Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 15: Bookish Giving, Diverse BookLists + Love for #Librarians

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. It's a fairly brief list today, probably because we're all getting too busy for blogging around the holidays. (I know I am!) Topics this week include #BookLists, #DiverseBooks, #literacy, #math, #ReadAloud, #STEM, awards, charitable giving, Cybils, growing bookworms, and libraries.

Top Tweet of the Week

The 2017 Bookish Charitable Giving Guide from + lots more

Book Lists

HundredBillionStars31 Days, 31 Lists: Day 10 featured one of my fave sub-genres: 2017

Cybils

Reading Round-Up, Part 1 from Elem/MG speculative fiction judge (+co-blog editor) https://t.co/2jTSN2xYF6

Today's Featured REVIEW: Christmas in Cooperstown, reviewed by easy reader/early chapter books chair

Today's featured REVIEW is YASF nominee Caraval, reviewed by

Today's featured REVIEW: elementary nominee Grace Hopper: Queen of Computer Code | reviewed by

Diversity

WhenDimpleMetRishiThe Message Your All White Booklist sends to patrons, white and of color, a challenge from

How white parents are addressing racism – by to their children - via

Growing Bookworms

Why and How Benefit Middle Graders, w/ tips for choosing titles + references, by

CaptainUnderpantsDon’t Be the Grumpy Film Critic of Children’s Literature by | being dismissive of books they love turns kids off https://t.co/kRjOy3ybx6

Schools and Libraries

School, Teen Recognized at 2017 I Love My Librarian Awards |

Study links later start times for teens w/ economic benefits | via  https://t.co/6JieWfXuWj

© 2017 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.


Ellie, Engineer: Jackson Pearce

Book: Ellie, Engineer
Author: Jackson Pearce
Illustrator: Tuesday Mourning
Pages: 192
Age Range: 8-12

EllieEngineerEllie, Engineer is an early middle grade novel by Jackson Pearce, lightly illustrated by Tuesday Mourning, about a girl named Ellie Bell who loves to design and build things. She's a more grown up (~10 years old), more confident version of Rosie Revere, Engineer. Ellie has turned the playhouse portion of her backyard playset into a workshop. She walks around wearing a tool belt. Her prize possession is a small drill. Her best friend, Kit, also likes to build things, though Kit is more interested in things like staying clean and attending beauty pageants than Ellie is. 

Ellie, Engineer begins with Ellie furious because the neighborhood boys refuse to let her play soccer, because she is a girl. She builds a water balloon launcher and uses it to wreak a successful revenge. However, when Kit's birthday present (a French-braiding machine) goes awry, Ellie finds herself needing a to build a new present in secret and on short notice. Her ambitious plans to build a dog house (for the dog that the eavesdropping girls believe that Kit is getting) require help. And that means that Ellie has to reach out to other kids, including one of the dreaded neighborhood boys. 

As a woman who studied engineering in college and graduate school, I, of course, found Ellie irresistible. I liked her parents' free range attitude towards her pursuits, and I liked that even though she was into building things she also liked to wear things like fluffy purple skirts. I loved that she built a balloon launcher, and that she was able to seek out help where her own strengths were not a match (like in decorating the inside of the dog house). I loved this:

"The drill was one of her favorite tools because it was the only electric tool she was allowed to use without her mom and dad watching. She'd written Ellie Bell's Drill across the side in purple paint pen, then drawn some flowers and some dragons, which had mostly rubbed off by now since she used it so much." (Chapter One)

The combination of wanting to build things, but also wanting to decorate a drill with flowers and dragons, felt realistic to me. Contrived, maybe, a tiny bit, but I'll give it a pass because I think that readers will like it. 

I also liked the illustrations, consisting largely of Ellie's designs, drawn on graph paper. Oh, how I loved graph paper when I was young, all through school. The sketch of the balloon launcher, made out of a spare yard sign, two brooms, exercise bands and a funnel, was delightful, especially little instructions like "SOAK BOYS!".

I was not quite as keen on the friendship dynamics of the book. When Ellie started telling unnecessary lies (because of what she thought other people would think about her co-conspirators), I gave a little sigh. The conflicts were resolved rather easily in the end for my taste, though I do think that the book is appropriate to kids in the target age range. I'm interested to test it out on my seven year old daughter. I did laugh out loud at this bit:

"Ellie frowned. This was turning into a big project, with so many people wanting to help. Plus, she wasn't so sure she trusted the neighborhood boys when they were all together like this. Boys, as far as she could tell, were sort of like rabbits. One was fine and maybe even interesting to play with, but a whole bunch of them would just be a lot of jumping and running and smelling." (Chapter Six)

This last quote does suggest a rather direct targeting of Ellie, Engineer toward girls, though I would think that boys would find Ellie's projects interesting, too. 

Parents who want to encourage their girls to be interested in STEM fields should certainly pick up a copy of Ellie, Engineer for their daughters. It's a shame this is releasing in January, instead of in time for Christmas. It would also be a good addition to elementary school library collections. The back matter suggests that this book is the first of a new series, so I expect that we'll see Ellie and her friends in future books. Recommended and entertaining!

Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (@BloomsburyKids)
Publication Date: January 16, 2018
Source of Book: Advanced review copy from the publisher

© 2017 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).


Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 8: Bookish #Christmas Gifts, Holiday #Reading, and #Math as #Play

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #Cybils, #GiftGuides, #GrowingBookworms, #GrowthMindset, #math, #play, #poetry, #STEM, book awards, kidlitosphere, parenting, preschool, reading, schools, and testing.

Top Tweet of the Week

How Rewires Your Brain for More Intelligence and Empathy | via https://t.co/VeTkIzTrar

Book Lists + Gift Guides

RealFriendsThese books can help build strong girls — and boys — for today’s world. This has some nice choices https://t.co/44mEDoQeV8

Center for Multicultural Literature’s Best for 2017 (Hint from : It is Excellent) | https://t.co/iyf1y6BLSe

Fun Children’s Book Gifts for Christmas | Detailed from

Bookish Gifts for Christmas - suggestions from https://t.co/Yt5nYLiS4d

Cybils

ForestWorldToday's featured REVIEW: fiction nominee Forest World, reviewed by

Friday's featured REVIEW: middle grade fiction nominee Stef Soto, Taco Queen | reviewed by

Today's featured REVIEW: Fiction nominee A List of Cages by , review by

Events and Programs

Guys Lit Wire: On behalf of in Washington DC, THANK YOU!!!!!!!!

Growth Mindset

Why We Should Embrace Mistakes (+ actively model managing them) in | Amy L. Eva

The Best Questions for Encouraging a | Lee Watanabe-Crockett

Kidlitosphere

A Year of Reading: -- Call for Roundup Hosts for early 2018 from

Fun stuff here: 2017 Children’s Lit: The Year in Miscellanea —

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

LetItSnowHelping plan for the luxury of extra time over the holidays, by  [Pictured: one of my favorite holiday reads, Let It Snow]

Survey by Finds More than 770,000 UK children 'don't own a book'. Those kids 15X less likely to be good readers

Schools and Libraries

U.S. Graduation Rate Hits New All-Time High, With Gains in All Student Groups -

Communicating the Importance of Early Childhood Education to Parents, how and why, does w/

U.S. scores drop in international study -

RT @MindshiftKQED: Anxious teens often just want counselors to help them feel safe again — but their problems will likely only escalate if they don’t learn how to cope with stress, discomfort, and panic. https://t.co/dT8WErTbcW

STEM

is | Axioms + can use to encourage playful math

Holiday Math and More: Math Teachers at Play #114 – rounds up seasonal activities, puzzles, etc.

RT @SheilaRuth: Cool project teaching data analytics to students who might not otherwise be interested in #STEM - Edmondson athletes form Sports Analytics Club https://t.co/e5mFrteagd

© 2017 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.


The Uncanny Express: Kara LaReau + Jen Hill

Book: The Uncanny Express (The Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters, Book 2)
Author: Kara LaReau
Illustrator: Jen Hill
Pages: 176
Age Range: 7-10

UncannyExpressThe Uncanny Express is the second book in the Unintentional Adventures of the Bland Sisters series, written by Kara LaReau and illustrated by Jen Hill. The Bland sisters, Jaundice and Kale, love on their own in a boring house in Dullsville. In the absence of their parents (who have been gone for years, having adventures), Kale and Jaundice darn people's socks for a living. In The Uncanny Express, however, they are drawn into an adventure involving a train ride, a lady magician named Magique, and a mysterious disappearance. They find themselves co-opted twice as assistants, first to Magique, and then to detective Hugo Fromage. It's quite an adventure for two girls who would prefer to stay home, eat cheese sandwiches, and watch the grass grow. 

Here are a couple of snippets, to give you a feel for the girls:

"I don't like train stations," Kale decided. "There's too much hustle. Not to mention bustle." (Page 19, ARC)

and:

"Well, this is the mother of all plans," said Magique. "This time, my act is even bigger, even more astonishing than it was before! And it all starts with the very thing the audience hated so much last time: mind reading. Would you like to see a little bit of it?"

