Monday, August 10, 2020

It's #PB10for10 - Books Showing Kindness

         It's the tenth year of PictureBook10for10 (#PB10for10) where many share ten picture books that are Must-HavesCathy Mere of Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning host this wonderful tradition. You can find everyone's posts shared on Mandy's blog this year, HERE. Thank you Mandy and Cathy for continuing this special tradition! 
          And, best wishes to all for starting this school year. However you are beginning, I hope you enjoy being with your students and stay safe and well.
Here are my previous posts for 

  2011     2012     2013     2014     2015    2016     2017     2018 and 2019

My favorite books mostly from this past year and a few older give us ways to share about taking care of others and self! There are many kinds of actions! Here are favorites that I hope you can use in your classrooms, your lives. I've given a hint of my reviews and a link to each one on Goodreads.

Antonio wants someone to read a book with him. He moves around the neighborhood but everyone is TOO busy. One "extra" person listening to Antonio is an older blind man from the neighborhood sitting outside in a folding chair. He shares his own secret with Antonio, that few people have time for him either, invites Antonio for a chat and a story. It's a warm story that gives a fine opportunity for people to talk about including everyone.

Read more here!

A young child is on the way--somewhere. At first, I thought she might be homeless, but she is dressed too well. The cover itself opens the story. Where is that child, "small" on a bus, going? In his nearly wordless picture book, Smith used the outlining of black, effective here because it feels cold and unpleasant, and that day with the child moving in the city, we know something is wrong! When you read it, you will be immersed in the questions, and finally, you will discover exactly who is "small in the city." This traveler has taken time to rescue someone.

Read more here!

Many have written during this pandemic time that nature helps children (and adults) feel better. will help to introduce the healing idea of being present. One of my favorite parts says: There's a quiet place/in my head like an egg hidden/ in a nest. A place/I go when the world is loud./A moss-green forest with birds."

Read more here!

Being kind, listening well, how to treat oneself and others are the threads that tie it together. The whimsey of the simple sketches, mostly black and white, but sometimes gorgeous color and a tiny note from Mackesy works beautifully.

Read more here

Words by Irene Latham and Charles Waters, illustrations by Mehrdokht Amini create a book for every.single.age. As it says on the cover there are poems, quotes, and anecdotes from A to Z. This will be a beautiful addition to every classroom/household! 

Read more here!

An innkeeper appears to love his work. He helps his guests and tells about his village. But then he dreams of traveling to some of those places he has only learned about. By plane or bicycle or car, he goes to the beach, visits with former guests in a picnic, and views a beautiful rainbow. He says he will remember, but then he wakes and finds himself "still here". The ending will be good for discussion. What will he do?

Read more here!

A special note by Alaa himself begins the story, another by Irene Latham, and written in Arabic as well as English. War in Syria caused many people to leave the city of Aleppo, but not Alaa. He stayed but misses his family and friends, stays to serve as an ambulance driver to help the wounded get medical help. He begins to notice the cats, strays now, but once pets that had been left behind. He begins to feed them as well as he can. More cats come and somehow his story is told and aid comes from the locals, then from all over the world. 

Read more here!

It's a collection of poems by Mahogany L. Browne, Elizabeth Acevedo, and Olivia Gatwood sharing their special words that show the goodness of the fight for social justice.
There are beautifully creative and emotional illustrations by Theodore Taylor, an intro by Jason Reynolds, what it means to be 'woke' by Mahogany Browne, and poems that include today's world for young people, for all of us! 

Read more here!

      Out just last month! There is always an opportunity to do something for others. Sweetest book!

Read more here!

It's wordless, filled with so beautiful a story you will want to look and look, then start all over again. The multi-page intro before the title page starts the journey. Don't miss Henry Cole's note at the end. I'm just sad that everyone is not at their schools now. You will know what I mean when you read this story. Perhaps you are going back to teach with students, but if not, perhaps you can find a way to share and have your students do this at home? 

Read more here!

It's Monday - Books Loved Last Week

              Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR    

       Best wishes to all of you who are going back to school whether online or in the buildings. I know you are challenged and hope every start goes as smoothly as possible!
Today is also the exciting #PB10for10 hosted by Cathy Mere at Reflect & Refine (instructions here) and Mandy Robek at Enjoy & Embrace Learning. This year, link up with Mandy by commenting on her post. 

              I'm sharing a mixture of books read last week, back in the swing for some new and some old!

          In the gentlest and most caring of ways, Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin show a year of Joy's life after her closest friend, Lukas, has died. Joy and Lukas have been best friends since second grade when discovering their birthdays are only one day apart. In alternating chapters, they return to their friendship memories, their personal family problems, Lukas up to a year ago, and Joy since that birthday time for them. Hints sprinkle throughout of the final "hunt" that Lukas has been creating for Joy's birthday all through the years. As a reader and a former teacher of young teens, I began to love these two, their heartfelt feelings for each other, Lukas worried that he may have gone too far in the final clue for Joy while Joy shows the deep grief for her friend as she lives one year more. It will be a book for readers who need to read about experiencing loss in order to begin understanding others' feelings or if they need to understand their own. It's a beautifully done collaboration.

Laura Purdie Salas has written a special story that is not her usual marvelous poetry books, but one just right for young ones heading to school for the first time. I imagine Laura did not expect that the book would be out when schools struggle about opening because of the pandemic. Nevertheless, it's a book that will especially help for any child with sensory issues, one who prefers a quiet room mostly alone. 
       Clover Kitty loves her life, perhaps thinks a friend would be nice sometimes, but mostly, she's satisfied. Then her mother announces that the next day is the first day in kittygarden and off she goes. It's not a good day with classmates getting so close, a teacher who uses a very loud gong, and naptime with a scratchy mat. The next day Clover decides to stay home and her mother lets her take time to figure out how things can be better. A new friend, Oliver, helps, too, so Clover goes off again, with new plans to enjoy her days, like earmuffs for that twangy gong! For parents and children with sensory issues, this can be a good book to read together and, like Clover, make plans that help with those school challenges. Hiroe Nikata's illustrations of cute "cat" students show all the emotions from sad to frustrating to happy! 

         I have loved Edward Gorey's 'nonsensical' books for a long time, am excited that here is a book for those children who find themselves a bit alone in what they like to do and create, Gorey's story. He never let go of his different way of doing things, ended up illustrating for others, finally realized he wanted to make his own books. And he did. When no one would publish, he published them himself. There was controversy, yet he stayed true to thinking "the world was an uncertain place where anything could happen. And in Edward's stories, it did! With Chloe Bristol's Gorey-like illustrations, every child will love reading more about a favorite book creator, or if they don't know him at all, will look for his books! There is an author's note that tells more and added sources.

            Published in 2000 by a favorite author, I wanted to share this intriguing story, made realistic with detailed illustrations by C.B. Mordan with ink on clayboard. A young girl living high in an apartment building is sad because the electricity goes out in a thunderstorm, thus nothing to do--no radio, TV, computer, etc. Her grandmother says she can tell a story and the granddaughter says, but there'll be no pictures. Indeed there are! Lost in the woods while looking for a dog, Grandmother tells the story, with string. You can see the creations and the back of the book explains how they are made. I imagine everyone has made a string figure or two, but this is a new way to use them, to tell a story! 

Thanks to Candlewick for these special picture books!

        From Steve Light who also gave the youngest readers Black Bird Yellow Sun is a new board book exploring opposites, especially for those who also love and know cats! He includes the simplest of shapes, like a sofa or a window to show some usual opposites like up and down and long and short but also includes more that are abstract, like empty and full or straight and curvy, all with those two cats. There's also a tiny blue mouse to discover on every double-page and a bit of a storyline, perhaps following a day in the life? I'd love to read this to a young toddler!

             I am a Nana (Grandma), too, and adore this loving story by Ann Stott about a young child's Nana who goes to every sports event, every art show, cheers for each accomplishment of her grandchild. She's a winner, too, earning a medal in the senior tennis tourney, but when she stumbles at a basketball game (looks as if she broke an ankle), roles reverse and the child becomes Nana's biggest fan. Andrew Joyner illustrates with great humor and action between these two but also in the crowds at all the activities. It's fun and a super book to read with a grandchild!

          From Atinuk and Angela Brooksbank who created the marvelous B Is For Baby, readers get a taste of Nigerian village life and also a few new words. Lami is a terrific chicken catcher. Others, like her brother, are best with bulls, but she is the best at catching chickens. Brooksbank's illustration fill with action and expressions as Lami runs through the village catching chickens which is where we can see a lovely double-page spread of that entire village, "with lots and lots of chickens". Page by page, people shout "slow down" (Sannu! Sannu!) And we meet friends and family watching Lami run fast after, yes, chickens. One time, however, she runs too far, up a baobab tree, catches the chicken, but wait, she also falls and sprains an ankle. How she learns from her Nana Nadia's advice is clever and Lami does not lose her "title"! What a fun book about this young girl, but also those in her family and village. Interest to learn more about this different life may end in further research!

          As a human being, I believe we should be aware of the importance of our actions by learning about connections in life no matter how small an act may seem. As a teacher, I encouraged students to look for them often. For example, if I don't plant flowers that encourage bees, will they find other places that are enough food? If I don't water my lawn in my semi-arid climate, am I aware that the grass and those insects that live there will disappear? And what about the birds that eat those insects? These are simple examples, but there are connections to be learned from the youngest age to the oldest in nearly every part of our lives. It's important to know that they exist and our actions count, too.

           Susannah Buhrman-Deever, with the help of Matthew Trueman's realistic and beautiful illustrations filling the pages, shows how the parts of the kelp forests connect to each other that includes sea otter survival a large part of their healthy existence. There are simple explanations part by part with short facts in smaller text added within the pictures of kelp forests full of varied creatures, along with those sea otters. They are needed especially to keep the sea urchin population smaller. Eagles are also included in this inter-connected system! Buhrman-Deever tells the history of when those important otters nearly disappeared when too many were hunted for their fine pelts in the 18th and 19th centuries. 
           The book offers a clear case of the importance of balanced systems, perhaps would be a mentor text to jump off into research of other things connected, for younger children, a way to show how one action starts a chain and it's not always a positive end. 

I also finished the adult book by Kate Quinn - The Huntress. Wow, long, involved, frightening to imagine the cruelty that happened during WWII, those who have hidden with their secrets. And it's good to also imagine those who have not kept looking for those still hidden. 

Now: Alpha Maniacs, cannot resist a book by Paul Fleischman or one illustrated by Melissa Sweet! And finally it's time to read Tight by Torey Maldonado! I've had it for a while!

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Back to Poetry Friday - August Arrives

     Poetry Friday is hosted by Laura Purdie Salas here! She's sharing a laugh in a poem, some advice and support for all. Thanks for hosting, Laura, this first Friday in August.

     I took the month of July off from posting, busy with the bookstore where I work and planning for our family's beach trip in the final two weeks. I am well, but the Covid virus made me change my plan. I've managed to stay mostly home for all these months, and sadly, it just didn't feel safe to go. 
     Like others who are sharing, I've been rather scattered, seemed to be stuck, but also moving from task to task, sometimes without finishing one before I move to the other. I was reading less, and writing so little.

     Thus, this post is one of gratitude to Heidi Mordhorst at My Juicy Little Universe, but truthfully, Heidi on twitter (@HeidiMordhorst). Seeing her ideas of #makesomething and the wonderfully creative #magazineticpoetry inspired way to do something. I've done it a bit differently, creating journal pages with magazine words sketching and pairing, what I called #everydaythings with the small poems. It gives me joy to get back into #wordplay and it's simply #fun. I'm not the greatest artist, but I find that quite a joy, nevertheless. Thanks very much, Heidi!

Monday, August 3, 2020

It's Monday - July Reading

              Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR
      It's my first post since June. As I wrote last, I hope everyone is doing beautifully despite the tough news day by day. I took the month off planning to get to the beach as I have every summer for a long time. Sadly, I felt I had to cancel, too wary of the virus. I have been busy reading, wondered how I would share all of it. I'm going to list the books with brief descriptions and links to my reviews on Goodreads. I haven't read as much as I thought I would but had some special times with reading mixed with seeing my family here in Denver, spending time at the bookstore, walking in several favorite parks or the neighborhood. 

Thanks to Candlewick Press for the following books:

At Goodreads

It's a new mystery series for young middle grades, a story of a strong friendship and kids taking risks for each other that will make you smile! Even the bully has a hint of nice! 

At Goodreads

Published a couple of years ago by Walker Books in Australia, now in the US this year. It has a creepy undertone, is quite mysterious, and an interesting strong young female protagonist. 

At Goodreads
It's simply a fun and a rather fantastical story. Can you imagine a young girl managing to sneak a pony up to her apartment? Yes, she did, and managed quite a few other capers, too. 
At Goodreads

A poignant World War II story, a town on the beach and two friends and a couple of siblings who may or may not figure in this "wonder-how-it-will-end" story. Amy Hest managed to keep me guessing for a while in this multi-layered story of the anxious times during a war. 

At Goodreads
 A young granddaughter snapped this up fast, very intrigued with the "odd, but necessary" jobs shared with just enough information to pique one's interest and maybe wanting to know more.

Monday, June 29, 2020

Monday Reading - New Inviting Books

              Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

           I hope all of you are doing well and doing the best you can during this time. I'm taking a July break, will keep track of my reading, hope each of you enjoy this middle summer month wherever you are.

Thanks to Candlewick Press for this advanced copy, out in May.

         With lessons to learn from the past, Marcella Pixley has written a poignant story from the summer of '83, a Boston suburb centering on one street, Trowbridge Road. Here is a seemingly quiet and friendly street, neighbors gather to barbeque together, children ride bikes up and down, up and down. Some are friendly; others peek out of windows, like June Bug Jordan's mother. She is living a lie with her mother since her father died of AIDS. Her mother is mentally ill and June Bug keeps all the secrets, but she does venture into the neighborhood, watching families from up in a tree, wishing some were her own. A boy named Ziggy has moved in with his grandmother because of his own family troubles and together, they find solace in their imaginations and support for each other. June Bug reaches a moment where she must choose to tell, for her own and for her mother's survival. The writing that shows the imagination of children trying to survive takes one's breath away. Also to be admired is the sympathy for those touched by mental illness and grief. It's full of heartbreak and a wish that life didn't happen this way for children, but also hope for better as adults step forward to help.

And thanks again to Candlewick Press for the following picture books, published in recent months!

           There's a whole lot of different kids and a whole lot of different animals that you will see from the cover and inside. It's sometimes an opposite book, "I am big. You are small. I am short. You are tall.", but Karl Newson adds delightful surprises on some of the pages. I spent the whole time grinning from page to page, reading the words like "I am playful. You are too. I can't hide as well as you." looking at kids being silly with a turtle and a zebra standing by a black and white striped wall while a young girl peeks behind a houseplant. Its spare text all in rhyme brought to colorfully creative life by Kate Hindley is fabulous. 

Thursday, June 25, 2020

Poetry Friday - Musings On Our World

Karen Eastlund, with whom I've had a great time with at Highlights, is hosting today on Poetry Karen's Got A Blog! Since most of us are not going much of anywhere these days, Karen is sharing a Norwegian memory from her dad for Father's Day and a poem votes as the "finest Norweigian poem of all time." Wow, that's quite an honor. Thanks, Karen!

I'm becoming more political every day, and can't seem to stop more learning about candidates, policies, and reading books that help me know about #ownvoices for #blacklivesmatter and other groups left out because of who they happen to be. 

           Last Monday, FYI, I posted a review of the new poetry book, Woke - A Young Poet's Call to Justice. You can find it here. Don't miss reading this book!

This week I voted and am working to get people registered through sending postcards. It's so easy in Colorado. We've voted by mail since 2013 and according to some news sources, it's also cheaper! There are drop-off stations everywhere or one can use postage to mail the ballot in, too. 

         I also realize that sometimes one needs to laugh, and this week a book of Ogden Nash's Beastly Poetry was donated to the used bookstore where I volunteer. And it was full of chuckles and smiles for me. Wouldn't it be the most fun to read what he would write in our world today?

The Cow

The cow is of the bovine ilk;
One end is moo, the other, milk.

The Duck

Behold the duck.
It does not cluck.
A cluck it lacks.
It quacks.
It is specially fond
of a puddle or pond.
When it dines or sups,
It bottoms ups.

       He wrote of all kinds of creatures but touched today's world after all when toward the end I found

The Germ

A mighty creature is the germ,
Though smaller than the pachyderm.
His customary dwelling place
Is deep within the human race.
His childish pride he often pleases
By giving people strange diseases.
Do you, my poppet, feel infirm?
You probably contain a germ.

        I'm taking a break for July, wishing all of you a good month of summer wherever you might land!

Monday, June 22, 2020

It's Monday - New Wow Books - One Old Discovery

              Visit Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts to see what they've been reading, along with others who post their favorites.  Your TBR lists will grow! Happy Reading!
          Share with the hashtag #IMWAYR

           I hope all of you are doing well and doing the best you can during this time. Enjoy your family and Happy Summer!

         I have a second post today, a blog tour with a giveaway! Come visit here!

          The girl in this book is in seventh grade, but at least in my area, sixth graders begin middle school. My oldest granddaughter will be starting this strangest of growing-up experiences next year. Unlike Shayla, the protagonist in Lisa Moore Ramée's debut chapter book, my granddaughter is starting in a new school knowing very few students. I wish her well in navigating this time, hope she will find courage as Shayla did.
         Twelve-year-old Shayla is allergic to trouble, so much so that when she's really upset or nervous, inside, her hands itch. She really values following the rules and is looking forward to starting seventh grade with the United Nations (her two best friends from grade school). 
         Soon enough Shay realizes that rules change when kids get older. They want to be liked, girls and boys both. Her two friends are of different backgrounds, Latina and Asian. Shayla is black. Each wants something different and in this story, that means some disagreements, perhaps even friendships broken.
          Some at school are saying she's not black enough, doesn't mix enough with her black classmates! Different boys like Shayla, but she likes other boys. Sound familiar. Young teens are trying to figure out who they are, and Shay struggles with it all, too. Teachers and the principal also play a part in her life, mostly good, but when it comes to what's really important, Shay does figure out what is most important to her, wearing an armband to school in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.
          Shay's older sister Hannah is involved in protests, but at first, as I wrote earlier, Shay really doesn't like breaking rules. She's learned from others, including her coach while doing track. And she's thinking more about what her favorite history teacher is saying, that we have to be ourselves, no matter what. 
          What I loved was reading the thoughts of this marvelous young woman that Lisa Moore Ramée has given us. If you know a young adolescent, you'll see how much they think about life and stuff, over and over again. Ramée has Shayla ending each chapter with a bit of learning, showing her grow and grow until she feels good about what happens, what she does even though it takes lots of courage. For example, Shayla says: "I never knew walking right into trouble would make me feel strong. Maybe it has to be the right type of trouble."
           It's a wonderful book that's so current, it feels as if Ramée wrote it yesterday. There are the students, the varied teachers, and the protests over another police officer getting off the hook for a shooting. It's about today!

           I was lucky to win this copy from Michele Knott's giveaway and it is terrific. Remember You Are (Not) Small? These two creatures are happily building a sandcastle when more than one creature you'll recognize from the earlier book needs to add some advice. This turns into quite an amazing structure, and a surprise! Everything 'perfect' is in the eye of the beholder, right? 

Blog Tour - New Book and A Giveaway!

         I'm excited to share this new book in partnership with The Children’s Book Review and Justine Avery, the author.

         According to their bios in the back of the book, both Justine Avery and Liuba Syrotiuk are adventurers and travelers. Justine has jumped out of airplanes and off high bridges; Liuba is happiest while traveling with a small box of watercolors! When I read the book, with Justine's words of inspiration illustrated in such varied ways of what "thinking outside the box" can mean, I knew that it would be a book to use throughout a school year or with one's child (or grandchild) at home. You can discover more about Justine on twitter @Justine_Avery and here! I found Liuba on Instagram - liobiko and in an art studio here.

         In poetic phrases, when faced with a problem or discovering that ways of living can be confusing, don't always worry about the regular path, but "think outside the box"! Rules at times can be broken. One needs to use one's brain to "think" and wander many different paths to come to workable solutions. 
        Some examples show the opposite of what is often imagined as a solution. Coloring "outside" the lines, walking on one's hands instead of feet, or eating an ice cream cone from the bottom up are some of the fun examples. 
         Relaxing while thinking can help, too. One can "Close your eyes, cover your ears. . . And wait for the ideas to come to you." It is lots of fun to view the creative graphic-style illustrations by Liuba Syrotiuk. You can see by the cover that she also creates "outside the box"!

         For all those who want support because they take different paths, love to create and invent, to discover what else can solve a problem, find this book!

The Giveaway - also 'outside the box'!

Enter for a chance to win a Think Outside the Box prize pack!

One (1) grand prize winner receives:
Ten (10) winners receive:
  • A hardcover copy of Think Outside the Box.
Ten (10) winners receive:
  • A paperback copy of Think Outside the Box.
Giveaway begins June 15, 2020, at 12:01 A.M. MT and ends July 15, 2020, at 11:59 P.M. MT.

a Rafflecopter giveaway