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).

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#BookTalkTuesday May 23, 2017

This year I have been trying to find new ways for my third grade students recommend books so we have decided to post their recommendations on #BookTalkTuesday. We'd love to see more classes join in. Don't have time to post? If you want to add books for an individual student, make sure to go to Miss Palmieri blog and fill out the book talk form.

Here's what my students recommend this week:


P. recommends The Night Gardner because it was kind of scary. The author's description of the characters and setting were very descriptive and made him want to read on.




J. recommends The Amulet series. It's a great graphic novel series that is similar to Star Wars. It has action and a lot of other elements that people would like - machines, magic, etc.



C. recommends Finding Perfect. She likes how Elly Swartz describes the main character. She also loves how the poetry is weaved into the book through the Poetry Slam. It's also full of suspense because there are so many terrible things that might happen, such as her friend moving away and her mom staying away.



L. recommends the Elephant and Piggy series because they are funny. He likes the way the author introduces the character's feelings. He likes the books very much.

That's all for this week. Check back next week to see what other kids are reading. Please comment on our reading choices or share your recommendations below. They love hearing from you! 

Monday, May 22, 2017

#IMWAYR May 22, 2017


Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

This week in the classroom:

Fractured Tale Study

To end the year my students will be fracturing a traditional folk or fairytale. To get them ready we have been exploring different versions of Cinderella.


My students loved how so many aspects of a Cinderella story were turned on end  and that everyone in this book wanted Cinderella to be happy. Plus - she plays baseball. http://sportygirlbooks.blogspot.com/2017/05/book-review-elly-and-smelly-sneaker.html


My class loved the humor in this version of Cinderella and that there was a male protagonist. Their favorite moment was when Prince Cinders lost his trousers instead of his shoe.


CinderHazel hates dresses and balls. She wants to spend her days in dirt. She's a great protagonist who kids will love, even if they are fond of cleanliness.


Here's what I read this week:

Middle Grade


The Green Book is a science fiction story set in a future world where a group of people have no choice but to flee the earth for a new planet. Life on the planet is challenging and they may not survive. This book would be a great read aloud for a 3rd - 6th grade classroom. I plan to pair it with The Wild Robot.

Young Adult


This week I read the next group of novels in The Iron Fey series. In some ways I enjoyed this sequence better than the first. I liked how Julie Kagawa brought back many of the original characters and found Ethan to be an interesting main character.



Check back tomorrow on #BookTalkTuesday to see what my third graders have been reading. 
_______________________________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a middle grade author. The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip are available now from Spellbound River Press. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

#BookTalkTuesday May 16, 2017

This year I have been trying to find new ways for my third grade students recommend books so we have decided to post their recommendations on #BookTalkTuesday. We'd love to see more classes join in. Don't have time to post? If you want to add books for an individual student, make sure to go to Miss Palmieri blog and fill out the book talk form.

Here's what my students recommend this week:



J. recommends Lunch Money by Andrew Clements. She likes the book because she likes seeing all the ways that the main character finds to make money.



A. recommends The Talented Clementine by Sara Pennypacker because it's really funny. Clementine thinks she is not good at anything and at first she is only going to help at the talent show but she ends up doing more than that.



Y. recommends Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary. In this book Ramona's father loses his job. She likes how Ramona helps her father to gain confidence.



W. recommends Spy School by Stuart Gibbs because it is about a kid named Ben who gets into a top secret spy school. When he is in the school he discovers a mole. He likes Ben's character and the book is exciting and dangerous (he almost gets killed - twice!).



D. recommends Summer Ball by Mike Lupica which is about a boy named Danny who goes to a summer camp with a really mean coach and barely gets to play. He likes all the action in the story and the way the games are explained. One thing that happens during practice sends the whole book spinning.

That's all for this week. Check back next week to see what other kids are reading. Please comment on our reading choices or share your recommendations below. They love hearing from you!

Monday, May 15, 2017

#IMWAYR May 15, 2017


Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. 

This week in the classroom:

Fractured Tale Study

To end the year my students will be fracturing a traditional folk or fairytale. To get them ready we have been exploring different versions of The Three Little Pigs.


