Growing Up Reading

Reading Poster and Matching Coloring Page

With schools starting back in-person all over, I wanted to share a “Read and Recharge” poster (with character’s from my first book, DOLL-E 1.0) that’s FREE for printing, laminating, and decorating your classroom! AND there’s a free matching coloring sheet so your students can also make their own poster!

Print Poster

Print Coloring Page

As always, I’d LOVE to see photos of your using these in your classroom :)

All My Best,

Shanda

Book Reviews are the Bomb

Filed under: Book Reviews,Growing Up Reading,Printable Activities | August 18, 2021

There’s no better FREE way to support your favorite authors than by leaving good reviews of their books on Amazon and/or GoodReads. They can be short and sweet. No need for long drawn out write-ups unless you want to do that.

How to write a book review (for Teens/Adults): 
https://www.booktrust.org.uk/books-and-reading/tips-and-advice/writing-tips/writing-tips-for-teens/how-to-write-a-book-review/

Kid Book Review (printable)

Kids can write a review with this printable activity, then fold it in half and draw the book’s cover on the front. My 7 yo reviewed BLUE, BARRY, AND PANCAKES by Dan and Jason below…

Then (with my help) she went over to https://www.speakpipe.com/AuthorVisitPocast to voice record her review to be used on a future episode of the Author Visit Podcast and your kiddos can do the same!

Listen to Beni’s book review

Do you know Dan and Jason?

These guys make the funnest graphic novels for kids. We have thoroughly enjoyed the Blue, Barry, and Pancakes series and they have a brand new series hitting shelves soon called Barb the Last Berzerker!


I hope you enjoyed this letter, and I’d love to know if you found the printables useful. Till next time, all my best!

-Shanda

Gifting Books To Kids (the cool way) #2 – Halloween Edition!

I got a great response from my original post about “Gifting Books To Kids (the cool way)!” So, it gives me an excuse to put together and share more book/gift ideas – which makes me happy :) I hope it inspires you.

I love Halloween like a little kid. Nothing too scary, but everything else about it is SO MUCH FUN! So when I saw a couple Vampirina Ballerina books ($18 each) (illustrated by one of my favorite illustrators, Luyen Pham) in the bookstore, I grabbed them up! I found a headband ($2) that looked similar to Vampirina’s and a black tutu ($5) to go with it, a fun little make-up set ($3) and a plastic set of vampire teeth ($1). A $27 gift if you include one book or a $45 gift if you include two books :)

The next idea is very simple, inexpensive, and still lots of fun! “Boo!” by Leslie Patricelli ($8) is visual Halloween candy! I paired it with a couple of giant googly eyes ($2), a headband ($2), and 2 Cuties ($1) that I drew Jack-O-lantern faces on with a Sharpie. A $13 gift for a young Halloween lover!

I’d love to see or hear about what you come up with!

Happy Fall book gifting!

-Shanda

LEGO Self Portrait Success!


This summer, the Sequoyah Regional Library System’s theme is “Build A Better World”. So, yesterday I spent a couple hours at Pickens County Library leading 20 very cool kids through a LEGO self portrait! Each one created a totally unique piece. It always lifts me up to spend time with kids! We used a grid technique to draw a large LEGO guy base. It was tough to do, but they mastered it. Then they added adhesive foam hair and details to showcase their personalities. Last, they colored them with oil pastels. I hope the kids had as much fun as I did! I’m thankful for the extra hands I had there too – Barb McCloskey, Ethan Walker, Harvey Jane McCloskey, and Gracie Helton!

Don’t Stop Making Picture Books for (Big) Kids

Filed under: Favorite Picture Books,Growing Up Reading | September 29, 2015

Anyone in the know about modern picture books and the market would tell you that the majority of picture books are increasingly geared to a younger and younger audience as chapter books are expected to be a part of a child’s life sooner than ever before. But I’m here to tell you (as the mother of a bright kindergartener) that this may be a mistake.

My 5 year-old daughter can appreciate reading a chapter or two per night of “James and the Giant Peach,” but it just breaks her heart if we don’t also read one or two picture books. She still lights up as those page turns unfold and the pictures tell a different story that’s not always mentioned in the text.

Picture books are a sweet part of her childhood. I don’t want to take that away too soon. Or ever for that matter. They grow up quickly enough. I want the fun to stay. Sure, we’ll finish “James and the Giant Peach” and I’m sure we’ll remember it fondly, but I’m not going to rush into another chapter book just yet.

Me and my girl have had 5 years of wonderful adventures together through picture books! Here are some of our recent favorites that are especially great for (bigger) kids:

chloe

 

 

 

 

 

“Chloe and the Lion” by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Adam Rex

 

hair

 

 

 

 

 

“Super Hair-O and the Barber of Doom” by John Rocco

 

ladybug purple

 

 

 

 

 

Any in the Lady Bug Girl adventures or Pinkalicious series

 

unicorn-thinks-hes-pretty-great

 

 

 

 

 

“Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great” by Bob Shea

 

carrots monster

 

 

 

 

 

“Creepy Carrots” and “My Teacher Is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)” by Peter Brown

 

dig

 

 

 

 

 

“Sam and Dave Dig a Hole” by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen

 

sleeping_cinderella

 

 

 

 

“Sleeping Cinderella and other Princess Mix-ups” by Stephanie Clarkson, illustrated by Bridgette Barrager

 

rosie iggy

 

 

 

 

 

“Iggy Peck Architect” and “Rosie Revere Engineer” by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts

 

So, Publishers, please keep making picture books for my (big) kid, and we’ll keep reading them!

-Shanda

 

Shanda McCloskey, Children's Illustrator & Author