Room FIVE-04’s Blog Takeover–6th grade Poems, Posters + what we learned about writing.

We’re back! Remember us?–Your friends in Room FIVE-04 from Lincoln Elementary in the Central Valley of CA?

We’re the ones who took over Erin Dealey’s blog on the Book Birthday of

DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5!

(See part 1of our Blog Takeover here.)

Today we’re back to share some more posters we made and a few of the poems we wrote with Ms. Dealey. But first…

One of the things Ms. Dealey told us is: 

by Elijah G.

We learned that writing is not like Math, where the answer is either right or wrong. When a teacher or editor takes their red pen to your paper, it’s to help you polish it, and make it so others can read it. Edits are not a bad thing.

Edits help you turn your

writing into reading. 

She also said if we don’t know what to write, start with:

“This is crazy. I don’t know what to write. Why is she making us write this?”

We hope you’ll enjoy our poems & posters:

by Elijah G.

by Izabella D.

by Jas. S

by Hailey R.

Miah wrote this poem for her new baby sister. Poems can be about anything! Poems help you use your voice.

by Izabella D.

Poems can express emotions:

Love is wonderful.

Wonderful as you are.

Are you feeling this feeling?

Love, love, love.

Love is powerful.

Love is strong.

Love is something that you cannot break. 

Breaking will not do anything because of this powerful force.

This force is like the solar system.

The solar system you cannot break as well.

It’s like the planets.

The planets are a representation of love.

 The planets are held together with love. 

Love, love, love.

Love is everything. 

Everything you want to become can happen because of love.

Love is wonderful. 

by Mannat P.


by Yehloe B.

It turns out writing poems isn’t so crazy after all. 

And check out all our cool DEAR EARTH posters here!

Thank you, Erin Dealey, for zooming and writing with us,

and letting us take over your blog again.

Writing is never wrong! 

Happy Holidays, thank you Mrs. Howard, and Happy Writing to everyone.

From your friends in Room FIVE-04.


It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year—to give books! A very special 2020 ICYMthem Book List of MG / YA novels published in this crazy #pandemic.

Thanks to everyone who shared and shopped selections from our

2020 Recommended Picture Books List.

For those wondering what books to give the older kids on your list…

Check out these must-read 2020 books

for Middle Grade / Young Adult 

Yes, there are many other titles out there. (Feel free to add them in the comments below.)

Just making sure these awesome titles are on your book-radar too!


Click the links to learn more:

Chapter Books series

The Dramatic Life of Azaleah Lane (Book 2) –Nikki Shannon Smith / Gloria Felix /Picture Window/ Capstone  / Grades 1-3

Dragons vs. Unicorns (Kate the Chemist /Book 1)  –Dr. Kate Biberdorf with Hillary Homzie / Philomel / Grades 3-7

Look At Rollo! (Book 4) –Reed Duncan / Keith Frawley /  Penguin Workshop / Grades 1-2

The Story of… a biography series for new readers: including…

The Story of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (The Story of… a biography series for new readers) –Susan B. Katz / Rockridge Press / Grades 1-2

The Story of Amelia Earhart (The Story of… a biography series for new readers) –Stacia Deutsch / Rockridge Press / Grades 1-2

Middle Grade:

Efrén Divided  –Ernesto Cisneros /Quill Tree Books / Harper Collins

Flying Over Water –Shannon Hitchcock & Naheed Hasnat Senzai / Scholastic

One Time –Sharon Creech / Harper Collins

Operation Frog Effect –Sarah Scheeger, w/ graphic novel sections Illus. Gina Perry / Yearling / Penguin Random House–a 2019 title but just released in paperback!

Parked –Danielle Svetcov / Dial

Prairie Lotus –Linda Sue Park / Clarion

The Boys in the Back Row –Mike Jung / Levine Querido

Young Adult

How To Live On The Edge –Sarah Scheerger / Carolrhoda Lab

Red Hood –Elana K. Arnold / Balzer & Bray

What I Carry –Jennifer Longo / Random House

YA Series

(Be sure to check out all the titles in this series.)

The Hand on the Wall (Book 3 of the Truly Devious series) –Maureen Johnson / Katherine Tegan Books

We encourage you to consider these books for your holiday gifts.

And if possible, #ShopIndie #indiecember.  

Happy Holidays to ALL–

and heartfelt thanks to the fabulous authors & illustrators, teachers & librarians, and

booksellers in our #kidlit community, for coming together this year even stronger and more determined to help get each other’s books on the radar of young readers and their families. Special shout-outs to #2020BookLook, bloggers everywhere, @2021derfuls (who started early!) and my amazing @EastWestLit family. It definitely takes a village and I wouldn’t want to “live” anywhere else.

Stay safe, friends.

Cheers to 2021 getting here SOON!

Happy (belated) Book Birthday to ONE TIME & 5 Qs with THE Sharon Creech

It’s a Book Birthday party for

Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestselling author

Sharon Creech’s new MG novel:


(Harper Collins/ Sept. 8, 2020)

Are you ready to celebrate?

Seriously, any day that I get to chat

with one of my #kidlit sHEROES

is a time for celebration!

This book is magic. 

It’s about finding your voice

and your stories…

But don’t take my word for it: 

Creech writes Gina’s narration with comfortable magic…The real focus here is the magic of storytelling, as the class falls in love with Miss Lightstone’s literary leadership and develops their own voices…Ultimately, the book renders the familiar charmed in a way that will gratify youngsters seeking to bring enchantment into their own lives.”

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

A standout teacher and mysterious new student open the minds and notebooks of Gina Filomena and her fellow classmates…Gina, her classmates, and readers simultaneously discover that with most people there is far more than meets the eye. Newbery-winning Creech skillfully catches Gina at the point in life when a child’s small world opens up into a much wider adult one. As Gina navigates this transition, the line between real and imagined is blurred… For fans of Creech’s hallmark beautiful writing…


I am beyond delighted to share 5 Qs with Sharon Creech:

Sharon Creech: Thank you!

Q 1.What has publishing a book in a pandemic been like for you, compared to previous “Book Birthday” experiences?   

Sharon Creech: This has been a much more subdued book birth than any before it, that’s for sure. Everything is tamped down, muted. I’m at home, not traveling and meeting students and teachers and booksellers and librarians. I’m not able to do virtual visits or videos because of unreliable internet. I feel in limbo, a sort of suspended animation.  And yet, I’m also grateful for the quiet, the solitude, the ability to stay at home.

ED note:

All the more reason to have

a party, right friends?

Q 2.Which book title best describes your writing process for ONE TIME: 

  • Absolutely Normal Chaos
  • Pleasing the Ghost
  • The Great Unexpected
  • Fishing in the Air

Sharon Creech: The writing process for ONE TIME might best be described as ‘fishing in the air.’ Each day I stepped into the shoes of Gina Filomena and let my mind roam free, catching bits of inspiration floating in the air. Since the book is about imagination, that worked well for me. It also seemed that Miss Lightstone would encourage this sort of fishing in the air, urging the mind to roam free.

Creech’s picture book with Caldecott Honor artist Chris Raschka (Harper Collins/ 2003)

Q. 3. Speaking of Miss Lightstone, which character from ONE TIME is most like you?

  • Gina Filomena
  • Miss Lightstone
  • Antonio
  • Auntie Pasta (I just had to write that name—haha.)

Sharon Creech: I am most like Gina Filomena (especially the younger me) in that I am curious, have a passion for words and cultivating the imagination, and am highly susceptible to smiles. I’m also like Miss Lightstone, I think: eager to give students freedom and time to explore and believing strongly in the riches and uniqueness of each individual.

Who are you?

Q 4. Gina starts the book with: “I wonder about you. Who are you?” What might your answer be to Gina—as well as readers and fans everywhere?

Sharon Creech: I am all my main characters from all my books. I am Gina Filomena and Salamanca Tree Hiddle and Mary Lou Finney, and Dallas and Florida and Sophie and Cody and Annie and Zinny and Jack and Leo and Naomi and Reena and Louie . . . etc. If you smooshed them all together, you would have: me. Really.

Q 5. What was one of the most surprising facts or discoveries you made in writing ONE TIME?

Sharon Creech: One of the most surprising discoveries was that Gina, filtered through me, was incorporating bits and pieces of many of my earlier books. This was not intentional or conscious. In the Clackerties, for instance, I could see bits of Absolutely Normal Chaos, and in Uncle and Auntie Pasta, I heard echoes of Granny Torrelli Makes Soup.


In Miss Lightstone I caught glimpses of Miss Stretchberry from Love That Dog; Angel Lucia seemed to be an echo of the angel in The Unfinished Angel; images of the moon and water first arose in Walk Two Moons and The Wanderer; and the exploration of the imagination occurs in different forms in many of my books, including Fishing in the Air and The Great Unexpected.

   As Gina says near the end of ONE TIME, “All those stray pieces and one times float around in me.’ That’s how I feel now, as if this story gathers pieces and one times from all my previous books that float around in me.

[Hmm. If I were still a graduate student, this might make a good thesis to explore!]

I’m so thankful for the pieces and one times you shared with us on the blog today, Sharon.

As a former teacher, I can see so many extensions

and writing connections for ONE TIME. 

To learn more about Sharon’s wonderful books, visit and follow her on Twitter @ciaobellacreech, Facebook sharoncreech, and Instagram @creechauthor .

To read about how ONE TIME began, see Mr. Schu’s blog: Watch.Connect.Read. 

AND…shameless plug: To see how these wonderful students helped me celebrate DEAR EARTH’s book birthday check out Mrs. Howard’s students’ blog takeover–part 1!

Coming soon–a preview of Vivian Kirkfield’s upcoming nonfiction picture book,



New Year’s celebrations and resolutions with Alexandra Alessandri,

and in January, a Book Birthday celebration for

Stacia Deutsch’s Jim Henson biography–releasing early next year.

Meanwhile–Stay safe.

Let’s all savor the one times in our own lives.  


It’s the most wonderful time of the year–to give BOOKS! A very special 2020 ICYMthem Book List + recap of Picture Books published in this crazy #pandemic.

It’s here!

A Recommended List of picture books published during this very crazy year…2020

You know…that year when there were no in-store events, or story times & book signings, no school visits or in-person conferences…

*Please note that many of the wonderful titles herein fit into multiple categories. Feel free to mix and match, and click the links to learn more!


Dinosong –Tim McCanna / Richard Smythe / S&S Paula Wiseman

Five Fuzzy Chicks –Diana Murray / Sydney Hansen / Imprint/ Macmillan

Little Hippo –Julie Abery / Suzi Mason / Amicus

Little Monkey –Julie Abery / Suzi Mason / Amicus

This Old Dog –Martha Brockenbrough / Gabriel Alborozo/  Levine Querido

We Will Live in this Forest Again –Gianna Marino/ Neal Porter Books

Wild About Dads –Diana Murray/ Amber Alvarez/ Imprint/ MacMillan

Wild Style –Jenna Grodzicki –a nonfiction Photo book/ Millbrook

Bedtime and Boats!

Arithmechicks Takeaway –Ann Marie Stephens / Jia Liu / Boyds Mill Press

Boats Will Float –Andria W. Rosenbaum / Brett Curzon / Sleeping Bear

Goodnight, Veggies –Diana Murray/ Zachariah OHora / HMH

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Good Night –Lauren Kerstein / Nate Wragg / Two Lions

Bios & Narrative Nonfiction

A New Green Day –Antoinette Portis / Neal Porter Books

Breaking The Ice: The true story of the first woman to play in the National Hockey League –Angie Bularro / C.F. Payne / Paula Wiseman / Simon & Schuster

Making Their Voices Heard: The Inspiring Friendship of Ella Fitzgerald and Marilyn Monroe –Vivian Kirkfield / Alleana Harris / Little Bee Books

Nonsense! The Curious Story of Edward Gorey –Lori Mortensen / Chloe Bristol / Versify / HMH

Saving Granddaddy’s Stories: Ray Hicks, the Voice of Appalachia –Shannon Hitchcock / Sophie Page/ Reycraft

The Dragonfly  Aimée Bissonette / Catherine Pearson/  Albert Whitman

The Old Man and the Penguin –Julie Abery / Pierre Pratt / Kids Can Press

The Tinaja Tonight  Aimée Bissonette / Syd Weiler / Albert Whitman


God Blesses Me –Della Ross Ferreri / Worthy Kids

Meditation Station –Susan B. Katz / Anait Semirdzhyan / Bala Kids

Mootilda’s Bad Mood –Corey Rosen Schwartz & Kirsti Call / Claudia Ranucci / Little Bee

The Memory Book: a grief journal for Children and Families  –Joanna Rowland / Thea Baker / Beaming Books


Love by Sophia –Jim Averbeck/ Yasmeen Ismail / Margaret K. McElderry Books

My Maddy –Gayle E. Pitman / Violet Tobacco / Magination

Sadie’s Shabbat Stories –Melissa Stoller / Lisa Goldberg / Spork

When Winter Comes: Discovering Wildlife in our Snowy Woods — Aimée Bissonette / Sasquatch/ Little BigFoot


Cow Boy is NOT a Cowboy –Gregory Barrington / Harper Collins

Extraordinary Ordinary Ella –Amber Hendricks / Luciana Navarro Powell / Amicus

NO Party Poopers!  Gretchen McLellan / Lucy Semple / Little Bee

Rosie the Dragon and Charlie Say Good Night –Lauren Kerstein / Nate Wragg / Two Lions

The Old Man and The Penguin –Julie Abery / Pierre Pratt /Kids Can Press

This Old Dog –Martha Brockenbrough / Gabriel Alborozo/  Levine Querido

Two Trucks Get Lost –Corey Rosen Schwartz & Rebecca J Gomez / Hillary Leung / Scholastic

When Pencil Met The Markers –Karen Kilpatrick & Luis O. Ramos Jr. / German Blanco / Imprint


Christmas Cheer  –Sue Fliess / Jay Fleck / Scholastic/ Cartwheel

DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5 –Erin Dealey / Luisa Uribe / Harper Collins (New Year’s/ Earth Day)

Eenie Meenie Halloweenie –Susan Eaddy / Lucy Fleming / Harper Collins

Felíz New Year, Ava Gabriela! — Alexandra Alessandri / Addy Rivera Sonda / Albert Whitman

Nian, The Chinese New Year Dragon –Virginia Loh-Hagan / Timothy Banks / Sleeping Bear

Wild About Dads –Diana Murray/ Amber Alvarez/ Imprint/ MacMillan (Father’s Day)

Imagination and Whimsy 

Do Not Rake Your Garden in a Party Dress –Aimée Bissonette / Kelly Pousette / Cameron Kids

Gurple and Preen: a Broken Crayon Cosmic Adventure  –-Linda Sue Park / Debbie Ridpath Ohi / S&S

How to Find a Unicorn  –Sue Fliess / Simona Sanfilippo / Sky Pony Press

How to Meet a Mermaid –Sue Fliess / Simona Sanfilippo / Sky Pony Press

Hugsby –Dow Phumiruk / Viking

Travel Guide for Monsters –Lori Degman / Dave Szalay / Sleeping Bear


Arithmechicks Takeaway –Ann Marie Stephens / Jia Liu / Boyds Mill Press

Double the Dinosaurs: a Math Reader  –Diana Murray / Mette Engel / RH Books for Young Readers

Five Fuzzy Chicks –Diana Murray / Sydney Hansen/ Imprint/ Macmillan

Lia & Luís: Who Has More? (Storytelling Math) –Ana Crespo / Giovana Medeiros / Charlesbridge


Construction People –edited by Lee Bennett Hopkins / Ellen Shi / Wordsong

Friends and Anemones: Ocean Poems for Children – Authors and Illustrators of The Writer’s Loft / Writer’s Loft


DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5 –Erin Dealey / Luisa Uribe / Harper Collins

Dream Big, Little Scientists  –Michelle Schaub / Alice Potter / Charlesbridge

Flash and Gleam: Light In Our World  –Sue Fliess / Khoa Le / Lerner/ Millbrook

In a Garden –Tim McCanna / Aimée Sicuro / S&S Paula Wiseman

The Princess and the Petri Dish  –Sue Fliess / Petros Bouloubasis / Albert Whitman

The Farm That Feeds Us  –Nancy Castaldo / Ginny Hsu / Quarto

The Old Man and the Penguin –Julie Abery / Pierre Pratt / Kids Can Press

We encourage you to consider these books for your holiday gifts.

And if possible, #ShopIndie #indiecember.  

Last but not least, this post is a heartfelt thank you to our wonderful author & illustrator #kidlit community, for coming together this year even stronger and more determined to help get each other’s books on the radar of young readers and their families. Special shout-outs to #2020BookLook, bloggers everywhere, @2021derfuls (who started early!) and my amazing @EastWestLit family. It definitely takes a village and I wouldn’t want to “live” anywhere else.

Cheers to 2021–

and Stay safe

Happy Book Birthday DEAR EARTH–>from Room FIVE04 =blog takeover + Giveaway Boost!!

It’s a Book Birthday Party/ Blog Takeover for 

DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends in Room 5

by Erin Dealey, Illus. Luisa Uribe

(Harper Collins)

“A well-thought-out presentation of an important environmental message.” —Kirkus

Poster art: MP

We are Mrs. Howard’s AWESOME 5th/6th graders from room FIVE04

–here to celebrate!

We met up with Erin Dealey on Zoom, showed her the Book Birthday posters we made, asked her some questions, and wrote poems.

So here’s part 1 of


From Your Friends in Room FIVE04.

Click image to view trailer. Art by Luisa Uribe.

Q1 –from Ruby: When did you figure out that you wanted to be a writer?

Erin Dealey: First off, thank you for taking over the blog today, and for celebrating DEAR EARTH’s book birthday with me. It was great fun to meet you!

As for your question, the short answer: I was definitely NOT the kid who wanted to write books some day. (Long answer below.)

Room FIVE04: Erin Dealey’s 6th grade journal is proof! She read us an entry:

“It’s the same thing today and I don’t know what to write. The End.”

Erin Dealey: In 6th grade I got to go down the hall once a week and read to the kindergarteners. This is when I really discovered picture books. But write them? Ha! I liked to draw but by high school, I thought I might be a math teacher, mainly because my Algebra teacher was lots of fun and I knew how to get good grades in math.

In 10th grade English, I shared a poem we had to write, an example of alliteration, and the whole class laughed. I took it as proof that I was not a writer. Now, when I look back, I wonder if my friends laughed because they were used to me being funny, making people laugh. Still, to a 10th grader, it was horrifying. But funny thing:

I loved words.

I didn’t figure out I wanted to be a writer until much later. However, I’ve always loved words. I liked to make up jokes and puns with my friends. I loved memorizing the lyrics to my favorite songs–partly to sing along, but I also loved writing them down. I feel like that’s where I learned to rhyme. I also wrote angsty poems in a journal, which I showed no one!

And yep, I entered college as a MATH major. Halfway through university, my counselor asked me why I was taking all those English Lit classes… Long story short: I switched majors–with a plan to become a high school English/Art teacher.

Poster art: JR

Q 2. –from Isabel: What inspired you to write books?

Erin Dealey: Ha–I’m getting there…

  1. I was teaching high school English and Theater, and I found myself having to expand various scripts to fit the needs of my theater students. Then one day I found a cheesy novel that a student had left on a desk, and I thought, “I could do that!”
  2. I was also the ASB advisor and constantly telling my students to get past their doubts and follow their dreams. Never let the “If onlies” get you.
  3. My mom always used to tell us, “You never know until you try.” So I tried writing that novel. Over and over. (I may have just recently cracked the novel code, finally!)
  4. When our daughter was born, we read stories night and day, and somewhere along the way I realized that picture books are theater.

Poster art: JP

Q 3. –from Bubba: How long does it take for a book to come out? 

Erin Dealey: When I started out, I was told it usually takes about two years from when you sign the contract for a picture book to be released. This will vary from book to book. The illustrator gets a year to do the art –although sometimes they get it done sooner. Plus, even if you think you’ve submitted a “perfect” manuscript, the editor will have more revisions and suggestions for you. It’s so very important to be open to these changes. I’ve found that the input only makes the book better.

With DEAR EARTH… I signed the contract in the summer of 2018. I worked on edits from Harper Collins team (including notes from science expert, nonfiction author Melissa Stewart) through October. In December 2018, I learned that the amazing Luisa Uribe would be the illustrator. Her art made the story come alive! I am so very thankful for our editor Tamar Mays, our art director Erica DeChavez, Melissa Stewart, and the entire DEAR EARTH team, as well as my incredible agent, Deborah Warren of East/West Literary.

Room FIVE04: Happy Book Birthday! We learned a lot today. (Writing a picture book and turning it in is like waiting for Mrs. Howard to grade our papers–only it takes much LONGER!) Thank you for letting us takeover your blog today, and for helping us write this poem for Dear Earth–

Dear Earth–Thank you.

You give us kindness.

Kindness is beautiful.

Beautiful flowers.

Beautiful nature.

Beautiful stars and moon.

Beautiful universe.

Beautiful as you are.

Are you tired?

Tired of people trashing you?

Tired of being treated wrong?

Tired of people throwing plastic in your ocean?

Tired of climate change?

Tired of smoke in the sky?

The sky should be blue.

Blue like clean water.

Water that flows peacefully.

Peacefully floating…

Floating in space.

Space is wonderful as you are, dear.

Dear Earth–Thank you!


from your friends in Room FIVE04  

To learn more about DEAR EARTH…From Your Friends In Room 5

(a 2020-2021 Winter Indie Next pick)

and other books by Erin Dealey,

check out,

follow her on Twitter @erindealey and Instagram erindealey, 

#Teachers: LitLinks by Patricia Newman features DEAR EARTH + #STEM letter writing activities for Ss of all ages.

And as promised: there’s a DEAR EARTH #BookGiveaway over on Vivian Kirkfield’s Perfect Picture Book Friday. 

NEXT WEEK on the blog–join us for 5 Qs with THE Sharon Creech.

And on Dec. 15th, Room FIVE04 will be back for part 2 of their blog takeover–with more poems!