Thursday, April 30, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - chapter books about animals that will touch your heart! 4.30.2020

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 love a good book that touches my heart.  I know many readers love a good book that touches their animal-loving heart!  Here are some chapter books that will do just that!

Our Friend Hedgehog by Lauren Castillo
Our Friend Hedgehog: The Story of Us
by Lauren Castillo
I have been waiting for this book for so long - the hedgehog teasers Lauren has been giving us over social media!  We've seen small pieces of the book, the stamps that are used on the chapter intro pages - it's so fun to see it all put together!
This is the first book in what is to be a series, that introduces us to the animals and human who make up a group of friends.  In this first book, we follow the chain of events that leads up to their friendship.  First, we meet Hedgehog and her BFF, Mutty (a stuffed animal dog).  Hedgehog and Mutty live on a small island by themselves and are very happy, until....a terrible wind sweeps up Mutty and brings her across the river into the forest.  Hedgehog knows she must find her, which is the start of her adventure.  She braves the water and swims across the river to the forest, which is where she literally falls into Mole's tunnel, er, house.  And then it becomes a quest, as Mole and Hedgehog go off to enlist the help of Owl.  They continue on, meeting and gathering new friends on their quest to find Mutty.
It's absolutely charming and heartwarming.  Readers who are looking for an animal story that brings them on an adventure, but one that warms the heart, will fall in love with Hedgehog and friends.  
One of my favorite parts about this book was included in the advanced reader copy.  Lauren tells her readers that this book came to be when she was making a big move from a big city to a smaller city.  Many people will relate to the feeling of going from something comfortable to something unknown... the possibilities are exciting and daunting.  These big feelings are captured so well in this book for young readers.
Don't miss this chapter book when it publishes next Tuesday, May 5th!

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer
The Dog Who Lost His Bark
written by Eoin Colfer
illustrated by P.J. Lynch
If this book doesn't touch your heart, I'm assuming you don't have one!  
I'm not going to lie - this book has moments that are hard to read.  But the parts with the puppy are just some of the sweetest and touching moments.
When we first met the young puppy, he is just in the process of being adopted.  The human that owns the shelter is not the kindest, so even though he is separated from his mom, he's excited about going to a new place.  But right away, the young puppy knows he is not at a good place.  The abuse he suffers will hurt your heart.  But then he meets Patrick.  Patrick is loving and kind, and names the puppy Oz.  It's after his father who is in Australia on a musical tour.  The reader gets the feeling that there is something wrong between his mom and dad.  It's Patrick who is able to help Oz heal, and even find the power in using his voice - his bark - again.
This is a book, that comes off as a chapter book (only 134 pages and illustrations on most pages), but it packs a mature punch.  I think it's great to have a shorter book available for older readers.  Just make sure there are tissues available for them.

Happy chapter book reading!

* Looking to find one of the books in this post?  Click on the book title and you will be taken to an online link for Brain Lair Books.  The books will stay on the link for approx. three weeks before making room for new reads.  Please support independent bookstores.*

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - biographies in my pile - 4.29.2020

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.

I have a few picture book biographies to share with you this week!

Pride by Rob    Sanders
Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag
written by Rob Sanders
illustrated by Steven Salerno
Love this biography.  I really had no idea where the origins of the rainbow flag were and who started it.  Nor had I heard of Harvey Milk before.  This biography gives you a perfect snapshot of this part of Milk's life.  My absolute favorite illustration and photograph is the White House lit up in rainbow colors to celebrate the Supreme Court's ruling that gay couples have the right to get married!

Fly High, John Glenn by Kathleen Krull
Fly High, John Glenn: They Story of an American Hero
written by Kathleen Krull
illustrated by Maurizio A.C. Quarello
Such a well done biography about John Glenn.  It seems like I know pieces of his life, but this one really gave a great picture of who he was and his strong ideals.  A longer picture book to read out loud, I can see taking days to absorb and reflect on the information.  Definitely a book to add to your collection.

Leave It to Abigail! by Barb Rosenstock
Leave It to Abigail! The Revolutionary Life of Abigail Adams
written by Barb Rosenstock
illustrated by Elizabeth Baddeley
Rosenstock absolutely captured the spunk of Abigail Adams.  Someone who didn't succumb to the gender roles of her time.  She was an example to women in the past and women now.  She was someone who knew what needed to be done, she multi-tasked, rolled up her sleeves, and got it done!

Dream Builder by Kelly Starling Lyons
Dream Builder: The Story of Architect Philip Freelon
written by Kelly Starling Lyons
illustrated by Laura Freeman
If you have been to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, you know the beauty and power of it.  The building itself is a wonder to just see.  Inside, is full of information and emotion that few museums can invoke.  This is the story behind the architect of record of this majestic building, Phil Freelon.  
Author Kelly Starling Lyons tells us the story of a young Phil, who can create art and grasp mathematical and scientific content, but has a more difficult time reading.  A young Phil who learns from his grandfather to understand and listen to his inner artist's eye.  A young Phil who grew up during the Civil Rights period and heard Martin Luther King Jr. give his legendary speech.  Phil, who knew the importance of honoring those who came before him yet giving opportunities to those who were still learning.  And ultimately learning how Phil took all he knew and collaborated with others to create this mighty, mighty building.

I found a few new biographies to add to our school and classroom library, did you?

* Looking to find one of the books in this post?  Click on the book title and you will be taken to an online link for Brain Lair Books.  The books will stay on the link for approx. three weeks before making room for new reads.  Please support independent bookstores.*

Monday, April 27, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.27.2020

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

Don't miss this rhyming poetry book!

Some new chapter books for readers!

With Spring's arrival it's time to get outside and celebrate nature.  Some books to read.

Picture Books

Feast of Peas
Feast of Peas
written by Kashmira Sheth
illustrated by Jeffrey Ebbeler
A tale of wanting and forgiveness.  And perhaps natural consequences.  Although I'm not quite sure one of the characters learned his lesson...

¡Vamos! Let’s Go Eat
¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat
by Raúl the Third 
colors by Elaine Bay
One of my favorite books from last year was ¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market.  I was so excited to hear there would be a follow up.
The storyline has Little Lobo, his dog Bernabé, and his rooster friend Kooky Dooky making a food delivery for los luchadores ( the lucha libre is the term used in Mexico for professional wrestling).  They travel to town where there are a variety of food trucks and carts.  Identifying the foods using their Spanish name, readers will be exposed to many new words and phrases as the characters find all of the luchadores their food.
Another book full of detail, it would take hours and many repeated readings (and lookings) to find all the details in the illustrations!

Middle Grade

The Water Bears
The Water Bears
by Kim Baker
This magical realism book will sit quietly in your heart as you wholeheartedly root for Newt and all that he hopes to happen.
Newt's family is the only Latinx family on the small island of Murphy.  While that makes Newt stand out, he also is known by an unfortunate incident with a bear that has left him with scars and a weakened leg.  If he could just move to the mainland and live with his abuela, he feels like he could blend in more.  But leaving friends, old and new, weighs on his mind.  
As if his bear encounter wasn't enough, Newt has also found a large bear statue that seems to be holding some type of wishbone.  Soon, people are making wishes on the bear that seem to be coming true.  Will Newt finally get his wish, or is his wish something he already knows in his heart?

Young Adult

Siege and Storm (Shadow and Bone, #2)
Siege and Storm
by Leigh Bardugo
I had Shadow and Bone, the first book in the GrishaVerse trilogy, in my #mustreadin2020 pile.  I finally got to it a couple of weeks ago and I loved it.  I had purchased the box set, so I already had book 2 ready to go.  Just had to read some middle grade first and then I jumped right back into the series.
If you enjoy fantasy with a twist of science and a whole lot of adventure, this is a series you'll have to try!  I have found these first two books un-put-downable and I can't wait to start book 3.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Netflix series of this world will come together.  No start date for it, so I'll keep reading all of the books in the meantime!

Currently Reading

Lila and Hadley
Lila and Hadley
by Kody Keplinger
Our school is hosting a virtual Scholastic book fair (yup, our at school one was cancelled because of the first week of school closing back in March...) and I noticed this was one of the books offered.  Figured I should check it out!

