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1. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 11

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists

Stacked: Revisiting YA Verse Novels: A 2014 Guide to the Format http://ow.ly/vwXku #yalit

Always good choices | Waterstones Children’s Book Prizes 2014 | @tashrow http://ow.ly/vwXAV #kidlit

A roundup of Rapunzel retellings from @alibrarymama http://ow.ly/vCtot #kidlit


Color Your Bookshelf: 39 Diverse Board Books to Give a Baby or Toddler from @SproutsBkshelf http://ow.ly/vx18R #kidlit

On not stereotyping | Joseph Bruchac responds to "You Don't Look Indian" @CynLeitichSmith http://ow.ly/vwV9z

Entertainment Weekly — Kid Lit’s Primary Color: White — thoughts on @ew article from @lizb http://ow.ly/vzC4X #diversity

Events (National Poetry Month)

Poetry writing for kids: 14 Ideas from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/vzBCc #NationalPoetryMonth

For #NationalPoetryMonth, Five Teen Poet Ambassadors Will Present their Works Across the Country | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vzD4h

Growing Bookworms

Nursery Rhymes: Not Just for Babies! (Activities for older and younger kids)| @ReadingRockets via @librareanne http://ow.ly/vwMHP

How Can a Child Learn to Write in 30 Minutes? (after lots of groundwork) by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/vwZ7a #literacy

Relevant for many! The Lesson I Learned From My Daughter About Reading Choice by @littlemamab @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vwWR2

Great advice from @SunlitPages Raising Readers: Teaching Children to Read With Expression http://ow.ly/vzCnu #literacy


Fusenews: All you need is love (and books before the age of 3) — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/vCuGS#kidlit

Very cool! See a time-lapse video of LEGO Fenway Park being built | BetaBoston http://ow.ly/vwAqG via @tonkazona #RedSox

MagicAndMLK3My photo w/ Magic Johnson + Martin Luther King III at We Day CA, in blog post by my friend Jonathan White http://ow.ly/vwB90 #WeDay

OK, this is very fun! From @escapeadulthood | Dude Transforms Deck Into Pirate Ship http://ow.ly/vzACo

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

The 9 Most Mischievous Literary Pranksters, Ranked | @HuffPostBooks via @tashrow http://ow.ly/vx0wm

Perspective, people. Thoughts from a mother + author on why she can't respond to everyone's emails from @haleshannon http://ow.ly/vwUtU

Yes (most anyway). Should celebrities stop writing children's books? | The Observer @Guardian http://ow.ly/vzKex via @PWKidsBookshelf

LA Times - 'Fault in Our Stars' writer John Green has a good read on teens, tech by @Gwenda via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/vzK3U

How I learned to stop worrying and love the @Kindle @DailyDot via @tashrow http://ow.ly/vx0Th

Schools and Libraries

Nice! New Jersey Librarians Get $116,000 in Makerspace Grants - @ShiftTheDigital http://ow.ly/vzCV6

SummerReadingKids-1Infographic about positive impact of library #SummerReading programs as reported by parents http://ow.ly/i/5a9ww @SantaClaraLib @alscblog

Nice infographic about the positive impact that library #SummerReading programs have on kids http://ow.ly/i/5a9qN @SantaClaraLib @alscblog


Food for thought | I'm Done Making My Kid's Childhood Magical | @BunmiLaditan @HuffPost http://ow.ly/vwYp1 via @FreeRangeKids

Risky Play: Why Children Love It and Need It | Peter Gray at Psychology Today http://ow.ly/vwWcx

What Parents Should Know About Kids’ Social Networking from @StratfordSchool http://ow.ly/vwXwZ

Programs and Research

News: @Scholastic Launches Classroom and School-wide Registration for Students to Join the #SummerReadingChallenge http://ow.ly/vwJ8h

Join the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge - @CoffeeandCrayon http://ow.ly/vzBqR #STEM

© 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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GALAPAGOS GEORGE is the story of the famous Lonesome George, a giant tortoise who was the last of his species, lived to be one hundred years old, and became known as the rarest creature in the world. This incredible evolution story by renowned naturalist and Newbery Medal winner Jean Craighead George gives readers a glimpse of the amazing creatures inhabiting the ever-fascinating Galápagos Islands, complete with back matter that features key terms, a timeline, and further resources for research.

Galapagos George

Here are some Common Core objectives that GALAPAGOS GEORGE can help meet:

Identify the main purpose of a text, including what the author wants to answer, explain, or describe. Use information gained from the illustrations and words in a book to demonstrate understanding of its characters, setting, or plot. Describe the overall structure of a story, including describing how the beginning introduces the story and the ending concludes the action.

And you can use the following questions to help start a specific discussion about this book or a general discussion about informational texts and/or literature:

  1. How does a reader determine the genre of a particular book? What characteristics apply to GALAPAGOS GEORGE? RI.2.5, RL.2.3
  2. What elements of a book help the reader determine the main idea? What details support the main idea? RI.2.2, RL.2.2
  3. How do the illustrations contribute to the text (characters, setting, and plot)? RI.2.7, RL.2.7

GALAPAGOS GEORGE will be available next week!


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The recently-published FOUNDING MOTHERS, by Cokie Roberts, presents the incredible accomplishments of the women who orchestrated the American Revolution behind the scenes.

Founding Mothers

In this vibrant nonfiction picture book, Roberts traces the stories of heroic, patriotic women such as Abigail Adams, Martha Washington, Phillis Wheatley, Mercy Otis Warren, Sarah Livingston Jay, and others through their personal correspondence, private journals, ledgers and lists, and even favored recipes. The extraordinary triumphs of these women created a shared bond that urged the founding fathers to “Remember the Ladies.”

Here are some Common Core objectives that FOUNDING MOTHERS can help meet:

  • Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • Describe the overall structure of events, ideas, concepts, or information in a text or part of a text.
  • Explain how an author uses reasons and evidence to support particular points in a text.

And here are some questions you can use and build on for a Common Core-ready lesson:

  1. How does the structure of nonfiction text affect how we understand the material? RI.5.5
  2. What composite structure does the author use to shape events, ideas, concepts and information? RI.5.5
  3. What is the author’s purpose for writing this book? Do you think the author is a reliable source? Discuss. RI.5.8, SL.5.1d, SL.5.4

We’ll be highlighting lots more titles and how they can be used to support the Common Core in the coming months, so be sure to check back often for our Common Core Spotlight feature!

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4. Math Skills are Life Skills: Early Math, the Common Core, Visual Learning and MathStart


Math is everywhere! That’s a message I always try to get across to kids, teachers and parents in my MathStart books and presentations. Too often, when students leave math class, I hear them say, “I’m done with my math.”  Yet they never say “I’m done with my words” after reading and language arts. Well, just like words, you can’t do much without math. Math is an integral part of sports and music. You need math to go shopping, check on the time and count the number of candles on your birthday cake!

mathstart1START EARLY

“Who Says Math Has to Be Boring?”—that was the eye-opening question posed in a recent New York Times editorial headline. Several improvements to math education were listed in the article, with early exposure to mathematical concepts singled out as a particularly rich area for improvement. In fact, new research suggests that children as young as three may be math-ready. It turns out we are wired for math!

