Monday, March 28, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-28-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Last week I reviewed:

Treat by Mary Sullivan


I finished reading:
 
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith
In the same tradition of Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson, The Way I Used to Be is one girl's journey as she deals with the aftermath of a sexual assault. This book is much more visceral and intense than Speak and is recommended for older high school readers, but it is highly readable despite the difficult subject matter.


I finished reading with my ears:

Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer
This would be a good book to give to students who loved the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series.  


Picture books I read last week:

Ick! Yuck! Eew! Our Gross American History by  Lois Miner Huey
Fabulous picture book with lots of great text features, but is done with voice and doesn't feel like you're reading a dry textbook. A highly recommended nonfiction text.


Beatrice Doesn't Want To by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Lynn Munsinger 
Libraries are magical places — even for those who don't realize it until they've already sucked you in. Beatrice has one such experience at the library. 


Currently reading:

Hour of the Bees by Lindsay Eagar


Currently reading with my ears:

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Pax by Sara Pennypacker
 

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Treat by Mary Sullivan

Mary Sullivan's picture book Ball is a favorite of mine, so I was elated to discover she had another one-word story, Treat, and it is just as charming as her first. I especially love that both Ball and Treat say "Word and Pictures by Mary Sullivan." That just makes me giggle every time I see it.  

As you would imagine, Treat is the story of a highly food-motivated dog who thinks of nothing but where he can find his next snack. As he begs several different members of his family and is teased mercilessly by the family toddler, this French Bulldog walks off dejected and has a series of odd dreams that all revolve around objects he encountered during the day. The big question readers are left wondering as they turn the pages is: will this neglected pooch find something to sate his hunger?

To say the dog in this book reminds me of my pug Frank would be an understatement. He has spent his entire life trying to think of ways to acquire his next meal or snack. And if he's not looking for a snack, he's looking for a lap. So I think I'm definitely going to have to own this book. 

Was Mary Sullivan inspired by my pug Frank? :)


Treat by Mary Sullivan
Published: March 1, 2016
Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
Pages: 40
Format: Picture Book
Disclosure: Library Copy

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound

Monday, March 21, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-21-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

*Sigh* Moving into a new house has certainly messed with my reading life this week. I'm so busy unpacking boxes and arranging furniture that I've been neglecting reading. (Also: among the unpacked boxes and  unorganized mess of furniture, brick-a-brac and unhung pictures, I can't seem to find the book I've been reading for the past three weeks. So there's that.) So here's a very short It's Monday! post for you.


Author interview + giveaway:

The Typewriter by Bill Thomson


I finished reading with my ears:
 
Paperweight by Meg Haston  
If you liked Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson or Perfect by Natasha Friend, this book would be up your alley.

Picture books I read last week: 

Treat by Mary Sullivan
If I Had A Gryphon by Vikki VanSickle, illustrated by Cale Atkinson


Currently (still) reading
 
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith 


Currently reading with my ears:

More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera
Proof of Forever by Lexa Hillyer

Friday, March 18, 2016

The Typewriter blog tour + giveaway: Interview with Bill Thomson

I am excited to interview Bill Thomson on the blog today for his new picture book, The Typewriter.

In this nearly wordless picture book, a group of kids happen upon a typewriter on a carousel and suddenly the words they type become their fantastical reality. For readers who enjoyed Chalk and Fossil, The Typewriter is classic Bill Thomson. 



In your new book, a group of kids discover a typewriter that drastically and magically transforms their surroundings whenever they type on it. If you discovered a magical typewriter, what is the first word you would type on it?
This might sound like the standard answer of a beauty queen contestant, but the first word I would type is LOVE. With all the sadness and self-absorption in the world, we could all use more love and compassion for each other.

The kids in the story find the typewriter on a carousel. What is significant about the bumblebee on the carousel?
The Typewriter, celebrates the power of words. The book intends to foster creativity and encourages young readers to view writing as a fun and powerful tool. To attract the interest of children, I placed the typewriter in a shiny black case adorned with letters on the back of a bumblebee on a carousel. The bee stands out as a different choice from the carousel horses, representing the choice to write as one of the many possible activities that children can devote their time to. When they open the case, the children discover a vintage typewriter with a ribbon that matches the bumblebee. As the children type, their words are brought to life. I hope the ensuing adventure encourages young readers to use their imaginations and appreciate the power of words and the wonderful potential they offer.

What can a typewriter do that a computer can't?
A typewriter works when the power goes out. A typewriter plays beautiful music in click-clack sort of way. A typewriter also allows us to hold our words, and even offers the chance to crumple them into a ball if we don’t like what we wrote (a delete button doesn’t offer the same release of frustration). And finally, a typewriter connects us to our past and was the tool used to create many great works of literature.

Since my blog is about food, books, and travel, what is your favorite food, favorite book, and favorite place you’ve ever traveled?
Of all the places I have traveled, my favorite place is Sunset Beach, North Carolina. My family has been going there for forty years, and it is the most relaxing place I know. The beach in The Typewriter was based on photos I took of Sunset Beach (as was the crab that I caught there with my sons). Excluding the Bible, my favorite book is Rodeo Drawings of Murray Tinkleman by Murray Tinkelman. Murray was my undergraduate illustration teacher and he changed the course of my entire life. His fantastic book contains the most beautifully rendered pen and ink drawings that I have ever seen, and although I have had it for over thirty years, it still continues to amaze me to this day. My favorite food is a chilidog from Frankie’s Restaurant in Waterbury, Connecticut. Visiting Frankie’s has been a family tradition for nearly five decades, and while some restaurants may offer fancier food or more luxurious surroundings, there is no place I would rather eat. 



About the Author:
Bill Thomson is the creator of Chalk and Fossil and the illustrator of Baseball Hour, Karate Hour, Soccer Hour, and Building with Dad, all written by Carol Nevius. Thomson’s books have received many accolades: the National Parenting Publications Gold Award, designation as a Notable Children’s Book by the American Library Association, a Teacher’s Choice selection from the International Reading Association, a Booklist Editor’s Choice, the Connecticut Book Award for Children’s Illustrator, Kentucky’s Bluegrass Award, Ohio’s Buckeye Children’s Book Award, and the Prix LivrentĂȘte in Paris, France. Thomson’s artwork has also received more than 75 awards in the country’s most prestigious juried illustration competitions.

Thomson lives with his family in Southington, Connecticut and is also a professor of illustration at the University of Hartford. To see more of his artwork, visit: www.billthomson.com.


Download the curriculum guide

Giveaway!
Win a copy of THE TYPEWRITER 

Terms and conditions:
Must be 13 or older to enter and have a U.S. mailing address
One winner will be selected
Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 Follow all of the stops on his tour!
Mar 4      Teach Mentor Texts 
Mar 7      The Book Monsters 
Mar 8      Kid Lit Frenzy
Mar 9      5 Minutes for Books 
Mar 10    Cracking the Cover
Mar 11    Unleashing Readers
Mar 14   Sharpread
Mar 15   Jean Little Library
Mar 16   NC Teacher Stuff
Mar 17   A Rup Life 

Monday, March 14, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading? 3-14-16


It's Monday! What are you reading? Is a wonderful community of readers, teachers, and librarians. Hosted by Jen over at Teach Mentor Texts along with Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers, participants share their reading adventures from the past week along with their reading plans for the week ahead.

My Monday posts are generally just a highlight of what I've been reading during the week so if you'd like to see all that I've been reading, follow my Goodreads page.

Family photo on moving day
This past week has been crazy busy. On Saturday, we moved into our new house and so I have been frantically packing up our old house and equally frantically trying to make our new house not look like an episode of hoarders as we attempt to figure out where all of our stuff goes. Even though the size of our new house is comparable to the old house, we have lost quite a bit of storage space, so it's going to take some adjusting to figure out where everything goes.

Despite my busy week last week, I did manage to apply for a library card in my new city of residence and amass a rather large stack of books to read. :)


Some of my favorite picture books that I read last week were:

Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers' Market by Irene Latham, illustrated by Mique Moriuchi
Loved the wonderfully vivid and sensory poems in this book. I'll be writing a longer review soon.


The Tiger Who Would Be King by James Thurber, illustrated by JooHee Yoon
A classic tale that is a little too prophetic of today's modern political discourse. 


Glow: Animals with Their Own Night Lights by W.H. Beck
I think I have a new favorite word: bioluminescence 


The Book Itch: Freedom, Truth, & Harlem's Greatest Bookstore by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
This is a picture book version of No Crystal Stair and is the story of Lewis Micheaux, Harlem's most famous bookseller. 


I Carry Your Heart with Me by e.e. cummings, illustrated by Mati Rose McDonough
I've always loved this e.e. cummings poem, and I love it even more now with Mati McDonough's illustrations. This would be a beautiful baby shower gift for a new mom.


Last week I reviewed:

The Night Gardener by the Fan Brothers
Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt


Current giveaway:

Good Morning Yoga and Good Night Yoga by Mariam Gates, illustrated by Sarah Jane Hinder


Currently (still) reading with my eyes and ears:
 
The Way I Used to Be by Amber Smith 
Paperweight by Meg Haston 

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Normal Norman blog tour

In collaboration with Sterling Children's Books, I am happy to present to you Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt.

A young scientist's assistant is prepared to show readers exactly what "normal" is by observing Norman the orangutan in his natural habitat and behavior. It isn't long before our young scientist learns that Norman is anything but normal.

Today I have an artwork reveal for you from the picture book and it is one of my favorite illustrations from the story. As you can see, Norman is not so interested in what is normal.
Reprinted with permission from Normal Norman © 2016 by Tara Lazar, Sterling Children’s Books, an imprint of Sterling Publishing Co., Inc. Illustrations © 2016 by Stephan Britt.

