Tag Archives: Michael Ian Black

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?Summer 2018 Picture Books – Part 1: Understanding Identity and Feelings

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

Yes, I know…it’s actually Tuesday!  But it’s summer and it feels like Monday!  Ahhh…. summer!  A time to rest, rejuvenate, re-connect, and reflect!  And while some may be binge-watching a few Netflicks series, I will have my head buried in a pile of new picture books!   There are so many I want to share so I have tried to “group” them into themes.  This week, I am featuring picture books that would work very well with lessons from my new book Powerful Understanding – understanding identity and emotions.  These would also be excellent anchor books for making connections.

One Of A Kind by Chris Gorman

One of a Kind – Chris Gorman

Celebrating all that makes you unique, of being oneself and how finding “your people” – a tribe of your own kind – can lead to something special.  Upbeat, rhythmic text and gorgeous illustrations.  I liked the stark black and white line drawing illustrations with bright yellow and pink highlighting the words.  I would use this book to spark a conversation about “unique” qualities:  What are the traits that make you unique? What unique trait are you most proud of?   What are the common traits do you and your friends share?

Alma and How She Got Her Name – Juana Martinez-Neal

Exploring identity is one of the focuses in my new book.  In one of the lessons, I encourage students to discover the story of their nameWho named you?  What does your name mean?  What connection does your name have to your family or culture?  So of course I was VERY excited to read this delightful anchor book about a little girl learning the meaning behind her six names:  Alma Sofia Esperanza José Pura Candela.

The Day You Begin – Jacqueline Woodson

“There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.”  And so begins this poignant, powerful story by the amazing Jacqueline Woodson (Each Kindness, The Other Side, Brown Girl Dreaming).  If there is only ONE book you read this summer – this is it.  This is a must-own book for teachers,  librarians, and parents, and a must-share for all kids, no matter their ages.  I am absolutely in love with this story of pride in self, fear of not fitting in, and ultimately belonging.   A PERFECT book for sharing at the beginning of the school year to help build a welcoming community in your classroom and a perfect reminder that we are more alike than different.  My favorite book of 2018 so far!

Moon – Alison Oliver

A young girl who is overwhelmed by her daily “To Do” checklist learns how to embrace her inner wild child after meeting a wolfy friend one night.  A great message for us all to take a step back from the hustle and bustle of our lives,  get out, and enjoy play time in nature.  The illustrations are beautiful, with lovely hues of “night” colors and great expressions.

Crunch the Shy Dinosaur Greg Pizzoli

Very cute, unique interactive picture book that encourages readers to coax a very shy brontosaurus out from its hiding place.  I could see this as a great read-aloud in a Pre K or K class as the story invites readers to greet and speak softly to Crunch as well as introduce themselves to him.  Also a great book for providing calmness.

I’m Sad – Michael Ian Black

A simple, honest story about feeling sad. Every child needs to know that emotions don’t last and that it’s okay to let ourselves be sad sometimes without feeling the need to constantly put on a happy face for everyone.  Michael Ian Black and Debbi Ohi do an excellent job portraying that in this book.  I loved their first book I’m Bored and, while this one may not be as humorous, I think I liked it even more.

I Hate Everyone! Naomi Davis

Another great read-aloud for primary students.  A heartwarming story of a young girl who is overwhelmed with confusing emotions on her birthday.   Great for making connections and inferring that “I hate you” often really means “I need you.”   A wonderful “connect” book with such an accurate depiction of different emotions.  Great artwork.

Small Things – Mel Tregonning

Exceptionally-powerful, heart-breaking wordless picture book/graphic novel depicting childhood anxiety and worries.  Reading this book is an emotional experience, and one that would spark a lot of discussions, connections and inferences.  Beautiful, haunting and the back story to this book will break your heart.

The Rabbit Listened – Cori Doerrfeld

Get your Kleenex ready.  With spare, poignant text and adorable illustrations, The Rabbit Listened is a tender and deeply moving exploration of grief and empathy for very young children.  Simple message that sometimes what we need most is  a quiet, thoughtful listener. SO much to love about this book.  I especially liked that Taylor’s gender is never mentioned or indicated by the illustrations.

Grumpy Monkey – Suzanne Lang

Everyone has their grumpy days, and you know what? A grumpy day now and then is absolutely okay.  Picture books are deceiving. They hide big stories within their little bindings.  This is a story we all need to hear: it’s okay to feel your feelings, own them, lean into them as long as you don’t hurt others in the process.  Great read-aloud for a primary classroom – funny, silly and important all mixed together.

Whale in a Fishbowl Troy Howell, Richard Jones

While on the surface, this is a gentle story of Wednesday – a whale who lives in a giant fishbowl in the middle of the city but yearns for a life beyond her bowl.  But metaphorically, it is a universal story of belonging, about possibilities, and finding one’s perfect place.  Stunning illustrations.   This could be read to a primary class to discuss animals in captivity, or with older students to practice inferring.

Ocean Meets Sky – The Fan Brothers

I am a huge fan of this bother author-illustrator team.  I loved The Night Gardner and this new release is equally as whimsical and stunning.  While an imaginative journey of sorts, I included it here because of the emotional, dream-like journey that young Finn embarks on as a way of remembering his grandfather, who has recently passed away.  I love stories with multiple layers – kids will most likely see it as a story about adventure, and adults will recognize it as a story about loss, grief, and remembering.  Stunning.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hoping a title (or more) has caught your eye!  Next week, I will be focusing on new picture book about friendship and inclusion!

Have a great reading week, everyone!

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Filed under 2018 releases, Connect, Feelings, Grief, Identity, It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Powerful Understanding

Summer Reading – Day 22 – IMWAYR! The Power of Persuasion

Excited to be publishing my second post for IMWAYR!

As I continue to write the draft of my new book, Nonfiction Writing Power, I’m on a continuous search for anchor books to support the lessons. I’m astounded by how many titles I’ve discovered which lend themselves so well to the various nonfiction text structures. While some titles I was already familiar with, my list keeps growing as I discover more and more treasures (that some people refer to as books!) that model different text structures.

Today I thought I’d share some of picture books I have discovered that model the structure and language of persuasion. Here is a sneak peak at some of my favorites…

           961711[2]            8581550[2]Karen Kaufman Oroff has given us two excellent examples of persuasive letter writing.  In I Wanna Iguana, a young boy writes letters to his mom, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana.  His mom responds  to each letter, with reasons of her own why she doesn’t want him to have one.  Similar back and forth letter writing between this boy and his mother, this time in his plea for his own room, are found in her recent book I Wanna New Room.  I love the idea of using these books to inspire students to write persuasive letters to their parents asking them for something they really want.

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The power of persuasion is in full force in this witty book written and illustrated by the great Mark Teague. Many of us are familiar with Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters From Obedience School, but I have a new-found appreciation for this book as I am now reading it from a persuasive perspective.  This naughty dog has been sent to Obedience School by his owner, Mrs. LaRue.  The book is a series of letters from the dog persuading his owner that he should be brought home IMMEDIATELY because he DOES NOT belong there.  Hilarious voice as the dog describes (and embellishes) the conditions at the school.

Free as the Wind - by Jamie Bastedo

For a more serious look at the power of persuasion, Free as the Wind by Jamie Bastedo tells the fascinating and true story of the plight in the early 1960’s to save the wild horses of Sable Island, a remote island in the Atlantic just off the coast of Nova Scotia.  At that time, it was decided that the horses would be removed from the island and auctioned off, many would be slaughtered and used for dog food.  This book focuses on the dozens of school children who wrote persuasive letters to the Prime Minister, pleading with him to save the horses.  This is an inspiring true example of how the persuasive voice of a small group of children made a huge difference through writing and carved out a little piece of Canadian history.

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In Hey, Little Ant, by Philip M. Hoose, an ant and a boy have a back and forth conversation.  The ant is trying to persuade the boy not to step on him; the boy is giving the ant his own reasons why he should.   Thought provoking and an excellent example of how to back up your argument! I have used this book many times over the years as it is a perfect segue into a “Whose side are you on?”/ “What would you do?” discussion.

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In Click, Clack, Moo – Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin, a group of literate Cows and Chickens type letters to the farmer with a list of demands and reasons why they feel they should have better living conditions.  Hilarious and a great example of persuasive letter writing.

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I focused on this book a few blogs ago, but will highlight it again here as it is another excellent example of persuasive letter writing.  The Day the Crayons Quit is about a boy named Duncan who discovers a stack of persuasive letters written by each of his crayons, expressing their reasons for quitting and presenting their argument for better working conditions.

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My Brother Dan’s Delicious, by Steven L. Layne, is about a boy who is home alone and becomes very worried that a monster is going to eat him.  He comes up with some excellent and hilarious reasons why the monster should eat his brother, Dan, instead of him, including the fact that his brother is much more tasty than he is!  Very persuasive!

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Scaredy Squirrel author Melanie Watt, once again, provides us with a character that makes you laugh out loud.  In Have I Got A Book For You, a very cheesy salesman (mouse) is trying to sell the reader a book – this book!  Excellent example of persuasive voice and a great anchor book for teaching how to give engaging “Book Talks”

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A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea – Michael Ian Black.  Ever had the idea to host a pig parade?  Think it might be a great idea and a whole lot of fun?  Well…. think again!  This hilarious book gives all the reasons why having a pig parade is a BAD idea!

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Duck for President by Doreen Cronin would make an excellent book for teaching students about government, elections or prior to student council nominations.  Duck is tired of the chores he is made to do on the farm, so he decides to hold an election and take over the farm.  He wins, but discovers that the job is much harder than he anticipated!

So if you are thinking of teaching “persuasive writing” to your students in the months ahead, I’m hoping you discovered a few new titles that you’re excited to use for your lessons!  I’d also love to hear about any other anchor books you have used for persuasive writing.

Check out the other IMWAYR! posts at:   Teach Mentor Texts  or Unleashing Readers. 

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Filed under It's Monday, What Are You Reading?, New Books, Writing Anchors