The Lonely Book

February 11, 2018

Image result for the lonely book

By Kate Bernheimer  Ill. by Chris Sheban

Your heart will be swept away to that special book tucked away in your heart. Memories of reading the delightful pages transport you to a different time and place. Riding Freedom is one such book for me (by Pam Munoz Ryan). Its pages aren’t worn yet, but it’s set in a special place. Do you have a book that has grown old, pages worn or ripped, but the story goes on and on? The little girl finds one such book. She reads it over and over until one day, she can’t find it at the library. It’s been placed in the basement for the book sale. The book is lonely and wants its story to touch a heart.

The Lonely Book is a wonderful way to inspire children to connect with stories. Maybe you read it at the beginning of the school year and get them excited about finding books in the library. Maybe you read it on a special reading day to remind kids that they can explore worlds and gather new ideas. Maybe you read it just to let them know your readerly-life and the power reading can give. It brings your imagination to life.


Lost and Found : Three Dog Stories

February 11, 2018

Image result for Lost and Found Three Dog Stories by Jim LaMarche

Three separate short stories weaved together: Molly, Ginger, Yuki. Jim LaMarche will touch your heart and cause you to linger in the child’s moment with his/her dog. You’ll gently smile and find a spot in your heart to hold the images of his brilliant pencil drawings.

“…through the tall grass, up a rocky hill, then into the woods.”

Comfort when angry. Companion when venturing in the woods. Hiking partner. Always returns home. Strong bond. Serendipity. Homeless. Elderly. Comfort. Tension. Worry. Reunited. The love of a dog and his owner.

Savorings for Lost and Found: Three Dog Stories:

  • Suddenly – tension, suspense, wondering
  • Routines interrupted
  • Doing what’s right
  • Zoomed in box illustration
  • Friendship
  • Grabber Lead
  • Power of Three

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish

February 10, 2018

Image result for flying frogs and walking fishSteven Jenkins and Robin Page collaborate to peak your interest. They share the most interesting facts about ordinary and unique creatures. In Flying Frogs and Walking Fish, the focus is on the animation of the animals.

The sections are divided by questions about the animal featured. For example, A Walking Octopus? sheds light beyond the understood eight legs. “They use two of them to walk on the sea floor.”

Other animals are then featured on a two-page spread highlighting their unique ways to walk (Marching, strolling, tiptoeing...). Additional facts are shared in the back of the book.

To learn more about the making of this book, go to Have fun learning new synonyms and interesting facts!

Savorings for Flying Frogs and Walking Fish:

  • Compare/ Contrast
  • Questions as SubTitles
  • Alliteration
  • Synonyms – whirling, tumbling, somersaulting
  • Fun Facts
  • Verbs

The Story of Charles Atlas: STRONG MAN

February 9, 2018

Angelo Siciliano came to America as a boy, immigrating from Italy. Who knew he was going to become the World’s Most Perfectly Developed Man? The Story of Charles Atlas: STRONG MAN will stir kids’ heart and challenge them to make good choices.

Image result for the story strongmanAngelo was skinny and weak, but he wanted to change. He was tired of being bullied. By observing lions at the zoo, he invented a routine that increased his muscle size. Through perseverance and determination, Angelo grew stronger. His nickname was Charles, and his friends added, Atlas, after the Greek god who was said to have strong shoulders holding the heavens. Atlas promoted exercise, fitness, and good character.

Meghan McCarthy invites kids into the biography of a man who still impacts us today. I love the author’s note, sharing a memory from her grandfather and giving an insight into the America folk hero.

Listen to the audio story on this link from Meghan McCarthy’s website.

Savorings for The Story of Charles Atlas: STRONG MAN:

  • Overcoming Difficulty
  • Perseverance
  • Exercise Fitness
  • Determined to Succeed
  • Character Counts – strong and honest
  • Comic Frames

Blog Tour: Enticing Hard-To-Reach Writers by Ruth Ayres

November 20, 2017

Those kids. Everyone has one.

Kids who make “I-don’t-want-to” faces, who do everything else than what you ask, who push. your. buttons.

You can see his face. She drives you crazy. They won’t stop!

Those kids. They come from hard places.

Ruth Ayres shares stories of her own children who have faced life harder than what you want to imagine. They own stories of inflicted pain, punched cruelty, and irreversible heartache. Those kids.

Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers changed my life. Those kids remain constant in my life and my expectations remain too, but now my approach to supporting them is different. In the first section, Ruth shares a couple of examples of how trauma has affected her son, Jay. The usual strategies weren’t working with him. Too much choice didn’t help. I learned that I need to see past the action and take the time to learn what works with the individual. I’m parting through the behavior to get to their hearts.

Kids who experience trauma in their lives often live in fear. Little things like not having a pencil (22) can create a problem. Because of how their brains have been affected, those kids do not take the natural approaches to solve a problem. They need our guidance step by step. Kids who live in fear react in ways that look like defiance or laziness. Ruth says, “If we are going to help children rewrite their histories of hard into stories of hope, then we need to develop new thinking paths in the brain. The way to do this is to short-circuit fear.” (17)


You might be wondering: I thought Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers is about strategies and tools for teaching, resources for managing Writer’s Workshop.

It is.

And more!

Ruth Ayres interweaves strategies with stories and gives you numerous resources to help make your teaching stronger.  The good news is we can help heal brains that have been touched by trauma. In her book, Ruth asks you questions to guide reflection on your teaching. Key moves are listed at the end of the chapter to help you be more intentional with your teaching.



In the second section of the book, Ruth shares ways to entice your students to write. In chapter 9: Everyone Hates Writing, a list of reasons not to write are given. I have heard them from kids. I have heard them in my own head. Ruth nudges you to see the deeper meaning of writing and why writing is important. On tough days, we all need these reminders. Their stories matter and Ruth’s words guide me in helping them know that.



In the third section of the book, Ruth shares a quick reference sheet of ways to talk with kids to write. She then ends each chapter with “Taking the First Steps” that help to try one thing. You can do more, but start with one. Then try another. She shares examples of conferences and kids’ struggling scenarios that you can relate to. The stories will stick with you and be a reference point for your teaching.  You will have a fresh, new approach. More importantly, your heart will be touched and “those kids” take on new meaning.



I celebrate the arrival of this book with you as you continue your journey of teaching children and as you embrace writing. And because this is Book Savors and I can’t resist, I leave you with a list of moves that make the writing in this book a powerful read for any teacher.

Savorings for Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers:

  • QR codes for video mini-lessons
  • Step by Step questions for reflection on teaching
  • Charts of conferring teaching points
  • Stories that linger – make you ponder ‘those kids’
  • Hope – your part in the process of healing
  • Writing process moves
  • Writer’s notebook samples
  • Visuals for revising
  • Introduction and Conclusion to remind you that stories matter and we are important in helping the healing process.

Book Give Away

Thanks to Stenhouse Publishing for donating two books to be given away on each blog tour stop. Share your reflections below and enter to win by Nov. 27 at EST.

If you purchase Enticing Hard-to-Reach Writers before November 30th, you are eligible for a free registration to Enticing Writer’s Book Club.

Check out the previous book tour stops:

Turk and Runt

November 10, 2017

Image result for turk and runtI was perusing through my Thanksgiving books and came across Turk and Runt. The book is hilarious. Lots of play on words and voices. Lisa Wheeler did an incredible job of thinking like a turkey in pursuit. Just had to mention it. Click on this link for more mini-lesson ideas.

For a video of the book, click here.

Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners

October 9, 2017

Laurie Keller (author/illustrator) invites readers to remember the importance of manners. Based on the Golden Rule, the characters dialogue about what manners mean in Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners. Mr. Rabbit wants his new neighbors, the Otters, to be Friendly, Polite with please and thank you, and excuse me. Of course, everyone should be Honest too. Kind, Considerate, Play Fair, Cooperate, Share all make their appearances as well.Do Unto Otters: Book About Manners | Main photo (Cover)

The reader gets swooped into an auditorium of play. Laurie Keller’s illustrations are whimsically rich setting the stage for deeper understanding. Words are embedded in the background to enhance the meaning of each manner. Off-side scenes are an additional reference to each manner shared.

Savorings for reading and writing for Do Unto Otters: A Book About Manners:

  • Great text to use for Voice Inflection and Reader’s Theater
  • Models character mental conflict – reader views the thinking bubbles
  • Use of the Colon
  • Ellipses – slows down character thinking – “How would I …  … like otters …  … to treat me?”
  • Asides – (hmmm… maybe not the treats)
  • Example of a Thank You Note
  • Magic of 3 – Series of examples for each manner is listed in 3 groups
  • Contractions – I’d, you’d, wouldn’t
  • Bantering between two characters
  • Reflection
  • Metacognition – thinking about his thinking
  • Word Pictures
  • Setting
  • Scenes / Exploding the Moment

PES Life-line book (November)