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  • 12 Feb 2016 4:52 PM | Anonymous
  • 11 Feb 2016 1:19 PM | Anonymous

    Waking Beauty is great for giggles from both kids and adults, as is Falling For Rapunzel. Smitten is also adorable. Got any slurpy, mushy, swoony favorites you'd like to share in the spirit of Valentine's Day?

  • 27 Jan 2016 2:52 PM | Anonymous

    What an inspiring effort by these kids! If you have a few pennies jingling in your pocket...

  • 16 Dec 2015 11:04 AM | Anonymous

    From the PUBYAC listserv: 

    "I helped a mother yesterday with holiday books and wanted to share her fresh idea. She has two small children and for each night of December she checks out one Christmas picture book per child and wraps them individually. Each night her children get to open one book and read it that night. She said it's a lot of work wrapping the books, but it's a free way for her to have a special treat for them during the holidays. I thought it was a clever idea and could be used for any holiday or special occasion. The only danger might be a small child wondering why their 'gifts' are returned to the library!"

    How sweet is that?!? You still have a week to give this a try with your own little ones! Season's Readings!

  • 01 Dec 2015 2:08 PM | Anonymous

    What books are you buying for friends and family and yourself (of course!) this holiday season? I've started a list for little ones in my extended family, and it's growing pretty long. I purchased picture books new to the market last Christmas, but this year, I'm going for my favorite funny ones from story time: Veggies With Wedgies; Dirty Joe, the PirateWaking Beauty, etc., and I'm buying Bill Bryson's A Walk in the Woods for my dad. Below is an article listing Obama's purchases at an independent book seller on Small Business Saturday. Thumbs up for the Cynthia Voigt selections (my dog is named Dicey for the protagonist in the Tillerman Cycle) and Spinelli's Stargirl!

  • 21 Nov 2015 1:52 PM | Anonymous

    I'm honored to have had the opportunity to share what I hope was helpful information with conference attendees on Thursday. If you were unable to come to the session but are interested in suggested titles for rock star juvenile nonfiction, my handout is lucky #13 on the list!

    Happy Thanksgiving to all of you, for whom our state should indeed be most thankful, and I'll see you here on the blog again soon!


  • 12 Nov 2015 1:38 PM | Anonymous
    It's countdown time! Online registration for this year's conference -- Literacy: The App for Life -- closes at midnight tonight! If you are unable to make that deadline, you can still come to the conference; you'll just register onsite for one or both days - registration is open from 5:00-7:00 pm on Wednesday, 7:30-4:00 Thursday, and 7:30-10:00 Friday. There are so many worthwhile sessions from which to choose, and it's a great opportunity simply to network with your fellow literacy educators. I'll be presenting Rock Star Juvenile Nonfiction on Thursday from 11:15-12:15. Hope you see you there!

  • 05 Nov 2015 3:38 PM | Anonymous

    I'm sure this is familiar to those of you on Facebook, as it is being reposted by many a language arts educator. When I was teaching, our class schedule system included a "Fast Friday" component, which meant first through eighth periods were held for about 40-45 minutes each. I thought this schedule was so great because it was perfect for my beloved sustained silent reading activity. I took roll, some students pulled their current faves out of their backpacks, others borrowed from my classroom library, and we all settled in for at least 30 minutes of peaceful reading before I concluded the class with a quick (and often fruitless, lolol) reminder of the homework that was due the following Monday and Tuesday. What a fabulous way to end the week! SSR was the topic of the culminating project for my master's degree in teaching, and I was fiercely devoted to it. However, like the educators about whom I read in my graduate research, I, too, sometimes heard a nagging little voice in my head, whispering, "You're not teaching." I swatted it away and persisted. There's not a doubt in my mind that the classroom time devoted to SSR was worthwhile, and not just for the boost it gave my students intellectually. I think the silence and slowing to a stop was important in their chaotic lives emotionally and physically, as well.

  • 22 Oct 2015 9:00 AM | Anonymous

    The potential physical damage that overly heavy backpacks can do to students is a serious issue, but it's awfully hard not to smile at the photos that accompany this article. The kids are fresh-faced and adorable, and the contents of their backpacks will make the hearts of language arts teachers and librarians everywhere sing with joy. You'll immediately see why as you scroll through them.

  • 20 Oct 2015 2:45 PM | Anonymous

    I am the selector for the juvenile nonfiction collection at the Fayetteville Public Library, and over the last couple of years, there's been a noticeable uptick in the number of books published that, in my opinion, push the limits of what qualifies as nonfiction. I am just not comfortable stocking my shelves with the likes of a "narrative...laced with well-imagined characterizations and conversations." "Well-imagined"?!? Argh! Totally cringe-worthy. And totally headed to the fiction section. History is history is history. There appears to be a perceived need to embellish and even invent, and I'm trying to figure out why. I'm afraid it is a matter of pandering to a generation with the shortest attention span ever, a generation that has to be entertained while being informed, a generation that prefers bells and whistles and flags and alarms and flashing lights and the volume turned up to eleven. While older readers may be able to discern the difference between actually documented quotes and speculative ones based on available sources, younger readers cannot, and those "well-imagined" comments find their way into school reports and projects. But even if that can be turned into a teachable moment (and I'm not sure that's possible with the smallest of George Washingtons, reciting in costume the material they've found for their Presidents Day assembly in front of peer and parent, hidden behind the ubiquitous iPhone, recording the moment for Facebook), the idea is offensive just on principal. Creating conversation or inner thoughts or emotional responses, no matter how grounded they may be in reliable information, smacks of arrogance on the part of the author. Who are we, some 150 years later, to be putting words in the mouth of Harriet Tubman? Why would a life, already so powerful and compelling in its truth, need any conjectural enhancement?!? 


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