Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Non-fiction Picture Books - A Story By One Chief Justice

art by Sarah S. Brannen

      Visit Alyson Beecher on Wednesdays for Non-Fiction Picture Books at Kidlit Frenzy.  From her post and others, you will discover and want to celebrate terrific nonfiction picture books! 

            It feels good to share this book about the life of our Chief Justice Sonia Sotomayor this week and her inspiring life with books. 

        From her earliest memory, Sonia Sotomayor loved books and words. She remembers her abuelita reading poems about Puerto Rico, her island home. This autobiography shows numerous highlighted moments, like when she was diagnosed with childhood diabetes, she became brave through reading about superheroes. The illustrations are mixed media by Lulu Delacre and follow the text with various pages showing Sotomayor's loving connection to books. I especially enjoyed her sharing the excitement when encyclopedias arrived, the love of reading about Puerto Rico, and seeing her studying in the stacks at Princeton. Studying in a huge library's study rooms, sometimes called "stacks" or "carrels" is a favorite memory of mine, too. She talks of books as friends, appreciating the information they gave her to figure out the world and right from wrong.

 There is a timeline at the end and enjoyable photographs on the endpapers.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

It's Monday - Books Loved

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

Thanks to Candlewick for the ARC!
       Somehow I knew that when this story began, I would get a bit teary once in a while. It’s true, I did. Meeting Louisiana Elefante as Raymie Clarke’s friend in the book Raymie Nighingale, I did wonder about her life of poverty. She lived with her grandmother and was often hungry and yet held a toughness that meant to me she had to have found those muscles out of need. She says she was the daughter of the famous Flying Elfantes, circus artists. Of the three Rancheros in that first book, the other being Beverly Tapinski, Louisiana held a resilience to be admired, but her youth made me sad that she had to have it.
       As this new story begins, I realize Louisiana is going to tell every single detail of her life at this time, two years after the adventures with Raymie and Beverly. Her granny wakes her up in the middle of the night to tell her that the day of reckoning has arrived and they have to leave home immediately, Louisiana isn’t overly worried. After all, Granny has had those ideas before.
       I cannot write more. The book shows thoughts that are so vulnerable, it makes me as a teacher wonder about my students. Who felt this lonely? Who could have stood up for themselves as Louisiana did? Where are the adults that are the helpers? 
       Kate DiCamillo found these words were written more than once as she leafed through her notebooks: 'I am going to write it all down so that you will know what happened to me’. DiCamillo said that she had written next to the sentence, ‘Louisiana?’ Now, she has let Louisiana tell that story and it is beautiful.

       Yes, it's simply wonderful as everyone has written, and it's the second book this week I've read where the story emphasizes the importance of books and libraries and librarians. I'm planning to share the other one Wednesday, the autobiography of Sonia Sotomayor. In this Dreamers, the story of Yuyi Morales' immigration to the U.S., she tells of her tough times, and with a new baby, until she discovers an amazing thing, a place where one can stay and read and borrow books for free and take them home. It's both her story of figuring out American everything, but especially the language. The beautiful part is that Yuyi puts those books that meant so much to her within the pages, the art with favorite books on a shelf. You will recognize many along with Yuyi's joyful illustrations. She adds a note, "My Story", at the back and a marvelous list titled "Books That Inspired Me (and Still Do)". 
            I know a little about coding and now I know some more and in a clever and fun way, per Josh Funk's book. I'm late to read it, but know that this would be a wonderful way to begin teaching beginning students, perhaps no matter the age, how to code, how.code.works! Everyone knows the steps of building a sandcastle. Now Josh Funk takes those steps and with a clever girl and her robot helper working in the midst of other kids, dogs and parents on the shore, shows how to code, this time, command a robot to build. Illustrations show a sunny day at the beach with those usual wonderful things, people sunbathing, a lifeguard, moms with babies, parents watching, a seagull or two and a crab. It's a beach, just a little different with a robot doing that sandcastle work. Fun book, even if you just want a great story.

       If you want a happy book about creating a story, get this book! With a thumbprint "writer" and a few other tools like a pencil and its shavings, a roll of tape and eraser, a background watercolor setting and some scribbles, a story emerges, just right for taking young writers on a journey to write their own wonderful stories. What a fun book!

Thursday, September 20, 2018

#Poetry Friday - Rolling Up Summer

            Erin Mauger at The Water's Edge hosts our poetry Friday this day before we welcome autumn. And it's time also to welcome Erin for her first hosting. Thanks for joining in, Erin.
One early walk convinces me that fall has arrived. Yes, I know, it's not really till tomorrow.  Here's one cherita story.

Today we roll up summer.

Nature chooses a new palette 
and a willow weeps its yellow coins.

Drifting leaves fill up the spruce branches,
decorating that needs no human hand.
And all pods break­– an early prep for spring.

Linda Baie © All Rights Reserved