Saturday, April 26, 2014

Save the Date: Author and Illustrator Brian Floca is coming to Williamsburg on October 16, 2014

Award-winning author and illustrator, Brian Floca, is going to be a guest speaker for the Williamsburg Area Reading Council! You may know Brian Floca for his most recent award, which was winning the 2014 Caldecott Award for Locomotive

The event will occur on October 16, 2014 at the School of Education at the College of William and Mary. Specific times and other details are being ironed out at this time, but please save the date in your calendar! You can follow the Williamsburg Area Reading Council on Facebook or find out more via WARC's blog.

Symbaloo Collection of Nonfiction Links

    Hello everyone! I've created a Symbaloo collection of links which highlight nonfiction in some manner.You'll find links to suggested authors that are great for a study of nonfiction author's craft. Also, you will find links to kid-friendly websites and blogs that give instructional ideas for teachers. You just need to simply click on the picture to start your exploration! :)

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Mo Willems - Interview on CBS Sunday Morning

   Author and illustrator Mo Willems was recently featured on the CBS Sunday Morning Program. The interview took place in Paris, where Mo currently lives. You can read the interview in its entirety, as well as view the feature via this link to CBS Sunday Morning.

     Mo made a thought provoking statement about the collaboration that he aims to foster between his readers and himself. Willems stated, "My goal is to write 49% of the book, and to let my audience create the 51%. They (the readers) are my collaborator more than they are the audience." Mo certainly honors the intelligence of children, and he respectfully knows that readers breathe the life into his picture books. 

    The next addition to the Elephant and Piggie series will be coming out on June 3rd, 2014. It's entitled My New Friend is So Fun! Mo's Elephant and Piggie books are very popular with children. Willems has won 3 Caldecott Honors, 2 Carnegie Medals, 4 Theodore Geisel Honors, and 2 Theodore Geisel Medals. His most recent award was a 2014 Geisel Honor for A Big Guy Took My Ball. Prior to his current success as an author and illustrator, Willems worked on Seseme Street, winning 6 Emmys during his time with the show.  

    Mo's most recently published book came out in April 2014. The newest title in the popular Pigeon series is The Pigeon Needs a Bath.You can view a mock interview by "Rock Dove" with Mo through this link as well. One of the characteristics that makes Mo Willems a favorite is because he manages to communicate clever humor in a simplistic manner, and both adults and children enjoy the hilarious story lines in any of his books.


Be sure to check out Mo's sites and apps to extend an Author Study or for pure enjoyment!

Mo to Go App

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

2014 Children's Book Week: Vote for Your Picks!


     From May 12-18, 2014, schools and libraries across America will celebrate Children's Book Week! It is sponsored by the Children's Book Council, who is a "national nonprofit trade association of children’s book publishers, dedicated to supporting and informing the industry and fostering literacy." (You can find out more about the CBC and its mission at its official website: This year, Children's Book Week is celebrating its 95th year. Ever since 1919, this special event has highlighted the magic of children's books and reading with boys and girls. That's quite a feat of achievement to continually recognize the importance and influence of children's literature!   

 Children's Book Week features its own stand alone website at: Also, the actual voting website is, where you can find the link to vote as an individual or as a group consensus from a short list of finalists for these six categories:


Illustrator of the Year
The Day The Crayons Quit - Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Emeraldalicious - Illustrated by Victoria Kann
Pete the Cat: The Wheels on the Bus - Illustrated by James Dean
Llama Llama and the Bully Goat - Illustrated by Anna Dewdney
Sofia the First: The Floating Palace - Illustrated by Grace Lee

Author of the Year
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck - by Jeff Kinney
Heroes of Olympics: The House of Hades - by Rick Riordan
Allegiant - by Veronica Roth
Rush Revere and The Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans - by Rush Limbaugh
Dork Diaries 6: Tales from a Not-So-Happy Heartbreaker - by Rachel Renee Russell

Kindergarten to Second Grade Book of the Year
The Day the Crayons Quit - by Drew Daywalt, illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
Mustache Baby - by Bridget Heos, illustrated by Joy Ang
Alphabet Trucks - by Samantha R. Vamos, illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke
Bear and Bee - by Sergio Ruzzier (Disney/Hyperion) Chamelia and the New Kid in Class by Ethan Long

Third to Fourth Grade Book of the Year
Bean Dog and Nugget: The Ball - by Charise Mericle Harper
Cougar - by Stephen Person
The Matchbox Diary - by Paul Fleischman, illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline
Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: A Migrant’s Tale - by Duncan Tonatiuh
Bugs in My Hair! - by David Shannon

Fifth to Sixth Grade Book of the Year
Prince Puggly of Spud - by Robert Paul Weston
Lawless: Book 1 - by Jeffrey Salane
National Geographic Kids Myths Busted! - by Emily Krieger, illustrated by Tom Nick Cocotos
Hokey Pokey - by Jerry Spinelli
Battling Boy - by Paul Pope

Teen Book of the Year
Allegiant - by Veronica Roth 

 Eleanor & Park - by Rainbow Rowell 
 Clockwork Princess - by Cassandra Clare
Smoke - by Ellen Hopkins
The 5th Wave - by Rick Yancey

    Children's Book Week is featured on the Children's Book Council's YouTube page. Specifically, you can follow the "Children's Book Week Champions 2014" playlist, where you can watch new videos that are posted each week. Here's a peek at the first YouTube video for 2014 from author and illustrator Jarrett Krosoczka: 

   You can follow the Children's Book Council on Facebook to find out the most up-to-date information on this year's event. Also, you can follow the CBC on Twitter, Pinterest, and their CBC website

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Featured on the Nerdy Book Club Blog: Little Red Writing - Written by Joan Holub and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet

   Hi everyone! If you aren't familiar with the Nerdy Book Club blog, it's definitely worth checking out! The Nerdy Book Club is a blog community of readers who read children's and YA literature. The blog welcomes readers to write posts for the blog as well. To find out more, click here to explore the options and fill out their online application. You can keep up with the daily posts on the Nerdy Book Club blog via Facebook as well.

  I wrote a guest post myself for the Nerdy Book Club for the first time in December. It was a great experience! You can read my book review on Little Red Writing (Written by Joan Holub and Illustrated by Melissa Sweet) by clicking on this link. I also included instructional strategies via a Google Doc. You can see my suggestions here as well.



                                     Instructional Ideas to Use with Little Red Writing

     Many instructional angles can be explored with Little Red Writing written by Joan Holub and illustrated by Melissa Stewart (Chronicle, 2013). Here are just a few ideas on how the text could be used instructionally with students:

  • Little Red Writing can be compared and contrasted with a variety of other books in several different ways.
    • As a fractured fairy tale, Little Red Writing could be compared with an original version of Little Red Riding Hood. A class could explore how the Joan Holub put a new twist on a classic story with humor, puns, and word play. Similarities could also be explored to show how the author honored and tied in the original storyline as well.                              

    • School supplies are personified in Little Red Writing, which could be compared to the humanistic office supplies in the book Little Red Pen by Janet Stevens and illustrated by Susan Stevens Crummel (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2011). Not only could a teacher compare these school tales to one another, but Little Red Pen is also a fractured fairy tale of the original Little Red Hen story.
    • Little Red Writing can be compared to another fractured fairy tale version of Little Red Riding Hood, such as Carmine: A Little More Red (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2005). This book happens to be written and illustrated by Melissa Sweet, who served as the illustrator for Little Red Writing as well.

  • Cause and effect statements could be explored with students throughout the storyline. For example, because Little Red wanted to write an exciting story, the effect was that she went on an adventure around her school looking for creative inspiration. 
  • Opportunities to delve into using context clues abound with the book. A teacher could support students constructing sensible inferences, predictions, and conclusions with evidence in the text. Also, the meaning of vocabulary words that might be unfamiliar to readers can be figured out using context clues and hints provided with the illustrations.
  • Qualities of Joan Holub's writing could serve as a mentor for students, such as how she uses unique word choices, makes creative ideas come to life, and creates a memorable main character's voice in the story. Also, illustrator Melissa Sweet's interpretation of the story through her art creates a distinct presentation for the reader. 
  • Students could connect the writing challenges that Little Red faces with main characters in several other picture books. Some books that could be great for connecting Little Red Writing to include:  

o    Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills (Schwartz and Wade, 2012) 

o    Author: A True Story by Helen Lester (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2002)

o    The Best Story by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Anne Wilsdorf (Dial, 2008)

o    Library Mouse: A Friend's Tale by Daniel Kirk (Harry M. Abrams, 2009)

o    Ralph Tells a Story by Abby Hanlon (Amazon Children’s Publishing, 2012)

Website Links:

     Chronicle Books has made a Teacher’s Guide available online for Little Red Writing to give some tips on how to use this book instructionally in the classroom. You can also view a preview of the text via Chronicle Books as well.                                                  

     You can find out more about Joan Holub and Melissa Sweet in a variety of ways. Here are some helpful links to give you some insight into their creative processes:

Author Joan Holub:

Illustrator Melissa Sweet: