Monday, June 29, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.29.2020

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.

How is it already the last Monday in June??  I feel like June is often the fastest month of the year.  Other months get super busy, but June - with its long days, great temperatures, lazy days - flies by since it's the start of summer.

Last Week's Adventures

Be sure to take a look at the new book by Melissa Stewart - Ick!  Readers will be pouring over these gross - I mean, amazing - facts!  Stop by and read the author interview and see some great interiors of the book!

On the Chapter Book Summer series, take a look at the new series by Harper Chapters.  If you have readers that like the Scholastic Branches series, you'll want to check them out!

Picture Books

How to Be a Pirate
How to Be a Pirate
written by Isaac Fitzgerald
illustrated by Brigette Barrager
I got this book from.... the library!!!  Our library has opened up for contactless pickup.  Right now they are only having patrons pick up books that were on hold when the quarantine day started.  I had 2... and one was for school so that was no longer needed!  This weekend I get to pick up more holds.  Books that I put on hold during quarantine were retrieved and books that had been ordered and have now been processed are ready.  So excited!
While this book is a how to book, it's also a tattoo telling story, and I love those!  A grandfather tells his granddaughter how to be a pirate by talking about what each of his tattoos represent - being brave, quick, independent, and fun!  
The endpages tell the story too, so don't miss them!

Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert
Max Explains Everything: Puppy Expert
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Deborah Hocking
The next book in the Max Explains Everything series, this time Max gives his readers the steps needed for when you get a puppy!
Publishes July 7th

Now for some beginning of the year reads!

First Day Critter Jitters
First Day Critter Jitters
written by Jory John
illustrated by Liz Climo
Cute beginning of the year school story.  Animals are shown with a trait that is typically known for their animal that makes them nervous about the beginning of the year - joey wants to stay in his mother's pouch, parrot repeats everything and is worried people won't like that, rabbit hops everywhere because of his nervous energy.  When they meet their teacher and finds out he is nervous too, it helps them work together and have a successful day.
Publishes July 7th.

All Welcome Here
All Welcome Here
written by James Preller
illustrated by Mary GrandPré
Written in connected haiku poems, a beginning of the year school day is explored by a cast of characters.
The one that really bothered me was a boy who was walking into his classroom, waddling and quacking like a duck and the teacher says, "yikes, he's in my class!"
My favorite was the library haiku that compared it to "the school's heart beat."

Danbi Leads the School Parade
Danbi Leads the School Parade
by Anna Kim
It is Danbi's first day of school in America and at first everything is different and she has trouble figuring things out.  But once she finds something she can do with all of the children she has fun. When kids find time to play, it's amazing how it can be a barrier that can cross  language and cultures.
Publishes July 7th

Middle Grade

Love, Ruby Lavender
Love, Ruby Lavender
by Deborah Wiles
I went back and looked when I purchased this book... 2015!  It's been in my pile for sometime, which is why it made it on my #mustread list for this year!
I really enjoyed meeting Ruby.  She's a dimensional character and is made up of equal parts good and equal parts snarky!  I loved getting to know all of her sides and seeing how her family, setting, and events made her who she is.
A perfect book for readers who enjoy heartstring books... I'm thinking Natalie Lloyd readers would enjoy getting to know Ruby!

Each Little Bird that Sings
each little bird that sings
by Deborah Wiles
Book #2 from the Aurora County series.  I would say this book gave me the same feels as Because of Winn Dixie.  And like Love, Ruby Lavender, Wiles gives us another character that is complex and then mixes in secondary characters that add to that complexity!  
Wiles includes the author acknowledgments at the beginning of the story, which is important because she explains how a piece of her life is in the writing of this story.
Have tissues....

Graphic Novel

Stepping Stones
Stepping Stones
by Lucy Knisley
This is Knisley's first step into middle grade and I really really hope it's not her last!  Based on her own experiences, Knisley gives us the character of Jen.  She's an only child from a divorced family.  She's always lived in the city, but not she's moving onto a farm with her mom and her mom's boyfriend.  She misses her dad, who appears to be busy at his city job, and the business of the city.  She does not enjoy life on the farm and taking care of chickens, which has become her responsibility.  And to make matters worse, her mom's boyfriend's kids come and stay on the farm on the weekends.  The girls don't always get along because their personalities are a little different.  But over time things start to change.
While I did not love the mom's boyfriend, I think this situation is also real.  I've seen a lot of reviewers talk about how he was abusive and never apologizes for it.  It will be a good conversation to have with readers.  But I also think there are readers that will see themselves within this situation and may feel comforted by it.  Just a thought.
Get multiple copies of this one, you'll need it!


Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi
If you haven't heard of this book by now, well, now you have, and now you need to read it.
I've put off learning more about how I can be anti-racist, by being, well, racist.  Meaning, I didn't think I needed to do this work, since I considered myself to be anti-racist.  But that's actually not what being an anti-racist is, nor is that understanding what being racist is.
I think this is a good book to start with if you're wanting to actively start doing anti-racist work.  You have to understand how our government's systems have continuously worked to raise the white person and simultaneously make the black person be less.  I could probably go through this book 100 more times before I fully understand everything I should understand.  I do understand that what I was taught in the classroom was wrong.  There are things I learned that happened out of the classroom that are wrong too.  Thanks, white-washed media.
I think the important thing with this book is to also make sure it's in the hands of kids.  Make sure more teachers of middle school and high school readers know about this book and get it into the curriculum.  Start now.

Adult reads

The Giver of Stars
The Giver of Stars
by Jojo Moyes
Jojo Moyes wrote my favorite adult read, Me Before You.  There's not a chance I will see the movie because I really don't want that book ruined for me!  I've actually put off reading the sequels because I'm pretty sure they won't live up to the first one.
I've read other books by Moyes but this one was definitely different from her other books.  It takes place during the New Deal era and tells the fictional story of the Kentucky Packhorse Librarians.  The majority of the story was really good and I have never read anything about these women.  Although fictional, it was interesting to learn more and think about what these women did, getting books to readers.  It took awhile for me to get into the story.  The beginning was a bit boring, but I'm glad I stuck with the book.  Then the ending wrapped up quickly and neatly and it was over.  Lots of detail and then.... done.
But if you enjoy historical fiction and you like librarians :) this is a good one to read.  I did read about some controversy between this book and another title about the Kentucky Packhorse Librarians.  I saw accusations, but I'm not sure anything was ever proven.  I guess I'll leave it at that?

Currently Reading

The Aurora County All-Stars
The Aurora County All-Stars
by Deborah Wiles
This is the third book in the series, and for a long time, the last book in the trilogy.  But Deborah had another story in her head and in 2018 published another book, a long line of cakes.  I was able to pick this one up from the library, so I'm guessing that will be my next read!  I'm excited to see Ruby Lavender makes an appearance!

Hope you have a great 4th of July weekend!

Thursday, June 25, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer series - Harper Chapters series - 6.25.2020

Image result for summer reading

This summer I'll be sharing chapter books that are perfect for a range of readers.  
Stop by every Thursday and find a round up of books you'll want to use with your readers!

I love that publishers are sitting up and taking notice of a group of readers who are needing books.  The kids who want something a little longer.  The readers who want a story that continues over chapters.  But not too long.  But not too complex.  Scholastic has given us the Branches line for years and has followed it up with the Acorn line which are chapter books/graphic novels for the younger crowd.  Penguin has created Penguin Workshop and Simon and Schuster has the QUIX line.  Now Harper Collins has a new line called Harper Chapters.

Characteristics of these books:

  • illustrations on every page, some in color!
  • at the end of every chapter there is a line of squares that are equal to the number of chapters in the book.  When a chapter is completed, another square is colored in.  It's a visual celebration for the reader - whether it helps them know how much longer in the book or knowing they finished another chapter
  • the characters sometimes cheer you on at the end of a chapter
  • at the halfway point (ish), at the end of the chapter there is a question that makes you think about what is happening or predict what will happen
  • at the end of the book there is a congratulations page with lots of data - the numbers of chapters, pages, and words read.  Plus the characters are there cheering you on.
  • we hope stories help readers think, feel, and act - there are ideas at the end of each book to encourage readers to think, feel, and act more about the book
All of these characteristics can be helpful, the most important part is the story... is it a good story?  There are two series published now, and a third publishing in July.

The Candy Caper by Tom     Watson
The Trouble at Table 5 series
written by Tom Watson
illustrated by Marta Kissi
Written by the author that gave us the Stick Dog and Stick Cat series, this series is a realistic fiction series featuring a trio of friends and their adventures at school.  Featuring characters "with neuro-sensitivity and alternative learning styles", readers will enjoy reading how these characters attempt to problem solve in a familiar setting.

