Thursday, July 2, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer series - graphic novels for independent readers - 7.02.2020

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!



I am so excited to see publishers are putting out graphic novels for the earlier reader.  Graphic novels are well loved for many many reasons, but one of the things that readers love most about graphic novels are the visuals it provides that closes a gap for readers who are having trouble visualizing.  I see so many readers who have trouble sticking with a middle grade novel and amongst other reasons, it is because they do not understand what is happening in the story.  Often, these same readers can read and understand every word, but they may not be creating the mental images needed to help them remember what happened in chapter one and carry those events to what happens in chapter 10.  Graphic novels are often that bridge to aid comprehension for those readers.  With a graphic novel, you don't get a visual for everything that happens, just like you don't get text that explains everything that happens.  You have to put the two together.  By giving readers the visual supports, they are able to gain the stamina to read longer stories on their own.  Now that we are getting graphic novels for readers who are ready to read a bit more independently on their own, we're getting even more readers hooked on the independent reading journey! 

I'm listing the books today in ladder format.  Each book is a bit longer, words are a little more sophisticated, and stories more complex.  

I have also seen quite a few graphic novels coming in the fall.  I'll include those at the end.

Pizza and Taco by Stephen Shaskan
Pizza and Taco: Who's the Best?
by Stephen Shaskan
Divided into chapters, Pizza and Taco love having fun together, but when a conversation about all things that are the best turns into who is the best, a new competition begins.  Who will win, Pizza or Taco?
Chapters, easy to follow frames, and short talk bubbles keep this book perfect to read for young readers.

Baloney and Friends by Greg Pizzoli
Baloney and Friends
by Greg Pizzoli
Pizzoli's books for young readers often make me laugh out loud and this one was no different.  Featuring a cast of characters, all with different personalities, kids will laugh at the escapades these characters have.  Told in episodic chapters that are separated by mini-comics, this is an early graphic novel that will keep readers wanting more.  I like that the talk bubbles are color coded to the color of the character talking. 
Looking forward to more in this series!

Kitten Construction Company by John Patrick Green
Kitten Construction Company: A Bridge Too Fur
by John Patrick Green
with color by Cat Caro
I really love this series.  The Kitten Construction Company is adorable, clever, and they seem to learn a lesson that is a perfect jumping off point for readers.  In this book, the concept of being prejudiced is brought up and I think using this book for a conversation about that would be 100% appropriate right now.
The main character learns a lesson in this story, and while his realization takes all of one frame, I do like that the storyline shows him understanding what he did wrong, admitting it, and then fixing his mistake.  I've seen a lot of books published lately where the character doesn't own up to the mistake, doesn't take responsibility or learn from the mistake.  Not really a great role model there.
The book size allows for larger panels and bigger talk bubbles.  There are more sentences in each talk bubble, but they are easy to follow.
I hope there will be more coming in this series!

Fox & Rabbit by Beth Ferry
Fox & Rabbit
written by Beth Ferry
illustrated by Gergely Dudás
Another new series (yay, all of these are series which means our readers have more to look forward to!) about two friends.  Each friend has definite characteristics, Fox is more carefree, while Rabbit is cautious.  But they both enjoy being together and have adventures together.  While each chapter is its own story, there is a piece from the preceding chapter that carries over.  And at the end of each chapter something happens that will make you giggle!
These stories are a little longer and there is a bit more happening on each page and in each frame.  Some pages had 8 frames to read, so certainly more to get to than the previous books.  Sometimes the characters go back and forth in their dialogue and readers have to know how to read talk bubbles when the conversation does that.
Looking forward to more adventures with these two!

InvestiGators by John Patrick Green
InvestiGators
by John Patrick Green
A new series that will be well enjoyed by the DogMan crowd!  Green (who is on a graphic novel roll - also the author of the Kitten Construction Company above) introduces us to Mango and Brash, two 'gators that happen to be investigators.  
This graphic novel is the most sophisticated of all the ones I have listed.  There are multiple plot lines, some of them come together at the end, but there are definitely some loose ends, which leads us to... the sequel!
The characters will appeal to young readers, and older readers will get some of the snarky jokes and puns.  Coming in at just under 200 pages, this will be a great ladder book for those who are getting ready to read longer graphic novels.


Coming this fall:


Bunbun  Bonbon by Jess Keating
Bunbun and Bonbon: Fancy Friends
by Jess Keating
An upcoming series by Jess Keating celebrating two new friends who learn that they are excited about so many things, including enjoying all things fancy!
Colorful text, no more than five frames on a page, and the text in the talk bubble is pretty short - all things that will engage young graphic novel readers!
Publishes Sept. 1st

Squidding Around by Kevin Sherry
Squidding Around: Fish Feud!
by Kevin Sherry
This graphic novel will be well loved by readers, but adults may have a problem with it.  The character of Squizzard is rude, not a nice friend, and takes a really long time to fix any mistakes.  Readers will see right away that Squizzard is not a nice friend when he over and over makes his BFF, Toothy (a great white shark who is very gentle), always be the secondary character (ex. the bad guy, the first mate) when they play, plays rude jokes on him, and blames Toothy for his own shortcomings.  Once it is pointed out to Squizzard, it may be too late to fix things, Toothy may be too upset.  It takes Squizzard a really long time to admit he was wrong.  He does try to fix his mistake, but I'm not sure we'll see a different Squizzard in the next book or not.  
A bit more sophisticated than Bunbun and Bonbon, but with it's easy to follow plot and characters, young readers will enjoy it.  Just hope they notice Squizzard's faults faster than the character!
Publishes Sept. 1st



Here are a few that I have not had the chance to review yet:


Arlo & Pips: King of the Birds
Arlo and Pips: King of the Birds
by Elise Gravel
publishes Oct. 6th

Pea, Bee,  Jay #1: Stuck Together
Pea, Bee, and Jay: Stuck Together
by Brian "Smitty" Smith
publishes Sept. 1st
Looks like book 1 and 2 will both be published that day!

Puppy Problems
Peanut, Butter, and Crackers: Puppy Problems
by Paige Braddock
publishes Sept. 22nd


I am so excited we have these books for our readers.  They are so necessary and I'm glad publishers are seeing and meeting that need.  

But... did you notice.... all of these books feature animal characters.  While kids love that, they also love realistic fiction graphic novels that are reflections of their own lives.  My next request.... graphic novels for this age group that are written by BIPOC authors and feature characters of color....





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, July 1, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - picture book biographies - 7.01.2020


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.


Ready for some more picture book biographies?  I have you covered!


Hard Work, but It's Worth It by Bethany Hegedus
Hard Work, But It's Worth It: The Life of Jimmy Carter
written by Bethany Hegedus
illustrated by Kyung Eun Han
President Carter is the first president I really remember being in office, even though President Ford was in office when I was born.  Even now, I don't remember a whole lot about President Carter, except I do remember having a book about the presidents and being fascinated with his daughter, Amy!  I'm surprised this is the first picture book biography I've seen about his life, glad young readers will learn more about him.
This book covers his early life and lets readers get a feel for how he felt about the civil unrest of his times and how he wanted to confront it.  It covers his entry into politics and quickly gets to his time in office.  I'm especially glad it focused on the wonderful humanitarian work he has done since his time in office.

Jump! by Floyd Cooper
Jump!  from the life of Michael Jordan
by Floyd Cooper
I don't know how I don't have this biography.  One of the best things in my late teen, early adult years was growing up watching the Chicago Bulls and Michael Jordan.  I was very lucky that I got to see Jordan play in several games during that time.  The Bulls were absolutely electric to watch, but nothing was better than watching Jordan.
I really liked that this book focused on his foundations, what made him who he became.  You don't just step onto the court being that good, it's the years and decades that come before all of that.  The hard work and dedication that goes into everything.  
This is a book I need to buy for my library!

Ready to Fly by Lea Lyon
Ready to Fly: How Sylvia Townsend Became the Bookmobile Ballerina
written by Lea Lyon and A. LaFaye
illustrated by Sylvia Townsend
We always say books hold the power to open your world.  Well, Sylvia Townsend made that happen.  As a young girl she loved to dance, but because she lived in times of segregation, she could not find a ballet school that would allow her to attend because of the color of her skin.  She continued to teach herself ballet, checking out book after book from her local bookmobile!  She taught herself and soon taught other neighborhood girls.  After a ballet teacher saw what she could do, she became her mentor and Sylvia was on her way of a lifetime of dancing.
I thought it was an interesting choice to have the book told in the first person.  While Sylvia Townsend did write the foreword of the book, she is not listed as an author.

How to Solve a Problem by Ashima Shiraishi
How to Solve a Problem: The Rise (and Falls) of a Rock-Climbing Champion
written by Ashima Shiraishi
illustrations by Yao Xiao
This narrative nonfiction picture book is really amazing.  Ashima is a rock-climbing champion... and she's only a teenager!  The way she looks at her rock climbing path and viewing one "problem" at a time is really a fantastic way of looking at growth mindset.  She also talks about learning from her mistakes and gaining insight from them.  The timeline in the back is awe-inspiring - she's been climbing (the first known climb is from out of her crib, ha) since she was six, and solving rock climbing problems that put her at expert levels since she was eight!  Just amazing.


Happy July reading to all!  

Monday, June 29, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.29.2020

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.


How is it already the last Monday in June??  I feel like June is often the fastest month of the year.  Other months get super busy, but June - with its long days, great temperatures, lazy days - flies by since it's the start of summer.

Last Week's Adventures

Be sure to take a look at the new book by Melissa Stewart - Ick!  Readers will be pouring over these gross - I mean, amazing - facts!  Stop by and read the author interview and see some great interiors of the book!

On the Chapter Book Summer series, take a look at the new series by Harper Chapters.  If you have readers that like the Scholastic Branches series, you'll want to check them out!


Picture Books

How to Be a Pirate
How to Be a Pirate
written by Isaac Fitzgerald
illustrated by Brigette Barrager
I got this book from.... the library!!!  Our library has opened up for contactless pickup.  Right now they are only having patrons pick up books that were on hold when the quarantine day started.  I had 2... and one was for school so that was no longer needed!  This weekend I get to pick up more holds.  Books that I put on hold during quarantine were retrieved and books that had been ordered and have now been processed are ready.  So excited!
While this book is a how to book, it's also a tattoo telling story, and I love those!  A grandfather tells his granddaughter how to be a pirate by talking about what each of his tattoos represent - being brave, quick, independent, and fun!  
The endpages tell the story too, so don't miss them!

Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert
Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Deborah Hocking
The next book in the Max Explains Everything series, this time Max gives his readers the steps needed for when you get a puppy!
Publishes July 7th


Now for some beginning of the year reads!

First Day Critter Jitters
First Day Critter Jitters
written by Jory John
illustrated by Liz Climo
Cute beginning of the year school story.  Animals are shown with a trait that is typically known for their animal that makes them nervous about the beginning of the year - joey wants to stay in his mother's pouch, parrot repeats everything and is worried people won't like that, rabbit hops everywhere because of his nervous energy.  When they meet their teacher and finds out he is nervous too, it helps them work together and have a successful day.
Publishes July 7th.

All Welcome Here
All Welcome Here
written by James Preller
illustrated by Mary GrandPré
Written in connected haiku poems, a beginning of the year school day is explored by a cast of characters.
The one that really bothered me was a boy who was walking into his classroom, waddling and quacking like a duck and the teacher says, "yikes, he's in my class!"
My favorite was the library haiku that compared it to "the school's heart beat."

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Danbi Leads the School Parade
by Anna Kim
It is Danbi's first day of school in America and at first everything is different and she has trouble figuring things out.  But once she finds something she can do with all of the children she has fun. When kids find time to play, it's amazing how it can be a barrier that can cross  language and cultures.
Publishes July 7th

Middle Grade

Love, Ruby Lavender
Love, Ruby Lavender
by Deborah Wiles
I went back and looked when I purchased this book... 2015!  It's been in my pile for sometime, which is why it made it on my #mustread list for this year!
I really enjoyed meeting Ruby.  She's a dimensional character and is made up of equal parts good and equal parts snarky!  I loved getting to know all of her sides and seeing how her family, setting, and events made her who she is.
A perfect book for readers who enjoy heartstring books... I'm thinking Natalie Lloyd readers would enjoy getting to know Ruby!

Each Little Bird that Sings
each little bird that sings
by Deborah Wiles
Book #2 from the Aurora County series.  I would say this book gave me the same feels as Because of Winn Dixie.  And like Love, Ruby Lavender, Wiles gives us another character that is complex and then mixes in secondary characters that add to that complexity!  
Wiles includes the author acknowledgments at the beginning of the story, which is important because she explains how a piece of her life is in the writing of this story.
Have tissues....

Graphic Novel

Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones
by Lucy Knisley
This is Knisley's first step into middle grade and I really really hope it's not her last!  Based on her own experiences, Knisley gives us the character of Jen.  She's an only child from a divorced family.  She's always lived in the city, but not she's moving onto a farm with her mom and her mom's boyfriend.  She misses her dad, who appears to be busy at his city job, and the business of the city.  She does not enjoy life on the farm and taking care of chickens, which has become her responsibility.  And to make matters worse, her mom's boyfriend's kids come and stay on the farm on the weekends.  The girls don't always get along because their personalities are a little different.  But over time things start to change.
While I did not love the mom's boyfriend, I think this situation is also real.  I've seen a lot of reviewers talk about how he was abusive and never apologizes for it.  It will be a good conversation to have with readers.  But I also think there are readers that will see themselves within this situation and may feel comforted by it.  Just a thought.
Get multiple copies of this one, you'll need it!

Nonfiction

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
Stamped
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
If you haven't heard of this book by now, well, now you have, and now you need to read it.
I've put off learning more about how I can be anti-racist, by being, well, racist.  Meaning, I didn't think I needed to do this work, since I considered myself to be anti-racist.  But that's actually not what being an anti-racist is, nor is that understanding what being racist is.
I think this is a good book to start with if you're wanting to actively start doing anti-racist work.  You have to understand how our government's systems have continuously worked to raise the white person and simultaneously make the black person be less.  I could probably go through this book 100 more times before I fully understand everything I should understand.  I do understand that what I was taught in the classroom was wrong.  There are things I learned that happened out of the classroom that are wrong too.  Thanks, white-washed media.
I think the important thing with this book is to also make sure it's in the hands of kids.  Make sure more teachers of middle school and high school readers know about this book and get it into the curriculum.  Start now.

Adult reads

The Giver of Stars
The Giver of Stars
by Jojo Moyes
Jojo Moyes wrote my favorite adult read, Me Before You.  There's not a chance I will see the movie because I really don't want that book ruined for me!  I've actually put off reading the sequels because I'm pretty sure they won't live up to the first one.
I've read other books by Moyes but this one was definitely different from her other books.  It takes place during the New Deal era and tells the fictional story of the Kentucky Packhorse Librarians.  The majority of the story was really good and I have never read anything about these women.  Although fictional, it was interesting to learn more and think about what these women did, getting books to readers.  It took awhile for me to get into the story.  The beginning was a bit boring, but I'm glad I stuck with the book.  Then the ending wrapped up quickly and neatly and it was over.  Lots of detail and then.... done.
But if you enjoy historical fiction and you like librarians :) this is a good one to read.  I did read about some controversy between this book and another title about the Kentucky Packhorse Librarians.  I saw accusations, but I'm not sure anything was ever proven.  I guess I'll leave it at that?

Currently Reading

The Aurora County All-Stars
The Aurora County All-Stars
by Deborah Wiles
This is the third book in the series, and for a long time, the last book in the trilogy.  But Deborah had another story in her head and in 2018 published another book, a long line of cakes.  I was able to pick this one up from the library, so I'm guessing that will be my next read!  I'm excited to see Ruby Lavender makes an appearance!


Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer series - Harper Chapters series - 6.25.2020

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!



I love that publishers are sitting up and taking notice of a group of readers who are needing books.  The kids who want something a little longer.  The readers who want a story that continues over chapters.  But not too long.  But not too complex.  Scholastic has given us the Branches line for years and has followed it up with the Acorn line which are chapter books/graphic novels for the younger crowd.  Penguin has created Penguin Workshop and Simon and Schuster has the QUIX line.  Now Harper Collins has a new line called Harper Chapters.

Characteristics of these books:

  • illustrations on every page, some in color!
  • at the end of every chapter there is a line of squares that are equal to the number of chapters in the book.  When a chapter is completed, another square is colored in.  It's a visual celebration for the reader - whether it helps them know how much longer in the book or knowing they finished another chapter
  • the characters sometimes cheer you on at the end of a chapter
  • at the halfway point (ish), at the end of the chapter there is a question that makes you think about what is happening or predict what will happen
  • at the end of the book there is a congratulations page with lots of data - the numbers of chapters, pages, and words read.  Plus the characters are there cheering you on.
  • we hope stories help readers think, feel, and act - there are ideas at the end of each book to encourage readers to think, feel, and act more about the book
All of these characteristics can be helpful, the most important part is the story... is it a good story?  There are two series published now, and a third publishing in July.

The Candy Caper by Tom     Watson
The Trouble at Table 5 series
written by Tom Watson
illustrated by Marta Kissi
Written by the author that gave us the Stick Dog and Stick Cat series, this series is a realistic fiction series featuring a trio of friends and their adventures at school.  Featuring characters "with neuro-sensitivity and alternative learning styles", readers will enjoy reading how these characters attempt to problem solve in a familiar setting.

Sparkleton #1 by Calliope Glass
Sparkleton series
written by Calliope Glass
illustrated by Hollie Mengert
Seeing how popular the Branches' Unicorn Diaries series is with readers, I think Sparkleton already has a huge fan base!
Featuring a wide cast of unicorn characters, this series features Sparkleton, the unicorn who is waiting for his magic to arrive.  He's hoping for wish-granting magic, like his big sister and gramma.  Sparkleton is a little headstrong, but has a big heart, especially for his friends.  And he does have a lot of friends!  After reading the first book, I'm not sure I remember all of them but perhaps that will come over time as more books are published!

Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats by David  Bowles
13th Street series
written by David Bowles
illustrated by Shane Clester
Don't tell the others, but this one is my favorite!
Something for kids who are looking for a spooky tale (but maybe not that spooky).  
Three cousins have found a mysterious street, 13th Street, that doesn't appear on any maps.  On this street they have to use their brains and street smarts to defeat some creepy characters, but also meet some new and spooky friends!


Each series will be a four-book series that will publish over the next year.  There are four more series that will be publish between 2021-2022.  I think they will all be a hit with readers this fall.  I like that each series is different - genres... characters...  There is something for everyone and more to come!




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 24, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - June is for animal books, post 4 - 6.24.2020


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.


It's the last Wednesday in June and I'm excited to end my animal month with Melissa Stewart's newest book - Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses.  And as a special treat, Melissa has agreed to stop by and answer some delightfully disgusting questions!






First of all, don't read this book while eating!  One thing has to go, either the book or the food because I can't tell you how many times you're going to say "ewwwwwww"!  Of course, if you're reading with someone you want to torment, wait until they are eating and tell them some of the interesting facts!  I may or may not have done this to my 14yo daughter :)  It went over like you would expect it to, lol!
Second of all, get multiple copies of this book because all it's going to take is one reader to start sharing facts and everyone is going to want to get their hands on this book!  Just take a look at this spread!




The book is organized into three main parts - dinners, dwellings, and defenses.  Each section brings about its own level of grossness.  The dinners section really made my stomach turn.  I'll be honest.  I'm not going to look at pandas the same anymore... and you thought they just ate bamboo.....  The dwellings section make me really appreciate my home.  And the fact that I don't use any body by-products to line the walls!!!  And who knew poop and pee were such a strong line of defense?

Read the main section on each layout or just read the captions.  Read it from cover to cover, one section at a time, or just the animals you're interested in finding out more.  This expository nonfiction book will be read in multiple ways, multiple time, and by multiple readers.  It's a fascinating read that will leave you knowing the grossest of gross information you didn't even know you wanted to know!

Now I'm going to turn it over to Melissa Stewart.  Thank you for stopping by and answering some questions, Melissa!


How does a book like Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses come together? You've got the main text, the photographs, the captions—how do you organize everything?

Creating a browsable book like this one is all about teamwork and trust. It’s a much more complex and collaborative process than creating a novel or even a picture book because there are so many parts and so many people who help to put them all together.

When I submitted the manuscript, I provided notes (in blue type) describing my vision for the design and the text hierarchy. The main text is in larger type. On the top of the right-hand page, you can see a section called “Critter Challenge.” This was a math problem that originally appeared on each spread, but we eventually decided to cut them all.



Because there are so many text features, I was initially concerned that some kids might feel visually overwhelmed. But the uber-talented designers at National Geographic came up with a format that guides readers in navigating across the pages, from the headline in the upper left to the stunning central photo to the main text in the lower left to the captions and secondary text features on the right. I’m also a big fan of the bright, bold colors. The book is so kid friendly!



I also owe a huge debt to National Geographic’s super-dedicated photo-acquisition team. Of course, NatGeo has one of the richest photo archives in the world, but even when the NG photo team had to go to other sources, they worked tirelessly to track down just the right images through their network of contacts. A good example is the photos on the bone-eating snot flower worm spread. They came from researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California.

And of course, the book couldn’t exist without the contributions of my editor, Shelby Lees. She guided me through the editorial process AND coordinated the production process, pulling me into conversations as needed. She made sure that everyone involved had a voice, and that we all coordinated our efforts. Thank you, Shelby!


You've been working on this project for more than two decades. How have things changed since you started researching? Did any information change over time? 

I began collecting information for the book while on safari in Kenya and Tanzania in 1996, and my research file slowly grew over time. Scientists have known about some of the animal behaviors I describe for 100 years or more, but others of are more recently discovered. For example, researchers didn’t even know bone-eating snot flower worms exist until 2002. I was lucky enough to interview one of the scientists who has helped us understand these amazing deep-sea denizens.




How about technology—did you change how you wrote, researched, and collected new information?

I hear wonderful things about programs like Scrivener, and perhaps I should give them a try, but I still collect and organize information in the same way I have through most of my career, and it rarely fails me.



In my office, I have a large, three-drawer vertical file cabinet full of folders with information on all kinds of topics I think are interesting. Every time I read an article or hear an idea that fits one of my categories, I add it to the designated folder. Over time, the information adds up, and eventually, I may have enough information for a book.

For Ick!, I combined information from several files, including:
—animals that regurgitate,
—unusual animal homes,
—animals that use pee and poop in surprising ways,
—animals that spit
—cannibal animals

I’d used some of the information in these files in other ways in the past—an article about bird nests, a book all about honeybees, a book about how animals survive in hot, dry environments. For Ick!, I hunted through the files for examples related to my core concept—animals that depend on behaviors most people would consider disgusting to survive in the world.

As I gathered these materials, I added notes in a Word file that grew and grew and grew. Then as I was writing, I used Word’s search option to find the exact information I wanted at any time. Like I said, there may be better or more efficient systems, but this one works for me.


Researching this book had to be equal parts amusing, fascinating, and disgusting! What is a fact you were really excited to find?

Oh my goodness, there were so many! One of my favorite research sources was this
amazing video of a Japanese common toad vomiting an African bombardier beetle drenched with gooey mucus. For 88 minutes, the tenacious insect fought for its life by blasting the toad’s insides with nasty, sizzling-hot spray. Finally, the toad couldn’t take it anymore and spewed its supper. After a brief rest, the slime-covered beetle slowly crawled away. Of course, that HAD to go in the book!


 
 What do you want to tell educators/librarians about this book?

This is the kind of book that won’t win awards, and it won’t get starred reviews. Nevertheless, it should be in every classroom and library collection in America because, for some students, it can serve as THE gateway to literacy.

Fueled by natural curiosity, info-loving kids will toil away at the text until they conquer it. By encouraging struggling students to stretch and develop new skills, high-interest expository nonfiction books like Ick! can fill kids pride and allow them to see themselves as a reader for the very first time.


What do you want to tell young readers about this book?

Ick! is bursting with fascinating facts you won’t want to miss. Go ahead, give it a try.


Author bio:  Melissa Stewart has written more than 180 science books for children, including the ALA Notable Feathers: Not Just for Flying, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen; the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor title Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis; and Can an Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Steve Jenkins. Her most recent title is Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses. Melissa maintains the award-winning blog Celebrate Science and serves on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators board of advisors. Her highly-regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction writing resources. 





Thank you so much to Melissa Stewart for answering my questions and sharing parts of Ick!  
Now you know what you must do - go find many copies of this as you can for your readers!