Did You Know . . .?

nf10for10The world is filled with wondrous facts and we are so lucky that authors are bringing those wonders right to us through marvelous nonfiction books. Who knew? is a phrase I think every time I read nonfiction. These books landed on my bookshelf during this last year. I’ve also included a photo from one (or two) of the pages from each book, so you can get a sneak peek into the text.

First up, You and Me Together, Moms, Dad, and Kids Around the World by Barbara Kerley. This book shows how families do the very same things all over the world. In the back there is a world map and a thumbnail of the photo in the book with more explanation.

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Spectacular Spots and Stripes of All Types are both by  Susan Stockdale. The text is sparse but that does not mean these are easy texts. The vocabulary is rich. Additional information is included in the last pages.

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Planting the Wild Garden by Kathryn O. Galbraith shares the many ways seeds travel and take root to create a wild garden. The illustrations are soft colors and in a collage of many little boxes to study.

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 Up in the Garden and Down in the Dirt by Kate Messner would be a great book to contrast with the wild garden.

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We discover that mama is not the only one who builds a nest in Mama Built a Little Nest. Jennifer Ward entertains as she teaches the reader all about birds’ nests. Did you know that the cowbird, whydah, and cuckoo lay eggs in nests and let the nesting bird raise their young?

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Steve Jenkins and Robin Page continue to develop books with a unique perspective. Within the pages of this book you can learn not only How to Swallow a Pig, but also how to woo a ewe or decorate like a bowerbird.

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Hippos Are Huge, but they are also one of the most deadly animals in Africa. Jonathan London has filled this book with fascinating facts about hippos.

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“Nature excels in the least things.” A quote from Henry David Thoreau was the inspiration for Least Things, Poems About Small Natures by Jane Yolen and photos by her son, Jason Stemple. Each “least thing” has a haiku plus an additional snippet of information.

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Are you intrigued by whales? If the answer is yes, find The Blue Whale by Jenni Desmond. Every page delivers. This has become one of my favorite books.

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Wonder what new titles I will find next?

 

2015 #pb10for10

10 for 10

Are you ready for the blogosphere to be raining picture book titles? Blogs everywhere will be listing the books they must share with students every year. These are books that will send you to Amazon or your favorite bookstore or a library as you search to find these gems you. just. gotta. have!

The books this year were new to me within the last two months. Some are from the library, some are my very own. In alphabetical order by author, I reveal my list of ten. Enjoy . . .

sophia1. One Word from Sophia by Jim Averbeck and Yasmeen Ismail: Sophia sets about trying to convince her family she should get a giraffe for her birthday. She tries to persuade each member of the family with compelling information, but they inform her she is too verbose, effusive, and loquacious. What is the one word  that will get her her heart’s desire?

2. The Little “Read” Hen by Dianne de Las Casas: Little “Read” Hen wants to write a story. henWho will help her? Not the Dog. Not the Cat. Not the Pig. This book is filled with “fowl” language and the pictures must be studied carefully. Have you read Don’t Let the Chicken Drive the Tractor or Where the Wild Hens Are? The final page has the Write Recipe for a Story.

billy3. Billy’s Booger, a Memoir (sorta) by William Joyce: “Once upon a time, when TV was in black and white, and there were only three channels, and when kids didn’t have playdates – they just roamed free in the “out of doors” – there live a kid named Billy.” So the story begins and you learn that Billy (William Joyce) began his writing career in fourth grade. This is actually a double book because you also get another book inside titled Billy’s Booger, the memoir of a little green nose buddy.

4. Hippos Are Huge! by Jonathon London: Did you know that hippos are the most dangerous hipposanimal in Africa? This book is packed with facts about hippos and delivered with craft of a talented writer. The illustrations just beg you to study them for the details you can discover.

look5. Look! by Jeff Mack: Jeff Mack is a master at delivering a tale will limited words. This book uses look and out to tell the tale of a playful gorilla and an annoyed boy. You might want to check out Jeff Mack’s other books Ah Ha! and Good News, Bad News.

6. If You Plant a Seed by Kadir Nelson: At first you think this is just plant seedanother circular tale and it’s about vegetables, so you might pass on this book. If you did that, you would be missing the opportunity to teach kindness vs. selfishness. Gorgeous pictures in this extra large book.

pitter patter7. Pitter and Patter by Martha Sullivan: Follow two raindrops, Pitter and Patter, that fall and take different journeys until they meet again in the cloud.

8. My Dog Is the Best by Laurie Ann Thompson: “My dog is the best. He best dogis fun. He plays ball. He plays tug. He plays chase.” What a great example of stating an opinion and giving supporting details. Simple drawings enhance the text. Perfect for sharing will the youngest of students.

help need title9. Help! We Need a Title! by Herve Tullet: The characters are concerned that you have opened their book and they don’t quite know what to do with a reader. They don’t have a story, so they enlist help in creating a story. A very funny book with loads of voice.

10. You Nest Here with Me by Jane Yolen and Heidi E. Y. Stemple: Such a you nest hereperfect companion book to A Nest Is Noisy by Dianna Hutts Aston & Sylvia Long and Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward. The human mama tells her young one how mama and papa birds nest with their babies, but you nest here with me is a reoccurring line.

Hopefully you discovered a new title to put on your wish list. Now head over to Google Plus Community page to read more and link your own choices.

 

 

Thoughts on ILA

My brain simmered with new learning. My body exhausted from the pace of the previous four days. I needed down time, therefore, no slice last week. Now that time as passed, I’ve gathered some thoughts to share a few experiences from the ILA conference.

The pre-conference I attended was all about vocabulary. A day spent thinking about words and how do we get students to acquire these words. Should students look words up in a dictionary, write a definition, and a sentence? A resounding NO! from all speakers. Context is key to developing an understanding of new words.

Sara Holbrook and Michael Salinger shared a format for writing a vocabulary word poem. I have attempted to define the ILA experience using their format. See if you can determine the structure.

An ILA conference gives you the opportunity to expand your learning.

The pace of your day will not be relaxed.

You get up close and personal with authors you adore.

Meals during the day are nonexistent. Pack a snack!

As your brain grows stronger, your muscles do too. Totes become loaded with books, strong shoulders and arm required. Miles are walked between sessions and throughout the exhibit area.

Book budgets explode. The plethora of books at your fingertips make it difficult to resist.

Should you ever have the opportunity to attend, grab it. You won’t regret it. 

Did you discover that the lines alternated from what it is to what it is not, with a concluding line? When students are able to give an example of what it is not, they process the word at a deeper level.

Here’s a glimpse of the books that came home with me. Some are signed by the author 🙂 and many will find their way into classroom libraries this year.

Nonfiction titles

Nonfiction titles

Chapter books, many are ARCs

Chapter books, many are ARCs

Fiction titles I was not sure where to put President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath. It may have happened, but the events are pretty far fetched, so I placed it in my fiction stack.

Fiction titles
I was not sure where to put President Taft Is Stuck in the Bath. It may have happened, but the events are pretty far fetched, so I placed it in my fiction stack.

Sigh, what can I say? I love books!

Little Free Libraries

Have you heard of the Passport to Healthy Living? I first read about this in the AARP magazine, then the library announced they were a sponsor too. It intrigued me, it sounded like fun, plus there were prizes too! I stopped by the library and picked up a couple of the passports.

The descriptor inside said, “The Springfield community has a wealth of free resources that can be your passport to healthy living. Using this passport as your guide, you can learn what’s available in the community.”

There are 26 questions/activities and I must complete 13 to be eligible for prizes. The one activity that intrigued me the most was to visit any Little Free Library in town. It gave a website where five libraries were listed. Here was a perfect activity for Kim and me one afternoon.

In the morning we walked the Nature Center (last week’s slice), and after lunch we set out to find all the Little Free Libraries to deliver books. Using the navigation system on Kim’s phone, we were able to find every one. A picture book was left at each library and we both found a book to read we wanted to read.

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Besides finding the Little Free Libraries we completed four more activities in the Passport to Healthy Living book. Only eight more questions to answer before I turn in my book on August 8.

If you want to know about little free libraries, click here. There are instructions for building your own and a map where you can locate any that might be near you.

Christmas in March

My desk orientation in my office allows me to have a window on the world of our street. Truly, I am no Mrs. Kravitz. [Side note for you young writers who are scratching your head and muttering “Who’s Mrs. Kravitz?” She was a nosy neighbor character on the TV show Bewitched (show was on 1964-1972). Here is the Wikipedia link to read all about her. Now let me get back to my story.] Since we are on a cul-de-sac, there is not a lot of traffic, so movement on the street usually catches my eye, but not on this day.

I heard the truck stop. I looked up from my desk when I heard the truck stop. I looked up from my desk when I heard the truck stop in front of my house. The UPS man stepped out of his truck with a box. My heart raced a little faster as I hurried to the door to greet the bearer of the box.

A quick glance at the return address confirmed my suspicions. Eagerly I reached out to relieve him of my prize. I uttered a most heartfelt “Thank you!” He had no idea of joy he’d just delivered. Nestled in the box among filler paper were my eleven titles from Peachtree Publishers that I’d won. A treasure for sure!

Immediately, I began pulling them out, one at a time. Once they were all stacked on the counter, I wanted to sit down and savor the text of each, but I needed to begin my spaghetti sauce. Books were set aside, as my hands chopped onion and garlic, but my mind lingered on the covers I’d just unearthed. Quickly the chopped ingredients were dropped into the skillet of Italian sausage.

As the sausage browned, I read several books. The first book I picked up might not have been the best choice, Random Body Parts, Gross Anatomy Riddles in Verse by Leslie Bulion. Let me give you a little flavor of the poem “Lunchtime”

Flesh of fowl ground into hash,
Blood of berries bled from mash,
Wheat paste wet with human spit,
Plant parts mangled bit by bit.

See what I mean? (This poem is describing the stomach.) However, kids will LOVE these poems. Talk about a great opportunity for close reading!

I loved If You See a Kitten by John Butler.

If you see a cuddly kitten . . . say, “Ahhh!” If you see a pudgy pig . . . say, “Peee-ew!”

Love the alliteration! I can hear the kids guessing what word you should say. The details in the illustrations are fantastic.

Each book has such potential for reading and writing workshop. Thank you Peachtree Publishers for donating such an incredible prize! It was Christmas in March.

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Title Fun

The directions are simple:

  1.  Stack your books
  2.  Snap a picture
  3.  Share it

That’s all it takes to create a spine poem. So head to your bookshelves or the library and start stacking books to create a spine poem. Here are my latest poems stacked and ready to tell a tale:

I Wanna New Room There's a Nightmare in My Closet Psssst! It's Me . . . the Bogeyman Walter Was Worried

I Wanna New Room
There’s a Nightmare in My Closet
Psssst! It’s Me . . . the Bogeyman
Walter Was Worried

A Perfectly Messed Up Story Charlies Superhero Underpants Gleam and Glow Just a Second The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County Flying Solo Again! Chasing Vermeer The Book Thief Where the Wild Things Are Oh, No! The Story Goes On

A Perfectly Messed Up Story
Charlie’s Superhero Underpants
Gleam and Glow
Just a Second
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County
Flying Solo
Again!
Chasing Vermeer
The Book Thief
Where the Wild Things Are
Oh, No!
The Story Goes On

Finally, this one I would call Ask and Answer

Where Do Balloons Go? Balloons Over Broadway Who Needs a Nose Like That? The New Kid on the Block Are We There Yet? Im Not What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You? Move! Whats

Where Do Balloons Go?
Balloons Over Broadway
Who Needs a Nose Like That?
The New Kid on the Block
Are We There Yet?
I’m Not
What Do You Do When Something Wants to Eat You?
Move!
What’s Your Favorite Animal? Wolves

What poetry is standing around your shelves waiting to be discovered?

 

Nonfiction 10 for 10

10 for 10 nf

I just love the days when book love is shared! Nonfiction has changed so much from when was in school (many, many, many years ago). I am so thankful for the authors who bring the world right to our classroom, living room, or any where you are reading. Here are a few titles that you might just want to pack in your bag:

pepperWhere Does Pepper Come From? And Other Fun Facts by Brigitte Raab: “Why do snails carry houses on their backs? Because they love to go camping! No! The shell of a snail protects it from predators and from the hot sun.” How fun would it be to make up a silly answer, but then follow up with the facts you’ve researched.

teethTeeth by Sneed B. Collard: Teeth are not just for eating. You will learn that some animals attract a mate by displaying their teeth. Another interesting fact is that some animals have teeth on their tongue or in their throat.

markle teethWhat If You Had Animal Teeth? by Sandra Markle: What if is always a powerful question to pose. What a great follow up to the previous book!

throw toothThrow Your Tooth on the Roof, Tooth Traditions from Around the World by Selby B. Beeler: Not everyone believes in a Tooth Fairy. There are many places where a mouse takes it and leaves money. So many interesting traditions with teeth are explored in this book.

poles apartPoles Apart, Life at the Ends of the Earth by Dr. Mark Norman: I love the layout of this book. It opens top to bottom. Facts of the North Pole are on the top with the South Pole matching information on the bottom page. What a great way to compare and contrast!

animals waitingWhat the Animals Were Waiting For by Jonathan London: This book tells the story, in verse, the cycle of life on the African savanna. Photos are intermingled with paintings.

troutTrout Are Made of Trees by April Pulley Sayre: This book is a fun way to look at the food chain.

noseWho Needs That Nose? by Karen Clemens Warrick: This entire book is one question after another, but you learn a lot of information about noses. Here is a sample: “Who needs a nose to attract a mate, an enormous nose that droops down to his chin? Do you suppose it hides a grin? Who needs that nose?” (see bottom of post to check your answer)

allen sayDrawing From Memory by Allen Say: This book is part graphic novel, part narrative history, and part memoir as Allen Say tells his story. As a child, he loved to draw, but this was not acceptable to his father. He lived on his own from the time he was twelve. What an interesting story he shares!

spidersNic Bishop: Any book by Nic Bishop is a must have. The photos are stunning, but then the information is fascinating. Check out his website for books, http://www.nicbishop.com

*Who needs a nose like that? A monkey. Were you right?

I hope I’ve piqued your interest in one or two titles. Nonfiction has come a long way! For more titles check out this link.

Thank you Cathy Mere, Reflect and Refine: Building A Learning Community and Mandy Robek, Enjoy and Embrace Learning for letting us share books.