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Posts from May 2014

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: May 9

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Note that I published diversity and gender-related links in a separate post, because there were quite a few. 

Book Lists

2014 Mini Trend: #kidlit featuring Ninjas from @100scopenotes

A Tuesday Ten for Mother's Day: SFF #kidlit w/ mom as a main character from Views From the Tesseract

Great Kid Books: Common Core In Real Life: Baseball Edition by @MaryAnnScheuer

#CommonCore IRL: Baseball books for middle grade fans (ages 8-10) @MaryAnnScheuer

Let's Celebrate Mother's Day with Kids (and books) @BookChook

An eclectic 4th Grade Summer Reading List from @momandkiddo #kidlit

Every Dog Has Its Day: Dog Adoption Stories from the SSHEL blog #booklist

Diversity + Gender

Those links published separately.

Events + Announcements

#Nonfiction in Picture Books: A Panel Discussion, report in @PublishersWkly

Where The Wild Things Really Are, @PublishersWkly report on recent panel on Sex and Violence in Children's Literature

Seems like a no-brainer: Eoin Colfer Named children's literature Laureate in Ireland #kidlit @PublishersWkly

The 2013 Agatha Awards have been announced. Kudos to @CGrabenstein for Mr. Lemoncello's Library via @bkshelvesofdoom

The Edgar Award winners have been announced: via @bkshelvesofdoom #kidlit #mystery

Poetry Friday: Wrapping Up #NationalPoetryMonth by @JoneMac53 at Check It Out

GottaBook: 30 Poets/2 Years/1 Day, @gregpincus wraps up this year's #NationalPoetryMonth posts

Growing Bookworms

Raising Readers: Using a Whiteboard @SunlitPages - this post made me want a huge whiteboard

Nice! Top Ten Lessons My 4th Graders and I Have Learned from Chapter Books this Year by Suzanne Buhner @NerdyBookClub

On creating a "Take a Book – Leave a Book" program, so that kids could have books at home by @MrsSKK @NerdyBookClub


Love to see the mention of #kidlit bloggers in acknowledgements of I Kill the Mockingbird by Paul Acampora @Semicolon

48hbc_newBig news! @MotherReader has announced the Ninth Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge | June 6-8 #kidlit #48hbc

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

I can relate: "Simply put, I needed to read in order to feel balanced" by @librarytif @NerdyBookClub

"They’re not just books—they’re a part of who we are and how we got that way" #kidlit @pshares via @PWKidsBookshelf

Why the Smart Reading Device of the Future May Be … Paper | @wired via @tashrow #ebooks


Thoughts on “How Parents are Ruining Youth Sports” from @StaceyLoscalzo | Well worth reading, if no great answers

Can Lego Help Return Play to Children’s Lives and Education? | Peter Gray at Freedom to Learn blog

Screens & Screen Time: a Precarious Balance (Soapbox Series #10), a parent's struggle | @ReadingTub

Schools and Libraries

School Librarian Unravels Mystery of Robert McCloskey Art Work Found in Westchester Elementary School | @sljournal

Libraries Working To Bridge The Cultural Divide | Starr LaTronica @HuffPostBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf

New York Public Library Scraps Controversial Redesign Plans @WSJ @NYPL

Federal Test Shows U.S. 12th Graders Aren't Improving in Reading or Math, ethnic + gender gaps remain @WSJ

How Can Principals Support Effective #Literacy Instruction? @readbyexample

News: @PhilipPullman leads authors condemning inadequate prison libraries | @GuardianBooks via @PWKidsBookshelf

Elite Colleges Don't Buy Happiness for Graduates (but mentors help), reports @WSJ

"Learning should be joyous. Teaching too. Joy and tests are not two words I see together." @medinger on testing

SpeakWell, ReadWell: Explore the Core (#CommonCore State Standards) by @jwstickel

Summer Reading

SummerReading-LOGO#SummerReading After Dark | 10 tips from @Scholastic for making the most of bedtime reading this summer

This sounds fabulous | The No Stress #SummerReading Picture Book Challenge from @greenbeanblog

Press release: Avoid the Summer Slump - Get Kids Excited about Reading with @bookopolis #SummerReading

© 2014 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.

Roundup of Diversity-Themed Links I Shared this Week

DiverseBooksCampaignNormally on Friday I do a post that rounds up article/blog post links that I shared on Twitter over the previous week. But as I was working on my roundup for this week, I discovered that, what with the whole #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign and all, I had shared a LOT of links related to diversity. So I decided to pull those into a separate post. There's a lot here to absorb. I hope you all find things of interest. Also, please note that MotherReader's 48 Hour Book Challenge this year (the 9th annual) will focus on the reading of diverse books. 

Links on Diversity + Gender

18 Adorable Reasons #WeNeedDiverseBooks | selected @leeandlow shared @buzzfeed via @compelledtoread

A Rambling Rant on Race and Writing | @lisayee1 at Red Room |"Do not presume -- but do dare to imagine." #diversity

Let the Handsell-Off Begin: Booksellers Take The #GreatGreeneChallenge @PublishersWkly #kidlit #WeNeedDiverseBooks

A success! ReedPOP Adds diversity BookCon Panel in response to #DiverseNeedDiverseBooks campaign @PublishersWkly

Good stuff on encouraging girls in math | @Girlstart, STEM, and a Surprise from @varianjohnson #GreatGreenChallenge

Because books are mirrors, some of @RIFWEB favorite images from the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign

Our kids’ grey matter is neither pink nor blue – when will book publishers realise this? @katyguest36912 @Independent

YA #LGBTQ Novels Where the Focus Isn't Coming Out - list from @NinaTyndall at Small Avalanches #diversity

Writing as Feminist, Mariko Tamaki @NerdyBookClub I try not to write about chars that are white + straight by default

squeetus: Thoughts on whether white writers can write non-white characters from @haleshannon (who has)

Paying Attention to #Diversity | Recent link roundup @medinger #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Great resource @cybils blog: Diverse Book Recommendations from Cybils titles for #WeNeedDiverseBooks

LGBTQ & You: How to Support Your Students as a librarian | @sljournal

Program #Diversity: Do Libraries Serve Kids with Disabilities? | @sljournal

5 Cultures #Kidlit Readers Can Explore for #WeNeedDiverseBooks @jendonn @5M4B

#WeNeedDiverseBooks …and What We Can Do About It, an action plan from Becky Levine

My most favorite sci fi and fantasy books with diversities of various sorts from @charlotteslib #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Presenting Lenore creates a #WeNeedDiverseBooks categorized Review Archive @lenoreva

#WeNeedDiverseBooks diversity campaign goes viral, thoughts + images from @Devas_T at The Brown Bookshelf

Putting your money where your mouth is at Biblio File: Diverse Book Reading List #WeNeedDiverseBooks

© 2014 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.

A Pet for Fly Guy: Tedd Arnold

Book: A Pet for Fly Guy
Author: Tedd Arnold
Pages: 32
Age Range: 4-8

I must confess that I have not read the books in the Fly Guy series of early readers, though I believe we have the first one around here somewhere. But I just read the first Fly Guy picture book, A Pet for Fly Guy, and I thought that it was fabulous. It's funny, and it's also warm without being cloying or message-y. And of course, Tedd Arnold's illustrations are a lot of fun.

The premise is introduced easily enough on the first page:

"A boy had a pet fly.
He named him --

Fly Guy was the smartest pet
in the world. He could say
the boy's name --

Here "FLY GUY" and "BUZZ" are shown as colorful text call-outs by the boy and the fly, respectively.

In the story that follows, Fly Guy and Buzz go on a picnic to the park. Upon witnessing lots of kids playing with their pets, Fly Guy becomes sad that he doesn't have a pet of his own. A search ensues, but finding the right pet for a fly is a bit tricky. Fortunately, a happy resolutions is found at the end.

A Pet for Fly Guy includes both subtle and overt humor. When Buzz and Fly Guy eat lunch together, we see Buzz eating a sandwich, while Fly Guy samples from an odorous trash can. The pets that the other kids bring to the park include a large fish in a tank (pulled along on a wagon) and a protective-suit-wearing kid playing with his porcupine. The possible pets considered include a frog, which chases Fly Guy and tries to eat him. 

This is one of those books in which the tight connection between text and illustrations is essential. Nothing needs to be said about the over-the-top pets belonging to the other kids - the pictures tell the story. Arnold's characters, animal and human, all have huge round eyes with tiny pupils, keeping the fly motif consistent. Fly Guy, though small, wears a range of expressions, through his expressions and posture. Arnold's digitally-generated art includes faint scribble-type markings in the background, lending an unusual texture to the brightly colored pages. 

