In my opinion, books are the best accessory.
Thanks to: TeachMentorTexts and http://www.unleashingreaders.com for the inspiration! Thanks to Jen and Kellee for the meme! Book deliveries are still providing me with many fun books to treasure. I’m working on reading a few touching books in addition to this, shall be shared next week!
Beautiful Picture Books:
The Happiest Tree A Yoga Story by Uma Krishnaswami, illustrated by Ruth Jeyaveeran – Here’s a special read aloud for 2nd/3rd graders who need to hear about patience, practice, and faith in oneself. Meena has a difficult time at school because she believes she is clumsy. This impacts her choices when it comes to volunteering to be in a class play and how she portrayed a tree in the character she was assigned. Learning yoga does give people a center, a focus, and Uma really shows how helpful this is to Meena through the story… I wish students could benefit from a little weekly down time yoga focus in their lives. My son grew up with a day care provider who often opened her days with a yoga for kids video and he never stopped enjoying going through the positions. Goodreads Summary: “Embarrassed by her clumsiness, eight-year-old Meena, an Asian Indian American girl, is reluctant to appear in the school play until she gains self-confidence by practicing yoga.”
Willow Finds a Way by Lana Button, illustrated by Tania Howells – aww, small actions can promote bravery in others Well done to Lana Button portraying a situation where a girl who thinks that she is in charge of everyone, but Willow doesn’t enjoy being bossed around… so she finds a quiet way to show that she’s her own person and doesn’t need to be told what to do. Goodreads Summary: “Willow is thrilled the whole class — including her! — is invited to classmate Kristabelle’s fantastic birthday party, until the bossy birthday girl starts crossing guests off the list when they dare cross her. There are many books on bullying, but Willow’s story offers a unique look at how to handle the situation as a bystander.”
Ugly Fish by Kara LaReau, illustrated by Scott Magoon – Here is one of the darkest, twisted picture books… fiercely defend your home until a larger thing comes along… I couldn’t stop laughing through the book but wanted to stop reading it two times as I could tell what was happening next. My son loved it… Ugly Fish is a perfect partner with I’m the Biggest Thing in the Ocean by Kevin Sherry and This is not my hat by Jon Klassen. Goodreads Summary: “Ugly Fish is ugly and big and mean, and he won’t share his driftwood tunnel or his special briny flakes with anyone. And that means the wimpy little fish who keep showing up in his tank have got to go. But then one day someone bigger and uglier and maybe even meaner arrives . . . and suddenly Ugly Fish isn’t feeling quite so confident anymore.”
Owly & Wormy Bright Lights and Starry Nights! by Andy Runton – how cute are the Owly books? Really appreciate yet another really cute picture book… Goodreads Summary: “Out on a stargazing venture in this wordless picture book, Owly and Wormy discover that it’s fine to be frightened—but it’s better to be brave.Owly and Wormy want to see the stars! So they gather their telescope and their lantern and head out into the dark night, all the way to the edge of their branch. Try as they might, though, they can only see leaves…and branches…and more leaves. But these two friends are not about to let a little obstacle like foliagestop them. Armed with camping gear, galoshes—and their wits, of course!—Owly and Wormy set out once again. And this time there are even bigger challenges to face. What’s that screee sound? What’s that click click clicking noise? And what has happened to their telescope?! Owly and Wormy find plenty to be frightened of, but with a little bravery, they also find there are nearly as many helpful new friends on the horizon as there are stars in the sky. This wordless picture book conveys a nuanced narrative with charming illustrations that will appeal to even the earliest readers.”
999 Frogs Wake Up by Ken Kimura, illustrated by Yasunari Murakami – I honestly thought this would be more of a math book, don’t get me wrong, it does have loads of math elements, but this book was fantastic for talking about seasons, ecosystems, communities, friendship and nocturnal creatures. I additionally love how the huge problem was resolved… Read to find out! Goodreads Summary: “Wake up—it’s springtime in the swamp! As 999 young frogs awaken, they panic to find that all of the other animals are still asleep. First they wake the biggest frog… then the tortoise, the lizard, and the ladybugs. But when they hop down a hole and all pull together, they find someone they don’t want to wake—a big, long snake. Don’t wake him up! Luckily for the frogs, the tortoise carefully carries him away.”
