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Sofia Carson Answers Our Would You Rather Questions
In the Disney TV movie Adventures in Babysitting, goody two-shoes Jenny (played by Sabrina Carpenter from Girl Meets World) and artsy rebel Lola (played by Sofia Carson from Descendants) accidentally swap phones. As a result of the swap, Lola ends up babysitting for one of Jenny’s clients and getting into BIG trouble. The night turns into a chaotic adventure as Jenny and Lola hunt for one of the kids who snuck away.
Eight is great! Hooray for the great year eight! We’ve put together a list of the eight best books to read when you’re eight. From silly to magical, these books are perfect for any eight-year-old. How many of these have you read?
The Year of Billy Miller Starting second grade is nerve-wracking enough. Now imagine starting it with a big lump from a concussion on your head! Billy Miller can’t seem to catch a break, and that’s just the beginning of the school year. There are lots of ups and downs to his year, and Billy Miller is really nervous — but sometimes the best support comes from where you least expect it.
Where the Sidewalk Ends These poems range from funny to wild to simply bizarre, and you won’t be able to put this book down! Have you ever wondered how long it takes to eat a whale? What happens when a crocodile goes to the dentist? If you ever wanted to know the answer to these questions — or just love silly stories — you HAVE to read this book. It’s the best!
Ramona Quimby, Age Eight Of COURSE this book is a must-read for every eight-year-old! For bouncy, loud Ramona, turning eight is yet another great adventure. But with things at home kind of rocky, and Ramona having her own problems with bullies and annoying little kids, year eight is proving to be anything but easy. With her upbeat attitude, though, Ramona is going to show age eight who’s boss!
Amelia Bedelia Housekeeper Amelia Bedelia means well, but takes every instruction she gets literally — like “dressing” the chicken in tiny clothes! What will happen when the Rogers family, who hire her to clean the house while they’re out for the day, returns to Amelia’s version of completed chores? You’ll have to read this super-silly book to find out!
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe If you’re into magical adventure, the Chronicles of Narnia is a journey you simply can’t miss. Four siblings find themselves mysteriously transported to the magical land of Narnia, where centaurs roam, animals talk, and a terrible spell by the sinister White Witch has left the land in winter for one hundred (!!!) years. But these special children have been brought to Narnia for a reason, and they’re about to discover why . . .
Nate the Great Nate, a young detective who loves (LOVES) pancakes, is on his biggest case yet: his friend Annie asks him to help her find a missing portrait of her dog, Fang. Sleuthing his way from clue to clue and suspect to suspect, Nate also solves several other mysteries along the way. Now how’s THAT for being a kid detective?
Matilda Matilda is a super-genius. Too bad her family is super-terrible, and can’t appreciate her special mind! Thankfully, Matilda finds an ally in her teacher at school, Miss Honey. But even together they are no match for Matilda’s selfish parents and the horrible headmistress Ms. Trunchbull . . . that is, until Matilda discovers her magic power that may just be her ticket to a happily ever after. This modern-day fairy tale is bound to be a book you can’t put down and will want to read over and over again!
The Magic Treehouse This AWESOME series is one that is perfect to start at age eight (and with 55 books in the series so far, it’ll be a while before you run out of books to read). Jack and Annie are two siblings who discover a magical treehouse that sends them across time and space to solve mysteries and collect clues. From the North Pole to Ancient Egypt, Jack and Annie meet all sorts of fascinating people and creatures and learn amazing things. Extra awesome: It was recently announced that The Magic Treehouse is going to be turned into a live-action movie!
Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every eight-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!
Today is the summer solstice and the official first day of the season for those of us in the northern hemisphere. This year, the full moon known as the strawberry moon or honeymoon lands on the longest day of the year. The events last shared the same date in 1948.
What is so special about this day, and this moon?
Today the sun passes across the sky at its highest point. Likewise the moon crosses the sky at its lowest point creating a seemingly larger moon than the usual full moon. Because the summer air is humid and thick, the June moon can look like it has a yellow hue or halo around its perimeter, and possibly the reason for the name honeymoon.
The name strawberry moon comes from the Algonquin tribe, because the June full moon signaled that it was time to harvest the ripe berries in the Great Lakes and Canadian region where they lived.
LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.
Today, we’re celebrating one of our most popular and bestselling titles: Sam and the Lucky Money. We love this book because it accomplishes so many things at once: it teaches about kindness, generosity, and gratitude; it lets readers experience Chinese New Year in New York’s Chinatown; and it teaches readers about special Chinese New Year traditions.
Jack Griffo (a.k.a. Max Thunderman) Would You Rather
I met 19-year-old Jack Griffo and we chatted about The Thundermans, superpowers, his best guy friend who plays Link, and his real-life girlfriend who plays Allison on the show. He was super-sweet and fun.
From the US presidential candidates to the current situation in Europe, immigration is a hot topic. In our last blog post, we looked at the battle that’s currently going on in the Library of Congress over the term “illegal alien.” Many activists argue that the term is outdated, yet the Library of Congress chose to let it stand. In this guest post, Children’s Book Press author René Colato Laínez talks about his own experiences coming to the US from El Salvador and the label “illegal alien.”
At the 2016 American Library Association Midwinter Meeting, librarians passed a resolution urging the Library of Congress to change the subject heading from “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants.” As the author of the new picture book, Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre, I totally agree. Undocumented Immigrants is a better subject to describe the people who arrived from other countries to live and work in the United States. They are undocumented because they don’t have the right papers to come to this country via an airport or through a border checkpoint entrance. They are also immigrants because they were born in another country. So the term Undocumented Immigrant fits the status of this group of people.
The term “Illegal Aliens” definitely is confusing to many, just like it was to me. Yes, I was an Undocumented Immigrant, and when I arrived in this country, I was called an “Illegal Alien.”
