Thursday, May 25, 2017

5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior blog tour 5.25.17

A few years ago we had a revolution go through our school.  It was the Amulet revolution.  Books 1-6 were out.  They started in the fourth grade.  Between my copies, my colleague's and the school library's, it was all we could do to make sure the copies constantly circulated.  We often lost track of where they were.  The kids had their own way of passing them from hand to hand.  One copy would be returned and before it could be checked in, it was already being grabbed by the next reader.  There were hold lists pages long.  I'm pretty sure our reading assistant that year felt more like a book bookie, than a teacher.  She spent long amounts of time and tireless amounts of steps to get the books out to all of the readers.  After they went through fourth grade, the third grade got wind of this series.  The process started all over again in that grade.  But then there was a long wait for book 7.  A new school year had started, with many of our 4th grade junkies being at a new building.  This time my colleague and I bought multiple copies.  I think we had 4 floating around the school, and another copy that we sent to our former students at the 5th grade building.  I remember putting a sign up, months in advance of the publication date, letting students know the book release date.  A student asked me, "since you know all the authors, can you get us an advanced copy?"  I think they were pretty disappointed finding out my connections didn't reach that far.

I don't think another series has been in the same demand as the Amulet books.  We still have book fever, we still have hold lists, but maybe not the same amount.  Until.....

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds, #1)
5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior
by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
illustrations/coloring by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun
published by Random House 

Goodreads summary
The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there s more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . .
The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?
When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

My quick thoughts
This book is full of action and questions.  Every time I got a question answered, a new one would pop up!  The setting takes place on another world...dimension?  Because of how unfamiliar I was, I found myself often referring to the map in the inside cover.  There are three main characters that you slowly get to know over the course of the book.  By the end of the book, you definitely have empathy for the characters and feel invested in their adventures.  There are a multitude of other characters which makes it a little tricky to keep everyone straight, but as long as a reader understands the three main characters, their traits and motivations, the story line will be understood.  Just like in the Amulet series, you'll want to help the characters because it seems like they just can't get a break.  The main plot is fairly easy to understand, it's the subplots and how they impact the main plot that can be tricky.  This series will require readers to slow down, take in the details that are in the illustrations, keep track of multiple settings and characters and see how the different conflicts weave together and unravel!  
I think this series is going to be as popular as Amulet.  This is a great graphic novel to pass off to your Amulet readers who are ready for just a bit more complex story line.
My suggestion... get your hands on multiple copies.  And get a hold list ready.  And maybe read it before you pass it out.  You won't be seeing it again for a long time!

A great video to show your students is of one of the authors, Mark Siegel, talking about the book and how it artistically comes together.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Talking About POOP! 5.24.17

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.

What is more fascinating to a young scientist than poop?  As gross as it is, as you learn about it you find yourself wanting to share facts!  Some new ones on this wonderful subject:

Whose Poop Is That? by Darrin P Lunde
Whose Poop is THAT?
by Darrin Lunde
published by Charlesbridge
Showing an illustrated pile of dung with a brief explanation, the page asks, "whose poop is that?"  The following layout gives us the answer and some additional information.  There is more information in the backmatter that I know kids will want to share.  Like did you know, a rabbit sometimes eats its poop in order to digest its food twice?  Ewww, but wow!

If You Are a Kaka, You Eat Doo Doo: And Other Poop Tales from Nature
If You Are a Kaka, You Eat Doo Doo and other poop tales from nature
by Sara Martel 
published by Tilbury House Nature Book
This book gets into even more detail about the subject matter and answers where, why and how it helps animals!  Additional information in sidebars, this book really does show how animals are connected through.... yeah, you guessed it, poop.

Other poop books to try out:

Poop Detectives
Poop Detectives:  Working Dogs in the Field
by Ginger Wadsworth

Poop Happened!: A History of the World from the Bottom Up
Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up
by Sarah Albee

The Truth about Poop
The Truth About Poop
by Susan E. Goodman

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - The Unlucky Lottery Winners, a review 5.23.17

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.
A transitional chapter book is meant to be a stepping stone from picture books to middle grade novels.  Of course, within this format, there are many supports an author may choose to add to the book to help the reader.  One of the supports are episodic chapters.  This means each chapter is a contained story.  A reader does not have to carry a story from the start to the beginning in episodic chapters.  What happens in each chapter may be similar, but the story line does not get more complex.

The Unlucky Lottery Winners of Classroom 13 by Honest Lee
The Unlucky Lottery Winners of Classroom 13
by Honest Lee and Matthew J. Gilbert
published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 6th

This is the first book in a very silly series that is sure to keep readers laughing and reading.  While I have to admit, I am not the audience for this book (too many fart and poop jokes), I know many readers that will love the silliness of the kids in this book.

The first two chapters set up plot line.  We meet Ms. Linda, the very unlucky teacher.  However, as luck would have it (hahaha), she becomes the winner of the $28 billion dollar lottery.  Before winning, she signed a contract and pinkie promised her students she would share the money if she won it...

Now that she is a winner and has shared all of her money with students (except for the one that had been home sick that day), everyone finds out that having all of the money you could ever need might now always make you happy at the end.

Each chapter tells the quick story of a student in the class and what they chose to do with their share of the money.  Usually each student squanders their money.  Which brings up the questions - did the money make you happy?  How should you spend money?  In your opinion, who was wisest?  In your opinion who spent the money in the worst way?  Since each chapter is its own story, readers don't have to carry a big plot line all the way through the story.  This is helpful when readers are growing stamina for longer books, but can't hold on to important details as they read them.

This book makes a great read aloud - you'll have the kids laughing in every chapter.  It also makes for great discussion using the questions from above.  Or, teach students to start tracking ideas.  After each chapter when a student is introduced, have readers track when they spent their money on and write/explain why it was a good choice/bad choice.  Who were the wise students?  Who were impulsive?  What could you tell about the characters after reading about their spending?

Luckily this is going to be a series!  The next one comes out in December and it looks like the series will continue to ask some important questions - is having a lot of money worth it?  how important is fame?  what would you do with wishes?  I think this is going to be a series that will be eagerly read.  I'll be adding it to my library, how about you?

Don't miss Aly's post - it's a Captain Underpants pack giveaway!

Join us on Tuesdays!  Have a post, link up!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.22.17

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

Readers who are entering the world of chapter books need some additional supports.  Here are some ideas to get them on their way.

Animal books are a must have in libraries - kids love reading about animals and there are so many NGSS standards tied to them.  Here are some newly published titles to check out!

I love the Rip and Red series by Phil Bildner and I know readers are going to love this next one in the series.  Be sure to look for Tournament of Champions on June 6th!

Grand Canyon is an amazing book you need to check out.  It's going to be on Mock Caldecott and Mock Sibert lists, for sure!  It aligns to NGSS and it's a perfect mentor text!

Picture Books

Naptastrophe! by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
4/5 stars
This is such a fun book!  Parents will remember the no-nap/I'm not taking a nap days well!  Young readers will laugh at Lucy the Bunny as she refuses to take a nap and the effects it has on her.  Great book for story time!

Go Sleep in Your Own Bed
Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! by Candace Fleming
5/5 stars
Love this book with it's clever vocabulary, onomatopoeia, and predictable patterns.  Great for a farm unit, a writing mentor text or a fun read aloud!  This one is going in my library.

Dream by Matthew Cordell
5/5 stars
I think Cordell perfectly captures the dreams, hopes, wishes that a parent has for a child, that a teacher has for their students, that we pass on to all loved ones.  Great baby, graduation, I-love-you gift, great end of year read.

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
I didn't rate this book because it left me a bit confused.  It seemed like it was based on perhaps a fairy/folk tale, but there was no before or after notes by the author.  If it wasn't, I'm not sure I understood the point of the story.  I get parts of it, but then I don't know how others connected.  Hmmmm.....

Danny McGee Drinks the Sea
Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton
3/5 stars
A fun, rollicking rhyming story - it started out funny, got a little strange, and then ended in a way I did not see coming!

Goldfish Ghost
Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicker
3/5 stars
I have been anxious to read this book.  I'm not sure what I expected, but I guess it wasn't what I read!  I will be interesting in hearing what young readers' reactions to this book.  Although I loved Lisa Brown's illustrations.  I would love to see her recognized by the Caldecott committee at some point!

Puppy, Puppy, Puppy
Puppy, Puppy, Puppy by Julie Sternberg
4/5 stars
Do not underestimate the bond between a young child and their pet.  In the case of this book, a baby and his puppy.  Pet enthusiasts will fall in love with this book and the sweet story of how the puppy and baby stop at nothing to be together throughout the day.

May I Have a Word?
May I Have a Word? by Caron Levis
3/5 stars
Letters "c" and "k" are arguing over their shared sound and who gets to have the best words.  I think this book would be a fun read aloud for kids who are learning about the "ck" rule (goes at the end of a word or syllable touching a short vowel).  Youngsters who are learning their sounds will enjoy the silliness of the story, too!

Informational Texts

Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women's Suffrage
Marching With Aunt Susan by Claire Rudolf Murphy
4/5 stars
Narrative informational text, tells the story of young Bessie who is coming of age during the suffrage movement in California.  The narrative format will appeal to young readers since it reads like a story.  Great author's notes, sources and end pages that show some primary resources.

Middle Grade

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers, #1)
The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress
4/5 stars
I am so excited to tell you about this book.  It's the first book in a series and I think 3rd-6th graders are going to really enjoy it.  It has adventure, suspense, and mystery.  The blog tour stops at my blog today, be sure to check it out here.

Currently Reading

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
I'm more than halfway through now and I am constantly reminded why I fell in love with this series.

Three Pennies
Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder
I've heard Newbery buzz over this one so I'm interested in checking it out.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)
Bobby vs Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee
This looks like a fun one for the kids I work with!  And it's illustrated by Dan Santat :)

Is your summer reading TBR list exploding?  Mine is!  Looking forward to some time to read.

The Explorers : The Door in the Alley Blog Tour 5.22.17

Adventure.  Suspense.  Mystery.  
Elements of a book that almost always will hook a middle grade reader.  

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers, #1)
The Explorers: The Door in the Alley
by Adrienne Kress
published by Delacorte Press

Goodreads summary
Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, "The Explorers: The Door in the Alley" is the first book in a new series for fans of "The Name of This Book Is a Secret" and "The Mysterious Benedict Society. "Knock once if you can find it but only members are allowed inside. 
This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It s not the one you re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.) 
This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer.
"The Explorers: The Door in the Alley" is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone."

My Quick Thoughts
I'm always looking for books that will keep readers interested.  That make them want to come back for more.  This book has that for so many reasons....

  • While it takes a bit to start the action, once it does, it's non-stop!  I found myself staying up late to keep reading!
  • Kress takes time to set up the characters and as a result, you really care for them once the adventure begins.  I needed to make sure Evie was going to be taken care of and okay.  I felt for Sebastian, as he fought between helping Evie and doing what was expected of him.
  • As a young reader, I loved the idea of secret clubs and societies that were maybe just a bit dangerous.  This book was stepping inside the shoes of characters that young readers want to BE!  We're so lucky to go along this ride.  
  • There is a mysterious narrator that breaks the fourth wall and has conversations with the reader.  It's like getting an extra window into the book!  And then there are footnotes that take us onto tangents, that while maybe not adding to the plot, makes the book humorous.
  • Chapter names - they all begin with "In which...."  It reminds me of the Friends episode names - "the one where..."
  • The bad guys are just creepy.  One has his jaw wired shut with exposed wires coming out from his lip, and the other guy's face is half melted.  I feel like both of them have spin-off stories that need to be told!
  • The book is definitely set up for more stories.  There are characters that we don't meet, but probably have big parts of upcoming stories.  Upcoming stories?  Definitely,  as this one leaves us with a HUGE cliffhanger!
  • AND, Disney has already optioned the rights for this book to make into a movie.  You know what that means, right?  You have to read the book first!
Whether you use this book as a read aloud or add it to your classroom library, it's going to be a very popular read!  Want to hear more about it?  Check out what other reviewers have to say!

Live To Read ~Krystal
Imagination Soup
Mom and More
Pandora's Books
Mommy Ramblings
The Lovely Books
Batch of Books
Oh, for the Hook of a Book!
To Read, or Not To Read
Grandma's Cookie Jar
Good Reads with Ronna
Geo Librarian
Life By Candlelight
Jumpin Beans
Always in the Middle
Librarians Quest
The Book Wars
Middle Grade Mafioso
Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Tween You & Me
Mrs. Knott's Book Nook
Mundie Moms 
The Write Path
Beach Bound Books
Middle Grade Ninja
Night Owl Reviews
Cracking the Cover
Jenni Enzor
Literary Hoots
From the Mixed-Up Files of Middle Grade Authors
The Winged Pen
Operation Awesome
Bloggin' 'bout Books
Ms. Yingling Reads
MGMinded blog
Smack Dab in the Middle
Swoony Boys Podcast
Book Foolery
Unleashing Readers
Kit Lit Reviews
The O.W.L.
This Kid Reviews Books

Friday, May 19, 2017

Spotlight Friday - Grand Canyon 5.19.17

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!

Have you had a chance to look through Jason Chin's Grand Canyon?  It really is a masterful mentor text!  I would think the state of Arizona would have it on its required list, it is that impressive.  4th grade teachers, this goes along with your NGSS.  

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon
by Jason Chin
published by Roaring Book Press

Grand Canyon takes us through the different ecological communities found in the Canyon, detailing the different animals, climates and vegetation found within each community.  Readers can explore the reasons for the changes as you move from community to community (different elevations, temperatures, water formations).  The illustrations are absolutely breathtaking.  The details in each layout should be poured over.  The foldout at the end is just amazing.

Chin also goes into detail the changes over time, going back billions of years to see how the environmental changes impact land formation and living creatures that depend upon a certain environment.

The use of the borders of each page should not be missed.  Chin has added visual details for the information discussed in the main text, whether it's pictures of animals, flora and fauna or cutaways that give readers an inside look.

And with a book as masterful as this, you know the end pages and notes are going to be amazing as well!  A study all of their own, they will absolutely give additional information, especially for more science and social studies learning.

Enjoy this gorgeous book!  Just make sure you have the time you'll need to spend reading this book!