Busy as a Bee

It’s been a crazy last 36 hours and the insanity continues for the rest of this week.  I am loving the constant NCTE updates from those attending and can not wait to go to Philly for the convention next year!  Right now I am exhausted but just want to share some news I have gathered from the blogosphere today:


Franki shares the news of a new Georgia Heard poetry book!  I need this yesterday!  Georgia Heard is one of my mentor writers and I can not wait to get my hands on this one. 

-Love Meg Cabot?  Well, for the next 30 days you can read The Princess Diaries online!


Personal Essay Publishing Party

This week we celebrated publishing our personal essays.  I am so proud of the work my students did!  Enjoy some pictures of our celebration.  🙂

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Should Tuck Everlasting Have Won the Newbery Medal?

Recently, we finished reading Tuck Everlasting and my students took their novel test.  As a class, we read three whole class novels each year, which are novels that my students wouldn’t normally read on their own. The novels are treated as more formal read-alouds, with mini-lessons tied to each reading.  My students take quizzes in preparation for middle and high school and they respond to their reading.  They also complete a novel test so that they are prepared for standardized testing, middle school language arts, and high school English classes.  

This year, on the novel test for Tuck Everlasting I added a new essay question.  The question asked the students to state in an essay whether they felt that Tuck Everlasting should have received a Newbery Medal when it was published.  We have only briefly touched on the Newbery in class (they know of my quest to read the Newbery each year before it is chosen) and I was hesitant to ask them a question that required so much higher level thinking on their first novel test this year.  Well, I was thrilled when I read over their answers last week!  My students not only showed me that they were able to use the strategies we were learning in writing workshop but also that they can articulate their thoughts about books and reading!

Some of my favorite quotes from a few of the essays:

“I think Tuck Everlasting should have won a Newbery Award because it was outstanding.  To me outstanding means great, entertaining, what a book should be.”


“Also because it shows that you have to make a lot of hard decisions to make a good life for yourself.”


“My first reason that Tuck Everlasting should get a Newbery Award was that the book treats children like an adult.  This book makes children make decisions.  Should Winnie drink from the spring?  From being a child I know that kids like to be treated like and adult instead of being babied.”


How awesome are those answers?  My students gave deep thought to their reasoning and with no prompting were able to write me well-thought out essay.  I am so proud of them!


National Book Award

Congratulations to Judy Blundell, author of What I Saw And How I Lied!



*I am a bit sad, as her novel is a little tool old for my students.  Well, something for them to add to their own TBR lists!

Love the 39 Clues? Read Chapter 1 of Book 2!

If you love The 39 Clues (The Maze of Bones, Book 1) as much as my students and I do, then you will be thrilled to hear that Scholastic has released Chapter 1 of 39 Clues: One False Note online! Though the book is not available until December 2, you can read the excerpt here.


What are you waiting for?  Go read!

Books, Books, and More Books!

I am fairly certain that my mailperson and USP delivery person hate me.


It might have something to do with the copious amount of books that land in my doorstep each day.  

I am currently buried beneath Cybils nominations, trying to dig my way out.

Hey, who doesn’t love living under a pile of books?  The hardest part is choosing what to read next!

Winter Blog Blast Tour!

Twice a year, Chasing Ray organizes the Blog Blast Tours.  I LOVE the tours, because I get to read interviews with a variety of authors for an entire week!  And the best part?  Most of the bloggers conduct multiple interviews, and most of the authors who participate are interviewed more than once.  I always learn so much about the authors, their writing process, their books, and random factoids from their life.  

This year’s Winter Blog Blast Tour begins tomorrow. Here is the full schedule:


Lewis Buzbee at Chasing Ray
Louis Sachar at Fuse Number 8
Laurel Snyder at Miss Erin
Courtney Summers at Bildungsroman
Elizabeth Wein at Finding Wonderland
Susan Kulkin at The YA YA YAs


Ellen Dalow at Chasing Ray
Tony DiTerlizzi at Miss Erin
Melissa Walker at Hip Writer Mama
Luisa Plaja at Bildungsroman
DM Cornish at Finding Wonderland
LJ Smith at The YA YA YAs
Kathleen Duey at Bookshelves of Doom


Ellen Klages at Fuse Number 8
Emily Jenkins at Wrting and Ruminating
Ally Carter at Miss Erin
Mark Peter Hughes at Hip Writer Mama
Sarah Darer Littman at Bildungsroman
MT Anderson at Finding Wonderland
Mitali Perkins at Mother Reader


Martin Millar at Chasing Ray
John Green at Writing and Ruminating
Beth Kephart at Hip Writer Mama
Emily Ecton at Bildungsroman
John David Anderson at Finding Wonderland
Brandon Mull at The YA YA YAs
Lisa Papademetriou at Mother Reader


Mayra Lazara Dole at Chasing Ray
Francis Rourke Dowell at Fuse Number 8
J Patrick Lewis at Writing and Ruminating
Wendy Mass at Hip Writer Mama
Lisa Ann Sandell at Bildungsroman
Caroline Hickey/Sara Lewis Holmes at Mother Reader
A.S. King at Bookshelves of Doom

(Colleen will be maintaining an updated version of the list here, with direct links to all of the interviews as they appear.)


Who am I excited about?  Melissa Walker, Ellen Klages, John Green, and Wendy Mass just name a few!  What about you?