Sunday, October 30, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/31/2016

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:
Have you seen that the Nerdy Book Club has a podcast? I'm not a super-regular listener of podcasts but I've enjoyed each and every episode from The Nerdy Bookcast so far. And at nErDcamp this summer I got to read one of my favorite Nerdy Book Club posts for the podcast. It was posted this weekend: All Books Count is the name of the episode if you'd like to check it out. I also recently shared a review of Also an Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall and illustrated by Benji Davies at Nerdy Book Club too. 


Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week, I read mostly with my kids. Peanut and I are still reading Wonder and he's so into it. We've had lots of good discussion and it's been so cool. He also zipped through Ghosts so now he's given it back to me so I can read it. I'm loving it as much as he did. He said it's the first book he read that he really wanted to read and couldn't stop reading. So cool. 

Afterwards, we went and looked through all the graphic novels we have and he decided he's going to read Sisters now. While we were looking at graphic novels, my six-year-old joined us and we read most of Bird and Squirrel this weekend. I love it so much! 

Also, I'm still reading Launch for book club and it's been great discussing with colleagues. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Um, I'm trying last week again...it was just a whirlwind of a week! I'm hoping to keep reading Wonder and to explore graphic novels with my kids while also getting to Be Light Like a Bird and Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles.

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, October 23, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/24/2016

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:

The winner of the Pug Meets Pig prize pack is:
Ryan Swanson

Thanks to Blue Slip Media for sending me this title to review
and providing a prize pack for one winner from my site!

Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I read more of Wonder with Peanut and we also got Raina Telgemeier's Ghosts from the book fair...and he's loooooooving it! I was so surprised but super excited. I actually bought the book for myself but we started reading it together and suddenly he took it out of my hands and was reading on his own. This rarely happens so I'm kind of freaking out. He is totally interested in finding out what's going to happen next, he's just into it. I love it. I'm also still reading Launch for the book study at school and Be Light Like a Bird. I spent a lot of time revising this week, too so I did a lot of rereading of a picture book I'm working and a young adult novel I'm revising. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to keep reading Launch and Be Light Like a Bird and I also have Shari Green's Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles that I'm excited to dive into!

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, October 19, 2016

A Bike Like Sergio's

Title: A Bike Like Sergio's 
Author: Maribeth Boelts 
Illustrator: Noah Z. Jones
Publisher: Candlewick Press  
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: Finders keepers, right? When Ruben picks up someone’s lost money, he finds out how hard it can be to do the right thing.
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money? Presenting a relatable story told with subtlety and heart, the creative team behind Those Shoes pairs up again for a satisfying new picture book.
What I Think: At the beginning of the school year, we spend a lot of time setting up notebook and talking about finding ideas for our writing. Oftentimes, we also focus on personal narratives. A Bike Like Sergio's is a great mentor text for thinking about personal narratives. Reading about Ruben and how he wants a bike just like Sergio's is something many kids might relate to. Wanting something so desperately is a pretty universal experience. I know for me, I wanted a puppy so badly for reeeeeally long time. And let me tell you, I could write all sorts of stories about that, even about the time when we almost adopted a puppy who would have been way too big for our little house. As a mentor text, you might look at the very first line and ask kids to free write from there. You might also look at the rest of the text and especially how Maribeth includes dialogue as part of the story. Including dialogue is something young writers need to learn how to do. They can pay attention to the dialogue and look at how to punctuate dialogue as well.  
Snatch of Text: 
"Every kid has a bike but me." 
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when you felt like something was unfair - maybe you felt like everyone had something (maybe a bike?) but you didn't. What did you do in that situation?
Additional Resources: Here's a Teachers Guide for A Bike Like Sergio's in case you are interested.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/17/2016

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:
My reading plans went a little bit topsy turvy last week. I'm still reading Inspector Flytrap and Wonder with the boys and enjoying both so much. I also read the first book in The Data Set series because it came in at the library and it looked too cute. I did also make some headway on Be Light Like a Bird. I've also been revising a non-fiction picture book biography I've been working on so I was reading and rereading the biography the library was able to get from a university library for me. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm planning to continue reading Inspector Flytrap and Wonder and to finish Be Light Like a Bird this week.

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, October 13, 2016

Also An Octopus Interview

I had the pleasure of reading Also An Octopus by Maggie Tokuda-Hall at BEA when it was in Chicago this spring. It's such a fun book about finding and telling a story. Also An Octopus is finally out in stores and I'll be reviewing celebrating it at Nerdy Book Club later this month...but right now, Maggie is here to answer some of my questions! Hooray!

TMT: Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and your new book, Also An Octopus?

