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?
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
by Mary Lee Donovan, illustrated by Lian Cho This is a beautiful picture book that shows how to welcome someone in many languages, including sign language. The beginning explains how to pronounce the word welcome in various languages and what it means to “welcome the stranger.” I love this statement, “In one place or another,… Continue reading A Hundred Thousand Welcomes
Have you ever had trouble with a best friend? How did you solve it? These were the questions my students discussed before reading Bravo Anjali, the follow-up to Sheth’s Always Anjali. Anjali is learning to play tabla despite it being an instrument that is typically played by boys. Her friend, Deepek, takes lessons with her,… Continue reading Bravo Anjali by Sheetal Sheth and illustrated by Lucia Soto
The day the bad-something is discovered written on the bathroom wall, everything changes. Confusion, anger and worry spread through the class as rumors fly. It is not until some encouraging words from their principal and a creative assignment from their teacher, do the children rediscover their kindness and their power to create something good. SOMETHING… Continue reading SOMETHING GOOD by Marcy Campbell and Corinna Luyken
The last couple of years have been hard on the world and it has taken a toll on all of us in different ways, especially educators and their students. As we move away from masking and social distancing toward the end of this pandemic, I find myself having a bit of difficulty in adjusting. Masking… Continue reading Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl
Circle Round by Anne Sibley O'Brien, illustrated by Hanna Cha is a lovely book I discovered that can be used with multiple hooks in the classroom. First, it's a simple counting book and book about circular items. Second, it's a beautiful picture book of inclusion, featuring a diverse cast of children who include everyone in… Continue reading Circle Round
Calvin by JR and Vanessa Ford. Illustrated by Kayla Harren Children have a way of demonstrating the confidence and curiosity necessary to have courageous conversations better than most adults. Their words may not always be tactful, but a child’s sense of what’s fair and how to make space for others can strike at the heart… Continue reading Affirming Transgender Students with Calvin
Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar shares a timeless message of perspective through it's retelling of a Parsi legend. I have recently found myself imagining a fourth grade social studies “regions” unit centered on immigration, so it was only natural that I picked up Thrity Umrigar’s Sugar in Milk while recently browsing the library shelves.… Continue reading Sugar in Milk by Thrity Umrigar
The world is changing, and people are growing by learning more and taking action."-- Fourth Grader Imagine my surprise on Inauguration Day when my partner texted me to share that he had gone ahead and preordered Amanda Gorman's children's book for my classroom! He just knew that my students and I needed it in our… Continue reading Change Sings: A Children’s Anthem by Amanda Gorman
In anticipation of the Thanksgiving holiday I read an award winning picture book by Oge Mora, Thank You, Omu! I wanted to share a book about gratitude that wasn’t about a turkey because for some students in our classrooms, their families don’t celebrate with a traditional Thanksgiving meal. And for BIPOC Thanksgiving books, this book… Continue reading Thank You, Omu!
Thank you @BTeckentrup and @tigertalesbooks for this wonderful reminder that Kindness Matters. A must read for everyone!
Ranked as my new favorite read aloud, The Little Blue Bridge is a spin off of The Three Billy Goats Gruff. This new title features Latinx characters, STEM connections, and a theme of feminism. Ruby, the female protagonist, suggests to her brothers, “Let’s go pick berries to bake in a pie”. Her brothers, taunting her… Continue reading The Little Blue Bridge, written by Brenda Maier and illustrated by Sonia Sánchez￼
by Michael Ian Black, illustrated by my writing friend Debbie Ridpath Ohi This year my school is emphasizing social emotional learning since our kiddos have lived through a pandemic which isn't over. I've been reading one picture book each week that emphasizes some characteristic that we can learn and discuss during our morning meetings. Some… Continue reading I’m Sorry by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi
Have you ever thought of the alphabet as one big happy family of relatives? That’s how they are presented in The Alphabet’s Alphabet, written by Chris Harris and illustrated by Dan Santat. Harris begins by explaining that the alphabet is just like a family and that they are all alike in many ways. He then… Continue reading The Alphabet’s Alphabet
The book jacket is a poster that can be used for a variety of things. Here I am introducing new feeling words. I have so much to say about the true power of this book…So many incredible things that have already happened with my students because of this book. But the thing I’m currently feeling… Continue reading Big Feelings ~ are you feeling them?
Sorry Seems to Be the Hardest Word, as Elton John lets us know in his 1976 hit by the same name. If only Sir Elton had the advantage of reading the picture book, How to Apologize, by David LaRochelle and illustrated by Mike Wohnoutka, perhaps he could have found a solution to his relationship struggles.… Continue reading How to Apologize
With the beginning of a new school year (especially this one) comes the often unspoken worries and fears that accompany the unknown of a new grade, new classroom, new teacher, and new classmates. My first job as a classroom teacher is to quell these anxieties and begin to lay the groundwork for our class community,… Continue reading My School Stinks! by Becky Scharnhorst
I recently added this book to my personal library. As a school principal, I'm always looking for books on kindness, respect, and taking care of one another. This book's simple yet powerful text and beautiful illustrations by Carme Lemniscates are a perfect read aloud for when I visit classrooms. The main character demonstrates many different… Continue reading I Am A Kindness Hero by Jennifer Adams
Cultivating a collection of picture books and novels by own voice authors has become a focus of my reading life with students. My collection is growing and the latest addition is When We Are Kind, by one of my favorite authors, Monique Gray Smith, written in both English and Dine´. It is beautifully illustrated by… Continue reading When We Are Kind
Teaching remotely during the COVID-19 pandemic has been challenging and frustrating, but one thing has remained steadfast—my belief in the power of books to connect. This belief was reconfirmed when I read the picture book, The Arabic Quilt, to my third graders during our morning Classroom Book-a-day. Together, Aya Khalil and illustrator Anait Semirdzhyan tell… Continue reading The Arabic Quilt: An Immigrant Story by Aya Khalil and illustrated by Anait Semirdzhyan
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
It’s a tremendous honor to join the TBR blog this school year. I am beginning my twentieth year as an educator, and my sixth year working with third graders. I’m looking forward to sharing books, building my library, and creating a passionate reading community in my classroom. I recently found out that my school district… Continue reading Can I Give You A Squish?
A Teacher's Thoughts: I just finished the oddest school year in my 25 years of teaching and that’s saying a lot. My students and I made heart shapes with our fingers toward the camera and promised to say “See you soon” instead of goodbye. Then I pressed, “End meeting for all” and my school year… Continue reading Noise and Summer Reading
Enjoy a read aloud of, The Ladybug Race, written and illustrated by Amy Nielander and published by Pomegrante Kids, a division of Pomegranate Communications, Inc. This amazing wordless picture book tells the story of ladybugs racing to cross a finish line first, but wait, there is a bigger lesson here than who is the fastest...what… Continue reading The Ladybug Race
Even fifth graders can’t help but love a penguin story, especially when the penguin has “the soul of an eagle!” This is Lita Judge’s sequel to Flight School, which is another one of my favorite picture books. She creates amusing stories that teach wonderful life lessons. The theme of this book is friendship. It could… Continue reading Penguin Flies Home by Lita Judge
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy is a must read for 2020. It is a story of friendship, relationships and life lessons for people of all ages. These unlikely characters discuss life, forgiveness, and the journey we all take on this earth. The characters have hopes and dreams, fears… Continue reading The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy
Worry Moves On is the second book in Liz Haske's "Worry Series" following When Worry Takes Hold. As pictured on the cover, Sophia is that kid who loves school and can't wait to do it all again the next day. Unfortunately when Worry arrives, the once-confident Sophia crumples and doesn't feel sure of what she… Continue reading Worry Moves On by Liz Haske
"I started my picture with a teardrop. And then I made it splatter like sunshine." At the beginning of October this caught my attention while Twitter browsing: Completely intrigued, I kept reading. And, in true If You Give a Mouse a Cookie form, was led to this: https://lernerbooks.blog/2019/10/a-map-into-the-world-the-story-behind-the-book.html Then this: https://lernerbooks.blog/2019/10/art-director-notes-a-map-into-the-world.html So, I requested A… Continue reading A Map into the World by Kao Kalia Yang illustrated by Seo Kim
"The entire world is full of hearts searching for a place to call home. But refugees are different, because they don't just look for a home. They look for peace too. And because of that, they possess the most special hearts anyone could ever have." … Continue reading The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf
This story starts with a wish and ends in a crime. The wish isn't granted, and the crime is never punished. Life is like that sometimes. But that isn't always a bad thing... -Keith Calabrese A Drop of Hope is a book that my sixth graders describe as "a very different kind of mystery," with… Continue reading A Drop of Hope by Keith Calabrese