Prairie Boy: Frank Lloyd Wright Turns the Heartland Into a Home
Author: Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator: Christopher Silas Neal
Published: September 10th, 2019 by Calkins Creek
Summary: The early life and creative genius of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, as a maker of American buildings—highlighting his passion, imagination and creativity.
Frank Lloyd Wright loved the Wisconsin prairie where he was born, with its wide-open sky and waves of tall grass. As his family moved across the United States, young Frank found his own home in shapes: rectangles, triangles, half-moons, and circles. So, Frank pursued a career in architecture. Unlike everyone else, he didn’t think the Victorian homes fit the beauty of the land. Using his love of shapes, Frank redesigned the American home inside and out, developing a unique architecture, the Prairie House.
Author Barb Rosenstock and artist Christopher Silas Neal explore the early life and creative genius of architect Frank Lloyd Wright, highlighting his passion, imagination, and ingenuity.
Backmatter includes historical photos, author’s note, quotations, sources, source notes, architectural plans and a photo gallery of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings across America.
About the Creators:
Author Barb Rosenstock is the author of many picture book biographies, including Otis and Will Discover the Deep, Secret Kingdom, Dorothea’s Eyes, Ben Franklin’s Big Splash, and The Streak: How Joe DiMaggio Became America’s Hero. Her picture book about Kandinsky, The Noisy Paint Box, won the 2015 Caldecott Medal.
Illustrator Christopher Silas Neal is the author and illustrator of multiple picture books, including I Won’t Eat That and Everyone. He is also the illustrator of Kate Messner’s Over and Under the Pond, Over and Under the Snow, and Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation and Discussion Questions:
Please view and enjoy the teachers’ and discussion guide I created for Prairie Boy:
Sonny’s Bridge: Jazz Legend Sonny Rollins Finds His Groove Author: Barry Wittenstein
Illustrator: Keith Mallett
Published May 21st, 2019 by Charlesbridge Publishing
Summary: This groovy, bebopping picture book biography chronicles the legendary jazz saxophonist Sonny Rollins’s search for inspiration on the Williamsburg Bridge after quitting the jazz scene in 1959.
Rollins is one of the most prolific sax players in the history of jazz, but, in 1959, at the height of his career, he vanished from the jazz scene. His return to music was an interesting journey–with a long detour on the Williamsburg Bridge. Too loud to practice in his apartment, Rollins played on the New York City landmark for two years among the cacophony of traffic and the stares of bystanders, leading to the release of his album, The Bridge.
Written in rhythmic prose with a bebop edge, this picture-book biography of Sonny Rollins’s journey to get his groove back will delight young and old fans alike.
About the Author: Barry Wittenstein has worked at CBS Records, CBS News, and was a web editor and writer for Major League Baseball. He is now a New York City elementary-school substitute teacher and children’s author. He is the author of The Boo-Boos That Changed the World: The True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really!) and Waiting for Pumpsie. Barry lives in the Bronx.
About the Illustrator: Keith Mallett studied art at Hunter College in New York City. Keith’s work was commissioned to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Jackie Robinson’s historic breakthrough into major league baseball, has graced the cover of Chicken Soup for the African American Soul, and has been featured in many movies and TV shows. He is the illustrator of Take a Picture of Me, James VanDerZee and How Jelly Roll Morton Invented Jazz. Keith lives in San Diego, California.
Praise: “An appropriately jazzy picture-book biography of African-American musician Sonny Rollins. It impresses from the endpapers, which mirror a vinyl LP in its paper sleeve and then playing on a turntable, to the liner notes about Rollins’ seminal album “The Bridge” in the back.” -Kirkus Reviews, starred review
“The life of jazz legend Sonny Rollins pulses with the rousing spontaneity of his music in Wittenstein’s free verse biography. Readers witness Rollins’s career as an acclaimed musician followed by his explosive success and the subsequent reincarnations of his art.” -School Library Journal, starred review
Review:The rhythm of the writing in Sonny’s Bridge automatically gets you toe tapping while reading. It captures the feeling and flow of jazz which truly sets the stage for Sonny’s story because in the end this is the story of Sonny Rollins and his path to finding his musical voice.
In addition to the rhythm in the writing, the illustrators images bring the words to life using movement, color, and line to show the power of the music.
Together, the words and music bring Sonny’s story to the readers in a way that will illuminate his struggles and his triumphs.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Because of the rhythmic writing, this will be an amazing read aloud! And then the students can listen to The Bridge.
We are lucky to be living in a time with so many wonderful biographies out there about amazing people and a lot of them happen to be musicians, so what a great opportunity for book clubs or jig saws to look at different musicians and how they became who they are/were and how they changed not only musical history but sometimes even history.
Why does Sonny find the bridge to be the best place for him to practice?
Why did Sonny take off two years and how did it change his life?
How did Sonny’s life correspond with Black Americans’ fight for equal rights?
How did the illustrator show Sonny’s music through is artwork?
Why would some want the bridge to be renamed Sonny’s Bridge?
After listening to The Bridge, how did the author capture the feeling of jazz in his writing?
Creator Corner with Barry Wittenstein from KidLitTV:
Max Attacks Author: Kathi Appelt Illustrator: Penelope Dullaghan Publication Date: June 11th, 2019 by Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
Summary: Fish and birds and lizards and socks…is there anything Max won’t attack? Watch your ankles and find out in this clever, rhyming picture book about a very naughty kitty cat.
Max is a cat. He attacks. From socks to strings to many a fish, attacking, for Max, is most de-lish. But how many of these things can he actually catch? Well, let’s just say it’s no even match.
About the Creators: Kathi Appelt is the New York Times best-selling author of more than forty books for children and young adults. Her first novel, The Underneath, was a National Book Award Finalist and a Newbery Honor Book. It also received the PEN USA Award. Her other novels include Angel Thieves, for young adults, The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, a National Book Award finalist, and Maybe a Fox, one of the Bank Street Books Best Children’s Books of the Year. In addition to writing, Ms. Appelt is on the faculty in the Masters of Creative Writing for Children and Young Adults at Vermont College of Fine Arts. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, and to find curriculum materials and activity pages, visit her website at kathiappelt.com.
Penelope Dullaghan is an award-winning artist with an attack-happy cat of her own. The main difference is that Rainy, her cat, is dark gray instead of blue. Penelope and Rainy share many favorite hobbies, including watching activity at the bird feeder, collecting interesting bugs, and outstretched snoozing in sunbeams. Max Attacks is Penelope’s debut picture book. Visit her at PenelopeDullaghan.com.
Praise: A paean to the pleasures of having a cat companion, this catalog of Max’s actions should win plenty of accolades: Max, a million; readers a million-plus. (Kirkus Reviews, starred review)
Appelt writes with catlike flexibility and bounce (Publishers Weekly)
“Max is sure to be a hit.” (School Library Journal)
Review: Both the illustrator and author have to be cat owners and cat lovers because Max’s story is obviously a narrative directly from a cat’s brain. Well, a narrative directly from a very rhythmic and rhyming cat 🙂
Appelt does a wonderful job using rhythm to capture both how focused a cat gets when it has chosen whatever it has chosen as well as the ease that cats are distracted by another thing and loses all focus. As you read, you notice the rhythm changes between slow and focused and choppy and jumpy. This masterful poetry mixed with the fun illustrations that capture all of the emotions and movement of max.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Max Attacks will first and foremost be such a fun read aloud. Kids will love Max’s story and teachers will love the rhythm and rhyming in Appelt’s writing.
Choose a different pet and use Appelt’s text structure and Dullaghan’s illustration style to create your own spread.
What are some examples in Max’s story that fit the personality of a cat?
How did rhythm effect Max’s narrative?
What are some examples of the illustrations capturing a cat’s movement? Personality? Focus?
Read This If You Love: They All Saw a Cat by Brendan Wenzel; Big Cat, Little Cat by Elisha Cooper; Kat Kong by Dav Pilkey; Bad Kitty by Nick Bruel; I Hate My Cats by Davide Cali
You Choose in Space Author: Pippa Goodhart
Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
Published March, 2019 by Kane Miller Books
Summary: Zoom off into space for an adventure where you choose what happens next. Which alien would you most like to be friends with? And what fantastically freaky food will you decide to munch for lunch?
The possibilities are infinite in this mesmerizing creative toolkit which will inspire children to make their own stories time and again — it’s out of this world!
Ricki’s Review: The You Choose series books are easily among my favorite books to read to my kids. We take them on family vacations and visits with relatives and friends because we love to hear what our friends and family would choose. This is one of the best books to bring in car trips because kids can select a different ending every time! When this book came in the mail, my kids shrieked with joy. Since then, we’ve read it dozens of times. I love seeing how my kids’ tastes are different. There is also a lot of great classroom potential in these books (see below).
Kellee’s Review: I’m so glad that Ricki told me to review this You Choose book with her! She received the first one, but I was booked at the time, but she said that I could not let this chance pass, and I am so glad! It is a choose your own adventure book for the picture book age. It really does build up the story-telling capacity because it gives a foundation and lets the reader build up from there. It is such a fun book that is different every time, so a reader is never done!
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation:You Choose in Space, Just Imagine, and You Choose make for fantastic texts for creative writing units and courses. As teachers, we know that students often struggle to get started, and paging through these books allows for wonderful story starters. I use these books to discuss teaching composition with preservice teachers, and I also use them for a unit about using picture books in the classroom. My students love these books!
What did you choose? Why?
What did you NOT choose? Why?
Which page was your favorite? Why was the spread most interesting to you?
Did you notice any trends or patterns with your choices?
Ricki’s family reading one of the You Choose books on vacation:
Where’s the Architect?: From Pyramids to Skyscrapers: An Architecture Look and Find Book
Author: Susanne Rebscher; Illustrator: Annabelle von Sperber
Published October 23, 2018 by Prestel Junior
Summary: This wonderfully illustrated and captivating introduction to the wonders of architecture will have young readers poring over each spread and learning as they go.
From the top of China’s Great Wall to the base of the Pyramids of Giza and the Sphinx, this journey through the world of architecture stops in nearly every continent and travels through centuries. Annabelle von Sperber populates her dynamic and intricate double-page spreads with many details and a hidden architect or important figure on every page that kids will have fun trying to locate. Along the way they’ll learn about the iron workers who built the Empire State building, how many bulbs it takes to light the Eiffel Tower, where the royal jewels are kept at the Tower of London, and why there is so much red and yellow in Beijing’s Forbidden City. Young readers will find themselves fully immersed in this large format book while learning about the incredible architectural wonders that continue to amaze us today.
Review: My son and I absolutely loved this book. It is oversized with giant illustrations, and we spent much time on each spread. The pages feature magnificent works of architecture from the past (and currently existing in the present). In most of the drawings, the architecture is in the process of being built or was recently built, so the book leads readers into a historical time period. We learned so much from this book, and I loved all of the new-to-me facts about the famous architectural structures. My son loved looking and talking about the buildings, and he enjoyed doing the search-and-finds on each page. It is a wonderful book that would be a great resource for classrooms.
Teachers’ Tools for Navigation: Teachers might ask students to work in groups to pick a page that is particularly compelling for them. They can research more about the structure and the time period to understand context and explore historical aspects of the architecture that interest them.
Which architectural design is most interesting to you? Why do you find it to be interesting?
Which facts surprised you?
Do you notice differences in the architecture throughout time?
Which structures are close to you? Which are far away?
Read This If You Love: Interactive search-and-find (seek-and-find, look-and-find) activity books filled with educational information
**Thank you to Casey at Media Masters Publicity for providing a copy for review!**