When Stars Are Scattered
When Stars Are Scattered
by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed
Such a beautiful and important story told in graphic novel format.

As I stated back in early April I wasn't sure what blogging would look like or if I was going to continue to blog during this pandemic.  I ultimately decided to continue blogging because I wanted to support authors and illustrators, especially those who had books coming out during this time.  
Over the past year or so, I've noticed that blog readership has gone down.  With the rise of social media and getting information quickly, it seems people aren't reading blogs as much.  I understand, in this time of go go go, sometimes we don't have time to do more than a glance.  Then the pandemic hit.  And readership has taken another hit.  This time I know it is because we are all scrambling to try and learn new things.  To deliver instruction in a new way.  We're learning as we go, and perhaps knowing about the new and upcoming books, may no longer be a priority.
I'm trying to learn new things too.  My whole job focus has changed.  I've gone from my day being part time interventionist, part time coach, to being full time interventionist.  Almost all of my instruction is delivered one on one, over a computer, using all digital tools.  For someone who prides themselves with reading and turning pages, reading digitally is very new!  I'm learning new things everyday and new learning always takes time.  Almost always longer than what a typical school day lasts.  
During this time, it is so important to practice some self-care.  For me, that means making sure I make time to make sure my daughter is mentally and physically healthy, and making sure I am healthy.  I don't concentrate on the mental part of health very often, but I need to during this time.
Which means I'm going to allow myself days to not blog if it ends up being too much.  Blogging takes time.  Writing is hard for me and creating these posts takes me a lot of time.  With readership down and the need to practice more self-care, I need to give myself these breaks.
I will continue to blog, but if I miss a day, you know why.  I hope you are giving yourself the time you need to be healthy during this time.  Wishing health to all!

* Looking to find one of the books in this post?  Click on the book title and you will be taken to an online link for Brain Lair Books.  The books will stay on the link for approx. three weeks before making room for new reads.  Please support independent bookstores.*

Friday, April 24, 2020

Spotlight Friday - A Hatful of Dragons blog tour - 4.24.2020

April is National Poetry Month

Join me on Fridays as I share a new poetry book for your collections.  Some may be a book that is a poem, others may be collections of poetry.  All books you'll want to add for {future} readers!

One of the best ways to keep kids reading is to keep them laughing.  They mostly look for humorous books so when you add laughter to poetry... you keep the readers turning the page for more!  And poet Vikram Madan knows that - just look at the title of his most recent collection of poems!

A Hatful of Dragons by Vikram Madan
A Hatful of Dragons: 
And More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems
by Vikram Madan
published by WordSong an imprint of Boyds Mills & Kane

Full of poems that make you laugh out loud, many poems even make you turn the page before you get to the punchline of the poem.  That little bit of a pause gets readers thinking about what direction Madan is going to take with his jokes, but they always leave you with the same ending - laughter.  And I'm thinking that's what we may need even more lately, pages with stories and ideas and possibilities that make us laugh!

While the poems in the collection can be read and enjoyed individually, readers will notice certain plot lines and characters are often woven throughout the collection.  The ending of a poem might not be the ending of that particular poetic story!  Readers will enjoy going back to these quick little stories and seeing there is actually more to read.

Poet Vikram Madan stopped by to tell our readers more about writing poetry.  Thanks, Vikram!

How do you approach writing for a young audience?

With my prior two books (The Bubble Collector and Lord of the Bubbles) I was very intentional in making sure the books had a lot of poetic diversity, from really simple to complex/nuanced, so they would be easy to get into for younger kids, and have some lasting value for older ones. And I also wanted the books to expose kids to how varied poetry could be and how much fun you could have playing with words. This Bubble Collector discussion guide will give you some idea:  I do need to create something similar for ‘Hatful of Dragons’.
In general when writing poetry I prefer to write poetry kids can grow into over time, rather than outgrow quickly. For example, somewhat like Jack Prelutsky (this is a comparison my editor made), I’m not artificially limiting my vocabulary to specific age ranges, but I am keeping in mind that the poems still make sense to the young reader. Humor really helps engage the kids, as do the illustrations. That way they have words to read, pictures to enjoy looking at, and fun with the whole experience. 

When I do school visits, I am often surprised by which poems the kids seem to like the most. I’ve found I’m not a good predictor of what they will like so the more variety I can provide, the more the likelihood kids will find something they favor. Incidentally, by not keeping the vocabulary too simple, the books are also enjoyable for older readers.

What can readers expect when diving into your newest collection?

Hatful of Dragons has a lot of visual variance among the poems (Including some comic-strip formats), recurring characters and interweaving plots. So I am hopeful kids will find it enough of a fun experience to come back to it again and again. And in that process read some poetry. :) 

I know you have a visual background.  How do you incorporate that into your poetry?

I used to do a lot of cartooning in my college years so I’m naturally attuned to visual humor and punch-lines. When I’m gestating a poem, a part of my brain is exploring visual ideas in parallel, so that words and visuals start emerging together. Sometimes the visuals play a supporting role and let the words lead the dance. Other times, I’ll be enamored with a visual gag and then I have to mold the words to get to the visual endpoint.  The book has a lot of visual variety mostly because I give each poem space to evolve into whatever form suits it best, whether it’s a rebus or a comic strip or a concrete poem or something more traditional.

Writing rhyming poetry isn't just coming up with the many rhymes, you also have to think of the rhythm and beats of the lines.  How do you do that?

I find every word has a physical aspect to it, in how we say it, hear it, and feel it. And when you string words together, they have a natural in-built rhythm that can’t be controlled, only harnessed. As I assemble words, I am listening to how they sound and then I might build a structure around their cadence - or if they don’t fit into the structure I am trying to create, well then I have to find different words or a different structure. A few examples:
* The first poem in my book is titled ‘The Panda and the Pangolin’ (page 4). Looking back at my notes, it apparently started as a poem about pangolins:
    ‘A band of banded pangolins’. 
And following the sound of that sentence, I then wrote:
    ‘The panda and the pangolin’
which seemed to offer more possibilities. What if it was the other way around: ‘The pangolin and the panda’ ?
I tried 
    ‘At the edge of my veranda / sat a pangolin and panda’
But ‘The Pangolin and the Panda’ didn’t have the same natural rhythm as ‘The Panda and the Pangolin’ so I went back to the original
    ‘Said the panda to the pangolin / I like your little mandolin’ 
Better. But I needed to drop the extra ‘Said’ syllable:  
    ‘The panda and the pangolin / between them have a mandolin / a clarinet, a violin / a drum made from some beaten tin’
And the rest of the poem unfolded from there, with active guiding to make sure it ended where I needed it to. 
(Note that, when I started, I had no idea what the poem was going to be about. I just followed the words home).
* Another example is the poem ‘The Flippy, Floppy Flappers’ (page 13), which was inspired by a painting of energetic, bouncy creatures with big flapping ears. For this poem, I had a concrete subject and I just needed to find the right words to express their energy. I consciously used a lot of alliteration hoping that repetitive tongue movements would make the poem feel like it too was bouncing and flapping when read aloud. 
A first version, a rough sketch trying to get the idea down, went like this:
    ‘They keep lapping they keep looping as they vault and spring and leap / They can barely bear to stand still and they rarely stop to sleep’
My tongue kept tripping on ‘vault and spring’ and on ‘stand still’ and ‘stop to sleep’, so after experimenting with many variations, I finally arrived at:
    ‘ They keep leaping, lapping, looping as they flop and flip and flap / They can barely bare to idle and they rarely nab a nap ‘
Says the same thing, but flows so much better and I really like how the words feel in my mouth.
Here’s a video of me reading ‘The Flippy, Floppy, Flappers’:

Thank you to Vikram for stopping by today!

Be sure to find A Hatful of Dragons and check out the other stops on the blog tour:

More about Vikram Madan:
Vikram Madan grew up in India where, despite spending his childhood rhyming and doodling, he ended up an engineer. After many years of working in the tech industry, he finally came to his senses and took a leap of faith to leave his tech career behind and reboot himself as a professional visual artist. When not making whimsical paintings and public art, Vikram writes and illustrates humorous poetry. His first self-illustrated book of funny poems, The Bubble Collector, won a 2013 Moonbeam Silver Award for Children’s Poetry. A follow-up collection, Lord of the Bubbles, was released in 2018. Vikram’s third collection, A Hatful of Dragons, was released by Boyds Mills & Kane in Spring 2020. Vikram currently lives near Seattle, Washington with his family, two guitars, and a few pet peeves. Somewhere along the way he has also won editorial cartooning awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Washington Press Association. Visit him at

Thursday, April 23, 2020

#road2reading - new chapter books - 4.23.2020

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.

One of the reasons I keep writing the #road2reading posts is because I hope it's helpful for teachers, librarians, and parents to find books for kids who want something more than a picture book.  They want a chapter book.  But they can't stick with those longer books just yet.  We want these kids continuing their reading journey so I hope these posts help those adults who can get these books into the kids hands.

The books I'm featuring today would fit readers in a first-third grade reading range.  Could go older or younger depending on the reader.  All of these books have chapters but are under 100 pages.  

The Shark Report #1 by Derek Anderson
Benny McGee and the Shark: The Shark Report
by Derek Anderson
Benny McGee does not like to go swimming in the sea.  You know... sharks.  But of course, one day after being at the beach, guess what follows him home?  After a while Benny realizes that the shark, Mr. Chompers, might be a great asset to bring to school to help him deliver his shark report!
Anderson cleverly sprinkles some shark facts as the story occurs.
Look for the next book in the series later this summer!

The Best Friend Plan by Stephanie Calmenson
The Adventures of Allie and Amy: The Best Friend Plan
written by Stephanie Calmenson and Joanna Cole
illustrated by James Burks
Best friends Allie and Amy have their summer plan ready to go.  But then Allie finds out she got into a summer-long camp!  How will they get all of their summer plans done when she leave for camp in a day?
Cute best friends story, also with a sequel publishing this summer.

A Is for Elizabeth by Rachel Vail     Big Mouth Elizabeth by Rachel Vail
A is for El!zabeth and Big Mouth El!zabeth
written by Rachel Vail
illustrated by Paige Keiser
You might have met Elizabeth through her older brother's series - Justin Case.  Now Elizabeth gets to steal the show and she does get the attention in these books!  I'm a huge fan of hers - she's feisty and funny, a true blue friend, and is always learning something new!
In the first book of the series we meet Elizabeth and her bff, Bucky, as well as her non-bff, Anna.  Elizabeth and Anna do not see eye to eye over many topics, including alphabetical order.
In the second book (my favorite one so far), clubs are formed in second grade based on who has lost teeth.  Elizabeth, of course, has not lost any teeth and she is therefore lumped together with Babyish Cali.  Elizabeth learns in this book, that clubs that exclude people are no fun, and putting descriptors in front of names is not ok.
Readers who enjoy Junie B. Jones and Horrible Harry books will enjoy meeting Elizabeth.
Things that I love about this series:
- the ridiculously short chapters (maybe 3 pages long).  Kids are going to love saying they are on chapter 45 :)
- Elizabeth's spunk - did you notice from the title how she likes to spell her name with an exclamation point?? (or as she says - exPLAnation point)
- she's hilarious, you'll be laughing out loud
- kids who fall in love with Elizabeth, will graduate to her brother's books, more books to love!
- and I'm ready for the next two books which publish on May 5th
Can't wait to introduce readers to this series!

Happy chapter book reading!

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - Getting Nature-y! 4.22.2020

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.

It's April and it means Spring is supposed to be in the air!  Even if there are lots of signs of winter, animals everywhere are starting to wake up and do what they do!  Some nonfiction picture books that celebrate animals!

Seagulls Soar by April Pulley Sayre
Seagulls Soar
written by April Pulley Sayre
illustrated by Kasia Bogdańska
I hope you have a few days set aside to enjoy this book with readers!  First, just enjoy the lyrical prose this story brings.  Maybe read it once without the illustrations and just make mental pictures that all of Sayre's verbs will bring to the imagination!  And then bask in Bogdańska's digital illustrations that seem to dance before you.  The backmatter will have you pouring over the additional information and have you going back and cross-checking it with the information you learned in the book.  
Definitely a book to add to your collection!

After Dark by David L. Harrison
After Dark: Poems About Nocturnal Animals
poems by David L. Harrison
illustrated by Stephanie Laberis
Kids love nocturnal animals and these fun poems will keep them reading.  My favorite is the last one - comparing the blinking lights of fireflies to texting :)  Backmatter gives additional information about each featured nocturnal animal.

Honeybee by Candace Fleming
Honeybee: The Busy Life of Apis Mellifera
written by Candace Fleming
illustrated by Eric Rohmann
This is one of the coolest nonfiction books I've read.  As much acclaim as Giant Squid received, I think this one is even better.
This book concentrates on the worker bee, or apis mellifera, shortened to just Apis in this story.  The structure of the text follows Apis' life cycle and while she doesn't live long, she does a lifetime of work for her colony.  I think readers will be fascinated with the information and amazed by the illustrations.  Just like Giant Squid, this one also has a foldout gateway that shows a four page layout.
More fascinating information is found in the backmatter, so when using this as a read aloud, make sure you leave time to go over this information!

Not a Bean by Claudia Guadalupe Martinez
Not a Bean
written by Claudia Guadalupe Martínez
illustrated by Laura González
Whaaaaat??  Did you know inside a jumping bean.... is a caterpillar waiting to become a moth?  I really didn't know anything about jumping beans.  Why they moved.  If they were a living thing.  This book kind of blew my mind.  
What starts as a seedpod from the yerba de la flecha, a desert shrub, becomes a home for a caterpillar.  The caterpillar eats the inside of the pod.  Once it dries out, the pod splits and falls to the ground.  And that's when the jumping begins.  While the pod moves around, the caterpillar is waiting its time to spin a cocoon and eventually emerge as a moth!  Who knew!

Tiny Bird by Robert Burleigh
Tiny Bird: A Hummingbird's Amazing Journey
written by Robert Burleigh
illustrated by Wendell Minor
Burleigh and Minor team up again to bring us this beautiful narrative about Tiny Bird's migration from the north part of the United States all the way down to Mexico.  Including one dangerous trip over the Gulf of Mexico!  
I find hummingbirds fascinating so I loved getting to read more about them.  I love this description of this tiny bird by Burleigh, "Tiny Bird hovers above a blossom as if hanging from an unseen thread."  Accompanied by Minor's watercolor illustrations, the reader will appreciate the amazing journey these birds take.

The Nest That Wren Built by Randi Sonenshine
The Nest That Wren Built
written by Randi Sonenshine
illustrated by Anne Hunter
I go on daily walks right now in order to get some air, exercise, and a reason to leave the house for a short amount of time!  Especially in the morning time, I see birds everywhere.  As I see them flitting around, I wonder if they are scouting for materials for their nests.
This book fills in some holes in my knowledge about what a bird, in this case a wren, uses to construct its nest.  Did you know they may put a spider sac into their nests?  It's believed that when the spiders hatch they eat parasites that infiltrate the nest.  Total new fact for me!

And one fiction picture book:

Kaia and the Bees by Maribeth Boelts
Kaia and the Bees
written by Maribeth Boelts
illustrated by Angela Dominguez
Love this sweet book.  It goes along with this week's theme - some bee information throughout the story.  But it's really about young Kaia whose father is a beekeeper.  But Kaia is so afraid of bees after being stung.  Kaia acts like she is the beekeeper to her friends, but when they see her reaction to a bee, they know it was an act.  Kaia decides to conquer her fear, but she learns sometimes that doesn't happen right away.
This is a must have!

Here's hoping Spring is in bloom everywhere!

Monday, April 20, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 4.20.2020

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

It's a cover reveal for Anna Staniszewski's upcoming picture book!  See it here.

We learned how animals use play for different skills in Maria Gianferrari's new book.  Be sure to enter the GIVEAWAY!

Here are some longer transitional chapter books for readers who are almost ready to make the jump to longer middle grade novels.

It's National Poetry Month - have you read these books?

Picture Books

Night Animals Need Sleep Too
Night Animals Need Sleep Too
by Gianna Marino
Some nocturnal animals get together to find the perfect place to settle in and sleep.  Of course everything they find is already taken, which leads to some laugh out loud moments for the reader.  And then the irony of the ending, because of course it takes all day to find a place for nocturnal animals to sleep....

That's Life!
That's Life!
written by Ame Dyckman
illustrated by Cori Doerrfeld
Ok, this book could not have published at a more important time.  A big look at life and all it brings us.  This book is really perfect to read and talk about right now.  So many great writing prompts come from this book - I will probably use some in my journal!

Summer Song
Summer Song
written by Kevin Henkes
illustrated by Laura Dronzek
The final season in this four book series from the husband and wife team.  By far my favorite season, and I do love all the green in this book.  There were parts of the story that didn't flow well, which I don't think I've ever said after reading a Henkes story.  Glad to have this final book in my library!

Baby Clown
Baby Clown
written by Kara LaReau
illustrated by Matthew Cordell
Parents will recognize a collicky baby, young readers will recognize the turning point and humor!

The Weather's Bet
The Weather's Bet
words by Stephen Cowan
illustrated by Ed Young
When Nature's big three - wind, rain, sun - get together, who will be the strongest?
Young adds symbols that are based on seal characters of Chinese pictograms into the story for the nature's elements.

Zero Local: Next Stop: Kindness
Zero Local Next Stop: Kindness
by Ethan Murrow and Vita Murrow
Husband and wife team up for another gorgeous wordless picture book that shows how one small act of kindness can be spread.  It's gorgeous.

Graphic Novels

Peter  Ernesto: Sloths in the Night
Peter and Ernesto: Sloths in the Night
by Graham Annable
My favorite sloths are back!  This time they are traveling (at record speed!) to a temple where there is a rumored dragon.  While traveling, Peter and Ernesto and the other sloths are on the lookout for a friend.  They learn that their traveling becomes a little easier when kindness is shown, and then it's often reciprocated.  

Middle Grade

City Spies
City Spies
by James Ponti
Looking for a book that is high on adventure, mystery, and suspense?  This is a book for those readers.  We meet Sara in this book and when we first meet her she's at court, getting in trouble for hacking into the New York City juvenile justice system in order to expose her foster parents, who are not protecting their wards.  It's there she meets Mother, a spy for the British M16 organization, who agrees to take her on and train her to become a spy.  Plus they need her for their very next mission.  Sara meets the other kids in the organization and learn they have all taken on names that are reflective of where they came from.  That's when Sara sheds her old identity and becomes Brooklyn, M16's newest kid agent.  Brooklyn doesn't have much time before the mission and she's thrown into some of the hardest training of her life.
Readers are going to love this fast-paced novel where tweens/teenagers use some amazing skills to take down some very powerful bad guys!  Looking forward to book 2 in this series already!

by Nicole C. Kear
This question may hit a little too close to home right now.  Have you ever wanted to leave the problems in your life and get away to a magical place?  A place that has wonderful memories?  A place where you can escape the realities of life and maybe not worry about growing up just yet?
That's what Margaret does in this story.  Something is going on at home and she wants to escape, go to a place that only holds happy memories.  For her, that's the theme park Foreverland (with some definite connections and feels of Disney parks, but on a smaller scale).  While Margaret has always been a shy kid, she has to face some fears and figure things out on her own, but it's not too long and she meets another runaway kid, Jamie.  The two kids get to know each other and help each other out, all while trying to stay hidden from the head of security, the Captain!
Middle grade readers will relate to the main characters and appreciate the storyline of running away and escaping life's problems.  And while growing up can be hard, it's with the support of friends that help us get through.

I really enjoyed the way acrostic poems wove through the storyline!

Currently Reading

The Water Bears
The Water Bears
by Kim Baker
This story is pulling at my heartstrings!