MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Monday, August 24, 2015

Picture books worth sharing in your classroom

by markjohnson on January 31, 2012
What's new to our shelves this year?

Every Librarian is gearing up for the beginning of the "best school year ever." We spend our summer searching for the best new titles. We check the bounty of resources for those "jewels;" the titles... those favored and trusted authors... reviews upon reviews... book store adventures... and of course curriculum connections across the content areas.

How can you plug into the "bounty" for your classroom. Just ask us... What can we do together to ignite the thrill of discovery into our student's hands? There are so many wonder-filled connections. Here are a few to begin with:

And then of course there is the delightful "old school" option... browsing the shelves (libraries, stores, garage sales, friends, or book clubs). I have posted a few of my favorite "summer" discoveries (The Looney Experiment, Wonder, Rain Reign (listed on the What's New review link), A Snicker of Magic (listed on the What's New review link), What's New in Children's Books , Thankful, Aoleon, Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy, and  Pipsie the Nature Detective,).

Just a few more:

 Louise Loves Art  I adore this book. Not only is Louise creative, committed, and adorably obsessed with her very own Art gallery. Her little brother is inspired by her artistic ability, as is her cat. There are so many options for this book. It is definitely a read aloud; a re-read; a 6-Trait model for organization and voice; and a great "Leader in Me" choice. (K-8+)

Little Elliot, Big City  The one thing that Little Elliot loves is cupcakes. The one struggle Little Elliot has is that he is never tall enough to pay for the cupcake because no one notices him, "sometimes it was hard being so small in such a huge place." Then one day Little Elliot discovers "someone even littler than himself." Together they can discover so many new experiences. Little Elliot's story is filled to overflowing with great discussion connections. The illustrations are so perfectly matched with Little Elliot's size and struggles. It is a delightful read aloud! Librarian's this is a must for your beginning of the year storytime. (Pre-2)

 Quest  Quest is a journey beyond words. When two friends in the park are handed a map and some objects everything around you can change. And, if everything can change... then courage, determination, observations, quick-thinking, and imagination will be necessary. Of course, there is the pressure of a little challenge... a quest... to save the King and his people from darkness. So whimsically organized. Outstanding connection to every 6-Trait including Presentation. (Pre-8+)

 Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos  Getting lost in the wonderment of the mysteries of the cosmos... does anything really compare to star gazing for engaging your inquiry? 
 "Imagination will often carry us to worlds that never were,
but without it we go nowhere."
Carl Sagan
Who was Carl Sagan? How did his imagination and wonderment lead him into the discoveries of the cosmos? Whether you are familiar with his discoveries or not... you know that deep delight of discovery every time you look to the Heavens. Those what-ifs about traveling to the stars. If you have seen or read anything connected to Science Fiction, or ever been to a planetarium... you know the intrigue to what it would be like to explore another planet... or if there is life anywhere out there. This biography about a little boy named Carl is organized through the perspective of a child's wonderment as it leads into inquiry and a life's quest beyond what was known. (2-8+)
 "We are a way for the Cosmos to know itself."
Carl Sagan

 fpo  Princess Magnolia might enjoy hot chocolate and scones, yet she has a secret. A secret so important that even a visiting nosy duchess can not discover. With the ring of her ring, the princess must excuse herself from the duchess and "run" into action. Princess Magnolia lives near the entrance to Monster Land and stopping monsters is a high priority for a princess with a secret. With the help of her unicorn, Frimplepants, she will charge through the forest to rescue the goats from the monster attack. Duff the goat boy is unprepared for the monstrous attack... and  yet, he discovers there's a new way to make monsters retreat...
"Horswaggle Hop!
Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Smash!"
Continue this series to see if Princess Black's secret is still a secret. Will the Goat Avenger get a call on his goat bells the next time the monsters come calling? 

As always, it is my hope that a flame of interest will lead you to discoveries beyond what is already on your shelf...
Then share... share... and re-share with each and every reader that crosses the threshold of your classroom...

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

ISBN: 97803100008844
Publisher's Synopsis:
 Thankful, by bestselling and award-winning children’s author Eileen Spinelli, combines charming rhymes and whimsical illustrations to convey the importance of being thankful for everyday blessings.
"Like the gardener,
Thankful for every green sprout,
And the fireman,
For putting the fire out,
There are everyday blessings,
You don't need to look far,
To know at a glance,
 How special you are."

MrsK's Review:
What does being thankful mean? How do we explain this amazing gift to a child? Or should we be learning this gift from our children?

Every now and then, we should stop... and consider what others might be thankful for. If you are a teacher... a parent... a grandparent, what would you be thankful for? Have you ever wondered what a waitress, or a reporter, or even a traveler might be thankful for?

This is a simple story about a sister and her little brother. Although the poem leads you into the lives of artists, everyday workers, and a few adventurers... the illustrations narrow your attention into the daily life and home of these two children. With every turn of the page, you and your little ones will wonder... Who will the next page be about?

This beautiful book is meant to be shared again, and again, and again. Be playful with each verse. Take these discoveries beyond the pages into your daily "coming and goings." Re-visit this book every November. Then, as the years pass by... let them continue its journey.

Quality craftsmanship perfectly blended between poetic verse and joy-filled illustrations,
Enjoy "falling" into the discovery of thankfulness,

Enjoyable read-aloud... Delightful illustrations... Wonderful discussions!
 Meet the Author:
   As a young child I spent Saturdays at the Sellers Memorial Library in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania. It was there that I fell in love with words and decided to become a writer.

My father gave me his old black manual typewriter. The key of Z stuck. Fine. I would not write stories about zebras or zippers. My father made me a desk from orange crates. My mother filled a box with paper. And that's how I began. 

 I looked at the trees outside my window. They were turning red and gold. I heard geese honking across the pond. I thought of how much I loved the changing of the seasons. How much I enjoyed getting ready for each one. Summer: dust the patio furniture. Spring: plant my herb garden. Fall: scour soup pot. Winter: play my Christmas cd's. I thought, too, about how important the arts are in all the seasons of my life. I thought about my playful--but unsuccessful--attempts at juggling. And I put the thoughts into words.

And it was a good day.

When I am not writing poems, stories and books for children you might find me . . .pouring tea. . . trying on hats. . . picking herbs. '. . painting in my dream journal. . . browsing in thrift shops. . . dancing barefoot. . . waiting for the mailman. . . star-watching with my husband . . . curled up with a novel. . . taking a nap on the back porch. Zzzzzzzz. ...

Meet the Illustrator:
Born in the UK, Archie Preston first arrived in the States working as a stuntman in Hollywood. After appearing in many films, tragedy struck when he fell badly during filming. Being unable to continue his dangerous lifestyle, Archie turned to his other great passion in life, illustration.

This is his first published book. "This was a very challenging book," says Archie, "the text was so open to interpretation, but once I found my way in, it became one of my easiest stunts to pull off."

 Harper Collins Logo

The Looney Experiment by Luke Reynolds

Luke Reynolds
Publisher's Synopsis:
Life lessons in bullying, first love, and an up-close examination of the meaning of courage for kids ages 11-14.
Author Luke Reynolds's humorous and heart-warming contemporary novel chronicles one boy's journey through bullying, first love, and a discovery of the meaning of courage.
Atticus Hobart couldn't feel worse. Not only does he have the world's most overactive imagination, he's in love with a girl he can't talk to, is the class bully's personal punching bag, and to top it all off, his dad just left the family. Into this drama steps Mr. Looney, an older than dirt and crazier than insanity itself seventy-seven-year-old substitute English teacher with a very unconventional approach to teaching. But Atticus soon discovers there's more to Mr. Looney's methods than he'd first thought. And as Atticus begins to unlock the meaning behind his own name, he finds that his imagination can help him forge his own voice, and maybe-just maybe-show him that the power to face his problems was inside him all along.

MrsK's Review:
When a new book arrives, there is always anticipated joy. Often, there is a delightful surprise... an unexpected character or a great enjoyable story line. Atticus and his experiences will bring out the "joy" in reading for everyone who chooses this middle school journey.

