Tag Archives: kidlit

3 Books that Could've Been Finalists for the Cybils Awards {undergodsmightyhand.com}

3 Books that Could’ve Been Cybils Finalists

The last two months of 2014 were spent reading, reading, reading. While that’s not too much out of the ordinary, I was reading many more easy readers and early chapters books than normal because of being a Round 1 panelist for the Cybils awards. The whole experience was amazing, fun, and beneficial as a reader, writer, and reviewer. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to have been a panelist!

Our panel picked our shortlist together, which was posted at the beginning of the year. (See all the finalist lists here.) The final discussion we had was awesome – full of in-depth book talk and passionate responses to books that struck our hearts. Narrowing a list of solid books with a mix of literary merit and kid appeal to only 7 books was tough! Because of our limit, we had to knock a few books off the final shortlist that many of us would’ve kept on if we could.

3 Books that Could've Been Finalists for the Cybils Awards {undergodsmightyhand.com}

Three of My Favorite Books that Could’ve Been on the Cybils Shortlist

Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan

Fly Away by Patricia MacLachlan (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon and Schuster, 2014) – Oh my goodness, this book. This book follows Lucy and her family as they travel to her aunt’s farm in North Dakota to help stop rising floodwaters from reaching the house. Lucy, the oldest in her family, has a special bond with Teddy, the youngest, a 2-year-old. The family thinks Teddy can’t talk, but Lucy knows he can as he sings perfectly to her every night. Lucy feels she lacks talent since she can’t sing or make other music as the rest of her family can, but the family encounters a situation where Lucy is forced to find her voice to help.

This book tells its story in an incredibly moving tone, one that will linger in your mind long after you’ve finished reading the story. Quiet in ways and seemingly about “slice-of-life” situations, this book tells a powerful story of trust, connection, growth, self-forgiveness, and love. For a book geared towards 2nd-4th graders, it dives deeply into important themes any kid (or adult!) with family-like relationships can understand. The family relationships are unique, the conflict interesting, and the growth inspiring. As I shared on my Instagram account, this book is like a mix between A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (one of my top 10 books I’ve ever read in any genre) and May B. by Caroline Starr Rose (an incredible novel in verse for young readers).

The Life of Ty: Non-Random Acts of Kindness by Lauren Myracle

The Life of Ty: Non-Random Acts of Kindness by Lauren Myracle, illustrated by Jed Henry (Dutton, 2014) – Ty is a goofy, lovable second grader learning to navigate the wilds of 7-year-old life, amongst school happenings and family relationships. His teacher creates a project where each student needs to complete an act of kindness and prepare a verbal presentation for the class by the end of the week. Ty struggles to figure out who he can help as he encourages his friends, aids his baby sister, and more.

I love the tone of this book. Both the family and kid-to-kid conversations feel realistic, and the book offers a positive message without being too “preachy.” This early chapter book is fun and funny to read, offering defined characters and unique aspects of situations, largely because of Ty’s energetic personality. (He follows such a rambling thought process that I can relate to as an adult, too!) I love how this book shares a different family dynamic with a wide age range between siblings, differing relationships between siblings, and parents that aren’t the stereotypical “dumb” or “mean” that you often find in mainstream chapter books. (I love when a book shows that parents need to learn and grow, too!) A great read aloud for 1st graders or individual read for 2nd-4th graders.

The Sea Monster by J.E. Morris

The Sea Monster (A Steve and Wessley Reader) by J. E. Morris (Scholastic, 2014) – Steve and Wessley are two best friends taking a day at the park. Steve sees something in the pond and thinks it’s a sea monster! Wessley says it’s just a stick. Who ends up being right?

This easy reader offers simple sentences for growing readers and a relatable concept (mistaking an object for something else) with subtle humor in the conversation that ensues between Steve and Wessley. The entire story is told through dialogue and funny back-and-forth humor even preschoolers can pick up on. The illustrations are some of the best parts of the book, including a subplot of a bear falling asleep in the background and a duck reading his book. And, if you enjoy this one, be sure to pick up The Ice Cream Shop, an even more hilarious Steve and Wessley book!

Stay tuned to the Cybils website for the final winners, picked by the Round 2 panelists and announced in mid-February!

Cybils logo

What are some of your family’s favorite easy readers and early chapter books from 2014?

Disclosure: I was not required to blog about any books I read as a Cybils panelist. I’m only sharing these because I loved them, and you might love them, too!

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Cybils awards!

Nominate Your Favorite Book!

The Cybils awards are the Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers’ Literary Awards. Bloggers from various avenues take your nominations and choose winners in different categories of children’s literature.

Cybils awards!

I’m honored to be a Round 1 panelist for the Easy Reader/Early Chapter Book category. That means I read a lot of books (that you nominate) between now and the end of the year and help provide a shortlist to the Round 2 judges who choose the final winners.

You nominate. We read. And winners are listed!

Today is the last day to nominate your favorite children’s books. Want to see what’s already nominated? Read here. Then go here to nominate your favorite (that isn’t already nominated). You can nominate one book per category.

But, you only have today left to submit your nominations! Share your favorites and stay tuned at the Cybils site to see what’s chosen.

Did you nominate a book? Which category?

World Read Aloud Day 2014

7 Resources for World Read Aloud Day

World Read Aloud Day 2014

Today (March 5th) is World Read Aloud Day for 2014! Today is a simple celebration of the opportunities we have to read and to raise awareness of how powerful reading aloud to all children can be.

World Read Aloud Day Resources

Not sure what World Read Aloud Day is? Check out these two great resources:

“The message is powerfully clear: Reading aloud to children can close the word gap. Children who grow up as readers become engaged citizens of the global world, and every child deserves that right to read.”

Five World Read Aloud Day Activities

  1. Read a favorite book with your children, then complete accompanying learning activities. Many librarians, teachers, and homeschoolers have blogs with book-based activities. We have some book-based activities here on this blog, and you can also search through my Book-Based Education Activities board on Pinterest for ideas from all over the web.
    Book-based Education Activities board on Pinterest
  2. Search online for videos of readers and writers reading aloud. Librarian Mr. Schu has several videos linked on this post of his. (Follow Mr. Schu on Twitter for lots of great reading and #kidlit resources, too!) LeVar Burton reads poems from I Am A Book in this video. (If you can’t see the video below, click on this link.)
  3. Take your child (or family member) to a library. Let them pick out a few books to read aloud together right then and there!
  4. Combine the senses while reading aloud. Bake recipes from favorite books. Engage visual creativity by responding to read alouds with art. Act out the events of a favorite picture book scene. Set a poem to music.
  5. After reading aloud, have your child (or student) create his or her own story. You can use a tutorial like this one to make fold a mini-book.

For children’s book recommendations, check out my Children’s Books board on Pinterest! You can also scroll through my recent Instagram feed for picture book reviews and recommendations.

Children's Books board on Pinterest

Of course, reading aloud with your family is for everyday, but it sure is fun to celebrate it and spread the word today, too!

How are you and your family celebrating World Read Aloud Day?

This post is also linked up with Homeschool Creation’s Preschool and Kindergarten CornerTuesday TotsToddler and Preschool Moms Pinning Party, the Weekly Kids Co-opShow and Share SaturdayFree Homeschool Deals’ Ultimate Pinterest Party, and Link & Learn.

The Weekly Kids Co-Op

I Can Teach My Child's Show and Share Saturday link-up