> The Things You Can Read: August 2012

The Things You Can Read welcomes you and thanks you for your readership. We, here at The Things You Can Read, ask your help, if you visit our site regularly, please follow us either via email or Google Friend Connect.  Launched on June 7, 2012, our site has already attracted a great deal of attention.  One of the goals of the site is to feature reviews of Children's Picture Books, Young Adult novels and Adult Literary Fiction/Nonfiction.  A second goal for the blog is to be a resource for teachers of English and writing--with examples of student created writing, writing tips, resource links, and the opportunity to pick the brain of a seasoned English teacher.  To spice things up...every now and then, we'll also include random quotes and thoughts on education and life in general, but our ultimate goal is to reach out into the blogosphere and be a "Book Whisperer" and "Writing Whisperer" to children and adults of all ages.   Thank you for your readership.  Here is to a lifetime filled with reading and writing.

Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Tour: Six Weeks to Yehidah by Melissa Studdard

Six Weeks to Yehidah
Paperback, 170 pages

"The thing you would notice most was the rain, how the rain fell and fell and never seemed to stop. The sky was constantly swollen with it, then birthing it, swollen, then birthing again, and the hills, like greedy babies, suckled up all that rain. They shone and glistened green as the backs of frogs on bright green lily pads.

Annalise was ten then, old enough that she’d begun thinking about grown up things, like picking her own clothes out for school, yet young enough, still, to indulge in fanciful imaginings of enchanted trees and talking hills. Her best friends were the clouds that canopied her village and the verdant hills that hosted her most precious and outrageous dreams."

As spunky young Annalise travels from one adventure to another, she learns ancient wisdom traditions and gains deeper and deeper insight into herself and her world. Eventually she must make the most important decision she's ever faced -- whether or not to return to the self she has always known.
Published August 2nd 2011 by All Things That Matter Press
0984651705 (ISBN13: 9780984651702) 

edition language English

My Review

Six Weeks to Yehidah

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Reading Six Weeks to Yehidah, the debut novel by Melissa Studdard, one cannot help, but be reminded of a few other books. In fact, the more I read, the more I began to formulate a recipe in my minds-eye:

Recipe for Six Weeks to Yehidah by Melissa Studdard

Directions: Take pen and paper and add the following:

A half tablespoon of The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
A pinch of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
A smidgen of The Odyssey by Homer

Mix vigorously and pour onto the page. Now read.

I must add that what Studdard has created is totally original and not a copy of any of the books mentioned in the recipe, yet certain aspects of Studdard's story do lend themselves to the comparison, but in a good way. 

Six Weeks to Yehidah is definitely different, and like the Chronicles of Narnia can be appreciated on many different levels.  Adults will see the deeper layers the book offers, while YA may simple enjoy it as fun fantasy. I will caution, it is one of those book that if you give up on it too soon, you will miss a real treat.

The overriding theme of the book is self-discovery, and I applaud the author for tackling such a difficult message. There are too few of these types of books out there for young people to read. Luscious narrative fill the 170 pages, and adventures abound. If you take the time to read this novel you will be rewarded twofold.

I also want to mention that the author has created a teaching component for Six Weeks to Yehidah that can be purchased separately entitiled My Yehidah-A Journal into the Story of You, which sounds like a must if you are considering using the book as a teaching tool.  One Amazon customer reivew by Scott Lutz stated, "Within these brilliantly written and illustrated pages of mandalas, writing prompts, and drawing spaces, children can explore and expand their creativity, and tap into the limitless potential within themselves. Melissa Studdard and Cheryl Kelley have created a magical instrument to serve as companion to the bestselling novel Six Weeks to Yehidah. Pick up some brightly colored markers and get set for a journey of wonder and self-discovery along with the vibrant and colorful characters in My Yehidah."  I've added this item to my wish list on Amazon, and I encourge you to check it out as well.
My Yehidah: A Journal into the Story of You
Image credit:  Amazon

I want to thank Sage at Sage's Blog Tours for the opportunity to read and review this book.

More about the author:
Melissa Stud­dard is the author of the best­selling novel Six Weeks to Yehi­dah, and its companion journal, My Yehidah (both on All Things That Matter Press). Since its August 2011 release, Six Weeks to Yehidah has been the recipient of many accolades, including the Forward National Literature Award and January Magazine's best children's books of 2011. It was also named a finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards and is a current finalist for the Readers Favorite Awards.  

As you might have guessed already, she loves anything related to writing and reading, whether it's sitting alone with a book and a cup of hot tea, or attending a large poetry reading or literary festival. She also loves travelling, meditating, going for walks, bicycling, practicing yoga, and spending time with family. 

She currently resides in Texas with her wonderful daughter and their four sweet but mischievous cats. 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Voice of Count von Count on Sesame Street, Dies

Image Credit:  Gil Vaknin, Associated Press - Ap

We, here at The Things You Can Read, are saddened by the news that one of the great voices of our generation has died, Jerry Nelson, the man who gave voice to Count von Count on Seseme Street.  We have witnessed the magic of Count von Count's ability to teach children how to count, while having fun learning how to master the concept.  Not only has "The Count" helped children learn to count by watching Seseme Street, but he has also helped those who have read the many counting books, which use Count von Count's  image to teach the concept in print.  You can still hear his voice this season on Seseme Street, but his voice in future seasons will be missed.
The Count counts a party: Featuring Jim Henson's Sesame Street muppets
Image Credit: Amazon

To read more here is the link to the Star Tribune article.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

What Message Does this Send?

Yes please review, review, review
Image Credit:  Pinterest

As a teacher, I strive hard to send the right message to my students.  I don't know what to make of the recent New York Times Article entitled The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy.  I have to say, it is very disconcerting. I spend my days in the classroom telling students to do their own work because it matters, and then I read The Best Book Reviews Money Can Buy, and disheartened does not quite capture how I feel.    It is no wonder that students think they can purchase research papers, if they see adults paying for reviews.  I'd love to know what others think about this article.  Post your comments.  

Happy Reading,
The Things You Can Read

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Monday, August 27, 2012

There is No Place Like Home

Image Credit: Think Mind-Cinemagraphs

A writing activity inspired by The Guardian writer, Stuart Evers, who also just happens to be the author of If This Is Home, goes like this...

Mr. Evers chose his top 10 homes in literature noting that he "decided to restrict it to traditional homes in novels--i.e. buildings in which fictional characters live."  We, here at The Things You Can Read thought it might be fun to have students make their own top 10 list of homes in children's or YA literature.  Their choices need to be either homes they might like to live in or homes they might like to visit.  Give this a whirl, and let us, at The Things You Can Read, know how it works out for you!  What would your list look like?

Image Credit: Think Mind-Cinemagraphs

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Writing Activity: Introduce Yourself-Three Little Words

Introduce Yourself in Three Little Words

Breaking the ice during the first few weeks of school is always tricky.  We, here at The Things You Can Read, are always trying to do it better.  This year we decided to try this activity.  Hand students an index card as they enter the room, and tell them they need to write three words that describe themselves on the card.  Make sure students understand that they will introduce themselves to the class using just these three words.  In other words, they need to choose wisely!  

Also, consider as a pre-activity reviewing adjectives and nouns; since often the words chosen by folks tend to fall into these two parts of speech.  If you want to extend this activity ask students to take their three words and write three sentences or even a paragraph that describes them.

Example:  mom, librarian, banjoist

Don't forget to let us, here at The Things You Can Read, know how this activity worked out for you.  Leave a comment sharing your success with Three Word Introductions.

The Things You Can Read has to thank the Goodreads Group, 

YA Reads for Teachers (And Any Other Adults!), for inspiring this activity.  If you aren't a member consider joining YA Reads for Teachers (And Any Other Adults!) discussions on Goodreads.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Back to School Resource Series: Giant Cookie Message Maker

According to the Giant Cookie Message Maker, "Giant cookies are much yummier than their normal-sized counterparts."  So make as many as you want using the Giant Cookie Message Maker!

Happy Messaging,
The Things You Can Read

Friday, August 24, 2012

BookPsychic: Book Recommendations

Image Credit: Zara Illustrates
In July, The Things You Can Read wrote a post entitled  How to Answer the Questions:  What Should I Read Next?, which offered several resources that matched or generated book suggestions based on books you have already enjoyed.   Well, LibraryThing has just announced its partnership with Portland Public Library's BookPsychic, which is a similar resource.  Here is what LibraryThing has to say in their post regarding BookPsychic:
As you rate books and DVDs there, BookPsychic learns more and more about your tastes, and comes up with recommendation lists. And everything shown or recommended is available at your library. Simple “bookstore” genres, like “Recent fiction” and “History,” help you zero in on the books you want.

We’ve partnered with Portland Public Library, in Portland, Maine, as the first library to go with BookPsychic. You can read their blog post or go straight to their BookPsychic. Please note that the recommendations you get will come from Portland Public Library’s holdings.

BookPsychic works without any sign-up process at all. To save your ratings and recommendations, however, we’ve made it easy to sign up or sign in through Facebook, Twitter and LibraryThing. If you’ve rated books elsewhere, you can import them from Facebook, LibraryThing or Goodreads. For more details about how BookPsychic works, see the About BookPsychic page

The Things You Can Read hopes you enjoy this resource, and are always able to answer the question:  What Should I Read Next?  Don't forget to follow The Things You Can Read via email or Google Friend Connect.  We value your readership!

Happy Reading!


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Another Tool in our Back to School Series

Here is another tool in our series of Back to School resources to use in your classroom or on your blogs.  Write your own message for your multimedia presentation using Back to School Chalkboard Message.  Fun, easy, and free, three things we love at The Things You Can Read.  Give it a whirl and share your messages in the comment section here at The Things You Can Read, and one more thing, don't forget to follow us via email or Google Connect.

Happy Reading
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

More Resources: Warholize Me

Again, in our mission, here at The Things You Can Read, to find all things exciting and invigorating for the new school year here is another tool you might find useful.  Have you ever heard of Andy Warhol?  Well, if you are familiar with this pop art icon then you might find this resource fun...Warholize Me.  We did!
If you don't know much about Andy Warhol and want to learn more check out
The Warhol Museum or simply read this short excerpt from Wikipedia:

Andy Warhol (August 6, 1928 – February 22, 1987) was an American artist who was a leading figure in the visual art movement known as pop art. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s. After a successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol became a renowned and sometimes controversial artist. The Andy Warhol Museum in his native city,Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, holds an extensive permanent collection of art and archives. It is the largest museum in the United States of Americadedicated to a single artist.

Warhol's artwork ranged in many forms of media that include hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music. He was a pioneer in computer-generated art using Amiga computers that were introduced in 1985, just before his death in 1987. He foundedInterview Magazine and was the author of numerous books, including The Philosophy of Andy Warhol and Popism: The Warhol Sixties. Andy Warhol is also notable as a gay man who lived openly as such before the gay liberation movement. His studio, The Factory, was a famous gathering place that brought together distinguished intellectuals, drag queens, playwrights, Bohemian street people, Hollywood celebrities, and wealthy patrons.
Warhol has been the subject of numerous retrospective exhibitions, books, and feature and documentary films. He coined the widely used expression "15 minutes of fame". Many of his creations are very collectible and highly valuable. The highest price ever paid for a Warhol painting is US$100 million for a 1963 canvas titled Eight Elvises. The private transaction was reported in a 2009 article in The Economist, which described Warhol as the "bellwether of the art market".[1] Warhol's works include some of the most expensive paintings ever sold.
Don't forget to share what you create with the mighty Warholize Me
Happy Warholizing,
The Things You Can Read 

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another Great Tool: Animoto for Educators

In The Things You Can Read's quest to find new and exciting resources to make teaching and blogging more exciting, we have found another great tool:  Animoto.  If you use YouTube in your classroom and you noticed all those great projects popping up many of them were created with Animoto.  Check out our one minute video to see how it works.  We haven't shared the best part yet, Animoto will give teachers a free trial for 160 days.  Since you are limited to 50 videos with the free educator account, you may want to consider a personal account too.  Here is the link for all those educators out there: Animoto for Education.  Just an FYI...We have both types of accounts here at The Things You Can Read because with over 100 students, we'll use up our 50 video limit in no time.  Now, if you don't mind being limited to 30 seconds, then you can create 30 second videos for free all the time, but you will still need to set up an account.  Let us know, here at The Things You Can Read, how this tool works out for you!

Happy Animotoing!
The Things You Can Read

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Quotes to Turn a Quote into a Masterpiece: Create a Quote

Image Credit: L. Frank Baum

In celebration of the The Things You Can Read's discovery of Create a Quote.  We thought we'd share a few quotes from the inimitable L. Frank Baum, the writer of The Wonderful Wizard of Oz series.  Enjoy and think about creating a masterpiece using Create a Quote, and don't forget to share your masterpiece with us here at The Things You Can Read.

Quotes courtesy of Goodreads:
L. Frank Baum
“A baby has brains, but it doesn't know much. Experience is the only thing that brings knowledge, and the longer you are on earth the more experience you are sure to get.

L. Frank Baum
“A heart is not judged by how much you love; but by how much you are loved by others”
― L. Frank BaumThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz

L. Frank Baum
“Oh - You're a very bad man!"

Oh, no my dear. I'm a very good man. I'm just a very bad Wizard.”
― L. Frank BaumThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
“I shall take the heart. For brains do not make one happy, and happiness is the best thing in the world.

― L. Frank BaumThe Wonderful Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
“To be angry once in a while is really good fun, because it makes others so miserable. But to be angry morning, noon and night, as I am, grows monotonous and prevents my gaining any other pleasure in life.”― L. Frank BaumThe Emerald City of Oz

L. Frank Baum
“As a matter of fact, we are none of us above criticism; so let us bear with each other's faults.”
― L. Frank BaumThe Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
“Everything has to come to an end, sometime.”
― L. Frank BaumThe Marvelous Land of Oz
L. Frank Baum
“Never question the truth of what you fail to understand, for the world is filled with wonders.”
― L. Frank BaumRinkitink in Oz
L. Frank Baum
“No thief, however skillful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to acquire.”
― L. Frank BaumThe Lost Princess of Oz
L. Frank Baum
“. . .It is the Law that while Evil, unopposed, may accomplish terrible deeds, the power of Good can never be overthrown when opposed to Evil. . .”
― L. Frank BaumThe Life and Adventures of Santa Claus

Image Credit: Create a Quote

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Turn a Quote into a Masterpiece: Create a Quote

We, here at The Things You Can Read, are gearing up for our return to the classroom, and have been scouring the Internet for resources, which we can use to add a bit of spice to our multimedia presentations and our classroom walls.  First, we have to say that we love quotes.  We collect them!  So, imagine our surprise to discover our most recent find.  Turn your most beloved quote into a stunning masterpiece using Create a Quote.  The Things You Can Read is really in love with this Internet tool, and to start the year off, we plan on having our students bring in their favorite quote, and make their own masterpieces.  Do you have a favorite quote?  Share it with us here at The Things You Can Read, and enjoy creating your own masterpieces using Create a Quote.

Happy Reading
The Things You Can Read!
Believe In Truth, Beauty, Freedom, Love, and the Power of Books!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

We Give Books Summer Program Comes to an End

We Give books
We, at The Things You Can Read, hate to see summer end, but as everyone gets ready for the new school year, we know that fall is just around the corner!   With summer's end, we also see all those wonderful summer reading programs wind down too, so we wanted to make everyone aware of the last of the We Give Books Summer Program selections.  Let us know, here at The Things You Can Read, how many you read.  The complete list can be found at the bottom of this post.  Enjoy those last vestiges of summer, as we all move toward fall.  

Happy reading! 
From: The Things You Can Read!

Excerpt from the We Give Books Website:

Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad

Book of the Week
Finish the Read for My Summer program with a second installment of Ladybug Girl – and get ready for We Give Books’ next big campaign: Jumpstart’s Read for the Record. This week’s book is Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad. In this story about playing well with others, Lulu is excited for the Bug Squad to come over for a play date. But when things don’t go just the way Lulu planned, feelings are hurt and apologies are necessary. Sounds like a job for Ladybug Girl, who knows how to be brave and say she’s sorry, even when it isn’t easy. 
Read Ladybug Girl and the Bug Squad this week, and pledge to read it again to help set the World Record on Read for the Record day – October 4!
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