Category Archives: Indigenous Stories

Orange Shirt Day: A Day of Remembrance, Memory Bags, and Anchor Books

September 30th is Orange Shirt Day and the first National Day of remembrance: a day to acknowledge and honour the victims of the Canadian residential school system. Leading up to this day, it is important to begin the conversations around Truth and Reconciliation, no matter what grade you teach. As with many classroom conversations, picture books provide an access point into the discussions.

Here is a short video by CBC Kids News to explain “indigenous” that might be helpful to support the conversation. https://youtu.be/CISeEFTsgDA

The Inspiration

While not all the books on residential schools may be age appropriate for younger students, Nicola Campbell’s book Shi-Shi-Etko is a gentle way to begin the conversation. It is a beautifully told and illustrated story about the four days before a young Indigenous girl must leave her family and go to residential school. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember, while Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories to remind her of home.

Shi-shi-etko | CBC Books

Shi-Shi-Etko – Nicola Campbell

The Lesson

Part 1

• Write the word “home” on the board. Invite students to think about the word – ask them what connection, feeling, and visual image do they think of when they see this word. Invite students to share with a partner or share out with the class.
• Ask the students if they have ever been away from home? Discuss going away from home with your family vs. going away by yourself.
• Introduce the book Shi-Shi-etko by Nicola Campbell. Tell the students it is a book about an Indigenous girl who is leaving her home to go away to school. But she is young and she doesn’t want to go and she is going without her family. Ask the students what that might be like? What feelings would she be having?


NOTE: At this point, you may want to introduce the subject of residential schools. This would depend on your grade level. If so, explain that many indigenous children were sent away to school. In the schools, they were given English names, their hair was cut short, and they were not allowed to speak their own language or talk about their culture. Discuss what that might have been like.


• Explain that before Shi-Shi-Etko goes to school, she is trying to collect memories of her home. Her mom, grandmother, and father are telling her to remember her home, her land, laughter, dancing when she is away at school.
• Invite the students to listen carefully to the way the author uses the senses to help us get a feeling about the girl’s home and what are some of the memories she collects.
• Read the story.
• Discuss some of the “memories” she was keeping. Explain that a memory is a connection she makes between an object and something from home.
• Draw a large “bag” on a shared screen or chart paper. As students respond, draw and label the items inside the bag: fireweed, paintbrush(flower), sprig, leaf, columbine, sage, pinecone. (If possible, show images of these plants on your ipad or smart board)
• Pass out “Memory Bag” paper. Invite students to draw Shi-Shi-Etko’s memories inside the bag. (see sample below)

Download the Memory Bag Template HERE

Lesson – Part 2

NOTE: You will need to prepare for this lesson by gathering objects from your home that you would put into your memory bag – to help you remember home. If possible, hide them inside a paper or drawstring bag.


• Review story of Shi-Shi-Etko. Remind students that in order to remember her home, her land, her family, Shi-shi-Etko collected “memories” for her memory bag.
• Ask the students to imagine having their own memory bag to store things to help them remember their home.
• Explain that you have collected some items from your home that you have strong connections to. They help you remember your home. (If possible, bring real objects from home for this lesson) Take each item out of the bag and explain why you chose it and what it reminds you of.
Example:
 sprig of lavender – my grannie’s favorite flower and the smell reminds me of her
 knitting needle – reminds me of my mom because she loved to knit
 maple leaf – reminds me of the maple tree in my front yard which was a wedding gift (reminds me of my husband)
 piece of fur – from my dog to remind me of her
 heart shaped pebble – reminds me of my sons


• Have students talk with a partner about some of the things they might want to put into their memory bag. Discuss how a toy may be something fun to play with but may not help them remember their home.
• Pass out the blank memory bag (same as part 1) Invite students to draw and label things inside their Memory Bag.
• On the back, they can list their items and why it is special to them.

Download the Memory Bag Template HERE

End the lesson
• Ask the students to compare their memory bags with Shi-Shi-Etko’s. What do you notice? All of Shi-Shi-Etko’s memories are connected to the land. Explain to students that Indigenous people believe that the land connects us all.

Other books to support Orange Shirt Day:

The Orange Shirt Story – Phyllis Webstad

The original book that started the Orange Shirt Day movement. Geared for older students. Watch the author, Phyllis Webstad, talk about the book. (As always, please preview the video before sharing with your students) https://youtu.be/E3vUqr01kAk

Phyllis’s Orange Shirt – Phyllis Webstad

An adaptation of The Orange Shirt Story for younger students.

