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Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea!

Written by Linda Ashman and illustrated by Alea Marley Abby is a relatable character who anxiously awaits her friend’s arrival to her house for tea time. She spends time meticulously preparing her table and refreshments, as this is how she regards Phoebe Dupree's standards. Abby describes Phoebe as “speedy...smart...brilliant...sings like a bird…”. Abby works diligently… Continue reading Phoebe Dupree is Coming to Tea!

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Setting Intentions: The Author’s Craft

At this time of year, I consider the beginning of a new school year. There are many obligations given to me as a literacy educator in a school district, but along with those noble ideas, I always set an intention for the focus of my work for the year, my personal work, my inner work,… Continue reading Setting Intentions: The Author’s Craft

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The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy

Kate O'Shaughnessy's first novel is one that touched the hearts of my students. The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane is the story of a girl who perseveres through hard times with the help of a kind hearted teacher and a boy named Tommy who has struggles of his own. Sixth graders Kate and Makenzie read… Continue reading The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy

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Going Up by Sherry Lee

Going Up by Sherry Lee reviewed by Susan Kennedy As we are going back to school in whatever form that is taking, hopefully we are returning to writing. I love writing with students and hearing them storytell their narrative plans. Returning to school this fall, I hope we'll start with some narratives: small moments, memoirs,… Continue reading Going Up by Sherry Lee

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The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf

As soon as one of my sixth grade book clubs finished The Boy in the Back of the Class by Onjali Q Rauf, they immediately took to the internet to find other books by the same author.  When they found The Star Outside My Window, they begged me to order it right away! Student Thoughts:… Continue reading The Star Outside My Window by Onjali Q. Rauf

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Starting Anew

As an educator, I have always felt that August offers the kind of renewal and restart that so many others seek to find in January. This August feels especially ripe with opportunities to tip everything on it’s head and to address what’s broken, to actively change what has been exacerbating inequities in our education system… Continue reading Starting Anew

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The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Before we left school due to COVID, one of my sixth grade book clubs had just finished a book that they wanted to blog about. If you are a fan of the Among the Hidden series, you will love the new Greystone Secrets series by Margaret Peterson Haddix.  The first book, entitled The Strangers, will… Continue reading The Strangers by Margaret Peterson Haddix

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Can I Touch Your Hair?

One of the last demonstration lessons I wrote before we left school in mid-March was a cross-text synthesizing lesson with this lovely poetry book,  Can I Touch Your Hair?  by Irene Latham & Charles Waters. While I can't find my hard copy in the sea of books I have brought home with me,  I bought… Continue reading Can I Touch Your Hair?

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Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu

*I would like to use this post to thank all the authors and publishers who have stepped up and allowed teachers to read their books online during this unprecedented time...We appreciate you!  Teacher's Story: I leave school on a Friday, having started the first few chapters of Eventown, by Corey Ann Haydu. On Saturday, I discover that… Continue reading Eventown by Corey Ann Haydu

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Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson An advance copy of this book made it into my hands from our local independent bookstore last spring.  I immediately loved it!  Always on the lookout for a book that fits the complexity we hope for our upper elementary readers without being too mature for them, Some… Continue reading Some Places More Than Others by Renée Watson

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The Light in The Lake by Sarah R Baughman

Addie finds herself caught between science and magic, family and nature, and grief and hope. - The Light in The Lake Teacher Thoughts: The Light in the Lake was the perfect book to bridge our social issue and fantasy units of study in reader's workshop.  Even my most reluctant readers could not put down this… Continue reading The Light in The Lake by Sarah R Baughman

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The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter By: Shabazz Larkin

A true gem for any classroom! Shabazz Larkin’s The Thing about Bees is an “all about”, “how to” and poem all wrapped into one.  A mentor text dream! Second Graders said I never knew bees were so important! I think this book is about courage.  Mr. Larkin was afraid of bees. He wrote this book… Continue reading The Thing About Bees: A Love Letter By: Shabazz Larkin

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One Big Heart by Linsey Davis

With Beverly Davis, Illustrated by Lucy Fleming A celebration of being more alike than different! Each Friday, my sixth graders pair up with a kindergarten buddy to read, do math, or work on a project.  This week, we read One Big Heart and talked about the big idea of the book. Kindergarten students understood the message… Continue reading One Big Heart by Linsey Davis

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Spencer’s New Pet, by Jessie Sima

Picture this… 21 students sitting silently “listening” to a story.  Only this story is different. There are no words. There is not a sound- not from the teacher or from the students.  You can hear a pin drop. This wordless picture book is like no other I have read. Illustrated in black and white with… Continue reading Spencer’s New Pet, by Jessie Sima

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Fungus is Among Us! written by Joy Keller Illustrated by Erica Salcedo

At first I thought that fungus was really gross...but now I think they are good for our planet- Julia, Grade 3 They mixed a storybook with poetry and a BUNCH of facts! - Rain, Grade 3 That's a LOT of fungi!  Barely any fungi in my yard!  Yeast is fungi.  We eat fungi ?!? -… Continue reading Fungus is Among Us! written by Joy Keller Illustrated by Erica Salcedo

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The Boy at the Back of the Class by Onjali Q. Rauf

"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

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Please Don’t Eat Me, by Liz Climo

Have you ever had an unusual friendship?  One in which it seems like your friendship doesn’t seem to work very well, or at all?  Maybe you felt that your friends wouldn’t approve? These were all questions posed before we began reading Please Don’t Eat Me by author and illustrator Liz Climo.  This book highlights the… Continue reading Please Don’t Eat Me, by Liz Climo

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Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar

Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar present this narrative nonfiction story of the life of Pura Belpré - an author, puppeteer, and the first Puerto Rican librarian of New York City. Through beautiful prose peppered with Spanish phrases, the author tells the life story of Pura, as she ventures from Puerto Rico to New York… Continue reading Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré, by Anika Aldamuy Denise, illustrated by Paola Escobar

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Most Marshmallows by Rowboat Watkins

Rowboat Watkins’ Most Marshmallows has been floating around my book collection since February without a permanent home.  Currently living in my love this book but what category bin, on the surface Most Marshmallows is a wonderfully silly tale about marshmallows.  The publisher’s summary includes most marshmallows like to watch television and lead normal lives-but some… Continue reading Most Marshmallows by Rowboat Watkins

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A Drop of Hope by Keith Calabrese

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

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If Elephants Disappear by Lily Williams

If Elephants Disappear by Lily Williams I read that Lily Williams never imagined writing a book where poop figures prominently, but in her book, If Elephants Disappear, elephants' dung plays a critical role in tropic cascade and readers are given a front row seat to its importance to the elephant ecosystem and our own survival.… Continue reading If Elephants Disappear by Lily Williams

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Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn

On a good day, Chicken liked to wander.  On a bad day, Chicken would bolt. But no matter what, Cat loved him as wide as the Golden Gate Bridge, as deep as the sea floor, and as fierce as a shark bite. Sixth Grade Book Club Members Think... Caterpillar Summer is a wonderful, figurative language… Continue reading Caterpillar Summer by Gillian McDunn

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Lottie & Walter by Anna Walker

Lottie and Walter, by Australian author, Anna Walker, is a sweet story of overcoming fear with the help of an imaginary friend. Lottie is terrified of getting into the pool for swimming lessons because she is sure that there is a shark in the water who wants to eat only her. She avoids the pool… Continue reading Lottie & Walter by Anna Walker

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The Field

  The Field by Baptiste Paul,  illustrated beautifully by Jacqueline Alcantara A winner of many awards in 2018,  The Field shows and tells the story of a girl, her brother and some friends as they pick up a soccer game in rural St. Lucia, the author's home of origin.  Through stunning illustrations full of movement… Continue reading The Field

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The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

Every once in a while a book comes along that students and teachers alike can not put down.  The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise is one of those books. The pages are filled with quirky characters, an interesting setting and one of a kind adventures that leave readers at the edge of their seats.  I read… Continue reading The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise by Dan Gemeinhart

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The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

A cautionary tale from Caldecott Honoree Vera Brosgol We are the Little Guys.  Yes, we are small. But there are a lot of us. Together we are strong, and we can get all we need. A new addition to my coaching bag is a sleeper tale, The Little Guys.  This versatile book made the rounds of my… Continue reading The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

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Brave

by Svetlana Chmakova Teacher Thoughts… This graphic novel is a perfect way to teach older students about the challenges of middle school. Readers learn how being brave and using their voice can help change a negative school culture.  Your students will love how Svetlana Chmakova compares middle school to a video game, mean kids to… Continue reading Brave

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There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach

Teacher Thoughts... Dip into this story to experience a powerful punch of rich, descriptive language. You’ll quickly tuck it into your “go-to” stack of mentor texts to love throughout the elementary grades. Kids who need models for how to weave description and figurative language into their writing will be inspired by phrases such as:  “I slipped… Continue reading There Are No Bears in This Bakery by Julia Sarcone-Roach