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Jen Robinson's Book Page - 5 new articles

 

 

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: #PictureBooks, #Reading Choice, #Audiobooks + More

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include: #BookLists, Disney World, diverse books, #GrowthMindset, #SummerReading, Book Awards, leveled readers, libraries, reading aloud, reading choice, schools, teaching, parenting. 

Awards + Book Lists

TheStorytellerNewbery/Caldecott 2017: The Summer Prediction Edition — @fuseeight  http://ow.ly/iSGV301scXy  #kidlit #PictureBooks

Like Jennifer Wharton, I'm skeptical about books on specific #parenting issues. But sometimes you need them. A list: http://ow.ly/vjOH301scs0 

#EasyReaders w/ #diverse characters: Expanding our #library collection (ages 5-8) http://ow.ly/bAta301zL34  @MaryAnnScheuer #BookList

Read Around Town: Books about Laundry + the Laundromat http://ow.ly/mR9W301nzdc  @mrskatiefitz #kidlit

Read Around Town: Books that Focus  on the Bus + Bus Drivers http://ow.ly/Cb8l301zKD2  @mrskatiefitz #BookList

A Truly Eclectic #PictureBook Round-Up from @RandomlyReading   http://ow.ly/zDuh301xjXP  @MollyIdle @gBrianKaras @RyanT_Higgins + more

Goofy Pets, Daring Detectives, and a Drama Queen| Chapter Books Series Update | http://ow.ly/eRwM301uJgm  @abbylibrarian @sljournal #kidlit

Ten More Great School Age Readalouds for K-4th http://ow.ly/IFwh301sddh  @abbylibrarian #BookList #kidlit

Level Up: New @literacious series Pairing Video Games w/ Children’s Books| This week: Sports Games http://ow.ly/Rded301zJS7  #kidlit

Diversity + Gender

20 Books Featuring #Diverse Characters to Inspire Connection and Empathy  http://ow.ly/uf8Q301syAe  @Kschwart @MindShiftKQED

On the importance of praising girls for hard work + intelligence, not appearance http://ow.ly/ZUeT301sanG  @Jonharper70bd @BAMRadioNetwork

Toy Companies Aim to Make Toys More Gender-Neutral  @AnneMarieChaker @WSJ https://t.co/qmSsE8ZcoM

 Literature that Deals w/ Human #Diversity: Helping to overcome fear of the 'other' (age, race, etc) http://ow.ly/f7B1301xl2I  @TrevorHCairney

Growing Bookworms

Read It Wrong: One Tip to Make #ReadingAloud Even More Fun from @everead  #GrowingBookworms http://ow.ly/arlH301oPzG 

On the dangers of using leveled books to constrain a child's reading @pernilleripp  http://ow.ly/Ac9b301nyuM  Levels can damage reading life

6 Awesome Tips for Reading Chapter Books with Preschoolers (inc. abandon it if it's not working) from @growingbbb https://t.co/ach80wSJQc

On choice: What will my kids read this summer? I'm pretending not to care @Danny_Heitman  http://ow.ly/gfiw301nxys  @csmonitor via @tashrow

Adventures in #Literacy Land: Six #SummerReading Tips to keep kids #reading http://ow.ly/Nc6Y301utAJ 

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

I agree with @literacious that marketing #Audiobooks at the Gym is a smart move on the part of @randomhouse http://ow.ly/4NlW301xpnB 

#PictureBook Bios I’d Like to See (Based Entirely on Hark, A Vagrant Comics) — @fuseeight http://ow.ly/AwC4301zMY0  #kidlit

Schools and Libraries

DisneyParadeHow to give any educational organization a @WaltDisneyWorld feel in 3 steps http://ow.ly/ekKw301xlgt  @TonySinanis #EdChat

A Small Fix in #Mindset Can Keep Students in School http://ow.ly/VPh1301oPHk  @AlisonGopnik @WSJ #GrowthMindset #teaching

6 Reasons to Visit the #Library This Summer | @denabooks  http://ow.ly/nHUW301nxTS  @ReadBrightly via @tashrow #SummerReading

Why "NO is an appropriate response (for preschoolers) to a choice...just as much as YES" http://ow.ly/MrvI301xjuH  @sxwiley #teaching

What’s in those pre-packaged leveled book boxes? We must seek quality classroom titles | Nicole Hewes @HornBook  http://ow.ly/xfo1301zLvX 

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

      

 

Can I Tell You a Secret? by Anna Kang & Christopher Weyant

Book: Can I Tell You a Secret?
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Pages: 40
Age Range: 3-6

CanITellYouASecretMonty the frog has an embarrassing secret, one that he wants to share with the reader in Can I Tell You a Secret? Despite the fact that he's, well, a frog, Monty is afraid of the water. He's spent his childhood forging doctor's notes, ducking raindrops, and avoiding the water in any way he can. He seeks the young reader's advice, and reluctantly, with some false starts, agrees to share his terrible secret with his parents. Who, of course, know already. Monty takes his new friend the reader along as he sets out to learn to swim.   

I loved Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant's earlier collaboration: You Are Not Small, which won the 2015 Geisel Award. Like that one, Can I Tell You a Secret? is a book that simply begs to be read aloud. Like this:

"I have a secret.

Can you keep a secret?
You sure?
Because I don't want anyone else to know.

Do you promise

I challenge any reader not to read that "promise" like a scared four-year-old. 

Weyant's deceptively simple illustrations are perfect, too. We go in for a close-up of Monty's face when he's talking intently to the reader. Any kid who has ever been scared of anything will relate to Monty's anxious expression, and to the sheepish grin he uses when he chicken's out on his confession. His dejected appearance when he confesses (in a tiny font that calls for a tiny read-aloud voice) "I'm afraid of the water" will make any reader ache for him. Just as his simple joy at the end of the book will leave all readers happy.

Can I Tell You a Secret is a delightful picture book, perfect for the three to six-year-old set. It is certainly one that libraries and preschools will want to stock. It should have near-universal appeal for younger kids and their parents. It has plenty of repetition, and would also work as an early reader for slightly older kids. Highly recommended all around!

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books (@HarperChildrens
Publication Date: May 31, 2016
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

      

 

My Plan for My Daughter's "Summer Learning"

My daughter finished Kindergarten last week. My goal has been to keep her summer as unstructured as possible. I want her to have downtime after her first year of elementary school. I want her to have the mental space to develop and nurture her own interests. I want her to have fun. Which is not to say that she won't be learning. She's six years old. She is a little sponge, soaking up opportunities for learning every day. Here are the things that I plan to do that I think will support my daughter's learning process without taking away her autonomy or joy of learning:

KnuffleBunny1. Keep piles of picture books on the kitchen table and by her bed. Rotate these every couple of days to give her choice. Keep the simple reading log that we've been using on the kitchen table, so that we can jot down books as we read them. Read to her while she eats breakfast, before bed, and during whatever other times she requests it throughout the day. Visit the library as needed to keep the piles of books fresh. We are still mostly reading these books to her, but whenever she decides that she wants to read a picture book or early reader aloud, we're happy to listen and help out. 

1stGradeWorkbook2. Keep a Grade 1 workbook on the kitchen table or the playroom desk, in case she wants to use it. She especially likes the Scholastic workbooks that I get from Costco. She has already asked me to get the Grade 2 workbook, for when she finishes. I am not requiring her to do the workbook at any time, and certainly not to finish it. But I find that if it is her own idea, and she has some downtime, she's happy to use the workbook to practice her writing and math. Last night she was practicing sentences while my husband and I were finishing dinner. I loved workbooks as a kid, and seeing her industrious work does make me smile.

3. Keep her afternoons as open as possible (vs. having structured activities). My daughter ended up deciding at the last minute to sign up for swim team. There is practice every morning, though she is only required to go three times a week. These practices do get her outside exercising and spending time with her friends. They've been staying to play together at the pool for longer than the 45 minute practice time, so I figure this is a reasonable compromise. She also has two 50-minute karate classes a week, but as previously discussed, the karate classes bring her great joy. She's also going to do one week of "spy camp" because I couldn't resist. But otherwise, her schedule during the week is clear.  

4. Accept playdates when they are offered, and offer them in return. As I write this, my daughter is at a friend's house picking fruit from the family's garden. Yesterday she and a couple of friends arranged among themselves a playdate after swim practice. I believe there was dancing involved, but I'm not sure. We don't live in neighborhood where she can just spontaneously play with kids who live nearby, but this felt like the next best thing. We are very fortunate to have friends we can do this with, particularly given that my daughter is an only child.  

ThingsToMake5. Make sure we have plenty of construction paper, colored pencils, markers, and scotch tape. Costco is pretty helpful here, too. Save empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls, as well as shoeboxes. I also bought her something called The Big Book of Things to Make as an end-of-school present. While I'm philosophically in favor of her designing her own projects, I figured that a flipping through some ideas couldn't hurt. I also provide blank journals for writing stories.

6. Let her spend limited amounts of time doing hour of code tutorials (with a parent) and dabbling in Minecraft on her Kindle Fire. I do find that screen time can be addictive for my daughter, and I try to keep it quite limited. But I think it's ok in moderation, particularly if she is focused on things that are creative in some way. I also need some time in which she is occupied so that I can exercise, particularly on weekends, when our childcare provider is not with us. I agreed to download Minecraft (pocket edition) because I figured it would be better to have her building things than watching shows. 

That's it. Books and craft supplies. Kids to play with. Relatively constructive apps for her screen time. But most of all TIME. I realize that this might not be the right set of summer attributes for all kids. But for my daughter, I think this plan will do the trick. 

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.  

 

 

      

 

Chicken in Space: Adam Lehrhaupt and Shahar Kober

Book: Chicken in Space
Author: Adam Lehrhaupt
Illustrator: Shahar Kober
Pages: 40
Age Range: 4-8

Chicken in Space is a new picture book about a chicken who is not like the other chickens. Zoey dreams of bigger things, and makes plans accordingly. Her specific dream in this story (one senses that there could be more) is to ravel to outer space. She has a loyal sidekick, a pie-obsessed pig named Sam, and she tries to enlist other animals to accompany she and Sam on their quest. But in the end, Zoey and Sam venture alone into the skies for a great adventure. 

The personalities of the animals come through clearly from Adam Lehrhaupt's dialog-heavy text, particularly for Zoey and Sam. Like this (0ver 3 pages):

"Clara," said Zoey, "come to space with us."

"You don't have a ship," said Clara. "You can't go to space without a ship."

"Not a problem!" said Zoey. "An opportunity!"

"Zoey always finds a way," said Sam.

"Look, Sam! I found a ship!" said Zoey.

"Of course you did," said Sam.  

Of course Shahar Kober's illustrations help to bring the characters to life, too. Zoey is priceless, with her aviator's hat. Sam wears a cute little hat, too, while an apparently timid mouse friend has round wire-rimmed glasses. Later page spreads use tilting perspectives and large colorful fonts to convey particularly dramatic moments. 

Chicken in Space celebrates the power of imagination and the importance of friendship, both in a humorous, kid-friendly way. There is just the right amount of goofiness (and balloons) to keep things fun. Kids will gobble it up, I think, and hope for Zoey and Sam to have other adventures. 

Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens
Publication Date: May 17, 2016
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

      

 

Literacy Milestone: Anticipating a Potential Sequel

LiteracyMilestoneAMy daughter has been aware for some time that books can have sequels. I'll often point this out. As in: "Hey, I heard that there's a sequel to Louise Loves Art coming out later this year. Isn't that cool?" But the other day was the first time that I'm aware of that she finished a book and anticipated that there should be a sequel forthcoming. 

We were reading Frankie Stein by Lola M. Schaefer and Kevan Atteberry, about a little boy who baffles his scary monster parents (Mr. and Mrs. Frank N. Stein) by turning out to be completely human-looking and rather cute. After the parents spend most of the book trying to make Frankie look and act more like them, Frankie ends up deciding to be his own cute=scary-to-monsters self. The book ends with the birth of Frankie's even cuter baby sister. As we closed the book, my daughter said "I can't WAIT for the sequel."

I gently pointed out that I didn't think that there was going to be a sequel to this title. [Though later research proved me wrong about this.] Her response was: "But there was a baby born at the end." I thought it marked progress in her development as a reader that she could recognize a situation that seemed likely to require a sequel. There are babies born at the end of Maple by Lori Nichols and One Special Day by Lola M. Schaefer and Jessica Meserve, and both of those books have sequels. So why not Frankie Stein? 

It turns out that the sequel, which actually was published several years ago, appears to be more about Frankie than about his sister, but I haven't read it yet. I did order it, though, to show my daughter that she was correct in her instincts. 

Katherine Sokolowski wrote recently on her blog about how her son is eagerly waiting for a third book in a favorite series that won't even be published until next summer. She said: "Thanks, Phil (Bildner), for making my kid love a book so much he wants to spend a summer day reading it - a year from now." Here I'll express my thanks to Lola M. Schaefer, and to the many other authors who I am sure will follow, who make my daughter say: "I can't WAIT for the sequel."

I think that eagerly awaiting books that haven't been published yet (or that we don't know have been published yet, anyway) is the hallmark of a true reader. 

© 2016 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

      

  

 

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