Karen's Latest Book Review (February 21, 2021)

Happy Right Now

There is so much going on in our world these days, it’s important to remember to be happy right now! This book would be a perfect spark for a student writing assignment. It also addresses the sadness that we sometimes face and how to work through our emotions. A timely choice for our primary students!

February 21, 2021

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The Barnabus Project

This beautiful picture book tells the story of Barnabus—half mouse, half elephant—who is hidden away with other Failed Projects. Barnabus will capture the hearts and imaginations of readers regardless of their age. Be ready for some lively, impassioned discussion!

February 15, 2021

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My Jasper June

I appreciate authors who understand that kids can handle tough topics when approached appropriately. Laurel Snyder is one of those authors. Memorable characters, Leah and Jasper, find each other at just the right moment and their lives change forever. An unforgettable story of unexpected friendship!

February 7, 2021

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Spencer’s New Pet

I’ve always been a fan of wordless picture books! As a teacher, the possibilities are endless: to prompt oral storytelling, an opportunity to write dialogue (using post-it notes on the pages), to discuss visuals as text, and even to provide picture prompts for writing narratives or character descriptions. Spencer’s New Pet can fulfill all of these possibilities and is also an excellent choice for students practicing their prediction skills. After all, Spencer’s new pet is a balloon…

January 31, 2021

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The Season of Styx Malone

This award-winning book is a wonderful addition to our bookshelves! Brothers–Caleb and Bobby Gene–find themselves on an unexpected adventure when they meet their new neighbour Styx Malone. A story full of mischief and secrets becomes an exploration of identity and friendship!

January 24, 2021

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The Couch Potato

Although Jory John has another message to convey, he does so in such a way that children will enjoy every page. The Couch Potato seems especially timely now and will likely motivate your children to get up and moving. As with their other joint projects, Pete Oswald’s illustrations add to the endearing quality of the book!

January 18, 2021

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Blackbird Fly

Apple Yengko feels caught between two worlds: her mother’s Filipino background and her life in America. Students will relate to her struggle to fit in at school, to deal with her mother’s demands, and still find her own way. Apple turns to music to help her cope with the challenges she faces. The many Beatles allusions were entertaining!

January 10, 2021

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Y is for Yet: A Growth Mindset Alphabet

As mentioned in my blog post this week, I often choose a word at the beginning of the year. This is an interesting experience for our students, too. Y is for Yet by Shannon Anderson would be a perfect way to begin the conversation about choosing a word to guide our year. Students could also draw and decorate their chosen word as an accompanying art project. A powerful activity to begin the year!

January 3, 2021

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Last Stop on the Reindeer Express

This book seems especially timely as many of us are not able to spend Christmas with our loved ones. The detailed illustrations of Mia’s journey on the Reindeer Express–including cut-outs and flaps–will captivate children. The story will uplift and comfort.

December 13, 2020

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The Night Before Christmas

Do your students know the famous poem by Clement C. Moore? This version illustrated by Charles Santore is my preferred version for children.

December 6, 2020

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