Author Archives: CBethM

img_4187 January 16

“Yes. . .I Have Those Kind of Books.” by Paul W. Hankins

I had a Nerdy Book Club post ready for the administrators to post today. When Cindy emailed and asked for a new bio and picture to go along with the post, I told her that I had a new bio. . .a new picture. . .and a brand new post. This is that post. The […]

the-art-of-holding-on-and-letting-go January 15

Get Those Kids Out of the Room:  Books to Get Your Students Outside and Immersed in Nature by Sarah Gross

The onslaught of testing required by the No Child Left Behind Act has resulted in schools pressuring teachers to prepare students for tests, and time spent outdoors has suffered as a result. Nature-deficit disorder is a term used to describe the loss that children and teens experience when they are not given opportunities to have […]

img_4514 January 14

Picture Book Believing: Sharing Picture Books with Intermediate Students by Carrie Gelson

Stories have the potential to alter our perceptions about our world. We need stories. Lots and lots of them. Picture books, shared in a classroom where writing, thinking and discussion happen, offer countless opportunities for each of us to grow in how we understand each other, our place in our communities and in the larger […]

penguin-problems-1 January 12

​Everyone Loves Penguins! by Jennifer Sniadecki

I have problems. You have problems. Our world has problems. Did you know penguins also have problems? I read many books in the year 2016, but Penguin Problems by Jory John and Lane Smith is one of the few books I labeled “5-Star Status.” Everyone loves penguins, right? Maybe, maybe not, but that’s not the […]

crushing-it January 10

Writing Not-So-Serious Books by Joanne Levy

“Do your friends tell you you’re funny?” I still cringe when I think of the time when a very big deal New York editor asked me that question when we were discussing one of my manuscripts. Because really, how does a polite Canadian respond without sounding obnoxiously braggy (I’m cringing even as I type this, […]

selfies January 09

Why I Love Author Selfies by Sandy Otto

Yes, I take selfies with authors. Lots of selfies. Every chance I get. As an English teacher and avid reader, I love getting books signed by favorite authors to share with my students and add to my classroom library. Their signatures make these books even more special. But there’s something magical about taking a picture […]

the-matchstick-castle January 08

Top 10 Homes in Middle-Grade Fiction by Keir Graff

Homes are important in kids’ books, probably because visiting other people’s houses awakens our first wonderings about how other people live—and, by inference, how we might live once we get to make decisions about such things. (Imagining others’ circumstances also has a lot to do with the development of empathy, too.) I’ve spent a lot […]

DearDragon_cover January 07

OUR TOP TEN FAVORITE FICTION PICTURE BOOKS OF 2016 by Holly Mueller and her 6th Grade Class

For several weeks in December my 6th graders have been reading and reviewing many of this year’s picture books in order to choose contenders for the 2017 Caldecott Award, which will be announced on January 23rd.  I always like to watch the ALA Youth Media Awards with my classes, but it’s way more exciting to […]

stepping-stones-front-lg3 January 05

STEPPING STONES: A REFUGEE FAMILY’S JOURNEY, by Margriet Ruurs, with stone art illustrations by Nizar Ali Badr – Review by Sandy Brehl

  Canadian author Margriet Ruurs is an educator, a prolific author, and a world traveler. Her visits to international schools and other global destinations have inspired several of her titles. But Margriet found inspiration for her latest picture book while at home, scrolling through Facebook posts. There, she first viewed the stone-assemblage scenes of Syrian […]

one-last-word January 04

My Favorite Word by Nikki Grimes

At a recent school visit, a student posed a wonderful question during Q & A.  “What is your favorite word?” he asked me.  Caught off guard, I said the first thing that popped into my head.  “Dream,” I told him, “because it opens up endless possibilities.”  It wasn’t a bad answer, but it wasn’t the […]