I wrote Also An Octopus while working as a children’s bookseller. At the time, I was responsible for the school programming, and I was in schools all the time for bookfairs, and author visits, and often I’d do story times. And anyone who does story times regularly probably runs the risk of reading the same books over and over again— because once you figure out one works, you go with it, right? And the year I wrote Also an Octopus, my go-to was I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. Which is brilliant. And Also An Octopus is very much a tribute to that book.

TMT: Many writers keep writer's notebooks. Do you have a writer's notebook? Or do you gather your ideas in another way?

I don’t have a note book. But I do have scraps of paper, and napkins, and a cell phone with a notes app in it. I jot down ideas all the time, all over the place. Often I lose them. Actually, it’s starting to sound like a notebook may be a good idea…

TMT: What is the best writing advice you have received and what advice would you give student writers?

Put your pen to paper. You can’t write anything if you don’t write. I used to tutor a really talented kid in creative writing, and that was I think, the only real thing of value that I KNOW I told her. 

TMT: What are you reading and loving right now (or recently)? What are some ways what you have read influences your own writing?

I recently quit my job, and hit the road in a Toyota 4Runner with my husband, Adam, to go travel South America. So, for the first time in my adult life as a career book person, I’m not responsible for reading new books! Which means I’ve been going deep on the classics, particularly grown-up classics, since most of my career was as a children’s book person.

I’m usually reading two or three books at a time— one hard copy, one audio book, and one that my husband and I will read out loud to each other at night. We recently read Lonesome Dove, which was fantastic, and also wonderful for sharing. There was so much for us to discuss. While we were in Colombia, we read One Hundred Years of Solitude, and I was reminded by it how wonderfully imaginative Gabriel Garcia Marquez was. I also read a ton of trashy true crime books, which inspires little other than a constant paranoia that I’m going to be murdered. But I think, particularly as a kids’ writer, and as someone who reads a lot of kids’ books—which typically represent the best that humans can be, or aspire too— I’m fascinated by the absolute worst that humans can be as well.

The author who made me want to be a writer in the first place (in high school) was Kurt Vonnegut. The one who made me want to write for kids (in grad school) was M.T. Anderson. The one who made me want to write a picture book was Oliver Jeffers. The one who made me feel like I could was Jon Klassen. The one who really inspired me to think big and to think weird was the playwright, Edward Albee. And the one who I want to be when I grow up is Kate DiCamillo, who I think speaks “kid” more fluently than any other grown-up on the planet. 

I think it is impossible to talk about writing without talking about reading. If writing is an expression of self, reading is the road map we use to find our self in the first place. 

TMT: Teach Mentor Texts is all about promoting the love of reading and writing. How would you finish the statements: “Reading is…” and “Writing is…”

Reading is both the warm bed you sleep in, and the morning sun that wakes you up.


Writing is both a rocket ship and a scooter. It’ll take you there, but how quickly you get there is totally unpredictable. 

Don't you just want to hang out with Maggie or go on a road trip with her? I know you'll love Also An Octopus because it is a bit like going on an adventure! 

Pug Meets Pig Review and Giveaway!

Title: Pug Meets Pig 
Author: Su Lowell Gallion 
Illustrator: Joyce Wan
Publisher: Beach Lane Books 
Publication Date: September 27th, 2016 
Genre/Format:  
GoodReads Summary: An unlikely pair—a pug and a pig!—realize that it’s better to be together.

Pug is a very happy pup. He has his own yard, his own bowl, and even his own cozy bed! That is, until Pig moves in and starts eating from Pug’s bowl, interrupting Pug’s routine, and, worst of all, sleeping in Pug’s bed. Will Pug and Pig ever learn to live together as friends?

This sweet and silly story about a darling duo celebrates the timeless themes of embracing change, being kind to others, and finding friends in unlikely places.

What I Think: I'm loving this book as a mentor text for primary writers! First of all, how cute are these illustrations? I mean, a pug and a pig? So cute. This book starts out simple and sweet...maybe similar to how some of our young writers' stories start out. But then it takes a twist! And this is the exciting part, it's an opportunity to talk to our young readers about how their stories might take a twist. Because isn't the twisty part of a story the best part? It's the exciting part, it's the oh no! part, it's the now-what's-going-to-happen? part. Reading Pug Meets Pig and asking students to look for the twist, will help them first to recognize it in a story and then they can think about a twist in the stories they write. Even if they're writing personal narrative, they can think about a story that happened to them with a twist.
Snatch of Text:  
"Pug is happy here at home,
with his bowl, his yard, and his bed.

But one day when the door opens..."
Writing Prompt: Write about a time in your life when something unexpected happened to you.
Thanks to Blue Slip Media for sending me this title to review
and providing a prize pack for one winner from my site!

