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Viewing: Blog Posts Tagged with: reading, Most Recent at Top [Help]
Results 26 - 50 of 2,038
26. No More Bestselling Women’s Book Club This Year

Apologies to those reading along with us but alas, travel, deadlines, and sundry other things have crashed down upon Kate Elliott and I and we will not be doing the book club for the next few months. We hope to resume next year.

In the meantime you can find our discussions of the books we’ve already read here.

Thanks to all who’ve been taking part. We’ve learnt a lot.

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27. 187 Reasons Why a Teacher Needs Books

Today’s guest blogger, Sarah Kilway, wrote to us after receiving hundreds of new books for her students. We couldn’t resist sharing her story with you.

Davis 9th grade center 7_croppedI teach 187 kids at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center in Indianapolis, IN. The majority of my students live in poverty. Most have only one parent at home.

Not many of my kids own books, nor were they read to as children. Even as 9th graders, they lack basic common knowledge of fairy tales, fables and iconic book characters.

Our school has many great resources, but when something is lacking, my colleagues and I step in. This often means spending my own money on books and other items for my students, but it’s totally worth it. I also have First Book.

Davis 9th grade centerThanks to First Book, I was recently able to give a new book to every single one of my students – all 187! A few told me it was the first book they’d ever owned. Some said it was the first book they have ever finished. Such a proud moment for me and them – one that I wanted to share with you.

My students now ask me to go to the library on a daily basis.

Please give to First Book today so I can continue helping them discover and enjoy reading, and so other teachers can too. Your support puts a whole new world within their reach.

The post 187 Reasons Why a Teacher Needs Books appeared first on First Book Blog.

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28. Reading - It's Good For You!

Honestly, I don't care.

No, not entirely true -- telling me I should read something because it's good for me is a turn off.

Really.

The New York Times ran a Bookends dialogue asking, Should Literature Be Considered Useful?

And I ask -- why. Why.

As an adult, reading because I want to -- this really pisses me off.

Does everything have to be "useful"? Does everything have to have reason, a point, a higher message?

Listen, it's cool if that is why you read fiction. Or, rather, if that's one of the reasons you read. I think, at different times, we read for different reasons. So that some people are indeed reading for a purpose beyond entertainment, that includes gaining education, information, or enlightenment. That's cool. That's your choice.

But please -- don't frame your choice as being better than mine. Don't frame your choice as meaning that's the only reason to read fiction. Don't frame it as the only way to gain that useful information or education.

I'm afraid that part of the reason literature is looked at as "what can it do for the reader," "what benefit it gives," is that, sadly, is the world we live in - what is valued is not being lost in the book, but the test taken after reading to prove that the message was received and the lesson understood. Reading is literacy and grades, test scores and college applications, jobs and promotions.

Pleasure and enjoyment, escape and relaxation, isn't enough in a world where everything has to be purposeful and achieving and enlightenment.

I actually find I get a bit defensive about it -- like I have to justify reading for fun. That I have to give reasons about how I spend my other time to show my non-reading time is useful and productive enough to prove that I deserve time for fun. I fall into that trap that values the "work" above the "fun." Look at all the hours I worked! Look at all the professional reading I do! Look at all the other things going on in my life! Look at what I already know, that I don't need to read a book to know that "message"! And then I pull back, realizing I'm simply supporting the idea that reading as fun is something that comes in second, has to be earned, isn't good enough.

And I cycle back to my start:

I read for fun. Not for enlightenment, not to be a better person, not to learn about the universal human experience. I read to get scared, I read to fall in love, I read to feel less alone, I read for adventure, I read for so many reasons that all fall under.... because I want to.

And if that's why I read, why shouldn't that be OK for teens and kids?

Oh, I get that just like I have things to read with a purpose for work, they have things they have to read with a purpose for school.

But that's not the only way or reason to read. And, especially outside the school environment, reading for fun, rather than reading "because", should be championed.

It shouldn't be a guilty pleasure.

It should just be ... a pleasure.





Related posts: Libraries - More Than The Common Core


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© Elizabeth Burns of A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy

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29. Elementary School Homework and Reading in Math and Science

Yesterday I read a post by Donalyn Miller entitled No More Language Arts and Crafts. It struck a chord with me as I thought about how we try to motivate kids to read, and all the ways we get it wrong.

First, let me respond to this by telling you about a little rant I usually end up making during the first weeks of the semester. It generally occurs when I teach students how to write lesson plans and we get to the section labeled homework. I've seen a lot of bad homework over the years, as a parent and a teacher educator reading lesson plans. It seems that no one really thinks about why we give homework. What purpose does it serve? How does it advance what you're doing in the classroom? Is it absolutely necessary? Homework should be given because it is beneficial to student learning, and not because it's "school policy."

There has been a lot of research done on the effects of homework. One of the best introductions to this is the Educational Leadership piece The Case For and Against Homework.

I do tell my students (future teachers) that I think a worksheet with 25 problems is a terrible idea for math homework. I would rather see students solve one good problem and explain how they did it than use rote skills to complete a series of problems that doesn't do much to engage their brains. Also, too many teachers assign homework as practice long before students are ready to tackle the problems on their own.

Ultimately, my suggestion for elementary school homework is "Read, play, and puzzle."
Read - Reading for homework is a no-brainer, and EVERYTHING and ANYTHING should count. How can we ever hope to build stamina if kids don't sit and read? Kids should be read to and read on their own. Please don't tell me that wordless picture books and graphic novels don't count. You won't convince me that reading David Wiesner's wordless book Flotsam is any less challenging or engaging than a "traditional" picture book with words. Or that the graphic novel The Great American Dust Bowl by Don Brown isn't a masterpiece of history and science, weaving together sourced facts in an accurate historical narrative. 
Play - Kids weren't meant to sit in a chair all day long. They need time to run, play, imagine, create, and do all kinds of things the curriculum doesn't allow them to do. When kids get home from school the first order of business shouldn't be homework. They should be allowed to run and play outside, ride a bike, walk the dog, catch frogs (if they do that sort of thing), climb trees, and more. They should build with LEGO and GoldiBlox, draw pictures, build train track, topple dominoes, play board games, and more. Play is just as important as structured learning, and kids don't get enough of it today.  
Puzzle - When was the last time you sat down to solve a puzzle and did it for fun? I do this all the time. Sudoku, crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles, logic problems, tangrams ... I could go on. Puzzles are good for the brain. They develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. They teach kids to persevere, guess and check, collaborate with others, and try a whole host of new strategies. Can you think of a better training ground for mathematical thinking than puzzling? Now imagine if your teacher encouraged you to do this for homework. 

Let me bring this back to reading and how we document what kids do. When I taught middle school science I had a large classroom library. Most of the books were nonfiction of the Eyewitness variety, though I had a lot of books by Patricia Lauber and Seymour Simon. Every Friday one class of kids went home with a book from my library. EVERY KID. There were not reading logs, no book report forms, no AR tests. The books came back on Thursday and each child gave a quick book talk. These were informal. We sat in a circle, they held up their books, gave the title and author, and then gave a general overview and one cool thing they learned. Each student was given one minute. The hardest part of the assignment? Cutting kids off at the one-minute mark so everyone had a chance to speak. I only lost two books in the three years I did this. Kids didn't forget to bring them back. They often wanted to keep books longer than the week. And you know what? THEY WANTED TO READ. The bonus for me was that they were learning a lot of science on their own and from their peers. During the week they had their books there were lots of side conversations about what they were reading.

Isn't this what we want? Kids excited about reading and what they are learning? Yes, I think so.

I've been working on a series of "homework" bags to share with my classes. The math bags contain a book and a game (with all the materials and directions to play). Homework is reading and play. The beauty is that the play is mathematically oriented, so kids are practicing and reinforcing basic skills. The science bags contain a pair of linked books, usually a nonfiction or poetry title with a picture book. For example, one bag pairs a copy of the book An Island Grows by Lola Schaefer with the book Volcano Rising by Elizabeth Rusch. Where I can include cheap materials and activity ideas, I may just do that. 

Ultimately, I don't want reading or homework to be a chore. I want kids to be engaged and thinking. I don't believe homework should be given out per some classroom policy, but should be thoughtfully devised and intentionally planned. If we do this, it will make a difference.

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30. Before My Eyes Book Review

Title: Before My Eyes Author: Caroline Bock Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin Publication Date: February 11, 2014 ISBN-13: 978-1250045584 304 pp. ARC provided by publisher Caroline Bock has written a compelling YA contemporary that hits a lot of hot button issues -- gun violence, pill popping, mental illness -- as well as personal issues -- loneliness, loss, identity -- in a way brings its

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31. Weekend Links: Links & Reads to Support International Literacy Day!

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Monday, September 8th is International Literacy Day.

International Literacy Day

Here are some facts about literacy and the event as well:

Some 775 million adults lack minimum literacy skills; one in five adults is still not literate and two-thirds of them are women; 60.7 million children are out-of-school and many more attend irregularly or drop out.

To raise public awareness of the extraordinary value of the written word and of the necessity to promote a literate society, the following writers are supporting UNESCO through the Writers for Literacy Initiative. UNESCO, The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, is a specialized agency of the United Nations (UN). Its purpose is to contribute to peace and security by promoting international collaboration through education, science, and culture in order to further universal respect for justice, the rule of law, and human rights along with fundamental freedom proclaimed in the UN Charter. It is the heir of the League of Nations’ International Commission on Intellectual Cooperation. UNESCO’s aim is “to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.”

International literacy day

As you know, I am a huge advocate of family reading time and children’s literacy. I have been for as long as I can remember. Using Jump Into a Book, the books I create through my publishing house Audrey Press and now with Multicultural Children’s Book Day, I feel like I am even more determined to share the joys and importance of reading with our children. Even though my own kids are grown, they are still all avid readers; something that I am very proud of. Books can unlock the magic of life, let us travel to faraway places without leaving the couch, allow kids of all cultures to see themselves in the pages of a book and share of the wonder of this Big Ol’ World.

Pair that reading-love with learning activities and, in my opinion, it’s a home run :)

That being said, it’s time for my weekly installment of Weekend Links. This is my chance to share some of the wonderful book review and reading activities that I have discovered in my weekly internet travels. These are all high quality reading-based blog posts from some of my favorite, and highly respected, reading and play bloggers. Enjoy!

 

Leanna from All Done Monkey- Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine {Around the World in 12 Dishes} -

Cottage Cheese Cake and Learning About Ukraine | Alldonemonkey.com

Erik at This Kid Reviews Books- Reporting from the National Book Festival.

Growing Book by Book: Alphabet Learning: Apple Stamping and PlayfulPreschool

The Pleasantest Thing: 33 Must-Read Awesome Picture Books!

Boy Teacher Mama: Back to School Rules

Learning with Tangrams! Grandfather Tang’s Story

Grandfather Tang’s Story
My Multicultural World: The Land of Vikings and Trolls

Over a Dozen Great Audiobooks for Kids: http://www.whatdowedoallday.com/2014/08/audiobooks-for-kids.html via @momandkiddo

About Parenting: The Librarian of Basra; A True Story About Iraq

Sprout’s Bookshelf: How to start a conversation about #Ferguson with your kids – a list of resources that can help.

A Mighty Girl‘s Pick of the Day – SEEDS OF CHANGE, by Jen Cullerton Johnson, illus. by Sonia Lynn Sadler

Nerdy Book Club: Top 10 Picture Books for Activists in Training by Mathangi Subramanian

 

What great book links have YOU found this week?

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The post Weekend Links: Links & Reads to Support International Literacy Day! appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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32. Books That Changed Me

Today the Sydney Morning Herald is running my entry in their long-running Books That Changed Me series. I struggled mightily to get it down to four. Especially as they initially told me I could name five. There are too many books that have changed me! Too many books that I love with every fibre of my being!

The four that made the cut:

Kylie Tennant’s Foveaux (1939) is a novel that reads like history. Like geography. Almost geology. It’s slow, there’s no plot to speak of, it’s everything I don’t like about literary novels. I love it. Tennant lays bare Surry Hills from before the first world war up to the first hints of the next war. She swims in her joy at the Aussie vernacular. It’s bloody bosker.

Angela Carter’s Bloody Chamber & Other Stories (1979) because, well, fairy tales. When I was little I made up my own, and the ghostly echo of “Once upon a time” shapes all the fiction I’ve ever written. But it wasn’t until I read this explosion of a collection that I realised how much could be done to fairy fales, and how much they could do to me. Carter taught me the anatomy of the fairy tale and how to make use of the viscera.

I give people Jacqueline Woodson’s If You Come Softly (1998) when they demand proof that novels for teens (YA) can be as good as the best novels for adults. In a scant 200 pages Woodson delves deep into New York City’s geographical, class, and racial fissures, and then she breaks your heart.

About Writing (2006) by Samuel R. Delany is the smartest book about writing I’ve ever read. In a series of letters and lectures Delany leaps from the intricacies of punctuating dialogue, to those of creating character, to existential questions about what it is that a writer can make a reader know. Delany with both his fiction and his non-fiction changed the way I write and how I think about writing.

These are the ones I couldn’t include:

I don’t know how old I was when I first read Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (1813). Very young. I’ve read it so many times that I could probably read it from memory. Yet every time I read it I find something new. On the last reread I focussed on the world of the servants. The time before that on her extraordinary world building with her razor focus on economics. It’s true that Persuasion (1818) is now my favourite of her novels but it was not the one that changed me when I first read it as a pre-teen.

I’ve always read True Crime as well as fictional crime. Always veering towards the dark: Patricia Highsmith, Jim Thompson, Walter Mosley, Denise Mina. At their core are these questions: What is evil? Why do people do evil things? Why are we fascinated? I picked up Vincent Bugliosi’s Helter Skelter (1974) when I was very young and didn’t know who Charles Manson was and hadn’t thought much about the question of evil. This book meant I never forgot.1

I didn’t know which Octavia Butler book to pick. They’re all amazing. Even Survivor (1978), an early novel that she never wanted to see in print again. I read it in the bowels of the Rare Books section of the University of Sydney. It’s not her best but it’s still better than most every other novel by anyone else. Her stories in Bloodchild & Other Stories are a revelation. Each one perfect in a different way from the last. Read everything she wrote!

Courtney Milan is my favourite writer of historical romances. She’s brilliant at torpedoing the constraints of the genre while working within it. Take Unclaimed (2011) in which a courtesan has to seduce a Victorian rockstar professional virgin who’s written the book on how to be celibate. She neatly upends the heroine as virgin; hero as rake paradigm of most historical romances and she does it with wit. Her latest, The Suffragette Scandal (2014) is her best book yet.

Each of these fiction writers showed me what was can be achieved with writing. They taught me to push past the constraints of genre and to think about the impact of every single word. They changed me as a writer and as a person. I recommend them all. In fact, I kind of feel like rereading them all right now. For the millionth time.

