House: 5 First Words Board Books: Michael Slack
Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: October 12: #Cybils Nominations, #KidLitCon Panels and #Reading for Pleasure

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: October 10: Print Books, Picture Books, and Looking for Nonfiction

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 middle grade and one board books), a roundup of children's items published by the US Government Bookstore and two literacy milestones (pushing me to read print books, and a renewed appreciation for picture books). I also have three posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, full of reading- and education-related news. 

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

  • PowerPlayBeth McMullen: Power Play (Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls). Aladdin. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 21, 2018, library copy. This is the second book in this series which would be a great followup for slightly older fans of the Spy School series (with a bit more of a girl power slant). I look forward forward to future books about Mrs. Smith's Spy School for Girls
  • Jennifer L. Holm: The Third Mushroom. Random House Books for Children. Middle Grade Fantasy. Completed September 22, 2018, print review copy. My review.
  • Tom Angleberger: The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (Book 1). Harry N. Abrams. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed September 23, 2018, library copy. I had seen this book around for years but never read it. I found it a fun, quick read, but my daughter didn't have any interest in reading it. Maybe when she's a bit older... 
  • Jennifer L. Holm and Matthew Holm: Babymouse: Our Hero. Random House. Early Middle Grade Graphic Novel. Completed September 28, 2018, read aloud to my daughter, who remains on a huge Babymouse kick.
  • Michael Gurian: The Minds of Girls: A New Path for Raising Healthy, Resilient, and Successful Women. Gurian Institute. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 21, 2018, on Kindle. This book had some interesting ideas about how differences in male vs. female brains could affect parenting decisions.
  • HardwiringHappinessRick Hanson: Hardwiring Happiness: The New Brain Science of Contentment, Calm, and Confidence. Harmony. Adult Nonfiction. Completed September 22, 2018, personal copy. This book I really liked a lot. The idea is to kind of re-wire your brain by noticing things that make you happy and taking a bit of extra time to really absorb them. 
  • Heather Mac Donald: The Diversity Delusion: How Race and Gender Pandering Corrupt the University and Undermine Our Culture. St. Martins Press. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 3, 2018, on Kindle. I read this book as part of my quest to understand what's going on on college campuses these days. I thought that Mac Donald made some interesting points, but found the book to be a bit of a slow read due to the significant over-abundance of examples. 
  • Seth Stephens-Davidowitz: Everybody Lies: Big Data, New Data, and What the Internet Can Tell Us About Who We Really Are. Dey Street Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 7, 2018, on Kindle. This book is about using big data, particularly Google search data, to draw social science conclusions. It's not all correlation. There are sections on the types of A/B tests that tech companies can run on the fly in the presence of today's huge quantities of data, for example. The writing style is engaging and some of the ideas that Stephens-Davidowitz teases out of the data are fascinating (he was inspired by Freakonomics, and it shows). 
  • Anne Bogel: I'd Rather Be Reading: The Delights and Dilemmas of the Reading Life. Baker Books. Adult Nonfiction. Completed October 8, 2018, personal copy. This book was a visual and experiential delight. I read a chapter or two before bed every night for a couple of weeks, and enjoyed it immensely. It would make a perfect holiday gift for any book-loving friend or family member. 

RemarkableThingI'm currently reading Hank Green's An Absolutely Remarkable Thing. I'm listening to Fire on the Fens by Joy Ellis. However, my audiobook reading time has been significantly curtailed since I started listening to podcasts. The most interesting of those that I listened to recently was a recommendation from Sandhya Nankani, an installment of Shane Parrish's The Knowledge Project from last year in which Shane interviewed Naval Ravikant. You can view a transcript here. There's some good discussion about reading (not telling kids what to read, not putting pressure on yourself to finish books, etc.). 

My daughter and I are continuing to read picture books together while she eats breakfast. We've been checking out a few each week from the library (more details about our library visits here and about her renewed love of picture books here), as well as reading old favorites. She also helps me to screen any titles that arrive for potential review, though I'm not really seeking those out at this point.  

RealFriendsIn terms of her own reading she continues to worry that her "addiction" to graphic novels is making it more difficult for her to branch out into reading more text-based titles. This is going to be a topic for another post (with thanks to several of my Facebook and Twitter friends). For now I'll just say that it's something we are working on. I'm trying to help her balance reading a few more books that are text-based without losing the joy that she gets from diving into those graphic and notebook novels over and over again. This is mixed in with a push from her teacher for her to read more nonfiction, which we are also working on. 

Not to worry, though. I still have to drag her away from books to get her out of the house, into bed, or out of the bathroom. I am still getting back strain because she wants so many library books. And one of my best moments of the weekend was listening to her read Real Friends aloud to her Build A Bear, Janet, during a car ride.  

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