Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Coral Reefs

Author: Seymour Simon
Photo Credits: Various
Publisher: HarperCollins (April 23, 2013)
Read Aloud Level: Grades 2nd to 4th
Independent Reading Level: Grades 4th to 6th
Source: Copy sent for review from Publisher
Nonfiction * Ecology * Marine Biology

Description from HarperCollins:
Hiding on the floor of Earth's tropical oceans are magnificent and colorful coral reefs. You may have seen coral in the local aquarium or heard of the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia. But did you know that coral reefs . . .
  • are actually living beings?
  • can grow to be larger than a skyscraper?
  • provide a home for a vast number of other underwater creatures?
Award-winning science writer Seymour Simon takes readers under the sea to explore the world of coral reefs, with fascinating facts and stunning full-color photographs. 

Find out how coral reefs grow to become one of the most impressive natural habitats on Earth and how they interact with sea creatures such as fish, sea urchins, sea stars, and more!

My thoughts on this book:
Seymour Simon has created another beautiful nonfiction picture book.  This time his focus is on coral reefs.  Simon takes readers through the underworld environment of coral reef through narrative text and gorgeous photographs.  Readers learn about how coral forms and grow.  There are two main kinds of coral: hard and soft.  Within each kind there are three types of coral.  Simon takes readers further as he shares about where coral reefs are located and "how coral reefs are home to underwater ocean life".  There are three main types of coral reefs and each reef is "like a city with many different kinds of citizens".  Coral reefs are second to rain forests for being the home to many creatures.  Student readers also learn about factors that can damage or destroy coral.  The end of the book includes a glossary, and additional websites for further reading. 

Coral Reefs is part of a collection of nonfiction picture books by Simon on a variety of subjects.  Each book provides readers with informative narrative text and stunning photographs.  Coral Reefs would be an excellent addition to any classroom or school library and an excellent resource for students as they begin exploring the world of coral reefs.      

More information about Seymour SimonWebsite | Facebook | Twitter

Don't forget to link up your nonfiction reviews...

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Book Review - ODD DUCK

Author: Cecil Castellucci
Illustrator: Sara Varon
Publisher: :01 First Second
Source: e-galley from NetGalley; Purchased Personal Copy
Audience: For all ages
Keywords: Graphic Novel Hybrid, Friendship,  

Description from publisher page:
Theodora is a perfectly normal duck. She may swim with a teacup balanced on her head and stay north when the rest of the ducks fly south for the winter, but there's nothing so odd about that.  

Chad, on the other hand, is one strange bird. Theodora quite likes him, but she can't overlook his odd habits. It's a good thing Chad has a normal friend like Theodora to set a good example for him.  

But who exactly is the odd duck here? Theodora may not like the answer. 

Sara Varon (Robot Dreams) teams up with Cecil Castellucci (Grandma's Gloves) for a gorgeous, funny, and heartwarming examination of the perils and pleasures of friendship.

My thoughts on the book:
Sometimes I want to just take the easy way out and say to everyone, "You'll love this book.  Go out and buy it." However, that is technically not a review but an endorsement of a book.  And yes, I endorse ODD DUCK as a book worth buying, but I will say more.

ODD DUCK can be slightly hard to describe.  It isn't exactly a picture book, nor is it a graphic novel.  It's really sort of a hybrid graphic novel/early reader/chapter book.  It is also not just for young children.  ODD DUCK can certainly entertain listeners and readers of all ages. There is a lot between the pages that young children will find funny or silly and simply an enjoyable story about two friends who happen to be ducks and a bit odd at that.  Adults who pick this up because they have enjoyed Castellucci's other books or Varon's graphic novels will also find meaning on the pages of this story and will identify with the story of friendship and being unique.  

The story is about a duck named Theodora who lives her life a little differently than the other ducks.

Soon, another duck moves into the neighborhood.  His name is Chad.  Theodora bakes him a cake as a welcoming gift and soon they have developed a special friendship.  But as it happens, sometimes things can come between friends.  Of course, for real friends, there is always a way back to that friendship. 

This past Saturday, I had an opportunity to attend the book event for ODD DUCK at Skylight Books in Los Feliz.  There were special ODD DUCK cupcakes on hand for the event.

Cecil Castellucci was there to share about how ODD DUCK came to be.  She shared that illustrator, Sara Varon felt a special connection with Theodora; whereas, Cecil sees herself a little more like Chad.

Cecil projected the story onto a screen and read it for everyone.  All of the children (and even big "kids") really enjoyed hearing about Theodora and Chad.

I was sitting over by Alethea (@frootjoos), Kristen Kittscher, and Elizabeth Ross.  Kristen was sharing her copy of ODD DUCK so that we had a close up look at Varon's quirky and just right artwork.

There is even an tree in the center of Skylight Books and if you look closely, author, Leslie Margolis was in the audience. 

If you haven't picked up a copy of ODD DUCK, I would encourage you to head over to your local bookstore and pick one up.  Remember to shop Indie whenever possible.

For more information:
Cecil Castellucci - website | facebook | twitter

Sara Varon - website | facebook 

Complete the Rafflecopter below to enter to win a signed copy of ODD DUCK. a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 27, 2013

It's Monday! What are you reading? From Picture Books to YA - 5/27/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

I had a strange reading week.  Most everything was for 13 and up and some for 16+ and older.  Here's what jumped out from the stack this week:

The Art of Clean Up: Life Made Neat and Tidy by Ursus Wehrli (Chronicle Books, February 19, 2013) - Chronicle Books publishes some artistically amazing picture books.  Though this one could certainly be shared with children, I think it will be a bigger hit with adults.  This was brilliantly executed.

Relish: My Life In the Kitchen by Lucy Knisley (MacMillan/:01, April 2, 2013) - Indie cartoonist, Lucy Knisley has written her memoir in graphic novel format.  Foodies will love this graphic novel food memoir of life growing up with parents and friends working in various aspects of the restaurant business, etc.  The book includes some fun recipes and stories to make you chuckle.  For ages 13+

Easy by Tammara Webber (Berkley Trade, November 6, 2012) - Easy is considered a New Adult book.  The story is set on a college campus and all of the characters are over 18 years old.  Though listed as a romance, there is so much more to this story.  Webber sensitively but powerfully confronts issues of sexual assault and date rape in this book.  Her main characters are flawed but grow and change over the course of the story.  For ages 16 years and older. 

Ragged Dick: Or, Street Life in New York with the Boot Blacks by Horatio Alger (1868) - I read this for my book club this month.  Written originally as a weekly serial, this story full embraces the theme of the American Dream and life in New York City in the 1860's. 

What I am currently reading:

Doll Bones by Holly Black (Simon & Schuster, May 7, 2013) - Just started this, but I love Holly Black's writing and world building. 

What I am looking forward to coming out in the next couple of weeks:

Squish  #5: Game On by Jennifer Holm, and Matt Holm (Random House, May 28, 2013) - Yes, Squish #5 will be out this week. 

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani and Maris Wicks (First Second, June 11, 2013) - A nonfiction biographical novel about 3 female scientists who studied primates. I am counting down the days till this one is released.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Interview with Jamal Igle - Creator of Molly Danger

Today I welcome Jamal Igle to Kid Lit Frenzy.  I was introduced to Jamal through Jeremy Whitley, creator of Princeless.  Igle is the creator/author of the Molly Danger graphic novel.  Here is a little information about Molly Danger....

Description from GoodReads:
Molly Danger is the story of the world’s most powerful ten-year-old girl. A seemingly immortal, superstrong hero, Molly has protected the city of Coopersville for the last twenty years. Kept in constant isolation and watched closely by D.A.R.T. (The Danger Action Response Team), an organization created to assist in her heroic deeds and monitor her movements, Molly battles the Supermechs. Molly longs for a real life with a real family. Her life changes when D.A.R.T. recruits a new pilot, Austin Briggs. Briggs has his own motivations for joining the team; newly remarried, Austin is having trouble forming a relationship with his new stepson, Brian. Austin wants to use his connections to impress Brian, an avid Molly Danger fan. However, things change when Molly and Brian form a friendship of their own. She believes she’s an alien whose family died when their ship crash-landed on Earth and before the atmosphere could fully alter them. She also believes that she’s alone, the last of her kind. Everything she believes is wrong.

For a free preview of Molly Danger, click here.

Jamal graciously agreed to an audio interview, which turned into my very first podcast.  (Thanks Alethea for your help in editing this interview.) Click on the widget below to listen to my interview with Igle as he answers questions about Molly Danger, creating comics and more. - Thanks Jamal for chatting with me!!!

Music credit
mont (Gablé) / CC BY-NC-SA 3.0

You can also listen to this podcast for free via Read Now Sleep Later at iTunes

For more information about Jamal Igle: website | blog | twitter 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries - A New Series Kicks Off with FROGS!

Yes, today's normally my Nonfiction Picture Book day, but I am excited to announce that there will be a new feature that will be showing up periodically called Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries. I'll be teaming up with Great Kid Books, 100 Scope Notes, & The Nonfiction Detectives  to explore nonfiction texts around a theme that can be used by teachers or librarians to support the new Common Core State Standards being adopted and implemented in many states.  I would like to thank Mary Ann Scheuer for getting the ball rolling on this great idea, and Travis Jonker for creating the wonderful image/logo (see above).     

Today's spotlight will be on Frogs.  Don't forget to check out the other posts as part of this series.  Each site will feature different books for different grade levels.

     * Louise Capizzo, children’s librarian & Cathy Potter, school librarian: The Nonfiction Detectives
     * Travis Jonker, school librarian: 100 Scope Notes
     * Mary Ann Scheuer, school librarian: Great Kid Books

Check out the following Early Readers and Book App about Frogs for Pre-K to 2nd grade:

From Tadpole to Frog (Scholastic Reader Level 1) - Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld; Photographs by: Dwight R. Kuhn
Publisher: Scholastic (February 1, 2011 - original publication date: March 1, 2001)
ISBN: 978-0545273374
Read Aloud Level: PreK to 1st
Independent Reading Level: 1st-2nd
Source: Purchased; Personal Copy

My thoughts on this book:
This more traditional-style early reader takes children on the journey of the life cycle of the frog from frog eggs in the pond through the transformation into tadpoles and then as a small frog.  The book ends in some ways with the beginning by reminding readers of the start of the life cycle.  Key vocabulary words are highlighted in the text and also contained in a glossary at the end of the book.

The style of this story lends itself well to a read aloud and for assisting young children in gathering basic facts about the life cycle of a frog which can be used in a presentation or simple report.  Though geared towards Kinder to 2nd grader students, the book can be used effectively with English Language Learners or children with special needs in upper elementary who may require high interest books with less text on a page.

Frogs! (National Geographic Kids Readers Level 1) - Elizabeth Carney; Photographs by: various
Publisher: National Geographic Children's Books (January 13, 2009)
ISBN: 978-1426303920
Read Aloud Level: PreK-1st
Independent Reading Level: High 1st grade to Low 3rd grade
Source: Purchased; Personal Copy

My thoughts on this book:
National Geographic has created a series of Early Readers on a variety of topics.  Every one of these readers I have looked at I have also loved.  Each feature the amazing photographs typically associated with National Geographic.  However, I find that these books are really a bit more than your standard early reader.

FROGS! not only features informative and engaging text written for younger students, but it also has a mix of questions and answers, vocabulary text boxes, fun facts, a poem, and even a touch of humor. The book shares with students where frogs can be found, why they make the sounds that they make, what kinds of food they like to eat, and what size and colors they come in.  The life cycle of the frog is also briefly explained.

The combination of photographs and a well thought through design for each page, not only makes this a winner for children in Kinder to Second Grade, but also an excellent resource for English Language Learners in 2nd to 5th grade.   

