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Discussion materials

Summer Reading Solution:  A Ready-Made Author Study Guide for You

By Discussion materials, middle grade, picture books
Summer reading is here – and this year it’s more important than ever to keep kids connected to learning through books and stories. The best way to do that? By making reading come alive beyond the page. That can sound daunting, but don’t worry. I am very proud to share with you a beautifully-prepared author study kit, based on my books, that you can use with your whole family. Everything you need is included. This kit was created by Kass Minor with assistance from The Author Village. Kass is a well-known educator, presenter, and the Executive Director of The Minor Collective. Alongside partnerships with the Teachers College Inclusive Classrooms Project and the New York City Department of Education, since 2005, she’s worked as a teacher, staff developer, adjunct professor, speaker, and documentarian. She also has impressive, kid-friendly, creative mojo! She’s taken five of my titles and designed simple, family-friendly activities to extend the story into your child’s world. You’ll find a plan for taking a walk in your community, recipes from the books to try in your kitchen, templates for sharing letters and postcards, a way to unearth old family stories, and much, much more. I couldn’t be more excited. Reading and writing aren't about levels or tests. They're about what words do inside of us and the worlds they open. The question is always, how does this story mean something to me? How does it connect me to others? What does it make me think about? What does it...
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A Playlist for Merci Suárez Can’t Dance

By Discussion materials, middle grade
A present for you! Here's a bilingual playlist I pulled together in honor of Merci Suárez Can't Dance, which will be in bookstores on April 6. If you attended the recent Candlewick Press 2021 preview event at ALA in January, you already received this in your virtual goodie bag. But for those of you who weren't at ALA this winter, here's a way to get in the mood for the book's release. All pre-orders at the site of your choice are appreciated, of course. I'll have finals details for you soon about the virtual indie store book tour coming in April, where I'll be talking all things Merci with some of my most admired friends in publishing. If you want a sneak peek at the dates and special guests we know so far, come over to the Events page. Remember, though, more are coming. So on to the music. You might not find all of these songs kid-friendly for students in elementary school, so listen first and pick your favorites. Why did each song make the list? Read on. Maybe readers will make their own list? I'd love to know what they'd put on their own playlist. Enjoy! Songlist X/ Artist:  Jonas Brothers, featuring Karol G I’m sure this was on the DJ’s playlist at the Heart Ball. You can find a performance of this on You Tube that features some great dance moves that Merci would struggle with, for sure! Con Calma/ Artist:  Daddy Yankee The twins and Lolo love to...
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An author’s guide to DIY teacher materials for your books

By Discussion materials, Teachers' Guide, Trailers
Having a beautiful new book in the world is only part of the job of connecting with readers. Another important way to connect is by making it easy for teachers and librarians to use your work as part of their classroom or independent reading programs. But what does that look like if you’re making these materials yourself? And what are the most popular types of materials that teachers are looking for? Car template for Tia Isa Wants a Car To find out, I spoke to Kathleen O’Rourke, Executive Director of Educational Sales and Marketing at Candlewick Press. She confirmed what I’ve learned over the last ten years. “Teachers have limited time to teach all that is required... so providing them with materials that are simple, accessible, and effective are your best bet." Top three picks Discussion Guide for Yaqui Delgado  1. A discussion guide:  Not every title on a publisher’s list will get a discussion guide designed in-house, but that doesn’t mean you can’t design one yourself using the principles your publisher uses. “A good discussion guide can be used to start a class discussion, assign written responses, or encourage a librarian to use your title with a book group,” says O’Rourke.  “[You want] thoughtful discussion questions that a teacher can either provide the students before they read the book to help guide their reading or that can be used after the book has been read to help the students think critically about the story." When I’ve designed my own...
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Living, learning and working from home

