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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: Our Ten New Year’s Book/Blogging Resolutions 


1. To read more books on the Mock lists. I’ve read a few favorites for each category, but I always read the books after they win!

2. To successfully weed some books before I start my new job. This is going to be very, very difficult.

3. To visit the library more regularly now that my littlest babe is big enough. I always enjoy reading while my boys play.

4. To finish all of the books on my nightstand. I won’t say how many are on my nightstand because you will think I am a hoarder.

5. To submit two articles for publication—each related to young adult literature.


1. I want to read all of our SSYRA (Sunshine State Young Reader Award) books for this and next school year.

2. Start reading Newbery prediction books earlier, so I am prepared to start our Mock Newbery Club next year.

3. This is more of a classroom resolution, but I need to inventory, organize, and weed my classroom library. I have so many books and they officially do not fit on my shelves.

4. Friends, I promise to get better about commenting on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays! I have good weeks and bad weeks. I read your posts every week, please know that, but a lot of the time it is on my phone which makes it hard to comment.

5. And let’s not forget #mustreadin2017!

What are your book resolutions for this year?

RickiSig and Signature


IMWAYR 2015 logo

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.


Last Week’s Posts

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

top ten tuesday frightlopedia the sun is also a star zack-delacruz-2


Tuesday: Ten Underrated (less than 500 ratings on Goodreads) Books We Read in 2016

Wednesday: Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spine-Chilling, from Arachnids to Zombies  by Julie Winterbottom

Thursday: The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

Friday: Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck by Jeff Anderson

Sunday: Guest Post”From Advocate to Author: New Children’s Chapter Book Series Features American Special Hockey Association” by Chris Beehler, ASHA Ambassadors Executive Director


 Last Week’s Journeys


summerlost wolf hollow

Out of the 4 Mock Newbery titles I hoped I would get to, I was able to get to two. Summerlost by Ally Condie is a wonderful story about friendship and grief with a little bit of Hollywood, Shakespeare, and mystery thrown in. Wolf Hollow by Lauren Wolk lives up to the To Kill a Mockingbird comparisons because of Annabelle’s strong voice, the look at a misunderstood situation, history, and standing up to bullies.


Extra Yarn

I have always intended to read this book, and I am so glad I did! Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett is fabulous. Jon Klassen is able to take a story and illustrate it in a way that is so remarkable. This beautiful story will stick with me.

my map book

I was able to read My Map Book by Sara Fanelli when a guest presenter for my class used it to talk about writing and authorship. What a clever book! I will be using this book as a writing starter in the future! If you do memoir writing, especially, this book is fantastic to initiate writing!


Yessss! I read Ghost by Jason Reynolds. There is something special about Jason Reynolds’ writing. Every book has blown me away! I have high hopes that this book is on the Newbery list on Monday!


This Week’s Expeditions


I have a lot of books I NEED to read, but I decided to read one I WANTED to read first. I love Chains and Forge, so I am so excited to read Ashes!


walk-two-moons white-folks

I am still reading both of these books (Walk Two Moons and For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood). Both are excellent. I am just searching for time to read amidst my dissertation work!


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday Mock Newbery Winner & Honors entertitlehere-rahulkanakia Last Day on Mars

Tuesday: 2017 New Year’s Book Resolution

Wednesday: Kellee’s Mock Newbery Experience

Thursday: Enter Title Here by Rahul Kanakia

Friday: Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson

Sunday: Author Guest Post

 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


“From Advocate to Author: New Children’s Chapter Book Series Features American Special Hockey Association” By Chris Beehler, ASHA Ambassadors Executive Director

I write today with exciting news that will steal your heart! This is such a rare opportunity. The American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) is the largest special hockey organization in the world with over 58 member programs in more than 50 US cities. And, now ASHA is featured in the Official Adventures children’s chapter book series that is America by ice storm!

ASHA strives to give people with physical and developmental disabilities the chance to play ice hockey in an environment which is adapted to the level of ability which the athletes are able to participate. But, ASHA is very different from other special hockey programs.

On November 16, ASHA will host a Congressional Hill Briefing on therapeutic style of hockey and in conjunction, Jayne Jones Beehler, the author of Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey, the third book (released in October 2016) in the Official Adventures series, will join Mike Hickey, ASHA’s National President, at this briefing. Jones, a former Hill staff, now national legal director of ASHA has taken her love and advocacy for children with special needs from pen to paper.

And, you don’t want to miss how this children’s book and series is America’s hottest series for young readers while teaching inclusion, respect and love for the game.

Players with Down syndrome and autism have incredible behavioral outcomes because of this unique form of special hockey. In collaboration with ASHA, this third chapter book is being released to showcase ASHA’s incredible programming and how ASHA is changing lives. This book teaches young readers about inclusion and respect for all players, regardless of talent or ability.

The highlights of this book include:

  • The Official Adventures book series is authored by Jayne Jones Beehler and illustrated by Katrina Dohm. This third chapter book, in the series, is set in Hockeytown USA and continues everyone’s love for the game.
  • Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey has all hearts leading to the rink.
  • The Hockeytown USA Pee Wees celebrate their State Pee Wee championship with an old fashioned hockey celebration banquet including a parade and special visit by Jeremy Roenick. Mr. Roenick pokes fun at the Chicago/Minnesota rivalry and announces a new American Special Hockey Team (the Minnesota Bears) will play in Hockeytown USA!
  • Blaine and Ann, two characters with Down syndrome, lace up their skates for the first time and play hockey! Ann is the character namesake of Ann Schaab, a Washington Ice Dogs hockey player. The tale shares America’s favorite real life story of Ann’s friendship with NHL superstar Alex Ovechkin and their famous sushi date.
  • Luke and Cullen (named after Matt Cullen) head to Minnesota Hockey Camps located in Nisswa, Minnesota where they learn that you can play hockey in the rink and up north in the lake. The tale features showcases Minnesota Hockey Camp’s grand traditions and hockey artifacts.
  • Avery (named after Avery Hakstol) and Paisley (named after Paisley Leopold) fly to Finland playing for Team USA in their U10 international tournament along with their Coach Lamoureux (named after Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux), do they bring home the gold against Team Canada? Young readers will learn Finnish and love the competitive spirit of Avery and Paisley. Coach Lamoureux encourages the girls to make a bucket list including playing for the University of North Dakota, the University of Minnesota and making Team USA for the Olympics.
  • The American Special Hockey Association hosts their annual fundraiser at the conclusion of the tale where current and former Minnesota Wild players have their family members play in a friendly fun game against the Minnesota Bears. The event includes a silent auction with Minnesota ties.

This chapter book and book series has it all: special hockey, girls hockey, precise real-life illustrations, a glossary with new terms, love for the game while teaching life lessons, family and sportsmanship. The book series features two referees, Rylee and Rosee, who instill sportsmanship, humor and victorious, on and off the ice.

The book has been endorsed by NHL players and coaches: Alex Ovechkin (Washington); Corey Perry (Anaheim), Rick Nash (New York Rangers), Brett Burns (San Jose), Matt Cullen (Pittsburgh), Joe Pavelski (San Jose), Jordan Leopold (Minnesota), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia), Coach Dave Hakstol (Philadelphia), Coach Phil Housley (Nashville), Jocelyne and Monique Lamoureux (Team USA) and others.

Teaching respect for all individuals is critically important raising children today. This book series offers a fun way of instilling grand traditions of sportsmanship with ethics, values and good hearted fun. I invite teachers to contact me for special pricing of the book series and for the author to conduct in-person or tele-interviews/discussions with classrooms, from 2nd to 6th grade.

We are wild about reading and you should be too!



“The Official Adventures” is a new children’s chapter book series that teaches the importance of sportsmanship, persistence, discipline, and respect – for referees, each other, and individuals with special needs.

The series tells the tale of two hockey loving brothers, Blaine and Cullen. On and off the ice, they have deep love for the game and also each other! Cullen is the all-star team captain and Blaine, who has Down syndrome, is the team manager and clearly the “unsung hero” of the team. The brothers join Rylee and Rosee, America’s favorite referees, in game day adventures filled with laughter, love and lessons.

“This is a rarity in children’s literature. We’ve seen characters with special needs on stage, film and other artistic expressions. But in books such a character is almost non-existent. It really is ‘ice breaking,’” states Katrina Dohm, Illustrator and Co-Creator, The Official Adventures Series.

The storyline doesn’t hide Blaine’s challenges; instead the text proudly displays Blaine’s heart-warming perseverance, his discipline and love for the game, his family and life. Blaine’s leadership and unselfish actions speak louder than any textual words. Through detailed illustration young readers are able to learn respect and a better understanding for the challenges individuals with special needs face on a daily basis.

The first two books in the series “Drop the Puck, It’s Hockey Season” and “Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup” are out now, with the third book “Drop the Puck, Let’s Play Hockey” set to be released this Fall 2016.


The book series has received the endorsement and support of NHL greats:

This is a very worthwhile read that contains life lessons beyond the rink. It’s a great pickup and I especially appreciate that it includes Blaine, a special needs character.” –Mike Hickey, President, American Special Hockey Association.

“Drop the Puck, Shoot for the Cup is a great book with a very important message for kids everywhere – Everyone deserves the chance to play hockey, no matter what their capability.” –Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals

“The Official Adventures Series books are terrific heart-warming stories that celebrate hockey, family and children with special needs! Our family loves these hockey tales that teach life lessons and encourages everyone to treat others with respect.” –Bridget and Matt Cullen (Pittsburgh Penguins Center)

“This book teaches real life lessons through sport, through victory and losses, and emphasizes the importance of hard work regardless of the score.” –Jocelyne Lamoureux, Team USA, Silver Olympic Medalist

“Playing hockey is awesome and reading about it can be just as fun. It’s important to learn fundamentals on and off the ice!” –Claude Giroux, Captain, Philadelphia Flyers


About the Authors

With a shared love and energy-driven passion for outstanding academics, stellar athletics and innovative arts, Jayne Jones Beehler, a college professor, and Katrina Dohm, a high school educator, have teamed up and joined forces as co-authors and co-creators of “The Official Adventures.” Jones Beehler, a graduate of William Mitchell College of Law, is passionate about children, education, foster care and adoption, and child abuse/prevention public policy. Jones Beehler worked for US Senator Norm Coleman from 2002-2006, then headed to the Minnesota House of Representatives, where she was the Executive Assistant to the Speaker of the House, Steve Sviggum. Jones Beehler teaches political science classes at Concordia University-St. Paul where her students have gained national attention and praise for their legislative activities and involvement.

Dohm was exposed to hockey growing up in Minnesota and Wisconsin, but her true love of the game began when she went to college in January of 1987 at the University of North Dakota. She arrived just in time to cheer on her future alma mater as they skated their way to an NCAA Championship. Dohm graduated from the University of North Dakota with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Visual Arts and a Bachelor of Science in Education.  For the past twenty-two years, Dohm has dedicated herself to being an art teacher and all the “extras” that go with it.  Her classroom is filled to the brim with personal touches (especially her favorite color, PURPLE) student projects galore, yearbook publications, shelves filled with art and design books, school spirit signs, and memorabilia.

Jones Beehler and Dohm, have earned “Hall of Fame” status for their real-life story-telling, colorful fresh illustrating and combined natural zest for helping young learners enjoy reading, appreciate the arts, while ensuring their writing and books instill life lessons and reader’s adventures of their own, while inspiring and reaching educational goals.

To learn more, go to http://www.officialadventures.org/

Thank you Kelsey from Book Publicity Services for sharing this guest post with us!

Kellee Signature andRickiSig

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Zack Delacruz: Just My Luck
Author: Jeff Anderson
Published October 11th, 2016 by Sterling Children’s Books

Summary: Zack Delacruz is back—and eager to meet Abhi, the new girl at school. But things get off to a rough start when he accidentally knocks her to the ground during a game of dodgeball. And whenever he tries to make amends, she just ignores him. Nothing works—not his friends’ advice or his “lucky” cologne. In fact, he just seems more and more cursed! Then, at the Fall Fiesta-val, Zack finally learns the real reason behind Abhi’s cold shoulder . . . but not before total chaos erupts. With a runaway train, exploding confetti-filled eggs, and Abhi’s terrifying older brother, will Zack ever get a chance to talk to his crush? In the end, Zack learns what it means to believe, to listen, and to be a good friend.

This dynamite sequel captures the middle-school experience—and will keep readers laughing from beginning to end.

