Tag Archives: Kadir Nelson

It’s Monday! What Are Your 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: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers.

Is it really March?  Well, the blossoms are blooming and so are the new books!  In the midst of report card writing, I have been taking breaks to read some amazing new books.  So here are some of the latest releases that have taken my breath away, made me laugh, cry, smile and sigh…

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If You Plant A Seed – Kadir Nelson

If you plant a carrot, a carrot will grow; if you plant a seed, a flower will grow. But if you plant kindness – what happens? If you plant selfishness – what happens? Thank you to Leslie Buffam at Vancouver Kidsbooks for introducing me to this new book by acclaimed author Kadir Nelson.  This book has simple, sparse text, breathtaking illustrations and a gentle message (with a splash of humour) about ways we can all make kindness grow. Excellent introduction to the concepts of “selfish” and “generous” and a perfect spring read-aloud for your primary class.

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

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

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Smick! – Doreen Cronin

Smile.  Author of the Click! Clack! books has created a delightful character Smick – a loveable dog who loves catching sticks and befriends a little chick!  Simple, rhyming text and bright simple illustrations.  Lots of repetition and rhyme and clever word combining (as in “stick” + “chick” = SMICK!)  would make this a great read-aloud and wonderful anchor for teaching rhyming words.

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 Sidewalk Flowers – JoArno Lawson

Sigh.  This moving, wordless picture book teaches us to notice the beauty around you and the impact of small acts of kindness.  A young girl walks through the park with her dad.  He is not paying attention because he’s on his cell phone; she notices the wildflowers and begins picking them and giving them away.  Stunning black and white illustrations that slowly introduce color as the story unfolds.  This book is tender, gentle, poignant, beautiful, transforming. 

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                                                                                   A Boy and a Jaguar – Alan Rabinowitz
This book came out last year and I can’t believe it took me so long to read it! WOW – so many things to love about this book. It tells the true story of young Alan, who struggles with a stutter. The only place he finds comfort is at the zoo, where he discovers that his stutter disappears when he talks to the animals.  “Animals can’t get words out, just as I can’t get he words out. So people ignore or misunderstand or hurt them, the same way people ignore or misunderstand or hurt me. I make a promise to my pets. I promise that if I can ever find my voice, I will be their voice and keep them from harm.”    Alan keeps his promise and grows up to become one of the world’s premier protectors of wild jaguars. Powerful, inspiring, gorgeous illustrations – this book is a gem!

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                                                                                         Blue on Blue – Dianne White
Beautiful folk art illustrations and simple, lyrical rhyming text – this is a perfect book for sharing out loud. The story takes you through a family’s experience on a farm during an unexpected rainstorm. I would definitely use this book for visualizing and sequencing a sudden storm. Beautiful detailed illustrations by Caldecott winner Beth Crommes (The House in the Night, Swirl by Swirl) would also inspire great storm art! 22747806

                                                                                                    Home – Carson Ellis

What is home? Is it a place? A space? A sanctuary? A sense of belonging? In this debut picture book, author/illustrator Carson Ellis gives readers a “transforming” perception of “home”. I loved the folk-art illustrations and the way she presents both real and non-traditional homes such as sea homes and hollow-tree homes. Simple, engaging text and a wonderful book to inspire students to create their own imaginary “homes”. Whimsical, imaginative and a loving look at the many places we call home. Love this book!

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                                                                                        All Four Stars – Tara Dairman
Attention foodies and fans of cooking shows! In this charming novel we meet 11 yr. old Gladys Gatsby who lives with a fast food, mircro-waving family. She, on the other hand, loves to cook! But when a Crème Brule disaster (small kitchen fire!) causes her to be banned from the kitchen, she ends up entering a writing contest at school. She writes about food, of course, and ends up being offered a job as a food critic! (They don’t know she is a kid!) This would make a fun read-aloud. I loved Gladys – she is an adorable character that you will be cheering for. Warning – don’t read this book when you are hungry! The food descriptions are mouth-watering!

Thanks for stopping by!  Which book caught your eye?  Write me a message to let me know!

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

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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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Celebrating Picture Book Biographies

 

IMWAYR            b4f78-pb2bmonth2blogo

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

In celebration of Picture Book Month, I am posting some of my favorite picture book biographies!  I love sharing the true stories of extraordinary people with my students.  Gone are the days of boring biographies – these books are beautifully written, exquisitely illustrated and will inform and inspire you!

 

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela – Kadir Nelson

The courageous life of this man is a must share book.  Nelson Mandela – who stood up for his people and over time, won his fight because of his courage and his values.   He was, in my opinion, the bravest man who ever lived.

 

Manfish: A Story of Jacques Cousteau

Manfish A Story of Jacques Cousteau – Jennifer Berne

I remember my dad watching amazing Jacques Cousteau documentaries on TV when I was little.  This is a simple and beautifully told story of Jacques Cousteau, famous oceanographer – following his curiosity and infatuation with the sea as a child, to his inventions, his movies, his explorations and finally his conservation efforts.  This book will captivate your students!

 

The Watcher: Jane Goodall's Life with the Chimps

The Watcher:  Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps – Jeanette Winter

I am a long-time admirer of Jane Goodall.  This is a wonderful biography about her life’s work observing and protecting the chimpanzees in Africa.  I love how the theme of Jane being a “watcher” is the thread of the story.   Fascinating, intriguing details of her life without being overwhelming.  Jeanette Winter is a master at highlighting the interesting “chapters” of a life story. 

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The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky’s Abstract Art – Barb Rosenstock.
When young Vasya Kandinsky was a young boy in Russia, his aunt gave him a box of paints.  To Kandinsky’s amazement, when he opened the box, he “heard” the colors!  This is the fascinating story of the world’s first abstract artist  – the boy to whom colors were sounds.
The Tree Lady: The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever
The Tree Lady:  The True Story of How One Tree-Loving Woman Changed a City Forever – H. Joseph Hopkins
The important and inspiring story of Katherine Olivia Sessions – the woman who in the 1860’s,  brought lush, green life to the dry desert landscape of San Diego.  I was so captivated by the gorgeous art on this cover – but loved the celebration of nature as well as discovering the life of a person I had never heard of before.
The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse
The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse – Patricia McLachlan
Well you can’t get much better than one of the greatest writers sharing the story of one of the greatest artists! This is a wonderful introduction of the early life of Henri Matisse – where his creative inspiration came from and the influence he had from his parents (his mother painted on dishes and always laid bright, colorful rugs on the floors of their drap cottage in the south of France; his father bought him pigeons) LOVE the title! 
 
Brave Girl: Clara and the Shirtwaist Makers' Strike of 1909
Brave Girl:  Clara and the Shirtwaist Maker’s Strike of 1909 – Michelle Markel
A picture book biography about Clara Lemlich, the brave young girl who organized a strike in 1909 to improve working conditions for the young women employed in the garment industry factories. This is an excellent historical non-fiction biography to show children that one brave girl can make a huge  difference. 
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos – Deborah Helligman
And again, I find myself learning about a person I had never heard of before!  This is the extraordinary life story of Paul Erdos – the mathematician. As a child, Paul was fascinated with numbers.  This biography depicts his life as a young child to an old man as he embarks on a mathematics journey,  traveling all over the world and learning as much as he can from other mathematicians.
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Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller – Doreen Rappaport
This is a gorgeous, poetic, beautifully illustrated introduction to the life of Helen Keller.   Exquisite writing, large pictures and beautiful quotes woven throughout the book.  Inspiring.
The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus
The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus – Jen Bryant
I love words and I love this book!  This book tells the story of Dr. Peter Roget, doctor, inventor, scientist, list-maker, and creator of the thesaurus.  It is such an exceptionally beautiful book – both in the way the story is written and the extraordinary illustrations.  A celebration of triple scoop words – this book isn’t just “good” – it’s remarkable, extraordinary, staggering, incredible, stunning, astonishing, marvelous, phenomenal, outstanding and splendid! 
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Malala and Iqbal – two brave children from Pakistan – Jeanette Winter
This latest release by Jeanette Winter is two inspiring stories of brave children woven into one book.   From the front – we read the story of Malala who stood up for her belief that girls should be allowed to attend school; from the back, we read the story of Iqbol – the young boy who, alone, stood up against the inhumane child slavery conditions in the carpet industry.   Both were brave; both were heroes; both were shot. Their stories must be heard.
  Becoming Babe Ruth
Becoming Babe Ruth – Matt Tavaras
This is a wonderful introduction for younger students to the life of Babe Ruth.   I love the simple text and large life-like illustrations.  I knew Babe Ruth as a famous baseball player but didn’t know of his troubled life and how much he had to overcome as a child.  Life is what you make of it is the message behind this inspiring story.
What are YOUR favorite picture book biographies to share with your students?

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It’s Monday – What Are You Reading? Bears, Birds and a Hammock!

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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.

This week, I discovered some wonderful new picture books about bears, along with a few other delights!  Here they are!

The Hiccup – Ingrid Sissung

Ever have the hiccups you could not get rid of?  Poor Elliot!  He eats his picnic food too quickly and ends up with a very bad case of the hiccups!  While he tries to get advice from various forest friends for a cure, his cousin Lutz finds the whole situation terribly funny.  Eventually, Lutz stumbles across a cure and helps Elliot out.  There are SO many things to love about this book – first –  the illustrations are adorable.  Kids will make connections to the hiccup theme but I also love the message of the importance of showing sympathy to others when they are in tough situations instead of laughing at them.  Wonderful book and I can’t wait to share it with my students!

I Am Not Little Red Riding Hood – Alessandro Lecis

Hmmm…. I felt a bit tricked by the title of this book because it has NOTHING to do with Little Red Riding Hood!  It’s unfortunate that the title throws you off so much because the story is very sweet.  A little girl (who has a red scarf not a red hood!) is collecting snowflakes in her basket and meets a polar bear who brings her to the place with the very best snow is, under the moon.  After a snow dance (LOVED this part!) she fills her basket with snow.  The bear explains that the snow will soon melt.  The snow does disappear, as does the bear.  There is something quite magical about this book – I just wish it was called “Snow Dance”! 

Cub’s Big World – Sarah L. Thomson

This is a beautiful and tender story about a baby cub experiencing the big world for the first time.  The words and pictures are very lyrical and lovely. I felt inspired to use this book for a winter world art lesson!  Great mother-cub relationship in a wintery world.  Loved it!

Baby Bear – Kadir Nelson

“When I am lost, I sit very still and try to listen to my heart. It speaks as softly and as sweetly as a gentle breeze. And it is never wrong. It will lead you home”  Can you stand it?  This book is simple, beautiful, extraordinary.  The voice of this little bear is so sweet and his words are so tender.  The illustrations are so beautiful and I felt so emotionally tied to this little bear as he tries to find his way home with the help of his forest friends.  Huge bear love.

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The Very Brave Bear – Nick Bland

Cranky Bear is back and this time he and Boris Buffalo are trying to one-up each other to determine who the bravest!  This book is fun, has rhyming texts and would make a great read-aloud for younger children.

The Bear’s Song – Benjamin Chaud

Papa Bear is searching for Baby Bear after Baby gets lost chasing a bee.  This is a simple story but it is the illustrations that really made it stand out for me.  The details are FANTASTIC – so much to look at – they almost tell their own story!  You could spend many hours searching for all the hidden treasures!

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Ten Birds Meet a Monster – Cybele Young

Canadian author/illustrator Cybele Young has given us another delightful book featuring the same Ten Birds she introduced us to in 2011.  I was thrilled to see this second book in what I hope is a series!  In her first book, 10 birds are trying to problem solve their way from one side of river to another.  In this book, the same clever birds are trying to come up with creative and increasingly elaborate ways to scare off a monster.  The black and white pen-ink illustrations are remarkable.  This book is clever, funny, and a GREAT companion to Ten Birds.

The True Story of Stellina – Matteo Pericoli

I found this book sitting on a table in my local library and was immediately attracted to the cover:  An adorable little bird sitting on the end of a pen – what could this story be about?  Turns out is a true story of a baby finch who falls out of her nest in the busy streets of New York City and is rescued by a woman named Holly (the author’s wife).  Holly looks to find somewhere to take the bird but ends up taking it home to her New York apartment and there, teaches it to eat, sing and fly.  This book is charming and the light airy illustrations are a delight.

                                                                                            

 The Rice Bag Hammock – Shaeeza Haniff

Wow!  This book has SO much to celebrate!  It’s about family, community, play, diversity, sustainability, recycling – and I am still thinking of more!  It tells the journey of a simple burlap rice bag that is turned into a hammock and given as a gift.  Each page shows how the hammock is used in simple, repeating text. The story is set in scenic Guyana countryside and the illustrations are vibrant and colorful.   I loved the uplifting message that a simple handmade gift leads to many uses and much joy to so many.  A MUST HAVE book!

And those are my books this week!  Thanks for stopping by!

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