List Fun: Middle Grade Speculative Fiction Deserves it’s Own Book Club

There’s nothing I love better than getting lost in a new world. Bonus points if there’s a pirate or a map or a glossary or a new language! For those moments that I’m reading speculative fiction, I’m no longer trapped in my body: I’m on adventures, I make new friends, and sometimes I conquer fears. For a long time middle …

List Fun: YA Graphic Novels

What can I say about my passion for graphic novels? Here’s what I can’t say: I am a good drawer; I know how to use water paint, oil, ink, charcoal with positive results. But, when I crack the fresh spine of a graphic novel, I feel like I can do any of things, if only I just gave myself a …

List Fun: Cybils STEM Books

Samuel Beckett said “Try again, fail again. Fail Better”. Not only did Swiss #2 tennis champ Stan Wawrinka have these words imprinted on his forearm, but this has become a mantra in education all over the country. Silicon Valley culture embraces the culture behind failing fast and it seems to be paying off. So with STEM (short for Science, Technology, …

List Fun: Great Graphic Novels that started as Webcomics

I love graphic novels! When I found out that many of the Cybils books I loved started out as webcomics, I was thrilled. “You mean I can read some of the best sequential art out there for free on the internet? And it’s legal?!” What is a webcomic? It is a comic that is posted online as it is made. …

List Fun: Dynamic Duos in Books for Beginning Readers

When Arnold Lobel’s Frog and Toad Are Friends was first published, it introduced easy-going Frog and gruff, curmudgeonly Toad to a generation of beginning readers, who readily devoured the antics of this mismatched pair of friends. The tradition Lobel started back in 1970 continues today. Many easy reader series feature characters (mostly animals) with opposing personalities who must figure out …

List Fun: Listening to the Cybils

School is almost out – time to make your summer reading lists. Whether you have a preference for audio books or you want to see what all the fuss is about I’ve got you covered! When I was a round one judge for the 2013 Cybils I was thankful that audio books were an acceptable way to “read” the nominees, …

List Fun: Easy Readers for Toddlers

  Contrary to popular belief, easy readers are not just for emerging readers. Easy readers are a great source of fun characters, simple storylines and engaging illustrations for toddlers as well. Many early level easy reader books feature the same enlarged font and simple sentence structures as picture books. The difference with easy readers is that most follow a slightly …

List Fun: YA Graphic Novels with Diverse Characters

My very first time as a Cybils judge was in 2006, as a part of the Graphic Novels round 1 panel. I’ve participated every year since then (not always in Graphic Novels, but often), and one of my favorite aspects of Cybils judging is having the opportunity to read such an immense variety of books with intriguing, diverse characters and …

List Fun: Cybils Books with Latino Flair

I’m very passionate about diversity in YA and children’s literature. As a former bilingual teacher, I found a huge discrepancy on what was out there during the 1990s/2000s especially stories with Latin@ protagonists. This was the driving force behind me writing Earrings of Ixtumea which has a Latina protagonist being thrust into a parallel world where she has to confront the …

List Fun: I Like a Few Facts With My Poetry

Don Graves, father of the modern writing process, used to always say, “Poets are a lot like scientists. They both observe the world very, very closely.” Each of the books celebrates the merge of poetry with nonfiction. Perfect for science or social studies, as mentor texts for quick reports, or just plain old enjoyable reads for those of us who …