Previous month:
May 2018
Next month:
July 2018

Posts from June 2018

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: June 29: #HarryPotter, #FlexibleClassrooms, #ScreenTime, #Play + #Vacation

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week (and a few from last week, because I was on vacation) include #AP, #BookLists, #FlexibleClassrooms, #GraphicNovels, #GrowingBookworms, #GrowthMindset, #HarryPotter, #Introversion, #LearningStyles, #PictureBooks, #play, #ReadingChoice, #ScreenTime, #SummerReading, #testing, Carol Dweck, Pernille Ripp, teaching, unschooling, and vacation.

Top Tweet of the Week

: Research Is Scarce, But Promising | "Classroom flexibility... appears to be roughly as important as air quality, light, or temperature in boosting academic outcomes." [Flexible classrooms are apparently of high interest. This was one of my most popular tweets of all time.]

Book Lists

Sun2018 Roundup from |

Newbery/Caldecott 2019: The Summer Prediction Edition —

Events, Programs, and Research

Some new data on - Summary from w/ link to longer article

The Benefits of Cultivating in Kids | | “At high levels [of curiosity], the associated with poverty was essentially closed

Study finds bipartisan concern over censorship|

Growing Bookworms / #SummerReading

Top Ten Ways to Keep Your Child Over Summer by + | + more

Fun… for All! Suggestions for including + into summer family time by + | + more

PassionateReadersOh yes! On Real Reading and the Kids We Teach – urges + not to disparage kids' as too easy or "not real books"

I so agree w/ on Why We Need to Embrace Book Abandonment – "We know there is a lot of emotion tied up with being a , but we should not have guilt be one of them"

6 Clever Ways to Encourage You Haven’t Thought Of | | , book-themed TV, games, etc.

8 playful ways to keep your child's skills sharp this summer | | via

In Praise of Dog Man and Other for Children | | Celebrating "the moment... when for reading’s sake becomes a thing" -


LittleHouseALSC Changes Wilder Award to Children’s Literature Legacy Award |

Growth Mindset

interventions yield impressive results, |

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

RT @RandomlyReading: B&N to Create Kids' Graphic Novel Sections in All Its Stores via

What a Father Learns by w/ His Special-Needs Son - via

HarryPotter5SelznickOn 20th U.S. anniversary of , 20 facts about the wizard

In Praise of the Ideal Summer Reading "As Long As They’re Reading vs. Guided Reading By Experts. Two halves of the same coin"

It is never too late to become a reader, says , citing her husband's experience. Adult non-readers "need what every needs; choice, books, community, time, personalization, and understanding"

Parenting and Play

The Social, Emotional, and Academic Benefits of for Children in the Summer (+ how to encourage it) by | Look for choice, wonder + delight!

RaisingHappinessHow--and Why--to Go on a Real Vacation, and how to tackle re-entry |

Children Who Don't Go to : What Does It Look like to All Day? | Kids learn independence, experimentation, social skills + lots more from playing

On the pleasures of a "summer afternoon" spent drifting, relaxing, entertaining , + more. Good practice for a real | Patricia Hampl

The Case for the Do-Nothing Summer - |"Days unbroken by plan or purpose gave me the space to learn who I was"

Schools and Libraries

ImSadUsing With Older Students – A How-to Guide –

20 Ways to Be in Your by | , , , ,

Educators Turn to Programs for Top Students to Narrow the ‘Excellence Gap’ - | | Considering the needs of high-achieving too (esp. low-income, non-white kids)

Looking for Intelligent Life in - "Every habitual, unconscious idiocy of early childhood education can be infused with the lightness, playfulness + focus of true "

Good stuff: Four Steps to a Magnificent (which is the "foundation of literacy" in the ) by

ReadingInTheWildUnlimited Engagement: Helping Developing Teen Readers by Giving up the Struggle | "Be welcoming", "make it personal" | , quotes + many more

5 Lessons From The Failure Of The $575 Million Effective Initiative |

First space, then auto—now quietly tinkers with | via , ,

Screen Time

IGenWhen does become harmful for adolescents' ? Three experts break down the research

Parents’ Is Hurting Kids | are with kids but not engaged when texting, etc.

