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Donut the Destroyer by Sara Graley and Stef Purenins

I love helping students assemble their first book bag in the fall and this year was no different. Well, it was a little different, but I still loved it!   Prior to assembling the book bags, I surveyed students, observed students, and read with students to get to know them as readers in September of… Continue reading Donut the Destroyer by Sara Graley and Stef Purenins

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Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

Readers join Jabari as he challenges himself with another quest -- to make a flying machine that will fly across his yard! His independent ingenuity leads to failed attempt after failed attempt, despite marvelous creativity and concentration. Reflecting on the process followed by famous inventors like Dr. Shirley Ann Jackson and Roy Allela, Jabari leans… Continue reading Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall

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Love for Lola

The Lola series by Anna McQuinn is a yearly favorite in my kindergarten classroom. Lola goes on typical five year old adventures and lives a happy little life. Lola loves her little brother and she loves stories. The family models a literacy rich, reading culture. Lola's little brother Leo has his own book series and… Continue reading Love for Lola

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History Smashers: Women’s Right To Vote

Get out the Vote!  Kate Messner’s History Smashers: Women’s Right to Vote,  illustrated by Dylan Meconis, is an inspiring and timely history of the centuries of struggle that women waged to vote in America. History Smashers: Women's Right to Vote - Written by Kate Messner and Illustrated by Dylan Meconis When we think of the… Continue reading History Smashers: Women’s Right To Vote

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Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo Blume by Kwame Alexander

When the kids came home from their day of hybrid learning with boom sticks and recorders, I knew the perfect book to get us in the musical mood. Acoustic Rooster's Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo Blume written by one of my favorite authors, Kwame Alexander and illustrated by Tim Bowers, was the perfect fit. Based on… Continue reading Acoustic Rooster’s Barnyard Boogie Starring Indigo Blume by Kwame Alexander

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The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

In the classroom, often times student struggle when trying to differentiate fiction from nonfiction. Often times, I will give students a group of books that they have to sort into two groups: fiction or nonfiction. A similar activity can also be done with informational fiction titles. "Informational fiction presents facts and information within a fictional… Continue reading The Ocean Calls: A Haenyeo Mermaid Story

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Treasures from an Independent Book Store in the Pacific Northwest

I walked into this bookstore, skeptical about what I might find because there weren't any children's books in the window. Now, I should know never to judge something at first glance. The entire back room of this store is devoted to a lovingly curated collection of books for children. I was lucky to be the… Continue reading Treasures from an Independent Book Store in the Pacific Northwest

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The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem

One thing I have always loved about teaching the upper elementary grades is the love of series books that blossoms within a classroom. When third grade begins, students speak about the main characters of series books as if they are old friends; Pedro, Mercy Watson, Yasmin, and so many others are part of our classroom… Continue reading The Princess in Black and the Giant Problem

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Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreno Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

September 15th-October 15th is Hispanic Heritage Month, and "Dancing Hands" is a perfect choice for a read-aloud to highlight an inspiring, but probably not very well-known to our students, individual- Teresa Carreno. She grew up in Venezuela, and learned to play the piano and write music at a very young age. Her family fled their… Continue reading Dancing Hands: How Teresa Carreno Played the Piano for President Lincoln by Margarita Engle and Illustrated by Rafael Lopez

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Drum Dream Girl – How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

This book, based on a true story, teaches children about perseverance and following their dreams -- even if those dreams don't fit society's standards. The main character, known as Drum Dream Girl, would love to play the drum. However, on the island where she lives, girls are not allowed to play drums. Nevertheless she never… Continue reading Drum Dream Girl – How One Girl’s Courage Changed Music by Margarita Engle

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Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola

Meet Rocket. Rocket is clever and creative. (Have you seen her flyers for the Phoenix Meteor Shower tonight?) Rocket lives with her mom, brother, and cat. (Why is her big brother, Jamal, aaaaaaaaalllllways on his phone?) Rocket is a lover of all things space. (Did you know that Mae Jemison went into space even though she is… Continue reading Rocket Says Look Up! by Nathan Bryon, illustrated by Dapo Adeola

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The Next President

With less than one month until election day, The Next President, The Unexpected Beginnings and Unwritten Future of America's Presidents written by Kate Messner and illustrated by Adam Rex is a timely read aloud. It's also not your average book about Presidential history for kids... it's way better. Clear and concise text and supporting illustrations… Continue reading The Next President

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A Book for Escargot by Dashka Slater & Sydney Hanson

Tired of his daily course of salad, however magnifique, Escargot crawls to the library to find a cookbook. He meets a reader along the way and, although he promises not to distract, engages her in his quest for the perfect cookbook. This quest evolves into a “how-to” book of sorts as Escargot details his journey,… Continue reading A Book for Escargot by Dashka Slater & Sydney Hanson

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Teaching Emotional Intelligence with Picture Books and the Mood Meter

Last year I was introduced to the Mood Meter, a tool developed by the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence. The meter is divided into four zones that represent a category of feelings based on their energy and pleasantness. The goal of the tool is to help people identify and label their emotions in an effort… Continue reading Teaching Emotional Intelligence with Picture Books and the Mood Meter

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The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Mike Curato

Sometimes One can feel like a small and lonely number. One teacher sits alone in her home classroom. One third grader tries to find a quiet place in a bedroom, dining room, or kitchen. We are each one square in a checkerboard of faces on our screens. The oneness of teaching and learning from home… Continue reading The Power of One: Every Act of Kindness Counts, written by Trudy Ludwig and illustrated by Mike Curato