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Posts from March 2020

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 28: #Podcasts, #HomeLearning Resources + Sustaining the #JoyOfReading

TwitterLinksI'm a day late on this post because I've been surprisingly busy, for someone confined to home with no outside social activities or trips. I'm still working, and grateful that a) my work is from home and b) my company still has business. But juggling that with keeping my daughter occupied has been keeping me occupied during the week.

I'm glad that she likes to read, that's for sure. She re-read the second Candymakers book by Wendy Mass (see this post for details about her first read), and that kept her busy for a couple of days. Apart from that she is doing a small amount of online work for school, doing virtual chats and games with friends, and playing endlessly with LEGO. This is a tough time to be an only child, but to be an only child who reads, in a house full of books, is a blessing. We are, when I can find the time, working on organizing said books. Hopefully I'll have time to write more about our journey soon. 

Meanwhile, here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #Audiobooks, #BookADay, #Homeschool, #LoveOfReading, #OnlineLearning, #Podcasts, #puzzles, #ReadAloud, #Resilience, #SchoolLibraries, #ScienceOfReading, #STEAM, parenting, writing.

I hope that all of you are safe and healthy and managing as well as you can  in all of this. I remain deeply appreciative of the efforts and encouragement of my (now wholly virtual) communities. 

Top Tweet of the Week

ET0inD_WkAM8PubThis is neat. My daughter + I are mentioned in this @nytimes piece: A #Podcast Playlist to Help Distract You (for the Most Part) | Thanks @phoebelett | @LitSafariMedia @FuseEight @pantsonfirecast [Some recommendations for kid-friendly podcasts that we shared on Twitter were mentioned in the article. Image to the left created by @LitSafariMedia]

Home Learning Resources

Another good one-stop resource: A Roundup of Pandemic Resources for Librarians, Teachers + the Parents That We Serve — @TLT16 @sljournal #COVID-19 #OnlineLearning #Storytimes + lots more

Organized List of Educational YouTube Channels for Kids - @thisreadingmama #OnlineLearning

This is helpful. For as long as schools are closed, @audible_com is giving kids free streaming access (no account or p/w needed) to a collection of #audiobooks in 6 languages | Mostly classics + audible originals but some other choices, too | @amazon

Tips for Using Online Museum Resources for #Literacy Learning, w/ list of virtual tours | @MA_Cappiello @sljournal #OnlineLearning #writing #STEAM

Google and YouTube launch new #RemoteEducation resources - @TheVerge #TeachFromHome #LearnAtHome

Fun resource for #GraphicNovel fans. Starting today, @CeceBellBooks will be sharing a chapter-by-chapter deep dive into the inside story of El Deafo! on video | #OnlineLearning

Tips for Building #StressRelief into Your #Homeschool Schedule - @MarlaSzwast | Stressed out kids can't learn anyway. "5 fewer minutes of math won’t ruin your kid's chance of" anything

Dana Murphy shows how tips for encouraging #LoveOfReading in young kids at home can be extended to #Kindergarten Classrooms @ChoiceLiteracy | Good advice for parents, like "no book shaming"

Remember, #OnlineLearning Isn't the Only Way to Learn Remotely | Kate Ehrenfeld Gardoqui @educationweek | 5 ideas for renewing #JoyOfLearning in kids stuck at home | via @MindShiftKQED

5 SIMPLE At-Home #Writing Help & Tips - @thisreadingmama I especially like: "Read good books out loud to your child"

Parenting + Play

As Children Face Disappointments due to #Coronavirus, Parents Can Help Them Develop #Resilience - Alina Dizik @WSJ #parenting | A long-term silver lining in all of this may be that our kids come out of it stronger

Slice of Life Day 24: #JigsawPuzzle to the Rescue – @literacious finds something that takes her mind off #COVID-19 | I need to get my daughter doing puzzles while listening to #audiobooks

On Reading

#Reading or Not, Here We Go: A Social Distancing #Bookaday Challenge by @donalynbooks @nerdybookclub | Clearly many of us are having trouble focusing enough to read. Donalyn suggests community

Why Books Are Comforting in the Era of #Coronavirus - Michelle Slatalla @WSJ #LoveOfBooks

Schools and Libraries

If You're Going to Write About #ScienceOfReading, Get Your #Science Right | @DTWillingham challenges a new report / policy statement from NEPC, point by point

Guest Post @FuseEight | Wrestling w/ #SchoolLibrary Closures by J. F. Fox — | "Every school deserves a library with a qualified librarian" w/ reasons why

At Schools Closed for #Coronavirus, Online Work Won’t Count - @Tawnell @WSJ on why most work at home during public #SchoolClosures is optional | #EducationalEquity = not all kids have online access + some have #LearningDifferences

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Resources to Help Parents, Teachers + Kids Get through the #COVID-19 Quarantine

TwitterLinksOne of the things I've been grateful for in all of this coronavirus quarantining is knowing/following quite a few authors, illustrators, homeschooling parents, and teachers. Many of these people have been generous with their time and experience  and are offering useful resources and/or perspectives. As I have run across things that I think are interesting or useful, I've been sharing them on Twitter @JensBookPage and on my personal Facebook account. I usually round  up shared links once a week on this blog, but these are not usual times. Here are the links that I rounded up and shared  earlier in the week. Today, I have some new resources that are well worth a look. 

For what it's worth, the two online resources that my nearly 10-year-old daughter has found most useful are these two (oddly, both from people named Jarrett):

Draw Every Day with JJK - Every weekday at 2 pm ET @StudioJJK will host free webcasts to help parents get kids "creating, drawing, using their imagination" - #SchoolClosures #homeschool. My daughter doesn't need me to remind her about this one - she's been asking for it every day. She participated in the first one live, and got a kick out of knowing that at least three of her friends were participating at the same time. Since then, she's been using the archived version because she's not a big fan of schedules, but she LOVES these webcasts. 

Author/illustrator @Jarrett_Lerner has posted a bunch of free activities for kids, from blank #ComicPanels to incomplete comics to story prompts. I have printed several for my daughter #creativity #homeschool. My daughter was hesitant about these at first, and only asked me to print out four of them. But a day later, without any prompting from me, she had me go back and print them all. She likes the incomplete comics best. 

For Parents + Teachers

This is my current favorite of the new links: A message for stressed out #parents: You Really Don't Need to Formally #Homeschool to Keep Kids Learning During #SchoolClosures | Let them read + learn via #play @parentsmagazine @KristiPahr

This is also very cool. For as long as schools are closed, @audible_com is giving kids free streaming access (no account or p/w needed) to a collection of #audiobooks in 6 languages | Mostly classics + audible originals but some other choices, too | @amazon

Solid roundup of resources here: How to #homeschool during the coronavirus crisis @lisatolin @TODAYshow via @litsafari | webinars, online #ReadAlouds, #podcasts + more

Suddenly #homeschooling? Don't try to make it like school. Longtime homeschool mom + author @melissawiley shares tips + encouragement | Let them follow their interests, give plenty of downtime | #coronavirus

"Experts suggest keeping things simple: Invest in two 30-minute high-quality #reading sessions a day + engage in #math exercises" | Keep those skills up @yoreekoh @WSJ @khanacademy #RemoteLearning #Homeschool

Some tips for Emergency #Homeschooling from veteran homeschooler @MarlaSzwast | #ReadAloud, find #Podcasts, give kids #ScreenFree free time, make a routine + lots more

Basic Principles for Parents Coping w/ #SchoolClosures from @McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU | talk, read, write, sing, and #play

RT @MrsPStorytime: I have a FREE way to entertain & educate kids too! Check out my website and YouTube channel for free stories and resources for #parents and #teachers [This is a great resource  that I recommend  year-round, not just now.]

