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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: mo willems, Most Recent at Top [Help]
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1. Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying On

  • A stumper to begin the day. I got this message from my aunt and I simply do not know the answer. Librarians of the world, do you know? Just to clarify beforehand, the answer is unfortunately not Are Your My Mother? by P.D. Eastman:

“… seeking info on a children’s book that was [a] favorite at least 30 years ago about a baby bird (with goggles) who is having trouble learning to fly.”

  • CatherineCertitude 210x300 Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying OnHere’s a new one.  Apparently the 2014 Nobel Prize winner for literature is a French author with a children’s book to his name.  And the book?  According to Karen MacPherson it’s Catherine Certitude.  Now THAT is a title, people!
  • Me Stuff: Pop Goes the Page was very very kind and did a little behind-the-scenes interview with me about good old Giant Dance Party.  Ain’t Dana swell?  Meanwhile my favorite transgender children’s librarian Kyle Lukoff just posted a review of Wild Things on his blog.  I’ve been very impressed by his reviews, by the way.  The critique of A is for Activist is dead on.
  • On the one hand, this may well be the most interesting board book I’ve seen in a long time.  On the other, why can’t I buy it through Ingram or Baker & Taylor?  Gah!
  • Movie news! Specifically Number the Stars movie news. Read on:

Young readers and their families enjoyed an afternoon celebrating the 25th anniversary of Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars  at Symphony Space in New York on October 19th.  Actor Sean Astin (Lord of the Rings) was on hand to read from Lowry’s work,. He and his wife Christine have secured the rights to adapt the book for film.

The event was one of the Thalia Kids’ Book Club series at Symphony Space. The next event is a celebrity-studded tribute to the work of E. B. White on Wednesday, November 19th, with proceeds benefiting First Book Manhattan. (Link: http://www.symphonyspace.org/event/8497/Family-Literature/thalia-kids-book-club-terrific-tails-a-celebration-of-eb-white

Lowry event PHOTOS just posted via Getty Images: http://www.gettyimages.com/detail/news-photo/lois-lowry-and-sean-astin-attends-number-the-stars-25th-news-photo/457520190

  • Aw heck.  Since I’m just reprinting small press releases at this point, I’d be amiss in missing this:

ASK ME ANOTHER WITH MO WILLEMS

  • Date: Wednesday, November 5
  • Time: 6:30 doors, 7:30 show
  • Price: $20 advance, $25 door
  • Location: The Bell House, 149 7th Street (between 2nd and 3rd Aves), Brooklyn, NY 11215
  • Ticket Link: http://www.thebellhouseny.com/event/699477-ask-me-another-brooklyn/
  • Blurb: Join NPR’s Ask Me Another, along with host Ophira Eisenberg and house musician Jonathan Coulton, for a rousing night of brainteasers, comedy, and music. This week’s V.I.P. (that’s puzzle speak for Very Important Puzzler), is acclaimed children’s book author Mo Willems. Willems is known for titles like Knuffle Bunny, Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!, and the Elephant and Piggie series. See how he fares in a trivia game written just for him. For more information and tickets visit www.amatickets.org.

DuckDeathTulip 300x180 Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying OnAs a children’s materials specialist I have a little file where I keep track of my 80+ library branches and the types of books they want.  One of the topics you’ll find on my list?  Death.  We’re always asked to provide books about the bereavement process.  Now The Guardian has done a nice little round-up of some of the more recent ones.  Note, though, that death books all have on thing in common: They’re all about white families.  Finding a multicultural book about death isn’t impossible but it is harder than it should be, particularly when we’re discussing picture books.  Thanks to Kate for the link.

  • There is a tendency online when a story breaks to write a post that comments on one aspect or another of the situation without saying what the problem was in the first place.  That’s why we’re so grateful to Leila Roy.  If you found yourself hearing vague references to one Kathleen Hale and her article of questionable taste in The Guardian but didn’t know the whole story, Leila makes all clear here.
  • Hm. I like Harry Potter as much as the next guy but the Washington Post article Why the Harry Potter Books Are So Influential All Around the World didn’t quite do it for me.  Much of it hinges on believing that HP is multicultural.  I don’t suppose I’m the only person out there who remembers that in the original printing of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, Dean Thomas was not mentioned as black.  That was added for subsequent editions.  Ah well.  Does it matter?
  • Daily Show Head Writer and fellow-who-is-married-to-a-children’s-librarian Elliott Kalan recently wrote a piece for Slate that seeks to explain how his vision of New York as a child was formed by Muppets Take Manhattan and Ghostbusters.  But only the boring parts.  Yup.
  • Fountas and Pinnell have a message for you: They’re sorry.  Thanks to Colby Sharp for the link.
  • Daily Image:

They’ve finally announced the winner of the whopping great huge Kirkus Prize.  And the final finalist on the children’s side turns out to be . . . Aviary Wonders, Inc.  And here’s an image of the committee that selected the prize with the winner herself.

