Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: April 13: #NationalPoetryMonth, #Parenting, #Writing + #ReadingAloud

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter for the past 2 weeks @JensBookPage. Topics include #BookLists, #DiverseBooks, #grit, #GrowthMindset, #homework, #KidLitCon, #NAEP, #NationalPoetryMonth, #play, #ReadAloud, #STEM, #SummerReading, family reading, growing bookworms, libraries, parenting, science fairs, testing, and writing.

Top Tweet of the Week

One Powerful Yet Simple Way to Keep Kids this Summer | Teachers could send postcards of encouragement | references | via

Book Lists

PrincessInBlackA nice : Top 10 Girls of Irrepressible Spunk by Melissa Cairns


CCBC 2017 Statistics on LGBTQ+ Literature for Children & Teens

Events + Programs

Rt @MrsPStorytime: Ideas to Help Celebrate National Poetry Month

Storytelling Skills of Irvine, CA 4th Grade Class Result in Winning Contest Entry! from | creative problem-solving

Inspired by her own heroes themed writing contest, shares her own Heroes! + more [And with a very kind mention of this very link roundup]

Growing Bookworms

RT @Books4School: Reading aloud is not only beneficial to a child but for the whole family. "Reading is fundamental -- to family happiness"-

PassionateReadersOne More Time for the People in the Back | What we need to do (and not do) to nurture a love of in kids by

Parent-child reading interventions have positive psychosocial effects, noted across ages, races + ethnicities | via

Five tips to help you make the most of to your children | via | I especially like "there's no age limit"

Kidlitosphere / KidLitCon

A Bibliophile’s Guide to Providence – (March 2019)

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

HiddenSkyThe Importance of Mentoring Young Writers, w/ suggestions for getting started, by

Links to various theories on how + Overtook Other Genres In Sales Today in the UK

Parenting + Play

Means Letting Kids Make Mistakes | "sometimes kids need to struggle — and sometimes they need to conquer obstacles on their own" | Say no to $600 therapists

RT @LegoFoundation: "Imagine if ordinary places like the bus stop, the corner market, or the sidewalk could become spaces for playful learning?" That would be really cool & is what the Urban Thinkscape program from seek to achieve

GiftOfFailureRT @josha_r_eyler: A new piece I've written for the blog on resiliency and the need to take research on mindsets & grit with a grain of salt. Hat tips in here to and .

Schools and Libraries

-based yoga can help better manage stress and . Study of 3rd graders reported in via

What makes a great? So many things... | Advocacy post by ,

RT @tes: Nine in ten teachers say poverty is having 'significant effect' on pupils' learning #schools #teaching

“Another nail in the coffin for styles” – did not benefit from studying according to their supposed

Why are turning to via , fighting isolation + burnout, , mentoring, sharing best practices


Study finds the lecture remains dominant form of teaching in undergrad courses, despite findings questioning effectiveness, reports via

RT NAISnetwork: Many science fairs aren’t actually very good at teaching kids about, well, science: via


Why I Opt My Son Out of State | "The real reason is the undue stress and it started to cause him"

Nation's Report Card: Achievement Flattens as Gaps Widen Between High and Low Performers

'17 Reading: Up, Down or Sideways? - | Lack of growth in scores gives us a starting point to improve | " is a joy forever!"

© 2018 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Off Topic: Seeking a Diversity of Ideological Viewpoints

This post is off topic from the types of things I have traditionally shared on this blog. But it's something that is resonating with me right now. Feel free to ignore if it's not of interest to you.

I'm not particularly concerned about the whole Facebook / Cambridge Analytica thing: I have always been careful about what I share in Facebook, just in case. But what I am concerned about is the way that Facebook and other sites allow, even encourage, people to retreat into their own ideological bubbles. Most of us don't do this on purpose - we just tend to have friends who come from similar backgrounds and have similar viewpoints to our own. If we follow a news outlet, whether via television, podcast, or radio, or newspaper or magazine, we follow the one that makes us comfortable.

But the result of this is an ever-increasing polarization of the country. It's not just that people don't agree with one another's viewpoints - it's that they often can't even fathom how someone else could think the way that they do. This phenomenon has been building for a while, but obviously there was a sharp increase after the 2016 Presidential election. The social media sites build on this by showing is ever more of the kids of things that we like and share. Often they show us even more extreme versions, to the left of the right, as some have documented recently. 

Many people are fine with this, of course, and that is their choice. But for various reasons, I am NOT fine with this for myself. Here are some some things that I've been doing:

  • When possible, I read two newspapers every day. The San Jose Mercury News is biased to the left (as are most mainstream newspapers), and contains local news and weather that I like to keep up with. Even when I'm traveling, I still try to read it online. The Wall Street Journal is biased somewhat to the right, and also contains much more in-depth national and international coverage than the local paper.  Since reading both papers (something I've been doing for several years), I've noticed which stories are covered in which publication, and which are ignored. This can be fascinating. 
  • I also subscribe to news magazines covering a range of perspectives, and of course find similar patterns of inclusion and omission. 
  • I read Hillbilly Elegy, and highly recommend it for increasing understanding of those who are not "coastal elites." I'm reading other nonfiction titles about being more skeptical in the consumption of news and data, too. 
  • Recently, I've been attempting to ideologically diversify my Twitter feed (this would be pretty much impossible for me on Facebook). I'm following a range of news sources and personalities there. I also have carefully created a (private) list of fewer than 100 news sources. I find that skimming through the tweets for this smaller pool of people and news outlets gives me the variety in viewpoints that I am seeking. Sometimes this is disconcerting, as when there are highly varied reactions to the same event. But it is working for me. I often have to stop and think: "OK, who is saying this?". It's making me a more skeptical consumer of news, something that I think is important in this day and age. 

This is all obviously time-consuming, and it has certainly cut into my blogging. Generally speaking, I'm more interested right now in news and politics than in talking about individual books (though I love reading books more than ever). I'm more fired up about threats to freedom of speech than I am about the need for more diverse books (though I'm happy to see those numbers increasing, and glad that other people are championing it). I am more concerned about the educational system (testing, homework, and practices that sap students' joy of learning) than I am about, well, a lot of things (though I'll always care deeply about growing bookworms). In all of these areas, I've found that it's extremely helpful, though not always comfortable, to broaden the ideological perspective of what I'm reading. So that's what I'm trying to do. 

I'm not sure where all this is going to lead, in terms of my blog. I'll do another post about that soon, once I figure a few things out. Meanwhile, I welcome your feedback. Do you prefer to stay in your ideological bubble, or do you try to reach out? Do you think that it's hopelessly naive to try to understand how the people on the other side of the issues think? Do you think that I'll just end up with a headache from reading too many different opinions? Time will tell.... Thanks for reading!

© 2018 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 30: #BookLists, #Diverse #KidLit Panels, Re-Reading + #SocialMedia

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BoardBooks, #BookLists, #Cybils, #DiverseBooks, #diversity, #KidLitWomen, #math, #RaisingReaders, #SchoolLibraries, #SocialMedia, #STEM, #writing, educational psychology, Global Read Aloud, reading, research, and schools.

Top Tweet of the Week

Why matter: What years of research tell us - | "The mere presence of a is associated with better student outcomes" + lots more

Book Lists + Awards

Announcing the Top 100 Poll! — (now joining top 100 + top 100 children's novels)

MaddisFridgeA Book List for Kids Age 4-12 to Understand from |

11 About Kids with Glasses, from

Top Ten Novels in Verse by

Congratulations to the American author , the laureate of Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2018 | via

2018 Indies Choice/E.B. White Read-Aloud Award Finalists Announced |


On the blog: Interview with , author of Elementary winner HATCHING CHICKS IN ROOM 6 |

Diversity + Gender

BillBoyWonderOn advocating for at conferences by | "Rather than start with public shaming or snark, instead ... express the concern civilly."

No More All-Male Panels: a pledge from author in solidarity with

Events + Programs

RT @PernilleRipp: Sign up for the Global Read Aloud - a global literacy initiative that connects millions of students around the world starting October 2nd

Growing Bookworms

Read Like The Bachelor: A Guide for Students to help increase + build a more independent reading life by

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

BlackCauldronSo true from | "that's one of the joys of re-reading- not only do you get the story again, but you get to revisit the self you were when you first read the book"

Writing independently..The devil is in the detail | Ideas from for helping become independent

Why I Read "Old Smelly Books" (and Where To Find Them) by


How to Navigate Your Way to the Best for Your Child | Guest post from

Schools and Libraries

RT @DTWillingham: I have a new article out in , focusing on teacher education and psychology; what are teachers taught of ed psych, what seems useful to them, and how to improve.

FutureDrivenWhy Do Some Burn Out While Others Seem to Grow More Passionate? Some things the ones who are growing do, per

RT @TES: .'s research paper found that the type of school students attended (non-selective, grammar or private school) doesn't influence their results. Here, she explains her study:

Educate and Programs Will Follow -

On the Circle of Privilege + how it affects kids from | | How can help not on the enriched pathway?

Social Media/Technology

On the Need for | Hyper-connectivity is draining kids, having their mistakes captured on video + shared is even worse says

RT @NickGillespie: .'s 3 rules on how to critically read social media is the sharpest guide I've yet seen on the topic! And it smartly avoids top-down solutions to a crowd-sourced problem

New study finds Having Your Nearby Takes a Toll on Your Thinking (Even When It’s Silent and Facedown)


BecomingMathTeacherWhen Pushing Boundaries in , Where Can Teachers Turn For Help + Camaraderie? | Tips and strategies from

RT @MindShiftKQED: Offering students incentives to practice over the summer not only helped prevent , but also forced students be more precise with mathematical language

© 2018 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook.

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 28: Calendar Mysteries, How to Get Kids to Read for Pleasure, Re-Reading, and Lots of Links

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will be sending out a new issue of the Growing Bookworms email newsletter. (If you would like to subscribe, you can find a sign-up form here.) The Growing Bookworms newsletter contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, mainly bookworms, but also mathematicians and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every three weeks.

Newsletter Update:  In this issue I have three book reviews (two young adult and one nonfiction title for parents about encouraging readers) and three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter. I also have a couple of anecdotes regarding my daughter's reading, which are included below in this post. My blogging energy remains limited, I'm afraid. 

Reading Update:  In the last few weeks I finished one middle grade, one young adult and nine adult titles. This was mainly thanks to audiobooks. I read/listened to: 

  • Kathryn Erskine: Mockingbird. Puffin Books. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed March 11, 2018. My daughter brought this home from her school library and I read it to see if I thought she would like it (which I didn't - she's not ready for this book). I do think this book is well-written and compelling, but not for a seven-year old who is just inching her way into non-illustrated novels. 
  • Joelle Charbonneau: Time Bomb. HMH Books for Young Readers. YA Fiction. Completed March 13, 2018, review copy. My review.
  • Kaye Newton: How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure. Linland Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 7, 2018, on Kindle. My review
  • Gretchen Rubin: The Happiness Project. Harper. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 9, 2018, on Kindle. I've been doing a lot of reflecting on personal happiness, some of which relates to blogging, and both this book and the one that follows were useful, in different ways. I'm blogging a bit less, and working on a hand-written gratitude journal right now. 
  • Emma Seppala: The Happiness Track. HarperOne. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 11, 2018, on Kindle.
  • Calene O'Connor: Murder in an Irish Churchyard (An Irish Village Mystery). Kensington. Adult Mystery. Completed March 11, 2018, on MP3. Eh, the romantic stress was a bit contrived. But the mystery itself was non-obvious, and I do enjoy the setting. 
  • Dana Stabenow: A Cold Day for Murder. Berkley. Adult Mystery. Completed March 15, 2018, on MP3. This is my first read of this series, set in remote Alaska, and I do expect to try others. 
  • Karen E. Olson: Hidden (A Black Hat Thriller). Severn House. Adult Mystery. Completed March 17, 2018, on Kindle. This is the first of a four-part series about a woman hacker who has been in hiding since committing certain crimes, and is found. Refreshingly different. 
  • Peter Clines: The Fold. Broadway Books. Adult Science Fiction. Completed March 19, 2018, on MP3. This was a science fiction story with an intriguing premise, which I picked up as an Audible Deal. 
  • Joy Ellis: Buried on the Fens. Joffe Books. Adult Mystery. Completed March 25, 2018, on MP3. Although I've enjoyed this series, this particular title was a bit dark for me. 
  • Karen E. Olson: Shadowed (A Black Hat Thriller). Severn House. Adult Mystery. Completed March 25, 2018, on Kindle. 

