Friday, July 20, 2018

Spotlight Friday - representation matters, part two 7.20.18

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) a couple of months ago, plus some new ones I've come across!  If you didn't seen them, no worries, here's a small roundup of books to keep you busy!  Hopefully you had a chance to see part one of the series!
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 Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay by Cari Best
My Three Best Friends and Me, Zulay
written by Cari Best
illustrated by Vanessa Brantley-Newton
Yes!!!  Love this book!  Without ever mentioning it, the reader figures out Zulay is blind.  She wants to do everything her classmates are doing and we see that modifications are in place to allow her to succeed.  Until her name is called out because it is time for her to see her special teacher.  Instead of going to gym like everyone else, she has time with a teacher to practice using her cane to help her navigate her world.  And for Zulay, that cane is one more reminder that she is different from everyone else.  
A book like this is so important to have.  I wish I had this book when my daughter was younger because it would've been a mirror for her.  As someone who has always had a large shoe lift due to her limb length discrepancy, I don't know how many times we've argued over putting modifications in place.  She always argues she doesn't need them and the reason being because it would've been one more thing that made her feel different.  
This book gets it right.

Introducing Teddy by Jess Walton
Introducing Teddy: a gentle story about gender and friendship
written by Jessica Walton
illustrated by Dougal MacPherson
Thank you to Aliza Werner for introducing me to this story.  Teddy the bow tie wearing teddy bear has always known that he was a girl teddy who would prefer to be called Tilly and wear the bow in her hair.  This book shows characters who defy gender norms by having males that have tea parties and girls that build robots.  The important thing is everyone accepts Tilly for who she is and continue to go about the activities that make them happy.  
Acceptance = happiness in this book.

Mommy's Khimar by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
Mommy's Khimar
written by Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow
illustrated by Ebony Glenn
The khimar, or hijab, is an important part of many Muslim women's lives and what I love about this book is instead of discussing what it is, it becomes a part of a young Muslim-American girl's play.  It is something that holds a lot of meaning for her because it is something of her mother's and therefore is something to treasure.
I hope books like this aren't used as a token read to explain, but as part of a unit, perhaps on families or traditions.  

Drawn Together by Minh Le
Drawn Together
written by Minh Lê
illustrated by Dan Santat
I love how beautifully Lê's text and Santat's illustrations work together in this book about bridging the gap between language and communication.
Something I have learned from every EL workshop I've gone to is how important it is to keep a strong first language base because as a child grows older, it becomes harder to communicate with parents and older generations when they don't have that strong base.  However, as I see EL students assimilate with the English language and their peers, I see them growing uncomfortable using their primary language.  I see in other families where students are second generation Americans and they don't know much of the family's original language at all.  I love how in this story Lê uses the arts as a way to bridge the communication between the generations.

Destiny's Gift by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
Destiny's Gift
written by Natasha Anastasia Tarpley
illustrated by Adjoa J. Burrowes
Something that is important to note is making sure you have books that show mirrors of readers and have them be realistic fiction - about situations that are familiar.  For example, in this book, a little girl is doing her best to help keep a neighborhood bookshop from closing because it's a place that she loves, particularly because of her friendship with the owner.  The girl loves books and loves writing words.  It just happens to feature an African American bookseller and (possibly, hard to tell for certain from illustrations) a biracial family.  Make sure your books that have African American characters are not mostly based on historical situations, but reflect your readers today.

Dreamers by Yuyi Morales
by Yuyi Morales
I think this is one of the most important books published in 2018.  Definitely a book you'll want to share.  To share the immigration experience.  To share what it's like to not understand a new language.  To share what it's like to learn a new language.  To share the importance of books... of libraries... of reading.
The story is beautiful.  The art is amazing.
Make sure you preorder this one - available Sept. 4th.

The Day You Begin
The Day You Begin
written by Jacqueline Woodson
illustrated by Rafael López
I will continue to celebrate this book for a long long time.  Woodson and López bring the stories of three different children who all, for one reason or another, are feeling left out in different situations at school.  But as one of the children learn, by sharing stories, we can start finding things we have in common, even though we still have differences.  Another book by Woodson that will continue to be used and discussed in the years to come.
Another must preorder - available August 28th.

The 5 O'Clock Band by Troy Andrews
The 5 O'Clock Band
written by Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews with Bill Taylor
illustrated by Bryan Collier
I am so glad these two have collaborated again and have given us more Trombone Shorty stories.  And after being at ALA in New Orleans, this book has even more meaning to my life!
I love having stories that bring music, especially music that is so culturally important, to life.

A Big Mooncake for Little Star by Grace Lin
A Big Mooncake for Little Star
by Grace Lin
I love Lin's books and how she weaves parts of Asian culture and traditions into her stories.  A sweet story about a young girl... she makes a mooncake with her mom and is dressed in star pajamas.  With the black background, the stars and mooncake really pop for the reader.  It's not until you go a little further you realize you're reading a story about the phases of the moon.  Don't miss Lin's note on the back book flap that explains how she choose pieces of the Mid-Autumn Moon Festival (an Asian holiday) into this story.
Available Aug. 28th

Want more like this?  Check out:
Representation Matters part one

Representation Matters in nonfiction

Thursday, July 19, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - Dinosaur books! 7.19.18

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.

Dinosaurs have always been a topic that has been enjoyed by young kids.  I love that there are books that appeal to the reader who is gaining independence.  Have you seen these books before?  I'm putting these in order of independence level - but note I am not putting a level on them - and also noting why you might want to find them!

A Mysterious Egg (The Dino Files #1)     Too Big to Hide (The Dino Files #2)     It's Not a Dinosaur! (The Dino Files #3)
The Dino Files series by Stacy McAnulty
publisher: Random House
With the combination of Stacy McAnulty's crazy adventurous writing and Mike Boldt's fun illustrations, this series captivates young readers.
What makes this series fun:  ever wonder what it would be like to find a dinosaur egg?  It's Frank's dream come true!
There are currently three books in the series.

Dino-Mike and the T. Rex Attack (Dino-Mike, #1)     Dino-Mike and the Underwater Dinosaurs (Dino-Mike, #3)     Dino-Mike and the Living Fossils (Dino-Mike, #5)
Dino Mike series by Franco Aureliani
publisher: Stone Arch Books
What makes this series fun:  In this series we get to go back in time to the land of dinos!  This is the only series that has the adventure go back in time, which appeals to any dinosaur-enthusiast!
There are currently eight books in the series.

Microsaurs by Dustin Hansen     Microsaurs: Tiny-Raptor Pack Attack     Microsaurs: That's My Tiny-Saurus Rex
Microsaurs series by Dustin Hansen
publisher: Feiwel and Friends
The kids in this series get to shrink down because the dinosaurs are micro-size!
What makes this series fun: the longest of the three series, these kids get to go on pint sized adventures (a la Honey I Shrunk the Kids, remember that??).
There are currently four books in the series, with the next one publishing in January.

All of these books make great read alouds - and it would entice the kids to continue the series.

How about for the young graphic novel reader?  Don't miss the Science Comics book:

Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
Dinosaurs:  Fossils and Feathers
written by M.K. Reed
illustrated by Joe Flood
publisher: First Second

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!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - books for newly independent readers 7.18.18

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.

I hope you've joined Alyson Beecher and me on Thursdays to learn more about books you can use with your readers who are gaining independence with their reading.  Today I'm going to feature some nonfiction books you can use with your students.

Why Are Animals Blue? by Melissa Stewart
What Are Animals... series
by Melissa Stewart
Each book features animals that have a particular color someone on its body.  Some of the animals are completely that color, others have that color someone on its body.  For example in the "blue" book, Stewart features the Blue-Tongue Skink, which only has a blue tongue!  Each animal has a particular reason for having that color - maybe it's to attract a mate, maybe it's for protection, maybe it's an identifier for other animals.
Each page features an animal and gives a brief description of how that color helps the animal.  The backmatter includes an index, additional sources and maps.

Comparing books....
I love when we have multiple books readers can use to gain information about a subject.  Now, we have two new texts about a man that has recently gained more notoriety (thanks Lin-Manuel) - Alexander Hamilton.  Both HarperCollins and Penguin Young Readers have published new books about this Founding Father.  Both have information that the other doesn't have so readers can add to their knowledge by reading both texts.  
However, a word of caution.  The Penguin Young Readers book is labeled with a "Level 4" and the HarperCollins one says "2".  This can be misleading since both books are meant for readers who are starting their independence with reading.  

Alexander Hamilton: A Plan for America
Alexander Hamilton: A Plan for America
written by Sarah Albee
illustrated by Chin Ko

Alexander Hamilton: American Hero
Alexander Hamilton: American Hero
written by Barbara Lowell
illustrated by George Ermos

Life in the Amazon Rainforest by Ginjer L Clarke
Life in the Amazon Rainforest
by Ginjer L. Clarke
A book that is not for the faint of heart - this book goes over the different layers of the rainforest and the animals that live there.  Definitely covering the circle of life, we see predators and prey and how these animals survive.  The different habitats are covered in chapters, which makes this a great book to give to readers who are ready for a longer informational text.

Awesome Minds series

The Inventors of LEGO® Toys
The Inventors of Lego Toys
written by Erin Hagar
illustrated by Paige Garrison

The Awesome Minds: The Creators of the Iphone(r)
The Creators of the iPhone
written by Marne Ventura
illustrated by Drew Feynman

The two books in this series feature people who have invented some of the most widely used items and most noted by kids today!  The books are longer - chapters featuring more print on the page than the other books featured.  However there are illustrations on every page to help support readers.  Lots of nonfiction text features give additional information.

Hope you have found a few new nonfiction picture books for your independent readers!

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

All Are Welcome 7.17.18

Sometimes a book comes along and you want to go to the doors of every school and hand out copies of the book.  It's usually a book that's timely.  A book that is important to hold conversations and discuss.  A book where students can see themselves within the pages, yet also learn something about someone else.

All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
All Are Welcome
written by Alexandra Penfold
illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
published by Knopf Books for Young Readers
available now!

From the publisher:  Follow a group of children through a day in their school, where everyone is welcomed with open arms.  A school where kids in patkas, hijabs, and yarmulkes play side by side with friends in baseball caps.  A school where students grow and learn from each other's traditions and the whole community gathers to celebrate the Lunar New Year.  All Are Welcome lets young children know that no matter what, they have a place, they have a space, they are welcome in their school.

See, I already know how important this book is going to be because I could have used it last year.  I got to spend time in a 4th grade class doing #classroombookaday.  The teacher and I spent time selecting books that had to do with community so at the beginning of the year we could set the foundation for cooperative and respectful learning.  I thought we did a great job.  But then something happened that reminded me we needed more conversation.  We were doing some learning around the theme that working together we can do more.  The kids had a short video clip to watch and take notes about and then discuss.  The video takes place in a market somewhere in India.  The sights are different - it's a busy urban, outdoor market that is congested with people, cars, and other modes of transportation.  The sounds are different - Indian music is playing, you can hear people speaking in a different language.  It felt very unfamiliar to our students.  So you know how they reacted?  They laughed.  They didn't know what to do when something was so different that they didn't know how to process it.
At first I was upset.  How could they laugh when we had spent so much time talking about community?  But after taking a step back, I realized a few things:

  1. What did our community books look like?  Did they have characters that looked like us?  Did the situations in the book look and feel familiar?
  2. The students weren't being rude when they laughed, they just didn't know how to approach a new and different situation.  What books could I use to help with that?
After that lesson, we scratched our previously planned bookaday picture books and went with some new ones.  Books that looked and felt different.  We were able to have conversations and ask questions.  We learned the importance of initial reactions vs taking a minute and thinking about the situation first.

That is why I think a book like this is going to be important.  It takes a common experience, but makes it look and feel different, but lets the readers know it is ok.  Using the refrain "all are welcome" lets the reader know that while you see differences, it's ok.  The common experience for all of the children in the book is school, yet every student brings their own unique experiences to school, so it's a relief to know that all are welcome.  This book shows it's ok if things look different to us.  It's ok if things sound different to us.  In this situation, at school, we're welcome.  Discussions can be had about how to approach differences, how we can ask questions so we can understand.  What a positive reaction is when something looks different, sounds different.

Don't miss the note at the beginning of the book that talks about the origin of the book.  I love how the author and illustrator came together to make this into a story all of us can share with students.  And I love the poster that is behind the book jacket.  I think this book may lose its book jacket in many classrooms so the poster can be proudly displayed!

I really hope that every classroom, every library, has a copy of this book.  I hope that all students have the chance to read, share and discuss this story.

Monday, July 16, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.16.18

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

Last week I shared the lists of books I have cultivated for potential Mock activities this fall.  Take a look - what would you add?

Mock Caldecott... so far

Mock Geisel... so far

Mock Sibert... so far

Picture Books

Neck & Neck
Neck and Neck
by Elise Parsley
I read this book so quickly at ALA and knew it was a book I needed to own.  A delightful story about a real giraffe who gets incredible jealous of giraffe balloons.  A great one for A-ha Moments if you teach Notice and Note signposts.  This is a mentor text I can use for a specific purpose, but also one that kids are going to just enjoy hearing, probably over and over!

We Don't Eat Our Classmates
We Don't Eat Our Classmates
by Ryan T. Higgins
If you're looking for the first book to read to your students to show them all the fun reading they are going to do in your classroom then this is the book you want to select!  I laughed and I read it out loud to the 13yo and then I read it out loud to my student I see this summer.  When in doubt, use a Ryan T. Higgins book!!!

What Can a Citizen Do?
What Can a Citizen Do?
written by Dave Eggers
illustrated by Shawn Harris
I cannot wait for this book to be published on 9.11.18!  It is going to be one to share over and over.  After reading through it a few times already, I think I would like to put the text down by itself.  This book is full of important truths and statements and I think readers of all ages will find a lot to talk about.
Make sure this one is on your preorder list.

What's Cooking, Moo Moo?
What's Cooking, Moo Moo?
by Tim Miller
I love that Moo Moo and Mr. Quackers are back in an all new adventure.  This time the quirky pair are opening up their own restaurant.  However, the only menu item is the Moo Moo Special.  I'm not going to tell you what it on it, but let's just say Mr. Quackers has to come to the rescue.... or does he???  I shared this one with my 5yo niece and we laughed out loud throughout the book!

Everything You Need For a Treehouse
Everything You Need for a Treehouse
written by Carter Higgins
illustrated by Emily Hughes
As a kid, I loved playing in all different kinds of forts.  But what I really wanted was a treehouse.  I had it designed in my head, there would be doors, windows and multiple rooms.  This is the book I wish I had because the designs in it have me thinking about treehouses all over again!  Lyrical text from Higgins is paired up with whimsical illustrations from Emily Hughes.  I can see kids getting lost in these illustrations!

One of a Kind
One of a Kind
by Chris Gorman
This book is going to be read for #classroombookaday very early on in the school year!  It celebrates that it's ok to be unique and to be yourself, but also acknowledges it's ok to be in a group of people who share your interests.  
Pair this with Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival.

Novels in Verse

Ebb and Flow
Ebb & Flow
by Heather Smith
I love that Smith decided to keep this story in verse - there's something about it that felt right to the voice of the story.
This is one where you know the main character has done something but you only get glimmers and peaks as the story goes along.  I think it builds up the contrast between what we know about the MC and what we find out.  Gives us perspective.
Great for upper middle grade readers.

Middle Grade

The Hotel Between
The Hotel Between
by Sean Easley
This book takes you on a wild ride, where you never know what country you'll be in next, nor do you know who to trust and who is your friend.  Easley has crafted a book that keeps you on your toes because the action doesn't really stop and you're constantly learning new information about the world he has created.
I loved how the main character, Cam, is multi-dimensional.  His early experiences of loss have made him a nervous soul who is constantly finding new ways he does not want to perish.  But he is also someone who has a deep love of family and will stop at nothing to keep them, or bring them back, together.
This is a book I thoroughly enjoyed even though I read it under rough circumstances - I don't recommend reading this book while exercising, the constant up and down of the elliptical did not make it smooth going!  I also read this book via an early e-galley.  I have a hard time falling into the story when reading electronically.  And with all of the twists and turns, I wish I could have flipped back to pages and reread (I haven't mastered how to do this electronically).  With that said, whenever I find that I really enjoyed a book despite these circumstances, I know my experience would have been even better with a paper copy.  That makes it easy to tell you go preorder this book.  You'll be glad to have it to pass to students in September.  Unless you read it first, of course....
Thank you Edelweiss for the early e-galley.

