School, Skills Children Learn

The Recess Queen by Alexis O’Neill

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Back of Book:
Mean Jean was Recess Queen and nobody said any different. Until a new kid came to school!
With her irrepressible spirit, the new girl dethrones the reigning recess bully by becoming her friend in this infectious playground romp.
My Review:
I am gearing up for back to school, and finding all my social and emotional stories to read during our first week. I love reading the Recess Queen because it is such a good example of how to play and treat others on a playground. The story follows Mean Jean a girl who controls every aspect of the playground. No one is allowed to do anything until Mean Jean does it first. Until one day when a new girl enters and changes everything. I love that this story is engaging, while still teaching a lesson. The illustrations are vibrant and fun. The end of the story shows readers how friendship is a cure for bullying. The Recess Queen is a fantastic read aloud to teach social and emotional skills.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

Wordy Birdy by Tammi Sauer

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Back of Book:
Wordy Birdy LOVES to talk. “Hello, sunrise. Hello, pink sky. Hello, orange sky. . . .” But does she love to listen? NOPE. One day, while she’s walking through the forest, her gift of the gab gets her into hot water: “That’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty tree and that’s a pretty danger sign and that’s a pretty tree. . . .” Will this inattentive bird walk right into danger? Will her faraway thoughts lead her along a path of doom? It’s up to her long-suffering, heard-it-all-before pals Squirrel, Raccoon, and Rabbit to save their distracted friend.
My Review:
I love that there are several new picture books coming out about the importance of listening. I think that it is a very important skill that children need to learn. Tammi Sauer took this idea and created a humorous picture book that all readers can relate to. The love that when the characters in the story are talking, they are given thought bubbles so readers can distinguish between the narration, and the character speech. The story itself is fun and silly but, still holds an important message to readers. While it can be fun to talk, it is important to take the time to listen as well. The illustrations are fun and colorful. I look forward to reading more Wordy Birdy stories in the future.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

Quiet Please, Owen McPhee! by Trudy Ludwig

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Back of Book:
Owen McPhee doesn’t just like to talk, he LOVES to talk. He spends every waking minute chattering away at his teachers, his classmates, his parents, his dog, and even himself. But all that talking can get in the way of listening. And when Owen wakes up with a bad case of laryngitis, it gives him a much-needed opportunity to hear what others have to say.
My Review:
I was sent this book from author Trudy Ludwig in exchange for an honest review. Every teacher and librarian can read this book with a smile and think of “that kid” who never stops talking. When Owen loses his voice, he realizes how much he can learn from others if he takes a minute to stop and listen. I love that the book has thought bubbles to show readers what Owen and the other characters are saying. I also love that Trudy centered the class assignment on a STEM project. This aspect of the story becomes very relatable to readers. to be very The illustrations are soft, and fun. I am going to use this book during the first of school for character building. It is an excellent tool to use to enforce the importance of listening to the teacher, as well as one another. I highly recommend this book.
Ages 5 and up

40 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

The Incredible Ordinary Hero By Aida Rascanu

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Back of Book:
What would you do if you saw someone who was hurt? For her birthday, Emma has one single wish. She wants to help people. However, she is a little doubtful when her mother tells her she can be a hero. “But a hero needs superpowers! the girl said.” Yet, when her cousin is in danger, she has to make a choice. Will Emma be able to overcome her fears and save him? The series “The Incredible Ordinary Hero or The Brave Bystander” empowers children to step up to face various daily incidents. By following Emma’s actions, children will also become familiar with first aid measures in different situations.
My Review
I was thrilled to receive a copy of this book from Aida Rascanu in exchange for an honest review. This is the kind of story that I love sharing with my students. It is a fantastic look at how children can make a difference and help others. The story follows Emma, a young girl whose birthday wish is to take care of people. When her cousin Danny gets burned it gives her the opportunity to help him. I love this simple but important message to children. The back of the book has excellent first aid information about how to treat burns. My students loved this book and asked to hear it again. The illustrations are bright and colorful. I hope that this turns into a series. A great story to share with all young children.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

Not ‘Til Tomorrow, Phoebe By Julie Zwillich

 

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Back of Book:
Phoebe’s day is full of tomorrows: Mama says they can make pancakes, her teacher announces musicians will visit the class, and Phoebe will get ice cream after her haircut—but none of it ’til tomorrow. Phoebe feels frustrated and impatient. Why can’t these good things happen right now? Later in the day, Phoebe’s grandmother bakes cookies and shares the secret ingredient to turn today into tomorrow: a good night’s sleep. Phoebe decides she’ll try it out.
My Review:
This is a perfect book to read to any child who doesn’t want to wait. Author Julie Zwillich took a simple concept of time and spun a sweet tale about how frustrated Phobia becomes when she has to wait. I can see this book being very popular in my classroom. All children become frustrated with the daily things that they cannot control. The end of the story revels to readers the secret to waiting. The illustrations in this story are sweet and detailed. I am looking forward to sharing this story with my students.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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History, Skills Children Learn, Uncategorized

The Coal Thief By Alane Adams

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Back of Book: Brrr! Georgie wakes up to a freezing morning in 1920s Pennsylvania and gets the bad news that there is no coal to heat the farmhouse―and he knows there is no money to buy more, either. Just after he finds this out, along comes his friend Harley, who drags him off on an adventure to find some mysterious “black gold.” Before Georgie can catch his breath, he’s in a pile of trouble―all the way up to his ears! Take a trip back in time and join Georgie in this heartwarming tale of mischief made and lessons learned in America’s storied past.

