Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 22: Bookish Gifts, A Readerly Life, and Literacy via #GraphicNovels

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics during this relatively light week include #BookLists, #Cybils, #GiftGuides, #GraphicNovels, #GrowingBookworms, #PictureBooks, #STEM, Christmas, creativity, schools, and science.

I suspect, with the holidays coming up, and my daughter out of school for the next two weeks, that this will be my last post of the year. Wishing all who celebrate it a joyous Christmas, and a happy and healthy New Year to all. Thanks for reading!

Book Lists + Gift Guides

AfterTheFallFavorite , 1st and 2nd Grade Edition, Fall 2017 from Chicken Spaghetti, w/ list of book-finding resources https://t.co/yMKAQWwkpH

Books You Can Sing, a that made for her toddler niece

Challenge: NSTA 2018 Outstanding Trade Books & Books | from

27 Great Books to Share at Christmas, some focused on bible, others on values + traditions, from

Some fun stuff on this | 50 Bookish Gifts for Mighty Girl Book Lovers

Cybils

AllsFaireToday's featured REVIEW: middle grade nominee All’s Faire in Middle School from , reviewed by

Today's featured REVIEW: nominee When Your Lion Needs a Bath from , review by Tiffa Foster

Today's featured REVIEW: Elem/MG nominee Ghosts of Greenglass House, review by

Growing Bookworms

13 Keys To Nurturing A Readerly Life from | Model , give students choice, + more

ChristmasForBearTime to put ‘a book on every bed’ for morning (or whatever holiday you celebrate), a reminder from

foster says Lydia Olsen in | "Kids who struggle reading traditional books might do better with comics"

Parenting

20 Great Holiday or Travel Activities for Kids (5-15), many themed, from

Schools and Libraries

BunnysBookClubUsing in the Middle School | Students are never too old |

What Is That?": How We Unwittingly Dampen Children's Creative Development - | Describe what you see in a child's art

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.


Growing Bookworms Newsletter: December 20: 12th Blog Birthday Edition

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every two to three weeks.

Newsletter Update:  In this issue I have three book reviews (all early chapter books) and one post about my daughter's latest literacy milestone (understanding someone else's need to read). I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter

Blog Birthday: This edition of the Growing Bookworms Newsletter marks my recently passed 12th anniversary of starting this blog. It's hard to imagine now that on December 17th I somehow had time to start a blog, but that seems to have been the case. Many thanks to those of you who have been stopping by the blog over these past 12(!) years. Recently my blogging (and especially reviewing) has been a bit more limited than usual. I'm hoping to get my groove back after the New Year. 

Reading Update: In the last three weeks I finished fifteen middle grade, and five adult titles. Most of the  middle grade were actually early graphic novels that I read aloud to my daughter. I read/listened to: 

  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #11: Dragonslayer. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed November 29, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • AmbroseDeceptionEmily Ecton: The Ambrose Deception. Disney-Hyperion. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed November 29, 2017, print ARC. Review to come, closer to publication. 
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians (Book 2). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed November 30, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Author Visit Vendetta (Book 3). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 1, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown (Book 4). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 3, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Bake Sale Bandit (Book 5). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 4, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Field Trip Fiasco (Book 6). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 5, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Mutant Mathletes (Book 7). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 5, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • LunchLady10Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Schoolwide Scuffle (Book 10). Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 6, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #5: Heartbreaker. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 8, 2017, read aloud to my daughter. My review.
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #10: The Musical. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 11, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #9: Monster Mash. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 12, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #12: Burns Rubber. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 13, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #9: Puppy Love. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed December 14, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • SecretSheriffJordan Sonnenblick: The Secret Sheriff of Sixth Grade. Scholastic. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed December 18, 2017. Review to come.
  • Carlene O'Connor: Murder in an Irish Village (Book 1). Kensington. Adult Mystery. Completed November 30, 2017, on MP3. This is a new series that I listened to on audio and enjoyed, despite occasionally wanting to shake the protagonist by the shoulders and tell her to wise up. 
  • Lee Child: The Midnight Line. Delacorte Press. Adult Thriller. Completed December 7, 2017, on MP3. This I liked much better than Child's last couple of Reacher installments. 
  • Chris Knopf: The Last Refuge (Sam Acquillo). Permanent Press. Adult Mystery. Completed December 11, 2017, on Kindle. This one dragged a bit for me, though I did finish it. 
  • Carlene O'Connor: Murder at an Irish Wedding (Book 2). Kensington. Adult Mystery. Completed December 12, 2017, on MP3. 
  • Janet Evanovich: Hardcore Twenty-Four. G. P. Putnam's Sons. Adult Mystery. Completed December 15, 2017, on MP3. This installment of the Stephanie Plum series had an even less plausible plot than usual (involving zombies), but still a fun listen. 

LionWitchI'm currently listening to Blood Hollow (Cork O'Connor series, book 4) by William Kent Krueger. I also have a stack of new children's and YA books on my nightstand, and haven't decided which of those to read next.

After a period where my daughter and I read nothing together but Lunch Lady and Babymouse books during her breakfasts, I've just started reading her The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis. I'm happy that she is engaged in it, despite the relative dearth of illustrations. This is interesting for me, too, because it's been decades since I read it. And yes, I'm going by the original book order, starting with this one. One thing that contributed to her interest in reading the book, I should note, was that it's mentioned in one of the Babymouse books. This makes it cool, I think. 

DorkDiaries8For her own reading, she is continuing to work her way through the Dork Diaries books. Yesterday we borrowed Dork Diaries 8 from her friend, and she stayed up late reading until she had finished (it's almost vacation, right?). 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms. Wishing you all a joyful Christmas, or whatever holidays you celebrate, and a book-filled New Year. 

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook


Spy Toys: Mark Powers & Tim Wesson

Book: Spy Toys
Author: Mark Powers
Illustrator: Tim Wesson
Pages: 224
Age Range: 8-12

SpyToysSpy Toys, written by Mark Powers, with frequent black and white illustrations by Tim Wesson, is the first of a new chapter book series from Bloomsbury (an epilogue points to future stories, at any rate). Spy Toys is set in a slightly futuristic world in which a company called Snaztacular Ultrafun makes intelligent toys, each with "a tiny computerized brain that gave it a personality and allowed it to walk and talk as if it were alive."

Due to quality control policies at the manufacturing plant, however, two toys are rejected: a Snugaliffic Cuddlestar teddy bear named Dan who is vastly too strong to cuddle any human and a cranky rag doll named Arabella who can't stand people. When Dan and Arabella escape the plant, they meet up with an escaped mechanical police bunny named Flax, and the three toy-like intelligent creatures are recruited into the Department of Secret Affairs. Before they know it, the three Spy Toys are sent on an assignment to hide in plain sight and protect the spoiled son of a senator. 

I found Spy Toys to be entertaining, with a wry humor that especially appealed. Like this:

"When you hugged one of these bears, it actually hugged you back. In a world where many parents were simply too busy to do trivial things like hug their children, the teddy bears sold in their millions." (Chapter One)

There's also a scene in Chapter Five in which a set of toddler triplets is used to test the resilience of the Spy Toys, because "No destructive force has yet been found that's greater than a toddler." 

I especially enjoyed the sharp-tongued Arabella. After she and Dan escape she at first tries to abandon him. When he asks what he should do know she says:

"How should I know? You're a bear. Go and eat a marmalade sandwich or something." (Chapter Three)

It's just fun. Tim Wesson's illustrations lend additional humor. Dan's kindness is visible in his big, soft eyes, even as the tiny Arabella wears a frequent scowl, despite heart-decorated cheeks. Even a minor jump rope character has a face and a personality. 

The plot flows swiftly. There are plenty of sound effects and cartoon-style exploits to keep younger elementary school readers engaged, while the mild social commentary (e.g. a burger place that even fries the buns, and is hence very popular) keeps Spy Toys relevant for older readers, too. Spy Toys is a promising start to a new series, and should be a welcome addition to library collections serving elementary school kids. Recommended!

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (@BloomsburyKids)
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).


Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 15: Bookish Giving, Diverse BookLists + Love for #Librarians

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. It's a fairly brief list today, probably because we're all getting too busy for blogging around the holidays. (I know I am!) Topics this week include #BookLists, #DiverseBooks, #literacy, #math, #ReadAloud, #STEM, awards, charitable giving, Cybils, growing bookworms, and libraries.

Top Tweet of the Week

The 2017 Bookish Charitable Giving Guide from + lots more

Book Lists

HundredBillionStars31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 10 featured one of my fave sub-genres: 2017

Cybils

Reading Round-Up, Part 1 from Elem/MG speculative fiction judge (+co-blog editor) https://t.co/2jTSN2xYF6

Today's Featured REVIEW: Christmas in Cooperstown, reviewed by easy reader/early chapter books chair

Today's featured REVIEW is YASF nominee Caraval, reviewed by

Today's featured REVIEW: elementary nominee Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code | reviewed by

Diversity

WhenDimpleMetRishiThe Message Your All White Booklist sends to patrons, white and of color, a challenge from

How white parents are addressing racism – by to their children - via

Growing Bookworms

Why and How Benefit Middle Graders, w/ tips for choosing titles + references, by

CaptainUnderpantsDon’t Be the Grumpy Film Critic of Children’s Literature by | being dismissive of books they love turns kids off https://t.co/kRjOy3ybx6

Schools and Libraries

School, Teen Recognized at 2017 I Love My Librarian Awards |

Study links later start times for teens w/ economic benefits | via  https://t.co/6JieWfXuWj

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.


Ellie, Engineer: Jackson Pearce

Book: Ellie, Engineer
Author: Jackson Pearce
Illustrator: Tuesday Mourning
Pages: 192
Age Range: 8-12

EllieEngineerEllie, Engineer is an early middle grade novel by Jackson Pearce, lightly illustrated by Tuesday Mourning, about a girl named Ellie Bell who loves to design and build things. She's a more grown up (~10 years old), more confident version of Rosie Revere, Engineer. Ellie has turned the playhouse portion of her backyard playset into a workshop. She walks around wearing a tool belt. Her prize possession is a small drill. Her best friend, Kit, also likes to build things, though Kit is more interested in things like staying clean and attending beauty pageants than Ellie is. 

Ellie, Engineer begins with Ellie furious because the neighborhood boys refuse to let her play soccer, because she is a girl. She builds a water balloon launcher and uses it to wreak a successful revenge. However, when Kit's birthday present (a French-braiding machine) goes awry, Ellie finds herself needing a to build a new present in secret and on short notice. Her ambitious plans to build a dog house (for the dog that the eavesdropping girls believe that Kit is getting) require help. And that means that Ellie has to reach out to other kids, including one of the dreaded neighborhood boys. 

As a woman who studied engineering in college and graduate school, I, of course, found Ellie irresistible. I liked her parents' free range attitude towards her pursuits, and I liked that even though she was into building things she also liked to wear things like fluffy purple skirts. I loved that she built a balloon launcher, and that she was able to seek out help where her own strengths were not a match (like in decorating the inside of the dog house). I loved this:

"The drill was one of her favorite tools because it was the only electric tool she was allowed to use without her mom and dad watching. She'd written Ellie Bell's Drill across the side in purple paint pen, then drawn some flowers and some dragons, which had mostly rubbed off by now since she used it so much." (Chapter One)

The combination of wanting to build things, but also wanting to decorate a drill with flowers and dragons, felt realistic to me. Contrived, maybe, a tiny bit, but I'll give it a pass because I think that readers will like it. 

I also liked the illustrations, consisting largely of Ellie's designs, drawn on graph paper. Oh, how I loved graph paper when I was young, all through school. The sketch of the balloon launcher, made out of a spare yard sign, two brooms, exercise bands and a funnel, was delightful, especially little instructions like "SOAK BOYS!".

I was not quite as keen on the friendship dynamics of the book. When Ellie started telling unnecessary lies (because of what she thought other people would think about her co-conspirators), I gave a little sigh. The conflicts were resolved rather easily in the end for my taste, though I do think that the book is appropriate to kids in the target age range. I'm interested to test it out on my seven year old daughter. I did laugh out loud at this bit:

"Ellie frowned. This was turning into a big project, with so many people wanting to help. Plus, she wasn't so sure she trusted the neighborhood boys when they were all together like this. Boys, as far as she could tell, were sort of like rabbits. One was fine and maybe even interesting to play with, but a whole bunch of them would just be a lot of jumping and running and smelling." (Chapter Six)

This last quote does suggest a rather direct targeting of Ellie, Engineer toward girls, though I would think that boys would find Ellie's projects interesting, too. 

Parents who want to encourage their girls to be interested in STEM fields should certainly pick up a copy of Ellie, Engineer for their daughters. It's a shame this is releasing in January, instead of in time for Christmas. It would also be a good addition to elementary school library collections. The back matter suggests that this book is the first of a new series, so I expect that we'll see Ellie and her friends in future books. Recommended and entertaining!

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (@BloomsburyKids)
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Source of Book: Advanced review copy from the publisher

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).


Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 8: Bookish #Christmas Gifts, Holiday #Reading, and #Math as #Play

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #Cybils, #GiftGuides, #GrowingBookworms, #GrowthMindset, #math, #play, #poetry, #STEM, book awards, kidlitosphere, parenting, preschool, reading, schools, and testing.

Top Tweet of the Week

How Rewires Your Brain for More Intelligence and Empathy | via https://t.co/VeTkIzTrar

Book Lists + Gift Guides

RealFriendsThese books can help build strong girls — and boys — for today’s world. This has some nice choices https://t.co/44mEDoQeV8

Center for Multicultural Literature’s Best for 2017 (Hint from : It is Excellent) | https://t.co/iyf1y6BLSe

Fun Children’s Book Gifts for Christmas | Detailed from

Bookish Gifts for Christmas - suggestions from https://t.co/Yt5nYLiS4d

Cybils

ForestWorldToday's featured REVIEW: fiction nominee Forest World, reviewed by

Friday's featured REVIEW: middle grade fiction nominee Stef Soto, Taco Queen | reviewed by

Today's featured REVIEW: Fiction nominee A List of Cages by , review by

Events and Programs

Guys Lit Wire: On behalf of in Washington DC, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Growth Mindset

Why We Should Embrace Mistakes (+ actively model managing them) in | Amy L. Eva

The Best Questions for Encouraging a | Lee Watanabe-Crockett

Kidlitosphere

A Year of Reading: -- Call for Roundup Hosts for early 2018 from

Fun stuff here: 2017 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea —

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

LetItSnowHelping plan for the luxury of extra time over the holidays, by  [Pictured: one of my favorite holiday reads, Let It Snow]

Survey by Finds More than 770,000 UK children 'don't own a book'. Those kids 15X less likely to be good readers

Schools and Libraries

U.S. Graduation Rate Hits New All-Time High, With Gains in All Student Groups -

Communicating the Importance of Early Childhood Education to Parents, how and why, does w/

U.S. scores drop in international study -

RT @MindshiftKQED: Anxious teens often just want counselors to help them feel safe again — but their problems will likely only escalate if they don’t learn how to cope with stress, discomfort, and panic. https://t.co/dT8WErTbcW

STEM

is | Axioms + can use to encourage playful math

Holiday Math and More: Math Teachers at Play #114 – rounds up seasonal activities, puzzles, etc.

RT @SheilaRuth: Cool project teaching data analytics to students who might not otherwise be interested in #STEM - Edmondson athletes form Sports Analytics Club https://t.co/e5mFrteagd

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.


The Uncanny Express: Kara LaReau + Jen Hill

Book: The Uncanny Express (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, Book 2)
Author: Kara LaReau
Illustrator: Jen Hill
Pages: 176
Age Range: 7-10

UncannyExpressThe Uncanny Express is the second book in the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters series, written by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Jen Hill. The Bland sisters, Jaundice and Kale, love on their own in a boring house in Dullsville. In the absence of their parents (who have been gone for years, having adventures), Kale and Jaundice darn people's socks for a living. In The Uncanny Express, however, they are drawn into an adventure involving a train ride, a lady magician named Magique, and a mysterious disappearance. They find themselves co-opted twice as assistants, first to Magique, and then to detective Hugo Fromage. It's quite an adventure for two girls who would prefer to stay home, eat cheese sandwiches, and watch the grass grow. 

Here are a couple of snippets, to give you a feel for the girls:

"I don't like train stations," Kale decided. "There's too much hustle. Not to mention bustle." (Page 19, ARC)

and:

"Well, this is the mother of all plans," said Magique. "This time, my act is even bigger, even more astonishing than it was before! And it all starts with the very thing the audience hated so much last time: mind reading. Would you like to see a little bit of it?"

"As long as we can keep eating," Jaundice said, taking another bite of her croque madame. Once she scraped off the fried egg on top and removed the ham inside, it almost tasted like a cheese sandwich from home." (Page 39, ARC)

Although this will go over the heads of new readers, I enjoyed the way the book spoofs Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot with Hugo Fromage. His prior cases included "The Mysterious Affair at Kyle's" and "The Murder of Roger Adenoid." Magique is also something of a spoof of stage magicians, admitting outright that everything she does is an illusion (though a hint of actual magic does appear, too). In fact, all of the characters fill locked room mystery stereotypes of one sort or another (jaded reporter, limping ex-military officer, ditzy rich blonde, etc.). This would make a great read for an 7-year-old who has recently discovered the joys of playing Clue, and appreciates the joys of the Fluffernutter (marshmallow fluff plays a surprisingly important role in the story). 

Kara LaReau sprinkles light humor throughout the book. Like this:

"Just remember, mademoiselles, the key to being a good detective is to be observant," said the great detective.

"'Observant?'" repeated Kale. On these occasions, she sorely missed her dictionary.

"It means we must pay close attention to everyone and everything," Hugo Fromage explained.

"Sorry, what did you say?" asked Jaundice, still considering the clipboard.

The great detective sighed." (Page 65, ARC)

It made me laugh. Jen Hill's black and white sketches also add to understanding of the story for new readers, particularly a schematic of the train labeled with occupants of the various compartments. Little quotes from the books that the girls are reading begin each chapter, adding humor and/or insight, depending on the chapter. 

All in all, The Uncanny Express is a worthy successor to The Jolly Regina. This one is a quirky, fun book, perfect for introducing newer readers to the joys of mysteries. Kale and Jaundice are unusual heroines, in their desire for sameness and stability, but this makes then stand out compared to the various plucky heroines typical to most children's books. In The Uncanny Express the two sisters do experience personal growth, but they do so without changing their basic natures. There's also a setup to Book 3, which is sure to be welcome. Recommended! 

Publisher: Amulet Books 
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).


Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 1: Gift Guides, Boys and Reading, Growth Mindset + More

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #creativity, #Cybils, #GrowYourHeart, #GrowthMindset, #play, book awards, boys and reading, flexible seating, gift guides, math, preschool, reading, schools, #STEM, teaching, and testing.

Book Lists + Gift Guides

CrosswordsForKidsI found some useful ideas from this | 25+ Stocking Stuffers for the Whole Family https://t.co/VLAu5OQuzG

The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 — w/ thanks to

Kicking off another 31 Days, 31 Lists | Day One – 2017 Great |

Ten Gift-Worthy Subscription Boxes for Bookworms by

Christmas is Coming: 50 Mighty Girl | from  https://t.co/pH4avReepU

Cybils

FishGirlToday's featured REVIEW: elementary/MG nominee Fish Girl | review by

Today's featured REVIEW: nominee 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story | review by Ami Jones

Today's featured REVIEW: Sr. High nominee Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time | review by

Events + Programs

RandonHouseLogoFor every person who shares a good deed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram by 12/25 w/ , + Dr. Seuss Enterprises will collectively donate $1 (up to $20k) to

RT @MrsPStorytime: Calling all K-4 teachers! There is still time to enter by Be-a-Famous Writer Contest! Prizes from & judged by Run till Dec 15th FREE to enter https://t.co/T34s2y6xPa

Growing Bookworms

"The secret to getting boys to read is the same as the secret to getting girls to read: empower them to make their own choices" via https://t.co/b8y4C6qpb3

Kidlitosphere

WhatMakesAMonsterVarious tidbits in this week's Fusenews: “Luminous with the beauty and fragility of life” — + more

Miscellaneous

6 Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People – via

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

RaisingKidsWhoReadHow to Get Your Mind to Read | "The problem is ... bad education habits engendered by a misunderstanding of how the mind reads"

Thoughts from On Goal Failures... and Possibilities w/ links to more

Schools and Libraries

Want To Become Successful? Allow Them To More | Kim Nassoiy via https://t.co/tgo3tiyoVF

What Must Consider When Moving to | | Pix from + more

College students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lecture, taking notes by hand is better | Susan Dynarski

InnovatorsMindset"If the technology takes away our human connection that is crucial for the development of our , it is not worth it" on parent portals vs. conferences

5 Reflective Questions to Encourage a |

Is It Possible To Teach + Willpower + , and how might we do that in ? asks

Liberate the Turkey and on Holiday Weekends suggests other activities instead (like ) https://t.co/pVXLSwCDFE

3 Articles for Discussion on “Success” – quotes |

STEM

RT @MindShiftKQED: When young kids solve problems with their before bed it makes a difference in their academics later

Testing

Maybe American Students Are Bad at Standardized Tests (vs. global rankings) Because They Don’t Try Very Hard, suggests new study by economists |

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.


Literacy Milestone: Understanding Someone Else's Need to Read

LiteracyMilestoneAMy daughter had the day off from school a couple of weeks ago for Veteran's Day. She attended a birthday party, and I spent some of the time that she was there sitting outside reading my current book on my Kindle. I was reading The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen, and getting near to the suspenseful ending. When we got home, I was able to sneak in a few more minutes of reading, but then my daughter wanted me to play with her. 

I said: "Look, I have 15 minutes left of this book, and I NEED to finish. How about if I do that, and then we play?"

ThingsWeWishAnd because she is now a reader, someone who shushes me in the car when she's immersed in her book, and has to stay up late sometimes to finish a book herself, she understood and agreed. [Which is not to say that she didn't interrupt me several more times, thus stretching out the 15 minutes, but she did get where I was coming from.]

This, my reading friends, is a reason to encourage your kids to love books. Because they will understand when you just need a few minutes to finish. Of course you will have to grant them the same courtesy from time to time.

Don't you hate it when someone interrupts you when you have just a few pages left? I know I do! 

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook


Growing Bookworms Newsletter: November 29: Intrinsic Motivation, Reading for Pleasure, and Babymouse!

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every two to three weeks.

Newsletter Update:  In this issue I have two book reviews (picture book and early chapter book) and one post about rekindling intrinsic motivation for reading, after extrinsic rewards have damaged it. I also have a post on what the book iGen had to say about the critical importance of kids reading for pleasure. I also have two posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I finished five middle grade, five young adult, and three adult titles. I was lucky enough to have a three day reading mini-vacation at home, and have been reading shorter books aloud to my daughter. I read/listened to: 

  • 52StoryTreehouseAndy Griffiths: The 52 Story Treehouse. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fantasy. Completed November 16, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Kara LaReau (ill. Jen Hill): The Uncanny Express (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, Book 2). Amulet Books. Early Chapter Book. Completed November 20, 2017, print ARC. Review to come, closer to publication. 
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #1: Queen of the World. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed November 27, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Jennifer L. Holm (ill. Matthew Holm): Babymouse #13: Cupcake Tycoon. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed November 27, 2017, read aloud to my daughter. My review.
  • Jarrett J. Krosoczka: Lunch Lady and the Picture Day Peril. Random House Children's Books. Early Graphic Novel. Completed November 28, 2017, read aloud to my daughter.
  • Cristin Terrill: Here Lies Daniel Tate. Simon & Schuster Books. YA Mystery. Completed November 19, 2017, on Kindle. Intriguing, and with a surprising ending. 
  • E. Lockhart: Genuine Fraud. Delacorte Press. YA Thriller. Completed November 20, 2017, on Kindle. This was also intriguing, with an unusual reverse timeline. Ultimately, though, this was not as surprising as Lockhart's We Were Liars
  • Mindy McGinnis: The Female of the Species. Katherine Tegen Books. YA Thriller. Completed November 21, 2017, on Kindle. Gail Gauthier had recommended this one, and I liked it a lot, enough to seek out a couple of other titles by the same author. 
  • NotADropMindy McGinnis: Not a Drop to Drink. Katherine Tegen Books. YA Dystopia. Completed November 21, 2017, on Kindle.
  • Mindy McGinnis: In A Handful of Dust (Not a Drop to Drink #2). Katherine Tegen Books. YA Dystopia. Completed November 22, 2017, on Kindle. This duology kept me reading, but was a bit dark. I had trouble sleeping afterward. 
  • Michael Connelly: Two Kinds of Truth (Harry Bosch). Little, Brown. Adult Mystery. Completed November 16, 2017, on MP3. I always enjoy spending time with Harry Bosch, and this was no exception. 
  • Ruth Ware: The Lying Game. Gallery/Scout Press. Adult Mystery. Completed November 19, 2017, on Kindle. Also suspenseful, and also with a bleak ending, this book fit in well with my recent passion for books that keep me wondering. 
  • R.R. Haywood: Executed (Book 2, Extracted Trilogy). 47North. Adult Science Fiction. Completed November 23, 2017, on MP3. This was a bit slow-paced for audio, but I liked the characters. Although the title says "Trilogy", I'm pretty sure there are only two books. 

AmbroseDeceptionI'm currently listening to Murder in an Irish Village by Carlene O'Connor and reading The Ambrose Deception by Emily Ecton. My daughter and I are taking a break after reading a couple of the 13 Story Treehouse books and are now working our way through the Babymouse books. Graphic novels aren't my favorite for read-aloud, but I try to go with what she wants to do. And these are short enough that we can finish one over breakfast. Plus I like them, which is a bonus. 

For her own reading, she has been racing through the Dork Diaries series, completing Books 2 through 5 over the Thanksgiving break. A close friend is also reading these, and has been able to pass along the books to us. She's also still reading Rainbow Magic books at school. She was absolutely thrilled when I came home from the library yesterday with Comics Squad: Lunch. Reading about Lunch Lady as a child made her day. She's been reading picture books more lately, too. She just pulls a bunch off of whatever shelf is nearby and immerses herself. This pleases me, of course. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook


Bug Blonsky and His Very Long List of Don'ts: E. S. Redmond

Book: Bug Blonsky and His Very Long List of Don'ts
Author: E. S. Redmond
Pages: 80
Age Range: 6-9

BugBlonskyBug Blonsky and His Very Long List of Don'ts is a full-color early chapter book by E. S. Redmond about a boy who is the ultimate annoying little brother. Benjamin is called Bug by all, either because he is super-wiggly like a bug or because he is super-annoying like a bug, depending on who you ask. He is the bane of his older sister Winnie's existence. The book consists of Bug's list of things not to do, learned from a series of painfully bad choices. For example:

"#19 DON'T tell Dylan Farkler that Winnie wrote his name with hearts all around it in her diary.

Because if you do, Dylan will look like someone just punched him hard in the stomach and his best friend, Billy Butcher, will laugh and make kissy-face sounds the whole way home.

And Winnie will wonder later why Dylan has suddenly stopped talking to her."

Each of 21 don'ts makes up a short chapter with multiple illustrations. Redmond's illustrations add humor throughout. For instance, Bug's grouchy teacher is shown sitting at a desk with stacked books titled: "Silence is Golden", "Coloring Inside the Lines", and "The Joyless Classroom", She's sipping from an "I Love Cats" mug and staring into space. Where love (or like) is in the air, there are hearts shown above the relevant child. Sometimes the hearts are broken. 

I will say that I didn't love the way that Redmond draws women. Bug's mom has ginormous hips, and his teacher has prominently sagging breasts. If a man had drawn them, I would have said that they were misogynistic. The recess monitor, Mrs. Killjoy, is also cartoonish, with a large torso and very thin legs. I suppose kids will find these illustrations funny. For me, they were a distraction (though I was less bothered by Bug's dad's beer gut). 

Overall, though, I think that Bug Blonsky and His Very Long List of Don'ts is super boy-friendly, from the early sketch of Bug as "Bug-Boy with the Power to Annoy" (complete with "two sets of armpits for twice as many fart sounds") to the classroom's unabashed glee when Bug produces fart sounds as Ms. Munster bends over. Bug is a boy whose dad calls him "impulsive and distractible", and who can make his sister literally cry with rage. He makes mistakes, but is capable of learning, as when he says the wrong thing to the principal and recalls his mother telling him "THINK it, DON'T say it!". 

Bug's concerns and mishaps are age-appropriate and relevant for first and second graders, as is the book's vocabulary. The font is nice and large, and the color illustrations will be sure to draw in young readers. Adults might find Bug Blonsky a bit annoying, but luckily, this is a book perfectly suited for kids to read on their own. And kids, especially boys, are going to love it. Bug Blonsky and His Very Long List of Don'ts is well worth a look for home or library purchase. 

Publisher: Candlewick (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: January 2, 2018
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).


Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: November 24: Book Awards, Non-Traditional Reading, Creativity + #STEM Gifts

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. While it's a bit of a light week for blog posting, with the Thanksgiving holiday, I do have a few interesting things to share. Topics this week include #BookAwards, #BookLists, #Cybils, #GraphicNovels, #RaisingReaders, #SocialMedia, #STEM, audiobooks, creativity, gift guides, independent reading, makers, math, Robin Benway, science, and teaching.

Top Tweet of the Week

Teaching High-Level to Young Students | | Let them engage + persevere, don't tell them it's advanced

Book Lists + Awards

FarFromTheTree. Wins 2017 National Book Award | via

Announcing the Children’s Book Awards

Katherine Paterson’s Recommended Reads for Middle Grade + Readers | Modern + Classic via

Top 10 2017 | from | I'm always on the lookout for good GNs for daughter

101 Great Books for Kids 2017 (Evanston Public Library Edition) —

Cybils

OlinguitoToday's featured REVIEW: Elementary / Middle Grade nominee The Search for Olinguito, review by

Today's featured REVIEW: Early Chapter Books nominee Princess Cora and the Crocodile, reviewed by

Today's featured REVIEW: Victorian Gothic middle grade fiction nominee Elizabeth and Zenobia | review by

Events and Programs

Guys Lit Wire: Cyber Monday means Round 2 for the Ballou Library Book Fair! Chance to buy books for teens who need them

This program works with at-risk preschoolers to brings books + personal tutoring into the home

Growing Bookworms

Finding the Time for Independent in class – Every Day, Every Kid |

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

FireAndThornsYes! This: That’s Not a Real Book: In defense of non-traditional reading ( + ) by Amy Gibson "reading is reading is reading" https://t.co/ZZKMFqBLrF

Does Affect Your ? - has a short survey

Parenting

I like this: A gift is something that comes without rules, control, or manipulation. Give kids gifts for Christmas, not expectations. https://t.co/VXzKZBxEJL

Schools and Libraries

LifelongKindergarten4 Myths About | No it's not just about artistic expression | |

"Do the kids that we teach want to be in our presence? If the answer is yes, then we can accomplish most anything" https://t.co/NMBgX6uXM2

In the Classroom: 3 Hacks from 4th grade teacher https://t.co/M0n1LVjgRn

STEM

Top 3 Tips To Get Rid Of 'I-am-bad-at-Math' Syndrome | via

MagicScienceThe Gift of Curiosity: Top 60 Toys for Mighty Girls |

Holiday Gifts for Young , list from The Page Turning Librarian: |

Best Gifts for Tweens For Creativity & Thinking Skills List from

© 2017 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.