#IMWAYR 11/23/15

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Okay, last week I was just in a random reading mood- I did not read for four hours in dedication to the Children’s Literary Awards, but I did read A LOT.

Believe it or not a lot of the picture books I picked from the shelves last week featured cats… weird (not). So, I decided I would pick a few of my favorites to share today!

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This book by Karla Kuskin disappointed me, but only because the Upstairs Cat and the Downstairs Cat never became friends! The illustrations by Howard Fine are beautiful oil paintings. Both artists did an amazing job at depicting a kitty confrontation.

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I loved this story about a cat and the unique relationship it has with its owner. The cat is lost and missed dearly by its owner, but when the man at the cafe shop finds the cat, he isn’t as charmed with the cat’s “bad” habits.

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At first this story caused my palms to sweat- what was the man in the van going to do?! But it all worked out for everyone in the end! This is the second book that Sarah Hayes has both written and illustrated and I think she did a great job! Very colorful and detailed.

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This book was created by a husband and wife from Maine to demonstrate a lesson about lending a helping hand and also to express a wacky love for cats (I can only assume). The watercolor art work really amplifies the kooky story of  Nana Quimby and her concern for the accumulating number of cats in her tree.

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And my favorite book from this week… dare I say from this entire semester of reading?!  Yes! This book is all about cats- history, mannerisms, and essential advice from an expert older cat to his younger cohorts. This book reminded me of the Purina commercials “Dear Kitten.” If you haven’t seen them, they are hilarious- even if you aren’t a cat lover.

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I’ve always really enjoyed watching authors give book talks or interviews via Youtube so to witness a session like this “in-person” through Skype would be awesome!

After reading Kate Messner’s “The Skyping Renaissance,” I was really captivated by the LitWorld’s World Read Aloud Day (WRAD), a Skype event that promotes reading aloud and highlights the importance of sharing stories. I don’t know why I was surprised that Skype was another outlet for such a great Lit community, but I was! Pleasantly surprised!

Now that the Skype technology has evolved I don’t really see any problems with using it in the classroom as long as the students are accustomed to seeing themselves on the screen as well and aren’t easily distracted.

It’s hard to narrow down to one author I would like to Skype with, but for the sake of this post I would have to chose Jon Klassen. I have really enjoyed looking at his picture books this year, and though he is better known as an illustrator, I would still love to have some one-on-one interaction with him and just get to know him more.

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#IMWAYR 11/16/15

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It’s Monday. And it feels like Monday. The entirety of last week felt like a Monday.

I did read last week, but it wasn’t anywhere near four hours- at least not the reading for this class. SOOOOO I don’t really have anything to blog about as far as my reading challenge goes. BUT I will post a blog regardless, because I know that I am not the only one who has been in this position. Sure I could blog about some other book, or make something up about a book in my current award category, or I could even give a half-assed review on the book that I am currently reading, but I think that I’ll just be honest and real with you all instead.

Last week, I had a weird flurry of assignments all due at once (isn’t it funny how that happens) and it was my boyfriend’s last week of football ever so I was really preoccupied with the supportive girlfriend roll. I spent a lot of my “free time” (and reading time) building him a scrapbook of all of his five seasons playing here and can I just add I have never scrapbooked before -it’s harder than it looks, but I think I’ve discovered a new hobby!

So, though this may not be considered an excusable absence from my school work it was absolutely worth it to me, when he opened up that book (:

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The Importance of Reading Aloud

I think reading aloud needs to become a priority even before children are in school. Children become interested in reading from their parents or guardians reading aloud to them at a very young age… so why would this premise end just because the child can now read on their own? Like Franki says in her post, Building Read Aloud Routine in 3rd Grade, “if I want kids to read books that are right for them independently, I want to share those books often and throughout the year.”

Reading aloud is another way to “book talk” students into reading something different than what they might normally chose on their own. Its the perfect book pushing disguise! I also like how Katherine Sokolowski mentions in her post, READ ALOUDS, that she chooses some of her books based on what that particular class is needing, such as “remembering to Choose Kind.”

That is why I chose my Top 10 Read Alouds as books I think can help kids look through a different lens and learn to be more accepting and understanding of their peers no matter what age group.

  1. Anything but Typical by Nora Raleigh Baskin
  2. Knock, Knock: My Dad’s Dream for me by Daniel Beaty
  3. The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  4. The Pirate of Kindergarten by George Ella Lyon
  5. Luna by Julie Anne Peters
  6. Rules by Cynthia Lord
  7. The Absolutely True Diary of  a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
  8. Forgive me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick
  9. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
  10. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green

It’s Monday! What are you reading?! #imwayr 11-9-15

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Last week, I continued with my reading challenge and read the Theodor Seuss Geisel award winners and honor books.

The Theodor Seuss Geisel Award is given annually to the author(s) and illustrator(s) of the most distinguished American book for beginning readers published in English in the United States during the preceding year.   The winner(s), recognized for their literary and artistic achievements that demonstrate creativity and imagination to engage children in reading, receives a bronze medal.  Honor Book authors and illustrators receive certificates, which are presented at the ALA Annual Conference.  The award was established in 2004 and first presented in 2006.

The award is named for the world-renowned children’s author, Theodor Geisel. “A person’s a person no matter how small,” Theodor Geisel, a.k.a. Dr. Seuss, would say. “Children want the same things we want: to laugh, to be challenged, to be entertained and delighted.” Brilliant, playful, and always respectful of children, Dr. Seuss charmed his way into the consciousness of four generations of youngsters and parents. In the process, he helped them to read.

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I always enjoy Jon Klassen’s stories and artwork because it is exactly what I want to emulate in my own work- simple, clean, clever, and silly.

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This book is an easy read that would be great for a child read aloud to his/her parent or even for their classmates during reading circle time.

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This would be a fun read aloud… as long as no one is too embarrassed to “chomp! slurp! chomp!  buuuuuurrrrrrppp!”

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A great book for new readers, Pearl and Wagner: One Funny Day is a level 3 Transitional Reader book in the Penguin Young Readers collection. It includes more dialogue and vocabulary , different points of view, and a more complex storyline.

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And my favorite book of the week featured a CAT named PETE who says “GROOVY!” Need I say more? Besides the obvious, this book was my favorite because it teachers a lesson of staying positive and optimistic which is a virtue for everyone -young and old.

Diversity in Kid Lit- It’s not just about color.

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As I was reading the CBC Diversity article “Here I am” by Brian Pinkney I couldn’t help but think about my reluctance to read “boy” books when I was younger. I only wanted to read books with girl protagonists or mostly female characters at least. I didn’t think that I would find boy adventures interesting or a boy’s perspective relevant, but I’m sure you can imagine how many awesome books I was missing out on because my prejudice.

Diversity isn’t only an issue about color. It’s about sex, culture, disabilities, class, and even religion. Kid lit is the perfect place to start exposing children to lifestyles that differ from their own. It is the responsibility of librarians, teachers, and parents to employ diversity into the books that they buy and read to children. I think that Pinkney’s tips are a great way to get kids interested in different kinds of books than they are comfortable with:

  1. Cover Conversations: Before even opening a book, engage a child in a discussion about its cover by saying, “Wow, look at that boy on the front. He’s got drumsticks in his hand. What do you think this story is about?” And then inviting the reader open the book to find out more.
  2. Make it Personal: Ask a kid, “What are some of the things in this story that are similar to your own life, family, school, dreams, plans, etc.?
  3. Teachers Teach:  Insist that your child’s teacher or school librarian always, under all circumstances, include books during story times and in classroom libraries that include people of color. Most folks are well-intentioned, but sometimes forget.
  4. Sail Away: Let a book’s story drive a child’s interest, rather than the color of its characters. Invite kids to create their own adventures based on the book’s themes.

It’s Monday! What are you reading?! 11/02/15 #imwayr

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This week’s reading was dedicated to the Coretta Scott King Award:

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given annually to outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.  The award commemorates the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and honors his wife, Mrs. Coretta Scott King, for her courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.

Here are a few:

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This first book was adapted from a West African Folktale in which the black sheep of the family dreams of becoming a musician and therefore his family has to ban him from their village because music can’t help any of the villagers in a traditional sense. Once Banzar is out on his own he meets an old mentor named Sholo who teaches him that it is their job to tell the history of the African people so that they can have a better future. In the end Banzar returns to his village to show them how successful he has become and the importance of music.

“Yams fill the belly and trade fills the pockets, but music fills the heart.”

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The Great Migration  is a poetic narrative about the courage of those who were suppressed by segregation in the South to make a change and move North. These beautiful stories are accompanied by a collage style artwork in bold colors that really reflects the many families coming together in a journey of bravery to make a better life for themselves.

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This book was true, and by true I mean real. No matter why this boy’s father is absent, whether he chose to leave or he is incarcerated (which is what I believe to be the case) this is a great story to explain any parents dream for their child to succeed, whether they had any dreams for themselves or not.

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Pinkney’s art work in this book is just beautiful and accompanied by Aston’s prose this book will bring tears to your eyes. Mae’s grandfather believes in his granddaughter and her dreams to one day be an astronaut just like Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. A great way to bring a little bit of history into children’s reading.

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Two-time Coretta Scott King Award winner Ashley Bryan praises three favorite spirituals: “This Little Light of Mine,” “Oh, When the Saints Go Marching In,” and “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” The fun illustrations of brilliant colors along with the the songs real make reading this book aloud a lot of fun.