Number the Stars by Lois Lowry


It has been a few days since my last #BookaDay post! I have been reading; however, unable to type up a review due to a horrendous list of unfortunate circumstances over the weekend.



Yesterday, I spent most of my time recuperating from the event (I slept at least 14 hours once I was picked up by my family). Today, I am ready to get back into my daily routine of things. 

During my trip, I listened to Number the Stars by Lois Lowry through the Libby app on my iPad. The story is one of my favorite reading periods, WWII; jews are being relocated and the lives of all were turned upside down as the Nazi soldiers have taken over their cities, communities, and their neighborhoods.

In this story, 10 year old Annemarie Johansen narrates her and her families journey after the Nazi invasion of Denmark in 1943. I love the details that she shares and how much she describes her life being changed because of the current situation (and they are not even Jewish). At times, I had to stop and remember that Annemarie was only 10 years old. The many moments that she was courageous not for her own life; but that of her friend Ellen. So many selfless acts of kindness and pure love she portrayed through her actions. 

I began to compare lives between the fictional character of Annemarie (inspired by a girl known by Lois Lowry, Annelise Platt) and Anne Frank. Both young, ordinary girls having to face situations that your typical girl is fortunate to not have to experience. Both stood bravely for what was right and reamined kind through it all. 

Image: GoodReads
In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart. - Anne Frank: Diary of a Young Girl
Image: GoodReads
Carefully she spread open the skirt of the dress and found the place where Ellen's necklace lay hidden in the pocket. The little Star of David still gleaming gold. - Annemarie Johansen Number the Stars
The above quotes were taken toward the end of these books and they provide me with hope. The hope that no matter what we face, humanity will still remain. 

I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

A Girl Named Hillary by Rebecca Paley


American Girl presents, A Girl Named Hillary: The True Story of Hillary Clinton by Rebecca Paley. This chapter book biography highlights key moments of Hillary as a little girl and through adulthood. The book begins with an Introduction which discusses her nomination of the Democratic Party and how she was the first woman to have achieved such honor in the United States. The remaining chapters include titles: Growing Up in Park Ridge; Do All the Good You Can; Being a Girl; Winning and Losing; Lawyer, Mother, First Lady; and Never Give Up. The book concludes with a glossary of terms that were in bold in the reading and a Timeline of Hillary Clinton's Life (1947-2017).

I really like how the book focuses on Hillary as a little girl and how a young reader can relate to her at different times in their life. The goal of the book is for all children to understand that they should never give up and continue living out their dreams. Do not let bullies drag you down, do not let society tell you that you cannot do something, and even when you fail.. keep on keepin on. 

The story ends with a quote from Hillary's speech after the election, "To all the little girls who are watching this, never doubt that you are valuable and powerful and deserving of every chance and opportunity in the world to pursue and achieve your own dreams."

This is where the story ends; however, Hillary's story does not end here. The timeline mentions her speaking at the Women in the World Summit in New York City in 2017. This month, she made an announcement that her and Howard Dean have begun a new organization to assist activists. Onward Together, supports and connects groups that are doing the work: from mobilizing voters to encouraging and training new activists to recruiting people who are ready to run for office themselves. Offering funding and strategic advice, and connect them with resources. 

Find out more in the video posted below: 



I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Who Are You?: The Kid's Guide to Gender Identity by Brook Pessin-Whedbee


A picture book that students, teachers, and adults can learn from. This is the type of book to turn to, in order to understand or explain the basics about gender identity. Who Are You?: the kid's guide to gender identity presents the who, what, when, why, and how of being an individual. The theme is clear, BE WHO YOU ARE!

A letter to the adult is found within the beginning pages of this book. It explains how to pair this resource alongside the plethora of other resources (like www.kidsguidetogender.com) that are found and how to appropriately use this book. The conclusion, provides a guide for grownups and a page by page guide to key concepts and discussion points.

The author reads the book, in this video below:


Here, the author discusses the use of the book:



I cannot tell you how to use this book, nor can the author.However, this book is about all of us and how what we fell inside makes us the unique individuals that we are.

Image: Kids Guide to Gender

This edition includes a gender wheel (pictured above) and an explanation about what this is. Simply put, it is a visual to assist us with representing gender; body, identity, and expression. The wheel uses first person, because as the book reminds us: You are the one who knows You best!


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon


On the way to Lewiston this week for Idaho Education Association's Summer Institute, I had the pleasure of listening to the story A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon on my iPad via the Libby app. The Libby app is made available by Overdrive, which allows you to borrow ebooks and audiobooks for free! Available apps for Apple, Microsoft, and Google Play.

In this picture book, readers learn about the importance of being yourself and not putting too much thought into what other people think. You will be surprised to what happens to Camilla Cream on her first day of school; as well as how she is "cured" of her colorful situation. 


The National Education Association (NEA) named the book one of its "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Alma and How She Got Her Name by Juana Martinez-Neal


The story Alma and How She Got Her Name, is an important one to share. Our names are very special to us and to the families that gave them to us.

Alma says, "her name is too long and it does not fit."

Image: Penguin Random House
Her Daddy took this opportunity to explain to her, her name and he wanted her to know why it fits. Each of her names were given for a reason. The story concludes with a note from the author who also thought her name was long; yet now that she lives in the United States it is important and unique. Each of our names are very unique.

An Interview with Author & Illustrator Juana Martinez-Neal:


I am Jeanie Jo Cullip: Jeanie is the first name given to me by my mother, my middle name is Jo after my Dad whose name is Joseph, and my last name Cullip is the gift given to me by my husband when we married.

What is the story of your name?

What story would like to tell?


These simple questions would be a great writing activity for your students. Have them bring it home so they can discuss it with their mom and dad if they do not know why they have the name they do. If the students would like, they can return the following day to share their name's story. You may begin by sharing yours first with the class.

Note: Some students may not have a full name or may not have significant meaning as they were given a name when they came to the United States or their family did not give such thought onto what was given to them. In the story, the dad states," I picked the name Alma just for you. You are the first and the only Alma. You will make your own story." Reading this phrase again and highlighting to those who may not have a significant story means that they can make their own story. You could ask them to write what they want their story to be or let them know that their name's story will be told over time.

You can find more about author, Juana Martinez-Neal on her beautiful website Juana Children's Author. In addition, you can connect with her on Twitter, Goodreads, Instagram, & Facebook.


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo


Eloquently written and equally illustrated picture book, Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo beautifully portrays the life of Audrey Hepburn. Although, her life began dark as a child; her light shined throughout her life as an adult.



I have always been intrigued by Miss Audrey Hepburn. I was introduced to her during my junior high years by my English teacher, Carolyn Binkley. I was playing a part in a play and Mrs. Binkley told me to refer to the role of Holly in Breakfast at Tiffany's. Unable to watch the movie at home with no VCR, Mrs. Binkley rented the movie, made a batch of popcorn, and we watched it after school before play practice. I would have to say this was one of my favorite moments in junior high and my love of Audrey began. I was inspired and wanted to know more about her. I remember years later, I rented a bunch of Audrey Hepburn's movies and took them to a friends house to have a movie marathon. My friend fell asleep; however, I stayed up till dawn watching them all!
Image: Happiness Is Blog

Image: mon petit chou chou
Image: Happiness Is Blog
Image: Magpie That



This book gave me the ability to share the life of Audrey with my daughter and taught me a few things I did not know about her life off stage. I was completely unaware of her time in hiding during World War II at the age of 10; her family fled to a small country home in Holland to live with forty other people!




I absolutely love how Cardillo highlights Audrey's kindness; as a girl, an actress, mom, and woman. Kindness was an important lesson that she was taught early on by her mother. Throughout the book, she brings up this kindness that was extended to others in different areas of her life. In addition, she discusses Audrey' style. Her classic, simple style of clothing on and off stage is truly unique and has been reproduced by many. 

Yet she was quoted saying, 
"I never think about myself as an icon ... I just do my thing."
That is Audrey Hepburn, the book is about her as a little girl, an actress, an icon, and an inspiration... it is simply, Just Being Audrey.


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander


This collection of poems celebrating poets, Out of Wonder compiled together by New York Times Bestselling author, speaker, and educator Kwame Alexander. Writing a few of my favorite books: SOLO, REBOUND, and THE CROSSOVER. Here he shares with us 20 of his favorite poets that have inspired him with both their words and their lives. He says, "reading other poets we can discover our own wonder."
Poetry is serious, playful, all encomping, specific, divine, incomprehensible, profane. - Wynton Marsalis
Kwame Alexander says in the book preface, "A poem is a small but powerful thing. It has the power to reach inside of you, to ignite something in you, and to change you in ways you never imagined. There is a feeling of connection and communion with the author and the subject when we read a poem that articulates our deepest feelings, That can inspire us in our classrooms and in our homes to write our own journeys, to find our own voices."

