Two weeks ago, I drove to school thinking about the impressive features I had noticed in fourth graders' information books. Upon their arrival, I checked in with three writers about borrowing their books for the beginning of writing workshop. When we gathered on the rug, I quickly shared that I wanted to begin our time… Continue reading Up Your Nose. . .?!
Written by Nina LaCour & Illustrated by Kaylani Juanita "Have you have ever missed someone or something? Have you have ever missed someone or something and it almost felt like a physical ache? Have you have ever missed someone or something so much that when you were reunited the feelings of missing crashed into the… Continue reading Mama and Mommy and Me in the Middle
I’ve always known what I’ve wanted to be when I grew up since I was very small. I remember lining up my dolls to read to them and making my friends sit through hours of imaginary school lessons after our real day was complete. I didn’t know how or why, but I just knew I… Continue reading Dressing Up the Stars by Jeanne Walker Harvey
With 18 index cards in hand, I scoured the shelves of the Millis Public Library. I glanced down at the nonfiction topics each reader was interested in and started pulling book after book. The stack continued to grow as I simultaneously began to consider what mentor text I would use. . .time for something new.… Continue reading Better Readers, Better Humans!
It all started because I didn't enjoy the transitions that are a part of classroom life. For whatever reason, clapping, chimes, and even silent signals just didn't feel right. So instead, I play music. When the students hear a song they end whatever they are doing and head to the meeting area. I really don't… Continue reading Turning Transitions into a Favorite Part of the Day
Because Claudette by Tracey Baptiste is a must-have book for upper elementary classrooms. There are many ways I could have used this book in my classroom this morning including, but not limited to: Examining cause and effect text structure Discussing Civil Rights Discussing Ageism Discussing Perseverance Discussing Collaboration Discussing Nonviolent Protest But today, I chose… Continue reading Because Claudette
Everywhere With You written by Carlie Sorosiak and illustrated by Devn Holzwarth is a new addition to our classroom library. This book reminded me about the power of a first read without any stopping and thinking moments. The story opens with two houses and a fence between them. On one side of the fence is… Continue reading Everywhere With You
Many of you may already be familiar with Deborah Marcero's book, In a Jar, a strong mentor text for students as they reflect on memories made and shared. Out of a Jar, also by Deborah Marcero is her newest picture book and it artfully depicts many tough emotions a person can have, both the positive… Continue reading Out of a Jar
“Yes, we are FINALLY going to read this book, I have been DYING for you to read it,” exclaimed one of my fourth graders as he saw me pull Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, from my basket. Shouts of “Oh, me too” and “I can’t wait for this,” could also be heard. Before reading, we acknowledged… Continue reading Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story
What do a judo-loving guinea pig and a class of fourth graders have in common? Readers discovered that, it turns out, we're all a bit odd. In Zadie Smith & Nick Laird's endearing picture book, a new pet guinea pig named Maud is viewed by the other pets of the house as an "oddball". It… Continue reading The Surprise
I really like Ten Blocks to the Big Wok by Ying-Hwa Hu, published by Children’s Book Press 2022. Uncle Eddie & Mia walk to the Big Wok for dim sum, and along the way, they count all sorts of interesting Chinese cultural items such as neighbors practicing Tai Chi Chuan, lychee fruit, silk fans, fortune… Continue reading Ten Blocks to the Big Wok
I love it when a book surprises you, when it make you as an adult reader consider your world view. I especially love it when I immediately see the mentor text/writing connection with a picture book. This simple book, Like by Annie Barrows and simply but powerfully illustrated by Pura Belpré honor recipient, Leo Espinosa,… Continue reading Like by Annie Barrows and Leo Espinosa
This week, I had the pleasure of working in a kindergarten classroom as they launched their writing workshop. I observed them learn to think of ideas and then write their ideas using pictures and even some words. Their teacher taught them how to think about the just right shapes they would need to get their… Continue reading More Than Peach by Bellen Woodard
As the school year kicks off, many classrooms are highlighting small-moment stories. Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom is perfect as a mentor text for personal narratives, as an interactive read aloud, and/or as an addition to classroom and home libraries. This lovely picture book honors multi-generational families and Cuban-American traditions. Anita… Continue reading Abuelita and I Make Flan by Adriana Hernández Bergstrom
On the first day of school, during our first session of identity mapping, I found myself in many conversations about ice cream with kids. I began thinking, I just found a way to hook readers for our first Meet Someone New Monday celebration. I just knew I'd need to share The Sweetest Scoop: Ben &… Continue reading Get a Scoop Of This!
Before the kids arrived for the first day of school, I filled this display shelf with books I hoped to read aloud. Then I watched. Which books would the children grab during free time? Which ones would they ask me to read aloud? Here is the book display I created for the first few days… Continue reading Which Books Will They Choose?
Notebooks have always been a part of my life. For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a notepad close-by. My grandmother even had special notepads made for me with my name printed at the top. I treasured them. At first, these notebooks were places to jot down ideas, make lists and doodle. But… Continue reading The Notebook Keeper: A Story of Kindness from the Border by Stephen Briseño
written & illustrated by Anoosha Syed Names are the foundation of our identity. Names matter. Being addressed by your name as it was intended is important. Children (and adults) whose names have ethnic origins or are perceived to be outside of the dominant culture are often forced to endure their names being pronounced incorrectly or… Continue reading That’s Not My Name!
Happy September! We are back for a fourth year of sharing our love of books with students and YOU, our dedicated readers. We are turning the page as we begin the 2022-2023 school year and plan to bring you new content just twice a week. Stay tuned for some book reviews and literacy learning on… Continue reading A New Chapter: 2022-2023
Hi Everyone, TBR is taking the summer off and will be back online in September. We hope you are getting a chance to relax, rejuvenate, and laugh this summer. Happy Reading!
Summer is here and that means, SUMMER READING!!! It is a great time to catch up on the books that I have been meaning to read for students and for myself. Summer is also a great time to visit the library and not just my local library, but the libraries in the towns that I… Continue reading My Summer Stacks
With History Smashers: The Underground Railroad. My kids and I always love when non-fiction text reads with the excitement and page-flippability of fiction. That is part of why we can’t get enough of Messner’s History Smashers series. I thought that I knew the story of the Underground Railroad. That was, until I read this book.… Continue reading Another Smash Hit for Kate Messner!
We are one short school day from summer break in Natick, MA. This weekend, I browsed the children's section at the bookstore, reminded myself of books I saved on Twitter and my camera roll, and began requesting some titles online from the library network. When summer hits, I always have ambitious goals as I try… Continue reading MQ Summer Stack
Once a year, I pick five novels and read the flap copy to the students. Then, the class votes on which book they want for our class read aloud. From looking at covers, everyone said they were going to vote for Inkling by Kenneth Oppal. But as soon as I read the flap copy for… Continue reading Cece Rios and the Desert Of Souls by Kaela Rivera
The Tale of the Mandarin DuckBy Bette MidlerPhotos by Michiko Kakutani The Tale of the Mandarin Duck by Bette Midler and Michiko Kakutani is a tale of modern society. It starts off describing the social beings in a time when "they looked each other in the eye, and pretty much liked what they saw." And… Continue reading The Tale of the Mandarin Duck By Bette Midler and Photos by Michiko Kakutani
Food is a way to connect all cultures. So when I read about Andrea Wang's newest book, I had to reserve it at my library! I also connected to this book because the word for tea in Korean is the same in Chinese, "cha." The story starts on the end papers showing parents going to… Continue reading Luli and the Language of Tea
I will tell you something that I have realized about myself. I look at books as mentors first these days. I hope to find the perfect books to show students how authors do what they do and they, the students, can be the same kind of writers. Books that show a fresh way of doing… Continue reading How to Say Hello to a Worm by Kari Percival
What if Pig?, by Linzie Hunter, recognizes the worry-er in all of us. Pig appears to be a put together, thoughtful, kind, considerate friend. But when Pig sets out to throw a party for his friends, we see the worry he has under his calm, cool exterior. Pig has some reasonable worries - such as… Continue reading What If, Pig?
I have a list of books tucked into my notebook that I keep close to my heart: books that I’ve hugged as soon as I’ve turned the last page. These books have touched me so viscerally and powerfully that I literally did not want to let them go and therefore, I hugged them. This book… Continue reading The Road to After by Rebekah Lowell
As we prepare for summer vacation, I’ve been on the hunt for that ”just right” addition to teachers’ gifts. Well, I found a treasure that can solidly stand on its own. Kobi Yamada has a wonderful collection of gift books for a myriad of occasions. In my search, I found this panegyric on teachers. The… Continue reading Because I had a Teacher by Kobe Yamada and Natalie Russell
Anyone paying attention to big-name book publishers and their “new release” calendars is aware that publishers are making efforts to fill-in the massive hole that is BIPOC authors and characters in their library portfolios. With so many eye-catching titles, its more important than ever for school districts (and lets face it, individual teachers!) to be… Continue reading Buying Books? What do you prioritize?