MRA 2015 Picturebook Presentation Slides & Booklist

Last week, I attended one of my favorite conferences – the Annual Michigan Reading Association Conference. On Sunday afternoon I presented a session titled “Examining Illustration/Text Relationships in Picturebooks for Classroom Selection and Discussion”.

Here is the link my powerpoint slides (posted on slideshare): 

One of the great things about presenting so close to home was that meant I could bring two large bags of picturebooks to the presentation for attendees to read and explore. Because it wasn’t possible for me to share everything that I brought, I created a list of everything I brought with me on google docs.

You can also copy and paste the following address to get to the booklist: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1Y2ycWRF0YI-H8w1NXmeF5dPWeDd7AWlfBwrteC3cIfk/edit?usp=sharing

Thank you to all who attended!

The power of language

While talking with my new children’s literature students last night, I was telling them about some of the goals of our course – specifically about learning and using the language of literary, design and illustrative elements.

I used the analogy of listening to music. Often someone will say that they love X type of music or Y performer. When asked why, the response is commonly, “I don’t know, I just like the way they sound.” Ok – that may be true, but that explanation does not help me (or anyone else) understand what it is that specifically draws that listener to that specific style of music or performer. I was a music major as an undergraduate student. I distinctly remember that the more that I learned about music theory and music history – the better able I was to convey both what I did and did not like in music.

The same can be said of reading and literature. I don’t expect the students in my class to like everything that they read, but I do expect them to read. I do expect them to be able to articulate what it is they notice, respond to, revolt against, or get sucked into while they are reading. I expect them to use language like genre, point of view, and style; hue, medium, and layout. Not in a way that shows they only regurgitates a definition – but in a way that shows they have a deeper understanding of those elements and the ways they can impact a reader.

Many of them come in with negative memories of needing to interpret a story in a particular way or of being judged by an AR (Accelerated Reader) score. They have forgotten how to read for pleasure, or perhaps never learned. While I sincerely hope that at some point during the semester, I will put the “right book” in each of my students hands – I realize that may not happen. But I can give each of them language to help them better convey what they do and don’t enjoy about the books that they read. Language that can help better equip them to ask for specific qualities they find pleasurable.

Next week we start with picture books. I can’t wait.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading (Nov. 5 edition)

I’m back! Be sure to visit teachmentortexts to see what others have been reading!

Over the past few weeks I’ve read:

Bear Has a Story to Tell – written by Philip C. Stead & illustrated by Erin Stead
Another lovely story by the team that brought us Amos McGee. 

Boot and Shoe – written & illustrated by Marla Frazee
Frazee’s writing and artistic style make her storytelling an absolute delight. I especially love the ways that she blends colors to show depth and movement.  

This is Not My Hat – written & illustrated by Jon Klassen
Another fantastic story by Jon Klassen. My 8-year-old and I read this together standing in our local independent bookstore. She kept flipping back and forth between pages and pointing out how much the eye on the “big fish” was telling her. 

One Crazy Summer – written by Rita Williams Garcia
This was a reread for me in preparation for a discussion in my children’s literature courses. I was again blown away by Williams’ writing, particularly her character development. This book is a must read example of historical fiction. 

Blackout -written & illustrated by John Rocco
I read this aloud to my students last week as we talked about the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy and the role that children’s literature could play. 

This week I’ll be reading…

Graceling – written by Kristin Cashore
Another reread for me, I’ve been listening to the audio and reading depending on my location (car or home). This will be the first time I’ve used this book in my children’s literature courses and I’m anxious to hear what my students think when we discuss it next week. I love it as an example of fantasy – creating a consistant and believable world, and also as a book to talk about female characters. 

The Invention of Hugo Cabret – written & illustrated by Brian Selznick
My 8-year-old is reading this to me. While I’ve read it before (and even used it in class), having her read it to me is making it an entirely new experience as she shares her thinking and questions while she reads. 

Teaching Literacy for Love and Wisdom – written by Jeffrey D. Wilhelm & Bruce Novak
I’m working on my dissertation right now, and this book is both inspiration and a source of knowledge for me. 

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading…

Be sure to check out the fabulous teachmentortexts to see what others are reading!

This week I read:

Homer written and illustrated by Elisha Cooper

The calm and steady character of Homer the dog are integrated into every aspect of this book; from a simple yet meaningful text to gorgeous water color illustrations. Framed, single-page spreads show Homer’s vantage point from the porch throughout the day. Occasional double-page spreads with full bleeds “speak” for Homer without needing text. This is a dog who is completely satisfied with his life.

House Held Up By Trees written by Ted Kooser, illustrated by Jon Klassen

I reread this book in preparation for a discussion about realistic fiction in my children’s literature course this week. Kooser’s prose is beautifully written and the accompanying illustrations showcase a variety of points of view. The color palate is subtle and is a great example of green representing life, even when it seems it may not go on.

Grandpa Green written and illustrated by Lane Smith

I’ve read this book many times and was not disappointed on this reread. The students in my children’s literature course are also reading (and rereading) it in preparation for our first class discussion and their first papers. I’m always struck by the intricacies of the illustrations and the different ways that I think about the grandson and his grandfather.

Splendors and Glooms by Laura Amy Schlitz

This story has not disappointed. Schlitz’s ability to weave together magic, history, social class, and mystery create a tale that engaged me from the first page. She gives enough information to bring me in without making things predictable. I’m looking forward to finishing off the last few chapters tonight!

This coming week:

I’m still working on No Crystal Stair by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, it’s next on my tbr stack. I also picked up The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater at the library yesterday. I’ve not read any of her books, but she is going to be at our local independent bookstore this coming friday and I’m planning on taking my daughter. I was hoping to get her newest, The Raven Boys, but it was checked out.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

I’m working on creating a “school-year” reading routine for myself. During the summer months I have some more flexibility and don’t need to be quite as plan-full. Thankfully, our local library had some great new books to get me started!

Remember to check out Teach Mentor Texts to see what others have been reading!

What I read last week:

The Hueys in The New Sweater written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers

Oliver Jeffers is a genius – both as a storyteller and illustrator. When we talk about picture books in my children’s literature course, I want the students to understand the role of brevity – both in text and illustration – and this is fantastic example.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combination story by Monica Brown illustrations by Sara Palacios

This thoughtful story about a young girl who is a “creative, unique, bilingual, Peruvian-Scottish-American, soccer-playing artist” is published with both english and spanish text. I love the potential discussions that could follow a reading of this about identity, how we define ourselves, and diversity.

The Obstinate Pen written and illustrated by Frank W. Dormer

Funny story about a pen that people just don’t want to listen to, when a young boy finally does some wonderful things happen.

The Insomniacs written by Karina Wolf illustrated by The Brothers Hilts

I loved this quirky story about a family who is adjusting to moving across multiple time zones and finding a rhythm that works for them. As someone who struggles with insomnia, it is refreshing to read – and see – it set in a positive “light”. (I know it’s a bad pun, couldn’t help myself.)

Isabella’s Garden written by Glenda Millard and illustrated by Rebecca Cool

Rich, vibrant illustrations accompany this sweet add-on story in the style of “the House the Jack Built”. This is particularly close to my heart because I was able to see some of the original artwork at an exhibit in Sydney, Australia over the summer.

What I’m reading now

Same Sun Here by Silas House & Neela Vaswani

So far I’m loving the dual voices in this book about pen pals from New York City and Kentucky.

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

This week I read:

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu – I won this in a twitter giveaway by @WaldenPondPress, my eldest daughter (6th grade) had just finished it and said, “Mom you HAVE to read this, next, don’t wait!” She was right, I loved it; particularly all of the intertextual references to Narnia, Wrinkle in Time, When You Reach Me, and various fairy tales.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger – This picture book is absolutely stunning. I will definitely be using it as one of the examples of this genre in future children’s literature courses. The use of colors to contrast the various greens and cutouts draw the reader in visually. The varied use of language to describe the color is beyond brilliant. (can you tell how much I love this by my overused adjectives – it really is THAT amazing, go get it NOW if you can!)

Stars by Mary Lyn Ray and Marla Frazee – Another stunning example of a picture book. The illustrations and the text work beautifully together. The are lovely and lyrical on their own, but together they are amazing. Frazee uses sequencing to enhance the story and the text is an excellent example of how brevity adds to a story. I will be purchasing this one for my shelf soon!

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams Garcia – This was a reread for me because the students in my children’s literature course were reading, writing and discussing it this week. It’s the first time I’ve used it in class and wanted to refresh my memory. The writing – particularly of the characters – were just as wonderful the second time through.

This week I’ll be reading:

Also recommended by daughter #1, I’m going to start Divergent by Veronica Roth. I don’t anticipate being able to finish it because of my other reading which includes papers about One Crazy Summer and 27 Language Arts Lesson Plans. Even at the end of the semester, I still read every word of what my students submit and give them some sort of feedback. If I want them to give me thoughtful consideration, than they deserve it back.

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27 Language Arts Lesson Plans to be read and given comments - I figured they deserved a photo too!

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading?

 

Last week I read:

*Thanks to Mr. Schu for bringing the first three with him to Ann Arbor!!!

Boy and Bot by Amy Dyckman & Dan Yaccarino

 

Backseat A-B-See  by Maria van Lieshout

Me Want Pet by Tammi Sauer & Bob Shea

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos

This week I am reading: 

Breadcrumbs by Anne Ursu

I won this book on Twitter from Walden Pond Press and am loving it. Actually having a hard time putting it down to get grading finished. So far my favorite line is reference to Turkish Delight.

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

I am rereading this in preparation for our discussion in TE348 (Reading & Responding to Children’s Literature) this week. It is the first time that I have used it in class and am looking forward hearing and reading what my students think about it.

 

 

Statistics for the Utterly Confused by Lloyd Jaisingh

I am taking my last course as a doctoral students. I am taking statistics. The past few weeks I have been swimming around in a haze of psuedo-understanding – I’m hoping that this book will help me to review what we’ve done and get through the last few weeks.