Rounds: Franklin Frog: A Book App - Barry and Emma Tranter
Seller: Nosy Crow
Updated: April 4, 2013
Version: 1.0.3
This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.
Audience: Ages 3 to 6
Source: A copy was sent for review; App was a Cybils 2012 Finalist

Description from Nosy Crow:
The first in an innovative new series of multimedia, interactive life-science/non-fiction apps based on circular characters whose real life stories start where they end. Rounds: Franklin Frog follows the life cycle of a frog through three generations.
• Hands-on opportunities to take part in the life of a frog: tap , swipe and guide frogs with your finger to make them jump, swim, catch flies, avoid predators, find a place to hibernate, croak to attract a mate, lay eggs, hatch, and transform from a tadpole into a frog.
• 100s of frog facts: did you know that frogs chew by pressing food against the back of their eyeballs with their tongues?
• High-quality child-narrated audio accompanied by text highlighting (but you can also turn the voice audio off so the child can read the text by themselves if you prefer)
• Original , high-quality illustration, made of circles and parts of circles to reflect the circle-of-life theme
• Original musical sound-track by an award-winning games composer

Check out this video:

My thoughts on this book app:
Just as publishers are creating or featuring more informational texts to address the growing demand for nonfiction books as part of the curriculum, there will certainly be book app designers seeking to address this issues as well.  Nosy Crow has created a series called "Rounds" which will look at life cycles of various animals.  In it's first release, the focus in on frogs.

Readers are introduced to Franklin the Frog and eventually his mate, Felicity.  The narrator of the book is a child and this book app leads children through the life cycle of a frog. 

Over the course of the book app, students will meet Franklin and two generations of off-spring which is where the concept of "rounds" comes in.  With each introduction of a new off-spring, the story again moves through reproduction, infancy, child-rearing, and into adulthood.  The app provides readers with enough prompts and guides to keep the story moving, but also allows children to continue to make Franklin (and the others) move repeatedly (both swimming, and jumping), as well as allows for interaction on each page.

Franklin Frog is clearly a book with special enhancements and extra features.  As I explored this app, I never had the sense that this was a game or simply another form of entertainment.  Instead, the balance between text, and interaction with the book was well thought through making this an enjoyable book for young children.     

Common Core Standards Associated with Texts listed above:

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.8 With prompting and support, identify the reasons an author gives to support points in a text.
  • CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.9 With prompting and support, identify basic similarities in and differences between two texts on the same topic (e.g., in illustrations, descriptions, or procedures)

Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity:


CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.K.10 Actively engage in group reading activities with purpose and understanding.

First Grade:

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.1.10 With prompting and support, read informational texts appropriately complex for grade 1.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Kindle Fire Giveaway - May 2013

May Kindle Giveaway
Kindle Fire HD 7" Giveaway
The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HD (US Only)
  Or $199 Gift Card (International)
  Or $199 in Paypal Cash (International)
Sponsoring Bloggers & Authors
  1. I Am A Reader, Not A Writer
  2. Feed Your Reader
  3. Girls with Books
  4. Just Bookin' Around
  5. The (Mis)Adventures of a Twenty-Something Year Old Girl
  6. Books, Beauty and Bodacious Deals
  7. Author Emma Michaels
  8. Page Flipperz YA
  9. Lori's Reading Corner
  10. Oh, Chrys!
  11. Author Josh Baker
  12. Author Roxanne Crouse
  13. Eve's Fan Garden
  14. Author Elizabeth Isaacs
  15. Chapter Break
  16. Buku-Buku Didi
  17. Molly & Mel's Obsessions Book Blog
  18. Author Jennifer Laurens
  19. Author MK McClintock
  20. Bookhounds
  21. Step Into Fiction
  22. Author Lena Sledge
  23. Author Taylor Dean
  24. Leisure Reads
  25. Libby's Library
  26. A Bookish Escape
  27. Ramblings of a Diva Book Nerd
  28. Suspense Author Kim Cresswell
  29. Suzy Turner, YA Author
  30. Books Unhinged by StacyHgg
  31. Author Lori Verni-Fogarsi
  32. Fae Books
  33. Word to Dreams
  34. Kid Lit Frenzy
  35. Author Tressa Messenger
  36. Auggie Talk
  37. Phantasmic Reads
  38. Kerry Taylor
  39. Reviews by Martha's Bookshelf
  40. Marissa's Space
  Giveaway Details 1 winner will receive their choice of a Kindle Fire 7" HD (US Only), $199 Amazon Gift Card or $199 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 5/31/13 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, May 20, 2013

It's Monday! What are your reading? From Picture Books to YA - 5/20/13

It's Monday! What are you reading? is hosted by Sheila of Book Journey. Jen & Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts have adapted this to focus on Picture Books to Young Adult Books.

