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Rainbow Pre-write

With springtime and St. Patrick's Day approaching, it's a fun time to do rainbow-themed activities. This activity requires very little prep, and kids love it.  Grab a stack of books in various colors and display them in a rainbow arc. The best part about this is you can choose from books you already have and enjoy! I like to let children choose the order in which to read them, so they can enjoy the sense of control. Afterward, set up the pre-write activity. I've made it easy for you by creating this cute printable. Print as many as you need and help the kids go to work! The purpose of this activity is to practice the arc motion in writing, which helps...

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The Wednesday Wars

A book that fosters a love of Shakespeare, explores political issues and family dynamics, sympathizes with the common struggles of pre-teens, and extols the joys of cream puffs? No wonder kids love it. The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt won the Newberry Award in 2008. It's been on my TBR list for quite a while, but when my son's class was reading it aloud, I quickly moved it to the top of the stack. I have to admit, it took me a while to get into it - like, 150 pages. I usually would give up on a book before that, but I'm really glad I stuck with it! The story is told from the perspective of middle-schooler Holling Hoodhood....

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Winter Book Nook

If you're looking for seasonal books to read this winter, here's a list of my favorites. Borrow them from your local library, or buy through these links (in which case I make a small commission at no cost to you). What could be cozier than cuddling up with blankets or near a fire to celebrate the quiet of winter?!     INFORMATIONAL Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin If you haven't read this Caldecott winner, you're missing out! It tells the story of Wilson Bentley, who spent his life studying snow crystals in Vermont. Readers will learn about winter's wonder and the satisfaction of persisting in one's interests. The illustrations are wood cut and watercolor, and they are unforgettable.  ...

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My Favorite Books of 2020

Although 2020 may not go down as anyone's favorite year, I think most of us had a good reading year, at least. I started the year with "As Bright as Heaven," which is set during the Flu Epidemic of 1918. I love a good sad story, and this one touched me deeply. Imagine my surprise when we faced our own worldwide pandemic just a few weeks later! Seriously, no one would have predicted such a crisis. But having read this book kept my perspective in check as the sorrow and difficulties we've faced have paled in comparison to the devastation of 1918. Here are my 5-star reads of 2020, sorted by genre. All summaries and links are from GoodReads, so...

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Halloween Book Breakfast

First of all, you should know that I am no Halloween expert. I've never been particularly into "spooky season." The sight of bones, skulls, zombies, and gore make me slightly uncomfortable. In fact, when my oldest child was five, my husband gave me a nudge to buy a few Halloween decorations for the house. I let him know that fall decor was my jam and I didn't really want to display witches and bats. Still, he encouraged me to do it for the kids. So I did. I now own handful of cheery Halloween-specific items. That's it. That said, I have learned over the last ten years that kids do love Halloween, so I try to make it festive. This year,...

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