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Jen Robinson's Book Page - 5 new articles



Happy Birthday, Dr. Seuss! Read Across America Day

Today, March 2nd, is Read Across America Day, a nationwide reading celebration hosted by the NEA that takes place on Dr. Seuss's birthday., organized by Random House Children's Books, has a variety of printable activities and other resources for parents and teachers. Here are a few links celebrating Read Across America Day that I've run across this morning:

All of this makes today a great day to celebrate the joy of reading in general, and the joy of reading Dr. Seuss books in particular. I sent my daughter to school in red and white stripes today, in honor of The Cat in the Hat. Her favorite Seuss title, though, is Wacky Wednesday. My husband's favorite is Fox in Socks. Personally, I am partial to To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street. How about you? What are your favorite Seussian titles? 

Happy Birthday, Mr. Geisel!

© 2015 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



#KidLitFaves: Recent Children's and YA Books that Bloggers Love: March 2

KidLitFavesLogoResizeAs I travel about the kidlitosphere, encountering reviews by other bloggers (people I trust, and generally have been following for some time), I take note of those reviews in which it is clear that the reviewer really, really likes the book. I share links to those reviews on Twitter (with hashtag #KidLitFaves) and Facebook and round them up here. Hopefully over time this will become a useful resource. I welcome your feedback! 

Picture Books and Board Books:

Amy Johnson at Sunlit Pages would "happily" read Cason Ellis' Home "again and again and again". She says:

"I've been trying to come up with why I like this book so much in spite of its not following the formula I traditionally like, and I think it comes down to this: it took something so basic and familiar but made me think about it in a new way."  

Jennifer Wharton from Jean Little Library is "completely in love with" a new series of board books, Carol Thompson's Whatever the Weather series from Child's Play. She says: 

"These are the perfect addition to your board book section; they would work well as read-alouds for a small lapsit storytime or one-on-one reading. The diverse cast is just one more bonus for these delightful books that toddlers are sure to love. Highly recommended."

Middle Grade:

Katie Fitzgerald from Story Time Secrets declares that Moonpenny Island by Tricia Springstubb "is already (her) pick for the 2016 Newbery Award." She adds:

"this one is a true masterpiece ... There are so many small, salient moments that are just perfectly described. Each word is chosen with such care, and the details are delivered with such precision that you almost miss how brilliant they are." 

At Wands and Worlds, Sheila Ruth reviews Smek for President by Adam Rex (sequel to The True Meaning of Smekday, of course). She says:

"Science fiction for kids is rare enough; truly funny middle-grade science fiction is even rarer... this is a perfect middle-grade book, and fans of The True Meaning of Smekday will love it. Anyone who hasn't readThe True Meaning of Smekday would be well served to read it first." 

At Sprout's Bookshelf, Mary Kinser raves about The Crossover by Kwame Alexander (winner of this year's Newbery Medal), saying: 

"tonight's pick is one that will appeal to both boys who love to read and those who don't, and to pretty much anyone who enjoys a well-told, fast-paced story."

Young Adult:

Jennifer Donovan from 5 Minutes for Books likes Girl Online by Zoe Sugg, a book with an "awkwardly lovable" main character. She says:

"I loved so much about this book. It was funny and sweet and magical with just the right amount of teen angst and drama, but it’s not completely lightweight chick lit for teens. Like so much wonderful YA lit does, it also touches on issues that are so real to many teenagers today such as cyber-bullying, anxiety and panic attacks." 

Kelly Jensen from Stacked calls No Parking at the End Times by Bryan Bliss "a knock out". She says: 

"This is a tightly-written, engaging read and would make for an excellent next read for those who love Sara Zarr, especially Once Was Lost. Pass this along, too, to those readers who loved Blake Nelson'sThe Prince of Venice Beach -- the depictions of homelessness are worth looking at together -- and/or Melissa Walker's Small Town Sinners." 

Tasha Saecker from Waking Brain Cells finds Prairie Fire by E. K. Johnston "superb". She says:

"A riveting read with a powerful ending that I am working hard not to spoil in the least. This novel is beautifully written, bravely done and purely epic. Appropriate for ages 14-17."

At Bookshelves of Doom, Leila Roy links to her Kirkus Review of Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli, saying: "OH MY GOD I LOVED IT SO MUCH". Her conclusion in the full review of this young adult romance is:


Closing Thoughts:

I'm a bit heavy on young adult titles this week, for some reason, but there are lots of titles that look personally interesting to me (especially The Crossover, which I really must read soon). I hope that those of you stopping by here will find titles that pique your interest. 

Two other notes about these review excerpts:

  1. If I have quoted from one of your reviews, and you prefer that I not do so in the future, just let me know. No worries.
  2. The book covers that I have included beside each blurb include my personal Amazon affiliate ID. If you don't want your reviews to be included in future because of this, just let me know. 

Please let me know what you think of this new feature!

© 2015 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).



Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 27

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include book awards, book lists, the Cybils Awards, diversity, growing bookworms, book-related events, publishing, ebooks, schools, and libraries. 


How cool! There's a new Mathical prize in children’s literature, focused on books involving math via @FuseEight

The 2014 Andre Norton Award Nominees for #YALit Science Fiction + Fantasy have been announced, says @SheilaRuth

Our own @MotherReader was incl in @mental_floss list of 23 Weird Awards for "weird ass pic. books" via Tanita Davis

Hollins University Launches Margaret Wise Brown Prize in Children’s Literature reports @CynLeitichSmith  #kidlit

Book Lists

26 Children's Books That Celebrate Black History by Mallory McInnis @buzzfeed via @PWKidsBookshelf

Happy Birthday, Mr. Grimm. List of some of Grimm's most famous tales, plus books based on them, from @semicolonblog

A Tuesday Ten from @TesseractViews | Crossworld Fantasy (characters start in real world + go to another) #kidlit

Another Tuesday Ten @TesseractViews | Off-world Adventure! | #kidlit taking place in space or on other planets 

Board Books for Toddlers (Not the Babyish Ones) from @growingbbb #BookList #kidlit

9 Fairy Tale Chapter Books for Kids (without princesses) from @momandkiddo #BookList #kidlit

List of Heroic Reads for kids (by age) for Supporting Collaborative Summer Library Programs @sljournal  #BookList


On the #Cybils blog: 2014 Winners: What’s Being Said, Part 2

The New #Cybils Featured Blogger is Greg Pincus @gregpincus from Gotta Book. Short interview by @Book_Nut here:

A nice thank you to #Cybils from our Featured Blogger @gregpincus

New #Cybils blog post: Now that the Awards are Over, here's how we'll be keeping up the blog. Stay tuned!

#BookList Fun on the #Cybils blog | Great Read Aloud #NonFiction titles, selected by Jennifer Wharton 

Diversity + Gender

Must-read from @haleshannon 4 teachers, librarians, parents, reviewers on boys being excluded from her school visits 

Sigh. 7th What UK Kids Are Reading Report finds hardly any books by female authors in most-read lists  @GuardianBooks

More upbeat: It's A Woman's Universe: The Ladies Of Science Fiction | Jessica Khoury @HuffingtonPost  @PWKidsBookshelf

Kid Lit Still Mostly White, but #Diversity Gaining Ground @sdiaz101 @sljournal

"I believe that genre fiction by women deserves the same treatment + respect as genre fiction by men" @JenniferWeiner

Mind the Gaps (in #library collection development) | Books for All Young Readers Vaunda Micheaux Nelson @HornBook 

Voices of Race: Youth #Library Programs to See and Celebrate #Diversity by @amyeileenk 

Events + Programs

CBW2015_posterGorgeous! The free @CBCBook Children's Book Week poster by Grace Lee is up at ! @disneyreads #CBW15

Also check out Raúl Colón's official @CBCBook Children's Book Week bookmark at ! @SimonKIDS #CBW15

Great new resource from @BookChook | A List of Book-Related Special Days for Kids, like "Read in the Bathtub Day"

RT @OliverJeffers I illustrated the cover of a book, co published by Amnesty International, that contains famous quotes… 

Growing Bookworms

"Reading aloud – I think it is the single most important thing you can do in your classroom" says @katsok #teaching

Classroom "read aloud ... builds a community" | @StaceyLoscalzo on Kate DiCamillo's Read Aloud PSA

