Friday, July 29, 2016

Spotlight Friday: They All Saw a Cat 7.29.16

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

They All Saw a Cat
They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel
published by Chronicle Books

Sometimes you read a new book and you get so excited to share it!  That's how I felt about Brendan Wenzel's new book, They All Saw a Cat.  It's a book that will have a different view depending upon the age of kids you are reading it with.  I hope you have fun with this book this fall!  It's a great book for conversation and a book to appreciate the artwork.  I have a feeling we'll see this book on some Mock Caldecott lists this year!  Here are some ideas to use it in your classroom or library!

What a wonderful book to use to talk about perspective!
  • ask young readers, what did all of the animals see when they looked at the cat?  Why did their perspective change?  What is their point of view when thinking about cats?
  • have a discussion on perspective.  How do we see others?  How do they see us?  When our perspective is negative, how can we change it?
  • Are you doing a Mock Caldecott this year?  Perfect book for the list!  Compare these illustrations to the technique of Eric Carle.  What similarities do you see?
  • do some research on how animals see.  How did Wenzel take that information and add it to his artwork?
  • if you were one of the animals included in the book, how would your perspective change as you look at an item?
  • how does vision help or hinder an animal?

Chronicle has an activity kit that can be downloaded here.

Be sure to check out the trailer

I can't wait to hear how teachers and librarians are using this book this fall!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Graphic Novel round up part 2 7.28.16

It's a graphic novel roundup 
Featuring some new graphic novels

I was fortunate to pick up a few new graphic novels at ALA Annual this past June.  Make sure these are on your radar this fall because they are sure to be a hit in your classroom and library!

Dog Man: From the Creator of Captain Underpants (Dog Man #1)
Dog Man
by Dav Pilkey
published by GRAPHIX/Scholastic
August 30th

When you have a book that you know is going to create laughter, it's a book you want to make sure have, and probably multiple copies of!  With his trademark humor, Pilkey gives us a new series.  Each chapter is it's own story, with overlapping characters and similar plot lines.  Humor that will for sure tickle the funny bones of young readers, this book is one you'll want!

by Raina Telgemeier
published by GRAPHIX/Scholastic
September 13th

This is Telgemeier's first foray into a fiction graphic novel that she wrote herself and it's something she should continue doing! 
Ghosts is a wonderful story that has many layers to it.  Cat's family is moving to a northern California town because it's an area that is supposed to be helpful for her sister Maya's condition of cystic fibrosis.  Foggy and misty, it's a perfect setting for a ghost story.  Taking place in the time leading up to Día de los Muertos, Cat has to deal with emotions of wanting to fit in which means she must accept the day and what it brings, and wanting to keep her sister safe from the spirits who may want to take her breath away.  Layers upon layers to this story:  family, death, sickness, ghosts, family spirits, friends, and breathing.  
Fantastic graphic novel and a model one to show naysayers why graphic novels are powerful reading!

Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea
Narwhal Unicorn of the Sea 
by Ben Clanton
published by Tundra Books
October 4th

For readers of Lunch Lady, Babymouse, Squish, this is going to be a perfect series to get them into next!  Narwhal is a new series by Ben Clanton, featuring Narwhal and his new friend, Jelly the jellyfish.  Broken up into 3 chapters, each one is funny and more "podtastic" than the other.  In the first chapter Narwhal and Jelly meet and we learn Narwhal is the more easy going of the two, which means having differing personalities... so we know we're going to have different reactions to everything!  In the second chapter Narwhal is looking for his pod and I love that he accepts everyone!  Kids will love the surfer talk in this chapter.  And finally, in the third chapter, the one closest to my reading heart, Narwhal and Jelly read the best book ever - one with no pictures and no words!

