Sunday, May 29, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/30/2016

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:
Somehow I made it through last week! It was day by day as we finished up the school year, had friends visit from out of town, and celebrate Little Bean's birthday early with friends from his class. I'm so looking forward to summer and more time to read and write!

I'm still reading Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales and listening to Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan and Ramona The Pest by Beverly Cleary.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
 I'll be listening to Ramona the Pest and Echo still and finishing up Tonight The Streets Are Ours. 

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these 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, May 27, 2016

WRITE: You're Beautiful. Don't Change.

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In December of 2013 I wrote a blog post at Teach Mentor Texts called, “The One Where I Write YOU A Letter”.

Here’s the letter I wrote and shared with my readers:

Dear YOU,

I believe in you. I know you can do anything you want to accomplish. You have dreams and aspirations and there isn't any reason you can't make them come true. Let yourself be in the moment. Let yourself put your heart into everything that you do. Let yourself embrace all the opportunities available to you. Don't let anything hold you back. Follow your heart and follow your head. You have a great mind and you need to let yourself be free to do what makes you feel empowered. Know that you are important to this world. It's a big, giant place with so many people all here to make an impact in some small or huge way but a significant way no matter the size. You may be one of many, but you can still make a difference. Believe in yourself because you rock, inside and out. You're beautiful. Don't change. Just be awesome.

Love,
Jen

Some of my readers responded to tell me what they thought of the letter.

Margaret wrote, “Thanks. I felt your words were written just for me, and at a time (this crazy holiday season) when I needed them.”

Catherine wrote, “Love this! Sometimes it's easy to forget that we ‘are important to this world.’ Thank you so much, Jen, for reminding us and giving us these words of encouragement. And thanks for being awesome!”

Tara wrote,  “Thank you! Thank you for thinking of me, of writing to me, and including words of comfort and encouragement. I will try to be awesome, even if it's at the end of the day and all I can be awesome about is eating the remaining three cookies in the cookie jar.”

Leigh Anne wrote, “Oh, Jen. I have been thinking a lot lately about goals, dreams, and changes. I needed this.”

Michelle wrote, “First of all, thank you! I needed that! Secondly, the letter is so heartfelt and genuine...I felt like it was written directly to me. Wow, I'm impressed. Thank YOU for making me feel seen and important this morning!”

But I'll tell you a secret, that letter was actually a letter to myself. 

I'm so glad I wrote it! Now I can look back and feel strength in my words. I believed in myself then and I should believe in myself now. And you should believe in yourself too!

Let's Write! Write a letter to yourself. What do you want to tell yourself? What advice might you give yourself? What words do you need to hear most? Maybe you tuck it into an envelope and open it in six months. Maybe you send it to a friend who might need to hear those same words. Maybe you share it on your blog. 

There is power in words.
And we can remind ourselves of that power when we write messages we need to hear.
I would love to hear what you want to say to yourself!
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

WATCH: How Yarn Bombing Grew Into a Worldwide Movement

One of my favorite books is Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett with illustrations by Jon Klassen. It makes me happy to think of Annabelle and her generous spirit and remember all the times I've read the book aloud. It's such a fun book to read aloud because of all the unique characters. 
Before reading Extra Yarn, I hadn't seen yarn bombing in real life...but since then, I've stumbled upon it a few different times. Here's a picture of me with my boys a little over a year ago with a yarn-bombed tree in Minnesota!
So here's the story behind yarn bombing, how it and how it has spread. I'm fascinated by how something small can spread into something bigger, how something inside each of us might expand and grow even bigger when others catch hold of it. But the trick is, if we never let our little idea out, it might never have the potential to shine.

Some of Magda's words really speak to me:

"Hidden power can be found 
in the most unassuming places."

"We all possess skills that are 
just waiting to be discovered."

Watch and think about what skills you have. Are you already sharing your ideas, skills, knowledge with others? How might you let your ideas out into the world? How might you share your knowledge and expertise with others? What are some brave things you might do to let your hidden powers out?

We all have super powers we can use to make the world a better place!
Thanks for stopping by to explore with me!

Sunday, May 22, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/23/2016

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:


Last month at Story Exploratory I shared a story about getting to have coffee with my high school English teacher. It was pretty awesome. Maybe you have a teacher who inspired and encouraged you.  Inspired 2 Educate is inviting teachers to share a story about someone who inspired you to become an educator. For more information click on this link or the image below. 
Last Week's Book Adventures:
Can I tell you a quick story!? We are still listening to and loving Ramona the Pest. We went to see the Chicago Fire play on Saturday and Peanut turned to me just before the national anthem and said, "Here comes the song about the dawnzer." (Ramona gets confused and thinks the dawnzer lee light is some kind of lamp, remember?) It was so Nerdy Book club and I loved it!

I'm still reading Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales and listening to Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan.

Posts From Last Week:
Click on any picture above to go read my post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to continue listening to Ramona the Pest and Echo and to reading Tonight The Streets Are Ours. This is our last week of school...so it'll be a little bit hectic until Wednesday and then I hope to really have time to read!

This Week's Reviews:
Check back throughout the week to read these 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, May 18, 2016

Summer Reading with Kate DiCamilllo!

I can't believe it's almost summer! Our school year ends next week and the pool opens just after that. Now I live for the pool in the summer but when I was a kid I usually spent lots of time reading or swimming at the beach. My local library had a great summer reading program and I was always so proud to earn a free book by the end of the summer. 

Today I'm happy to share the Collaborative Summer Library Program with you! Kate DiCamllo is the CSLP Summer Reading Champion for 2016 and she's sharing her love of reading and libraries and summer which you can share with young readers in your life. 

As you may know, Kate's book RAYMIE NIGHTINGALE was recently published! It makes a perfect summer read. Watch the live webcast where Kate talked about Raymie and her story with John Schu here. Also check out Kate's top ten reasons to join your library summer reading program and her recommended reading list for summer 2016. And here are some videos straight from Kate about summer reading.








Scholastic also put together a list of 50 Sensational Books of Summer and I was invited to recommend a book for their list. You'll have to hop on over to see what I think will make a great summer read! I would love to hear what summer books you recommend! Share in the comments!

Sunday, May 15, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/16/2016

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. 

Announcement:

Rules Of The House Giveaway Winner:
Kaitlin Boles-VanFleet

Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for send me this title
and providing a prize pack for one winner from my site!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week didn't go how I expected it at all when it came to reading! I did enjoy rereading The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner but then Peanut and I ended up switching to listening to Beezus and Ramona when I discovered I had a free trial of Audible. We finished Beezus and Ramona and just barely started Ramona the Pest.

I also found out about Hoopla from my library which gives me ten digital media checkouts per month. Since I don't have an hour-long commute any more, I haven't been listening to audiobooks. But Hoopla is perfect because I can have the app on my phone and easily listen as I'm driving or walking Perdi. SO I downloaded and listened to George by Alex Gino and it was amazing. Then I checked out Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan and am about an hour in. Yay!

Posts From Last Week:
 
Click on any picture above to go read my post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to continue listening to Ramona the Pest with Peanut and to Echo on my own. I also checked out Tonight The Streets Are Ours by Leila Sales. I adored  Once Was a Time but haven't read anything else by Ms. Leila so I'm excited.

Upcoming Posts:
Summer Reading Fun From Kate DiCamillo!
Check back throughout the week to read these 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, May 11, 2016

Rules of the House Giveaway! #ad

Title: Rules of the House 
Author:  Mac Barnett
Illustrator: Matt Myers 
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Publication Date: May 3rd, 2016 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Ian always follows the rules. His sister, Jenny, breaks them all the time-especially "Don't pinch." So Ian is thrilled when the house where his family is vacationing posts a tidy list of rules. But when Jenny breaks them all, the house itself decides it's time for payback. The rug, the stove, and the bathtub are hungry for rulebreaker soup, and they've found the perfect ingredient: Jenny! 

Now Ian is faced with a thorny question: What if saving your sister means breaking the rules? 

From the New York Times best-selling team of Mac Barnett and Matthew Myers comes a hilarious tale of sibling rivalry, moral complexity, and disgruntled monsters, perfect for sharing with your own favorite rulebreakers.
 
What I Think: Getting along with others isn't always easy...and especially when that other is a sibling. Use The Rules of a House as a mentor text to look at how writers can show what is happening in the story and show the reader about the character by using dialogue. You can understand a lot about Ian and Jenny from how they interact with each other. Think about your own characters and how their dialogue brings them to life. Does each character have something they usually say or do?
Snatch of Text:  
"'Look!' said Ian. 'Rules!'
'You're such a toady,' said Jenny, and then pinched him.
'OUCH!' said Ian. 'You're not supposed to - OUCH!"
Writing Prompt:
Write about a time in your life when you felt like you needed to bend a rule. 
What were the consequences of your actions?
Write about a time in your life when 
you weren't getting along with your sibling or friend.
Additional Resources: Visit the official websiteFollow Disney-Hyperion on Twitter and Instagram and follow along with the hashtag #RulesoftheHouse.
About the Author: Mac Barnett is the New York Times best-selling author of over twenty books for children, including Count the Monkeys, illustrated by Kevin Cornell; Chloe and the Lion, illustrated by Adam Rex; and Extra Yarn and Sam & Dave Dig a Hole, both illustrated by Jon Klassen, and both winners of a Caldecott Honor and the E.B. White Read Aloud Award. He also writes the Terrible Two series with Jory John. Mac lives in Berkeley, California. Visit him at macbarnett.com.
About the Illustrator: Matt Myers studied at the Museum Art School in Portland, Oregon, where he majored in both fine arts and graphic arts. He has illustrated a number of books for children, including the Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett, Clink by Kelly DiPucchio, and the New York Times best seller Battle Bunny, by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett. Matt lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. Visit him at myerspaints.com.
Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for send me this title
and providing a prize pack for one winner from my site!