Fly Guy's migration to the picture book format seems like a success to me! A Pet for Fly Guy is original, humorous, and kid-friendly. It's sure to be a hit, and will be a nice way to introduce new readers to the Fly Guy universe. 

Publisher: Orchard Books (@Scholastic
Publication Date: April 29, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 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

News Release: 2014 Carle Honors Honorees from the Eric Carle Museum

The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art Announces 2014 Carle Honors Honorees

Ninth annual awards celebrate the creative vision and long-term dedication of leaders in the world of picture books

Amherst, MA (May 7, 2014) - The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art is pleased to announce the 2014 Carle Honors honorees to be awarded at Guastavino’s in New York City on Thursday, September 18, 2014. The ninth annual gala and fundraiser will fête the talented people who have played an instrumental role in making children’s books a vibrant and influential art and literary form in America. This year, the Carle Honors will award the following: 

Artist: Jerry Pinkney

Celebrated illustrator of over 100 children’s books and winner of numerous awards, including the 2010 Caldecott Medal for The Lion and the Mouse.

Angel: Reach Out and Read represented by Brian Gallagher and Dr. Perri Klass

Tireless promoters of early literacy and school readiness, as exemplified through the Reach Out and Read program established in thousands of pediatric exam rooms nationwide.

Mentor: Henrietta Smith

Influential children’s librarian, scholar, and author; leading advocate for quality and diversity in children’s literature.

Bridge: Françoise Mouly

Publisher and editorial director for TOON Books, high-quality comics for young children; art editor of The New Yorker.

The Carle Honors celebrates individuals and organizations who bring creative vision and long-term dedication to children’s books and the many ways they open children’s minds to art and literacy. The awards are selected each year by a committee chaired by children’s literature historian and critic Leonard S. Marcus, who was central to the founding of the Honors. The committee recognizes four distinct awards: Artist, for lifelong innovation in the field; Angel, whose generous financial support is crucial to making illustrated children’s book art exhibitions, education programs, and related projects a reality; Mentor, editors, designers, and educators who champion the art form; and Bridge, individuals who have found inspired ways to bring the art of the picture book to larger audiences through work in other fields.

The Carle Honors is a critical fundraiser for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, helping to support the Museum’s in its mission to inspire a love of art and reading through picture books. The annual event also includes a silent auction featuring artwork from top illustrators, including Eric Carle.  For ticket and sponsorship information, please contact Rebecca Miller Goggins, Director of Development at 413-658-1118 or

About The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art:

The mission for The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art, a non-profit organization in Amherst, MA, is to inspire a love of art and reading. The only full-scale museum of its kind in the United States, The Carle collects, preserves, presents, and celebrates picture books and picture book illustrations from around the world. In addition to underscoring the cultural, historical, and artistic significance of picture books and their art form, The Carle offers educational programs that provide a foundation for arts integration and literacy.

See more details at the Museum’s website at

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: May 7

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 children's and young adult books and raising readers. I currently send out the newsletter once every two weeks.

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have four book reviews (picture book and young adult) and two posts with links that I shared on Twitter recently (including a ton of links related to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign). I also have two posts with content from Scholastic about Summer Reading. Not included in the newsletter, I posted:

I do have more picture book reviews coming up in the next couple of weeks, for those who are interested in those. 

Reading Update: In the last two weeks I read two young adult and three adult books:

  • Laini Taylor: Dreams of Gods and Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Book 3). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult. Completed April 24, 2014, on Kindle. My review.
  • Amber Kizer: Pieces of Me. Delacorte Press. Young Adult. Completed April 25, 2014. My review.
  • Jo Nesbo: The Bat (the first Harry Hole novel). Vintage. Adult Mystery. Completed April 27, 2014, on Kindle (library copy).I found the characters well-developed and the mystery intriguing in this, my first of Nesbo's books. But there were too many digressions for allegorical stories told by the characters for my personal taste. 
  • Sue Grafton: U is for Undertow. Putnam. Adult Mystery. Completed May 1, 2014, on Kindle (library copy). I'm finding these good exercise bike books, for some reason. I'll be sorry when I finish catching up. 
  • Jodi Picoult: Second Glance. Atria Books. Adult Fiction. Completed May 3, 2014, on MP3. This book got off to a slow start for me, but I enjoyed it once I became invested in the story. It's a book that will make readers think. 

I'm currently reading Tut: The Story of My Immortal Life by P.J. Hoover in print and Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell on Kindle. I'm listening to Influx by Daniel Suarez. Baby Bookworm is obsessed with Moldylocks and the Three Beards by Noah Z. Jones. You can check out the complete list of books we've read to her this year if you are interested to see more. You can see on the list the impact of her recent visit to the library, from which she brought home a host of TV tie-in and Little Critter-type books. 

What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2014 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

Top 10 Tips for Getting Kids Reading this Summer: Scholastic Infographic

As I posted on Monday, Scholastic's Summer Reading Challenge launched this week. As a life-long fan of outdoor reading, I like this year's theme of "Reading Under the Stars". Scholastic prepared this companion infographic, which I thought parents might find useful. It's somewhat tied to the Summer Reading Challenge, with emphasis on tracking time spent reading, but there are also tips here (with references) that could benefit any parent.

I especially like tip #1: Let Kids Choose. I think that's so important. And of course I'm an expert at Tip #8: Be a Reading Role Model. Click to expand the image. 


This post (c) Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. The infographic copyright belongs to Scholastic. 

Pieces of Me: Amber Kizer

Book: Pieces of Me
Author: Amber Kizer
Pages: 304
Age Range: 12 and up

I very much enjoyed Amber Kizer's post-apocalyptic survival story A Matter of Days. In Pieces of Me she takes on a very different topic. Pieces of Me is about a high school girl named Jessica who finds her life connected with those of four other teenagers, after a terrible accident. 

Stop here if you prefer to know nothing about a book, because I can't discuss this book without telling you what it's about. The truth is strongly hinted at by the title and jacket copy, and becomes clear quite early in the book anyway. 

So what happens is that Jessica, who always felt more or less invisible in high school, ends up brain dead in a car crash. Her various organs are donated and transplanted into the bodies of four other teens, three of them local and one from another state. Jessica's consciousness remains tied to these four teens, and in alternating chapters we hear her thoughts on their continued experiences (though she is not able to communicate with them). Eventually, the threads of Jessica that connect these teens bring them together. 

I found this to be an interesting premise. The alternating chapters lend a certain suspense to the story, and seeing the characters (eventually) as they see one another helps to give a clear view. There's a fairly overt pro-organ donation message to this book, which is addressed directly in an author's note at the end. There's also a fair bit of detail about what it's like to have a chronic, life-threatening illness such as cystic fibrosis. This is a book that I do think will expand readers' perspectives, giving them a look into the lives of people whose problems may be bigger than their own. 

However, as a reader, I personally had trouble with the viewpoint. Each chapter is kind of a mix of Jessica's viewpoint and that of whichever other kid she is inhabiting (or however you would put it). These sections are in limited third person perspective, from each teen's viewpoint, but then Jessica's thoughts are there, too, sometimes. This is probably deliberate, showing how Jessica's consciousness is becoming intertwined with her organ recipients. But I had trouble wrapping my head around it, and tell what thoughts were from Jessica and what were from Samuel, Vivian, Leif, and Misty. Like this:

"The more time we spent here, the more I felt the humble and special appeal it held for Misty. There was peace here. Answers.... Dropping her backpack on the ground, she slid into a massive leather armchair that was surprisingly comfortable." (Page 61, at the library). 

Does Jessica know that Misty is comfortable, and she's telling us? Or is it Misty telling us? Probably this is nit-picking, but thinking things like this kept taking me out of the book. There are also some IM exchanges between the (living) kids, full of abbreviations, that I found hard going, though the target teen audience will probably enjoy them.  

I did find the end of the book moving, and Pieces of Me definitely made me think. I probably would have found the premise irresistible when I was a teenager, and I do think that teens today will enjoy it, too. The protagonists are all sympathetic, and quite varied, giving a wide range of readers someone to root for. There's a modern feel to the text, too, with message boards, blogs, and of course hospitals. All in all, I think that Piece of Me is well worth a look by librarians who serve teens, even though it didn't quite work for me personally. 

Publisher: Delacorte Press (@RandomHouseKids
Publication Date: February 11, 2014
Source of Book: Review copy from the publisher

FTC Required Disclosure:

This site is an Amazon affiliate, and purchases made through Amazon links (including linked book covers) may result in my receiving a small commission (at no additional cost to you).

© 2014 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

News Release: 2014 Scholastic #SummerReading Challenge Launches Today

Students Log Reading Minutes as They Seek to Break the World Record for Summer Reading; Teachers/Schools Can Register All Their Students

Prizes and Sweepstakes for Kids; Free Resources for Parents and Teachers

SummerReading-LOGONew York, NY – May 5, 2014 – Today, Scholastic (NASDAQ: SCHL) announces the launch of the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, a free, global reading program that motivates children to read throughout the out-of-school summer months by logging their reading minutes, and earning rewards, with the goal of setting a new world record for summer reading. Last year’s participants set the world record of 176,438,473 minutes read. Teachers, schools and families can register their children in grades K–8 starting today at and children can log minutes from today through September 5th, 2014.

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge was created to give schools and families a free and engaging way to encourage more children to read during the summer and prevent the ‘summer slide’– the learning losses that set children back academically when they do not read during the out-of-school summer months. Children sign up to read on behalf of their school and the schools compete to win top prizes. The top elementary school with the most minutes read will win a visit from bestselling author-illustrator David Shannon (Bugs in My Hair!) and the top middle school will win a visit from bestselling author Gordon Korman (The Hypnotists). The top 20 U.S. schools with the most reading minutes recorded by September 5th will be featured in the 2015 Scholastic Book of World Records.  

This year’s Summer Reading theme is Reading Under the Stars, and is powered by EVEREADY®, the maker of batteries and flashlights, to encourage families to discover new and fun ways to explore reading outside this summer. Reading Under the Stars comes to life for children online as they enter reading minutes and, throughout the summer, the site will unlock interactive star constellations containing special video messages from NASA astronaut Leland Melvin. Children will also have the opportunity to take an extra “Chapter Challenge” and learn more about space from Pascal Lee, a planetary scientist from the SETI and Mars Institute and author of Mission: Mars. Parents can support their child’s reading all summer with the free “Reading Under the Stars Guide,” which includes summer reading book lists, curated by Scholastic experts, Read Under the Stars videos, expert articles, tips and family activities.

“We know that the more children read, the more they succeed and time spent with books is especially important during the summer months so students return to school ready to tackle more challenging texts,” said Francie Alexander, Chief Academic Officer at Scholastic. “In the summer, we want our kids finding books that fit their personal interests because those are the books that will make them fall in love with reading.  Being part of the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge motivates kids to build up their reading minutes and earn rewards, while parents and teachers can monitor progress. Everybody wins!”

Here are ways parents, children and educators can get involved in the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge.


  • Facebook calendar app and live chats:  Parents can find something every day on the Scholastic Parents Facebook including a summer calendar app with expert tips and articles and activities. Every Friday, parents can enter for the chance to win an EVEREADY® “Reading Under the Stars” prize pack including a picnic blanket, EVEREADY® flashlights and headlamps and EVEREADY® Gold® batteries. Plus, parents can join “Book Swap” live chats all summer with top parenting and reading experts.
    • The first live chat will be hosted by Lori Ess, Associate Director of Title Presentation, Scholastic, and Betsy Bird, Youth Materials Collections Specialist New York Public Library, tonight, May 5th at 9 p.m. ET.
  • Reading minutes mobile app: Parents can monitor their children’s progress and help their children enter minutes on-the-go via mobile on the Scholastic Reading Timer app.
  • 2014 summer book list:  Curated by Scholastic experts, this list features more than 700 books for children in Pre-K–8, including this year’s “Reading Under the Stars” themed list, which showcases books about space, stars and astronomy, as well as spooky stories to read by a campfire.
  • EVEREADY® free book on pack program – Parents can receive a free Scholastic book by mail when they buy two specially marked packs of EVEREADY® Gold® batteries or EVEREADY® flashlights and redeem the package codes online. Visit to learn more. 


