Guest Post: Mrs. P's 10th Annual Be-A-Famous Writer Contest
Mathematical Milestone: Wowed by the Power of Twos

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: August 29: Back-To-School 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 two book reviews (one picture book and one YA) and three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, full of tons on reading-related news. I also have a guest post from Mrs. P. about her 10th Annual Be-A-Famous Writer Contest. I'm hoping to have more literacy milestones for you next time. I think that the start of the school year will trigger some... 

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

  • Paul Noth: How To Properly Dispose of Planet Earth. Bloomsbury Children's Books. Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. Completed August 25, 2018, print ARC. Review to come, closer to publication.
  • Skulduggery1Derek Landy: Skulduggery Pleasant, Book 1. HarperCollins Children's Books. Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. Completed August 26, 2018, print review copy. Review scheduled for next week. 
  • Patti Kelley Criswell (ill. Angela Martini): Stand Up for Yourself & Your Friends: Dealing with Bullies & Bossiness and Finding a Better Way. AmericanGirl. Early Middle Grade Nonfiction. Completed August 27, 2018. This is a well-done little book designed to help girls to cope with bullies and meanness, and to avoid such behavior themselves. I bought it for my daughter but read it myself first, and I do recommend it for early elementary age kids (it's pretty simplistic so I doubt it would capture the interest of kids above about 10). 
  • Charles Murray: Coming Apart. Crown Forum. Adult Nonfiction. Completed August 18, 2018, on Kindle. I read this book as part of my quest to understand the bifurcation of America. In this case,  because of a what was available for survey data, Murray looks specifically at ways that whites have diverged over the years under a variety of metrics (education, community involvement, marriage, single parenthood, etc.). It was a good companion read to Hillbilly Elegy, which I read earlier in the year. 
  • Craig A. Falconer: Not Alone: Second Contact. Amazon. Adult Science Fiction. Completed August 20, 2018, on MP3. This was a sequel to a science fiction story that I enjoyed, and I thought it had a satisfactory ending. It probably could have been edited down a bit, but as length is a plus for me in audiobooks I didn't mind. 
  • Arne Duncan: How Schools Work: An Inside Account of Failure and Success from One of the Nation's Longest-Serving Secretaries of Education. Simon & Schuster. Adult Nonfiction. Completed August 23, 2018, on Kindle. I found this book quite readable, and I appreciated Duncan's willingness to call out many of the lies that we collectively tell ourselves about our education system. I found his prescriptions for what to do to improve the school system to be not too slanted towards more big, government programs, and thus unrealistically expensive, but I did think his heart is in the right place. 
  • Ted Dintersmith: What Schools Could Be: Insights and Inspiration from Teachers across America. Princeton University Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed August 26, 2018, on Kindle. This book, about an entrepreneur who spent a year traveling around the US looking for innovative schools and districts, is in many ways the opposite of Duncan's book. [Outside vs. Insider, anti-(most) testing vs. pro-(some) testing, deeply skeptical of- Race to the Top vs. creator of Race to the Top, etc.). Dintersmith's heart is in the right place, too. His issue is more a question of whether his suggestions for local, grassroots change can be scaled up enough to make a difference. He definitely has some inspiring examples, though. 

TalkingAcrossDivideI also listened to about 40% of Scythe by Neal Shusterman, but I just didn't like it and I stopped. Too bleak for me these days, though I suspect I would have loved it a few years back. I'm listening to Heaven's Keep by William Kent Kruger (Cork O'Connor Mysteries, Book 9). I'm reading Talking Across the Divide by Justin Lee on my Kindle, and Little White Lies by Jennifer Lynn Barnes in print (ARC). 

I'm continuing to read mainly picture books to my daughter. We are making our way through a lot of our old favorites and it's been quite enjoyable. This morning we read The Cloud Spinner by Michael Catchpool and Alison JayYou can see some of those favorites in her reading list here. On her own, she continues to resist reading any of the books for her school's upcoming Battle of the Books, even though she says that she's interested in being on a team with several friends. I think she just really doesn't like being told what to read. And none of them are graphic novels, or even particularly heavily illustrated, so they just aren't her thing. But when she's left alone to read graphic novels and notebook novels she reads ALL THE TIME. To the point where it's hard to get her out of the house for, well, anything. 

KristysBigDayShe did have an excellent reading day yesterday, when not one but two of her favorite series had new releases. I have a video of her joy when she got home to find the newest Babysitters Club Graphic Novel, Kristy's Big Day AND the third Lucy and Andy Neanderthal book, Bad to the Bones, by Jeffrey Brown. She lifted me off the ground with her hug, making my choice to pre-order both books well worthwhile. The downside of graphic novels is that she's already read them both. However, I am confident that she will re-read them both many times. 

WimpyKidCabinFeverShe started third grade last week. She filled out a little "getting to know you" sheet for her teacher with heavy emphasis on reading and writing. Her teacher also asked my husband and me what our goals are for her this academic year. My number one goal is that she continues to LOVE reading. I'm going to do everything in my power to support that at home, of course. She brought home a Diary of a Wimpy Kid book from her classroom library on day 1, read it, and took it back the next day, so we are off to a good start.

Thanks for reading, and for growing bookworms! Hope that your summer reading is going as well as ours is!

© 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