Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Two Truths and a Lie - It's Alive! 5.31.17

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.

I've never been good at the game Two Truths and a Lie unless I have a lot of background knowledge of the subject.  I guess I'm too gullible.  I believe the written word.  But that's exactly what we need to be teaching students - fact check your resources, how do you know it's a reliable source?

This new book by Joan Paquette and Laurie Thompson is going to be a great book to have in classrooms.

Two Truths and a Lie: It's Alive!
Two Truths and a Lie - It's Alive!
by Ammi-Joan Paquette and Laurie Ann Thompson
published by Walden Pond Press
June 27th

First of all, with all of the amazing science found within it, kids who are looking for science books are going to eat this book up!  Our schools are full of readers who are looking for factual information, books that will amaze them with their facts, and this book is a well welcomed addition for them!  But it's not just your science readers who will enjoy it, kids who like to share and talk about books with friends, kids who like a challenge - because 1 in every 3 stories is a lie - are going to love this book.

But it's not just your readers, it's also you, the teacher, who will find fantastic uses for this book.  Try this idea out:

  • Have students, in groups or on their own, read a story.  Make sure you have them read 1 of the 3 stories that goes together.  As they read, ask questions about the subject?  What part seems to be a fabrication?  What part do they need to verify or get more information?
  • Get them ready to research.  What can they find about the subject of the story?  What sources will they use to do their fact checking?  I love how Paquette and Thompson talk about how even "lies might have kernels of buried truth".
  • Get together in groups - everyone that read at least one of the three stories.  Talk, share, discuss.  What did they discover?
  • After they find the lie, go back and look at the writing - what did the authors do to make the story sound so realistic?  And trust me, they are!  I was 0 for 5 - finally found the lie in the 6th group of stories!  If the authors can make something real, how do we know the information we are reading is true?

The authors of this book have also added some amazing resources.  Make sure you refer to their research guide where they give very helpful tips about fact checking and knowing your resources.  Since so much of our research is done through the internet, how do you know the information is accurate?  They've included some great pieces of information you'll want to go over with your class.

There is also an extensive source list they used for each of their stories.  Be sure to see how varied it is.  Paquette and Thompson also have included photographs, sidebars, and bold print with captions that have definitions to help build vocabulary for readers.

Such an amazing book for your library.  I hope a copy or two finds their way into your collection!  Look for it on June 27th!

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - Fegus and Zeke 5.30.17

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.

Fergus and Zeke
Fergus and Zeke
written by Kate Messner
illustrated by Heather Ross
published by Candlewick Press
June 13th

I'm really excited about this new transitional chapter book!  It has so many aspects that appeal to young readers:

  • has an animal as a main character
  • there is adventure
  • realistic setting (school and then a museum)
  • universal themes of friendship and a sense of belonging
  • chapter title names
  • illustrations to help support vocabulary, characters and the setting of the scene
Goodreads summary
Meet Fergus and Zeke a lovable classroom mouse and his streetwise buddy in a brand-new series perfect for early readers. 
Fergus loves being the class pet in Miss Maxwell s classroom. He does everything the students do, until the teacher plans a field trip to the museum without Fergus! He doesn t want to miss the fun, so he stows away in a backpack and sets off for an adventure. When he arrives at the museum, Fergus finds it a little overwhelming huge and full of exciting things to see. Luckily, he meets a new friend, Zeke, who knows the ropes, and together they explore everything from moon rocks to butterflies to a giant dinosaur skeleton ("A playground!" says Zeke). But when the time comes for the bus to leave, Fergus is worried that he ll be left behind. Will he make it back to school to take his place as class pet once more?"

My quick thoughts
Readers who are ready for chapters and a story that takes place across a longer story are going to enjoy this book.  The realistic setting will appeal to readers and help them feel comfortable.  Young readers will enjoy the mice's voices and like that the story revolves around their adventures - after all, it's not too easy for humans to jump on the statues in a museum undetected!  Kids will understand Fergus' desire for a friend and the way Fergus and Zeke find each other and stay together.  Most of the content vocabulary is supported by the illustrations and the text has a lot of sight words and decodable text.  
I am really excited to get this book into the hands of readers next fall.  Messner has created another hit and I'm really glad we have more Fergus and Zeke adventures coming our way.  What is even better is it's going to be a series!  Next up is Fergus and Zeke at the Science Fair!

