These books are wonderfully inspiring to children and adults alike. They speak of being true to your passion, being determined even if those around you ridicule you or don't understand. Hats off to Andrea Beaty for Rosie Revere, Engineer, The Numberlys by William Joyce, and What Do You Do With An Idea? by Kobi Yamada.
I came across this wonderful book of Langston Hughes poems. Illustrations are provided along with a bit of background knowledge of the time period. Acoustic Rooster by Kwame Alexander tells the tale of believing in yourself while it sets up a conversation for jazz and some famous artists. Pink and Say as retold by Patricia Polacco is a heartwarming true story of an unlikely friendship of two young boys during the Civil War. This would be a good addition to a classroom discussion of this time period.
I really loved both of these books. One by Otoshi chronicles feeling different and wishing to belong, then finding your voice in standing up for yourself and in doing so, creating a space for not only yourself, but for everyone. Nice.
I can't say enough about Ashley Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing. There are so many themes that are powerful: persevering, not settling for just "okay", hard work, and triumphing after failure. These are all things that we should be passing on to our students. I can't wait to share this one with my new charges.
I would be hard pressed to find a boy who does not love the Amulet series by Kibuishi. I finally read the first one, and I now can appreciate the appeal. The graphics as well as the word choice work together well. As a teacher, I appreciate the level of inference they require. Five books have been published in the series, with #6 and #7 due out this fall. And I hear talk of making #1 into a movie.
The Stinky Cheese Man is written by a favorite author of mine, Jon Scieszka, author of the popular Math Curse and Science Curse. He has taken a number of fairy tales and twisted them in a way that fifth graders enjoy.
Although it has been quite a while since I posted, I have still kept up on reading. I am now up to 37 books and will share them in these next few posts.
In the pursuit of preparing for the school year, the following are the books that I have been poring over lately. Frank Serafini has outlined his suggestions in pacing in Around the Reading Workshop in 180 Days, and gives specifics in Lessons in Comprehension. Carol Dweck posits her theories in Mindset: The New Psychology of Success. Her research shows that intelligence is not fixed, but is pliable throughout life. Great stuff.
These picture books all have a unique twist. Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne shows different perspectives beautifully, Black and White by David Macauley takes the reader for a ride, The Three Pigs by David Weisner is the ultimate in rewriting the traditional story, and What's Wrong With This Book? by Richard McGuire diverges from the concept of a book entirely. Chester by Melanie Watt is truly interactive, while Wolves by Emily Gravett has a tragic ending. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did.
This may be my favorite of the summer. I added it to my class library this year, but never got around to reading it until this week, at the urging of one of my students. So many great aspects to the book, it is hard to know where to begin.
First, as a child of a Freedom Rider, I have always been fascinated with the American Civil Rights era. As an educator, I am equally interested in desegregation and integration of schools. Of great appeal to me is the infusion of so many historically accurate events and references. Lions does not sugarcoat anything. Multiple dynamic perspectives are seen, and are believable without taking away from the suspense.
At the core of it all is a story of friendship and exactly what that means. Priceless.
When I taught second grade in the beginning of my career, I collected a few books in the Miss Malarkey series. Judy Finchler does not disappoint in these additional titles. I love this one about the angst teachers feel when leaving their students with a substitute. I've definitely been there!
I may read this one aloud this year about Miss Malarkey's quest to match each student with at least one can't-put-it-down title. This is my challenge that I happily take on each year!
This one would be great for easing students into the reality that although their teacher is getting married, they will still be loved and cared for.
I also have a collection of Black Lagoon titles, but this one was new to me. Now that we have so much more technology in our school, this would be a great addition. I am thinking it would provide a good comparison to Goodnight, Ipad! as well.
Similar in theme, this one is about the mysteries of music...
I am 2 full weeks into my Book-A-Day challenge, and although I taught all this week, I am still on track. Whew! Today, I finished 8 Keys, which is a Reading Bowl selection for our district this year. I must admit that I struggled to get into this one. I don't think I hit "the zone" until almost 100 pages in (you know, that zone where you are committed to a book and can't put it down?).
Part of that could be that I read this immediately after I read When You Reach Me, which shares many coincidences: both have 6th grade female protagonists with male best friends, experience bullying, and are receiving messages from an unknown source and struggle to piece together the mystery). There are more similarities I could list. So, I spent those first chapters comparing the books, which I am sure took away from 8 Keys.
Nevertheless, it was a pretty good read. I just preferred When You Reach Me instead - better writing, better character development, better suspenseful elements.