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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Top Ten Favorite Authors of All Time

It gives us a stomach ache to create this list. If you ask us tomorrow, these lists will shift. We absolutely could not limit ourselves to five authors each, but we are keeping with the TTT spirit and taking a plunge. These twenty authors (and some repeats between us) are our incredible. We highly recommend their books and would read anything by them.

Ricki

(In alphabetical order.)

  1. Sherman Alexie – Ah, this man is glorious both in print and in person. He has inspired me in so many ways.
  2. Coe Booth – I was blown away by Coe’s books. Her scenes come alive.
  3. Kristin Cashore – I didn’t think I liked fantasy until I read Cashore’s books. She opened my world.
  4. Matt de la Peña – Not only is Matt a great man, but his books reach so many kids. I cherish his books.
  5. John Green – Because he made geeky oh-so-cool. Well, we always knew it was cool, but he reminded us.
  6. A.S. King – A.S. King takes risks in her stories, and each novel is very different from the last.
  7. Harper Lee – In my opinion, Atticus Finch is the best drawn character in any book that exists.
  8. Eliot Schrefer – When his books come out, I hide in a closet and cannot emerge until I am done.
  9. John Steinbeck – My favorite classic author of all time. I’ve read more books by this man than any other author.
  10. Jacqueline Woodson – We are lucky to have Jackie Woodson. Her books have changed me.

Kellee

Anyone who knows me know how hard this was. I had a list of probably 30 authors to choose from, but I went with my gut. This list could probably change tomorrow. I wish I could do a list of favorite picture books, middle grade, graphic novels, young adult, and adult!!

(In alphabetical order)

  1. Roald Dahl – He’s been my favorite for as long as I can remember. He is so creative, funny, and never gets old!
  2. John Green – Like Ricki said, he was the beginning of the “let’s make smart cool” trend which I am a huge fan of. Also, he just really knows how to craft a novel!
  3. Ernest Hemingway – I almost didn’t put Hemingway because I haven’t read any of his work in a while, but he was my favorite while I was getting my lit degree. I love his lack of fluff. He just writes how it is.
  4. Lois Lowry – Lois Lowry is special. She writes in a way that sucks you into a novel, changes you forever, then spits you out. Her writing is so powerful.
  5. Ann M. Martin – Baby-sitters Club was my serial reading when I was in middle school. I loved those girls. And Martin has continued to write novels that have found places in my heart.
  6. Kenneth Oppel – I just have not read anything by him that I do not like. His premises are so unique, and he writes so well.
  7. Ginny Rorby – Rorby knows how to pull at heart strings, and I love that her novels make you think about human and animals issues.
  8. Eliot Schrefer - When I read Endangered I fell in love with Schrefer’s writing. Threatened deepened that love. I cannot wait to read everything he ever writes.
  9. Raina Telgemeier – I went back and forth between Telgemeier and TenNapel because I think they both are amazing graphic artists (though very different), but Raina did something so unique with Smile and Drama.
  10. Mo Willems – His picture books are always good. He cracks me up.

Which authors are your favorites? Who did we miss? We can each think about five others who really belong on each of our 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 hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee 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.

Congratulations to
ERIC W.
for winning the Won Ton and Chopstick Giveaway!

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday winter bees rain reign cody

Tuesday: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: First, I want to thank everyone for your kind words about Trent. It was pretty scary, but he is doing so much better! Thank you for understanding about my lack of blog visits last week as well! On top of the allergic reaction and ER visit, two bugs hit our house in one week. It was rough!

As for reading, I have read some great novels over the last two weeks!

  • I finished Five, Six, Seven, Nate by Tim Federle and immediately wanted another one! I love Nate so much, and the audiobooks were phenomenal!
  • I also read Here’s Hank: Fake Snakes and Weird Wizards which is a early chapter book which I will review on Friday. I think Hank and Cody, of Cody and the Fountain of Happiness, would be really good friends!
  • Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern was a book I hadn’t heard anything about before I picked it up, but it was a fascinating look at disabilities with a huge cup of romance. It was like Out of My Mind for teens.
  • Laurie Halse Anderson has another winner with The Impossible Knife of Memory. Anderson just knows how to craft a novel that tugs at your everything while you read.
  • All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven is our next Twitter chat book, and I finished it this weekend. It is a powerful look at mental illness. I will review it soon, and you can see Ricki’s review here.

With Trent, we just kept on signing Sandra Boynton’s Fifteen Animals, Barnyard Dance, and Personal Penguin over and over :) Good thing I love it! I also read Green is a Chile Pepper to him, and we made it all the way through which is great news! My mom also read Peanuts: A Scanimation Book with Trent. He loves the moving pictures!

Ricki: I am in Chicago at the AERA (American Educational Research Association) convention, so I am unable to post an update. Many of you attend NCTE, so if you want a comparison, they are similar with the session formats, but people dress up a bit more formally, and the session topics are focused on any subjects and any levels of education Kindergarten through Post-Secondary Education. Most of the attendees are professors and graduate students, although there are some practicing teachers. I enjoy the eclectic feel of the sessions and attend sessions in my area (English Education), in parallel areas (Literacy), and in outside areas (last year, I got to watch a really cool presentation about revamping Physical Education). They have a neat roundtable format that I don’t believe exists at NCTE. It is a huge room with many roundtables, and each table has three-ish presentations. The presenters discuss their work and get feedback from the others.

I apologize in advance that I can’t comment on blogs this Monday, but I promise to catch up and post double-time next week! I’ll also share anything cool that I learn. :)

This Week’s Expeditions

Kellee: I am currently listening to Kristin Levine’s Paper Cowboy from my #mustreadin2015 list. Has anyone read it? I would love to chat with someone about it. I hope to finish it this week. I also started reading A Death-Struck Year by Makiia Lucier which is a historical fiction YA novel about the flu epidemic of 1918. After Death-Struck, hopefully my hold on I’ll Give you the Sun will be available at the library, so I can read that next.

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday sky painter between fakesnakes

Tuesday: Top Ten ALL TIME Favorite Authors

Thursday: Win a set of Ruta Sepetys’ books!

 So, what are you reading?

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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cody

Cody and the Fountain of Happiness
Author: Tricia Springstubb
Illustrator: Eliza Wheeler
Published April 14th, 2015 by Candlewick Press

Goodreads Summary: For whimsical Cody, many things are beautiful, especially ants who say hello by rubbing feelers. But nothing is as beautiful as the first day of summer vacation, and Cody doesn’t want to waste one minute of it. Meanwhile, teenage brother Wyatt is moping over a girl, Mom is stressed about her new job as Head of Shoes, Dad is off hauling chairs in his long-distance truck, and even camp has been closed for the summer. What to do? Just when all seems lost, Cody bumps into a neighborhood boy named Spencer who is looking for a runaway cat. With a new friend and a soon-to-be-found cat, Cody is on her way to the fountain of happiness.

Kellee’s Review: Cody is one of those spunky, smart, caring, sweet young ladies who anyone would want as a friend. I loved being part of Cody’s summer which was full of a quirky set of characters and an unexpected misadventure. I have been talking to Carrie Gelson about my book gap when it comes to early chapter books, so I am so glad that I found Cody because I think she is going to be loved as much as Marty McGuire, Lulu, Ivy & Bean, and many other loved early chapter book characters.

Ricki’s Review: Kellee’s review made me laugh. I agree that my knowledge of early chapter books is my biggest weakness, so I loved reading this odd-in-a-good-way tale! The illustrations are great–as a young reader, I hated when my chapter books didn’t have pictures, so this will be very appealing to kids. I loved how the author incorporated Spanish words for beginning readers. Also, the quirky bond between Cody and her brother, Wyatt, made me giggle at several points. Wyatt reminded me of my older brother, and I think readers will find similar qualities in their siblings. I will absolutely be recommending this book to younger readers.

Teachers’ Tools of Navigation: Lots of things go into Cody’s fountain of happiness: her family, Mew Mew, Spencer, GG, and her ants; however, each of us have our own fountain of happiness. Have students make their own fountain of happiness list, and then assemble the things they included into a list poem.
(Idea from Tricia Springstubb)

Additionally, Tricia Springstubb’s writing is exceptional and would definitely serve as a mentor text for voice and descriptive writing. The lyrical way that Tricia Springstubb describes Cody’s feelings and surroundings is beautiful and is a wonderful example for student writers and readers.

Discussion Questions: What makes up your fountain of happiness?; Cody uses onomatopoeias to describe things such as her mother’s walking “click-click-click” and her coffee drinking “gulp-gulp-gulp.” What onomatopoeias do you hear around you on a daily basis?

We Flagged: “Late that night, Cody woke up. Her Dad radar was beeping. She raced to the kitchen. Dad sat at the table with Mom. Jumping into his arms, Cody breathed in great gulps of dad smell, a mix of diesel oil, coffee, and eggs over easy.”

cody2

Book Trailer: 

Cody & The Fountain of Happiness-Trailer from Tim Kaegi on Vimeo.

Read This If You Loved: Marty McGuire by Kate Messner, Eleanor books by Julie Sternberg, Lulu books by Judith Viorst, Babymouse by Jenni L. Holm; Annika Riz, Math Whiz by Claudia Mills

Recommended For: 

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rain

Rain Reign
Author: Ann M. Martin
Published October 7th, 2014 by Feiwel & Friends

Goodreads Summary: In her most powerful novel yet, Newbery Honor author Ann M. Martin tells the story of girl with mental/emotional challenges and the dog she loves.

Rose Howard has OCD, Asperger’s syndrome, and an obsession with homonyms (even her name is a homonym). She gave her dog Rain a name with two homonyms (Reign, Rein), which, according to Rose’s rules of homonyms, is very special. Rain was a lost dog Rose’s father brought home. Rose and Rain are practically inseparable. And they are often home alone, as Rose’s father spends most evenings at a bar, and doesn’t have much patience for his special-needs daughter.

Just as a storm hits town, Rain goes missing. Rose’s father shouldn’t have let Rain out. Now Rose has to find her dog, even if it means leaving her routines and safe places to search. Rose will find Rain, but so will Rain’s original owners.

Hearts will break and spirits will soar for this powerful story, brilliantly told from Rose’s point of view.

My Review and Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Rose reminded me of a dear student I had when I was teaching. Because I had this strong connection with her character, I felt very attached to the story, in general. Rose is a passionate, caring young girl, and I think students will learn much from her.The story line is well-done, and I appreciated that it wasn’t a problem novel that only focused on her disorder. Her bond with her dog, her bravery, and her relationship with her uncle teach great lessons. This book reminded me of Wonder by R.J. Palacio because it teaches empathy quite well. It is one of those books that makes me want to be a better person. While Rose’s repetition may feel overdone, it is her reality, and Ann M. Martin hits that home. Rose pushes and pushes her father and teachers (at the same time as she pushes and pushes the reader) in ways that are a hallmark of Asperger’s. It shows the realities of individuals who live with this disorder. I think it is incredibly important for students to read books about people who are different from them, so they can see the similarities despite the differences in characters. I would love to use this book as a read-aloud.

Kellee’s Review: Check out Kellee’s Review here!

Discussion Questions: Was Rose’s dad an evil man? What can we learn from him?; Do you think Rose made the right choice about Rain?; How does Rose make friends in school? What can we learn from her?

We Flagged: “I’m going to tell you a story. It’s a true story, which makes it a piece of nonfiction.”

Read This If You Loved: Rules by Cynthia Lord, Wonder by R.J. Palacio, Mockingbird by Kathryn Erskine, Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper, Each Kindness by Jaqueline Woodson; The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Recommended For: 

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Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

winter bees

Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold
Author: Joyce Sidman
Illustrator: Rick Allen
Published November 4th, 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers

Goodreads Summary: In this outstanding picture book collection of poems by Newbery Honor-winning poet, Joyce Sidman (Song of the Water Boatman, Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night), discover how animals stay alive in the wintertime and learn about their secret lives happening under the snow. Paired with stunning linoleum print illustrations by Rick Allen, that celebrate nature’s beauty and power.

My Review: Alyson and Carrie both nominated this book for our Mock Sibert Award, so I knew it was a book I had to read. After requesting that my library purchase it, I was so happy to finally receive the book. This book is beautiful. Each aspect of the book can stand alone: the poetry is full of imagery and figurative language, the informational aspects are interesting and fact-based, and the illustrations are exceptional and bring the animals to life.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: First, this book can be used as a mentor text for poetry. Many different types of poetry are represented and each poem is different. Second, I think this book can be a great jumping off point for an inquiry-based project where students research an animal, write a poem about it, and also write an informational piece of text to accompany the poem. This book is also a great companion to Kate Messner’s Over and Under Snow and other animal survival books which would cause for a great unit as well.

Discussion Questions: Which of the winter animals has the best plan for survival?; What fact in Winter Bees surprised you the most about how an animal survives during the winter?

We Flagged: 

vole

Read This If You Loved: Firefly July by Paul Janeczko, Feathers by Melissa Stewart, Born in the Wild by Lita Judge, Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Over and Under Snow by Kate Messner

Recommended For: 

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top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Top Ten Inspiring Book Quotes

Unforgettable lines!

Ricki

1. Books inspire me to seek solace.

Nicholson

(Image from GoodReads.com. Quote by William Nicholson from Shadowlands)

2. Books inspire me to recognize how fortunate I am:

lee

(Image from ala.org. Quote by Harper Lee from To Kill a Mockingbird)

3. Books inspire me to talk to others:

zevin

(Image created on recite.com. Quote by Gabrielle Zevin from The Storied Life of A. J. Fikry)

4. Books inspire me to seek far away places.

herbsman

(Image created on recite.com. Quote by Cheryl Renee Herbsman from Breathing)

5. And books inspire me to go just a tiny bit crazy.

SONY DSC

(Image found on http://www.theliterarygiftcompany.com. You can get it made into a towel! Quote by Louisa M. Alcott.)

Kellee

1. Matilda was one of the first book lovers in a book that I read. She was so inspiring to me.

matilda

(Image from Buzzfeed. Quote from Matilda by Roald Dahl)

2. One of many inspiring John Green quotes. That man is a genius word crafter. 

papertownsquote

(Image from BuzzFeed. Quote from Paper Towns by John Green)

3. Dumbledore is one of the most inspiring characters. He always knew what to say at the right time.

dumbledoredeathlyhallows

(Image from HuffPost Teen. Quote from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling)

4. When I read this book to Trent, I started crying on page 1. It is also so true.

onthenight

(Image from PopSugar. Quote from On the Night you were Born by Nancy Tillman)

5. The Giver is my favorite book of all time, and it is because of the brilliance of Lois Lowry. (Technically not a quote from a book but still a book quote.)

loislowry

(Image from pinaquote.com. Quote by Lois Lowry)

Which are your favorite book quotes?

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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 hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. 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!

Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts, and Kellee 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.

Last Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday vivafrida SeparateisNever Josephine littlemelba WON TON AND CHOPSTICK cover greenisachile littleroja Firebird HORSE

Tuesday: Characters We’d Like To Check In With

Wednesday: From My (Huge) Library Pile Part Five: We Need Diverse Books (Nonfiction)

Thursday: Blog Tour and Giveaway!: Won Ton & Chopstick: A Cat and Dog Tale Told in Haiku by Lee Wardlaw

Friday: From My (Huge) Library Pile Part Six: We Need Diverse Books (Fiction)

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

 Last Week’s Journeys

Kellee: Unfortunately, Kellee is currently at the E.R. with little Trent. He is having an allergic reaction. Please excuse her absence from this week’s post. She promises to update you about her reading adventures next Monday!

Ricki: I hope you aren’t disappointed that you are stuck with ME this week. Hopefully, I will impress you with my reading prowess.

Professional development texts: I finished TWO professional development books this week. I read Deborah S. Koch’s How to Say It: Grantwriting. I did learn a lot, but about half of this book felt obvious to me. Overall, I am glad I read it, though. I also finished Carol Grbich’s Qualitative Data Analysis: An Introduction. This was an excellent overview of all of the qualitative approaches. I recommend this book for anyone considering qualitative work.

Middle grade text: I am just about finished with Ann M. Martin’s Rain Reign, so I am going to cheat and call it done. I suspect it will be done by the time this post goes live at midnight. :) I enjoyed this book and see why others liked it. I see why it is popular with middle grade students!

Picture books: I finished Elly Mackay’s Butterfly Park. This may have the most beautiful artwork I have ever seen in a book. The cut paper made it very charming, and I got lost in the illustrations. This is a very warm, inviting book. I also read a great nonfiction book, The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist by Margarita Engle. The poetry is fantastic, and I enjoyed learning about this man in our history. I have seen his paintings, but I loved learning about his background.

This Week’s Expeditions

Ricki: My only immediate plan is to read Cody and the Fountain of Happiness by Tricia Springstubb because Kellee and I  are reviewing it Friday. :)

Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday winter bees rain reign cody

Tuesday: Top Ten Inspiring Quotes from Books

 So, what are you reading?

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