Tag Archives: Kevin Henkes

IMWAYR – First New Picture Books of 2017!

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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 haven’t posted a IMWAYR for a while…but I have been reading LOTS of new books!  So this Monday,  I’m happy to be sharing the first picture books of 2017!

A Greyhound and a Groundhog – Emily Jenkins

Delightful word playful, tongue twisting story about an energetic greyhound and a rolly-poly groundhog.  Charming illustrations and so much fun to read out loud.

Pen Pals – Alexandra Pichard

An octopus and an ant are paired up to write letters for a school project in this charming picture book.  Charming letters and lovely surprise ending.

A Perfect Day

A Perfect Day – Lane Smith

This book will be released on Valentine’s Day but I had a chance to read an advance copy and I loved it!  Lane Smith is such a clever writer.  This book is a delight – funny, charming and sweet.  All the animals and insects are having a perfect day, that is, until Bear comes along!

XO, OX A Love Story – Adam Rex

Charming book about a smelly ox and a refined gazelle writing letters to each other. Whimsical illustrations and beautiful prose and a perfect one to add to your Valentine’s collection.

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Hug it Out! – Louis Thomas

Fun story about siblings who are made to “hug it out” whenever they fight.  So to avoid another “icky hug”, they agree to call a truce.   Great story for conflict-resolution and for making connections to siblings spats!

Wolf in the Snow – Matthew Cordell

Care, kindness, cooperation, and discovery fill this delightful, almost wordless picture book about a little girl who gets lost in a snow storm, paralleled with a wolf pup who is lost in the same storm.  Oh, this  is a lovely book.

Egg – Kevin Henkes

This graphic novel format for very young readers is about 4 different colored eggs – three of them hatch and one doesn’t.  What to do?  Simple repeating text, large bold illustrations – another winner by Kevin Henkes.

The Unexpected Love Story of Alfred Fiddleduckling – Timothy Basil Ering

This is truly an unexpected and heart-warming story that I adored. It is fantastical tale of a farmer, a gentle old lady, a dancing dog, and one brave, tiny duckling.   Gorgeous illustrations and thrilling adventure story – this book is a must read and must share. (Loved Frog Belly Rat Bone – but I think I love this one more!)

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

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Filed under 2017 releases, Friendship, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Valentine's Day

Top Ten Tuesday: Top 10 Picture Books to Inspire Winter Art!

Happy New Year!  We are heading back to school SO early this year… and I believe it is going to be a long, cold, and snowy month ahead!  If you are looking for some creative ways to integrate some great winter picture books into your Art lessons, you may find some inspiration in this week’s Top 10 list!

1.Once Upon a Northern Night – Jean E. Pendziwol

Lovely, lyrical lullaby celebrating the magic and wonder of an icy winter night.  This book can inspire some lovely winter tree art.  I love this idea from First Palettte to use a marble and paint  inside an empty coffee cup to create the “snowy” effect!

Snowy Day Collage craft

2.  Cold Snap – Eileen Spinelli

A charming neighborly tale about a small town determined to beat the deep freeze. Great book for your unit on community and for making CONNECTIONS!  (Vancouver is in a deep freeze this winter!)

Add icicles to a simple cut-out house or tree art by applying white paint and letting it drip down.  Or use glue and glitter to create the icicles.  (Thicker paper or card stock works best.)  I found this lesson on a blog called Reading Confetti.

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3.   The Mitten Tree – Candace Christiansen

Touching message and beautiful, wintery illustrations.  This is the story of one woman’s generous heart, giving back, and random acts of kindness.  Perfect for sharing with your students.  The purples and blue palette can inspire your students to create their own patterned mittens.

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4. A Perfect Day – Carin Berger

One of my favorite winter picture books with gorgeous mixed media collage illustrations is the perfect inspiration for some snow-angel art!  Based on the book, students paint a snowy background, and create paper snow angels.  Read more about this lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

snow-angels

5.  Snowmen At Night – Caralyn Buehner

This book is a huge favorite with so many students!  The frolicking rhyming text and vibrant illustrations are delightful to read over and over.  I love following the different snowmen through their adventures – such personalities!   Inspired by this book, have your students create an “arts and crafts” collage by first making a tissue paper background and then adding a mixed media snowman.  This is another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle. 

Alternatively, here is a different lesson, based on the same book.

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6.  Snowflakes Fall – Patricia Maclachlan

This book is a tribute to the community of Newtown, Connecticut, site of the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting and childhood home of illustrator Steven Kellog . The  falling snowflakes described in the poem celebrate life’s uniqueness, beauty, joy, fragility, sorrow and renewal. Handprint Snowflakes can be found at : healthymamainfo.com

7. Over and Under the Snow– Kate Messner

This delightful book takes you down into the “secret world” of animals who live under the snow.   I love the link to science and the way this book introduces readers to different habitats and behaviors of winter animals, both common and uncommon.

This book can really lend itself to a “layered” art project – sky, above the ground, and under the ground.  Another great lesson from Deep Space Sparkle.

Winter Habitat art projects by third graders

8. Old Bear – Kevin Henkes

Old bear is dreaming and reflecting on the cycle of his life and the cycle of the seasons, his home in the forest and the beauty of his world.  This is a wonderful book for early primary students learning about the seasons.  I love the illustrations in this book and they will certainly inspire some lovely “old bear” art!

On black construction paper, students make leaf prints to create their background. The “Old Bear” is painted on white painting paper, then textured and outlined with black paint.  To make the bear “pop” off the page, have students leave a small edge of white around the bear when cutting it out.  Once the bear is glued on, the white outline on the black background creates a snowy 3D effect.

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9.  No Two Alike – Keith Baker

Another one of my favorite wintery books!  Two little red birds discover “no two snowflakes are alike” as they explore a snowy landscape together.    Sparse, rhyming text and gorgeous illustrations. This is a gentle, quiet book.

When I was younger, I loved borrowing “how to draw” books and learning the steps to draw animals.  While some think this type of art is too restrictive and confining, there is something quite satisfying about learning how to draw something accurately!  You can find a great step-by-step lesson on drawing cardinals at artprojectsforkids.org

draw a cardinal

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This layered art project begins with painting a background of sky and ground.  Birch trunks are glued on top of the dried background. HINT:  Space the trunks unevenly across the page and have some of them “leaning” in different directions.  Cardinal birds are painted on a separate paper and cut out when they are glued.  Last step is “fingerprint” snow flakes.

10.  Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

The sensations of walking in the moonlight on a cold, crisp winter night is captured beautifully in this classic story of a girl and her father who are searching for an owl in the woods on winter’s night.

 Light, shadows, contrast, perspective and lines are some of the artistic techniques that are highlighted in the gorgeous illustrations. I particularly love the way John Schoenherr plays with shadows on the snow in his illustrations.  I found this Torn Winter Tree art project on artprojectsforkids.com that would be a great lesson for grade 3 and up.

And this lesson from the same site called “Sharpie Winter Landscape“, using sharpie pens, also produces a dramatic winter moon effective.

Sharpie Winter Landscape

 Thanks for stopping by!  Hope that you found a lesson or two to try!

What is your favorite picture book inspired art lesson?

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Filed under Art, Top 10 Tuesday

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Picture Books to Celebrate Spring!

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

Well it’s spring break and time so I have had some extra time to READ!   I love the start of a new season and spring books are a chance to celebrate the sights, sounds and smells of outdoors, colors, flowers, gardens, bugs and animals. These books are wonderful anchors for lessons to inspire writing, art, science activities and wonder walks!  Below is a list (yes, it’s quite long!) of fiction and nonfiction books celebrating spring, including  many wonderful new titles and some of my old favorites!   I have listed the books from most recent (2016) to oldest (1949!!!)   While some may be out of print, check your local or school library for the older titles.

When Spring Comes – Kevin Henkes (2016)

Kevin Henkes brand new book is a sweet, gentle ode to spring that focuses on both nature and a child’s activities.  The writing is filled with amazing images to help the reader feel, smell see and hear spring, making it a perfect book for visualizing.  I also appreciate gentle repetition and alliteration makes it a great anchor book for writing techniques.  Gorgeous illustrations!  Love this one!

Abracadabra, It’s Spring! – Anne Sibley O’Brien (2016)

Another 2016 release, this book includes many examples of the signs of spring hidden under large flaps perfect for story time with younger primary students.  Vibrant, colorful illustrations!

Hop – Jorey Hurley (2016)

A follow-up to the beautiful book Nest, this book follows a similar pattern of using only one verb per double page spread tells the story of the day in the life of a rabbit family.  Soft Spring-colored illustrations help to tell the story.

Puddle – Hyewon Yum (2016)

This wonderful book will inspire your next Art lesson!  A young boy is frustrated because the rainy day is preventing him from going out and having fun.  That is, until his mom encourages him to draw a picture of himself jumping in a big puddle.  Eventually, they venture out to experience the puddle jumping together.  Imaginative, simple and fun!

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Crinkle, Crackle, CRACK! It’s Spring! – Marion Dane Bauer  (2015)

This book came out last year, but I only just discovered it!  This book explores the SIGHTS and SOUNDS of Spring as a boy, a  bear, and other woodland animals take a night time walk to investigate strange noises and observe the arrival of spring.   I enjoyed the repeating phrases and liked how it mentions the not-so-nice parts of spring  (mud, slush, etc) as well as the beautiful part of spring –  animals waking up, birds hatching and flowers blooming.

Flowers Are Calling – Rita Gray  (2015)

An introduction to flowers, animals, and the ways flowers attract pollinators.   Stunning illustrations and great information about nature’s interconnections. Interesting to read and gorgeous to look at.

Finding Spring – Carin Berger (2014)

 Multidimensional and magical!  This is a gentle story filled with information and visual clues exploring the change of seasons.  You will LOVE the warm, joyful art in this charming book!

 

Spring Is Here – Heidi Pross Grey (2013)

I Love how this wonderful book about the spring  ties family activities and nature together.  Gentle text, soft illustrations.  This is a book I use as an anchor for inspiring spring writing! 

And Then It’s Spring – Julie Fogliano (2012)

This book makes my heart smile.  Simple, sparse text, gorgeous, expressive illustrations.  A boy and his dog. tired of the brown of winter,  plant seeds and patiently wait for them to grow.   “Please do not stomp here. There are seeds and they are trying.”   This is one of my favorites.

Sorting Through Spring – Lizann Flatt (2013)

Nature comes to life to help children grasp “big ideas” in Math in this clever series.  In this book the concepts of patterning, sorting, and probability are explored.  This series of four books about Math concepts in seasons is perfect for the early primary students.  Other books include Counting On Fall, Sizing Up Winter, and Shaping Up Summer.

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Fletcher and the Springtime Blossoms – Julie Rawlinson (2009)

Although not as charming for me as Fletcher and the Falling Leaves, I still am fond of this dear little fox who is, once again, confused by seasonal changes. In this story, he thinks that falling tree blossoms are snow and tries to get the animals to go back to their wintertime activities.  Cute read-aloud and colorful illustrations.

A New Beginning:  Celebrating the Spring Equinox – Wendy Pfeffer (2008)

A reprint soft cover edition of the classic book which can be paired with The Longest Day: Celebrating the Summer Solstice.   This informative nonfiction book is filled with information describing seasonal changes.  I like the section that highlights the many cultural celebrations and festivals that welcome and honour springtime.

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Who Likes Rain? – Wong Herbert Yee  (2007)

Rain is a big part of springtime in Vancouver so this is a perfect “connect” book for my students!  Rich with rhymes and repetition of sounds, this story is about a young girl exploring the sights and sounds of rain.  This is the first in a four book series about the seasons.  Delightful illustrations!

HandSPRINGS – Douglas Florian (2006)

Douglas Florian is my favorite children’s poet.  His clever wit, playful way with words, and whimsical illustrations make his poetry books favorite read-alouds in my class.   This is one in a series of four poetry books about the seasons.

Spring’s Sprung -Lynn Plourde (2002)

In this 4 book series, which also includes Wild Child (autumn), Summer’s Vacation, and Winter Waits, Lynn Plourde uses personification to tell the story of each season.  In this book. Mother Earth rouses her three daughters, March, April and May.  They are so busy arguing with each other that they forget their job is to make the world beautiful.  Gorgeous illustrations and lovely rhyming text!

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Poppleton in Spring – Cynthia Rylant  (1999)

I adore Cynthia Rylant and hold a special place in my heart for the Poppleton early reader series.   have such fond memories of reading them to my boys when they were young and have read them over the years to many primary classes.  This is a level three beginning reader that includes three delightful stories with simple-to-follow plot lines all about Poppleton the pig and his friends, Cherry Sue the Llama and Hudson, the mouse.  In this book there is a story about spring cleaning, buying a new bike and, my favorite – sleeping in the backyard in a tent and “paying attention” to Spring.   If you have not read any of the Poppleton books, you are MISSING OUT!

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The Happy Day – Ruth Krauss  (1949)

Woodland animals awake from their deep winter’s sleep to discover the first sign of spring’a flower blooming in the snow.  This timeless book was first published in 1949 and was a Caldecott honour book in 1950.  The illustrations in this book always makes me smile.

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

What is your favorite book to celebrate the coming of spring?

 

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

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – Favorite Grade 3 Read-Alouds!

 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

Reading aloud to my class is the favorite part of my day… I love the quiet anticipation before I start reading and the collective “No!  Don’t stop now!  Just one more page!”  when I close the book.  I have been asked recently by several teacher friends for recommendations for class-read alouds.  So I have been searching through my novel tubs and have decided to post a list of a few recommended read-alouds for different grades.  I welcome readers to also share their favorites!

And so I will begin my favorite read-alouds for grade 3’s… I have tried to include a mix of old and new, poignant and fun, appealing to both boys and girls!

My Father's Dragon (My Father's Dragon, #1)

My Father’s Dragon – Ruth Stiles Gannett

This book was published way back in 1943 but is still one of my favorites!  It tells the adventure of a run-away boy and his attempt to rescue a baby dragon who is being taken advantage of by the animals on Wild Island.  Clever and fun – and a great book for practicing predicting.

Toys Go Out (Toys #1)

Toys Go Out – Emily Jenkins

This simple, sweet story, reminiscent of “Toy Story”, takes us behind the scenes to the adventures of 3 toys that live in a little girl’s room. Great for introducing character traits as each toy has its own distinct personality. 

The Magic Finger

The Magic Finger – Roald Dahl

No read-aloud list would be complete without a Roald Dahl book!  His books beg to be read aloud!   There are so many I could include (Fantastic Mr. Fox is another I love) but I enjoy reading The Magic Finger.   It is short and funny and perfect for this age group.  It tells the story of a little girl who has a magic finger. Whenever she gets angry – she points her fingertip and takes revenge!  The story centers around her neighbours, who are duck hunters. Hunting makes this little girl very angry – so she uses her magic finger and turns the family into… you guessed it – Ducks!  It’s short and simple and fun – but a serious message that is worthy of discussion.

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat

Emmy and the Incredible Shrinking Rat – Jonathon Bean

This book is quirky and fun!  Great plot, entertaining characters and unpredictable ending!  Your students will LOVE this book!

The Year of Billy Miller

The Year of Billy Miller – Kevin Henkes

Fast-paced and funny – your students will make lots of connections to family, friendship and school!  Great black and white art.  Heartwarming – I actually teared up at the end!  Love Billy Miller!

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane

The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo

This is such a beautiful story and Kate DiCamillo’s writing is exquisite (Triple scoop words on every page!)  Edward Tulane is a china rabbit who is passed from owner to owner, enduring both love and tradgedy along the way.  This book is about opening your heart to being loved and it will stay with you for a long time. 

The World According to Humphrey (According to Humphrey, #1)

The World According to Humphrey – Betty G. Birney

This book is told from the perspective of Humphrey, the hamster, class pet in Room 26.   He reports on the daily comings and goings in the classroom as well as his weekend sleepover’s at various student’s houses. Cute, fun book – kids will want to read the Humphrey series after this!

Harry the Poisonous Centipede: A Story to Make You Squirm. Lynne Reid Banks

Harry and the Poisonous Centipede – Lynne Reid Banks

The story of Harry, the curious, adventure seeking centipede, who disobeys his mother’s orders and attempts to crawl up the drain pipe with his friend to the forbidden world of the “h00-mins”.  Fun, fast paced, and high on the “gross scale”!  Interesting facts about centipedes woven into the story make for an interesting link to science.

The Hundred Dresses – Eleanor Estes

This is a tender, heartbreaking story about Wanda, who wears the same faded dress to school every day but claims to have a hundred dresses at home.  Because of this, she is ridiculed and teased by children at school.  This book was published in 1944 – long before the word “bullying” was a common term – but the story is timeless and deals with the issue beautifully.

There you have some of my favorites – what about you?  What are your favorite read-alouds for gr. 3’s?

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Summer Reading – Day 29 – It’s Monday – What Are You Reading?

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 Book Journey

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My first great find is Fall Walk by Virginia Brimhall Snow.  Fall is my favorite season – there is something about the start of the school year, the cooler mornings, the smell and crunch of leaves – it is a season for the senses!  I am drawn to books about seasons and this is definitely one I am happy to  to add to my collection.  In this book, the reader is taken on a fall walk through the woods to look at 24 different types of leaves.  The illustrations are beautiful and the rhyming text makes for a great read-aloud.  It is a wonderful introduction to tree identification and would be a great book to read before taking your class on a leaf walk.  I loved that included in the book are instructions on how to press leaves, do leave rubbings, a leaf match game and fun facts about trees.

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What is your blue like?  Does the color blue make you feel happy?  sad?  cold? Does it make you think of a sad, lonely song or a  summer swimming pool and your favorite pair of jeans?   My Blue is Happy, by first time author Jessica Young, is a delightful exploration of color and emotions as a little girl considers people’s contrasting thoughts about color.  Pink may be fancy and fun like a tutu to one person but annoying like bubble gum stuck to your shoe to someone else!  The illustrations are delightful and the text is lovely.  This is wonderful book for reading aloud and inviting younger students to share and compare their own connections to different colors.

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There have been many posts this summer from fellow bloggers highlighting favorite wordless picture books.  Flora and the Flamingo by Molly Idle is one I haven’t seen reviewed but I certainly have added it to my wordless collection.  I loved this book – there was something so delightful about this wordless picture book, with its interactive life-the-flap pages and adorable illustrations.  In it, we witness a rather elaborate friendship dance between Flora and her graceful, ballet-dancer flamingo friend.  This book is a mini masterpiece – all that was missing was a little Tchaikovsky!

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Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon is not new, but is new to me.  This book is beyond sweet – in both the story and the illustrations.  I fell in love with this endearing little Penguin as he befriends a pinecone and shows love and generosity towards it, knitting it a scarf to protect it from the cold and eventually taking it back on a journey to the forest where it belongs.  I got a little teary at the end of this heartfelt, gentle book.  It’s a keeper.

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The Bear in the Book by Kate Banks was the “buzz” book last fall when it first came out but I loved it so much then, have decided to revisit it as we begin a new school year.  This book is a remarkable weaving of two stories – one is the story of the bear in the book; the other of the small boy who is reading the book with his mother.  The book gently takes us back and forth from “inside” the story to “outside the story” as we move from the bear’s story to the story of boy and parent reading together.  This book demonstrates the interactive way in which a mother reads with her child – pausing to ask him questions, make connections, and think aloud.  In my school district, it has been THE book to share at a parent evenings at the start of the school year as a positive model for what reading at home with your child can look like.  The illustrations are soft and gentle, just like the feeling of curling up with your child and a favorite book.

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 I managed to read two novels over the past two weeks (when I should have been writing!)  Listening for Lucca by Suzanne LaFleur….Wow! There is so much to tell you about this book!  It’s two stories woven together – one of 13 yr. old Siena and her 3 yr. old brother Lucca who, at two years old, refused to speak.  Siena’s family moves into an old house by the sea, a move they hope will be a fresh start for Lucca.  Siena has an obsession for old houses and abandoned things.  When she uses an old pen she finds to write in her diary, the pen begins to write itself (how amazing is that?) revealing the story of Sarah and Joshua, who lived in the same house during World War II.  The two stories begin to parallel each other and begin to reveal secrets which eventually lead to helping Lucca find his voice.  This book has everything – relationships, mystery, history, fantasy and a feel-good ending.  It’s intense and would make a great read-aloud for grades 5 and up.

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I may have saved the best for last because I LOVE any book by the great Kevin Henkes!  Whenever I hear about a new book by him, I cannot WAIT to get my hands on it.  I was lucky enough to get an ARC of book 1 in his new series The Year of Billy Miller.  I’m not sure how he does it but Kevin Henkes seemingly effortlessly captures the voice and emotion of his characters and creates endless opportunities for us to make connections.  In this beginning chapter book,  we spend a year with 2nd grade Billy – and laugh out loud as he navigates through everyday experiences at school and at home.  Some “connectable moments” include a cancelled sleepover, diorama homework assignment, poetry slam, and several sibling temper tantrums.  This is the perfect shorter novel for transitioning readers and would also make a hilarious read-aloud. Icing on the cake are Henke’s black and white illustrations.  This book is set to be released on September 17th – but I’m already looking forward to the second Billy Miller book!

Well…. that’s if for my reads this week!  Hope you found one or two titles that peeked your interest!    What have you been reading lately?

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Filed under Connect, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Picture Book