Sunday, April 30, 2017

Wonder Revisited

Five years ago I fell in love with a book. Yes, I happen to fall in love with books quite often, but still, this was a very special book. That book was RJ Palacio's Wonder. Kellee and I reviewed it here on the blog but I shared why I love Wonder so much in my blog post: Wonder Reminds Us That Kindness Makes the World Go Round.
I can't believe it's been five years since I fell in love with this book. I've recommended it to so many people and last year my oldest son and I read it together. I've waited five years to read it with him and I'm so glad he loved it as much as I did. In fact, his fourth grade class is reading it aloud now and it makes my heart so happy to know that the kids in class get to know Auggie and his story.

When I was a teacher, I worked with kids who were deaf or hard of hearing like Auggie. Sharing Auggie's story with my student Michelle was one of the best experiences of my teaching career. I loved sharing books with students and getting them excited about books I thought they might like but connecting Michelle to Wonder changed my life.
So often we talk about books being mirrors and windows and doors and Wonder was such a book for Michelle and her family. I'll never forget listening to Michelle's mother tell RJ Palacio how she did such a good job of bringing Auggie's story to life that it felt so similar Michelle's life. That experience will forever remind me how important it is to know students, know books, and connect them to each other.

Michelle was recently interviewed by Chris Ulmer from Special Books By Special Kids. He originally hoped to publish a book of kids with special needs and their stories but has shifted instead to video interviews that he shares on his website, Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.

Here's Michelle's interview! I'm so lucky to know Michelle and I love that more people will get to know her thanks to Chris and his work. She is as absolutely awesome in this video as in real life. She's just so fun. I love watching Michelle's interview and the other videos Chris posts and I hope you enjoy them too. Every time I watch one of the videos, I remember how amazing life is and how we each have something to offer to this swiftly spinning world.
Also, in case you missed it, the movie Wonder will be out this fall. If you haven't read the book yet, now is a great time so you can read it before the movie! And if you have read it, do you still love it five years later just like me? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, April 28, 2017

The Case Of The Stinky Stench

Thank you to Sterling Books
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for providing a copy of the book 
for me to giveaway! (Details below!)


Title: The Case of The Stinky Stench
Author: Josh Funk
Illustrator: Brendan Kearney
Publisher: Sterling Books 
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: 
"Uncle,” Croissant said, “the fridge is in trouble! 
A mystery stench turned a whole shelf to rubble! 
I’m the last hope or the fridge will be lost! 
Help me or else we’ll be cooked, served, and sauced.” 

There’s a stinky stench in the fridge—and our favorite foodie friends must solve a smelly mystery! Sir French Toast’s nephew, Inspector Croissant, begs him and Lady Pancake for help in finding the source of the foul odor. Could it be the devious Baron Von Waffle? A fetid fish lurking in the bottom of Corn Chowder Lake? Featuring the same delectable wordplay and delicious art that won critical raves for Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast—there’s even an actual red herring—his fun follow-up is an absolutely tasty treat for kids!What I Think: Today at our book fair, I was just talking to a student who really enjoyed a mystery chapter book she read and we started talking about mysteries and what we love about them. She said the whole time she was reading, she couldn't wait to find out who the mystery person was. Mysteries capture our attention and our brains can't help but want to find out whodunit. And this is exactly what you'll get with The Case of The Stinky Stench! Josh funk took his super fun character from Lady Pancake & Sir French Toast and gave them a mystery to help with. With so many fun fridge friends, readers will be guessing the whole time as they try and figure out where the stink is coming from.
     I love introducing elements of mysteries to readers and this book is a great mentor text for looking at mystery story elements. Once a reader can recognize elements of a mystery, he or she can start to write his or her own mystery. My favorite was the red herring!
     And, of course, Josh uses rhyme throughout the book so it's another opportunity to look at how rhyme works and to listen for rhythm because of it as well. As a listening activity, you can ask students to listen for rhyming words as you read, ask students to write down rhyming words when they see them, or give students a word bank and have them listen for the rhyming words they hear in the story as you go along.
Snatch of Text:  
"'I've got to succeed,' said Croissant with a sob.
'I've solved zero cases since getting this job.'"
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when you had to solve a mystery. Write about a time when you wanted to give up like French Toast. What did you do and how did you decide to handle the situation?

