Friday, December 30, 2016

Shy

Title: Shy 
Author: Deborah Freedman 
Illustrator: Deborah Freedman 
Publisher: Viking 
Publication Date: September 27th, 2016
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book
GoodReads Summary: Shy loves birds. He'd love to watch them fly and hear them sing, but he's only ever read about them in books. . .until a real bird comes along. He's dying to meet her, but there's just one problem: Shy is, well, shy--so shy, in fact, that he's afraid to leave the gutter of the book. Can Shy overcome his fears and venture out onto the page? 

This sweetly relatable picture book from the acclaimed Deborah Freedman speaks to every child who's ever felt like hiding instead of facing the daunting world. 
What I Think: I've had the lovely pleasure of meeting Deborah Freedman and it's so obvious after meeting her that her personality comes across in her illustrations. Her work is beautiful and gentle, calm and soothing. Shy especially is quiet and lovely. I love how Deborah so intricately weaves the text and the illustrations together. This book is a perfect mentor text for looking at how the text leaves space for the illustrations to do their work.
     As a mentor text, this book is perfect for looking at how the illustrations support the text. It's also an opportunity to look at how to show and not tell in the sense that it's the author's job to give enough information to the reader that he or she can fill in the blanks. This is super super hard to do. It's easier to give lots of information and outline everything for a reader...but knowing when to pull back and what specific details to show is harder. This would be an interesting mini-lesson in how to pull back on a personal narrative. I know there are times when I struggle to not tell too much. But there's a power in recognizing the need to pull back and going through to cut words. I written before about Lisa Graff and how she writes a manuscript and then she revises by going through and cutting her words in half. It's amazing what message shines through when you take out all the extra unnecessary words!
Snatch of Text: 
"Shy was happiest between the pages of a book."
Writing Prompt: Reread something you've written. Now try to take out 10 words, 15 words, 25 words. Does your writing sound stronger as you tighten up the words? Don't give up the meaning or the core of your message, but see if it makes your message stronger.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/26/2016

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:
It's hard to believe that this is the last IMWAYR post of 2016!!! Even though it's winter break, I'm still working on: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rising Strong, Fat Angie, and A Boy Called Bat. But I did devour The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily. Loved it! 

Reviewed Last Week:
Over at Story Exploratory, I celebrated the Anderson's Young Adult Literature Conference!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll be reading: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rising Strong, Fat Angie, and A Boy Called Bat...and maybe something else. We'll see how the week goes!

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, December 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/19/2016

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:
Here's what I read last week: Comic Squad: Lunch, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rising Strong, Fat Angie, A Boy Called Bat and Syllabus: Notes from an Accidental Professor by Lynda Barry. The only two I finished were Comic Squad: Lunch and Syllabus though! I'll keep on reading the others this week! 

Reviewed Last Week:
Here at Teach Mentor Texts I celebrated Mo Willems style art!
Over at Story Exploratory I celebrated the last week of school in 2016 and the start of winter break!
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
Here's what I'll be reading more of this week: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rising Strong, Fat Angie, and A Boy Called Bat. And hopefully 12 Days of Dash and Lily too! 

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!

Saturday, December 17, 2016

Mo Willems Kid Art Fun

It's time to CELEBRATE This Week with Ruth Ayres from Discover. Play. Build.  Every week Ruth invites us to share our celebrations from the week and link up at her blog. What a fun way to reflect on everything there is to be thankful for. 

*                  *                   *

This week I'm celebrating Mo Willems kid art fun!

*throws confetti*
 
We are Mo Willems fans! We own all the Knuffle Bunny books and many of the Elephant and Piggie books. We've had friends over to act out Elephant and Piggie's stories and we've made our own art using the style Mo Willems uses for his illustrations in Knuffle Bunny
This year for holiday gifts for teachers at schools, the kids created more Knuffle Bunny style art. In the thank you cards we got from the teachers, it sounds like the handmade art was a hit. Here's how we created our Mo Willems style art!

We found images of their schools online that we printed out in black and white. Then I cut little rectangles out of pieces of paper and asked the kids to draw their teachers. This was super important because I knew they needed to draw their teachers really small so they would fit on the pictures. I needed to also make sure they didn't draw stick figures because that would be really hard to cut out so I showed them this drawing from cartoonist Ivan Brunetti for the New Yorker. He's known for using simple shapes in his drawings. 
I showed the kids the circles for heads, the rectangles for bodies, arms, and legs, and the triangles for noses and they were off. We started by drawing the outline first in pencil, then we went over the lines with a black flair pen, and finally, they colored it all in with crayons. After they were done with their drawings, I carefully cut them out and we glued them into place on the black and white photo. Then we decided on shout outs for each teacher (or principal) and we decorated those too. The last step was to get them into the frames so they were ready to go. The kids had a lot of fun drawing their teachers. My oldest was really cute, he was trying out colors and deciding which one was a best match for skin tone and hair color. So fun. 
It's always hard to figure out gifts for teachers. I love giving gift cards for a restaurant so they can have a nice meal out on us. But I also love to give something kid-created that hopefully is a bit more meaningful. I'm pretty sure we'll be giving this type of gift every winter now! It was fun for the kids and for me and such a neat way to capture our appreciation for all the hard work the teachers do. I'm already brainstorming different backgrounds for next year...it would be fun to have a picture of their classroom and to put them standing there...lots of options!

In the end, it's about celebrating the teachers who put so much time, energy, and love into helping our kids learn and grow. I hope teachers everywhere feel appreciated. Thank you for all that you do!

Have you ever tried picture book-inspired art?
Or do you have favorite teacher gifts you've given or received?
I'd love to hear about it!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

How This Book Was Made

Title: How This Book Was Made 
Author: Mac Barnett 
Illustrator: Adam Rex
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: You may think you know how this book was made, but you don't. Sure, the author wrote many drafts, and the illustrator took a long time creating the art, but then what? How'd it get into your hands? Well, open the cover and read through these pages to find out. Just beware of the pirates and angry tiger.

New York Times best-selling creators Mac Barnett and Adam Rex reveal the nitty gritty process of making a book . . . with a few unexpected twists along the way! Budding writers and artists will laugh at the mix of reality and the absurd as the story makes its way to a shelf, and a reader.

What I Think: How a book becomes a book is not an easy process to explain! Mac's description along with Adam's illustrations make this a fun and entertaining way to get a glimpse to the behind-the-scenes side of publishing a book. I especially love this for kids who most likely will only see the pretty, polished up book sitting on the shelf of a bookstore, library or at home. The more I write, the more I understand about the writing process (not that it's all clear to me...but I learn a little more every time I sit down to write) and it's important for kids to see that they go through the writing process just like published authors do.
     I've done a PB 10 X 10 post on books to get started with writing workshop before and I would definitely add this and Maggie Tokuda-Hall's Also An Octopus to the list. Students could create a list of what they do with a writing piece to take it through publication and then think about what Mac and Adam share in How This Book Was Made. It could even go into a venn diagram and you could compare and contrast what's similar and what's different. I really like that they make mention of how an editor is kind of like a teacher. Here's the line, "She is like a teacher, only she works in a skyscraper and is always eating fancy lunches." So funny! Which leads me to my next point...
     This is also an incredibly perfect book for looking at voice and hyperbole and silliness in writing. You could actually type up this whole book and present it to older students as a piece of writing and then read them the picture book with the illustrations. Students of any age are sure to love this book and hopefully they'll find some solace in the pages...that writing doesn't just come easily to anyone.  
Snatch of Text:  
"The first draft of this book was not so good.

Neither was the second draft.
Or the third.
Or the twelfth.

But writing lots of drafts is a useful part of the writing process. 
For instance, when the tiger came back for revenge because I beat him 
in arm wrestling, I burned these drafts and scared him away."
Writing Prompt: Describe a situation that you were recently part of and add in some hyperbole to add some voice and silliness to it. Start with a personal narrative idea and see where stretching the truth a bit takes you. 

Sunday, December 11, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/12/2016

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:
Little Bean and I finished up Comic Squad: Recess and are now reading Comic Squad: Lunch which is so fun. Peanut and I finished Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone! Hooray! Now we're five chapters into Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. I'm still reading Rising Strong and also started Fat Angie by e. E. Charlton-Trujillo and A Boy Called Bat by Elana K. Arnold.


Reviewed Last Week:
This week I'm celebrating signing with an agent (!)
and a bit about what I've learned about writing at Story Exploratory.
Click on any picture above to go read my review/post.

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm excited to continue all the books I've got going right now: Comic Squad: Lunch, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Rising Strong, Fat Angie, and A Boy Called Bat. This is going to be a full week so we'll see how it goes! Not to mention I discovered that David Levithan and Rachel Cohen's The Twelve Days of Dash and Lily is out!!!! I didn't realize and have it ordered so I'm definitely going to want to read that too!

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, December 9, 2016

The Reader, Author Interview with Traci Chee

Today I have the pleasure of interviewing Traci Chee who wrote the young adult novel The Reader. I'm lucky to be a fan of Traci's and also a friend. 

TMT: Can you start by telling us a little bit about you and your new book, The Reader?