Normal Norman is a wonderful picture book to share with students of any age. It celebrates what makes us unique (and maybe a little weird) because as Norman enthusiastically shows us, normal is boring.


Be sure to visit the previous blog tour stops:

Normal Norman by Tara Lazar, illustrated by S. Britt
Published: March 1, 2016
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Pages: 40
Genre/Format: Picture Book
Audience: Children
Disclosure: Review copy provided by publisher

If you buy this book or any book through Amazon, it is my hope that you also regularly patronize independent bookstores, which are important centerpieces of thriving communities. While I am an Amazon Affiliate, that by no means implies that I only buy my books through their website. Please make sure you are still helping small, independent bookstores thrive in your community. To locate an independent bookstore near you, visit IndieBound

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Good Morning Yoga blog tour + giveaway

I am honored and humbled to have Mariam Gates, author of Good Morning Yoga and Good Night Yoga on the blog today. As a teacher, I have been looking into how yoga and mindfulness can help my students, so Mariam is here to give teachers some advice on this very topic:


Calm in the Classroom: Yoga + Mindfulness Techniques for the School Day

We want active classrooms, filled with excitement and energy. But how do we support the natural enthusiasm children bring and make sure everyone in the room can also focus, self-direct and learn? A classroom is a community and having a language and activities that support acceptance, self-monitoring and ways to actually bring more peace into the space go a long way. These five yoga and mindfulness tools for the classroom can help.

1.     Let it be a regular part of the day. Kids respond well to routine. Try using the Good Morning Yoga flow in the morning circle (or whatever those first moments look like).  It takes 3 minutes to do the full sequence but you can also experiment with also just picking 5 poses from the sequence. The kids will quickly learn the routine and be able to even do it on their own. Repeating the poses each day builds their confidence and also is a great reminder to start the day feeling refreshed and relaxed both physically and mentally.

2.      Listening…In: Use listening to practice awareness.

This exercise of being quiet and paying attention to sounds for 8 counts is very effective in helping children to pay attention and notice the world around them.

Have the class sit with legs folded crisscross (or lying down) and let them know you are going to count to eight, but while you do, everyone will be as absolutely quiet and still as they can. As a group you are all going to pay attention to how many things you can hear outside and inside when you are super quiet.

Try counting slowly: 1 . . . 2 . . . , reminding the class to pay attention to what they might be able to hear outside now that they are so quiet; 3 . . . 4 . . . , now remind them to pay attention to what the  can hear inside the room that they don’t usually notice; 5 . . . 6 . . . , now ask them to see if they can hear anything inside their own bodies—maybe their  breath; 7 . . . 8.  Ask the class to share what they heard.

3.      Use Transitions: One Inhale, One Exhale:
The practice of pausing before a new activity to be ready body and mind is a great habit to start at a young age. Focusing on the breath is a great place to start. Try making one full breath in and one full breath out part of students’ preparation before beginning a new task in the classroom.

4.      Make it Interactive: There are wonderful objects to bring into the classroom that can aid in focusing kids. One way to ask the class to get quiet is to use a rain stick or a sounding bell; the students know it is the signal to stop and listen. To take it one step further, have students listen to the sound and then wait and indicate with a quiet hand the moment they no longer hear it. 

5.      Have Fun! Luckily—kids love yoga! All of these yoga and mindfulness activities help kids feel more relaxed and at ease in the day. Using music, props, and allowing them to explore their own creativity by making up their own yoga poses takes these practices and make them a favorite part of the day.


About the author:
Mariam Gates holds a master’s in education from Harvard University and has more than twenty years’ experience working with children. Her renowned Kid Power Yoga program combines her love of yoga with teaching to help children access their inner gifts. She is the author of Good Night Yoga (Sounds True, April 2015), and lives in Santa Cruz, CA, with her husband, yoga teacher Rolf Gates, and their two children. For more information, visit mariamgates.com.
Twitter:  @gatesmariam  Instagram: mariam.gates



Giveaway:
One lucky winner will receive both books by Mariam Gates--GOOD MORNING YOGA and GOOD NIGHT YOGA, along with a full-color poster!
Terms and conditions:
Must be 13 or older to enter and have a U.S. mailing address
One winner will be selected
Use the Rafflecopter widget to enter

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Related links:
Good Morning Yoga Book trailer
Listen to Mariam Gates reading Good Morning Yoga
Watch Mariam Gates do the Good Morning Yoga flow
Encourage yoga time in your home, bookstore, classroom or library with this downloadable kit


And don't forget to check out the other stops on the blog tour: 
Feb 24     Teach Mentor Texts
Feb 26     Where Imagination Grows
Feb 29     A Rup Life
Mar 1     Proseandkahn
Mar 2     Kid Lit Frenzy
Mar 3      5 Minutes for Books
Mar 4      Once Upon a Story
Mar 7      Wrapped in Foil
Mar 8      Sharpread
Mar 9      A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust
Mar 10     Unleashing Readers
Mar 11     Children's Book Review
Mar 15     The Library Fanatic