As the end of the school year quickly approaches, my reading is a bit more sporadic.  Here's what jumped out at me from this past week:

Al Capone Does My Homework by Gennifer Choldenko (Dial, August 20, 2013) - Fans of the Al Capone series are going to really enjoy this book. 

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech (HarperCollins, September 3, 2013) - I am still processing this book.  I truly believe children and adults will have different thoughts about it.  Can't wait to see what others think.

If You Want to See a Whale by Julie Fogliano; Illustrated by Erin E Stead (Roaring Brook Press, May 7, 2013) - I am such a fan of Stead's artwork and if you are a fan, you'll want to take a look at it too.  This is a second book by the team of Fogliano and Stead. 

Now to share about something new...

Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries is a new series that will kick-off this Wednesday, May 22, 2013.  For more information, check out the post written by Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books. 

"In our series Common Core IRL: In Real Libraries, we are choosing high-interest subjects and looking at how we can support elementary students as they read increasingly complex texts around a subject. We want to provide both stimulating read-alouds, especially for young students, and just-right books of increasing complexity" - Mary Ann Scheuer

Join me, Louise Cappizo & Cathy Potter from The Nonfiction Detectives, Travis Jonkers from 100 Scope Notes, and Mary Ann Scheuer from Great Kid Books as we embark on this new series on Wednesday.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Children's Book Week - Friends stop by to share their thoughts...

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I asked teachers and librarians to respond to the prompt - "Books can take you anywhere..."  Several of my favorite teachers, librarians, bloggers, and booksellers have stopped by to share their thoughts on books this week.  For the last day of Children's Book Week, we have a wonderful collection of thoughts on books by a group of book lovers who truly know their books.

Kellee Moye, Middle School Teacher, FL -

Books are like an extremely strong telescope. They are the gateway to the entire universe. When you enter a book, it takes you into a new life, a new setting, a new situation and forces you to live in the shoes of someone else. It is a way to explore aspects of lives and history that we could never be part of. Where the Wild Things Are takes you to a fantastical island filled with monsters, The Giver takes you to the future where the government restricts our rights, every day takes us into the mind of a person who is more than just himself, and Hurt Go Happy puts us in the shoes of a young girl trying to protect something that can't protect itself and trying to overcome her past. These are all places that I would never be able to visit without the help of these books. Books build empathy, experience, and understanding all needs that all make their reader a better person and it is pretty entertaining along the way!

Follow her on twitter: @kelleemoye

Mary Ann and her first story.

Mary Ann Scheuer, Teacher/Librarian, CA

Books have always been the perfect escape for me, taking me back in time, to distant lands full of adventure, or just next door to meet a new friend. They let you see how you might want to act in a situation, or just how NOT to treat a friend.

My kids are always amazed that I don't remember lots of my friends from junior high, but I remember the books that were my friends. I loved The White Mountains trilogy by John Christopher - such an exciting, daring adventure that asked fundamental questions about human nature. I loved learning about history from books like Escape from Warsaw, by Ian Serraillier - this let me see a side of history that I knew was important to my family's history, but from the safety of a story that was both exciting and scary, and one with a happy ending.

I only wish I read more nonfiction as a child, that I was able to find more nonfiction that took me to different places and times. My brothers and I loved looking at our family's collection of National Geographic magazines. But I don't remember nonfiction grabbing me the way it does now.

I do connect to stories, and love the way I fall into a story and live with the characters. This is what creates that sense of being taken away.

Follow her on twitter: @maryannscheuer 

Sophie Riggsby, Book Aficionado & Blogger, NV - 

Books can take you anywhere -- to a secret garden, to a land filled with wizards, witches and magic, to a different time you would've never otherwise seen.

When I was young the first books I loved were C.S. Lewis' The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe and Edward Eager's Half Magic. I'm an only child and reading about those large families who found magic in their everyday lives made the possibility so very real to me.

