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Today, I woke up with utter jubilation. As I told a colleague, the ALA YMA announcements are one of my favorite days of the year. I love the idea that all of the working committees report out their hard work and deliberation. Having served on a book award committee in the past, I know that it takes a significant amount of time and care to serve on these committees, so I am always appreciative of the honorees and winners, regardless of my own personal thoughts of who I hoped would win. I also love that the award lists give me such passion to read. I am itching to end this blog post to get reading!

I’d prepared my students. We were going to watch the awards during class. They were also excited. I ferried my children to school and noticed that I had several emails about award winners. I thought, “Uh oh! Folks are releasing the details early!” I messaged Kellee, and she very kindly informed me that I had calculated my time zones two hours in the wrong direction. The awards were released at 6am MST rather than 10am MST. I think that was my first major time zone goof-up in the three years that I’ve lived in Colorado. Alas!

I told my students that we were going to watch the video and PRETEND we were watching live. We did work while the awards played in the background. As usual, I gasped at some of the winners and honorees and also nodded along at titles I’d hoped and expected to win other awards. Ah! It is just so exciting!

Our class talked about the ways in which teachers can generate Mock Newbery/Mock Printz/Mock Caldecott/Mock Sibert/Mock Schneider/Mock ____ committees among their students. Discussions like these always make me miss the classroom a bit. I long to run a Mock committee among students again! All in all, the books and awards bring me such joy. I nabbed the audio of one of the books that I didn’t read, I brought home a few books from my office home to read, and I reserved a few more from the library. Pure bliss.

 
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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Thursday: Explorers by Matthew Cordell

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

Sorry for still being away from the blog, but with the ALA Youth Media Awards right around the corner, I am deep in my reading for the Schneider Family Award, so I will be back next week!

Ricki

I saw some favorited lists for the Printz, and I got ambitious and started five of those books this week. I did not finish any yet. Whoops! I am so excited for the YMA announcements tomorrow!

I reread #NotYourPrincess by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale, which I am writing a paper about, and I reread Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson, which I am teaching the next two weeks!

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Ricki

I am probably going to stop everything I am reading to read whichever books make the YMA lists. That’s typically what happens for me after the awards are announced.

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Tuesday: In-Class Youth Media Award Reactions

Thursday: Stargazing by Jen Wang

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

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Explorers
Author and Illustrator: Matthew Cordell
Anticipated Publication: September 24, 2019 by Feiwel and Friends

Goodreads Summary: From Caldecott Medalist Matthew Cordell, Explorers is a new picture book about an extraordinary trip to a museum.

When a family goes to a local museum, a boy notices a homeless man sitting outside, making brightly colored origami birds. He convinces his dad to buy a bird the man makes just for him.

Once inside the museum, his little sister takes the bird and launches it into the air. Is it lost? Soon another boy helps him look, and the paper bird brings two families―and two new friends―together.

With the style he used in Wolf in the Snow, Matthew Cordell shows how an ordinary family outing can be both extraordinary and magical.

My Review: Matthew Cordell’s newest picture book is a hit in my house. Explorers tells the story of a boy who finds a homeless man fashioning origami birds outside of a museum. The origami bird brings together two families in a way that is magical—or is it? This one made me think a lot, and I like books that make me think. It is almost wordless with only a couple of words in the entire book, but the pictures tell the story beautifully.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Students might enjoy debating whether the actions in the book are reflective of magic or not. Teachers might also group students and have each tell the story based on the pictures. They could talk about how their interpretations were or were not different.

Discussion Questions: Who was the man beside the road? What is his role in the family?; How does the main character change throughout the book? What does he learn?

Flagged Passage: 

Read This If You Love:  Journey by Aaron Becker, Wolf in the Snow by Matthew Cordell, The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

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Fountains of Silence
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Published: October 1, 2019 by Philomel Books

GoodReads Summary: A portrait of love, silence, and secrets under a Spanish dictatorship.

Madrid, 1957. Under the fascist dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, Spain is hiding a dark secret. Meanwhile, tourists and foreign businessmen flood into Spain under the welcoming promise of sunshine and wine. Among them is eighteen-year-old Daniel Matheson, the son of an oil tycoon, who arrives in Madrid with his parents hoping to connect with the country of his mother’s birth through the lens of his camera. Photography–and fate–introduce him to Ana, whose family’s interweaving obstacles reveal the lingering grasp of the Spanish Civil War–as well as chilling definitions of fortune and fear. Daniel’s photographs leave him with uncomfortable questions amidst shadows of danger. He is backed into a corner of difficult decisions to protect those he loves. Lives and hearts collide, revealing an incredibly dark side to the sunny Spanish city.

Includes vintage media reports, oral history commentary, photos, and more.

My Review: This book rocked me. It is so beautifully written, and I felt so lucky to be able to share it with others at NCTE this year. Because I have so many teaching ideas for this book, I am organizing this post a bit differently and focusing on many more teaching tools than usual. I hope that the information below helps other teachers use this book in their classrooms. It is so worthy of being read, studied, and loved.

Inquiry to Consider the Complexity of The Fountains of Silence:

The Connection of People: Ana, Daniel, Rafa, Fuga, Julia, Puri
“Some friendships are born of commonality. Others of proximity. And some friendships, often the unlikely ones, are born of survival” (p. 53).

Place as Character
The Castellana Hilton Madrid and Madrid
“After all, a hotel is a house of secrets” (p. 171).
“Madrid’s soil is untender, strong, and enduring like many who walk upon it” (p. 457).

Gender Norms
“Estamos más guapas con la boca cerrada. We are prettier with our mouths shut” (p. 240, 243, 300).

Social Class
“What lies outside the country’s borders is untouchable for families like hers” (p. 47).

Family Responsibility
“Julia needs the wages to feed her family and pay their debts” (p. 63).
“The family business needs you” (p. 82).

Human resilience
“It’s warrior skin, very strong” (p. 113)

Secrets
“There is a category of unspeakable things, a dark drawer where inexpressible truths live in exile” (p. 240).

Dreams
“Ana is tired of silence, tired of unanswered questions, and tired of secrets. A girl of patched pieces, she dreams of new beginnings. She dreams of leaving Spain” (p. 24).

Fountains of Silence
Analysis of the power of the title. Whose stories are heard? Whose are silenced?

Culminating Project Idea: Multigenre Inquiry Project
The Fountains of Silence is story which uses layered writing to illuminate the fear and terror that people experienced under Franco’s fascist regime. The novel reveals the brute strength and resilience of the people during the time period. Select a time and place in history to research. Consider researching a time and place which is deeply connected with your own story. Read the narratives of the people and develop a multigenre project which reflects your learning. You might include fictional narratives of stories you create, nonfiction excerpts that you find in your research, a photo essay which includes photos you find in your research. Whatever the final form, your culminating project should include various types of writing and media and demonstrate your knowledge about the time and place you selected to research.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!

It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!

Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.

We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

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Tuesday: Bedtime for Sweet Creatures by Nikki Grimes

Thursday: Teaching Thursday: Book in a Bag

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

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Kellee

Sorry for still being away from the blog, but with the ALA Youth Media Awards right around the corner, I am deep in my reading for the Schneider Family Award, so I will be back after the ALA YMA on the 27th.

Ricki

Isn’t Jen Wang amazing? I loved her new novel Stargazing. It is thoughtful and teaches wonderful themes. This is a great staple for your classroom library, and it would also make a wonderful read-aloud.

Just Ask! by Sonia Sotomayor is a great book about engaging with people with different disabilities. It offers a plant metaphor and also discusses the wide variance of disabilities that people have.

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Ricki

I’ll likely be rereading Piecing Me Together this week to prepare to teach it in Methods. I am also still enjoying the Harry Potter illustrated novel with my kids.

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Tuesday: The Fountains of Silence by Ruta Sepetys

Thursday: Explorers by Matthew Cordell

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Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!

 Signature andRickiSig

 
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Typically, our teaching-related posts fall on Tuesdays, but today I feel inspired, so it’s Teaching Thursday! I can’t say enough good things about my son’s kindergarten teacher. She’s so good at her job that she inspires me regularly. Whenever I volunteer in the class, I am fascinated with the ways in which literacy instruction is similar and different for kindergarten.

One of the things she does is called “book in a bag.” All of the kindergarten team uses this method/idea and maybe this is an idea that is common for this age level, but it makes my son very happy, so I thought I’d blog about it from a parent’s perspective! The children each have a bag that is labeled with their name. They bring home a book to read in the bag. Their job is to reread it as many times as they need until they can master the book. The teacher stressed that this should be fun. If the children get frustrated or aren’t having fun, then the program is not serving its purpose.

This is what I love about my son’s kindergarten teacher. She has them doing data analysis on mittens and gloves and she makes learning fun for my son. He looks forward to going to school every day. For me, this is what I want for him—I want him to love school as much as I do. Also, this is differentiation!

So my son excitedly brings home his book and slowly reveals it from his backpack for the whole family to see his next book before dinner. He taps at the door when I am feeding his baby brother and whispers, “Can I read my book in the bag to my baby brother? He’s the only one who hasn’t heard me read it yet.” And he holds up the book to us as he reads it, so we all can see the pictures. The repetition is helping him, and this is rereading at its best. So before we hop into bed to read, he pulls out his book one last time for the day to practice the words and to proudly show off his reading skills. As a parent, I love how happy this makes my kid, and the ownership feels with his book makes him enjoy reading even more. <3

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Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
Author: Nikki Grimes; Illustrator: Elizabeth Zunon
Published January 1, 2020 by Sourcebooks Jabberwocky

Goodreads Summary: It’s bedtime. But Mommy’s little one is not sleepy.

He growls like a bear, he questions like an owl, he tosses his mane like a lion. He hunts for water like a sly wolf, and hides like a snake.

Mommy needs to wrangle her sweet creature in bed so that the whole family can sleep. From tigers to squirrels to snakes, the little boy dodges around his bedtime, until he is tired enough to finally sleep. His imaginative animal friends weave their way through the illustrations, eventually joining him in curling up for the night.

My Review: The rhythm of this book is palpable. As a mother of three children six and under, I identified whole-heartedly with the mother of this book. She just wants her child to go to bed. As the child attempts sleep, he morphs into different animals (a lion, a tiger, an owl!). The book displays bedtime in ways that parents will identify with. Teachers will love using this book to teach metaphor and sound in story. 

My three-year-old’s review: “I like the squirrel and the koala a lot! I liked all of the aminals. [sic]”

My six-year-old’s review: “I like how his mom and his dad are trying to get him to sleep at night. I like how it is night-time in the book and the colors of the book make it feel like it is night-time.”

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The ways in which Grimes uses sound and metaphor is very intriguing and quite teachable. I spent a significant amount of time thinking about the almost-anthropomorphism of the text. The animals are given human characteristics of the child. But the child is actually given animal characteristics. This is zoomorphism, right? I would love to have this kind of study and debate with students. So cool!

Discussion Questions: What animals does the child act like? How does the author choose qualities of the child to connect them with animals?; Choose another animal not within the book. How might the child act like this animal at bedtime, too?

We Flagged: 

Read This If You Loved: Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don’t Do Bedtime by Cate Berry; Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownGoodnight Songs by Margaret Wise Brown

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