Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Year(s) in Review - Part 2

The many authors and educators who have spoken in the children's room naturally didn't stop doing interesting things after they visited our Children's Room. (The Bear Pond talk was undoubtedly a high point, though).

Here are some updates about previous speakers. . . .we'll get to everyone eventually, but for now let's start with these:

Duncan McDougall - Boys & Books (2014)

Duncan spoke with us about a year ago about the work of his organization, the Children's Literacy Foundation (CLiF), to engage more boys in reading. CLiF works with children, parents, and communities across Vermont and New Hampshire through a variety of reading programs for low income and at-risk children. This year, we're supporting CLiF with our Book Bears program. Purchase a book to donate in the month of December, and you'll receive 15% off the price (and we'll deliver it to CLiF). Read more in the Latest News from the Children's Room.

Tanya Lee Stone - Combining Passion & Research (2013)

Tanya recently celebrated a contract for publication of her 100th book, Girl Rising. We posted about that event in October. This post includes information on the creation of her book Courage Has No Color, which she had recently completed when she came to speak at Bear Pond. Courage Has No Color is on this year's Dorothy Canfield Fisher list and VPR profiled it this month in their Dorothy's List series.

Linda Urban - The Center of Everything (2013)  

Linda Urban came to Bear Pond Books for a launch party, with donuts, for The Center of Everything. The Center of Everything is on this year's DCF list (Linda's Dorothy's List profile will air this March). Kate Messner, another Bear Pond series speaker, reviewed The Center of Everything for the Nerdy Book Club last March, and Linda appeared again in the Nerdy Book Club pages just last week. Her book Hound Dog True provided part of the original inspiration behind Nerdy Book Club, which celebrates children's literature with daily posts by hundreds of contributors. And right now (in December) Linda is organizing folks for Write 30 Daily - a month of meeting daily writing goals. It's a great framework for writers of all varieties to practice writing and making time for creative work in their daily lives. You can check out posts on her blog (lindaurbanbooks.com/journal) and/or look for #Write30Daily on Twitter. 

Gail Gibbons & Abbie Nelson - Agriculture in the Classroom (2013) 

Another Nerdy Book Club related item - we recently contributed a post called Top 10 Books for Making Lunch, that offered a list of food related picture books, inspired by a visit from Gail Gibbons and Abbie Nelson last November.

Rebecca Rupp - Nonfiction with Personality (2013)

Staying a little bit longer on the food theme . . . we've enjoyed following Rebecca Rupp's series of articles for The Plate, National Geographic's food blog. Her combination of food, history and science has covered everything from how to eat like a pirate to why a pea might possibly have once kept a princess awake. Also, in a non-food-related update, her book After Eli appeared on last year's DCF list and was profiled by VPR in April. Now that we're on our third reference to Dorothy's List, we hope it is clear that we're very happy VPR started to produce this series.

Kate Messner - Writing Workshop (2014)  

Why even bother to try to stay current? Every time we turn around Kate has a new teacher's resource, an important project (like the Great Greene Heist Challenge) that she's rallying folks behind, and of course (happily) a new book of her own. We recommend her blog and website at www.katemessner.com. She has a new middle grade novel All The Answers coming out this winter. As part of the book tour, she will be giving workshops at local schools that include not only reading from the book, but also a look at the process of writing it. We'll be interviewing Kate about All The Answers, and her work with schools, for an in-depth article to post in February.

S.S. Taylor - Writing Workshop (2014) 

Sarah Stewart Taylor visited just the other month to lead a writing workshop at Bear Pond. . . and yet we already have an update. Sarah and her illustrator Katherine Roy have a new three-part post / article "Behind the Scene" about how they created three scenes from the Expeditioners. In case you've missed just how much the book making process info on Katherine's blog tickles us, here is a good place to start. Even better - Katherine is coming the store on February 7th to talk about her own series of science-related picture books and the larger topic of visual learning. That's at 11:00 am in the Children's Room and all calendars should be marked right now.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Year(s) in Review Part I

We're open to (occasionally demanding of) feedback on our author-educators series at the Bear Pond Books Children's Room. One result of last year's input is a greater emphasis on possible activities to use in the classroom. You'll see in our write up of Jason Chin & Deirdre Gill's presentation on Pictures Books Inspired by Nature that we split the article between a general summary and one focused on learning activities. 

We'll continue to experiment with this emphasis in future blog posts. Retrospectively, we bring you this round up of earlier talks with quick notes on the information they contain related to activities you might create in your own classes, programs, or personal study of different subjects. 

Meg Allison - Why Fairy Tales Still Matter (2014)
  • Building stories from the common elements of Fairy Tales . . . these elements provide the foundation for a lot of the stories around us, not only fairy tales.
  • Exploring the stories behind the doors of Moretown, as inspired by the many doors and doorways that caught Meg's eye as she traveled through the fairy tale locales of Europe

Grace Greene - Picture Books & Early Literacy (2012); Dorothy Canfield Fisher List (2014)
  • Using picture books to learn about how stories are structured - includes using critical analysis of picture books for teaching older students.
  • Resources for using the DCF list in the classroom.

David Martin - Picture Books & Early Literacy (2012), Bad Jokes & Early Learning (2013)
  • Using rhymes, poems, silly songs to help kids play around with words and anticipate what word is coming up.
  • Turning books into games / acting books out in the classroom.
  • Background resources on learning through play

Duncan McDougall, Dan Green, Derek Cote - Boys & Books (2014)
  • Links to many resources for strategies to engage more boys in reading.

Kate Messner & Jo Knowles - Writing Workshop (2014) 
  • Overview of tools Kate uses in her revision process, including different types of timelines and maps.
  • Jo's technique of using storyboards to review the pacing, character appearances, focus, overall storyline of a book. 
  • Writing prompts
  • Writing exercise for generating new topic ideas

Abbie Nelson & Gail Gibbons - Agriculture in the Classroom (2013)
  • An overview of resources from organizations participating in Food Education Every Day, which emphasizes combining cafeteria, classroom and community as students learn about food.
Rebecca & Josh Rupp - Nonfiction with Personality (2013) 
  • Developing a voice for nonfiction (versus voice-less technical writing) in the middle grades 
  • Using writers' notebooks to build a world of ideas, with context for each idea, then cut down ("cut until you can't cut any more") to reach the essence of a story.
  • Handout on writing exercises.

Leda Schubert - Picture Books & Early Literacy (2012)
  • Prompting questions to lead through research of a subject. . .  and then lead from that research to stories.
  • Examples of good use of citations / resources / references in picture books (. . . which led to our later soap box speech in the October 2014 Materials Review about nonfiction books that do not include these elements).

Tanya Lee Stone - Combining Passion & Research (2013)
  • Choosing topics for writing (ie things you care about)
  • Examples of tracking down new information, looking in new places for information as part of research behind a writing project.
  • This earlier post about Tanya discusses taking a critical eye to what a writer can really say for certain about a topic and what is conjecture. 

S.S. Taylor - Writing Workshop (2014)
  • Exercise for imagining characters, situations, and tensions that lead to stories.
  • Experimenting with the opening for a book / story.
J&P Voelkel - Successful Author Classroom Visits (2013)
  • Resources for effectively using author visits as part of lesson plans. 
  • An author visit checklist for a smooth event.

Natalie Kinsey Warnock & Jenny Land - Family and Place (2013)
  • Using historical objects as story prompts - including a handout of sample questions.
  • Classroom-wide projects to learn local stories and history, includes research that goes back to original sources.
  • Introduction to Natalie's Storykeepers curriculum.
  • Bibliography of resources for researching family and place history in Vermont.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Top 10 Books for Making Lunch

We're excited that the Nerdy Book Club featured a Top 10 List that was a joint collaboration with Helen & Jane this past Saturday:

Top 10 Books for Making Lunch

This post is based on our 2013 November Educators event for Agriculture in the Classroom Month, when we were joined by Abbie Nelson (of VT-FEED) and Gail Gibbons (picture book author). You can read an article on their workshop here.

The Nerdy Book Club offers a new post every day on the topic of books for children and young adults. It's maintained, and contributed to, by people who love reading! (That sentence felt like it needed an exclamation point, for no particular reason). Today they turned three and have a new post about the experience of the last three years that's a good introduction to the site if you've never visited before.

We'd like to point out that local author Linda Urban's book Hound Dog True helped inspire the creation of the Nerdy Book Club blog. The blog's founders thought that Linda's book, like many books they personally recommended to readers, didn't receive the recognition they deserved . . . so they set up a place to talk about those books. They also award the Nerdies every year to favorite books. And it's time now to nominate books for the next Nerdies. The ballot is open until December 20th if you have titles you'd like to nominate!