Thursday, August 31, 2017

Hidden Dangers: Seek and Find 13 of the World's Deadliest Animals

Title: Hidden Dangers: Seek and Find 13 of the World's Deadliest Animals  
Author: Lola M. Schaefer 
Illustrator: Tymn Armstrong 
Publisher: Chronicle Books 
Publication Date: August 8th, 2017 
Genre/Format: Non-Fiction/Picture Book 
GoodReads Summary: These 13 deadly creatures can be difficult to spot until you're right on top of them . . . or they're right on top of you. Look for each animal in its environment—look closely!—and learn all the ways you could perish—or survive—depending on how smart, well-informed, and good at running away you are. From the deathstalker scorpion and the poison dart frog to wasps, alligators, and many more, young readers will gain a new appreciation for the animal kingdom, and the dangers it hides in plain sight!
What I Think: I love a good non-fiction book! What makes this book stand out to me is the descriptive text and the lovely illustrations. The book is gorgeous visually but the description truly brings the illustrations to life.
     As a mentor text, I would point out how the text and artwork support each other. I would ask students to close their eyes the first read through, then look at the picture the second read through, and then finally invite them to write down or circle words that stand out to them. This is a great opportunity to look at word choice and specifically make a link to word choice in non-fiction text. There is a misconception that non-fiction writing is not creative writing it...but I disagree. Sure, the topic you are writing about has to sit squarely in facts but the word choice we use in non-fiction writing and the literary elements we employ can surely take on a creative nature. And honestly, the best non-fiction does exude imagery. So have students look at the text and notice what stands out to them, talk about those super specific words, and then invite them to try it themselves! 
     ***I especially love this snatch of text because there are TWO examples of alliteration! Love it!
Snatch of Text:  
"Don't crowd a shark. A GREAT HAMMERHEAD, like some other sharks, will defend its territory if threatened. WITH ITS TEETH. If one of these 500- to 1,000-pound (227- to 454-kilogram) creatures confuses you with an enemy or a tasty fish, swim...and swim fast! The hammerhead will strike with his head and bludgeon you again and again until you are weak and weary. Then it will open its powerful jaws and shred you with its serrated teeth. YOU WILL BE DEAD."
Writing Prompt: Write about a ferocious animal that interests you. Or maybe you'd prefer to write about a completely non-ferocious animal! But as you write, pay attention to your word choice and see if you can work some $100 words in there.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/28/2017

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:
This week I finished up I Will Always Write Back and The Evaporation of Sofi Snow. I started reading The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya and am reading The Wild Robot with the boys. I'm also listening to Jennifer Niven's All The Bright Places. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I plan to keep reading The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora and The Wild Robot and listening to All The Bright Places. I have so many other great books from the library so hopefully I get to some of them this week 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!

Sunday, August 20, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/21/2017

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 I read more The Evaporation of Sofi Snow (I'm almost done! It's so good!) and listened to I Will Always Write Back. I also did a lot of reading because I'm s secret mentor for Brenda Drake's Pitch Wars. It's an amazing contest for writers who have revised their manuscript and are hoping to be mentored as they get ready to query. I was in Pitch Wars as a mentee in 2014 and now I get to be a mentor. I've spent time reading queries and manuscripts as we get ready to submit our final picks this week. 

Oh, and I started reading aloud Peter Brown's The Wild Robot with the boys!

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
It's going to take me a while to get through the audio for I Will Always Write Back but I'm almost done with The Evaporation of Sofi Snow and then I'm excited to read The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya.

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, August 18, 2017

Things That Surprise You




Thank you to Blue Slip Media
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for providing an awesome prize pack
for me to giveaway! (Details below!)


Title: Things That Surprise You 
Author: Jennifer Maschari  
Publisher: Balzer + Bray 
Publication Date: August 22, 2017 
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Emily Murphy is about to enter middle school. She’s sort of excited… though not nearly as much as her best friend Hazel, who is ready for everything to be new. Emily wishes she and Hazel could just continue on as they always have, being the biggest fans ever of the Unicorn Chronicles, making up dance moves, and getting their regular order at The Slice.

But things are changing. At home, Emily and her mom are learning to move on after her parents’ divorce. Hardest of all, her beloved sister Mina has been in a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia. Emily is eager to have her back, but anxious about her sister getting sick again.

Hazel is changing too. She has new friends from the field hockey team, is starting to wear makeup, and have crushes on boys. Emily is trying to keep up, but she keeps doing and saying the wrong thing. She want to be the perfect new Emily. But who is that really?

Things That Surprise You is a beautifully layered novel about navigating the often shifting bonds of family and friendship, and learning how to put the pieces back together when things fall apart. 

What I Think: I've been excited to tell students all about Things That Surprise You because it is such a real book about having friends, keeping friends, and making friends that I imagine many middle schoolers will relate to. It's a book I would recommend to readers who like Rebecca Stead's Good Bye Stranger and Ann Brashares' The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 
     As a mentor text, I love how Jennifer takes a moment and describes it so that we can feel what the characters are feeling. I pulled out two snatches of text that include similes that I love. They demonstrate how we have to be intentional about the similes we include. The imagery she creates with this similes definitely match the mood of the character and the scene.
     I also like how Emily, the main character, has her own character arc but her sister Mina has one as well. Too often writers focus on the main character and how he or she changes but we also have to look at how our supporting characters change and how our main characters might even impact the change our supporting characters go through. It's real life, right? But being able to do it in our writing as well is important and Things That Surprise You is a perfect mentor text for looking at how the main character isn't the only one who is going to grow as the story progresses.
Snatch of Text: 
"Walking in here is like stepping into a pair of the fuzziest socks. It feels cozy and right." (p. 11)

"All the good feelings I had built up whoosh out of me like air from a flattened bike tire." (p. 97)
Writing Prompt: Write about what you look for in a good friend. Use examples from Things That Surprise You and Emily's experiences with friends in the book and connect to your own experiences as well. 

One lucky winner will receive a copy of THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU (U.S. addresses).

PLUS!
One grand prize winner will receive a Crafty Unicorn Kit!  The prize includes a fun craft kit, a copy of THINGS THAT SURPRISE YOU, unicorn stickers, and puzzle cards! 
Enter here.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/14/2017

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 really really enjoyed reading Things That Surprise You by Jennifer Maschari last week. I'll be review it this week. I started listening to I Will Always Write Back and was reading The Evaporation of Sofi Snow when we made one last visit to the pool this weekend! My kids officially go back to school this week! Here we go!!!

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll be reading The Evaporation of Sofi Snow and listening to I Will Always Write Back...and trying to make it through an entire week of school with my 2nd and 5th graders!

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, August 10, 2017

August 2017 Picture Book 10 for 10

Today was our first day back to school for the teachers in my district! I'm excited to be started my third year working in our amazing schools. I was excited my first year, happy to be back my second year, and overjoyed and inspired to see what this third year will bring. 

We started our school year with five literacy-focused Ted-talk-type speeches. I got to share why it's important to nurture our students as writers. I shared how I don't worry so much that my sons can spell bicycle or spot a dependent clause in a sentence but I really do worry about them growing up to be passionate learners who care about people and work to make the world a better place.

Then, after the rest of an amazing and fulfilling first day back at school...I came home to see all the amazing PB 10 for 10 posts and knew I had to share my favorite books for having discussions about empathy and compassion and giving kids the opportunity to think about how they might make the world a better place. It's always hard to pick only ten...I could add sooooo many more. But here's a start!



