“Tech Timeout, a Playwriting Lesson”

An irritated parent accosted me in the parking lot. “Don’t make my son do that assignment,” she pleaded.

Some years ago I taught playwriting to middle schoolers. The class was an elective so all of them had chosen to be there. Yet when it came time to start writing, all I heard was “I can’t think of anything.” or “I don’t have any ideas.”

That’s when I came up with an idea to help them come up with ideas. Prior to beginning the playwriting process, their homework was to ‘Just say no.’ to electronic entertainment. No broadcast or cable television viewing. No computer games or internet browsing. However, using the computer for responding to email, using the internet for teacher-assigned projects and attending movies or plays at a theater were permitted. (This was before cell phones became so pervasive.) And that’s why this mother grabbed me in the parking lot. “You’re punishing the whole family,” she said. “To prevent him from doing it, we have to not do it, too.”

This mother was a lady I liked. She knew I was an author and had aspirations for writing fiction herself but hadn’t gotten around to it. Life in the big city keeps you pretty busy, after all. I would try to encourage her to sit down and write but somehow her schedule would never allow for it.

Despite her impassioned objections to the no TV, no internet rule, I held firm. The assignment required students to abstain for four consecutive days. They could use the computer for homework in other classes, but not for fun. Parents had to sign a sheet documenting that their children had complied. I also sent home a list of things they could do besides watch television or play video games. Among the things I suggested: practice a musical instrument, go to a friend’s house, ride a bicycle, fix that thing that’s been broken forever, sort out a closet, play outdoors. The first item on the list was: start writing your play.

After the experiment, they also had to write about the experience. Some of their comments:

It was okay living without TV. I dont really watch a lot of television anyway, except on weekends. I went outside for bike rides, went for some ice cream, and played sports…   I also read a lot, and wrote e-mails, letters, essays and poems.  —Alicia K.

It was a nightmare going without TV… I thought I was going to die. Living without TV for four days was not as bad as I thought it was but it was still a little boring. Life went on and I and everybody around me lived.This might sound a little abnormal but I held it in. The temptation was there… I mean once in awhile I felt like getting up and turning on the TV.  —Colby J.

Going without [technology] was not hard. It was actually kind of fun. I got all of my homework done (that is not usual.) I was able to read a book and enjoyed it. I had free time to myself. I was able to work on all my projects and turn them in on time. —Jamela S.

After this period of abstinence, students ‘magically’ had great story ideas to put down on paper. It was easier for them to get their plays underway. Emptying their minds of electronic clutter seeded and strengthened their imaginations.

Although I, too, am guilty of spending too much time bouncing between You Tube and the boob tube, sometimes I actually act on my own advice.

I distinctly remember an occasion when I jumped in the car and reflexively reached for the radio. But before my hand could make contact with the tuner, that still, small voice said “No.”

I stifled the urge to fill the car with noise and stayed silent. As I drove in the quiet, I began thinking about my MG novel JAYLA JUMPS IN, which was still in progress. As I mused about my plot, I was able to work out several scenes. Being willing to put the tech in check enhanced my creative process.

Julia Cameron, creativity guru and author of THE ARTIST’S WAY, calls this practice ‘media deprivation’ when you deliberately call a time-out from consuming all forms of artificial amusement to give your brain a re-set.

Not long after the assignment to temporarily go screen-free so that her son could write a play, that same mom stopped me again in the parking lot. This time she wasn’t angry, she was bubbling over with excitement. “Guess what!” she said. “I finally started my short story!”

Would your students benefit from a technology break?

Would you?

Jayla Jumps In
Author: Joy Jones
Published September 1st, 2020 by Albert Whitman & Company
Paperback releasing Fall, 2021

About the Book: When eleven-year-old Jayla finds out that her mother used to be a Double Dutch champion, she’s stunned. Her mom, who’s on doctor’s orders to lower her blood pressure, could move like that?!? Jayla decides to follow in her mom’s footsteps, thinking that maybe double Dutch can make her stand out in her big, quirky family. As she puts together a team at school and prepares to compete, Jayla finds that Double Dutch is about a lot more than jumping rope–and it just might change her life in ways she never imagined. Full of hilarious family dynamics and plenty of jump rope action, Jayla Jumps In follows one girl’s quest to get her mom healthy and find her place in her community.

Positive review by School Library Journal
STARRED review by Booklist

About the Author: Joy Jones is an author, trainer, and playwright.  Her play, Outdoor Recess, won the Promising Playwrights’ Competition by the Colonial Players in Annapolis, MD. Among her children’s books are the acclaimed picture book, Tambourine Moon, and Fearless Public Speakinga how-to for teens. Her newest bookJayla Jumps In, an MG novel, will be released in paperback Fall, 2021.Jayla Jumps In was inspired by the multi-generational double Dutch program she founded, DC Retro Jumpers. Visit her on the web at:

Kindly, Joy Jones has offered readers of Unleashing Readers a gift!

If they enter this code on my website, they can download these free ebooks:

For kids – the Jayla Jumps In Activity Book – In order to complete the download, they need to enter the code  895$230

For adults – Not Everybody Likes to Exercise, But Everybody Likes to Play – In order to complete the download, they need to enter the code 248#795.

Thank you, Joy, for this awesome activity and for your generous gifts! We are thankful for you!

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Sofia is a 10-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer, who started with us when she was 8 years old. On select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with kids! She is one of the most well-read elementary schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!

Dear readers,

Whether you are a cat fan or not this funny graphic novel will make it into your hearts. Presenting… Katie the Catsitter by Stephanie Yue and Colleen AF Venable! This amazing book will make you want to read it every single day! This book is recommended for ages 8-12.

Katie’s friends are going to camp and are always talking about how many hours are left until camp starts. Katie is not going to camp because she does not have enough money to. Then she gets an idea to get money! She puts up a poster in her apartment hallway saying that she can help watering plants, carrying grocery bags, that kind of stuff. But after she kills a lot of plants and accidentally breaks an egg carton in a shopping bag she starts to doubt that she will have enough money to go to camp. Just when Katie has given up, a nice lady comes to her with a job, cat sitting. Katie loves cats, but when Katie agrees to the job she has no idea what a handful the cats are! The cats are super intelligent, they do not use a litterbox, they use a real toilet! The weirdest part is that they all have talents! Not just any talents though, Potato is a yoga instructor, Jolie is a computer hacker, Jack Slayer is a getaway driver and, best of all, DJ Bootie Butler is a DJ with mad beats! With 217 of these crazy and not to mention mischievous cats to take care of, how will Katie survive and save enough money for camp! Oh and when you are reading brace yourself for more crazy action as the book goes on!

This book is one of my all time favorites because of all of the action that happens in the story. So many things are not what they seem and that makes this book super exciting! This is the best book any kid could wish for! The illustrations are also sooooooo cute! I love how the illustrations are filled with all sorts of beautiful colors! The illustrator did a beautiful job coloring this in. This book is easily one of the best graphic novels I have ever read and probably ever will read! I can not wait for the second book in the series called Katie the Catsitter Best Friends for Never! Enjoy!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are so glad you loved it!**


It Fell From the Sky
By the Fan Brothers
Published: September 28, 2021 by Simon & Schuster

Summary: From the creators of the critically acclaimed The Night Gardener and Ocean Meets Sky comes a whimsical and elegantly illustrated picture book about community, art, the importance of giving back—and the wonder that fell from the sky.

It fell from the sky on a Thursday.

None of the insects know where it came from, or what it is. Some say it’s an egg. Others, a gumdrop. But whatever it is, it fell near Spider’s house, so he’s convinced it belongs to him.

Spider builds a wonderous display so that insects from far and wide can come look at the marvel. Spider has their best interests at heart. So what if he has to charge a small fee? So what if the lines are long? So what if no one can even see the wonder anymore?

But what will Spider do after everyone stops showing up?

Review: I cannot get enough of this book. I just want to hug it every time I see it. The story and illustrations work in a way that is simply magical. Their talent is simply remarkable. When an object falls from the sky (“A marble!” -My 7-year-old), the insects are convinced it must be from another world. Spider decides to develop a display and invites the insects far and wide. They merely need to pay a leaf to see the object. But spider learns an important lesson—one that serves as a good reminder to all of us. I loved this book and expect it to see some awards. It dazzled me.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might to ask students to choose an object to examine from a different perspective than their own. They could write their own picture books.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How do the creators of the book use color to enhance their story?
  • How do the creators of the story use personification to teach a lesson?
  • What do we learn from this story? What does the spider teach us?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Night Gardener by The Fan Brothers; What Do You Do With an Idea? by Kobi Yamada; What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada; What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada; Magic Candies by Heena Baek; The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique; Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; Hug Machine by Scott Campbell

Recommended For: 


**Thank you to Beth from Simon & Schuster for Providing a Copy for Review!**

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Once Upon a Camel
Author: Kathi Appelt
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Published September 7th, 2021 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books

Summary: An old camel is out to save two baby kestrel chicks during a massive storm in the Texas desert.

Zada is a camel with a treasure trove of stories to tell. She’s won camel races for the royal Pasha of Smyrna, crossed treacherous oceans to new land, led army missions with her best camel friend by her side, and outsmarted a far too pompous mountain lion.

But those stories were from before. Now, Zada wanders the desert as the last camel in Texas. But she’s not alone. Two tiny kestrel chicks are nestled in the fluff of fur between her ears—kee-killy-keeing for their missing parents—and a dust storm the size of a mountain is taking Zada on one more grand adventure. And it could lead to this achy old camel’s most brilliant story yet.

About the Author: Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award Finalist, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award Finalist for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Some of her award-winning books include Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and Max Attacks to name just a few. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, visit her website at

Find Kathi Appelt on Facebook and Pinterest!

Richard, the camel, and Kathi Appelt taken at Texas Camel Corps. Photo credit: Doug Baum.

Review: Happy book birthday, Kathi & Once Upon a Camel! So honored to review this special book on your special day!

In all of Kathi Appelt’s books, what I have found that I adore the most is her ability to craft voice. She is brilliant. In this book, Zada the camel’s voice rings throughout with patience and determination. I was calmed by her stories of her upbringing as she works to keep the baby kestrels’ minds off of their parents. I think part of Appelt’s magic to craft voice is through her very specific word choice in all instances. Her descriptive words are so precise, and she is never deterred to use a word that may be challenging if it is the correct word. This leads to such lyrical prose–it is a pleasure to read!

There is also so much to learn throughout this story about stories: weather events (haboobs), animals of West Texas (kesterels, mountain lions, hawks, and more), and the history of camels. I found myself going on research tangents as I was introduced to different animals or different adventures that Zada goes on. It is no wonder that the Reading Group Guide is so extensive–there is so much to delve into!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation (Excerpt from the publisher provided Reading Group Guide): 

  • Explain to students that alliteration is a literary device in which initial consonant sounds of successive or closely related words are repeated. This book contains tons of alliteration. Some examples include “arches and arroyos,” “moving mountain,” “posh Pasha palace,” “Pasha’s princess turns a little pale,” and “best beloved babies.” Using game tiles with letters or small pieces of paper with letters written on them, allow each student to draw a letter and write five alliterative sentences using that letter. Each sentence must contain a subject, verb, and describing words. Once everyone has written their sentences, each person should share their best alliterative sentence with the class.
  • Zada has had a long life filled with experiences and relationships. Her story in the book moves in time as she shares memories while continuing present experiences. Ask students to create a time line for Zada. There are online resources such as Adobe ( and TimeGraphics ( to help with organization. They may also do this in a slideshow format. Have them include dates, locations, and important experiences.
  • Beulah licks Wims, and he is upset. He is described as being “incensed. Put out. Piqued.” Discuss with students how this alliterative and repetitive approach to communicating his feelings is an effective way to convey the strength of those feelings as well as a lyrical way to engage the reader. Ask students to choose one emotion and make a list of synonyms or short expressions that express that emotion. Next, ask them to express the emotion in as many ways as possible in short sentences. Finally, ask them to use their list and sentences to write a paragraph that first explains why their character is feeling that emotion and that then elaborates on how they are feeling in as many ways and with as much creative imagery as possible.
  • Like humans and all other members of the animal kingdom, camels and kestrels have been classified based on shared characteristics. Looking at the list below, you can see that camels, kestrels, and humans are classified together in their kingdom and phylum, but begin to diverge at class groups and fully diverge in orders. Ask students to review the table and have a class discussion about classification. Give students the opportunity to consult some sources, if necessary, to answer their questions.
    • Camels: Animalia (Kingdom) / Chordata (Phylum) / Mammalia (Class) / Artiodactyla
      (Order) / Camelidae (Family) / Camelus (Genus) / Dromedarius or Bactrianus (Species)
    • American Kestrels: Animalia (Kingdom) / Chordata (Phylum) / Aves (Class) / Falconiformes
      (Order) / Falconidae (Family) / Falco (Genus) / F. tinnunculus (Species)
    • Humans: Animalia (Kingdom) / Chordata (Phylum) / Mammalia (Class) / Primates (Order) / Hominidae (Family) / Homo (Genus) / Homo Sapiens (Species)
    • After review and discussion, ask students to write short answers to the following questions:
      • Why do we classify animals and other living things in this manner?
      • What characteristics do all living things have in common?
      • Do camels, kestrels, and humans have the same basic needs?
      • Do humans understand more about animals than animals know about humans?
      • Even though humans and camels are both mammals, do humans or camels have more in common with kestrels than they do with one another?

Discussion Questions (Excerpt from the publisher provided Reading Group Guide): 

  • The story’s action begins with Pard and Perlita telling Zada that a mountain is eating everything and is soon going to eat them. Zada cannot comprehend this. Why do you think that is? How do you handle things you don’t understand? In truth, the mountain is a great sand-and-dust storm coming their way. How does knowing this change your perspective of the situation? How does Zada react?
  • The author explains how a camel has adapted to the desert, and how American kestrels are built for flight. All animals have adaptations: evolved physical and behavioral traits that help their species survive and thrive. Can you think of any other examples of this? What about cultural adaptations? Are there ways in which groups or individuals adapt for their own safety, comfort, or survival?
  • As Zada tries to outrun the storm, she wishes she could fly. This is not the first time in her life she has wished this. Why do you think she has continued to yearn for this ability? Thinking about your life and the environment in which you live, what other animal adaptations would come in handy for you? Explain your answers.
  • As Zada worries about Pecos de Leon, she reflects on the fact that she and the mountain lion have “both traveled a lot of miles and traversed a lot of country. That was worth something.” How can having many experiences help you? Do you think it’s important to experience situations similar to and different from your own life? What might you learn from someone who has lived a long time and done many things? Explain your answers.
  • As Zada moves through the storm carrying the chicks, an enormous old tree comes down behind them. “The wind had yanked it up by its roots. A hundred years, that old tree had stood there, watching over the creek, keeping generations of bird families safe. Now it lay in a heap on its side.” How does the falling tree make Zada feel? How did it make you feel? Do you think generations of bird families will be able to find a new home?
  • As the storm spins Perlita and Pard around, they call out, “‘Keep them safe!’” This is described as the “universal prayer” of parents. What does it mean for something to be universal? Do you have knowledge, ideas, or habits that are universal?
  • Zada’s and Asiye’s motto is “En parlak yildiz ol.” This means “Become the brightest star.” What do they mean by this? How do you see them striving to do this throughout the story?

Flagged Passages: “Chapter 1: Foothills, Chisos Mountains West Texas, 1910


Even in her sleep, Zada recognized that voice.

The old camel raised one eyelid. It was still dark. There was at least an hour left before dawn. She did not recall setting an early alarm bird.”

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: Maybe a Fox by Kathi Appelt & Alison Mcghee, The Beatryce Prophecy by Kate DiCamillo, Journey of the Pale Bear by Susan Fletcher, Orphaned by Eliot Schrefer, Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart, Granted by John David Anderson

Recommended For: 



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**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review and giveaway!**

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
Sharing Picture Books, Early Readers, Middle Grade Books, and Young Adult Books for All Ages!

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop co-hosted by Unleashing Readers and Teach Mentor Texts which focuses on sharing books marketed for children and young adults. It offers opportunities to share and recommend books with each other.

The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date.

We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up below, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs.

Happy reading!


Tuesday: Kellee’s #MustReadin2021 Fall Update!

Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Magic Candies by Heena Baek, Translated by Sophie Bowman

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




  • Before I share the 3 graphic novels I read, I want to just share how truly awesome it is that there are graphic novels like there now! When I was younger, I loved comics, but the only easily accessible ones were Archie, which I loved, but I cannot even imagine if I had access to all that exists today!
    • Ms. Marvel: Stretched Thin by Nadia Shammas, Illustrated by Nabi H. Ali: This new Ms. Marvel graphic novel definitely brings humanity to our super hero as Kamala deals with so much not only as Ms. Marvel but in her life. I loved the complete characterization of Kamala and learning more about her home life. I also liked the teamwork represented in the story to take on the villain.
    • Sunny Makes a Splash by Jenni L. Holm, Illustrated by Matthew Holm: This may be my favorite Sunny book yet! Sunny is coming into her own and figuring out who she is which is so fun to watch!
    • Miles Morales: Shock Waves by Justin A. Reynolds, Illustrated by Pablo Leon: From the same new Scholastic Marvel series as Stretched Thin and similarly, Shock Waves shows us more about Miles’s life both at home and as Spiderman and how to balance it all. In addition, I really liked the villain story, and I’m excited to see how it continues.
  • Trent and I also read some great picture books at bedtime this week!
    • How Did Humans Go Extinct? by Johnny Marciano, Illustrated by Paul Hoppe: This book takes place 10 million years in the future where a frog-like creature is now the dominant species on Earth and Humans are an exhibit at their Natural History Museum. The curious protagonist loves learning about Humans and is so curious about what happened to them and this leads to a wonderful bedtime conversation. I love the curiosity this book exhibits as well as the reflection it will cause about our impact on Earth.
    • Our Table by Peter H. Reynolds: Peter H. Reynolds is brilliant. He writes such beautiful books, and each one is just as wonderful as the last one. Our Table looks at being present and the importance of family.
    • The Little Blue Bridge by Brenda Maier: A fun retelling of the three billy goats gruff where one again Ruby proves that her brothers underestimate her. I love Ruby as a character–she doesn’t give up and she is so innovative! I just wish her brothers would get with the program.
    • The Goose Egg by Liz Wong: This is a favorite picture book of Trent’s! I love the pun of a goose egg literally! Also, I like that this is like Mother Bruce but Henrietta loves her goose with all her heart.

To learn more about any of these books, check out my 2021 Goodreads Challenge page  or my read bookshelf on Goodreads.


I read some great new picture books this week. My Two Border Towns by David Bowles is remarkably well done. I will be using this one in my classes. It tells the story of a boy who regularly travels to the other side of the US-Mexican border. Before they go home, they check with friends seeking asylum.

Without Separation:Prejudice, Segregation, and the Case of Roberto Alvarez by Larry Dane Brimner tells the true story of Roberto Alvarez. Roberto was no longer allowed to attend his school in 1937, when the townspeople tried to segregate the Mexican American children from the white children. The book follows the court case.

Boogie Boogie Y’all by C.G. Esperanza highlights the Boogie Down Bronx in its beauty. The book follows a great beat and the art flows off the walls (and the pages!). This one makes for a great read-aloud.

I’ll be reviewing It Fell From the Sky by the Fan brothers on Thursday. This is a whimsical story about insects’ reactions when a marble falls from the sky. A spider develops a plan…

Magic Ramen:The Story of Momofuku Ando by Andrea Wang came out in 2019, but I hadn’t read it until now! It tells the true story of the invention of ramen. This one is inspiring!



Reading: Rule of Wolves by Leigh Bardugo & Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt

Listening: The Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi

Trent reading during family reading time: HiLo Vol 5: Then Everything Went Wrong by Judd Winick

Jim reading during family reading time: Fables Vol 7: Arabian Nights (And Days) by Bill Willingham


I just finished Black Boy Joy with Henry, and he loved how every story was so different and written by someone else. So I thought of an idea. I am reading Trickster: Native American Tales, A Graphic Collection with him. It’s edited by Matt Dembicki. If you haven’t read this one, I highly recommend it. The 10-year anniversary edition just came out!


Tuesday: Review and Giveaway!: Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt

Thursday: It Fell From the Sky by The Fan Brothers

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Katie the Catsitter by Colleen AF Venable & Stephanie Yue

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Tech Timeout, a Playwriting Lesson” by Joy Jones, Author of Jayla Jumps In


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


Magic Candies
Author: Heena Baek
Translator: Sophie Bowman
Published: September 1, 2021 by Amazon Crossing Kids

Summary: A quirky story about finding your voice, from internationally acclaimed author Heena Baek.

Tong Tong could never have imagined what everyone around him was thinking. But when he gets hold of some magic candies, suddenly there are voices everywhere. He can hear how his couch feels, what upsets his dog, that his demanding dad loves him. He even gets to catch up with his dead grandmother. It turns out, these voices in Tong Tong’s life have A LOT to say! Is Tong Tong ready to hear it?

At turns funny, weird, and heartfelt, this imaginative picture book from award-winning Korean author Heena Baek will take readers along on Tong Tong’s journey as he goes from lonely to brave.

★“Show-stopping spreads by Baek, similar to art by Red Nose Studio, feature molded, emotive figures in meticulously constructed scenery with miniature furniture, photographed under dramatic lighting—an effect startlingly close to animation. It’s a fully realized world that considers discerning meaning and making friends, while offering artwork that lingers in the memory.” —Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective…depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder. An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply touching, funny, and incredibly odd, this is the kind of picture book that gets you excited about picture books all over again…Magic Candies is so remarkable…a book that is both about giving voice to the voiceless and finding your own.” —Betsy Bird, School Library Journal

Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory. On Instagram: @baekheena

Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. She was awarded the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship at Ewha Womans University. In 2015, she won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.

Review: I was fortunate to receive this book about a month ago, and I have read it at least one hundred times to my children. They just can’t get enough of the quirkiness, and neither can I. After my very first reading, I immediately flipped to the first page to read it again. It’s a really neat book that sparks readers’ imaginations. The kids and I love to debate about which sculpture/illustration is our favorite. This book reminds me why I love picture books so much. It’s difficult to describe, but it offers a sense of magic for me. The main character’s words and actions bring out so many emotions for me. I felt simultaneous humor and sadness when he speaks to his grandmother through bubble gum under the table, for instance. The book is such a fascinating concept, and the author/illustrator is incredibly talented.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might to ask students to use clay to sculpt and write a missing spread with a different colored candy in the book.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does the author make the narrator come alive?
  • How does the candies differ? Evolve?
  • What is the dog’s name? Why is this interesting?
  • What does this book teach you about being human?

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique; Sam & Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett; Hug Machine by Scott Campbell; Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin


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Recommended For: 


**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for Providing a Copy for Review!**

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First, thank you to Carrie at There’s A Book for That for starting this challenge and to Leigh Ann of A Day in the Life and Cheriee of Library Matters for co-hosting the revival. Check out others’ fall updates on Library Matters.

In January, I shared about the #MustReadin2021 challenge and my plans. In April and June, I updated you all and it is time for the Fall update!

I chose 42 novels for my #MustReadin2021 challenge, and thus far, as of April I had read 13 of them, in June I was up to 20, and now I am at 25! (16 left to go!) I have linked each title to the IMWAYR post where I shared my thoughts on the books.

I also finished my #BitAbout Books Summer 2021 Reading Challenge!

I also challenged myself to the 2021 Summer Reading Challenge: 30 Books in 3 Months! I separated my challenge, and I aimed to complete 30 prose books and 30 graphic books from June to Labor Day. And I didn’t exactly meet my challenge, but I did finish reading 60 books in 3 months!

I finished my prose YA & MG books challenge and have moved into my second 30.

I almost finished my graphic novel/manga challenge, but if I add in the prose YA & MG novels I’ve read in addition to the 30 above, it perfectly finishes it!

I’m having so much fun doing these challenges!! Check out my Goodreads 2021 Challenge or my Goodreads Read Bookshelf to learn more about any of these books as well 😊
What are you reading? 

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