Sunday, September 8, 2019

Teachers, I Feel You

The first week of school is done and we are ready to start again with week 2.  I was a classroom teacher for many years and I remember how tough the first week(s) can be. As an instructional coach during the first week of school, I visit classrooms and try to be helpful. I assist teachers with finding resources and pop into classrooms and help as the students learn new routines. I do some read alouds and book talks and answer lots of questions. Part of the role of a coach is to watch and listen carefully. Last week I saw so many beautiful moments in my schools as all of the adults in our buildings collectively supported students in the transition back to school that I wanted to write about them.

Teachers, I Feel You

To the teacher with the new student 
Who can not keep his hands to himself. 
You cheerfully say, 
"It looks like you could use more space, 
How would you like to use the table?" 
I feel your patience.

To the teacher who gently holds the hand 
Of an exhausted little guy as he sobs, 
"I miss my mom". 
I feel your kindness. 

To the teacher with that challenging class.
You read a book to them called, I Believe in You.
I listen as you talk about ways to support them.
I feel your devotion.  

To the teacher who dropped your own child at day care 
for the first time this morning.
You dry your tears and give your best self to your students. 
I feel your strength. 

To the teachers who walk their classes in lines. 
Saying, "I see walking feet." 
"I see students facing forward." 
I feel your optimism. 

To the teacher with the "resistant" student
Who refuses to come to circle.
"We simply can't do this without you." is all you say.
I feel your respect. 

To the nervous new teacher. 
Who greets a class of eager students for the first time
With a wide smile and knocking knees.
I feel your courage. 

To ALL the educators who work so hard for our students
Every day.
I feel your passion, your dedication, your hope and your exhaustion. 
I am with you.
I feel you. 

Sunday, July 21, 2019

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? July 22, 2019

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

Here are a few books I have been able to read over the last couple of weeks. Click on the covers to go to the book's page on Goodreads. 

This one was not exactly my cup of tea, but many kids will like it. Grades 2-4. 

So glad I found this series from Capstone. Great for late 2nd to early 4th. 

Daisy finds that she can talk to animals in this delightful series. Grades 2-4. 

Really sweet story to add to your collection of #Ownvoices.

Currently Reading

Up Next?

What are you reading friends? 

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Pie in the Sky by Remy Lai

Pie in the Sky 
by Remy Lai
Published May, 2019
Henry Holt & Co.
385 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
When eleven-year-old Jingwen moves to a new country, he feels like he’s landed on Mars. School is torture, making friends is impossible since he doesn’t speak English, and he's often stuck looking after his (extremely irritating) little brother, Yanghao.
To distract himself from the loneliness, Jingwen daydreams about making all the cakes on the menu of Pie in the Sky, the bakery his father had planned to open before he unexpectedly passed away. The only problem is his mother has laid down one major rule: the brothers are not to use the oven while she's at work. As Jingwen and Yanghao bake elaborate cakes, they'll have to cook up elaborate excuses to keep the cake making a secret from Mama.
Told in prose and graphic novel elements, this middle-grade novel is about a boy's immigration experience, his annoying little brother, and their cake-baking hijinks!

My Thoughts
Remy Lai has done a wonderful job portraying what it can be like for children who relocate and do not speak the language of their new country. Jingwen is confused, embarrassed, frustrated and angry. It doesn't help that his little brother seems to be making friends and learning English far more easily. Jingwen's desperation is palpable as he feverishly tries to finish making all the cakes he and his father had talked about making for the Pie in the Sky cake shop, hoping that he will feel better by honoring his father. 
Although the book is 385 pages, parts of it are presented using a graphic novel format which help move the story forward. Australian people are drawn looking like aliens and their speech bubbles are nonsense symbols representing how Jingwen sees them. 
This book offers many discussion possibilities for students. It can serve as a mirror for students who are English Language Learners and a window for native students to see what new students may be experiencing as they acclimate to a new country. 
I would recommend it for grades 4-6. 
I would also not recommend that you read Pie in the Sky on an empty stomach. Those cakes just sound so yummy! 

Images from the Macmillan website.

See What Others Have to Say About Pie in the Sky:

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

New Series "By the Numbers" from Steve Jenkins

I wanted to share this super-cool new series from Steve Jenkins. So far there are two in the series published by HMH Books for Young Readers. 

Each is hardcover with approximately 40 pages. They are filled with fascinating infographics and include a glossary of important terms. Kids will love examining the infographics and sharing their learning. 

These books would make a wonderful addition to your library for grades 3-5. 

Coming soon: 
The Solar System by the Numbers
Insects by the Numbers

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Cowhide-and-Seek by Sheri Dillard and Jess Pauwels

by Sheri Dillard
Illustrated by Jess Pauwels
Published May, 2019
Running Press kids
Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
A fun and humorous picture book, perfect for fans of Click, Clack, Moo.
Where, oh where, could Bessie be? When Bessie hears the farmer counting his cows, she thinks he's starting a game of hide-and-seek. She hurries off to hide, determined to be the winner- but she's the only one playing! When her "hiding spot" walks away, she follows it . . . right off the farm! Ready or not, here comes the farmer! Will Bessie find the perfect place to hide?

My Thoughts
Kids love a good game of hide and seek. Imagine how they will enjoy watching Bessie and she tries to hide in plain sight. It reminds me of how toddlers play hide and seek as they crouch behind a small object and think that they can't be seen. This book is silly and fun. The illustrations are well done with mostly stark white backgrounds with colorful diverse characters. 
Kids from toddlers to age 5 will enjoy this book. 

Image from

See what others have to say about this book:
The Baby Bookworm Blog
Visit Sheri Dillard's website
Visit Jess Pauwels website

Monday, July 1, 2019

It's Monday, What Are You Reading July 1, 2019

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

Here are a few books I have been able to read over the last couple of weeks. Click on the covers to go to the book's page on Goodreads. 

The second in the series from Kayla Miller.  The story is all too relatable and timeless as Olive and Willow struggle with their friendship at summer camp when their personalities and expectations differ. Great for middle schoolers. 

Reading fantasy is a book gap for me. The Storm Keeper's Island was a nice way to fill it a bit. This is the first in the series. For 5th grade and up. 

This is the first in the super-cute graphic novel series, Monkey and Cake. First grade is the sweet spot for this one.  

Crabtree Publishing has a whole series of these fractured fair tales. If you are looking for books for second graders who are striving readers, want something entertaining, but not too young looking, this one does the trick. 

I really like Scholastic's Acorn imprint for young readers. There are currently 3 in this series. They are in full color and are written in  short chapters. Perfect for grades 1-2. 

Currently Reading


What are you reading friends? 

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Blog Tour: Moon! Earth's Best Friend by Stacy McAnulty and Stevie Lewis

Moon! Earth's Best Friend
by Stacy McAnulty 
Illustrated by Stevie Lewis
Published June 11, 2019
Henry Holt and Co.
Picture book
40 pages
Advanced reader's copy provided by publisher. 
A Junior Library Guild selection. 

I am thrilled to be today's stop on the blog tour for Moon! Earth's Best Friend. It releases today!!

Goodreads Summary
From writer Stacy McAnulty and illustrator Stevie Lewis, Moon! Earth's Best Friend is a light-hearted nonfiction picture book about the formation and history of the moon—told from the perspective of the moon itself.

Meet Moon! She's more than just a rock—she’s Earth’s rock, her best friend she can always count on. Moon never turns her back on her friend (literally: she's always facing Earth with the same side!). These two will stick together forever. With characteristic humor and charm, Stacy McAnulty channels the voice of Moon in this next celestial "autobiography" in the Our Universe series. Rich with kid-friendly facts and beautifully brought to life by Stevie Lewis, this is an equally charming and irresistible companion to Earth! My First 4.54 Billion Years and Sun! One in a Billion.

My Thoughts
I am a huge fan of Stacy McAnulty and the "Our Universe" series so I was so excited to see a third book in the series. The entire series, including Moon! Earth's Best Friend, is super informative and entertaining. Readers (including me!) learn so much about Earth's moon in this book. 
Did you know that the moon was created 4.5 billion years ago as the result of Mars crashing into Earth? McAnulty has a way of tucking facts into the Moon's first person narrative that makes it easy for readers to understand. I have a much greater appreciation for Moon and what it does for Earth after reading this book. 

The illustrations, created by Stevie Lewis with colored pencils and digital tools, are fabulous and really make the information come alive. Readers will love the relationship between Moon and Earth!

Picture taken by me of a page from the advanced reader's copy. 

This book, and this whole series, is a must-have for elementary classrooms and libraries. 

Visit Stacy McAnulty's website for more information on her books. 
Visit Stevie Lewis' website  to learn more about her illustration work.