It’s Monday! What are you reading? 9-28-15 #imwayr

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My reading this past week was dedicated to a Newbery Award Honor book Doll Bones by Holly Black. This book has been on my “to-read” list for almost a year now so I was excited that I finally had the opportunity to finally dig into it!

I loved it.

This book had so many different elements to it – it’s no wonder it made the Newbery honor list.

My favorite aspect of this book was the theme of growing up or not wanting to grow up. Zach, Alice, and Poppy have a “Neverland” worthy adventure to close the chapter of childhood make-believe, but is it all just pretend or are they on a true quest? Black does an amazing job of mixing the children’s imaginations with true events, such as adults seeing a blonde girl with them and historical facts, to keep the mystery going.

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SPOILER ALERT!! 

Do not read any further if you are interested in reading this book.

When Zach’s father threw out his toys and Zach chose not to tell Alice and Poppy the truth but rather let them believe he no longer cared about their game, I was crestfallen. These kids had such sharp imaginations and exercised them everyday after school – so what if they are “too old” to be playing with dolls (I played with my barbies until 8th grade!). Immediately I thought, Just tell them and you can get some new action figures! The story can go on! And then I thought, What if they just continued the story through the “Questions” or just wrote out the stories for each other. That would be more age appropriate! And I was so overjoyed when I read the last page and Zach had come to this exact conclusion himself.

Middle school is a hard time for kids; It’s time to grow up BUT not too fast! I thought that Black did an outstanding job of presenting this dilemma as a 12 year old would.

P.S. There is a cat in this book named “The Party!” 

Reading Reflection

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I have always known that I am a reader- I enjoy reading. I read for fun. I read to learn. I read. As a reader of children’s literature I have learned that just because the writing is meant for a younger audience does not mean that adults won’t get something out of it too.

As parents and as future teachers I think that it is important to read a little bit of everything so that we can make proper recommendations for children to read or to read to them. For example, maybe your child is struggling with a disability experience; you should look for a Schneider Family Book award winner.

My personal tastes as a reader change  depending on what I am reading, which sounds nonsensical, but sometimes I’ll get stuck in a YA lit rut and then I’ll read nothing but mystery dramas like novels by Gillian Flynn. I like anything in between these points of interest. I enjoy reading many different things; however if it were my choice I would pick something controversial, fast paced, and not extremely difficult. I like books that challenge me and get me thinking, but I don’t want to critically analyze every work I pick up.

I’m still trying to get into certain genres that haven’t appealed to me much such as historical fiction or fantasy.

If an author could write a book that would be perfect just for me, like I said before, it would be some sort of mystery, drama, fast paced, and controversial even- my favorite novels are the ones I cannot put down until I get to the bottom of the plot.

Reading award winning books such as the Caldecott, Newbery, Sibert, Pura Belpra, Schneider, Coretta Scott King, Golden Sower is really amazing to me because I get to see what criteria books need to have in order to be categorized into sub genres…. Before I thought children’s books were children’s books and that’s that. I really enjoy preschool through about fifth grade books the most because I feel like these are very formative years for kids, especially as readers -it’s never too early to learn life lessons or to become life-time readers. BUT early elementary is my favorite because they are just so fun (:

It’s Monday! What are you reading? #imwayr 9/21/15

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This monday, I want to review a Newbery Award winning book, The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate. Goodreads description of the book says it best:

Ivan is an easygoing gorilla. Living at the Exit 8 Big Top Mall and Video Arcade, he has grown accustomed to humans watching him through the glass walls of his domain. He rarely misses his life in the jungle. In fact, he hardly ever thinks about it at all.

Instead, Ivan thinks about TV shows he’s seen and about his friends Stella, an elderly elephant, and Bob, a stray dog. But mostly Ivan thinks about art and how to capture the taste of a mango or the sound of leaves with color and a well-placed line.

Then he meets Ruby, a baby elephant taken from her family, and she makes Ivan see their home—and his own art—through new eyes. When Ruby arrives, change comes with her, and it’s up to Ivan to make it a change for the better.

Katherine Applegate blends humor and poignancy to create Ivan’s unforgettable first-person narration in a story of friendship, art, and hope.

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In the beginning of the book I didn’t feel sorry for Ivan. Though, he was captive and he lost his family he was content with his life at the mall and didn’t question much of anything, but Ruby opened Ivan’s eyes to the possibility of a better life.

Appelgate did an amazing job developing her characters and setting to really make her readers become attached and absorbed into the story (RIP Stella-phant).

Her sentence-level or language was very easy to read, but in it were very complex and important real-life issues like the mistreatment and exploitation of exotic animals. Her perspective on these issues made me change mine. Last week, I put myself into these animals shoes (cages) and really thought about how misunderstood these animals truly are.

This novel was emotionally satisfying to me because unlike many of the adult novels that I read, this one closed on a positive note. Many of the  conflicts are resolved and Ivan accomplished his one goal to produce a happy ending for his friends and himself.

It’s Monday! And the award goes to…

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THE CALDECOTT MEDAL (1996)

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Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann

This sort had a little of everything; vibrant illustrations, comical characters, and a very important lesson and safety tip #101 “Always stick with your buddy!” Officer Buckle is simply and officer and Gloria is simply a dog, but like little Claire says, they make a great team. The two working together really made a difference and kept everyone safe.

CORETTA SCOTT KING AWARD (2014)

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P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams-Garcia

This book is a sequel to One Crazy Summer, which I could not find in the library; regardless, this story stands alone and Williams-Garcia uses the standard coming-of-age tale, but in an interesting format, being set in the late 1960s. It was a longer read, but it is a beautiful story with lots of culture and history.

THE PURA BELPRE AWARD (2014)

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Niño Wrestles the World by Yuyi Morales

This book was so cute! All little boys love to ruff house and Niño is no exception; he’s a big fan of lucha libre and is a great performer. I loved Morales illustrations for his creative, comic  book style. This is a great book for children to learn a little more Spanish or a little more English in a very fun way.

THEODOR SUESS GEISEL AWARD (2013)

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Up! Tall! And High! by Ethan Long

This book is adorable! I can just hear preschoolers’ voices in these three silly birds! You may not be tall, or, small, or be able to fly, but in then end you help out your friends and accept who you are! I love the classic, fun fold-outs that are placed throughout the book and I don’t know any kid who wouldn’t love this short zany story.

THE SCHNEIDER FAMILY BOOK AWARD (2011)

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The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon

I remember when I found out I needed glasses in second grade. I was thrilled because that meant I got to look just like my mom and dad, but that doesn’t mean that I wasn’t scared. Ginny seemed different to her classmates and her teacher because she ran into things and read funny, but she wasn’t differen’t; she just couldn’t see. Lyon and illustrator Lynne Avril did a marvelous job of showing a child’s point of view with a disability experience.

THE ROBERT F. SIBERT MEDAL (2003)

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The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by James Cross Giblin

I read this book on and off throughout the week and though history isn’t really my jam I can see how someone would enjoy this book. From what I read Giblin’s tone is very straightforward and rational therefore making my opinions of Hitler also straightforward and rational. Though, he was a sadistic and troubled man, he was also quite brilliant and a very powerful figure still today.

THE GOLDEN SOWER AWARD

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My Lucky Day by Keiko Kaska

This was such a cute spin on the classic trickster tale of fox vs. pig. Pig ‘accidentally’ knocks on the wrong door; fox’s door and complies to the fox’s wish to eat him, but pig wants to make the experience most pleasurable for the fox (himself) so he talks fox into giving him a  bath, cooking him dinner, and tenderizing his meat with a nice massage. Soon the fox is so tried he passes out and pig goes on home where we find out this was his plan all along.

Did you read any of these titles? Let me know in the comments below!

Finding time to read… the struggle is real

The worst way to read he said, is with the thought that you do not have enough time.

-Gabriel Josipovici

Every semester it’s the same story with me, “I have no time!” But the truth is I do have time, I just have to stick to a strict schedule in order to make the most out of my time.

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I do not dedicate a full four hours to read children’s lit specifically; that, I do not have time for, but I do read over four hours throughout the week for all of my classes. I think that being engaged in some form of reading is the important thing and not necessarily what I am reading. Plus, it helps to keep my mind active when I to switch gears from literary criticism to children’s literature.

Thursdays are my day off so I typically block out a few hours on that day to go to the library and focus solely on children’s lit- finding books, reading, blogging, and managing my goodreads account.

I do get a lot of reading done in this time- anywhere from 15-30 books. I would love to read more, but I really feel the need to sit down and write about a book or reflect on the book right when I am finished reading it, because it’s easy to overlook a children’s book’s content and purpose.

To improve on my reading in this class I have created a bookbub account 6339_bb_devices_125– you create your account, tell the site your interests, and they alert you via email to limited-time free and discounted ebooks they think you would love! This way I can start reading more at home without lugging around a bag full of books. However, I also want to utilize Dr. Ellington’s personal library because I know that she has a zillion cute books stashed in her office (:

I know that I am not the only one with a job, eighteen credit hours, maintaining a household, and trying to live life SO if anyone has any tips on how they make this juggling act a little more graceful PLEASE let me know in the comments!

Celebratelu! What I celebrated this week :)

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A healthy lifestyle is what I celebrated this week!

I don’t consider myself an unhealthy person, but there are a few things about my way of living that I wanted to change for the better. One of those things was actually exercising. Okay, so maybe someone wouldn’t consider me healthy at all, BUT I decided that this semester I would do better. And I have. And I feel better.

I am halfway through a 6 week challenge created by personal trainer Lauren Gleisberg. The challenge is called #LGBeautyAndBooty Challenge and I highly recommend it if you’re ready to get into shape.

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I was really apprehensive to dedicate time five days a week to working out with working five days a week and having six classes, but it’s been really easy. I feel more energized and accomplished whenever I go, so it didn’t take long for me to make it a priority.

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Along with working out my body I have tried to make conscious decisions about what I am putting into my body. Here are some of my goals/changes that I have made so far:

  • Limit one specialty drink per week -meaning a chai or latte
  • Limit one black brew coffee per day (a splash of almond or soy milk is optional)
  • Eat breakfast every day
  • Drink at least 60 oz of water a day -The average person should drink half of their body weight in oz of water per day, but I chose to drink more since I am working out
  • If I must wine, choose red wine over white
  • Cook my own meals

And I’m sure I’ll add more as I get more involved with this lifestyle change.

I’ve been intrigued by fitness trends before, but my reasons for persevering this time are greater and I am very optimistic that I will follow through with this challenge and any more that come 🙂

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It’s Monday! What are you reading?!

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Leo the Late Bloomer

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I absolutely loved the message in this book; encouraging kids and parents both to remain patient and positive when it comes to learning and growing. Some kids are late bloomers, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t capable of doing what the other kids are doing, it just means that they need a little more time.

Curious George 

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Curious George is a classic book showcasing a curious monkey and his ensuing shenanigans. It’s fun for kids, but it also teaches them that acting on our curiosities can sometimes lead to trouble. It’s kind of sad that he was taken from his home in the wild to live in a zoo or with the man with the yellow hat, but he seems to be happy (:

Where Crocodiles Have Wings

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This book was very Dr. Seuss inspired to me. Just wacky, creative, and fun descriptions and scenarios. It was fun to read to my friend’s son who just found the whole book ridiculously funny. A crocodile with wings?! What could be more hysterical?

If You Give a Dog a Donut

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Obviously, these books are tons of fun for kids and adults both. Cute animals, desserts, crafts, and silly activities keep us all turning the page wondering what is going to happen next.

Too Noisy

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This book is a good reminder that our families may be too noisy, or too quiet, or too annoying, or too boring, but they are still our families and we would be lost without them.

Can You Make a Scary Face?

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This is a perfect book for young children like Carter’s age, three to five years old, because it’s interactive!

What have you been reading? Let me know in the comments!