Tag Archives: Selina Yoon

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? – I Can’t Keep Up!

IMWAYR

I’m happy to be joining in the weekly IMWAYR posts, hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee from Unleashing Readers

Well… we are back in full swing at school but my Pro. D. workshops this week were still cancelled (or post-poned) as teachers were just getting settled into their new classes.  This meant I had a bonus day off – most of which I spent at one of my favorite places – United Library Services!  There, I get to fill a SHOPPING CART with BRAND NEW picture books to read through!  Heaven!  But there are SO many great new books – I’m having a hard time keeping up!  Here are a few of my favorites from the top of a very tall pile!

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As an Oak Tree Grows – G. Brian Karas

This book is filled with so many teaching ideas I can hardly stand it!  The story follows the life of an Oak Tree from 1775 to present day.  Each page shows what has changed in the past 25 years – both in the tree and in the surrounding landscape.   I loved the timeline at the bottom of the page, showing each new era.  The illustrations are remarkable – and the book is large which allows the reader to take in all the details on each page.  The Oak tree grows while history transforms around it – from methods of agriculture,  transportation to uses of energy.  The poster included at the back of the book shows the rings on the oak tree representing the growth of the oak tree labeled and dated with many events and inventions that occurred while the tree grew.  This book is creative, unique and interesting!  A perfect link to a unit on growth and change in nature and in our world.

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The Right Word – Roget and His Thesaurus  by Jen Bryant

Sigh.  Sigh again.  I love this book.  So so much.   This amazing picture book biography is about the life of brilliant scientist and word collector Peter Mark Roget. The book explores his extraordinary journey that turned his love of words into the publication of the most important reference books of all time. The illustrations are stunning! If you love words as much as I do – this is a must have for your biography collection!  Watch the book trailer here.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Vanilla Ice Cream – Bob Graham

I am a fan of Bob Graham books – I admire his ability to leave room for lots of deep thinking within his subtle text and detailed illustrations.  This book follows an endearing, curious sparrow on an unexpected journey as he travels across the world in a bag of rice from India to an urban setting (Australia?) The sparrow finds a family and invites a child to taste vanilla ice cream for the first time.  The soft pallet illustrations are classic Graham and I like how he uses a variety of closed panels with open drawings.  Don’t read this book too quickly – there is a lot to take in!

Uni the Unicorn

Uni the Unicorn – Amy Krouse Rosenthal

When I see Amy Krouse Rosenthal has a new book – I KNOW it’s going to be brilliant.  But I admit, when Maggie (from Kidsbooks) first showed me the cover  the cover of Uni the Unicorn, my heart sank a little bit.  Oh, I thought, these illustrations are not my thing.  They appeared too “Disney” like – rainbows, butterflies and unicorns.  What was she thinking?  But then I read the story and realized just how brilliant a story it was and how perfectly matched the illustrations were!  Amy Krouse Rosenthal’s latest book is a delightful twist to a familiar story. Uni is a unicorn who believes in her heart that little girls are real, despite the fact that her friends and parents say otherwise. Love the page where Uni is drawing pictures of “imaginary” little girls! Little girls will LOVE this story and make LOTS of connections! The illustrations are reminiscent of Pixar/Disney and will most certainly appeal to the unicorn loving children!   I was also thinking that if you added a cute little stuffed unicorn you have the perfect birthday party present!

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If Kids Ruled the World – Linda Bailey

If Kids ruled the world, birthday cake would be good for you.  Your doctor would say “Don’t forget to eat your birthday cake so you’ll grow up strong and healthy!”  And so the story goes – page after page –  a “wish list” of a kid’s paradise!  This book is fun, playful, imaginative and I can just hear the “YES’s” coming from the class!   A perfect anchor book for inspiring writing and art!  Love!

Penguin and Pumpkin

Penguin and Pumpkin – Salina Yoon

I fell in love with Penguin when I first met him in Penguin and Pinecone.  There have been a few Penguin books since, but none have quite come close to that emotional connection I had with that first book.  This story is sweet with familiar bold block colored illustrations.  Penguin and friends take a journey to explore fall outside the North Pole. He brings a few sights and sounds for his baby brother to experience.  I loved the last page when it’s “snowing leaves”  but the story fell a little flat for me.

Brothers of the Wolf

Brothers of the Wolf – Caroll Simpson

This is a beautifully illustrated West Coast First Nations legend about two wolf cub brothers found and raised  as human children in a village on the Pacific.  One cub feels at home in the forest and the other – the sea.  They are separated when supernatural forces change them into Sea Wolf and Timber Wolf.  Although separated, they howl together into the night sky, waking up the moon and bringing light to the darkness of the world.  The story is visually stunning and is a perfect book for questioning. It would also be a great inspiration for creating first nations paintings.

I Wanna Go Home

I Wanna Go Home – Karen Kaufmann Orloff

I have shared Karen Orloff’s first hilarious book, I Wanna Iguana, for many years with students and teachers as an anchor book for persuasive writing. In it, young Alex writes letters to his mother, trying to convince her to let him have a pet iguana.  His mother writes back, with all the reasons why an iguana would not make a good pet.   In the second book,  I Wanna New Room, Alex is trying to persuade his mom to let him have his own room.  In this third book, and possibly the funniest, Alex is sent to his grandparent’s retirement community while his parents go on vacation.  His desperate emails to his parents go from complaining about being dragged to his grandpa’s bridge games to delight in eating ice cream before dinner!  I love the connection to grandparents in this book and the fact that Alex is now sending emails!   Hilarious read-aloud!

The Orchestra Pit

Orchestra Pit – Johanna Wright

What happens when an endearing snake accidently wanders into an orchestra pit instead of a snake pit?   A whole lot of playful chaos!  The snake proceeds to investigate various instruments and causes quite a commotion among the musicians.  This book is hysterical and would be a perfect way to introduce the different instruments in an orchestra to young children.  Lively, colorful illustrations and endearing expressions on the snake!  Love this!

Lucky

Lucky – David Mackintosh

I LOVED Marshall Armstrong is New to Our School when it first came out so was excited to see this new book by British author/illustrator David Mackintosh.  This book is hilarious and one that children who have ever “jumped to conclusions” will make connections to!  When Leo’s mom tells him that there will “be a surprise” at dinnertime – Leo and his brother, desperate to find out, begin coming up with all sorts of possibilities – a bike? a new car? a new TV? a swimming pool?  By the end of the day they are convinced that the surprise is an all-expense paid two week trip to Hawaii!  And of course when they get home from school and discover the real surprise, they are left feeling let down.  All children have experienced the feeling of getting their hopes up and then being let down  – but it’s how you handle your disappointment that creates the teachable moment in this book.   David Mackingtosh handles it with humour and the subtle message of how being grateful for what you already have is enough to make you feel “lucky”.  Brilliant!

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The Boy on the Porch – Sharon Creech

I always tell my students that the greatest writers don’t tell us everything, but  “leave spaces for our thinking”.  Sharon Creech’s book is a perfect example of this – she doesn’t tell us evetyhing but provides us with spaces for asking questions and for thinking.  This book is beaurtifully written – simple, tender and powerful.  It is the story of a couple who discover a boy on their porch with only his name pinned to his shirt – “Jacob”.  (What are you wondering?… Who is he?  Where did he come from?  Why did his parents leave him?  Will they come back for him?   (So many questions!)  The boy does not speak but communicates through his extraordinary gift in music and art. Eventually, he is able to communicate with animals.  I read this book in one sitting and then I cried – not because it was sad but because it was so beautiful.  And because as I read it, I could not wait to hear my students filling in the spaces.   There is no better book to read.

Well, that’s it for now!  My pile of new books is only a little smaller now but I’d better stop!  Thanks for stopping by and please share the book that caught your eye!

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Filed under Art, celebrating words, It's Monday, making connections, Music, New Books, Picture Book, Question, Social Studies, What Are You Reading?, Writing Anchors

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