Creator of quality, affordable, project-specific, supplemental materials connecting people with literature. As an educator and fellow author, I am skilled in navigating the needs of both worlds.

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Simple Saturday is a proud member of Kidlitosphere, active bloggers writing in the area of children’s and young adult literature, and/or writers and illustrators of such literature.

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    Monday
    Jul212014

    Devin Rhodes is Dead (YA)

    Click on image for publisher's information. Author: Jennifer Wolf Kam

    Genre: YA

    Publisher: Charlesbridge

    ISBN: 978-1-934133-59-0

    Awards: Winner of the NAESP Chapter Book Award 

    Click here to download the Common Core State Standards aligned Discussion & Writing Prompt guide create for Grades 6 to 12.

    Overview: High school freshman Cass is conflicted about her love/hate relationship with her best friend, Devin, and about her death. How did Devin's body end up at the bottom of Woodacre Ravine? Was Cass really responsible? Is concealing the truth haunting Cass or is it the ghost-like spirit of her dead friend?

    Told in alternating before-and-after chapters, Cass details life leading up to the mysterious events that led to Devin’s “wrongful death.” The turbulent adolescent changes that challenge Cass and Devin’s friendship will seem familiar and real to middle-grade and young-adult readers. The mystery about what happened to Devin and if she is really reaching out from beyond the grave will have readers on the edge of their seats.

    Monday
    Jul212014

    A Kiss Means I Love You (Concept Picture Book)

    Click on image for publisher's information.Author: Kathryn Madeline Allen

    Photographer: Eric Futran

    Publisher: Albert Whitman & Company

    ISBN: 978-0-8075-4186-9

    Awards: 2013 Baker's Dozen: The Best Children's Books for Family Literacy, Pennsylvania Center for the Book; 2013 Gradiva Award for Best Children's Books Finalist; 2013 Texas 2 x 2 Reading List; A Chicago Public Library Best of the Best Book 2013 - Picture Books; Best Books for Babies 2013

    Click to download the Common Core State Standards Discussion and Activity Guide created for Ages 2-6/Grades PreK-1

    Overview: A Kiss Means I Love You is charming a book that helps you teach children the meanings of facial expressions and gestures. Children will wave, clap, and cheer along with you as you read the light, rhyming verse paired with delightful photos of young children.

     

    Friday
    Jul182014

    Odette's Secrets (Speculative Non-Fiction)

    Click here for publisher's informationAuthor: Maryann McDonald

    Genre: Middle grade, Speculative Non-Fiction

    Publisher: Bloomsbury Children's Books

    ISBN: 978-1-59990-750-5      

    Awards: Texas Bluebonnet Award Nominee

    Click to download the Common Core State Standards Aligned Educator's Guide created for Grades 4-7

    Overview: Today’s children are told never to keep secrets. But what if your life depends on it? What if you learn to lie so well that you start to forget who you really are? And if that happens, how will you find your true self again?

    Odette Meyers was a Jewish child who survived WWII in France by hiding in plain sight. Many of the 84% of Jewish children saved in that country lived through the war in this way. Told in first person in free verse in Odette’s childhood voice, this historical novel “is a gentle introduction to a dark period (Maryann Macdonald).”

     

    Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats.

    After Odette's father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return. On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl--going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.

    Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers--and written in moving free-verse poetry--this is the story of courage, of determination to survive, and of a young girl forced to hide in plain sight. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/odettes-secrets-9781599907505/#sthash.5eqI9PAL.dpuf
    Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats.

    After Odette's father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return. On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl--going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.

    Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers--and written in moving free-verse poetry--this is the story of courage, of determination to survive, and of a young girl forced to hide in plain sight. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/odettes-secrets-9781599907505/#sthash.5eqI9PAL.dpuf
    Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats.

    After Odette's father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return. On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl--going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.

    Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers--and written in moving free-verse poetry--this is the story of courage, of determination to survive, and of a young girl forced to hide in plain sight. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/odettes-secrets-9781599907505/#sthash.5eqI9PAL.dpuf
    Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats.

    After Odette's father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return. On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl--going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.

    Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers--and written in moving free-verse poetry--this is the story of courage, of determination to survive, and of a young girl forced to hide in plain sight. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/odettes-secrets-9781599907505/#sthash.5eqI9PAL.dpuf
    Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats.

    After Odette's father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return. On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl--going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.

    Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers--and written in moving free-verse poetry--this is the story of courage, of determination to survive, and of a young girl forced to hide in plain sight. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/odettes-secrets-9781599907505/#sthash.5eqI9PAL.dpuf
    Odette is a young Jewish girl living in Paris during a dangerous time. The Nazis have invaded the city, and every day brings new threats.

    After Odette's father enlists in the French army and her mother joins the Resistance, Odette is sent to the countryside until it is safe to return. On the surface, she leads the life of a regular girl--going to school, doing chores, and even attending Catholic Mass with other children. But inside, she is burning with secrets about the life she left behind and her true identity.

    Inspired by the life of the real Odette Meyers--and written in moving free-verse poetry--this is the story of courage, of determination to survive, and of a young girl forced to hide in plain sight. - See more at: http://www.bloomsbury.com/us/odettes-secrets-9781599907505/#sthash.5eqI9PAL.dpuf
    Friday
    Jul182014

    Plastic Ahoy: Investigating the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (Non-fiction)

    Click to review publisher information

    Author: Patricia Newman

    Photographer: Annie Crawley

    Genre: Science, Non-fiction

    Publisher: Lerner Publishing

    ISBN: 978-1-4677-1283-5

    Click to download the Next Generation Science and Common Core Standards Aligned Educator's Guide created for Grades 3-6

    Overview: Plastic: it's used to make everything from drink bottles and bags to toys and toothbrushes. But what happens when it ends up where itdoesn't belong—like in the Pacific Ocean? How does it affect ocean life? Is it dangerous? And exactly how much is out there? 

     A team of researchers went on a scientific expedition to find out. They explored the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, where millions of pieces of plastic have collected. The plastic has drifted there from rivers, beaches, and ocean traffic all over the world. Most of it has broken down into tiny pieces the size of confetti.

    For nearly three weeks at sea, researchers gathered bits of plastic and ocean organisms. These samples helped them learn more about the effects of plastic in the ocean. Follow along on the expedition to find out how scientists studied the Garbage Patch—and what alarming discoveries they made. (Lerner Books)

    Tuesday
    May272014

    Writing Process Blog Tour - by deb

    Thank you, Tam Smith for inviting me to join the Writing Process Blog Tour! It's a honor to be included in such an awesome blogging phenomenon and to be affiliated with great folk. Tam's a VCFA colleague and has been a dear friend to me since the moment my feet hit campus. Click here to read about Tam and her latest publishing success, Marble Boys.  

    What am I working on?

    Much of my writing time is spent as a freelancer creating supplemental educational book guides for new releases of all kinds. I enjoy making Activity, Discussion, and Academic guides for authors, illustrators and, of late, publishers. These guides keep me crazy busy in the best of ways!

    As far as my fiction goes, I’m working on a YA historical fiction set mountain-high in a treacherous 1930’s logging camp. I typically write middle-grade novels, but the blood and loggers’ belligerent banter is causing the story to be suited for the older set.

    How does my work differ from others in its genre?

    The setting is like no other in the genre, that I know of anyway. And, man-o-man, is it rich with danger and intrigue. Injuries and death were common occurrences. Men were “rubbed out” every day, with little concern regarding their passing. It was all or nothing for the logs. Any weak-link had best get out of the way.

    My grandfather and uncles were loggers in British Columbia. Throughout my life, I’ve hung on their stories about greenhorns and spar trees. I’ve seen roads cleared by my grandfather, passages that were once thick with ancient cedars.   And, I tasted the cold, clean water from streams spilling forth high on a mountain top.  So, I guess, my work differs from others in the genre in that it stems from experiences that are unique to me.

    Why do I write what I write?

    I write to learn and people and places and, probably most of all, myself. This book is teaching me about my heritage, giving me a full appreciation for the heroism and hardship of my ancestors.  While it is a work of pure fiction, the plot is strongly influenced by the stories I heard in my youth. I want people to know about this fascinating world of chockermen, high-riggers, and whistle punks. Who else better to tell this story than me, right?   

    How does my individual process work?

    I’m finding that, with this book, my love for the setting has thwarted my focus on character development. Oh, my secondary characters are identifiable and quite interesting. It’s my protagonist that is giving me a challenge. Bugger all. I tend to pull back, avoiding propelling him into heartache or real danger. You see, he and I are just getting to know each other. Once I know who he is and what he wants, I’ll know where best to put the screws to him.

    That being said, my individual process, you ask? To start over, again. From page one. Toss out the prior drafts and begin, once more. And, this time, I’m going to give my protagonist a heartache that belongs to me, one that I know down deep in my soul, one that has altered my entire concept of living, one that is as real to me as cedar trees and mountain streams, one that is as authentic and real as the rugged loggers of the 1930’s and the rustic camps in which they toiled.

    Sound good?

    Let’s do it.

    Next stop on the tour - Meet My Ann Arbor Critique Partners, Shutta Crum and Hope Vestergaard.

    Shutta Crum is the author of numerous picture books and two novels. Most of her books have made “best book” and state reading lists around the country. THUNDER-BOOMER! was named an ALA and Smithsonian Mag. “Notable Book” of the year.  The NY Times gave glowing reviews to her last two books, MINE! and DOZENS OF COUSINS. In 2005, Shutta was asked to read at the White House. In 2010 she was invited to tour American military base schools across Japan. For more: www.shutta.com .

    Hope Vestergaard is the author of ten books for children. most recently DIGGER DOZER DUMPER (Candlewick Press) and POTTY ANIMALS (Sterling), in addition to numerous print and online publications for adult readers on topics including education, parenting, and the craft of writing. When she's not writing, Hope edits websites. She lives on a small farm outside Ann Arbor, Michigan.