Today's post is written by Stacey Hazuda. This school year is Stacey's 18th in education. Before she became a Media Specialist, she was a classroom teacher for 6 years. Stacey has been a Media Specialist for 12 years- 1 year at the high school level and 11 years in an elementary school. Stacey says she's always loved to read and is not happy unless she has a few books started. In the past few years Stacey has begun to blog, which she really enjoys. Her blog is called The Library Gals.You can also connect with Stacey on Twitter: @libraryjo92.
There have been some great books published during the first few months of 2014, but before I talk about them I've got to mention a few from 2013.
The first is Ribbit by Rodrigo Folgueira. In this book, the frogs come to their pond and find a little pink pig who keeps saying "ribbit". They don't know what to do, so they have to seek advice from others. This story is a great lesson about accepting others, even if they are different. I will be using this book with my little ones at the beginning of the year when some of them still need to learn this lesson.
Another great one that I finally got a hold of is 123 vs. ABC by Mike Boldt. This is not your average number/counting and alphabet book, it is so much more! Each group (numbers and letters) feel that the book is all about them. They go back and forth counting and going through the alphabet. This is a great book for teaching point of view. I loved how each character (numbers and letters) speech bubble was a different color. I would like to read this book with another person to give the students the experience of listening to a conversation. This is one that I know will not last long on my shelves.
Now on to the great books I've come across in 2014. The first is What's Your Favorite Animal by Eric Carle and others. In this book Eric Carle drew his favorite animal, a cat, and wrote about it. He then asked some other famous authors/illustrators to draw their favorite animals. This book was just so much fun to see what animal they would draw and write about. The thing that struck me as I was reading this book was how each paged reflected the authors/illustrators on style. For example, Mo Willems' page didn't have a lot of text, but what was there was funny, just like his books. I don't buy many books for myself these days, but this one is one that I had to buy. My ultimate dream would be to have everyone in the book autograph it!
A new great chapter book for second/third grade level is Marty McGuire Has Too Many Pets by Kate Messer. If you haven't started this series, it is such a fun series. It is very easy to relate to Marty because she does things that I always wished I could/would do. In this book, Marty wants to help raise money to help a chimpanzee sanctuary, so she comes up with a great idea, pet sitting. Well, things don't turn out like Marty hopes. This is a great series for those students who are ready for more than Magic Treehouse, but are not ready for books as long as The One and Only Ivan.
I just love the Bad Kitty series and Nick Bruel's newest, Bad Kitty Drawn To Trouble, is no exception. In this book Bruel leads his readers through the process of how to write a book. Bad Kitty, of course, tries to add her own spin to the story. Favorite characters from former Bad Kitty books make appearances to help the "story" along. This is a great how to book without hitting you over the head with instructions. Bruel also gives instructions on how to draw Bad Kitty.
The directions seem so simple, but my drawing looked more like the blob rather than Bad Kitty. This series is another great chapter book for those students transitioning into longer chapter books.
Tom Angleberger has another hit on his hands with his newest Origami Yoda installment, Princess Labelmaker to the Rescue. In this installment the student are still fighting against the dreaded test prep curriculum. This time, the "rebel alliance" is feeling the pressure and then their case file goes missing. They are still trying to fight the good fight, but this time get some help from an unlikely source, Princess Labelmaker. Angeleberger truly captures what many teachers are feeling about the emphasis on standardized testing, but can't always say.
Seven Stories Up by Laurel Snyder is a companion to Bigger Than a Breadbox. It does help if you have read Bigger Than a Breadbox, but you don't have to in order to appreciate the story. In this story Annie has never met her grandmother before, but unfortunate circumstances led to them meeting. It does not turn out how Annie hoped. Then a travel back through time and a new friendship changes the course of Annie's family. This book really struck a chord with me because I'm in the process of researching my family history. As I hit roadblocks I really wish I could go back in time and ask questions. We never thought about asking until it was too late. So my advice to you is don't wait until it is to late ask questions about your family while you can.
Bob Shea is a great picture author! His newest, Buddy and the Bunnies in Don't Play With Your Food, is one of my new favorites. Buddy is a monster who is hungry. He comes across some delicious looking bunnies, but they keep coming up with reasons why Buddy shouldn't eat them. This book is just such a fun read for my students and myself alike. It is one that they will want to hear over and over again. A writing activity that could be done using this book is finding other activities that Buddy could do with the bunnies rather than eat them.
Rosemary Turgeon says
Thank you so much for all the great ideas! I am a volunteer elementary librarian in a Christian school in Maine and really appreciate the insight I receive from your site! A Big Thank You being sent your way!