading Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing, but I also attended the Charlotte Zolotow Lecture in Madison which was delivered by Leonard Marcus. His topic was Why Picture Books Matter. During his speech he said that "a book could have more than one story to tell." He explained that one of those stories could be how the book came to exist. His book about Randolph Caldecott does just that. He gives us the history of not only Caldecott's life and the many things that influenced him.

It was fascinating to learn that the advent of the steam engine and other mechanical types of advances actually affected illustrations. Marcus links speed of the trains to the fact that illustrators were creating pictures that conveyed motion. Caldecott excelled at this. They were pictures that invite readers to be a part of imagining the scene.

The book includes samples of Caldecott's early sketches and illustrations from his books. I loved the combination of text and artifacts. The old-fashioned cream colored paper on the end pages made me feel like I was stepping back through time. Marcus included a timeline, a list of Caldecott's books, source notes and a thorough bibliography.

I am glad that I got the chance to read this fantastic piece of picture book history.

A Few Notes from the Charlotte Zolotow Lecture: Leonard Marcus explained that some people think of picture books as water-wings to be shed as soon as possible. That people should graduate from picture books. Obviously Marcus does not share that belief.  Picture books can speak to all ages and they are important. He pointed out that picture books are the "first gateways to a lifelong appreciation of literature and art." One of my favorite quotes was that, "No one should underestimate the 'thinginess' of books." They are things that we collect. We like to have them in our hands.

The video below expresses much of what he spoke about - Why Picture Books Matter:

Brian Selznick and Leonard Marcus on Caldecott

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Review: The Twistrose Key

Author: Tone Almhjell
Publisher: Dial
Pages: 336
Available: October 22, 2013
Review Copy: Edelweiss Digital ARC

Summary: When a mysterious parcel arrives at her family’s new home, eleven-year-old Lin Rosenquist has a curious feeling she’s meant to discover what’s inside.

Much to Lin’s surprise, the ornate key contained in the parcel unlocks a spellbinding world called Sylver, hidden behind the cellar door. Sylver is an enchanting land of eternal winter, inhabited by animals that shared a special connection with children in the real world, either as beloved pets or tamed wild animals. In death, they are delivered to Sylver, where they take on a curiously human-like form and still watch over the children they cherish. While Lin is overjoyed to be reunited with her beloved pet, Rufus, she soon learns that the magic of the Petlings and Wilders is failing, and snow trolls want to claim Sylver for themselves. Lin must discover a way to stop them and save this enchanted world.

Full of charm, suspense, and heartfelt emotion, this memorable classic in the making will leave readers breathless. -- Cover image and summary via Goodreads

My Thoughts: Going into the story, I was a bit concerned. Within a handful of pages we have a young girl going through a door and into another world where it is permanently winter and animals behave as humans. Sound familiar? Only if you have read The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. Fortunately, after those brief nods to C.S. Lewis, The Twistrose Key took on a life of its own.

I appreciated Lin's courage, curiosity, and her ability to "bring her brain to the party." When she finds a key, she immediately sets out to investigate. Don't you just love wonderful old mysterious keys? They whisper of so many possibilities and Lin loves to puzzle things out. She uses what she knows combined with her creative thinking to work through many dicy situations.

Another fun part of the book is the relationship she has with her pet who has become a Petling in Sylver. Their friendship is rich and made me wish for a similar reunion with my childhood pets.

Beyond the friendship, there is a layer of high fantasy at work too with trolls, a winter prince and plenty of magic. I am not generally eager for winter, but Almhjell has created an enchanted frozen world that makes me wish for snow and a great sledding hill.

There were a few illustrations in the digital ARC, but I am looking forward to seeing the completed book so I can get the full effect. Almhjell's detailed world building certainly gave the illustrator plenty of material to use.

I would recommend The Twistrose Key to young fantasy lovers who are undaunted by 300+ pages.


Chapter 1

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Tuesday Trailer

Title: Here I Am
Author: Patti Kim
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Pages: 40
Format: Wordless Picture Book
Available: September 1, 2013
Review Copy: Netgalley ARC

Summary: Newly arrived from their faraway homeland, a boy and his family enter into the lights, noise, and traffic of a busy American city. The language is unfamiliar. Food, habits, games, and gestures are puzzling. They boy clings tightly to his special keepsake from home and wonders how he will find his way. How will he once again become the happy, confident kid he used to be? Walk in his shoes as he takes the first tentative steps toward discovering joy in his new world.

Review: I am quickly becoming a fan of wordless picture books. There is so much that can be expressed through the illustrations when they are well done. If a reader did miss the point though, in this particular book, there is an explanation at the end. It tells how the author was also an immigrant and experienced the same types of things as the main character. 

This is a beautiful book. The illustrations do a fantastic job of showing how overwhelming it could be to shift to a new country, but also how stepping out can be difficult, but rewarding. You can feel the emotions throughout the book along with the main character as he rides this roller coaster of change.  

I am looking forward to adding this one to our library. We have many students who can relate to the immigrant story, but I think that children of any background have experienced changes in their lives that have thrown them off center for a time. This is a book that will speak to many.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

The Past Week:

Picture Books

Have Fun, Molly Lou Melon was in our Book Fair and I am glad that I got to read it. I loved how Molly Lou's grandmother encourages her to use her imagination. It was also cool that her new best friend has crutches and it is not really even part of the story. Tiger in My Soup is a fun story. The young  boy has quite the adventure when a tiger looks back at him out of his soup bowl. Flabbersmashed About You is a story of friendship, but not just how we become friends, but how friendship sometimes changes.


Image via Barnes and Noble

Biographies are fun and this one was especially wonderful since I enjoyed her most recent book, Niño Wrestles the World and Mr. Schu had posted a video of her reading within the past week. I could hear her voice as I read.

The videos below would be great to pair with her biography.

Middle Grade/YA

Cynthia Kadohata shares another great story of family with The Thing About Luck. I enjoy seeing other ways of being a family. In this children are traveling with their grandparents as they help harvest wheat.  Written in Stone is another book that highlights family interactions. I reviewed it on Saturday. Interworld was a bit of a challenge for me. I don't read a whole lot of science fiction to start with, but I also found myself disconnecting from the book every time I put it down so it took me several weeks to read, but finally this week, the action sucked me in and I zipped through the end. I am not sure if I will attempt the sequel, but was glad that it finally clicked with me.

The Coming Week:
I just started listening to Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Wow! What a twisty and unique story. I am definitely enjoying this one. I have a road trip later this week, so I will likely finish that. Monstrous Beauty is also next to my chair. Interesting so far. I have several books I need to review so that will probably determine what I read - The Twistrose Key and maybe From Norvelt to Nowhere. Have a great week of reading!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Review: Written in Stone

Title: Written in Stone
Author: Rosanne Parry
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Pages: 208
Genre: Historical Fiction
Review Copy: Netgalley ARC & Library Copy
Release Date: June 25, 2013

Summary: Pearl has always dreamed of hunting whales, just like her father. Of taking to the sea in their eight-man canoe, standing at the prow with a harpoon, and waiting for a whale to lift its barnacle-speckled head as it offers its life for the life of the tribe. But now that can never be. Pearl's father was lost on the last hunt, and the whales hide from the great steam-powered ships carrying harpoon cannons, which harvest not one but dozens of whales from the ocean. With the whales gone, Pearl's people, the Makah, struggle to survive as Pearl searches for ways to preserve their stories and skills.  -- cover image and summary via Goodreads

Review: A few years ago, I was lucky enough to travel to the Olympic Penninsula. I loved seeing it again through Written in Stone. Parry painted a picture of the landscape and I almost felt the fog roll in as I read. It is interesting to see the land, but also the time frame. There aren't that many middle grade books set in the 20s.

More than the setting though, the relationships in the story appealed to me. Pearl has lost both her parents and her sister, but she is surrounding by a caring extended family. Pearl's Aunt Susi works in town and lives on her own. She is a role model and a mentor who stands by Pearl, but also holds her accountable for her actions. Susi brings out the best in Pearl. More than anything else, this is a story of family and the strength that family can inspire.

Roseanne Parry taught on the Quinault Indian reservation. In this text, she has worked hard to respectfully portray the Quinault and Makah people and their history. She explained that she wanted to create a story that would let her students see characters like them. She shared some aspects of the culture, but was careful not to appropriate their stories. She alluded to several characters from stories, but did not explain out of respect. This was a difficult balancing act of utilizing the history to create something new without using the stories of the people because as she wrote in the author's note, "they are not mine to tell." I appreciated that she didn't just make up tales to go along with her narrative but let it stand on its own.

I would recommend Written in Stone. It provides a look into a time, place and culture that many children would not otherwise experience. For a little taste of the story, you may watch the trailer below.

Roseanne Parry's Pinterest Board related to the book

Friday, October 11, 2013

Notes on Diversity in Children's and YA Literature


YA Pride Giveaway from Malinda Lo

Africa Access Review reading program

28 Days Later Call for Submissions - The Brown Bookshelf would like nominations for your favorite black authors and illustrators. They will feature one a day during Black History Month in 2014.

Book Lists

Scholastic Book List for Hispanic Heritage Month

Diverse Releases for Oct. 8 via DiversityinYA

October Releases on Pinterest via Edi Campbell

The South Asia Book Award via Edi Campbell

Children's and YA books featuring transracial adoption via Lee and Low

Book News and Reviews

Antigoddess (YA) reviewed on Rich in Color - image via Goodreads

Jumped In (YA) reviewed on Rich in Color - image via Goodreads

How I Became a Ghost (YA) reviewed on The Pirate Tree

Courage Has No Color (NF) reviewed on SLJ

A Rogue Lego Party (YA) via Cynthia Leitich Smith

Tiger Girl (YA) was released on Oct. 7

Knock Knock (PB) reviewed on SLJ including the video of the poem that was the inspiration.


Bilingual interview with Euliser Polanco via Book Box Daily

On Diversity and Character Depth by Jennifer Laughran

Latina editor shares insights on how to get published - interview with Marcela Landres and post via Tu Books

Why Diversity in Media is Important by Brie

True or False? Multicultural Books Don't Sell by Elizabeth Bluemle via Lee and Low

Concept Books a Much Needed Multi-Cultural Spin via The Picture Book Lab

Heck YA, Diversity! Diversity for the "Cultureless" by Shana Mlawski via Forever Young Adult

2013 LGBT YA by the Numbers by Malinda Lo

Great Resources

**New Blog - Latino Kids in Lit

CBC Diversity Newsletter

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Tuesday Trailers

I do not know how it is that I have never read the books in The Fairyland Series, but after watching the trailer, I think I am going to have to get right on that.

Here are a few more fun trailers that I noticed on Twitter this week.

And the newest one...

Sunday, October 6, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf

The Past Week: 
Picture Books

I really loved How To. The illustrations were fantastic and the text is lovely. I also think it would be helpful when teachers are working on writing "how-to" texts with students. It isn't necessarily a model, but would be a good way to introduce or start discussion about telling or showing how to do something. Year of the Jungle is a bit of a memoir as Suzanne Collins tells the story of the year her father was away at war. The Very Inappropriate Word and Mr. Tiger Goes Wild both made me smile. They are definitely humorous.

Middle Grade

Fortunately, the Milk was quite amusing. I was a bit put off by some of the illustrations, but the story was cute. Salt: A Story of Friendship in a Time of War is a novel in verse so I was inclined to like it from the start. I tend to like anything Helen Frost writes. She chose to write about a time in history when settlers and the Miami people were in conflict. It was well told and showed that in war, friendships can be tested. It was also a book about family and how family can go beyond being related by blood.

Young Adult

I read A Step From Heaven for the Printz challenge. I am so glad it won or I may have missed this fantastic book. This is a story of immigration, but it is also about family. The relationships were complex and they touched my heart. It got tears out of me. I read Jumped In for a review on Rich in Color. It is not a novel in verse, but it does feature a lot of poetry. I appreciated the characters and the well told story. There were a few tears here too.


My students and I thought A Little Book of Sloth was fantastic. The photographs are adorable and the narrative was fun too. The Mighty Mars Rovers caught my attention especially since I watched the Curiosity landing in 2012.  The photos are amazing and seeing how excited the scientists and engineers got was pretty cool too.

The Coming Week:
I am reading a middle grade book Written in Stone and I may still finish Interworld. I just checked out a ton of books, but I am not sure which ones will I will get to this week. Have fun reading!