Since I was a small child in my native country of El Salvador, I was taught by my family and teachers that I needed to be a good boy. Especially during that time! There was a civil war in my country. Teachers and priests had been killed and many people would disappear from one day to the next. It was a scary time to grow up, and I always tried to be a good boy.
One afternoon, my fifth grade teacher said, “Soon, you will be teenagers and you have to know that ‘illegal acts’ only take people to jail or the cemetery. You need to do only ‘legal things’ in order to be safe.” Then he asked the class to make a list of “illegal acts” and to write a promise that we would be good citizens to have a better society. In my list I included among other things that using drugs, stealing, and not following the rules were illegal acts. Then I proudly promised never to do anything illegal.
As a result of the civil war in the 1980’s, many Salvadoran families left the country looking for a better life and opportunities. My family was not the exception. My mother left the country at the beginning of the war. In 1985 it was my turn to come the United States.
Soon after I arrived, some children in my new school called all the children who only spoke Spanish “illegals.” I did not understand why they were calling us “illegals.” I asked my father and he explained to me that they called us that because we did not have the right papers to come in an airplane or through the bridge in Tijuana.
I began to understand the term, but it did not make sense to me. In my country only people who had money were able to get papers to come to the United States. Poor people like my family did not have the privilege to get these documents. I did not understand why it was illegal to escape a civil war to look for a better life and opportunities in a country that was safe from war.
As I learned English, I remember our social studies teacher asked us to read the newspapers to write class reports. It was there when I first encountered the term “Illegal Aliens.” I kept reading the article and discovered that people who arrived to this country without the right papers were not only illegals, but were aliens too.
Every night, after I saw the movie E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, I remember looking at the stars wondering if there was life on another planet. It was the 1980’s and, like everyone, I loved that little alien who wanted to go home. When I saw the stars, I wondered if there were aliens like E.T. and how it would feel to be lost on another planet.
Imagine my surprise to learn that I was also an “alien” and that “aliens” were not only from outer space, but from other countries, too. The word “alien” could have more than one meaning—it was also a synonym for foreigner. But when I looked at both words, even though foreigner was a longer word and harder to pronounce in English, it sounded much better to me than alien. I touched my hands and looked at my face in the mirror. Yes, I spoke another language but I had a face, arms and body just like the other children at school. I did not look like a strange creature from out of space. But being an alien implied that I could not be like other “normal” persons, because I was so different from them.
Years later, thanks to the Amnesty Program in 1989, my family had the opportunity to obtain the right papers to live and work in the United States. When I got my pink resident card, I read the blue words at the top of the card: “RESIDENT ALIEN.” “Wow,” I said to myself, “I am now a resident, but I am still an alien!”
I became a teacher and I was assigned to a bilingual kindergarten/first grade classroom. All of my students spoke Spanish. Many of them were born in the United States and others were like me, from other countries. My goal as a teacher was to teach them to read and write, but also to teach them to be smart children who are proud to be bilingual. In the country where I grew up— and almost everywhere around the world!—speaking other languages and being bilingual is nothing to be ashamed of. Instead, it is a wonderful achievement.
My goal as a children’s books author is to produce strong multicultural children’s literature; stories where minority children are portrayed in a positive way, where they see themselves as heroes, and where they dream and hope for the future. I wanted to write authentic stories of Latin American children living in the United States.
These were the books that I had wanted to read when children called me “Illegal” at school.
In 2016, my newest picture book Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre will be published by Lee & Low Books. In the story, Sofía discovers a Big Secret. She finds a card that belongs to her mother. It has mamá’s picture and the word alien on top of the card. Sofía cannot believe it. Her mother is an alien.
Sofía feels just like me when I discovered that I was also an alien. I am excited that Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre will soon be in the hands of parents, teachers, librarians and children. In this book readers will find out in a humoristic way that we are all children of planet earth. There are no aliens among our families. We can be from different countries but are all human beings.
Come meet René Colato Laínez at ALA this year. He will be signing with LEE & LOW (Booth #1469), as well as participating in a REFORMA panel on bilingual books. You can see our full ALA schedule here.
About René Colato Laínez
Known as “the teacher full of stories,” René Colato Laínez is the Salvadoran author of more than a dozen picture books including ¡Vámonos! Let’s Go! (illustrated by Joe Cepeda, Holiday House), Señor Pancho Had a Rancho (illustrated by Elwood Smith, Holiday House), and The Tooth Fairy Meets El Raton Pérez, (illustrated by Tom Lintern, Random House). His new picture book, Mamá the Alien/ Mamá la extraterrestre (illustrated by Laura Lacamara) will be available this summer.
In 2015, René was awarded the Premios Actitud El Salvador Award. He has received many awards and honors including International Latino Book Award, The Américas Award Commended Title, International Reading Association Teacher’s Choice Award, and Tejas Star Book Award List.
René is a graduate of the Vermont College MFA program in Writing for Children & Young Adults and a faculty member of Sandra Cisneros Macondo Writers Group. He is a bilingual elementary teacher at Fernangeles Elementary School, one of Los Angeles Unified School District’s most innovative schools. He is also a columnist for LA BLOGA, the Latino literature blog and LOS BLOGUITOS the blog for children learning to speak Spanish. He has appeared on Univision and Telemundo, and is a regular participant at conferences and book festivals in the United States and Latin America.
The Tony Awards ceremony (officially known as Antoinette Perry Awards for Excellence in Theatre) was on Sunday. The awards recognize actors and singers in live Broadway shows, and Hamilton fan that I am, you KNOW I was watching! Which dress would YOU wear if you were nominated for a Tony?
