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. 

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. 

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


Magical Realism, Adventure

Age Range: 

Middle Grade


"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)


  • 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!


  • 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


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.


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.

2018 A to Z Challenge Theme Reveal

The April A to Z Challenge is only a few weeks away and I will be participating for the 1st time!

If you aren't familiar with the challenge, bloggers from all over the world will post 26 topics from A to Z throughout the month of April.

And today is the big Theme Reveal Day! Drumroll please!


#Kidlit Short Stories with A to Z Words Chosen by My 8-year-old Daughter

I am so excited to participate in this fun challenge. Most of the stories will probably be closer to flash fiction, but there may be a few that go longer. I can't wait to start sharing them with you, so please be sure to come back on April 1st!

Friday, March 16, 2018

Poetry Friday - Happy St. Patrick's Day

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 Linda's blog, TeacherDance, to see this week’s round up of wonderful poetry related posts, blogs and goodness. 

Happy Poetry Friday, everyone! Tomorrow is one of my favorite holidays--St. Patrick's Day. Maybe it's because St. Patrick's Day is close to my birthday, or maybe it's because I make mounds of fried cabbage (no one else likes it but me!). But really I think it's because I like to make little green foot prints around the toilet bowl and dye the water green. I always get a kick out of my daughter being indignant that a leprechaun used our bathroom.

To celebrate, I am sharing another Shel Silverstein poem, The Search. I just finished reading Where the Sidewalk Ends to the kids and I love how fun reading his poetry aloud can be.

(c) Shel Silverstein
Orginally published in Where the Sidewalk Ends

I also have a bit of good news! Two of my poems that I wrote back in October for my Poetry Inktober challenge are being published by Spaceports and Spidersilk magazine later this year. I am especially excited because this will by my first time being published. So hooray for that!

Also, Donna over at Mainely Write piqued my interest in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge that starts in a few week. I am really excited to do my theme reveal this coming Monday, so be sure to come back and see what I have planned.

Monday, March 12, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? - 3/12/18


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.

Madness! Poetry is going on right now. If you're looking for a way to get more poetry into the classroom, check this awesome competition out.

Picture Books

Best in Snow
by April Pulley Sayre

I loved this book. The photos are breathtaking and the text is beautiful. It is done so well that I feel like I can hear the tinkling sound the falling snow makes. Simply stunning.

What to Do With a Box
written by Jane Yolen
illustrated by Chris Sheban

Jane Yolen is a master at rhyme and rhythm. I love the playfulness of this story. My 16-month-old will climb into any box he can fit (and even some that he can't). The illustrations are wonderful and look like they were actually painted on cardboard. The textures in the illustrations are great. 


An Eyeball in My garden and Other Spine-Tingling Poems
selected and edited by Jennifer Cole Judd and Laura Wynkoop
illustrated by Johan Olander

I love anything spooky, so I obviously loved this collection of creepy poems. So often with anthologies, I find a few poems that I enjoy and then the rest are kind of just ho-hum. Not so with this collection. Was either genuinely creepy or funny-spooky. Perfect read aloud for the 7-10 age range (and beyond). The black and white illustrations also help to bring the poems to life.