Tag Archives: Lisa Brown

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? “How To” Books for “How To” Writing

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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

Sometimes the discovery of a new book leads me to making many connections to other books and that sparks me to want to make a new blog post!  Such is the case for this week’s post – focusing on books written as “How To’s”, inspired by the new book The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog by Paul B. Janeczko.

One of the tendencies for students writing instructions is including too many words:  “First, you have to ….”  When teaching “How To” Writing – I tell students to follow the S.A.D. FormulaSequence word, Action word, Detail.  For example, First, (sequence word) squeeze (action word) a little toothpaste on the bristles (detail).  If you don’t follow the S.A.D. formula, your reader will be SAD because they won’t know what to do!

While it is important to learn how to write realistic “how to’s”, I also love to invite students to add a little creativity and imagination to their instructional writing.  The following are books to inspire creative “How To” writing.

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The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog Paul B. Janeczko

This delightful collection of “How To” poems, from practical (how to mix a pancake or how to bird-watch) or fanciful (how to scare monsters or how to be a snowflake) are written by a collection of amazing writers including Kwame Alexander, Ralph Fletcher, Karla Kushkin, and Douglas Florian.   There is creativity, gratitude, and joy in these poems and the soft, watercolor illustrations make it delightful to look at.  Love this brand new book!

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How to Give Your Cat a Bath: In Five Easy Steps Nicola Winstanley

Laugh out loud, hilarious new “how to” book features a little girl, a know-it-all narrator, and a cat who refuses to take a bath.  This book will have your students cracking up and would inspire a lot of funny “how to’s” in your class!

How To Be – Lisa Brown

I LOVE this charming book and have used it as an anchor book for many writing lessons.  Simple instructions on how to be various animals, written in a clear “how to” format.  Added clever bonus is that it doubles as instructions on how to be a person – brave, clever, friendly, curious, and charming.  Delightful illustrations.

Writing Idea – students write about an animal they researched in a “how to” instructions format.  Include diet, habitat, behavior, special skills, enemies and a human character trait.

Live___________,  Eat____________,  Catch _________________,  Fly______________, Swim_______________, Beware___________, Be _________________  and _______________________

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How To Lose All Your Friends – Nancy Carlson

Hilarious tongue-in-cheek “how to” guide to loosing your friends.  Lots of connections to the child-like behaviors Carlson describes:”Be a bad sport – When someone touches you playing tag, lie and say they missed” (LOL!)  This is a great book to use at the beginning of the year.  I like to have the class ‘re-write” the instructions, focusing on positive behaviors –  “How to Keep Your Friends”.

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How to Read a Story – Kate Messner

Step One: Find a story. (A good one.)
Step Two: Find a reading buddy. (Someone nice.)
Step Three: Find a reading spot. (Couches are cozy.)
Now: Begin.

Delightful book to encourage reading and sharing, with the steps on how to read a book to a friend.  Simple but effective reminders to use expression, make predictions and read with feeling.

Everyone Can Learn to Ride a Bicycle Chris Raschka

A young girl provides step by step instructions to learn to ride a bicycle…complete with some falls and lots of practice and determination…but ultimately with success!
Could be used to discuss determination or to discuss growth mindset.  Signature Chris Raschka watercolor illustrations.

The Astronaut Handbook – Meghan McCarthy

Delightful guide to becoming an astronaut.  Interesting and entertaining, full of fascinating facts and adorable illustrations. (Kids are particularly fascinated by bathroom instructions!)  Back notes provide more detailed information about space life.  Fun read-aloud and great anchor for writing “How To Become” with different occupations.

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Things to Do – Elaine Magliaro

 Things to Do If You Are A Honeybee

    Flit among flowers

    Sip nectar for hours

    Be yellow and fuzzy.

    Stay busy.  Be buzzy. 

I remember being surprised by how much I loved this book when I first read it.  Whimsical  illustrations and gorgeous, rhyming text.  This book is really a collection of poems focusing on the small moments and secret joys of a child’s day, including animals and insects they encounter.  This book is delightful invitation to write!

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Eddie Gets Ready for School David Milgrim

Morning routines are different for everyone, including Eddie!  While Eddie’s check-list says one thing, the illustrations tell a different story!  Fun read aloud and perfect anchor book for younger writers to write their own “How to Get Ready for School” (or hockey practice, swimming lessons, soccer game) instructions.

How to Teach a Slug to Read – Susan Pearson

Clever, witty, delightful, useful and engaging – full of practical advice for teaching slugs (and human kids) to read.  Adorable illustrations and hilarious “sluggish” titles and slug-related stories (think Little Miss Muffet with a slug instead of a spider!)

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How to Make Friends with a Ghost – Rebecca Green

A great book to share at Halloween but with a universal story of friendship and kindness, it could be read anytime.  A whimsical story about ghost care, this story is a perfect combination of offbeat humor, quirky and sweet illustrations, and written in lovely “how to” format.

How to Read a Book – Kwame Alexander

This book will not be released until June, but I’m so excited about it, I just had to include it!  Created by the dream team of extraordinary poet Kwame Alexander and collage-style illustrations of Melissa Sweet –  this ode to reading is a must have for me!  “Once you’re comfy, peel its gentle skin, like you would a clementine…Next, put your thumb at the bottom of each juicy section and POP the words out.”   Squeeeee, can you stand it?

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

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Filed under 2019 releases, How To Writing, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, Lesson Ideas, New Books, Poetry, Read-Aloud, Writing Anchors

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

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It’s Monday and I’m happy to be participating in a weekly event with a community of bloggers who post reviews of books that they have read the previous week. Check out more IMWAYR posts here: Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers

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

What Do you Do With a Problem – Kobi Yamada

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

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Hannah and Sugar – Kate Berube

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

Dylan, the Villan – K.G. Campbell

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

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The Airport Book – Lisa Brown

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

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What To Do With A Box – Jane Yolen

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

There is a Tribe of Kids – Lane Smith

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

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A Morning With Grandpa – Sylvia Liu

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

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Thunder Boy Jr. – Sherman Alexie

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

Teeny Tiny Toady – Jill Esbaum

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

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The Typewriter – Bill Thomson

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

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This is Not a Picture Book – Sergio Ruzzier

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

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

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

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