Photos by Larry Busacca, Theo Wargo, and Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions
Over the past several months, a quiet battle has been raging among librarians and politicians over the term “illegal alien.” For many years, immigrant rights activists have argued against using the term, which has taken on a decidedly pejorative meaning. Activists and legal experts note that while actions can be “illegal,” human beings cannot – to refer to them as such criminalizes existence itself.
While several news outlets have pledged to cease using the term “illegal alien,” there’s one place where the term still stands: the Library of Congress. But while subject headings don’t usually claim a lot of media attention or political interest, the Library of Congress has become a battleground for those who want to replace the term, and for those who won’t give it up. Here’s a timeline of the issue (for more detail, check out this excellent Library Journal piece):
Dartmouth College student Melissa Padilla notices problematic search terms while researching a paper. Padilla and classmates bring the issue up with Dartmouth’s librarians, and discover that the search terms come from the Library of Congress and cannot be changed within Dartmouth’s libraries. Together, librarians and students work on a proposal asking the Library of Congress to replace the term “illegal alien” with “undocumented immigrant.” The proposal is submitted in summer 2014.
After consulting with staff members, the Library of Congress releases a public memo stating that it will not change the wording because the phrase “Undocumented immigrant” is not directly synonymous with “Illegal alien.” Word spreads to members of the American Library Association, who decide to work through the system to try to push the change through.
Various divisions and affiliates of the ALA, including the subject analysis committee, social responsibilities roundtable, and REFORMA, formulate a resolution asking the Library of Congress to reconsider the original request. The resolution passes at the ALA midwinter meeting in January 2016.
The Library of Congress announces that it will no longer use “illegal aliens” as a bibliographic term, saying that the once common phrase has become offensive. The library plans to use “noncitizens” in place of “aliens” and “unauthorized immigration” in place of “illegal immigration.”
After learning of the change, conservative Republicans on the House Appropriations Committee introduce a provision calling for the term’s reinstatement, which is tied to a bill for Library of Congress funding. They argue that the term is legally accurate and should not be changed for the sake of political correctness.
The House votes 237-170 to order the Library of Congress to continue using the term “illegal alien.” This is the first time in history that the House has interfered in the Library of Congress’ subject headings processes.
As a company that values diversity, this is an issue that we feel deeply invested in. Those of us who love books know well how powerful just one word can be. When that word is tied to our identity, it can not only define us but also define how others see us. It can make us feel safe, or endangered. It can make us feel proud, or ashamed. We believe that the term “illegal alien” is derogative and has no place in the Library of Congress. To see it politicized- and especially to see the power of decision taken away from expert librarians and placed in the hands of politicians- is disheartening and alarming.
In the meantime, the Library of Congress has posted a survey where the public can share their thoughts on the proposed changes. If you would like to see the terminology changed, you can fill out this survey through July 20.
Yeah for double-digits! If you’re new to the double-digit club, or even if you’ve been a member for a little while, be sure to check out this list of books that every ten-year-old has GOTTA read.
Walk Two Moons Salamanca’s mother has gone missing, so Sal and her grandparents set off on a road trip from Ohio to Idaho to look for her. During the trip, Salamanca tells a series of fanciful stories about her friend Phoebe whose mother, coincidentally, also went missing. But the real story is the one being written by Sal during this life-changing trip, as she learns more about herself . . . and what really happened with her mother.
The One and Only Ivan Ivan the gorilla has spent 27 years behind glass walls in a shopping mall. He doesn’t really remember his life before in the jungle, and is used to his everyday routines living in captivity. That all changes the day he meets Ruby a baby elephant, and his whole world is turned topsy-turvy! This Newbery Medal-winning book is a MUST-read. It’ll make you laugh; it’ll make you cry. Don’t miss out.
Wonder Ten-year-old August Pullman is starting fifth grade and he’s really nervous because he’s never been to a regular school before. Though he likes playing video games and Star Wars like other kids his age, August was born with a facial difference that makes him look unlike other kids. Auggie is about to have a life-changing year, but he’s not the only one who is going to be transformed–everyone he meets is about to learn what it means to be human, to fit in, and to be extraordinary.
Wings of Fire An ancient treasure has kept seven dragon tribes at war for years, but a prophecy involving five baby dragons — or dragonets — could bring an end to the endless fighting. So five dragonets are collected and raised in hiding, trained to fight and bring about the end of the war. However, they are held against their will, and when they escape, they unwittingly redefine their destinies . . . and the destiny of dragons everywhere.
Number the Stars For ten-year-old Annemarie, who lives in Nazi-occupied Copenhagen in the year 1943, things are getting steadily worse. She loses her older sister, Lise, in a car accident, and now her best friend Ellen is in danger. Ellen and her family are Jewish, and as the Nazis begin rounding up the Jewish people to send them to concentration camps, Annemarie and her family take in Ellen and pretend that she is Annemarie’s sister . . . but how long can they keep up the act before they are discovered?
Bud, Not Buddy In Flint, Michigan, ten-year-old orphan Bud Caldwell only has a few objects to remember his mother by as he gets sent from foster home to foster home. One of these objects is a flyer for the famous jazz musician Herman E. Calloway and his band, the Dusky Devastators of the Depression. Convinced that Herman must be his father, Bud runs away to find him — and ends up on one hilarious, heartwarming journey! (Check out our book trailer.)
Tuesdays at the Castle Eleven-year-old princess Celie lives in Castle Glower, a magical castle that sprouts a new secret passageway or room each day . . . and it decides who gets to be king. When Celie’s parents are declared dead and her older brother becomes king, Celie is suspicious. Are they really dead, or is there something more sinister afoot? With the aid of her siblings and the castle itself, Celie is about to find out!
