Monday, March 26, 2012

Winners and More Cool Book Club Stuff!

Spellbinders Logo
March 26, 2012
Caroline's Classroom Connections
The Winner of Dr. Fred's three books!
The winner of Dr. Fred's Seven Wonders of Space Technology, Seven Wonders of Exploration Technology and Astrobiology is . . .

GARY BODMAN!! Middle School Science Teacher!

Congratulations!!! We hope your students enjoy the books! Happy Reading! (Gary, please email Kimberley at to receive the books by mail to your school or home address.)

Thank you everyone for entering! And stay tuned for more giveaways in April and May! 

Book Clubs, Part Five: What Works
This is the last installment of the Book Club articles. To see parts 1-4, be sure to stop by our Spellbinders blog.

Classroom Involvement
In an ideal world, you could post information about your meetings in classrooms and school libraries. Teachers would mention your group, provide titles, remind kids of meeting times, and possibly offer incentive / create some sort of tie-in to curriculum. Or better yet, you as the organizer could approach teachers to learn what books or topics they'd love to see their students read about. You could enhance what goes on in the classroom by selecting authors and titles that compliment school work.

Guiding Discussion
Some kids will come prepared to talk. And talk a lot! Others won't really be sure how to begin. Even if you've given them idea starters, know not everyone will remember or even know how to get a book conversation going. Part of your role is to model how this works by coming with your own observations and questions. When kids hear you sharing a quote you think is key to the story or the obstacles a character had to overcome, they learn how to do this for themselves. Discussions naturally start to grow. Kids begin to read with ideas toward what they might share later. It's an amazing process to watch.

Sometimes talks get so animated, everyone wants to talk at once. I found it helpful to have a way to visually show whose turn it was to speak. We passed around pencils, stuffed animals, and even a Kleenex box to show who currently was in charge. The kids loved this and were (usually!) willing to wait their turn.
Regular Attendance
To make regular attendance happen, you'll need a combination of the following: committed kids, involved parents, a regular meeting time and place, consistent communication, a planned-out book schedule, and an easy way for children to get their hands on books. Be willing to be flexible, too. If something isn't working, evaluate and determine how things could improve. Ask kids and parents for input. Be willing to cancel titles hard to find or add a new book everyone is anxious to read. Plan ahead but be willing to change, if necessary.

And don't forget: Cookies are always a great draw!

Ultimately, we want kids reading and responding to literature. There's no perfect way to have this happen, but I can tell you this: when an adult is excited about books and shares this regularly with kids, it's almost impossible for them not to get enthusiastic themselves.

There is nothing like loving children. There is nothing like loving books. To experience the two together is a gift indeed.
 Black Stripes
Meet the Spellbinders

Caroline Starr Rose
Caroline Starr Rose spent her childhood in the deserts of Saudi Arabia and New Mexico, camping at the Red Sea in one and eating red chile in the other. She's taught English and social studies to upper elementary and middle-school students in New Mexico, Florida, Virginia, and Louisiana. Back in New

Mexico, Caroline now writes middle-grade novels and picture books full time. 

To find teacher's guides, writing activities, and information about author visits, go to her website.


Carolee Dean
Carolee Dean has made numerous appearances as a guest poet/author at schools, libraries, poetry events, and teacher/library conferences. She holds a bachelor's degree in music therapy and a master's degree in communicative disorders, and she has spent over a decade working in the public schools as a

Comfort Paperback Cover
speech-language pathologist.

Her first novel, Comfort,was nominated as a Best Book for Young Adults, was named the Best YA Novel of 2002 by the Texas Institute of Letters, and was on the TAYSHAS (Texas Library Association) reading list. Take Me There is a YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.
Take Me There Cover

She conducts teacher trainings on inspiring reluctant writers including "The Secret Language of Stories" and "Random Act of Haiku."

 Follow me on Twitter 

Kim Bio PhotoKimberley Griffiths Little is the recipient of the Southwest Book Award, The Whitney Award for Best Youth Novel of 2010, and the author of the highly acclaimed, The Healing Spell and Circle of Secrets, published by Scholastic Press. Look for her books at the Scholastic Book Fairs, as well Circle of Secretsas two more forthcoming novels in 2012 and 2013.
She lives on a dirt road in a small town by the Rio Grande with her husband, a robotics engineer and their three sons. Kimberley is a favorite speaker at schools around the country, presenting "The Creative Diary", a highly successful writing workshop and has been a speaker at many conferences.

Please visit her website to download free Teacher's Guides and Book Club Guides. 
Follow me on Twitter 

Upcoming Author Events

Saturday, March 31
Caroline presents at the
Jambalaya Writing Conference
Houma, Louisiana

Saturday, 14 April
Alamosa Bookstore, Albuquerque, NM
Carolee and Caroline discuss verse novels for poetry month

Sunday, April 29th 
9-5 Preconference Session  
Author's Panel at the
International Reading Association Conference
Chicago, Illinois
"Rekindling the Reading and Writing Fire"
Join us for this all day session
featuring 11 authors including
all 3 Spellbinders
Carolee Dean
Kimberley Griffiths Little
Caroline Starr Rose 
Tuesday, May 1
3 p.m. - 4 p.m.
International Reading Association Conference
Chicago, Illinois
"The Secret Language of Stories"
Carolee Dean

November, 2012
YALSA Literature Symposium 
"Author Research Panel"
Carolee Dean
Kimberley Griffiths Little
and two other authors
St. Louis, Missouri

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