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Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide
Author and Illustrator: Emma Yarlett
Published 2017 by Kane Miller Publishing

Summary: NIBBLES, the book-eating MONSTER, has chomped his way into this book of DINOSAURS! Has he bitten off more than he can chew?!

What was a very serious book about very serious dinosaurs is suddenly interrupted by a hole – a nibbled hole – in the book. Who would do something like that?

Little ones will love trying to find the culprit – Nibbles – hiding among their favorite, easily recognizable dinosaurs. Is he an herbivore? A carnivore? Or … a bookivore?

Emma Yarlett’s Nibbles: The Dinosaur Guide is packed with flaps, folds, facts and die cuts, plus one very naughty monster and an ending to make Houdini proud. But has Nibbles bitten off more than he can chew?

Themes include humor and science.

Review: We love Nibbles. We have a stuffed Nibbles and have read the first one so many times (and it is one of my husband’s favorite picture books–he says it is so unique.) I am probably majorly biased when it comes to this review because OF COURSE we loved this one also. I mean, listen to this: 

What is so interesting about this new book is that it takes the concept of Nibbles (a book eating monster) and takes him on a time-traveling adventure to the age of the dinosaurs using his eating/transporting powers. It is funny and educational. Just as the first one combined Nibbles’s antics with fairy tales, this one combined Nibbles with dinosaurs education!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: What I love more about this one than the first one is that it has a cross-curricular component to it with the inclusion of dinosaurs and specific information about the dinosaurs. This allows the book to be used in reading, writing, and science lessons. I also think it’d be so much fun to have students write their own Nibbles story with him eating into a different topic than dinosaurs.

Discussion Questions: Which dinosaur was the scariest that Nibbles faced? The least scary?; What new information did you learn about dinosaurs?; What were the similarities and differences between the different dinosaurs Nibbles encountered?; What were the consequences of Nibbles jumping back in time?; If you were Nibbles, what book would you Nibble into? Where in time would you jump to?

Flagged Passages: 

Book Trailer: 

Message from the Author about Creativity: 

Read This If You Love: Dinosaurs, Humor, Battle Bunny by Jon Scieszka and Mac Barnett, Nibbles: The Book Monster by Emma Yarlett

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**Thank you to Lynn at Kane Miller for providing a copy for review!!**

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“Using Your Personal Real Estate to Create Characters, Setting, and Conflict”

One of the trickiest things for me, as a writer, is figuring out where to begin. I imagine it could be a challenge for students, too. So many decisions to make as you begin… Who is the main character? What does s/he want? What are their obstacles? Secret desires? What is important to her/him? What are they willing to sacrifice to protect what is important?

I have learned to tackle these questions by first taking stock of my personal real estate. By personal real estate, I mean the things that I own, things I know as much if not more about than anyone else. I’m not talking about property or anything that is tangible, but your own personal experiences, personality traits, interests, values, and lessons learned.

A couple of years ago, I was about to take a “Write A Novel In Six Weeks” class at UNCW. I was not sure of what to write about, but I kept rolling ideas around in my head. One morning I awoke with a name in the forefront of my mind, Mango Delight. I thought, what a ridiculous name! I’d feel sorry for a person with a name like that. Of course, with a name like Fracaswell Hyman I automatically empathize with those saddled with a strange name. As we all know, kids can be cruel, especially if there is something different about you that they can latch on to. My name made me stick out like a sore thumb. At the beginning of each school year, I would cringe when the teacher would make several attempts at pronouncing my name while taking attendance. When I would finally raise my hand and offer the correct pronunciation, the giggling would begin. Then the teasing would commence with several amusing distortions of my name, my least favorite (because I was a chunky boy) was “Fat-caswell.” That one stuck for years.

So, it only seemed natural for me to identify with a character with a weird name like Mango Delight. This was territory I knew intimately, hence real estate that I owned. I also decided to make this character a female, since I didn’t want to make the story autobiographical, changing the sex gave me a healthy amount of distance that allowed me the freedom to let my imagination fly and create an original story.

