Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Writers Wednesday

Where is your writing space? Anyplace where you open your laptop?  A favorite table at Starbucks?
Corner of the living room?  Or office? 

Why do I ask? For New York Times Bestselling author Po Bronson it was once a closet.

I came across this post by Bronson and found it well worth reading so I'm sharing it with all of you.

The post is titled simply Advice on Writing

In response to the many questions he receives from aspiring writers, Bronson shares his thoughts on finding support, dealing with rejection, and measuring personal success,  He also offers valuable insights into character, how to keep from boring yourself and your audience, voice, and storytelling.

He concludes his post by providing a video glimpse into his writing closet.  We all have a process.  What's yours?

Monday, February 25, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Shelf-employed.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "Abe'shonest words: the life of Abraham Lincoln" by Doreen Rappaport with illustrations  Kadir Nelson.

Rappaport sheds her light on the life of Lincoln by skillfully detailing both the major events in his life and personal moments and balancing her narrative with relevant quotes from our sixteenth president that provide context through his words and a heightened sense of emotion through his voice.

Rappaport: "He stuffed books inside his shirt.  In between splitting wood and plowing, he stood in the field and read." Lincoln: "The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who'll git me a book I ain't read".

Nelson's stunning illustrations capture both the man and the moment.

The book concludes  with sections titled: Important Dates, If You Want to Learn More About Lincoln Read, Websites, Selected Research Sources, and the Gettysburg Address.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Sheri Doyle.

For Poetry Friday -- "Be glad your nose is on your face and other poems: some of the best of Jack Prelutsky" with illustrations  by Brandon Dorman.

If you were going to have only one book by America's first Children's Poet Laureate this probably should be the one.  Prelutsky has collected over one hundred of his favorite poems from his other works and then generously added fifteen new verses written expressly for this volume.  In addition, he's included activities to enhance the experience of reading and sharing his work.

As always there is a wealth of clever wordplay and humor to be found in his poems with unexpected endings that will send readers back for a second, closer look at a verse that has surprised them.
Dorman's colorful artwork stands up to the challenge of sharing the page with Prelutsky's verses and celebrates the joyful words with clever visuals.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Wrapped in Foil.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "Lightning,hurricanes, and blizzards: the science of storms"  by Paul Fleisher.

Fleisher offers students a short course in the science of storms that includes how various types of storms develop, how scientist predict the changes in weather and suggests simple observations that young readers can make.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Teacher Dance.

For Poetry Friday -- "Twosomes : love poems from the animal kingdom" written by Marilyn Singer with illustrations by Lee Wildish.

In honor of Valentine's Day and just for giggles, I've selected Singer's  pun-filled collection of couplets celebrating the love between various animal pairs.  Designed as a gift book with a "To, From" page decorated with hearts, this is a little delight filled with kid-friendly verses celebrating the joy of friendship.  Familiar dogs and cats share pages with bats and porcupines in search of their own "Valentine."

HORSES: "Nose to nose, hip to hip,/ours is a stable relationship.

PORCUPINES: "Hugging you takes some practice./So I'll start out with a cactus.

Wildish provides a perfect reflection of the merry verses with cartoon style illustrations.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Writers Wednesday

This post is for all the writers out there who do workshops for students or adults or anyone looking for an innovative way to jump-start the creative writing process.

Check out "Writing with Coaches" posted  at Teaching Authors.

Mary Ann shares her experience of doing a writing workshop with a group of PE coaches which is entertaining in itself.  Better yet she details an inspired exercise that really got the everyone on board with the fun of writing.

I can see a lot of potential in this simple but effective approach to getting in touch with our creativity.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Abby theLibrarian.

For Nonfiction Monday --  "Diggingfor Troy: from Homer to Hisarlik" by Jill Rubalcaba and Eric H. Cline with illustrations by Sarah S. Brannen.

Rubalcaba opens her trek into the past by acquainting the reader with Troy's legend as related by Homer.  Then the search for the ancient lost city begins as she relates the history of the various explorations that began with Heinrich Schliemann in the 1800's and continue into the present day at what is now Hisarlik, Turkey.  Illustrations and photographs document the excavation of the city and explain the changing techniques employed over time. Maps and timelines help readers to follow the complicated history of this legendary site which has been occupied for thousands of years with each city built over the destruction of the previous one.  Archaeologists have identified nine Troys and there is still controversy and numerous theories about which, if any, is the site of Homer's Trojan War.  Notes and a detailed bibliography is included for further reading.

Best for readers in grades six and up.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by A Teaching Life.

Budding entomologists will delight in these whimsical verses about twenty-one different insects.  From dragonfly to caterpillar, daddy longlegs to cricket, Florian shares a defining characteristic of each in his signature style accompanied by abstract watercolors that will earn a second and third look.  Verses vary with different subjects there's fun wordplay as in his "Caterpillar."

She eats eight leaves at least

to fill her,
Which leaves her like a
The bold face type is Florian's -- perhaps a hint to his younger readers to note the double meaning of the word.
In other instances he physically shapes his poems to reflect their subject as in the inchworm and whirligig beetles.
He finds a voice to give readers an individual sense of each subject.
"The Daddy Longlegs" begins with a cool jazzy beat -- O Daddy/Daddy O/How'd you get/Those legs to grow/So very long/And lean in size?/From spiderobic/Exercise?
While "The Army Ants" has a martial tone with --


We're army ants.
We swarm.
            We fight.


Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Writer's Wednesday

Inspiration needed.

Having trouble with your text?  Struggling to get those words on paper?

Here's a bit of inspiration for you. 

Check out Susan Berger's post at The Pen and Ink Blog for a sampling of first paragraphs from the Cybil's Finalist List. Susan notes that four of the books also made the ALA list.

If you don't recognize all the books then perhaps it's time to expand your reading list.  I was impressed and couldn't resist putting a few more titles on my "To Read" stack.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Nonfiction Monday

Nonfiction Monday is hosted today by Apples with many seeds .

For Nonfiction Monday --  "How The Dinosaur Got To The Museum" by Jessie Hartland.

Hartland chronicles the death, deposition and fossilization of a 145 million year old Diplodocus, its discovery  in 1923 by paleontologist, Earl Douglas and the specimen's eventual exhibition at the Smithsonian Museum.  The book discusses the many steps involved, the people, and the steps required to excavate, prepare and display this ninety foot long dinosaur skeleton.

Author's Notes provide additional information about dinosaurs, Earl Douglas and his discovery, and Museum displays.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Poetry Friday

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Teaching Authors.

My selection is "Ring of Earth" by Jane Yolen with illustrations by John Wallner.

Subtitled, A Child's Book of Seasons, Yolen offers a poem story for each of the seasons: Winter song of the Weasel, Song of the Spring Peeper, Dragonfly's Summer Song, and Autumn song of the Goose.  She deftly weaves a naturalist's love of the subject with a powerful sense of time and place as in these few lines in the Dragonfly's voice --
"I am the sun's own darling.
My wings catch the flame.
Darning needle, Doctor, Hawk,
Dragon's Dragon is my name.
I was here at the world's first turning,
I will be here at the last.
What are the swift seasons to me
whose father's father's father knew the past?"

Yolen concludes her work with an Author's Note to provide additional information and context for the subjects of her poems.  Wallner's elegantly detailed art in watercolor paints and colored pencils enrich the text.

The Gingerbread Cowboy Book Trailer