On a mission to reduce ? Headed on vacation? Check out The Best Games for Kids that Parents Will Like, Too! from

Lingering Fears from Outdated Recommendations Stunt Parent Buy-In | Need more distinction between time on entertainment vs. via |

Creating Paths to Participation for | | solutions, in presenting, down time + more


MathematicalMindsets11 Enlightening for | |


Eight private in Washington area are dropping out of program | |

© 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: June 27: #Babymouse, #SummerReading, and Waiting for New Series Installments

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 a post about how I'm limiting my daughter's screen time this summer (in favor of books), and another that is an update on that and my general push to give her opportunities to read over the summer. I also have two posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, and a quick post with a link to an interview that I did at Dani Duck's website

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

  • SpySchoolStuart Gibbs: Spy School. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed June 17, 2018. This book, about a boy who is whisked off to a DC-area school for training young spies, is quite kid-friendly, and I will certainly give it to my daughter when she's a little bit older. As an adult reader, however, it didn't quite hold my attention. 
  • Laurel Snyder: Orphan Island. Walden Pond Press. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed June 21, 2018, on Kindle. This is an unusual and lyrical book about a mysterious island inhabited by nine orphans. A new young one replaces the oldest each year, when a small boat arrives. This one did hold my attention, read pool-side in Hawaii. In the end, though, I felt like I didn't quite understand it - like I was missing some profound conclusion. 
  • April Henry: The Girl I Used To Be. Henry Holt and Co. Young Adult Mystery. Completed June 22, 2018, on Kindle. This is a suspenseful YA novel about a girl who is investigating her mother's long-ago murder. There were some themes common to other books I've read recently, which gave me a bit of deja vu, but I still enjoyed the book and the characters. 
  • S. J. Scott, Barrie Davenport: 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment. CreateSpace. Adult Nonfiction. Completed June 2, 2018, on Kindle. This was a free selection that I got from Amazon, in the interest of learning more about mindfulness. There are lots of ideas for simple ways to add mindful moments to your day. 
  • PlayStuart Brown: Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul. Avery. Adult Nonfiction. Completed June 10, 2018, on Kindle. This is a nonfiction title that is more about re-discovering play as an adult than about the benefits for children, but it's definitely interesting. 
  • Kelly McGonigal: The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It. Avery. Adult Nonfiction. Completed June 14, 2018, on MP3. This book I liked a lot. I listened to a chapter every few days, to give myself time to digest the different recommendations. It's based on a course that the author teaches with research-based, practical techniques for increasing willpower. And who couldn't use a bit of improvement there?
  • Jeff Goins: The Art of Work: A Proven Path to Discovering What You Were Meant to Do. Thomas Nelson. Adult Nonfiction. Completed June 20, 2018, on Kindle. This is about reinvention and creating a work life (or retirement life) with more meaning and satisfaction. I would like to have a bit of time to digest this one, but I haven't been able to make that happen so far. 

RightTheWrongsI'm still listening to 11/22/63 by Stephen King. It's good, but very long. I'm reading To Right the Wrongs (Erin Blake #2) by Sheryl Scarborough, a sequel to a YA thriller that I read last month. In truth, I'm in a little bit of a reading slump - I have a ton of things on my nightstand and my Kindle, but I want more books that are so exciting that I can't put them down. I have a bunch of new arrivals that I haven't tried yet and new samples downloaded, so we'll see...

I'm still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my daughter. We are just through O.W.Ls with Harry, Ron, and Hermione, and have met Grawp. I need to find us more reading time, so that we can get through the exciting ending quickly. I was rather annoyed yesterday to learn that a friend told my daughter who the characters each end up married to. Sigh. I've been so careful not to spoil things for her. But that's the downside of reading such a well-known series. 

KristysBigDayI have been doing better lately at keeping up my daughter's list of books read. Her current obsession is the Babymouse books. She collected a huge stack of them last time we were at the library, and has been whipping through them. She also quite liked The Cardboard Kingdom, a new graphic novel by Chad Sell.  She continues to re-read from her favorite authors (Raina Telgemeier) and series (Jedi Academy, Dork Diaries, Babysitters Club).  She's dying for new releases in all three of these series, but these aren't coming until later in the summer.

Come to think of it, I'm ready for new installments in a couple of my own favorite series (notably Louise Penny and Tana French). It would be hypocrisy on my part to be waiting for release of those books while pushing my daughter to read books that she's not interested in / obsessed with. Fortunately for both of us, I am not doing that. It's summer, and we both read what we choose. Off to the library tomorrow. My guess is that we'll be checking out more Babymouse books. 

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

How My Schemes for Keeping My Daughter Reading this Summer Are Working So Far

In recent posts I shared How I'm Preparing for my Daughter's Summer Reading and Some Thoughts on Limiting Screen Time (in part so that she would have more time for reading). Summer vacation is, happily, still young, but I wanted to share a few notes on how things are working out so far.

Book Bins

BookBinJensBookPageEarlier I ordered a set of 3 collapsible storage bins to put in the car, bathroom and next to the kitchen table to keep summer reading books handy. These were so successful that I soon ordered a second set, so that we would have six book bins to distribute around the house and cars. There are currently two in our cars, two in bathrooms, one in the kitchen, and one in her bedroom. How are they working out? Well:

  • Every time I go into the downstairs bathroom I find the bin scooted over to be closer to the toilet.

