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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Food, Read Your World

Food Fight Fiesta: A Tale About La Tomatina by Tracey Kyle

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Back of Book:
Every year, the town of Bu?ol in Spain holds La Tomatina, a grand fiesta featuring the world?s BIGGEST food fight! Join in the fun!
My Review:
I received this book from author Tracey Kyle in exchange for an honest review.
This picture book is an adorable look at a cultural event that has become an annual tradition. I had no idea that Spain held a giant food fight every year. The rhyming text makes this a perfect read aloud. The text also has Spanish words woven throughout which give a creative and diverse twist on the story. The illustrations are bright, colorful, and show readers the fun of the food fight. The back of the book has information about La Tomatina as well as a glossary of all the Spanish words. This is a truly adorable picture book and one that I know my students will want to hear over and over.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Friendship

Luigi and the Barefoot Racesby Dan Paley

Luigi

Back of Book:
They say Luigi always ran barefoot. And they speak of his greatest challenge―the race nobody thought he could win, not even Luigi himself.

Maybe it’s urban legend, or maybe the true events have acquired added luster in Dan Paley’s memory. After all, a story this amazing couldn’t possibly be true, could it?
My Review:
I received a copy of this from author Dan Paley in exchange for an honest review.
Teaching students about Tall Tales can be fun, and exciting. When I read Luigi and the barefoot races I fell in love with the concept of a modern Tall Tale. The story follows Luigi a young boy who is the fastest barefoot runner on the block. That is, until Mean Max almost takes the title away from him. The twist at the end surprised me and made me smile. The text is well written and makes a perfect book for a unit study of figurative language, or adjectives. The illustrations are soft and show the excitement of the neighborhood races. The back of the book has information about Tall Tales, as well as facts about the state of Philadelphia. I look forward to sharing this book in my classroom.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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School

On the First Day of First Grade by Tish Rabe

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Back of Book:
From choosing books to read to building things with clay to performing in a play, there are many exciting firsts to look forward to. Saying goodbye to mom and dad can be hard, but when the school bus pulls up, it’s time for some first-grade fun!
My Review:
I received a copy of this book from author Tish Rabe in exchange for an honest review.
Back to school time is upon us. I love finding fun picture books to read to my class on the first day. I was excited to read this engaging and sweet story about the first day of First Grade. I loved that the story followed the theme of the 12 Days of Christmas. The text is repetitive which makes readers easily remember the text. Each page of the book has a different fun detail about going to first grade like visiting the library, counting coins, performing plays etc. The illustrations are fun and show a diverse group of students. Overall, this is a terrific back to school book.
Ages 5 and up
32 Pages

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Grandparents

A Gift from Abuela by Cecilia Ruiz

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Back of Book:

The first time Abuela holds Nina, her heart overflows with tenderness. And as Nina grows up, she and Abuela spend plenty of time together. Abuela can’t help thinking how much she’d like to give Nina a very special treat, so she saves a little bit of her money every week — a few pesos here, a few pesos there. When the world turns upside down, Abuela’s dream of a surprise for Nina seems impossible. Luckily, time spent together — and the love Abuela and Nina have for each other — could turn out to be the very best gift of all. With a soft and subtle hand, author-illustrator Cecilia Ruiz draws from her own history to share a deeply personal tale about remembering what’s most important when life starts to get in the way
My Review:
I was sent this touching story by author Cecillia Ruiz in exchange for an honest review. I love this tenderhearted story about a grandmother’s love for her granddaughter. I love that this book is filled with the traditions and culture of Mexico. It shows readers the importance of respecting elders and spending quality time with them. The text is sprinkled with Spanish words, which shows readers the beauty of the Spanish language. The ending is sweet and satisfying. The illustrations are beautiful drawings that have soft colors. This is a wonderful multicultural story and should be apart of all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
38 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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Bugs and Insects

The World Never Sleeps By Natalie Rompella

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Back of Book:
This nonfiction picture book reveals the hidden lives of insects and other small creatures from one midnight to the next. The world may appear to be sleeping in the dead of night, but it is not. As moonflowers open and stars shine, nature goes about her business. The world never sleeps.
My Review:
I was so excited to win a copy of this book from author Natalie Rompella. It is an up close look at the world of insects, that roam in the nighttime hours. Each page describes to readers how the insect survives during the evening. The text is beautifully written and shows readers a world that happens while they are sleeping. The illustrations are vivid and detailed. Readers can clearly see all the tiny details on each insect. I love that the orange cat is a focal point on every page. It draws readers in to look and see what the cat sees. The back of the book has a list of all the bugs and insects listed within the story which makes it a perfect nonfiction text to use in any bug related unit. I am looking forward to sharing this book with my students this year.
Ages 5 and up
36 Pages

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Art

A Paintbrush for Paco by Tracey Kyle

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Back of Book:
Paco loves daydreaming and drawing, but he struggles to concentrate during class. When his profesor takes him to the art room, Paco is amazed by the colorful paints: pink, rosado; purple, morado; fiery orange, anaranjado; and more! Could art be just what Paco needs?

My Review:
I am so glad that I received a cop of this book from author Tracey Kyle. It is a beautiful story about the power that art can have on a child. The text is exciting, and rhymes which allows readers to stay engaged and enjoy the story. I love that the book shows the importance of incorporating art in the classroom. I agree with Tracy’s message that art needs to stay a part of the curriculum in classrooms. Every teacher has had a child who is talented in art like Paco. This book shows these students that their art is a gift, and should be celebrated. There are several Spanish words that are perfectly sprinkled throughout the text which creates a perfect bilingual story for young readers. The illustrations from Joshua Heinsz are simply stunning! The colors are bright and vibrant! The back of the book has a great author note, as well as a detailed glossary with Spanish words, English words, and pronunciation. I cannot wait to share this book in my classroom. A must have in all classroom libraries.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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Art, Uncategorized

Something from Nothing by Damian Synadinos

 

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Back of Book:

“Hank and Stella in Something From Nothing” is an engaging story that helps children laugh while they learn and improve through improv.

Theatrical improv(isation) is, essentially, making something from nothing. Players create and perform shows simultaneously and in the moment, without a script, props, or costumes. And, the fundamental principles and skills of improv are as useful on stage as they are at play and in life!

The story takes place on a boring, grey, and rainy day as Stella the bunny and Hank the dog learn about improv and discuss focusing on the present, getting and exploring ideas, reacting to accidents and mistakes, the importance of practice, and the benefits of diversity. The story ends with Hank and Stella inviting the reader to join them in an improv show, and even includes a few silly, simple games to help get kids started making improv shows of their own!

The book can help children develop their imaginations, play cooperatively, increase their confidence, and even conquer boring, grey, rainy days!

My Review:
I was very excited to receive a copy of this fun and unique story from the author Damian Synadinos.
I have never seen a picture book that teaches children how to do improve. The story follows Hank and Stella as they try to find something to do. They decide to create a show. I love that the text explains to readers what improve is. There are several categories and definitions that describe to readers how they can create their own show. The text rhymes which keeps readers engaged and smiling. The illustrations are sweet and fun. I love that Damian created thought bubbles so readers can see what Stella and Hank are describing. The back of the book has a list of improv games so that readers can put on their own show. I am looking forward to sharing this book with my classroom.
Ages 5 and up
44 Pages

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Sharks

A-Z of Sharks – The Alphabet of the Shark World By Paula Hammond

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Back of Book:

If you know your ABCs why not try the sharks alphabet? A is for Angel Shark, B is for Bull Shark, C is for…? Full of fun facts and illustrations A-Z of Sharks presents 26 weird and wonderful creatures from the deep.
My Review:
Shark week is July 22nd- July 29th. I am very excited to share this amazing nonfiction picture book with my summer class next week. It is a detailed look at 26 sharks. Each shark begins with a different letter of the alphabet. I love that each page has a fact that is unique to that shark. The illustrations are detailed and beautiful. This is a must read for all shark enthusiasts.
Ages 5 and up
40 Pages

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