Monday, May 21, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - Book Giveaway!

The weekly post where I recap some of the KidLit books I've been reading. Ocasionally, I'll also talk about 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 piles.

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Happy Monday everyone! I am giving away a copy of Chris Harris' I'm Just No Good at Rhyming. Click here to enter!


Today is a post of recent books that I have absolutely loved. Have you read any of them?


Poetry


written by Chris Harris
illustrated by Lane Smith
(Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2017)


My family absolutely LOVED this collection of poems. I cannot recommend it enough. You can read my full review here and enter to win a copy as well!


Middle Grade

by Cassie Beasley
(Penguin Young Readers, 2017)


This book is absolutely beautifully written. I love middle grade because I find the stories engaging. Not only is Tumble and Blue  a fun story, it is expertly written. Read my full review here.


Picture Book

by Ben Hatke
(First Second, 2016)


Another fantastic read. This book is perfect for anyone who enjoys the game Dungeons and Dragons or just epic fantasies like The Hobbit. It takes the genre and turns it on its head. And Ben Hatke's illustrations are always wonderful.

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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Poetry Friday - Poetry Book Giveaway!


It’s Friday! And you know what that means: Poetry! Want to know more about Poetry Friday? Click this link right here. I am hosting the round up today, so be sure to check out the links at the end to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello and Happy Friday! I am super excited to be hosting the Poetry Round Up today. I cannot wait to see everyone's contributions this week.

To celebrate, I have decided to do a book giveaway. Be sure to read to the end to find out how to win a copy!

written by Chris Harris
illustrated by Lane Smith


I checked this one out from the library not too long ago, and my family absolutely LOVED it. I have an 8-year-old and an 18-month-old. My husband and I would each take turns reading a few poems each night before bedtime. My daughter, without fail, would beg for "just one more" poem to be read.

The poems are really funny. Like belly-laugh-my-cheeks-hurt funny. (I guess that makes me an immature grown-up? YES, I'll take it!) Not only were Harris' poems hilarious, but many of them also had a lot of heart. He does not pander to kids, but yet is able to really convey some great messages (think Shel Silverstein's "Listen to the Mustn'ts").

Another aspect of this book that was fantastic is that it begs to be read aloud. The poems were just the right length and the humor really popped when reading to the family. I especially enjoyed the poems that went back and forth between two characters because I would read one side, and my daughter would read the other.

The illustrations are great too, and add a lot to the humor. Not only do the they support the poems, but they are actually vital to some of them. I liked the banter back and forth between poet and illustrator too.

This is they type of collection that inspires me to sit down and write. The poems read so effortlessly that I think, Man, I want to write a collection of poems.  And then I sit down and try, and realize how hard it is to write something so good. But it still makes me want to keep trying! Chris Harris really is a great children't poet.

And now for the giveaway! 


All you have to do to enter to win a copy of I'm Just No Good at Rhyming is comment on this post below by Thursday, May 24th at 5:00pm EST. You can get a bonus entry if you share this post on social media too (just let me know where you shared it--facebook, twitter, etc--in your comment). The winner will be announced next Friday. Good luck! And be sure to check out all the other Poetry Friday posts too!


Friday, May 11, 2018

Poetry Friday - Student Postcard Project


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 Jama's Alphabet Soup to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello everyone! I am finally back from a longish break of blog posting. Do you ever just need to step back for a bit? Now I'm feeling refreshed and ready to get back into the swing of things! 

This week I am sharing a fantastic poetry postcard that I got from Emily B., who is in 5th grade. Thank you, Emily, for sharing your poetry talent, and thank you to Jone MacCulloch, the amazing media specialist at Silver Star Elementary, for organizing the postcard project. It was a real treat to open the mailbox and see the poem.


Zebra drinks
Crocodile chomps
Zebra gone
(c) Emily B.
5th grade

I love the imagery of the poem. I can totally see the crocodile sneaking up on the crocodile. And I love her artwork on the postcard. I especially like how she added the lion's shadow on the savanna. So great.

This week, the poetry round up is over at Jama's Alphabet Soup, so be sure to check it out. And make sure to stop back next week, because I'll be hosting the round up!

Friday, March 30, 2018

Poetry Friday - A Snowflake


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 Heidi Mordhorst's blog, My Juicy Little Universe, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Hello Poetry Friday Friends! We're in the tail end of spring break here. It has been a fun week of relaxing and sleeping in (a little--the toddler doesn't understand that concept yet).

I've been meaning to share a little poem my 8 year old daughter brought home, but I kept forgetting to ask her permission. She brought it home back in the middle of December so it has a sort of winter feel. I told her I'd let her know what everyone thinks, so be sure to leave her a little note in the comments if you have a second. 



A Snowflake
by Samantha Herzog

A Snowflake is a
Warm cuddle from my mom
In the cool morning



Friday, March 23, 2018

Poetry Friday - Golden Shovel


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 Laura Purdie Salas' blog, Writing the World for Kids, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 
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Happy Friday, everyone! The wonderful Laura Purdie Salas, who is hosting this week's round up, is one of the "elite 8" authletes still in the Madness! So be sure to check out her firefighter poem!

By way of announcement, I have revealed my theme for the April A-Z Blogging Challenge. This will be my first year and I've decided to collaborate with my eight-year-old daughter and write 26 flash fiction stories for kids. You can read more about my theme here.

For my poem today, I decided to give Michelle Barne's Ditty of the Month a go. This month, the challenge was to pull one line from one of the poems Michelle shared and create a golden shovel poem. You can read her post and selected poems here.

Your Time Is Up
-a Golden Shovel from the 13th line of Tyrone Bitting’s poem, Truth

Pack your bags. Go on, Leave!
What do you want? A gold star? An “A”? 
I’m tired of your games. They’re messed-up
Brain games toying with my mind
I’m done with your abuse. Vamoose. Am I clear?

 After trying my own hand at one, I can't imagine writing a whole book of golden shovels! That's exactly what Nikki Grimes did in her award winning poetry collection, One Last Word:Wisdom from the Harlem Renaissance. In it, her golden shovel poems are paired with and inspired by poets of the Harlem Renaissance. I can't wait to check it out.


Until another week, poetry friends!

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

TUMBLE AND BLUE by Cassie Beasley - Middle Grade Book Review

(Dial Books, August 2017)

At a Glance


Genre(s):

Magical Realism, Adventure


Age Range: 

Middle Grade

Plot:

"When the red moon rises over the heart of the Okefenokee swamp, legend says that the mysterious golden gator Munch will grant good luck to the poor soul foolish enough to face him.

But in 1817, when TWO fools reach him at the same time, the night’s fate is split. With disastrous consequences for both . . . and their descendants. Half of the descendants have great fates, and the other half have terrible ones.

Now, Tumble Wilson and Blue Montgomery are determined to fix their ancestors’ mistakes and banish the bad luck that’s followed them around for all of their lives. They’re going to face Munch the gator themselves, and they’re going to reclaim their destinies." (source: Goodreads)

Strengths:

  • Absolutely beautifully written
  • The pacing is excellent - no slow parts
  • The magical part of the magical realism was woven so expertly that everything felt natural
  • The two main characters felt real and distinct
  • Munch, the gator
  • The opening!
  • The ending!

Weaknesses

  • It was over too fast (because I couldn't put it down--not an actual story flaw)

Would I recommend this title:

100% yes! 

Full Review

Every few years, I come across a book that leaps into my list of favorite books. I will proclaim my love for these books to anyone who will listen. Tumble and Blue is that type of book. 

First, let me talk a bit about much I enjoyed the actual writing in this book. I found myself repeatedly grinning from ear to ear at the beautiful prose. Now, I'm not saying it was flowery or gushy or showy. It was just a joy to read because of how well it was crafted. I knew after the first chapter that I wanted to slow down a bit and really enjoy the book.

Cassie Beasley's pacing was great throughout. I never felt like the story got bogged down (pun intended.) She did an excellent job at giving the reader just enough information to move the story forward, but left parts a mystery to be discovered later. 

And I loved Tumble and Blue. Both of these characters were vivid and fleshed out. Their problems were real, heartbreaking problems that most kids could empathize with.  I  also enjoyed all entire Montgomery clan and their crazy mishaps. 

One of the best parts about Tumble and Blue is that the emphasis of the magical realism is really on the realism part. Beasley doesn't rely on the fantastical parts of the story to dazzle and wow the reader. Instead, she is able to make everyday life in rural Georgia jump of the page. 

Tumble and Blue  was truly a delight to read. 

Monday, March 19, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/19/2018

#IMWAYR


The weekly post where I recap some of the KidLit books I've been reading. Ocasionally, I'll also talk about 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 piles.

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Picture Books

They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel

This is an extremely clever and accessible way to teach children about different perspectives. And it is just all around fun. Definitely worth checking out!


Every Day Birds
written by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater
illustrated by Dylan Metrano

A wonderful read, this book introduces children to 20 common birds found in many places in the USA. The cutout paper illustrations are gorgeous and the back matter is excellent.


My Beautiful Birds
by Suzanne Del Rizzo

Suzanne Del Rizzo captures both the heartbreak and hope so many refugees carry. The mixed media illustrations are unique and help set this book apart. 


Rot: The Cutest in the World!
by Ben Clanton

I love it when a book is able to pull off a great unexpected ending. You know a twist is coming, but then it is executed in such a great and unexpected way. We all chuckled at this one and my 8yo daughter has reread it to her little brother multiple times.