Next up, what does the character want? This is a hugely important step. What a character wants drives your story. I thought back to what it is that I wanted when I was in middle and high school. I remembered that I had friends yes, but no one who would claim me as their best friend. I wanted to have and to be a best friend and was always trying to figure out how to acquire and become one. The chemistry of friendships is complicated and something everyone struggles with at some point in their lives–even as adults.

I had recently lost a very good friend. It was a wound I was still tending, and so I decided to let Mango start off with a bestie, lose that relationship, and then try to find her way to, not necessarily replacing that friend, but gaining some understanding as to what kind of friend she wanted and what kind of friend she wanted to be. Once you know what a character wants, the obstacles will fall into place if you as the writer let yourself become ruthless. Yes, you love and care about your character, but you have to commit to putting him/her through the wringer to get what s/he wants. There is nothing more boring than an easy path to success, at least not when it comes to reading, so keep coming up with as many obstacles as possible and make each one more challenging than the one before.

Giving a character a secret desire and then making it public reveals something that is important to him/her that they can’t easily back away from. As a kid, I always wanted to be an actor. I’d see kid actors on sitcoms or in movies and something inside me knew that I could do that, but I never shared this desire with anyone.

In middle school, I watched from the sidelines as other students auditioned for the school plays, rehearsed and then had their moments in the spotlight during production. Even though my desire was strong, I was too shy to stand up in front of anyone and sing or try to act. I decided to have Mango share the same trait. Her secret desire was to be a singer, something she did well, but never in front of anyone.

In the book, Mango is set up by her ex-bestie to audition for the school play. It is a mortifying moment for Mango, to get up in front of an auditorium full of students and do the thing she’d only do alone in her bathroom. Yes, singing in front of people was just as scary as taking a shower in front of the entire school. So, how to get Mango to not run away and let her ex-bestie’s dirty trick succeed…? I looked into my personality trait real estate and decided to share my stubbornness with Mango. Yes, sometimes being stubborn can get you in a lot of trouble, but at other times it can lead to success. Stubborn folk won’t give up when faced with a dare or a challenge. So, Mango draws on the stubborn side of her personality and sings in public for the first time and it pays off. The payoff leads her to a place outside of her comfort zone, a lead role in a school production.

By the time I got to high school, I found the courage to try out for a school play and was cast in the chorus. It was daunting, but I had found my tribe. Now that my secret passion was public, I happily became a member of a group of kids that shared my interests. They were a great group whose desire led them to staying long hours after school rehearsing, time at home learning lines and songs and dances. These kids were as dedicated to theatrical productions as athletes were to their sports. With no grades or other rewards at the end they committed themselves just for the opportunity to do the thing they loved along with others that shared their passion. Yes, this was a piece of real estate that I knew tons about and I wanted to share how great these kids were, the ups and downs and challenges of learning to perform, and how important it is to follow your dream no matter how scary it can be at first.

Once I was confident in the real estate I shared with my main character, I was free to let my imagination fly and present her with obstacles, predicaments and other characters that would challenge her and make her a character worth rooting for.

At the end of The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy says, and I’m paraphrasing, “If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t have to go farther than my own backyard.” Good advice for when you’re looking to create a fresh new character. Explore your own emotional and experiential real estate; there are treasures to be found if you dig deep enough.

About the Book:
What happens when your BFF becomes your EFF . . . EX-Friend-Forever?
When seventh-grader Mango Delight Fuller accidentally breaks her BFF Brooklyn’s new cell phone, her life falls apart. She loses her friends and her spot on the track team, and even costs her father his job as a chef. But Brooklyn’s planned revenge—sneakily signing up Mango to audition for the school musical—backfires when Mango not only wins the lead role, but becomes a YouTube sensation and attracts the attention of the school’s queen bee, Hailey Jo. Hailey Jo is from a VERY wealthy family, and expects everyone to do her bidding. Soon Mango finds herself forced to make tough choices about the kind of friend she wants to have . . . and, just as important, the kind of friend she wants to be.

