Finally I read Roller Girl, by Victoria Jamieson
I say this often enough about books. Now I really want to share this with my (former) students, girls and boys! How wonderful that so many real-life problems for young adolescents were included so cleverly by Victoria Jamieson in this book. And all in a graphic form, entertaining while giving the main character Astrid a strong, strong voice. There are varied themes, yet friendship is the strongest one, and honesty in friendship is something all of us need to learn. If you haven't read it, you'll need to in order to see how Astrid learned quite a bit as she became Asteroid, a real Roller Girl.
A new 2016 alphabet book!
ABC Dream - written and illustrated by Kim Krans
Discovered at my library, a brand new wordless alphabet book, beautiful for looking and seeing all the ways each letter page shows something that begins with that letter. When I read about this on Kim Krans' site, she first published the pages in black and white in 2011, but now they're gathered into a book, black and white with a watercolor wash on some parts. All of the pages have easy-to-find items for early readers, and some objects seem a little more challenging. For example, the "L" page includes the letter L filled with "lace", and a "lamb" "leaning" on the bottom part of the L. There is also a "lion" "lying down", and "leaves" on branches in various places on the page. See how cleverly the author/artist sneaks in the letters! One more thing! The L sits on a "line". This would be a fun art mentor text for a class creating individual pages or a personal alphabet book. If you need help, the things included are listed at the back.
You can find Kim Krans' site at The Wild Unknown to take a peek at her lovely art.
I've gathered and read several books about bears. Some you may know, but all were new to me. It was fun seeing the different looks at the bears in each book.
B Is For Bear: A Natural Alphabet - written and illustrated by Hannah Viano
The art on each page is exquisite. Hannah says she starts with a piece of black paper and cuts away until she has the essential shapes and lines for each object. With what looks like the basic background of black, Hannah Viano adds some color to each page. It's a beautiful introduction to wonders of nature, including "K is for Kids", another creature that belongs outdoors. There are Jackrabbits, Otters, Nests and Clouds. What a fun book. You can find Hannah's art here.
Otto The Book Bear - written and illustrated by Katie Cleminson
Otto, a little bear in a book, loves when children read about him, but his secret is that when all is quiet, he comes to life and goes exploring "out" of the book. Unfortunately, his family moves, and takes his book with them. Otto is left behind, and happy bear that he is, goes exploring. The world is a big place for this little bear, and there is a nice surprise for him when he discovers the library, and many other friends who sneak out at night. In black outlining and watercolor, Katie Cleminson's illustrations show the adventures of Otto beautifully.
I Am A Bear - written and illustrated by Jean-François Dumont
For all ages Dumont's illustrations show well the challenges of being homeless. In this story told by a bear, we hear the problems: puzzled by being without a home; lots of food available, but no money to buy it; staying out late to scavenge in garbage cans, so sleeps most of the day; other people stay away, afraid. One little girl sees through to the real bear, and acknowledges him bringing a bit of happiness. This allegory can be used more than once for discussions of the stereotypes of the homeless.
Bear and Bunny - written by Daniel Pinkwater and illustrated by Will Hillenbrand
Bear and Bunny, two great friends, have fun in the forest. They wander, they look at things, they nap together. One day Bunny suggests that they need a pet, and there comes the next adventure. For young children, soft and sweet illustrations show the forest in the search, and the surprise when they find their pet. Lots of chuckles upon the finding happen, too.
Shh! Bears Sleeping - written by David Martin and illustrated by Steve Johnson and Lou Fancher
This can be a good introduction to a year round look at bear habits. Told in rhyme, a bear wakes up from the long winter's sleep (about a hundred days), and begins the springtime fun, all with her two cubs (who stay for two winters). I enjoyed the rhyming which will call out for questions as the book is read aloud, for young children. "Skinny bears/With winter hungaries/Gooble food/to fill up tummies." The wonderful paintings show the bears and other animals in the forest all through the year. There is some extra information at the back in an author's note.
And I won't forget Catherine Rayner's The Bear Who Shared, Dennis Haseley's A Story for Bear, Thyra Heder's The Bear Report and the non-fiction Jeannie Brett's Wild About Bears. AND-one other favorite mentioned by commenters: The Bear Ate Your Sandwich - Julie Sarcone-Roach.
Next: Quiet for my book club, & I just got All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely-- will start soon.