Resources for teachers to share w/ parents during #COVID-19 #SchoolShutdowns@McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU @The_Pigeon @ProvoLibrary + more

RT @lynchem1: You might have already seen this, Jen, but here’s a link...great place.: RT @NYWolfOrg As schools are closed to help slow the spread of #COVID19, the Wolf Conservation Center aims to do its part to help keep students engaged + learning by offering FREE distance learning programs to classes nationwide.

Other Stuff, including Libraries + Book Lists

Latest Hot Spot for #Coronavirus Hoarders: The Public Library - @JamesRHagerty @WSJ | One librarian "was relieved to find that people would rush to stock up on books, not just tuna fish and toilet paper"

Well this is good news for #libraries (and anyone checking out digital books from home): @MacmillanUSA Abandons Controversial New Release Library #eBook Embargo | #BookAccess #coronavirus

South Asian #Kidlit Roundup for Spring 2020 from Darshana Khiani #DiverseBooks #BookLists

As #coronavirus concerns shutter #schools around the world + #homeschooling ramps up, will poor students be left behind? asks editor @L_willen @hechingerreport #EducationalEquity

For more, see my post from earlier in the week

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter this Weekend: Online Learning and other Resources during #Coronavirus Quarantine

TwitterLinksI shared quite a few online resources this weekend on Twitter @JensBookPage  and on my personal Facebook account. I thought it would be worth rounding them up in one place as a resource. It's great to see so many individuals and organizations stepping up to help keep kids entertained and/or learning in this challenging time. I've been looking for silver linings in all of this, and the way people are stepping up is definitely one of them. 

Topics below include #BookLists, #coronavirus, #FakeNews, #gratitude, #Homeschool, #literacy, #OnlineLearning, #puzzles, #ReadAloud, #SchoolClosures, #STEM, libraries, parenting, and writing.

Stay safe, my friends! 

Top Tweet of the Week

Draw Every Day with JJK - Every weekday at 2 pm ET @StudioJJK will host free webcasts to help parents get kids "creating, drawing, using their imagination" - #SchoolClosures #homeschool [This is mostly the top one because it's the one that my own daughter is most excited about.]

Resources for Parents (Online Learning, Boredom Busters, etc.)

Worried about being cooped up with bored kids for the next few weeks? Just Get Out a Puzzle says @MarlaSzwast | #Puzzles exercise the brain, are good for your #MentalHealth too

For all you kids stuck at home… @terrilibenson has suggestions for #ScreenFree fun times (read, play games, go outside, etc.) | Plus excerpt from her upcoming #BecomingBrianna #GraphicNovel

Timely compilation of #Coronavirus Boredom Busters for kids from librarian @literacious #SchoolClosures #OnlineLearning

This looks like another good resource: @Scholastic Creates Free, Open-Access Digital Hub to Help Keep Students #Learning While Schools are Disrupted by #Coronavirus #literacy #math #science

Compilation of links to videos of #PictureBook creators #ReadingAloud their work from @pernilleripp | #ReadAlouds can calm and bring people together

Here's a useful resource: #Coronavirus Support: Teaching Resources for K-8 #OnlineLearning @sljournal #homeschool #SchoolClosures | Online #libraries, author/illustrator resources + more

What? #HomeSchool? @litsafari shares her prep strategy, from a #gratitude list to activities for home school orientation weekend #SchoolClosures #parenting

Read, Wonder, and Learn! Favorite #kidlit Authors & Illustrators Share Resources for #Learning Anywhere in preparation for possible school closures. Collected + hosted by @KateMessner | #STEM, #poetry + more

Resources for Teachers and Librarians

Keeping #Learning Going When We Aren't Gathered at the Carpet | Thoughts from @CathyMere on technology, routines + maintaining connection during this #coronavirus #homeschool time

Keep Calm and Read On | #MiddleSchool #Librarian @MsYingling shares her recommendations + plans for coping w/ a #SchoolShutdown | "This is an opportunity to learn about a lot of things, and read a lot of books."

