Friday, April 24, 2015

The Sky Painter Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Title: The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist 
Author: Margarita Engle 
Illustrator: Aliona Bereghici 
Publisher: Two Lions 
Publication Date: April 28th, 2015 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Poetry/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Louis loves to watch birds. He takes care of injured birds and studies how they look and how they move. His father wants him to become an engineer, but Louis dreams of being a bird artist. To achieve this dream, he must practice, practice, practice. He learns from the art of John James Audubon. But as Louis grows up, he begins to draw and paint living, flying birds in their natural habitats.

Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874–1927) is now known as the father of modern bird art. He traveled with many scientific expeditions all over the world. His best-known works—paintings for habitat exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York—are still beloved by visitors today. His art helped to encourage wildlife conservation, inspiring people to celebrate and protect the world of wings.
Poems by Newbery Honor–winning author Margarita Engle and illustrations by Aliona Bereghici capture the life of Louis Fuertes and the deep sense of wonder that he felt when he painted the sky.   
What I Think: Before reading Okay For Now by Gary Schmidt, I didn't know much about John James Audubon. Because Audubon's artwork plays such a key role in that book, I learned how influential he was. Bereghici's artwork in The Sky Painter is beautiful and unique. She has a way of making the vibrant colors sound soft and gentile like the birds she portrays in the illustrations.

I really like how Engle used poetry to break up the story, creating purposeful pauses between pieces of the story. They lyrical text works so well as poems and she offers a variety of samples of descriptive writing to look at. In the snatch of text alone, readers can look at alliteration, rhythm, simile, and metaphor.   

Poetry also offers a great opportunity to look at word choice. Because poetry naturally limits the number of words, it's critical that each word have a purpose. By paying attention to Engle's word choice, we can look at how they create an image that the reader can visualize. Recognizing this connection between reading and writing is helpful as a reader practices good reading strategies as much as for a writer practicing incorporating literary elements to help the reader be able to visualize. 
Read Together: Grade K - 6 
Read Alone: Grade 2 - 6 
Read With: She's Wearing a Dead Bird On Her Head by Kathryn Lasky, Look Up! by Annette LeBlanc Cate 
Snatch of Text:  

Alaska
"I whistle.
Birds answer.
I follow.
Blue shadows.
White snow.
Clear ice.
The beauty
of flight
like a dance
in the clouds,
a graceful ballet
of wild swans." 
Writing Prompts: Using what you know about descriptive writing to write about something you have observed in nature.  
Topics Covered: Integration - Science, Integration - Art, Nature, Passion, Admiration, Family  
Additional Resources: Margarita Engle is a Cuban American poet and novelist whose work has been published in many countries. Her books include The Poet Slave of Cuba, winner of the Pura Belpré Award for narrative and the Américas Award; The Surrender Tree, a Newbery Honor book; Summer Birds: The Butterflies of Maria Merian, a Kirkus Best Book for Children; and The Lightning Dreamer, Cuba’s Greatest Abolitionist, winner of the 2014 PEN Center USA Literary Award for Young Adult/Children’s Literature. Margarita lives in California, where she enjoys bird-watching and helping her husband with his volunteer work for wilderness search-and-rescue dog training programs. To learn more, and to download a free activity kit for THE SKY  PAINTER, visit: www.margaritaengle.com.
Today happens to be Poetry Friday so hop on over to No Water River for other poetry posts!
I *heart* It:

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Follow along on THE SKY PAINTER blog tour!

Mon, Apr 20
Library Fanatic
Tues, Apr 21
Kid Lit Frenzy
Wed, Apr 22
Unleashing Readers
Thurs, Apr 23
5 Minutes for Books
Fri, Apr 24
Teach Mentor Texts
Sat, Apr 25
Booking Mama
Mon, Apr 27
Sharpread
Tues, Apr 28
The Children's Book Review
Wed, Apr 29
Cracking the Cover
Thurs, Apr 30
A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
Fri, May 1
Archimedes Notebook


*Thanks to Blue Slip Media for 
a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review 
and the opportunity to offer this giveaway!*

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The One With Pryvit #sol15


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

*          *          *
Last year, a new family with a third-grade girl moved in at the end of the culdesac. We were playing basketball in the driveway and she came over to play with us. Despite knowing very little English, she wasn't shy in joining in our game. 

That first day, I did learn her name but that was about it. Nonetheless, we were able to play basketball, taking shots, passing the ball, laughing when we missed.

We didn't see our friend much during the winter because it was really super freezing this winter and we didn't even play outside much even when there was snow. 

