Monday, November 30, 2015

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? November 30, 2015

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

It has been many weeks since I posted an IMWAYR post due to NCTE and the general craziness of school, home and coursework. Here are a few highlights. 
Click on the book titles to learn more about them. 

This would be a good mentor test for argument. K-4.

Really enjoyed this one. Matt Davies' illustrations are unmistakable. K-3. 

A thought-provoking little book. 

Sweet story about 5 friends, each waiting for something wonderful. 

A look at what the world looks like at night through a child's eyes. Beautiful!

My mind is still processing this creepy, yet enthralling story. Not sure it is for my 4th graders. 

Finished Listening to...
Beautifully narrated in this audio version. 

What Are YOU Reading Friends?

Saturday, November 28, 2015

NCTE '15 Highlights!

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. 

This year's NCTE convention was a whirlwind of activity as usual. 

I was thrilled to be able to have two of my colleagues, Anna Sedenka and Lynne Walsh with me. We had so much fun learning and talking together!

But I missed my friend Susan Dee who brought me to my first NCTE 3 years ago, so I decided to bring her along with me. Flat Susan met many new people and connected with old friends.

Pernille Ripp and Jillian Heisse

Gordon Korman

I had many fangirl moments meeting authors I admire. 
Linda Urban


Kwame Alexander

Sharon Draper

At The Nerdy gathering with Lynda Mullaly Hunt and Nikki Loftin

Ok, so I did not meet her, but I LOVE Kate DiCamillo! Hearing her speak was a huge thrill!

 Then there are MY nerds!! I love being able to call this group of passionate educators my friends! 
Melissa Guerette, Michele Knott, Jason Lewis, Lesley Burnap, Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Of course we had Flat Susan with us! (Photo bomber, David Smith).

One inspiring session featured Teri Lessene, Donalyn Miller, Kylene Beers and Bob Probst! I sat on the floor because all the seats in the HUGE auditorium were filled!

Check out this fabulous group of authors at the Nerdy Penguin Bash hosted by Donalyn Miller, John Shumacher (Mr. Schu), and Colby Sharp. 

Finally, presenting with my panel was such a dream come true. I admire and respect each one of these ladies tremendously. 
Me with Cynthia Lord, Lynda Mullaly Hunt, and Alyson Beecher

Weekends like this keep me inspired, motivated and ready to do what is best for my students. I can't wait until next year!

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland's Good Fortune by P.J. Lynch

The Boy Who Fell Off the Mayflower or John Howland's Good Fortune 
by P.J. Lynch
Published 2015
Candlewick Press
68 Pages

Goodreads Summary
At a young age, John Howland learned what it meant to take advantage of an opportunity. Leaving the docks of London on the Mayflower as an indentured servant to Pilgrim John Carver, John Howland little knew that he was embarking on the adventure of a lifetime. By his great good fortune, John survived falling overboard on the crossing of the Atlantic Ocean, and he earned his keep ashore by helping to scout a safe harbor and landing site for his bedraggled and ill shipmates. Would his luck continue to hold amid the dangers and adversity of the Pilgrims’ lives in New England? John Howland’s tale is masterfully told in his own voice, bringing an immediacy and young perspective to the oft-told Pilgrims’ story. P.J. Lynch captures this pivotal moment in American history in precise and exquisite detail, from the light on the froth of a breaking wave to the questioning voice of a teen in a new world.

My Thoughts
I have to say that the story of the voyage of the Mayflower has always intrigued me. This picture book provides a look into the voyage through the eyes of indentured slave, John Howland. Partway through the trip, Howland did indeed fall off the Mayflower. He was able to grab a trailing rope and was pulled up by some of the men on board. He also tells the story of the unpleasant first years in the New World including the disease, death and eventual arrival of Samoset and Squanto. The Boy Who Fell off the Mayflower also comes complete with a romantic interest for Howland in the strong-willed Lizzy Tilley who ultimately helps Howland decide if he should go back to England to seek his fortune after his master dies, or stay and build a life in the New World. 

I would recommend The Boy Who Fell Off The Mayflower for grades 3-5 as a read aloud and 4-6 as an independent read. There is quite a bit of new vocabulary that is defined in context. 

Listen to the author discuss this book and the story behind it. Really interesting! 

Take a look inside The Boy Who Fell off the Mayflower by P.J. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Spotlight Post and Giveaway-Treasure by S. Smith

  Treasure 2015 revert front only
by S. Smith 

It’s 2077. There’s no apocalypse, but some things are different. Things like the weather, the internet, and food. In twelve-year-old Clare’s world, blueberry is just a flavor and apples are found only in fairy tales. One day Clare meets Ana, who teaches her about seeds and real food, despite suspicions that such actions are illegal. When the authorities discover the children’s forbidden tomato plant and arrest their mother, Clare and her brother flee. Clare has heard of a place called "The Garden State," and with their bikes, a little money, and backpacks, the children begin a lonely cross-country journey that tests them both physically and spiritually. Will they succeed in their quest to find a place of food freedom? And can they, only children, help change the world?

Download your FREE copy of Treasure

Excerpt Clare walked faster, clutching the tiny packet to her chest. The sound of the footsteps behind kept pace. She darted down an alley she knew well—turning right, then left, then right again. Standing still, her back against the wall, she listened. The footsteps had not followed her; she had lost them. Twenty minutes later and safe in the apartment, she met with her co-conspirators: Dante, her seven-year-old brother, and Lily, her best friend. “I have something to show you, but you have to promise not to tell.” “We promise.” Holding out her closed fist, she whispered, “What I have here will change the world.” Dante’s eyes widened. “It’s so small.” “It may be small now,” she told him, “but what I have in my hand will get bigger. It will grow and make more.” “What is it?” Lily asked. “Is it magic?” asked Dante. She opened her hand.

add to goodreads

Praise for Seed Savers “I haven't been this in love with an individual young adult book since Lois Lowry's The Giver... 221 pages of exciting young adult goodness! I devoured it, and it was delicious." -Anakalian Whims Book Blog “Here's a great piece of "juvenile" literature that doesn't lose sight of one key fact: kids can think.”- Lit Prof, Amazon Reviewer “I highly recommend this book for tweens and teens who enjoy reading the dystopian genre and who are looking for a non-violent and thought-provoking story.” - Renee at Mother Daughter Book 

S Smith 
Author S. Smith S. Smith grew up on a farm with a tremendously large garden. She maintains that if you can’t taste the soil on a carrot, it’s not fresh enough. As an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher, Ms. Smith has enjoyed teaching students from around the world. Smith is a member ALLi (The Alliance of Independent Authors) and saves seeds for her local seed bank. She gardens and writes at her home in the beautiful and green Pacific Northwest where she lives with her husband, two children, and two cats.

$25 Blog Tour giveaway   
Blog Tour Giveaway $25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 12/4/15 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. 

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

No Yeti Yet by Mary Ann Fraser

No Yeti Yet 
by Mary Ann Fraser
Published 2015
Peter Pauper Press
30 pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodread Summary
When big brother decides that a snowy winter day is perfect for a yeti hunt, his little brother comes along, asking questions about the mysterious creatures all along the way.

My Thoughts
Have you ever read a book written in a question-answer format? Well you are in for a treat. Kid will LOVE this adorable book of two brothers going on a yeti hunt. The little brothers asks the older brother question the whole way such as, "How will I know if I hear a yeti?' and "Why would we want to find a yeti?". 
As the pair trudge through the snow, slide down hills and brave a blizzard they have no idea that the yeti is following them the entire way. I can imagine classroom of children listening to this book with giddy anticipation as they watch the yeti get closer and closer to the kids. 
The illustrations are fabulous and the yeti is more cute than scary (think Abominable Snowman from Rudolph). I would recommend No Yet Yet for children ages 3-7.  

Take a look at this sweet book trailer. 

See what others have to say about Mary Ann Fraser's No Yeti Yet
Publishers Weekly
Parenting Patch