The interest in early math is part of a larger movement to support universal Pre-K in the US—a rare non-partisan issue with the President and Congress as well as governors and mayors in dozens of states declaring their support. Over just the last year, 30 states have increased funding, while Congress has budgeted $1 billion for programs. The US military is also on board in a big way through Mission Readiness, an effort spearheaded by a who’s who list of retired generals and admirals.


Another important trend in education is the adoption of the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) currently being implemented in 45 states, the District of Columbia, four territories and the Department of Defense schools. Teachers, librarians, parents, and caregivers of children are clamoring for ways to effectively address the broad-reaching goals of the CCSS. These goals require elementary school educators to develop a new mind-set regarding their role in advancing mathematics education, as well as a new skill set for facilitating the teaching and learning of mathematical concepts.


Visual learning describes how we gather and process information from illustrations, diagrams, graphs, symbols, photographs, icons and other models. Since visual learning strategies build on children’s innate talent to interpret visual information, they can play an important role in reaching the goals of the CCSS for Mathematics. Visual models help students understand difficult concepts, make connections to other areas of learning and build mathematical comprehension. They are especially relevant for the youngest learners, who are accomplished visual learners even as pre-readers.


“Math Skills are Life Skills!” That’s the motto of the kids in the Main Street Kids’ Club  a musical based on six MathStart stories.


A good grounding in math from an early age is critical and visual learning strategies can play an important role. Children who are comfortable with mathematical concepts and understand that they use math all the time are more likely to do well in school and in everything else, too. It is a formula for success!

sjmurphy_5941Stuart J. Murphy is a Boston-based visual learning specialist, author and consultant. He is the author of the award-winning MathStart series (HarperCollins), which includes a total of 63 children’s books that present mathematical concepts in the context of stories for Pre-K through Grade 4. (Over 10 million copies sold.) He is also the author of Stuart J. Murphy’s I SEE I LEARN (Charlesbridge), a 16-book series of storybooks for children in Pre-K, Kindergarten, and Grade 1 that focus on social, emotional, health and safety, and cognitive skills. Most of all, Stuart is an advocate of helping our children develop their visual learning skills so that they become more successful students.

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5. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 21

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage.

Book Lists and Awards

2014 Indies Choice, E.B. White Read-Aloud Awards Finalists Announced | via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uNU2V #kidlit

10 New Picture Books that Will Challenge, Amuse and Teach, recommended by @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/uNT9e #kidlit

The 2014 Carnegie Medal shortlist has been released http://ow.ly/uLPFn #kidlit @bkshelvesofdoom

2014 Shortlist for The Hans Christian Andersen Award | @tashrow http://ow.ly/uLPhn #kidlit

Guest Post @abbylibrarian | Kelly Jensen @catagator for 2016 Printz http://ow.ly/uJc9B #yalit

Common Core

A Crash Course On #CommonCore @NPR http://ow.ly/uNUAy via @PWKidsBookshelf #literacy


A Response to “Where Are The People of Color in Children’s Books” from @StaceyLoscalzo http://ow.ly/uGtNm #kidlit

“The Boundaries of Imagination”; or, the All-White World of Children’s Books, 2014 @PhilNel http://ow.ly/uGscv #kidlit

Gender (including Women's History Month)

The Independent on Sunday will no longer be reviewing books that are "marketed to exclude either sex http://ow.ly/uGsYh @bkshelvesofdoom

Campaign to end gender-specific children's books gathers high-profile support | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/uJaUj @PWKidsBookshelf

Is it really true that "Gender specific books demean all children" asks @chasingray | Some counterexamples http://ow.ly/uNTq7 #kidlit

Responses to reactions to Independent on Sunday decision not to feature books aimed at boys OR girls http://ow.ly/uQ4Et @playbythebook

Stacked: Challenging the Expectation of #YAlit Characters as "Role Models" for Girls: Guest Post by @SarahOckler http://ow.ly/uQ3dS

Girls in #yalit have a right to be angry sometimes | Guest Post at Stacked by @EScottWrites http://ow.ly/uNTFL

Hey, Girlfriend — @lizb shares her picks for #yalit where positive girl friendships are front and center http://ow.ly/uJclU

Girls (in #kidlit + #yalit ) Kicking A** With Their Brains: Guest Post by @aquafortis at Stacked http://ow.ly/uJcxK

Women's History: Who Says Women Can't Be Doctors? The Story of Elizabeth Blackwell, by @TanyaLeeStone @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/uNSXy

Growing Bookworms

Michaels Read | A dad is happy to have his son "not follow directions" as long as reading in bed is the result http://ow.ly/uGsud

Lovely! To My Dear Little Duckie Quotes From Children's Books for When Things Are Not Going Your Way @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uJcNG

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Maine publisher makes way for Robert McCloskey artwork in posters / note cards . Article mentions @FuseEight http://ow.ly/uNUY7

Young people aren’t buying e-readers. Only 5% expect to by one next year | @NYDailyNews via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uJb4f

Promo Friday @gail_gauthier asks: Would You Buy A Book A Blogger Recommended? http://ow.ly/uGvE1 Well, yes, all the time for me

Programs, Events and Research

Celebrating the 3rd year of the 1000 Books Before Kindergarten program @lochwouters library. So great! http://ow.ly/uNSaK

An Estimated Million—from Italy to North Carolina—Participated in World Read Aloud Day | @sljournal http://ow.ly/uJa7t @roccoa

I can see this | @PBSKIDS Survey Says School Readiness More Important to Parents than Letters + Numbers @sljournal http://ow.ly/uNWfP

Levels of key brain chemicals predict children's reading ability, @medical_xpress via @tashrow http://ow.ly/uGwqx

Schools and Libraries

Malorie Blackman: asks: Why are libraries mandatory in prisons but not schools? The Telegraph http://ow.ly/uGwdw via @tashrow

Miami library cuts are forcing tough decisions + huge cuts in purchases of children’s books i http://ow.ly/uNUo0 via @PWKidsBookshelf

This is nice to see | St. Paul to Create 15 New School Library Positions (more than double current amt) http://ow.ly/uJada @sljournal

Five Compliments for Reading Teachers by @JustinStygles @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uLQ12 #literacy

"Our aim should be to foster a love of reading" vs. focusing on tests, says @amyrass @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uGwT6

New Report: Pew Internet Releases a Typology of U.S. Public Library Engagement | LJ @INFOdocket http://ow.ly/uJan2

© 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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It's pretty impressive to see how many different ways nonfiction authors can present the very same subject matter or the very same people in their books. To get the gist, today I thought it might be fun to compare some examples of books on the same topic--mostly (but not entirely) by our own INK authors and illustrators. I'll be brief, I promise.  

So how about starting with our foremost founding father, George Washington himself. Each of these 3 authors has come up with entirely different hooks to pique your interest, so a young audience could get a pretty well-rounded view of our guy by checking out these true tales.

First up is The Crossing: How George Washington Saved the American Revolution by Jim Murphy.  His hook is to focus on Washington's growth as a leader, obviously leading up to the famous crossing of the Delaware on Christmas in 1776. He's used some very interesting artwork from the period to enhance the tale.

Next comes an entirely different take on George from Marfe Ferguson Delano. Her book, Master George's People, tells the story of George's slaves at Mount Vernon, and she has collaborated with a photographer who shot pictures of reenactors on the scene. 

