Thursday, September 27, 2018

A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem: A Dastardly Plot



Title: A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem: A Dastardly Plot 
Author: Christopher Healy
Publisher: Walden Pond Press 
Publication Date: September 25th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Historical Fiction/Middle Grade Novel 
GoodReads Summary: It's 1883—the Age of Invention! A time when great men like Thomas Edison, Alexander Graham Bell, Nicola Tesla, and George Eastman work to turn the country into a land of limitless opportunity.

And it all happens at the world famous Inventor’s Guild headquarters in New York City—a place where a great idea, a lot of hard work, and a little bit of luck can find you rubbing elbows with these gods of industry who will usher humanity into the future.

Unless, of course, you’re a woman.

Molly Pepper, daughter of brilliant but unknown inventor Cassandra Pepper, lives with her mother in New York. By day, they make ends meet running a pickle shop; but by night, they toil and dream of Cassandra taking her place among the most famous inventors in America.

In an attempt to find a way to exhibit Cass’s work at the World’s Fair, they break into the Inventor's Guild, where they discover a mysterious plot to destroy New York.
The evidence points to the involvement of one of the world’s most famous inventors, and now it’s up to Molly, Cassandra, and a shop hand named Emmett Lee to uncover the truth—even if no one will ever know it was they who did it. 
What I Think: I already loved Christopher Healy's Hero's Guide series and how he portrayed the female characters in that series but now there is more girl power to love from him! A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem is such a fun blend of historical fiction and girl power and adventure.
     As a mentor text, there is really rich description throughout the entire book. You could easily find many examples of how word choice makes an impact on what message the writer makes. Chris describes using very specific words and he also shows readers what is happening using the five senses. As I was listening to the audiobook sample, I realized how great he described the pickle shop and how he also was able to tell us about Molly by showing us that she lives there as well. I pulled the snatch of text below that you'll also hear in the audiobook clip. I would ask writers to close their eyes and listen to the sample. Ask them to visualize as they listen. Then I would show them the snatch of text below and ask them to think about how describing the setting helps a reader and how it can even help a reader understand the character. You could even ask writers to think about their own character and draw their room or closet. This is an opportunity to think about how the room is organized (or not!) and what is found there. Then they could write a paragraph or two describing the room or setting and show readers about their character using this technique. All of this tells us about the character and is a neat way to explore a character. 
Snatch of Text: "For the most part, Pepper's Pickles looked like any of the other specialty food establishments along the bustling thoroughfare that was Thompson Street. Upon entering, customers would see barrels of fermenting cucumbers and a wooden counter stacked with murky jars of dill spears. They would smell a tang in the air from the canisters of salt and flasks of vinegar crammed onto shelves. But few took note of the tall folding screen that protected the rear half of the store from prying eyes.
     If a customer were to peek behind that screen, however - which none did without feeling the sting of a shot from Molly's Thimble Cannon - they would see a long worktable littered with springs, screws, bolts, gears, and tools of every time. And the'd see two thin beds, a stove-top, and a clothesline drooping with damp bloomers. Because the Peppers also lived in their pickle shop." (p. 5)
Audiobook Clip: Listen here.

 Here are the tour stops:
September 24th - Novel Novice
September 26th - Unleashing Readers
September 27th - Teach Mentor Texts
September 28th - Novel Novice
September 29th - Maria’s Melange
October 1st - The Flashlight Reader
October 2nd - Nerdy Book Club
October 3rd - Book Monsters
October 3rd - Novel Novice
October 4th - Blustocking Thinking

And don't forget the giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thanks to Walden Pond Press
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for partnering with me for this giveaway.

Monday, September 24, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/24/2018

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:
On audio, I listened to The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo and Dear Martin by Nic Stone. I also started Leila Sales This Song Will Save Your Life on audio. I also read more of Swing and Pep Talks for Writers and started A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem by Chris Healy. 

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll continue listening to This Song Will Save Your Life and need to finish up A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem by Chris Healy for the blog tour 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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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!


Monday, September 17, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/17/2018

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:

Congratulations to the
Santa Bruce Giveaway Winner
Ken Christensen!

Thanks again Disney Books for sending me a copy of this book to review and for partnering with me for this giveaway.

Last Week's Book Adventures:
I finished reading Heart Talk by Cleo Wade and started Pep Talks for Writers by Grant Faulkner and Swing by Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess. 

Reviewed Last Week:

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'll be reading more of Swing and Pep Talks for Writers and I need to start A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem by Chris Healy. I also need to look for a new audiobook. Any suggestions?

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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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, September 16, 2018

Merci Suárez Changes Gears

Title: Merci Suárez Changes Gears 
Author: Meg Medina 
Publisher: Candlewick 
Publication Date: September 11th, 2018  
Genre/Format: Realistic Fiction/Middle Grade Novel 
GoodReads Summary: Merci Suarez knew that sixth grade would be different, but she had no idea just how different. For starters, Merci has never been like the other kids at her private school in Florida, because she and her older brother, Roli, are scholarship students. They don’t have a big house or a fancy boat, and they have to do extra community service to make up for their free tuition. So when bossy Edna Santos sets her sights on the new boy who happens to be Merci’s school-assigned Sunshine Buddy, Merci becomes the target of Edna’s jealousy. Things aren't going well at home, either: Merci’s grandfather and most trusted ally, Lolo, has been acting strangely lately — forgetting important things, falling from his bike, and getting angry over nothing. No one in her family will tell Merci what's going on, so she’s left to her own worries, while also feeling all on her own at school. In a coming-of-age tale full of humor and wisdom, award-winning author Meg Medina gets to the heart of the confusion and constant change that defines middle school — and the steadfast connection that defines family.  
What I Think: I visited a classroom last week for a writer's workshop lesson. We had Dr. Carla España, a consultant from The Ed Collab in to work with our middle school teachers. As she was presenting, she showed students some of her writing and how she slipped Spanish in sometimes. A student I was sitting with wrote a goal of using more Spanish in her own writing. When I asked her if she had ever thought of doing that before, she said not until this day because Carla had mentioned it. It gave me goosebumps. How powerful is that? I love Meg Medina's books because she does a great job of capturing the experience of being Latinx in her books. But beyond that, she does a great job of description and developing character through her description. The snatch of text I pulled shows how we can learn so much about a character from a short scene. 
     As a mentor text, I would think about asking students to look at the snatch of text below, or another snatch of text from Merci Suárez Changes Gears, and ask writers to look at what Meg has done to show us who the main character, Merci, is. We can tell a lot about Merci from this snatch of text. I would make sure students recognize that she uses dialogue to show how Merci interacts with others and how their words or actions show us about Merci. I would also think in general about how the scene goes and what that tells us about Merci. Finally, I would look at word choice and how the words Meg has chosen show us the mood of the moment and how that adds to what we know about Merci. 
Snatch of Text:
"I sit on the stool exactly the way the photographer says: Ankles crossed. Torso swiveled to the left and leaning forward. Hands in lap. Head tilted like a confused puppy. Who sits like this, ever? I look like a victim of taxidermy. 
    'Smile,' the photographer says, without an ounce of joy in her voice. 
    Just as I'm trying to decide whether to show teeth, a huge flash goes off and blinds me.
     'Wait. I wasn't read,' I say. 
    She ignores me and reviews her shots. It must be really bad for her to hold up the line this way. Do-overs mean time, and everyone in business knows that time is money. 
    'Let's try again,' she says, trying to adjust my glasses. 'Chin up this time.'
     Chin? Who is she kidding? I already know that's not the problem. My eyes is fluttering and I can feel the soft pull to the left. 
     'Look at the camera, honey,' the photographer says. 
    I blink hard and fix both my eyes on her lens, which always makes me look angry, but it's the best I can do. She shoots again and again in an explosion of shutter clicks. I must look as awkward as I feel, because I can hear the boys snickering." (p. 11-12)

Monday, September 10, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/10/2018

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 listening to The Sun Is Also a Star and loved it. I also finished Miles Morales and am halfway through Empowering English Learners for Classroom Success by Mawi Asgedom who is coming to visit our district later this year. I also picked up Heart Talk by Cleo Wade and am gobbling it up too. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I plan to finish Heart Talk this week and to start reading A Perilous Journey of Danger and Mayhem by Chris Healy. 

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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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, September 8, 2018

Santa Bruce Giveaway Thanks to Disney Hyperion!

Disney Book Group is partnering with me for a giveaway!


Title: Santa Bruce  
Author: Ryan T. Higgins 
Illustrator: Ryan T. Higgins 
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 
Publication Date: September 4th, 2018 
Genre/Format: Fiction/Picture Books 
GoodReads Summary: Bruce is a lot of things. He is a bear. He is a grump. He is a pretty decent cook. And he is a mother.
One thing Bruce is not?
Santa Claus.
But that doesn't stop the whole forest from lining up to give him their Christmas wishes when he becomes the victim of mistaken identity - again. 

What I Think: How can you not love Bruce? He's such a lovable grump. He's still grumpy but still a good sport about it in this new book, Santa Bruce. What I really love about the Bruce books is that Bruce is that even though Bruce might be mistaken for someone else, he's definitely still himself. We all know that he's grumpy and that's just how he is. Ryan has done a great job of establishing Bruce's character and it's a great opportunity to look at character development with student writers.
     As a writer, we have to develop our characters. One way to develop characters is to use dialogue to show who our characters are. In the snatch of text below, you'll see that Bruce's words reveal his grumpiness. His sentences are short and emphatic and that gives us information about Bruce. 
     This book has a holiday theme and many people around the world are familiar with Santa. It might be neat to find a few books with Santa in them and to look at what Santa's dialogue looks like in other books. Is it similar or different from Bruce's? And again, what does dialogue tell us about our character. Then of course, try using dialogue with your own characters and see how it's a device writers can use to show the reader who the character is. 
Snatch of Text:
"And then it happened...again.
'Are you Santa?!'
A case of mistaken identity.
Bruce did not like mistaken identities.
'No. I am not. Go away.'
'Ohmygosh! I met Santa! Wait right here while I go get my friends!'
'Wait! Grrrrrrr! I am NOT Santa!'"

And now for the giveaway!
I’m giving away a copy of #SantaBruceBook 
and this amazing prize pack thanks to my partner @DisneyHyperion!



Thanks to Disney Books
for sending me a copy of this book to review 
and for partnering with me for this giveaway.

Monday, September 3, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 09/03/2018

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've been listening to The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon and I love it so much! I also read Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke for some inspiration. I've been reading Miles Morales and Being the Change. 

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

Upcoming Book Adventures: 
I'm loving The Sun Is Also a Star and can't wait to listen to more of it. I'll be reading more of Miles Morales and Being the Change 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 check out other blogs to see what they're 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, September 2, 2018

Everything You Need for a Treehouse

Title: Everything You Need for a Treehouse 
Author: Carter Higgins 
Illustrator: Emily Hughes 
Publisher: Chronicle Books 
Publication Date: April 10th, 2018
Genre/Format:  
GoodReads Summary: Featuring beautiful images and a lyrical text with an exquisitely readable cadence, this book gives life and meaning to all the requisite elements of a treehouse, from time, timber, and rafters to ropes of twisted twine that invite visitors to sprawl out on a limb and slide back down again. For anyone who's ever wanted to escape real life and live in a nostalgic dream come true, this poignant picture book captures the universal timelessness of treehouses and celebrates all the creativity and adventure they spark.  
What I Think: This book offers such a sweet blend of excellent text and illustrations. I found myself sinking deeper and deeper into this book as I read. It's hard to explain but Carter does a great job with mood so that I was sucked into it almost like a lullaby. This makes Everything You Need for a Treehouse an excellent read for looking at mood and word choice and description. Being able to describe well, helps to set the mood of a piece of writing. 
     This summer, Heidi Schultz, the author of Hook's Revenge, wrote a blog post for Teachers Write where she shared an awesome way to look at how word choice can impact the mood of a piece. It was titled Setting as a Lens for Character but I really loved how this exercise shows that the words a writer picks impact what the reader understands. We know this of course, but this specific activity really shows how it's possible to take one description and spin it a different way simply by changing the words. I definitely recommend checking out her post and using it along side Everything You Need for a Treehouse as you look at word choice.
     Another way to use this book as a mentor text is to look at all the alliteration Carter packs in! Personally, I think this is part of why this book sucked me in, it flows and the words just slipped off my tongue as I read it out loud. I especially like that this is an opportunity to think about why a writer might employ alliteration. Sure, it can be fun or silly, but it also adds this element of how the words fit together or move along. 
     Of course, after reading this book, I hope you invite student writers to describe what they think they would need for a treehouse!
Snatch of Text: 
"Whether solo or squished
make sure your tree is tall - 
you'll want to see sun speckles up close."

Thank you to Chronicle
for sending me a copy of this book to review.

#classromobookaday and Vocabulary

This year I'm joining in on Classroom Book A Day fun with my 7th and 8th graders. You can read my first week with Classroom Book A...