Left to right: E.K. Johnston (author finalist), Vicky Smith (Kirkus Children’s Editor), Claudette McLinn, Kate Samworth, John Peters, and Linda Sue Park.

Screen Shot 2014 10 27 at 11.25.19 PM 500x389 Fusenews: Bemoaning, Lamenting, and Generally Carrying On

They mentioned the prize money but they never mentioned that the winner also gets a TROPHY!!  That’s big.  We don’t get many trophies in our business.  Well played.  And thanks to Claudette McLinn for the photo.

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2. What’s Your Favorite Animal?, by Eric Carle | Book Review

In Eric Carle’s What’s Your Favorite Animal, he collaborates with fourteen renowned children’s book artists to create mini storybooks about a favorite animal.

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3. Please Don't Feed The Pigeons!


 I don't think Mo Willems pigeon would be a fan of this sign located all over a parking lot in Jackson Heights, New York. However, he might just walk right past it to visit this bakery steps from the sign.

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4. Best Selling Picture Books | September 2014

Our best selling picture book for the past month is Herve Tullet's completely awesome Press Here (Chronicle Books, 2011). As per usual, we've shared our hand selected list of the most popular picture books from the nationwide best selling picture books, as listed by The New York Times

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5. Best Selling Picture Books | August 2014

Every single book on this list is purely entertaining, each in their own special way. Like all good picture books, the illustrations are winning. As per usual, we've shared our hand selected list of the most popular picture books from the nationwide best selling picture books, as listed by The New York Times.

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6. Best Selling Picture Books | July 2014

Three of the books in The Children's Book Review's best selling picture books list for July fall under the category of American history. Each of the books are deliciously rich in visual cues.

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7. Thanks a lot, Trixie’s Dad

willems knuffle bunny too Thanks a lot, Trixies Dad…and the great Mo Willems, on Fathers’ Day, for creating dad characters who take care of their kids in a non-bumbling, matter-of-fact (if realistically exhausted and strung-out) sort of way.

But, hey, also? As Megan Dowd Lambert points out: Cut it out with the nighttime bunny exchanges. You’re making the rest of us look bad.

Here are some more recommended father-son books from The Horn Book staff.

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8. Stephen King, Mo Willems, & Rachel Renee Russell Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

We’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending June 08, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month. (Debuted at #2 in Hardcover Fiction) Mr. Mercedes by Stephen King: "In the frigid pre-dawn hours, in a distressed Midwestern city, hundreds of desperate unemployed folks are lined up for a spot at a job fair. Without warning, a lone driver plows through the crowd in a stolen Mercedes, running over the innocent, backing up, and charging again. Eight people are killed; fifteen are wounded. The killer escapes." (June 2014) continued...

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9. Best Selling Picture Books | June 2014

The Children's Book Review's best selling picture book for this month is the gorgeously illustrated picture book from Jon J. Muth, The Three Questions. As per usual, we've also shared our hand selected list of the most popular picture books from the nationwide best selling picture books, as listed by The New York Times.

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10. Best New Kids Stories | June 2014

For graphic novel fans there's a new Zita the Spacegirl book from Ben Hatke, and, for younger readers, Mo Willems has the bestselling duo Elephant & Piggie meeting a new friend. Fans of Dork Diaries, Magic Tree House and Spirit Animals will be super excited to see new books, too.

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11. Best Selling Picture Books | May 2014

The Children's Book Review's best selling picture book for this month is a lovely illustrated story for little ballerinas, Too Too Many Tutus by Suzanne Davis Marion. As per usual, we've also shared our hand selected list of the most popular picture books from the nationwide best selling picture books, as listed by The New York Times.

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12. Five Family Favorites with Paul Durham, Author of “The Luck Uglies”

My list of family favorites is skewed toward books or series my wife and I have been able to share and enjoy with our two daughters (ages 9 and 6). We have many other favorites, but unlike the characters in my own books, I’m a notorious rule follower. So here are just five that have had the biggest impact so far.

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13. A Few Recent Baby Bookworm Literacy Moments

My Baby Bookworm is not such a baby anymore. She turned four this weekend (with much celebration, and many cupcakes). So far, our efforts to ensure that she loves books seem to be paying off. Here are a few recent tidbits. 

We were very nearly late for her birthday party (which we held out at her gymnastics place), because she wanted me to read her "just one more" Little Critter book. We incidentally let each child select a book as a party favor. The Fancy Nancy books were the most popular.

She had to stop in the middle of opening presents to ask Daddy to read her the newly unwrapped Mo Willems book (The Pigeon Needs a Bath). Yes, I did get that on video. When things do not go her way, she says: "Hmmpf." She does not seem to realize that she picked this up from the Pigeon. But we do. 

She has started using words like "mischievous" when describing the behavior of her dolls . She doesn't always use big words correctly, but she is clearly trying. 

As for me, I find it rewarding (if occasionally inconvenient) that she requests to have books read aloud at all hours of the day. We've also learned that when she becomes particularly insistent about us reading to her around dinnertime, it means that she is extra-tired. She wants to get her books in before she falls asleep. Because that's what bookworms, whether babies or not, do. 

© 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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14. Michael Lewis, Mo Willems, & Emma Donoghue Debut on the Indie Bestseller List

Flash Boys Mech 3p_r3.REV.for cat.inddWe’ve collected the books debuting on Indiebound’s Indie Bestseller List for the week ending April 06, 2014–a sneak peek at the books everybody will be talking about next month.

(Debuted at #1 in Hardcover Nonfiction) Flash Boys: A Wall Street Revolt by Michael Lewis: “Flash Boys is about a small group of Wall Street guys who figure out that the U.S. stock market has been rigged for the benefit of insiders and that, post–financial crisis, the markets have become not more free but less, and more controlled by the big Wall Street banks. Working at different firms, they come to this realization separately; but after they discover one another, the flash boys band together and set out to reform the financial markets.” (March 2014)

continued…

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15. Best New Kids Stories | April 2014

Hot New Releases & Popular Kids Stories Check out some of the best new kids books that release this month. April will be exciting for many children's book lovers with the release of another Mo Willems "Pigeon" book, The Pigeon Needs a Bath, and the latest from Lemont Snicket, File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents. There's also new books for "Big Nate" and "The Never Girls" fans—and a beautiful new novel by debut author Ava Dellaira, Love Letters to the Dead.

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16. The Pigeon Needs a Bath! and “It’s a Busload of Pigeon Books!” Collection | Series Giveaway

Enter to win a copy of The Pigeon Needs a Bath and “It’s a Busload of Pigeon Books!” collection. Giveaway begins April 1, 2014, at 12:01 A.M. PST and ends April 30, 2014, at 11:59 P.M. PST.

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17. The Pigeon Needs a Bath!

"I feel clean," the pigeon says. "Maybe YOU need a bath!" Kids and grown-ups alike will laugh out loud at this hilarious tale about a dirty, stinky, stubborn, argumentative, and completely lovable pigeon who will do anything to avoid taking a bath. Books mentioned in this post Portland Noir (Akashic Noir) Kevin Sampsell Used Trade [...]

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18. On the Shelf with Librarian Dana Skwirut

Dana Skwirut is a Youth Services librarian at the Fanwood Memorial Library in Fanwood, NJ, and the Summit Free Public Library in Summit, NJ. She is active in the Tumblarian community and on Twitter, where her sass got her featured in School Library Journal. When she isn’t in Ice Cream story time, she is seeing the world, one tiny road trip at a time.

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19. Mo Willems Writes Play Based on Elephant & Piggie Series

The Kennedy Center has commissioned a play from Elephant and Piggie series author Mo Willems.

Elephant & Piggie’s We Are in a Play! will run from November 23, 2013 to December 31, 2013. Willems himself will make an appearance during the opening weekend of this show.

Willems and his team worked on the show “for almost a year now in semi-secrecy.” In addition to penning the story for this show, they developed a trio of back-up singers, “The Squirrelles!,” and a live band, “Dr. Cat & the Bear-a-Tones.”

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20. My First Group Read-Aloud

SophiesSquashI have read many picture books aloud to my daughter over the past 3 1/2 years. Prior to that I read books to my nieces and friends' children here and there. But until last weekend, I'd never done a read-aloud for a larger group. But when the organizers for my church's Mommy and Me group asked me if I would do a little storytime for the kids as part of one of our regular monthly playdates, I said "Of course!" How could a determined bookworm-grower refuse such an invitation? 

I sought out input from my Facebook friends (many of whom are librarians and teachers). With their help, I settled on Sophie's Squash by Pat Zietlow Miller and Ann Wilsdorf and Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems. (It seemed especially fitting that our copy of the Pigeon book was a baby gift from Donalyn Miller, Book Whisperer and co-founder of The Nerdy Book Club.)

The reading took place at a local park, with the kids and their moms gathered around a picnic table. And I thought that it was quite successful. The kids ranged from 18 months up to about 8. One of the older girls recited Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus along with me, line by line, which was fun. And the 18 month old hung on to every word, however much he actually understood. With Sophie's Squash, we talked about what happens when one keeps a vegetable around for too long, and I think that at least the older kids and their moms appreciated the clever and heart-warming ending. I had some good talks about children's books and reading with a couple of the moms afterward, too. 

Bottom line: I do believe we'll try this again! Fun was had by all, especially me. My thanks to the Social Club of the St. Andrew Armenian Church for inviting me to read, and to Ani Yeni-Komshian for the above photo. 

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21. Video Sunday: Gobs of authorial types (and the filling of pants with tacos)

This is probably going to be of the most interest to those of you who have an interest in comic book inking in general.  Paul Karasik, who is the head of programming for Comic Arts Brooklyn, interviewed Jeff Smith while he (the creator of the Bone graphic novel series) inked a Bone illustration for the audience. I admit it. I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff.

Thanks to Phil Nel for the link.

Someday I hope I’m a big enough picture book author that I’m able to encourage grown people to put tacos down their pants. It’s a dream, but I think it’s one worth pursuing. Note: Ignore the contest mention at the end. The date is long past, children. Long past.

Thanks to Lori for the link (and for starring in it!).

We had the pleasure of hosting French illustrator Marc Boutavant at a recent Children’s Literary Salon at NYPL last month.  He is, as you may know, the man behind the art of Mouk, his best known picture book creation.  There is, in fact, a Mouk television show debuting here.  I, for my part, much prefer the French.  The intro is just doggone charming.  Can’t vouch for the show itself, but dig that catchy rhythm:

Speaking of television shows based on works of children’s literature, I was inordinately pleased to hear that they were turning Michael Rex’s Fangbone into a show of its own.  Makes perfect sense.  They’ve a fun little video element up right now where kids can vote on the animated voices and background sounds.  Enjoy!

Oh yeah.  This next guy’s embraced his time in France.

Probably fits in like a native.

I was pleased to see this Steve Jenkins video for his latest collage masterpiece The Animal Book making the rounds.  If only because it gives you insight into how he creates his art.

Finally, for our off-topic video, a commercial.  A blatant, sentimental commercial.  And danged if it didn’t make me well-up.  I must be getting soft in my old age.

 

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22. Emerging Literacy Skills for My Baby Bookworm

I'm back with a few more recent moments in my daughter's journey towards literacy (and hopefully towards the love of books). She'll be four in about 2 months, and she is developing a few early literacy skills. These days she is: 

Appreciating new formats: We read Herve Tullet's Press Here together for the first time the other night. I learned that Press Here is actually not the best bedtime book. It is too exciting and interactive. But my daughter adores it! I also discovered that Press Here is even better than I thought it was when I reviewed it a couple of years ago. By mid-way through the book on our first reading, my daughter could anticipate what the book was going to ask her to do next, and was eager to do it. She was excited and engaged, and couldn't wait to read the book again with my husband. That is a successful book. Baby Bookworm's take: "This is a really crazy book!" (said with admiration).

Making Connections between Books and Life: On her first wearing of a new dress received from Nana, my daughter said: "I love it already." Then she laughed. "Just like Penny." She was, of course, referencing Penny and Her Doll, by Kevin Henkes. Penny receives a new doll from her grandmother, and says right away: "I love it already." 

Playing with Language: after reading Cool Dog, School Dog by Deborah Heiligman and Tim Bowers, my daughter wanted to make up her own rhymes in the same rhyming scheme ("Tinka is a fun dog, / a sun dog, / a run-and run-and-run dog."). Her results were not eloquent, perhaps, but I liked that she understood that there was a scheme, and wanted to try to follow it. I wish I had written some of them down. 

Acting Out Books: We regularly act out scenes from Bonny Becker and Kady MacDonald Denton's Bear and Mouse books, and add our own Bear and Mouse scenes. She's pretty good at channeling Bear. 

Learning New Vocabulary (Painlessly): I mentioned that it was drizzling as we drove to school the other day, and asked her if she knew what the word "drizzle" meant. She said, "Of course. Brother and Sister were at school one day and they couldn't play outside because it was drizzling." She was clearly referring to some Berenstain Bears story, though I don't know which one. She talks about Brother and Sister Bear as though they are people she knows. 

Assessing and Recommending Books: She just came in to show me the book that her babysitter had read to her, The Berenstain Bears Come Clean for School, a new selection from the library. She flipped it open to tell me what happened on the last page (something involving everyone washing their hands), and pronounced "It's pretty funny. Did you hear me laughing?" 

Recognizing Authors: The other night my daughter said, pointing to the stack of books we had selected: "I want to read the Mo Willems book, Mom." I'm not at all surprised that Mo is the first author that she recognizes. He does a nice job of linking his books together. (The Pigeon makes cameos in other books, for instance.) This particular title was an Elephant & Piggie book, Elephants Cannot Dance

 My conclusion from tracking these little book-filled moments is this: the path to literacy can be an awfully fun place. Thanks for sharing it with us!

© 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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23. There Is a Bird On Your Head!

thereisabird There Is a Bird On Your Head!Mo Willems has become THE master of easy readers. With pre-book work includes Sesame Street and animation, he had the perfect training to create child- and teacher-friendly easy readers. I think he deserves every one of his many awards. What do notice in this deceptively simple book? What does he do with simple shapes and lines in the art and very few words to create distinct characters? Would you share this book with children who are learning to read?

(Note to the Mo fans out there: I recommended a road trip to Amherst MA to visit the Eric Carle Museum. While you are out there, save some time to visit the R. Michelson Gallery in Northhampton where you can see — and buy — original Mo Willems sketches of Elephant and Piggie.)

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24. All the Mo Willems Books

MoWillemsBooksMy daughter decided last night that before falling asleep, she wanted to read "all the Mo Willems books." She headed over to the bookshelf (well, one of many bookshelves, but this is the one where most of Mo's books live in our house), and started pulling them down. It took her a couple of trips, fully laden, to get them over to the bed. And then she commanded: "Read!"

We ended up reading three Elephant & Piggie books and two Pigeon books. We didn't get to the three Knuffle Bunny books last night, but they were in the stack, and are much-loved, too. We also have a couple of stand alone titles (That is NOT a Good Idea and Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs), but these don't register for her so much as having been written by Mo. What she LOVES is looking for the Pigeon on the inside back cover of the Elephant & Piggie books. She has a stuffed Pigeon, too. She sees these books as a whole universe of fun.  

The other night she was getting cranky around bedtime, as she is wont to do. She protested: "I'm NOT tired." Then, before I could anything she added "And I am NOT the Pigeon." This is because usually when she claims to not be tired we say: "OK, Pigeon." Don't Let the Pigeon Stay Up Late hits the nail on the head better than any other book I can think of.  

I guess all of this is a long-winded way for me to say that if you have a preschooler or early elementary schooler in your house, and you have somehow not discovered the works of Mo Willems, you simply MUST remedy this. Your local library should have plenty of Mo's books, and that's a great place to start. Scholastic also has packages sometimes in the Reading Club, giving you access to less expensive paperback versions. But whatever you do, get your hands on some of these fabulous books.

I think the key to the success of all of Willems' various series and standalones lies in his keen understanding of universal child (and parent) behaviors. My daughter nods her head when Elephant and Piggie are crying over Piggie's broken toy, and says: "She's crying because of her toy. He's crying because of her." She just gets the interactions and expressions of the characters instinctively. She clutches her own beloved blanket a little when Trixie loses Knuffle Bunny. She giggles when the Pigeon says "I never get to do ANYTHING" because she knows that she has said something similar mere moments before. 

Of course it helps that the books are fun, too! What say you, readers? Do your kids ask for "all of the Mo Willems books", too? 

____

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 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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25. Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 12

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.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (picture book through young adult), as well as post about my daughter's latest literacy milestone, and one about why I think she loves Mo Willems' books so much. I have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read one middle grade book, three young adult books, and one adult title:

I'm currently reading Insignia by S. J. Kincaid on my Kindle and The Spy Catchers of Maple Hill by Megan Frazer in print. I am very much enjoying my current audiobook, A Week in Winter by Maeve Binchy. It is the perfect antidote to stress, and I wish it would never end. 

We're also still reading to Baby Bookworm these days, of course. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year if you are interested. We also read the first two chapters of Winnie-the-Pooh last night. 

She turns four in a few weeks, and I can tell you that we're really seeing the impact of all the books that we've read. She can spell a few words now (her name, Mom, Dad, no, moo, Mo, so), and she'll notice those words if she sees them ("Why does that sign say 'No'?). She's asking how to spell things like "I love you" when she makes us cards. She enjoys the Reading Raven app. I can't remember who recommended that one, but thank you! We are careful not to push her, but she's like a little sponge these days, soaking up new words all around her. My goal is just to keep it fun!

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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