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 Unleashing Readers.
This week I discovered some new books that I’m very excited about! Here we go…
What’s Your Favorite Animal? – Eric Carle and Friends
All of my favorite authors and illustrators in one book! What could be better? This book is a delightful anthology of well-loved children’s authors/illustrators describing their favorite animal and why they love them, accompanied by his or her own signature style illustrations. I did SO enjoy looking through to discover what everyone’s favorite animal was and why. I can see how this would be a great anchor book for students to write about their favorite animal with an accompanying illustration. I was also thinking my students could go around the school asking the teachers what their favorite animals are! Authors included in this fabulous book are: Eric Carle, Nick Bruel, Luc Cousins, Susan Jeffers, Steven Kellogg, Jon Klassen, Tom Lichtenheld, Peter McCarty, Chris Raschka, Peter Sis, Lane Smith, Rosemary Wells and Mo Willems. I am hugging this book.
Friends – Eric Carle
I am always on the lookout for new books about friendship as they lend themselves so well for having children practice making connections. This story is about a young boy whose best friend moves away. He then embarks on a journey over mountains and across rivers to find her. This book is apparently based on Eric’s own journey to find his wife, whom he moved away from as a child and then searched to find her again. This would be a great book to read to K’s and 1’s and I can see them acting out the movements of the boy’s journey – “climbing”, “swimming”, etc. I loved the messages of determination and the importance of friendship.
Friends – Miles Van Hout
I LOVED Miles Van Hout’s wordless book Happy and used it many times in many classrooms to help students infer feelings. In Happy, Van Hout’s uncanny ability to capture emotion through the faces of fish was remarkable! In her latest wordless book Friends, she takes us one step further by showing emotional interactions. Her vibrant chalk fish have been replaced with monster type creatures and she has illustrated them depicting different situations – cuddling, fighting, teasing, laughing and playing. Another perfect wordless book for helping younger children practice inferring from illustrations. Hugging this book too!
A Friend – Anette Bley
Sticking with the “friendship” theme, I saw this book in our local library on display and was drawn to the illustrations. This book, published in 2009, (I have never seen it before) is a perfect book for primary teachers who are looking for a great book about friendship. The story begins with the simple question: What is a friend? and goes on to illustrate many different examples of what friendship looks like and feels like. The illustrations are charming and the text is simple and meaningful. A perfect “connect” book. (Note: A few places I searched said it was out of print but I was able to order one on Amazon)
Those Darn Squirrels – Adam Rubin
This book is the perfect choice if you are looking for a or a great read-aloud/laugh-aloud story for grades 2-4. It tells the tale of grumpy Old Man Fookwire who dislikes most things – except his wild birds. So he builds a bird feeder and fills it with berries so his wild birds will stay with him through the winter. Unfortunately,” those darn squirrels” raid the feeder and eat all the berries. Apparently there are two more “Darn Squirrel” books in the collection. (Warning – I stumbled over the name “Mr. Fookwire” a few times – so just be careful because when it comes out wrong – it comes out VERY wrong!)
Paper Dolls – Julia Donaldson
I loved paper dolls growing up. My sisters and I would play for hours, folding the little flaps of clothing onto those cardboard dolls. This book is whimsical, beautiful, playful, nostalgic, simple. A little girl plays with her five paper dolls. There are not many words, but the rhyming and repetition lend itself well to a read-aloud. I love the mother/daughter play time highlighted in this book and I think it would be a great invitation to have students create their own paper doll and use alliteration and rhyme to name it. A lovely book!
Stand in My Shoes – Bob Sornson
Teachers frequently request books on social responsibility themes so I’m always on the lookout for new titles. This book, produced by the Love and Logic Institute, focuses on empathy and clearly illustrates to younger children what empathy is and how easy it is to demonstrate this important social skill. This book would also be great to include on a book list for parents.
Drac and the Gremlin – Allan Baillie
One of the rewarding things about my work is visiting schools and meeting teachers who have been using some of the ideas from my books. I especially love when they share new book titles with me! This past Friday, I was in Calgary at Huntington Hills elementary and met a teacher who had been working on Visualizing with her students. She took me into her classroom and shared this great book with me and showed me some of the visual images her students drew when she read this story to them. Of course, she DID NOT share the illustrations with them until they had listened and visualized. The great thing about this book is that the descriptions are very misleading – you think the author is describing some imaginative sci-fi creatures. As it turns out, it is only two children and their pets as they play in their backyard. A wonderful book for visualizing!
Bird – Crystal Chan
Wow. Wow. Wow. This book left me breathless and speechless – and that is no easy feat for me. Not since Wonder and No Fault in the Stars have I been so moved and so deeply touched by a book. My soul is still aching. I was fortunate enough to receive an ARC and I could not put it down.
The book begins: Grandpa stopped speaking the day he killed my brother, John.
From the first line, you will be drawn in by the exquisite writing and heart-wrenching story of Jewel – a girl who lives in the shadow of her younger brother – who died the day she was born. Her grandfather, blamed for the tragedy by Jewel’s parents, has not spoken since. This is a story of love, of loss, of family and friendship – of a broken family who had to fall apart before they could put themselves back together. This is a remarkable debut novel – and I KNOW one that will top many “best of 2014” lists. “Book linger” is my reference to books that stay with you and actually become part of you. Bird is the ultimate in book linger. I want EVERYONE to read this book!
Well, it was a great week of reading for me. And just in case you didn’t follow the book award announcements this past week – here is the complete list from CNN:
What have you been reading this week?