Tuesday, June 18, 2019

National Pollinator Week

Who knew?

June 17th to 23rd is National Pollinator Week. This is the first time I've come across this week of commemoration and by coincidence, it fit in with a few new books I had selected to blog about, focused on bees. Here are some suggestions for elementary grades:  

Bee: a peek-through picture book by Britta Teckentrup
This one is for young bees with a gently rhyming text and die-cut illustrations showing exactly how a bee goes about its business. This one is for the primary grades.

Bee Dance by Rick Chrustowski
This focuses on the way bees communicate to each other about where to find good sources of flowers. Basic expository test clearly explains this process making it accessible for the primary grades. Lovely, bright illustrations are very inviting.

The Honeybee by Kirsten Hall and Isabelle Arsenault
Whereas the first two books really focused on the collection of pollen and communicating the source of food between bees, The Honeybee goes a bit further.  Additional  information (in rhyme) explains what happens when pollen and nectar laden bees go back to the hive and how honey in made. The illustrations are more fanciful and less anatomically correct then the first two books. Another one for the early grades.

The Bee Book by Charlotte Milner

Of the four books, this one has the most information about all things pertaining to bees such as various kinds of bee, anatomy, activities in the hive, seasonal activities, pollination, swarming, communication, importance of bees and the threats that bees are currently exposed to. The text is typically broken into small chunks so as to not overwhelm the reader. I like the illustrations for being fairly simplistic. A good book for report writing for grades 3 to 6.

There seems to be many books written about bees recently making it pretty easy to find one for studying bees, insects, interconnectedness between species and environmental issues. 

Soooo easy to bee-in-the-know, isn't it?

Monday, May 27, 2019

Tara Books

Looking at the book, An Indian Beach: by Day and Night created by Joelle Jolievet, I realized that I hadn't gushed about a favorite publisher of mine, Tara Books, for quite sometime.

An oversight, to be sure.

The books that I love most from Tara Books are handmade (from the paper, to the images being screenprinted, to being bound by hand) and/or often illustrated in unique and interesting ways showcasing traditional Indian folk art styles..

For example, An Indian Beach. This book illustrates the typical activities that go on from morning til night on Elliot's Beach near the city of Chennai, South India. The author depicts people waking up in the morning, engaging in all sorts of activities such as selling fish, repairing nets, eating, jogging, going to work, and playing.  At the hottest time of the afternoon there are very few people out, only a couple of dogs or birds. But by early evening the pace picks up again and people are out and about selling food, playing games, relaxing until nighttime when it's time to return home.

But it's the way in which the daily happenings on Elliot's Beach has been displayed for the reader that makes it stand out. Wordlessly, it has been illustrated as a series of predominately black and white panels joined together to create a never-ending, circular flow of activities from dawn til night. It's a wonderful display that invites the reader to stop and take in the details of each scene. On the inside of the joined panels are multitudes of various species of fish to be identified reinforcing the proximity and importance of the sea to the people living close to this beach. There is a blue border at the top of each page 
identifying the presence of the sea. On the inner side of the book blue colours the water for the fish.

The folder packaging the book provides us with additional descriptions about what's going on in the panels. It also includes suggestions as to how the book can be used and read. Because of the foldout nature of the pages the scenes can be 'read' in various configurations, inviting the reader to create their own stories.

This would make a terrific addition to the Alberta social studies unit studied in grade 3 where students learning about India. I think the book design is provocative enough to be of interest to almost anyone.

As I said at the top of this blog, I love Tara Books because of the books they publish. I love that they take on the challenge of storytelling in unique and innovative ways. An Indian Beach is an excellent addition to my favourites list.

Monday, April 29, 2019

Unexpected Surprises in The Great Journey

I love books like The Great Journey by Agathe Demois and Vincent Godeau.

It's super fun with lots to look at as we follow a tiny bird on a long journey across various landscapes and see hidden, unexpected and surprising images along the way. I especially love the special effect of the green line drawings that are embedded in the bold red line drawings which the reader can only see when they use the magic view finder.  (The red lens of the view finder cancels out the red line drawings.) The hidden or embedded illustrations really make this book special.