The Train – Jodie Calleghan

Secret Path : Downie, Gord, Lemire, Jeff: Amazon.ca: Books

The Secret Path – Gordon Downie

Tragically Hip front man, the late Gordon Downie collaborated with illustrator Jeff Lemire to create this graphic novel picture book that tells the true story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, a twelve-year-old boy who died trying to walk home after fleeing from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. Gordon Downie wrote 10 powerful songs to go along with the book. Recommended for older students.

When We Were Alone – David A. Robertson

I am Not A Number – Jenny K. Dupuis

When I Was Eight – Christy Jordan-Fenton

I Lost My Talk – Rita Joe

I’m Finding My Talk – Rebecca Thomas

Speaking Our Truth – A Journey of Reconciliation – Monique Gray Smith

You Hold Me Up – Monique Grey Smith

NOTE:

When I was a student in elementary school in the early 70’s, I had never heard of residential schools. None of my teachers mentioned it. In my early years of teaching, I didn’t talk to my students about residential schools because it was not in our curriculum, and no teacher mentioned it. Hard to admit that, but it’s true. Thank you to all of you for mentioning, acknowledging, and honoring this important truth. Every child does matter.

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Filed under Indigenous Stories, OLLI, Online Books and Lessons, Orange Shirt Day, residential school, Truth and reconciliation

Top Ten Tuesday – Outdoor Learning Anchor Books – part 2

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Last week, I posted my Ten for Ten book list featuring my top ten books for inspiring and supporting Outdoor Learning.  You can read that post HERE.  The response was overwhelming, as many teachers are looking for different ways to support their students this fall during Covid times.  I discovered so many amazing books connected to this, I decided to continue “the love” in a second post.

Here are ten more (I can’t count very well!) recommended books for inspiring and supporting your Outdoor Learning lessons, including indigenous stories and professional resources.

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A Walk in the Forest – Maria Dek

I love being in the forest.  It fills my soul.  This book really makes me want to go into the forest, feel the forest dirt under my feet and the forest air in my lungs.  So simple, yet so evocative. A beautiful book.

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Step Gently Out – Helen Frost

Step outside, take some time to be still and just watch the world. Get down low to the ground or close to some plants, and you’re sure to see tiny animals going about their business. This book beautifully captures the wonder we experience when we notice the beauty of nature.  A perfect read-aloud before taking a nature walk with your class.

The Golden Glow Benjamin Flow

This quiet, beautiful story, originally published in French, is about a botany-loving fox on a mission to find a rare golden glow flower. Along his trek, he passes through many trees, mountains, flowers and friends.  When he finally reaches the rare golden glow flower, he realizes that it needs to stay where it is.  Instead of picking it, he carefully draws it in his journal instead, so he can remember it.  Lots of great messages and topics to “infer” and discuss in this one!

A Bug Girl: A True Story – Sophia Spencer and Margaret McNamura

At a very young age, Sophia Spencer develops a deep passion for bugs.  Despite the bullying she receives, with the help of her mother, she finds “her people” –   hundreds of women scientists rallied around her through encouraging letters.  This is an inspiring true story celebrating women in science, bugs of all kinds, and the importance of staying true to yourself.

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Picture a Sky Barbara Reid

In Barbara Reid signature clay illustrations, this book is a perfect anchor for transforming our understanding and thinking about the ever-changing sky.  Great for cloud watching, imagining, and art.

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Tiny, Perfect Things -M. H. Clark

Such a beautiful book intended to help young readers become aware of the wonders around them every day.   A child and grandfather’s walk around the neighborhood leads to a day of shared wonder as they discover all sorts of tiny, perfect things together.   Rhythmic storytelling and detailed illustrations.

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Just in Case You Want to Fly – Julie Fogliano

Let’s take a trip!  Delightful rhyming text and collage pictures depicting the important things to take with you on a trip.  Ends with a map with an “x” so readers can find their way home.  Lovely rhyming text.  I would use this for inspiring students to make their own map and list for things to take on their trip.

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Please Take Me For A Walk – Susan Gal

A simple and endearing story of a 4 legged friend who just wants to go for a walk!  Read this like YOU are the dog begging and telling why you want to go on the walk.  Your students will love it!  Great for persuasive writing and story mapping.  

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Windows Julia Denos

Lovely picture book of a child exploring his little world and many other worlds, all beautifully framed in a window.  Gentle celebration of neighborhoods, diversity, stories, imagination, and home.

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The Things That I Love About Trees – Chris Butterworth

I love trees.  I love changing seasons.  This book has both.  I love this book. It’s a  simple look at trees throughout the seasons of one year.   Connection to The Important Book by Margaret Wise Brown.

A Walk on the Shoreline – Rebecca Hainnu

A follow up toA Walk on the Tundra, this book is full of interesting facts about the  Canadian Arctic, and in particular, the rich plants and animals the Inuit gather and hunt during the short Arctic summer months.  Both books would be excellent companion books for your study of Inuit culture, land, and traditions.  Recommended for older readers due to the longer text.

Lessons From Mother Earth – Elaine McCleod

Tess visits her grandmother and learns about the earth, how it has sustained her and her family, as well as how to pick just the right amount of berries and plants.  Lovely story celebrating nature and learning about how the indigenous people respect and care for the earth.

I Help – Caitlin Dale Nickolson

A young boy follows his grandmother, walking, listening, picking, praying, eating, just as she does.  Simple text full of rich cultural traditions and values of his Cree heritage.  Written in both English and Cree.  Beautiful large book with gorgeous illustrations.

PROFESSIONAL RESOURCES 

Messy Maths: A Playful Outdoor Approach – Juliet Robertson

I have seem lots of mentions on this book on social media sites so it’s definitely one teachers are using.   The author’s first book, Dirty Teaching” (below) was first published in in 2014 and was extremely popular in the UK, where she is from.

Dirty Teaching – A Beginner’s Guide to Learning Outdoors – Juliet Robertson

This is a very helpful and practical resource for teachers just new to outdoor learning – full of tips and tricks “to help any primary school teacher kick-start or further develop their outdoor practice.”

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The Big Book of Nature Activities:  A Year-Round Guide to Outdoor Learning – Drew Monkman

An excellent holistic nature adventure and education book. Whether you are new to nature exploration, a teacher, a parent, a young person, or a seasoned explorer, this book has something for you. It hits on the basics and further with introductions and tips and tricks to general exploration and then the seasonal activities — which include information and considerations, so more than just go outside and play activities.

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The Outdoor Classroom In Practice – Karen Constable

Inspiring, practical resource to help teachers make the most of the outdoors all year round.  Gorgeous colored photos and a month-to-month guide that explores theme-related play experiences.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you have found one or two books that caught your eye!

Have a wonderful week and enjoy the last weeks of summer!

 

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Filed under environment, Indigenous Stories, New Books, Outdoor Learning, Picture Book, Professional Books, Read-Aloud, Top 10 Tuesday, Writing Anchor book

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? New for Spring 2020 (Read, Sniff, Share!)

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It’s actually Tuesday but better late than never!  Sniff! Sniff!  Can you guess?  I’m in book sniffing heaven!  I am extremely fortunate to receive copies of new books from exceptional Canadian publishers twice a year.  Thank you to Orca Books, Raincoast Books, and Kids Can Press for sharing your new spring titles with me so I can share them with everyone!  Hooray for new books!  Check out more #IMWAYR posts on  http://www.teachmentortexts.com/ or http://www.unleashingreaders.com/

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What If Bunny’s Not a Bully?  – Lana Button (Kids Can Press)

I loved this book! Unique and important look at bullies through the lens of inclusion, empathy and second chances.  Lovely rhyming texts and adorable illustrations are delightful making this a perfect read-aloud for your Pre-K, K, and Gr. 1 students.

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Why Do We Cry? – Fran Pintadera

A little boy asks his mother why we cry and she gently explains all the different emotions expressed by tears: sadness, anger, loneliness, frustration, confusion, and happiness. Wonderfully expressive illustrations and so many beautiful moments.  LOVE!  Oh my.  This is definitely an “Adrienne” book!  Filled with poetic language, imagery, metaphors, deep thinking questions – a perfect anchor for writing and also for teaching “Transform” and nudging our thinking about the concept of crying.  (I would use this book with the “one word” activity -“cry”).

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A Stopwatch from Grampa – Loretta Gabutt (Kids Can press) 

A simple and touching story about a child coming up to terms with his/her grandfather passing away.  This book features a gender-neutral main character (no first name or pronouns used) experiencing the five stages of grief (denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance) in a sensitive and subtle manner.  This is a perfect choice for discussions with children about their emotions, particularly the feeling of loss.

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What Grew in Larry’s Garden – Laura Alary

A lot of punch packed into 32 pages of this book, based on a true story of an elderly man and his “pay it forward” attitude.  While gardening is a big part of the story,  you could use it for so many themes including friendship, problem solving, small acts of kindness, community action and the power of kids to help make change in the world.   I would use this book to launch a unit ways to support our local community.

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I Got You a Present! – Susanne McLennan and Mike Erskine-Kellie

Fast-paced, lively story for younger primary students about a Ducky who is trying to buy his friend the perfect birthday gift.  Bright, fun illustrations – this would make an engaging read-aloud, great for making connections and illustrating the concept of “determination”.  LOVE the surprise ending!

We are Water Protectors – Carole Lindstrom

This book focuses on the indigenous perspective and would be a great one for discussing pipeline issues and standing up for environmental injustices.  I enjoyed the story but equally the back notes, which provided important background information about the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.  Gorgeous, colorful illustrations.  I would pair this with The Water Walker by Joanne Robertson.

Hike Pete Oswald

Beautiful celebration of parent-child relationships and the magic of the wilderness.   This story follows a child and father as they experience a hike together.  It is nearly wordless and a perfectly paced adventure that invites readers to appreciate the beauty of nature along with the child and father; to pause, wonder, and marvel at the views they experience on their hike.  Gorgeous watercolor illustrations.   I LOVE hiking and I LOVE this book!

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Snow White and the Seven Robots – Stewart Ross

Cute sci-fi twist on Snow White with robots instead of dwarves.  When the wicked step queen abandons snow white on a planet, she uses the space ship to build herself some robot helpers.  I was not aware of this “twisted fairy tale” series by Stewart Ross until now but am excited to check his other books including Octo-Puss in Boots and The Ginjabread Man.  

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Help Wanted: Must Love Books – by Janet Summer Johnson

A book about loving books?  Yes, please!!!!  This is such a delightful story about a young girl who sets out to interview potential “bed-time story readers” to replace her dad (she fired him!)  Next comes a string of familiar fairy tale characters applying for the job, but each one seems to have a problem (Sleeping Beauty falls asleep during the interview;  Gingerbread man steals her books and runs away).  Such a cute premise and I love the determination and spunk of Shailey, the main character.  Lots of chuckles with this one!

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The Boreal Forest: A Year in the World’s Largest Land Biome L.E. Carmichael.

Beautifully illustrated reference book about the seasonal changes of plants and animals in the Boreal Forest.  Not so much a “sit down and read in one setting” book but a perfect one for “snip-it read alouds”.   Lots of great descriptive, triple-scoop words (there is a lot of onomatopoeia) and amazing details about the forest.  I learned a LOT!

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Bringing Back the Wolves – How a Predator Restored an Ecosystem – Jude Isabella

Fascinating description of the 1995 reintroduction of wolves into the ecosystem of Yellowstone National Park, after they were all but eliminated by hunters in the late 1800’s.   Gorgeous illustrations and simple nonfiction narrative style that younger readers will understand.  This is an excellent book to illustrate the concept of inter-contentedness of ecosystems.  I would pair it with Sparrow Girl by Sara Pennypacker.

The Keeper of Wild Words – Brooke Smith

Shocking true story: the most recent Oxford Junior Dictionary, widely used in schools around the world, removed 40 common ‘wild words’ (words connected to nature) from their dictionary.  Their justification was that “wild words” like apricot, blackberry, dandelion, and buttercup were not being used by enough by children to warrant their place in the dictionary. (Seriously?)  One might infer from this drastic decision that children are becoming less and less engaged with the natural world so less likely to have the need to use these words.  GULP!  YIKES!  HELP!  I first learned about this shocking removal of words from the exquisite book “The Lost Words” by Robert Macfarlane and illustrated by the amazing Jackie Morris.   While this book is stunningly beautiful, its sheer size (and cost) makes it less of a classroom book and more of a coffee table or gift book.  But the story itself needs to be be shared and so I am THRILLED to see this more accessible version for younger readers.  It weaves the story of a grandmother electing her granddaughter as the “Keeper of Wild Words” because the only way to save words is to know them, use them, and cherish them.   This book is a celebration of shared love between generations, nature, and words.  I can’t wait to share it, to inspire children to become more familiar with “wild words”, and to encourage some “wild writing”!!!  Buy this book.  Share this book.  That is all.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hoping one or two books have caught your eye!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Filed under 2020 Releases, Activism, bullying, Community, Emotions, Grief, IMWAYR, Indigenous Stories, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, JK-K, New Books, Picture Book, Transform, Writing Anchor book, Writing Anchors

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? New books from RFTLOI conference!

