Posts Tagged ‘Caroline Starr Rose’

Discover. Play. Build.

Ruth Ayres invites us the celebrate each week. Click over to her site Discover. Play. Build. to read more celebrations.

Celebrating Easy Art and Creativity: I was doing some shopping at A&E gallery when I saw Marcie. I asked her if we could get together to do gel printing for Christmas stuff. She put it all together last weekend and four of us met at the gallery to play with our gel print plates. This is such a fun and easy way to create art. On the gelli plate (they were original made with real gelatin), you squirt and roll out paint. Then you can press in a stencil or even grab a paper towel roll and print circles. Place the paper down and pull up. There you have it. I designed gift tags, note cards, and tissue paper.

The mess of creative play with gel printing.

The mess of creative play with gel printing.

Gel printed tissue paper

Gel printed tissue paper

Celebrating Skype Author Visit: My students were beyond excited about their Skype visit with author Caroline Starr Rose. She set up her computer outside a Starbucks in Albuquerque because she had roofers at her house. She looked a little red-nosed from the chill, but all worked fine. (I was especially happy the technology worked.)

Caroline Starr Rose wrote May B and Blue Birds, both historical fiction verse novels, and Over in the Wetlands, a picture book about the creatures in the wetlands surviving a hurricane. Her writing is lyrical and beautiful. But we messed up in preparing for her visit. I read aloud Over in the Wetlands as well as parts of May B and Blue Birds, but we didn’t read the Author’s Note. She gave them a quiz. Let me just say that gifted kids are not accustomed to failing quizzes. They didn’t do too well on her wetlands quiz, but they learned a lot.

They were inspired to be creative with their thank you notes.

Creative thank you note from Kielan

Creative thank you note from Kielan

Emily reproduced the cover of "Over in the Wetlands" in her drawing.

Emily reproduced the cover of “Over in the Wetlands” in her drawing.

Lani made her a construction paper purse using a star symbol for "Starr."

Lani made her a construction paper purse using a star symbol for “Starr.”

I celebrate the creativity of playing with art. My students “get” this sense of play as well. I love that. I am grateful to authors like Caroline Starr Rose who inspire with good literature and generosity of spirit.

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Slice of Life Day 18.  Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.

Slice of Life Day 18. Join the Two Writing Teachers Slice of Life Challenge.


I follow middle grade authors on Facebook, Twitter, and on their blogs. Recently, Caroline Starr Rose, author of May B, posted a book give-away on her blog for Crystal Chan’s book Bird. And I won! The book arrived with a sweet note from Crystal Chan. Her note said, “Please tell about it–that’s the best way to give Bird a strong tail wind for its first flight.” Already I knew I would love this book. Then I read the first line, “My grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother.”

I have not written book reviews, ever. I hate to admit this. I’m supposed to be a writer. For some reason, this kind of writing has intimidated me. But when I got this book and Crystal’s note, I knew I had to give it a try. I talked to my student Vannisa about this review. She read Bird. I told her we would write the review together. There is a sense of safety in collaborative writing, and Vannisa had some good insights about the theme that I hadn’t even thought of.

Vannisa googled writing book reviews and made a list of steps for us to follow. She checked them off as we completed each one. I love how we had a role reversal here. Now she wants to read A Snicker of Magic with me. So maybe we will write more reviews together.

I posted this review on Goodreads, my first! I want to publicly thank Crystal Chan for this wonderful gift, her words, her character Jewel, and her touching story.

Crystal Chan has successfully written the saddest first page ever. She draws us in to the life of 12 year old Jewel who was born on the day her brother died. So her birthday is always a day of grief for her parents and grandpa. Jewel has never heard her grandpa speak because he stopped talking on that fateful day.

Jewel’s life changes the day she meets a boy in a tree. His name is John just like her late brother. Coincidence or not?

Crystal Chan leads us on a journey of action and emotion. I felt like I had been betrayed as Jewel overhears her parents arguing.

“I was never wanted. Not even the moment I was coming into the world.”

Jewel’s friendship with John may be a coincidence or a sign. Her grandfather believes it is a curse on her family, but Jewel believes it is good luck. Jewel sees a bit of herself in John. They both dream about their future; Jewel wants to be a geologist and John wants to be an astronaut. Mixed in this enchanting story are facts about the Jamaican culture and the universe.

You just want to read Bird again, to climb trees again, and to dream of a better life.

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Discover. Play. Build.

Welcome to Saturday Celebration. I thought it would never come. Yes, it was a long week. Yet the week was full of reasons to celebrate (and sleep late) today.

1. Healing
Minga, my mother-in-law, gets stronger every day. (Last Saturday’s post was about her successful surgery.) Here she is with cards from my students. My students put effort into their creations. They know Minga because she visited last year to present about her trip to Myanmar (Burma). Vannisa made a book of character traits while Kendall, without my knowing, wrote a poem for her. Brooklyn sent her a booklet of her own writing. This pleased me because it shows how far Brooklyn has come not only in her writing ability but also in her confidence. She wanted to give Minga something to read while she recovers.
Minga with cards

2. Courage
On Tuesday, we had a Skype visit with Caroline Starr Rose, the author of May B. We had some technical difficulties. She could not hear us, so we typed our questions and comments. We could hear her. How delightful she is! My students learned so much about how to be an author, the hard work that goes into it, and the rewards. Caroline said being an author is a dream come true for her. When we discussed her visit, we decided to make a chart to remember all her advice. The chart became an acrostic of the word COURAGE.

author's courage

3. Cupcakes
One of the things I love about teaching small groups of children is the opportunity to celebrate birthdays. I sent my husband out to get cupcakes for Emily’s birthday. He bought the ones with the brightest icing. He said they reminded him of Willy Wonka. The kids loved them. The girls made the icing into lipstick. How silly!

Silly cupcake lipstick

Silly cupcake lipstick

I hope you have found some healing, courage, and cupcakes to celebrate this week!

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