"As long as we can keep eating," Jaundice said, taking another bite of her croque madame. Once she scraped off the fried egg on top and removed the ham inside, it almost tasted like a cheese sandwich from home." (Page 39, ARC)

Although this will go over the heads of new readers, I enjoyed the way the book spoofs Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot with Hugo Fromage. His prior cases included "The Mysterious Affair at Kyle's" and "The Murder of Roger Adenoid." Magique is also something of a spoof of stage magicians, admitting outright that everything she does is an illusion (though a hint of actual magic does appear, too). In fact, all of the characters fill locked room mystery stereotypes of one sort or another (jaded reporter, limping ex-military officer, ditzy rich blonde, etc.). This would make a great read for an 7-year-old who has recently discovered the joys of playing Clue, and appreciates the joys of the Fluffernutter (marshmallow fluff plays a surprisingly important role in the story). 

Kara LaReau sprinkles light humor throughout the book. Like this:

"Just remember, mademoiselles, the key to being a good detective is to be observant," said the great detective.

"'Observant?'" repeated Kale. On these occasions, she sorely missed her dictionary.

"It means we must pay close attention to everyone and everything," Hugo Fromage explained.

"Sorry, what did you say?" asked Jaundice, still considering the clipboard.

The great detective sighed." (Page 65, ARC)

It made me laugh. Jen Hill's black and white sketches also add to understanding of the story for new readers, particularly a schematic of the train labeled with occupants of the various compartments. Little quotes from the books that the girls are reading begin each chapter, adding humor and/or insight, depending on the chapter. 

All in all, The Uncanny Express is a worthy successor to The Jolly Regina. This one is a quirky, fun book, perfect for introducing newer readers to the joys of mysteries. Kale and Jaundice are unusual heroines, in their desire for sameness and stability, but this makes then stand out compared to the various plucky heroines typical to most children's books. In The Uncanny Express the two sisters do experience personal growth, but they do so without changing their basic natures. There's also a setup to Book 3, which is sure to be welcome. Recommended! 

Publisher: Amulet Books 
Publication Date: January 9, 2018
Source of Book: Advance review copy from the publisher

© 2017 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).


Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: December 1: Gift Guides, Boys and Reading, Growth Mindset + More

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #creativity, #Cybils, #GrowYourHeart, #GrowthMindset, #play, book awards, boys and reading, flexible seating, gift guides, math, preschool, reading, schools, #STEM, teaching, and testing.

Book Lists + Gift Guides

CrosswordsForKidsI found some useful ideas from this | 25+ Stocking Stuffers for the Whole Family https://t.co/VLAu5OQuzG

The Ultimate Children’s Literature Illustrator Gift Guide 2017 — w/ thanks to

Kicking off another 31 Days, 31 Lists | Day One – 2017 Great |

Ten Gift-Worthy Subscription Boxes for Bookworms by

Christmas is Coming: 50 Mighty Girl | from  https://t.co/pH4avReepU

Cybils

FishGirlToday's featured REVIEW: elementary/MG nominee Fish Girl | review by

Today's featured REVIEW: nominee 7 Ate 9: The Untold Story | review by Ami Jones

Today's featured REVIEW: Sr. High nominee Girl Rising: Changing the World One Girl at a Time | review by

Events + Programs

RandonHouseLogoFor every person who shares a good deed on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram by 12/25 w/ , + Dr. Seuss Enterprises will collectively donate $1 (up to $20k) to

RT @MrsPStorytime: Calling all K-4 teachers! There is still time to enter by Be-a-Famous Writer Contest! Prizes from & judged by Run till Dec 15th FREE to enter https://t.co/T34s2y6xPa

Growing Bookworms

"The secret to getting boys to read is the same as the secret to getting girls to read: empower them to make their own choices" via https://t.co/b8y4C6qpb3

Kidlitosphere

WhatMakesAMonsterVarious tidbits in this week's Fusenews: “Luminous with the beauty and fragility of life” — + more

Miscellaneous

6 Unusual Habits of Exceptionally Creative People – via

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

RaisingKidsWhoReadHow to Get Your Mind to Read | "The problem is ... bad education habits engendered by a misunderstanding of how the mind reads"

Thoughts from On Goal Failures... and Possibilities w/ links to more

Schools and Libraries

Want To Become Successful? Allow Them To More | Kim Nassoiy via https://t.co/tgo3tiyoVF

What Must Consider When Moving to | | Pix from + more

College students learn less when they use computers or tablets during lecture, taking notes by hand is better | Susan Dynarski

InnovatorsMindset"If the technology takes away our human connection that is crucial for the development of our , it is not worth it" on parent portals vs. conferences

5 Reflective Questions to Encourage a |

Is It Possible To Teach + Willpower + , and how might we do that in ? asks

Liberate the Turkey and on Holiday Weekends suggests other activities instead (like ) https://t.co/pVXLSwCDFE

3 Articles for Discussion on “Success” – quotes |

STEM

RT @MindShiftKQED: When young kids solve problems with their before bed it makes a difference in their academics later

Testing

Maybe American Students Are Bad at Standardized Tests (vs. global rankings) Because They Don’t Try Very Hard, suggests new study by economists |

© 2017 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.