Other Timely Information

Tools to help identify real vs. false online information (in general + about #coronavirus) from @larrymagid @mercnews @NewsGuardRating @NewsLitProject #FakeNews #InformationLiteracy

A Few Coronavirus Cancellations In Childlit, rounded up by @gail_gauthier | Sorry to see #KidLitCon cancelled, but it was inevitable

Other Links Still Worth a Look

Good Books to #ReadAloud to 12-Year-Olds and Start a Conversation! #BookList from @momandkiddo | This seems like a good time to read together if you ask me...

Ghosts of #NewberyAwards Past, Present and Future? Welcome to This Year’s Online #90SecondNewbery Film Festival — @fuseeight #kidlit

What Makes a Successful Writer? One Author’s Approach to Instilling a #LoveOfWriting by @carmenoliver @nerdybookclub | Invite students to read a lot + write about what interests them

Help Wanted: Librarian Blogger(s) to contribute to @TheReadingTub this summer | Share your expertise in #kidlit + #literacy + introduce parents to the wonders of today's #libraries

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: March 13: Just Stay Home and Read If You Can Edition

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #coronavirus, #Giftedness, #GirlScouts, #JoyOfReading, #LearningDifferences, #LEGO, #OnlineLearning, #play, #ReadAloud, #recess, #STEM, #Studying, and schools. Stay healthy, my friends!

Top Tweets of the Week


Good news here: How #play is making a comeback in #kindergarten classrooms @jackiemader @hechingerreport @NBCNews | Has the pendulum started swinging back?

I think that BLOOM, the first of a new #ScienceFiction / #thriller series for kids by @kennethoppel is going to be a huge hit. I picked it up just to check it out and couldn't put it down until I was finished. @randomhousekids

Book Lists

10 #Nonfiction Children’s Books That Humanize Mathematics - @MindShiftKQED #BookList #PictureBooks #STEM

Funny books encourage #JoyOfReading for kids. I like this #BookList of Funny Realistic Fiction Novels for Middle Grades by @ariannecostner @nerdybookclub #MGLit

Events, Programs + Research

This warmed my heart: Teen #GirlScout is setting up hospital libraries so babies born early, as she was (+ my daughter was), can hear their parents #ReadAloud to them in the #NICU @CNN

These Two Revision Strategies Can Prepare You For An Exam Much Better Than Just Restudying Your Notes – @mattbwarren @ResearchDigest #testing #studying

Growing Bookworms

#Reading IS the Best Intervention: "our most fragile readers need to have texts of appropriate difficulty in their hands all day long" (Allington), not worksheets + short passages that kill #JoyOfReading @LRobbTeacher

What #ChapterBooks Are You Reading Aloud to Students? Survey for K-8 Educators in the US from @pernilleripp #ReadAloud #JoyOfReading

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

A New #Podcast for Your Children: #StorySeeds Is Live! Host is @fuseeight @LitSafariMedia @litsafari | Note special PSA on #coronavirus by @JasonReynolds83 | I have subscribed

This is fun: Dutch Artists Paint Giant Bookcase On An Apartment Building Featuring Residents’ Favorite Books | @boredpanda #JoyOfReading

The importance of #YAF by @VanessaHarbour @AwfullyBigBlog | "Get out there are and write the best (non-didactic) young adult stories that can make a difference." #YA #kidlit #writing

Parenting + Play

Interesting: LEGO Is Probably The Biggest Education Company On Earth #Learning through #Play @LEGOfoundation

Sounds worth trying to me: Doubling #Recess Time to Put #Play Back in the School Day - @AlysonRKlein @educationweek

Schools, Libraries + Covid-19

#Coronavirus closing your kid’s school? One parent’s plan for #DaddySchool | @educationgadfly | I especially like "gym" for 90 minutes/day, + keeping regular recreational #ScreenTime limits in place