  • My husband picked up a book from one of the bins and started reading it. My daughter noticed him reading it and reported this to me. (Modeling reading is good, right?)

  • My daughter ALWAYS reads in my car now, because "the best books are in Mommy's car.

  • She has complained about the mix of books in some of the bins - I apparently slipped in too many books that were not already favorites. I told her to change them up as she likes. However, I also continue to drop in new books that pop up, on the chance that they might strike her fancy. 

Library Trips

ClownCarnivalWe visited the library recently and checked out 26 titles, including many of the Babymouse books, and a new-to-use series of Scooby-Doo-themed Choose Your Own Adventure books. She's been whipping her way through those, and we'll have to go back soon. Now that I think about it, I think I should repurpose the bin in her bedroom and dedicate that one to library books, to make it easier for her to see them.

Screen Time Restrictions

I now have a policy in place that she can have 30 minutes of screen time each day, but only AFTER brushing her hair and teeth, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and tidying up (putting away clean laundry, etc.). I didn't hold to this policy while we were on vacation, but since we've returned, well, she hasn't been able to meet her requirements to even get to the screen time. Which is a success as far as I'm concerned. Examples:

  • The other day she grumbled "I hate 30 minutes of screen time policy." But not five minutes later I heard her singing in the playroom, while doing something else. I'm not sure what it was, but it was some sort of active, creative play.
  • She used to get out of bed early and get straight onto her tablet on weekends. Now that she's lacking that incentive, she's been sleeping later,which I think she needs. Most days she also reads in bed for a while after she wakes up.

All in all, the screen time policy is a win so far. 

Vacation Reading

We went on a four-night vacation to Hawaii last week. I made sure that our current Harry Potter book was on my Kindle, and we did read from it, though only once. She read the new graphic novel that I had purchased, Cardboard Kingdom, several times. And for what it's worth, I modeled reading by the pool for many, many hours. 

© 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

Some Thoughts on Limiting Screen Time

For the summer, my husband, daughter and I agreed on a policy of no more than 30 minutes per day of screen time for her (with long plane trips an exception). Right as school let out, I added a modifier to that. I said that the screen time could only happen after she had tidied her room and playroom, put away any clean laundry, eaten breakfast, gotten dressed, and brushed her teeth. Because my daughter is one who prefers to kick around in her PJs all day, eating a super late breakfast, this modifier has initiated some whining. BUT it's already been hugely successful in getting her to diversify her activities.

LibraryBooksYesterday she:

  • Spent an hour making an elaborate birthday card for a friend.
  • Set up a Lego station in the front hall.
  • Started a new project on her Loopdeloom.
  • Dressed her new (hand-me-down) American Girl doll in a cute softball outfit.
  • Read several short graphic novels.
  • Went to the library with me to check out 26 books.

All of this took place before her 30 minutes of device time, which ended up happening late in the afternoon.

Yes, the whole process ended up cutting into my newspaper reading and exercise time a bit. And yes, the house is much, much messier now than it would have been if I had let her start on her tablet the minute she got up and stay on it for 3 hours (and has certainly happened in the recent past). But she is DOING things instead of passively WATCHING things, which is a clear improvement overall. 

Oh, and this morning she slept later than she has all school year. She was getting up early on the weekends out of eagerness to get to the device. Knowing that she won't get to it right away, she stays in bed longer, which is surely a good thing.

LoomSo, here is my advice, for what it's worth, if you want your child to spend more time reading or playing or doing crafts:

  • Set a hard limit on device time / screen time (at least at home, and/or for when the child is alone. Family movies and things can be additional).
  • Add some constraints, things that have to be accomplished BEFORE the screen time takes place. If these are things that she will do anything to put off, so much the better.
  • Communicate the policies clearly to your child, explaining your reasons. My daughter and I had a discussion about how much better it is for her to spend her time reading, playing, etc. than tapping away on a screen. We talked about how when she doesn't spend time online she is less cranky. Because she had recently spent 2+ weeks without ANY screen time (as a consequence of a misbehavior), she knew what I was talking about, even if she didn't like it. 

The idea here is to convey, if you can, that you are setting the limits for the child's benefit, not your own. And this is the truth. I hate the mess around the house that results from more free play. I miss the quiet time to exercise without being interrupted while she's on her tablet. But in the big picture, the activities that she's choosing to do instead of the device time are clearly better for her development. And I can use the requirement to clean up the mess as a way to put off her device time again today. 

