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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Teaching Tone and Mood

Why is it so hard for students to understand tone and mood? Setting, they get. Plot, check. Character, all good. Mood? Ummmmm? Tone? UMMMMMM?

Fear no more! Check out these great word lists that you can print in word.

Our English Class by teacher Gary Scott


Make sure you watch the videos! Show them to classes. Kids will "get" tone and mood!

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Giveaway and Blog Tour! The Cabin

Two ways to win! 

 I have 1 FREE copy of The Cabin for giveaway. Post a comment to the blog. Include your first name, city, state and email address. The Winner will be chosen at random by Randomizer. Deadline for posts is Tuesday, September 20 at noon MST. Please check your email after that time. The winner has 24 hours to respond to email and claim the prize. 

There may only be one killer, but no one is innocent in this new young adult thriller from Natasha Preston, author of The Cellar, a New York Times Bestseller, and Awake

They think they’re invincible.
They think they can do and say whatever they want.
They think there are no consequences.
They’ve left me no choice.
It’s time for them to pay for their sins.

A weekend partying at a remote cabin is just what Mackenzie needs. She can’t wait to let loose with her friends. But a crazy night of fun leaves two of them dead—murdered.

With no signs of a forced entry or struggle, suspicion turns to the five survivors. Someone isn’t telling the truth. And Mackenzie’s first mistake? Assuming the killing is over...

Can you survive The Cabin?

Another way to win:

Starting on August 30, we'll be releasing a series of questions every Tuesday and Thursday at different locations.

Here's how you play:

1. Take a look at the schedule below.
2. Go to the location on the specified date.
3. Find The Cabin graphic with the question.
4. Solve the question.
5. Head here to submit your answer for that day's question.
6. Complete all 8 questions and be entered in to win a $500 Visa gift card! We'll also be drawing a winner each week who will win a Sourcebooks Fire book bundle!
7. Make sure to submit all answers by September 25, 2016.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Hey, Gamers! Learn Code and Develop Your Own Games! Hour of Code: December 5-11, 2016

Hour of Code

Hour of Code December 5-11, 2016—Join millions of students worldwide  Hour of Code 2016

Video “Computer Science Is Changing Everything”-watch

“Why I Code” –watch inspirational video

Learn How To Code for Hour of Code. Play the games and learn. Play Minecraft, Star Wars, and help Anna and Elsa on ice! Play all three code games. All ages


Go to Code.org
Create an account and REMEMBER your login and password information !
You will need to sign in each time if you want to print certificates.

Click on Try Hour of Code

WATCH ALL VIDEOS and play the games all the way through.

You will learn about EVENTS; PRINT your certificate when you finish the game.

Intermediate Code:

Introduction to Javascript- learn Java from Khan Academy. 

Build your own game with Tynkor Use Code Monster, K-3, Dragon Dash, grade 3+, Tynker + Minecraft, grade 6+
The Easiest Way To Mod Minecraft—sign up and learn new skills. How to modify Minecraft

Bill Gates Explains If/IfElse Statements-video

Mark Zuckerburg Teaches REPEAT LOOPS-video

For Teachers:

Get tips and watch videos; sign up for FREE and help your students learn code! 

Compiled by Pamela Thompson, LMS

Friday, August 19, 2016

Middle Grades Pick: Just Like Me

Just Like Me
by Nancy J. Cavanaugh
Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
256 pages
ISBN: 978149260427

"Tween readers will find much to identify with in this charming and refreshingly wholesome coming-of-age story. . . Filled with slapstick humor and fast-paced action, the novel will engage reluctant readers, while offering fuel for deep contemplation by those ready to tackle questions of identity and belonging."
says School Library Journal

"From pillow fights to pinkie promises, sock wars to s’mores, a red thread connects this energetic summer-camp story with Julia’s deeper journey to accept herself."
Megan McDonald, award winning author of the Judy Moody series and Sisters Club trilogy

My Review:

Who can resist a summer camp story? 

Just Like Me is more than just a summer camp feel good story about the woods, campfires, s'mores, canoes, and singalongs. It's a voyage of self discovery and self acceptance for main character and narrator Julia. She worries how she will ever get through a camp with her two Chinese "sisters." Though not sisters by blood, Julia, Avery and Becca were all adopted by American families from the same Chinese orphanage during the same time period. Avery and Becca live close to each other and  become best friends who love everything from the birth culture. They eat Cheetos with chopsticks and fan themselves with delicate Chinese fans. The girls are even learning Cantonese and Mandarin. Julia, on the other hand, is the "odd one out." She identifies with her adopted family's heritage: half Italian, half Irish but  decides to throw in half Chinese. Julia's mother pushes her to camp telling her it's a great time to be closer to her sisters.

Told through a series of introspective journal entries, the reader will see Julia become more accepting of herself and the others as the book progresses. When the three "sisters"  find themselves as roommates in a cabin with super-competitive campers and competition stars Vanessa and Meredith and Vanessa's "sort of" cousin Gina,  they must learn to work together to win camp games. 

Spot-on tween dialog makes this read a winner! Julia's journal entries add to the action of each chapter and allow the readers to connect with Julia's inner thoughts.

The cover art is a thing of beauty. Right away, you know the book is about summer camp. The girls in three canoes, a bottle of suntan lotion, a captured butterfly in a jar, dirty knees, mosquito bites covered with band aids and the perfect serene blue of the water capture that lazy summer day on the lake. The cover is sheer bliss!

For all those kids who never got a chance to go to camp (like me!) Just Like Me is that summer story they will embrace.
Highly recommended grade 4-7. Cavanaugh just gets it right!

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

For the Love of Football! Interfence

by Kay Honeyman
Arthur A. Levine Books
352 pages
ISVB: 9780545812320

Available September 27,  2016



Advance Praise for Interference

"I loved reading about Kate, who uses her street smarts and political know-how to go after what she knows is right. With its winning combination of football, politics, and a swoony small-town romance, this story stole my heart." -- Miranda Kenneally, author of Catching Jordan and Defending Taylor

"If you've ever messed up big time and yearned to hit restart, you must read Interference. Kay Honeyman's big-hearted exploration of life after a scandal reveals the true meaning of love, forgiveness, and courage." -- Justina Chen, author of North of Beautiful and A Blind Spot for Boys

"Kay Honeyman scores a touchdown with Interference, a fabulous read about new beginnings and family politics, freshly spun with humor, scandal, football, and a little romance." -- Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club and Better Off Friends
My Review:
Refreshing and light, a true winner!
Fleeing Washington, D.C.,  and a scandal, Kate's family travels back  to Red Dirt, Texas, where her career politician and Congressman father is  the local legend and is known as the town's best high school star quarterback. For Kate, Red Dirt can help her get community service hours she needs. She also wants to work on her photography portfolio for entry to college. What she finds to photograph is red dirt and lots of it! A boy she meets  helps her see the beauty of he west Texas sunset.
Kate's parents are so involved in politics and spinning the story, they don't think of anything else, including their own daughter and living in the moment. At first, Kate decides to opt out of her father's race and concentrate on her photography and classes.
Kate takes a volunteer job with her curmudgeonly Aunt Celia at the animal rescue where she  works with   Hunter who seems like he's only trying to help. To Kate, his "interference" bothers her; she wants to be independent and show people she's strong. She does not need or want a boy helping her or sticking up for her. Hunter gets exasperated that Kate is so stubborn.
When Kate tries to play matchmaker for Ana and Kyle, she makes a big mess of things and almost loses the high school football team's hopes for a championship  and her dad threatens to send her back to Washington. Even in a small town, politics can get dirty and Kate will have to use her smarts if she wants to make it in Red Dirt.
Interference is that small town, feel good book where boy meets girl, football is KING and Friday Night Lights, politics are dirty, and gossip travels faster than  a Texas brushfire.
Readers will embrace Kate who is clever and creative. She does not act like a pampered Washington debutante. Shoveling pig stys and birthing calves is not exactly glamorous, but Kate pitches in like a champ. Kate has moxie by the boatload. This girl is a real winner! Hunter is swoon worthy and the perfect "burr" under Kate's saddle (for those not from Texas, that means he's a pain).
Recommended grade 7 and up. No profanity, no sex. This Scholastic book will probably be on fall or spring middle school book fairs.
FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this ARC from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Fantasy Middle Grade Book Giveaway! The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers
Simply magnificent!
I have TWO FREE copies of this exciting middle grade stand alone title. Kelly Barnhill has accomplished sheer magic with The Girl Who Drank the Moon. I feel it is the best fantasy since Harry Potter! Can anyone say Texas Bluebonnet? This is THE book everyone will be talking about. Magical, poignant, sweet, and soaring, the prose sings off the pages like poetry! scroll down to see my review of this title.

For a chance to win, simply post a comment to the blog. Please include your first name, email, city and state. Deadline for posts is noon MST on Thursday, September 8. Winners are chosen randomly by Randomizer. Please check your email the afternoon of September 8. Winners have 24 hours to respond to my email. Books will ship from New York.

What are you waiting for! Start posting and good luck! Pamela

Friday, August 5, 2016

Fantasy Pick: The Girl Who Drank the Moon

The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
Algonquin Young Readers
386 pages
ISBN: 9781616205676

Editorial Reviews


Top Ten Fall 2016 Indie Next Pick
A Booklist Top Ten Sci-fi/Fantasy/Horror Pick (August issue)

Guaranteed to enchant, enthrall, and enmagick . . . Replete with traditional motifs, this nontraditional fairy tale boasts sinister and endearing characters, magical elements, strong storytelling, and unleashed forces.”—Kirkus Reviews, starred review

“Rich with multiple plotlines that culminate in a suspenseful climax, characters of inspiring integrity, a world with elements of both whimsy and treachery, and prose that melds into poetry. A sure bet for anyone who enjoys a truly fantastic story.”—Booklist, starred review

“An expertly woven and enchanting offering for readers who love classic fairy tales.”—School Library Journal, starred review

“Barnhill crafts another captivating fantasy, this time in the vein of Into the Woods . . . Barnhill delivers an escalating plot filled with foreshadowing, well-developed characters, and a fully realized setting, all highlighting her lyrical storytelling.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“Kelly Barnhill is a skilled storyteller, and she crafts wonderfully imperfect characters with poetic prose, warmth and wit. Rather than a strident good and evil face-off, Barnhill's complex story of relative truth allows each character to make his or her own choices, even very questionable ones. The resiliency of the heroes may be partly because of magic, but also because of critical thinking, empathy, deep love and the strength of family in all its unconventional manifestations. The Girl Who Drank the Moon takes a probing look at social complexity and the high cost of secrets and lies, weaving multiple perspectives, past and present, into one cleverly unfolding fairy tale. The knots of miscommunication, habit and assumption that tangle Barnhill's characters may inspire readers to question the stories we're told. It takes brave and creative young people with their power to transform reality to clear the air and spread some light. Thoughtful and utterly spellbinding.”—Shelf Awareness

“A misunderstood witch, a poetry-spouting swamp monster, a tiny dragon with a simply enormous heart, a girl fed from moonlight and a town filled with tragic sadness all come together in this brilliant new novel from the author of Witch’s Boy. Fans of Maile Meloy, Alice Hoffman and Shannon Hale will devour this sad, funny, charming, clever stand-alone fantasy adventure.”—Angie Tally of The Country Bookshop for Pinestraw Magazine (Southern Pines, NC)

My review:
 Refreshing, magical, oftentimes comical, and full of adventure and heart, The Girl Who Drank the Moon soars off the pages! Readers will be enrapt in a spell that will sing to them and wrap them up in a finely woven tapestry of  fantasy and magic. Few storytellers have the gift of so deftly arranging a fantasy or building a world so magical that readers want to live there, but Kelly Barnhill is the best at her craft. If you loved The Witch's Boy, you will love The Girl Who Drank the Moon even more!
Each year, the people of the Protectorate take a baby to a clearing in the forest and leave it as a sacrifice for  the witch. Xan, an old woman who lives with the poetic Swamp Monster and a tiny dragon with a huge heart, always rescues each  baby and travels through the forest to the other side where she will find a suitable family to adopt the baby. The baby will be loved and cherished and much better off than left in the woods to be eaten by wild animals.
One year, Xan is particularly tired, and after picking up the baby, finds herself stopping again and again to rest. As she rests, she feeds the baby goats' milk and then starlight. But
Xan makes a huge mistake. She was so tired and  must have dozed off and fed the baby moonlight. Everyone knows moonlight is dangerous magic.
Xan is happy to raise the child as her own. She knows of no one else who could understand and help the child learn to use her extraordinary gift. She names the girl Luna and insists that Glerk, the Swamp Monster and tiny dragon Fyrian, must learn to love the baby as much as she does. Each year Luna's magic intensifies and Xan begins to worry when and how it will "erupt." In order to quell the child's magic, Xan builds a spell that will keep the dangerous magic in check, at least for awhile. Glerk is worried. He knows that Luna needs to learn about her magic; he worries Xan will die before teaching Luna what she needs to know.
In the tower, a woman goes mad and begins folding paper birds that hold their own magic. Maps tell the way. A man with scars will read the maps and seek the witch. . A baby will be brought to the woods.

Luna's magic is about to be unleashed in a big way. Xan, Glerk and Fyrian will have to help Luna against powerful dark  magic in order to save the entire world.

The Girl Who Drank the Moon is an instant classic and will be a book that today's children will read to their children. Yes, it's that good! I expect this book to be awarded many state awards as well as national attention. I can see this book made into  movie magic as a  treat for the eyes and hearts.

Smart choices were made with cover art. The paper birds seem to glow against a backdrop of blue. The title is centered on the moon which commands half the cover. The child seems to be walking in a near trance following the magical birds as a small dragon hovers just near her face. The dragon also appears on the spine which will be easy to spot on a library shelf. Readers will choose the book after seeing the dragon. The design of the book is sheer delight.

Highly, highly recommended. I would recommend this book over all others this year! It is honestly the best book I've read in years.

Recommended grade 4-up. There are life lessons in these pages--important ones about love, friendship, bravery, family, and heart. Everyone 8-80 should read this one.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation for this review.


Best Books (So Far) 2016

Pamela's Best Books (So Far) 2016
Presented at LEND conference, El Paso, Texas
June 2016
Best Books (So Far) 2016 use the link Best Books 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Book Club Pick: Chasing the North Star

Chasing the North Star
by Robert Morgan
Algonquin of Chapel Hill
308 pages
ISBN: 9781565126275

Chasing the North Star is brilliantly brought to life by master storyteller Robert Morgan.

It is the story of two slaves who use their wits and rely on the kindness (sometimes) of strangers to reach the free states where they will not face the wrath of the whip or the cruelty of a life of slavery. Eighteen year old Jonah escapes after a beating from his master. He is whipped for stealing a book from the master's library. Jonah had borrowed the book to read, but cannot admit it because slaves are forbidden to learn to read even though the mistress of the house taught Jonah and encouraged him to read the Bible. Jonah takes off one night in a rainstorm and begins his long journey North.

He encounters a slave woman at a Jubilee, and she decides to follow him. If he can seek freedom, why can't she? Jonah does not want a companion, and decides to ditch her as soon as possible. Thank goodness Angel does not give up easily and manages to follow Jonah and catch up with him at a jail where she helps him break free once again.

Breathless and harrowing, Chasing the North Star will tug at the heartstrings. It is full of life, heart, strength and spirit. Readers won't easily forget Jonah and his tenacity. This book should be on the reading list for any program featuring the American South. Students of history should be forever grateful to Robert Morgan who is able to take a period of American history and catch all its brutality and fear, yet tell that same story with bravery, insight and compassion.

Readers will love Jonah and his can-do attitude.

Highly, highly recommended adult readers and recommended for book clubs.

FTC Required Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. I did not receive monetary compensation  for this post.