AIR SHOW + Fan NONfiction from Starwalk Kids Media

You’ve heard of fan fiction, those stories that fans write about their favorite characters. Thanks to StarWalk Kids Media, the next big thing for young writers is going to be fan NONfiction!

SWK_Collab_Learning_Environment

StarWalk Kids Media Awarded NSF Grant to Build Collaborative Learning Environment

(NEW YORK) June 2, 2014 – StarWalk Kids Media, a leading provider of high quality children’s eBooks for Schools and Libraries, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to build a Collaborative Learning Environment featuring the StarWalk Writer™ — technology that will enable children to collaborate in real time to create nonfiction writing that will be published in a student-created, community published database.

Designed to make learning and teaching reading in complex nonfiction subject areas like science and social studies more effective and exciting for upper elementary and middle school students, the StarWalk Kids Collaborative Learning Environment will integrate three specific types of interactivity proven to help children develop literacy skills: Writing to read, Writing for an audience, and Writing together. The company will also support educators by providing both curriculum support materials and professional development tools.

“At StarWalk Kids Media we are committed to serving the growing community of educators who are working to empower their students with 21st Century digital literacy skills,” says StarWalk Kids publisher Liz Nealon, adding, “Collaboration has always been a hallmark of science learning in particular, so it seemed like a natural next step to enhance our eBook offering by creating a real time, online, global environment where students from diverse geographic areas and experiences can write together and publish their work.”

The development of the StarWalk Kids Collaborative Learning Environment is supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 1415774. It will utilize the Collabrify™ software development kit (SDK) developed by Elliot Soloway, Arthur F. Thurnau Professor at the University of Michigan School of Education and Cathleen Norris, Regents Professor, University of North Texas under previous NSF grants IIS-1249312 and IIS-1123965.

ABOUT StarWalk Kids Media: StarWalk Kids Media, recognizing the importance of equipping students with 21st Century digital literacy skills, publishes an award-winning collection of 500 engaging, enhanced eBooks for children in grades K-8. Founded by renowned children’s science author Seymour Simon and former Sesame Street Creative Director Liz Nealon, the StarWalk Kids collection includes books by many well-known authors and illustrators such as David Adler, Jim Arnosky, Johanna Hurwitz, Pat Mora, Laura Vaccaro Seeger and Jane Yolen. The company’s aim is to provide children and educators with a tightly curated collection of high-quality fiction and nonfiction titles supporting the Common Core. The StarWalk Kids Reader™ software works on virtually any device, allowing multiple simultaneous access for students at an affordable, annual subscription price. The StarWalk Kids platform, which currently serves more than 300,000 students in the US and abroad, has been awarded the QED seal, signifying “Quality. Excellence. Design” by the Digital Book Awards.

Website: www.StarWalkKids.com

Twitter: @StarWalkKids

Facebook: StarWalk Kids Media

Pinterest: StarWalk Kids

I am so very pleased with this news because my STEM picture book, AIR SHOW will be a part of that eBook collection soon!

AIR SHOW book cover

AIR SHOW interior spread 1

AIR SHOW interior spread 2

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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Spring Cleaning

Hello! I wanted to let you know that I am moving Booktalking #kidlit from a self-hosted WordPress back to my original hosted WordPress.com blog. (Same name, same posts, different location.) Hosting a blog on my website had been a goal of mine for many years, so that is why I moved over in 2012, but like anything else there are plusses and minuses.

MINUS #1
You do your own tech support.

MINUS #2
You download, store, and back up everything yourself. (When you run out of space, you have to delete something else…again!)

On the other hand, when I move back to my original hosted WordPress.com blog, someone else does all of that techy stuff!

And there’s more!

PLUS #1
With this move I can get a new “responsive” theme that will automatically adapt to the size of the screen it is being viewed on–cellphone, tablet, computer. (Yes, I could download that myself, but that brings me back to MINUS #1 and #2 above.)

PLUS #2
WordPress’s blog post emails ALWAYS show the book covers. That is not the case with the Google Feedburner email delivery I have been using for the self-hosted blog (and for some of you on this hosted WordPress.com blog). In fact, it is just the opposite. The default setting for Google’s Feedburner email delivery is to REMOVE all images in the post.

(If your email message says Google at the bottom, please click here to sign up for WordPress email delivery. After this message comes through I am deleting the Google Feedburner email settings for both blogs. The last time I “remodeled” a blog, the Google Feedburner service sent out 3 months of posts in one day!)

The plan is to move the old posts over during spring break and to start booktalking again on St. Patrick’s Day. I’m not sure if I can “export” them all in one fell swoop, or if I have to copy them in one by one. We shall see what works! I just wanted to send out a message ahead of time in case the blog sent any old posts by mistake.

Enjoy your spring break! I’ll be back on Monday, March 17th…

Copyright © 2014 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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Young Readers

Picture Book of the Day

Baby Animals At the Zoo
by Editors of Kingfisher

Booktalk: With playful text, and beautiful close-up photography this board book features baby animals in their natural habitats.

Snippet:
Golden lion tamarin
I am a tiny monkey with a golden mane like a lion. My long fingers help me find yummy insects. Munch munch!
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Comic of the Week

Chick and Chickie Play All Day!
by Claude Ponti (Author, Illustrator)
32 pages

Booktalk: Chick and Chickie love to play in their very own way, whether scaring each other silly or tickling the letter A. As young readers eagerly turn the pages of the story, they’ll look forward to spotting all the witty side jokes and hilarious details.

Snippet:
Chickie, let’s make masks!
Good idea, Chick!
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Free Comic Book Day

The first Saturday in May is Free Comic Book Day!

See the video and visit the Free Comic Book Day website find out more!

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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!

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Children’s Book Week

Today is the LAST day to vote for the Children’s Choice Book Awards

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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.

While I’m Away

I’m at TLA today!

The Texas Library Association is meeting in Houston this week.

I’m signing these books on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (Today!)

I’m signing Road Work Ahead from 10am-12pm at Overlooked Books #2629

I’m signing All-Star Cheerleaders from 10am-12pm at Overlooked Books #2629

I’m signing Read and Write Sports from 1-3pm at ABC-Clio Booth #1502

I’m signing A Girl’s Guide to Volleyball from 3-4pm at Capstone Booth #1919

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While I’m Away

While I’m away, Katie is sharing my National Poetry Month guest post.

See Katie’s video bio!

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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.

See you at TLA!

See you at TLA!

The Texas Library Association is meeting in Houston this week.

I’m signing these books on Wednesday, April 18, 2012. (That’s tomorrow!)

I’m signing Road Work Ahead from 10am-12pm at Overlooked Books Booth #2629

I’m signing All-Star Cheerleaders from 10am-12pm at Overlooked Books #2629

I’m signing Read and Write Sports from 1-3pm at ABC-Clio Booth #1502

I’m signing A Girl’s Guide to Volleyball from 3-4pm at Capstone Booth #1919

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Picture Book of the Day

A Hockey Story
by Richard L. Torrey (Author, Illustrator)

Booktalk: A young boy joins a new hockey team…

Snippet: Every Saturday morning I wake up really, really early and go to the ice rink.
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Chapter Book of the Day

The Wood Queen
by Karen Mahoney (Author)
336 pages

Booktalk: To keep her best friend, Navin, from being killed at the hands of vicious wood elves, Donna Underwood stole the elixir of life. Now she’s facing an alchemist tribunal while her mother lies dying, succumbing to the elven curse that shattered her mind. In desperation, Donna seeks an audience with Aliette, the fierce and manipulative Wood Queen, who offers a deal: if Donna can use her strange and burgeoning powers to help the wood elves, Aliette will free her mother from the curse. Along with Navin and Xan, the half-fey guy she’s falling for, Donna struggles to unlock the secrets of her iron tattoos in time to save her mother’s life. But some secrets are better left untold.

Snippet: And the crows; so many of them. A murder of crows? Circling around and around in an indigo sky, shedding oly feather that look like black petals.

Maybe I’m just having anxiety dreams ahead of the trial. Aunt Paige gets mad when I call it that–my trial–but isn’t that what it is?
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April 2012 Carnival Of Children’s Literature

  • Our April 2012 host is A Curious Thing.
  • Add YOUR post to this carnival by filling out this form.
  • The deadline for adding your post is April 26th.
  • The carnival will go live on April 28th.

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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)

Power
Zip, Zap! Electrons
move in a circuit, bringing
electricity.
© 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.

STEM Haiku

STEM Haiku

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

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

Sixty Seconds
A minute is a
minute, so why are some days
short and others long?
© 2012 Anastasia Suen
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Picture Book of the Day

Can I Bring Woolly to the Library, Ms. Reeder?
by Lois Grambling (Author) Judy Love (Illustrator)

Booktalk: A young boy asks his librarian if he can bring his friend Woolly, a mammoth, to the library. His humorous pleas are a fun way to teach children how to use a library.