Amid #coronavirus fears, the #CDC told schools to plan for #RemoteLearning. That’s harder than it sounds. @Chalkbeat | Most aren't ready + research generally shows online instruction less effective than in-person

Read, Wonder, and Learn! Favorite #kidlit Authors & Illustrators Share Resources for #Learning Anywhere in preparation for possible school closures. Collected + hosted by @KateMessner | #STEM, #poetry + more

Letting Go of Labels, whether of #LearningDifferences or #Giftedness, that impede #Learning - @MarlaSzwast | "I worry that our cultural obsession with labeling abilities gets in the way of providing sound development for our kids"

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: March 11: Turning A Corner 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, especially bookworms. The newsletter is sent out about once a month, depending on how frequently I'm able to post on my blog. 

Newsletter Update: I've named this the "Turning A Corner Edition" of the newsletter because I have several posts around a common theme: the fact that my daughter, after a steady diet of graphic and notebook novels, has abruptly started devouring middle grade fiction.

Candymakers1I first share a Bookworm Moments post about her carrying multiple books around Disney World. I next reflect on this as a Literacy Milestone: the first text-based book series that she has inhabited so completely that she finds it difficult (and sad) to leave. In my third post, I share a tale of a delightful Saturday that my daughter spent reading in bed for hours, because she simply HAD to finish a new (long) book. This last is, as you'll see, also a validation of giving kids reading choice

I was traveling for a couple of weeks and wasn't able to share as many links as usual, but I do have a couple of roundups of literacy and reading-related news. I've included the most recent roundup in the newsletter. The others can be found on my blog

Reading Update:  Since my last update, I read three middle grade, four young adult, and five adult titles (four fiction, shown, and one nonfiction title, not shown below). Cross-country travel helped, as did a cluster of exciting YA thrillers. I read/listened to: 

  • MyLifeMemeJanet Tashjian: My Life As A Youtuber. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed February 5, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  • Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Meme. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed February 28, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy. These books are so good! I highly recommend them, especially for kids who enjoy notebook novels, but who are ready for something with not quite so many illustrations. They also make great read-together books between parents and kids, bringing up issues like bullying and peer pressure without being heavy-handed. 
  • Kenneth Oppel: Bloom (The Overthrow, Book 1). Knopf Books for Young Readers. Middle Grade Speculative Fiction. Completed March 8, 2020. I read this book, the first of a new speculative fiction trilogy, in a single sitting. It is suspenseful, intriguing, and filled with well-rounded characters. I think it's going to do extremely well. 
  • Adriana Mather: Killing November. Knopf Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Mystery/Thriller. Completed February 7, 2020, on Kindle. This is the first of a new, suspenseful series. It skated right on the border of being too dark for me, but I will certainly be back reading when the next book comes out. 
  • Maureen Johnson: The Hand on the Wall (Truly Devious, Book 3). Katherine Tegen Books. Young Adult Mystery. Completed February 20, 2020, on Kindle. I found this to be a satisfying conclusion to the Truly Devious series. Now that the books are all available, this would be a great recommendation for any mystery fan, early teen to adult. 
  • DeadlyScandalsJennifer Lynn Barnes: Deadly Little Scandals (Debutantes, Book 2). Little, Brown Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Mystery. Completed February 25, 2020, on Kindle. This wrapped up the mysteries for the main character introduced in the first Debutantes book (reviewed here), but Barnes opened the door for future books based on a younger set of related characters. The ending is wildly implausible, but I still found this book a lot of fun. A perfect vacation read!
  • Karen McManus: One of Us Is Next (sequel to One Of Us Is Lying). Delacorte Press. Young Adult Mystery. Completed March 5, 2020, on Kindle. McManus did a nice job here setting a second mystery in the world of One Of Us Is Lying, but featuring different (related) characters. This is one of those books that I enjoyed thinking about before I went to sleep, wondering  how the pieces were going to fit together. 
  • Michael McGarrity: Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, No. 1). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed February 8, 2020, on MP3. The fact that this series uses the same narrator as the Walt Longmire books bothered me at first, but I soon got past that. This series has gotten me out of my audiobook slump, which is a relief. 
  • LiarsParadoxTaylor Stevens: Liar's Paradox (Jack and Jill, Book 1). Pinnacle. Adult Thriller. Completed February 15, 2020, on Kindle. This is the first of a new thriller series, of the hyper-competent protagonist, daring escape, shady government agency, variety. The family drama takes it to another level, though. It features twins raised by a mother who is either paranoid and delusional OR a former spy trying to keep them alive. Or maybe both. I have downloaded the next book, though I don't feel the need to read it immediately. 
  • Michael McGarrity: Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, No. 2). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed March 1, 2020, on MP3. 
  • Michael McGarrity: Serpent's Gate (Kevin Kerney, No. 3). W. W. Norton & Company. Adult Mystery. Completed March 9, 2020, on MP3.

