Friday

2019 Nonfiction Biography Picture Books Extravaganza!

To Life!

It seems like more and more picture book biographies are springing up every year! This is not only GREAT for the rich diversity they add to children's literature, but also because so many children adore nonfiction. I remember there being so few quality nonfiction choices for my students when I started teaching (in the 90's people, I'm not THAT old yet).

Here's a round up of a few from the start of 2019...

Wednesday

2019 CYBILS Finalists Announced!

It's that time again..... the CYBILS finalists for 2019 have been announced. This was my first year on Board/Fiction Picture books and the experience was fantastic! I got to read lots of amazing picture books and a few standout board books. I am excited to introduce them to my new class of future teachers :-) and looking forward to seeing which titles will end up the CYBILS winners on Valentine's Day (once the round-two judges take a peek)!

Tuesday

It's that time of year again: CYBILS 2019!!!

CYBILS TIME!
I am excited to announce that I have been chosen as a round 1 CYBILS judge in the category of picture & board books. It's a new category for me this year, but one dear to my heart.

When I was a middle school reading specialist and literacy coach, I served on CYBILS middle grade fiction and speculative fiction a few times, but I have always had an abiding love of picture books and a decent knowledge of them. I used them constantly as a teacher (who doesn't) and even as coaching tools with inservice teachers. However, I have been much more involved with them recently while teaching a foundational reading course to preservice elementary educators.

Reading, teaching, mentor texts, bedtime stories, visual aides, way-in books.... however you look at them...

Thursday

What if Everybody Thought That? by Ellen Javernick with illustrations by Colleen Madden - a mini review

What If Everybody Thought That?
Publisher's Synopsis: "What if everybody were more thoughtful before they judged someone? If you see someone in a wheelchair, you might think he or she couldn’t compete in a race. But…you might be wrong. What if you see a child with no hair? Do you think she is embarrassed all the time? How about a kid who has a really hard time reading? Do you think that means he’s not smart? You might think so. But…you might be wrong. With clear prose and lighthearted artwork, this companion book to the bestseller What If Everybody Did That? explores the preconceived notions we have about the world and encourages kids to be more thoughtful."
My Two Cents: Third in a series intended to make kids think about their actions,

Friday

Astronuts Mission One: The Plant Planet by Jon Scieszka with illustrations by Steven Weinberg

Astronuts by Jon Scieszka
Publisher's Synopsis: “This laugh-out-loud, visually groundbreaking read launches a major new series by children's literature legend Jon Scieszka. Featuring full-color illustrations throughout, a spectacular gatefold, plus how-to-draw pages in the back, it's an outer space adventure that demonstrates a giant leap for bookmaking and a giant leap for any kid looking for their next go-to series. AstroWolf, LaserShark, SmartHawk, and StinkBug are animals that have been hybridized to find other planets for humans to live on once we've ruined Earth. So off they rocket to the Plant Planet! Will that planet support human life? Or do Plant Planet's inhabitants have a more sinister plan? AstroNuts Mission One is a can't-put-it-down page-turner for reluctant readers and fans ready to blast past Wimpy Kid.”

My Two Cents: I'm not sure that little old me has much to add to discussions of this great new title

Filigree's Midnight Ride - a mini book review

Filigree's Midnight Ride 
Publisher's Synopsis: "Join Filigree, a five-pound Pomeranian, as he stows away on Paul Revere’s midnight ride in this first book of the At the Heels of History series, inspired by important events and told through the eyes, ears, and noses of dogs.

Filigree may be a small puff of a Pomeranian but he has a big, brave heart. As the Revere family dog, he’s ready to do his part to help the American colonists stand up to the British soldiers. But the other dogs, like Jove, Sam Adams’s Newfoundland, and even the Revere cat, Anvil, think Filigree is a joke. The Reveres’ daughter Frances is the only one who believes in him.

When Frances’s father, Paul Revere, leaves home on a secret mission, Filigree and Frances know they have to help, no matter how dangerous it might be. Will a pint-sized pup just be in the way, or can Filigree prove that even a very small dog can fight for freedom?"

