Monday, June 18, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.18.18

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.



Last Week's Adventures

Thinking about superlative animals... Steve Jenkins' new books spotlight animals that use their "super powers" - being stinky, fast, deadly and tricky - to protect, hide, and eat!  Read about them here.

This summer I'll be spotlighting some transitional chapter books that may be new to you!  These books will be important to know if you teach in grades 1-4.  Here's the first post.

Picture Books

The Better Tree Fort
The Better Tree Fort
written by Jessica Scott Kerrin
illustrated by Qin Leng
In today's world where bigger is better and more is always the way to go, this book has a refreshing message.  Great to use when talking about central message/theme.

Doll-E 1.0
Doll-E 1.0
by Shanda McCloskey
Another book that has a good message - what happens when a child gets too tech-y?  A mom gives her child who is obsessed with computers, coding and all things electronic a doll to play with.  While there is not a total transformation (and I'm glad there wasn't), the young girl does learn to do some pretend play.

The Map of Good Memories
The Map of Good Memories
written by Fran Nuño
illustrated by Zuzanna Celej
If you have a refugee collection, you'll want to add this book.  A young girl is leaving her war torn city, but before she leaves, she makes a map of all the places she loves.  I could also see using this as a mentor text for writing if you ever do anything with mapping to get story ideas.

Rock 'n' Roll Soul
Rock 'n' Roll Soul
written by Susan Verde
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
I liked this book even more because I had seen the book trailer before reading the book.  I had music going through my head as I read it!




Night Out
Night Out
by Daniel Miyares
I really liked the message about having something to share to help you feel included.  Told in minimal length sentences, the reader will still understand there is a deeper meaning.

Poetry

Seeing into Tomorrow: Haiku by Richard Wright
Seeing Into Tomorrow
haikus written by Richard Wright
illustrated by Nina Crews
Before his death, Richard Wright wrote thousands of haiku poems.  This book spotlights some of his haikus and are illustrated by gorgeous photographic collages by Nina Crews.  Each illustration features an African American boy exploring nature.  
Wonderful biography written by Nina Crews that gives us more background on Wright.


Middle Grade

Just Under the Clouds
Just Under the Clouds
by Melissa Sarno
This is a gorgeous debut with language that will stick to me for awhile.  I love how Sarno writes about what it is like to be "houseless" but still going through the day to day situations of life.  I think it will be a powerful window book, and for others a mirror that let's the reader see they are not alone.

Harbor Me
Harbor Me 
by Jacqueline Woodson
I'm sure you've already read about this book.  I'm sure you've already heard people say how wonderful and amazing it is.  They are not leading you astray.
I love the concept of "harboring" someone - being the safe place for someone.
Make sure this book is on your purchase list for August!

Tight
Tight
by Torrey Maldonado
I devoured this book (9 hour car ride helped).  This book has the power to be such an important book.  It has the voice of Matt de la Peña's YA books but this one is for a MG audience.  It reminded me a little bit of a MG Hate You Give - not the same topic but it holds some really important themes and truths.  I think no matter what your background is, you'll recognize the universal themes, but if it's a mirror book it will be important to see representation within the pages of a book.  Look for it on Sept. 4th.


Currently Reading

The Storm Runner (The Storm Runner #1)
The Storm Runner
by J.C. Cervantes
It's another series from the new Rick Riordan imprint.  Looking forward to reading more about Maya mythology!

The Door to the Lost
The Door to the Lost
by Jaleigh Johnson
I made some more progress on this book this week.  I'm really enjoying it.  Another book with some universal themes.  I think your fantasy enthusiasts will love this book.


I will be taking a week off from #IMWAYR as I will be traveling back from ALA.  I bet there will be a lot to share next week!

Thursday, June 14, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - do you know these chapter books? 6.14.18


All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.


Last month I was talking to other educators and librarians about transitional chapter books and graphic novels that are fun for young readers.  Here are some new-to-me titles that were shared with me.


Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa
Yours Sincerely, Giraffe
written by Megumi Iwasa
illustrated by Jun Takabatake
This pen pal story will tickle their funny bone as a few animals become friends in this short chapter book.  Lots of open white space on each page means it looks like a longer book than it actually is.

Smarter than Squirrels by Lucy Nolan
Down Girl and Sit: Smarter Than Squirrels
written by Lucy Nolan
illustrated by Mike Reed
This would be a good chapter book series for readers who aren't quite ready for Fenway and Hattie.  Told in the perspective of the dog, who believes her name to be "Down Girl", it's another bird's eye view of what it's like to be a dog!



Image result for summer reading
This summer I will be sharing new transitional chapter books, some may be new, many have been published awhile.  They are new to me and may even be new to you or teachers you work with.  Happy summer reading!

Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading?  Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Superlative Animals 6.13.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.


What a fun series Steve Jenkins has put together.  Looking at superlatives - the "est" of animals - deadliest, trickiest, stinkiest and speediest!

There are four books in the series (so far) and each one is packed with information, with additional info in text features.  Each book starts with a table of contents, so if readers want to look for a specific animal, they can search that way.  

Next comes a general overview of the book and its focus.  Jenkins typically focuses on how each animal uses its "super power" to its advantage - maybe it's for protection, to obtain food, for survival.  By covering this in the intro, readers know a little more about the organization.

Each page gives information about the animal and talks about how they use their advantage to help them specifically.  There is a map included for each animal to see where it lives - and I'm really happy not too many are found in the US!  Especially those deadly creatures!  There is also a size comparison chart so readers can see how it compares to an average human male.  Most animals also have a fun fact included on each page.

My favorite comes at the end - each book has some kind of graph that shows some comparisons.  Some of them are bubble maps which show which animals use their super power for protection, hunting, and survival.  I liked seeing the information laid out like that - the visual piece is important to include!

Jenkins also includes a glossary and additional sources.

The size of these books are a bit smaller than his usual books.  I think that will appeal to readers who don't want to be overwhelmed with information.  

I highly recommend having these books in your primary and elementary classrooms and libraries.  I will continue to add this series in mine!



Trickiest! by Steve Jenkins    Deadliest!: 20 Dangerous Animals   
 Speediest! by Steve Jenkins    Stinkiest! by Steve Jenkins

Monday, June 11, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.11.18

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.



Last Week's Posts

It was the last school week (yippee) so I didn't have as much to post, but make sure you check out:

An interview with author Erin Soderberg about her new series "Daring Dreamers Club".
Want to own a copy of the book?  Go find my tweet and give it a RT to enter the drawing!


Picture Books

Image result for bear's scare jacob grant
Bear's Scare
by Jacob Grant
A perfect book to show common misconceptions to the younger crowd.  Bear loves his neat and tidy home, but soon there are spider webs all over making a mess.  Bear changes his mind when he needs some help and the unexpected friend offers a helping hand (or eight...).

Hoot & Olive: Brave Enough For Two
Brave Enough for Two
by Jonathan D. Voss
Gorgeous book about the importance of friendship and being there for each other.  Hoot brings Olive on adventures that she is not quite ready for, telling her he will be brave for both of them.  It's a lesson that Olive learns and is able to reciprocate by the end of the story.  Would be a great book to use at the beginning of the school year to talk about friendship and community.

I'm Sad (I'm Bored, #2)
I'm Sad
written by Michael Ian Black
illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi
I'm so glad these two are back together because there books are so enjoyable and a delight to read aloud to a young audience!
Flamingo is feeling sad.  The girl and Potato try to cheer Flamingo up, but it's good old fashioned humor that works.  What I love about this book is it acknowledges it's ok to sometimes feel sad and to be ok when something cheers you up.

Happy Hair
Happy Hair
by Mechal Renee Roe
Quick to read picture book that shows a variety of hairstyles on an African American girl, naming the hairstyle and repeating "I love being me" on each page.  Wonderful mirror book for young African American girls!

Middle Grade

The Seismic Seven
The Seismic Seven
by Katie Slivensky
So, I think I have Katie's MO figured out - she starts you out getting to know the characters, setting up the storyline, then not even halfway through the book BAM she throws in a cataclysmic event and you have to stay up way past your bedtime because you have to finish the book.  
I love how she's making science fiction so cool to read.  You definitely want to check this one out.

The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
The Truth as Told by Mason Buttle
by Leslie Connor
A book that has been in my pile for awhile, it took a library due date to push me to read it and I'm so glad I did.  Beautiful story.  I think most readers will fall in love with Mason and cheer for him throughout the entire book.  I loved his friendship with Calvin and how they were there for each other.  Even though I could see where they mystery of the story was headed, it still had a very satisfactory conclusion.  I think this is a story we'll hear about for awhile.

Everything I Know About You
Everything I Know About You
by Barbara Dee
I think Barbara Dee is a master at writing about mature topics for the middle school reader.  She takes topics that are current and important and writes them in a sensitive and appropriate manner that sheds light on the topic.
In her newest book, Dee tackles the subject of a character having an eating disorder.  Her characters are so multi-dimensional that the reader feels all kinds of emotions.  This is a book I would absolutely put in the hands middle grade readers.  Publishes next week.
Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-galley.

Saving Winslow
Saving Winslow
by Sharon Creech
I am always happy to have a new Sharon Creech to give to readers.  Slated to publish in September, readers are going to fall in love with Louie who has fallen in love with the newborn donkey, Winslow.  The problem being Winslow was born very sickly and doesn't have a good chance of living.  Great connections to Louie, who was born premature, readers will see that both characters have tenacity to work at something even when it is hard.
Thank you to Edelweiss for the e-galley.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles, #3)
Cress
Marissa Meyer
This is the third book in The Lunar Chronicles and one of my #mustreadin2018 books.  I've been slowly chipping away at this series.  I'm really enjoying it - I like seeing how Meyer takes pieces of well known fairy tales and weaves them into the stories and characters.  This third book continues the action and really takes off.  I binge read it in three days and it was always hard to put it down.  

Currently Reading

Just Under the Clouds
Just Under the Clouds
by Melissa Sarno
I'm in the very beginning stages of this book but I can already tell it's going to take a piece of my heart!

The Door to the Lost
The Door to the Lost
by Jaleigh Johnson
I'm reading this one on my kindle when I'm riding the recumbent bike at the gym.  Loving it so far!  I only ride 2 days/week so it may take some time to finish!



Hope you're finding some time to read as well!

Thursday, June 7, 2018

#road2reading - Daring Dreamers Club by Erin Soderberg 6.07.18


All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.


I remember when author Erin Soderberg first told me about an upcoming series she was working on.  She couldn't say much, but I knew Disney Princesses were involved.  It's hard to be given a nugget of information and not have much to go on but be really excited about it anyway!  Fast forward over a year and now we get to celebrate this series!


Daring Dreamers Club: Milla Takes Charge
written by Erin Soderberg
illustrated by Anoosha Syed
published by Random House Disney


I am so excited for this first book in what will be a really fun series.  We meet Milla (rhymes with vanilla), who is looking for some adventure - more than this town can give her - and is willing to read about everything so she is prepared for it all!  Sound like a certain princess?  Yup, she resembles Belle!  In fact, each of the girls has a little princess inside of them!  But this isn't your Disney-fied version - while each girl has qualities of a Disney princess, Soderberg weaves them into the story so they are a part of the girls, but not what makes up the story.  For example, in this first book Milla desperately wants her moms to give her permission to attend the fifth grade overnight field trip.  However, they've always been just a bit overprotective when it comes to Milla.  Yet, she wants nothing more than to have some adventure, more than she can get at home (starting to see the Belle connection?).  And just in case she gets to go, she makes sure she's read up on all kinds of outdoor information should an emergency arise... good thing she is so book smart!

I can't wait to see where this series will take us.  There are four more girls to learn about, so lucky for us, we have more books coming our way!

And lucky for us, author Erin Soderberg has stopped by to talk more about this series.  Welcome, Erin!

1.  It must be fun trying to figure out ways to weave bits and pieces of the Princesses into these stories.  Tell us more about how you're doing that!

