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1. Creating a Creative Movement in Education

I love any and all TED talks given by Sir Ken Robinson. Take a look at his latest one about education and creativity and I think you’ll understand why:

And if you liked that one, check out this earlier talk that’s still my favorite, on how to nurture creativity.

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2. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 18

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are a few more than usual, as I was traveling late last week, and then had a big burst of catch-up links on Monday and Tuesday. Lots of links this week about diversity and about libraries. 

Book Lists and Awards

RT @tashrow James Patterson wins the 2014 Chicago Tribune Young Adult Literary Award. http://buff.ly/1l1S0Yk #kidlit

Make 'Em Laugh: Gut-Busting Picture Books That'll Have 'Em Rolling in the Aisles | @FuseEight for @NYPL http://ow.ly/vUt6f #kidlit

Booklist for Easter from @cjfriess | Favourite picture book bunnies http://ow.ly/vPivI #kidlit

Chapter Books for the New Chapter Book Reader | @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/vPhZO

20 Books for Tween Boys Reading Up » Children's Book Reviews by @StorySnoops http://ow.ly/vPjw7 #kidlit

So You Want To Read Middle Grade: #Nonfiction for Middle Grade by Sarah Albee @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/vPfr1 #kidlit

15 Adorable Children's Books For Your Little Architect from @buzzfeed via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/vPsvr #booklist

A fine list: 22 Great Non-fiction Books for Boys (& Girls) from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/vPgjr #nonfiction #kidlit

The top 10 most frequently challenged books of 2013, from @GuardianBooks + @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/vN1Bm #censorship

Great Books About Eggs and Chicks | @sljournal #booklist http://ow.ly/vMQAl #kidlit

Diversity + Gender

We Need Bigger Megaphones for #Diversity in #KidLit | "Why aren't more people" speaking up? @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/vPeKy

Becoming More Diverse – A #Library Journey by Crystal Brunelle @librarygrl2 @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vVOsw #diversity

Shattering the Multicultural Myth of the Market. Let's go, urges @MitaliPerkins http://ow.ly/vUtir #yalit #diversity

Diversity in young adult literature: Where's the 'Mexican Katniss'? ask #yalit authors @cnn http://ow.ly/vMQMW via @PWKidsBookshelf

Stacked: TeenGirls Reading: What Are They Seeing (or Not Seeing)? asks @catagator http://ow.ly/vUsRL #yalit

Men: let us know about female characters you admire | @GuardianBooks campaign #LetBooksBeBooks http://ow.ly/vPgUg

Boys Read Girls (Let Books Be Books) @bookzone http://ow.ly/vPgIy via @charlotteslib #kidlit #gender

RT @ElisabethElling "Are Teen Girls Seeing Themselves Reflected in What They Read?" #yalitclass http://feedly.com/e/YKzivZyN

Sigh: "Being male still seems to present an advantage when it comes to recognition, prestige, and awards" in #kidlit http://ow.ly/vMRKY

eBooks / Online Reading

It’s an #Ebook World for Young Readers 13 and Under Says PlayCollective Report | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vVO9q via @tashrow

RT @tashrow Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say – Washington Post http://buff.ly/1qkngTN #reading

Author @MitaliPerkins is proposing once a week Device-Free Day. Are you in? http://ow.ly/vN1m3

Events (inc. National Poetry Month)

TBD2014BannerSupport @readergirlz Teen Literature Day & "Rock the Drop", @CynLeitichSmith @melissacwalker http://ow.ly/vUsyl

5 Great Poetry Collections for Kids #NationalPoetryMonth@jenndon @5M4B http://ow.ly/vVNQZ

10 Ways to Get Kids Excited About #Poetry by @smozer at @KirbyLarson blog http://ow.ly/vPjjb

Forgiving Buckner by John Hodgen, #poetry @missrumphius | "Can baseball be the true harbinger of spring?" http://ow.ly/vPiKz #redsox

NationalPoetryMonthPoetry Challenge for Kids {Week 3} from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/vPiro #NationalPoetryMonth


This post made me happy + sad| Children’s Literature Online at a Glance: A Look Back at Friends Long Gone @fuseeight http://ow.ly/vN1Um

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Lovely! The Top 10 Reasons Why I Can’t Stop Reading Children’s & Young Adult Literature by @EsMteach @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vPhG5

Growing Up As an Only Child, Fictional Characters Were My Siblings | @BookishHQ http://ow.ly/vMS12 via @PWKidsBookshelf

Dare to Disturb the Universe: Madeleine L’Engle on Creativity, Censorship, Writing + Duty of #kidlit | @brainpicker http://ow.ly/vMRsK

Schools and Libraries

This is interesting | (Much of) Parental Involvement (at school) is Overrated @NYTimes Opinionator http://ow.ly/vPqwg

Shanahan on #Literacy: How Much In-Class Reading? (On reading aloud and silently in the classroom) http://ow.ly/vPhhi

How VA Middle School Librarian + Book Club Raised Funds to Provide 15k Meals for Students in South Sudan | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUhW5

Thanks to NBA Star LeBron James, Akron Public Schools Has One of the Largest E-Libraries in Country | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vUh45

12 ways to Save Money at Your Public #Library from @AboutKidsBooks - Borrow Kids Books eBooks Audiobooks DVDs http://ow.ly/vRqJ3

Betsy @FuseEight has set up a very cool #Literary Salon @NYPL on Podcasting Children’s Books w/ @KatieDavisBurps + more http://ow.ly/vRq7K

RT: AboutKidsBooks: 6 picture books about libraries and librarians and 1 article about how to save money at your public library. http://abt.cm/1hHgTtt

What you should do to help libraries in crisis (instead of holding a spontaneous book drive) — @lizb http://ow.ly/vN2ar

Think libraries are dying? Think again @cnn shares #library photos and reports on their enduring popularity http://ow.ly/vPb68

Reasons why you should be taking your child to the #library from @HuffPost + @tashrow http://ow.ly/vN1ru

In Arizona, After Girl Scouts’ #Library Project Set on Fire, Public Support Pours In | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vMQqc

© 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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3. Two Things on Tuesday

Thing One

Viola is coming to Owen. She is gonna blow there minds. Viola is mean.

Thing Two

Isn't this an awesome way to thank an author after a visit?

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4. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 4

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. There are many links to posts on National Poetry Month, so I've given them a separate category. 

Book Lists

A Tuesday Ten: Girls will be Boys (speculative fiction where girls dress as boys) | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/vmlGA #kidlit

A nice list | Books That My Children and I Treasured When They Were Tiny by @carriegelson @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/voN72

Stacked: Get Genrefied: Realistic Teens on the Big Screen (no, it's not all @realjohngreen ) http://ow.ly/vjBvP #yalit

A Censored History of Ladies in YA Fiction by @catagator @bookriot http://ow.ly/vbsnE #yalit

Read Aloud Chapter Books for 3rd Graders - @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/veMcQ #kidlit

Don't miss this week's round-up of Middle Grade Sci Fi and Fantasy from around the blogs @charlotteslib http://ow.ly/vbqkA #kidlit

At Stacked: Girls Across Borders: Reviews from the Outstanding Books for the College Bound List http://ow.ly/v8Nvv #yalit


Diversity in Publishers Weekly’s 2013 Young Adult Bestsellers | @diversityinya @malindalo http://ow.ly/vbsjg #yalit via @catagator


IbbyHappy International Children's Book Day! @rosemondcates has the scoop! http://ow.ly/vmks5

Planning to attend BEA? See: Thoughts on BookExpo America and BookCon from @SheilaRuth http://ow.ly/v8KUF

Growing Bookworms

12 (Almost) Effortless Preschool #Literacy Activities from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/voMTo

Not in my house! Are We Rushing Kids Out of Picture Books? | asks ShelfTalker http://ow.ly/vjAQz via @PWKidsBookshelf

How to get British kids reading - Essay at http://FT.com via @librareanne http://ow.ly/vjD3j #literacy

I do look forward to these books! Sunlit Pages: Reading Henry and Beezus by Beverly Cleary to kids http://ow.ly/vfeaH

A parent's experience in growing an initially reluctant reader by @janetgurtler @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/vbqCZ

Something I'll keep an eye on | LEGO StoryStarter: Creative New Language & Literacy Tool http://ow.ly/v8NL1 via @TrevorHCairney


Forget about the NSA for a minute: The internet of things could kill the little white lie @gigaom via @cmirabile http://ow.ly/vbpGt

National Poetry Month

NationalPoetryMonthThe Book Chook: Ten Top Tips to Engage Kids with Poetry for #NationalPoetryMonth http://ow.ly/voMKp @BookChook

Tanita Davis will be blogging "Some Kind of Poem A Day" for #NationalPoetryMonth http://ow.ly/vjBJo

Liz Scanlon is doing a Haiku a day for April. Here's Haiku 1: http://ow.ly/vjBFb #NationalPoetryMonty

Sherry at @semicolonblog is launching #NationalPoetryMonth with a post about Anaphora poems http://ow.ly/vjBML

March into spring with #NationalPoetryMonth by Angela Verges at the family that reads together http://ow.ly/vjBWw

On Beyond Haiku: New Forms for #NationalPoetryMonth@fuseeight http://ow.ly/vmlem

.@KellyFineman is reviewing #poetry books for #NationalPoetryMonth | FIREFLY JULY by Paul B. Janeczko http://ow.ly/vmkBA

The first entry in her Our Wonderful World #poetry series from @MaryLeeHahn on Giza Pyramids http://ow.ly/vjBXQ #NationalPoetryMonth

Day 2 of @MaryLeeHahn #NationalPoetryMonth celebration of Our Wonderful World features Stonehenge http://ow.ly/vmkVi

