Monday, August 16, 2010
Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse
By Marilyn Singer
Illustrated By Josee Masse
Poems from Fairy Tales written from two perspectives (reversible text). Radical Change.
Personal Thoughts: Loved it!
Gods & Heroes
by Matthew Reinhart & Robert Sabuda
An Encyclopedia of mythological tales
Traditional Sabuda Pop-Up construction
Personal Thoughts: Engaging and educational tool to cross curricula. Fantastic!
City Dog. Country Frog
By Mo Willems
Illustrated by Jon Muth
A city dog's adventure in the country. Friendship, gentle example of a friend's passing. Seasons
Personal Thoughts: What a great combo...Willems and Muth. Not what we have been seeing from Willems, but absolutely wonderful.
The Chicken Thief
By Beatrice Rodriguez
Wordless picture book. Quick story of misunderstanding. Friendship and adventure
Personal Thoughts: I love almost any wordless picture book, and this one is right there.
By Melanie Watt
Book Writing. Radical Change.
Personal Thoughts: Melanie Watt is quickly becoming one of my favorite author/illustrators. Loved the dialog in this book.
Thursday, July 29, 2010
By Suzanne Collins
Second Book of The Hunger Games
If you haven't started this triology now is the time, because the final book, Mockingjay, comes out Aug. 24.
The adventure continues for Katniss as she makes her Victory Tour and gets back into the arena for the 75 Annual Games.
Personal Thoughts: On the way to being my favorite trilogy. Again, the whole romance thing is not my favorite, but I can handle it.
Saturday, July 24, 2010
by Ron Koertge
Baseball, poetry, and teenage love
Sequel to Shakespeare Bats Cleanup
Personal Thoughts: Well written and creative. There were types of poems I have never heard of before.
Out of My Mind
By Sharon Draper
Special Needs, Quiz Bowl
Connections: Stuck in Neutral
Personal Thoughts: I have enjoyed many of Draper's books, but this is my personal favorite. Excellent.
By Kathryn Erskine
Special Needs~Asperger's Syndrome, School Violence, Healing, Communication
Personal Thoughts: Very good read.
by Jeannine Atkins
Poems about: Laura Ingalls Wilder, Madam C.J. Walker, & Marie Curie
Personal Thoughts: I did not think I could handle this book...I was very wrong. I was engaged the whole time.
I'm not trying to be lazy, it just takes me too long to figure out what to write. Okay, maybe I am lazy.
Friday, June 11, 2010
I have just finished teaching a three hour graduate class titled Response to Literature. The class ran from 8:30AM to 4:30PM for five days. Our culminating activity was a Mock Caldecott. This year we used 2009 and 2010 books. The winner of our EDU570 Mock Caldecott was Testing the Ice written by Sharon Robinson and Illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The class also choose four honor books: Finn Throughs a Fit (09), I Need My Monster (09), 14 Cows for America (09)and Chester's Masterpiece (10).
Wednesday, June 9, 2010
At this point I have only tried a few paths so I can't give you a lot of feedback about the book, but I can tell you that I like chocolate better than vanilla.
I love this quote from the author, "With perseverance and curiosity, you too can unlock the book's secrets and find your way home. Good luck and choose wisely!"
Friday, January 8, 2010
(my 9:00 class):
14 Cows for America
by Carmen Agra Deedy & Ill.by Thomas Gonzalez Honor Books
Testing the Ice
by Sharon Robinson & Ill. by Kadir Nelson
The Lion & the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
I Need My Monster
By Amanda Noll & Ill. by Howard McWilliam
Thursday, January 7, 2010
(my 8:00 class):
14 Cows for America
by Carmen Agra Deedy & Ill.by Thomas Gonzalez
The Lion & the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney
by Rob D. Walker & Ill.by Leo & Diane Dillon
Finn Throws a Fit
by David Elliott & Ill.by Timothy Basil Ering
I Need My Monster
By Amanda Noll & Ill. by Howard McWilliam
Monday, January 4, 2010
Today's post will have a list of books that are a part of my YA class. This class is an elective for any student on campus. However, it usually fills up immediately with elementary education majors. Just a little about the format of the class. The class is a part of Taylor University's January term. We meet twice a week in the evening at my house. We discuss YA books, drink coffee, and eat dessert. Plus there are no papers! Just read and discuss.
By Laure Halse Anderson
This 2009 book tells the story of two friends that struggle with an eating disorder. After a falling out Cassie makes a desperate but unsuccessful attempt to connect with her former friend Lia. The result is death for Cassie and potential death for Lia. Throughout the story Lia tries to put the puzzle pieces of Cassie's death together while also putting herself in a downward spiral towards death.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Illustrated by: M. Sarah Klise
The Klise sisters kicked off their 43 Old Cemetery Road series with this creative and unique mystery titled Dying to Meet You. The book introduces the three main characters of the series: I. B. Grumply - a children's book author, Seymore Hope - 11 year-old boy, and Olive C. Spence - the woman that built the home on 43 Old Cemetery Road (she died 97 years before the story opens). Together these three live in the old home; however, the living arrange is not a smooth one at all. One is self-centered and grumpy, one is abandoned, and one is a Ghost.