YouYourChildAndSchoolI'm currently listening to The Punishment She Deserves by Elizabeth George. I'm reading You, Your Child, and School by Sir Ken Robinson. My daughter and I are still reading Harry Potter Five (The Order of the Phoenix). For her own free choice reading she has mostly been re-reading her favorite graphic and notebook novels. We passed a display of such books in Target last weekend. We own them all already. My daughter gave a little pat to each of her favorites and remarked: “I wish I could wipe them from my memory so I could read them again for the first time.” That's book love for you! 

CalendarMysteriesShe has also started to dabble in series reads like the Calendar Mysteries by Ron Roy. What I've noticed is that for books that are not graphic novels, her interest level favors significantly less advanced books than her tested reading level (which is above her grade level) would suggest. Hence she keeps coming home from the school library with books that she is not interested in, that fall into the range that she is apparently encouraged to target. She mostly  ignores them all week and then returns them unread. But she whipped through two Calendar Mysteries this weekend and started a third. You all know my view - I just want her to read whatever she finds enjoyable.

She is showing a bit more interest in the first Wings of Fire book by Tui T. Sutherland, which a friend recommended. However, it's quite challenging for her and I am not going to push her to finish. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms!

© 2018 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook

Time Bomb: Joelle Charbonneau

Book: Time Bomb
Author: Joelle Charbonneau
Pages: 352
Age Range: 12 and up

TimeBombTime Bomb is a standalone young adult thriller about a high school bombing. The story begins with a brief scene in the afternoon in which the reader learns that several teens are trapped in the school, and that the bomber is one of them. The time frame then moves back to the morning, with short chapters from the perspectives of each of six kids. As the book progresses, the reader (and the other kids) has to figure out who the bomber is. Each of the six main characters has gone to school planning something desperate, but their individual motivations are only gradually revealed.

Time Bomb  reads as a combination of suspenseful thriller and The Breakfast Club. The carefully balanced diversity of the students (in terms of race, religion, sexual identity, socioeconomic status, popularity, and body types) struck me as a bit contrived, but the survival story and the mystery both held my interest. I did have a guess as to the identify of the culprit by mid-way through the book, but I wasn't sure, and I appreciated Charbonneau's continued planting of clues. 

In a ripped from the headlines touch, one of the kids is the daughter of a senator who is trying to enact legislation that "would require that students and teachers inform the administration if they thought someone in the school might be interested in doing harm to students, teachers, or school property. Any students reported would then have to hand over their passwords to social media and email accounts of face suspension and a potential investigation by federal authorities." (Page 7-8)

It's the interactions between the students, most of whom don't know one another prior to the bombing, that give the book its heart. This is constantly balanced with efforts towards survival, however. I do think that the combination works, and will keep kids reading. 

I'm not sure whether the timing of this book, released one month after the school shooting in Parkland, Florida, will end up good or bad for readership. I personally had to wait a couple of weeks before I was ready to read it. But it certainly does offer insights into the struggles that are going on inside the hearts and minds of high school students, and the ways that some of them may respond. There are characters offering both windows and mirrors for any teen reader. I had a hint of the feeling that I had after reading Thirteen Reasons Why, that somewhere, some reader of this book might be inspired to reach out to fellow students. And if not, well, most will still enjoy solving the mystery, and wondering what they might do to survive. Recommended!

Publisher:  HMH Books for Young Readers (@HMHKids)
Publication Date: March 13, 2018
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

© 2018 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage or at my Growing Bookworms page on Facebook. This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through affiliate links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).