Sunday, October 9, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/10/2016

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:
I finished The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett! Hooray for finishing a book! It was a good one, too. I'm still reading Wonder with Peanut and I started Inspector Flytrap by Tom Angleberger and Cece Bell. Super fun! And I started The Reader by Traci Chee.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm horribly behind on my reading...but I plan to continue with Wonder and Inspector Flytrap with the boys and I'll be reading Be Light Like a Bird by Monika Schroeder and also getting back to The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner. So much good reading out there!

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, October 5, 2016

Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles Interview


Hooray for another middle grade novel in verse to read, love, and share with kid readers! Today I'm interviewing Shari Green, the author of Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles. 

Here's the GoodReads summary of Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles:

Eleven-year-old Bailey believes in miracles. She has to; it will take a miracle to keep her warring parents together. This summer they are at a Marriage Counselling camp, leaving Bailey and her little brother Kevin with their estranged grandmother in the island town of Felicity Bay. There, an eccentric deposed minister makes a prophecy that a stranger from the sea will change everything. When Bailey discovers a mermaid-shaped piece of driftwood, she begins to believe that the mermaid is this stranger from the sea. Then, when a dolphin becomes stranded on the beach, Bailey forgets her own troubles and rouses the reluctant locals into action. 

Written in light and lyrical free verse, Shari Green's warm and wistful novel brings Bailey face to face with both hard and beautiful truths about growing up and growing into her own ability to shape the world.

And now, Shari was kind enough to answer some questions to share here!

TMT: Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and your new book, Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles?

In addition to being a writer, I’m a nurse, pastor’s wife, and mom of four practically-grown kids. I’m crazy about stories and the sea, so it’s no surprise I wrote a story set by the sea! Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles takes place on a fictional island in the Pacific Northwest—a setting inspired by my childhood summers on Gabriola Island. It’s about family, friendship, community, the possibility of miracles, and learning to see the “everyday miracles” present in our ordinary, less-than-perfect lives. It’s a story with lots of heart and just a hint of magic. ☺
TMT: Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is a novel in verse. Can you talk about experiences writing poetry and how you decided this book worked best as a novel in verse?

The book actually didn’t start out in verse, but after several false starts, I switched from prose to free verse and it suddenly clicked. My prose tends to be lean and somewhat lyrical, so the transition to verse felt very natural.

A couple things confirmed for me that Root Beer Candy would work best in verse—first and foremost, hearing Bailey’s voice so clearly when I began to write in verse. As I continued to write, I became aware of other reasons verse was right for this one: it freed me to use imagery and word choices to weave the setting all through the story, and to use white space to encourage readers to ponder the story’s ambiguities and unanswered-questions.
TMT: What is the best writing advice you have received and what advice would you give student writers?

Annie Dillard said “follow your own weirdness”, and that idea helped me learn to trust my gut, to tell the stories I want to tell without self-censoring the ideas before they ever get off the ground. I’d pass that on to student writers, along with this simple keep-moving-forward advice: create something, send it out into the world, create something else.
TMT: What are you reading and loving right now (or recently)? What are some ways what you have read influences your own writing?

Recently read & loved:
  • Like Water on Stone, by Dana Walrath. A verse novel about three siblings during the Armenian genocide – compelling, tragic, powerful.
  • Going for a Sea Bath, by AndreĆ© Poulin. A delightful picture book – silly, fun, and perfect for ocean-lovers like me.
  • Hour of the Bees, by Lindsay Eagar. A beautiful story of family and reclaiming one’s roots – told with a wonderful blend of magic and reality.

Currently reading:
  • I just started Traci Chee’s The Reader (YA fantasy). I’m only a couple chapters in, but already I can tell I’m going to adore this book.

The books I read influence my writing by introducing me to new things—from big things like passions or ideologies, to small things like snippets of setting or character—that may combine with my personal experiences and beliefs, and morph into something that pops up in my own stories. That’s a long-winded way of saying books shape who I am.

The books I read also influence my writing by opening my mind to possibilities (story-wise and format-wise), breaking down the perceived you-can’t-do-that-in-children’s-books barrier. YA author A.S. King’s books were significant to me in that way—her mastery of blending “weird” with realistic fiction is inspiring and freeing. And verse novels that play with form have also influenced me this way.

TMT: Teach Mentor Texts is all about promoting the love of reading and writing. How would you finish the statements: “Reading is…” and “Writing is…”

Reading is entertainment and enlightenment. It’s time travel and visiting new worlds. It’s walking in another’s shoes, and it’s knowing I’m not alone.

Writing is both a creative outlet and an emotional outlet for me—a way to tell my stories, express my truth, and sometimes even make a little sense of my world. Also, it’s fun. ;-)

I happen to think writing is fun, too! A big thanks to Shari for stopping by! The pub date for Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles is October 16th, so be sure to pre-order your copy today.  And, if you love MG like I do, be sure to sign up for the iLoveMG newsletter