Carrying sticks in their mouths? Begging for food? Who could be responsible for such silly shenanigans except everybody's favorite baby-sitter, Carl, who takes a group of neighborhood children on a lively game of Follow the Leader. Readers will want to follow Carl's exploits through town and country again and again, and Alexandra Day's lush autumnal landscapes are the perfect setting for the funny goings-on in the game.
As the illustrations quickly reveal, Crab has become a fast friend, Fox and Hen have an empty refrigerator, and Hen has laid an egg. As to the fate of her egg, that will take a little longer to reveal itself. And here again, the chase is on, but this time it's Hen who is in pursuit! W FR - Picture Book. When he falls asleep with a book in his arms, a young boy dreams an amazing dream-about dragons, about castles, and about an unchartered, faraway land. And you can come along. Following the re-release of the first three books in this beloved series, here are the final three classic wordless tales in attractive, low-priced hardcover editions.
A Boy, a Dog, and a Frog, the first book in this series, launched Mercer Mayer's distinguished career over twenty-five years ago, and also helped to create the wordless picture book genre. Full of warmhearted mischief and play, the books express the humorous trials and tribulations of friendship and the joy of summertime discovery. Readers will want to collect the entire set. D GP - Picture Book. This is a tale of timeless appeal--the original "Carl" book. Its pictures are so vivid and alive that hardly a word is needed to tell the story. An infant is left in the care of a dog while Mother is out.
The two get into all sorts of mischief, but trusty Carl puts everything in order in time for Mother's return. Full color. But mischievous Gorilla isn't quite ready to go to sleep. He'd rather follow the zookeeper on his rounds and let all of the other animals out of their cages. Little night owls can sneak along with Gorilla and see who gets the last laugh in this riotous goodnight romp. Practically wordless yet full of expressive art and hilarious, adorable detail, this book from Caldecott Medal winning author Peggy Rathmann is sure to become a beloved part of children's own bedtime rituals.
The Grey Lady loves strawberries. But so does the Strawberry Snatcher, and unfortunately for the Grey Lady he is not far away and getting closer all the time.
The Howell Book of Dogs by SAYAMRAT HUADCHALEON - Issuu
Past flower shops and bakeries he stalks her, silently, steadily, biding his time. He pursues her by foot along haunting red-brick paths, and then by skateboard into the mysterious depths of a swamp both beautiful and terrifying. Closer and closer he gets, and yet the Grey Lady escapes him, in fantastic and marvelously improbable ways, until, in the heart of the forest the Strawberry Snatcher discovers instead -- blackberries! In this wordless allegory, author-illustrator Molly Bang has created a visual feast full of surprise and wonder. Her lively tale skillfully blends fantasy, suspense, and humor, and the magnificent illustrations are a treat for young and old alike.
B HL - Picture Book. A family. A house. A neighborhood. A place to play. A place to feel safe. Little by little, baby Tracy grows. She and her neighbors begin to rescue their street. Together, children and adults plant grass and trees and bushes in the empty spaces. They paint murals over old graffiti. They stop the cars. Everything begins to blossom. In Jeannie Baker's striking, natural collages, an urban community reclaims its land. A drab city street becomes a living, thriving neighborhood -- a place to call home.
D HU - Picture Book. In this wordless picture book, a hunter's efforts are thwarted by the animals of the forest. G47 Iap - Picture BookI See You is a wordless picture book that depicts a homeless woman who is unseen by everyone around her - except for a little boy. Over the course of a year, the boy is witness to all that she endures.
Ultimately, in a gesture of compassion, the boy acknowledges her through an exchange in which he sees her and she experiences being seen. A Caldecott Honor Book Follow a girl on an elaborate flight of fancy in a wondrously illustrated, wordless picture book about self-determination -- and unexpected friendship. A lonely girl draws a magic door on her bedroom wall and through it escapes into a world where wonder, adventure, and danger abound.
Red marker in hand, she creates a boat, a balloon, and a flying carpet that carry her on a spectacular journey toward an uncertain destiny. When she is captured by a sinister emperor, only an act of tremendous courage and kindness can set her free. Can it also lead her home and to her heart's desire?
