Sunday, October 7, 2012

Who I Saw - And What I Read

 This post connects to TEACH.MENTOR.TEXTS hosted by Jen and Kellee.  Come check out all the terrific reviews by others.  

          It's Monday! What are you Reading? is another meme hosted by Sheila at BOOK JOURNEYS where many others share Kidlit and adult books read.          
           If you’re on Twitter, use the hashtag#IMWAYR when sharing your link!

          It doesn't get much better than to meet the author of amazing books, one of which just published and which I'm already reading.  Yes, I had the wonderful privilege of seeing Maggie Stiefvater with one of her writing group partners, Brenna Yovanoff (author of The Replacement and The Space Between.)                   


interviewing each other
dramatic reading




I got another copy of The Raven Boys for my school, but also one that Maggie, Brenna and the third group partner, Tessa Gratton wrote together, well, sort of.  They started a blog (MerryFates.com) 4 years ago to challenge themselves to write different kinds of writing, set prompts for each other, etc.  This new book, The Curiosities, is a collection of stories partly from the blog, with sketches and doodles as side comments throughout.  I've read a couple of the stories-very fun.  One begins "We have a vampire living in our basement."
    Best advice:  Write all you can for your story-everything! Then start cutting/revising/improving.  
If you get stuck, you probably went off your path.  Return to where you weren't stuck, and you'll be able to write again.

Other books read:

 Sheep Trick or Treat – Nancy E. Shaw, illus. by Margot Apple


I came upon this book at school and brought it home thinking my granddaughter who is spending the night would like it.  She is three and already is talking about Halloween.  The book is so funny, silly sheep dressing up and trick or treating down on the farm with the cows and the chickens, coming upon wolves on the way home who don't recognize them, but are scared by the costumes, including one in a vampire cape and two as an ape.  The book rhymes and I had to explain a few words, but in all, we both laughed at Nancy Shaw's sheep, once again. 


Squish, Super Amoeba – Jennifer L. Holm & Matthew Holm

Finally got a copy of this graphic story and enjoyed its flavor, full of real science (I think I would have liked this when I first studied biology). It's about super amoeba, or an amoeba named Squish who eventually sees the real need to turn into Super Amoeba. He has a few friends, and one who saves the day with an out-of-control slime mold (not kidding!). It's easy to see why younger readers will love it, and I'm also hoping they're learn to read some challenging science words.

 Think Big – Liz Garton Scanlon, illus. by Vanessa Brantley Newton


Whenever I browse in libraries or on Goodreads and in bookstores, I am on the lookout for books that the teachers with whom I work can use.  I generally know their class themes, or individual units for each child and keep some of that in my mind while I look.  This book fits one particular teacher well because she always has her class create and host a Halloween haunted house for others to visit and in the spring, her students participate in a play performed for the entire school (these are 1st-2nd graders).  They act in it, make costumes, props & sets.  The book, Think Big is for this teacher and for any theater that shows students how big goals yield satisfying results.
       THINK BIG is about creativity, showing beautiful illustrations telling the story of happy kids doing art, making costumes, performing, and so on.  The words support the idea that no idea is too big to try. 


Zen Ghosts – Jon J. Muth

I’ve been collecting some texts to help a teacher use to begin students thinking about the question “who am I?”   This particular book got my attention because it is about Halloween, and a particularly interesting show of Halloween spirit and everything which connections to that holiday.  But, it’s oh so much more.  There are stories from the Buddha that are called Koans, and Stillwater, the panda whom you’ve met in other Zen books by Muth, takes the children on a journey after trick or treating to hear one of those koans, one titled “Senjo and Her Soul Are Separated”.  The backmatter explains that a Koan is a “question that you have to answer for yourself” and this particular one from Stillwater has to do with duality, the person you are with others and the person you really are with yourself.   It is also really a ghost story, a hair-raising story to read for Halloween.  The illustrations are just beautiful, putting one into that breezy and cool Halloween eve, full moon, ghosts and witches abroad!
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Next:  Still reading The Raven Boys, and will find more picture books I'm sure.  And, there are many books piled around.  I imagine I'll find something to read, always.

24 comments:

  1. Oh my gosh! I was at Tattered Cover for Maggie Stiefvater too! We were in the same room at the same time and didn't meet! Crazy! We really do have to figure out a way to meet face to face!

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    1. I almost called you, but then my daughter spent the day with me & I had to rush out of the house to get there on time. Gosh, Carol-we could have had a coffee together! Next time!

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  2. I was looking for some Halloween books for my daughters. I am looking forward to reading Sheep Trick or Treat and Zen Ghosts with them. I have had Squish on my to be read list for a while so I may have to bump it up. Thanks also for sharing the writing advice.

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    1. Depends on the age, but both the Halloween books are good, in different ways. Have fun with Squish.

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  3. Linda, I am so jealous. Another friend who had the pleasure of listening to Maggie Stiefvater. Sure wish she would be somewhere close. I would love to see her! Thanks for the link to MerryFates. I wasn't aware of this site. Can't wait to check it out.

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    1. I didn't know about the site either, Deb, nor the book which would be fun for your students I think. Wish you could have been there with me!

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  4. I'm so glad you got to see Maggie. The interview and dramatic reading sounds like it was amazing.
    My youngest (and most of the kids in class) love Squish, too.

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    1. Katya, I might not have even known if it weren't for you! I've been so busy that I don't check the 'events' like I used to. It was a wonderful time, and just being at the bookstore for an evening made it good, too. Glad to hear your take on Squish!

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  5. Maggie is so wonderful and funny I have Raven Boys too - need to read it soon!

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    1. I've started it, but so much else is taking my time-need to read more! Thanks, Sheila!

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  6. Think Big looks great. I am putting it on my list. We have been talking about what a "goal" is in kindergarten, they are so excited about them, this looks like a great addition for my students. The Zen Books are so beautiful, I love those stories.

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    1. The 'Think Big' book was a wonderful surprise to me. We just got it in our library so I picked it up, thinking it looked interesting, & it's great. Yes, love the Zen books-nice to introduce them to students. Thanks, Betsy.

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  7. Sheep Trick or Treat looks fun. We've read the other sheep books by Nancy Shaw. (Nothing beats that original Sheep in a Jeep though!) I keep hear about Raven Boys. I am not sure it's one of my favorite genres, but maybe I will have to give it a try since so many people have read and enjoyed it.

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    1. I love the sheep illustrations too-will have to go back to find Sheep In A Jeep-it's been a while. If it's not your genre, you might try The Scorpio Races first. It's not a series & I thought quite an intriguing story, based on some mythology. Thanks!

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  8. Hi Linda, I so love how you have a Halloween theme here. I've read all of the Zen series at one sitting while I was at the library a year ago. They are just delicious aren't they - with those soft-pastel artwork and the lyrical voice that is just filled with so much wisdom, one literally cries out at the end for more. Think Big also looks beautiful - I think I saw it first at Jama's blog, and I just knew that I had to find it in our libraries - your review has solidified that resolve. And what an exciting time to meet the author! I'm not very familiar with Maggie Stiefvater's works so I'd save my gushing for later - but I'm sure that it must have been such a thrill - she also looks mighty young. I've heard about the Curiosities - the book cover is gorgeous, isn't it? Thank you for sharing all these lovelies - such a spread this week!

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    1. Thanks Myra. Yes, I love the illustrations for the Zen books-would like to have some of that art framed! Think Big is just delightful, and the Curiosities was an added 'find' the other night. So much to enjoy!

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  9. Great photos in the book store - thanks for sharing these. What a night that must have been! I just picked up Raven Boys and plan to start it in the next few days after finishing my current read aloud. I adored Scorpio Races so am quite excited. Thank you for the comments about Zen Ghosts - I have not read this book yet and now am very intrigued. I love the other titles in the Zen series. They are such peaceful books and I love the effect when reading them aloud. The comments and questions from the children are always so special. I want to pick this up for my seasonal read alouds - but it is wonderful that it has so much to offer.

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    1. It was great fun seeing the authors & of course being at a favorite bookstore is also a pleasure. I hope you like the Zen Ghosts Carrie. I think it's very special. Thanks!

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  10. What a treat for you to be able to see Maggie! What fun! Your Halloween-ish books look fun and I'll have to look for them at our library. Enjoy your week!

    Lorna

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    1. Thanks Lorna. It was truly a pleasure to see these authors. Now time for Halloween fun!

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  11. What an exciting event. I really need to make time to get to some author events.

    And yay Squish!

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    1. I haven't seen an author in a long while & it was really fun, Maria. Try it!

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  12. Lovely pictures, Linda...and what a delight it must have been to be a part of that dramatic reading. Sigh...and that bookstore just looked like a bookstore should!!

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    1. I had a terrific time just relaxing, sitting & listening! And, yes, I've watched this Indie bookstore travel from a small place, to a department store, and now in the past few years it has taken over a theater. There is even the balcony where you can overlook much of the store, but it's a little hideaway to sit with books or computer. It's full of overstuffed chairs and people who know books! Heaven. Thanks, Tara.

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Having a conversation is a good thing!