Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - What's In My Pile? series - math and science 10.18.17

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.

I have had a large number of nonfiction picture books in my piles lately, that I decided to make October into the "What's in My Pile? series".  Today I'm spotlighting books about math and science!

How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?: Answers to Your Most Clever Math Questions
How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?
by Laura Overdeck

This book is perfect for math buffs, world records and crazy facts readers!  Whether you want to try and follow the math in the book or just read the crazy answers and fascinating facts, everyone will be amazed!  The facts are sent in by children so they are just the perfect amount of crazy that young readers will want to know the answers to - like "how many balloons would it take to carry me into the air?" or "how many raindrops does it take to fill a glass?"
At the end of the book are some great math tricks that you can use to amaze your friends, or just answer math facts quickly!

Full of Fall by April Pulley Sayre
Full of Fall
by April Pulley Sayre

If you haven't seen Sayre's seasons books, well, really, any of her books, you need to change that!  Beautiful, poetic lines that are full of science wonderings and photographs that draw you in.  You'll find yourself rereading over and over - first to just enjoy the words, then you'll want to pour over the photos, then you'll read the scientific information in the end notes and need to go back to those pages to ponder all of the meaning in the verse or the photograph.... you'll want a lot of time with this book!

Magnets Push, Magnets Pull
Magnets Push Magnets Pull
written by David A. Adler
illustrations by Anna Raff

If you teach third grade, I'm guessing you're adding forces into your science units as part of the NGSS.  This book is a must have because of the explanations (including where NOT to test magnets) and all the easy experiment ideas.  With so much science lessons being hands on right now, this book gives plenty of ideas!

Droughts by Melissa Stewart
written by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Andre Ceolin

We are experiencing drought conditions in the upper northern corner of Illinois right now.  I used this book as a description text during #classroombookaday to help us talk about main idea and key details.  The students were caught up in the text - I am so glad to have nonfiction texts like this that give great information and are interesting to read.  Even if your area isn't experiencing a drought, perfect text to introduce the concept, or use it for description text structure, or to explore the many text features, or show endnotes, or.... well, just read this book!

The New Ocean by Bryn Barnard
The New Ocean: The Fate of Life in a Changing Sea
by Bryn Barnard

Despite what some people believe, our climate is changing and making an impact on our oceans, which impacts ocean life.  Humans are also making choices that will affect our oceans in a devastating way.  The author sets out to show how these changes are affecting marine life.  The first two page layout shows artwork of the animal or creature along with factual information.  The next two page layout shows artwork and has corresponding text of how either climate changes or human decisions are affecting that particular marine life.  The end pages give further information using maps to show the sections of ocean that are affected by garbage patches and high acidic levels.  A fascinating study that should open eyes and hopefully inspire this generation to help protect our Earth.

Lots of great texts that can be used across the curriculum!

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - The Nutcracker Mice 10.17.17

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.

I have fond memories of seeing The Nutcracker at Christmastime when I was younger.  While I liked the show, I enjoyed the experience even more - going to the theater, being with my family, and dressing up for something nice!

The Nutcracker Mice
The Nutcracker Mice
written by Kristin Kladstrup
illustrated by Brett Helquist
published by Candlewick Press
October 24th

Goodreads summary:
Hidden in Saint Petersburg's famed Mariinsky Theater are the world's tiniest ballet fans: the Mariinsky mice, including Esmeralda, a rising dancer in the Russian Mouse Ballet Company. Despite being unable to control her tail, Esmeralda has just been assigned the lead role of Clara in a ballet debuting at Christmas: The Nutcracker. But when she learns that the new ballet features mice as villains, her excitement turns to horror: the mice of Saint Petersburg will never come to see such a production. Meanwhile, nine-year-old Irina is convinced that the mice she's seen in the Mariinsky -- the mice her father, the custodian, is supposed to exterminate -- are not only fans of the ballet, but dancers themselves. No one will believe her, so it falls to Irina to help save the mice everyone else considers vermin . . . and perhaps to help Esmeralda ensure the future of the mouse company. Sweet and inventive, Kristin Kladstrup's ballet fantasy features artwork by beloved illustrator Brett Helquist, old-fashioned drama, and just a touch of holiday magic.

I really enjoyed the changes in this book to The Nutcracker.  As mentioned before, I liked going to see the ballet, but as a child, find it confusing to figure out the storyline when it is only told through dance.  The changes that Esmeralda and family make fit to making it more enjoyable and relatable.  The adventures they go on to obtain costumes and sets are fun and exciting.  This will be a fun holiday read that can be enjoyed year round.

I first heard about this book from my dear book friend, Victoria Coe.  She thought this would be a book that would be perfect for our #road2reading challenge posts, and she was right!  This is a book that will appeal to a variety of readers in the upper primary to intermediate grades.  It's a longer book, coming in at over 300 pages, but it has a lot of illustrations (done by the amazing Brett Helquist) that help provide visual supports for readers.  This book has shorter chapters and it has a smaller size, so shorter pages, all which will help support readers.  I think this book will appeal to readers who enjoyed Firefly Hollow, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp or Appleblossom the Possum.  

Don't miss this book when it publishes next week!  It will be a great one to add to your collection this season.

Stop by Alyson's blog to check out a new nonfiction chapter book series.

Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading?  Link up here!

Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.16.17

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

I have quite a stack going of early readers and chapter books.  Here's what jumped out.

I continued my What's in my Nonfiction Pile series with animal books.

The last few months have been full of some awesome middle grade.  Paper Chains is another one to add to your list.

Some great books that have math connections here.

Picture Books

A Different Pond
A Different Pond
written by Bao Phi
illustrated by Thi Bui
I've seen this book on a few lists now and I'm glad I finally got to read it.  It's another great book to add to your refugee collection.

Give Me Back My Book!
Give Me Back MY Book!
By Travis Foster and Ethan Long
You know how kids read what we praise?  Perfect example right here!  It's funny and kids will have a good giggle over this one.

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite
Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Edward Hemingway
This book is just super fun!  Perfect for siblings, perfect for everyone.  And the ending made me smile.  A lot!

A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
written by Penny Parker Klostermann
illustrated by Ben Mantle
Very fun fractured fairy tale.  The endings were unique and perfect for the story.

I Have A Balloon
I Have a Balloon
written by Ariel Bernstein
illustrated by Scott Magoon
This is a must have.  Young readers are going to love this book, adults will love reading it out loud.  A book that sums up sharing and wanting.  Isn't it funny how kids (and adults) want something right at that exact moment, yet once the moment passes, or once you get that thing you want, there's a new want you want??  This book is it.  I want it.  Now.  

Hooray for Books!
Hooray for Books!
by Brian Won
Another fun story in the "hooray" series!  Turtle is searching for a missing book and along the way he finds his friends and together they have quite a collection of books!

Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna, The Very First Chicken
Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna The Very First Chicken
written by Douglas Rees
illustrated by Jed Henry
Have you ever wanted to know why there are no tyrannosaurus rexes today, yet plenty of chicken?  Well, this book sets out to tell us why!  And while it's definitely a made up story, the laughs you hear will not be!

Middle Grade

by Supriya Kelkar
Oh this book!  So beautifully written.  This book taught me about a time in history I really did not know about.  I had to concentrate as I read it because the author uses culturally rich vocabulary and because I read an e-copy, I did not know there was a glossary at the end of the book.  Instead I really had to focus on the context to figure out words that were new to me.  
I think upper middle grade classrooms and libraries would benefit from this diverse and historically rich text.  Upper elementary readers who enjoy historical fiction may need some support, but will also benefit from this book.  No doubt readers who find this book a "mirror" text and can relate to the culture in the book will treasure reading this story.

Young Adult

Turtles All the Way Down
Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green
Let me first get this out of the way.  I am the only person I know who did not like TFioS.  I didn't like the way the characters spoke.  Although I've been assured, teenagers do get all philosophical like that, I just felt it was forced and not real.  
I had read the premise of this book when it was first announced and thought it sounded interesting.  I knew I would read it as soon as it came out, before there was too much hype so I could make my own decision about this book.  Having not liked a majorly well loved John Green book made me really want to have my own opinion and not be influenced by others.
Then before I read it I read the background about it.  That John Green, like the main character of the book, also suffers from anxiety and OCD.  And I read about what that is like and where his mind takes him and how debilitating it could be.  
And then I read it.
It took about 50 pages or so.  The first part I really didn't know where he was taking us in this book.  And then it got amazing.  
I don't know what it's like to suffer from anxiety.  I've been anxious plenty of times.  I've broken down because of stress and being overwhelmed.  But it's not the same as someone who suffers from true anxiety.  
I have a OCD tendencies.  But not like this.
The writing is amazing in this book because it comes from a very true place.  Everything about the character of Aza felt true and right.  
After reading this book I still don't really get what it's like to suffer from anxiety and OCD.  But like what other diverse books are doing, it's shining light onto this issue and making all of us think just a little more.

Currently Reading

Greetings from Witness Protection!
Greetings From Witness Protection!
by Jake Burt
Looking forward to starting this one this week!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Spotlight Friday - looking at math! 10.13.17

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!

It seems like no matter what you're teaching in math, there is a book to use for that!  Some new(er) books you may want to add to your curriculum:

Twinderella, a Fractioned Fairy Tale by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Twinderella: a Fractioned Fairy Tale
written by Corey Rosen Schwartz
illustrations by Deborah Marcero

A great book to use when you're introducing fractions!  Using a familiar story in a fractured way (see what I did there???) kids will love this new take that can be used over different areas of curriculum.

The Cookie Fiasco (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!, #1)
The Cookie Fiasco
by Dan Santat

And don't forget to include this hilarious story about fractions!

written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen

An interesting tale of friendship, a fun discussion of fitting a round peg into a square hole... or a square into a triangle door....  

How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?: Answers to Your Most Clever Math Questions
How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?
by Laura Overdeck

This book is a must for math classrooms!  Whether you're using the problems for fun, for whole group, for challenge, for creative thinking.... or many other reasons... this is a fantastic collection of crazy and silly math questions.

Ada Lovelace: The Poet of Science
Ava Lovelace: The Poet of Science
written by Diane Stanley
illustrated by Jessie Hartland

Don't let this title fool you.  As much as Ada Lovelace did for us in the areas of science, this is also a wonderful biography of a woman who had an amazing mathematical mind!

The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
written by Deborah Heiligman
illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Great biography to show the passion someone had for this field!

Happy mathematical reading!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Paper Chains - a review 10.12.17

I can't believe the middle grade books this year.  They all scream to my middle grade self.  These are the books I loved as a kid.  These are the books that I love passing on to readers now.  What I love about them... they are smart, they have endings that get it right - because middle grade readers?  They know when they don't.  A new book you've got to pick up:

Paper Chains
Paper Chains
by Elaine Vickers
published by Harper Collins
October 17th

Meet Ana and Katie.  They are your typical middle schoolers.  Except maybe they have a few secrets inside.  Secrets that feel safer on the inside, than in the minds of others.  Except these secrets are starting to tear them apart.  Both on the inside and the relationships they have with their family and each other.

Take Ana.  She seems to have it all together.  She's funny and nice and seems confident.  But really she's hiding the fact that her family has fallen apart.  Her father, a famous NHL player has left their family.  And when he left, he took a part of their mom with him.  It's hard for her to take care of Ana and her younger brother, Mikey.  Someone has to do it, so that falls on Ana's shoulders.  But then Babushka comes to stay with them and her old school Russian ways aren't going over well with Ana.  But instead of confiding these secrets, she keeps them, well, secret.

Katie has a very loving family - her parents dote on her.  She always knows what to say to make the situation seem better.  But really, Katie is just as broken as Ana on the inside.  She feels like she may always break because she has a faulty heart.  She's had heart surgery and needs to be very careful.  But Katie feels if she lets people know this information they will see her as weak.  And the big secret, she is adopted and wants to know more about where her origins are, what the people she is truly related to are like.  But that secret will really hurt the relationship she has with her parents, so it stays on the inside too.

We see this information that neither of the girls will share and how it impacts everything they do.  This story could have gone in several directions.  It could have been predictable, with these secrets coming to a classic collision.  Instead, Elaine Vickers uses them in a way that is smart and compassionate.  I don't want to give anything away, but I want you to know that I was really happy with the way things came together.  It surprised me and touched my heart. 

I think middle grade readers will see themselves in this book.  Not necessarily in the same situations as Katie and Ana, but they'll have had secrets before.  They'll have had that feeling where they don't know who to trust, when to speak up.  They'll know what it's like to not be able to say the right thing or find the right words.  They'll understand that feeling of being unsure and not knowing what to do.

This book will touch their hearts!