To this day when I see an antique wardrobe, I open it and think, "Narnia?" And when I'm looking for change in my wallet, I find myself hoping to spot an odd, perhaps, magical coin. These books, these special books that we trip across in our childhood stay with us forever. Remember that next time you visit a book store or library. Are you ready for your next journey?

Follow her on twitter: @sophieriggsby 

Jen Pino, Bookseller, CA -

Books can take you anywhere means just that. They can transport you into a world that the author makes you a part of instead of where you actually are at the moment. You can instantly be sent to a world such as the dystopian future that is The Giver or sent to one of fantasy and magic such as the world that is Harry Potter or The Unwanteds. Whatever the case may be, books lift you off your seat and help you to imagine things that could only be possible in them.

Follow her on twitter: @jenapino

Thuy Lam, Blogger, CA -

"Books can take you anywhere..." I have always loved reading. I can't remember a time when I did not read. Growing up in a small suburb, books were a way for me to experience the world.Though my town was by no means tiny, it often felt that way. There was only one high school and most of the kids in school had known each other for most of their lives. Reading allowed me to travel to new places, learn new things and meet new friends. I went to the local library religiously, often taking out 10 or more books at a time. I then proceeded to stay up all night reading them. I guess not much has changed. Today, I still love reading for the same reasons. Life is normally pretty stressful - worrying about work, money, family and all those other little things that can bog us down. But reading lets me forget all of that for a little while. I love letting my imagination go and losing myself in a book, whether it be for a few minutes or a few hours. There is a quote "A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies said Jojen. The man who never read lives only one." (George RR Martin), and I believe this is true. And I plan on living many more lifetimes before this one is over.

Follow her on twitter: @fishgirl182

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Children's Book Week - With a Little Help From My Friends...

To celebrate Children's Book Week, I asked teachers and librarians to respond to the prompt - "Books can take you anywhere..."  Several of my favorite teachers stop by to share their thoughts on books.

Cynthia Alaniz, Teacher (and soon to be Librarian), TX -

"Books can take me anywhere. I've been to Malawi (LAUGH WITH THE MOON by Shana Burg), Maine (TOUCH BLUE by Cynthia Lord, and the Moon (THE MOON OVER HIGH STREET by Natalie Babbit). I have been to a WATER CASTLE (by Megan Frazer Blakemore) and seen THE DARK (by Lemony Snicket). I have done the HOKEY POKEY ( by Jerrry Spinelli) and visited THE 13-STORY TREEHOUSE (by Andy Griffith). I've learned to HOLD FAST (by Blue Baillett), write haikus (I HAIKU YOU by Betsy Snyder), appreciate the EXCLAMATION MARK (BY Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld), and work through A TANGLE OF KNOTS (by Lisa Graff). I've become friends with a STICK DOG (by TOM WATSON), a flamingo (FLORA AND THE FLAMINGO by Molly Idle), and a dog named HOMER (by Elisha Cooper). And along the way, I met a gorilla that brought me joy and also broke my heart (THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN by Katherine Applegate). I wonder where I will go next! I wonder what I will do next! I'll find the answers in the next book I read!"

Follow Cynthia on twitter @utalaniz

Colby Sharp, 4th Grade Teacher, MI -

"Books can take me to any location both inside and outside of this world. They can also take me into the heads of children experiencing things that I never experienced."

Follow Colby on Twitter: @colbysharp 

Jen Vincent, Teacher Leader/Teacher Mentor Program, IL -

"If only I had a passport filled with stamps from all the places I have visited as a reader over the years. It would be a magical passport that once opened, pages upon pages would burst out, flipping uncontrollably like an endless accordion. Books can take readers anywhere and my book passport would be a living testament to the extent of the possibilities that books give to readers. I've stood tall next to Molly Lou Melon, I've gone to school with Velma Gratch and her way cool butterfly, I've shopped at Ollivander's with Harry Potter. I've swam with alligators, spun webs with spiders, and watched the first Macy's parade when upside down puppets filled the sky. I've been around the world, in alternate universes, and out of this world without leaving my couch. Books have allowed me to stretch my imagination and take part in countless experiences that would never be even remotely possible in real life. And I'm a better person because of it. By visiting all these places and people, time periods and time zones, I have exponentially grown as a person and I love sharing books with kids and giving them a chance to add a stamp to their own book passports. It's exciting to imagine how many stamps I have in my passport and how many magical pages are yet to be filled. I can't wait!"

