Monday, November 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11.18.19

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

Some new picture books and a middle grade about computing superstar, Katherine Johnson

Books about some DYNAMIC DUOS, perfect for kg-3rd grade readers!

My nonfiction picture book stack here

Picture Books

Five Minutes: (That's a Lot of Time) (No, It's Not) (Yes, It Is)
Five Minutes (That's a lot of time) (No, it's not) (Yes, it is)
written by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
illustrated by Olivier Tallec
The title really says it all.  The entire book is different scenarios that take five minutes, but depending on what it is is the perspective of how long it feels.
Waiting to be called back to the dentist... fast 5 minutes.
In the dentist chair... slow 5 minutes.
Kids will relate to this book!

Talia and the Very Yum Kippur
Talia and the Very YUM Kippur
written by Linda Elovitz Marshall
illustrated by Francesca Assirelli
Grateful my friend Kristen Picone told me about this one!  I do not have many books that celebrate the Jewish New Year, will be adding this one to my list.
Talia helps her grandmother prepare for a special feast but in her young mind, Yom Kippur becomes YUM Kippur and break-fast is breakfast.  Fun story!

Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home
Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home
written by Sy Montgomery
illustrated by Amy Schimler-Safford
A fun story about a very curious octopus.  Inky the octopus escaped from the National Aquarium in Wellington, New Zealand.  Inky had been brought there after being caught in a lobster trap by a fisherman.  Injured and young, he was kept at the aquarium but not for long!  Inky escaped through a small drain pipe in the floor that lead back into the ocean.  Making international news, Inky became a superstar!  

written by Adam Rex
illustrated by Claire Keane
If you've ever seen the Disney show "Phineas and Ferb", then you'll know the voice of Dr. Doofenshmirtz.  That's the voice I had in my head when I read this story.
A super villain (the Dr. D. voice) crashes into a mall, ready to cause havoc everywhere when a young toddler stops him with her questions of "why?"... he entertains these questions and the answers finally get him to the root of his problems.

What Is a Refugee?
What is a Refugee?
by Elise Gravel
I really like the explanation this book provides about refugees, what is a refugee, why would they need to leave, what their feelings are, and what it's like to assimilate into a new place.  At the end, Gravel includes statements from young refugees that will help young readers understand these are young people just like them.  There is also a list and short bio of "famous" refugees.
The only thing I'm not sure about are the illustrations.  Lots of white refugees and light brown skin color refugees.  Some of color, an even smaller number wearing hijab.  I'm not sure the illustrations are representative of all refugees, but I also don't want to make assumptions.  Just something I noted.

Middle Grade

The Real McCoys
The Real McCoys
by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
If you have kids who love the hybrid style book like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, this is a series you want for your library.  There are three books published so far and I'm hoping for more! 
The series is a mystery - Moxie is looking for a new partner for her detective agency since her best friend has moved away.  For the time being, she's trying to solve them on her own.  The first mystery is solving who took the beloved school mascot, Eddie the Owl.  She has a list of suspects and trying to figure out who positively took it is a tough case to crack.  Luckily her brother, Milton, is able to step in and help out.
I loved how the text and illustrations went together in this novel.

Currently Reading

The Toll (Arc of a Scythe, #3)
The Toll
by Neal Shusterman
I'm trying to savor this one and since I have zero time to read, the 1-2 chapters I read each night is definitely helping me read this slowly....

It's my busy time of the year!  NCTE and then we roll into the holidays and my daughter has the Paralympic Swimming Nationals.  I have a full week of posts for you this week and then I'll be in and out until 2020!  Hope you're finding more time than me to read!

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesdays - what's in my nonfiction stack? 11.13.19

Wednesdays 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.

Books that have been in my nonfiction stacks:

A Place to Land by Barry Wittenstein
A Place to Land: Martin Luther King Jr. and the Speech That Inspired a Nation
written by Barry Wittenstein
illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Wow.  This is a powerful book.  Just when you think you've read about and understood MLK Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech, you read this and learn even more.  Between the powerful words and the illustrations that make a statement, this is a book you're going to want to have for Civil Rights discussions and for teaching Civil Rights time period and about MLK.

Did You Burp?: How to Ask Questions...or Not!
Did You Burp?  How to ask questions...or not!
written by April Pulley Sayre
illustrated by Leeza Hernandez
No, it's not a book about burping, although bodily functions do make an appearance in this book!  It's all about questions - asking, answering, when to ask, when not to ask, how to ask, what they sound like, question words.... A great book to use when getting ready for inquiry or at the beginning of the school year!

Little Libraries, Big Heroes by Miranda  Paul
Little Libraries, Big Heroes
written by Miranda Paul
illustrated by John Parra
I love the combination of Paul's voice and Parra's illustrations.  They join together for this beautiful story that honors and celebrates Little Free Libraries founder, Todd Bol.

Firefighters' Handbook by Meghan Mccarthy
Firefighters' Handbook
by Meghan McCarthy
This all-about book gives a lot of information about firefighters that kids may or may not know and asks the readers to think about do they have what it takes to be a firefighter.  Interactive - there are a couple of quizzes to take - and thought-provoking since it tells you many of the tests a person needs to take and do in order to become a firefighter.  

As always, happy nonfiction reading!

Thursday, November 7, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - Dynamic Duos! 11.07.19

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 independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

Today is a roundup of books featuring dynamic duos!  These books show friendship at its best - even when it's hard to be friends these duos show how to use cooperation and their words to accomplish anything!

Frank and Bean by Jamie Michalak
Frank and Bean
written by Jamie Michalak
illustrated by Bob Kolar
I'm really hoping this will be a series because there is so much in here that young readers will enjoy.  Friendship, music, and laughter prevail with these two unlikely friends.  Frank (the hot dog) likes is quiet, calm, and predictable.  Bean (the, uh, bean...) is loud, silly, and doesn't always understand social cues.  Frank is a writer, although he likes to keep his writing under wraps.  Bean is a musician who is looking for a song.  While the ending may be predictable, it's pretty funny how they get there!
This book is perfect for readers of the King and Kayla series.

Monkey & Robot by Peter Catalanotto
Monkey and Robot: Friends and Neighbors
by Peter Catalanotto
This is the third book in the series, but the first I've read!  I will definitely be checking out the other books.
It is a graphic novel that has episodic chapters.  (added to note that this is the first graphic novel format in the series, the other 2 books are early chapter books)  The stories reminded me a lot of Frog and Toad - 2 friends that have different personalities.  Each story has a simple problem and one of the friends helps solve it.  Lots of inferring opportunities in the stories.  Perfect for grades 2 and 3 readers!

The Great Louweezie by Erica S. Perl   Lost and Found by Erica S. Perl 

Happy Fell by Erica S. Perl   All the Fun Winter Things #4 by Erica S Perl
Arnold and Louise series
written by Erica S. Perl
illustrated by Chris Chatterton
This dynamic duo is also perfect for talking about character traits since they are pretty much the opposite of each other!  Arnold the bear and Louise the chipmunk are best friends even if they don't always see eye to eye.  Each book has about five chapters and comes in at just under 60 pages.  Each book has a problem that carries on throughout the entire book and often has the two characters at opposite ends of the problem.  But their friendship is stronger than their problem and they always find a way to work it out. 
Great for 1st-3rd grade readers.

Chick and Brain by Cece Bell
Chick and Brain: Smell My Foot!
by Cece Bell
Another one that I hope will become a series.
This early graphic novel format chapter book is a silly story featuring the characters of Brain (character with super big feet, body, and a large brain for hair) and Chick (character that is... well, a chick).  Chick is a super polite character who expects all the characters to be super polite as well, nagging them until they are all super frustrated.  Brain, who readers will expect to be super smart, doesn't come off that way except Brain is the only character who can infer danger.  Another good one to use for inferring!

Warren & Dragon Volcano Deluxe by Ariel Bernstein   Warren & Dragon Scary Sleepover by Ariel Bernstein
Warren & Dragon series
written by Ariel Bernstein
illustrated by Mike Marlbrough
Here are books three and four in the series (they do not have to be read in any particular order).  Warren is a second grade boy and Dragon is his best friend (of the imaginary sort... he's actually a dragon stuffed animal).  Each book focuses on a real-life problem which makes this such an engaging series for young readers - they can see themselves within the pages of the book.
In Volcano Deluxe, Warren learns to put aside his wants and desires and do something nice for others.
In Scary Sleepover, Warren learns to not always listen to the crazy advice of his best friend, and to face his fears with the help of another friend.  He also figures out that using his voice and speaking up often is the best advice!
This transitional chapter book series is perfect for young readers who are looking for longer books with chapters but are still building stamina.  I recommend this series for mature kindergarten readers through third grade readers.

Hope you found some books for the readers in your life!  Maybe they can read... with  friend!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Women Computers - 11.06.19

Wednesdays 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.

With the success of the movie Hidden Figures, there has been a large number of kidlit about these famous human computers.  Whether you read about the women that were featured in the film, the women as individuals, or other women who were computers and known in their own right, their stories are powerful to tell young children today!
Here are some new picture book biographies about computer Katherine Johnson!

Counting the Stars by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Counting the Stars: The Story of Katherine Johnson, NASA Mathematician
written by Lesa Cline-Ransome
illustrated by Raúl Colón

A Computer Called Katherine by Suzanne Slade
A Computer Called Katherine: How Katherine Johnson Helped Put America on the Moon
written by Suzanne Slade
illustrated by Veronica Miller Jamison

Both of these picture book biographies tell the story of Katherine Johnson, starting with her childhood and impressive mind for learning.  Skipping multiple grade levels, Katherine started high school and college at a very young age.  However, that was not without its own set of problems.  The high school where Katherine lived wouldn't allow black students to attend so her parents moved the family 120 miles away in order for her to learn.  And learn she did - finishing college and then Katherine became a math teacher.  But then she learned about a research center that was hiring women computers to help with equations.  Little did she know that eventually she would be solving equations that landed a man on the moon!

Both picture books tell similar information with each giving additional details that were just a little different from its counterpart.  Both books have a place in read alouds because it's important for readers to learn how to not only get new information from sources, but to also compare information and fact check validity.

Both books contain additional information from the author in the backmatter.  Slade's book also has an illustrator's note as well as some sources and credits.

Looking for something longer?  Don't miss Katherine Johnson's autobiography for young readers!

Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
Reaching for the Moon: The Autobiography of NASA Mathematician Katherine Johnson
This narrative biography is a gripping tale of Katherine's life.  I devoured the story, even after knowing a lot of the information from other picture books and the movie.  Katherine speaks to the reader and weaves her story of hard work and patience.  It's a great autobiography for readers who are looking for more information than a picture book holds.

Katherine Johnson truly is an amazing and remarkable woman.  I'm so glad her story is reaching readers of all ages!

Monday, November 4, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 11.04.19

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

Some nonfiction picture books to check out!

Picture Books

The Buddy Bench
The Buddy Bench
written by Patty Brozo
illustrated by Mike Deas
The Buddy Bench has grown in popularity at primary and elementary schools across the United States.  This book would be a helpful introduction.

Reading Beauty
Reading Beauty
written by Deborah Underwood
illustrated by Meg Hunt
From the creators of Interstellar Cinderella, we have another fractured fairy tale to enjoy.  This time, it's a twist on the Sleeping Beauty story except instead of spinning wheels being taken away, it's, gasp, books!

Unicorns 101
Unicorns 101
by Cale Atkinson
An "all about" book about a fun and mystical topic: unicorns!  Bright, very colorful, and of course, glittery - kids will enjoy this spoof on these mystical creatures!

The Bravest Man in the World
The Bravest Man in the World
by Patricia Polacco
A story about the Titanic and one of its musicians that went down with the boat, Wallace Hartley.  Told in Polacco's storytelling style, it's one that young Titanic aficionados will enjoy and one that shows strong character traits.

I Want a Dog
I Want a Dog
by Jon Agee
A good book to use to talk about growth mindset - you don't always get what you want and sometimes that can be a good thing!

Terrible Times Tables
Terrible Times Tables
written by Michelle Markel
illustrated by Merrilee Liddiard
Looking for a unique way for kids to learn their times tables?  Modeled off of the old primers for readers, the book has nine different chapters with stories that follow a school calendar year and rhymes to help learn times tables!

A Night at the Bookstore (A Barnsie® & Noble® Adventure, #1)
A Night at the Bookstore
written by Josh Funk
illustrated by Jessica Gibson
Perfect book for young readers to get them thinking and talking about all the things books provide!  And they will fall in love with characters Barnsie and Noble!
I loved seeing the familiar Barnes and Noble sights in this book.

Chapter Two Is Missing
Chapter Two is Missing!
written by Josh Lieb
illustrated by Kevin Cornell
I wasn't sure whether to put this one under picture books or chapter books since it's a combination of both.  This is a book that will have kids bringing the book to the bathroom (there's a valid reason) and you'll hear some snickers as kids read it!

Middle Grade

by Liz Braswell
This one took me by surprise!  I really didn't know anything about it at all and I was so happy with it!  It's creepy but it's full of heart.  It's going to be so well loved by readers.  I can see it passed hand to hand!
Clark has an army of stuffies and he needs them because they protect him and his family members from the Monsters that come at night.  He creates a barrier of stuffies on top of his bed but sometimes when they fall off... they are taken and when they are found they are definitely worse off.  An evil Monster is in the house and seems to have taken over Clark's dad.  It's up to Clark and a very special stuffy to save him.
The way the book ends definitely leaves an opening for a book 2.  Hoping there are more adventures to come!

The Heroes Return (Bounders #4)
Bounders 4:  The Heroes Return
by Monica Tesler
At some point I often stop reading all of the books in a series.  There are so many books to read!  I read the first few in a series so I know what is going on but I often don't finish the series.  
Not so with this one.  I will see this series to the end... which apparently is book 5.  I need to have a conversation with author Monica Tesler!  I love this series.  I want more.  I will keep on with all of the adventures with this Bounder group!
If you have middle grade readers, you need to make sure this series is in their hands.  Action, adventure, science, travel.  It is so fun!

Currently Reading

The Real McCoys
The Real McCoys
by Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr
This is a definite must-have for your Diary of a Wimpy Kid readers - it's a perfect ladder book!

Anyone else getting bogged down by life and it really affecting your reading?  Story of my life right now!

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - what's in my nonfiction stack? 10.30.19

Wednesdays 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.

Here's what popped out from my nonfiction picture book stack!

The Boy Who Grew a Forest by Sophia Gholz
The Boy Who Grew a Forest: The True Story of Jadav Payeng
written by Sophia Gholz
illustrated by Kayla Harren
This narrative gives us the basic facts of the boy who planted the seeds and sowed the land until a barren field grew into a large forest.  Young readers will understand the theme of the story and will visually see the impact Payeng has on the land.
The illustrations by Harren are gorgeous.  The soft, earthy tones are simply beautiful.
The story is simple, yet effective.  There is some additional information in the backmatter.  
This is a good book to read when you want to show kids they can make a difference, or perhaps for Earth Day, or to show character traits!

Seeds Move! by Robin Page
Seeds Move!
by Robin Page
Pair with Dianna Aston's A Seed is Sleepy book - discover all the ways a seed finds a spot and puts down roots!

Just Like Beverly by Vicki Conrad
Just Like Beverly
written by Vicki Conrad
illustrated by David Hohn
For anyone who has read a Beverly Cleary book, you'll see so much inspiration that came from Beverly's own life in her books.  While some of the words and activities age Cleary's books for today's readers, the character traits and themes still ring true.  I really enjoyed reading this one and it would make a great follow up after reading a Beverly Cleary book with students! 
Don't miss the backmatter where the author included a lot more information about Beverly's life.

Beware of the Crocodile by Martin Jenkins
Beware of the Crocodile
written by Martin Jenkins
illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura
A book that goes for the shock value - you won't believe some of the eating habits of crocodiles!  
Most of the information is carried through the main text, but there is additional information in smaller print on some of the pages.  Backmatter including an index, which isn't as widely found as it used to be!

We are starting a nonfiction cycle at school.  I'll definitely be adding some of these titles to our read aloud rotation!

Monday, October 28, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.28.19

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

Looking for some nonfiction picture books to use for #classroombookaday?  Here are some ideas!

Books for readers who are starting their independent reading journey here.

Picture Books

written by Lupita Nyong'o
illustrated by Vashti Harrison
This book is so beautiful - inside and out!  
You never know how a book is going to go when it's written by a famous actor.  This one, feels real and authentic.  
The illustrations, oh, put this on your Mock Caldecott list.  I've long admired Vashti Harrison's work, but I really do mean it when I say this one is her best.  Just beautiful.

