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Tomorrow marks the 50th anniversary of the groundbreaking Apollo 11 mission. To celebrate this momentous celebration, I am happy to share some fantastic space books! (And don’t forget to enter the giveaway!)

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
Author: Katherine Johnson
Published July 2nd, 2019 by Atheneum Books for Young Readers

The inspiring autobiography of NASA mathematician Katherine Johnson, who helped launch Apollo 11.

As a young girl, Katherine Johnson showed an exceptional aptitude for math. In school she quickly skipped ahead several grades and was soon studying complex equations with the support of a professor who saw great promise in her. But ability and opportunity did not always go hand in hand. As an African American and a girl growing up in an era of brutal racism and sexism, Katherine faced daily challenges. Still, she lived her life with her father’s words in mind: “You are no better than anyone else, and nobody else is better than you.”

In the early 1950s, Katherine was thrilled to join the organization that would become NASA. She worked on many of NASA’s biggest projects including the Apollo 11 mission that landed the first men on the moon.

Katherine Johnson’s story was made famous in the bestselling book and Oscar-nominated film Hidden Figures. Now in Reaching for the Moon she tells her own story for the first time, in a lively autobiography that will inspire young readers everywhere.

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
Author: Brian Floca
Originally Published April 9th, 2019 by Richard Jackson Books

Brian Floca explores Apollo 11’s famed moon landing with this newly expanded edition of Moonshot!

Simply told, grandly shown, and now with eight additional pages of brand-new art and more in-depth information about the historic moon landing, here is the flight of Apollo 11. Here for a new generation of readers and explorers are the steady astronauts clicking themselves into gloves and helmets, strapping themselves into sideways seats. Here are their great machines in all their detail and monumentality, the ROAR of rockets, and the silence of the Moon. Here is a story of adventure and discovery—a story of leaving and returning during the summer of 1969, and a story of home, seen whole, from far away.

Hidden Figures: Young Readers’ Edition
Author: Margot Lee Shetterly
Published November 29th, 2016 by HarperCollins

This edition of Margot Lee Shetterly’s acclaimed book is perfect for young readers. It is the powerful story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space.

This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, who lived through the Civil Rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Moon’s First Friends: One Giant Leap for Friendship
Author: Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrator: Elisa Paganelli
Published May 7th, 2019 by Sourcebook Jabberwocky

A heartwarming story of a friendship-seeking moon that also celebrates the extraordinary 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing!

From high up in the sky, the Moon has spent her whole life watching Earth and hoping for someone to visit. Dinosaurs roam, pyramids are built, and boats are made, but still no one comes. Will friends ever come visit her?

One day a spaceship soars from Earth…and so does her heart.

Includes bonus educational pages about the moon mission!

One Giant Leap: The Story of Neil Armstrong
Author: Don Brown
Published September 24th, 2001 by HMH Books for Young Readers

As a young boy, Neil Armstrong had a recurring dream in which he held his breath and floated high above the people, houses, and cars. He spent his free time reading stacks of flying magazines, building model airplanes, and staring through the homemade telescope mounted on the roof of his neighbor’s garage. As a teenager, Neil became obsessed with the idea of flight, working odd jobs to pay for flying lessons at a nearby airport. He earned his student pilot’s license on his sixteenth birthday. But who was to know that this shy boy, who also loved books and music, would become the first person to set foot on the moon, on July 20, 1969. Here is the inspiring story of one boy’s dream – a dream of flying that landed him more than 200,000 miles away in space, gazing upon the awesome sight of a tiny earth hanging suspended in a perfectly black sky. On the thirtieth anniversary of the moon landing, Don Brown’s expressive story reveals the achievement of this American legend, Neil Armstrong.

Previously Reviewed and Recommended:

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**Thank you to Milena at Simon & Schuster for providing the books for giveaway!**

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Strong Women Characters by Vanessa & Angelina, 8th and 7th Grade