© 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: June 15: #BookAccess, #OwnVoices, #LoveOfReading + Enjoying Summer

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #AchievementGap, #BookLists, #ChildDevelopment, #curiosity, #GraphicNovels, #gratitude, #GrowingBookworms, #IntrinsicMotivation, #OwnVoices, #parenting, #play, #ReadAloud, #reading, #rewards, #teaching, Bill Gates, Donalyn Miller, and libraries.

Top Tweet of the Week

BookWhispererMust read: "much of what we describe as the “achievement gap” is caused by differential access to books... Kids need books everywhere. They need , , + public ."

Book Lists

50+ Chapter Books (to add to your reading) good for Preschoolers + 3 Year Olds, from

A Mighty Girl's Ultimate Guide to Girl-Empowering for Kids | | | Most of my daughter's faves are here

Diversity + Gender

Summing up a recent Controversy in |

Where Boys Outperform Girls in : Rich, White and Suburban Districts - (girls outperform boys on English tests either way) +

Events + Programs

FactfulnessVery cool: Bill Gates is giving a digital copy of the book FACTFULNESS (which I read b/c of his rec + really enjoyed) to all US college students graduating this spring:

Growing Bookworms / Summer Reading

On creating : "if we have not made a concerted effort to create life-long readers when they leave our system, perhaps we have failed in our ultimate goal", w/ questions for leaders

Make Room For Both Types of urges to give kids true free choice, unrestricted time so that they learn to LOVE reading | May all of my daughter's future teachers know this

— The Greatest Gift Your Kids Will Give You |

"I’ve learned that if I can keep my eye on the big goal of creating lifelong , I can’t rush them through this stage (choosing series books vs. "good" books). It is a critical stage in the life of a reader"

MrsSmithSpySchoolThoughts from on the benefits of , w/ designed to keep it FUN [Her book Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls is super-fun too]


Fusenews: A Giant Dance Party Changes Nothing (but it is fun) — has various tidbits to share

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

The Lion, the Witch + the Wardrobe voted the children’s book most UK adults want to read again, beating out The Secret Garden | | 2/3 of adults agree in bed helps w/ sleep

Your Brain on (Why Your Brain Needs You to Read Every Day) by | brain connectivity, more fluid reasoning, emotional intelligence + more

Read a book --- it could save your sanity » Study of 15k+ seniors found ' risk of developing dementia was significantly lower than non-readers via


RaisingHappinessA Family Guide to Surviving the Summer by | Creating new routines, limiting + raising expectations for chores sound right to me

How to not melt the couch, and other life skills to teach your kids this summer - Karen Weese | This is a pretty good, if ambitious, list ranging from how to iron to how to be a good guest |

The Perils Of Pushing Kids Too Hard, And How Parents Can Learn To Back Off | + |

Mr. Rogers's Simple Set of 9 Rules for Talking to Young Kids - Maxwell King -

How to Improve Verbal Communication With Your Child: "3) Read Together — Even When They Can Read Themselves. It is impossible to overstate the importance" of this

Schools and Libraries

Why Every Kinder and 1st-Grade School Day Should Begin with Inquiry + Imaginative by Olivia Wahl | Referencing

EverythingBeyond the Comfort Zone: Language Arts on how she gets buy-in from before letting kids reads books w/ controversial content

Noticing the Good Stuff in the : A Suggested Practice | | Share a |

Don't Use Gimmicks to Motivate Students - they take away - strive to inspire autonomy instead, says

It's Time to End Mandated Summer Assignments - rounds up ideas for promoting + instead

If This Is the End of Average, What Comes Next? | raises concerns w/ conclusions in book re:

© 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.

Interview At Dani Duck's Website

An interview that Dani Duck did with me is live at her blog today. Questions included: "Why is reading so important to you?" and "Describe your perfect reading area."

Here's a snippet:

"My favorite place to read is in a comfortable chair somewhere outside, with a view, in the shade. I once spent an entire day reading on a lounge chair on a little peninsula in Bar Harbor, Maine. I had ocean on three sides of me, and multiple books to read. It was pure bliss. In my mind, I sometimes try to go back to that spot. But these days, my backyard and a cup of tea or a glass of wine works pretty well, too."

But I hope you'll click through to see the whole interview, and add Dani to your blog roll while you're at it. Happy Friday!

© 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: June 8: The Marshmallow Test, Summer #BookLists + #FreeRangeKids

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include: #BookAccess, #BookLists, #GrowingBookworms, #GrowthMindset, #KidLitCon, #LoveOfBooks, #math, #OwnVoices, #play, #PoetryFriday, #SummerReading, #SummerSlide, #TeachersWrite, boys and reading, libraries, parenting, reading, willpower, and writing.

