10 Minute Review: The Youngest Marcher: The Story of Audrey Faye Hendricks, A Young Civil Rights Activist

Last week I read my third grade students Cynthia Levinson and Vanessa Brantley Newton’s The Youngest Marcher. At the end of each day we read a picture book, and I thought The Youngest Marcher would be a good one to share with my students. I had planned on finishing the book before the bell rang and the day ended. Our discussion around the book and Audrey Faye Hendricks’s story was so rich that the bell rang before we had even made it halfway through the book. We finished the book the next day. Our discussion day 2 was as powerful as it was the day we started the book.

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The Youngest Marcher is the story of Audrey Faye Hendricks. Audrey was a child that grew up in the segregated south. She spent a week in a juvenile hall at 9 years old for marching with the Children’s Crusades. Audrey’s willingness to go to jail for what she believed in blew my students’ minds.

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One of my favorite things about books like The Youngest Marcher, is learning about an amazing person that I didn’t know prior to reading the book. My students are well versed in people like Harriet Tubman, Abraham Lincoln, and Amelia Earhart. I feel that introducing them to heroes that might not be super famous helps them to dream big. It helps them to see that you don’t have to be Lebron James of Barak Obama to make a difference. If an 8 year old kids reads about a girl that was willing to go to jail for what she believed in, then maybe that 8 year old kid will one day make a choice that makes the world a better and safer place for others.

Trying to Not Obsess About Shiny Stickers

I spent most of 2012 completely obsessed with which book was going to win the Newbery Medal. It was out of control.

I think this video does a nice job of showing just how obsessed I was. The video ran the weekend before the 2013 Youth Media Awards.

As happy as I was that The One and Only Ivan won the Newbery Medal, that shiny sticker didn’t change how I felt about Ivan. I am glad it helped put Ivan in front of more readers. For that I am grateful.

I’m going to spend the next week trying hard not to obsess over which book I think is going to win shiny stickers, and instead focus on celebrating all the wonderful books people are creating for the kids in our homes, classrooms, and libraries.

 

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 Interview: Elly Swartz

A few weeks ago I FINALLY read Elly Swartz’s Finding Perfect. It seems like my friends have been raving out it forever, and I’m glad that I finally took their advice and read the book. Finding Perfect is awesome. If you haven’t read it, you should probably change that.

Elly was kind enough to answer a handful of my questions. You’ll find the interview below.

 

5,4,3,2,1 Interview

1. Can you tell us a little bit about Finding Perfect? (5)

To Molly Nathans, perfect is:

  • The number four
  • The tip of a newly sharpened number two pencil
  • A crisp, white pad of paper
  • Her neatly aligned glass animal figurines

What’s not perfect is Molly’s mother leaving the family to take a faraway job with the promise to return in one year. Molly hatches a plan to bring her mother home: Win the Lakeville Middle School Slam Poetry Contest. Complicating Molly’s plan, is that Molly has undiagnosed OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) and as time goes on, writing and reciting slam poetry become harder. Actually, everything becomes harder as new habits appear, and counting, cleaning, and organizing are not enough to keep her world from spinning out-of-control.

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2. What is best part about being an author?  (2)

Hands-down connecting with readers! Nothing makes my heart happier than hearing readers share their personal connections with Molly and her journey.

3. What’s the hardest part of being an author? (3)

Authenticity comes from fully embracing the emotion my character is experiencing as I write. So when that character is in a dark place, those moments are hard. When writing, Chapter 36, My Numbers are Showing, the mom part of me wanted to scoop in and hug Molly, but my writer side had to feel Molly’s despair and vulnerability, and allow her the space to discover her own strength.

4. If you could spend one day living in the world of a book, which book would you pick? (1)

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson.

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5. What advice do you have for the young creators in my classroom? (4)

Dream big! Work hard! Follow your heart! And embrace the journey!

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Curriculum Guide

http://images.macmillan.com/folio-assets/teachers-guides/9780374303129TG.pdf

Librarian and Educator Giveaway

http://www.curiouscitydpw.com/2016/12/01/finding-perfect-novel-giveaway/

Unfolding Identity Project

http://www.curiouscitydpw.com/2016/12/01/finding-perfect-the-unfolding-identity-project/

Finding Perfect Audio Trailer

Twitter

https://twitter.com/ellyswartz

@ellyswartz

Website

http://ellyswartz.com/

Nerd Camp 2017 Authors and Illustrators

Below you will find the list of authors and illustrators that are attending Nerd Camp this coming summer. Each creator will be attending both days of camp, as well as Nerd Camp Junior.

You can find out more information about camp by clicking on our logo below.

 

last final for realz nerd camp logo

Logo created by Laurie Keller

 

Julia Kuo

Erin Soderberg

Gae Polisner

Ryan T. Higgins

Shelley Johannes

 

Alex Gino

Laurie Keller

Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich

Caroline Starr Rose

Kristin Tubb

Laura Shovan

Molly Burnham

Erica Perl

Mike Lowery

Elana K. Arnold

Karuna Riazi

Jess Keating

Patricia MacLachlan

Helen Frost

Deborah Freedman

Denise Flemming

Jerzy Drozd

Lauren Castillo

Barbara Dee

John David Anderson

Ammi Joan-Paquette

Elaine Vickers

Nora Baskin

 

Tracey Baptiste

Alan Katz

Anica Rissi

 

Shannon and Dean Hale

Lisa Mcmann

Lauren Eldridge

Dev Petty

 

Jenn Bishop

Sarah Albee

Donna Gephart

Melanie Conklin

Ruth McNally Barshaw

Abby Cooper

Jacqueline Davies

Larry Day

Kirby Larson

Daniel Nayeri

Carter Higgins

Aaron Zenz

Josh Funk

Liesl Shurtliff

 

Laurel Snyder

Debbie Ohi

Juana Medina

Ruth Spiro

Brooks Benjamin

Pat Zietlow Miller

Elly Swartz

Rich Lieder

Miriam Busch

 

Reading Aloud Tony

At times it feels like everything I do on my classroom is wrong: some of the kids struggle with new material, someone is mean to a classmate, the room is trashed, I lose something (this one happens every single freakin’ day).

Teaching is really hard.

It is messy.

It is all-consuming.

I love teaching, and I know that my insecurities as a teacher, probably float around in the minds of just about every person that has ever lead a classroom. We want our kids to be successful. We want them to learn. We want their lives to be better than they could ever imagine.

If I am willing to look hard enough, I am sure that their are magical things happening somewhere in my classroom each and every day. I know that I must do a better job of celebrating those moments. I can learn from the bad ones, but I can’t let them define me.

Yesterday, something magical happened.

The day was almost over. Papers were filed in cubbies, books in the library were straightened, and the chairs were stacked in uneven towers. I called the students to the carpet to end our day, the same way we end it every day, with a picture book read aloud.

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I pulled out Tony. A 2017 book illustrated by Erin Stead. A student instantly noticed that it was illustrated by the same person that had illustrated The Uncorker of Ocean Bottles. That made me smile. Another student noted that Erin lives in Michigan. The kid sitting next him reminded the class that Erin is married to Philip, and that they sometimes make books together.

I told the kids a little bit about how Erin came to illustrate the book. They hung on my every word. In my head I thought about how when the year started they didn’t really seem all that interested in the stories I told them, about the stories I was reading them. We undressed the book by taking off the jacket. A collective gasp filled the room when they saw the case.

The book contains this cool transparent page before the title page. One of my students shouted, “That looks like wax paper. Mr. Sharp, is that wax paper?” By now my heart was so full of joy. My students have evolved from kids that read, to readers.

I read them Tony. They were captivated. In the middle of the book, their is a two page wordless spread. When I turned to that page, they all sat in awe. I stayed on that page for a solid 10 seconds before I turned to the next page and continued the story. Looking back, I wonder just how long they would have sat staring at that page.

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When the story was finished, one of my students commented about how much he thought Ms. Culver would enjoy Tony. Ms. Culver visits our classroom each Friday, and reads the kids a stack of picture books.

The day ended. I walked the kids out.

When I returned to the room, I searched for that thing that I lost (my water bottle). I found it. Then I looked over student work to see who needs more support with the Distributive Property, and I tried to clean up some of the mess. The days I spent in a classroom are never going to be perfect, and their will always be more work to be done. My hope is that I can do a better job of slowing down, capturing the magic, and soaking up each and every moment I have with my amazing students.

Good things are happening.

Little Brown Emerging Artist Award

Have you heard of the Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award? It looks amazing. Please pass on the information below to anyone that you can think of that might  be interested. 

 

Press release:

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers announces the LITTLE, BROWN EMERGING ARTIST AWARD. This new initiative seeks promising new talent and encourages the development of high-quality picture books that resonate with readers of diverse backgrounds and experience, while also providing valuable mentorship by an acclaimed illustrator and children’s book professionals.

Qualifying submissions should draw from the rich cultural experiences of this country—whether they manifest in character, theme, setting, plot, or are derived simply from the artist’s own experience of identity. Diversity includes literal or metaphorical inclusion of characters of underrepresented ethnicity, religious background, gender identity, class, mental or physical disability, or any other nondominant populations.

The award will be given to the entrant who submits the most accomplished picture book submission in the form of a mock-up. One prize is available and consists of American Express® gift cards totaling $2,500, round trip travel to New York City, and the honor of a one-day mentorship with Little, Brown Books for Young Readers’ professional children’s book design and editorial team, and distinguished Artist Mentor Jerry Pinkney. The winner of the Little, Brown Emerging Artist Award will also have an opportunity for his or her submission to be reviewed by the Little, Brown Books for Young Readers editorial team for possible future publication. Each eligible submission will be selected by the judges based on criteria in the Official Rules.

Click on the image below for more information. 

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Happy Computer Science Education Week

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Did you know that it is Computer Science Education Week? This is a super fun week to be a teacher. Today my students will be participating in Hour Of Code. I’ve done Hour of Code the last few years and it is always a hit.

Check out this awesome video with Michigan State Spartans great Draymond Green!

To learn more about Hour of Code by click here.

First Second has collected some pretty interesting facts about computer science. Click on the image below to see them.

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Have you seen Gene Luen Yang’s Secret Coder series? I’ll be book talking it today in class!

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Happy Computer Science Education Week!

5 Early Readers/Chapter Books That I’m Nominating For A Nerdy

Early readers and chapter books became a huge part of my life when I moved from fourth to third grade. My students fall hard for chapter books series, and some of their favorite characters can be found in early readers. In today’s post I’ll share the five books I’m nominating for a Nerdy.

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Click here to nominate your favorite 2016 books for a Nerdy.

Weekends With Max and His Dad

By: Linda Urban

I read this book aloud to my third graders last year. It was a HUGE hit. I’m hopeful that we’ll get a few more books about Max before too long.

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Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?

Words By: Kate DiCamillo

Pictures By: Chris Van Dusen

This book made me want to jump on a random train to see where it would take me. It is always a joy to spend time in words written by Ms. DiCamillo.

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We Are Growing!

By: Laurie Keller

Good luck to the Geisel committee. I thought for sure that Mo Willems would take the prize with the Thank You Book, but Laurie Keller has created something magical here that just might give Mo a run for his money.

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The Great Cookie Fiasco

By: Dan Santat

Teaching fractions is not my favorite thing. This book is my all-time favorite thing about fractions. So fun! So funny!

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Dance! Dance! Underpants!

By: Bob Shea

The scene where Butter Bear goes to the bathroom is legendary.

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Click here to see the books I’m nominating for a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdy

Click here to see the books I’m nominating for a Non Fiction Picture Book Nerdy

Click here to see the books I’m nominating for a Fiction Picture Book Nerdy

5 Picture Books That I’m Nominating For A Nerdy

I love the Nerdies. Each year the Nerdy Book Club community puts together an amazing list of books for young readers. The nominating process is now open. I’m organizing the books that I’m nominating here on my blog.

Click here to see the books I’m nominating for a Middle Grade Fiction Nerdy

Click here to see the books I’m nominating for a Non Fiction Picture Book Nerdy

 

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Click here to nominate your favorite 2016 books for a Nerdy.

Shy 

By: Deborah Freedman

Ms. Freedman has created one of the most beautiful picture books that I have ever read.

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Snappsy The Alligator (Did Not Ask To Be In This Book)

Words By: Julie Falatko

Pictures By: Tim Miller

This was my favorite 2016 book to read aloud to my students.

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Be A Friend

By: Salina Yoon

Every kid should read this book before they leave elementary school. Every. Single. One.

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Schools First Day of School

Words By: Adam Rex

Pictures By: Christian Robinson

Perfection.

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The Airport Book

By: Lisa Brown

I love watching my students read this book over and over and over again. It is such an amazing book.

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