Search Results for “chapter+book+series” – Storytime Standouts http://www.storytimestandouts.com Raising Children Who Love to Read Sat, 10 Nov 2018 20:48:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.8.7 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/cropped-Storytime-Standouts-shares-great-books-and-resources-for-home-classroom-and-homeschool.-1-1-32x32.png Search Results for “chapter+book+series” – Storytime Standouts http://www.storytimestandouts.com 32 32 Halloween-Theme Picture Books and Free Printables for Kids! http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2016/10/23/fall-childrens-books/halloween-theme-picture-book-treats/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2016/10/23/fall-childrens-books/halloween-theme-picture-book-treats/#respond Sun, 23 Oct 2016 20:14:26 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=22949 Halloween-Theme Picture Books and Free Printables for Kids! | Storytime Standouts

A Very Brave WitchA Very Brave Witch written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss
Halloween theme picture book published by Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books

A Very Brave Witch is the tale of a green-skinned, broomstick-flying, costume-loving witch. She thinks she knows all about humans and decides that Halloween night is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look. After a flying mishap, she meets three, costumed human trick-or-treaters including one girl who is dressed up as a witch. Together, the pair manage to shatter stereotypes as they discover friendship and celebrate Halloween together.

Young readers will enjoy investigating a recently-decorated haunted house and collection of costumes. The witches' fear of humans is good fun.

Well-suited for a group read-aloud, the colorful watercolor illustrations nicely match the tone of the story.

Suitable for preschool and older

Scare Factor = 1

A Very Brave Witch at Amazon.com

A Very Brave Witch at Amazon.ca

A Creepy Countdown by Charlotte Huck and Jos. A. SmithA Creepy Countdown written by Charlotte Huck and Jos. A. Smith
Halloween theme picture book published by Harper Trophy

Beautifully-detailed, dark and creepy illustrations are a highlight of this Halloween-theme counting book. Rhyming text includes alliteration and guides readers as they count from one to ten and back down to one).

Five furry bats hanging upside down
Six skinny witches flying through the town

Recommended for children aged 5 and up. Illustrations are well-suited to a group setting and could be used to inspire young artists to work primarily in black.

Scare Factor = 2

A Creepy Countdown at Amazon.com

A Creepy Countdown at Amazon.ca

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for HalloweenScaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween written and illustrated Mélanie Watt
Halloween theme picture book published by Kids Can Press

Scaredy Squirrel is a fun series of picture books written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt. In Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween, Scaredy has put together eight short chapters featuring panels with maps, lists, illustrations and diagrams intended to keep trick or treaters safe and happy. Best suited to independent readers or a one-on-one read aloud, this is a fun book with rich vocabulary and detailed, engaging illustrations. Not great for a large group setting, this will be a very satisfying "chapter book" for a child in grade one or two and will produce lots of giggles when read by a parent to a child.

Scare Factor = 1

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween: A Safety Guide for Scaredies at Amazon.com

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween: A Safety Guide for Scaredies at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts looks at Halloween theme picture books including Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'ConnellTen Timid Ghosts written and illustrated by Jennifer O'Connell
Halloween theme counting book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic

When a moving truck pulls up to a haunted house, the ten resident ghosts watch nervously. Before too long, a green-skinned witch is scaring the ghosts with a skeleton, a bat and various costumes. Ms. O'Connell provides fun clues for readers to notice including buttons that look like eyes, white face powder and a roll of toilet paper.

Repetitive, rhmying text adds to the fun in this counting book. Young children will love finding the ghosts in each of the illustrations.

Scare Factor = 1

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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Halloween-Theme Picture Books and Free Printables for Kids! | Storytime Standouts


Celebrate Halloween with our free homeschool, preschool and kindergarten printables and book suggestions

Halloween-Theme Stories and Printables for Homeschool and Classroom

As the days grow shorter and cooler weather arrives in the Northern Hemisphere, October is a wonderful month to share a variety of Halloween-theme picture books with children. Halloween is also a great time to enjoy concept books with children and more than one of our featured books highlights counting.

Here are some of our favorite stories exxploring themes of friendship, tolerance, learning about others while trick or treating, wearing costumes and enjoying the fun of Halloween.

Scroll down for our free Halloween-theme printables for children

Storytime Standouts recommends Halloween picture book A Very Brave WitchA Very Brave Witch written by Alison McGhee and illustrated by Harry Bliss
Halloween-theme picture book published by Simon & Schuster / Paula Wiseman Books

A Very Brave Witch is the tale of a green-skinned, broomstick-flying, costume-loving witch. She thinks she knows all about humans and decides that Halloween night is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look. After a flying mishap, she meets three, costumed human trick-or-treaters including one girl who is dressed up as a witch. Together, the pair manages to shatter stereotypes as they discover friendship and celebrate Halloween together.

Young readers will enjoy investigating a recently-decorated haunted house and collection of costumes. The witches’ fear of humans is good fun.

Well-suited for a group read-aloud, the colorful watercolor illustrations nicely match the tone of the story.

Suitable for preschool and older

Scare Factor = 1

A Very Brave Witch at Amazon.com

A Very Brave Witch at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts recommends Halloween picture book A Creepy Countdown by Charlotte Huck and Jos. A. SmithA Creepy Countdown written by Charlotte Huck and Jos. A. Smith
Halloween-theme picture book published by Harper Trophy

Beautifully detailed, dark and creepy illustrations are a highlight of this Halloween-theme counting book. The rhyming text includes alliteration and guides readers as they count from one to ten and back down to one.

Five furry bats hanging upside down
Six skinny witches flying through the town

Recommended for children aged 5 and up. Illustrations are well-suited to a group setting and could be used to inspire young artists to work primarily in black.

Scare Factor = 2

A Creepy Countdown at Amazon.com

A Creepy Countdown at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts recommends Halloween picture book Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for HalloweenScaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt
Halloween-theme picture book published by Kids Can Press

Scaredy Squirrel is a fun series of picture books written and illustrated by Mélanie Watt. In Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween, Scaredy has put together eight short chapters featuring panels with maps, lists, illustrations and diagrams intended to keep trick or treaters safe and happy. Best-suited to independent readers or a one-on-one read aloud, this is a fun book with rich vocabulary and detailed, engaging illustrations. Not great for a large group setting, this will be a very satisfying “chapter book” for a child in grade one or two and will produce lots of giggles when read by a parent to a child.

Scare Factor = 1

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween: A Safety Guide for Scaredies at Amazon.com

Scaredy Squirrel Prepares for Halloween: A Safety Guide for Scaredies at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts looks at Halloween-theme picture books including Ten Timid Ghosts by Jennifer O'ConnellTen Timid Ghosts written and illustrated by Jennifer O’Connell
Halloween-theme counting book published by Cartwheel Books, an imprint of Scholastic

When a moving truck pulls up to a haunted house, the ten resident ghosts watch nervously. Before too long, a green-skinned witch is scaring the ghosts with a skeleton, a bat and various costumes. Ms. O’Connell provides fun clues for readers to notice including buttons that look like eyes, white face powder and a roll of toilet paper.

Repetitive, rhyming text adds to the fun in this counting book. Young children will love finding the ghosts in each of the illustrations.

Scare Factor = 1

Ten Timid Ghosts at Amazon.com

Ten Timid Ghosts at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts looks at Halloween-theme picture books including Trick or Treat by Bill Martin and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Paul MeiselTrick or Treat written by Bill Martin Jr. and Michael Sampson, illustrated by Paul Meisel
Halloween-theme picture book published by Aladdin Books, an imprint of Simon and Schuster

It’s Halloween night and time to trick or treat in a ten-story apartment building. A young, wide-eyed boy goes from floor to floor, meeting all sorts of costumed neighbors with wonderful names like Wiggle Waggle and Limbler Lamber. When the boy reaches the top floor, Merlin answers the door and waves his magic wand and tells the boy that everything is “WackBards“, sending the boy back to each apartment for Belly Jeans and “Twicorice Lists

Great use of alliteration and wordplay along with colorful, fun illustrations make this an excellent read aloud for kindergarten and older children. In a classroom setting, children could have fun illustrating a favorite candy WackBards.

Scare Factor = 1

Trick or Treat? at Amazon.com

Trick or Treat? at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts shares free Halloween printables including pumpkin-theme interlined printing paper

Halloween Theme Printables for Kids

Note: There is a file embedded within this post, please visit this post to download the file.

Storytime Standouts shares free Halloween printables including a picture dictionary, chants, writing paper and songNote: There is a file embedded within this post, please visit this post to download the file.

Note: There is a file embedded within this post, please visit this post to download the file.


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A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/10/16/picture-books-best/2014-theodor-seuss-geisel-medal-award-winner-and-honor-books/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/10/16/picture-books-best/2014-theodor-seuss-geisel-medal-award-winner-and-honor-books/#respond Thu, 16 Oct 2014 20:35:52 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=21398 A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books | Storytime Standouts

The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 2014  Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award WinnerThe Watermelon Seed written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Picture book for beginning readers published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group

When a charming and exuberant crocodile explains that he loves watermelon, we are utterly convinced,

Ever since I was a teeny, tiny baby cocodile, it's been my favorite.
CHOMP! SLURP! CHOMP!

While enthusiastically devouring his favorite fruit, the crocodile accidentally ingests a seed, his imagination runs wild and he assumes a variety of terrible outcomes.

Repetitive text, limited use of long vowel words and very good supporting illustrations make this a great choice for beginning readers.

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.com

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.ca

Ball by Mary Sullivan a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookBall written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan
Picture book for beginning readers published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children

There is little doubt that this dog loves his small, red ball. From the moment he wakes up, he is focused on only one thing: playing with the ball. He especially loves when the ball is thrown by a young girl but when she leaves for school there is no one available to throw it.

This is a terrific picture book that relies heavily on the illustrations for the narrative. Apart from one repeated word (ball) it could be classified as a wordless picture book.

It will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young children - especially those who are eager for an opportunity to read independently.

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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A Look at the 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award Winner and Honor Books | Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts Shares Wonderful Choices for Beginning Readers








The Watermelon Seed by Greg Pizzoli 2014  Theodor Seuss Geisel Medal Award WinnerThe Watermelon Seed written and illustrated by Greg Pizzoli
Picture book for beginning readers published by Disney Hyperion Books, an imprint of Disney Book Group



When a charming and exuberant crocodile explains that he loves watermelon, we are utterly convinced,

Ever since I was a teeny, tiny baby cocodile, it’s been my favorite.
CHOMP! SLURP! CHOMP!

While enthusiastically devouring his favorite fruit, the crocodile accidentally ingests a seed, his imagination runs wild and he assumes a variety of terrible outcomes.

Repetitive text, limited use of long vowel words and very good supporting illustrations make this a great choice for beginning readers.

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.com

The Watermelon Seed at Amazon.ca



Ball by Mary Sullivan a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookBall written and illustrated by Mary Sullivan
Picture book for beginning readers published by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children



There is little doubt that this dog loves his small, red ball. From the moment he wakes up, he is focused on only one thing: playing with the ball. He especially loves when the ball is thrown by a young girl but when she leaves for school there is no one available to throw it.

This is a terrific picture book that relies heavily on the illustrations for the narrative. Apart from one repeated word (ball) it could be classified as a wordless picture book.

It will be thoroughly enjoyed by dog lovers and young children – especially those who are eager for an opportunity to read independently.

Ball at Amazon.com

Ball at Amazon.ca



A Big Guy Took My Ball by Mo Willems a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookA Big Guy Took My Ball written and illustrated by Mo Willems
Series for beginning readers published by Hyperion Books for Children



This charming story will remind readers that appearances can be deceiving and perspective is everything! Gerald and Piggie’s friendship is solid and Gerald is more than willing to stand up for Piggie when her ball is taken by a big guy.

Delightful illustrations will appeal to young readers as they effectively portray a range of emotions. The text is perfect for children who are beginning to read – lots of repetition and very few long vowel words.

A Big Guy Took My Ball! (An Elephant and Piggie Book) at Amazon.com

A Big Guy Took My Ball! at Amazon.ca

Penny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes a 2014 Theodor Seuss Geisel Award Honor BookPenny and Her Marble by Kevin Henkes
Generously illustrated chapter book series for beginning readers published by Greenwillow Books An Imprint of Harper Collins Publishers



It truly is a treat to read such a beautifully-written chapter book for beginning readers. Kevin Henkes has created a new character: Penny. She is a young mouse with a sense of right and wrong. In this book, she is out with her sister when she “finds” a beautiful blue marble. She excitedly puts it into her pocket and later wonders if she did the right thing.

Lovely, full color illustrations and a thought-provoking dilemma make this a great choice for newly independent readers.

Penny and Her Marble at Amazon.com

Penny And Her Marble at Amazon.ca


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A Middle Grade Teacher’s To Be Read List – Let it inspire you! http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/10/14/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/middle-grade-teachers-to-be-read-list/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/10/14/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/middle-grade-teachers-to-be-read-list/#respond Tue, 14 Oct 2014 18:11:22 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=21366 A Middle Grade Teacher’s To Be Read List – Let it inspire you! | Storytime Standouts

It's been a while since I did a top ten list of....well, anything. So, here's what is on my To be Read list this year. Mostly for school, but I love reading middle grade and young adult fiction even if it's just for me. So here it goes:


A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Hook's Revenge by Heidi SchulzHook's Revenge by Heidi Schulz
Middle grade fiction published by Disney-Hyperion

I've already started this funny tale about the Captain Hook's thirteen year old daughter, Jocelyn. She's sent away to boarding school by her grandfather so she can learn to be a lady. All she really wants is to be a swash-buckling, sword-wielding pirate. When she learns of her father's death, she sets off on a quest to avenge it.

I have started this book in my classroom and I love it. The kids laugh out loud and so do I. Jocelyn is a great character, as is her ally, Roger. It's a pleasure to read a book with a girl main character that the boys enjoy as well. It's got great pirate speak, a longing for adventure that kids will connect with, and memorable characters.

Hook's Revenge, Book 1 Hook's Revenge at Amazon.com

Hook's Revenge, Book 1 Hook's Revenge at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Swindle by Gordon KormanSwindle by Gordon Korman
Middle grade fiction published by Scholastic Press

Korman is always on my recommendation list during our library visits. When my eight year old brought Swindle home, I told her that I'd like to read it with her because I know a lot of kids who enjoyed it. During a sick day last week, she found the movie on Netflix. First, I didn't know there was a movie. Second, normally we would read the book first. But, we were feeling lazy so we decided to watch. The movie was very well done-- it made my daughter laugh and it made me want to read the book even more.

When the character finds a vintage baseball card, he doesn't know the value and gets swindled by a pawn shop owner. The quest to get his card back is entertaining and funny. This book is on my list as a possible read aloud.