Follow Jen on Twitter: @mentortexts

Beth Shaum, 6th Grade Teacher, MI -

"Books can take you anywhere... doesn't just mean that the stories inside can take you to new places in your imagination, but in a more profound way, books can take you anywhere in life. Lifelong readers are lifelong learners and if you're a lifelong learner you can do anything."

Follow Beth on Twitter: @bethshaum

Friday, May 17, 2013

Truck Stop Blog Tour, Giveaway & A Special Guest Post

Yes, Anne Rockwell has a new book out.  Truck Stop was released on yesterday, May 16, 2013 by Viking Juvenile.  As a new teacher, many of my first books for my young students were written by Anne Rockwell.

One of my favorites was Apples and Pumpkins which was prominently featured in several lessons and projects that I did with students.  I probably have several paperback copies of this book that I took apart, ran through the laminator, and re-stapled so that little hands wouldn't damage the books.

Imagine how thrilled I was to discover that not only would I get to be a part of the blog tour for Truck Stop, but Anne Rockwell along with illustrator Melissa Iwai would be stopping by to share their responses to my Children's Book Week prompt "Books can take you anywhere..."?!  Thanks to Blue Slip Media for helping to coordinate the blog and a giveaway of Truck Stop.   

Anne Rockwell answers "Books can take you anywhere..."

Anne Rockwell - Photo credit @2013 Oliver Rockwell

It’s true that books can take you anywhere, including that cozy diner off the highway heading north or south, deep in the woods, where the truck stop is ready with a good-smelling cup of hot coffee, and whatever you are hungry for.

Sullivan - Photo credit @2013 Oliver Rockwell

I love to travel, and have seen a lot of the world, including most of the United States. But no matter where I go, there’s still a yearning for the safety and comfort of home. The American truck stop mom and pop diner is as worthy of tribute as the French sidewalk café, the Italian trattoria, the British pub, or those many Chinese 24-hour open restaurants lining Ghost Street in Beijing or a mountain road inn that’s been nestled in the remoter parts of China for centuries. I’ve spent a good deal of time in the last three years in such places because my son, my Chinese daughter-in-law, and Littlest Grandson, Sullivan Wong Rockwell, live there. When I saw Chinese patrons rinse their chopsticks in their green tea before using them I was reminded of our own roadside home places and the seemingly essential need humans the world over have for familiar food and companionship. TRUCK STOP is the story that came out of this. And of course, there was also Sullivan’s love for big trucks and work machines, a love he shares with so many children.

Note: Sullivan Wong Rockwell reading his first book not yet knowing that his NaiNai (Mandarin Chinese for paternal grandmother) wrote and illustrated it many years ago for another little boy who grew up to be Sullivan’s BaBa.

Ilustrator, Melissa Iwai answers "Books can take you anywhere..."

“Jamie? Jamie…? Hellooo?”

When I am being ignored by my 8-year old son, Jamie, my emotions can range from annoyance to exasperation. But there’s one occasion where he gets a free pass: When he’s reading a book. I can tell he’s in another place and time. And I fully understand and appreciate that. A great story can have that effect on a reader. Fortunately, I grew up experiencing the same wonderful feeling.

My favorite thing to do from the time I was 4 or 5 years old was visiting the library (we didn’t have a bookstore back then in our small town!). Looking at the collection of picture books there, I would be transported to other worlds. We’d check out a collection to bring home, and I’d look forward to many hours of visiting those places again and again. My favorites at that age were Maurice Sendak’s books, Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever (I could pore over the text and pictures for hours every day), the Lois Lenski book series of the “Small” people, and many others.

Through the years the list has grown and changed of course, but I still get the thrill of anticipation of “story travel” when I begin a new book.

So the next time my son isn’t responding to me asking him something, and his nose is buried in a book, I’ll save it for later and let him enjoy the journey.

Stop by Melissa's blog for activity sheets:

For the next blog stop, check out As They Grow Up on Saturday, May 18, 2013. 

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