Monday, October 16, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.16.17

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

I have quite a stack going of early readers and chapter books.  Here's what jumped out.

I continued my What's in my Nonfiction Pile series with animal books.

The last few months have been full of some awesome middle grade.  Paper Chains is another one to add to your list.

Some great books that have math connections here.

Picture Books

A Different Pond
A Different Pond
written by Bao Phi
illustrated by Thi Bui
I've seen this book on a few lists now and I'm glad I finally got to read it.  It's another great book to add to your refugee collection.

Give Me Back My Book!
Give Me Back MY Book!
By Travis Foster and Ethan Long
You know how kids read what we praise?  Perfect example right here!  It's funny and kids will have a good giggle over this one.

Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite
Mr. Fuzzbuster Knows He's the Favorite
written by Stacy McAnulty
illustrated by Edward Hemingway
This book is just super fun!  Perfect for siblings, perfect for everyone.  And the ending made me smile.  A lot!

A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
A Cooked-Up Fairy Tale
written by Penny Parker Klostermann
illustrated by Ben Mantle
Very fun fractured fairy tale.  The endings were unique and perfect for the story.

I Have A Balloon
I Have a Balloon
written by Ariel Bernstein
illustrated by Scott Magoon
This is a must have.  Young readers are going to love this book, adults will love reading it out loud.  A book that sums up sharing and wanting.  Isn't it funny how kids (and adults) want something right at that exact moment, yet once the moment passes, or once you get that thing you want, there's a new want you want??  This book is it.  I want it.  Now.  

Hooray for Books!
Hooray for Books!
by Brian Won
Another fun story in the "hooray" series!  Turtle is searching for a missing book and along the way he finds his friends and together they have quite a collection of books!

Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna, The Very First Chicken
Tyrannosaurus Rex vs. Edna The Very First Chicken
written by Douglas Rees
illustrated by Jed Henry
Have you ever wanted to know why there are no tyrannosaurus rexes today, yet plenty of chicken?  Well, this book sets out to tell us why!  And while it's definitely a made up story, the laughs you hear will not be!

Middle Grade

by Supriya Kelkar
Oh this book!  So beautifully written.  This book taught me about a time in history I really did not know about.  I had to concentrate as I read it because the author uses culturally rich vocabulary and because I read an e-copy, I did not know there was a glossary at the end of the book.  Instead I really had to focus on the context to figure out words that were new to me.  
I think upper middle grade classrooms and libraries would benefit from this diverse and historically rich text.  Upper elementary readers who enjoy historical fiction may need some support, but will also benefit from this book.  No doubt readers who find this book a "mirror" text and can relate to the culture in the book will treasure reading this story.

Young Adult

Turtles All the Way Down
Turtles All the Way Down
by John Green
Let me first get this out of the way.  I am the only person I know who did not like TFioS.  I didn't like the way the characters spoke.  Although I've been assured, teenagers do get all philosophical like that, I just felt it was forced and not real.  
I had read the premise of this book when it was first announced and thought it sounded interesting.  I knew I would read it as soon as it came out, before there was too much hype so I could make my own decision about this book.  Having not liked a majorly well loved John Green book made me really want to have my own opinion and not be influenced by others.
Then before I read it I read the background about it.  That John Green, like the main character of the book, also suffers from anxiety and OCD.  And I read about what that is like and where his mind takes him and how debilitating it could be.  
And then I read it.
It took about 50 pages or so.  The first part I really didn't know where he was taking us in this book.  And then it got amazing.  
I don't know what it's like to suffer from anxiety.  I've been anxious plenty of times.  I've broken down because of stress and being overwhelmed.  But it's not the same as someone who suffers from true anxiety.  
I have a OCD tendencies.  But not like this.
The writing is amazing in this book because it comes from a very true place.  Everything about the character of Aza felt true and right.  
After reading this book I still don't really get what it's like to suffer from anxiety and OCD.  But like what other diverse books are doing, it's shining light onto this issue and making all of us think just a little more.

Currently Reading

Greetings from Witness Protection!
Greetings From Witness Protection!
by Jake Burt
Looking forward to starting this one this week!

Happy Reading!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Spotlight Friday - looking at math! 10.13.17

Time to get ready for the weekend!
Kick up your feet and find a good place to read.
Sharing #booklove for your classroom or library.
Spotlighting a book or two because these books deserve the spotlight!

It seems like no matter what you're teaching in math, there is a book to use for that!  Some new(er) books you may want to add to your curriculum:

Twinderella, a Fractioned Fairy Tale by Corey Rosen Schwartz
Twinderella: a Fractioned Fairy Tale
written by Corey Rosen Schwartz
illustrations by Deborah Marcero

A great book to use when you're introducing fractions!  Using a familiar story in a fractured way (see what I did there???) kids will love this new take that can be used over different areas of curriculum.

The Cookie Fiasco (Elephant & Piggie Like Reading!, #1)
The Cookie Fiasco
by Dan Santat

And don't forget to include this hilarious story about fractions!

written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen

An interesting tale of friendship, a fun discussion of fitting a round peg into a square hole... or a square into a triangle door....  

How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?: Answers to Your Most Clever Math Questions
How Many Guinea Pigs Can Fit on a Plane?
by Laura Overdeck

This book is a must for math classrooms!  Whether you're using the problems for fun, for whole group, for challenge, for creative thinking.... or many other reasons... this is a fantastic collection of crazy and silly math questions.

Ada Lovelace: The Poet of Science
Ava Lovelace: The Poet of Science
written by Diane Stanley
illustrated by Jessie Hartland

Don't let this title fool you.  As much as Ada Lovelace did for us in the areas of science, this is also a wonderful biography of a woman who had an amazing mathematical mind!

The Boy Who Loved Math by Deborah Heiligman
The Boy Who Loved Math: The Improbable Life of Paul Erdos
written by Deborah Heiligman
illustrated by LeUyen Pham

Great biography to show the passion someone had for this field!

Happy mathematical reading!

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Paper Chains - a review 10.12.17

I can't believe the middle grade books this year.  They all scream to my middle grade self.  These are the books I loved as a kid.  These are the books that I love passing on to readers now.  What I love about them... they are smart, they have endings that get it right - because middle grade readers?  They know when they don't.  A new book you've got to pick up:

Paper Chains
Paper Chains
by Elaine Vickers
published by Harper Collins
October 17th

Meet Ana and Katie.  They are your typical middle schoolers.  Except maybe they have a few secrets inside.  Secrets that feel safer on the inside, than in the minds of others.  Except these secrets are starting to tear them apart.  Both on the inside and the relationships they have with their family and each other.

Take Ana.  She seems to have it all together.  She's funny and nice and seems confident.  But really she's hiding the fact that her family has fallen apart.  Her father, a famous NHL player has left their family.  And when he left, he took a part of their mom with him.  It's hard for her to take care of Ana and her younger brother, Mikey.  Someone has to do it, so that falls on Ana's shoulders.  But then Babushka comes to stay with them and her old school Russian ways aren't going over well with Ana.  But instead of confiding these secrets, she keeps them, well, secret.

Katie has a very loving family - her parents dote on her.  She always knows what to say to make the situation seem better.  But really, Katie is just as broken as Ana on the inside.  She feels like she may always break because she has a faulty heart.  She's had heart surgery and needs to be very careful.  But Katie feels if she lets people know this information they will see her as weak.  And the big secret, she is adopted and wants to know more about where her origins are, what the people she is truly related to are like.  But that secret will really hurt the relationship she has with her parents, so it stays on the inside too.

We see this information that neither of the girls will share and how it impacts everything they do.  This story could have gone in several directions.  It could have been predictable, with these secrets coming to a classic collision.  Instead, Elaine Vickers uses them in a way that is smart and compassionate.  I don't want to give anything away, but I want you to know that I was really happy with the way things came together.  It surprised me and touched my heart. 

I think middle grade readers will see themselves in this book.  Not necessarily in the same situations as Katie and Ana, but they'll have had secrets before.  They'll have had that feeling where they don't know who to trust, when to speak up.  They'll know what it's like to not be able to say the right thing or find the right words.  They'll understand that feeling of being unsure and not knowing what to do.

This book will touch their hearts!

Make sure you find a copy of this book next week on October 17th.  Read it quick because you might not see it again until the end of the school year - it's going to be loved!

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday - What's In My Pile? series - animal books 10.11.17

Every Wednesday I join Alyson Beecher from kidlitfrenzy and other
kidlit bloggers to share wonderful nonfiction picture books.
The intention of today's blog post is to give professionals that work in the
education field new nonfiction reading material and ideas to use 
with students to promote a love of reading nonfiction materials.

I have had such a large number of nonfiction picture books in my piles lately that I decided to make October into the "What's in My Pile? series".  Today I'm spotlighting books about animals!

Moto and Me by Suzi Eszterhas
Moto and Me: My Year as a Wildcat's Foster Mom
by Suzi Eszterhas
published by Owlkids Books

I waited a long time to get my hands on this book and it was definitely worth it!  Absolutely loved the story - anyone who enjoys animal stories will have their heart wrap around this story.  Longer story - usually full print one one to one and half pages and either full page photo or half.  Divided into chapters, each with a title that clearly explains what it will be about.  Should be well loved by readers in 3rd-5th grades.

The Great Penguin Rescue: Saving the African Penguins
The Great Penguin Rescue: Saving African Penguins
by Sandra Markle
published by Millbrook Press

If you're not familiar with this series by Sandra Markle, it's time to change that!  This is the third in Markle's "Rescue" series and they are all such wonderful mentor texts for text structure.  I love how she explains the problem and then explores the possible solutions scientists are exploring.  Causes and effects are detailed and explained.  Markle's endnotes always give other avenues to explore and additional understandings on topics.

Shell, Beak, Tusk by Bridget Heos
Shell Beak Tusk: Shared Traits and the Wonders of Adaptation
by Bridget Heos
published by HMH

NGSS has several grade levels looking at animal adaptations, animal survival and problem solving using adaptations.  This book would be perfect to use in this type of study.

How to Be an Elephant by Katherine Roy
How to be an Elephant
by Katherine Roy
published by Macmillan

If you aren't familiar with Katherine Roy's Neighborhood Shark and now this one, than you need to remedy that immediately.  Fascinating nonfiction, gorgeous illustrations - Roy knows how to make nonfiction so very cool.  
I read this book this past week for #classroombookaday and even the student who freely admitted they did not care for nonfiction really enjoyed this book!

Run for Your Life! by Lola M Schaefer
Run For Your Life!
written by Lola M. Schaefer
illustrated by Paul Meisel
published by Holiday House

I've had this one on my list for a long time, glad it finally became available.
Using lively verbs, a reader gets a sense for the movement of predators and prey in the savanna.  We also see who is on the top of the food chain!

Hope you found an animal book or two for your readers!

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

#road2reading Challenge - What's in my stack? 10.10.17

All journeys have a starting place.
This is a weekly place to find books and tools 
that you may use with readers at the start of their reading journey.
Join in the conversation at #road2reading.

I took some time yesterday and read some early readers and chapter books.  Here's what was in my stack!

We Need More Nuts! by Jonathan Fenske
We Need More Nuts!
by Jonathan Fenske
I love Fenske's work.  If you aren't already familiar with him, be sure to check out the Geisel Honor winning  A Pig, a Fox and a Box and I love the snarky Barnacle is Bored and Plankton is Pushy.  We meet a new duo in this book who apparently are storing up some nuts for winter time.  A number concept book, young readers are encouraged to building their counting skills as one of the squirrel's mouths gets stuffed with nuts!  As with all Fenske's books, readers will giggle and smile along with the crazy hijinks in this story!

Meet the Bobs and Tweets by Pepper Springfield       Perfecto Pet Show (Bobs and Tweets #2)
Meet the Bobs and Tweets
Bobs and Tweets Perfecto Pet Show
written by Pepper Springfield
illustrated by Kristy Caldwell
This early chapter book series reminds me of reading a Dr. Seuss book - fun, silly rhymes with a story that is a bit wiser than you may originally think.
The Bobs and Tweets families are complete opposite from each other and are recent new neighbors.  Right there is a recipe for disaster - slobs and neat freaks living next door to each other?  It's up to the youngest Bobs and Tweets to show that even when you are opposites, there may be more similarities than you think.  Or maybe it's just that opposites attract!
In the second book, the Bobs and Tweets learn to work together and along the way they figure out how each of their strengths help the others with their problem.
Thank you to Kellee Moye for introducing me to this series and passing the first one along!

King & Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse by Dori Hillestad Butler
King and Kayla and the Case of the Mysterious Mouse
written by Dori Hillestad Butler
illustrated by Nancy Meyers
Oh, I just love these stories about King/Buddy the Dog.  This early chapter book series is sure to delight young readers.  It has a mystery, a dog that talks to the reader, short chapters, and always a fun story.  I hope this series continues for awhile!

Did you see something to add to your stacks?  Happy early reading!

Want to talk about books for readers who are on the #road2reading?  Link up here!

Monday, October 9, 2017

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? 10.09.17

This weekly post comes from Jen at Teach Mentor Texts
 and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers.  
It's a great source to find new books to use with your students.

Last Week's Adventures

I love what this transitional chapter book series brings to readers - diversity, non-stereotypes, and a really fun read!  Check out Jada Jones!

What's in my pile?  Here are the picture book biographies I have in my stacks.

So excited for this book!  Don't miss the book birthday of The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street!

An #ownvoices graphic novel - really excited to have this author writing books for readers!  Pashmina - last day to enter the giveaway!  This is one you won't want to miss!

Picture Books

No One Else Like You
No One Else Like You 
written by Sitka Goeminne
illustrated by Merel Eyckerman
This is a book I'm planning on reading right away with students.  It's a great book to use at the beginning of the year to start the conversation on identity.  

Snappsy the Alligator and His Best Friend Forever (Probably)
Snappsy the Alligator And His Best Friend Forever! (Probably)
written by Julie Falatko
illustrated by Tim Miller
I think this one flows even better than the first one.  And I'm really glad we have a name for the narrator.

written by Julia Denos
illustrated by E. B. Goodale
Perfect small moments story.  Taking a walk at dusk, taking a look at the lit up windows, wondering and imagining what is happening inside.

The One Day House
The One Day House
written by Julia Durango
illustrated by Bianca Diaz
And this is the book that I learn Julia Durango is an Illinois author!  Yay, Illinois!
Very sweet story about building a home between a boy and his beloved grandmother.  I read another story this week, also about building a home and a boy and his grandmother.  That one left me sad, this one hopeful.  This book shows that children can really build a kinder generation for the future!

Smoot: A Rebellious Shadow
Smoot A Rebellious Shadow
written by Michelle Cuevas
illustrated by Sydney Smith
I can't decide if I like this book or love it.  
I do love the illustrations.  You're familiar with Smith's work from Town Is by the Sea and Sidewalk Flowers.
The theme of this book is a good one - stepping out of your comfort zone and trying something new.  I would love to see how young readers react to this book - what their initial reactions are and their discussion of the theme.  I ordered the book and I'm looking forward to sharing it at #classroombookaday time!

The Wolf, the Duck, and the Mouse
The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse
written by Mac Barnett
illustrated by Jon Klassen.
In my opinion, this is my favorite collaboration by the two of them.  So fun.  Full of laugh out loud moments.  This is a must have book.

The Book of Gold
The Book of Gold
by Bob Staake
A book about the love of reading featuring a reluctant reader.  Our main character really doesn't enjoy reading until he is warned about "The Book of Gold".  While searching for this elusive book, he might even start reading along the way...

Young Adult

Dear Martin
Dear Martin
by Nic Stone
Wow.  Do not miss this book.  This book brought up so many points - made me think about the diverse sides to many controversial topics.  
It's books like this that might just change our future - but kids need to read them and kids need to discuss them.
High schools, get these books in your classroom, get them in libraries.
I'll have a longer post on this book later in the month as I get to participate in a blog tour for this brilliant book.

Currently Reading

Paper Chains
Paper Chains by Elaine Vickers
I am loving this book!  Stop by on Thursday for a longer review.

Happy reading!

Friday, October 6, 2017

Pashmina blog tour 10.06.17

Recently there have been various blog posts talking about the importance of seeing yourself within the pages of a book.  I've taken a step back this year and have really taken a look at first, my readers.  Can my readers find themselves within books that are in my collection?  Do I have just a book or two, or many that they can choose from?  Are they quality, rich and diverse choices?

I'm happy to have found this new graphic novel:

About the Book:
Author: Nidhi Chanani
Pub. Date: October 3, 2017
Publisher: First Second
Pages: 176
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Find it: AmazonB&NiBooksTBDGoodreads

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions―the topic of India is permanently closed.

For Pri, her mother's homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film. But is this the real India? And what is that shadow lurking in the background? To learn the truth, Pri must travel farther than she’s ever dared and find the family she never knew.

In this heartwarming graphic novel debut, Nidhi Chanani weaves a tale about the hardship and self-discovery that is born from juggling two cultures and two worlds.

My quick thoughts
Priyanka is an American teenager who is trying to figure out and balance two cultures.  How many students today will find this to be a similar situation?  When we look around our classrooms, we see many students who view themselves as Americans, yet have many traditions from other cultures at home.  So often, these traditions can be lost.  Travel may be  not be possible for everyone to visit homeland countries.  Other families may have a home rich in the celebration of traditions in their culture.  While some students thrive in this situation, others may be trying to figure out the balance of multiple traditions.

Books like this give readers a sense of understanding and belonging.  They can help others gain new understanding.  We need more books like Pashmina.

When I look at my library, I don't have a lot of books that feature characters that feature characters from India.  I know it's an area of need, not only for me to have these books, but also for authors to keep writing and featuring characters of color, of different religions, of different cultures.  I will continue to look for these books.  I want my readers to have mirrors for themselves and windows to help them grow.  This is a book that should definitely be added to middle grade libraries.

About Nidhi:
Nidhi Chanani is a freelance illustrator, cartoonist and writer. She is the owner of Everyday Love Art. Her debut graphic novel, Pashmina, will be released by First Second Books in October 2017. She recently illustrated Misty – The Proud Cloud, a children’s book by Hugh Howey. She is an instructor in the Master of Fine Arts, Comics program at the California College of Arts.
Nidhi was born in Calcutta and raised in suburban southern California. She holds a degree in Literature from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She creates because it makes her happy – with the hope that it can make others happy, too. In April of 2012 she was honored by the Obama Administration as a Champion of Change.
Her media appearances include CNN’s Anderson Cooper 360 and BBC Radio. Her work has been featured on the Huffington Post, the Women’s March, My Modern Met, Bored Panda and India Times. Nidhi has worked with Disney, ABC, Airbnb, Sony, Microsoft, State Farm Insurance and a variety of other clients. Her non-fiction comics have appeared in the Nib. Everyday Love Art products are sold in retail shops across the country, including the San Francisco International Airport, Books Inc., and Therapy stores.
Nidhi draws and dreams every day with her husband, daughter and their two cats in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Don't miss the other stops on the Pashmina blog tour!
Week One:
9/25/2017- BookHounds YAExcerpt
9/26/2017- Here's to Happy EndingsReview
9/27/2017- Tales of the Ravenous ReaderReview
9/28/2017- Novel NoviceExcerpt
9/29/2017- Adventures Thru WonderlandReview

Week Two:
10/2/2017- Cindy's Love of BooksReview
10/3/2017- Ex LibrisReview
10/4/2017- Wandering Bark BooksExcerpt
10/5/2017A Backwards StoryReview
10/6/2017Mrs. Knott's Book NookReview

The generous folks at Rockstar Book Tours are giving away 3 copies of Pashmina.  Be sure to enter for your chance to win this must read (well, and must have!). (US only)

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