Friday, June 22, 2018

Spotlight Friday - representation matters 6.22.18

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

Today's post is brought to you in part of Kristen Picone's tweets (@kpteach5) last month, plus a few extra!  If you didn't seen them, no worries, here's a small roundup of books to keep you busy!
We know, representation in our classroom library matters.  Do your students see books with mirrors of themselves within the pages?  Although my goodreads shelf says "diverse books", what is diverse?  Is it a diverse book for an African American to see images of themselves within the pages?  Is it diverse for a Muslim to read about a piece of clothing they wear everyday?  No, but it shows representation.  They matter.  Their customs, heritage and beliefs matter.  Having books that represent that in your library, matters.
Some books you may want to find and add to your collection:

My Hair is a Garden
by Cozbi A. Cabrera
Gorgeous book that uses a metaphor for keeping tame unruly hair.  

Saffron Ice Cream
by Rashin
A young Iranian immigrant is headed to Coney Island.  It's the first time she's going to an American beach, and she can't help but make comparisons to swimming in the Caspian Sea.  As she finds out, the experience is different in both the rules to follow and what you see and find.  However, new experiences aren't bad either!

Calling the Water Drum by Latisha Redding
Calling the Water Drum
written by LaTisha Redding
illustrated by Aaron Boyd
Written to show uncertainty and hope and how they sometimes go hand in hand - this beautiful and sad story shows the plight of immigrants who desperately want the best for their child and how the child finds a piece of home in his new land.

The Night of the Moon by Hena Khan
Night of the Moon: a Muslim Holiday Story
written by Hena Khan
illustrated by Julie Paschkis
A Ramadan story that not only explains the holiday but also the correlation between it and the moon.

Rainbow Weaver/Tejedora del Arcoiris by Linda Elovitz Marshall
Rainbow Weaver 
written by Linda Elovitz Marshall
illustrations by Elisa Chavarri
Written simultaneously in English and Spanish this gorgeous book is about a young girl who is anxious to weave like mother, but it not quite of age to work the large loom.  Instead she builds her own and makes things out found items.  This book would pair well with One Plastic Bag by Miranda Paul

Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
Lailah's Lunchbox: A Ramadan Story
written by Reem Faruqi
illustrated by Lea Lyon
Another good introduction to Ramadan, this time concentrating on the fasting tradition.

The Mangrove Tree by Susan L. Roth
The Mangrove Tree: Planting Trees to Feed Families
by Susan L. Roth and Cindy Trumbore
This is the one nonfiction book in the pile!
A fascinating story about a scientist who wanted to fight famine with a new idea - planting mangrove trees as a start of a cycle to feed a village.
I loved the organization of the book - on the left side it has a repeating pattern that shows the sequential order of events and on the right side it gives the factual information and shows a cause/effect relationship.

I will return in a few weeks to share some more important stories.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - A Coding Ladder! 6.21.18

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Coding has become the next big tech wave that has taken interest with our students.  From coding clubs to after school fun with different kinds of robots to celebrating coding during the school year, most students have been exposed to this new way of writing and reading.  If you're looking for a coding ladder of books, I'd try these series:

How to Code a Sandcastle (How to Code with Pearl & Pascal, #1)
How to Code a Sandcastle
written by Josh Funk
illustrated by Sara Palacios
Written by an author who has just a little background in coding, this book is a really fun way to introduce young readers to some coding language.  Kids who already have some background, enjoy guessing what Pearl and her robot, Pascal, need to make sandcastle building a little easier!
I am excited to see this book will be part of a series!

The Friendship Code by Stacia Deutsch     Team BFF: Race to the Finish! (Girls Who Code #2)
Lights, Music, Code! (Girls Who Code, #3)     Spotlight on Coding Club! #4 (Girls Who Code)
girls who code series:
The Friendship Code
Team BFF: Race to the Finish!
Lights, Music, Code!
Spotlight on Coding Club (publishes Oct. 2)
written by Stacia Deutsch
This transitional chapter book series is about friendship, working together, and... coding, of course!  Each book integrates coding language and properties into the stories so readers learn a little bit while they read a fun story!

Secret Coders (Secret Coders, #1)  Paths & Portals (Secret Coders, #2)  Secrets & Sequences (Secret Coders #3)
Robots & Repeats (Secret Coders, #4)     Potions & Parameters (Secret Coders, #5)
Secret Coders series 
by Gene Luen Yang and Mike Holmes
Kids love this graphic novel series!  I have found that it is helpful having some coding background before starting this series, but it does walk you through it.  The visual parts of this book really help some coding sequences make sense.  This time there is action, adventure and a mystery - with some cliffhangers, of course - to add in with the coding fun.  

No matter where your readers are at, there is a coding book for them!  Happy computing :)

Image result for summer reading
This summer I will be sharing new transitional chapter books, some may be new, many have been published awhile.  They are new to me and may even be new to you or teachers you work with.  Happy summer reading!

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - representation matters 6.20.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Something that I have been made more aware of is how important representation is in reading material.  It's definitely come up in many conversations and I've witnessed it first hand when a reader sees someone that looks like them in a book.  

A month ago, my friend, Kristen Picone (@kpteach5) had a terrific string of tweets that highlighted books that spotlighted different races, traditions, cultures and people.  Many of the books I'm spotlighting come from her collection.  Others are some new books that I've discovered.  Be sure to return on Friday when I spotlight fiction picture books.

When I look at my picture book biography collection it is overwhelmingly white.  I've started making changes and looking at gaps, especially be aware of nations and cultures that my students come from/celebrate so I can make sure I have books that represent that.  Today I'm spotlighting some picture book biographies that are about some amazing African Americans that have made a difference.

Muhammad Ali by Gene Barretta
Muhammad Ali: A Champion is Born
written by Gene Barretta
illustrated by Frank Morrison
I love the way this book is organized - it starts by highlighting a few of Ali's big fights that show his prowess as a boxer, then it goes into his story explaining how his entry into the world of boxing began.  Spotlighting a few of his contributions, readers understand Ali is more than just a prize-winning boxer.  Gorgeous illustrations by Frank Morrison.

Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World about Kindness
Step Right Up: How Doc and Jim Key Taught the World About Kindness
written by Donna Janell Bowman
illustrated by Daniel Minter
Loved this story about William "Doc" Key and how he showed kindness during a time that didn't always show kindness to him.  Again, not a story I had ever heard before, but it's one I want to share over and over to students.

Charlie Takes His Shot by Nancy Churnin
Charlie Takes His Shot
written by Nancy Churnin
illustrated by John Joven
I always love finding stories about people who did some pretty amazing things that I had not heard of before.  Charlie Sifford broke the color barrier in the PGA - with some help and experience from his friend, Jackie Robinson.  I like that this story features the game of golf - I don't have too many books with that sport as the focus.
Be sure to visit Nancy's website and check out the teaching guide for this book (and all of her fantastic books!).

Counting on Katherine by Helaine Becker
Counting on Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Saved Apollo 13
written by Helaine Becker
illustrated by Dow Phumiruk
I absolutely love reading about Katherine Johnson - I'm glad to see the spotlight turn on this brave, smart women.  I think it's great that young readers get to read about this math and science-smart women who also had to persevere because of the race barriers that were in front of her.
I had not read as much about her work with Apollo 13 so I was glad to learn more about that!

Sisters and Champions by Howard Bryant
Sisters and Champions: The True Story of Venus and Serena Williams
written by Howard Bryant
illustrated by Floyd Cooper

Game Changers by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Game Changers: The Story of Venus and Serena Williams
written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
illustrated by James E. Ransome
publishes July 3rd

I am so excited to have 2 biographies about these amazing athletes published around the same time.  We need students reading and integrating information from multiple texts and sources.  Having multiple picture book biographies is appropriate for elementary level readers.
While both books concentrated on similar aspects of their lives (growing up, how they entered the sport, championships won, hardships faced) each had information the other did not.
In this day and age, it is so important to provide additional information in the backmatter.  We talk about showing sources, backing up facts, etc. with students.  I was saddened to see no backmatter in the Bryant biography.  The Ransome collaboration has an afterword, source notes and selected bibiography.

I hope you get a chance to add some of these books to your collections.  I think they are all important to have and share!

Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.18.18

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

Thinking about superlative animals... Steve Jenkins' new books spotlight animals that use their "super powers" - being stinky, fast, deadly and tricky - to protect, hide, and eat!  Read about them here.

This summer I'll be spotlighting some transitional chapter books that may be new to you!  These books will be important to know if you teach in grades 1-4.  Here's the first post.

Picture Books

The Better Tree Fort
The Better Tree Fort
written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
illustrated by Qin Leng
In today's world where bigger is better and more is always the way to go, this book has a refreshing message.  Great to use when talking about central message/theme.

Doll-E 1.0
Doll-E 1.0
by Shanda McCloskey
Another book that has a good message - what happens when a child gets too tech-y?  A mom gives her child who is obsessed with computers, coding and all things electronic a doll to play with.  While there is not a total transformation (and I'm glad there wasn't), the young girl does learn to do some pretend play.

The Map of Good Memories
The Map of Good Memories
written by Fran Nuño
illustrated by Zuzanna Celej
If you have a refugee collection, you'll want to add this book.  A young girl is leaving her war torn city, but before she leaves, she makes a map of all the places she loves.  I could also see using this as a mentor text for writing if you ever do anything with mapping to get story ideas.

Rock 'n' Roll Soul
Rock 'n' Roll Soul
written by Susan Verde
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
I liked this book even more because I had seen the book trailer before reading the book.  I had music going through my head as I read it!

Night Out
Night Out
by Daniel Miyares
I really liked the message about having something to share to help you feel included.  Told in minimal length sentences, the reader will still understand there is a deeper meaning.


Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright
Seeing Into Tomorrow
haikus written by Richard Wright
illustrated by Nina Crews
Before his death, Richard Wright wrote thousands of haiku poems.  This book spotlights some of his haikus and are illustrated by gorgeous photographic collages by Nina Crews.  Each illustration features an African American boy exploring nature.  
Wonderful biography written by Nina Crews that gives us more background on Wright.

Middle Grade

Just Under the Clouds
Just Under the Clouds
by Melissa Sarno
This is a gorgeous debut with language that will stick to me for awhile.  I love how Sarno writes about what it is like to be "houseless" but still going through the day to day situations of life.  I think it will be a powerful window book, and for others a mirror that let's the reader see they are not alone.

Harbor Me
Harbor Me 
by Jacqueline Woodson
I'm sure you've already read about this book.  I'm sure you've already heard people say how wonderful and amazing it is.  They are not leading you astray.
I love the concept of "harboring" someone - being the safe place for someone.
Make sure this book is on your purchase list for August!

by Torrey Maldonado
I devoured this book (9 hour car ride helped).  This book has the power to be such an important book.  It has the voice of Matt de la Peña's YA books but this one is for a MG audience.  It reminded me a little bit of a MG Hate You Give - not the same topic but it holds some really important themes and truths.  I think no matter what your background is, you'll recognize the universal themes, but if it's a mirror book it will be important to see representation within the pages of a book.  Look for it on Sept. 4th.

Currently Reading

The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner #1)
The Storm Runner
by J.C. Cervantes
It's another series from the new Rick Riordan imprint.  Looking forward to reading more about Maya mythology!

The Door to the Lost
The Door to the Lost
by Jaleigh Johnson
I made some more progress on this book this week.  I'm really enjoying it.  Another book with some universal themes.  I think your fantasy enthusiasts will love this book.

I will be taking a week off from #IMWAYR as I will be traveling back from ALA.  I bet there will be a lot to share next week!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - do you know these chapter books? 6.14.18

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Last month I was talking to other educators and librarians about transitional chapter books and graphic novels that are fun for young readers.  Here are some new-to-me titles that were shared with me.

Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa
Yours Sincerely, Giraffe
written by Megumi Iwasa
illustrated by Jun Takabatake
This pen pal story will tickle their funny bone as a few animals become friends in this short chapter book.  Lots of open white space on each page means it looks like a longer book than it actually is.

Smarter than Squirrels by Lucy Nolan
Down Girl and Sit: Smarter Than Squirrels
written by Lucy Nolan
illustrated by Mike Reed
This would be a good chapter book series for readers who aren't quite ready for Fenway and Hattie.  Told in the perspective of the dog, who believes her name to be "Down Girl", it's another bird's eye view of what it's like to be a dog!

Image result for summer reading
This summer I will be sharing new transitional chapter books, some may be new, many have been published awhile.  They are new to me and may even be new to you or teachers you work with.  Happy summer reading!

Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading?  Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!