I'm reading This Is Marketing by Seth Godin in print, Watching from the Dark by Gytha Lodge on Kindle, and the new Joe Pickett novel by C. J. Box, Long Range on audio. For future reading, I'm in a twisty YA mystery/thriller phase, if anyone has any recommendations. Nothing too violent. I had to stop reading Lee Child's Reacher series, which I had really liked. Somewhere along the way, my appetite for violence has cooled a bit. 

Lemoncello1My daughter and I have been reading favorite picture books since catching up on the My Life series (next book coming in April). You can see her choices here. Highlights included three from the Questioneers series by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts and two favorites from Bob Staake. I was going to start Elizabeth Enright's Gone-Away Lake the other morning, but couldn't find it (a problem when you have too many books in your house). We're giving Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein a try as a read-together instead. We've only read four chapters, but I think it might take. 

As for my daughter's own reading, you can read the posts below to see what's going on with that. I must say that this has been a satisfying period for me as a bookworm mom. This weekend she had me read a passage from Land of Stories: Book 3 that disturbed her (characters injured and in peril as a war commences). I said something like "Maybe you shouldn't read these  books, if they're going to upset you." She snatched the book away, held it her chest, and snapped "Mine! You are NOT taking this book away." And I thought: "Success." (With fingers crossed for no bad dreams.)

This journey of raising a child who enjoys books is a long one, and I know that there are pitfalls ahead (AR, dull whole class novels, time constraints, etc.). But we are in a fun phase right now and I intend to enjoy every minute! Thanks for joining me on the journey.

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Quite Possibly my Favorite Saturday Morning Ever (and a validation of giving kids #ReadingChoice)

As I write this, it's 11:15 on a Saturday morning. My husband is out of town. My daughter has been awake for 3 hours. She is still in bed. Reading. There are occasional peals of laughter or cries lament ("Not the PRINCESS!") from her room. She's called out a couple of times to make me guess what chapter she is on. But the house is otherwise quiet. This is quite possibly my favorite Saturday morning ever.

LandOfStories3She's reading the third Land of Stories book, A Grimm Warning, by Chris Colfer. She is hoping to stay in bed until she finishes. I have postponed the plans that I had to take her to library this morning. I am getting a lot done. Regular readers know that this is NOT the primary aspect of this that is making me happy, though it is a nice bonus.

[Updated to add that she took a short break for what turned out to be brunch, and then went back to her lair and read until she finished just before 2 pm. This post may need to be re-titled something like Literacy Milestone: Spending All Day Reading on a Saturday Because You HAVE to Finish. I even had to turn down a playdate. ]

Remarks are in order here about reading choice. Someone, I don't remember who, recommended this series to us. I checked out the first book from the public library a couple of months ago. My daughter had no interest, and I returned it, unread.

Last week she picked up the third book from her school library. (This story is a validation of well-stocked school libraries, too.) Book 3 was the one in stock. Her friend told her that it wasn't necessary to read the first two to follow the story. That was good enough for my kid!

