Category: Books

Another 50 word Challenge

These fiction in 50 words challenges are the best! Here is my latest from  The Bookshelf Gargoyle:

A picture is worth a thousand words. You must have heard a million. A sigh. Tears. A smile. Fear. Confusion. Pure joy. Do you ever wonder how it all turns out? Those words you heard were the beginnings of something. Do you ever wonder: What comes after all of this?


This was inspired from a picture I posted a few days ago. Here it is:




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The comma is mightier than the pen

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If you have been an avid reader of this blog, you have probably noticed my use of commas. Or, maybe, you haven’t paid any attention to them at all. According to this article from Huffington Post, one man discusses how commas may be a thing of the past in our life time.

Really? I can hear the screams of English teachers and professors around the world! One example the article gave was this statement: “Let’s eat, Grandma”. Now, let’s see how it would sound without the comma: “Let’s eat Grandma”. Well, that doesn’t sound right. The comma is mightier than the pen (corny, I know :) ).


I know my comma placement might not always be 100% accurate. However, I feel that my placement of the comma gives my reader an understanding of content. I think if commas were eliminated it would be extremely hard for me to understand the meaning of the written text. So, to the mighty comma: Keep calm and carry on!

Here is one more corny comma picture:


Hehe! It got a chuckle out me me ;).

What are your thoughts on getting rid of the comma? Comment below!

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Rainy Day Poetry

Rainy days are so cozy and lazy. They always feel like days where you can recharge your batteries. On this rainy day, I remembered a poem I use to do with my students in class. April is poetry month and I use to love delving into poems. I loved opening their eyes to the different interpretations. (Due to all of this Common Core nonsense, I am not even sure if they still have time for a poetry unit. So sad.)

Here is one of my favorite poems:


April Rain Song by: Langston Hughes

Let the rain kiss you
Let the rain beat upon your head with silver liquid drops
Let the rain sing you a lullaby
The rain makes still pools on the sidewalk
The rain makes running pools in the gutter
The rain plays a little sleep song on our roof at night
And I love the rain.


It just gives you that warm fuzzy feeling when you read it. And Langston Hughes was an amazing poet! Here is one more of his poems:


Dreams by: Langston Hughes

Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow.

Hopefully these poems will get you through this dreary day. And if you happen to be part of a beautiful sunny day, I hope these poems add to the beauty of your day :).

Let me know your favorite Langston Hughes poem. Or any poem that inspires you :).

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What do you think of this quote?


As far back as I can remember the written word has always been magical to me. I find it so fascinating how people can weave ideas together with the words of their choice. There are so many wonderful books to be read in this world.

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You know all of those high school books that most people dreaded reading? Well, I lived for them. True story. Think of those famous titles: Fahrenheit 451, The Crucible, To Kill a Mockingbird. I even enjoyed the Shakespeare plays. James Joyce was another favorite. I do remember my professor who taught us about James Joyce. That is another blog entry in itself ;).


One novel that is still my all time favorite is A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith. I have read it seven times in my life. It is just the way the author describes the characters and the events that draws me to it. You can get lost in that book and be transported into early 1900’s Brooklyn, New York. This quote was written by Betty Smith. It always stayed with me.

“There’s a tree that grows in Brooklyn. Some people call it the Tree of Heaven. No matter where its seed falls, it makes a tree which struggles to reach the sky. It grows in boarded-up lots and out of neglected rubbish heaps. It grows up out of cellar gratings. It is the only tree that grows out of cement. It grows lushly . . . survives without sun, water, and seemingly without earth. It would be considered beautiful except that there are too many of it.”

There are so many things to discuss with this quote. I’ll let your mind wander and decipher it as you please. It leaves me in awe every time I see it.

If you haven’t read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, I highly recommend it. If you have, try picking it up again. And let me know what you think of this quote. I’d love to hear other’s interpretations.

Here is another quote by Betty Smith. Pure magic:

a treegrowsinbrooklynquote

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Fifty Fantastic Children’s Books (plus one Mrs. Z favorite!)



I’m going to stick with discussing books with you today. Being a teacher you are surrounded by books constantly. You don’t just read a book as a teacher. You dissect it. I have so many books with post-it notes all over them. Many of these post-its have “important questions to ask”, or “why is this part of the story so important?”, or “How does this particular event affect the outcome of the story”. I can keep going. Even though I have not been in the classroom for awhile, it doesn’t stop. You never read a book the same way again if you are/were a teacher. I guess you can call it a hazard of the job. To me, it is just a way of life.

So, here is a wonderful post that summarizes 50 awesome books parents should read to their children.  I think I own about 40 of these books. Sometimes, I own 2 copies: one to use post-its and highlight; the other is my “good” copy. No one can touch that one!  I am super excited to get to Barnes and Noble and check out the 10 books I never read. To me, finding a new book is such a great adventure.

On the list is The Sweetest Fig by: Chris Van Allsburg. I love this book! To be honest, I love all things Chris Van Allsburg . He gets the imagination going and uses such magical vocabulary.  Another one of his amazing books is “The Mysteries of Harris Burdick”. It is a collection of art pieces that have only two or 3 sentences attached to it. According to his notes, these paintings were left at his door and he has no clue who left them. That is intriguing enough to me. However, the pictures and descriptions get you thinking. I won’t lie: I started writing a story about one of the paintings. I could not resist. Give it a try. I’m telling you, you will be hooked!

Good night Moon and The Giving Tree are also on the list. If your home is anything like ours, these stories are heavy hitters. I can probably recite each one of these after having read them for the millionth time. They are feel good books, though, so I don’t mind.


I would like to offer up to you my own addition to this list: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce. This book is utterly amazing. It’s a story of a man who lives his life around his books. It reminded me a lot of myself. However, when I picked it up, I thought of about 10 lessons that I could do with a class if I was teaching. See, it never leaves you, no matter how far removed you are from the classroom.

I hope you have fun with this list. It was a great reminder for me to take out these classics. Just one last thought: try reading this story on an actual hardcopy. There is nothing better than holding a book in your hand. I find it very difficult to read off an electronic device. I guess you can say I am old school. I am a true bookworm at heart!

What are some of your favorite childhood books? Comment below!

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