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Results 26 - 50 of 134,480
26. The Library in My Daughter's Room

On Sunday the Easter Bunny brought my daughter a book (among other things). When asked how the Easter Bunny could have known that she liked books, she said: "He would just have to look in my room. There's about a million books in there." When her father responded that, yes, she practically had a mini library in their, she got a little gleam in her eye. Without missing a beat she told us: "When I am 10 or 8 I'm going to have a real library in my room."

Over dinner, we fleshed out the whole plan. The requirement to wait until she is 10 or 8 quickly fell by the wayside. Here are some highlights:

  • Kids will be able to borrow books Anyone checking out books now will be able to check out four books (because she is four), but by the time she is 25 they will be able to check out 25 books.
  • She will hold separate storytimes for boys and for girls (though she plans to read them the same books). 
  • We discussed sending out invitations to all of her friends to visit the library, and even made a list of which friends would receive invites. (Though we did not actually get to the point of making the invitations.)

When she proposed that we move to the middle of the country, so that it would be easier for her cousins to also visit the library, we decided that things had gotten out of hand, and we moved onto something else. But not before she declared her new "what I'm going to be when I grow up" plan. She's going to be a doctor and a librarian. When she's not busy taking care of patients, she can read books to people. 

I thought that those of you who've been following this blog might appreciate this little window into the evolving life of a Baby Bookworm. If you give a kid "about a million" books, and make time to read them, you might end up having to let her open a library one day. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon Affiliate. 

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27. S is for Sunset Vegetarian Cookbook

The real title of today's keeper selection is: Sunset Menus & Recipes for Vegetarian Cooking; Entertaining Specialties, International Favorites. But to keep life simple, I just call  it the "Sunset Vegetarian Book."

It's the only cookbook I own, and I've had it for years and years. I don't think there's a recipe  in it that I haven't changed, altered, substituted, rewritten . . . whatever works, right? After all, you can't really go wrong with vegetables! 

But the real reason I've kept the book so long is for a recipe that isn't even part of the book. Instead, it's one I've handwritten onto the inside front cover, and its a recipe I do follow (pretty much) to the letter. And that is for:


This is a recipe I got from my late father-in-law, a larger-than-life character straight from the pages of any runaway bestseller of a novel. Heck, they could make an entire mini-series from his life: hunting tigers in India for his 21st birthday (yes, yes--it was a different world back then); fighting with distinction in the second World War and being highly honored for his service; continuing to serve in Libya and Malaysia (where he took my husband and his siblings into the Malaysian jungle to meet with headhunters) . . . 

Eventually he moved to New Zealand where he became a strict vegetarian, one of the reasons he could go on yearly European skiing vacations well into his eighties. (He was also very kind to cats of all shapes and sizes.)

One of his daily rituals was to eat a bowl of his own homemade muesli every morning. He gave me the recipe when he was staying with my husband and me in California one year, and I wasn't able to find ANY kind of muesli for him to eat. I could find Fruit Loops, Coco Pops, cornflakes--but noooo muesli. 

After searching every store in my area, I realized I was going to need help and just make some myself, hence the need for a recipe. The Colonel scribbled one down for me, and guess what? It was so good, I've continued making it to this day:

The Colonel’s Muesli

4 cups of oatmeal
3 cups of bran
3 cups of wheatgerm
1½ cups coconut
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup sesame seed
1 cup stoneground wheat flour
2/3 cup honey
1/3 cup vegetable oil

Melt the oil and honey together in a saucepan over low heat. 
Mix the remaining ingredients in a deep oven-proof casserole dish. 
Add the honey and oil. Stir well.
Bake at 350 degrees for half an hour, checking occasionally, 
stirring to rotate the ingredients.  
When cool, place into a large lidded container.
 Lastly, add 1-2 bags of your favorite trail mix. (You have to open the lid for this.)

Note: be careful not to overcook. This isn't granola
so you don't want it too dark or crunchy.
"Lightly-toasted" is what you're going for.

And there you are! Now just keep an eye out for those tigers . . . 

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28. My Thoughts: The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

5 warm chocolate chip cookies dunked in cold milk.

Cover Love:  It's fine.  Not my favorite, but it is gender neutral so boys wouldn't probably mind being seen with this one.

Why I Wanted to Read This:
I have already written about my feelings about cancer books, so I wasn't going to read this.  But then two things happened.  First of all, I went to Divergent and developed a little crush on Ansel Elgort, who plays Augustus Waters in the movie version of this book.  Secondly, I convinced a girl who had read the book to tell me how it ends.  Those two things convinced me I could read this book.  In case you don't already know what this one is about, here's the synopsis from GoodReads:
Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.
Romance?: Yes, pretty much what this book is about.

My Thoughts:
This is the first John Green book I have ever read.  I know, I know, how could that happen being that I am a librarian for teens?  But, I have always thought his books were a little old for a middle school library.  I do have this one in my library, though, mostly because I knew it was being made into a movie. And its been very popular, constantly checked out.  Kids are loving this book!

My partner librarian and I were discussing the appropriateness of this book in a middle school library. I know many people will be upset by the language and the sex stuff, but really, its not gratuitous and it is well within context.  It's not put in there just to be there.  And truly, if you had a child dying of cancer, wouldn't you want them to experience that?  And wouldn't you be a little ok if they swore every now and again?

I loved the characters--even the minor ones are written so well.  There were a few scenes that gut punched me, like when Hazel says the worst thing than dying of cancer is having a child who dies of cancer.  But, it doesn't focus on the parents and I do think that both sets of parents we get to know are more typical of parents whose kids are very sick.  They have accepted what is happening the best they can, they fight for their kids health and they try to make their child's life be as happy as they can for what time they have left.

Augustus and Hazel were wonderful, and there is nothing better than this quote from Hazel, "I fell in love the way you fall asleep: slowly and then all at once."  Swoon!

You will cry and you will feel very sad.  Like I said before I had a girl tell me who dies in the end because I didn't want to be blindsided, I wanted to be prepared for the eventuality.  It really helped.  Another thing I was able to do was really focus on Hazel and Augustus.  I didn't look at the book from a parent's point of view, I looked at is as a young girl falling in love.  So, the crying was at a minimum.  I do expect I will bawl at the movie though!

To Sum Up:  Reading a book about teenagers with cancer is no small thing.  You will cry and you will fall a bit in love.  Enjoy the ride as much as you can!

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29. When Christ And His Saints Slept (1994)

When Christ and His Saints Slept by Sharon Kay Penman. 1994. Random House. 746 pages. [Source: Bought]

I've been meaning to read more of Sharon Kay Penman's work for years now. When Christ and His Saints Slept is set in the twelfth century. It begins with the tragic sailing of The White Ship and ends with Henry II ready to be crowned king of England. For readers who like numbers, that would be 1120-1154. It covers the later part of Henry I's reign: his grief and desperation over the loss of his son and heir, his wanting his daughter, Maude, to be his successor; it covers the war--which lasted over ten years--between Stephen and Maude for the crown of England. Readers also get a chance to see Maude's son, Henry, grow up to become "Henry II."

It is a novel with many strengths. One of its greatest strengths, perhaps, is in the wide range of characters or narrators. Stephen and Matilda, on one side, Maude and Geoffrey, on the other. Readers meet the men (and women) who supported Maude, including many of Henry I's illegitimate sons. Readers meet the men (and women) who supported Stephen's claim to the throne. If there is a point to When Christ and His Saints Slept, it is this: war is ugly and cruel and pointless. Readers see Stephen and his supporters--his army--do horribly cruel things in the name of war. Readers see Maude's army do some equally horrid things. One side is not holier than the other. While neither army was as cruel as they possibly could be all the time, without ceasing, year after year, the truth was that England suffered greatly during this tug of war. The truth was very few cared WHO ruled England, so long as England was ruled peaceably and practically. The burning. The stealing and looting. The raping. The killing. The holding of hostages. England was in a BIG BIG mess if this was the best either side could manage.

If the novel has one hero, one "main" character, it would be Ranulf. Ranulf is a fictional illegitimate son of Henry I. It is not a stretch to fit him in historically since Henry I recognized over twenty such sons! Ranulf along with Robert and Gilbert and Miles and Brien, and countless others supported Maude and her claim to the throne. While the novel does focus on the battles, the war, the political mess--it also gives a personal side to the time period. Readers see Ranulf grow up a bit, fall in love, make mistakes, find true love, and settle down to marry and raise his own family.

If the novel is allowed to have more than one hero, well, an obvious choice to me is Henry II. The book covers his teenage years: 14 to 19. The last third of the novel truly focuses on Henry, on his relationship with his parents, with his relationship with Eleanor of Aquitaine. Those last few chapters are far from clean.

I loved how many characters we get to meet and know. I loved that we get to know men AND women from the time period, most of them historical figures, though not all. I loved that readers get introduced to real history. Penman's pacing was wonderful, I felt!

For readers who ENJOY history, When Christ and His Saints Slept is easy to recommend. She gives you enough context so that you're not lost (or at least not lost past all hope!) but it never weighed the text down in my opinion. I admit that "being lost" in a history book is all a subjective matter based on what one does or doesn't know heading into a book, but, I thought she did a good balancing job.

And so began for the wretched people of England, a time of suffering so great that they came to fear "Christ and his saints slept." (171)
If ever there was a woman unable to learn from her mistakes, it was this one for certes. No more than Stephen could. If the Lord God plucked him out of his Bristol prison on the morrow and restored him to power at Westminster, nothing would change. He'd still go on forgiving men he ought to hang, promising more than he could deliver, failing to keep the King's Peace. Maude and Stephen, a match made in Hell. What was it Geoffrey de Mandeville had once said--a lifetime ago? Ah, yes, that Maude would listen to no one and Stephen to anyone. Had there ever, he wondered, been a war like this? Was there a single soul--not related to them by blood or marriage--who truly wanted to see either one of them on England's throne? (281)
"I am truly glad to have you safe, Robert. But tonight I feel as if... as if we'd struggled and panted and clawed our way up a mountain, only to stumble just as we neared the summit and fall all the way down, landing in a bloodied, bruised heap at the bottom. What in God's Name do we do now?"
"I suppose," he said, "we start climbing again."
"How many of our men will have the heart for it?" Rising, she began to pace, "To come so close and then to have it all snatched away like this...it is so unfair, Robert, so damnably unfair!"
"Life is unfair," he said, sounding so stoical, so rational, and so dispassionate that she was suddenly angry, a scalding, seething, impotent rage that spared no one--not herself, not Robert, not God.
"You think I don't know that? When has life ever been fair to women? Just think upon how easy it was for Stephen to steal my crown, and how bitter and bloody has been my struggle to win it back. Even after we'd caged Stephen at Bristol Castle, he was still a rival, still a threat...and why? Because he was so much braver or more clever or capable than me? No...because I was a woman, for it always came back to that. I'll not deny that I made mistakes, but you do not know what it is like, Robert, to be judged so unfairly, to be rejected not for what you've done but for what you are. It is a poison that seeps into the soul, that makes you half crazed with the need to prove yourself..."
She stopped to catch her breath, and only then did she see the look on Robert's face, one of disbelief and then utter and overwhelming fury, burning as hot as her own anger, hotter even, for being so long suppressed.
"I do not know what it is like?" he said incredulously. "I was our father's firstborn son, but was I his heir? No, I was just his bastard. He trusted me and relied upon me and needed me. But none of that mattered, not even after the White Ship sank and he lost his only lawfully begotten son. He was so desperate to have an heir of his body that he dragged you back--unwilling--from Germany, forced you into a marriage that he knew was doomed, and then risked rebellion by ramming you down the throats of his barons. And all the while, he had a son capable of ruling after him--he had me! But I was the son born of his sin, so I was not worthy to be king. As if I could have blundered any worse than you or Stephen!"Maude was stunned. She stared at him, too stricken for words, not knowing what to say even if she'd been capable of speech. Robert seemed equally shattered by his outburst: his face was suddenly ashen. He started to speak, then turned abruptly and walked out. (343-44).
© 2014 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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30. UnWholly by Neal Shusterman {Review}

Reviewed by Elisa Age Range: 12 and up Grade Level: 7 and up Series: Unwind Dystology (Book 2) Hardcover: 416 pages Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (August 28, 2012) Mark on Goodreads Buy on Amazon Thanks to Connor, Lev, and Risa—and their high-profile revolt at Happy Jack Harvest Camp—people can no longer turn a blind eye to unwinding. Ridding society of

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31. Enter to win an audiobook copy of STAINED today only (9 hours left)

Enter to win a downloadable audiobook copy of STAINED (by me) today only (9 hours left!) on the lovely Jennifer Fischetto’s blog.

You may want to check in every day for the rest of the month to win other YA books as well.

0 Comments on Enter to win an audiobook copy of STAINED today only (9 hours left) as of 4/22/2014 5:15:00 PM
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32. Press Release Fun: The Paddle8 Victory Academy Auction of Children’s Book Art

I don’t always blog the auctions I see online, but sometimes the cause is good and the timing is right.  Recently the right good honorable LeUyen Pham emailed me about an auction of children’s book art that sounds, in a word, fan-freaking-tastic.  Said she:

Fellow illustrator and artist-who’s-work-i-totally-love CARSON ELLIS has put together an online auction of some incredible artists!  Please please please go online and make a bid for some of these pieces!  The artist list reads like a who’s-who in the world of children’s art, and some of this stuff you’ll never be able to find anywhere.  And it’s all for a great cause — Victory Academy, a school for autistic children in Oregon.
List of artist and link follows:


She ain’t wrong.  Trouble is, it all ends on Thursday so you’ve very little time to go.  Just to give you a taste, here are some of the beauties I’ve seen there:

Clementine Press Release Fun: The Paddle8 Victory Academy Auction of Childrens Book ArtWhy yes.  That is original Clementine art by Marla Frazee.  Why do you ask?

LittleHoot 500x313 Press Release Fun: The Paddle8 Victory Academy Auction of Childrens Book Art

Interestingly, my kiddo discovered Little Hoot before she discovered Little Pea.  So you can imagine how tempting owning the original art might be to me.

Smekday Press Release Fun: The Paddle8 Victory Academy Auction of Childrens Book Art

I don’t have to tell you that there’s a movie of The True Meaning of Smekday on the very near horizon.  But it wouldn’t hurt to own some original art from said book.  Just sayin’.

Plus there are a bunch of folks willing to do commissioned pet or people portraits.  So go!  Scoot!  Flee!  Get that stuff up and feel virtuous in the process.

share save 171 16 Press Release Fun: The Paddle8 Victory Academy Auction of Childrens Book Art

1 Comments on Press Release Fun: The Paddle8 Victory Academy Auction of Children’s Book Art, last added: 4/22/2014
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33. It's 'Appy Hour! Over 40 Educational Apps in Four Different Categories

This is the presentation I did for Texas Library Association's Tech Camp, 2014. The list of apps is found below. I originally presented this without the names as part of audience participation :) 1. Skitch 2. Join Me 3. Aurasma 4. Mindmeister 5. Touch Cast 6. Loopster 7. Video Star 8. Paper 53 9. Mindmapper 10. Videolicious 11. Dropvis (this costs .99 cents, but as I told the audience, that’s a Sonic drink during Happy Hour but lasts a whole lot longer  ) 12. Davinci Note 13. QR Reader 14. PicCollage 15. Muzy 16. I-Books 17. Kindle 18. Titlewave 19. Destiny Question 20. Gale Cengage for Schools 21. Symbaloo 22. Haikudeck 23. Voicethread 24. Mindomo 25. Popplet 26. Prezi 27. Animoto 28. Google Drive 29. Livebinders 30. Pinterest 31. Linkedin 32. Google Hangouts 33. Twitter 34. Scoop It 35. Google + 36. Yelp 37. Facebook 38. Tumblr 39. All Recipes 40. Fast Food 41. Weather Channel 42. Runkeeper 43. Uber 44. Airbnb 45. Flixster 46. Calorie King

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34. Don’t Let Me Be Lonely

What a beautiful and curious book Don’t Let Me Be Lonely by Claudia Rankine turned out to be. Rankine is a poet who had three collections under her belt when she published this book that is and is not poetry in 2004. I say it is poetry because it is beautifully lyrical and written in short pieces that could be poems except they are prose paragraphs, essays of a sort. Only each essay doesn’t even fill a page, is sometimes only a paragraph long. But each piece connects together sort of like a collage, accumulating and building up to a whole picture. Many of the poem-essays can stand alone and are gorgeous little gems:

Forgiveness, I finally decide, is not the death of amnesia, nor is it a form of madness, as Derrida claims. For the one who forgives, it is simply a death, a dying down in the heart, the position of the already dead. It is in the end the living through, the understanding that this has happened, is happening, happens. Period. It is a feeling of nothingness that cannot be communicated to another, an absence, a bottomless vacancy held by the living, beyond all that is hated or loved.

The book moves around many themes, death, grief, unhappiness, forgiveness, sadness, life, and most of all, loneliness:

Define loneliness?


It’s what we can’t do for each other.

What do we mean to each other?

What does life mean?

Why are we here if not for each other?

Even though the poem-essays are questioning, sometimes melancholic, sometimes baffled, and sometimes tragic, the book is not depressing. There is a softness, a gentleness to it that is present throughout no matter if it is about personal tragedy or the World Trade Center. And the book itself ends with a number of poem-essays on hope:

Such distress moved in with muscle and bone. Its entrance by necessity slowly translated my already grief into a tremendously exhausted hope. The translation occurred unconsciously, perhaps occurred simply because I am alive. The translation occurs as a form of life. Then life, which seems so full of waiting, awakes suddenly into a life of hope.

Loneliness never goes away, it is something that is and always will be with us, a part of the human condition. But with hope, with reaching out a hand to someone else, for just a little while we can forget our loneliness:

Or one meaning of here is ‘In this world, in this life, on earth. In this place or position, indicating the presence of,’ or in other words, I am here. It also means to hand something to somebody — Here you are. Here, he said to her. Here both recognizes and demands recognition. I see you, or here, he said to her. In order for something to be handed over a hand must extend and a hand must receive. We must both be here in this world in this life in this place indicating the presence of.

The whole book builds toward being “here” and recognizing the presence of someone else; recognizing another person’s existence, and what that existence entails — messy, sad, lonely, grief and hope filled life.

It is a beautiful and affirming book. The language is gorgeous. The poem-essays are often accompanied by small drawings or photos that provide additional impact. I read the book in less than a day. I had stopped about three-quarters of the way through thinking I should save the book and finish the next day. But when casting around for something else to read, nothing appealed except Don’t Let Me Be Lonely. So I finished it. I am glad I did because I think it is meant to be read in one day while all the connections and layerings are mingling around in the brain, fresh and pliable. I enjoyed the book so much I will gladly give one of Rankine’s poetry collections a go sometime.

Filed under: Books, Essays, Poetry, Reviews

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35. Attention Shoppers: Poetry Month Continues!

Poem Depot

Aisles of Smiles

Poems and drawings by Douglas Florian


Imagine a supermarket with aisles of poetry. Take a cart and wander up and down 11 aisles of puns, jokes, wit, belly laughs and just rhyming fun for the picture book set – and parents too! Couldn’t let April aka National Poetry Month, close out without a tip of the hat to Douglas Florian’s latest, called Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles.

Poetry, and the idea of it, can set kids running in the opposite direction! Maybe that’s because they haven’t been introduced to the poems that tickle their funny bones first and make them giggle. Time enough for the classic side, as their tastes mature. But for now, kids are masters at enjoying the ridiculous and silly. It’s a shame we adults lose that so quickly under the shoulder of adult responsibilities and the desire to be taken seriously! Serious comes quickly enough, so why not get in touch with your silly side again, and let your kids see someone that both YOU and THEY haven’t seen in a while! And this may just be the book to start you down that road this April. Read the poems aloud and laugh long and lyrically – together. Or maybe if it’s too much of a leap all at once, try a simple chuckle first.

Any actor will tell you it’s much harder to do comedy than it is to do the dramatic. It’s the timing, delivery and the language all intertwined. Mr. Florian has a gift in that regard for the “language of laughter.” And in Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles, his simple pen and ink drawings are the perfect complement to the poetry. He’s smart enough to let the words stand on their own with just the right touch of whimsy in the art to set the poetry off right!

His previous books like Laugh-eteria connect with kids and the funny things that happen in a child’s world. He is the winner of the Lee Bennett Hopkins and Claudia Lewis awards. And speaking of Lee Bennett Hopkins, here is a man that has done much to foster the love, laughter and language of poetry in the younger set. If you have a chance, please also take a peek at HIS books too. Lee Bennett Hopkins is “one of America’s most prolific anthologists of poetry for young people”, says Anthony L. Manna in the Children’s Literature Association Quarterly. Try Days to Celebrate, Give Me Wings, Hand in Hand, I Am the Book, and the devilishly delicious, Nasty Bugs. These are some great compilations to whet the appetite of children for the dense compact language of poetry.

But first, just try a sample from Mr. Florian’s Poem Depot: Aisles of Smiles:





                                         I’m scared of wild animals:

                                       Of lions, tigers, bears.

                                        I’m scared of climbing mountains,

                                       Or falling off of chairs.

                                       I’m mortified of monsters,

                                     Or each and every ghost.

                                     Next Thursday is a science test-

                                      And that scares me the most.



Can YOU relate? I can, and so will your young readers as they wander up and down the aisles of this depot filled with the sometimes silly, scary and searching world of childhood.

You’ll find ME in Aisle 6: Tons of Puns. Love’em and so will you!




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36. The Opposite of Loneliness + a Book Giveaway

I rarely read collections of short stories or essays, but I made an exception for The Opposite of Loneliness: Essays and Stories by Marina Keegan. It's a book written by a debut author. Unfortunately, it's her final title since she died tragically in 2012.

