Welcome

This is the blog of children's book author and third grade teacher, Stacy Barnett Mozer. I blog about my own writing journey, the journey of other kidlit authors, my classroom, and talk about books. Thanks for stopping by. Your thoughts are always welcome (and encouraged).

Monday, August 29, 2016

#IMWAYR August 29, 2016 + top 5


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. #IMWAYR

Friday was the first day back for teachers in my district. I spent the summer thinking through my classroom design and, thanks to some encouragement from #3rdchat, I have decided to do a few new things this year. 


  1. I'm not setting everything up. As you can see from the sign on my door, my students will have the chance to put their mark on where things go in the room, from closet hooks to construction paper.
  2. I'm creating a #Classbookaday bulletin board and will read a picture book to my 3rd grade students every day of the year.
  3. I'm creating a #IMWAYR bulletin board for my students to post what they read every week. I plan to create a #IMWAYR bookmark for this, but if any of you already have one, let me know! I love getting ideas from others.
My summer reading goal is complete. I read 11/10 picture books, 13/10 middle grade, 10 YA, and 1 professional book. I will finish writing book 2 of The Sweet Spot by September 1st (I promise).

Here are my top 5 summer favorites, from picture book to young adult:

#1

This sweet story that I shared on July 18th still brings tears to my eyes when I pass it in the library or bookstore. A great friend never leaves you.

#2

I shared this book on July 4th and have been recommending it to everyone I've met since. It is a story of good overcoming evil in the real world.

#3

I shared this book on June 27th and found it a perfect book for a middle grader. Not only does it tell an entertaining story, it shares the issue of drug use in an appropriate way for that age group.

#4

A Time to Dance is a novel in verse about a dancer who loses a leg and has to fight for the thing she wants most in the world. I shared it on July 18th.

5. 

This is a book I haven't shared this summer, but I loved it so much it had to go on my list. It is a reimagined version of the story of Shahrzad, the legendary story teller who prevented her death by telling her cursed husband tales until past dawn. I read the series in two days (the second book is even better than the first). It's a love story and a story of forgiveness.

I enjoyed so many of my summer reads that I really couldn't narrow it down to five. Here's some more favorites:


 

 

Have a great school year! Next week I'll share some of my new students' summer choices.

_____________________________




If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave me a comment below. 


Monday, August 22, 2016

#IMWAYR August 22, 2016


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. #IMWAYR

It's my last week of summer since I head back to the classroom on Friday. I still have almost a week until new students come so expect some room prep pictures next Monday. I've also met all of my summer reading goals so next week I'm sharing my top five summer reads.

Here's what I've read this week:


Picture Books


This is a perfect opening day book about a new school's first day.



Young Adult


A heart-breaking story about two best friends on a collision path with disaster and the difficulty of picking up the pieces. 

_____________________________


My summer reading goal stands at 10/10 picture books, 13/10 middle grade, 8 YA, and 1 professional book. 

If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave me a comment below. 

Monday, August 15, 2016

#IMWAYR August 15, 2016


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. #IMWAYR

This week I've been on vacation, which gave me lots of time for reading.

Here's what I've read this week:


Picture Books


A nonfiction story about the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay told from the pov of one of the orchestra members, Ada. I am looking forward to sharing this story and  the 60 minutes piece with my students to launch this year's Genius Hour.


Middle Grade


Chloe Choe wants to know more about being Korean so she can feel a connection to something in her small white town. But when she pushes her parents for information, she finds out she's even more different than she knows. It's a story about finding your place in the world. 


When Lily's blind dog runs away it away, Salma, a migrant working girl, stops the dog by offering up her sandwich. This story is about how meeting someone from a different background can completely change your view of yourself.

Young Adult


After watching a boy in his town bullied for being gay, Adrien Piper steps up and decides it's time to take action. This book is about finding the superhero that's inside each of us. 

_____________________________


My summer reading goal stands at 9/10 picture books, 13/10 middle grade, 7 YA, and 1 professional book and I still have almost three weeks until my students start school. This week I will focus on my writing goal as well since the plan is to finish writing the novel (book 2) by the end of the summer. I'm about half way there.

If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave me a comment below. 

Monday, August 8, 2016

#IMWAYR August 8, 2016


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. #IMWAYR

During the past two weeks I read two stories that take place during 9/11. Here's what I read:

Young Adult


Here's the book's blurb:

On the morning of September 11, 2001, sixteen-year-old Kyle Donohue watches the first twin tower come down from the window of Stuyvesant High School. Moments later, terrified and fleeing home to safety across the Brooklyn Bridge, he stumbles across a girl perched in the shadows, covered in ash, and wearing a pair of costume wings. With his mother and sister in California and unable to reach his father, a NYC detective likely on his way to the disaster, Kyle makes the split-second decision to bring the girl home. What follows is their story, told in alternating points of view, as Kyle tries to unravel the mystery of the girl so he can return her to her family. But what if the girl has forgotten everything, even her own name? And what if the more Kyle gets to know her, the less he wants her to go home? "The Memory of Things" tells a stunning story of friendship and first love and of carrying on with our day-to-day living in the midst of world-changing tragedy and unforgettable pain it tells a story of hope.

Young adults who read this book are exposed to the events of 9/11 but the love story makes reading those events easier to handle as they unfold. These two lives are drawn together in a deep and intense way as they bear witness to history.

Last week I read nine, ten. 




Here's the book's blurb:

Ask anyone: September 11, 2001, was serene and lovely, a perfect day until a plane struck the World Trade Center. But right now it is a few days earlier, and four kids in different parts of the country are going about their lives. Sergio, who lives in Brooklyn, is struggling to come to terms with the absentee father he hates and the grandmother he loves. Will's father is gone, too, killed in a car accident that has left the family reeling. Naheed has never before felt uncomfortable about being Muslim, but at her new school she's getting funny looks because of the head scarf she wears. Aimee is starting a new school in a new city and missing her mom, who has to fly to New York on business. These four don t know one another, but their lives are about to intersect in ways they never could have imagined. Award-winning author Nora Raleigh Baskin weaves together their stories into an unforgettable novel about that seemingly perfect September day the day our world changed forever.

The character's in nine, ten are also drawn together because of the events of 9/11, but in a very different way. Instead of a love story, nine, ten is a story of family relationships and acceptance of others. It's a way for middle graders to learn about the events, again in a context that allows access without being overwhelmed by tragedy

As a teacher of third graders and a mother of an 11 and 13 yo, I am very glad to have these books that tell a tough story while keeping the age and experience of the readers in mind.
________________


My summer reading goal stands at 8/10 picture books, 11/10 middle grade, 7 YA, and 1 professional book. As for the writing, I added a new element of conflict to my novel that I hadn't realized I was missing, but I think it's going to work well. 

If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave me a comment below. 

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Reflections on #LA16SCBWI: A Walk Down a Road

I arrived home late last night from the LA conference of the Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators and planned to write up my conference notes for you this morning. A blog snafu forced me to delete the post so I decided to take a walk instead.


As I walked down this almost always empty road, it started to remind me of writing. Most of the time the act of being a writer or an illustrator is a lonely act. Even if you like to do your art in a public space, the act of creating places you in your head and separate from the world around you, kind of like this road. If you keep traveling, you reach beauty in the form of a river. From this side of the road that river is easy to see and flows all around you. Someone even left a set of chairs so that you can sit in your thoughts and create.


But across from this silent space of road and river, there is a parallel road that has constant traffic. It's loud and noisy and though you can see the river, it's somewhat further away. This road reminds me of an international writer's conference.


The quickest way to get to the busier street is by taking a road that has a bunch of blind spots. The cars go fast and some watch out for you, but many speed by wrapped up in their own connections.



Whether you travel across the country to come to your first writer's conference, like my new friends Meg and Annmarie, or you take a train to NYC like I did when I first joined, you are definitely taking a somewhat scary way down the road. You are going on faith that this group will support you and watch out for you until you find the path. But once you are there, with your new found tribe, the things that scare you are forgotten as you take it all in. You're both better when you are back on your own and the next time you decide to venture forward. You're among friends.


One of my main takeaways from this particular conference was to remember that you are the only one who has the story that you need to tell. Your life experiences make you the writer and illustrator that you'll turn out to be. Whether you passed someone in the hall and spoke a couple of words, or you spent every meal with them, they are now part of your story and you will forever be changed by knowing them. And at SCBWI, that means you will be shaped and changed by an incredible group of people.




For actual highlights of the conference and summaries of the workshops, read through my twitter feed, visit the official SCBWI conference blog, or visit the blog of Kim Sabatini.  If you were one of the many people I met this year in LA, please say hello in the comments. If you weren't there, you can also say hello. Hopefully I'll meet you in the future.

Monday, August 1, 2016

#IMWAYR August 1, 2016


Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. #IMWAYR

This week's post comes from LA. I am currently attending the summer conference of the Society for Children's Writers and Illustrators. If you've read my bio you know that teaching third grade started my writing career because a group my students dared me to write my first book. But what the kids who challenged me and I had no way of knowing at the time, is that the journey to write books also allows me to cross paths and get to know many of the big names in children's literature, before and after they are published. During this conference we've heard keynotes from Drew Daywalt, Pam Munoz Ryan, Jon Klassen, Marie Lu, Neal Shusterman, Jenni Holm, Sophie Blackall - and more! Two of the books in this week's #IMWAYR are by conference faculty and one is by a brand new author whose book doesn't come out until next year. 

I also read two amazing books on the way to the conference which I will share with you this week.  

Here's what I've read this week:


Picture Books

A well-told biography about the amazing inventor of the Super-Soaker.

A heartwarming story about a boy who has to learn a new way to connect with his grandfather whose memory is starting to fade.  

This incredibly fun new ninja book comes out March 2017! I loved meeting the author/illustrator at the conference. The book made me laugh out loud. 

Middle Grade

A well crafted and heart warming story about a group of kids whose lives touch briefly on the days before and after 9/11. The book leaves you with a strong message of hope that we still need today.

A beautiful story about how friendship, and a little mystery, can help you move past tragedy.

My summer reading goal stands at 8/10 picture books, 11/10 middle grade, 6 YA, and 1 professional book. As for the writing, I added a new element of conflict to my novel that I hadn't realized I was missing, but I think it's going to work well. 

If you like my reading choices, you can check out all the books I've read on Goodreads and please leave me a comment below.