Great Books

Picture Book of the Day

I Will Try
by Marilyn Janovitz (Author, Illustrator)

Booktalk: Ella is in awe of Jan, the star of her gymnastics class. Jan can spin and leap on the balance beam. Can Ella? (This I Like to Read picture book is also a Level D easy reader! It has one short line of text on each page.)

Snippet:
I pack my bag.

TURN THE PAGE

“Time to go,” says Dad.

“Have fun,” says Mom.
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Chapter Book of the Day

Curveball: The Year I Lost My Grip
by Jordan Sonnenblick (Author)
304 pages

Booktalk: Meet Peter Friedman, high school freshman. Talented photographer. Former baseball star. When a freakish injury ends his pitching career, Peter has some major things to figure out. Is there life after sports? Why has his grandfather suddenly given him thousands of dollars worth of camera equipment? And is it his imagination, or is the super-hot star of the girls’ swim team flirting with him, right in front of the amazing new girl in his photography class?

Snippet: If I had known it was goind to be the last baseball game I’d ever play, I would have asked my mom to bring the video camera or something. But you never know that kind of stuff in advance. All you can do is play every game like it’s your final shot at the World Series, and hope that for you, it isn’t.
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5 Great Books About Soldiers for Armed Forces Day

Armed Forces Day is May 19th, 2012.

D-Day Landings: The Story of the Allied Invasion
by Karen Wallace and Richard Platt (Authors)
Find out more about this famous World War II event. Level 4 easy reader

From Slave to Soldier: Based on a True Civil War Story
by Deborah Hopkinson (Author) and Brian Floca (Illustrator)
A slave boy runs away and joins the Union army. Level 3 easy reader

Hero Dad
by Melinda Hardin (Author) and Bryan Langdo (Illustrator)
A young boy talks about his father, the soldier. Picture book

Pearl Harbor
by Stephen Krensky (Author) and Larry Day (Illustrator)
See how and why the U.S entered the World War II. Level 3 easy reader

Sam the Minuteman
by Nathaniel Benchley (Author) and Arnold Lobel (Illustrator)
A boy helps his father fight the Battle of Lexington. Level 3 easy reader
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Literary Links

Last call! May 2-June 20 (online) children’s book writing workshops begin today!

Study Links Dyslexia to Visual Attention Problems in Preschool (via Education Week)
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Site Meter Read and Write Sports: Readers Theatre and Writing Activities for Grades 3-8

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Nonfiction Monday

El día de los niños/El día de los libros

Today’s the 16th anniversary of El día de los niños/El día de los libros, Children’s Day/Book Day

Lola Reads to Leo
by Anna McQuinn (Author) and Rosalind Beardshaw (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Lola becomes a big sister in her latest story celebrating books and reading. From potty time to bath time to nap time, Lola knows just the right book to read to baby Leo.

Snippet:
Lola and her mommy read together a lot.
Lola chooses stories the baby will like.

BONUS! See the Día Celebrations video!
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Picture Book of the Day

Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat
by Susanna Reich (Author) and Amy Bates (Illustrator)

Booktalk:This biography introduces the iconic American chef Julia Child to a new audience of young readers through the story of her spirited cat, Minette, whom Julia adopted when living in Paris. While Julia is in the kitchen learning to master delicious French dishes, the only feast Minette is truly interested in is that of fresh mouse! This lively story is complete with an author’s note, a bibliography, and actual quotations from Julia Child and comes just in time for the 100th anniversary of her birth. (It’s the first-ever children’s book about the beloved chef.)

Snippet: Minette Mimosa McWilliams Child was a very lucky cat, perhaps the luckiest cat in all of Paris.

And now a interview with author Susanna Reich. Her awards include the NCTE Orbis Pictus Honor, Tomás Rivera Award, International Latino Book Award, ALA Notable, ALA Best Books for Young Adults, and Best Books of the Year honors from School Library Journal, Booklist, Kirkus, Scripps-Howard, and the Association of Booksellers for Children.

Q. When did you start writing?

A. I started writing children’s books in the early 1990’s, but I’d done other kinds of writing before that. My first published article was actually about Polynesian dance. I have a B.F.A. in Dance from N.Y.U.’s Tisch School of the Arts and had done some graduate work in Dance Ethnology at the University of Hawaii, so the subject came naturally.

After dancing in New York for a few years, I switched careers and worked as a florist. Before long I was writing about floral design. I published an article about wedding bouquets in Bride’s magazine, and another about the flower arrangements I created for Julia Child’s 80’th birthday party.

By the early 90’s, I was married and had a young child. My husband, Gary Golio, and I  were reading a lot of picture books. We were also studying T’ai Chi with the children’s book illustrator Ed Young, who often talked about his work and about the world of children’s books. I became more and more intrigued and began to experiment with picture book texts. I joined SCBWI , went to conferences, submitted manuscripts – and got lots of rejections.

It seemed like everyone was trying to write picture books (this was before the current YA craze), so I figured it would be easier to break in with something different, like nonfiction. My local children’s librarian told me there was a need for biographies of women, and my mother, a music historian, suggested Clara Schumann. At first I said, “Oh, Mom, that’s your thing!” Then I thought about it and realized it was a good idea. I worked on a biography of Clara for about three years before selling it. That became my first book, Clara Schumann: Piano Virtuoso.

Q.  Describe your writing process.

A. Most of my books are biographies, so my process begins with figuring out who to write about. Since Gary also writes biography, this is something we talk about a lot!

A subject has to meet several criteria. First, it has to be someone with whom I want to spend a lot of time, someone whose work interests me and has had a significant cultural impact. Second, there has to be sufficient source material. Third, and perhaps most importantly, I have to be able to find an angle that will interest young readers.

Once I’ve chosen a subject, the research begins. I read the adult biographies on the subject and study the subject’s work by visiting museums, listening to CDs, watching videos, going to performances. I pay special attention to primary sources – like personal letters, memoirs, photographs, archival newspapers – to ensure accuracy and to find good quotes. I also read background material to get a feel for the historical context – for example, Mexican history and dance history for José! Born to Dance, and Native American tribes and languages for Painting the Wild Frontier. Researching Julia Child was especially fun because I got to read cookbooks and try recipes. I even researched the history of cat food!

As I research, I take extensive notes and begin to formulate the book’s structure. I’m looking for that child-friendly angle and developing a narrative thread for my story. If it’s a book for which I’ll be providing images, I’m doing illustration research at the same time.

Only once I’ve completely immersed myself in the person’s life and times, and feel like I know the person really well, do I begin to write. At that point, the words flow pretty easily, though I do a lot of revising as I go. I’m very attentive to details of structure and style, and tend to write and rewrite until I’m satisfied. Of course, after the manuscript is sold I get editorial feedback, and then there’s more writing and revising.

Q. Tell us about your latest book.

A. I come from a family that loves to cook and eat, and I’d wanted to write a picture book about Julia Child for a long time. The challenge was to find the right approach. I didn’t want to just write about how Julia Child learned to cook boeuf bourguignon.

Then I read that Julia was a cat lover who got her first cat, Minette, when she and her husband, Paul, lived in Paris. Minette ate Julia’s leftovers, but there were also mice in the apartment. Now, I’ve lived with cats my whole life, and I know that no matter what you give them to eat, you can’t compete with fresh mouse—even if you’re Julia Child! So that became the premise for Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat. I didn’t have to invent any of the anecdotes about Minette or any of the dialogue. All of the quotes in the book are things Julia actually wrote in her memoirs and letters.

I’ve never had so much fun writing a book. Julia was a joyful, enthusiastic, energetic person with a great sense of humor. I tried to channel that into Minette’s Feast. And Amy Bates’ illustrations are perfect. They’re both historically accurate (we worked on that a lot!) and full of feeling, and they really capture the look of Paris in the late 1940’s, as well as Julia’s warmth and personality.

BONUS! We’re celebrating the launch of the book with a giveaway, courtesy of Abrams. Readers can enter to win a free, signed book by sending an email with the subject line “Minette’s Feast giveaway” to susanna@susannareich.com. Winners will be selected on May 31.

Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, April 30 – Booktalking – interview with Susanna

Tuesday, May 1 – Books Together – interview with Amy

Wednesday, May 2 – Tales from the Rushmore Kid – interview with Susanna’s cat

Thursday, May 3 – The Fourth Musketeer – interview with Susanna

Friday, May 4 – Original Content – review and discussion of creative nonfiction

Sunday, May 6 – Great Kid Books – guest post by Susanna about reading as a child

Monday, May 7 – Shelf-Employed – interview with Abrams art director Chad Beckerman

Tuesday, May 8 – Readerkidz – “Dear Reader” guest post by Susanna
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Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday

This week’s Nonfiction Monday Round-up host is GatheringBooks

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Nonfiction Book Blast 2012

Seymour Simon booktalks Butterflies

on the Nonfiction Book Blast blog today…

Save the date! June 23, 2012 Nonfiction Book Blast 1:30 to 3:30 p.m.

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Literary Link

Need a great Mother’s Day gift?
May 2-June 20 (online) children’s book writing workshops begin this Wednesday!

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STEM Haiku

Share your own haiku about a STEM topic on this last day National Poetry Month.

(STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

30 in 30: a body of work
thirty poems in
thirty days: one poem a
day–isn’t math grand!
© 2012 Anastasia Suen
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Site Meter Read and Write Sports: Readers Theatre and Writing Activities for Grades 3-8

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Great Books

Picture Book of the Day

The Ugly Duckling Dinosaur: A Prehistoric Tale
by Cheryl Bardoe (Author) and Roy D. Kennedy (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Once upon a time, seven tiny duck beaks pecked their way out of their eggs, but the eighth egg was a little bit different. What emerged wasn’t a duck at all–he was a dinosaur! (Real dino facts in the back of the book.)

Snippet:
Just then the egg trembled
Thump, thump, thump.
SMASH!

A huge claw burst out, followed by a gigantic foot. The newest duckling exploded from its shell.
The mother duck gasped. Her other ducklings froze and stared.
“That is the ugliest ducking I’ve ver seen!’ the neghbor screeched.

**Cheryl is one of my former students!**

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Chapter Book of the Day

Irises
by Francisco X. Stork (Author)
304 pages

Booktalk: Kate is bound for Stanford and an M.D. — if her family will let her go. Mary wants only to stay home and paint. When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, who is in a permanent vegetative state, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.

Snippet:
“What do you means Father’s dead?” Kate shouted into the phone.
“I went to check on Moma after you left and he had died.”
“Oh, oh my–” Kate stopped herself. “Did you call 9-1-1?”
“No.”
“Do it now. Never mind, I’ll do it. I’ll be right over.”
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5 Great Mother’s Day Books

Eloise’s Mother’s Day Surprise
by Lisa McClatchy (Author) and Tammie Lyon (Illustrator)
Eloise gets ready for Mother’s Day in this easy reader.

Fancy Nancy’s Marvelous Mother’s Day Brunch
by Jane O’Connor (Author) and Robin Preiss Glasser (Illustrator)
Nancy plans the perfect Mother’s Day. Lift-the-flap book

I Like Noisy Mom Likes Quiet: A Mother’s Day Story
by Eileen Spinelli (Author) and Lydia Halverson (Illustrator)
The title says it all! Picture book

The Mother’s Day Mice
by Eve Bunting (Author) and Jan Brett (Illustrator)
Three mouse brothers try to find the perfect gift for their mother. Picture book

The Night Before Mother’s Day
by Natasha Wing (Author) and Amy Wummer (Illustrator)
Dad and the girls get ready for Mother’s Day. Picture book
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STEM Haiku

Share your own haiku about a STEM topic during National Poetry Month.

(STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

stand up
sitting all day is
bad they say, so stand or walk
as you work today
© 2012 Anastasia Suen
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Site Meter Read and Write Sports: Readers Theatre and Writing Activities for Grades 3-8

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Great Books

Picture Book of the Day

Vote for Me!
by Ben Clanton (Author, Illustrator)

Booktalk: It’s election time again. The donkey wants your vote. So does the elephant. And each will do just about anything to win your support…

Snippet:
DONKEY:
Hey, you!
Yes, YOU with the great hair and that dazzling smile.
Listen, you should–

ELEPHANT:
DON’T LISTEN TO THAT DONKEY!
You’re too smart for that.
You’ll want to…

BONUS! See the video!


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Chapter Book of the Day

Fracture
by Megan Miranda (Author)
272 pages

Booktalk: Eleven minutes passed before Delaney Maxwell was pulled from the icy waters of a Maine lake by her best friend Decker Phillips. By then her heart had stopped beating. Her brain had stopped working. She was dead. And yet she somehow defied medical precedent to come back seemingly fine — despite the scans that showed significant brain damage. Everyone wants Delaney to be all right, but she knows she’s far from normal. Pulled by strange sensations she can’t control or explain, Delaney finds herself drawn to the dying. Is her altered brain now predicting death, or causing it?

Snippet:
The first time I died, I didn’t see God.
No light at the end of the tunnel. No haloed angels. No dead grandparents.
To be fair, I probably wasn’t a shoo-in for Heaven. But honestly, I kind of assumed I’d make the cut.

BONUS! See the video!


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5 More Great Earth Day Books

Biscuit’s Earth Day Celebration
by Alyssa Satin Capucilli (Author)
Biscuit the little yellow puppy goes to school for Earth Day. Easy reader.

Earth Day (On My Own Holidays)
by Linda Lowery (Author) and Mary Bergherr (Illustrator)
Learn about how Earth Day started. Easy Reader.

Earth Day
by Margaret McNamara (Author) and Mike Gordon (Illustrator)Lloyd G. Douglas (Author)
What can Emma do for Earth Day? Level 1 easy reader.

Let’s Get Ready for Earth Day
by Lloyd G. Douglas (Author)
Dan and his class get ready for Earth Day. Easy reader.

Sid the Science Kid: Earth Day Fun
by Jennifer Frantz (Author)
Sid is going to plant a tree for Earth Day, but first, he wants to know…what is dirt? Level 1 easy reader.
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STEM Haiku

Share your own haiku about a STEM topic during National Poetry Month.

(STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Go Away, Bugs!
Oh bugs, bugs, bugs, who
said you could come in? This is
my house, not yours. Scram!
© 2012 Anastasia Suen
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Literary Links

How To Search Google By Reading Level (via @eBookNewser)
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Site Meter Read and Write Sports: Readers Theatre and Writing Activities for Grades 3-8

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Young Readers

Picture Book of the Day

Happy Easter, Mouse!
By Laura Numeroff (Author) and Felicia Bond (Illustrator)

Booktalk: Help Mouse find out who is leaving Easter eggs all over the house!

Snippet:
When he wakes up on Easter
morning, he finds a yellow egg
under his covers.

With each page turn of this board book, readers see Mouse finding eggs in a new color. The color words are printed in that color – a nice touch!
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Comic of the Week

Ferret Fun
by Karen Rostoker-Gruber (Author) and Paul Ratz De Tagyos (Illustrator)
32 pages

Booktalk: Fudge and Einstein are ferrets. Marvel is a cat. Two ferrets plus one cat equal trouble.

Snippet:
FUDGE: We’ve got to do something or we’re ferret fritters fur-ever!
EINSTEIN: What can we do?

FUDGE: We could ignore her.
EINSTEIN: She’ll bug us more.

FUDGE: We could run away.
EINSTEIN: Then who would feed us raisins?

FUDGE: It’s no use. We’re doomed.
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STEM Haiku

tornado
dark sky, funnel clouds
twirling, swirling, lifting high
twisting, tossing…gone…
© 2012 Anastasia Suen

The sirens went off three times Tuesday afternoon, but the 13(!) tornadoes didn’t pass directly over our house, thank goodness!

If you didn’t see the tractor trailers lifted up by the tornado, watch this video.


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STEM Friday is coming!

STEM Friday is coming! (STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

If you blog about science or math books tomorrow, come share your link or a STEM haiku of your own!

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Literary Link

My April Quick Tips column: Hot Topics: STEM Poetry is at Booklist Online.

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Site Meter My NEW chapter book is Just So, Brianna (All-Star Cheerleaders)

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Great Books

Picture Book of the Day

C. R. Mudgeon
by Leslie Muir (Author) and Julian Hector (Illustrator)

Booktalk: C.R. Mudgeon, a sensible hedgehog, likes knowing just what to expect. Always. No surprises, no excitement. So when a noisy new neighbor, Paprika the squirrel, arrives, C.R. Mudgeon is even less cheerful than normal.

Snippet:
At suppertime C.R. Mudgeon smelled something strange.
Peppery.
Tickly.
He sneezed.
Paprika was cooking. The air was thick with her spices.

BONUS! See the video!


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Chapter Book of the Day

The Glass Collector
by Anna Perera (Author)
352 pages

Booktalk: Fifteen-year-old Aaron lives amongst the rubbish piles in the slums of Cairo. His job? To collect broken glass. His life? Wasted. His hope? To find a future he can believe in.

Snippet: Aaron walks slowly and painfully, trying hard to take the weight off his left knee, which is throbbing badly after a fall this morning with a pony and cart. The toe he jabbed and the elbow he bashed when he landed on the hot, potholed road hurt almost as badly and, for one awful moment, he thinks he’ll just sink down on the pavement and give up.

BONUS! See the video!


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STEM Haiku

(STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Write a haiku about STEM for National Poetry Month and share it.

Binary Words
Electricity
on and off. Words are ones and
zeroes. Talk is math.
© 2012 Anastasia Suen
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Literary Links

Ready to write your children’s book? Apr 4-May 23 (online) writing workshops begin next TODAY!

Education Week: New Literacy Standards Could Challenge Even Passionate Readers
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Site Meter My NEW chapter book is Just So, Brianna (All-Star Cheerleaders)

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

STEM Haiku

STEM Haiku

In honor of National Poetry Month, we invite you to share an original STEM haiku.

(STEM is Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)

Share your original STEM haiku at the new STEM Friday blog.

Humming
you never rest
computer, you’re always hum,
hum, humming a tune
© 2012 Anastasia Suen
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Picture Book of the Day

Senorita Gordita
by Helen Ketteman (Author) and Will Terry (Illustrator)

Booktalk: In this Tex-Mex retelling of The Little Gingerbread Man, Senorita Gordita –a little corn cake– escapes from the frying pan and leads a merry chase. (Try the recipe for gorditas in the back!)

Snippet: And with a flip, and a skip, and a zip-zoom-zip, off she ran. Lagarto skittered after her.
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Chapter Book of the Day

Floors
by Patrick Carman
272 pages

Booktalk: Ten-year-old Leo Fillmore should know everything there is to know about the Whippet Hotel–he is the janitor’s son after all. But a whole lot of mystery gets thrown his way when four cryptic boxes are left to him…boxes that lead him to hidden floors, strange puzzles, and an unexpected friend or two.

Snippet: Leo sat up in bed and thought of his mother’s voice; then he thought of ducks and breakfast. After that, he remembered the one thing he’d hoped to forget in his sleep: Merganzer D. Whippet, the owner and creator of the Whippet Hotel, was gone.

BONUS! See the video!

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Literary Links

Ready to write your children’s book? Apr 4-May 23 (online) writing workshops begin next week!

Did your child have 1000 hours of one-on-one reading by first grade? (via Momania: A Blog for Busy Moms)
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Site Meter My NEW chapter book is Just So, Brianna (All-Star Cheerleaders)

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Road Work Ahead (in the book club!)

My Book of the Week

Road Work Ahead by Anastasia Suen
A transportation picture book

“Suen’s sparse rhyming verse leads readers through the busy scenes and uses simple vocabulary that suits both the youngest listeners and those just beginning to read.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“A batch of Grandma’s homemade oatmeal cookies beckons, but for this backseat narrator, the sights and sounds along the road to her house are equally compelling.” ~ Publishers Weekly

Activities:

Play the Road Signs Matching Game.

Find out more about Cars, Trucks, and Construction Play.

Watch the construction site video.

Make a Traffic Light Necklace with yarn and stickers.
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Picture Book of the Day

The Adventures of Granny Clearwater and Little Critter
by Kimberly Willis Holt (Author) and Laura Huliska-Beith (Illustrator)

Booktalk: The Clearwater family is heading west in their covered wagon. But when Granny and Little Critter are accidentally thrown from the back, they are suddenly on their own.

Snippet: They flew through the sky for almost a mile until they landed stuck to a prickly pear cactus. Granny kept napping as if nothing has happened, but Little Critter’s eyes popped open wide as he watched his family’s wagon disappear from the horizon.
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Chapter Book of the Day

The Gray Wolf Throne (A Seven Realms Novel)
by Cinda Williams Chima (Author)
528 pages

Booktalk: Han Alister thought he had already lost everyone he loved. But when he finds his friend Rebecca Morley near death in the Spirit Mountains, Han knows that nothing matters more than saving her. But nothing prepares him for what he soon discovers: the beautiful, mysterious girl he knew as Rebecca is Raisa ana’Marianna, heir to queendom of the Fells.

Snippet: Three lean young men in Ardenine civilan garb played cards at a table by the door. Four had come in, but one of them had left a while ago. Several times, Raisa looked up and caught one or another of them staring at her. Apprehension slithered down her spine. Thieves or assasins? Or just young men showing interest in a girl on her own?

BONUS! See the video!

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Literary Links

Ready to write your children’s book? Apr 4-May 23 (online) writing workshops begin next week!

How can you help your child learn to read?
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Site Meter My NEW chapter book is Just So, Brianna (All-Star Cheerleaders)

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

Here Comes the Bus

My Book of the Week

Here Comes the Bus by Anastasia Suen
A Bebop Easy Reader

  • Reading level: Guided Reading™: B DRA: 2 Intervention: 2
  • Paperback: 8 pages
  • Publisher: Bebop Books
  • A Chinese American girl takes the bus to school and greets her friends, one by one, at each stop.

    Also available in Spanish as Ya viene el autobús

    Activities:

    Use the lesson plans from the 91 page Illinois School Bus Safety Program.

    First School has school bus music, coloring pages, crafts, and online games.

    Play the online School Bus Safety Games.

    Visit the Traffic Safety Kid’s Page for coloring pages, puzzles and a word scramble.

    Download Free Bus Safety Presentations in PowerPoint.

    Use these lesson plans with your class.


    See inside the book
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    Picture Book of the Day

    St. Patrick’s Day
    by Anne Rockwell (Author) and Lizzy Rockwell (Illustrator)

    Booktalk: Mrs. Madoff’s class celebrates St. Patrick’s Day!

    Snippet: On St. Patrick’s Day, I wore my green shirt, green pants, and even my green striped socks. Pablo wore green sneakers.
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    Chapter Book of the Day

    Tails of Spring Break
    by Anne Warren Smith (Author)
    128 pages

    Booktalk: Everyone, it seems, is going somewhere fun for spring break-everyone except Katie Jordan and her family. Even her best friend, Sierra, is going to Hawaii! But then Katie realizes she’s not the only one being left behind-what about all those poor lonely pets? And so Katie sets out to save her spring break with a pet-sitting business. But Katie hadn’t bargained on having a business partner-especially not someone as awful as Claire Plummer!

    Snippet: On the last day of school before spring vacation, it sounded like almost every kid in my fourth grade class was getting away from Oregon. They were going places where the sun was shining. Places like Disneyland and San Diego. Even Hawaii!
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    Literary Links

    Research Shows that Books without Text Can Increase Literacy, Vocabulary Skills in Children with Developmental Disabilities

    Join @CBCBook in celebration of the 93rd annual Children’s Book Week, May 7-13, 2012! #CBW
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    Site Meter My NEW chapter book is Just So, Brianna (All-Star Cheerleaders)

    Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

    Great Books

    Picture Book of the Day

    The Goodbye Cancer Garden
    by Janna Matthies (Author) and Kristi Valiant (Illustrator)

    Booktalk: After Mom and Dad tell Janie and Jeffrey that Mom has cancer, the whole family goes to the doctor to ask questions. “Is Mom better yet?” Jeffrey asked. “Not yet,” she said. “But we’re working very hard to make her better-probably by pumpkin time.” That gave Janie an idea…the family plants a vegetable garden. As the garden grows, Mom’s treatment progresses…surgery, chemo, head-shaving and other side effects, radiation…and when it’s all done, there are healthy pumpkins and a healthy Mom!

    Snippet: One sunny Saturday in March, Dad and Jeffery dug the vegetable bed while Mom and I drew a map.

    “Everybody choose two vegetables,” I said.

    I already knew mine–cucumbers and tomatoes.
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    Chapter Book of the Day

    Juniper Berry
    by M. P. Kozlowsky (Author) and Erwin Madrid (Illustrator)
    240 pages

    Booktalk: Juniper Berry’s parents are the most beloved actor and actress in the world—but Juniper can’t help but feel they haven’t been quite right lately. And she and her friend Giles are determined to find out why.

    On a cold and rainy night, Juniper follows her parents as they sneak out of the house and enter the woods. What she discovers is an underworld filled with contradictions: one that is terrifying and enticing, lorded over by a creature both sinister and seductive, who can sell you all the world’s secrets bound in a balloon. For the first time, Juniper and Giles have a choice to make. And it will be up to them to confront their own fears in order to save the ones who couldn’t.

    Snippet: One night, when they thought I was asleep, they left the house and walked into the woods. I followed them. I didn’t want to be caught so I kept far back. They walked for a long time, almost in a daze.

    BONUS! See the video!


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    5 Great Basketball Books

    It’s almost time for March madness!

    Basketball’s Greatest Players
    by Sydelle Kramer (Author)
    Uncover basketball history in this Level 5 easy reader biography.

    Cool Basketball Facts
    by Abby Czeskleba (Author)
    Learn cool basketball facts to share with your friends. Easy reader

    Fair Game
    By Trisha Speed Shaskan (Author) and Erik Christenson (Illustrator)
    The new kid doesn’t play fair…what will the others do? Easy reader

    Let’s Talk Basketball
    by Amanda Miller (Author)
    See how the game is played in this easy reader illustrated with photographs.

    Michael Jordan
    by Lisa Wade McCormick (Author)
    Find out about one of basketball’s greats in an easy reader biography.
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    Literary Links

    Ready to write your children’s book? Mar 7-Apr 25 (online) writing workshops begin today!

    Short Genres, Big Messages: writing workshops for 3rd-4th grades (via @ChoiceLiteracy)
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    Site Meter My NEW chapter book is Just So, Brianna (All-Star Cheerleaders)

    Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.