Traci Chee: Thanks so much for inviting me to chat with you! I am a total book geek/word nerd, and I think that shows in my YA debut, The Reader, which is set in a world where literacy is unheard of, and a sixteen-year-old girl must teach herself to read in order to solve the mystery of her father’s murder and rescue her kidnapped aunt. It’s got a little bit of a ton of different things I love, including bookishness, magic, long walks in the woods, cowboys/pirates with hearts of gold, and secret messages!

TMT: The Reader is set in a fantasy world where books no longer exist. Can you talk a little about your writing process? Where did you start and how did the world of Kelanna influence Sefia or vice versa?

Traci Chee: I feel like I collect ideas from all over the place, and sometimes they all come together in a glorious creative chaos, which is what happened with The Reader: I walked into the McHenry Library Special Collections and was immediately entranced by their collection of art books. I started scribbling down a story about a girl with a book on a pirate ship for my friend Tucker. I’d been wanting to write about a cowboy with a heart of gold since seeing The Magnificent Seven with Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen. And all of them sort of came swirling together when I set out to write The Reader.

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

Traci Chee: “Always keep learning.” I believe that there’s always a way to improve as a writer, whether by reading craft books, reading more widely (and deeply), taking classes, participating in workshops, talking with other writers, or using the wealth of internet resources we now have at our disposal, and I think it’s so important to always be challenging ourselves as creators.

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

Traci Chee: Keeping with my approach of “always keep learning,” I try to glean a little something from everything I read. Since I’m currently working on Book 2 of Sea of Ink and Gold, I’ve been studying Leigh Bardugo’s Siege and Storm and Sabaa Tahir’s A Torch Against the Night, but I also like learning economy of language from poetry (Adrienne Rich comes to mind) and economy of story from short fiction (one of my favorite collections is Cosmicomics by Italo Calvino). Although I know it horrifies some people, I often read with a pen in hand so I can note passages I love and return to study them later (although I only mark up my own books, of course)!

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…”

Traci Chee: Reading is magic. Writing is power.

A giant thank you to Traci for being here to share her book The Reader and give us some insight into her writing and reading life.

I'm a believe in the growth mindset and that we can work towards anything we set our minds to. Writing requires a certain kind of mindset. Like Traci says, it's important for writers to realize we are always learning how to weave stories together...or sometimes how to just keep going. Keeping an open mind and paying attention to what we learn works for us as writers is key.

I hope you pick up The Reader!
(P.S. Do you like to write notes in the margins as you read? I do!)

Sunday, December 4, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 12/05/2016

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. 

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Last Week's Book Adventures:
Last week I finished Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles by Shari Green and finished Lunch Lady and the Video Game Villain with LittleBean. We started Comic Squad: Recess which is so fun! Peanut and I are working our way through Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. He also begged me to make wands this weekend which was pretty fun. I'm still reading Rising Strong and also grabbed the new edition of Flow magazine which I started reading as well.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm planning on continuing to read Harry Potter with Peanut and the Comic Squad comics with Little Bean. I'll continue reading Rising Strong and see what I get to next!

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, December 2, 2016

Animal Atlas

Title: Animal Atlast
Author: Virginie Aladjidi
Illustrator: Emmanuelle Tchoukriel
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Publication Date: October 4th, 2016
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Atlas - Informational
GoodReads Summary: Did you know that: 
Sea otters can spend months in the water without returning to land? 
Flying fish can glide for 300 ft over the water? 
A Praying Mantis can rotate its head 180 degrees?

Become an expert on all things that swim, fly, walk, hop, slither, and crawl! In a celebration of the many animals that share our planet, this gorgeously illustrated atlas explores over 250 different animals across the seven continents. Learn where different animals live, what they eat, how they communicate, and many more fascinating facts!
What I Think: The setup of Animal Atlas makes it really easy for readers to see where animals live on the Earth. The concept of the Earth being such a big place and understanding where other countries are compared to our is pretty abstract. Animal Atlas is organized so animals are presented with other animals that live near them. Readers can easily see where animals are in the world while also learning about many different animals. This book covers a range of animals, some common and others unique. This book would be a great to use when inviting students to learn about animals in a certain part of the world and could lead into further learning about animals. I work with a 4th grade teacher who did a focused Genius Hour where she let students pick any topic to research as long is it related to the northeast region (which is what their were studying in their SS unit). This book would be great if you want kids to think about researching animals from a certain area of the world and then encourage them to read other texts to learn more about a specific animal they chose.
Snatch of Text: 
"Appaloosa Horse - Equus caballus, Class: mammal
The Appaloosa, with its spotted coat, was brought to American by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century, then raised by the Nez Perce tribe near the Palouse River, from which the horse gets its name. The Appaloosa breed is popular for western riding competitions." (p. 3)
Writing Prompt: Can you find your favorite animal in the Animal Atlas? Incorporate what you learn about an animal in the Animal Atlas and what you read about that animal elsewhere to share what you know about that animals.