What Do You Do with a Chance?
Author: Kobi Yamada
Illustrator: Mae Besom
Published: July 1, 2016 by Compendium Inc.
Summary: The award–winning creators of The New York Times best sellers What Do You Do With an Idea?and What Do You Do With a Problem? return with a captivating story about a child who isn’t sure what to make of a chance encounter and then discovers that when you have courage, take chances, and say yes to new experiences, amazing things can happen.
In this story, a child is visited by his first chance and unsure what to do with it, he lets it go. Later on, when a new chance arrives he reaches for it, but this time he misses and falls. Embarrassed and afraid, he begins ignoring each new chance that comes by, even though he still wants to take them. Then one day he realizes that he doesn’t need to be brave all the time, just at the right time, to find out what amazing things can happen when he takes a chance.
The final addition to the award-winning What Do You Do With…? picture book series created by New York Times best selling author Kobi Yamada and illustrator by Mae Besom, What Do You Do With a Chance? inspires kids of all ages and parents alike to find the courage to go for the opportunities that come their way. Because you never know when a chance, once taken, might be the one to change everything.
Ricki’s Review: There is something absolutely magical about these books. This author/illustrator team is simply remarkable in their ability to make the abstract come alive. Each semester, I read one of the books from this series aloud to my preservice teachers. They will be teaching in secondary schools, but this book series makes it obvious about how they can powerfully use picture books in their classrooms. After I read the book aloud, I don’t need to go through a long justification of why picture books work well in middle and high schools. What I like about this series is that each book is different from the other two. They overlap in their conceptualization and they all are remarkable choices for the instruction of symbolism and creating writing–but they all teach very different, big ideas. I can see each book pairing well with a different canonical or YA text.
Kellee’s Review: I hope each and every one my students leave my class with is that life is about trying and working hard and being creative and kindness and so much more than just passing tests, and Yamada’s series teaches all of these things in such a beautiful, fun, and inspiring way! The newest book in the series looks at the fear that comes with new things, and I think this is something that is so important to talk to kids about, doing anything different or new can be scary for a bunch of different reasons. And this ranges from toddlers (Trent is afraid of fast rides) to teenagers (who may be afraid of doing something that may look uncool or are too busy to grab a chance when it comes by). I am so sad that this is the final installation of the series, but I am so glad that we have the three we do.
Teacher’s Tools for Navigation: In previous posts for this series, we have discussed how teachers might use this book to teach word choice, symbolism, and creative writing. Teachers might also consider reading all three books aloud to students and talking about the ways they are conceptually similar and different. Students might discuss the paratext of the novels and the marketing of the books. They might also compare and contrast how the books offer completely different, powerful illustrations of abstract ideas.
Discussion Questions: What do you do with a chance?; How do the author and illustrator work together to make the abstract concept of a “chance” more concrete?; What does the book teach about courage?; When have you taken a chance? Did it work out? What did it teach you? What famous people in history have taken chances? What do you think they learned?
Read This If You Loved: What Do You Do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada; What Do You Do With a Problem? by Kobi Yamada; The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires; The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds, The Noisy Paint Box by Barb Rosenstock, Lost and Found by Oliver Jeffers, Journey by Aaron Becker
That Inevitable Victorian Thing
Author: E. K. Johnston
Published: October 3, 2017 by Dutton
Guest Review by Kaari von Bernuth
Goodreads Summary: Set in a near-future world where the British Empire was preserved, not by the cost of blood and theft but by effort of repatriation and promises kept, That Inevitable Victorian Thing is a novel of love, duty, and the small moments that can change people and the world.
Victoria-Margaret is the crown princess of the empire, a direct descendent of Victoria I, the queen who changed the course of history two centuries earlier. The imperial practice of genetically arranged matchmaking will soon guide Margaret into a politically advantageous marriage like her mother before her, but before she does her duty, she’ll have one summer incognito in a far corner of empire. In Toronto, she meets Helena Marcus, daughter of one of the empire’s greatest placement geneticists, and August Callaghan, the heir apparent to a powerful shipping firm currently besieged by American pirates. In a summer of high-society debutante balls, politically charged tea parties, and romantic country dances, Margaret, Helena, and August discover they share an unusual bond and maybe a one in a million chance to have what they want and to change the world in the process —just like the first Queen Victoria.
My Review: The futuristic setting of this novel that wasn’t a dystopia was very intriguing to me. Most of the futuristic novels that I’ve read have featured dystopian societies, so it was refreshing to have something that worked. I really enjoyed the multiple perspectives from the different characters, and became personally invested in their lives and experiences. I’d find myself hurting for Helena as she struggled to reconcile her identity, and rooting for August to do the right thing. In some way, all of the characters have to struggle to come of age and develop their identity based on who they want to be.
However, I wish that this novel had placed a little more effort on the ending. While the rest of the novel had dealt with realistic challenges that an adolescent might face, the ending seemed rather contrived, and less realistic like the rest of the novel. The solution proposed at the end of the novel is not a solution that an adolescent in current society could replicate and learn from, which was disappointing.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: This book poses great questions about racism (or rather the eradication of racism), as well as questions of morality. It also would be great for discussions about the influence that society can have on your life verses the influence that you decide for your life. I think that this book would be a great addition to a classroom library for kids to enjoy, or a book to be used in a reading circle. It’s engaging and could lead to interesting discussions, especially about the futuristic government and setting of the novel, and the aforementioned topics of racism, morality, and societal influence vs self. However, I do think that other novels cover these topics in a better way, which is why I wouldn’t recommend it for large classroom discussions.
Discussion Questions: Is this novel a utopia? Dystopia? Does it fit either criteria?; How is race approached in this novel? Is there racism in the society?; What is the role of colonialism in this novel?; What is the role of the Computer? Do you think this is a good advancement?; What does the computer lack?; What morality questions does this novel pose?
We Flagged: “The Computer is sufficient if you want to know your future without taking into account your soul. I don’t mean in the eternal sense, but in the worldly. The Computer can tell you if your genes are prone to carcinoma or if you might be six feet tall, but it cannot tell you if you will enjoy dancing or if you will prefer cake to pie. I would argue that the latter is more important in terms of a long and healthy relationship” (p. 254).
Read This If You Loved: Matched by Allie Condie; Delirium by Lauren Oliver; The Luxe by Anna Godbersen; The Selection by Kiera Cass
**Thank you to Kaari for reviewing this book!**
Author: Matt de la Peña
Illustrator: Loren Long
Published January 9th, 2018
Summary: From Newbery Medal-winning author Matt de la Peña and bestselling illustrator Loren Long comes a story about the strongest bond there is and the diverse and powerful ways it connects us all.
“In the beginning there is light
and two wide-eyed figures standing near the foot of your bed
and the sound of their voices is love.
A cab driver plays love softly on his radio
while you bounce in back with the bumps of the city
and everything smells new, and it smells like life.”
In this heartfelt celebration of love, Matt de la Peña and illustrator Loren Long depict the many ways we experience this universal bond, which carries us from the day we are born throughout the years of our childhood and beyond. With a lyrical text that’s soothing and inspiring, this tender tale is a needed comfort and a new classic that will resonate with readers of every age.
Kellee’s Review: I sat here for a long time trying to figure out how to put into words how I feel about this book. I just can’t, but I will try.
Let me give you some history. At ALAN in 2016, I believe, Matt was a speaker, and he shared how he’d written a poem about love to share with his daughter when the world didn’t seem so loving. Matt’s daughter is approximately Trent’s age and she’s his first just like Trent is, so I completely understood his feelings–the reality that we’ve brought children into this hard world. When Matt read his beautiful words, I cried. It was beautiful. At the end of the poem, he let us know it was going to be a book, and I had very high expectations.
Then at NCTE 2017, I heard that Penguin had a finished copy. I thought that there was no way that the book could live up to what I expected. But then I read it. And I cried again. I, probably rudely, found Matt right away, maybe interrupting a conversation he was having with someone else, to tell him what a beautiful book he and Loren had created. Matt’s poem had been about love, but the book is about LOVE. Love in the sense that every one needs to start thinking about–love between every person. Empathy. Understanding. Tolerance. Unity. Love for all humans.
And as I read it over and over (after I was lucky enough to receive a copy), I couldn’t think of a kid I didn’t want to share it with. I wanted to share it with my son to talk about how much I love him and how he should love all of human kind; I wanted to share it with my friend who is a 2nd grade teacher, so she could share it with all of her students; I wanted to share it with my students, so we can discuss about the love and acceptance found in each spread and each word; and I am so happy to be sharing it here with all of you so that it can be in every person’s life.
Also, please read this amazing article by Matt de la Peña: “Why We Shouldn’t Shield Children from Darkness” from Time and Kate DiCamillo’s follow-up “Why Children’s Books Should Be a Little Bit Sad” where she answers a question de la Peña posed in his article as well as this Twitter thread from Sayantani DasGupta where she explores the need for joy in the darkeness! It truly embodies my parenting and teaching philosophy: that although kids are kids, they are also humans and future adults; life should be about being real and about happiness.
In the end, I want to just thank these two amazing men for writing this phenomenal book that I so feel is needed so badly right now, and thank you for including nothing but truth within it including inclusion of all types of people and children and situations and cultures and races and ethnicities, etc.
Ricki’s Review: I am really looking forward to seeing Matt de la Peña next month during his tour! This book is absolutely stunning, and we will certainly be purchasing many copies to give as baby shower gifts. The entire text simply emanates love. It is honest, poetically, and it treats children as the intelligent people that they are. The illustrations are simply marvelous and the words dance across the page. I simply don’t have the words to share how absolutely beautiful this book is. When I think of this book, I think about a warm, cozy house and two little boys on my lap. And these little boys make me feel love, love, love.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: I’ll talk about one scene specifically, which happens to be my favorite.
As soon as I saw this scene, I wanted to show it to students and have discussions with them. How does this scene make them feel? Who is the family? What are they watching? What clues did they use to answer these questions?
Then I would add in the word that accompany the scene:
“One day you find your family
nervously huddled around the TV,
but when you asked what happened,
they answer with silence
and shift between you and the screen.”
And I would ask them how these words change the inferences they made about the spread.
Lastly, I would ask them why this stanza would be in a poem about love, how it fits with the theme, and what it represents.
Another idea that I brainstormed with my friend Jennie Smith are:
- Recreate my experience by sharing the poem first with the circumstances I shared above. Then reread the poem to them but with the illustrations.
- After the first read, you can also have them make their own illustrations analyzing the words then compare/contrast the choices that Loren Long made with what they did.
- Why did the author and illustrator include tough scenes in their picture book about love?
- Which scene represents love the most for you?
- Which scene are you glad they included?
- How does the poem differ with and without the illustrations?
- What different purposes could this poem of love be perfect for?
Flagged Passages: *psst!* Matt may have told me this is (one of) his favorite spreads:
Read This If You Love: Love. (But seriously, read this. Period.)
Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish and is now hosted at That Artsy Reader Girl. This feature allows us to make lists, which may be one of our favorite things to do!
Today’s Topic: Twenty 2018 Books We Look Forward to Reading
So many wonderful books are coming out in 2018! It was hard to even narrow it down to 20!
(We didn’t include any books that were on our #mustreadin2018 list as to not double up and highlight more titles 🙂 )
1. Cruel Prince by Holly Black
January 2nd, 2018
2. What If It’s Us by Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera
October 2nd, 2018
3. Furyborn by Claire Legrand
May 22nd, 2018
4. Bat and the Waiting Game by Elana K. Arnold
March 27th, 2018
5. Breakout by Kate Messner
June 5th, 2018
6. The Lifters by Dave Eggers
April 24th, 2018
7. The Lost Rainforest: Mez’s Magic by Eliot Schrefer
January 2nd, 2018
8. Sunny by Jason Reynolds
April 10th, 2018
9. The Night Diary by Veera Hiranandani
March 6th, 2018
10. Betty Before X by Ilyasah Shabazz with Renée Watson
January 2nd, 2018
11. Rebound by Kwame Alexander
April 3rd, 2018
12. Escape from Aleppo by N.H. Senzai
January 2nd, 2018
13. The Wild Robot Escapes by Peter H. Brown
March 13th, 2018
14. Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire by John August
February 6th, 2018
15. HiLo Book 4: Waking the Monsters by Judd Winick
January 16th, 2018
16. Amulet 8: Supernova by Kazu Kibuishi
September 25th, 2018
17. How to Code a Sandcastle by Josh Funk, Illustrated by Sara Palacios
May 15th, 2018
18. Square by Mac Barnett, Illustrated by Jon Klass
May 8tn, 2018
19. Islandborn / Lola by Junot Díaz, Illustrated by Leo Espinosa
March 13th, 2018
20. For Everyone by Jason Reynolds
April 10th, 2018
Which books are you looking forward to reading?
