Sunday, September 24, 2017

My #TheEdCollabGathering Session: I'm White, So Now What?

I was honored to again participate in The Ed Collab Gathering this weekend. If you aren't already aware of it, it's one of the best, FREE, PD opportunities out there. Free, streamed online into the comfort of your own couch, and quality sessions that you'll want to listen in on.

And, the better part (if anything can be better than PD in your PJs!)? You aren't left with FOMO from your session choices because all the sessions are streamed live via Google Hangout, and then are available immediately afterwards as video playback!
I presented a session with my friend Teresa Bunner, one of my edu-mentors, around race and equity and our responsibilities to our students as white educators. Here's the link if you'd like to listen in and do some thinking around your journey related to bias, privilege, and equity: I'm White, So Now What? Making a Place for Conversations Around Race in Schools. We no longer have the luxury to not bring these conversations into our classrooms, and that work starts with us as teachers.

Videos from this Fall Gathering will be up until the Spring Gathering in April. So take some time to look at the session topics, and see if there are any that appeal to your needs for support or growth. It's well-worth 45 minutes.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Books You'll Want to Preorder for Fall

Just in time for back-to-school, these are books I read and loved...
and predict you'll be wanting to read and share with your students this fall. 
Go ahead and preorder them now!

Picture Books

Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson - Sept 5
Come With Me by Holly M. McGhee, illus by Pascal Lemaitre - Sept 5
Sarabella's Thinking Cap by Judy Schachner - Sept 5
Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow by Michelle Cuevas - Sept 12
Why Am I Me? by Paige Britt, illlus by Selina Alko & Sean Qualls - Sept 12
There's Nothing to Do! by Dev Petty, illus by Mike Boldt - Sept 19
It's Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk, illus by Edwardian Taylor - Sept 19
Rapunzel by Bethan Woollvin - Oct 1
After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again) by Dan Santat - Oct 3
That Is My Dream! by Langston Hughes, illus by Daniel Miyares - Oct 3
La La La: A Story of Hope by Kate DiCamillo, illus by Jaime Kim - Oct 3
Draw the Line by Kathryn Otoshi - Oct 10 (wordless)
Blue vs. Yellow by Tom Sullivan - Oct 10
A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider by Barbara Herkert, illus by Lauren Castillo - Oct 24
Hey Black Child by Useni Eugene Perkins, illus by Bryan Collier - Nov 14

Early Readers

King & Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse
by Dori Hillestad Butler, illus by Nancy Meyers - Sept 1
The Princess in Black and the Mysterious Playdate 
by Shannon Hale & Dean Hale, illus by LeUyen Pham - Sept 5
Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker by Shelley Johannes - Sept 19
That's My Book! and Other Stories by Salina Yoon - Sept 19
Charlie & Mouse & Grumpy by Laurel Snyder, illus by Emily Hughes - Oct 3
Elephant & Piggie Like Reading: It's Shoe Time! by Bryan Collier - Oct 24

Middle Grades

The First Rule of Punk by Celia C. Pérez - Aug 22
Patina (Track, book 2) by Jason Reynolds - Aug 29
All's Faire in Middle School by Victoria Jamieson - Sept 5
Swing It, Sunny by Jennifer L. Holm, illus by Matthew Holm - Sept 12
Wishtree by Katherine Applegate- Sept 26
And a bonus middle grade (since I apparently only read advanced copies of books with girl main characters) that is already out, but I only just read it: The Epic Fail of Arturo Zamora by Pablo Cartaya

Young Adult

Warcross by Marie Lu - Sept 12
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds - Oct 17
Dear Martin by Nic Stone - Oct 17

*When possible, please support independent bookstores or your local library.

Thursday, August 10, 2017

2017 #pb10for10 (Picture Book 10 for 10)

I always love participating in Cathy & Mandy's #pb10for10 event to celebrate picture books that are must haves for my classroom to share with students and seeing what picture books everyone else shares. These would all be fabulous #classroombookaday choices also! I inevitably end up with a longer wish list and shopping cart and a maxed out hold list at my library. So get ready, and then go check out other educators lists today! 

The thing is, I have such a hard time limiting things to just 10, so as you know if you've seen my posts before, I always get a bit creative with my numbering. And this year is even more special because I have a new job!
I'm transitioning from being out of the classroom as a literacy consultant into a new role as a K-5 school library media specialist.
I am beyond excited, especially to be back sharing books with kids again, and I approached this year's list a bit differently because I've been thinking so much about the picture books I'm eager to share with students once we get back to school, but I also know the books I might choose to read with my K-2 kids might be different from what I choose for my 3-5 kids.
So with all of that in mind, I'm sharing my 10 books for K-2 AND my 10 books for K-5, PLUS my 5 I'll for sure share with both grade level groups, so there's another 10 when shared twice (I told you it was creative counting this year!). I know Cathy will call me out on this (I know, I know, I make it my own, but I love the concept!), but that's ok, because it's more love for picture books, which is always a good thing! :)

You can see my previous year's #pb10for10 lists by clicking on the year:
  2016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Sunday, August 6, 2017

A Podcast Interview About #classroombookaday

I was honored to be invited to participate in a Books Between podcast by Corrina Allen last week. It was a great conversation on the start of #classroombookday, why it was so successful, and includes MANY book recommendations! I wasn't expecting the final version to be an hour, but it is, so make sure you have time if you're sitting down to listen.

You can find the podcast & a typed list of all of the book recommendations right here.
*Corrina also asked me about some non-picture books I've been reading and loving lately (and that starts around 55:00 on the recording).

Happy (listening &) reading!

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Books to Add to Your Summer TBR

If you're looking to add to your summer TBR stacks (and let's be honest, if you're reading this blog, you likely are), below are some ideas on where to start. These are some of my favorite recent reads I'd recommend for teachers to share with students.

Picture Books
Not Quite Narwhal by Jessie Sima
Flowers for Sarajevo by John McCutcheon, illus by Kristy Caldwell
When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson, illus by Julie Flett
Shark Lady by Jess Keating, illus by Marta Álvarez Miguéns
If Sharks Disappeared by Lily Williams
Claymates by Dev Petty, illus by Lauren Eldridge
That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares (wordless)
My Heart Fills With Happiness by Monique Gray Smith, illus by Julie Flett (board book)
My Beautiful Birds by Suzanne del Rizzo
Early Sunday Morning by Denene Millner, illus by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Life by Cynthia Rylant, illus by Brendan Wenzel
Blue Sky, White Stars by Sarvinder Naberhaus, illus by Kadir Nelson
My Kicks: A Sneaker Story! by Susan Verde, illus by Katie Kath
Out! by Arree Chung
A Perfect Day by Lane Smith
Beautiful by Stacy McAnulty, illus by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

Early Readers
Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan, illus by Marc Boutavant
King & Kayla series by Dori Hillestead Butler, illus by Nancy Meyers
Charlie & Mouse by Laurel Snyder
Fergus and Zeke by Kate Messner
My Kite is Stuck! and Other Stories by Salina Yoon (book #2)
Super Narwhal and Jelly Jolt by Ben Clanton (book #2 in the early graphic novel series)

Middle Grade
The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi
The Time Museum by Matthew Loux (graphic novel)
Last Day on Mars by Kevin Emerson
Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
Miles Morales by Jason Reynolds (out Aug 1)

Young Adult
In a Perfect World by Trish Doller
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - if there's anyone left who hasn't read it yet!
The Names They Gave Us by Emery Lord
Saints & Misfits by S.K. Ali
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue by Mackenzi Lee
Piecing Me Together by Renée Watson

*When possible, please support independent bookstores or your local library.

Monday, July 3, 2017

#classroombookaday is on Nerdy Book Club Today

I'm honored to be the guest poster over on the Nerdy Book Club blog today. 
I'm grateful for the opportunity to share the origin story of #classroombookaday & testimonials from some wonderful teachers who have seen the power of shared stories to positively impact their own classroom communities. I also started a #classroombookaday group on Facebook last week, so if you're participating and want to join our community, join us there.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Three YA Books You Need to Read

There are some books that strike harder than others. Some that leave a lasting impact that has you thinking about them days, weeks, months, years beyond when you finish reading them. Books that just won't let go. They haunt you, make you see things differently, affect your actions, push you to look around you and recognize the truth of what's happening. These three young adult books have done that for me. I keep talking about them because I want all teachers to read them. Though one is already available to buy, the other two don't publish until October, but they should definitely be on your radar. (And all three authors will be at ALA next week, so if you're going, you might want to make getting a copy of these books a priority.)

I had already read two of these books when I wrote my blog post in March, A Text Set to See Themselves In - Providing the Mirror or Window to get to the Sliding Door. At the time I said "I could too easily see my students in the pages of these stories, which makes them all the more impactful. These are the kinds of books our teens need to see in their classrooms, read, and discuss." Well, I can now say for certain, all three of these are powerful books that need to be in teens' hands as quickly and as often as we can get them there. I feel a sense of urgency about telling teachers to buy and share these books because I know exactly which former students of mine would have been changed for the better by reading these stories. Lives would have been affected by seeing themselves and their lives and their neighborhoods in these books. That's a powerful thing to hand to an adolescent.

Please, buy/get The Hate U Give, Long Way Down, and Dear Martin. Read them. And then make sure the teens in your life do also. I promise you will not be sorry, and you will not walk away from any of these books the same you walked into them. They represent the power of story to change, validate, and affect the lives of the children in our society to make a better future for themselves, their neighborhoods, and all of us. My thoughts on each are below.

Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
240 pages
67 seconds
7 floors
6 visitors
Each with a piece
of the story
not known
until now.
Will grieving
his brother
with a
and a
thinking he knows
what he has to do
The Rules
to do
to be
and what
comes next.

Jason Reynolds is masterful in the way he can use such sparse language in these free verse poems for such a powerful and emotional impact. I'm going to be talking about and sharing this book for a very long time.

Jason's skill at putting words together that grab your heart and head, bringing you into the lives of his characters, kids just trying their best to do what's right and live the way they've been taught, astounds me. Long Way Down is no different. This book is going to have an impact. The type of impact that makes you question what you thought you knew and how life can be. This is a must-read and must-share in classrooms (7th & up), especially in those rooms where you have teens who are living Will's life with the rules he's been taught to life by.

I can't wait to get my hands on a finished copy, to reread, sit with his words and turns of phrase, and find the spots that bear repeating to kids in our classrooms. I can picture the faces in my head of the former students I wish were still in my classroom so I could put this book right into their hands.

Dear Martin by Nic Stone
A powerful debut that grabs the reader from the start and doesn't let go. You will ache from the injustice Justyce faces as he navigates a world that sees him primarily for the color of his skin, and secondarily for everything else beneath it. 

Another teen having to navigate a complicated world more messed up than he deserves. His story will strike a chord with the teens you know who look like Justyce and will seem themselves in his story, those who have friends who look like Justyce and want to better understand their stories, and, perhaps most importantly, those who judge and avoid teens who look like Justyce because just maybe it will give them a reason to think again. 

An important book to add to the conversation about police brutality and race relations in America and how it impacts the lives of black teen boys. Pair this with All American Boys & The Hate U Give, and open up conversations with teens, and adults, in your life.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
Powerful. Important. Impactful. When people talk about window & mirror books, this is what they're talking about, with the potential to be that sliding door for many. 

Starr's voice is fantastic, and feels oh so real. For a debut book, this is a standout. It is written so well, and draws you into the story and makes you want to be a part of it. We care about these characters and their lives and the outcome. 

This book, and Starr's insights made me feel like I could know my students' lives better. A must-read for 8th & up, and a book that needs to be shared with students. Pair with All American Boys for an effective pairing to start conversation.
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