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 ow.ly/XKrM30qlg5z | Quick hits #BookList from @momandkiddo | #PictureBooks

Happy 2/29! 12 Titles to Celebrate #LeapYear#BookList from @Literacious ow.ly/jC4j30qlKXy #PictureBooks #Holidays

RA RA Read: #BookList for kids who devour #WimpyKid + Notebook Novels | Jean Little Library ow.ly/tR2j30qlg1K | #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 ow.ly/8JIi30qmfNk

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? https://t.co/K8AoBXbrPv?amp=1

Events, Programs + Research

Highlighting Dolly Parton's Wonderful #ImaginationLibrary, which mails more than a million free books each month to kids – @literacious ow.ly/nTp030qlKZ1 @dollyslibrary #BookAccess #JoyOfReading

Let’s Get Ready for #ReadAcrossAmerica Day coming March 2 ow.ly/320S30qkUjZ @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 ow.ly/Y0rS30qlg34 #JoyOfReading #libraries

This is hilarious | #JungleCruise boat sinks at #DisneyWorld, Twitter jokes rise to surface ow.ly/sHUO30qlxaR | 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 ow.ly/xwcH30qlXp4 | 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 https://t.co/t4IISX028T?amp=1

True: If We Want Bookworms, We Need to Get Beyond #LeveledReading | This piece by @GonserSarah @edutopia quotes @MsYingling + @ReadingShanahan | ow.ly/JG9F30qlL92 #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 https://t.co/qQQsBuFrE5?amp=1

Tips for adding more #reading time to your day in Slice of Life Day 1: You Read How Many Books?!?! @literacious ow.ly/wQ0X30qlX57 | #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 ow.ly/DBav30qmNLK #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" ow.ly/5JAz30qmfTL #giftedness @giftedchlnges

What Kids Want To Know About #Coronavirus: Parents can download + print this Original #Comic from @NPR to answer kids' questions ow.ly/JSR030qlXft @MalakaGharib @NPRCoryTurner

Tips for Calming The #CollegeAdmission Anxiety: stop asking about it all the time, encourage sleep, #play, exercise + more instead. ow.ly/QPqt30qlL1n @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 ow.ly/8t3s30qnixp | @jillbarshay @hechingerreport #SEL #testing

There’s No “Science of Reading” w/out #SchoolLibraries + #SchoolLibrarians, A Predictor of Student Success ow.ly/oOwg30qmfAo @NancyEBailey1 #GrowingBookworms #Reading

How to Knock Down 5 Straw Man Arguments Against #Phonics | @ReadingShanahan @ReadingRockets via @TheReadingTub ow.ly/KcWT30qmfFx #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 ow.ly/BFDl30qkUhi #Phonics #JoyOfReading #Education

Playbrary: A new vision of the neighborhood library ow.ly/WXfA30qlda2 @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

#BookwormMoments: Reading in Disney World

MagicKingdomBooksMy family visited Disney World last week. On  the first day, my daughter, who is currently obsessed by the two-book The Candymakers series by Wendy Mass, lamented every moment that she didn't have her (very thick) book with her. By the last day, she was toting not one but two books as we headed to the Magic Kingdom. 

It's a bit hard to see in the photo here, but she is reading a graphic novel as we wait for the bus, with The Candymakers and the Great Chocolate Chase visible in her (new) backpack. She chose the backpack as her souvenir from the trip with carrying books around in mind. On taking TWO books with her, she explained that the graphic novel was for when she couldn't concentrate well (as when  in line), while the novel was for quieter moments when she could focus.

This, my friends, is exhibit A on why parents should get out of the way and let kids read what they want to read. If I had pushed her to bring along some book that I wanted  her to read, do you think she would have sat happily reading while my husband and I waited in the Citrus Swirl line? Or while we waited for our food at dinner? Bringing her books along to the park was her idea and her idea alone. 

We probably would have brought one of the books with us every day, but the Candymakers books (hardcover library editions) are heavy! A friend suggested on Facebook that I get my daughter a Kindle. That's what I do myself: I always bring my Kindle Paperwhite to the parks in the expectation of some reading time. However, my daughter and I both prefer for her to read in print for now. She likes seeing her progress through these big books. And I think she likes the way that being seen with a book in the parks (and in airports and restaurants) displays her bookworm identity. 

Candymakers2One final note: the Candymakers books are the first big, fat, all-text books that she has devoured from cover to cover. (Well, she's almost done with the second one - I just head a "YES!" from her room, where she is reading in bed this fine Saturday morning.) She's read shorter middle grade books, but with more fits and starts, mixed in with her steady diet of graphic and notebook novels. This series feels like a turning point for her, one that I am happy about.

I have always celebrated her love of graphic novels and expect her to continue reading them for years to come. But I'm excited for her now, because reading more broadly in the middle grade realm opens up so many other opportunities for her enjoyment. We have two other Wendy Mass books on order, and I'm mulling other Candymakers read-alikes.

But mostly, I think I just need to get out of the way at this point. She found these books on her own, while browsing the school library with a friend. She will find the next ones, too. Parents, have faith in reading choice. And no matter what the school librarian says, if a book is captivating your child, by all means let her bring it on vacation. 

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 to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: February 14: Valentine's Day Edition

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Just a few topics on this relatively light week: #BoardBooks, #BookLists, #KidLitCon, #Phonics, #SandraBoynton, #SchoolLibrarians, #ScreenTime, parenting, reading, schools, writing. No roundup next week - my daughter has school vacation and I don't expect to spend much time online. Wishing you all a wonderful Valentine's Day!

Top Tweet of the Week

Sandra Boynton Writes Children’s Books That Don’t Condescend - @warren_bass @WSJ ow.ly/mUIg30qg8a5 #kidlit #BoardBooks

Book Lists

The Absolute Best #PictureBooks about Friendship | #BookList from @momandkiddo ow.ly/RgBj30qgwap | Our fave from the list is Maddi's Fridge

Events, Programs + Research

#KidLitCon (March 27-28 in Ann Arbor, MI) announces 2nd Keynote Speaker @arreechung | @KidLitCon ow.ly/qC3I30qg5B3 #kidlit #YA

#KidLitCon 2020 Session: #YALit: Who Is Our Audience? | @KidLitCon ow.ly/BWHU30qhqNX #writing @aquafortis + more

Parenting, Play, and Screen Time

More students are learning on laptops and tablets in class. Some parents want to hit the off switch. @debbietruong @washingtonpost ow.ly/lqhB30qgib7 | Personally, I think the pendulum has shifted too far towards #ScreenTime in #Schools

#ScreenTime and the Brain | This is a balanced piece from @harvardmed w/ concrete tips from @mediatrician for minimizing device impact on sleep, family relationships + creativity https://t.co/jVnC8e3WrZ?amp=1

Schools and Libraries

Thoughts from @pernilleripp On Honoring Student #WritingIdentity ow.ly/bORZ30qfRd6 | Write your own imperfect models + show kids how to make them better, e.g.

A former #HighSchool Principal on the Nonnegotiable Role of #SchoolLibrarians | @scottabeck @NASSP ow.ly/wVNy30qg5DO | Nurturing 21st century skills, helping students think + grow, + lots more

There Are Four Foundational #Reading Skills. Why Do We Only Talk About #Phonics ? @EdWeekOpinion via @MindShiftKQED https://t.co/ckKiCwwGGe?amp=1

Is Character – “Caught” Or “Taught”? – @EmmaELYoung @ResearchDigest looks at recent efforts to include moral + civic virtues in #education ow.ly/VoLN30qhqRH @JubileeCentre1

© 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: February 7: #WorldReadAloudDay, Curiosity, and Productive Praise

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this relatively light week include #BookLists, #FakeNews, #grading, #GraphicNovels, #STEM, #WorldReadAloudDay, motivation, numbers, parenting, reading, schools, and writing. 

Book Lists

2020 #GraphicNovels: An Accounting of Some #KidLit Standouts — @fuseeight ow.ly/d21c30qfoA1 | I added some of these to my daughter's wish list

12 #YA Couples for #ValentinesDay – Another timely #BookList from @literacious ow.ly/MNoZ30qffgK | For those looking for the perfect gift for a book-loving (+possibly introverted) romance fan ... here's an idea

Events, Programs + Research

I'm a numbers geek + I love this: Today's date 02/02/2020 is written the same backward and forward — for everyone in the world — which hasn't happened in 900 years | @DisrnNews ow.ly/qq1L30qel9l #STEM

For #WorldReadAloudDay I finished reading #MyLifeAsAYoutuber by @JanetTashjian to my daughter. We #ReadAloud every morning while she eats breakfast, but it was nice to finish a book today | @Scholastic @CPSLiteracy @litworldsays @MacKidsBooks | What are you reading?

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

The Illusory Truth Effect: Why We Believe #FakeNews + Propaganda - when something is repeated enough, our brains take a cognitive shortcut to save energy + start to believe it ow.ly/wdSk30qeCrE @farnamstreet

How 'Daybooks' Helped Get My Students #Writing - @arielsacks @EdWeekTeacher ow.ly/G9Vm30qel8v Getting adolescents to enjoy writing + helping them relax sounds like a win-win to me

Parenting + Play

In an uncertain world, #failure may be best lesson for kids says @DrMadelineL ow.ly/o9YL30qeaB3 @AJCGetSchooled | I'm looking forward to reading Levine's new #parenting book #ReadyOrNot

Schools and Libraries

How I Eliminated (Almost) All #Grading Problems In My Classroom via a student-centered approach ow.ly/3CJK30qel7g @terryheickedu @TeachThought via @MindShiftKQED #schools #grades

The Power of Authentic Praise in the Classroom: My Personal Experience by @McKenzieRoss20 @HonorsGradU ow.ly/NVqu30qfoAL | What worked in terms of positive, genuine praise focused on the teacher's own feelings (vs. motivation-sapping generic stuff)

‘Schools are killing curiosity’: why we need to stop telling children to shut up and learn | @WendyBerliner @GuardianEdu ow.ly/IIn730qdTE4 | Study finds asking questions even more important than focus for good school performance

End the “Easy A” - Tougher #grading standards set more students up for success - @SethGershenson shares research @EducationNext confirming that "“everyone gets a gold star” is not a victimless mentality" https://t.co/To2UQgg8PC?amp=1

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

Growing Bookworms Newsletter: February 3: Celebrating Words, Authors + Characters Who Kiss

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: Happy February, readers! In this issue I have posts about two of my daughter's bookworm moments (shrieking with  joy because two characters kiss and singing happy birthday to authors). I also have a post about her newest literacy milestone: celebrating big words. Despite my previously announced quest  for "LESS", I have continued to share links regarding literacy, schools, and the joy of reading each week. I've included the most recent roundup of those links here. The others can be found on my blog

Reading Update:  Since my last update, I read two middle grade, two young adult, and two adult titles (both nonfiction). I read/listened to: 

  • Janet Tashjian: My Life As A Gamer. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed January 9, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  • MyLifeNinjaJanet Tashjian: My Life As A Ninja. Square Fish. Middle Grade Fiction. Completed January 22, 2020. Read aloud to my daughter from library copy.
  • Elizabeth Eulberg: Past Perfect Life. Bloomsbury YA. Young Adult Fiction. Completed January 7, 2020, personal copy. I enjoyed  this YA suspense drama (about a girl who finds out that she isn't who she thinks she is) very much. The ending was more satisfying than I had expected, and the characters are quite nuanced.
  • David Yoon: Frankly in Love. G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers. Young Adult Fiction. Completed January 16, 2020, on MP3. I  liked this one, but found that it dragged on a little bit as an audiobook. This may have been because the events of the premise that  I had heard about unfold relatively early in the book, and then it changes into something else.
  • TinyHabitsBJ Fogg: Tiny Habits: The Small Changes that Change Everything. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Adult Nonfiction. Completed January 22, 2020, on Kindle. This is my new favorite book about habits and behavior (a genre I am admittedly addicted to). I have made a couple of what I think will be lasting changes for myself and my daughter using Fogg's methods, and highly recommend the book.
  • Tom DeMarco + Tim Lister: Peopleware: Productive Projects and Teams. Addison-Wesley. Adult Nonfiction. Completed January 25, 2020, personal copy. I read this book for work. It's about how tech company managers should put more emphasis into issues related to people (vs. technical issues). 

Although I had a goal at the start of the year to do more reading, that has, sadly, not panned out so far. One reason is that I'm having an audiobook slump, and listening to more podcasts as a result. Another is that I've been extremely busy with my (non-book-related) work. The nonfiction titles highlighted above also took me extra time because I'm trying something new when I read nonfiction. I'm keeping a pile of index cards handy, and writing notes on them when I come across something I want to remember (or act upon). This slows my pace, of course, but I'm hoping it helps me to absorb more. 

KillingNovemberI'm reading How To Have Impossible Conversations by Peter Boghossian and James Lindsay and Killing November by Adriana Mather for myself. I've just started listening to Tularosa (Kevin Kerney, No. 1) by Michael McGarrity. I'm hoping that this one will break my audiobook slump. I'm reading My Life As A You Youtuber (My Life Series, Book 7) by Janet Tashjian and Jake Tashjian aloud to my daughter. We continue to enjoy the My Life books, and will be sad when we are fully caught up (soon). We have already pre-ordered Book 9, due out in April. 

On her own, my daughter continues to re-read her favorite graphic and notebook novels constantly, but hasn't added any new favorites recently. She is also still tackling, in small doses, The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary Queen of Scots, from Carolyn Meyer's Young Royals series. She mentions it from time to time, but I'm not expecting her to finish it any time soon. I also picked up Gabby Garcia's Ultimate Playbook for her, after Ms. Yingling reviewed the third book in this series. It hasn't completely grabbed her yet, but I think it will. She also brought home Luv Ya Bunches: Book One, by Lauren Myracle from the school library, and picked out Rocky Road by Rose Kent from my overflowing stacks. She's dipping in and out of all of these books, but I'm waiting to see which, if any, really grabs her. 

She has refined her graphic novel preferences a bit recently. She told me that other day that she  likes graphic novels, but doesn't like comics (e.g. some of the Big Nate books, which are collections of standalone comic strips). This made sense to me - I always like to really immerse myself in a storyline, and rarely find short stories satisfying. I think it's a similar instinct for a more involved story. 

NewKidShe was pleased to see a graphic novel win the Newbery Award this year, though Jerry Craft's New Kid isn't one of the books that she adores or re-reads. I think the recognition of graphic novels across the ALA Awards is a good sign that publishers will continue to focus on graphic novels, which is good news for us. 

Wishing you all a happy, healthy, and book-filled February. 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

Bookworm Moments: Singing Happy Birthday to Authors

FebruaryReadingCalendarFunThis one is actually more of a bookworm behavior than a bookworm moment. My daughter has been bringing me great joy over the past several months by singing Happy Birthday to children's and young adult authors and illustrators. This started in the fall, when her 4th grade teacher sent home a 2019-2020 Wild About Reading calendar from Scholastic. I believe this calendar was a Scholastic Reading Club incentive of some sort. While I'm not normally a huge fan of extrinsic rewards, this calendar is fabulous!! Thank you, Scholastic! 

Here's a sample page (all copyrights to Scholastic and anyone they negotiated with for the rights to the images on the calendar). Click to view a larger version. Book-related holidays are featured, as are author birthdays. 

Every morning my daughter checks the calendar and (if there are any) sings a quick round of Happy Birthday to each author/illustrator. If she forgets, she does a marathon session the next day. If you look closely you'll see that she looks ahead and adds stars to highlight particular favorites (a pen normally hangs down over the calendar).

For February we see Mo Willems and Jeff Kinney with stars. Bob Staake and Shanon Hale featured in January, as I recall. She is pleased when I can tell her that I a personally know author in question in some way. But, for the most part, her relative level of excitement has to do with how much she loves that author's books. As it should be. 

This morning she noticed that the calendar declares: "Take Your Child to the Library Day". She shrieked with excitement and came racing into the kitchen to let me know. She dragged me back to her room to show this to me (not that I would have doubted her word). Have I mentioned that I love this calendar? 

WildAboutReadingCalendarScholasticI have no idea how she came up with this idea of singing happy birthday to authors. But it makes me happy every time I hear it. I hope that hearing about this makes you happy, too. And if you are an author whose birthday is featured on the Wild About Reading calendar, feel free to picture an enthusiastic 9-year-old serenading you from San Jose. 

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 to be books may be affiliate links, for which I receive a small commission.

Links I Shared on Twitter this Week: January 31: #GraphicNovels, #ReadYourWorld, and (Sigh) #Homework

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #ALAYMA, #BookLists, #DiverseBooks, #Diversity, #GraphicNovels, #Homework, #introversion, #JoyOfReading, #LoveOfBooks, #Mathical, #MentalHealth, #Phonics, #ReadYourWorld, #ScreenTime, #STEM, reading, and schools. 

Top Tweets of the Week

Planning for Another Year of Reading | @sljournal @donalynbooks shares thoughts on rejuvenating students’ enthusiasm for #reading during the winter blahs ow.ly/vY3z30qcfun #JoyOfReading

Further validation that YES, #GraphicNovels are real, high-quality books. Congratulations to @JerryCraft + @HarperChildrens

NewKidRT @JHarrisReads: I am so excited about NEW KID by @JerryCraft winning the #Newbery award. This is such an amazing book #graphicnovel #GISDLibraries #txlcaht #alamw20

Book Lists + Awards

2020 Youth Media Award Winners | @amlibraries #ALAYMA ow.ly/VDlH30qcJzZ #kidlit #BookAwards @JerryCraft @AS_King @KadirNelson @kwamealexander @StudioJJK + lots more!

This piece by @nycschlibrarian highlights the many #GraphicNovels recognized in this year's ALA Youth Media Awards. So wonderful! ow.ly/JaLM30qcYrg #ALAYMA @GoodComics4Kids @ALALibrary

RA RA Read: Categorized roundup of Pink and Fancy #PictureBooks (now with unicorns!) | from Jennifer at Jean Little Library ow.ly/xu4g30qcunN #BookList

Children's Books for 9-13 Year Olds that Address #MentalIllness ow.ly/ONkM30qcJzh #kidlit #BookList from @momandkiddo

25 Books To Get Your Tween Talking – from #FunnyBooks to #VerseNovels to #Nonfiction + more, well-organized #BookList from #librarian@literacious https://t.co/dq4pY6lQOx?amp=1

Events, Programs + Research

An intro to Multi-Cultural Children's Book Day (This Friday) from @gail_gauthier ow.ly/gVGN30qcE6I #ReadYourWorld #DiverseBooks #OwnVoices @pragmaticmom @valariebudayr_

Growing Bookworms

#GraphicNovel Reading is Real #Reading! (and now we have a Newbery winner to back it up!) – #SchoolLibrarian @MrBenjiMartin ow.ly/s5Rq30qdpO7 "The only way to get (kids) to love reading is to give them books that they love", like GNs

Don't Leave #SportsBooks Out of the Game: For some students they are a window to the world + a spark for a lifetime #JoyOfReading by @trublu24 @nerdybookclub https://t.co/5kQUK6oTd1?amp=1

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

Ripping Books In Half and Other #Reading Taboos. I'm w/ @shirleyannemcm @AwfullyBigBlog on letting most of this type of thing go ow.ly/fl6B30qcung Just focus on #JoyOfReading, I say

How two women quietly reading books in an SF bar started an introvert revolution - @SFGate ow.ly/DWBg30qcEo0 #SilentBookClub #introversion #reading

Parenting + Mental Health

Research refutes link between tech / #ScreenTime + teen #MentalHealth problems says @larrymagid @mercnews ow.ly/yvha30qctWk | Don't ignore risks of #SocialMedia but don't conclude tech is the only factor

This makes sense to me: Why #procrastination is about managing emotions, not time. The task is one that makes us feel bad in some way - @Psych_Writer @BBC_Worklife ow.ly/6yxX30qcfxH #habits

Schools and Libraries

Should Kindergartners and Young Kids Have #Homework in Elementary School? This article (w/ updates about efforts around the country) says no + offers ammunition for parents ow.ly/mZJO30qdplv @goodhousemag @gailcornwall

Preservice Teachers Are Getting Mixed Messages on How to Teach #Reading - @madeline_will @educationweek ow.ly/M0xt30qcujS #Phonics

Rann Miller @UrbanEdDJ argues that A Truly Diverse School is one w/ diverse teachers, guidance counselors + texts (not just students of color) ow.ly/1mOG30qcEfW #Diversity @EducationNext

According to @Gallup in U.S., 2019 #Library Visits (avg. 10.5/yr) Outpaced Trips to the Movies by nearly 2X ow.ly/O2Kr30qcfIx | One would certainly hope so! But did kids spend more time #reading than watching video on screens?


Press Release Fun: @sljournal + MSRI Launch #Mathical Book Prize Collection Development Awards to purchase books that inspire a love of #math for Title I schools — @fuseeight ow.ly/g3gh30qdpVE #BookAccess #STEM

© 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: January 24: #BookLists, #GraphicNovels + #BrainScience

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #Audiobooks, #BookAwards, #BookLists, #BrainScience, #Cybils, #eBooks, #EdReform, #EducationalEquity, #GiftedEducation, #GraphicNovels, #JoyOfReading, #ReadingAloud, and parenting. 

Top Tweet of the Week

Why You Should Encourage Your Child's Love of #GraphicNovels | "They have to do the work ... to understand the full story" + lots more ow.ly/kp4X30qbTcW #JoyOfReading @goraina @parentsmagazine

Book Lists + Awards

It’s Book Awards Season: Don’t Miss the #CybilsAwards ow.ly/arkY30qbl2L | @TheReadingTub has the scoop on this #kidlit #BookAward honoring literary quality + reader enjoyment

Beyond the Youth Media Awards, #BookLists for Kids and Teens – @literacious ow.ly/UQaq30qbTgX #ALAYMA @yalsa  @ALALibrary

Great stuff! 50 Best #MiddleGrade Novels of the 21st Century per @semicolonblog ow.ly/Ceeb30qaQbg | Sherry breaks out her overlap w/ similar #BookLists from @ALA_Booklist (14) + @FuseEight (3) + 33 more | #MGLit #kidlit

Book Talking 45+ 2019 #MGLit Books in 45 Minutes – #librarian @literacious shares the #BookList + presentation developed for her local middle schoolers https://t.co/GEKU29j3sP?amp=1

Events, Programs + Research

This is your child's brain on books vs #ScreenTime - Sandee LaMotte @cnnhealth ow.ly/3ejU30qaPY0 | #ReadingAloud to #preschoolers -> more organized white matter in language + #literacy areas

Reading #ComicBooks + #GraphicNovels can improve brain health — ow.ly/CEey30qaQ5K | @MaryWiddicks @qz | humans are naturally inclined toward the efficiency of visual storytelling, comics let kids strengthen brain pathways earlier + more

I'm late to share this but @JasonReynolds83 was Named National Ambassador for Young People's Literature this week. His platform: "Grab the Mic: Tell Your Story" ow.ly/eWx630qaeV2 @PublishersWkly #kidlit

Growing Bookworms

10 Steps that Don’t Involve Points, Pizza, or Prizes to Create a School Wide Culture of Reading – Lifetime #Literacy ow.ly/jWW930qb9ui | Nice ideas here but I'm w/ #EsmeCodell on need to also #ReadAloud to students | #JoyOfReading

The Power of Listening by @ClareLandrigan @nerdybookclub | "We cannot forget the need to also assess the habits and dispositions of our readers" + help them "spark the #LoveOfReading "

On Reading, Writing, Blogging, and Publishing

I don't think it's too late for: 5 Reasons to Make #Reading Every Day Your New Year's Resolution ow.ly/9WnA30qarJf @BookBub | But if reading every day is good, wouldn't reading ALL DAY every day be even better? I can dream...

Public Library #Ebook + #Audiobook Use Rocketed Up 20% In 2019, powered especially by 30% rise in audio over 2018 ow.ly/lfeo30qaeZI @Forbes @AdamRRowe

Parenting + Play

#Parenting Isn’t Over When Kids Grow Up - Dr. Mark McConville shares tips @WSJ for supporting young adults w/out enabling them ow.ly/SThm30qaDnA #FailureToLaunch @PutnamBooks

Schools and Libraries

Dr. King Would Have Shined a Light on Progressive Cities where racial + economic #learning gaps are higher. ow.ly/S4bf30qaPTm " How can you hold your political leaders to account for “world-class cities” where many children can’t read?" #EducationalEquity @citizenstewart

‘National Parents Union’ to Challenge Political Influence of Teachers Groups | ow.ly/Tlv530qaBvi @laurenonthehill @usnews @NationalParents #Education #EdReform #unions

No more ‘secret handshake’: Universal screening qualifies 600 more Memphis students for #GiftedEducation, inc. higher % of black students + boys ow.ly/3Ja330qaBrD @Chalkbeat via @MindShiftKQED

© 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: January 17: Reading Bedtime Stories, Unplugging from Screens + Getting Better Sleep

TwitterLinksHere are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #FreedomToRead, #giftedness, #libraries, #ReadAloud, #ScreenTime, #ScreenFree, #SleepHabits, #STEAM, #STEM, parenting, schools, and teaching. 

Top Tweet of the Week

The Most Powerful Family Ritual? The Bedtime Story ow.ly/bBMG30q8wzD @Red_Tricycle #ReadAloud #GrowingBookworms

Book Lists

#SouthAsian #Kidlit 2020 - Winter Roundup from @darshanakhiani ow.ly/O0nV30q9d5a | by category + pub date

RA RA Read: Scary Stories from Beginning to End | Nice categorized list by age range from Jennifer Wharton ow.ly/zRlH30q9d1q | Includes standalone #kidlit, series, #GraphicNovels + more

Unplug with #PictureBooks about #ScreenFree #Play ow.ly/cHCO30q8nAc | Super-fun #BookList from @momandkiddo celebrating "the joys of putting down the iPad"

Books to Celebrate #MLKDay | 4 suggestions for different age ranges from @abbylibrarian ow.ly/sUiJ30q9d69 #BookList

Events, Programs + Research

Surprise! Exam scores benefit from months of regular sleep | Study finds sleep regularity accounted for nearly 1/4 of the difference among students’ grades, espec. for boys ow.ly/WZVg30q8P1t #SleepHabits @jrehm_sci @SNStudents

Growing Bookworms

This is delightful: Dad Builds Triple Rocking Chair So He Could Read To His 3 Kids ow.ly/Agdb30q93J9 #ReadAloud #JoyOfReading 

4 Ideas For Motivating Adolescent Male Readers @kennycmckee @TeachThought ow.ly/wOWp30q8P0S #JoyOfReading #literacy | Male #reading role models + more

School creates a library of high-quality children’s books (mainly #PictureBooks) for families to read and share at bedtime so that kids see "the joyous side of reading". I love it! ow.ly/RsI230q8B04 @smithsmm

This teacher was worried children weren’t getting bedtime stories. So she began reading them aloud — on Facebook. She's developed quite a following ow.ly/C00U30q8B2r @ByMoriah @washingtonpost

Parenting, Play + Screen Time

This is fascinating. Ron Srigley asked his college students to turn in their cell phones for 9 days + write about living w/out them ow.ly/niXh30q8P4V #ScreenTime #distraction @techreview via @MindShiftKQED

Schools and Libraries

Are Your Striving Readers Helping Others? How might this change their disposition towards #reading? by @TammyBMulligan @nerdybookclub ow.ly/ned930q8AYS #GrowingBookworms

Sigh. @literacious discusses a new effort in MO to provide "parental oversight" of #PublicLibraries, in conflict w/ the @ALALibrary #FreedomToRead statement https://t.co/7VYpKbPAFC?amp=1

This is fun! 6 out of 10 of the Most Frequently Checked-Out Books in the History of the @nypl are #kidlit, topped by #TheSnowyDay ow.ly/XnMi30q9cZu @CharlesPassy @WSJ #libraries

Academic acceleration (by grade or by subject): When is it the right choice for your child? ow.ly/t0C030q9NNx #giftedness #GradeSkipping #RedShirting #play @giftedchlnges


We Need #STEAM, Not #STEM #Education, To Prepare Our Kids For The 4th Industrial Revolution (creativity + innovation) ow.ly/x0Cm30q9NWV @BernardMarr @Forbes

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

Bookworm Moments: Shrieking with Joy because Two Characters Kiss

MyLifeAsABookAs regular readers know, I read aloud to my daughter while she eats breakfast on school days. We are currently working our way through the My Life series by Janet Tashjian (highly, highly recommend them). The other day, an exciting event occurred in this tween series. I won't tell you which title this occurred in, but... A Boy Kissed a Girl on the Cheek! It's true.

My daughter, who has been immersed in this series for months now, shrieked with delight. I would imagine the neighbors heard. Perhaps you heard from wherever you live. She was very loud. She also got up from her chair to hug me, simply unable to contain her joy. Of course this reaction is partly due to her age (she is almost 10). But how great is it that she was so invested in the lives of these characters that she could not contain herself? 

It was a great start to my day. Hope the story brightens yours. 

© 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.