Books and Library

This Is Not That Kind of Book By Christopher Healy

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Back of Book:
This clever alphabet book… Wait, that’s not right. This original fairy tale… Nope. Mystery? Joke book? Superhero story? Pirate adventure? This delightful mash-up features every kind of character found in the picture-book universe–all in one book. Just when the reader is convinced the story is going in one direction, it spins off in another.
My Review:
I was sent a copy of this picture book from Penguin Random House in exchange for an honest review.
This story is the perfect example of never judging a book by its cover or title. The book follows several characters from different genres as they work together to try to figure out what type of book they are in. The text will have readers laughing out loud as they  follow the confused characters throughout the story. The speech bubbles allow readers to follow the characters throughout the story.  I loved the message of friendship and inclusion that is presented within the text. The story shows readers that people with different ideas can still be friends. The illustrations by Ben Mantle are fun and colorful. This is a fantastic story to use as a read-aloud in the classroom. It is also a great introduction to the different classifications of books.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Biography, Books and Library, History

The Book Rescuer: How a Mensch from Massachusetts Saved Yiddish Literature By Sue Macy

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Back of Book:
Over the last forty years, Aaron Lansky has jumped into dumpsters, rummaged around musty basements, and crawled through cramped attics. He did all of this in pursuit of a particular kind of treasure, and he’s found plenty. Lansky’s treasure was any book written Yiddish, the language of generations of European Jews. When he started looking for Yiddish books, experts estimated there might be about 70,000 still in existence. Since then, the MacArthur Genius Grant recipient has collected close to 1.5 million books, and he’s finding more every day.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Simon & Schuster in exchange for an honest review.
Before reading this story I had never heard of Aaron Lansky or his amazing mission to gather as many Yiddish books as he can find and. This story follows Aaron from his childhood loving books to him studying  Yiddish texts. When Aaron realized that stacks of Yiddish books were being thrown away, he went on a quest to create a place where all of these books can be shared and enjoyed. Sue Macy did a beautiful job of capturing Aaron’s real-life journey as he preserved the precious Yiddish literature.  The illustrations by Stacy Innerst are lovely and capture the strength and determination that Aaron had as he traveled and collected books. My favorite illustration is the one near the end of the story that showcases the Yiddish people. It is a breathtaking snapshot of the people who came so long ago. The back of the book has a wonderful afterword written by Aaron Lansky himself. It also has a glossary of Yiddish words and expressions as well as the address for the Yiddish Book Center.
This is a wonderful biography of an unknown hero of the Yiddish language and stories.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages

Books and Library, Fairy Tales

Reading Beauty By Deborah Underwood

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Back of Book: 

When a fairy’s curse—a deathlike sleep via paper cut—threatens to make her kingdom barren of books, it’s up to space princess Lex to break the spell and bring books back to her people. Set in the universe of the acclaimed Cinderella, this empowering bedtime story will entice young readers with its brave heroine, star-studded setting, and hilarious, heartwarming happy ending.

My Review: 

I received a copy of this picture book from Chronicle Books in exchange for an honest review.  

 Readers will love this fun sci-fi twist on the classic story of Sleeping Beauty. I love using fractured fairy tales in my classroom to teach my students different perspectives. We read Reading Beauty last week and my students loved the unique setting and plot twists. The rhyming text made this an engaging a fun story. The edgy illustrations by Meg Hunt are done in pastels and paint a perfect picture to match a scientific fairytale. 

My favorite part of this book is that it centers around a love of reading and how important books are. I used the theme to have a conversation with my class about why literacy is important and how we can continue to embrace it. 

This is a terrific picture book that should be in every elementary classroom. 

Ages 5 and up

44 Pages

Biography, Books and Library

Little Libraries, Big Heroes By Miranda Paul

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Back of Book: 

Todd and his friends love heroes. But in school, Todd doesn’t feel heroic. Reading is hard for him, and he gets scolded for asking too many questions. How will he ever become the kind of hero he admires?

 Featuring stunning illustrations that celebrate the diversity of the Little Free Library movement, here is the story of how its founder, Todd Bol, became a literacy superhero. Thanks to Todd and thousands of volunteers—many of whom are kids—millions of books have been enjoyed around the world.

My Review: I received a copy of this picture book from Clarion Publishing in exchange for an honest review. 

This is an outstanding nonfiction biography that looks at the life and work of Todd Bol. The story begins with Todd’s childhood and allows readers a glimpse into how his love of books and reading began. The text goes on to share with readers how he and Rick Brooks created a way for all people to have access to books. There are now 75,000 free little libraries around the world. I love how author Miranda Paul focuses on how ordinary people can do extraordinary things. She teaches children that a person doesn’t have to be famous to impact the world. 

The illustrations by John Parra are nothing short of spectacular! The colors are vibrant and draw readers into the story. I love that the text changes different colors as well. It allows visual learners to focus on the story. The back of the book has more information about free little libraries as well as more information about the people and events in the book. This is a must-read that celebrates literacy as well as the beauty of giving to others. As a teacher, I cannot wait to share this book with my classroom and maybe create a Free Little Library of our own. 

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages 

Books and Library

This Book Is Spineless By Lindsay Leslie

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Back of Book:
With suspense and humor, this wary and unadventurous book uses the five senses to try and figure out what kind of story might be on its pages.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Lindsay Leslie in exchange for an honest review.

This is such a creative story that discusses the five senses in a unique way. The text is written in a first-person narrative and invites the reader to be apart of the experience. The book explains to readers that it is spineless and scared of everything. As the story progresses the book shares different aspects of the five senses with readers. I love the way the text is written. The five sense words stand out in the paragraph and immediately draw years to the story. Readers will laugh at the books struggle to face its fears and decide what genre of story it is. The illustrations are well drawn and match the narrative beautifully. This is an amazing book to use for an introduction to first-person writing and the different aspects of the five senses. I think this book should be in every elementary and classroom library.
Ages 6 and up
32 Pages

Biography, Books and Library, Read Your World

Planting Stories: The Life of Librarian and Storyteller Pura Belpré by Anika Aldamuy Denise

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Back of Book:
An inspiring picture book biography of storyteller, puppeteer, and New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, who championed bilingual literature.
When she came to America in 1921, Pura Belpré carried the cuentos folklóricos of her Puerto Rican homeland. Finding a new home at the New York Public Library as a bilingual assistant, she turned her popular retellings into libros and spread story seeds across the land. Today, these seeds have grown into a lush landscape as generations of children and storytellers continue to share her tales and celebrate Pura’s legacy.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Anika Aldamuy Denise in exchange for an honest review.
This exquisite and well-researched picture book biography tells the story of Pura Belpré New Yorks first Puerto Rican librarian. Pura realized that the stories of her youth were not in the libraries. So she began to share her tales with the children of her library. The narrative is engaging and informative. Readers become swept up into Pura’s life and the powerful gift that she gave to others. The illustrations are radiant and filled with detail and colors. I felt as if I was sitting with Pura in her library soaking up her amazing tales. The back of the book has a beautiful author note as well as a collection of information including a Selected Bibliography as well as stories of Pura mentioned in this book. Anika Aldamuy Denise and Paola Escobar have created a masterpiece biography about one woman who lived to share her passion with others and left a legacy for everyone else.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

Books and Library

Building Books by Megan Wagner Lloyd

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Back of Book:
Katie loves to build. She loves the way the blocks click together, the way they crash when they topple to the floor. But most of all, she loves to build something brand-new. Unlike her brother, she hates reading.

Owen loves to read. He loves the way the pages rustle when he turns them, the way the paper smells. But most of all, he loves to read something brand-new. But, unlike his sister, he has no interest in building.

When their rivalry finally comes to a head, a librarian suggests a solution. Books for Katie to read and books for Owen to shelve. Can they learn to appreciate their siblings’ hobbies and build something together?
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Megan Wagner Lloyd in exchange for an honest review. Love reading
I absolutely love reading stories about the beauty of books. This story is no exception. The story follows two siblings and their rivalry as to what is better building with books? or reading books? I love that the wise librarian creates a perfect compromise. She sends a stack of books to build with Owen and a stack of books to read with Katie. The two children realize that they can go against their normal routine and try something different. The ending shows the two siblings compromising and enjoying stories together. The illustrations in this story are beautiful and show diverse people. My students enjoyed hearing this story and asked to look at it during the independent reading time.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Books and Library

Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude By JoshFunk

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Back of Book:
Lost in the Library: A Story of Patience & Fortitude is the first picture book about Patience and Fortitude, the two lion statues that faithfully guard the New York Public Library. When Patience goes missing, Fortitude realizes the secret to Patience’s disappearance may be within the Library itself.
My Review:
I was sent a copy of this book from Josh Funk in exchange for an honest review.
Josh Funk has done it again and created a fantastic tale about the two lions who guard The New York Public Library. I live in Southern California so I had never heard of Patience and Fortitude. I instantly fell in love with the concept of two lions roaming the hallways of one of the greatest libraries in the world. I love the famous aspects of the library that Fortitude passes on his way to find Patience like Frolicsome Girl, and the talkative portraits in the Edna Barnes Salomon Room. The book is written with a rhyming text which allows for a fantastic and engaging read aloud. Stevie did an incredible job with the illustrations. It truly feels like the reader I walking the journey along with the lions. This book is a library lovers dream. It opens a new world to readers and creates a last impression. I hope there will be more adventures with Patience and Fortitude.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Books and Library, Summer

Surf’s Up by Kwame Alexander

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Back of Book:
Surf’s up! Not yet, Dude! Books are boring! Not this one! Bro and Dude have very different ideas about how to spend the day at the beach. But as Bro continues to gasp and cheer as he reads his book (Moby Dick), Dude can’t help but get curious. Before you can shout ‘Surf’s up!’ both frogs are sharing the same adventure, that is, until they get to the beach.
My Review:
This story takes the idea that books are boring and turns it upside down. The story follows two friends Bro, and Dude as they prepare to enjoy some time at the beach. The only problem is that Bro ants to finish his book. Dude thinks that books are boring but by the end of the story he changes his mind. The text is simple to read which makes it perfect for beginning readers. I love the message it sends to readers about the importance of reading over the summer. The illustrations are fun and the frog characters are truly enduring. This is a must-read addition to any summer reading list!
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Books and Library

Franklin’s Flying Bookshop by Jen Campbell

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Back of Book:
Franklin the dragon loves stories and loves reading stories to people too, but everyone is too scared to even talk to him. One day, he meets a girl named Luna who, rather than being afraid, is fascinated to meet Franklin, having recently read all about dragons in one of her books. They instantly become friends and talk nonstop about what they’ve read: books about roller-skating, King Arthur, spiders, and how to do kung fu. Together they hatch a plan to share their love of books with others by opening a bookshop―a flying bookshop, that is―right on Franklin’s back!
Franklin, a well-read and peace-loving dragon, and Luna, a young girl with an independent spirit and an insatiable love of reading, make fantastic role models for young children. Franklin’s Flying Bookshop brings the magic of classic fairy tales into the twenty-first century through exquisite illustrations, and will enchant children as well as anyone who loves books.

My Review:
I love sharing books with my students that showcase a love of reading. This book is beautifully written and told. Readers will fall in love with Franklin and the joy he has in reading. The love that one of the main concepts of this book is that books are best if they are shared with others. The text is written in rhyme which allows readers to follow along with ease. Another fantastic messages that is intertwined within this book is not to judge based on appearance. Luna is not scared of Franklin or the fact that he is a dragon. Franklin does not stop searching for a friend until he meets Luna. It doesn’t matter to him that she is a girl. Together they make a plan to bring the library to everyone else. The illustrations in this story are simply magical. I love all the details that are on each page. A great tale for anyone who gets lost in the magic of a well written story.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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