Monday, November 5, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/05/18 #IMWAYR



It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.



Recent Posts


Picture Books


Margaret and the Moon: how Margaret Hamilton saved the first lunar landing by Dean Robbins and illustrated by Lucy Kinsley. Our school was lucky enough to have Dean Robbins as a guest author for our book fair last year, and he shared some great stories behind the creation of this book. With Halloween approaching, we had decided our seventh-month old would make an adorable astronaut, so I was trying to brainstorm an appropriate costume to match: Margaret!


Margaret (left) is standing next to a stack of the code she wrote for the Apollo lander's computer, whereas I am standing (right) next to a pile of my classroom's dictionaries, Harry Potter collection, Hugo Cabret, and The Mysterious Benedict Society series. Ha!

Middle Grade



Ghost by Jason Reynolds, read by Guy Lockard. We took a break from picture book read alouds and book clubs to do a novel-length read aloud this past month. As a strong believer in the need for diverse and inclusive books, I am always exposing my students to different voices through stories, but this time I also decided to literally expose them to different voices by listening to the audiobook version of Ghost.

They loved it. Everyone got hugely invested in the story, and there was much yelling and groaning at any poor decisions. There was a moment of silence after the cliffhanger ending, then an immediate clamoring for the rest of the series. We happened to finish on the day that Lu (the fourth and final book in the series) was published, so my avid readers are racing each other to see who gets it first.


I teach two classes of fifth grade, so with the other class we shared Gertie's Leap to Greatness by Kate Beasley. My students delighted in Gertie's quest to be "the best fifth grader ever," and again, this was a story with much yelling and groaning at some poor decisions. Nearly every time we ended there was begging for "just one more chapter" or at least "just the next sentence" when we hit a particularly cliffhanger-y stopping point. There was much discussion and speculation when we were finished about whether there would possibly be a sequel someday.

What are your favorite read alouds for middle graders?

Happy Reading!

Saturday, November 3, 2018

It's time for November's #diversekidlit!

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children's book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, December 1st and the first Saturday of each month.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:


Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Svenja @ Colours of Us

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup





Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!


Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Share Your Link Below




Saturday, October 6, 2018

October #diversekidlit

Welcome to #DiverseKidLit ! Please join us in sharing your diverse children's book links and resources, as well as visiting other links to find great suggestions and recommendations.

What Is #DiverseKidLit?


Diverse Children's Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children's books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.

DiverseKidLit

We hope this community serves as a resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, November 3rd and the first Saturday of each month.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:


Katie @ The Logonauts
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Becky @ Franticmommmy
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Bethany @ Biracial Bookworms
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Carolina @ La Clase de Sra. DuFault
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Gauri @ Kitaab World
an online bookstore for South Asian children's books, toys and games
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / PinterestInstagram

Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram / Goodreads

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Svenja @ Colours of Us

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live?

Receive an email reminder for each new #diversekidlit linkup





Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!


Our Pinterest board highlights a wide range of amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children's Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!


Share Your Link Below




Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Poetry and Gratitude: #classroombookaday week 4

We started our first book club of the year this week, so we did not share a read aloud on our discussion day. This first round of book clubs focuses on realistic fiction texts. One class is reading Hatchet, while the other chose between Hello Universe, Takedown, Front Desk, The First Rule of Punk, and Walk Two MoonsYou can read all my previous book club posts here, including book reviews, how to run book clubs, and great discussion questions.

Poetry and Gratitude



Our books this week continued last week's theme of poetry but also expanded on the ideas of gratitude and kindness.

The Word Collector (2018) by Peter H. Reynolds. This book is a natural fit with our poetry-writing unit, as Jerome's love of words (and one small accident) leads to his discovery of poetry and the fun and joy of putting just the right words together. One of my groups also focused on Jerome's decision to share his words with others (literally and metaphorically) and how that was also an act of kindness.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga (2018) by Traci Sorell and illustrated by Frane Lessac. This picture book about Cherokee celebrations of the seasons reads like a poem to me. Before reading aloud the book, I shared the book trailer, here, from the author's website, as it includes pronunciations of the title and all four seasons.

This book is great for smashing misconceptions about Native American peoples. Midway through sharing in the first class a student asked, "When does this book take place?" When I responded, "Now," he followed up with, "Wait, so does that mean they have like, computers and stuff?" which opened the door for an informative digression about the lives - and existence - of Native peoples today. My Wisconsin students could only name two of the eleven registered tribes in our state (and only then because they operate casinos). I also showed them Google maps images of how you can see the Menominee Reservation clearly because of their different forest management practices (it's a sharp green rectangle).

Be Kind (2018) by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Jen Hill. Our final book of the week hits directly on the idea of kindness while balancing how helpless we can sometimes feel about helping with the idea that even small acts of kindness add up to something more.

What books have you been sharing lately? Click here for all of our #classroombookaday posts.

Monday, October 1, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/01/18 #IMWAYR



It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.



Recent Posts


Young Adult


Tradition (2018) by Brendan Kiely. I got to sit at Brendan Kiely's table during the Children's Book Award Luncheon at NCTE last year and received an advanced copy of this book. But there is no more timely moment than now to share my review.

Tradition is told in two perspectives: high seniors Jules and Jamie who both attend the prestigious Fulbrook Academy. Jules is sick of the "old boys club" attitude of her classmates and ex-boyfriend, while Jamie has just arrived as a recruit for the hockey team, and his lower socio-economic status puts him at odds with his new teammates. Through their voices Brendan Kiely opens his readers' eyes to issues of privilege, sexism, rape culture, and more. This is a powerful and important read that should be required reading for all high school and college students.

Picture Books



The Day War Came (2018) by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb. This book is a searing look at the impact of war, racism, and prejudice on children who become refugees. It began as a stand-alone poem and says so much with very few words. One to add to my text set of powerful books about refugees and immigrants.


This year in fifth grade I have instituted a regular #classroombookaday read aloud time! I'm trying to post weekly about the titles we are sharing together. You can read my reviews on each week's post:

What are your favorite picture books for middle graders?

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Poetry and Empathy, #classroombookaday week 3

This week our writing focus was poetry, so I wanted to share books that used poems or poetic language, as well as titles that would prompt conversations around empathy and understanding. You can't go wrong with any of these titles.

Week Three: Poetry and Empathy


Titles: Imagine by Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo and The Stuff of Stars (2018) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes. (An advanced review copies of both books were provided by Candlewick. All thoughts are my own.) Can I Touch Your Hair: poems of race, mistakes, and friendship by Charles Waters and Irene Latham and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. Prince and Knight by Daniel Haack and illustrated by Stevie Lewis.

Imagine by former US Poet Laureate Juan Felipe Herrera and illustrated by Lauren Castillo is fantastic! The entire book is an invitation to the reader to imagine themselves through the life of the author and eventually to what they could accomplish in their own lives. With both my classes it took about halfway through the story before they suddenly started to realize that the author was sharing about himself. This realization made them especially excited and engaged for the rest of the read aloud.


You can read my full review of The Stuff of Stars (2018) by Marion Dane Bauer and illustrated by Ekua Holmes here. Suffice to say, this is an absolutely incredible book for language classrooms, science classrooms, and giving as a gift at baby showers. Caldecott-contender for sure!

Can I Touch Your Hair: poems of race, mistakes, and friendship by Charles Waters and Irene Latham and illustrated by Sean Qualls and Selina Alko. We spent two days unpacking this one, as the poems make for a longer read than most picture books. It also has some heavy content that required some schema-building with my fifth graders: about police shootings, about Trayvon, about the N-word, and continuing our conversations about identity, prejudice, and stereotypes.

Our conversation about the N-word turned into a mini discussion about reclaiming words and the pejorative use of the term "gay," which led to a brief discussion of the full LGBTQIA abbreviations, which led to me deciding to move up our read aloud of Prince and Knight to the next day. The kids enjoyed this rhyming fairy tale book, and while many of them suspected that the mysterious knight would turn out to be a girl, none of them blinked an eye when instead the knight was still a boy and still the prince's one true love.

What books have you been sharing lately? Click here for all of our #classroombookaday posts.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

#ClassroomBookaDay: the First Weeks of School

This is my first year teaching fifth grade (after ten years in third, fourth, and seventh), and one of the additions to the curriculum I am most excited about is incorporating the #classroombookaday commitment to daily read aloud (at least during our reading periods, which are four times per week).

Most weeks' readings will have a common theme as well as a title related to some of our year-round themes around identity, acceptance, and kindness. (See this year's #cyberPD posts about Sara Ahmed's Being the Change for more details.)

Week One: Identity and Community




Our theme for the first week was about personal identity and classroom community. On the first day of school we shared Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall, followed by All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman, and I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien to round out the week. We also read and discussed the new The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson during our Library time.

Jabari Jumps was a great first day of school read. The story of Jabari and the various ways he wrestles with his fear of the high dive serves as a great extended metaphor about facing your own fears and be willing to try new things. We also used the character of Jabari to discuss issues of identity and make a model "identity web" (below, inspired by Being the Change). Students then used Jabari's web as a jumping off point for making their own personal webs. Below you can also see our brainstormed list about characteristics of own identities.


All Are Welcome is a short poem of a picture book based on a celebration of school's like the one the author and illustrator's children attend. There is a lot going on in the illustrations, which my students enjoyed examining and discussing. This would also make a great read aloud and discussion for staff - how does your school measure up to these ideals and what can you do to make it an even more welcoming space?

I'm New Here tells the story of the beginning of a new school year through the eyes of three children who are all recent immigrants to the US. It's a great book to get kids thinking about what it might be like to be new to a whole country and not just a new school.

Finally, we shared The Day You Begin by Jacqueline Woodson during our Library time.This brand new picture book shares some elements with those above (first day being new at school, feeling like you don't belong, etc.) but instead addresses the reader directly.

Week Two: Names



For the second week of school, we focused on stories about names and their connections to identity. In writing, students wrote etymologies about their own names, with these titles serving as ideas and inspiration.

In Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal, the titular Alma is frustrated by the length of her name, but her father patiently explains to her where each name came from and how each is connected to her family and her history. This one has a structure that would be easy for younger students to emulate when writing about their own names.

The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi is a great story that forces kids to think about what they consider "normal" names and how that can be exclusionary. Unhei has just moved to the US from Korea and is considering choosing her own "American" name rather than introducing herself as Unhei.

Younger students at our school also share Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes, but my fifth graders were happily nostalgic about the story and willing to talk about it again. Chrysanthemum the mouse loves her name until she starts school and hears the reactions of her classmates.

Someone New by Anne Sibley O'Brien is a companion book to I'm New Here and revists the story from the perspective of the three kids already at the school who each reach out to welcome the new immigrant students. We had some great conversations around the ways that each character has to choose to take action and the impact it has.

What books have you been sharing lately? Click here for all of our #classroombookaday posts.