Flora and Ulysses When ten-year-old Flora, lover of comics, rescues the squirrel Ulysses after an unfortunate run-in with a vacuum cleaner, the last thing she expects for the revived squirrel to do is develop superpowers. But that’s exactly what happens, and Ulysses (who can now fly and has super-strength, and can write poetry) is about to open up a world of possibilities for super-cynical Flora. This Newbery Medal-winning book is bound to open your eyes and warm your heart, too!
El Deafo Cece loses her hearing when she is just a toddler, and has to wear a very bulky, embarrassing hearing aid called The Phonic Ear. Cece’s worried The Phonic Ear is getting in the way of her making a real friend, but she soon discovers that The Phonic Ear is a lot more powerful than most people realize . . . and it may not just only be her “superpower,” but a way for her to find her inner superhero. Watch the video!
Warriors Do you ever wonder what your pet cat gets into when he’s running around outside? Wonder no longer! In this exciting and excellent series, cat Rusty finds four clans of wild cats living in the forest near his home. As he is taken in by the Thunder Clan to train as a warrior apprentice, he discovers the deception and deceit that threaten to overthrow clan order . . . but all of that pales in comparison to the greater threat lurking just beyond the forest.
Which books from this list have you read? Which books do you think every ten-year-old should read? Share your thoughts in the Comments below!
1. Which story does NOT feature a ladybug as a main character? A) James and The Giant Peach. B) A Bug’s Life. C) Pokémon. D) Harry Potter.
2. The fear of spiders is called: A) Arachnophobia. B) Acrophobia. C) Acarophobia. D) Agoraphobia.
3. Which insect builds a cocoon and transforms itself into a butterfly? A) Ant. B) Mite. C) Caterpillar. D) Ladybug.
4. Which bug harbors the bacterium in its stomach that causes Lyme Disease? A) Roaches. B) Deer ticks. C) Bees. D) Crickets.
5. Which insect’s lifespan depends mostly on temperature, humidity, and its ability to successfully obtain blood for food? A) Wasps. B) Maggots. C) Mosquitoes. D) June beetles.
6. Which insect lives among human hairs and feeds on extremely small amounts of blood drawn from the scalp? A) Lice. B) Termites. C) Worms. D) Pill bugs.
7. How many eyes do spiders usually have? A) Eight. B) Seven. C) Three. D) None.
8. Which insect has earned the nickname “pincher bug”? A) Earwigs. B) Yellow jackets. C) Fleas. D) Ants.
9. Which insects create societies most closely paralleling those created by humans? Hint, this insect has roles nicknamed: “workers,” “soldiers,” and “queens.” A) Silk worms. B) Centipedes. C) Ants. D) Flies.
10. A firefly is part of which family of insects? A) Beetles. B) Flies. C) Bees. D) Butterflies.
LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.
Illustrators: Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu
Synopsis: The true story of the famous African American writer, Zora Neale Hurston, who as a young girl learned about hope and strength from her mother.
Awards and honors:
Reading Rainbow Selection, PBS Kids
Choices, Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC)
Pick of the List, American Bookseller’s Association
Notable Social Studies Trade Books for Young People, NCSS/CBC
The story behind the story:
Since 1994, William Miller has published nine picture books with Lee & Low, in addition to several titles with other publishing houses. He made his picture book debut with Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree, which was a “Reading Rainbow” selection, and which Booklist praised as being “lyrically told.”
“I started out as a poet who wrote poems about famous African American writers, such as Zora Neale Hurston and Frederick Douglass. My high school English teacher, who is also a children’s book author, encouraged me to write a picture book based on my poems. I expanded a poem on Hurston’s life and simplified the language for children. I sent the manuscript out when I felt I had written the best possible, most poetic story I could tell.
I’ve taught African American literature for many years at York College in Pennsylvania. Personally, I am drawn to the themes of struggle, renewal, and celebration in the literature I teach. No matter how many times I teach the works of Zora Neale Hurston and Richard Wright, I find something new, something that inspires me to live my life on a higher level.”
Pretend you are Zora’s friend. Write her a letter encouraging her to remember her dreams and to find a way to keep her promise to her mother.
After students have read the story, arrange them into groups of four. Explain to them that the members of each group will take turns adding leaves to a “Tree of Dreams.” Provide each group with a large sheet of butcher paper on which you have drawn the outline of a tree. Tell students that they will take turns drawing leaves on the branches of the tree. Inside each leaf, they will each write a dream. The students may take turns until they have run out of ideas or class time. Use the trees as a “Forest of Dreams” to facilitate a discussion of dreams and aspirations. Be sure to display the “Forest of Dreams” in the classroom.
Have you used Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree? Let us know!
There are a lot of things we can’t get enough of: books (of course), chocolate, puppies, and…the Hamilton soundtrack! In case you aren’t familiar with the amazing-ness that is Hamilton, it is a Broadway musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton (one of the Founding Fathers of the United States, and the face on the $10.00 bill). If you haven’t heard the soundtrack yet, don’t delay—it’s pretty incredible. I’ve spent a long time listening to the soundtrack on repeat.
All the songs on the Hamilton soundtrack are too good to have just one favorite, but take this HAMILTON SOUNDTRACK PERSONALITY QUIZ to find out which song most matches your personality. Which song are you? The sweet and sentimental “Helpless”? The daring “Guns and Ships”? Find out below!
You would most like to live in this time period: a) the 1950s. b) the 1980s. c) Ancient Rome. d) the future. e) the present.
Your friends would best describe you as: a) silly. b) driven. c) daring. d) confident. e) sweet.
If you were an animal, you would most likely be: a) a sloth. b) a wolf. c) a cat. d) a parrot. e) an otter.
Your favorite is: a) Language Arts. b) Math. c) Science. d) Art. e) Music.
If your life were made into a movie, it would most likely be: a) a comedy. b) a soap opera. c) an action movie. d) a sci-fi adventure. e) a romance.