Top Tweet of the Week

The Marshmallow Test: What Does It Really Measure? responds to larger follow-up study suggesting affluence rather than willpower matters [One of my most popular links ever.]

Book Lists

WatermelonSeed 2018: for Preschool, TK + Kindergarten (ages 4-5) from (w/ links to other lists by age - follow Mary Ann's blog to see those)

30 Mighty Girl Books About Summertime Adventure, Growth, & Discovery | from | I bet boys would like these too |

Diversity + Gender

This: Expanding Empathy: Boys should be reading "Girl" Books says | "We shortchange boys and underestimate them when we don’t expose boys to stories with girl main characters"

Research on in Youth Literature, coedited by + Gabrielle Atwood Halko, is a new “peer-reviewed, online, open-access journal,” via

A Closer Look at 2017 Latinx Books from |

Events, Programs, and Research

The Incredibles to use superpowers for Card Sign-up Month in September | |

HartRisleyInteresting new results re: the '30 Million Word Gap' | Larger studies find much smaller gap + some would prefer to remove 'deficit thinking' of gap-focused mindset

Lots of food for thought here: The "Debunking" of Hart & Risley (30 million word gap) and How We Use -

, community of , , who believe people who write can teach more effectively, has 2018 virtual summer writing camp via

Teachers: Prepare your class for the 10th annual K-4 contest. This year's theme is Heroes (human or animal)

Growing Bookworms / #SummerReading

RT @MrsPStorytime: Need tips for ? I've gathered up so many FREE resources and activities to share with you!

This post brought a little tear to my eye: How + her team Gave Every 7th grade Student a Book on the Last Day of School

Here's another teacher taking solid action to encourage in the classroom: Learn more about in podcast

BookWhispererStrategies for Building A Culture of Independent in a 9th Grade English Class | |

Digital Device + Free Texts = Reading All Summer Long by

For thinking ahead to next year, here's a guide from founder on Getting Started with

How To Find Good Children's Books: The Best Tips and Tricks from | , professional sites, + more |

Challenge for Kids — 2018 Edition | Ideas from + for making a fun adventure | Read a then draw your own in chalk


KIDLIT_con_poster_final_web_smAnnouncing the Poster, designed by Isabel Roxas!

Hey there bloggers, here's a call for Roundup Hosts from

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

The Endless Possibilities of Story & : 3 ways + story change lives from

Guest Post : on Keeping it : Handling Tough Topics in Fiction | "First, don't be depressing"

Parenting + Play

GoodNewsBadBehaviorWhy Children Aren't Behaving, And What You Can Do About It : interviews author |

The Overprotected American Child: Parents + communities are figuring out ways to give their children more independence + become more self-reliant adults

What Kind Of Parent Are You: Carpenter Or Gardener? | shares interview w/ | often focus too much on who their kids will be as adults

An Overlooked Skill in : How to Have Fun - It's not just kids who benefit from more |

Schools and Libraries

Interesting discussion on idea of opening to slow the

3 Reasons for to Recognize Effort and Growth Over Achievement and Outcomes

How Is Increasing Engagement, w/ implementation tips


HowToBakePiNeat idea: How To Bake ∏ (Pi): An Edible Exploration (w/ for ) of the of Mathematics by | Thoughts on the book from |

Latinx + African-American less likely to pass advanced , classes according to recent data

© 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: June 6: #SummerReading Edition

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 one literacy milestone post (recognizing publishers) as well as a two-part series about encouraging summer reading. I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter. These include tons of booklists, as well as suggestions from others about encouraging summer reading. I still don't have the motivation for writing full book reviews but I have included a bit more detail than usual here about the books that I've been reading. I'm also dabbling in quick recommendations on Twitter, to help get the word out about books that I like. 

Reading Update:  In the last three weeks I finished one middle grade, three young adult, and eight adult titles. (Well, I did skim parts of a couple of the adult titles.) I read/listened to: 

