Thursday, August 17, 2017

The First Rule of Punk - a review 8.17.17

The First Rule of Punk
The First Rule of Punk
by Celia C. Pérez
published by Viking
August 22nd

What I love about The First Rule of Punk is that it's original and it's a book for kids.

I'm going to start with that second statement.  We're doing our best to get books in the hands of young readers.  Many teachers are reading books so we can talk and share these books with our young readers.  Some of the books that are getting so much love among adult readers are not always books that kids love.  This one I think is different.  It's a book I see being passed around from reader to reader.  I think they will appreciate the coming of age story because it's not as typical as some of the others that are out there.  There's culture explored.  There's being your own person - being different from your parents.  There's standing up for being different.

Then there's the first reason I love this story so much.  Pérez has included her love for creating zines in this story.  I didn't know what that was at first, but once I saw it, I had memories of doing something similar.  See, most kids find ways to express themselves.  It might not always be traditional art, but almost everyone does some kind of art, doodling, creating.  Zines are pages that are created with mixed media, including cut up magazines, that express some kind of original thought.  I love that there are zines included throughout this book.  It's original and I think it's going to really make this book stand out.

I can't wait to share this book with readers this fall.  It's going to be easy to book talk this one!

Goodreads summary:
From debut author and longtime zine-maker Celia C. Perez, The First Rule of Punk is a wry and heartfelt exploration of friendship, finding your place, and learning to rock out like no one's watching.

There are no shortcuts to surviving your first day at a new school--you can't fix it with duct tape like you would your Chuck Taylors. On Day One, twelve-year-old Malu (Maria Luisa, if you want to annoy her) inadvertently upsets Posada Middle School's queen bee, violates the school's dress code with her punk rock look, and disappoints her college-professor mom in the process. Her dad, who now lives a thousand miles away, says things will get better as long as she remembers the first rule of punk: be yourself.

The real Malu loves rock music, skateboarding, zines, and Soyrizo (hold the cilantro, please). And when she assembles a group of like-minded misfits at school and starts a band, Malu finally begins to feel at home. She'll do anything to preserve this, which includes standing up to an anti-punk school administration to fight for her right to express herself!

Black and white illustrations and collage art throughout make The First Rule of Punk a perfect pick for fans of books like Roller Girl and online magazines like Rookie.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - cover reveal for Girl, Running 8.17.17

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 am so excited to have author Annette Bay Pimentel with me today.  

You may recognize Annette's first book, Mountain Chef, which was published in August of 2016.  Mountain Chef introduced us to Tie Sing, whose quick thinking and culinary skills had a part in the creation of the National Park Service.

Mountain Chef: How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, and Helped Cook Up the National Park Service
Mountain Chef:
How One Man Lost His Groceries, Changed His Plans, 
and Helped Cook up the National Park Service

Or maybe you recognize Annette as a fellow Wednesday nonfiction picture book blogger!  Maybe you have visited her blog (and if you haven't, I recommend taking the quick jaunt over there as it has a wealth of information!). 

Today Annette stops by to talk about nonfiction writing, her new book, Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon, and.... the cover reveal for the new book!

Here are some questions I had for Annette that she kindly agreed to answer.  Welcome, Annette!

1. Can you give your upcoming readers some more information about Girl Running?

In 1966 Bobbi Gibb tried to register for the Boston Marathon but organizers rejected her application out of hand, telling her that girls were capable of running only one and a half miles. Bobbi decided to prove them wrong, so she sneaked into the Boston Marathon. Girl Running tells the story of what happened.

As I researched this book, I was stunned to realize just how much our attitudes toward women in sports have changed in my lifetime. I started to remember incidents from my own life, like my grandmother warning me that jogging could lead to infertility. To my child readers, of course, 1966 is ancient history. But I hope they’ll be inspired by Bobbi Gibb’s joy in running and by her quiet belief in her own capabilities.

Micah Archer, who just won the Ezra Jack Keats Award for the illustrations in her book Daniel Finds a Poem, has created wonderful illustrations for this book. Her collages are beautiful, layered with timelines and maps to give the art a rich, complex feel.

2. Looking at your current and upcoming titles, how do you find the person you are going to write about?  Many of them are new to me people, or people I'm not very familiar with.  How do you decide their story is one you want to tell?