What a great roundup of graphic novels we have coming our way! 
Some other new ones on my radar that I can't wait to read:

Mighty Jack
Mighty Jack
by Ben Hatke
published by First Second
Sept. 6th

Science Comics: Volcanoes: Fire and Life
Science Comics: Volcanoes
by Jon Chad
published by First Second
Oct. 18th

Have you seen some of the great graphic novels that have been published recently?  Check out part one of this post - make sure you don't miss any of them!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Animal Books and Writing 7.27.16

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog is to give educational professionals
new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

One of my favorite things to do with nonfiction, is look at it for writing purposes.  I love finding books that go along with a concept teachers are teaching in their classroom, but that limits them from using some of the amazing nonfiction books that are available.  So instead I use them to look at writing structures or as writing mentor texts.

Here are two books about animals that have very different structures.

How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh?
How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh?
by Alison Limentani
Told in concept book format - this book shows comparisons in weight between animals.  What is the comparison between a ladybug and a fish?  Or a swan?  
Have students look at what information they learn about the animals using the number concept and comparisons.  How does this structure work for this book?

Flying Frogs and Walking Fish: Leaping Lemurs, Tumbling Toads, Jet-Propelled Jellyfish, and More Surprising Ways That Animals Move
Flying Frogs and Walking Fish
by Steve Jenkins
This time Jenkins organizes his book by looking at some of the amazing ways animals move.  Each section is organized by a big movement and then some describing words.  For example, under the section "A Leaping Lizard?", Jenkins looks at animals who have a special talent for moving in a flying sort of way!  Using more describing words, such as "jumping, pouncing, springing", Jenkins then spotlights a few animals that moves in that way.
Have students think about different ways they can organize a topic.  Encourage them to think outside of the box like Jenkins does!

Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.25.16

IMWAYR 2015 logo

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

With all that is happening in the world around us, we need to spend time talking about kindness and empathy with our students.  Books you may use are listed HERE.

I reviewed the book The Girl Who Drank the Moon.

I'm reading the nonfiction picture book biographies you are reading!

Picture Books

This Is My Dollhouse
This is My Dollhouse by Giselle Potter
4/5 stars
I used to love getting cardboard boxes and turning them into something.  Having the power of your imagination to make it become anything you want.  Especially in an age where you can buy things ready to go.  This book brings kids back to the power of imagination and how creativity can take you to new places.
I got this book at the library but will have to check it out at a bookstore - behind the book jacket are tips on how to make a dollhouse!

Superhero Instruction Manual
Superhero Instruction Manual by Kristy Dempsey
4/5 stars
Loved how it incorporated kindness as being a super power.  Cute story, bold illustrations.  Kids will enjoy!

The Not So Quiet Library
The NOT So Quiet Library by Zachariah Ohora
4/5 stars
Don't you love books about libraries and books?  I can see this book featured in lots of upcoming story times!
Ohora has some funny lines and illustrations in this one!

The Airport Book
The Airport Book by Lisa Brown
5/5 stars
This really is a brilliant picture book.  First, there is the story line that tells you about a trip to the airport and all the things you do, see and experience.  There is the main text, but then there is conversation bubbles that add more to the storyline.  Perfect to show readers how to read the main text first, but then go back to the story bubbles.
Then there is the storyline of Monkey, the little girl's stuffed animal.  We see his tail sticking out in the suitcase and follow along on his journey.  It ends up being a second storyline to follow in the book.
Then there are all the people we meet in the illustrations.  They find their way into most illustrations and we try to figure out what their stories are.  The diversity in the illustrations is fantastic.
I need to go back and read the story again, I'm sure I'll find more to love!

Steamboat School
Steamboat School by Deborah Hopkinson
5/5 stars
Great lines to lift in this book about being brave and having courage.
A must-have picture book if you teach civil rights.

Middle Grade

The Rat Prince
The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder
4/5 stars
As the book went on, I felt myself falling farther and farther into this new Cinderella retelling.  By the middle of the book it had gripped me and I raced through it!  Full review coming next week.

It Ain't So Awful, Falafel
It Ain't So Awful, Falafel by Firoozeh Dumas
5/5 stars
Recently there has been a lot of talk about books being windows and doors and mirrors.  This book is a perfect example of that.  It's going to be a mirror book for many students.  They will recognize themselves in Cindy - moving to American without English, leaning English at school and being the constant translator for your parents, having to defend customs, traditions and other things to friends.  It's going to be a window for other readers, including me, to really understand what it's like for our ELL students.
But the best part of this book is how many times you are going to laugh out loud!  Dumas has a way of making the mundane hilarious, while poking fun at the truth.  Great middle grade read!

Currently Reading

Ms. Bixby's Last Day
Ms. Bixby's Last Day by John David Anderson
I've heard wonderful things about this book!

Looking forward to seeing your lists!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Spotlight Friday: thinking about empathy 7.22.16

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.

Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

It's scary in today's world.  I go about my day, thinking of all the things I need to get done.  I have worries and concerns, but they don't weigh down my thoughts.  But this is not the case for many people.  And what is scary is that I am hearing about people on the news who have been killed when they too were going about their business.  Getting things done, going about their day.
Why has this become the norm?  Why is it on the rise?  When will change happen?
I want to change things for the next generation and I want to change things now.  I don't want to live wondering every time I turn on the news is I'm going to hear the words "mass" and it's paired with the words "killing" or "death" or "spree" instead of talking about church.
How do we change things?  What can I do?  
I work with kids.  I work with the next generation.  I work with kids who I want to see living in a world where they don't think about their concerns.  I work with kids who I want to see a change in how they think about others.  And when I think about what I can do to help that I think about books.  
I want to teach empathy.
I want to teach kindness.
I want to teach including all.
I want to teach looking at all perspectives.

So I turn to books.  If you want to make a change, use some of these books this year.  Talk about being kind and including everyone and thinking about others' perspectives and having empathy for others.  Books you might use:

The Change Your Name Store
The Change Your Name Store
by Leanne Shirtliffe 

A Piece of Home
A Piece of Home
by Jeri Watts

by Bob Staake

Last Stop on Market Street
Last Stop on Market Street
by Matt de la Peña

The Invisible Boy
The Invisible Boy
by Trudy Ludwig

They All Saw a Cat
They All Saw a Cat
by Brendan Wenzel

Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah
Emmanuel's Dream
by Laurie Ann Thompson

Normal Norman
Normal Norman
by Tara Lazar

My Two Blankets
My Two Blankets
by Irena Kobald

Strictly No Elephants
Strictly No Elephants
by Lisa Mantchev

Be a Friend
Be a Friend 
by Salina Yoon

by Bernard Waber

Toys Meet Snow: Being the Wintertime Adventures of a Curious Stuffed Buffalo, a Sensitive Plush Stingray, and a Book-loving Rubber Ball (Toys, #4)
Toys Meet Snow
by Emily Jenkins

Ten Rules of Being a Superhero
Ten Rules of Being a Superhero 
by Deb Pilutti

To the Sea
To the Sea 
by Cale Atkinson

If You Plant a Seed
If You Plant a Seed
by Kadir Nelson

Yard Sale
Yard Sale
by Eve Bunting

Freedom Summer
Freedom Summer
by Deborah Wiles

The Sandwich Swap
The Sandwich Shop
by Rania Al Abdullah and Kelly DiPucchio 

Enemy Pie
Enemy Pie
by Derek Munson

Each Kindness
Each Kindness
by Jacqueline Woodson

What books would you include to this list?  If there is a title I missed, please include it in the comments, I would love to add to it!

Be the change.  Start now.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

review - The Girl Who Drank the Moon 7.21.16

          Story weaving

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill
The Girl Who Drank the Moon
by Kelly Barnhill
published by Algonquin Young Readers
August 9, 2016

All words I think of when I think about Kelly Barnhill's new book The Girl Who Drank the Moon.  The talent and writing that come from this author, is simply brilliant.
The story starts out slowly as we meet the characters and different story lines.  This fantasy novel is complete with dragons, monsters and witches.  It also has story lore, Elders and Council Members.  Characters that don't know the truth, characters that hide the truth.  Characters who are exactly who we think they are and characters who have hidden secrets.  All of these things come together in ways that while, are not unexpected, but is so smooth, there's no bump in your reading.

A book that requires stamina and being able to follow the story lines, this book is perfect for older middle grade readers.  With its complex story, I think it would be great to use in book clubs, where conversation and thinking will be at its best.  I hope this is a book you add to your classroom or library this August!

Goodreads summary:
Every year, the people of the Protectorate leave a baby as an offering to the witch who lives in the forest. They hope this sacrifice will keep her from terrorizing their town. But the witch in the forest, Xan, is kind and gentle. She shares her home with a wise Swamp Monster named Glerk and a Perfectly Tiny Dragon, Fyrian. Xan rescues the abandoned children and deliver them to welcoming families on the other side of the forest, nourishing the babies with starlight on the journey. 

One year, Xan accidentally feeds a baby moonlight instead of starlight, filling the ordinary child with extraordinary magic. Xan decides she must raise this enmagicked girl, whom she calls Luna, as her own. To keep young Luna safe from her own unwieldy power, Xan locks her magic deep inside her. When Luna approaches her thirteenth birthday, her magic begins to emerge on schedule--but Xan is far away. Meanwhile, a young man from the Protectorate is determined to free his people by killing the witch. Soon, it is up to Luna to protect those who have protected her--even if it means the end of the loving, safe world she’s always known.

And lucky for readers, Kelly Barnhill has written a prequel in 2 parts for this story.  Published in, I am so grateful Trevor Ingerson tweeted these links out.  Be sure to read part 1 and part 2.  

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday I'm Reading What You're Reading part 3 7.20.16

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog is to give educational professionals
new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

Welcome to this version of I'm Reading What You're Reading.  This week it's the biographies edition.  I find picture book biographies fascinating.  Some tell me about people I never heard about before, but love reading their stories.  Others tell me about someone I might have heard about, but maybe it concentrates on a specific moment in time.  But they all give me new information and more to think about!
Thanks to Wednesdays, I get great nonfiction reading in.  You've inspired me to read so many great books. I know often with the sheer volume of books I check out and order and buy, I'm bound to miss a book or two (or three or four or...).  When books pop up on multiple blogs, it helps remind me there is a book I want to read that I've forgotten about.  That's what inspires this post.  Maybe you've missed one of these books.  By bringing it up again, maybe it's this time that you'll go check it out!
Here's what you've been reading that I want to talk about:

Aaron and Alexander: The Most Famous Duel in American History
Aaron and Alexander by Don Brown
I've seen many of you read this one, but quite honestly it wasn't until my recent Hamilton obsession did I want to read it!  I was pleased to see that the information in this book was the same as the information I have gotten from the lyrics from the musical.  I've heard about Lin-Manual Miranda's research into the musical, but it's nice to see that the things I'm picking up from it go hand in hand with the salient points in a nonfiction picture book!  I've heard that the musical is teaching more about history than most of us got out of our textbooks!  I can't wait to see the musical when it comes through Chicago!

Ada's Violin: The Story of the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay
Ada's Violin by Susan Hood
I had skimmed through this book when I purchased it, but really sat down and absorbed it's story and beauty recently.  
I am not going to go into detail about this book because so many of you have read and/or written about it.  If you are one of the few who have not read it yet, I implore you to find a copy soon!  It needs to be shared with students.  What a great message to discuss and explore - what you can do when you put your mind to something, creating something beautiful.  I also think in our day and age, exploring the kindness of Favio Chávez who worked with kids who had other not as good options to explore in life, how he devoted his time and energy to help these kids and show them the arts, is something worth discussing.
Be sure to check out the great youtube videos about Ada and the recycled orchestra.
This is a book that may be included in Mock Sibert and Mock Caldecott lists.

The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller
The Hole Story of the Doughnut by Pat Miller
This is a book you know kids will read just because of the topic - doughnuts!  While I'm not a fan of them (I know, strange, right?) they are usually well received by kids!  Why not show them a little history while they eat their sugar filled treat!  
I think the history behind the doughnut hole is interesting, but I got a little bit confused with the writing, having to stop and look back to answer some confusing parts.  It would be interesting to see how some of the big name doughnut companies got their start and how it connects with Hanson Gregory's story.
Great back matter and sources included.

A couple of weeks ago I posted by Mock Sibert long list.  Melissa Stewart tweeted that it was interesting that so many books on my list so far were biographies.  I have found that as well, the nonfiction picture books I tend to purchase and enjoy the most are biographies.  I would love to see more and more nonfiction picture books be published that have inviting and engaging text but go along with more and more of the topics covered in the new science standards.  I know more are being published everyday, but whether it's a topic that publishers/reviews maybe aren't as interested in, or for some other reason, I don't see them as frequently.  Would love to see this change in the future.  But in the meantime, I'll still enjoy the great biographies that are being published!

Monday, July 18, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.18.16

IMWAYR 2015 logo

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 Two Week's Adventures

I took last Monday off from blogging because I was having fun in Disney!  We went to celebrate my daughter's birthday and my dad's birthday for the weekend.  It's such a perfect quick getaway for us as we live in Florida.  Plus I got to see my Nerdy friend, Kellee!

Two weeks ago I shared my long lists for upcoming Mock units for this fall.  I know I'll add to them and pare them down, but here is my thinking right now:

Mock Caldecott long list

Mock Newbery long list

Mock Sibert long list

Mock Geisel long list

Jazz Day is a book I have on my Mock Sibert and Caldecott lists.  Here is more about it.

Here is a roundup of some new graphic novels!

Picture Books

The Mixed-Up Truck
The Mixed-Up Truck by Stephen Savage
4/5 stars
I really enjoyed Supertruck and have been waiting to read Savage's follow up.  Thanks to the generous Margie Myers-Culver, she popped her copy in the mail and I got to check it out!  I think young kids will love this book as much as the first one.  While Supertruck spoke to my heart, this one coats it with sugar - the white stuff (read the book, you'll get it).  The poor little concrete truck makes a few mistakes, but learns it's ok, try, try again to fix them.  Sweet book to use with young readers.


Toby by Hazel Mitchell
4/5 stars
Such a sweet rescue dog story.  Shows patience, love, and respect are the ways to win trust.

Sam and Jump
Sam and Jump by Jennifer K. Mann
4/5 stars
Sam and his stuffed white rabbit, Jump, are best friends.  But what happens when Sam accidentally leaves Jump at the beach overnight?  
I think many of us have accidentally left something somewhere, or had our child(ren) do the same thing.  It can be traumatic!  Many young readers will relate to this story.

A Unicorn Named Sparkle
A Unicorn Named Sparkle by Amy Young 
4/5 stars
Oh my, this book is so fun!  Have you ever had that experience where you picture something happening a certain way or picturing it to look a certain way?  And then when it comes to fruition or you see it for the first time and it soooo doesn't match your mental image?  That's what this book is about.  Great book for growth mindset.

Excellent Ed
Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty
4/5 stars
This was a library book that ended up being a purchase.  Everybody has something good about them.  Sometimes it's hard to see it.  This book reminds us to look for the good and acknowledge it.  Really important.

Image result for lucky lazlo steve light
Lucky Lazlo by Steve Light
4/5 stars
Upcoming book by Steve Light, featuring his gorgeous layouts.  This one is different from his concept books.  There is a more traditional storyline for this book, but then you get to the back matter where Light "enlightens" us on the superstitions about stage life.  It's very interesting, and then you can go back and reread the book where each page takes on new meaning.

