Category Archives: Multicultural

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Kids Can Press – Part 2 (Nonfiction)

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.

Last week, I shared some wonderful new releases from Kids Can Press, focusing on fiction books. (You can read that post here.)  This week, I’m happy to be sharing the nonfiction titles.

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                                                            Sport-O-Rama by Benoit Tardif

This book, originally published in French, is Montreal native Benoit Tardif’s first picture book. This is a playful, colorful guide to 23 different sports. Each double page spread features a different sport, depicting labeled visuals and humorous comments. There are fun puzzles to solve on the “half-time” page and detailed descriptions of the sports and a glossary are included at the back of the book. I can see kids loving to pour over the pages of this book, pointing and talking about the different sports and learning new vocabulary along the way. From badminton to golf to fencing to running a marathon – this book is a perfect for sports fans and, as the author states in his opening, may inspire you “to lace up your running shoes or strap on your skis and have fun!”

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Look Where We Live! A First Book of Community Building – Scot Ritchie
This book is perfect for classroom and school use and really does hit home with so many relevant topics connected to community. In this book, we follow five children who take us on a tour of their community, stopping in different places and introducing us to people, places and activities featured in their local community. I love the references to shopping locally, fundraising, the public library, community gardens and neighborhood car washes. At the back of the book is a glossary, activities and ways for children to get involved in their own local community. This would make a great book to launch a unit on community! 

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A Day in Canada – Per-Henrik Gurth

Wake up and spend the day exploring famous landmarks, festivals and activities across Canada!  Explore the hours in the day from coast to coast in this latest book in the popular Canada series by Per-Henrik Gurth. I love this series and this particular book would be a perfect way to launch a unit about Canada.  Gurth’s bold, colorful illustrations, reminiscent of Todd Parr, would also inspire some great art projects!  Each page includes a clock, so students can learn to tell time across the country. 

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School Days Around the World – Margriet Ruurs

 This is the third in the “Around the World” series by Canadian author Margriet Ruurs.  This book focuses on stories of real children around the world going to school – how they get there, what the school looks like,  favorite lessons, etc.  There is reference to different types of schooling including public, private, international and home schooling.   These books are wonderful resources to introduce children to different cultures and countries and also would be good anchors for comparative writing.   What do all these real children have in common? They all gather together to learn.    A world map at the beginning of the book shows the location of each of the countries, and a glossary contains definitions of the foreign words. Colorful collage illustrations are bright and inviting.

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The Red Bicycle: The Extraordinary Story of One Ordinary Bicycle – Jude Isabella

The main character of this unique story is a bicycle. The story traces the journey of this bicycle and the lives it touches from Canada to Africa. (think “The Red Violin”) It begins its life journey with young Leo, who names it “Big Red”. When Leo outgrows his beloved bicycle, he donates it to an organization that sends used bikes to Africa. Big Red is then given to a girl who uses it to transport goods to the market and then is given to a man who uses the bicycle for his medical clinic. Information about donating bicycles is provided at the back of the book. An excellent story to show the power of one person, or one bike, to make a huge different and includes many themes including – pay it forward, re-cycling, donating, making a difference, giving back, cultural diversity.  The text is rather long but the story is very engaging. Would make a great companion to “Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed” (and they have almost the same title!) 

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Dinosaurs from Head to Tail – Stacey Roderick

When my son was four, he was obsessed with dinosaurs.  We would return from every library visit with a bag filled with dinosaur books.  I think he knew the names of all the dinosaurs before he knew the names of the days of the week!  This book would have been a HUGE hit with him!  It’s colorful, vibrant, simple and engaging.  The book contains 8 close-ups of different parts of a dinosaur’s body leaving you to guess which one it is.  When you turn the page you find the answer, along with fun facts about that particular dinosaur.  This is a great addition to a dinosaur collection – for home, for your classroom or library.

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The Queen’s Shadow – A Story About How Animals See – Cybele Young

I’m at a loss for words when it comes to this extraordinary book by Canadian writer/illustrator Cybele Young (Ten Birds). It is part nonfiction, part “who-done-it” mystery, part imaginary and a whole lot of WOW! During the Queen’s Ball, attended by animals, a major crime occurs – the Queen’s shadow is stolen! The Royal Detective, the Mantis Shrimp, begins interrogating all the animals in the hopes of finding the guilty party. Each creature provides the detective with their version of the scene of the crime based on their own unique eyesight. Sidebars provide factual information about how the eyesight of each animal works. As each animal gives their testimony, more clues are revealed. There is SO much to love about this book – you really have to experience it for yourself to appreciate just how amazing it is! Exquisite, detailed, textured illustrations; sophisticated humour, engaging story and layers upon layers of unique story-telling. This is a smorgasbord for your eyes, an extravaganza for the mind and the most unique book I have seen in a long time. WOW!

Thanks you to Kids Can Press for sending me their new spring releases for review!  I love promoting Canadian authors, illustrators and publishers and hope that you will too!  Thanks for stopping by and please let me know which book(s) caught your eye!  Happy reading week, everyone!

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Filed under Community, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Multicultural, New Books, Nonfiction

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Books from Kids Can Press (part 1)

 

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.

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Last week, I was thrilled to receive a box of new Spring Releases from Canadian children’s book publisher Kids Can Press.  I am on their list for previews.  There are MANY wonderful books that I am excited to share.  This week I will focus on the fiction books, and next week I will share the nonfiction titles.

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Eat, Leo! Eat! – Caroline Adderson

There is a lot to love about this one! Every Sunday, Leo’s large Italian family meet at Nona’s house for a big, noisy meal of her homemade pasta. Leo, who we infer is a bit of a fussy eater, does not want any. So Nona tells him a story about a little boy who is going to see his Nona, but she cleverly weaves the shape of the pasta into the story. As Leo listens to the story, his appetite grows. Each week, Nona tells a story connected to the shape of the pasta. One week stars, one week bow-ties. This book is a celebration of food, family, traditions and pasta! There is a glossary of Italian words at the front, an interesting pasta page at the back and charming illustrations. If you love pasta, family gatherings or anything Italian – this is the book for you! 

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Me, Too!  – Annika Dunklee

There are many books with a similar friendship theme:  what happens to best friends when a new friend comes onto the scene, the feeling of being left out, “three’s a crowd” scenario.   (Think The Worst Best Friend and Chester’s Way) What makes this one unique is the addition theme of international friendship – one of the girls is from Sweden and one is from France.  This book is also adorable – simple text, charming illustration, humor (Annie makes up words so she, too, speaks “another language”).  The author does an excellent job of showing girls how to express themselves in a productive & inclusive way.  Lovely book!

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The Bus Ride – Marianne Dubuc

This sweet book (first published in France) is reminiscent of Little Red Riding Hood. This simple story is about a young girl, riding the bus alone for the first time, on her way to visit her grandmother’s house.  Along the ride, passengers including rabbits, a bear, a turtle, a mouse and a very sleepy sloth come and go at each stop.  This is not a book to rush through.  Much of the pleasure of is found in the soft, detailed illustrations.  Subtle things change on each page and children will want time to look closely at the pictures, particularly after the tunnel switches things around.  Pay attention to the newspaper headlines!

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Walk on the Wild Side – Nicholas Oldland

This book is adorable – so much to love about it!   It is the latest in a series of books that feature these loveable characters.  Moose, bear and beaver are all friends who love adventure but sometimes their competitive nature gets in the way of their fun.  The three set off one day to try to hike to the top of a mountain – and things begin to go sideways.  This is a wonderful story about friendship, compromise and working together to reach a goal.  There is humor, colorful illustrations and wonderful messages about working together and about stopping to appreciate the moment.

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My Family Tree and Me –  Dušan Petričić

This unique celebration of family ancestry traces four generations of a young boy. From the front of the book, we trace the family from his father’s side and from the back, you trace the family from the mother’s side. They all come together in the middle of the book to show the boy’s family tree.  A beautiful, simple introduction to the concept of family ancestry and I particularly like the cultural diversity of the boy’s family which shows both European and Asian ancestors. Includes amazing illustrations by the award winning Canadian illustrator (The Boy and the Violin). This book would make a wonderful springboard for having children research and create their own family tree. 

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Jasper John Dooley You’re In Trouble – Caroline Adderson

There is always a need for early chapter books for ages 7-9 that feature boys so I would highly recommend this series to have in your library!  This book is the 4th in a series that features the delightful Jasper John Dooley.  In this book, Jasper accidently choses an energy drink from the vending machine.  He knows it’s bad but he hides the drink and keeps taking sips from it, eventually learns important lessons about making good choices.  I love this book – it’s funny, age-appropriate, realistic characters, short chapters, larger font (I didn’t need my reading glasses!) and cute illustrations.

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                                             The Ghastly McNastys – The Lost Treasure of Little Snoring – Lyn Gardner
Ahoy maties!  If you are 7-10 year old and love a real rip-roaring tale of adventure, filled with nasty pirates, kid heroes, silly humor and jokes about slime, boogers and butts then this is the book for you!  The McNasty pirates are twin brothers, Captain Gruesome and Captain Grisly McNasty who sail in their ship, The Rotten Apple, in search of treasure. This is their first adventure in which they attempt to discover a lost treasure on the Island of Little Snoring.  This book is hilarious, includes great illustrations, some wonderful triple-scoop words and a surprisingly good plot.  While I may not chose this book for literature circles, I can see kids loving this first in a series featuring the Ghastly McNasty brothers!

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The Confabulist – Steven Galloway

For book club this month, we are reading The Confabulist by Canadian author Steven Galloway, author of The Cellist of Sarajevo. This book is a fictionalized account of the life of Harry Houdini and the young man, Martin Strauss, who supposedly contributed to Houdini’s sudden death.  Strauss suffers from a memory disorder, called confabulation, in which one produces fabricated and distorted memories about oneself.  The person who experiences this is unaware that they are making up stories so are usually confident that they are speaking the truth.  The book moves from Strauss’s story to Houdini’s story, and much is left for the reader to fill in (lots of inferring!) how the two men’s lives connect.  This book is a mix of historical fiction, mystery, conspiracy theory, secrets behind magic and also about love, loss, truth and identity.  I’m not finished it yet, but so far, I am intrigued.  I love the two voices in the book and especially when the voice of Houdini reveals some of the secrets behind some of his magic tricks.  I’m fascinated by how these two stories are going to come together but will have to keep reading!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please leave me a message to let me know which books have caught your eye!

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, making connections, Multicultural, New Books, Picture Book

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.

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 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