Sparkleton #1 by Calliope Glass
Sparkleton series
written by Calliope Glass
illustrated by Hollie Mengert
Seeing how popular the Branches' Unicorn Diaries series is with readers, I think Sparkleton already has a huge fan base!
Featuring a wide cast of unicorn characters, this series features Sparkleton, the unicorn who is waiting for his magic to arrive.  He's hoping for wish-granting magic, like his big sister and gramma.  Sparkleton is a little headstrong, but has a big heart, especially for his friends.  And he does have a lot of friends!  After reading the first book, I'm not sure I remember all of them but perhaps that will come over time as more books are published!

Battle of the Bad-Breath Bats by David  Bowles
13th Street series
written by David Bowles
illustrated by Shane Clester
Don't tell the others, but this one is my favorite!
Something for kids who are looking for a spooky tale (but maybe not that spooky).  
Three cousins have found a mysterious street, 13th Street, that doesn't appear on any maps.  On this street they have to use their brains and street smarts to defeat some creepy characters, but also meet some new and spooky friends!

Each series will be a four-book series that will publish over the next year.  There are four more series that will be publish between 2021-2022.  I think they will all be a hit with readers this fall.  I like that each series is different - genres... characters...  There is something for everyone and more to come!

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.

Wednesday, June 24, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - June is for animal books, post 4 - 6.24.2020

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 the last Wednesday in June and I'm excited to end my animal month with Melissa Stewart's newest book - Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses.  And as a special treat, Melissa has agreed to stop by and answer some delightfully disgusting questions!

First of all, don't read this book while eating!  One thing has to go, either the book or the food because I can't tell you how many times you're going to say "ewwwwwww"!  Of course, if you're reading with someone you want to torment, wait until they are eating and tell them some of the interesting facts!  I may or may not have done this to my 14yo daughter :)  It went over like you would expect it to, lol!
Second of all, get multiple copies of this book because all it's going to take is one reader to start sharing facts and everyone is going to want to get their hands on this book!  Just take a look at this spread!

The book is organized into three main parts - dinners, dwellings, and defenses.  Each section brings about its own level of grossness.  The dinners section really made my stomach turn.  I'll be honest.  I'm not going to look at pandas the same anymore... and you thought they just ate bamboo.....  The dwellings section make me really appreciate my home.  And the fact that I don't use any body by-products to line the walls!!!  And who knew poop and pee were such a strong line of defense?

Read the main section on each layout or just read the captions.  Read it from cover to cover, one section at a time, or just the animals you're interested in finding out more.  This expository nonfiction book will be read in multiple ways, multiple time, and by multiple readers.  It's a fascinating read that will leave you knowing the grossest of gross information you didn't even know you wanted to know!

Now I'm going to turn it over to Melissa Stewart.  Thank you for stopping by and answering some questions, Melissa!

How does a book like Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses come together? You've got the main text, the photographs, the captions—how do you organize everything?

Creating a browsable book like this one is all about teamwork and trust. It’s a much more complex and collaborative process than creating a novel or even a picture book because there are so many parts and so many people who help to put them all together.

When I submitted the manuscript, I provided notes (in blue type) describing my vision for the design and the text hierarchy. The main text is in larger type. On the top of the right-hand page, you can see a section called “Critter Challenge.” This was a math problem that originally appeared on each spread, but we eventually decided to cut them all.

Because there are so many text features, I was initially concerned that some kids might feel visually overwhelmed. But the uber-talented designers at National Geographic came up with a format that guides readers in navigating across the pages, from the headline in the upper left to the stunning central photo to the main text in the lower left to the captions and secondary text features on the right. I’m also a big fan of the bright, bold colors. The book is so kid friendly!

I also owe a huge debt to National Geographic’s super-dedicated photo-acquisition team. Of course, NatGeo has one of the richest photo archives in the world, but even when the NG photo team had to go to other sources, they worked tirelessly to track down just the right images through their network of contacts. A good example is the photos on the bone-eating snot flower worm spread. They came from researchers at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California.

And of course, the book couldn’t exist without the contributions of my editor, Shelby Lees. She guided me through the editorial process AND coordinated the production process, pulling me into conversations as needed. She made sure that everyone involved had a voice, and that we all coordinated our efforts. Thank you, Shelby!

You've been working on this project for more than two decades. How have things changed since you started researching? Did any information change over time? 

I began collecting information for the book while on safari in Kenya and Tanzania in 1996, and my research file slowly grew over time. Scientists have known about some of the animal behaviors I describe for 100 years or more, but others of are more recently discovered. For example, researchers didn’t even know bone-eating snot flower worms exist until 2002. I was lucky enough to interview one of the scientists who has helped us understand these amazing deep-sea denizens.

How about technology—did you change how you wrote, researched, and collected new information?

I hear wonderful things about programs like Scrivener, and perhaps I should give them a try, but I still collect and organize information in the same way I have through most of my career, and it rarely fails me.

In my office, I have a large, three-drawer vertical file cabinet full of folders with information on all kinds of topics I think are interesting. Every time I read an article or hear an idea that fits one of my categories, I add it to the designated folder. Over time, the information adds up, and eventually, I may have enough information for a book.

For Ick!, I combined information from several files, including:
—animals that regurgitate,
—unusual animal homes,
—animals that use pee and poop in surprising ways,
—animals that spit
—cannibal animals

I’d used some of the information in these files in other ways in the past—an article about bird nests, a book all about honeybees, a book about how animals survive in hot, dry environments. For Ick!, I hunted through the files for examples related to my core concept—animals that depend on behaviors most people would consider disgusting to survive in the world.

As I gathered these materials, I added notes in a Word file that grew and grew and grew. Then as I was writing, I used Word’s search option to find the exact information I wanted at any time. Like I said, there may be better or more efficient systems, but this one works for me.

Researching this book had to be equal parts amusing, fascinating, and disgusting! What is a fact you were really excited to find?

Oh my goodness, there were so many! One of my favorite research sources was this
amazing video of a Japanese common toad vomiting an African bombardier beetle drenched with gooey mucus. For 88 minutes, the tenacious insect fought for its life by blasting the toad’s insides with nasty, sizzling-hot spray. Finally, the toad couldn’t take it anymore and spewed its supper. After a brief rest, the slime-covered beetle slowly crawled away. Of course, that HAD to go in the book!

 What do you want to tell educators/librarians about this book?

This is the kind of book that won’t win awards, and it won’t get starred reviews. Nevertheless, it should be in every classroom and library collection in America because, for some students, it can serve as THE gateway to literacy.

Fueled by natural curiosity, info-loving kids will toil away at the text until they conquer it. By encouraging struggling students to stretch and develop new skills, high-interest expository nonfiction books like Ick! can fill kids pride and allow them to see themselves as a reader for the very first time.

What do you want to tell young readers about this book?

Ick! is bursting with fascinating facts you won’t want to miss. Go ahead, give it a try.

Author bio:  Melissa Stewart has written more than 180 science books for children, including the ALA Notable Feathers: Not Just for Flying, illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen; the SCBWI Golden Kite Honor title Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes and Stinkers: Celebrating Animal Underdogs, illustrated by Stephanie Laberis; and Can an Aardvark Bark?, illustrated by Caldecott Honoree Steve Jenkins. Her most recent title is Ick! Delightfully Disgusting Animal Dinners, Dwellings, and Defenses. Melissa maintains the award-winning blog Celebrate Science and serves on the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators board of advisors. Her highly-regarded website features a rich array of nonfiction writing resources. 

Thank you so much to Melissa Stewart for answering my questions and sharing parts of Ick!  
Now you know what you must do - go find many copies of this as you can for your readers!

Monday, June 22, 2020

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 6.22.2020

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

This past Wednesday it was time to celebrate some creepy crawlies!  Check out these must have insect books.

Next up in the Chapter Book Summer series is a round up of chapter books celebrating BFFs!

Picture Books

When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox
When Grandpa Gives You a Toolbox
written by Jamie L.B. Deenihan
illustrated by Lorraine Rocha
This is the follow up to When Grandma Gives You a Lemon Tree.  That book completely surprised me so I was excited to see there would be another one.  This one does not disappoint and you should probably have it on your must read list.  The same idea as the Grandma book - sometimes the gift you really want is hidden inside another gift.  
And I LOVED the little boy wanted a house for his dolls!

Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale
Chicken Little: The Real and Totally True Tale
by Sam Wedelich
This would be a great book to use before an information unit.  Use this text to talk about not just believing a source because it says it is true - how can you fact check your sources?  While it's a story that will be loved by many ages, I think some great conversations can be had with older readers about reliable sources.

How to Meet a Mermaid
How to Meet a Mermaid
written by Sue Fliess
illustrated by Simona Sanfilippo
This is a book my daughter would have read over and over as a little girl.  Mermaids were real in her eyes and the thought of meeting one would have made her very, very happy!
This rhyming story is beautifully illustrated and comes with notes at the end of the story instructing young readers how they can make their own mermaid crowns and how to keep the beaches clean during a beach visit.
The only part I wish had been left out is mention that "explorers including Christopher Columbus claimed to have seen mermaids".  Eh, why even include him?

Mayhem at the Museum: A Book in Pictures
Mayhem at the Museum
by Luciano Lozano
A group of children visit an art museum and soon realize this art museum is different from others.  As they go from paintings to sculptures, the artwork comes to life or comes off the painting or interacts with the children in some way.  A whimsical journey in a typical look and don't touch place!

National Regular Average Ordinary Day
National Regular Average Ordinary Day
written by Lisa Katzenberger
illustrated by Barbara Bakos
I bet when the author wrote this book, she did not know it would be published during a national pandemic.  But this book ends up being a little bit perfect for right now.  Because how we would love to have a National Regular Average Ordinary Day, one where we go to the stores without our mask, or have to pour gallons of hand sanitizer on after every place we go to, or maybe enjoy a public aquatic center during a hot summer day!
The young boy in the story gets bored doing the same things over and over (I feel you, dude).  So he decides to spice up his summer!

Young Adult

by Kelly Yang
Oh my goodness.  This book.  I feel like I just read a part of Kelly Yang's soul.  I cannot imagine the feelings she went through writing this book.  I'm not sure where I read Kelly's words about this book, it may have only been through a Twitter thread, but it is based on events that transpired in her own life.  There is also a very important author's note to read in the book.
We learned so much about the immigrant life from a middle grade perspective in Front Desk.  It is a story that cannot be replicated because it is based on Kelly's experience.  The same real and authentic piece is in this young adult novel.  

Currently Reading

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You
by Jason Reynolds and Ibram Kendi
More than halfway through this book and I now know more than all of my years taking United States History.  As in, now I know the correct history and not the white-washed versions.  

The Giver of Stars
The Giver of Stars
by Jojo Moyes
Another book I'll finish early this week.  Not my favorite by Moyes, but it's good.

I have a bunch of YA to get to.... and a bunch of MG.... starting to lag on having picture books to read!  Libraries aren't open yet.  One day... one day...

Thursday, June 18, 2020

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer series - Best Friends Are Forever books - 6.18.2020

Image result for summer reading

This summer I'll be sharing chapter books that are perfect for a range of readers.  
Stop by every Thursday and find a round up of books you'll want to use with your readers!

Today's round-up feature some books about BFFs.  Kids (and adults) want to be accepted by people, especially people they feel could be part of a friend group.  Finding a best friend, feels... well, magical!  

Hand-Me-Down Magic #1 by Corey Ann Haydu
Hand-Me-Down Magic series
Stoop Sale Treasure
written by Corey Ann Haydu
illustrated by Luisa Uribe
Friendship and magic go hand in hand in this chapter book.
Alma has just moved from a lake side community to a busy city.  She lives in a building with lots of family.  Alma's family lives on the top floor of the building, below them are an aunt and cousin.  Below them is her BFF and cousin, Del and family.  Below them is her beloved Abuelita.  Finally, the first flow of the building is the second-hand store the family runs.
Del believes there is magic everywhere you look in the store.  Sometimes it's not even the things in the store that are magical, but the people.  Magic, magic, magic.  Del loves it but Alma isn't quite ready to believe everything.  When Del finds some special dangly earrings, she feels like there are magical properties to them and talks about them nonstop to Alma.  Alma is already having a tough time - she's happy to be with family, but misses her home by the lake - and now her cousin is having non-stop good luck.  When will Alma have some?  Alma makes a decision that she has to live with, or learn how to fix.
Luisa Uribe's illustrations fit perfectly in this realistic fiction story and are a delight to find on almost every page.  Readers never go more than one full layout before getting another visual to help them picture the story.
This story comes in at just over 100 pages, this story is perfect for readers who are just starting longer books.  The first two books in the series just published and the third book is coming soon!

Horrible Harry Says Goodbye by Suzy Kline
Horrible Harry Says Goodbye
written by Suzy Kline
illustrated by Amy Wummer
I can't believe it's Harry's last book.  I've introduced so many kids to this series.  The friendship between Harry and Doug is as true of a friendship as one I've ever seen!  They compliment each other in so many ways.  Harry is one of my favorite characters to introduce kids to - he's a character that has a heart of gold who ultimately makes some bad decisions but never because he wants to hurt anyone, he's just always trying to have fun.
In this story, Kline lets all of us say goodbye to Harry.  He's moving a few towns over, but will no longer go to school with Doug and the others.  Instantly Doug is devastated, but Harry doesn't seem to be affected by the news at all.  What will happen on the day they have to say goodbye?
If you don't have this series, start looking for it!  The first book, Horrible Harry in Room 2B, is a must-have!
In the author's note, Kline tells us it was editor Nancy Paulsen who helped develop the series.  Knowing that Nancy had involvement in this series makes perfect sense.  She has such an eye for what kids love!

Nina Soni, Former Best Friend by Kashmira Sheth
Nina Soni series
Former Best Friend
written by Kashmira Sheth
illustrated by Jenn Kocsmiersky
Meet Nina, an Indian American, who has a heart of gold, is expressive, loves to make lists, and think things through in a logical way.
As soon as we meet Nina, she is having friend problems.  Her best friend, Jay, is spending more time with his cousins and grandparent than with her.  That must mean he doesn't want to be best friends anymore, right?  And when Nina is talking to him, using some big hand gestures, she accidentally knocks over his art creation and breaks it.  He's also going to not want to be her friend because of that, too, right?  Nina learns that sometimes you have to keep emotions out of guesses or else you'll come up with the wrong idea!
Nina is a relatable character - friend problems, little sister problems, homework problems - yup, kids will relate to her!  This series comes in at over 100 pages, under 150 pages, and a trim book size.  A chapter book that gives some length, but isn't overwhelming long.
Be sure to also find the next book in the series, Nina Soni: Sister Fixer!

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.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - June is for animal books, post 3 - 6.17.2020

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've been celebrating animals on Wednesdays in June, and today we're looking at some small animals - insects!

You're Invited to a Moth Ball by Loree Griffin Burns
You're Invited to a Moth Ball: A Nighttime Insect Celebration
written by Loree Griffin Burns
photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz
This is a must have book and one you'll want for your mentor text collection!
This narrative nonfiction book invites the reader to participate in a moth ball - at first I thought it was just a clever way to center this book around a fun idea, but no, moth balls are a thing!  Burns pulls the reader in by letting them know what you need to get ready to host a moth ball... the anticipation begins as we see some fun things like ultraviolet lights, a sheet, flashlights, a rope...  And who won't want to help make some moth food - rotting bananas and brown sugar!  Yum :)  As nighttime approaches... it's time to sit back and enjoy and learn about moths up close!
You'll want this as a mentor text for narrative nonfiction writing.  The way Burns draws the reader in and builds up anticipation, all while feeding you information about the subject.  If you haven't been tuning in to Melissa Stewart's blog series about narrative and expository writing using Burns' book and Stewart's upcoming Ick!, you'll want to find these posts here and here.
This is a book you can use for a read aloud, but kids will want to return to later to pour over the information and photographs.
I loved the information in the author's note, don't miss it!  The photographer's note will be especially fun for those interested in how the photographs were taken - and an additional fun photo!
Definite must have!

Heads and Tails by John Canty
Heads and Tails Insects
by John Canty
In the follow up to Heads and Tails, this time readers get clues to guess the insect.  With clues that go from what the insect looks like, to its behavior, to what it's known for, readers will quickly figure out the insect the clues are describing.  For some additional supports, the reader can also use the illustration to gain more information.
The first book was a huge hit with readers this past year.  While most of the text has decodable words, there are enough supports given that even the content vocabulary isn't too hard to figure out.
I'm sure this one will be a hit, too!

Have you read either of these books?  What are your favorite insect books?