Transitional Chapter Books

The Infamous Ratsos
The Infamous Ratsos by Kara LaReau
4/5 stars
Fun new transitional chapter book, perfect for 1st-3rd graders.  Kids will laugh at the brothers who are working on their tough guy reputations.  But everything they do make them look like nice, helpful guys!  Their reputation may be in jeopardy!  Check this book out in early August!

Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? (Tales from Deckawoo Drive, #3)
Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? by Kate DiCamillo
4/5 stars
The next book in the Deckawoo Drive series, features my favorite character, Baby Lincoln.  It's so fun to read aloud in my Baby and Eugenia Lincoln voices!  This one is about taking a "necessary journey".

Middle Grade

Going Wild
Going Wild by Lisa McMann
4/5 series
A new series by the author of The Unwanteds series, this one is sure to be a hit with readers.  There's mystery, suspense, sports, and friendship.  
This first book in the series seems to set up the next book.  I'm interested in seeing what happens.
Publishes September 27th.

Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery
Lou Lou and Pea and the Mural Mystery by Jill Diamond
4/5 stars
Love this book!  I find it oftentimes hard to find fun books for the youngest of the middle grade aged readers but this one fits the bill perfectly!
Publishes 10.18.16, and I'll have a longer review for you closer to the publication date!

The Brightest Stars of Summer (Silver Sisters, #2)
The Brightest Stars of Summer by Leila Howland
4/5 stars
I read the first book in the series last summer, and I felt the same way as I did then - this is the perfect "beach read" for kids book!  Fun, easy to follow, and a book that's made to be read in the sun!

Stef Soto, Taco Queen
Stef Soto, Taco Queen by Jennifer Torres
4/5 stars
You'll have to wait awhile for this one - January 2017 - but it's worth the wait. It has a great middle grade voice, kids are going to understand Stef being embarrassed at her family's food truck and they are going to sympathize with her when her overprotective parents won't let her go to THE concert of the year!   Coming in at under 200 pages will make it easier to hand off to many readers!

Hundred Percent
Hundred Percent by Karen Romano Young
3/5 stars
I think Young was trying to go for an edgy middle grade novel, reminiscent of Judy Blume.  Many of Blume's middle grade pushed the envelope, talked about things that all of the readers were secretly talking about.  Made it ok to talk about some of those weird middle grade things that were happening to us, the readers.
This book does that too, but in a way that felt too much, too old.  The book takes place during the characters 6th grade year.  The middle grade, especially 6th-8th grade years, are tricky.   People develop at different rates.  The more adult knowledge is passes along to some while others remain happily unaware.  If the characters in this book were at least one year older, I wouldn't have as much hesitation.  But there is a lot of mature content- discussion of sex, calling characters slutty, referring to both male and female body parts.  On the one hand, I like that she keeps the discussion of all of these things in a middle grade voice.  It sounds right, edgy, questioning, saying things more to see the reaction of peers.  On the other hand, I have a 6th grader and she is not ready to read this.  I know one day she will, but it's not time yet.  This book will be enjoyed by readers, but it goes back to having the right teacher or librarian who has read the book and knows their readers to know who to hand this book over to.
Publishes August 9th.

Young Adult

Tumbling by Caela Carter
4/5 stars
Swimming and gymnastics is always my favorite sports to watch in the Olympics.  I've watched trials for both sports already.
When I found out this book was a fictionalized account of 5 girls competing in the gymnastics Olympic Trials, I knew it was a book my younger self (that still lives inside of me) would love to read.
This book was highly entertaining and fun!  Some mature content - sexual identity and eating disorders - but everything was written well.  Upper middle grade could handle the content fine.

Currently Reading

The Rat Prince
The Rat Prince by Bridget Hodder

Girl in Pieces
Girl in Pieces by Kathleen Glasgow
Another book that is desperately needed.  Another book on mental health, this time looking at characters who are intentionally inflicting self-pain (cutting and other forms).  Amazing voice.

Hope you're finding a great summer read!  What are you reading?