Archive | March, 2012

12×12 Update – I’ve Failed… Wait, Maybe I Didn’t!

31 Mar

For those of you who don’t know, I am trying to do Julie Hedlund’s 12×12 Challenge. It is a challenge to write 12 picture book drafts in 12 months in 2012.  You can click on the 12×12 banner on the right side bar or the one above to learn more about it. I am trying to at least write two picture books over the year and last month I set my goal for this month at writing 5 pages about my story idea of a boy named Louie who lives in a magical bookstore. Here’s how I did….


I failed.

With everything I had going on in March (school projects, Tae-Kwon Do, PSSAs, Reading Olympics, blog, etc…) , I didn’t have time to work on the book. 😦

 BUT my Mom pointed out that one of my school projects was to write a picture book. We had to write a non-fiction ABC book about a topic we choose. I chose my topic about Abraham Lincoln. So, I actually wrote a 27-page picture book (26 letters, one cover page) in March! Here are two pages from my book (‘X’ and ‘W’) –

 I hope this counts….what do you think?

How are you doing in 12×12?

Note – Thank you Lynn Davidson for pointing out a typo on my ‘W’ page! **blushing** 


Perfect Picture Book Friday – Titanic: Disaster at Sea

30 Mar

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. I chose this book because April 12th, 2012 is the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic. I have heard a lot of things about the Titanic lately (probably because of the anniversary) and I thought other kids would be curious about it.


Titanic -Disaster at Sea

By Martin Jenkins

Illustrated by Brian Sanders

Published by Candlewick Press in 2012, originally published in 2008

31 pages -ages 8+

Theme/Topic – Titanic / History / non-fiction


Opening and Synopsis – “At nine o’clock in the evening on Thursday, April 18th 1912, in the middle of a tremendous thunderstorm,  an ocean liner pulled slowly into New York harbor and prepared to dock. The ship was the Carpathia, one of dozens that regularly plied to and fro across the North Atlantic. Normally her arrival would have attracted little attention among the hustle and bustle of the busy port. But this time it was different.”

 It was different because the Carpathia had the survivors of the Titanic aboard. This book goes back in time to when the Titanic was built and tells about the ship and how it was designed to be “unsinkable” and who designed and built it.  It also tells about the classes of passengers, the crew, the ship’s cargo and the layout of the ship. It describes in detail about the Titanic’s voyage from its launch on April 10th in Southhampton (Great Britain) to when the ship sank in an ice field in the Northern Atlantic Ocean. The book also described how the ship flooded and sank and the rush to get to the survivors.

Why I liked this book – This picture book is meant for a little older kids and I think it is a good book to tell kids about the Titanic especially because of the 100th anniversary of its sinking. The book has a lot of facts, diagrams and details (did you know the Titanic carried 40 tons of potatoes and 3,000 tea cups? 🙂 ). I really liked the illustrations, maps and diagrams, here’s an example-

There were also short biographies of people from different classes on the Titanic. They were of real people on the ship. I really liked how they mixed a lot of scientific information with the story of the Titanic, her passengers, crew and the people who tried to save them.


Activities and Resources –

For cool pictures and videos of the sunken Titanic visit Expedition Titanic !
The official website of the RMS Titanic is HERE.
National Geographic Kids has a bunch of cool Titanic information HERE.
 I also want to tell you about a Middle Grade book I reviewed “Titanic – Unsinkable” by Gordon Korman. I know it’s not a picture book, but if a kid liked the Titanic picture book, they may also like this series. It’s a great historical fiction series about the Titanic. See my review of book 1 HERE

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Flying the Dragon by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

29 Mar

Flying the Dragon

by Natalie Dias Lorenzi

Will be Published by Charlesbridge Publishing, Inc. on July 1, 2012

240 pages – ages 8-12

ebook reviewed

Skye’s family members from Japan is coming to live with her family in America (Virginia).  Skye doesn’t want her Aunt, Uncle, Grandfather and Cousin (Hiroshi) to come because she really doesn’t know them at all. We also find out that Hiroshi really doesn’t want to come to America to live either. Neither kid gets what they want. Skye and Hiroshi don’t understand each other and don’t really like each other. Both kids are feeling out-of-place. Over time the kids start to realize they have some things they like to do that are the same and that they both love their Grandfather very much. The death of their Grandfather bring Skye and Hiroshi together. They find that they can work as a team and compete in the rokkaku kite flying contest at the Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington DC and they both find they “fit in” at the contest.