Let me give you a couple of my favorite most playful examples.  As I've already mentioned, the little bird flies across various landscapes, countrysides, cities, factories, oceans, jungles etc.  When flying across the ocean scape it looks like there are several ice bergs. But look through the red lens and we discover that the ice bergs are actually the tops of ice cream cones. There is some kind of mining operation going on underwater with seals, penguins and polar bear bringing some kind of material to the surface. In another corner, we see a school of fish escaping a penguin through a twisty tunnel. One other segment of the same pages shows penguins bottling water.  It's a busy place!

Another fun illustration is a group of people walking about what looks like a city but the magic view finder shows us what's going on inside their bodies and brains mostly unexpected happenings. One fellow's leg is made up of a couple of hams, maybe or bird legs (unexpected). A young woman's insides are comprised of all sorts of gears (unexpected). A man in a puffy coat turns out to have a tattoo, pierced ears and wearing only briefs (typical). There's a woman carrying a guitar case filled with a very long, curvy snake (unexpected) but the animal carrier next to a different woman has a barking dog inside (expected). The one image I really like is of the two gentlemen in the foreground showing what's going on in their minds as they talk with each other. One man has two teeny-tiny men pulling a string straight from the mind of the other man's brain which shows a tangled mess of string.  Haven't we all had conversations like this?

The little bird does eventually reach his or her's destination which is in a jungle. Here a large tree that looks uninhabited is really filled with a mass of birds as revealed by the red lens viewer.

The viewer is attached to the book so it shouldn't get lost too quickly.

It's a fun, witty book which will  appeal to many ages but I would expect that kids in elementary and middle grades will be the main audience. 

If this sort of book appeals to you, I would also recommend Illuminature by Rachel Williams. It does a similar thing  uncovering various natural environments and associated plants, daytime or nighttime animals using a view finder with three coloured lens. Fascinating.

Both of these books would make great gifts.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Summer is on the way

I always know summer is almost here when I get a notification from Sync about their upcoming season of free YA audiobooks. So, starting this Thursday, April 25th you can starting downloading a terrific list of YA reads that you can listen to at home, in the garden, on the bus, in the car, on a plane, while exercising...well, you get the idea.

In Sync's own words: 
SYNC is a free summer audiobook program for teens. Returning April 25, 2019, SYNC will give away two complete audiobook downloads a week - pairs of high interest titles, based on weekly themes. Sign up for email or text alerts and be first to know when new titles are available to download at www.audiobooksync.com.

And, here's the line up: 

This is an incredible list.  The first two books have been on my To-Read-List for a while and I know I'll final get to them.

So, check out this fantastic opportunity and load up on free audiobooks. 

Happy listening, Everyone.

Monday, April 15, 2019

Guest blogger : An Inspiring Story

Paula Hollohan is my guest blogger today raving about a recent addition to the Doucette Library's collection  that has great classroom potential, connecting to STEM, science and language arts. Thanks, Paula.
Hedy Lamarr’s Double life: HollywoodLegend and Brilliant Inventor written by Laurie Wallmark and illustrated by Katy Wu

Now here is the kind of book I would love to see in K-5 classrooms.  While reading through a number of new picture books that came into the Doucette Library over the last little while, this one caught my eye.
This story has EVERYTHING! An accomplished woman, also pictured as a young girl, who loved learning and wondering, a great invention that helped modern day electronics, like cell phones, keep texts and calls private, a Hollywood movie star with a contract with Louis B. Mayer. Hedy’s curiosity led to many personal inventions including a cube that changed plain water into flavoured soda, a ladder to help get in and out of a bathtub.
It is really not about the glamorous life she led or the amazing inventions.  This story captures the curious mind of a girl and a woman about things that were happening around her - in her real life.
After meeting George Antheil, Hedy and George came up with the idea of “frequency hopping” to help torpedoes send fragmented messages not easily intercepted by the enemy.  They co-patented the invention together.  Although this invention would have proven useful, the American Navy put it aside to fight World War II.  Hedy used her Hollywood star power to volunteer to sell war bonds and to meet soldiers at the Hollywood Canteen.
A book like this one in every classroom would be a great addition for children who are tinkerers.  They would recognize themselves in the realistic story of Hedy who, as a child, was interested in life and curious about everything including going to the movies.
"Inventions are easy for me to do.  I suppose I just came from a different place." Hedy Lamarr

Monday, April 8, 2019

Case study in fake news

I find the story about Orson Welles’ 1938 radio production of the War of the Worlds and its impact on many Americans who had tuned into their favourite radio program, utterly fascinating.

On October 30th, 1938 (Halloween Eve or Mischief Night) the American public were about to get punked big time.  The story goes, that Orson Welles and the players of the Mercury Theater had adapted the novel by H.G. Wells, The War of the Worlds, into a radio play.  The play was presented as if it was taking place in ‘real time’ with credible sounding newscasters describing the unfolding invasion of aliens in Grovers Mill, New Jersey. Many of the listening audience thought the story was true and panicked, thinking they were about to be captured or killed by Martians.  Police were called, hospitals were overrun, switchboards at CBS and other media were swamped with calls, and people were running amok in the streets. The story goes viral.  Fascinating, right?

Spooked!: How a Radio Broadcast and The War of the World Sparked the1938 Invasion of America by Gail Jarrow presents an absorbing account of how this all came to be, played out in reality and the aftermath.  It is a well-researched book that frames the context of the radio play in terms of the mindset of the American people at this time (post-Depression era, increasing unease over the rise of Nazism in Europe, increasing interest in Mars) and why it was seemingly, possible to dupe the public.
Fake news, anyone?

That’s right.  Fake news.

But the book goes beyond looking at the radio play and its unintended consequences. It also explores the characters involved in the production, the public’s response and it looks at the media’s coverage of the aftermath, presenting another angle of fake news.  The mass hysteria that supposedly gripped the nation after the play’s broadcast was greatly exaggerated. The studies done at the time are shown to be inaccurate and then wrongly reported.

This book presents a terrific historical case study to bring into the classroom to look at fake news today, understanding how the media can slant a story and the importance of critical thinking.

The book includes sections of the radio broadcast, descriptions of how the play was read, the pacing, the music, the characters, as well as excerpts from letters, telegrams and editorials sent to CBS, Orson Welles, newspapers describing the impact it had on listeners. The breakdown of the myth of mass hysteria shows how to work through information and fact check.

Additional material such as a timeline, a list of web resources, an author’s note, source notes, a selected bibliography and an index provides substantial support for students to follow up and explore the story on their own. You’ll be happy to know that there is a link to a site that has the original radio play for you to listen to.

Gail Jarrow does an amazing job with all her books.  As already mentioned, they are well-researched.  She picks stories that allow us to connect on an emotional level to the people involved and then gets us thinking.

I highly recommend this book for middle grades and up.

Reviews for other books by Gail Jarrow: 

Friday, March 29, 2019

New Pinterest Board

This is sort of a Public Service Announcement, letting those of you who frequent the Pinterest page for the Doucette Library, that I’ve added one more.

The latest addition is for Social and Emotional Learning, K-3.  Both Paula (co-worker) and I have been fielding a few more questions and requests for picture books that touch on these topics.  We’ve also noticed a few more lists of picture books focused on these areas appearing lately, too.

The Pinterest boards that I’ve set up, typically are of books and resources found in the Doucette Library. This ensures that student-teachers will be able to track down those resources, specifically.

I went to Alberta Education’s website to see how they were defining this kind of learning and decided to base my selection of books on this. The Overview framed social-emotional learning as working with others, building resiliency, achieving goals, and reducing bullying.  They’ve highlighted five competencies that connect to social-emotional learning, too and include self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills and responsible decision making.  There are many concepts that fall into these competencies as well such as empathy, mindfulness, managing stress, communication skills, and conflict resolution to name a few.  These are some of the terms that helped me frame my selection of picture books for this board.

Here’s the link for this board

Pinterest : Social and Emotional Learning, K-3

Let me know what you think or if you have some recommendations. I'm adding to this daily as new titles pop into my head.  I'd love to have some input.

Monday, March 25, 2019

Spinning, flipping and popping to learn

A couple of nonfiction books that recently caught my eye are from the publisher 360 degrees. What I liked their approach to lift-the-flap books for older kids. 

In Focus: Close-ups, Cutaways, Cross Sections, 10 Illustrators created by Libby Walden is a general information book that covers a range of topics from both the natural and human-made worlds in a unique way.  Each double spread focuses on a theme providing a random but interesting selection of facts about the creatures or things represented. These two pages then fold out to a four page spread to take the reader even deeper into the facts.

For example, the first spread is about the ocean. Featured are various sea creatures such as the blue whale, sea horse, puffer fish, swordfish, jellyfish and starfish, to name a few. We learn a pertinent fact or two about the animals from the front pages such as the blue whale is the largest animal to have ever lived on the planet and typically lives between 80 to 90 years.  Or that starfish are not fish and though commonly seen with 5 arms they can have as many as 40. Or that jellyfish have been around more than 650 million years!  Flipping open the top pages, we see cross sections of the animals exposing their skeletons and internal organs. From here, there is more detailed information. Did you know that the heart of the blue whale is the size of a small car weighing in at 770 kg or 1550 lbs? Amazing.

Topics covered are: the physical structure of homes found worldwide, space and space vehicles, international landmarks, various plants, animals and geological features, everyday objects, well-known buildings from around the world, fruits and vegetables, land animals and modes of transportation.  Wide ranging, indeed.

The second book is Wilderness: an Interactive Atlas of Animals by Hannah Pang. This one also uses flaps, pop ups and spinning wheels to engage readers about an array of animals from all continents both land and water.

The formats are the draw here and there are many of these kinds of trivia/random information books out there.  The illustrations are well done and support the informational tidbits.

I see these as interesting resources for classrooms but not necessarily crucial.  These books will appeal to some kids  and could be used in centres or for individual reading time. Elementary and middle grade students are the best audience for these books.

Monday, March 18, 2019

What Goes Around Comes Around

I’ve just been working my way through a cart of new books to be added to the Doucette Library’s collection and really enjoyed, Little Blue Chair by Cary Fagan, illustrated by Madeline Kloepper.

It’s a wonderful example of a circular story that leaves the reader feeling content that everything has a time and place and things will end up as they should.

So, there’s a little boy named Boo with a little blue chair that is very much part everything he does in a day – sitting for reading and eating both inside and out, playing and even sleeping.  But when he out grows his chair, his mother places the chair on the curb with a note to offering it to someone else.

We follow the chair’s journey to various homes, having varying purposes and living with several people who make use of the chair.  It has a very rich and varied life, if chairs have lives, from the exotic to the mundane, traveling over land, sea and air, ‘working’ in a carnival, as a seat for riding an elephant, a bird feeder, a plant stand and a child’s chair.

But, circumstances allow for the chair to serendipitously arrive at the door of a man named Boo who thinks this chair looks kind of familiar.

The illustrations have a simple, old-fashion feel to it with a muted palette of colours. The book conveys a more practical sensibility rather than nostalgic about the ever changing purpose of this particular chair. It's a good thing that this chair changes hands and remains useful rather than being discarded or kept to become clutter.

This would make a great read aloud for grades Kindergarten to grade 2 or 3. 

Monday, March 11, 2019

Animals + Technology = Perfect STEM Connections

Unstoppable: True Stories of Amazing Bionic Animals
by Nancy Furstinger is the perfect book for middle grade STEM classes.

It combines true stories of animals of varying species with mobility issues with stories of technology and science that provide second chances for these same animals.
Typically, the reader is given a quick synopsis of how the animal came to have their problem and then a much more detailed description of how people have figured out ways to make the animals mobile once more.

The stories focus on a range of typical farm animals including sheep, goats, cows, horses, pigs to family pets like dogs, cats, rabbits, guinea pigs to much more exotic creatures such as elephants, an eagle, a llama, dolphins, an alligator, a Sandhill crane and turtles. Some have been born with impediments, and others subjected to human cruelty or an accident that left them physically impaired.

With the help of many kind people who take in these animals their lives are greatly improved when doctors, vets, scientists, engineers, companies that design mobility devices for pets become involved.  It’s fascinating to hear what goes into making these kinds of devices, everything from leg and feet/hoof prosthetics and orthotics to wheelchairs, mobile slings, moving tails, beaks, and shells. As you would expect, technology plays a huge part in this from basic designs and DIY supplies all the way up to high tech solutions like 3D printing and implants.

This is an inspiring book as we learn about the indomitable spirits of impaired and hurt animals to the loving people who take them in to the creative people who come up with the myriad of ways to improve their quality of life.

Recommended for middle grade animal lovers and STEM-based learners.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Guest blogger - Coding, Ed Tech and Making: Some new reads

Today's blog is written by my colleague, Paula Hollohan, the Doucette Library's Instructional Technologies and Information Specialist.  She's just refreshed herself by browsing through some of the Doucette Library's recent additions. Her focus is on books with a strong connection to STEM topics.

By Paula Hollohan

Even though I work full time in a library, it seems the minutes I get to spend with new books must be intentional and sometimes a bit rushed.  I would love to curl up in a chair with a cart of books beside me to savour new samplings for the collection.

As things are unusually quiet on the desk today, I can take a moment to look at what is new and cool in the areas that I spend the most time with.

My favourite book of the new batch is The Girl with a Mind for Math: The Story of Raye Montague, written by Julia Finley Mosca and illustrated by Daniel Rieley.  

The subject of this nonfiction picture book is Raye Montague, one of the many hidden figures whose innovation changed the way navy ships are built.  She overcame exceptional odds being a black woman in the 1950s to design, in 1971, the FFG-7 Frigate.  Using her own computer programs, she completed the design of the frigate in 18 hours and 26 minutes.  The accompanying notes, bibliography and time line, all contribute to the wealth of information in this book.  The big problem I have with it is that it is written in verse.  What a shame.  The story would stand better is some well-written prose to showcase the power of her accomplishments.  This book can be included in classrooms up to grade 6 as students learn how to write biographical information, consider time lines of famous people, and collect biographic research about historical figures and just for students to ponder the strength and tenaciousness of this intelligent woman.

Doll-E 1.0 by Shanda McCloskey would be a great book to have in your classroom.

From grades K-3, girls will recognize the pressure (sometimes from parents) to play with dolls but our main character, Charlotte, incorporates her “making” into traditional play.  Charlotte is a maker and a tinkerer.  Although her house seems full of opportunities for her to indulge her maker imagination, Charlotte’s mother gives her a doll.  Just a doll.  It says “mama.”  As Charlotte puts her mind to it, knowing that a doll who talks must also have a power supply, she unleashes her “making” and inventions and innovations ensue.

Two books have recently come in that would be great “browsers” to have in your classroom to spur students on to learn about innovative ideas.

Engineered!Engineering Design at Work: A fun exploration of nine amazing feats by Shannon Hunt and James Gulliver Hancock looks at 9 different amazing feats of engineering from the following fields: aerospace, biomedical, chemical, mechanical, electrical, civil, geomatics, computer and environmental engineering.  Examples like the Millau Viaduct, a traffic problem solving bridge that was built on time and on budget and solved a major traffic issue in France.  The innovative design is an engineering feat and a work of art. 

InnovationNation: How Canadian innovators made the world …smarter, smaller, kinder,safer, healthier, wealthier, happier by David Johnston and Tom Jenkins, illustrated by Josh Holinaty would also provide a great browsing experience in any classroom.  Pages 124-125 give a two page spread on “How you can be an innovator,”  listing ways to inquire, ideate, incubate and implement ideas and what steps to take within each action to be the best innovator ever.  I also loved reading about the invention and pick up of JAVA script and the plastic garbage bad and something known as the “shrouded tuyere,” a way to stir steel invented by Robert Lee who came up with the idea after tooting in the bathtub.  Innovation is everywhere.  Both these books would be valuable in middle grades.

And now about that edict to have your students coding from k-12.  There are some easy ways to get students coding in your classroom but what if one of the ways was to read a picture book.  How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk, illustrated by Sara Palacios is not an excellent picture book but does present the ideas and vocabulary that are foundational in coding and anchors it to a familiar activity, building a sandcastle.  Look for working definitions of sequence, loops, and “if-then-else” statements.  Having one of these books in your collection is plenty and this one does the job.  Keep this one to the early grades.

Get Coding! LearnHTML, CSS, and JAVAscript and build a website, app and game by Young Rewired State is an attractive sort of book of challenges where you work through various coding recipes to make a website, app and a game.  This book would be great in a classroom where every year now you will be able to reach some of your students through these coding challenges.  Now, keep in mind, that coding books like this are awesome usually for a short time so buy it now and use it.  In September Get Coding2 is coming out and will be full of new challenges. I would say to start kids in grade 3 with these tasks and use this book through grade 9 or 10.

Sometimes when I am looking for a new approach to educational technology I fall back on an old library habit.  See what the new books look like and how can they be used to engage students in new ed tech challenges.  This list has a little something for everyone.  They will be included in the Doucette collection later this week for your use.  And I do feel a sense of renewal now that I have touched a few new books.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Nonfiction 10 for 10

#nf10for10 is an online celebration of nonfiction picture books. Whether you'd like to contribute or just pop into see what others are featuring, I strongly recommend doing so.

Click on this link to follow along at Enjoy and Embrace Learning blog or twitter with the #nf10for10 hashtag.

Every year I find out about new and sometimes older picture book titles that teachers, librarians, booksellers and parents are giving and reading to children.

My picks are pretty eclectic this year.  It's a list of picture books I enjoyed, found beautiful or made me chuckle.

So in no particular order...

#1. The Butterfly Garden by Laura Weston
      A lift-the-flap book that portrays the life cycle of the monarch butterfly in a beautiful and unique way. This is a black-and-white board book with flaps that open into brightly coloured butterflies, caterpillars, leaves and flowers. Recommended for Kindergarten to grade 2.

#2. Picture the Sky by Barbara Reid
     Barbara Reid's illustrations always amaze me. Composed from clay, she creatively conveys every mood she describes. In this book, the reader is shown variations in the light from skies in different landscapes at different times of the day and night and everything in between. Would be a great mentor text for art and language arts classrooms. Recommended for Kindergarten to grade 2.

#3. The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins, Derek Walter, and Caprice Crane.
      A few years ago Esther the Pig had an adult book written about her. This picture book tells young readers how she came to live in the family that took her in and what life is like living with a  650 pound pig. Emphasis is on lots of love. Lots of love!  Recommended for Kindergarten to grade 3.

#4. Hawk Mother: the Story of a Red-Tailed Hawk Who Hatched Chickens by Kara Hagedorn
     This book is filled with fantastic photographs detailing the journey an injured red-tail hawk lived through, from a wildlife rehabilitate centre to living with a human who tries to give her a life that is as authentic as possible. To that end, Shineshine (the hawk) was given a couple of chicken eggs to hatch after several years of trying to hatch her own infertile eggs. The question would she see these chicks as her's or potentially, as a meal? Excellent nonfiction writing with additional information and glossary.  Recommended for grades 2 to 6.

#5. Welcome to Country: a Traditional Aboriginal Ceremony by Aunty Joy Murphy 
       Written by a Wurundjeri woman from Australia, we learn about the importance of the welcoming ceremony as cultural greeting offered by Elders to visitors to enter onto their traditional lands.The illustrations are reminiscent of bark paintings. Emphasizes the importance to connecting to the land and respecting the people and ancestors of that land.
Recommended for grades 1-6.

#6. The Secret Kingdom: Nek Chand, a Changing India, and a Hidden World of Art by Barb Rosenstock.
      A creative, little boy loves the stories he learns from his family that reflect the rich Indian culture of his village. This is India in 1947 at the time of partition when Hindus and Muslims were separated into two countries. Nek and his family are forced to leave their homes. Moving to a new city that seemed devoid of the culture he loved, Nek collects and re-purposes trash and constructs his own village from it over a period of year.This renown folk artist has up to 4000 people a day visit his Rock Garden of Chandigarh. You need to check out the Foundations website to see some of his sculptures and how he changed the landscape. Amazing! Recommended for grades 3-7. Great book to tie in to units about recycling trash into art, science units about waste in our world and social studies units about India and partition. 

