Sunday, April 23, 2017

POSTED Blog Tour and Giveaway!

I recently finished reading Posted by John David Anderson. At 384 pages long, I was able to spend a lot of time getting to know the characters, and a lot of time thinking about the messages in this story. But even though I had 384 pages to think through, it didn't feel like nearly enough time.

Here's the thing, the characters Anderson creates are real. They have real personalities, real experiences, and real emotions and thoughts. As Sandra Cisneros reminded us in Eleven, we are still 11, and 13 and 12. Once we've been those ages, we never undo them. So even though I'm far from middle school, I could still feel the uncertainty, and the frailty of feelings when faced with comments or looks from certain people. I could also remember the feeling of what it meant to be part of a tribe of friends. Being surrounded by the people that get you.

It's all here.

Anderson's writing is a gift to us. I hope this novel is used in classrooms, as a read aloud or for book groups and clubs. There is just so. much. here. Navigating friendships, and navigating who you are. I often paused while reading to savor passages.

"You can do an awful lot of damage with a handful of words. You can destroy friendships. You can end a marriage. You can start a war. Some words can break you to pieces.
But that's not all. Words can be beautiful. They can make you feel things you've never felt before. Gather enough of them and sometimes they can stick those same pieces back together."
If you were to read the final paragraph of the book before reading the whole story (do not do this), it wouldn't mean all that much to you. But after spending so much time with Frost, Wolf, Deedee and Rose, you've been privy to many inside jokes and been there for all sorts of events and conversations, and that final paragraph is filled with references to those things. You might just feel like part of the tribe by the time you read that final paragraph. And feeling that will bring a smile to your face.

If books were for hugging (and they are) then this is surely one to hug. Please get this book. Get it for you, and get it for others.
Oh, and include some cool sticky notes.

Other stops on the tour:

April 18 Nerdy Book Club
April 22 Next Best Book
April 24 Litcoach Lou
                        Book Monsters
April 25 Kirsti Call
                                                                          April 27 The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia                                                                          
                        Ms Yingling Reads
                                                                                    April 28 Maria's Mélange                                                                                     
                     Novel Novice
April 29 The Hiding Spot

Special thanks to Walden Pond Press!
Giveaway closes Friday (4/28) at 9pm Eastern

Monday, April 17, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4-17-17

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers. Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews and recommendations!

Books I Read this Week:

Varmints by Andy Hirsch
First Second, 2016
Graphic Novel
215 pages
Recommended for grades 4-6

Lots of fun, and tons of action. The only problem with a story for kids being set in the wild west is the amount of drinking, shooting and saloon scenes! Eeeee, I hesitate putting this in my classroom library because I feel like I have to be able to stand behind my decision 100%. Public library, heck yeah! Do other teachers grapple with this??
I do know that kids will certainly like the humor, pacing and vibrant illustrations.

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea by Kate Hosford
Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Carolrhoda Books, 2017
Recommended for grades 1+

I'm hosting today's stop in the How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea blog tour today. Visit this post for a more complete review and a chance to win a copy!
You'll love the humor and heart in this story. Travel with the queen to Japan, India and Turkey in search of a perfect cup of tea.

I'm Currently Reading:

What My Kid is Currently Enjoying:

Thanks for stopping by!

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea (Review & Giveaway!)

Welcome to the next stop on the blog tour of

How the Queen Found the Perfect Cup of Tea!

Written by Kate Hosford
Illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska
Carolrhoda Books, 2017
Recommended for grades 1+

 What fun Hosford and Swiatkowska must have had working on this book! It surely feels like they had fun. I'm a huge fan of Gabi Swiatkowska's illustrations, and found the character of the Queen to be delightfully portrayed in words and images that worked perfectly together.

What I love, love, love about this book:
The transformation the queen goes through.
How children from Japan, India, and Turkey share their tea drinking traditions.
That tone of voice you can hear in your head while reading the queen's nose-in-the-air lines!
And of course, the way the words and images create a perfect experience. 

So, grab a copy (winning one is a bonus!), grab a friend or a cat or a dog, and then:
Go to the faucet, fill up the kettle, and boil the water. The tea you choose is up to you!
Sip, read, and enjoy!

Please read the following message about the author's commitment to donate to First Book.
Be sure to enter below for a chance to win a copy of the book! 

Making friendship and fun countIn the spirit of the book's message, Kate Hosford will donate $1 (up to $500) for every retweet of a review or interview from her blog tour to First Book. (Be sure to include .@khosford_author.) Established in 1992, First Book is a nonprofit social enterprise that provides new books, learning materials, and other essentials to children in need.

Thanks for stopping by!
And thank you to Blue Slip Media for hosting this tour and providing the book for the giveaway!


Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday 4-12-17

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy.
I noticed years back that my classroom library was heavy on fiction. Since noticing the imbalance of fiction to nonfiction, I've remained on the lookout for engaging and diverse nonfiction titles. Here are some recent finds!

Caroline's Comet: A True Story
By Emily Arnold McCully
Holiday House, 2017
32 pages
Recommended for grades 2+

I enjoyed this biography of a young female scientist breaking ground in her day. It certainly left me curious as to what her life was really like. Forging ahead and crossing gender boundaries was surely not an easy task, and it seemed that there must be so much more to learn about this woman. I also couldn't help but think about how incredibly lucky I am to have been born generations after pioneers like Caroline Herschel.

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
Written by Donna Janell Bowman, 
Illustrated by Daniel Minter
Lee & Low Books, 2016

I love block print illustrations. The illustrations give a sense of power and strength even when depicting scenes of vulnerability. I am sure I have heard of this amazing horse before (Jim Key), but I certainly didn't fully know the story of how Doc raised and trained Jim. 
As the title suggests, Doc and Jim spread a message of how to treat animals with kindness, but the real takeaway for me is sort of one of disbelief. How is it possible that Jim Key was able to read, write, and compute, or to answer questions, like he did? Scholars from Harvard conducted a study in hopes of determining whether there was some sort of cheating taking place. I worried when I found myself going to that place too. Why do I jump to the conclusion that it just can't be so? That a horse simply can't do what Jim supposedly did? That's the adult in me getting the best of me. I think young people will latch on to this remarkable story and see it for how amazing it was at that time, and is even still today.
(Also, Maine illustrator!)

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, April 3, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4-3-17

Thanks to our dynamic hosts: Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kelle at Unleashing Readers. Head to either blog to find reviews as well as dozens of links to other blogs filled with reviews and recommendations!

Books I Read this Week:

The Girl with the Ghost Machine by Lauren DeStefano
Bloomsbury, 2017
211 pages (ARC)
Recommended for grades 4-7

More to come on this title in the future, closer to publication. What I've got to say for now: Sad. Sad, sad, sad. Starts off sad, then punches you in the gut with more sad! Heavy, serious things to ponder beneath all that sad.

The Amazing Crafty Cat by Charise Mericle Harper
First Second, 2017
Realistic Fiction/Graphic Novel
123 pages
Recommended for grades 2-5

Readers will think this crafty cat is in fact, a cat, but will soon be surprised to see that beneath those kitty ears is a young girl named Birdie. When Birdie dresses as Crafty Cat she gets into the crafting zone, which can help her problem solve (when a foodie disaster strikes) or delight her classmates (to salvage a birthday celebration). The back includes the projects made my Crafty Cat in this volume. More to come from this author!

I'm Currently Reading:

Thanks for stopping by!