I really enjoyed this book. The story is a very good one. I really liked the Grandfather character in the book (I wish he didn’t die). He was a very nice and wise man. I liked how I learned about the Japanese culture from this book and how different cultures act with each other.  I liked learning about how even though Skye was Japanese in heritage, she really never thought about herself being Japanese (because she lived in America) and then that part of her family came and she felt like she didn’t fit in.  The rokkaku kites also sound really cool too. It is definitely a book I would read again.

Five out of five bookworms for “Flying the Dragon”!

Flying the Dragon will be published on July 1st 2012 but you can learn more about Ms. Lorenzi by visiting her website HERE. There is also a facebook page for the book HERE.

You can also learn more about Ms. Lorenzi over at the Emu’s Debuts blog HERE.

Reading Olympics

27 Mar

I just got back from the Reading Olympics! The Montgomery County Intermediate Unit organizes the Reading Olympics every year. You can go to their website HERE.

Here is a summary of the event  from the website –

“The goal of the Reading Olympics is to increase students’ reading for enjoyment and increase reading skills.  Students collaborate with their teammates to read forty to fifty books that have been selected by a committee of librarians, reading specialists and classroom teachers.  These professionals read the books and write questions which teams of students answer during the competition.  The Olympics are primarily a celebration of reading rather than a contest.  All participants are awarded ribbons.  Since the teams generate much excitement about this event, the experience is rewarding for everyone involved.”

There were 16 school districts – 68 teams and over 7,000 students! That’s right OVER 7,000 students all there to celebrate READING!!

Each team competed against another team for 3 rounds and you scored points. Based on your point score you get a colored ribbon.

Blue Ribbon = 50 points and above

Red Ribbon = 40 –  49 points

Green Ribbon = 30 – 39 points

Yellow Ribbon = 29 points and below

Each team has up to 12 students. Our team was called the “Bedazzled Bookworms”! So you want to know how we did?!?

We scored 64 POINTS so we got blue ribbons! What is even cooler is that the record for the event was….wait for it….61 POINTS -so we broke the record!


Creative Kids – Abby is an Artist!

27 Mar

My classmate, Abigail, gave me these AWESOME drawings of dragons she made! I asked her if it was OK to post them on my blog! She said it was OK! 🙂 You may remember Abby as the winner of my Bad Kitty Creative Writing contest! I hope you like the dragons as much as I do!

If anyone is or knows a “creative kid”, please send in the drawings, poems, stories, guest book reviews, photography – anything, I’ll post it here.  You can contact/email me at !

Wish Abby and me luck! We’re on our school’s Reading Olympic Team! Our school is competing against other school’s teams today! Wish us luck in the tournament! 🙂

The Heart Shaped Tree – By Max Tell

26 Mar

The Heart Shaped Tree

By Max Tell (A.K.A. Robert Stelmach)

Music By Doug Banner

CD  – Audio Book with Bonus music tracks

MP3 of the Story Reviewed

Ages 4+

The people of the House of Argu hated the people of the House of Argy so much that they clucked their tongues at them when ever they saw they. Same thing for the people of the House of Argy, they hissed at the people of the House of Argu. Neither House EVER stepped foot on the land of the other. One day a boy from the house of Argu made friends with a girl from the house of Argy and they found a safe place to play near a heart shaped tree. The roots of the heart shaped tree joined the land of the House of Argu with the land of the House of Argy. The children didn’t see any difference between them and realized that their people had no right to be fighting. When the children’s parents find out they are playing with each other, their punishment does not turn out as the parents expected.

This is the first time I have reviewed an audio story. I think that Max Tell is a great story-teller. I liked how he mixed music, sound effects and story-telling in the recording. It is cool how the different voices come out of different speakers so it sounds like you are in the middle of the story. We have some other audio stories that we listen to in our car when we go on trips. It is nice when my family listens together to the stories. “The Heart Shaped Tree” is a great story too. I like how it shows that people really aren’t that different from each other. It has a really good message for kids.

I don’t feel right giving the story a bookworm rating because I only heard this story and the story is on a CD with some music too so I didn’t hear everything (so I can’t tell you what I think of the whole thing). I can tell you I liked the story enough that I asked my parents to get me the whole CD!

To learn more about Mr. Tell and his other CDs and work, please visit his website HERE. You can also see video clips and hear sample music from My. Tell on his website.

Quote of the Week, a Reading Challenge, and a Good Cause!

25 Mar

Today’s quote was sent to me by my Mom. She said it made her think of me 🙂

“I would sooner read a timetable or a catalog than nothing at all.”

W. Somerset Maugham (1874-1965) British novelist and playwright.

If you have a great quote about books or reading for my quote of the week please email it to me at !

Now – April Reading Challenge!

Miss Cindy A.K.A. Cookiejarprincess over at the Bookworms Read More Books blog blogged about an April reading challenge she found on the Crazy Challenge Connection message board on I’m too young to join the Challenge Group but I thought the challenge sounded fun and I am going to do it with Miss Cindy 🙂 ! The rules are –

Using the letters in the month of “April”, read a book that corresponds to each letter. You may use the first letter of the title, the first letter of the author’s first name, or the first letter of the author’s last name. As a bonus, read a book with “April” in the title, or a book with a main character named “April” (spelling does not have to be exact).

The challenge runs from April 1, 2012 through April 30, 2012.

Here is my list

A – “Annie and Me” by Sandi Hershenson

P – “Imagine Traveling to the Most Mysterious & Unusual Places!” by Praveeta

R – “Witch Sticker Ball” by R C Scott

I – “Instant Preplay” by Karl Fields

L – “Elliot Stone and the Mystery of the Summer Vacation Sea Monster” by L P Chase

Bonus – Don’t know yet 🙂

If you think it sounds fun you can check it out on Bookworms Read more Books HERE


Donna Martin over at On the Write Track is participating in the Children’s Festival of Reading in Knox County Tennessee. It looks like an awesome event and I wish I could be there!

Ms. Martin has a booth at the festival and … well… I’ll let Ms. Martin tell you what she’s up to – (copied from her blog)

I have been invited to have a booth where I am going to showcase any of my author friends who want to send me an autographed copy of their books or anything else they want to autograph…i.e. bookmarks, posters, pictures, etc. as giveaways.  This is my way of saying thanks for the friendship and support I have felt since becoming a part of this wonderful writing community.”

I think festivals like this is a great way to get kids reading! Check it out HERE to see how to help and tell people about your book!

Perfect Picture Book Friday – How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?

23 Mar

Susanna Leonard Hill has a feature on her blog called Perfect Picture Book Friday. It is a list of “perfect” picture books recommended by all sorts of people. My Mom actually got this book for my little sister. My mom got it because she really liked the pictures. She said they reminded her of books from when she was a kid. I chose this book for a Perfect Picture Book  because it teaches about where food came from and it is a nice non-fiction picture book for little kids. I also think it’s important to think about where our food comes from.

How Did That Get In My Lunchbox? The Story of Food

By – Chris Butterworth

Illustrated by – Lucia Gaggiotti

32 pages – ages 4+

Published by Candlewick on January 25, 2011

Theme/Topic – Food Production / Nutrition

Opening and Synopsis – “ONE of the best parts of the day is when you lift the lid off your lunchbox to see what’s inside. Your parents have packed it with lots of tasty things to eat. The probably got all the food from a grocery store – but food doesn’t grow in grocery stores! So where did it come from before it was in the store?”

Bread, tomatoes, cheese, you buy it from a store, but where does the store get it? That’s what this book tells us! It says things like how the bread on your sandwich is made, how those red, juicy tomatoes make it to your container, and how cheese is formed! From the farm to the processing plant to the delivery truck, this book explains where food really comes from!

Why I liked this book – “How Did That Get In My Lunchbox?” is a great book to teach kids about food in a really fun and easy to understand way! It’s nice to find non-fiction picture books that are fun to read. The book goes through the basics you need to make a healthy lunch (except for the chocolate chip cookie – but everyone needs a little “junk food” once in awhile). I agree with my Mom that the illustrations are awesome! Take a look!

This book was awarded the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture Book of the Year 2011 and was awarded NSTA (National Science Teachers Association)-CBC Outstanding Science Trade Books For Students K-12 2012.

Activities and Resources –

This is a neat video about the book from the American Farm Bureau –

Teachers can find educational guides, posters and activities related to this book and other agricultural things at the American Farm Bureau HERE.

The University of Illinois has a fun site that talks about how food gets to our stores from all over the world. There are games and activities there too. Click HERE to go to it.

I think parents could take  kids to a farm or have their kids cook something with them and talk about where all the ingredients come from.

To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog  HERE!

Phyllis Visits Philly!

21 Mar

Susanna Leonard Hill’s  Phantastic Phabulous Phyllis is on a WORLD TOUR! I recently reviewed Phyllis’ first book “Punxsutawney Phyllis” – read the review HERE, but now Phyllis is out seeing the world right before April Fools Day in honor of her second book, “April Fool Phyllis”! We got to be a stop on her world tour!!

We were very excited to see Phyllis pull up in her limo! In fact, a lot of people must have been very excited because a small crowd gathered to watch  Phyllis take her first step in my town (and her first bounding leaps into our house to escape the crowd)! When it was time to head to Philly, we had to sneak out the back door while people shouted “WE WANT PHYLLIS!!!!! GIVE US PHYLLIS!”  We jumped in the car and made our get away.

We had to buckle up Phyllis so something didn’t happen to this very special groundhog! When Phyllis heard what city we were going to, PHILADELPHIA, she wanted to see some historic sites!

During the car ride, Phyllis told us all about the travels she has had so far. You can read about Phyllis’ travels at Susanna Leonard Hills’ blog HERE. Phyllis also showed us she knew how to spell Saskatchewan (something she learned from her last stop with Beth Stilborn – check it out HERE).

Phyllis told us the weather would be cloudy in the morning but sunny by afternoon with a high of 71ºF. You know, she was right!

First stop: Independence Hall!  We got a photo together in front of it to remember the trip. Outside of Independence Hall, Phyllis rapidly started asking me questions.

Groundhog: Why is it called Independence Hall?

Human: The founding fathers of our country wrote the Declaration of Independence in it. That’s how it got its present name.

Groundhog: You mean it had more than one name?

Human: Yes. Before the founding fathers wrote the Declaration of Independence, it was called the Pennsylvania State House where the governor of Pennsylvania had important meetings.

Next Stop: The Liberty Bell! The Liberty Bell is real close to Independence Hall so we walked over. Phyllis was upset that you can’t actually ring the Liberty Bell. My mom said when she was a girl you could still touch the Liberty Bell, but they found that the oils from people’s (and groundhog’s) hands caused the metal to decay so they don’t let anyone touch it any more. Phyllis was still happy to see the crack!

Next Stop: Betsy Ross’ House! We then walked over to Betsy Ross’ house and guess who we ran into! You guessed it -The Easter Bunny! Phyllis was happy to see a fellow rodent. The Easter Bunny posed for a photo and we continued. Phyllis liked that Betsy Ross’ house still looks like it did in colonial times.

We even got to take a picture in Betsy Ross’ upholstery shoppe!

After Betsy Ross’ House we walked back to our car and stopped at the place where they uncovered the foundation of George Washington’s House, the ORIGINAL White House! Phyllis wanted to peek in so I held her up to see!

Then we ran into the Philly Phanatic … I mean the PHYLLIS Phanatic!

Then we headed for the…

Last Stop: The Franklin Institute!

Phyllis was amazed at how big and pale Benjamin Franklin was (I told her it was only a statue).

We had a quick lunch in the Franklin Food Works (Phyllis wanted a Philly soft pretzel). We then headed over to one of the BIGGEST and  OLDEST attractions at the Franklin Institute…THE GIANT HEART –  Josie was kind of scared of the big heart so she didn’t want to get a picture with it, but Phyllis was interested and wanted to walk through it and she convinced Josie to come too!

At the science museum, Phyllis was totally into it. We learned about electricity, exercise, magnets, flight, physics and …wait for it… WEATHER!!!

Phyllis was already running towards the weather display when we saw it. Phyllis helped Josie and I learn how to do a weather forecast. We were so proud to be working with a professional!

Phyllis said she had a lot of fun but she had to catch a plane to get to her next stop. We were all so happy to be part of Phyllis’ WORLD TOUR!

illustrations copyright Jeff Ebbeler
badge design by Donna Farrell


April Fool Phyllis!
By Susanna Leonard Hill
Illustrated by Jeffery Ebbeler
28 pages – ages 4+
Published by Holiday House on April 1, 2011

In “April Fool, Phyllis,” Phyllis predicts a blizzard will hit on April first, but no one believes her. Will she be able to convince her fellow groundhogs to cancel the Spring Treasure Hunt and stay inside where it is safe? Read the book to find out!

Phyllis is a great charater and I really liked the story in this book! I like how Phyllis believes in herself. The illustrations in the book are awesome too!

Five out of five book worms!

To see all of Phyllis’ adventures, please visit the Phyllis World Tour page HERE. To learn more about Ms. Hill and her other books, please visit her blog HERE and her website HERE.

Zig and Wikki in The Cow by Nadja Spiegelman

20 Mar

Nadja Spiegelman

Trade Loeffler (Illustrator)

Ages 7+

Hardcover: 40 pages

Publisher: Toon Books (April 1, 2010)

Zig and Wikki are back in an all new adventure! Zig’s pet fly (he brought a fly home from Earth on their last adventure) isn’t feeling really well. So, Zig convinces Wikki to come back to Earth to make the fly feel better in case it is homesick. They crash on Earth and Wikki lets the fly go without Zig’s permission. Zig sets out to find his fly but he and Wikki soon realize that their ship has been eaten by a cow and they need to get it back to get home!

The Zig and Wikki books have a comic-book format (because they’re comic books) and every now and then a fact box (Wikki’s information screen) will pop up. This is a hilarious way to teach kids about cows and how they eat, the ecosystem, dung beetles and what they do in the ecosystem, what flies do in the ecosystem, and how to get eaten by a cow (not recommended  😉 )! I WILL recommend this book to kids 7+, though! The illustrations and comic-book format make a book most kids will like and/or love! This is part of the Toon Books Easy-To-Read Comics series. It’s a reading program to try to get kids into reading! The books are divided into 3 reading levels (Zig and Wikki are a reading level three).

I reviewed Zig and Wikki’s first adventure (Something Ate My Homework) you can read it HERE. I like their second adventure even better because of the humor and I enjoyed learning about the ecosystem and how to be eaten by a cow (just kidding about that last one)! You can find the Toon Books Website HERE, please check it out. They also have lesson plans and other activities for kids and adults at the website. I also found a cool website called Professor Garfield where you can have Zig and Wikki and the other Toon Books read to you! Check out Professor Garfield too – HERE.

I give Zig and Wikki in The Cow 5 out of 5 book worms!

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