Wednesday, March 15, 2023

National Women's History Month books! 3.15.23

 March is National Women's History Month, and I always enjoy sharing some new picture book biographies that celebrate some amazing women!   Here are a few new ones for your collections.

Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement
written by Sandra Neil Wallace
illustrated by Bryan Collier
From the duo who gave us Between the Lines, now they introduce us to Diane Nash, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.  Leading with love, Diane Nash stood up for what she knew was right and fought for the rights of all Black people.  The way she lead within the Civil Rights Movement is something to be celebrated.  Diane Nash is a women that needs to be celebrated this month!

Pitch Perfect and Persistent! by Caitlin Delems
Pitch Perfect and Persistent! The Musical Debut of Amy Cheney Beach
written by Caitlin DeLems
illustrated by Alison Jay
A musical prodigy and pioneer, Amy Cheney Beach led the way for women musicians after fighting her way to play throughout her childhood.  And not at public music places, but in her own home!  Amy's mother fought her for many years because she didn't think young Amy should be playing.  However, her talent won out and her musical prowess became known!

The Brilliant Calculator by Jan Lower
The Brilliant Calculator: How Mathematician Edith Clarke Helped Electrify America
written by Jan Lower
illustrated by Susan Reagan
I rely on a calculator to do math that I should be able to figure out in my head.  I have that handy machine all thanks to a woman in our history!  Edith Clarke and her mathematical brain helped create a calculator that was widely used by engineers.  She fought her way to be accepted and included in the engineering field.  My non-mathematical brain thanks her!

Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine by Kate Hannigan
Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine
written by Kate Hannigan
illustrated by Sarah Green
It never fails, an appliance breaks and that's when you realize you can't live without it.  I can't imagine washing all of my dishes by hand.  And now I know who I have to thank for this marvelous invention - Josephine Cochrane!  Young readers will learn the perseverance Josephine showed when inventing and then marketing her amazing machine.  And we're glad she did!

A Take-Charge Girl Blazes a Trail to Congress by Gretchen Woelfle
A Take-Charge Girl Blazes a Trail to Congress: The Story of Jeannette Rankin
written by Gretchen Woelfle
illustrated by Rebecca Gibbon
Ever wonder who was the first Congresswoman?  It was Jeannette Rankin, a take-charge person who came to Congress with a take-charge attitude!  Which she needed when she was elected since it was 1916!  I'm sure the Congresswomen in the United States are thanking Jeannette for paving the way!

Want to add some of these books to your library?  Courtesy of Mr. Schu (yup, he gave me a copy to giveaway!) I have a copy of Love is Loud to give away to one winner and courtesy of Calkins Creek, I have a copy of Josephine and Her Dishwashing Machine to giveaway (US addresses only for both).  Enter to win by March 20th!

Tuesday, March 14, 2023

Just a Worm - review 3.14.23

As I look outside my snowy window, it certainly does not feel like spring, but the calendar says it's coming.  And it is meteorological spring... or so they say!  In no time at all, we'll be marveling at all the spring buds, and even the bugs, that are popping out to say hello!  In the meantime, curl up and share this spring-y book!

Just a Worm
by Marie Boyd
published by Greenwillow Books

Celebrating the insect and animal life, this book takes the word "just" right out of the animals' vocabulary!  Each page spotlights another creepy crawly and the wonderful things that they can do.  A spider spins a silky web to catch its dinner.  A butterfly has bright colors that warn predators it tastes badly.  A dragonfly eats insects like mosquitos.  When worm hears all of these amazing things the other creepy crawlies can do, it starts to feel bad and thinks it's "just a worm".  But once it takes some time to think about all the things it does, it has the wonderful realization it CAN do some amazing things.  Like help grow all the plants by creating holes in the soil.  And it feeds plants.  And it wiggles, digs, and crawls.  Which are all some pretty amazing things!

This is a must have book when talking about earth science and how the animal world helps the Earth.  With the back and forth conversations between a worm and other animals, young readers get a sense of the many things all creatures do to help their world.

This book is a perfect spring read!  Celebrating growing, new beginnings, and all Earth-y things, it's a book that I plan on reading with students every spring.  Featuring paper quilling artwork, the illustrations have texture that seem to pop off the page.

I know this is a book you'll want to share with young readers!  Courtesy of Greenwillow Books, I have a copy available for giveaway (US only).  Be sure to enter by March 21st!

Happy *spring* reading!

Tuesday, March 7, 2023

Animal Heroes: Supermoms! - review 3.07.23

 When we think about all the things moms and grown-ups and caregivers do, it's quite the list.  From carting the kids around place to place, keeping up with everything a youngster needs, meal planning and packing, and organizing the household, it's definitely a full time job!  But did you know animal moms have the same job?

SUPERMOMS: ANIMAL HEROES. Text Copyright © 2023 Jamie Harper and Heather Lang. 
Illustrations Copyright © 2023 Jamie Harper. 
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Animal Heroes: Supermoms!
written by Heather Lang and Jamie Harper
illustrated by Jamie Harper
published by Candlewick Press

Heather Lang and Jamie Harper have teamed up to give us an inside look at the supermoms of the animal world.  The life of a mom seems to be similar whether you're mammal or reptile; live in the sea or take to the sky.  Even animal moms have to cart their children around, just maybe, not in a minivan!  As Lang and Harper share, animal supermoms transport their young around on their backs or on their chest or even in their mouths!  Now, that's a different form of transportation!  And just like their human counterparts, animal supermoms will stop at nothing to sacrifice everything to support their young!  From starving themselves, or searching for food for months, they work hard to make sure those young ones are satisfied!

SUPERMOMS: ANIMAL HEROES. Text Copyright © 2023 Jamie Harper and Heather Lang. 
Illustrations Copyright © 2023 Jamie Harper. 
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

Let's not forget about making a safe and comfortable home.  Decorating with the latest style (nothing like some mud and poop, like the red-knobbed hornbill) or separating the children into their own rooms (thanks, strawberry poison frog mom), these animal supermoms have it covered!

SUPERMOMS: ANIMAL HEROES. Text Copyright © 2023 Jamie Harper and Heather Lang. 
Illustrations Copyright © 2023 Jamie Harper. 
Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Candlewick Press, Somerville, MA.

I love the format author/illustrator Jamie Harper has taken with this book.  Using a comic book type format with the different frames on the layouts, this supermom book mimics some superhero type reading!

I know young readers will enjoy the facts covered in this story and will have a new appreciation of these amazing animals.  Grade levels that use the NGSS and study animal adaptations and parent/offspring traits will benefit using this book as a read aloud.  This is the first in the "Animal Heroes" series that will be celebrating the animals in the world around us.

ELA tie-in:
Let's talk character traits.  A common standard for readers is to identify character traits.  So often when I ask young readers to describe a character I get overgeneralized traits - happy, sad, mad.  Trying to come up with a myriad of words that don't oversimplify a trait or feeling is complicated for students.  However, this is a perfect book to share when discussing how to come up with lesser used synonyms for these words!  The backmatter of this book has an excellent layout that gives an adjective describing an animal that was discussed in the text.  By collecting these words, young readers will have a wonderful tool for generating a whole new set of traits to use when describing characters.

Join me in wishing this book a happy, happy book birthday today!

For additional resources and activities be sure to visit and

Would you like to add a copy of this book to your library?  Thanks to the generosity of Candlewick Press, I have a giveaway copy for one lucky winner (US only).  Winner will be selected on March 14th.