Can We Save The Tiger
by Martin Jenkins, illustrations by Vicky White

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners
by Laurie Keller

This Is How We Do It:
One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from around the World
by Matt Lamothe

Stand Tall, Molly Lou Melon
by Patty Lovell, illustrations by David Catrow

Each Kindness
by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrations by E.B. Lewis

Red: A Crayon’s Story
by Michael Hall

Nerdy Birdy
by Aaron Reynolds, illustrations by Matt Davies

Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt De La Peña, illustrations by Christian Robinson

A Sick Day for Amos McGee
by Philip and Erin Stead

Mango, Abuela, and Me
by Meg Medina, illustrations with Angela Dominguez

I'd love to hear any others you'd add to my list!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 08/07/2017

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 Jenny Han's Always and Forever, Lara Jean and it was bittersweet for me. I absolutely love this series and recommend it to any teen fan of contemporary YA and love stories. I'm always happy to finish a series and get to hang out with favorite characters but I hate when it's over. I balled at the end of this book. I love Lara Jean and Peter.

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I go back to school this week! Ah! I'm planning to read Things That Surprise You by Jen Maschari and also The Evaporation of Sofi Snow by Mary Weber...but we'll see how it 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!

Teachers Write 2017 - The End

Oh, my Teachers Write friends! It's here. The end is here. It's been a great four weeks but I'm still always sad to say goodbye to the end of Teachers Write. 

The good thing is that we get to keep writing with students when school starts again! And that's what Teachers Write is all about. We come together as a supportive community to learn from amazing people in the industry and work on our own craft. But the real magic of Teachers Write is that we get to take our experiences and share them with students.

My Teachers Write posts this summer were about sharing Tales From The Classroom and I hope they gave you some ideas for how you might keep Teachers Write with you all year. Here's a recap of my Teachers Write Tales From The Classroom posts. 

Tales From The Classroom #1
Tales From The Classroom #2

I hope you keep writing. I hope you invite your students to write with you. I hope you share some of the exercises or the quick writes with them. But more than anything, I hope you remember the love shared in this community. 

Writing is a process. And so much of the process is encouragement from others, positive feedback from others, cheerleading from others (someone to say Go! Go! Go!), solidarity from others, a gentle nudge from others, celebration with others. 

The community is what it's all about. Community comes first and it keeps us going.

Thank you for stopping in for Sunday Check-Ins! A big, giant hug from me to you. I'm so glad you are here. Knowing you are out there, writing along with me, spending your summer to work on your craft, inspires me. 

Now I have some awesome news to share! I hit 50,000 words! At the beginning of Teachers Write, I set out to draft a YA novel. My plan was to take our four weeks together and crank out as many words as possible but I had 50,000 words in mind. Last week, I was at 31,000 words and I thought there was no way I was going to make it to 50,000 but I did. If I had free time, I was writing and I stayed up late a few nights. But I'm excited to say I did it. I still have a few more scenes to write and then I'll have my first draft. I already know it's going to need lots of revision but it's great to know I have a first draft done. 

Here's my Pacemaker chart. This motivated me soooo much. It was awesome to be able to type in my word count and see how much progress I had made (and how far I still had to go!). 
In 2012, I drafted my very first young adult novel ever and now I've written my third. I have never ever written so fast. I'm not sure I like it, my brain has been on writing overdrive and I'm happy to put this draft away and to come back to it in six weeks. But overall, I'm thrilled that I got as much writing done as I did. Thank you so much for being here to cheer me on along the way! It means a lot!

This is it!
I hope you take a few minutes to reflect on these last four weeks.
However you made Teachers Write your own, 
be proud of yourself for being here. 
Let's celebrate! 


via GIPHY


Today, in the comments:
How did you do this week? Did you meet your weekly goal(s)?
What was the pit of your week? (The hardest part, the not-so-fun part?)
What was the peak of your week? (The best part, the most-totally-fun part?)
How was your overall Teachers Write experience?
What are you looking forward to and planning for 

as you get ready for another school year?

A reminder of my rules for Teachers Write Sunday Check-Ins:
1. We respect each other and the type of writing we do.
2. We only offer constructive criticism.
3. We are positive and encourage each other at all times.
4. We recognize and maintain this as a safe environment.


P. S. Thank you for replying to each other's comments! 
While I read them all and do my best to reply and 
reply as soon as possible it doesn't always happen.
I so appreciate you cheering each other on through Teachers Write! You r-o-c-k!

Psst! Yes, you! One more thing...
Don't forget to sign up for my newsletter here!