Sunday, November 29, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/30/2015

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:
The winner of the Scholastic Branches Prize Pack is:
Earl Dizon

*Congratulations to Earl and thank you to Scholastic for providing me with review copies of books in this great new series and the opportunity to offer this giveaway in exchange for an honest review.*


Last Week's Book Adventures:
I spent last week recovering from NCTE and still settling into life with a puppy. It was a little crazy when I was gone and then as soon as I got back, my husband was off to chaperone the outdoor ed trip for his school. But then we were all home and snuggled up together for a nice and relaxing Thanksgiving weekend. I'm happy to say that we succeeded in tiring the puppy out with all that we did! Yay!

That gave me some time to finish up The Genius Files with Peanut and to read Once Was a Time by Leila Sales. I'm so in love with that book and can't wait to talk about it when it comes out in March and others read it. Add it to your TBR now! I also read two mindfulness books, one of hand-lettered quotes and the other about different ideas for how to care for your brain. I also reread chapters 1 and 2 of Celebrating Writers by Ruth Ayres to prepare for our first discussion this week. I feel very accomplished except for not getting blog posts up...hopefully this week will be better!

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm hoping to finally read Strange Tools: Art and Human Nature by Alva Noe that I've been meaning to dive into. Otherwise, I'm not entirely sure what I'll pick up this week except for again rereading Celebrating Writers. I'm loving it but I'm super conscious of the fact that I need to really know my stuff when I lead our first discussion of it on Wednesday. I'm so excited!

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, November 22, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/23/2015

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:

Click HERE!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I love participating in this meme every week! It's nice to have a consistent post that I always make sure to do every Monday and I'm so glad for everyone who stops in to share. This weekend was NCTE! It made for a busy week and then an even busier weekend. I'm so behind on my reading (and writing...I'm so crazy behind with Nano...) but I'm hoping to get back to reading this week.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Believe it or not...Peanut and I haven't finished The Genius Files yet so that's on the list for sure this week. We're super close to the end so I'm sure we can do it. I have a huge bag of books from the library all about writing that I'm hoping to sift through this week. Can't wait for a few days off to spend 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, November 18, 2015

Scholastic Branches Rules! #ad

Today I'm celebrating Scholastic BRANCHES “Pick a Series, Grow a Reader”, a group of 14 different chapter book series for young readers. 

When the books arrived, Peanut and I went through and looked at each one. The colors are colorful and engaging and we were so excited to see all the different types of books. We recognized Boris On The Move as we've got all the books in the series already. Peanut loves Boris because he goes in lots of different adventures. Being eight and in 3rd grade, all the books were perfect for him and he's been excited to read them. He feels confident when reading and is always excited to talk to me about what he's read. Here's more from Scholastic about the Branches series!

INTRODUCING BRANCHES
Ever have trouble finding just the right book for kids who are ready to make the leap from early readers but not quite prepared for a traditional chapter book? Scholastic has the answer!  Branches is a unique line of books specifically designed for newly independent readers, typically kids ages 5 to 8. The Branches line is here to help you foster a love of reading in your kids and give them the tools they need to become life-long readers.

·         Branches books help your child get a head-start on his or her reading career! Each book includes: easy-to-read text, simple plot lines, plenty of context cues, cliffhanger chapter endings, and purposeful illustrations (on every page!) that aid in reading comprehension.  Feeling like a successful reader will bolster your child’s self-confidence, which will lead to an increased interest in reading.

·         The Branches line is solely made up of series. We want young readers to return to their favorite characters again and again—because that is how they build reading stamina and confidence!

·         There is a Branches book for every kid! According the Kids and Parents Reading Report™: Fifth Edition 73% of kids believe that they would read more if they could find more books that they like.  With 14 different series and counting Branches delivers on providing kids with plenty of choices, so every reader can find the perfect book for them.  Does your kid love to laugh? Perfect! There is the zany and hilarious Kung Pow Chicken. Does your reader love a fantastical adventure? Dragon Masters has it all: Dragons, a Dragon Stone, a king, a wizard, and magic! How about a spooky story? Eerie Elementary will have your young readers on the edge of their seats!

