You’re All Kinds of Wonderful
Author and Illustrator: Nancy Tillman
Published: October 3, 2017 by Feiwel and Friends

Summary: We’re not all the same. Thank goodness we’re not.
Life would be boring, and I mean… a lot.

And so, when we’re born, we’re supplied at the start 
with our own bells and whistles to set us apart.

Think of your bells as the things you do best
things tucked away in your own treasure chest.

Part of growing up is discovering–and embracing–what makes us unique. From different abilities to different personalities, we are all wonderfully made with our own bells and whistles.

My Review: I love Nancy Tillman. Her book On the Night You Were Born is a staple in our bedtime routine. She has a way with words that is simply magical. This book does not disappoint. When I read this book to my son, I paused at the end and looked at him, and he said, “Can we read it again?” It was a great book to talk about how we all have different talents and strengths. This is a lesson that can’t be iterated enough to children. Parents will love reading this book to their kids and discussing how that particular shines and offers something different and beautiful to the world.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask each student to illustrate a page for a book that shares what their talents or positive characteristics. All of the pages could be combined into a bound book.

Discussion Questions: Look through each page. What makes each of the children special? How are you special? What do you add to this world?

Flagged Passage: “We’re not all the same. Thank goodness we’re not. / Life would be boring, and I mean—a lot. / And so, when we’re born, we’re supplied at the start / with our own bells and whistles to set us apart.”

Read This If You Loved: On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman; Little Tree by Loren Long, Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae, Say Hello by Jack Foreman, The Cloud by Hannah Cumming, Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson

Recommended For:

  readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall


**Thank you to Kelsey at Macmillan for providing a copy of this book for review!**

Tagged with:


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!

Zoo Scientists to the Rescue
Author: Patricia Newman
Photographer: Annie Crawley
Published October 1st, 2017 by Millbrook Press

Summary: Zoos take care of animals and welcome visitors of all ages, but that’s not all zoos do. Author Patricia Newman and photographer Annie Crawley bring readers behind the scenes at three zoos to meet scientists working to save endangered animals.

Meredith Bastian’s experiences studying wild orangutans help educate both zoo visitors and the zoo workers who care for captive orangutans. Jeff Baughman breeds black-footed ferrets and reintroduces them into the wild. And Rachel Santymire examines poop from black rhinoceroses at the zoo and in their natural habitat to benefit all black rhinos. Find out how zoo scientists are helping us learn more about these remarkable, at-risk species before it’s too late!

Visit the authors at and

ReviewPatricia Newman’s work always blows me away and Annie Crawley’s photos in Plastics, Ahoy! were breathtaking, so I was so happy to see that they had a new book coming out. In Zoo Scientists, a text is just as brilliantly done as Newman’s other works, she once again focuses on a topic that needs a spotlight. This time, we see how zoos are working towards saving endangered animals. Zoos are such important places when they are done correctly, so I loved this focus on three specific stories about how zoos are helping rhinos, orangutans, and black-footed ferrets. Each section tells us about a scientist at a different zoo, how they came to be where they are today, and how they help the species they work with. I loved the inclusion of each scientist’s story paying special attention to how they each became an expert. This makes Zoo Scientists perfect for looking at not only looking at endangered animals and zoos but how to reach your potential in a career making this book a must-get for classrooms that study any of these things.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teaching guides for all of Patricia’s books including the Zoo Scientist one coming soon can be found at

Rhino bookmarks!:

Pinterest board with activities and articles to supplement the reading of Zoo Scientists to the Rescue

Consider an Author for Earth Day visit! Consider an Authors for Earth Day visit in conjunction with Zoo Scientists to the Rescue. Students research a list of five conservation nominees selected by Patricia Newman and then vote for their favorite. Newman writes a check to the winning organization. The mission? To empower young readers to shape the world around them!

Participate in the 30 Day #ProtectOurWorld Challenge! Here is the Orangutan example. Visit to see the rhino and black-footed ferret posters.

Discussion Questions: Use any or all of these discussion questions to extend the learning with Zoo Scientists to the Rescue:

  • What steps did each scientist take to become an expert in their field?
  • Why are orangutans’ habitat being destroyed?
  • Why is the poaching of rhinos for their horns such a devastating action?
  • How did the expansion of our nation effect the black-footed ferret?
  • How did humans play a role in each of these animals’ endangered status?
  • What can you do to help these animals?
  • Visit some of the resources about other conservation stories in the end of the book and share what you learn.
  • What words did you learn from the book? (Check out the glossary!)

Flagged Passages: 

“A sign outside the orangutan enclosure at the National Zoo explains that the apes red coloring mimics shadows in the forest’s canopy. As little as 30 feet above the forest floor, orangutans essentially disappear, which is surprising given their bulk. Fully grown wild wild male orangutans can weigh up to 220 pounds and wild females can weight up to 120 pounds. Zoo orangutans tend to be between 50 to 100 pounds heavier because of their nutritious diet.”

“About 15 years ago, black-footed ferrets roamed the Great Plains from Canada to Mexico. The Lakota call them pispiza itopta sapa (black-faced prairie dog) and believe they are sacred. But in the late 1800s, settlers moving westward and travelers from across the Pacific Ocean unknowingly put the ferrets in danger.”

“Unfortunately, rhinos are no match for armed poachers, hunters who kill wild animals illegally for profit. Approximately 5,050 black rhinos remain in the world due to poaching and habitat loss. They are labeled critically endangered–one step from extinct in the wild, and only two steps from fully extinct. Lincoln Park Zoo hopes to play a role in saving them.”

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: Zoos, Animals, Learning about scientists, Science, Conservation efforts, Earth Day

Recommended For: 

classroomlibrarybuttonsmall closereadinganalysisbuttonsmall 

Make sure to visit the other stops on the Blog Tour!


**Thank you to Patricia Newman for asking me to be part of the blog tour!**

Tagged with:

top ten tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. The feature was created because The Broke and Bookish are particularly fond of lists (as are we!). Each week a new Top Ten list topic is given and bloggers can participate.

 Today’s Topic: Ten Favorite Significant Others in Books


1. Dante in Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe by Benjamin Alire Sáenz

Gosh, I love Dante with every fiber of my being. When I think of him, I think of the scene where he is holding the wounded bird in the middle of the street. He feels so real to me.

2. Oscar Ralph in I’ll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson

Oscar seems like the average, brooding love interest. Readers immediately realize that this is quite untrue. He has great depth, and he sticks out to me as one of my favorite love interests of all time.

3. Dexter from The Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

I remember reading this book in college. When we came in the next day, someone said Dexter’s name, and we all smile. I adore this character.

4. Natasha from The Sun is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon

I’d love to be Natasha in my next life. She feels very empowering for me. I love how she is unafraid and resilient to the world.

5. Novisha in Tyrell by Coe Booth

I haven’t read this book in several years, but I immediately thought of Novisha. I remember her being a great human being.


1. Day from the Legend series by Marie Lu

The Legend series’s romantic elements are very much a dystopian Romeo and Juliet and is sometimes as heartbreaking as the Shakespearean play, but you cannot help but love Day all the way through.

2. Alexei from Embassy Row series by Ally Carter

I love Alexei and the love story in this series. Some people don’t, but to them I say BAH! I say Alexei is the perfect example of a bad boy who isn’t actually bad, so I’m just glad he’s a good example of a guy.

3. Gpa from The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely

Gpa is losing memories of his wife who died a couple of years ago, and all he wants to do is return to their first kiss location. I loved hearing about Gpa’s love story. (I do love Teddy in this book, too!)

4. Finn from Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

Guys in high school don’t always have to be horrible, and Finn is a perfect example of a flawed and realistic but good guy.

5. Angie in Call Me By My Name by John Ed Bradley

In Louisiana in the 1960s, Angie is not supposed to love Tater. But she does and she doesn’t care what anyone else thinks. She is his biggest advocate and love him.

Which bookish significant others do you love?

RickiSig and Signature


IMWAYR 2015 logo

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.


for winning the giveaway for Flashlight Night!


Last Week’s Posts

**Click on any picture/link to view the post**

top ten tuesday   

Tuesday: Ten Books that Feature Nontraditional Families

Wednesday: Welcome Fall with These Picture Books: One Leaf, Two Leaves, Count with Me by John Micklos, Jr. & Autumn: A Pop Up Book by David A. Carter

Thursday: All My Friends are Fast Asleeby David Weinstone

Friday: Review and Giveaway!: Listen: How Peter Seeger Got American Singing by Leda Shubert

Giveaway open until Thursday!!

Sunday: Author Guest Post!: Giving Kids a Break: What’s so normal about “normal”? Or, in other words, is it OK to be “average”? by J.L. Powers (with M.A. Powers), Authors of Broken Circle 


 Last Week’s Journeys


  • Felix Yz by Lisa Bunker is one of the most unique books I’ve ever read. Lisa took a very sci fi idea and wrote a diverse realistic fiction story. Felix was melded with a fourth dimensional being in a scientist accident that killed his father, and he now lives with *zyx in his brain who sometimes controls his body and can only communicate by typing. We also meet Felix’s family: his mom, his piano prodigy sister, and his gender fluid Grandy. This book is a chronicle of Felix’s secret blog and is the story of his life as he counts down the days to “the procedure” which may kill him trying to separate *zyx from him.
  • Refugee by Alan Gratz is a book that I don’t even know how to tell you how much I loved it. It gives voices to those that the masses like to ignore, it tells stories form the inside that not often are released, it is in your face and makes it so refugees cannot be ignored, and it builds empathy for our fellow humans. All within a very well written trio of stories. I am hoping to read this with my classes or at least my book club. (And the audiobook was really well done. I think I may have liked it more than reading because of the different voices for each character.)
  • Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan was exactly what I wanted it to be: fun! Julie is cast as a munchkin and her feeling of ordinary-ness is shot down, and she learns that everyone has a place and passion. I loved Julia’s voice–the stream of consciousness type narration was perfect! And the cast of characters in Julia’s story are all perfect–I love Mrs. Chang and her brother, Randy, specifically.

  • Cucumber Quest: The Doughnut Kingdom by Gigi D.G. is going to be a new favorite in my classroom. It is the perfect combination of colorful illustrations, adventure, humor, and fantasy. I cannot wait for the rest of the series–I have to see how the quest concludes!
  • Cosmic Commandos by Christopher Eliopoulos is also going to be a favorite! It is like Captain Underpants meets Big Nate in a graphic novel! I call that a win. I loved that in addition to an adventure, it also looks deeply into what it is like to be a twin.

  • Brad Melzter’s Ordinary People Change the World series is one of my favorites, and I was so happy to be able to read these four newest ones. I highly recommend them all! It is so amazing to see how these different people in history have changed our world! And I also love that Melzter is writing stories of people like Gandhi, Sacagawea, and Jane Goodall who most kids would not learn about in their history classes.

  • Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari does a wonderful thing–it normalizes therapy dogs! So often kids and even adults do not understand the need for a therapy dog if there isn’t physical disability, but Moose teaches us the power of dogs.
  • Tyrannasaurus Rex vs. Edna, The First Chicken by Douglas Rees was laugh out loud funny! You’ll definitely root for Edna in this story! Though not plausible, it teaches the readers about dinosaurs relation to birds at the end.

Hi, folks! I am unavailable to post today because my sister is flew out for the weekend to celebrate my younger son’s first birthday! I look forward to catching up with you next week!


This Week’s Expeditions


As for an audiobook, I am not sure what I am going to listen to. I’m hoping my Little Monsters by Kara Thomas becomes available at my library soon!


Upcoming Week’s Posts

top ten tuesday    

Tuesday: Ten Significant Others in Books

Wednesday: Blog Tour with Book Trailer and Review!: Zoo Scientists to the Rescue by Patricia Newman and Annie Crawley

Thursday: You’re All Kinds of Wonderful by Nancy Tillman

Friday: Author Guest Post!: “Teaching Kids Hope” by Carla Mooney, Author of Terrorism: Violence, Intimidation, and Solutions for Peace

Sunday: Author Guest Post and Giveaway!: “Inspiring Stories” by David Kelly, Author of Ballpark Mysteries

 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!

 Signature andRickiSig


Giving Kids a Break: What’s so normal about “normal”?  Or, in other words, is it OK to be “average”?

A few years ago, I started writing books with my “little” brother (he’s younger but much taller…and a whole lot cooler!).

Broken Circle is the first book in a series that examines cultural concepts of death through teen characters who serve as “soul guides”—that is, the entities charged with ushering recently departed souls from this world to the next. Modern day Charons, rowing patrons across the River Styx. Each teen soul guide belongs to a particular family of psychopomps—from the Reaper family to the Angel of Death family to the La Muerte family, etc. And each soul guide teen brings to the table a little bit of cultural reference in how they understand death and the process of dying. In the first book, however, our main character 15-year-old Adam doesn’t even realize that he’s a soul guide. He doesn’t know that his father is the Grim Reaper and he’s about to inherit the family business.

When I called Matt to talk about writing this blog post, we spent some time trying to figure out what we could say that would be useful to teachers and readers. After all, “death” is not an everyday topic for teachers! (As an aside, maybe it should be. We all die someday….shouldn’t we prepare for it rather than avoid it? That is, by the way, part of the impetus for writing this book…. The series is an extended philosophical meditation about death via fast-paced fantasy novels. Why, as a culture, are we so afraid of something we all must do someday?)

As we thought about this, we explored the following questions: Why did we write this book about a kid who’s just trying to live a so-called “normal” life and who discovers that he’s anything but normal—that he is, in fact, the personification of something everybody fears? How would he cope with that? How should we, as people, cope with the way other people perceive us or the ways we feel we aren’t “normal”? Can the things we fear most become our friend? Can we learn to embrace what is “abnormal” because it is healthier for us than what is “normal”?

Matt and I did not grow up “normal,” although it certainly felt “normal” to us because it was what we knew. We lived in a neighborhood on the U.S.-Mexico border, where half our neighbors and friends were “undocumented” immigrants, and many of them refugees fleeing the violence of Central America. Our mother homeschooled us before homeschooling was trendy—in fact, for the first few years, we kept it secret because the state of Texas was actively prosecuting parents who were homeschooling. My parents always tried to stay out of debt so we drove old clunkers, like the 1972 sky-blue Montego that embarrassed us so much whenever we went to church, where other families drove nice cars. (In our neighborhood, though, that 1972 Montego was COOL….low-rider material!) We wore hand-me-down clothes. Our mom cut our hair. We lived in a decrepit old perpetually-remodeling house. We were the antithesis of cool.

Today, both Matt and I are live on opposite sides of the country—Matt in Maine and me in California, the “Left Coast.” We are both trying—hard—not to get caught up in what our current culture regards as “normal,” whether that’s the most recent trend or the rat race of trying to keep up with the Joneses. Of trying to live up to some standard of what others deem “success.” And one of the things that worries both of us about modern childhood is the extreme stress society and families place on kids in order to make them achieve some predetermined notion of “success.” From preschool to college, we expect not just perfection in grades and school but we seem to pressure our kids to fill every moment of their lives with some activity that will help them “achieve” some undetermined level of greatness. It’s not enough to just enjoy soccer—you have to be so good at soccer that you can earn a scholarship. It’s not enough just to enjoy karate—you need to earn a black belt. And so on and so forth. It’s a terrible cycle that never ends—and to what purpose? What are our kids supposed to achieve? Couldn’t it be enough to live a good life, fall in love (or not), go to a “mediocre” school (is it really necessary to go to Yale?) or learn a trade, have kids (or not), travel a little bit, and generally be happy?

“We need T-shirts,” Matt said, “that say, ‘Celebrating the Average!’”

This doesn’t mean, by the way, that we think people and kids shouldn’t strive to achieve their dreams—only that our modern vision of what that should look like or how to get there is fundamentally problematic.

In Broken Circle, Adam is forced to leave his regular public school and attend a special boarding school. There will be no college for him, so this isn’t an expensive prep school designed to get him into Harvard or Yale.  Instead, he must learn the skills necessary to help newly departed souls cross a world we named “Limbo” to reach the “other side.”

And what are those skills exactly? What does Adam need to know in order to fulfill the obligations of this very different kind of profession?

Actually, he doesn’t need to KNOW anything. But he does need a skill set, one we think all people would benefit from.

In the world of Broken Circle, each departed soul enters a world called “Limbo.” If they don’t pass through Limbo to the other side, they remain stuck in Limbo forever. Limbo, as we constructed it, is a world each person experiences differently. It represents the emotional apex of a person’s life—their obsessions or fears or loves or desires. A soul guide must help each soul solve the problem of their life so they can pass peacefully on. So for example, a person who has spent much of his life pushed and pulled between the competing whims of a manipulative parent or spouse may have to endure a monstrous exaggeration of that world in Limbo and learn to stand up for himself before he can pass on to the other side. Or a mathematician might find herself stuck in a difficult, seemingly impossible math equation that she must solve. Or a librarian might find himself facing a stack of books he must shelve but they all lack their Dewey classification numbers. Or an electrician faces a live wire and a body of water she must somehow cross. You get the point…

These soul guides can’t possibly “know” everything they need in order to do this job! How do you prepare for something that is impossible to prepare for? Every soul these teens will guide across Limbo will have a different world they must navigate—a different emotional or literal problem they must solve. As a result, at the School for Soul Guides, these teens are allowed to learn whatever interests them. If they want to cook, they can learn to cook. If they want to learn karate, learn karate. If they want to build a pyramid, let them build a pyramid—figuring out mathematical proportions, soldering, and everything else required to create a pyramid. School in this case isn’t made up of required subjects that they have to master. They don’t all need to progress through rote systems of knowledge. Instead, whatever interests them, they pursue.

In our book, a soul guide in training must learn skills that helps them adapt to different situations and different people’s needs. A soul guide must learn how to be a good friend and mentor so he or she can help souls navigate the complexity of their emotional world. In other words, a “good” soul guide is one who is curious, flexible, judicious, and non-judgmental.

In the end, as teachers and parents, what are the skills we should impart to our kids to prepare them for a rapidly changing world? Do we need them to be so stressed, to cram every minute full of learning? Is it knowledge they need—or something else? Can we give them more space and time to grow as people in these fundamentally necessary skills of curiosity, flexibility, sagacity, and acceptance of others?

In the book, when he realizes that he is allowed to learn whatever he wants and nobody will stand in his way by requiring him to learn something else, one of our characters jokes, “Are we becoming jacks of all trades, masters of none?” The answer is no. They are learning to pursue learning for the sake of learning. They are learning to be people.

I have spent twenty years teaching college English. Yes, I like my students to be better writers, thinkers, and readers when they leave my classroom. But more important than that , I hope that when they leave my classroom, they have grown as people….that they have become better, kinder citizens of an increasingly globalized world. In my students and my own kid, and especially in myself, I hope I celebrate this kind of growth rather than cultural and financial and educational markers of “success”…..

J.L. POWERS is the award-winning author of three young adult novels, The Confessional, This Thing Called the Future, and Amina. She is also the editor of two collections of essays and author of a picture book, Colors of the Wind. She works as an editor/publicist for Cinco Puntos Press, and is founder and editor of the online blog, The Pirate Tree: Social Justice and Children’s Literature. She  teaches creative writing, literature, and composition at Skyline College in California’s Bay Area, served as a jurist for the 2014 NSK Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature, and is launching Catalyst Press in 2017 to publish African writers.

M.A. POWERS is J.L.’s “little” (but much taller) brother. He has a PhD in the oncological sciences from the Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City. He is currently a stay-at-home dad and lives in Maine.

For young Adam Jones, inheriting the family business is more than a rotten hand. It’s downright skeletal.


“Adam’s ‘nightmares’ are so amped up that they begin to reveal to him truths about his parentage, and the mantle that has been placed upon his shoulders by his father, a grim reaper. There are so many other questions he wants answered and consequentially, he is shipped off to a ‘rehab’ which is actually the citadel for ‘soul guides.’ Teen and adult fans of the Sookie Stackhouse novels and the Mortal Instruments [series] will find Broken Circle a tight competitor for the new most addictive paranormal read.”

—Jilleen More, Square Books (Oxford, MS)

“Adam can’t even grow a man beard yet, but he can do something his friends can’t do—go to Limbo and back. Prepare to root for him as he makes new friends, discovers who he is, and saves a few souls in the process. This is a fast-paced, page-turning story!”

—Skila Brown, author of Caminar

“With a perfect balance of real-world and mythical, Adam’s story explores life, death, and everything in between. Anyone looking for a thoughtful take on life’s big questions will find it here, paired with fresh details, a fastmoving story, and bold world building.”

—Amy Rose Capetta, author of Entangled


Adam wants nothing more than to be a “normal” teen, but his reality is quickly leaking normal. Afraid to sleep because of the monster that stalks him in his dreams, Adam’s breakdown at school in front of his crush Sarah lands him in the hospital. As he struggles to cope with his day-to-day life, Adam can only vaguely comprehend some sort of future. His mother died when he was only four and his eccentric father—who might be an assassin, a voodoo god, the reincarnation of the Buddha, or something even stranger—is never available when Adam really needs him. Even his paranoid grandfather, who insists that people are “out to kill the entire family,” is no help.

Adam’s life takes an even stranger turn when a fat man with a gold tooth and a medallion confronts his father regarding Adam’s supposed “True Destiny.” Adam is soon headed toward a collision with life, death, and the entities charged with shepherding souls of the newly dead, all competing to control lucrative territories where some nightmares are real and psychopomps of ancient legends walk the streets of North America.

Thank you for this guest post! It is so important for each kid to find their own path. 


Tagged with:

Listen: How Pete Seeger Got America Singing
Author: Leda Schubert
Illustrator: Raúl Colón
Published June 13th, 2017 by Roaring Brook Press


There was nobody like Pete Seeger.
Wherever he went, he got people singing.
With his head thrown back
and his Adam s apple bouncing,
picking his long-necked banjo
or strumming his twelve-string guitar,
Pete sang old songs,
new songs,
new words to old songs,
and songs he made up.

In this tribute to legendary musician and activist Pete Seeger, author Leda Schubert highlights major musical events in Mr. Seeger’s life as well important moments of his fight against social injustice. From singing sold-out concerts to courageously standing against the McCarthy-era finger-pointing, Pete Seeger’s life is celebrated in this book.

Praise for Listen

★“Schubert and Colón ably demonstrate one of their book’s final assertions: ‘there really was nobody like Pete Seeger.’”—Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“A rousing tribute to a singular musician and activist who ‘walked the talk.’” —Publishers Weekly

“This inspiring picture book biography about one of America’s greatest folk heroes is sure to get a new generation of children singing.” —School Library Journal

“An inspiring and heartfelt tribute to, as Schubert calls him, a ‘true American hero.’” —Horn Book

About the Creators: 

Leda Schubert holds an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in the Writing for Children and Young Adults and was a core faculty member until 2012. She is the author of many award-winning titles, including The Princess of Borscht, Ballet of the Elephants, and Monsieur Marceau, winner of the Orbis Pictus Award for Outstanding Nonfiction. Leda lives in Plainfield, Vermont, with her husband and two dogs. To learn more, and to download a curriculum guide, visit

Raúl Colón has illustrated several highly acclaimed picture books, including Draw!; the New York Times-bestselling Angela and the Baby Jesus by Frank McCourt; Susanna Reich’s José! Born to Dance; and Jill Biden’s Don’t Forget, God Bless Our Troops. Mr. Colón lived in Puerto Rico as a young boy and now resides in New City, New York, with his family.

Kellee’s Review: Schubert’s narrative of Seeger’s life is so lyrical and poetic–it is a song accompanied by beautifully textured, light illustrations that bring the biography to life. I can tell that Schubert is a fan of Seeger because she told his story with gentleness and love honoring a man that is truly an American hero.

The more I read about Pete Seeger, the more I am intrigued. I have heard about Pete Seeger my whole life, but it wasn’t until I read Stand Up and Sing by Susanna Reich that I truly learned about HIM outside of just knowing his music. I truly wish that Pete Seeger was still around to help us in our current time. His story has shown me that one person can make a difference, that good can win and be honored, and that music can bring people together. I loved learning even more about Seeger through Schubert’s picture book.

Ricki’s Review: Like Kellee, I didn’t know a lot about Pete Seeger until I read this book. I love reading texts that teach me more about a person. I didn’t realize that he traveled with Woody Guthrie! Too cool! Pete Seeger was a social activist, and his songs urge us to take action. This book will encourage readers to learn more about the singers that they listen to.

The author and illustrator bring great life to this book. It is very clear that they were inspired by his music, and the book truly comes alive. This is a book that teaches kids about an important man in our history and the power of music. It also reveals a lot of information about American History. I highly recommend this book to parents and teachers.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation & Discussion Questions: A fabulous curriculum guide can be found here created by Leigh Courtney, Ph.D. and includes discussion questions and activities.

Example discussion questions:

  • Pete Seeger said, “Participation. That’s what’s gonna save the human race.” What do you think that means?
  • Pete Seeger found himself in trouble with the government at one point in his life. Which group questioned him? Why were they interested in him?
  • Encourage students to study the illustrations in Listen paying particular attention to the drawings of people in the story. Discuss what the people’s actions and expressions tell you about Pete Seeger’s impact on those who listened to his music.
  • Many view Pete Seeger as an American hero. Discuss why people might regard Seeger as an important figure in American history. Read aloud President Obama’s statement about Pete Seeger, made upon the musician’s death, found in the final timeline entry at the back of the book.

Some examples of activities include cause and effect, research, vocabulary, and some fun music activities.

Resources: Leda Schubert provides some great links to recordings and videos of Pete Seeger here.

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: Stand Up and Sing! by Suanna ReichWhen Bob Met Woody by Gary Golio, Jimi: Sounds Like a Rainbow by Gary Golio

Recommended For: 



a Rafflecopter giveaway


**Thank you to Barbara at Blue Slip Media for providing the book for review!**

Tagged with:

All My Friends Are Fast Asleep
Author: David Weinston; Illustrator: Magali Le Huche
Published September 5, 2017 by FSG

Summary: After tossing and turning in his bed, a little boy embarks on a nighttime quest to find a cozy place to rest. He visits one animal friend after another, from a lark in its nest to a mole in its hole. But while all the animals he meets are happily dozing off, this tuckered-out wanderer remains wide-awake–until he finally finds the perfect spot to lay his head.

From David Weinstone, the popular children’s musician and creator of the Music for Aardvarks program, comes All My Friends Are Fast Asleep, a rhythmic, cheerily illustrated bedtime story sure to smooth the way to sleep for young insomniacs everywhere.

Ricki’s Review: I love books that feature a different animal on each page. This book is different from others that I’ve read because it explores the different ways in which animals sleep. My son enjoyed reading this with me, and he demonstrated each of the animal’s ways of sleeping. It was very fun and interactive. The illustrations are simply lovely. They pop off the page and lure the reader to want to turn the page to see which animal is next. We had a lot of fun with this book—we enjoyed stopping on each page to discuss the animal together.

Kellee’s Review: One of Trent’s favorite board books is A Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na which has a little owl that ventures out to visit other animals and they are all sleeping. We talk about the differences between all of the different animals and how different they sleep. All My Friends are Fast Asleep elevates this conversation and will be a great ladder up from the board book. In this book, the young protagonist is having trouble sleeping, so he goes and visits animals to try to sleep how they are to see if it’ll help. In the end, he realizes that the best way to sleep is in his bed, but we, as the reader, in the end have learned about many different animals’ sleeping habits. Additionally, the book ends with guitar chords to accompany the book to turn it into a song–how much fun!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask students to pick one animal in the book and research other aspects of that animal’s life. Or, students could find other animals in the wild and draw additional pages of this book. They could compile those pages into a sequel!

Visit for a free download of David Weinstone’s musical version of the text!

Discussion Questions: Which is your favorite animal page? Why? How is this animal different from all of the other animals in the book?; Why does the boy end up in his bed at the end of the night? What other animals could he have found?

We Flagged: “It’s time for bed and overhead / the moon has risen high / but I can’t seem to fall asleep, / no matter how I try.”

Read This If You Loved: Twenty Yawns by Jane Smiley; Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise BrownGoodnight Songs by Margaret Wise BrownA Book of Sleep by Il Sung Na, I’m Not Sleepy by Jonathan Allen, Hoot & Honk Just Can’t Sleep by Leslie Helakoski 

Recommended For: 

readaloudbuttonsmall classroomlibrarybuttonsmall

RickiSigand Kellee Signature

**Thank you to Kelsey from Macmillan for sharing these books with us!**

Tagged with: