Thursday, February 23, 2017

2017 Fierce Reads 2017 Tour

Fierce Reads is sending 4 awesome authors out on tour in May.  Watch the video to find all about it!
SCOTT WESTERFELD!!  Need I say more?  Also, Erin Beaty, Kristin Orlando, and Taran Matharu - superior writers - EVERY SINGLE ONE!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Book Giving Day - Giveaways!

It's International Book Giving Day!💕💕💕💕 (Also Valentine's Day - hence the hearts.)

Here are some chances to WIN books and comics - Just for You.

Are you a teacher or librarian?  Well, Brightly has a chance to win a bunch of books for your class or book group!

There's a huge DC Comics giveaway being hosted by Shelf Awareness. Check it out.

Do you a Goodreads account?  Goodreads has giveaways All. The. Time. 

How about YA Books Central?  Whoa!  This site is new to me but I am signing up!  They are giving away Carve the Mark right NOW!

Give away a book today.  Check out the Book Giving Day Blog for a list of charities that will pass your book on to someone who needs it.

  Print out an International Book Giving Day bookplate.  (Check the blog for other bookplates.)  Put it in your book and hand it over to a friend.  OR, place it where someone will find it.  OR donate it to a library (they might put it in their book sale, though) or day care, school, senior center, etc. 

Monday, February 13, 2017

International Book Giving Day - 2/14/17

Check out the International Book Giving Day Website.  Treat all your Valentines with the gift of a book.  I can't think of anything I would want more.

No laughs Part 2

I lied.  There are laughs in Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson.  They are concentrated in the first several chapters as Anderson lets his narrators describe middle grade hijinks - including a report on cooties, complete with diagnostic tests - and a breakdown on the types of teachers in elementary school.

Ms Bixby is one of the Good Ones, the rarest form of teacher.  The book follows three boys through their sixth grade year with Ms. Bixby - a year that ends a month too soon when Ms. Bixby leaves for health reasons.  Then, she leaves a week before she said she would and Topher, Steve and Brand have a mission - to give Ms. Bixby the last day she deserves, no matter the cost in money or rule-breaking.

It is a comedy of errors during which we learn more about each boy and their individual trials and hopes.  These are nice kids with good parents.  Good parents can still pose problems to the kids they love - and vice versa.

To say I love this book is an odd choice of words.  I don't love books that make me sad.  To say that I think this is a good book, a worthwhile book, a book that deserves to be read?  Yeah.  I can say that.  Thanks, John David Anderson for writing a compassionate book for favorite teachers and their students.

Saturday, February 11, 2017

STEM haunts me

Heart Pump

I can't stop thinking about STEM/STEAM projects.  I suspect the fact that I get TinkerLab and Kiwi Crate emails might help.  Both sites sell kits, printables, etc., but their activity pages are crammed full of stuff you can do without spending money.

Check out this do-at-home activity from Kiwi crate.  The age range is 7 and up but doing it with littles - where YOU do most of the work and they watch - seems like a great idea.  Look around at the Kiwi Crate page for other cool ideas.  Zipline butterfly, anyone? (BTW, this on my Let's Make Stuff page for awhile.)

Do you want to set up a home laboratory for your young scientist/makers?  TinkerLab has an article and a printable with tips to help you.  

(In the case of bloggers like TinkerLab, I suggest clicking on an ad once in a while.  Rachelle at TinkerLab offers so much great stuff - for FREE! Thanks.)

Friday, February 10, 2017

2 books - No laughs

I read two books today.

 We Will Not Be Silent: the White Rose Student Resistance Movement that Defied Hitler by Russell Freedman (a god among history writers for young people).

Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson. 

Neither of these books were comedies.

Freedman outlines the story of the students who spread anonymous pamphlets all through Germany decrying Hitler's regime and telling the truth about atrocities committed by the German army.  He starts with the story of the Scholl family, - of how the family hosted discussion groups that allowed criticism of the Third Reich, of how the parents encouraged their children to think for themselves, of how the boys, Hans and Werner, gladly joined Hitler Youth but soon chafed at the restrictions in what they were allowed to read or say or even sing!  And he explains how Inge and Sophie grew disillusioned with the German Girls Movement for the same reason.

At University, Hans, and then Sophie, gravitated to like-minded rebels.  And spontaneously, out of their late night debates, the White Rose Movement began.  They spread leaflets countering Nazi propaganda with truths and exhorting German citizens to resist.   They dared to criticize the Nazi regime.

This book is a history of the movement.  Hans and Sophie are the focus. They were part of the movement from the very start.  Their arrest and executions - on the same day - became the stuff of legends.  But they were not the only heroes of this movement.  More than one hundred suspects were "swept up" in the following days.  Many of them were executed.  Their families and friends were also arrested and interrogated.  The entire Scholl family, with the exception of Werner, who was fighting on the Russian front, was arrested.  Herr Scholl was imprisoned.  The women were eventually freed.  Werner died in battle.

Not a happy read, this book was engrossing from the first page.  Freedman moves back and forth in time to give a full and captivating story. 

If only it wasn't true!  If only we could close the book and smile at the old lady who might be Sophie, or watch Christoph Probst arguing with his grandchildren - the ones who never met him.   How much better the world would be.  But, this is a book of NON-fiction, of one of the most frightening periods in modern history, and of the young people who could not be silent.

A cautionary tale.

I think I will save Ms. Bixby's Last Day for another post.  It falls into a category of books I had promised never to read again.  I am so glad I broke THAT promise.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

You say STEM. I say STEAM

This just landed in my inbox from PW - The Not-So- Secret Society, a series of science related graphic novels due out this summer.

Subscribe to the newsletter for a weekly comic and activity sheet.  Science Clubs, take note.  This looks like fun!

Note to all you library/school science programmers.  Many librarians are not only very busy doing STEM/STEAM programming, they blog about their activities.  Here are two sites that provide book partners, age levels and suggestions for stuff to do.

The Show Me Librarian, Amy Koester, at Skokie Public Library in Skokie, ILL has some impressive skills!  Check out her STEAM post for good ideas.

Stem in Libraries  provides FIFTY PLUS weeks of programming and the information they share is HUGE!!  You will find everything you need to provide stimulating fun to your young engineers, scientists, artists, math and I-don't-have-anything-else-to-do people.  Click on ABOUT US in the side bar for suggestions on how to use the site.  There are so many projects on this blog, the ABOUT US article will help you navigate. 

Friday, February 3, 2017


TOON just announced their new books with a sneak preview featuring Kevin McCloskey's book, Something's Fishy.

I love TOON and Kevin is an awesome artist and professor. 

The other books in this innovative press release are all for starting readers.  They each encourage their young readers to examine the world in a different way - through science, words and imagination. 

Yay!  TOON