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
Lots of great new picture books are coming out in time for starting school. (Sadly my school district is still on strike so I’m not sure if we WILL be starting school!) If you already checked out my recent 10 for 10 post – you may recognize a few titles that I featured there.
Okay to Make Mistakes – Todd Parr
What can I say? I love Todd Parr. I love his simple, poignant messages; his bright, bold, colorful signature illustrations. In his latest feel-good book – Todd encourages kids to embrace those everyday mistakes – spilling, coloring outside the lines, dropping. Once again, Todd Parr makes us feel good about ourselves, despite the mistakes we sometimes make. A perfect book for making connections with a primary class.
Here’s Todd talking about his new book: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rhebgnc512Y[/embed]
What If? – Anthony Browne
Anthony Browne is a master story teller – and I am always excited to see a new release by this author. What If…? is a story of a young boy, Joe, who experiences some anxiety about going to a party and being left there without his mother. “What if I don’t know anybody?” “What if nobody talks to me?” What if I don’t like the food? On the way to the party, Joe’s imagination gets the better of him as he begins to imagine many frightening possibilities. I really like the way Anthony Browne’s surrealist illustrations and often sparse text weave together and allow room for thinking. A perfect book for inferring but also one I know many children who have felt apprehensive about a new experience will make connections to.
The Boy on the Page – Peter Carnavas
Peter Carnavas is an Australian songwriter, author and illustrator. His new book, The Boy on the Page, is a simple, yet profound book (my favorite kind!) that asks the eternal question: “What am I here?” It begins with a small boy landing on a blank page. Slowly, as you turn the pages, he begins to discover new and surprising things. We can infer that this is similar to a new life – at first there is nothing, but then life begins to appear as we grow and discover the world around us. A perfect book for younger students to think about their own life “story” and the question “why are we here?” This book leaves lots of room for interpretation and would certainly be a great one to inspire “deep thinking” for younger students. I can’t wait to read this to my class!
You can watch Peter Carnavas sing about the book at his book launch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1yMvszuU8T0
Or read about the book on his website here: http://petercarnavas.com/books-3/the-boy-on-the-page/
The Thingy Thing series – By Chris Raschka
I was DELIGHTED to discover this new series by one of my all time favorite author/illustrators – Chris Raschka! The “Thingy Thing” series is theme based: Cowy Cow’s theme is “feeling smart”; Crabby Crab explores “feeling grumpy”; Whaley Whale is about “hide and seek”; Lamby Lamb is “getting dressed”. Chris Raschka uses humor through is sparse text and trademark brush-strokes to tell his story. Delightful, interactive read-alouds for your younger students. My favorite is Lamby Lamb – where a little reverse psychology is used to get lamb dressed!
The Midnight Library – Kazumo Kohara
The Midnight Library is only open at night. It is run by a little girl and her three owl assistants who spend their time helping the animal patrons each find “the perfect book”. Despite the challenging requests, they manage to find a book for everyone! I always love books that focus on libraries and this is a sweet imaginary story that will be a perfect library read-aloud for younger students. I was particularly fond of the woodblock illustrations, reminiscent of Nikki McClure’s work.
Chicken Clicking – Jeanne Willis
While this book looks like it is one for the primary classroom, its content and subject is definitely one I am going to use with slightly older students when we practice inferring. In this extraordinary play on “chicken little” – readers are introduced to the dangers of exploring on the internet and connecting to a new “friend”. This book has an ending that leaves readers saying “What? That’s it???” This book is clever with an important message that I know will stimulate some worthwhile classroom discussions about online safety. A great one to recommend to parents as well!
If…A Mind Bending New View of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers – David Smith
This book is Fantastic! AMAZING! It is a book that helps children (and adults!) understand the concept of scale. In a similar he used in his book If the World Were a Village, David Smith’s takes large concepts that are sometimes hard to wrap your brain around and scales them down by using comparisons that young readers will connect with. “If the solar system was laid out on a football field and the sun was a grapefruit” – a great book for visualizing! Other concepts Smith looks at are the size of the universe, ocean, and continents, history of the world, economics and food. My only criticism is the jump from inches to cm – which could be confusing. But I can see SO many uses for linking this book to many subject areas – including science and math. The illustrations are wonderful!
The Girl Who Writes – Richard Cole and K. Jane Watt
Last summer, I focused one of my posts on a new book sent to me by a local author/illustrator team Richard Cole and K. Jane Watt called The Boy Who Paints. (You can read that post here) The same collaborative team has just published their second book entitled The Girl Who Writes. While the first book focused on the journey of discovery of a young artist, this book focuses on the journey of a young girl who dreams of becoming a writer. For any of you out there who are writers or aspiring writers or dreaming about writing – you MUST read this book! It is truly a gift and I felt as though it was written about me. This book is about perseverance, passion, imagination, stories that surround us, the reading-writing connection, word choice, self confidence, beauty, life, wonder – this book has it ALL! This is a book makes me want to shout, dance, cry, laugh – but most of all this book makes me want to WRITE! I LOVE THIS BOOK!
OK – I’ve calmed down now.
There are my picks for the week! Thanks for stopping by! Please leave me a note to let me know which book caught your eye!