Monthly Archives: June 2016

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Book Covers for Inviting Questions!

top 10

 

I always tell students, when practicing the strategy of questioning, that ‘good readers start asking questions even before they start reading’   Book covers are a great way to get your students thinking and wondering about a story.   There are some books that invite readers to wonder; captivating illustrations that stimulate our thinking, our imagination and our curiosity.  One look at the cover and questions come tumbling out.  Below are my top 10 books to use for questioning – the first five are new releases and the remaining five are old favorites.  I guarantee, if you hold up one of these books and ask your students, ‘What are you wondering?” you will be amazed at what happens!

(Just for a change, rather than summarizing each book, I have included authentic student-asked questions for each.  You will just have to read the books yourself to find the answers!)

1. The Whale – Ethan Murrow

What are they looking at?  Where are they?  Do they know where the whale is?  Are they in a boat or on land? Are they brother and sister or friends?  Are they scared?  Is the whale coming closer?

2. The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield

Does the bear know how to play the piano?   How long has the piano been sitting there?   Is the bear going to play a sad song or a jazzy one?  Are they on a stage?  Is this a pretend play or is it real?  Is this a magical piano?  Do any other animals know there is a piano out there?

3. The Night Gardener – The Fan Brothers

Who is that boy?  Is he the gardener?  How old is he?  Is that owl going to come to life?  How did the tree get that way?  Does the tree only look like that at night?  Can the tree owl talk?  Can it fly?  Is the boy telling the owl a secret?

4. The Parachute – Danny Parker

Is that a boy or a girl?  What is he looking at?  Where is the bottom?  Is that a tree house?  How tall is that ladder?  Is he stuck?  Does he have the parachute or does he need one?  How is he going to get down?  Is he scared to be so high up or does he like it up there?

5. The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

What is that?  Why is the bee so big?  Is that a real bee or kind of a fake one?  What is that black thing?  Is that a briefcase?  Is that a clown bee?  Is that kind of one of those bee rides?

6. Phileas’s Fortune: A Story About Self-Expression Agnes de Lestrade

Is that a boy or a girl?  What is the fortune?  What is that shadow ?  What is coming out of that mountain?  Is that a horn?  What’s coming out of that horn?  What is in her hand?   Is she going to try to catch those things?  Where does she live?  

6. June 29, 1999 – David Wiesner

What’s in those baskets?  Why are the plants flying?  Hey – that’s my birthday!  How long have they been in the air for?  How big are those balloons?  Is someone controlling them?  Where are they going?  How many balloons are there?  

7. The Wretched Stone – Chris Van Allsburg

Who is that guy?  Is he flying or jumping?  Is he dreaming or really happening like that?  Is he magic?  What is a wretched stone?  What does wretched mean?  Is he going to fall in the water?  Is someone going to catch him?  Is he scared?

8. Mr. Bear and the Bear – Frances Thomas

Who is Mr. Bear?  Is this Mr. Bear or the bear?  Is this bear wild and dangerous?  What is the bear looking at?  Does the bear turn into Mr. Bear?  Is the bear mad or sad?

9. Two Frogs – Chris Wormell

What’s going on with these two guys?  I mean frogs but they kind of look like guys.  Is that one gonna hit the other one with that stick?  Why is one of them smiling and then the other one looks kind of scared?  Do they know each other?  How do frogs float like that like they are just kind of hanging there?  Is that the bully frog?

the egg

10. The Egg – M.P. Robertson

What’s in that egg?  Does his mom know there is a gigantic egg in his room?  Is the boy reading to the egg or just reading to his quiet self?  How long does the boy have to sit on the egg?  Is it going to hatch soon?  Where did the egg come from?  What book is he reading?  

What are your favorite books to inspire “COVER QUESTIONS”?

Thanks for stopping by!  Which books have caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, Picture Book, Question

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Releases for Summer Reading (PART 2)

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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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

Last week, I posted the first of a two part blog featuring 2016 picture books.  (You can read that post here)  This week, I’m excited to be continuing with Part 2 – and happy to be sharing MORE amazing new books for 2016!

The Whale – Vita Murrow

Two children are out to prove that the rumored Giant Spotted Whale in their town is either real or a myth.  Amazing, captivating wordless picture book.  My, oh my – the illustrations are amazing, each page filled with extraordinarily detailed black and white images Can you say Caldecott nomination?

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Ollie’s Odyssey – William Joyce

A beautifully written and illustrated story about the love between a boy and his favorite toy.  (Think Edward Tulane and Velvatine Rabbit) Bravery, friendship, loyalty – this book is magical.

Everyone –  Christopher Silas Neal

A simple exploration of empathy – this is one to add to your collection of “feeling” books!  What makes it different is that it not only invites young readers to explore how we feel and what we feel but introduces the notion of how others feel. Wonderful retro-illustrations.

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Jack’s Worry – Sam Zuppardi

A lovely ‘connect’ book to talk about worries with kids and not letting them overwhelm you. I enjoyed how the worry was depicted as a ‘thing’ (think Whimsy’s Heavy Thing) making it a great anchor for personification.

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Frank and Lucky Get Schooled – Lynne Rae Perkins

WOW!  One of my favorite books of the year so far!  A profound and delightful exploration of the subjects we learn in school, told through the eyes of both a boy and a dog.  Endearing friendship between the two – this book brings me joy!  (Thanks for introducing this to me Leslie!)

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Lionheart – Richard Collingridge

Excellent ‘facing your fears’ story.  Gorgeous illustrations and little text tells the story of a boy and his stuffed lion as they explore lost cities and jungles while running away from a monster.

Barnacle is Bored – Jonathan Fenske

Bored barnacle is bored of his uneventful life stuck to a pier and wishes for a more exciting life – like those fish.  Until…. be careful what you wish for!  This one had me laughing and would be great book to introduce ‘theme’ or ‘message’ to younger readers.

Playing From the Heart – Peter H. Reynolds

A little sad, a little sentimental, Peter H. Reynolds is pulling on our heartstrings once again.  This time, the story is about a young boy who loves to play piano and who is eventually trained to become a classical pianist.  Later he learns that the joy he felt from playing was when he played from the heart.  Might be more for adults and piano teachers but I enjoyed it.

Maybe Something Beautiful: How Art Transformed a Neighborhood – F. Isabel Campoy & Theresa Howell

 Inspiring,  beautiful story about mural painting bringing beauty to a drab neighborhood. Based on the true story of the transformation of the East Village near downtown San Diego.  Simple text and vibrant, colorful illustrations by illustrator Rafael Lopez who did the original mural.

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Finding Wild – Megan Wagner Llyod

Finding nature and “wild” in the spaces and places around us. Stunning. Beautiful. Mysterious. Another favorite picture book so far this year! Love, love, love this story & the STUNNING illustrations. I want to keep it under my pillow!  Gorgeous figurative language and vivid imagery – this book is a magnificent anchor book  for writing. A feast for all the senses!

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Have You Seen Elephant? – David Barrow

Lighthearted game of hide-and-seek between a boy and an elephant.  I can see how this book would be a very entertaining read-aloud with a younger group as they help the boy ‘find’ the elephant.  Even includes a ‘plot twist’ at the end!  Pallet is muted but lots of textures and details.   Delightful.

The Dead Bird – Margaret Wise Brown

Simple and sensitive approach to death and the celebration of life by a small community of children after they discover a dead bird in the park.  Would be a good book to begin a conversation about death with primary children.  many will connect to loss of a pet or possibly to a grandparent.

Well, I may need an Part 3 next week as there are STILL so many books I have not yet shared.  But for now.. thanks for stopping by and would love to know which book has caught your eye!

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Filed under 2016 releases, New Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Releases for Summer (PART 1)

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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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

It has been a busy end of the school year with many events (son’s graduation, hubby’s hernia surgery, etc) which have taken precedent over book blogging!  There are now SO many new books that I want to share, I can hardly stand it!  So this week will be the beginning of a two part “new releases” posts featuring some of the latest and greatest 2016 picture books.

What Do you Do With a Problem – Kobi Yamada

Beautiful message, gorgeous illustrations.  A great companion to What Do You Do with an Idea?  This is a must have book for you school library and will help readers transform their thinking about problems. This would make a great book to launch an inquiry project!

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Hannah and Sugar – Kate Berube

This is a debut picture book by author/illustrator Kate Berube.  Beautiful illustrations to accompany a charming, heartwarming story about a young girl overcoming her fear of dogs.  I am excited to see more by this author as she clearly “gets” kids.  Perfect for making connections.

Dylan, the Villan – K.G. Campbell

This laugh-out-loud book is sure to be a hit in your school library and classroom!  It has a Pixar- cartoon-like scenes give it a comic book feel.  Great story  showing the results of two super-villain in a sabotage-show-down classroom power struggle.  Delightful!

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The Airport Book – Lisa Brown

I LOVE everything about this book! It is simple, useful and entertaining !  In it, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport.  Delightful  illustrations with so many wonderful details, including a lost-and-found sock-monkey.  This book will be a great book for making connections.

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What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

This new book by the great Jane Yolen was the inspiration of my Top Ten Tuesday post last week  featuring books about boxes!  You can view the post here. This delightful rhyming story, beautifully illustrated by Chris Sheban explores the potential of an empty box.  Box + Imagination = MAGIC!

There is a Tribe of Kids – Lane Smith

Wow, wow, wow.  Lane Smith has done it again.  I am not sure how his simple tales are layered with so much to think about.  Here are some words I would use to describe his new book, which pays tribute to the imaginative journey we call “childhood”:  clever, creative, thoughtful, humourous, enchanting, whimsical, playful, meditative, emotional, joyful.  And the icing on the cake is the gorgeous illustrations and amazing language.  Wow again.

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A Morning With Grandpa – Sylvia Liu

A charming, heartwarming tribute to the special bond between grandchild and grandparent as they practice the ancient art of Tai Chi.   Wonderful characters – happy, wiggly and tumbly “Mei Mei” and loving, patient, understanding “Gong Gong”.  I especially love the lyrical language, beautiful metaphors and lovely illustrations.  Would be perfect for making connections and an excellent anchor to inspire writing about grandparents.

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Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Another wow and huge thumbs up for this first picture book by the amazing Sherman Alexie (The Absolute Diary of a Part Time Indian).  Thunder Boy, Jr. is a lovely story about a boy searching for his own identity and to distinguish himself from his father. The text is flooded with love and wonder, and the illustrations are absolutely perfect.  For those B.C. teachers reading this – here is a wonderful addition to your Aboriginal collection.

Teeny Tiny Toady – Jill Esbaum

If you are looking for a great new read-aloud that will have your kids laughing and cheering – you need Teeny Tiny Toady!  Delightful story of brains vs. brawns and a little-sister-saves-the-day storyline.  As well as the fast-paced plot, I loved the wonderful sound words and  rollicking rhythm.  Here’s to Girl Power wrapped up in a tiny pink frog!

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The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

I always get excited to see a new book by Bill Thomson, as they are usually perfect wordless picture books for practicing questioning and inferring.  This book does include 9 words and is filled with Thomson’s  stunning, life-like illustrations that take the reader on a magical journey with three children after they discover an old typewriter.  I’m already thinking of a writing lesson, based on a single word- what word would you write?

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This is Not a Picture Book – Sergio Ruzzier

“All these words carry you away … and then … they bring you home … where they stay with you forever.”  How could I not love a book about the trans-formative power of reading?  Quirky, charming book  with lovely watercolor illustrations.   Note:  Pay attention to the end papers – brilliant!

            There you have it!  Tune in next week for Part 2 of my New Releases for Summer!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which new book has caught your eye?

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Filed under 2016 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Picture Book

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books About Boxes! (Yes… I said boxes!)

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Well, it’s June… and that means trying to finish up all of the school projects and units that need to be complete.  It also means some days, we need our students to be engaged and excited about school, even though our classrooms are stifling and summer is calling.  Why not give them an empty box and let their creative imaginations take over?  This idea came to me when I read Jane Yolen’s new book What To Do With A Box .  It’s an inspiring book about the endless things you can do with a simple box.   Of course, that got me thinking about other books about boxes.  It didn’t take long before a new top 10 list was born!

1. What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

The book that started it all…. if you give a child a box, who knows what will happen?  Imaginative, magical, inspiring.

2.  A Box Story – Kenneth Kit Lamug

What can you do with a plain brown box? Everything imaginable!  Simple, charming little book about a plain brown box.  Will definitely inspire children to experiment with their own empty boxes.

3. The Secret Box – Barbara Lehman

Secret messages, magic and adventure await readers in this wordless book by the amazing Barbara Lehman.

4. Not a Box – Antoinette Portis

Full of imagination and humour, this interactive pattern book focuses on a very creative, very imaginative bunny being asked about a box by his friends.  To which he replies, “This is NOT a box.  It’s a ……”

5. The Nowhere Box – Sam Zuppardi

Endearing story of a little boy named George who is trying to escape his pestering brothers so he tells them he is “going newhere” and hides in a washing machine box.   Love the underlying theme about appreciating siblings, no matter how annoying they seem to be.

6.  Christina Katerina & the Box – Patricia Lee Gauch

A new refrigerator for Mom…. a huge box for Christina…. to turn into a castle, a playhouse or anything!  Delightful, imaginative and inspiring!  This book was a classic when I was younger and has been recently re-issued.

7. Gramma & Grampa Live in a Box – Bambi Prunch

When “face-to-face” time between grandparents and grandchildren is limited, what better way to connect than through “a box”.  Perfect book for any grandparents who find themselves at a distance from those they love.  Also great for connecting and inferring (never explicitly says what the box is!)  Skype anyone?

8. Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes – Jeanette Winter

I adore any picture book biography by Jeanette Winter.  In this very simple picture book, she tells about unique New York artist, Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), who made shadow boxes filled with objects he found while selling textiles door to door.  Fascinating and inspiring look at different ways we share our stories.

9. The Houdini Box  – Brian Selznick

The compelling story of Harry Houdini, the magician who amazed the world with his great escapes. This is a short chapter book for grades 2-5, complete with amazing illustrations by the extraordinarily talented author of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck and  The Marvels.

10. The Memory Box – Mary Bahr

When a grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he starts a memory box for his grandchild to keep the memories of the times they have shared.  Tender way to teach children about the changes they might experience with their own grandparents.

10. The Cardboard Box Books – Roger Priddy

Great nonfiction book and perfect teaching tool for turning those cardboard boxes into creative inventions.

And there you have it- a whole lot of books about boxes!  Try reading one, passing out boxes and let the creations begin!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book or books caught your eye?

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