The Invisible String by Patrice Karst, illustrated by Geoff Stevenson – Published in 2000, part of my social skills/feelings book purchases. This is a delicate, beautiful story about how twins realize there is an invisible string connecting all people who love one another… you can feel it in your heart and always be connected, even from afar. Beautiful. Delicate. Perfect for: dealing with loss, moving, friendship issues, family problems, nighttime fears… Quite the special book. Goodreads Summary: “In this heartwarming story, Karst (“God Made Easy”) delivers a very simple approach to overcoming the fear of loneliness or separation from parents, written with an imaginative flair that children can easily identify with and remember.”
Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz, illustrations by Marie Le Tourneau – Published in 2005. This is another social group, feelings book I decided to purchase. Interesting story where at the beginning, children have the opportunity to acknowledge that there are fears and they are real. Throughout the story, there are solutions presented in a way that empowers the child to resolve their fears… Great book. Glad I found it! Goodreads Summary: “This book addresses children’s worries with humor and imagination, as hilarious scenarios teach kids the use of perspective and the art of creative problem—solving.”
Non-Fiction Picture Books:
The Mystery of Darwin’s Frog by Marty Crump, illustrations by Steve Jenkins and Edel Rodriguez – Excellent book for digging deeper… fascinating research about these little frogs that Darwin discovered and further revelations about them through the years. Fantastic illustrations from Steve Jenkins as well as interesting photographs of the frogs from Edel Rodriguez. This is honestly one of the oddest frogs I’ve ever learned about!
This Child, Every Child – A Book about the World’s Children by David J. Smith, illustrated by Shelagh Armstrong – Powerful book. Goodreads Summary: “A groundbreaking book of statistics and stories that compare the lives of children around the world today. Every second of every day, four more children are added to the world’s population of over 2.2 billion children. Some of these 2.2 billion children will be cared for and have enough to eat and a place to call home. Many others will not be so fortunate. The bestselling author-illustrator team behind the phenomenal If the World Were a Village and If America Where a Village return with a revealing and beautifully illustrated glimpse into the lives of children around the world. This Child, Every Child uses statistics and stories to draw kids into the world beyond their own borders and provide a window into the lives of their fellow children. As young readers will discover, there are striking disparities in the way children live. Some children lack opportunities that others take for granted. What is it like to be a girl in Niger? How are some children forced into war? How do children around the world differ in their home and school lives? This Child, Every Child answers such questions and sets children’s lives against the rights they are guaranteed under the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.”
Fiction books I enjoyed:
The Last Present by Wendy Mass – released in late September – Fantasy, 4th grade and up – Really enjoyed reading this series. This book provides quite the powerful conclusion. Loved hearing from Amanda’s perspective in the book along with the time travel element being worked back in. Many questions are answered in a book series finale, the questions really are answered in this one, it was quite the relief and entertainment after loving and promoting this series for a long time now! Publisher summary: “Amanda and Leo have a history with birthdays. Now their friend’s little sister, Grace, has fallen into a strange frozen state on her birthday, and Amanda and Leo must travel in time in order to fix whatever’s wrong. As they journey back to each of Grace’s birthdays, they start seeing all sorts of patterns . . . which raise all sorts of questions. Amanda and Leo are going to have to unravel the threads of the past and present – and travel much further than they ever imagined – if they’re going to save Grace. Luckily, a little birthday magic always helps in the charming and funny Willow Falls series by Wendy Mass, where everything is possible and there are no coincidences.”
My Life as a Book by Janet Tashjian, cartoons by Jake Tashjian – Realistic Fiction, 4th grade and up – I was simply thrilled to discover this book series. Thanks to The Nerdy Book Club, Janet Tashjian posted about her book creations and I learned quickly what I was missing. I had initially overlooked this series because I saw it displayed with Middle School book titles so I thought that it would be too mature for my students, I was quite wrong. I’m pleasantly surprised sometimes when I am wrong! This is one time. I loved the illustrations created by Janet’s son through the book in addition to the fascinating plot that kept you reading at a brisk pace. My only regret was that I was dying to know what book Derek was struggling to read over the summer, there were hints but… I didn’t guess it. I loved how open, even though he acted the opposite, Derek was to learning, experimenting, and meeting new people. Additionally, the mystery revealed through the book is quite a special one. Looking forward to reading the other two titles so far in the series! Goodreads Summary: “Summer’s finally here, and Derek Fallon is looking forward to pelting the UPS truck with water balloons, climbing onto the garage roof, and conducting silly investigations. But when his parents decide to send him to Learning Camp, Derek’s dreams of fun come to an end. Ever since he’s been labeled a “reluctant reader,” his mom has pushed him to read “real” books—something other than his beloved Calvin & Hobbes. As Derek forges unexpected friendships and uncovers a family secret involving himself (in diapers! no less), he realizes that adventures and surprises are around the corner, complete with curve balls.”
Secrets at Sea by Richard Peck – Historical Fiction/Animal Fantasy, 4th grade and up – Well, it took over three months to read this book aloud to my son. The sequel will be read just by me – The Mouse with the Question Mark Tail. The word choice is completely fitting of a historical fiction book which often needed to be explained before it flew over my son’s head. Really cute story about a little mouse who is desperate to keep her little family of siblings together, so desperate that she has the family go across the ocean on an adventure to stick with their human family. Great character development and fun book for those mouse fiction obsess readers… Goodreads Summary: “Helena is big-sister mouse to three younger siblings, living a snug and well-fed life within the ancient walls of the Cranston family home. When the Cranston humans decide to sail away to England to find a husband for one of their daughters, the Cranston mice stow away in the name of family solidarity. And so begins the scamper of their lives as Helena, her siblings, and their humans set sail on a life-changing voyage into the great world of titled humans . . . and titled mice, and surprise endings for all. The masterful Richard Peck brings all of his talents to this tale of two branches of an American family, set on the eve of Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee. There are plenty of laughs and thrills, and of course there’s a ship’s cat too. Will our Cranston heroes squeak by, or will they go entirely overboard?”
Hero on a Bicycle by Shirley Hughes – Historical Fiction, 5th grade and up – Well, I really enjoyed this book but I know I’m really weary of heartbreaking historical fiction books. Fascinating to read the book and hear the perspective of a boy who innocently approached life, until he was in the thick of a war with the horrible reality surrounding him. This was the last of 20 titles I read for the Hong Kong Battle of the Books this year. What a fantastic, heartwrenching book to get lost in… Portion that struck me in the book: “…fighting a war’s an ageing business, I guess. You have to shut down such a lot of yourself, just concentrate on stayling alive. In the camp, the only thing that keeps you going is the dream of what you’ll do when you get out – imagining someone like you…” “I hate this war. I hate you and me and my family having to be in it. I hate hardly being able to remember what things were like before it all began….” Goodreads Summary: “In her first novel, beloved author Shirley Hughes presents a World War II adventure proving that in extraordinary circumstances, people are capable of extraordinary things.
Italy, 1944: Florence is occupied by Nazi forces. The Italian resistance movement has not given up hope, though — and neither have thirteen-year- old Paolo and his sister, Costanza. As their mother is pressured into harboring escaping POWs, Paolo and Costanza each find a part to play in opposing the German forces. Both are desperate to fight the occupation, but what can two siblings — with only a bicycle to help them — do against a whole army? Middle-grade fans of history and adventure will be riveted by the action and the vividly evoked tension of World War II.”
Early Chapter Book:
Spunky Tells All by Ann Cameron, pictures by Lauren Castillo – I really honestly am baffled. I didn’t realize that Ann Cameron lived in Portland, Oregon until now. I just love her book series. I cued in on this new book from Spunky, a cute dog’s perspective, because it was selected as a Beverly Cleary Children’s Choice Award nominee. Quite a cute little story, especially when Spunky tried to warn the family about the horrendous choice they are making with their choice to adopt a cat and the chaos that occurs after they do so. Special book to connect to the Julian and Huey book series. Recommended for those who love animal fiction! Goodreads Summary: “Spunky the dog would be happy to share all of his secrets, if only his human family spoke his language. But no matter how hard he tries to talk, it’s all “yerf!” to them. Through a series of unfortunate miscommunications, his family decides that Spunky wants a friend–specifically, a cat. Spunky can’t imagine anything worse than having to share his family, especially Huey and Julian, with the snobby Balinese Fiona. But when headstrong Fiona keeps getting into trouble and it’s up to Spunky to save her, he is astonished to find that being her protector has given his life new purpose and meaning.”
Graphic Novel Bliss:
The Flying Beaver Brothers Birds vs. Bunnies by Maxwell Eaton III and The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Mud-Slinging Moles by Maxwell Eaton III – I think these little beaver brothers, Ace and Bub, are quite the amusing ones- They have very distinct personalities and are some of my favorite characters who get into the oddest situations. Goodreads Summary for Birds vs. Bunnies: “In their fourth adventure, the Flying Beaver Brothers set off in their sailboat to enjoy some well-deserved rest and relaxation at nearby the island. But the birds and bunnies who live on Little Beaver Island have other ideas. Before long, Ace and Bub find themselves embroiled in an all-out war between the feathers and the fuzz. Can the Flying Beaver Brothers bring peace to Little Beaver Island?” Goodreads Summary for Mud Slinging Moles: “The Flying Beaver Brothers are back! All is not well on Beaver Island. Ace and Bub have noticed a number of things (trees, houses, evil penguins) sinking into the ground. They soon discover that Captain Jo Jo and his scurvy crew of mud-making moles have hatched a nearsighted plot to steal dirt from Beaver Island to make their own island home even bigger! Can Ace and Bub stop their brotherly bickering and save Beaver Island before it disappears forever?”
Miss Annie Freedom! and Miss Annie Rooftop Cat by Frank LeGall, illustrated by Flore Balthazar, Coloring by Robin Doo – I just love reading about Binky and Chu – two highly favorite graphic novels for children… now we have Miss Annie, a caring little kitten who goes against the rules and makes friends with a mouse.
Mitch and Amy by Beverly Cleary – twins dealing with bullies and learning how to get along… Goodreads Summary: “Mitch and Amy both think being twins is fun, but that doesn’t stop them from squabbling. Amy is good at reading. Mitch is a math whiz. Amy likes to play pretend. Mitch would rather skateboard. They never want to watch the same television show. And they always try to get the better of each other. Then the school bully starts picking on Mitch — and on Amy, too. Now the twins have something rotten in common: Alan Hibbler. This twosome must set aside their squabbles and band together to defeat a bully!”
Muggie Maggie by Beverly Cleary – power of a thoughtful caring teacher and small community help a young girl who considers herself quite intelligent with her refusal to work on her cursive reading and writing skills. What a touching book to show how education can be valued and a whole school community can become invested in a single student. Goodreads Summary: “When Maggie’s first attempt at cursive writing earns her the name Muggie Maggie because she doesn’t make the “a” correctly, she vows never to write in cursive again…after all, she can always use the computer. Will Maggie really go on printing her whole life?”
Socks by Beverly Cleary – perspective of family cat. Scotch tape on a baby’s toe is a good distraction Goodreads Summary: “Socks is one happy cat….He lives with a nice young couple called Brickers who play with him, pet him, feed him treats, and always have a warm lap for him to sit in. Then a new baby joins the family Suddenly, the Brickers are sharing their laps and love with Charles William, and Socks is getting into trouble. He runs from a phantom dog, wrestles with Nana’s best wig, and fights Old Taylor the tomcat for his territory. But as Charles William grows, Socks discovers that he has a new friend and a new way to be a part of the family.”
Want more book ideas and reviews? – Yes, I’m quite brief, but a prolific reader! Please visit me at Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/1941055-the-styling-librarian Also, please follow this blog through email updates – (do so to the right of this blog post), my Facebook page, comment, or meet up with me on Twitter. I appreciate all of the support, makes my day! Honored by all the wonderful followers.