Skills Children Learn

What Should Danny Do? By Ganit & Adir Levy

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Back of Book:
9 Stories in 1! What Should Danny Do? is an innovative, interactive book that empowers kids with the understanding that their choices will shape their days, and ultimately their lives into what they will be. Written in a “Choose Your Own Story” style, the book follows Danny, a Superhero-in-Training, through his day as he encounters choices that kids face on a daily basis. As your children navigate through the different storylines, they will begin to realize that their choices for Danny shaped his day into what it became. And in turn, their choices for themselves will shape their days, and ultimately their lives, into what they will be.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from authors Ganit & Adir Levy in exchange for an honest review.
I am absolutely in love with this amazing story that teaches children about the power of choice in any situation. The story follows a young boy named Danny as he navigates through everyday occurrences.  This is such an excellent tool to use in the classroom. My students loved following Danny as he made the right, and wrong decisions. I love the message of choice that is weaved throughout the story. It is so important in today’s classroom that we teach social and emotional learning. In my classroom, this includes how to stop, and consider a reaction to a problem. What Should Danny Do was a perfect book to use for writing assignments, and problem-solving discussions.  The illustrations by Matt Sadler are bright and full of color. They kept my students engaged and listening.
I am thankful and excited that there is a series like this in the world. I look forward to reading the rest of the Danny series.
Ages 5 and up
68 Pages

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Skills Children Learn

My Shape is Sam by Amanda Jackson

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My Shap is Sam
In a world where everybody is a shape and every shape has a specific job, Sam is a square who longs for softer corners, rounder edges, and the ability to roll like a circle. But everyone knows that squares don’t roll, they stack. At least that’s what everyone thinks until the day Sam takes a tumble and discovers something wonderful. He doesn’t have to be what others want or expect him to be.
With playful imagery, this story considers identity and nonconformity through the eyes of Sam, a square struggling to find his true place in the world.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Page Street Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Debut author Amanda Jackson has created a simple story that packs an important message about liking who you are. Sam is a square who wishes that he could be different and more like circles. One day he tumbles down a hill and realizes that he doesn’t have to look the same as others to do the same things they do.
All children compare themselves to others in one way or another. They think they can’t compete in sports because they are not tall enough, or they feel like they shouldn’t enter the spelling bee because they aren’t as smart as others in their class. Amanda wrote a story to help remind children that they can be anything they want to.
The illustrations by Lydia Nichols match Amanda’s gentle text. I loved that she made Sam a bright yellow so he stands out on the pages.
This is another terrific story to use in a social and emotional lesson. A beautiful look at the importance of not being scared to true new things.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Skills Children Learn

We Really Do Care By Tami Lewis Brown

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Back of Book:
A little boy has a ball. It’s his, and he really doesn’t care if nobody else has a ball. He’s not sharing. He’s not sharing his pets either. Or his family. Especially not his brother. But then he realizes that both he and the new little girl he meets–the one who’s all alone without a ball or a pet or a family of her own–are actually quite similar. And when he sees their similarities instead of their differences, he’s happy to share. Even his little brother.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Penguin publishing in exchange for an honest review.
A few years ago I attended a  teaching conference where the focus was on teaching children empathy. The speakers that week discussed the importance of incorporating empathy into our daily teaching.  My school has now adopted social and emotional learning standards and one of the main concepts I focus on is showing empathy to others.
Tami Lewis Brown has created a simple and touching story that allows readers to understand the importance of compassion and kindness. The young boy in the story meets a young girl and realizes that other children may not have all the wonderful things that he does. He and his friends come together to let the girl know that she is not alone in the world.
The illustrations by Tania de Regil are bright and colorful. I loved the images of the children playing together in harmony.
This story can be incorporated into any social and emotional lesson. It is so important that we teach children how to have empathy, kindness, and compassion,  for all people.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages
Skills Children Learn

Alpaca Pati’s Fancy Fleece by Tracey Kyle

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Back of Book:
Little alpaca Pati has a beautiful coat of fur that is the envy of the other alpacas. Pati loves to adorn her fur with velvet bows, sparkly hair clips, and flower headbands. When she learns that she will have to lose her coat in the spring, she is heartbroken. She doesn’t want to give up what makes her beautiful, so she runs away to the city. Upon arriving, Pati is amazed by the many vibrant goods for sale at the market. She realizes that her alpaca fur is used to make everything and decides that she must give up her coat to keep the villagers warm.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Running Press Kids in exchange for an honest review.
The story follows a young alpaca from Peru named Pati who loves to adorn herself with ribbons and bows. She often would look at her reflection and think about how beautiful she was. One day she realizes that her beautiful fleece will be sheered and given to the villagers. At first, Pati is devastated with the news. It isn’t until she realizes how much her fleece will help the people that Pati has a true change of heart. Tracey Kyle has beautifully woven a story with the theme that is being better to give than to receive. She also shows readers that true beauty comes from the insides and not the outsides. The Spanish words sprinkled within the text are a nice addition to the story. The rhyming scheme allows readers to follow along easily with the story. The illustrations by Yoss Sanchez are filled with warm and bright colors. The details on each page draw the readers into the culture and tradition of Peru. The back of the book has a glossary page, as well as a list of facts about alpacas. This is a terrific story to tie in any social and emotional theme of generosity and sharing.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Growth Mindset, Skills Children Learn, Tough Stuff

What If Everybody Thought That? By Ellen Javernick

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Back of Book:
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.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Two Lions Press in exchange for an honest review.
I was excited to see that Ellen Javernick wrote another book in her What If Everyone Series. This story focuses on the importance of not making assumptions based on peoples appearance.  It opens the door for discussions on inclusion and how to treat all people with kindness and respect. The text is written with speech bubbles which let the reader follow along easily.  The illustrations by Colleen Madden are a perfect blend of both realistic and colorful images.
In reading this story, I quickly began to think of all the ways that I can use it to teach my social and emotional standards. It opens readers eyes to different ideas and shows them how they embrace people instead of misunderstanding them.
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

Skills Children Learn

Marigold Finds the Magic Words by Mike Malbrough

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Back of Book:

Marigold is throwing himself the most amazing birthday party ever! He’s baked himself an enormous birthday cake and planned everything well in advance. Everyone is ready for something extraordinary. Something…magical! But when Marigold tries to make a bouquet of flowers disappear, a pesky finch appears in its place. That’s not right at all! At every turn, Marigold’s magic trick gets derailed until the distractions are too much to bear, and Marigold launches into a full-on feline frenzy, making everything–and everyone– disappear. What magic words can save the day?
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Philomel Books Publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Marigold is back with more fun antics that are sure to create a fit of giggles with readers. In this book, Marigold is attempting to create fun magic tricks to awe his friends. Instead of creating tricks, Marigold messes everything up until he makes everyone disappear. It is only when he realizes that he has to use polite words will everything be okay.
This story is filled with several important messages that children can learn from. Including not taking yourself too seriously. The book also teaches readers the importance of not losing your temper. The final message that I saw in this story is the importance of showing children how important manners are. Marigold realizes that if he uses the word please, everything returns. I can see this book in a unit to teach social and emotional learning. Mike has created another fantastic story that will keep readers engaged and smiling. My students loved the illustrations and I loved that my students learned so much while enjoying reading. I highly recommend this story!
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Growth Mindset, Skills Children Learn

Remarkably You by Pat Zietlow Miller

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Back of Book:
Heartfelt and timeless, Remarkably You is an inspirational manifesto about all of the things—little or small, loud or quiet—that make us who we are.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Pat Zietlow Miller in exchange for an honest review.
As a teacher, I am always on the lookout for books that I can use in my classroom to promote self-awareness. It is so important for me to let my students know how unique and special they are. This story is a stunning addition to my collection. The rhyming scheme and strong descriptive words come together to create a moving story that celebrates the importance of individuality. The pictures by illustrator Patricia Barton are filled with detail and color. They showcase a variety of diversity and activities. The message within these pages is one that all students should hear. It shows readers that they all remarkable!
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages Back of Book:

Skills Children Learn

The Good Egg by Jory John

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Back of Book:
Meet the good egg. He’s a verrrrrry good egg indeed.
But trying to be so good is hard when everyone else is plain ol’ rotten.
As the other eggs in the dozen behave badly, the good egg starts to crack from all the pressure of feeling like he has to be perfect.
So, he decides enough is enough! It’s time for him to make a change…
My Review:
In the four years, I have been teaching I have seen several children who at the young age of five are already perfectionists. The constant testing and standards that students must achieve can make them feel like they will crack under pressure. The Good Egg is a fantastic story to teach children that it is okay if they are not always perfect. Today’s society has become focused on how to do everything and never stop going. This story allows readers to realize how to take a step back and enjoy their lives. The illustrations by Pete Oswald are colorful and full of detail. They bring egg to life in a fun and engaging way. This story can be used in the classroom in a multitude of ways. It is a perfect addition to any social and emotional learning unit.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Parents, Read Your World, Skills Children Learn

Honeysmoke: A Story of Finding Your Color by Monique Fields

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Back of Book:
A young biracial girl looks around her world for her color. She finally chooses her own, and creates a new word for herself―honeysmoke.
My Review:
Once in a while, I come across a book that stops me in my tracks and amazes me at the depth of today’s kidlit. HoneySmoke is one of those books. The story follows a young girl named Simone as she tries to find her place in the world. She asks her parents is she is black or white? Her parents tell her that she is a bit of both. Simone wants a color of her very own and sets off to find it. She asks her friends and compares the colors around her. Finally, she realizes that her special color is a mixture of her two parents.
I loved the positive message that all humans have different skin tones and that is what makes them unique. It encourages biracial children to explore their colors and label it with a special name. There is even a place in the back of the book for children to write in their special name. Readers of all ages will fall in love with Simone and her creative look at how she is. The illustrations by Yesenia Moises are soft and warm. They create a type of magic within the pages. A must have for all elementary and school libraries.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages