Friday, September 18, 2015

Every Little Thing by Cedella Marley

Title: Every Little Thing

Author: Cedella Marley (adapted from the song, Three Little Birds by Bob Marely)

Illustrator: Vanessa Brantley-Newton

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2012

Topic: Birds, Being Positive, Family, Friends.

Age: 4-6

Opening: Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun.

Summary: An illustrated version of Bob Marley’s song, a young boy, with the encouragement of three little birds, enjoys life and does not let anything bring him down.

Listen to the song by Bob Marley. Learn about Bob Marley and his music. 
Learn about Jamaican culture.
Printable images here. (buy sticker or tattoo paper for creative fun)

Why I Like the Book:

A wonderful way to introduce children to Jamaican music and culture. This song has a wonderful message that children need today. There are so many obstacles today that make it hard for children to have a carefree, stress-free life. But with the love, support and encouragement of family and friends, nothing will keep them down forever. 

Monday, September 7, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Title: Flora and the Penguin

Author: Molly Idle

Illustrator: Molly Idle

Publisher: Chronicle Books, 2014

Topic: Friendship, Ice skating, Penguins

Age: 4-6

Opening: this is a wordless book. The opening page shows Flora putting on ice skates and a penguin poking its nose out of an ice hole.

Summary: Flora and her friend penguin enjoy ice skating together, but when Flora misunderstands penguin’s gift of a fish, there are hurt feelings on the ice. They have to work together to mend their friendship.

In this story, Flora and her dance companion are ice skating. Since this is a wordless book, have your child(ren) learn the names of the different ice skating techniques and moves.

Create dialogue for the illustrations.

Discussion topics:
1.       Why do you think penguin gave Flora a fish?
2.       What was Flora’s response?
3.       How did penguin respond to Flora’s rejection of the fish?
4.       Why do you think Flora rejected the fish?
5.       Have you ever not like a gift a friend gave you? What did you do?
6.       What are some polite ways of accepting an unwanted gift?

Why I Like the Book:

The illustrator Molly Idle did another fantastic job telling this story through pictures. She has created a lovable character in Flora and the penguin. The illustrations are soft and muted. I loved the various layers in the illustrations. While Flora and penguin danced above the ice, the fish below also danced with them, following the movements. On one page, I could tell Flora did a figure 8 because of the fish.  

Friday, August 21, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses by Don Tate

Title: Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton

Author: Don Tate

Illustrator: Don Tate

Publisher: Peachtree Publishers: (expected publication date: Sept 1, 2015)

Topic: Biography, African-Americans in History, Slavery,

Age: 8-10  (the publisher suggests 6-10, read my comments below)

Opening: George loved words. He wanted to learn how to read, but George was enslaved.

Summary: In the nineteenth century, North Carolina slave George Moses Horton taught himself to read and earned money to purchase his time—though not his freedom. Horton became the first African American to be published in the South, protesting slavery in the form of verse.


The publisher provides a comprehensive teacher's guide for the English Arts Standards

Why I Like the Book:

I love learning about unfamiliar people in African-American history.

George Moses Horton was a slave poet, who taught himself to read, earned his own money, and sold and published his work, all while he was still a slave.

The story is about his journey. It does not dwell too much on the pain and hardships of his life, even though we know they existed, but it shows George Horton's love for words, desire to read and the will to not give up on his life long dream, to be a free black poet.

I love the illustrations. Don Tate is one of my favorite illustrators.

What I did not like: The text was very heavy and while I loved the illustrations, they did not mesh well. The illustrations created a mood that young children k-1 would be attracted to. However, the text was definitely geared toward older children 2-3 grd and up

Friday, August 14, 2015

Recommended Picture Book: Voices Are Not For Yelling by Elizabeth Verdick

Title: Voices Are Not For Yelling

Author: Elizabeth Verdick

Illustrator: Marieka Heinlen

Publisher: Free Spirit, March 24, 2015

Age: 4 - 7

Topic: Best behavior, Voice, Yelling

Opening: What do you use your voice for?

Book Summary: Voices Are Not For Yelling introduces and reinforces where and when to use an “indoor voice” or an “outdoor voice.” Yelling comes natural to children. It is how they make themselves ‘heard.’ This book helps children differentiate between their loud and quiet voices and why it is important to do so.

The book includes many activities for classroom use. Some activities include, 
Inside/Outside Voices: Demonstrating outdoor, indoor, quiet, and whisper voices. 
Quiet Time Gestures: teach children various gestures that tell them it’s time to be quiet.

Why I Like This Book:
This is definitely a ‘teaching’ book. I would personally recommend it be read to small groups instead of whole class circle time. That way, teacher or parent can allow the child(ren) to interact with the book and answer the many questions throughout it.

I like that it is written with simple text that is easy for children to understand and follow along. It asks questions throughout the book giving children an opportunity to think, question and participate.

It comes in two versions, a board book (Yay me!) and one for 4 – 7 year olds. Each is appropriately tailored to that particular age group.  

Monday, August 10, 2015

Picture Book 10 for 10: Into the Night

This is my first year participating in the Picture Book 10 for 10 day. It is hosted by Cathy from Reflect and Refine: Building a Learning Community and Mandy from Enjoy and Embrace Learning. The purpose of this event is to share and celebrate picture books that not only entertain, but engage and educate as well. Here are ten night-themed books I love that shows the character(s) overcoming a challenge and discovering something wonderful in the end.


Before Little Harvest Mouse closes his eyes each night, he sings a lullaby to his very own moon. Then one cloudy evening, the moon disappears. And Little Mouse discovers that he is not the only one looking for it… With glitter throughout, this beautiful book explores sharing and true friendship


Join the owl on his moonlit journey as he watches all the other animals settle in for the night: some sleep standing up, while some sleep on the move! Some sleep peacefully alone, while others sleep all together, huddled close.


Sense is the song you sing out into the world,
and the song the world sings back to you.

With these words, Chiro’s mother sends him off into the night for the first time alone. It’s an adventure, but how will he find his way? And how will he find his way home? As the young bat discovers, navigating the world around him is easy as long as he uses his good sense.


This is the story of three baby owls who wake up one night in their hole in the tree to find that their mother has gone, so they sit on the branch and wait, wondering when she will return. At last she does, and they all bounce up and down with joy, welcoming her home.


One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do? When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights--in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun--talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts. The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal . . . but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights, and out comes the board game again.


It's night time my little one.
Climb into bed.

I don't want to sleep --
I'll go sailing instead.

There's only one problem:
your ship has no sail.

I'm tying my boat
to the tail of a whale.

Bedtime for a little one brings an imaginary journey to the North Pole to cuddle and play with the many animals there.


It's cold in the woods, and it's time for Little Bear to start his winter sleep. But not before he says good night to all his special forest friends: badger, deer, rabbit, mouse, fox, owl, squirrel, and wolf. Now Little Bear can fall asleep happily in his warm and cozy den all snuggled up to his mother - knowing that his friends will watch out for him during his long winter's sleep.


Whenever Ava can't sleep, she counts sheep. But Ava takes so long to fall asleep, it's the sheep that are growing tired--until finally, they quit! When the sheep promise to find a replacement that Ava can count on, chaos ensues as chickens, cows, pigs, hippos, and more try their hand at jumping over Ava's fence. Finding the perfectly peaceful replacement for sheep might not be so easy after all.


Late one winter night a little girl and her father go owling. The trees stand still as statues and the world is silent as a dream. Whoo-whoo-whoo, the father calls to the mysterious nighttime bird.

But there is no answer.

Wordlessly the two companions walk along, for when you go owling you don't need words. You don't need anything but hope. Sometimes there isn't an owl, but sometimes there is.


This story retells the short and few moments Fredrick Douglass spent with his mother. She traveled twelve miles late at night after a hard day of labor in the fields to be with him for just a few hours to only have return before the sunrise to work again. She knows that her son fears for her long hard walks so reassures him by recounting each mile of her night journey.