Sunday, August 7, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? August 8, 2022


Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are a couple books I read last week.  

by Scott Rothman
Illustrated by Avery Monsen
Publication Aug. 9, 2022
Roaring Brook Press
Hardcover Picture Book
40 Pages
Review Copy Provided by Publisher

Goodreads Summary
A minimally worded, highly entertaining, and uniquely offbeat picture book that takes readers on a surprising wordplay journey that sort of makes sense but will totally make you laugh.

This must-read book is an innovative and deceptively simple journey of words that rhyme (or don't) with "parfait." Each page turn brings on the laughs as the clever story bounces from an uneaten parfait to seemingly random characters, including a duck, a toupée-wearing Shar-pei, horses playing "Pin-the-Tail-on-the-Donkay", and even. . . Abraham Lincoln. Throughout, bestselling artist Avery Monsen (All My Friends Are Dead) packs fun seek-and-finds, giving readers a chance to spot everything that rhymes with "parfait."

Irreverent and wholly original, Parfait, Not Parfait is a book full of irresistible layers, each one more satisfying than the last.

My Thoughts
How many words can you think of that rhyme with parfait? How about shar-pei, or toupee? 
The super-simplistic rhyming text combined with the bright, colorful, and silly illustrations make this a really fun book. I can see it being used when studying rhymes or interesting vocabulary in general. Kindergarten-grade 2 would enjoy this book the most in my opinion. 

What Are You Reading Friends? 


Monday, July 11, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 11, 2022


Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are a couple books I read last week.  

by Melinda Beck
Published April, 2022
Phaidon Press
32 Pages
Board Book
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
A playful and clever board book about shapes and teamwork by a two-time Emmy-nominated children's content creator at Nickelodeon

Pitch-perfect for a preschool audience, this board book introduces shapes and explores themes of teamwork and resilience. Square, rectangle, triangle, circle, squiggly and lumpy all work together to build a house. Each shape makes a unique contribution, and collectively they achieve something that they could not do alone. With an emphasis on interpersonal development, and visually inspired by the children's books created by Russian Constructivists, this is an artful, fresh take on the evergreen topic of shapes. This charming book teaches young readers everywhere that we are far stronger together than alone.

My Thoughts
I am already thinking about using this book in my library for K-1. It offers the concept work of shapes and the attributes of shapes while also capitalizing on the theme of teamwork. The illustrations are intentionally simplistic, and each shape has its own unique personality. This will be a book kids want to hear over and over again. 

Here are some other books I read last week. Click on the cover to go to the book's page on Goodreads. 

Loved this graphic novel for younger students from the author of Mel Fell. And it's a series! 

I am kind of obsessed with all the Elephant & Piggies Like Reading series. 


Monday, July 4, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 4, 2022


Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are a couple books I read last week.  

by Edith Cohn
Published December 2021
Bloomsbury Children's Books
274 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
A savvy young girl finds half a million dollars and wonders if she can keep it in this charming middle grade mystery that asks big questions about right, wrong, and what you'd do for family.

For as long as eleven-year-old Birdie can remember, it's always been just her and her mom, which means there's not a lot of extra money to spend on things like new clothes and batons from the fancy gymnastics store. Still, they always find a way to make ends meet. Then Birdie makes one silly mistake that has a big consequence: Mom loses her job. Now things are more dire than ever, and Birdie knows it's up to her to fix it.

When Birdie discovers a huge stash of cash in an abandoned house, she just knows it must be the answer to their problems. But the people who left that money behind aren't willing to give it up so easily. Does “finders, keepers” count when it's half a million dollars?

In this heartfelt small-town story from beloved author Edith Cohn, Birdie learns how to balance what's right for her family-and herself-with what's the right thing to do.

My Thoughts
I am a big fan of the author's book, Spirit's Key so I was very excited to read Birdie's Billions. At first glance it seems like this is a book centered around spending and concealing the money and the mystery of who the money belongs to. It is about all of that but what I like most about this book is how it shows how a lie grows and grows and eventually take son a life of its own. Birdie gets so far into her lies that she eventually forgets which lies she has told. She gets in deep and doesn't know how to get out. Students in grades 3-6 will enjoy reading Birdie's story. I will be adding it to my school library for sure. 

by Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrated by Lisk Feng
Published April 20, 2022 by Phaidon Press
26 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
A stunning companion to the bestseller Our World, this extraordinary book is a beautiful and accessible introduction to the world’s seasons, which, after reading, transforms into a 3D globe

The youngest readers are invited to identify and experience the Earth’s amazing seasons around the globe through rhyming verse and lush illustrations: frosty winter, blossoming spring, bountiful summer, colourful autumn. Secondary text offers detailed curriculum-focused facts that encourage children to consider their own environments, making the experience personal yet set within a global backdrop. This informative homage to Earth’s seasons is sure to inspire children to learn more about their planet – and to engage with the world around them.

My Thoughts
This book about seasons is a lot of fun! First, its unique shape will surely engage your readers. It is made of sturdy board book material and opens up into the shape of a globe. The top portion of each page contains colorful illustrations depicting the season. The bottom left side is written as a poem about seasons that spans the entire book. The bottom right on each spread tells a bit more about the season. 
Image from

Monday, June 20, 2022

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? June 20, 2022


Please visit the amazing blogs: Teach Mentor Texts and Unleashing Readers who host this terrific meme each week.

Here are a couple books I read last week. 

Have Jacobs Saves the Planet 
by Barbara Dee
Aladdin Publishing
Expected Publication Sept. 2022
Middle Grade Realistic Fiction
Advanced Reader Copy Provided by Publisher

Goodreads (partial) Summary
The book stars Haven, a girl combatting eco-anxiety and an obsession with climate change by fighting against the company whose factory is polluting the river running through her town.

I LOVE Barbara Dee's books! She develops relatable characters and tackles real problems young kids face head-on in a way that informs the reader, but keeps the focus on the story. 
Haven has been increasingly more worried about the future of our planet, but a video in class about global warming seems to increase her anxiety and her desire to "do something" to help. I know many students will be able to relate to Haven's feelings and will enjoy this book. I would recommend it for grade 4+. 

Is There Life on Your Nose? 
by Christian Borstlap
Published 2021
Prestel Junior
Nonfiction Picture Book
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
From cheese to poo, recycling to evolution, this playful, informative picture book helps kids get acquainted with the microbes that make up every part of our daily life.

Germs, microbes, bacteria--these days those words are fraught with fear and uncertainty. But they're not all bad. In fact, most of them make life and nature possible. Christian Borstlap's playful, boldly colored illustrations and cheerful text will help kids understand that microbes are everywhere--in our noses and tummies, in the food we eat, in the air we breathe. From the world's largest organism in Oregon's Blue Mountains, to the bacteria that started life on earth; from microbes that help recycle plastic, to yeast that makes bread taste good--this book shows the incredible diversity of these tiny beings and how they affect every aspect of our lives. Borstlap uses both science and humor to demystify a potentially scary subject, and closes with double-page spreads that are packed with information to satisfy the most curious readers.

I liked how this topic was approached in this book for young kids. This topic could be a bit scary, but the whimsical illustrations and positive language makes it much less scary and more fun!
Recommended for grades 1-5. 

Currently Reading

What Are You Reading friends?


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of "Fighting Shirley Chisholm"

 Speak Up, Speak Out! The Extraordinary Life of "Fighting Shirley Chisholm" 

by Tonya Bolden
Published Jan. 4, 2022
National Geographic for Kids
144 pages
Narrative Nonfiction
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
From award-winning author Tonya Bolden comes a biography of the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and the first Black woman to run for president with a major political party: Shirley Chisholm.
Before there was Barack Obama, before there was Kamala Harris, there was Fighting Shirley Chisholm. A daughter of Barbadian immigrants, Chisholm developed her political chops in Brooklyn in the 1950s and went on to become the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. This “pepper pot,” as she was known, was not afraid to speak up for what she thought was right. While fighting for a better life for her constituents in New York’s 12th Congressional District, Chisholm routinely fought against sexism and racism in her own life and defied the norms of the time. As the first Black woman in the House and the first Black woman to seek the presidential nomination from a major political party, Shirley Chisholm laid the groundwork for those who would come after her.
Extensively researched and reviewed by experts, this inspiring biography traces Chisholm’s journey from her childhood in a small flat in Brooklyn where she read books with her sisters to Brooklyn College where she got her first taste of politics. Readers will cheer Chisholm on to victory from the campaign trail to the hallowed halls of the U.S. Capitol, where she fought for fair wages, equal rights, and an end to the Vietnam War. And while the presidential campaign trail in 1972 did not end in victory, Shirley Chisholm shows us how you can change a country when you speak up and speak out.

My Thoughts
This book chronicles Shirley Chisholm's life from childhood to her death in 2005. It is a fascinating and important story of this iconic woman. Bolden's exceptional research combined with the narrative style makes you feel like you are beside her every step of the way. 

This book would appeal most to students in middle school and up. It does not provide support from photographs or text features. While this does not impact the information presented, I do wish there were a few photos sprinkled in. 

Shirley Chisholm was a prolific and powerful speaker. Reading this book, as often happens with good nonfiction, made me want to learn more. Below is a recording of her 1972 speech announcing her campaign to run and the first black woman for president of the United States. 

Saturday, February 5, 2022

I am Golden by Eva Chen

I am Golden
by Eva Chen
Illustrated by Sophie Diao
Published Feb. 1, 2022
Feiwel Friends
Picture Book
40 Pages 
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
What do you see when you look in the mirror, Mei? Do you see beauty?
We see eyes that point toward the sun, that give us the warmth and joy of a thousand rays when you smile. We see hair as inky black and smooth as a peaceful night sky. We see skin brushed with gold.

This joyful and lyrical picture book from New York Times-bestselling author Eva Chen is a moving ode to the immigrant experience, as well as a manifesto of self-love for Asian American children.

My Thoughts
This book will hit readers right in the feelings. Based on the author's true experiences, it presents the prejudice and mistreatment that many Asian-American immigrants face in a way that will make sense to younger readers. I have been able to share this beautiful book with children in grades 3-6 and have seen its power first hand. Teachers have been able to use the text as a catalyst for rich, important discussions. 
Not only does I Am Golden portray examples of racism, but it is absolutely beautifully written with rich vocabulary and lyrical prose.  Sophie Diao's gorgeous illustrations beg to be closely explored and will draw young readers further into the story. 
Image from 

The back matter is not to be missed, including a powerful author note describing the author's real experiences. 
I AM Golden has a place in all school and classroom libraries, but i feel that the sweet spot is grades 3+.  

Check out the author sharing the book on Good Morning America

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

2 New Leveled Reader Biographies from Natgeo Kids~Kamala Harris and Stacey Abrams

I am a huge fan of informational books from National Geographic for Kids. More importantly, kids love them! Check out these two new titles. 

Kamala Harris
by Tonya K. Grant
Published Jan. 4 2022
Natgeo Kids
32 Pages
Grades 2-4

Goodreads Summary
Explore one of the most powerful and highest-ranking female figures in American history with this biography of Vice President Kamala Harris in this Level 2 reader.
On January 20, 2021, Kamala Harris made history. That day, she became the first woman, the first Black American, and the first South Asian American to be elected as Vice President of the United States. Young readers will learn about Harris’s childhood, her early career, and her journey that led to winning the vice presidency. This early reader also explores how Harris devoted her life to helping others, from serving as the Attorney General of California, to being elected as a U.S. Senator, to working alongside President Joe Biden on the campaign trail and in the White House.

The level 2 text provides accessible, yet wide-ranging information for independent readers. Explore Harris’s life, achievements, and the challenges she faced along the way to becoming a barrier-breaking leader and an inspiration to young people everywhere.

by Melissa H. Mwai
Published Jan. 4 2022
Natgeo Kids
32 Pages
Grades 2-4

Goodreads Summary
Learn about the voting rights advocate and politician Stacey Abrams and her groundbreaking achievements in this appealing Level 2 reader. Young readers will find out about Abram’s childhood and her early career as a city attorney and as minority leader of the Georgia House of Representatives. The reader also explores her run in Georgia as the first Black woman to be nominated by a major party for governor, and how losing
that race inspired her to devote her life to making elections and the voting process more equitable for everyone.

The level 2 text provides accessible, yet wide-ranging information for independent readers. Explore Abrams’s life, achievements, and the challenges she faced along the way to leading the fight against voter suppression and becoming a champion for change.

My Thoughts
Often the information in nonfiction texts can seem out of reach for many students. The books can be jam-packed with information presented with dense text and they can be hard for young readers to understand. These two books from Natgeo are incredibly accessible and engaging with interesting facts, sparse text, enlarged font and text features that help readers understand the information. 
Vocabulary is highlighted with bold print and pop-out definitions. The glossaries contain photographs to accompany the definitions adding visual support for readers. 
The fun Quiz Whiz section helps solidify and review information presented in the books. 
Be sure to add these books to your home, school or classroom library. 

Here is more information about this series:
(from Goodreads)
Key features include:
*Expert-vetted text appropriate for ages 5 to 8
*Engaging and brilliant historical images sourced by National Geographic
*Fun approach to high-interest biographies

About the series: This high-interest, educationally-vetted readers series features magnificent National Geographic images accompanied by text written by experienced, skilled children’s book authors. Each reader includes a glossary and interactive features in which kids get to use what they’ve learned in the book. Level 1 readers reinforce the content of the book with a kinesthetic learning activity. Level 2 readers feature slightly higher-level text and additional vocabulary words. Level 3 readers have more layers of information to challenge more proficient readers. For emerging readers, the Pre-reader level introduces vocabulary and concepts, and the Co-reader level provides a collaborative reading experience.

Praise for National Geographic Readers:

“Reliable in format and solid in execution, this series works well to introduce children of varying
levels of reading comfort to nonfiction and research formats.”
—Maggie Reagan, Booklist

Complete your collection with these popular National Geographic Biography Readers:

National Geographic Readers: Kamala Harris (Level 2)
National Geographic Readers: Harriet Tubman (Level 2)
National Geographic Readers: Ruth Bader Ginsburg (Level 3)
National Geographic Readers: Barack Obama (Level 2)