But now that the weather is warm again (finally), we've been playing outside and our end-of-the-culdesac friend came over on Saturday when we were playing outside. This time we were playing a ring toss game and as we played, I started asking her some simple questions and she was able to answer. She's definitely learned more English since she knew in the fall.

She told me she was from Ukraine and she had a dog and a cat there. I asked her if she missed Ukraine - I had to rephrase this question to ask if she was sad when she was here instead of in Ukraine. But she said she is happy in both places.

And then I started asking her to teach me how she would say hello and good-bye in Ukraine. She explained that they speak Russian and I repeated the phrases she taught me. Honestly, it wasn't easy but we had fun trying. I did learned how to say 
pryvit, which means hello - I have no idea if that's how you write it - but I looked it up online and I think it's close.

The next time I saw her I scrambled to remember any of the words or phrases she taught me. It was really hard to remember...but pryvit stuck with me and when I said it, her face lit up. She beamed and repeated it back to me. Maybe it wasn't perfect and I have a long way to go, but I tried and the smile on her face told me it was appreciated.

I truly don't know much about Ukraine or the language they speak. BUT through play, a smile, and listening with my heart, we have this new neighborhood friend. It's not hard to see others, to acknowledge them, to connect with them. It takes an open mind and patience, but it's possible. 

Someday, if I keep practicing...I hope to be able to tell her how brave she is and how much she inspires me.  

Sunday, April 19, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/20/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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:
Peanut and I are still reading Tom Angleberger's Fake Mustache and it's so fun because we've finally gotten to Jodie O'Rodeo's part and I get to use my country-western accent. I'm about halfway through Counting by 7's and I'm curious to see how it ends. I did get back to The Choreography of Prensenting which gave me a few things to think about, especially some techniques I hadn't named before.

I did get a lot of writing done this week...but not blog post writing unfortunately. Trying again this week!

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll be listening more to Counting by 7's on audio and finishing up Fake Mustache with Peanut...and then it'll be a surprise after that! I do have Orion and The Dark by Emma Yarlett on hold at my local bookstore that I'm hoping to pick up this week so that's definitely on my must reread list! 

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!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/13/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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 fell in love with Gilmore Girls again this week. It's a totally different kind of rereading but honestly, it's such a brilliantly written show and it's been making me think through my novel so it's its own kind of mentor text in a way.

Bookwise, I finished Terrible Two! What a great book. Too funny and I totally found a prank book that Peanut made in his room the other day. Love it. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm going to try my reviews again this week...and I got Counting by 7's on audio. I'm so excited because I've only heard good things. It's been a while since I've listened to audiobooks. The last couple of months have been a bit of a whirlwind and I've enjoyed lots of Spotify playlists but it will be good to get back to my audiobooks. Happy reading everyone! 

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, April 7, 2015

The One With A Staple Story #sol15


Every Tuesday, I participate in the Slice of Life challenge at Two Writing Teachers. If you want to participate, you can link up at their Slice of Life Story Post on Tuesdays or you can just head on over there to check out other people's stories. For more information on what a Slice of Life post is about, you can go here

*          *          *
This week I read an article about praising students. It talked about how often we say to kids, 
"I like how you..."
or
"I like the way you..."

And I realized that I totally do that. The article suggested we not make it seem like we're giving approval and instead just say, 
"You can..." 
or, 
"You're the kind of student who..."

And then I picked up Little Bean from daycare and was told about how Little Bean sometimes touches his head during the day, almost seemingly without knowing he does it. 

About a month ago, he ran upstairs at my parents' house, around the corner and right into the railing with his head. He had to have three staples put in. He had them out a week later. I've never had stitches or staples (yes, I'm knocking on everything wood I can get my hands on right now...) so I had no idea what to expect or how to help him through it. I could only be a mom and tell him how strong he is, how brave he is, and how proud of him I am. 

I asked him if his head was bothering him and he said no.

He held out a book that he colored and learned to read all by himself, pointing to the words as he read them aloud to me. When he was finished, he held it even closer to my face, his little finger aimed directly at the staple that held the pages together.

"See that?" he said.
"Yeah, that's a staple," I clarified.
"That was in my head," he said seriously.

My sweet boy was clearly thinking about what he went through. The staple is a tiny piece of metal holding papers together but when I imagine it punched into my baby's head, it seems huge and sharp

I could have said,
"I like how you were brave."
"I like the way you didn't even cry when they took them out."

