Friday, May 18, 2018

Spotlight Friday - new picture books, part two 5.18.18

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

I think picture books can be one of the best tools we have for teaching.  Last week I shared some new favorites.  Here are some more new must have picture books:

written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen
When these two get together you never know what will happen... except for: big questions, unexpected endings, big ideas and of course, side eyes.  Lots of side eyes.
I love the bigger ideas in this book - how something beautiful can come out of something unexpected and... well, can't tell you the other one.  You'll have to read and get to the ending to find out that one!

I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
by Kerascoet
This is such an important book and I love that it is wordless. I love that kids can interpret their own thoughts and meaning to some of the events throughout the story.
A young girl is new to a school and immediately faces the unkind words of a bully.  After standing by and watching what happened, another young girl takes action to show the other girl what true kindness looks and feels like.

Bowwow Powwow
written by Brenda J. Child
Translated by Gordon Jourdain
illustrated by Jonathan Thunder
I've been trying to build my collection of books by Native authors and this one has been mentioned a few times by some fellow Nerds.  
I love seeing the traditions of the powwow and how it is imagined by a young girl.

Julián is a Mermaid
by Jessica Love
Well this book just moved to the top of my Caldecott list.
And to the top of my most important books to share with everyone.
Because what if this book, becomes the norm.  A book that is celebrated for its message of acceptance and beauty.  A book that is celebrated for its gorgeous artwork.  A book that celebrates what it feels to belong.
I love this review by Betsy Bird.  She is able to capture so much of this book that I can't eloquently express.

The Breaking News
by Sarah Lynne Reul
I wish we didn't have a need for a book like this, but we do so I'm glad it's there.
Reul does a fantastic job of capturing the helplessness kids can feel when something bad has happened that they don't have control over.  I think it's the right amount of reassuring and the right amount of here's how to help.

What If...
written by Samantha Berger
illustrated by Mike Curato
Oh, how much do I love this book!  I've been hearing such wonderful things but to experience it is another level.  As someone who loves the arts and found many ways to be creative growing up, I just fell in love with this story.  I can see teachers using this to get some creative juices flowing, especially for writing time.

Ocean Meets Sky
by The Fan Brothers
The Fan Brothers are at it again - creating a beautiful piece of art that pulls on the heartstrings!  This is going to be such an important book for readers as it deals with the topic of loss.  A young boy sets off to find they mysterious place where the ocean meets the sky that his grandfather has told him about.  We've already pieced together that his grandfather is no longer alive, but his memory lives on within the boy.  Beautiful.

I'll be back soon with more picture books!

Thursday, May 17, 2018

#road2reading - #penguinpicks 5.17.18

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 reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

I am so impressed with the books coming from Penguin Workshop.  These books are intended for those readers who are starting to read independently - whether it's reading picture books or chapters.  The topics appeal to this age reader and there is a variety of realistic fiction and fantasy.  I also love the number of books that feature humor!

Some of my favorites:

Please, No More Nuts
by Jonathan Fenske
Squirrels eating too much to the point where their cheeks can't hold any more nuts?  Yeah, there will be giggles.

A Pig, A Fox, and Stinky Socks
by Jonathan Fenske
This series is my favorite of his.  Rhymes and practical jokes - that means words that help with predicting words and laughter!  

Pass the Ball, Mo!
by David A. Adler
I love this chapter book series.  The sports topic is a huge draw.  It's going to attract young readers who are ready for some longer reading, and it's going to attract my readers who are struggling with independence but want a topic that looks "cool".

Maud the Koala series
by J.E. Morris
This series will appeal to both young readers and their parents.  Maud has many characteristics that are relatable to young kids - in these first two books Maud is afraid of getting shot at her wellness checkup and she's overly excited for her birthday but gets overwhelmed when the number of guests that show up.  Kids will also love how many of the pages feature graphic novel type frames.
Parents will like the tips in the back of the book.  In Not Afraid of Doctors, Morris talks about helping your child with visualization techniques when they visit the doctor and shots are involved.  In Much Too Much Birthday, Morris talks about kids who have some sensitivity issues and how to plan for them when in an overwhelming situation. 

Do you work with readers who are starting their journey on the road to reading?  Join Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy and me every Thursday as we explore books and ideas to help readers have a successful start to independent picture book and chapter book reading. If you blog or have a Goodreads page, please link up with us!