By Appearances, Discussion materials, The Writing Life
Hi everyone – You’ll find me online in the coming weeks as we all settle in to living, learning, and working from home. If you’re using my books with your kids, feel free to download and use any of the resource materials for my books, which you can access here. Here’s where you can find me this week: A (friendly) twitter takeover of Candlewick Press on Twitter on Tuesday, March 24. It starts at 2 pm EST. I’ll be posting pictures, giving updates, taking a tour of my office and answering questions you might have. Talk to you then! A Spanish-language story time on Instagram live Thursday, March 26, noon – 12:20 EST. I’ll be reading Mango, Abuela y Yo, and giving you a sneak peek into my new picture book, Evelyn Del Rey Se Muda (Candlewick, September 2020). Kate Messner put out a call for author materials. She’s collecting them on her website under Read, Wonder, and Learn at home learning library. You’ll find lots of great authors there. I made a 10-minute tutorial for student writers on how to increase tension in your writing. It will also be part of her online writing program, soon to be unveiled. Abrazos, Meg
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Digital resources

By Discussion materials, The Writing Life
Dear Educators and Parents, I will have some online activities coming up in the next few weeks and I will send that schedule soon. But until then, please find a collection of digital resources for my books below. I hope that you find them useful during these trying times. Please enjoy and share! Also, be sure to find more information with my publisher, Candlewick Press. Discussion Guides The Girl Who Could Silence the Wind Burn Baby Burn Yaqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass Yaqui Delgado quiere darte una paliza Merci Suárez Changes Gears Teachers' Guides Merci Suárez Changes Gears Tia Isa Wants a Car Picture Book Resources Mango Abuela and Me: Color in Mango Tia Isa Wants a Car: Car template   See Teacher's guide for writing project Arts and crafts for my books on Pinterest And, for a extra special challenge, check out this paper bag Mango puppet!
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When an Epidemic Calls

By Discussion materials, The Writing Life
You’re never sure how a book is going to connect with readers. Sometimes it’s a character that hooks readers. Other times, it's a plot point. Sometimes just your voice or style is enough. Turns out, though, sometimes it’s about loss and pain, too. Merci Suárez Changes Gears has drawn readers in lots of ways, but one of the most important ways has been in its unvarnished view of Alzheimer’s Disease, one of the most rapidly growing epidemics in the US. When I included that storyline in Merci, I was unaware exactly how many people face this situation every day with no caregiving safety net in place. All I really knew was that my uncle, Diego, was taken from us that way – a little bit at a time, until the once sweet and charming man was left virtually erased in a world of strangers. It was grueling to watch my cousin and his family face the many hard days and difficult decisions about his care. This past June, when I traveled to DC to accept the Newbery award, Candlewick scheduled a signing for the librarians at the ALA conference.  The first woman in that line placed several copies on my table and just asked for my signature. When I was about halfway through, she leaned in and whispered tearfully, “I just lost my mother to Alzheimer’s a few months ago.” I put my pen down. My heart broke for her instantly because I knew what that journey must have looked like....
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A Teachers’ Guide on steroids, in the best way possible.

By Discussion materials, middle grade, Schuyler VanValkenburg, Teachers' Guide, The Writing Life

Candlewick Press sent along their hot-off-the-press Teachers’ Guide for Merci Suárez Changes Gears. The former teacher inside me is going to gush here. It’s fabulous, and that’s because it’s written by a super-charged educator and reading coach. The questions and activities across the curriculum are smart and get the kids talking, thinking, and working on everything from Ancient Egypt to the social dynamics of their school. So I’m sending a big applause to Kellee Moye, a middle-school reading coach and teacher from Orlando, Florida. Kellee is the coauthor of the blog Unleashing Readers, a member of the 2016–2018 ALAN Board of Directors, a member of NCTE, ALAN, and ALA, the chair of the 2014 Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award committee, and her school’s 2017–18 Teacher of the Year. Here it is as a pdf [ MerciSuárez_TG ]for you to download. Or you can follow the link at the top of the article. Either way, I think folks who’ll be using the book in their classrooms next fall will find something useful. OK, next stop… Massachusetts!

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