D Lab x - Picture Book. A little girl stands alone and sings, but hears no response. Gathering her courage and her curiosity, she skips farther out into the world, singing away to the trees and the pond and the reeds -- but no song comes back to her. A little girl doesn't like her dinner and is sent to her room. She seeks comfort from her friend Bear and falls asleep. So begins a fantastic dream voyage deep into the forest, where the girl and her friend dance and play all night. And in the morning, mother and child make up. With brilliant linocut illustrations and not a single word to break the spell, this picture book marks an impressive American debut for Hyewon Yum.
L Li - Call Number. It starts with a line. Whether made by the tip of a pencil or the blade of a skate, the magic starts there. P LI - Picture Book. In award-winning artist Jerry Pinkney's wordless adaptation of one of Aesop's most beloved fables, an unlikely pair learn that no act of kindness is ever wasted. After a ferocious lion spares a cowering mouse that he'd planned to eat, the mouse later comes to his rescue, freeing him from a poacher's trap. With vivid depictions of the landscape of the African Serengeti and expressively-drawn characters, Pinkney makes this a truly special retelling, and his stunning pictures speak volumes.
G Li - Picture Book.
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When a young girl brings her beloved stuffed fox to the playground, much to her astonishment, a real fox takes off with it! The girl chases the fox into the woods with her friend, the boy, following close behind, but soon the two children lose track of the fox. D4 M35 x - Picture Book. But sometimes you might feel a sadness so long and so deep and dark that it seems impossible to find happiness. That kind of sadness is called depression. Meh is a story of one boy's journey through depression. Here the Bear returns as a soldier whose daydreams are interrupted by Shakespeare's fairy, Puck - the Boy in the previous book.
Soon Bear finds himself hurtled into an enchanted world replete with treacherous doings, sinister plots and, of course, palace dungeons. Is Bear truly a swashbuckler? Will he ever escape? L MO - Picture Book. When Cow gets her hooves on the farmer's car, she takes it for a wild ride through the country. But a bump in the road brings this joy ride to a troublesome end. Has Cow learned her lesson about living life in the fast lane? Pairing two talented creators who managed to tell a complete story with just one word: MOO!
This imaginative picture book will have readers laughing one moment and on the edge of their seats the next, as it captures the highs and lows of a mischievous cow's very exciting day. Museums: filled with mysterious, magical art and curiosities? Or secrets? And what might happen if a boy suddenly became part of one of the mind-bending exhibits? G9 On - Picture Book. A little girl--lost and alone--follows a mysterious stag deep into the woods, and, like Alice down the rabbit hole, she finds herself in a strange and wondrous world.
How will she get back there? In this magnificently illustrated--and wordless--masterpiece, debut artist Guojing brilliantly captures the rich and deeply-felt emotional life of a child, filled with loneliness and longing as well as love and joy. G OO - Picture Book. One morning, while a pig family was sitting down to breakfast, a little milk spills to the floor.
That shouldn't be any problem at all!
Representing the Modern Animal in Culture
And it wouldn't, except that the milk seeps through a crack in the floor and drips down to the workshop below onto a tray that tips and flips the switch on the grinder whose spinning wheel catches the loose end of a clothesline which gets wound around the leg of a table saw. With each disastrous step depicted as only Arthur Geisert could, a seemingly ordinary incident spills out of control. They say you shouldn't cry over spilled milk, but what if it destroys your whole house? This wordless picture book follows the trials of a little old lady who attempts to make pancakes for her breakfast.
When a young boy visits the local art gallery, he is whisked away on a cross-country Canadian journey as he moves from painting to painting. Each collage image in this magical book was created with colored pencils and cut paper and inspired by some of the most beloved Canadian artists. It can be lonely sometimes on a rainy day in a big house with no one else around and there's only the quiet to keep you company. But if you find a key, a mysterious key, that leads you to an unexpected place.
Open this wordless book and take off on mind-bending visual journeys full of twists, turns, and surprises. Zoom from an Egyptian pyramid to an exotic jungle to a sandy beach. But if you think you know where you are, guess again. For in Istvan Banyai's mysterious landscapes of pictures within pictures, nothing is ever as it seems.
This book is about a book. A magical red book without any words. When you turn the pages youe tm ll experience a new kind of adventure through the power of story. Winning a Caldecott Honor for itsillustrations of rare detail and surprise, The Red Book crosses oceans and continents to deliver one girl into a new world of possibility, where a friend shee tm s never met is waiting. And as with the best of books, at the conclusion of the story, the journey is not over. J RD - Picture Book.
A series of exuberant read-aloud sound effects perfectly capture the whimsy and joy of a springtime frolic in this companion to "Red Sled. With a timeless tone and classic characters, "Red Hat" promises to be an instant favorite. Their whimsical ride is gorgeously depicted in bold watercolor, complemented by humorous expressions and pitch-perfect sound effects. With a timeless charm and irresistible characters, Red Sled begs to be read aloud and will surely become a wintertime favorite.
B Re x - Picture Book. Welcome the much-anticipated finale of Caldecott Honoree Aaron Becker's wordless trilogy; a spectacular, emotionally satisfying story that brings its adventurer home. Failing to get the attention of her busy father, a lonely girl turns back to a fantastic world for friendship and adventure. It's her third journey into the enticing realm of kings and emperors, castles and canals, exotic creatures and enchanting landscapes. This time, it will take something truly powerful to persuade her to return home, as a gripping backstory is revealed that will hold readers in its thrall.
Caldecott Honor winner Aaron Becker delivers a suspenseful and moving climax to his wordless trilogy, an epic that began with the award-winning Journey and continued with the celebrated follow-up Quest. M RI - Picture Book. As he is lifted into the air, his shoes and scarf fall away and soon he is soaring over the Empire State Building and whisking past the nose of the Statue of Liberty A simple concept amplified by artistry in league with technology.
W SE - Picture Book. There a boy makes friends with a mischievous little cloud, who whisks him away to the Cloud Dispatch Center for Sector 7 the region that includes New York City. The clouds are bored with their everyday shapes, so the boy obligingly starts to sketch some new ones. The wordless yet eloquent account of this unparalleled adventure is a funny, touching story about art, friendship, and the weather, as well as a visual tour de force.
F SI - Picture Book. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls! And another Cynthia Lord book is coming out this March! She is the author of Rules and A Handful of Stars. This one is titled Because of the Rabbit and is about a young girl who starts public school for the first time after being homeschooled. And another novel that is getting all kinds of early buzz is the latest from K.
Reynolds called Spinner of Dreams. My students and I got the chance to read the first chapter and we were all already hooked. A smirk. It all feels…weird. According to her friend Zara, Mila is being immature, overreacting. Alright - I am both energized and - I gotta be honest - a little daunted! I hope you have a wonderful year reading and I would love to know - what are the books that you and your students are most looking forward to in ? Just - go see it!! And see it on the BIG screen!
This is episode 67 and today we are celebrating some of the best middle grade graphic novels published in What are your criteria? Is that popularity? The Goodreads best of lists tend to veer in that direction. Is it literary appeal? That is more along the lines of say, the Newbery Awards. Meaning - it was immersive, it has flow, it kept me turning the pages. Meaning - it had some extra special sparkle.
An unforgettable character, an intriguing setting, a ground-breaking format, or a powerfully poignant message. I think kids would like it. So I also try to be mindful that kids books are for kids. Not for me. I am just the conduit to getting books into their hands and helping them discover what they like. Making Friends by Kristen Gudsnuk This full-color graphic novel is about a 7th grade girl named Dany.
She has just started middle school and is pretty lonely. A magical sketchbook that will turn your drawing into real-life. So when Dany draws the head of her favorite anime character uh yeah… JUST the head and a super popular girl to be her friend, there are as you can imagine! If you have readers about ages 10 and up who like graphic novels about friendships and would be up for something with a supernatural twist, then this would be a great recommendation.
And… I see Gudsnuk has a sequel in store as well! And it looks like lots of sequels are on their way! Wolf and his students. By the way, Mr. A strength of this book is that the author clearly KNOWS what an actual classroom community is all about - the interactions of personalities.
It feels really authentic in that way. And uh… I can definitely relate to being late to pick my kids because I was distracted by a donut in the break room! This is her first solo graphic novel and I have a feeling we have a lot more in store from her! She is just barely hanging on and resisting the awful Mr. Saubertuck who wants to run them out of business and turn their building into a spa.
But then… enter Wendell. And after a rocky start with Marjorie, does end up finding it. For me, the strength and charm of this book is really about the outstanding illustrations - the gorgeous pastel palette and the nuances of the wordless panels. And based on how this book is flying through my classroom, it clearly also has that all-important kid-appeal.
