Thursday, July 29, 2021

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer Series - books for kids who love fantasy animal stories - 7.29.21

Hope you've been following along with the Chapter Book Summer Series!  I love finding chapter books for readers who are just starting chapter books.   It's so exciting to see readers falling in love with these stories!  Today I have 2 new series for readers who love fantasy animal stories

Willa the Wisp by Jonathan Auxier   Trouble with Tattle-Tails (The Fabled Stables, #2)
The Fabled Stables series
written by Jonathan Auxier
illustrated by Olga Demidova
I love Auxier's middle grade stories so I was so excited to hear he would have a chapter book series!  Then when I opened the first book and saw that it was fully illustrated in color, wow!  The books are simply gorgeous!
Meet Auggie.  He lives on a small island and is the caretaker of the Fabled Stables.  Amazing creatures live in these stables, like a hippopotomouse and a yawning abyss and, my favorite, a very sarcastic, talking stick-in-the-mud who can turn into any shape!  
Every so often , the stables shake and shudder and a new stable appears.  This means a new creature needs Auggie's attention.  First he has to travel via the new stable to get the animal and then bring the animal back.  Readers will really enjoy seeing which fantasmical creature is making an appearance in each book!
Coming in at under 100 pages with illustrations on every page, this book is very accessible to new-to-chapter-book readers.  There is some challenging vocabulary, but the plotline is pretty straight forward without too much to keep track of for readers.
for read aloud:  grades kg-1
for independent reading: grades 1-3

Case File by Eliot Schrefer
The Animal Rescue Agency series
Case File: Little Claws
written by Eliot Schrefer
illustrated by Daniel Duncan
The first book in the series, and wow, does it look like a fun series!  Meet Esquire Fox, she runs the Animal Rescue Agency, which has the most amazing tagline ever, "To each animal, the right to live a natural life."  Esquire is dashing, brave, and is willing to put her life on the line to save animals from dastardly villains.  Meet Mr. Pepper, Esquire's sidekick rooster, who has convinced Esquire to (mostly) give up her animal-eating ways.  While you may not think a fox and a rooster would work well together, these two have found a way!
In this first book, they are up in the Arctic, trying to rescue a young polar bear cub who has been stranded on a floe and has floated far away from his mother.  The culprit?  A human!  A man (wearing a suspiciously white fur cap that looks a bit too similar to polar bear fur) has set off an explosive that originally separated the cub from his mother.  He's waiting far down stream to capture the cub and sell it to a zoo.  Not if Esquire has something to say about it! 
Infused with environment issues (hello, global warming) and the dangers humans can be to animals and their way of living, this book entertains and educates young readers.  Fans of author Eliot Schrefer will know him from his upper middle grade titles and know he is an animal advocate!
This chapter book is a bit longer - around 150 pages - and does not have as many illustrations as the other chapter books I've shared in this Chapter Book Series.  Younger readers who are very comfortable with their reading stamina and following a longer book will enjoy this series, but I think it's also a perfect length for older readers who need a shorter book.  The fantasy has some fun tongue-in-cheek barbs that older readers will appreciate.
for read aloud: grades 1-3
for independent reading: grades 2-5

Like what you see here?  Be sure to stop by every Thursday for more chapter book suggestions!  If you want to see all of the posts in the series, click on "Chapter Book Summer Series 2021 under the "Labels" section, located on the right side of the blog.  See you again next week!

Wednesday, July 28, 2021

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - animal books! 7.28.21

A note to my email subscribers - starting Aug. 1st, you will no longer receive my blog posts through email.  This is something that Blogger is no longer supporting.
I am in the process of moving my blog to a new site.  Very soon you'll find me at  There you will be able to follow me via email again, but you will have to sign up for it again.  I'm hoping to have this set up before the end of the week so you'll know the site is up and running!  Thank you for supporting my blog and here's to more years!