#7. Inky's Amazing Escape: How a Very Smart Octopus Found His Way Home by Sy Montgomery
     I've a soft spot for stories about octopues since reading Sy Montgomery's book, The Soul of an Octopus. This book conveys the intelligence of this marvelous animal while he learn about how they live. This one has the added bonus of an adventure story as a rescued octopus finds his own way back to the ocean from an aquarium that had been his home. Recommended for grades 3-6.

#8. The Brilliant Deep: Rebuilding the World's Coral Reefs by Kate Messner and Matthew Forsythe
      Recounts how Ken Nedimyer was fascinated with oceans as a boy. He noticed that corals in the Florida Keys were in distressed and dying. Through his interest and endeavors he discovered a way to cultivate introduced corals into areas that were in dire need of help. Beautifully illustrated. Recommended for grades 3-6.

#9.  Around the World in Numbers by Clive Gifford and Josh Hurley.
      Divided by continent, the reader who loves trivia will enjoy this book. Lots of statistics are given for a range of eclectic things related to specific countries or specific areas in countries. Examples: 1,500 paintbrushes and 66 tons  of paint are used repaint the Eiffel Tower; 38,000,000 motorbikes are the most popular form of transport in Vietnam; 2.25 gallons of water can be held in an African elephant's trunk; 100,000,000 leather slippers are made in Morocco every year; 5.9 million pounds of maple syrup were stolen by thieves in Canada in 2012, etc. Because such large areas are covered there are not a lot of details for any one country. Good for browsing. Recommended for grades 4-7.


#10.  Mama Africa!: How Miriam Makeba Spread Hope with Her Song by Kathryn Erskine.
       Born in South Africa apartheid was enforced, Miriam uses her amazing voice to sing songs of protest to raise awareness and protest the oppression that black South Africans live  under. This picture book tells of the trials and tribulations that she endured. Extensive author's notes, timeline, glossary, bibliography and additional reading list are included. Recommended for grades 4-7.

Monday, January 21, 2019

Dear Early Childhood Educators-to-be,

Dear Early Childhood Educators-to-be,

Today is your lucky day because you get to have a class that will focus on

The Wonderful World of Children’s Literature.

As a children’s literature enthusiast, it’s always difficult for me to only feature a few books. The motto I live by is – The More, The Better. But sometimes it’s just not realistic.  So I’m going to do my very best to highlight a few that will get you excited and inspired to go out there and read, read, read as many kids’ books as you can.


by Mary Hoffman

And, the people who love kid's books are like a family. We all have our quirks but we are united in our passion.  WELCOME!

I'm often asked, "How do I find such 'cool' resources?"

Unfortunately, I have no one source for finding 'cool' resources. I look for recommendations from multiple sources - people, blogs, review journals, bookstores, publisher's websites and catalogs, webinars, GoodReads, and any other source that talks about kid's books. Everywhere and anywhere.

Part of what students are asking about, however,  is a combination of the book being 'cool'  and my enthusiasm for it. My enthusiasm can be contagious which is one of my aims.

by Amy Krous Rosenthal
by Ben Hillman

I find books that intrigue and inspire me, 

make me gasp with wonder,
Philippe Martin

by Mark Sommerset

make me smile, chuckle, and belly laugh, 

by Alison Gear

make me sigh,

by Melanie Florence

make me sad or cry,

by Jo Empson

makes me think,

by Kirsten Larson

or gross me out

or makes me go, "Hmmm...

I'm always on the look out for books that are highly visual (I love you, Coffee Table Books), beautifully written or introduce me to something I don't know about. I want books to connect to the real world and tell me what life is like for other people in the past and in the present. I want a story to captivate it's audience when it's being read out loud.

When a book gives me a tingling feeling I know I've got a winner. Even if I'm not sure exactly how I'll use it in workshops or recommend it to students or where it might connect to the curriculum, I'll still get it. I KNOW that I will find a place for it because it has a quality that makes it stand out. And that's important.

So, go forth and read, read, read.  I hope you find those books that give you that tingling feeling because if you've been hooked by it then chances are so will your students.  Remember enthusiasm is contagious.

Happy reading, Everyone.


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