9/11 Through the Eyes of Kids Born in 2001

11 Sep

911

I was going to title this post, Remembering 9/11 but that would be wrong because 9/11 to me, is a history lesson. I was born in December of 2001, just three months after the horrible events that occurred fifteen years ago on 9/11. My generation will not remember it, but we can learn from it.

I was asked to participate in a round-table discussion on NPR’s Here & Now program last week. Myself and two other kids who were born in 2001 were asked to come on and talk about what we know and have learned from 9/11. It is part of a series Here & Now did, reflecting on 9/11 fifteen years later.

To hear the podcast of the round-table interview, click HERE. You can also access the other segments of the series on 9/11 there.

Although my generation will not remember 9/11, I can honestly say; we will not forget.

Perfect Picture Book Friday! How to Put Your Parents to Bed by Mylisa Larsen

9 Sep

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 I love a good bedtime book!

putparentstobedHow to Put Your Parents to Bed
Written by Mylisa Larsen
Illustrated by Babette Cole
32 pages – ages 5+

Published by Katherine Tegen Books on February 2, 2016

Theme/Topic- Making your own food/Eating healthy

Genre- Realistic Fiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “I know. You are not tired.

You could scale a tall tower.
You could sail savage seas.
You could paint a masterpiece.”

Publisher’s Synopsis: “No one likes going to bed. And you’re not even tired. You want to stay up and have all sorts of fun adventures! But take a look at your parents. They’re really tired. They’re exhausted. But they just won’t go to bed! Help them put down the cell phones, turn off the TV, stop cleaning the dishes, and go to bed! You might be small, but you can handle this task. Follow the instructions in this book and you’ll have them snoring in no time.”

What I Thought- This is a funny look at bedtimes, with a surprisingly accurate look at what parents would do. The book is a good bedtime story, and kids will love trying to put their parents to bed.

putparents2

The book makes it sound as if a kid (or  maybe the cat?) is really talking to you. The illustrations have a way of being realistic and really fun to look at. There are a lot of details, so I’m sure there are things you can find in the illustrations. Ms. Larsen has written a nice bedtime story that will make kids and parents giggle!

Activities and Resources- If you have trouble getting your kids to go to bed, Amomwithalessonplan.com has a nice article over HERE!

Here is a list of things you can do right before bedtime from Naturalparentsnetwork.com right HERE!

Check out the video trailer!

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

Release Day Book Review Blitz! The Dark Talent by Brandon Sanderson! GIVEAWAY!

6 Sep

Dark-Talent-Banner-788x90

Welcome to the Release Day Blitz of “The Dark Talent” by Brandon Sanderson!

The Dark Talent coverThe Dark Talent
Series: Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians #5 (#2#3, #4)
Written by Brandon Sanderson
Illustrations by Hayley Lazo
304 pages – ages 9+
Published by Starscape on September 6, 2016 (TODAY!)

Synopsis from the Publisher- “The Dark Talent is the fifth action-packed fantasy adventure in the Alcatraz vs. the Evil Librarians series for young readers by the #1 New York Times bestselling author Brandon Sanderson. This never-before-published, fast-paced, and funny novel is now available in a deluxe hardcover edition, illustrated by Hayley Lazo.

Alcatraz Smedry has successfully defeated the army of Evil Librarians and saved the kingdom of Mokia. Too bad he managed to break the Smedry Talents in the process. Even worse, his father is trying to enact a scheme that could ruin the world, and his friend, Bastille, is in a coma. To revive her, Alcatraz must infiltrate the Highbrary—known as The Library of Congress to Hushlanders—the seat of Evil Librarian power. Without his Talent to draw upon, can Alcatraz figure out a way to save Bastille and defeat the Evil Librarians once and for all?

“Like Lemony Snicket and superhero comics rolled into one.” –Publishers Weekly, starred review”

What I Thought- Wow. This book was great. And unexpected. There was a huge plot twist I wasn’t expecting at the end, honestly one of the biggest I’ve ever encountered. I won’t give it away, but I was really surprised. I will say that this book is extremely well-written, and doesn’t break the style of the rest of the series. Alcatraz and his family is still very wacky, and you still really enjoy reading about their adventures. Alcatraz continues to make fun of himself and almost everything as the book goes on, while also going on and on about how he is a coward. There is a nice resource section at the back of the book, for reading discussions. The book is a thrilling…conclusion…to the series…or is it?

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Author Image

Author Bio: BRANDON SANDERSON is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Rithmatist and Steelheart, both of which were selected for the American Library Association’s Teens’ Top Ten list. He’s also written many popular and award-winning books for adults. His middle grade series, Alcatraz vs the Evil Librarians, is now available in deluxe editions.
Visit his website HERE!

The giveaway!

There is a giveaway for a copy of “The Dark Talent” (Along with a really cool button-pin!) for one lucky winner in the US or Canada! You can enter if you live in another country, but just as long as you know someone willing to hold the package for you! We want to share the Talents book love with everybody!

