Growth Mindset, Princess stories, Read Your World

Not Quite Snow White by Ashley Franklin

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Back of Book:
Tameika is a girl who belongs on the stage. She loves to act, sing, and dance—and she’s pretty good at it, too. So when her school announces their Snow White musical, Tameika auditions for the lead princess role.
But the other kids think she’s “not quite” right to play the role.
They whisper, they snicker, and they glare.
Will Tameika let their harsh words be her final curtain call?
My Review:
Social and emotional learning is a newer standard at my school. I love using picture books to help teach the standards in a relatable way. “Not Quite Snow White” is an excellent story to show children an example of confidence and loving yourself. Ashley took a sensitive topic and created a beautiful example of how important it is to love the skin your in.
Tameika is such a dynamic character that so many readers can relate to and connect with. I believe that this book will give children the extra courage that they need to try something new. The illustrations by Ebony Glenn are glossy and bright. The details convey the emotions of each child throughout the story. I look forward to sharing this book in my classroom this year.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Kindergarten stories, School

The King of Kindergarten by Derrick Barnes

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Back of Book:
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone–and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He’s dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can’t wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he’s up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can’t wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements–and then wake up to start another day.
My Review:
I absolutely love teaching Kindergarten! Every day brings a new discovery or adventure. This story is an excellent introduction to what a day in Kindergarten is like. The story follows a nameless young boy as he experiences his first day of school. I have many books in my library about celebrating the first day of Kindergarten, but none of them focus on a male charecter. Derrick has perfectly crafted a unique back to school story. The text highlights the importance of holding your head high and always being kind to others. The illustrations by Vanessa Brantley-Ne
wton are bold and bright. She beatifully captured the essence of the story. I shared this book with the children in my summer program. My favorite part was one of the boys saying “hey, he looks like me” it warmed my heart to share such a relatable book with my students.
This is definitly a must read for all Kidergarten classrooms.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Kindergarten stories, School

Butterflies on the First Day of School By Annie Silvestro

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Back of Book:
Rosie can’t wait to start kindergarten—she’s had her pencils sharpened and her backpack ready for weeks. But suddenly, on the night before the big day, her tummy hurts. Rosie’s mom reassures her that it’s just butterflies in her belly, and she’ll feel better soon. Much to Rosie’s surprise, when she says hello to a new friend on the bus, a butterfly flies out of her mouth! As the day goes on, Rosie frees all her butterflies and even helps another shy student let go of hers, too.
My Review:
I received a copy of this picture book from Sterlings Children’s Publishing in exchange for an honest review.
Kindergarten is such an exciting time. Children often have a variety of mixed emotions as they begin the school year. Annie beautifully captured the anticipation and apprehension that the first day of school can bring.
The story follows Rosie, a young girl who gets butterflies on her first day. The more confidence Rosie has the better she feels. I loved the use of metaphor in the story. Readers can easily relate to having their own butterflies on the first day of school. The illustrations by Dream Chen are whimsical and bright. I loved the verity of colors that were used within the pages. This is a perfect book for all incoming kindergarten students and their teachers.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

Biography

Girls with Guts!: The Road to Breaking Barriers and Bashing Records by Debbie Gonzales

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Back of Book:
A celebration of the strength, endurance, and athleticism of women and girls throughout the ages, Girls With Guts! keeps score with examples of women athletes from the late 1800s up through the 1970s, sharing how women refused to take no for an answer, and how finally, they pushed for a law to protect their right to play, compete, and be athletes.

My Review:
Debbie Gonzales created a wonderful look at many of the prominent figures in sports who paved the way for changes in sports. The story showcases women in several different countries who fought in all aspects of sports. The text also discusses the barriers and discrimination that occurred within the sports world. I was surprised that it took until the 1970s for laws to be passed to ban discrimination for female athletes. The text is rich with detail but written in a way that readers can understand, and enjoy. The illustrations by Rebecca Gibbon are detailed and bright. The back of the book has an amazing timeline that shows women’s sports as well as an author note from Debbie about “playing like a girl” this is such a terrific nonfiction biography. I learned so many new things and cannot wait to share this in my classroom this year.
Ages 6 and up
32 Pages

Family, Read Your World

Hair Love By Matthew A. Cherry

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Back of Book:
Zuri’s hair has a mind of its own. It kinks, coils, and curls every which way. Zuri knows it’s beautiful. When Daddy steps in to style it for an extra special occasion, he has a lot to learn. But he LOVES his Zuri, and he’ll do anything to make her — and her hair — happy.
My Review:
The first time I saw the cover of this book I knew I would love it. The text is charming and follows a dad attempting to navigate his little girl’s wild locks. The story is humorous and shows Zuri’s daddy trying unsuccessfully to style her hair. Finally, they come up with a plan to create the perfect hairstyle. I love that the text is written in a first-person narrative. It allows the readers to connect with Zuri and her story. The illustrations by Vashti Harrison are colorful and bright. They beautifully capture the love between Zuri and her father. I look forward to sharing this book in my classroom during the school year. This story shows readers that everyone’s hair is special and unique. A must-have for any classroom or school library.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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

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