Tag Archives: Jane Yolen

Top 10 Tuesday – Top Ten Books to Promote Critical Thinking

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With the re-designed curriculum in B.C., teachers are preparing to launch the school year with a lot to think about.  The best advice I have for wrapping our heads around the big ideas is to ‘start small’ and choose one area for your school to focus on.  At my school, we have decided to focus on critical thinking.  I’ve spent some time this summer thinking about what will be helpful for supporting my students to think critically – and so, of course, I think of picture books that connect to the three phases of critical thinking – Analyze-Question-Develop.

Here are my top 10 books for promoting Critical Thinking!

1. More-Igami – Dori Kleber

Learning something new takes practice and patience.  In this charming story, a boy tries to figure out how an origami crane is made – he analyzes, questions and develops a plan! What a perfect story for introducing critical thinking!

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2. The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires

One of the important stages of critical thinking is to analyze a situation and re-direct your thinking if things are not working.  When the little girl in this book decides to make a ‘most magnificent thing’, it doesn’t exactly go the way she had plans, resulting in a whole lot of frustration- making this a perfect book to begin the conversation about the importance of thinking critically.

3. What To Do With a Box?– Jane Yolen

What can you turn a simple box into?  This simple, charming book by the great Jane Yolen will inspire your students to analyze, question and develop their box into something amazing!

4. What Do You Do With An Idea? – Kobi Yamada

Nurturing ideas and making thinking visible – this story will inspire you to welcome an idea, give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next!

5. Your Fantastic, Elastic Brain – JoAnn Deak

Metacognition is a huge part of being a critical thinker and knowing how your brain works is a great first step in helping making thinking more tangible.  I love how this simple book explains how your brain works and how you can shape it.  I especially like the focus on how making mistakes, practicing, and gaining new knowledge can “stretch” your brain!

 

5. The Thingamabob – Il Sung Na

When a curious elephant finds a ‘thingamabob’ – he uses critical thinking to figure out exactly what it is!  Simple, playful, delightful!  I love how he asks LOTS of questions during the process!

6. Rosie Revere, Engineer – Andrea Beaty

A young girl with big dreams – this text highlights creativity and perseverance with delightful rhyming verse and whimsical illustrations.

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Shh!  We Have A Plan!  – Chris Haughton

Hilarious story of four friends trying to catch a bird.  Their plans turn into a ridiculous, tangled mess until the younger uses some critical thinking skills!  Fun read-aloud and eye-catching illustrations.

7.  Going Places – Peter and Paul Reynolds

This book celebrates the creative spirit and thinking outside the box – both figuratively and literally!

8..  On A Beam of Light – A Story of Albert Einstein – Jennifer Berne

When this picture book biography about the extraordinary life of Albert Einstein was released, I talked about it ALL THE TIME!  Big questions, deep thinking, thoughtful reflection – my favorite topics!  This book will inspire your students to  wonder, think, imagine, and be curious.

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9. Learning to Fly – Sebastian Meschenmoser

A simple, charming story about a penguin who believes he can fly and the man who helps him.  They plan, design, analyse, re-design… it’s the perfect combination of critical thinking, determination and friendship  Love the illustrations so much!

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1o.  A Home For Bird – Philip C. Stead

While stories about creating something concrete can be used to introduce children to critical thinking, it is important for them to see how critical thinking can be applied to other aspects in our life- including friendship.  A Home for Bird is a sweet, tender story of a shy bird and and his thoughtful friend who is determined to help his quiet companion.  Vernon, the toad, uses critical thinking to figure out just what Bird needs.  Love this book!

                            What books do you like to share that inspire critical thinking?

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – New Releases for Summer (PART 1)

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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 has been a busy end of the school year with many events (son’s graduation, hubby’s hernia surgery, etc) which have taken precedent over book blogging!  There are now SO many new books that I want to share, I can hardly stand it!  So this week will be the beginning of a two part “new releases” posts featuring some of the latest and greatest 2016 picture books.

What Do you Do With a Problem – Kobi Yamada

Beautiful message, gorgeous illustrations.  A great companion to What Do You Do with an Idea?  This is a must have book for you school library and will help readers transform their thinking about problems. This would make a great book to launch an inquiry project!

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Hannah and Sugar – Kate Berube

This is a debut picture book by author/illustrator Kate Berube.  Beautiful illustrations to accompany a charming, heartwarming story about a young girl overcoming her fear of dogs.  I am excited to see more by this author as she clearly “gets” kids.  Perfect for making connections.

Dylan, the Villan – K.G. Campbell

This laugh-out-loud book is sure to be a hit in your school library and classroom!  It has a Pixar- cartoon-like scenes give it a comic book feel.  Great story  showing the results of two super-villain in a sabotage-show-down classroom power struggle.  Delightful!

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The Airport Book – Lisa Brown

I LOVE everything about this book! It is simple, useful and entertaining !  In it, we follow a family on its way through the complexities of a modern-day airport.  Delightful  illustrations with so many wonderful details, including a lost-and-found sock-monkey.  This book will be a great book for making connections.

What To Do With a Box

What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

This new book by the great Jane Yolen was the inspiration of my Top Ten Tuesday post last week  featuring books about boxes!  You can view the post here. This delightful rhyming story, beautifully illustrated by Chris Sheban explores the potential of an empty box.  Box + Imagination = MAGIC!

There is a Tribe of Kids – Lane Smith

Wow, wow, wow.  Lane Smith has done it again.  I am not sure how his simple tales are layered with so much to think about.  Here are some words I would use to describe his new book, which pays tribute to the imaginative journey we call “childhood”:  clever, creative, thoughtful, humourous, enchanting, whimsical, playful, meditative, emotional, joyful.  And the icing on the cake is the gorgeous illustrations and amazing language.  Wow again.

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A Morning With Grandpa – Sylvia Liu

A charming, heartwarming tribute to the special bond between grandchild and grandparent as they practice the ancient art of Tai Chi.   Wonderful characters – happy, wiggly and tumbly “Mei Mei” and loving, patient, understanding “Gong Gong”.  I especially love the lyrical language, beautiful metaphors and lovely illustrations.  Would be perfect for making connections and an excellent anchor to inspire writing about grandparents.

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Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

Another wow and huge thumbs up for this first picture book by the amazing Sherman Alexie (The Absolute Diary of a Part Time Indian).  Thunder Boy, Jr. is a lovely story about a boy searching for his own identity and to distinguish himself from his father. The text is flooded with love and wonder, and the illustrations are absolutely perfect.  For those B.C. teachers reading this – here is a wonderful addition to your Aboriginal collection.

Teeny Tiny Toady – Jill Esbaum

If you are looking for a great new read-aloud that will have your kids laughing and cheering – you need Teeny Tiny Toady!  Delightful story of brains vs. brawns and a little-sister-saves-the-day storyline.  As well as the fast-paced plot, I loved the wonderful sound words and  rollicking rhythm.  Here’s to Girl Power wrapped up in a tiny pink frog!

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The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

I always get excited to see a new book by Bill Thomson, as they are usually perfect wordless picture books for practicing questioning and inferring.  This book does include 9 words and is filled with Thomson’s  stunning, life-like illustrations that take the reader on a magical journey with three children after they discover an old typewriter.  I’m already thinking of a writing lesson, based on a single word- what word would you write?

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This is Not a Picture Book – Sergio Ruzzier

“All these words carry you away … and then … they bring you home … where they stay with you forever.”  How could I not love a book about the trans-formative power of reading?  Quirky, charming book  with lovely watercolor illustrations.   Note:  Pay attention to the end papers – brilliant!

            There you have it!  Tune in next week for Part 2 of my New Releases for Summer!

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

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Filed under 2016 releases, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Picture Book

Top Ten Tuesday – Top 10 Books About Boxes! (Yes… I said boxes!)

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Well, it’s June… and that means trying to finish up all of the school projects and units that need to be complete.  It also means some days, we need our students to be engaged and excited about school, even though our classrooms are stifling and summer is calling.  Why not give them an empty box and let their creative imaginations take over?  This idea came to me when I read Jane Yolen’s new book What To Do With A Box .  It’s an inspiring book about the endless things you can do with a simple box.   Of course, that got me thinking about other books about boxes.  It didn’t take long before a new top 10 list was born!

1. What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

The book that started it all…. if you give a child a box, who knows what will happen?  Imaginative, magical, inspiring.

2.  A Box Story – Kenneth Kit Lamug

What can you do with a plain brown box? Everything imaginable!  Simple, charming little book about a plain brown box.  Will definitely inspire children to experiment with their own empty boxes.

3. The Secret Box – Barbara Lehman

Secret messages, magic and adventure await readers in this wordless book by the amazing Barbara Lehman.

4. Not a Box – Antoinette Portis

Full of imagination and humour, this interactive pattern book focuses on a very creative, very imaginative bunny being asked about a box by his friends.  To which he replies, “This is NOT a box.  It’s a ……”

5. The Nowhere Box – Sam Zuppardi

Endearing story of a little boy named George who is trying to escape his pestering brothers so he tells them he is “going newhere” and hides in a washing machine box.   Love the underlying theme about appreciating siblings, no matter how annoying they seem to be.

6.  Christina Katerina & the Box – Patricia Lee Gauch

A new refrigerator for Mom…. a huge box for Christina…. to turn into a castle, a playhouse or anything!  Delightful, imaginative and inspiring!  This book was a classic when I was younger and has been recently re-issued.

7. Gramma & Grampa Live in a Box – Bambi Prunch

When “face-to-face” time between grandparents and grandchildren is limited, what better way to connect than through “a box”.  Perfect book for any grandparents who find themselves at a distance from those they love.  Also great for connecting and inferring (never explicitly says what the box is!)  Skype anyone?

8. Mr. Cornell’s Dream Boxes – Jeanette Winter

I adore any picture book biography by Jeanette Winter.  In this very simple picture book, she tells about unique New York artist, Joseph Cornell (1903-1972), who made shadow boxes filled with objects he found while selling textiles door to door.  Fascinating and inspiring look at different ways we share our stories.

9. The Houdini Box  – Brian Selznick

The compelling story of Harry Houdini, the magician who amazed the world with his great escapes. This is a short chapter book for grades 2-5, complete with amazing illustrations by the extraordinarily talented author of Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck and  The Marvels.

10. The Memory Box – Mary Bahr

When a grandpa is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, he starts a memory box for his grandchild to keep the memories of the times they have shared.  Tender way to teach children about the changes they might experience with their own grandparents.

10. The Cardboard Box Books – Roger Priddy

Great nonfiction book and perfect teaching tool for turning those cardboard boxes into creative inventions.

And there you have it- a whole lot of books about boxes!  Try reading one, passing out boxes and let the creations begin!

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

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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