Read Your World

Where Are You From? Yamile Saied Méndez

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Back of Book:
When a girl is asked where she’s from—where she’s really from—none of her answers seems to be the right one.
Unsure about how to reply, she turns to her loving Abuelo for help. He doesn’t give her the response she expects. She gets an even better one.
My Review:
This is a fantastic story by debut author Yamile Saied Mendez that addresses culture and identity in a gentle and sweet way. The story follows a young girl as she navigates the question where are you from? Unsure of how to answer the little seeks out her Abuelo for guidance. His answer is a beautifully lyrical response that will touch any readers heart. The illustrations by Jaime Kim are soft and warm. They bring the text to life and capture the essence of having pride in one’s heritage. This is a must-have for all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Food

Bilal Cooks Daal By Aisha Saeed

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Back of Book:
Six-year-old Bilal is excited to help his dad make his favorite food of all-time: daal! The slow-cooked lentil dish from South Asia requires lots of ingredients and a whole lot of waiting. Bilal wants to introduce his friends to daal. They’ve never tried it! As the day goes on, the daal continues to simmer, and more kids join Bilal and his family, waiting to try the tasty dish. And as time passes, Bilal begins to wonder: Will his friends like it as much as he does?
My Review:
I was so excited when I learned that Aisha had written a diverse picture book that is centered about food. I had never heard about Daal and was excited to read about such a unique dish. The story follows a young boy named Bilal and his friends and they wait for the daal to finish cooking. The text describes Daal as nutty, creamy, and warm like soup. I like that the story also describes the color and texture of the daal itself.
The ending of this story is a beautiful blend of culture and community. The illustrations are bright and showcase a diverse group of children who all come together to enjoy a tasty meal. The back of the book has authors note about Daal as well as a recipe so readers can create their own Daal at home. This is a must-have for all school and classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up

Science, Space

Go for the Moon: A Rocket, a Boy, and the First Moon Landing by Chris Gall

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Back of Book:
The Apollo 11 astronauts have prepared carefully for their attempt to be the first men to land on the moon. The young narrator of this book has prepared carefully, too: he explains the design of the spacecraft, the flight from the earth to the moon, and the drama of touching down–while shadowing the astronaut’s voyage with one of his own.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Roaring Brook Press in exchange for an honest review.
This book follows the authors real-life story of watching man step onto the moon for the first time. The text is a fantastic blend of history and science. It captures the emotions of the first moon landing while covering STEAM topics in an exciting way. Chris described every detail in a way that allows readers to feel like they are experiencing this huge event with him. The story also focuses on Chris’s personal life as he creates and builds his own rocket. The illustrations bring the story to life with bright and vivid images. I was amazed at the detail within each picture. The back of the book has a note from the author about how the moon landing forever changed him. The back of the book also has a page of fun facts and a glossary of the terms used throughout the book.
This is a perfect book to share in the celebration of the Apollo 11 anniversary. I highly recommend this book.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages

Animals, School

Take Your Pet to School Day By Linda Ashman

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Back of Book:
When pets show up with their kids at Maple View Elementary, it’s total chaos! These animals have no respect for school rules, and every class quickly gets out of hand. But why did they show up in the first place? Who said they could come? Could it have been…the pets themselves? It turns out they just wanted in on the fun! Now, if they want to stay, they’ll just have to behave.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Random House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Every student in my classroom would love to bring their pets to school every day of the year. I was so excited to share this fun and vibrant story with my summer kids this year. The story follows a group of children who bring their pets to school. What follows is a hysterical series of escapades. Every place the pets go they cause havoc and confusion. The end of the story is a fun twist that will make readers smile. The text is written in a rhyming scheme that is perfect for beginning readers. The illustrations by Suzanne Kaufman are full of bright colors and details. Suzanne has a gift for showcasing diverse students in her illustrations and this book is no exception. Overall, this is a fabulous story that readers will want to read over and over.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Kindergarten stories

Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten! By Lisa Robinson

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Back of Book:
Pirate Emma is about to start kindergarten! But Emma’s not so sure she’s ready for a new captain and crew. Especially since Cap’n Chu—the roughest, toughest, awesomest preschool cap’n ever—is right down the hall. So Emma decides to head back to the preschool ship to see if she can stir up a mutiny against kindergarten! Is that what she really wants? Or does she just miss her beloved Cap’n Chu? Batten down the hatches, mateys, because the first day of school is going to be stormy!
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from debut author Lisa Robinson in exchange for an honest review.
I have taught both Preschool and Kindergarten. It can be tough for children to transition to a new environment with different teachers and students. Pirates Don’t Go to Kindergarten beautifully captures how readers can feel as they venture into a new school year.
The story follows a young pirate named Emma who thinks that she is ready for Kindergarten. That is until she realizes that Kindergarten will not have her beloved Cap’n chu. Instead, her new leader would be Cap’n Hayes. Also, Kindergarten is not a Pirate ship but a space ship. Emma changes her mind and decides that she is going back to preschool. What follows is a fun series of events that will make readers laugh out loud. The illustrations by Eda Kaban are bright and full of fun details. They showcase a diverse group of students and allow readers to see themselves within the pages.
This is a perfect book to share at the end of preschool or the beginning of Kindergarten.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Bugs and Insects, Science

Moth by Isabel Thomas

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Back of Book:
Powerful and visually spectacular, Moth is the remarkable evolution story that captures the struggle of animal survival against the background of an evolving human world.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Bloomsbury Press in exchange for an honest review.
I was absolutely captivated by this stunning lyrical story that opens readers eyes to the evolution of Moths. The story follows the Peppered Moth and the Black Moth as they live and adapt to their environments. Readers see how pollution change allowed the Peppered Moths to slowly disappear.
The text beautifully introduces readers to the concept of Natural Selection in a way that is not heavy or dry. Instead, they recognize how they can better protect their environment.
The illustrations are a perfect blend of bright colors and dark shadows. Daniel Egneus creatively portrayed the moths within their natural habitat
This is a must have for any biology or insect study.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Biography

Samuel Morse, That’s Who!: The Story of the Telegraph and Morse Code Tracy Nelson Maurer

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Back of Book:
Back in the 1800s, information traveled slowly. Who would dream of instant messages? Samuel Morse, that’s who! Who traveled to France, where the famous telegraph towers relayed 10,000 possible codes for messages depending on the signal arm positions―only if the weather was clear? Who imagined a system that would use electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages between two machines, rain or shine? Long before the first telephone, who changed communication forever? Samuel Morse, that’s who!
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Henry Holt Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
There are so many amazing things that have been invented in this world. I love finding books about early technology inventors to share in my classroom.
I was thrilled to see that Tracy wrote a story about Samuel Morse. I consider him one of the unsung heroes of the technology pioneers. The story focuses on how Samuel considered different ways to communicate. He drew a system that used electric pulses to instantly carry coded messages through wires. It took a great deal of determination and extermination before he found the correct sequences. The illustrations by El Primo Ramón are detailed and showcase the many steps that Samuel took to create his code.
The back of the book has a timeline of Morse’s life as well as more facts about telegraph history. This is a fantastic nonfiction picture book that teaches readers about one of our unsung technology heroes.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Stories about dance

Lena’s Slippers By Ioana Hobai

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Back of Book:
Lena can’t wait to twirl and leap onstage at her school dance recital, but her family does not have the money to pay for new ballet slippers. As the day of the recital draws closer, Lena struggles to come up with a creative solution to reach her shining moment on stage, learning along the way that what you do is more important than what you wear.
Lena’s passion for performing will inspire readers and aspiring ballerinas everywhere to never give up.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this warm and inspiring story about the resilience of one little girl and her determination to dance. Lena wants to dance in her upcoming recital more than anything. She and her family do not have a lot of money and they have to find creative ways to get what they need. When Lena cannot find white slippers she becomes resourceful and figures out a solution that allows her to perform in her recital. Readers will be awed by Lena’s determination and strength. I loved that this story is loosely based on the author’s true experiences as a child in Romania. It allowed me to connect with the story on a deeper level. The illustrations are done with mostly muted colors, which allow a readers eye to focus on Lena.
This is a perfect story for any inspiring ballerinas.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Dog stories

Dogs and their People By Anne Lambelet

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Back of Book:
As one girl walks home from school, she loves nothing more than to look at all the people and dogs she passes on the way. There are small people with tall dogs, people, and dogs who share ice cream, and even pairs with matching mustachios. Some people are just like their dogs and some are very different, but no matter what, it’s clear that they’re the best of friends. When the girl finally makes it home, she has her own best friend waiting for her.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Page Street Kids Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
This is a perfect story for all dog lovers! It follows a young girl as she walks around her neighborhood and observes many dogs and the owners who love them. The text is written in a first-person narrative which allows readers to connect with what the girl is saying. The illustrations are whimsical and showcase a variety of different breeds and colors. My students were able to find dogs that resembled their own. This is a perfect book to use for any comparing and contrasting unit. I plan on using it as apart of my Writers Workshop this next school year. A lovely story in every way.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Skills Children Learn

Buster, the Delicate Doodle by Jennifer Beland

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Back of Book:
Buster is a delicate Goldendoodle pup! After Buster’s mom gets fed up with his rigid tendencies, he begins to take walks with a supportive and encouraging dog walker named Kim, who encourages him to dig deeper into his quirkiness and pull out all his strengths and talents. Can Buster find what he has to offer the world?
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Mascot Books Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
I loved this well written and deeply moving picture book that opens up the topic of learning differences and disabilities in a new light. The story follows Buster the Goldendoodle. Buster knows that he is special, but he also knows that he is different. He worried all the time and sometimes loud noises scared him. It isn’t until Buster meets with a special dog walker named Kim that his anxiety turns around. I love that this story discusses a variety of learning disabilities without adding labels. Jennifer wrote this story in a way that all readers can relate too. The illustrations are bright and colorful. Ana has skillfully brought Buster to life. The back of the book has a note from Jennifer as well as color photos of the real Buster. This is a perfect story for social and emotional learning or opening up any conversations with children about learning disabilities.
Ages 5 and up
38 Pages