  • Sophie Quire (from Sophie Quire) is strong even though her mother passed away. She stands up for what she believes in and adventures off to attempt to ave what she finds important.
  • Grace Blakely (from All Fall Down) is a brave girl who lost her mother at a young age. She stands up for what she believes is right even when nobody trusts her.
  • Maddie Manchester (from Not If I Save You First) is torn from her past, but she follows her beliefs and stands up for herself. She discovers the truth, stands up to assassins, and protect what’s important.
  • Linh Cinder (from Cinder) is living a normal life until she discovers new truths. Finding companions along the way, she attempts to fight evil and bring them to justice.
  • Agatha (from School for Good and Evil) overcomes her doubts and discovers her own dreams and beliefs.
  • Kestra Dallisor (from The Traitor’s Game) is a runaway princess who tries to escape her present and figure out her past. She protects those who are innocent and close to her.
  • Other favorites:
    • Chaya Lindner (from Resistance)
    • Cammie Morgan (from Gallagher Girls)
    • Alex Bailey (from Land of Stories)
    • Katarina Bishop (from Heist Society)

Most Inspirational Women in Books by Georgia & Natalie, 6th Grade

  • Cassie Sullivan (from The 5th Wave) spent the whole span of The Fifth Wave trying to protect her brother. Even in great sorrow and loss, she made the ultimate sacrifice so her brother could grow up in a safe world.
  • Mare (from The Red Queen) was put in a castle of danger where one wrong move could get her killed. She has to act like a princess to save her family while also being an advocate for a “red”volution.
  • Alyssa (from Dry) is the perfect big sister. She went through hell and back to protect her little brother and was prepared to do the unthinkable to keep her brother from suffering.
  • Cleo (from A Death-Struck Year) risked her life to help the sick. In the midst of an epidemic with no parents or family, 17 year old Cleo went houst to house saving people and risking her life.
  • SPOILERS!!!
    Mallory (from Sword of Summer) sacrificed herself. During a war, a bus was dropping off more soldiers when Loki took control of her body and made her set a bomb on the bus. When she took control back of her body, she deactivated the bomb saving 72 people but died in the process.
  • SPOILERS!!!
    Cinderpelt (from Warriors: The Fourth Apprentice) protects those around her. When every other cat is out of camp, a badger attacks the medicine den. Cinderpelt protects the kittens inside with the cost of her life.
  • Gerta (from A Night Divided) is a 12 year old from East Berlin who got caught between a rock and a hard place when in the middle of the night the Berlin wall was built up around her side of town. In order to protect her family, she faces betrayal, spies, and possibly death. All of this just to save her family.
  • Imogen (from The False Prince) seems like just a common servant but risks her life numerous times to protect someone she cares about.
  • Gina (from The Summer I Saved the World in 65 Days) is focused on doing helpful things around her neighborhood at night during the summer. She is spending her time trying to make others’ lives better.
  • Molly (from Castle Hangnail) is the only person that can save Castle Hangnail!

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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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: Student Voices!: Focus on Villains by Diego, Luis, Elsa, Kaley, Max, Mariana, & Daniela

Friday: National Geographic Kids: Little Kids First Big Book of Science by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Sunday:  Blog Tour with Author Guest Post: “Creating Words and Pictures: How Authors and Illustrators Work Together” by Alison Donald and Ariel Landy, Creators of The Spacesuit: How a Seamstress Helped Put Man on the Moon

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

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Kellee

We are moving homes here in Orlando, so I am going to take off about 6 weeks to get my family moved and settled. I’ll be back early August.

Ricki

I am also away this week! I have many extended relatives in town. I hope you all had a great reading week!

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Inspirational Female Characters by Vanessa, Angelina, Georgia, & Natalie

Friday: Apollo 11 50th Anniversary Celebration!: Space Book Roundup and Reaching for the Moon Giveaway

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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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“Creating Words and Pictures for The Spacesuit – How Authors and Illustrators Work Together”

Alison Donald: Just like the Apollo program, a book is a product of a collaboration of a team.  I’ve always wished I could draw.  I can see parts of my story unfold vividly in my head.  But I don’t have the necessary skills or talent to actually draw what I want to the quality that I want.

Thank goodness for illustrators.  Illustrators can read a text and bring it to life.  I was lucky to have Ariel Landy illustrate my latest book:  ‘The Spacesuit – How a Seamstress Helped put Man on the moon”.  But, do we actually work together?  The answer is yes, but indirectly though illustration notes.

Illustration notes:

When I submitted ‘Spacesuit’ to my publisher Maverick Arts, I included a few illustration notes.  I really wanted a 1960’s feel to book.  I also wanted it to be fashionable.  Afterall, it’s about seamstresses who were fashioning one of the most important garments in world history!

I identified when sewing machines and spacesuits needed to be in the text and I asked for the seamstresses to be crowded around the tv watching Neil Armstrong on the moon (spoiler alert! Sorry!).

I researched the A7L spacesuit and provided diagrams.  I also provided photographs of the actual seamstresses at the factory of Playtex / ILC dover for reference.

Then, I sat back while Kim, my fabulous editor / designer found an illustrator.

It’s an exciting day when a sample spread arrives in my inbox.  Here was Ariel’s sample spread for the Spacesuit:

Just perfect!

The editor:

Editors / designers have a much better sense of layout, how much text should be on a page, and they know more about colour palettes than I do.  Kim worked with Ariel and then shared Ariel’s sketches with me.

I acted as another pair of eyes to make sure the pictures were factually correct.

It’s a just right fit when authors can weigh in on visual details that are relevant to the story (thanks Kim!).

Otherwise, it’s nice to leave it to the illustrator to create her own magic.

And as you can see, Ariel certainly did!

Ariel Landy: Happily, for me, by the time I got the story so much research for The Spacesuit had already been done, both by Alison and the editing team at Maverick. When I read the story for the first time, I had a briefing from our editors complete with photographs of Ellie and the talented ladies who actually worked on the spacesuit in various stages. I relied heavily on these primary sources to draw many elements of the story such as the pink factory coat that Ellie wears while working on a small sewing machine, and ‘Sweet Sue’ and ‘Big Moe’, the giant sewing machines brought in to help the seamstresses sew the many, many layers of the spacesuit! Also, fortunately for me, I had fact-checkers at Maverick to catch some of my anachronisms, such as coloring in the TV screen that shows the moon landing, when it likely would have been in black and white.

Of course, the internet is the ultimate research tool! There were so many accessible photos of the spacesuit at my fingertips, both on its own and adorning the astronauts. I was also fortunate to see the documentary Apollo 11, which happened to have a limited run in New York City just as I was working on the coloring stage of the illustrations. The film is all real color footage from the launching of the rocket that brought the brave astronauts to the moon. It was chock full of real spectators sporting the most wonderful 60s clothing and hairstyles. After seeing it I couldn’t wait to go back and tweak my characters!

I feel really lucky to have had such a great writing and editing team collaborating at different stages to make such a special book! Thanks team!

The Spacesuit: How a Seamstress Helped Put Man on the Moon
Author: Alison Donald
Illustrator: Ariel Landy
Published June 18th, 2019 by Maverick Arts

About the Book:There is a competition to make the spacesuit for the first moon landing! Ellie, an ordinary woman, is asked to lead a team of other talented seamstresses. No one believes they can win, but they are determined to try.

Based on the incredible true story behind the spacesuit that astronauts wore on the first moon walk and the team of women who sewed it together.

Don’t miss the other Blog Tour stops! 

Monday, July 15th: Publisher Spotlight Blog
http://www.publisherspotlight.com/blog/

Tuesday, July 16th: YA Books Central
https://www.yabookscentral.com/

Wednesday, July 17th: Randomly Reading
https://randomlyreading.blogspot.com/

Thank you so much for this guest post about this incredible true story!

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National Geographic Kids: Little Kids First Big Book of Science
Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
Published April 4th, 2019 by National Geographic Kids

Summary: What is science? What do scientists do? This lively reference book answers these questions and many more, all while introducing kids to the amazing things that scientists study: animals and plants, oceans and space, earthquakes and volcanoes, sound and light, inventions, and more!

Make sure kids’ first experience of the wonders of science is a thrilling eye-opener with this fun reference book. Fun activities, games, and simple experiments encourage interactive learning, showing kids that anyone can use scientific observation and experimentation to be a scientist and discover new things. With bright images and age-appropriate text, this book inspires kids to be curious, ask questions, and explore the world around them. And, maybe even grow up to be a scientist one day, too! Topics touched on include astronomy, botany, paleontology, malacology (that’s the science of clams, snails, and other animals with shells!), zoology, and more.

Inside you’ll find:

  • More than 200 incredible photos
  • Age-appropriate explanations of the things that scientists wonder about and learn
  • Questions and activities in each chapter that encourage interactive learning
  • Simple text for reading aloud or for beginning readers, and fun facts on every page
  • Parent tips that extend the experience beyond the book

About the Author: Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld was a children’s book editor for more than 10 years before becoming a full-time writer. She has published more than 60 books for children, most about animals and natural history.

Other National Geographic Kids Little Kids First Big Books:

 

Review: National Geographic Kids books are such amazing resources for kids and adults! I just love reading through the books because I always learn something, too, and the images are beautiful. And as a mom, I love reading it with Trent because he adores science and the books are such an inquisitive conversation starter. As a teacher, I can see so many ways that this book could be used in an elementary classroom. It is just a perfect triad!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: The book is made to be used with children when discussing science. There are a plethora of ways to use it! The book speaks for itself:

Additionally, the parent resources in the back are amazing for home and classroom! Here are some examples of the hands-on science discussions/activities for adults to do with kids in the “Parent Tips” section (just a summary):

  • Egg, Plus Heat (Chemistry): Looks at how heat changes the egg.
  • Moon Shapes (Astronomy): Lunar calendar
  • House of Blocks (Engineering): Make the most stable structures.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is a hypothesis?
  • What is a Control?
  • What are the different branches of science?
  • Why do we get vaccinations?
  • What are the different kinds of animals?
  • What is an ecosystem?
  • What are the three different states of matter?
  • What moves faster: light or sound?
  • Word play with the glossary!

Some of the Interactive Questions from throughout the book

  • If you could spend a day with one of these scientists, who would you choose?
  • Which part of the body would you like to learn more about? Why?
  • Can you name three ways you look different from when you were a baby?
  • What wild animal would you most like to study? Why?
  • Which ecosystem would you most like to visit? Why?
  • How many ocean animals can you name?
  • If you could travel to another planet, which one would you choose?
  • What would you like to invent?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Science!

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review**

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The best way to learn what kids are thinking & feeling is by listening to them, so I am happy to share my students’ voices!

Controversial Characters (Are they villains? Or are they heroes?) by Elsa, Kaley, and Max, 8th Grade

  • Dumbledore from the Harry Potter series: Even though J.K. Rowling makes Dumbledore seem like a wise, old guide helping Harry, Dumbledore is often manipulative, selfish, and cold. While Harry saw Dumbledore as a mentor, Dumbledore only saw Harry as a pawn. Dumbledore used Harry’s feelings toward him to make Harry do what he wants. (Elsa)
  • Severus Snape from the Harry Potter series: At the end of the series, J.K. Rowling attempted redemption with Severus Snape. I feel as though it wasn’t enough and if anything it made me not like him more. While he was a villain for the majority of the series, the fact that he was bullied and then obsessed with Harry’s mom is supposed to make the fact that he is a trash person for 6.5 books okay… (Kaley)
  • Tedros from the School for Good and Evil series: Tedros, the love interest of both Sophie and Agatha in the first book, is so self absorbed and ignorant. In the first book, he seemed very fake and would do whatever he wanted. (Elsa)
  • Sophie from the School for Good and Evil series: I totally get that Sophie was supposed to come across as artificial and stupid. It was one of her character flaws that was supposed to be overruled by her good traits like being a good friend to Agatha. I don’t think it did and think the bad outweighed the good. (Kaley)
  • Naomi’s Dad in Two Naomis: Naomi’s dad is a controversial character in my opinion because the author tried to make the reader feel sorry for him and that he was really trying; however, I do not like him because he should not force things on the children. Some children take longer to deal with changes. (Max)

15 of the Most Evil Characters in Books by Daniela & Mariana, 8th Grade

  • Slade from Blood on my Hands
  • The Governor from Stung
  • The Evil Queen from The Land of Stories series
  • The Masked Man from The Land of Stories series
  • Lady Iris from The Land of Stories series
  • Snow Queen from The Land of Stories series
  • Sea Witch from The Land of Stories series
  • The Queen of Hearts from The Land of Stories series
  • Captain Hook from The Land of Stories series
  • Morina from The Land of Stories series
  • The Police from Ghost Boys
  • Hellhounds from Good Dog
  • Aiden’s Dad from Good Dog
  • Secret Murderer from One of Us is Lying
  • Steven from A Girl Named Digit

10 Comic Villains I Wish I Could Fight by Diego, 8th Grade

  • Thanos: I would like to fight Thanos because he is the strongest supervillain. He beat The Avengers!
  • Reverse Flash: I would fight Reverse Flash because he is the archenemy of the Flash and is very fast and super smart.
  • The Joker: I would fight the Joker because he’s a very smart scientist and a criminal mastermind. I think I would lose.
  • Lex Luthor: I would fight Lex Luther because he’s the archenemy of Superman and is very powerful though I think I could win.
  • Catwoman: I would fight Cat Woman because she’s very agile and would be difficult to fight because of her agility and coordination.
  • Harley Quinn: I would fight Harley because she is very smart and is Joker’s partner and would be hart to defeat.
  • Magneto: I would fight Magneto because he’s very powerful since he can control magnets and magnetic fields.
  • Loki: I would want to fight Loki because he is the god of mischief and would be fun but hart to beat.
  • Venom: I would like to fight Venom because when the symbiote turns into Venom, he turns really lethal and powerful, similar to fighting Spiderman.
  • Doctor Doom: I would like to fight Doctor Doom because he is Spiderman’s archenemy and is very mean and knows how to create armor. He also is an intellect, knows sorcery, and is a telepath.

Top 10 Manga Villains by Luis, 8th Grade

  • Blackbeard from One Piece: Marshall D. Teach, also known as Blackbeard, is the captain of the Blackbeard Pirates and is known as one of the baddest pirates in the manga.
  • Piccolo Daimaku from Dragon Ball Z: He’s the main antagonist of Dragon Ball. He’s one half of the No-Name Namekian alongside Kami-sama. He’s known for assassinating innocents during the Martial Arts Tournament and assassinating Master Roshi.
  • Zamasu from Dragon Ball Z: Zamasu is a god of time. He started hating humans after Trunks started messing with time travel. He wants to kill all humans for Trunks’s actions against time.
  • Majin Buu from Dragon Ball Z: Majin Buu is a monster created by magician Vividi and reused by his son. Buu’s only objective is to destroy all living creatures on the planet, even killing Vividi.
  • Frieza from Dragon Ball Z: Frieza is the emperor of the universe, and his only desire in life is to attain immortality.
  • Kars from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Kars is the one responsible for the Villain vs. Human War and killing all of his species except for 3 men. He is right now floating in space not thinking.
  • Dio Brando from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Dio is a vampire. Dio wants to reset the world to his wishes. He’s able to stop time and kills half of the stardust crusaders.
  • Enrico Pucci from Jojo’s Bizarre Adventure: Pucci is a priest but once he meets Dio his believes change. Dio is his god now and Pucci is helping with resetting the whole universe.
  • The Major from Hellsing: The Major is the master evil human in the world since all he wants is war, destruction, and chaos.
  • Madara Uchiha from Naruto: Shippuden: Madara is th descendant of the 2nd son of the sage of sixpathes, part of the Uchika clan, and the first Uchiha to unlock the eternal Mangekyou Sharingan which gave him great powers.

Thank you everyone for your great lists!

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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: Student Voices!: Favorite Characters by Isaias, Miguel, Max, Kaley, Ellian, Sujan, Mariana, Daniela, Vanessa, Angelina, & Nitya

Friday: Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove by Barry Wittenstein

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Making Lemonade out of Lemons: Creating Humor out of Sadness” by Naomi Milliner, Author of Super Jake & the King of Chaos

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

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Kellee

We are moving homes here in Orlando, so I am going to take off about 6 weeks to get my family moved and settled. I’ll be back early August.

Ricki

My husband and I were able to go on our first date night in a year, and it was really a pleasure! We went out to dinner and then explored the Old Firehouse Bookstore. It really rounds out any date night, in my opinion. 🙂 We saw this sign, which was great. We also read a bunch of new picture books together.

This is one of the books we read. I love Michael Hall, and I enjoyed this story about teaching time (Monkey Time). There need to be more books about teaching time!

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Ricki

I am not sure how much new reading I will do this week because I am drafting my book about YAL in the classroom. That is going to be consuming much of my reading time lately, and I am excited that several bloggers are contributing short teacher excerpts! <3

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Tuesday: Student Voices!: Focus on Villains by Diego, Luis, Elsa, Kaley, Max, Mariana, & Daniela

Friday: National Geographic Kids: Little Kids First Big Book of Science by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld

Sunday:  Blog Tour with Author Guest Post: “Creating Words and Pictures: How Authors and Illustrators Work Together” by Alison Donald and Ariel Landy, Creators of The Spacesuit: How a Seamstress Helped Put Man on the Moon

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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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