OR you can just by the book HERE!

Review! Legend of the Forest Beast by Don M. Winn

3 Sep

sirkayeLegend of the Forest Beast

Series: Sir Kaye the Boy Knight #3 (#1, #2)

Written by Don M. Winn

Illustrated by Dave Allred

178 pages – ages 7+

Published by Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, LLC on July 8, 2016

Synopsis- Sir Kaye, the boy knight, is back on another adventure! He and his two friends, Reggie and Beau, were at the castle when it is found out that the royal tutor has gone missing! And recently a man was just escaped from prison who was put in there because of the tutor. Can this be foul play? But anyway, this is Kaye’s first adventure not involving the castle! It’s his chance to earn his knight name – like Sir Griswald the Patient or Sir Harry the Just! This is his big opportunity to prove that he’s a great knight!

What I Thought- This was a nice installation in the Sir Kaye series. Winn’s writing style is perfect for his young audience. Winn shows that Medieval times were harsh and not always as wonderful as we sometimes imagine. I like that the books have a way of not hiding the fact that death happens, but also keeping it appropriate for the younger readers. I like the character development in this book. Kaye and Reggie both grow as people in very different aspects. They mature as the story goes on and we learn more about who they are as a people. The book is a nice look into medieval life, while also teaching good morals such as honesty, trustworthiness, and many more. There are also really neat black-and-white illustrations throughout the book. I really enjoy this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! Let’s Play! by Herve Tullet

2 Sep

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 it is a fun, unique interactive book.

letsplayLet’s Play!
By Hervé Tullet
68 pages – ages 3+

Published by Chronicle Books on March 29, 2016

Theme/Topic- Interactive book

Genre- Nonfiction

Opening and Synopsis- Opening: “Hey there! I’m getting a little bored in here. Wanna play?”

Synopsis from publisher: “It’s only a yellow dot…but what a dot it is! Readers won’t be able to resist this jaunty, adventurous dot, nor its invitation to play along. Thus begins a spectacular ride of color, motion, shape, and imagination, filled with the artistry and delight that we know and love so well from Press Here and Mix It Up! But on this journey, prepare to leap headlong into a completely new dimension: emotion. Connecting not only to the mind but also to the heart, this dot expresses an extraordinary sense of humor, fear, joy, and more as it pushes, lurches, wiggles, and slides its way through—and even off!—the pages of this glorious companion to Press Here and Mix It Up!

What I Thought- I really like the creativity of Tullet. His imagination shows in this book! I think it is extremely fascinating how he orchestrates the story line. Tullet guides the reader – anticipating what he will do. The wording of the instructions for the “game” and the illustrations completely immerse the reader in the book. Which brings me to another point – the illustrations, although simple, are brilliantly done! They tactfully bring all the attention onto the yellow dot – even though there is more going on in them. Kids and parents will love interacting with and reading this book!

Activities and Resources- One thing I would suggest is creating an interactive book of your own! Think of what you can have your reader and character do together!

Check out this video where Tullet introduces us to Let’s play!

Down load an activity kit and a Common Core aligned teachers guise at Chronicle’s website HERE
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Review! Argos by Ralph Hardy

31 Aug

argosArgos: The Story of Odysseus as Told by His Loyal Dog

By Ralph Hardy

400 pages – ages 9+

Published by HarperCollins on May 31, 2016

Synopsis from Publisher- “For twenty years, the great hero Odysseus struggles to return to Ithaka. After ten years beneath the walls of Troy, he begins the long journey back home. He defeats monsters. He outsmarts the Cyclops. He battles the gods. He does whatever it takes to reunite with his family.

And what of that family—his devoted wife, Penelope; his young son, Telemachos; his dog, Argos? For those twenty years, they wait, unsure whether they will ever see Odysseus again. But Argos has found a way to track his master. Any animal who sets foot or wing on Ithaka brings him news of Odysseus’s voyage—and what a voyage it is!

These tales bring hope that one day his master will return. Meanwhile, Argos watches over his master’s family and protects them from the dangers that surround a throne without its king. This rousing story of devotion and determination is an original take on one of the most beloved myths of all time.”

What I Thought- This was a very unique idea for a retelling of the Odyssey – through the eyes of his faithful dog, who stayed on Ithaka. While at first, that may not sound like a great premise, it was turns out to be a very compelling story and an amazing read. I found it neat how the author told of the trials of Odysseus. Various animals visit the island and tell Argos of Odysseus’ travels. As the story goes on you become attached to Argos. Sadly you know he will die at the end. I did like is how the author handles it, thinking of a clever way to finish the book, as Argos does not witness his master’s revenge. It is a really good book, with a neat look into how a loyal dog would think. I thoroughly enjoyed the book.  Having said all the great stuff about the book, I think the writing is a bit difficult to catch the attention of the average middle grader – the book’s intended audience.  The story idea is excellent but the dense text makes it more appropriate for an older kid.

I give this book four out of five bookworms!fourbooks

My Latest Scholastic News Articles on the Little League World Series

31 Aug

KidsPressLogo

Hello blogosphere!

I wanted to let you know that my latest Scholastic News Kids Press Corps article(s) are out! I got to cover the Little League World Series (LLWS) in Williamsport, Pennsylvania. It was a fun ten-day tournament and a very exciting final game.

llws

I have one on the Kids Press Corps site about the “behind the scenes” at the LLWS – click HERE!

There is a video of some interviews I did – click HERE!

MuseumAtivity

And an article on the main Scholastic news site about the final game! Click HERE!

MidWestPlayers IMG_1623

Hope you enjoy them!

Review! The Great Shelby Holmes by Elizabeth Eulberg

30 Aug

shelbyThe Great Shelby Holmes

By Elizabeth Eulberg

256 pages – ages 9+

Will be published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on September 6, 2016

Synopsis from publisher- “Shelby Holmes is not your average sixth grader. She’s nine years old, barely four feet tall, and the best detective her Harlem neighborhood has ever seen-always using logic and a bit of pluck (which yes, some might call “bossiness”) to solve the toughest crimes.

When eleven-year-old John Watson moves downstairs, Shelby finds something that’s eluded her up till now: a friend. The easy-going John isn’t sure of what to make of Shelby, but he soon finds himself her most-trusted (read: only) partner in a dog-napping case that’ll take both their talents to crack.”

What I Thought- First off, I just want to say that I appreciate that the book parallels the Sherlock Holmes stories, while not mirroring them. It is more of a referencing, with obvious ones being the name of Shelby’s dog, Sir Arthur, after Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, the author of the Sherlock Holmes books, along with John Watson, and him wanting an alias name of Sherlock Holmes. But there are more subtle ones, such as the apartment building the two share is 221 Baker Street – the building the original Holmes and Watson shared. But then it is its own story. There is a good amount of intrigue, and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. Shelby is an interesting character, and you are always trying to figure her out. I really enjoyed this first book, and want to read another!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

Perfect Picture Book Friday! They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel

27 Aug

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 it is a unique story on perspective.

They All Saw a CatThey All Saw a Cat
By Brendan Wensel
44 pages – ages 5+

Published by Chronicle Books on August 30, 2016

Theme/Topic- Perspective

Genre- Realistic Fiction? Nonfiction?

Opening and Synopsis- Opening:The cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws…'”

Synopsis from publisher: “In this glorious celebration of observation, curiosity, and imagination, Brendan Wenzel shows us the many lives of one cat, and how perspective shapes what we see. When you see a cat, what do you see?

What I Thought- This is a really neat book. I like that when the others look at the cat, not only does it look different, but the illustrations reflect what is seen is an amazing way. Check out some interior pages –

image004 image005 image003

 

That was pretty cool! The story is a great way to teach kids about perspective and the way things are seen by different people. A great lesson of what you see is not what someone else may see! This is  Wenzel’s debut as both an author and illustrator, and it is great start. I am anxiously awaiting his next creation!

Activities and Resources- There is a great lesson plan about perspectives at Readwritethink.org HERE!

Teachingwithamountainview.com has a fabulous post on teaching point of view HERE!

Check out the book’s trailer –

Chronicle Books has an activity pack that goes with the book that you can download. Click HERE to get it!
To find more Perfect Picture Books please visit Susanna Hill’s blog HERE!

Review! Thornghost by Tone Almhjell

25 Aug

thornghostThornghost

By Tone Almhjell

368 pages – ages 9+

Published by Dial Books on August 16, 2016

Synopsis- Niklas Summerhill has had nightmares for as long as he can remember. His mother died when he was younger, and he vividly remembers her last word – “Thornghost”. He has no idea what it means. But that is pushed out of his mind when livestock are being slashed by a mysterious beast, who ends up being from the depths of Niklas’ imagination. Pair that with a lynx that can speak and a world full of children’s imagination, and you get a fantastic adventure!

What I Thought- This book was both dark and fun at the same time – a weird combo, I know, but it actually works out pretty well. There is a lot of introspection going on, as Niklas thinks about all that he thinks he knew. Almhjell’s writing style is subtle, but marvelous. As the book goes on, Secret, the lynx, is slowly becoming more and more like the upright animals in the dream world. But, instead of saying that,  Almhjell shows us that by never addressing the fact that it was happening – sure, she wrote that it would probably happen, but showed us by having the lynx do more and more things that the upright animals would do. It was really neat. Niklas really grows as a character as well, from the kid who is afraid and tries to hide it by acting brave and pulling pranks, into a thoughtful boy with actual courage. It was a nice touch. This book is more on the serious side, but it is really good.

I give this book five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

%d bloggers like this: