Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - celebrating space! 6.19.19

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.


The next couple of days I'll be sharing some books that are out of this world!  Which means we're going to celebrate space.  Today I have some nonfiction picture books to share, tomorrow some chapter books for young readers!


Moon! Earth's Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty
Moon! Earth's Best Friend
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Love this series so much.  If you haven't checked out Earth and Sun, then you are really missing out on some great reads!
Moon tells us about how she was created, some facts about what she is made of, what you would find on her, and basic information about how/when/how often she rotates around Earth and the phases that occur. 
Readers will love the humor and enjoy learning more about Moon!

Go for the Moon by Chris Gall
Go for the Moon: A Rocket, A Boy, and the First Moon Landing
by Chris Gall
The story is told as a narrative as a young space enthusiast gets ready to watch the spaceship Saturn V and the attached space vehicle Columbia bring astronauts to the moon for the very first time.  We simultaneously get to see our young narrator reenact the liftoff and trip to space while also understanding more about this process through the information given, the illustrations and corresponding captions.  
It is clear in the beginning that the story takes place in the past, but then I can see kids get confused as the story goes on that this is still a factual retelling of an event that has already occurred.  It's probably best to make sure it is clear to young readers that this is an event that has already happened.

Full Moon Lore by Ellen Wahi
Full Moon Lore
written by Ellen Wahi
illustrated by Ashley Stewart
In the NGSS first graders study patterns in space.  One pattern we know is the phases of the moon.  Every month there is a full moon (and as this book tells you, every 2.7 years one month has 2 full moons (the last one was March 31, 2018.... want to know when the next one will occur?  Oct. 31, 2020!!) and as stories have it, each full moon represents something in nature.  This book shares the name of each monthly full moon and the reasons for the name.

The Girl Who Named Pluto by Alice B McGinty
The Girl Who Named Pluto: The Story of Venetia Burney
written by Alice B. McGinty
illustrated by Elizabeth Haidle
Really enjoyed this picture book biography!  Again, about a young person who showed passion very on for what she ended up making her life's work - Venetia Burney excelled in academics, particularly in math and sciences.  She questioned everything and wondered about it all.  When she learned about the discovery of a new planet and the contest to name it, she quickly came up with a name that was ultimately chosen.  Venetia thought about the stories behind other planets that had origins with Roman mythology to come up with "Pluto".  What a fantastic coincidence that the founder's initials were PL!
Interesting author's note giving us some more details about Venetia's life and the way scientists have since honored her contribution to science and history.
I also appreciated in the author's note McGinty tells the reader that most of this was based on factual evidence of Venetia's life, but some parts she filled in.

Once Upon a Star by James Carter
Once Upon a Star: A poetic journey through space
written by James Carter
illustrated by Mar Hernández
Thanks to Kellee Moye for putting this one on my radar!  Pair this with Marion Dane Bauer's The Stuff of Stars to talk to young readers about the big bang theory and evolution.  While not full of detail, I enjoyed the poetic nonfiction writing.  The illustrations are unique as well - bright, bold colors contrast with the darkness of space.


And don't forget the book I reviewed last month - If You Had Your Birthday Party on the Moon by Joyce Lapin.  My colleague shared the book trailer with students at the end of the year.  I'll leave it here for you to watch!





And because it goes along with the theme, you have to check out this new fiction picture book:


Small World by Ishta Mercurio
Small World
written by Ishta Mercurio
illustrated by Jen Corace
This gorgeous picture book celebrates perspective and the world around us.  We first meet young Nanda when she is a baby and the world around her is her family and the comfort they bring her.  But as Nanda grows, we see the world around her grow as she continues to explore new places and ideas around her.  Definitely featuring a STEAM piece in this storyline, the reader sees Nanda build and grow new ideas, from attending what seems to be a math/science school and building a machine that gets moved in the air by a pulley and wheel system, to flying an airplane, to flying in a rocketship and landing on the moon?  another planet?  It's from that perspective that Nanda sees the Earth as part of the larger universe and while Earth seems big, it's this perspective that reminds us that Earth is just part of something even larger.
With illustrations that have geometric patterns ingrained in them, Corace's work gels so well with Mercurio's storyline.  A beautiful picture book to have in your library!
I am grateful to author Ishta Mercurio for sending me this copy!  This book publishes July 2nd, make sure to add it to your TBR lists!


