Category Archives: Beginning Chapter Book

Top Ten Tuesday – Favorite new books and series for early readers

top 10

Several teachers have asked me recently for recommendations of books for emerging readers in grades K-2.  After a few visits to book stores, I have discovered a few new series I believe fit the bill!  These books are all written in short chapters, easy to read text, and colorful, explanatory pictures.  Hope there are a few books here that you can add to your classroom and library collections.

Charlie & Mouse by [Snyder, Laurel]

  1. Charlie and Mouse – Laurel Snyder

Two lively, inventive brothers, four hilarious stories!  Lots of fun and imagination!

2. Barkus – Patricia MacLachlan

Beloved children’s author’s new series (out in June) about a spunky girl named Nicky and an adorable dog, Barkus, who she receives from her uncle.  Humourous and energetic.

3. Bradford Street Buddies – Jardine Nolan

Wonderful realistic series set in a multi-cultural neighbourhood with a focus on family and friends.  I love the diversity of the characters.  Each book includes four chapters.

Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog by [Meisel, Peter]
4. Stinky Spike the Pirate Dog – Peter Meisel

For those looking for a little adventure, here is a delightful series that includes dogs, pirates, stinky smells, and treasure!  What more could you want?

5. Bramble and Maggie: Horse Meets Girl – Jessie Haas

Especially for horse lovers  –  this is the story of a devoted girl Maggie and her wonderful horse friend, Bramble.  I especially love the colored illustrations.

6. Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea – Ben Clanton

Simple text in a graphic novel format make this a wonderful early reader choice.  Three entertaining episodes about the friendship between Narwhal and Jelly.  I like how we learn some interesting facts about narwhals and jelly fish along the way.  Simple line drawings that will inspire young artists!

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7. Owl Diaries – Rebecca Elliott

I loved the colorful bright illustrations and the simple text.  Each book in the series gently teaches lessons such as time management, conflict resolution, delegating others to help get the job done.

9. Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! – Grace Lin

I love Grace Lin’s books but had not seen this early reader series until now.  Adorable series about twin sisters who may look alike but are different in many ways.  I love how the book has six very short chapters, the colorful illustrations and the dumpling story!

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10. The Bad Guys – Episode 1 – Aaron Blabey

Simple text, clear, explanatory pictures makes this a perfect choice for emergent readers. It is hysterical, a little “off” and includes lots of sharp teeth, a few farts, and a car powered by undiluted panther pee!  Captain Underpants fans will love this series!

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

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Filed under Beginning Chapter Book, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Last day of summer reading

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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

Well, summer is officially over.  School begins tomorrow and, to be honest, I’m actually excited.  As much as I enjoyed every moment of the summer break, I am looking forward to the new school year ahead.  I read so many wonderful new books this summer that I’m looking forward to sharing… So here is the last of my summer book bliss…

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A Family is a Family is a Family – Sara O’Leary

The way schools care about children is reflected in the way schools care about the children’s families. – Joyce L. Epstein

Wow.  This book.  This book.  When a teacher asks her students to think about what makes their family special, the variety of answers have one thing in common.  This book celebrates all that family is – every shape, size and every kind of relation.  Diversity at its finest, this is a special book that needs to be shared.

  Because of an Acorn – Lola M. Schaefer

A poetic look at the inter-connectedness of an ecosystem and the circle of life.  A simple introduction for primary students.

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Goodbye Summer, Hello Autumn – Kenard Pak

Gorgeous illustrations in this book about the transition from one season to another.  As a  young girl takes a walk, she notices changes in weather, animals, and landscape.  Lovely book for visualizing!

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What Do Grown-Ups Do All Day? Virginie Morgand

A great book for exploring different occupations of grown-ups in the community.   Explore fifteen detailed, busy scenes set in diverse work places, then turn the page to find out what each person’s job entails. This is a book you can pour over and find something new every time.

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The Lines on Nana’s Face – Simona Ciraolo

Lines on a grandma’s face hold her memories – each wrinkle a precious moment in her life.  This book made me miss my mum.

Branch, The by [Messier, Mireille]

The Branch – Mireille Messier

When an ice storm breaks a young girl’s favorite branch, she refuses to throw it away until a kind neighbour helps her transform it into something special.  Vibrant illustrations.  I would pair this book with Solomon’s Tree by Andrea Spalding.

The Not So Quiet Library – Zachariah Ohora

You gotta love books about libraries – and here is the perfect new book for your school library this fall!  An entertaining, quirky read-aloud following Oskar and Theodore as they are dropped off at the library while dad goes to the ‘nap section’ (LOL!)  Lots of things to love about this book, including a very enthusiastic librarian, an unlimited check-out rule and an awesome car!

They All Saw A Cat – Brendan Wenzel

“And the cat walked through the world, with its whiskers, ears, and paws”.  And so this repeating phrase grounds us through a wonderfully effective lesson on perspective as it delivers a whimsical little story about a wandering cat.    Clever, unique, enchanting, poetic.  LOVE!

Super Happy Party Bears: Gnawing Around by [Colleen, Marcie]

Party Bears: Gnawing Around – Marcie Colleen

The first book in a funny new beginner chapter book series filled with full color illustrations and adorable animals!  To the Super Happy Party Bears, everything is a good thing. They love doughnuts, dancing – basically their entire attitude can be summed up in one word: YAY!

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story by [Baskin, Nora Raleigh]

Nine, Ten: A September 11 Story – Nora Raleigh Baskin

This moving middle grade novel addresses themes of racism, prejudice, terrorism, fear, love, and healing.  In it, we follow four middle graders in the days and hours leading up tot the 9/11 and how the day impacts their lives.  Beautiful, heartfelt, important.

Thanks for stopping by!  Would love to know what book has caught your eye!

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Filed under Beginning Chapter Book, Diverse Children's Books, Fall, Family, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Novels, Picture Book, Read-Aloud, Seasons

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? May Day Reading!

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

Reading is a great distraction so after a difficult few weeks, I’m happy to focus on some of the wonderful new books I’ve had a chance to read.

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How to Read a Story – Kate Messner

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

I have been waiting for weeks for this book to come out and it’s finally here! This is the most wonderful, charming, delightful book about reading I have seen in a long time. Not only is it an excellent anchor book for instructional writing, it is a beautiful book about the importance and pleasures of reading. This book would be a perfect one to start the school year and would also make a wonderful baby shower gift! Wonderful, entertaining illustrations enhance the text. (The only step that was missing for me was “Sniff the pages”!) This is a MUST have classroom book!

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The Cow Tripped Over the Moon: A Nursery Rhyme Emergency – Jeanne Willis

Such fun reading this hilarious book which follows an ambulance as it comes to the aid of characters in nursery rhymes!   Paramedics rescue the cow who tripped over the moon and cracked Humpty Dumpty – delightful!  Rhyming text and fantastic illustrations –  This book is idea for sharing and would be a great addition to a nursery rhyme unit. 

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Ballet Cat – The Totally Secret Secret – Bob Shea

Initially,  I didn’t think I would like this book because the illustrations didn’t appeal to me at first.  But after reading the story, I realized how they compliment the quirkiness of this delightful story.  Sparkles the Pony and Ballet the Cat are trying to decide what to do together but a secret may get in the way of their decision.  This is a wonderful beginning reader similar to the Elephant and Piggy books.  Lots of important themes in this simple story:  overcoming problems that arise when friends who have different interests and want to play different things; how to talk  about your feelings and showing empathy. Love the “talking bubbles”!

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This is Sadie – Sara O’Leary

Sigh.  I love Sadie.  I love this book and its simple message about the power of imagination.  Sadie is an adorable, whimsical little girl who doesn’t ever leave her room, but whose glorious imagination takes her to far away places, exotic places, magical places.  From sun up to sun down, silent Sadie has glorious adventures.  This book is so so lovely.  It had a soft, lyrical quality and phenomenal illustrations. (I could not stop running my fingers over the pages!)  This book is my new treasure book.

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Good Morning To Me! – Lita Judge

Although I didn’t enjoy this book as much as Flight School (loved that book!), this lively book tells the story of a cheerful, energetic parrot named Beatrix who can’t wait to start the day.  So she wakes up all her sleepy animal friends using her “outside” voice.  This book is fun, but I found the comic style panel illustrations a little busy and would be challenging to share with a whole class.

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Where Are My Books? – Debbie Ridpath Ohi

What is happening to Spencer’s books?  Spencer loves to read but when his favorite books start to disappear, and are replaced with flowers and nuts, he doesn’t know what to do. A fun, slightly odd but engaging story with a surprise ending. (Liked but didn’t love)

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Daddy Sat on a Duck Scott M. Cohn

Perfect timing for Father’s day – this book is a hilarious tribute to “real” dads.  What are those loud, strange noises?   A young girl is convinced they are wild beasts and not her dad.  Fun, heartwarming look at bodily functions that many children (and parents) will make connections to!  I only wish it wasn’t written in rhyming verse as I felt it took away from the content.

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 Butterfly Park Elly Mackay

Gorgeous, captivating, unique, charming!  My favorite book this week.   It tells the sweet story of a little girl who moves to a new town and discovers a place called “Butterfly Park”.  The only problem is, there are no butterflies to be found anywhere.  So the young girl sets out to find the butterflies, inspiring the entire town to join in the search.  Wonderful message about working together to build community and make a difference.   The paper-cut out illustrations are truly amazing!  This is a keeper!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please let me know which book(s) caught your eye!

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Filed under Beginning Chapter Book, Friendship, It's Monday, making connections

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Februrary Fun!

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.

I have discovered some wonderful new picture books this week that I’m excited to share!

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Red: A Crayon’s Story – Michael Hall

I love books that have different layers of interpretation and I can see Red as having the potential to stimulate some deep discussions with older children. Red is a crayon who doesn’t fit in – he has a bright red label, but never quite feels as if he belongs and is miserable. The reason is – he’s actually a blue crayon with a red label. Readers know this, but Red doesn’t realize until a new friend offers him some insight on his true color. This story is simple, clever celebration of inner diversity. Simple prose, colorful illustrations – this book is a gem! 

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I Don’t Want to Be A Frog! – Dave Petty

I absolutely LOVED this book!  It’s hilarious and carries a great message about self esteem and self acceptance.  Little Frog does NOT want to be a frog – in fact he would rather be ANY other animal than a slimy, wet, bug eating frog!  Beautiful illustrations, funny and I am already thinking it would be a great writing anchor for “What Animal Would You Rather Be?”   Fantastic book!

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Click Clack Peep! – Doreen Cronin

Here’s another “Click, Clack” book to add to my collection, and while it doesn’t quite live up to the original “Click, Clack, Moo!” – I enjoyed it very much!  The story centers around a little duck who is not going to sleep.  The cows, and all the animals provide amusing suggestions on how to get this little duck to sleep, while Farmer Brown has no clue what is going on.  This book would make a great gift for new parents! 

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The Bear Ate Your Sandwich – Julia Sarcone-Roach

This is a VERY clever book with a surprise ending that your students will love but likely not suspect!    You left your sandwich on a park bench while you left to play with your friends and when you come back – it’s gone.  What happened to it?  And so begins the detailed recounting of what happened to your sandwich – a bear at it!  Or did it?  Hilarious and fun – this book is a perfect read-aloud and would make an excellent anchor for re-telling an event in sequence with lots of examples of transition words. 

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One Big Pair of Underwear – Laura Gehl

Fun, rhyming text and hilarious illustrations – this is an excellent book for teaching counting and the importance of sharing!  Silly and fun – and we all know how much kids love listening to us read the word “underwear”!

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Sick Simon – Dan Krall

Simon is sick but he still goes to school… and spreads his germs to everyone!  Hmmm…I was not quite sure about this one because the illustrations were pretty disgusting – graphic illustrations of phlegm and mucus – Blech!  But I believe that was intentional!  This is a must book for the classroom during cold and flu season as it is an effective way to talk about germs and how illness is spread.   

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Bone by Bone: Comparing Animal Skeletons – Sara Levine

“Have you ever wondered what we would look like if we didn’t have any bones? It wouldn’t be pretty.” These are the first lines from this interesting, interactive Nonfiction book. A conversational, question-answer format, this book introduces young readers to different skeletons – from humans to animals. Great for introducing comparing and a perfect read-aloud in a primary classroom. Engaging, interesting and fun!  Thank you, Carrie Gelson, for introducing me to this book!

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Lulu’s Mysterious Mission – Judith Viorst

I first learned of this book from our amazing teacher-librarian at my school.  She told me how much her own two girls had loved this beginning chapter series and now it was a very popular book in our library.  I also noticed on Alyson Beecher’s blog post Kid Lit Frenzy  that it had recently won a Cybil award (Children’s and Young Adult Bloggers Literary Awards) for best early chapter book 2014.  And who doesn’t love anything written by Judith Viorst?  So… I knew I had to read it!  This is actually the third installment in the Lulu series – and begins with Lulu’s parents going out of town and leaving her with a babysitter – Ms. Sonia Sofia Solinsky!  Lulu is NOT pleased and concocts many different plans to bring her parents home, until Ms. Solinsky reveals a secret!  This book has simple enough text for beginning readers but is chocker-block full of fun!  I loved it and am now going to put my name on the wait list in our library for the other two!

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 The Crossover – Kwame Alexander

Josh Bell
is my name.
But Filthy McNasty is my claim to fame
Folks call me that
’cause my game’s acclaimed,
so downright dirty, it’ll put you to shame.
My hair is long, my height’s tall.
See, I’m the next Kevin Durant,
LeBron, and Chris Paul.

WOW! Oh Wow! From the second you start reading this book, you will not be able to stop! Basketball loving, dread-locked Josh Bell stole my heart and he will steal yours. This book was recently awarded the Newberry for 2015 and has been getting a lot of buzz. I was reluctant because I don’t really like basketball and am not a huge fan of books in verse. But this book is nothing like anything I’ve ever read: dazzling characters with amazing voices; rollicking, rhyming, bouncing rhythm; extraordinary writing; a powerful ending; themes of sportsmanship, family, siblings, coming of age, diversity, death, courage… This book is brilliant, funny, poignant, entertaining. And in case you haven’t inferred – I LOVED this book! YOU MUST READ IT! And if you teach grades 6-9 (I’d go as low as grade 5) YOU MUST READ THIS BOOK TO YOUR CLASS! Okay, I’ll stop.

Extended book trailer:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BONWz5Ao82E

Funny clip by the author: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iO2-u1258UU

 

Thanks for stopping by!  What book(s) caught your eye?  I’d love to know!

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Filed under Award Winner, Beginning Chapter Book, Book in Verse, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Sports