This is one of my favorite versions because it causes a debate among my students over whether this is the real story or if the wolf is lying to get out of trouble.

In this version, told in rhyme, the three little pigs are locked in the third pig's house and afraid to go outside until their sister shows them the importance of overcoming fear. It's a great graduation present.


I love these ninja stories by Corey Rosen Schwartz. My students can't get enough of them. 

Read Aloud


I adore this book about a girl who decides one of her chickens is a dog. Her parents are more skeptical until the chicken helps them find the baby brother. My students loved the story and the fact that the illustrations helped them predicted the ending (if they were paying attention).


This has not been an easy read aloud for my third graders because of the many points of view, hidden meanings, and vocabulary, but the incredible story and characters are reaching all of them and is stretching their reading minds.

Here's what I read this week:

Young Adult


I read all four books in the first series this week. I love that magic always has consequences and that the main character, Meghan Chase, is a strong female character and even though there was some "can't get out of my bed heartache" (which I loath), it was followed by strong action. I also loved that book four was told Ash's point of view because he is a strong and thoughtful male character.



Check back tomorrow on #BookTalkTuesday to see what my third graders have been reading. Hope everyone had a Happy Mother's Day!
_______________________________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a middle grade author. The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip are available now from Spellbound River Press. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

#BookTalkTuesday May 9, 2017

This year I have been trying to find new ways for my third grade students recommend books. Last week we started posting for #BookTalkTuesday. We'd love to see more classes join in. Don't have time to post? If you want to add books for an individual student, make sure to go to Miss Palmieri blog and fill out the book talk form.

Here's what my students recommend this week:




L. recommends the series My Weird School. This week he's reading Miss Laney is Zaney. He likes the series because the characters do weird stuff that make you laugh.




N. recommends Stick Dog because it's very funny and he likes the character's dialogue. There are many jokes throughout the book. 


A. recommends Sisters because she likes that the little sister always annoys the big sister. She's also a little sister and she enjoys learning more about this family relationship.


B. recommends A Wrinkle in Time because she likes that there is teamwork and that the kids don't need their parents' help. She also likes the mystical people that comes to help them instead.


That's all for this week. Check back next week to see what other kids are reading. Please comment on our reading choices or share your recommendations below. 

Monday, May 8, 2017

#IMWAYR May 8, 2017


Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I was thrilled to see my own novel, The Sweet Spot, reviewed on Unleashing Readers on Friday. I started something new on this blog last week. On Tuesdays I will be posting book recommendations from my third graders as part of #BookTalkTuesday. You can see their first suggestions here. I used one of their recommendations and read my first Captain Underpants book this week. Check in tomorrow to see what other kids in my class are reading.

Here's what I read this week:

Picture Book



It was nice to see Lady Pancake and Sit French Toast working together again in The Case of the Stinky Stench. Josh Funk's rhymes along with Brendan Kearney's adorable illustrations makes this book fun for any age. Lots of great new characters to meet in an extension of the previous world. A definite must read.


Middle Grade


I can definitely understand why this series is a favorite in my classroom. Not only does it use potty humor, it also breaks up the prose with comic strips, illustration, and flip-o-rama. 


Young Adult


The third book in Sarah J. Maas's Court of Thorns and Roses didn't disappoint. The book was an exciting conclusion to Feyre's journey. It wrapped up all the story lines and didn't leave any questions - or at least I think it didn't. It felt like the conclusion. But according to Sarah's website and newsletter there are still three more books and two novellas to come. I'm not sure I can wait!



_______________________________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a middle grade author. The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip are available now from Spellbound River Press. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

#BookTalkTuesday May 2, 2017

This year I have been trying to find new ways for my third grade students recommend books. Every Monday they fill out #IMWAYR bookmarks but I have only had a few chances to add their recommendations to my posts. Instead we will be trying to post on #BookTalkTuesday. We'd love to see more classes join in. Don't have time to post? If you want to add books for an individual student, make sure to go to Miss Palmieri blog and fill out the book talk form.


C. wants to tell you about the Origami Yoda series by Tom Angleberger. He's currently reading Jabba the Puppet. In this book the class has to have "fun time," which isn't exactly fun - it's test prep! The class rebels and it's a lot of fun!



