Bookworm Moments: Needing the School Library

Candymakers1My family was having a discussion about the (still undecided) question of whether my daughter's school would re-open for in-person learning in the fall. We agreed that a benefit of in-person schooling would be (I think?) access to the school library. My daughter sighed a bit over her months-long separation from the library and said:

"I need the library because I'm out of call-out books." 

My husband was perplexed by this term, but I was not. My daughter was referring to the books that "call out" to her from the shelf. She is a big believer in this method of finding her next read. [Yes, she does judge books by their cover.] That's how she found her all-time favorite books to date: The Candymakers series by Wendy Mass. That's why she started Chris Colfer's Land of Stories series with Book 3. That's the one that called out the loudest (though a recommendation from a friend who was with her helped, too, in that case).

I should add that we have a LOT of  middle grade books in our house, between my own collection, the books that I've received over the years for potential review, the books that I've purchased, and hand-me-downs from friends and neighbors. My daughter is incredibly lucky, and she knows this. But I'm not trained in organizing libraries. Our books aren't curated and organized the way the ones in the library are. Our books aren't all in one room, on shelves at kid-friendly heights. Though she does find books to read at home, she's right to miss browsing the school library for the "call out" books. 

JenFourthGradeSchoolPhotoI miss my own elementary school library, truth be told. I went through there shelf by shelf, and can still place individual authors on the right shelves in my mind. [That's me in one of my school photos that was taken in the library.] I'm sure I found many "call out" books there. I adored Mrs. Tuttle, the librarian. 

My daughter is very clear on her need for reading choice, and her own preferred methods for implementing that. I hope that she'll be able to be back in the library soon. Her preference is for her own beloved school library, but she'll take the public library as a substitute, if/when that's available. She needs those "call out" books, wherever she can find them. 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.

Bookworm Moments: "There are other books I want to read MORE"

GauntletI haven't been blogging much of late, but my daughter (now 10) has continued in her development as a reader. Today I share a small moment that may resonate with fellow book-lovers. 

My friend Jennifer Wharton at Jean Little Library recently recommended a book that I thought my daughter might enjoy: The Gauntlet by Karuna Riazi. Discovering that it was available in paperback, I decided to order a copy.  I gave it to my daughter and told her why I had thought she might like it (including a mention of Jennifer's recommendation). She picked it up and gave it a careful look. Then, struggling a bit with how to put it, she said: 

"This does look like a book that I would like to read. It's just that ... there are other books I want to read MORE."

GracefulThat about sums it up, doesn't it? We readers always have lots of books that we think we'll like. But usually (hopefully) there are a few that fall into the "I want to read this one MORE" category. In my daughter's case, the "books I want to read MORE" category right now includes re-reads of her three favorite books from Suzanne Nelson's Wish series (Donut Go Breaking My Heart, etc.). She's also planning a re-read of Wendy Mass' Willow Falls series, after JUST finishing book 5 (Graceful). 

This is what reading choice looks like, my friends. Part of how we grow as readers is figuring out which books are the ones we will most enjoy reading (or re-reading) at any given time.

I've said this many times but will repeat it once more for the record. If you want your kids to enjoy reading, let them read what they like. Even if you just bought them a new book. Even if (especially if) it's their third or fourth re-read of the same book. Let them choose. Then give them some quiet space and let them read. 

Maybe I'll read The Gauntlet myself. You know, if there aren't other books that I want to read more. 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.

Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: July 11: #SummerReading, #GrowingBookworms, + #SchoolReopening Questions

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter over the past 3 weeks @JensBookPage. Topics include #BookLists, #coronavirus, #DistanceLearning, #FreeSpeech, #GraphicNovels, #Homeschool, #HybridLearning, #JoshFunk, #JoyOfReading, #literacy, #MentalHealth, #play, #ReadingChoice, #SchoolReopening, #SummerReading, #VirtualLearning, reading, and schools. Hope you find some useful tidbits! 

Top Tweet of the Month

It's time for adults to Rewrite the arbitrary Rules of #Reading they impose on kids, says @citecitebaby @nerdybookclub | #ReadingChoice #GraphicNovels #BookAbandonment + more

Book Lists + Summer Reading

#SummerReading 2020: A Collection of #KidLit Links from @clssrmbkshlf @ErikaDawes | 20+ #BookLists + Publisher Summer #Reading Initiatives

NPR #SummerReader Poll 2020: Nominate Your Favorite Books for Young Kids : @petramatic @NPR #PictureBooks #EarlyReaders

Themed #SummerReading #BookLists for kids seem like a good way to go to me. Here are 20 Titles for Young Gamers from @literacious #kidlit #GraphicNovels #MGLit

Continuing her themed #SummerReading #BookLists, @literacious shares 20 Titles for Young Outdoor Enthusiasts #OutdoorPlay #MGLit

Free Speech

A Letter on Justice and Open Debate (from various authors, scholars, historians + activists) | @Harpers | I, too, am concerned we have weakened "our norms of #OpenDebate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity" | #FreeSpeech

Growing Bookworms

When Is #Reading Season? asks @RaisingReal @nerdybookclub | "Please consider treating reading habits like you would a sport." #ReadingChoice + time + celebration of milestones

Just Read This: #Literacy + #Reading News: June 2020 Fighting #SummerSlide, #ScreenFree activities, #DigitalLearning activities + bookish getaways from @TheReadingTub

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

A response to my recent piece from @gail_gauthier | "Gone-Away Lake" And Books As Places To Escape To | She wonders how 21st century kids new to the book would feel about it. My daughter was, sadly, meh on it. But that doesn't diminish my #BookLove

Tune Into Funk & Friends! New “ #KidLit Late Night Show” hosted by author @joshfunkbooks | guests inc. @Jess_Keating + @kmoorebooks 

When family + literary values collide. @KMcCaughrain is shocked to learn of family members who never read prologues | #reading @AwfullyBigBlog

Parenting + Play

At @TheReadingTub, Terry is going #OldSchool with a #CovidSummer Activities Series. In Part 1 she proposes the Family #ObstacleCourse #Play

Schools and Libraries

But How Do We Build Community w/ Students? Ideas for #VirtualLearning + #HybridLearning @pernilleripp | yard visits, welcome videos, postcards + more

What American Families Experienced When #Covid19 Closed Their #Schools - @EducationNext survey results | Parents (+ espec. teachers) report less #learning w/ #DistanceLearning vs. in class, but parents relatively satisfied anyway

U.S. Pediatricians Call For In-Person #School This Fall - @anya1anya @MindShiftKQED @AmerAcadPeds : "schools are fundamental to child and adolescent development and well-being" | #MentalHealth #DistanceLearning

#ReopeningSchools—Insights from Denmark and Finland | Staggered reopenings, staggered arrival times, hotlines, handwashing + more @EmiVegasV @BrookingsInst #schools

#SchoolOpenings across globe suggest ways to keep #coronavirus at bay, despite outbreaks | @GretchenVogel1 @NewsfromScience @ScienceMagazine | More/better research needed on various strategies

5 Radical Schooling Ideas For An Uncertain Fall And Beyond - @anya1anya @MindShiftKQED | Support for families + teens, individualized #learning, #homeschool co-ops + more

An encouraging article re: #Coronavirus: Kids less likely to get infected, spread to others "school-based transmission could be a manageable problem ... elementary school aged-children ... appear to be at the lowest risk of infection" @mercnews

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Catch-Up Edition

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will (finally) 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, especially bookworms.

The newsletter is normally sent out about once a month, depending on how frequently I'm able to post on my blog. However, during the COVID-19 lockdown I've found my time for blogging to be severely limited. I always work full-time from home (in a job unrelated to the blog), but doing that with my 10-year-old daughter here has been more challenging. Now that she's done with  distance learning for 4th grade, I find myself with a bit more time for blogging. I'm not sure what my motivation level will be going forward, but I'm here today. I hope that all of you where are reading this are safe and well and finding plenty to read during your unprecedented time at home. 

ReturnToGoneAwayNewsletter Update: I'll be including one post rounding up my Twitter links for the past month or so. You can find others on my blog if you are so inclined. I also have a Bookworm Moments post about a book-inspired declaration that I am the best mommy in the world, and a post about the joy of re-reading a favorite childhood book series. I had only one other post since the last newsletter (besides the links), about home learning in the very early stages of the shutdown. I find it's a bit dated, so I'm not including it in the newsletter. 

Reading Update: I wasn't reading much early on in the shutdown. I had trouble concentrating (as others reported), and had no appetite for things that were bleak. While my concentration has improved, my reading preference has leaned toward lighter fare. Lately I've been re-reading some old favorites, and I expect that to continue. Overall I read eight middle grade and 14 adult books. I read/listened to: 

LemoncelloI read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library aloud to my daughter early on during the lockdown, and also read aloud one of the books that she was assigned for school. It turned out that reading about the San Francisco earthquake during a time of personal anxiety was a challenge. The only way I could get her to read The Earth Dragon Awakes was to read it to her. We also read the newly published book in the My Life series, My Life as a Coder. I tried to read How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin to her. It was a book that I had really enjoyed a few years earlier (my review was even blurbed in the paperback copy), but we ended up stopping half-way through as she lost interest. I also tried to read Gone-Away Lake aloud to her, but (sigh) she wasn't interested. We are currently between reads together, but I'm sure we'll find another one soon. My husband just started reading her The Hobbit, and I hope that one takes. 

DonutOn her own she's been reading and re-reading the Land of Stories books by Chris Colfer, the Candymakers books by Wendy Mass, and a variety of  Scholastic Wish novels, mostly the ones by Suzanne Nelson. She continues to re-read graphic and notebook novels, mostly while she's doing something else (eating, riding in the car, etc.). She's in need of her next big series, but hasn't found it yet, despite my best efforts. She misses being able to browse in her school library and pick things out for herself. The stacks of books that I hopefully pull from the stacks for her lie mostly unread. That's reading choice for you! I'm sure she'll find her next thing soon. I've been very grateful during this time that she enjoys reading. You can find her list of reads for the year here

That's all I have time for today. I wish you all well and hope to be back soon. Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: June 19: Catching Up on the Past Month

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from links that I shared on Twitter over the past month @JensBookPage. Although blogging got away from me over these past two months, I did continue sharing links as I found them on Twitter. Fewer than before (I pruned my blogroll significantly due to time constraints), but still lots of good stuff. 

Below you'll find articles on #AchievementGap, #AntiRacism, #BookLists, #ClassroomLibraries, #Coding, #DistanceLearning, #EdTech, #EducationalEquity, #HigherEd, #Introversion, #JoyOfReading, #Lockdowns, #MentalHealth, #Play, #RemoteLearning, #ScreenTime, #Statistics, #SummerReading, and #writing. I went back about a month - beyond that things started to feel a bit dated. I hope that some of these links are still of interest. Happy reading and happy weekend!

Top Tweet of the Month

Why Are Some Kids Thriving During #RemoteLearning? | @NoraFleming1 @edutopia | A sub-set of kids are benefiting from more sleep, less distraction, self-pacing, etc.  (This one had far, far and away the most engagement of anything that I shared over the past two months.)

Book Lists 

13 #ChapterBooks To Tickle Funny Bones | #SummerReading 2020 #BookList from @sljournal | As found in the @Scholastic #KFRR, kids love #FunnyBooks. Nurture #JoyOfReading when you can.

12 Books All About #TreeHouses – Perfect #SummerReading #BookList from #Literacious

Here are the 2020 #EisnerAward Nominees! — @GoodComics4Kids @sljournal #comics #GraphicNovels #kidlit

For anyone who might need them: 15 Children's Titles About Grief – #BookList from @literacious #MGLit #PictureBooks

Anti-Racism Resources

#Antiracist Resources and Reads: Lists for All Ages — @fuseeight #Kidlit #BookLists, various links + @brownbookshelf Rally for Black Lives today on Facebook Live

Taking Stock and Taking Action to Educate Ourselves + Design #AntiRacist Curriculum | Another great, timely roundup of resources for teachers from @kegancunningham @clssrmbkshlf

Just Read This: #Literacy + #Reading News, May 2020 @TheReadingTub focuses on how books can help kids understand #AntiRacism + #SocialJustice | includes sample questions for parents to spark discussion + links to #kidlit #BookLists

Events, Programs + Research

RT @TheReadingTub: “Children need to laugh, too, and to feel free to read whatever.” ~ Jacqueline Wilson, former British Children's Laureate. 2020 #SummerReadingChallenge theme: focus on funny books.

Katherine Paterson shares a free short story and #SummerReading guide for kids - The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

J.K. Rowling Introduces #TheIckabog (a free online serialization of a children's book she wrote as a #ReadAloud for her younger kids) | @jk_rowling | My favorite part is that she's asking kids to submit illustrations for the print version

Beloved San Jose children's bookstore @Hicklebees fighting for survival, launches funding effort | I met @RickRiordan + @Jon_Scieszka both here, in small group settings, back in the day + will be donating to the cause.

This is neat. The @uscensusbureau #StatisticsInSchools program uses #census data to create free learning resources. This page has #DistanceLearning activities for kids of all ages:

I missed this news when it came out last month: James Patterson Pledges $2.5 Million in Grants to #Teachers for #ClassroomLibraries | @sljournal via @ProfessorNana @JP_Books @Scholastic #PattersonPledge


College Inc. Faces a Sticker-Price Reckoning @Spencerjakab @WSJ #HigherEd | #Coronavirus + #DistanceLearning -> problems for "traditional schools because of their huge fixed costs" + business model

This resonated for me: On Realising One Might Be an #Introvert @TheSchoolOfLife via @susancain  "We adore staying home... with some books"

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

The Upside of #Lockdowns: Finally Time to Read ‘War and Peace’ @JAVerlaine @WSJ | Not quite the same, but my husband and daughter are #reading #TheHobbit together

#Teaching for Collective Well-Being as Summer Approaches @kegancunningham + @KavitaTanna @clssrmbkshlf #JoyOfReading #Gratitude #Writing + more

Could #COVID19 Mark the End of the Physical #Galley? — Interesting question for book reviewers from @FuseEight | #PictureBook #eGalleys are particularly painful.

I can relate this post from @literacious | Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love #KidLit | I especially like "My people"

Useful reminder + tips for content creators (writers, illustrators, etc.): “Pay Me” is not an offensive term @dawnafinch @AwfullyBigBlog

Parenting, Screen Time, Play = Mental Health

You Don’t Have To Be #ScreenFree To Be Successful as a family this summer, says @McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU | Me, I'm working towards my daughter spending less time on screens, but none would be unrealistic

The Toll That Isolation Takes on Kids During the #Coronavirus Era. Playing with peers has important developmental benefits + doctors worry that kids are missing out @andreaapetersen @WSJ #MentalHealth #Play

Save Your Kids From Covid’s Digital Deluge - @ArlenePellicane @WSJopinion | In my house the #lockdown induced #ScreenTime bounty has to go. My 10 y.o. is showing signs of addiction (irritability, etc.)

#Reading Before Kindergarten- Is It Really Necessary? – @McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU says it's not bad, per se, but only if kids lead the way. Pushing kids to learn to read too early can destroy #LoveOfReading

Schools, Libraries + Distance Learning

In the News: The #Coronavirus Has Made It Obvious. Teenagers Should Start School Later. @EducationNext @nytimes | #Schools #SleepHabits

The Results Are In for #RemoteLearning: It Didn’t Work, say many students, teachers, parents + administrators @Tawnell + Lee Hawkins @WSJ | #LearningGaps, #Inequity + absenteeism among problems discussed

Only 1 in 5 #K12 Schools Offered 'Rigorous' #RemoteLearning, @AEI Study Says - @MarkALieberman @EdWeekEdTech | Disparity worst in high-poverty + low-achievement districts | #EdTech challenges a factor

Survey by @educationweek finds 65% Educators Want #Schools to Stay Closed to Slow Spread of #COVID19, even as 82% of teachers think they're more effective working in a school vs. #DistanceLearning

Interest grows in mastery-based #learning during pandemic, though evidence remains thin - @matt_barnum @Chalkbeat

#SummerReading and Learning for Teachers by @ClareLandrigan & @pennykittle @nerdybookclub | The #BookLove Foundation will focus this online #BookClub on #GraciesList, honoring @AS_King's daughter

Stay-at-Home School Idea: @TheReadingTub suggests DIY Virtual #Yearbooks to capture + share this unique year | #literacy #DistanceLearning

#AchievementGaps Increase The Longer Kids Stay In School, says @natwexler @Forbes | Recent data on #SummerLearningLoss differs from older studies, finds gaps growing during the school year

Depressing but important: The Pandemic Sent 1.5 Billion Children Home From #School. Many Might Not Return. US + European authorities try to stop kids from #DroppingOut permanently @WSJ #EducationalEquity


Encouraging More Girls (and Boys) to Explore Engineering, Technology and #Coding @TrevorHCairney #STEM #GirlsWhoCode #GenderGaps

Studio Spaces: #Art as a Way of Seeing, Feeling, and Sense-Making: Teaching Ideas for the Virtual Exhibit at the @carlemuseum @ErikaDawes @clssrmbkshlf @sljournal #CarleArtInPlace

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage