Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Slice of Life Story: How Children's Books Saved My Life

Me as Pete the Cat
Photo by S.R. (a student library helper)

Me as the main character in Kevin Henkes's In My Garden
Photo by Sienna Merrill

Me as Harry Potter
Photo by S.R. (a student library helper)

Every week in my library was a celebration of children's books, storytelling, artwork, and of course poetry!  But in 2017, I shared with students and staff the wonderful celebration, Children’s Book Week, which began in 1919. We admired Christian Robinson's poster that he created for that year's celebration and discussed the theme: "One World, Many Stories". We had guest readers share their favorite books and talk about special memories surrounding their favorite books. I read various favorite books of my own and read aloud some lovely poetry. 


I love to booktalk and promote reading in lots of different and fun ways. On the first day of Children's Book Week in 2017, I decided to match my wardrobe to different books. It first began with wearing a favorite Dr. Seuss T-shirt that proclaimed the joys of reading.  The following days during that week, I coordinated my clothing to either match a book character's, or the colors of the cover art.  Students and staff enjoyed seeing which character or book cover I matched each day.  

Unbeknownst to my students and colleagues, my book-matching wardrobe was not only for the students but also for me.  I was going through an extremely traumatic time in my life - I was not only caring for my family, but also for my terminally ill husband.  Coordinating my wardrobe to match books and their characters and posting my photos to Instagram, became a way for me to distract myself from what was going on in my personal life and gave me reason to get out of bed each day.  My book wardrobe continued into the summer months and abruptly came to an end shortly before my husband passed.  

Although this Slice of Life story may seem depressing, it really is a story of how children's books help save my life.  

What is Slice of Life?  Visit Two Writing Teachers to learn more.


Monday, September 6, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/6/21

 It's Monday!  What Are You Reading?  

Jen from  Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers are co-hosting the #IMWAYR blog hop.  Check out all the links to other blogs and see what great children's literature everyone is sharing; picture books, middle grade, and young adult.  

I'd like to begin today by saying a great, big thank you to everyone who welcomed me to the community last week!  What a kind, kid lit-loving group you all are!

What I've Been Reading:

A snapshot of my Goodreads 2021 Challenge.
PPhoto by Amy Soto

When I looked at my Goodreads 2021 Reading Challenge, I realized that I did not read any children's literature (other than what I talk about below).  Possibly of interest, I did however, read, I'd Rather Be Reading by Anne Bogel.  I adored this little gem and highly recommend it to any bibliophile!  Bogel is the creator of the blog, Modern Mrs. Darcy and the podcast, "What Should I Read Next?" and "One Great Book."  


What I've Been Writing:
As I continue work on my memoir writing, I continue to read about the topic.  Although this book, Your Life Is a Story, is interesting and helpful, I found the book I shared last week to be more helpful, with detailed instructions on the how-to aspect for writing memoir.  

My current writer's notebook and a book about writing.  
Photo by Amy Soto

What I've Been Learning:
I love poetry, especially poetry for children!  This past week, I've been reading one of my newer poetry anthologies.  I enjoy the poems and think of ways to bring them to life for children.  This past week, though, I've been reading and rereading the poems with the eye of a writer.  I love to write poetry and like to post my poems and share to the Poetry Friday community.  To learn more about Poetry Friday, check out the information here.  I've been focusing on how different poets write; their style, rhythm, rhyme, meter, etc.  I love to learn about writing by reading other writer's work.  They say, "if you want to be a writer, read, read, and read!"  I am always learning and if I want to be a better poet, then I know I should be reading lots of poetry!  

This is a beautiful poetry anthology!  
Photo by Amy Soto

What I've Been Loving:
I love to create journals and memory books to hold onto my memories.  These books hold photographs, lists, and other journaling.  I completed my October memory keeping book and am working on my September book as we proceed through the month.  

  My October memory book.  
Photo by Amy Soto

I've been inspired to use this outline for my post by Stephanie at A Lit Life.  Thank you for your inspirational posts, Stephanie!  

  Pool side reading.  
Photo by Amy Soto

This coming week's reading plan includes some pool side reading!  I know that Labor Day weekend is considered to be the "unofficial" last weekend of summer but I love to swim and want to get in as many more pool days as I can before the summer weather really does come to an end.  

I know that many of you are heading back to school, that is, if you haven't already.  I would like to wish you a wonderful school year filled with lost of literacy love!  May you share great books with your students!  Happy Reading!  

Poetry Break (revisited)!

"Poetry Break!" . . .  Several years ago, on my original blog,  Mrs. Merrill's Book Break,  I explained and featured my "...