Choosing Joy

Because it can't be contained in a box

As a teacher, I choose joy.

Joy is the heart of where learning takes place.

It’s why we read books of our own choosing each & everyday.

It’s why I celebrate each learner’s journey.

It’s why we slow down & talk.

It’s why I read & recommend stories all the time.

It’s why we go to the library & have one in our classroom.

It’s why I smile when I see students accomplishing more than they thought they could.

It’s why we write about things that matter to us.

It’s why I read books aloud to students, colleagues, family, & friends.

It’s why we laugh.

It’s why I teach.

Joy has lead me here, & I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else.

Here’s to 2015.

Here’s to spreading joy.



A verbatim transcript of a review of Geoff Herbach’s Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders




May 6, 2014
Honestville, Minnesota

The following transcript is a verbatim interview with an educator when he was brought into the Truth Police Headquarters for questioning after sharing a review of Geoff Herbach’s Fat Boy vs the Cheerleaders with his students thought to be inconsistent with society’s view of young people. This transcript is respectfully submitted as further evidence that young people are complex, interesting, brave, and not easily defined. 
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Quick Review: Randolph Caldecott: The Man Who Could Not Stop Drawing


I knew nothing regarding Randolph Caldecott prior to reading this wonderful book by Leonard Marcus. Needless to say, I have learned a lot about this famous artist and namesake of the famous picture book award. I especially enjoyed how the author included many of Caldecott’s illustrations throughout the book and how he drew the connection between Caldecott and children book authors/illustrators who were greatly influenced by him, such as Beatrice Potter and Maurice Sendak.

This book would definitely be a great addition to a class study of the Caldecott Award. It would also be interesting to compare Randolph Caldecott’s story to Allen Say’s Drawing From Memory. The journey of an artist is one that takes courage and reading Caldecott’s story could certainly help provide one with a little extra courage for the long trip.

My Top 13 Reads of 2013

Two thousand thirteen has been a great year for readers. The variety and quality of books sent me down a rabbit hole of reading unlike any I’d ever experienced before.  I’d like to thank my colleagues, fellow nerdy book club members, and authors everywhere for the inspiration. As there were many books to love, I thought it would be fun to celebrate my top 13 reads from 2013. Continue reading

Quick Review: Fortunately, The Milk by Neil Gaiman


I recently added this to my classroom library! Forutnately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman is a wacky story about a father’s journey to get his children some milk. This quick read, with stunning illustrations by Scottie Young, will be sure to entertain the young at heart and likewise, the truly young, for years to come. 

Quick Review: Doll Bones by Holly Black


I loved this one! I’ll be purchasing it tomorrow! Doll Bones was a fascinating story about three young people balancing on the edge of childhood & adolescence, reality & fantasy, a mystery & a solution.

Quick Review: Counting By 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan

15937108I read a lot of great books this summer, but none with the intensity in which I read Counting by 7s. Willow Chance made me laugh out loud and cry uncontrollably on at least seven occasions. I loved seven of the secondary characters and how their lives intersected and changed throughout. Of the seven books I read this summer about middle school students, this one was at the top of my list, and one I’ll be purchasing for classroom library this week! If you can find a copy of Counting by 7s, go read it right now! You will not regret it.

Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas by Jim Ottaviani


Primates: The Fearless Science of Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas offers the readers a beautiful introduction to three amazing scientist who changed the way we look at primatology, conservation, and the very woozy line between the human animal divide. Jim Ottaviani does an outstanding job of tying the narrative arc of the story through anthropologist Louis Leakey, who helped all three women get into their fields of expertise. Maris Wick’s artwork is phenomenally vibrant throughout and compliments Ottaviani’s narrative nicely. I especially loved scenes where the scientist and primates interacted with one another. Continue reading

Review: Boxers & Saints by Gene Luen Yang


Teaching abroad changed me.

Having spent my first four years out of college working in Japan, I came to realize that things were not always as they seemed. Behind most of the confusion that came with living in a new place were stories that shed light where I originally could not see. What’s more, I came to realize that cultural understanding takes time and an openness to seeing the world from a different perspective. Continue reading

Review: What’s Left of Me

Kat Zhang’s debut novel, What’s Left of Me was an extremely intriguing story that takes place in an alternate version of Earth where people are born with two conscious beings (souls) sharing one body. At a young age the two beings share control of the body until one of the two souls becomes dominant while the other recessive soul slowly fades away completely. Except when they don’t. Continue reading