Swindle at Amazon.com

Swindle at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HuntFish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Middle grade fiction published by Nancy Paulsen Books

There are several things that make me want to read this book. The author wrote one of my favourite books that I read last year: One for the Murphys. That alone makes me want to read more by her. When checking out the title on Goodreads, one of my favourite quotes was included in the write up: “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Then, when I read the summary, I thought: YES. Great topic. Ally has hidden the fact that she can't read from the people in her life and has successfully moved from one school to the next without anyone knowing. But when her newest teacher looks closer, past the trouble making side she presents, he finds her secret and helps her. We all learn in different ways and it's essential that we have books that show kids that it is okay to be different. It's okay to need help and not everyone learns in the same fashion. It's up to us, as the adults in their lives, to help them find their own road to success. I can't wait to read this one.

Fish in a Tree at Amazon.com

Fish In A Tree at Amazon.ca

More

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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A Middle Grade Teacher’s To Be Read List – Let it inspire you! | Storytime Standouts

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List by a Guest Post by @1prncsIt’s been a while since I did a top ten list of….well, anything. So, here’s what is on my To be Read list this year. Mostly for school, but I love reading middle grade and young adult fiction even if it’s just for me. So here it goes:






A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Hook's Revenge by Heidi SchulzHook’s Revenge by Heidi Schulz
Middle grade fiction published by Disney-Hyperion

I’ve already started this funny tale about the Captain Hook’s thirteen year old daughter, Jocelyn. She’s sent away to boarding school by her grandfather so she can learn to be a lady. All she really wants is to be a swash-buckling, sword-wielding pirate. When she learns of her father’s death, she sets off on a quest to avenge it.

I have started this book in my classroom and I love it. The kids laugh out loud and so do I. Jocelyn is a great character, as is her ally, Roger. It’s a pleasure to read a book with a girl main character that the boys enjoy as well. It’s got great pirate speak, a longing for adventure that kids will connect with, and memorable characters.

Hook’s Revenge, Book 1 Hook’s Revenge at Amazon.com

Hook’s Revenge, Book 1 Hook’s Revenge at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Swindle by Gordon KormanSwindle by Gordon Korman
Middle grade fiction published by Scholastic Press

Korman is always on my recommendation list during our library visits. When my eight year old brought Swindle home, I told her that I’d like to read it with her because I know a lot of kids who enjoyed it. During a sick day last week, she found the movie on Netflix. First, I didn’t know there was a movie. Second, normally we would read the book first. But, we were feeling lazy so we decided to watch. The movie was very well done– it made my daughter laugh and it made me want to read the book even more.

When the character finds a vintage baseball card, he doesn’t know the value and gets swindled by a pawn shop owner. The quest to get his card back is entertaining and funny. This book is on my list as a possible read aloud.

Swindle at Amazon.com

Swindle at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Fish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HuntFish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly Hunt
Middle grade fiction published by Nancy Paulsen Books

There are several things that make me want to read this book. The author wrote one of my favourite books that I read last year: One for the Murphys. That alone makes me want to read more by her. When checking out the title on Goodreads, one of my favourite quotes was included in the write up: “Everybody is smart in different ways. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its life believing it is stupid.”

Then, when I read the summary, I thought: YES. Great topic. Ally has hidden the fact that she can’t read from the people in her life and has successfully moved from one school to the next without anyone knowing. But when her newest teacher looks closer, past the trouble making side she presents, he finds her secret and helps her. We all learn in different ways and it’s essential that we have books that show kids that it is okay to be different. It’s okay to need help and not everyone learns in the same fashion. It’s up to us, as the adults in their lives, to help them find their own road to success. I can’t wait to read this one.

Fish in a Tree at Amazon.com

Fish In A Tree at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Smile by Raina TelgemeierSmile and Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Middle grade fiction published by Graphix

I can’t read every single book I see my students or daughters enjoy, though I try to read a good portion of them. I’ve seen enough students go through Smile to know that it hooks readers. When one student saw Sisters in my TBR pile, she was thrilled because she was re-reading Smile for the third time. I told her she could read Sisters and she said, “Just let me finish re-reading Smile first.” She started Sisters later that day and finished it the next. That’s enough of a recommendation for me.

Smile‘s main character (Raina) wants to fit in, like any other grade six girl. An accident that leads to fake teeth makes that harder than she thought. A variety of other game changing issues present themselves while she’s dealing with full headgear. It sounds like exactly the kind of book that pre-teens would connect with.

Sisters offers another connectable theme for kids: sibling rivalry and confrontation. Raina isn’t close to her sister Amara, even though she wanted to be, but when family strife and a new baby brother enter the picture, they have to learn how to depend on each other.

I often recommend Telgemeier to students who are unsure about what to read. She offers real issues that kids can relate to and the graphic novel aspect takes away some of the fear or uncertainty for reluctant readers. She also does the Baby Sitters Club graphics, which students love.

Smile at Amazon.com

Smile at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Escape from Mr. Lemoncellos's Library by Chris GrabensteinEscape from Mr. Lemoncellos’s Library by Chris Grabenstein
Middle grade fiction published by Yearling

This book has been on my list for a while and I already started it twice. It’s like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Night at the Museum. The first time I started it was in class but there was a hold on the book and it didn’t seem fair to hang onto it when a kid was waiting for it (I’m exceptionally fair like that). The second time was the same thing, only at home with my own kids. I loved the beginning both times but often start too many books at once and am forced to choose. Since last year was the year of Jaron and Sage because I was addicted to the Jennifer Nielsen’s trilogy, I had to put this one aside. But it’s remained on my list because I know it is going to be fantastic.

Kyle, surprisingly, wins a chance to spend the night in a brand new library, unlike any library ever known. Mr. Lemoncello is a game maker who develops a number of twists and turns in a real life game that Kyle must find a way to escape.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library at Amazon.com

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List The Invisible Boy by Trudy LudwigThe Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig
Middle grade fiction published by Knopf Books for Young Readers

If Adrienne Gear recommends it, I’m likely going to read it at some point. I warn my students every year that you are never too old for picture books. They offer some of the best morals and insights we can find. Picture books also offer students a chance to really utilize the strategies we teach them such as connecting, making pictures in their head, and predicting. The fact that it is a picture book sometimes lessens the anxiety during reading lessons, allowing them to learn and connect in greater ways.

Brian is a boy that no one notices. He never gets included in games, birthday invites, or activities. When Justin comes to his school, Brian is noticed for the first time. Even if the story didn’t sound so wonderful and so connectable, the beautiful pictures would pull me in.

The Invisible Boy at Amazon.com

The Invisible Boy at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Grimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub and Suzanne WilliamsGrimmtastic Girls by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
Middle grade fiction published by Scholastic

Two more authors that I love (the write the Goddess Girl Series and Heroes in Training) have another series, The Grimmtastic Girls. I might be bias because my eleven year old loves these two authors so much and the Goddess Girl series is one of her (and my) absolute favourites. They have a great writing style and their characters are loveable, even when flawed. Obviously, I’m a little behind because when I saw one in Scholastic, I found out there are four so far.

Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late at Amazon.com

Grimmtastic Girls #1: Cinderella Stays Late at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Treasure Hunters by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein
Middle grade fiction published by Little, Brown and Company

A few things make me want to read this one: James Patterson. Chris Grabenstein. And my enjoyment of Hook. Patterson has several books for kids that I see being enjoyed in the classroom. His middle school series is entertaining and my recent venture into the world of swaggering pirates makes me want to take a look at this book.

Diving is part of the Kidd siblings lives. But when their parents going missing, they face the biggest treasure hunt ever: finding them.

Treasure Hunters at Amazon.com

Treasure Hunters at Amazon.ca

A Middle Grade Teacher's To Be Read List Stranded by Jeff ProbstStranded by Jeff Probst
Middle grade fiction published by Puffin

Another one that I ordered long ago, I need to finally read this one. I try to find books for the classroom that both the boys and girls will be drawn toward. I want them to see the fun in reading, to see that it just takes one book, the right book, to pull you in and make you a reader. The fact that students know who Jeff Probst is and watch Survivor, intrigues them. We need to find ways to invest them in reading and all it has to offer.

When four new siblings (blended family) get stranded on an island, they must get to know each other, and trust each other, fast. If they want to get home, they need to find a way to work together.

Stranded at Amazon.com

So there you have my TBR pile for the 2014-2015 school year. I should probably get off of the computer and get started. I’m certain I will get distracted by other books that peak my interest, but my goal is to get all of these done by June. What is on your to be read list this year?

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Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/10/01/young-adult-books/bone-fog-ash-star/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/10/01/young-adult-books/bone-fog-ash-star/#respond Wed, 01 Oct 2014 16:48:00 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=20469 Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 | Storytime Standouts

Read our interview with Catherine Egan

The lengthy title of Catherine Egan's third book, The Last Days of Tian Di: Bone, Fog, Ash, and Star, alludes to the depth and complexity that is wrapped up within the story. Like the characters of this book, I felt myself immersed in unfamiliar, amazing worlds, pulled back and forth between them by the common thread: Eliza. A story of friendship, loyalty, strength, and finding the truth, Egan isn't afraid to make her characters suffer to reach reward. In fact, it is understood and stated that "there is loss and gain with every act". I think what was most powerful, for me, was the way this book echos life. There are consequences to every action and we do the very best we can at the time, but then we must go from there, from the result of our decisions. It is a heavy burden on the main character's shoulders, knowing that the choices she makes will lead to her own heavy heart. But I think it is an important message for readers, particularly the young adult ones who are, in some ways, facing a similar journey. At the age of sixteen, they are making choices that feel right at the time, but have long term consequences that need to be weighed and judged. Sometimes, life really is choosing the lesser of two evils and this is a lesson that Eliza faces constantly.

In this third book of her series, Catherine Egan pulls the reader in with intense action right from the start. When Eliza's friend, Charlie, becomes the victim of an assassination attempt, just as she's trying to tell him she has feelings for him that go beyond friendship, the reader is immediately hooked. Aside from the action, the magical realism, the vivid imagery that drops you right inside of the book, the characters are connectable.

I realized within the first chapter that I was drawn in because when the first major event happens, I literally gasped out loud. At that point I thought, wow, I already care about the characters and I can totally see the scene. As a writer and a reader, I know that this is not an easy combination to present on the page. From there, Egan takes us on a journey to save her friend that is met with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Like the title, the story seemed to always have one more tangent. Whether you're thinking that they cannot possibly escape the next vicious attack or they are finally safe, the reader is constantly surprised. The term magical realism is an interesting one to me: if done poorly, you can distance yourself from the book because it's fantasy and you know that everything is okay. If done properly, as Egan has done, you can forget that transforming, shape-shifting, and spell-binding aren't a possibility. I saw the characters as regular teenagers-- Eliza with too much responsibility on her young shoulders, Nell with the exam she desperately wanted to ace, and Charlie with the youthful irritation of someone stuck in a situation they cannot control.

Even in the magical, there is a sense of the real: the faeries' overall disdain of humans, the faery mother who can't abide by her son, Jalo helping a human because he's in love with her, the oracle grandmother, saved by the ancients, who shares her knowledge in riddles, the fight for power between the Mancers, and each character trying to choose between good and evil, trying to find their way out of a situation that is bigger than themselves.Through it all, we are reminded, as are the characters, that best laid plans often go astray and the things we truly believe we want and need in life are not necessarily what we end up getting. Accepting that and moving forward anyway is not easy, but it can be done, as Eliza shows us.

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Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 | Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts guest contributor @1prncs writes about Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 written by Catherine Egan
Young Adult fiction published by Coteau Books





Read our interview with Catherine Egan

The lengthy title of Catherine Egan’s third book, The Last Days of Tian Di: Bone, Fog, Ash, and Star, alludes to the depth and complexity that is wrapped up within the story. Like the characters of this book, I felt myself immersed in unfamiliar, amazing worlds, pulled back and forth between them by the common thread: Eliza. A story of friendship, loyalty, strength, and finding the truth, Egan isn’t afraid to make her characters suffer to reach reward. In fact, it is understood and stated that “there is loss and gain with every act”. I think what was most powerful, for me, was the way this book echos life. There are consequences to every action and we do the very best we can at the time, but then we must go from there, from the result of our decisions. It is a heavy burden on the main character’s shoulders, knowing that the choices she makes will lead to her own heavy heart. But I think it is an important message for readers, particularly the young adult ones who are, in some ways, facing a similar journey. At the age of sixteen, they are making choices that feel right at the time, but have long term consequences that need to be weighed and judged. Sometimes, life really is choosing the lesser of two evils and this is a lesson that Eliza faces constantly.

In this third book of her series, Catherine Egan pulls the reader in with intense action right from the start. When Eliza’s friend, Charlie, becomes the victim of an assassination attempt, just as she’s trying to tell him she has feelings for him that go beyond friendship, the reader is immediately hooked. Aside from the action, the magical realism, the vivid imagery that drops you right inside of the book, the characters are connectable.

I realized within the first chapter that I was drawn in because when the first major event happens, I literally gasped out loud. At that point I thought, wow, I already care about the characters and I can totally see the scene. As a writer and a reader, I know that this is not an easy combination to present on the page. From there, Egan takes us on a journey to save her friend that is met with seemingly insurmountable challenges.

Like the title, the story seemed to always have one more tangent. Whether you’re thinking that they cannot possibly escape the next vicious attack or they are finally safe, the reader is constantly surprised. The term magical realism is an interesting one to me: if done poorly, you can distance yourself from the book because it’s fantasy and you know that everything is okay. If done properly, as Egan has done, you can forget that transforming, shape-shifting, and spell-binding aren’t a possibility. I saw the characters as regular teenagers– Eliza with too much responsibility on her young shoulders, Nell with the exam she desperately wanted to ace, and Charlie with the youthful irritation of someone stuck in a situation they cannot control.

Even in the magical, there is a sense of the real: the faeries’ overall disdain of humans, the faery mother who can’t abide by her son, Jalo helping a human because he’s in love with her, the oracle grandmother, saved by the ancients, who shares her knowledge in riddles, the fight for power between the Mancers, and each character trying to choose between good and evil, trying to find their way out of a situation that is bigger than themselves.Through it all, we are reminded, as are the characters, that best laid plans often go astray and the things we truly believe we want and need in life are not necessarily what we end up getting. Accepting that and moving forward anyway is not easy, but it can be done, as Eliza shows us.

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 at Amazon.com

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di, Book 3 at Amazon.ca

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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Meet Christian teen fiction author Laura Thomas http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/08/29/beyond-the-dust-jacket-author-and-illustrator-interviews/meet-author-laura-thomas/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/08/29/beyond-the-dust-jacket-author-and-illustrator-interviews/meet-author-laura-thomas/#respond Fri, 29 Aug 2014 18:02:19 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=20776 Meet Christian teen fiction author Laura Thomas | Storytime Standouts

Laura is married to her high school sweetheart, has three wonderful children, and an adorable English bulldog. Born and raised in England and Wales, she immigrated to Canada in her mid-twenties, and now lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, where her authoring dreams have become a reality.

After completing thirteen years of home schooling her children, she is now able to focus on writing, and treasures the privilege of sharing her heart in the form of her published Christian teen fiction novels Tears to Dancing (2012) and Tears of a Princess (2013), numerous short stories and articles published in children’s magazines and online, her recently published marriage book Pearls for the Bride, and on her blog. Laura’s strongest desire is to provide wholesome reading for children, challenging books for teens, and encouragement as well as entertainment for her adult readers.

Twitter account: @Laura_Thomas_
Facebook page
Author Website

Tell us about your latest published children's book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

Tears of a Princess by Laura ThomasMy latest published children’s book is a Christian teen fiction novel, Tears of a Princess. It was published last year as the sequel to Tears to Dancing, and I’m currently finishing the third book in the series, Tears, Fears and Fame. As you might guess from the titles, these books are rather emotionally charged! They are written for female readers aged eleven-plus, and press into some topical issues for teen girls, always offering hope amidst challenges and tragedies. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating believable, vulnerable characters, and have been incredibly encouraged by readers requesting sequels— that’s the best complement!

Tears Of A Princess at Amazon.com

Tears of A Princess at Amazon.ca

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favourite? Why do you suppose that person's work resonated with you?

As a child, I was a total bookworm, and my favorite book was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. She brought the characters of all four sisters to life, and I particularly resonated with this, as I am one of four girls! Even though I had no grand illusions of being an author back then, and I was more of a reader than a writer, there was something incredibly inspirational about the sister Jo. In the story when Jo’s book was finally published, Alcott showed all her readers (especially girls!) that we should never underestimate ourselves, and that we can accomplish even our widest dreams. I am proof of that, as being an author was my pie-in-the-sky, all-out crazy dream!

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

I have never met an author who found it easy getting their first book published. I started out writing short stories for children’s magazines, and the rejection was unbearable at first. In time, I learnt to develop a slightly thicker skin, and practiced the art of sending a story off and forgetting about it, rather than constantly fretting over it. My first novel took several attempts until it found my current publisher, Dancing With Bear Publishing. I can’t begin to explain how excited I was to receive an acceptance email— I had to re-read it several times, as I was so used to reading the rejections, and I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for way too long! I still have numerous manuscripts out with potential publishers— picture books, middle grade, even Christian romantic suspense. Originally, I desperately wanted to be a Beatrix Potter clone and write purely adorable picture books, but here I am with teen fiction novels published. I would encourage aspiring writers to avoid boxing themselves into a specific genre— spread the net wide, don’t give up hope, and just keep writing.Tears to Dancing by Laura Thomas

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

To be honest, I was not that child who wrote essays for fun and penned wannabe books at the age of seven. I adored reading, and somewhere deep inside I dreamed of writing a children’s picture book one day, but I buried that secret desire for many years. It wasn’t until 2006 when I was having a coffee date with my husband, that I exposed my secret dream. He urged me to start the ball rolling right away (even though I was homeschooling my kids and volunteering and had zero spare time), so I enrolled with the Institute of Children’s Literature to take a correspondence course. I knew right away I had found my sweet spot, and haven’t looked back since. My husband has been my encourager, supporter, and number one fan every step of the way, and thanks to him I have been able to pursue my passion. What a guy!

Read more

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Meet Christian teen fiction author Laura Thomas | Storytime Standouts

Storytime Standouts introduces Laura Thomas AuthorLaura is married to her high school sweetheart, has three wonderful children, and an adorable English bulldog. Born and raised in England and Wales, she immigrated to Canada in her mid-twenties, and now lives in Kelowna, British Columbia, where her authoring dreams have become a reality.

After completing thirteen years of homeschooling her children, she is now able to focus on writing, and treasures the privilege of sharing her heart in the form of her published Christian teen fiction novels Tears to Dancing (2012) and Tears of a Princess (2013), numerous short stories and articles published in children’s magazines and online, her recently published marriage book Pearls for the Bride, and on her blog. Laura’s strongest desire is to provide wholesome reading for children, challenging books for teens, and encouragement as well as entertainment for her adult readers.





Twitter account: @Laura_Thomas_
Facebook page
Author Website

Tell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

Tears of a Princess by Laura ThomasMy latest published children’s book is a Christian teen fiction novel, Tears of a Princess. It was published last year as the sequel to Tears to Dancing, and I’m currently finishing the third book in the series, Tears, Fears and Fame. As you might guess from the titles, these books are rather emotionally charged! They are written for female readers aged eleven-plus, and press into some topical issues for teen girls, always offering hope amidst challenges and tragedies. I have thoroughly enjoyed creating believable, vulnerable characters, and have been incredibly encouraged by readers requesting sequels— that’s the best complement!

Tears Of A Princess at Amazon.com

Tears of A Princess at Amazon.ca

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favourite? Why do you suppose that person’s work resonated with you?

As a child, I was a total bookworm, and my favorite book was Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. She brought the characters of all four sisters to life, and I particularly resonated with this, as I am one of four girls! Even though I had no grand illusions of being an author back then, and I was more of a reader than a writer, there was something incredibly inspirational about the sister Jo. In the story when Jo’s book was finally published, Alcott showed all her readers (especially girls!) that we should never underestimate ourselves, and that we can accomplish even our widest dreams. I am proof of that, as being an author was my pie-in-the-sky, all-out crazy dream!

Was it difficult for you to get your first book published? What suggestions/words of encouragement do you have for aspiring authors/illustrators?

I have never met an author who found it easy getting their first book published. I started out writing short stories for children’s magazines, and the rejection was unbearable at first. In time, I learnt to develop a slightly thicker skin, and practiced the art of sending a story off and forgetting about it, rather than constantly fretting over it. My first novel took several attempts until it found my current publisher, Dancing With Bear Publishing. I can’t begin to explain how excited I was to receive an acceptance email— I had to re-read it several times, as I was so used to reading the rejections, and I’m pretty sure I stopped breathing for way too long! I still have numerous manuscripts out with potential publishers— picture books, middle grade, even Christian romantic suspense. Originally, I desperately wanted to be a Beatrix Potter clone and write purely adorable picture books, but here I am with teen fiction novels published. I would encourage aspiring writers to avoid boxing themselves into a specific genre— spread the net wide, don’t give up hope, and just keep writing.Tears to Dancing by Laura Thomas

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

To be honest, I was not that child who wrote essays for fun and penned wannabe books at the age of seven. I adored reading, and somewhere deep inside I dreamed of writing a children’s picture book one day, but I buried that secret desire for many years. It wasn’t until 2006 when I was having a coffee date with my husband, that I exposed my secret dream. He urged me to start the ball rolling right away (even though I was homeschooling my kids and volunteering and had zero spare time), so I enrolled with the Institute of Children’s Literature to take a correspondence course. I knew right away I had found my sweet spot, and haven’t looked back since. My husband has been my encourager, supporter, and number one fan every step of the way, and thanks to him I have been able to pursue my passion. What a guy!

If we were watching over your shoulder as you work on a book, what would we see? Where do you work? What does your writing / illustrating process look like?

If you watched me working on a book, you would probably be amazed at how bad my typing is! I am painfully slow for a “real writer”, but I always say it’s the speed my brain churns out the words, so it works perfectly for me! I like to work at my desk in my study, which is the only room where I can enjoy some hot pink accents (I live with all boys!) I start a novel with a chapter outline before diving into the actual writing, and I enjoy having some visual inspiration on Pinterest. Once I have written the whole story, I go back and revise and edit and add chunks and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t make sense— a somewhat painful yet rewarding process. Lastly, I send it off and wait to see if anyone else thinks it’s wonderful and worth publishing.

What are the joys of being an author / illustrator? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?

Being an author is rather surreal. Weird hours, poor income, wild imagination. But that moment you see your name on a shiny book cover containing words you wrote— it’s absolutely priceless. All writing is a joy to me. I love writing for little children, curious middle graders, searching teens, and for adults like myself journeying through life. I love that I can share my faith in written form, to weave it into novels or mold it into good morals in a young child’s short story, or encourage readers in my blog. A writer’s life is an unpredictable, exciting, sometimes tumultuous privilege, and I intend to live it to the fullest for as long as I am able.

Do you do school or library presentations?

I gave a school presentation with Raise A Reader, where I presented my first book Tears to Dancing, described my writing journey, and held a Q & A session with grade 5’s. I have also held book-signing events in various locations in the Okanagan Valley, B.C. but would be willing to go further afield.

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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Meet Young Adult Fantasy Author Catherine Egan http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/08/21/beyond-the-dust-jacket-author-and-illustrator-interviews/meet-young-adult-lit-author-catherine-egan/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/08/21/beyond-the-dust-jacket-author-and-illustrator-interviews/meet-young-adult-lit-author-catherine-egan/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 19:20:04 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=20673 Meet Young Adult Fantasy Author Catherine Egan | Storytime Standouts

Catherine Egan grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She thinks it is a glorious city and there is no good reason ever to leave but, she left anyway. Since then she has lived on a wee volcanic Japanese island (which erupted during her time there and sent her hurtling straight into the arms of her now-husband), Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, an oil rig in the middle of the Bohai Bay (she still misses her little bedroom there), New Jersey, and now Connecticut, where she writes books and hangs out with her kids.

Shade and Sorceress won a 2013 Moonbeam Children's Book Award (Gold) in the Pre-Teen Fiction - Fantasy category.


Author website

Author Facebook page

Author Twitter @byCatherineEgan

Tell us about your latest published children's book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star by Catherine EganBone, Fog, Ash & Star is the third and final book in The Last Days of Tian Di series. It will be published by Coteau Books on September 1, 2014. The trilogy follows my hero Eliza from the age of twelve in the first book, when she is kidnapped by magical beings who want to train her to be a Sorceress, to the age of sixteen, when she sets out on an impossible quest to gather four ancient objects in the hope of saving her loved ones and changing the world.

As for who should read it: certainly anyone who has read the first two books - you want to know how it all ends, don't you? It is a fast-paced adventure that should appeal to fantasy-readers from the age of around ten and up. I am most proud of my villain, the mostly-evil-but-sometimes-not Sorceress Nia - and perhaps more generally the ambiguity surrounding the ideas of villain and hero in the story.

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 at Amazon.com

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 at Amazon.ca

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favourite? Why do you suppose that person's work resonated with you?

There are too many favourites and resonances to name here, but I think the first time I was really aware of an author's writing and how the style, the descriptions, the insights and turns-of-phrase could draw me in as much as the plot was when I read Louise Fitzhugh's The Long Secret. I was eleven, and it changed my idea of how I wanted to write, or what it might mean to write a book. I wouldn't have used the word genius then, but I think I was experiencing a brush with it, and it gave me shivers. It was also a very unsettling, uncomfortable read for me, because I recognized so much of my own childhood anger and self-absorption in Beth Ellen and Harriet.

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

Once I knew that books were written by human beings, that was the sort of human I wanted to be. I wrote my first novel when I was six years old. It was about a bunch of kids who lived on a farm (I had never been to a farm) and ran races. The heroine was called Cathy, and every chapter ended thusly: "Cathy won the race again!" I showed my book to my grandmother, who had been married to a writer. She read it very seriously, and told me it was a good first draft.

What are the joys of being an author / illustrator? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?The Unmaking by Catherine Egan

The writing itself is a tremendous joy. I have occasionally felt a bit insecure about how much I enjoy it, having come across so many quotations by famous, brilliant writers describing writing as torturous. I wondered if my enjoyment of it might be an indication of my mediocrity, but now that I am a little older, I don't care. It is frustrating when a story isn't clicking, or when I feel that I am writing badly or stupidly, but all the same, there is nothing I like better than thinking of stories and writing them down.

If you weren't an author / illustrator, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

Shade and Soceress by Catherine EganI have no talent at all for anything else, and no real desire to do anything else, but I have of course had a number of jobs. I taught ESL for many years. I don't think I was a very good teacher, but I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting people from all walks of life, and it was a great way to support myself while living abroad. The job I think of the most fondly, however, was my stint as a waitress in a sushi restaurant. Waitressing goes very well with writing. You sit at a desk alone and write during the day, and then in the evening you are up on your feet, rushing around and talking with people. It gives you the human interaction that I think writers really need so that they don't go crazy. I miss the people, and I miss the sushi.

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

]]>
Meet Young Adult Fantasy Author Catherine Egan | Storytime Standouts

Author Catherine EganCatherine Egan grew up in Vancouver, Canada. She thinks it is a glorious city and there is no good reason ever to leave but, she left anyway. Since then she has lived on a wee volcanic Japanese island (which erupted during her time there and sent her hurtling straight into the arms of her now-husband), Tokyo, Kyoto, Beijing, an oil rig in the middle of the Bohai Bay (she still misses her little bedroom there), New Jersey, and now Connecticut, where she writes books and hangs out with her kids.

Shade and Sorceress won a 2013 Moonbeam Children’s Book Award (Gold) in the Pre-Teen Fiction – Fantasy. It was also named an Ontario Library Association Best Bet for 2012 in the Young Adult Fiction category.




Author website

Author Facebook page

Author Twitter @byCatherineEgan

Tell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star by Catherine EganBone, Fog, Ash & Star is the third and final book in The Last Days of Tian Di series. It will be published by Coteau Books on September 1, 2014. The trilogy follows my hero Eliza from the age of twelve in the first book, when she is kidnapped by magical beings who want to train her to be a Sorceress, to the age of sixteen, when she sets out on an impossible quest to gather four ancient objects in the hope of saving her loved ones and changing the world.

As for who should read it: certainly anyone who has read the first two books – you want to know how it all ends, don’t you? It is a fast-paced adventure that should appeal to fantasy-readers from the age of around ten and up. I am most proud of my villain, the mostly-evil-but-sometimes-not Sorceress Nia – and perhaps more generally the ambiguity surrounding the ideas of villain and hero in the story.

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 at Amazon.com

Bone, Fog, Ash & Star: The Last Days of Tian Di Book 3 at Amazon.ca

Thinking back to your own childhood, is there a particular author or illustrator who was a favourite? Why do you suppose that person’s work resonated with you?

There are too many favourites and resonances to name here, but I think the first time I was really aware of an author’s writing and how the style, the descriptions, the insights and turns-of-phrase could draw me in as much as the plot was when I read Louise Fitzhugh’s The Long Secret. I was eleven, and it changed my idea of how I wanted to write, or what it might mean to write a book. I wouldn’t have used the word genius then, but I think I was experiencing a brush with it, and it gave me shivers. It was also a very unsettling, uncomfortable read for me, because I recognized so much of my own childhood anger and self-absorption in Beth Ellen and Harriet.

When did you realize that you would be a writer/illustrator? Is there a particular person who has inspired and/or supported your work along the way?

