Peaceful Me and Angry Me by Sandra V. Feder, Illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell

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Peaceful Me       &        Angry Me
Author: Sandra V. Feder
Illustrator: Rahele Jomepour Bell
Published May 2nd, 2023 & May 1st, 2022 by Groundwood Books

Peaceful Me Summary: A young child tells us about the different times when he feels peaceful, as well as how he copes when he needs to find a peaceful state again.

Acclaimed picture-book creators Sandra V. Feder and Rahele Jomepour Bell have teamed up once again to create a thoughtful and beautifully illustrated exploration of peacefulness.

“I like feeling peaceful,” the young narrator tells us, then describes the times when he is filled with this emotion. When he is playing with a friend, he feels “free peaceful”; when he is having family dinner, “yummy peaceful”; when he is outside gazing up at the sky, “fluffy clouds peaceful”. But, of course, he doesn’t always feel peaceful, and we hear about his strategies for coping during those times, such as taking deep breaths, imagining his favorite things, and finding a quiet refuge or a hug.

Peaceful Me is the perfect companion to Angry Me — together, they encourage readers to let anger come and go, while inviting peace to come and stay.

Angry Me Summary: A young child tells us what makes her angry and how she tries to let the anger come and go. An artful starting point for conversations about strong feelings.

“I get angry,” says a little girl, looking fiercely in the mirror. Sometimes she gets angry when someone is mean and tries to take her toy away, when it feels unfair that there’s not enough time to go swimming, when she’s tired and just wants to go home, or when the kids at school leave her out, hurting her feelings.

When she’s angry, she tries to remember to use her words — even though that doesn’t always work. Sometimes she can’t find the right words, or the words don’t come out the way she intends. But sometimes words do help, and when her anger melts away a new feeling can blossom.

Sandra Feder’s cleverly constructed text presents different situations in which a child might feel angry, creating a nuanced look at anger and its many underlying emotions. Rahele Jomepour Bell’s illustrations show a loveable, angry little girl, brimming with personality, who learns how to express herself as she moves through her feelings.

Praise for Angry Me: 

A valuable tool for teaching children the important skill of recognizing and naming feelings.” —Kirkus Reviews

A fresh addition to teeming ‘anger management’ shelves.” —Booklist

Artfully captures the nuances of anger. STARRED REVIEW” —Shelf Awareness

An effective springboard for discussing a topic that may be hard for young children to verbalize.” —School Library Connection

About the Creators: 

SANDRA V. FEDER is the author of three acclaimed picture books: Angry Me, illustrated by Rahele Jomepour Bell; Bitter and Sweet, illustrated by Kyrsten Brooker, a PJ Library selection; and The Moon Inside, illustrated by Aimée Sicuro, which has been translated into multiple languages. She has also written the Daisy series of early chapter books, illustrated by Susan Mitchell. Sandra lives in California.

RAHELE JOMEPOUR BELL’s charming illustrations have appeared in Angry Me by Sandra V. Feder, The Treasure Box by Dave J. Keane and Our Favorite Day of the Year by A. E. Ali (Kirkus Best Picture Books of the Year), among others. She has also published seven picture books in Iran and has received a number of awards and honors for her work.

Review: These are such important books! Children become better adults when they can learn to name and deal with the actual feelings they are feeling, and these texts start this process. These books would be perfect to use at the beginning of the year to talk about emotional regulation and how conflicts will be resolved in the classroom. I also think that parents will benefit from these texts to discussion emotions, as will therapists and counselors. They are so multifaceted!

What made these books even more special were the way that the text does one purpose and then the illustrations add a whole other element to the book. I would love to see these books used not only with a social emotional learning purpose, but also use the illustrations to tie in narrative and creative writing elements. Students can take what they learn in the illustrations and write a whole other story!

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation (from the publisher): 

  • Key Text Features:
    • explanation
    • illustrations
    • vignettes
  • Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.K.7 With prompting and support, describe the relationship between illustrations and the story in which they appear (e.g., what moment in a story an illustration depicts).
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.4 Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.
    • CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.1.7 Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

Discussion Questions: 

  • When do you feel peaceful? Angry?
  • What is your favorite time you feel peaceful?
  • How do you deal with feeling angry? What can you do to turn from angry to peaceful?
  • Is it better to talk about your feelings or hold them in?
  • How does talking about your feelings help you process?
  • How do the illustrations of Peaceful Me and Angry Me help you with understanding the book better? How do they support the message of the book(s)?
  • What is the main theme of Peaceful MeAngry Me?

Flagged Passages: 

Peaceful Me

Angry Me

Read This If You Love: Jory John’s & Pete Oswald’s Food Group Books; Sunny and Oswaldo by Nicole Melleby, Illustrated by Alexandra Colombo; Invisible Things by Andy J. Pizza, Illustrated by Sophie Miller; I Don’t Care by Julie Fogliano & Molly Idle, Illustrated by Juana Martinez Neal; In the Blue by Erin Hourigan; Harold the Iceberg Melts Down by Lisa Wyzlic, Illustrated by Rebecca Syracus

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**Thank you to Nicole Banholzer PR for providing copies for review!**

Educators’ Guide for A Match Made in Mehendi by Nandini Bajpai

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A Match Made in Mehendi
Author: Nandini Bajpai
Published: September 10th, 2019 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Summary: Fifteen-year-old Simran “Simi” Sangha comes from a long line of Indian vichole-matchmakers-with a rich history for helping parents find good matches for their grown children. When Simi accidentally sets up her cousin and a soon-to-be lawyer, her family is thrilled that she has the “gift.”

But Simi is an artist, and she doesn’t want to have anything to do with relationships, helicopter parents, and family drama. That is, until she realizes this might be just the thing to improve her and her best friend Noah’s social status. Armed with her family’s ancient guide to finding love, Simi starts a matchmaking service-via an app, of course.

But when she helps connect a wallflower of a girl with the star of the boys’ soccer team, she turns the high school hierarchy topsy-turvy, soon making herself public enemy number one.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the educators’ guide I created for Cake Creative Kitchen:

You can also access the educators’ guide here.

You can learn more about A Match Made in Mehendi by visiting Cake Creative Kitchen’s Library.

Recommended For: 

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The Witness Trees: Historic Moments and the Trees Who Watched Them Happen by Ryan G. Van Cleave, Illustrated by Ððm Ððm

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The Witness Trees: Historic Moments and the Trees Who Watch Them Happen
Author: Ryan G. Van Cleave
Illustrator: Ððm Ððm
Publishing May 9th, 2023 by Bushel & Peck Books

Summary: For generations, trees have silently witnessed history’s most pivotal moments. Here are their stories.

In the sweep of wind over grass,
near the pulse of rivers,
we stand,
monuments of bark
and age-curled green.

Above, an avalanche of stars.
Below, the ocean of earth.
Within, the uncounted lives
birthed, bloomed, and plucked
from the gardens we tend.

We survive.
We remember.
We witness.

In evocative verse and stunning artwork, Witness Trees is the story of the world’s most enduring witnesses: the trees. From the Flower of Kent apple tree still standing in Sir Isaac Newton’s yard, to the English oak given to Jesse Owens after facing down Hitler at the 1936 Berlin Olympics, to the California redwood saved from destruction by July Butterfly Hill, to the Callery pear tree still miraculously alive after the World Trade Towers fell, Witness Trees is a moving tribute to the world’s most famous trees, many of which still need humanity’s protection. Be moved, be inspired, be amazed by the quiet, reverberating voices of nature’s sentinels: the witness trees.

For each tree depicted, there is information about that tree and the events it witnessed. Among the trees lovingly discussed are 20 trees you can visit today.

About the Creators:

Ryan G. Van Cleave wrote his first poem at age five, and he’s been writing, reading, and loving poetry ever since. He earned a Ph.D. in American Literature with an emphasis in poetry and has taught at numerous colleges and universities. Currently, he runs the creative writing major at Ringling College of Art and Design. As The Picture Book Whisperer, he helps celebrities and high-profile clients write picture books and kidlit projects. Visit his blog at https://www.onlypicturebooks.com/.

Ððm Ððm is an illustrator who uses his art to sow seeds of joy. He has illustrated multiple books and lives in Vietnam.

