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Jen Robinson
San Jose, CA
Dedicated to growing joyful learners: bookworms, mathematicians, scientists, artists, + more
Interests: joy of learning, education, children's books, hiking, reading, walking, red sox baseball, wine tasting, mysteries, literacy
Recent Activity
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include: #BookLists, Disney World, diverse books, #GrowthMindset, #SummerReading, Book Awards, leveled readers, libraries, reading aloud, reading choice, schools, teaching, parenting. Awards + Book... Continue reading
Posted yesterday at Jen Robinson's Book Page
OK, Terry, the thumbprint book it is. Thanks for the Child-specific recommendation! I should probably replenish the bubbles and sidewalk chalk - that would be a good addition to my list. I'm not as good as I should be about encouraging outdoor activities. Now you have me wanting to read some Nancy Drew books myself! Happy summer to you, too, Terry!
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Can I Tell You a Secret is a delightful picture book, perfect for the three to six-year-old set. It is certainly one that libraries and preschools will want to stock. It should have near-universal appeal for younger kids and their parents. It has plenty of repetition, and would also work as an early reader for slightly older kids. Highly recommended all around! Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Kids are so creative, aren't they? We don't have those Ed Emberly books, but I'll add a couple to our wish list. She had a friend over yesterday and they were playing Noah's ark using stuffed animals (of which there are plenty to choose in our house). I like the tennis ball game... Ah summer! Just thinking about it makes me want to go read some Elizabeth Enright books now.
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My daughter finished Kindergarten last week. My goal has been to keep her summer as unstructured as possible. I want her to have downtime after her first year of elementary school. I want her to have the mental space to develop and nurture her own interests. I want her to have fun. Which is not to say that she won't be learning. She's six years old. She is a little sponge, soaking up opportunities for learning every day. Here are the things that I plan to do that I think will support my daughter's learning process without taking away her autonomy or joy of learning. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Thanks for taking time to comment, Stephanie. I think this is a fun one. I learned today that a sequel is coming soon.
Chicken in Space is a new picture book about a chicken who is not like the other chickens. Zoey dreams of bigger things, and makes plans accordingly. Her specific dream in this story (one senses that there could be more) is to ravel to outer space. She has a loyal sidekick, a pie-obsessed pig named Sam, and she tries to enlist other animals to accompany she and Sam on their quest. But in the end, Zoey and Sam venture alone into the skies for a great adventure. Continue reading
Posted 4 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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My daughter has been aware for some time that books can have sequels. I'll often point this out. As in: "Hey, I heard that there's a sequel to Louise Loves Art coming out later this year. Isn't that cool?" But the other day was the first time that I'm aware of that she finished a book and anticipated that there should be a sequel forthcoming. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #48HBC, #SummerReading, book lists, censorship, growing bookworms, kidlitosphere, libraries, movies, parenting, play, reading enjoyment, schools, STEM, teaching, and writing. Continue reading
Posted Jun 17, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
It is a complex issue, Susan. I agree. Often I'm reviewing a book and I feel like "seven year old girls will particularly like this book." But I've stopped saying that in my reviews, because I don't want to marginalize the seven year old boy (or 10 year old boy) who might also like it. That said, if someone were to ask me particularly for recommendations for their daughter, I would have no problem recommending "girly" titles if those seemed like a good fit, or pirate books if those seemed like a good fit. What's harder, though certainly worthwhile, is to go ahead and recommend the more "girly" books to parents of boys. Realistically, I think you are being pragmatic to shay away from that, and I get it. But I plan to try a bit harder not to shy away. Definitely complex!
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Today I have three posts about different aspects of nurturing kids as creative thinkers. The first is about not imposing too many rules on kids, particularly in school, but instead, letting them be risk-takers. The second is about creating the right environment to encourage kids to read over the summer. The third is about letting kids be bored, rather than scheduling activities for them every minute. These are all things that I try to do with my daughter, with varying degrees of success. I also have a post about the dangers of rigorous required summer reading lists. Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Sophie's Squash is one of my all-time favorite picture books (see my review). So naturally I was thrilled to learn that a sequel would be forthcoming. Sophie's Squash Go To School picks up not long after the end of Sophie's Squash. Readers of the first book will not be surprised to find that when she starts school for the first time, Sophie takes her two best friends, Bonnie and Baxter (the squash children of Bernice). Sophie is not keen on branching out to make any new friends, despite the best efforts of a boy named Steven Green. Eventually, however, the determined Steven is able to break through Sophie's reserve, and she learns that having common interests with someone really can be a basis for friendship. Continue reading
Posted Jun 16, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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In this issue of the Growing Bookworms newsletter I have three book reviews (one picture book, one early chapter book, and one middle grade) and two posts about my daughter's latest literacy milestones (sharing things on Facebook and naming favorite authors). I also have one post about why my daughter is lucky to be a girl (reading choice), and another about why parents, teachers, and librarians should consider attending KidLitCon. I also have two posts with links that I shared on Twitter, and two more with quotes from and responses to articles about to the joy of learning. Continue reading
Posted Jun 15, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I'm glad to hear it, Becky! I think you'll like it.
Swing Sideways made me laugh, nod in recognition, and cringe in different places, and it brought tears to my eyes at the end. Give this one to kids who like books about summer outdoor adventures (there are chickens!), and to kids who like sad books. Annie and California (and the adults in their lives) will stay with me, I think. Recommended. Continue reading
Posted Jun 14, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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In this post I share my daughter's latest milestone on the path to literacy, being able to name her favorite authors (Bob Staake and Mo Willems). Continue reading
Posted Jun 13, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #48HBC, #BunkReads, #SummerReading, booklists, funny books, growing bookworms, homework, kidlitosphere, LGBTQ books, play, raising readers, testing. There were also some great links about reading logs and what parents can do to keep kids enjoying books, discussed here. Continue reading
Posted Jun 10, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Mister Cleghorn's Seal is a new illustrated chapter book by Judith Kerr (who wrote the very first book that we read aloud to my daughter after she was born: One Night in the Zoo). Mister Cleghorn's Seal is a quick and lovely read, set in a time when cigarettes are "newfangled". I think it would make pretty much a perfect first chapter book to read aloud to a preschooler, with a short length, no chapter breaks, and Kerr's black-and-white illustrations on just about every page. Continue reading
Posted Jun 9, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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To all of my readers who care about getting kids reading, and keeping them reading, I would like to suggest that you consider attending KidLitCon on October 14-15 in Wichita, KS. KidLitCon, an annual gathering of people who are involved with, and blog about, children's books, is always a valuable conference. But this year's KidLitCon will be of special interest to those of you who care about kids and reading. This year’s theme is Gatekeepers and Keymasters: Connecting bloggers, librarians, teachers, authors, and parents to promote literacy. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Today I have three posts that are about nurturing and maintaining a love of reading in kids. The first post, from Pernille Ripp, offers suggestions for parents, with emphasis on counteracting negative practices that schools may impose that threaten the joy of reading. The other two posts, from Erica Reischer and Monica Edinger, both focus on reading logs. The first post discusses why reading logs can sap kids' motivation for reading, while the second, from a long-time teacher, offers a better alternative. These are all articles that I expect to refer back to in the future. Continue reading
Posted Jun 8, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Field Guide to the Grumpasaurus is cute and funny and true to the moods of a grumpy toddler. While kids will likely not recognize themselves in the Grumpasaurus, parents and older siblings will find much to chuckle about. I could also see this book inspiring kids to create their own field notebooks, making it a potentially good book for classroom use. This is one that we'll be keeping to read again at home. Continue reading
Posted Jun 7, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
It's not really necessary to market bathrobes differently to six-year-old boys or girls. [And for the record, Costco just tossed them all in the same bin anyway.] In a perfect world there wouldn't be "boy books", which boys and girls feel free to read and "girl books", which mainly girls feel free to read. There would just be books - stories about ghosts and goblins and friendship and treehouses and whatever else any particular kid might be interested in on any particular day. There would just be #StoriesForAll. I think that's something to work towards. Continue reading
Posted Jun 6, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
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Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. It's a bit of a light week this week because of the holiday, but I do have links for you about #DiverseBooks, #EdTech, #GrowingBookworms, #SummerReading, beginning readers, classroom libraries, funny books, mysteries, play, testing, ebooks, and teaching. Continue reading
Posted Jun 3, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I haven't seen my daughter's friends show interest in FB (or sending their own texts) either. I think you're right that having siblings would probably make a difference. Honestly, this whole thing has been making me think that I need to make more effort to keep her from seeing me on Facebook so much. But at the same time, I think for a kid who has a lot of family and friends who live far away to want to share things on Facebook with them is not the end of the world... I'll let you know if any developments arise re: Blaze of Fire...
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I have three articles for you today related to growing bookworms and encouraging joy of learning. First up, Julie Danielson makes a strong case for classroom read-alouds by teachers. Second, teacher Brett Vogelsinger shares tips for getting kids to be intrinsically motivated to read. And finally, a teacher from Brooklyn laments the wide gap between the experiences of Pre-K vs. Kindergarten kids at her school. Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2016 at Jen Robinson's Book Page