Snippet:
Can I bring Woolly to the library, Ms. Reeder?
Can I?
PLEASE?!
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Chapter Book of the Day

BZRK
by Michael Grant (Author)
400 pages

Booktalk: Set in the near future, BZRK is the story of a war for control of the human mind. Charles and Benjamin Armstrong, conjoined twins and owners of the Armstrong Fancy Gifts Corporation, have a goal: to turn the world into their vision of utopia. No wars, no conflict, no hunger. And no free will. Opposing them is a guerrilla group of teens, code name BZRK, who are fighting to protect the right to be messed up, to be human. This is no ordinary war, though. Weapons are deployed on the nano-level. The battleground is the human brain. And there are no stalemates here: It’s victory . . . or madness.

Snippet: Anyone could have done it. But could they have done it as fast? Could they have wired the pilot’s brain three days? And set her up to have a switch thrown as dramatically as this?

Hell no.

BONUS! See the video!

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Literary Links

It’s National Library Workers Day – Name your favorite librarian as a star!

Show support for your library during National Library Week, April 8-14, by uploading this art to your Facebook page.
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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.

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.

Nonfiction Monday

Picture Book of the Day

Surviving the Hindenburg
by Larry Verstraete (Author) and David Geister (Illustrator)

Booktalk: On May 6, 1937, the giant German airship the Hindenburg exploded in a ball of fire as it attempted to land at Lakehurst Navel Base in New Jersey. Of the 93 people on board, a remarkable 62 survived, including Werner Franz, the ship’s 14-year-old cabin boy.

Snippet: As the Hindenburg‘s cabin boy, 14-year-old Werner had many chores to do for the officers and crew–setting tables, washing dishes, making beds, cleaning boots and uniforms. Much of the time, Werner lived and worked below deck.

BONUS! Download the teacher’s guide!
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Chapter Book of the Day

Attack of the Killer Video Book Take 2: Tips and Tricks for Young Directors
by Mark Shulman and Hazlitt Krog (Authors) and Martha Newbigging (Illustrator)
76 pages

Booktalk: Originally published in 2004, Attack of the Killer Video Book has become indispensable for budding filmmakers and video production classes. This updated edition has been revised to include new technology, with hot tips on digital cameras and editing; shooting on a phone or webcam; adding cool and safe special effects; and much more. Aspiring directors will discover tricks and techniques for becoming a camera sharpshooter; lighting like a pro; making awesome music videos; and using social networking sites to post and promote their movies.

Snippet:
Let There Be Lighting:
Your camera can adjust to the color of light because it has an automatic light balance. That means it works to make white things look white, even if there’s yellowy light on them. Then all of the other colors shift, too.

BONUS! See inside the book!
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Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday

This week’s Nonfiction Monday Round-up is here at Booktalking.

Nonfiction Detectives

100 Scope Notes

Shelf-employed

Kidlit celebrates Women’s History Month

The Swimmer Writer

Jean Little Library

Boys Rule Boys Read!

Pink Me

Wrapped In Foil

True Tales & A Cherry On Top

Anatomy of Nonfiction

Biblio File

Archimedes Notebook

All About Books with Janet Squires

NC Teacher Stuff

SimplyScience

GatheringBooks

GeoLibrarian

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Spring 2012 Call for Nonfiction Monday Hosts

Nonfiction Monday

We’re looking for Spring 2012 Nonfiction Monday Round-up hosts.

Go here to sign up.

Edited to add: The list filled up before noon!

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Nonfiction Book Blast 2012

Susan Goldman Rubin booktalks Music Was IT: Young Leonard Bernstein

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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March 2012 Carnival Of Children’s Literature

  • Our March 2012 host is Just Children’s Books!.
  • Add YOUR post to this carnival by commenting here.
  • The deadline for adding your post is TODAY, March 26th.
  • The carnival will go live on March 28th.

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

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.

March 2012 Carnival Of Children’s Literature

March 2012 Carnival Of Children’s Literature

  • Our March 2012 host is Just Children’s Books!.
  • Add YOUR post to this carnival by commenting here.
  • The deadline for adding your post is March 26th.
  • The carnival will go live on March 28th.

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Spring Break

Booktalking will be on Spring Break until March 26th.

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

Copyright © 2012 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.