Sunday, April 23, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/24/2017

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. 

Announcements:
Winner of the Feminist Baby Prize Pack
courtesy of Disney Books is:
Carrie Bercic!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I'm happy to say that I finished reading March: Book One this week...finally. I've had it to read but found time to zone in this weekend. It's powerful, especially after having visited the Center for Civil and Human Rights in Atlanta this fall. We had our book study discussion of Book Love and now I'm on to the last few chapters. I loved getting to talk about book talks and am hoping we do more in my schools. I also started Clash: How to Thrive in a Multicultural World and it's interesting so far. AND, Little Bean and Peanut were super excited because I got an early review copy of Josh Funk's The Stinky Stench and it was so fun! I'm excited to share my thoughts this week.

Reviewed Last Week:
(The Posted giveaway is still open! Be sure to enter!)
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week my plan is to read Clash for our discussion at school on Saturday afternoon. I also have 5 Worlds: Sand Warrior which is a graphic novel to read. Besides that, I'm so excited my class is done and am hoping to get back to really zoning in on my writing. 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!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Posted Blog Tour and Giveaway!

Thank you to Walden Pond Press 
for sending me a copy of Posted to review 
and for providing a copy of the book 
for me to giveaway! (Details below!)



I'm thrilled to be part of the blog tour for John David Anderson's next novel: Posted! This is a must-read, must-share for middle school!



Title: Posted
Author: John David Anderson
Publisher: Walden Pond Press
Publication Date: May 2nd, 2017
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel
GoodReads Summary: From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids.

In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.
  

What I Think: Oh, middle school. As I was reading Posted, I thought about Rebecca Stead's Goodbye Stranger and Geoff Herbach's Stupid Fast. Each of these books has a main character that learns about him or herself through navigating relationships with others. What I love about Posted is that the description puts you right into middle school again. It's just so specific but such an example of showing and not telling at the same time.
Credit: Sophia of Walden Media Tumblr
     Last week, I was asked to conference with an 8th grade writer about a story he was working on in writer's workshop. I read through his piece and I realized he needed to know his character a little bit more so he could show his readers who this character really was and why we should want to go along on his story with him. This is something I think John David Anderson does so well. Each character has depth. He knows everything about the characters who impact Frost's story and he brings them to life. One of the snatches of text is an example of a super secret secret that Frost has. I asked my 8th grade writer friend what was the worst thing that ever happened to his main character and what was the best thing that ever happened to him. He wasn't sure. But as a writer, you have to be sure. You have to know what makes them tick. John David Anderson knows that Frost has his writing deep down in him but that it's nothing he wants anyone to know anything about. 
     The second snatch of text speaks to middle school and pretty much captures the experience of middle school. I'm sure students can relate and might even feel some solace to know they aren't alone. This snatch of a text would be a great to share and invite students to join in and write their own metaphor about middle school but then continue to describe it.  
Credit: Sophia of Walden Media Tumblr
Snatch of Text: "Some things are better kept to yourself. I don't share my poems with anyone. Not even Bench or Wolf or DeeDee. Not because I'm afraid of what they would think. I mean, we play Dungeons & Dragons. It's hard to be embarrassed when it's the four of us. I just prefer not to share. We all need something that's ours. A thing that we know absolutely about ourselves that others can only guess at.
     One day, I think, when I'm good enough, I will pull the notebook from its hiding spot beneath the mattress and open it up for others to see." (p.72)

     "Middle school is a minefield. Deciding who to like and not like and who to follow and who to ignore completely. Worrying that you're going to trip while walking down the hall and sprawl all over the floor like a beached starfish. Wondering if you should raise your hand when the teacher asks a hard question and risk exposing your nerdiness for the sake of a few bonus points. Taking every sideways glance as a message, trying to crack the code. Every day you're bound to do something that gets you noticed by the wrong people. Every day you're bound to step somewhere you shouldn't." (p. 99)
Writing Prompt: Choose a time in the book when Frost is thinking about what it means to be a friend and explain how you relate to Frost or describe what he is learning about friendship.