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37. Guest Post: Guadalupe Garcia McCall on Writing & Teaching Poetry

By Guadalupe Garcia McCall
for Cynthia Leitich Smith's Cynsations

I love poetry, but not like other people love poetry. No.

I mean, I love poetry.

But it's not that I just love it, I think I actually need it. Just as nourishment, and sunlight, and oxygen sustain me—Poetry sustains me. Just as religion, and family, and nature center me—Poetry centers me. Just as writing, and reading, and teaching fulfill me—Poetry fulfills me.

One of my favorite things to do in my classroom is to bring in the poetry.

I love to share great poetry, like "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes, "Patterns" by Amy Lowell, and many, many more greatly beloved gems from literature.

However, I also love to share my own poetry with my students. It makes the lesson more valid when I ask them to write, and they see that I am not asking anything of them that I don't ask of myself.

One of my favorite ways to sneak it in poetry is by tying it in with something that's part of my curriculum. It's actually the only way I get away with it these days...oh, how I long for a creative writing class where I can really cut loose and teach the art of writing, but that's a blog for another day!

I recently wrote a poem called, "With a Machete, My Father," from the point of view of the character of Nwoye in the novel, Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe (1958). It wasn't anything spectacular or mind blowing. It was quite a simple little poem, really, but with that one little poem, I taught point of view, poetic structure (including the "twist" at the end) and figurative language like imagery, symbolism, foreshadowing, personification, simile, etc.

As a follow up, I asked students to write a response poem to Nwoye from any other character's point of view in the novel. They really got into the assignment, it was like we were having a dialogue on paper—a poem from them in response to a poem from me in another character's point of view.

Complex and challenging, but fun and uniquely their own!

That's what poetry is for me, and that's what I want my students to discover—a unique, fun way to involve themselves and address poetry in a natural way, a way that speaks about their point of view as they explore literature, nature (including human nature), and life.

Here's a look at that little poem for those of who are interested:

"With a Machete, My Father"

Cut him down, severed the tie
That pulls a man away from himself.

So that he might be seen as
Strong, my father ended my brother’s life.

Ikemefuna’s voice called out.
For help he called, confused, bewildered.

Sunlight filtered through the leaves
of our forest, like an ancestral spirit, witnessing.

It glinted off his blade. Metal moved
quick as lightening, loud as thunder, wet as rain.

I did not see Ikemefuna in death, but I
Felt his shadow walking quietly behind my father.

When he entered his obi, my father
Did not speak, but sat down to drink palm wine.

I know why Okonkwo mourns.
It must be hard, to lose two sons in one day.

Guadalupe Garcia McCall, February 2014

Another one of my favorite ways to share, discuss, and explore poetry is to bring in excerpts from a small collection of nature poems I have entitled, "On Prairie Road."

I've been working on this collection for years. It's nowhere near finished, and I suspect I won't ever be finished with it because these poems come to me when I least expect them. They are little moments of truth that just hit me when I sit on my porch or meander around my property to stir and wake the poetic voice.

They are bits of life, mine and the world around me, and thus, I suspect, they will always be a work in progress.

I use these short little nature poems, these visceral snapshots, to teach theme.

I give my students a handout with three or four poems from the collection. I never know which ones I'll use because I always try to tie them in with the literature we are reading at the time.

When I first ask students to read them, it's a cold read, not really tied in to the book or story we're working with.

"Just read," I say. "Try to figure out what it means...what the poet was thinking...why she wrote it."

(I usually don't tell them I wrote the poems unless they ask if they are mine. Then I don't lie, I say, "Yes, it's part of something I'm working on," and we move on to the lesson).

After they do the cold read, I ask them to think about theme: What is the message behind the poems, what is the author trying to tell you about life? We discuss the first one together; we stir the mud using the well known SIFT strategy (Symbols, Imagery, Figurative Language, and Theme) to try to get to the bottom of it. When we all agree on a theme, we write it down beside the poem, quoting textual evidence, of course, to tie it to the novel/story we are reading.

Next, I ask a student to read the second poem to the class. This time, they talk to their elbow partner and try to SIFT through the poem together to find the theme. When everyone has a theme written down, we share and try to come to consensus as to the theme that best relates to the novel/story.

As a third stage of the lesson, the students read the last poem by themselves, SIFT through the poem, find a theme of their own and relate it to the novel/story.

As a follow up, students write their own nature poems to try to relate the theme of the novel/story we are reading to the class.

Once again, we have that dialogue on paper, that back and forth sharing of point of view and ideas between author, teacher, and students—only this time they see that they can find courage and wisdom in nature, and in their own observations of nature and the world around them, to make connections to the text.

This lesson always works because most nature poems are universal enough to fit any novel or story. I can usually find several to match whatever literary piece we are reading at the time.

Before I started writing my own, I used a number of nature poems I loved, anything from well known nature poets like Edna St. Vincent Millay to contemporary poets like Wendy Barker was food for my classroom.

In any event, here are the three poems I used with Things Fall Apart for those of you who might be interested:

"On the Grass"
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Two eager grackles walk on stilts.
Raven heads held high. Their golden
Eyes astute, foraging for generous
Seeds to feast upon.

Then, a grub worm, fat and slippery,
Clutched in a black bird’s claw, ripped apart,
Torn open, devoured by one who knows
Its creamy, yellow guts are more substantial.

"Along the Barbed Wire Fence"
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

An oak has matured. It’s golden heart
Pierced by the barbed wires of the
Barricade it has engulfed. Four lines of
Barbaric fencing, swallowed up, imprisoned

Within one hundred rings of bark. The
Anchoring posts push, pull, tug with
The passing seasons, but the oak is stoic,
Unmoved, it’s heavy trunk incorrigible.

"Across the Road"
by Guadalupe Garcia McCall

Cows migrate in unison, slowly, quietly,
Plowing against the forceful rains. Heads
Hung low, shoulders determined,
Eyes to the ground, as if in prayer.

They do not wait for the waters to rise,
The lip of the creek to curl up cynically,
Swallow them up, drag them downstream,
They walk steadily, calmly, don’t look back.

Using poetry, our own or anybody else's, to make connections within and across texts is a fun, easy way to expose students to poetry and its value—not only in literature but also in life.

Exposing students to poetry, its depth and beauty, its relationship to the world we inhabit and the way we live and learn, is one of the best things we can do for our students. It goes beyond educating them—hopefully, it leads them to a love of poetry and a true appreciation of it.

Who's to say? It might even someday sustain them.

Cynsational Notes

Guadalupe Garcia McCall is the author of Under the Mesquite (Lee & Low, 2011), a novel in verse. Under the Mesquite received the prestigious Pura Belpre Author Award, was a William C. Morris Finalist and received the Ellen Hopkins Promising Poet Award, the Tomas Rivera Children’s Book Award, and was included in Kirkus Reviews’ Best Teen Books of 2011 among many other honors and accolades.

Her second novel, Summer of the Mariposas (Tu, 2012), won a Westchester Young Adult Fiction Award, was an Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy Finalist, and was included in the 2013 Amelia Bloomer Project List, the Texas Lone Star Reading List, and the 2012 School Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year.

Her poems for adults have appeared in more than twenty literary journals across the country and abroad, and her poems for children are included in The Poetry Friday Anthology (2012), The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School (2013), and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Science (2014), all by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

Guadalupe was born in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, Mexico. She immigrated with her family to the United States when she was six years old and grew up in Eagle Pass, Texas (the setting of both her novels and most of her poems).

She is currently a high school English teacher in the San Antonio area and lives in Somerset with her husband, Jim, two (of three) sons, Steven and Jason, two dogs (Baxter and Blanca), and one cat (Luna).

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38. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: April 22

JRBPlogo-smallToday I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks. (I'm sending one day early right now because TypePad has been a bit unreliable of late, and I want to get it out while I can.)

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (picture book through young adult) and two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. I also have a post documenting my Baby Bookworm's plan to turn her bedroom into a library. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read four young adult and three adult titles. I skewed towards the older age range because most of this reading took place during a cross-country trip that I took (to attend my college reunion at Duke). A high point of the trip for me was a friend telling me that reading my blog had encouraged her to continue reading aloud to her kids. So nice to have the chance to make a difference (and to hear about it)! Anyway, I read:

  • Jennifer Brown: Hate List. Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed April 10, 2014, on Kindle (library copy).
  • Meg Rosoff: Picture Me Gone. Putnam Juvenile. Young Adult. Completed April 11, 2014, on Kindle (library copy). 
  • Ashley Elston: The Rules for Breaking. Disney-Hyperion. Young Adult. Completed April 13, 2014, digital ARC on Kindle. I must admit that I didn't enjoy this one as much as I did the first book: The Rules for Disappearing. But for fans of YA thrillers (including a teen in the witness protection program), this 2-book series is worth a look. 
  • Stephen Chbosky: The Perks of Being a Wallflower. MTV Books. Young Adult. Completed April 22, 2014, on MP3. I enjoyed this book, but my appreciation was diminished a bit by the fact that I had already seen the movie, and knew how it would end. Both book and movie are well done, though. 
  • Sue Grafton: S is for Silence (Kinsey Millhone series). Berkley. Adult Mystery. Completed April 13, on Kindle (library copy).
  • Harlan Coben: Missing You. Dutton. Adult Mystery. Completed April 18, on MP3.
  • Sue Grafton: T is for Trespass (Kinsey Millhone series). Berkley. Adult Mystery. Completed April 21, 2014, on Kindle (library copy).

I'm currently reading Dreams of Gods and Monsters, the conclusion to Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series on Kindle, and Pieces of Me by Amber Kizer in print. Baby Bookworm's policy these days is to immediately ask to be read aloud any new book that comes into the house, from board books through early readers. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year if you are interested to see more. 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

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39. Trailer Tuesday: A Bevy of Movie Trailers

Hello! It's Tuesday again which means I am posting some new trailers. You may have seen some of these already. Last week the If I Say trailer was big news. I haven't read the book yet but I saw the trailer and think it looks promising. I am also a fan of Chloe Moretz so I am staying optimistic about this one.

Next up is the latest trailer for Maleficent, starring Angelina Jolie.  I am still not really sure about this one except to say that Angelina Jolie looks pretty scary with those crazy cheekbones. I love a good fairy tale retelling though and am sure I will go see this.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 is finally coming out. I really liked the first one and have high hopes for the sequel. The dragons are so cute!

And last we have a scene from The Fault in Our Stars. This is one of my favorite scenes in the book and I really like this clip. It is still a bit weird though that these two play brother and sister and Divergent but are romantic interests in this. I'm sure I'll get over it when I watch the movie though.


That's all I have for you today. Are you guys excited about any of these movies? :)

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40. Dinosaur Roar!

Dinosaur ColorsTitle: Dinosaur Colors
Author & Illustrator: Paul Stickland
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4027-9237-3
Pages: 24
Price: $4.95

Buy it at Amazon

Dinosaurs and the color names are all shaded in their specific hues on two-page spreads. The final page is a group of dinosaurs in all colors for kids to identify.

Dinosaur Numbers
Title: Dinosaur Numbers
Author & Illustrator: Paul Stickland
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1028-2
Pages: 24
Price: $4.95

Buy it at Amazon

Count the dinosaurs, all the way up to ten. Simple rhyming verse accompanies the numbers, each on its own two-page spread.

Dinosaur Shapes
Title: Dinosaur Shapes
Author & Illustrator: Paul Stickland
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1027-5
Pages: 24
Price: $4.95

Buy it at Amazon

Dinosaurs accompany various shapes along with questions about each. Brightly colored shapes are accompanied by the same ones in the dinosaur bodies.

Dinosaur Opposites
Title: Dinosaur Opposites
Author & Illustrator: Paul Stickland
Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-1-4549-1029-9
Pages: 24
Price: $4.95

Buy it at Amazon

Dinosaurs depict the various words in this book of “opposites.”

Reviewer: Alice Berger

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41. Celebrating Earth Day: Developing an understanding of ecosystems & endangered species (ages 7-12)

I have always been fascinated by the interdependence of species within an ecosystem. As we celebrate Earth Day with our students, I want to highlight two books that help children understand the complex interdependence within ecosystems and our role in help ensure their sustainability. There are no easy answers, but we must help our children understand the factors at play.
When the Wolves Returned
Restoring Nature's Balance in Yellowstone
by Dorothy Hinshaw Patent
photographs by Dan Hartman and Cassie Hartman
Walker & Co., 2008
Your local library
ages 9-12
Dorothy Hinshaw Patent explains in clear text the changes that have come about in Yellowstone after the reintroduction of the gray wolf population. The Hartmans' photographs are bold and compelling, illustrating the environment and range of animals that live in this complex ecosystem. The design of this book makes it particularly successful for 4th through 6th graders interested in reading about more complex issues, but without lengthy text. The photographs always take center stage, but the text provides depth and understanding.
Can We Save the Tiger?
by Martin Jenkins
illustrated by Vicky White
Candlewick, 2011
Your local library
ages 7-11
Using straightforward but compelling language, Jenkins starts by introducing the concept of what makes animals extinct.
"Some of the other animals and plants that we share the Earth with have coped with the changes very well. But some haven't. In fact, some have coped so badly that they're not here any more. They're extinct. This means we'll never see a live dodo... or a Steller's sea cow, or a marsupial wolf, or a great auk..." (pp. 6-8) 
With clear writing, an almost conversational tone, and large print size, this book makes a great choice for 3rd through 5th graders reading nonfiction on their own. Jenkins next turns to species that are barely hanging on: tigers, Asian elephants, sloth bears and the partula snail. He helps children understand the pressure that humans put on large animals like the tiger, who need plenty of room and prey for hunting. Fierce tigers usually eat deer and other wild animals, but when human developments spread into tigers' territory, conflicts arise.

These environmental issues are complex and still hotly debated. Just last month, the New York Times ran a passionate, thoughtful piece in the op-ed section called "Is the Wolf a Real American Hero?" I would point interested students to a range of resources on the subject, so they can see the complexities and the biases involved. In particular, I found these interesting:
Text to Text: 
Is the Wolf a Real American Hero?
Hunting Habits of Wolves Change Ecological Balance in Yellowstone
New York Times: The Learning Network
Wolves at the Door
Audio & reporting by Nathan Rott
Photography by David Gilkey
National Public Radio
After Major Comeback, Is the Gray Wolf Still Endangered?
by Elizabeth Shogren
National Public Radio
Wolf Restoration
Yellowstone National Park
National Park Services
The review copies came from our school library. If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books. Thank you for your support.

©2014 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books

0 Comments on Celebrating Earth Day: Developing an understanding of ecosystems & endangered species (ages 7-12) as of 4/22/2014 9:33:00 AM
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42. From Bard to Bookshelf SignUp Sheet

It's 23rd April, so kind of a busy day. First, its' Saint George’s Day, so if any of you are English patriots, or otherwise interested, click here to read about him (Then hang around that site. It’s a great site with retellings of all the myths with a giant dose of humour. Well, not all of them, obviously. But lots of them).
Happy World Book Night! Have fun, everyone who's giving books out, either as an official person with the pretty covers, or as a Community Giver, giving books to people because why not?
Finally, more the reason for this post. 23 April is the accepted birthday (and death day) of William Shakespeare, and this year's even more special, as it should be Shakespeare's 450th birthday.
You may or may not know that I really like Shakespeare's plays. I love seeing them performed. i am attempting to have done one-person dramatic readings  of three quarters of his plays by the time I leave school. I’m working on it...
Anyway, sometimes I wonder. Why are his stories so popular that they’ve lasted centuries, being performed by countless players, and adapted by so many writers? I know that his plays were often based off other stories, but it’s his take on them  that we remember.
And it’s his take on them that gets adapted a lot. It’s often into films, but then there’ll be other plays. And comic books. And manga. And novels. And I want to do something to celebrate this.
I’m planning a blog event to happen in  August when we all celebrate Shakespeare, and Shakespeare’s influence on YA. I’m thinking posts from bloggers and authors, reviews of things, alternative interpretations, hopefully a few giveaways here,  anything goes.
If you’d like to take part, fill out the form below,  and do a post or video or somehow spread the word about this event, linking back here. Soon there’ll be a pretty button you can share, when I’m a little less busy. I’ll email you to talk about what you want to do, and sort out posting dates and things. Signups are open until mid-July.


 I leave you with one of my favourite lines from Macbeth.

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43. Wipeout of the Wireless Weenies launches today!

A Seventh Serving of Tasty Tales

Find out the secret behind the zombie apocalypse, discover the downside of going Goth, learn why there's a monster under the bed, and savor a revealing form of bio-engineered revenge. This is just a hint of the warped, creepy, and funny contents of the newest Weenies collection.

"With its mix of humor and chills, this collection is a sure bet for fans of R. L. Stine’s Goosebumps series and reluctant readers."


"More than 30 strange short stories will astound middle graders with tales that have endings from the mildly puzzling to the gruesome and bizarre."

School Library Journal.

"His stories are charming, witty, frightening and often, hilarious."

Little Miss Trainwreck

"A fine addition to the short story collection and a must-have for Weenies fans."

Brenda Kahn

"This seventh collection of tales from Lubar will delight elementary school students, so it is a must purchase for elementary libraries."

Ms. Yingling

"They're amazing stories by an amazing author."

Frisco Kids

Available at bookstores nationwide, and from all major ebook vendors.

Order it from
an independent book store,
or find your nearest store.

Buy it at

Buy it at

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44. The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, by Jen Swann Downey

The Ninja Librarians: The Accidental Keyhand, by Jen Swann Downey (Sourcebooks Jaberwocky, April 2014, middle grade) is a zesty romp of a read that I thoroughly enjoyed; really truly thoroughly enjoyed.  Stripped to its barest bones, the plot might seem an old chestnut, but here the old bones are made fresh and new.  To wit:

Old Bone 1:  There is a secret society of time travellers trying to set history "right" and a bad society working against them.

But these time travellers are librarians (aka Lybrarians)!  Who combine mad shelving skills with mad sword fighting skills!  And who live in Petrarch's library where it's all a lovely geek and combat fest for both the residents and the reader, a place where books and scrolls are combined with swords and axes, and beautiful peaceful outdoor places and architecture of many times,  and tasty snacks (which appear when magically "read" from books.  (Not everyone can read snacks into material things; some can, for instance, make extinct auroches materialize).

And the Lybrarians mission of setting things right is focused on the preservation of knowledge and valuable writings!  They head back in time on dangerous missions to save books!  

Viz the bad society--they remain on the periphery for most of the book, which was fine with me because there was enough internal tension without dragging Good vs Evil into it.  And after all, epic confrontations don't have to happen every day.

Old Bone 2: two kids from our time stumble into the secret society and find out they are special.  They make friends and enemies.  An alpha girl hates the girl main character.   The boy main character gets a crush on a pretty girl.

Well, yes, Dorrie and her older brother Marcus do fall into a Magical World, and they are kind of special.  They've opened a portal to our time, and are therefore the "keyhands" who can open it for others to travel through, and keyhands are a rather special type of librarian.

But no, Dorrie and Marcus aren't all that special, and the fact that they are keyhands actually irks many people rather a lot, and other people don't trust them, and they aren't particular ept at anything of particular value.  Dorrie, for instance, is a sword-fighter, but finds to her chagrin that the standards of 21st-century amature re-enactors are horribly low...

Despite their lack of obvious talents, Dorrie and Marcus get to make places for themselves at the library, grow up a bit, appreciate books more, and start acquiring useful fighting/stealth/ninja skills--which they have to put to the test at the end of the book when things get truly dicey.  (Dorrie gets lessons in sword fighting from Cyrano de Bergerac!)

Moving on to other lines of thought:

--The library, as seen in this book, is rather focused on European civilization (I hope gets broadened in subsequent books), but there are Lybrarians and apprentices from places besides Europe, including Dorrie's new best friend Ebba, whose parents are from Mali, and who almost (but not quite) gets enough page time to be a main character.

--Time travel qua time travel is the heart of the plot (people going back to deliberately change the past), but the lived experience of travelling into different times isn't important to this particular story (and it's time travel made easy with translation magic and wardrobe help).   That being said, the story does end with an emotional zing that's dependent on time travel....

Final thoughts:

The whole set up of the library is just FUN as all get out, and the story zips along just beautifully.   And though I kind of suspected a key plot twist, this in no way reduced my enjoyment.

Best of all in my mind (given the number of books that I have put aside in the past month) I was never once kicked out of the story because of the writing. Which means that either the plot was so fun I didn't notice infelicities, or the writing was very good, or, quite possibly, both.  I think this is my favorite middle grade fantasy of the year so far, and I look forward to more!

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45. Earth Day Booklist and Ginormous 10 Book Giveaway!

Send to Kindle

Wherever you are on this beautiful planet it’s time to celebrate the diversity and nature which lives here. There has been much talk of late as to global warming, nature deficit disorder, and many other topics which suggest that we are becoming completely disconnected from our life source “The Planet.” Not only are we celebrating Earth Day this week, we are giving one lucky winner the chance to win all 10 books with our Earth Day 10 Book Giveaway!  Here are my top picks for wonderful Earth Books for kids :

What Does it Mean to Be Green? This colorful, insightful story, demystifies for children what it means to be green by helping them to view everyday tasks through an environmentally-friendly lens. The book empowers children to do whatever they can to protect the earth’s precious resources.

Whole World

Connect with the whole wide, wonderful world with this green book that rejoices in the marvels of our environment. The catchy rhyme in this new take on a traditional spiritual begs to be sung aloud. Includes lots of facts about the Earth’s eco systems and tips on how to be eco-conscious.

Olivia’s Birds: Saving the Gulf {by Olivia Bouler}

Olivia's Birds

One 11 year-old girl can make a difference-as budding ornithologist and artist Olivia Bouler has proven, single-handedly raising over $175,000 for the Gulf Coast oil spill recovery. Devastated by the disaster and eager to do her part, Olivia wrote a letter to Audubon, “11 years old and willing to help” offering her own bird paintings to raise contributions for Gulf recovery efforts. The idea took flight, and Olivia proceeded to send out over 500 paintings, many of which are captured in this lavish picture book that recaps her valiant campaign to save birds affected by the spill. Olivia has been a guest at JIAB and I have also had the pleasure of meeting this delightful young lady in person.

The Magic School Bus and the Climate Change

Like it or not, global warming is a hot topic, and it will affect the younger generation the most. So why not turn to the teacher kids like the most, Ms. Frizzle! Only the Friz can boil all the hoopla down to the scientific facts in a fun and informative way.

The Magic School Bus and the Climate Challenge (Magic School Bus Series)

The World is Waiting for You {by Barbara Kerley}

“What do you want to be when you grow up?” is a question kids get asked over and over. But very few connections are made for kids between the present and the future. This book shows kids a pathway from their current interests and talents to a future career or interest. And in so doing, it also encourages adventure, exploration, and discovery, three core principles of National Geographic’s mission. It’s a celebration of possibility–so simple and so profound.

The World is Waiting

Care for Our World {by Karen S. Robbins}

Get ready to meet some truly wonderful wild animals from every continent on Earth. As children turn the pages of this book, theyll encounter dozens of playful creatures in their natural habitats and will learn about the importance of caring for all the plants, animals, and people that call planet Earth their home. A timely reminder of the responsibility every generation shares: to nurture and respect life in all its many forms

Care for our world


10 Things I can do to Help my World { by Melanie Walsh}

Even young children are eager to help the environment — and here is a bright, inviting novelty book that offers simple ways to make a difference.

earth day

Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature By Nicola Davies

This stunning book takes us through the 4 seasons and beacons us out into the natural world. From listening to the pond in Spring to seeing bird tracks in the snow, this exquisite column of nature poems captures the sights and sounds of a child’s experiences from building dens to planting acorns, watching the birds above and tasting a crisp apple. Children soon appreciate that whatever is outside their window they are free to venture and explore. Be sure and take a peek at a past book review JIAB did of this book and profile of author Nicola Davies.

Outside Your Window

I Love Dirt:52 Activities to Help You and Your Kids Discover the Wonders of Nature {by Jennifer Ward}

Protect our earth by learning to cherish it. I Love Dirt! presents 52 open-ended activities to help you engage your child in the outdoors. No matter what your location—from a small patch of green in the city to the wide-open meadows of the country—each activity is meant to promote exploration, stimulate imagination, and heighten a child’s sense of wonder.


COMMON GROUND:The Water, Earth, and Air We Share {by Molly Bang}

A simple story of our planet’s natural resources with jewel-like paintings by Caldecott Honor author Molly Bang. Through the example of a shared village green and the growing needs of the townspeople who share it, Molly Bang presents the challenge of handling our planet’s natural resources. Full color picture book.

earth day

Giveaway guidelines and Official Rules:

Giveaway runs from April 22 to April 29th, 2014

  • One winner will win one copy of all ten titles.
  • Residents of USA and Canada only please.
  • Must be 18 years or older to enter
  • One entry per household.
  • Staff and family members of Audrey Press are not eligible.
  • Grand Prize winner has 48 hours to claim prize
  • Winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter on April 29, 2014
  • How to enter: Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.
  • Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. The winners will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 12 hours after the giveaway ends. The winners will then have 48 hours to respond. If a winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is hosted and managed by Valarie from Jump Into A Book. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to the JIAB Project Manager Becky(at)AudreyPress(dot)com.




By entering the sweepstakes, you agree to JumpIntoABook/Audrey Press’ Official Giveaway and Promotion Rules (link).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Send to Kindle

The post Earth Day Booklist and Ginormous 10 Book Giveaway! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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46. Time is running out . . . Vote!

So, remember when you got that email from ALA that gave you the link so you could vote? Yeah, you’re right; that was a month ago. But you still have three days left to vote: voting closes on Friday, April 25. Now is the time to dig through your email, find that link, and go ahead and vote.vote

As of yesterday, 16.6% of ALA members had cast a ballot in this election. That’s a pretty low voter turnout. We don’t have numbers for YALSA members specifically, but in the past, voter turnout for YALSA has been around 20%. Still, that means fewer than 1000 people are making the decisions about things that might matter to you: who serves on YALSA’s Award committees (Printz, Edwards, and Nonfiction), and who serves on YALSA’s Board of Directors.

In March, this blog had a whole series of posts to give you information about the candidates. Every weekday, starting February 26 and running through March 19, there was at least one (and usually two) interviews each day with the candidates. You can find them easily by going to the drop-down menu labeled “Categories” on the side of this page and selecting “Election.”

For even more details, including complete biographical information on all of the candidates, check out the sample ballot.

YALSA is a member-driven organization. That means it’s up to YOU to vote for the people who will be representing you over the next few years.

Don’t let any more time go by. Vote.

Sarah Flowers, Chair, 2014 Governance Nominating Committee


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47. YA Movie News

Oh my goodness! It's been so long since I posted YA Movie News and there is so much exciting stuff to share!

-Jessica Brody's Unremembered Trilogy has been optioned for a film.

-The Fault In Our Stars isn't the only John Green book heading to the big screen. Paper Towns is getting the film treatment and John Green will be on board as a producer. 

-Summit has picked up Dork Diaries for the big screen

-As is the trend with popular franchises, Summit announced they will split Allegiant into two films. Sigh...I love YA novel film adaptations but I really wish they would stop with this making the movies last forever thing. Just because it worked for Harry Potter doesn't mean it will work for everything else.

-Ann Brashares' The Here and Now was picked up by the producers of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. 

-Blake Nelson's novel, Recovery Road, has a pilot order from ABC Family.

-Paramount is working on a film adaptation of Lisa McMann's Wake starring Miley Cyrus by attaching a writer to the project. This one has been in the works for a while so it will be interesting to see if it actually happens.

-Summit is just making themselves known as the YA novel adaptation company with the purchase of the film rights to John Corey Whaley's Noggin

And there are so many trailers!!!

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48. Book Review: Bugged! How Insects Changed History by Sarah Albee and Illustrated by Robert Leighton

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Throughout history, humans have been getting sick and grossed out by bugs, literally. In fact, bugs have destroyed entire empires. Do you have the insatiable curiosity that wants to find out how bugs make people sick? Do you want a look into what famous person may have died from a mosquito bite? Did you know that bugs might have taken down entire armies. If you want to find the relationship to bugs and diseases, you may just be the next budding epidemiologist.

Reader take warning: Sara Albee does not write for the squeamish. In fact, she warns the faint of heart to stay away from the "TMI" side boxes but who can resist a "Pox Box" that reveals, "More awful tropical afflictions?" With all of the creepy illness causing parasites and horrible diseases spread by mosquitos, the reader will never want to skip hand washing and mosquito repellent again.

The reader can't help but getting the the creepy, crawlies from reading about bugs but their intrigue will help them push past the stomach jitters to delve into the fascinating historical facts.

Rating: Recommended ★★★★☆

Publishing Information:
Publisher: Walker Books for Young Readers (April 2014)
ISBN: 978-0-8027-3422-8
Ages: 10-14

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49. UK university courses in Children’s Literature and Book Illustration

Seeing as you’re here reading my blog, you no doubt have an interest in children’s literature, and the art to be found in books for children but have you ever thought about taking that interest further, and studying at university, as an evening course, or at a summer school?

Thanks to a query from Catherine Butler, originally posted on the JISCMail’s Children’s Literature UK list, I’ve gathered together the UK university courses which include at least a module on children’s literature, or illustrating books for children and young people.

Even if you don’t want to take an academic course (though do read this article by former Children’s Laureate, Michael Rosen on “why it pays to study children’s literature“), many of the links below include reading lists and course outlines, and offer plenty more books to add to your TBR pile!

Children’s literature courses at UK Universities

smallbookThe University of Roehampton offers an MA/PGDip in Children’s Literature . This course can also be completed by distance learning and you can get a good flavour of it here. You can follow the Roehampton course on Twitter: @NCRCL

The University of Bolton runs an MA in Children’s Literature and Culture, led by David Rudd. This is a part-time course, and a course outline can be found here. The University of Bolton also has two modules on the undergraduate BA English programme: Children’s Literature: Exploding the Canon and Constructing the Child in Film and Media (which includes adaptation). A brief description of these two courses can be found here.

Reading also offers an MA in Children’s Literature (the oldest accredited children’s literature course in the UK). Staff include Karin Lesnik-Oberstein, Sue Walsh and Neil Cocks.

Birkbeck used to offer both an MA Children’s Literature and MA Children’s Literature and Writing. Staff included former Children’s Laureate Michael Rosen (@MichaelRosenYes) and author Julia Bell (@JuliaBell). I’ve included the link here as the course overview is still available (as of April 2014) and may be of interest.

An MA in English (Literatures of Childhood) is offered by Cantebury Christ Church University.

The University of Sunderland runs a Children’s Literature MA.

Cambridge University runs an MPhil/MEd Critical Approaches to Children’s Literature course and is closely linked to The Cambridge/Homerton Research and Teaching Centre for Children’s Literature.

From next year (2014-2015) you could study for an MA in Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths.

BJ Epstein (@bjepstein) teaches an undergraduate course in children’s literature at The University of East Anglia. Here’s a reading list and course outline.

The Open University offers a module in children’s literature. Click here to see the course outline. The Open University is dedicated to distance learning, and so this module is open to anyone worldwide (who meets the entry requirements).

Cardiff University runs a Level 1 course, “Exploring Children’s Literature“. It is not currently running, but you can register your interest for when it become available again. The webpage includes a course outline and reading list.

Oxford University’s Department for Continuing Education sometimes offers a course on Edwardian Children’s Literature, which is open to the public. The course is run by Dr Sara Zadrozny (@s_zb).

Regular undergraduate students at Oxford can also take an optional paper in Children’s Literature in in their 3rd year, though I cannot find an online link to the course details.

Anglia Ruskin has an undergraduate module in ‘Theorising Children’s Literature‘, and is about to validate a summer school MA in Children’s Literature.

The University of Central Lancashire runs Children’s Literature modules as part of the BA English Literature Programme, taught by Helen Day. Helen also runs the MA Writing for Children, which includes the History of Children’s Literature, Crossover Fiction and Screenwriting for Children.

The Children’s Literature Unit at Newcastle University is part of the School of English Literature, Language and Linguistics and they have three staff who specialise in children’s literature. There are several children’s literature modules across their undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes, and they also offer an MLitt in Children’s Literature. A list of staff and their interests can be found here. The unit collaborates closely with Seven Stories, the National Centre for the Children’s Book (click here for a review of my last visit there).

The University of Southampton offers a module on Children’s Literature, co-ordinated by Karen Seymour.

The University of Worcester hosts the International Forum for Research in Children’s Literature (IFRCL). A module on children’s literature is available as part of the English Literary Studies BA, and is taught by Jean Webb.

At the University of Glasgow you can take an Honours option in Nineteenth and Twentieth Century British Literature for Children in the English Department, or an M Ed in Children’s Literature and Literacies in the School of Education.

The University of Wolverhampton offers a second year module in children’s literature.

Sheffield Hallam offers an optional Children’s Literature module for undergraduates on their BA English, BA English Literature, and BA Creative Writing courses.

The University of Lincoln has a third-year module on the literature of childhood, looking at texts about and by as well as for children, taught by Hannah Field.

The University of West England has a third-year module on ‘Children’s Fiction since 1900′, taught by Catherine Butler and Ann Alston, who also supervise PhDs in the field of children’s literature.

The University of Winchester runs an MA in Writing for Children, whislt Bath Spa offers an MA in Writing for Young People. These are a practical courses for aspiring authors, rather than literature appreciation courses.

Children’s Book Illustration courses at UK Universities

smallbookAnglia Ruskin University runs a well established MA Children’s Book Illustration. Martin Salisbury and Pam Smy lead a team of staff which includes many visiting children’s book illustrators. The University also runs a week long Children’s Book Illustration Summer School.

The University of Central Lancashire also runs an MA in Children’s Book Illustration. Undergraduate students can also modules on children’s book illustration as part of UCLan’s BA in Illustration.

Other universities with a strong tradition in general illustration though not specifically children’s book illustration include the University of Brighton, Kingston, Falmouth and the University of West England. The Manchester School of Art MA/MFA Illustration also incorporates elements of illustration for children, as does the University of Worcester’s BA in Illustration (where the course is run by illustrator Piet Grobler).

The MA Children’s Literature and Culture at the University of Bolton includes a unit, ‘Visual Narratives’ which looks not only at illustrated books but also comics and graphic novels. Unlike the others listed above this is not a practical art course but focuses on the interplay of text and illustration in young people’s texts, drawing on cultural theory, art theory and visual studies.

Looking to continental Europe, there are practical children’s book illustration courses in Italy (Sàrmede), Spain (Ilustratour) and Portugal.

My thanks go to to Catherine Butler, Farah Mendlesohn, Linda Sever, David Rudd, Pat Hanby, Lucy Pearson, B.J. Epstein, Diane Purkiss, Vanessa Harbour, Jean Webb, Martin Salisbury, Marta Borges, Maureen Farrell, Hannah Love, Julia Cameron, Zoe Boyd Clack, Daisy Johnson and Gabriela Steinke for their original responses on either the JISCMail’s Children’s Literature UK list, the JISCMail Picture Book Research List or Twitter.

All errors are of course my own. Please let me know about any other courses you know of, including those which are part-time and open to to the interested general public.

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50. ALSC Blog Photo Contest: Deadline Tomorrow!

ALSC Blog Photo Contest

Photos courtesy of ALSC

A reminder to ALSC members to submit their photos by tomorrow for the ALSC Blog Photo Contest. Give us your best photo of your library space, program, display, book, craft or something else that you think relates to children’s librarianship. May the best photo win!

Participants must be ALSC members to enter. Anyone, members and non-members, can vote in the final round. Be sure to visit the ALSC Blog to vote for your favorite library photo beginning April 25, 2014. Prizes include tickets to the Newbery-Caldecott Banquet and $50 gift certificates to Barnes & Noble. Entries must be submitted by 8 am Central Time, Wednesday, April 23, 2014. For rules and entry form, see the ALSC Blog Photo Contest site.

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