Review: I always worry about sophmore books because there is always a chance that the story will just not hold up to the premiere; however, Zack is back and better than ever! The first Zack Delacruz adventure really introduced us to the diverse cast of characters at Zack’s school and just how rough of a time Zack has on a day-to-day basis. Book two begins with one of the funniest days I’ve ever read about in a book! Not only does he knock down the new girl who he wants to get to know during a game of dodgeball, but it definitely gets worse than that (but I am not going to tell you!). Next to the humor, the thing I love most about Anderson’s choice of character is that he makes sure that Zack’s school reflects a real school and the teachers and kids that go there. 

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Just like the first book, I think the key to Zack’s potential is making sure he is in libraries and read aloud.

Discussion Questions: What is the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you at school?; What should Zack learn from what happened with Abhi?

Flagged Passages: “And all the frustration and embarrassment from the day made my skin burn. Why did every terrible thing seem to always happen to me? My eyes were getting wet. I wasn’t going to add crying to my fool portfolio. All my rage went into the red ball. I gripped it, not sure what to do. After all, I really didn’t want to hit her. But if I threw the ball too softly, people would say I had a crush on Abhi.  Then they would start heckling me from the sidelines. Just like this stupid game of dodgeball, there was no way to win middle school. So, I chuck the ball low and away, so I would just miss her leg. But at that moment, Abhi jumped.

The ball smashed into her angle, and her legs flew back from the force of the ball. She slammed facedown on the hard wooden floor with a boom like thunder.

The gym went silent.” (p. 34)

Read This If You Loved: Zack Delacruz: Me and My Big Mouth by Jeff AndersonFrank Einstein by Jon SciezskaPickle by Kim BakerBetter Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle, Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce, Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Recommended For:

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall readaloudbuttonsmall

Kellee Signature

**Thank you to Lauren at Sterling for providing a copy for review!!**

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the sun is also a star

The Sun Is Also a Star
Author: Nicola Yoon
Published: November 1, 2016 by Delacorte

Summary: Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

My Review: This book shines brightly. It is more than a love story. The description of the text doesn’t quite do it justice. While reading Nicola Yoon’s words, I thought of politics, I thought of the universe, I thought of science, and I thought of culture. Natasha and Daniel have a lot of baggage, and their family histories have formed who they are. Both are strong characters who want to be better than some of the mistakes their family members have made. I appreciated the depth of this text.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I love talking about immigration in the classroom because it is a great opportunity for powerful discussions. I would love to talk about Natasha’s situation and students’ opinions about it. This might allow students an opportunity to look at immigration laws and how they impact others.

Throughout the text, Yoon provides snippets of other characters’ lives. These snippets impact the narrators, and it would be interesting to discuss how each snipped changes the way we read the story.

Discussion Questions: Is Natasha’s father entirely wrong in his approach to life? Can you find some redemption in his poor decisions?; Do you believe in fate? How can we tie this story to science?; Does Natasha’s family deserve to go home? Do you think they should be allowed to stay in the United States of America?; What role does Daniel’s father play in the development of the story?

Flagged Passage: “There’s a Japanese phrase that I like: koi no yokan. It doesn’t mean love at first sight. It’s closer to love at second sight. It’s the feeling when you meet someone that you’re going to fall in love with them. Maybe you don’t love them right away, but it’s inevitable that you will.”

Read This Book If You Loved: Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon; Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell; The Secret Side of Empty by Maria E. Andreu


Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall litcirclesbuttonsmall

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Nonfiction 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!


Frightlopedia: An Encyclopedia of Everything Scary, Creepy, and Spine-Chilling, from Arachnids to Zombies
Author: Julie Winterbottom
Illustrator: Stefano Tambellini
Published August 23rd, 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

Summary: Here’s the book for kids who love scary stuff, whether it’s telling ghost stories around a campfire, discovering the origins of various vampires, monsters, and witches, or reading creepy tales under the covers with a flashlight.

Combining fact, fiction, and hands-on activities, Frightlopedia is an illustrated A-Z collection of some of the world’s most frightening places, scariest stories, and gruesomest creatures, both real and imagined. Discover Borneo’s Gomantong Cave, where literally millions of bats, cockroaches, spiders, and rats coexist—in pitch darkness. Learn about mythical creatures like the Mongolian Death Worm—and scarily real ones like killer bees, which were accidentally created by scientists in the 1950s. Visit New Orleans’s Beauregard-Keyes house, where Civil War soldiers are said to still clash in the front hall. Plus ghost stories from around the world, a cross-cultural study of vampires, and how to transform into a zombie with makeup. Each entry includes a “Fright Meter” measurement from 1 to 3, because while being scared is fun, everyone has their limit.

Review: I loved the structure of this text, and students and other teachers will as well. Different than a traditional encyclopedia, the Frightlopedia mixes fact, fiction, traditional literature, and hands-on activities which makes this a perfect classroom text as it will suck in readers in so many different ways, and it will also work in such a variety of classroom activities as well.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Like I shared above, this text has a really nice mix of genres along with hands-on activities. For example, parts of the text could be used during lessons on mythology, literary standards, traditional literature, science, or history. There is just so much, it is hard to actually share it all. Go into MONSTERS, if you want include mythological creatures; SHARKS or JELLYFISH during biology; CAPUCHIN CATACOMBS or MUMMIES in history; XYLOPHOBIA or CLAUSTROPHOBIA during word students of affixes; WRITE YOUR OWN GHOST STORY during creative writing; and so much more!

Discussion Questions: Which section did you find the most frightening? Why? The most interesting? Why?; Do you believe in ghosts?; How were mummies made in different cultures?; Which animal is the most frightening to you?

Flagged Passages: 



Read This If You Love: Ghost stories, mythology, being scared, learning about weird animals, learning about scary history

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall


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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: Ten Underrated Books We Read in 2016 (Fewer than 500 GoodReads Ratings)


1. I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister by Amélie Sarn

I love I hate I miss my sister

This gem only has 439 ratings. It is a very quick read (152 pages), but it packs a huge punch. I learned a lot about the Muslim culture, and I also felt the strong themes of sisterhood, forgiveness, and women’s rights. Intrigued? I highly recommend this one.

2. My Friend Maggie by Hannah E. Harrison

my friend maggie

Because this book is only three months old, it only has 241 ratings, but I suspect it will have many more once it catches on. I simply adored this sweet story that teaches about being the bigger person and standing up for the little (big) guy. 🙂

3. Shy by Deborah Freedman


This is another young book, so it only has 463 ratings. I suspect that it will have many more in a few months. My son is shy in new situations, and I found this book to be very helpful. He loves it and asks me to read it over and over again.

4. Teeny Tiny Toady by Jill Esbaum

teeny tiny toad

This book only has 217 ratings, and I have read it at least 217 times with my son. I absolutely adore it, and it is one of my favorites to read aloud! A lot of kids will see themselves in Teeny’s character. And who doesn’t love a solid book about girl power?

5. House of Purple Cedar by Tim Tingle

house of purple cedar

Are you tired of hearing about this book? I just love it, and I can’t stop sharing it! It should have more than 177 ratings! It is an epic story that will sweep readers away into a different time and place.


1. Slowest Book Ever by April Pulley Sayre

slowest book ever

91 Ratings

This is such a great nonfiction text. It is funny and informative, and teachers and kids will find so much within this text to love!

2. The Classy Crooks Club by Alison Cherry

classy crooks club

141 Ratings

This book is such a fun premise! I loved Alison Cherry’s way of writing which was so funny, and her plot was so unexpected.

3. Risking Exposure by Jeanne Moran

risking exposure

74 Ratings

I love lesser-known history, and Risking Exposure focused on a part of a well-known war and taught the readers about an lesser-known part of it. It was fascinating and also a really great story.

4. Nibbles by Emma Yarlett


91 Ratings

I cannot believe this one doesn’t have more ratings! This is one of Trent’s favorite and is such a clever book! Go pick this one up and read then rate it!

5. Rescued by Eliot Schrefer


95 Ratings

This one surprised me the most of all of these because Eliot Schrefer is a National Book Award Finalist and Walden Award Finalist and is brilliant. His first two Ape Quartet books received 4077 ratings and 661 ratings then this one has 95. Pick this one up if you haven’t; it is as good as the first two.

Which underrated books did you read in 2016?
Oh, and make sure to pick these up 🙂 

RickiSig and Signature