Tuesday, April 24, 2018

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl - blog tour 4.24.18

Author: Stacy McAnulty
Pub. Date: May 1, 2018
Publisher: Random House
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 304
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads

Middle school is the one problem Lucy Callahan can't solve in this middle-grade novel perfect for fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, Rain Reign, and Counting by 7s.

Lucy Callahan was struck by lightning. She doesn't remember it, but it changed her life forever. The zap gave her genius-level math skills, and ever since, Lucy has been homeschooled. Now, at 12 years old, she's technically ready for college. She just has to pass 1 more test--middle school!

Lucy's grandma insists: Go to middle school for 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. And read 1 book (that's not a math textbook!). Lucy's not sure what a girl who does calculus homework for fun can possibly learn in 7th grade. She has everything she needs at home, where nobody can make fun of her rigid routines or her superpowered brain. The equation of Lucy's life has already been solved. Unless there's been a miscalculation?

A celebration of friendship, Stacy McAnulty's smart and thoughtful middle-grade debut reminds us all to get out of our comfort zones and embrace what makes us different.

"An engaging story, full of heart and hope. Readers of all ages will root for Lucy, aka Lightning Girl. No miscalculations here!" --Kate Beasley, author of Gertie's Leap to Greatness

You know how there are those books that once you have time to read, you just fall down the rabbit hole with them?  That is what happened with this book.  Once I knew Lucy, I couldn't leave her story.

I think readers are going to love meeting Lucy.  She has flaws, but they are different than what is typically found in middle grade novels.  At first glance they look familiar - friendships, fitting in, solving problems, being different.  But with a twist on them - being struck by lightning, being an acquired math savant, having OCD, different family makeups - it becomes a new story.  In fact, I think this book is going to be a welcome breath of fresh air to readers because it goes beyond the typical fitting into middle school story.  We've seen many stories how it is hard to fit in, but what about when you know you don't fit in because the strangest thing has happened to you?  And we've read stories of trying to hide who you really are, but what about hiding how good you are at something?  I think with these twists, middle grade readers are going to love reading this story.

And a realistic fiction middle grade book always needs friends.  This book has great supporting friend characters with Levi and Windy.  They are both unique and have their own back stories, but I love how their personalities compliment Lucy's in the same satisfying way as when puzzle pieces fit together - you know those pieces that you really don't think will fit, but then it surprisingly just fits... that's the friendship the threesome ends up being.

I have been a fan of Stacy McAnulty for some time now.  I've shared her picture books, nonfiction picture books and transitional chapter books with readers for some time now.  I think McAnulty absolutely hit this first-time middle grade book out of the park and solidifies her as one talented writer.

About Stacy McAnulty
Stacy McAnulty is a children’s book author, who used to be a mechanical engineer, who’s also qualified to be a paleontologist (NOT REALLY), a correspondent for The Daily Show (why not), and a Green Bay Packer coach (totally!). She is the 2017 Ezra Jack Keats New Writer Honor Recipient for Excellent Ed, illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach. Her other picture books include Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years, illustrated by David Litchfield; Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert, illustrated by Deborah Hocking, Brave and Beautiful, both illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff; Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He’s the Favorite, illustrated by Edward Hemingway; and 101 Reasons Why I’m Not Taking a Bath, illustrated by Joy Ang. She’s also authored the chapter book series Goldie Blox, based on the award-winning toys, and The Dino Files. Her debut middle grade novel, The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl, will publish in May 2018. When not writing, Stacy likes to listen to NPR, bake triple-chocolate cupcakes, and eat triple-chocolate cupcakes. Originally from upstate NY, she now lives in Kernersville, NC with her 3 kids, 3 dogs, and 1 husband.

Ready to own a copy of The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl for your own library?  Thanks to Rockstar Book Tours, they are giving away 3 copies of this amazing book (US only).  Be sure to take the time and enter this fantastic giveaway.  You're going to need a copy... or two... or three!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't miss the other stops on this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about the book and Stacy.
Week One:
4/23/2018- Beagles and BooksInterview
4/24/2018- Mrs. Knott's Book NookReview
4/25/2018- A Dream Within A DreamExcerpt
4/26/2018- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
4/27/2018- She Dreams in FictionExcerpt

Week Two:
4/30/2018- 100 Pages A Day- Review
5/1/2018- Wonder StruckReview
5/2/2018- NerdophilesReview
5/3/2018- The UndergroundGuest Post
5/4/2018- Feed Your Fiction AddictionReview

Monday, April 23, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.23.18

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

My blogging may slow down a bit here and there so I can try to get through my enormous TBR piles around my house!  Only one post this past week but if you know any young readers, you'll want to share these books with them!  New books for young readers

Picture Books

by Cynthia Alonso
This is a wordless picture book that teaches quite a lesson with absolutely no words.  Also a great book to use for turning point.  

The Field
written by Baptiste Paul
illustrated by Jacqueline Alcántara
I loved everything about this book.  Loved the Creole language mixed in, loved everything the game stood for, loved the playfulness of the story.  Loved the colors and how they changed throughout the ups and downs of the story.  Don't miss the author's note.

Backyard Fairies
by Phoebe Wahl
This is a book I would have loved as a child - the idea of fairies just outside our reach that are out there making mischief and having fun.  The artwork is beautiful and I appreciated the diversity of fairies.

Don't Blink!
written by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
illustrated by David Roberts
If you don't blink, you don't have to turn the page.  At least that's the idea in this book that Amy Krouse Rosenthal has left us.  It's fun, it's silly - just the kind of book Amy would want us reading before bedtime!

On the Other Side of the Garden
written by Jairo Buitrago
illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
From the duo that brought us Walk With Me, we have another book that quietly speaks about big ideas.
A story about a parents' separation, a daughter who must live somewhere new and has big questions and wonders about what awaits for her in a new place.  Also about the acceptance of a loved one to these new circumstances.
I find it interesting in many of the reviews, this book is recommended for a young age range.  This is why I find putting age limits on a book is troublesome because why yes, young children can find themselves lost in the fantasy side of the book, it's the older reader who will be able to find the unspoken truths and relate to the big ideas.

Can I Be Your Dog?
by Troy Cummings
A scrappy dog writes letters to everyone on a street asking if he can be their dog?  Unfortunately, for one reason or the other, the answer is always no.  Finally, the dog gets a yes from a surprising person.  Fun for letter writing and supporting reasoning.

The Big Bed
written by Bunmi Laditan
illustrations by Tom Knight
A young girl sits her father down and lets him know the solutions she has to "the big bed problem" - meaning he's getting kicked out of the bed where her and mommy sleep.  Laugh out loud funny and another great bedtime story... unless this one is giving your young one some new ideas!

Kat Writes a Song
by Greg Foley
This is such a sweet book with a great message about thinking positively.
Kat writes a song and sings it wherever she goes.  And wherever she sings it, good luck seems to follow.  Kat continues to spread her good luck music, but what if it's not making a difference?

Pip and Pup
by Eugene Yelchin
A wordless picture book about two unlikely friends.  Young readers will laugh out loud at the meeting of these two characters and the antics between them.

Middle Grade

Out of Left Field
by Ellen Klages
I absolutely loved this timely book about baseball and equal rights.  This time the equal rights are about women playing in sports.  The year is 1957 and Katy is a fantastic baseball - not softball - pitcher.  She just wants to play the sport she loves and be on the local Little League team.  And even though she tries to hide her gender, as soon as the adults find out, she is kicked off the team.   She ends up on a quest to learn more about this history of women and baseball and is surprised to find the results.  
This was fantastic historical fiction book and I found it hard to put down.  I was excited to see there are more books written by Klages, including some that have Katy's older sisters in.
This book publishes May 1st, make sure it's on your list!

The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl
by Stacy McAnulty
I devoured this book - it reminded me so much of another well loved book about a character with OCD, Finding Perfect by Elly Swartz.  This one was different and I could love it in another way.  Be sure to stop by tomorrow when I feature this story as part of the book's blog tour - and for your chance to win a copy!

Young Adult

The Poet X
by Elizabeth Acevedo
This novel in verse will take your breath away - the beautiful words, the emotional story - you'll laugh, cry and be so happy - all within a few pages!  
Xiomara is born to a strict, Catholic mother who is raising her with strict Catholic rules.  Her father seems to be there, but not be present.  Her twin, Xavier, has his own battles he is fighting.  And Xiomara has a love for words and a new found interest in what her body is saying - meaning she wants to explore what it is like to have a boyfriend, to have choices, to decide what she believes.  
I cannot put in words how beautiful this story is and how important the representation it brings.  Do not miss it!

I have quite a few books on deck for this week.  Not sure what I'm starting with first.  Hope you have a great week reading!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - new books for young readers 4.19.18

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

I'm always looking for books that will appeal to our youngest crowd.  Here are some new ones that have come to my attention:

Mon Petit Busy Day
by Annette Tamarkin
published by Little Simon

This is such a fun, interactive book for the very youngest readers!  It's a board book with interactive flaps on each page.  Encouraging little fingers to trace and manipulate flaps and lines and gets little minds thinking about concepts such as shapes, counting and directionality.  This is a book I can see gifting many young readers, but it also will be a favorite in preK, kinder and even first grade classrooms!  Make sure you write this title down!

Celebrate the World: Ramadan
written by Hannah Eliot
illustrated by Rashin
published by Little Simon

This looks to be the first in a series that explains holidays to young readers.  I loved learning more about Ramadan, which is important as an educator because I did  not know much about this holiday yet I know there are students in my building who celebrate it.  Grateful for these mirrors and windows books.
Some books that will be published in the future include holidays such as: Diwali and Día de los Muertos.  
These books are being published as board books.  I wonder if it makes sense to simultaneously published them as full picture books?  They are accessible for the primary age reader, too.

Black Bird Yellow Sun
by Steve Light 
published by Candlewick Press

A concept book about colors - readers join black bird through his day experiencing all of the colors he comes across.  4 words on each layout makes this simple and understandable while gently teaching a new concept.

How to Trick the Tooth Fairy
written by Erin Danielle Russell
illustrated by Jennifer Hansen Rolli
published by Aladdin
May 1st

A fun cause and effect story about two pranksters - a young child and the tooth fairy!  Kids will enjoy seeing the chaos that ensues when the two try to out-prank each other.  A fun story that captures the fun of the tooth fairy.

Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading?  Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!

Monday, April 16, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.16.18

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

Such a busy week after returning from vacation and having a busy back to work week.  Didn't have much time for reading last week to do an IMWAYR post, but lots to catch you up on this week!

Middle School teachers and librarians - don't miss this fun, edgy, girl power book - Love Double Dutch

Looking at 3 IL state reading award lists, lots of great nonfiction reading ahead!

Some new transitional chapter books for young readers here.

Picture Books

My Mouth is a Volcano
written by Julia Cook
illustrated by Carrie Hartman
This book can absolutely be used in a discussion about what it feels like, what it looks like when you have something to say but it's not your turn.  I'm not sure the character or plot develops the way I wanted them to, but it will get the point across.

Rescue and Jessica:  A Life-Changing Friendship
written by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes
illustrated by Scott Magoon
Oh my, what a powerful book.  Written by Boston Marathon Bombing survivors and illustrated by Scott Magoon who was running in the marathon on that fateful day.  While this book does not make mention of the marathon or bombing, instead choosing to focus on the relationship between young Jessica who has just recently become a double amputee and her new service dog, Rescue.  Young readers will see and appreciate the bond between dog and owner and really get a sense of the power of that bond.
Don't miss the Nerdy post by illustrator Scott Magoon and certainly don't miss this book.

I Got It!
by David Wiesner
A book to add to your baseball collection!  Told in Wiesner's typical wordless picture book style, he captures that feeling of being in the outfield and the what it feels like to just miss catching the ball, and the obstacles you may overcome to get the ball and the elation of catching the ball!

Sleep Train
written by Jonathan London
illustrated by Lauren Eldridge
This is a sweet picture book to read to a young one before bedtime, or nap time, or anytime you need a calming book.
This is another amazing example of Lauren Eldridge's talent - definitely a book to study if you've used her Claymates book to see how her talent really has no limits!  Be sure to read the notes on the title page about how the illustrations were created.

Manjhi Moves a Mountain
written by Nancy Churnin
illustrated by Danny Popovici
My friend Kristen Picone told me I needed this one and she was right!  A book for growth mindset, for keeping at a task when it is hard, for social justice.  You'll want to share this one!

The Magician's Hat
written by Malcolm Mitchell
illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
I liked this one way more than I thought I would!  Love the combination of magic and reading.  And I really want a reading tree like the library had in the book!

Hello Hello
by Brendan Wenzel
As always, Wenzel's artwork is amazing.  I love looking at the details he adds.
Short, easy book to read that leads to deeper conversations about saving and protecting animals.

Sometimes You Fly
written by Katherine Applegate
illustrated by Jennifer Black Reinhardt
This will be a a great book to read on the last day of school.  A book that wishes everyone to see all that you can learn and experience.

Informational Texts

The Funniest Man in Baseball: The True Story of Max Patkin
written by Audrey Vernick
illustrated by Jennifer Bower
Max Patkin dreamed of a career in baseball.  But when injuries put him on the sidelines, he did what came naturally... entertained in a comedic way!  Putting on shows by making fun of the players and make spectators laugh became a career for Patkin.
Interesting story about a man I had not heard of before.  I wonder if we had people on the field, instead of mascots, if even more people would enjoy watching the game of baseball!!

Middle Grade

24 Hours in Nowhere
by Dusti Bowling
Bowling has written another amazing book - it's so different from Significant Events in the Life of a Cactus - her talent is really unbelievable.
Set against the harsh, yet beautiful, Arizona desert, Bowling has crafted an entire story that takes places within 24 hours.  Each chapter is another hour in the quick countdown that Gus has to find gold in a deadly, abandoned mine in order to save the dirt bike for a friend from the town bully who has it.  An unlikely group of friends follows Gus into the mine, but after a collapse, they all have to find their way out.  
Another book that will worm its way into your heart, Gus and his unlikely group of friends will stick with you for a long time!
Look for this book on Sept. 4th!

by Kate Messner
You've probably already heard how amazing this book is.  I'm not going to tell you anything different.  I can't believe how Messner was able to weave this story together - using letters, text messages, news reports and other forms of writing - oh, and writing that emulates the beautiful Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson and Hamilton, an American Musical by Lin-Manuel Miranda -  Messner creates a suspenseful narrative that mirrors the real-life breakout that happened in upstate New York.  
As if the way Messner crafts this book isn't amazing enough, let's talk about what the book brings up amongst the middle school characters.  White privilege.  Perception.  Racial profiling.  These are really big topics and Messner tackles them in a way that is so perfect for middle schoolers to understand.  This is a book for those living in all areas and backgrounds to read and discuss.
Look for this book on June 5th!

Currently Reading

Out of Left Field
by Ellen Klages
Baseball and historical fiction?  Perfect time to read this book!  I fell into it quickly, looking forward to more reading time with this one.  Publishes May 1st.

We're having the most horrific spring weather here in northern IL.  At least it's giving me more indoor reading time.  Really, who wants to be outdoors, getting spring planting going?  Ugh, it will be June before that happens!  Hope you've found time to read, regardless of the temperatures!

Thursday, April 12, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - new books to know about 4.12.18

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Here are some new series or new additions to series that you must check out!  Some are transitional chapter books - most between 100-200 pages, all with illustrations and have plot lines that are appropriate for readers who are starting to read chapter books on their own.  Others are early graphic novels - they have the frames and continuous stories we see in graphic novels but these are broken up into episodic chapters.  Happy reading!