The #nationalpoetrymonth Our Wonderful World celebration from @MaryLeeHahn visits The Colosseum http://ow.ly/voNhK

At The Miss Rumphius Effect, first of Science Poetry Pairings for #NationalPoetryMonth - Darwin and the Galapagos http://ow.ly/vjCI4

Today's Science #Poetry Pairings at @missrumphius = Frogs and Toads http://ow.ly/vmlsV #NationalPoetryMonth

Continuing Science #Poetry Pairings for#nationalpoetrymonth, @missrumphius looks at the Nature of Science http://ow.ly/voNu6

First of Thirty Days of Student Poetry from @JoneMac53 at Check It Out http://ow.ly/vjCGk #NationalPoetryMonth

For the launch of #NationalPoetryMonth, @KirbyLarson has @JoneMac53 talking about #poetry http://ow.ly/vjBRe

At GottaBook, @gregpincus first post for 30 Poets/Day 1 - Jack Prelutsky and Alice Schertle http://ow.ly/vjCEi #NationalPoetryMonth

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Thoughts on Newbery from @medinger | sparked by Patrick Ness’s point on "Crappy Books About Important Things" http://ow.ly/vbs0G

I could relate to this post by @snarkywench on Unplugging from John Green & Rob Thomas. I want the story, not process http://ow.ly/vbrSh

Schools and Libraries

Berkeley Eighth Graders Raise Over $78K on Kickstarter, Build a School Library | @sljournal http://ow.ly/vjDeH

Shanahan on #Literacy: To Play or Not to Play (in K and Pre), That is the Question http://ow.ly/vfdO1

Teacher-tested strategies for encouraging boys to read, from @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/veAED #literacy

Interesting ideas! Social Media and Libraries: The Case of the Overdue Library Book | @molly_wetta http://ow.ly/vbqdO

© 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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5. hey hay, look out for sharks!

Confession: I'm actually very fond of school dinners. Maybe they're better than they used to be, but I've seldom had a bad one. And I get to share them with such lively company! It takes real guts to meet lots of new people in a Welsh school staff room.

Ha ha, it was great to meet Welsh writer Fflur Dafydd when I made a visit to Hay Primary School as part of the Wales-Norway Hay Festival exchange, funded by the European Union's Comenius Project. (Read about my trip to schools in Norway here.) I was pleased to see the kids were very familiar with my picture book There's a Shark in the Bath, and we had a great time talking about the story and drawing sharks together. This was mine:

And here are a couple by the kids at nearby Clyro Primary School. We all customised our sharks to make them very silly. There's nothing as good as taking something scary and making it less scary by putting a moustache or tutu on it.

Sharks from Hay Primary. We had a real shark frenzy at the end!

I got to take the Year 6 class from my Norway travel buddy, teacher James Griffiths. (Cue happy reunion sounds.)

In James's class, we all designed our own Sea Monkey characters, inspired by Oliver and the Seawigs. Here's one:

Sea Monkeys are awfully hard to keep under control, so we let them loose to have their own adventures in a whole-class Comics Jam session. (Each comics panel is drawn by a different person.) It's interesting, every time I ask groups of kids, 'What's the most important thing to remember while making comics', the first kid always says 'To have fun?'. Which makes me laugh a bit, because, in one sense, they're right; particularly with funny comics, you do need to keep a sense of fun. Making comics CAN be terrific fun! But I also know that when people make comics for a living, they're often working under tight deadlines and they need to turn in that comic whether they're having fun or not. Many comics aren't meant to be funny, and great comics have been made by people who were miserable. Heh heh.

The second thing they usually say is 'To be creative?' or 'Use your imagination?' Which are also good guesses, but again, it's better to have a less creative comic than to forget the one main thing, which is... *drum roll*... CLARITY. I always bang on to the kids that the comic has to read very, very clearly.

What does that mean? A lot of people, kids in particular, have to learn that just because something's in their head doesn't mean someone will look at their paper and know what they were thinking. We've all been there, watching a little kid give a detailed explanation of a scribble. I tell the kids that when they're authors, they won't get to be there beside every reader, that the comic has to stand on its own, and make sense.

So I work them quite hard, even though they have fun. They need to remember to add text if the images aren't clear. (A handy label and arrow can turn the same scribble into a spider, a pile of poo, a planet.) They need to give a sense of where the character is located, not just leave them hanging in white space. (Unless they are actually hanging in space, and they they need to show us that with stars, spaceships, etc.) I ask more than once 'where are they standing? Or are they jumping off something? They need to write the words before drawing speech bubbles, so they don't have to squish the text into impossibly tight spaces. Things like that.

It's amazing how much the game pushes them, but since they're writing about silly stuff, they don't seem to mind. And I get such a kick out of seeing what they come up with. The great thing about the Comics Jam is that it makes everyone go at the same pace: five minutes per panel, and everyone ends up drawing four panels. So if someone finishes their panel in ten seconds, it gives them time to look at it again and think about how they could make their panel easier for someone else to read. And it keeps kids who work slowly from being so precious about their comic that they never finish. I think this is quite helpful in making them think about storytelling generally, not just comics.

Big thanks to Hay and Clyro heads Fiona Howard and Dorothy Davies, the kids and teachers for being awesome, and to Heather Salisbury of the Hay Festival for organising my visit! Heather also came to Norway with me and I got to have dinner and a good laugh with her and the festival's Andy Fryers. I'm going to appear at this year's festival and really looking forward to it; keep an eye on the family section of the Hay Festival website for upcoming booking details! Here's a peek into the festival's headquarters:

(You can see some of my past Hay Festival visits here on my blog.)

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6. Thank you, Hampden Meadows - Part 2

I'll let these pictures do the talking.

These are some of the projects the students worked on based on my books.

It doesn't get any better than this.

Thank you to the students and faculty of Hampden Meadows!


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7. Arkansas Part 1

I had the most amazing visit to schools in Bentonville, Arkansas.

They chose The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester for their One District One Book program.

Since a picture is worth a thousand words, I'll show you my visit in pictures.

My Bentonville BFF, Wendy Hannah, was my go-to gal. She drove me around, planned, worked, scheduled, etc, etc. etc. I owe a major THANK YOU to Wendy for making my time there amazing.

The lovely town square of Bentonville

The first Walmart!

In front of the awesome 21c Hotel

I walked the beautiful trail to the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art

The architecture is beautiful

Such a lovely museum

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8. Arkansas Part 2

My first school day in Bentonville in pictures:

Speaking to grades 2-4 at Apple Glen Elementary School

Speaking to K-1 students at Apple Glen

Thanks for the greeting, Baker!

Speaking to Baker students

Cool submarine, Baker!!

Speaking to homeschoolers at the public library

Bentonville Public Library (Thank you, Sue!)

I am a frog.

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9. Arkansas Part 3

Day 2 in Bentonville 

Cooper Elementary School

Sugar Creek Elementary
Mary May Jones Elementary School

Day 3 in Bentonville

A nice welcome from Willowbrook Elementary

They made an amazing submarine!

Willowbrook Elementary

They gave me a T-shirt and an elephant (their mascot)!

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10. Arkansas Part 4

Day 3 in Bentonville (continued)

Central Park Elementary

Central Park Elementary

 Central Park Elementary made frog traps!! 
Check 'em out.

Thomas Jefferson Elementary

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11. Things I Love Thursday

I love students letting me know I did a good job.

(Here they are saying, "Oh, you did a great job!")

Great students 2 from Barbara O'Connor on Vimeo.

(They are saying, "You're great!)

Great students 1 from Barbara O'Connor on Vimeo.

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12. Arkansas Part 5

One of the highlights of my trip to Bentonville was seeing the play of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester performed by the Bentonville High School drama students.

Thank you to Fine Arts Chair, Justin Scheuer, for this great honor.

Owen with Tooley

Owen and Earlene

Viola and Owen in the submarine

Viola lecturing Stumpy, Travis and Owen

Travis and Stumpy with Tooley in his cage

Me with the cast and crew. They rocked it.

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13. 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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14. Arkansas Part 6

My last day in Bentonville.

Me with Centerton Gamble librarian, Renee Wall

Centerton Gamble with a book cake!

The cake

Centerton Gamble Elementary

Elm Tree Elementary

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15. Two Things on Tuesday

Thing One

I am so looking forward to going to one of my MOST favorite schools tomorrow. And how can I not love seeing this as the students prepare?

Thing Two

Don’t sit down in the middle of the woods. If you’re lost in the plot or blocked, retrace your steps to where you went wrong.
—Margaret Atwood 

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16. Things I Love Thursday

I love when I get such a good "report card" from students I've spoken to!
(Thank you, Hampden Meadows)


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17. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 28

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

Authors and Illustrators

2 of our faves | Seven Impossible Things Before Breakfast » Featuring Kady MacDonald Denton and Rosemary Wells http://ow.ly/v8NkW

This is cool! Pippi Longstocking Author Astrid Lindgren Gets a Spot on Sweden’s 20 Krona Note @GalleyCat via @tashrow http://ow.ly/v8Lal

Happy Birthday, Kate DiCamillo! from @kidlitwhm http://ow.ly/uXeXd #kidlit

Barbro Lindgren Wins 2014 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award http://ow.ly/uXBLh #kidlit via @PWKidsBookshelf

Book Lists

Recommended Superhero Comics for Kids by @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/v5jez #kidlit

10 Counting Books set in the Garden from @growingbbb http://ow.ly/v5jjD #kidlit

Stacked: Crossing the Line: Adult-Teen Relationships in YA Fiction and Beyond by @catagator http://ow.ly/uXfr5 #yalit

10 Books With Female Leads and No (or Little) Romance, recommended by @Book_Nut http://ow.ly/uUPCa #kidlit #yalit

Nice #booklist from @ReadingRockets about Being Brave http://ow.ly/uR8QU via @ChoiceLiteracy

List NSTA: Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K-12: 2014 http://ow.ly/uQ3Ak via @FuseEight #commoncore

Diversity + Gender

A thorough and excellent response from @LaurelSnyder to someone who objected to seeing gay parents in Penny Dreadful http://ow.ly/v5iBw

Emerson's Museum of Amazing Women, Part 3, by @MaryAnnScheuer (featuring @jenniholm and Alex Morgan) http://ow.ly/v5kHC

Check out yesterday's KQED Roundtable: People of Color Underrepresented in Children's Books. http://ow.ly/uXeJp via @bkshelvesofdoom

10 Diverse YA Historicals About Girls In honor of Women's History Month http://ow.ly/uUQ81 @diversityinya via @catagator

10 Diverse Poetry Books for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/uUOlj #kidlit

Stacked: Wrapping Up the "About the Girls" series http://ow.ly/uUPJo #yalit


A #Poetry Challenge for Kids for April (Poetry Month) from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/v8Mbd #kidlit

2014 3030 logo1GottaBook: Announcing the 2014 Redux-Edition of 30 Poets/30 Days! from @gregpincus http://ow.ly/v8KCi

Press Release Fun: Voting Now Open for the 7th Annual Children’s and Teen Choice Book Awards! — @fuseeight @CBCBook http://ow.ly/uXflh

Growing Bookworms

Zoobean Debuts A Recommendation Service For Children’s Apps And Books | @TechCrunch http://ow.ly/v5qn2 via @PWKidsBookshelf

“That was intense!”: Getting Boys Excited About Books by @erniec + @mhorateach @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/v8MC2 

"Never underestimate the power of a book, espec (in)... the hands of the child that needs to hear what it has to say" http://ow.ly/uUP0J

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

A new phenomenon: The $300/hr Book Group Facilitator | @medinger http://ow.ly/v5kZH

Top-selling children's and YA books for 2013 - Divergent trilogy led the pack (combined) http://ow.ly/v5jYH via @100scopenotes #kidlit

"No story stole my heart like The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe" Natalie Lloyd @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uXfcp #kidlit

How Sweet It Is: The 50th Anniversary of 'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' http://ow.ly/uXBSU @PWKidsBookshelf #kidlit

Programs and Research

iPad Use and Babies: A Pediatrician throws a wrench in the works and @fuseeight has some good quesitons http://ow.ly/v8MYI

Turning the Page: Refocusing Massachusetts for Reading Success - includes #RedSox #literacy analogy http://ow.ly/v5dqF via @librareanne

Interesting ... People Who Use E-Readers Dive Far Deeper Into Books | @TheUnderwire via @tashrow http://ow.ly/uQ2dY

Schools and Libraries

Great News! Santa Clara City Council approves plan to get Northside Library back on track! http://ow.ly/uZujI @SantaClaraLib

Helping Young Readers Become Independent, a @ChoiceLiteracy post by Katie DiCesare http://ow.ly/uR8Lk

© 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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18. Thank you, Hampden Meadows - Part 1

Last week, I had one of the most amazing author visit EVER!

Hampden Meadows School in Barrington, Rhode Island, knows how to do it right.

Talk about preparation!

Talk about excitement!

Every fourth grade class had read my books, discussed my books, and made fantastic projects based on my books.

It was an author's dream come true, that's for sure.

When you're greeted by this, you know you're in for a great day.

Me with school librarian, Melanie Roy (right), who is smart, kind, funny, enthusiastic and passionate about books and reading. The energy in her library is amazing.

Mrs. Carroll's students interviewing me for Kids' Corner.

Melanie Roy (left), me, and reading specialist Cara Sanchez (right).

Tomorrow I'm going to share the amazing projects the students worked on.

And here they are: the 4th grade students of Hampden Meadows 

Mrs. Waring's class

Mrs. Burrows' class

Mrs. Ginalski's class

Mr. Farley's class

Ms. Wilson's class

Mrs. Carroll's class

Mrs. Theroux's class

Mrs. Gluek's class

Mrs. Mitchell's class

Mrs. Bailey's class

Mrs. Clegg's and Mrs. Ingram's class


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Put your kids (or class) on a
Skype Magic Carpet Ride!

*It's FREE Educational Fun!
*My visits help HOOK Kids on reading and writing.
*Meeting a real author puts a whole new slant on books.
*Kids love to get answers to ALL their questions.

Adventures, Humor, Fantasy or Animal tales?

If I SKYPED  with your class, what would YOU like me to bring?

I would love to read your comments.

I have always thought of reading as a Magic Carpet Ride to fun and adventure. This dates back to the time I was a little girl in Queensland, Australia. I was always dodging chores so I could hide up the huge mango tree in our back yard and read my latest book.  Oh . . . the trouble that got me into!

<!--[if gte mso 9]> Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 <![endif]-->Smart authors weave in the things kids need to learn to become kind, caring and helpful adults. Characters young people identify with can get points across that no adult could manage.

                                                                    LATEST SKYPE NEWS

                                                                    Teacher Alert!

January and early February 2014 were  busy SKYPE visit months. 
Then the Arctic Blast swooped down. . .

It was a bummer when the arctic blast on the east coast forced several schools to cancel Skype Visits due to cold and excess snow.  But hey, we will reschedule when the weather improves.

Already one Skype Visit is rescheduled for March, for a grade one class in Connecticut.  This is a repeat visit!! And a new visit for a second grade class in New Hampshire. 

Most of these teacher connections come from either Linkedin or from Education Skype, where I am registered.

Magic Carpet Ride Now


The Parent-Teacher Helper


Let me suggest PINTEREST as a great place to look for teaching and classroom suggestions, advice and help. Look on my TEACHER/CLASSROOM board for links and suggestions that will make classes more enthusiastic, and your teaching day easier. The BOOK REVIEWS there are also a great source of fine educational reading for your class.

And if you are dealing with Dyslexia, reluctant readers,
                   or other Special Needs Kids, check out my  SPECIAL NEEDS etc 

                                                                             A great resource for advice on

                    PARENTING - BOOK REVIEWS - SPECIAL NEEDS (ADHD, Dyslexia, Autism, etc)

                                                                      or MENTAL HEALTH.

                       ** I do not review the books: the reviews come from a variety of online sources.



Books for Kids - Manuscript Critiques


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20. Some more love from Arkansas

Bentonville, Arkansas, has been busy reading The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester as part of their One District, One Book program.

The community and elementary schools have cooked up some super activities for readers.

Carly Edwards of the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art made this great submarine photo prop for the book event.

Conrad made this awesome frog trap with his dad.

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21. Things I Love Thursday

I love that students of Apple Glen Elementary School in Bentonville, Arkansas, had Dress Like a Train Conductor Day in honor of The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester.

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22. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 7

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. This week we are heavy on events, and lighter than usual on book lists. Major events in the children's book blogging world this week included: the start of Women's History Month, World Read Aloud Day (March 5th), and Read Across America Day (March 2, Dr. Seuss's birthday).

Book Lists and Awards

55 Science Picture Books for Kids from @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/ucCso #nonfiction #booklist

Winners of the 2014 Blue Peter Book Awards,#kidlit voted on by UK schoolkids http://ow.ly/ujTKJvia @tashrow

2014 Ezra Jack Keats Book Award Winners from @tashrow at Waking Brain Cells http://ow.ly/ucBUc #kidlit

Middle Grade Science Fiction recommendations (old and new) from Stephanie Whelan @greenbeanblog http://ow.ly/ueoji #kidlit

Diversity and Gender

Must-read from @catagator at Stacked on Why Talking About Girl Reading Matters http://ow.ly/ucxdX #kidlit #yalit

Interesting thoughts from @haleshannon On neutral characters and relating to the specific http://ow.ly/ucu4W #yalit #diversity

This is very cool! Initiative on Fighting Gender Stereotypes in Kids' Publishing http://ow.ly/ukaB5  #LetBooksBeBooks @PWKidsBookshelf

Events: Women's History Month

The #Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month blog is back in action for 2014 http://ow.ly/ucwJc @kidlitwhm

Very nice! Great Kid Books: Celebrating Women's History Month: a challenge for the month of March http://ow.ly/ucyUR @MaryAnnScheuer

Celebrating the life & work of Jane Goodall with kindergartners (ages 4-8) by @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/ujU5K #kidlit

Events: World Read Aloud Day

On National Grammar Day, World Read Aloud Day, and the grammar benefits of reading to kids from @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uhmb7

World Read Aloud Day (And Why I Do It) from @NoVALibraryMom http://ow.ly/uhlAh #literacy @litworldsays

Read Aloud. Change the World | @pamallyn on World Read Aloud Day @HuffingtonPost http://ow.ly/uerS2 #literacy

Thoughts on tomorrow's World Read Aloud Day from @frankisibberson http://ow.ly/ueoxV @litworldsays #literacy

Very nice! A Year of Reading is Celebrating @NerdyBookClub with a Donation to LitWorld! http://ow.ly/ucyfc @MaryLeeHahn @frankisibberson

Coming Soon: World Read Aloud Day, on March 5th. Read @BookChook thoughts! http://ow.ly/ucyEk @litworldsays

Events: Read Across America Day

Oh, the Quotations You’ll Forget! @PhilNel sets the record straigt on things Dr. Seuss didn't say http://ow.ly/ucyvf

A bit late, but a nice list of resources for Read Across American Day / Seuss Day yesterday at Wendie's Wanderings: http://ow.ly/ucyoa

Growing Bookworms

RT @tashrow Getting the right books into every young child’s hands | Dallas Morning News http://buff.ly/OzdFgt #kidlit #reading

Many of you will be able to relate to this: On the joys of Good Old-Fashioned Books by @growingbbb http://ow.ly/ujV63

Quick #literacy ideas for Snow Days at Family Bookshelf http://ow.ly/ucBRj @readingtub

On encouraging new readers to check in less frequently, and have more confidence @ReadingWithBean http://ow.ly/ucxJA

True! Kids Are Never Too Old to Be Read to by Parents | Joe Paradise @HuffPostEducation http://ow.ly/u6ny5 via @tashrow


Via @tashrow good news for bloggers. Most of the many Getty Images will soon be Free to Use | http://ow.ly/ujTuu

An introduction to @sljournal Battle of the Kids’ Books by @medinger @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/u6mQO #kidlit

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Get Pinterest list of "What (children's) books taught me...", shared by @rosemondcates http://ow.ly/ujUhq #kidlit

Lovely post on The Warmth of a Shared Experience (crying while reading aloud) by Cynthia Lord | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ueoZb

Thoughts from @LizB On Liking (and not liking) Characters and why we should ask ourselves why we do (or don't) http://ow.ly/ucCbJ

Great stuff! A strong defense of Reading children's books as an adult from Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/ucwZ7

Schools and Libraries

Shanahan on #Literacy: Don’t Give the #CommonCore State Standards a Close Reading and Other Culinary Tips http://ow.ly/u6mF6

For those interested in good elementary school #nonfiction, @frankisibberson is having A @mstewartscience Week http://ow.ly/ucCzh

Is Homework Beneficial? Four Steps to Improvement from @TrevorHCairney http://ow.ly/uhLZX

© 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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23. Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 14

CTwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Tons of links around gender this week, as you would expect right in the middle of Women's History Month. 

Book Lists and Awards

Start your voting engines! Children's & Teen Choice Book Awards voting will open March 25: http://bit.ly/1gf3ZPr ! @cbcbook #CCBA14

5 Comic Strip Anthologies for Kids recommended by @delightchildbks http://ow.ly/uz6pn #kidlit

2014 is The Year of the Whale, declares @100scopenotes + he has books to prove it http://ow.ly/uz6AE #kidlit

Suggestions for a dinosaur-themed storytime from @lochwouters http://ow.ly/uz6Gv #kidlit #commoncore

Booklist: A Tuesday Ten: Citizens of Fairyland | Views From the Tesseract http://ow.ly/uvWuA #kidlit #sff

Read Aloud Chapter Books for 4 and 5 (and 6) Year Olds @momandkiddo http://ow.ly/uqQTc #kidlit

Kid-tested list | The Top Ten Favorite Picture Books So Far in @SagesHoots class | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uoxS5 #kidlit

Stacked's latest Get Genrefied zooms in on Fairy Tale Re-tellings (there are MANY) http://ow.ly/ujWtW #yalit

Congratulations to @medinger ! Africa is My Home is a 2014 Children’s Africana Book Award Winner http://ow.ly/umFMw #kidlit

The 2014 Lambda Literary Award Finalists have been announced. See list at @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/umF6c #yalit

NAACP Outstanding Literary Work Awards via @tashrow + @FuseEight http://ow.ly/ujWHh #kidlit #yalit

Diversity and Gender

Is your default character white and male? asks @haleshannon | I, too, have noticed this with my child's toys (male) http://ow.ly/uqPqB

Stacked: I love "unlikable," I write "unlikable," and I am "unlikable" @tehawesomersace on "Unlikable" Girls http://ow.ly/uz6wt #yalit

Guest Post @cynleitichsmith : Ellen Oh on The Ongoing Problem with Sexism http://ow.ly/uvVpb

Stacked: @CherylRainfield , A Hero for Girls: Guest Post by Jennifer Brown http://ow.ly/uvWBk #yalit

Stacked: Positive Girl Friendships in YA: Guest Post by Jessica Spotswood http://ow.ly/utOpx #yalit

Stacked: The Unlikable Female Protagonist: A Field Guide to Identification in the Wild -- Guest Post by Sarah McCarry http://ow.ly/uqTt5

One example of why we should care about the Campaign: Let Books Be Books via @bkshelvesofdoom http://ow.ly/umxd4 #LetBooksBeBooks

Gender-specific children’s books are easier to sell, insists children's book publisher| Independent http://ow.ly/uudlA @PWKidsBookshelf

Parents push to end gender division of boys' and girls' books | @GuardianBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf http://ow.ly/uuddj #letbooksbebooks

Food for thought! Sheryl Sandberg and Anna Maria Chávez on 'Bossy,' the Other B-word - @WSJ http://ow.ly/uoyuS

Further thoughts on the “She’s Being Bossy” @WSJ piece from @StaceyLoscalzo http://ow.ly/uqS5F


Laurel Snyder on the joy for authors in participating in World Read Aloud Day http://ow.ly/ujWnk @LaurelSnyder #kidlit

An invitation! @LizB is Revisiting Harriet The Spy, and she's looking for company http://ow.ly/uz6k3 #kidlit

#Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month: Two Eminent Victorians: Emily Carr and Lillian Gilbreth (an ind engineer!) http://ow.ly/uvVK5

Yesterday was International Women's Day. @MaryAnnScheuer is celebrating women who have won a Nobel Prize (ages 10-14) http://ow.ly/uoxPE

Great Kid Books: Time for Kids: Online resources to celebrate Women's History Month (ages 7-10) @MaryAnnScheuer http://ow.ly/utNyF

On the #cybils blog: @Cybils Judges and Authors on Women's History at Stacked http://ow.ly/uriGg @aquafortis

Growing Bookworms

Igniting a Passion for Reading: A Retro Review to Reignite the Flame by @leaderandreader @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/uz68d #literacy

Share the Love (of books), Grasshopper by Michael Guevara | @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/utNVH #literacy

"Reading and discussing these books with my kids has to be the best single thing I can do to encourage reading." http://ow.ly/uqRJQ

Useful! Suggestions to encourage unique, out-of-the-box readers by @NancyTandon @NerdyBookClub http://ow.ly/ujVGp #literacy

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Makes sense to me! What Most Successful People Do Before Bed: READ | @tashrow @businessinsider http://ow.ly/uvUQw

Study finds: "people who read regularly tend to be more satisfied with life in general" says @tashrow http://ow.ly/utNry

It's not only adults who need comfort reading | Alison Flood @GuardianBooks http://ow.ly/umFg9 via @tashrow #kidlit

Schools and Libraries

Philip Pullman: 'every school should have a good library' | @TheBookseller http://ow.ly/ukaVF via @PWKidsBookshelf

A Pre-Kindergarten Teacher's Perspective on Reading Aloud at @BooksBabiesBows for @ReadAloud_org Read Aloud month http://ow.ly/utOFg

On Taking Vacation Time to Read Aloud at her kids' school, by @BooksBabiesBows http://ow.ly/uoy5F

© 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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24. leicester author week 2014

So I went straight from Gatwick Airport to Leicester and thought I was going to crash from tiredness, but it was fun! These guys helped a lot, I always perk up when I see writers John Dougherty and Bali Rai.

I had two days of working with kids for Leicester Author Week - 800 kids in total!! - focusing with half of them on Oliver and the Seawigs and the other half on There's a Shark in the Bath. Even though Seawigs isn't a comic, the session had a comics focus and in the workshop half of the event, I led them in a big Sea Monkey Comics Jam. Here you can see one kid working on the last comics panel.

Take that, you shark guts! ...Take that, you poo poo head! Ha ha, it's so much fun reading the stuff kids write. I also managed to pop into a shop near the Tigers Rugby Club, where we were meeting, and buy a few fun odds and ends, including a blue hair, a Cleopatra headdress and an inflatable shark. You never know when you might need an inflatable shark.

For the younger kids (5-7), I led them in drawing a shark. I love seeing all the variations on my drawing; all these sharks have such unique character.

I got to meet writer Andy Briggs, whom I'd met once before. I've done Leicester Author Week for the Whatever It Takes programme for quite a few years, and I always look out for storyteller Jyoti Shanghavi (on the right). This time I also got to meet storyteller Anita Kumari (left), and found out that, combined, the two women are able to speak TEN languages!!!

For my Shark in the Bath workshop, I had kids think of something scary that they could put in a bathtub, but then draw a picture of it looking silly, like the moustachioed shark in my book. Here's a bath full of snakes:

I think it's a great way to address a fear of something: draw it so it's obviously totally absurd and have a laugh about it. (And some kids just had fun loading up their bathtubs with cool stuff.)

I'll post a bunch of their drawings, some of them are very funny and some have surprisingly good design elements about them.

After two very full days of events, that was it, I was ready to go HOME. Here's fab Juliet Martin, who was so good at helping work with the large groups of kids. Thanks for being awesome, Ellen Lee, Katie Little and the rest of the Leicester Whatever-it-Takes team!

It was strange waking up to this view after being in Dubai for a week. And I retired my white boots, they don't really last more than 15 wearings or so without being irredeemably shabby.

And there was even time to catch up with friends! John Dougherty came along for a curry with Leicester locals (and comics people) Jay Eales, Selina Lock and Rachael Smith. I'd only met Rachel once at Thought Bubble comics festival in Leeds, so it was great getting the chance to talk more. Thanks for meeting up, guys!

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25. One District One Book Event

Talk about a community coming together for an event!

To wrap up the city-wide One District One Book program for The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester, the beautiful Crystal Bridges Museum hosted a party for students and their families. 

The day was filled with art and science related activities and games inspired by my book.

Photos courtesy of Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art.

Photography by Marc F. Henning 

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