Thursday, July 24, 2014

Road Trip Advice for Rocket

Every year when we hit the road we bring along a new mascot. We know what to expect on our fabulously fun road trips, but sometimes our mascot is unsure and a bit apprehensive. They have heard of being left alone in a hotel room while John and Donna go eat, or have heard rumors of hours spent in a dark bag or purse waiting to see daylight, or even horror stories of accidentally being dropped onto the dirt. This year some of our past mascots joined forces to calm Rocket’s nerves and to offer some advice that will guarantee a successful trip.

Babymouse said, “Road trips are filled with activities from morning to night. Sometimes you just need to remember to stop and smell the flowers.”

Ivan suggested, “You will be in the car with the same people for hours on end. Sometimes you may start to go a little batty and feel like getting short with someone. Remember to always CHOOSE KIND.  

Frankie Pickle remembered feeling tired and that McDonald’s stops were life savers. He instructed Rocket to, “Always get the largest Diet Coke possible when stopping at McDonald's. Don’t forget to order it with extra ice. It can get really hot out.”

Argyle warned, “Sometimes, late at night, you may be a little sleep deprived and things may appear to be what they are not. Actually, sometimes things can seem downright scary, especially when on isolated roads. Do not watch any horror movies before the trip. It will only increase your overactive imagination.”


Not surprisingly, Ivan seconded Argyle’s advice.


Scaredy Squirrel told Rocket that he should not always feel as though he needed to go to costly attractions. He wisely stated, “Sometimes the best things in life are free.”

Pigeon, once again, was a bit self-centered and jealous that he does not get to join in the fun again. He taunted Rocket and said, “Good luck. You’ve got big boots to fill.”

Knuffle Bunny explained, “You may think you are driving forever and might wonder if you are ever going to get to your destination. You will. Remember, it’s a small world after all.”

We hope Rocket heeds their advice. He will have plenty of advice to share with next year's mascot.

(This post was written by Donna for Let's Go Somewhere on 7/30.)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The July #SharpSchu Book Club Meeting Took Place Last Night

Did you miss the July Sharp-Schu Book Club meeting? Fear not! The entire conversation has been archived for your reading pleasure.  A big, huge, humongous thank you to Varian Johnson, Lauren Castillo, and everyone who participated in last night's meeting. 

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

What Books Are You Promoting on the Road, Mr. Schu?

Selecting the twenty books that I will promote during this year's reading road trip is not an easy job. There are so many wonderful books that I want to "read" in front of wacky roadside attractions and tell random booksellers, librarians, servers, and just about anyone who will listen to me about. Spreading book joy is one of my biggest missions in life. 

After much hemming and hawing, I selected the twenty books this morning. They are currently locked up in a secret cabinet in my basement. Not really, they are in an adorable Little Elliot, Big City tote bag that's in the middle of my messy home office. Would you like me to take out one of the picture book gems and share it with you? Yes! OK. 

Flashlight by Lizi Boyd | Chronicle Books | Publication date: August 14, 2014. 

Stunning, right? Creative, right? Masterful, right? Dramatic, right? You cannot wait to read it, right? I ask too many questions, right? 

Add this one to your to-read list. This isn't the last time you've seen this wordless wonder featured here.

(I also posted this on Let's Go Somewhere on 7/30!) 

Monday, July 21, 2014

The Sharp-Schu Book Club Meets on Wednesday

Colby Sharp, Lauren Castillo, Varian Johnson, and I hope you will participate in Wednesday's Sharp-Schu Book Club meeting. Watch the video above and read the flyer below to learn all about it. 

Head on over to the Nerdy Book Club's blog to read Varian Johnson's nerdy essay. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Rocket Hits the Road on 7/30!

Thanks to everyone who voted for him, sweet Rocket will hit the open road on July 30! Donna, Rocket, and I are not sure where this year's trip will take us. Maybe we will drive north. Maybe we will head south. Perhaps we will go north and then south. Not having a clear plan or path makes the trip even more fun and exciting. 

We hope you will follow our adventures here and over at Let's Go Somewhere on 7/30! 

Would you like one of the Rocket dolls featured in the video at the top of this post? Yes? Well, I'm giving away one doll right now. 

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 7/20 to 11:59 p.m. on 7/21. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. If you win, please pay it forward. 

Saturday, July 19, 2014

The Newbery Honor Challenge: 2009

Dear Mr. Sharp,

Happy Saturday! I filmed this week's video when I was in Boston. As you'll hear right at the end of the video, someone knocked on my hotel room door. It startled me, and I hit the stop button on the camera.  I didn't want to break our one-take rule, so you're watching an "unfinished" video. :) 

Please visit Mr. Sharp's blog to see which book he read. I predict he read The Surrender Tree

This video provides a nice overview of Jacqueline Woodson's work. 

"A good story has to have good characters that the reader cares about. It has to have an emotional core so that the reader has something, along with someone, to kind of attach to and go on an emotional journey with." - Jacqueline Woodson

Borrow After Tupac and D Foster from your school or public library. Whenever possible, please support independent bookshops. 

Friday, July 18, 2014

Author-illustrator Scott Chantler

You know the drill. Every Friday, an author, an illustrator, or an educator drops by Watch. Connect. Read. to finish my sentences. This week's special guest is Scott Chantler. We chatted about his graphic novel series, school libraries, and reading. I wrote the words in red, and he wrote the words in black. Thank you, Scott! 

The Three Thieves series is a rambunctious series of all-ages fantasy adventure graphic novels, which I began writing for my own children in 2006.

The King’s Dragon is a change of pace for the series. It doesn’t follow the title characters, like the first three books did. Rather, it puts us in the point of view of the antagonist, Captain Drake, while also giving us his backstory.

I think graphic novels are harder to create than a lot of people think. Comics aren’t just heavily illustrated stories, but a unique storytelling language all their own. The cartoonists who understand that produce great work. The rest? Well, let’s just say that the popularity of the book-length format in the past decade has created a lot of bandwagon-jumpers, who have produced a lot of mediocre books.

When I was in elementary school bringing comics to school was a sure way to get them confiscated.

School libraries are now, a few short decades later, among the biggest champions of comics and cartoonists.

Reading is the only way people are going to know how I finished these sentences. 

I am giving away one copy of The King's Dragon.

Rules for the Giveaway 

1. It will run from 7/18 to 11:59 p.m. on 7/20. 

2. You must be at least 13. 

3. If you win, please pay it forward.