Friday, August 31, 2018

Spotlight Friday: Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers blog tour 8.31.18

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!

Melissa Stewart is an author whose books I immediately look to when I'm looking for a nonfiction picture book mentor text.  Whether it's something I want to point out as a writing craft move, learn something about the world around us or show kids that nonfiction books are amazing, it's Melissa I go to.  If I'm looking for information about nonfiction texts in general or writing nonfiction, it's Melissa's blog site I go to.  She is a trusted and valued resource for me and one I recommend all teachers to search and find.

Her newest book, Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs is one I'll be sharing for a long time.

Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers
written by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
published by Peachtree Publishers
September 1st

Goodreads summary:
Puny? Poky? Clumsy? Shy? A lighthearted look at the surprising traits that help some animals survive.
Written with a lively, playful voice, Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers introduces young readers to a variety of "animal underdogs" and explains how characteristics that might seem like weaknesses are critical for finding food and staying safe in an eat-or-be-eaten world.
Award-winning author Melissa Stewart offers readers a humorous and informative nonfiction picture book with a gentle message of understanding and celebrating differences. Stephanie Laberis's bright, bold--and scientifically accurate--illustrations add to the fun.

My review:
I love the perspective Stewart takes with this book - she says on the first page that this book is not looking at the animals we admire, like elephants and cheetahs.  Nope, this book is looking at those animal underdogs.  Specifically, we'll be looking at animals whose traits include being really small, being some of the slowest animals around, and being downright stinky!  I love this layout that shows the "stinky" animals getting some of the most powerful animals to hightail it away from them!

Melissa Stewart's books have always been so popular in my library.  Kids love them because they are entertaining - they pour over the facts and the information.  In this book, Stewart's words are matched with Stephanie Laberis' illustrations.  So after readers pour over the information, you'll see them lingering over the fantastic artwork in this book.  

I never leave Stewart's books without thinking about the many ways I can use them.  They are mentor texts in several different areas of the curriculum.  Below I list ways to use this book across your curriculum, but first take a look at this layout.  Notice the way Stewart uses questioning to introduce the animal and how we see how this animal's quirk is actually a helpful adaptation for the animal.  See, so much to look and learn and talk about with this book!

Science mentor text:

  • this book is perfect if you're looking at animal adaptations!  Look for the animals that use their "underdog" quality to survive, for protection, to get food, or because of how their animal body was made! 
  • Don't miss the backmatter to find more information about how these qualities help the animal adapt to their environment.

Reading/Writing mentor text:
  • Take a look at Stewart's introductions - notice how the lead sentence is in the form of a question?  How does this grab the reader?
  • If you don't already know, Melissa Stewart is the MASTER at using text structures in her writing so it makes the most sense for readers.  Be sure to check out her website and check out these posts.  Share the text with students - what text structure do they notice?  Why do you think Stewart used this text structure to organize her book?
  • Calling an animal a stinker or a pipsqueak may not sound very nice, but Stewart always backs up her claim with multiple reasonings.  Notice those details, do they prove the animals' underdog status?

SEL mentor text:
  • Notice how Stewart picks out the positive parts of the "underdogs".  Talk about how all of us have unique qualities and it's the perspective we use when thinking about those qualities.
  • Talk about this sentence from the end of the book, "What seems like a weakness could actually be a strength."  How can we show this in our school/class community?

And checking out this book trailer is a MUST!  Thanks for sharing your class with us, Lesley Burnap (@LBurnap90). 

More about Melissa Stewart:
Melissa Stewart is the award-winning author of more than 180 science books for children, some of which have received the Outstanding Science Trade Books Award for Students K–12 from the National Science Teachers Association. She earned degrees from Union College and New York University and worked as an editor. She lives in Massachusetts. You can visit her website at

I hope you add this book to your library and find many ways to use it and share it this year!

Thursday, August 30, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - going on a journey in my stacks! 8.30.18

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.

My reading this past week brought me traveling "across the pond" as they say!  

Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party (Judy Moody, #14)
Judy Moody and the Right Royal Tea Party
written by Megan McDonald
illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

Judy Moody books have long been some of my favorite books to recommend to young readers.  Many kids have a familiarity of her and the other characters because of the movie that came out years ago.  I prefer Reynolds' illustrations to the craziness of the movie and I know others would agree.  Judy's attitude and wacky stories are sure to please many readers.  I also like that there are a variety of Judy Moody books for readers - from early chapter books to the Stink books to the Judy and Stink books (with color illustrations) to the actual Judy books (and have you seen their new covers?) - there is always a book to recommend!
This new Judy escapade may be my favorite because I used a brilliant English accent in my head as I read the book!  I can't imagine how fun it would be to use this one as a read aloud!
Judy is doing some digging into her family tree and in true Judy Moody fashion, has determined that a great (x a few more greats) grandfather was related to the Queen of England.  Which of course makes her surmise that she is British royalty.  The British slang and terms begin as Judy begins her search to learn everything about the queen!

Mac Undercover by Mac Barnett
Mac B. Kid Spy: Mac Undercover
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Mike Lowery

The second book I read that has to do with all things British, this one taking place in London.
If you've ever met Mac Barnett, you'll be able to read this with this voice in your head.  His words and phrases and sentences sound how he speaks - I can imagine where the intonation of his voice may raise a bit, an how he often further explains his thoughts after making a statement.  After all, he is telling the story, since he's relating how he was a spy when he was a kid and all of these adventures, which may seem a bit outlandish, are actually true.  
The story takes place in the 80s and I think the adults that read the story will find some of the references funnier than the kids who pick this book up today.  Kid Mac has been contacted by the Queen of England to take on a case to find the missing crown jewels.  And before we know it, kid Mac is on his way overseas, sans parents, to solve the case.  Outlandish?  Yes.  But, it might be just crazy enough to make a young reader stick with the story and laugh out loud a few times.
I'm looking forward to getting this one in the hands of kids.  I want to see what their reaction is to the crazy story.  This is a book that will reach a wide audience.  Younger kids who are ready for a longer chapter book, more sophisticated vocabulary, yet enjoy some illustrations in their stories will enjoy this one.  Older readers who need their books broken up with visuals, but appreciate humor in their stories will like this one too.  This is not a book that has simple vocabulary and a straight forward story (all readers will have to suspend some belief as they read) that some younger readers are looking for.  I am interested in seeing the reaction to this one.  Since this is going to be a series, it will be interesting to see the demand for it by young readers.

So after that journey, I came back to the United States but settled into a new transitional chapter book that is an #ownvoices story and also one with a young author!

Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome by Sarai González
Sarai and the Meaning of Awesome
by Sarai Gonzalez and Monica Brown
Meet Sarai - she's a fourth grader with two immigrant parents and two younger sisters (one who is deaf and has implants... as an auntie to someone who has cochlear implants, looking forward to more on that in future books, perhaps) and has a lot of extended family close by.  But when the house that her grandparents, cousins and aunt and uncle are renting is being sold, it's up to Sarai to try and figure out some new ideas how to make money and buy the house!
I think readers will like Sarai's voice and fall in love with her enthusiasm for life and for her family!  This book will hit the sweet spot in second-fourth grade libraries, I think.  The first book in the series publishes Sept. 11th but it is already available through Scholastic book clubs!
It says in the author's bio that Sarai Gonzalez first gained notoriety when she starred in Bomba Estéreo's video "Soy Yo".  I have not heard of the group or song but I had to check it out.  The song, in Spanish, is about embracing who you are - flaws and all!!  After watching it, it gives me even more of an idea of Sarai's personality!

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

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - celebrating cultures 8.29.18

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

Two new books that celebrate cultures from around the world!

Every Month Is a New Year by Marilyn Singer
Every Month is a New Year
written by Marilyn Singer
illustrated by Susan L. Roth
A deceptively clever book - there is so much more to this picture book than the first glance gives you.  It's one you'll reread several times over and catch new information every time!
This book shares the celebrations different cultures have to celebrate the New Year!  Different traditions, different months, but always celebrations!
One way it is unique is the way you hold the book - instead of holding it like a regular picture book, you'll turn it so it opens like a wall calendar hangs.  The illustrations look like a calendar with the main part depicting a different culture and their tradition for celebrating the New Year.  Singer shows readers how New Year's is not always celebrated on January 1st.  And how the celebration looks, feels, sounds and smells is different!
Next, readers will want to pour over the information that is included in the backmatter.  I'm really glad Singer includes additional information about each holiday, because sometimes there wasn't enough information in the poem that is on the monthly layout.  Singer lists out the variety of sources she used to gain the information for the book.  There is also a pronunciation guide and glossary and a list of ways to say "Happy New Year"!

Día de los Muertos by Hannah Eliot
Día de los Muertos
written by Hannah Eliot
illustrated by Jorge Gutierrez
The second book in the "Celebrate the World" series from Little Simon publishers (the first book being Ramadan) takes a look at the Day of the Dead celebration.  This series gives a very basic description of the holiday (they are being published as board books) and an introduction to the vocabulary that is associated with the holiday.  
I love the bright illustrations and I'm glad that an illustrator who has done previous work around Mexican pop and folk culture did the pictures for this book.
I really like this series and there looks to be more coming.  I wonder why they chose the board book format?  It is short (22 pages) but I think they could have been stretched out to add more information and put them in a paper book format - books that are more rectangular in shape, printed as a paperback, not hardcover.  I don't see too many board books in classrooms, so I'm not sure how widely they will be used.  And there is enough information in the book that might not hold a toddler's interest.  Still worth taking a look at though!

Monday, August 27, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 8.27.18

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.

Now that school has started, my binge reading weekends have begun!  

Last Week's Adventures

Nonfiction picture books about animals are always hugely popular with young readers.  Here is a roundup of new(er) books to add to collections.

It is so important to have books that kids can read independently in your library.  Sometimes it's hard to find books that hook our newly independent readers.  Here are some more new ones you'll want for those readers.

If you are discussing immigrants or refugees with your students, this roundup of books will be important to have.  They are also great to use to build background info for kids who are reading about these topics in their MG novels.

Picture Books

Two Problems for Sophia
Two Problems for Sophia
written by Jim Averbeck
illustrated by Yasmeen Ismail
Sophia is back, this time with her One True Desire (a giraffe named Noodle) who she campaigned for in the previous book.  But with an animal that large, there are bound to be some problems.  Noodle's big issues are wet slobbery kisses with her really long tongue and keeping everyone up at night with her snoring.  
Sophia sets out to solve this problem, similar to before - asking everyone for ideas.  After she gathers some, she works hard at coming up with an inventive (hello Makerspace in action!) idea.  
Love the giraffe facts on the endpage!

* the next few books all publish Sept. 11th.  Thank you Candlewick for the early review copies!

Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise
Interrupting Chicken and the Elephant of Surprise
by David Ezra Stein
Sometimes you worry about those follow up books.  They so rarely measure up to the success of the first book.
This one is funny... laugh out loud funny.  Chicken has just learned about the "elephant of surprise" that happens in books at school... Papa tries to explain it's the "element of surprise" but Chicken is not having it.  Papa reads some fairy tales to Chicken (note: not the Disney version... some kids may be surprised by the stories) and somehow the "elephant of surprise" always shows up!

Night Job
Night Job
written by Karen Hesse
illustrated by G. Brian Karas
While many of our students have parents that work a traditional day job, there are many that work night hours.  Sometimes these are the jobs kids might not even think about or realize they need workers for them at night!  This is a book that might make a child smile, seeing another parent who also works at night.

Josie's Lost Tooth
Josie's Lost Tooth
by Jennifer K. Mann
Josie, who succeeds in pretty much everything, is the last one in her class to lose a tooth.  After many unsuccessful efforts, she finally loses her tooth but the problem is she actually loses her tooth!  Will the tooth fairy still leave her a coin?
I wish I had this book for my daughter who went all the way through the first grade before losing a tooth!

Informational Texts

Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
Beauty and the Beak: How Science, Technology, and a 3D-Printed Beak Rescued a Bald Eagle
by Deborah Lee Rose and Jane Veltkamp
I've been on the lookout for this book for awhile.  I had actually first read about the bald eagle, Beauty, in one of our intervention kit books!  
The first half of the book is Beauty's story.  There is some background info about what Beauty's life was like before the accident took place.  And then we find out about how Beauty took a bullet that went across her beak and side of her face.  Veltkamp, one of the authors, is a raptor biologist and one of the first to come to Beauty's aid.  With the help of an engineer, they were able to create a beak prosthetic to help Beauty.
The second half of the story gives further background information, not only on Beauty and how she is doing, but also about many other aspects:  prosthetic capabilities and a lot on bald eagle information.

I Am Neil Armstrong
I Am Neil Armstrong
written by Brad Meltzer
illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos
I think the books in the "Ordinary People Change the World" series keep getting better and better.  
I enjoyed this one and there were quite a few facts I had not heard about before - both about space travel and Neil Armstrong.  Meltzer stressed over and over the idea that engineering is about making things better.  In this age of STEM activities, I am glad they talked about it that way.
I can't wait to add this one to my collection.  Look for it on Sept. 11th.

Middle Grade

The Third Mushroom
The Third Mushroom
by Jennifer Holm
I loved The Fourteenth Goldfish and shared it widely.  I remember writing my goodreads summary and said, "Jenni Holm makes science cool."  Well she certainly does it again in the follow up.  This book, while a sequel it could certainly be read as a stand alone, continues to explore science (this time bringing in the very hip axolotl) and the idea of regeneration of body parts.  Melvin, Ellie's grandfather (who is an old man in a teenager's body... the only part about TFG you kind of need to have read first) is back and is trying some interesting experiments with the axolotl.  They make for a great science fair experiment so Ellie and Melvin team up together.  
This time Holm experiments with the themes of friendship and a little romance and comes up with some storylines that young readers will really enjoy.  What I love about reading so many of Holm's books is they feel real.  The storylines are relatable and keep kids coming back for more.  I can't wait to pass this book on to readers!
Thank you to Random House for the review copy!

Just Like Jackie
Just Like Jackie
by Lindsey Stoddard
A book I've owned since it published, I'm sad I waited so long to get to it!  Not that I meant to push it off...just so many books.
This book follows a trend that has characters dealing with issues that are so much bigger than them.  It's sadly something that has carried over from reality - we see kids at a younger age having to take on so much more than they should ever be expected to.
In case you haven't heard of this gorgeous book, here's a quick synopsis - we meet our main character Robinson as she is getting into a fight with a classmate (one who seems to egg people on a lot) because he is making fun of her being motherless using a pun on her name.  We quickly find out that Robinson is a very loyal character - to her friends and especially to her grandfather, who is her guardian.  What is quickly obvious to an adult reader, her grandfather has Alzheimer's.  A young reader will understand that something is wrong with his memory, even if they don't know the name of the disease.  Robinson is doing her best to take care of the two of them, something a child should not have to worry about, all the while trying to learn more about her mother, which her grandfather does not want to talk about.  
I love how a family is not defined by typical norms in this book and how loyal Robinson is.  She is someone who is willing to change her mind and accept people, too.
The only trouble I had with this book is some of the language.  Robinson uses the word "crap" a lot.  I know this is a word that is some homes, is considered a bad word, and in others, it's not.  The thing with middle grade is it reaches a wide age range of readers.  I can hand this book to a seventh grader or a third grader.  And there are third graders who hear words that are a lot worse than crap on an every day basis.  But there are parents of third graders who would be upset if I handed them this book.  I wonder if this book would've been as an important and meaningful if that word (and a couple of others in the book) had not been used.  I don't think that word identified Robinson, so I'm guessing no.  Just my own thinking around this....

Currently Reading

by Monica Tesler
I've heard a lot about this one so it went on my #mustreadin2018 list!

What did you read this past week?  I already have a stack of picture books to read this coming week so it will be another binge weekend next week too!

Friday, August 24, 2018

Spotlight Friday: new picture book about immigration/refugees 8.24.18

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!

There are so many big topics that are happening in the world today that have been trickling down to kidlit.  These big topic books help young readers understand ideas and concepts in a way that breaks the big ideas down and can allow for further questioning.  
For some communities, immigration is a topic that is familiar.  For others, it is a word that is taught in conjunction with history lessons, not a current topic.  For all readers, these books are needed for one reason or another.
Some of these books can be shared without a whole lot of discussion.  Others share a heavier side that many refugees are experiencing.  These books are meant to have further conversations.  You may even choose to read them before reading a chapter book on the same topic as a way to introduce the topic or see what knowledge a group or class already has on the topic.
Some of the books have resources in the back if additional sources need to be referenced.
Books you may want to add to libraries:

Ella and Monkey at Sea
Ella and Monkey at Sea
by Emilie Boon
check out the Nerdy Book Club post about this book here

Saffron Ice Cream
Saffron Ice Cream
by Rashin Kheiriyeh

by Yuyi Morales
check out the interview with author Yuyi Morales here

written by Junot Diaz
illustrated by Leo Espinosa

Joseph's Big Ride
Joseph's Big Ride
written by Terry Farish
illustrated by Ken Daley

Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing
Irving Berlin, the Immigrant Boy Who Made America Sing
written by Nancy Churnin
illustrated by James Rey Sanchez

Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey
Stepping Stones: A Refugee Family's Journey
written by Margriet Ruurs
illustrated by Nizar Badr

Three Balls of Wool
Three Balls of Wool
written by Henriqueta Cristina
illustrated by Yara Kono

Her Right Foot
Her Right Foot
written by Dave Eggers
illustrated by Shawn Harris

Lost and Found Cat : The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey
Lost and Fount Cat: The True Story of Kunkush's Incredible Journey
written by Doug Kuntz
illustrated by Sue Cornelison

Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
Mama's Nightingale: A Story of Immigration and Separation
written by Edwidge Danticat
illustrated by Leslie Staub

Calling the Water Drum
Calling the Water Drum
written by Latisha Redding
illustrated by Aaron Boyd

The Map of Good Memories
The Map of Good Memories
written by Fran Nuno
illustrated by Zuzanna Celej

A Different Pond
A Different Pond
written by Bao Phi
illustrated by Thi Bui

My Beautiful Birds
My Beautiful Birds
by Suzanne Del Rizzo

The Day War Came
The Day War Came
written by Nicola Davies
illustrated by Rebecca Cobb

What other picture books do you use to talk about this subject with young readers?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

#road2reading Challenge - early readers, part 2 8.23.18

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 hope you were able to stop by two weeks ago and check out some new early reader series.  If not, here's the link!  Today I've got two more for you.  The characters may or may not be new to you, but one thing is for sure - young readers will love them.

Fly Guy and the Alienzz by Tedd Arnold
Fly Guy and the Alienzz
by Tedd Arnold
I love how Arnold manages to keep this series going year after year - I noticed he keeps the plot pretty relatable to kids' lives.  In this book, Buzz and Fly Guy are making an at home movie on Buzz' phone!  There are aliens, dragons and even Fly Girl makes an appearance!

  Mighty Truck by Chris  Barton      Mighty Truck on the Farm by Chris  Barton
Mighty Truck The Traffic Tie-Up
Mighty Truck On the Farm
written by Chris Barton
illustrated by Troy Cummings
I hope you are already familiar with Mighty Truck - if not you'll want to find the picture books Mighty Truck and  Mighty Truck: Muddymania right away!
This series is now available in an early reader format and I can't wait to get them in young readers hands.  The vocabulary is controlled yet it stays familiar with the series - character names, the name of the town, and words like "mighty" and "wheely" that are seen in most of the books.  The illustrations are reflective of the storyline and they follow a simple problem/solution format.  
I can't wait for the next one in the series - looks like it's to be published in December!

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

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - animal books! 8.22.18

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

Animal books are always a hit with readers.  Here are some new ones you'll want for your collection!

Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin by Diane Lang
Fur, Feather, Fin: All of Us Are Kin
written by Diane Lang
illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
I have long heard that this is a book I need to read, and everyone is right!  Love how the author explains the differences between different animal groups and does so in rhyme.  I also love how she does not shy away from vocabulary that is important to name - from the species to naming specific animal habits.  Definitely a book to own!

A House in the Sky by Steve Jenkins
A House in the Sky: And Other Uncommon Animal Homes
written by Steve Jenkins
illustrated by Robbin Gourley
Focusing in on some of the unique homes of animals, readers will find some familiar homes and some new homes.  Jenkins scaffolds the text with a brief description written in larger font, and additional information in a smaller font and longer sentences for each animal home.

Animal Antipodes: Global Opposites
Animal Antipodes: Global Opposites
by Carly Allen-Fletcher
This animal book is so cool - the author explores two different animals on each layout that live on opposite sides of the globe.  With a quick description that usually has something to do with why it lives in that location, this book is perfect to use when discussing animal adaptations.  In the center of each page there is a picture of the globe (although it is one sided and it's often difficult to understand what location it is pointing at) so you can see how the animals really do live on opposite ends of the globe.
Thank you to Marissa Moss at Creston Books for giving me a copy of this book at ALA!

The Squirrels' Busy Year by Martin Jenkins
The Squirrels' Busy Year
written by Martin Jenkins
illustrated by Richard Jones
I'm excited to add this book to our school library - as a problem based learning project, our students explore the woodland behind our school and have been responsible for creating a space that allows for natural plants and wildlife to grow and bloom.  Squirrels are absolutely a creature that lives in this area so this book will be used by students to help them understand squirrel adaptations.  It looks specifically at the routines and habits of squirrels throughout the four seasons.  

Meet My Family! by Laura Purdie Salas
Meet My Family! Animal Babies and Their Families
written by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Stephanie Fizer Coleman
I've been waiting to read this one for a long time!  I loved seeing the different animals and the way their family is made up.  There is just a brief description on each page so this book is more of a quick introduction - I can see some readers wanting to know more information after reading!
What seems to be an animal book is also really a celebration of the diversity of families.  Even in the animal kingdom, animals grow up in different types of families - those with only one parent or two moms or two dads or an animal that is different from their species taking care of them!  
I did find it somewhat confusing because each animal baby uses a different name for their parent.  I think that was again to reflect diversity, but because it wasn't always obvious what area that particular animal was from, I didn't always understand the word.

Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari
Hawk Rising
written by Maria Gianferrari
illustrated by Brian Floca
I am a huge fan of Maria's Coyote Moon and this book reminds me a lot of it.  With different illustrations, fans of Coyote Moon will recognize the narrative of an animal, this time a hawk, trying to find prey - often unsuccessfully - to feed their young.  I love the way Maria uses specific vocabulary that teaches so much about her subject while reading a narrative nonfiction story.  I will definitely be sharing this book very early in the year!

What Do They Do with All That Poo? by Jane Kurtz
What Do They Do With All That Poo?
written by Jane Kurtz
illustrated by Allison Black
A book that has the word "poo" in its title and its on every single page?  The majority of kids in classrooms everywhere will love this book!  Perhaps this book isn't for everyone, but those who find the word hilarious will love learning something different about animal... poo... on every page! Yes, equal parts fascinating and disgusting will make this a fun and gross read aloud!  

I know these animal books will be well loved by readers this year.  I'm definitely adding them to my collection!