"I don't know why I can't speak in class.
All I know is that when I try to get what's in my head to come out for other people to hear,
it doesn't work."
Atticus is intelligent, his imagination is like a script waiting to be published. He is kind, compassionate, and being bullied. Middle school is difficult for everyone, yet this year in particular is made of the stuff that would cause "cracks" in his schemata about life. This year the bullying goes beyond words... this year his father needs a "Figure-Myself-Out" leave of absence ... this year he realizes that a girl friend is no longer just a friend... this year he discovers the strength with in... because this year Mr. Looney comes as a substitute to his middle school English class.

At Levy Field, Atticus knows that he "stinks" in baseball. Danny the bully, creates the worst possible atmosphere every time he goes to bat. Atticus becomes Fatticus the boy who can't play ball! Oh how he wishes he could pay back Danny, the bully machine, or better known as "Fanny" in his imagination.

"So, my life is pretty much a mess, and into all of this confusion comes a
really, really, really, really old guy..."
Could you imagine, right away all Mr. Looney does is stare. Not just at the class but up close and personal in each of their faces. Is he some kind of a psycho? Is he mentally unstable or legally insane? Wait.. what, did he really stare me down and then "wink?"

On the second day of class, Atticus arrives to an emptied classroom... including no teacher. When no one shows up, the class is "stunned" into silence... that is until a loud crash brings in loud jungle sounds. Far back in the classroom a door opens and in comes Mr. Looney...
 "... wearing these ratty jeans... some kind of tie-dyed T-shirt... carrying a huge wooden stick... and hunched over..."

"What the heck?!"  Once Mr. Looney begins making noises, animal sounds, and made up words ("OOO-SHI-MONGOOO... OOO-SI-MONGOOO... KACHICHI... KACHICHI!"). The craziness gets out of control.

"I am seventy-seven years old. I have taught forty-nine years of students just like you.
And I have learned one thing. 
Only one thing."
Atticus is on the edge, hooked by the best hook... what Atticus discovers is...
  • Who he is afraid of.
  • Why teachers are never around when you need one.
  • Why an author writes a book.
  • The definition of a father. 
  • Where courage comes from.
  • How to use his voice in class.
  • How to revise his thoughts.
  • What's beneath the surface of what "we" show others.
  • When life is about being the best version of himself.
  • When something is broken it can always be redeemed.
  • Healing
  • Having a story worth telling.
Read to discover the inspiration and courage that Atticus would like to share,
"When most teachers and students read a book,
they focus on what they think is important.
They ask questions about the plot... the theme... the storyline...
There is something so much more important... when it comes to reading a book.
Who are the people in the book?
Who are you in their company?"
Inspiring fun... Excellent characters... A story just waiting to be re-shared!
A must for all classroom and library shelves.

Meet the Author:
  Why I Love Writing: "I learn by going where I have to go." --Theodore Roethke; "In order to discover new lands, one must be willing to lose sight of the shore for a long time." --Andre Gide; "One man loved the pilgrim soul in you / And loved the sorrows of your changing face." --W.B. Yeats; "Growing up, poetry had been the sanctuary, that space in words where longing could be spoken." --bell hooks; "I saw the angel in the marble and carved him out until I set him free." --Michaelangelo


Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Pipsie Nature Detective by Rick DeDonato

Pipsie, Nature Detective: The Disappearing Caterpillar
ISBN: 9781477826300
Publisher's Synopsis:
Pipsie loves everything wild—from dragonflies to oceans to tall, tall trees. She also loves solving mysteries. That’s why she’s a nature detective! When she and her turtle, Alfred, notice that their new friend, Frannie the caterpillar, has vanished, Pipsie is on the case. She grabs her magnifying glass, goes to her tree-house headquarters, and begins to search for clues. It’s time to make this mystery history!

Bursting with personality, this engaging story introduces a spunky new girl detective, a scooter-driving turtle who loves to eat, and a string of simple scientific clues that will keep kids turning the pages until the mystery is solved. Two pages of nature fun facts at the end of the story offer even more information for young nature detectives.

MrsK's Review:
Pipsie is a nature detective. She is so inquisitive, so determined, and very savvy as a detective. Her mission is to find her friend Frannie. Now Frannie was an unexpected friend who showed up one morning on Alfred Z Turtle (not just her pet but her assistant, her partner, her catalyst)...
"As sure as the shell on his back,
there were Yellow and Black stripes on his head!" 

