Do you teach a young adult literature course, or do you integrate YAL in your classroom?
I am currently working on a book project that explores the different ways in which middle and high school teachers structure their YAL courses (elective or required). I am also looking at how teachers infuse YAL into their regular education courses. I’ve seen great classroom designs and course projects, and I am looking for others. I’d love to capture them and acknowledge the great work happening in classrooms. If you might be interested in being included in the book, please send me an email at ricki[DOT]ginsberg[AT]colostate.edu or message me on Facebook! Participation would involve the sharing of a course project, classroom activity/activities, and/or course syllabus.
If you know someone who might be interested, please share this post with them. Thank you!
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.
**Click on any picture/link to view the post**
- Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes: Are there parents actually like this?! And if there are, I hope there are kids just like this also! Wow–the injustice behind the censorship in this book just takes my breath away and makes my blood boil. I hope this book helps show kids the importance of book importance and availability.
- Land of Stories: The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer: I definitely see why my students love this series. What fun fairy tale retellings! I cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
- Positively Izzy by Terri Libenson: I love the endings of both of Libenson’s books! And the structure of her books are unique and fun also. What great middle grade novels!
- The Disappearance of Sloane Sullivan by Gia Cribbs: WHOA! Twists and surprises and romance and more twists–definitely a must read for your mystery YAL readers!
- Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown by Jeff Kinney: Newest Greg Heffley story. Not my favorite, but just as much fun as the others.
- Inkling by Kenneth Oppel: Kenneth Oppel never lets me down! He is one of the most underrated authors, and this book supports that as well. Inkling is creative, fun, special, and unique! A must read!
- Dooby Dooby Moo by Doreen Cronin and Click, Clack, Quack to School by Doreen Cronin: We’re on a Coreen Cronin kick! I didn’t know she had so many books; thanks to Trent’s book exchange at school and my friend Erin, we’re expanding our repertoire!
- Bob Books: Trent can read these, and I love it so much, and it makes me so happy!
Unfortunately, I have to bow out for today. I’m sorry. Pregnancy is not kind this week!
- Dog Man by Dav Pilkey: I am rereading Dog Man but this time with Trent. He saw this series at the bookstore and BEGGED me for it; how could I say no! And he finds it hilarious and loves being read it. So much fun!
- Land of Stories: The Enchantress Returns by Chris Colfer: Looking forward to seeing what happens next!
- War Cross by Marie Lu: My students are going to be so excited that I am starting this!
- Lost in the Antarctic: The Doomed Voyage of the Endurance by Tod Olson: How did I not know about this series!??! I am really loving this so far, and I’ll definitely be reviewing this for you!
Tuesday: Call for Middle and High School Teachers of Young Adult Literature
Friday: Searching for Lottie by Susan L. Ross
Sunday: Guest Post: The Most Banned and Challenged Books of the Past Five Years
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!
“The Student Body: Fostering Positive Body Images Among Students”
I recently read a survey on StageofLife.com about how teens view their bodies. The article included the following statistics that are alarming but, sadly, not surprising.
- 20% of teens are either rarely or never happy with their bodies
- 31% of teens have at least one body part on which they would like to get surgery
- 56% of teens feel that media’s advertisements are the main cause of low self-esteem
As a teenager (many, many years ago), I struggled with negative body image and pretty much fit into all the statistical categories above. Needless to say, it was a traumatic time in my life. As a Young Adult author, I wanted to find a story thread to explore this theme without writing an “issue book”. I asked myself the question: In a society that is obsessed with beauty, how would my protagonist, Abby Hughes, a seventeen-year-old with a severe facial disfigurement, overcome obstacles and navigate her way to self-acceptance? In the past months since The Story of My Face was published, I have been gratified to hear from readers—both teens and adults—who have been inspired by Abby’s journey.
Organizations such as Be You, Dove Campaign for Self-Esteem, Common Sense Media, and The Body Positive Site have tried to change the conversation about society’s beauty ideal. But, like Abby’s story in the novel, youth are still bombarded with unhealthy images and societal and media pressures about how they “should” look. And it’s taking its toll. Negative body image may contribute to academic problems, disordered eating, poor self-esteem, abandoning physical and social activities, and depression.
What can teachers do to promote positive body images among their students? Here are a few tips from nedic.ca:
- Be a positive role model who is accepting of your own body.
- Examine your own values and beliefs about body size and health.
- Compliment students on their abilities, character, behaviour and other areas that they excel in, rather than their appearance.
- Show students a variety of images that reflect diverse physical abilities, body sizes and outward appearances.
- Reinforce the message that bodies come in all shapes, sizes, colours and weights.
- Engage students in discussions that challenge messages regarding what society deems are desirable physical appearances.
- Choose respectful language when discussing bodies and health.
- Encourage students to accept and care for their bodies.
- Promote physical activity because of its mental and physical health benefits—not to alter shape or size.
- Teach students how to challenge body-based bullying.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that teachers have the ability to change students’ lives. Encouraging students to accept themselves, just as they are, could make all the difference in the world.
About the Author: Leanne Baugh has been a waitress, receptionist, teacher, stay-at-home mom, and a screenwriter. Leanne is passionate about books, films, beach walks, and hummingbirds. When she isn’t at home in Victoria, B.C., she’s off traveling the world.
About The Story of My Face: After being attacked by a grizzly bear in the Rocky Mountains, seventeen-year-old Abby Hughes’ facial scars are all she can think about, and all that she thinks anyone else can see when they look at her.
It’s now September, and Abby’s months of hiding out at home are over. Returning to high school feels as daunting as enduring seven plastic surgeries. She knew it would be hard to show her new face to the world, but she didn’t expect to be rejected by her so-called friends. If she wants others to move past the surface, Abby has to learn to do that herself. Her love of acting and her return to the drama club may be the key to going on with her new life, or it may be the disaster that sends her back into her protective shell. Reminiscent to the book and film Wonder, Baugh’s story is full of the relatable struggles that teenagers face in high-school. A character portrait on the importance of self-acceptance, The Story of My Face is a timely novel in the midst of the ever-growing image driven social media landscape.
Thank you, Leanne, for this inspirational post! All we can say is: YES!!!! Body positivity for young girls is so important and is life changing!
Too Much Space (March 13th, 2018)
Party Crashers (March 13th, 2018)
Take Us To Your Sugar (September 11th, 2018)
Double Trouble (December 11th, 2018)
Author & Illustrator: Jonathan Roth
Published by Aladdin Publishing
Book 1 Summary: Meet space-school attendee Bob and his alien bestie Beep in this start to an outrageously funny and action-packed chapter book series that’s great for “kids who love funny stories but may be too young for books like Diary of a Wimpy Kid” (School Library Journal) !
Astro Elementary is a school near Saturn attended by the bravest, smartest kids in the solar system . . . and Bob. Bob never wanted to go to school in space. He even tried to fail the admissions test by bubbling in C for every answer – but ended up with a perfect score!
Then Bob meets Beep, a little lost alien. Beep instantly takes to Bob, even thinking of Bob as his new mother! And with Beep by his side, Bob begins to find his courage. But will courage even matter when Beep and Bob find themselves about to be sucked inside the most terrible wonder of the universe, a super-massive black hole?
Book 2 Summary: It’s Bob’s friend Lani’s birthday, and she’s having her party on a super fancy space cruiser called The Starship Titanic. The cruiser has three water parks, sixteen amusement parks, and 12 million hyper-show channels on TV!
But when Beep and Bob arrive, they realize they forgot to buy Lani a birthday gift! But that’s not their biggest problem. Suddenly, guests’ jewelry is stolen from right under their noses—and Beep and Bob get blamed for the crime!
Things go from bad to worse when Beep and Bob discover that their “indestructible” ship is headed right for the ice rings of Neptune—and then starts plummeting toward the planet below! Can Beep and Bob reveal the true thieves and save the Starship Titanic – or will this be their last birthday party EVER?
Book 3 Summary: Beep and his best friend Bob hatch a plan to save Halloween—and their school—in this third book in the hilarious, action-packed Beep and Bob series!
It’s October in space, and Bob is getting excited for his favorite holiday: Halloween. When Bob tells Beep that soon they’ll get to dress up like monsters and get as much free candy as they can carry, Beep thinks he has gone to heaven. But Lani informs them that Halloween isn’t celebrated at Astro Elementary.
Bob cannot imagine life without Halloween! He appeals to Principal Quark, but with no success. Determined to save Halloween, Bob and Lani organize a secret club: SCARES (Scary Costumes Are the Right of Every Student, or, more truthfully, the Society of Candy Addicts who Rely on Energy from Sugar).
As the secret club grows, Halloween fever invades Astro Elementary. Unfortunately, a horde of grotesque aliens, attracted by the treats, also invades the school on the last day of the month. With everyone in costume, no one can tell who’s who. Beep and Bob may have saved the holiday, but can they somehow use their sugar-addled wits to save the school?
Book 4 Summary: Beep and Bob accidentally clone themselves for the school science fair in this fourth book in the hilarious, action-packed Beep and Bob series!
What’s twice as fun as Beep and Bob? Two Beeps and Bobs!
While up too late working on his science fair project, Bob accidentally points a duplication ray at Beep. To his shock, another Beep appears! Beep decides the more, the better, so he points the ray at Bob and PRESTO: it’s Bob 2 (or Backwards Bob).
At first Bob thinks their clones are creepy, but it doesn’t take long to realize that having duplicates comes with perks: they can sleep in while their clones go to class!
Then the real Beep and Bob discover a hitch: the Beep and Bob clones are EVIL, and are planning to duplicate an EVIL Earth to rule! How will they possibly get themselves (and themselves!) out of this one?
About the Author:
Author-illustrator Jonathan Roth is a public elementary school art teacher in Maryland who likes reading, writing, drawing, cycling, and napping. Though he has never left the Earth, he has met four of the astronauts who have gone to the moon. Beep and Bob is his first series. To learn more, and to download a free Beep and Bob activity kit, visit his website: beepandbob.com.
- Born: Detroit, MI. He has also lived in Zaire, Africa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, rural Virginia, and Brooklyn, NY.
- Current home: Rockville, Maryland, where he lives with his wife, two cats, and three (or more!) bicycles.
- College: the Cooper Union School of Art, New York.
- Occupation: Public elementary school art teacher by day; author/illustrator by evenings, weekends and glorious summer.
- Previous occupations: paper boy, house painter, dairy farmer, photographer, cartoonist and library tech.
- Number of years in school: 1 year Kindergarten + 12 grades + 4 years art school + 1 year teacher school + 18 years teaching = 36. (All the more amazing, because he’s only 29 years old!)
- Number of students taught: 28 average per class x 25+ classes per week x 40 school weeks a year x 18 years = a broken calculator! Definitely too many enthusiastic young artists to count!
- Number of Apollo astronauts who have been to the moon he has met: four.
- Historical figure he would most like to meet: Leonardo da Vinci
- Childhood favorites (that are still totally worth checking out): Spiderman, Batman, Calvin and Hobbes, Peanuts, Star Trek, Star Wars, ET, Alice in Wonderland, the Lord of the Rings, The Odyssey, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, The Pigman, the Beatles, Stand By Me.
- First Book: Duel in Dimensions, a novel about Batman and Superman in Wonderland; written in sixth grade, still unfinished and unpublished.
- Elements he feels are most important to his books: humor and heart. He wants kids to laugh, learn and love.
“Pretty sporky, as Bob would approvingly put it.” —Booklist
“A strong addition to any library’s chapter book selection.” —School Library Journal
Review: Trent and I really loved reading about Beep and Bob! The stories combine heart and humor just as the author hopes it would! Beep is a great comic relief yet also adds a wonderful element of heart as he loves his Bob-Mother. Bob is also going through all the same ups and downs that many kids go through in school such as crushes, bullies, mistakes, and successes, so that adds a direct connection between his story and the readers. For Trent specifically, the element of space and the information you learn in the book really pushed it over the edge into awesome in his eyes. Not only did we laugh and want to know what was happen next, we also learned about Pluto and black holes (in book 1) and even more in the sequels! This book is a great addition into the early chapter book collection of any classroom or library!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Beep and Bob books would be a perfect read aloud in an early elementary classroom because there are so many different things that could be done in class that would connect to the book such as students writing their own blogs (or is there a fun name they could name them?) and they could study the science shared in the book.
- If you had an alien best friend, what would you hope they’d be like?
- What did you learn about ___?
- How does Bob face his fears throughout the books?
- If you were in space school, where would you look forward to visiting?
- What mistakes did Bob make that led to a shift in the plot?
Flagged Passages (from Too Much Space, Book 1):
Read This If You Love: Frank Einstein series by Jon Scieszka, HiLo series by Judd Winick, Frankie Pickle series by Eric Wight, Books about space
One lucky winner will receive a set of ALL FOUR Beep and Bob titles–Too Much Space!, Party Crashers, Take Us To Your Sugar, and Double Trouble (U.S. addresses), courtesy of Aladdin/Simon & Schuster!
**Thank you to Barbara from Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review!**
Hush Up and Hibernate
Author: Sandra Markle
Illustrator: Howard McWilliam
Published August 28th 2018 by Persnickety Press
Goodreads Summary: Leaves are falling, a cold wind is blowing, geese are heading south. Clearly, winter is coming. It’s time for black bears to do what they always do this time of year―hibernate. Kids will get a kick out of this romp of a tale about a black bear cub that finds every excuse imaginable to avoid the inevitable go-to-bed moment. Will Mama Bear finally win? Or will Baby Bear come up with the ultimate reason to skip going to sleep?
Review: As I sit and write this post, it is 9:50pm, and my older child is upstairs not sleeping. The chance of him crafting an excuse to come out of his room within the next 10 minutes? High. So saying that I enjoyed this book is an understatement. I found great joy in reading this book to my son. We first read it a few weeks ago, and I’ve told him to hush up and hibernate a few dozen times. It’s a clever book that parents will enjoy immensely. The illustrations are beautifully done (take a look at the gem shared below!). If you take a look at the cover image (above), you will see the baby bear’s face. The way he’s reacting to his mother is an all-too-familiar look that makes me chuckle. I absolutely adored this charming book. When my son chooses it for his bedtime book, I have a warm, happy feeling. This signifies that it is a good book and one to keep.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: It would be fun for kids to create their own version of this book—imagining an animal that is refusing to do something and giving every excuse imaginable to a parent. I suspect that this would be a fun writing exercise for kids, and they might reconsider their constant excuses.
Discussion Questions: What are some of the excuses that Baby Bear uses? What excuses have you used? What strategies does he use, and do they work?
**Thank you to Wiley at Saichek Publicity for providing a copy for review!**
Crow Not Crow
Author: Jane Yolen and Adam Stemple
Illustrator: Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Published August 28th, 2018 by Cornell Lab Publishing Group
Summary: New York Times bestselling children’s author, Jane Yolen, and her son, Adam Stemple, have teamed up to write a gentle tale of a father introducing his daughter to the joys of bird watching. Using the simple “Crow, Not Crow” method for distinguishing one bird from another, father and daughter explore the birds near their home…and there are so many to see! After the story ends, readers learn more about all the birds that appear in the book with photographs, descriptions, and QR links to bird sounds.
About the Creators:
Jane Yolen has authored more than 365 books, including the Caldecott-winning Owl Moon, loved by children and bird watchers of all ages, You Nest Here With Me, a popular new favorite, and the New York Times bestselling series How Do Dinosaurs…? Jane Yolen’s books have been translated into over 20 languages and are popular around the world. Her husband, David Stemple, was both a well-known bird recordist and professor of computer science who taught his family how to identify birds. Many of Ms. Yolen’s books are about wildlife, especially the winged kind. Jane lives in Hatfield, Massachusetts.
Adam Stemple is an award-winning writer of novels, short stories, graphic novels, and children’s books. He is also an avid bird watcher, taught by his father David Stemple. He invented the Crow Not Crow method of teaching beginning birders in order to teach his city-bred wife to bird. He lives in Minneapolis with his family—all birders—where he is also a working musician and is hard at work on his next novel.
Elizabeth Dulemba has always loved birds. As a kid, she used to run across the yard, flapping her arms, trying to fly. She later became a hang glider pilot in Tennessee. When not chasing birds, Elizabeth loves to draw, write, and teach. She has over two dozen titles to her credit, including her debut, award-winning novel A Bird On Water Street. In summers, she teaches in the Children’s Book Writing and Illustrating MFA program at Hollins University in Virginia. She spends the rest of her time in Scotland, where she is pursuing a PhD at the University of Glasgow. Sign up for her weekly newsletter at www.dulemba.com.
Praise: “…a solid choice for introducing the hobby [birdwatching] to younger readers.” – Kirkus Reviews
Kellee’s Review: My father love bird watching, but I’ve always been intimidated by it. He has books and guides and flyers, all with different information about different birds. But I also have always been fascinated by birds. They are beautiful and just a true testament of the miracles of Mother Nature. Crow Not Crow introduces the reader to a really fun way to introduce birdwatching to anyone interested. The story of a dad spreading the love of birdwatching to his young daughter is a sweet tale filled with interesting bird information. What takes the book to the next level though is the back matter. While the book is full of only “crow” and “not crow,” the back matter has all of the different birds’ names as well as a QR code to listen to the bird. There is even information about two different bird apps! I am excited to read this book with Trent then start with “crow” or “not crow” with him!
Ricki’s Review: I come from a long history of bird watchers. My brother, aunt, and mom are huge bird watchers, and it isn’t unusual for them to stop conversation to name the bird that they hear in the background. I had a very rare bird in my backyard in Connecticut, and they were all incredibly thrilled. So reading Crow Not Crow was an absolute delight. Jane Yolen is one of the best picture book authors alive, so I was particularly pleased that this book did not disappoint me. Like most of her books, it is quiet and has a powerful force behind it. It lends itself to a “crow not crow” type of game with children that would be quite fun. I will be purchasing this book as a gift for several friends. It’s beautifully done.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: First, use the backmatter as a key to a scavenger hunt within the book. Find each bird and discuss what clues were used to figure out that was the certain bird. Also listen to the bird using the QR code. Then, take your class outside! Start with “crow” or “not crow” but then create your own glossary like the back matter in the book to share your “not crows.” Comparison and contrast activities could also easily be weaved in as well as science!
- What traits of the crow did the birders use to determine if the bird was a crow or not a crow?
- What was your favorite bird that they encountered?
- Take one of the birds and compare/contrast it to a crow.
**Thank you to the Cornell Lab Publishing Group for having us as part of their book tour!**
A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks
Author: Alice Faye Duncan
Illustrator: Xia Gordon
Published January 1st, 2019 by Sterling Children’s Books
Summary: “The combination of biography and Brooks’ own poems makes for a strong, useful, and beautiful text . . . A solid introduction to a brilliant writer”—Kirkus.
Acclaimed writer Alice Faye Duncan tells the story of poet Gwendolyn Brooks, the first Black author to win the Pulitzer Prize.
SING a song for Gwendolyn Brooks.
Sing it loud—a Chicago blues.
With a voice both wise and witty, Gwendolyn Brooks crafted poems that captured the urban Black experience and the role of women in society. She grew up on the South Side of Chicago, reading and writing constantly from a young age, her talent lovingly nurtured by her parents. Brooks ultimately published 20 books of poetry, two autobiographies, and one novel. Alice Faye Duncan has created her own song to celebrate Gwendolyn’s life and work, illuminating the tireless struggle of revision and the sweet reward of success.
A Message from Alice Faye Duncan:
“Dear Teachers and Librarians:
Welcome to my FIRST virtual book signing. In this media presentation you will see AND hear me read my new book A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks. It is the poet’s biography told in 9 short poems. Gwendolyn Brooks and her pursuit of words is lesson in audacity, tenacity and victory. Her life is a journey that young readers can use to navigate this trying world.”
About Alice Faye Duncan: Alice Faye Duncan writes books for young readers and adults. HONEY BABY SUGAR CHILD is a mother’s love song to her baby. The lyrical text sings and swings just like music. One must read it aloud with LOVE, JOY and SOUL!
MEMPHIS, MARTIN AND THE MOUNTAINTOP (The 1968 Sanitation Strike) is a lyrical combination of poetry and prose that explores Dr. King’s assassination and his last stand for economic justice in the city of Memphis. The illustrator is Caldecott Honor recipient, Gregory Christie.
12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS IN TENNESSEE is a child’s travel guide across the Volunteer State (GO VOLS!). Two cousins in ugly holiday sweaters visit important landmarks throughout the state, while traveling in a mini-van called the “Reindeer Express.” The illustrator is Mary Uhles.
A SONG FOR GWENDOLYN BROOKS will debut in January 2019. This is the first picture book biography to explore the life and times of Chicago poet–Gwendolyn Brooks. In 1950, Miss Brooks was the first African American writer to receive a Pulitzer Prize.
Have you heard the name, “Pinkney?” Alice’s book–JUST LIKE A MAMA will make its debut on Mother’s Day (2019). The illustrator is Charnelle Pinkney Barlow. Her grand father is Caldecott illustrator, Jerry Pinkney. Charnelle is a master artist too. Get ready to be charmed with impressive images and a lyrical text.
Thank you so much to Alice Faye Duncan for sharing this amazing reading with us! The Virtual Book Signing, more about Alice and her books, and FREE LESSON PLANS for her books can all be found on her website: https://alicefayeduncan.com/.
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