Be sure to look for this book on June 13th!

Every week Alyson Beecher and I are sharing new posts about being on the #road2reading.  Check out Alyson's post here.

Thinking about books that encourage readers on the #road2reading?  Link up here!

Monday, May 29, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.29.17

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

A new transitional chapter book that should be on your must read list if you teach 1st-4th grade.  It has great read aloud potential.   Check it out here.

I'm always looking for nonfiction picture books that will hook readers.  I'm pretty sure these poop books will do the job!

Do you have fans of the Amulet series?  This is the book you will want to hand off next!

The topic of courage comes up throughout the year - courage to be brave, to speak up, to do something when it's hard.... here are some books you can use.

Picture Books

Rodzilla by Rob Sanders
3/5 stars
Dan Santat's illustrations are spot-on for this silly read aloud!  Kids will love the potty humor and I'm pretty sure parents will guess the twist ending from their own life experiences!

The Nuts: Keep Rolling!
The Nuts: Keep Rolling! by Eric Litwin
4/5 stars
Kids love this series and this one is going to be well received, as well.  Be sure to go to the website and you can have Eric Litwin and friends read the story with music!  I like the theme in this story.

Hattie & Hudson
Hattie & Hudson by Chris Van Dusen
4/5 stars
A book you will want for theme and to show how to look beyond the outside of a person/character.  Beautiful illustrations, as always, from rockstar illustrator Chris Van Dusen.

That Neighbor Kid
That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares
5/5 stars
This one is going into my classroom library.  Beautiful.  Love the use of color, love the themes of friendship and working together.  

The Treasure Box T
he Treasure Box by Margaret Wild
4/5 stars
A hard book to read - a young boy and his father must leave their home behind and leave.  They bring along an iron box that carries treasure - a book that tells the history of their people.  If you hold any discussions on the refugee experience or war, this would be a book you might want to add.

Away by Emil Sher
4/5 stars
A young girl gets ready to leave for sleepover camp and the mom and little girl discuss her fears and how it will all be ok... via post it notes left for each other!  Loved Qin Leng's watercolor illustrations.

Way Past Bedtime
Way Past Bedtime by Tara Lazar
4/5 stars
I bet "past bedtime" is kind of like "seeing your teacher outside of school".  Kids can't really imagine how either of those things can be - but when they do, like young Joseph in the story, they come up with some very creative ideas!  Ask your readers... what do their parents do after the kids go to bed??

Middle Grade

Three Pennies
Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder
5/5 stars
A quick read, but one that will stick with you for a long time.  The story is about Marin, who has been shuffled around to many foster homes, but has never given up hope that one day she will be reunited with her mother.  She's about to get a forever home, but she must first find out if her dream could ever come true.  Told by different narrators, including her case worker, an owl and tectonic plates.  Beautiful, one I may add to my Mock Newbery list.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)
Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee
4/5 stars
Fun early middle grade novel that is great for the 2nd-4th grade audience.  Kids will enjoy the realistic fiction setting, plot an characters.  Bobby looks like he has it all - after all his dad is a former football star - but he seems to always find himself in trouble.  This time it's with his best friend who just happens to be a girl.

Currently Reading

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)
A Court of Wings and Ruin
by Sarah J. Maas
I'm in the final stretch!  I'll have a quick review for you next week!

14 Hollow Road
14 Hollow Road
by Jenn Bishop
My students can't wait for me to read this one and tell them all about it.  They fell in love with The Distance To Home this year and can't wait to read Jenn's next book!

Lots of middle grade books coming up in my stacks!  Hope you have a great week reading :)

Friday, May 26, 2017

Spotlight Friday - Jabari Jumps and other books about courage 5.26.17

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!

Being courageous is a tricky thing.  Courage can take on all kinds of meaning.  It takes courage to do what is right.  It takes courage to stand up to people.  It takes courage to do what is hard, scary and tough.  

What a great topic to continue to discuss at the start of the school year and carry on throughout the year, because it's always going to look different.  Having courage and being brave looks different in different situations, so it really should be an ongoing discussion.

A new book you may want to use:

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari Jumps
by Gaia Cornwall
published by Candlewick Press

In this story, Jabari is getting ready to tackle a new situation - taking the leap off the high dive!  While we know this to be a metaphor about many situations in life, kids will see it for what it is.  Jabari enters the aquatic park full of confidence and excitement.  Then we see the big ladder.  I love the perspective Cornwall gives in the illustrations.  We see how big everything looks to Jabari and understand his fears.  But dad is there to cheer him on and encourage him.  Jabari's little sister is there, too.  Before Jabari can make the big jump, he comes up with plenty of excuses of what needs to be done first - stretching, thinking about the jump, being kind and letting everyone else go first, and thinking about is this something he really wants to do today!  Young readers will understand those excuses!  Dad is there with great advice, and builds Jabari's confidence up, enough that Jabari feels like he knows what he needs to do to conquer the jump.

Some discussion points:

  • How did Dad's words help Jabari?
  • What did Jabari need in order to jump?
  • What did the author/illustrator do to help us understand Jabari's feelings?
  • Talk about how Jabari changed throughout the book.
  • Have you ever had an experience like this?
  • What advice would you give Jabari?
  • What did Jabari learn about trying something new?  About having courage?
Keep the conversation going throughout the year.  Add some of these books to your collection so you can use books as a springboard to your discussions.

Other books about being brave:

There Might Be Lobsters
There Might Be Lobsters
by Carolyn Crimi
* courage to do what is hard

I Am Not Scared
I Am (Not) Scared
by Anna Kang
* courage to face your fears

Little Fox in the Forest
Little Fox in the Forest 
by Stephanie Graegin
* courage to fight, run after, what is yours

Not Quite Narwhal
Not Quite Narwhal
by Jessie Sima
* courage to be yourself

Green Pants
Green Pants 
by Kenneth Kraegel
* courage to try something new

Dad and the Dinosaur
Dad and the Dinosaur
by Gennifer Choldenko
* getting advice about courage

I Don't Draw, I Color!
I Don't Draw, I Color!
by Adam Lehrhaupt
* courage to think creatively

Flowers for Sarajevo
Flowers for Sarajevo
by Kristy Caldwell
* courage to stand up for what is right

Rulers of the Playground
Rulers of the Playground
by Joseph Kuefler
* courage to stand up for what is right

Happy reading, discussing and sharing!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior blog tour 5.25.17

A few years ago we had a revolution go through our school.  It was the Amulet revolution.  Books 1-6 were out.  They started in the fourth grade.  Between my copies, my colleague's and the school library's, it was all we could do to make sure the copies constantly circulated.  We often lost track of where they were.  The kids had their own way of passing them from hand to hand.  One copy would be returned and before it could be checked in, it was already being grabbed by the next reader.  There were hold lists pages long.  I'm pretty sure our reading assistant that year felt more like a book bookie, than a teacher.  She spent long amounts of time and tireless amounts of steps to get the books out to all of the readers.  After they went through fourth grade, the third grade got wind of this series.  The process started all over again in that grade.  But then there was a long wait for book 7.  A new school year had started, with many of our 4th grade junkies being at a new building.  This time my colleague and I bought multiple copies.  I think we had 4 floating around the school, and another copy that we sent to our former students at the 5th grade building.  I remember putting a sign up, months in advance of the publication date, letting students know the book release date.  A student asked me, "since you know all the authors, can you get us an advanced copy?"  I think they were pretty disappointed finding out my connections didn't reach that far.

I don't think another series has been in the same demand as the Amulet books.  We still have book fever, we still have hold lists, but maybe not the same amount.  Until.....

The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds, #1)
5 Worlds: The Sand Warrior
by Mark Siegel and Alexis Siegel
illustrations/coloring by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, and Boya Sun
published by Random House 

Goodreads summary
The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there s more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . .
The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?
When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

My quick thoughts
This book is full of action and questions.  Every time I got a question answered, a new one would pop up!  The setting takes place on another world...dimension?  Because of how unfamiliar I was, I found myself often referring to the map in the inside cover.  There are three main characters that you slowly get to know over the course of the book.  By the end of the book, you definitely have empathy for the characters and feel invested in their adventures.  There are a multitude of other characters which makes it a little tricky to keep everyone straight, but as long as a reader understands the three main characters, their traits and motivations, the story line will be understood.  Just like in the Amulet series, you'll want to help the characters because it seems like they just can't get a break.  The main plot is fairly easy to understand, it's the subplots and how they impact the main plot that can be tricky.  This series will require readers to slow down, take in the details that are in the illustrations, keep track of multiple settings and characters and see how the different conflicts weave together and unravel!  
I think this series is going to be as popular as Amulet.  This is a great graphic novel to pass off to your Amulet readers who are ready for just a bit more complex story line.
My suggestion... get your hands on multiple copies.  And get a hold list ready.  And maybe read it before you pass it out.  You won't be seeing it again for a long time!

A great video to show your students is of one of the authors, Mark Siegel, talking about the book and how it artistically comes together.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Talking About POOP! 5.24.17

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 is more fascinating to a young scientist than poop?  As gross as it is, as you learn about it you find yourself wanting to share facts!  Some new ones on this wonderful subject:

Whose Poop Is That? by Darrin P Lunde
Whose Poop is THAT?
by Darrin Lunde
published by Charlesbridge
Showing an illustrated pile of dung with a brief explanation, the page asks, "whose poop is that?"  The following layout gives us the answer and some additional information.  There is more information in the backmatter that I know kids will want to share.  Like did you know, a rabbit sometimes eats its poop in order to digest its food twice?  Ewww, but wow!

If You Are a Kaka, You Eat Doo Doo: And Other Poop Tales from Nature
If You Are a Kaka, You Eat Doo Doo and other poop tales from nature
by Sara Martel 
published by Tilbury House Nature Book
This book gets into even more detail about the subject matter and answers where, why and how it helps animals!  Additional information in sidebars, this book really does show how animals are connected through.... yeah, you guessed it, poop.

Other poop books to try out:

Poop Detectives
Poop Detectives:  Working Dogs in the Field
by Ginger Wadsworth

Poop Happened!: A History of the World from the Bottom Up
Poop Happened: A History of the World from the Bottom Up
by Sarah Albee

The Truth about Poop
The Truth About Poop
by Susan E. Goodman

Happy reading!

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - The Unlucky Lottery Winners, a review 5.23.17

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.
A transitional chapter book is meant to be a stepping stone from picture books to middle grade novels.  Of course, within this format, there are many supports an author may choose to add to the book to help the reader.  One of the supports are episodic chapters.  This means each chapter is a contained story.  A reader does not have to carry a story from the start to the beginning in episodic chapters.  What happens in each chapter may be similar, but the story line does not get more complex.

The Unlucky Lottery Winners of Classroom 13 by Honest Lee
The Unlucky Lottery Winners of Classroom 13
by Honest Lee and Matthew J. Gilbert
published by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
June 6th

This is the first book in a very silly series that is sure to keep readers laughing and reading.  While I have to admit, I am not the audience for this book (too many fart and poop jokes), I know many readers that will love the silliness of the kids in this book.

The first two chapters set up plot line.  We meet Ms. Linda, the very unlucky teacher.  However, as luck would have it (hahaha), she becomes the winner of the $28 billion dollar lottery.  Before winning, she signed a contract and pinkie promised her students she would share the money if she won it...

Now that she is a winner and has shared all of her money with students (except for the one that had been home sick that day), everyone finds out that having all of the money you could ever need might now always make you happy at the end.

Each chapter tells the quick story of a student in the class and what they chose to do with their share of the money.  Usually each student squanders their money.  Which brings up the questions - did the money make you happy?  How should you spend money?  In your opinion, who was wisest?  In your opinion who spent the money in the worst way?  Since each chapter is its own story, readers don't have to carry a big plot line all the way through the story.  This is helpful when readers are growing stamina for longer books, but can't hold on to important details as they read them.

This book makes a great read aloud - you'll have the kids laughing in every chapter.  It also makes for great discussion using the questions from above.  Or, teach students to start tracking ideas.  After each chapter when a student is introduced, have readers track when they spent their money on and write/explain why it was a good choice/bad choice.  Who were the wise students?  Who were impulsive?  What could you tell about the characters after reading about their spending?

Luckily this is going to be a series!  The next one comes out in December and it looks like the series will continue to ask some important questions - is having a lot of money worth it?  how important is fame?  what would you do with wishes?  I think this is going to be a series that will be eagerly read.  I'll be adding it to my library, how about you?

Don't miss Aly's post - it's a Captain Underpants pack giveaway!

Join us on Tuesdays!  Have a post, link up!

Monday, May 22, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.22.17

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

Readers who are entering the world of chapter books need some additional supports.  Here are some ideas to get them on their way.

Animal books are a must have in libraries - kids love reading about animals and there are so many NGSS standards tied to them.  Here are some newly published titles to check out!

I love the Rip and Red series by Phil Bildner and I know readers are going to love this next one in the series.  Be sure to look for Tournament of Champions on June 6th!

Grand Canyon is an amazing book you need to check out.  It's going to be on Mock Caldecott and Mock Sibert lists, for sure!  It aligns to NGSS and it's a perfect mentor text!

Picture Books

Naptastrophe! by Jarrett J. Krosoczka
4/5 stars
This is such a fun book!  Parents will remember the no-nap/I'm not taking a nap days well!  Young readers will laugh at Lucy the Bunny as she refuses to take a nap and the effects it has on her.  Great book for story time!

Go Sleep in Your Own Bed
Go Sleep in Your Own Bed! by Candace Fleming
5/5 stars
Love this book with it's clever vocabulary, onomatopoeia, and predictable patterns.  Great for a farm unit, a writing mentor text or a fun read aloud!  This one is going in my library.

Dream by Matthew Cordell
5/5 stars
I think Cordell perfectly captures the dreams, hopes, wishes that a parent has for a child, that a teacher has for their students, that we pass on to all loved ones.  Great baby, graduation, I-love-you gift, great end of year read.

Cinnamon by Neil Gaiman
I didn't rate this book because it left me a bit confused.  It seemed like it was based on perhaps a fairy/folk tale, but there was no before or after notes by the author.  If it wasn't, I'm not sure I understood the point of the story.  I get parts of it, but then I don't know how others connected.  Hmmmm.....

Danny McGee Drinks the Sea
Danny McGee Drinks the Sea by Andy Stanton
3/5 stars
A fun, rollicking rhyming story - it started out funny, got a little strange, and then ended in a way I did not see coming!

Goldfish Ghost
Goldfish Ghost by Lemony Snicker
3/5 stars
I have been anxious to read this book.  I'm not sure what I expected, but I guess it wasn't what I read!  I will be interesting in hearing what young readers' reactions to this book.  Although I loved Lisa Brown's illustrations.  I would love to see her recognized by the Caldecott committee at some point!

Puppy, Puppy, Puppy
Puppy, Puppy, Puppy by Julie Sternberg
4/5 stars
Do not underestimate the bond between a young child and their pet.  In the case of this book, a baby and his puppy.  Pet enthusiasts will fall in love with this book and the sweet story of how the puppy and baby stop at nothing to be together throughout the day.

May I Have a Word?
May I Have a Word? by Caron Levis
3/5 stars
Letters "c" and "k" are arguing over their shared sound and who gets to have the best words.  I think this book would be a fun read aloud for kids who are learning about the "ck" rule (goes at the end of a word or syllable touching a short vowel).  Youngsters who are learning their sounds will enjoy the silliness of the story, too!

Informational Texts

Marching with Aunt Susan: Susan B. Anthony and the Fight for Women's Suffrage
Marching With Aunt Susan by Claire Rudolf Murphy
4/5 stars
Narrative informational text, tells the story of young Bessie who is coming of age during the suffrage movement in California.  The narrative format will appeal to young readers since it reads like a story.  Great author's notes, sources and end pages that show some primary resources.

Middle Grade

The Door in the Alley (The Explorers, #1)
The Explorers: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress
4/5 stars
I am so excited to tell you about this book.  It's the first book in a series and I think 3rd-6th graders are going to really enjoy it.  It has adventure, suspense, and mystery.  The blog tour stops at my blog today, be sure to check it out here.

Currently Reading

A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses, #3)
A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas
I'm more than halfway through now and I am constantly reminded why I fell in love with this series.

Three Pennies
Three Pennies by Melanie Crowder
I've heard Newbery buzz over this one so I'm interested in checking it out.

Bobby vs. Girls (Accidentally)
Bobby vs Girls (Accidentally) by Lisa Yee
This looks like a fun one for the kids I work with!  And it's illustrated by Dan Santat :)

Is your summer reading TBR list exploding?  Mine is!  Looking forward to some time to read.