Make sure you find a copy of this book next week on October 17th.  Read it quick because you might not see it again until the end of the school year - it's going to be loved!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - What's In My Pile? series - animal books 10.11.17

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.

I have had such a large number of nonfiction picture books in my piles lately that I decided to make October into the "What's in My Pile? series".  Today I'm spotlighting books about animals!

Moto and Me by Suzi Eszterhas
Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat's Foster Mom
by Suzi Eszterhas
published by Owlkids Books

I waited a long time to get my hands on this book and it was definitely worth it!  Absolutely loved the story - anyone who enjoys animal stories will have their heart wrap around this story.  Longer story - usually full print one one to one and half pages and either full page photo or half.  Divided into chapters, each with a title that clearly explains what it will be about.  Should be well loved by readers in 3rd-5th grades.

The Great Penguin Rescue: Saving the African Penguins
The Great Penguin Rescue: Saving African Penguins
by Sandra Markle
published by Millbrook Press

If you're not familiar with this series by Sandra Markle, it's time to change that!  This is the third in Markle's "Rescue" series and they are all such wonderful mentor texts for text structure.  I love how she explains the problem and then explores the possible solutions scientists are exploring.  Causes and effects are detailed and explained.  Markle's endnotes always give other avenues to explore and additional understandings on topics.

Shell, Beak, Tusk by Bridget Heos
Shell Beak Tusk: Shared Traits and the Wonders of Adaptation
by Bridget Heos
published by HMH

NGSS has several grade levels looking at animal adaptations, animal survival and problem solving using adaptations.  This book would be perfect to use in this type of study.

How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy
How to be an Elephant
by Katherine Roy
published by Macmillan

If you aren't familiar with Katherine Roy's Neighborhood Shark and now this one, than you need to remedy that immediately.  Fascinating nonfiction, gorgeous illustrations - Roy knows how to make nonfiction so very cool.  
I read this book this past week for #classroombookaday and even the student who freely admitted they did not care for nonfiction really enjoyed this book!

Run for Your Life! by Lola M Schaefer
Run For Your Life!
written by Lola M. Schaefer
illustrated by Paul Meisel
published by Holiday House

I've had this one on my list for a long time, glad it finally became available.
Using lively verbs, a reader gets a sense for the movement of predators and prey in the savanna.  We also see who is on the top of the food chain!

Hope you found an animal book or two for your readers!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - What's in my stack? 10.10.17

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.

I took some time yesterday and read some early readers and chapter books.  Here's what was in my stack!

We Need More Nuts! by Jonathan Fenske
We Need More Nuts!
by Jonathan Fenske
I love Fenske's work.  If you aren't already familiar with him, be sure to check out the Geisel Honor winning  A Pig, a Fox and a Box and I love the snarky Barnacle is Bored and Plankton is Pushy.  We meet a new duo in this book who apparently are storing up some nuts for winter time.  A number concept book, young readers are encouraged to building their counting skills as one of the squirrel's mouths gets stuffed with nuts!  As with all Fenske's books, readers will giggle and smile along with the crazy hijinks in this story!

Meet the Bobs and Tweets by Pepper Springfield       Perfecto Pet Show (Bobs and Tweets #2)
Meet the Bobs and Tweets
Bobs and Tweets Perfecto Pet Show
written by Pepper Springfield
illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
This early chapter book series reminds me of reading a Dr. Seuss book - fun, silly rhymes with a story that is a bit wiser than you may originally think.
The Bobs and Tweets families are complete opposite from each other and are recent new neighbors.  Right there is a recipe for disaster - slobs and neat freaks living next door to each other?  It's up to the youngest Bobs and Tweets to show that even when you are opposites, there may be more similarities than you think.  Or maybe it's just that opposites attract!
In the second book, the Bobs and Tweets learn to work together and along the way they figure out how each of their strengths help the others with their problem.
Thank you to Kellee Moye for introducing me to this series and passing the first one along!

King & Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse by Dori Hillestad Butler
King and Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse
written by Dori Hillestad Butler
illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Oh, I just love these stories about King/Buddy the Dog.  This early chapter book series is sure to delight young readers.  It has a mystery, a dog that talks to the reader, short chapters, and always a fun story.  I hope this series continues for awhile!

Did you see something to add to your stacks?  Happy early reading!

Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading?  Link up here!