Marty McGuire is one of my favorite protagonists ever. I don't know if it is because she reminds me a bit of myself or because I wish I knew her, but either way, she is wonderful. Kate captures a 3rd graders voice with such brilliance- making her authentic and likeable.
On top of the amazing character and story, Marty McGuire is a great resource for the classroom. First, the whole story in this 2nd installment fits perfectly with any Earth Day activity or unit that a teacher is planning. Second, the vocabulary throughout the book is never dumbed down and will definitely enriched a reader's vocabulary. Third, the whole book is about science experiments, inquiry, observing, and journaling!!
Another great Marty read and I cannot wait for a 3rd! *fingers crossed*
Snatch of Text: "Mondays are the best because we have library, and if you tell Ms. Stephanie about the last book you read, she gives you a Starburst from her secret stash under the librarian desk." (p. 1)
"I love being classroom helper because you don't have to sit still so much." (p. 2)
"Annie and I know all about chimpanzees and mountain gorillas because of Jane Goodall and Dian Fossey, these awesome scientists who went to Africa to try to save them. Sometimes, we pretend to be Jane and Dian in the woods behind Annie's house. We pretend the crayfish are chimpanzees and mountain gorillas, even though they're not as cute." (p. 12)
Now you all must know, I am biased about this book because I love turtles. They are amazing creatures that have fascinated me since I was the boy's ag...moreNow you all must know, I am biased about this book because I love turtles. They are amazing creatures that have fascinated me since I was the boy's age. But even with that being said, I don't know how anyone cannot enjoy this book. With its soft illustrations reminiscent of older picture books and its pure story about the wants and wisdom of a young boy, it is a story worth sharing. (less)
Anyone who knows me knows that I love chimpanzees. I teach Hurt Go Happy yearly and visit my friends at The Center for Great Apes. Chimpanzees are amazing creatures and it is because of the work of Jane Goodall that we know to what extent of amazing they are.
This book is simple at first glance, but it is so powerful. It shows the power of a dream and the power of a brilliant woman. This book is truly an advocate for imagination & curiosity and reaching for your dream. (less)
A wordless picture book starring Geisert's adventurous pigs. To be honest, took me a 2nd read to get the full story. VERY detailed drawings that make...moreA wordless picture book starring Geisert's adventurous pigs. To be honest, took me a 2nd read to get the full story. VERY detailed drawings that make it easy to miss something. The artwork also is very classic which gives the book an old school feel. I want to like it more than I actually did.(less)
What a fun way to push a child's imagination and to show that something isn't always what it seems. Would also be a very fun activity to do in a class...moreWhat a fun way to push a child's imagination and to show that something isn't always what it seems. Would also be a very fun activity to do in a classroom. (less)
What a great book! Thank you Travis and John for pointing me towards it. Around the World is a graphic novel anthology of 3 biographical stories of 3...moreWhat a great book! Thank you Travis and John for pointing me towards it. Around the World is a graphic novel anthology of 3 biographical stories of 3 amazing (and very different) adventurers that traveled around the world. Matt Phelan weaved narrative and nonfiction beautifully and added to it all with beautiful watercolor illustrations that take the book to the next level. (less)
To be a popular book in my classroom of mostly struggling and reluctant readers (specifically with my boys), it is essential that a story be fast paced, fun, action-packed and it is even better if it is humorous and a graphic novel so I am sure you can see that Sidekicks is perfect! It is being passed around like the loved graphic novels before it- Amulet, Bone, Ghostopolis, Foiled, Knights of the Lunch Table, etc. And as an homage to classic super hero stories, Sidekicks is perfect for students who already are in love with the stories by Marvel and DC or as an introduction to these classics. (less)
I love Petunia! She loves the animals no one else does no matter how stinky or scary they are- no judgment. I loved the colors and drawing style of th...moreI love Petunia! She loves the animals no one else does no matter how stinky or scary they are- no judgment. I loved the colors and drawing style of the illustrations as well- all added up to a really cute, fun book. (less)
Summary: Humans are destroying the Earth at an incredible rate and probably don't realize the destruction that this is causing on the animal population. This book shares with the reader endangered animals that may not exist for that much longer if we do not change how we treat the Earth.
What I Think: There is something powerful at work in this book. It's format, it's facts, it's prose, and it's illustrations just all work together so perfectly and there is a perfect balance of each. If you read my Picture Book Month intro, you know that I use The Lorax to teach students about pollution and trying to change how we treat this planet; Can we Save the Tiger? would be a perfect addition to Earth Day because it shows how our treatment of the planet isn't only affecting us. This book will definitely start a conversation- are we willing to do what is needed to help save not only the tiger, but other species and even the whole planet?(less)
What I Think: (view spoiler)[This is by far the most talked about book on Twitter over the last month. It has its own hashtag (#hatback) and people have been splitting themselves up based on Team Rabbit or Team Bear (#teambear #teamrabbit). And at first glance, this book seems simple, but after reading (& rereading) and reflecting, the book is so much more than that. It really takes you on an emotional journey. At first, of course you are feeling for Bear. Poor Bear has lost his hat. On his journey he meets some wonderful, funny, friendly wild animal characters. My favorite is the poor Turtle that just wants to get up on the rock. Oh, and the Armadillo... the poor, not smart, Armadillo. But then Bear runs into Rabbit and although the rabbit is wearing Bear's hat, he doesn't notice. Also, Rabbit's reaction to Bear asking for his hat is HILARIOUS- made me laugh out loud. Then after more exploration, Bear finally figured out that he had seen his hat and ran to confront Rabbit. However, no confrontation happens! Bear doesn't even let Rabbit explain, he just eats him! How dare he?! I don't care if you are pro- or anti- death penalty, this was the death penalty without a court of law. Then my husband says, "They are animals- he was just hungry." NO! That is not right! This is a book with talking animals, that means that they have a conscious that is past those of just a wild animal- they know right from wrong. If you assume that Rabbit knows that stealing is wrong than obviously Bear should know that eating someone is wrong. So, in the end, I have decided that I am #teamrabbit. So, although I loved this book and love the conversation that it has caused and I love the community that has been built around it, I hate the ending. But a book that can cause such emotional feelings must be a brilliant book. (hide spoiler)]["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)
Summary: In this dual story told in words and pictures, Brian Selznick tells the story of two deaf children. One in 1927, Rose is trapped in her home and just wants to be free. One in 1977, Ben has just lost his mother and has recently become deaf from a lightning strike. Both looking for a parent, acceptance and a true home. Wonderstruck follows the two characters who live 50 years apart, but have both lost a mother- one is dead, one is not but still gone. Both of the characters want more than anything to find somewhere where they belong. So, both run away to New York City to try to find what they are looking for.
What I Think: Anyone who has read Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick knows how beautiful his work (both his words and art) is and Wonderstruck continues the tradition he set with his first novel. It always amazes me how Brian Selznick can tell a story completely through pictures, but yet the message is as deep and clear as the story he tells with words. Just like Hugo Cabret, Wonderstruck has a very good chance at winning the Caldecott because of its beauty. Once again, I wish that Selznick's book fit the Newbery criteria, because it is good enough for that award as well.
Lastly, three things- 1) I didn't think Brian Selznick could compete with Hugo Cabret, but Wonderstruck does and it may even be better! 2) Dedicated to Maruice Sendack and feels as magical as one of his books. 3) As you read look for allusions to Konigsburg's Basil E. Frankweiler that Selznick mentions in his author notes. I am definitely going to reread both books and look for them!
Snatch of Text: "But let us pause here and ask ourselves, What exactly is a museum? Is it a collection of acorns and leaves on a back porch, or is it a giant building costing tens of thousands of dollars,, build to house the rarest and finest things on Earth?
'It's both!" Ben heard himself say out loud.
