About Me

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WELCOME TO PENNY TAUB WRITES! I am an author for Tweens, Teens, Children and Young Adults who love reading both Fiction and Non- Fiction. My short story “TICKING” won First Place from the Tampa Writers Alliance in 2011.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017


BY PJ Taub

Halloween is more than carving pumpkins and deciding which super hero custom to wear.  Instead, parents and classroom teachers of grades 2 - 6 can use this time to introduce human anatomy with a skeleton.  

Start by reading your class or child the great sing-along book DEM BONES by Bob Barnes and available through Amazon Prime in both soft cover and hard cover.     

Kids will jump up and down to discover which bones are used in various activities like running, sitting, or eating lunch.  Then invite your child or class to work in groups to build their own skeleton. These can be purchased easily at dollars stores or discount stores.  Children love puzzles and building a skeleton helps develop problem solving skills. Another way to do this activity is provide small groups of students with a paper skeleton to put together. 

Depending on the children's age another way to play and get kids moving is playing AROUND THE WORLD WITH BONES.  Create your own Halloween Orthopedic Cards to use for memory games to match bone to name building vocabulary. Laminate the cards and bone pieces to use again and again every year. 

Don't forget to build a fabulous Bulletin Board to reinforce learning and vocabulary. 

THEM BONES by Learning Station Video with words

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

By Penny Taub


With spring just around the corner, Aaron Reynolds latest picture book NERDY BIRDIE will inspire children to look at birds in a whole new way. Matt Davies illustrations of birds and animals will have children and parents laughing at their antics. The story tackles the tough issues of being different than the rest of the cool flock and finding friends that share your interests. Despite being a Nerdy Birdie who looks different and likes books, he meets a great group of other Nerds. The book celebrates respect, encouraging children to treat new friends with kindness. (Published by Roaring Brook Press, 2015)


The book provides many opportunities to incorporate STEM into Grades K – 2.



 Hatch some chick eggs in the classroom to teach about the life cycle of birds or have students watch a video on this topic. 


Allow students to search the Internet for various habitats. New vocabulary terms include: wetlands, forests, grasslands, mountains, treetops, and cities to discover the interesting and strange world of birds. 


Take students on a nature walk to find locale birds to draw and learn about.


Students will use various materials to design and build a bird’s nest. Then use golf balls for eggs to determine how much weight the nest can hold. Have students’ determine which is the strongest building material.




A fun art activity that incorporates listening skills and following directions while learning the names of geometric shapes: oval, circle, triangles, squares, and rectangles, to create their own Nerdy Birdie.


Create a class graph of the different color Nerdy Birdies made by the students. Use the graph to create several word problems for the class to solve.  


Write the following sentences on chart paper to use as a choral reading activity.  They can be made into a class big book to read aloud.  Have students make mini books to color and practice reading. Dictate similar sentences for students to practice letter-sound correspondence. These activities are perfect to ease boredom in the classroom by allowing children to be active learners.


 The red bird sings.              

The brown bird dances.

The yellow bird can play.

The green bird can talk.
The black and white bird can swim.

The little bird eats a bug.

The big bird flies to a tree.

The blue bird makes a nest.


Teacher will model writing by asking questions and brainstorming ideas with students using Calkins Writing Approach. Students will Draw, Label, and Write a 3-page picture story about a bird(s).



Display a map of the United States of America. Have students use the Internet to discover each states' state bird. Add a compass rose to create activities incorporating the vocabulary North, South, East, and West. This can be expand to have class learn the state names and capitals.


Display a map of the seven continents. Have students use the Internet to investigate the birds and animals found on each continent. Add a compass rose to create activities incorporating the vocabulary North, South, East, and West.


FROODLE by Antoinette Portis (2014), another clever story where a bird follows his own heart and sings a new song. 

PEEPSQUEAK! By Leslie Ann Clark (2012), a baby chicken hatches and wants to fly.

A BIRD’S LIFE by Ellen Lawrence (2013) this non-fiction book includes a table of contents, photographs of birds building a nest, eggs hatching, chicks feeding, and growing up to fly!

BRILLIANT BIRDS by Thea Feldman (2015) another non-fiction book explores what factors make an animal a bird and the different types of birds.

In A BIRD IS A BIRD by Lizzy Rockwell (2015) the illustration explore all the different places around the world birds live.  This colorful non-fiction book shares many bird facts. 

MAMA BUILT A LITTLE NEST by Jennifer Ward (2014) explores all the different habitats and ways birds create nests.

ONE COOL FRIEND by Toni Buzzeo (2012) is a great way to have students compare penguins to other birds in this 2013 Caldecott Honor Book. 

Friday, April 24, 2015

              By Penny Taub 

Seniors text messaging each other in their high school English class in Calhan, Colorado.                           By David Shankbone

Some things never change about High School.
Girls and petty jealousies.
Jocks and sexual desires.
So what happens when a gossipy text message goes viral? IN THE TRUTH ABOUT ALICE by Jennifer Mathieu, that is exactly what happens, and it has nothing to do with the truth, but retaliation by the stereotypical jock. 
This small town is filled with small-minded people.
Teachers. Who hear no evil?
Parents. Who see no evil?
Friends. Who speak no evil?
And Alice. Who burrows into a hoodie, hoping it will provide a shield from all the hatred or at least make her invisible. Deserted by her best friend, Alice walks the long hallways alone, in self-imposed isolation. This is a big fall from being one of the most popular girls in school. 

Roaring Brook Press (June 3, 2014)




Despite the clichĂ©, this is a powerful gripping novel. The story poignantly reveals two new factors occurring in USA High Schools in the 21 century. Texts messages spread rumors instantly to everyone. 

Plus, the “slut” factor has dramatically changed. In the 1970’s any girl who let a boy cop a feel was a slut, intercourse was pretty much a super big no-no. But, 2015 teens think sex, a hand job or blowjob, or intercourse, are not a big deal. In order to ruin Alice’s reputation, she is deemed a slut by a new standard. It’s okay to have sex with a boy, BUT sex with TWO boys, in one night, that’s a big no-no. That lie destroys Alice shallow popularity and makes everyone cringe in horror.

Alice is bullied and tormented, and none of the adults, teachers or parents, try to find out the truth. No one worries, if it’s true, maybe Alice was raped? One held her down, while the other one raped her and then it was his turn. Everyone turns a blind eye to what really happened to Alice. That night. At the party. Up in the bedroom. 



This book touches on another important reality making headlines across college campus and high schools: the importance of sports, especially football and basketball. The administrators overlook the follies of these young athletes. These students receive preferential treatment on and off the fields. The unspoken rules: everything’s legal, just don’t get caught. But if you do, we’ll cover it up. Athletes rape woman with immunity, without any fear of reprisal or prosecution. Today’s society continues a long history of sexually exploitation against females.  The dismal reality of rape culture: 1 in 5 girls are raped; by someone they know, at the end of a date. Add alcohol to the equation and the number increases. And only 5% come forward to report the attack.  It’s time for woman to SPEAK UP and end rape culture. 

Tulane University: New students check their ID cards; June 29, 2011

BY Flickr Commons 

This book is a must read for High School and College teachers and administrators, as well as parents, to understand the stark and painful reality of girls and boys walking the hallways of education. What are high school and college students really learning? 

Mothers, Grandmothers, Daughters, Brothers, and Fathers need to watch Clementine Ford powerful speech on rape culture in the world today.  


College Campuses across the USA are taking action to stop Rape Culture. Learn about this serious problem and how you can help. 



Tuesday, April 21, 2015


Blast over to the bookstore to pick up your copy of OUTERSPACE BEDTIME RACE!  This is my friend’s, Rob Sanders, third picture book with Random House. Rob wrote this “bedtime” story to read to his nephews.  It is filled with humorous fun facts about the planets and beautifully illustrated.Teachers will love using this book in the classroom, too.

Rob Sanders and Penny Taub  
 Rob is a writing teacher in Hillsborough County, Florida. BUT, he is friend and mentor to all the SCBWI (Society of Children Book Writers and Illustrators) in this tri-county region. For the past few years, he put together a monthly workshop, bringing published authors and editors to share their creativity, inspiration, and share their writing journey. This summer, Rob will be presenting a Picture Book Workshop at the SCBWI Orlando 2015 Conference. Sign-Up! 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

(Butler Library, Creative Commons)

Celebrate! Celebrate! Read a Book!!
As a fellow author, I am in awe of the amazing array of characters
Dr. Seuss invented and the heart-warming tales they shared. His beloved characters inspired my generation of school children to put down the dull Dick and Jane readers and rush home to read the newest Dr. Seuss book or an old favorite, THE CAT IN THE HAT.  


Theodor Geisel aka Dr. Seuss at work
(Al Ravena, Wikimedia Public Domain) 

Theodor Geisel is BORN!

On March 2, 1904, Dr. Seuss came into the world. His family named him Theodor Geisel, never realizing this baby would inspire every generation of children to laugh while reading.  His books became the cornerstone of the Read Across America Read-a-thon held every March in honor of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.


1. Ever wonder how he selected the name Seuss?
     I always believed it was part of the fun. Similar to how he always invented new silly words and character names.
HOWEVER, it is actually his mother’s maiden name: Seuss. Which, by the way, is pronounced “Zoice” ( rhymes with voice) because it is a Bavarian name. 

2. What was the name of his first book?
In 1931, Dr. Seuss created his first book ever; it contained fanciful creatures. BUT it was NEVER published.  He didn’t become published until 1937. AND I THINK I SAW IT ON MULBERRY STREET, went on to begin his robust career as a children’s author and illustrator.

3. What inspired Dr. Seuss to write THE 500 HATS OF BARTHOLOMEW CUBBINS? 
     Hats were extremely popular for both men and woman in 1938.  The Seuss household was no exception. There were hats here! Hats there! Hats everywhere!

4.  Dr. Seuss had a second career?  
Beginning in 1941, Dr. Seuss, as Theodor Geisel, worked as a political cartoonist. During World War II, Theodor Seuss Geisel enlisted in the military. He was stationed in California to work with the war department creating short documentaries. 

5. How many times did Dr. Seuss receive the Caldecott Honor?

Dr. Seuss received this fantastic distinction for the illustrations and colorful artwork in his books on three separate occasions.
  • McELLIGOT’S POOL, 1947.  


  •  If I RAN THE ZOO, 1950. 

    6.   What year was THE CAT IN THE HAT first Published?

    When CAT IN THE HAT arrived in bookstores in 1957, Dr. Seuss had already been publishing children’s books for twenty years. His career continued for a few more decades.  

    7. Who is this character and where does he live?

    (Rusty Clark, Creative Commons)
    This is the Lorax of course. He lives inside the stump of a tree. To learn more about this amazing writer and illustrator, go to his zany, playful, and interactive website.
    The LORAX by Dr. Seuss Random House, 1971 (Source: Penny Taub)

Hidden Messages

   No, Dr. Seuss was never a spy, but he did like to write stories that made people think about others and the environment. In 1971, Dr. Seuss published THE LORAX, with a tiny tree sprite as the main character. The book is laced with tongue twisters and animals, which seem familiar - the Brown Bar-ba- loots and the Swomee-Swans and the soft fluffy Truffula trees. This book warns against the dangers of air and water pollution, by a society desiring more and more stuff.  This book cleverly demonstrates the genius of Dr. Seuss. He taught children in a fun way about the serious task of taking care of animals, plants, and trees. Dr. Seuss bravely tackled this tough subject to announce we are all stewards of this planet, entrusted to care for the safety and well-being of its inhabitants. 


Horton and The Cat and the Hat READ Together (Source: Penny Taub)   
Who won a Pulitzer Prize?
  This was not the first time Dr. Seuss had mixed his spiritual beliefs and values in his work.  After a trip to Japan, he wrote the book HORTON HEARS A WHO! (1954). This is a staple in Classroom Character Education programs to teach the concept of tolerance for all creatures’ great and small. 


     The SNEETCHES followed in 1961, with a farcical tale about respecting everyone with or without a star on their belly.  The root of this book attacks discrimination and prejudice. The Sneetches learn to share and treat everyone equal.  Dr. Seuss’ genius was recognized by the literary world. In 1984 he earned a Pulitzer Prize.  This prestigious award is for his tireless devotion to children and families. 

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss

                                                                Random House, 1961
                                                                (Source: P. Taub)

Seussville in Orlando, Florida

Can’t get enough of Dr. Seuss? Then go to Islands of Adventure in Orlando, Florida. That is where his magical worlds come to life!  