*“Hyman marries traditional tween elements with a fresh and original plot, and his multicultural cast sparkles with individuality and authenticity. . . . Hyman’s supporting characters, both kids and adults, are vivid and dynamic. Mango is as delightful as her middle name indicates, and middle-grade readers will easily recognize their own experiences in her friendship struggles. This is Hyman’s first novel; here’s hoping it’s not his last.” Booklist (Starred review)

“[T]he characters . . .  are deftly crafted, and their relationships play out in ways that carefully avoid cliché. . . . Mango’s supportive family is also well drawn, particularly her comforting Jamaican immigrant father and her no-nonsense, former athlete African-American mom, who’s a loving but demanding figure. Kids who’d settle for making it through middle school unscathed but still dream of shining in it will find a kindred spirit in Mango.” — Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Thank you to Ardi for connecting us with Fracaswell!

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Papertoy Glowbots: 46 Glowing Robots You Can Make Yourself!
Author: Brian Castleforte
Published August 23rd, 2016 by Workman Publishing Company

When I first looked through the book Papertoy Glowbots, after Brian Castleforte wrote an author guest post for Unleashing Readers, I knew that I wanted to utilize these fun robots in my classroom some how! First, let me tell you about the book. It has 46 different robots inside. Each robot has a name, a model name, description, ability, assembly instructions, and a narrative about the robot. In the back of the book, there is a template to remove that matches the assembly instructions and then glow-in-the-dark stickers to add on when done with the robot.

I loved not only the creative aspect of the robots, but the real-life aspect (following directions), and the narrative elements. However, I knew that I had to make sure that the activity I did with the robots was standards-based and fit within one of my units, so when I was building my argumentative writing and debate unit, I felt it fit perfectly (along with the Who Wins? activity I shared also)! My unit learning goal was “Students will be able to present claims and findings with relevant evidence, valid reasoning, and well-chosen details about a particular subject,” and one of my learning targets was “Students will be able to create an argumentative paragraph supporting their claim.” And I got it! Why not have students create an argumentative paragraph stating why their robot is THE BEST robot if the robots were all going to take part in Robot Wars (like Big Hero 6).

With my target set up, the students got to work! They were allowed to add any abilities to their robot; however, they could not change anything that was already stated in the Glowbots book. For example, if their robot didn’t have legs, they couldn’t add them, but they could make their eyes have lasers. Here is an example of Lightning Bee’s paragraph (you can see his information from the book above). Students first wrote up a profile for their robot then turned it into an argumentative paragraph:

My students had to try to think of any scenario and try to put something in their paragraph that proves that their robot would win in the scenario. For example, one of the robots is a submarine–what happens if the other robot is on land? Or vice versa?

After the students wrote their robot profile and creative argumentative paragraph, they were able to build their robot:

 

When everyone’s robot was built (which was harder than you’d think! It was a real lesson in following instructions and colloborating!), we started our ROBOT BATTLES leading up to the final ROBOT WAR! I used brackets and random.org to set up our battles, and we got started! These battles were a battle of words though, so students came to the front to present their robots and face off using their argumentative paragraphs. (Some got into it more than others!)

The rest of the class then decided based on the paragraphs which robot would be the champion of the battle. If I do this lesson again, I would allow the groups to debate more to help persuade the audience, but I stuck with them reading the paragraphs. Using a double elimination bracket, we determined which two robots in each class would go to the final ROBOT WAR!

My students loved this activity, and we used each robot battle as an opportunity to discuss argumentative and persuasive techniques and why one robot was a winner over the other. And on top of this, I felt that it was a great activity for learning to follow directions, work together, and think futuristically & creatively.

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets
Authors: Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth
Illustrator: Ekua Holmes
Published March 14th, 2017 by Candlewick Press

Summary: Out of gratitude for the poet’s art form, Newbery Award–winning author and poet Kwame Alexander, along with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth, present original poems that pay homage to twenty famed poets who have made the authors’ hearts sing and their minds wonder. Stunning mixed-media images by Ekua Holmes, winner of a Caldecott Honor and a John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award, complete the celebration and invite the reader to listen, wonder, and perhaps even pick up a pen.

A Newbery Medalist and a Caldecott Honoree offer a glorious, lyrical ode to poets who have sparked a sense of wonder.

Review: This anthology is beautiful. Alexander, Colderley, and Wentworth beautifully pay homage to each poet. Their tribute poems are impeccably written and not only do the poems follow the style of the poet but also teach us about the lives of the poet. And Holmes’s artwork pushes the book to another level. I also adored the diversity of the poets, as well as the types of poems, chosen.

And Out of Wonder can definitely be a perfect mentor text for a poetry unit, and I can definitely see it being paired with Love That Dog to expand what Creech started.

Teaching Guide with Prereading Activities, Discussion Questions, and Classroom Extensions (by teacher Mary Lee Hahn): 

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Love That Dog and Hate That Cat by Sharon Creech; Poetry by any of the poets honored in the book: Naomi Shihab Nye, Robert Frost, e.e. cummings, Bashō, Nikki Giovanni, Langston Hughes, Walter Dean Myers, Emily Dickinson, Terrance Hayes, Billy Collins, Pablo Neruda, Judith Wright, Mary Oliver, Cwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, William Carlos Williams, Okot p’Bitek, Chief Dan George, Rumi, or Maya Angelou

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Posted
Author: John David Anderson
Published May 2nd, 2017 by Walden Pond Press

Summary: From John David Anderson, author of the acclaimed Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, comes a humorous, poignant, and original contemporary story about bullying, broken friendships, and the failures of communication between kids. In middle school, words aren’t just words. They can be weapons. They can be gifts. The right words can win you friends or make you enemies. They can come back to haunt you. Sometimes they can change things forever.

When cell phones are banned at Branton Middle School, Frost and his friends Deedee, Wolf, and Bench come up with a new way to communicate: leaving sticky notes for each other all around the school. It catches on, and soon all the kids in school are leaving notes—though for every kind and friendly one, there is a cutting and cruel one as well.

In the middle of this, a new girl named Rose arrives at school and sits at Frost’s lunch table. Rose is not like anyone else at Branton Middle School, and it’s clear that the close circle of friends Frost has made for himself won’t easily hold another. As the sticky-note war escalates, and the pressure to choose sides mounts, Frost soon realizes that after this year, nothing will ever be the same.

Critical Praise: 

“Written with understated humor and fine-tuned perception, Frost’s first-person narrative offers a riveting story as well as an uncomfortably realistic picture of middle school social dynamics.” — Booklist (starred review)

“Anderson dives into the world of middle school with a clear sense of how it works and what it needs. Kids, and the rest of the world, need more books like this one.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

“Anderson captures the tumultuous joys and pains of middle school with honesty, creating characters with whom readers will find common ground and insight. Words have lingering and persistent power, Anderson makes clear, but so does standing up for others and making one’s voice heard.” — Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Acute observations about social media and school life and a smart, engaging narrator make this a journey well worth taking. Readers might even want some Post-it notes to mark the good parts.” — The Horn Book

About the Author: John David Anderson is the author of Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, Sidekicked, Minion, and The Dungeoneers. A dedicated root beer connoisseur and chocolate fiend, he lives with his wife, two kids, and perpetually whiny cat in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can visit him online at www.johndavidanderson.org

Review: First, I must start with stating my awe with Mr. Anderson. I have read four of his five books and each is stellar. But what really makes him stand out as an exemplar author to me is that he has tackled three different genres in his five books and each one was just as good as the others. Ms. Bixby and Posted are realistic fiction, Sidekicked and Minion are superhero sci-fi, and Dungeoneers is high fantasy. How impressive! Now onto my review of Posted

There are books that I read that just feel true to me, and Posted fits that. As a middle school teacher, I could picture all of the characters as true middle school students and know that so many readers will connect with someone in the book. Although some of the adults in the book fit a typecast of teachers (they are probably pretty realistic representations of how middle schoolers see some teachers though), they were needed to propel the story. And Mr. Sword is anything but a stereotype and one of those teachers that I just love in books because he cares! I also felt that the bullying represented is, sadly, probably a pretty true representation. Middle school really is all about finding your tribe. So many kids are trying to find their identity and are influenced by so much which sometimes leads to mean kids; however, there are really awesome middle schoolers as well which you can also see in this book. I love these middle schoolers (Frost, Rose, Wolf, Deedee, and even Bench), and I know you and any kid you share this book with will as well. 

What I think makes this book stand out, though, is the theme that words can hurt. They are powerful and can change lives. They can be used for good or evil.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Much of what Mr. Sword does in his class is easily transferable to a classroom. Throughout the book, he is teaching Julius Caesar so quotes/discussions throughout could definitely be used in conjunction with a Julius Caesar lesson. I, personally, love his aphorism activity. It reminded me a bit of the precept activity in Wonder (and they could easily work together if you do a precept activity). Mr. Sword has students create their ow aphorism to share with their students. I think this, like Mr. Sword says, helps students realize that “all of us have something meaningful to share.” Frost also talks about poetry throughout the book, his poetry and Robert Frost, and these sections could be used to inspire students when it comes to poetry.

Discussion Questions: Have you ever had a nickname? Did you like it or not? Out of all the nicknames, one seems to be more negative than the others–which one is it? Do you think the character likes his nickname?; Do you think Deedee started the war? Should he blame himself?; Do you agree with what Wolf’s parents decided?; How did Rose change everything? Do you think everything would have changed without her moving to the school?

Flagged Passages: “Words accumulate. And once they’re free, there’s no taking them back.

You can do an awful lot of damage with a handful of words. You can destroy friendships. You can end a marriage. You can start a war. Some words can break you to pieces.

But that’s not all. Words can be beautiful. They can make you feel things you’ve never felt before. Gather enough of them and sometimes they can stick those same pieces back together.” (p. 342)

Characters: 

Read This If You Loved: Save Me a Seat by Sarah Weeks & Gita Varadarajan, Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Zack De La Cruz by Jeff AndersonFish in a Tree by Lynda Mullaly HuntWarp Speed by Lisa Yee, Schooled by Gordon Korman, Life in Outer Space by Melissa Keil, Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick, Loser by Jerry Spinelli

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Don’t miss out on any blog tour stops!

April 17           Librarian’s Quest

Walden Media Tumblr

April 18           Nerdy Book Club

April 19           For Those About to Mock

April 20           Teach Mentor Texts

April 21           Unleashing Readers

April 22           Next Best Book

April 23           Bluestocking Thinking

April 24           Litcoach Lou

Book Monsters

April 25           Kirsti Call

April 26           Educate-Empower-Inspire-Teach

April 27           The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia

Ms Yingling Reads

April 28           Maria’s Mélange 

Novel Novice

April 29           The Hiding Spot

April 30           This Kid Reviews Books

 

Giveaway!: 

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

And don’t forget to celebrate EARTH DAY on the 22nd!

Animal Ark
Created by and Photographer: Joel Sartore
Poet: Kwame Alexander
Published February 14th, 2017 by National Geographic Society

About the Book: National Geographic Kids proudly announces the release of Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World in Poetry and Pictures, a picture book for children ages 4-8 written by Newbery Medal-winning author Kwame Alexander and featuring photographs by acclaimed National Geographic Fellow and photographer Joel Sartore. Animal Ark pairs Alexander’s uplifting poetry and prose with more than 100 of Sartore’s most compelling images of the world’s species to create a book for children that highlights the importance of conservation and the beauty of the animal kingdom.

Animal Ark is inspired by the National Geographic Photo Ark, a multiyear effort with Sartore and the National Geographic Society to document every species in captivity—inspiring people not just to care, but also to help protect these animals for future generations. To date, Sartore has completed portraits of more than 6,000 species, photographed on either a plain black or white background. No matter its size, each animal is treated with the same amount of affection and respect. The results are portraits that are not just stunningly beautiful, but also intimate and moving.

The companion adult book, National Geographic The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals (National Geographic Books)—with a foreword by Harrison Ford—also showcases Sartore’s animal portraits: from tiny to mammoth, from the Florida grasshopper sparrow to the greater one-horned rhinoceros. In 2017, National Geographic Photo Ark exhibitions are opening at Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium, the Dallas Zoo, and the Cincinnati Zoo. Learn more at NatGeoPhotoArk.org and join the conversation on social media with #SaveTogether.

