Monday, October 15, 2018

It's Monday! What Am I Reading? 10.15.18

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.

Took some time off from blogging a lot to enjoy a quick little trip to Disney.  Got to spend time with our friend, Kellee Moye :)

I thought I would get a lot read while on vacation.  That was silly.  Didn't even finish a book.  So not much to update you on in terms of middle grade, but did get back to a binge reading picture books this weekend!

Last Week's Adventures

This middle grade fiction will delight young and old readers (recommended 1st-5th grade).  Don't miss Garbage Island - amazing characters, setting and an exciting plot!  Be sure to enter the giveaway, open through Wednesday!

Picture Books

I Am Human: A Book of Empathy
I Am Human
written by Susan Verde
illustrated by Peter Reynolds
I absolutely love this mindfulness series.  The stories are beautiful, illustrations are gorgeous and the backmatter is so helpful for both caregivers and teachers.  I think this series will be timeless and something to use year after year after year.

I'm an Immigrant Too!
I'm an Immigrant too!
written by Mem Fox
illustrated by Ronojoy Ghosh
Written about Mem Fox's beloved homeland of Australia, it shares how many immigrants from other countries have made Australia their home.

Building Books
Building Books
written by Megan Wagner Lloyd
illustrated by Brianne Farley
What could be a love letter to reading.... A little girl loves building and a little boy loves reading.  When the librarian encourages them to try new things, I love that the little girl ends up falling in love with reading because she finds a book that interests her.  I'm not sure how I feel about the little boy learning to love to build things out of books, though.

Thank You, Omu!
Thank You, Omu!
by Oge Mora
A tale with Nigerian roots from the author/illustrator and a beautiful story about kindness and giving to others.

Crash, Splash, or Moo!
Crash, Splash, Moo!
by Bob Shea
This interactive book is probably best enjoyed with a young audience, not on your own.  My guess is young readers will delight in the antics of this story.

Little Brown
Little Brown
by Marla Frazee
This is a book I hate to sit and ponder about at first.  
After the first read I didn't know what I thought of it because of the open ending.
After I read it again and thought about it - all of these ideas came to me.  Great book to use for BHH framework thinking.  You could use it for perspective and thinking about the other side, or for tough questions because both sides ask some big ones.  You could use it for the beginning of the year and setting up your classroom community.  
Yeah, I like this one.

Santa Bruce
Santa Bruce
by Ryan T. Higgins
You know when there is a series, some of the books will be standouts, and others fall short.  I always hold my breath when I'm reading the next in a beloved series.  
I need to stop holding my breath with Ryan Higgins books because they are always fantastic.  They make kids laugh and they make grownups laugh.  This one is no different.  There's humor in it for everyone!

The Epic Adventures of Huggie & Stick
The Epic Adventures of Huggie and Stick
written by Drew Daywalt
illustrated by David Spencer
Another picture book that is perfect for older readers.  All readers, young and old, will get a laugh with this crazy adventure, but it's the older reader who will be able to get some of the humor, jokes and understand the implied meaning between the two characters perspective.  A fun book to use with map skills.

Benji, the Bad Day, and Me
Benji, the Bad Day, and Me
written by Sally J. Pla
illustrated by Ken Min
Such a heartprint book - a story about two brothers, one has had a no good rotten kind of day and the other has an implied disability.  The kindness of siblings is shown in this book and loving each other where you're at.  I appreciated the author's note at the end of the book that gives more understanding of the disability that is portrayed by the younger brother (autism).

Middle Grade/Young Adult

Thunderhead (Arc of a Scythe, #2)
by Neal Shusterman
I don't know why I thought I was going to get through this book quickly when life prevails over fun reading time.  I wish I had more fun reading time because there was not one time did I put the book down and be at a satisfying stopping point.  That didn't happen ever because now I have to wait for book 3!  If you have not read this series yet, you really need to change that.  It absolutely is a favorite!

Currently Reading

Scar Island
Scar Island
by Dan Gemeinhart
I get to have dinner with Dan this week (squeeeeeee) and this one has been on my TBR for too long.  Great excuse to get it read!

Hope you have a great reading week!

Thursday, October 11, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - Garbage Island blog tour - 10.11.18

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 independent reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

I've taught and worked with preK-4th grade learners and teachers for, well, let's just go with many years at this point....  And while all students, regardless of where they are in their learning, vary... and can vary a lot.... this remains especially true for our young readers.  

Let's look at chapter books today.  And let's look at 2 very different learners.  I need chapter books that support 4th grade readers.  For those kids who are ten years old, yet struggle with multisyllable words.  For those readers who need a straight forward storyline that doesn't have a lot of information that must be inferred.  Here's the problem.  Those books often have characters that are clearly years younger than the reader and have problems that no longer apply to these readers. And...  I need chapter books that support 1st grade readers.  Those readers who have picked up reading quickly.  They have stamina to be engrossed in their reading where they can read through multiple chapters and finish the book in days so that they hang on to the details of the book that happen across the story.  Here's the problem.  Those books need to have content that is ok for those readers.

Finding books like that can be very hard to find.  Except for this one......

Garbage Island
by Fred Koehler
published by Boyds Mills Press

I first heard about this book the summer of 2017 at an ALA breakfast hosted by publisher Boyds Mills.  Fred started explaining this new chapter book series he had started working on and it sounded intriguing.  I've read a bit about the Pacific Garbage Patch and using it as a setting sounded very intriguing.  Here's more about this book:

Goodreads summary
Mr. Popli, the mouse mayor of Garbage Island, is always at odds with Archibald Shrew, a brilliant but reckless inventor. When Garbage Island, their home in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, splits apart, they are trapped together in Mr. Popli's houseboat, desperate to find their way back home. At first, they only argue, but when they face a perilous thunderstorm and a series of predators, they begin to work together and recognize - in themselves and in each other - strengths they didn't know they had.

My thoughts
This is a book that stretches across grade levels, reading maturity levels, and genders.  It's a book you can give to many readers and they are all going to find something appealing about it.  Maybe they will love the characters.  Archie and Mr. Popoli are about as different as can be.  Archie is always inventing and he does before he thinks.  It's easy to like him because he is a flawed character.  You can't help but want to help him.  Mr. Popoli likes order and rules, yet even he proves to be a reliable friend.  And Merri, the bird, is as loyal and steadfast as they come.  Or maybe it's the adventure that will relate to readers.  As soon as we know the characters, the nonstop action begins.  Mr. Popoli and Archie find themselves on an adventure, that neither saw coming and although they know where they are going, it's the constant problems they run into that keep them always on the move.  Or maybe it's the setting that will find the reader engrossed in this novel.  After all, not too many books find themselves within the setting of a garbage patch!

Readers fall into the adventure right away in this book!

Accompanying this fantastic adventure are black and white illustrations by the author.  I have long admired Fred Koehler's work (don't miss Flashlight Night or One Day, The End) and love that he's also included illustrations throughout the book.  In full pages and sometimes even double layouts, his illustrations help bring Garbage Island to life in our mind's eye!

I am so excited for this book to be in classrooms and libraries.  Not only will it have a long wait list, I think it makes for a perfect read aloud.  Readers of all ages will fall in love with these unforgettable characters and crazy setting, but will need to buckle up for the adventure!

More about Fred Koehler
Fred Koehler won a Boston Globe/Horn Book Honor Award for his illustrations for One Day, The End. He is the author-illustrator of How To Cheer Up Dad, which received three starred reviews, and he is the illustrator of This Book Is Not About Dragons and Puppy, Puppy, Puppy and Flashlight Night.  He lives with his children in Lakeland, Florida. 

Be sure to visit the Boyds Mills' website and check out the discussion guide for Garbage Island.

Want to know more about the book?  Don't miss the other stops on the blog tour:

Mon 10/1            Always in the Middle
Tue 10/2             Miss Marple’s Musings
Wed 10/3            Inkygirl
Thu 10/4             Storymamas
Fri 10/5               Teen Librarian Toolbox
Mon 10/8            Librarian in Cute Shoes
Tue 10/9              KidLit Frenzy      
Wed 10/10           Middle Grade Book Village
Thu 10/11            Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Fri 10/12              Middle Grade Minded
Fri 10/12            Unleashing Readers

Would you like to have a copy of Garbage Island for your library?  Boyds Mills is generously giving away a copy of the book for one lucky reader (US/Canada only)!  The giveaway will remain open through Oct. 17th.  Make sure to enter - fingers crossed!

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!

Monday, October 1, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.01.18

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

Only one post last week - if you do any kind of "how to" writing, you'll want to check out some new mentor texts here.

Picture Books

The Remember Balloons
The Remember Balloons
written by Jessie Oliveros
illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte
Oh this book - it gives me so many feels. 
It makes me sad to see a loved one lose memories.
It makes me happy to have a book like this to hand to children who need it.
It makes me glad to have a book like this to explain something difficult to young children.
Beautifully written and illustrated.

We Are Grateful: Otsaliheliga
We Are Grateful - Otsaliheliga
written by Traci Sorell
illustrated by Frané Lessac
Yes!  I've been looking for Native #ownvoices books, especially those that tell about current culture, not just traditional tales.  This is a book I'll be adding to my library.

Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian
Lyric McKerrigan, Secret Librarian
written by Jacob Sager Weinstein
illustrated by Vera Brosgol
Very cute - of course it's with books the super hero saves the day!

The Patchwork Bike
The Patchwork Bike
written by Maxine Beneba Clarke
illustrated by Van Thanh Rudd
It was after reading the notes by the author and illustrator that I had to go back and read the book again, slower this time.
A beautiful story about a family living in poverty yet still find time to hope and dream by putting together a bike out of found materials.
Take your time when reading this one.

Sleepy, the Goodnight Buddy
Sleepy the Goodnight Buddy
written by Drew Daywalt
illustrated by Scott Campbell
I did not know what this one was going to be about - and man did I laugh out loud once I figured it out!
Definitely a great read aloud - especially for older students who will really appreciate the humor.  

No Peacocks!: A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies
No Peacocks! A Feathered Tale of Three Mischievous Foodies
written by Robin Newman
illustrated by Chris Ewald
I used this as a read aloud for my reading intervention students last week and they loved it!  Who knew peacocks were such foodies.... or are they?
These three peacocks just wanted a taste of something different than their regular seeds.  Since they live on the campus of a school they get to smell delicious aromas, especially that of mac and cheese!  It becomes their goal to get into the school and try some.
I loved reading the author's notes to the students because while the story is a bit fictional, it is based on three peacocks that live on a school campus!
Thanks to author Robin Newman for the book and treats!  

Neema’s Reason to Smile
Neema's Reason to Smile
written by Patricia Newman
illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
Thanks to my colleague I got to read this story.  Neema and her mother have a Dream Jar that they collect money in to send Neema to school.  Beautiful story about hopes and dreams.  I think it's especially important for many young readers to understand that school and learning and education is not something to take for granted. 

Rock What Ya Got
Rock What Ya Got
written by Samantha Berger
illustrated by Kerascoët
Perfect words, perfect illustrations.  They compliment each other so well.
Great message - you don't need to change, appreciate what you have, don't look for what you are not.
Pair this one with The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken.

Middle Grade

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
by Alex Gino
I loved this book for many reasons.  First, I loved reading about a disability - because these kind of books are sorely lacking in kidlit right now - and reading more about the Deaf community is near and dear to my heart.  My niece has cochlear implants and much of what is described in this book is about an infant and her family deciding on the best course of action for her, is some something I watched my sister and her family go through.  But it also meant a lot to me because as a parent of a child with a disability, there was a lot I related to on that end - especially everyone giving you their two cents (when not asked) in regards to your child's treatment.
I also liked the conversation about racial issues.  I thought the way it was handled was appropriate - at least to my white self.  It seemed like conversations I have seen that are handled respectfully and honestly.
With that said, there is so much being said about #ownvoices and Alex Gino is white and hearing-abled.  I think Gino wrote everything well,  but I wonder if readers who are Black and/or Deaf would think otherwise?  Just a topic that is out there right now, and I did think about it as I read this book.  

Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina
Finally finished this one, and it took me a long time.  Not because of the book, but because of too much on my plate.  I savored every word of this book!  I think readers are going to want to be friends with Merci.  I also appreciated having this beautifully written book about loving and understanding what Alzheimer's looks like when a loved one is suffering with this disease.
For me, I absolutely loved the setting which was in Palm Beach/West Palm Beach, Florida.  I consider this our second home and seeing familiar sites and names of roads in this book was so fun for me!

Currently Reading

Garbage Island (The Nearly Always Perilous Adventures of Archibald Shrew, #1)
Garbage Island
by Fred Koehler
Just starting this one!  I've heard lots of good things from other readers.

I hope you have a great reading week.  I'll be taking next week off to enjoy the long weekend with friends and family.  Can't wait to report back in two weeks - I see my reading stack and it looks good!

Friday, September 28, 2018

Spotlight Friday - How To books - 9.28.18

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!

I like finding "how to" books.  They are helpful to have for different kind of writing tasks.  Here are some new ones I've come across:

How to Be a T. Rex by Ryan North
How to be a T. Rex
written by Ryan North
illustrated by Mike Lowery
Full of humor and fun, this "how to" book gives us some quick instructions in how to act like a T.Rex.  For example, be super fierce and don't be afraid of anything.  Think that will work for you?  Our young main character finds out the good parts and the not so good parts about being a T. Rex.  This will be a sure fire hit with young readers.

How To Be A Lion by Ed Vere
How to be a Lion
by Ed Vere
Not your typical "how to" book - this one stresses there is only one way to be a lion and this is to be fierce.  But Leonard the lion shows us that sometimes it's ok to go against the grain and be your own, true self.  This book has a great message and some signposts (Contrasts and Contradictions, Words of the Wiser to name a couple).  Even though it's weaker on the "how to" part, would be good to talk about how we don't always have to follow the traditional "how to".

How To Feed Your Parents by Ryan    Miller
How to Feed Your Parents
written by Ryan Miller
illustrated by Hatem Aly
Kids will love seeing how the tables turn between the child and the parents.  Matilda is tired of eating the same things but her parents just want chicken nuggets, macaroni, pizza.... you get the idea!  Matilda decides the only way to get her parents to try new things is if she cooks them herself.  

If You're Going to a March by Martha Freeman
If You're Going to a March
written by Martha Freeman
illustrated by Violet Kim
A timely how to book, this one gives some step by step directions and tips for attending and participating in a peaceful march.  While staying on the positive side, it does show how there are people who are for both sides at a march and talks about it being peaceful.  I liked the additional notes in the endpages about how citizens of the United States are in charge of the government and one of our rights is the right to protest and march.

Have you found some new "how to" books?  List them in the comments so we can find more!

Monday, September 24, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 9.24.18

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

Fantastic mentor text for discussing not always believing what you read/hear.  It's necessary to have all the facts in this age of "fake news".  Check out the blog tour for Spooked! here.

Some traditional and non-traditional princess books in this #road2reading Challenge.

Picture Books

The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful
The Yin-Yang Sisters and the Dragon Frightful
written by Nancy Tupper Ling
illustrated by Andrea Offermann
This is just the kind of picture book I would have enjoyed as a young reader.  Full of adventure and sisterly love, it is just a fun read.  Sisters Wei and Mei are each other's yin and yang.  One likes action and adventure, the other enjoys reading to learn.  When a dragon sets himself across the bridge that links the villages, it's the sisters that decide to take on the dragon.

Merry Christmas, Little Elliot
Merry Christmas, Little Elliot
by Mike Curato
I feel like the entire "Little Elliot" series are timeless books.  Maybe because they are set somewhere in the past, they feel like they will be loved for generations to come.
In this holiday installment, Curato has captured true holiday spirit.
Christmas music anyone???

written by Juan Felipe Herrera
illustrated by Lauren Castillo
Whenever I am at ALA and NCTE, one of my favorite things is walking around the expo and glancing through the upcoming picture books.  Because of everything going on around me, I have a hard time really getting into the picture books, but I can get the gist.  
I remember reading this one at ALA this summer and just loving it.  I love the words and what they mean.  I think it's so timely.  And then there are Lauren's illustrations.  I think this book has some of her best work.
Read and share this book and if you're doing Mock Caldecott, you may want to add this book!

Harrison P. Spader, Personal Space Invader
Harrison P. Spader, Personal Space Invader
written by Christianne Jones
illustrations by Cale Atkinson
We were just talking about this in a meeting - kids not understanding what personal space is and how much is needed.  This will be a great read aloud for a primary classroom.

by Molly Idle
If you're looking for a book with an Aha Moment, add this one to the pile!  And with Molly Idle's beautiful, soft and gentle illustrations, this one is sure to be a timeless story.

Allie All Along
Allie All Along
by Sarah Lynne Reul
A good one to add to your SEL collection.  
For those times when you feel so angry and the aggression must come out before you can feel yourself again.

Carmela Full of Wishes
Carmela Full of Wishes
written by Matt de la Peña
illustrated by Christian Robinson
Another beautiful story by this duo, this time taking a small moment and making it into a big moment.  It's Carmela's birthday and she is finally old enough to travel with her big brother into town.  Along the way she picks up a dandelion, not realizing if she blows the white spores away she can make a wish.  Once her brother lets her know, she holds on to that flower until she has her perfect wish.  But when she falls on her scooter and breaks the dandelion and therefore her hopes for a wish, it's her brother that makes things alright again.

I Love You More Than . . .
I Love You More Than...
written by Taye Diggs
illustrated by Shane W. Evans
Not all families look alike and some of them are apart, for a variety of reasons.  What a reassuring book for a young child who may have a family that looks like that.

Life with My Family
Life With My Family
written by Renee Hooker and Karl Jones
illustrated by Kathryn Durst
And speaking of families... even though they are sometimes crazy, imagining yourself in an animal family might be crazier!  A fun way of looking at collective nouns that identify groups of animals, it also has a sweet message about loving where you're at!

Good Dog
Good Dog
by Cori Doerrfeld
Add this to books you hand off to your dog lovers and to your readers who just love any books that make you say awwwww!  Told in two words per page (or sometimes none!) we follow an adorable stray dog as he follows a young girl and mom around town.  Will he find a new forever home??  I'm adding this one to my #MockGeisel long list!

by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
We know that what seems to be a simple color book can win a Caldecott Honor (Green by the same author) but can she do it again?  I think this one is even more complex - I actually read it through a few times because I didn't want to miss anything!  I think this one tells even more of a story and I was surprised that a story told in just color words can evoke such emotion.  You won't want to miss this one!  It's going on my #MockCaldecott and #MockGeisel lists.  Just beautiful!

Dear Substitute
Dear Substitute
by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audrey Vernick
illustrated by Chris Raschka
Written as a series of letters to different events/people/animals that you may occur during a school day.  At first our main character is a student you may recognize - one that has a hard time dealing with change, difficulties when normal routines are interrupted.  But the character does change over time and learns to see some of the positives that happen when routines change.

King Alice
King Alice
by Matthew Cordell
Have you ever had one of those days where a Snow Day has been called by schools and the roads are so bad that the whole family stays in together?  Then you know what starts out with lots of possibilities end with everyone being tired of being stuck in doors with each other!  
Young Alice has woken up and decided she is King and as King, she'll be writing a story.  What follows are pages of her book interspersed with what is going on inside the home.  Snow continues to fall, the remainder of her day continues on, and King Alice's book mirrors real life with imagination.

Currently Reading

Merci Suárez Changes Gears
Merci Suárez Changes Gears
by Meg Medina
I am loving this book, just having challenges with reading more than a chapter at night before sleep overtakes me!  I'm hoping to get it done this week!

You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
You Don't Know Everything, Jilly P!
by Alex Gino
This book publishes this week so I wanted to get a head start on it.  I'm really enjoying it and I love the inclusion of Deaf characters.  Alex Gino has done a great job integrating the Deaf characters with a theme of racial differences.

Hoping to get the MG books read this week!  I think it will be a slow blogging week with other obligations on my plate.  We'll see how the week turns out!