I’m fascinated by people on the margins of history who helped shape the world we now live in but who have been largely ignored or forgotten. This book started when I was reading an essay and the author mentioned in passing that she, like many other female runners, had been inspired by Bobbi Gibb’s 1966 Boston Marathon run. That caught my attention! These accomplished women had all been moved by someone I’d never heard of. I thought there might be a story there.

But I’m never sure if I’ll have enough information to properly tell someone’s story until I dig into the research. I’m thrilled when I find strong primary sources for one of these nearly-forgotten people. Then I know I’ve found a story I can tell.

3. With picture books, you have to be very selective about how much information you want to tell within the pages of the book.  How do you choose the parts you tell and the parts you choose not to use?

I once heard another nonfiction picture book writer, Alice B. McGinty, talk about finding the golden thread that runs through a nonfiction picture book. She explained that everything in the book must connect to that single thematic thread or it doesn’t belong. I love that image and think about it often as I’m revising.

Limiting myself to a single golden thread was especially tough in Girl Running. My original draft was more than twice as long as the published version. I told so many more parts of Bobbi’s life—how she got thrown out of a library because she was a woman, how she injured herself on a run to save a dog’s life, how she moved across the country to train for the marathon. They were all wonderful stories and all illustrative of her character but ultimately they didn’t fit the golden thread running through my book. Girl Running is much stronger and a much greater pleasure to read without those anecdotes.

(And luckily you can read Bobbi Gibb’s autobiography Wind in the Fire if you want all the stuff I had to leave out!)

4. I find the back matter an author includes to be very interesting, but I know many young readers who skip it.  What do you hope young readers get from the information you include?  Do you keep them in mind as you put it together?

I love back matter too! When I started writing nonfiction for kids, I thought of back matter as a piece of writing for adults. But as I’ve visited schools and libraries and talked with kids, I’ve been surprised at how many of them devoured my back matter.

So my approach to back matter has definitely changed. Now I write back matter for both kids and adults. I don’t expect all my readers to dive into the back matter. But for those who have been captured by the world of the book, the back matter gives them a place to linger, to find out what happened next, and to examine how the book connects to their broader world.

5. We see the finished product, but I always find it fascinating what we don't see.  Can you tell us something interesting about when you were going through during the writing of Girl Running?

This is the first book I’ve written about someone who is still alive, so I very much hoped to speak with Bobbi Gibb as part of my research. I tried several avenues to reach out to her but they were all dead ends. I’d been working on the manuscript for months when I complained to my husband that I hadn’t been able to connect with her. He disappeared into his office and emerged an hour later with a very old email address for her. Miraculously, it still worked! We exchanged emails and ultimately spoke on the phone. She answered my questions and was unfailingly gracious and kind.

I had a tough time finding the right tense for this book. It seemed like it should be in the past tense—it’s about the past after all!--but my versions written in the past tense felt leaden. In desperation I tried present tense and was surprised at how the story leapt to life. I’ve learned that, for me at least, writing in the present tense helps catapult me into the historical moment. I hope readers feel transported to the past with me!

After reading Annette's answers, I am so excited to read this next book. I already have it preordered... for February 6th!

And now, for all our Wednesday nonfiction readers, here's Girl Running!

Girl Running: Bobbi Gibb and the Boston Marathon
written by Annette Bay Pimentel
illustrated by Micha Archer
published by Nancy Paulsen Books
February 6th, 2018

Make sure this book is on your 2018 TBR list! Looking forward to great nonfiction reading!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - 10 for 10 day continued! 8.15.17

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.

I love participating in the 10for10 events every year - both fiction and nonfiction.  As I sat down to create this year's picture book list, I wasn't sure what direction I was headed in.  I had a couple of lists going, ultimately deciding to make a list of books that show perspective.  If you would like to see that list, click here.  

But another list I had started was my favorite early reader books.  I figured why throw it away, it's a perfect list for the #road2reading Challenge!  So if you are a preK-2nd grade teacher, here is a list of 10 early reader books I would suggest having in your classroom.  As your students become more independent with their reading, these books are ones they will reach for time and again.  Some of the books are full of sight words and decodable text.  Other books have short sentences, some that repeat.  Even if a reader can't read all of the words the first time through, read the book once to them and they will be able to figure it out all by themselves in the next read.  All of the books have engaging and fun stories.

Happy early reading!

Is That Wise, Pig?
Is That Wise, Pig?

by Jan Thomas

Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching
Peep and Egg: I'm Not Hatching
by Laura Gehl
illustrated by Joyce Wan

What This Story Needs Is a Munch and a Crunch
What This Story Needs is a Munch and a Crunch
by Emma Virján

Press Here
Press Here
by Hervé Tullet

Touch the Brightest Star
Touch the Brightest Star
by Christie Matheson

Everyone Loves Bacon
Everyone Loves Bacon
written by Kelly DiPucchio
illustrated by Eric Wight

Image result for who done it olivier tallec
Who Done It?
by Olivier Tallec

A Pig, a Fox, and Stinky Socks
A Pig, A Fox, and Stinky Socks
by Jonathan Fenske

Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run!: An Alphabet Caper
Oops, Pounce, Quick, Run
by Mike Twohy

Duck, Duck, Porcupine!
Duck, Duck Porcupine
by Salina Yoon

Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading?  Link up here!

Monday, August 14, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.14.17

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

Some new transitional chapter books from Scholastic.

I love the blend of narrative nonfiction and expository facts in this book about koalas!

This book is a MUST for middle grade collections.

And it was #pb10for10 day!  I had no idea how relevant this list was going to be when I put it together, and I think it will continue to be needed for the foreseeable future.  A list of books to share with students and other teachers - 10 books about perspective

Picture Books

Monster's New Undies
Monster's New Undies by Samantha Berger
4/5 stars
Oh this is such a fun read aloud!  Read this book so you can hear giggles.  Read this book so you can have kids fighting over it when you're done.  It's pure fun!

The Only Fish in the Sea
The Only Fish in the Sea by Philip C. Stead
4/5 stars
Sadie is one of my favorite characters.  She's strong-willed and strong-minded.  It's always fun to see the adventures she goes on.  I love the partnership between author Philip Stead and illustrator Matthew Cordell.

I Like, I Don't Like
I Like, I Don't Like by Anna Baccelliere
5/5 stars
I included this book on my perspective #pb10for10 list.  So important for children to read outside of their own walls.

Informational Texts

A Boy, a Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E. B. White
A Boy, A Mouse, and a Spider by Barbara Herbert
5/5 stars
Anything Lauren Castillo illustrates is a book I'm going to love.  
After reading Melissa Sweet's biography of E.B. White last year, I feel like this one really does a great job getting the important details of his life in a picture book.  Her sentences are concise and to the point.  Not a wasted word.
And the illustrations.  Sigh.  Just beautiful.
This will be on my Mock Caldecott and Mock Sibert.
publishes October 24th

Middle Grade

Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus
Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus by Dusti Bowling
5/5 stars
For me, this book is so important.  It gets disabilities right.  It gets all the different feels kids who have them just right.  I hope kids read this and they learn to accept and understand.  Please come back on August 31st for my full post.
publishes September 5th

Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh
Step Up to the Plate, Maria Singh by Uma Krishnaswami
4/5 stars
I really like this book - it reminds me of Dash by Kirby Larson and Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan.  It takes place during World War II in California when there was racism present because of events taking place overseas.  This book covers the sentiment towards Germans and people from India - which is something new.  I like how the book brought in females playing baseball!  
I think the cover of this book doesn't do it any favors.  It looks very young and I think it will turn off some readers.  I believe the characters are in fifth grade, yet the goodreads summary says they are nine years old.  I think kids in fifth and sixth grade would enjoy this book and be able to handle the historical background.  I wish the characters were just a bit older and it was a different cover.  With a good book talk, teachers will be able to get readers for this book.

The Great Treehouse War
The Great Treehouse War by Lisa Graff
4/5 stars
What happens when a child has had enough?  They find a secret loophole to live in a tricked out treehouse, of course!  I like that Winnie finds a way to say it's too much - too much ridiculousness by her parents.  Although the scenario might not be the same, we do put too much on kids at times.  Good for them for speaking up!
The use of multimedia in this book (emails, sticky notes, comics, directions, drawings, etc.) make this book unique and fun.

Posted by John David Anderson
5/5 stars
I don't think I could have read this at a more relevant time.
Powerful, powerful read.  
For me, and my background experience, this book felt very very realistic.  I always have hope that it's not like this everywhere.  I have no doubt that this book will be a mirror book for far too many kids.  
I hope for those seeing it as a mirror, they find this as something they can hold on to.  For kids who are seeing this as a window, I hope they see this book as a catalyst to do something.  To see the power of words and the power of kindness.

This book should be required reading for both teachers and students.

Currently Reading

The Running Dream
The Running Dream by Wendelin Van Draanen
I've owned this book for a very very long time.  But it kept getting pushed off so I put it on my #mustreadin2017 list.  It's my designated August read!

It's the last week before school starts so I'm trying to cram in as many reads as possible while getting all of those last minute things done.  We're also returning home from our summer in Florida and I have the maximum amount of books on hold at my library - 30 - so lots of picture book reading coming up!  Let me tell you, not all libraries are created equally! While I am already going in withdrawal from the lack of palm trees in the midwest, I'm very happy to be back at my local library!

Happy reading!

Thursday, August 10, 2017

#pb10for10 day - a new perspective 8.10.17

Thank you Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine and Mandy Robek at Enjoy and Embrace Learning for organizing this day. Stop by the Google Community to see even more ideas, or look for the hashtag #pb10for10.

This year's #pb10for10 snuck up on me.  I would remember at odd times that it was coming up but never at a time where I got it done, much less thought about it much.  Once I sat down to think about it, I didn't know where I wanted my focus to head.  I didn't have to look much farther than social media or the news.  Because it seems all we see is the state our nation is in.  Where it's ok to mock people, build walls to exclude people, make up your own rules and say horrible things but still be elected to a position to make important decisions.  Somehow, looking out for yourself, and not thinking about others, is okay.  While I surround myself with people who know this is not ok, I wonder how can we avoid getting to this place again?  And then I look at our students.  Impressionable human beings who are soaking up knowledge and learning what is right and wrong and ok and not ok.  How can we make this world better for them?  How can we get them to look at things in a new way?

And that's when it hit me.  Perspective.  How can we teach our young readers to see things, to see people, to see views with perspective?  Through literature, of course.

So here are 10 books that can start the conversation on perspective.  Some books deal with the topic head on, some go about it using a comparison, but all will lead to important conversations.

Happy #pb10for10 day.  Here's to a new perspective!

Nerdy Birdy Tweets
Nerdy Birdy Tweets
written by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Matt Davies

Double Take! a New Look at Opposites
Double Take! A New Look at Opposites
written by Susan Hood
illustrated by Jay Fleck

I Like, I Don't Like
I Like, I Don't Like
written by Anna Baccelliere
illustrated by Ale + Ale

A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices
A New School Year: Stories in Six Voices
written by Sally Derby
illustrated by Mika Song

After the Fall (How Humpty Dumpty Got Back Up Again)
After the Fall
by Dan Santat
(publishes October 3rd)

A Bike Like Sergio's
A Bike Like Sergio's
written by Maribeth Boelts
illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

Normal Norman
Normal Norman
written by Tara Lazar
illustrated by S. Britt

My Two Blankets
My Two Blankets
written by Irena Kobald
illustrated by Freya Blackwood

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
written by Emily Jenkins
illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

We're All Wonders
We're All Wonders
by R.J. Palacio

Want to see past #pb10for10 posts?  Take a look!
2016:  books to use at the start of the school year
2015:  books to use for quick writes
2014:  books to celebrate the readerly life

Happy picture book reading!

Things That Surprise You - a review 8.10.17

Everyone has different experiences in middle school.  Although it seems like when you bring up that subject, everyone's reaction tends to be "ugh, middle school".  It's that awkward stage.  When you're stuck between figuring out your own style and wearing what mom bought.  It's the bad hair cut days, that precede just bad hair days.  It's the time when friendships change, and usually the transitions are hard.

I remember my middle school days.  I remember the teachers, some I liked, some I remember because of how much I disliked them.  I remember teachers coming back from their breaks smelling like smoke.  I remember the feathered hairstyles and the clothing styles - Guess jeans, pegged pants, layered socks, stirrup pants, and collars turned up.  I remember middle school being a time where I went from middle grade novels to the young adult section at the library.  But what I really remember about middle school was how unsure I was of myself.  I went from having friends to changing friends.  I went from being happy to being made fun of by my peers.  I went from not caring to caring too much.  

A lot of this hasn't changed.  The styles change but the part about friendship, about not knowing who you are, about trying to figure it all out, hasn't changed at all.  And that's why I'm glad there are books like this.

Things That Surprise You
Things That Surprise You
by Jennifer Maschari
published by Balzer + Bray
August 22nd

Why I think this book is important to have in a middle grade class:

  • the one lines.  There are so many times that Maschari sums up how it feels to be in that transitional spot in one line.  So many times I stopped and said, "yes!!"  This will speak to kids.
  • she embraces the unicorns.  A lot of the book centers around how one friend is changing and the main character isn't.  They both loved the Unicorn Chronicles books (think Harry Potter and the resulting movies, costumes, paraphernalia...) but now that might not be as cool.
  • friendships change.  That tough period when a friendship is changing, and you know they are both going to go their separate ways, but not until some hard moments happen.  It was spot on in this book.
  • family is important.  Maschari puts in an interesting spin on this topic - the older sister is battling addiction to an eating disorder, the MC's parents are divorced and the father is moving on with a new partner.  While always a sticky situation, I like the way it was covered.
I think this book is going to be passed around classrooms and libraries this fall.  I know it's going in my library.  There are going to be kids who need this book!

Goodreads summary:
Emily Murphy is about to enter middle school. She’s sort of excited… though not nearly as much as her best friend Hazel, who is ready for everything to be new. Emily wishes she and Hazel could just continue on as they always have, being the biggest fans ever of the Unicorn Chronicles, making up dance moves, and getting their regular order at The Slice.

But things are changing. At home, Emily and her mom are learning to move on after her parents’ divorce. Hardest of all, her beloved sister Mina has been in a treatment facility to deal with her anorexia. Emily is eager to have her back, but anxious about her sister getting sick again.

Hazel is changing too. She has new friends from the field hockey team, is starting to wear makeup, and have crushes on boys. Emily is trying to keep up, but she keeps doing and saying the wrong thing. She want to be the perfect new Emily. But who is that really?

Things That Surprise You is a beautifully layered novel about navigating the often shifting bonds of family and friendship, and learning how to put the pieces back together when things fall apart.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Koala 8.09.17

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 really enjoyed Claire Saxby's book, Emu.  The blend of a narrative nonfiction story and expository facts make it a great hybrid book for readers.

written by Claire Saxby
illustrated by Julie Vivas
published by Candlewick
September 5th

I was excited to see Koala on Candlewick's fall list.  Koalas are well loved among kids and I thought this book would entice many readers.  

This book focuses on what a koala does when it's time to its mother and learn to live a life on its own.  I thought this was an interesting focus for the book because you typically find books about when an animal is very young and how it grows or its life as a grown adult.  This book specifically focuses on the time when it must learn to live on its own.  Saxby shows that at first the koala has some growing pains.  It's hard to find its own tree - if a tree is already "marked" by another male, it cannot stay there.  It's hard to find food - a koala must eat over 300 grams of eucalyptus leaves a day and koalas must discern good leaves from the poisonous leaves.  They must stay away from other male koalas - koalas are solitary animals unless looking for a mate.  I had no idea that koalas had it so rough once they leave their mother!

I think young readers will enjoy this book because it will surprise them as they learn this new information.  The narrative and expository format also make this book fun to read for young readers.  Claire Saxby is a nonfiction writer whose books I will continue to look for to get kids reading more nonfiction!

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - new transitional chapter books from Scholastic 8.08.17

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 publisher that I always look to for fun transitional chapter books is Scholastic.  They do a great job of publishing books that kids want to read.  Their Branches collection is fantastic - books from this label are always checked out by my students.  This spring/early summer they published several new transitional chapter books that you might want to add for this school year.

Remy Sneakers vs. the Robo-Rats (Remy Sneakers #1)
Remy Sneakers vs. the Robo-Rats
by Kevin Sherry
This first in a series introduces us to Remy Sneakers - a sneaker and fanny pack wearing raccoon.  In this first book he is being framed for stealing goods from a museum.  With some help from his city dwelling friends, Remy may outwit the bad guys... or is it bad robots?

Toby Goes Bananas by Franck Girard
Toby Goes Bananas
by Franck Girard 
illustrated by Serge Bloch
This is one of those books that you know kids will love because of the ridiculous humor.  It might not make adults laugh, probably roll their eyes, but kids are going to have the giggles while reading this book.
We learn about Toby, his family, friends, and how a typical day of school goes for him.  Told in both print and in comic frames, young readers are going to love the mixed formats and silly jokes.

Ugly Cat & Pablo
Ugly Cat and Pablo
by Isabel Quintero
illustrated by Tom Knight
The first book in a series, we are introduced to Pablo the mouse, Ugly Cat the, uh... cat, and Big Mike, the bulldog.  The three unlikely friends seem to get into silly trouble that you can spot coming a mile away.  Lots of Spanish words are throughout the book, however I wish there had been a list of the words and their translations.  Most you can figure out through context, but there were even a few I had to guess at.  
When the friends speak the font changes which makes it easier for young readers to know it switched to a new character speaking.

Let's Do A Thing! (Victor Shmud, Total Expert #1)
Victor Shmud Total Expert: Let's Do a Thing!
by Jim Benton
This is one of those books that I will have to kid test because I am definitely not the targeted audience.  Full of silly humor, some of it the kind only appreciated by a child, I can see kids giggling over it.  
Victor Shmud is full of ideas, some good, some inventive, some a bit out there.  In this first book, he is kidnapped by aliens because they think (because of his "skills" in video gaming) he is an expert in interspace battle strategy.  Victor will have to use all of his ideas to figure out this predicament! 
The only concern I have with this book is how the author chose to illustrate the teacher.  It's a bit disturbing to me.  I'm not sure if kids will pick up on it or not.  Probably not, but it does concern me a bit.

Don't miss Alyson's post about some graphic novel format books for the early reader.

Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading?  Link up here!

Monday, August 7, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.07.17

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

Check out this roundup of August releases.

A new series and new book for the intermediate crowd here.

Perfect pairing of insect books - use for a unit or in your science collection!

Some new transitional chapter book series releases for August.

Picture Books

Double Take! a New Look at Opposites
Double Take! by Susan Hood
4/5 stars
This is the newest picture book added to my collection!  I think this book is perfect for older students to talk about perception and looking deeper into things, or looking at them differently.  

Nerdy Birdy Tweets
Nerdy Bird Tweets by Aaron Reynolds
5/5 stars
This is a very important book to read to students of all ages.  Use to talk about social media, especially how you word things on social media.  And use it to talk about how in person contact is changing because of social media.  So important right now.

Super Manny Stands Up!
Super Manny Stands Up! by Kelly DiPucchio
4/5 stars
Great book to use at the beginning of the school year to show the importance of using words to stand up to bullies.  Love the illustrations by Stephanie Graegin.

You Must Bring a Hat
You Must Bring a Hat by Simon Philip
4/5 stars
Will be a fun read aloud.

Early Readers

There's a Pest in the Garden!
There's a PEST in the Garden! by Jan Thomas
5/5 stars
Love this series.  Jan Thomas finds way to add lots of humor into her stories for young readers - I love that this book is readable yet it still has lots of humor.  Lots of the humor is implied which leads this to be used as a mentor text to teach young readers to look for what the author doesn't tell you in words yet adds to the story.

Middle Grade

Smart Cookie
Smart Cookie by Elly Swartz
5/5 stars
I fell in love with Finding Perfect last year.  And now I'm in love with Smart Cookie.  Loved the characters, loved the story, loved how things come together.  It's also a fresh take on a family that has lost a family member.  I'll have a much longer review closer to publication... which isn't until January 2018!  So sorry, but just know you have great reading ahead of you!

Clayton Byrd Goes Underground
Clayton Byrd Goes Underground by Rita Williams-Garcia
4/5 stars
I love that this book spotlights the relationship between a grandson and his grandfather.  
Rita has such a way with words, this one is no exception!

Currently Reading

The First Rule of Punk
The First Rule of Punk 
by Celia C. Pérez
I am over halfway through this book and I am LOVING it.  This book is going to be loved by many readers this fall.

Last two weeks of summer reading coming up.  How many books can I get in while getting everything else in?  Yikes, we shall see!  How did you do with your summer reading?