Friday, March 22, 2019

Spotlight Friday: new Poetry books, part 1 - 3.22.19

I know a lot of classrooms and libraries celebrate poetry during the month of April.  Whether you celebrate it year round or at a particular time, finding new poetry books is always fun!  For the next few weeks I'll be sharing some new ones you might want to add to your collections.

Poetree by Shauna Lavoy Reynolds
written by Shauna LaVoy Reynolds
illustrated by Shahrzad Maydani
This one is actually a story but has poetry at its heart.  
Two classmates, unbeknownst to each other but the reader gets a clue, leave some poems on a tree and name the tree, Poetree.  Each leave poems for the tree and in return feel a kinship with the tree.  They are both surprised when they find out it's not the tree they have a bond with, but each other.
Wonderful book to celebrate the joy and love poets can have when sharing their creations!

The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems by Paul B. Janeczko
The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems
selected by Paul B. Janeczko
illustrated by Richard Jones
The late Paul Janeczko had a real eye for poetry.  Besides being a poet himself, he was also able to cultivate collections of poems that seemed like they were written to be in a book together.  He does it again with this collection of how-to poems.  Each written with a different twist and subject, these poems flow together with a kind of order the poems themselves are written in.  Quick reads, readers will enjoy the collection as well as the art from Richard Jones.
The poetic world has certainly faced a loss with the passing of Janeczko.  Makes you linger over this collection just a bit longer.

From Tree to Sea by Shelley Moore Thomas
From Tree to Sea
written by Shelley Moore Thomas
illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
Sometimes, a longer poem can be broken up into pages.  Sometimes a poem reads like a story instead of on a single page.  I feel like that is the case in this book.  If the words were all typed up, they make a beautiful poem.  But instead, each concept of nature has its own page.  
This is a love letter to the Earth reminding us there is so much we can learn from the nature and the world around us, if we only watch and listen.
An activity I've done with books like this - write the words up into one long poem and give show students.  As you read, go over the words (metaphors on every page for this one) and visualize them.  Then read the book and compare images.

Snowman - Cold = Puddle by Laura Purdie Salas
Snowman - Cold = Puddle:  Spring Equations
written by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Micha Archer
This is the first of two Laura Purdie Salas books this week and they both are must haves for your poetry collection!  This first one is so clever - mixing poetry, math and science - there is so much to learn from this book!  
Going from early to late spring, Salas writes equations that equal poetic thoughts that are very seasonal!  Including some scientific information about the spring equation on each page, readers are left with a book that is fun and informational.  
Featuring beautiful illustrations by the very talented Micha Archer!
I enjoyed the backmatter as well, with author and illustrator notes, additional information about spring and a bibliography!

In the Middle of the Night by Laura Purdie Salas
In the Middle of the Night: Poems from a Wide-Awake House
by Laura Purdie Salas
illustrated by Angela Matteson
What happens when the people of the house go to sleep?  That's when all of the other objects have their fun!  Salas imagines through poetry what some of those objects do.  
I love the poems in two voices, so fun for groups to read aloud!

Hope you've got some poetry lined up to read with students in the upcoming weeks!
Check out part 2!

Thursday, March 21, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - new books for young readers - 3.21.19

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.

When we talk about books for our early readers, sometimes our minds go to "leveled readers" - you know the ones I'm talking about, has that bright, big number in the upper corner that supposedly means something for readers and parents.... But it doesn't have to be so.  There are plenty of books out there for early readers that have controlled text that are witty and funny and engaging.  Here are a few that jumped out of the stacks:

Another by Christian Robinson
by Christian Robinson
I have a feeling we'll be talking about this one for some time.  This beautiful wordless picture book begs for multiple readings.  When the book opens, we see a young girl in bed with her cat, a mouse playtoy for the cat on the floor, and we see what seems to be a portal directly across from her.  Next thing we now, another cat pops its head out of the portal and grabs the play mouse.  What ensues is a game of chase between the 2 cats and the girl.  Chasing each other through multiple portals that will leave the reader turning the book around and around in order to get the perspective just right, young readers will delight in all of the things to see and wonder.  With brilliant use of perspective and white space, Christian Robinson has given us a book that will no doubt spark the imagination of readers as they question and wonder what is happening with the characters.
Wordless picture books are perfect to have in primary classrooms because they level the reading playing field and leave the reading up to the imagination of the person holding the book.  This is a book that will spark countless rereadings because there is always something new to find!

