Tag Archives: Friendship

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Summer Picture Book Picks 2018 (Part 2) Family, Friendship, and Inclusion

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 my intention of blogging more this summer has certainly not unfolded as planned!  But I have discovered I have only two speeds – Fast Forward and STOP!  And when I stop – I literally get nothing done!  But I’m enjoying the lazy (hot) days of summer immensely!  Here is my “Part 2” of some my favorite summer picture books.  This week I’m featuring books that focus on Family, Friendship and Inclusion – all themes and lessons you will find in my new book Powerful Understanding.  Enjoy and happy reading!

Drawn Together (Hyperion Picture Book (eBook)) by [Lê, Minh]

Drawn Together – Minh Le

Beautifully touching story celebrating the power of unspoken language and bridging the gap between ages, languages, and cultures.  A young boy and his aging grandfather can’t communicate due to a language barrier but eventually find a new way to communicate through drawing together.   Lots of connections here.  Stunning story… stunning illustrations.  I see award nominations coming for this one.

Islandborn – Junot Diaz

“Just because you don’t remember a place doesn’t mean it’s not in you.”  A perfect book for exploring immigration, community, family, traditions and culture.  WOW!  Great book for sharing and making connections to family origins.  Bright, bursting illustrations.  LOVE!

Alma and How She Got Her Name – Juana Martinez-Neal

Who named you?  What does your name mean?  What connection does your name have to your family?  These are questions I love to ask my students as we explore identity  (and the first lesson in my Powerful Understanding book!) Alma has six names – each one connected to people in her family.   A perfect anchor for a lesson on exploring our names!

Funeral – Matt James

I love books that invite questions from the cover… “What’s a funeral?” …“Who died?”…  “Why do the kids look so happy when the book is called The Funeral?”  “Why are the letters in the title in different colors?”   A refreshing look at a “FUN-eral” of a beloved uncle – celebrating life rather than mourning death.  It’s simple, honest and affirming.   This one grew on me.

FRIENDSHIP

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Little Robot Alone – Patricia Maclachlan

Can’t ever miss reading a book by the great Patrica Maclachlan…  Little Robot Alone is a lovely story about a Robot who decides to use his creativity to make himself a friend – a robot dog!  Repetitive segments and sing-song elements make this a charming read-a-loud for Pre-K-Gr. 1.  Would be a great anchor for inviting students to create their own “friend”.   (Would also be a great anchor for my MMT school project – based on The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires.  See my blog post here.)

Hoot and Olive:  Brave Enough for Two – Jonathan D. Voss

Mix a little Goodnight Moon, Winnie-the-Pooh, and The Night Gardner…. and you have this delightful story of two inseparable friends – a little girl and her stuffed Owl. Gorgeous, whimsical watercolor illustrations.  A tale of bravery, adventure and hope.  Love this one.  (I know I say that a lot but I really did love this one!)

Rescue and Jessica – A Life-Changing Friendship – Jessica Kensky

Written by two of the survivors of the Boston Marathon bombing, this picture book is the true story of one of them and their service dog, Rescue.  But it is really the story about overcoming life’s challenges and the hope we find during times of overwhelming adversity.  I love the parallel stories of both Rescue, a dog that thought he would grow up to be a seeing eye dog, but life had a different responsibility for him and Jessica, a young girl whose life also turned out differently than she imagined. Together they rescue each other.

Cover Image

We Don’t Eat our Classmates – Ryan T. Higgins

Oh my goodness – SUCH a funny book!   Yes, there will be many “back to school” books being released this month… but this is definitely the one I recommend.  So fresh and funny, but teaches empathy so beautifully.  A perfect read-aloud or gift for that young one who might be experiencing “back to school jitters”

                                                       How to Be a Lion – Ed Vere

Melt my heart.  I love this book.  SO simple yet such an important message:  there is more than one way to do something. Or be something.   Leonard is not your typical lion. Leonard is not fierce but enjoys the great outdoors and loves words.  He befriends Marianne, a poetic duck and, together, they compose poems.  When other lions hear about unconventional Leonard – they confront the pair.  A unique and beautiful story about celebrating individuality and diversity; for standing up for your gentle self and befriending who you want.  This is a great book for building classroom community.

                                               Niblet & Ralph –  Zachariah OHora

Two look-alike pet cats switch places in this humorous, sweet story of mistaken identity.  A little like “The Parent Trap” for cats!  Love the retro illustrations.  I like how, while the cats look alike, their owners slowly discover their differences.  Very sweet story.

Friendship is Like a Seesaw – Shona Innes

Great rhyming read-aloud for your younger students.  Sweet illustrations and gentle text explores friends at their best–sharing, laughing, and playing together–as well as friends who sometimes say hurtful things, leave others out, or get a bit bossy.  I love how the story introduces specific “friendship fix” strategies (another lesson in my Powerful Understanding book!) like talking about our feelings, looking at our own friendship skills, or taking a break.  A great anchor book for talking about the ups and downs of friendships!  

INCLUSION 

All Are Welcome – Alexandra Penfold

Oh my.   This book.  It’s a must read for every teacher to share in the first days or week of school.  A wonderful, welcoming picture book that celebrates diversity, inclusiveness, acceptance, and celebration of all cultures in a school community.   I hope this book ends up in EVERY library in EVERY school EVERYWHERE!

The Outlaw Nancy Vo

Wow.  This book is powerful, so powerful.  Set in the old west, it tells the story of an Outlaw who, after many years of terrorizing a town, disappears.  When he returns, years later, he must begin the long process of making amends.   While not really about inclusion, it is a story about forgiveness, acceptance and second chances.  Simple text but this is definitely going to be added to my list of Inferring books for intermediate students. Would make a great book to spark conversations about forgiveness.   Love the “old west” feel to the mixed-media illustrations.

We are All Dots:  A Big Plan for a Better World –  Giancarlo Macrì

If you attended any of my workshops this past spring, you will have heard me going on and on about this amazing, powerful picture book that introduces, in simple format, many important social issues.  Intended for an older audience, this book would stimulate great discussions about equality and diversity with older students.   SO many inferences can be made from the many different dot images.  This is one of my favorite books of 2018.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope you found a book or two that caught your eye!

 

 

 

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Filed under 2018 releases, Connect, Diversity, Family, Friendship, Grief, Identity, immigration, IMWAYR, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, making connections, New Books

Summer Reading – Day 14! What words would you buy?

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Today’s book is in my top 3 favorite picture books of this year. Phileas’s Fortune: A Story about Self-Expression by Agnes de Lestrade is a remarkable book. I still remember being overwhelmed with emotion the first time I read it.  (I think I actually hugged it)  It is also a book that invites SO many questions and will linger with you long after you finish it.

The story begins:  There is a place where words are made in a factory.  In order to speak words, you need to buy them.  Now let’s stop right there and think about that for a moment.  You cannot speak any word unless you buy it.  What are you wondering?  This is exactly the conversation I have had with many students when reading this book.  Here are some of the questions kids have asked:  How much do the words cost?  Are some words more expensive than others?   What happens if you can’t afford to buy all the words you want to say?  Do words ever go on sale?  Do you have to swallow the word in order to say it?  Do teachers get a discount?   (ha! – I laughed at that one!)

And so the scene is set for our main character Phileas – whose family cannot afford to buy many words.  Sometimes, Phileas and his friends go up to the rooftop of their apartment to try to catch old words in butterfly nets.  Some of these words he says to his parents at suppertime and some he saves.  Phileas is in love with Cybele, a little girl who lives in his apartment.  He wants to express his feelings to her but he can’t afford the words.  But on her birthday, Phileas shares with her three words that he has been saving.  But of course you must read the book to find out what the words are!

This book is SOOOO beautiful – the story itself, the charming illustrations and the many themes that it includes – love, friendship, bullying, self-expression.  But the most powerful message I took from this story is this:  words are important and powerful, but it is really the character behind the voice of those words that matter most.

This book is a gift for the soul.

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Filed under Friendship, New Books, Question, Transform

Summer Reading – Day 13 – Friends who live in a book!

Please be patient with me as I am trying to navigate through my own blog (I’m trying to re-configure it but am still at the “what’s the difference between a post, a page, a parent and a tag!” stage)

But I don’t want to miss out in my daily book recommendation so here’s today’s top pick:  my most recent favorite friendship book!

16101066[1]       The Story of Fish and Snail by Deborah Freedman gets double thumbs up and a big fist pound.  Loved it!  The illustrations are AMAZING and the story not only is about friendship (between an introvert and an extrovert) but also touches on adventure, courage, taking risks and moving out of your comfort zone.

Fish and Snail live in a book.  Every day, Fish ventures out to other books and comes back to tell the story to Snail.  After visiting a pirate book one day, Fish is so excited that he insists Snail join him on his next book-visiting adventure.  Snail, who has a few Scaredy Squirrel tendencies, prefers to live in the safety of his own book.   An argument ensues and eventually, Snail needs to decide what is more important – facing his fear or possibly losing his friend.

The writing is straightforward and simple, yet fits the story perfectly.  It is an excellent book for sharing with children and would promote a lot of conversations about friendship, taking risks and accepting differences, not to mention a discussion about how fun it would be to live in a book!  What book would you like to live in?

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Filed under Friendship, New Books