America Grelinger

Need a Blank 2019 Calendar?

Sometimes the best planning tools are a blank calendar, a pencil, and a hearty eraser.

These are my favorite tools, anyway, because I tend to be an under-estimator when it comes to the amount of time a project requires. (I’m also an over-estimator when it comes to the amount of time I think I have to give, but that’s a different problem.)

I like the blank calendar because I’m deadline oriented, and I can set a deadline and back-date from there. For example, if I know I have a book signing on May 13, I might think I need to promote it for 3 weeks, beginning on April 22. But what types of promotions do I need to have in place by April 22? Graphics for the website and newsletter? If I allow 2 days to create the graphic design, and another day for proofreading, yet another day for edits, and a final day for posting, now we’re talking April 15. But if I want to brainstorm something fun for the event and work through all of those details, I’d probably need a few meetings away from the sales floor for that, and to find a time to schedule meetings away from the floor, I need to allow 3-5 days to work that in. So now I’m starting the planning around April 8. Do I want to include book ordering timeline, potential reviews in the store newsletter, outreach to customers? These can all be included on that master calendar, which is probably flipped back to March by now.

Which is why I also like to use the pencil and one heck of an eraser. Plans change, timelines shift, but I’m a firm believer that even a heavily altered plan is better than none.

Here’s a 2019 Blank Calendar for use throughout the year. Print the whole thing. Print just the months you need. Print it over and over.

I hope you find it useful.

Holiday Love from Chronicle Books

I was able to tour Chronicle Books last year and I became more than a little enamored with the creativity lurking around every corner. This holiday video they just produced doesn’t surprise me at all. But it certainly pleases me! Enjoy!

Say As I Do: Marie Lu

Say As I Do: Marie Lu

I recently spoke with Marie Lu about her new release–Wildcard–for KMUW’s Marginalia podcast. I’m sure you probably already know how to pronounce it. But sometimes it’s nice do hear the voice, don’t you think?

Here she is:


Review (Plus): ‘Everything & Everywhere’

Books, for me, have always been a conduit to travel, whether real or imagined. When travel, real or imagined, also inspires creativity, it’s a win-win-win. Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters by Marc Martin checks all of the boxes for me: a book about travel by an artist.

A note from the author in the opening pages explains the book’s premise: “The following pages are a gathering of facts, thoughts, and observations about our planet as seen through the eyes of an artist.” When I read the words “through the eyes of an artist” I became excited for budding artists about to discover these wonder-filled pages. I loved that the pages looked more like a travel journal than an atlas. And I love that the author/artist chose to illustrate what he found interesting, rather that what might be expected of him. And he did so with humor. One description in particular made me smile: “Reykjavik: The capital of Iceland and home to many natural wonders and strange sauces.”

At 10.3″ x 13.8″,  Everything & Everywhere is probably best labeled an oversized picture book. But there’s something about an oversized book in a tiny lap that makes the world seem even larger, don’t you think?

Judging by the amount of time I spent poring over the pages in the book, I can only imagine how many hours will be spent perusing and pondering by younger readers. (It’s categorized as a book for ages 5-8, or grades K-3, but I personally stopped letting these labels shame me a long time ago. And the labels shouldn’t stop you from spending some time with it, either!) Whether in the home or in the classroom, I envision many companion elements, like blank notebooks, pens, watercolors. But curriculum science isn’t my specialty, so here are some ‘in the classroom’ suggestions from America Grelinger. [link to come]

In the meantime, happy travels!

Everything & Everywhere: A Fact-Filled Adventure for Curious Globe-Trotters by Marc Martin (Chronicle Books | 9781452165141 | October 9, 2018)

Review (Plus): New Books for Reluctant Readers

One of my struggles as an English teacher is turning my students into lifelong readers. One of the most important tasks is finding the perfect book and placing it in the hands of a reluctant reader; they may roll their eyes at me, but I insistent they read 25 pages of the book I have loaned them. Some of my most reluctant readers are given a graphic novel, because 25 pages of a graphic novel means the reader can find themselves 1/3 into the book. It is a devious-but effect–trick to use in the classroom: the reader is hooked and reluctant to quick because, let’s face it, 25 pages in to a graphic novel you know the character, the setting and the plot! Penguin Random House recently sent me two graphic novels; I am excited to let you know my thoughts and then get them in to the hands of my students because they both were awesome.

The first was Edison Beaker Creature Seeker: The Night Door by Frank Cammuso. Mr. Cammuso has a way of hooking his middle grade readers by giving them real kids with real problems in his action-packed graphic novels. His newest endeavor is about Edison Beaker and his quest to learn the family business–extermination. Not of bugs, but of the things that go bump in the night! It has a few twists and turns, but the best part is that it leaves you hanging! I love it. The middle school student who lands this one will instantly ask, when is the next one coming Ms. G?

The second graphic novel was Caveboy Dave by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew. In this 2nd in the series, I found Dave is just as funny in his commentary as the last one. I enjoyed the first one in this series and found it appealed to all my students, which surprised me as I thought it would tend to lend itself more to the boys. Dave lives in Bleccchh. (This alone makes the boys laugh because they immediately assume it reads BELCH!) Dave struggles with his community and their ways of life, but overcomes them as he loves his family, friends and way of life. In this new adventure, Not So Faboo, we learn the Shaman of the community has gone MIA, as panic ensues, Dave reassures everyone it will be okay; he will be found. For fear of life without a leader in Bleccchh, the community votes to place Dave in charge–AT AGE 12!  Dave quickly learns about politics and that pleasing everyone is a thankless job, but someone has to do it…

In the classroom:

Reluctant readers need to be encouraged, they need to be challenged, and sometimes they even need to be forced to read. This year I instituted the 20 minutes mandatory daily reading in to my lesson plans. I force students to put down electronic devices and read. This challenge is becoming more present in the classroom as most schools, if you are like mine, have issued laptops or iPads to every student. It is difficult to make the kid who resents reading put down the device, sit silently, and read. I model this every day, but I love to read. (I wish I didn’t have to teach and could just read every day!) However, for them the challenge is real.

I suggest reward based reading. I have a bulletin board where kids can put their “glows and grows” for reading. They have to tell something glowing about the book and some way they can “grow” from reading the book. Both of these graphic novels present a moral dilemma for both protagonists. It doesn’t matter what they read, as long as they are reading.

Edison Beaker Creature Seeker: The Night Door by Frank Cammuso (Viking Books for Young Readers | 9780425291924 | October 2, 2018)

Caveboy Dave: Not So Faboo by Aaron Reynolds and Phil McAndrew (Viking Books for Young Readers | 9780451475480 | October 23, 2018)