Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Non-Fiction Picture Book - Animals!

     Time to share on Wednesdays with Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at her blog, Kidlit Frenzy.   
      Come check out all those who link to discover the wonderful non-fiction picture books 
available today. 
        Thanks Alyson!   Tweet - #NFPB15

                I ended up reading wonderful books about animals this week, real treasures for learning! Hope you'll discover more than one that will interest you.

I'm Trying To Love Spiders - written and illustrated by Bethany Barton
          Bethany Barton, with gorgeous illustrations, takes a humorous stance about spiders, trying hard to show how much she (we) should love them, but early in the book, failing (oops!). As the book moves along,  spiders really do become more interesting, even enough to appreciate them, as long as they're not inside. Barton includes much good information here.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Slice of Life-Wondering

Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.

How do you become the teacher with the beautiful
red apple and a cup of pens and pencils on the desk?
I am working as an advisor to a young person who is working in an alternative licensing program started by a nearby independent school, separate from their own K-8 school, and now joining our Public Education & Business Coalition (PEBC) which will enlarge the established program quite a bit. This is not the first time I've done it, but it's been about three years since the last one. I am primarily in charge of the teacher, meetings, and observations with the resulting evaluations, reflections and goals for what's next. In addition, I also meet with the mentor teacher (a former colleague)  with whom he works closely in the classroom.  

It's Monday!

          Visit Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  Others join Sheila to share adult books at Book Journeys

        Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

I Crawl Through It - written by A.S. King  
          It's heartbreaking reality here, although the book is described as surrealistic fiction. Four teens live in various stages of struggling with school life-the pressures of constant testing, the anxiety of bomb threats-along with personal trauma and loss. One lies, one splits in two, one turns herself inside out, and the last builds an invisible helicopter for escaping. Unfortunately, these behaviors don't seem to help, things do not improve and toward the end, they figure out that facing the challenges is the only way to save themselves. No matter how surrealistic the scenes and action were, I continued to feel compassion for the deep hurt exhibited by these teens. It was sad to feel them so alone, yet the strong friendship among the four offered hope at the end. Strong language and strange scenes might prevent recommendation to early teens, but it depends always on the individual's maturity. Definitely would recommend to older teens and their parents and teachers. In this book, A.S. King offers a window to the inner lives of some teens, and whether we wish to or not. we need to know so we can help. Thanks to Net Galley!

If Everybody Did - written and illustrated by Jo Ann Stover
       Perhaps the moral of this book is to think before you act, because "If Everybody Did" IT, things would not turn out so well. For example, "If everybody made tracks," there is a sketch of a living area "filled" with muddy footprints. Stover has used black and white sketches for the story, and filled it with exaggerations to make her point. It's fun to view, and imagine. Luckily, she ends it positively, showing what would happen if only "one" did something. Clever idea for a read aloud, would be great fun to talk about this with a group of kids.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Making Stories

              I celebrate each Saturday with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build - It's a close community that celebrates together. Come join us!          Tweet at #CelebrateLu

              Ruth often writes about story and its value. Today, I celebrate story as I meandered through my week, reading and writing, spending time noticing on my morning walks. I spent time with my granddaughters, watching them build their own "libraries of memories, and observed a new teacher's lesson as he began his journey of teaching.  

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Poetry Friday - Hide-Out

          Janet is hosting this first Poetry Friday fall party at Poetry for Children.  She and Sylvia are celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month.

      This is the last week of September, the month Michelle H. Barnes invited everyone to take a challenge from Lee Bennett Hopkins to write a "Me poem", one simple moment from your childhood that changed you in some way. Don't forget to visit her at Today's Little Ditty to see the month's collection. I enjoyed writing mine, am not surprised that it is about me and nature.

      I had the joy of having wonderful grandparents, and spent lots of time in my early years with one set of them. I lived in a small town, they lived very close, and their backyard was a favorite place. There was a tree that my grandfather said could be mine. I spent growing-up time in that tree, am glad that this challenge was made by Michelle.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Non-Fiction Picture Book Love

     Time to share on Wednesdays with Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at her blog, Kidlit Frenzy.   

        Thanks Alyson!   Tweet - #NFPB15

Happy Autumn Everyone!


          A beautiful nature book and three inspirational stories add to my collection of terrific non-fiction picture books. If you haven't already, find and read them!

High Tide for Horseshoe Crabs - written by Lisa Kahn Schnell and illustrated by Alan Marks
           The end papers start with information through detailed sketches of these crabs, female and male, and their parts, purposes explained. And the story is told from the beginning of the horseshoe crabs arrival in Delaware Bay to lay their eggs, the thousands of shorebirds arriving on their long trek North to gain energy for the flight to the Arctic to lay their own eggs, and what happens during these two weeks of frantic activity. Scientists arrive, too, to study the crabs or the birds, to find crabs that have been tagged. Volunteers help, too. As Lisa Schnell explains the events as they occur, Alan Marks illustrates each scene in lovely watercolors. It’s an interesting book that helps beginners discover some of the phenomenal events in nature that occur each year, especially at the turn of the seasons. 

A Book To Own And Relish

 Slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community is a pleasure every week.  Thank you Stacey, Tara, Anna, Betsy, Dana, Kathleen, Beth, and Deb.

     I usually only review books on Mondays and Wednesdays, but this time I'd like to introduce a recent fabulous picture book. I can see so many ways it will be a treasure in every classroom from about third grade and beyond. Some younger children might enjoy the concept and the illustrations, but they are rather abstract. If you need something that introduces new ways to think about things, an art project that can integrate beautifully with poetry and language, or one that combines mathematics and relationships, this is the book.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Monday Reading

          Visit Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.  Others join Sheila to share adult books at Book Journeys

        Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!

           I didn't post last week, traveled to a special zoo with my granddaughters, a wonderful day! So, I've read many books since the last post, labeled them in groups so you can read what you're most interested in.  

novels - Middle grade and YA

Took - by Mary Downing Hahn

               This next “chiller” story from Mary Downing Hahn will be out mid-September, and it is filled with goose bumps for those who love them. Noted for a long time for writing this kind of book for pre-adolescents, Hahn has written another one that is both scary and sad, too. Daniel, a seventh grade boy, his little sister, Erica, seven, and his parents have moved to an old farm house outside of a forlorn town in West Virginia from an upscale neighborhood in Connecticut. His father has lost his job, they’ve had to give up their home and private schools, and are surviving the best way they can, by relocating. The house is in disrepair, and there are some creepy things going on from the first day. Daniel sees a shadow at the edge of the woods that first evening when they arrive, and the days and nights don’t improve. They’re the first family to live in the old Estes place since that family left fifty years ago.  All the community, including the kids, knows why no one has lived there, but Daniel and his family don’t. And when they’re told of Auntie and her companion, they scoff at silly folk stories. Hahn layers on the bad times quickly, starts with someone watching them, and we read: “They’re ignorant fools, but they have something she wants, and she aims to get it.” Daniel tells this story of a family pulled apart in a house and community that does not welcome them. Hahn writes: “The past clung to them like a stain you couldn’t wash.” One must suspend one’s own beliefs when reading, and enjoy this roller-coaster ride into dark woods, a conjure or two, and a boy who won’t stop until he makes things good again. For those kids who enjoy reading scary tales, this one will suit them well. Thanks to Net Galley for the chance to read it early.

The Thing About Jellyfish - written by Ali Benjamin  (just made the National Book Award long list
for Young People's Literature!)

           I am grateful for the chance to read this astounding debut novel before it's published, thanks to Net Galley. Suzy, or Zu, as her mother calls her, is twelve, a seventh grader, who hasn't spoken since the early summer when she found out her used-to-be best friend Franny has died, drowned. The story is told by Zu in remembering the friendship with Franny, flashing to the present when chapters begin with the science teacher Mrs. Turton's instructions for the coming science project and presentation, alternating with some of Zu's science report about jellyfish. Zu becomes immersed in the possibility of Franny being stung by a deadly jellyfish, and all her thoughts and research focus there.
Benjamin writes poetically beautiful words of Zu's strange and mixed-up thoughts of her time with and without her friend. This whole story is not a new one, but of those challenges of middle-school friendship when Franny starts growing into liking the fun of having a boyfriend, and Zu can't understand how or why the friendship is changing. I taught middle school, and the parts Benjamin shows here are both the heart-breaking experiences of those on the 'outside', and the sweetness that does show when someone steps outside the group to be a friend. There is an adventure, yet most of this young adolescent's adventure, and learning, happens in her reflections. Franny's family and the science teacher show patience and kindness, loving examples of the good support she needs during this part of her life. The story of Franny reminds me of the quote that we must be kind, for we don't know what battles another is fighting. It is a beautifully satisfying story of growing up. Thanks again to Net Galley

Friday, September 18, 2015

Centennial Celebration

              I celebrate each Saturday with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build - This week, ONE HUNDRED TIMES everyone has celebrated. WOW! There are many others who celebrate, too. Come join us!          Tweet at #CelebrateLu

              We wouldn't have started without Ruth Ayres, so thank you Ruth for keeping on, sharing wise words, being a good person in our lives for whom we are so grateful.


I haven’t kept a count,
I know I’ve missed a few,
but celebrating every week’s
like being atop a mountain peak
because of you, and you, and you,
and you, you, you, you, too, and you.

It’s true!


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Poetry Friday - Once More The Sea

It's Poetry Friday, and Michelle Heidenrich Barnes has the roundup at Today's Little Ditty

First, I'm thrilled to be a Round Two Judge for the 2015 Cybils' Awards with Jone MacCulloch, Rosemary Marotta, Diane Mayr, Heidi Mordhorst, and Laura Shovan. It's the tenth year of these awards, and that is something to celebrate, too. If you'd like to see lists of all the previous winners, go here!

         You may or not know that I spent two weeks on Captiva Island in August. Yes, it was hot, but we were right by the ocean, and it was a marvelous time. I wrote several poems, took many pictures, and bring back more in my mind than I can show. I love our Rocky Mountains, but wish an ocean were just a little closer.


I look and look,
I contemplate,
then choose to keep
with me
a cerulean shell,
a memory,
packaged on the island
of first the sky
and then the sea.
Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved