Thursday, March 29, 2012

Read to Me Challenge book 6- Too Many Toys

For this week's book is Too Many Toys  written and illustrated by David Shannon

Too Many Toys

ISBN: 978-0-439-49029-0 HC      Ages 4 and up

Synopsis: Spencer has too many toys. His mother has had enough and tries to get Spencer to  rid of some of his toys.  The Problem is, he loves them all! Spencer has to pick which  toys stay and which ones go. What will he do?
Lesson Plans for this book:activities for Too Many Toys
Click on this link Too Many Toys and hear David Shannon read his very own story! Thank you Scholastic !                                                        

Why I love this book: First of all, this story reminds me of my life when my three children were younger. Toys everywhere! I was SO the mom in this story. This book brought back happy memories of my children I had almost forgotten. This book is very funny. This week my little ones have been SAT testing. I wanted to read them a book that would make them laugh and lighten the mood of the week. It definitely made them laugh...heck it made me laugh. As always David's illustrations made me linger over every page- not wanting to miss anything. I think the ending is cute.

Critique from Room 502:
My students loved, loved this book.  They connected with Spencer immediately. They loved that Spencer had toys spilling out everywhere.  They thought it was funny when the grown ups almost had mishaps because of the mountain of toys left everywhere.  You could hear echos of " I have that toy, Me too!" "My room looks just like that too! ( Yikes! Now I know what their desks are a mess )And my mom and dad make me get rid of my toys too! The pictures made them tickled. Especially the ones of Mom! Kids love it when parents and grown ups make mistakes or have accidents. The box at the end was a big hit too. The kids from Room 502 rate this book a two thumbs up.

Happy reading and writing!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Challenge Alert

This year I have taken on many new challenges. I have set new personal and professional goals.  Even though my blog has only be up since October, I want it to reflect more about  becoming a better writer and not just book reviews. Oh yes, for those of you who enjoy reading about my 2nd graders,  I will continue to let the critics from Room 502 give you their thoughts  on my Thursday book reviews. With that said, I have a Challenge Alert:

Here is the Challenge: I would like you to give me suggestions for a new blog title. Enter your blog title suggestion as a comment by April 1.  If your Blog title wins...

the winner will receive and a Barnes and Noble gift card.  Good Luck and thanks for the help!

Saturday, March 17, 2012

I've been tagged with the Lucky 7 MEME

I am the victim of the Lucky 7 MEME, thanks to the wonderful Jennifer Young. She writes quirky children's stories and will soon be a published author in the fall of 2013! You can follow her at Jennifer Young-Castles in the Sky . 

These are the rules to the Lucky 7 MEME:

1. Go to page 77 of your current ms. (Since I write children’s stories I’ll just skip to #2)

2. Go to line 7.

3. Copy down the next 7 lines/sentences, and post them as they're written. No cheating.
4. Tag 7 other victims, er, authors.

My seven lines are from my WIP however it does not have a title yet-sorry:)

In warm shallow waters,

on the bottom, at ease, 

through the cold winters months, 

rests a grey manatee.

She pushes to the surface, 

with a calf at her side, 

Nuzzling for his breakfast, 

as together they glide.

Okay I cheated, it had to go line 8 to finish the rhyme. Well now on to the fun part. My victims, er, authors are:
Julie Musil
Tina Cho
Joanna Marple
Lori Degman
Genevieve Petrillo
Allison Hertz
Susanna Hill
These ladies have awesome blogs. Just click their names. Make sure you stop by and read their Lucky 7. 

Jennifer thank you for always thinking of me:)
Happy Writing to you all!


Thursday, March 8, 2012

I Just Can't Help Myself

Since I was a little girl, I've been a philanthropist.  I remember the days when I use to ride my bike all over town collecting money for "Jerry's Kids"- MD. I begged my older brother to drive me to the tv station so I could put my money in the fish tank. It made me feel like I was making a difference. As a college students I took numerous trips to Mexico to teach kids in villages with no running water or electricity. This compelling drive to help others has followed me my whole life. It was this drive, that lead me down the path of writing. Age the age of 30, I decided to get a degree in Elementary Education---teaching children--you guessed it. While teaching fifth grade, I came across a video on youtube-The Invisible Children that changed my life forever.  The need to help the children of Uganda was a strong as the need I felt as a little girl to collect money for MD.  I had to tell their story. This was my very first manuscript. With such a touchy subject, it was very hard to tell the reality of thousands of children in Uganda. My 5th graders wrote books and sent them to Uganda through a nonprofit organization called Books of Hope.

The next year I moved down to 2nd grade. I needed a project...I just can't help myself. I  stumbled across another program that collect books to send to isolated villages in Alaska along the Iditarod trail-"Book on the Trail". My second graders saved their pennies and bought 27 books.  This year I saw a 20/20 special about the Lakota Indians in South Dakota...heartbreaking. I knew I had to do something.  I bought, and collected book donations to send to the children on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. I also crocheted 2 boxes of scarves and gloves to send to the school age children. I am not trying to toot my own horn. I just wanted you to get to know me and the passion behind the stories I write. Recently, the story of Kony, and LRA, has been in the news. It kindled up the passion of that first manuscript. I am currently working revising it- "The Wishing Star" which tries to tell the story of the invisible children of Uganda. Here is a sneak preview...

Mama lifted Takari up to the window. She slid down-her feet touched the ground.  She ran as fast as she could, never stopping until she reached the tall savanna grasses. She couldn’t breathe. Her head was spinning. She laid down on the ground and covered her eyes. She wanted to cry …but she didn’t want the soldiers to hear her.
Takari laid in the grass the entire night as quiet as mouse, too terrified to move. She was cold and afraid.  What if she never saw her family again?

Find your passion and write about it!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

PIcture Book Challenge Books 4 & 5 Kiana's Iditarod and Alaska's Three Bears By Shelley Gill

In honor of the Iditarod dog sled race which started March 3,  I have chosen these books for my Read to Me Challenge.
 Book: Kiana's Iditarod
 By: Shelley Gill    Illustrated by Shannon Cartwright
Awards :Alaska's best selling children's book about the Last great race.

Book synopsis: Random House

Kiana is no ordinary dog. Born and bred to race, she leads her team of huskies on a journey unlike any other. The Iditarod - known traditionally as Alaska's 'Last Great Race' - spans 1,049 icy miles from Anchorage to Nome. From the treacherous terrain to the bitter, blowing winds, the trail is full of obstacles Kiana and her team must overcome in order to reach the finish line. Along the way, they encounter packs of wild wolves, a mighty moose, and other dog-sled teams fighting for first place. Can Kiana summon the strength of her team and lead them to victory? Author Shelley Gill brings her firsthand experience as the fifth woman to complete the Iditarod race to this crackling adventure story, while Shannon Cartwright's vibrant color illustrations bring Kiana and her team's extraordinary efforts to life for young readers.
              The birch dipped icy spears of light,
to dance upon the scene.
The morning of the last great race,
the dog lot was serene.
The sled was packed the runners sharp,
the harnesses dry and clean.
Atop their houses the huskies lay,
breathing frosty puffs of steam.

Why I like this book: This book is a delightful book written in rhyme telling about the experience of a dog out on the Iditarod trail. This book definitely had to have a lot of explanation because of the use  figurative language. That did not stop my critics from enjoying the book or  asking me to read it again.
Critique from Room 502
My 2nd graders were held captive by the flow of the Language. Their inquisitiveness led them to ask numerous questions about the iditarod. Hand after hand went up to ask questions, showing my students were truly thinking, isn't that what reading is...thinking. The figurative language made it a little difficult  for them to understand the whole story. They are only second graders after all.  Lucky for me, we read this book twice and the second time they chimed in enjoying the reading of good book. It goes to show you how important it is to read to children and make sure they are exposed to all kinds of books.
The critics give this book a thumbs up and I give it one too!

Happy Reading and Writing:)