It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Teach Mentor Texts and Book Journey
My first great find is Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow. Fall is my favorite season – there is something about the start of the school year, the cooler mornings, the smell and crunch of leaves – it is a season for the senses! I am drawn to books about seasons and this is definitely one I am happy to to add to my collection. In this book, the reader is taken on a fall walk through the woods to look at 24 different types of leaves. The illustrations are beautiful and the rhyming text makes for a great read-aloud. It is a wonderful introduction to tree identification and would be a great book to read before taking your class on a leaf walk. I loved that included in the book are instructions on how to press leaves, do leave rubbings, a leaf match game and fun facts about trees.
What is your blue like? Does the color blue make you feel happy? sad? cold? Does it make you think of a sad, lonely song or a summer swimming pool and your favorite pair of jeans? My Blue is Happy, by first time author Jessica Young, is a delightful exploration of color and emotions as a little girl considers people’s contrasting thoughts about color. Pink may be fancy and fun like a tutu to one person but annoying like bubble gum stuck to your shoe to someone else! The illustrations are delightful and the text is lovely. This is wonderful book for reading aloud and inviting younger students to share and compare their own connections to different colors.
There have been many posts this summer from fellow bloggers highlighting favorite wordless picture books. Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is one I haven’t seen reviewed but I certainly have added it to my wordless collection. I loved this book – there was something so delightful about this wordless picture book, with its interactive life-the-flap pages and adorable illustrations. In it, we witness a rather elaborate friendship dance between Flora and her graceful, ballet-dancer flamingo friend. This book is a mini masterpiece – all that was missing was a little Tchaikovsky!
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon is not new, but is new to me. This book is beyond sweet – in both the story and the illustrations. I fell in love with this endearing little Penguin as he befriends a pinecone and shows love and generosity towards it, knitting it a scarf to protect it from the cold and eventually taking it back on a journey to the forest where it belongs. I got a little teary at the end of this heartfelt, gentle book. It’s a keeper.
The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks was the “buzz” book last fall when it first came out but I loved it so much then, have decided to revisit it as we begin a new school year. This book is a remarkable weaving of two stories – one is the story of the bear in the book; the other of the small boy who is reading the book with his mother. The book gently takes us back and forth from “inside” the story to “outside the story” as we move from the bear’s story to the story of boy and parent reading together. This book demonstrates the interactive way in which a mother reads with her child – pausing to ask him questions, make connections, and think aloud. In my school district, it has been THE book to share at a parent evenings at the start of the school year as a positive model for what reading at home with your child can look like. The illustrations are soft and gentle, just like the feeling of curling up with your child and a favorite book.
I managed to read two novels over the past two weeks (when I should have been writing!) Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur….Wow! There is so much to tell you about this book! It’s two stories woven together – one of 13 yr. old Siena and her 3 yr. old brother Lucca who, at two years old, refused to speak. Siena’s family moves into an old house by the sea, a move they hope will be a fresh start for Lucca. Siena has an obsession for old houses and abandoned things. When she uses an old pen she finds to write in her diary, the pen begins to write itself (how amazing is that?) revealing the story of Sarah and Joshua, who lived in the same house during World War II. The two stories begin to parallel each other and begin to reveal secrets which eventually lead to helping Lucca find his voice. This book has everything – relationships, mystery, history, fantasy and a feel-good ending. It’s intense and would make a great read-aloud for grades 5 and up.
I may have saved the best for last because I LOVE any book by the great Kevin Henkes! Whenever I hear about a new book by him, I cannot WAIT to get my hands on it. I was lucky enough to get an ARC of book 1 in his new series The Year of Billy Miller. I’m not sure how he does it but Kevin Henkes seemingly effortlessly captures the voice and emotion of his characters and creates endless opportunities for us to make connections. In this beginning chapter book, we spend a year with 2nd grade Billy – and laugh out loud as he navigates through everyday experiences at school and at home. Some “connectable moments” include a cancelled sleepover, diorama homework assignment, poetry slam, and several sibling temper tantrums. This is the perfect shorter novel for transitioning readers and would also make a hilarious read-aloud. Icing on the cake are Henke’s black and white illustrations. This book is set to be released on September 17th – but I’m already looking forward to the second Billy Miller book!
Well…. that’s if for my reads this week! Hope you found one or two titles that peeked your interest! What have you been reading lately?