ABC and 123: A Learning Collaborative: Author Challenge: Joy Cowley & Giveaway

Friday, January 8, 2010

Author Challenge: Joy Cowley & Giveaway

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Today we are pleased to be kicking off a new Author Challenge!  This month the works of acclaimed children's author Joy Cowley will be feaured.  Joy Cowley is a multi-award-winning New Zealand-based author of more than 800 titles. She is widely recognized for supporting literacy programs and writing materials for struggling readers in the primary grades.

For her services to children’s writing, Cowley was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen of England in 1992. Other honors include an honorary doctorate from Massey University, and a Dame Order of Merit from the Royal Crown in her native New Zealand. 

Well known titles by Cowley include the Boston Globe/Horn Book winner Red-Eyed Tree Frog, Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Big Moon Tortilla, and Gracias, The Thanksgiving Turkey.  You can learn more about this popular author at her personal website: The Official Joy Cowley Website.
This month's Author Challenge is sponsored by Hameray Publishing Group, who are:

Dedicated to publishing innovative literacy materials for today's educators. Combining a sound research-based method for boosting literacy with cutting-edge classroom solutions, Hameray develops literacy materials, including leveled books and teacher resources, targeting the needs of struggling readers, early readers, English Language Learners, special needs students as well as those reading at grade level in kindergarten to eighth grade.

To publish best-in-class educational materials, Hameray collaborates with top authors and leading educators. All Hameray product lines are evaluated by well-respected educators and teacher trainers prior to launch.
We're excited to share with you that Hameray Publishing Group recently announced:

The release of 15 all-new children’s books by award-winning author Joy Cowley. The highly anticipated return of Cowley’s famous characters - Mrs. Wishy-Washy, Dan the Flying Man, the Hungry Giant, the Meanies and Smarty Pants – promises to captivate today’s generation of early readers.

“Recently, many letters came from teachers telling me they learned to read with my books, and are now sharing that experience,” explains Cowley. “This truly warmed my heart! Within many of the letters were requests for further stories about student’s favorite characters. For this reason, I decided to revisit the special characters teachers already know well.”

Cowley introduced the much-loved Mrs. Wishy-Washy character in 1980, which quickly gained a strong following among educators. The character’s initial success led to the release of eight additional Mrs. Wishy-Washy titles between 1993 and 2005. Collectively, these titles sold over 40 million copies worldwide, and have been translated into many languages. While Mrs. Wishy-Washy remains Cowley’s most popular, all five of the revisited characters are celebrated by educators, critics and students alike.

The value of Cowley’s children’s books is seen not only through their popularity, but also by the support received from parents and educators.

Dr. Adria Klein, Professor Emerita and educational staff developer, endorses the all-new Joy Cowley Collection as effective reading material for students learning to read and write.

“Joy Cowley is one of the world’s most acclaimed authors of children’s books and her characters are beloved by generations,” affirms Dr. Klein. “It is great news that she returned to writing children’s books. These new stories about favorite characters will certainly be welcomed by children and teachers in the early grades.”
Cowley’s renewed energy for writing children’s books stemmed from constant interaction with her grandchildren and great-grandchild. Cowley explains, "the day I'm no longer with children is the day I stop writing for them, because the energy flow comes from them and goes back to them."

The all-new Joy Cowley Collection is written for first and second grade reading levels, and is of interest to students in kindergarten to second grade. To further engage students in the joy of reading, selected big book versions are also available. Meanwhile, Cowley is completing 30 additional early reader titles for release within the next two years.
The all-new Joy Cowley Collection is specifically written for early readers. The Guided Reading Levels of the titles within the series range from H to M, and the Early Intervention Levels range from 14 to 20. Teacher notes are included in the back section of each book. 

I have read and used many of Joy Cowley's picture books in my classroom previously, so I was excited to receive five of the fifteen new titles to review.  My three year old really enjoyed hearing the stories!  The fun rhyming, repetition, silly stories, and colorful illustrations caputured her attention right away. 

I realize that many of our readers are homeschoolers.  These are fantastic titles at a great price, less than five dollars apiece, that a wide range of learners will enjoy.  Your younger children will enjoy them as read alouds and older siblings will get a lot of use out of them as quality early readers.  Classroom teachers, these would be great to use as leveled reader for instruction.

The text is accessible with plenty of rhyming throughout.  The storylines are simple enough for quick retelling to check for comprehension mastery and I like how they are leveled for quickly matching up with abilities.  The handy teacher notes at the back of each provide good ideas for utilizing the books for punctuation, tenses, program solving, vocabulary, predictions, tying into prior knowledge, etc.

These readers, with a stapled binding, are a good size.  At over eight inches tall and seven inches wide, they are a larger than many readers I've utilized in the past.  Each one has a glossy cover and full color illustrations to engage readers.  The text is a nice and big and a basic san serif font is used, making the story easy to read.

Hameray Publishing Group is giving one of our readers a set of the five books pictured in this post:

Dan and the Parrot: Grandma Fay has lost her parrot. Can Dan the flying man get it back?
Word Count: 230
Intervention Level: 18
Guided Reading Level: K

Mrs. Wishy-Washy and the Big Wash: No water! Mrs. Wishy-Washy takes the animals to town.
Word Count: 225
Intervention Level: 16
Guided Reading Level: I

Those Yucky Meanies! What do Meanies eat for lunch? It is yucky!
Word Count: 153
Intervention Level: 14
Guided Reading Level: H

Smarty No Pants: Smarty Pants washes his pants on a windy day. Will the wind blow them away?
Word Count: 210
Intervention Level: 20
Guided Reading Level: M
To Enter:
Visit Hameray Publishing Group's Giveaway Page and sign up to be sent the Joy Cowley Collection brochure.  Fill out the form provided.  ONLY entries through the Giveaway Page are valid.

Giveaway is open to US residents and closes in two weeks on Friday January 22nd.

Author Challenge Submissions:
We'd also like you to submit your learning activity links incorporating any titles or other learning materials or that are based on the works of Joy Cowley to us by the 22nd .  Please email us so we can feature you in the January Author Challenge post!  Look for our reader spotlight fom last month's challenge this weekend.

Disclaimer: Thank you to Hameray Publishing Group for providing the reviewers and giveaway copies of the books.  This review relates the genuine and unbiased opinions and experiences of Katie from Katie's Nesting Spot and yours may differ.  Materials provided by the publisher were used in this post.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for reminding me about Wishy Washy, she so fits with what we're doing this week.