Five on Friday + Book Giveaways

blogstitute20141)  The Stenhouse Blogstitute starts the week of June 16th.  Get free professional development twice a wee (Mondays and Thursdays) for four weeks by reading the posts written by Stenhouse authors over on the Stenhouse Blog.  Be sure to leave a comment on at least one of the posts, which will put you in the running for eight free books written by the eight participating authors.

2)  Several years ago I received a gift, Teaching with Fire: Poetry That Sustains the Courage to Teach (2003), which was thoroughly inspiring. Teaching with Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach is the sequel that came out last month. Seeing as the American educational landscape has changed so much in the past decade (e.g., the rise of charter schools, the expansion of Teach for America, the Common Core State Standards), the editors of Teaching with Fire thought a sequel was in order.

9781118459430.pdfTeaching with Heart includes 90 essays that are reflections on everything from teachable moments to relentless optimism to tenacity. Each reflective essay reflects on a poem and explains why it’s meaningful.  One of the reflections is by one of my longtime virtual friends, Kevin Hodgson, who has been part of the Slice of Life Story Challenge since the very beginning.  Kevin reflected on Taylor Mali’s “What Teachers Make” and explained how he gave a passionate defense of the impact he has on his students lives, on a daily basis, when asked what it was like to be a public school teacher.

Be sure to put Teaching with Heart on your summer reading list.  It’s the perfect book to pull out in late July/early August when you might need a little inspiration to think about returning to the classroom for the next school year. NOTE: The essays are short, which makes this the kind of book you can dip-in and dip-out of any time of the year.

3) I introduced my daughter, Isabelle, to the Madeline books recently. She LOVES them! I think I have Madeline and Madeline’s Rescue memorized from reading them so many times. (Chances are I’ll memorize Madeline and the Bad Hat Next!)

Reading the Madeline books to Isabelle is special since my mom read them to me and my grandmother read them to my mom! That’s right… Madeline has been around for 75 years! It’s remarkable to me how a story my mother’s generation enjoyed has endured and is as beloved now as it was back then.

9780670884605_medium_BemelmansMaybe it’s because I’m curious about authors or maybe it’s because I’m a Francophile, but I’ve been enjoying Bemelmans: The Life & Art of Madeline’s Creator by John Bemelmans Marciano who is Ludwig Bemelmans’ grandson. It’s incredible to get a look into Bemelmans’ life by looking through old photographs, sketches, and even his private journals, which are contained in this book. While Bemelmans is best known for his Madeline stories, he spent many years painting with oil paints. Flipping through the latter portion of the book feels like you’re walking through an art gallery since it contains many of the oil paintings Bemelmans painted in France and New York. (As a New Yorker, this is yet another reason I appreciate this book!)

Speaking of New York, The New York Historical Society is running an exhibit “Madeline in New York: The Art of Ludwig Bemelmans” from July 4th – October 13th, 2014. The exhibit is in honor of the 75th anniversary of the Madeline books and will feature over 90 pieces of original artwork.

If you grew up reading and loving Madeline and want to learn more about Madeline’s creator, then this book is for you!  It will also make a fantastic coffee table book once you’ve finished reading it.

4)  I have a thing about exclamation points. I guess that’s why I was interested to read Melissa Dahl’s recent piece, “It’s Too Late. Exclamation Points Are Unstoppable Now” in New York Magazine. While my pet peeve centers around more than one exclamation point to end a sentence, Dahl’s article talks about the  reasons why and science behind people feeling compelled to end sentences (e.g., like e-mail greetings) with them.

5)  Summer officially begins next week! While I have some professional commitments and two weddings to attend this summer, I’m trying to keep things as low-key and normal around here as possible.  I was inspired by Abundant Mama and Creative Family Fun and created a summer bucket list of things to do with Isabelle when we’re not so busy this summer.

Click on the image to enlarge.

Click on the image to enlarge.

What’s on your summer bucket list?


  • This giveaway is for a copy of Bemelmans: The Life & Art of Madeline’s Creator and Teaching with Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach.  Many thanks to Penguin Books and the editors of Teaching with Heart for donating a copy of these books to two separate readers. (One prize per winner.)
  • For a chance to win this copy of Bemelmans: The Life & Art of Madeline’s Creator or Teaching with Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach please leave a comment about this post by Friday, June 20th at 11:59 p.m. EDT. I’ll use a random number generator to pick the winners, whose names I will announce at the bottom of this post, by Monday, June 30th.
    • EDITED at 7:55 a.m. on 6/13/14: Please state which book you’d like to win a copy of when you leave your comment.  If you’d like to be in the running for both of them, please let me know that.
  • Please be sure to leave a valid e-mail address when you post your comment, so I can contact you to obtain your mailing address if you win.  From there, my contacts at Penguin Books and and the editors of Teaching with Heart will ship you the books.  (NOTE: Your e-mail address will not be published online if you leave it in the e-mail field only.)

Comments are now closed.

Thank you to everyone who left a comment. I used a random number generator and drew out Diane and Jane’s commenter numbers. Diane will win a copy of Bemelmans: The Life & Art of Madeline’s Creator and Jane will receive a copy of Teaching with Heart: Poetry That Speaks to the Courage to Teach. Here’s what they said:

Diane wrote — “My daughter, who just graduated from college (and is soon to become a teacher!) loved the Madeline books. I read about the NY exhibit yesterday and though I’m landlocked in Denver and won’t make it there any time soon, I’d love to get the story behind the story and learn more about Bemelmans.”

Jane wrote — “I did more with poetry this year than I have in previous years (still not near enough), and my students LOVED it. I’d love to learn even more, so Teaching with Heart appeals to me just a teensy bit more. Although, having loved the Madeline books as a child that doesn’t sound bad either!”