Monday, January 22, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1/22/2018


The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.


Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.
                                         

Picture Books


The Twelve Days of Christmas in Florida
by Frank Remkiewicz

I recently attended a writing conference where Frank Remkiewicz was attending, so I wanted to read one of his books. This was a really fun read. Frank actually lives in the next town north from me, so many of the settings in the book were local. I liked the humorous "12 Days of Christmas" format (12 panthers purring, 11 grannies golfing...) but I also enjoyed the nonfiction parts as well. Each day has a letter from the main character's cousin where he describes some factual things about Florida. 


My Father Knows the Names of Things
written by Jane Yolen
illustrated by Stephane Jorisch

To celebrate Jane Yolen's 365th book being published, I have set a goal to read at least 24 of her books. I enjoyed My Father Knows the Names of Things. the illustrations are fun and whimsy and and the text is fun.

How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad
written by Jane Yolen
Illustrated by Mark Teague

 My children love ever iteration of the How Do Dinosaurs books. Mark Teague does a fantastic job of drawing all the different dinosaurs. I imagine that my son will like these more and more as he gets older. Jane's rhythm is spot on, as always. 


You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer
written by Shana Corey
illustrated by Chesley McLaren

I had no idea that this was a nonfiction book when I picked it off the shelf. I liked the illustrations on the cover and grabbed it. I had no idea where Bloomers came from before reading this, but I do now. I enjoy reading books with my daughter about women who bucked current trends and struck out on their own. Good overall read.


Friday, January 19, 2018

Poetry Friday - Langtree's Lament



It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Leigh Anne's blog, A Journey Through the Pages, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello and Happy Friday! I hope that everyone has had a good week. It has been a whirlwind here after getting back from the writing conference (which was amazing) and trying to get back into the swing of things. 

We woke up to 30 degree weather this morning here in Southwestern Florida! I am a firm believer that if it is going to get this cold, it needs to snow. But, alas, no precipitation on the horizon. 

Recently, my family finished watching the mini series Over the Garden Wall. It is a dark fantasy adventure that follows two brothers on their journey to get back home. I love finding creepy stories that are appropriate for younger kids (my daughter is 7 year old). 

Each episode is only about 13 minutes long, so it was a great to watch bit by bit. Most of the episodes have a least one song, and I loved "Langtree's Lament". The entire song is a sort of riff off of an ABC poem. 

Langtree's Lament

A" is for the apple that he gave to me,
But I found a worm inside.
"B" is for beloved that I call to him before he left my side.
And “C”, see what he did, that’s “D”,

You can read all the lyrics here or listen to it below. It really is quite fun.

Monday, January 15, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1/15/2018




The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.
                                         

Picture Books

 Carnivores
written by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Dan Santat

I love this book. The cover is so creative and the illustrations are great. The story just knocks it out of the park for me. I love the twists to the story. I actually belly laugh when reading this one. My children both seem to enjoy it too. I also feel like this is a great book for teaching picture book writing. It follows a definite pattern and works so well. 


Middle Grade

 The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill

Oh my goodness, this book gave me all the feels. It was a wonderful book, but it took me awhile to get through it because, as the mom of a little one, there were parts that were so sad! Kelly Barnhill does a fantastic job of conveying emotion. I really liked that this was a dystopian story wrapped in magical fantasy. So many dystopian stories seem to take place in the near future real world. The fantasy elements really made it a fresh take.


Non-KidLit

Locke & Key: Welcome to Lovecraft
written by Joe Hill
illustrated by Gabriel Rodriguez 

This is a graphic novel that has been on my TBR for a long time. I am so glad that I finally picked it up. A hard "R" rating, it was creepy and unsettling. The illustrations do a lot to add to the overall foreboding feeling of the book. I will definitely be picking up the next in the series. 


reminder of my ratings (which are so subjective anyway and should be taken with a grain of salt):
1 star: extremely disliked and will actively warn others (VERY RARE)
2 stars: disliked
3 stars: liked and will recommend to the right person
4 stars: really liked and will recommend 
5 stars: loved and will recommend to anyone who will listen (VERY RARE)

Friday, January 12, 2018

Poetry Friday - Iguanas and Unicorns


It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out Bookseedstudio to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello and Happy Friday! Today I am excited because I am heading down to Miami for a regional SCBWI writing conference this weekend. All. by. myself. This will be the first solo 'away' trip I have taken since having my daughter nearly 8 years ago. It will also be the longest I've been away from my 1-year-old son. I keep flipping back and forth between complete giddiness and a little guilt, but that's normal, right? 

Florida had a cold snap last week and it got so cold that frozen iguanas were falling out of the trees. Then, as the sun warmed them up, they'd scamper back up the trees again. We've got another cold front moving through this weekend. Here are two haikus dedicated to the poor cold-blooded iguanas.

Florida winter
Chilly green iguanas fall
On my patio

Florida sunshine
Chilly green iguanas thaw
Buttonwood awaits

Also, this past Tuesday was the first Animaloon Collective of the year. Mostly, it is an illustration prompt where people draw the given animal prompt as a balloon or some sort. The prompt for January was unicorns. Here's what I came up with:


My daughter and I
Sat quietly on our porch,
Listening to the pat-a-pat
Of rain on the roof.
Where do rainbows come from?
She asked.
I replied:
From Unicorn butts.
© 2018 Rebecca Herog
  

Monday, January 8, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1/8/2018




The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well.

Be sure to check out Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see what other kidlit readers are reading. Because, you know, we can never have too many books in our TBR pile.
                                         

Happy 2018! I hope that it has started off well for you. If you'd like to see a recap of some of my favorite books from 2017, click here.


Picture Books



 My Grandma Lives in Florida
written by Ed Shankman
illustrated by Dave O'Neill

A cute book that gets a little lost and rambles in the middle. The illustrations are cute. This would be a great gift for a grandma that does actually live in Florida. 


Graphic Novels

 Lumberjanes: Beware the Kitten Holy
written by Noelle Stevenson and Grace Ellis
illustrated and colored by Brooke Allen and Maarta Laiho

This comic series has been on my TBR for awhile, so I was excited to pick up the first volume. The story is fun and the illustrations are great. I like how it is slightly irreverent. My seven year old daughter read it and loved it. I liked it enough to grab volumes 2-3 from the library, but I haven't had a chance to read them yet (but my daughter has already devoured them). I like that all the main characters are female. 


Non-KidLit

Meddling Kids
by Edgar Cantero

Oh my goodness, this book was wonderful. It's Scooby Doo meets 2AM Syfy B-movie with some Cthulhu sprinkled on top. Meddling Kids is both creepy and funny. I absolutely love the cover of the book as well. The colors are so much fun and really set the right mood for the book.



reminder of my ratings (which are so subjective anyway and should be taken with a grain of salt):
1 star: extremely disliked and will actively warn others (VERY RARE)
2 stars: disliked
3 stars: liked and will recommend to the right person
4 stars: really liked and will recommend 
5 stars: loved and will recommend to anyone who will listen (VERY RARE)

Friday, January 5, 2018

Poetry Friday - New Year Inspiration


It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. And be sure to check out  Reading to the Core to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Happy New Year poetry friends! Can you believe that it is 2018? I always get excited for the new year and all the potential it holds. Will there be bad times? Absolutely--there always will be. But hopefully there will be some wonderful and amazing times sprinkled in as well.

I am one of those people who always sets New Year Resolutions. But I try to make them attainable and realistic. For example, if I set a goal to exercise 365 days in 2018 and then I miss a day, then there is no way for me to attain that goal. I try to avoid those types of absolutes. 

So as it is Poetry Friday, I thought I'd share a few of my:

2018 Poetry Goals

  • write 100 poems
  • use more prompts for inspirationn
  • not miss a single Poetry Friday post
  • complete another Inktober in October
Easy-peasy, right?

So, I have found that I do much better when I pull inspiration ahead of time for a poem. When I sit down cold and just try to randomly come up with a prompt for a poem, I fail miserably. I think that is why I was successful in finishing my 31 poems in 31 days back in October--I made up a word prompt list for the entire month.  Many of the poems went in very different directions than when I originally thought of the word, so the prompt is just a launching point. 

In addition to everyday life, here are a few of the places I plan on pulling inspiration:

My husband participates in various illustration prompts on twitter, and a few of them I plan on adapting for poetry.

@pinchpunchpost gives a monthly creature prompt
@animaloonies gives a monthly inflated animal prompt (they're quite amusing)
@AnimalAlphabets gives a weekly prompt that rotates through the alphabet

Last year, I discovered Laura Purdie Salas' "15 words or less" Thursday prompts on her blog. I love the simplicity of it and I really enjoy just spending a few minutes warming up the poetry muscles. I definitely plan on participating more this year. 

Speaking of New Year's goals, here is my contribution to Laura's prompt this week.


Parasite Depression

January is always gloomy
For a parasitic roomie

New healthy declarations
Make for tenuous relations
© Rebecca Herzog 2018



Tuesday, January 2, 2018

2017 Reading in Review

I cannot believe that 2017 passed so quickly! I always enjoy looking back at all the books that I read and sharing my favorites. I am super proud to say that I accomplished almost all of my reading goals for the year. Here's a recap:

2017 Goals:


  • Read 52 books total - Completed 53 NOT including all the picture books I read
  • Read 4 nonfiction books - I did complete 3 though, which is 300% more than in 2016
  • Read 8 graphic novels - Crushed this one with 11 total
  • Read 4 books in genres that I do not usually read - a play, a verse novel, a biography, and a self-help
  • Read 4 books originally written in a non-English speaking country - I did read three--one from Japan (Yours Sincerely, Giraffe), one from Spain (Meddling Kids, although it was written in English, not translated), and a picture book written and illustrated in Italy (Professional Crocodile).

2017 stats:


13 Adult Fiction
15 Middle Grade
11 Graphic Novels
7 Young Adult
3 Nonfiction
3 Chapter Books
1 Poetry Collection
Tons of Picture Books (I did not track this in 2017, but it was a lot)




Reading Goals for 2018:


  • Read 200 books, with at least 52 of them being chapter books or above (this is basically the same goal as 2017, but I want to track my picture book/early readers in 2018)
  • Read 4 nonfiction books
  • Read 4 contemporary fiction books
  • Read 4 books in genres that I normally do not read
  • Read 25 of Jane Yolen's books as this year her 365th book will be published (you could read one a day if you wanted!)


Favorite Books of 2017 

(click on the image to see them on Amazon)






It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 1/22/2018

The weekly post where I recap all the KidLit books I’ve been reading. Occasionally, I’ll also review some adult fiction books as well. ...