Category Archives: Art

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books about Lines! (Who knew there were so many?)

top 10What is a line?  Think about it for a moment.  It starts and it stops… or does it?   A line, on one hand, is a simple mark or stroke on a surface.  But when you start thinking about it, you realize how many different lines there are and how many ways we use the word in both expressions and to describe things….

“A fine line”, “crossed the line”, “line in the sand”, “over the line”, “end of the line”, “you’re out of line”, “draw the line”, “read between the lines“, clothes line, number line, time line, line-up, line change (in hockey), line dancing, the bottom line, border line, line of longitude, line of latitude, fault line, deadline, enemy line, battle line, line of fire, tan line, fishing line, telephone line, blood line, zip line, party line, front line, line from a poem or story, dotted line, underline, inter-lined, straight line, crooked line, squiggly line, long line, stand in line, line-by-line….Phew!  That’s a lot of lines!

I thought about how this concept of “line” would make an interesting inquiry project – “What is a line?”  With a little imagination, a line can be…just about anything you want!   What a great way to connect art, story and imagination.  Fascinated by the concept, I started my search for picture books about lines… and it didn’t take long to fill up my top ten list!  Any of these books could be used as anchors for art, writing – or both!

1, Harold and the Purple Crayon – Crocket Johnson

First published in 1955, this gentle book really started it off: the idea that a child with an imagination and thirst for adventure could use purple crayon lines to create his own imaginary world.  Add a few obstacles, some humour, a moose and some pie – and you have yourself a classic!

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2. The Line – Paula Bossio

This wordless picture book takes the reader on an adventure of a little girl discovering a line. As the girl follows the line, the reader discovers what adventure awaits her.  A perfect story starter for early-elementary as they begin to explore narrative, either by using one of the girl’s creations in the story or by coming up with their own way of turning the line into something.

3. The Squiggle – Carole Lexa Schaefer

A little girl, a piece of string and a big imagination – from a Dragon Dance to the Great Wall of China, food, and other items she experiences – I love the diversity in this book as well as the beautiful brush stroked illustrations.  A great anchor for drawing and writing!  What will your squiggle be?

4. Follow the Line –  Laura Ljungkvist

This is the first in a series of books by Scandanavian artist Laura Ljungkvist in which she explores one continuous line throughout an entire book.  In this book, a single line begins on the front cover and winds its way across each page as we flow from city to the country, from the sky to the ocean, from morning till night.  Each page is packed with color, objects, buildings, animals and amazingness!

5. Follow the Line to School – Laura Ljungkvist

In this book, we follow a single line on a playful romp through the school.  From the library to the science corner – this is an interactive, creative and fun way to engage the reader.  I like that the text also prompts the reader with questions…. “Here is the class pet.  I wonder what kind of animal it is?”… “Now we’re in the lunch room. What will you eat for lunch today?”    Other books in this series include:  Follow the Line Around the World and Follow the Line Through the House. 

6. Lines That Wiggle – Candace Whitman

“Lines are everywhere you look!”  All sort of lines and their uses are explained in this book through cartoon characters, e.g. curvy, wiggly, wavy, etc. This book would be a great anchor book for introducing line vocabulary and also to inspire some great line drawings.   I also like that it inspires kids to look closer at things and notice lines in everyday things.  Here is the link youtube version:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4SqFA…

7. Lines, Squiggles, Letters, Words – Ruth Rocha

Translated from Portuguese by Brazil’s most famous children’s authors, this charming picture book tells the story of a boy who sees squiggles and lines that don’t exactly make pictures and he can’t quite decipher. But when he starts school, he realizes that those confusing squiggles and lines were actually letters!   Sweet look at the beginning to read for early primary.

8. A Squiggly Story – Andrew Larsen

A great introduction to the writing process!  While the last book focused on the beginning reader, this one playfully and imaginatively explores a young child’s process of learning to express himself through writing.  I love the message of finding your own voice and that everyone has a story inside us – tell it, draw it, squiggle it!

9. The Lines on Nana’s Face – Simona Ciraolo

In this heartfelt book,  we see lines as memories and stories of a well-lived life.  As a little girl points to a line on her nana’s face, Nana tells her a story.  A celebration of family, grandparents, memories and life stories – this beautiful book makes me teary every time I read it.

Lines – Suzy Lee

WOW!  This brand new release is a truly stunning wordless picture book.  With gorgeous, simple pencil drawing, the reader follows a skater who is tracing lines on the ice.  As the lines on the ice get more complicated, the skater leads readers to unexpected places!  Magical…. astounding… charming….as soon as I finished, I started reading it again.   I LOVE this book!  (Thank you, Groundwood Press, for sending me this pre-release copy)

And here are two to more LINE books to watch for this fall….

Draw the Line – Kathryn Otoshi

The amazing Katheryn Otoshi (author of One, Two, and Zero) has, once again, given us a book filled with rich discussion points.  Draw the Line is so much more than a book about lines.  It is a beautiful wordless picture book about friendship, creativity, community, conflict, resolution – and a “line” connecting us all.  A must have book for inferring, connecting, transform…. Brilliant!

Free the Lines – Clayton Junior

Another thought-provoking wordless picture book that will inspire rich discussions in an upper elementary classroom.  This one focuses on an environmental theme, specifically ethics in the fishing industry.  Told through extraordinary lined drawings, Clayton tells a story of a small cat fishing in a small boat on a large ocean who runs into a huge, smoke-belching trawler, who sets out enormous nets and catches all the fish.  How the cat solves the problem is one that could be up for debate. It truly is amazing how much you can say in a picture book without a single word of text – a perfect book for inferring (ie. what are you inferring the tile means?) and questioning both the story and the message.  Watch for this one!

And there you have it – books about lines that I hope will inspire you and your students draw, squiggle, swirl and write with and about lines!  Enjoy and thanks for stopping by!

 

Image result for the line paula bossio
Image result for the line paula bossio
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Filed under 2017 releases, Art, Infer, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday, wordless, Writing Strategies

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Picture Books to Inspire Winter Art!

Happy New Year!  We are heading back to school SO early this year… and I believe it is going to be a long, cold, and snowy month ahead!  If you are looking for some creative ways to integrate some great winter picture books into your Art lessons, you may find some inspiration in this week’s Top 10 list!

1.Once Upon a Northern Night – Jean E. Pendziwol

Lovely, lyrical lullaby celebrating the magic and wonder of an icy winter night.  This book can inspire some lovely winter tree art.  I love this idea from First Palettte to use a marble and paint  inside an empty coffee cup to create the “snowy” effect!

Snowy Day Collage craft

2.  Cold Snap – Eileen Spinelli

A charming neighborly tale about a small town determined to beat the deep freeze. Great book for your unit on community and for making CONNECTIONS!  (Vancouver is in a deep freeze this winter!)

Add icicles to a simple cut-out house or tree art by applying white paint and letting it drip down.  Or use glue and glitter to create the icicles.  (Thicker paper or card stock works best.)  I found this lesson on a blog called Reading Confetti.

cold-snap

3.   The Mitten Tree – Candace Christiansen

Touching message and beautiful, wintery illustrations.  This is the story of one woman’s generous heart, giving back, and random acts of kindness.  Perfect for sharing with your students.  The purples and blue palette can inspire your students to create their own patterned mittens.

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4. A Perfect Day – Carin Berger

One of my favorite winter picture books with gorgeous mixed media collage illustrations is the perfect inspiration for some snow-angel art!  Based on the book, students paint a snowy background, and create paper snow angels.  Read more about this lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

snow-angels

5.  Snowmen At Night – Caralyn Buehner

This book is a huge favorite with so many students!  The frolicking rhyming text and vibrant illustrations are delightful to read over and over.  I love following the different snowmen through their adventures – such personalities!   Inspired by this book, have your students create an “arts and crafts” collage by first making a tissue paper background and then adding a mixed media snowman.  This is another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. 

Alternatively, here is a different lesson, based on the same book.

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6.  Snowflakes Fall – Patricia Maclachlan

This book is a tribute to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and childhood home of illustrator Steven Kellog . The  falling snowflakes described in the poem celebrate life’s uniqueness, beauty, joy, fragility, sorrow and renewal. Handprint Snowflakes can be found at : healthymamainfo.com

7. Over and Under the Snow– Kate Messner

This delightful book takes you down into the “secret world” of animals who live under the snow.   I love the link to science and the way this book introduces readers to different habitats and behaviors of winter animals, both common and uncommon.

This book can really lend itself to a “layered” art project – sky, above the ground, and under the ground.  Another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

Winter Habitat art projects by third graders

8. Old Bear – Kevin Henkes

Old bear is dreaming and reflecting on the cycle of his life and the cycle of the seasons, his home in the forest and the beauty of his world.  This is a wonderful book for early primary students learning about the seasons.  I love the illustrations in this book and they will certainly inspire some lovely “old bear” art!

On black construction paper, students make leaf prints to create their background. The “Old Bear” is painted on white painting paper, then textured and outlined with black paint.  To make the bear “pop” off the page, have students leave a small edge of white around the bear when cutting it out.  Once the bear is glued on, the white outline on the black background creates a snowy 3D effect.

Image result for old bear kevoin henkes art

9.  No Two Alike – Keith Baker

Another one of my favorite wintery books!  Two little red birds discover “no two snowflakes are alike” as they explore a snowy landscape together.    Sparse, rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations. This is a gentle, quiet book.

When I was younger, I loved borrowing “how to draw” books and learning the steps to draw animals.  While some think this type of art is too restrictive and confining, there is something quite satisfying about learning how to draw something accurately!  You can find a great step-by-step lesson on drawing cardinals at artprojectsforkids.org

draw a cardinal

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This layered art project begins with painting a background of sky and ground.  Birch trunks are glued on top of the dried background. HINT:  Space the trunks unevenly across the page and have some of them “leaning” in different directions.  Cardinal birds are painted on a separate paper and cut out when they are glued.  Last step is “fingerprint” snow flakes.

10.  Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

The sensations of walking in the moonlight on a cold, crisp winter night is captured beautifully in this classic story of a girl and her father who are searching for an owl in the woods on winter’s night.

 Light, shadows, contrast, perspective and lines are some of the artistic techniques that are highlighted in the gorgeous illustrations. I particularly love the way John Schoenherr plays with shadows on the snow in his illustrations.  I found this Torn Winter Tree art project on artprojectsforkids.com that would be a great lesson for grade 3 and up.

And this lesson from the same site called “Sharpie Winter Landscape“, using sharpie pens, also produces a dramatic winter moon effective.

Sharpie Winter Landscape

 Thanks for stopping by!  Hope that you found a lesson or two to try!

What is your favorite picture book inspired art lesson?

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Filed under Art, Top 10 Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday! Top 10 Nonfiction Poetry Collections

 

top 10

In honour of National Poetry Month, I have decided to do a TOP 10 post that features poetry, in particular, nonfiction poetry!  Poetry can bring science to life for young children and any one of these books can be linked up to a unit you are studying.  From Space, to Bees, to the Arctic and the Savannah, here is my collection of favorite poetry books that combine fascinating facts, delightful language and gorgeous illustrations.

  1. Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold Joyce Sidman

If you have never read a Joyce Sidman book, you have been missing out!   In my opinion she is the true Queen of Nonfiction Poetry so I have included two of her books on this list.  Winter Bees provides insight and information on how plants and animals cope with the cold, winter months told through lyrical poetry and gorgeous lino-cut illustrations.

2. Song of the Water Boatman and other Pond Poems Joyce Sidman

From algae to a nymph to a frog to a turtle,  Joyce Sidman examines the living things in and around a pond through poetry.  This would be a perfect book to compliment a unit of study on ponds or habitats.

3. Comets, Stars, the Moon and Mars Douglas Florian

This collection of whimsical, factual poetry about astronomy is by my #1 information poet – Douglas Florian.   The book includes poems about each planet, as well as the moon, the sun, black holes, constellations, and other space topics.  Includes die-cut pages and a glossary of space terms, making this a perfect anchor book for your study of space and planets.

4. Out of This World:  Poems and Facts about Space – Amy E. Sklansky

Love the variety of different poetic forms, combined with fascinating space facts and gorgeous illustrations.  A perfect addition to your Space book collection and great anchor to start your study of space!

5. Un-BEE-lievables – Douglas Florian

In fourteen funny, fact-filled poems about honeybees, Douglas Florian (major poet crush on this man!) explores the fascinating and often unexpected wonders of these insects’ lifestyles, families, communities and their importance on our ecosystems.  Delightful paintings that will inspire some bee-autiful paintings from your students!

6. Seeds, Bees, Butterflies and More! Poems for Two VoicesCarole Gerber

Kids will have a blast performing these child-friendly poems.  These funny, rhyming poems offer a close-up view of the plant and insect worlds, with an amazing amount of information about them. The art is bright, colorful and fabulous!  A great book for teaching and performing!

7. A Strange Place to Call Home – the World’s Most Dangerous Habitats and the Animals that Call Them Home – Marilyn Singer

Marilyn Singer’s fascinating poems, accompanied by Ed Young’s collage illustrations, feature unusual creatures whose adaptations allow them to live in challenging and often unappealing habitats.  There are helpful end notes which provide more information about each animal. I love how Singer uses a variety of poetic forms from free verse to haiku and sonnets (all defined at the back of the book).

8. When the Sun Shines on Antarctica and Other Poems about the Frozen ContinentIrene Latham

Brand new collection with poems about Antarctic life in the summer, including poems about plants, animals and landscape of this frigid climate.  Each page is accompanied by a paragraph of facts and an illustration that captures the frozen landscape.

9. Polar Bear, Arctic Hare: Poems of the Frozen North – Eileen Spinelli

Eileen Spinelli’s delightful collection of factual poems  about the Arctic can serve as an anchor for a more in-depth study of Arctic Animals (my favorite topic for nonfiction research writing!)  This collection is perfect for reading aloud to and with early primary students.  Spinelli’s playful writing style will tickle your tongue!    In the back of the book is a helpful list of Arctic facts about each animal.

10.  Dear Wandering Wildebeest: And Other Poems from the Watering Hole – Irene Latham

This collection of creative poems introduces a variety of grassland creatures who frequent this life-sustaining water source over the course of one day.  An accurate and vivid account of survival on the Savannah that  also includes a brief description of each animal on each double page spread.  Entertaining and fascinating!  I love the folk-art illustrations.

11. Silver Seeds – Paul Paolilli

While some may think acrostic poetry is easy to write, if done correctly, each new line is not necessarily a new sentence or word.  This collection of acrostic poems celebrating nature is my “go to” anchor book for teaching students how to write acrostic poems properly.  Simple, but profound poems and gorgeous illustrations.

MOON
Marvelous melon, whole,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Or sliced,
Offering sweet flavor to the
Night.

12. Now You See Them, Now You Don’t: Poems About Creatures That Hide – David L. Harrison

This amazing book features nineteen different creatures organized into five categories, each poem highlights interesting facts about the behavior and habitat of a sea creature, reptile, amphibian, mammal, insect or bird. Laroche’s fascinating cut-paper illustrations bring the habitats to life.  A perfect book for introducing animal classification and adaptation to environment.

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

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Filed under Art, New Books, Poetry, Science, Social Studies, Top 10 Tuesday

IMWAYR – A Whale, A Bear, a Finch – and a whole lot of QUESTIONS!

IMWAYR

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’s been a busy fall for me so haven’t been posting as often.  But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been READING!  Many of the books I’m featuring this week would make excellent choices when teaching and practicing QUESTIONING with your class.  Enjoy!

Imagine A World Rob Gonsalves

“Imagine a world where you can cut mountains out of curtains.” Sigh.  Another breath-taking, imaginative journey into astounding world of Rob Gonsalves – master of magical realism.  (I have used other books in the series for both Questioning and Visualizing:  Imagine a Day, Imagine a Night, Imagine a Place). Stunning illustrations that will draw you in and fill your mind with wonder.  Every time I look at the pictures I see, feel and wonder something more.  Boundless and beautiful.

Beautiful Hands Kathryn Otoshi

From the author of One and Zero comes this colorful and creative book explores the use of handprints and fingerprints, in adult and child sizes.  This book is wonderfully interactive and would make an excellent book for parents to share with their young ones.   I love the quiet inspiration and challenge to seek and create love, beauty, kindness and art in our world.  Would make a great companion book to The Handiest Things in the World – Andrew Clements. 

I Am Henry Finch – Alexis Deacon

Here is an “Adrienne” book if there ever was one! A philosopher finch named Henry breaks away from the flock and inspires others to do the same.  It is a MUST add to your Reading Power collection – and a perfect book to inspire questions and rich discussion: What is thinking? Can birds think? Can others influence our thoughts? Can we change our thoughts? Are thoughts powerful?   So many questions!   Inspiring, funny, surprising.  I LOVE Henry Finch!

Cinderella's Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf

Cinderella’s Stepsister and the Big Bad Wolf – Lorraine Carey

Fun, fractured Fairy Tale with retro illustrations that reminded me of The Golden Books.  Great read-aloud!

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The Bear Report – Thyra Heder

A delightful new “connect” book about a young girl who thinks her “Arctic Animal Research Report” homework is boring!  That is, until a Polar Bear named Olafur swoops her away to the Arctic and shows her wintery habitat.  This book is witty, imaginative, interesting and elegantly illustrated!

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Where’s The Baboon? A Two-In-One Book Game – Michaël Escoffier

Delightful, engaging game of hide-n-seek through words!  I  love books that use any kind of wordplay and am excited about sharing this with  students and having them “hide and seek” some of their own words!

The Stranded Whale – Jane Yolen

I find stories based on true events lend themselves well for practicing questioning.  This is a gorgeous, tender and heart-tugging story of a young child’s desperate effort to rescue a beached whale.  Gorgeous writing, breath-taking illustrations, this brave book touches on grief and wonder in a thoughtful, inspiring way.  Very emotional read for me.

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Tricky Vic: The Impossible True Story of the Man Who Sold the Eiffel Tower – Greg Pizzoli

Lots of book buzz about this one – and now I know why!  This is the fascinating biography of the con-artist Robert Miller,  aka Tricky Vichas,  who pulled off  the most daring con in 1925 and managed to “sell” the Eiffel Tower to one of the city’s most successful scrap metal dealers!   It has everything from counterfeiting, professional gambling, a prison escape, and a guy who met Al Capone and spent time at Alcatraz!  A perfect read-aloud for grade 4’s and 5’s and great book to practice questioning.  The mixed media illustrations are amazing – I love the way Pizzoli uses a fingerprint for Vic’s face!  This is a MUST have biography!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book(s) caught your eye?

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Filed under 2015 releases, Art, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Visualize

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – I Can’t Keep Up!

IMWAYR

I’m happy to be joining in the weekly IMWAYR posts, hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers

Well… we are back in full swing at school but my Pro. D. workshops this week were still cancelled (or post-poned) as teachers were just getting settled into their new classes.  This meant I had a bonus day off – most of which I spent at one of my favorite places – United Library Services!  There, I get to fill a SHOPPING CART with BRAND NEW picture books to read through!  Heaven!  But there are SO many great new books – I’m having a hard time keeping up!  Here are a few of my favorites from the top of a very tall pile!

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As an Oak Tree Grows – G. Brian Karas

This book is filled with so many teaching ideas I can hardly stand it!  The story follows the life of an Oak Tree from 1775 to present day.  Each page shows what has changed in the past 25 years – both in the tree and in the surrounding landscape.   I loved the timeline at the bottom of the page, showing each new era.  The illustrations are remarkable – and the book is large which allows the reader to take in all the details on each page.  The Oak tree grows while history transforms around it – from methods of agriculture,  transportation to uses of energy.  The poster included at the back of the book shows the rings on the oak tree representing the growth of the oak tree labeled and dated with many events and inventions that occurred while the tree grew.  This book is creative, unique and interesting!  A perfect link to a unit on growth and change in nature and in our world.

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The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus  by Jen Bryant

Sigh.  Sigh again.  I love this book.  So so much.   This amazing picture book biography is about the life of brilliant scientist and word collector Peter Mark Roget. The book explores his extraordinary journey that turned his love of words into the publication of the most important reference books of all time. The illustrations are stunning! If you love words as much as I do – this is a must have for your biography collection!  Watch the book trailer here.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream – Bob Graham

I am a fan of Bob Graham books – I admire his ability to leave room for lots of deep thinking within his subtle text and detailed illustrations.  This book follows an endearing, curious sparrow on an unexpected journey as he travels across the world in a bag of rice from India to an urban setting (Australia?) The sparrow finds a family and invites a child to taste vanilla ice cream for the first time.  The soft pallet illustrations are classic Graham and I like how he uses a variety of closed panels with open drawings.  Don’t read this book too quickly – there is a lot to take in!

Uni the Unicorn

Uni the Unicorn – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

When I see Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a new book – I KNOW it’s going to be brilliant.  But I admit, when Maggie (from Kidsbooks) first showed me the cover  the cover of Uni the Unicorn, my heart sank a little bit.  Oh, I thought, these illustrations are not my thing.  They appeared too “Disney” like – rainbows, butterflies and unicorns.  What was she thinking?  But then I read the story and realized just how brilliant a story it was and how perfectly matched the illustrations were!  Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s latest book is a delightful twist to a familiar story. Uni is a unicorn who believes in her heart that little girls are real, despite the fact that her friends and parents say otherwise. Love the page where Uni is drawing pictures of “imaginary” little girls! Little girls will LOVE this story and make LOTS of connections! The illustrations are reminiscent of Pixar/Disney and will most certainly appeal to the unicorn loving children!   I was also thinking that if you added a cute little stuffed unicorn you have the perfect birthday party present!

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If Kids Ruled the World – Linda Bailey

If Kids ruled the world, birthday cake would be good for you.  Your doctor would say “Don’t forget to eat your birthday cake so you’ll grow up strong and healthy!”  And so the story goes – page after page –  a “wish list” of a kid’s paradise!  This book is fun, playful, imaginative and I can just hear the “YES’s” coming from the class!   A perfect anchor book for inspiring writing and art!  Love!

Penguin and Pumpkin

Penguin and Pumpkin – Salina Yoon

I fell in love with Penguin when I first met him in Penguin and Pinecone.  There have been a few Penguin books since, but none have quite come close to that emotional connection I had with that first book.  This story is sweet with familiar bold block colored illustrations.  Penguin and friends take a journey to explore fall outside the North Pole. He brings a few sights and sounds for his baby brother to experience.  I loved the last page when it’s “snowing leaves”  but the story fell a little flat for me.

Brothers of the Wolf

Brothers of the Wolf – Caroll Simpson

This is a beautifully illustrated West Coast First Nations legend about two wolf cub brothers found and raised  as human children in a village on the Pacific.  One cub feels at home in the forest and the other – the sea.  They are separated when supernatural forces change them into Sea Wolf and Timber Wolf.  Although separated, they howl together into the night sky, waking up the moon and bringing light to the darkness of the world.  The story is visually stunning and is a perfect book for questioning. It would also be a great inspiration for creating first nations paintings.

I Wanna Go Home

I Wanna Go Home – Karen Kaufmann Orloff

I have shared Karen Orloff’s first hilarious book, I Wanna Iguana, for many years with students and teachers as an anchor book for persuasive writing. In it, young Alex writes letters to his mother, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana.  His mother writes back, with all the reasons why an iguana would not make a good pet.   In the second book,  I Wanna New Room, Alex is trying to persuade his mom to let him have his own room.  In this third book, and possibly the funniest, Alex is sent to his grandparent’s retirement community while his parents go on vacation.  His desperate emails to his parents go from complaining about being dragged to his grandpa’s bridge games to delight in eating ice cream before dinner!  I love the connection to grandparents in this book and the fact that Alex is now sending emails!   Hilarious read-aloud!

The Orchestra Pit

Orchestra Pit – Johanna Wright

What happens when an endearing snake accidently wanders into an orchestra pit instead of a snake pit?   A whole lot of playful chaos!  The snake proceeds to investigate various instruments and causes quite a commotion among the musicians.  This book is hysterical and would be a perfect way to introduce the different instruments in an orchestra to young children.  Lively, colorful illustrations and endearing expressions on the snake!  Love this!

Lucky

Lucky – David Mackintosh

I LOVED Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School when it first came out so was excited to see this new book by British author/illustrator David Mackintosh.  This book is hilarious and one that children who have ever “jumped to conclusions” will make connections to!  When Leo’s mom tells him that there will “be a surprise” at dinnertime – Leo and his brother, desperate to find out, begin coming up with all sorts of possibilities – a bike? a new car? a new TV? a swimming pool?  By the end of the day they are convinced that the surprise is an all-expense paid two week trip to Hawaii!  And of course when they get home from school and discover the real surprise, they are left feeling let down.  All children have experienced the feeling of getting their hopes up and then being let down  – but it’s how you handle your disappointment that creates the teachable moment in this book.   David Mackingtosh handles it with humour and the subtle message of how being grateful for what you already have is enough to make you feel “lucky”.  Brilliant!

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The Boy on the Porch – Sharon Creech

I always tell my students that the greatest writers don’t tell us everything, but  “leave spaces for our thinking”.  Sharon Creech’s book is a perfect example of this – she doesn’t tell us evetyhing but provides us with spaces for asking questions and for thinking.  This book is beaurtifully written – simple, tender and powerful.  It is the story of a couple who discover a boy on their porch with only his name pinned to his shirt – “Jacob”.  (What are you wondering?… Who is he?  Where did he come from?  Why did his parents leave him?  Will they come back for him?   (So many questions!)  The boy does not speak but communicates through his extraordinary gift in music and art. Eventually, he is able to communicate with animals.  I read this book in one sitting and then I cried – not because it was sad but because it was so beautiful.  And because as I read it, I could not wait to hear my students filling in the spaces.   There is no better book to read.

Well, that’s it for now!  My pile of new books is only a little smaller now but I’d better stop!  Thanks for stopping by and please share the book that caught your eye!

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Filed under Art, celebrating words, It's Monday, making connections, Music, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Social Studies, What Are You Reading?, Writing Anchors

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Early Summer Sensations!

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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: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers

It’s amazing to me how many wonderful new books keep appearing!   I can’t seem to keep up with all the amazing picture books being released and my collection keeps growing!  Here are some of the new treasures I have fallen for in the last few weeks:

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What Do You Do With an Idea? – Kobi Yamada

Every once in a while I discover a book that floods my heart with emotion and my mind with deep thoughts.  Here is such a book.  This is a book that celebrates ideas – no matter how small and how insignificant they may seem.  A little boy has an idea.  At first he doubts it, worries about it, almost rejects it – but the idea follows him around and slowly begins to grow and take shape.   I love how the idea is an actual “thing” that you can see.   The illustrations are wonderful; I loved how when the story begins, only the idea is in color – everything else in black and white.  As the idea grows, so does the color on the page.  So much to love about this book.  A great book to discuss the power of never giving up on an idea.  I would definitely use it for helping students understand how a book can change our thinking.  (TRANSFORM)

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Norman, Speak! – Caroline Adderson

This is a delightful story of a family who adopts a dog from an animal shelter.  They love this dog so much but discover that he is “not very smart”.  He does not respond very well to his new home and has a hard time learning to do what other dogs do.  While at a park one day, they discover why – this dog speaks Chinese!  They watch in amazement as he responds to the Chinese commands from another dog owner at the park.   Now it is the family who doesn’t feel very smart and decide to take Chinese lessons so they can communicate with their beloved dog.  A wonderful story to  promote questioning about animal adoption and animal communication.   My only issue was the length of the story – almost too long for a single sitting – but certainly worth reading over a few days.

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Whimsy’s Heavy Things – Julie Kraulis

This beautiful and thought-provoking books deals with depression as a simple metaphor:  “heavy things” that can weigh you down.   Whimsy carries around her “heavy things” until she discovers that by breaking them into smaller pieces, they become easier to manage.  I love the soft illustrations and the gentle tone of the story.  I can see this being an excellent book for discussion and using to infer (What do you think “heavy things” are?)  and connect (What are some heavy things that weigh you down?)

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Same, Same but Different – Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw

Comparison writing is one of six nonfiction text structures I focused on in my new book Nonfiction Writing Power.  Since using anchor books (mentor texts) is an important part of writing instruction, I am always on the look-out for new books that model the different writing structures.  While this book would be classed as fiction, not only does it work well as a model for comparative writing, it is an excellent book for teaching diversity and multiculturalism.    The book features two boys:  Elliott who lives in America and Kailash who lives in India.  They begin their friendship as pen pals and through their letters, learn about the many similarities and differences between their two lives.  A great book for making connections to culture, family and lifestyle.  Colorful, cheerful illustrations.

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Whale Shines – An Artistic Tale – Fiona Robinson

Beautifully illustrated story of Whale trying to find something he can contribute to the upcoming undersea art show.  All his sea creature friends have artistic talents, but whale feels like he has nothing to offer.  I loved the illustrations and the great message of perseverance and creativity. Also a great link to science – learning about different sea creatures as well as whale’s discovery of bioluminescent phytoplankton that he uses to create his art.  I also love how each sea creature uses their own natural characteristic to develop their artistic talent.    

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The Numberlys – William Joyce

Once upon a time there were no numbers – only the alphabet. And so begins the latest visually stunning book by master creator William Joyce.  The text is simple but the illustrations add a layer of sophistication to this story of the world before numbers were created. The book starts out with only numbers in the world and the world is gray, lifeless and dull. Then The Numberlys decide that change is necessary and they create Letters !   And then the world comes to life and the pages have color!  The value of both numbers and letters is reminiscent of 1, 2, 3 Versus A, B, C by Michael Boldt, but Joyce manages to add a sophisticated flair to the concept.  This would be a great book to illustrate the value of numbers and letters in learning.

17941626                  Billie B Brown: The Birthday Mix-up

 The Winning Goal – Sally Rippin        The Birthday Mix-Up – Sally Rippin

It’s often hard to find books for emergent readers that are both age and language appropriate.  Sally Rippin‘s series are excellent for children who are transitioning into very easy chapter books.  There is a series of books featuring Jack and another featuring Billy Brown (who is a girl). But the fun part is that Jack is a character in the Billy books and Billy is a character in the Jack books.  Very simple vocabulary and stories children will find many connections to.

 

Thanks for stopping by!  I’d love to know which book has caught your eye!

 

 

 

 

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Filed under Art, Connect, Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Multicultural, New Books, Picture Book, Reading Power, Science, Transform, Writing Anchors

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday

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I’m excited to be joining Alyson Beecher from Kid Lit Frenzy in this year’s Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge 2014  I’m hoping to discover many new nonfiction books that I can share with my students at school and with other teachers at workshops.  Link up here to join in!

What If You Had Animal Teeth? (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition)        What If You Had Animal Hair?

What if You Had Animal Teeth (or Hair) – Sandra Markle

These nonfiction books are a combination of hilarious illustrations and images of humans with animal features and interesting facts and information.  I like that there is just enough information to make it interesting but not so much that it becomes overwhelming.   They make GREAT read-alouds and have kids laughing and wanting more.  I know a book is popular with kids when after I read it and put it up on display – EVERYONE wants to take it to their desks to read again!

Bright Ideas: The Science of Light      Hot Stuff: The Science of Heat and Cold   Push and Pull: The Science of Forces

The Big Bang Science Experiments Series – Jay Hawkins

My school is in the midst of preparing for our annual school Science Fair.  Students are always coming to the library looking for books about Science experiments.   This is a great series to have on hand – the simple and effective experiments are clearly explained and the photographs of young kids conducting the experiments make them very engaging.

Peter Kent's City Across Time

City Across Time – Peter Kent

I love books that you can sit and pour over and find new things to look at every time.  Peter Kent’s book follows a city from the Stone Age through to the 21st century.  Each double page spread shows a detailed cross section illustration of a  different time period.  The illustrations are amazing – and I can see kids spending hours looking through the pages, noticing the details and, at the same time, learning about different periods in history.  It’s a must have for a library or classroom.  A great book to choose one or two pages to project and invite students infer and compare different time periods.

The Noisy Paint Box:  The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art  – Barb Rosenstock

So much to love about this picture book biography about the life of one of the very first painters of abstract art – Vasily Kandinsky.  The illustrations by Mary Grandpre (love her!) are extraordinary.  I was fascinated by the story of this remarkable artist – who “heard” colors and who, as a child, struggled to paint because his paintbox was “too noisy”.  He grew, eventually, to embrace the sound of color and painted his bold ground-breaking words of art from his “noisy paint box”.   I loved the celebration of someone who clearly marched to his own drum and celebrated his unique talent in his own way.   An amazing story and I really appreciated the extensive information included at the back.

                                                                                  

Nest – Jorey Hurley

Nest tells the life cycle of a Robin through the seasons – beginning and ending in a nest.  It is a debut picture book from this author and I am MOST impressed!  It is so simple – just one word on each page – and there is a quiet tenderness to this book.  A perfect book for introducing primary students to life cycles and changing seasons.  Gorgeous.  I will be looking out for more from this author!

The Scraps Book: Notes From a Colorful Life – Lois Ehlert

I am SOOOOO excited about this book!  If you love Lois Ehlert – this is a MUST have!  In this amazing autobiography, Lois Ehlert shares her life story, through words, scraps of paper, photographs and painted pictures.  This is a behind the scenes look into her innovative and creative books.  This book is a celebration of creativity and I was SO inspired after I read it.  I KNOW I will be reading it to my class and using it as an anchor book for Art and writing.  AMAZING!

What nonfiction books have you been reading?

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Filed under Art, New Books, NFPB Challenge 2014, Science