How We Say I Love You by Nicole Chen, illustrated by Lenny Wen How We Say I Love You tells the story of Hana and how her family shows love to each other without verbally saying it. "My mom stirs her love into a pot of steaming xi fan." Each spread shows different family members--grandparents,… Continue reading How We Say I Love You
I don't know what March means for you, but for me it means a mad dash to prepare my students for our state standardized testing... the MCAS. We read text selection after text selection and write open response after open response. To try and make it fun, I tell my students each response needs to… Continue reading Odd Bods: The World’s Unusual Animals
Happy Valentine's Day everyone! For our class read aloud, my class opted for Gordon Korman's Restart. It's a title I had never read before, but the other fourth grade teachers in my school raved about it. When my class voted for it over the other four titles, I smiled. Not only was I excited to… Continue reading Hope Wins: A Collection of Inspiring Stories for Young Readers
Twelve Dinging Doorbells by Tameka Fryer Brown, illustrated by Ebony Glenn, is set to the tune of the familiar Twelve Days of Christmas. In this version, a little girl gathers with family for the holiday. As the doorbell rings, relatives arrive filling the house with foods such as chitlins and baked macaroni and cheese. The… Continue reading Twelve Dinging Doorbells
I have a confession to make. I love read alouds. I love to read aloud to children and their teachers. I love children and their teachers to read aloud to me. I believe in the power of reading aloud. So many skills to work on with students with read aloud, playing with language, prediction, admiring… Continue reading How Old is Mr. Tortoise? by Dev Petty
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?
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!
Cover of the January/February 2022 journal "Social Studies and the Young Learner" published by the NCSS. This week I had the gift of time with K-5 educators across my district participating in the final of four "curriculum council" meetings we've shared this year. Teachers were first provided time to prepare by first reading a January/February… Continue reading Sparking Teacher Learning through Picture Books, Professional Journals, and Conversation
Scholastic StoryworksCinderella: The True Story by Louise Rozett and Monique D. Hall How do you engage students the day before vacation? How do you engage students the day before vacation after two days of ELA state testing? On Friday, I decided that READERS' THEATER was the way to go. Readers’ theater is a great way for students to practice reading… Continue reading Readers’ Theater
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
This year our district's professional development focus is social emotional learning (SEL). I'm on my school's SEL committee which consists of myself, three other teachers, an instructional aide, our assistant principal and our principal. Last year we received training from an outside organization and this year we're tasked with passing on what we learned to… Continue reading Bling Blaine: Throw Glitter Not Shade
Exquisite: The Poetry & Life of Gwendolyn Brooks by Suzanne Slade, illustrated by Cozbi A. Cabrera In honor of February’s Black History Month and March’s Women’s History Month and April’s upcoming Poetry Month, I tried to find a narrative picture book biography on a BIPOC woman that my kindergartners would understand. I succeeded with Exquisite:… Continue reading Exquisite: The Poetry & Life of Gwendolyn Brooks
"Make them special!... Make them yours." Amy loves to create and is very excited to make her own drawing after her teacher reads about dragons to the class. Amy works diligently to make her drawing special as Ms. Mary has directed. Amy's friends do not think Amy's drawing looks like a dragon. Their comments fill… Continue reading Amy Wu and the Patchwork Dragon by Kat Zhang
As I write this post it is hard not to tear my mind away from the current events rocking the world. The specter of global military conflict rises again. With it, the unspoken acknowledgement that for every bomb dropped, people with no tangible stake in its ends are displaced from homes, workplaces, communities, and memories.… Continue reading Migrants by Issa Watanabe
Based on a true story, Adria Karlsson provides a gentle introduction to gender identity with a focus on positivity and acceptance in her debut, MY SISTER, DAISY, with illustrations by Linus Curci. This is the perfect book for parents or educators looking to have a conversation around gender identity and pronouns. Told from the perspective… Continue reading My Sister, Daisy
by Aisha Saeed When the system is broken, you have to rise up!" Every 5th grader in our school loves engaging with Amal Unbound as an interactive read aloud. We were so excited when Aisha Saeed published her companion novel, Omar Rising, this month. Omar was first introduced to audiences through his friendship with Amal… Continue reading Omar Rising
Dad Bakes by Katie Yamasaki When I first encountered Dad Bakes on the “New Picturebooks” shelves of my local library I didn’t have any expectations beyond a read-aloud to compliment a cold weekend after some father-son baking time. When flour finally returned to shelves a few months into the initial on-set of the pandemic, baking… Continue reading Dad Bakes by Katie Yamasaki
Known for the HGTV home renovation series, Good Bones, Built Together is Mina Starsiak’s first children’s book. It is a book about LOVE, as Starsiak explains: “This book comes from my heart – I wanted to show that families can come in all forms and look a little different – just like houses – and… Continue reading Built Together, written by Mina Starsiak and illustrated by Barbara Bongini
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
By: Padma Lakshmi Illustrated by: Juana Martinez-Neal Neela loves to cook with her amma. Neela and Amma go to the market to get tomatoes then they follow Paati’s recipe to make a batch of sauce. This beautifully illustrated picture book showcases the bond between family and food. Tomatoes for Neela brought back childhood memories of… Continue reading Tomatoes for Neela
Recently on Twitter, Tara Lazar asked people to give a shout out to picture books published during the pandemic that they thought hadn't received enough attention. I read through the chat and stumbled upon this book. The beautiful cover and the title caught my attention. When I read the reviews and learned it was about… Continue reading Ten Beautiful Things
Thank you @BTeckentrup and @tigertalesbooks for this wonderful reminder that Kindness Matters. A must read for everyone!
“She can no longer be silent about what happened to her. She must tell her story. The world must know that such a bomb can never be used again.” A Bowl Full of Peace is a deeply moving nonfiction picture book. Caren Stelson shares the story of Sachiko’s family who lived in Nagasaki, Japan before… Continue reading A Bowl Full of Peace A True Story
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￼
I could not love this book more. Absolutely perfect mentor text for character change. As the story begins, our main character is very jealous of the children who get to spend the night on the cot in her living room. The illustrations by Gaby D'Alessandro assist the readers as we imagine what our main character… Continue reading The Cot in the Living Room
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
Amara and the Bats models ways student can channel their concerns for the environment into civic action. Its not uncommon these days for young readers to be aware of challenges facing our planet's ecosystems and their most vulnerable creatures. Amara and the Bats by #KidLit4Climate campaign founder, Emma Reynolds aims to inspire the next generation of… Continue reading Amara and the Bats
I learned of this new release when I was visiting the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston this past August. At the very end of my afternoon tour, I rounded a corner and...it was "love at first sight". I was mesmerized and emotionally moved by this masterpiece: The young girl in the picture was highly… Continue reading Saving American Beach: The Biography of African American Environmentalist MaVynee Betsch, written by Heidi Tyline King and illustrated by Ekua Holmes
Last year I used podcasts in my fifth grade classroom for the first time. Here's what students had to say about them: "I like that I can just listen and not read a screen." “It's easier to take notes while I listen." “They are fun! I love them!" “Easy to understand." “I learned something new."… Continue reading Using Podcasts in the Classroom
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!