 

My Review: The Coal Thief is a beautiful story about a little boy who learns a very valuable lesson. Georgie thinks that he is going on an adventure instead, he is asked to steal coal from a train.  This action causes Georgie to end up in trouble, creating a perfect lesson to teach to children. Georgie’s father shows him that if he shares the coal with others, he can bless them. I love that this book combines history, with valuable skills about having integrity and helping others. The story also teaches readers about taking responsibility for their actions, and choosing good friends.  The illustrations are stunning and draw a reader into the story.  The ending is sweet, and allows readers to see an example of doing the right thing.

 

Ages 5 and up

 

32 Pages

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Skills Children Learn, Uncategorized

Decibella and Her 6-Inch Voice By Julia Cook

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Back of Book:
Isabella is a spirited girl who enjoys shouting out her thoughts, ideas and feelings. In fact, she loves using her loud voice so much; it’s earned her the nickname,Decibella! Young readers will be entertained as they see how Isabella learns the five volumes of voice and discovers that different situations require a different tone.

My Review: I think that every teacher should have books by Julia Cook in their library. She is a gifted author and always writes about topics that other writers don’t. This story is a must have for the first week of school. It talks about voice control, and how students need to use their inside voice sometimes. Isabella is a fantastic character and brings the story to life. I love the concept of five voice volumes because it simple and easy for students to understand. The six inch voice test is another great tool that can be used to model students voice level. I can see using this book as a teaching tool my first week of school. A must read to help with classroom management, or simply teaching children to use an inside voice.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

Kindness Is Cooler, Mrs. Ruler By Margery Cuyler

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Back of Book:
When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she’s got a special plan up her sleeve. She’s about to teach a new golden rule:

KINDNESS IS COOL!

Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom!
My Review:
As school is preparing to start, teachers are finding ways to not only teach their students academics but also lessons that teach morals, and empathy. Kindness is Cooler Mrs. Ruler is a fantastic story that allows readers to focus on ways that they can be kind. The story follows the students as they find ways to be kind in their school, as well as at home. I loved the idea of having a kindness wall in the classroom where students can share their acts of kindness with each other. As a teacher, I was thrilled to see this story in the fall Scholastic catalogs this year. I plan on using this book during the first week of school. I appreciate that in the back of book there is a 100 item list that gives acts of kindness that children can be a part of. This is a great story that teaches kindness and shows children and adults how they can help others.

Ages 5 and up

48 Pages

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Skills Children Learn, Tough Stuff

A Bike Like Sergio’s By Maribeth Boelts

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Back of Book:
Ruben feels like he is the only kid without a bike. His friend Sergio reminds him that his birthday is coming, but Ruben knows that the kinds of birthday gifts he and Sergio receive are not the same. After all, when Ruben’s mom sends him to Sonny’s corner store for groceries, sometimes she doesn’t have enough money for everything on the list. So when Ruben sees a dollar bill fall out of someone’s purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket. But when he gets home, he discovers it’s not one dollar or even five or ten—it’s a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for a new bike just like Sergio’s! But what about the crossed-off groceries? And what about the woman who lost her money?
My Review:
I feel like more stories like this book need to exist in children’s literature. Ruben represents the feelings that so many children in America have. Many families in the United States do not have extra money for extra things. Bikes are not a necessity in many homes. I loved the dilemma that Ruben is presented with. I believe this is an excellent story to teach children about morals, as well as empathy. Readers can discuss what they would do if they found a hundred-dollar bill. This story makes for a great writing assignment topic. I truly enjoy reading anything written by Maribeth Bolts. She has a gift of connecting readers with the emotions of the storyline. I look forward to her next story.

Ages 5 and up

40 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

The Crayon Box that Talked By Shane DeRolf

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Back of Book:

 Quarrelsome talking crayons learn to appreciate one another when the narrator draws with them, thus showing them how each help create a bigger picture. The message of the book, to learn to appreciate rather than dislike other people’s differences, is conveyed.

My Review:

In honor of National crayon day and the retirement of the Dandelion crayon I wanted to review “The Crayon Box that Talked”. I read this book the first week of school to help show my students how to get along. I loved how the little girl in the story teaches the crayons that if they work together they can make beautiful pictures. This is a perfect message to children that everyone is unique and special.

Ages 4 and up

32 Pages 

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