Before I started developing any of the characters or storylines for this series, I watched all the Disney Princess movies again to help me choose which Princesses I wanted to feature in the books. I knew from the beginning that I would have two of the girls connect with Ariel and Belle, because The Little Mermaid and Beauty & the Beast are two of my favorite movies and Princesses (I love both of those Princesses' sense of adventure and exploration). After picking those two, Disney let me decide which other movies/Princesses would offer fun opportunities for Princess connections, and would also allow me to develop interesting and layered characters with unique and diverse big dreams. I picked Cinderella (for her artistic nature, kindness, and positive attitude), Mulan (because she's tough, clever, sporty, and is deeply committed to honoring her family), and Tiana (because of her love of cooking, strong work ethic, and smart business sense). While I did my research (ie. watched movies!), I jotted down fun dialogue and song lyrics, took note of which characters (and character traits) I most enjoyed, and little "tidbits" about characters I might be able to use in a book. For instance, the very first line of Milla Takes Charge is a variation on the first line of the movie Beauty & The Beast! The books don't follow the movie plots at all (these books aren't retellings of the Princess stories), but the girls in the series take inspiration from Disney princesses and use the Princesses' stories and adventures to help them figure out how to overcome obstacles and deal with issues in their own unique ways.

2.  I know your kids (and dog!) find their way into your writing life!  Would you like to share with readers how they are finding their way into the books?  What do they think about this new series?

Oh my gosh, I stole SO much from my kids for this series. First of all, I borrowed their names and many pieces of their personalities. Milla is my oldest daughter's name, and she's also the main character of the first book. Real-life Milla's favorite Princess is Belle, and she's always wanted a pet pig, so that's why I used her name for this first book and character. Like fictional Milla, my Milla loves telling stories, is a kind and caring friend, and loves going on grand adventures. And my twins are named Henry and Ruby - just like Ruby and her twin brother, Henry, in the Daring Dreamers series! Fictional Ruby (whose Princess is Mulan) lives and breathes soccer, loves playing pranks, and comes up with clever solutions to problems - just like real-life Ruby! And in the stories, we learn that Ruby's twin brother loves art and drawing, just like real-life Henry. My kids love this new series, and have been a huge help when I get stuck with my plotting. They also love helping me watch the movies!


3.  Disney is known for their Easter eggs - secrets/cameos hidden within their films.  Any Easter eggs we should be on the lookout for?

My favorite Easter eggs (in all my books) are all the real kids and pets that I hide in my stories. All of my kids' friends know to look for themselves in my books, since I steal little bits and pieces and names from many of them. But in this series I've also made an effort to tuck in little Princess movie surprises in whenever I could. Here are a few: In Milla Takes Charge, Milla's pig "Chocolate Chip" is initially called a "teacup pig" - this is a nod to Chip the teacup in Beauty & the Beast. In Piper Cooks Up a Plan, Finley (Piper's little sister) brings her class frog home for the weekend, and it creates some excitement and drama in the kitchen - this is obviously a wink to Princess & The Frog. There are more, so keep an eye out for them!

4.  Can you give us some sneak peeks what to expect in the series?

The second book in the series is so much fun! It focuses on Piper, and her preparations for and participation in a television cooking competition (with a very unusual theme!). Piper's family is fantastic and all the food science scenes are exciting, so this book was a delight to write. I also learned a lot about both science and cooking! The third book focuses on Ruby, and a high-level state tournament soccer team she earns a spot on - things don't go quite as planned, so Ruby has to do some quick-thinking to keep her big dream from fizzling out. Ruby is so clever, funny, and outspoken that I just love writing about her. She and Henry are hilarious - just like my twins are in real life! I'm working on an outline for Mari's book now, and it's going to be about both swimming and the school musical (two of my favorite activities!). Zahra will continue to focus on her art, and her after-school "job" helping at her dad's childcare center. I hope everyone will find a character they connect with in this series!

Thanks, Erin, for stopping by and answering questions!

You're going to want multiple copies of this book - I know the reader demand will be high!  Happy dreaming and happy reading!

Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading?  Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!