The more that you read, the more things you will know.
The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.
—Dr. Seuss

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Summer Reading Challenge

I found this wonderful list by Melissa and Doug for a summer reading challenge. Check it out!

Summer Reading Challenge for Kids – 2018 Edition
 How many books do you think you can read this summer? Set a goal and make a poster to track your progress! Invite a friend or family member to join you in creating a reading goal.
 Going on a trip? Find a book set in that location to read while you travel there!
 Curl up with a book in different spots inside and outside your home and rate each reading spot on a scale of one to five. At the end of the summer, review your ratings and decide which spot was your favorite place to read.
 Read or reread a book with a character you love. Now, think about what that character might do over the summer. Write down or draw a picture of what you’ve imagined.
 Read a book that takes place in nature, then go to your backyard or a park and study bugs up close, observe trees and flowers, and enjoy the wonders of the world!
 Ask a Librarian: If you don’t have a library card, ask your librarian how you can get one. Also ask about any library perks you might not know about, such as access to CDs, learning games, fun classes, and more.
 Build a fort — indoors with cardboard blocks or boxes, or outdoors with branches or a tent — then read a book inside it.
 Read a book about a sports hero, then challenge yourself physically by setting up an obstacle course! Use whatever you have available to create a series of exercises — weave through cones or chairs, jump rope, crawl through a tunnel, shoot balls into a hoop or basket — and take turns going through the course with your family or friends. Summer Reading Challenge for Kids – 2018 Edition
 Read a graphic novel or comic book, then use sidewalk chalk to write or draw your own story on pavement.
 Ask a Librarian: Visit your local library and ask, “What is your absolute favorite summer read?” Then check out the book they recommend!
  Learn about the planets and stars by reading a book, then look for constellations in the summer night sky.
 Read a book about kids growing up in a time before TVs, tablets, and smartphones. Brainstorm some of the ways they had screen-free fun with their families. Next time you think, “I’m bored!” give one of those ideas a try!
 Read a book that is written like a diary. Create a diary of your own by writing down some memories from your summer in a journal or old notebook.
 Dig into a book about how plants grow, then try planting a seed and tending to it.
 Next time you’re somewhere where other kids are reading too — on the beach, at the pool, on a plane, bus, or train — look at the covers of their books. Do any look interesting? Add them to your to-read list!
 Read a book with a camp setting. Draw or write about the kind of camp you would like to go to (in the real world or a fantasy world).
 Field trip! Visit a public library in another town — or a section of your local library you’ve never explored — and read a book while you are there.
 Read a cookbook where the author introduces each recipe with a story. Choose a recipe that sounds tasty and ask if it’s something you can make together at home.
 Read a book by flashlight, then have fun making shadow puppets.
 Ask a grown-up to help you do an Internet search to see if your favorite author has a website with an address for fan mail. Write the author an email or letter about why you enjoy their stories.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Mock Newbery Contest - The results are in

This was my second year doing a Mock Newbery Award contest with my students. We were all very excited to read many fabulous books from 2017. I compiled a list of 20 books that not only did I feel were worthy of the Newbery Award but also many other bloggers and librarians felt so too. So for the past three months my 4th-6th graders were busy reading books. To participate in the contest they had to read at least three books. Many students read more! Some even read all 20! Quite an amazing feat! And they were motivated to do so. I only read 18 books on the list. 

There was so much emotion around picking the top three winners that many students were very conflicted, as was I. Each book was special. The awards were announced yesterday. Unfortunately we were all disappointed with the results. This year turned out to be a very political year for the children’s book awards, and I guess I should not have been surprised. Four books were picked that we didn’t have on our list. And we were not the only ones shocked with the award choices. 

The Newbery is an award for middle grade books, up to 14 years old. But two of the winning books are YA, and one book a picture book, therefore the awards didn’t really cater to the 4-6th grade reading crowd. But some years are like this.

Regardless, I'm so proud of the participation this year. Almost all of 4th and 5th graders participated along with 10 students from 6th grade for a total of 57 MTS students. I couldn’t be more pleased! But most importantly, I feel that the students really did read some of the best of the best for 2017.

I hope they are not discouraged by the results this year and that they will continue to participate in our Mock Newbery next year.

Even though none of us won this year in choosing the right books, we all won in my eyes for reading some excellent literature and participating in the process. Thanks again! And Happy Reading!

Newbery Award Winner: Hello Universe

Told from four intertwining points of view—two boys and two girls—the novel celebrates bravery, being different, humor, and cross- generational relationships. (Grades 3-7)

Honor Books
Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut by Derrick Barnes- A high-spirited, engaging salute to the beautiful, raw, assured humanity of black boys and how they see themselves when they approve of their reflections in the mirror.
(Easy Fiction- picture book)

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds – A novel that takes place in sixty potent seconds—the time it takes a kid to decide whether or not he’s going to murder the guy who killed his brother. Written in verse on the subject of gun violence
(YA – 8th grade and above)

Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson– A timely piece and powerful story about a girl striving for success in a world that too often seems like it's trying to break her.
(YA – 6-8)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Scar Island by Dan Gemeinhart
Recommended for grades 4-7

Jonathan Grisby is the newest arrival at Slabhenge Reformatory School for Troubled Boys. We don't know what awful thing he has done, but we know it is bad. The school is on an island, an ancient crumbling fortress in the middle of the ocean. But because he has done something truly horrible he is willing to take his punishment, whatever that might be. After a few days as he gets use to his new surroundings and learns about the different boys on the island, something horrific happens and the boys are all left on their own on the island to fend for themselves. Are the boys actually in more danger now than they were before the accident? A gripping novel with much suspense, mystery and intrigue. Read how these troubled boys come together to help and learn how to live with their sins of their past before moving forward with their lives.

You won't want to put this book down!

****1/2 Stars

Wednesday, February 7, 2018


After a 2 year hiatus, I have come back to blogging about what I love most, books! 

Love by Matt de la Peña and Illustrated by Loren Long

This beautiful picture book is a celebration of love that will be enjoyed by readers of all ages. It shows love in very unexpected ways with small moments during our lives that help us to think about the feeling of love and recognize love within ourselves. It even brings about the question, what is love? Illustrator, Loren Long, has created realistic and diverse illustrations of people around the world with the use of color, texture and feeling. The illustrations show how we have small moments of love everyday in our lives with the good and the bad. This book will help develop resilience to push through the difficult times as well as understanding the moments of love within ourselves, with our friendships and within the world around us.

**** Stars

Friday, January 22, 2016

So Loud it Hurts

So Loud it Hurts 
By Elaheh Bos

Gus loves almost everything about birthdays, except for the Happy Birthday song.  Gus doesn’t like loud noises and becomes overwhelmed when there is too much going on around him. He suffers from sound sensitivity. Like many children, this type of sensitivity is hard to understand or control.

Gus continues to prepare for his own birthday party thinking about more of the things that he doesn’t want to deal with such as noise from the barking dog, balloons that might pop, children singing or talking loudly. He spends his entire day worrying about the loud noises that he will hear, wondering why other people aren’t bothered by sounds like him. Throughout the story Gus learns that maybe all people don’t get bothered by sounds like he does, but this makes him uniqiue. And being unique is very important.

The author has created a great teaching tool with this story with many wonderful discussions and tips in the back of the book to help children deal with this type of sensitivity. She includes a sound chart, a relaxation plan and tools with the help of a consulting psychologist, Stephanie Margolese, PhD.

Illustrations are a mixture of hand drawing and digitalization. They are bright and colorful pictures with expressive characters. The use of font sizes and color type conveys the play with words and expressions.

This story along with others from the 'plant love grow publishing company' creates books to help children understand, and implement strategies in dealing with sensitivity disorders. This also might include children that fall on the Autism Spectrum as well.

Other books to look for include: A Spot of Blue and The Tiger in My Chest

**Author, Elaheh Bos, has created a wonderful publishing company and website that teaches and encourages and most importantly creates tools and resources for parents, teachers, health professionals and children to guide, nurture, and inspire for change and growth. She deals with many different issues including anxiety, sound sensitivities, anger management, autism, sadness, fear, and many more. With bold digital and hand drawn illustrations, each of her books are unique in that they deal with different issues that speak or resonate to people

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Audrey Bunny

Audrey Bunny 
by Angie Smith, Illustrated by Breezy Brookshire

Audrey Bunny isn’t perfect. She has a little hole above her heart. She wants nothing more than to be loved. But is she unworthy of being loved with her hole? When Caroline enters her life and takes her home from the toy shop, Audrey falls in love. But then is conflicted because she is worried that she will lose Caroline’s love when Caroline notices that she isn’t flawless.

Audrey Bunny is a sweet love story that proves nobody is perfect. Written with religious undertones, this story can be read over and over again. Thanks to Angie Smith, the author, for creating a lovable character and story that will touch your heart. Most importantly the message that the author builds on is differences make us unique and special. While there is so much more to this story that can be found on Angie Smith’s website, it is how she created the story and her spiritual closeness with G-d that makes this a gem. You don’t have to be religious to enjoy the story and share it with others. It can be a great tool for discussion with children on many levels and Angie has also included activities in the back of the book to do as well.

This is a love story, of a different sort. Recommended for children ages 4-8. 

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

All Too Much for Oliver

A Must Read for all Highly Sensitive Children!

Oliver is a very quiet little boy. He is sensitive and likes to avoid places that are noisy or crowded, which is a lot of places. Oliver likes to be by himself, or he thinks he likes to be by himself because it makes him feel comfortable. What happens when Oliver decides to try something new? And maybe that might even involve making a new friend too.  How will that make him feel? Will Oliver discover that crowded and noisy places aren’t so bad after all?

This is a wonderful realistic story for a child who is highly sensitive. And what is a highly sensitive child? This is a type of person that has an innate trait of high sensory processing sensitivity.

To compliment the story, the illustrations are simple, done in soft pastel pencils and watercolors, which are calming to the senses. This sweet enduring story allows any child to have feelings of being overwhelmed in different situations and understanding that these feelings are common. It can also help build self-esteem in sensitive children and guide them to learn coping strategies.

I look forward to seeing more books for highly sensitive children by My Quiet Adventures!

Recommended for ages 4-6