As their friendship "transforms," it is with dismay that seven days later Frannie goes missing. "With out a doubt," Pipsie and Alfred will search in "dark and icky places... sweet and sticky places... inside and outside..." there is no place they won't search!

This delightful mystery is quite "snappy." Pipsie overflows with personality. The scientific explanation of a caterpillar's metamorphosis into a butterfly is detailed with perfected word choice, journal illustrations (of course a detective keeps a detailed notebook of inquiry), and factual information that matches the audience's sense of discovery. Leaving no learning unavailable, there is six fun facts for discovery, as well as a Pipsie learning link for "closer" inspection. The attention to detail, especially in the journal entries provides endless opportunities for reader's to discuss and choose to copy into their own "nature detective" notebooks.

A must read... re-read... read again... and share adventure,
Delightfully inspiring, alluring, and perfected for all audiences.
 click the above link for Pipsie discovery fun
Meet the Author:
  Rick was introduced to the world of art and creativity by his parents, Audrey and Emil DeDonato. His mom could look at anything and draw it. His Dad owned an advertising agency in Manhattan, where Rick loved to hang out with the artists and designers. Everyone was creative there!

These days Rick spends his time creating marketing and advertising campaigns. He writes and art directs and produces all forms of advertising for print, radio, and TV. He has worked with and directed actress S. Epatha Merkerson (Lt. Anita VanBuren, Law and Order) and Steve Allen (comedian and talk show host) and has won several major advertising awards for his creative work, including two east coast ADDY awards.

Fatherhood started Rick on the road to writing books! He wrote personal stories and created books for his kids. Pipsie is a friend Alexis made up when she was little, and she appeared in stories Rick and Alexis  used to write and draw—The Adventures of Pipsie and Alexis! Alfred Z. Turtle who is Pipsie’s sidekick, is the cousin of Matt’s pet turtle, Alfred E. Turtle.

Meet the Illustrator:
  Tracy Bishop 
Hello! My name is Tracy Nishimura Bishop and I am a children’s book illustrator working in San Jose, CA. 
I attended San Jose State University and enrolled in the animation/illustration program because I wanted to become a Disney animator. I quickly discovered that I didn't like doing animation at all but loved telling stories with illustrations instead. After graduating, I worked as a  designer for ten years at places like Gymboree and the Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose.
These days you can find me working at home drawing and painting away. My daily inspirations are my son, husband, and a hairy dog named Harry. 
Some facts about me:
  • I got hooked on drawing when I won an art contest in Kindergarten. 
  • I grew up in a U.S. Army base in Japan from the age of 5 through 13.
  • As a kid, I LOVED reading lots of Japanese manga instead of English books. This became a problem at school when my Japanese became better than my English. 
  • I have an ever-growing collection of pencils and pens.
 "I received this book for free for this review."

Friday, August 14, 2015

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

ISBN: 9780375869020
Publisher's Synopsis:
I won't describe what I look like. Whatever you're thinking, it's probably worse.

August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can't get past Auggie's extraordinary face. WONDER, now a #1 New York Times bestseller and included on the Texas Bluebonnet Award master list, begins from Auggie's point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community's struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

"Wonder is the best kids' book of the year," said Emily Bazelon, senior editor at and author of Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy. In a world where bullying among young people is an epidemic, this is a refreshing new narrative full of heart and hope. R.J. Palacio has called her debut novel "a meditation on kindness" —indeed, every reader will come away with a greater appreciation for the simple courage of friendship. Auggie is a hero to root for, a diamond in the rough who proves that you can't blend in when you were born to stand out.
"Doctors have come from distant cities
just to see me
stand over my bed
disbelieving what they're seeing.
They say I must be one of the wondes
of God's own creation
and as far as they can see they offer
no explanation."
Natalie Merchant, "Wonder"
MrsK's Review:

Once in awhile you read a book in which the character remains important deep within your thoughts and heart. A character so moving, so special, and so inspiring... so alive. Wonder is a book in which the main character has made the decision to enter Middle School after being home schooled. It is a decision that will leave him vulnerable and exposed. A courageous step beyond the safety of his family.

