Sunday, November 23, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/24/14

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 had such an amazing time at NCTE and will be sharing pictures and ideas soon. What a great conference...but only because of the wonderful people there. It's truly like a family reunion and that's one of the best feelings. Before I left I was so super close to finishing Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins but I still have part of the last CD to go. I'm so eager to finish it! I got Kate Messner's Ranger in Time and started reading it on the way home. I read Tim Federle's 2015 picture book Tommy Can't Stop and listened to Jon Klassen read I Want My Hat Back, This Is Not My Hat, Extra Yarn, and Sam and Dave Dig a Hole. So amazing.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
We did grab some great picture books from the library. We have the Hat Monkey app by Chris Haughton and then went in search of Little Owl Lost, Shh! We Have a Plan, and Oh No, George! but it was a busy week and before I know it, I was off to NCTE. I'm looking forward to having some time to snuggle in and read this week. After I finish Ranger In Time, I'm completely thrilled to read Elizabeth Eulberg's We Can Work It Out. (Hooray!)

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, November 18, 2014

The One With Sweet Serendipity #slice 2014


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

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I'm a little behind because I didn't post a Slice or Celebrate post last week...but a little over a week ago, I met two champions of my writing life and I can't not celebrate them here. I was ecstatic to drive down to The Book Cellar in Chicago to meet and celebrate Trisha Leaver and Lindsay Currie who co-wrote their recently released book, Creed. 
Lindsay, me and Trisha at their book launch party at The Book Cellar in Chicago
Trisha and Lindsay were my mentors for Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars. It was a thrill to be chosen as a mentee and then to work with these super talented and down-to-business mentors. My manuscript is so much stronger thanks to their questions and asking for more and pushing me to think about what truly is the core of my story. It was a lot of work (I'm still kind of recovering...) but so completely worth it. I recommend Pitch Wars to anyone who is thinking they'll be ready next fall. I think I would recommend other contests as well, I'm just not familiar with others and can't speak to them. 
Sometimes I think about my life and how fortunate I am to be who I am and where I am and to have everything that I have. There is so much to be truly thankful for but while revising my novel, I thought a lot about luck. For a long time I believed in coincidences and fate. I'm not sure what I think now. I'm still undecided, I think. I want to experience more of life before I officially decide but it seems like life is about weighing out the options, making choices that seem best at the time based on given information and dealing with consequences. 

And then dealing with consequences is all about perspective. Being optimistic is part of my nature. Sometimes I live in a happy bubble and remind myself that not everyone has a bubble of happy they can burrow into all the time. Recently, a colleague said I was idealistic, always thinking about the best-case scenario and planning or working towards that. I understand what she was saying, but I can't see the sense in working towards anything less than the ideal situation. Maybe we don't get there, or maybe we have to take super, teeny, tiny steps to get there. But any progress can be a celebration and you adjust as you go. 

Was it destiny that I finished up revisions just as submissions for Pitch Wars opened? Was it fate that I was chosen for Pitch Wars? Was it coincidence that the Creed launch party was in Chicago just as Pitch Wars was ending? Maybe. Maybe a divine power? Or maybe we fill in the blanks and weave a serendipity story when it seems like things have fallen into place just for us. Personally, I love the idea that I get to write my own story, that life is a glorious choose-your-own-adventure book and I get to turn the pages. In the end, I'll look back on it from my happy bubble and bask in its fairy-tale awesomeness. Why not, right? How about you? What do you think?

And just for fun...because it can be kind of fun to be romantic and fantasize about the starts aligning every once in a while, here's Sweet Serendipity sung by Lee Dewyze.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/17/14

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. 

Giveaway Announcement:
The winner of I'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein is
Jerry Boyd!

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

Last Week's Book Adventures:
We loved all the picture books we grabbed at the library last weekend. We read Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle, Hug Machine by Scott Campbell, Shh!...We Have a Plan by Chris Haughton, Telephone by Mac Barnett. Peanut and I also read The Yeti Files: #1: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry. He's been reading on his own before bed and it's so super sweet. I've also been listening to Stephanie Perkins' Isla and the Happily Ever After and completely loving it.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: On Friday, I picked up my friend, Farrah, so we could carpool our to Rockford for a training on writing assessments. We spent over an hour there and back chatting in the car...which was great, but it meant I didn't get to listen to Isla. I'm super excited to get back to it this week and hopefully finish it up before heading out to NCTE on Thursday. I'm so so so so very excited to catch up with friends and re-energize with ideas next weekend. I'm going to try and grab lots of pictures to share when I get back. I'm hoping to squeeze in some time for reading new picture books in the booths. I can't wait! It'll be a surprise even for me! Any books you have on your radar that I should look for?!? Pleas share! (Oh, and I'm trying these reviews again...we'll see if I have a better time at blogging this week...thanks for hanging in there with me! xo)

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, November 12, 2014

I'm My Own Dog Blog Tour and Giveaway!
















































I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for I'm My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein. Peanut and I had fun reading this book and then generating questions for David. He thought it was pretty cool that he got to ask the author questions. I love the questions his seven-year-old brain came up with. 

Here's us...see how much fun we were having?

Here's David...

And here's our interview!

Peanut: What's your favorite color?
David: Gold. Sapphire! Topaz. Lapis lazuli. Really dark purpley velvety. Um…I guess there are a lot.

Peanut: Do you have any pets?
David: We had a lot of unwanted mice in our apartment. But then we plugged up all the holes. So, I don’t think we have any pets now. I have a cat who doesn’t live with us because my son is allergic. Too bad for the cat; he would have loved all those mice.

Peanut: Who was your favorite author growing up?
David: So many. Arnold Lobel, James Marshall, Lloyd Alexander, A. A. Milne, the Sesame Street writers, Bill Watterson, Herge. Many more.

Peanut: Besides any book that you made, what is your favorite book?
David: Maybe Peter and Wendy by J. M Barrie. It’s hard to choose just one.

Peanut: Why did you think of this book about a dog and not about another animal?
David: I always imagined this story as being about a dog. It could not be about any other animal. Dogs are so close with people. This dog believes that he doesn’t need anyone’s help in his life. Most dogs do have a person in their lives. So I think when you read the book, you feel like someone’s missing until, bam! The man shows up.

Jen: We're mega-fans of Interrupting Chicken and had fun thinking about how the dog was like the man's owner in I'm My Own Dog
David: Maybe you could write some more adventures for the dog and the man!

Thank you to David and Candlewick for inviting us to be part of the blog tour, providing a copy of the book for us to review and a copy to giveaway!

Be sure to visit the other stops on the blog tour 
to hear what they think of I'm My Own Dog!

11/5/2014 Cracking the Cover
11/9/2014 Randomly Reading
11/10/2014 Children's Corner
11/11/2014 Flowering Minds
11/12/2014 Teach Mentor Texts
11/13/2014 KidLit Frenzy
11/14/2014 Literacy Toolbox

You can also find more information about David here: 

Be sure to enter the giveaway below!

Title: I'm My Own Dog 
Author: David Ezra Stein  
Illustrator: David Ezra Stein 
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Publication Date: August 5th, 2014
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Caldecott Honor winner David Ezra Stein has fans at his command with this comical dog’s-eye view of having a best friend.
Many dogs have human owners. Not this dog. He fetches his own slippers, curls up at his own feet, and gives himself a good scratch. But there is one spot, in the middle of his back, that he just can’t reach. So one day, he lets a human scratch it. And the poor little fella follows him home. What can the dog do but get a leash to lead the guy around with? Dog lovers of all ages will revel in the humorous role-reversal as this dog teaches his human all the skills he needs to be a faithful companion. 

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

Sunday, November 9, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/10/14

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:
Jen Says: We read some great picture books for Picture Book Month last week...although not as many as I had hoped. We have been doing our best with taking book pics and I'll share more of them this week. It's been a wild few days but I'm loving zoning in on picture books. Countablock is so great. Little Bean just loves it and I'm looking forward to more.

Reviewed Last Week:
Check back throughout the week to read these reviews/posts. 
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: We grabbed a bag full of books from the library on Saturday that I'm excited to read this week. I can't remember them off the top of my head so it'll have to be a surprise...but I do remember Hug Machine by Scott Campbell which I think looks completely adorable. I also grabbed Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins on audio (I had it in print but never got to it...) and I'm soooooo ready to get back to an audiobook. 

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!