About Joel Sartore: Joel Sartore is a photographer, speaker, author, teacher, conservationist, National Geographic fellow, regular contributor to National Geographic magazine and founder of the National Geographic Photo Ark.  In addition to the work he has done for National Geographic, Sartore has contributed to Audubon magazine, Time, Life, Sports Illustrated, The New York Times, the Smithsonian magazine and numerous book projects.  His next book for adults, National Geographic The Photo Ark: One Man’s Quest to Document the World’s Animals  will be released in March 2017.

About Kwame Alexander: Kwame Alexander is a poet, educator, and New York Times bestselling author of 21 books, including The Crossover, which received the 2015 John Newbery Medal for the Most Distinguished Contribution to American Literature for Children. His other recent works include Booked, Surf’s Up, and He Said, She Said. He is the founder of Book-in-a-Day, a student-run publishing program that has created more than 3,000 student authors in 75 schools; and LEAP for Ghana, an international literacy project that builds libraries, trains teachers, and empowers children through literature. In 2015, Kwame served as Bank Street College of Education’s first writer-in-residence.

Book Trailer: 

My Review: I am in love with all of these animals! Do you see how cute they are?!?! And I love the message that Joel Sartore, National Geographic Kids, and Kwame Alexander are spreading with this text: “At its heart, the Photo Ark was born out of necessity… I  started to see that people weren’t paying much attention to the fate of all the others species we share this planet with. Without action, and soon, I worried that many animals could go extinct. The Photo Ark is my answer to this. By introducing the entire world to thoughts of photographs of [animals], I hope we can get everyone following, liking, tweeting, and even talking about this wondrous world of ours.” -Joel Sartore. I care deeply for all living things, and I have the same fear that Sartore has–that too many people are so caught up in their own little worlds that they aren’t focusing on the big world around us. The continual denial of climate change, the recent possible elimination of many of the EPA’s environmental protections, and so many other things makes the possibilities of us ruining our Earth even closer to reality 🙁

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Animal Ark has writing and science opportunities for the classroom. First, the theme of the book works beautifully within a science unit about endangered animals. Mix the text with the website What is Missing? by Maya Lin, and there are so many opportunities to discuss conservation and sustainability. Kwame Alexander’s poetry also gives an opportunity for poetry writing. In the Author’s Note, National Geographic shares information about haiku. Although all of Kwame’s poetry does not fit the traditional haiku format and we wouldn’t recommend it for a haiku mentor text, it shows how poets can take a traditional format and embrace yet manipulate it for their purpose.

Discussion Questions: Which animal would you like to learn more about?; What can humans do to help save these animals?; What is the theme of Animal Ark? What is the author/photographer trying to teach us?

Flagged Passages: 

Photography Outtakes!

Read This If You Love: National Geographic texts about animals, Poetry anthologies about nature including Water is Water by Miranda Paul, Books about making a difference like Dare to Dream…Change the World by Jill Corcoran & Be a Changemaker by Laurie Ann Thomson

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to Karen at Media Masters Publicity for providing copes for review!**

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Nonfiction Wednesday

Nonfiction Picture Book Wednesday is hosted by Kid Lit Frenzy and was started to help promote the reading of nonfiction texts. Most Wednesdays, we will be participating and will review a nonfiction text (though it may not always be a picture book).
Be sure to visit Kid Lit Frenzy and see what other nonfiction books are shared this week!

HAPPY NATIONAL POETRY MONTH!

Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book
Authors: Sylvia Vardell & Janet Wong
Illustrator: Franzi Paetzold
Published January 11th, 2017 by Pomelo Books

Summary: Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book is a story in poems and a writing journal designed to help kids think about social change. It contains 12 PowerPack sets featuring Ameera, David, Jack, and Jenna, a diverse group of kids working together to make an impact in their community. Sylvia Vardell’s inventive PowerPlay activities make it easy for writers to get inspired, while her Power2You writing prompts extend learning. Vardell also created extensive back matter resources for young readers, writers, and activists.

Praise: “This interactive book and the abundance of resources provided will motivate students to take action through words and ideas to make their world a better place—a must have for today’s classrooms.” —Lynne Dorfman and Rose Cappelli, Authors of Mentor Texts

“I absolutely love this book! The invitations are inspiring and offer opportunities to think about the world and respond both personally and critically.” —Mary Napoli, Associate Professor of Reading, Penn State Harrisburg

“This book will allow all sorts of emotions and thoughts to bubble forth, including difficult and painful ones . . . and that will be a source of healing.” —Ed Spicer, Educator and literacy expert

“Really glad and excited that this book will be in the hands of young people.” —Jeana Hrepich, Core Faculty, Antioch University Seattle

This book is a Children’s Book Council “Hot Off the Press” selection for January 2017 and the second Poetry Friday Power Book. The first book in that series, You Just Wait: A Poetry Friday Power Book, is a 2017 NCTE Poetry Notable.

About the Authors: Here We Go: A Poetry Friday Power Book features the work of the dynamic team of Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong, plus 12 poets: Ibtisam Barakat, Michelle Heidenrich Barnes, Robyn Hood Black, David Bowles, Joseph Bruchac, Kate Coombs, David L. Harrison, Renée M. LaTulippe, Naomi Shihab Nye, Margaret Simon, Eileen Spinelli, and Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrations by Franzi Paetzold.

Sylvia M. Vardell is Professor at Texas Woman’s University and teaches courses in children’s and young adult literature. She has published five books on literature, as well as over 25 book chapters and 100 journal articles. Her current work focuses on poetry for young people, including a regular blog, PoetryforChildren.blogspot.com, since 2006.

Janet Wong is a graduate of Yale Law School and a former lawyer who became a children’s poet. Her work has been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show and other shows. She is the author of 30 books for children and teens on chess, creative recycling, yoga, superstitions, driving, and more.

Together, Vardell and Wong are the creative forces behind The Poetry Friday Anthology series.

About the Book (from the authors): Why is this a “Poetry Friday Power Book”? Because we believe in the power of poetry to express our deepest feelings, and our most powerful experiences, and to inspire us to use our words to create change in teh world. Plus, we want you to discover the power of poetry in your own thinking and writing with the PowerPlay prewriting and Power2You writing prompts that pull you into poetry and inspire you to get your own ideas on paper–creatively, whimsically, powerfully, and immediately–right now in this book…

This book offers you several choices for reading, thinking, writing, and responding. Overall, it’s a story in poems, but all of this is also organized in PowerPack groups that help you get a “behind the scenes” look at how poems work and how poets write and think. In each of these PowerPack groups, you’ll find five things:

-PowerPlay activity
-Anchor poem (from an outside source)
-Response poem
-Mentor poem
-Power2You writing prompt

Have fun reading and thinking about poetry and learning about how poetry uses just a few words but says so much and can inspire us to take action. Ready? Let’s “power up” and get started!

Review: I have an interesting relationship with poetry. I overall love it. I love writing it, and I love reading it, but I really have trouble with the analyzing aspect. It is in this very serious analyzing step that kids get afraid of poetry, but I think books like Here We Go help students learn to love poetry instead of being afraid of it while still teaching about the beauty and importance of poetry.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Here We Go is a book that is made for classroom use! There are 12 PowerPacks, each with a different anchor poem and focus. Some PowerPacks work on rhyming, some work on format, and others focus on inspiration. There are so many different ways these PowerPacks could be organized to be used in the classroom! They can be daily during a poetry unit or weekly for half of the school year–whatever works best in your classroom, but this book is begging to be in children’s hands as an inspiration for our future poets.

Discussion Questions: What inspires you to write?; What is your favorite season? Why?; What are your favorite rhyming words?; How can you use your daily life to inspire you as a poet?

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Read This If You Love: Writing poetry; Any poetry anthology including Out of Wonders by Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, and Marjory Wentworth and When Green Becomes Tomatoes by Julie Fogliano

Recommended For: 

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