Sunday, May 8, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 05/09/2016

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's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to share 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 have been reading Death By Toilet Paper by Donna Gephart and it's already much more serious than I thought it would be - just like you all said! I'm also rereading The Pull of Gravity by Gae Polisner as a mentor text for myself.

Reviewed Last Week:
I celebrated over at Story Exploratory this weekend!
Click on any picture above to go read my post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm sure Peanut and I will continue reading Death by Toilet Paper. I've been revising my novel while trying to keep up with all the end-of-the-year fun so I'm not sure if I'll pick up another book or not. We'll see!

This Week's Posts:
Summer Reading Fun From Kate DiCamillo!
Check back throughout the week to read my 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!
Did you know I have a newsletter? You can click here to sign up for it. 
I'll send you updates so you don't miss out on any of the writing fun 
AND you'll get a free copy of my ebook: My Story Is Here

Bob The Artist

Title: Bob The Artist 
Author: Marion Deuchars 
Illustrator: Marion Deuchars  
Publisher: Laurence King Publishing
Publication Date: April 26th, 2016 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Bob the bird is just like all his friends, apart from his skinny legs. When Bob is teased, he decides to try and change himself to fit in. But little does he know where all his efforts will lead him...
Mentor Text Idea:
In a writer's never-ending quest to show and not tell, dialogue is a powerful ally. What a character says shows a lot about him or her and what he or she is thinking. After reading Bob The Artist look closely at what the characters say. Without any narration, the reader can make decisions about the cat, the owl, and the birds. Try looking close at your story and how you use dialogue. Are there times when adding dialogue can help develop your characters? Is there a place where you have a lot of narration where you can use dialogue as a way to show what the characters are thinking or feeling. Pay attention to how a character's words build a reader's understanding of your character. In non-fiction, you can use dialogue as well. You can bring non-fiction to life as well by using quotes or dialogue to replay real life events.
Snatch of Text: 
"'EEEEK! Look at those skinny legs,' said cat.
'Oooh! Look at that funny stick walk,' said owl.
'Oh! How puny your legs are!' cried the other birds."
Writing Prompts: 
Write about a time in your life when you didn't fit in. 

Write about a time in your life when 
you felt different and it didn't feel good. 

Write about a time in your life when you were 
proud of something special about yourself. 

Write a letter to a friend about something 
unique about him or her that you admire.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

JOIN: The Muckiness of Life


Every Saturday, join me as I CELEBRATE This Week 
with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.


On Friday night I drove in afternoon rush hour traffic to a retirement party for a teacher I worked with my first year of teaching and in all the years since. I spent a couple of hours catching up with close friends I used to work with. There's nothing like trying something new or going somewhere different to make you appreciate familiar people or places or experiences. 

When I think of good friends who know me, trust and value me, tears sting at my eyes. Growing and stretching and being pushed out of my comfort zone is powerful and I'm glad for it, but a real hug from a true friend is soul-filling.

Of course, they wanted to hear how my new job is going. The first year in a new job is tricky. It's fun and exciting but it's also difficult. 

I learned how everything works. 
I met new people. 
I relied on others for help...a lot.

It's been kind of a mucky year.

Now that I've made it through on year, I'm looking forward to the next. I'm sure next year I'll find my stride.

I'll make the work more my own.
I'll collaborate with people. 
I'll pave my own way, add my own style.

Wading through the muck is part of the journey. 

In my writing journey, revising has been mucky lately too. 

I hit a point this weekend when my revisions didn't seem like they were making my manuscript any better. I was standing in a puddle of words, turning in circles, tapping my compass that just couldn't find true north. My story was muddled. In my attempt to zone in on what my character is really, truly dealing with in the story, I was sinking into quicksand.

It felt hopeless. And then I read through some tweets from the Storymakers Conference (#storymakers16) and Ali Cross shared some tidbits from Jennifer Nielsen. (By the way, I absolutely adore Jennifer Nielsen and her False Prince series if you haven't read it!)


Life gets mucky sometimes.

"Do not give up.
You're closer than you think."
-Jennifer Nielsen

No matter what it is, maybe a new job or manuscript revisions, just keep going. Sludge through that muck, brave the murkiness, and just keep going.

Have you been in the muckiness of life before?
Got any ideas or advice to share? I would love to hear it!
Thanks for stopping by!

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/11/2019

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!   It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme ho...