Parker Looks Up: An Extraordinary Moment
Parker Looks Up
written by Parker and Jessica Curry
illustrated by Brittany Jackson
A picture book that brings to life the moment of a young African American girl who is mesmerized by the portrait of Michelle Obama, hanging in the National Portrait Gallery.
I wish they had put the original photo in the backmatter.

Cece Loves Science     Cece Loves Science and Adventure (Cece Loves Science, #2)
Cece Loves Science
Cece Loves Science and Adventure
written by Kimberly Derting and Shelli R. Johannes
illustrated by Vashti Harrison
It's a Vashti Harrison illustrated books kind of reading week!
This series is really fun and great for science, STEM (and it could have been STEAM), and girls in science!  Perfect to use at the beginning of the school year, or anytime!

The Hundred-Year Barn
The Hundred-Year Barn
written by Patricia MacLachlan
illustrated by Kenard Pak
A story that slowly unfolds, doesn't have a sweeping plot, but lyrical language that still takes you on a journey - yes, you are reading a Patricia MacLachlan story!
This book stands out for setting - one to use to talk about why it is important, the impact on the story.

Image result for intersection allies
Intersection Allies: we make room for all
written by Chelsea Johnson, LaToya Council, and Carolyn Choi
illustrated by Ashley Seil Smith
A good book to use when talking about what being an ally means and how it looks.  While at times it strays on the verge of being too didactic, it's such a big concept for young readers that I think at times it has to stay preachy and to the point.  I loved that there are teaching and conversation ideas for every single page in the back of the book.  

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom
From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom
collected by Eric Walters
artwork by various illustrators
A book of aphorisms, words of wisdom.
I can see these quick statements being used to write longer off of - kids need practice expanding their thinking.  These would be great.  Could use alongside Mr. Browne's precepts!

Small in the City
Small in the City
by Sydney Smith
Great Aha Moment in this book!  The book took on a whole different meaning as I read the story.

Chicken Break!: A Counting Book
Chicken Break! A Counting Book
written by Cate Berry
illustrated by Charlotte Alder
I love when a concept book is more than just about the concept itself.  This time young readers get to count along with some chickens who are breaking the coop and out to have some fun!

Middle Grade

Stars So Sweet (All Four Stars, #3)
Stars So Sweet
by Tara Dairman
Another #mustreadin2019 is done!  I moved this one up a few slots because I had introduced the series in a #FirstChapterFriday selection.  I have a feeling kids will be ready for book 3 very soon!
I love this series - Gladys is such an enjoyable character and kids love the baking aspect.  I wish there were more, but it sounds like this may be her last?  Let's hope for more!

Young Adult

Inventing Victoria     Saving Savannah
Inventing Victoria and Saving Savannah
by Tonya Bolden
I read both of these books in preparation for my NCTE panel with Tonya Bolden.  I'm here to tell you to add these to your lists - especially if you are a fan of historical fiction, especially if you enjoy learning about parts of our United States history that is not often taught in history classes or books.  History that gets a quick mention but had a larger impact than what is taught.
Both of these books, along with the earlier Crossing Ebenezer Creek, has a common tie that threads the stories that go through the generations together.  In these two books, we first meet Victoria.  Born Essie, whose Mamma we first meet in Ebenezer Creek, is living in her Mamma's whore house where sex and liquor is seen all around her.  Essie has a small corner of the house that is her own and she tries her best to rise above what is all around her.  With the help of caring friends, Essie meets someone who will help her rise above her station and give her a new life.  With a new life comes a new name.  Essie becomes Victoria and learns the etiquette of high black society.  
Victoria's story is continued through her daughter's story.  Savannah, while living in comfort, knows she wants something different, especially as she sees how not all blacks are treated equally.  Taking place during 1919, when women were fighting for the right to vote and during the riots and bombings in urban cities (Red Summer), Savannah works hard to change the narrative she sees around her.  
Including extensive source notes in both books and author's note in Savannah, these books contain an important part of history that needs to be shared with young adult readers.

Currently Reading

The Heroes Return (Bounders #4)
Bounders:  The Heroes Return
by Monica Tesler
I love this series so much!  This is the fourth in the series - the fifth publishes in December and I think it's the last!  This series is so perfect for readers who enjoy fast moving, suspenseful plots.

Happy Reading to all this week!