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Jen Robinson's Book Page - 5 new articles



Literacy Milestone: Being Invested in How You Think a Book Should End

LiteracyMilestoneAMy daughter and I have been reading lots of picture books and early readers lately, as well as dabbling in a few chapter books. Today she had a reaction to a book that surprised me. We were reading Sam & Dave Dig A Hole, by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen (review to come), for her first time.

In this book (due out in two weeks), two brothers decide to dig a hole, and to keep digging until they find something "spectacular." The reader can see that they have a number of near-misses, in which they almost find large jewels. Their dog is aware that there is something nearby in each spot, but the boys are oblivious. At the end of the book something spectacular happens to the boys (and the dog), but (and this is a bit of a spoiler) they do not find any of the hidden jewels. 

We were reading this book before school, while I brushed my daughter's hair. As we reached the end, she curled in upon herself and slumped over. "What's wrong?" I asked. "You didn't like how the book ended?" She responded by flipping back several pages, to the first point at which the boys stop digging right above a large jewel. She just pointed, completely lost for words. "You wanted them to find one of the jewels?" I asked, and she just nodded. Then she got up and slumped out of the room, dejected to the extent that my husband asked her what was wrong. 

My reaction? I'm sorry that she didn't like the book. But I think it's kind of neat that she got so invested in the ending that she wanted from the book that she felt crushed when things didn't turn out that way. I think this is a milestone on the path to literacy: truly caring about what happens in the books that you read. 

Yes, my Baby Bookworm, books can break your heart. It hurts in the moment, but this is part of what makes them so special. 

© 2014 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




Aw, Nuts!: Rob McClurkan

Book: Aw, Nuts!
Author: Rob McClurkan
Pages: 32
Age Range: 3-7

Aw, Nuts! by Rob McClurkan is the tale of a squirrel's quest to capture the perfect acorn. Squirrel has been saving up acorns. When he spots "the most delicious-looking acorn he had ever seen", and then it bounces away, he is compelled to follow: on foot, by taxi, by dog, by pogo stick, by means of transportation mundane and ridiculous he follows the bouncing acorn. When the acorn finally settles, he finds a happy surprise. But can Squirrel quit while he's ahead, or will he end up racing around again, following the next acorn to catch his eye? Throughout all of Squirrel's adventures, young readers have the chance to repeat his (mainly) chagrined refrain: "Aw, nuts!"

I like the pure silliness of this book, as well as the transparency of Squirrel's moods, from "Aw, nuts!" to a hopeful "I have you now!". It's a predictable up and down format. Like this:

"Luckily, on the same corner was a pogo stick.

Not as lucky, Squirrel bounced right into a manhole. 

A truck was passing by. So Squirrel grabbed hold of it."

And so on. All peppered with Squirrel's comments. McClurkan's digital illustrations feature the big-eyed Squirrel dominating every page visually, against minimal backgrounds, with dashed lines showing the path of the errant acorn. A scene in which Squirrel ends up at a birthday party, getting hugged and petted by several giddy young girls, is particularly entertaining. In general, the images focus more on action than on detail. Aw, Nuts! is a quick, lively read, good for preschoolers. I think that it would make a fun book for a group storytime, especially in the fall. This is a cute one, and worth a look. 

Publisher: HarperCollins (@HarperChildrens
Publication Date: August 26, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2014 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).



Everything Goes: By Sea by Brian Biggs

Book: Everything Goes: By Sea
Author/Illustrator: Brian Biggs
Pages: 56
Age Range: 4-8

Everything Goes: By Sea is the latest picture book in this very fun series by Brian Biggs (following Everything Goes: By Land and Everything Goes: In the Air plus various board books and early readers). As in the previous two books, Everything Goes: By Sea follows a young boy and his parents as they head out on a trip. In this instance, the family is taking their distinctive purple car aboard a ferry, to travel to an island for summer vacation. Along the way, the boy asks lots of questions, and learns from his parents about various types of boats, what makes boats float, etc. Considerable information is conveyed about boats and other water conveyances, but Biggs maintains a light, humorous touch. 

For my four-year-old daughter, as for myself, it's the humor that makes these books work. This humor is conveyed mainly through Bigg's colorful, detailed illustrations, as well as comic-like text bubbles, which generally reward close study. For example, as the family sets off on a ferry, a woman asks the man beside her: "How long do you think the trip will take?". The man replies: "About fifty-six pages." OK, this one is more for the parents than for the kids.

When I asked my daughter what we should highlight as funny in the book, she immediately turned to a page showing a variety of quirky houseboats (including "country cabin boat" and "home sweet home boat"). One of the boats is populated by a frazzled mom and her escaping toddler quintuplets. These Houdini-like tots were also featured in Everything Goes: In the Air, and my daughter ADORES them. The mother is saying "Oh no, not again!", and I like how the author includes this nod to readers of the previous book. I also found the "outhouse boat" pretty funny, though my daughter didn't get that one at all. 

There's a seek-and-find aspect to Everything Goes: By Sea. This is not overt - there's no list of things to look for, but these detailed, annotated pages are perfect for poring over. This is not one of my favorite bedtime books, as it takes us forever to get through it. I think that the idea target audience would be kids who can read it for themselves, and take as much time as they like picking up on all the informative and humorous details. 

I hope that there will be other titles in this Everything Goes series. They are surefire hits in my house, and an excellent choice for libraries. 

Publisher: Balzer + Bray (@HarperChildrens
Publication Date: October 22, 2013
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 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



Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: September 26

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Note that links related to KidLitCon were shared yesterday. Today's link topics include book lists, the cybils awards, diversity, banned books week, growing bookworms, reading, publishing, schools, and libraries. 

Book Lists

10 Great New Picture Books for Younger Readers (published in Australia), selected by @TrevorHCairney

A Tuesday Ten: Challenged and Banned Books! | @TesseractViews #BookList

8 Banned Books Your Kids Should Read selected by @momandkiddo #kidlit #BookList

Books About Fire Trucks @growingbbb #BookList #kidlit

10 Perfect Read Alouds for Fourth Grade @PragmaticMom #BookList #kidlit

7 Excellent YA Sci-Fi Romance Series (all available in paperback) selected by @catagator @bookriot

The Stuff of Stars | New Picture Book Biographies | @sljournal #kidlit #nonfiction

Spine-Tingling Stories for Older Readers | @sljournal #kidlit #BookList


Cybils-Logo-2014-Round-SmPoetry Friday: Announcing the #CYBILS Poetry Panelists and Judges | @JoneMac53

On the #Cybils blog: Middle Grade Fiction – Category Description from category chair @MsYingling

On the #Cybils blog: Elementary/Middle Grade Speculative Fiction – Category Description from @charlotteslib #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Elementary/Middle Grade Non-fiction – Category Description from Jennifer Wharton

Library Chicken: #Cybils 2013 Middle Grade Speculative Fiction Finalists via @charlotteslib

Hooray for #Cybils Speculative Fiction (Middle Grade) from Round1 judge @semicolonblog #kidlit

At the #Cybils blog: Fiction Picture Books – Category Description from @MotherReader #kidlit

#Cybils Excitement! from @TesseractViews, newly appointed Round2 judge in MG Spec Fiction #kidlit

On the #Cybils blog: Book Apps – Category Description from @cppotter


Tanita Davis muses on eliminating the “only” (e.g. the one gay character) in writing #diversity

Enhancing Children’s ABCs and Vocabulary Through 9 "diverse and useful" Alphabet Books Sujei Lugo @LatinosInKidLit

We Need #Diverse Books Announces Incorporation as a Non-Profit & Inaugural Advisory Board @CynLeitichSmith

#Diversity 101: Gay in YA | Adam Silvera at CBC Diversity via @CynLeitichSmith @CBCBook

RT @tashrow James Dawson says ‘there are too many white faces’ in kids’ books #kidlit #diversity

An Informal Study by @malindalo | Do Book Challenges Suppress #Diversity? | Banned Books Week | @sljournal 

Events, Programs and Research (including Banned Books Week)

Some stats on children's #literacy in the UK from Save the Children (gap wide between boys and girls) via Jenny S.

Jill Leibowitz describes The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter exhibit @NYPL in @HornBook

Most-Dangerous-Man-Image-2-800Libraries champion our freedom! Helping our students understand their freedom to read from @MaryAnnScheuer

Banned Books By The Numbers (INFOGRAPHICS) @HuffPostBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf

He always makes me think | Is ALA's approach to Banned Books Week Cause to celebrate? asks Roger Sutton @HornBook

For Banned Books Week, the top ten most challenged books of 2013 @HornBook

For Banned Books Week 2014, some favorite quotes selected by @randomlyreading

Study Ties College Success to Students' Exposure to a High School Librarian @ShiftTheDigital

Growing Bookworms

I love this post from @mrskatiefitz | Early #Literacy in Everyday Places: The Elevator

Some good tips in: How to Raise a Reader by Sharlene Johnson in @ParentsMagazine via @librareanne

The "single most important activity ... required to eventual success in reading is reading aloud to kids" @sljournal

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Surprise! It’s Racist! Unwanted Children’s Book Surprises — @fuseeight #kidlit

‘What Does This Say?’ The Cursive Conundrum in Picture Books — @100scopenotes

Thoughts on: What is a Graphic Novel? from Alyssa @Everead

Schools and Libraries

Building Read Aloud Routine in a 3rd Grade Classroom by teacher @frankisibberson

The kid-friendly, kid-maintainable classroom library, how teacher Nicole Hewes maintains hers @HornBook

© 2014 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.



The Last Day to Register for KidLitCon is Tomorrow

KidlitCon2014_cubeTomorrow, Setpember 26th, is the last day to register for the 8th annual Kidlitosphere Conference (KidLitCon). KidLitCon is an annual gathering of people who blog about, and care about, children's and young adult books. We are teachers, librarians, parents, authors, publishers, and reviewers. We get together once a year, in person, because there's nothing that can replace being surrounded, in real space, by kindred spirits.

You can blog and tweet and Facebook all year round, but chances to share a cup of coffee or a glass of wine and have a face-to-face discussions about your passion for children's books are rare. Those discussions this year will focus on Blogging Diversity in Children's and Young Adult Literature

KidLitCon is being held in Sacramento this year, on October 10-11. Next year, KLC is scheduled to return to the East Coast, and then to the Central US the following year. Personally, I try to go every year. I missed only the one in New York two years ago. I know that there are others who, once they attend once, find that they are willing to travel for future KidLitCons, unable to resist the chance that it offers to recharge one's energy for blogging, while spending time with one-time virtual friends who have become real. 

Below are tweets that I've shared over the past week that will lead you to further details (registration, program, attendees lists, etc.). But the most important thing you need to know is that the deadline to register is tomorrow. I hope you'll join us. 

KidLitCon Links:

GottaBook: #Kidlitcon ! You! Go!!!! @gregpincus on why YOU should attend this year's KidLitCon 

Tanita Davis reports: #KIDLITCON: REGISTRATION EXTENDED! Hotel room block also extended (call hotel) 

TOMORROW is the last day to register for this year's #KidLitCon, Sacramento, CA, Oct. 10-11. Theme = #diversity 

Will you be joining #Cybils organizers and panelists at this year's #KidLitCon? A chance to talk books + #diversity 

These amazing bloggers + authors will be attending #KidLitCon in Sacramento, Oct 10-11. There's still time to sign up 

New updates to the Twitter list of #KidLitCon attendees. Doesn't this make you want to come? Register by FRIDAY! 

Have you seen the fabulous #KidLitCon Program, centered around blogging #diversity in children's literature? 

Wendie's Wanderings: Reasons Why You Should Attend #KidLitCon 

© 2014 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.