Once I knew that books were written by human beings, that was the sort of human I wanted to be. I wrote my first novel when I was six years old. It was about a bunch of kids who lived on a farm (I had never been to a farm) and ran races. The heroine was called Cathy, and every chapter ended thusly: “Cathy won the race again!” I showed my book to my grandmother, who had been married to a writer. She read it very seriously, and told me it was a good first draft.

What are the joys of being an author / illustrator? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?The Unmaking by Catherine Egan

The writing itself is a tremendous joy. I have occasionally felt a bit insecure about how much I enjoy it, having come across so many quotations by famous, brilliant writers describing writing as torturous. I wondered if my enjoyment of it might be an indication of my mediocrity, but now that I am a little older, I don’t care. It is frustrating when a story isn’t clicking, or when I feel that I am writing badly or stupidly, but all the same, there is nothing I like better than thinking of stories and writing them down.

If you weren’t an author / illustrator, what sort of work do you envision yourself doing? Have you had other careers or do you have another career now?

Shade and Soceress by Catherine EganI have no talent at all for anything else, and no real desire to do anything else, but I have of course had a number of jobs. I taught ESL for many years. I don’t think I was a very good teacher, but I really enjoyed meeting so many interesting people from all walks of life, and it was a great way to support myself while living abroad. The job I think of the most fondly, however, was my stint as a waitress in a sushi restaurant. Waitressing goes very well with writing. You sit at a desk alone and write during the day, and then in the evening you are up on your feet, rushing around and talking with people. It gives you the human interaction that I think writers really need so that they don’t go crazy. I miss the people, and I miss the sushi.

If you could dine with any author/illustrator (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

Nancy Mitford. Or maybe Oscar Wilde. Imagine dinner with Oscar Wilde! That’s probably a very unoriginal answer, but both of them had a reputation for social brilliance as well as literary genius, and if I’m going to have dinner with someone, I want to laugh a lot.

Do you do school or library presentations? If so, please briefly describe topics/ geographical limitations.

I am open to doing school or library presentations but I live in New Haven, CT with small children and so my availability is limited.

Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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Our Very Best Posts http://www.storytimestandouts.com/about-carolyn-hart/start-here/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/about-carolyn-hart/start-here/#respond Wed, 06 Aug 2014 01:02:56 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?page_id=20359 Our Very Best Posts | Storytime Standouts

We will help you discover great children’s books for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. We want parents and teachers to share the magic of a great book with kids every single day. We write about ways to support children as they learn the alphabet, learn letter sounds, begin to read and then embrace reading independently. […]

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Our Very Best Posts | Storytime Standouts


Storytime Standouts Presents Reading Resources for Teachers, Parents, Homeschoolers and Kids including free printables and children's book recommendations

We will help you discover great children’s books for toddlers, preschoolers, and school-age children. We want parents and teachers to share the magic of a great book with kids every single day. We write about ways to support children as they learn the alphabet, learn letter sounds, begin to read and then embrace reading independently.

We are enthusiastic about great books for kids and we want to share both new books and classic picture books. We also focus on special topics and take an in-depth look at some genres especially anti-bullying picture books and chapter books, books about the environment and embracing family and community diversity. Whenever possible, we provide extras that will enrich a child’s reading experience.

Take a few moments, explore the site and enjoy!
Carolyn Hart, Storytime Standouts



Picture books that deal with a specific topic

Storytime Standouts shares an outstanding selection of anti-bullying picture books.Alphabet Books to Enjoy with ChildrenStorytime Standouts looks at terrific Green-theme picture books - Great for Earth Day and teaching about the environmentStorytime Standouts Shares Asperger Syndrome and Autism-theme Picture BooksStorytime Standouts shares Picture Books About Family Diversity, Community Diversity and AcceptancePicture Books to Celebrate Family Diversity from StorytimeStandouts.comStorytime Standouts Recommends Stories that Celebrate Dads and Grandpas - Perfect for Father's DayStorytime Standouts introduces a selection of wonderful wordless picture books
Storytime Standouts shares pictures books about social responsibility and doing good for others









  • Anti-Bullying Picture Books
  • Exploring Special Alphabet Books
  • Go Green with Picture Books
  • Picture Books About Autism and Asperger’s Syndrome
  • Picture Books About Diversity and Acceptance
  • Picture Books About Family Diversity
  • Terrific Picture Books About Fathers and Fatherhood
  • Wonderful Wordless Picture Books
  • Teach Social Responsibility With Great Read Alouds


  • Learning to Read

    8 ways to reinforce children's understanding and reading comprehensionClothespin Letter Match is an easy-to-make alphabet matching activity from Storytime StandoutsStorytime Standouts Explains How to Help a Child Read Unfamiliar WordsLearning letter activities, games, printables, and alphabet picture booksMake Learning the Alphabet a Fun, Tactile Experience from StorytimeStandouts.comRhyming Words, Phonemic Awareness at Storytime StandoutsAlphabet Learning Game for Small Groups by Storytime Standouts35 Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers from Storytime Standouts







  • Eight Ways to Reinforce Understanding
  • Clothespin Letter Match
  • Helping Your Child to Read an Unfamiliar Word
  • Learning the Alphabet
  • Make Learning the Alphabet a Fun Tactile Experience
  • Phonemic Awareness
  • An Easy to Make Small Group Letter Recognition Activity
  • Ways to Engage Reluctant Readers


  • Free Printables for Children, Parents and Teachers

    Alphabet Fun! Free Printables for Home and School including printable alphabets, The Alphabet Song, learning games and activitiesFree Writing Paper Downloads For Children from StorytimeStandouts.comfree printable picture dictionaries for young writers and ESL students from Storytime Standouts.comStorytime Standouts free printable songs, rhymes and fingerplays for preschool and kindergartenStorytime Standouts free word family printables for kindergarten



    Storytime Standouts Has Free, Printable Nursery Rhymes for Preschool and Homeschool



  • Alphabets
  • Interlined Paper
  • Picture Dictionaries
  • Rhymes, Songs, Chants and Fingerplays
  • Word Families
  • Nursery Rhymes



    Seasonal Posts

    Spring Theme Learning Printables and Picture Books for Homeschool and Classroom

    Summer Theme Educational Printables and Picture Books for Homeschool and Classroom

    Fall Theme Educational Printables and Picture Books for Homeschool and Classroom

    Winter Theme Educational Printables and Picture Books for Homeschool and Classroom




    Middle Grade Fiction – Highlighting Great Books for Middle Grade Students

    Anti Bullying Chapter Books, Novels and Graphic Novels recommended by StorytimeStandouts.comThe Ascendance TrilogyGreat Chapter Books for Reluctant Readers: Mysteries, Humor, School Life Super Series Books for Grade 4 Boys by StorytimeStandouts.comRick Riordan and the Lightning Thief







  • Antibullying Chapter Books, Novels and Graphic Novels
  • Good Things Come in Threes: The Ascendance Trilogy
  • Mysteries, Humor and School Life for Reluctant Readers
  • Super Series Books for Grade Four Boys
  • Three Cheers for Rick Riordan and the Lightning Thief


  • Young Adult Fiction – Highlighting Great Books for Teenagers

    Storytime Standouts looks at Young Adult Fiction Fanatics by William BellStorytime Standouts looks at Young Adult Fiction, Out of My Mind Sharon M. DraperStorytime Standouts examines Young Adult Fiction: Where Things Come BackStorytime Standouts writes about Shot at Dawn by John Wilson







  • Intriguing, Horrifying and Fascinating: Fanatics by William Bell
  • Out of my Mind – Sharon Draper’ Compelling Young Adult Fiction
  • Teen fiction excellence: Where Things Come Back by John Corey Whaley
  • World War I Historical Fiction for Youth – I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn


  • Storytime Standouts’ Series

    Beyond the Dust Jacket - Interviews with Children's Book Authors and IllustratorsJourney of a Reluctant Reader - a series of posts by Storytime Standouts' Guest Contributor about encouraging a middle grade student to readWonderful Classic Picture Books - A Weekly Series by Storytime Standouts that includes teacher resources, videos and Pinterest boardsStorytime Standouts Looks at Wonderful Canadian Picture Books







  • Beyond the Dust Jacket – Author Interviews
  • Journey of a Reluctant Reader
  • Rediscover Classic Picture Books
  • Discover Wonderful Canadian Picture Books
  • Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Meet Author Frieda Wishinsky http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/05/29/beyond-the-dust-jacket-author-and-illustrator-interviews/meet-frieda-wishinsky/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/05/29/beyond-the-dust-jacket-author-and-illustrator-interviews/meet-frieda-wishinsky/#respond Thu, 29 May 2014 12:00:28 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=18921 Meet Author Frieda Wishinsky | Storytime Standouts

    Frieda Wishinsky is the author of over sixty books. She writes picture books, chapter books, novels and non-fiction and is the author of the popular Canadian Flyer Adventures. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been nominated or won many awards internationally. JENNIFER JONES WON'T LEAVE ME ALONE won three English Children's Choice awards and PLEASE, LOUISE! won the prestigious Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. EACH ONE SPECIAL was nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award (Text) in 1998.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Meet Author Frieda Wishinsky | Storytime Standouts


    Frieda Wishinsky AuthorFrieda Wishinsky is the author of over sixty books. She writes picture books, chapter books, novels and non-fiction and is the author of the popular Canadian Flyer Adventures. Her books have been translated into many languages and have been nominated or won many awards internationally. JENNIFER JONES WON’T LEAVE ME ALONE won three English Children’s Choice awards and PLEASE, LOUISE! won the prestigious Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award. EACH ONE SPECIAL was nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award (Text) in 1998. Frieda loves speaking to kids and adults about the writing process and the joy of reading.





    Author website
    Author Facebook page

    Ms. Wishinky’s latest book is A HISTORY OF JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING, non-fiction for grades 3 and up. She co-wrote it with Elizabeth MacLeod.
    Published by Kids Can Press

    A History of Just About Everything by Frieda Wishinsky and Elizabeth MacLeodTell us about your latest published children’s book. Who do you think should read it? What are you most proud of?

    My latest book, A HISTORY OF JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING was the biggest project I ever worked on and I didn’t even write it alone. Elizabeth MacLeod and I co-wrote the book and luckily we had an excellent editor, Val Wyatt who helped us organize our huge topic. I think our approach is a dynamic way of presenting history. We show how everything is linked and how events from the past ripple forward. We wrote the book in a conversational, easy-to-understand and fast-paced style. Both kids and adults tell us they enjoy the book (and learn a lot along the way).

    A History of Just About Everything at Amazon.com

    A History of Just About Everything at Amazon.ca

    If we were watching over your shoulder as you work on a book, what would we see? Where do you work? What does your writing / illustrating process look like?

    I love writing in coffee shops. Maybe that’s because I grew up in New York City and like the hum and buzz behind me as I write. I also write at home in my office overlooking tall evergreens but I’m most creative when I’m out. I write by hand with a pencil (hooray for erasers) and then transfer the text to the computer. I revise by hand and then it’s back to the computer. I like to get feedback for my work and ask wise, honest yet supportive readers for their comments. Then I listen to what they say. I may not use everything, or change everything but I listen.Please, Louise! written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Marie Louise Gay

    What are the joys of being an author? What do you derive your greatest pleasure from?

    I love hearing, reading and making up stories. Stories keep us connected to each other, help us through tough times and let us know that we’re not alone. I enjoy writing in many genres, although I especially love picture books. It’s an exciting challenge to say so much in so few words. I believe that the best picture books are for readers of any age. (I read picture books all the time)

    I also believe that non-fiction should be presented as a story. After all, history is the story of everyone’s past.

    I have fun visiting schools, meeting teachers and librarians and my fellow authors. Book people are wonderful!

    Have any of your books been published electronically? If so, what was that process like? What sort of feedback have you had from readers?

    You're Mean, Lily Jean written by Frieda Wishinsky and illustrated by Kady MacDonald DentonA bunch of my books have been published electronically, especially my Orca titles. I find I still sell way more books the old fashioned paper way. Maybe it’s the genre I write in. I don’t know.

    If you could dine with any author/illustrator (alive or dead), who would you choose and why?

    Top of my list would be my dear friend, Phoebe Gilman. I wish she were here to talk to and share work with again. I miss her. She always had insightful yet supportive comments. And I would have loved to meet William Steig. I love that he began writing kids books late in life. His writing and art are funny and so “true”.

    Our reviews of some of Ms. Wishinky’s books:
    Canadian Flyer Adventure Series
    You’re Mean, Lily JeanCanadian Flyer -  Beware Pirates Frieda Wishinsky

    Do you do school or library presentations?

    I do many school, library and conference presentations all over Canada and beyond. I love sharing writing ideas and books with kids and adults. My background in teaching and educational writing has been invaluable in connecting with kids, teachers and the curriculum. My talks are lively, interactive and curriculum-linked.
    I’ve also taught writing workshops and courses for kids and adults and offer one-to-one manuscript evaluations.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/04/22/news-commentary-early-literacy/ascendance-trilogy/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/04/22/news-commentary-early-literacy/ascendance-trilogy/#respond Wed, 23 Apr 2014 04:54:53 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=18833 Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy | Storytime Standouts

    I have never, in thirteen years of teaching, read an entire trilogy or series of books to a class. For one thing, there's the time factor. I tend to read, at least, one book per term for read aloud. I try to do a selection of books, based on student interest.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy | Storytime Standouts

    Good Things Come In Threes; The Ascendance Trilogy





    The False Prince,  Book One of the Ascendance TrilogyThis isn’t a scientific fact but it is a completely accurate statement when applied to Jennifer Nielson’s Ascendance trilogy. After Carolyn recommended The False Prince, I wrote a post (okay, gushed shamelessly) about the book. I have never, in thirteen years of teaching, read an entire trilogy or series of books to a class. For one thing, there’s the time factor. I tend to read, at least, one book per term for read aloud. I try to do a selection of books, based on student interest. This year, we started the year with One for the Murphy’s and I planned another book for after The False Prince. I didn’t plan to finish four full novels before Spring Break. I also didn’t plan to fall head over heels for Jaron or for my class to be so captivated by his story that even my most reluctant reader, the one who claimed he would rather do anything before read, that we couldn’t focus until we knew how it all played out.
    The Runaway King,   Book Two of the Ascendance TrilogyWe read through the second book, The Runaway King, even more engaged. More action unfolded and we knew Jaron now, cared about him. We read every single day, without fail. If I had a substitute teacher in for me, I wouldn’t let them read to my class. I would tuck the books away so the kids didn’t say, “Oh, she reads that to us every day.” I’ve never done that. I also made a promise to my class because they love that I hadn’t already read the books- I told them I would not read ahead. I would learn Jaron’s story along with them. Perhaps that is part of what made them connect to the story. My reactions were real and in the moment and the kids like that- they like seeing their teacher as a real person- one who gets outraged when the main character is suffering or maybe sheds a few tears when something heartbreaking happens. It gives them the freedom to attach strongly to the books as well. While we are reading, we are part of that world. Which is why, when Runaway King finished with a cliff hanger, we had no other option. We had to know. So we moved on to Shadow Throne and as much as I loved the first two, this one was my favorite. I loved watching who Jaron became, how my students reacted to what was happening, learning how it all unfolded and came together. My reluctant reader? He bought all three books and told me that he “didn’t make the same silly promise to not read ahead”. He brought them in to show me. As much as I loved these books, connected with them, the fact that they reached so many students, even the ones that did not want to be reached, made me love them more.
    The Shadow Throne, Book Three of the Ascendance TrilogyI have posted before about how important I think sequels and trilogies are for reluctant readers. If you can find something they can latch onto, get immersed in, then you want to know there’s more waiting for them. Though there are no more in this series we loved, the students are now looking around the library differently. They’re looking for the next book that they will fall for the way we did these three. And while they’re looking, they’re reading. Reading is a gift. No matter how many times I tell my students this, the ones who just haven’t found the book that pulls them all the way in will never fully believe it without proof. This trilogy was proof for some of the students in my class. It spurred discussions, connections, and debates. Each book made us want more and the most important thing is, they delivered. There are many series where you read the first, love it, and then move on and the second one just doesn’t have the same draw as the original. One of the things that continuously got to me during the readings, was how far Ms. Nielsen pushed her characters and her readers. These stories are amazing tales of courage and redemption. Of making something out of nothing and of finding the way out of even the most harrowing situations. When the students look back, when I look back, these three books will be a large piece of what made this year special.