Of course the answer is both. A museum is a collection of objects, all carefully displayed to tell some kind of magnificent story." (p. 97)
"The street was a riot of cars and flashing signs and people. Buildings climbed toward the sky on either side of the street the way the trees back home surrounded Ben's house. Dirty cars and yellow taxis paraded by. Smells he couldn't place bombarded him... Everyone everywhere seemed to be a different color, as if the cover of his social studies textbook had come to life around him." (p. 264)(less)
I was enchanted with this book from the opening pages when the descriptive language grabbed me! I could close my eyes and picture exactly what Anne Ursu was describing. Ursu also alludes to so many great novels and fairy tales throughout Breadcrumbs such as When you Reach Me, A Wrinkle in Time, Harry Potter, and The Little Match Girl on top of the main inpsiration for the story: The Snow Queen. Though I am not familiar with The Snow Queen either, it was easy to fall into Ursu's magical world.
On top of the language of the book, the protagonist is such an exceptional young girl. Hazel is someone that I wish I was friends with! She has the best imagination, but this also separates her from what is expected in "the real world" which is why she always navigates back to Jack- the one person who seems to get her. So, when Jack stops talking to her, you see Hazel having to mold herself to fit into a niche where she is not tormented- this devastated me! However, when she learns that Jack needed to be rescued, Hazel returns to her old self and knows that she must be the princess to save the knight (pretty empowering for a 5th grader!). (less)
When you hear the word refugee, most people will automatically think of refugees from Africa, but there are refugees from all parts of the world. This book shares a story of a young girl fleeing Vietnam during the war. It is 1975 and the war is threatening her city, Saigon, and life is getting worse and worse. When it was possible, her mother took her whole family to US where a family from Alabama sponsors them. This book is interesting because it deals with many different aspects- Vietnam war, refugee, ESL learners and bullying.
I will admit, I wish that this book was in prose. I felt that I was missing some of the story by it being in verse. I am a big fan of verse as I feel it really shows emotion beautifully and this is true with Inside Out as well; however, I wanted more of the story than this novel had. I wish it was a mix of prose and verse actually with the story in prose and her true emotions in verse, but that is wishful thinking just because I liked it so much and wanted more. It is an interesting book that will find an audience and deserved the awards it got.(less)
What a fascinating woman! Amelia Earhart is a legend, but there is a story of a miraculous woman behind the legend. Ms. Fleming's book delves into Ame...moreWhat a fascinating woman! Amelia Earhart is a legend, but there is a story of a miraculous woman behind the legend. Ms. Fleming's book delves into Amelia's story. I really enjoyed the way that the book was formatted switching between the day she disappeared (including search and radio records) and her biography. (less)
Summary: Rebecca is 12 years old and has noticed the tension growing between her parents. But when her mom decides to suddenly move her and her brother Lew to Atlanta to stay with their Gran, Rebecca is shocked and devastated. He doesn't know what to do without her best friend and is lost without her dad. She may never be able to forgive her mother for this. Then, just as things seemed like they couldn't get any worse, Rebecca finds a magical bread box that delivers anything that she wishes for. It seems too good to be happening.
What Kellee Thinks: I am not a big fan of magical realism, so I was worried when I began this book; however, I am happy to say that Laurel Snyder did just the right balance so that the realism didn't seem fake and the magic didn't seem far fetched. This just shows me that if the magical realism is done well, I am a fan. I love how Laurel used the magic element in this book. It is such an original concept!
You can tell that Laurel Snyder put much of her heart into this book because emotions that grab at your heart flow throughout the entire novel. Rebecca is such a truthful representation of a middle school girl, specifically one who is going through a tough situation such as a parents separation and sudden move. (less)
Whenever you hear great things about a book and you go to pick it up, your first thoughts are, "I hope it doesn't disappoint." Well, Okay for Now is o...moreWhenever you hear great things about a book and you go to pick it up, your first thoughts are, "I hope it doesn't disappoint." Well, Okay for Now is one of the books that I've been hearing about for months now. It is on most people's mock Newbery and Printz lists. Everyone told me I should read it. Boy, am I glad that I listened to them. I read it in one day because I couldn't put it down and I know that it'll be a book I'll be thinking about for a while.
Doug. He is such a phenomenal character. He is probably at the lowest of lows when you start the book: alcoholic father, abusive brother, depressed mother, picked on at school, poor... But he quickly sees that the only way to go is up. After moving to Maryville, Doug meets Lil, a sassy young lady, who gets him a job as a delivery boy and introduces him to the library. I don't think the reader, or Doug for that matter, could foresee how much these two things would change his life. And for that matter, I think Doug ends up truly changing the lives of many in Maryville as well, showing them that they shouldn't judge people based on first impressions.
There are some things that Gary Schmidt does in this book that truly makes it superior. First, I love how starting from the beginning of Doug's journey in Junior High, he intertwines the NASA Apollo mission and has it parallel Doug's journeys. Throughout the book, we meet different Audubon birds and Doug uses the birds as analogies for situations in his life. Also, the way that Mr. Schmidt talks about art and drawing is captivating. Lastly, Okay for Now shows how important good teachers (inside and out of school) can be for that one student who has never had anyone to care before. This is a book that shows how art, reading and teachers (as well as other unexpected things) can really change a person's life.
I don't normally mark a book that I am just reading for fun, but throughout Okay for Now there were times where I had to mark a quote. Some may not seem important, but they really meant something to me. I want to share them with you (also to document them since the book I read was from the library, so I won't have the marks when I get my own :D). I am going to mark with spoilers, because some come from later in the book. (view spoiler)[ *Skinny Delivery Boy, you have it all wrong. Look how she's standing close to her little one. She's looking around to watch for the next spectacular thing that going to come into his life. (page 68) *It looks more like I'm showing what isn't the bird. (page 72) *That is why you are sitting here tonight, and why you will be coming here in the months ahead. You come to dream dreams. You come to build fantastic castles up in the air. And you come to learn how to build the foundations that make those castles real. When the men who will command that mission were boys your age, no one knew that they would walk on another world someday. No one knew. But in a few months, that's what will happen. So, twenty years form now, what will people say of you? 'No one knew that this kid from Washington Irving Junior High School would grow up to do'... what? What castle will you build? (page 83) *And then we opened up Jane Eyre and picked out words that pretty much looked impossible but we figured them out because of what we were learning about letters and their sounds working together. No one ever told me this stuff! How come no one ever told me this stuff? How come? (page 129) *I should tell you that I was revealing this terrible secret to Lil while Miss Cowper was trying to teach us the Wonders of the Adverb and that when she asked if Lil and I had anything we'd like to share with the whole class, we stopped, quickly understanding that Miss Cowper was watching us angrily and would beat us mercilessly if we did not cease immediately. And I'm giving you that last sentence to show that you can too talk and learn at the same time. (page 190) *Maybe the Snowy Heron is going to come off pretty badly when the planes come together. Maybe. But he's still proud and beautiful. His head is high, and he's got this sharp beak that's facing out to the world. He's okay for now. (page 202) *I knew that Lucas was awake in the dark that he carried around with him all the time. (page 222) *You know, there are good reasons to learn to read. Poetry isn't one of them. I mean, so what if two roads go two ways in a wood? So what? Who cares if it made all that big a difference? What difference? And why should I have to guess what the difference is? Isn't that what he's supposed to say? Why can't poets just say what they want to say then shut up? (page 235) *In the whole story of the world, bananas have never once been a special treat. (page 249) *Polly had this book about a house in a forest where Laura lives with Pa and Ma and her sisters. You'd be surprised how good this was, especially considering that nothing happens. (page 284) *You can't imagine an actor ever becoming the president of the United States, for example. (page 300) LOL (hide spoiler)]
Originally read: July 6, 2011 Reread: June, 2012["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>(less)