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - End of the year 4th grade work 5.16.18

Artwork by Sarah S. Brannen ©2017
Every Wednesday 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 am excited because we're moving into a nonfiction cycle at school.  At this point in the year, our students are starting to do some big thinking.  Our 3rd graders are starting to talk about noticing author's opinions in a book and compare it to their own.  4th grade students are integrating information from multiple sources but they are doing it with the lens of looking at the danger of a single story.  This work is so important but thankfully I have the help of extremely smart and talented educators and teachers to help guide me through.  I've been leaning heavily on Melissa Stewart - looking through her blog, asking her questions, tweeting her about books.  Jess Lifshitz's brilliance has been making me think and wonder and I'm so grateful that she's allowing me to piggyback on the work she shares.  If you haven't already, be sure you visit/subscribe to their sites:
Melissa Stewart's blog
Jess' blog - Crawling Out of the Classroom

A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the end of the year work we're doing in 3rd grade.  You can read it here.

This week I'm here to talk about our 4th grade work.  The main standards they are working on are:

RI.4.9-1 Integrate info from 2 texts on the same topic to write or speak about topic

RI.4.7-1 Interpret info presented visually, orally, and quantitatively

RI. 4.1-2 Refer to details when drawing inferences from text

I also know it's the end of the year and it is important to keep them engaged in their work.  This made me think of Jess' inquiry work and the danger of a single story.  Make sure you see what she has her 5th graders doing.  Since it's the end of the 4th grade year, I thought these students were ready to so some big thinking while integrating information from multiple sources.  

We started the same way Jess did, by watching the TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie.  Our students watched the first several minutes and then talked about what this meant to them.  The majority of our students come from a white, middle class home.  This kind of thinking was unfamiliar to them.  We do have an ESL population, many who celebrate their heritage at home but leave that behind when they get to school.  I think the students were even surprised with the conversation they had.

Next we took time to dig into what a single story looked like.  The first week we concentrated on disabilities.  Now this is a subject that is near and dear to my heart because my daughter has a physical disability.  She has found huge success in the swimming pool, participating on a local swim team and swimming at US Paralympic events.  I think it was great for students to explore how people with disabilities can be successful in life, the same way able bodied people do.  We watched the videos that Jess had shared and then read some books and articles.  I was so glad to have the Sibert Honor winning Shane Burcaw book, Not So Different: What you Really Want to Ask About Having a Disability, to share with students.  We also had articles about a Paralympic swimmer (from and one about the local Lucky Fin Project (featured in NewsELA).

The second week we concentrated on our perceptions of Native Americans.  After discussing the image that comes to mind when we say Native people, teachers shared a screenshot of a google image search (we had to use a screenshot since an early image included someone giving Donald Trump a rude gesture.....).  To move past the single story, we're sharing the TED Talk by Matika Wilbur who is the person behind the website  On both the website and the TED Talk, she shares images of Natives and what defines them - educators, lawyers, family members, names.  I think they are powerful and help give new images for students to remember.  There are numerous books teachers are reading.  Titles came from Debbie Reese's blog and from friends Jillian Heise, Aliza Werner and Kristen Picone.

Jingle Dancer by Cynthia Leitich Smith
Bowwow Powwow by Brenda J. Child
When We Were Alone by David Alexander Robertson
Fall in Line, Holden by Daniel W. Vandever
Mission to Space by John Herrington
Tallchief: America's Prima Ballerina by Maria Tallchief and Rosemary Wells 
Kamik series by various authors

As you can tell by some of the titles, discussing the requirement by Canadian and American governments for children who lived on reservations to attend schools that wanted to wipe out their heritage and culture in order to Americanize them, will be lightly discussed.  Teachers read I Am Not a Number by Jenny Kay Dupuis for their own background.

Students will also watch some videos with Native teens talking about misconceptions.  This video from Teen Vogue is structured with a statement (the misconception) and then female teenagers respond to them.  Another video to watch is from PBS where Native teens talk about who they are.  Both spark great conversations.

I also picked some passages from #notyourprincess and Dreaming in Indian by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale to share with students.  While these books are written for an older audience, they also have some passages that work well for this purpose.

During this second week, students will also start doing more writing.  They will be asking questions, probing why this single story exists and looking at the resources they needed to use to break the one sided view.  Finally, students will look at how they can be the generation that can change this view and what they can do.

Phew.  No rest for these students!  I love the level of participation this work requires.  We have invested students who are doing the heavy lifting and learning.  Who says this is the end of the year?

Monday, May 14, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.14.18

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 was a pretty quiet week - I've got too many reading projects up in the air right now so not a whole lot of blogging happened.  But you don't want to miss this post about favorite NEW read alouds that should not be missed.
Stop by this Friday for favorite NEW read alouds post 2!

Picture Books

Ten Cents a Pound
written by Nhung N. Tran-Davies
illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
A story about a mother's love - wanting more and better for her child.  A mother always wishes more for her child and shares her dreams and desires for her daughter, even when the girl just wants to stay with her mom.  The mom get everything the young daughter needs to succeed by earning ten cents a pound from her work, and everything goes to her daughter.

A Most Unusual Day
written by Sydra Mallery
illustrated by E. B. Goodale
We can start collecting clues on the title page.  We know it is an unusual day and a young girl is outside and we see a random plane flying overheard.  Hmmmm.  As we read the story, poor Caroline is having an unusual day.  We gather that things are usually neat and orderly, but not today.  We get little clues about a new arrival coming and we can slowly figure out the arrival will be a baby.  Great story about adoption and being able to celebrate the new normal, the new usual.

The Little Red Fort
written by Brenda Maier
illustrated by Sonia Sánchez
I loved this take on The Little Red Hen more than I thought I would.  Young Ruby has an engineer's mind and even though her brothers are not willing to help, she's going to build that fort!  Loved the author's note at the end, too.

Informational Texts

Who Says Women Can't Be Computer Programmers
written by Tanya Lee Stone
illustrated by Marjorie Priceman

This may be my favorite biography about Ada Lovelace.  I learned more about her than I had known before - she was certain a multi-dimensional character!

Graphic Novels

All Summer Long
by Hope Larson
Fantastic middle school graphic novel.  Coming of age into the throes of actual teen years - when everything you know you questions.  I loved meeting Bina and seeing her find her passion even though she is shaky in other social departments.  I enjoyed reading it through the weekly structure of Bina's summer.  Middle school readers are going to love this graphic novel.  Perfect for readers who are ready to age up from some of Raina's books.

Middle Grade

Nate Expectations
by Tim Federle
The conclusion to the Nate series and it really was a perfect ending as we see the story come full circle.  I fell in love with Nate all over again and was happy to see his transition into high school.  Look for this book in September!
*e-copy obtained through Edelweiss

Young Adult

A Court of Frost and Starlight
by Sarah J. Maas
If you have not read this series you need to immediately go out and get it from the library or bookstore!  It is definitely one of my favorite series.  I have loved seeing the character development of the main and supporting characters and I was so glad to return to them, even if it was a much, much shorter novel!  This book (novella??) was intended to set up a future series where Feyre and Rhys are supporting/cameo characters.  While I'm not happy that they won't be the starring roles, I am interested in hearing about other stories from this world too.
Seriously.  Go read these books!

Currently Reading

Front Desk
by Kelly Yang
I'll be finishing this one today and I cannot say enough great things about it!  If you are a middle school teacher, be sure this one is in your libraries!

I have so many books to read before this month ends.  I may need to take a little blogging break so I can get books read!  That means lots of great titles to share soon!

Friday, May 11, 2018

Spotlight Friday - new picture books, part one 5.11.18

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

I've had an abundance of newly released picture books pile up at my house.  Going through them and sharing the ones you'll want to find!

People Don't Bite People
written by Lisa Wheeler
illustrated by Molly Idle
This one will for sure be a hit with the younger crowd, but will also hold laughs for the older kids.  Wheeler and Idle take a closer look at all the things teeth should be doing and point out some no-nos!

Abbie Newton
written by Josh Funk
illustrated by Ester Garay
Albie is quite the genius, fixing his stroller when he's just a baby.  But when it's time for school, the kids don't think his skills are that cool, especially since he tends to take and not ask for supplies.  But when the big reveal is shown, the kids see his talent as something great.
I really liked that there was a difference between Albie and his peers, because this is what it looks like in real life.  There are kids that stick apart from their peers for a number of reasons.  Albie didn't change who he was, but he was able to create a change in his peers' perspective of what he was able to create.

Penguin and Tiny Shrimp Don't Do Bedtime!
written by Cate Berry
illustrations by Charles Santoso
Oh my, this is so fun to read out loud!  Reminiscent of Elephant and Piggie, this is for sure a book you want to include in your read aloud pile.
Penguin and Tiny Shrimp will tell you this is not a bedtime book and they have plenty of other things they are not doing instead of going to bed, and that's where the laughter begins.  I was laughing out loud, especially at Tiny Shrimp, he kind of steals the show, in my opinion.
I was laughing out loud so much while reading it, I drew the audience of an eight year old my way.  I tested it out on him, and this book is definitely kid approved!

A Stone for Sascha
by Aaron Becker
A big idea picture book - what starts off as a story about a young girl and her grief over the loss of her dog, turns into a bigger story about the rise and fall of empires and how things can change over time.
I'll be interested in seeing young reader's reactions to this book.

written by Aaron Reynolds
illustrated by Dan Santat
Brought to you by the two dudes who gave us Carnivores, this book, even with its limited vocabulary, will spark conversation and expression.
Seriously, dude.

Misunderstood Shark
written by Ame Dyckman
illustrated by Scott Magoon
And after you finish reading Dude, go right on over to this one to keep the laughs going!  Poor Shark, he's so misunderstood by everyone, they really are misreading his blatant attempts at eating food....  Love this one.

Monday, May 7, 2018

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 5.07.18

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

May releases - chapter books and graphic novels

May releases - picture books

Read about the magic of an author visit here

Pushing our 3rd graders thinking with NFPBs

Love this sequel - don't miss The Explorers series

Picture Books

A Campfire Tail
written by Sarah Glenn Marsh
illustrated by Ana Gómez
Very cute story about a girl who tries to do the right thing by volunteering to help the new camper - but when he turns out to be different than expected and when the going gets tough - she learns a lesson in what it means to be a true friend.

Help Find Frank
by Anne Bollman
I'm excited to share this book with readers - there is so much to do with it!  We find out right away, Frank the Bulldog (thanks, Beth!) is missing!  First we learn more about Frank and the things he does.  Pay attention to these clues, they will be important later!  Next, we "interview" people in the order they have seen Frank.  We find out what direction he was headed in, and since we have a map we can practice our directions!  Then it turns into a Waldo picture - lots to observe and a checklist to go through to find the hidden objects.  We repeat this a few more time, using the clues we learned about Frank earlier in the book to help us along the way.  Of course, at the end we get a happy ending!  Kids will really like the interactive parts of this book.

Lost in the Library
written by Josh Funk
illustrated by Stevie Lewis
I'm so glad to have received an early copy of this beautiful book.  It's one I'll be adding to my collection this fall (8.28).  We have some pretty infamous library lions in Chicago, but Patience and Fortitude are pretty well known themselves.  Thanks to them (and Josh Funk and Stevie Lewis), we get a tour of the library, ending in a pretty fabulous area!

by Alison Oliver
This is one of those books that I needed at exactly the right time.
You know that feeling of being completely overbooked?  That's Moon - always busy.  But one night she feels the outdoors calling her and she finds a wolf.  From the wolf she learns inner peace, but allowing herself time to call to the wild.  After that she is a changed person and even though she returns home to her busy life, she keeps some of those wolfy lessons with her.

Max Explains Everything: Grocery Store Expert
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Deborah Hocking
The first in a new series, young readers will enjoy going on a grocery store trip with expert, Max.

Middle Grade

Amal Unbound
by Aisha Saeed
I'm pretty sure you've heard of this book already.  It has already seen great publicity and it's been chosen as a 2018 Global Read Aloud book.  It is worthy of all the praise it's received and I can't wait for more people to read it.
I think this is going to be a great book to read for Global Read Aloud because it's going to invite a lot of conversation.  I think it has global ties with other picture books and articles, as well.  
This book publishes on Tuesday, be sure to get your copy!

Young Adult

After the Shot Drops
by Randy Ribay
Wow, the YA I'm reading right now is ON FIRE!!!  If this is not already in your TBR pile, rectify that right now!
Told in alternating chapters between Bunny and Nasir - Bunny has recently transferred to a private school, mostly to improve his future, but also to play for a better high school basketball team.  Bunny is the one all of the recruiters are watching and he gets a lot of attention.  But it makes Nasir, his best friend, completely resent him since it feels like Bunny left without even saying goodbye.  Nasir ends up hanging out with his kind of relative/cousin Wallace who is up to no good.  Before you can blink, Wallace is up to his ears in trouble and Nasir needs assistance in helping Wallace out.  
This book had me falling for the characters, wanting to help them all out and when things go wrong, I was ready to throw the book into the pool - literally, I was at my daughter's swim practice.
Do not miss this story.  So.  Good.

Currently Reading

I've got two books going - Sarah Maas' A Court of Frost and Starlight and Kelly Yang's upcoming Front Desk.  I am loving both of them for very different reasons!
After I finish those books, I'll get going on my April mustread, Cress.  I'll need to start May's book very soon!
Happy Reading!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Spotlight Friday/Saturday - May releases - chapter books 5.05.18

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

I know, it's not Friday, but with such a long post yesterday, it had to run over to today!  Wow, May is going to be a busy reading month!  Did you see all the picture books coming our way this month in this post?  Now it's the longer books turn - what book are you looking forward to reading?

Graphic Novels

All Summer Long
by Hope Larson
published by Farrar Straus Giroux
May 1st

I Am Gandhi
written by Brad Meltzer and other graphic novel artists
published by Dial Books
May 8th

Transitional Chapter Books

Polly Diamond and the Magic Book
written by Alice Kuipers
illustrated by Diana Toledano
published by Chronicle
May 1st

Zack and Zoe Mysteries:
The Missing Baseball and The Half-Court Hero
by Mike Lupica
published by Puffin Books
May 1st

Power Forward
written by Hena Khan
illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
published by Salaam Reads
May 8th

Halfway to Happily Ever After
by Sarah Aronson
published by Scholastic
May 29th

On Point
written by Hena Khan
illustrated by Sally Wern Comport
published by Salaam Reads
May 29th

Two Dogs in a Trench Coat Go To School
written by Julie Falatko
illustrated by Colin Jack
published by Scholastic
May 29th

Middle Grade


written by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead
illustrated by Nicholas Gannon
published by Feiwel and Friends
May 1st

The Rose Legacy
by Jessica Day George
published by Bloomsbury
May 1st

Endling: The Last
written by Katherine Applegate
published by HarperCollins
May 1st

Evangeline of the Bayou
written by Jan Eldredge
illustrated by Joseph Kuefler
published by Balzer + Bray
May 1st

The Alcatraz Escape
written by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman
illustrated by Sarah Watts
published by Henry Holt and Co.
May 1st

Out of Left Field
by Ellen Klages
published by Viking Books for Young Readers
May 1st

Jazz Owls: A Novel of the Zoot Suit Riots
written by Margarita Engle
illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez
published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers
May 8th

by Gordon Korman
published by Scholastic
May 8th

Amal Unbound
by Aisha Saeed
published by Nancy Paulsen books
May 8th

Captain Superlative
by J.S. Puller
published by Disney-Hyperion
May 8th

Sandapalooza Shack Shake Up
written by Chris Grabenstein
published by Random House
May 22nd

Front Desk
by Kelly Yang
published by Scholastic
May 29th

Confusion is Nothing New
by Paul Acampora
published by Scholastic 
May 29th

Most Valuable Players
written by Phil Bildner
illustrated by Tim Probert
published by Farrar Straus Giroux
May 29th

Young Adult

A Court of Frost and Starlight
by Sarah J. Maas
published by Bloomsbury
May 1st

If You Don't Have Anything Nice to Say
by Leila Sales
published by Farrar Straus Giroux
May 1st

by Brendan Kiely
published by Margaret K. McElderry Books
May 1st

What I Leave Behind
by Alison McGhee
published by Atheneum
May 15th

Girl Made of Stars
by Ashley Herring Blake
published by HMH
May 15th

We Are All That's Left
by Carrie Arcos
published by Philomel Books
May 15th

All of This is True
by Lygia Day Peñaflor
published by Harper Teen
May 15th

Monday's Not Coming
by Tiffany D. Jackson
published by Katherine Tegen Books
May 22nd

Publishing dates have been checked against what is listed on their corresponding Goodreads page.  Be sure to check publisher websites for all up to date information!

Wow.  I really need more time to read!