Review: This book is intriguing and beautiful. First, the verse is very well written. It is lyrical and beautiful–it will lend its self so well to reading aloud. Second, the art is superb! It is realistic, colorful, eye catching, and breathtaking! Third, the idea of this book is just so fascinating. I, obviously, knew trees had been around much longer than most of us could imagine, but to see the timeline included in the book and all of the history included within just blew my mind.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: It would be amazing to take each of the Witness Trees and let a group of students learn more about the historical event as well as the tree that witnessed it. Each group could then present to the class. (Please note that many of the events are tragic, so choose the events and students for each wisely.)

Also, at the beginning of the book, the author includes some trees that aren’t included in the book, so students could take each of these books and create their own spreads with a poem about the tree based in its history.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does the author’s choice of verse affect the tone of the book?
  • How did the illustrators structure of putting the tree on one side of a spread and an illustration related to the history on the other side add to the history shared?
  • What makes trees so amazing? What about these trees specifically?
  • What time in history do you wonder if there is a Witness Tree for it? (Extension: Have students research and see if there is one.)

Flagged Passages: 

Read This If You Love: History, Interest in trees, Picture books in verse

Recommended For: 

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**Thank you to the author for providing a copy for review!**

Nic Blake and the Remarkables #1: The Manifestor Prophecy by Angie Thomas

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The Manifestor Prophecy
Author: Angie Thomas
Published April 4th, 2023 by Blazer + Bray

Summary: Internationally bestselling superstar author Angie Thomas makes her middle grade debut with the launch of an inventive, hilarious, and suspenseful new contemporary fantasy trilogy inspired by African American history and folklore.

It’s not easy being a Remarkable in the Unremarkable world. Some things are cool—like getting a pet hellhound for your twelfth birthday. Others, not so much—like not being trusted to learn magic because you might use it to take revenge on an annoying neighbor.

All Nic Blake wants is to be a powerful Manifestor like her dad. But before she has a chance to convince him to teach her the gift, a series of shocking revelations and terrifying events launch Nic and two friends on a hunt for a powerful magic tool she’s never heard of…to save her father from imprisonment for a crime she refuses to believe he committed.

“All the brilliance you’d expect from Angie Thomas: a page-turning plot, pitch-perfect characters, heart and substance, and real stakes that real kids will care about—plus magic! This is one of those rare books that will instantly become the best friend you didn’t know you needed. Nic Blake and the Remarkables is nothing short of a triumph. When’s the next installment, please?” — Rick Riordan, #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series

“Packed with humor and bursting with heart and imagination, Nic’s story will enchant readers of all ages!” — B.B. Alston, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Amari and the Night Brothers

“Exploding with heart, humor, and all things Black Girl Magic, Nic Blake and the Remarkables is a triumph of friendship and Black Southern folklore and history.’ — Dhonielle Clayton, New York Times bestselling author of The Marvellers

“This book is no-holds-barred, fly by the seat of your pants (and other methods) trip to the corner of Thrill Street and Wonder Avenue. Nic Blake is amazing!” — Kwame Mbalia, author of the Tristan Strong series

About the Author: Angie Thomas is the author of the award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling novels The Hate U GiveOn the Come Up, and Concrete Rose as well as Find Your Voice: A Guided Journal for Writing Your Truth. She is also a coauthor of the bestselling collaborative novels Blackout and Whiteout. Angie divides her time between her native Jackson, Mississippi and Atlanta, Georgia. You can find her online at www.angiethomas.com.

Review: This book is a dream of Angie Thomas’s. She wanted to create a book that was for a younger her who LOVED fantasy. This book allows her to world build, and she hopes to bring her readers the same joy that she felt reading fantasy (https://www.publishersweekly.com/pw/by-topic/childrens/childrens-authors/article/90215-pw-talks-with-angie-thomas.html), and I am happy to say, that she does just that (and more because she includes history, too)!

Although the world building is great and it is right up the alley for students who love middle grade contemporary fantasy adventures and the pacing is perfect, which keeps the reader reading, it was Nic Blake’s voice that truly sold me. It is fantastic! She is sassy and strong and witty! She is someone you root for right away and also trust as a character, which is important in these types of fantasy novels.

Discussion Questions: 

  • How does Nic deal with her life turning upside down? What does this tell you about her character?
  • How does the author intertwine history within her fantasy novel? What do you think her purpose of doing this is?
  • What folklore influences Thomas’s story?
  • What are the different character traits of the trio? How do they complement each other? How do the three of them compare/contrast to the original trio of Nic’s mom, dad, and godfather?
  • How does Nic’s story compare to the hero’s journey?

Book Trailer: 

Read This If You Love: The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton, Amari series by B.B. Alston, Tristan Strong series by Kwame Mbalia, Ring of Solomon by Aden Polydoros, Dragons in a Bag series by Zetta Elliott, Troubled Girls of Dragomir Academy by Anne Ursu

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**Thank you to Spark Point Studio for providing a copy for review!**

Educators’ Guide for The Marvellers by Dhonielle Clayton

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The Marvellers (Marvellverse #1)
Author: Dhonielle Clayton
Published: May 3rd, 2022 by Henry Holt and Co.

Summary: Author Dhonielle Clayton makes her middle-grade debut with a fantasy adventure set in a global magic school in the sky.

Eleven-year-old Ella Durand is the first Conjuror to attend the Arcanum Training Institute, where Marvellers from all around the world come together to practice their cultural arts like brewing Indian spice elixirs, practicing Caribbean steel drum hypnosis, and bartering with fussy Irish faeries. Ella knows some people mistrust her Conjuror magic, often deemed “bad and unnatural,” but she’s eager to make a good impression—and, hopefully, some friends.

But Ella discovers that being the first isn’t easy, and not all of the Marvellers are welcoming. Still, she connects with fellow misfits Brigit, a girl who hates magic, and Jason, who is never found without a magical creature or two. Just as Ella begins to find her way at the A.T.I., a notorious criminal escapes from prison, supposedly with Conjurors’ help. Worse, her favorite teacher Masterji Thakur never returns from a research trip, and only Ella seems concerned about his disappearance.

As tensions grow in the Marvellian world, Ella finds herself the target of vicious rumors and growing suspicions. With the help of her new friends, Ella must find a way to clear her family’s name and track down her beloved mentor Masterji Thakur . . . before she loses her place at the A.T.I. forever.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions: 

Please view and enjoy the teachers’ guide I created for The Marvellers:

You can also access the teaching guide here.

You can learn more about The Marvellers on The Marvellverse website.

P.S. Number Two comes out in September!!!!!

Recommended For: 

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Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement by Sandra Neil Wallace, Illustrated by Bryan Collier

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Love is Loud: How Diane Nash Led the Civil Rights Movement
Author: Sandra Neil Wallace
Illustrator: Bryan Collier
Published January 10th, 2023 by Simon & Schuster

Summary: Diane grew up in the southside of Chicago in the 1940s. As a university student, she visited the Tennessee State Fair in 1959. Shocked to see a bathroom sign that read , Diane learned that segregation in the South went beyond schools—it was part of daily life. She decided to fight back, not with anger or violence, but with strong words of truth and action.

Finding a group of like-minded students, including student preacher John Lewis, Diane took command of the Nashville Movement. They sat at the lunch counters where only white people were allowed and got arrested, day after day. Leading thousands of marchers to the courthouse, Diane convinced the mayor to integrate lunch counters. Then, she took on the Freedom Rides to integrate bus travel, garnering support from Martin Luther King Jr. and then the president himself—John F. Kennedy.

Praise: 

*”A poignant and powerful portrayal of the life and work of an unsung civil rights activist….Wallace’s text lends buoyancy to the narrative, making it a memorable read-aloud.” — Kirkus Reviews, STARRED REVIEW

*”Wallace’s emotive second-person text condenses Nash’s extensive activism into an inspiring meditation on love as the heart of justice, while Collier’s watercolor and collage illustrations bring artful dimension to Nash’s nonviolent resistance.” — Pubishers Weekly, STARRED REVIEW

*“During the 1960s, Diane Nash was one of the most influential and effective leaders of the Civil Rights Movement, yet most people don’t know who she is.” Wallace’s latest picture-book collaboration with Collier seeks to correct that ….the book opens with images of Nash’s parents cradling her as a baby and then of Nash, as a small child, being hugged by her grandmother, highlighting the love that encouraged her activism.” — The Horn Book — STARRED REVIEW

“This picture-book biography honors Diane Nash, a significant figure in the civil rights movement…. Written in direct but poetic phrases… A fitting portrayal of Diane Nash, a civil rights leader who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2022.” — Booklist

About the Creators: 

Sandra Neil Wallace writes about people who break barriers and change the world. She is the author of several award-winning books for children, including Between the Lines: How Ernie Barnes Went from the Football Field to the Art Gallery, illustrated by Bryan Collier, which received the Orbis Pictus Book Award and was an ALA Notable Book. A former ESPN reporter and the first woman to host an NHL broadcast, she is the recipient of the Outstanding Women of New Hampshire Award and creates change as cofounder of The Daily Good, a nonprofit bringing twenty thousand free, culturally diverse foods to college students each year through its Global Foods Pantries. Visit Sandra at SandraNeilWallace.com.

Bryan Collier is a beloved illustrator known for his unique style combining watercolor and detailed collage. He is a four-time Caldecott Honor recipient for Trombone ShortyDave the PotterMartin’s Big Words, and Rosa. His books have won many other awards as well, including six Coretta Scott King Illustrator Awards. His recent books include By and By, ThurgoodThe Five O’Clock Band, and Between the Lines. He lives in New York with his family.

Review: Sandra Neil Wallace’s biography of Diane Nash is a force of book filled with a powerful story which will inspire whomever reads it and illustrations that are pieces of art on each page. Diane Nash is a name that not as many people know, but she should be included in all of the historical discussions surrounding the Civil Rights Movement; this book will help get her name to a new generation.

I particularly liked the way that Wallace highlighted particular words throughout the book purposefully to capture the emotions or actions of that time in Nash’s life. The choice of words would lead to such fantastic conversations about both author’s purpose and descriptive language. Additionally, the text is written in 2nd person which is not often found in nonfiction historical picture books, so it is great exposure to that point of view.

Curriculum Guide: 

Flagged Passages: 

Book Trailer:

Read This If You Love: Learning about activists, the Civil Rights Movement, and strong women who make a difference

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**Thank you to Blue Slip Media for providing a copy for review!**

Promise Boys by Nick Brooks

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Promise Boys
Author: Nick Brooks
Published: January 31, 2023 by Macmillan

Goodreads Summary: The Hate U Give meets One of Us Is Lying in Nick Brooks’s Promise Boys, a trailblazing, blockbuster mystery about three teen boys of color who must investigate their principal’s murder to clear their own names—for fans of Jason Reynolds, Angie Thomas, and Karen McManus.

“A brilliant pulls-no-punches mystery with bruised hearts at its core.” —Adam Silvera, #1 New York Times bestselling author of They Both Die at the End

“Thrilling, captivating, and blade-sharp. Promise Boys will stay with you long after the last page.” —Karen M. McManus, #1 New York Times bestselling author of One of Us Is Lying

The Urban Promise Prep School vows to turn boys into men. As students, J.B., Ramón, and Trey are forced to follow the prestigious “program’s” strict rules. Extreme discipline, they’ve been told, is what it takes to be college bound, to avoid the fates of many men in their neighborhoods. This, the Principal Moore Method, supposedly saves lives.

But when Moore ends up murdered and the cops come sniffing around, the trio emerges as the case’s prime suspects. With all three maintaining their innocence, they must band together to track down the real killer before they are arrested. But is the true culprit hiding among them?

Ricki’s Review: After reading this book, I adopted it for my young adult literature class this semester. This required me to a) change my book order–which makes several people annoyed, b) adjust my syllabus and move sections around, and c) message the campus book store that, yes, I know that the book isn’t out yet, but I still want them to pre-order it.

I say all of this to demonstrate how much I loved this book and couldn’t put it down. It reminded me of Monster by Walter Dean Mayes a bit in the topic. Three teenage boys are all suspected of murdering their principal. The book is written from the different perspectives and allows the reader to explore any biases they might hold about teenage boys of color. It is set in a very strict school that thinks that hyper discipline will fix kids. This is an important book. I am so glad it exists, and I can’t wait to discuss it with my students.

Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might use this book for students to analyze the rules that come with their schools and within other systems. They might then write narratives related to the rules that they perceive.

Discussion Questions: 

  • When you were reading the book, who did you think did it?
  • Why does the school use discipline? What are their assumptions?
  • What did you learn from this book?

Flagged Spreads: “Rumor has it a student brought a gun to school the day of the murder. You didn’t hear that from me.”

Recommended For: 

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