Sunday, December 5, 2021

Gift Books From National Geographic Kids 2021 & Giveaway!

These two new books from National Geographic Kids would make perfect holiday gifts for young kids who love science!

National Geographic Kids World Atlas 6th Edition 
Published Aug. 2021
National Geographic Kids
216 Pages 
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Learn all about the people, places, trends, and developments of our world in the sixth edition of this acclaimed atlas. All the latest, greatest geographic and political information makes this a valuable resource for using in the classroom or reading at home.

This new edition features:
A new map on global migration that introduces kids to the movement of people around the world
New graphics that present facts in an easy-to-read format
Colorful photography that shows the beauty and diversity of our world

This atlas is the perfect reference for kids to learn about lands close to home or oceans away.
Complete your atlas collection with the National Geographic Kids United States Atlas, 6th edition!
And for younger readers, don’t miss the National Geographic Kids Beginner’s World Atlas, 4th edition, and the National Geographic Kids Beginner’s United States Atlas, 3rd edition.

The Ultimate Book of African Animals
Published August 2021
by National Geographic Kids
192 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Join this amazing team to learn all about Africa's unique wildlife, including lions, elephants, cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hippos, gorillas, rhinos, and so many more!
With so many species showcased, this book leaves no grain of sand unturned and no jungle unexplored! Inside you'll find animals of all behaviors, shapes and sizes, from the tiny bombardier beetle to the sneaky desert viper to mischievous monkeys and elusive Ethiopian wolves.
Brimming with breathtaking and iconic National Geographic photographs on every page and loads of fascinating animal facts, readers discover how these animals live and eat, the challenges they face, and how to help protect them. Complete your collection with National Geographic Kids' TheUltimate Book of Sharks!

Enter the giveaway to win both of these books below! US Only. Winner will be randomly selected on Friday, Dec. 10. 

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Saturday, November 27, 2021

Christmas, Here I Come by D.J. Steinberg

by D.J. Steinberg
Published October 2021
Grosset & Dunlap
Picture Book
32 Pages
Review copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Celebrate Christmas with a collection of funny and festive poems from the author of the hugely popular Kindergarten, Here I Come!
It's the most wonderful time of the year, and everyone is getting into the Christmas spirit! From writing letters to Santa to picking the perfect tree, these heartwarming poems -- plus a page of stickers! -- from author D. J. Steinberg are sure to delight even the most sullen Scrooge.

My Thoughts
This recent addition to the "Here I Come" series from Penguin Random House is sure to get little ones excited for the holidays. The author combines factual information (Santa Claus Around the World) with silly and entertaining sections (My Christmas Sweater, The Wonders of Fruitcake). 
The text is delivered through rhyming(ish) verse that is fun to read aloud and the illustrations are bright and colorful. The depicted characters represent a variety of races and abilities. 
For added fun, there is a page of stickers in the back that kids can use for cards or projects. 
This book, and series, is perfect for young readers ages 4-8. 

Sunday, October 24, 2021

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 25, 2021


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

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

Finished Listening To...

Tuesday, October 12, 2021

So You Want to Be an Owl by Jane Porter


So You Want to Be an Owl

by Jane Porter
Illustrated by Maddie Frost
Published by Candlewick Press
Jan. 2021
32 Pages
Nonfiction Picture Book

Goodreads Summary
Welcome to Owl School! Professor Olaf Owl is here to tell you everything you need to know about being an owl, from hunting to camouflage to seeing in the dark. Study hard, and soon you'll be a first-rate member of Team Owl! This engaging nonfiction picture book is full of vibrant, humorous illustrations and owl lessons that will have readers eagerly practicing their hoots, toe swivels, and alertness (even if they can't grow feathers).

My Thoughts
Are you ready to earn your owl certificate? 
I really can't say enough about this book. The clever narrative format combined with the humorous and engaging illustrations and text features will make this a favorite in your classroom. Professor Olaf narrates the book in second person, speaking directly to the reader. He leaders readers through nine essential lessons that one must learn in order to become and owl. Each lesson includes a brief connection to the reader, followed by the lesson content with accompanying graphics. I hope there will be more So You Want to Be... books. Add this to your classroom or school library for grades 1-5. 

There is so much to explore with this book. 
Structure: Description, Q&A
Point of View
Craft: Weaving facts into narrative texts, various uses for illustrations, humor
Text Features: captions, diagrams, index, 
Content specific vocabulary
Writing: So you want to be a...

The author and illustrator discuss the book. 

See What Others Have to Say

Monday, October 11, 2021

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? October 11, 2021

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 read recently. Click on the book cover to go to the book's Goodreads page. 

I definitely want to read more books in in this Elephant & Piggie Like Reading collection. 

An excellent early graphic novel for younger readers. 

Visit later this week for more on this amazing nonfiction picture book. 

The much anticipated book from RJ Palacio. Great for fans of historical fiction. 

Almost done listening to...

Current Professional Read

Coming Up

What Are You Reading Friends?

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

3 New Titles from National Geographic

National Geographic books for kids are always a favorite. With colorful photos and graphics, snippets of interesting facts and information you didn't know you needed to know, these books seldom get back on the bookshelves once kids pick them up. 

I'd like to introduce 3 new titles from Nat. Geo for Kids. Review copies were provided by the publisher.

by Stephanie Warren Drimmer
Published April 2021
National Geographic Kids
256 pages

Goodreads Summary
Ever wonder how haunted houses got their spooky rep; where cheese originally came from; and when and where people decided hitting a tiny ball with a long stick (ahem, golf?) was their idea of fun? Prepare to be amazed by the surprising backstories behind the things you use or do every day! From familiar foods and common clothing items to bizarre beauty regimens and quirky products, this book covers all your burning questions: Who thought of that? Where did that come from? Why is that a thing?

This riveting little treasure is jam-packed with awesome facts, fun stories, and colorful visuals. Once you know all this cool stuff about the origins of everyday stuff, you can "wow" your friends and family.

My Thoughts
There is something for every reader in this book. From food, to traditions, to toys, readers will find lots of interesting tidbits. Each item features a "Bet You Didn't Know" caption with an additional cool fact. I particularly liked the toy chapter. Which toy started out as a weapon? Read chapter 2 to find out.

by Aubre Andrus
Published April 2021
National Geographic Kids
208 pages

Goodreads Summary
Upcycle, recycle, and/or repurpose your stuff and engineer your way out of all kinds of sticky situations--all while learning about science and sustainability as you do it! Make cool lantern lights for your room, discover a tried-and-true brain freeze cure, learn how to boost your memory power, and more. In this easy-to-follow guide, kids get tips and tricks for upcycling and reusing old stuff, as well as hands-on activities, fun facts, and insights from professional-grade life hackers who use their problem-solving skills to change the world.
By the end, you'll be able to hack your way through all kinds of problems, from a messy backpack to stage fright, a drippy ice pop to smelly shoes!

My Thoughts
I love to watch video snippets of "life hacks". Sometimes they actually work and sometimes, they just don't seem to be worth the trouble. This book describes 101 hacks meant to make our lives easier and the stories behind them. I have tried hack #2: rebuilding a cupcake by ripping off the bottom and plopping it on top and I can testify that it is yummy! Learn about the many ways to use a binder clip in hacks 22-24. 

Published May 2021
352 Pages

Goodreads Summary
Kids can have fun keeping up with our quickly changing world with the New York Times best-selling almanac, packed with incredible photos, tons of fun facts, adventures with National Geographic Explorers, crafts, activities, and fascinating features about animals, science, nature, technology, conservation, and more. The 2022 edition features a new Kids vs. Plastic chapter, packed with ideas on how you can reduce your plastic waste. There's a whole chapter full of fun and games, including activities, jokes, and comics. Practical reference material, including fast facts and maps of every country, is fully updated. Homework help on key topics is sprinkled throughout the book.

I feel like the almanacs really are great keepsakes. Once you start collecting these almanacs, you just can't stop. 

These book would make excellent additions to your upper elementary or middle school classroom. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Violets Are Blue by Barbara Dee

Violets Are Blue 
by Barbara Dee
Expected Publication Sept. 28, 2021
304 pages
Realistic Fiction
Middle Grade
Advanced Reader copy provided by publisher

Goodreads Summary
Twelve-year-old Wren loves makeup—special effect makeup, to be exact. When she is experimenting with new looks, Wren can create a different version of herself. A girl who isn’t in a sort-of-best friendship with someone who seems like she hates her. A girl whose parents aren’t divorced and doesn’t have to learn to like her new stepmom.

So, when Wren and her mom move to a new town for a fresh start, she is cautiously optimistic. And things seem to fall into place when Wren meets potential friends and gets selected as the makeup artist for her school’s upcoming production of Wicked.

Only, Wren’s mom isn’t doing so well. She’s taking a lot of naps, starts snapping at Wren for no reason, and always seems to be sick. And what’s worse, Wren keeps getting hints that things aren’t going well at her new job at the hospital, where her mom is a nurse. And after an opening night disaster leads to a heartbreaking discovery, Wren realizes that her mother has a serious problem—a problem that can’t be wiped away or covered up.

After all the progress she’s made, can Wren start over again with her devastating new normal? And will she ever be able to heal the broken trust with her mom?

My Thoughts
I am a huge Barbara Dee fan. I have read several of her books including Halfway Normal, Everything I Know About You, Maybe He Just Likes You, and My Life in the Fish Tank (see my review here). She provides upper middle grade and middle school readers with realistic, well-developed characters who face real and relatable challenges. Her books are page-turners that you just can't put down. Violets Are Blue is no exception. I am, and always have been, a very slow reader. It takes me days if not weeks sometimes to finish novels. I read this book on my first day of vacation and loved it so much I had to finish it that day. Plus, look at that gorgeous cover! 
Wren faces an all too common problem of having to travel between the home she shares with her mother and traveling to see her father and his new wife.  She lives with guilt over leaving her mother alone and the feelings of betrayal when she makes a connection with her new stepmom. Mom makes it clear that Wren is not to discuss her mother with her father and his new wife and does not want Wren to share anything about the time spent with her father. Dee gives the reader hints at Wren's mother's problem, which gradually gets worse until it can no longer be explained away. 
This book explores themes of friendship, self-acceptance, family dynamics, and addiction. 

I would highly recommend Violets Are Blue for grades 5+. 

See What Others Have to Say About Violets Are Blue

Visit Barbara Dee's Webpage for more info.