But I thought about what words I might use and the idea that he's the only one in our family to ever have stitches, and I suddenly knew which words I wanted.

"You know all about having stitches." I told him. "That's a good story you can tell. Only you can tell that story. I've never had staples, Dad has never had staples. But you know what it's like."
"Did you ever run at Gramma's house?" he asked me and then started to talk about his story. 

And as easy as that, my words, my acknowledgement, my praise gave way to his voice. I know they're only words but look at the power they have when put together in a certain way, at just the right moment, and uttered with love and respect. 

Sunday, April 5, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/6/15

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA! 
It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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. 

Announcements:
Winner of Won Ton and Chopstick by Lee Wardlaw
Katy Massingill Manck 

*Thanks again to Blue Slip Media for 
a copy of this title in exchange for an honest review 
and the opportunity to offer this giveaway!*


Last Week's Book Adventures:

I'm still a little bit in shock that the Slice of Life March challenge is over. It was such a great month and I've found myself still thinking about and sharing my stories. It's pretty amazing. I did get some more reading in this week of The Choreography of Presenting. It's a little bit slow right now but I think I have to just power through. In Terrible Two, I told Peanut that it was getting exciting and he said, "What do you mean? It's all exciting!" I can't wait to see what happens between Miles and Niles. I also made it to an exciting part in Mark of the Thief. I'm not giving up on any of these! I did also read the second issue of my Princess Leia Star Wars comic. It's excellent and I'll share more at the end of the week.

Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm still reading The Choreography of Presenting, Terrible Two and Mark of the Thief! Onward!

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!

Friday, April 3, 2015

Rereading For Fluency with Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout

Today Poetry Friday is at The Poem Farm with Amy Ludwig VanderWater! Be sure to visit and check out all the great poetry posts. This month is extra special because April is National Poetry Month.

When I was in second grade, we held a poetry event. Students were partnered up and asked to draw a picture of a Shel Silverstein poem. We each had a different Shel Silverstein poem to prepare and recite. Technically, we were supposed to know it by heart but our teacher put the words on the back of our picture so we could peek at the words if we needed to. Where The Sidewalk Ends will always be one of my all-time favorite poetry collections. 
The poem I recite with one of my friends, was "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" and it is still one of my most favorite poems to read out loud. I was actually just talking to a friend about Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches and how keen Dr. Seuss was to be able address serious topics through picture books. Shel Silverstein reminds me of that. He seems to have addressed some serious topics in his poems as well. I've been thinking a lot about waste lately. I have a science teacher friend who has an indoor worm compost bin and I would love to get started...I just have to be brave enough to actually commit. I'm mostly worried about hurting the worms by over or under feeding them and about smelling up my house somehow. Maybe it'll be a summer project.

Today I'm rereading "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" and thinking about how wonderful this poem is for practicing fluency. Reading poetry is a perfect opportunity to think about timing and inflection, emotion fluidity in your voice. When we reread, we can practice fluency. The first time through, students familiarize themselves with the words, but when rereading, they can take the time to practice their fluency and to think about how to best read the words to make the biggest impact. And what an impact this poem has!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out
By Shel Silverstein

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout 
Would not take the garbage out! 
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans, 
Candy the yams and spice the hams, 
And though her daddy would scream and shout, 
She simply would not take the garbage out. 
And so it piled up to the ceilings: 
Coffee grounds, potato peelings, 
Brown bananas, rotten peas, 
Chunks of sour cottage cheese. 
It filled the can, it covered the floor, 
It cracked the window and blocked the door 
With bacon rinds and chicken bones, 
Drippy ends of ice cream cones, 
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel, 
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal, 
Pizza crusts and withered greens, 
Soggy beans and tangerines, 
Crusts of black burned buttered toast, 
Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . . 
The garbage rolled on down the hall, 
It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . . 
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs, 
Globs of gooey bubble gum, 
Cellophane from green baloney, 
Rubbery blubbery macaroni, 
Peanut butter, caked and dry, 
Curdled milk and crusts of pie, 
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard, 
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard, 
Cold french fried and rancid meat, 
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat. 
At last the garbage reached so high 
That it finally touched the sky. 
And all the neighbors moved away, 
And none of her friends would come to play. 
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said, 
"OK, I'll take the garbage out!" 
But then, of course, it was too late. . . 
The garbage reached across the state, 
From New York to the Golden Gate. 
And there, in the garbage she did hate, 
Poor Sarah met an awful fate, 
That I cannot now relate 
Because the hour is much too late. 
But children, remember Sarah Stout 
And always take the garbage out!