  • LightningGirlStacy McAnulty: The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl. Random House Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed May 27, 2018, print review copy. This book is about a girl who was struck by lightning when she was in second grade. This left her a math genius with more than a touch of OCD. As the book begins she is sent to middle school after being homeschooled since third grade. The book chronicles her troubles fitting in and eventual personal growth. It's very well done, and I recommend it. I would have loved it when I was about 11. 
  • Anna Sheehan: No Life But This. Candlewick Press. Young Adult Dystopia. Completed May 20, 2018, on Kindle. This was the sequel/conclusion to A Long, Long Sleep, but it featured a different narrator and was less suspenseful than the first book. I didn't enjoy it nearly as much. 
  • Mike Mullin: Surface Tension. Tanglewood Press. Young Adult Thriller. Completed May 25, 2018, on Kindle. This YA novel about a book who accidentally witnesses a terrorist attack and ends up pursued by the terrorists was fun and timely. I personally had a bit of trouble suspending belief, but I think that teens will enjoy it. 
  • Sheryl Scarborough: To Catch A Killer (Erin Blake #1). Tor Teen. Young Adult Mystery. Completed May 26, 2018, on Kindle. This YA mystery about a teen applying forensic techniques to solve her mother's long-ago murder also stretched the bounds of credibility a bit, but I enjoyed it enough to download the sequel. I did skim over some of the details about forensic analysis, though I think that there will be teens who will love that aspect of the book. 
  • William Stixrud and Ned Johnson: The Self-Driven Child: The Science and Sense of Giving Your Kids More Control Over Their Lives. Viking. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 16, 2018, on Kindle. Control is something that we are working on in regards to my daughter, and I did find this book useful. 
  • DarkAngelElly Griffiths: The Dark Angel (Ruth Galloway). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Adult Mystery. Completed May 23, 2018, on Kindle. Love, love, love this series, and did not see the personal twist at the end coming. 
  • William Kent Krueger: Thunder Bay (Cork O'Connor). Atria Books. Adult Mystery. Completed May 24, 2018, on MP3. This was a solid installment to this series - I will be ready for the next book soon, though I am spacing them out a bit so that the series will last. 
  • Ken Langone: I Love Capitalism: An American Story. Portfolio. Adult Nonfiction/Memoir. Completed May 25, 2018, on Kindle. I didn't actually read this entire book, but I read the first few chapters, skimmed the middle, and then read the last chapter. I thought that Ken, a now-wealthy co-founder of Home Depot who came from working class beginnings, had a lot of smart things to say. I liked him very much. 
  • Sarah Mackenzie: The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids. Zondervan. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 25, 2018, on Kindle. This book is excellent and I would recommend it to any parent looking to rekindle the motivation to read with kids. I can't say that I picked up a lot of concrete new suggestions, given how much I've already read on this topic, but it did make me more determined not to let reading TO my daughter slip this summer. 
  • QuirkyMelissa A. Schilling: Quirky: The Remarkable Story of the Traits, Foibles, and Genius of Breakthrough Innovators Who Changed the World. PublicAffairs. Adult Nonfiction. Completed May 28, 2018, on Kindle. This is another book in which I skimmed portions of the text (details about the backgrounds and accomplishments of the quirky innovators profiled). My interest was more in their commonalities and the conclusions drawn by the author about how and why certain traits are conducive to serial innovation. 
  • S. J. Scott, Barrie Davenport: 10-Minute Mindfulness: 71 Habits for Living in the Present Moment. CreateSpace. Adult Nonfiction. Completed June 2, 2018, on Kindle. This was a free selection that I checked out. I'm not completely on board with the mindfulness concept, but I've seen enough recommendations that I wanted to know a bit more about it. This quick read gave me a few ideas. 
  • Eric Bernt: The Speed of Sound. Thomas & Mercer. Adult SF/Thriller. Completed May 27, 2018, on MP3. This book features a doctor who works with a genius patient on the Asperger's spectrum. The patient's world-changing invention is the target of multiple powerful factions, making it a strong blend of both thriller and science fiction. I look forward to the publication of the sequel. 

SpySchoolI'm currently listening to 11/22/63 by Stephen King, a recommendation from my sister (and a great value for one of my audio credits, because it is quite lengthy).  I'm reading Enough As She Is by Rachel Simmons on my Kindle, and reading Spy School by Stuart Gibbs in paperback. I'm still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix with my daughter. We just read he part where the Weasley brothers set off crazily inventive fireworks all over Hogwarts, as a protest of Umbridge. My daughter adored that part. 

I haven't been doing a great job of keeping up my daughter's list of books read, because she usually doesn't tell me when she finishes something, and she does power re-reads of her favorite graphic novels back to back at a pace with which I can't hope to keep up. But I have tried to update the list with books that I do know about. Her current obsession is the Diary of a Wimpy Kids books. It's rather surprising that she left them for so long, but she is whipping through them now.

Amulet1We also just checked a bunch of the Amulet books out of the library - she had read them previously from library copies a few months ago, and is ready to read them again. She's been really reading up a storm lately - to the point that we have to force her to stop reading to do things like eat family dinner, get dressed, and go to sleep. I am, of course, hoping for this avid reading behavior to continue over the summer. 

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! I wish lots of lazy days of summer reading for you and your children in the coming months. 

© 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 I'm Preparing for my Daughter's #SummerReading

Last week I posted some tips for parents on encouraging kids' summer reading. My main argument was: 

Choice, access, and time are three key ingredients for a summer of reading. If you can provide all three to your kids, you will likely be pleased with the results. And you will be giving them a gift that can last a lifetime.

