Life on Mars

May 1, 2018

Kids often wonder about life on the moon or other galaxies. Movies bring outer-space beings into a seemingly possible reality. Is there life on other planets? Jon Agee allows a child to explore the possibilities in his book, Life on Mars.

The astronaut believes there is life. He begins to explore. Time passes. Doubt begins to set in. The reader hears the character’s internal dialogue. Alongside the meandering astronaut, a silent story parallels his feelings.

This text lends itself to teaching kids life lessons of perseverance, confidence, affect, trial/error, discovery, celebration.

View the book trailer here.

View the book read aloud at this link. I think your kids will enjoy the sound effects.

Savorings for Life on Mars:

  • Internal Thinking
  • Silent parallel story
  • Two characters
  • Wonderings
  • Life lessons
  • Surprise Ending

All My Friends Are Planets: The Story of Pluto

February 13, 2018

by Alisha Vimawala

Growing up, I learned about the nine planets in our solar system. Pluto was the farthest. In 2006, new discoveries changed this notion.

As you read All My Friends Are Planets, you are engaged in a conversations with Pluto. It explains how it changed from being a planet in the solar system to the classification of a dwarf planet in the Kuiper Belt. It feels alone, describing the other planets in the solar system. It is

I’m not a scientist at heart, but I love the wonderment of space. This lighthearted conversation explains the differences of Pluto for children to understand. It’s a great springboard into further research. The author nudges her readers to investigate more on the subject and lists possible sites to begin in the back of the book. Alisha Vimawala also has a drawing contest of a future planet. Genius!

Savorings for All My Friends are Planets:

  • First Person Narrative – talks to the reader
  • Informational Narrative
  • Scientific Characteristics – same/ different
  • Personification
  • Voice
  • Power of 3

Scholastic book order


SOLSC: Monk

March 25, 2012

When Ruth posted the 31 Slice Ideas, my mind lingered for a moment about TV. I began to wonder how I could craft a piece about a TV show. I watch CSI with my husband and love The Mentalist (Patrick is so observant). Our family has started watching The Voice and don’t always agree with the judges. But I didn’t want to list the shows; I wanted to connect. Then it hit me – Monk.

Let’s just say, Mr. Monk and me, well…we have some similar traits. In the introductory scene, Mr. Monk returns at the door to turn the umbrella the correct way. When Adrian organizes papers, shelves, and books, my family looks at me. They don’t have to say it; they just know I relate. You see, I like to have items in an orderly fashion. It’s wonderful when the counters are clear, the shoes are lined up by the door, and the dishes are tidy.  I love the sense of organization. The neatness. The put-awayness. The everything-is-in-its-place ness. This is my heart’s desire.

The difference between Monk and me – I survive daily with my house not being tidy. Clean clothes are in laundry baskets waiting to be folded. Dishes are in the sink. Books are in piles. Although I would love for the tidiness to be in fashion, I look beyond my impulse to the family I have and live in reality. My family activities, the writing I do, the reading and commenting on blogs are more important than the desire to be an obsessive compulsive neat freak. One day, my children will be gone and the house will be quiet. Maybe then, I’ll have time to be neat. In the meantime, I’m going to enjoy watching Mr. Monk keep his place organized and love my family instead.


SOLSC: Let’s Review, My Son

March 14, 2012

Have you ever had the below conversation with your children?

You know that I love you. That will never change. But, I have been noticing some things that I feel we need to review.

This is a hanger.

You use it to hang your shirts and pants on to stay neat.

This is a clothes hamper.

You pick up your dirty socks and other clothing items and deposit them here.

This is a book bag.

You need to return your books and homework in here.

This is the kitchen sink.

Your dirty plate and cup from the after-practice-late-night snack you enjoyed need to be deposited here.

This is the closet.

Your coat can hang nicely on this peg.

This is a hug.

You can give to me anytime you please.

I do believe I’ve taught you these things.

Now please, my eighteen year old, practice it.  (Nodding commences)

Good, because this is a grounding-on-hold in case you need reminding.