Wednesday, December 16, 2020

December Randomness

I've always loved this quote. I am so looking forward to 2021. Who isn't?

I recently discovered these nail strips and they've changed my life!  (I don't sell or know anyone who sells.  If interested, Google someone in your area.  They are Color Street.)  Took me 8 minutes. Both hands.  Lasted over 2 weeks.  For about 10 bucks, I'm really happy I discovered them.

I love our mantle.  Live plants but I'm thinking because we need to find small poinsettias, we should look for ones to reuse each year.  Just easier! 

This next pic is from last year. Sad we won't get to see family this year but, for us, worth waiting.  We've come so far to get COVID now. That vaccination is right around the corner!

Need a family craft or gift for grandparents?  This is free in my store.  SO EASY! Click on pic.

Not sure of you use Instagram but I have lots of book recommendations over there. I give quick peeks inside books to help you out. Some are my favorite books from the past and others are recent finds. Click on the Highlights button when on my Instagram to see them. (Or visit my stories...that's where I pot most.) I have lots of book categories and add to them all the time.

Here is an example of what a book recommendation looks like.

Have a great day!

Sunday, November 15, 2020

Instagram Stories Featuring Picture Books

Get a daily dose of quick peeks into some picture books on my Instagram Stories. Today, I just posted this video and will give a short look into each one throughout the day. A great way to find new books and revisit a favorite or two.  Hope it's helpful!

Click on the quote above to take you to my Instagram and then click the round icon/avatar up on left to see my stories. Hope to see you over there!

Want to see which TEN Thanksgiving Books are begging to be shared with your kids?  Click here!


Saturday, November 14, 2020

10 Thanksgiving Books Begging To be Shared

A roundup of some Thanksgiving books I've either used or just discovered and will be sharing from now on. Hoping you find one or two new ones!

Pearl and Squirrel is a new 2020 release. Not sure if there are other P & S books out there but if there isn't, there will be. I smell a series here!

FIVE STAR ALERT: The Thanksgiving Door will now be a MUST READ moving forward.  Have you read it?

An elderly couple burn their turkey and go out to the New World Cafe to eat not realizing it's closed so its new owners, immigrants, can celebrate their first holiday in America. It is so sweet and exactly what a Thanksgiving book should be. PERFECT! I'm sad that I haven't been sharing this gem with my class all these years. Reserve at the library ASAP. LOVE IT!

My kids love this each year. It makes me (and them!) feel so empowered. I really stress the repetitive phrase and throw it in a few more times. TRUE STORY: When I read it last year, a student shouted out, "You go girl!" to the MC, Sarah Hale!

I bypassed looking at this the year it was released because I already has several turkey escaping type books. Nope. Shouldn't have. NO turkeys escaping here! I sort of think it's a shame they have the word THANKSGIVINNG in the title because it could be ANY holiday and not limit the reading of this awesome book to November. 

Never get tired of this one. Love the ending. Kids crack up. Lisa Wheeler is always fun and this won't disappoint.  (Autographed copy from ages ago!)

This is a new Chloe Zoe adventure. I would share this with Prek-1.  Adorable!

John brought this home with him and I wasn't looking forward to reading it. Thought would be text heavy and over kids' heads. Wrong! Rhyming book about preparing for a Thanksgiving dinner. Liked a lot.

The parade is a part of so many of our students' lives that this will have lots of appeal. I learned some cool facts!

I like the illustrations above.  Very cute!

Enjoy! Happy Reading! If you have any thoughts about any book above, let me know! 

Saturday, November 7, 2020

Attack of the Underwear Dragon

If the word "underwear" is in a picture book title, I can guarantee you kids will have giggle fits galore and that the book will fly off bookshelves. The stories may not always work, but in this new picture book, Attack Of The Underwear Dragon, written by Scott Rothman and illustrated by Pete Oswald (The Bad Seed, The Cool Bean) I can assure you it succeeds in every way.

This fast-paced and hilarious story centers on young Cole who yearns to be an Assistant Knight to his hero, Sir Percival. (Why am I thinking about Dwight from The Office here? Ha!) 

So he writes him a letter. Can I tell you how much I love this letter? Already thinking how to use it in our Opinion & Persuasion Writing Unit.

Sir Percival's reaction:

His perseverance pays off!

Cole learns all the important Knight skills including how to calm Sir Percival down when he has nightmares about a scary Underwear Dragon. There are two full-page spreads showing him learning these skills that are so wonderfully witty and funny! (Can't give all the pics away!)

Is Cole ready when the kingdom is attacked by - you guessed it - the Underwear Dragon. Can Cole help? Hmmm...there may be yet ANOTHER letter involved!

Getting to this next illustration is quite the fun-filled adventure. Your kids will love it. It's going to end up on your library shelf for sure! I foresee needing multiple copies for my kids to share. 

I really liked the pace of the story, the playfulness and FUN. After all, there is an Dragon wearing Tighty Whities!

Check out this awesome behind-the-scenes info in the video below from both Scott and Pete. (Yes, I feel like we're friends now!)  (If on mobile, may need this link if video not showing: INTERVIEW)

(Video brought to you by Children's Book World Book Store.)

Kudos to whoever their editor was because it was the perfect pairing. Kind of like the wine and cheese I just had.

EDITED to add:

I made a small product ($2) to support and extend the book. Am making a larger product soon.

Happy reading! If you read it, let me know your thoughts.

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

The Hole Story of the Doughnut (Fun Biography!)

Did you know that there are TWO National Donut Days? Is it because almost everyone seems to love a donut once in a while? Here's an interesting quick history lesson on why celebrated twice.

The day in June is celebrated more often but in honor of National Donut Day on November 5th, I have a book to recommend to your class. (You can always bookmark for a June reading.)

The Hole Story of the Doughnut, written by Pat Miller and illustrated by Vincent X. Kirsch, is a fun and unique biography that's great to read aloud to kids of all ages.  (Best for Grades 1-5 but I know a K Teacher that read it with her class and liked it.)

The Hole Story of the Doughnut puts a spin on the creation of everyone's favorite pastry. 

It doesn't matter if you like yours glazed or chocolate frosted with'll find some cool facts.

I came across this title a few years ago as a way to celebrate National Donut Day in June.

The funny thing is, on a trip to Boston years before, I had heard of the legend of Hansen (Hans) Gregory, a 19th Century ship captain who, while trying to eat his breakfast cake on a stormy sea, put it through one of the handles on the wheel of ship so it wouldn't drop on the deck.

By doing so, put a hole through the center, thus the "hole in the doughnut" was originated. 

Is that the same take offered here? Check it out to see for yourself.  But I can tell you this: His first attempt to make a donut failed and his crew called them SINKERS for how heavy they were.

The illustrations are bold, colorful and as equally engaging as the story. 

This book is also an excellent example of narrative nonfiction. 
It contains both a detailed author's note and a timeline. 

Another element of this story that is terrific is that it encourages readers to investigate further information on the life of Hansen Gregory.

In fact, after spring break, one of my students told me that he and his family visited the Hansen's grave mentioned in the book at Snug Harbor, Massachusetts.

All in all, this a great book that will satisfy the kids who are constantly asking WHY and gravitate toward narrative nonfiction whether they like their doughnuts with, or without, the hole.

If interested, here is a VERY old-fashioned funny video of Robert McCloskey's (Make Way for Ducklings Author) one chapter of Homer Price Donut Chapter.  It's about 28 minutes long so if you like what you see, plan accordingly. (On mobile and can't see?  CLICK HERE.)

Monday, November 2, 2020

The Yawns Are Coming!

Funny picture book alert! The Yawns Are Coming, written and illustrated by Christopher Eliopoulos, was an August 2020 release. So glad to snag it on the "New Books" display at the library.

It's very cute! Who hasn't looked forward to a sleepover and a night of carefully planned out activities only to crash and burn well before midnight?

I could never stay up and now I know why!  

Blame it on The Yawns!  
Followed by a DOZE! 
And then the dreaded and despised SNORES are coming for you! 
And finally, the SLEEPIES finish you off!

I know my First Graders will love it and I'm pretty sure it's going to be a huge hit- night after night- for bedtime storytimes!


You WILL yawn as you're reading it between your laughs.

Trust me.  

You will.

At least 3 times. Maybe 4. Possibly 5.  Yep.

Lucky for us, the author reads the book to us!  (If you can't see video on mobile, click HERE.)

There are a few versions of him reading so see which video is best for your class.  

This book will be fun to revisit when we're learning how to use BIG and BOLD words in our writing!


Sunday, November 1, 2020

An Organizational App I Can't Live Without (Problem Solved!)

I have only been using UTIFUL for a few hours and am BEYOND excited about it!

I wanted to jump on here in case it could be a game changer for you, too.  It's advertised as a "Photo Sorter for Neat Freaks."

My Problem: I take a ton of pics and screenshots with my phone. Stuff I need/want organized like screen shots of recipes. So, I put them into a folder in my phone. Good?

Not really.

Because the way iPhones are set up, you can have that shot or pic in your folder BUT it still stays on your camera roll. You delete from there, it also deletes in the folder.

So I have 1000's of photos on my camera roll. Frustrating.

Yes, I back up to the cloud. But I need lots of things on my phone and don't want to scroll the day away.

This app allows you to store photos in folders on it AND then it deletes original from camera roll.  (It asks first just in case you don't want it done.)

No learning curve. Self-explanatory. EASY.  

It is 19.99 a year but I feel it's so worth it.

Says for small businesses but anyone who takes and needs pics on phone will benefit.

If you get it, let me know what you think!

Friday, October 30, 2020

Henry Holton Takes the Ice and Perfect Pigeons

Looking for some books that reinforce your commitment to sharing books highlighting inclusion and acceptance themes with your students?  Here are two good ones.

Henry Holton Takes the Ice, (Copyright 2015) written by Sandra Bradley and illustrated by Sara Palaciosis such a cute book with an important reminder to kids: Be true to yourself. It reminds adults to let kids choose their own paths and to support that path especially when it doesn't mirror your own.

Not always easy to do! 

From the moment he was born, it was hockey all the time!

By the time he was 7, he was the best skater in the family...and the worst hockey player.  

I love Henry's self-confidence and how he asserts himself.  If you have students struggling to speak up for themselves, check out these book suggestions on assertion. 

Henry never second guesses himself.  The pure joy of this picture says it all:

Henry is a great role model for our students and there are for sure kids in your class who NEED to know about Henry because they're a lot like him or may need a little dose of courage.

Henry's perseverance may rub off on your kids. He's the Oliver Button for a new generation, don't you think? 

Oliver Button is a Sissy is in my classroom and Henry Holton Takes the Ice is a perfect pairing. 

I love that this book shares the same themes showing kids that it's okay to be different and you don't need to conform to what others think is right for you...especially based on your sex.  

Today's generation, thank goodness, is way better at busting through gender stereotyping but society still has a long way to go. 

Books like these, I'm convinced, help change attitudes!

Want to watch Henry Holton?  Watch it below (11 minutes) ...or if you're on a mobile device, the video might not be showing up so here's the link: Henry Holton Takes the Ice.

I have a small product that I made to support the book because I knew I'd want to extend the book a bit.

I have over 90 Book Its in my store ($2) that all have the same activities: Retells (written and oral), Pick-A-Prompt where kids pick 1/3 prompts to write/share, and, to reinforce Word Work, Make-a-Word Activities.  (Can model for them with magnetic letters and do as group activity or kids can work independently or in small groups.)  

Perfectly Pigeons(Copyright 2020) written and illustrated by Katherine Battersby, is a fun book to use to reinforce the themes above.  

I just love how the pigeons are drawn and the colors of the book are lovely.

It's about a flock of seagulls who are all the same except for Pesky Pigeon who does things his own way.

Can the flock of pigeons still be perfect if they aren't all perfectly the same?  Check out the short peek into the book below.  (Or mobile users: Link is here.)

Let your kiddos decide!  

Because it's such a quick solid read and has adorable and quirky illustrations, I can see teachers and kids grabbing it year after year. I want it in my collection for both my curriculum needs and the students wants/needs.

Hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Happy reading!