Happy out-of-this-world reading!

Monday, June 17, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.17.19

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

I shared some nonfiction picture books that were in my stacks.

I shared my first "Chapter Book Summer" post - this is a series that will feature chapter books targeted for 1st-5th grade.

Some future Mock Caldecott selections, as chosen by 4th grade students.

Picture Books

When Sadness Is at Your Door
When Sadness is at Your Door
by Eva Eland
Definitely a purchase for your SEL section of your library.  This book does a good job naming sadness, describing what it might feel like, and giving some tips on how a child might deal with those feelings, acknowledging that sadness might not always be around.

Bilal Cooks Daal
Bilal Cooks Daal
written by Aisha Saeed
illustrated by Anoosha Syed
Instead of food shaming, before judging food, first invite everyone over to try it!  
Bilal and his father, Abu, are making daal.  As described by Bilal, it's a delicious food but it takes a long time to prepare.  Because it's probably a new-to-them food, Bilal's friends are skeptical and make some not-very-nice comments at first.  But after participating in the preparation part, everyone gets a little anxious to try the new food.

I'm Worried
I'm Worried
written by Michael Ian Black
illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Another book for your SEL collection.  I've read quite a few books that are written about this emotion and this one has a slightly silly take that lightens the discussion just a bit.  A perfect Words of the Wiser moment if you're looking for books for signpost lessons.

Trains Run!
Trains Run!
written by George Ella Lyon and Benn Lyon
illustrated by Mick Wiggins
Train enthusiasts are going to love this rhyming text picture book.  Celebrating many different kinds of trains and the work they do, the rolling text and beautiful illustrations pair so well together.  Fun read aloud.

Leila in Saffron
Leila in Saffron
written by Rukhsanna Guidroz
illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova
Young Leila is trying to figure out who she is when a weekly trip to her grandmother's house helps her get perspective and understanding.

Middle Grade

The Clockwork Ghost (York, #2)
York:  The Clockwork Ghost
written by Laura Ruby
I think this series is THE smartest mystery series for middle grade readers.  Ruby writes to them instead of just about them.  There is an understanding that middle grade readers can follow well-written and well-developed storylines that sometimes is assumed they can't.
Theo and Tess and their friend, Jaime, are back at trying to solve the mystery of the cypher.  With complicated puzzles and clues laid out all over New York City and surrounding areas and unknown people on their trail, the trio of friends must work even faster to figure out the mystery.  
Ruby leaves us with quite the ending and definitely makes me want the next installation now!

All of Me
All of Me
by Chris Baron
This is a book that is so needed.  Books about body images, body shaming, and identity are needed.  This is a book I needed when I was growing up.
I've always had body issues.  No matter how hard I work out, how hard I diet, I've never been thin.  It's not in my genetic makeup.  But it was never harder to deal with than when I was in middle school and high school.  I absolutely was bullied about it - and back then I never would have said bullied, I would have just shamed myself into thinking it was my fault, I shouldn't look like that.  I never would have been able to look within myself and figure out who I wanted to be and figure out how to like myself.
While I dealt with this many years ago, kids are still going through it and that is why this book is so needed.  Baron deftly weaves a story that introduces us to Ari, who as an overweight middle grader, he definitely has body shaming issues and he uses it as a way to focus on the bad things about himself, to the point of self-harm.  The way Baron allows his character to grow throughout this novel in verse is beautiful and touching.  I also appreciated the way he brought other parts of Ari's identity (being Jewish and studying for his bar mitzvah - was it because his dad wanted him to or because it makes up who he is?) that all come together in this novel.
Some sensitive content in this story make it perfect for middle school and above.

Midsummer's Mayhem
Midsummer's Mayhem
by Rajani LaRocca
I really enjoyed this one - devoured it in a couple of days.  Mimi is an aspiring baker and has found a local contest that will connect her with her favorite celebrity baker!  But just when things start cooking for her, havoc starts within her family.  Between feuds, over-the-top affectionate suitors, and self-indulgences, her family is going to worry Mimi and not allow her to concentrate on her baking.  Luckily she has a new friend in Vik who helps her think more clearly... or does he?  With threads of Shakespeare's infamous story woven through, readers will love meeting Mimi and cheer for her as she tries to make her goal.
I was a little worried about the Shakespeare part, since I really don't know his work other than some Shakespearian allusions!  However, the author has placed enough information about the real story so even those without the background can figure out the connections.
Readers who enjoy stories about families and friendships, and especially those who love all of the reality TV baking shows, are going to love this book!

The 12th Candle
The 12th Candle
by Kim Tomsic
A coming of age novel you will want for your libraries!
A story about friendship and enemies, positives and negatives.
Two families are under a Contrarium Curse - if a positive happens to one, the opposite will happen to the other.
Young Sage is usually on the negative side of this curse.  But what if she could wish it all away?  After receiving a special candle, Sage gets to wish some of those positive things her way.
But sometimes it's all about perspective.  What is seen as a positive to some people, is not to others.  Sage learns a lesson in kindness along the way and understands the real power in reversing a curse.
You'll have to wait a little while for this one - Oct. 8th.  In the meantime, make sure you have it on your TBR list!

Young Adult

Frankly in Love
Frankly in Love
by David Yoon
Just make sure this is on your TBR this fall.  So much in this novel and so well written.  Frank is a character that you will relate to at some point in this novel.  Maybe because as first generation American in his family, he has the weight on his shoulders of being the perfect Korean son.  Especially since his older sister has been rejected by his parents because she fell in love with someone outside of their Korean race.  Or maybe you'll relate to him because he has fallen for someone his parents do not approve of.  Or maybe you'll understand the stress he is under as he studies for the SATs and AP tests and worry about the college he's accepted into and worry about being far away from his lifelong friends.  But just when things start to come together for Frank, his family really does start to fall apart.
What a debut for David Yoon!
Do not miss this book... you just have to wait a little while - Sept. 10th.

Currently Reading

The Paris Project
The Paris Project
by Donna Gephart
I've been hearing great things about this one!

Happy reading this week!  I'm off to ALA on Friday.  Looking forward to seeing the upcoming fall releases!

Friday, June 14, 2019

Selecting next year's Mocks 6.14.19

Image result for caldecott award                                          Image result for newbery award


I love our whole-school Mock unit.  Every class participates in a Mock - Geisel, Caldecott, Newbery. There's a lot of prep work before we even get to start reading.  The hardest part?  Selecting the books that will be read by the students and teachers.  Last year I started something new.  Our school goes up to the 4th grade.  It's their last year to participate in the Mocks.  They are always sad about that so to extend their experience with it, I invite the 4th graders to help me select next year's books.  

The last few weeks of school, when things start winding down, the 4th grade teachers read books during their #classroombookaday time that have some Caldecott buzz.  The students are familiar with the criteria so they are ready to help select the books.  Last year was my first year trying this out - and I'm so glad I did!  Their top choice last year was one I didn't think they would really relate to... Sophie Blackall's Hello Lighthouse.  Good thing I listened to them and kept that book in!  

Here's what the teachers read with the students:



Carl and the Meaning of Life
Carl and the Meaning of Life
by Deborah Freedman

The Undefeated
The Undefeated
illustrated by Kadir Nelson
written by Kwame Alexander

My Heart
My Heart 
by Corinna Luyken

Going Down Home with Daddy
Going Down Home With Daddy
illustrated by Daniel Minter
written by Kelly Starling Lyons

Sea Bear: A Journey for Survival
Sea Bear:  A Journey for Survival
by Lindsay Moore

Another
Another
by Christian Robinson

My Papi Has a Motorcycle
My Papi Has a Motorcycle
illustrated by Zeke Peña
written by Isabel Quintero

¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market
¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market
by Raúl the Third

You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks
You Are Home: An Ode to the National Parks
by Evan Turk


All of these selections had students who loved the book and illustrations for one reason or another, but the top three choices were:

1.  ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market
2.  You Are Home
3.  Sea Bear

Not sure what other picture books that will be published later in the year will also make it into our official 2020 Mock Caldecott, but I will absolutely keep these three in!


Now, onto our future Mock Newbery list!  Just like our Mock Newbery Club, I had 4th graders who chose to join this club.  These kids choose to join and we meet 1-2 times each month over their recess time!  We called our meetings Mock Newbery Selection Committee and they knew they were reading books that may be chosen for next year's Mock Newbery Club.

Books on their list included:

Extraordinary Birds
Extraordinary Birds
by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

Over the Moon
Over the Moon
by Natalie Lloyd

Shouting at the Rain
Shouting at the Rain
by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

The Bridge Home
The Bridge Home
by Padma Venkatraman

The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
by Brenda Woods

August Isle
August Isle
by Ali Standish

The Lost Girl
The Lost Girl
by Anne Ursu

New Kid
New Kid
by Jerry Craft

Caterpillar Summer
Caterpillar Summer
by Gillian McDunn

Maybe a Mermaid
Maybe a Mermaid
by Josephine Cameron


We didn't start meeting until the end of April which left only 5 weeks to read.  Not all of the books were read due to timing.  In the future, I would start the club earlier, if possible.  

Books they were very passionate about included:

1.  August Isle
2.  The Unsung Hero of Birdsong, USA
3.  New Kid


It looks like we're going to have a great 2020 Mock season!  What books are on your lists... so far?

Thursday, June 13, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer, week 1 - 6.13.19

Image result for summer reading

This summer I'll be sharing chapter books that are perfect for a range of readers.  
Stop by every Thursday and find a round up of books you'll want to use with your readers!


If you are a regular reader of my blog, you know that a passion of mine is to share books that are appropriate for our younger readers - those who are starting their independent reading journey and those who are older but may need some supports.  This summer I'm featuring a round-up of books that are good for....

  • readers who are just starting chapter books.  They need shorter chapters, but high interest plots they will want to stick with.
  • readers who are older who need shorter books because they are still working on stamina.
  • readers who are looking for longer books - they want chapters - but aren't ready for middle grade novels yet.
  • readers who aren't quite ready for the complexities of longer novels.
No matter the length, no matter the size of the words, all of these books are engaging stories with high interest plots and memorable characters.  Some books make you laugh, some make you think, some you'll want to talk about.


This week I have a round-up of books that give just the right amount of chills!  Kids are always asking for the creepy and scary books - even if sometimes they don't really want the scariest!  Here are a few that might give them what they are looking for!

The Haunted House Next Door by Andrés Miedoso
Desmond Cole Ghost Patrol:  The Haunted House Next Door
written by Andres Miedoso
illustrated by Victor Rivas
In this series our main character is also our author :)  Andres and his family have just moved into a new home.  Thanks to neighbor Desmond Cole, now he knows it is a haunted house!  Luckily for Andres, Desmond is on Ghost Patrol and knows just how to handle the spiritual realm.  Andres and Desmond team up together and the rest of the series are about them handling the local spirits!  
Short chapters, larger font, and illustrations on every page make this a chapter book series that is perfect for those readers who are ready for longer texts (just over 100 pgs), but won't take them weeks to finish reading.  

Brute-Cake: A Branches Book (The Binder of Doom #1)
The Binder of Doom series
by Troy Cummings
I bet you're already familiar with "The Notebook of Doom" series.  It's well loved by readers, but has come to an end.  Now we're at the start of a new series by Cummings.  Alexander and his best buds from "The Notebook of Doom" series are back and so are the monsters.  It's time for the Super Secret Monster Patrol to team up again and make sure the town of Stermont is clear of monsters.  This time, all file notes go in a, you guessed it, a binder.
Although this series is shorter in length (coming in under 100 pgs), the font is a bit smaller, text longer, and plot just a bit more complex that the "Desmond Cole" series.  However as part of the Branches series, you know there will be lots of visual supports along the way to help the reader. 
The first book in the series is out and the second will come our way in September.

The Night Door by Frank Cammuso
Edison Beaker Creature Seeker: The Night Door
by Frank Cammuso
A graphic novel to complete this round-up of creepy books!  Edison is a character who is always afraid of the dark.  To help him, his father gives Edison a flashlight to keep away the nighttime monsters.  Soon after gifting him the flashlight, his father disappears.  A few years go by and now Edison and his younger sister, Tesla, are being watched over by their Uncle Earl.  Uncle Earl gets a work phone call and they are all off to go get rid of some pests as part of the family business, Creature Seekers Pest Control.  It's very quickly we realize that the pests aren't of the buggy nature, but actual monsters.  Edison and Tesla have to go through the Night Door in order to save their Uncle Earl.  Fighting monsters, creatures and his own fears, it's up to Edison to keep his family together.  Full of just enough creatures and suspense to give you the shivers, this series (next book publishes in November) is sure to be a hit!


Hope you found a new series to add to your library!  Keep stopping by on Thursdays this summer to find some other books for your newly independent readers!




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.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - what's in my nonfiction stack? 6.05.19

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.


Some nonfiction books that have been in my stacks:


The Truth about Crocodiles by Maxwell Eaton III
The Truth About Crocodiles
by Maxwell Eaton III
I've really enjoyed this series.  Humorous voice, interesting facts, lots of learning.  In all of the books I've always read something that made me look at the animals in a new, curious way.  This one, nope, still don't like crocodiles!  But I certainly learned some new reasons not to like them too!

Handimals by Silvia  Lopez
Handimals: Animals in Art and Nature
written by Silvia Lopez
art by Guido Daniele
This book is amazing.  Kids are going to pour over the photos of the animals because they are all created with paint and hands.  It is AMAZING how everything lines up so perfectly!  The artist creates these animals to bring awareness to the animals and their surroundings for conservation efforts.  Lopez provides some narrative that gives information about each animal and what makes them unique.

Our Flag Was Still There by Jessie Hartland
Our Flag Was Still There: The True Story of Mary Pickersgill and the Star-Spangled Banner
by Jessie Hartland
While Betsy Ross is credited for the design of our flag, do you know the story of the flag from the War of 1812?  The one that inspired the Star-Spangled Banner?  This is the story of that flag - the one that measured 42 feet by 30 feet.... the flag that waved after a full day of fighting... the flag that continued to wave as the British retreated.
It's a story that probably isn't as widely told but has a place in our history.
Add this one to your history collections!

I Campaigned for Ice Cream by Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw
I Campaigned for Ice Cream: A Boy's Quest for Ice Cream Trucks
written by Suzanne Jacobs Lipshaw
illustrated by Wendy Leach
There are a lot of picture book biographies about people who have made a difference in the world.  They fought hard for something, showed a whole lot of determination, and changed the world.  But most of those people are adults - some young adults, some old adults.  It's hard to find books that show a child making a difference in the world.  And if we want to inspire this generation to by changemakers, then they should probably read about how kids can make a difference!
That's exactly what young Josh Lipshaw did when he found out it was outlawed for ice cream trucks to roam the streets of his town.  He followed the proper protocol to change the laws and that's what he did!  
Backmatter has a note from the author and a glossary of terms used to talk about the protocol vocabulary to change a law.


Hope you found some more nonfiction reading!