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. 



Happy Computer Science Education Week


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!


Dance! Dance! Underpants!

By: Bob Shea

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


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



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


By: Deborah Freedman

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


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.


Be A Friend

By: Salina Yoon

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


Schools First Day of School

Words By: Adam Rex

Pictures By: Christian Robinson



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.


10 Minute Review: The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary


As 2016 draws to an end, I am frantically trying to read as many 2016 middle grade novels as I can before I move on to 2017 books. One book that I have been wanted to read for months was The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. Donalyn Miller wrote a beautiful review of the book for Nerdy Book Club earlier in the year, Corinna Allen booked talked it on the Books Between podcast, and many of my Nerdy friends have been raving about it for months.

I’m not 100% sure why it took me so long to read the book. It probably has something to do with the fact that the book is told in poems from 18 fifth graders. I often struggle to keep 3 characters in a book straight in my head. 18 characters seemed pretty intimidating. Once I started reading, I quickly realized that juggling these 18 different personalities wouldn’t be as hard as I thought. The different voices felt like such an authentic representation of a classroom, that I found myself just attaching the faces of former students that reminded me of Laura Shovan’s characters. Before too long, I was no longer reading about Laura’s characters because I was reading about my students.

The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary made me appreciate my school, my students, my community, and own children a little bit more. It is a beautiful book that everyone should read. Everyone.

5 Non-Fiction Picture Books That I’m Nominating For A Nerdy

I love non-fiction picture books. Sharing them with my third grade students brings me great joy. Here are the five non-fiction picture books that I’ll be nominating for a Nerdy. Please consider nominating your favorite 2016 books for a Nerdy by clicking on the image below.


A Poem for Peter

By: Andrea Davis Pinkney

Pictures By: Lou Fancher & Steve Johnson



Ada’s Ideas

By: Fiona Robinson



Pink Is For Blobfish

By: Jess Keating


Radiant Child

By: Javaka Steptoe


The Marvelous Thing That Came From A Spring

By: Gilbert Ford


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


5 Middle Grade Fiction Books That I’m Nominating For A Nerdy


The Nerdy Book Club ballot is open! It is one of my favorite award list of the year. I love that the books are selected by the Nerdy community. Any list that created by book loving teachers, librarians, authors, illustrators, and other kid lit fanatics is a list I can get behind.

Please go to the Nerdy Book Club and nominate your favorite 2016 books!

Here are the five books that I am going to nominate for Middle Grade Fiction.


Full of Beans 

By: Jennifer L. Holm

At some point Ms. Holm may want to consider changing the L to an N: Jennifer N(ewbery) Holm. Everything she creates is awesome.


All Rise For The Honorable Perry T. Cook

By: Leslie Connor

Perry might be my favorite  character of 2016. I loved getting to know him.


The Wild Robot

By: Peter Brown

Where was this book when I was 10? Man, I would have loved to have read this book when I was a kid.

wild robot.jpg

Raymie Nightingale

By: Kate DiCamillo

Ms. DiCamillo keeps getting better. I’m not sure how that is possible, but it is true. Her work is such a gift to readers.


Ms. Bixby’s Last Day

By: John David Anderson

I wonder how many people cried while reading this book in 2016. I bet it was a lot.

ms bixby.jpg

I’d love to know what 2016 middle grade fiction books you loved reading this year.


Six Things I Love About My Class


1. They are huggers. Third graders tend to show their love through hugs, but this year’s class is quicker to dish out the hugs than any class I’ve had before. It is hard to have a bad day when 8 year-olds are dishing out a bunch of hugs.


2. They love graphic novels. I’m pretty confident that statement would be true with just about any third grade classroom where kids are encouraged to read comics. I never tire of seeing kids discover Babymouse, Lunch Lady, and Zita the Spacegirl.

3. They are honest. Kids are generally pretty honest, but this year’s class may contain the most honest group of kids that I have ever been around. I’ll be like, “Did you take that out of so and so’s locker ?” and they’ll be like, “Yes. I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” It makes my heart sing!

4. They love picture books. No surprise here. I think if given the chance, every human in the world would say that they love picture books. What’s not to love?


5. They cherish read alouds. I LOVE reading aloud to this year’s group. I can’t finish a book without a bunch of hands shooting up with hope that I’ll let them add the book to their book basket.


6. They are book hoarders. Their book baskets are full. Their seat sacks are overflowing with books. Some kids have run out places to hoard books, so they are now sitting on a stack of books. I swear, this one girl in my class has been sitting on Molly Idle’s Flora series for a week. Part of me wants to help her find another place to store the books, and part of me want to wait it out and see how long she’ll sit on the flamingo, penguin and peacock.