She's been devouring A Grimm Warning ever since. This is the book that helped her to get back into reading after she had trouble shaking the Candymakers world from her brain. I'm grateful that there are more books in the series. We already have requests in to the public library for the next two books (which are checked out from our local branches.)

Back to reading choice, in case this wasn't obvious. My daughter had no interest in this series when I recommended it. But when she found it on her own, seconded by a recommendation from a peer ... she was all in. Sure, some of that is because even though it's only been a couple of months, she's at a different reading  stage. But I truly believe that a big part of her immersion in A Grimm Warning this weekend has to do with the fact that she chose it herself. And that is it should be. 

Parents, if you want your kids to be readers, by all means make sure they have access to books. But as much as you can, let them choose. If you do, you may one day be rewarded with a Saturday like this one. 

Thanks for reading!

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Literacy Milestone: Falling in Love with A Middle Grade Book Series

Last week I shared a "Bookworm Moments" post about my daughter toting around books in the Magic Kingdom on our recent vacation. My loyal commenter Judy thought that I had buried the lead. She said that what I should have focused on in the post title was that this was the first big, thick book that my daughter read straight through that wasn't a graphic novel. Judy is right, of course, that this was an important part of the story. But I was waiting for my daughter to finish the Candymakers series to write about that aspect of it. And I'm glad that I did.

My daughter finished The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase earlier this week. She has since declared the two Candymakers books (by Wendy Mass) her all-time favorites, giving a 2% edge to the second book. She is now distraught because there are no more Candymakers books. She's walking around saying things like:

  • The Candymakers books are "clinging to my brain" and I can't focus on starting any other books.
  • I wish (my friend who wants to be an engineer) could invent a "brain eraser" to that I could erase these books from my memory, and read them again for the first time.
  • I MISS the Candymakers. WHY aren't there any more books in the series?
  • It's so frustrating that you can't re-read mysteries, because you already know  what happens.
  • And so on... 

She is unwilling to start another book (not even another Wendy Mass book), because it won't be the same.

CandymakerThe time came Friday morning that she had to pack up The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase to return it to the school library. She clutched it to her heart and pouted. She only agreed to return it when I said that we could check it out from the public library over the weekend. She doesn't intend to re-read it yet, mind you. She just wants to have it nearby, because she loves it so much. 

I told her that I understood. I told her that The Candymakers books will always have a special place in her heart, because they are the first books the she truly immersed herself in. Graphic novels are wonderful, but they're much quicker reads. And the pictures are, obviously, created by someone else. Falling deeply in love with some 1000 pages (over two books) of text, and creating the pictures in your own mind, is a more immersive experience. 

I also told her that it's not about this particular copy of the book. That it's the story that matters. I told her that to this day there are books that I pat on the spine when I run across them in a library or a bookstore, because they are my friends. I told her that one day, when she's grown and has children of her own, the Candymakers books will be like that for her. I believe that this is true. 

The other reason that this milestone made me happy was that this opens a door for my daughter. Although I'm happy for her to read graphic novels whenever she likes, I have really struggled to find enough of them to keep her engaged. But if she can sit down and plow through a 500 page middle grade novel over a few days, just THINK of how many other wonderful books there are for her to  choose from.

Once those Candymakers characters stop clinging to her brain, anyway, and let someone else in.  

Thanks for reading, and for caring about growing bookworms. 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage

Links I Shared on Twitter Recently: March 6: Encouraging Young Bookworms via #GraphicNovels, #ReadingChoice + Other Tips

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter over the past couple of weeks @JensBookPage. Topics in this installment include #BookAccess, #BookLists, #coronavirus, #DisneyWorld, #giftedness, #GraphicNovels, #HigherEd, #JoyOfReading, #LeveledReading, #re-reading, #ReadingChoice, #ReadingInstruction, #SchoolLibraries, parenting, and reading. 

