Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 12: #Cybils Nominations, #KidLitCon Panels and #Reading for Pleasure

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookAbandonment, #BookLists, #Censorship, #Cybils, #DiverseBooks, #GrowthMindset, #homework, #introversion, #JoyOfReading, #KidLitCon, #LearningStyles, #MentalHealth, #Mindfulness, #Nonfiction, #PE, #SchoolLibrarians, #ScreenTime, #spelling, #ViewpointDiversity, parenting, schools, and testing.

Announcement of the Week

Cybils-Logo-2018-Round450pxNot a tweet, but: #Cybils Nominations are open through Monday, October 15th. Just a few more days! You can find the nomination link and details here. The Cybils award is for high-quality, kid-friendly children's and young adult books published in a variety of categories in the past year. Anyone can nominate. The Cybils shortlists (which come out on New Year's Day) are an excellent resource for parents, teachers, and librarians looking for excellent titles.

Book Lists + Awards

DragonsHalloween -themed Early for Kids Ages 6-10, timely from

This is a super-fun : 24 Must Have Books for 1-Year Olds according to |

Not sure about celebrating ? has compiled a of Literature for Young Readers that you can peruse instead

NeverTooYoungTwo New Books for preteen + young teens w/ a lot to love

Yet To Be Nominated | suggestions from

books not yet nominated for the Awards, a from

Diversity + Gender

And a response to Shannon's piece: How handles Boys Who Boo Books — | "I looked every student in the eye and told them that whatever they like to read is okay. And that making fun of someone for what they like is not okay"

PrincessInBlackWhat are we teaching boys when we discourage them from books about girls? The goal is to encourage . The more we try to tell kids which books are for them, the more reluctant they are to read

Let’s Indigenize Our Bookshelves & Fully Welcome Native Kids As Readers by

This is an interesting study: “My-side bias” makes it difficult for us to see the in arguments we disagree with –

This article about by in is fascinating | Large Majorities Dislike + don't fit into the divisive tribes that most people think they do

Growing Bookworms

DogmanWhy Belong in All of Our Libraries – A defense from as + "Because you see when we tell kids that a book is too easy we are dismissing their entire journey"

We are Changed Because of Our Daily Stories | shares the way that has helped grow her classroom into a community of

Growing up in a house full of books is major boost to later and levels, 31 country study finds (w/ >80 books needed to be effective)

Kidlitosphere / KidLitCon

KidLitConNoDetailAnnouncing Big Issues in Panel! | This year's organizers are +

Don’t Forget the ! Panel w/ | Organizers

[To see the other KidLitCon2019 panels being announced individually, follow or @KidLitCon. I'll share again when the full program is published.]

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

THIS: Children who enjoy + have significantly better mental wellbeing + are much happier than their peers says new report based on survey of UK children

Pleasure includes anything you read just because you want to. In this post for UK , shares benefits of + ways help

BadKittyCensoring the Unsaid, OR, Damned If You Do, #%&*@ If You Don’t — "If we start removing all the books that don’t contain bad words but mere allusions to them, where precisely does that end?"

Thoughts from on one of the key ways that she makes time for : leaving books that aren't working unfinished. We need to teach this to our kids.

Parenting, Play + ScreenTime

Kids and : What's a parent to do?

were concerned that my son plays alone at . Here’s why is ok with it | | FWIW my daughter does this sometimes, maybe due to

Schools and Libraries

WhyStudentsAre You a Visual or an Auditory ? It Doesn’t Matter, "there’s no good scientific evidence that actually exist"

I appreciated these musings from on working on a + something new every day |

6 Improvements Inspired By Practicing -

Should you teach kids ? has learned over time that avoiding spelling is doing the child "a complete disservice". She shares some tips

The Problem with, "Show Me the Research" Thinking. Understanding the limitations of + accepting responsibility for contributing to moving it forward via

is just as important as any other subject, say Andrew Sprake + Clive Palmer

In These Districts, Friday Is Not a School Day. More adopt a four-day schedule to save money, retain | | What do you guys say? Good idea, or no?

The Case for Quality : Why it improves , and how can help | argues that reducing homework might help some affluent kids but would deprive poorer kids

The Teen Brain: How Can Help Students Manage Emotions and Make Better Decisions - via

Testing / Assessment

Singapore abolishes exam rankings + various other + metrics, says is not competition + each should focus on his or her own learning progress

In similar news, UK's Ofsted (Office for Standards in ) inspectors to stop using results as key mark of success | +

The Data Says…What? (Or: Why we struggle to make sense of results) –

© 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: October 10: Print Books, Picture Books, and Looking for Nonfiction

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 usually sent out every three weeks.

Newsletter Update:  In this issue I have two book reviews (one middle grade and one board books), a roundup of children's items published by the US Government Bookstore and two literacy milestones (pushing me to read print books, and a renewed appreciation for picture books). I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, full of reading- and education-related news. 

Reading Update:  In the last three weeks I finished four middle grade and five adult titles. I read/listened to: 

  • PowerPlayBeth McMullen: Power Play (Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls). Aladdin. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 21, 2018, library copy. This is the second book in this series which would be a great followup for slightly older fans of the Spy School series (with a bit more of a girl power slant). I look forward forward to future books about Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls
  • Jennifer L. Holm: The Third Mushroom. Random House Books for Children. Middle Grade Fantasy. Completed September 22, 2018, print review copy. My review.
  • Tom Angleberger: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Book 1). Harry N. Abrams. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 23, 2018, library copy. I had seen this book around for years but never read it. I found it a fun, quick read, but my daughter didn't have any interest in reading it. Maybe when she's a bit older... 
  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse: Our Hero. Random House. Early Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed September 28, 2018, read aloud to my daughter, who remains on a huge Babymouse kick.
  • Michael Gurian: The Minds of Girls: A New Path for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Successful Women. Gurian Institute. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 21, 2018, on Kindle. This book had some interesting ideas about how differences in male vs. female brains could affect parenting decisions.
  • HardwiringHappinessRick Hanson: Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Harmony. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 22, 2018, personal copy. This book I really liked a lot. The idea is to kind of re-wire your brain by noticing things that make you happy and taking a bit of extra time to really absorb them. 
  • Heather Mac Donald: The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. St. Martins Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 3, 2018, on Kindle. I read this book as part of my quest to understand what's going on on college campuses these days. I thought that Mac Donald made some interesting points, but found the book to be a bit of a slow read due to the significant over-abundance of examples. 
  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Dey Street Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 7, 2018, on Kindle. This book is about using big data, particularly Google search data, to draw social science conclusions. It's not all correlation. There are sections on the types of A/B tests that tech companies can run on the fly in the presence of today's huge quantities of data, for example. The writing style is engaging and some of the ideas that Stephens-Davidowitz teases out of the data are fascinating (he was inspired by Freakonomics, and it shows). 
  • Anne Bogel: I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. Baker Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 8, 2018, personal copy. This book was a visual and experiential delight. I read a chapter or two before bed every night for a couple of weeks, and enjoyed it immensely. It would make a perfect holiday gift for any book-loving friend or family member. 

RemarkableThingI'm currently reading Hank Green's An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. I'm listening to Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis. However, my audiobook reading time has been significantly curtailed since I started listening to podcasts. The most interesting of those that I listened to recently was a recommendation from Sandhya Nankani, an installment of Shane Parrish's The Knowledge Project from last year in which Shane interviewed Naval Ravikant. You can view a transcript here. There's some good discussion about reading (not telling kids what to read, not putting pressure on yourself to finish books, etc.). 

My daughter and I are continuing to read picture books together while she eats breakfast. We've been checking out a few each week from the library (more details about our library visits here and about her renewed love of picture books here), as well as reading old favorites. She also helps me to screen any titles that arrive for potential review, though I'm not really seeking those out at this point.  

RealFriendsIn terms of her own reading she continues to worry that her "addiction" to graphic novels is making it more difficult for her to branch out into reading more text-based titles. This is going to be a topic for another post (with thanks to several of my Facebook and Twitter friends). For now I'll just say that it's something we are working on. I'm trying to help her balance reading a few more books that are text-based without losing the joy that she gets from diving into those graphic and notebook novels over and over again. This is mixed in with a push from her teacher for her to read more nonfiction, which we are also working on. 

Not to worry, though. I still have to drag her away from books to get her out of the house, into bed, or out of the bathroom. I am still getting back strain because she wants so many library books. And one of my best moments of the weekend was listening to her read Real Friends aloud to her Build A Bear, Janet, during a car ride.  

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

House: 5 First Words Board Books: Michael Slack

Book: House: 5 First Words Board Books
Author: Michael Slack
Pages: 14 pages each
Age Range: 3-5

HouseBoardBookI don't normally review board books. But my daughter and I both thought that House: 5 First Words Board Books, illustrated by Michael Slack, was exceptional. It arrives as a box, hinged on the left-hand side, so that you can open it like a book. The outside of the box displays the exterior of a house, with a cut-out for the upstairs window. Inside, five little chunky board books are laid out face up, representing five locations in a house (and matching what you see on the cover of the box, like you are now peeking inside). The rooms consist of living room and bedroom upstairs, and bathroom, kitchen, and garage downstairs. 

The living room is the largest room (twice the width of the others) and drew us in first. Each page contains a simple labelled illustration of something that you might find in the living room: sofa, coffee table, computer, art, window, etc. The final page spread shows all of the items assembled together in a view of the whole room, with the text "living room". The other books follow the same general pattern. The bedroom is, as you would expect, a child's bedroom, so the illustrations include things like an easel and crayons. The kitchen has a high chair. The garage has a tricycle. It's definitely a family home. 

Although not specifically mentioned, a black cat makes a cameo in the final spread of each book. The cat is somewhat mischievous, hiding in a drawer, flushing the toilet, and getting behind the wheel of the car. My daughter and I found the presence of the cat a nice detail, and something to guess about as we read each book ("What will the cat be doing here?"). 

Slack's illustrations have a graphic design quality to them, with bold colors and simple shapes, and a robust two-dimensionality. The couch, for instance, is a flat shape with thick black lines delineating the seat, sides of the arms, and cushion divider. There's some texture to the green shape and the black lines, but it's more an abstract representation of a couch than anything else. I think this works in terms of being kid-friendly. You can tell what everything is, and the illustrations are highly accessible. I see this as a book that will make preschoolers want to try their hand at drawing household objects. Or perhaps they'll try abstract art, because the art in the living room is delightful. 

The whole package of House is simply satisfying. The way the books fit together in the box and the way the interior and exterior of the box reflect and augment what's going on in the book, works. The labels of the objects are simple and appropriate, and the illustrations are cheerful and straightforward, with just a hint of whimsical detail. My daughter would have flat-out adored these books when she was about three, and even at eight she was utterly charmed. We are at the stage of giving away a lot of books, but this one is already dear to our hearts, and going on our keep shelf. Highly recommended! This would be a wonderful gift for any preschooler. 

Publisher:  Chronicle Books (@ChronicleKids
Publication Date: September 11, 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).

Literacy Milestone: A Renewed Affection for Picture Books

LiteracyMilestoneAThis isn't really a milestone, but I have noticed lately that my daughter (now eight, in third grade) is demonstrating a renewed affection for picture books. We never stopped reading picture books, but for a while we were mostly reading chapter books together. Now, since taking a break from the Harry Potter books and making more regular library visits, we've once again been reading picture books together at breakfast. I also constantly find picture books open or in piles in her bedroom and bathroom.

Duke!She's a bit less patient with these picture books than she was when she was younger. If she doesn't like a book, she will tell me to put it aside, and not even finish it. For instance, she found Aaron Reynolds and Dan Santat's new picture book Dude! annoying because it only had one word in it (though that was the point), and rejected it utterly. 

But she still has the potential to fall in love with a new book. We picked up the book Bears and Blossoms by Shirley Parenteau and David Walker at the library a few weeks ago. It's part of a series, but I had never run across the books before. They are aimed more at preschoolers, but my daughter fell head over heels anyway. I've had to renew Bears and Blossoms twice now, and we've checked out whatever other books in the series we have been able to find (I need to put the others on reserve). I finally gave in and ordered her a copy this week, because I am eventually going to have to return this one. 

FulBearsAndBlossomsl disclosure: her most special teddy bear has a strong resemblance to Fuzzy, the pink bear in the books. This seems to be the key to her interest. But it doesn't matter WHY a child loves a book, just that she does. Or so I think. 

Anyway, no real milestones this week, but I think it's kind of neat that my daughter is diving back in to picture books. 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: October 5: #Cybils Nominations, #IntrinsicMotivation + Freedom to #Read #GraphicNovels

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include: #AR, #Booklists, #Cybils, #Diversity, #GenderDifferences, #Giftedness, #GraphicNovels, #GrowingBookworms, #HelicopterParenting, #Homework, #IntrinsicMotivation, #literacy, #Motivation, #ReadingAloud, #ReadingRewards, parenting, reading, and schools.

Top Tweet of the Week

Why Girls Are Better at Than Boys across the developed world. They spend more time , for one thing

Book Lists + Awards

Cybils-Logo-2018-Round450pxThe 2018 Nominations are Now OPEN! | + more

Here are some 2018 Nomination Suggestions in various categories (inc. + ) from Jennifer Wharton, Elem/ chair

15 Superb (many the start of a series) for 2nd Graders | Janssen Bradshaw w/ + more

Diversity + Gender

MissRumphius10 Positive Things about We Need to Show Kids in Books by | Kids "deserve exposure to older and a more accurate of abilities, talents + interests"

New finds: Women and Men Are Equally Bad at | "we think it is fair to conclude that the evidence for the stereotype that women are better multitaskers is, so far, fairly weak"

Giftedness + Motivation

Interesting on Peer effects on . Being observed by peers reduces the tendency of giving up immediately. via

How to help your underachieving gifted child

Some Parents Pay Up to $400 an Hour to Prep 4-Year-Olds for NYC’s Test -

Growing Bookworms

PunishedByRewardsA Closer Look at . "What do, and what they do with devastating effectiveness, is to smother people’s enthusiasm for activities they might otherwise enjoy."

A Notecard Check – A Simple Way to Check whether kids are understanding their books, without adding so much post-reading work that they will hate itself

What can do for who Abandon Every Single Book they attempt by | , + taking the long view on

Your Child’s Excuses, and What They Really Mean | | + more

ReadingTogetherReading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read by Diane W. Frankenstein (2009) | recommends this as "best of the bunch" on books about books


Lots of interesting tidbits in Fusenews: STEM Girl Fashions, the Death of “Hypothesis”, and More — | My daughter + I love dresses too

Check out the gorgeous + user-friendly new website for , chock full of , + resources like tips for

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

ElDeafoComics and : Honoring All and seeking input from about their use in the from

The straw man in the new round of the wars - shares a response from professor

Parenting + Screen Time

How I Know You Wrote Your Kid’s . "The paradox of the overzealous editing of the college essay by many is that they don’t know what a college essay is really about" JM Farkas

If You Want To Help Your Child's Brain Development, Start When They're Born. Article outlines 5 ways to do it, including of course

Researchers in new study report that the most plausible cause of wellbeing decline in youth is increased |

Schools and Libraries

BeyondMeasureLater start times will help get needed . But they aren't enough. Lawmakers should consider regulating total time spent on via

More schools are nixing because parents say it’s annoying, infringes on time + keeps kids from developing other interests |

Schools: EdPolicy + Funding

Massive study shows face bleak financial future due in part to declining enrollment + rising costs

This is kind of interesting (though I'm not sure about costs): The Case for Adding a Second 2nd Grade to Elementary (to give kids who need it more time to catch up) by

© 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.