Sunday, April 29, 2018

Some Must-Read Books! (And a Freebie!)

I'm always looking for some new books to share with my Fabo Firsties.  My husband, John, is a K-5 media specialist and is always bringing books home to share.  These were actually from the Scholastic Book Fair that he had recently.

First Up: The Little Red FortThe kids LOVED this book and part of the initial fun was the immediate connection they made to The Little Red Hen.  They pride themselves on making connections!  This has a Girl Power flavor to it that I adored! It begins with, "Ruby's mind was always full of ideas."  She finds some boards and asks her brothers to help her.  Of course they don't want to help.  "Not me," says Oscar Lee.  "I don't think so," says Rodrigo. "No way," says Jose.  This one ends with a cookie part at the end and is just so sweet!  A nice twist.  A perfect read aloud.  FUN!

FROM AMAZON: Praise for The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier, illustrated by Sonia Sánchez:

* "The Little Red Hen gets an appealing girl-power update…Young makers of all genders will be inspired." -- The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books, starred review

"Using a narrative framework and dialogue inspired by the Little Red Hen…. Maier judiciously adapts one of the best nursery stories, keeps it simple, and makes it her own. The upbeat mixed-media illustrations are nicely varied in composition and perspective. A lively picture book that's fun to read aloud." -- Booklist

"[Sánchez's] textured illustrations and sense of humor add depth to each dynamic scene. Throughout the story, Maier's little Latina go-getter breaks gender and cultural stereotypes….empowering…." -- Kirkus Reviews

"Maier's girl-power-meets-classic folktale story line is engaging and entertaining. Sánchez's colorfully patterned and textured illustrations give dimension to a determined and endearing pigtailed heroine and her realistic multigenerational, multi-skin-toned family." -- The Horn Book

"This delightful retelling of the old story of “The Little Red Hen” is perfect for storytime or one-on-one sharing. It also reminds girls that they can do whatever they set their minds to do." -- School Library Journal

"...exuberance on every page." -- Publishers Weekly

"The repetition of key words and the predictable narrative would make this book excellent for reading aloud….The warmly colored illustrations with pops of red are…. a fitting style for a book about one child's creativity and ingenuity." -- School Library Connection, recommended

Next: Can I Be Your Dog? This is an awesome book to consider as an intro to your Persuasive Writing Units.  Arfy is a homeless dog who just wants to find his forever-home.  He writes letters to all the homeowners on Butternut Street and always gives reasons why he'd be the perfect pet.  He gets letters back each time stating why he isn't the perfect pet for them.  Who steps up at the end?  Read to find out.  I saw the answer coming early on and was surprised my students didn't.  Love the humorous letters, bold illustrations, and the just-right amount of suspense.  My kids asked me to get another copy of the book!

Truck Full of Ducks is just a plain ole silly romp! It will seriously quack you up!  Bernie the dog runs a delivery service and has to deliver a truck full of ducks...SOMEWHERE!  The ducks ate the directions!  Bernie finds customers who ordered a truck...just not a truck full of ducks!  The illustrations are hilarious and require lots of time for the kids to take in each detail.  The fun romp continues until they realize that H. Ungry Wolf has ordered all the ducks.  GULP!  The look on the kids' faces!!!!  With with a turn of the page, you see that he ordered them for bath time, not to munch on!  Just a FUN read that the kids will want to reread again and again.

I Got a Chicken for My Birthday was the last of the funny books that I read.  We were just finishing up our Mentor Text Unit and the kids immediately pointed out the effective repetitive phrase in the book: I Got a Chicken for my birthday.  Each time it's said, it's stated matter-of-fact deadpan style.  That's what makes it funny.  The girl wants amusement park tickets but her grandma gave her a chicken instead.  The pictures are great and suspense builds when you wonder what the heck this chicken and her crew are building.  Don't skip reading the long shopping list out loud. Too funny not to!  

I had read reviews of Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille but didn't have access to the book until John lent me his copy.  He said his students were riveted and riveted is the perfect word to describe my students when I read this book to them.  I learned so much about Louis Braille!  This is a powerful, inspiring book that shows the power of never giving up.  A wonderful picture book biography to add to your collection.

From Amazon: An inspiring look at a child inventor whose drive and intelligence changed to world—for the blind and sighted alike." —Kirkus Reviews"Although many Braille biographies stress his disability, Bryant’s title subtly emphasizes his creativity and celebrates him as an inventor, making this an excellent addition for STEM collections. Illustrations in Kulikov’s signature style, light-hearted with a touch of tartness, deftly toggle between sun-washed scenes in which the world views Louis and blackened scenes in which Louis recreates the world he sees in his mind."—The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books, starred review 

"Bryant’s sensitive first-person narration draws readers intimately close to Braille’s experiences, and an author’s note and q&a add further depth to a stirring portrait of innovation and determination." — Publishers Weekly, starred review 

"The focus on Braille as one of the world’s great inventors is apt, and by taking a close look at his childhood, his family, and his experiences as a young person, Bryant makes Braille’s story even more powerful." —School Library Journal, starred review

"Bryant’s portrayal captures Louis’s intelligence, determination, and tenacious desire for access to the written word.  As Bryant states, “The name Braille deserves to be on everyone’s list of great inventors,” and this book ably demonstrates why."--The Horn Book Magazine

"Readers will be floored by the sheer tenacity of Louis Braille." -- Shelf Awareness

The Little Red Fort and Six Dots: A Story of Young Louis Braille are perfect for your book bin in your Maker Space area if you have one.  What better way to get your young inventors motivated?  

Here are two response sheets that you can use for any book really.  The first I like using because it's a quick OPINION review and then they can share thoughts with partner at school and at home.  The second one really comes in handy!  Like I said before, my class loves making connections!  I have complete reading response sheets with a few themes in my store but you can gran these for free here.  I hope you can use them!

Besides being a media specialist, John makes clip art.  Here's what he's been working on recently:

Turkeys are free! 

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