Today I'd like to share a few more specific examples of how I'm preparing for my daughter's anticipated summer reading. Things I have done:

  • Read a new book called The Read-Aloud Family: Making Meaningful and Lasting Connections with Your Kids by Sarah Mackenzie. Even though I was already well on-board with the idea of reading aloud, and fostering my daughter's love of books, this book energized me to do more reading aloud this summer with my daughter. 
  • Started going to the public library more regularly (we don't go much during the school year because she goes to school library and because we have so many books at home. And because her "graphic novels only" phase has pretty well exhausted the public library's selection. But in the summer we will go more, and just sit and read picture books, or whatever she wants to do. (Choice)
  • Made sure we have our current Harry Potter book (Order of the Phoenix) in print and on Kindle for travel. (I might not do this with a shorter book but this is a total bargain in this case - we will be reading this book together all summer long. And I do not intend to carry the print copy on any trips.). (Choice and Access, because she ADORES this series)
  • Ordered a set of 3 collapsible storage bins to put in the car, bathroom and next to the kitchen table to keep summer reading books handy. This is already working. I might need more bins. (Access)
  • Went through the booklist for her school's Battle of the Books. The contest is scheduled for the fall, and as a rising third grader this will be her first opportunity to participate. Battle of the Books is a quiz show-like contact for which kids form teams and answers questions about books. I am not at all sure that my daughter will want to participate (she tends to be a free spirit when it comes to reading), but my thinking is that if she is going to read anyway, and if there are books on the list for her age group that she is interested in, then she may as well read them. (Access and Choice, because I won't MAKE her read anything)
    • Of the list of 20 books I pulled two of them off my shelves, and ordered seven others that I thought she might like. I didn't order anything with depressing covers or any picture books (which she could read in the fall quickly anyway).
  • Ordered some other books that I thought she would like, including
    • The Cardboard Kingdom, a new graphic novel for which I've seen very positive reviews. 
    • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin (because Lin's Year of the Dog series remains the only middle grade series she's devoured that isn't a graphic or notebook novel, even though I know this other book is very different). 
    • Spy School by Stuart Gibbs (because she loves spies, and it's the first of a series)
  • I'm also planning to sort out some other books that are stacked up around the house (like the stacks of books that my neighbor recently handed down) and add things that I think she might like to her summer reading baskets. There's a stack of the Geronimo Stilton books, for example, that I think may catch her fancy. But that's just about access and organization. Reading any of these books will be up to her. 
  • Got her to agree to a 30 minute per day limit on iPad time during summer vacation. Now, we all know that there will be many battles over this once vacation actually starts, but I'm going to try to enforce it. What I told her, and what I truly feel, is that I want her to have time to do other things: reading, swimming, drawing, playing, etc. And that while a little device time is fine, all of these other things are better for her development. We'll see how that goes, in terms of applying the limit, but I know that it will work in terms of more reading.  This past weekend she had her device taken away for a misbehavior, and she spent more time reading, doing Perler beads, writing, painting, etc.(Time)
  • Signed her up for a childcare option that offers a flexible start time. This way, if she becomes immersed in a book, I don't have to tear her away to meet some deadline (as happens all the time during the school year). I realize that not everyone has this option, but I am grateful that I do. (Time)

Here is what I did not do to prepare for my daughter's summer reading:

  • Sign her up for any formal summer reading programs with prizes. I believe that such programs take away the implicit motivation to read. I think there is a place for them for some kids, to jump-start reading, but I don't think we need that at this point, so I am staying away. 
  • Pay any attention to AR points on anything in the baskets. I do not care if she reads anything that will help her in third grade. I just care that she's reading something. 
  • Think much about what books I loved as I selected options for my daughter - her taste is clearly different from mine (though I am planning to read Spy School). 

Obviously, this set of actions is very specific to our situation. I buy more books than most people do, I know. I do this in part to encourage re-reading and in part to support authors and publishers. And, ok, because I'm just weak that way. But obviously, one could accomplish the same goal by going to the library every week and taking advantage of generous check-out policies and easy online renewals, or prowling around used bookstores.

The point is to have plenty of appealing books around, so that when the child has free time, reading is an attractive option. And, of course, to provide that free time. 

I'll report back and let you know how well this prescription works in our household. What are you doing to prepare for your child's summer reading? I welcome other suggestions. 

© 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: June 1: #Mysteries, #SummerReading, #GrowthMindset + #KidLitCon

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this busy week include #BookList, #DiverseBooks, #Grades, #GrowthMindset, #IdeologicalDiversity, #KidLitCon, #kidsneedbooks, #kidsneedmentors, #libraries, #OwnVoices, #play, #SchoolLibraries, #schools, #STEM, #SummerReading, censorship, growing bookworms, lego, math, mysteries, and reading choice.

Top Tweet of the Week

This is inspiring: A Fifth Grader’s Mission To Save His School’s Librarian |

Book Lists

Ada-Byron-Lovelace14 Books That Connect Students With Valuable Scientists' Struggles |

Books about Inventions and their Amazing Inventors! New

14 Kid-Approved Books for Advanced 1st + 2nd Grade Readers | from , + other great choices

8 Middle Grade for Fans of The Westing Game | |

50 Books for Super from Black Children's Books and Authors blog

If you are in need of a wide variety of suggestions, check out the List of Lists: May 25


On the blog: An Interview with Martin Sandler, author of Jr. High winner The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found


GirlsWhoCodeA Closer Look at 2017 African/African American Books from

RT @UChicagoLaw: "If conservatives and liberals refuse to attend college together... how can we expect to live and govern together?" Matthew Reade '21 (incoming 1L) pens op-ed about how he has benefited from spending time with those who do not share his views.

Events, Programs and Research

The Problem with - | "most students are not employing study strategies that mesh with self-reported learning preferences + the minority who do show no academic benefit"

Octopus AND - + teaming up to help kids learn to love +

Neat outreach program: Library in a Box: Jennifer Wharton assembles curated boxes of books, puts them in locations accessible to underserved families, in hopes of bringing them into the library

RT @RitaPlatt: Let's keep our kiddos reading this a really simple way. Try this experiment with me! Let's see how it goes!

Libraries of the Little, Free, and New Orleans Variety — is helping a highschooler collect books for one in the MS Delta

Mindset theory doesn’t translate directly from kids to adults – telling an adult they are a “hard worker” can backfire says new study –

What's Going On In Your Child's Brain When You Read Them A Story? Study found the most benefit for young kids from listening while looking at pictures (vs. listening only or looking at video)

Growing Bookworms / Summer Reading

Best Programs, Contests + Challenges 2018 per , w/ reminder to skip any that add too much pressure for your child

AllTheAnswersThe Power of Sharing Stories in Stacks | Booktalking + individualized recommendations are key to nurturing readers in via

For – How to Create Great Experiences for All – tips from | "Visit places where books are present" + lots more

How + her 7th graders are making Plans, because " make plans"

This! "Stop killing the magic of books with required " says mom + reader

A dad's lament: "My Kid Won’t Read the Books I Pick Out for Her Anymore"

The results are in: is important for student achievement | | 85% of families involved in 2 studies said free books contributed to kids more

Major milestone: my daughter can read | Mom shares 3 things she's doing now (continuing to to her child, e.g.)

On Being Mindful of the Messages We Send Kids About Their Book Choices

15 Tips for Starting a Lifelong Conversation w/ Kids About Books |

Kidlitosphere / #KidLitCon

RichardPeckThe Children’s Literature Community Reacts to the Passing of — a roundup from

Exciting news from organizers + | We Won a Grant from Tourism Council! Should help w/ bringing excellent keynote speakers

SAVE THE DATE: 2019 in Providence, RI on March 22-23 | has the scoop on why to go:

New post from the blog: Our Latest Attendee List! – | + have a great crew of fans + creators lined up

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

ReturnToGoneAwayThis is fun: Literary Homes I'd Like to Live In, from | Me, I'd add the house from Return to Gone Away by Elizabeth Enright, and several from Zilpha Keatley Snyder

How to combat efforts to at a school: Read, Rise, Resist, Repeat by Kacy Smith


The power of through #play. + work to introduce concept in Malta, reports via

Kids do not spend nearly enough time outside. Here’s how (and why) to change that.

24 Arkansas elementary to expand recess next year in a pilot program via

Don’t rob your kids of outdoors free | "Let your kids be kids. The warm weather won’t last forever, and neither will their childhood. Enjoy both while they last."

Schools and Libraries

Arguments for Multi-Grade Classrooms in Today's | Krissa Mayhew | Preparation for adult world, individualized , etc. | Disadvantages not addressed here

Find Public Support as Campaigns for Higher Pay Goes to Voters - +

PowerOfQuestioningWant to Give Up in your or ? Here's How You Can Get Buy-in -

Train Your to Think Like Researchers |Help them to maintain + take risks, says

If Supporting Passion Is So Important, What Do We Do If They Don’t Have Any? guest post:

Trial finds physically active academic school lessons boost pupils’ activity levels and focus –

Why Are the Leaders We Need -


Calculus Is the Peak of High School . Maybe It's Time to Change That - |

© 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.