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Love
Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Published December 4, 2018 by Running Press

Summary:From award-winning author Stacy McAnulty comes a sweet story about love and what it’s really all about.

What is love? Can you only express it in fancy meals, greeting cards, and heart-shaped chocolates? Kids will find love everywhere in this delightful book. It can be found in everyday moments such as baking cookies with grandma, notes from Mom in your lunchbox, or a family singing together on a car trip, and it isn’t always what you expect!

With delightful illustrations by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff and sweetly simple prose by award-winning author Stacy McAnulty, thisis the perfect book to teach children what love means, why it’s important, and how they can spread the love in their daily lives.

My Review: This is a very heart-warming book. I received it on Valentine’s Day, and my kids and I have read it dozens of times. It would make a wonderful gift to a friend or family member because it offers many angles for the power of love. This book offers a lot of teaching potential as students explore abstract concepts and the idea of the metaphor. One thing, in particular, that I like about this book is that it resists the commercialization of love. As readers might see in the spread below, “love needs special presents” but those presents are homemade or expressed with kindness. This is a very touching book, and I think readers will find joy in it.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I’d love to have students take an abstract concept (hope, grief, etc.) and create their own books to parallel this one. It would require a lot of brain power and would help students explore the idea of metaphors in their writing. I might even offer poetry that does this (e.g. “Hope is a thing with feathers” by Emily Dickinson).

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is love? Who do you love?
  • How do you express your love?
  • Write your own page to add to this book. How does it fit in with the other pages?

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Read This If You Love: Love. And who doesn’t?

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The Literacy Teachers Vlog is hosted by Leigh Hall, Professor at the University of Wyoming, and I was so honored that she asked me to join her to discuss helping struggling readers succeed.

Don’t miss out on Ricki’s discussion about Lexiles either!

Thank you again Leigh for having me part of your amazing channel promoting literacy to educators!

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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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Wednesday: Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures by Paul Erickson

Thursday: Make This! from National Geographic Kids

Friday: Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway!: The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca K.S. Ansari

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

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Kellee

I am in Syracuse with Trent visiting my sister and my new nephew (!!!!!) and will miss today and next Monday because of traveling.
I will be back on the 1st 🙂
Happy reading until then!

Ricki

Thanks for all of your kind comments on the blog last week! I had a bit of a rough Monday night with my pregnancy, so I didn’t get to go on all of your blogs. I sincerely apologize and promise to be back in action this week!

This week, I read The Last Last-Day-of-Summer by Lamar Giles. This book is a very middle grade book. I am going to admit now that middle grade books are not my specialty. I love to read books older and younger than this age, but for some reason, I don’t dig the middle grade humor and silliness. It’s funny—because I love working with tweens. So I don’t think I am good judge of this book. I found it to be engaging and interesting to read, but the corniness wasn’t my typical enjoyment. If you love fantasy and middle grade literature, I think this is a great pick for you. Lamar Giles is very clearly a talented writer. I am just a terrible audience for this particular age and genre combination. I gifted it to a neighbor, and I know she will love it.

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Ricki

I never read I Am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter by Erika L. Sánchez, and I have always regretted it. I got it on audio, and so far, it is excellent.

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Tuesday: Literacy Teachers Vlog: Kellee on Helping Struggling Readers Succeed

Thursday: Love by Stacy McAnulty

Friday: Tiger Days by M.H. Clark

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: Classroom Activities with Anything Can Happen in Mrs. Whynot’s Room by Jayne Peters

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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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The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly
Author: Rebecca K.S. Ansari
Published March 5th, 2019 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: Charlie O’Reilly is an only child. Which is why it makes everyone uncomfortable when he talks about his brother. Liam, his eight-year-old kid brother, who, up until a year ago, slept in the bunk above Charlie, took pride in being as annoying as possible, and was the only person who could make Charlie laugh until it hurt.

Then came the morning when the bunk, and Liam, disappeared forever. No one even remembers him—not Charlie’s mother, who has been lost in her own troubles; and not Charlie’s father, who is gone frequently on business trips. The only person who believes Charlie is his best friend, Ana—even if she has no memory of Liam, she is as determined as Charlie is to figure out what happened to him.

The search seems hopeless—until Charlie receives a mysterious note, written in Liam’s handwriting. The note leads Charlie and Ana to make some profound discoveries about a magic they didn’t know existed, and they soon realize that if they’re going to save Liam, they may need to risk being forgotten themselves, forever.

About the Author: Rebecca K.S. Ansari is a former ER doctor. The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly is her first book. She lives in Minnesota with her husband, four sons, and some seriously massive pets.

Praise: “As puzzle pieces click into place, The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly reveals that it’s stories—and family—that make us whole. A deeply satisfying and beautiful book.” —Elana K. Arnold, National Book Award finalist and author of The Question of Miracles

Review: Read the flagged passage below… I’ll wait…

Welcome back. Those are the first few paragraphs of the book. Wow, right?! One of my favorite beginnings ever, and I was so excited to share it with anyone who would listen (I tweeted it, I read it to my students, I read it to anyone!) And yes, the rest of the book lives up to the expectations of that amazing start.

I was so impressed with the crafting of this novel, specifically as a debut novel. The author combines narratives, adds twists and turns, and keeps you guessing throughout the novel. The direction you think the novel is going to go is ever changing so predictions are impossible to make. All of these aspects made for an enjoyable novel that, as the name suggests, is a puzzle waiting to be put together.

Rebecca K.S. Ansari also did a wonderful job threading different big ideas throughout the book: acceptance, guilt, friendship, hope, trust, depression. Different sections of the book highlight these different big ideas and could be used for great discussions. The book also, as you can see, deals with some really tough and dark big ideas, but I think this narrative will give many students a jumping off point for talking about some of the struggles and ideas in Charlie’s story.

And the characters in the book are well-crafted and multi-dimensional. Each character has a full story that is developed to allow the reader to truly  get to know the world that Charlie is adventuring in. I specifically loved the friendship between Charlie and Ana–an unexpected friendship that was built on trust, believing, and support.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Publisher-Created Educators’ Guide

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Real Boy by Anne Ursu, The Lost Girls by Anne Ursu, Midnight is a Place by Joan Aiken, The Grave by James Heneghan, Kit’s Wilderness by David Arnold

Recommended For: 

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Don’t Miss Out on the Other Blog Tour Stops: 

March 8 Nerdy Book Club @nerdybookclub
March 9 The Book Monsters @TheBookMonsters
March 11 LitCoach Lou @litcoachlou
March 12 Bluestocking Thinking @BlueSockGirl
March 13 A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust @bethshaum
March 14 Maria’s Mélange @mariaselke
March 15 Unleashing Readers @unleashreaders
March 18 March Middle Grade Madness at Word Spelunking @wordspelunker
March 29 Writers’ Rumpus @kirsticall

Giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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**Thank you to Walden Pond Press for providing a copy for review and giveaway!!**

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Make This!: Building, Thinking and Tinkering Projects for the Amazing Maker in You
Author: Ella Schwartz
Published February 2019 by National Geographic Children’s Books

Summary: This book is designed to inspire the next generation of engineers and supports all kinds of kid creators: those who prefer guided instruction, those who prefer to dream up and design objects on their own, and everyone in between. Within the nearly 160 pages of this book kids get the tools and the know-how to tackle all kinds of exciting projects: building a kaleidoscope, designing a fidget spinner, planting a rain forest, creating a musical instrument, and more. Unconventional scenarios inspired by real National Geographic Explorers give kids a chance to think outside the box and apply their maker skills to real life. Chapters are divided up by scientific principle, such as simple machines, energy, and forces. In each chapter, kids can start by following step-by-step activities, or get creative by tackling an open-ended challenge. Helpful sidebars explain the science behind what’s happening every step of the way.

My Review: My son loves this book so much that he took it for show-and-tell at his preschool. The teacher liked it so much that she purchased a copy for the classroom. This is a phenomenal book with loads of hands-on, easy-to-do activities. Many of the activities use materials that were available in my house (or easy to acquire). The first project my son completed was the straw rocket. He used two straws, some tape, and some paper to draw his own rocket and shoot it into the air. He has folded down the corners of almost every project as his next to-do. I love how the book is sectioned off into scientific principles. This even impressed my engineer husband. The sidebars allow me to read about the science behind the project as my son is constructing it. It is a wonderful book for learning. Although the book is marketed to ages 8-12, my 5-year-old was able to complete the projects with my help. I think 8-12-year-olds will appreciate this book just as much and be able to self-create.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book just screams for use in classrooms. It makes science learning incredibly fun. I can see it in classrooms as young as preschool and all the way through elementary school. The concepts can be scaffolded to the age of the learners, and the projects range in difficulty level.

Discussion Questions: 

  • Which scientific principle(s) do you enjoy learning about? Which projects taught you a lot about the principle?
  • Which real-life things (e.g. airplanes, hydraulic systems) relate to these scientific projects?

Read This If You Love: Science Books; Engineering Books; National Geographic’s 100 Things to Know Before You Grow UpMastermind by National Geographic, Weird but True series by National Geographic, Animal Atlas

Recommended For: 

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RickiSig

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

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Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures
(How Nature Works series)
Author: Paul Erickson
Photographer: Andrew Martinez
Published

Summary: How Nature Worlds books don’t just catalog the natural world in beautiful photographs. They seek to understand why nature functions as it does. They ask questions, and they encourage readers to ask more. They explore nature’s mysteries, sharing what we know and celebrating what we have yet to discover.

Scorpions and brown recluse spiders are fine as far as they go, but if you want daily contact with venomous creatures, the ocean is the place to be. Blue-ringed octopi, stony corals, sea jellies, stonefish, lionfish, poison-fanged blennies, stingrays, cone snails, blind remipedes, fire urchins—you can choose your poison in the ocean. Venoms are often but not always defensive weapons. The banded sea krait, an aquatic snake, wriggles into undersea caves to prey on vicious moray eels, killing them with one of the world’s most deadly neurotoxins, which it injects through fangs that resemble hypodermic needles.

About the Creators: 

Paul Erickson creates websites, exhibits, guides, and videos for zoos, museums, and aquariums nationwide. He has authored or co-authored numerous magazine articles and three books about undersea life. His book The Pier at the end of the World (Tilbury House) was named an Outstanding Science Trade Book of 2016 by the National Science Teachers Association.

Andrew Martinez specializes in images of the undersea world and is the author and photographer of Marine Life of the North Atlantic. He travels the world to photograph sea life, and was the photographer for The Pier at the End of the World.

Review: Don’t Mess with Me is a step up on the reading ladder from basic nonfiction books about undersea life because it takes the basic information about these venomous sea creatures and dives deeply (pun intended) into the actually whys and hows of their existence.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Use the Nature Works series (Catching Air; City Fish, Country Fish; Extreme Survivors; and One Iguana, Two Iguanas) in a lit circle/jigsaw setting where each group becomes an expert on the different topics in the series the creates a presentation of their choosing to share what they learned about nature with their classmates.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What is the difference between poisonous and venomous?
  • What are some clues that an animal is venomous?
  • Why are some animals in the sea venomous?
  • How does the “How Nature Works” text features help when reading this nonfiction text?
  • What are some ways that animals are venomous?
  • Pick a venomous sea creature. Create a list of 5 facts about the sea creatures to share with your classmates.

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Nonfiction texts exploring nature and animals

Recommended For: 

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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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Ricki’s book came out this week!!!!!

Engaging with Multicultural YA Literature in the Secondary Classroom: Critical Approaches for Critical Education

Edited by our very own Ricki Ginsberg and the amazing Wendy J. Glenn

Description: With a focus on fostering democratic, equitable education for young people, Ginsberg and Glenn’s engaging text showcases a wide variety of innovative, critical classroom approaches that extend beyond traditional literary theories commonly used in K-12 and higher education classrooms and provides opportunities to explore young adult (YA) texts in new and essential ways. The chapters pair YA texts with critical practices and perspectives for culturally affirming and sustaining teaching and include resources, suggested titles, and classroom strategies. Following a consistent structure, each chapter provides foundational background on a key critical approach, applies the approach to a focal YA text, and connects the approach to classroom strategies designed to encourage students to think deeply and critically about texts, themselves, and the world. Offering a wealth of innovative pedagogical tools, this comprehensive volume offers opportunities for students and their teachers to explore key and emerging topics, including culture, (dis)ability, ethnicity, gender, immigration, race, sexual orientation, and social class.

Congratulations, Ricki! And I cannot wait to read it!
Love, Kellee ♥

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CONGRATULATIONS
Donna M. 
for winning the It’s Not Hansel and Gretel giveaway!

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Tuesday: Do you teach a YAL course or do you integrate YAL in your classroom? If so, Ricki needs your help!

Thursday: Where the Heart Is by Jo Knowles

Friday: The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

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

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Kellee

  • Wait until I share The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca K.S. Ansari on Friday! Immediately engaging!
  • Today is our virtual visit with Todd Mitchell, and I am so happy that I was able to read The Secret to Lying before we met up with him. Both of his books that I read were so different yet both so good!
  • I have now officially read everything that Meg Medina has written. And it is all brilliant!
  • Tiger Days: A Book of Feelings by M.H. Clark is going to be one that will be used in my parenting. Ricki and I look forward to sharing it soon!

I was so happy to get to these award-winning picture books! They are beautiful and all have one other thing in common: They all made me super emotional!

Upcoming picture books alert!

  • I actually laughed out loud and tweet about it right away after opening the package with I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt in it! And that was before I even read it. Then I read it. A.W.E.S.O.M.E. Loved it! One of the best counting books I’ve ever read!
  • Going Down Home with Daddy by Kelly Starling Lyons is a family story. It is a heritage story. It is a home story. A perfect story of going home and reuniting with family, finding a way to tell the story of your family and home, and the love around all involved.
  • Alan Bean was an artist and an astronaut. He saw colors and textures with the eye of an artist, so after he visited the moon and saw that photographs didn’t show what he saw the way he saw it, he painted. The Astronaut Who Painted the Moon by Dean Robbins is his true story. I cannot wait to own a finished copy of this one!
  • I am a Tiger by Karl Newson is the picture book version of Fox the Tiger. Mouse knows he’s a tiger. And then a tiger shows up… 
  • Pig the Stinker is the 7th book in the Pig the Pug series, and Pig is still the same old figurative and literal stinker. 
  • Piranhas Don’t Eat Bananas by Aaron Blabey was another laugh out loud book. Brian likes fruit, but his friends just want to bite some bums. But Brian for real loves his fruit, why won’t his friends try some?!

Ricki

Kellee, I adore you. You are so, so sweet! I am really excited that the book is out in the world. It was so much fun to work on it over the last year. 

I read Tiger Days: A Book of Feelings by M.H. Clark. My two-year-old LOVES this book, so I’ve read it several times this week. It is a fun book that teaches metaphor and emotions.

I also read Bird Watch by Christie Matheson this week. I loved how this book incorporated bird knowledge and find-and-seek birds within each page. The book is great to teach different types of common birds, counting, and searching for birds that are hiding in nature.

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Kellee

  • Still listening: A Grimm Warning by Chris Colfer
  • Still reading with Trent: Dog Man and Cat Kid by Dav Pilkey
  • Reading: ?? We’ll see!

Ricki

I am still enjoying On the Come Up. It’s absolutely fantastic. The only reason I haven’t finished it is the fact that I am not sleeping much. But I plan to finish it very, very soon.

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Wednesday: Don’t Mess With Me: The Strange Lives of Venomous Sea Creatures by Paul Erickson

Thursday: Make This! from National Geographic Kids

Friday: Blog Tour with Review and Giveaway!: The Missing Piece of Charlie O’Reilly by Rebecca K.S. Ansari

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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