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Posts from June 2020

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: Catch-Up Edition

JRBPlogo-smallToday, I will (finally) 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 normally sent out about once a month, depending on how frequently I'm able to post on my blog. However, during the COVID-19 lockdown I've found my time for blogging to be severely limited. I always work full-time from home (in a job unrelated to the blog), but doing that with my 10-year-old daughter here has been more challenging. Now that she's done with  distance learning for 4th grade, I find myself with a bit more time for blogging. I'm not sure what my motivation level will be going forward, but I'm here today. I hope that all of you where are reading this are safe and well and finding plenty to read during your unprecedented time at home. 

ReturnToGoneAwayNewsletter Update: I'll be including one post rounding up my Twitter links for the past month or so. You can find others on my blog if you are so inclined. I also have a Bookworm Moments post about a book-inspired declaration that I am the best mommy in the world, and a post about the joy of re-reading a favorite childhood book series. I had only one other post since the last newsletter (besides the links), about home learning in the very early stages of the shutdown. I find it's a bit dated, so I'm not including it in the newsletter. 

Reading Update: I wasn't reading much early on in the shutdown. I had trouble concentrating (as others reported), and had no appetite for things that were bleak. While my concentration has improved, my reading preference has leaned toward lighter fare. Lately I've been re-reading some old favorites, and I expect that to continue. Overall I read eight middle grade and 14 adult books. I read/listened to: 

LemoncelloI read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library aloud to my daughter early on during the lockdown, and also read aloud one of the books that she was assigned for school. It turned out that reading about the San Francisco earthquake during a time of personal anxiety was a challenge. The only way I could get her to read The Earth Dragon Awakes was to read it to her. We also read the newly published book in the My Life series, My Life as a Coder. I tried to read How to Capture an Invisible Cat by Paul Tobin to her. It was a book that I had really enjoyed a few years earlier (my review was even blurbed in the paperback copy), but we ended up stopping half-way through as she lost interest. I also tried to read Gone-Away Lake aloud to her, but (sigh) she wasn't interested. We are currently between reads together, but I'm sure we'll find another one soon. My husband just started reading her The Hobbit, and I hope that one takes. 

DonutOn her own she's been reading and re-reading the Land of Stories books by Chris Colfer, the Candymakers books by Wendy Mass, and a variety of  Scholastic Wish novels, mostly the ones by Suzanne Nelson. She continues to re-read graphic and notebook novels, mostly while she's doing something else (eating, riding in the car, etc.). She's in need of her next big series, but hasn't found it yet, despite my best efforts. She misses being able to browse in her school library and pick things out for herself. The stacks of books that I hopefully pull from the stacks for her lie mostly unread. That's reading choice for you! I'm sure she'll find her next thing soon. I've been very grateful during this time that she enjoys reading. You can find her list of reads for the year here

That's all I have time for today. I wish you all well and hope to be back soon. Thanks for reading, and for 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: June 19: Catching Up on the Past Month

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from links that I shared on Twitter over the past month @JensBookPage. Although blogging got away from me over these past two months, I did continue sharing links as I found them on Twitter. Fewer than before (I pruned my blogroll significantly due to time constraints), but still lots of good stuff. 

Below you'll find articles on #AchievementGap, #AntiRacism, #BookLists, #ClassroomLibraries, #Coding, #DistanceLearning, #EdTech, #EducationalEquity, #HigherEd, #Introversion, #JoyOfReading, #Lockdowns, #MentalHealth, #Play, #RemoteLearning, #ScreenTime, #Statistics, #SummerReading, and #writing. I went back about a month - beyond that things started to feel a bit dated. I hope that some of these links are still of interest. Happy reading and happy weekend!

Top Tweet of the Month

Why Are Some Kids Thriving During #RemoteLearning? | @NoraFleming1 @edutopia | A sub-set of kids are benefiting from more sleep, less distraction, self-pacing, etc.  (This one had far, far and away the most engagement of anything that I shared over the past two months.)

Book Lists 

13 #ChapterBooks To Tickle Funny Bones | #SummerReading 2020 #BookList from @sljournal | As found in the @Scholastic #KFRR, kids love #FunnyBooks. Nurture #JoyOfReading when you can.

12 Books All About #TreeHouses – Perfect #SummerReading #BookList from #Literacious

Here are the 2020 #EisnerAward Nominees! — @GoodComics4Kids @sljournal #comics #GraphicNovels #kidlit

For anyone who might need them: 15 Children's Titles About Grief – #BookList from @literacious #MGLit #PictureBooks

Anti-Racism Resources

#Antiracist Resources and Reads: Lists for All Ages — @fuseeight #Kidlit #BookLists, various links + @brownbookshelf Rally for Black Lives today on Facebook Live

Taking Stock and Taking Action to Educate Ourselves + Design #AntiRacist Curriculum | Another great, timely roundup of resources for teachers from @kegancunningham @clssrmbkshlf

Just Read This: #Literacy + #Reading News, May 2020 @TheReadingTub focuses on how books can help kids understand #AntiRacism + #SocialJustice | includes sample questions for parents to spark discussion + links to #kidlit #BookLists

Events, Programs + Research

RT @TheReadingTub: “Children need to laugh, too, and to feel free to read whatever.” ~ Jacqueline Wilson, former British Children's Laureate. 2020 #SummerReadingChallenge theme: focus on funny books.

Katherine Paterson shares a free short story and #SummerReading guide for kids - The National Children's Book and Literacy Alliance

J.K. Rowling Introduces #TheIckabog (a free online serialization of a children's book she wrote as a #ReadAloud for her younger kids) | @jk_rowling | My favorite part is that she's asking kids to submit illustrations for the print version

Beloved San Jose children's bookstore @Hicklebees fighting for survival, launches funding effort | I met @RickRiordan + @Jon_Scieszka both here, in small group settings, back in the day + will be donating to the cause.

This is neat. The @uscensusbureau #StatisticsInSchools program uses #census data to create free learning resources. This page has #DistanceLearning activities for kids of all ages:

I missed this news when it came out last month: James Patterson Pledges $2.5 Million in Grants to #Teachers for #ClassroomLibraries | @sljournal via @ProfessorNana @JP_Books @Scholastic #PattersonPledge


College Inc. Faces a Sticker-Price Reckoning @Spencerjakab @WSJ #HigherEd | #Coronavirus + #DistanceLearning -> problems for "traditional schools because of their huge fixed costs" + business model

This resonated for me: On Realising One Might Be an #Introvert @TheSchoolOfLife via @susancain  "We adore staying home... with some books"

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

The Upside of #Lockdowns: Finally Time to Read ‘War and Peace’ @JAVerlaine @WSJ | Not quite the same, but my husband and daughter are #reading #TheHobbit together

#Teaching for Collective Well-Being as Summer Approaches @kegancunningham + @KavitaTanna @clssrmbkshlf #JoyOfReading #Gratitude #Writing + more

Could #COVID19 Mark the End of the Physical #Galley? — Interesting question for book reviewers from @FuseEight | #PictureBook #eGalleys are particularly painful.

I can relate this post from @literacious | Top Ten Tuesday: Reasons Why I Love #KidLit | I especially like "My people"

Useful reminder + tips for content creators (writers, illustrators, etc.): “Pay Me” is not an offensive term @dawnafinch @AwfullyBigBlog

Parenting, Screen Time, Play = Mental Health

You Don’t Have To Be #ScreenFree To Be Successful as a family this summer, says @McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU | Me, I'm working towards my daughter spending less time on screens, but none would be unrealistic

The Toll That Isolation Takes on Kids During the #Coronavirus Era. Playing with peers has important developmental benefits + doctors worry that kids are missing out @andreaapetersen @WSJ #MentalHealth #Play

Save Your Kids From Covid’s Digital Deluge - @ArlenePellicane @WSJopinion | In my house the #lockdown induced #ScreenTime bounty has to go. My 10 y.o. is showing signs of addiction (irritability, etc.)

#Reading Before Kindergarten- Is It Really Necessary? – @McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU says it's not bad, per se, but only if kids lead the way. Pushing kids to learn to read too early can destroy #LoveOfReading

Schools, Libraries + Distance Learning

In the News: The #Coronavirus Has Made It Obvious. Teenagers Should Start School Later. @EducationNext @nytimes | #Schools #SleepHabits

The Results Are In for #RemoteLearning: It Didn’t Work, say many students, teachers, parents + administrators @Tawnell + Lee Hawkins @WSJ | #LearningGaps, #Inequity + absenteeism among problems discussed

Only 1 in 5 #K12 Schools Offered 'Rigorous' #RemoteLearning, @AEI Study Says - @MarkALieberman @EdWeekEdTech | Disparity worst in high-poverty + low-achievement districts | #EdTech challenges a factor

Survey by @educationweek finds 65% Educators Want #Schools to Stay Closed to Slow Spread of #COVID19, even as 82% of teachers think they're more effective working in a school vs. #DistanceLearning

Interest grows in mastery-based #learning during pandemic, though evidence remains thin - @matt_barnum @Chalkbeat

#SummerReading and Learning for Teachers by @ClareLandrigan & @pennykittle @nerdybookclub | The #BookLove Foundation will focus this online #BookClub on #GraciesList, honoring @AS_King's daughter

Stay-at-Home School Idea: @TheReadingTub suggests DIY Virtual #Yearbooks to capture + share this unique year | #literacy #DistanceLearning

#AchievementGaps Increase The Longer Kids Stay In School, says @natwexler @Forbes | Recent data on #SummerLearningLoss differs from older studies, finds gaps growing during the school year

Depressing but important: The Pandemic Sent 1.5 Billion Children Home From #School. Many Might Not Return. US + European authorities try to stop kids from #DroppingOut permanently @WSJ #EducationalEquity


Encouraging More Girls (and Boys) to Explore Engineering, Technology and #Coding @TrevorHCairney #STEM #GirlsWhoCode #GenderGaps

Studio Spaces: #Art as a Way of Seeing, Feeling, and Sense-Making: Teaching Ideas for the Virtual Exhibit at the @carlemuseum @ErikaDawes @clssrmbkshlf @sljournal #CarleArtInPlace

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

The Gift of a Love of Books: Revisiting Gone-Away

GoneAwayIn these conflict-ridden times, a love of books is a gift. If you have a book that you love, no matter what happens in your regular life, you can always go back to visit. You just have to open up the book. Here are a few places I continue to visit every so often:

  • Gone-Away Lake (and Villa Caprice)
  • The Four-Story Mistake
  • Pemberley
  • Dunnian (and the town of Ryddleton)
  • Hogwarts
  • The Velvet Room
  • Green Sky

I own most of these books in multiple formats. Just in case.

There are other places I haven't visited in a while, but I still like knowing they're there:

  • Kirrin Island
  • The Secret Garden
  • Sara Crewe's attic room, post-transformation
  • The Little House in the Big Woods
  • Maida's little house, shop, and village

This week I visited Gone-Away Lake, sitting outside in stolen summer moments to re-read both books. I'm happy to report that Gone-Away is still there, still the same, and still wonderful. I took my time with both books, because reading them made me so happy. Even though I knew word for word how the second book would end, I still cried a little bit. In a good way. 

My daughter asked me how many times I had read the books, and I couldn't even tell her. Many, many times, over the past 40 years or so. I tried to read Gone-Away Lake aloud to her, but it wasn't to her taste. That's fine. She's been re-reading several Wish books by Suzanne Nelson and the two Candymakers books by Wendy Mass. Perhaps 40 years from now she'll pull them out and jump back into her own childhood. 

This is a perhaps unappreciated benefit of growing bookworms. If you raise your child to love books, some day long into the future, he or she will have beloved places to visit, too. The love of books is truly a gift that lasts a lifetime. I'm more grateful than I can say to the people who nurtured that gift in me. 

© 2020 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved. You can also follow me @JensBookPage. Links to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.