Student Voices: Jerry Craft’s Visit to Kellee’s Middle School

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I am so lucky because my principal began an initiative at my school where we get to have an author visit our school yearly (2023: Christina Diaz Gonzalez, 2022: Nathan Hale, 2020: Neal Shusterman, 2019: Jennifer A. Nielsen). The author sees all students in the school, so it is a great community literacy event for my school, and I love being able to bring this experience to all of my students each year!

  

This year, we hosted NEWBERY-WINNING AUTHOR Jerry Craft!
The visit was phenomenal and included 5 presentations for approximately 220 kids and book signings. It was all such an amazing experience!

Here are some reflections from my students after the visit. I asked them to think about what they learned, what they enjoyed, how they were impacted, or anything else they wanted to share:

  • Having an author visit yearly means a lot because it shows that our school cares for us.
  • I thought that the day was overall amazing. My biggest takeaway from the experience was that something you hate when you’re young could end up being your passion. This visit impacted me by making me feel like I could do anything. To me, these author visits make me feel like I can do anything with my life and it inspires me to read a lot more. This visit was important to me because I felt that Jerry Craft was really the person who could inspire people to read.
  • I am very glad that Jerry Craft was able to come to our school because he had a great presentation and he was good at educating all of us in a very fun and entertaining way. I think it was cool how Jerry Craft was able to draw a perfect circle for all of his 5 presentations! That was pretty cool, I can’t even draw a perfect one, lol. This visit impacted me because whenever the authors come to visit our school and tell us about their books, it always inspires me to be more creative and to be able to reach their level of creativity. Having authors come to visits means to me that I can look forward to skipping a class period to listen to an expert about all of their writing strategies, ideas, etc. This visit was important because it is good for us kids to be able to hear about all of the different authors and what they do to make each of their books different than the others.
  • My biggest take away, was that Jerry Craft said, that he didn’t read a lot as a kid, which was weird to me because I was always told that normally, authors read a lot to get inspiration, but I think is not always like that.

  • It showed me that you should always go into something saying you can do it because if you say you can’t you won’t be able to. You have to put your mind to it so you can do it.
  • Having an author visit yearly help is important and means a lot to me because I love seeing how different authors see different things in different ways and the challenges they face to become who they are in the present. It also helps me learn more about myself because taking some bits of what they say can reflect choices in my present and future and I appreciate the authors for coming and Mrs. Moye for getting these authors for us to enjoy and being caring for us.
  • The biggest takeaway I took from that visit is that no matter how much you prepare for something, you never know what you are going to end up as.
  • The visit impacted me by showing authors are people too they don’t just write books because they have to but because they are inspired.
  • I feel like hearing from an author yearly is just amazing and how they got from the beginning of their life to how they are right now.
  • I thought this visit was important because it helped me understand different people POVs and how their life as an author works.
  • I loved the way he talked about his goals and how his dreams never stop.
  • Having a yearly author visit to me means that I get to learn the creative processes of famous authors.

  • Learning about the work that goes into making books makes me feel more connected to the books that I read.
  • It feels special that we learn something from someone who created a successful book.
  • It made me realize I could do so much in life if i don’t give up and keeping working toward it.
  • I think my biggest takeaway was how, in the end, he kind of “taught” us how to draw different things and how even if you think you won’t be able to draw something good, you can if you believe you’ll be able to.
  • This visit was important because it showed me that even when people don’t think you’ll be able to do anything with your dream if you believe you can, you can show other people that they’re wrong.
  • As this will be my last year, I saw that over the years, all authors have said different things that impacted me throughout my life in middle school.
  • I really enjoyed the day. Mr. Craft was super nice and I found his presentation very interesting. My biggest takeaway was that even if you fail a lot, never give up and keep trying because you will succeed eventually. One thing that impacted me was how Mr. Craft said a lot about how you can do anything even if you think you can’t. Take the little steps that lead up to that goal. I like having a yearly author visitor because it helps me learn more about the people who wrote some of the books that I really liked and how they made them. I like seeing what problems they faced because I could somehow relate to them as well. This visit was important because meeting an author who tells you about their experiences writing their books is really impactful. Their stories and how they accomplished their goals was interesting and relatable to some.
  • My biggest takeaway was that not everything will be perfect, but sometimes it’s for the best.

Another teacher also shared her students’ responses to “What I liked the best was…”

  • How he explained that he went from being bad at writing books to being basically famous.
  • When he explained about his life and how was it. That you can do whatever you want if you propose it.
  • My favorite moment from the author’s visit was seeing his drawing skills live and seeing the Raina Telgemeier books in his presentation. I was surprised to learn that he was inspired by Raina Telgemeier who is also one of my favorite authors.
  • I thought it was interesting how he got the inspiration of real places of his life
  • When he talked about the awards he won as a book writer and how he did it.
  • I wanna read New Kid now because its very inspirational to others.
  • When Mr.Craft showed us an easier way you can draw and not just throw away messed up drawings into better drawing by seeing what you can make out of the messed up drawing.
  • When he started to talk about how he didn’t like to read but now he writes books and has to read for inspiration.
  • When jerry craft started drawing iconic media characters with mundane items. I want to learn more about shape theory.

BUT THERE WAS MORE!

The next day, Jerry Craft surprised my school by COMING BACK TO PLAY IN OUR STUDENT VS. STAFF BASKETBALL GAME!!!

This is more than I could have ever asked for!!!

As you can see from the comments and love, my students and I would highly recommend Jerry for a school visit!

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 4/8/24

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
For readers of all ages

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop we host which focuses on sharing what we’re reading. This Kid Lit version of IMWAYR focuses primarily on books marketed for kids and teens, but books for readers of all ages are shared. We love this community and how 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. The Kid Lit IMWAYR was co-created by Kellee & Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

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!

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Tuesday: The Princess Protection Program by Alex London

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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

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Kellee

Middle Grade

  • The Princess Protection Program by Alex London: I loved reviewing this book last week! I am such a fan of twists on fairy tales, especially when they are unique and like none I’ve read before, and The Princess Protection Program fits this! The idea of princesses being able to leave to our world and automatically go to a school with a fairy godmother protecting them from monsters that are trying to eat them to return to their tales is the perfect new twist for fairy tales. I loved getting to know all of the princesses (and Charlie!) and learning about everything with them. The characters are what make the beginning of the book, but then the twist of the story happens and it breaks the plot open and also adds in so much chaos at the end of the book that the end just speeds by as the conclusion nears.

Young Adult

  • The Lilies by Quinn Diacon-Furtagdo: This book was time-travel, secret society, boarding school, multi-point of view madness of a book that is hard to put down! It has so many layers and was even more messed up than I assumed it was going to be based on the summary, which made it even more of a whirlwind of a read.
  • Rez Ball by Byron Graves: This book has received so much praise. I blew it off as just another basketball book. I was wrong. This book is so much more than basketball. I was so invested in Tre’s story, so much so that I cried TWICE (one happiness, one sadness) in this basketball book. And I loved listening to the book even more as I could hear the Ojibwe language authentically, instead of as assumptions in my brain.
  • The Brothers Hawthorne by Jennifer Lynn Barnes: I questioning Barnes writing more books about the Hawthornes and hesitated reading this book, but I am glad I finally gave in and read it because it was just as good as the original trilogy. So many mind games and puzzles–a fun read overall. I look forward to its sequel.

Picture Book

  • Log Life by Amy Hevron: What an adorable book that packs a punch of information! Hevron’s illustrations remind me of Mouse Paint but more–full of cuteness, expression, and fun characters. Additionally, she teaches the reader so much about nurse logs with these cute characters! I loved learning about how a tree becomes a nursing log and how it becomes part of the ecosystem.

To learn more about any of these books, click on any title/image to go to the book’s Goodreads page or check out my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

Ricki

It is my week off–see you next week!

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Kellee

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Tuesday: Jerry Craft’s Visit to Kellee’s School

Sunday: Author Guest Post: “Home is Where the Heart Is: Lessons for Writing About Place” by Margaret Finnegan, Author of Sunny Parker is Here to Stay

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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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Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hi and welcome back to Sofia’s Reading Corner where I recommend amazing YA books! This time I will be reviewing Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon! This book was honestly amazing and I was hooked!! I read it in two days which usually never happens, especially with a 400 page book! It was more of a comfy enemies to friends to lovers book which, if you don’t know what that means, it’s exactly what it sounds like: They were first enemies, then worked together and became friends and finally fell in love with each other. I rated this book 4.5 stars on Goodreads and the average rating is 4.09 which is pretty good!

Rowan Roth is finishing high school when it becomes time to play the infamous senior scavenger hunt. She is a straight A’s student and would be the best, except there is a boy named Neil who hates her. They are always competing with each other to be the greatest and as the year is coming to an end, they can’t wait to see who is the best, which in her eyes is becoming valedictorian. Rowan has a list of things she wants to accomplish by the end of high school and becoming valedictorian might be her last chance at crossing at least one off her list. When Neil is named valedictorian, her only chance at crossing something off her success list is winning Howl, the senior game I was talking about earlier.

The game is about trying to complete a checklist and taking pictures at each spot to show that you have completed the task. You can team up but you also can’t really trust anybody because another main part of the game is getting people out. To understand how to get people out, you need to know that everybody is wearing some sort of bracelet and at the beginning of the game, everybody gets a name on a piece of paper of the person they have to “kill”. Then once they get them out, they get the name that person had to “kill” and so on. You must imagine how hard it is to team up with somebody if they could have your name! Anyway, Neil and Rowan team up thinking that they could work together until the end and then destroy each other but as they get to know each other more, Rowan realizes that Neil isn’t that bad, and he is maybe even the boy of her dreams.

On Amazon, this book is recommended for ages 12 and up and I mostly agree. There is a mention of them taking marijuana towards the end of the book which means it is definitely for more mature 12 year olds. There is also a closed door sex scene which basically means there was acknowledgment of sex but it wasn’t really described.

I loved this book so much! Like I said, it was a page turner and I LOVE that about books! I also loved Solomon’s way of writing, it made me feel fully immersed! I also liked the complex plot and how the romantic part of it wasn’t overdone! I really think this should be something you read, no matter how old you are and it was just too good to put into words! Happy reading!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are really excited to read this book!

The Princess Protection Program by Alex London

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The Princess Protection Program
Author: Alex London
Published February 13th, 2024 by Greenwillow Books

Summary: Every fairy tale ends with its characters living happily ever after, right? A valiant prince quests long and hard to reach the castle where the sleeping princess lies. And with a kiss, he will awaken her.

But what if the princess does NOT think a kiss from a stranger is a very pleasant way to wake up? Yuck!

When Rosamund flees her prince, a Door of Opportunity opens, and she steps through to the Home Educational Academy (the HEA for short). Rosamund has found the Princess Protection Program, where fugitive fairy tale princesses escape unwanted affections, untimely ends, and all the other perils of their stories.

But as Rosamund adjusts to life in the real world and makes her first real friends (Rana, who left her story after an incident with a frog; Sirena, a former mermaid; Cindy and Charlie, who didn’t want to get married after just one dance; and others), she has more and more questions. Does anyone ever graduate from the HEA? Why doesn’t anyone seem to remember former students? Is the kindly fairy headmistress all she appears to be? Is anyone? And the most important question of all: Can Rosamund change her story?

Acclaimed and bestselling author Alex London weaves together several beloved fairy tales in this fast-paced, funny, and slyly subversive adventure about finding your place in the world and taking control of your own story. The daring escapes, sinister monsters, familiar friends, and surprise twists will keep even reluctant readers glued to the pages. The Princess Protection Program is for fans of the Never Afters and the Descendants series, The School for Good and Evil, and the Fairly True.

About the Author: Alex London is the acclaimed author of more than thirty books for children and teens. His middle grade novels include The Princess Protection Program, Search & Rescue, Dog Tags, and two titles in the 39 Clues series. For young adults, he’s the author of the cyberpunk duology Proxy and the epic fantasy series Black Wings Beating, which were both named to numerous best-of-the-year lists. He has been a journalist and human rights researcher reporting from conflict zones and refugee camps, a young adult librarian with the New York Public Library, and a snorkel salesman. He lives with his husband, daughter, and hound dog in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Visit him at calexanderlondon.com.

Instagram:
Blue Slip Media: @blue_slip_media
Greenwillow/Harper: @harperkids
Alex London: alexander_london

Facebook:
Blue Slip Media: @blue-slip-media
Greenwillow/Harper: HarperKidsBooks

Twitter/X:
Blue Slip Media: @blueslipper & @barbfisch
Greenwillow/Harper: HarperKids
Alex London: @ca_london

Review: I am such a fan of twists on fairy tales, especially when they are unique and like none I’ve read before, and The Princess Protection Program fits this! The idea of princesses being able to leave to our world and automatically go to a school with a fairy godmother protecting them from monsters that are trying to eat them to return to their tales is the perfect new twist for fairy tales. I loved getting to know all of the princesses (and Charlie!) and learning about everything with them. The characters are what make the beginning of the book, but then the twist of the story happens and it breaks the plot open and also adds in so much chaos at the end of the book that the end just speeds by as the conclusion nears. Fans of the books I listed below will definitely love this one!

Tools for Navigation: This book is filled with allusions and allegory; there is so much to unpack! Rosamund’s journey also fits the Hero’s Journey!

Discussion Questions: 

  • Why would the princesses want to leave their story?
  • Which princess do you think had the worst fate in their story?
  • What other princesses/characters can you think of that might have wanted to leave their story if they had a chance?
  • Why do the professors not like all of Rosamund’s questions?
  • Were any of the princesses different than what you expected reading their fairy tales?
  • Did you see the twist coming?

Flagged Passages: Chapter One: Beauty Awakened

Once upon a time, there was a young princess, as kind and curious as she was clever, who a witch cursed into a deep and endless sleep. Her castle sat silent in a clearing at the center of a deep, dark wood for a hundred winters and a hundred springs. Around it the forest teemed with poisonous flowers and enchanted thorns. The castle would have sat like that for a hundred more winters and a hundred more springs, had not the prince, as valiant as he was brave, found it at last.

He hacked his way past the poisonous flowers and the enchanted thorns. He dodged hungry shadows and fearsome beasts, fought cursed fungus, and forded a river of nightmares. He even outwitted a witch’s riddle, which, much to his surprise, wasn’t all that tricky.

If you don’t keep me, I break. What am I?

“Um, a promise?” he’d answered.

“Are you certain?” the witch cackled at him. “If you answer wrong, you shall never escape these woods!”

He puffed out his chest.

“I am certain, witch!” he bellowed. The witch shrieked, then vanished in a puff of green smoke. Beyond her, the thorned vines parted to show his way to the castle in the clearing.

He had expected all this to be harder. It was his destiny, after all, and destiny should not be so easy.

Inside, the castle was still. Golden light streaked through stained glass windows. He made his way to the chapel, where he would find his princess. He had been promised this princess in visions and dreams, and even by his very own fairy godmother. The princess would be his one true love from the moment he first laid eyes on her until his last, dying day.

He really hoped she was pretty.

And there she was, the cursed Princess Rosamund, asleep in a bed that stood upon a dais surrounded by wildflowers and an abundance of soothing lavender. She was drenched in golden light, as lovely as the day she’d fallen into that deep sleep one hundred years ago.

“A true beauty,” he whispered to himself, relieved. “Sleeping perfection.”

He knelt before the dais and said a quiet thanks, for he was a polite prince, and grateful that all his dreams were coming true.

Then he rose, stepped up beside the bed, and stood over the sleeping princess, whose story he had been told since childhood: a witch had cursed her father’s kingdom to perish and her to sleep until she was awoken by a kiss of the truehearted.

Well, this prince knew his heart was true.

“My entire life has led me here,” he told the sleeping princess. “I swear to you, I shall love you better than the moon loves the sunset, better than boats love the rising tide, better than a flower loves the . . . err . . . um . . . something? Not dew. Bees, maybe? Err . . .”

He’d forgotten his oath, even though he’d practiced it for the entire quest. Then again, it was not his words that mattered, but the truth in his heart and the passion in his kiss. The oaths were just for posterity, a word

he didn’t really understand anyway. Posterity didn’t have chapped lips and body odor from all that questing. The prince did.

With no further ado, he pressed his lips to the sleeping princess’s and held them there with his eyes closed for a count of three, which was how long his squire had told him a real kiss was meant to last. The prince had never kissed anyone before, not even the squire who’d suggested they practice. He wished he had practiced now. He didn’t know if he was doing kissing right at all.

He opened first one eye and then the other.

To his delight, the princess had opened her eyes, both of them, and was staring up at him with a look of deep passion.

Or was that surprise?

“Fear not, princess,” he told her softly. “It is I, Prince Percy the Valiant, and it is my destiny to wake you and marry you and love you for the rest of our blessed lives.”

Her eyes narrowed. Her forehead furrowed.

“Am I not all you dreamed of these hundred years?” he asked her, his confidence faltering. He had not considered that she might not think him pretty.

“Um,” she said, which was not the most inspiring first word of their life together, but she had been asleep for a long time.

He leaned back, giving her space as the color returned to her cheeks, the focus to her eyes. He could give her a moment to come to her senses. He himself was a beast first thing in the morning, as she would surely learn in the course of their marriage.

To his surprise, she sat bolt upright. Like an unbroken mare kicking out at a new rider, she shoved him off her bed and sent him tumbling from the dais. He nearly fell over onto his princely posterior, which was not at all the first impression he preferred to make.

“Princess!” he called as she leapt in bare feet down to the chapel floor. The wildflowers around her withered as the magic faded.

She looked him up and down, brow still furrowed.

Then she ran.

Read This If You Love: Fairy Tale Reform School by Jen Calonita, Disney Twisted Tales, Land of Stories series by Chris Colfer, Books by Jessica Day George, Whatever After series by Sarah Mlynowski

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 4/1/24

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?
For readers of all ages

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly blog hop we host which focuses on sharing what we’re reading. This Kid Lit version of IMWAYR focuses primarily on books marketed for kids and teens, but books for readers of all ages are shared. We love this community and how 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. The Kid Lit IMWAYR was co-created by Kellee & Jen at Teach Mentor Texts.

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!

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Tuesday: Speck: An Itty-Bitty Epic by Margaux Meganck

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier

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

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Kellee

It’s my week off! To learn more about any of the books I’ve been reading, check out my read bookshelf on Goodreads.

Ricki

I am spending time this weekend with my family! I will return in two weeks!

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Ricki

I am reading two students’ graduate theses! One is on the teachers’ experiences with school-shooting-based trauma in the classroom. The other is a creative writing book  about border crossings.

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Tuesday: The Princess Protection Program by Alex London

Saturday: Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: Today, Tonight, Tomorrow by Rachel Lynn Solomon

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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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Sofia’s Kids’ Corner: A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier

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Sofia is a 12-year-old brilliant reader who aspires to be a book reviewer. Since she was 8 years old, on select Saturdays, Sofia shares her favorite books with other kids! She is one of the most well-read middle schoolers that we know, so she is highly qualified for this role!


Dear readers,

Hi! My name is Sofia and I used to write book reviews for Unleashing Readers when I was nine. I, now twelve, have recently gotten out of a huge reading slump and would love to write more book reviews, but this time for mostly YA books. The book I will be reviewing today is A Castle in the Clouds by Kerstin Gier and I must say it has truly captivated my heart. I was first drawn to it by the cover and its good average rating on Goodreads (3.95) and I must say it didn’t disappoint! It was a fun, almost whimsical story about a girl who works as an intern at a hotel in the Swiss Alps. I rated this book 4 stars on Goodreads.

Sophie, a hotel intern at the Grand Castle in the Clouds Hotel high in the Swiss Alps is there to make sure that everything runs smoothly through the busiest season of the year, winter. While she is there she realizes there are way more challenges than she expected, like taking care of sassy children and two cute boys who have both taken an interest in her. As things get more hectic for the infamous New Years ball she begins to realize not everyone is who they seem! 

I liked this book a lot mainly because of the suspense and how it built up towards the end! This definitely wasn’t one of the books where you could guess how it was going to end halfway through the book. This book can be read any season but I would recommend reading it during winter because it feels cozy and the perfect book to read cuddled up on the couch by the fire. I also loved how Gier made me feel like I was in the story, living in the fancy Castle in the Clouds! 

I would recommend A Castle in the Clouds for anybody over twelve. I read it with my mom for our book club and we both enjoyed it a lot. If anything, she enjoyed it more than me! If you do end up reading this hidden gem, which you should, enjoy reading!

**Thanks so much, Sofia! We are really excited to read this book!

Speck: An Itty-Bitty Epic by Margaux Meganck

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Speck: An Itty-Bitty Epic
Author & Illustrator: Margaux Meganck
Published

Summary: Everything and everyone has a place in the universe, but for a little speck, lost at sea, it will take an extraordinary journey to find it.

Deep in a tide pool, too small to see,
Thousands of tiny specks go forth.
Each one searching
for a place to stay, and grow, and thrive…

The little speck does not know what it is, only that it wishes to find out. And so it embarks on a journey across the sea. From sun-flecked surf to darkest depths, past schools of fish, storm-tossed ships and hungry eels…. Until, at last, it finds exactly what it was looking a place to belong.

In vivid watercolor paintings, Margaux Meganck brings this tale to life, seamlessly shifting perspective to show how even the tiniest creatures—every barnacle, every child, every star in the sky—contributes to something greater than itself.

 “A poignant, reflective story that’s every bit as relevant to children as it is to adults. . . . Deeply moving.” – Kirkus Reviews (starred)

About the Author: Margaux Meganck spends her days dodging raindrops and drawing from her imagination in beautiful Portland, Oregon. Her author-illustrator debut, People are Wild, received two starred reviews and was named a Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year. Her illustration work has earned multiple accolades. Speck is the second book she has both written and illustrated. To learn more, visit margauxmeganck.com.

Instagram:
Margaux Meganck: @margauxmeganck
Knopf/Random House Children’s Books: @randomhousekids
Blue Slip Media: @blue_slip_media

Facebook:
Margaux Meganck: N/A
Random House Children’s Books: Random House Children’s Books
Blue Slip Media: @blue-slip-media

Twitter/X:
Margaux Meganck: @Margaux Meganck
Random House Children’s Books: @randomhousekids
Blue Slip Media: @blueslipper & @barbfisch

Review: This beautiful book is two fold. First, it is a fantastic ocean journey of a speck as it carried along the current and through the ocean, past so many creatures, and to its forever home. The journey is told in poetic verse that will be a great read aloud. Second, it is a story about being lost and figuring out where you fit in the best. Meganck brilliantly combined these two purposes. And the illustrations are another level of the book. They complement the lyrical tale of the speck’s journey, showing the reader all of the sea creatures and ecosystems within the ocean. This is a wonderful book.

Tools for Navigation: Because this book has a science and an social emotional learning aspect, it would be a wonderful inclusion into a classroom or library program because it can lead to all sorts of conversations including journeying into the ocean (pair with other ocean books, listed below) and then move to the theme and how the speck’s journey is an extended metaphor for our life.

Discussion Questions: 

  • What creatures did the speck encounter along its journey?
  • Why do you think the author titled the book an “epic?”
  • What lesson can you take from the speck into your life?
  • Based on where the speck ended up, what sea creature was it?
  • What other specks are there in the sea?
  • How is the speck’s journey similar to life?

Flagged Spreads: 

Read This If You Love: Puff: All About Air by Emily Kate Moon, Whale Fall: Exploring Ocean-Floor Ecosystem by Melissa Stewart, Kind by Jess McGeachin, In the Night Garden by Carin Berger, The Universe in You: A Microscopic Journey by Jason Chin, Over and Under the Waves by Kate Messner

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**