I always love sharing nonfiction picture books about animals because we know young readers love them!  I wonder if there has been a study about what part of the nonfiction library is checked out the most?  My very informal study shows its biographies and animal books.
Here are some new animal books I've come across!

Masters of Disguise by Marc Martin
Masters of Disguise: Camouflaging Creatures and Magnificent Mimics
by Marc Martin
Featuring hide and seek pages that will keep readers looking and looking again for the camouflaged animals, this will be a fun picture book to have in your library.  While there are the camouflage hide and seek page, the layout before it features a layout of the animal giving some information about how it hides itself, but most of the information is about the animal (shelter, what it eats, where to find it, interesting facts, etc).  I like the global map on the endpages that shows where you can find the animal.

13 Ways to Eat a Fly
13 Ways to Eat a Fly
written by Sue Heavenrich
illustrated by David Clark
I've heard good things about this book and it did not disappoint!  It literally details 13 ways a fly may be eaten by a different creature.  It's equal parts fascinating and disgusting, which means it will be gobbled up (pun intended, lol) by readers!
And do not miss reading the backmatter.  It's hilarious.

Butterflies Are Pretty ... Gross! by Rosemary Mosco
Butterflies Are Pretty Gross
written by Rosemary Mosco
illustrated by Jacob Souva
Another book that is meant to give a few "ewwws" while reading it!  Kids will enjoy finding out the deeper, darker secrets of butterflies and their earlier counterpart, caterpillars.

Fourteen Monkeys by Melissa Stewart
Fourteen Monkeys: A Rain Forest Rhyme
written by Melissa Stewart
illustrated by Steve Jenkins
I love when this creator team work together!  And a book that can be read multiple ways.  Each layout has a rhyming verse and then additional information in smaller font.  I read the book straight through, just focusing on the rhyming part.  I learned about the fourteen monkeys that way and got familiar with their names.  Then I went back and read the rhyming verse and the information on a page.  This way the names weren't completely new to me and I was ready to add new information!  I also loved that the illustrator included a rainforest tree on each page with an orange circle on it to show what layer of the tree it resides in.  
And this is a Stewart-Jenkins collaboration which means you're going to get extensive backmatter that is loaded with information and infographics!

I love reading about elephants!  They are magnificent creatures.  Here are two new books about these animals.

If You Were an Elephant by Leslie Staub
If You Were an Elephant
written by Leslie Staub
illustrated by Richard Jones
This book's narrative style of comparing things you would do as an elephant is an interesting choice.  It makes it more narrative in structure, but misses opportunities to expand upon the information it is sharing.  There is additional info in the end notes, but that's making the assumption everyone reads backmatter (although they should).

The Elephants Come Home by Kim Tomsic
The Elephants Come Home: A True Story of Seven Elephants, Two People, and One Extraordinary Friendship
written by Kim Tomsic
illustrated by Hadley Hooper
This is a fascinating story and I love the the friendship between the elephants and Lawrence!  Lawrence and his wife, Françoise, are owners of Thula Thula, a wildlife sanctuary.  This is the story of how elephants came to be a part of the sanctuary.  These elephants came with an unhappy background and caused trouble.  But with Lawrence's calm and trusting demeanor, the elephants eventually became more trusting of him and their surroundings.  Love the illustrations and use of color by Hadley Hooper.

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

#road2reading - it's an extra post! New early graphic novels - 7.27.21

A note to my email subscribers - starting Aug. 1st, you will no longer receive my blog posts through email.  This is something that Blogger is no longer supporting.
I am in the process of moving my blog to a new site.  Very soon you'll find me at  There you will be able to follow me via email again, but you will have to sign up for it again.  I'm hoping to have this set up before the end of the week so you'll know the site is up and running!  Thank you for supporting my blog and here's to more years!

It's a special #road2reading post!  I've been having fun with the  #ChapterBookSummer series, but I have a lot of early graphic novel books to share!  Here's just a quick rundown of the new ones I've found!