It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? From Picture Books to YA!
It’s Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme started by Sheila at Book Journeys and now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It is a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It’s also a great chance to see what others are reading right now…you just might discover the next “must-read” book!
Kellee and Jen, of Teach Mentor Texts, decided to give It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children’s literature – picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit – join us! We love this meme and think you will, too.
We encourage everyone who participates to support the blogging community by visiting at least three of the other book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.
Last Week’s Posts
**Click on any picture/link to view the post**
Thursday: Review and Giveaway!: Don’t Forget Dexter by Lindsay Ward
**Giveaway open until Wednesday!**
Last Week’s Journeys
I’m back!!! Can’t wait to see what you all have been reading 🙂 Here’s my updates for the weeks I’ve been gone:
Week of 12/18
This was still a slow week, but Trent and I loved reading Star Wars OBI-123, and Ellie from Ellie Engineer is now one of my favorite mighty girls in an early reader!
Week of 12/25
This is the week that my rut started to end! Yay! It just takes a couple of good books and some time.
Rhyme Schemer and They Both Die at the End were so good! K.A. Holt and Adam Silvera have both not disappointed me yet. These are both must reads if you haven’t read them yet! For real.
Week of 1/1
This is the week that my reading was rocking! It was so wonderful! I always don’t mind going back to school, but I also really wish that I had had one more week of awesome reading before going back to the regular.
You’re going to notice a trend for a couple of weeks: Laurel Snyder. My book club is Skyping with her on Friday, 1/19! Although I loved both of her books, I do want to shout out to Swan because it was just SO beautiful.
American Street by Ibi Zoboi was recommended to me by Ricki, and I am so glad. It was available at my library through Kindle, and I started it right away. And it is perfection.
Thunderhead by Neal Shusterman is just as perfect as the first in the series. It is 500 pages, but I read it in one day because I couldn’t stop! And now I have to wait forever for the third in the trilogy. Seriously, if you haven’t started this series… make. it. happen.
Lastly, I read Cheerleaders by Kara Thomas, and she once again blew me away with her ability to craft a mystery. Her stories always blow me away.
Week of 1/8
Chugging along with the Whatever After series, and I think this one was my favorite yet!
Two Laurel Snyder books this week: The Forever Garden, a sweet story reminding us that it isn’t always about the end goal but about the journey itself. I also really liked Any Which Wall which was a fantastical adventure with a wide age range of main characters (5-12) which makes it a great read for a variety of kids.
Trent’s go-to read this week were Six Brave Explorers, a pop-up book that belonged to my sister, and Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin which is pretty much the perfect book for Trent’s age. Check out the Scholastic page on it for a HILARIOUS book trailer also. https://www.scholastic.com/kids/book/baby-monkey-private-eye-by-brian-selznick/
I also had the honor of reading the manuscript for the sequel to The Dark Intercept by Julia Keller, Dark Mind Rising. I can’t say too much, but I will say that the craziness continues!
So happy to have you back, Kellee! Missed you last week! 🙂
For my younger son’s holiday wish list, we asked for noise books. He loves pushing the buttons. Between all of our family members (some very special aunts, uncles, and grandparents), he made out like a bandit. My husband and I have read each book a few hundred times since the holidays. Our favorites are:
We pretty much like any book that roars because it causes our son to let out his own huge roar.
On a more personal note, I am catching up on some of the YA books that I missed last year. I am determined to finish my #mustreadin2018 list this year. 🙂
This Week’s Expeditions
I already started the next Whatever After book, and I also hope to finish Orphan Island by Laurel Snyder before the Skype visit.
I am reading four books right now, and I enjoy switching between them, depending on my mood. Blankets by Craig Thompson (an adult GN) and We Are Okay by Nina LaCour are currently the two books that I am reading the most each night.
Upcoming Week’s Posts
Tuesday: Twenty 2018 Books We Look Forward to Reading
Wednesday: Love by Matt de la Peña
Thursday: Guest Review: That Inevitable Victorian Thing by E.K. Johnston
Friday: What Do You Do With a Chance? by Kobi Yamada
Sunday: Author Guest Post by Shana Hollowell, Author of Little Mouse’s Sweet Treat
So, what are you reading?
Link up below and go check out what everyone else is reading. Please support other bloggers by viewing and commenting on at least 3 other blogs. If you tweet about your Monday post, tag the tweet with #IMWAYR!
Every year, I promise myself that I will get my list down to ten books. And every year, I goof up and end up with more than ten books. Forgive me, but here are my favorite 13 books that I read this year. Please note that the age categories below are superficial. These are books for readers of all ages. 🙂
La La La by Kate DiCamillo (Illustrations by Jaime Kim) (2017)
Love by Matt de la Peña (Illustrations by Loren Long (2018)
Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares (2017)
Windows by Julia Denos (Illustrations by E. B. Goodale) (2017)
Middle Grade Books
Ghost by Jason Reynolds (2016)
Refugee by Alan Gratz (2017)
Young Adult Books
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (2017)
Highly Illogical Behavior by John Corey Whaley (2016)
The Inexplicable Logic of My Life by Benjamin Alire Sáenz (2017)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (2017)
Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds (2017)
The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon (2016)
Pose Wobble Flow: A Culturally Proactive Approach to Literacy Instruction by Antero Garcia and Cindy O’Donnell-Allen (2015)
Don’t Forget Dexter
Author and Illustrator: Lindsay Ward
Published January 1, 2018 by Two Lions
Summary: Introducing Dexter T. Rexter, the toughest, coolest dinosaur ever. At least he likes to think so.
When his best friend, Jack, leaves him behind at the doctor’s office, Dexter T. Rexter panics. First he tries to find Jack. Then he sings their special song. Then he sings their special song even louder. But when Jack still doesn’t appear, Dexter starts to wonder. What if he’s being replaced by another toy? It can’t be—after all, he can STOMP, RAWR, and CHOMP! Right? Right?!
This hilariously neurotic dinosaur will do whatever it takes to get his friend back—even asking the reader’s advice—in this first book of a brand-new series.
Praise for DON’T FORGET DEXTER!:
★ “Ward’s ink, colored-pencil, and cut-paper illustrations give readers a toy’s view of the world and allow children to stomp in Dexter’s feet for a while, his facial expressions giving them lots of clues to his feelings. Lost and found was never so riotously funny or emotionally draining.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“Ward (Brobarians) is as funny as ever as she chronicles her orange hero’s nervous, no-filter state of mind, and her cut-paper, pencil, and ink drawings—with their visual asides, annotations, and shifts in scale—are irrepressible. It’s high anxiety made highly adorable.” —Publishers Weekly
Ricki’s Review: I simply adored this charming story about a toy that is mistakenly left behind by his best friend, Jack. It reminded me a bit of The Velveteen Rabbit and Toy Story (but different!), and it is very accessible for kids. This book teaches some great lessons, and my son and I had a long conversation about how being separated from his things doesn’t always have to be forever. We recently moved across the country, and he doesn’t have all of his favorite toys around, so this book was really helpful to me as a parent, and I imagine that other parents will find it to be a great resource. We received this book a few weeks ago and have read it several times. My son calls it his “dinosaur book.” We have several dinosaur books, so it is a big compliment that this book is the dinosaur book.
Kellee’s Review: I love the voice of Dexter in this book! And the breaking of the fourth wall really adds such humor to the story line. And although the story sounds a bit like Toy Story and other toy books, it is so different than what you’d expect because Dexter is all alone, doesn’t know why he’s still at the doctor’s office, and is having a bit of an identity crisis. However, the way that Dexter feels will be easily a feeling that readers will relate to because anyone who has ever felt left out from something will feel like Dexter does.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask kids to write about a time that they were separated from something that they value. They might consider how this separation may or may not have been permanent. Alternatively, teachers might ask kids to write a story in which one of of their toys comes to life.
Check out some fun activities here!
Discussion Questions: How do you learn about the feelings of the characters? What do the author and illustrator do to make these come to life?; When is a time that you were separated from something that you love? Was it permanent?; How do the author and illustrator make the text interactive? How do they engage readers?
About the Author: Lindsay Ward was inspired to write this book after her husband texted her a photo of a toy dinosaur abandoned at a doctor’s office. The caption read: “Well, they left me here.” Lindsay thought it was so funny that she sat down to write Dexter’s story immediately. She is also the author and illustrator of Brobarians, Henry Finds His Word, and When Blue Met Egg. Her book Please Bring Balloons was also made into a play.
**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing copies for review!!**
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