Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Non-Fiction Wonders


              Thanks to Alyson Beecher's Non-Fiction Picture Book Challenge at Kidlit Frenzy, everyone shares wonderful non-fiction picture books.

        I cannot praise this book enough. It is really a treasure, filled with a fictional diary entries from a midshipman's point of view as the reader learns about the Beaufort's Wind Scale, created by British Naval Officer, Francis Beaufort in 1810. Before then, there was no scientific way for sailors to describe the winds encountered. I've been on two sailing trips with students, a three-masted tall ship and a two-masted schooner, and they were thrilling trips. We studied every part of the ships that this book describes, from the rigging to the ship's terms to learning the songs sung while hoisting sails. Yes, some were seasick and yes, we all climbed to the crow's nest high above the ship's deck.
        Each page shares the scientific scale, adds in the diary entry and then adds extra information about myths, the figureheads, the ship's bells and an explanation of knots as measurement. There is a wealth of information, added bio of Beaufort and a glossary at the back. And, each entry includes a gorgeous painting of the way the ship and ocean looked as the wind changed. That last part about sailing within a hurricane was very exciting, and they survived. One added fact is that the USS Constitution is known as the oldest ship afloat. I've sailed on her too in Boston Harbor-what a ship!

        I'm a little confused about this book. Some say it is fiction, but my library has it on the non-fiction shelves. However, it does seem to be a 'story' of a girl new to her community and her new teacher has given the class a challenge. They are to find a problem, and work together to solve it. This time, the girl Vivienne discovers that loggerhead turtles nest on the beaches, but when they hatch, the babies can be confused by the lights on the homes along the beach. The class researches, holds fundraisers, makes posters, and has success in turning off those lights! The ending shows the baby turtles following the moon, to the ocean as they should. There are lots of resources at the back, a letter to young activists from Philippe Cousteau, to parents and teachers, and added information about sea turtles. If a teacher wishes to start some kind of action with a class this will be a terrific text to have. The illustrations by Meilo So are lovely watercolors.
       I've helped release sea turtles once on a trip with my students. It was an amazing experience. And when I go to the beach in Florida, we do have to keep the shutters closed at night because of the lights. It is a law there.

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Favorite Teaching Idea

       I'm slicing with the Two Writing Teachers community today. It's always a pleasure to read what everyone writes about their lives.

The last time I wrote was about going home. I did, and had a marvelous time with cousins, my brother and sister-in-law, nieces and nephews, and of course it was fun to travel with my daughter and the two grand-girls! 

Remember this? That bindweed takeover in the flower bed outside my own garden. 

And what it looked like after cleaning most of it.

Sunday, August 21, 2016

Monday Reading - New and Old

           Every Monday, it's a pleasure to link up with a group that reviews books they want to share with others. Come discover new books!

          Visit Jen at Teach MentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders to see what they've been reading, along with everyone else who link up.   

I've been on a family trip since last week, and visited and visited, therefore not much reading. But I've caught up a bit since I returned home, and have a few new and older books to share.

         Someone praised this poetry book and I was able to get it from my library. Nye has that extraordinary way with words, with simple observations that make one say "exactly right." These poems are about traveling, "for a journey" as the title says. They ask where, and take us there, to Tío Pete's, about mapping, images of someone else's story, clever entries to imagining. Naomi Nye writes we are under "the wing of the day", observes how long it takes to get through first grade (twenty years) and more about growing up, "a wheel spinning in space".  My favorite is the introduction to the visitor Tío Pete, At the end, "He sat in a chair and made a different country there." There is a lovely grouping of verses welcoming spring, as in "Sun to skin: May I come in? Did you forget me?"  It's a clever and creative book of poetry.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Celebrating Family

  This weekend I celebrate with Ruth Ayres at Discover Play Build.  and link with others who share their celebrations, too. I am grateful to Ruth for starting this meme that offers a place to celebrate together!
         Also posting today on a blog tour that shares a new book. Be sure to check it out here!

         I missed last Saturday because I was celebrating family, a wonderful trip with my daughter and her two daughters, the grand-girls. This is our fourth year visiting my brother in Missouri, and sad to say Carter, my grandson couldn't be there this time. He's in the midst of beginning marching band practice and could not come! We missed him, but had a fabulous time. Pictures tell the story, and I'll share just a few. My brother lives on a small acreage with all the things that children love, places to run and swing and explore. 
My cousin night! There's not much more fun
than talking with those who knew you when you
were young! Everyone came, plus a few "extras"!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Blog Tour - Hey A.J., It's Saturday

         Marty, otherwise known as Marcellus Bennett, loves breakfast and I guess eating it, too, hence his new book Hey A.J., It's Saturday!  As you can see from his bio below, Marty has his own little girl, and wrote this kitchen adventure with her in mind. 

Saturdays for everyone is special, but so many kids I know love it because they can stay home and have their favorite and best, lazy breakfast. Perhaps they make teddy bear pancakes, or crazy French toast with a hole in the middle, loaded with butter and syrup, just perfect with bacon, too. This story begins with A.J. celebrating Saturday, creeping down to the kitchen to make her own breakfast. She's so thoughtful, even lets her parents sleep. BUT! In the kitchen is a menagerie of animals already cooking and making their own favorite things, and making a mess! What in the world's going on? It's A.J.'s imagination cooking, I guess. The illustrations fill with fun as the rhymes carry the story along on a foodie delight, until A.J. needs saving. You'll have to read to discover how that happens, to see if this Saturday's breakfast turns out all right after all.

      One extra element of this book is its interactive app available. See below.

Here's Marty's bio:

Martellus aka The Black Unicorn is a BIG dreamer. He lives in a magical house with his wife Siggi and daughter Jett in where everything comes to life when it gets dark or there’s food on the table ( which is pretty much all the time). He’s usually a bit overwhelmed by all of the creatures bouncing around knocking things over in his head and in his house, but that’s nothing a creative ninja can’t handle. Marty received his PhD in awesomeness from the highly prestigious Orange Dinosaur University where his focus was coloring outside of the lines and making stuff with his creative and funny bones. The A.J series is inspired by his daughter Austyn Jett (A.J.) and their adventures together.

Oh yea, He’s a Pro Bowl Tight End for your favorite NFL team.