And this one is  (ahem) my version. George vs. George: The American Revolution as Seen from Both Sides shows how there are two sides to every story.  I got to meet George Washington and King George III and paint their pictures myself.
OK, on to the second set.  In one way or another, the next 3 books are all based upon Charles Darwin and his Theory of Evolution. Let's start with Steve Jenkins' handsome book Life on Earth: The Story of Evolution.  With a nod to Darwin, Steve has created a series of stunning collages along with fairly minimal text in order to focus on the history of all the plants and animals on the planet. 
And here's yet another nod to Deb Heiligman for her celebrated true tale of romance between two folks with opposite views of the world. Despite Emma's firm belief in the Bible's version of life on earth, she and Charles enjoy a warm and loving marriage.
Mine again. What Darwin Saw: The Journey that Changed the World, tells about Darwin's great adventures as a young guy while traveling around the world. We're on board In this colorful graphic novel as he picks up the clues that lead to his Theory of Evolution and then does the experiments that prove it.
And here's series number 3.  Apparently these authors and illustrators were hard at work at the very same time on three very different picture books about the very same person; her name is Wangari Maathai, and she won the Nobel Peace Prize for bringing Kenya's trees back to life after most of them had disappeared. 

The artwork in all three books is outstanding, and each version is truly unique. The writing styles vary enormously too. I strongly recommend that you look at them side by side to prove that there's more than one way to skin a cat.  

Planting the Trees of Kenya was written and illustrated by Claire A. Nivola.

Wangari's Trees of Peace was written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. 
And Mama Miti was written by Donna Jo Napoli and illustrated by Kadir Nelson.  
I'd bet anything that these folks didn't know they were creating books about the same person until all 3 versions were finally published....writing and illustrating books is a solo occupation if there ever was one. 

OK, that's it--though we could easily go on and on.  Here's hoping that if any kids examine a whole series of books on the same topic written and illustrated in such different ways, they can come up with some unique new versions of their own....and have some fun at the same time. 

0 Comments on VERY SAME TOPICS, VERY DIFFERENT BOOKS Rosalyn Schanzer as of 3/25/2014 1:49:00 AM
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7. Struggling Readers and the Common Core

the following information was received in an email.

Struggling Readers and the Common Core
Improving Literacy in Changing Times

An ALA/Booklist webinar from Orca Book Publishers and Saddleback Education

The goal of the Common Core State Standards is to accelerate students’ reading achievement to grade level by the end of 2014, but educators can’t begin to make an impact on young adults who are reading below grade level without rich resources to aid them.

In this hour-long, free webinar, sponsored by Orca Book Publishers and Saddleback Education, an expert panel will offer tips about how to implement the Common Core State Standards with struggling and striving readers in the middle- and high-school classroom.

Date: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 2:00 pm EST

Register here.

KC Boyd is a library media specialist in inner-city Chicago and author of the popular blog The Audacious Librarian.
Troy Fresch is the Assistant Principal at Tustin High School in Tustin, California and has served on the Tustin Unified School District’s Common Core implementation team.
Tim McHugh is the co-owner and VP of Sales/Marketing at Saddleback Educational Publishing.
Andrew Wooldridge is publisher at Orca Books and the editor of several series of successful novels for middle and high school readers.

Filed under: literacy Tagged: Common Core, struggle readers. ALA

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8. Fusenews: That’s what I get for ignoring copyright

Happy Columbus Day to you!  I’ve not particularly insightful encapsulations of the day to offer you, though if you’d like to read some preview posts I’ve done on the day (completely with book recommendations) feel free to go here.

  • I will start today with this rather interesting post about a recent brouhaha that arose when a Macalester College student created a spoken word piece called “To JK Rowling, From Cho Chang”.  The internet being what it is you could certainly predict the nasty flaming war that would occur in the wake of her talk, particularly when the video went viral.  What makes the whole incident singular, to my mind, is the student’s response.  She sat down and calmly discussed the top five point folks made about her piece.  She admitted mistakes, reinforced certain points, and basically acted like a civilized grown-up.  The internet is shockingly devoid of civilized grown-ups these days, so in some small part of my brain I wish that high schools around the country could show kids this piece and teach them about internet etiquette in the 21st century.  Own up and also stand up for your beliefs.  It’s a hard lesson and this woman did it with class.  Bravo.
  • Now even before I read Travis Jonker’s fun post, I was aware that the Fuse channel had created something called Fuse News.  I can’t blame them.  It’s a catchy phrase.  Travis’s post is notable, by the way, because it manages to incorporate the phrase “Way to ruin my joke, Weird Al” completely within context.  And just so long as they don’t sue me for the term, we should be fine.  A Google search of the term “Fusenews” yields only them anyway.
  • Flowcharts.  We’re crazy about them.  After my little Noodle flowchart got such nice press I heard from a lot of librarians the cry, “Why can’t we do that?”  Turns out, you can.  I was alerted not so long ago to this cool Which YA Novel Is Right for You?  Feel free to fill in the blanks and come up with your very own personalized flowchart.  Fun for patrons and librarians alike.
  • I’m sure you already saw it at PW Children’s Bookshelf, but how clever were they to interview Elisha Cooper about his contemporary picture book Train alongside Brian Floca and his nonfiction picture book Locomotive.  Someone asked me the other day if Floca might be in the running for a Newbery.  It hadn’t occurred to me before but now . . . oh boy, I hope so.
  • Got the following note the other day and it’s a fun idea for small pubs.  A bit too small for its own press release, I’ll just post it here.

Beginning on Thursday, 10/10/13, at 10AM EST an original apple will be revealed every day until 11/10/13.  Readers, librarians, booksellers, and educators who follow Blue Apple Books on Facebook or Twitter are invited to guess the name of the artist who created the apple.  Whoever is first to guess correctly on either social network will receive a Blue Apple book illustrated by that artist.

Facebook page:
Twitter page:
  • Looks like we’re trendsetters.  First over at NYPL I help make the 100 Great Children’s Books list of the last 100 years. Note, we do not call it the “Best”.  However, Booktrust, a UK reading charity, had no such qualms about the word, coming up with their own 100 Best Books for Children.  Then I hear about the Grolier Club and their December 2014 exhibit on One Hundred Famous Children’s Books (which, to be fair, they’ve been working on since 2010). And then here in the States I couldn’t help but notice the eyebrow-raising title 100 best books for kids: NYPL vs P&C.  Come again?  Far less inflammatory than the title suggests, the post does a nice job of crediting both lists and what they do.  Of course, they do say at one point “Parent & Child‘s list was carefully curated by editors who know well many beloved children’s books from reading them to their own kids (and growing up on them!). The New York Public Library’s list was informed by top books of the past 100 years.”  Um.  Well, yes.  But we ALSO have kids that we’ve read these to.  Nothing got on the NYPL that isn’t actually being read to kids and that they’re actively asking for.  But then the piece notes the books we included that they didn’t, and that’s a pretty gutsy move.  Well played, P&C.
  • So Comic Con has ended here in NYC.  For those of you went and attended on the professional development day, you might have seen my co-worker Amie Wright.  She was presenting on “Comics & the Common Core: The Case to Include Comics in the Curriculum”.  And though it isn’t the same as seeing her live and in person, you can dip through her PowerPoint and see the titles and tips she’s included.
  • Daily Image:

With the backlog of images at my disposal I shouldn’t fall down on the job and cave to this.  But what can I say?  My will is weak.

