75 episodes

Books Between is a podcast to help teachers, parents, and librarians connect kids between 8 and 12 to books they'll love.

Books Between Podcast Corrina Allen

    • Courses

Books Between is a podcast to help teachers, parents, and librarians connect kids between 8 and 12 to books they'll love.

    #75-Benefits of Rereading & A Conversation w/ Deimosa Webber-Bey

    #75-Benefits of Rereading & A Conversation w/ Deimosa Webber-Bey

    Intro
    Hi everyone and welcome to Books Between - a podcast for educators, librarians, parents, and everyone who loves middle grade books!  My goal is to help you connect kids between 8-12 with fantastic reads because I believe that a book can change the trajectory of a child’s life.  And I want to help you introduce kids to those amazing, life-shaping books and bring you inspiring (and fun!) conversations with the authors and educators who make that magic happen.
    I’m your host, Corrina Allen - a mom of two tweens, a 5th grade teacher, and just back from an awe-inspiring visit with my family to Niagara Falls. If you have ever have the opportunity to go, there is nothing quite like standing on a rocking boat within the mist of the roaring horseshoe falls and gazing up 170 feet at over 3,000 tons of water thundering over those cliffs every second. Do go you if  you can - it’s impressive, we learned a TON, and it’s one of those things that should be experienced at least once in your life.
    A quick reminder to help out your future self and set yourself a reminder for Monday nights at 9pm EST so you can catch the #MGBookChat Twitter chat - we have scheduled some great topics and hosts later on this summer and fall. So I will see you there. 
    This is episode #75 and today’s show starts with a discussion about the benefits of rereading and then I bring you a conversation with Scholastic librarian Deimosa Webber-Bey. 
     
    Main Topic - The Benefits of Rereading
    Our main topic today is a discussion around rereading books. Over the years, my own thinking in this area has evolved a lot. As a young teacher who wanted to make the most out of absolutely every precious second of classroom time, I had a rather negative view of students reading a book for pleasure that they had already read before. If a kid was picking a novel for a book club or a book report, I wouldn’t let them select a book they had previously read. Thinking back, that really did seem to be the norm among my colleagues. Like them, I viewed it as cheating a little bit!  As if they wouldn’t be as engaged in the text a second time around or they weren’t challenging themselves enough. Basically - I considered rereading a book in school as a waste of a learning opportunity.
     
    It wasn’t until about 5 years ago that a friend had a conversation with me that changed my mind. We weren’t even debating the merits of allowing kids to reread books, we were just chatting. She asked me, “Corrina, what’s your favorite movie?”  And I said, “Oh! The Princess Bride! I’ve watched it like 50 times…..”  Oh. Ohhhhh…….
     
    And that’s when it hit me. It was that one friendly person inadvertently holding up a mirror to myself that made me reconsider the misconceptions I held and start to realize there are huge benefits to experiencing a text, a film, multiple times. 
     
    I mean - if you think about it - watching a movie or tv series over and over again - is a commonly shared and even celebrated social phenomenon.  I hear lots of people talking about how many times they’ve watched The Office or Black Panther or Star Wars. In my house, it’s a running joke how many times my husband’s Facebook status is “watching Casino Royale”
     
    So today, I’d like to explore with you some reasons why rereading is so satisfying, some academic benefits, and a few ways to enhance the rereading experience for the kids you work with.
     
    Why Rereading is so Satisfying
    Let’s start with why rereading is so satisfying. 
    First - it’s fun! If you love a book, you get to spend more time with favorite characters and relive those climactic moments in the story. It’s like going on your favorite roller-coaster again. Yeah, you already know when the twists are turns are, but also - here come those twists and turns and I can’t wait for them! Anoth

    • 39 min
    #74-Top 20 Student Favorites & A Conversation with Rajani LaRocca

    #74-Top 20 Student Favorites & A Conversation with Rajani LaRocca

    Intro
    Hi everyone and welcome to Books Between - a podcast for educators, librarians, parents, and everyone who loves middle grade books!  My goal is to help you connect kids between 8-12 with fantastic reads because I believe that a book can change the trajectory of a child’s life.  And I want to help you introduce kids to those amazing, life-shaping books and bring you inspiring (and fun!) conversations with the authors and educators who make that magic happen.
    I’m your host, Corrina Allen - a mom of two tween girls, a 5th grade teacher, and finally beginning my summer vacation!!
    Before we begin, I have a few quick announcements!
    First - a reminder that Monday nights are the #MGBookChat Twitter chats with some really amazing topics coming up this summer like STEM in Middle Grade, Inspiring Kids to Write, Grief in Middle Grade, and several Open Chats where you can bring your own topic to discuss. So if you are like me and have a tendency to forget those sort of things, set a reminder on your phone for Mondays at 9pm EST and check out #MGBookChat on Twitter.
    Second - I will be at NerdCampMI this July 8th & 9th - so if you are headed that way this summer, please please do say hi.
    And finally - I am really excited to tell you that I will be rejoining the All the Wonders team as their Podcast Network Developer to produce a new array of shows cultivating a wider variety of perspectives and stories in the world of children’s literature. First up is All the Wonders This Week -  a brief, topical show released every Tuesday where a guest and I will chat about all things wondrous and new in the world of children’s literature. So stay tuned for that this summer!
    But - no worries - Books Between isn’t going anywhere!
    This is episode #74 and today’s show features the Top 20 books that my students loved this year, a reflection on what went right and what went wrong for me this last school year, and a conversation with Rajani LaRocca - author of Midsummer’s Mayhem.
     
    Top 20 Student Favorites
    Let’s start with the top 20 books that my 5th grade students loved and recommended this school year. Because it’s one thing for an adult to enjoy a book, but for it to really make an impact, it has to connect with its intended audience. There have been plenty of books that I loved, but for some reason didn’t seem to resonate with middle grade readers.  Honestly, I think THIS list is way more valuable than ANY list that any adult puts out.
     
    I couple notes before we begin. My students have pretty much free choice to read what they want in class and for homework at night, but we did have two book clubs this year - one in the fall featuring immigrant and refugee experiences and then we just wrapped up our fantasy book clubs. So that context likely influenced what books they had most exposure to. Also - our four main read alouds this year were Home of the Brave, a non-fiction title called When Lunch Fights Back, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, and The Thief of Always.  Only two of those made it into this Top 20.
     
    And there are only six graphic novels on this list, which might surprise some adults who like to complain to me that “all kids read these days are those graphic novels”. (Can you hear my eyes rolling?)
     
    I also want to be transparent about how I calculated this “Top 20”. So, at the end of the year, we did various wrap-up and reflection activities. In mid-June, I send out a quick survey one morning asking them for their top reads of the year. They also worked on an end-of-the-year reflection celebration slideshow and one slide was devoted to sharing their favorite books. Also, each student worked on a “Top 10 List” (or” Top 5 List” or whatever - an idea I got from Colby Sharp) listing their most highly recommended books of the year - recommended for their current class and to be

    • 51 min
    #73 - Finishing Strong & A Conversation with Tina Athaide

    #73 - Finishing Strong & A Conversation with Tina Athaide

    Intro
    Hello and welcome to Books Between -  a podcast for teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect kids between 8-12 to books they’ll love.
    I’m your host, Corrina Allen - 5th grade teacher, a mom of two girls (10 and 12), and muddling through some allergies. So if you are wondering why I sound “off” - we can blame all those plants trying to have babies!  A quick reminder before we get started that you can find transcripts and interview outlines of every episode - along with lots of other great middle great content over at MGBookVillage.org.
    This is episode #73 and today’s show starts off with a discussion about strong endings to the school year and then I share with you a conversation with Tina Athaide- author of Orange for the Sunsets.
    Main Topic - Finishing the Year Strong
    Our main topic today is ending the school year with your students with strength and purpose. And wrapping up those final weeks together in a way that allows for both reflection on their reading lives and a way to step forward into a summer that builds on the successes of the previous year.
    It’s like the school year is the runway and the summer is the solo flight after take-off! If you haven’t been building those reading habits all year long, then… well that lift off is going to fall flat.  But - there are some things that we can do to plan for a strong transition from that supportive classroom reading community to a strong independent reading life. For me, my school year up here in New York doesn’t end for another five weeks but lots of my friends are already wrapping up their school year so I thought it would be a good time to discuss this topic. And whether you are a parent, or a librarian, or a teacher there will be something in today’s show that you will find useful.
    First, we’ll talk building in time for reflection and what that can look like. Then, I’ll discuss some ways for students to celebrate and share the reading they’ve enjoyed during the past school year. And finally, I’ll chat about how to usher them into summer with a solid reading plan and hopefully some books in their hands.
    Reflection
    One of the most effective ways to cap off your school year is with some time for reflection and feedback. And there are a few options for you to consider.
    A student survey for YOU to grow as a teacher. So this would involve asking your students questions to help get feedback to help you improve. These  questions might be - What was your favorite read aloud this year?  What strategies helped you grow the most as a reader? Did you prefer partner reading or book clubs and why? What types of reading responses helped you get the most of your reading?  Should we read more nonfiction? What books should we get for our classroom library? Pernille Ripp uses these types of surveys exceptionally well, and I’ll link to her website to get some ideas for you to try and to tweak. It’s also really important that students get the opportunity to write about and discuss their own reading habits and growth - for their own self-reflection. In that case, since the purposes are very different, the questions you ask your students will be different. And if you’ve helped them build that habit of keeping good track of their reading, this will be a thousand times easier. These questions might be along the lines of - How many books did you read this year? How does that compare to last year?  Of the books you’ve read, how many were non-fiction? How many were graphic novels? Written by a person of color? Written by a man? Were historical fiction? What was your favorite book you’ve read? How many books did you abandon and why? Those questions that dig a bit deeper are so powerful - especially when given the opportunity to share those thoughts with others. Another way that you can have your students doing some p

    • 52 min
    #72 - A Conversation with Mae Respicio

    #72 - A Conversation with Mae Respicio

    Intro
    Hi everyone and welcome to Books Between -  a podcast for teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect kids between 8-12 to books they’ll love.
    I’m your host, Corrina Allen - 5th grade teacher currently enjoying Spring Break, a mom of two tween daughters, and part of the MGBookVillage team.  And MGBookVillage.org where you can find transcripts and interview outlines of all of our episodes and links to every book and topic we mention today.
    This is episode #72 and oday’s show features three novels that will get your students talking, and a conversation with Mae Respicio - author of The House That Lou Built.
    Book Talk
    In this segment, I share with you three books and discuss three things to love about each. All three books today have a couple things in common - questions of identity and an element of mystery.  Two involve recovered memories, two of them have a bit of magic, and two of them include rather helpful birds. The three books featured this week are Restart by Gordan Korman, The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu, and The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast by Samantha Clark.


    Restart
    Let’s start with Restart.  This novel, by Gordon Korman, was one that people kept pushing me to read. Teachers, students, librarians - everyone kept saying, “But have you read Restart yet??”  So how can you say no to that kind of pressure? And - they were right! First of all the premise is incredible - the school bully (Chase Ambrose) falls off his roof, gets amnesia, and forgets everything about his previous life. And doesn’t get why certain kids are terrified of him, why others treat him like some big hero, and others, well… do things like dump a cup of frozen yogurt over his head. Plus, it’s not just told from Chase’s point of view - we get to hear from lots of the other kids as Chase’s past (and present) are slowly revealed. Restart is incredibly crafted. Aside from how well this novel is paced and pieced together, here are three other things I really loved about Restart:
     
    Brendan Espinoza’s videos! Like lots of kids we know, he loves YouTube! Brendan is one of the first kids in the school to - if not accept the “new Chase” - at least offer him a little empathy. And that’s a powerful thing to do considering that Brendan was one of Chase’s biggest targets. He’s one of the video club kids and desperately wants one of his YouTube videos to go viral. So of course, he stages these increasingly over-the-top stunts to film.  It’s hard to describe a funny video in a way that also makes you, the reader, laugh and cringe - but Gordon Korman pulls it off! And I’ll never go through a car-wash again without thinking of Brendan…. Mr. Solway! He’s this crotchety, hilarious, Medal-of-Honor-winning veteran living at the nursing home where Chase and his crew are serving out their community service.  And somehow he is the spark, the center, the fulcrum of the story. That it works really powerfully as a read-aloud with tons of big ideas to discuss. Restart was our most recent bedtime book for my family, and whoa did we have a ton of deep conversations. Like…. When should you forgive someone?  Is it possible to make amends for your past bad actions? And the whole situation with Joel and the video club and Shoshanna and Chase’s dad and football!  
    If you are looking for a great book club novel, one that will offer a lot of fodder for discussion, then Restart is a fantastic option. It’s both hilarious and deep. Which to me, is that hard-to-achieve but perfect when it happens combination.  
     
    The Lost Girl
    Next up is The Lost Girl by Anne Ursu. A story about inseparable twins Iris and Lark. Well, inseparable until 5th grade when they are each placed into different classes with teachers who might not be the best fit for their distinctive personalities. Iris is analytical, o

    • 43 min
    #71 - A Conversation with Alyson Gerber (Focused)

    #71 - A Conversation with Alyson Gerber (Focused)

    Intro
    Hi everyone and welcome to Books Between - a podcast for teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect kids between 8-12 to books they’ll love.
    I’m your host, Corrina Allen - an elementary school teacher in Central New York and mom of two daughters - a 9 year old and a just turned 12 year old. Yesteday we celebrated her birthday with the most amazing cake - white with whipped cream frosting and layers of cannoli filling and raspberry filling inside. And just in case you are wondering - no, I did not make it.  But if you live near a Wegmans, you can order one!
    This is episode #71 and oday and I’m sharing with you a conversation with Alyson Gerber - author of Braced and the recently released Focused. Her latest novel is about a gutsy, chess-loving, 7th grader named Clea who is learning to cope with her ADHD.
    So....do you know that slightly disorienting feeling you have when you are looking out a window & suddenly the lights shifts, your perspective shifts, and you realize you are seeing your OWN reflection? That is the experience I had when reading Focused.  Like so many other people, Dr. Rudine Bishop’s analogy of books as mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors has always resonated with me.  And I picked up Focused anticipating that I would get a window into the experiences of a young girl with ADHD - that it would help me become a better, more empathetic teacher. And while Focused absolutely did that - it also helped dispel a lot of the misconceptions I had about ADHD, particularly how it tends to manifest in girls and women.  And launched me on a path to discovering that I have ADHD. I opened Focused thinking I was reading a window book - and it turned into a mirror book for me.
    I know that books can change minds and can change lives. But rarely has a novel changed my life for the better so completely and so soon. And by extension - the lives of my family and students. And when that happens - you just have to let the author know! And so, I emailed Alyson and thanked her and asked her to come on the show to talk about Focused, chess, her experiences with ADHD, her writing process, and so so much more.
    Take a listen.
    Alyson Gerber - Interview Outline
    Focused
     
    For our listeners who have not yet read the Focused, can you tell us a bit about it?
     
    In what ways is Clea’s situation and experiences similar to your own and in what ways did you angle her story so that it was different from your own?
     
    Another thing that I think you do masterfully in Focused is how you show Clea’s relationship with her therapist evolving over time from her denial and distrust to an eventual positive relationship. I think so many kids can benefit from that peek inside a therapist’s office...
     
    Is the testing you describe Clea doing things you’ve experienced or did you do some research to get those aspects of the story right?
     
    One of the other parts of the story that really rang true were the conversations around medication...
     
    One of the things that made me fall so hard for this book was the CHESS! My husband and daughters are all big chess players though not competitively.  Do you play?
     
    So.... there is some romance in this story!!
     
    Your Writing Life
     
    What are you working on now?
     
    My students and kids are always eager to hear writing advice from authors.  What’s a tip or trick that you’ve picked along the way that has helped your writing?
     
    Is there a piece of feedback that you got that changed Focused?
     
    Your Reading Life
     
    One of the goals of this podcast is to help educators and parents inspire kids to read more and connect them with amazing books.  Did you have a special person who helped launch your reading life as a child? And if so, what did they do that made such a difference?
     
    What have you been reading lately that you’ve liked?

    • 48 min
    #70 - Three New Graphic Novels & A Conversation with Jerry Craft

    #70 - Three New Graphic Novels & A Conversation with Jerry Craft

    Intro
    Hi everyone and welcome to Books Between - a podcast for teachers, parents, librarians, and anyone who wants to connect the tweens in your life to books they’ll love.  I’m your host, Corrina Allen - 5th grade teacher, a mom of an 11 and 9 year old, and desperate to be DONE with winter, please!! Yesterday we saw robins all over the yard and today… it’s covered with snow again.
    I believe that the right book can change the trajectory of a child’s life and can help them recognize the world for what it is and what it can be.  And I want to help you connect kids with those wonderful, life-shaping books and bring you inspiring conversations with the authors and educators who make that magic happen.
    This is episode #70 and today I’m discussing three new graphic novels that would be great additions to your collection, and I’m also sharing with you a conversation I had with one of their creators.
    Book Talk - Three New Graphic Novels
    In this segment, I share with you a selection of books centered around a theme and discuss three things to love about each book. This week I am featuring three new graphic novels released in the last few months that should absolutely be on your radar - Click, New Kid, and Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy.  
    Click
    Let’s start with Click by Kayla Miller.  This full-color graphic novel is about 5th grader Olive who is feeling left out and left behind when all of her friends have matched up with each other for the school variety show. They’ve all formed acts together and Olive is feeling like she just doesn’t “click” with anyone or anything.
    Here are three things I really enjoyed about Click:
    Olive’s Aunt Molly! She’s the kind of aunt we all wish we could have - the one whose house you can stay at when things are tricky at home. The cool aunt with ripped jeans, green streaks in her hair, and a “Kiss the Librarian” coffee mug. (I mean - well, *I* think that’s cool!)  It’s Aunt Molly that gets Olive these DVDs of old-timey variety shows that leads to her “a-ha” moment. The friendship dynamics in the book! I know a lot of kids can feel like they don’t belong. Don’t feel popular, don’t have a best friend. And as someone who always seemed to be friends with girls who were best friends with each other - I could really relate to Olive. The third thing that I ended up liking about this book is that it’s slower paced, has essentially one main conflict, and it can be read in one sitting. Click is a great option for kids in grades 3-6 who liked Sunny Side Up or Raina Telgemeier’s graphic novel.  And - Kayla Miller has a sequel coming out on April 23rd called Camp - so if they enjoy Click, they’ll have another one on the way.
    Meg, Jo, Beth & Amy
    Next up is Meg, Jo, Amy, and Beth by Rey Terciero and Bre Indigo which is, as you might have guessed from the title - a modern retelling of Little Women. A full-color, 256 page graphic novel reboot of the March sisters’ story. In this retelling, the March family lives in a brownstone in New York City and their father is deployed overseas in the Middle East. So the setting is different, but the girls’ personalities are pretty much the same, but with a modern twist. Meg is the responsible one and works as a nanny. Jo is an ambitious writer, Beth is shy and loves writing music but plays a guitar and not the piano, and Amy is still her obnoxious self - just in a slightly different way.  My eleven-year-old and I devoured this book - oh it’s so good! And here are three reasons why:
    That the March family is reimagined as a modern blended biracial family. Mr. March is black and was a widower with one daughter, Meg. And he marries Mrs. March, who is white and also had one daughter, Jo. And they go on to have Beth and Amy together.  And that mix of closeness and conflict that can happen between sisters had my dau

    • 44 min

Top Podcasts In Courses

Listeners Also Subscribed To