The Splintered Light
The Splintered Light
by Ginger Johnson
This book was compared to The Giver and I can see some similarities.  In this world, many things that have to do with the senses seem to be missing - in the main character's world, it's color - and those that are called go to a place where they are able to build a posticum that brings these things together.  I would hand this book off to a reader who enjoys some science fiction and world building.
This book publishes Sept. 4th
Thanks to Bloomsbury and Britt Mitchell for the early copy!

The Door to the Lost
The Door to the Lost
by Jaleigh Johnson
Loved this new fantasy book by Johnson - in a new world where magic is bad, Rook and her friends must try and keep hidden because the magic they have is seen as a bad thing.  But whenever a character is trying to stay hidden, you know all will go wrong.  
This is an exciting adventure and a real page turner.  
Give this to your readers who enjoy Brandon Mull's stories or Lisa McMann's The Unwanteds. 

by Jennifer Nielsen
Nielsen is by far one of my favorite writers.  You know when you start a book by her you are in for a treat.  Sometimes though, the treat is hard to take.  In her upcoming book, Nielsen returns to historical fiction, but as an amazing writer, has done her best to include actual people who fought valiantly for their beliefs.  This time Nielsen takes on the Jewish people's fight in Poland during WWII.  What I love about books like this, they give me new perspective on events I may not be well read on and give me new understanding.
My daughter's 7th grade class did a lot of reading and learning about this time period.  I know other middle school groups that do a lot of reading on different genocides.  This is a book that definitely should be in middle school libraries.
Don't miss this book on Aug. 28th.  Thank you Scholastic for the preview.

Currently Reading

The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast
The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast
by Samantha Clark
I'm starting this one tonight!

Trail of Lightning (The Sixth World, #1)
Trail of Lightning
by Rebecca Roanhorse
My library has it under Sci-Fi and it does have some other world things in it, but I love the bad ass characters!

What a reading week!  Hoping to power through another one this week!

Friday, July 13, 2018

Spotlight Friday - My 2019 Mock Caldecott list.... so far! 7.13.18

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!

We are halfway through the year and just months away from #mock season starting in schools!  This week I'm looking at some possible books I'll be putting on my list.  These are just possibilities, not definites.  Help me out - is there a title you're thinking about that is not on my list?  Add it to the comments so I can make sure to check it out!

Today I'm looking at books for Mock Caldecott!  Here's my thinking.... so far!

illustrated by Loren Long
written by Matt de la Peña

Hello Lighthouse
Hello Lighthouse
by Sophie Blackall

If I Had a Horse
If I Had a Horse
by Gianna Marino

Sleep Train
Sleep Train
illustrated by Lauren Eldridge
written by Jonathan London

They Say Blue
They Say Blue
by Jillian Tamaki

Julián Is a Mermaid
Julián is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love

Adrian Simcox Does Not Have a Horse
Adrian Simcox Does Not Hava a Horse
illustrated by Corinna Luyken
written by Marcy Campbell

A House That Once Was
a house that once was
illustrated by Lane Smith
written by Julie Fogliano

The Day You Begin
The Day You Begin
illustrated by Raphael López
written by Jacqueline Woodson

Drawn Together
Drawn Together
illustrated by Dan Santat
written by Minh Lê

Alma and How She Got Her Name
Alma and How She Got Her Name
by Juana Martinez-Neal

Ocean Meets Sky
Ocean Meets Sky
by The Fan Brothers

by Yuyi Morales

illustrated by Lauren Castillo
written by Juan Felipe Herrera

The Stuff of Stars
The Stuff of Stars
illustrated by Ekua Holmes
written by Marion Dane Bauer

by Raúl Colón

Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
Nothing Stopped Sophie: The Story of Unshakable Mathematician Sophie Germain
illustrated by Barbara McClintock
written by Cheryl Bardoe

Quite a list, huh?  Did I miss anything, what would you add?

Thinking about doing other Mocks?
Here's my 2019 Mock Geisel long list... so far post
Here's my 2019 Mock Sibert long list... so far post