    Lexile Measures
    The False Prince – 710L
    The Shadow Throne – 810L
    The Runaway Kings – 710L

    The False Prince at Amazon.com

    The Runaway King at Amazon.com

    The Shadow Throne at Amazon.com

    The False Prince at Amazon.ca

    The Runaway King at Amazon.ca

    The Shadow Throne at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    The Runaway King http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/02/08/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/the-runaway-king/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2014/02/08/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/the-runaway-king/#respond Sat, 08 Feb 2014 19:02:17 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=18257 The Runaway King | Storytime Standouts

    The students decided that we absolutely must read The Runaway King immediately after. I gave them other choices (all the while wanting them to choose The Runaway King) but it was a unanimous decision--we needed to know what happened to Sage/Jaron.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    The Runaway King | Storytime Standouts

    Storytime Standouts reviews The Runaway KingThe Runaway King written by Jennifer A. Nielsen
    Chapter book for middle grade readers published by Scholastic




    There are some books that change you. Some books that no matter how many books you read after, they will always stand out. The False Prince was one of these. When an artist– song writer, author, movie maker– puts out something incredible, there’s always the skepticism that the follow up cannot possibly surpass the greatness of the original. That’s why Oceans 11 is awesome and Oceans 13…not so much. This is completely not the case with Jennifer A Nielsen’s series. I read the False Prince because Carolyn recommended it so highly and I always want books that will engage the students, especially those reluctant readers. It was every bit as good as Carolyn had said. The students decided that we absolutely must read The Runaway King immediately after. I gave them other choices (all the while wanting them to choose The Runaway King) but it was a unanimous decision–we needed to know what happened to Sage/Jaron.

    We fell into The Runaway King so far that we may or may not have skipped a few math lessons. When students are telling you: “We will work extra hard if you just read us one more chapter”, it is really difficult to say no. So I didn’t. And today we finished the book. We were all excited because yesterday we looked at the Scholastic order and saw that The Shadow Throne (the third in the trilogy) is now out. When we finished today, I immediately said, I will order the next one today. One of the students, who can often be hard to engage, said, “Can you order it right now so you don’t forget?” That– is what a book should do. It should make you forget that other things exist, keep you on the edge of your seat, root for, cry with, and grieve with the characters as though they are your friends.That’s what The Runaway King does.

    At the end of The False Prince, Jaron has accepted his title as King of Carthya. We know more is coming but it was a good wrap up to the wonderful story of how Jaron made it back to the throne. The Runaway King not only showed a maturing of our main character, it expected the reader to mature as well. The stakes, the intrigue, the deception, the pace, and the connection deepened in this book to an amazing degree. I am always in complete awe of writers that can pull you this far into a story, write in a way that makes you think there is absolutely no way for the character to come out of the hole they are in, but then, in the most unexpected and beautiful ways, the story goes where it obviously meant to. Nielsen is an incredibly gifted story teller. She manages to show an understanding of the insecurity and uncertainty that a normal fourteen year old boy would feel after losing his family and compounds it with the immense weight that is put on Jaron’s shoulders. He must fight not only the people that want to take Carthya from him, but people that are supposed to be his loyal supporters and subjects. The very interesting thing to me is that the kids are usually wary of any love interest at this age (you get a lot of ‘ews’ from grade fives if there are any mushy scenes) but the friendship that forms between Imogen and Jaron is so much more than just your typical boy likes girl, girl likes boy, they can’t be together story. Imogen is Jaron’s person. So you root for him to be with her (or I did- the students probably enjoyed the dueling with pirates more than anything) but then there’s Araminda, the betrothed princess. In many stories, it’s easy to choose: I want the character to choose X. It’s not cut and dry for Jaron though because Nielsen does such a wonderful job creating likable characters that we can’t dislike Araminda any more than we can help like Imogen. She has the rare ability to make you like a character you were sure you hated.

    This story has everything: friendship, heartbreak, action, bravery, suspense, love, betrayal. Sage/Jaron is one of the best characters I’ve ever known. He is funny, humble, frustrating, and honorable. He is the flawed protagonist that anyone who is a writer wishes they could write. He is a King but the kids can see themselves in him– in his choices and his hardships, in the loyalty he has to his friends and the loneliness that often swamps him. There are no dragons or wizards, underworlds, demigods, or alternate universes, but still, this book was completely magical.

    The Runaway King: Book 2 of the Ascendance Trilogy at Amazon.com

    The Runaway King: Book 2 of the Ascendance Trilogy Amazon.ca

    SPOILER ALERT – do not watch unless you have already read The False Prince

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Forever Four is fantastic for tween and middle grade readers http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/08/20/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/forever-four-is-fantastic/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/08/20/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/forever-four-is-fantastic/#respond Wed, 21 Aug 2013 01:25:25 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=16650 Forever Four is fantastic for tween and middle grade readers | Storytime Standouts

    Perhaps the best thing about the story, to me, as a mom and a teacher, in the age of the internet, is the effective way that the author deals with social media, social bullying, "going viral", and problem solving. The girls start a blog as a way to get fan support for their magazine idea and another group twists some facts to say that they are cheating. Of course, they do this through the blog so word spreads like wildfire. This introduces a number of challenges to the girls: do they fight back, defend, challenge the other group?

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Forever Four is fantastic for tween and middle grade readers | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts guest contributor recommends Forever Four for tween and middle grade readers

    Forever Four written by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel
    Part of the Forever Four series for middle grade readers/tweens published by Grosset & Dunlap, an Imprint of Penguin

    More book suggestions for middle grade readers

    I’m always equal parts wary and excited to start a new kids novel. Will I like it? Will my ten year old? Will my class? What messages are there and how can I tie it into curriculum? Sometimes, I read novels specifically to enhance curriculum but many times, I read for the pleasure of reading with my kids and find myself entranced. Children’s books are a hidden treasure that we think we outgrow in adult hood but we don’t. There’s no way to outgrow strong characters that you connect with, make you laugh, and find themselves in relatable situations.

    The novel that my daughter and I read this summer (in the few moments she wasn’t reading Harry Potter) was Forever Four by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. It was delightful for several reasons. First, it spanned a collection of cliques that exist in school and in life. The cool girl, the new girl, the slightly annoying/dorky girl, and the girl that doesn’t know how to label herself. The main character in this story, Paulina, is the one trying to figure herself out. She’s easy to connect to and the relationship she has with her younger brother, Kevin, is really a pleasure to see. So often, we see sibling rivalry and anger but in this book, Paulina pitches in while her psychologist mom is busy and affects Kevin’s life in a positive and realistic way. Their exchanges are very sibling like but Paulina’s soft spot for her brother makes me think of how I want my girls to connect with and rely on each other.

    The four girls are thrown together for a competition that each of them wanted to win on their own. The task is to create a school magazine that speaks to the student body. The winning group will receive money for a school club of their choice. Tally, with her funny accent and bubbly ways, is a bit overwhelming for the girls in the group, but sweet nonetheless. Miko, who I will return to later, is the popular allstar that everyone envies. Her group the PQuits (Prom Queens In Training) is both revered and feared. Ivy is the new girl from New York that wants friends but isn’t willing to change who she is to make them.

    The story is about the challenges they face individually and as a group as they work on the contest. It’s about first impressions, second impressions, and having an open mind. It’s about realizing that there’s more to all of us than meets the eye. Miko impressed me most because she starts as the typical, “too-cool” girl and what she reveals about herself (I won’t spoil it) humbles your previous judgement.

    Perhaps the best thing about the story, to me, as a mom and a teacher, in the age of the internet, is the effective way that the author deals with social media, social bullying, “going viral”, and problem solving. The girls start a blog as a way to get fan support for their magazine idea and another group twists some facts to say that they are cheating. Of course, they do this through the blog so word spreads like wildfire. This introduces a number of challenges to the girls: do they fight back, defend, challenge the other group? They end up tackling the issue head on and I was really happy to see that. We have instincts from the get-go in life. As we grow, we learn to pay attention to them and in some cases, heed them. The girls follow their instincts throughout the book and it creates a fun, realistic read.

    My very favorite part is Paulina’s contribution to the magazine. She does an article about the internet that I plan to read to my students even if I don’t read them the whole book. Here’s a snippet:

    We live in a world our mothers probably never dreamed of when they were kids…We can be in touch with one another almost anytime we want…All this technology connects us and gives us the opportunity to stay in touch, to reach out, and to be closer to our friends and family than any generation before us. All these wonderful inventions, from email to smartphones, have the potential to build us up. Unless they tear us down first.

    I want to put the whole article that she writes here because it is so real and powerful. It’s exactly what we’re trying to teach kids now that they have immediate access 24/7. The author does this through a character she has created that kids will connect (yes, mostly girls but that’s okay) to and that has more power than any lecture ever could. Even if you don’t read the book (which you should), find it, read pages 114-117 and then make your kids (pre-teens and teens) read it over and over and over again. Then finish the book cause it’s a really sweet read.

    Lexile Level – 700L

    Forever Four at Amazon.com

    Forever Four at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Recommending Summer Reads for Tweens including Dork Diaries http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/08/05/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/summer-reads-for-tweens/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/08/05/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/summer-reads-for-tweens/#respond Tue, 06 Aug 2013 02:15:32 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=16487 Recommending Summer Reads for Tweens including Dork Diaries | Storytime Standouts

    I think that in the world of Hunger Games and Percy Jackson (admittedly excellent reads) it's nice to remember that there's some humor to be found in every day, real-life, situations that our kids face. As they move up through grades, they are going to have crushes, feel like dorks, be uncertain in social situations, have enemies and frenemies and Russell's portrayal of this is lighthearted and fun but also something to which kids can connect.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Recommending Summer Reads for Tweens including Dork Diaries | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts Suggests Summer Reads for Tweens including Dork DiariesThis summer, we brought home a stack of books to read but have moved rather slowly. My daughter has made her way through the sixth Harry Potter, reminding me that I should read the series again. She’s so immensely caught up in the story that she walks into a room spouting random facts as though we’d been having a long-winded discussion. I’ve had to “make” her read other books with me because I like a little variety. A couple of surprises turned out to be Dork Diaries and Forever Four. I have seen Dork Diaries several times: in the classroom, the library, Scholastic, and the hands of students. I have even suggested it to students who prefer the graphic, comedic, preteen reads. However, I have not actually read them. I can’t read every book I recommend to students because I simply don’t have time (and I read slower than you can possibly imagine). In my attempts to persuade my oldest to try something other than the wizarding world, just briefly, I found that I was making quite an excellent recommendation.

    Rachel Renee Russell‘s main character, Nikki, is adorable, self-deprecating, authentic, and, I suppose, a bit dorky. She’s the kind of dorky that exists in all of us that weren’t into cliques and created from a mold of self-confidence. She’s the kind of kid, girl, pre-teen that is relatable. The best characters are the ones in which we see pieces of ourselves. This is definitely true of Nikki. Even at 37, I found myself charmed by her friendships, her crush on Brandon, and the karma that befalls the ever-present ‘mean girl’.

    I think that in the world of Hunger Games and Percy Jackson (admittedly excellent reads) it’s nice to remember that there’s some humor to be found in every day, real-life, situations that our kids face. As they move up through grades, they are going to have crushes, feel like dorks, be uncertain in social situations, have enemies and frenemies and Russell’s portrayal of this is lighthearted and fun but also something to which kids can connect.

    I meant to do a joint post on Dork Diaries and Forever Four but it turns out I like each of them so much, I’ll have to do separate posts.

    Dork Diaries website

    Dork Diaries at Amazon.com

    Dork Diaries at Amazon.ca

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Summer Reading List for Middle Grade Students and Adults http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/06/30/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/summer-reading-list/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/06/30/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/summer-reading-list/#respond Sun, 30 Jun 2013 23:41:57 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=16380 Summer Reading List for Middle Grade Students and Adults | Storytime Standouts

    Picture books, children's books, and middle to youth books are extremely enjoyable and as an avid reader, should be part of your list. All of the themes that we relate to in life: friendship, relationships, fitting in, and acceptance play huge roles.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Summer Reading List for Middle Grade Students and Adults | Storytime Standouts


    As usual, I have piles of books waiting to be read in my house. I have too many to count on my Kindle, along with a stack of paperbacks and hardcovers. Being a writer and reader of various genres is both a blessing and a curse. My brain gets a little overwhelmed with all of the different things I want to read and write. So, it’s good to have a goal or a focus. Along with visiting the new library in my city, I have some books that are on my To Be Read Summer Reading list:

    Storytime Standouts shares a middle grades summer reading list including As Simple as it SeemsAs Simple As it Seems by Sarah Weeks

    When Verbie discovers some harsh truths about her parents, she wonders who she really is inside. She meets a boy, Pooch, who thinks she is a ghost. Since she’s uncertain of her real self anyway, she goes along with his belief. This book looks and sounds fantastic. It deals with coming of age, friendship, and finding yourself.

    Pie by Sarah Weeks

    Alice inherits a secret pie recipe which puts her in the middle of a tug of war between people who covet the world-famous recipe. A story about friendship and discovery, I look forward to getting into this one.

    Storytime Standouts shares a middle grades summer reading list including One For the MurphysOne for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

    I’m drawn to stories about attachment and when I read the back of this one at the book fair, I couldn’t put it down. Carly is used to foster homes and moving on, which makes becoming attached to the Murphy family even harder when her real mom decides she wants her back. A story of struggle, fitting in, and family, this one is probably going to make me cry.

    Storytime Standouts shares a middle grades summer reading list including Harry Potter and the Half-Blood PrinceThe Half Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

    The beginning of the end in a series of seven, I’m reading this one because I promised my ten year old daughter we could read it together this summer. I’m worried though because I know the darkness that it reveals and the sadness. Are we ever really ready to say goodbye to our favourite characters? We’ll wait until closer to the end of the summer.

    Persephone the Daring by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams (not out until August 10th)

    If I haven’t done a post on the Goddess Girl series, I should. I love it. Yes, it’s meant for children and I read it with my ten year old, but I think they’re adorable. They incorporate the mythical with the real. Real friendship and boy struggles mixed into life at Mount Olympus Academy, where Athena’s father, Zeus, is principal. I look forward to this one.

    I read a quote by C.S. Lewis the other day:

    C.S. Lewis

    A children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.”

    And it’s true. Picture books, children’s books, and middle to youth books are extremely enjoyable and as an avid reader, should be part of your list. All of the themes that we relate to in life: friendship, relationships, fitting in, and acceptance play huge roles. These things never stop mattering to us, so to not read these books because they are meant for children is a shame. Some of the best books I’ve read this year have been aimed at an audience in the 9-14 age range. Maybe that says something about me, but I think that if a book hooks you and pulls you in, makes you connect to the characters and the story, it actually says more about the book.

    What are you reading this summer?

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    Generously illustrated chapter book: The Great Dog Disaster http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/06/24/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/pet-loving-friends-highlight-generously-illustrated-chapter-book-the-great-dog-disaster/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/06/24/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/pet-loving-friends-highlight-generously-illustrated-chapter-book-the-great-dog-disaster/#respond Tue, 25 Jun 2013 01:45:42 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=16366 Generously illustrated chapter book: The Great Dog Disaster | Storytime Standouts

    The Great Dog Disaster will appeal to both boys and girls (aged 8-12), especially those with a fondness for dogs. At times, poignent, this generously illustrated chapter book will encourage readers to consider the relationship between Great-Aunt Deidra and Beatrice, how neighbours and community can be important and how the girls' determination to make a difference has far-reaching implications. Ms. Shaw's charming illustrations and amply-spaced text will appeal to reluctant readers.

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    Generously illustrated chapter book: The Great Dog Disaster | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts shares generously illustrated chapter book: The Great Dog DisasterThe Great Dog Disaster written by Katie Davies and illustrated by Hannah Shaw
    Generously illustrated chapter book published by Simon and Schuster

    Suzanne and Anna are great friends who live next door to each other. The wall between their two homes is so thin that, if they try, they can hear each other’s family discussions. When Suzanne’s mom inherits Great-Aunt Deidra’s dog, the two girls are thrilled until they actually meet Beatrice. It seems Great-Aunt Deidra’s dog is old and slow and smelly. Undaunted, the girls are determined to make Beatrice behave like they believe a proper dog should before medical bills and incontinence cause Suzanne’s dad to do something drastic.image of a spread from The Great Dog Disaster, a generously illustrated chapter book

    This generously illustrated chapter book will appeal to both boys and girls (aged 8-12), especially those with a fondness for dogs. At times, poignent, The Great Dog Disaster will encourage readers to consider the relationship between Great-Aunt Deidra and Beatrice, how neighbours and community can be important and how the girls’ determination to make a difference has far-reaching implications. Ms. Shaw’s charming illustrations and amply-spaced text will appeal to reluctant readers.

    Note: Throughout the book, Anna refers to “Me and Suzanne.” If grammar mistakes are a problem for you, The Great Dog Disaster will not be a good choice.

    Website for the Great Critter Capers series of generously illustrated chapter books.

    Lexile Level – 780L

    The Great Dog Disaster at Amazon.com

    The Great Dog Disaster at Amazon.ca


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    Freckle Juice – a fun chapter book for children aged 7 and up http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/04/22/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/freckle-juice-chapter-book-for-children-aged-7-and-up/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2013/04/22/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/freckle-juice-chapter-book-for-children-aged-7-and-up/#respond Tue, 23 Apr 2013 00:30:45 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=16203 Freckle Juice – a fun chapter book for children aged 7 and up | Storytime Standouts

    Andrew thinks that if he had freckles his life would be a lot easier. A classmate offers him a solution to this problem for fifty cents. This evoked some conversation with my girls, as Andrew tells us that fifty cents is FIVE weeks of allowance. Little details like this made the girls connect to the story and talk about things like: Would you give up your allowance for someone to share a secret with you? Do you think the classmate really knows a secret? Why do you think fifty cents was a lot of money then but isn't now? Pretty interesting and driven forward by the girls. I love book talk so I enjoyed listening to them and talking to them very much.

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    Freckle Juice – a fun chapter book for children aged 7 and up | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts Looks at Freckle Juice by Judy BlumeFreckle Juice written by Judy Blume
    Chapter book for children aged 7 and up originally published by Four Winds Press, a Division of Scholastic. Now published by Ingram Book & Distributor.

    I received a free copy of Freckle Juice, by Judy Blume, as part of a Scholastic order that I placed for my classroom. I had not read this yet and when my seven year old asked to borrow a book from my classroom library, it seemed like a safe one. She read it on her own and then asked if we could read it together with her sister who is ten. All of us enjoy a wide variety of books and have different tastes. All three of us, however, were in complete agreement that Freckle Juice was, as Blume typically is, funny, charming, and cute.

    Andrew thinks that if he had freckles his life would be a lot easier. A classmate offers him a solution to this problem for fifty cents. This evoked some conversation with my girls, as Andrew tells us that fifty cents is FIVE weeks of allowance. Little details like this made the girls connect to the story and talk about things like: Would you give up your allowance for someone to share a secret with you? Do you think the classmate really knows a secret? Why do you think fifty cents was a lot of money then but isn’t now? Pretty interesting and driven forward by the girls. I love book talk so I enjoyed listening to them and talking to them very much.

    What we didn’t talk about but a connection that I made was to a favourite series of picture books; If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, If You Give a Dog a Donut, and If You Give a Pig a Pancake. I loved the opening of Freckle Juice where Andrew deduces that if only he had freckles a series of events would take place. Also, because he doesn’t have freckles becomes his explanation for a variety of issues, such as paying attention in class. If he had his own freckles, he wouldn’t have to count Nicky’s and then he would be able to pay attention in class and then he wouldn’t get in trouble. I love that chain of cause and effect rationalized by the main character. It’s the same cause and effect that we see in the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books. It’s such a creative way for kids to look at all the different places one simple choice can lead. It creates a great discussion about whether or not you really think something would or would not happen as a result of one tiny event or detail.

    I also loved that the teacher in the story plays along when Andrew decides to teach Sharon a lesson and gives himself freckles. The teacher could have just told him to wash them off but she, instead, uses it as a teachable moment and manages to boost both Andrew and Nicky’s self-esteem.

    It’s typically Blume: sweet, relatable, and simple in the message it delivers to children. Often, I get caught up in the newest series, struggling to find away to pull in those reluctant readers, to hook them. We forget the treasures we grew up with and the timeless pull they have on readers. Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, Roald Dahl…these books still hook children the way the used to, with their characters and stories of friendship, choices and childhood. Whether freckles, curly hair, or crooked teeth, every person has something they wish they could change about themselves and Blume finds a way to tell readers that we are all perfect, just the way we are.

    Lexile Level 560L

    Freckle Juice at Amazon.com

    Freckle Juice at Amazon.ca

    Freckle Juice Comprehension Questions from Gigglepotz

    Comprehension Questions from Leaping Into 5th Grade

    Mini Unit from Easy Fun School

    Elizabeth Messick’s Website



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    Anti bullying story for beginning readers – Justin and the Bully http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/12/05/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-story/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/12/05/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-story/#respond Wed, 05 Dec 2012 16:33:42 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=14523 Anti bullying story for beginning readers – Justin and the Bully | Storytime Standouts

    Justin loves to play soccer and he is very excited when his mom agrees to sign him up for a team. His family shares his excitement and all is well until he goes to his first practice. When he gets to practice, he likes his coach and most of his teammates. He is disappointed when one of his teammates, Taylor calls him "Shorty" and criticizes his playing ability.

    Storytime Standouts - Raising Children Who Love to Read

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    Anti bullying story for beginning readers – Justin and the Bully | Storytime Standouts


    cover art for Justin and the BullyJustin and the Bully written by Tony and Lauren Dungy, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton
    Anti bullying story for beginning readers published by Simon Spotlight

    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    Justin loves to play soccer and he is very excited when his mom agrees to sign him up for a team. His family shares his excitement and all is well until he goes to his first practice. When he gets to practice, he likes his coach and most of his teammates. He is disappointed when one of his teammates, Taylor calls him “Shorty” and criticizes his playing ability.

    After practice, Justin is quiet and at dinnertime he announces that he doesn’t want to continue playing soccer. After a family discussion, Justin explains that Taylor told him he was too short to play.

    At bedtime, Justin’s parents encourage him to try again. The following day, Justin’s mom accompanies him to practice and she speaks with the coach about the situation.

    The coach called the team together. “We are a team,” he said. “Right?”
    Everyone said, “Right, Coach!”
    “And on a good team there are no bullies. Right?”
    “Right, Coach!” everybody said.

    Coach Harris goes on to ask “What is a bully?” and the children provide examples of bullying behavior.

    The next weekend, the team plays its first game. The children work together and are successful until an unpleasant comment is made by Taylor. One of Justin’s teammates speaks up and tells Taylor that she is behaving like a bully.

    Justin and the Bully is part of Simon Spotlight’s Ready to Read series. It is rated Level Two and includes both sight words and words that children will sound out. The story itself is compelling and the solution is realistic. It is noteable that the child who is being bullied is assisted by his parents and his coach. The situation is resolved when a bystander notices the bullying and speaks up about the bullying behavior.

    Add this anti bullying book for beginning readers to your bookshelf –

    Justin and the Bully (Ready-to-Read. Level 2) at Amazon.com

    Justin and the Bully (Ready-to-Read, Level 2) at Amazon.ca


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    Anti-Bullying Chapter Books, Novels and Graphic Novels http://www.storytimestandouts.com/anti-bullying-picture-books/anti-bullying-chapter-books/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/anti-bullying-picture-books/anti-bullying-chapter-books/#comments Tue, 27 Nov 2012 03:09:19 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?page_id=14418 Anti-Bullying Chapter Books, Novels and Graphic Novels | Storytime Standouts

    Recommended anti-bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children, preteens and teens You will also be interested in our page about bullying web resources, our posts tagged “anti bullying”, our page about anti bullying picture books and our Pinterest Anti Bullying board. Babymouse Queen of the World! Created by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew […]

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    Anti-Bullying Chapter Books, Novels and Graphic Novels | Storytime Standouts

    Recommended anti-bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children, preteens and teens

    Anti Bullying Chapter Books, Novels and Graphic Novels recommended by StorytimeStandouts.com






    Storytime Standouts shares an outstanding selection of anti bullying picture books.

    You will also be interested in our page about bullying web resources, our posts tagged “anti bullying”, our page about anti bullying picture books and our Pinterest Anti Bullying board.





    Anti-bullying graphic novel, Babymouse Queen of the World reviewed by Storytime StandoutsBabymouse Queen of the World! Created by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm
    Graphic novel about bullying and social situations published by Random House Kids

    Babymouse Queen of the World introduces a strong female character. Babymouse has a vivid imagination, she loves cupcakes, reading and scary movies. She longs for adventure, glamour and excitement and hopes for straight whiskers and no homework. Instead, Babymouse is stuck with chores, tons of homework, a locker that sticks and some very annoying curly whiskers.

    When Babymouse hears about an upcoming slumber party to be hosted by Felicia Furrrypaws, she is willing to do almost anything to secure an invitation. When Felicia fails to complete a homework assignment, she acquires Babymouse’s book report in exchange for an invitation to the her party. Babymouse ditches her best friend, Wilson the Weasel, misses their scary movie night and goes to the slumber party.

    In a case of “Be careful what you wish for” Babymouse discovers the party is quite what she had envisioned

    This is so boring.
    We’re out of popcorn. Go make yourself useful, Babymouse… And bring extra butter.

    Middle grade readers will be drawn to this boldly illustrated anti bullying graphic novel. They will connect with Babymouse’s dreams and identify with the frustrations and challenges she faces.

    Babymouse #1: Queen of the World! at Amazon.com

    Babymouse #1: Queen of the World! at Amazon,ca

     

    Anti-bullying novel, The Boy in the Dress, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsThe Boy in the Dress – written by David Walliams
    Chapter book about bullying, social situations and self confidence published by Harper Collins Children’s Books

    I really didn’t know quite what to expect when I picked up The Boy in the Dress. I guess you could say I was pretty much, ‘ready for anything.’ What I discovered was a thoughtful, poignant and humourous look at the life of a twelve year old boy who loves to play football (soccer) and whose best friend is a young Sikh. Dennis lives with his older brother and his heartbroken father. He misses his mum (mom) terribly and can’t seem to come to grips with the idea that she won’t be coming back to the family. Dennis enjoys sports and has many friends but he finds his day to day existence extremely ‘ordinary.’

    After accidently heading a ball through a school window and into the headmaster’s office, Dennis is told he must go to detention after school. When he arrives in detention, he discovers that he won’t be alone. Lisa, the most beautiful girl in the school, is also in the room. Dennis finds Lisa extremely attractive. He is delighted when they become friends and he has an opporunity to walk her home after school. Lisa and Dennis discover a mutual love of fashion and Vogue magazine which leads to Dennis attempting to disguise himself as a girl and assuming a rather extraordinary identity at school.

    Superbly illustrated by Quentin Blake, The Boy in the Dress is very reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s wonderful books. It provides a humourous, thoughtful affirmation that, “You can be whoever you want to be.”

    The Boy in the Dress at Amazon.com

    The Boy In The Dress at Amazon.ca

     

    Anti-bullying chapter book, How to Tame a Bully, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsHow to Tame a Bully – written by Nancy Wilcox Richards and illustrated by Drazen Kozjan
    Anti bullying chapter book published by Scholastic Canada

    Lauren is excited to begin grade three. She is thrilled with her teacher and delighted to be in a class with her best friend. Lauren’s happiness dims quickly when she discovers that she is seated next to Bethany.

    Bethany is a giant. She is almost as tall as Ms. MacArthur. And that’s when she’s sitting down… Her eyes are always moving. Watching everyone. I know what she is doing. She’s looking for her next victim. Someone she can force to do her homework. Someone she can beat up.

    It is not long before Lauren and Bethany tangle. Bethany writes a message about Lauren on a washroom mirror and Lauren responds by giving Bethany a snack tainted with far too much salt and pepper. Bethany calls Lauren “Shrimp”, extorts recess snacks from her and splatters red paint on her new top.

    When forced to work together on a school project, Lauren reachers her breaking point. She tells Bethany to stop calling her “Shrimp” and is surprised when Bethany agrees. They manage a temporary cease-fire while working together on their project but it is not until Lauren speaks up again that the relationship improves.

    “Because you’re always bullying kids.”

    Bethany stared back at me. Hard. Her eyes narrowed. But before she had a chance to say anything and before I ran out of courage, I continued. “You took some little grade one kid’s lunch money. You put gum on Rachael’s seat and she ruined her brand new pants. You threw a big rock through the gym window. And,” my voice started to get louder, “you keep taking my recess snack! That why you don’t have any friends. Bethany, you are just plain mean!”

    Rather than resolving the bullying with an unrealistic “magical solution,” author Nancy Wilcox Richards has the girls work out a truce. Bethany’s bullying tactics subside and the girls learn to tolerate each other.

    Last year, in our post titled Five Ways Young Children Can Say “No” to Bullying , we referred to Health Canada’s suggestion that one way to reduce bullying is to ask the bully to stop – a tactic that is used with success in How to Tame a Bully.

    Suitable for readers in grades two or three, How to Tame a Bully is a 75 page, generously illustrated chapter book.

    How to Tame a Bully at Amazon.com

    How to Tame a Bully at Amazon.ca

     

    Anti-bullying chapter book, Jake Drake Bully Buster, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsJake Drake Bully Buster – written by Andrew Clements
    Illustrated chapter book about bullying published by Simon and Schuster Canada

    If everybody who works at school is so smart, how come they can’t get rid of the bullies? How come when it comes to bullies, kids are mostly on their own?

    From the time he was in daycare, Jake Drake has encountered bullies of one kind or another. When he was three, a bully not only stole his cookies, he forced him off the swing. In kindergarten, Jake knicknamed another bully “King Bump” because he would shove him at inopportune moments. When Jake was a little older, he encounted yet another sort of bullying: the grade one bully liked to hit things near to Jake. Jake lived in fear of “The Fist.”

    Jake has given bullying considerable thought. He has decided that he attracts bullies because of his size (he is not too big), the fact he does not have an older sibling, his unwillingness to tattle and the intellectual challenge he represents.

    Jake is excited to start grade two and all is well until Link Baxter joins the class. Initially Link torments Jake by shaking his desk during a handwriting lesson. Classroom trouble soon moves to the school bus and Jake is understandably upset by the time he arrives home from school. His younger sister Abby encourages Jake to think about the bully. She points out, Its not fun to feel mean.

    Overnight Jake strategizes and decides to “play it cool.” He will not react to Link’s taunting and teasing. He will not show Link that he is bothered. Jake’s plan works until Link takes his bullying to another level and pours water on the front of Jake’s pants. Jake is so angry that his hits his enemy, is sent to the office and must rethink his strategy.

    Jake Drake Bully Buster will have considerable appeal for both boys and girls. Author Andrew Clements’ approach, having Jake reflect on all the bullying he has experienced and trying different responses, is very effective. Readers will recognize bullying techniques and will learn a variety of ways to effectively deal with bullying.

    Jake Drake Bully Buster is an 80 page, illustrated chapter book that is best suited to children in grades two to four. There are four titles in the Jake Drake series.

    Post reading questions and activities from WITS The WITS Program brings together schools, families and communities to help elementary school children deal with bullying and peer victimization.

    Jake Drake, Bully Buster at Amazon.com

    Jake Drake, Bully Buster at Amazon.ca

     

    Joshua T. Bates in Trouble Again written by Susan Shreve and illustrated by Roberta Smith
    Chapter book about bullying published by Knopf Books for Young Readers | Random House

    The day after Thanksgiving is extra special for Joshua T. Bates. It it the day he will move to a grade four class. Joshua had a tough time in grade three and he was not ready to move to grade four with his friends. He spent the first three months of the school year working to catch up. He spent hours and hours with his grade three teacher and now he is ready for the academic challenges of grade four.

    Dealing with the other grade four boys will be a big adjustment for Joshua. He chooses his wardrobe carefully and takes great care to style his hair properly but, despite this, he lacks confidence about how he will manage.

    “Maybe I won’t have any friends at all,” Joshua said.

    “You have friends already, darling,” his mother said. “In a flash things will be back to normal, just like it was when all of you were in the third grade together.”

    “Maybe,” Joshua said.

    But he was sick with worry.

    Joshua’s fears are not unfounded.Tommy Wilhelm and Billy Nickel are feared by all of the grade four boys. They are bullies and Joshua knows it. Joshua hopes he can avoid trouble with the bullies if he appears “cool.” It is not long before he makes more than one poor choice in order to impress the bullies. It is no surprise when he finds himself in trouble at school and at home.

    A one hundred page chapter book for middle grade readers, Joshua T. Bates in Trouble Again will have special appeal for boys. It will also appeal to reluctant readers.

    Joshua T. Bates in Trouble Again at Amazon.com

    Joshua T. Bates in Trouble Again at Amazon.ca

     

    Anti bullying chapter book The Loser List, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsThe Loser List written and illustrated by Holly N. Kowitt
    Generously illustrated chapter book about bullying and school life published by Scholastic Canada

    The Loser List is a generously illustrated chapter book that is very reminiscent of Diary of a Wimpy Kid

    Danny Shine is twelve years old and in grade seven. He’s not good at sports but he loves to draw. When Danny runs afoul of Chantal Davis, she informs him that she’ll be adding his name to the loser list in the girl’s bathroom at school. Danny’s best friend, Jasper is not worried about being labelled as a geek and doesn’t care if his name is put on the loser list but Danny is bothered by the threat. A lunchtime tangle with the school’s biggest bully (Axl Ryan) followed by a failed attempt to remove his name from the loser list results in Danny joining Axl and other members of the Skull gang in an after school detention. “We stared at each other. Him: studded wristband, greasy blond hair stuffed into a do-rag, and army jacket. Me: Acme Exterminators tee, video watch and grandfather sweater.” Danny is terrified of Axl and is sure he will be beaten until Axl shows off his Sharpie tattoo and Danny knows that he can draw “Something really cool and unique, something that’s you know, worthy of the Skulls.”

    It is not long until the threat of a beating subsides and Danny is creating cool tattoos for Axl and his sidekicks. Danny enjoys his new celebrity until Axl steals a comic book from a shop Danny frequents. Suddenly Danny finds himself accused of theft and regretting his association with the thugs.

    A clever tactic by Danny and Jasper enables Danny to escape the clutches of the gang and restore his reputation.

    Best for children aged eight through twelve, The Loser List has a positive message about self acceptance and friendship. It will have a special appeal for boys.

    The Loser List at Amazon.com

    The Loser List at Amazon.ca

     

    Anti-bullying chapter book, Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes, reviewed by Storytime StandoutsSong Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes written by Suzy Kline and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
    Chapter book about bullying (reprint) published by Puffin

    Suzy Kline has written many books for young readers. She writes about school life, family life and social situations in chapter book series that feature Horrible Harry, Song Lee and
    Herbie Jones.

    In Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes, Mary has been staying up late. She is tired when she arrives at school and she is grumpy for most of the day.

    Everyone laughed but Mary. She was too busy biting and chewing on her braid. Her rotten mood was as mean and angry as the dark clouds gathering outside our classroom window.
    I could tell something bad was going to happen.
    I hoped it was just a storm.

    Doug’s intuition is correct. Not only is a storm brewing outside, there is one developing inside Miss Mackle’s classroom. Mary is upset with Song Lee and leaves two notes on her desk. Harry and Doug see Song Lee open the notes. They quietly retrieve the notes from a garbage can and read them. They are reluctant to “tattle” but they can see that Song Lee is upset. Harry speaks quietly to Miss Mackle and she is grateful for the information he provides. She has the perfect solution: she reaches for a picture book. Lovable Lyle by Bernard Waber has just the right message for Mary and her classmates.

    Best suited to children in grades two and three, Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes realistically depicts both the bully and her victim and encourages bystanders to get involved and enlist the assistance of an adult.

    Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes at Amazon.com

    Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes at Amazon.ca

     

    Storytime Standouts looks at antibullying chapter books and novels including The Blue Vase The Blue Vase written by Katarina Jovanovic and illustrated by Josee Bisaillon
    Generously illustrated anti-bullying chapter book published by Tradewind Books

    When Sonia accidentally breaks a blue vase at a classmate’s home, her ‘friend’ seizes upon the opportunity to blackmail her. She will keep Sonia’s mistake private so long as Sonia “pays” her. Sonia is forced to part with personal possessions, money, food and more. She is ostracized and otherwise victimized before, during and after school.

    It is not until a teacher encourages Sonia to share her story that she is empowered to stand up to her bully and take steps to deal with the problem. To some extent, the resolution of The Blue Vase (involving the vase itself), relies on coinidence rather than the assistance of a bystander or an adult. Once aware of the “problem,” Sonia’s teacher essentially backs off and leaves it up to Sonia to deal with her bully. We would like to have seen more support for the young girl by both her teacher and her parents.

    Grey-tone illustrations by Josee Bisaillon contribute to the overall dark mood of The Blue Vase.

    The Blue Vase at Amazon.com

    The Blue Vase at Amazon.ca


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    Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Song Lee and the “I Hate You Notes” http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/11/07/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-chapter-book/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/11/07/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-chapter-book/#respond Wed, 07 Nov 2012 23:59:09 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=14135 Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Song Lee and the “I Hate You Notes” | Storytime Standouts

    Not only is a storm brewing outside, there is one developing inside Miss Mackle's classroom. Mary is upset with Song Lee and leaves two notes on her desk. Harry and Doug see Song Lee open the notes. They quietly retrieve the notes from a garbage can and read them. They are reluctant to "tattle" but they can see that Song Lee is upset. Harry speaks quietly to Miss Mackle and she is grateful for the information he provides.

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    Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Song Lee and the “I Hate You Notes” | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts shares Anti Bullying Chapter Book - Song Lee and the Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes written by Suzy Kline and illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz
    Anti bullying chapter book (reprint) published by Puffin

    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    Suzy Kline has written many books for young readers. She writes about school life, family life and social situations in chapter book series that feature Horrible Harry, Song Lee and
    Herbie Jones.

    In Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes, Mary has been staying up late. She is tired when she arrives at school and she is grumpy for most of the day.

    Everyone laughed but Mary. She was too busy biting and chewing on her braid. Her rotten mood was as mean and angry as the dark clouds gathering outside our classroom window.

    I could tell something bad was going to happen.

    I hoped it was just a storm.

    Doug’s intuition is correct. Not only is a storm brewing outside, there is one developing inside Miss Mackle’s classroom. Mary is upset with Song Lee and leaves two notes on her desk. Harry and Doug see Song Lee open the notes. They quietly retrieve the notes from a garbage can and read them. They are reluctant to “tattle” but they can see that Song Lee is upset. Harry speaks quietly to Miss Mackle and she is grateful for the information he provides. She has the perfect solution: she reaches for a picture book. Lovable Lyle by Bernard Waber has just the right message for Mary and her classmates.

    Best suited to children in grades two and three, Song Lee and the “I Hate You” Notes realistically depicts both the bully and her victim and encourages bystanders to get involved and enlist the assistance of an adult.

    Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes at Amazon.com

    Song Lee and the I Hate You Notes at Amazon.ca

    Lexile Level 650L

    Lovable Lyle at Amazon.com

    Lovable Lyle at Amazon.ca


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    Anti-bullying graphic novel, Babymouse Queen of the World! http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/11/05/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-graphic-novel/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/11/05/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-graphic-novel/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2012 19:18:12 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=14070 Anti-bullying graphic novel, Babymouse Queen of the World! | Storytime Standouts

    Babymouse has a vivid imagination, she loves cupcakes, reading and scary movies. She longs for adventure, glamour and excitement and hopes for straight whiskers and no homework. Instead, Babymouse is stuck with chores, tons of homework, a locker that sticks and some very annoying curly whiskers.

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    Anti-bullying graphic novel, Babymouse Queen of the World! | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts looks at anti-bullying graphic novel, Babymouse Queen of the World!Babymouse Queen of the World! Created by Jennifer L Holm and Matthew Holm

    Anti bullying graphic novel

    published by Random House Kids

    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    Babymouse burst onto the scene in 2005 in Babymouse Queen of the World. Since then, enthusiastic readers have flocked to the series of fifteen graphic novels for middle grade readers.

    Babymouse Queen of the World introduces a strong female character. Babymouse has a vivid imagination, she loves cupcakes, reading and scary movies. She longs for adventure, glamour and excitement and hopes for straight whiskers and no homework. Instead, Babymouse is stuck with chores, tons of homework, a locker that sticks and some very annoying curly whiskers.

    When Babymouse hears about an upcoming slumber party to be hosted by Felicia Furrrypaws, she is willing to do almost anything to secure an invitation. When Felicia fails to complete a homework assignment, she acquires Babymouse’s book report in exchange for an invitation to the her party. Babymouse ditches her best friend, Wilson the Weasel, misses their scary movie night and goes to the slumber party.

    In a case of “Be careful what you wish for” Babymouse discovers the party is quite what she had envisioned

    This is so boring.
    We’re out of popcorn. Go make yourself useful, Babymouse… And bring extra butter.

    Middle grade readers will be drawn to this boldly illustrated anti bullying graphic novel. They will connect with Babymouse’s dreams and identify with the frustrations and challenges she faces.

    Lexile Level – GN470L

    Babymouse #1: Queen of the World! at Amazon.com

    Babymouse #1: Queen of the World! at Amazon,ca


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    Anti bullying book for beginning readers: Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/11/04/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-book-for-beginning-readers/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/11/04/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-book-for-beginning-readers/#respond Mon, 05 Nov 2012 03:56:47 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=14049 Anti bullying book for beginning readers: Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl | Storytime Standouts

    Fans of the Fancy Nancy series are sure to enjoy this anti bullying book for beginning readers. The story is engaging. Both Nancy's problem and the outcome are realistic. Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl could lead to discussions of teasing and bullying as well as sportsmanship and doing one's best in a difficult situtation.

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    Anti bullying book for beginning readers: Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl | Storytime Standouts


    For beginning readers, Storytime Standouts suggests Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl
    Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl written by Jane O’Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser and Ted Enik
    Anti bullying book for beginning readers published by Harper Collins Children’s

    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl is part of Harper Collins Children’s I Can Read series. Ranked by Harper Collins as “Beginning Reading Level 1,” it is generously illustrated and includes words such as appetite, splendid, speechless and canceled.

    Field Day is just around the corner. Most of Nancy’s classmates are excited about the upcoming races but Nancy is not. She is dreading Field Day because she is not good at running and last year, when her team lost, she was teased. When Nancy discovers that Grace is on her team, she is doubly concerned. Grace is sometimes mean.

    Nancy trains hard for the relay race but her training is too little. too late. She decides a different tactic might work. She pretends she has injured her foot and she begins limping. Nancy’s dad is not convinced by her limp and he questions her about it. Finally, Nancy confides and explains why she is upset.

    After a conversation with her dad, Nancy feels better and she approaches Field Day and Grace with a plan. She speaks to Grace

    “I will run as fast as I can.
    But if we lose,
    don’t say mean stuff.
    You are a good runner.
    But you are not a good sport.”

    Fans of the Fancy Nancy series are sure to enjoy this anti bullying book for beginning readers. The story is engaging. Both Nancy’s problem and the outcome are realistic. Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl could lead to discussions of teasing and bullying as well as sportsmanship and doing one’s best in a difficult situtation.

    Recommended for children aged six and up.
    Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl at Amazon.com

    Fancy Nancy And The Mean Girl at Amazon.ca

    Note – my copy of Fancy Nancy and the Mean Girl is a (hardcover) First Edition, copyrighted 2011. There is a typo on page 16: “That’s means I’m not hungry”


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    Remembering Harry Potter’s Magic, Jody Reflects http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/08/13/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/remembering-harry-potters-magic/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/08/13/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/remembering-harry-potters-magic/#comments Mon, 13 Aug 2012 20:34:34 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=12887 Remembering Harry Potter’s Magic, Jody Reflects | Storytime Standouts

    Now, as I reread Harry Potter with my daughter, I'm remembering all of the things I loved about the series.

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    Remembering Harry Potter’s Magic, Jody Reflects | Storytime Standouts


    Remembering Harry Potters Magic A Guest Post by @1prncs

    Storytime Standouts’ guest contributor takes another look at Harry Potter and the magic delivered in J.K. Rowling’s wonderful series.





    I am reading Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone to my oldest daughter this summer. I have read the series once after a friend, who has read it, literally, dozens of times, insisted that I could not put it off any longer; I had to read it. So I did. And I absolutely loved it. I’m not sure why I didn’t read it when it originally came out. I remember listening to how much everyone loved it and the movies are among my favourites. Waiting did have one advantage, however; by the time I read the books, they were all published so I could read them all back to back.

    Now, as I reread Harry Potter with my daughter, I’m remembering all of the things I loved about the books. I am completely absorbed in the story once again and so is she. Lately, all of her playing is geared around wizards and wizardry. All of their dolls are currently attending Hogwarts. As I’ve watched her get wrapped up in the story of Harry and his friends, I realized that only one of my students was reading Harry Potter this year. This could be because the kids have read it when they were younger, but it seems unlikely that they have read all seven books by grade four or five. I am hoping that with series such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, Warriors, and Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Harry Potter is not being forgotten in this age group. I think grade four is a great age for the first book. I think I will have to poll my class in September to see how many have read the series or at least some of them.

    Harry Potter came out 12 years ago. The Deathly Hallows came out in 2007. It’s entirely possible that with the hype of so many new books over the years, that Harry is not the most sought after character at the library. It would be a shame to forget how magical and amazing JK Rowling’s books are. Unlike the Twilight series or The Hunger Games, children get to grow and mature with Harry. As he becomes older, the conflicts and challenges he faces become more involved and difficult. The intensity builds with each book. Not that the intensity doesn’t increase with each of the books in the other series, but the intensity is there from the beginning. Katniss* is fighting for her life from chapter one. Bella and Edward** are drawn to each other immediately.

    In Harry Potter, we meet a young boy poorly treated by relatives that do not want him. The first story captures our hearts and interest by letting us connect to him and feel the same amazement that he does as he learns about his wizarding background and accepts his future at Hogwarts. Harry has an innocence that Bella and Katniss do not. Of course, they are entirely different books, but I know that they were the central focus of my grade five classroom not that many years ago. Now, based on what I’ve seen my students borrowing from the library, that focus has shifted.

    I don’t actually read Harry Potter in the classroom. But this year, I think I will make an effort to see how many kids have read it on their own or with their families. It will be interesting to see how many of this year’s class, who would have been born in between Goblet of Fire and Order of the Pheonix, are familiar with the novels. Since they became readers, the “Harry Potter Hype” has lessened, as all hype does. Regardless of which books are grabbing the most attention today, we need to remember that there are some books (many) that should always be on a person’s “Must Read” or “Have Read” list. The Harry Potter series should definitely on those lists.

    *The Hunger Games
    **Twilight


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    Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Jake Drake Bully Buster http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/02/22/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-chapter-book-jake-drake-bully-buster/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/02/22/childrens-books-about-bullying-pink-shirt-day/anti-bullying-chapter-book-jake-drake-bully-buster/#respond Wed, 22 Feb 2012 18:07:52 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=9922 Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Jake Drake Bully Buster | Storytime Standouts

    Jake Drake offers readers ways to deal with bullying Jake Drake Bully Buster written by Andrew Clements Anti bullying chapter book published by Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon and Schuster Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , […]

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    Anti Bullying Chapter Book – Jake Drake Bully Buster | Storytime Standouts

    Jake Drake offers readers ways to deal with bullying

    Anti Bullying Chapter Book - Jake Drake Bully BusterJake Drake Bully Buster written by Andrew Clements
    Anti bullying chapter book published by Aladdin Paperbacks, Simon and Schuster

    Be sure to check out our page about anti-bullying picture books for children, our page about anti bullying chapter books, graphic novels and novels for children , and our Pinterest anti bullying board

    If everybody who works at school is so smart, how come they can’t get rid of the bullies? How come when it comes to bullies, kids are mostly on their own?

    From the time he was in daycare, Jake Drake has encountered bullies of one kind or another. When he was three, a bully not only stole his cookies, he forced him off the swing. In kindergarten, Jake knicknamed another bully “King Bump” because he would shove him at inopportune moments. When Jake was a little older, he encounted yet another sort of bullying: the grade one bully liked to hit things near to Jake. Jake lived in fear of “The Fist.”

    Jake has given bullying considerable thought. He has decided that he attracts bullies because of his size (he is not too big), the fact he does not have an older sibling, his unwillingness to tattle and the intellectual challenge he represents.

    Jake is excited to start grade two and all is well until Link Baxter joins the class. Initially Link torments Jake by shaking his desk during a handwriting lesson. Classroom trouble soon moves to the school bus and Jake is understandably upset by the time he arrives home from school. His younger sister Abby encourages Jake to think about the bully. She points out, Its not fun to feel mean.

    Overnight Jake strategizes and decides to “play it cool.” He will not react to Link’s taunting and teasing. He will not show Link that he is bothered. Jake’s plan works until Link takes his bullying to another level and pours water on the front of Jake’s pants. Jake is so angry that his hits his enemy, is sent to the office and must rethink his strategy.

    Jake Drake Bully Buster will have considerable appeal for both boys and girls. Author Andrew Clements’ approach, having Jake reflect on all the bullying he has experienced and trying different responses, is very effective. Readers will recognize bullying techniques and will learn a variety of ways to effectively deal with bullying.

    Jake Drake Bully Buster is an 80 page, illustrated chapter book that is best suited to children in grades two to four. There are four titles in the Jake Drake series.

    Post reading questions and activities from WITS The WITS Program brings together schools, families and communities to help elementary school children deal with bullying and peer victimization.

    Jake Drake, Bully Buster at Amazon.com

    Jake Drake, Bully Buster at Amazon.ca


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    At the Heart of things… Engagement and Capturing Attention http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/02/15/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/at-the-heart-of-things-engagement-and-capturing-attention/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/02/15/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/at-the-heart-of-things-engagement-and-capturing-attention/#respond Wed, 15 Feb 2012 17:54:13 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=9803 At the Heart of things… Engagement and Capturing Attention | Storytime Standouts

    My goal with Inkheart was to read the kids an interesting novel while teaching them different reading response strategies so that in third term, they could work independently on novel studies.

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    At the Heart of things… Engagement and Capturing Attention | Storytime Standouts


    a href=”http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/02/15/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/at-the-heart-of-things-engagement-and-capturing-attention/attachment/middle-grade-readers-engagement-and-capturing-attention/” rel=”attachment wp-att-20631″>Storytime Standouts contributor writes about Middle Grade Readers - Engagement and Capturing Attention

    Storytime Standouts’ guest contributor looks at engagement and capturing attention – two keys when working with middle grade readers.



    After Christmas break, I started reading Inkheart by Cornelia Funke to my class. My book club had not gone well in the first term and I was determined to recapture their attention. I keep going back to the ideas of engagement and capturing attention because I believe that those things are essential for helping kids pick their paths. My goal with Inkheart was to read the kids an interesting novel while teaching them different reading response strategies so that in third term, they could work independently on novel studies. A few of the kids had read the book, but not many. It’s quite a big book, which almost made me change my mind. But the world the author creates within her book is so fascinating and enthralling, that it didn’t seem to matter.

    Storytime Standouts guest contributor shares Inkheart with her classWe are now almost half way through the book. There are wonderful characters; Meggie, her father Mo, the quiet and strange Dustfinger, book loving Aunt Elinor, and the malicious villain Capricorn. I knew there was a movie of the book but did not want to watch it until we had finished. The kids did NOT feel the same and so, when they played it on television two weeks ago, most of my class watched it.

    Upon learning they watched it, I wondered: would this ruin it? Would their interest drop because they had seen it? Would they use their imaginations now that they knew what the characters looked like? Would they engage? Question? Predict? I admit, I didn’t pick up the book for a couple days because I thought, well, they’re done with that. But I was wrong. It seems that seeing the movie only enhanced their interest. Instead of being “finished” they started discussing how their images of Capricorn and Dustfinger were different from the movie portrayals. For some of them, it’s even strengthened the read aloud because they can picture someone in the role with no effort. Yes, they know how it ends, but I was so pleased to see that when they were read a chapter this week and we ran out of time, they expressed great disappointment.

    They are invested in the characters and the book contains things (as always) that the movie does not. They love being read to and they love hearing about characters that matter to them. So while I wouldn’t have recommended that they watch the movie so soon, it doesn’t seem to have deterred them from staying connected to the story.

    This story tells about how Dustfinger and Capricorn came to exist. Funke does an amazing job setting the stage and making you fall in love with her characters. My favorite part of the book is that at the beginning of every chapter, she has included a quote from another book or story. This has been very powerful for the students as well because they may have read the story she quotes. Though we are a ways from being done, the kids are already excited about reading the next books in the series as well: Inkspell and Inkdeath .

    Definitely worth the read.

    Lexile Level – 780L

    Inkheart at Amazon.com

    Inkheart at Amazon.ca

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    The Knife of Never Letting Go written by Patrick Ness http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/01/31/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/the-knife-of-never-letting-go-written-by-patrick-ness/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2012/01/31/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/the-knife-of-never-letting-go-written-by-patrick-ness/#respond Tue, 31 Jan 2012 18:17:28 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=9618 The Knife of Never Letting Go written by Patrick Ness | Storytime Standouts

    In a town where privacy is impossible, a secret has been hidden, one so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought? StorytimeStandouts' teen contributor reviews The Knife of Never Letting Go written by Patrick Ness

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    The Knife of Never Letting Go written by Patrick Ness | Storytime Standouts


    Storytime Standouts teen contributor reviews The Knife of Never Letting Go written by Patrick NessThe Knife of Never Letting Go written by Patrick Ness
    Young Adult Fiction published by Walker Books





    Prentisstown isn’t like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else’s thoughts in a never ending stream of noise. One month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog Manchee stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that, in a town where privacy is impossible, a secret has been hidden, one so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives. But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

    This is the first book in the Chaos Walking series. And I thought it was so good that I cannot wait to read the second book. The book keeps you guessing all the way through. It is very fast paced and I like that the author broke the book up into parts so that there are multiple climaxes through out, leading up to the big one at the end. As a series opener it was very promising and I think it will appeal to almost all readers, especially if you like adventure, mystery or science fiction. The Knife of Never Letting Go is one of the best books I have read in recent weeks, shaping what is probably going to become one of my favorite series.

    Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize (2008)
    Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production Honor (2011)
    James Tiptree Jr. Award (2008)

    The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking: Book One at Amazon.com

    The Knife of Never Letting Go: Chaos Walking: Book One at Amazon.ca



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    World War I Historical Fiction for Youth – I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2011/11/05/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/world-war-i-historical-fiction-for-youth-i-am-canada-shot-at-dawn/ http://www.storytimestandouts.com/2011/11/05/chapter-books-to-enjoy-with-children/world-war-i-historical-fiction-for-youth-i-am-canada-shot-at-dawn/#respond Sat, 05 Nov 2011 15:39:23 +0000 http://www.storytimestandouts.com/?p=8318 World War I Historical Fiction for Youth – I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn | Storytime Standouts

    I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn is the intense, thrilling and tragic story of Allan McBride, a young Canadian who, during World War I, wanted to follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero and friend, Ken Harrison. Whilst growing up together on Vancouver Island, McBride and Harrison had enjoyed many childhood adventures.

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    World War I Historical Fiction for Youth – I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn | Storytime Standouts


    Shot at Dawn by John Wilson Historical Fiction for YouthShot at Dawn by John Wilson
    Published by Scholastic Canada



    I Am Canada: Shot at Dawn is the intense, thrilling and tragic story of Allan McBride, a young Canadian who, during World War I, wanted to follow in the footsteps of his childhood hero and friend, Ken Harrison. Whilst growing up together on Vancouver Island, McBride and Harrison had enjoyed many childhood adventures. Just seventeen and very naive, McBride is certain that joining his friend on a World War I battlefield in France will lead to further pleasurable escapades. Harrison, who has already experienced the horrors of combat, is not at all enthusiastic about McBride’s enlistment and subsequent arrival in France. Eventually, at McBride’s insistence, the two go to battle together. The horrors of World War I trench warfare are too much for both men. Harrison is shot and presumed to have been killed. McBride suffers shell-shock and, while confused and delusional, leaves his unit. He intends to walk home. Eventually, after finding other fugitives in a forested area, he hides until he is taken into custody by his childhood friend. Clearly unwell, McBride is accused of desertion. While awaiting dawn arrival of an the executioner, Allan McBride describes his horrifying experiences in the trenches near Amiens, France.

    Although the I Am Canada series is suggested for nine to twelve year olds, be advised that Shot at Dawn depicts the grim reality of trench warfare. Although fascinating, it may be disturbing to some readers.

    Update June 18, 2012, Shot at Dawn is nominated for the Geoffrey Bilson Award For Historical Fiction For Young People

    The I Am Canada series website includes discussion guides, book excerpts, activities and video clips.

    Shot at Dawn: World War I at Amazon.com

    Shot at Dawn: World War I at Amazon.ca



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