September 24 – National Punctuation Day

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About the Holiday

Founded in 2004 by Jeff Rubin, National Punctuation Day promotes the correct usage of all those little marks that make reading clearer and more meaningful. Do you ever wonder just how to use the ; and what’s the real difference between – and —? It can all get a little confusing. But misplaced or misused punctuation can result in some pretty funny mistakes—or some serious misinterpretations. Whether you love punctuation, would like to understand it better, or just use it to make emojis, today’s holiday will make you : – ). To find information on the day, resources for using punctuation correctly, and a fun contest to enter, visit Jeff Rubin’s National Punctuation Day website.

Boyds Mills Press sent me a copy of A Bunch of Punctuation to check out. All opinions are my own. I’m also excited to partner with Boyds Mills Press in a giveaway of the book. See details below.

A Bunch of Punctuation

Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins | Illustrated by Serge Bloch

 

In the world of writing and reading, the letters of the alphabet seem to get all the acclaim as they create cool words and form captivating sentences. But what about those little marks of punctuation that separate clauses, slow readers down, add mystery and excitement, and even tell readers when they should stop? They’d like a little attention too! In this enchanting collection of poetry, they get it as commas, apostrophes, quotation marks, and all the rest are put center stage—as you will see!

We all know about commas and the quandaries they pose: Is one needed here? Is one needed there? Should I use the Oxford comma? What is an Oxford comma, anyway? Lee Bennett Hopkins offers a lyrical example of a comma’s power in Comma:

“A comma / lets you stop, / pause, / enjoy the weather, / unlike a period, / which puts an end / to any / cloudy, / rainy, / snowy, / or sunny day, / at once, / immediately, / forever.”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-a-bunch-of-punctuation-comma

Image copyright Serge Bloch, 2018, Comma by Lee Bennett Hopkins, 2018. Courtesy of WordSong.

While a comma is a gentle reminder to take a break, in The Dash Charles Ghigna reveals that the little line is—among other things:

“A subdued dude / in tweet and text, / he signals what / is coming next. / The daring dash— / an interruption— / is cause for pause / a clear disruption.”

In Alice Schertle’s five-stanza Forgotten: A Colon’s Complaint, these two little stacked dots just want some respect:

“The comma, incredibly common / butts right into line after line. / Couldn’t there be a small place for me: / just one little sentence that’s mine?”

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Image copyright Serge Bloch, 2018, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, 2018. From Apostrophe by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater. Courtesy of WordSong.

Julie Larios counts up from 1 to 10 and down from 10 to 1 with the most dynamic of punctuation marks in !!!!!!!!—Superhero Kaboom—!!!!!!!!. Just a peek gives us:

“1 big boom! / 2 kapows!! / 3 in a row of wow, wow, wows!!! / 4 kahblooies!!!! / 5 bops and bams!!!!! / 6 gee whizzes!!!!!! / 7 whops and whams!!!!!!!” And what’s at the end of all this excitement? “1 more kaboom, then it’s off to bed!”

Twelve more rhyming and free-verse poems from Rebecca Kai Dotlich, Amy Ludwig VanDerwater, Allan Wolf, J. Patrick Lewis, Michele Krueger, Jane Yolen, Prince Redcloud, Joan Bransfield Graham, and Betsy Franco will have kids looking at punctuation in new and creative ways. A final poem by Lee Bennett Hopkins invites children (and adults) to write their own poems based on four thought-provoking prompts, such as:

“Can you write poems posing questions / like who, what, where, / when, how, and why?” and “Can you write poems causing / words such as: / Whoopee! / Whee! / Wha-hoo! / to look as if they are / leaping off pages?”

celebrate-picture-books-picture-book-review-a-bunch-of-punctuation-a-punctuation-tale

Image copyright Serge Bloch, 2018, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, 2018. From A Punctuation Tale by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. Courtesy of WordSong.

Lee Hopkins Bennett gathers a group of the most inventive and popular poets for children in this collection that turns learning about punctuation into a flight of fancy, a comical romp, and an all-around engaging way to learn how these tiny show-stoppers work on a page. Each poem will spark discussions and “Ah-ha” moments about the function of punctuation and will make a grammar lesson one of the most eagerly anticipated classes of the day.

With his signature line drawings and humorous flair, Serge Bloch gives each type of punctuation mark a unique personality and purpose whether it’s creating a contraction, crying a puddle of lonely tears, lassoing words, or linking clauses in a train of thought. Bloch’s bold colors and action-packed pages bring the punctuation to life and will delight readers.

For young and older grammarians and poetry lovers, A Bunch of Punctuation is a bunch of fun to add to home, school, and classroom libraries.

Ages 8 – 12

WordSong, 2018 | ISBN 978-1590789940

To learn more about Lee Bennet Hopkins, his books, and his poetry, visit his website.

To learn more about Serge Bloch, his books, and his art, visit his website.

A Bunch of Punctuation Giveaway

I’m excited to partner with Boyds Mills Press in this giveaway of:

  • One (1) copy of A Bunch of Punctuation with poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins  | illustrated by Serge Bloch

To be entered to win, just Follow me on Twitter @CelebratePicBks and Retweet a giveaway tweet during this week, September 24 – 30. Already a follower? Thanks! Just retweet for a chance to win.

A winner will be chosen on October 1.

Giveaway open to US addresses only. | Prizing provided by Boyds Mills Press.

National Punctuation Day Activity

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Pick Out the Punctuation! Word Search

 

Have fun finding the twelve types of punctuation in this printable puzzle!

Pick Out the Punctuation! Word Search Puzzle | Pick Out the Punctuation! Solution

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You can find A Bunch of Punctuation at these booksellers

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million | IndieBound

Picture Book Review

March 21 – World Poetry Day

Nasty Bugs by Lee Bennett Hopkins and Will Terry Picture Book Review

About the Holiday

World Poetry Day, an initiative of the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization, recognizes the important role poetry plays in people’s lives across the world and over time. The day promotes small publishers of poetry as well as oral poetry traditions and works to strengthen the connection between poetry and other forms of expression. Another objective is to “support linguistic diversity thorough poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.”

Celebrations on this day include poetry readings, school lessons focused on poetry and poets, poetry writing sessions, and poetry readings by professional and amateur poets in schools and other venues.

Nasty Bugs

Poems Selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins | Illustrated by Will Terry

 

Who in the world can resist bugs? They’re in every country, every city, every town, even every house! And they have so much going for them—lots of legs, pincher mouths, transparent wings, amazing survival skills, and so much general creepy-crawliness! Bugs may be a little (or a lot) icky, but you can’t deny that they’re fascinating.

Nasty Bugs brings together 16 poets to turn the traits of all kinds of insects, from stink bugs to chiggers to water bugs and more, into creative odes that tickle the funny bone as well as teach. Readers learn from Cynthia S. Cotton’s “Stink Bug” that “Some spread their wings in flight, / Some look scary, / some taste bad, / some use camouflage / to blend in just right.”

Rebecca Kai Dotlich exposes the boll weevil: “I am an evil weevil, / a cotton-craving beetle / whose reputation’s rotton / ‘cause I gobble crops of cotton, / yes I do.” And the Colorado Potato Beetle? Among other quirks, X. J. Kennedy reveals its name is a bit of a misnomer: “His other name’s Potato Bug. / This munching desperado / infests our gardens coast to coast. / Not just in Colorado.”

April Halprin Wayland gives voice to the fire ants’ tribal cry “All for one and one for all!” as they jump into action when “Flood waters rise! / Quick, form a ball—/ our larvae, pupae, eggs, and Mother Queen inside! / We roll this writhing globe, / take turns on top / so all breathe air, so all survive.”

“Spoiled Rotton” by J. Patrick Lewis may make grammarians squirm with this pointed description: “I’m a comma / in a drama / of disgusting devastation.” while readers will be itchin’ to know more in Rebecca Andrew Loescher’s “Ode to Chigger” with lines such as “You hatch with six small legs for running, / then grow two more—for leaps most stunning,” Poems about flies (Ann Whitford Paul), wasps (Michele Krueger), fleas (Marilyn Singer), lice (Amy Ludwig VanDerwater), ticks (Kami Kinard), termites (Alice Schertle), cockroaches (Fran Haraway), and bedbugs (Kristine O’Connell George) also contribute to the buzzzzz of this anthology.

But if bugs, well…bug you, you may find these lines in Lee Bennett Hopkins’ “Ode to a Dead Mosquito” most satisfying: “You of little brain / didn’t you know / I felt your sting / the instant you / began to drain? / So— / I whacked you. / SMACK! / You dropped.”

Will Terry lends his distinctive talent to making this book as colorful, bold, and eye-popping as nature itself. Each insect, depicted in its favorite milieu, nearly flies, creeps, or chomps it’s way off the page. Brilliant greens, reds, yellow, oranges, and blues give life to these most prolific pests, and their prominent features – whether pinchers, stingers, gnawing mandibles, or even stinky odor – are inspiringly drawn.

More facts about each bug are given in the back of the book, and are a must read. Whether insects make you squirm with discomfort or squeal with delight, Nasty Bugs is fun.

Ages 5 – 9

Paperback: Puffin, Penguin Group, 2016 | ISBN 978-0147519146

Hardcover: Dial Books for Young Readers, Penguin Group, 2012 | ISBN 978-0803737167

World Poetry Day Activity

CPB - Nasty Bugs magnet II (2)

Rockin’ Bug Magnet or Paperweight

 

On World Poetry Day it’s fun to write a poem of your own. Whether your creation is long or short, you can proudly display it using one of these Rockin’ Bug Magnets.

Supplies

Rocks, small and flat work best for magnets. Larger rocks are great for paperweights. You can find rocks in your yard, at the beach or park, or buy them from craft stores or nurseries.

  • Paint in your favorite colors
  • Paint brush
  • Small to medium round magnets, available at craft and hardware stores
  • Googly eyes
  • Strong glue

CPB - Nasty Bugs magnet (2)

Directions

  1. Wash rocks and let them dry
  2. Create your own creepy, crawly bug on the front of the rock
  3. Paint your bug
  4. Let the paint dry
  5. If you want to give your insect buggy eyes, glue googly eyes to the rock.
  6. Glue a magnet to the back of the rock
  7. Hang it on the refrigerator or any metal surface

 

If you love books, you must have caught the reading bug! Check out another great book and craft on March 2—Read Across America Day and make an “I’ve Got the Reading Bug” Bookplate for your favorite books!

CPB - Reading Bug Book Plate (2)

 

February 10 – Library Lovers Day

CPB - Jumping Off Library Shelves

About the Holiday

Today I’ve chosen to celebrate a month-long holiday. February is Library Lovers Month! Chances are if you’re reading this, you also love libraries! For readers there’s no better place than standing in the stacks, surrounded on all sides by shelves and shelves of books. In those pages you meet new friends, defeat the bad guys, discover poetry, laugh, sometimes cry, see astonishing art, find new hobbies, and learn fascinating facts about…wow! Anything and everything!

What’s your favorite library or thing about libraries? Mine is the East Lyme Public Library in Connecticut, where they have a fantastic selection of books and awesome librarians who feel like family! Tell me about your special library in the Comments section below.

Jumping Off Library Shelves: A Book of Poems

Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins | Illustrated by Jane Manning

 

From morning, which “pours spoons of sun through tall windows” of a library in Rebecca Kai Dotlich’s poem “Breakfast between the Shelves,” to night, when shadowed mice huddle to read a mystery in Dotlich’s closing poem “Midnight in a Library,” kids can enjoy a full day of poems in this delightful collection. Many of today’s best-loved poets for children are represented here, celebrating the power of a library card, the kindness of librarians, and the enchantment of reading.

Jane Manning’s soft, dreamy illustrations swirl with imagination, shimmer with the warm glow of a reading nook, and enchant with the smiles of children thrilled with the pleasures of reading.

Library Lovers Day Activity

CPB - Bookworm Book (2)

 

Bookworm Bookmark

For all you bookworms out there who love to read, here’s your very own Bookworm Bookmark to color and put between the pages of your favorite story!

Supplies

Directions

  1. Print out the Bookworm Bookmark template
  2. Color the bookworm
  3. Cut out the Bookworm
  4. Cut the Bookworm’s mouth at the dotted line. The top part of the bookworm’s mouth hangs over the page and marks your place!