Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The 6th Annual K-4 Mrs. P's Be-a-Famous Writer Contest




Where and when would you go if you could travel in time?  That is the theme of this year's Be-a-Famous Writer contest.  I thought that kids would love the idea of writing about escaping to another place in time, and that teachers could use it as a class project inspiring ideas of past explorers or inventors, or thinking about what advances might happen in the future.   It’s an ideal opportunity to explore some times and places other than our own. Will the time machine take me to the past or to the future?
The contest is for classrooms only and is FREE to enter. Parents you can still participate by telling your child's teacher about it.
  • ENTRY DATES: SEPTEMBER 1, 2014.
  • Contest Closes: November 15, 2014
  • Winners Announced January 15, 2015
  • For classrooms K - 4th grade
Click here to learn more about Mrs. P's Be-a-Famous Writer Contest.


I interviewed Mrs. P. two years ago. It is worth sharing again. 


Mr. Schu: What inspired you to start the Be-A-Famous-Writer Contest?


Mrs. P: Technology has helped make entertainment for children immersive and visually spectacular. All the kid has to do, really, is sit there and be entertained. I thought it would be nice to offer an option that requires the child to use her or his own imagination and creativity. I'd hate for that to become a lost art. On a more selfish level, I started the contest because I love to read stories written by kids. They can be so funny and surprising and beautiful.

Mr. Schu: I tell all of my students about MrsP.com. Thank you for your entertaining stories and interactive activities. What are you most proud of on the site?

Mrs. P: I love reading to kids, and with my videos, I’m able to reach more of them than I ever could in person. It makes me happy to know that thousands of kids are listening to classic stories and using their imaginations - and if they’re using my read-along feature, improving their reading skills.



Mr. Schu: Please share three of your favorite picture books.

Mrs P: Oh, my, what a challenging assignment! There are so many I love - but I understand you may not have room here for the titles of 12,000 books. Okay, three of my favorite are: Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak


Where the Sidewalk Ends, by Shel Silverstein

Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss.

Oh, dear, I’m already thinking I should’ve included Goodnight, Moon and The Giving Tree. But I’ll stop now.

Mr. Schu: Reading is…


Mrs. P: …what you’re doing right now!


Sunday, August 17, 2014

Graphic Novels and A #SummerToSchool Twitter Chat




The International Reading Association asked me to share five ways that I pitch graphic novels. Please head over to Reading Today Online to read my post. 

The following information was retrieved from Scholastic's blog

Save the Date: on Monday, August 25th, 2014, at 8pm EST, we'll be hosting a Twitter chat for parents about making the transition from summer to school. Full details are below!
  • WHAT: A #SummerToSchool Twitter chat! 


  • WHEN: Monday, August 25 @ 8pm EST


  • WHY: Because making the transition from summer to school learning can be a challenge for all parents, no matter how old your child is or what his or her learning style may be. Maggie, John, and Bekki will be covering the following topics (and more!) during the chat: 
    • Celebrations (the end of summer; the beginning of school)
    • Social change (friendships, new teachers, relationships, feelings)
    • Routines (establishing schedules, setting goals, managing expectations)
    • Teacher Tips (what teachers wish parents knew about going back to school)
  • Plus, there will be giveaways! Eight lucky winners will be randomly selected during the chat to receive a Reading Under the Stars prize pack that includes a reading blanket, flashlights, battery packs, bookmarks, posters, and select books.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Newbery Honor Challenge: 2003

Dear Mr. Sharp, 

2003 is not a typo. I explain the reason I skipped ahead in the video. :) 


Have a great day! 


-John



Please visit Mr. Sharp's blog to see which book he read. 

I need to watch the movie adaptation of Pictures of Hollis Woods. Sissy Spacek was nominated for a Golden Globe for her portrayal of Josie Cahill. 



"If you're going to be a writer, you have to be nosy." -Patricia Reilly Giff 













Click here to read a note from Patricia Reilly Giff. 



Download a discussion guide. 



Borrow Pictures of Hollis Woods from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

Friday, August 15, 2014

Author-illustrator Jonathan Bean

I put my Friday sentence starters series on the shelf for a few weeks because of my epic road trip. I'm taking the series off that high shelf that you see over there in the corner and welcoming author-illustrator Jonathan Bean to this virtual stage. 
Jonathan and I chatted about Deborah Underwood, a clean apartment, school libraries, picture books, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and he wrote the words in black. Many thanks, Jonathan!  


The cover illustration for Bad Bye, Good Bye tells the story of the book in a nutshell because the title is also an abridged version of the story.

Deborah Underwood and I live on opposite coasts. Careful observers of our book will discover who I think should move where so that we can finally meet face to face.




Cleaning cheers me up when I’m having a bad day at the drawing board. A clean apartment feels like a fresh piece of drawing paper.

Whenever I visit a school library, I look first at the most worn books. Which books have stuck around the longest or gotten the most love?



Picture books are slim saplings on the shelf but branching oaks in hand.

Reading is like throwing open all the windows on a breezy day.




 Mr. Schu, you should have asked me why I sleep on my artwork? When I moved into my current apartment I didn’t know where to put my biggest set of flat files, so I dispensed with a bedframe and threw my mattress on top of them. I now sleep more peacefully than ever!



I am giving away one copy of Bad Bye, Good Bye


Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 8/15 to 11:59 p.m. on 8/17. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. If you win, please pay it forward. 


Borrow Bad Bye, Good Bye from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mr. Schu's Reading Road Trip

Donna, Rocket, and I spent 10 fun days visiting bookshops, libraries, roadside attractions, and some of the prettiest places in the United States. During our journey, I "read" 19 books that I want everyone to know about. Take a look...


Please click here if you cannot see the video. 





The Adventures of Beekle: The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat




Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder





Circle, Square, Moose! by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky 



Flashlight by Lizi Boyd 



The Troublemaker by Lauren Castillo 



Number One Sam by Greg Pizzoli




Mix It Up! by Herve Tullet





Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson



Flora and Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo 




Hooray for Hat! by Brian Won 




Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle 





El Deafo by Cece Bell 




Revolution by Deborah Wiles



The Year of Billy Miller by Kevin Henkes




Rocket's Mighty Words by Tad Hills



Comics Squad: Recess 




Little Elliot, Big City by Mike Curato 

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House - LIVE TELLING!

I premiered the book trailer for Eric Litwin's The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House on June 4. I bet Eric's catchy ditty is still still circling around inside your head. 



I plan on playing the video and reading the book with my kindergartners and first graders during the second week of school. I can already picture them wiggling, giggling, and singing along with the Nut family. It might look something like you're about to see in this never-before-seen video of Eric Litwin performing the song in a school. 




The Nuts: Bedtime at the Nut House by Eric Litwin; illustrated by Scott Magoon | Little, Brown Books for Young Readers 



On Little, Brown's dedicated website for the Nut Family, you can enjoy more  songs, download activities, and find out where Eric will be while on tour this summer and fall. 



Monday, August 11, 2014