Meet Auggie (August Pullman), who was born with a facial deformity, intelligence, and courage. All of his life he has endured the devastating looks, reactions, and fearfulness of strangers. Now is the time for him to become a student among many who are finding their way as middle school students. Given the "all encompassing" emotions and hormonal changes, middle school can be a roller coaster of fear, bullying, anger, and uncertainty. Why would Auggie want to begin public school at such a time is beyond reasoning for most of us. Yet, Auggie is blessed beyond measure with courage and a determination to live without "superficial" boundaries.

"I know I'm not an ordinary ten-year-old kid.
I mean, sure, I do ordinary things....
But I know ordinary kids don't make other kids
run away screaming in playgrounds."
Mr. Tushman of Beecher Prep school has prearranged a meeting with Auggie and his mother before the first day of school. Like any ordinary "new" student, Auggie will meet some of the staff and tour the school. It is with great foresight, that Auggie's tour is lead by a few "homeroom" students:

Jack is the first student that will extend friendship in the halls and classrooms. Yet, at some point he will need to decide if he wants to fit in with his old friends or stay friends with Auggie.

Jullian is rude and obnoxious (you know that type that acts one way with adults and another with students). The type that is loud, arrogant, and will not let Auggie escape being bullied. When push comes to shove, Auggie will demonstrate true character strength. The question will be if Jullian will learn acceptance of Auggie as an "ordinary" kid... and a friend?

Charlotte is an "artsy" girl. She enjoys all aspects of school, including science. She doesn't waiver in her support for Auggie, unless maybe it's in the lunch room. Will Charlotte be strong enough to overcome peer pressure? 

Mr. Browne is Auggie's English teacher. He values his students and begins school with learning about precepts (any important thought, motto, or saying that guides you when making really important decisions). His students will write-to-learn a new precept every month:
"When given the choice between being right or being kind,
choose kind."
Dr. Wayne W. Dyer

Summer is the first student who braves the whispers in the lunch room and chooses to sit at the table with Auggie. It might seem a small gesture to many... but not only will it prove to be a courageous step towards friendship... it will also be an experience of a life time for both of them.

Whether it is Auggie's first birthday party, the first Halloween school event, the first school trip (outdoor school away from home), or the first meeting with his sister's high school friends... Auggie is on a life-changing quest... to be just another "ordinary kid!"

The depth of characterization will leave a lasting "thumb-print" upon every reader's heart. Those middle school experiences will be confirmed and/or "pushed" to a new level of awareness with dignified choices. The story line is expertly woven between Auggie's story and the voices of those who are changed by their encounters with Auggie.

There is so much that Auggie offers, care enough to experience the "Wonder,"
"Do all the good you can,
By all the means you can,
In all the ways you can,
In all the places you can,
At all the times you can,
As long as you can."
John Wesley's Rule 
golden,star,christmas,favourite,bookmarkAmazing read!
Added to my shelf, Shared with Teachers, 
A must have for all educators and librarians! 
 Meet the Author:
Picture  I live in NYC with my husband, two sons, and two dogs. For many years, I was an art director and book jacket designer, designing covers for countless well-known and not so well-known writers in every genre of fiction and nonfiction. I always wanted to write, though. I kept waiting for the perfect time in my life to start writing, but after more than twenty years of designing book jackets for other people, I realized that the perfect time would never really present itself. It's never the perfect time to start writing a book. So I  decided to just go for it. Wonder is my first novel. And no, I didn't design the cover, but I sure do love it.
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts
Want more... Choose the link below...

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Lost Prophet by James B McPike

ISBN: 9781508420729
Publisher's Synopsis:
After one of the Holy Land's most sacred monuments is destroyed, the Ministry has to turn to their most prolific investigator to solve the case-Vince Ramsey. He soon discovers that they are facing a graver threat than any of them could've imagined. It seems the enemy's primary objective is to abolish the remains of biblical prophets-and wipe out their very existence from history. With all-out war on the brink in the Middle East, Ramsey must stop the person responsible before he strikes again. Following clues through an ancient landscape rich with peril and religious undertones, he eventually is led to a remote desert inside Jordan where Deuteronomy 34:6 states: "God buried Moses . . . but no man knows of his sepulcher unto this day." Backed by a foreign superpower-the enemy has every intention of uncovering the elusive burial place. But can Ramsey prevent another horrific travesty with worldwide repercussions from happening . . . or will the villain accomplish his final blasphemous act?

MrsK's Review:
"Here Lies the Great Hebrew Prophet

"Just follow me, please, and I will show you the highlight of our tour..." Holy sites create such a sense of being grounded. An inspiring "truth" when history can welcome you back into the fold. Unfortunately, many sites are entangled with controversial ownership... re-written history presented as truth... consistent vandalism... and threatened destruction. 

While enjoying the "blissful" Tahitian shores, Vince Ramsey and April Fulton were cherishing all of the splendor of the moment. Drifting thoughts of just giving up their old life and reinventing a new "islander" life was very tempting. An enjoyable dream... until a mysterious message was passed onto Vince. Did the bartender give him a used napkin by mistake? Who even knew where to contact him? What could be so urgent?

Daniel Kopinsky, a counterintelligence techie for the Ministry of Jerusalem, knew all about the "most brilliant investigator," Vince Ramsey. The only one who could track down and stop the power behind the destruction of the holy sites of the Prophets. While Vince and April have been away, the Tomb of Prophets became nothing more than rubble. Who committed the "atrocious" act? Who would have absolutely no "regard" for the sanctity of human life, history, or the "priceless" shrine?

The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) knows that such destruction is connected to someone loyal to ISIS. Vince is trained, and perhaps the only one who can track, eliminate, and deliver justice for such atrocious attacks of evil.

Once back in Israel, Vince learns of another target. This time it will prove catastrophic for the ministry and IDF. Who is this woman caught on tape? What is her connection? Who is the mastermind behind the destruction of the prophet's tombs? What are they after and why destroy the sites? There must be a central, command location... can it be found before any other site is destroyed? 

Vince's biblical training leads to discernment about various scriptural passages, its depth of meaning, and burial location of the most sacred biblical prophet in all of history. Will he be able to keep the remains of Moses from harm?

"How were you able to ... defeat those Israeli soldiers?
In the shadowy backseat something of a diabolical snicker crossed
Markovich's face. No one else saw it..." 

As the body count increases, time is running out for Vince. Once the identity of the "Bandit" is learned, you are drawn in to the arrogance of evil. Embedded within the plot is the truth that this evil is not against man (completely insignificant), it is against God and eliminating any "sign" of the holy prophets. With diabolical schemes "exploding" across the Middle East, you will become anxious as the pace shifts into an extreme chase. The characters are not super human, they endure doubt, pain, and rage against a force that appears to be "protected" and dismissive. The biblical locations are perfected with simplicity, as well as intrigue (I found myself looking online for added information and of course those visual connections). I had not read the first book, Realm of the Unknown, but now that I am "hooked" on these characters and their missions... it won't be long before another review will be written!

While you are waiting for your copy, here are a few aspects for exploration:
  • The King's Highway: Numbers 20:17-21
  • Mount Nebo: 2 Maccabees 2:4-7
  • The lost prophet: Deuteronomy 34:6
  • Prophetic timeline: Jeremiah 32:20
  • Kir of Moab: Isaiah 15:1
  • Kerak Castle
  • Raphael: Tobit
  • Mount Salvat
Enjoyable, Inquisitive, and Illuminating
The Cave of the Partriarchs
Tomb of Zechariah (right) and Bnei-Hezir cluster (Left).
Quick, Engaging, Poignant
Captivating biblical intrigue!
Meet the Author:
   McPike's latest novel THE LOST PROPHET won the PACIFIC BOOK AWARD for the Christian Mystery/Thriller genre. His 700-page debut novel FINAL OUTCOME won the SILVER MEDAL from READERS' FAVORITE in the Christian/Fantasy genre. It was also nominated with 5% (50 of a 1,000) books from the publisher for the 17th EVVY Awards. He won the Ponderosa Lion's Club Spelling Bee in 1997. A year later he was an Honorable Mention for the William Saroyan San Joaquin Valley writing contest. He currently resides in Fresno, California. Be sure to look for his next book THE EMERALD CAVE in early 2016. He welcomes readers to contact him through his website at
"I received this book for free from the Author for this review"
CreateSpace - An Amazon Company 
Self Publishing 

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

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