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Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 9

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 has refocused recently, and now contains content from my blog focused on growing joyful learners, including bookworms, mathematicians, and learners of all types. The newsletter is sent out every two to three weeks. 

Newsletter Update: In this issue I have one book review (middle grade), a post about my daughter's latest literacy milestone (skepticism about meta-fiction), a post about playful learning at Disney World, and a post highlighting cases where limiting reading choice seems likely to harm kids' love of reading. I also have two posts with quotes from recent #JoyOfLearning articles as well as two posts with other links that I shared on Twitter (including lots of links related to Growing Bookworms). Not included here, I posted a news release about a donation of 50,000 Dr. Seuss books from Random House to First Book. 

Reading Update: I am finally getting my reading groove back. In the past two weeks I read/listened to five middle grade, one young adult, and four adult titles. I read:

  • Jory John and Mac Barnett (ill. Kevin Cornell): The Terrible Two Get Worse. Harry N. Abrams. Middle Grade Fiction (illustrated). Completed March 5, 2016 (printed ARC). My review.
  • Adele Griffin (ill. Mike Wu): The Oodlethunks #1: Oona Finds an Egg. Scholastic. Illustrated Chapter Book. Completed March 5, 2016.
  • Linda Urban (ill. Katie Kath): Weekends with Max and His Dad. HMH Books for Young Readers. Illustrated Chapter Book. Completed March 5, 2016 (printed ARC). Review to come.
  • Beth Fantaskey: Isabel Feeney, Star Reporter. HMH Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed March 5, 2016. Review to come. 
  • Kallie George (ill. Alexandra Boiger): The Magical Animal Adoption Agency, Book 2: The Enchanted Egg. Disney Hyperion. Illustrated Chapter Book. Completed March 6, 2016. Review to come.
  • Tara Altebrando: The Leaving. Bloomsbury USA Children's Books. Young Adult Suspense. Completed March 4, 2016. Review to come.
  • Carl Honore: In Praise of Slowness. HarperOne. Adult Nonfiction. Completed February 29, 2016, on Kindle. This book gave me some food for thought, but I can't say that I've changed anything in my life as a result of reading it. 
  • C. J. Box: Blood Trail (Joe Pickett, Book 8). Berkley. Adult Mystery. Completed March 1, 2016, on MP3.
  • Nikhil Goyal: Schools on Trial: How Freedom and Creativity Can Fix Our Educational Malpractice. Doubleday. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 2, 2016, on Kindle. I thought that Goyal did a nice job of laying out the problems with our current public educational system. He is very passionate about it. I didn't find his solutions (e.g. get rid of the entire system of compulsory education in this country and start over) to be very practical, but the book overall is well-researched and thought-provoking.
  • Andrew Hacker: The Math Myth: And Other STEM Delusions. The New Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed March 2, 2016, on MP3. This book is somewhat controversial, particularly among mathematicians, but I thought that Hacker made some interesting points, particularly around gender differences in math testing and their impact on gender ratios at elite colleges. I think that the general idea that schools should focus more on imparting numeracy at a younger age is a good one, though Hacker's attacks on the education reform establishment, Common Core, and top-tier math professors seemed a bit over the top.

I had time for that much reading because my husband and daughter went away last weekend on a father-daughter camping trip. (Thank you Y-Guides!) I treated the weekend as something of my own 48-hour Book Challenge, reading and reviewing six books (three of them geared to early elementary school kids, making them quick reads). I'm just about finished listening to Robert B. Parker's Lullaby by Ace Atkins. I'm reading Fortune Falls by Jenny Goebel and Orphan X by Gregg Hurwitz

The books my husband and I (and our babysitter) have been reading to our daughter in 2016 can be found here. We had to scramble a bit to get to our informal goal of 100 books read in the month of February, because of not reading much while on our vacation in Disney World. But we're back on track now. My daughter continues to use the reading list for math practice, she looks at what sheet we are on (we list 30 titles per sheet) and then figures out our total. This week we started reading the first Harry Potter book aloud as a family. I'm not sure if she's really ready for it, but she's been interested for a long time, so we'll give it a try. Perhaps I should get the illustrated edition for her coming birthday...

I'm also currently reading her A Rock is Lively by Dianna Hutts Aston and Sylvia Long. She's been showing a bit more interest lately in nonfiction. What are you and your family reading these days? Thanks for reading the newsletter, and for growing bookworms. 

© 2016 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