Mrs. Lipshaw’s (b)Log – Tending to your Personal Garden

Please enjoy the first post of Mrs Lipshaw’s (b)Log – Growing Young Minds. It is a “wee” bit delayed — technical difficulties!


Before we as teachers can have a significant impact growing the minds of our students, we must continually expand our horizons. When a new idea sprouts in my brain, I know I am growing my abilities as a teacher. Like most teachers, summer is the time I tend to my personal garden. This summer, ideas were sprouting everywhere, and they came from an unexpected source—Twitter. For the opening installment of “Growing Young Minds” I extend my gratitude to the authors and educators of the #KidLit Twitter community who have inspired me to branch out; thereby, helping my current and future students grow into lifelong readers.

The first seeds were planted when I began seeing a myriad of tweets about something called nErDcampMi.

  • #nErDcampMI is a FREE two-day conference where teachers, librarians, and authors, who are passionate about getting children excited about reading, gather to discuss all things KidLit Thank you to @ColbySharp for organizing this incredible event. It is without a doubt the most energizing PD I have ever attended!

Donalyn Miller and Pernille Ripp, are the soil that anchors the roots of my enlightened reading philosophy. I was fortunate to meet and hear both of these wise educators and authors speak at nErDcampMI.

  • Donalyn Miller ( and Pernille Ripp ( emphasize the importance and value of creating an authentic classroom reading environment and developing a classroom library filled with high-interest, diverse books. @donalynbooks @pernilleripp

Providing the water and nutrients are several blogs of self-proclaimed “book nerds” (authors and educators) that highlight and review the amazing KidLit currently being published.

    • “From the Mixed-Up Files” (, created by middle-grade authors, provides book lists organized by unique categories, author interviews, market news, and a
    • behind-the-scenes look at the making of a children’s book. Keep a special eye out for my favorite feature—STEM Tuesday! @MixedUpFiles @JenSwanBooks
    • “KidLit Frenzy” ( by elementary teacher Alyson Beecher and Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook” ( by literary specialist Michele Knot are must-read blogs. I adore their coauthored feature #Road2Reading which showcases the vital, but often overlooked, section of KidLit—early readers and chapter books on Thursdays! @alysonbeecher, @knott_michele
    • Nikki Mancini ( is a fifth grade teacher who has created a Flipgrid page for KidLit authors to post short videos about their latest books. It’s an incredible way to spark student’s interest and Miss Nikki has graciously shared her link! http://com/d935fd @MissNikkiIn5th

Growth takes time. Jillian Fine Heise’s “Classroom Book a Day” reminds us that we have 180 days to grow our readers.

      • #classroombookaday ( was inspired by Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday challenge. It challenges teachers to read one picture book aloud every day of the school year to students at any grade level. The goal is to grow classroom community and to create a joy of reading! @heisereads

We all need to breathe and “Celebrate Science” by author Melissa Stewart is a breath of fresh air.

      • “Celebrate Science” ( is a website and blog that offers innovative research for teaching science and valuable tips for writing nonfiction. Melissa’s posts guide teachers and authors to look at nonfiction in a new light! @mstewartscience

And speaking of lightKids Need Mentors sponsored by KidLit authors Jarret Lerner and Ann Braden, and educators Kristen Picone and Kristin Crouch epitomizes the warmth and sunshine I found on Twitter.

      • #KidsNeedMentors’ ( is to help students learn to love reading and writing by building relationships between KidLit authors and classrooms. They have matched 300 classrooms to authors who will be connecting all school year. I have already signed up for next year! (Also check out #KidsNeedBooks.) @Jarret_Lerner @annbradenbooks @Kpteach5 @mgbookjunkie

Now, it’s my students’ turn to blossom! How did you grow your teaching skills this summer?

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw

Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw is an award-winning nonfiction children’s book author and former elementary special education teacher who is passionate about growing young minds. Suzanne’s first nonfiction picture book, I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy’s Quest for Ice Cream Trucks, debuted in April 2019 from Warren Publishing. Her second book Mighty Mahi launched from Doodle and Peck Publishing in March 2022. Suzanne enjoys speaking to schools about writing, leadership, and how kids can make a difference in our world. The proud momma of two grown boys, Suzanne lives in Waterford, MI with her husband and furry writing companion Ziggy. When she’s not dreaming up new writing projects, you can find her kayaking on the lake, hiking the trail, practicing at the yoga studio, or comparing paint swatches at the local Sherwin Williams.

This Post Has 6 Comments

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    1. Thank you. I did not use a developer, just lots of trial and error, how to YouTube videos and a few tears here and there!!

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