#RaisingReaders Monday @kateywrites | "it’s important to show kids that we love to read" + reading is "cool"

How to Get Kids to Read More. "Build a culture of book loving": Beth Greenfield @YahooParenting #RaisingReaders

Family reading time is important to many older kids, too | Leanna Landsmann @Tennessean via @tashrow #RaisingReaders

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

A Brief History of Young Adult Books from @EpicReads via @PWKidsBookshelf #YALit

Much-Anticipated Sequels and the Latest from Avi, Suma, and Wein @sljournal #kidlit #yalit

The Spring 2015 Kids’ Indie Next List Preview | @ABABook via @bkshelvesofdoom #BookList

Are people really still asking? @GdnChildrensBks : Why are so many adults reading YA + teen fiction? @PWKidsBookshelf

Why digital natives prefer reading in print. Yes, you read that right @mikerosenwald @washingtonpost via @scclfriends

First Harper Lee then Dr. Seuss. Now: Scottish man finds lost Sherlock Holmes story in attic @NYDailyNews

Schools and Libraries

The Dos and Don'ts of Attending Library Story Time (Tips for Parents from Volunteer @momandkiddo ) 

Sigh! The Crackdown on Little Free Libraries @CityLab via @JoneMac53

Teacher with Tissues: Showing Students How Books Tug at Your Heart by @MrsSokolowski @NerdyBookClub

© 2015 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.



Literacy Milestone: Transcribing Her First Song (+ Keeping a Diary)

LiteracyMilestoneAMy daughter, who will be five in just over a month, loves to make up songs. She's been doing this for a few months now, dancing around the house singing about birds or spring or pizza or whatever happens to be on her mind. Sometimes it's actually hard to tell which are songs she's learning at school and which are songs she's made up (there seems to be some overlap). 

Today, for the first time, she came to me with her little Hello Kitty diary and a pink pen and asked me to transcribe the words of her newest song. There are two verses, with a refrain in the middle that goes "Oooh oooh oooh oooh." Once she saw how I wrote the first couple of "Ooohs" she took over that part from me, but I documented the rest. Then, she asked me to sing it back to her once, and she was off to her next activity. 

My husband and I have also been asked recently to add our own entries to said Hello Kitty diary (a Valentine gift from the $1 bin at Target). She mostly draws pictures so far. But I love that she has independently latched on to the idea of using this little diary to make her songs and ideas more permanent. I have a feeling that this will be the first of many songs and poems written in the first of many diaries. This particular diary we will doubtless keep forever. 

Did or do your children have diaries? 

© 2015 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



Bear Hug: Katharine McEwen

Book: Bear Hug
Author: Katharine McEwen
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3-7

Bear Hug by Katharine McEwen is a cozy, collage-illustrated book that uses a year in the life of a young bear to illustrate the seasons. The bear gets ready for winter and finds a companion. The two bears hibernate, and, in spring, emerge with a cub. The family spends time doing bear things during spring, summer, and fall, and then, once again, the bears start to get ready for winter. 

Bear Hug is a quiet tale that would make a soothing bedtime book. McEwen's prose is somewhat advanced, suitable for parents reading aloud to preschoolers. Like this:

"So just as Papa showed him,
he gathers leaves and bundles of bracken
to make a warm winter bed.

And just as Mama showed him,
he dives into the shivery river
to catch fat, silvery fish."

I like the use of "shivery" and the poetry of placing "silvery" in the next line. Bear Hug is something of a non-rhyming poem, a book that will stand up to repeated readings. 

But the real beauty of Bear Hug lies in McEwen's warm, cozy illustrations. The browns of the forest and the bears are everywhere in the book, off-set by the russet tones of fall, the white of winter, and the deep greens of summer. The bears are non-threatening for the youngest of readers, their affection for one another shown clearly throughout the story. The collage style makes the illustrations unique, and fills the pages with details. 

Bear Hug is aptly titled, a bear hug of a book. While the simple storyline may not work for older kids, Bear Hug is a lovely read-aloud for preschoolers. Recommended! 

Publisher: Templar Books (@Candlewick)
Publication Date: September 23, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher, sent for consideration for the Cybils awards

© 2015 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 and iBooks 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).