Your favorite pair of shoes are: a) cowboy boots. b) a well-loved pair of canvas sneakers. c) a pair of high-tech running shoes. d) flip flops. e) classic and a little dressy.
You just found out that your parents got you tickets to see Hamilton for your birthday. Your reaction is: a) That’s all? You wanted a unicorn! b) You make sure you’re allowed to do whatever you want with the tickets, and then sell them to some kid at school for $8,000. c) You make your best friends compete in a backyard talent show. The winner gets to go with you to see Hamilton! d) Scream and faint. When you revive, run into your Hamilton-themed room to blast your favorite Hamilton songs on repeat for the next 24 hours. e) Put on your own musical presentation to thank your parents for their unbelievable generosity, and tell them you finally forgive them for giving you a baby brother instead of the puppy you asked for.
Ready for the results? Read on.
If you got mostly A’s, you are “You’ll Be Back”!
You are sunny, upbeat, a little silly, and 10000% confident that everything is going to turn out just fine. People are drawn to your cheery attitude, but, like King George, you might be a little too eager to believe in happily ever after. You also have a tendency to make light of serious situations. And though you hate to admit it, you can be pretty set in your ways. If you remember to show a little more compassion every now and again, you really will succeed in inspiring everyone you see to be just as happy as you are!
If you got mostly B’s, you are “Wait for It”!
Like Aaron Burr, you don’t let a temporary setback keep you from trying your best. You are quiet and thoughtful. You like to set goals and will work hard to achieve them, and you are a very passionate person. That can mean that you take failure a lot harder, too, so don’t be so hard on yourself! You might not be in the spotlight right now, and you might feel a little jealous sometimes of those that are, but you have a great can-do attitude. You’ll be acknowledged for your talents in due time . . . if you don’t let your emotions get the best of you!
If you got mostly C’s, you are “Guns and Ships”!
You are a daring (and sometimes hardheaded) force to be reckoned with! You like to live life in the fast lane, and your energy is infectious. You are drawn to other people who also like to move at a near-reckless pace. There’s never a dull moment with you! You are a great team leader, but remember to slow down every now and again so you don’t get ahead of yourself. Remember to breathe and live in the present!
If you got mostly D’s, you are “My Shot”!
You are funky, confident, and bold. You have an effortless cool factor that people really admire. There’s just something about you: the way you walk, the way you talk . . . it’s all so natural. You’re a trendsetter without even trying. You understand the value of teamwork—and whether it’s a pool party or a group project at school, you’re a pro at making sure everyone feels welcome.
If you got mostly E’s, you are “Helpless”!
You are a starry-eyed romantic and you believe in the good in everyone. Even in the face of cruelty, you find the strength to be kind. Some may dismiss you as unrealistic, but don’t pay attention to them: people like you are so important. The world needs sweet people like you to remind us to be kind to one another!
Which song did you get? Did we miss your favorite song from the Hamilton soundtrack? Let us know your thoughts in the Comments below!
The Ross kids from Jessie are at Camp Kikiwaka in Maine for the summer. Are you going to camp this summer? Which Bunk’dcharacter best reflects YOUR summer style? Are you more like Tiffany, Zuri, or Emma?
We would like to present a reading list that kids and parents alike would enjoy for this summer. Kick back and relax with these books to explore what this season truly brings. Have fun in the sun while learning about animals from the ocean, salt marsh, zoo, and even your own backyard! Take a look at these books!:
The sea is a place of mystery, where animals big and small play hide and seek! Can you imagine a shark hiding in the light? What about a clownfish in plain sight? Don’t believe it? Then, sink into the deep blue sea with Jennifer Evans Kramer and Ocean Hide and Seek! Surround yourself with the vibrant ocean illustrations of Gary R. Phillips. The ocean is an old, old place, and the exotic animals in the depths have learned to adapt to their surroundings to survive. Can you find the creatures hidden on every page? Or will you, too, be fooled by an ancient, underwater disguise?
Seasons change in the ocean much as they do on land. Spring brings new plants and baby animals, while summer oceans are aglow with sparkly plankton lights, and autumn winds blow across the open water. In winter the humpback whales migrate to warmer waters, just as some land animals move to warmer climates. In fun, fanciful form, children learn about plants and animals that are joined through the mix of seasons, food webs and habitats beneath the waves. While set in the Pacific, similar changes occur in all the world’s ocean.
Imagine finding turtle eggs in your sandbox! When a mother diamondback terrapin lays eggs in a young girl’s sandbox, the girl becomes a “turtle-sitter” to help the babies safely hatch. She raises the teeny hatchlings until they become big enough to fend for themselves in the wild. Then, with the help of experts, she releases them. Along the way, she learns about these unique animals and that she has made an important contribution to their survival. The “For Creative Minds” section includes terrapin fun facts and a turtle habitat craft.
This is a companion book to Mary Alice Monroe’s novel,Swimming Lessons, the sequel to The Beach House. In the novel, the readers witness a young mother, Toy, writing a journal for her daughter, Little Lovie. This is the journal Toy is writing. Using original photographs, this scrapbook journal explains the nesting cycle of sea turtles and the natural life along the southeastern coast, including local shore birds, shells, and the sea turtle hospital. Adults and children will enjoy the images, information and the journal with or without the novel.
When Eli and his father visit an unusual zoo, they count the creatures in each exhibit. Eli sees one alligator, then one bison, and next two camels. Soon a number pattern emerges and Eli thinks he can predict how many animals will be in the next exhibit. Explore the zoo with Eli as he runs ahead to test his hypothesis.
This delightful adaptation of ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas’, shares zoo keeper and animal preparations for the upcoming “Zoo Day.” But things aren’t going according to plan . . . The llamas won’t quit spitting, the giraffes are drooling, and the zebras aren’t happy at all with their stripes. Meanwhile, the zoo keepers are scurrying this way and that, cleaning up poop, ringing mealtime bells, and trying to get the animals bathed. Will “Zoo Day” go off without a hitch?
Come along on an adding animal adventure at the zoo. Add baby animals to the adults to see how many there are all together. And while you are at it, learn what some of the zoo animals eat or what the baby animals are called. Follow the little lost red balloon as it soars through the zoo. At the end of the day, count up all the animals at the zoo.
Enjoy A Day in the Salt Marsh, one of the most dynamic habitats on earth. Fun-to-read, rhyming verse introduces readers to hourly changes in the marsh as the tide comes and goes. Watch the animals that have adapted to this ever-changing environment as they hunt for food or play in the sun. An activity on adaptations is included in the “For Creative Minds” section.
Let’s spy on plants, insects, birds, and mammals in 13 different habitats. Told in rhyming narrative, Habitat Spy invites children to search for and find plants, invertebrates, birds, and mammals and more that live in 13 different habitats: backyard, beach, bog, cave, desert, forest, meadow, mountain, ocean, plains, pond, river, and cypress swamp. Children will spend hours looking for and counting all the different plants and animals while learning about what living things need to survive.
Baby dogs are puppies and they belong to a litter, but what is a baby skunk and what is the name of its group? This clever, rhythmic story tells us just that! Counting from one to ten, familiar backyard animals are introduced by baby and family group name. Each stanza also tells a bit more about each animal by providing clues as to what they eat, how they sound or where they live. The “For Creative Minds” section includes more animal fun facts, information on keeping a nature journal and how to watch for wildlife in your own backyard.
When summer heats up, animals find ways to stay cool. In A Cool Summer Tail animals wonder how humans stay cool too. Do they dig under the dirt, grow special summer hair, or only come out at night? This companion to the popular A Warm Winter Tail features many of same animals but this time, with their summer adaptations, offering an important “compare and contrast” opportunity.
Follow this young fox as he explores the world around him during the first few months of his life. He’s about a month old when he first comes out of the den. Watch as he explores the world around him, learning how to hunt through play and by using his senses. See the changes as he grows from a young kit to a young fox. After all, by the next summer, he’ll have children of his own! Naturalist photographer and environmental educator Mary Holland has captured Ferdinand’s First Summer in a way that is sure to grab children’s hearts.
Catchy desert twists on traditional children’s songs and poems will have children chiming in about cactuses, camels, and more as they learn about the desert habitat and its flora and fauna. Tarkawara hops on the desert sand instead of a kookaburra sitting in an old gum tree. And teapots aren’t the only things that are short and stout—just look at the javelina’s hooves and snout. Travel the world’s deserts to dig with meerkats, fly with bats, and hiss with Gila monsters! Whether sung or read aloud, Deep in the Desert makes learning about deserts anything but dry.
All animals bathe to keep their bodies clean and healthy. Humans might use soap and water, but what do animals, especially those living in dry climates, do to keep clean? Darcy Pattison and Kathleen Rietz team up again to explore the desert to find out how snakes, spiders, and birds bathe. This surprising book teaches children about hygiene and how some exciting desert creatures manage to stay clean without the help of soap and water.
Cancer is a pressing issue around the world right now, and we need to do something to stop it. All cancers are a problem, but there are some that are more lethal than others. Brain Cancer is one of these cancers that are very harmful and lethal. Researchers and scientists are doing everything they can to find a cure, but even with over 60 years of time, we haven’t made enough progress.
A lot of people hear stories about young people being diagnosed with cancer, and they fight through it and survive, but that isn’t everyone. Most patients diagnosed with cancer end up succumbing to it. This is why we need to find a cure. Researchers and scientists can help exterminate this horrible disease by receiving increased funds that help them conduct more research, increase clinical trial studies, and upgrade their equipment to assist with developing a cure.
Citizens like you can help this cause by donating money to researchers, scientists, non-profit groups and proton therapy centers. You can also help by raising awareness about this disease around your community, and by supporting patients that have been diagnosed with this disease. I think that everyone needs to play a part in this fight against cancer. Even if it is something small, like having a bake sale where funds go to cancer research, everything counts.
Ask your parents and teachers to help you start your own campaign to help raise money and donate it to a research organization!
So, to keep the kids reading all summer long, LEE & LOW has put together a Diverse Summer 2016 Reading List for Grades PreK-8 and printables which you can freely download here or find listed below. Each list contains books that not only highlight different grade-appropriate interests, such as sports, music, sci-fi/fantasy, and the environment, but also explore diverse cultural backgrounds and traditions.
These lists are not only an excellent tool to help you include diverse books in your summer suggested reading lists, but a way to begin diversifying the books available to students in your classroom libraries. It is important to remember that diverse books are not only for diverse readers. Reading books featuring diverse characters and communities mirror experiences in their own lives, allowing children to see themselves reflected in the stories they love, but they also provide windows into other life experiences to understand and be more accepting of the world around them.
Finally, there are many great organizations compiling and creating Summer Reading Book Lists and offering free, exciting programs for the summer. Be sure to check out your local library as well as the following groups for additional summer reading tips, suggestions, and ideas:
Veronicahas a degree from Mount Saint Mary College and joined LEE & LOW in the fall of 2014. She has a background in education and holds a New York State childhood education (1-6) and students with disabilities (1-6) certification. When she’s not wandering around New York City, you can find her hiking with her dog Milo in her hometown in the Hudson Valley, NY.
Want to know your future? All you have to do is gather your friends and play a game of M.A.S.H. (In case you don’t know, M.A.S.H. stands for Mansion, Apartment, Shack, House.) You can play the online M.A.S.H. game here, but if you want to play without a computer . . .
STEP 1) Get a sheet of paper and write “M.A.S.H” at the top of the page in big letters. Then think of four categories. They can be anything you want, but most people choose: people to marry, future jobs, how wealthy they will be, and the number of kids they’ll have. Now pick four answers for each category. To make the game more interesting, have your friends pick the answers for you!
STEP 2) Draw a box at the bottom of the page with a dot in the middle. Close your eyes and have your friend draw a spiral in the box starting from the dot. After a few seconds say, “Stop!” Then open your eyes and count the spiral’s rings. That number is your lucky number.
STEP 3) Start at the “M” in M.A.S.H and count up to your lucky number. When you stop, cross out whatever you land on. (For instance, if your lucky number is three, start counting at “M” and when you land on “S” cross it out.) Keep counting up to your lucky number, going through each category before circling back to the beginning. When there is only one answer in each category, circle it. That is your future!
So what did you get? A mansion, with your crush, and four kids? Who knows? It may just come true (unless you ended up in a shack with someone you can’t stand)! Then, you can always play again! Good luck!
Are you obsessed with Minecraft? Can you spend hours creating your world and visiting your friends’ worlds? Do you eat, sleep, and breathe Minecraft? When you get tired of playing, do you switch over to watching videos of other people playing Minecraft? If so, this is for you. Read on to see if you DIG:
10 Problems Only Minecraft Fans Understand!
When a zombie kills your dog (or cat or bunny or horse).
Your game glitches and you accidentally die.
You build a fireplace in your house . . . and your house accidentally catches fire.
You can’t decide who is better: Stampy Cat or Dan TDM. It is TOO HARD to decide.
When your sister plays your game and changes/damages/erases your world. Not cool.
Lava. It’s bad news.
You are constantly searching online how to build cool stuff like ender portals, pirate ships, mob traps, real stuff like the Empire State Building or Titanic . . . the list goes on and on.
You can’t stop blowing stuff up with TNT.
You have nightmares about a chicken jockey (a baby zombie riding on a chicken) attacking you.
You have nightmares about not being able to play Minecraft.
Are you a Minecrafter? Let us know your problems only fellow Minecraft fans would understand – in the Comments below!
LEE & LOW BOOKS celebrates its 25th anniversary this year! To recognize how far the company has come, we are featuring one title a week to see how it is being used in classrooms today and hear from the authors and illustrators.
Synopsis: Shorty, a Japanese-American boy, learns to play baseball when he and his family are forced to live in an internment camp during World War II. Shorty quickly learns that he is playing not only to win, but to gain dignity and self-respect as well. Read The New York Timesreview and article.
Awards and honors:
50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know, Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC)
Not Just for Children Anymore Selections, Children’s Book Council (CBC)
Parents’ Choice Gold Award
“Pick of the List,” American Booksellers Association
Washington State Governor’s Writers Award
“Choices,” Cooperative Children’s Book Center (CCBC)
“Close the Book on Hate” Reading List, The Anti-Defamation League
“Editors’ Choice,”San Francisco Chronicle
Washington State Children’s Choice Award Finalist
Best Multicultural Title, “Cuffies Award,”Publishers Weekly
The story behind the story:
“During August 1991, I received my first phone call from Philip Lee, who tells me he has founded a children’s picture book company called Lee & Low Books in New York City. He was searching across the country for authors and illustrators to launch his first set of books, and got my name through his wife Karen Chinn, a former Seattleite and colleague of mine at the International Examiner newspaper. Up to that point, I had never authored anything in the field of children’s literature, but would I be interested in writing a children’s picture book? I remained open to the idea, and Philip sent me an article from an East Coast magazine about Japanese Americans forming baseball teams and playing the sport within the American incarceration camps for Japanese Americans during World War II. A non-fiction story about this subject? he suggested. I decided I wanted to make it historical fiction, and create a young hero who hits not only one home run during a clutch situation, but two!
With good reviews – particularly a write-up in The New York Times Book Review – and over a half million copies of this book later sold, my career began as a children’s book author and presenter.”
Explore a reading guide and learning activities for Baseball Saved Us from OurStory, a website created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History to encourage adults and children in grades K–4 to read historical fiction and biography together.
For ideas on how to teach World War II and the roles children can play in solving national problems, check out the NEH lesson series, On the Home Front, featuring Baseball Saved Us from EDSITEment, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) website for K–12 teachers, school librarians, and students.
Have students imagine they are Shorty in the story. Encourage them to write as Shorty a letter to a friend outside the internment camp or a diary entry describing how they feel about being in the camp and what life is like there.
This year’s Tony Awards will be broadcast on Sunday, June 12, 2016. We posted our first infographic and study on the Diversity Gap in the Tony Awards in 2013. In 2014, we did a brief follow-up post. In 2015-2016, there was such a pronounced uptick of diverse productions on Broadway that we felt it was worth updating our infographic and taking another look at diversity in the theater industry.
This year, Broadway megahit Hamilton—which almost exclusively stars actors of color—broke Tony records with a whopping 16 nominations. Add to that nominations for The Color Purple, Eclipsed, and Shuffle Along, and we’re in a year where conceivably all the main acting Tonys could go to people of color. But is this year’s diversity a sign of lasting change, or an anomaly? To find out, we touched base again with award-winning writer, actor, and director Christine Toy Johnson to get her take on the current state of diversity in theater. Welcome, Christine!
With the critical and commercial success of Hamilton, do you feel that this play will have a “rising tide lifts all boats” effect on theater and will result in more opportunities for diverse actors and actresses?
Of course that’s the great hope. The thought that has been repeated and repeated year after year—that audiences will not buy tickets to see a show in which the lead storytellers are not household names or who are people of color, or that audiences won’t buy tickets to see a show that is about people of a cultural background other than their own—is now irrelevant. Try to buy a ticket to Hamilton.
Still, I don’t think we’ve seen the end of our challenges, by a long shot. I think that we, as a nation, are at this profound crossroads of sorts. On one hand our society has become more inclusive than ever in our laws and policies. On the other hand, it has become more divisive than ever with fear based hate rhetoric making it clear that many view inclusion as a threat to the status quo, instead of an opportunity to expand and enrich the status quo. Even in the most subtle and subconscious ways, I think that this trickles down into every corner of our lives, including how we make art, how it’s perceived, and how it’s produced. I think we should celebrate this season with a cautious optimism, and use it as inspiration to keep working toward raising that tide and lifting those boats!
Here’s a link to a piece I wrote about Hamilton that expands on some of my thoughts on the show’s impact.
While years of vigilance and activism has been a contributing factor in more diverse casting, what has been your take on why so many productions in 2016 were diverse?
I think it’s been the perfect storm of programming and casting that happened to converge this season. From most reports, next season does not look nearly as diverse. So though I’d love to think this season is so diverse because the tide has changed for good, I think it’s diverse because the tide has turned for some creative teams and/or this is the year they’re getting their shot and we’re lucky enough to see the fruits of their labor right now.
Obviously, diverse decision makers are key to hiring and casting more diverse casts. Has there been an increase in diversity among directors, playwrights, and producers in theater? Are there new creators breaking into Broadway who we should be aware of?
It pains me that some people have assumed that the lack of diversity and inclusion on Broadway is due to the lack of directors, playwrights, and actors of color, or to the lack of female directors, playwrights, and actors. We exist! But the truth is, it has not been an even playing field. Of course this is multi-layered, as is every other issue we’re discussing here. Taking a chance on someone who hasn’t had an opportunity to have a big commercial success yet is of course full of great financial risk. But I think this becomes a vicious circle. How do you get the opportunity to have a commercial success if you aren’t allowed the opportunity in the first place?
I also think that on a deeper level we are running up against a problem of narrowed perceptions, which lead to what certain producers expect writers of color to be writing about. And if we don’t fit their expectation or profile for us then we’re just not part of their equation. And while there might be a half dozen (or more) shows per season that fail that are written by/directed by/starring all Caucasian teams, there is never an assumption that the reason they failed was because there was a Caucasian team behind it or a Caucasian story line. But if the numbers are poor for a show featuring a non-Caucasian cast/writer/director, many will be quick to make an assumption that these kinds of stories/writers/directors/actors just don’t sell tickets and aren’t worth the risk.
There are so many writers of color who deserve to break through in a bigger way than they already have: Timothy Huang, Adam Gwon, Nikkole Salter, Leah Nanako Winkler, Jason Ma, Lloyd Suh, to name just a few. As for Asian American producers, I know there are several who are doing great stuff on Broadway, especially Lily Fan and Jhett Tolentino.
Following Hollywood’s #Oscarssowhite controversy, do you know if there are any efforts underway to recruit more people of color to join the various organizations that are eligible to vote on Tony Award nominees? (Note: this year, according to our research, the Tony Awards Nominating Committee was 86% white and 70% male).
Tony voters are largely made up of the elected leaderships of various arms of the industry (i.e. Dramatist Guild, Actors’ Equity Association, SDC, etc., as well as many producers and presenters) and I do believe that there is an ongoing effort to diversify those memberships. But it goes beyond that, since we are talking about the Tony nominators and voters coming from within those ranks. In other words, yes, it’s great to increase the diversity of these memberships, but it’s not a simple solution to increasing the make up of Tony voters or Tony nominators.
More diverse casting and storylines will result in more diverse theater audiences. Seems to us this is an opportunity for the theater industry to grow. Do the powers that be really get it or is 2016 an anomaly when it comes to the spike in diverse productions?
We have been having this same discussion for more than a decade, citing the same philosophies and reasoning. I can only hope that the numbers this year help to reinforce the idea. Time will tell.
CHRISTINE TOY JOHNSON is an award-winning writer, actor, director, and advocate for inclusion. Member: Dramatists Guild Council, Actors’ Equity Association Council (and national chair of the union’s EEOC), Asian American Composers and Lyricists Project (founder), Executive Board of Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts, founding steering committee member of AAPAC. She is also an alumna of the BMI Workshop and a member of ASCAP, AEA, and SAG-AFTRA.
Ever read a book where the main character lives with mean relatives because something happened to his or her parents? That’s how Harry Potter’s life has been for all of his eleven years. He must endure life with his aunt’s family, the Dursleys, who make him sleep in the cupboard under the stairs. He only has extremely faint memories of his parents, whom he was told died in a car crash.
One day, he gets a letter addressed to his cupboard. Before he can read it, his uncle tears it up. But the letters keep coming, and Harry’s aunt and uncle become terrified. They run from the letters to a small hut on a small rocky island.
Harry realizes that his eleventh birthday is coming up tomorrow. He counts down the minutes and seconds as he tries to fall asleep.
At midnight exactly, Harry and the Dursleys receive a surprise — a surprise that whisks Harry away to a world of magic. He learns about his parents and so much more.
But there’s a villain on the loose — the man who murdered Harry’s parents. The clock is ticking, and few know his plans.
My mom had trouble getting into the first book, and it took her a few tries. She’s very glad she stuck with it. If you don’t like it at first, just push through the first few chapters. The first time I read this book, I was in first grade. I have read it many times since, and have read all of the books in the series at least once. The last four are a little darker, but I was fine with them.
The book Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling is amazingly well written, and expresses old concepts in new ways. It brings together bravery, friendship, and knowing whom to trust. This book would be great for anyone who wants to escape into another world.