  1. This is the one book on the list that I can’t wholeheartedly recommend. But I think it’s important to note that some books that change you aren’t particularly good.

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33. My Kids Need Books

Today’s guest blogger, Adara Robbins, is 8th grade teacher at YES Prep Southwest, a public charter school in Houston, Texas.

IMG_1745

My students and I during after school study time.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

It’s a tough question. But imagine trying to answer if you didn’t know what your life would look like tomorrow – much less years from now. This my students’ reality.

My 8th graders at YES Prep Southwest face the constant stress of poverty. They can’t be sure where they will sleep tomorrow. They have to take care of younger siblings, leaving limited time for homework. They have few, if any, books at home. With so much uncertainty, it can take a lot of work for them to visualize a future where they will succeed and attend college.

But they will. By the time my students finish high school, 100% of them will be accepted to a four-year college – it’s a graduation requirement.

Many of my students come to me up to five years behind their peers academically. As their teacher, I guide them through a demanding curriculum that brings them up to grade level and inspires a genuine love of learning. Neither could happen without having great books to give them.

IMG_1694

In the gym with some of my outstanding female students.

Because of First Book, my kids have the books they need to become strong, confident, enthusiastic readers. They’ve grown academically. They get along better with one another. They love and constantly ask for more books. My students are simply happier when they start their day reading.

They also work extremely hard. They attend school from 7:30am to 4:30pm, often staying late for extra help. Their tenacity and determination inspires me to do a better job every day.

All over the country, teachers like me face the challenge of helping kids living in poverty read, learn and succeed. Your support of First Book gives us the resources we need to help kids change the course of their lives. Please consider making a gift today.

The post My Kids Need Books appeared first on First Book Blog.

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34. A Visit With Stephen Hodges-Author of The Magic Poof

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{Guest post from Stephen Hodges-author of The Magic Poof}

As Jump Into a Book’s Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza draws to a close, I’d like to welcome one last guest blogger and author. I became aware of author Stephen Hodges wonderful book The Magic Poof during our January 2014 Multicultural Children’s Book Day celebration. I love Stephen’s work, his humor and how he uses this delightful books to tell a wonderful story. I can’t wait to read Book #2 in the Magic Poof series!

Welcome, Stephen!

1

When I think about a multicultural children’s book that I love, I admit to being a little biased.

The book I love is called “The Magic Poof” and I’m biased because I’m the one who wrote it! The Magic Poof” is about Ange-Marie, a little African-American girl who has always felt different. You would feel different too if you had a giant ball of nutty magical hair on your head with his own personality and magic powers! In this first book of the series, Ange-Marie is deciding what to wear for picture day. However, her hair, aka the Poof, also wants to look good for picture day. How does Ange-Marie look her best and keep her enchanted hairy friend a secret? In the end, both the Poof and Ange-Marie find that compromise is the key to any friendship.

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So you are probably wondering why a short skinny white guy writes a book about a little African-American girl with a Poof of hair that has a nutty personality. Well the simple reason is love. My wife is African-American, and she has a ball of poofy hair too. Every morning, while she would eat breakfast I would end up playing with it. I would stretch it, form it into shapes and then I would start making it talk! My wife’s poof would start poking her and talking into her ear. And that’s when the true love began. See my wife would tell me: “I love you… but you need to stop playing with my hair and find something else to do.” And that’s when “The Magic Poof” was born!

My love for my wife inspired me to create characters that I truly loved. I imagine the character of Ange-Marie like having my own daughter, someone I could watch grow up as I wrote more books. And of course, writing about her best friend, a big ball of magic hair and their adventures would be fun too! I love these characters because they remind me that being different is a great thing, and it’s so important to share our differences with the world. It’s what makes us all truly unique.

“The Magic Poof” Activity:

Draw a gigantic, wacky hair-do, in any style you want on a large piece of paper. Make it fun, make it nutty. It can be silly, it can be serious and it can be just as alive as the Poof himself! Take the drawing you created and hold it up to your head as if it was your own hair. Then take a Poofy selfie and show it to everyone you love!

 

 

Please connect with me! My website is www.themagicpoof.com
For Book 2
Fyi: both books are available on my website for cheaper than amazon. (right now book 2 on amazon is selling for $17.49!)
Looking forward to connecting with all of you!
Displaying Stephen Hodges.jpg
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35. Evil Librarian Giveaway

Are you ready for a giveaway? I’ve got an ARC of a book that releases next week, EVIL LIBRARIAN by Michelle Knudsen. Previously known for writing middle grade (The Dragon of Trelian and The Princess of Trelian) and picture books (the best-selling Library Lion), this is her debut novel for young adults. I have to […]

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36. Weekend Links: Great Links to Inspire Young Minds

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It’s time for Weekend Links! This is my chance to share some of the amazing links, articles and resources that I have discovered throughout the course of the week…AND…there are some really, really good ones this week. Enjoy!

weekend links

 

Want to get those creative writing juices flowing in your child? Playful Learning has a great booklist of10 Books That Inspire Kids to Write

10-Writing-Books-Collage

10 Great Multicultural Children’s Books via Flavorwire

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Planet Smarty Pants has a wonderful blog post about helping kids learn about their heritage.

Here’s another awesome contribution (there has some TONS of good ones) for the Read Around The World Summer Reading Series If You’re Not From The Prairie…{Canadian prairies} Crystal’s Tiny Treasures

Multicultural Kid Blogs Summer Reading If You're Not From The Prairie

Around the World in 30 Books — A Trip Across the Globe – Inspire Creativity, Reduce Chaos & Encourage Learning with Kids

Arpimd the world in 30 books
Kid World Citizen had TWO wonderful topics: Using the Web to Take Virtual Field Trips – Kids World Citizen
AND …Names/Cultural Identities in Immigrant Children. {LOVE these!}

Books about Immigrant Children- Kid World Citizen
In honor of school starting, PragmaticMom has 10 Perfect Read Aloud Books for 2nd Grade. What would you add?
What great reading links did you find this week?

 

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37. Back to School Booklist – Humor

So, the kids are going back to school. Or are already back in school. Down here in Mississippi, this is the fourth week of school! Middle school is hard. The adjustments, the transitions. A lot of turmoil. So what I’m saying is that I think our kids deserve a laugh. If you need a quick display idea or just something to hand a kid who’s dreading going to school on Tuesday, here’s a list of really hilarious middle grade:

The Ginny Davis books by Jennifer Holm (of Babymouse fame!). These are old enough that your middle school readers might not be familiar with them, and they’re great. Filled with photographs, journal entries, and looking like a scrapbook, this colorful series will grab a tween’s attention–and make them giggle, too.

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle – every single person I talk to about this book says “HILARIOUS” in all caps. Nate wants to be in a Broadway show so bad that he’s willing to risk pretty much everything to make it to an open casting call for ET: The Musical.  Hijinks and shenanigans ensue! Per my friend Jessamyn, a school librarian–if your kids like audiobooks, this is the one to hand them. Federle does his own narration and with his acting background, totally nails it.

It says “funny” right in the title! But seriously, these books (including I Even Funnier and the upcoming I Even Funniest) are hugely popular in my library and I can often hear my tweens giggling at them in the stacks.

A very nearly honorable league of pirates. A sailor’s daughter shipped off to finishing school who wants nothing more than to sail the seven seas. A talking stone gargoyle. Need I say more?

A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin with a quest, a lot of magical creatures, and tons of butt jokes. Because his name is Rump. This one is adored by everyone I give it to.

 

One of the reasons that we read is to escape. Let’s remember that when giving books to stressed out tweens and teens.

*
Our cross-poster from ALSC today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

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38. Back to School Booklist – Humor

So, the kids are going back to school. Or are already back in school. Down here in Mississippi, this is the fourth week of school! Middle school is hard. The adjustments, the transitions. A lot of turmoil. So what I’m saying is that I think our kids deserve a laugh. If you need a quick display idea or just something to hand a kid who’s dreading going to school on Tuesday, here’s a list of really hilarious middle grade:

 

Source: Goodreads

Source: Goodreads

The Ginny Davis books by Jennifer Holm (of Babymouse fame!). These are old enough that your middle school readers might not be familiar with them, and they’re great. Filled with photographs, journal entries, and looking like a scrapbook, this colorful series will grab a tween’s attention–and make them giggle, too.

Source: Goodreads

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle – every single person I talk to about this book says “HILARIOUS” in all caps. Nate wants to be in a Broadway show so bad that he’s willing to risk pretty much everything to make it to an open casting call for ET: The Musical.  Hijinks and shenanigans ensue! Per my friend Jessamyn, a school librarian–if your kids like audiobooks, this is the one to hand them. Federle does his own narration and with his acting background, totally nails it.

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

It says “funny” right in the title! But seriously, these books (including I Even Funnier and the upcoming I Even Funniest) are hugely popular in my library and I can often hear my tweens giggling at them in the stacks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

A very nearly honorable league of pirates. A sailor’s daughter shipped off to finishing school who wants nothing more than to sail the seven seas. A talking stone gargoyle. Need I say more?

 

 

 

 

 

Source: Goodreads

 

 

 

A retelling of Rumpelstiltskin with a quest, a lot of magical creatures, and tons of butt jokes. Because his name is Rump. This one is adored by everyone I give it to.

 

 

 

 

One of the reasons that we read is to escape. Let’s remember that when giving books to stressed out tweens and teens.

*
Our cross-poster from YALSA today is Ally Watkins (@aswatki1). Ally is a youth services librarian in Mississippi, and has worked with ages birth-18 for the last 5 years.

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39. Friday Feature:


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Summary:
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life—or her actual death—she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.

Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world . . . forever.

