Showing posts from December, 2013

Blogging Reflections from 2013

I've written posts about my favorite books of the year - but my year has been so much more than just reading! I've had a busy blogging year as well, participating in some cool blog tours and special events. My favorite blogging moments:  I finished the Nerdbery Challenge - Go me! I participated in Sci Fi Month, hosted by Rinn Reads. I loved writing about heroines, and my favorite things I wish were real, and more!   Part of SciFi Month was an amazing week of writing about Doctor Who with my pals Karen (of Teen Librarian Toolbox) and Sherry from Library Fanatic. It was a huge Doctor Who year for me, and I wrote a LOT about my newest obsession. My favorite Doctor Who post... I was thrilled to participate in several blog tours for boo

Favorite Young Adult of 2013

It's that time of the year - time to reflect on my favorite reads. I hope you find something new to add to your own list. I tend toward fantasy and scifi (as you know if you read this blog on a regular basis), and that is reflected in my favorite books.. Not all of my favorite reads from this year were PUBLISHED this year. I've indicated the year of publication for each of my choices. Horde (2013)- I adored this whole dystopian series by Ann Aguirre (Enclave, Outpost, Horde). I was so excited to be able to be on the Outpost blog tour last year ( interviewing Ann Aguirre !) and I really enjoyed how the series ended. Dream Thieves (2013) - Maggie Stiefvater rocks. An AMAZING second book in a series. I admit it - I special ordered a signed and sketched in copy for myself AND my sister..  Scorpio Races (2011) - don’t miss this one! I love how she mixes a very realistic setting with the mythical carnivorous sea horse.       Fairyland series - there are t

It's Monday December 30th

The year has flown by - again. It seems like the older I get, the faster time seems to pass. Do you recall being in elementary school, and the endless wait for summer? Now it seems like I turn around and my children have grown another 3 inches or are heading off to middle school... Anyway, it's time for one last "It's Monday" post in 2013. If you're curious, I have already created a " best middle grade reads of 2013 " post, and I plan to do some more end of year reflection and 2014 goal setting. But what did I read THIS week? I'm sharing two weeks worth, since I slacked last week on the posting. Don't forget to visit Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for more great books to add to your own pile! Middle Grade Reads: I kept meaning to read this one - but when it ended up on our short list for my district's "Battle of the Books" AGAIN - I knew it was time. Lovely story! Another Battle of the Books 2014 book

Favorite Middle Grade Books of 2013

It's that time of the year - time to reflect on my favorite reads. I hope you find something new to add to your own list. I tend toward fantasy and scifi (as you know if you read this blog on a regular basis), and that is reflected in my favorite books.. It's a "Top Ten".... plus 1... The Real Boy - probably my favorite of the year! I was so honored to be part of the blog tour for this amazing title. Flora & Ulysses - Amazing! I’m so glad the Nerdy short list got me to add it to my list. I didn't write up a formal review, but I highly recommend this for middle grade readers, especially those with strong vocabulary. Strong girls - superheroes - lots of great illustrations. Go for it! (here is a friend's review  The Year of Shadows - Claire Legrand is a master of the dark story for upper middle grade. My fifth graders

Authors Inspire! A visit with John Thompson

One of the very best things about being an online, connected educator is the "connectedness" of it all. When I read a book I love, I can shout about it from the mountaintops. Well... tweet about it. Which is actually better, because mountaintops are hard to reach and generally quite cold, and getting there involves an awful lot of walking and sweating and... *coughs* Back to my actual point. Even better?  Those shouts sometimes become conversations with the actual authors and illustrators. I've noticed a huge increase in reading engagement since I have been able to say things like "I tweeted a question to Tom Angleberger and he replied". Last year my librarian and I both read and loved a brand new mystery for middle graders, The Girl from Felony Bay . When we were chatting about it via Twitter, John Thompson graciously offered to Skype with our students. Unfortunately, it was the very end of the year, and things were just too crazy. This year, though.

It's Monday December 16th

Wow.. halfway through December already? I'm honestly not sure where the time goes most days. Just a quick update, so I can avoid the "I didn't post for a month and how do I decide which books to share?" dilemma. Don't forget to hop over to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers for other great Monday posts! After all, we have a little break coming up so I'm sure you need some reading ideas, right? Five of my six reads this week were Nerdy Short List books. I'm trying to plow through a few more before I vote. I think I've now read all of the picture book nominees, and almost all of the graphic novels.  Picture Books: I enjoyed this creative way of teaching about the interconnectedness of life. Informative AND funny! I'm not a pinkophile, but the color scheme was perfect for this wordless picture book. I loved how it shared the joy of dancing and how it helps the two characters communicate.  The Water Castle - This was

Blog Tour Interview and Giveaway - The Master's Book by Philip Coleman

The Master's Book by Philip Coleman ebook, First edition, 236 pages Published March 15th 2013 by MuseItUp Publishing ASIN 9781771272 Sean moves to Brussels to a house that is a crime scene... In 1482 Mary, the last Duchess of Burgundy, lies on her deathbed in a castle in Flanders. She is only 25. In her final moments she makes a wish that, 500 years later, will threaten the lives of a boy and a girl living in Brussels. The Master’s Book is the story of Sean, an Irish teenager, just arrived in Brussels to a house that is also a crime scene. Together with Stephanie, his classmate, he finds an illuminated manuscript, only for it to be stolen almost at once. Where did this manuscript come from? Who was it originally made for? Is there a connection with the beautiful tomb Sean has seen in Bruges? Above all, why does someone want this book so badly that they are prepared to kill for it? Part thriller and part paper-chase, this book is aimed at boys and girls of twe

How's that Nerdlution Thing Going, Anyway?

There's nothing like a motivated group of friends to help you get going on your own goals. That's really what the "Nerdlution" revolution is all about. Still, I know myself well enough to have chosen some reasonably doable goals. I didn't pick a specific number - or even a very specific set of tasks. Instead, I promised to do something in each of three categories each day. Home: -- I've done a better job keeping up with household tasks like laundry and dishes WITHOUT having a negative attitude about it. -- I sometimes spot a little job around the house and just do it instead of being annoyed by it. On Sunday, I remembered that the mantel hasn't been dusted in... (cough.... redacted..) and I just did it. -- I've also scheduled a Big Brothers, Big Sisters pickup for December 21st and started purging clothes and books to put in the giveaway pile. Health: -- I've gotten back into using the elliptical (though only 15 minutes at a time). -- I&

It's Monday December 9th

Once again, I've lapsed in my sharing duties. The end of November involved a lot of blogging to keep up with my Science Fiction Month and Doctor Who Week, so I didn't get as much reading done. The last two weeks, though, have been a flurry of reading activity. I'm trying to get as many of the Nerdy Book Club short list read as possible before voting opens. So there is NO way I intend to inflict all of that on my friends here... I'll just choose a few highlights to share. (Don't forget to head to Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers to see other posts about reading!) Nerdy Book Club Prepping...  This was my haul on Saturday from my local library. I read them all Saturday and Sunday. Favorites - Mr. Tiger Goes Wild, The Year of Billy Miller, Tree Lady, and Daredevil. I'm also reading my way through a stack of picture books I won in the I Hate Picture Books contest. Check out my shelf for the ones I got. Fantasy : So disappointing.

Put Those Pencils Down

What do you imagine when you hear the phrase "rough draft"? Do you visualize a piece of lined paper and a pencil? My inner editor is a serious killjoy, and I learned early on that she'll grab an eraser right out of my hand and wage a war of mass destruction on anything that doesn't look "just right" the instant it hits the page. That's when I started using a pen so that I didn't permanently destroy a choice little gem of a phrase just because it's not what I need right now. Students in elementary school write almost every draft with paper and pencil. I know there are a lot of reasons for this (including lack of a sufficient number of computers for all the kids to be able to do their writing with a keyboard). At least one of the reasons is that many parents and teachers believe this is the best way to get kids to write. As an adult, though, I generally do all my drafting directly into a word processor of some sort. If my writing piece is for