Giveaways

Happy 3rd Anniversary STEM Tuesday!! (Enter our Big Giveaway Celebration!)

 

HAPPY 3RD ANNIVERSARY, STEM TUESDAY!!

 

The entire STEM Tuesday team is SO excited to be celebrating our third anniversary!! We have enjoyed every minute of it and hope you have, too.

Our goal, when we started this blog was to provide  engaging, exciting, and inspiring STEM/STEAM activities and literacy connections to all of our readers. Over the past three years, we have taken a deep dive into so many unique and interesting topics.

From conservation, to Health, to Field Work, and even Exploration and Technology. We have featured graphic novels, Women’s History month, sharks, and activity books. And who can forget the posts on epic achievements and fantastic failures? Such important concepts in all of STEM/STEAM.

If you have used STEM Tuesday’s posts in your classroom or homeschool, let us know by commenting below. We’d like to hear what kind of  STEM/STEAM activities and literacy connections your student’s are enjoying. If there is topic that we haven’t covered yet and you’d like to see, please also let us know. You can email us at stemmuf@gmail.com

We, the entire STEM Tuesday team thank you for reading our posts and using our resources in your classroom or homeschool. After all, it’s all about inspiring kids (of all ages) to engage with STEM and STEAM!

As a way to share our excitement of this anniversary, we are going to give YOU the prizes.

Take a look at some of the amazing giveaways being offered:

 

From Author Jennifer Swanson

TWO free books– Beastly Bionics and Save the Crash-test Dummies

 

 

From Author Kirsten W. Larson  

Do one of my FlipGrids and invite me to join. I’ll record a FlipGrid for your students and comment on their videos.

 

Paper Airplane Creations: https://flipgrid.com/6f3beaf2

 

From Mike Hays

“Catch a Wave!” STEM Tuesday Prize Pack

For the budding young physicist, here’s an electromagnetic wave prize package inspired by the “Catch a Wave” STEM Tuesday Spin-Off post at MG Book Village. (link: https://mgbookvillage.org/2020/02/13/stem-tuesday-spin-off-catch-a-wave-edition/ )

3’ Horseshoe Magnet, Compass, Bar Magnet Set, Prism, Folding Pocket Magnifying Glass

AND two 30-min. classroom Skype visits

 

 

From Author Mary Kay Carson

TWO activity-filled books as giveaways–Wildlife Ranger Action Guide & Alexander Graham Bell for Kids

 

 

From Author Karen Latchana Kenney 

TWO books for  giveaway: TV Brings Battle into the Home with the Vietnam War and Exploring Auroras

 

From Author Carla Mooney 

TWO books  for giveaway – Inside the Human Body & The Human Genome: Mapping the Blueprint of Human Life

 

 

From Author Janet Slingerland

One book Atoms and Molecules AND a FREE 15-minute Skype Q & A

 

 

From Author Heather L. Montgomery,

Whose books include:  Who Gives a Poop? Surprising Science from One End to the Other and Something Rotten: A Fresh Look at Roadkill.

One FREE 15-20 minute Skype Visit 

 

 

 

From Author Nancy Castaldo

Whose books include:  The Farm that Feeds Us and Back from the Brink: Saving Animals from Extinction

One FREE 20 minute Skype Visit 

ENTER the giveaway via the Rafflecopter widget BELOW  

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

We salute all of you teachers, librarians, and parents who are doing an AWESOME job teaching your kids/students this school year. If you are looking for virtual visits, please be sure to check our websites.

Many of us are offering activities and virtual events. You can find us all HERE

THANK YOU for reading along with STEM Tuesday. Cheers to another great year. GO STEM!!!

 

 

********************************

Jennifer Swanson is the creator and administrator of STEM Tuesday. Hugely passionate about making STEM engaging and inspiring for kids of ALL ages, she is also the creator of STEAMTeamBooks, a website that highlights new STEM books releasing every year, and also the creator of the new Solve It! for Kids podcast where, along with her co-host, Jed Doherty, they give a peek into the lives of real-life scientists and engineers as they solve problems in their daily jobs.

Midnight at the Barclay Hotel: A Chat with the Author + Giveaway

Any fans of the movie Clue out there? You gotta love a good whodunnit. I enjoyed reading the ARC of Midnight at the Barclay Hotel by Fleur Bradley and got a chance to interview the author. Keep reading to find out how to win a free copy of the book!

