Sunday, September 29, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/30/13

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 the 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: Last week was an interesting week...I was still struggling with being sick so I didn't read very much but I did finish listening to both Hatchet and Shiloh. That means I'm two books further into closing my Book Gap challenge. I couldn't keep up with my reviews but I'm ready to get back to them this week.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: I'm headed to the library later today to pick up some audiobooks so we'll see what I get. I'm going to continue reading To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones which I started last weekend and then never got back to. I'm excited!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

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, September 24, 2013

The One Where I'm a Cybils Book Apps Judge #slice2013



Every Tuesday, Ruth and Stacey, host Slice of Life at their blog, 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 often wake up wondering how I have such an awesome life. 

I often fall asleep marveling at how awesome my life is. 

And I often find myself shaking my head randomly throughout the day at how awesome my life is. 

While I definitely go through ups and downs, I've been sick the last week and a half and I know my husband's not happy that I'm not helping with the housework, when I really think of everything, I'm so happy and grateful for every day of my life and am constantly reminding myself just how lucky I am. Today I'm officially announcing here at Teach Mentor Texts that I'm a first round judge for the Cybils Book Apps this year. I couldn't be more excited. 

The Cybils are Children's and Young Adult Bloggers' Literary Awards. They take place yearly and include awards in a variety of categories, one of which is Book Apps. Here are the other judges I get to work with, be sure to check them out!


2013 Book Apps Judges

Round 1

Aaron Maurer, Coffee for the Brain

Jill Goodman

Jen Vincent, Teach Mentor Texts

Jackie Parker, Interactive Reader

Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

Round 2

Cathy Potter, The Nonfiction Detectives

Elisabeth LeBris, LeBrisary

Helen Dineen, CAppTivated Kids

Carisa Kluver, Digital Media Diet

Sarah Towle, Sarah Towle (author blog)

Not sure what book apps are? Book apps are stand-alone applications on a touchscreen device like the iPad that combine features of books, audiobooks, ebooks, animation and video creating a unique experience for readers of all ages. 

You are welcome to nominate your favorite book app starting October 1st! Be sure to check out the Cybils website for a live form where you can nominate your favorite app. 

More information about books app and nominating book apps from Mary Ann Scheuer: "We will be evaluating book apps on iPads from the iTunes App Store, so all nominations must be available for the iPad, even if they are also available on other platforms. This is because we cannot ask judges to have access to a multitude of devices, and the iPad is still the most prevalent device. Please note that iBooks at this time are not considered Book Apps. While this may change going forward, we are striving to keep the category divisions clear.

As with all Cybils nominations, the book apps must be published between October 16, 2012 and October 15, 2013. That means, the app must be originally released on or after October 16, 2012 - we aren’t looking at when updates occurred, only the original release. If you aren’t sure of the initial release date, you can check http://appshopper.com." 

I'm excited for this adventure and the opportunity to add just a little bit more awesome to my life. Thanks, Cybils!

Sunday, September 22, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/23/13

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 the 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.  Be sure to grab the current IMWAYR button and link up!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: It's an adult book, but I really did enjoy Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore and think lots of Nerdy readers would enjoy it. I finished listening to Mr. Penumbra this week but that was about it for the week as far as finishing things goes. I did read the 2nd chapter of Deliverology 101 to discuss with my department, I started listening to both Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and Shiloh  by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor. One is in my car and the other is in my laptop. I'm enjoying them both and they are both part of my Book Gap Challenge. I also started reading To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones and I'm enjoying it so far.

Reviewed Last Week:
Just click on any picture above to go read the review

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: This week, I expect to finish listening to both Hatchet and Shiloh and we'll see if I have time to jump into something else. I do plan to keep reading To Be Perfectly Honest for Banned Books Week but don't know what else I'll dive into. Last week was pretty crazy with being sick and having a lot to keep up with. I wasn't able to share two reviews from last week so I'm moving them to this week. 

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

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, September 20, 2013

Poetry Friday, and Sonya Sones, and Banned Books Week, Oh My!

I came home last night to an awesome, white package nestled between my front door and screen door. I'm always excited when packages come and especially when they look bookish, but this one looked a little extra special. Rushing to fit my keys into the lock, I swung open the door and dumped down everything I was carrying, grabbing the package and tearing it open. Inside I found two posters to celebrate Banned Books Week from Simon and Schuster Children's Publishing and a copy of Ellen Hopkins' book, Smoke and Sonya Sones' book, To Be Perfectly Honest.

Both of these amazing woman are authors who I admire. I was fortunate enough to meet Sonya Sones at NCTE last year and she's lovely. That's the exactly perfect word for her if you ask me: lovely. Just look at this woman, how can someone ban her books?
But her books have been banned. Along with many other authors published by Simon and Schuster, like Ellen Hopkins, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Lisa McMann, Judy Blume, Ernest Hemingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. You can find Simon and Schuster's complete list of banned book here. Obviously, other books by other publishers have been banned as well. To see a list of frequently challenged book, click here.
The ALA store has lots of materials to spread the word about Banned Book Week.  For a chance to win the Simon and Schuster Banned Books Week poster, you can click here. The poster features quotes from Ellen Hopkins, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, and Sonya Sones. Here is a sneak peak and my mini-addition to Poetry Friday this week:

Three Questions, One Answer

"If you didn't want you kids to eat
candy,
would you forbid
all their friends to eat it too?

If you didn't want your kids to stay up late,
would you forbid all their friends to stay up late too?

If you didn't
want your kids to read
Twilight,
would you forbid all their friends to read it too?"

-Sonya Sones
author of To Be Perfectly Honest

I love analogies to help make connections between things. In this case, Sonya has found three analogies that ask people to think about what they are doing or saying or modeling when they want to ban or challenge a book.

Earlier this week, I had a total mom moment. My husband served a veggie with dinner featuring broccoli, cauliflower and carrots. I called the kids over to fill up their plates and Peanut, my six-year-old, peeked into the pans and said he didn't want to eat it and asked why he had to. Here was the mom moment, I totally almost said, "Because I said so." BUT, I stopped myself, and then I had another mom moment. Here's mom moment round two, I actually did say, "Someday, when you are older, you are going to be happy we asked you to eat veggies because they are good for you, they make you strong, they help your muscles and your bones..." and I might have gone on and one until I realized what was actually coming out of my mouth. It's so the truth though! There are some things that we encourage our kids to do because we know it's good for them. I would be a negligent parent if he never ate veggies in his life.

Now, if someone else's mom chooses to let their kids make different decisions about what they eat, that's up to them. It makes me sad to think there are kiddos in the world who don't get to eat veggies or who's parents don't talk to them about why they should eat veggies. I'm always happy to share my story of being vegan, games we play to help our kids eat veggies or the fact that lots of times, we'll put veggies or fruits out as we're making dinner for our kids to snack on. Usually, they are hungry and will eat the fruits and veggies. I'm so happy to share what we do with other parents...but I do my best to keep my biases to myself and to not impede on anyone else's decisions about how they raise their children.

And isn't this also what Sonya is saying? It's fine if parents wants to talk to his or her child about a book and explain to him or her why they don't think it's appropriate for him or her, that's one thing. But sharing their views about books and trying to challenge or ban them from school or public libraries is a totally different story. I hope you help me in celebrating Banned Books Week next week!


Thursday, September 19, 2013

Building Fluency with Character Books

I'm completely fascinated by being a parent and having the amazing opportunity to watch these two little kiddos grow up right in front of me. I have learned so much about kids and how unique they are and about myself, too. One thing I have noticed about Little Bean compared to Peanut is that Little Bean will ask for a book over and over again. Peanut doesn't really do that but Little Bean definitely does. I'm not sure why they differ in this but they do. Peanut has always asked us to read the same book night after night, just not five times in one night. 

While we read all sorts of books in my house, there are a few that my kids go back to and ask us to read again and again and again and Donald Duck and the One Bear is one of them.
It's a cute story, a flipped sort of Goldilocks tale involving Donald Duck, his nephews, Daisy and a bear named, Pizza, on the loose. Towards the end of the book one of the nephews refers to Donald as "Unca Donald" and when my husband read that to my kids they cracked up. That's their favorite part and we're convinced they ask us to read it over and over just to get to that part. 

I actually learned something from reading Donald Duck and the One Bear. I know there are people who tend to lead kids away from books about television show characters or movies but in our house we let them read whatever they want to read. Of course, we pull out books and check books out of the library to supplement that reading, but when Little Bean marches into the library, finds the basket of Thomas the Train books all by himself and starts sorting through them, it makes me all kinds of happy. They boy knows what he likes and he has already made himself independent in being able to navigate the library...at least according to his age. 
Sometime earlier this year, we bought the Wreck-It Ralph Read-Along Storybook and CD. We own the DVD and it's a movie that we have fallen in love with as a family. We've watched it lots of times and quote it all the time. When we spotted this in the store, my kids had to have it and it was actually only about $7, which I thought was a great deal considering it's an audiobook. 

All summer we listened to Wreck-It Ralph any time we went somewhere with the kids. They would hold the book in the back seat and listen for the chime so they would know to turn the page. I listened to it so many times that I can probably recite it from heart at this point. When the kids would bring the book to me to read, I was able to read and sound like the characters when it was their turn to talk in the book. It makes it a lot more fun for me and I think for the kids as well.

Little Bean is also a huge fan of Thomas. Peanut was when he was three but now it's Little Bean's thing. We have watched all sorts of Thomas shows and I find myself doing character voices when I read any of the Thomas books. Again, it's so fun to try and imitate the voices and my kids love it. Because we watched Wreck-It Ralph the movie and listened to the audiobook and because we have watched so many Thomas shows, we totally know the voices. (I have to add here that we don't watch that much television...but, like books, when the kids pick a show to watch, they like to pick the same show again and again.)
I have listened to a lot of audiobooks in my life with all of the driving I do during my commute. What I love is that when you listen to an audiobook narration, the best narrators do a good job of changing their voices when different people are talking. It really brings the book to life. There is such an art to reading a book aloud to kids and listening to audiobooks is a great way to build our fluency for reading aloud.

I love recommending audiobooks to parents to support their children with reading. We do a mix of reading with our kids and reading audiobooks but it's definitely a different and fun experience to listen to an audiobook.

What prompted this post was actually reading Donald Duck and the One Bear last week. As I read, I was reminded of how frustrated I get when I read it because I just can't do the duck voices. I can't. I desperately want to read in Donald Duck's voice and it actually sounds weird to me as I read because I don't use Donald's voice. I never really realized just how much listening to books and knowing how a character sounds has helped me to be able to read and change my voice to represent different characters. It seems I've gotten to the point that reading and not changing my voice seems strange. This was a huge revelation for me! I think it has implications for thinking about students developing fluency. For them to hear adult readers who read fluently or audiobooks where the narrators do a great job of reading aloud will truly make a difference in the fluency that they develop.

Basically, I just wanted to say hooray for audiobooks! And also, let you kids read what they want to read and over and over again. As long as you recognize that love of books growing, it's okay for them to read books based on television shows. Just try to supplement and show them other books along the way.

Who out there loves audiobooks? Do you like it when narrators change their voices to represent different characters? What do you love about audiobooks?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Millions, Billions, & Trillions


Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy. Every Wednesday, I'll review non-fiction picture book. (It may not always be a picture book. Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other non-fiction books are shared this week!

Title: Millions, Billions, & Trillions: Understanding Big Numbers 
Author: David A. Adler 
Illustrator: Edward Miller 
Publisher: Holiday House 
Publication Date: January, 2013 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary:  The winning nonfiction team returns with a larger-than-life math book that is sure to fascinate young readers. Huge numbers are hard to comprehend. This book explains quantities in terms children can understand. For example, one million dollars could buy two full pizzas a day for more than sixty-eight years.
What I Think: Working with abstract ideas can be tricky for kids because our brains like to have something to connect information with. Millions, Billions, & Trillions takes really big, really abstract numbers and makes them manageable for readers. There are examples about how much pizza, ice cream sundaes and popcorn you could buy to reach a million, a billion or a trillion. I love the bright colors in this book and can see how it would be engaging for students to read and visualize the different scenarios shared in the book. From a teacher's perspective, students could solve some of the problems in the book and show that the answers do reach to one million, billion or trillion. Students can then create their own problems to show these big numbers. For example, a student might think of something they would love to be able to buy every day and then see how many times he or she could buy that item if he or she had one million, one billion or one trillion dollars. Students could solve for all three of the numbers to compare how much longer they would be able to buy something if they had one million compared to one billion dollars. The book shows how we can write about numbers and share our thinking about numbers in words and therefore it seems like a great math resource.
     I did notice in the back of the book that it makes a connection to the Common Core State Standards. In a little blue box on the last page it reads, "This book meets the Common Core State Standards for fourth-grade mathematics in Number and Operations in Base Ten (4.NBT.1)." I thought that was really nifty!
Read Together: Grades 3 - 6 
Read Alone: Grades 3 - 6 
Read With: How Many Jelly Beans? by Andrea Menotti, Cats Night Out by Caroline Stutson 
Snatch of Text: "How many slices of pizza would one million dollars buy? At two dollars and fifty cents a slice, you could buy two full pies a day for more than sixty-eight years."  
Reading Strategies to Practice: Activating Background Knowledge, Making Connections, Asking Questions, Visualizing 
Writing Strategies to Practice: Expository  
Writing Prompts: Write your own math problem to show one million, one billion or one trillion. Explain how you solved your problem and describe the answer you reached and why you chose that problem to solve.  
Topics Covered: Integration - Math 
I *heart* It:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The One Where There Are Dots #slice2013


Every Tuesday, Ruth and Stacey, host Slice of Life at their blog, 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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In case you missed it, International Dot Day was on September 15th! We celebrated by reading The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds and then making our own dots. Dot Day is about celebrating creativity, courage and collaboration. The story of Vashti and her dot is about the power of someone believing in you and how that might turn into you believing in yourself. And when you believe in yourself, anything is possible. Last week I shared my review of Have You Filled A Bucket, Today? and as we read The Dot, we made connections between these two books. We talked about how Vashti felt at the beginning of the book and how she felt at the end of the book. Peanut's favorite part was at the end when a boy makes a squiggle. He thought it was pretty cool that Vashti helps the boy be brave enough to make a squiggle. 

If you haven't read this sweet book, I definitely recommend that you check it out. It's a great beginning-of-the-school-year book but also a great any-time book as well!
Little Bean working on his dot!
Little Bean's dot! It's pizza and it's really hot!
Peanut working away on his dot!
Peanut's dot! It's a dinosaur wearing a tutu!

My dot! Thinking about everything I love about life!
Did you celebrate Dot Day? What's your favorite part of the book or your favorite part about celebrating? Do you have a special way to celebrate? Thanks for sharing!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/16/13

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 the 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. Be sure to grab the current IMWAYR button and link up!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Jen Says: Last week I finished listening to Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz. I enjoyed the book but really loved thinking about Ari as a narrator, interesting stuff! I finished reading The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg and Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles. I loved both! I also started listening to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Book Store by Robin Sloan.

Reviewed Last Week:
 
Just click on any picture above to go read the review

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Jen Says: This week I'll be listening to Mr. Penumbra's 24-Book Store and reading more of Deliverology 101. I have lots of great books in my TBR but I'm not entirely sure what else I'll grab this week! It's a surprise week of reading! Happy reading to everyone!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to hear about these books. 

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!