Books and stuff

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It’s that time of year again. Book fair time. “Miss Hewes! Look at the figurines I bought! Aren’t the polar bear and the penguin so cute?” I’ll be honest – yes, little rubberized figurines in the likenesses of polar bears are cute. I understand the appeal of such items to young children. However, I am […]

Books mentioned in the January 2015 issue of Nonfiction Notes from the Horn Book

Black History Month Story of the Civil Rights Movement in Photographs series Aretha, David The Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow     2014 Library binding ISBN 978-0-7660-4234-6 Aretha, David The Story of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow     2014 Library […]

Physics and chemistry

adam_super science matter matters

Adams, Tom Super Science: Matter Matters! Gr. 4–6    18 pp.    Candlewick/Templar Illustrated by Thomas Flintham. In this chemistry overview on eight double-page pop-up spreads, readers can explore topics ranging from atoms and elements to water, air, and radioactivity. Some of the movable features creatively present content, such as mini-booklets for scientist profiles and flaps that […]

Language and literature

bryant_right word

Becker, Helaine AlphaBest: The Zany, Zanier, Zaniest Book About Comparatives and Superlatives Gr. K–3     32 pp.     Kids Can Illustrated by Dave Whamond. Adjectival comparatives and superlatives from angry, angrier, angriest to zany, zanier, zaniest are presented alongside energetic cartoons of carnival scenes. Some pages require a careful look to discern the connection between word and […]

Archaeology

aveni_buried beneath us

Athans, Sandra K. Secrets of the Sky Caves: Danger and Discovery on Nepal’s Mustang Cliffs Gr. 4–6     64 pp.     Millbrook The “sky caves” were dug into cliff faces in Nepal’s Mustang region roughly one-thousand years ago. Variously used as living and burial spaces, the caves remained unexplored and unused for centuries until they were unearthed […]

Presidents and their families

gherman_first mothers

Gherman, Beverly First Mothers Gr. K–3     64 pp.    Clarion Illustrated by Julie Downing. This book provides a fascinating perspective on U.S. presidents by focusing on the personalities and influences of their mothers. Each mom has her own section, descriptive epithet (e.g., Barbara Pierce Bush, “The Outspoken Mother”), amusing anecdote, and cartoonlike portrait; sidebars in varying […]

Black History Month

smith_28 days

Aretha, David The Story of Rosa Parks and the Montgomery Bus Boycott in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow Aretha, David The Story of the Birmingham Civil Rights Movement in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow Aretha, David The Story of the Civil Rights Freedom Rides in Photographs Gr. 4–6     48 pp.    Enslow Aretha, David […]

Lesser-known heroes

Invincible

In my literature classroom, students must always be reading a book outside of the novel we’re reading as a class. Every now and then, a student will pull V for Vendetta or Watchmen or Maus or some other graphic novel* off of my shelf and ask if he can use it as his independent reading […]

Metacognitive books: How early should they be introduced?

monster end of book

During the last few months I’ve encountered a number of children’s picture books with a self-reflective or metacognitive approach. The texts encourage readers not just to reflect or think (cognitive) but to think about their thinking (metacognitive). Since the books’ illustrations were eye-catching and the topics were relatable, I read them to some three-year old […]

Behind the book

Port Chicago

Back on October 10th, I had the privilege of attending the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award ceremony. During the celebration, honorees and winners came to the podium to receive their awards and address the audience. Needless to say, I was star struck to be in the room with the likes of Steve Jenkins, Gene Luen Yang, […]