This book is about a young boy named Edison who is afraid of the dark. When his mom has to go out of town, Edison and his little sister, Tesla, go to stay with their Uncle Earl. Uncle Earl is an exterminator and he reluctantly takes the kids and their hamster! This is one of those few books that has kids laughing out loud while they read it. So if you have kids who love those two series, and want something similar, introduce them to Edison Beaker Creature Seeker. And - thank you Hope Larson! Where music - and finding people that like the same music as you do - takes on heightened importance in your life.
At least, for me it was like that. But you start to find your people.
And not just be freinds with the people who are in your class or happen to live next door. This graphic novel is about 13 year-old Bina whose best-friend and neighbor, Austin, is off to soccer camp this summer. So she ends up.. Binge-watching Netflix until her mom cuts her off. This one takes a step away from the intrigues of the art club and the school newspaper and focused on Jorge Ruiz, a big kid, a pretty-popular jock who nobody really messes with, who seems to have it all together.
This graphic novel really captures those quick relationship changes in middle school and that dynamic between texts and social media and how that influences and complicates face-to-face interactions. Sometimes novels totally leave out modern technology. But Chmakova knows that technology might solve some problems but ushers in a whole host of other ones. Crush is another one of those graphic novels that is getting passed from kid to kid to kid in my classroom with a big enough waiting list I ordered a second copy.
They each definitely can stand alone. Or really any crowd at all. And oh man… how I felt for poor Vera that night!
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This would be a great recommendation for kids in about grades 4 or 5 and up. He loves getting dressed up in fancy gowns and makeup and wigs. Eventually he discovers a lowly dressmaker, Frances, who has shown she is willing to break societal norms - and secretly hires her to help him transform into a different, more glamorous person.
And I really, really want Disney to make this into a movie! We need more books that go beyond the traditional gender norms so kids can both see themselves and also so that kids can see others not like them at the center of important and positive and fun stories. I may have mentioned before that we have a post-dinner reading routine of minutes. All of us. And since the girls had taken over my prefered reading spot on the couch, I was off in the easy chair in the corner. Chuckling and smiling and just… reacting as I read it. And suddenly, Helena, my 9 year old, is reading over my shoulder, looming over me.
The first section is told completely through wordless panels as we witness two siblings playing with a kiddie pool, a chair, and a bunch of cardboard boxes and how their imagination has transformed that into magic and adventure. A girl peeking over the fence at them starts laughing and at first it breaks the spell and ends the game. But then she gets drawn into their world in her own unique way. And the story takes off from there - with each neighborhood kid bringing in their own personalities and quirks and their own imaginative spin on adventure.
There are knights and robots and banshees and beasts. And entreupreneurs. There are conflicts and battles. And quieter moments of understanding. The stories stack and intertwine and build and build to create an amazing collection of backyard adventures! But it gave me the same feeling as watching the new Spiderman movie I mentioned at the top of the show.
What graphic novels from the past year did you and the kids in your life love? Which ones are really making an impact among your students? And which ones are you all looking forward to in ? Intro Hi everyone! This is episode 66 and today we are celebrating some of the best middle grade books published in So looking back over the last couple of years since I started doing this show, in I read 60 middle grade books with 31 of those published in And my top three books of that year were Booked, Ms. You can find that list here. Last year, I read 79 middle grade with 55 of those published in You can find the full list here.
This year, I read 59 middle grade books with 41 of those released in Before I start - a quick caveat. Selecting ONLY 25 titles was almost impossible. So how to choose the top twenty-five? And again this year, I decided to separate out the graphic novels so be on the lookout for another best of podcast soon featuring just the middle grade graphic novels. But this novel is also laced with the sweetness of friendship and watermelon and hope and a touch of maybe magical honey. Watching Lauren and Sierra get deeper and deeper and deeper into that pit and wondering how on earth they were going to dig themselves out is what kept me turning those pages.
With those three magical rules passed on to her from her grandmother, Kate tries to grapple with the changes in her life. Along with the typical difficulties of a 12 year old! I loved this book for its blend of beautiful prose and realism. This book is a beautiful homage to Puerto Rico and a story that captures the experiences of many kids with family connections that represent multiple languages and backgrounds.
And to me - that is the mark of an excellent book. It makes you see the extraordinary in the ordinary. And they can travel into other paintings - which is completely fascinating when you consider that this museum includes art from different eras. And multiple paintings of the same person.
What the author does in this world is spell-binding. Everything I Know About You by Barbara Dee This book was a fun mix of humor and history intermixed with realistic depictions of issues that young people are coping with - like body shaming and eating disorders and figuring out that whole friendship thing while staying true to yourself and your values. What made this book stay with me long after that last page was read was the main character, Tally, whose self-confidence and style and body positivity are inspiring.
The girls have spent the summer apart and as fall starts, it has become more and more clear that their friendship is sputtering out. The slow, shocking reveal of what that secret really IS kept me turning the pages and what made this book stick with me so long afterward are the voices of the characters that are so fresh and unique and real! Chase has this incredible knack for voice, and I cannot wait to see what other middle grade books she has coming our way! The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson Johnson has expertly woven together multiple storylines across two different eras that are beautifully fused together in the final chapters.
The main character, modern-day Candice, discovers a decades old mystery that takes her and the quiet bookworm boy across the street on a quest for a long-lost treasure. But to figure out the clues, they have to delve into some long buried town history that some folks would rather keep hidden. This book is rich with details and touches on topics that are not common in middle grade - like the end of segregation and its impact on black schools and the concept of passing.
Based on reviews from those in the Deaf community, Gino does seem to get that representation right. And done in a way with warmth and heart. I was at school and had forgotten my book at home. Stella is a third grader, born in Mexico, but now living in Chicago with her mom and older brother. Stella is also figuring out where she fits in with her outgoing family since she is more quiet and is working through some speech difficulties. They pop up frequently and naturally, and yet I feel confident that most non-Spanish speaking readers can fairly easily figure out what those words mean from the context.
I was fascinated to learn about wrestling moves and the tournament process in this novel. Told in alternating point of view chapters, Mickey and Lev are each dealing with their own middle school difficulties of faltering friendships and dicey family dynamics. How these two characters grow and how their stories intertwine have stayed on my mind - months later. Good Dog by Dan Gemeinhart Another incredible story from a favorite author of so many of my students.
And as our sweet, noble Brodie figures out the rules of this new place, and makes some friends, he remembers more of his past life on Earth. And remembers the danger that his boy, Aidan, is still in. For the last couple of years, my 5th graders and I have read Home of the Brave together as the first read aloud. This year I decided to have their book clubs centered around refugee and immigrant stories - with a focus on ownvoices novels. And I completely agree with their assessment - this book is fabulous. But in the carnage, Nadia ends up separated from her family and has to make her way through the city of Aleppo in a dangerous effort to reunite with them and to figure out who in the war-torn city she should trust to help her.
Scenes were everything seems stable and Nadia is all about the latest episode of her favorite reality TV singing show and what color she should paint her nails. And one that will stay with you for a long, long time. Rebound by Kwame Alexander This is the much-awaited prequel to the much-loved and much-awarded, novel-in-verse The Crossover. But - this is an origin story. Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson Esteban, Tiago, Holly, Amari, Ashton, Haley - these six kids are brought to an abandoned art room each Friday, left on their own, and allowed to simply talk.
And eventually - their stories unfold. Stories of deportation, of harassment, of parent death and incarceration. Of hope and of despair. And by the end of that year, they have formed a bond and a vow to harbor each other. Small Spaces by Katherine Arden Okay - this book creeped me the heck out! And it was glorious! This paranormal horror story is about a young girl named Ollie whose mom tragically died last year, and understandably - Ollie is withdrawn and rather raw. One fall day, Ollie disovers this strange book that tells the legend of two local brothers who come under the influence of The Smiling Man - with horrific results.
When Ollie takes a field trip to a nearby farm, she and her friends Coco and Brian end up in an other-wordly battle to survive the lure of those mysterious forces. This book is so immersive and atmospheric and has one brilliant twist at the end that has me shuddering just thinking about it! This novel is about a young Pakistani girl whose dream is to finish her education and to become a teacher. But when her mother is struggling with depression after having her fifth baby - another girl - Amal ends up staying home to take of the household.
Blended by Sharon Draper As came to a close, I started scouring the social media feeds of readers whose taste I rely on to see what books from the previous year I may have missed. And by far the one that I kept bumping into… was Blended. And oh were they right to push me to read it! This novel is about an year-old girl - Izzy to her mom but Isabella to her Dad. Her parents are divorced and every week Isabella has to switch - switch households, switch bedrooms, switch backpacks, switch expectations….
I just…. Okay - plot first. But all of those things become tricky when her teacher pushes her to join the Debate Club after school. This book is about rural poverty, the nuances of the gun debate, domestic vioience… but the way those threads play out are not at all what I had expected - and so much better. Front Desk by Kelly Yang Another stand-out debut!
And every time I see another starred review or another reader gush about this book, it just makes me heart a little more happy. Front Desk is about Mia Tang whose family - recent immigrants from China - wind up running a motel under less than ideal circumstances. Her life is tough. But once she starts to harness the power of her writing, Mia starts to realize that even the big injustices in life can start to change. Front Desk was another fall favorite of my students and a perfect book club book.
And the last time I checked, it was offered through Scholastic for a great price. Oh but thank you Peter Brown because you did not disappoint and in fact…. I may love this story even more than the first. But I will say that this sequel has more action, more human interactions, and therefore - more personal connections that kids can latch onto.
And it deals with some big moral and ethical questions! Ghost Boys by Jewell Parker Rhodes This is the story of Jermone - a young black boy playing outside his home with a small toy gun. A black boy who gets shot and killed by a police officer in the first pages and whose presence haunts the rest of the pages - and whose story - along with the other boys - haunts me still. And I can see in my classroom the impact it makes on the young kids who read it. Laid out flat, my stomach touching the ground.
My right knee bent and my brand-new Nikes stained with blood. And if this is the quality of a DiCamillo sequel then I hope she writes a TON more - because this book ripped me apart and put me back together again. And I mean that in the best possible way! Well, they end up in a Georgia Motel run by a cranky lady - where Louisiana has to take on more than anyone her age should have to. But also learns a lot about grace and the goodness of humankind as well. Raymie Nightingale was a book I liked pretty well, but nothing compared to this. Tight by Torrey Maldonado This book was fast-paced, fresh, and had such a….
His dad brings enough of that into their life. Money in their family is… tight. But then his parents, sort of And at first, Bryan resists. But then the boys bond over comics and Netflix shows and spend more and more time together. But that friendship turns toxic when Mike starts luring Bryan into skipping school, hopping the turnstiles in the subway Tight is an exceptional books - raw and real. Alright - those are my top 25 middle grades books of Now - I want to hear from YOU! What were your favorite reads of the last year and which ones should I make sure to read in the year ahead?
Closing Alright, that wraps up our show this week! You can get an outline of interviews and a full transcript of all the other parts of our show at MGBookVillage. And, if you are liking the show, please leave us some love on iTunes or Stitcher so others can discover us as well. Thanks and see you soon! And welcome to Books Between - a podcast for educators, parents and everyone who loves middle grade books! I believe in the power of books - especially fantasy books - to help you mull over the big moral issues in life and help you discover who you really want to be.
And few books have accomplished that for so many better than the Harry Potter series. This is our final HappyPottermas episode of December and it is full discussion centered around those topics. Pat Geyer about how she has transformed her school into Hogwarts. Plus - she finally convinces me to read The Cursed Child. Which I will tell you - it is taking all of my willpower to do anything else around the house other than finish that book that right now. She is also the host of the KidLitDrinkNight podcast.
We share a bit of firewhisky and chat about Harry Potter inspiration in the work place, how Harry Potter inspired her family through a challenging time, and… her rather surprising list of the ten most devastating deaths in the Harry Potter series. And welcome to Books Between - a podcast for teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect kids between to books they will love for a lifetime. And apparently losing my voice a bit - it seems a tad scratchy tonight. I believe in the power of the right story at the right time to transform you into a different kind of reader.
And a different kind of person. And Harry Potter is that one series that seems to have accomplished that for so many. We talk about the influence of Harry Potter, our favorite books, the movie adaptations - among lots and lots of other things! I believe in the power of stories to give us the language and situations to help us identify and make sense of what is wonderful in our world. And give us the words and the way to fight against the injustices we see. And few books do that better than Harry Potter. And the special moments in their lives that were made a little more magical by Harry Potter.
And I really would love to hear YOUR thoughts about Harry Potter as well So, if you are interested in being featured on this podcast later in December, just check out the link posted in the show notes, which includes very quick and easy instructions on to submit an audio clip to me. We talk about Harry Potter inspired advocacy, the challenges of friendship trios, and the our thoughts about the new Fantastic Beast movies.
Harry Potter in the U. Remember to check out HappyPottermas throughout December for some magical fun and remember to send in your own audio submission for a future episode. And welcome to Books Between - a podcast for teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect kids between to incredible stories. I believe in the power of books to bring communities together.
And my goal is to help you connect your children and your community with fantastic books and share inspiring conversations with the people who make that magic happen. And I would love to feature YOU on the show as well. And all of them are editable so you can download and adjust them however you need. What is the difference between a traditional book club with community involvement and a ProjectLIT Community Book Club - and what are the pros and cons of each?
ProjectLIT is a grassroots literacy movement with community book club chapters all over the country. As of this week, there are now chapters. Their goal is to increase access to culturally relevant books and promote a love of reading in our schools and communities. Each spring the ProjectLIT team consults with chapter leaders and announces a list of 20 books from middle grade to YA that include topics that will generate lots of discussion and bring awareness to issues in our society.
Since this is the second year, there are now 40 books to choose from. The books feature characters from a wide variety of backgrounds and are usually ownvoices - written by authors who share the marginalized identity of the main character. ProjectLIT is all about bringing together a community to discuss the big ideas put forth in these books and to encourage students to take a leadership role in planning community meetings and doing community service projects to promote literacy.
So, if you are considering whether or not to launch a more traditional book club in your school or to be a ProjectLIT chapter, here are some pros and cons to keep in mind. Cons: The book choices are more limited. For example, the March graphic novels are listed as middle grade but I decided to not offer that as one of our choices since it seemed more like a middle school fit. Many of the titles are newer so they are only available as hardcover which makes it financially challenging. And students are less familiar with them so you might need to do some book talks and sampling to get them really pumped about reading them.
If you advertise an event as ProjectLIT, it does need to be one of the approved titles. You can mix things up but it does make it more complicated. Yes, they are new. Newer books pull in those readers who will be literacy leaders. Those kids who want to be on the cutting edge and draw in the rest of their peers and community with their excitement. You have an amazing supportive community who are all working toward the same goals and really eager to help make your life easier by sharing ideas and resources.
If you need discussion questions for Towers Falling - they are already done! So, you are not in it alone. And because of that, there are great opportunities for clubs to collaborate and maybe Skype with other groups reading the same book to discuss beyond their community and to get ideas from each other. How can I prepare my launch to make the book club successful? Doing some work ahead of time can really help get your book club started off on the right foot and get some community behind you from the very beginning. One of the first things I did was to decide who I might strong-arm into, I mean….
In most schools there are at least a couple book lovers who would be down with helping out. At my school - that would be the amazing Kelly. So I emailed Kelly - who was totally excited about launching a club at our school! Sometimes you just have to ask people. Then I emailed our local public librarian, the PTO, our principal, and let them know about the awesome new club for kids that was coming soon. Then, I needed to decide how often we would meet, when, and where.
And that really depends on two main factors - time available at your school or library. And YOU! Because honestly - you are the one who needs to be the main force in making this work. So just Since our school day starts early, a before school time was not going to work. So I decided to offer the club to 4th and 5th graders after school from to The reason I went with ? I also decided to go with Thursdays to avoid those other club days as well.
But I am holding firm. So if there is a meeting on a Thursday? The next thing to decide is how many books you want to read throughout the year and when you want to hold a community-wide celebration of those books. Again - this all depends on YOUR availability and how many books you think you can get. Maybe you start small with just 4 books and 4 events. Maybe every other month works for you. Since I have no chill whatsoever, I decided to go for once a month but to use our first month of school to let everyone get settled and start promoting it, and then officially launch in October.
So - cut yourself some slack and give yourself a month head start. After looking at the calendar and our school schedule, I decided that our community-wide celebrations would be the first Saturday of every month from 10am to am. I went with this for a few reasons - Everyone seems to already have things in the evenings and I really wanted parents and adults to be able to come. Our school gets out at - very few adults can make it at that time if we had after school events. Sundays are often tough for some people in our community because of religious observances in the morning so I wanted to avoid any conflict there.
They can come, enjoy, and then have all the rest of Saturday do whatever they want. The first weekend of the month tends to avoid most major holidays. So - no worries! I really try to make it as socially and emotionally easy to join us as possible - whenever they can. We meet in my classroom after school because I know that location will be available and I am not inconveniencing anyone else. And we meet in the school library for those Saturday celebrations. I had considered meeting at the local public library, but opted for the school library for a couple reasons - one, I am familiar with that space and have access to it so I can set up the night before.
Perhaps you are noticing a theme here - make it as easy as possible for YOU. Also, I want the school and our library to be a literacy hub for the community. And I wanted access to the technology in that space - Promethean Board and Chromebooks. Alright, so your prep phase should include the Who, When, and Where. Who - figuring out who will help you and who you will reach out to to let them know the amazingness that is coming.
When you will meet with students and when you and those students will host the community book club celebration. And where -the location of these meetings. How do you decide which books to read? And I recommend letting kids have some ownership of that process. Kelly and I decided to pick the first book ourselves so we could do some work ahead of time to get copies and then have the kids vote on the other middle grade ProjectLIT choices. You might decide to have the students pick from a list you provide or have them pick every other month so there is some variety but also honors student choice.
For us, this seemed like a good start for a few reasons. Perhaps you could give some choices that align with your goals and that ensure a variety of perspectives. So - I had scrounged up multiple copies of each book and printed out evaluation forms. Those are available to download right in the show notes! Kids sat in groups of about 4 and examined and previewed about 3 books at a time. Just like any other book tasting, I encouraged them to look at the cover, read the teaser material on the back cover or inside flaps, and read the first page.
Think about what books you like and what titles you think would be important and interesting for our community to discuss. So - then they voted on their top choices. I had intended this to be done on a Google Form which I will share with you but our internet went down so we went old school and they wrote down their lists and we tallied them up.
BUT - I had committed to honoring their choices. Also - Sunny was chosen but NOT book 2 of that series Patina , so I just decided to go with it since each book can really stand on their own. After that, I matched each book to a month - putting the two Jason Reynolds books Ghost then Sunny after each other later in the year since their reading levels were more challenging and timing Wishtree so our celebration would fall close to May 1st since that date plays a big part in the novel. So, as you schedule the books, think about what seasonal connections you might make and consider putting those more challenging books later on in the year.
Also - some books will be available in softcover later in the year, so you might want to schedule those then to reduce costs. Speaking of costs…. How do you get copies of the books? This is the big challenge. Ideally, you want to gather enough copies for each student who wants to participate AND some extras for those in the community to borrow as well. So definitely seek out your PTO! Take advantage of Scholastic points and perhaps ask teachers in your building to donate some copies. Try doing a Donors Choose project! Apply for grants! Right now, Kelly and I have a grant submitted that would totally cover the cost of the remaining books - so cross your fingers for us!
Ask local businesses and organizations for support! Our local Lions Club is really receptive to opportunities to support the schools. And those local businesses and organizations might be EVEN MORE into it when you invite them to read the books with you and come to the book celebrations. Collaborate with your school library and the local public library.
They can often gather copies for you that kids and the community can check out. The library right down the street from our school has a special display for our book club with our monthly flyer and the books stacked right underneath it available to check out. How do you get students and the community to join your book club? And the community will read the books with you and come to the celebrations.
And then we passed out the permission forms. After that, I make a quick visit at the beginning of each month to do a quick chat about the upcoming book and pass out those permission slips so you know who is coming and if they need a copy of the book. And an editable copy of that slip is right in the show notes for you to download. Wherever your school promotes events - on the morning announcements, in a newsletter, on a school calendar… get the club mentioned!
About once a week, I make an announcement reminding the kids to come to our weekly meeting AND reminding folks to come to the upcoming Saturday celebration. Our school also has a weekly news show - The Minoa Morning Messages - and some of our members made an appearance to promote the club and announce the next book.
Thank you so much. It was hard work, but it really helped me weed out cliches that had crept in my manuscript, :. A lot on that list to work with great. Thank you for this! I would also class as cliches overused terms especially in journalism such as 'iconic', 'surreal' and words ending in 'gate' to describe any kind of controversy or scandal. You might comment on the order system of the blog. You should chat it's splendid. Your blog audit would swell up your visitors.
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It's cornflakes. It's a strange rule that you're meant to avoid cliches. One would assume that you're meant to wrote phrases that people have heard before because those are the one's that people will understand. I fail to see the point of making up your own cliche if people will not know what it means because they haven't heard it before.
Grammar Rules. Challenge Winner: a case for lowercase. What is the Best Salutation for an Email?