Tag Archives: music

Middle Grade Review: The First Rule of Punk

22 Nov

32050089Synopsis: It’s the first day in a new school a thousand miles away from her dad, best friend and everything she knows and loves and Malu is nervous. After a tough day (violating the school dress code, upsetting the school’s queen bee and so much more), Malu has disappointed her mom… yet again. Malu is nothing like the daughter SuperMexican (as she calls her mom) wants her to be – she hates cilantro, loves punk music and zines, and just wants to move back home.

But, with some courage from her dad she creates her own band of outcasts and learns that following the beat of your own drum is most important! There’s just one thing… her mom doesn’t know about the band and Malu’s pretty sure she’s not going to be happy when she finds out! Continue reading

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Book Review: Sparrow

20 Sep

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The story opens in a white hospital room after Sparrow’s apparent suicide attempt. The custodian found Sarah on the edge of the school’s roof, but no one will believe that she wasn’t up there to jump. She was up there to fly. When the world on the ground gets to be too much Sparrow checks out and pictures herself turning into a bird and flying away.

Sparrow keeps to herself, gets good grades, doesn’t cause trouble for her mom, but is lonely and searching for something. And she finds it when she “flies away” with the birds in the neighborhood. With the help of a therapist, Sparrow begins to see that life on the ground isn’t all bad and with help and she can feel like flying through the power of music.

I was hesitant to read this story because I expected it to be about suicide and I read middle grade books for a reason (I need that underlying hope). But, in the end I am so glad I got a chance to read this book and enter into Sparrow’s world. Sparrow sees a therapist once a week and this story brings the stigma of mental illness to the forefront. The story works through Sparrow’s thought that she is crazy and the idea her therapist will through her in a padded cell when she hears about Sparrow’s crazy. It works through Sparrow’s idea of what her mom thinks of her and how she can’t be the perfect daughter she thinks her mom wants and needs. It’s a story of receiving help and taking chances to make your own life better and I think it’s a story that so many people need to read.

There’s a stigma in this country that makes people believe that receiving medication, seeing a therapist or doing something about your mental health should be hidden away, but I think that if more people accepted mental health in the way they see staying fit and active, eating healthy and getting a physical, we’d be a lot healthier overall. Definitely take the time to pick this book up, it’s a must read.

Twitter Booktalk (140 characters or less): Sparrow can’t seem to convince her mom that she isn’t crazy, but with the help of a therapist and rock’n’roll, Sparrow finds a way to fly.

Title: Sparrow
Author: Sarah Moon
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Publication Date: October 10, 2017
Page Number: 272 pgs.

(Unofficial) Top Ten Tuesday: Middle Grade Audiobooks

18 Jul

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My regularly scheduled blog post for Tuesday is on hold until August, so I created my own list – Ten Middle Grade audiobooks – perfect for summer vacation!

  1. Echo by Pam Muñoz Ryan, narrated by Mark Bramhall, David de Vries, MacLeod Andrews, Rebecca Soler; music, Corky Siegel
  2. Nimona by Noelle Stevenson, narrated by  Rebecca Soler, Jonathan Davis, Marc Thompson
  3. See You in the Cosmos by Jack Cheng, narrated by Kivlighan de Montebello, Brittany Pressley, Graham Halstead, Michael Crouch, Jason Culp
  4. Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, narrated by Jenna Lamia
  5. When the Sea Turned to Silver by Grace Lin, narrated by Kim Mai Guest
  6. Ghost by Jason Reynolds, narrated by Guy Lockard
  7. Booked by Kwame Alexander, narrated by the author
  8. Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks and Gita Varadarajan, narrated by Josh Hurley, Vikas Adam
  9. The Inquisitor’s Tale: Or, the Three Magical Children and Their Holy Dog by
    Adam Gidwitz, narrated By Adam Gidwitz, Vikas Adam, Mark Bramhall, Jonathan Cowley, Kimberly Farr, Ann Marie Lee, Bruce Mann, John H. Mayer, Benjamin Bagby
  10. Flying Lessons & Other Stories edited by Ellen Oh, narrated by Kwame Alexander, Soman Chainani, Matt de la Peña, Tim Federle, Grace Lin, Meg Medina, Walter Dean Myers, Tim Tingle, Jacqueline Woodson, Kelly J. Baptist

Girl Scout Visit – Yoga

2 Mar


I had a visit from a Girl Scout troop this week and was requested to provide a short yoga/book program for the girls. I was well-prepared and created an entire lesson plan the week before, but about an hour before the girls came, I switched everything up and I’m so glad I did!

Here’s what we did:

First, I talked with the girls about yoga and asked them to share what they already knew. This helps me better understand the group and it gives the girls a chance to talk with me instead of just having me lecture them.

What Is Yoga?

  • Originated in Ancient India
  • Longest surviving practices of holistic health care
  • Came to America in the late 1800s
  • Practiced worldwide by all cultures and religions
  • Translated from Sanskrit means “to unite”
  • Connecting the whole self – body, mind and spirit

Benefits of Yoga

  • Healthy body – stretching, improves digestion, increase circulation, motor development, relaxes the body
  • Healthy Mind – reduces stress, expands imagination, calms and clears the mind, increases concentration, and relives tension

Caution – If it hurts, stop doing it!

After our conversation, we started working on breathing. I stressed that yoga is useful for when you feel stressed or have too many thoughts in your brain or if you body wants to keep moving , but you have to be still or if you’re really angry – you can use yoga to calm yourself down.

We started with a few breathing exercises from Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn.

  • Conductor Breath
  • Bumblebee Bee Breath
  • Lion’s Breath

Then I read, You Are a Lion and Other Fun Yoga Poses by Taeeun Yoo and we practiced each pose as we came to it in the book, guessing what animal it would be.

After our story we did a few sun salutations – the girls were really receptive to breathing at the right times and really trying their best, especially when we got to the plank pose and had to engage our core muscles.

Then we settled down and I read, I Am Yoga by Susan Verde – a beautiful story with a female protagonist as she learns how to use yoga to improve her imagination and understand where she fits in.

Then we used Emily Arrow’s song based on I Am Yoga and went back through the story and did all the poses with the pictures. The girls loved the balancing poses the best and did such a great job!

Finally, we did a few calming poses and a gratitude meditation from the same book, Yoga for Children: 200+ Yoga Poses, Breathing Exercises, and Meditations for Healthier, Happier, More Resilient Children by Lisa Flynn.

The girls did a great job and I think they had a lot of fun and many of the parents were very thankful as well and thought that yoga is a missed opportunity in the school system. I think teaching kids to be able to identify their feelings and mediate those feelings are two concepts that are needed more than ever as kids are feeling a lot of pressure from their parents, peers and themselves. Maybe meditation and yoga could help!

Picture Book Month Theme: Music

14 Nov

musicYou’ll be seeing a lot of picture books on my blog throughout the month of November as we celebrate Picture Book Month.  You’ll definitely want to check out the website as picture book authors and illustrators will be posting an essay each day about the importance of picture books!  Check back daily for some great pictures surrounding a specific theme!

  1. One Love by Cecelia Marley & Bob Marley
  2. M Is for Music by Kathleen Krull
  3. Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
  4. Punk Farm by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
  5. If You’re Happy and You Know It by Jane Cabrera
  6. Cow In the Kitchen by June Crebbin
  7. Violet’s Music by Angela Johnson
  8. I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More! by Karen Beaumont
  9. Down by the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter
  10. Zin! Zin! Zin! A Violin by Lloyd Moss
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