Be sure to visit other stops on the Posted blog tour!
April 18: Nerdy Book Club
April 24: Litcoach Lou
April 25: Kirsti Call
April 28: Maria's Mélange 
April 29:The Hiding Spot

And don't forget to enter the giveaway for your chance to win!

Sunday, April 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 04/17/2017

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 more of Here We Are: Feminism for the Read World and over the weekend I read Ghost by Jason Reynolds. I'm so excited to share it at school this week!

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
This week I'll be rereading Book Love for our book study. I also am reading Clash: How To Thrive In a Multicultural World for a book study so I'll probably start it this week. And fiction-wise, I'm reading Posted by John David Anderson.

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 14, 2017

Feminist Baby Giveaway! #feministbaby



Thank you to Disney Books for sending me a copy of Feminist Baby to review 
and for providing a prize pack for me to giveaway! (Details below!)



Title: Feminist Baby 
Author: Loryn Brantz 
Illustrator: Loryn Brantz  
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Publication Date: April 11th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Board Book 
GoodReads Summary: Feminist Baby likes pink and blue.
Sometimes she'll throw up on you!

Feminist Baby chooses what to wear
and if you don't like it she doesn't care!
Meet the irrepressible Feminist Baby in this refreshing, clever board book about a girl who's not afraid to do her own thing, and wants to make as much noise as possible along the way!

What I Think: I've been reading Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World and Feminist Baby goes along with it so well! It's super colorful and rhymes and smart at the same time. I would recommend this to anyone who has girls of any age...but also for boys too! Everyone needs to understand the feminist movement!
Writing Prompt: Write one of the layouts in the book and use examples from your life or in the media that are evidence as to why the author decided to include the topic in the book.
Additional Resources: About the author Loryn Brantz is a two-time Emmy Award-winning author, illustrator, and design professional. Her picture book Harvey the Child Mime was the recipient of the 2010 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award for Best First Picture Book. Loryn lives in New York City, where she is on staff at BuzzFeed  writing and illustrating about feminism and body image. Find her online at www.lorynbrantz.com or www.facebook.com/LorynBrantzBooks. Also visit the official site for Feminist Baby, follow @DisneyHyperion on Twitter, @DisneyBooks on Instagram, and @LorynBrantz on Twitter and Instagram

Be sure to enter the giveaway!

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street Book Trailer Reveal!

Celebrating books is just so fun! I love talking about books with students. Before spring break, I talked to a class of 3rd graders about how to create their own book trailers with Google Slides and Screencastify. Then last week and this week, I did the same with two classes of 6th graders. It's just so fun to hear what they are reading and to share my excitement for reading with them. 

It's super exciting when I get to celebrate friends' books and today I get to do just that! Lindsay Currie's next book The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street comes out in October from Simon and Schuster/Aladdin. 
Here's the GoodReads summary: 

A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. A secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

And now, here's the trailer! See what you think...
It's creepy but super intriguing, right!? 

I hope you'll share the trailer with young readers! The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street is available for pre-order through all major online retailers. And guess what? All U.S. orders who send a picture or screenshot of their receipt to the Lindsay (lindsayncurrie@gmail.com) will receive a thank-you kit that includes a handwritten letter, signed bookmark, exclusive character postcard and original artwork! Super fun!

For more details, visit Lindsay's website at www.lindsaycurrie.com