Big Foot and Little Foot by Ellen Potter
Big Foot and Little Foot
written by Ellen Potter
illustrated by Felicita Sala
published by Amulet Books, an imprint of Abrams
published April 10th

I was first introduced to author Ellen Potter in her Piper Green and the Fairy Tree series.  I loved how she captured the essence of childhood in a realistic fiction series that had a dose of childhood magic.  Now she is giving us a new series that flips the feel - this time it's a fantasy with a dose of realistic fiction that makes this series very relatable to young readers! Our narrator is Hugo the Sasquatch who has dreams beyond his small village in the woods, yet Sasquatch must stay away from humans which limits his options!  But right away Hugo ends up meeting, accidentally, a young boy.  While the friendship doesn't start with flying colors, the two end up seeing past their differences and finding similarities.  
I really loved this friendship story and I can't wait to see the direction this story goes in.  This is a book I'm looking forward to getting in the hands of young readers.  

The Creature of the Pines (The Unicorn Rescue Society, #1)
The Unicorn Rescue Society: The Creature of the Pines
written by Adam Gidwitz
illustrated by Hatem Aly
published by Dutton Books for Young Readers
published April 10th

If you are looking for an end of the school year read aloud, look no further!  This is going to be such a fun series to read and share with students.  I lost count of how many times I laughed out loud while reading this one.  It's a perfect read aloud, fun and funny, suspenseful and exciting and it's the first in a series!  Wouldn't it be great to read this one aloud and let students know to be watching for book 2 in July?!

Narwhal Peanut Butter and Jelly
by Ben Clanton
published by Tundra
published March 27th

I love this earlier graphic novel series.  Readers who are so excited about graphic novels, but aren't ready for some of the more complex story lines will be thrilled to see this series that is perfect for them.
Narwhal and Jelly are up for more adventures in the sea this time all revolving around food. Jelly introduces Narwhal to the food group known as peanut butter :) and the fun begins - new names, new games and new/old food!  This makes a fun read aloud and a great book to give kids who are ready for a little bit on independence in their reading.

Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading?  Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - IL state award nonfiction titles 4.11.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

We have several state award lists in Illinois that are separated by ages.  The lists have recently been released and I'm happy to see some of these nonfiction books on the lists!

2019 Monarch nonfiction Nominees - this award is for students in grades Kg-3rd

Coyote Moon
written by Maria Gianferrari
illustrated by Bigram Ibatoulline

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
written by Laurie Ann Thompson
illustrated by Sean Qualls

John Deere, That's Who!
written by Tracy Nelson Maurer
illustrated by Tim Zeltner

Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille
written by Jen Bryant
illustrated by Boris Kulikov

Tooth by Tooth by Sara C. Levine
Tooth by Tooth: Comparing Fangs, Tusks, and Chompers
written by Sara Levine
illustrated by T.S. Spookytooth

2019 Bluestem nonfiction Nominees - this award is for students in grades 3-5
Full disclosure - I sat on the reader committee that chose these books.  It is very interesting to hear the conversations that occur "in the room where it happens".  I will say I am proud of these nonfiction choices and think young Illinois readers are going to have fun reading these books!

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
written by Susan Hood
illustrated by Sally Wren Comport

Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
by Duncan Tonatiuh

Game Changer: John Mclendon and the Secret Game
written by John Coy
illustrated by Randy DuBurke

I Dissent: Ruth Bader Ginsburg Makes Her Mark
written by Debbie Levy
illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley

The Secret Subway
written by Shana Corey
illustrated by Red Nose Studio

Ugly: a memoir
written by Robert Hoge
illustrated by Keith Robinson

What Was the Great Chicago Fire?
written by Janet B. Pascal
illustrated by Tim Foley

Whoosh! Lonnie Johnson's Super-Soaking Stream of Inventions
written by Chris Barton
illustrated by Don Tate

2019 Caudill nonfiction Nominees - this award is for students in 4th-8th grades

We Will Not Be Silent: The White Rose Student Resistance Movement That Defied Adolf Hitler
by Russell Freedman

March, Book 1
written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin
illustrated by Nate Powell

Undefeated: Jim Thorpe and the Carlisle Indian School Football Team
by Steve Sheinkin

Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's Story
by Caren Stelson

I think our IL readers have some amazing nonfiction ahead of them.