Book Lists

10 Great Books for 3-Year-Olds That You Don't Already Have | Quick hits #BookList from @momandkiddo | #PictureBooks

Happy 2/29! 12 Titles to Celebrate #LeapYear#BookList from @Literacious #PictureBooks #Holidays

RA RA Read: #BookList for kids who devour #WimpyKid + Notebook Novels | Jean Little Library | #GraphicNovels, #KidLit series + books w/ fewer illustrations, too. Great stuff!

Links to many excellent themed #kidlit #BookLists, plus lots more, in Just Read This: #Literacy + #Reading News, Feb 2020 @TheReadingTub

RT @KateMessner: Great collection of "Graphic Novels Your Kid (Probably) Hasn't Read Yet" from @mariarussonyt  to this list (or maybe they've all read it?) What are some of your underappreciated favorites?

Events, Programs + Research

Highlighting Dolly Parton's Wonderful #ImaginationLibrary, which mails more than a million free books each month to kids – @literacious @dollyslibrary #BookAccess #JoyOfReading

Let’s Get Ready for #ReadAcrossAmerica Day coming March 2 @TheReadingTub has the scoop on this celebration of #JoyOfReading (re-branded by @NEAToday to downplay Dr. Seuss's birthday + emphasize diversity)

This is fun: @abbylibrarian shares her library's first Hot Chocolate #StoryWalk #JoyOfReading #libraries

This is hilarious | #JungleCruise boat sinks at #DisneyWorld, Twitter jokes rise to surface | We were on the ride just a few days before this happened. #WDW

Growing Bookworms

This is fabulous! How I managed to raise a little bookworm in the age of smartphones + tablets | @DonnaLFerguson @GuardianBooks | Like the author, I get surprised + happy feedback when people see my daughter #reading in public.

One more time: Librarian @MacHardin makes the case for #GraphicNovels for kids. Yes, they're real books @washingtonpost via @MindShiftKQED

True: If We Want Bookworms, We Need to Get Beyond #LeveledReading | This piece by @GonserSarah @edutopia quotes @MsYingling + @ReadingShanahan | #JoyOfReading #ReadingLevels #ReadingChoice

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

This will brighten you day, fellow #BookLovers | Callum Manning was bullied for his love of books. Now he has 230,000 Instagram followers - @CNN via @RIFWEB

Tips for adding more #reading time to your day in Slice of Life Day 1: You Read How Many Books?!?! @literacious | #Audiobooks, #DNF + more

The Pleasures (and Necessities) of Re-reading by @CokalSusann @nerdybookclub, who has re-read many of of my own childhood favorites in her life #ZilphaKeatleySnyder, #ElizabethEnright + more

Parenting + Play

Endless possibilities for gifted children and adults | Don't let your abilities box you in, "embrace your complexity, multiple abilities + passions, accept that they are a part of you" #giftedness @giftedchlnges

What Kids Want To Know About #Coronavirus: Parents can download + print this Original #Comic from @NPR to answer kids' questions @MalakaGharib @NPRCoryTurner

Tips for Calming The #CollegeAdmission Anxiety: stop asking about it all the time, encourage sleep, #play, exercise + more instead. @Danaparenting #parenting

Schools and Libraries

#Schools that build social-emotional development are getting better results (short + long-term) than those focused on raising test scores, study finds | @jillbarshay @hechingerreport #SEL #testing

There’s No “Science of Reading” w/out #SchoolLibraries + #SchoolLibrarians, A Predictor of Student Success @NancyEBailey1 #GrowingBookworms #Reading

How to Knock Down 5 Straw Man Arguments Against #Phonics | @ReadingShanahan @ReadingRockets via @TheReadingTub #ReadingInstruction | No, it's not inherently boring + more

The Current Controversy About Teaching #Reading: Comments from @DTWillingham for Those Left With Questions After Reading the NYTimes Article #Phonics #JoyOfReading #Education

Playbrary: A new vision of the neighborhood library @BrookingsInst via @CHRasco | #play #libraries #JoyOfLearning

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage