Tag Archives: Jon Muth

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – First Look at 2016 Books!

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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

I’m a bit late with this Monday post but excited to be sharing my first post featuring books published in 2016 that I have recently read…

Batman’s Dark Secret – Illustrated by Jon J. Muth

Oh, how I love anything Jon Muth illustrates.  So when I saw his name on this Batman Book, I knew I had to read it.  I’m not exactly a Batman expert but would say that, while rather dark, this is an excellent re-telling of Batman’s origin from the perspective of a young Bruce Wayne.  Jon J. Muth’s life-like watercolor illustrations are nothing less than phenomenal.

Be a Friend – Salina Yoon

This is a must have book for 2016!  Heart-felt story of Dennis – an “ordinary boy who expresses himself in extraordinary ways” – through miming.  So much heart leaps out the the pages of this book.  Love the conversations it can start about how we can communicate without words by listening with our hearts.

Ballet CatDance! Dance! Underpants!  Bob Shea

Poor Butter Bear does not want anyone to see her underwear!  I didn’t think the follow-up could be as funny as the Ballet Cat , but this second book in the series will have beginning readers rolling on the floor with laughter.

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                                                                 Worm Loves Worm – J.J. Austrian

This one took me by surprise.   Sweet and simple, this book manages to discuss gender, sexuality and “changing the way things have always been done” in a natural, lovely way.  (My T-T Connection: And Tango Makes Three)

Bear is Not Tired – Ciara Gavin

Adorable.  Bear Bear lives with the Ducks and sometimes he forgets he is not a duck.  But then winter comes, Bear does not want to hibernate because he does not want to miss out on any duck adventures. But can he stay awake? Great for younger ones to make connections to trying to stay awake and also for the season cycle of a bear.

Pax – Sara Pennypacker

Haunting, moving, poetic, powerful.  Gorgeous illustrations by Jon Klassen and extraordinary writing by Sara Pennypacker.  Wow.  I sobbed.  My heart broke and then reassembled.  As soon as I finished I wanted to start over.  It’s now under my pillow.  Pax is a fox who was rescued and raised by 12 year old Peter.  They are inseparable friends and depend on each other for everything.  But when war breaks out, Pax is returned to the wild and, soon after, Peter sets out on a journey to reunite with his beloved friend.  So many layers of heart and thought in this book.  It will be on many people’s top reads of 2016 – and right now it’s on the top of mine.

Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics – Chris Grabenstein

The much-anticipated, puzzle-packed sequel to the New York Times bestselling, award-winning Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library!  Inventive, fun, and MORE puzzles!  

Cockatoo, TooBethanie Deeny Murguia

Silly word play and very cute birds!  Fooling around with words is the fun in the book.  There’s Cockatoos in tu-tus and toucans who can can-can in tutus, too.  You get the idea!

When Mischief Came to Town – Katrina Nannestad

A little girl from Copenhagen comes to live with her grandmother, on a small island after her mother dies.  A touching book about grief and healing. I LOVE this character. She is fun and full of life and helps the traditional islanders “loosen up” and enjoy life.  This would be a great book for grades 3 and 4 and a wonderful book to help anyone who has lost someone dear to them.

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

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Favorite Nonfiction Picture Books of 2014

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 posted my favorite fiction picture books from the past year.  This week,  I’m excited to share my favorite Nonfiction Books of 2014.  Again, book selection is challenging as there are SO many to chose from.  I have also been taking a rather long break from any form of computer work over the Christmas break so I could focus on family and as a result, my descriptors are relatively short! But here they are…

FAVORITE ANIMAL BOOKS

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Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla – Katherine Applegate

A nonfiction companion to the amazing novel The One and Only Ivan.

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Creature Features – Steve Jenkins

Steve Jenkins is a master at capturing information in a captivating way both visually and descriptively.  In this book, the creatures describe their OWN features!  Great for teaching “voice” and a wonderful writing anchor.

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Animalium – Katie Scott and Jenny Broom

This is an amazing look into the world of animal classification.  Oversized book – wonderful for sharing with students and is made to feel as if you are walking through a museum.  Gorgeous and unique!

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Mama Build a Little Nest – Jennifer Ward and Steve Jenkins

Who knew there was such diversity when it came to nest building?  Fascinating to read and look at!

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The Slug (from the Disgusting Critter Series) – Elise Gravel

What can I say except that kids LOVE this series!  Interesting facts told with humorous illustrations and slap-stick comments.  A MUST for your classroom library!

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Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting with the Great Whites of California’s Farallon Islands  – Katherine Roy

Up-close and personal with the world’s most deadliest shark!  Captivating and surprising!

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A Baby Elephant in the Wild – Caitlin O’Connell

Excellent photographs and informative and interesting text.  Perfect for questioning and a great introduction to narrative nonfiction for younger students.

FAVORITE BIOGRAPHIES

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Nelson Mandela – Kadir Nelson

Every child should know the story of this most important, courageous, inspiring man and what he did to end apartheid.  Amazing story, amazing illustrations, amazing man.

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Shakleton’s Journey – William Grill

Sir Ernest Shacklton’s amazing scientific expedition across the Antarctic.  Stunning pencil crayon illustrations.  A fascinating account of a great adventure.

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Mr. Ferris and His Wheel – Kathryn Gibb Davis

Amazing facts and stunning illustrations describing George Ferris’s remarkable creation.

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The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus – Jen Bryant and Melissa Sweet

Stunning illustrations and a fascinating story of Peter Mark Roget – the man who created the thesaurus.  Inspires list making!

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Families Around The World – Margriet Ruurs

Wonderful look at different families: cultures, food, homes, clothing and customs.  Simple and interesting text – perfect for grade 2-3!

FAVORITE CONCEPT BOOKS:

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 IF:  A Mind-Bending New Way of Looking at Big Ideas and Numbers – David J. Smith

Author of If the World Were A Village, David J. Smith, creates a unique book that shrinks down concepts that are hard to wrap your brain around into a familiar and smaller scale.  Perfect book for linking with Math.

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 Tiny Creatures:  The World of Microbes – Nicola Davies

 An accessible introduction to microbes for primary students.  A great NF read aloud that will invite lots of  “oooos” and “aaahs.” LOVE this book!

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Gravity – Jason Chin

Through simple text and stunning illustrations,  Jason Chin explains what gravity does and why it is so important. A complex concept made simple. 

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As an Oak Tree Grows – G. Brian Karas

SOOOO many different teachable layers to this book including history, timelines, and life cycle of trees.  This unique book depicts the life of an oak tree spanning 200 plus years and how the world changes around it as it grows.  A perfect book to teach TRANSFORM. 

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Clever Concept Books – Jane Brocket

Apparently, there are other books in this wonderful series, but these two titles were released this year.  LOVE them for early primary classrooms – perfect link to teaching science concepts.  Simple text and bright, colorful photographs.

FAVORITE POETRY BOOKS:

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Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems – Paul B. Janeczko (editor)

Creating images using only a few words can be challenging but every poem in this collection succeeds in doing so. An lovely collection of short poems – and a perfect illustration to children that sometimes, less is more.

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Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons – Jon J. Muth

Soft watercolor illustrations and a charming panda bear, along with 26 haiku poems to celebrate seasons.  A treasure of a book.

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Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold – Joyce Sidman

I adore Joyce Sidman’s poetry and love how she weaves learning into her poems.  This is a beautiful collection of fascinating poems about how animals stay alive during winter.  LOVE.

And there you have it – my list of favorite Nonfiction Books of the past year.   Thanks for stopping by!  What were some of your favorites?

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

Picture Books – 10 for 10 (2014)

I am excited to be participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 event for the second time!  This celebration of picture books is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning

Choosing only 10 picture books is a huge challenge for me as there are SO many amazing new ones to chose from.  Last year I focused on new books that can be used for Reading Power – 2 books for each of the 5 Reading Power strategies:  Connect, Question, Visualize, Infer and Transform.  (You can check out my 10 for 10 2013 post here) The response was very positive, so I have decided to continue this trend.   Below are my favorite 10 picture books from 2014 that could be added to your reading power collections.

CONNECT

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It’s OKAY to Make Mistakes – Todd Parr   

I love Todd Parr books – they are bright, colorful and positive and perfect read-alouds for  younger students.  In this new book, he reassures children that mistakes are okay – from spilling milk to coloring outside the lines – children will make connections with every page!

What If…? –  Anthony Browne                                                                                                                                                                                             

Anthony Browne is an amazing author/illustrator and I was excited to see this brand new book on display in my favorite book store.  In this story, he focuses on the anxieties of a young boy who is on his way to a party. His mum is taking him but not staying with him – What if I don’t know anyone? What if nobody talks to me?  What if I don’t like the food?  While walking to the party, his imagination begins to take over and in classic Anthony Browne surrealist style – his illustrations lead us through some of his scary thoughts.  It all turns out in the end, reminding us that our imaginations can be scarier than our world.  I loved the firm, reassuring mother who helps the boy overcome his fears.  A perfect book for any child who has found themselves feeling anxious about a new experience.

QUESTION

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Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman

There is so much to love about this book – the adorable characters, the detailed illustrations, the epic adventure and the slightly surprising ending.  After breaking their mother’s favorite blue shell, rather than telling her, the three siblings set off to try to find a replacement shell!   This is a delightful book – from the first page to the very last and I know that younger students will be filled with questions about just what will become of these delightful bears and if they will ever find that perfect blue shell.

Norman, Speak!  by Caroline Adderson

This is a wonderful and thought provoking book that invites a lot of questions.  When a family adopts a dog from an animal shelter, they quickly discover he doesn’t understand even simple commands like “sit” or “come”.  The family (and the reader) conclude that their new dog (who they name Norman) is not very smart but he is friendly and lovable.  During a chance encounter at a park, the family discovers that Norman understands Chinese and that is why he has not been able to follow their commands.  The family starts taking Chinese lessons so that they can communicate with their beloved dog.  There is so much to love about this book – and many important messages about language and communicating.  The book is long but a perfect read-aloud for grades 3-5. 

VISUALIZE:

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Following Papa’s Song – Gianna Marino

I LOVE this book!  The stunning illustrations are amazing and I loved how the fictional story weaves in many scientific facts about whales and migration.   I considered including this as a book for Questioning but after several reads, I realized that the magic of the book lies with the images created by the journey these whales take through the depths of the ocean.  Lovely images to invite visualizing:  “…through the liquid light and deep into the mysterious black”    A wonderful book to launch a unit on whales and an anchor book for an art lesson for students to capture some of the images they visualized.

Hi, Koo! – A Year of Seasons – Jon Muth

Icicles.
reach down with dripping fingers
will they touch the ground?

What is not to love about this book?   Jon Muth is one of my favorite writer/illustrators.  I adore his soft watercolor pallet of colors and his gentle words.  This book is a charming collection of haiku poems to celebrate the seasons.  From careful observations of nature to insightful moments to nudge our thinking , I love every corner of this book.   Because haiku poems are short, I find they lend themselves well to capturing single visual images.  Try giving one haiku poem from this book to a group of students and inviting them each to create a visual picture.  The results will amaze you!

INFER

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Quest – AaronBecker

I use wordless picture books to help scaffold the strategy of inferring with my students.  Last summer, Aaron Becker’s breath-taking book Journey had just been released and was included on my top 10 picture books of last year.  (It went on to receive a Caldecott honor last year!)  My students spent HOURS pouring over the illustrations in that book and inferring endlessly!   So I just couldn’t resist including his new book Quest on my list this year. It’s hard to believe that Aaron Becker could match the magic he created in his first book, but I thought this one was even more magical!  It follows the same characters from Journey as they begin a quest to rescue a king and his kingdom from darkness. The illustrations are, once again, stunning.  Readers will be captivated and have endless opportunities to infer and practice creative problem solving.  This book is MAGIC!

Flashlight – Lizi Boyd

Another unique, magical book takes readers through a dark forest with a flashlight.  What magic hides in the darkness?  What hidden treasures can be discovered by the beam of a flashlight? I loved Lizi Boyd’s Inside Outside so was thrilled to discover her latest creative wordless masterpiece.  A boy takes a walk through the dark woods, shining his flashlight into the wonders of the woods.  The effective illustrations shows the beam of the flashlight and the hidden discoveries found in the forest – small creatures, flowers, moss.  I love this book makes the dark inviting and friendly and would be a perfect book to read before heading out on a nature walk.  A celebration of exploration and wonder! 

TRANSFORM

Sometimes a book can change the way we think about something. When searching for books to use to teach this strategy, I look for books that deal with an issue that students have some experience.  We “take stock” of our thinking about the issue or topic before and after reading, so that the students can visibly notice how their thinking has changed.  These books have the ability to “change your thinking”

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What Do You Do With An Idea? – Kobi Yamada  

This lovely book explores the notion of paying attention to your ideas and just what can happen when you befriend and attend to your ideas.  I see so many possibilities of how this book can change our thinking and can remind us that ideas are possibilities waiting to happen.

The Most Magnificent Thing – Ashley Spires

There are so many things I love about this book, not to mention it is a Canadian author!   This book invites us to revist our thinking about so many things – perseverance, creativity, collaboration, communication, dealing with frustration and being able to adapt to change.  It is so well written and is a perfect book for inviting students to revisit their thinking of what it means to be creative.  A must have for your classroom!

Extraordinary Jane – Hannah E. Harrison

OK – I know I have gone over my limit but I could not resist adding this heartwarming book to my top 10 list.  I have seen many reviews about Extraordinary Jane but I am not a huge circus fan so I suppose I was not particularly drawn to it.   But now I can’t stop hugging it!  This book is such an important one to read to children.  Many children feel the pressure to be the best, fastest, smartest, prettiest.  This book reminds us that you can be extraordinary just by being ordinary.  It is not the skills or talents on the outside that makes us special – but the tenderness inside.  You will fall in love with Jane – I promise!

Well there you have it – my top 10 picture books (plus 1!) for 2014.  I hope you found some new titles that you can use in your classroom!  What are your top picks of the year so far?

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Filed under Connect, Infer, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Reading Power, Transform, Visualize

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

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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.

After an extremely busy and eventful week (some amazing events and a few not!)  I am grateful I had the chance to take some time out to read some fantastic new picture books that I will be sharing with my students and staff in the coming weeks as we prepare for spring break and the last term of school.

Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons

Hi, Koo! A Year of Seasons – Jon Muth

What is not to love about this book?   Jon Muth is one of my favorite writer/illustrators.  I adore his soft watercolor pallet of colors and his gentle words.  This latest book is a charming collection of haiku poems to celebrate the seasons.  From careful observations of nature to insightful moments to nudge our thinking , I love every corner of this book.  Delightful.

Maple

Maple – Lori Nichols

In another charming book about seasons, we meet Maple – a sweet girl who is has a special bond with her namesake tree that her parents planted when she was born.  As Maple grows, the tree becomes an important part of her life and as she grows and changes through the seasons, so does her tree.  And when a baby sister arrives and won’t stop crying, Maple takes her outside and introduces her to her tree.  This is a wonderful book to celebrate a new baby.  An impressive debut picture book!

A Book of Babies – Il Sung Na

I loved Il Sung Na’s book Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit so was excited to see this new picture book about baby animals.  I am so drawn into his soft, charming illustrations  and simple, poetic text.  A baby duck takes the reader on a tour of different baby animals.  I like how each animal is distinguished by one unique feature:  father seahorse carry babies in their pouch, a baby zebra walks right away, baby fish are born with lots of brothers and sisters.  This would be a wonderful share for kindergarten and grade one students.

Spring is Here!

Spring is Here – Heidi Pross Gray

While there are numerous books about spring, I love the way this one weaves together both nature and family time.  The watercolor illustrations (have you inferred I am drawn to watercolor?) and rhythmic text creates a book that feels wholesome and excited about the coming of spring.

Poppleton In Spring

Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant

 I have so many wonderful memories of dear Poppleton and his friends Cherry Sue, Filmore and the wonderful characters in these beginning chapter book series by the profound Cynthia Rylant and illustrated by Marc Teague.  Each book has three chapters – 3 short stories written featuring Poppleton the pig and his neighbours.   Some are funny, others tender and thoughtful.  In this book Poppleton does some spring cleaning, buys a new bike and stays up all night in a tent “noticing”.  I have many fond memories of reading Poppleton stories to my boys when they were younger and continue to spread Poppleton joy to the children at my school.  If you have never read a Poppleton story – I highly recommend it.

The Highest Number in the World

 The Highest Number in the World – Ray MacGregor

I live in a household where hockey takes precedent over pretty much anything else!  We were all up at four am to watch Canada play for gold at the Sochi games.  The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier is one of my all time favorite picture books.  There have been many hockey stories since but I have yet to find one that compares to it – until now.  This book is a gem.   It tells the story of a little girl who obsesses over the number 22 for her hockey jersey because it’s the number of her hockey hero, Hayley Wickenheiser.  Unfortunately, her new hockey team gives her the number 9 instead. She hates the jersey and wants to quit.  Enter her grandmother, who explains the important history of the number nine in hockey.   This is so much more than a hockey story – and the relationship between the granddaughter and grandmother brought tears to my eyes.  The illustrations are wonderful and full of detail – down to the NHL quilt set on her bed!  Whether you love hockey or not, this is a wonderful story.

Going Places

Going Place – Peter and Paul Reynolds

Peter H. Reynolds pairs up with his brother for a their first book together, filled with the same creative free-spirit theme of Reynolds’s other books.  It’s time for the annual “Going Places”  go-cart contest.  Time to grab a kit, put together your go-cart and race to the finish line.  Each child grabs a “go-cart kit” and puts together identical carts.  Maya, however, decides to be creative and think outside the box, creating her own version and crossing the finish line in her own way.  A perfect book for encouraging children to march to their own drum on their way to the finish line!

Say Hello Like This

Say Hello Like This! – Mary Murphy

The Kindergarten teachers at my school do a farm unit in the spring so I was excited to find this new book by Mary Murphy for them to use!  It is a wonderful, interactive book that will make a perfect read-aloud to introduce the different sounds that animals make.  I love the funny adjectives Murphy uses in this book which is a follow up to her book  A Kiss Like This!  A wonderful book for younger students – prepare yourself for a noisy read-aloud!Orangutangled

Orangutangled – Sudipta Bordham-Quallen

This book is simply a fun, frolicky, read-aloud!  Two hungry orangutans climb a tree for some mangoes and end up falling together in a sticky, goey mess.  Other animals try to help but end up getting tangled up as well.  The rhyming text works perfectly and I love the word play and the bright illustrations.  Another great read-aloud choice for the younger folk!

Hokey Pokey

Hokey Pokey – Jerry Spinelli

I am a big fan of Jerry Spinelli – Maniac Magee one of my favorite books to read to my class.  This one took me a while to get into – I was very confused at first and had to go back and reread several sections. I was once again amazed at his ability to weave characters we can identify with so well into a completely imaginative setting.  Hokey Pokey is an adult-less world of childhood and play – where kids play games, ride bikes, have adventures and follow the simple laws of the land.  Jack, the main character, experiences his world turn upside down when his beloved bike is stolen by a girl.  Without his bike, Jack feels lost and things start to go very wrong for him.  This book is reminiscent of Peter Pan – a boy who is struggling in the place between childhood and adolescence.   This story is unusual, it’s confusing in parts, and I’m still a little on the fence about it.  But it is certainly a book that is lingering in my thinking – a place where many great books have taken up residence.  I’d love to know what you think about it!

The Bear: A Novel

Bear – A Novel – Claire Cameron

This book is quite extraordinary.  It is written in first person, present tense in the voice of a 5 year old girl.  She and her brother are left alone to survive the elements after their parents are killed by a bear while out camping.  I was riveted by this story – many reminders of the child’s voice in ROOM.  I was also caught up by the emotional roller coaster of the story.  The description of the bear attack in the first 40 pages was completely terrifying – I had to stop reading it a few times.  While this book is considered an adult novel – I could really see it being read to a middle school class.  It is a story of survival and courage and I loved every moment of it.

Thanks for stopping by and reading my blog.  What have you been reading lately?

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Poetry, Read-Aloud, Seasons

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? – Christmas Classics – part 3

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:  Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers.

This is my third and final post of holiday books.  In Part 1, I shared my favorite Christmas  “classics” that I have loved for many years, Part 2 was looking at holiday versions of favorite or known characters and this week I will be sharing some of my more recently discovered and/or published holiday books.

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My Penguin Osbert by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel

Be careful what you wish for!  is the message of this delightful book!  There are many things I love about this book.  The illustrations are cute, and the story very sweet, but my teacher side is always thinking about ways to use books for a lesson!   The story begins with young Joe in the process of writing a letter to Santa asking him for a Penguin for Christmas. In the past, Santa has misinterpreted his letters and often brought him the wrong gift (the “flashback” examples are VERY funny!)  so this year, Joe is VERY specific with what he wants.  Turns out Santa delivers this year – and Joe gets a brand new penguin.  But he soon discovers that having a penguin is a little different than what he expects!  This is a very funny book – a perfect read-aloud – and a great anchor book for letter writing and the importance of being specific and precise with your words.

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The Christmas Owl – Angela Muse

This beautifully illustrated book is filled with the wonderful message of kindness and gratitude.  On Christmas eve, an owl is injured and he has to rely on other animals to help him find shelter and food until he gets better.  At first, not all the animals are willing to help, especially his prey!  But in the end we witness each one opening their hearts and homes to help the owl.  When the owl is healed, he returns kindness to each of the animals who helped him.  This book is a GEM!

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A Wish to Be A Christmas Tree – Colleen Munroe

Oh, how I LOVE this book!  The illustrations are amazing – I could look at them for hours!  But the story itself is so beautiful!  A too tall fir tree is always overlooked each year at Christmas time.  He longs to be chosen by a family and taken home to be decorated and wonders why he is passed by year after year.  When he becomes so discouraged,  the animals from the woods begin to tell him all the things they like and appreciate about him.  In the end, the fir tree starts to truly believes in himself and his self-worth. This is a tender story with a wonderful message about valuing your strengths and also about the kindness of friends.

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Little SantaJon Agee

Have you ever wondered what Santa was like as a child? Did you know he is one of seven children?    Well this book tells you all about “Little Santa” and how he grew up and became the person everyone loves.  Along the way you learn the “why” behind elves, chimneys and reindeers.  This is a little gem of a Christmas story – cute but not sugary.  Delightful illustrations!

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The Deep and Snowy Wood – Elwyn Tate

 A deer, a mole and a squirrel are making their way through the deep and snowy wood.  They are heading somewhere, but you don’t know where they or going or why.  (I won’t spoil it for you – but a hint is that it has something to do with Christmas!)  This rhyming book is aimed at a younger audience (K-1) and would be perfect for questioning or predicting.  The art is lovely and rhyming text flows and never feels forced.  Because we are kept guessing until the last page, it makes for a very engaging read-aloud!

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Gifts of the Heart – Patricia Polacco   All I can say is that Patrica Polacco did it again.  She managed to write a Christmas story that is joyful and heartwarming.  In Gifts of the Heart, she shares the magic of Christmas through a delightful story that celebrates the joy of homemade gifts.  I made many connections to sitting around the kitchen table with my sisters making homemade gifts for relatives.  (And yes, I made my own boys make peanut butter – bird seed pine cones, too!)  This is a beautiful story of what truly matters at Christmas – not gifts that come from a store, but gifts that come from the heart.  Classic Polacco.

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The Christmas Magic – Lauren Thomas

Oh, how I adore this book!  It fills my heart with such joy and captures, to me, the magic of Christmas.  Santa feels the Christmas magic first with a twitch of his beard.  He then begins to make preparations to spread this magic to everyone.   Lauren Thomas’ text makes my heart smile and Jon Muth’s soothing watercolors are worth the price of admission.  Another gem to add to my collection.

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 The Smallest Gift – Peter H. Reynolds

Ever since The Dot and Ish – I have been a huge Peter H. Reynolds fan.  In his recent Christmas book, we meet Roland.  On Christmas morning, Roland discovers a very small present under the tree.  Disappointed, he wishes for something bigger and bigger and ends up flying to the moon in a rocket ship.  But his journey brings him back to where he started  – home – reminding him that what is under the tree is not as important as who you are with.

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Santa Claus – the World’s Number One Toy Expert – Marla Frazee

Any book by the great Marla Frazee is sure to bring a smile to everyone – this book is no exception.  Although it came out in 2005, I discovered it only a few weeks ago in my local library.   Have you ever wondered just how Santa knows how to match the exact right toy with the exact right kid every Christmas?  How?  He works HARD at it!  He researches for the ENTIRE YEAR, taking notes, thinking, testing, re-guessing, analyzing and compiling his research!  Finally, when he has it all figured out by Christmas morning – he brings magic to everyone!  This book is funny and tender with a rather surprising ending.  A classroom library is not complete without a Marla Frazee book – and it will be hard not to keep this one out until June!

And there you have it – hopefully some new Christmas books for you to enjoy!  Which book will you add to your collection?

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