Monday, July 14, 2014

Join the May/June Read & Romp Roundup!


As you might have noticed, I've gotten a little behind with my Read & Romp Roundups. I've been pondering what to do about this, and I think I'm going to try having bi-monthly roundups -- that is, every two months -- instead of monthly roundups. What do you think? Hopefully this will help me stay on track a little better. Plus, there are lots of picture books I want to share with you and some authors and illustrators I would love to interview, so hopefully this change will give me more time for that as well. So, that being said...

Today is the official call for submissions for the May/June Read & Romp Roundup. If you have a recent (or even not so recent) blog post that involves picture books or children's poetry AND dance, yoga, or another form of movement, leave your link in a comment on this post. Or, you can reach me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know about your link. I'll round up all the links and post them together before the end of the month. And then we should be back on schedule. Hope to hear from you!

Submissions are open through Friday, July 25, 2014. 

Monday, June 30, 2014

Read & Romp Roundup: April 2014

At long last, here is the April Read & Romp Roundup. I know the roundup is SUPER DUPER late this time, but to compensate I promise it's going to be a great one. Thanks to all who contributed!


Sandy at Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books starts us off with a bang! All in one post, she highlights the picture books A Dance like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream, Bea at Ballet, On Your Toes: A Ballet ABC, and Oliver Button Is a Sissy. Plus, she includes links to other reviews of A Dance Like Starlight, as well as to an interview with the author and illustrator of Flora and the Flamingo. Thanks to Cathy at Bildebok from Cathy Ballou Mealey for letting me know about this post!


A Dance Like Starlight was a popular book in April, especially given that April was National Poetry Month and the book is written so poetically by author Kristy Dempsey. Rhapsody in Books shares a review of the book, including several passages of text and several stunning images by illustrator Floyd Cooper.


In April, Giselle at Kids Yoga Stories celebrated picture books by author and illustrator Denise Fleming. In addition to listing seven of her favorite books by Fleming, Giselle provides yoga, movement, and counting ideas to go with Count!, In the Tall, Tall Grass, and In the Small, Small Pond. 


The April Book to Boogie post at The Library as Incubator Project features guest blogger Jill Homan Randall, who provides movement ideas to go with the picture book Dance with Me by Charles R. Smith Jr. and Noah J. Zones. Short but spirited, the post is sure to inspire you to integrate this book into a lively story time!


Kathleen at Wild Things Yoga shares a yoga lesson plan for first and second graders based on the award-winning picture book biography The Man Who Walked Between the Towers. The lesson plan focuses on balance, perseverance, self-awareness, and risk-taking -- concepts that are also explored in the book, which tells the story of Philippe Petite, who walked along a wire between the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974. The post also provides links to a slideshow, news story, and mini-documentary about this amazing story!


If you love the character Gerald from the picture book Giraffes Can't Dance, you'll love Jayne's April post at ABCs of Reading. The post explores how you can work on the reading comprehension strategy of "making connections" through drama and creative movement, such as by having students travel through the story from Gerald's perspective. For example, "Try to run around, but buckle at the knees. What are your feelings when you fall?" This creative and insightful post also contains a link to an art lesson based on Giraffes Can't Dance...and more!


In her monthly roundup at Chapter Book Explorer, Amy features Five, Six, Seven, Nate! by Tim Federle. A sequel to Federle's Better Nate than Ever, this new chapter book continues Nate's journey to make it big on Broadway. "Take another hilarious and touching ride with Nate Foster as he learns to live in the Big Apple, masters his choreography, has his first kiss, and saves the show!" says Amy.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Celebrate Maryland with Movement and Art


Today I'm participating in the second annual Booking Across the USA tour, which has been organized so well by our fearless leader Jodie at Growing Book by Book. Each blogger on the tour is creating an activity for young children that is related to one of the 50 U.S. states and is inspired by a new series of books -- Travels with Charlie -- by Miles Backer with illustrations by Chuck Nitzberg. I signed up for Maryland!

Some of you might remember that my family and I moved from Maryland to California late last summer, so we've been in our new home for almost an entire school year now. Wow! I must say that I am truly enjoying the beauty, sunshine, and way of life out here on the West Coast, but I do miss many things about Maryland, so this blog tour gave me a chance to reminisce.


The four books in the Travels with Charlie series tackle the West, Midwest, South, and Northeast regions of the United States. Maryland is one of 12 states included in the Travelin' the Northeast book, which publisher Blue Apple Books so graciously sent me to help write this post.

Maryland, like each of the states in the book, is devoted a full-page spread that includes the state capital, a picture of the state flag, a bulleted list of interesting facts about the state, and a poem. The poem ends with the line "Where's Charlie?" to get children not only looking for Charlie (the cute dog you see on the cover of the book) but also perusing all the fun, bright, and educational illustrations in which Charlie is hiding on each spread. 

Movement Activity
Given my blog's theme, I wanted to come up with a book-related activity that involved movement. So why not create a simple dance to the book's poem about Maryland? But first, here are a few definitions that are important to know in order to execute the movements in the dance...

Skipjack: Maryland's official state boat, which looks like a sailboat and is used to fish for oysters in the Chesapeake Bay

Fort McHenry: A star-shaped fort in Baltimore, Maryland, where part of the War of 1812 was fought

And here is the book's poem about Maryland, along with movements to go with each line or group of lines. As you'll see, the first few movements are wavy and circular and the last few are sharp and straight, to give children the opportunity to explore both types…

Maryland: The Old Line State

Where is a skipjack
on Chesapeake Bay? 
[Put you hands in a triangle shape just above your head (like a sail) and sway from side to side like you are going over waves.]

Where's Assateague Island, 
where wild ponies play?
[Gallop (like a pony) in a circular pattern on the floor.]

Where's Fort McHenry
where Francis Scott Key
wrote the "Star Spangled Banner" --
[March in a star shape (like the shape of Fort McHenry). Put an outline of a star on the floor or use stickers for the points of the star if needed. Rather than making circular patterns as they march, the children should make straight lines, in more of a military fashion.]

"Oh, say can you see?"
[Stop marching and put your hand on your heart as if you are listening to the Star Spangled Banner, also known as our national anthem!]

Art Activity
The star spangled banner was actually a flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the national anthem. (The flag was raised at Fort McHenry after a crucial battle in 1814.) What makes this banner so special is that it is the only version of the American flag that has 15 stars and 15 stripes. You can read more about the banner at this website of the National Museum of American History in Washington, DC, where the original flag is on display.

Star spangled banner on display at the National Museum of American History

For an art activity, each child can color his or her own star spangled banner, either freehand or using a coloring page. Here is a sample coloring page from the TPS-Barat Educational Foundation. TPS-Barat also has a whole star spangled banner lesson plan for students in kindergarten through second grade, which could probably be adapted for younger students as well. It's aligned with some of the common core language arts standards and includes illustrations, recordings, lyrics, and more related to the national anthem. (When you color the flag, don't forget that the first stripe is a red one.)

Star spangled banner coloring page from TPS-Barat Educational Foundation

You might consider playing the national anthem in the background as the children color their flags, or turning their coloring pages into "real" flags using some glue and popsicle sticks or straws. If time allows, it might also be nice to do a little marching dance to the national anthem when the flags are finished. First have the kids stand still and wave their flags to the beat. Then have them march, holding their flags still over their heads. Finally, see if they can march and wave their flags at the same time while still keeping the beat!

Don't forget to stop by Growing Book by Book to find the rest of the posts in this year's Booking Across the USA tour…plus a giveaway. You can also explore picture books by authors and illustrators from the 50 states through last year's tour here

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Join the April Read & Romp Roundup!


I can't believe how quickly April is flying by! The warm weather here in California is inspiring me to get moving more than usual, and today I took my first dance class in a few months. Am feeling pretty good! Hope you are all enjoying warm weather and plenty of movement, too. And, since April is National Poetry Month, I hope you are finding some time to sneak in some poetry, either for yourself or for your little ones. If so, I'd love to hear all about it and how it might be related to movement!

Today's the official call for submissions for the April Read & Romp Roundup. If you have a recent (or even not so recent) blog post that involves picture books or children's poetry AND dance, yoga, or another form of movement, leave your link in a comment on this post. Or, you can reach me on Facebook or Twitter to let me know about your link. If you know of others who might be interested in joining the roundup, please help spread the word, too. I'll round up all the links and post them together in a few weeks. Hope to hear from you!

Submissions are open through Thursday, May 1, 2014. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Read & Romp Roundup: March 2014

Welcome to the March Read & Romp Roundup! Women's History Month was celebrated widely in March, so several of the submissions feature women who have broken boundaries in the world of dance -- the African American ballerina Janet Collins and the inspiring dancer and civil rights advocate Josephine Baker. And of course, no roundup would be complete without picture books and movement ideas to go with them, which are also included. Enjoy!


At Good Reads with Ronna, Rita Zobayan reviews the popular new picture book A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream by Kristy Dempsey and Floyd Cooper. "Inspired by the story of Janet Collins, the first African American ballerina at the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream is a story of high hopes and grand dreams," says Rita. Read the full review to see why this "wonderful tale of courage, perseverance, and determination" brought tears to her eyes.

Kidlit Celebrates Women's History Month hosts special guest blogger Kristy Dempsey -- the author of A Dance Like Starlight: One Ballerina's Dream. What a treat! Hear from the author herself about her inspiration and experience writing the book. "A Dance Like Starlight is my song of thanks to all the women throughout history who have shown us who we can be and have given us an example to pursue our dreams with passion," Kristy says.


At Booktalking #Kidlit, Anastasia Suen features the new picture book Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby and Christian Robinson. Josephine struggled in her early life but became a celebrated dancer and performer after moving from the United States to Paris in the 1920's. Anastasia's post includes a snippet of text from the book, which is written in free verse. It also includes a book trailer and plenty of examples of the book's illustrations, which are stunning.


Maria from Maria's Movers shares some creative activities to go with the picture book The Squiggle by Carole Lexa Schaefer and Pierr Morgan. With her younger students, Maria used long colorful strings (as squiggles) to explore some of the ideas from the book, and with her older students she made up string dances!


And finally, don't forget to check out the March Book to Boogie post at the Library as Incubator Project. Dance educator Liz Vacco shares movement ideas to go with the classic picture book Mouse Paint by Ellen Stoll Walsh. She includes ideas for both younger and older students and recommends music to go with the movement!
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