BrideCat 500x312 Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyright

Yes. It’s from a site called Brides Throwing Cats where bridal bouquets have been Photoshopped out and cats have been Photoshopped in.  You’re welcome.

printfriendly Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyrightemail Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyrighttwitter Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyrightfacebook Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyrightgoogle plus Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyrighttumblr Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyrightshare save 171 16 Fusenews: Thats what I get for ignoring copyright

0 Comments on Fusenews: That’s what I get for ignoring copyright as of 10/15/2013 4:32:00 AM
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9. Celebrating The National Day on Writing: Bottom Lines Beliefs

Happy National Day on Writing! One way to celebrate this day is to take a moment to reflect on your bottom line beliefs about quality writing instruction.

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10. Celebrating The National Day on Writing: Bottom Lines Beliefs

Happy National Day on Writing! One way to celebrate this day is to take a moment to reflect on your bottom line beliefs about quality writing instruction.

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I’ve enjoyed all the talk and articles lately about the adoption of the Current Educational Common Core with its emphasis on critical thinking and non-fiction facts by using trade books in our school classrooms.  I thought that was what good teachers were doing all along? and parents too.  It’s common sense.  We are trying to educate kids to the world around them….history and human interaction so they can understand people better as they grow.  Information about other lands so their eyes will be open to not only the differences but the ‘sameness’ of kids and adults, and animals all over our small earth. Good story telling has always been the draw with fiction and non fiction.  Learning comes in between the lines, if you will.

The advantage of this being ‘official’ now is that publishers are searching their backlists and bringing back good non-fiction as well as fiction, and grabbing up informational but fun new stories. And of course my agency artists are thrilled to have such a need for story telling pictures for these books…for all ages. Picture books are often a child’s first introduction to people and life outside their own family and neighborhood. They have always been vital to early learning, mental growth, thinking skills and maturity.  Ever more so today in preparation for school and during the so important early school years.

What IS new is that Publishers and marketing departments are writing up guidelines that will help teachers use these books they might not have recognized as appropriate for the standards set by this Common Core. Several publishers have new sites where teachers and parents can keep knowledgeable about books on” technology, writing, math, and early literacy” (PW).  Some books have had ‘back of book’ questions added to encourage the conversations that lead to exploration and learning.  Several houses have launched new lines of books based on the Core Concepts.

Some examples of current books from our agency that are perfect for this Core are: Nicole Tadgell illustrated “FRIENDS FOR FREEDOM: The Story of Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass” (Susanne Slade from Charlesbridge Fall 14).  KarBen Lerner will bring “Goldie Takes a Stand” about Goulda Meir, illustrated by Kelsey Garrity Riley also Fall 14.  Patrice Barton illustrated “I Pledge Allegiance” by Pat Mora and Elizabeth Martinez for Knopf/Random.(14), and Larry Day’s illustrations for “Voices From Oregon Trail” from Dial and Kay Winters, tell the story! (summer 14) But even the newly launched “Isabelle and Isabella’s Little Book of Rules” from Little Simon and illustrated by our Priscilla Burris is a lovely, observant, non fiction from the mouths of the very children we’re trying to start the conversation with!  Pick these up and see! Use your common sense and enjoy the Common Core!             

SF_causes TADGELLpledge in courthouse BARTONfrom “Pledge”

from “Friends for Freedom”

0 Comments on COMMON CORE COMMON SENSE as of 11/4/2013 4:42:00 PM
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12. Common Core at Curriculum Night

It was curriculum night at a local Tukwila elementary school – with a focus on Common Core State Standards! I was excited to go!
As a public librarian, I’m always trying to figure out how I can be supportive and involved with students and school staff. ALSC has a resource page (http://www.ala.org/alsc/ccss-resources), and previous ALSC Blog posts have been helpful, but a chance to personally interact with local elementary staff was not to be missed! I could focus on talking to the principal and teachers about CCSS and find out what’s going on in my school district. Education leaders in WA expect the 2014-2015 CCSS assessments to result in lower scores state-wide. As “the most diverse school district in the nation” with 80% of students qualifying for free/reduced meals, there already exist many challenges in preparing students in Tukwila for graduation. Maybe I could gain some insight into providing help.

Right off the bat, the principal mentioned great interest in our newly formed Book Buddies program where teen volunteers spend time reading with younger kids. I discovered students are expected to read each night – since reading, along with math, will be areas of concentration for this school. I was delighted to hear we’re on the principal’s radar and we’re offering a program that matters to him.

After a general presentation, the grade levels broke up into individual presentations and I attended the 4th grade session.  Students in this grade will have access to Chromebook laptops and will use the following websites at school and at home to help with reading: Lexia, Raz-Kids, and Spelling City. Most homework will be math, including these websites: TenMarks and XtrMath. Because not all students will be taking laptops home with them, our public library branch can offer support by being familiar with these sites and providing homework help during nonschool hours.

The slide presented by the 4th grade teachers about Reading and CCSS was simple and encouraging:
• To read both narrative and expository texts
• To understand and remember what they read
• To relate their own knowledge or experiences to texts
• To use comprehension strategies to improve their comprehension
• To communicate with others about what is read

Does this sound familiar? On a basic level these are the same strategies we promote in Story Time when we talk about literacy and reading with a child. We know children’s librarians are preparing families long before the children go to school. Now I’m thinking of new conversations with parents whose children are already reading on their own – how they can continue to build reading skills and thus pave the way to making the new standards that much easier to understand and achieve.

-Gaye Hinchliff, member of School-Age Programs and Services Committee, works for KCLS in Tukwila, WA and can be reached at ghinchli@kcls.org

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13. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: November 29

TwitterLinksHoping that you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Happy reading!

Book Lists

Just out: the @NYTimes Notable Children’s Books of 2013 http://ow.ly/rfA8d  #kidlit via @bkshelvesofdoom

Kirkus Best Children’s Books of 2013 list released http://ow.ly/rdokV via @tashrow #kidlit

A very nice list: SLJ Best Books 2013 Picture Books | @sljournal http://ow.ly/rdr2i #kidlit

Top Ten Old-School Girl Books by Lyn @FairchildHawks @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/rajYV #kidlit

Best Picture Books of 2013, by category, according to @darshanakhiani http://ow.ly/rajsJ #kidlit


TakeYourChildToABookstorePin1Take Your Child to a Bookstore Day Returns December 7th http://ow.ly/rdq6z via @PublishersWkly

Gender and Reading/Writing

Lots of thoughts on gender in picture books from author Jonathan Emmett @ScribbleStreet http://ow.ly/ramsT via @playbythebook

Women make picture books too… observes @LaurelSnyder after looking at male-dominated best of lists http://ow.ly/r8fRT

The gender bias in children's books by @sarahvmac in DailyLife http://ow.ly/r6gZd via @tashrow #kidlit

Thoughtful post by @anneursu On Gender and Boys Read Panels http://ow.ly/rai2L #kidlit #literacy

Growing Bookworms

RT @CStarrRose: Thanks Jen @JensBookPage for her post on the new edition of THE READ ALOUD HANDBOOK for the Spellbinders newsletter http://eepurl.com/HbcLD

At @KirbyLarson blog, school librarian @IPushBooks talks about how she is nurturing wild readers http://ow.ly/rdnuB @donalynbooks

Good ideas! How to Create a “Culture of Reading” | Suggestions from AASL 2013 | @sljournal http://ow.ly/rdrdd


Flippy-Do Reads!: #KidLitCon13 - ARCS, Turkey Sandwiches and Twitter, oh my! reports Emilia P @flippydo http://ow.ly/rakJb

Don't miss @MotherReader 150 Ways to Give a Book, one of the best book-themed holiday gift guides around! http://ow.ly/ra1VC #kidlit

Lots of great links here: This Week’s Tweets and Pins | Waking Brain Cells by @tashrow http://ow.ly/r6hOR

MatildaOn Reading and Writing

Have to do any holiday shopping for a YA lover? @bkshelvesofdoom suggests Lizzie Skurnick subscription http://ow.ly/rdlOJ @Igpublishing

RT @tashrow Neville Longbottom is the Most Important Person in Harry Potter—And Here’s Why http://buff.ly/18PLZ9Z #kidlit

Programs and Research

Study from Booknet Canada finds parents, children, + teens prefer paper books for reading, reports @tashrow http://ow.ly/rdmgd

Young adult readers 'prefer printed to ebooks' | @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/rdqJy via @PWKidsBookshelf

Research shows TV can impede kids' intellectual development -- even when it's playing in the background http://ow.ly/rdqsH @salon

In Austin, @BookPeople + @RandomHouseKids Partner on Pen-Pal Literacy Initiative with Malawi, Africa http://ow.ly/rdqdT @PublishersWkly

Schools and Libraries

Common Core: What it Means for Fiction in Schools, asks a high school English teacher @bookriot http://ow.ly/rdqDy via @PWKidsBookshelf

Things @katsok loves about sharing The Lightning Thief by @CampHalfBlood w/ her students http://ow.ly/rfg5k #kidlit

The Totally Awesome Way Some Libraries Are Tackling Hunger (food donations in lieu of fines) http://ow.ly/rdryO @HuffPostImpact

Userful post: Ten Ways to Get Books for Your Classroom or Library by @GigiMcAreads @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/r8fXs


I'm grateful for this, too. "It's All Over Now!" - My Gratitude for the Power of Storytelling by @gregpincus http://ow.ly/rdosa

Thank God for Books, a collection of Thanksgiving book posts gathered by @semicolonblog http://ow.ly/rdoyZ

Just in time for Thanksgiving, a list of picture books about food from @bookblogmomma http://ow.ly/rdnAN #kidlit

More ideas for Thanksgiving travel | Top 5 activities for family roadtrips--without TV! from @rosemondcates http://ow.ly/rdmEu

Suggestions for #literacy-building car activities from @Scholastic http://ow.ly/rdm5I via @JGCanada

© 2013 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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14. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 7

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There is some exceptionally good stuff in the Growing Bookworms section this week.

Also, in my quest to make it easy for people to keep up on these sorts of children's book and literacy-themed stories, I have a question for readers. Do any of you use Flipboard (app for reading news stories on tablets - lets you set up your own customized set of topics and shows stories magazine-style)? At the suggestion of Sheila Ruth, I've been dabbling in Flipboard a bit, and I am wondering if people would find some sort of Literacy Links Magazine there useful. But on to the links!

Valentine's Day

Fun! Write on, Valentine! FREE Printables for Your Favorite Writers & Readers from @MrsPStorytime http://ow.ly/thJFR

A celebration of hearts – 7 Valentine’s Day activities (all reading-friendly) for families | @wendy_lawrence http://ow.ly/thD3j

Book Lists and Awards

Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals longlists announced @TelegraphBooks http://ow.ly/thAR2 via @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Some fine SFF #yalit on the Locus Recommended List! including @Gwenda http://ow.ly/tfiAw

Wow! Impressive, categorized list of 125+ Must Have Children's Books from @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/tfgPz #kidlit

New booklist at Stacked: Get Genrefied: YA Urban Fiction http://ow.ly/tfgrL @catagator #yalit #kidlit

Season of the Witch: A #YAlit Reading List from Stacked http://ow.ly/t9Yt1 @catagator

Encouraging Scientific and Engineering Practices with Picture Books @michaeltcarton guests at Darlene Beck-Jacobson http://ow.ly/teR9V

2014 @yalsa Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Readers | @tashrow http://ow.ly/tjK60 #yalit

2014 @alscblog Notable Children’s Books–Younger Readers | @tashrow http://ow.ly/tjKbk #kidlit

2014 Notable Children's Books for Middle Readers from @tashrow http://ow.ly/2bbCvX #kidlit

ALA Award Reactions

Fun stuff, w/ photos and videos | The 2014 Youth Media Awards: Things I Love — @100scopenotes http://ow.ly/tfir3 #kidlit

Librarians React to the Youth Media Awards | ALA Midwinter 2014 | @sljournal http://ow.ly/torzB #kidlit

Common Core

Getting Up to Speed on Common Core: An ABPA Panel @PublishersWkly http://ow.ly/thAnW via @PWKidsBookshelf #commoncore

In the Classroom: Some Questions from @medinger About Some #CommonCore Lessons | educating alice http://ow.ly/tosMH

Gender, Books, and Diversity

Suggested books for young children that include "casual diversity" from @FuseEight http://ow.ly/thDE7 #kidlit

Is Pink a Girl Color? And Other Questions We Should Quit Asking, focusing on readers not gender by @cathymere http://ow.ly/tfhAM

BoysReadPinkIt's time for the Fifth Annual Guys Read Pink Month! @MsYingling w/ celebrity sponsor @AVance_Author http://ow.ly/tfhPX

35 Multicultural Early Chapter Books for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/tffUZ #kidlit #diversity

Growing Bookworms

Sigh! Setting Children Up to Hate Reading http://flip.it/4ewWg

Here's a fine resource for parents | 100 Ways to Grow a Reader from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/tffvi #literacy

Collecting #100ReasonstoRead @Scholastic | Share yours: http://ow.ly/tfjZL #literacy

Solid advice! How to Raise a Reader: 5 Tips for Parents from @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/tfdVx #literacy

Non-Fiction Love | On how nonfiction helps kids develop reading comprehension skills @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/tjJ6i #CommonCore

5 Tips for Parents of That Precocious Reader | @NYPL via @librareanne http://ow.ly/torYL #literacy

Just Interesting

A useful resource: Book Chook Favourite Online Image Makers for kids http://ow.ly/tfhlw @BookChook

Must read from @EllenHopkinsYA On Finding Peace in Living (re: addiction, her daughter's + Philip S. Hoffman) http://ow.ly/thCac

What say you on this news: J.K. Rowling questions Ron and Hermione's relationship http://ow.ly/tfeHX #kidlit


Inscription Magazine is a new pub w/ fantasy & science fiction for teens http://ow.ly/t9XeC #yalit via @CynLeitichSmith

Let's Cekebrate International Book Giving Day says @BookChook http://ow.ly/2bbD1i

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

RT @NUSLibraries: Sharing an interesting article: Why Printed Books Will Never Die http://flip.it/6wcq3 via @mashable

RT @PWKidsBookshelf: 9 life lessons everyone can learn from these beloved children's books | Huff Post http://flip.it/EJkas

What makes an adult book right for teens? asks @StyleBlog http://ow.ly/t9X3t via @tashrow #reading

RT @tashrow The Netflix of kids’ books? Epic launches on iPad for $9.99/month — Tech News and Analysis http://buff.ly/1dLdRgO #kidlit

RT: @Librareanne: Young Adult Literature Is Better Than You Think http://fb.me/6s8L2I4rP

Dark YA RT @HMHKids: "Even if your kids aren’t going through a difficult situation, it’s likely their friends are." http://ow.ly/t7ZGK


Words of wisdom | Why Not Letting Your Kids Do Chores Hurts Society and Me | @SensibleMoms http://ow.ly/thBrI

Useful post for parents from @cmirabile | Advice to My 10 Year Old Regarding SnapChat Hack http://ow.ly/th3EO

Schools and Libraries

Nice! New Teacher’s Reading Guide: Ten Steps to Turn High School Students Into Readers by @shkrajewski @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/tfg7X

Excellent Choice! Judy Blume Named Honorary Chairman of National Library Week 2014 | @infodocket via @sljournal http://ow.ly/torpb

© 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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15. Choice Literacy: Coaching the Common Core {Part 3 of 3}

The third part of the conference was led by Tammy Mulligan and Clare Landrigan. They inspired me to stick to my beliefs. One of the ideas they talked about is a Framework for… Read More

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16. Common Core — Appendices

Many of us are digging into Common Core Standards. We are spending time reading the standards, figuring out what they mean, and noticing how they grow from grade to grade. Indiana (my state)… Read More

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17. 6 Reasons to Attend a National Conference


We've just added 5thGradeReading.NET to our suite of GradeReading.NET sites! Find reviews of current fiction and nonfiction books, 740-1010L. Check out 5th grade book reviews now. Other sites:

This past weekend, I attended the National Science Teachers Association conference and it was a great way to meet my audience. Here are some specific things that I thought were a benefit of attending.

Know Your Audience. This is a photo of the convention floor, the display booths. It’s interesting to wander the aisles and think like a science teacher. I try to imagine which of the booths I would stop at and why—what would they offer to a science teacher of various levels (elementary, middle school, high school). And then apply that to my books: what do my books offer to the same person? It’s a great way to get a feel for the overall needs of an audience of teachers.

The 2013 National Science Teachers Association Convention exhibitor's hall, San Antonio, TX

Meet Your Editor. We often work long-distance with editors and a conference is a great way to meet them. Here are pictures of Sylvan Dell’s booth and staff.

Sylvan Dell's Publisher, Lee German is a level-headed businessman who works passionately to promote and sell his author's books.

Sylvan Dell Editorial Director, Donna German. Fun, dedicated to quality--and about to become a grandmother.

L to R: Donna German (editor), Darcy Pattison (author), Rosalyna Toth (Spanish translator for Sylvan Dell books), Terry Jennings (author), Lee German (publisher)

Meet Your Peers. On the convention floor, in sessions and just schmoozing—it’s a great way to meet other authors. We talked about everything: publishing, astronomy, advances from various publishers, Common Core, wolf snails (see Sarah Campbell’s great book), and gross things that animals do (see Melissa Stewart’s great book).

Promote Your Book. I also had a chance to promote my book on the convention floor, and in a session about the Outstanding Science Trade Books. Desert Baths—and my other titles, Prairie Storms and Wisdom, the Midway Albatross—were well received and I was fascinated to see how science teachers talked about it and how they talked about using it in the classroom. This helps me to refine how I create future books.

Network. Before the conference, I emailed various editors to see who might be attending. I wound up with an appointment with one editor and pitched an idea. The result? An invitation to submit. Hurrah!

See the Sights.
The booth across the aisle from us was Sea World. They kept bringing in live animals: bald eagle, pink flamingo, echidna, Magellan Penguins, white spotted sharks. It was a fun place to be.

Magellan Penguin from the Sea World display at the NSTA conference.

Just at dawn, when the birds were calling a greeting to the sun, we strolled by the Alamo. Remember the Alamo! And the NSTA-San Antonio conference.

Darcy, at dawn, at the Alamo.

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18. New Units of Study

I purchased the original Units of Study for Teaching Writing, Grades 3 – 5 when they were published in 2006. In the early days, those books were like a Bible to me. I… Read More

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19. Don't Fear the Reaper - Demystifying Common Core

With the adoption of Common Core State Standards in the vast majority of states, youth librarians are looking at and thinking hard about the impact for public libraries of this sweeping educational change.  The trepidation some feel is palpable. Do we need to change our approach, our collections, or the manner in which we work with our schools and families?

While I don't have all the answers, I am fairly sanguine about this educational change.  I have been working through various reading paradigms (Reading Recovery! Fountas and Pinnell! Lexile Levels!) throughout my career. I have adapted to whatever my local districts have adopted - I figure it's my job to connect kids and books and that's what I do with a joy and with a vengeance.

Not for me the intricate educationalese. I am the big picture person at the public library that listens to the query and the quest and provides just the right resources for the seeker. CCSS is no different in my opinion.

I took part in an unconference focus group on CCSS at the SLJ Think Tank on April 5 in New York. I was reassured in my thoughts during that hour. This group discussed what CCSS means to public libraries and came up with a helpful array of visions, solutions and ideas to help us navigate through the sea change.

My take-aways?
  • As public librarians, while we need to be aware of the standards, we do not necessarily have to KNOW the standards to be effective in our reader's advisory and recommendations.
  • As a corollary, public libraries don't need to be schools or function on that level to support CCSS. We are and remain an access point for materials.
  • We are children's literature experts and, as such, can connect kids and school staff with great fiction and non-fiction books on multiple subjects and levels.
  • Don't get lost in lists of exemplars and booklists that are part of CCSS support materials. Often these titles are outdated and there as examples rather than a guide for purchase.
  • If you have been developing an excellent information collection that has strong narrative or literary non-fiction (think of many excellent and award winning nonfiction by authors like Freedman, Adler, Sheinkin, Kerley, Sayre and more), you are ready.
  • If your non-fiction collection is weak, make the case in light of CCSS for increased budget money to strengthen it. 
  • Communication with local schools to be aware of changes in assignments for grade levels (for instance, biography taught in 2nd grade rather than 5th grade; space science addressed in 3th grade rather than 4th grade) helps with collection building to meet the needs of community kids. If you can't get the information from busy librarian/classroom staff, reach out to the Director of Curriculum to update you.
  • Support of school media colleagues and school staff can be as simple as keeping dialog open and asking your colleagues how you can support them.
  • Seek out collaborative learning opportunities with your school colleagues or ask to attend some of their meetings to bring you up to speed.
  • Consider STEAM and STEM programs that connect kids to amazing non-fiction that opens up the wonder of these books. It connects you to Common Core in a fun way. Abby Johnson wrote an American Libraries column on this and Amy Koester at the Show-Me Librarian has been blogging about outstanding science programs for some time.
  • Look at Mary Ann Cappiello's Teaching with Text Sets for another perspective on how CCSS is approached.
I find myself excited about the change and the focus on literary non-fiction, a type of book I hold deep and abiding respect for.  I don't fear the reaper.  How about you?

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20. Nonfiction Picture Books: 7 Choices

2013 GradeReading.NET Summer Reading Lists

Keep your students reading all summer! The lists for 2nd, 3rd and 4th, include 10 recommended fiction titles and 10 recommended nonfiction titles. Printed double-sided, these one-page flyers are perfect to hand out to students, teachers, or parents. Great for PTA meetings, have on hand in the library, or to send home with students for the summer. FREE Pdf or infographic jpeg. See the Summer Lists Now!

I’ve written before about writing a children’s picture book in this 30 Days to a Stronger Picture Book Series and the basics remain true. However, nonfiction picture books are currently getting a fresh look, mostly because of the education reforms known as Common Core. It requires elementary students to read 50% nonfiction, 50% fiction. That percentage of nonfiction rises to 70% in high school, which impacts longer nonfiction. But today, I’ll concentrate on the impact on picture books.

One of the more interesting developments is that educators, publishers and writers are looking at nonfiction in seven new ways.

  1. Narrative Nonfiction. The last 25 years has seen the rise of narrative nonfiction, or nonfiction that is told with fiction techniques. Sometimes called creative nonfiction, this genre emphasizes the story embedded in the search for information. Nonfiction writers use scenes, sensory details, and work for a traditional story arc with a problem that is resolved in a climax. This type story has been popular because it readily engages readers.

    Examples of narrative nonfiction picture books:

    • Turtle Tide
      Turtle Tide: The Ways of Sea Turtles This book is one that has you hanging on the edge, waiting to see if any of the 100 sea turtle babies will survive. Fantastic build to a satisfying climax.
    • Wisdom, the Midway Albatross. My own picture book about the oldest known wild bird in the world uses a series of vignettes that climaxes with the Japanese tsunami overrunning Midway Island.
  2. Data (Facts First). Let’s face it: some kids just like facts. Browseable books like the Dorling Kindersley books (white background with stunning photos and related facts) are filled with data. It’s rather like flipping through an encyclopedia of a certain topic until you find the information that fascinates you, stopping to read, then flipping on. It’s the Guiness Book of World Records. Just the facts, Ma’am.
  3. Expository (Facts Plus). Taking it a step farther are nonfiction books that give facts but connect them in some way. It’s an explanation of some kind, but doesn’t have to have the story. Often in a picture book, the author reaches for a poetic voice, but the intent is still just an explanation. For an example, look at Frogs by Nic Bishop
  4. Books in the Disciplinary Thinking or Experts at Work are nonfiction books that ask how scientists and historians ask questions, evaluate research and develop theories. Sometimes these are biographies of a scientist or historian.

    The Scientists in the Field Series from Houghton Mifflin is the perfect example of this type books. See the 2011 Siebert Winner Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot , written by Sy Montgomery, photographs by Nic Bishop.

  5. In Inquiry (Ask and Answer) Books, the author begins mimics the process of scientific discovery by asking a question and then allowing the readers to follow the process of finding the answers.

    The Elephant Scientist is one of the Scientists in the Field Series from Houghton Mifflin, and a 2012 Siebert Honor book. Unlike some of the other book in the series, this one begins with a question: how do elephants hear? Is it possible that they hear sounds through their feet? This leading question is woven throughout the book and indeed, gives it even more of a narrative nonfiction feel. It’s easy to from this book that the subgenres will be hard to tease out. Is this book narrative nonfiction, Experts at Work, or Inquiry? It’s all three. Still, even thinking about it in this way means that we, as writers, have more choices, even when we choose to cross subgenres.

  6. Interpretation or Point of View nonfiction titles are not popular right now, but may become a stronger subgenre under the Common Core, as it asks students to do analytical thinking. Here, an author researches a subject in detail, then provides an interpretation of the information. Such books would model what students are required to produce in their own essays.
  7. Action Books invite kids do more than sit in a chair and read. Some include activities or experiments, and some are a call to action. They encourage kids to go out and do something that will make a difference in the world.

    I Love Dirt! 52 Activities to Help you and your Kid Discover the Wonders of Nature asks kids and parents get outdoors and do something.

Writing the Nonfiction Picture Book

When you look at a topic—maybe Dads in nature—there are multiple slants you could take on the subject. And now, there are multiple ways to approach the research and writing.

Narrative nonfiction. For this category, there’s no book without a storyline. As you research, you are looking for the story embedded in the details.
Data/Facts. Here, you are looking for solid, reliable, verifiable facts. Of course, you are in any of these categories, but for this category, it is the facts that shine. You will have to organize the book in some way, but the natural divisions in the data will determine the book’s structure.

Expository. Explanations include facts that back up a certain premise or statement. As you research, you are looking for an overarching idea that the facts will explain. Sometimes you’ll start with what needs explanation but sometimes, it will emerge from the research and writing.

Experts at Work. This is a fun category because it means you must seek out experts and follow them around. Writer George Plimpton, who recently passed away, if famous for joining the Detroit Lions American football team in order to give his readers the most intimate sense of playing in this team. This type of immersive journalism may be an extreme example of Experts at Work, but it certainly fits the goals. The story here (and it is often a narrative) is about the expert not necessarily about what the expert is studying or doing.

Interpretation or Point of View. In some ways, picture book biographies are an interpretation of a person’s life. Because the space is limited, these biographies can only cover a portion of a person’s life and by necessity become an interpretation. Dizzy, by Jonah Winters, is about Dizzy Gillespie, the famous Be-pop trumpeter. It leaves out many issues of his family and uses literary techniques to create a sense of what be-pop music is like. It’s a definite point of view. When you write this type story, look for what grabs you personally in a story or set of facts; how can you bring that to the forefront? Are these popular? Dizzy got starred reviews in five different review journals.

Action Books. While facts inform the action book category, it’s what the reader does with those facts that matters. In fact, the emotions evoked by the facts are as important as the facts themselves. It turns into a sort of persuasion essay, using facts to back up the need to do something. Look for facts that back up the actions you want readers to take. Build a strong, emotional case for that action.

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21. Coverage of the Core

The New York Times and The Washington Post have been covering the Common Core a LOT lately. You’ll see, if you read them all, they provide different view points. Here are the ones… Read More

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22. Coverage of the Core

The New York Times and The Washington Post have been covering the Common Core a LOT lately. You’ll see, if you read them all, they provide different view points. Here are the ones… Read More

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23. Word Nerds Review + a Giveaway

Word Nerds: Teaching All Students to Learn and Love Vocabulary is filled with fresh ideas for ways to teach vocabulary so the meanings of the words stick with kids. It is a resource that will help you develop an innovative and meaningful vocabulary curriculum for your students. Read a review of the book and preview sections of the text. Then, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of Word Nerds.

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Summer is ending and the garden is winding down. I’m harvesting fewer veggies and making plans to prepare amend my soil over the winter. Next

Fall Crop: Rutabaga

Fall Crop: Rutabaga

year, I simply want a wider variety of vegetables. I need to move to a plot that gets full sun in the early morning, but I’m not sure how well that will work out.

And, as the garden winds down the library is gearing up for the school year. This week I’ve got classes to teach and a graduate student open house to staff. I’m meeting at CANDLES Holocaust Museum to develop a docent program, finishing up a project with National Geographic to align some of their books to the Core Curriculum and I have this idea for an article that I want to develop. And, my BFYA pile is growing again! I admit it’s still out of control, but I’m planning strategic days at home over the next few months to do nothing but read. And, my weekends are completely and boringly void of everything except books.

I think most people want others to be aware of the work they do and the

Weekly Harvest of Books!

Weekly Harvest of Books!

Internet is the perfect venue for sharing our successes. Have you ever done a search for someone and found nothing on them?

Do you ever search your own name? This morning, I used Google, Bing and Yahoo to search for myself. Using my full name, I got a lot of hits for obituaries of dead white women. I used to find curriculum units I prepared or programs I participated in but now, I suppose those things are just too old.

When I shortened my first name to “Edi” and eliminated “Edie” from my search, I got a few things related to my blog, a video that I think is about a singer in Latin h America and advice on how to dress like Edi Campbell, most probably the other Edi Campbell.

Now, I’m not trying to use the ‘net to claim my 3 minutes of fame but I do know that there is a very good chance I’ll be looking for another job or two. Face it, employers search to see what they can find out about us. About.me is a nice, new tool that allows users to create their own home page and establish their professional image. It would be good for students entering the job market as well as for the seasoned professional who has little else online.

Fall crop: cabbage sprouts

Fall crop: cabbage sprouts

Get your name out there and make a difference in YA: apply to be a CYBILS judge.  Self nominations are due by 30 August.

The winners of the Dayton Literary Peace Prize were recently announced and make wonderful reading choices for young readers.

Don’t leave the young people out of the celebrations of the anniversary of the March on Washington. My favorite post to help bring them into the conversation is Don Tate’s listing of picture and nonfiction books. Throughout the year, educator’s can turn to ALA’s newly released Multi-ethnic books for the middle school curriculum.

We just can’t get around the fact that life is diverse, can we? So many different things to keep us busy!

Filed under: Sunday Reads Tagged: ask, BFYA, Common Core, Don Tate, gardening, me, National Geographic, online image

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25. Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

  • WinnieComic Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.Today I shall begin by ripping out your heart and stomping it into tiny shreds upon the floor.  You may be aware that for years I have worked with the real Winnie-the-Pooh toys at NYPL.  You may also know that the real Christopher Robin had a serious falling out with his father about the books.  Now Ian Chachere has written was is easily the BEST graphic story about Christopher Robin at the end of his days.  Thank you for the link, Kate.
  • Well, get out your fire hoses and start running for the hills (I prefer my mixed metaphors shaken, not stirred).  The Newbery/Caldecott prediction season is about to begin 4 realz.  Calling Caldecott is gently starting its engine, checking its rear view mirror, and making sure the gas tank is full.  Heavy Medal, meanwhile, is putting pedal to the medal (so to speak), revving this puppy as loud as it can go, and then tearing down the street leaving only burnt rubber and flames in its wake.  If you have favorites, they will be systematically destroyed (even, God help us, Doll Bones if Nina’s comments are any indication).  Personally I’m just biding my time until Jonathan Hunt attempts to defend Far Far Away as a Newbery contender.
  • Speaking of the berry of new, Travis Jonker is churning out the fun posts on Newbery stats.  They remind me of the glory days of Peter Sieruta (he loved these sorts of things).  Want to win a Newbery of your very own?  Then you’d better check out So You Want to Win a Newbery, Part 1 and Part 2.
  • Whenever I hear that a celebrity has written a children’s book my reaction isn’t so much outrage as a kind of resigned, “What took them so long?”  In my perverted take on Andy Warhol’s famous quote, in the future everyone will have their own children’s book for 15 minutes.  The latest not-so-surprising travesty is Rush Limbaugh’s are-we-absolutely-certain-this-isn’t-from-The-Onion book Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims.  And we could pull out the usual jokes and all (certainly I’m highly tempted to buy a copy, if only to randomly quote from it on this blog to comedic effect from time to time) but it was Thom Barthelmess who classed the joint up recently by writing of it, “I believe that librarians can shape that discourse by modeling respect for those with whom we disagree. And I believe that every time we suggest to a child that her book choice is inappropriate we weaken the foundation on which she is building a life of reading. This, my friends, is where intellectual rubber meets the freedom road. Let’s be sure we’re holding the map right-side up.”
  • How did I miss this?  Last year I did indeed notice the plethora of Chloes.  So why didn’t I see the abundance of 2013 Floras?  Fortunately Elissa Gershowitz at Horn Book was there to pick up my slack.
  • Once you start talking about Common Core it’s hard to stop. I’ll just close up my mentions of it here by pointing out that if you ever wanted some great reading, it’s fun to take a gander at Museums in a Common Core World.
  • Um . . . awesome.

FallenSpaceman Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

If you’re not a regular reader of the very rare middle grade science fiction / fantasy blog Views From the Tesseract, I cannot recommend it highly enough.  Stephanie’s recent post on the book The Fallen Spaceman is fabulous.  Particularly when you discover which Caldecott winner and his son did the illustrations.  Australian readers in particular are urged to comment on it.

  • Step right up, ladies and gentlemen! It’s time for a little game I like to call Guess the Picture Book. Or, rather, it’s a little game Marc Tyler Nobleman likes to call, since he’s the one who came up with it in the first place.

SilentBook 300x92 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.A book award for wordless picture books?  Boy, wouldn’t it be nice if such a thing existed?  Well here’s the crazy thing.  Now it does.  Seems that the folks in The Town of Mulazzo (no, I am not making any of this up) collaborated with a host of heavies and came up with The Silent Book Contest.  This is for unpublished manuscripts, so if you’ve a wordless piece that’s been burning a hole in your desk drawer, now’s the time to pull it out and submit it.  Many thanks to Sergio Ruzzier for the heads up!

  • It sort of sounds like a dream.  Apparently if you win the Louise Seaman Bechtel Fellowship then you get to “spend a total of four weeks or more reading and studying at the Baldwin Library of the George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville.”  The catch?  You have to be a working children’s librarian.  Still and all, what fun!  Maybe when I’m older . . .
  • Well, I can’t really report on this without being a little biased.  The first ever NYC Neighborhood Library Awards are happening and five of NYPL’s branches are up for contention.  Better still, two are in the Bronx (as I visit branches I am rapidly coming to the opinion that the Bronx is this awesome place that no one knows jack diddly squat about).  Good luck, guys!
  • Things I didn’t know until this week:  1. That the New York Historical Society has this amazing children’s space that’s so drop dead gorgeous that I think I might cry.  2. That they have their own bookclub for kids who love history called The History Detectives.  What’s more, they love authors who have written fiction and nonfiction books about New York history.  So if any of you guys ever want to make a bookclub appearance, these folks would be a perfect “get”.

ChittyChitty 500x223 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

Of course, I highly recommend you read the piece just the same.  The art of those jackets is dee-licious.  Thanks to AL Direct for the link.

  • To be honest, his grandfather was also a looker back in the WWII days.  If you don’t believe me, read one of those books about his spying days.
  • Here in NYC, Bookfest (that cataclysmic delight of children’s book discussions, hosted by Bank Street College) is nigh.  Nigh and I’m moderating a discussion that so far includes Nathan Hale and Grace Lin . . . because life RULES!!  Sign on up for one of the panels anyway.  I’m sure there’s space (for now).
  • Daily Image:

I don’t suppose this is technically a children’s literature article, but the hidden underground flowering world they discovered not that long ago sure feels like something out a kids book. Just a taste:

UndergroundWorld1 500x332 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.

UndergroundWorld2 Fusenews: Berries of new, cots of Cal.



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