The book is composed of letters, notes, newspaper articles, and drawings which makes it so creative. I enjoyed it, and I am interested in the next title. However, I think I am more interesed in the format than the storyline.
Age level: 3rd through 5th grade
Written and Illustrated by James Mayhew
For her Grandma’s birthday, Katie goes on a trip to the art museum with her. At first, Katie only sees dots and spots, even when her Grandma says that they are flowers. Katie learns to take a step back and look at the entire painting. When she does this, she is able to jump into the paintings. While in The Luncheon by Claude Monet, Katie befriends Jean, Monet’s son. Jean helps Katie pick some flowers for her Grandma’s birthday. Once Katie jumps out of the painting, Katie notices that her flowers are wilting. She then goes on an adventure throughout many Impressionist paintings to get a nice bouquet of flowers to give to her Grandma.
Katie Meets the Impressionists is a good book to introduce Impressionist art to children. They learn about a few Impressionist artists and are exposed to many Impressionist works of art. Also, the back cover of the book contains small biographies of the artists mentioned in the book and the paintings mentioned. This story also helps children learn that art museums don’t have to be boring. There is always something new and interesting to look at and explore. The illustrations are absolutely wonderful and James Mayhew’s renditions of the famous works of art are incredible. LL
By: Mercer Mayer
Me Too! was written and illustrated by Mercer Mayer. This book is a great children’s book for younger siblings, but especially for little sisters. It’s about a little boy porcupine who wants to do his normal activities throughout the day. However, he has a little sister who wants to do everything he does. Whenever he says he wants to do something, his little sister always says, “Me Too!”. This frustrates him, but he knows if he doesn’t let her do everything he does, she will become more annoying and he’ll get in trouble. At the end of the story, his little sister is eating a candy cane, and all he wanted was to have some of it and she gave him some.
I could relate to this book in so many ways. I have three older brothers, and when I was little, I wanted to do everything they did. They were my role models, and when I saw that they were having fun, I wanted to have fun too. I also know many younger siblings that always want to do everything their older siblings do. This book proves that you have a better chance of being rewarded if you are consistently patient and kind to others. SH
By: Mem Fox
Illustrated by: Julie Vivas
In Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, the title character is a little boy who lives across from the nursing home. After school, he likes to visit with the old men and women of the home because of their interesting personalities. When he finds out that one of his friends is lost her memory, he inquires from several people what a memory is and gets many varied and abstract answers. So the boy goes out searching for objects that fit those descriptions. When he returned to the old woman with the basket of “memories”, each object reminds her of a story from childhood. So in a way, the boy did help find her memory.
I like the way this story approached Alzheimer’s disease, because young children may not fully understand what is happening, even if explained. Though the solution about how to heal someone’s memory loss in the story is not comparable in a real-life setting, the story emphasizes the importance of listening to the elderly and their tales. I think that this story, aside from its main purpose, introduces to some children that the elderly are not scary, but on the contrary fascinating people to invest your time with. This water colored book can open discussion about a heavy topic. I think this is a whimsical tale that skillfully deals with a difficult issue. MW
My emotions were very mixed during this book. I tried to look at the book objectively but it was hard. The plot and the ponies were kind of stupid but I know a lot of young girls who would probably love this book from the way it’s written. The one part that confused me was whether or not the horse was actually intelligent. The horse has its own thoughts, but cannot speak. By the text alone I cannot tell if the child is imagining the horse as thinking, or if the horse actually thinks. The pictures were ok I guess. Personally I thought that the pictures were weird, however, they did go with the story very well. On the other hand, many other people would probably describe them as cute and disagree with me. JS
Monday, November 16, 2009
By John Steptoe
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters is a wonderfully written book about the relationship between two sisters and the importance of having a kind heart. Manyara and Nyasha are two sisters who are very different. Manyara is a mean-spirited individual who is jealous of the attention her sister Nyasha receives from their father. Nyasha is known for being a kind girl with a servant’s heart. When the king of a land far away seeks out a bride, Manyara plans to beat her sister Nyasha to the kingdom so she can be taken as his queen. But as she travels on her journey, she encounters different people along the way that she treats poorly. When Nyasha journeys the same path, she encounters the same people and she shows them kindness as she shows to everyone. In the end, Nyasha is chosen as queen after the king reveals that all the people along the journey was actually him in disguise. Because she showed the lowly people kindness, he knew she would make a great queen.
This book is beautifully done and I loved the storyline and the illustrations. The story shows two very different personalities and it teaches a strong moral lesson in the end about showing kindness to others. The illustrations are fabulous and they truly give life to the story. They are bold, bright and beautiful and I loved looking at the pictures even without the story behind it. I would definitely use this story in my classroom as it highlights many different facets of literature. AW
Love you Forever
By Robert Munsch
This book starts off with the first scene of a mother holding a child and softly singing, “I’ll love you forever, I’ll like you for always, as long as I’m living, my baby you’ll be.”
As the child grows up and goes through all the stages of his life, he becomes more independent and separate from his mother. But no matter how old he is and what stage in life he is in, his mother quietly goes in his room every night, holds him and sings him that song. One day, his mother becomes very sick in her old age and her son goes and sees him. She sees him and tries to sing him her song, but she cannot finish, but her son finishes for her, substituting the last line with “as long as I’m living, my mother you’ll be”. Then he goes home and sing the same song to his own child, his new baby daughter.
I loved this book because although the words were simple and the book was short, the words and meaning were so powerful. It showed how a mother truly loved her son throughout all her life, through all the ups and downs and was there for her, and he was able to be with her and tell her through her song, how much he loved her and how much she means to him and will show his children the same kind of love his mother showed him. DW
Mr. Willowby's Christmas Tree
By Robert Barry
The story all begins with Mr. Willowby and his tree that is just too big for his house. He finds the solution to cut of the top and pass the top of the tree along with Christmas joy to his maid. The story continues because the tree just always seems to be to big for each person that finds the past recycled tree top. One top of a tree makes it to the home of Miss Adelaide, Tim the gardener, Barnaby Bear, Frisky Fox, Benjamin Rabbit, and Mistletoe Mouse and it continues to get smaller and smaller. This is a rhyming story of Christmas cheer passed from one family to the next.
Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree is a classic Christmas story everyone can enjoy. The illustrations are very detailed and majority pen. In the older addition of the story the illustrations are black and white with green contrast. I love how one tree goes to so many different people and animals and they don’t even all know one another. I loved the end of the book through the illustrations that it makes a full circle. I love house the tree makes its way to and the joy each family has when receiving it. AJ
Martin’s Big Words: The Life of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Written by Doreen Rappaport
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
I thought this non-fiction children’s book about Martin Luther King, Jr. was excellent. Rappaport told King’s story starting from when he was a young boy to the time that he died, sharing with us his personal beliefs and how those beliefs drove him to inspire action among blacks and become an incredible leader of the civil rights movement. Some of King’s powerful and inspiring words, that I found to echo many Biblical concepts, are found on every page of the book and tie in with the rest of the text; Rappaport says in her note at the beginning that they came from King’s autobiography, speeches, sermons, and articles. There was repetition throughout his story of the phrase, “Martin walked with them and talked with them and sang with them and prayed with them…” which I thought was a powerful tribute to King’s character. Bryan Collier’s beautiful artwork, made through a combination of watercolor and cut paper collage, conveys a certain seriousness and emotional quality that fits wonderfully with the text. The author’s note, illustrator’s note, and timeline at the end are also great aspects of this book.
This is definitely a quality book to read to students or have in your classroom. It can tie in well with a history lesson on Martin Luther King, Jr. or the Civil Rights Movement, and the events of his life and of the Civil Rights Movement are simplified in a way that young students will be able to understand. There is a strong theme of love and its powerful impact upon the world and also of justice, taking leadership, and doing the right thing, which are all great messages for children. JH
The Lemon Drop Jar
Written by: Christine Widman
Illustrated by: Christa Kieffer
This is a delightful story about a little girl who goes to visit her Great-Aunt one Autumn. The two spend the weekend together playing in the leaves, sipping tea, and remembering favorite family traditions. The girl’s favorite tradition is her Great-Aunt’s lemon drop jar. Great-Aunt Emma only brings the jar out in the winter to remind her of the sun on cold, grey, gloomy winter days. As the little girl grows up, she and her Great-Aunt Emma remain close friends. When the girl is away at college, she grows homesick for the sun and her Great-Aunt Emma mails her a package containing a special lemon drop jar all her own so that she too can have dozens of her very own little sunshines on cold, winter days.
I loved this heart-warming story. The illustrations are beautiful and the story could be used in the classroom to bring about discussion of the students own family traditions. It’s a great story to read annually, late fall. JB
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
by Cece Meng
Tough Chicks is a fun book with a great story. There is a group of three chicks that are always getting into trouble. They are constantly doing the opposite of what people want them to. The chicks are always finding some way to get into trouble and their mother is always standing up for them trying to convince the other hens “They are good!” One day the farmer’s tractor breaks down on a hill over-looking where the animals are. It starts to roll towards the hen house. The chicks decide to try and save the day.
This book makes a great read-a-loud. There are fun words and the pictures are really funny. Tough Chicks has an overall message that children can relate to. There are animals they can easily identify with and children will love some of the repetitive words and colorful pictures. S.N.
Beyond the Great Mountains
By Ed Young
Beyond the Great Mountains is a visual poem written and illustrated by Ed Young. He was born in China, and he shows his love for his home through this poem. The pictures that Young uses bring the words to life. While the poem is only a few lines long, he shows how much he cares for China. The pages of the book gradually get bigger, so if the reader wants to read the poem all on one together they can do that, then they are able to look at the pictures. The book also shows the Chinese characters for some of the words in the poem. At the end of the book there is a list of Ancient Chinese characters alongside the modern Chinese characters with the words that the characters represent.
This book is a lot of fun. The illustrations are colorful, and each page is unique in color, design, and even size. Beyond the Great Mountains is set up to allow the reader to choose how they want to read the poem. Whether they want to read line by line and study the illustrations at the same time, or they would like to read the entire poem and look at the pictures after, they have the options because the pages are layered on each other. I really enjoyed looking at the characters in the back to see how they have changed, and it is a good way to incorporate cross-cultural learning. K.B.
Pirates Don’t Change Diapers
By Melinda Long
Melinda Long’s book, Pirates Don’t Change Diapers, is a fun sequel to How I became a Pirate. In this sequel, Captain Braid Beard and his crew show up once again in Jeremy Jacobs’s life, but this time it’s at his own house. The pirates have run aground and wrecked their ship and need the treasure buried in Jeremy’s backyard to fix it. The only problem is Jeremy needs to babysit his little sister but the pirates need his help. Will they be able to babysit and find their buried treasure? And when the baby goes missing along with the treasure map, Jeremy and the pirates worry that the ship will never be ready to sail again.
This book is great for children of all ages. The story is unique and engaging and the pictures add so much to the story. There is so much humor hidden in the illustrations that David Shannon creates. Everyone I have read this story to have loved it and it quickly becomes a favorite story time book. D. R.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
I have read this fable many times, but I have never experienced it like I did this version. This book has moved to the top of my list in regards to Pinkney's work.
Monday, October 26, 2009
By Chris Raschka
Yo! Yes? is a witty book of simple words by Chris Raschka. The entirety of this book is expressed mainly through the pictures. This book would be wonderful for beginning readers just starting. Yo! Yes? begins with two boys, one of which is shy and friendless. The other boy reaches out to him and befriends him. In the end, the two boys become good friends.
This book makes a great tool in teaching children how to read with expression and understand the punctuation marks. The illustrations express the majority of how the story is to be read. It would make a wonderful read-a-loud! KM
This book is about kitten's first full moon and how she thinks that it is a bowl of milk in the sky. She really wants to get to it so she closes her eyes and stretches her neck and tries to lick it but she just gets a mouthful of bugs. Then she springs towards it and falls down the steps. Next, she chases it down the sidewalk but cannot get close to it no matter how fast she runs. She climbs a tree and still can reach it and then she sees the moon reflecting in the pond and thinking it is an even bigger bowl of milk, she jumps into the water. Cold, wet, and hungry, kitten goes home to find a bowl of milk waiting for her!
Flotsam is not a typical picture book. The story is developed like any other, but only through pictures. The pictures are unique and straightforward, which is how it received the Caldecott Medal. The story is about a little boy who finds an underwater camera on a beach one summer day. When he finds the camera he takes the film out to be developed. Through the developed photos a history is unfolded, as well as an entire underwater world that no one would think exists. Along with these underwater photos there is picture upon picture upon picture of children who have discovered this camera in the past. The boy takes a picture of himself and then sends the camera off into the sea to find the next lucky child.
I really enjoyed this book. It was hard to get into at first without words, but after the first few pages you get very familiar with the style. It is surprising how developed the story can be without dialogue and narration. This book also opens up a variety of lesson ideas with writing and story development. MO
This book is about a 14-year-old kid who had cerebral palsy. The cerebral palsy causes him to not be able to control a single muscle in his body. To everyone else, Shawn is a vegetable. Little do people know, Shawn is actually extremely intelligent and can remember every word/sound that he has ever heard. He has an extremely detailed memory recall but it does him no good when he can’t communicate that to anyone in anyway.
He loves his life and his family and they love him in return. The real question has become, “is killing Shawn – the vegetable – showing the ultimate love and putting him out of the misery?” Shawn’s father is researching and writing a book about a man pleads guilty for murdering his son that was also nonresponsive. Does Shawn really suffering? Would it really be in his best interest to be killed? These are the questions Shawn’s father is struggling with. Read the book to find out more! KH