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! My Australia/New Zealand book order came in! Super happy to finally have my hands on some of these titles! Some hilarious, touching, wonderful books…
Beautiful Picture Books:
TED by Leila Rudge – Aww, who wouldn’t love Ted who had the challenge of figuring out where he belonged in the world? Very special, cute, touching book about a little dog who left the pet shop where he was ignored and worked hard to find out where he fit. Australian publisher. Goodreads Summary: “Ted is a smart dog, with his own jumper. But he has lived at the pet store for as long as he can remember and nobody seems to notice him. Will Ted ever find the perfect place to live?”
Millie’s Special Something by Tania Cox, illustrated by David Miller – creatures in this book are based on dinosaurs and animals that roamed China during the Cretaceous Period. Millie is a character that was small and had feathers. Really cute- Millie must figure out what makes her special and how it can help her… My son and I immediately predicted what her special something was but still adored this book! – Australian publisher. Goodreads Summary: “Big, bad Reggie loves to scare Millie. It’s fun. But not for Millie. It’s frightening! Her friends each have a special something to make them feel brave. So why doesn’t she? Or does she?”
The Windy Farm by Doug MacLeod and Craig Smith – another wonderful eco-focus about a family who moved to a home they could afford but unfortunately they had one issue, the property was so windy they actually could be blown away… love the way they solve their problems. – Australian publisher. Video about wind turbines:
Once again, my son brought home a few picture books, grateful for his keen eye:
Uno’s Garden by Graeme Base – Grateful that my son picked this book out, I really overlooked it before this… I appreciate how you could watch the development of a community and impact the community has on the wildlife and additionally the restoration and hope by the end of the book. Quite a lovely book I’d partner with The Lorax by Dr. Seuss and The Great Paper Caper by Oliver Jeffers. – US Goodreads Summary: “When Uno arrives in the forest one beautiful day, there are many fascinating and extraordinary animals there to greet him. And one entirely unexceptional Snortlepig. Uno loves the forest so much, he decides to live there. But, in time, a little village grows up around his house. Then a town, then a city. . . and soon Uno realises that the animals and plants have begun to disappear. . .”
Zagazoo by Quentin Blake – I think I read this book a while ago, was lovely to revisit. Interesting to think about two adults receiving a child by package delivery and then see the child grow and change through the years. My son “got” it, “Mom, I think he changes into all the different animals depending on his mood and then after a while he finally becomes human again…” It is quite the funny, special, creative book! Goodreads Summary: “Zagazoo is a baby like no other. In this quite exceptional picture book young readers will be delighted by the hilarious and unexpected changes in his behaviour as Zagazoo grows up. Parents may detect some strange echoes of family life. There have been many classic picture books from the incomparable pen of Quentin Blake, but never one more extraordinary.”
Non-Fiction Picture Books:
ECO Warriors to the Rescue! by Tania McCartney – Kindergarten/1st Grade – wonderful action and beautiful pictures mixed with illustrations. Simple text with powerful message about how to help the environment with a specific focus on native plants- from Australia. Goodreads Summary: “Join Banjo, Matilda and Ned on a magical adventure into the Australian native landscape via a series of historic, beautifully-rendered botanical paintings. Entering the pages of their favourite book, the children interact with all manner of Australian flora including Kangaroo Paw, Wattle and Eucalypt. Along the way, these intrepid warriors seek ‘tips’ to ensure the survival of our native landscape for generations to come. Can these eco-warriors help save our native flora from extinction?
Tips about caring for the environment include:
• Don’t litter
• Tread carefully whilst bushwalking
• Never pick native flowers
• Keep our waterways clean
• Plant native trees and shrubs … and many more … ”
Tick tock tick tock What’s Up Croc? by Kim Michelle Toft – 3rd/4th grade – Wow, I missed this pack-with-information book that can be read at many levels before, once again, my son selected this book for our weekly reading together. Always grateful to his keen eye! So, this book is about the saltwater crocodile and you can simply read the book as a picture book with gorgeous language or you can read through the simple text, follow the evening life of a crocodile including the hatching of eggs and then dig deeper to learn about the anatomy, environment, historical development of the croc, and crocodile hatchling information. I especially love how every page is repeated with fascinating facts shared below each illustration. Just beautiful book all the way around. I think I probably will share this when my Year 4 students begin studying about habitats!
My favorite fact, because it connects me back to Anne McCaffery’s Dragonriders of Pern series- “A croc swallows stones, which settle in its stomach. These stones help grind the food to aid digestion.” I loved reading about how dragons had to eat special stones as well! I loved finding the connection between fiction and non-fiction! – Australian publisher, a few years old.
Visit talented Kim Michelle Toft’s silk gallery, quite cool and fascinating to see how she creates the gorgeous pieces that are photographed and included as illustrations in her books…
Fiction books I enjoyed:
The Year of the Book by Andrea Cheng – 3rd grade and up, Realistic Fiction – So, what flew through my mind within the first chapter? I ABSOLUTELY LOVE this character! It was wonderful to read a book that I knew would partner well with my students who love Lenore Look’s Ruby Lu Brave and True and Grace Lin’s Year of the Dog in addition to many other favorite early chapter book/fiction realistic fiction novels that are touching, thoughtful, innocent, humorous, and compelling reads. I loved reading this book with Anna goes to her favorite books instead of people when she feels lonely. There are many beautiful exploration of friendship moments throughout the book. Loved how I followed Anna through a school year of reading, growing, and many beautiful moments of appreciation. I think my favorite thing is that Anna is creative and has interests outside of her obsession of reading, still a pretty balanced kid! Goodreads Summary: “In Chinese, peng you means friend. But in any language, all Anna knows for certain is that friendship is complicated. When Anna needs company, she turns to her books. Whether traveling through A Wrinkle in Time, or peering over My Side of the Mountain, books provide what real life cannot—constant companionship and insight into her changing world. Books, however, can’t tell Anna how to find a true friend. She’ll have to discover that on her own. In the tradition of classics like Maud Hart Lovelace’s Betsy-Tacy books and Eleanor Estes’ One Hundred Dresses, this novel subtly explores what it takes to make friends and what it means to be one.”
The 14 Fibs of Gregory K. by Greg Pincus – 5th grade and up, Realistic Fiction – So happy to finally have the chance to read this book! I loved how math was incorporated into the book, three fiction books recently that have done this in quite the fascinating, smooth manner now! This book made me drool with the description of pies and cookies. This was… deliciously cruel. I appreciated how the family speaks one language except for a son and the parents who accepts all the eccentricities of their children. It is interesting to see how one teacher is portrayed through the book, not to ruin anything but I really loved the celebration of exploring, persistence, and growth. Highly recommend the book.
Here are favorite lines:
‘Some days you just need pie.”
“You want me to write for my math homework?”
“To me,” Kay said, “the silence is a form of experimental theater.”
“Hey!!!!! Short Fibonacci poems – Fibs.”
“Everything was good… He held on tight to the feeling. After all, he figured, you just never know when it all might change.”
Goodreads Summary: “Failing math but great at writing, Gregory finds the poetry (and humor) in what’s hard. Gregory K is the middle child in a family of mathematical geniuses. But if he claimed to love math? Well, he’d be fibbing. What he really wants most is to go to Author Camp. But to get his parents’ permission he’s going to have to pass his math class, which has a probability of 0. THAT much he can understand! To make matters worse, he’s been playing fast and loose with the truth: “I LOVE math” he tells his parents. “I’ve entered a citywide math contest!” he tells his teacher. “We’re going to author camp!” he tells his best friend, Kelly. And now, somehow, he’s going to have to make good on his promises. Hilariously it’s the “Fibonacci Sequence” — a famous mathematical formula! — that comes to the rescue, inspiring Gregory to create a whole new form of poem: the Fib! Maybe Fibs will save the day, and help Gregory find his way back to the truth. For every kid who equates math with torture but wants his own way to shine, here’s a novel that is way more than the sum of its parts.”
Quite the catchy tune accompanies this wonderful book trailer:
The 13-Story Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton – I read this on a whim to try to distract myself from some frustrations, it fulfilled the task. Reminded me of Captain Underpants. Not my favorite book but I know numerous students who will absolutely love reading this book, along with numerous other Andy Griffiths books. Goodreads Summary: “Who wouldn’t want to live in a treehouse? Especially a 13-storey treehouse that has a bowling alley, a see-through swimming pool, a tank full of sharks, a library full of comics, a secret underground laboratory, a games room, self-making beds, vines you can swing on, a vegetable vaporiser and a marshmallow machine that follows you around and automatically shoots your favourite flavoured marshmallows into your mouth whenever it discerns you’re hungry. Two new characters – Andy and Terry – live here, make books together, and have a series of completely nutty adventures. Because: ANYTHING can happen in a 13-storey treehouse.”
Forever by Maggie Stiefvater – High School and up – Fantasy – Really enjoyed concluding this series. Fascinating story, from book 1 to book 3. Glad I experienced it all as audiobooks, they were so well done! Goodreads Summary: “then.
When Sam met Grace, he was a wolf and she was a girl. Eventually he found a way to become a boy, and their loved moved from curious distance to the intense closeness of shared lives.
That should have been the end of their story. But Grace was not meant to stay human. Now she is the wolf. And the wolves of Mercy Falls are about to be killed in one final, spectacular hunt.
Sam would do anything for Grace. But can one boy and one love really change a hostile, predatory world? The past, the present, and the future are about to collide in one pure moment – a moment of death or life, farewell or forever.”
Sold by Patricia McCormick – Realistic Fiction/Multicultural – High School and up, might be too much for some sensitive children. Horrific book, torturesome and upsetting. Pretty incredible book. When I completed listening, I was in shock, and honestly quite depressed for a while afterwards. When I watched the video below, which is also only for high school and up, I saw a powerful connection to Sold. Goodreads Summary: “Lakshmi is a thirteen-year-old girl who lives with her family in a small hut on a mountain in Nepal. Though she is desperately poor, her life is full of simple pleasures, like playing hopscotch with her best friend from school, and having her mother brush her hair by the light of an oil lamp. But when the harsh Himalayan monsoons wash away all that remains of the family’s crops, Lakshmi’s stepfather says she must leave home and take a job to support her family.
He introduces her to a glamorous stranger who tells her she will find her a job as a maid in the city. Glad to be able to help, Lakshmi journeys to India and arrives at “Happiness House” full of hope. But she soon learns the unthinkable truth: she has been sold into prostitution.
An old woman named Mumtaz rules the brothel with cruelty and cunning. She tells Lakshmi that she is trapped there until she can pay off her family’s debt—then cheats Lakshmi of her meager earnings so that she can never leave.
Lakshmi’s life becomes a nightmare from which she cannot escape. Still, she lives by her mother’s words— Simply to endure is to triumph—and gradually, she forms friendships with the other girls that enable her to survive in this terrifying new world. Then the day comes when she must make a decision—will she risk everything for a chance to reclaim her life?
Written in spare and evocative vignettes, this powerful novel renders a world that is as unimaginable as it is real, and a girl who not only survives but triumphs.”
This quick video made the book come more to life, not in connection with the book:
A STORY IN AFTERCARE from Love146 on Vimeo.
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.