E. recommends Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, the screenplay by JK Rowling. She thinks that everyone should read it because it's an exciting adventure.


T. recommends The Twits. It's about two people who don't like anyone. He feels it's a very funny book because of the pranks and because of what happens to the Twits in the end, but he isn't giving that away!



S. recommends Captain Underpants. It's about two boys George and Harold, who have a mean principal. To get back at him, they hypnotize the principal to think he's Captain Underpants. He thinks it's a very funny book that everyone will enjoy. He even offered to bring it out to recess so that I could read it too.


That's all for this week. Check back next Tuesday for more recommendations from my 3rd graders! Please tell my class about your favorite books and comment on their choices below.




Monday, May 1, 2017

#IMWAYR May 1, 2017


Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. It's #IMWAYR.



Picture Book


On Saturday people around the world did more to celebrate the life of Amy Krouse Rosenthal. On Friday my third grade class read Spoon, Chopsticks, Exclamation Mark, The OK Book, and I Wish You More. We discussed the author's message and created our own messages to share with others. 





Middle Grade


Voyagers is the first book in a science fiction series about a group of kids that compete to go on a space mission to save the world. The story is told from close third person in multiple points of view. There are surprises at every turn. I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series.


Young Adult


In A Hundred Hours of Night, fifteen-year-old Emilia has escaped a social media scandal about her father in Amsterdam by running away to New York City. She thinks she has everything planned, but when she gets to New York she has no place to stay and Hurricane Sandy is closing in. She ends up weathering the storm with two other teenagers and an eleven-year-old girl. As the four of them experience NYC without power, they learn about each other and themselves. I enjoyed this book. It reminded me of The Memory of Things by Gae Polisner and Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins.


I was desperate for a high fantasy with a kick-butt female character so a friend recommended this series. The story did feel familiar (two teenagers on opposite sides of a war that are forced together and fall in love) but it had some twists that made me keep reading. I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next. 



_______________________________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a middle grade author. The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip are available now from Spellbound River Press. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Interview with poet and middle grade author Laura Shovan.

It’s the last week of poetry month. Today I’m very excited to interview poet and middle grade author Laura Shovan.

Laura Shovan’s debut middle grade novel, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, was a NCTE 2017 Notable Verse Novel, a Bank Street College of Education Best Children’s Book of the year, and won a Cybils Award for poetry, as well a Nerdy Book Club award. She is a long time poet-in-the-schools and the author and editor of three books of poetry for adults. Laura co-hosts Wilde Readings, a literary reading series in Howard County, Maryland, where she lives with her family.


Welcome, Laura! On your twitter profile you list yourself first as a poet. When did you start writing poetry?

The first poem I remember writing was in second or third grade. (I remember the poem only because it was published in my school’s PTA newsletter!) It compared the sounds of nature on a summer night to an orchestra. I’ve always written both poetry and prose, but poetry is what I’m most passionate about.


Tell us about your journey. How did you go from being a poet to a middle grade author?

I’d been publishing poetry in literary journals for several years. When my children were small, I started making up songs for them – little ditties to keep them entertained in the grocery store. That was the beginning of my interest in writing for children. I took my first kidlit class and attended my first conference in 2003, but I didn’t sign with my agent until 2014. It was a long process.

In those eleven years, I sold a few pieces to Highlights, wrote a middle grade prose novel that will never see the light of day, completed at least three picture book manuscripts, and drafted about 75% of two YA novels. I think The Last Fifth Grade was “the one” because it’s rooted in my work with children as a visiting poet-in-the-schools.

The last big push with the book was working on it with a mentor, YA verse novelist Joy McCullough-Carranza, during PitchWars.


Your book, The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary, is a novel in verse told from multiple points of view. How did you keep track of all the different voices?

I used every method I could think of to develop and keep track of the characters. There were spreadsheets, character resumes, and classroom seating charts. In order to create distinct voices, I revised one character at a time instead of working chronologically through the story. My famously gigantic revision binder has one section for each of the students’ in Ms. Hill’s class. I like to bring it with me on school visits, so students can see how much work and how many drafts go into a book.


Your next novel is written in prose. Why the switch? Could you see yourself going back to poetry at some point?

That’s right. My next book is a prose novel in two voices. TAKE DOWN is about two middle school wrestlers—Mikayla, the first girl to join an all-boy team, and her training partner Lev, who’s convinced that having a female partner will ruin his dream of competing at the state championship. The book began as notes and poems I jotted down years ago, when my son was wrestling.

When I sat down to write the novel, there was an expansiveness to Lev’s voice. He’s literally wrestling with what it means to be an athlete, and he can be pretty wordy about it. Lev does have a few poems in the book.

Mikayla showed up later in the writing process. Like Lev, her character had a prose voice from the beginning.

I’d love to write another novel in verse at some point. Meanwhile, I’ve contributed work to two children’s poetry anthologies publishing in the next year or two. One is from J. Patrick Lewis and the other is by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater.


Is there anything about being a published author that has surprised you?

Before THE LAST FIFTH GRADE, I’d published three books of poetry with small, independent presses. My biggest surprise was how different the experience of publishing with a big house has been. In many ways, it was like starting from scratch. I had a lot to learn about how a large publisher operates and works with authors.


Any advice you would give to a writer just starting out?

The most important things to cultivate are perseverance and a literary community. Both will sustain you through the querying process, and – later on – through challenging revisions, as well as the successes and disappointments that are part of an author’s life. I’ve had a huge amount of support from the literary scene here in the Baltimore area, the Sweet 16s debut author group, and the PitchWars community. When I need a pep talk, they’re there for me.


Is there anything else about you or your books you would like to tell us?

Now that I’ve completed two books and am thinking about my third novel, I can see that there’s a focus on communities in my writing. THE LAST FIFTH GRADE is about how classes like Ms. Hill’s can form a strong sense of community. In TAKE DOWN, Lev and Mikayla are figuring out what it means to be part of the wrestling community and members of a team.

Maybe this is because, growing up, my own family was bi-cultural. As a child from two families separated by an ocean, finding a community where I fit in was a difficult for me. Many of my characters are asking the question: “Where do I belong”?


Thank you so much for joining me on my blog! Readers, make sure to get your copy of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary. You can find out more about Laura on her author site, on Facebook, or on Twitter.




_______________________________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a middle grade author. The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip are available now from Spellbound River Press. She'd love to hear from you about Laura Shovan, The Last Fifth Grade, and novels in verse in the comments below.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

She Wrote a Book Interview

Check out my interview on the She Wrote a Book Podcast. Thank you to Lena Anani for having me as a guest. You can check out the show notes and more She Wrote a Book Podcasts here.

Monday, April 24, 2017

#IMWAYR April 24, 2017 & Poetry Month Post 4


Each week I join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers to share all of the reading I've done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. I am also an author and last week I was honored to see the first novel in my two book series, The Sweet Spot, reviewed by Kellee at Unleashing Readers. This week she reviewed the The Perfect Trip. Make sure to head over there to see the reviews and to connect with all the other amazing book bloggers who post each week. 

April is Poetry Month so I have started each post in April with a favorite poetry book and a novel in verse. Last week I interviewed Ted Scheu, one of my favorite poets for children. Make sure to stop back on Thursday when I share my interview with Laura Shovan, poet and author of The Last Fifth Grade of Emerson Elementary School. It's #IMWAYR.



Poetry


This wonderful new book of poetry from Kwame Alexander celebrates poets.



Novel in Verse (Young Adult)


This young adult novel in verse takes on the delicate subject of living through the consequences of big decisions.



Middle Grade


In this dystopian future water is scarce, people are suffering and many children are living abandoned in cities. When Devin learns of a place that children can go to live better lives, he jumps on the chance to get there. But things at the home are not what they seem and Devin realizes that he may have been safer on his own. An enjoyable, though slightly disturbing read. I would consider it more of a young YA than a middle grade.


_______________________________


Stacy Barnett Mozer is a third grade teacher and a middle grade author. The Sweet Spot and The Perfect Trip are available now from Spellbound River Press. If you like what she's been reading follow her on Goodreads. Please leave a comment below. It's Monday, what are you reading?