This section of the park is a great place to cool off and let the kids run around. IF I RAN THE ZOO is an interactive outdoor playground filled with bright funny creatures. The High in the Sky Seuss Trolley Train Ride is calm and smooth, just right for little ones and adults, too.  The line moves quickly and is indoors, away from the sunshine and rain. The ride does go outside briefly for a tremendous view of the park.  Don’t forget your camera!  A great place to eat is the Circus McGurkus CafĂ© Stoo-pendous. It has plenty of tables, the prices are reasonable ($$), and the food tasty. Just watch out for the families of birds nesting in the rafters.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Bergen, Norway 

(Tor-Fgil Farestveit, 2006) Wikimedia Commons 



BOOK REVIEW AND TRAVEL written by Penny Taub 

Julie Augensen has followed the old proverb to write what you know. Her ancestral homeland is the strawberry farms surrounding the city of Bergen, Norway. Travel along with Julie as she explores Norway’s varied landscape of mountains, meadows, lakes, and fjords. Like many of Norwegian traditional tales of trolls, this story has a magical flower searching for her family.

"Strawberry flower". 
Licensed under Wikimedia Commons

Julie Augensen, picture book, IDA LOUISE AND THE LUCKY  SWEATER, is an exceptional multicultural book that illuminates how children and their families live in many different places around the globe- BUT kids everywhere have similar interests and problems. On Ida Louise’s tenth birthday, she gets two presents a sweater and a dog. Once Ida begins to wear the sweater she feels more confident.  Then her school grades improve and she makes a new friend. Ida wonders is this sweater really bringing me good luck? 

Ida Louise and The Lucky Sweater is a whimsical tale that whisks readers across the Atlantic Ocean to the beautiful country of Norway. American school children will delight in learning about Ida Louise’s life on a strawberry farm in the outskirts of the city of Bergen, Norway. Follow along as she goes to the Art Museum on the weekend with her grandpa.  While looking at the paintings she imagines all the countries to visit in Europe- like France and England. 


IDA LOUISE AND THE LUCKY  SWEATER  written by Julie Augensen and illustrated by Cartalya Davis was published by Father and Son Publishing. Visit their web site to learn more about this publisher: http://www.fatherson.com/   OR read Julie’s full biography go to her website www.JulieAugensen.com


Map of Norway (Wikimedia Commons)
 Ida Louise and The Lucky Sweater is a great choice to kick off your unit on learning about map skills and traveling the globe. This includes learning about the seven continents, names of four oceans, and many other countries around the globe. The first step begins by selecting one bulletin board to display a huge map of the world.  Label each of the seven continents and oceans. To focus on vocabulary, put up photographs as a border. These can include mountains, fjords, meadows, and rivers. As additional countries are explored over the year add more terms like volcanoes, geysers, canyons, and ice floes.  In the lower right hand corner display a Compass Rose with the four directions: north, south, east, and west. Challenge the students to name the direction to travel from Norway to their own country or to get to the Arctic Ocean. 

 Thinking about how fiction fits into the core curriculum?
This book is a great addition to classrooms looking to strengthen the use of the core curriculum in the classroom. Remember the core curriculum is about introducing more expository texts.  These can include biographies, but also realistic fiction and historical fiction.  The key is classroom libraries only need 50% of the reading material needs to be non-fiction.   

Remember Common Core Literature Standards includes:
  • Asking questions about key details in a text
  • Demonstrating an understanding of central message of story
  • Comparing and Contrast the experiences of the character in the story with your own.  

Norwegian landscape
(Edward Dalmulder, 2009)


After reading Ida Louise and The Lucky Sweater delve into learning more by reading the non-fiction picture book Norway by Deborah Kopka (2010). This title is part of the Country Explorers series published by Lerner Publications Company.  The book is illustrated with beautiful photographs on every page. This matches the Core Curriculum Standard to increase Historical Knowledge. 

By the end of both books students in your classroom will:

  1. Recognize food and clothing from another culture;

2.     Recognize differences in food and clothing from other cultures,

3.     Use a picture as a source of information

4.    Locate the seven continents and four oceans

5.    Increase Geography Vocabulary 


 A fun song to teach the children the names of the continents:

Continents, Continents, do you know your continents?

Continents, Continents, all around the world.

There’s Asia, Africa, North America, South America, Australia, Antarctica, and Europe, too.

Repeat two times.

Using music to teach social studies helps refocus many kids and respects every child's individual learning style.  More songs can be found at


Interested in learning more about Leif Erickson travels from Norway, Greenland, and the Vinlands? Than watch this History Channel video on You Tube. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61MBhvISXvw

Viking Embla (Richard at Flickr: Wikimedia Commons)

                      COME SAIL AWAY!

Take your own Viking cruise and travel along the many rivers and fjords of the mythical lands of Norway, Denmark, and other European cities. Thank you Julie for sharing this wonderful travel destination and book with my followers.  I look forward to feeling the chilly air on my face and eating many different kinds of fish!