Each Branches book is chock-full of loveable, relatable characters! And all of the books explore relevant themes for readers ages 5-8 like friends, school, magic, and adventure—ensuring that each book will grab your young readers’ attention!

I'm so excited for all of these books and have already been sharing them with other teachers. I love that these are engaging books that are also part of series. Kids are going to flip for these books!

Thanks to Scholastic for sending us books to review and giving me the opportunity to offer a giveaway of four books from the Branches series. 

ABOUT THE PRIZE PACK TITLES

OWL DIARIES: Eva’s Treetop Festival
Eva Wingdale gets in over her head when she decides to create a Bloomtastic Festival at school. Even with her best friend Lucy's help, there is no way she will get everything done in time. Will Eva have to ask Sue (a.k.a. Meanie McMeanerson) for help? Or will the festival have to be cancelled? This owl-dorable series will appeal to girls who love stories about animals and friendship!


KUNG POW CHICKEN: Let’s Get Cracking!
Gordon Blue was just an ordinary second grader—until he became the SUPERHERO known as Kung Pow Chicken. Now Gordon must put his SUPERPOWERS to the test…. He is having a blast at the Fowl Festival, but then POOF! Feathers fill the air and naked chickens fill the streets. Is the EVIL Granny Goosebumps up to no good? Kung Pow Chicken is about to find out!

PEANUT SAYS: "I like how it's this normal chicken and this egg named Gordon and they turn into superheroes whenever they need something. And I like the awesome Rocket Rooster and the stuff they have inside his room."

EERIE ELEMENTARY: The School is Alive!
Sam Graves discovers that his elementary school is ALIVE! Sam finds this out on his first day as the school hall monitor. Sam must defend himself and his fellow students against the evil school! Is Sam up to the challenge? He'll find out soon enough: the class play is just around the corner. Sam teams up with friends Lucy and Antonio to stop this scary school before it's too late!


DRAGON MASTERS: Rise of the Earth Dragon
Eight-year-old Drake is snatched up by King Roland's soldier and taken to the castle. He learns that he is to be trained as a Dragon Master. At the castle, he is joined by three other young Dragon Masters-in-training: Ana, Rori, and Bo. The Dragon Masters must learn how to connect with and train their dragons—and they must also uncover their dragons' special powers. Does Drake have what it takes to be a Dragon Master? What is his dragon's special power?

PEANUT SAYS: "I like how the boys gets his own dragon. I also like how one day he was farming and then at night someone takes him to the palace and makes him a Dragon Master of King Roland."

Be sure to download the Leveling Guide and the “After Reading” Guide and visit the following the BRANCHES Official Site for more information. Also be sure to follow Scholastic on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Pinterest and use or search the hashtag #ScholasticBranches.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

The One Where Perdita Moved In #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

*          *          *
One week ago today I led an introduction to a book study and discussion about Ruth Ayres' book Celebrating Writers. Afterwards, I went home and worked on my NaNoWriMo project while my husband took the kids to a Chicago Bears event. I had the house to myself for a little while before running over to the library to pick up books that were waiting for me on hold. 

It was a nice night but nothing like what my after school life looks like now. 

We brought home a puppy on Saturday. I saw her on the adoption center's Facebook page Friday before last and filled out the application to adopt her. But then i didn't hear anything else and they took her page down from the website so I assumed she was already adopted. 

Then on Wednesday, I got a call asking if we were still interested in adopting a puppy. I set up an appointment to meet her on Thursday. After I met her (and fell in love), we took the kids over to meet her too. We were approved to adopt her and went in on Saturday to take her home. 
Saturday morning, we went to swimming lessons, went out to breakfast, and then went shopping for all the dog supplies we would need. As we walked from breakfast to the pet store, both Little Bean and Peanut were literally hopping and skipping with excitement like I've never seen before. 
I've wanted a dog since before I was married. I've waited a really long time. But I'm glad we did. Little Bean is five and in kindergarten and Peanut is eight and in third grade and it just seems like a perfect time for them to have a puppy to take care of and love. 
One week ago today I had no idea how different my life would be today. I run home at lunch and as soon as school is over to take care of her, I have dog treats in my pocket, and I find myself thinking about her curled up next to me all day. 
Her and her brother were at the rescue shelter and because they think they might be part Dalmation, they called them Pongo and Perdita. We weren't sure if we were going to keep her name or not but the more we called her Perdi, the more we loved it. And when I looked up the meaning of Perdita, it seemed even more fitting than ever. 

Perdita is a character in Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale whose name means lost. She grows up without realizing she has royal heritage and falls in love with a prince. His parents don't approve of their marriage because she isn't royalty...until they find out she is and they live happily ever after. Perdita was rescued from animal control in southern Illinois and I like the idea that we've found her and she gets to live out her happily ever after with us. 
One week ago today I didn't realize how full our hearts would be with Perdita in our lives. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/16/2015

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 completely flew by for me! I was super busy in many different classrooms and then also busy after school as well. We're doing a book study/discussion of Celebrating Writers by Ruth Ayres, so I spent time rereading that. I'm still reading The Genius Files with Peanut and we're sooooooo close to finishing. It's getting exciting and I love that he asks us to read it every night. I'm also reading through the Scholastic Branches series to share this week - so far I've read Boris On The Move, Eva's Treetop Festival - Owl Diaries, Rise of the Balloon Goon - The Notebook of  Doom, and Moldylock and the Three Beards - Princess Pink and the Land of Fake Believe.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll be reading the Branches books from Scholastic and then preparing for NCTE! We also have a new puppy in our house so it's going to be a wild week for sure. I'll probably share more about our new puppy in my Slice this week but here's a sneak preview.

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 11, 2015

Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova














Title: Swan: The Life and Dance of Anna Pavlova 
Author: Laurel Snyder  
Illustrator: Julie Morstad 
Publisher: Chronicle Books 
Publication Date: August 18th, 2015 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction Biography/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: The world is big.
Anna is small.
The snow is
everywhere
and all around.
But one night . . .
One night, her mother takes her to the ballet, and everything is changed. Anna finds a beauty inside herself that she cannot contain.
So begins the journey of a girl who will one day grow up to be the most famous prima ballerina of all time, inspiring legions of dancers after her: the brave, the generous, the transcendently gifted Anna Pavlova.  
What I Think: Words, words, words. I love words. But I especially love words that are strung together in such a way that they feel like art. Don't get me wrong, all words are art, but sometimes, words just envelope me and pull me into a sort of dream-like fairy tale just from how they are put together. Laurel Snyder's words do just that. As they tell Anna Pavlova's story, it feels like being sweetly tugged into a dance. Julie Morstad's art adds to the story, gently ushering the reader into the story woven by the text. It all just works together to make for an amazing book.
     Teaching tone and mood isn't easy. It's a little easier to recognize it as a reader than it is to write. But it all starts with reading and recognizing what authors have done differently. By looking at at least two different texts, readers can see the difference. Once they can see the difference, then you can invite them to zone in and notice what the author has done differently. And from there, you can invite them to try what the author has done in their own writing. Maybe they add some figurative language. Maybe they break up words or phrases or add figurative language in a very purposeful way. It's fun to play with words and to see what happens and using books like Swan as a mentor text really help writers see what is possible and find ways to write like that too.
Read Together: Grades 2 - 6  
Read Alone: Grades 2 - 4 
Read With: Enormous Smallness: A Story of e.e. cummings by Matthew Burgess and illustrated by Kris Di Giacomo, The Cosmo Biography of Sun Ra by Chris Raschka, The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist by Margarita Engle and illustrated by Aliona Bereghici, The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus by Jen Bryant and illustratd by Melissa Sweet, Sounds Like a Rainbow: A Story of the Young Jimi Hendrix by Gary Golio and illustrated by Javaka Steptoe
Snatch of Text: 
"Something is happening...
There's a swell of strings,
a scurry of skirts.
A hiss and a hum and...
HUSH!
It's
all
beginning!"  
Writing Prompts: Write about something you feel strongly about sharing with others. What might you do to help share your passion with others?
Topics Covered: Family, Dreams, Determination, Courage 
I *heart* It: