Saturday, May 2, 2015

Celebrate this Week-Special Olympics 2015

Every week, Ruth Ayres over at Discover. Play. Build. invites people to share celebrations from their week.  Please visit and consider linking up your own celebration. 

Thanks to Ruth for providing a platform for me to share my big and small celebrations. 

It has been quite some time since I have posted a celebration post, not because I have had nothing to celebrate, but just since life is racing at lightning speed. 

Today I celebrate the Special Olympics, more specifically my son, TJ's day at the Special Olympics. Once a year our family dons our "Team TJ" shirts and gathers to watch our boy participate in track and field events. No big deal right? Well, maybe not for a lot of families, but for us, the day is HUGE. TJ is nine and has moderate autism. He is not on sports teams or in clubs. He has even stopped participating in school concerts so this is literally the one day each year where we can watch him in any kind of performance.
The day is a celebration for individuals, school and families. Everyone cheers for each other and the atmosphere is loud and festive. These Olympians are rock stars! 
My heart swells as I watch him run, jump, throw and give high fives. To see the happiness and pride on his face is indescribable. Watching the way his sister, Molly, cheers for him and helps him throughout the day makes me well up with gratitude. 

I would also like to celebrate the many adult volunteers and coordinators that make this event possible. Thank you for giving our amazing children a chance to shine! 
Looking forward to next year!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-A Review of The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist


My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.


The Sky Painter: Louis Fuertes, Bird Artist
by Margarita Engle
Illustrated by Aliona Bereghici
Published April 28, 2015
Two Lions Publishing
Picture Book Biography
Poetry
Review copy provided by Blue Slip Media



Goodreads Summary
Louis loves to watch birds. He takes care of injured birds and studies how they look and how they move. His father wants him to become an engineer, but Louis dreams of being a bird artist. To achieve this dream, he must practice, practice, practice. He learns from the art of John James Audubon. But as Louis grows up, he begins to draw and paint living, flying birds in their natural habitats.
Louis Agassiz Fuertes (1874–1927) is now known as the father of modern bird art. He traveled with many scientific expeditions all over the world. His best-known works—paintings for habitat exhibits at the American Museum of Natural History in New York—are still beloved by visitors today. His art helped to encourage wildlife conservation, inspiring people to celebrate and protect the world of wings.

Poems by Newbery Honor–winning author Margarita Engle and illustrations by Aliona Bereghici capture the life of Louis Fuertes and the deep sense of wonder that he felt when he painted the sky.

My Thoughts
This book is simply gorgeous! Aliona Bereghici's water color and ink illustrations accompany Margarita Engle's poetic verse in the most beautiful way. Told in first person point of view, the verses chronicle Louis Fuertes' life as a bird-lover and artist. As a small boy he took care of animals in a makeshift "hospital" under the porch. He traveled the world studying and painting until he became one of the most important nature artists of our time. Each verse has its own feeling and voice. My favorites are the descriptive verses about the places he visited as an artist, Alaska, the Caribbean, and South America, depicting gorgeous native birds, scenery. 

I love how this book shows Fuertes' passion and dedication even as a young child. He practices and practices his drawing and painting to develop his craft. This is a valuable lesson for children who, often think that important and influential people are simply born that way. 

Children will love The Sky Painter for its illustrations, its poetry and for Fuertes' story. I would highly recommend it for grades 1-5. 

View the book trailer



See what others have to say about The Sky Painter by following the blog tour. 

Mon, Apr 20     Library Fanatic
Tues, Apr 21     Kid Lit Frenzy

Wed, Apr 22    Unleashing Readers

Thurs, Apr 23   5 Minutes for Books

Fri, Apr 24     Teach Mentor Texts

Sat, Apr 25     Booking Mama

Mon, Apr 27    Sharpread

Tues, Apr 28   The Children's Book Review

Wed, Apr 29   Cracking the Cover

Thurs, Apr 30   A Foodie Bibliophile in Wanderlust

Fri, May 1     Archimedes Notebook

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

A Review of Amelia's Middle School Graduation Yearbook by Marissa Moss

Amelia's Middle School Graduation Yearbook 
by Marissa Moss
Published April 28, 2015
Creston Books
Hardcover
80 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Amelia is excited to graduate from middle school, but she's nervous about starting high school, especially when she finds out she won't have her best friend, Carly, with her. In her graduation yearbook, drawings and "photos" nostalgically recap her earlier years and notebooks as Amelia figures out how to face the changes ahead.

My Thoughts
This is the final installment in the wildly popular Amelia's Notebook series. Like the others it is filled with Amelia's thoughts, hopes, and troubles. Amelia uses writing and drawing to discover her true feelings about situations and events. This notebook is called a "yearbook" because Amelia has used it to document middle school events, highs and lows. Rather than purchase a published yearbook, she saved the last few pages for classmate signatures. 

Amelia's problem in this story is the fact that she is finishing 8th grade and learns that her best friend Carly will be going to a private high school instead of starting high school with Amelia. This makes the end of year preparations even more bitter-sweet. I like how Amelia reacts to the Carly's news with anger. Although we adults would encourage children to react with happiness for your friend, Amelia's reaction is more typical of a middle school girl. She feels betrayed by her friend and is worried for herself. Then after lots of thinking (and drawing and writing), Amelia decides to make this end of the year celebration special for her friend. 

I LOVE Amelia. She is quirky, insecure, creative, emotional and funny. The notebooks are fun to read with adorable illustrations, and captions to accompany the story. The full color pages add to the appeal. Readers will love this latest (and seemingly last) Amelia's Notebook (yearbook). 

Monday, April 27, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? April 27, 2015

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.


Here are the books I read this week. Click on the covers to learn more about them.

Great message in this book. Review soon. 

Very fun read!
Visit on Tuesday for a review of the final 
book in the Amelia's Notebook series. 

Gorgeous book!
Will share more on Nonfiction Wednesday this week. 

A humorous way to see how a child can view 
the arrival of a new sibling. 
Review soon. 

Almost done listening to

Rereading (slowly)


What Are YOU Reading Friends?

Thursday, April 23, 2015

A Review of Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Roller Girl
by Victoria Jamieson
Published March 2015 by Dial Books
Graphic Novel
240 pages
Review copy obtained from public library

Goodreads Summary
For most of her twelve years, Astrid has done everything with her best friend Nicole. But after Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp, Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. And so begins the most difficult summer of Astrid's life as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp, hang on to the friend she feels slipping away, and cautiously embark on a new friendship. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout (and junior high!) draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school… in short, strong enough to be a roller girl.

My Thoughts
Confession time...I did not expect to love this book. I mean roller derby? But I was captivated by Astrid's story after just a few pages. After seeing a roller derby Astrid is hooked. Despite the fact that her best friend decides to attend dance camp instead of roller derby camp, Astrid goes to roller derby camp without her. It turns out to be MUCH harder than she thought. The other girls are bigger, stronger, and tougher. Astrid lies to her mother about Nicole attending the camp and dyes her hair blue in an attempt to toughen her look. After she has a fight with Nicole, who seems to have a new best friend, Astrid channels her anger into roller derby. She works harder than everyone. One thing I love about this book is that it does not have a shiny, unrealistic ending. Astrid is a character to admire for her courage, tenacity and all her faults. 

Middle Grade fans of Raina Telgemeier books will really enjoy Roller Girl.   

Monday, April 13, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading: April 13, 2015

Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.


Here are the books I read this week. Click on the covers to learn more about them.

It's not much but...

Really loved this graphic novel. Review later this week. 

Pages away from finishing...
and it is awesome!

Currently Listening

What are YOU reading friends? 

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday-Winter Bees & Other Poems of the Cold



My Friend Alyson Beecher at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts weekly link up to share Nonfiction Picture Books. Please visit her amazing website.


by Joyce Sidman and Rick Allen
Published 2014 by HMH Books for Young Readers
32 Pages
Review copy obtained from public library
Maine Student Book Award Nominee 2015-2016

This book combines poetry, beautiful illustrations and nonfiction text about how animals stay alive in the cold. I love the concept of this book. Living in Maine, I have often wondered how many animals survive through the long, frigid winters. Did you know that the entrances to a beaver lodge are all under the ice, but the lodge itself is above water level? And a fox has hearing so acute it can hear a vole moving under the snow! This book is filled with fascinating facts nestled within beautiful poetry and described in short exposition. 
I would highly recommend Winter Bees for grades 3-6.