Category Archives: Connect

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 New Spring Picture Books Worth Reading and Sharing!

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It’s Tuesday and that means it’s time for another  Top 10 Tuesday post!  This week, I’m featuring some of the amazing new picture books I have discovered this Spring.  Enjoy!

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1. The Treasure Box – Margaret Wild

“When the enemy burned the library, everything burned.”   This extraordinary book tells the story of a young boy and his father who save a book after their library is destroyed by war.  Powerful and heart-breaking story of resilience in the face of the atrocities of war.  Haunting.

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2. That Neighbor Kid – Daniel Miyares

A gentle, nearly wordless picture book of a new friendship that forms when a young girl moves into a new neighbourhood just as the boy next door is planning to build a tree house.  Friendship develops as the tree house is constructed.  Charming!  I love how the soft black and white illustrations are gradually include color as the story develops.

3. The Book No One Ever Read – Cornelia Funke

Cornelia Funke, acclaimed author of the InkWorld series and The Thief Lord, shares what it is like to be a book- told through the minds of the books themselves.  Imaginative, enchanting,  and a great message!

4. Twinkle – Nick Bland

A charming,  tender and beautifully illustrated story about a shooting star that falls down from the night sky into Penny Pasketti’s back yard.  When it’s time for Star to “fall up” into the night sky, Penny finds a way to send her new friend home.

5. Places to Be – Mac Barnett

Two fuzzy friends explore a wide range of experiences and emotions in this adorable book, reminiscent of The Quiet Book and the Loud Book.  I love the whimsical illustrations and the introduction of new emotion vocabulary – jubilant, awestruck, or sullen.  Great Connect book!

6. Town is By the Sea – Joanne Schwartz

A simple, poetic story set in the early 1900’s in Cape Bretton, Nova Scotia tells of the challenging life of a mining family.  A young boy goes about his daily activities in the sunshine by the sea while, in contrast, his father works underground in the mines.  The writing is so beautifully descriptive and would be a great anchor book for descriptive, sensory writing or Visualizing, but also Inferring.  The words are lulling and almost haunting and the illustrations are gorgeous. 

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7. The Last Tree – Ingrid Chabbert

“When I got home, I lost myself in my books. To see some green, some leaves… some happiness.”   Simple, thought-provoking story about environmental awareness, reminiscent of The Lorax.    A father tells his son about the days when he used to run amongst the grass and trees, instead of living in the concrete world they both live in.  This is a must add to your “Earth Day” collection!

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8. Little Fox in the Forest – Stephanie Graegin

So much book love for this one!  Adorable wordless picture book in large graphic novel panels tells the story of a young girl who brings her favorite Fox stuffy for show-and-tell.  At recess, a sneaky fox snitches the fox from the bench.  Lots of details to pour over again and again.  Heart-warming!  Delightful!

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9. The Thing Lou Couldn’t Do – Ashley Spires

Lou is fearless, full of adventure and up for anything… except climbing trees.  Encouragement and perseverance are the themes of this latest delightful book by Ashley Spires (author of The Most Magnificent Thing).  Love the nameless sidekick cat!

10.  The Book of Mistakes – Corinna Luyken

Here’s the perfect book for the Creative Thinking competency!  Gorgeous illustrations and poetic language in a large format make this a great book for sharing. Corrina Luyken explores the creative process, perseverance, accepting mistakes, making the best of a situation… so much packed between the covers of this beautiful book!  Lots to think about, to infer, and to transform our thinking!  So inspiring!  A great “gifting” book for anyone who loves to draw, create or design.  LOVE!

10.  Green Green – A Community Gardening Story – Marie Lamba

This story by Marie Lamba is a wonderful and inspiring book about children who join forces together to build a community garden.  Gorgeous illustrations and lovely rhyming text.  Wonderful details on each page to inspire discussion with primary students about the environment, community, and taking care of our Earth.  Two page information spread at the back gives information about how to make more “green” in your world and the importance of gardens to bees and butterflies.  Great!

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10. The Good for Nothing Button – Charise Mericle Harper

Yellow Bird has a button that does… nothing!  If you need a good giggle – you will get it with this third Elephant and Piggie Like early reader series!  What a hoot!  The Imaginative, playful and a perfect read-aloud for an early primary class.

Thanks for stopping by!  What book has caught your eye?

( And yes,  I lost track of my book count!  Turns out it is Top 12 Tuesday today!)

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Filed under 2017 releases, Connect, Earth Day, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Picture Book, Visualize, Writing Anchors

Top 10 Tuesday! Top 10 Anchor Books for “Small Moment” Writing

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Sometimes, children choose writing topics that are simply too: My Trip to Disneyland,  My Weekend, or My Family.  And while writers may start off excited about their topic, often the quality of writing becomes less important as they struggle to include every moment and end up feeling frustrated and overwhelmed.  You might call these “biting off more than you can chew” topics!  Focusing on “small moments” can help students focus on one event so that they can apply some writing techniques such as “triple scoop words”, “similes“, and “senses” to really expand a smaller moment with lots of details.  Using anchor books to show how writers focus on small moments can really help students understand that sometimes less is more.  Here are my top ten anchor books for “small moment” writing:

  1. A Moment in Time – Jennifer Butenas

The perfect book to introduce “small moments”!  This rhyming story describes a family  of four on summer holiday savoring each joyful, delightful simple moment.

2. Roller Coaster – Marlee Frazee

Wonderful anchor for re-telling an event, complete with all the sensory descriptions of a whooshing, whirling roller coaster ride.

3. The Relatives Came – Cynthia Rylant

From one of my all-time favorite authors, this gentle book describes the sounds, smells and feelings of a summer visit from family, complete with snores, strawberries and lots of hugs.  Perfect for making connections to family gatherings and a great anchor for writing.

4. Salt Hands – Jane Aargon

A late night “special moment” describes a young girl’s encounter with a deer.  She pours salt in her hand and waits for the deer to trust her.  A perfect description of a special moment when a human and animal touch. Simple, cautious and quiet.

5. Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

A young girl and her dad spend magical moments searching for owls one clear winter night.  This is another quiet, patient book that is filled with sensory images, similes and gorgeous descriptions.

6. Shortcut – Donald Crews

Have you ever done something you knew you weren’t really supposed to – just for the thrill of it?   This book tells the story of a group of children who, despite what they have been told, get the thrill of a lifetime when they take the short cut along the railroad tracks – and a train comes!  This is a perfect book for making connections teaching onomotopeia-“Whoo! Whoo!”, “klackity, klackity, klack”.

7. Fireflies – Julie Brincoe

Catching fireflies on a warm summer night.  Discovery, magic, joy – read this book with quiet whispers.  It is a truly magical moment to inspire some magical moment writing.

8. Red Rubber Boot Day – Mary Lyn Rae

The sights and sensations of a rainy day.  Lovely language, vibrant illustrations.  This book is a perfect connect book for West-coasters and will inspire some great “rainy writing” from your students.

9. Every Friday – Dan Yaccarino

Simple description of favorite days, favorite routines, and family bonding.  Every Friday, a young boy and his dad have a regular walk together and then eat the same pancakes at the same diner. A great book for getting students to think about their own family routines.  This is a simple book, but will inspire some great “Every ____________” writing!

Bibbity Bop, Barber Shop – Natasha Anastasia Tarpley

So much to love about this book about a young boy’s first haircut: diversity, overcoming nerves, reassuring parent, cheerful, loving scenes of home and community.  Lovely illustrations and gentle rhythm.  Love this book for making connections.

10.  Blackout – John Rocco

One hot summer night in the city, the power goes off.  OH NO! What can we do?  No computers!  No play station!  No cooking on the stove!  No lights!  It turns out, spending the evening on the rooftop with the neighbours and watching the night sky is better than video games!

               And there you have it!  Ten books to inspire “small moment” writing!

Thanks for stopping by!

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Filed under Connect, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday, Writing Anchors

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Weekend Bookstore Bliss!

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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

My husband:  How’s the beer on the deck?

Me:  I’m still in the book store.

My husband:  You are a nerd.

Me:  And proud of it.

I experienced book bliss this weekend when I spent over two blissful hours in Mosaic Books in Kelowna.   From the fiction, to the bargain tables, to the travel biographies, and ending with the children’s section – I was in book heaven!

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Here are just a few of the books that caught my eye (and some I had to buy!)

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The Toad Elise Gravel

I squealed with delight when I saw that Elise Gravel had added another book to her ever-so-popular-cannot-keep-these-books-on-the-book-shelf Disgusting Critter series.  A perfect balance between information and humour with a splash of gross topped off with delightful illustrations!  LOVE!

School’s First Day of School – Adam Rex

Charming and whimsical, mark this as a wonderful new back to school read-aloud.   Told from the point of view of the school, this is a fresh perspective on first day jitters!  Delightful illustrations by Christian Robinson (Last Stop on Market Street)

Circle – Jeannie Baker

With a wheelchaired-boy’s wish to fly as the starting point, we follow the incredible journey of godwits as they travel from Australia and New Zealand to the Arctic where they look for places to eat and breed.  Jeannie Baker’s collage illustrations are stunning and I was happy to find more detailed information about the birds at the back of the book.

Lion Lessons – Jon Agee

Witty and charming book that teaches you the seven steps to becoming a great lion and earning a lion diploma!   This would make an excellent participation read-aloud, as younger readers can practice the steps of ‘looking fierce’ and ‘pouncing around’!  What fun!

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Douglas, You Need Glasses! – Ged Adamson

Adorable story about a near-sighted dog who needs glasses.  Gentle and humorous, children will laugh when Douglas mistakes leaves for squirrels and steps in the wet cement because he couldn’t read the sign.  And yes, the print on the cover is blurry!

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Let Me Finish! – Minh Le

Adorable book about a little boy who can’t read a book without someone spoiling the ending for him. Sparse text and lively illustrations – this book will make a wonderful read-aloud for younger students and a good reminder for older students of how NOT to give a book talk!  27064352

Louise and Andie and the Art of Friendship – Kelly Light

In this follow-up to Louise Loves Art, this book explores making new friends, and the challenges friends face when they don’t see things in quite the same way.   I appreciated the realistic approach to their friendship fight and the hurt feelings that many students will connect to. I also liked that Andie was an Andy Warhol fan!

Ideas Are All Around Us – Philip C. Stead

The latest from one of my favorite authors, this book is inspiring and beautiful.  In it, an author and his dog go for a walk and discover stories everywhere.  This would make an excellent anchor book for writing workshop and discussing where ideas for writing come from.

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Be Frank With Me – Julia Clairborne Johnson

Our last book club read of the summer was  a delightful read, with quirky, charming characters.  I fell in love with young Frank, an eccentric,on-the-spectrum, friendless 9-year old boy who has very little connection with his grade four classmates because he dresses in 1930’s movie star costumes and has the wit and sophistication of an adult.  Frank is being looked after by a young publisher’s assistant while his reclusive mother, the once famous Mimi Banning, completes her first book in decades.   This book is light-hearted, touching and thoroughly entertaining.  A wonderful debut novel and a perfect summer read.

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The Book of Speculation – Erika Swyler

And from the bargain fiction table at Mosaic, I picked up this 2015 release.  I was drawn in by the cover and started making connections to  The Night Circus  when I read...”A wonderful tale of mystery, magic, carnivals, mermaids, tarot and through it all is the book of speculation linking the lives of two families.”  Sounds intriguing, I loved Night Circus – and it was on sale!  I’ll keep you posted!

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

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Filed under 2016 releases, Book Club, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchors

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

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

It’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? New Picture Books for Fall – Part 2

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

The Way to School – Rosemary McCarney and Plan International

Just what would you go through to get to school? This stunning book explores how, in some countries, children often have to travel through disaster zones, cross dangerous waters, climb mountains and maneuver zip-lines just to get into the classroom. Some of them even carry their own desk!   The determination in the children’s expressions and in their body language as they make their way to school would be perfect for practicing inferring. An important book to share with children and one that could stimulate a conversation about the desire for education and the physical commitment so many children face each day.  Simple text and stunning photographs – this book is a gem!  Proceeds from the sale of this book go to Plan Canada, one of the largest international development agencies in the world.

The Good Little Book – Kyo Maclear

I admit that I got a little teary-eyed reading this book… It is a classic love story of sorts: Boy finds book, boy falls in love with book, boy takes book everywhere, boy loses book… But truly this is the story about the transformation that books can have in our lives: the adventures, the relationships, and the memories. Amazing whimsical illustrations. This is definitely a book to start off your school year.

The Little Book of Big Fears – Monica Arnaldo

Simple, rhyming text introduces 16 children who share their fears – from raccoons to the dark.  Alphabet book of sorts – but the missing letters spell out GUTSY and BRAVE.  Perfect book for making connections with K-2!  My only thought was that there was no reference to how you can conquer these fears – but an important “after reading” discussion!

Waiting – Kevin Henkes

Love. Love. Love.  I love this book so much.  Soft, simple, quiet, wise, gentle, whimsical – Kevin Henkes is a master storyteller.  Waiting is about five toy friends who sit on the windowsill of a child’s home waiting for their turn at play.  I already have a plan for reading this book to a primary class, focusing on visualizing:  read through, without interruption and allow the students to delight in the sounds of the words and let their minds imagine.  After the book is finished, I will ask them, “Hmmmm, what do you think the friends are waiting for?  Turn and talk to your partner.”   Hug this book.  Love this book.  It’s “waiting” to be read.

Friendshape – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

 This latest book by the clever, creative Amy Krouse Rosenthal, about the friends who “shape” our lives, is filled with fun word play, great illustrations and would make a wonderful read-aloud for a primary classroom!  Not my very favorite Rosenthal book but certainly worth a look!

With A Friend By Your Side – Barbara Kerley

National Geographic photographer Barbara Kerley captures images of friends from around the world and pairs them with simple, touching text.  Wonderful book for making connections and also learning about different places in the world.  Map and background information about each photo are included in the back.

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That’s (NOT) Mine – Anna King

Two cute fuzzy bears want the same chair but they do not want to share. Great illustrations, a lesson on manners and a lot of laughs! 

Lizard from the Park – Mark Pett

Adorable story of a young boy who finds a lizard egg in the park.  Crack!  It hatches into a pet lizard… who grows… and grows.. .and grows!  Charming illustrations by the author/illustrator of The Boy and the Airplane and The Girl and Bicycle.  Lovely surprise ending!

I (Don’t) Like Snakes – Nicola Davies

Fun blend of fiction and non-fiction about snakes.  Although the narrator is convinced that she doesn’t like snakes, for every negative she identifies, her snake-loving family come up with the positives!  Interesting information and great illustrations!  I love anything Nicola Davies writes! 

Bug in A Vacuum – Melanie Watt

This clever picture book explores the 5 stages of grief through the eyes of a bug who gets sucked up by a vacuum.    Sounds strange, but it’s brilliant and emotional and the illustrations are hilarious.  I would definitely read this to older students.  Another winner by the author of Scaredy Squirrel.

Thanks for stopping by!  Would love to know which book(s) has caught your eye?

 

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Filed under 2015 releases, Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, New Books

Top Ten Tuesday – 10 Favorite Back-to-School Read Alouds

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I realize that there are many of you who may be reading this who have already started teaching, but this is my first week back so I thought that I’d share my top 10 books (OK – I went a little past 10!) for starting school.  All of these books would make wonderful “connect” books to share during those first few days and weeks of school!

Fun, Wacky, LOL books! 

1. Steve, Raised By Wolves – by Jared Chapman

LOL!  This book is hilarious and would make a brilliant back to school read-aloud for any grade! Young Steve is literally raised by wolves.  Mother wolf sends him on his first day of school with this advice:  “Just be yourself!”.   So Steve proceeds to do just that – howling in class, shredding homework, marking his territory, drinking from the toilet and pouncing on his classmates!  His behavior does not go over well!  In the end, Steve saves the day and helps to find the class pet.  Great book for discussing appropriate school behavior as well as what it means to “be yourself”.

2. The Gingerbread Man is Loose in the School – Laura Murray

This is a fun twist on the classic fairy tale.  After a gingerbread man is left alone in the classroom at recess, he decides to leave to find the children. He makes many stops in the school and asks many different people for help.  Great rhyming text and graphic novel type illustrations.  This book would be a great introduction to different people and places in the school.  I know of a teacher who, after reading this book, hides a gingerbread man in the school and takes her class on a search for him!   Or you could have your students write about the gingerbread man’s adventures!

3.  The Exceptionally, Extraordinarily Ordinary First Day of School – Lorenz Albert

This book was a little on the odd side, I must admit, but it got better each time I read it!  The illustrations reminded me of MAD magazine and the story line is a little like Marc Teague’s “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” with a boy’s “version” of his summer vacation.  Unusual but clever!

4.   Daddy’s Back to School Shopping Adventure – Alan Lawrence Sitomer

Yes, it’s “back to school” shopping time and the school supply stores will be full of parents and kids filling their baskets!  Sticking to the shopping list is difficult for this wild and wacky dad who takes his kids or their supplies. He is tempted by the glow in the dark glue sticks and neon paper clips but his kids keep him on track! A little wacky, lots of fun and a sweet surprise ending. A fun first week back read aloud! 

Books about Beginning School Anxieties

5. Back to School Tortoise – Lucy M. George

Story includes worries of starting school, not wanting to go inside the classroom and the most adorable illustrations ever!  Perfect for Kindergarten!

 6.  Monkey: Not Ready For Kindergarten – Marc Brown

Adorable Monkey experiences anxiety as Kindergarten is only a week away . . What if he gets on the wrong bus? What if they don’t have any red crayons? What if he doesn’t like the snacks? What if he doesn’t make new friends?  Poor Monkey has so many worries running through his head!  Slowly, his family helps him ease his worries.  Perfect book for Kindergarten children and making connections to starting school.

 7.  Chu’s First Day of School – Neil Gaiman

Adorable Panda Chu is worried whether his classmates will like him. He gets so nervous when he gets to school, he can’t even speak to share what his favorite thing to do is.  Charming, simple story and sweet illustrations.

8.  First Day Jitters – Julie Danneberg

Delightful story with a surprise ending…. and an important message that teachers get nervous about starting school too!  I have read this book to MANY classes over the years and the reaction at the end is always the same!

Books About School Days, School Goals and School Rules!

9. This School Year will Be The BEST! – Kay Winters

Fantastic beginning of school read-a-loud. Great for starting the conversation about what students are nervous about, thinking about, and hoping to get from school.  Also a great anchor for writing about school goals and wishes for the new school year ahead.

10. Starting School Allan Ahlberg

A group of kids start kindergarten. The book walks you through a day at school, the second day of school, a week, and special events. Good for calming nerves and making connections.  (Does have reference to a Christmas pageant and a school prayer)  I love Janet and Allan Ahlberg books  (Jolly Postman, Each, Peach, Pear, Plum) and they were a favorite of my children when they were younger. Delightful illustrations! 

11.  Back-to-School Rules – Laurie Friedman

Perfect anchor book for stimulating a class discussion and creating a class anchor chart of school rules.

Books about Creative Souls, Fitting In and Embarrassing Moments

12.  Ally-Saurus and the First Day of School – Richard Torrey

A first-day-of-school book with a dinosaur-loving main character who calls herself Ally-saurus  A lovely picture book that weaves together a number of discussion-worthy issues including first day of school, imagination, books, fitting in, and friendship. A great book to show that everyone may have different interests but can still be friends.  LOVE the illustrations in this book – especially the pages with the children’s “drawings” of their interests.

13.  I Will Never Get a Star on Mrs. Benson’s Blackboard – Jennifer Mann

This is the heart-warming, heart-breaking story of Rose, a creative soul who struggles doing all the things that earn the other children stars on the blackboard. But as we all know, not every student is a neat, straight-A student with all the right answers. This book helps us see that there are blackboard stars out there for the doodling daydreamers too.

14  First Grade Dropout – Audrey Vernick

When the young narrator of this story experiences a mortifying moment in class (he calls his teachers “mommy”) he decides to quit school.  This fantastic picture book is a great look at how to persevere after embarrassing things happen.  Perfect read-aloud for making connections.

Thanks for stopping by!  What are your favorite “back to school read-alouds?

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Filed under Back to School, Connect, New Books, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New for Spring Part 2!

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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Wolfie, the Bunny – Ame Dyckman

I have heard a lot of positive things about this book since its release in February but I had not read it.  Now I know why everyone loves it so much!  It is a charming tale of a family of bunnies who discover a wolf on their doorstep.  While the parents are overjoyed and welcome the new baby, Dot, their only daughter, is more than a little skeptical about her new sibling and fears they will all soon be eaten!  This book is so much fun to read, full of wonderful illustrations and hilarious lines. Dot is a great character – full of spunk and insight.   I love the way she keeps shouting about how Wolfie’s going to eat them with slight variations, finally just giving up.  “Oh, skip it!”   A brilliant book about new babies, sibling rivalry and unconditional love.  Laughs, surprises, suspense – this book has it all!  Perfect read-aloud and would also make a fantastic Reader’s Theater!

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Zoo – Suzy Lee

This is an interesting almost wordless picture book about a girl visiting the zoo with her parents and ends up getting lost.  The two parallel stories, one told in words from the girl’s perspective, the other totally different story is told through the pictures from the parents’ perspective.   Reminiscent of “Voices in the Park” by Anthony Browne,  there is distinct contrast of the cooler tones for the parents’ perspective and the warmer, brighter, more energetic tones for the girl’s perspective.  I would definitely recommend this book to use with older students to practice inferring.

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By Mouse and Frog – Deborah Freedman

This charming story is about two friends who co-write a book together.  Thoughtful Mouse has his quiet ideas for writing, while exuberant Frog has his own great ideas he wants to include.  This is a wonderful book to teach kids about working together and the importance of listening and valuing others’ opinions.  The illustrations are adorable.  This is definitely a book for sharing with a class.   

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Fisherman Through and Through – Colleen Sydor

This was a book that stayed with me after I finished with it.  (Always a good sign for me that there was some “transformed thinking” occurring!)  It tells the tale of three dedicated fisherman – Peter, Santiago and Ahab – who fish the waters every day but long for a more interesting life.  During their long days, they share their dreams of better days.  One day, they catch an extraordinary and unusual fish they have never seen before – a lobster.   The lobster attracts much attention and soon they are surrounded by photographers and are offered a great sum of money for it, enough money to fulfill all their dreams.  (major connections to John Steinbeck’s The Pearl)   But the fisherman realize it is impossible to imagine their life without the water, their fishing rods and each other — and return their special catch back to the sea.  Whimsical illustrations, rhythmical text and for older students, could be the starting point for discussion on sustainability and human interaction with the environment. 

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 Outstanding in the Rain – Frank Viva

Oh!  The creative cleverness of this book!  The story of a young boy and his mother spending the day at an amusement park is told through a series of die-cut “holes”.  As you turn the pages, different cut shapes reveal different scenes and different words.  Balloons become frozen treats, for example.  Clever word play and crafted illustrations.  Lots of fun to read and re-read!

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Prickly Jenny – Sibylle Delacroix

This book is a perfect “connect” book for younger children.  We have all had “prickly” days – when we just can’t make up our minds what we want!  Jenny wants to be left alone, but she cries when her mom goes away; she wants to wear her old T-shirt instead of her new dress, and that’s that.  Jenny wants things her way, but she’s not always sure what her way is.  I loved the small format of this book and the lovely chalk pastel illustrations focusing on Jenny’s expressive face. And my new favorite word for grumpy is “prickly”!

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Welcome to the Neighborwood – Shawn Sheehy

Oooooo – you must see this stunning pop-up book that focuses on the interconnectedness of animal homes.  (Hummingbird builds a nest with Spider’s webs, Spider eats Honeybee, etc).   This is an impressive debut picture book with dramatic pop-up paper-collage illustrations,  similar to Steve Jenkins.  Readers are introduced to seven woodland animals, each of whom uses unique construction to build their home independently, yet live together as part of an ecosystem.  This one is a show-stopper!

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Math at the Art Museum – Group Majoongmul (author’s collaborative)

Math concepts can sometimes be difficult to explain or illustrate to young children. This is a charming and very clever picture book that introduces math concepts through concrete examples found in art. Two children and their parents are viewing famous artwork (including Picasso, Kandinsky and Seurat) in a museum. Their father explains that there is math, both hidden and visible, in works of art. While at first the young boy doesn’t believe him, as he begins to look at the art in a new way, he begins to discover the “hidden” math. Hands-on activities and elementary mathematical concepts that relate to perspective, composition, symmetry, patterns are included. This is certainly a book that can be used for both Art and Math lessons – a “2 for 1 text”! Love it!

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Tell the Wolves I’m Home – Carol Rifka Brunt

For Book Club this month, we are reading this debut novel by Carol Rifka Brunt.  The story is set in 1987 and is told through the voice of June, a 14 year old girl who has just lost her favorite uncle to AIDS.  Her uncle was an artist and right before he dies, he paints a portrait of June and her older sister, Greta.  Her uncle leaves behind his partner, Toby, who forms an unlikely friendship with June after Finn’s death.  Together they find comfort in sharing their grief for the person they each loved most in the world.  There is also a story line of June’s fractured relationship with her troubled sister Greta.   The book kind of snuck up on me – I wasn’t expecting to feel so much when I first started reading it.  At times, it was difficult to read and I felt overwhelmed with emotion.  This book is haunting, beautiful, tragic, powerful, gut-wrenching, complex, poignant.  The writing is achingly beautiful – with so many lines and quotes I marked as I read.  This book has earned a coveted place on the “top shelf” of my book club collection.

 

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

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Filed under Book Club, Connect, Infer, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books