World Read Aloud Day Celebration!

Every year on World Read Aloud Day, educators, librarians, and authors from around the globe celebrate the special magic that happens when you read out loud to a child.  This year, as we celebrate the 10th annual World Read Aloud Day, we’ve invited four educators and authors to join us at the MGBookVillage to discuss reading aloud.

Jake Burt

bio2Jake is a 5th grade teacher and the author of Greetings From Witness Protection, The Right Hook of Devin Velma, and the upcoming The Tornado. You can connect with him on Twitter @JBurtBooks.

What’s one of your favorite read aloud memories?
It’s the most formative event of my life as a reader: my father reading The Hobbit aloud to us when I was a kid. I’d get into my top bunk, my brother in the bottom, and my dad would sit in the chair across the room. I’d hang my head over the guardrail on top of a pillow and watch him like a hawk as he turned the pages, gesturing with his off-hand and contorting his face to deliver each character’s unique voice.
Why is reading aloud so important?
From building fluency to engaging imagination to modeling a love of the written word, read-aloud is an essential tool in a teacher or parent’s box. I think my favorite thing about it, though, is the way it allows for immediate, shared insight and conversation about a story. Whether it’s about a connection a child makes with a character or deconstructing a beautiful bit of prose; unpacking an intense, emotional scene or predicting what might happen next, those follow-up discussions are often just as enjoyable and meaningful as the performance itself.
What is one of your favorite books to read aloud?
I have read Neil Gaiman’s The Graveyard Book aloud over a dozen times now, and I still adore it. The book itself is fantastic, but there’s something special Gaiman does that 220px-thegraveyardbook_hardcovermakes it that much better as a read-aloud. If you dare to do voices for the characters…and oh lordy, do I do voices…it adds some absolutely delightful moments to a story already chock-full of them. (SPOILERS AHEAD) For instance, I’ll never get tired of hearing my class gasp when they hear Mr. Frost speak for the first time, his voice a more avuncular version of the man Jack from the beginning of the book. And giving Silas just a hint of the old Bela Lugosi is a great little nod for sharp listeners as to his true nature. The best part, though, might be that The Graveyard Book is one of those rare works of fiction that allows its main character to grow up. As Bod matures (both physically and emotionally), the performer gets to change his voice, too, allowing a deeper sense of understanding to develop between the narrative and the audience. All that, and the book has one of the greatest “Oooooh, SNAP!” lines in all of MG literature…folks familiar with the book will know the one…

Karina Yan Glaser

screenshot2019-01-31at10.57.19pmKarina is a contributing editor at Book Riot and the author of The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street and The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden. You can connect with her on Twitter at @KarinaYanGlaser

What’s one of your favorite read aloud memories?
When I was in fourth grade, my teacher spent a lot of time reading aloud to us. She was new to teaching and reading aloud was one of the only ways to keep the classroom in order! I loved read aloud time. I have no memory of being read aloud to by my parents when I was growing, so the read alouds at school were magical. Now, as a parent, I love reading aloud to my kids. I actually started reading out loud to each of them when they were in the womb because I was so excited about reading children’s books to them! I especially enjoy reading aloud to them on the subway; it makes the commute feel short and I love spotting other subway riders listening in on the story.
Why is reading aloud so important?
Reading aloud is important for so many reasons, but for me I love that it invites opportunities for deeper connections between adults and kids. I adore the questions that my kids ask me when we read books together. Last night I read Ode to an Onion: Pablo Neruda and His Muse by Alexandria Giardino, illustrated by Felicita Sala, to my nine-year-old daughter, and she had so Unknown-1.jpegmany funny questions: “Why is Pablo so gloomy?” “Why do onions make us cry?” “Was Pablo a real person?” “Can we read his poem about the onion again?” “Now can we read the poem in Spanish?” “Can we do shadow puppets behind the onion skin paper?”
What is one of your favorite books to read aloud?
Only one?! I have to name more than that, I’m sorry! The Wednesday Wars and Okay for Now by Gary D. Schmidt; Dreamers by Yuyi Morales; Alfie by Thyra Heder, Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier; The Best Man by Richard Peck; Her Right Foot by Dave Eggers, illustrated by Shawn Harris;Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson, A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead and Erin Stead; and All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee, are just some of the ones that I love to read aloud!

Christina Carter

Jg8RK8Mn_400x400.jpgChristina is a K-5 librarian, book reviewer, and ProjectLIT Buffalo site leader. You can connect with her on Twitter @CeCeLibrarian.

What’s one of your favorite read aloud memories?

My favorite read aloud memory is with my Dad because he had his very own unique way of fracturing any story that was familiar. I can’t point to any specific book really but every time we sat down to read together was a blast. When I became an adult and then watched my Dad interact with his grandchildren, reading them stories in that same special way, it made (and still makes) my heart happy. I think this honestly is a HUGE reason why I love sharing fractured fairy tales.

Why is reading aloud so important?

Every read aloud we do with our children is an opportunity for them to fall in love with reading. I approach each read aloud that way, thinking, “what if this is that book that will spark the magic and wonder of their own imaginations and creativity or pique their curiosity to the point of further inquiry? ” Knowing that this is a possibility, I bring everything I have in me to the story rug; taking on the voice and role of each character and inviting our students to engage in this reading journey together. The read aloud gifts the participants with memories that will live on in their hearts as they recall the experience(s) that evening with their families or even years beyond this moment in time. It goes without saying, that I believe read alouds to be incredibly powerful!

What is one of your favorite books to read aloud?61ksfpfx5gl._sx384_bo12c2042c2032c200_

My absolute favorite read aloud at the moment is It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk! It has been a big BIG hit with every grade level that I see in the library (K-5). The idea of Jack speaking directly to the narrator and giving him a hard time about how the story is going gets our students giggling every time! During our most recent read aloud, we turned it into a mini readers theater performance and I invited my library aide, our tech aide, and every and any adult who wanted to participate. We transformed our story rug into a “stage”, taking on the roles of each character and showed our students how to bring a story to life. Students then had a chance to come on up to the “stage” and read an advance copy of It’s Not Hansel and Gretel (also by Josh Funk). We had so much FUN! After every reading, students were like, “Again! Again!” This experience made my heart so happy and it is one that I will always remember.

Amanda Rawson Hill

author-photo-2018.jpgAmanda is cofounder of the MG @ Heart Book Club, a PitchWars mentor, and the author of The Three Rules of Everyday Magic. You can connect with her on Twitter at @amandarhill32

 

What’s one of your favorite read aloud memories?

My favorite read aloud memory is when my mom read the first Harry Potter to me and my siblings. Right around the troll scene, I picked up the book and finished it myself. Too impatient to keep taking it chapter by chapter!

Why is reading aloud so important?

Reading aloud is important because it changes books from a solitary experience to a shared one, which I think is a vital part of having them be well-loved and creating readers.

What is one of your favorite books to read aloud?

I love reading Neil Gaiman’s FORTUNATELY, THE MILK aloud. So many fun and silly voices plus lots of laughter.

Have a wonderful World Read Aloud Day and share your thoughts using the #WorldReadAloudDay hashtag!

MG at Heart Book Club Book Review: THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, by Amanda Rawson Hill

Middle Grade at Heart’s October book club pick was the touching and magical THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC by our contributor and co-founder Amanda Rawson Hill.

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Believe. Give. Trust. Kate doesn’t really believe in magic. She hasn’t had much reason too since her dad left and her best friend started to drift away. But when Grammy moves in with Kate and her mom and starts telling Kate about the three rules of Everyday Magic, Kate’s willing to try anything to put things back to right.

“There’s a part of me that wants to believe in magic, especially if it has anything to do with Dad.”

Grammy and Kate share many moments together baking cookies, sharing memories of Kate’s dad, knitting, and, of course, talking about the three rules of Everyday Magic. Even as Grammy’s mental clarity fades, she shares so much with Kate about life, love, and magic in a series of bittersweet scenes:

“If you love someone you can always give them magic. And you always should. We never give up on people we love. I know better than most.”

But sometimes the magic doesn’t work exactly the way you’d planned. Sometimes it can’t stop relationships from shifting, diseases from changing the people we love, or bad things from happening. That’s when the third rule comes in and it’s the most important of all:

“You have to trust the magic. That means you can’t give it away expecting a certain outcome. You can’t put demands on it and say it only worked if everything goes how you wanted it to, or when you wanted it to. Magic has its own timeframe and its own ideas about what should happen. You can hope it will cause some event, but sometimes it will do something else entirely. That doesn’t mean it didn’t work.”

Kate’s world is forever changed by the events in THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC. And even though the magic she discovers isn’t able to put everything back the way it used to be, it does help her navigate her changing world with a little more grace and love.

That’s the beauty of this bittersweet, touching story, one that will support young readers who are struggling with the same issues Kate faces and give others a safe space to process their own complicated emotions.

To learn more about Amanda, or for printable drawing pages, activities, recipes, and discussion questions, check out our Middle Grade at Heart newsletter devoted to THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC here (https://mailchi.mp/b46a53e64e30/october-book-club-the-three-rules-of-everyday-magic-by-amanda-rawson-hill-a-giveaway).  

. . .

The Middle Grade @ Heart book club pick for November is THE HOTEL BETWEEN by Sean Easley! Stay tuned for more posts about this awesome book and don’t forget to join us for our Twitter chat on THREE RULES OF EVERDAY MAGIC on November 6!

 

MG at Heart and the Need for Sad Books in Middle Grade

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The MG at Heart team is back again with a mid-month post about our October pick, Amanda Rawson Hill’s The Three Rules of Everyday Magic. A heartfelt story that explores mental illnesses and their effect on family.

Kate has trouble believing in magic, especially since the people she loves keep leaving her. But when Grammy tells her the three rules of everyday magic—believe, give, and trust—Kate can’t resist believing, at least a little. Following Grammy’s advice, she tries to bring her father, her best friend, and even Grammy herself back to her. Nothing turns out as Kate expects, yet the magic of giving—of trusting that if you love and give, good things will happen, even if you don’t see them happen—will change Kate and her family forever.

One of Amanda’s soap box topics is the need for sad books in middle grade, and we, at MG at Heart, know that life is not always sunshine and roses. Sometimes awful things happen to wonderful kids, and we want to explore all facets of a middle-grader’s emotions. It’s totally apropos that Amanda wrote one of these desperately needed novels.

In Amanda’s book, Kate’s father suffers from severe depression. He’s moved out of the house and hasn’t told Kate where he went—a mystery she eventually solves (and also breaks my heart). His depression is so realistic and unfiltered. There’s nothing sheltered about what depression can do to a person and how broken it can leave a child.

In addition to the severity of her dad’s depression, Kate also learns what Alzheimer’s can do to a loved one, her grandmother. Grammy has partially “left” in a different way; she can’t remember people or things that she loved. She does have moments of clarity, but she and Kate figure out that soon her memory will be completely gone. And they’ll have to learn to love each other in a new way.

These types of huge life events change a child. A best friend becomes best friends with someone else. A grandparent has Alzheimer’s. A parent dies.

We want kids to know that it’s okay. It’s okay to feel what you need to feel. It’s okay to be sad or angry or frustrated.

You’re not alone.

To enjoy Amanda’s wonderfully realistic book, check out The Three Rules of Everyday Magic, where her beautiful words will tug at your heartstrings and color your emotions with warmth.

MG at Heart Book Club October Pick: THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, by Amanda Rawson Hill

The Middle Grade at Heart book for October is…

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THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, by Amanda Rawson Hill!

Magic doesn’t work the way you think it will, but it’s what Kate needs as she confronts friendship trouble, her parents’ divorce, and Grammy’s dementia in this lyrical middle-grade coming-of-age novel for fans of Half a Chance and The Same Stuff as Stars.

Kate has trouble believing in magic, especially since the people she loves keep leaving her. But when Grammy tells her the three rules of everyday magic–believe, give, and trust–Kate can’t resist believing, at least a little. Following Grammy’s advice, she tries to bring her father, her best friend, and even Grammy herself back to her. Nothing turns out as Kate expects, yet the magic of giving–of trusting that if you love and give, good things will happen, even if you don’t see them happen–will change Kate and her family forever.

“Narrated in Kate’s quiet first-person voice, the book is the book is divided into three parts, one for each rule… (r)eading cultivates empathy. This should do the trick.” – Kirkus Reviews

“While familiar unions are falling apart, other surprising connections are blossoming. As Kate struggles to untangle the truth and find her power, she discovers new friendships and the enduring love of her family. The theme of loss is heartrending, the story line fast-paced and compelling. A fine addition to middle grade collections in need of character-driven family stories.”– School Library Journal

The newsletter goes out October 29.

The #MGBookClub Twitter chat will be November 6.

Happy reading!

 

#EverydayMagicKindnessCampaign

Believe. Give. Trust. These are the three rules of Everyday Magic.

For the next four weeks, I want to focus on the GIVE part of that equation as I kickoff the countdown to the release of THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC with the #EverydayMagicKindnessCampaign!

“When you make something for someone else, you give them love they can hold. That’s where the magic comes from. Anytime love becomes visible, there’s magic.”

-The Three Rules of Everyday Magic

I’m going to try to do an act of kindness everyday from now until 9/25. I’ll take pictures or post about it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag #EverydayMagicKindnessCampaign. Not only would I love for you to follow along, but I want you to join me!

Give someone some Everyday Magic in the form of an act of kindness and share it on the hashtag. I’ll send you a signed bookmark, a temporary tattoo that says “Believe Give Trust,” and a post card with an illustration by Remy Lai of a scene in the book! (While supplies last.)

Not only that, but you’ll be entered into a drawing to win a hat knitted by yours truly! And I’m pretty good at knitting hats! You can share as many posts on the hashtag as you want. The more the better! But I’ll only send one swag pack per person. Unless…you’re a teacher participating with your class.

If you are a teacher and want to participate as a class, I’ll send a signed bookmark and tattoo to everyone in your class, as well as do a free 20 minute Skype session with you guys to talk about the importance of kindness and empathy in life and in writing.

Below, I’ve provided graphics that you can use as printables to hand out with an act of kindness, or to hang up to remind students or patrons to participate.

Remember the following quote from the book.

“Grammy said that magic happens when love becomes visible, when you give people something they can hold. But I think she was wrong about that, because some things you can’t hold, not really. Like a firm squeeze that says it’s okay, or a song that makes you feel better. Like a family that’s always, always a family no matter what. You can’t knit that, or cook it, or draw it, or write it. But all those things are magic.”

Your act of kindness can be something physical like a plate of cookies. But it can also be something you can’t hold, like a kind word, an extra turn on the swings, or your seat on the bus.

Whatever it is. I hope you’ll share it with me and spread the #EverydayMagicKindnessCampaign.

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Cover Reveal: THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC by Amanda Rawson Hill

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Happy Saturday!

Today we’ve got yet ANOTHER cover reveal for you, this one for Amanda Rawson Hill’s highly anticipated debut, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC! Check out my brief interview with Amanda below, in which we discuss her book, Everyday Magic, music, and more, and then stick around to take a look at the wonderful cover!

~ Jarrett

. . .

First off, Amanda, thank you so very much for letting us host your cover reveal here at the Village — we’re thrilled about it. But before we get to the cover, could you tell us a little bit about your book?

THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC is a middle-grade contemporary coming of age novel about a girl trying to hold on to all the people in her life who seem to be leaving in different ways. Kate’s dad disappeared a few months before the story starts, her Grammy moves in with her because she has early stage dementia, and Kate’s best friend Sofia seems to be moving on to a new best friend. Kate has to navigate these changing relationships, learning, in her words, “What’s just the right amount of love and the right amount of letting go.”

Everyday Magic — there’s something so exciting and enticing about the idea of it. Is it an entirely fictional creation? Or did someone teach it — or something similar to it — to you at some point in your life?

Everyday Magic is something that I swear my fingers typed out by themselves. I was doing a rewrite, because this book started out being about guardian angel grandmas, and I needed something to tie everything together. I was right at the first turning point and still wasn’t sure what that story “glue” was going to be. But whatever it was, I knew it needed to show up THAT night.

All of a sudden, Grammy said, “There are three rules to Everyday Magic. The first is to believe.” Then she went on to tell a story about fixing an old friendship after a fight. And Kate responded with, “That doesn’t sound like magic. That sounds like making up.”

Then Grammy replied, “Maybe. But I like to think that forgiveness is a special kind of magic.”

Well I had to stop typing right then and write down the three rules because they were coming to me faster than I could take it all in. They were still kind of fuzzy. I didn’t have them as succinctly as believe, give, trust yet. But in a few days, I had boiled them down to that point. I mention this because it was my first experience feeling like this idea came to me and it honestly didn’t feel like it came FROM me. You know?

Anyways, as I’ve continued to hone this book, I have had to come back to this idea of Everyday Magic and the rules around it and had to ask myself over and over again if I really believe that. Because if I’m going to pass it along to kids, I want it to be as true as I can make it. Where does it fall short? What are the weaknesses? And so on. Toward the end of the book, Kate has these light bulb moments about Everyday Magic and what it really is and all the different ways we make it in our lives, and that was kind of me really processing all of it as well. Now it feels like a part of me and I see it all the time.

For example, I live in an HOA with a couple of crank pots who would prefer that the common area in our neighborhood just be decoration instead of something children play on. But for the last few months, I’ve been really focused on the GIVE part of the Everyday Magic equation and I can personally attest to magical things happening because of it. Friendships blooming, hearts healing, attitudes changing. So no, not fictional at all. At least, not to me.

Now, onto the cover. Were you involved in the creative process at all?

A little bit. I was sent a cover back in early October that just didn’t feel right to me or my agent. We sent some feedback and my publisher came back with it tweaked but it still just wasn’t right. So we asked if they’d be willing to completely re-imagine it. Which…is a HUGE ask and I felt sick to my stomach for a couple of days over it. But my editor, Rebecca Davis, and the art director, Tim Gilner, were just absolutely amazing. They took my suggestions of what I thought would be fitting and said, “Yes.” You hear so many stories from debut authors especially about cover woes and the fact is that publishers don’t have to listen to what the author wants. They don’t. But mine did. They really, really listened and never made me feel like I was impertinent or going beyond my station. I love that so much. Boyds Mills Press really is a dream to work with.

What was your first response when seeing the cover art?

I had to wait two months after requesting the redesign to see the new cover. And it was completely and totally worth it. When I got the email, I was soooo nervous. But when I opened the attachment, I gasped and started crying. Truly.

Okay. I can’t wait any longer. Let’s do the big reveal!

 

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Art by Tim Gilner.

Wow! Where’s the heart-eyed emoji when you need it? It’s stunning!
One more question for you, after seeing the cover art:

Music isn’t mentioned at all in the jacket copy for the book, but it’s clear from the cover that music is an important part of Kate’s story. Can you discuss the role of music in your life, and how it’s incorporated into the story?


Yes! So music has been a part of my life from the very beginning. My parents both love to sing and my mom was always playing music in our home. When I was 5, I watched someone play “Mary Had a Little Lamb” on the piano and then proceeded to go home and play it myself. Neither of my parents played, so they were super impressed! They enrolled me in piano lessons and I continued to take those until I graduated from high school as a very advanced pianist. I also played the French horn all through junior high and high school, making it into the All-State orchestra, where I played Dvorjak’s “New World” Symphony, which was a life-changing experience for me. That’s something you never forget. My husband and I fell in love singing and playing the guitar together. Especially “Can’t Help Falling in Love.”
 

In THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC music acts as both a source of sadness and of healing for Kate. It’s used to give us insight into her father’s slide into depression and Kate’s inability to move on from his departure from the family. It’s also used to help trigger Grammy’s memory and connect with her despite the dementia, which I lifted straight from my own Grandma’s experiences with my Grandpa who died of Alzheimer’s when I was fifteen. There is also a special scene near the end of the book where Kate’s mom tells her a story about playing Beethoven’s “Pathetique.” It’s this really lovely moment of healing. And the story is word for word exactly something that happened to me at a recital. 

Okay, last question — I mean it this time! When can readers get their hands on THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC?

September 25th!

author photo 2018
Amanda Rawson Hill grew up in Wyoming with a library right out her back gate. She attended Brigham Young University where she earned her BA in Chemistry. She now resides in central California with her husband, three children, a bulldog named after Moaning Myrtle, and a cat (Luna Lovegood) who is still mad about the acquisition of the dog. Her debut novel, THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC, releases from Boyds Mills Press in the fall of 2018.

MG at Heart Book Club’s 2018 Book Picks

February: SEE YOU IN THE COSMOS by Jack Cheng

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Amazon   Indiebound

 

March: THE VANDERBEEKERS OF 141ST STREET by Karina Yan Glaser

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Amazon   Indiebound

 

April: THE PARKER INHERITANCE by Varian Johnson

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Amazon   Indiebound

 

May: EVERY SHINY THING by Laurie Morrison and Cordelia Jensen

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Amazon   Indiebound

 

June: THE MAD WOLF’S DAUGHTER by Diane Magras

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Amazon   Indiebound

 

July: JUST UNDER THE CLOUDS by Melissa Sarno

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Amazon   Indiebound

 

August: WHERE THE WATERMELONS GROW by Cindy Baldwin

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Amazon     Indiebound

 

September: THE HOUSE THAT LOU BUILT by Mae Respicio

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Amazon     Indiebound

 

October: THE THREE RULES OF EVERYDAY MAGIC by Amanda Rawson Hill

(cover not yet revealed)

Amazon     Indiebound

 

November: THE HOTEL BETWEEN by Sean Easley

(cover not yet revealed)

(not yet available for pre-order)