Monday, September 28, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.28.2020

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.



Last Week's Adventures

Don't miss these bodily functions books... kids love them and they really are full of information!

Picture Books

Jabari Tries (Jabari, #2)
Jabari Tries
by Gaia Cornwall
Another sweet book about Jabari, the character who always tries so hard.  What I like about the Jabari stories is he doesn't find success right away.  Whether he's stalling for time or having to think of new ways to solve his problem, he is a character who has to work towards his goal.
In this second book, Jabari is trying to build a contraption that will help his plane soar in the sky.  However, even after multiple tries, he can't get it to work the way he wants it to.  We see Jabari frustrate and take his feelings out, but with some mindfulness tricks from Dad, he's able to try again, and even take on a partnership!

Evelyn del Rey Is Moving Away
Evelyn Del Rey is Moving Away
written by Meg Medina
illustrated by Sonia Sánchez
I think this is a perfect mentor text for writing personal narratives.
Told in first person by Daniela who gets a few more moments to play with best friend Evelyn, who is moving.  The girls spend their last moments having the fun they always do before Evelyn moves to a new home, that looks to be in a warmer climate.  Although the girls are sad, it is understood their friendship will stand the test of distance and time.

From My Window
From My Window
written by Otávio Júnior
illustrated by Vanina Starkoff
If you do any work with identity and where you live, you'll want this one in your collection.

The Farmer and the Monkey
The Farmer and the Monkey
by Marla Frazee
I'll be very interested in seeing what people have to say about this one.
I really did love the first book in this soon-to-be trilogy.  The Farmer and the Clown was so endearing and I felt that way even though I really don't like clowns.
The story continues with the farmer returning home after bringing the clown back to the circus train.  Little does the farmer know, but he has someone trailing him home - a young, circus monkey.  And here's where I wonder if the story becomes problematic.  The circus monkey, complete with stereotypical circus outfit and cymbals, is shown being playful, energetic, and causing a mess.  Due to the racial undertones, I'm not sure it was a smart decision to use a circus monkey in the story.  I will be listening and hearing what other people say, maybe I'm reading into it too much, but also just trying to be aware of cultural bias in stories.

Middle Grade

Tune It Out
Tune It Out
by Jamie Sumners
I adored Sumner's book Roll With It.  I think our middle grade readers need more literature that gives them an understanding of disabilities.  While this was not an #ownvoices novel, Sumner does have a child living with this disability.  There has been a lot of discussion about who has the right to tell these stories.  I understand both sides of the discussion and ultimately, I do want kids to have an understanding and awareness of disabilities.
This time, Sumner gives us the story of Lou, who has a beautiful voice that her mother likes to put on display.  One, because she is proud of her, but also because she uses it to make money.  Lou and her mother are currently living below the poverty line and living in their car.  However, Lou despises the attention of being in the spotlight while singing.  She also can't stand being touched or loud noises.  Lou feels like these are just quirks about her that make her unusual.  After an accident, Lou is removed from her mother's custody and is put in the care of her maternal aunt and uncle.  It's here that Lou learns what stability feels like, as well as having friends.  Lou also discovers that she has Sensory Processing Disorder which explains her "quirks".  With therapy and all of the support from her aunt and uncle, will Lou really want her mom back in her life?
I will be paying attention to what people who have SPD say about this book and how it is portrayed.
I really enjoyed meeting Lou and reading her story.  I know this book will appeal to readers who enjoy character driven stories.

Young Adult

Punching the Air
Punching the Air
by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam
What an amazing collaboration between Zoboi and Yusef Salaam (of the Exonerated Five).  Luckily for readers, Zoboi and Salaam's paths crossed many years ago and the magic comes out in this powerful novel in verse.  
Based upon some of Salaam's experiences from being falsely accused of a crime he did not commit and then carrying out a prison sentence, Zoboi and Salaam introduce us to Amal, a character whose voice is never heard and assumptions are incorrectly made.  Amal is in prison and trying to survive when the feelings of anger and frustration are constantly bubbling within him.  He uses art and words as a way to survive in this setting.  A powerful story that is so important for people to read right now.

Currently Reading

Nowhere Boy
Nowhere Boy
by Katherine Marsh
This book is in my #mustread pile for this month.  I'm about a third of the way in and it has captured my attention!


Hope you're finding some moments to read in this busy busy school year.

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - bodily function reading - 9.23.2020

 


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.


Let's face it.  Bodily functions and anything with the word 'butt' (no really, just say the word 'but' to a kid and a smirk will appear) is going to appeal to a young reader.  Maybe not all, but a lot.  Even those kids who you think might not want to read a book about flatulence will check it out (see the book Does It Fart?.... checked out by many readers in my library).  Here are a few more nonfiction books and one fiction that you'll want to add to you library.  They bring in the readers.  Really.

True or Poo? by Nick Caruso
True or Poo?
written by Nick Caruso and Dani Rabaiotti
illustrated by Alex G. Griffiths
From the team that brought us Does It Fart?, we have another bodily function book that will equally gross out and fascinate readers.  Half a book about poop, and half a book about calling one's bluff, readers will delight in asking, "true or poo?"  For example, did you know it's total poop that camels store water in their humps?  I totally thought they did!  Or how about the truth behind rabbits eating their own poop?  Featuring illustrations that will absolutely crack you up, this is a book you don't want to miss.

It Can't Be True! Poo: Packed with Pootastic Facts
It Can't Be True! Poo!
written by Andrea Mills and Ben Morgan
Every poo fact you never knew you were missing.  Like, did you know it took about 12 seconds to squeeze out a poo?  And never fear, there are some pee facts too.  For example, did you know there has been enough pee that has been peed to keep North America's Niagara Falls flowing for 18.5 years... with a photo to help you keep that fact ingrained in your head...
I won't go into more detail but your readers might!  This is a book that will appeal to readers who just can't get enough facts... or laughs!

Butts Are Everywhere by Jonathan Stutzman
Butts Are Everywhere
written by Jonathan Stutzman
illustrated by Heather Fox
Try getting through this read aloud without a little giggle!  Full of facts about keisters, heinies, and britches everywhere, from humans to animals.  Some facts you'll know, but I also picked up some new information too!  Like, did you know manatees toot to help them swim faster!  I wonder how many swimmers know this???

The Great Big Poop Party by Samantha Berger
The Great Big Poop Party!
written by Samantha Berger
illustrated by Manny Galán
This is one of those stories that kids love reading.  Who wouldn't want to have a poop themed birthday party?  That's all Julian wants to have and his family indulges his wish.  Good thing they are a crafty family because decorations, food, and games all have a poop theme.  Thinking about doing this yourself?  There is a poop slime recipe at the end!
Publishes Sept. 29th.


While these books may not appeal to you, they will definitely appeal to young readers.  Make sure you have a few on hand!

Monday, September 21, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.21.2020

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.



Last Week's Adventures

Don't miss the Teacher's March blog tour!

Some new September releases for early readers!

Picture Books

In My Garden
In My Garden
written by Charlotte Zolotow
illustrated by Philip Stead
This book is gorgeous.  It's a mentor text for writing.  The back and forth poem by Zolotow captures likes and loves of every season.  It's a beautiful book about the seasons.  And with the whimsical illustrations by Philip Stead, it has a timeless feel that makes it a book to share from generation to generation.

The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts
The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts
written by Trudy Ludwig
illustrated by Mike Curato
Ludwig's books are in an arsenal of Social Emotional titles that you want to always have ready to go.  This one is how one small act of kindness can not only make a difference but also grow into more and more acts.  I also appreciate the apology effort in the story.

If You Come to Earth
If You Come to Earth
by Sophie Blackall
This book took my breath away when I read it.  It's simply gorgeous and I love the story behind the book.  In a detailed author's note, Blackall explains how after visiting with children around the globe she saw that it was the power of story and pictures that brought the world's children together.  It became her goal to create a book that was about their home and her home.  Their world and her world.  The details in the illustrations are exquisite and I poured over each layout.
However, this book isn't without some controversy.  There is one layout that has brought discussion over cultural bias in illustrations.  I'm sitting back and listening to the voices in the discussion and will be interested in hearing additional perspectives.

The Belonging Tree
The Belonging Tree
written by Maryann Cocca-Leffler
illustrated by Kristine A. Lombardi
I understand the lesson the author was going for in this book, but with the use of a racist phrase and an ending that didn't sit right with me, this is a book I will pass on.  In a big oak tree, many squirrels peacefully coexist.  But when other animals move in and around the tree, the father squirrel gets upset and says, "there goes the neighborhood" each time.  The young squirrel is the only one who sees the other animals as themselves and not as something negative.  The squirrel family ultimately moves away to get away from the "other" animals, but the young squirrel runs away to see the old home.  However, a big storm comes and the squirrel finds himself in some danger, but luckily the other animals all work together to save him.  The squirrel family moves back to their old home now that they see the other animals as good.
The racist nuances were a bit much for me in this one.

Girl on a Motorcycle
Girl on a Motorcycle
written by Amy Novesky
illustrated by Julie Morstad
The best of this book?  The illustrations!  I love Morstad's work and her style fits the story of this book perfectly.
A narrative story about Anne-France Dautheville's motorcycle trip across the world beginning in 1973.  It's a quirky story, not really a biography but more of a world adventure.  Will be interesting to see how readers take to this one.

Bling Blaine: Throw Glitter, Not Shade
Bling Blaine: Throw Glitter, Not Shade
written by Rob Sanders
illustrated by Letizia Rizzo
There were some parts of the story that I really liked.  Blaine is a character who is known throughout his school for adding bling to everything - clothing, accessories, food.  Life seems to be a bit sparklier when Blaine is around.  I really liked that there were many characters who likened Blaine's blinginess to something they also liked doing.  The pure acceptance by classmates was very refreshing.  But of course there are some haters and here's where the story gets more cliched.  Blaine is upset by the comments and stops being who he is, as a result of the "shade" that is thrown his way.  Nothing wrong, it just was a storyline that we see in many other books.  But the classmates step up and have some one on one conversations with the people who don't accept Blaine and they all come around, which makes Blaine feel better.
Readers will absolutely get the message of the story, it's a bit didactic.  But the message does come with a positive ending and acceptance for all.  There is also discussion of being an ally included in the end notes.
I was disappointed to see in the illustrations the slitted, closed eyes for the Asian character when all of the other characters had U shaped, closed eyes.


Middle Grade

The Summer We Found the Baby
The Summer We Found the Baby
by Amy Hest
I will be very interested in seeing how kids respond to this text.
It's about two sisters who find a baby in a basket on the steps of the small town's library.  A (former) friend spots them taking off with the baby and follows.  The rest of the story we travel back to earlier in the summer and then events that happened around then.  The reader slowly understands what has happened to lead up to the current events and allows the reader to make some predictions as to how the story will end.
This historical fiction story takes place during World War II, however, there are not tons of references to the time (Eleanor Roosevelt is mentioned and invited to the library's reopening, a brother is fighting in WWII) so I can see a young reader not being able to really connect with the timeline.  
The book comes in at under 200 pages and the small, neat trim size of the book and the large font is a quick read that will appeal to young readers who are building stamina.  I wish there were more books this length and size.

The Mystery of the Masked Medalist
The Kudo Kids: The Mystery of the Masked Medalist
by Maia and Alex Shibutani
Written by a brother/sister Olympic ice dancing team (bronze medalists), this very fun debut will appeal to sports enthusiasts and puzzle/coding gamers.
Mika and Andy Kudo are off to the Tokyo Olympics with their parents.  While their parents work the siblings compete in a game called OlympiFan.  This online game allows teams to compete in AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) mode.  While collecting points all around Tokyo (or virtual Tokyo), gamers learn fun facts about the Olympic setting town, collect points, and compete to find the hidden bronze, silver, and gold medals.  When a team wins a medal, they receive extra points and clues to the Masked Medalist, creator of the game.  The winner gets to beta test the next game created by the Masked Medalist.  However, not everyone seems to be playing the game fair and Alex and Mika are in this race to win, but someone might not let them.

Graphic Novel

Flamer
Flamer
by Mike Curato
Loosely based on events in his own life, Curato has crafted a graphic novel that will be so important for kids to read.  Our main character, Aidan, is headed to Scout camp, and he's excited but equally nervous about what may happen in camp.  He's often picked on - for being chubby, for not reacting to things in a "normal" fashion - and is often accused of being gay.  Aidan is figuring out his own identity, and fights with his own subconscious in admitting his own truth.
Curato has crafted a character that exposes his soul to the reader and you would have to be heartless to not feel so many emotions while reading this book.
This is that book that you hope a reader picks up and gives perspective and understanding that may change the world.

Currently Reading

Punching the Air
Punching the Air
by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam


We've had our first real taste of some cooler, fall weather.  I'm really not so sure I'm ready for that just yet!  But I guess this is truly happy fall reading to you!

Thursday, September 17, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - new books for newly independent readers - 9.17.2020


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.


You know I am always excited when I can find books for readers who are just starting their independent reading journey.  Readers who need sight words, decodable text, and lots of picture clue supports.  Here are some newly published or upcoming books you'll want to put in their hands!

 Ty's Travels by Kelly Starling Lyons       Ty's Travels by Kelly Starling Lyons
Ty's Travels series
Zip, Zoom!
All Aboard!
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Nina Mata
Kelly Starling Lyons is a rock star author - her books appeal to a wide audience and she can write for any audience!  I'm excited to read and share this series for young readers.
Meet Ty, an adventurous boy who is always on the go.  Whether it's a scooter or using is imagination and making a box into a train, Ty is moving and problem solving through life.
One of the things I love about these stories is how they are written for young readers and have lots of decodable text, but it doesn't fall short (or boring) in the plot category.  Kids will relate to Ty and his adventures and love reading these readers.

See the Cat by David LaRochelle
See the Cat: Three Stories About a Dog
written by David LaRochelle
illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka
These laugh-out-loud funny stories about the dog and the words on the page is going to be a favorite with readers.  Right away readers know they are in some fun just by reading the title, that refers to a cat, and the subtitle, that refers to the book being about this dog.  This conflict sets us up for some very humorous stories.

A Pig, a Fox, and a Fox by Jonathan Fenske
A Pig, A Fox, and a Fox
by Jonathan Fenske
I love this series!  More fun with the tricky fox whose tricks get him tricked and the lovable pig who can't help but cause some trouble.
Publishes Sept. 29th.


I'm very excited for Penguin's new imprint - in conjunction with Penguin Workshop, Rise is the new imprint for Penguin's youngest readers.  Publishing a mix of board books and early picture books that empower young readers, I'm so excited to see what comes from their fall lineup.  Some of the first books:

Families Belong by Dan  Saks
Families Belong
written by Dan Saks
illustrated by Brooke Smart
This board book helps remind us to celebrate the simple things we can do with our families.  This story does have some longer vocabulary words, so probably a book that you'll read aloud to young readers, but one that will encourage kids to snuggle closer into laps to enjoy a story!  Featuring a variety of families, each page has a monochromatic color feel which balances the simple moments message in the story.  I could also see educators using this book during identity lessons.
Author Dan Saks is known for his songs and podcast that are featured on the noodleloaf.com website.  I took a peek at it and the songs are perfect for movement breaks with younger kids.  Don't miss it!

The Invisible Alphabet by Joshua David Stein
The Invisible Alphabet
written by Joshua David Stein
illustrated by Ron Barrett
This is one of the most cleverest alphabet books I have ever seen.  An ode to the things that are unseen, not there, or are just...nothing.  For example, y is for yesterday and it features a boy with bandaids on his knees and shin and elbow.  Can't help but wonder what yesterday did to him!  E is for erased, featuring a mostly erased drawing.  I love that this book makes you think about why it's not there, what is the story behind it, what happened to make it gone/invisible/not there.
Publishes Sept. 22nd.

Can't wait to see more books from the imprint!


Hope you found some new books for your readers!  Whether you're together at school or home, I hope you're finding ways to share books with readers this fall!

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - The Teachers March blog tour - 9.16.2020


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.



I grew up in the 1980s.  The bulk of my education, or I guess the formative years, happened in the 80s and early 90s.  I enjoyed 8th grade Social Studies.  That year we really dug into the events of the 1900s.  The World Wars, the Vietnam War, and a little bit of the Civil Rights times.  But of course, what I didn't know at that time, was how white-washed my history textbooks were.  The events of the past were taught to me by white educators.  While I remember Brown vs. the Board of Education, and Ruby Bridges, and Rosa Parks, I'm not sure I really learned about the March on Selma, or Bloody Sunday, or the Voting Rights Act of 1965.  The real history was explained to me more recently through the picture books and middle grade books and graphic novels I've chosen to read.

History, and the way it's being taught, needs to change.

Because we are still living through our past.  The Civil Rights era never ended.  Systemic racism has continued to grow and flourish through the decades thanks to policies and politics that are designed to keep power in the hands of white people.

But I have hope.

Because after the killing of George Floyd, I saw the young people rise.  They came out in droves during a pandemic and marched, and took a knee, and raised fists.  They said "stop" and "no more" and "not one more".  I have a lot of hope that the young people will continue to use their voice and move their feet and say "no more" and make changes.

And that's why books like this are needed.  They need to be read and discussed and shared.  They need to be ordered and displayed.  Because those young people are in our libraries and our classrooms.  Because they need to hear these stories that weren't told, and probably still aren't being told in textbooks.  Because they need to see that they aren't the first and they can build upon what has already been done.



The Teachers March!  How Selma's Teachers Changed History
written by Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace
illustrated by Charly Palmer
published by Calkins Creek
Sept. 29th, 2020


A story that might be new to you - it was for me.  Weeks before Martin Luther King Jr. and John Lewis and many others marched in Selma, the teachers of Selma marched.  Led by Rev. F.D. Reese, educators in Selma were encouraged to march to the courthouse to demand for their right to vote.  At that time, Blacks were not only allowed to not vote, they couldn't even register to vote and if they tried, they often met the end of the sheriff's billy club.  Of course, with the decision to march, educators feared for their jobs, feared for who would take care of their children while they were in jail, and feared for their lives.  Retribution by the police force for taking part in a march like this would be swift.  Buoyed by the words and support of Dr. King, the teachers of Selma marched, all the way to the courthouse.  

Right now in the 4th grade we are studying citizenship and how to become a responsible citizen.  This book is being published at a perfect time.  We can read it to learn more about history, but also notice and note how the Selmians exercised their liberties to stand up for equal rights.  How they did so in a peaceful manner, but one that let all see and know that they would not back down, they would not go away.  Earlier in this unit the teachers read The Youngest Marcher by Cynthia Levinson - I think this will be a perfect follow-up to that book and conversation!

When you have the opportunity to read and share this book, don't go too quickly over the backmatter.  The note from the authors' include important first-hand accounts from Rev. F.D. Reese, and the daughter of educator Lula "Too Sweet" Parrish, Joyce Parrish O'Neal.  Illustrator, Charly Palmer (Mama Africa!) also includes a note explaining his creative process, which included restaging multiple scenes from the time period.  Also included is a timeline, photographs, bibliography, and primary source videos.


Sandra Neil Wallace and Rich Wallace are award-winning writers of nonfiction titles including First Generation: 36 Trailblazing Immigrants and Refugees Who Make America Great and Blood Brother: Jonathan Daniels and His Sacrifice for Civil Rights, which won the International Literacy Association's Social Justice Award and a YALSA Award nomination for Excellence in Nonfiction. Sandra's picture-book biography Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery is the NCTE 2019 Orbis Pictus winner for Outstanding Nonfiction.



Charly Palmer
 is an award-winning graphic designer and illustrator. He also teaches design, illustration, and painting, most recently at Spelman College. His two recent picture books are There's a Dragon in My Closet and Mama Africa, which won the 2018 Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe New Talent Award.

Monday, September 14, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.14.2020

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.


Took some time off to adjust to our new school normal.  As I'm finding out, adjusting will occur for a long time.  There's just too much to learn, too much figuring out as we go.  I'm so in awe of all our teachers and how hard they are working.  I imagine for the rest of the school year it will be touch and go as far as getting blog posts completed.  Some weeks will be good, some not so good!

Last Week's Adventures

I celebrated Josh Funk's next Lady Pancake and Sir French Toast Adventure - Short and Sweet.  Be sure to check out the post here, includes an author interview!

It's part 2 of my Favorite (published in) 2020 titles!

Been in a bad mood?  Don't worry, this book may get you right out it!  Teaching ideas and a giveaway in the post.

Picture Books

Share Your Rainbow: 18 Artists Draw Their Hope for the Future
Share Your Rainbow
by: 18 artists and introduction by R.J. Palacio
100% you need to buy this book.  It's a paperback edition.
100% of the net proceeds will go to World Central Kitchen.
100% of readers need to hear and see this book.
While this book never mentions COVID, it's a book about hopes and wishes for the future.  Many of the hopes seem to focus on being together with people and sharing time together.

I Am Every Good Thing
I Am Every Good Thing
written by Derrick Barnes
illustrated by Gordon C. James
From the duo that gave us Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut, we have another picture book that is worthy of a Newbery, Caldecott, and Coretta Scott King.  It will be interesting to see if we hear this title being named to some awards in 2021.  I've lost count of how many lists it has been named to... and it only just published Sept. 1st!
A beautiful book about identity and self worth, especially for a Black boy.  A book that should be heard by every person, I think this is a timeless book that we will be reading for many, many years to come.

Kevin the Unicorn: Why Can't We Be Bestie-Corns?
Why Can't We Be Bestie-Corns?
by Jessika von Innerebner
Another fun Kevin the Unicorn book (although the first book is still my favorite), this one will be great for young readers who need to understand that you don't have to be best friends with everyone and you don't have to enjoy the same things in order to be friends.

Middle Grade

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie (Great Peach Experiment #1)
Great Peach Experiment: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie
by Erin Soderberg Downing
I love Erin's books.  She knows just how to reach her audience.  But this book, wormed into my heart and might have made it my favorite by her (and I really love The Quirks).
Meet the Peach family.  They are starting to emerge from their grief of losing their mother.  It's hard creating new family experiences when you have a whole in your heart, but their father has come up with a new experiment... they have recently come into some money from one of their mother's experiments selling.  To honor her memory, they have a new experiment... spend the summer traveling the midwest in a food truck selling peach pies and others.  What could go wrong.  Oldest sister Lucy isn't the most optimistic.  Middle brother Freddy makes a list of places to stop and sight-see along the way.  And youngest brother Herb just wants to swim everyday.  And take care of his treasures, including a baby mouse family.
I loved meeting each of the characters and watch them grow over the course of the book.  When you look up this book on Goodreads, it says "Great Peach Experiment 1".  I'm really hoping this book is the start of a new series!  I would love to see what happens to the family in another adventure!
And I'm so sorry to say, I read this as an e-galley from Edelweiss.  We'll all be able to hold this book in our hands on April 6th.  I've already preordered this book.  I suggest you may want to look into that option as well!

Prairie Lotus
Prairie Lotus
by Linda Sue Park
This is one of those books that I've been meaning to read for awhile and I just finally got to it.  As Park says, she wrote this book as a way to reconcile her childhood enjoyment of the Little House books and the way the stories attacked native and Black people without apology.
When I saw this book end up as the middle grade selection for the Global Read Aloud, I was surprised.  As I read the book I thought how it was very appropriate for 3rd and 4th grade readers.  But towards the end of the book there is an assault by a drunken male character on the main character.  Not graphic, but it is straightforward.  

Currently Reading

Dress Coded
Dress Coded
by Carrie Firestone
Woah, this book is so good!  A must have for middle school classrooms.


I'm guessing everyone has had a start to the school year like no other!  Wherever you are, I hope there has been some positives and I hope you have given yourself patience and grace every day!

Friday, September 11, 2020

Mootilda's Bad Mood - review and giveaway - 9.11.2020

 Have you ever had one of those days where lots of little things go wrong?  And when so many little things are wrong, it just feels like one big, ginormous bad day?  That's the kind of day Mootilda is having and I think readers will understand!


Mootilda's Bad Mood

Mootilda's Bad Mood
written by Corey Rosen Schwartz and Kirsti Call
illustrated by Claudia Ranucci
published by little bee books


Mootilda wakes up and is already having a not so great day.  Her pillow has disappeared and her doll is almost all the way off her bed hay.  If that's all that happened, she might have been ok, but her bad luck continues.  She drops her ice cream on the floor (now that's a travesty), gets tangled up in a jump rope, and gets massive belly burn from a dive that went wrong.  And those are just the first few things that happen.  After each one, she declares she's "in a bad moooooood!"  Readers can definitely relate, especially with our current climate and events.  It's hard to be positive sometimes.  However, Mootilda finds some friends to commiserate with and when one more big accident happens.... Mootilda discovers that sometimes laughter is the best medicine.

Teachable moments:

  • puns - don't miss the silly play on words by the other animals.  They are fun to look for!
  • rhyming and cadence - I'm always looking for strong rhyming books.  I like recommending them to early education teachers, but sometimes finding the right books can be hard.  Sometimes rhymes are forced and then it's hard for littles to hear the rhyming words.  This one is perfect to read out loud!
  • teaching central message?  Lots to talk about here - laughter is the best medicine, look for the positives, bad days happen.
  • great to add to your Social Emotional Collection - I think it's important to talk to readers that while it's great being positive about things, it's also ok to feel anger and frustration when times are tough.  This book has a positive ending, but it also shows the main character going through feelings of frustration. 
Don't miss the extra storyline that is happening in the illustrations.  Eventually, we see Mootilda with chickens and they commiserate about their bad days.  The chickens list off some of the frustrating things that have happened to them, but if readers are really paying attention to the illustrations, they will have already seen those events happen in the background of each spread.  And, unbeknownst to Mootilda or the chickens, some of the chickens' mishaps were caused by Mootilda - unintentionally, of course!

Would you like to add this book to your collection!  Enter the Mootilda giveaway, open until Friday, Sept. 18th.  Guarantee - this will put the winner in a very good MOOD!