Sunday, July 31, 2016

More July Reading Recommendations from Ms. Moore

I am plowing through my to-be-read piles, with dozens of books still on hold at the library. Here are some of the ones I liked the most from the past two weeks. All book covers and plot summaries are from Goodreads:

Picture books

Lindsey Craig's rollicking text features funny sound words (Tippity! Creepity! Stompity! Thumpity!), dancing animals, a singsong beat, and a guessing element just easy enough for preschoolers to anticipate. Marc Brown's artwork is bright, textured, and joyful, a collage of simple shapes for kids to find and name. So grab a partner and tap your feet to this read-aloud picture-book treat. (NOTE: Will be using with PreK)

On a rainy day, Frank’s parents take him to the shelter to get a new dog. Exploring their neighborhood teaches them about biology: Lucky learns all about squirrels, deer, and—unfortunately for Frank—skunks. Sharing a bed teaches them about fractions—what happens when one dog takes up three-quarters of the bed, or even the whole thing? They even learn different languages: Frank makes a friend who speaks Spanish and Lucky tries to learn Duck!  (NOTE: Will be using with Grade 2)

Bruce the bear likes to keep to himself. That, and eat eggs. But when his hard-boiled goose eggs turn out to be real, live goslings, he starts to lose his appetite. And even worse, the goslings are convinced he's their mother. Bruce tries to get the geese to go south, but he can't seem to rid himself of his new companions. What's a bear to do?

Just when a little girl thinks she could not possibly be more bored, she stumbles upon a potato who turns the tables on her by declaring that children are boring. But this girl is not going to let a vegetable tell her what is what, so she sets out to show the unimpressed potato all the amazing things kids can do. Too bad the potato is anything but interested. This tongue-in-cheek twist on a familiar topic is filled with comedian Michael Ian Black's trademark dry wit, accompanied by charismatic illustrations from newcomer Debbie Ridpath Ohi. 

Middle Grades

Fourth grade is not going at all how Benny Barrows hoped. He hasn’t found a new best friend. He’s still not a great bike rider—even though his brother George, who’s autistic, can do tricks. And worst of all, he worries his dad’s recent accident might be all his fault. Benny tries to take his mom’s advice and focus on helping others, and to take things one step at a time. But when his dad ends up in the hospital again, Benny doesn’t know how he and his family will overcome all the bad luck that life has thrown their way.

Genie’s summer is full of surprises. The first is that he and his big brother, Ernie, are leaving Brooklyn for the very first time to spend the summer with their grandparents all the way in Virginia—in the COUNTRY! The second surprise comes when Genie figures out that their grandfather is blind.  .. [On Ernie's] fourteenth birthday, Grandpop says to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks that is AWESOME until he realizes Ernie has no interest in learning how to shoot. None. Nada. Dumbfounded by Ernie’s reluctance, Genie is left to wonder—is bravery and becoming a man only about proving something, or is it just as important to own up to what you won’t do? 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Summer Reading: RICBA Books

Kids going into grades 3-5 will be eligible to vote for the Rhode Island Children's Book Award if they read 3 of the 20 nominees.

I'm making my way through the list and encourage students to do the same ... why not get started over the summer? If you read one of the RICBA books, add a comment below to tell other kids what you thought. Include your last year's room number and initials, but not your full name.

I just finished A Whole New Ballgame by Phil Bildner yesterday, and am waiting for Upside-Down Magic to get delivered to my Kindle (do you know about Overdrive??). So far, though, my favorite of the 14 I've read so far is probably Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hinton. Here's the cover and summary from Goodreads (where I gave it 5 stars):

Inside Out and Back Again meets One Crazy Summer and Brown Girl Dreaming in this novel-in-verse about fitting in and standing up for what’s right.

It's 1969, and the Apollo 11 mission is getting ready to go to the moon. But for half-black, half-Japanese Mimi, moving to a predominantly white Vermont town is enough to make her feel alien. Suddenly, Mimi's appearance is all anyone notices. 
She struggles to fit in with her classmates, even as she fights for her right to stand out by entering science competitions and joining Shop Class instead of Home Ec. And even though teachers and neighbors balk at her mixed-race family and her refusals to conform, Mimi’s dreams of becoming an astronaut never fade—no matter how many times she’s told no.

This historical middle-grade novel is told in poems from Mimi's perspective over the course of one year in her new town, and shows readers that positive change can start with just one person speaking up.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Grade 6 Advice to Younger Students

Oak Lawn won't have any 6th graders next year, but we WILL have plenty of advice from this year's students for the kids coming up after them. I'll be preserving their wisdom in binders. Here's what the graduating class of 2016 thinks you should know:

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Abiyoyo with AM K

I remember being introduced to a ton of great books via the Reading Rainbow TV show. One such title is Abiyoyo, a South African lullaby adapted by none other than Pete Seeger. I shared it with the kindergartners, who enjoyed singing along. 

Then they drew what they'd make disappear if they had a magic wand. ZOOP!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

June/July Reading Recommendations from Ms. Moore

Summer vacation is here, which means that I have lots of time to read grown-up books ... but I still keep up on new releases to plan for Mock Caldecott, Mock Newbery, and our general collection wish list. Here are some of the ones I liked the most from the past month. All book covers and plot summaries are from Goodreads:

Picture books

Using just nine words, the award-winning creator of Chalk takes readers on another unforgettable journey. When three children discover a typewriter on a carousel, they are transported on an adventure of their own creation—complete with a giant beach ball and a threatening crab. Stunning, richly colored artwork is paired with limited text so children can tell their own version of the story. 

Early Readers

Something is going on in the forest: one of the animals is saying nasty things about the other forest creatures. But no one dares make a statement to the police. Who is the culprit? Detective Gordon and his assistant Buffy must investigate! But this is a complicated case. The two police officers split the workload: Buffy questions the suspects, while Gordon stays in bed to think. 


Beginning in 1922, when Edith Houghton was only ten years old, she tried out for a women’s professional baseball team, the Philadelphia Bobbies. Though she was the smallest on the field, soon reporters were talking about “The Kid” and her incredible skill, and crowds were packing the stands to see her play. Her story reminds us that baseball has never been about just men and boys. Baseball is also about talented girls willing to work hard to play any way they can. 

Middle Grades

Charlie feels like she's always coming in last. From her Mom's new job to her sister's life at college, everything seems more important than Charlie. Then one day while ice fishing, Charlie makes a discovery that will change everything . . . in the form of a floppy fish offering to grant a wish in exchange for freedom. Charlie can't believe her luck but soon realizes that this fish has a very odd way of granting wishes as even her best intentions go awry. But when her family faces a challenge bigger than any they've ever experienced, Charlie wonders if some things might be too important to risk on a wish fish.

Young Adult

Five mysterious, spine-tingling stories follow journeys into (and out of?) the eerie abyss. These chilling tales spring from the macabre imagination of acclaimed and award-winning comic creator Emily Carroll. Come take a walk in the woods and see what awaits you there...

NOTE: Graphic novel format and RITBA nominee

Stealing is bad.
I know.
But my brother Levi is always so sick, and his medicine is always so expensive.

I didn’t think anyone would notice,
if I took that credit card,
if, in one stolen second,
I bought Levi’s medicine.

But someone did notice.
Now I have to prove I’m not a delinquent, I’m not a total bonehead.

That one quick second turned into
a judge
a year of house arrest,
a year of this court-ordered journal,
a year to avoid messing up
and being sent back to juvie
so fast my head will spin.

It’s only 1 year.
Only 52 weeks.
Only 365 days.
Only 8,760 hours.
Only 525,600 minutes.

What could go wrong?

NOTE: RITBA nominee