Thank you for sharing Midnight at the Barclay Hotel with me. It was such a fun whodunit. Can you give us a short summary about the book?

Of course! Here’s the description on the cover:

Hunting ghosts and solving the case before checkout? All in a weekend’s work.

When JJ Jacobson convinced his mom to accept a surprise invitation to an all-expenses-paid weekend getaway at the illustrious Barclay Hotel, he never imagined that he’d find himself in the midst of a murder mystery. He thought he was in for a run-of-the-mill weekend ghost hunting at the most haunted spot in town, but when he arrives at the Barclay Hotel and his mother is blamed for the hotel owner’s death, he realizes his weekend is going to be anything but ordinary.

Now, with the help of his new friends, Penny and Emma, JJ has to track down a killer, clear his mother’s name, and maybe even meet a ghost or two along the way.

 

When does the book come out?

Midnight at the Barclay Hotel is out on…Aug. 25th! I’m so excited. There will be lots of cake—be it the virtual kind.

 

You mention in your Author’s Note how you enjoy mysteries. What mysteries did you read growing up?

When I was a kid, I read like crazy. By the time I was twelve or so, I’d read most of the books in the children’s section. There was no YA department at the time (yes, I’m that old), so I moved to the books for grown-ups. A kind librarian pointed me toward the Agatha Christie section; I read The ABC Murders, and I’ve been hooked on mysteries ever since. I love a good puzzle.

 

You have a wonderful cast of characters in the book. Who was your favorite to write? Who are you most like and why?

Fleur’s cat, Chloe, who makes an appearance in the book and on the cover

They were all so fun to write! I set out to make every character a little bit larger than life, to keep a sense of humor about the murder mystery.

The kid characters were very fun to write too. JJ is really into ghost hunting; as a kid I remember being so super excited about something that it’s all you can think about. Emma was fun to write, since she’s so eager to make friends—I remember feeling that way too when I was twelve.

I’m probably most like Penny: a big reader, a little shy sometimes, and a sceptic when it comes to ghosts and ghost hunting.

 

How can teachers use this book in their classrooms?

Mysteries are great to use in the classroom: the deductive reasoning, the character profiles, and different perspectives are all useful in analyzing story. Plus, mysteries are very accessible.

I wrote Midnight at the Barclay Hotel as a way to introduce kids to the traditional, Agatha Christie style mystery, with spooky elements (without being scary). Kids and teachers can follow along and see if they can use the clues in the story to figure out who killed Mr. Barclay, and why. The book is structured around the traditional investigative technique of finding motive, means and opportunity for each suspect.

There is a teacher guide on my website, plus extra activities for kids: http://www.ftbradley.com/barclay-hotel.html

I also love doing Zoom (or other platform) visits to talk about mysteries, and my process when writing.

 

I enjoy asking authors how their book got its shape. What would you say was the spark for Midnight at the Barclay Hotel? What came next? And what components organically fell into place later on? 

It really all started with my love for mysteries, and my own spark when reading Agatha Christie. I wanted to write a fun mystery that would get kids excited about mysteries, too.

The character profiles (the suspects!) probably came next, then the outline for the story. I also wanted to have the story take place at an interesting, closed-off setting, one that I could imagine being a fun place for kids to visit—that was when I created the Barclay Hotel.

 

Did you go anywhere interesting as research for your book?

The Barclay Hotel is inspired by the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado—of the movie The Shining. I went to visit and knew I had to set a story in a place just like it…

My family and I even went on a ghost hunting tour at the Stanley Hotel—that was so much fun. Alas, I didn’t see a ghost, but I did get lots of inspiration.

The Barclay Hotel is a bit more isolated, and has more fun stuff for kids: there a carousel, a bowling alley, a pool, a cupcake shop… I had a lot of fun creating the setting.

 

What ended up taking more time than you anticipated when researching/writing/revising?

The original manuscript was longer and had a lot of chapters written from the perspectives of the adult characters—the suspects. When discussing revisions with my (very smart) editor at Viking, she suggested the book would be better and more accessible for reluctant readers if it was a bit shorter, and if we added illustrations. She was right, of course. Although it was hard to cut those chapters, the story is so much better for it. And I love the illustrations!

 

I have to ask: do you believe in ghosts? Have you ever seen a ghost?

I’ve never seen a ghost, though I’ve heard voices I can’t explain… I’m probably more of a sceptic, like Penny in the book, but I’m open to the possibility.

 

How can we learn more about you? 

My website www.ftbradley.com has more about my books, author visits, and a page just for Midnight at the Barclay Hotel, with kid activities and an educator guide. I’m on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor, and post on Instagram as fleurbradley.

Midnight at the Barclay Hotel is available here:

bookshop.org
amazon.com

If you’re an educator, librarian, or parent, send her an email and let her know what you think of the book!

 

Fleur Bradley will be giving a copy of Midnight at the Barclay Hotel to a lucky reader. Enter the giveaway below for a chance to win a copy.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Congrats to Danielle H.! 

*This giveaway is only available in the United States.

About Fleur Bradley:

Fleur Bradley is the author of many middle-grade books aimed at reluctant readers, including the (spooky) mystery Midnight at the Barclay Hotel. Fleur is passionate about two things: mysteries and getting kids to read, and she regularly speaks at librarian and educator conferences on reaching reluctant readers. Originally from the Netherlands, Fleur now lives in Colorado Springs with her husband and two daughters, and entirely too many cats.

For more information on Fleur and her books, visit www.ftbradley.com, and on Twitter @FTBradleyAuthor.

Exploring THE PLACES WE SLEEP with Author Caroline DuBois

I have a new guest for you, today! She’s written a tender, moving tale in verse that journeys a young girl through everyday details while living during a time of national crisis. The first words of this story made me pause and take notice. And the rest, poked me right in the heart to the end. The writing is beautiful and real, the story is important, and the growth of the main character is hopeful. I’m very excited to share The Places We Sleep with you and welcome Author Caroline DuBois to share her thoughts about the book.

Hi Caroline! It’s wonderful to have you visit our Mixed-Up Files family. Let’s share your beautiful cover and story with readers first.

THE PLACES WE SLEEP

by Caroline DuBois

A family divided, a country going to war, and a girl desperate to feel at home converge in this stunning novel in verse.

It’s early September 2001, and twelve-year-old Abbey is the new kid at school. Again.

I worry about people speaking to me / and worry just the same / when they don’t.

Tennessee is her family’s latest stop in a series of moves due to her dad’s work in the Army, but this one might be different. Her school is far from Base, and for the first time, Abbey has found a real friend: loyal, courageous, athletic Camille.

And then it’s September 11. The country is under attack, and Abbey’s “home” looks like it might fall apart. America has changed overnight.

How are we supposed / to keep this up / with the world / crumbling / around us?

Abbey’s body changes, too, while her classmates argue and her family falters. Like everyone around her, she tries to make sense of her own experience as a part of the country’s collective pain. With her mother grieving and her father prepping for active duty, Abbey must learn to cope on her own.

Written in gorgeous narrative verse, Abbey’s coming-of-age story accessibly portrays the military family experience during a tumultuous period in our history. At once personal and universal, it’s a perfect read for fans of sensitive, tender-hearted books like The Thing About Jellyfish.

If you would, share with our readers one book from your childhood that has stayed with you, and how can children’s authors in today’s unsettled world achieve this same unforgettable feel?

Mary Norton’s The Borrowers sparked my imagination as a child. My librarian mom introduced it to me. Norton’s world-building of tiny people living in the walls and borrowing from the people with whom they lived was pure escape for me from the big complicated world.

Children’s authors in today’s uncertain world can achieve this same unforgettable feel by either delivering children to a rich land of imagination, or by providing children a story in which they can see themselves. Then they can envision and dream of ways they can be and all the things they can achieve.

What made you decide to write “The Places We Sleep” in verse?

Abbey’s story came to me naturally in poetry, perhaps as a lyrical way to process 9/11 and my brothers’ deployment, but also likely because I’d recently completed my MFA in poetry. It began as more of a character sketch through poems and eventually turned into a story. I wanted to write about how world events have rippling effects on individuals and familial relationships in unexpected ways. The snapshots or scenes that poems allow you to write provided me with the perfect medium.

Your description of poems being scenes is fascinating and also beautiful. It definitely worked. How much of the novel is inspired by your own experience growing up in the South in a military family?

Although I did not grow up in a military family, both of my grandfathers served in the military, as well as both of my brothers, my brother-in-law, and my sister-in-law. Abbey’s story is about being a military child, but it’s also about many other things—identity, loss and grief, creating art in the face of tragedy, tolerance and acceptance, and friendship. It’s about how world events can touch individuals in large and small ways.

That they do. ♥ This couldn’t have been an easy story to write. What was the most difficult part?

I faced two specific challenges in writing this story. One was creating full, round characters through poems. And the other was making decisions about how to approach a national tragedy age-appropriately and sensitively. Having a great editor at Holiday House and a sensitivity reader helped with both.

Why do you think this story is important for the middle-grade audience?

Middle grade students I’ve taught often have had only a fuzzy understanding of the events of 9/11, and the nonfiction texts they’ve typically enjoyed the most in my classroom were almost always couched in a narrative story. I hope Abbey’s story will spark curiosity in young readers about 9/11 and the monumental lessons we learned and are still learning from that tragedy. I hope the book will leave readers with a memorable story about a girl who may not be all that different from themselves. Furthermore, I hope student readers are gently nudged to learn the names of others with whom they share classes and hallways and to act with kindness and dignity to those they may not know or understand. Maybe it will even inspire some young reader to choose to deal with life’s challenges through art or poetry or other forms of creativity.

Inspiring young readers to engage in conversation about the events of 9/11 is a wonderful.

How much research did you do for the story?

I lived through 9/11 and began writing and reading about it immediately thereafter. Additionally, I’ve had various family members in the military as well as taught students who experienced and still experience islamophobia. I conducted research as I was writing the story, as well as mined the living resources around me to create as authentic a portrayal of the historical backdrop to the story as I could.

What can young readers expect from your main character Abbey?

I hope that young readers can see themselves in Abbey as she navigates challenging world events along with the struggles of middle school and adolescence. Currently, teens and children are facing their own difficult world events. I hope readers see how Abbey perseveres and strives to be a good friend, to be kind, and to express empathy and tolerance to others.

All extremely important traits, especially in today’s world. Do you have any advice for librarians and teachers on how to encourage middle schoolers to give in verse books a try?

Books in verse make great shared read-aloud opportunities. You’re never too old to be read to or to enjoy reading aloud to someone else. Another way to inspire and hook a child on the joy of reading is by giving a book talk. Where an educator may not have time to read an entire chapter, there’s always time for a poem or two. And once one student starts reading it, the likelihood is that his or her friends will pick it up too. Books in verse create more white space between scenes as well as playful or dramatic visual messages with syntax, punctuation, and form, which can motivate adolescent readers.

Circling back to my first question, what do you hope stays with your readers after they read this story?

Perhaps The Places We Sleep will spark curiosity in young readers about 9/11 and the monumental lessons we learned and are still learning from that tragedy. I hope student readers are gently nudged to learn the names of others with whom they share classes and hallways and to act with kindness and dignity to those they may not know or understand. Maybe it will inspire some young reader to choose to deal with life’s challenges through art or poetry or other forms of creativity.

Here’s a little bit more about Caroline:

Caroline Brooks DuBois found her poetic voice in the halls of the English Department at Converse College and the University of Bucknell’s Seminar for Young Poets. She received a Master of Fine Arts degree in poetry at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, under the scholarship of Pulitzer Prize winning poet James Tate, among other greats in the poetry world.
DuBois’s writing infuses poetry and prose and has been published by outlets as varied as Highlights High Five, Southern Poetry Review, and The Journal of the American Medical Association and has been twice honored by the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. Her debut middle-grade novel-in-verse, The Places We Sleep, is published by Holiday House and to be released August 2020.
DuBois has taught poetry workshops, writing classes, and English at the middle school, high school, and college levels. In May 2016, she was recognized as a Nashville Blue Ribbon Teacher for her dedication to her students and excellence in teaching adolescents.
DuBois currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she works as an English instructional coach and sometimes co-writes songs for fun with her singer-songwriter husband. She has two teenage children and a dog, Lilli, and she enjoys coaching soccer and generally being outside.
WEBSITE | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Thank you for sharing some of your writing journey with us, Caroline! All the best with The Places We Sleep.