Fox & Chick by Sergio Ruzzier
The Quiet Boat Ride and Other Stories
by Sergio Ruzzier
The first Fox + Chick book, The Party and Other Stories, was an instant success with our young readers.  We had it on our Mock Geisel list this year and students were so excited when it won a Geisel Honor!
This series is a perfect example that you can have a sophisticated early reader without sacrificing a funny story line or memorable characters. 
In this second book, Fox and Chick are off on more adventures that never go how they expect them to go.  Chick's job is to add the comic relief to Fox's practical side, and it definitely works because readers will be laughing as they read books from this series.  

Croc & Turtle by Mike Wohnoutka
Croc & Turtle! The Bestest Friends Ever!
by Mike Wohnoutka
Definitely reminiscent of Elephant and Piggie, or Snail and Worm, these two best friends will have a new fan group with young readers!  Croc thinks he's the best at many activities... until another animal comes by to innocently prove him wrong. Croc's best friend, Turtle, is also a great cheerleader and encourages Croc to keep at it.  Croc acknowledges that Turtle really is the best friend and they carry on their way.... until, the surprise at the end!
With minimal amounts of text on each page and a repeating pattern, young readers will enjoy reading this story.  So glad to see this will be a series!

Hope you found a new book or two for some young readers in your life!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Yogi blog tour - 3.20.19

Wednesdays 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.

Can you feel Spring coming?  For us in the midwest, it varies day to day... well really hour to hour as our temperatures can drop 30 degrees in that amount of time!  One sign for me that spring is just around the corner is when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training and then the spring training games begin!  It's just a matter of time before the end of March is here and baseball begins... sometimes while snowflakes flurry, but let's hope that won't happen this spring!  Regardless of the weather, it's time to take out those baseball books and get them into the hands of readers!  There is a book that has recently published you'll want to add to your collection!

Yogi: The Life, Loves, and Language of
Baseball Legend Yogi Berra
written by Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by Terry Widener
published by Calkins Creek

There is so much to love about this book!  The narrative gives us Yogi's backstory and information about how he got to the major leagues.  We learn about Yogi's family and how he first started playing ball with friends when he was growing up in St. Louis.  Baseball was Yogi's passion and he played ball much better than he performed at school or held down jobs.

What is going to stick with me is the details Rosenstock gives about how Yogi played the game.  He was so passionate about the game, he was willing to listen, learn, ask questions so he could continue to play and play better!  I loved learning how Yogi was always having fun on the field... even if it came at a cost to his opponents!  I laughed out loud reading that Yogi, while playing the position of catcher, would ask questions to opposing hitters... I could only imagine how frustrated the batters would get, ha!  I'm also going to remember the adversity Yogi faced while playing.  The names he was called and the way he could ignore them and rise above is something I'll think about for awhile.  We all know you hear and internalize words - ignoring them and doing your best to not let them get to you is hard.  What a great conversation you can have around this!

The backmatter in this book is extensive.  I could see someone who loves going through stats getting lost in these pages for days!  Rosenstock includes an author's note, photographs, Yogi's stats, a section about "Yogi-isms", and an extensive bibliography and source notes for the quotes.

Speaking of quotes, I love how Rosenstock sprinkles some of the great Yogi quotes throughout the story.  Yogi Berra was known for some of his original thoughts on baseball.  Adding these quotes in throughout the text really adds to the voice of the story!

Lucky for you, Boyd's Mills Press is generously donating a copy of Yogi to a reader!  Open to teachers and librarians of the United States through Opening Day of baseball - March 28th!

Thank you author Barb Rosenstock and illustrator Terry Widener for this fantastic book!


Be sure to follow along on the blog tour for this book!  Lots to love about Yogi, don't miss the other stops!

Monday, 3/18                    Mile High Reading
Tuesday, 3/19                    Book Q&A’s with Deborah Kalb
Wednesday, 3/20               Mrs. Knott’s Book Nook
Thursday, 3/21                  Behind the Scenes @BMP
Friday, 3/22                       Anatomy of Nonfiction
Monday, 3/25                    The Nonfiction Detectives
Wednesday, 3/27               KidLit Frenzy
Thursday, 3/28                  Celebrate Picture Books
Friday, 3/29                       Unleashing Readers

Some other baseball books you may want to check out during the month of April!

Mighty Jackie - The Strike-Out Queen by Marissa Moss
Miracle Mud: Lena Blackburn and the Secret Mud That Changed Baseball by David A. Kelly
Baseball Saved Us by Ken Mochizuki
Barbed Wire Baseball by Marissa Moss
Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick
Baseball Is... by Louise Borden

Oh my, my nonfiction stacks have gotten OUT OF CONTROL!  I really need to read and post.  I'm hoping to have a month worth of new(er) nonfiction to share with you in the upcoming weeks.  Be sure to check back on Wednesdays, here's what's coming:
1.  books for little foodies

2.  picture book biographies featuring men
3.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 1
4.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 2
5.  celebrating baseball - Yogi Berra blog tour
6.  animal nonfiction books, part 1
7.  animal nonfiction books, part 2
8.  the world around us, part 1
9.  the world around us, part 2

Monday, March 18, 2019

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 3.18.19

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

I'm celebrating National Women's Month - take a look at part 2 of picture book biographies featuring women!

Some new chapter book series for readers who are just starting to read chapters!

Picture Books

Going Down Home with Daddy
Going Down Home with Daddy
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Daniel Minter
Family traditions, family heritage, family past.
This book celebrates all of that in a beautifully told and beautifully illustrated book.  A family sets out to road trip to Granny's house where all the relatives meet up once a year to celebrate family.  All of the youngsters offer up a special tribute to family history for Granny and the rest of the family in a time honored tradition.  However, young Alan doesn't know what to create, make or do.  It's after listening to his father tell more of their history does Alan come up with an idea.
Publishes April 1st.

Maybe Tomorrow
Maybe Tomorrow?
written by Charlotte Agell
illustrated by Ana Ramírez
A quiet book about healing from grief.  This story about two unexpected friends - one who is dealing with grief, the other who is upbeat and bubbly - and how that friendship can slowly help one of them start healing.  
The book uses a large box as a metaphor for grief and it is quietly implied, readers will have some inferring to do in order to understand the meaning behind the book.
Look for this one next week - March 26th!

Bark in the Park!: Poems for Dog Lovers
Bark in the Park!  Poems for Dog Lovers
written by Avery Corman
illustrated by Hyewon Yum
Young dog lovers will love this collection of poems!  Each poem is quick, short and in rhyming format.  Readers will enjoy reading about the different dogs featured in this book.
Look for this one next week - March 26th!

by Matthew Cordell
I hope you've seen the other books in this series of books.  This one is a love letter from a grandparent to a grandchild.  I love the lion and African safari landscape and animals used to convey this beautiful message about a grandparent's hopes, dreams and words of wisdom that are passed down to a grandchild.

The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung
The Piñata That The Farm Maiden Hung
written by Samantha R. Vamos
illustrated by Sebastiá Serra
I love the colors in this book!  Using a format similar to "the house that Jack built", each page also builds Spanish vocabulary.  A glossary is also included at the end of the book.

Bear Needs Help
Bear Needs Help
by Sarah S. Brannen
This is such a cute story with a funny surprise at the end.  Bear needs help with his shoelaces, but because he is a polar bear, the other animals are afraid (legitimately so, they are lower on the food chain...) and won't help.  Finally some help arrives from an unlikely source! 

Crab Cake: Turning the Tide Together
Crab Cake
by Andrea Tsurumi
This book carries a message about not offloading garbage into our oceans.  
We meet many sea creatures happily living together and/or in the ocean life food chain!  And while we're meeting them, we also see crab who likes to bake cakes.  All of this comes together when a huge pile of garbage is dumped into the ocean.  Crab is able to get all of the sea creatures together by baking cakes for all to eat.  Once they are together they can form a plan.

Mary Wears What She Wants
Mary Wears What She Wants
by Keith Negley
This is the narrative story of Dr. Mary Walker, who is one of the first women known to have worn pants.  The book weaves the story of what might have happened to Mary when she decided to have worn pants.  She faced discrimination and name calling for her decision.
When I first started the story, I wondered if it was based on real events.  I was glad to have read the author's note that explained Dr. Walker's story and her many accomplishments.  
I'm glad to see the library has this catalogued as fiction.  Although based on a real woman and based on her story, the events themselves were imagined by the author.  I can see this needing to be explained to young readers.
I really love the endpages that change "boy clothes" to just "clothes"!

The Good Egg
The Good Egg
written by Jory John
illustrated by Pete Oswald
Well.  It's not The Bad Seed, but readers of that one will still appreciate this book.
I really appreciate the message - it's ok to not be perfect all of the times and everyone needs some "me" time!
I thought the ending was quick.  It needed one more page to wrap it all up.
With the popularity of The Bad Seed, no doubt this one will have lots of readers!

Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish
Ten Rules of the Birthday Wish
written by Beth Ferry
illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld
This story is so sweet!  I love the rules - you've probably heard or thought of them all - but they are written in such a way that makes them unique, humorous and a delight to read.  Tom Lichtenheld's illustrations are perfect for this celebratory book. 
Keep this on your gift books list - it would make such a fun book to read on a birthday!

Middle Grade

Mostly the Honest Truth
Mostly the Honest Truth
by Jody J. Little
This one took me by surprise.  With such a colorful cover, I did not expect it to carry such a powerful punch!  
Jane and Pop.  That's how it's supposed to be.  But Pop has landed himself in rehab (again) and Jane is with another foster family (again) while Pop takes the 12 mandatory days to get cleaned up.  But being out in the boonies of the interesting town of Three Boulders ends up being more home than Jane thought it ever could be.
This one will pull on your heart strings so bad, it's a book you'll want to own.  Looking forward to having this one in my class library!

The Lost Girl
The Lost Girl
by Anne Ursu
I read this one in two sittings, but I had a hard time falling into the book.  It's a story about twins who are being separated in class for the first time.  It's hard for both, perhaps even more difficult for one of them.  
The premise of that story alone is one that usually would hook me, but I had trouble caring for the twin that was mostly telling the story.  I liked the other twin more, but I thought her storyline was going to be more about mental health and then it didn't go that way.  The first 7/8 of the story was character driven, very realistic fiction, with this small thread of fantasy that would appear.  Then, the last 1/8 of the story became plot driven with a huge fantasy part, that just threw me for a loop.
I am definitely in the minority for my feelings of this book.  It's just my opinion.  I am going to put it out for our current fourth graders to read, I'm interested in seeing what kids think about this book.

Babysitting Nightmares: The Phantom Hour
Babysitting Nightmares: The Phantom Hour
by Kat Shepherd
I am such a wimp - this book, with all of the visualizations it gave me... yeah, had to read it in the daylight!
This time the four girls find themselves closing a portal to the Nightmare Realm, yet a ghostly appearance keeps coming at a home that one of them is babysitting at... With the help of a new friend, they all team up together to make sure another babysitting client is phantom free!
Perfect series for those kids who like a little scare in their stories!

Revenge of the EngiNerds
Revenge of the EngiNerds
by Jarrett Lerner
The EngiNerds are back, and this time there is a girl trying to infiltrate their group!  But Ken won't allow her amazing and fun gadgets win them over.... or will they?  While trying to capture a robot and piece together a mystery that may be out of this world, the EngiNerds have to fight to remain a team or they'll never accomplish their goals!
Another fun read for kids!

Currently Reading

The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly
The Missing Piece of Charlie O'Reilly
by Rebecca Ansari
Definitely a fantasy storyline!  I am really looking forward in seeing how all of the threads weave together!

It's Spring Break time in the midwest so I'll be taking next week off from blogging while I spend time with family.  Hopefully we're all starting to get a touch of spring outside!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

#road2reading Challenge - new chapter book series for independent readers - 3.14.19

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.

The #road2reading Challenge was born out of a discussion that Alyson and I had about books that support readers who are beginning their independent reading journey.  Part of that subset are readers who are starting to read chapter books.  They are ready for chapters, but even traditional transitional chapter books are a bit too long for them.  This group of readers need books that are under 100 pages, have illustrations that support the words, and are straight forward in their telling of the story.  Here are two series that are pretty new that I found at my library.  

Everybody Needs a Buddy by James Preller
Big Idea Gang: Everybody Needs a Buddy
by James Preller
Preller certainly knows a few things about writing for this age of readers - he's the author of the Jigsaw Jones Mysteries!  This new series (currently three titles in the series) has a new problem for the characters to solve - coming up with ideas to help others within their school and community.  In this first book I read, the group learns about Buddy Benches, a designated bench that is used on playgrounds where students who are looking for a friend/buddy to play with can go to.  Instead of wandering around alone, the Buddy Bench is a way to show you are looking for someone to play or talk to without having to approach a person or group.
A series I found a couple of years ago is the Fix-It Friends series by Nicole C. Kear.  I love the premise of both series because it shows kids being problem solvers.  This new series, the Big Idea Gang, is a perfect ladder for the Fix-It Friends.  It's a little bit shorter and has more illustrations.  
I think this series will be enjoyed by young readers!

Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero! by Kara West       Mia Mayhem Learns to Fly! by Kara West
Mia Mayhem is a Superhero! and Mia Mayhem Learns to Fly
written by Kara West 
illustrated by Leeza Hernandez
This new chapter book series will be a hit with readers.  Featuring Mia - when we first meet her she is just a kids who seems to find mayhem wherever she goes - who receives a letter from the Program For In Training Superheroes (PITS) that lets her know she's actually a superhero!  Not only that, she comes from a family of superheroes!  
However, her first day of school does not go exactly as planned.  She needs more help than she originally thought, but still, learning to be a superhero is pretty cool!
In the second book, she gets some much needed flying lessons.  However, just as we're coming to expect, things don't go as planned!  Mia accidentally lets some pets into the Superhero center and that creates the mayhem that Mia is used to seeing!  Mia learns that by working together, a lot more can get done.
This series is a little bit longer, coming in at just over 100 pages, but over half of the page features illustrations.  The books are pretty small and trim and the font is large, so readers will get the feel of a chapter book and holding a story over the course of chapters, but will be able to have enough stamina to get through the book.
Looks like this series will have a few more additions published over the course of the year.  Looking forward to introducing students to Mia and family!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - picture book biographies featuring women, part 2 - 3.13.19

Wednesdays 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.

Oh my, my nonfiction stacks have gotten OUT OF CONTROL!  I really need to read and post.  I'm hoping to have a month worth of new(er) nonfiction to share with you in the upcoming weeks.  Be sure to check back on Wednesdays, here's what's coming:
1.  books for little foodies

2.  picture book biographies featuring men
3.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 1
4.  picture book biographies featuring women, part 2
5.  celebrating baseball - Yogi Berra blog tour
6.  animal nonfiction books, part 1
7.  animal nonfiction books, part 2
8.  the world around us, part 1
9.  the world around us, part 2

What I love about picture book biographies is that so many of them introduce me to people I have never heard of before.  Today I have some amazing stories to share with you about women who have done it all!

Out of This World by Michelle Markel
Out of This World: The Surreal Art of Leonora Carrington
written by Michelle Markel
illustrated by Amanda Hall

I actually had not heard of the artist before this book.  Since then I have spent a lot of time on Google looking at some of her amazing work.  Carrington was a surrealist artist back when the art movement was beginning and back when it was not acceptable for a woman to be an artist.  This determined young woman continued to move towards her dream, even when it would have been easier to give up.
You'll want this book:
1.  to show readers that when you have pure determination, you can accomplish dreams
2.  to show hard work makes a difference
3.  perfect for talking about passion projects - what is something you feel passionately about?

A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks by Alice Faye Duncan
A Song for Gwendolyn Brooks
written by Alice Faye Duncan
illustrated by Xia Gordon

Alice Faye Duncan has crafted a beautiful love letter in verse to the twenty-ninth poet laureate of the United States, Ms. Gwendolyn Brooks.  Lauded for her poetry and truths of the black community in Chicago's South Side neighborhood, Ms. Brooks' words live on in her collection of poetry.  Duncan has lovingly crafted chapters of Brooks' life that is perfect to share with readers.
You'll want this book:
1.  read before sharing some of Brooks' poetry - show the writer behind the craft!
2.  mentor text - look how Duncan crafts this book - repeated phrases, small vignettes, free verse writing

Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World
Gloria Takes a Stand: How Gloria Steinem Listened, Wrote, and Changed the World
written by Jessica M. Rinker
illustrated by Daria Peoples-Riley

Gloria Steinem is someone who I've learned a little about, but someone I should know a lot about!  Her message of listening and deciding what you believe in is a powerful one that needs to be heard today.  I really liked reading more about her and how she delivered this message to all women.
You'll want this book:
1.  talk about voice and ways your message can be heard
2.  talk about the importance of listening.  Her quote to discuss, "If you want people to listen to you, you have to listen to them."
3.  this book would be perfect to use when getting ready for opinion writing!

Sisters by Jeanette Winter
Sisters: Venus and Serena Williams
by Jeanette Winter

The past year has seen the arrival of three picture book biographies about the Williams sisters.  Each one is unique and brings its own set of information.  It's interesting to compare the three - looking at mood, tone, what information is shared, what is left out.
Out of the three, I feel like this one feels the most personal.  Written in a very narrative style, without actual quotes from the sisters, it seems to tell the story instead of facts.  However, I feel at the same time, that also allows readers to question what information was left out, how did the author decide what information to put in the story.  There is a long list of books in the biography section in the endpages, but at least in the advanced copy, there is not any additional backmatter.
publishes April 2nd
You'll want this book:
1.  So many picture book biographies are about people that young readers may not have ever heard about, so having some books about known people is important to have.  With this being the third book about the sisters in a year, it's nice to have them to compare.
2.  perfect when talking about rising above expectations and how hard work and determination make an impact.

I Am Billie Jean King by Brad Meltzer
I am Billie Jean King
written by Brad Meltzer
illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos

Part of the "Ordinary People Change the World" series, Meltzer focuses this time on star tennis player, Billie Jean King.  The majority of the book was how on her rise to fame, she constantly championed women's equal rights in sports.  This ranged from equal pay, to all people regardless of background or color, should be allowed to play.  I was pleasantly surprised that there was a page included that has King explaining to readers that she is gay and a brief definition of what that means.  
You'll want this book:
1.  I like this series as an introduction to biographies.  With the graphic novel frames, it invites readers in to learn more about the person.  
2.  I also think we need to teach young readers how to be critical about their reading.  Use this series to show:  how do we know the subject said those words (talk about source quotes), sometimes we have to be critical about what we read and see (the subject is always illustrated as a young kid, even in their adult life - we have to determine what is true and what is interpreted).

Between last week's books and these, there are a lot of wonderful picture book biographies about some very strong women to share with all readers!