My thoughts:
The opening of this book hooked me right away. Amelia doesn't remember her life or her death, yet she keeps almost reliving her death, waking up in the murky water that took her life. She's stuck in between life and death and can't seem to move on. Then when Joshua almost dies in the same river, she tries to summon all her strength to save him, which isn't easy considering she's dead. By some twist of fate, he sees her and she's able to save him. The two form a bond right away, which is understandable since she did save his life. He's even accepting of the fact that she's a ghost.

But as Amelia finds comfort in Joshua, she finds torment in another. Eli is a spirit like Amelia and he knows about her death. Eli tries to manipulate Amelia and get her to become something she isn't willing to be. I loved her struggle with Eli and how Joshua was able to help her just as much as she helped him.

This was a very enjoyable read.

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40. Reading


Joanne Friar

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41. A Chair for My Mother Book Review & Activity {Guest Post from Vicki Arnold}

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My Discover Your World Summer Reading Extravaganza is winding down, but I continue to be amazed at the high-quality and in-depth book reviews my guest posters have come forth with. This week is no exception either as Vicki Arnold from The Library Adventure joins us to share a wonderful book and activity that your family is sure to enjoy. Welcome, Vicki!

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A Chair For My Mother was written and illustrated by Vera B. Williams. This picture book is recommended for ages 4-8, but I used it with my 8-11 year olds and my 2 year old. My older children enjoy picture books still and I enjoy the conversation that can arise from the story lines. Experiencing a picture book with kids who can analyze the text and photos is completely different than experiencing it with a toddler or even a younger elementary student.

Vera B. Williams was born in California in 1927. She grew up and currently lives in New York City. At her parents’ encouragement, she studied art in high school and in college. She graduated Black Mountain College in 1949. Before becoming an author/illustrator, she taught in multiple alternative schools from 1953-1970. She then went on to write and illustrate many children’s books, for which she won several awards.

A Chair For My Mother is a 1983 Caldecott Honor Book and rightfully so. The illustrations are colorful and have a whimsical feel to them – childish, but not baby-ish. I particularly enjoyed the city block that illustrated the community coming together to help Rosa’s family.

The basic story line is about Rosa, her mother, and grandmother, though extended family and their community play a part, too. Sometimes after school, Rosa visits her mother at her work. Josephine, her mother’s boss, gives her jobs, too. All the change and half of Rosa’s earnings go into a huge jar.

We then find out that the jar is how the small family is saving money to buy a big, soft chair for mama to rest her feet in at the end of the day because all of their possessions had been destroyed in a fire and they only had the “hard kitchen chairs” to sit in. Ultimately, they save enough money and buy their dream chair.

There are a lot of themes you could pull from to discuss with children. Family is an obvious choice, financial hardships is another option. I chose a third.

In the middle of the book, there is a celebration of how the community comes together to help when the family of three moves into Rosa’s aunt and uncle’s basement apartment. The image of neighbors bringing what they could to give to someone who had lost everything is touching.

A Chair for My Mother

A Chair For My Mother Activity

I am all about simplicity. There is a time and place for elaborate crafts and activities, but I’m just not in a season of life for that right now. This activity is simple. We chose to focus on the kindness shown by Rosa’s neighbors. For this activity, you will need:

  • paper
  • pen or pencil

I also used a clipboard, but that’s optional. ;)

I labeled our paper with these headings:

  • Home
  • Family
  • Community/Neighbors
  • Strangers
  • Into the World

What we did next was to focus on ways we could serve or perform random acts of kindness in these areas. I’ll explain each section with a little more detail.

  • Home – We discussed ways they could bless the other members of our household. From my experience, this can be both the easiest and the hardest for kids. The easiest because these are the people they are in contact with each day so they have a better idea of what would be a help or blessing to those individuals. The hardest because it can be difficult to want to bless your siblings in certain seasons of life.
  • Family – This is where we put acts of service we could do for extended family members like grandparents, aunts and uncles, and cousins.
  • Community/Neighbors – Those around our home. The ones that we may or may not know all that well.
  • Strangers – We thought of the strangers that cross our paths as we go grocery shopping or run other errands. My kids ideas were simple, but, from experience, they often are met with the most encouraging responses. Things like smiling at strangers, holding open doors, and helping load groceries in cars.
  • Into the World – The last area we discussed was how we could have an impact globally. For us, this was pretty easy. Through our church we have knowledge of many ministries that work with many different demographics. We started with some that we already support (Operation Christmas Child) and then made a note to explore more ways we could help other ministries and demographics.

Finally, I challenged my kids to actually DO some of the items we listed or come up with another idea. Either way, I wanted them to actually serve, not just think or talk about serving.

You can find A Chair For My Mother at your local library or on Amazon (that is an affiliate link, you can learn more about them and why I thank you for your support here.)

 

Vicki Arnold from The Library Adventure

Vicki Arnold is the happily married, homeschooling mom of four children. She blogs about homeschooling, faith, and books at Simply Vicki. She is also the owner of The Library Adventure, where a great group of writers share their passion for books, literacy, and libraries! You can also find her and The Library Adventure on Pinterest pinning great resources for everyone.

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The post A Chair for My Mother Book Review & Activity {Guest Post from Vicki Arnold} appeared first on Jump Into A Book.

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42. Once a Mentor, Forever a Friend

It’s been over 10 years since Mr. Wilbert Scott and Cashadell Lewis first met, but both remember it like it was yesterday.

“My name is Cashadell, but you can call me Cash,” said Lewis.

“You call me Mr. Scott. And I will call you Cashadell Lewis,” Mr. Scott replied.

“When I first saw Mr. Scott, I knew he didn’t play,” recalls Cashadell. “And even though I didn’t want it at the time, I knew I needed someone like him.”

Mr. Scott had been paired with Cashadell as a Power Lunch reading mentor with Everybody Wins! Atlanta. The program, now in its 18th year, pairs volunteer reading mentors from local businesses and community organizations with first through fifth grade students identified by their teachers as reading below their grade level. Nearly 90 percent of the 550 students who currently participate in the Power Lunch program live in poverty. Many have no books at home.

Every Thursday, Mr. Scott visited Hope-Hill Elementary School to read aloud with Cashadell over the lunch hour. As weeks turned into years, Cashadell grew into a stronger reader and developed a special bond with Mr. Scott.

Now a mentor and a friend, Mr. Scott sees Cashadell graduating from college and returning to Hope-Hill Elementary as a mentor himself. And when he does, First Book will be there to support him.

Power Lunch photoSince June 2011, First Book has provided Everybody Wins! Atlanta with 10,126 books. The books are used to stock book carts, which hold hundreds of books for reading pairs to choose from, at the 11 schools that participate in the Power Lunch program.  Each Power Lunch student also receives at least three new books to take home every year.

Last year, students got to take home even more books, thanks to our friends at dd’s DISCOUNTS. The local dd’s DISCOUNTS store raised funds to help provide over 700 brand-new books to Everybody Wins! Atlanta.

Help more kids more kids like Cashadell read, learn and succeed. Join dd’s DISCOUNTS in providing new books to outstanding programs like Everybody Wins! Atlanta by making a gift to First Book today.

The post Once a Mentor, Forever a Friend appeared first on First Book Blog.

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43. No Bestselling Women’s Fiction Book Club This Month

Due to a terrible combination of deadlines, travelling, illness and other assorted calamaties Kate Elliott and myself will not be doing the book club this month. We’re bummed about it too. But life she threw too much at us this month.

We will be back in September to discuss Han Suyin’s A Many-Splendored Thing (1952). This is the first out of print book that we’ll be reading. I haven’t been able to find an ebook edition either. It’s truly out of print. Start putting it on hold at your library now.

You can see the schedule for the rest of the year here.

That discussion will be held: 30 September Tues in Australia and 29 September Monday in the USA.

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44. Monday Mishmash 8/18/14


Happy Monday! Monday Mishmash is a weekly meme dedicated to sharing what's on your mind. Feel free to grab the button and post your own Mishmash.

Here's what's on my mind today:
  1. I'm home!  I finally got to go home this weekend. The walls are back up and most are painted. Two more floors have to be installed, and the kitchen still needs to be finished, but we're making progress.
  2. Blog Tour Prep  I'm finishing up blog tour prep for Into the Fire this week. The Perfect For You posts are all sent and ready to go.
  3. Reading I'm making an effort to catch up on my reading, which took a big hit from not being home.
  4. New Meme Buttons  Now that others are joining in on my weekly memes, I made new buttons. Check them out and feel free to participate in any of my memes.

  5. Crow's Rest Cover Reveal  Check out this cover for Crow's Rest by Angelica R. Jackson.

Avery Flynn arrives for a visit at her Uncle Tam's, eager to rekindle her summertime romance with her crush-next-door, Daniel.
But Daniel’s not the sweet, neurotic guy she remembers—and she wonders if this is her Daniel at all. Or if someone—some thing—has taken his place.
Her quest to find the real Daniel—and get him back—plunges Avery into a world of Fae and changelings, where creatures swap bodies like humans change their socks, and magic lives much closer to home than she ever imagined.
That's it for me. What's on your mind today?

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45. The Man Behind The Woman in Pink

Sites that advertise ebook sales seems to be popping up all over the internet. From Bookbub to Book Gorilla to Pixel of Ink, all strive to “personalize” listings for subscribers. But when I stumbled across The Fussy Librarian, I was impressed with the clean beauty of the site, the level of personalization for readers and […]

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46. Reading Fuels Writing

Need some inspiration to write? Fall into a great book and read like a writer!

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47. Yawn

I recently began reading Far from the Madding Crowd on my Kindle. I am so glad I am finally getting around to reading Hardy. Why did I wait so long? Please don’t answer that.

Anyway, after work today on the train I was reading and Oak, the main character thus far, was playing Peeping Tom, watching an older woman and a young lady he had just seen for the first time earlier that day feed a cow and take care of her new calf. The hour was late, somewhere around 1 a.m. by the stars Hardy tells us. The young lady yawns (but not in an inappropriately large way, she does have manners) and Oak, peeping through the gap in the barn boards is overwhelmed and suddenly yawns too. And I, reading the book, found myself attacked by a yawn.

Has this ever happened to you before? You are made to yawn by a character in the book yawning?

Or what about when a character is really thirsty, have you ever suddenly found yourself thirsty too? Of hungry? Books make me hungry all the time and there doesn’t even have to be a description of a great meal that makes my mouth water. I am currently reading The Memory Garden and there is an amazing dinner scene. I was doing fine, until they had blueberry sorbet. Oh that sounded good, give me a some please! I could even taste it and feel the cold in mouth even though the author didn’t spend any time actually describing it. But what has really gotten me is the chocolate cake that was mentioned a couple times. I was struck by a sudden craving. I came really close to asking Bookman if he would make one.

Other times while reading I have felt hot or cold or found myself squinting along with the character in an imagined bright sun. And of course tears. There have also been tears springing to my eyes as quickly as they spring to the eyes of the character in the book.

Being so affected probably has something to do with an active imagination and mirror neurons. When you see someone pick up a cup, for instance, mirror neurons supposedly fire in your brain in the same areas that would go to work if you were actually picking up the cup yourself. I’m wondering if I start reading books in which people get lots of exercise whether that means I am exercising too? Wouldn’t that be nice? Reading about someone running a marathon does not equal me actually running one. Very much wishful thinking but you can’t blame a girl for trying.


Filed under: Books, Reading

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48. Take Action for Kids in Need

Action Kit coverWhen Melissa Deneen Shipp surprised each of her students with a new book of their very own, their reaction surprised her. “Normally this is the part when they maul me with hugs,” she said. “But instead they just stared. They literally couldn’t believe their eyes!”

She told her students, “Yes, YOU are the owner of that book!” Jumping up and down, her students shouted in reply, “This is mine, this is mine!” It was one of the best days Melissa has ever had as a teacher.

For over 20 years, teachers like Melissa and supporters like you have joined First Book to bring moments of joy, comfort and learning to millions of kids in need.

But there’s so much more to be done. Over 32 million kids in the U.S. live in poverty. In their homes, schools and communities, books are rare.

Action Kit Outside Envelope StampAs our kids return to school this month, we invite you to support them – now, throughout the year and into the future.

How can you make a difference? Volunteer your time, tell educators in your community about First Book or donate to get books in the hands of children in need. Check out our 2014 Action Kit and discover the many ways you can get involved today.

First Book will provide 15 million books to kids in need this year and we believe we can meet this goal because of supporters like you. Take action today!

The post Take Action for Kids in Need appeared first on First Book Blog.

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49. my favourite books

These are taken from an interview with the amazing Zoe Toft

page-six[1]

page-seven[1]


Filed under: children's illustration, dances, flying, journeys, snow, songs

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50. Friday Feature: Catch Me When I Fall Review


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Recruited at his death to be a Protector of the Night, seventeen-year-old Daniel Graham has spent two-hundred years fighting Nightmares and guarding humans from the clawed, red-eyed creatures that feed off people’s fears. Each night, he risks his eternal life, having given up his chance at an afterlife when he chose to become a Protector. That doesn’t stop a burnt-out Daniel from risking daring maneuvers during each battle. He’s become one of the best, but he wants nothing more than to stop.

Then he’s given an assignment to watch over sixteen-year-old Kayla Bartlett, a clinically depressed patient in a psychiatric ward. Nightmares love a human with a tortured past. Yet, when they take a deep interest in her, appearing in unprecedented numbers, the job becomes more dangerous than any Daniel’s ever experienced. He fights ruthlessly to keep the Nightmares from overwhelming his team and Kayla. Soon, Daniel finds himself watching over Kayla during the day, drawn to why she’s different, and what it is about her that attracts the Nightmares. And him.

A vicious attack on Kayla forces Daniel to break the first Law and reveal his identity. Driven by his growing feelings for her, he whisks her away to Rome where others like him can keep her safe. Under their roof, the Protectors discover what Kayla is and why someone who can manipulate Nightmares has her in his sights. But before they can make a move, the Protectors are betrayed and Kayla is kidnapped. Daniel will stop at nothing to save her. Even if it means giving up his immortality.


My thoughts:
Vicki is my agency sister, so yeah, I was excited to read this book. First, the cover is awesome, and second the blurb let me know this was my kind of read. Daniel is someone I liked from the start. He's very real and so are his feelings. He felt for Kayla just like I did. The poor girl is in a psychiatric ward and being tortured by nightmares. I loved how the nightmares were physical things. Seriously LOVED that. I could almost feel their hands reaching for me while I was reading. Creepy and awesome!

There's a twist with Kayla that I really enjoyed and didn't see coming. I won't give spoilers though, so I'll just say it was a great addition to the plot. The dynamic between Kayla and Daniel felt very genuine to me. They both are dealing with a lot. Daniel wants out of his job as a Protector, and Kayla has a tortured past. I think this really draws them to each other and gives them common ground.

I can't wait to see where the story goes in book two.

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