  • Events at museums and planetariums: Special “Reading Under the Stars”–inspired overnight events with free books, EVEREADY® flashlights and activity sheets for attendees.  Events will take place at planetariums and museums across the country including:
    • Carnegie Science Center “Science Sleepovers” (Pittsburgh, PA, May 9)
    • Milwaukee Public Museum “Overnights” (Milwaukee, WI, May 16)
    • The Smithsonian: National Museum of Natural History “Smithsonian Sleepovers” (Washington, D.C., May 17)
    • Adler Planetarium “Astro Overnights” (Chicago, IL June 6)
    • California Academy of Sciences “Penguins + Pajamas” (San Francisco, CA, June 13)
  • Reading rewards & prizes: Throughout the summer, children who join the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge read to earn digital badges and take the extra Chapter Challenge and win a chapter from a favorite book.  Elementary school readers will win weekly chapters that make up a full Geronimo Stilton:Mini-Mystery book. Middle School readers will win weekly chapters from a variety of bestselling titles including The 39 Clues®Spirit Animals™ and more.
  • Monthly sweepstakes: Once children log minutes, they will have the opportunity to enter for a chance to win Ricky Ricotta series books, a Harry Potter paperback box set, Jedi Academy series books, and a multiplatform prize pack (The 39 Clues Book 1: Maze of Bones, Infinity Ring Book 1: Mutiny in Time, Spirit Animals Book 1: Wild Born).
  • Virtual map: Children can track their school (and any other participating school) to see how many minutes have been read and keep tabs on which schools are in the lead.


  • Educator dashboard: Teachers can register up to 100 students and track their reading throughout the summer. Teachers who register by June 30th can enter a sweepstakes for the chance to win a Scholastic classroom library.
  • Emails to parents: The educator dashboard provides automatic emails for teachers to send to all their students’ parents to ensure children are entering their reading minutes all summer, when they are out of school. Emails are available in English and Spanish.
  • Free resources in English and Spanish: Teachers can access bi-lingual information including: letters to parents, printable activity sheets, reading logs and reading certificates in addition to videos for parents.

To support the students in their states and encourage summer reading throughout America, many of the U.S. Governors and Governors’ Spouses are joining Scholastic as “Reading Ambassadors” for the 2014 Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge. The 2014 Reading Ambassadors, whose names will be announced soon, will host summer reading events at schools in their respective states, and, in honor of each Reading Ambassador, Scholastic is donating 500 books to the school of his or her choice.

For more information about Scholastic and the Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge, please visit the Scholastic media room.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: May 2

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Please note that I am not sharing my many #WeNeedDiverseBooks retweets, because there are quite a few of them, and they are links to photos, rather than links to articles and blog posts. Instead, I refer you to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtag, where you can find tons of interesting stuff. I do have many other diversity-themed links here. 

Book Lists

What’s Old is New: Recent YA Books with Allusions to Classic Lit | @sljournal Spotlight |

What Makes a Family?: Novels for Middle Grade Readers | JLG’s Booktalks to Go | @sljournal #kidlit

10 Books With Meaning, suggested by @Book_Nut #kidlit #yalit

Very nice list: 10 Books for Teaching Kids About Responsibility from @PragmaticMom #kidlit #parenting

Nice list of Rick Riordan Read Alikes from @alibrarymama #kidlit @CampHalfBlood

RT @PoesyGalore @JensBookPage @alibrarymama @camphalfblood Don't miss this list, too-they cover dif't titles & I learned lot frm both …


DiversebookslogoDiversity Social Media Campaign Goes Viral, reports @PublishersWkly #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Have you heard about the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign? 3 days starting May 1 | Details here: via @CynLeitichSmith

3..2..1..Action, the steps to take to support the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, starting tomorrow!

Tanita Davis "Diverse books remind us that our stories are varicolored, many shaped, multi-shaded @WeNeedDiverseBooks

Photo of Charlotte's son + focus on diversity in MG fantasy/science fiction from @charlotteslib #WeNeedDiverseBooks 

DiverseBooksPhoto.@thereadingzone | #WeNeedDiverseBooks in Class "The world is more diverse than panels... would lead us to believe" 

(My #WeNeedDiverseBooksPhoto to the right, click to enlarge)

Thoughts @greenbeanblog on why #WeNeedDiverseBooks and what you can do as a librarian to support this

"All I want are books that reflect the world I live in" - Jennie @kidsilkhaze on #WeNeedDiverseBooks

Sprout's Bookshelf: #WeNeedDiverseBooks - For My Family and Yours @SproutsBkshelf

Melissa from @Book_Nut on why #WeNeedDiverseBooks and the #greatgreenchallenge at the bookstore where she works

Handsell-Off for Varian Johnson's upcoming novel: Here's what's going down, launched by @KateMessner via @haleshannon

Update on The Great Greene Heist Challenge from Varian Johnson #kidlit #diversity

Leila from @bkshelvesofdoom shares highlights from @sljournal : The Diversity Issue. #WeNeedDiverseBooks

How Author G. Neri and Librarian Kimberly DeFusco Changed a Life | @sljournal via @medinger #diversity

Should white people write about people of color? @malindalo via @FuseEight #diversity

#Diversity, Authenticity, and Literature | Pretti Chhibber @bookriot

eBooks and Screens

SFW-logo-with-2014-dateI like this idea | @lochwouters library to having "Less Screen Week" b/c true screen free is "practically impossible"

What You Need to Know Before Letting Your Kids Read E-Books | @Time via @PWKidsBookshelf

Online skimming probably hasn’t affected serious reading after all | Valerie Strauss in @washingtonpost via @tashrow

Growing Bookworms

10 Steps to Raising a Lifelong Reader | @HarperChildrens via @tashrow (great references too) #GrowingBookworms

Raising readers: How to share a love of literature with your kids. Thoughts from Anna Quindlen @cnn

SRC Book swap event imagePress Release Fun: A Virtual Book Swap on #SummerReading@fuseeight + Lori Ess + @Scholastic

What a fun idea! Story-inspired decor @365gcb | Using picture book jacket covers as art!

Great stuff from @SproutsBkshelf | 7 Gifts of Read-Aloud, Or Why I'll Read (Almost) Any Book to My Kid #literacy

The 5 Rs of Boosting Your Toddler's Vocabulary | Anjali Joshi @HuffPost via @ReachOutAndRead

Teaching Kids How to Take Care of Books - @growingbbb #GrowingBookworms

National Poetry Month

NationalPoetryMonthBlackout Poetry and the New York Times | @medinger wraps up her #NationalPoetryMonth posts

Liz In Ink shares Haiku 30 for #NationalPoetryMonth

GottaBook: Wrapping up 30 Poets/30 Days for #NationalPoetryMonth w/ Pat Mora and Walter Dean Myers @gregpincus

Wrapping up #NationalPoetryMonth from @MaryLeeHahn Our Wonderful World 30: People

#NationalPoetryMonth - Recap and Reflections from @missrumphius

Wrapping up Science Poetry Pairings @missrumphius with All Things Science #NationalPoetryMonth

Tanita Davis wraps up her poem a day series for #NationalPoetryMonth

Poetry Reading Challenge for Kids {Final Week} @momandkiddo #NationalPoetryMonth

On Reading, Writing, and Publishing

Why I Am Mad at the New York Times Best Seller List by @StaceyLoscalzo on Frozen adaptation topping the list

On the joy of talking about books by #literacy specialist Lindsey Jones @NerdyBookClub

Programs and Research

Cheerios launches 11th year of putting kids' books in cereal boxes, now including chapter books via @rosemondcates

El Paso Public Library, Parks and Recreation give 25,000 books given to area children - @bobmoorenews via @FirstBook

RIF_Primary_VerticalIf you send a Mother's Day ecard Macy's will donate $2 to @RIFWEB | Details:

Schools and Libraries

Books to help teachers get ready for summer vacation (and recommend titles to kids) @frankisibberson @ChoiceLiteracy

Getting rid of weekly prizes in #SummerReading program by @lochwouters #libraries

Good advice for what to say when you don't know the answer from @mollyidle @NerdyBookClub on impact of great teachers

Girls Do Better Than Boys in School at All Ages and Subjects, Study Finds - @NBCNews

7 Big Myths About #Libraries | Erinn Batykefer @HuffPostBooks via @somers_library

Interesting post at the relaunched blog The Uncommon Corps: Thinking About Graphical #Literacy

"Standards of some form, and hopefully #CommonCore, should still be in place for schools" @ReadByExample

Supporting the #CommonCore State Standards: #Librarians at the Center by @MaryAnnScheuer

© 2014 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.

Being Celebrated at A Year of Reading

RIF_Primary_VerticalI've been having kind of a hectic day: work, laundry, doctor's appointment (with shots!) for my daughter, etc. But finally I sat down to my personal email, and found this email from Reading is Fundamental: 

"A gift was given to Reading Is Fundamental (RIF) in your honor. The nation’s largest children’s literacy nonprofit, RIF helps get books to kids in need. For many of the kids RIF serves, their RIF books are their only books. The books provided through this gift made in your honor can spark lifetimes of ambition."

There was an accompanying note from Mary Lee Hahn and Franki Sibberson. When I traveled to their wonderful blog, A Year of Reading, I found this post: Celebrating Jen Robinson with a donation to RIF. I had been following Franki and Mary Lee's year-long celebration of their blog's eighth birthday, in which they highlight fellow bloggers whose work has inspired them, and make donations to relevant charities in those bloggers' names. But it never even crossed my mind that they might pick me. I feel so honored and grateful that I am nearly at a loss for words. 

Their post is full of reminders of my very earliest days of blogging, when those of us who discovered blogging started coming together. My lists of Cool Girls of Children's Literature and Cool Boys of Children's Literature helped lead to Mary Lee and Franki's list of 100 Cool Teachers in Children's Literature. And the rest is history! We all had so much FUN blogging back then. I mean, I still do, but there was such a relief for me when I first started in finding kindred spirits, other adults who cared about children's books even more than I did. 

Later, when my daughter was born, Mary Lee and Franki were among a group of wonderful online friends who had become real friends who gave me a virtual book shower. Franki and Mary Lee sent me two books that remain among my favorites (though my daughter now declares them to be for babies): Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox & Helen Oxenbury and Ten Tiny Babies by Karen Katz. I have in turn passed on copies of these books to many other friends and family members in the four years since. 

I've been fortunate enough to meet Mary Lee and Franki in person at a conference or two over the years, and I hope to see them in person again before too long. They have brightened my blogging experience over the years, and today they made me stop in the middle of a not so fun day and remember the value of finding kindred spirits. I hope you'll check out their post. Thanks, Franki and Mary Lee! It's an honor to know you. 

© 2014 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

Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone): Laini Taylor

Book: Dreams of Gods & Monsters (Daughter of Smoke and Bone Trilogy, Book 3)
Author: Laini Taylor
Pages: 624
Age Range: 13 and up

Dreams of Gods & Monsters is the final books in Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. (See my reviews of Book 1 and Book 2). If you have read the previous books, you will certainly wish to read Dreams of Gods and Monsters. I think that it wraps up the series in a quite satisfactory manner, while leaving the door open for other books set in the same world. 

As in all of Laini's books, the prose in Dreams of Gods and Monsters is rich and evocative, particularly when addressing love and longing. The characters are so fully developed that even when they surprise you, you find their change/growth consistent. The world-building in this series is very strong, with this third book in particular making the history of Eretz (and Earth as conceived by Laini) more clear. The plot is full of twists and surprises, including a character newly introduced in the final book who plays a pivotal role. 

I will confess that I had to put this book aside about half-way through, and read something else. The characters were facing so much suffering that I needed a break. But once I came back to Dreams of Gods and Monsters, I read eagerly to the end, and was pleased by the interweaving of plot strands as well as the personal resolution for Karou. 

Here are a few of my favorite quotes (though in truth one could open this book at random and find something lyrical and worth quoting on nearly every page):

"Out of betrayal and desperation, amid hostile beasts and invading angels and a deception that felt like an explosion waiting to happen, somehow, here was a beginning." (Page 30, Karou)

"So much to rue, but to what end? All unlived lives cancel one another out. She had nothing but now. The clothes on her back, the blood in her veins, and the promise made by her comrades. If only they would keep it." (Page 110, Karou)

""My wife likes to say that the mind is a palace with room for many guest. Perhaps the butler takes care to install the delegates of Science in a different wing from the emissaries of Faith, lest they take up arguing in the passages."" (Page 274, a Professor of Science)

"No one would understand it, but who cares? She'd just glare at them until they went away. That worked in almost any situation." (Page 419, Zuze) 

Dreams of Gods and Monsters is a must-read conclusion to the Daughter of Smoke and Bone series. If you haven't read the first two books, and you enjoy fantasy novels with strong characters (particularly strong female characters) and lavish world-building, you are in for a treat. Gather up all three books, and immerse yourself in Laini Taylor's world of angels and monsters, battles and resurrections, suffering and love. 

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (@LBKids) 
Publication Date: April 8, 2014
Source of Book: Purchased it on Kindle

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© 2014 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