Archive for May 2015

Picture Book Pairings: Fiction/Nonfiction

May 28, 2015

Pairing fiction with nonfiction books is an excellent way to show children how different types of writing can easily be connected. If birds are a hot topic, here are two outstanding books that can be paired. One is Birds, written by Kevin Henkes and illustrated by Laura Dronzek and the other is Feathers Not Just for Flying, written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen.

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In the fiction book, Birds, the young narrator talks about birds of all sizes, shapes, colors, and how they move. The text is spare but poetic, and Laura Dronzek’s illustrations are bright and colorful. A variety of birds can be found in the book and, with Dronzek’s illustrations, a few surprises are sure to capture the attention of young readers.

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Pair this book with the nonfiction book, Feathers Not Just for Flying. Melissa Stewart has created an appealing book with two storylines. One has simple text that compares birds’ feathers to everyday objects. “Feathers can shade out sun like an umbrella …” The other has fascinating information about certain birds, the various shapes of their feathers, and how the feathers function. With Brannen’s watercolor illustrations presented in a scrapbook format and Stewart’s attention to scientific details, this book will win over readers.

Book pairings can inspire discussions and motivate children to delve deeper into the subject matter. Try it. You’ll like it.

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THE CROSSOVER

May 21, 2015

Last week while my brain was a blank page, I read Kwame Alexander’s book, The Crossover. The title refers to a basketball maneuver used by one of the main characters. Deservedly, Alexander received the Newbery Award and Coretta Scott King Honor Award for his efforts.

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The story, written in verse and poetry that has you moving and grooving, is narrated by twelve-year-old Josh Bell. He and his twin brother, Jordan, are talented basketball players. They’re like two peas in a pod until a love interest threatens to rupture the special bond the twins have. Kwame Alexander intertwines family, loyalty, sibling rivalry, and lessons of life with basketball skills to strike a rhythm that keeps readers turning the pages. When the boys are faced with a life-changing event, remembering the importance of a loving family pulls them together and makes for a heartwarming story. For me this book is a slam dunk.

Blank Brain

May 14, 2015

Have you ever clicked on a link on the internet and come up with “blank page?” This has happened to me numerous times. It’s annoying. Today I’ve clicked on my brain. I’ve knocked on my brain. I’ve pounded on my brain. I did all this to no avail. Today, like the blank page, I have a blank brain. Nothing intelligent or worthwhile is oozing from my brain cells. It’s annoying.

Alas, this is all you get today.

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Blank Brain

Salute to Teachers and Books

May 7, 2015

The love of books was instilled in me by my parents. They were avid readers, and they made the public library a regular part of my life. Books have always put a smile on my face – especially my collection of children’s books.

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As a former teacher/librarian, it was important for me to introduce my students not only to new ideas, but also to a variety of book genres. One of my favorite times of the day was when we gathered together for a read aloud. Finding just the right book to keep students asking for more was an exciting challenge. Thought provoking books resulted in some incredible teaching moments and discussions.

This week is Teacher Appreciation Week and Children’s Book Week. I am reminded of all the hard-working teachers and talented authors and illustrators who have made a difference in my life and continue to make a difference in the lives of our children.

Reading opens up a world of new ideas and understanding. Children need ready access to books so they can discover the magic of words and pictures. Let them take wing and fly to places they’ve never been before.

Kudos to teachers and to those who create wonderful books for all to enjoy.

Looking for some good picture books? Check these out.

SLJ’s Top 100 Picture Books    http://tinyurl.com/qbsgket

“The best teachers are those who show you where to look, but don’t tell you what to see.” ~ Alexandra K. Trenfor


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