Biography, History

Hammering for Freedom By Rita Lorraine Hubbard

61Rph3G+ttL._SY403_BO1,204,203,200_

 

Back of Book

The inspirational story of William Lewis.
Born into slavery in Tennessee, William Lewis learned the blacksmith trade as soon as he was old enough to grip a hammer. He proved to be an exceptional blacksmith and earned so much money fixing old tools and creating new ones that he was allowed to keep a little money for himself. With just a few coins in his pocket, Bill set a daring plan in motion: he was determined to free his family.
Winner of Lee & Low s New Voices Award and a Junior Library Guild selection, Hammering for Freedom tells the true story of one-man s skill, hard work, and resolve to keep his family together.

My Review:
I received a copy of this story from author Rita Lorraine Hubbard in exchange for an honest review. Before reading this story, I had never heard of William Lewis. I was quickly drawn into this remarkable nonfiction story about a man who worked his entire life so his family would be free. The story follows Will as he grows up and becomes a young man. The more Will works, the more money he makes and the more family he is able to free. This is an amazing story about the strength and determination that Will continued to have throughout his life. The illustrations are vibrant and beautiful. The detail on each page is marvelous! I loved reading the afterword in the back of the book that has a more in-depth look at Lewis’s life. I think this story is an excellent addition to any Civil War or Slavery Unit. It looks at how some slaves were able to buy their freedom and is a perfect lead-in for history or book reports. Rita opened my eyes to a part of history I didn’t know much about. I look forward to sharing it with my classroom.
Ages 7 and up
32 Pages

 

English Language Arts

An Inconvenient Alphabet: Ben Franklin & Noah Webster’s Spelling Revolution by Beth Anderson

61MMX7+LdYL._SX409_BO1,204,203,200_

Back of Book:
Once upon a revolutionary time, two great American patriots tried to make life easier. They knew how hard it was to spell words in English. They knew that sounds didn’t match letters. They knew that the problem was an inconvenient English alphabet.

In 1786, Ben Franklin, at age eighty, and Noah Webster, twenty-eight, teamed up. Their goal? Make English easier to read and write. But even for great thinkers, what seems easy can turn out to be hard.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Beth Anderson in exchange for an honest review.
I always love finding engaging historical nonfiction picture books to share in my classroom. An Inconvenient  Alphabet tells the story of how Noah Webster and Ben Franklin attempted to rewrite the alphabet. Throughout the text, Anderson placed words that we use every day next to their more convenient spelling. It allows readers to visually see what Ben and Noah attempted to do. The illustrations are drawn in soft colors. I love the cat and dog that appear throughout the story. The back of the book has a fantastic note from the author about her research into the story. This is a great book to incorporate into an ELA or spelling unit.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Tough Stuff

My Quiet Shipby Hallee Adelman

51UzrAoFVNL._SX401_BO1,204,203,200_

Back of Book:
Whenever the yelling in his house starts, Quinn runs to a special hiding place. There he becomes captain of the Quiet Ship, where he can get far, far away from the yelling that hurts his ears and makes him feel scared. But one day the Quiet Ship is broken and Quinn needs a new plan, one that requires him to be brave. A thoughtful treatment of a difficult topic, this story is for any child who faces fighting in the home.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from author Hallee Adelman in exchange for an honest review.
My Quiet Ship is a touching tale about how a young boy finds safety in the middle of his parents fighting. He goes into his quiet place where he is the captain of his environment. I feel like this is a story that is very needed in today’s kid lit selections. The premise of this story is based on how children can use their imagination as a true coping mechanism. Quinn escapes his parent’s argument by going to his quiet place. I love that Hallee wrote a story that can help adults understand how children feel when their parents begin to fight. The illustrations are full of color and depth. This heartfelt story is a must addition to all classroom and counselor libraries.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Music

There’s a Hole in the Log on the Bottom of the Lake by Loren Long

HoleintheLog_BlogBanner Back of Book:
A cumulative text featuring repetition and tongue-twisters combine with gorgeous illustrations from New York Times bestselling illustrator Loren Long for a book kids will clamor for at storytime. Endpapers include sheet music and lyrics for kids and parents to have their own singalong!
My review:
I am so excited to be apart of the blog tour for this amazing book! There’s A Hole in the Log On the Bottom of the Lake is a terrific story to introduce readers to patterns and sequencing in storytelling. Each verse in the book builds upon itself. My students loved trying to guess what else was on the bottom of the lake next. The detailed illustrations bring out each aspect of the story beautifully. I loved the snail and turtle that appear on each page. They bring a new level of depth and fun to the story.  This book is sure to bring a lot of laughter and fun.   The illustrations are bright, bold and build upon the illustrations as the story builds. The back of the book has the music notes and song lyrics. Loren Long has skillfully put together a fun read-aloud that will be enjoyed over and over
Ages 5 and up
40 pages

 

A Hole in the Log
Book Cover 

 

AUTHOR BIO
Loren Long grew up in Lexington, Kentucky. He pursued graduate-level studies at the American Academy of Art in Chicago after graduating with a BA in Graphic Design/Art Studio from the University of Kentucky. After graduation, Long worked as an illustrator for a greeting card company in Cincinnati before beginning his career as a freelance illustrator. Since then, Long has received numerous accolades for his fluid WPA painting style. He has been awarded two gold medals from the Society of Illustrators in New York and has been frequently selected for their annual exhibition and book. His work has also appeared in many other major annual exhibitions held by such prestigious journals and magazines as American Illustration, Communication Arts, Step-By-Step Graphics and Print. Long’s clients include Time, Reader’s Digest, Forbes, the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic, Boy’s Life, Land’s End, Sports Illustrated, and HBO. He has also illustrated book covers for numerous publishers and has recently concentrated on illustrating books for young readers, where his work has garnered much recognition and praise.

Click Here to go to this website

 

 

Christmas

Mrs. Claus Takes the Reins By Sue Fliess

51vFX1pcdQL._SX389_BO1,204,203,200_

Back of Book:
It’s Christmas Eve morning, and Santa Claus is still in bed! He’s feeling stuffy and sneezy and slow as a yeti. Will Christmas have to be canceled? Not this year! Because Mrs. Claus is ready to take the reins in Santa’s place. With a plan in mind, Mrs. Claus assembles the crew, maps out the route, and preps the sleigh. Then, with a snap of the reins, she shoots off into the night. Delivering gifts all over the world without Santa’s magic won’t be easy, but Mrs. Claus proves she has some holiday sparkle of her own
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Sue Fliess in exchange for an honest review. I love finding stories about Mrs. Claus taking over for Santa on Christmas Eve. I think it is a fun twist for children to consider what would happen if Santa couldn’t make it to Christmas Eve. This story has a fun rhyming scheme and a laugh out loud storyline. Mrs. Claus saves the day in her own unique and entertaining way. It makes a perfect read-aloud for the classroom, or at home. The illustrations are full of color and life. My students loved hearing this read aloud and want me to read it often. A fantastic picture book for the Christmas season.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Autism, Biography

How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine By Amy Guglielmo & Jacqueline Tourville

How to build a hug

Back of Book:
As a young girl, Temple Grandin loved folding paper kites, making obstacle courses, and building lean-tos. But she really didn’t like hugs. Temple wanted to be held—but to her, hugs felt like being stuffed inside the scratchiest sock in the world; like a tidal wave of dentist drills, sandpaper, and awful cologne, coming at her all at once. Would she ever get to enjoy the comfort of a hug?
Then one day, Temple had an idea. If she couldn’t receive a hug, she would make one…she would build a hug machine!
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Amy Guglielmo in exchange for an honest review.
I love that Temple Grandin’s story is appearing in children’s lit. She is a true pioneer in her field and is definitely should be a part of the children’s library. How to Build a Hug is a terrific biography introduction to how Temple felt as a child. The book is a window for readers to understand the different aspects of Autism. It shows that even though some people act or communicate differently, they still need friends. The pictures are done in beautiful soft watercolors and are truly lovely. The back of the book has a very informative author’s note that shares more about Temple Grandin and her amazing life. This is a truly well-written none fiction story and should be a part of every classroom.
Ages 6 and up
48 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Biography, Halloween

She Made a Monster: How Mary Shelley Created Frankenstein By Lynn Fulton

51LaD4c0AqL._SX451_BO1,204,203,200_

Back of Book:
On a stormy night two hundred years ago, a young woman sat in a dark house and dreamed of her life as a writer. She longed to follow the path her own mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, had started down, but young Mary Shelley had yet to be inspired.

As the night wore on, Mary grew more anxious. The next day was the deadline that her friend, the poet Lord Byron, had set for writing the best ghost story. After much talk of science and the secrets of life, Mary had gone to bed exhausted and frustrated that nothing she could think of was scary enough. But as she drifted off to sleep, she dreamed of a man that was not a man. He was a monster.
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Lynn Fulton in exchange for an honest review.
Until this story, I have never read a book that I would consider a Halloween biography story. Lynn has weaved a tale that draws readers into the mind of the famous Mary Shelly. I love that this story focuses on the amazing mind behind Frankenstein’s monster. It allows readers to learn more about the woman who was truly in a league of her own. The illustrations are drawn with dark colors which enhance the spooky aspects of the story. The authors note that shares more about Mary Shelly and her fascinating life. I recommend this book as a great story for book reports and Halloween units.
Ages 6 and up
40 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Autumn

A Fall Ball for All By Jamie A. Swenson

61+zY88JIEL._SY493_BO1,204,203,200_

Back of Book:
On the verge of winter, the autumn wind issues an invitation: “Come one, come all to the annual windfall ball!” Join all the animals in this beautifully illustrated rhyming picture book as they gather for the autumn wind’s harvest in preparation for the long winter.
My Review:
I revived a copy of this book from author Jamie Swenson in exchange for an honest review. My favorite season is fall. I love the colors, cooler weather, traditions and food. As I began to read “A Fall Ball For All” I was transported into a different world. The story follows several animals as they prepare for autumn. The rhyming scheme creates a wonderful read aloud. Each animal has a different way that they collect food, and prepare for the winter. The illustrations are breathtaking! The colors are vibrant and show readers all the shades of fall. This is a must read for the beginning of the fall season.
30 Pages
Ages 5 and up

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

 

 

Dog stories, Read Your World

Operation Rescue Dog By Maria Gianferrari

51tq11Eew3L._SX487_BO1,204,203,200_

Back of Book:
This sweet story about a girl named Alma and a stray dog named Lulu shows how a girl and a dog can rescue each other. Lulu sleeps under the moon, drinking from mud puddles and is covered in ticks until she is rescued. She waits for the Operation Rescue Dog truck, scared and uncertain. Alma misses her Mami, who is far away in Iraq. Alma wears Mami’s scarf around her like a hug. She wonders: Can a dog feel like a hug?

My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Maria Gianferrari in exchange for an honest review.
Operation Rescue Dog is a touching tale about a young girl and her search for something special in her new home. Alma misses her Mami and her home in Iraq. She hopes that having a dog can make her feel like she is home. Lulu is a dog who is scared and alone. She hopes that finding a home will help her find a friend. I love this touching story that shares two perspectives throughout the story. Readers will love watching as Alma and Lulu find their way to one another. The text is lyrical and filled with figurative language. The illustrations are beautiful and show readers the story from both Alma and Lulu views. I can see Maria’s passion for rescue dogs and the people who choose to love them. She wrote an author note and shares how people can rescue dogs and give them a forever home. I am looking forward to sharing this story with my class this year.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon

Read Your World

If You’re Going to a Marchby Martha Freeman

51xwZ2UL+qL._SX388_BO1,204,203,200_

If You’re Going to A march.
As more and more children attend the growing number of marches across the country, this cheerful guide serves as a great reference tool and conversation starter for youthful participants. Inspired by author Martha Freeman’s own experiences, this picture book addresses many of the questions kids might have: What should I wear? How will I get there? Where will I be able to go to the bathroom? Is it okay to dance? (Yes, it is!). All the while the text stays focused on the fact that the right to assemble is a Constitutional part of our life as Americans.

My Review:
I was excited when I won this book in a giveaway from Here We Read I was very intrigued by how the author was going to write this story. Over the years Marches of all kinds have become more of a family affair. Because of this children have questions as to what a march is. I found this to be an informational story as to what can be expected at a march. The story follows several children of all ethnicities as they explain to readers what can happen during a march. I like that this story shares aspects of a march in a way that children can understand. The illustrations are detailed and fun. I love that any child reading this story can see themselves in this book. There is a short afterword in the back of the book that discusses more information about protests in America. A great resource to share with families.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Click Here to Buy on Amazon