My Two Cents: Filigree's Midnight Ride is the first book of the At the Heels of History series, a fun premise where dogs tell historical tales (kinda' like the Wishbone Adventures series). Aside from that great angle,

Tuesday

Pirates Don't Go To Kindergarten! - Talk Like A Pirate Day is coming September 19th!...

Pirates Don't Go To Kindergarten!

Pirates Don't Go to Kindergarten! is a cute take on the transition from one grade to the next, Pre-K to K in this case. New Kindergartener Emma wants to stay in her pirate themed Pre-K classroom with her pirate Pre-K teacher. The kindergarten is space themed and Emma will have none of that! She knows the pirate lingo and trusts the pirate captain; she's not so sure about that new teacher. Great illustrations add to the telling with a play on reality/imagination done well. Some pirate lingo may need specific vocabulary instruction (see below) and lends this tale to first and second grade reads as well.

Saturday

Sweet Home Alaska by Carole Estby Dagg - Book Review

Sweet Home Alaska
If good historical fiction is supposed to make us wonder about the people who lived during various points in history, then Sweet Home Alaska is certainly good. It had me, instantly upon closing the last page at 1:00 am, researching the Matanuska Valley Colony. I don’t have a vast knowledge of Roosevelt’s New Deal specifics, I just know that the vestiges can be seen in our public spaces and government programs.

Tuesday

A Word About Authentic Texts Used As Mentor Texts

Authentic Texts Are Best!
It occurred to me today that I assume those        reading my ramblings on Reading Rumpus simply know how to use authentic literature as mentor texts. That was an assumption I made whilst teaching preservice teachers last year - and it was a poor one. Therefore, I thought I should spend a moment talking about selecting authentic literature for instructional use and how most of my full book reviews (not the mini-reviews) include some sort of authentic text teaching ideas, even if I haven't explained HOW to use them as such.

Thursday

SumoKitty written and illustrated by David Biedrzycki

“Fall down seven times; get up eight” is one of many witty quotes that highlight the central theme of SumoKitty written and illustrated by David Biedrzycki. Written as an ode to tenacity, SumoKitty is both witty and instructive for young folks facing adversity. The humor is subtle, played out through a big, strong sumo wrestler being afraid of mice while his friend, the Kitty, gets a little too comfortable, forgetting the job of a cat.

Between humor and wit, SumoKitty is a tale completely filled with new vocabulary opportunities, both English and Japanese. Children will love learning all the Japanese sumo wrestling terms while expanding their English vocabulary. Contractions are a prominent feature within the written structure and offer older children a chance to practice their usage.

Friday

Max Attacks by Kathi Appelt, illustrated by Penelope Dullaghan - book review & teaching ideas

I'm a dog person. Sorry cat folks. My adult children have five cats between them, and I appreciate my grandcats, but I own two doggies: Jebediah Peabody. & Annie Roo.

Here they are:

Thursday

Nighttime Symphony by Timbaland with art by Christopher Myers and Kaa Illustration - mini book review

Publisher's Synopsis: "The sounds of the city at night create a lively lullaby in this melodious bedtime story from superstar producer and musician Timbaland, Caldecott Honor–winning illustrator Christopher Myers, and Kaa Illustration!
As a little boy gets ready for bed, the sounds of a wild storm echo around him, lulling him to sleep. From the crash of thunder to the pitter-patter of raindrops to the beat of passing cars, the music of the city creates a cozy bedtime soundtrack."

My Two Cents:
Nighttime Symphony is more than another sweet, lyrical bedtime story, it is an ode to fatherhood.

Wednesday

If I Was the Sunshine by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Loren Long

Publisher's Synopsis: "A breathtaking picture book about the relationships we share from New York Times bestselling storytellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long in the tradition of The Runaway Bunny and Guess How Much I Love You....
Through clever, thought-provoking verse and warmly evocative art, New York Times bestsellers Julie Fogliano and Loren Long explore the awe-inspiring nature of relationships, love, and connection."

My Two Cents: If I Was the Sunshine is one of those books that begs you to pick it up. The typography, the pastel colors, the title….  All done with an artistic swoosh that begs you to grab it. That’s what I did as soon as my library acquired it. And, I am glad.