Lives lived large

cline-ransome_benny goodman

Picture book biographies provide young children with glimpses into the lives of notable men and women. The following books highlight people whose accomplishments in the arts, on the seven seas, and on the world stage are inspirations to us all. Arun Gandhi, grandson of the Mahatma, tells of visiting Sevagram, India, as a child in […]

Talking about chapter books

julian_joey_omakayas

This week we are reading three chapter books — The Stories Julian Tells by Ann Cameron, Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key by Jack Gantos, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich. Each is the first book in a series and each has a strong central character, an element that I think is essential in early […]

The Stories Julian Tells

The Stories Julian Tells

The Stories Julian Tells is the first book in an ongoing series about brothers Julian and Hughie, and their neighbor Gloria. This is an early chapter book, for readers who have acquired some fluency but aren’t ready to tackle longer books yet. The chapters are fairly short, there’s lots of conversation, the plot is easy […]

Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key

joey pigza

The Joey Pigza books are hugely popular with upper elementary kids. Joey Pigza is the first of the series and while it’s not spelled out, I think it’s pretty obvious that Joey has ADHD. I like sharing this book with teachers because they tend to look at the situations so differently from the way Joey’s […]

The Birchbark House

The Birchbark House

Louise Erdrich’s historical novel The Birchbark House is the first in a series, each book following a child from a different generation in an Ojibwa community. Often, books for children contain a central character who is about the same age as the book’s readers. The Birchbark House would be a tough read for most children […]

Two articles related to chapter books

jackgantos

This week in addition to our three chapter books, we are reading two articles. The first is Robin Smith’s piece about her road to becoming a second grade teacher who loves LOVES books, and how she shares them with her classes: “Teaching New Readers to Love Books” from the September/October 2003 Horn Book Magazine. The […]

More books to discuss

mar6_2014_readings

Last week was our first week with book discussion on this blog rather than our usual posts from teachers. I didn’t exactly blow the horn to announce them, so this week I’m trying something different, hoping more of you see — and join — the discussions. So… *horn fanfare* …we hope you will join us […]

This Is Not My Hat

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

Here’s one of the two picture books we’re reading for our second class. What do you make of this one? For those of you who know your lit, this is a classically unreliable narrator. How do the text and art play off each other? If you can, try reading it aloud, ideally to a child. […]

That New Animal

that new animal

Here’s another picture book for our second class. There are lots of books out there that tackle an emotional issue in a heavy handed way. I’m not a fan of those books, but I love this one. What do you think? Does it accomplish its goal? Would it appeal to a child in a similar […]

There Is a Bird On Your Head!

thereisabird

Mo Willems has become THE master of easy readers. With pre-book work includes Sesame Street and animation, he had the perfect training to create child- and teacher-friendly easy readers. I think he deserves every one of his many awards. What do notice in this deceptively simple book? What does he do with simple shapes and […]