Apple of My Pie by Mika Song
Apple of My Pie
by Mika Song
I loved Donut Feed the Squirrels.  This is a cute follow up, and we get to see Norma and Belly again!

Fetch! by Paige Braddock
Peanut, Butter, and Crackers: Fetch!
by Paige Braddock
coloring by Kat Efird
It's the second book in the series and it's another cute one!  The friendship between these dogs and cat is so sweet and fun to read about.

The Mystery Monster by Amy Marie Stadelmann
Paige Proves It: The Mystery Monster
by Amy Marie Stadelmann
The first in a new series introduces us to Paige, a collector of facts who uses the information to help her understand the world around her.  This time she's collecting facts to prove there are no monsters in the neighborhood.  Broken up into chapters, this series will be good for readers who are looking for something just a bit longer.

Fish and Sun by Sergio Ruzzier  Clark the Shark and the School Sing by Bruce Hale  Friendbots by Vicky Fang  Tiny Tales by Steph Waldo
Fish and Sun by Sergio Ruzzier
Clark the Shark and the School Sing written by Bruce Hale, illus by Guy Francis
FriendBots: Blink and Block Make a Wish by Vicky Fang
Tiny Tales Shell Quest by Steph Waldo
This new series published by Harper Alley, a division of Harper Collins, is going to be well read by readers.  I like that the beginning of each book shares information about reading graphic novels (what the bubble lines mean, what panels are, how to read the panels).  While graphic novels are loved by readers, some are intimidated because they just don't get the order of how to read them.  These are a great introduction.

Friends Do Not Eat Friends by Jill Esbaum  All Ketchup, No Mustard! by Jason Tharp  Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! by Maggie P. Chang
Thunder and Cluck: Friends Do Not Eat Friends written by Jill Esbaum illus by Miles Thompson
Nugget and Dog: All Ketchup, No Mustard by Jason Tharp
Geraldine Pu and Her Lunch Box, Too! by Maggie P. Chang
This is part of Simon and Schuster's "Ready to Read Graphics" line.  Very similar to what Harper Collins is publishing right now.  Some have chapters, some don't.  There is a "how to" section at the beginning of each book to teach readers new to graphic novels how to approach them.  I particularly enjoyed "Thunder and Cluck" and "Geraldine Pu".  Looking forward to more in this collection, and it looks like 2 will be published this fall (Nugget and Dog and Thunder and Cluck)!

Remember to follow along on Thursdays to find chapter books for your readers! #ChapterBookSummer

Monday, July 26, 2021

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 7.26.21

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.

A note to my email subscribers - starting Aug. 1st, you will no longer receive my blog posts through email.  This is something that Blogger is no longer supporting.
I am in the process of moving my blog to a new site.  Very soon you'll find me at  There you will be able to follow me via email again, but you will have to sign up for it again.  I'm hoping to have this set up before the end of the week so you'll know the site is up and running!  Thank you for supporting my blog and here's to more years!

Last Week's Adventures

The Olympics are here!  That will leave kids extra excited about finding sports books this fall.  Here are some nonfiction books you'll want to have ready!

On Chapter Book Summer series - diverse chapter books to hand to those readers who are ready to move on from Henry and Mudge and Frog and Toad!

Picture Books

What the Road Said
What the Road Said
written by Cleo Wade
illustrated by Lucie de Moyencourt
I really liked this one.  Big questions, unknown answers.  The story of our journey on this road called life.  This is one of those books that can be used for little to big kids, to teens, to adults.

A Day for Rememberin': The First Memorial Day
A Day for Rememberin': Inspired by the True Events of the First Memorial Day
written by Leah Henderson
illustrated by Floyd Cooper
I did not know any of the background to this story or how Memorial Day came about.  Its origins come from the end of the Civil War and the day was known as Decoration Day.  This is a fictionalized account of that day when Black people in Charleston, SC memorialized the soldiers who died under terrible conditions during the Civil War at the Washington Race Course.  There were a number of cities that have claim to being the birthplace of this day, this particular book memorializes the events in Charleston.
Sadly enough, I read this book on the day of the illustrator, Floyd Cooper's, passing.  We've lost a legend in the kidlit world.  Rest in peace and power, Mr. Cooper.

Stroller Coaster
written by Matt Ringler
illustrated by Raul the Third and Elaine Bay
What a visual delight!  I'll enjoy coming back to this book again and again because I'm always going to find something new!
Parents will nod their heads while reading this book, all remembering a time when the stroller supplied respite to a cranky and tired child.
Kids will love seeing the roller coaster of a ride this stroller goes on!
The rolling around the neighborhood reminded me of My Papi Has a Motorcycle.
This is a book I'll remember for awhile!

Dakota Crumb: Tiny Treasure Hunter
Dakota Crumb Tiny Treasure Hunter
written by Jamie Michalak
illustrated by Kelly Murphy
Dakota Crumb may be tiny (as a mouse), but she's off on a big adventure to find all the (small) treasures in a museum.  Why?  There's a fun surprise at the end of this story!  I also liked the additional to-find items listed in the back, young readers will enjoy going back and finding the hidden items!
Thank you to Candlewick for the review copy.

Lift as You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker
Lift As You Climb: The Story of Ella Baker
written by Patricia Hruby Powell
illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
A powerful story about a champion of civil rights and social justice.  Definitely a book you want in your collection if you teach about the 1960s civil rights movement.
And amazing illustrations!!

Graphic Novel

Clash (Click, #4)
by Kayla Miller
This is the fourth book in the graphic novel series and probably my favorite.  I love Olive and I love watching her fit in with many groups and also help all of those groups blend together.  It's great to have friends that have commonalities, but it doesn't mean you can't be friends with other kids and groups too!  But all of that changes when Nat moves to the school.  The readers can visibly see her watching Olive, seeing how friendly she is and how well the other kids respond to her.  So Nat decides to go after Olive's friends and make them like her even more than they like Olive.  Ugh, mean girl drama!  I don't like those kids in real life and you can't help but not love Nat.  But you'll certainly love Olive!  A great addition to the series.

Middle Grade

Long Lost
Long Lost
by Jacqueline West
I wasn't quite sure what to expect with this story, but it was not a ghost story mixed with a mystery!
Fiona and her family are moving to an old town in MA in order to be closer to her older sister, Arden's, skating rink.  In fact everything seems to be about Arden and Fiona escapes to a place that seems to be just hers - the library.  She finds a book in the library, The Lost One, which ends up being an old, unfinished mystery.  But even the book itself is mysterious, it's not catalogued, even though it is in the library.  And it seems to be moving, even when Fiona brings it to her home, it ends up disappearing.
I read through the book very quickly, it was a page turner... and one I wanted to read in the daylight!  I think this one will appeal to readers who enjoy spooky stories!

Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom
Kiki Kallira Breaks a Kingdom
by Sangu Mandanna
A story rich in Indian mythology, this story will be gobbled up by those who are enjoying Rick Riordan's imprint series that feature mythology stories from other cultures.  
This one took a long time to get going for me.  That sounds strange because there is action the entire time.  I think I had trouble with the characters which is why it took a long time for me to fall into the story.  It wasn't until the last 100 pages did I really love it.  There are a lot of characters in this one, to the point I really needed to write down the names and pieces about them so I could better follow the story.  I kept thinking this story would have been better with a cast of character directory at the beginning of the book to be able to reference while reading it.  I can't help but wonder how that will affect young readers.
This story is about Kiki who lives in London with her mom.  Kiki suffers from anxiety and uses drawing as a way to escape from her reality.  She has drawn an entire kingdom in her notebook, complete with characters - some based on her own relatives - and others from the mythology stories her mother has told her.  However, due to an open tear in the page of her notebook, some characters are allowed to escape into Kiki's world.  Now Kiki has to enter the kingdom she has created and face one of the worst monsters in her myth stories, all while battling her own anxieties.
I liked the inclusion of art, as well as Kiki's social emotional battles.  It made her a more multidimensional character.
While the story could be a stand alone, the author has left it open for future sequels.

Currently Reading

by Yamile Saied Méndez
Another book from my #mustreads list!

Happy reading to all!

Thursday, July 22, 2021

#road2reading Challenge - Chapter Book Summer Series - give these books to kids who love Yasmin - 7.22.21

A series that has stayed popular over the years is Saadia Faruqi's Yasmin series.  Yasmin is a character that appeals to readers and has plot lines that feel familiar.  The chapter book series is perfect for readers who are ready for chapters and longer stories but are still working on stamina and need supports (visual, easy plot line to follow, controlled text).

I love the most recent additions.

Yasmin the Scientist by Saadia Faruqi   Yasmin the Singer by Saadia Faruqi   Yasmin the Recycler by Saadia Faruqi   Yasmin the Librarian by Saadia Faruqi

Capstone has published other chapter book series for readers that feature BIPoC characters and creators.  Be sure to check out:

Sadiq and the Desert Star
Sadiq series
written by Siman Nuurali
illustrated by Anjan Sarkar and Christos Skaltsas

Astrid and Apollo and the Starry Campout
Astrid and Apollo series
written by V.T. Bidania
illustrated by Dara Lashia Lee and Evelt Yanait

* note there are new books in both of these series publishing in August!  See below for a sneak peek of the covers in the Astrid and Apollo series!*

Adding to the Capstone lineup, we now have Camila!  Camila is the youngest of three siblings and she just wants to be a star!  Each book features Camila trying to do something that makes her stand out, and maybe get a little famous!  Whether she's trying to break a world record, or win a baking contest, she's not afraid to try something new and work hard on her goals.  Camila shows readers that perseverance pays off and you don't have to be mean to reach your goals - kindness still counts!
I love that the series includes a Spanish glossary at the beginning of the book and doesn't wait until the end.  It's helpful to know there is a glossary and by putting it in the front, readers can review these new words before they start the story so they are more familiar when they come across them in the text.  The back of the book has fun ideas for readers to try that go along with that particular book's storyline.  There is also a glossary (English this time) that gives more information about vocabulary specific to the story.
Readers who love Yasmin are going to equally love Camila!
written by Alicia Salazar
illustrated by Thais Damiao

Camila the Stage Star by Alicia Salazar   Camila the Video Star by Alicia Salazar   Camila the Baking Star   Camila the Record-Breaking Star by Alicia Salazar

I'm really excited to see Capstone is publishing their first character with a disability.  Emma is Deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate.  She also wears a cochlear implant.  This allows her to hear, but she does have trouble when she's in a loud room distinguishing between sounds.  Emma has an interpreter at school and many of her friends have learned how to fingerspell.
What I like about this series is readers will see Emma moving through her day and doing all of the same, or similar, activities they do.  It's important to show readers that people with disabilities do the same things they do AND they have a disability.  The character's disability is a part of her life, but it does not make up her entire identity.  The author does a great job with explaining Emma's disability and how she makes necessary changes to meet her needs.  C.L. Reid is a deaf-blind author and I'm glad she's sharing experiences with her character, Emma.
written by C.L. Reid
illustrated by Elena Aiello

Going on a Field Trip by C.L. Reid   Party Problems by C.L. Reid   Tap Dance Troubles by C.L. Reid   Crazy for Apples by C.L. Reid

Recommendations for all of the books listed above:
for read aloud: kg-2 grade
for independent reading:  1-3 grade

Here's a special sneak peek of the covers of the upcoming Astrid and Apollo books publishing Aug. 1st!


Like what you see here?  Be sure to stop by every Thursday for more chapter book suggestions!  If you want to see all of the posts in the series, click on "Chapter Book Summer Series 2021 under the "Labels" section, located on the right side of the blog.  See you again next week!