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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

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Last week, I was presenting in Toronto at Reading For the Love Of It Conference.  This was my 4th conference and I’m always THRILLED to participate.  Not only are there amazing presenters (and many fan-girl moments for me!) but there is also a HUGE publishing display – which means (you guessed it!) BOOK BUYING!  My friend Tory McTaggart from Bound2Learn Publishing always brings the most amazing picture books!  My suitcase was FULL!   Here are the favorite finds I brought back:

Say Something! Peter H. Reynolds

“Your voice can inspire, heal, and transform.  Your voice can change the world.  Are you ready to say something?”  Amazing book inspiring young people to stand up, share their voice, and speak up for what they you believe in.  An inspiring, non-preachy call to action by the amazing Peter. H. Reynolds

Little Brown – Marla Frazee

LOVE! LOVE! LOVE!   So much potential for discussion with this book!  Is Little Brown left alone because he is cranky or is he cranky because he is left alone?  These are just two of the many questions readers will be faced with in this book.   I love that Marla Frazee doesn’t dummy down the story, includes great “grown-up” words like “dilemma” and ends the story without an ending – inviting the reader to come up with the best solution to help Little Brown.   I can already see writing activities, skits, and tips.  Adorable illustrations.

How to Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy Steps – Nicola Winstanley

A perfect addition to your instructional writing anchor book collection!  Tongue in cheek spoof on a typical instructional manual because, SURPRISE!, cats don’t like to be bathed!  Super cute and giggle-worthy!

The Girl and the Wolf Katherena Vermette

The Girl and the Wolf is a sort of reversal of Little Red Riding Hood but with a lovely message. When a girl gets lost in the woods, a wolf guides her to finding her own way home. The wolf does not lead her home but asks the girl what she will do. When she answers, “I don’t know”, the wolf reassures her that she does, indeed, know. He encourages her to close her eyes and take a breath before trying again to determine her course of action. So many great themes in this book – problem solving, questioning, indigenous ways of knowing, mindful breathing, staying calm, nature, instincts, survival skills, inner strength. This would make an excellent addition to your indigenous book collection!

The Wall in the Middle of the Book Jon Agee

Wow.  This book is pretty much a metaphor for what is going on in the US at the moment.   Jon Agee does an amazing job with simple text and simple illustrations to share a strong message.  A knight is convinced that the wall is protecting him from all the dangers on the “other side”.  Great split screen illustrations show just how wrong the knight is!  I think kids will enjoy shouting out the “dangers” that are happening on the left side of the wall.  VERY clever and a great book for inferring!  (can’t help but wonder if Trump would actually make any connections!!!)

What If…. Then We…. Very Short, Shorter than Ever Possibilities – Rebecca Kai Dotlich

I LOVE “One Day… The End” and use it as an anchor book for teaching beginning-middle-end in writing lessons.  So when I saw this new book by Rebecca Kai Dotlich – I knew it would be just as delightful – and I was right!   Two polar bears embark on an adventurous journey – and encounter many “what if?” moments along the way with a little courage, friendship and problem-solving sprinkled in!  I’m definitely adding this to my writing anchor books!

From Tree to Sea – Shelley Moore Thomas

This soothing, peaceful patterned book is definitely going to be added to my new writing anchor books.  What does the earth show us?  Each page in this gentle book describes what nature shows us – “Stones shows me how to be strong.  If I am kicked around sometimes, like a rock on a road, I just keep rolling along.”    Gorgeous illustrations.  A great choice for Earth Day – or any day!  This is a KEEPER!

Everything is Connected – Jason Gruhl

Well, you can’t get more of an “Adrienne” book than this one!  A beautiful book with a beautiful message – we are all connected to everything in the universe – even the blobfish!  Playful, lyrical rhyming text will make for a wonderful read-aloud.   Thought provoking and empowering.

A Friend for Henry – Jenn Bailey

A delightful story that does an excellent way of reflecting the behaviors and challenges of a child on the autism spectrum.  Henry is looking for a friend in his new class but none of them seem to be the best fit for him…. until he meets Katie.  I love that this book does not focus on having to change to fit in, but finding a friend who fits you.  Delightful illustrations.

Tomorrow Most Likely – Dave Eggers

A child imagines the many ordinary things that await him tomorrow.  Tomorrow most likely…..Packed with lovely rhymes, repetitions and a sprinkle of silly!  Another great read-aloud and anchor book for writing!   Bold and blocked illustrations.

Look – Fiona Woodcock

So clever!  This story about a brother and sister visiting the zoo is told entirely through words that have the double “oo” in them.  Each word is embedded into the bright and vibrant illustrations.  Great for emergent readers for word recognition, but could also be a great inspiration for writing one word stories!

Crab Cake – Andrea Tsurumi

I love books with many layers.   Take this one, for example.  It is the charming story of a crab who makes crab cakes, explores sea life,  and includes a messagea of sustaining our oceans, using your gifts, working together as a community, and inspiring others.  Wow! This one is well worth it’s price in crab cakes!

Thanks for stopping by!

Hope you found a book or two that caught your eye!

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Filed under 2019 releases, Autism, Earth Day, IMWAYR, Indigenous Stories, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchor book