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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
Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. I took a bit of vacation time over the past week (wine tasting and celebrating a milestone birthday) so this is a super-short post. Topics include the #Cybils Awards, #play, #YA, book awards, learning, literacy, reading levels, studying, and wordless books. Continue reading
Posted 2 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
The Adventurers Guild is set in a world in which most of civilization has fallen to various Dangers (monsters, etc.). Teenage friends Zed and Brock live in one of the few remaining safe places, a walled town called Freestone. As the story begins, Brock and Zed are preparing for the annual Guildculling, a ceremony in which teens are assigned to a profession. Both boys hope to be assigned to one of the four High Guilds, though this is a stretch for Zed who comes from poverty and is the only person in town who is half-elf. Brock, son of two Merchants, expects his path to be more smooth. Continue reading
Posted 3 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
ive Me Back My Book is the story of two friends, Redd and Bloo, who fight over ownership of a green book. Only when the rather smug Bookworm makes off with the book do the two friends find a way to work together. Give Me Back My Book is part celebration of reading, part illustration of the way kids sometimes bicker, and part introduction to the components that make up books. Continue reading
Posted 5 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Here's a small milestone for the readers among you. The other day I was driving my daughter home from her child care / day camp. We had been having a discussion while walking to the car. Foolishly, I tried to continue the discussion after we were in the car. After a moment or two she responded, in an exasperated tone: "I'm reading!". As in, please don't bother me, these car rides are my reading time. Continue reading
Posted 6 days ago at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #Cybils, #DiverseBooks, #GirlsWhoCode, #JoyOfLearning, #Math, #reading, #STEM, bookmobile, coding, gender roles, growing bookworms, learning styles, reading choice, schools, and writing. Continue reading
Posted Aug 11, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I enjoyed The Great Shelby Holmes Meets Her Match (as I did the first book). I appreciated the characters, I didn't see all of the twists coming, and I thought that the stakes of the mystery were aimed just right for middle grade readers. I also liked Watson's relationship with his busy but concerned single mother, and I liked Watson's identify as someone who wants/needs to write. I certainly recommend this series for middle grade mystery fans, and I think that adult Holmes fans will enjoy it, too. Continue reading
Posted Aug 10, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I'm certainly not ready for the end of summer either, Judy. Though my daughter is counting the days for back to school. She's nervous and excited about who her new teacher will be. And she will continue at her childcare place during the afternoons, so she will still get some (though not as much) of the unstructured play with multi-age kids... Recess is her favorite part of school for that reason (though it's not quite as multi-age).
In this issue of the #GrowingBookworms newsletter I have four book reviews (picture books through middle school) and one post about my wish to strengthen my daughter's self-entertainment muscle. I also have a re-post of an article I wrote about play-based vs. activity-bases summer camp, two posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, and one post with more detailed notes / responses to some recent joy of learning-related articles. Continue reading
Posted Aug 9, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Thanks for your caring comments, Judy, as always. I absolutely think that we gained useful information from the camp experience, information that will inform our choices for next summer. I don't regret that we tried out the more structure camp - I just found it interesting, after reading a lot about play-based learning, to really see the preference in action with my daughter. Yes, it's always hard to tear her away from the activities that the other kids are doing. We unfortunately didn't sign up for the late afternoon care, as parents who don't work from home are more likely to do. So for now I have to tear her away (she also has karate lessons in the late afternoon, which is why I didn't sign up for the late care). But I appreciate the reminder for me to be kinder about it - of course she hates to have her activity interrupted. Don't we all? I'll probably try to learn from this part and sign her up for the later afternoon time next summer. This summer, well, we're almost done now :-). And finally, yes, you make another good point that this is all still us adjusting to our first summer without a nanny. And all in all, I think it's gone ok. I'm so so grateful that she likes her primary childcare center as much as she does, and I really hope that this will continue. Thanks for the support! Yesterday I had to tear her away early again, but it was because she was going to run a front yard farm stand with another friend. It's nice that she has multiple good options for her time.
The Daybreak Bond is the sequel to Megan Frazer Blakemore's The Firefly Code (my review). Both books are about a group of children who live in a protected community in a dystopian future suburban Boston. The children are partially genetically engineered, some more than others. Narrator Mori is a "natural" in that she wasn't designed, but she has had some modifications to improve her vision. She also has had a modification that she laments, to make her less brave (so that she won't take risks). Continue reading
Posted Aug 8, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
In this post, I share my daughter's recent experience with a small play-based summer camp vs. a more activity-based, highly scheduled experience. Continue reading
Posted Aug 7, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookLists, #JoyOfLearning, #KidLitCon, #math, #PictureBooks, #STEM, boys and reading, curiosity, education, growing bookworms, helicopter parents, literacy, marketing, schools, summer vacation, and teaching. Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Dazzle Ship is a nonfiction picture book for older readers that educates and informs, captures an incident most adults won't be familiar with, and has eye-catching illustrations. I will not be surprised to hear more about this one come Cybils-time. Recommended! Continue reading
Posted Aug 3, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Today I have three articles that are seemed deserving of a bit of extra attention. The first two are about helping kids to enjoy reading, one aimed more at parents and the other aimed more at teachers, but both full of good sense. The third article is about a British initiative in which streets are closed down periodically so that children can get outside and play, with many resulting benefits. Wishing you joyful reading! Continue reading
Posted Aug 2, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Professional Crocodile is a quiet story, a bit quirky but ultimately satisfying. Because it is a wordless story, it would make a great choice for kindergarten and first graders to look through on their own, adding their own words to tell the story. Recommended, and one that I expect to read again in the future. Continue reading
Posted Aug 1, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
That is an excellent point, Sherry. Thanks. I do think she's more extroverted than I am (which isn't saying much), and you make a very good point that some of this is just going to be innate. Hmmm... Definitely food for thought. At my best guess now, she's somewhere between my introverted self and my extroverted husband, but exactly where remains a bit up in the air. But I do think that being able to amuse herself all day long is a gift in Bee's case. Z-baby, well, at least she has a lot of siblings to seek out.
Oh yes, Brenda. That is certainly true. More often than I would like I find that paint or water has been involved. There's definitely a price to be paid for self-entertainment sometimes... Perhaps a topic for another post! Glad to hear that yours is getting better. That does give me some hope! Thanks for sharing your experience. As I said to Kate above, it helps knowing that I'm not alone.
Thanks for chiming in on this, Kate. I felt a bit badly writing about something without offering anything in the way of solutions, but it definitely helps to hear from people like you who face the same issues. I agree that siblings bring different challenges, and that this challenge is likely (I hope!) to improve with age... I certainly have to give in on using the tablet sometimes, too.
I believe in the power of free play. I believe that kids should have time to dream, and to pursue their own interests. I believe that parents should try not to over-schedule their kids, to allow time for these things. I have a daughter who doesn't like to be over-scheduled, and protests when she feels like the frequency of activities is too high. Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
Here are highlights from the links that I shared on Twitter this week @JensBookPage. Topics this week include #BookList, #DiverseBooks, #GrowthMindset, #play, #STEM, #SummerReading, back to school books, boredom, boredom, coding, education, giftedness, Girl Scouts, growing bookworms, hashtags, learning, literacy, parenting, reading, schools, and social media. Continue reading
Posted Jul 28, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
I had received these from the publisher, but decided to bump them up on my reading list after reading your review, Karen. Thanks for that! I enjoyed them, too. Glad your students have been enjoying them.
The Bodyguard series is aimed squarely at fans of the Young Bond series and other relatively PG thrillers. It's timely, with a focus on terrorists and other dangers. There are deaths, but none of them (besides that of Connor's dad) are heartbreaking. There are plenty of guns and other weapons, as well as miraculous tech tools (bulletproof t-shirt anyone?). In short, these books are pure summer reading fun for kids age 10 and up. Recommended, and well worth a look for libraries serving middle schoolers. Continue reading
Posted Jul 27, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
In this issue of the Growing Bookworms newsletter I have four book reviews (picture books through middle grade/middle school) and one post with my daughter's latest literacy milestone (quoting from / acting on advice from a book). I also have two posts with links that I shared recently on Twitter, and one post with more detailed notes / responses to three recent joy of learning-related articles. Continue reading
Posted Jul 26, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page
erafina and the Splintered Heart is the third book in Robert Beatty's Serafina series (after Serafina and the Black Cloak and Serafina and the Twisted Staff). There is little that I can say about the plot of this third book that won't give something away about the plot. Suffice it to say that the book starts with heroine Serafina in peril and continues by mixing strange supernatural events with brave action. Adversaries and friends from previous books play their parts. Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2017 at Jen Robinson's Book Page