Growing Up Reading

A Twisted Tale!


According to (Creativity in the Class), Fractured fairy tales are a retelling of popular fairy tales but with changes to the characters, setting, or by changing the villain into the hero.

In fact, it was a fractured fairy tale at the book fair (when I was in third grade) that set me on a path forevermore to be in awe of picture books! That book was THE TRUE STORY OF THE THREE LITTLE PIGS.


I was absolutely delighted how the author turned this story on its head and wrote Wolf as a misunderstood victim instead of a villain. And the illustrations portrayed the pigs as just plain wolfists who judged Wolf without really knowing him! So, Wolf didn’t even have a chance when he asked his pig neighbor for a cup of sugar to make his dear old granny a birthday cake and then accidentally sneezed and knocked the pig’s house down.

Later in life I came across this cute story: LITTLE RED WRITING. The characters are pencils and pens and the big bad wolf is a pencil sharpener!


After I became a parent, I had a blast reading SLEEPING CINDERELLA AND OTHER PRINCESS MIX-UPS with both of my girls! These characters rewrite their own stories to suit them much better :)


After I experienced a major bout of depression (after some eye health stuff), this book resonated with me very much… AFTER THE FALL: HOW HUMPTY DUMPTY GOT BACK UP AGAIN.


And one of my dearest book friends (Shelli R. Johannes) just released this STEM/STEAM genius- PENNY, THE ENGINEERING TALE OF THE FOURTH LITTLE PIG.


And one of my dearest book friends (Shelli R. Johannes) just released this STEM/STEAM genius- PENNY, THE ENGINEERING TALE OF THE FOURTH LITTLE PIG.


Shop these fractured fairy tales here on Bookshop.org! (Sleeping Cinderella is not available on Bookshop but is available on Amazon).

Fractured Fairy Tales in the Classroom for all ages


Rebecca Kraft Rector says, “A fun and useful skill taught as early as kindergarten is to compare (what’s the same?) and contrast (what’s different?) a fractured tale with the original tale. Children can compare/contrast characters, setting, themes, and even illustrations.”

Rebecca and I put together some fracture fairy tale lessons and activities in the Little Red and the Big Bad Editor – Educator’s Guide! These lessons can be tailored to Kindergarten up to higher elementary.

Graphic Novels: A Brain Workout

I didn’t grow up reading comics. I am a new lover of the comic medium. When I found stories AND informational books in comic form, I fell in love.

But it wasn’t super easy to read at first. My brain was used to reading prose, so it took me a minute each time I opened a graphic novel to recalibrate to this form of reading. Kids seem to read comics so effortlessly, but my adult brain can tell you that there’s a lot going on up there when you read a graphic novel!

Have you (grown ups) tried one yet? I’m telling you – it’s a great brain workout!

And I’m not just making this stuff up…

“Traditional text is limited to presenting the same information sequentially. But when we read comics, we simultaneously interpret a multitude of visual information such as setting, mood, time, emotion, dialogue, and action.” (Read the full article here.)

My Favorite Informational Comics:

My Favorite Story Comics:

Grownups, I hope you’ll try a graphic a graphic novel THIS summer! If you do, you’ll appear much cooler (than you already are) to the kids in your life!

If you are already a reader of graphic novels, what’s YOUR favorite one to date? Comment below! I’d love to know.

Join me for a special story time at the Computer Museum of America
July 1st, 1PM

Filed under: Doll-E,Events,Free Stuff,Growing Up Reading | June 27, 2022

Computer Museum of America
5000 Commerce Pkwy
Roswell, GA 30076

Tech Tales – Storytime for Young Explorers.

Each week, children will hear stories about computing, technology, creative problem solving, space, robots or famous people in tech. Following the story, children will dive into a fun (and shhhh…educational) hands-on activity. Plan to arrive earlier or stay later and visit the museum exhibits. Consider a membership and bring the kids for multiple Fridays. For group reservations from daycare centers, please email info@computermuseumofamerica.org in advance. Tech Tales, free with admission, starts at 1 PM and runs from June 17th through July 30th. Recommended for ages 5 – 10.

July 1, 2022
Doll-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone
Guest Reader: Shanda 
McCloskey, Author of Doll-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone
Author and illustrator of Doll-E 1.0 and T-Bone the Drone Shanda McCloskey will read her books and lead the activity this weekProblem-solving and technology go hand-in-hand as these protagonists save the day. This is Shanda’s second year reading at Tech Tales. She will teach youngsters how to draw her characters and then fly a drone. Participants will also fly mini indoor drones. (Shanda will have books available for sale.)

July 8, 2022
Computer Decoders
This week we are learning about ‘Hidden Figure,’ Dorothy Vaughn, who loved all things numbers! Computer Decoders delves into the life of a fascinating woman who was a highly respected mathematician. This story describes how Dorothy had to overcome many challenges with grace and perseverance. After the story, Children will learn how to convert a special date into binary code.

July 15, 2022
What Do You Do with A Problem?
Today’s book is What Do You Do With a Problem? This story is a heartwarming tale for anyone who has ever dealt with a problem. No one is too young to learn the importance of courage and persistence. Children will put on their engineering hats after the story and solve for how to grab something just out of reach.

July 22, 2022
One Giant Leap
One Giant Leap is this week’s selection and we’ll be reading near the Lunar Module replica in the Tribute to Apollo exhibit on the moon floorChildren will learn more about the 1969 moon landing by Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin. After the story, participants will create their very own moon rover.

July 29, 2022
Rosie Revere Engineer
We are wrapping up this summer series reading Rosie Revere Engineer. This story follows a young girl who has aspirations to one day become an engineer. Where some see rubbish, Rosie sees inspiration to create something great. After the story, children will become engineers for the day by building and then testing their own structures. Just how much weight can their creations bear?

A First Look at Little Red and the Big Bad Editor!


Little Red and the Big Bad Editor written by Rebecca Kraft Rector, illustrated by Shanda McCloskey (me!) and published by Aladdin, will be published September 6.

I’m just giddy about this book! It’s a book-smart vs. street-smart kind of story, and it was a blast to illustrate. Not only is it packed with fun and action, but also full of learning how to craft a proper letter— finger spaces between words, when to use capital letters, a greeting, and a closing. (Truth be told, my 11-year-old could benefit from this book :)

In this clever and playful fractured fairy tale picture book, the Big Bad Wolf is so distracted by Little Red’s poorly written thank you note to her grandmother that he keeps missing the chance to eat her!

Here’s a peek inside the book!













I hope you enjoyed this peek into the book!

LITTLE RED AND THE BIG BAD EDITOR will swoop into stores on September 6, 2022.

Mark as Want-to-Read on Goodreads, or pre-order now from your local bookstoreBarnes & Noble, or on Amazon.

My Favorite Robot Books for Kids

Filed under: Book Reviews,Growing Up Reading | January 7, 2022

My kid side loves robots and the possibilities they bring! My author side enjoys exploring what makes a reader “care” for a character that’s human, animal, and machine alike. And my parent side is ever interested in childhood with technology – the bad AND the good.

Childhood today is very different from the childhood I experienced, but that doesn’t mean my experience was better, more correct, or even healthier. It’s just different! Kids today will remember their childhoods just as fondly as I remember mine. I aim to celebrate kids today and not to demonize the reality of their tech-infused world. I believe this list does just that!

Check out my top 5 favorite robot books for kids (and why) at the link below!

https://shepherd.com/best-books/robots-for-kids

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