Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 23: Introversion, #GrowingReaders, #KidLitWomen + #KidLitCon

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #ALAYMA, #BookLists, #Cybils, #FlexibleSeating, #GrowingBookworms, #kidlitcon, #KidLitWomen, #learning, #literacy, #Math, #ReadAloud, #SchoolLibrarians, introversion, schools, smart speakers, and teaching. 

Top Tweet of the Week

YES! This: Being An Is Not Something Which Needs To Be Cured | Introversion + being yourself should be celebrated | via

Book Lists + Awards

NothingStoppedSophieThe Newbery / Caldecott 2019: Spring Prediction Edition from

How To . . . (2018 Edition) — shares some new "how to"

22 Must Have Wordless for Kids of All Ages, from

12 Kid-Approved Middle Grade Books That Tackle |


WheresHalmoniToday on the blog, an Interview with Julie Kim, author of Elem / Middle Grade winner WHERE'S HALMONI?

Diversity + Gender

- Mothers and Fathers: Gender Stereotyping in by

The Fallacy of the Strong Female Character | Do we talk about "strong boys" in ? | via for +

Growing Bookworms

DrumsGirlsUsing Whole-Class Conversations for Closure after finishing chapter books in the by

Past our Classroom Walls | shares ideas inspired by + more

Why bookish events matter in terms of building + communities by |

Five Ways Your will Sell Itself (Without taking up valuable class time!) | |

Kidlitosphere / #KidLitCon

KidLitConNoDetail First Sponsor: Thank you Providence March 22-23, 2019

Hey there, + publishers | Sponsorships (March 2019) Are Now Open! – |

Hey there, + bloggers, authors, illustrators + advocates: The Call for Presenters for (next year) is officially open! –

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

JamesGiantPeachWho’d be a storybook parent? Bad things happen to them. |

"But this has been key: I realized I must find a way to run my private life, my life, and my business life as an . The new blog world offers just that advantage." via

Why Books Should be Your Priority, According to | |


Hey, Alexa, What Are You Teaching Our Kids? | | Impact of smart speakers on kids' +

BATWaitingGameInteresting post on the idea of kids needing a "Circle of Seven" caring adults around them + how this manifested organically in 's Bat series |

Schools and Libraries

3 Conversation Shifts in per – Product vs. Process, +

We’re looking for the next of the Year! | | Past winners inc. +

This is cool: British art wins $1 million teaching prize -

"I just wish it was easier to teach and be engaged in the broader world"

12 Ways to Upgrade Your | |


CuriousIncidentHow Novels in Class Can Strengthen Student Engagement |

© 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.

Relative Strangers: Paula Garner

Book: Relative Strangers
Author: Paula Garner
Pages: 368
Age Range: 13 and up

RelativeStrangersIn Relative Strangers, by Paula Garner, high school senior Jules learns for the first time that she spent nearly two years in foster care when she was a small child, while her alcoholic single mother struggled. Since then, Jules' mother has stayed sober, if distant, and the two live a frugal existence. Jules can't help feeling a bit envious of her two best friends, Gab and Leila, who have much more stable, comfortable home lives. When Jules decides to track down her foster family, she finds Luke, five years her senior, who is thrilled to reconnect with his long-lost little sister. However, while Luke thinks of Jules as the sister whose diapers he helped change, Jules, with no memory of Luke's family, struggles to overcome a powerful attraction to her handsome "brother." 

Personally, I was a little uncomfortable with the "attraction to the brother-figure" storyline, though I understand that it was necessary to provide conflict to the story. Apart from that, however, I quite enjoyed Relative Strangers. Garner's characterization is strong, particularly when it comes to Jules. Jules positive breathes from the page, as do her friends, including Eli, a quirky gay barista who keeps pet rats. The relationship between Jules and her mother is nuanced, and really, none of the relationships in the book are one-dimensional. This is especially true for Jules' relationship with Gab and Leila, who are depicted as proton and neutron (completely solid bond) to Jules' close but still secondary circling electron. 

Here are a couple of quotes, to give you a feel for Jules' voice:

"Dr. Hathaway put some money down on the table. "Pizza money, in case you're still hungry after you've eaten us out of house and home. Gotta keep those tapeworms thriving." He winked at us. I glanced at the cash on the table, thinking how many hours of work a few twenties represented to me and how they were nothing to the Hathaways, and the Wassermans, too. I cringed at myself for the money envy on top of the family envy, but apparently my coveting knew no bounds. When Leila's dad gave her a kiss on the temple, I wanted to crawl under the kitchen island with the copper-bottomed pots and fancy appliances and cry."


"Stepping outside was like receiving a hug from a benevolent deity. The sky beamed a blue of impossible vibrancy, and the air smelled of rain soaked earth and budding green life. Spudly, the Jenskins's basset hound, barked joyously at me through the fence as I passed by. Sun flashed in the water rushing along the drainage ditches on Elm Street. As I made my way through the neighborhood and into town, I buzzed with excitement and hope." (Chapter 6 - as Jules is about to meet Luke for the first time)

So we have vivid, evocative writing; strong characterization; and gender, religious, and socioeconomic diversity. Jules also has unusual interests (she loves everyday old things, like china and buttons). There's plenty of emotion (including a couple of sad things), without Relative Strangers being overly melodramatic. There are some aspects that make Relative Strangers better for high schoolers than middle schoolers (references to casual sex, smoking pot, sneaking alcohol from parents), but nothing that isn't realistic or thoughtful. In short, this is top quality young adult fiction all around. Recommended for teens and for adults who enjoy YA. 

Publisher: Candlewick Press 
Publication Date: April 10, 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).

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 16: #KidLitCon, #KidLitWomen, Playgrounds + #LoveOfReading

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this relatively busy week include #DiverseBooks, #dyslexia, #gender, #GRA18, #GraphicNovels, #HarryPotter, #KidLitCon, #KidLitWomen, #librarians, #math, #MentalHealth, #phonics, #play, #ReadAloud, #resilience, #SchoolLibraries, #SocialMedia, boys and reading, grading, growing bookworms, learning, reading, and schools.

Top Tweets of the Week

Research-Tested Benefits of Breaks to help reset focus in |

SnowyDayBlack Kids Don’t Want to Read About Harriet Tubman All the Time - A call for more books about everyday experiences of black kids from

Cybils Awards

Today on the blog: Interview w/ , author of middle grade speculative fiction winner THE DRAGON WITH A CHOCOLATE HEART

Diversity + Gender

CCBC 2017 Book Statistics are now available

TurtlesAllTheWay Offer Windows, Mirrors on | via

On Ways that We Recommend Certain Books for Certain Kids, and how we (teachers, parents, librarians, booksellers) need to do better, by

How Empowering Girls to Confront Conflict and Buck Perfection Helps Their Well-Being |

Banishing “Boy Books” and “Girl Books” from the Lexicon – Stop limiting choices by

BoldGirlsReadingGuideIntro to Children’s Books Ireland’s new initiative, , a celebration of girls + women in children’s books by

Seeks Solutions to in Children’s Publishing |

Events + Programs

The Rising New York Road Runners Program (available nationwide) gives kids a chance to earn Marketplace credits for their school by running

RT @PernilleRipp: Voting is open for Global Read Aloud 2018 Picture Book Author/Illustrator Choice

Growing Bookworms

MinecraftZombieYES! My Secret Reading Identity by Julia Guthrie | realizes she needs to celebrate her own true interests to avoid hypocrisy in what she tells

Enjoyment of , not mechanics of reading, can improve for boys | Laura Scholes describes call in UK + Australian |

Kids to Love : 3 Strategies That Work from

Kidlitosphere / #KidLitCon

What’s New on Website? – shares updates re: Providence March 2019 | There's already a list of those planning to attend!

KidLitConNoDetailHere's the scoop on 2019-Providence! from co-organizer

New blog post from | & Be the Change You Seek!

+ bloggers + authors: Now is your chance to VOTE on Panel Discussions for 2019 (Providence RI, 3/22/19)

is a year away but look who’s coming! – March 22-23 Providence 2019 Early Attendee List

Registration for March 22-23, 2019 (next year) is now LIVE! – | Organizers:

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, Publishing and Social Media

theory keeps kids thinking (+ thus keeps them ), reports

How to cure your addiction | via | (Is it ironic to share this on social media?)

Are Made for Book Lovers, tiny towns that have made their speciality -

Parenting, Play, + Learning

StarWarsmathLearn Well, You Will with Workbooks | gives thumbs up to these new supplemental learning books from

In Britain’s Playgrounds, ‘Bringing in Risk’ to Build Resilience -

The “10,000-Hour” Myth: Why Deliberate Practice Isn’t Enough to Succeed + people should also focus on their innate strengths | via

Schools and Libraries

OPINION: Here’s a way teachers can help break down equity barriers in high school: to students -

Author calls “places of recognition for young people” in new PSA from

44 Positive Practices That Are "Fixing" Today per | , , + much more

Rethinking How Students With Are Taught To Read :

InnovatorsMindset3 Thoughts for Improving Attendance in – Educators could make feel more valued + more engaging

The Goal of Instruction is to Get , Not to Use Phonics When Reading, guest post from

How to Create a Gradeless Classroom in a School That Requires | |

Does your have Striving ? You should hire qualified says | Focusing on would help "fix" education system

YouYourChildSchoolHow To Find A Your Kids Will Love (And That You Will, Too) | A conversation w/ |

In , the Kids Are Not All Right | on promoting students' mental well-being

A brief note on walkouts - a cautionary note for who suspend the usual consequences from


60 Titles for 3-6 Year Olds | from + more

© 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.

How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure: Kaye Newton

Book: How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure
Author: Kaye Newton
Pages: 170
Age Range: Adult Nonfiction

ScreenLovingKidsReadHow to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure is a well-researched, user-friendly guide for parents on this specific topic. Author Kaye Newton isn't a teacher or reading expert - she's a parent who struggled with her own children's falling off of reading during adolescence, and set out to look for solutions. While there's not a lot in the book that was new to me, because I read a lot in this area, I think that Newton did a nice job of distilling recommendations from sources like Jim Trelease, Donalyn Miller, Penny Kittle, and others. She also has a nice set of book recommendations that are designed to "hook" kids, with titles grouped by age range and category (history, nonfiction, humor, etc.). The books she recommends include many of what I would consider the "new classics" as well as some traditional classics, with a reasonable (though not extensive) representation of diverse titles. 

I agreed with and applauded most of Newton's recommendations throughout the book. She strongly supports giving kids choice in what they read, and she doesn't get hung up on reading levels or literary quality. She's a proponent of anything that involves long-form reading, vs. brief snippets on texts and Facebook, including fiction and nonfiction, magazines and audiobooks. She strikes me as not completely sure about graphic novels, but she goes with the research and agrees that they are "real reading" and can be used to hook readers. She's solid on choice and putting the pleasure in pleasure reading. 

I wasn't completely on board with some specific recommendations that she makes for boys and reading because I feel philosophically that boys should be encouraged to read books with female protagonists. But I think that the general audience of parents who are trying to encourage reluctant readers will find the specific recommendations helpful. Similarly, I'm not a fan of giving kids rewards for reading. And to be fair, neither is Newton, but she does outline cases where she thinks they can help, for particularly resistant readers. But those are my only, minor, quibbles.

I found myself highlighting many passages as I read through How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure. Newton starts by telling parents why they should encourage their kids to read for pleasure, with a nice section on the benefits for teens and preteens (stress reduction, improved concentration, increased empathy, etc.). She views encouraging reading as a parent's job, and she doesn't let parents off the hook in terms of modeling reading, though she's generous with her definitions. For example, one suggestion to increase summer reading is to designate a time that the whole family reads, but that reading could include articles for work, the newspaper, or other choices.

Newton is empathetic to the difficulties that parents can face in striving for more reading time (it's hard to get kids to put down their screens), but stays positive about the reasons to do so. She takes on various questions, like whether it's ok for kids to re-read (yes), whether it's ok to read on an e-reader, what to do about kids who are reading above their grade level, how to help kids with learning disabilities, and so on. She urges parents to surround their kids with reading material, whether from the library or other sources, and provides  suggestions for making reading "the most interesting and accessible activity in the room." 

As my daughter is not yet an adolescent (thank goodness), and is at this point still an avid reader (thank goodness), there were parts of this book that were not as relevant for me. I won't be setting up book clubs any time soon, for instance. But I still enjoyed reading this book, because I agreed with so much of what Kaye Newton had to say. I did pick up a few new ideas, too. How to Get Your Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books for Pleasure is a fairly quick read (with lots of lists and bullets). I think that any parent seeking to engage a reluctant teen or preteen reader could find something useful to try. It's also good just for refreshing one's general intent to raise readers (and be a reader). All in all, I definitely recommend giving this book a look! 

Publisher:  Linland Press
Publication Date: January 10, 2018
Source of Book: Review copy from the author

© 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).

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 9: #WomensHistoryMonth, #SchoolLibraryMonth, #STEM + #ReadingCommunities

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #audiobooks, #BookLists, #EarlyLiteracy, #Flipgrid, #InquiryMindset, #nonfiction, #PictureBooks, #ReadAcrossAmerica, #reading, #ReadingAloud, #SchoolLibraries, #STEM, child development, Growing Bookworms, play, schools, science fiction, and Women's History Month. 

Top Tweet of the Week

Authors Share Their Favorite Kids’ Books About Girls, Written by Women

Book Lists

31 New Biographies to Celebrate by

JourneyDynamic Featuring Boisterous, Spirited Girl Protagonists! for boys or girls to read, a from

14 to Introduce Concepts | from

New : About Dogs from

RA RA Read: + Notebook Novels, from Jennifer Wharton |

Scythe100 Must-Read Young Adult Books, new by | books by books by: + more

RT @CharlottesLib: Nothing is quite like a Wrinkle in Time, but after much careful thought, I made a list (8 Great Books for Kids Who Love A Wrinkle In Time @BNKids) I was happy with! What would you add?

Cybils Awards

Today on the blog: An Interview with , author of winner SCYTHE

Events + Programs

Happy Birthday ! Here are Ideas to Celebrate Read Across America Week & Dr. Seuss from

New Blog Post (+ new blog!): We’ve Secured Hotel Providence for KidLitCon 2019 (3/22+23/19)! | + are rock stars!

GhostApril is | This year's theme is Making Connections at Your , w/ spokesperson | Details:

Growing Bookworms

Five Tips For Helping Kids Read Better | Stella Tokar Blog |

Four Steps to Get Screen-Loving Kids to Read Books, guest post by at |

Fostering a With FlipGrid

HybridsNow, more than ever, young children need to be read to – | "Parents must read to children. must be in every community" |

The importance of teaching children early skills | | Why is important + when to begin

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

On , shares her guidelines for Buy vs. Borrow, and asks for yours

GraveyardBookCan you recommend a book?…Maybe, or maybe not? | will "recommend w/ caution + w/ an eye on the past as well as the present"


Delaying May Protect Against Developmental Disorders - |

How to Spot - New guidelines focus on helping better identify teens who may be struggling, as rates climb |

Schools and Libraries

overhaul in schools | District aims to reduce quantity + improve quality where it remains |

CantSayCantPlay“There’s no room for you here…you can’t play” | Thoughts on how to keep kids from excluding others from in the from LBurkins

What are public to do when a student is clearly , but does not qualify for asks

When You Know Better- Edition | shares thoughts (evolved over time) on round robin + in the

Kids learn better when they’re moving. Just ask this Memphis and dance coach. | via

InquiryMindsetHow To Ease Into Independent Inquiry Projects | + |

Ideas for choosing that build a love for story + help students master key + content-area standards |

Ideas for including more in classrom , w/ book suggestions, from

Why Tech Executive Susan Wu Says Her Plan to Disrupt Is Different - |

RT @MrsPStorytime: Do you need funding for your school library? Check out the grant channel . Thx for the valuable resource!

, the -Out Movement, and Excellence. What can we do as educators to change the testing culture education has become? asks


Global study finds more women go into fields where they have fewer options. In places like US w/ more options, they make other choices | Susan Pinker

Eight ways to introduce kids to at an early age | Toys w/ manipulative elements + more

This is surprising: students protest at over smartphone addiction |

© 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.