Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 02/27/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I love books. I mean, I know you know that but still, I love books. This week I really zoned in on Rising Strong and Orphan Island and I'm enjoying both...but still working on both.  We also made it about halfway through Where Children Sleep by James Mollison. I'll be reviewing this one soon, it's so powerful and really started some conversations with my boys.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'm keeping on with Rising Strong and Orphan Island and we'll keep reading Where Children Sleep. I'm hoping to be able to get back to March and to start Matylda, Bright and Tender too.

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

The Memory Box Cover Reveal!

A few years ago I was honored to share the cover of Joanna Rowland's book Always Mom, Forever Dad. And now she has a new book coming out that I'm excited to tell you about!

It's another picture book and it's titled The Memory Box: A Book About Grief. Here's a summary of the book for you to get an idea of what it's about:

"I'm scared I'll forget you…"

From the perspective of a young child, Joanna Rowland artfully describes what it is like to remember and grieve a loved one who has died. The child in the story creates a memory box to keep mementos and written memories of the loved one, to help in the grieving process. Heartfelt and comforting, The Memory Box will help children and adults talk about this very difficult topic together. The unique point of view allows the reader to imagine the loss of any they have loved - a friend, family member, or even a pet.

Despite being about a difficult topic, doesn't it sound lovely?

And now, I'm happy to share the cover.

Here it comes....



The Memory Box: A Book About Grief 
will be out this fall on September 26th, 2017
 from Sparkhouse Family. 

Until then, be sure to follow Joanna on social media. 
Visit Joanna's website and follow her on Twitter.

Sunday, February 19, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 02/20/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I had such a blast sharing World Read Aloud Day with some great author and illustrator friends and all the students in my district. It's a dream come true! I remember having sweet little parties at our house when my district didn't have technology for Skype and when I didn't have students of my own. But last year and this year I got to really, truly celebrate and it was awesome. I'll share more in my celebrate post this week.

As far as reading goes, I did read more of Rising Strong and Orphan Island and I love them both. I also started March but didn't have much time to give to it. We did make a trip to a local-but-not-ours library and I found a few picture books to read that were super cute.

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on the picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I have a class I'm finishing up on Tuesday and I have reading for my class on Wednesday which is just getting started. I'm learning a lot and thinking a lot...but I miss my time for my own reading and writing. At least one class will be done this week, hopefully that will free up some time for more reading and writing. I'm still going to keep my reading focused on Rising Strong and Orphan Island this week. IF I finish either of them, I'll be working on March and then Matylda, Bright and Tender. Yay!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

For The Love Of Mentor Texts - Bridget Geraghty

Welcome to another guest post in my series For The Love of Mentor Texts here at Teach Mentor Texts. I love to talk about the power of mentor texts to impact our writing but I'm thrilled to have friends share how they use mentor texts for a fresh perspective. Today I'm excited to welcome Bridget Geraghty to share how mentor texts are an inspiration to her. 

Would you like to write a guest post for For The Love of Mentor Texts? Just let me know by filling out this simple form

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Mentor Texts as a Source of Inspiration
By Bridget Geraghty
February 8th, 2017


I am willing to bet that most authors owe their first notion that they should write a book to a mentor text. Had it not been for that awakening they experienced through reading another person’s written work, the call to create something just as awe-inspiring may have passed them by. This is surely the case for me, as I can attribute my pull to write “Molly Bell and the Wishing Well” to mentor texts that stirred a sense of longing to write a story that would leave an indelible mark on others the way those books did for me.

It was during my time as an elementary school teacher that I truly beheld the influence that a remarkable story has on a child’s perspective and understanding. I would like to share a couple of examples of books that not only had an effect on the students in my classroom, but also inspired me to write a story that touched readers in the same way.

One such story is “The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett. There is an abundance of beautiful lessons for children in this story. But one that stands out for me is the way the author uses a secondary character, Martha, as a means to help the main character, Mary, overcome her selfishness and sulky attitude.  Mary is a forlorn and miserable child who pushes away anyone that tries to engage with her.  But Martha is a jolly, no-nonsense young woman who sees past Mary’s behavior and uses her gentle guidance and steadfast encouragement to help Mary open her eyes to the beauty and wonder of the world around her.

Likewise, in my middle grade novel, “Molly Bell and the Wishing Well”, the main character, Molly, has to overcome the grief she has in her heart over the loss of her mother.  I used a secondary character, Grandma Saige, in a similar “counselor” role with the purpose of showing Molly by example and through her loving advice that there is still joy to be experienced in her life.
Another example of a mentor text that I utilized in the creative process of writing my own book is “Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH” by Robert C. O”Brien. One aspect of this story that impressed upon me in particular is how the main character, Mrs. Frisby (a mouse), must fight her fears to reach her goal.  In order to help her sick child and save her family’s home from being destroyed, she must travel through a field and risk being attacked by a villainous cat, fly on the back of a bird although she is afraid of heights, and visit a frightening predatory owl because he is the only one who knows how to heal her child.  All of these things terrified Mrs. Frisby, yet she found the resolve within her to press on.  

In my story, I also wanted to impart the lesson that if you want something badly enough, sometimes you just have to do it afraid.  In “Molly Bell and the Wishing Well”, Molly is overcome with the desire to visit a wishing well she believes is magical so she can wish away the unwanted parts of her life.  She is staying at her grandparents’ farm, and her grandfather does not want her to go to the wishing well (he has his own reasons for forbidding Molly to see it). But Grandma Saige has a soft spot for Molly’s interest in it, so she tells Molly where it is. In the middle of the night when everyone else is asleep, Molly decides that she will sneak out of the house and go on an adventure to find it. But of course, it is an overwhelming and scary experience for Molly that she must find the courage to keep going through because she wants to reach the wishing well so desperately.
So, in both of these examples and in other mentor texts I have used that influence my writing, I look for the essence that is captured within the characters or through the action in the story. What was the lesson that appealed to me so deeply, and how can I in my own way, through my characters and events, leave my readers with that impression I hope will be made in their own minds? My greatest hope is that perhaps one day a child will read “Molly Bell and the Wishing Well” and be drawn to a theme that speaks to his or her heart, and be inclined to tell their own story one day that breathes to life a new way of teaching that lesson.
Bridget is the author of Molly Bell and the Wishing Well. You can visit her Author WebsiteAuthor Facebook Page, or Amazon Author Page to learn more about her. 

A big thank you to Bridget for taking the time to share her love of mentor texts!

Sunday, February 12, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 02/13/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read Caroline Starr Rose's most recent book, Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine. Her historical fiction is wonderful. I also read some of Lauren Snyder's Orphan Island and BrenĂ©' Brown's Rising Strong. Oh, and Peanut and I are on to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire now!

Reviewed Last Week:
 
Click the picture above to read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm still determined to finish Rising Strong and I'm enjoying Orphan Island so I hope to finish that too. This week is World Read Aloud Day! I'm soooooooooooooo excited to celebrate at school and at home!

This Week's Reviews: 
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mind Review and Blog Tour

Title: Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine 
Author: Caroline Starr Rose   
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers 
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Hoping to strike it rich, two brothers escape an abusive father and set out on a treacherous journey to Alaska during the Klondike Gold Rush. 

Desperate to get away from their drunkard of a father, eleven-year-old Jasper and his older brother Melvin often talk of running away, of heading north to Alaska to chase riches beyond their wildest dreams. The Klondike Gold Rush is calling, and Melvin has finally decided the time to go is now--even if that means leaving Jasper behind. But Jasper has other plans, and follows his brother aboard a steamer as a stowaway. 

Onboard the ship, Jasper overhears a rumor about One-Eyed Riley, an old coot who's long since gone, but is said to have left clues to the location of his stake, which still has plenty of gold left. The first person to unravel the clues and find the mine can stake the claim and become filthy rich. Jasper is quick to catch gold fever and knows he and Melvin can find the mine--all they have to do is survive the rough Alaskan terrain, along with the steep competition from the unscrupulous and dangerous people they encounter along the way. 

In an endearing, funny, pitch-perfect middle grade voice, Caroline Starr Rose tells another stellar historical adventure young readers will long remember.  

What I Think: Fans of Kate Messner's Ranger in Time, The Magic Tree House series, Jennifer Holm's My Only May Amelia, and Kirby Larson's Hattie Big Sky will enjoy this middle grade novel from Caroline Starr Rose. It's historical fiction that's full of adventure. I loved the characters and was rooting for them right from the first chapter. Jasper especially has heart and grit and I'm sure readers are going to want to follow him along on his journey as much as I did. 
     As a mentor text, boy does this book have lots of voice. Every character has so much essence. That might be a strange way to explain it but it's as thought their essence is so evident in how they act but definitely in their dialogue. Reading  Jasper and The Riddle of Riley's Mine is an opportunity to think about how dialogue tells us so much about a character. If you read, you'll see that Caroline mentions how important setting and character are to her stories and it is so clear that she has a very solid idea of who her characters are and that makes a huge impact on the story as it unfolds. 

I'm so excited to have Caroline Starr Rose herself here
to share her creative writing process with us!

Caroline Starr Rose on Her Creative Writing Process

Authors love to classify their approach to writing in one of two ways. They’re either Plotters — people who plan the structure and plot of a story through outlines, or Pantsters — writers who figure things out as they go, flying by the seats of their pants.


I’m a little of both. (When I mentioned this during a school visit a few years back, a student promptly dubbed me a Plotster, which suits me fine). As I begin with a new idea, I need a strong sense of my setting (which, because I write historical fiction, is grounded in a lot of research), and a good grasp on my main character. From there, it’s an experiment. I like to imagine tossing my character into the setting and watching what happens. Conflict of some sort is certain to emerge.


In Jasper and the Riddle of Riley’s Mine, placing my eleven-year-old main character in a harrowing 2,000-mile journey to Canada’s Yukon Territory meant plenty of opportunities for conflict. I knew Jasper would face physical challenges, such as hunger, sore muscles from miles of walking, and the constant threat of the fast-approaching winter. These physical challenges would influence his emotional state. Maybe some days he’d be excited and other days he’d wonder why he’d jumped into such an impossible feat. This led me to wonder how the largely-adult crowd heading to the Klondike would treat Jasper and how he would respond.


From there, I feel around for turning points in the at-this-point hazy plot. Going into Jasper, I knew he’d followed his older brother, Melvin, on the journey to the Klondike. At some point he would have to be found out. I also knew I wanted this book to have a sense of mystery, one that involved an abandoned mine worth millions that was free to the first person who could find it. Though I had no specifics when I started, I knew figuring out these two things would be key.


Armed with a journal full of research notes, a couple of simple character sketches, and lists of questions, I jumped in. Writing is not efficient, and my process with this book was possibly the least efficient of anything I’ve ever written. It was a twisting trail of wrong turns and dead ends. While drafting, I would shape and re-shape what I thought would happen next, lightly outlining on the fly. Twice I wrote to the end, only to toss two-thirds of the story. While working on Jasper edits a few summers back I posted this on my blog:


What I’m beginning to learn about writing books is that if I show up enough times, I start to run out of mistakes to make. But of course not all at once. That would be too easy.


Discovery and exploration, mistakes and wrong turns. The desire to keep moving forward. That sums up my writing process. Rather than fight against it, I’m learning to respect the mystery.


Which you can gently remind me of tomorrow or the next day.

A big round of applause to Caroline for sharing
her thoughts on writing with us1 
I especially love these two sentences about what the writing process is
and I'll be holding onto them as I write:
"Discovery and exploration, mistakes and wrong turns.
The desire to keep moving forward."

Be sure to check out the other stops on the blog tour!

Wednesday, February 8th – Teach Mentor Texts
Thursday, February 9th – Mr. Schu Reads
Friday, February 10th – Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Saturday, February 11th – Late Bloomer’s Book Blog
Sunday, February 12th – Children’s Book Review
Monday, February 13th – LibLaura5
Tuesday, February 14th – All the Wonders

Sunday, February 5, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 02/06/2017

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!
Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and I decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them. 

Last Week's Book Adventures:
This week I finished A Boy Called Bat and shared my review. Peanut and I also finished Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. Little Bean and I read a bit of the first Geronimo Stilton book. I'm still reading Rising Strong...that will have to be my goal this week!

Reviewed Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I was hoping to finish Rising Strong last week but I didn't so I'm going to zone in on in this week. I'm also excited to read Caroline Starr Rose's Jasper and the Riddle of Riley's Mine. Sounds intriguing, right?

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 

So, what are you reading this week? 
Link up below and don't forget to check out other blogs to see what they are reading!
To help build our community and support other bloggers, 
we ask that you comment on at least three other blogs before you. 
Also, if you tweet about your Monday post, don't forget to use #IMWAYR!