Watch the book trailer by Dreamscape Media:


The book is organized in three parts: Got Style?, In Your Shoes, and Thank You. It concludes with a section, About the Poets. Each poem shared includes a beautiful picture, illustrated by Ekua Holmes which assists the readers in the mood and meaning of what the poet is trying to say.

Image: Shelf Awareness
I am thrilled to be sharing this picture book with you through my #BookaDay reading! I am in hopes that you like it as much as me and would share these poems and many others with your students. Alexander states that he experienced a long draught of poem-less school years as a student and hopes that this collection will motivate teachers in providing more poetry in their classrooms. Use them as "stepping-stones to wonder"..


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

From the Heart of Africa: A Book of Wisdom by Eric Walters


This collection of aphorisms, From the Heart of Africa compiled by Eric Walters is an incredible way to introduce a variety of African cultures into your classroom. A celebration of art, history, and community from people of Ashanti, Sukuma, Akan and Kikuyu.
"Aphorisms give guidance, context and instruction for life's issues, and they help us understand each other and the world around us. We use them every day, yet never think about where they came from or why they exist." Eric Walters
The book begins with a letter to the reader by the aphorisms collector, Eric Walters. Eric is co-founder of an organization called, Creation of Hope. The Creation of Hope – works to create a future for the orphans of Mbooni Region in Kenya. The aphorisms in this book have been heard from his African friends and colleagues while spending time doing this work in Kenya. He explains, "aphorisms are an oral tradition; difficult to pinpoint its origin."

Each of the aphorisms shared in this collection are paired with an exquisite picture, its origin, and its meaning. Instead of reading all of the aphorisms at one time, I would share one at a time. Whether you share one a day or one a week is up to you; I think I will share one daily during a Geography unit on Africa.

Similar to how the precepts were shared in the book Wonder; I would allow the student to read it first, then allow them to think and write about what it means to them, then share the meaning, and then allow them to clarify or adjust their thoughts before sharing them with the class. 

I enjoyed reading each of the aphorisms and learning its meaning. Some of which I have heard before: Many hands make light work, It takes a village to raise a child, and Unity is strength. The following is my favorite of this collection:


Meaning: Wait until you are on the riverbank and out of harm's way before you make a crocodile angry! Always think before you act. 


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Surf War!: A Folktale from the Marshall Islands by Margaret Read MacDonald


Beautifully illustrated picture book assists in telling the story of Surf War! by Margaret Read MacDonald (I would love to have her middle name!). The story is simple, the whales and the sandpipers that inhabit the land are trying to decide if there are more whales than birds or more sandpipers than whales of the sea. This causes them to gather all of the whales and the whales cousins together; as well as all sandpipers and sandpipers cousins together. Because of the vastness of all the whales in the sea and the sandpipers on the beach, it was difficult to tell. 

So, the whales and sandpipers decided to wreak havoc on one another; this only created a nightmare for all of them as they were destroying their home. Read the story, to find out of how the whales and the sandpipers solved their unfortunate conflict.

What a glorious story of citizenship and the ability to live with one another. This book would be a great addition to a Social Studies unit to introduce being a citizen and how society is able to collaborate in order to live harmoniously together.  

Watch this interview of storyteller, Margaret Read MacDonald:



I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

The Frog Prince, Continued by Jon Scieszka


The Frog Prince, Continued is a fractured fairytale written by one of my picture book favorites, Jon Scieszka. It seems as though where we left off in the story between the Princess & the Frog (when she kissed his slimy lips, he turned into a prince, and they lived happily ever after) that was not the end. In fact, it was very untruthful. The princess and the former frog were far from being happy. The prince wanted to go play in the pond and catch flies; while the princess wanted her prince to stop hopping on the furniture and go out and slay dragons. 

Miserable, the Prince returned to the woods to find a witch that could return him into a frog; so that he could live happily ever after. Throughout the story the prince finds a few witches that we have met in previous stories: witch #1, from Sleeping Beauty; witch #2, from Snow White; witch #3, from Hansel & Gretel; and magical person #4, the Fairy Godmother from Cinderella. 


The story concludes with an unexpected turn of events and the Prince returns to the castle for a surprising ending, I will let you read the book to find out if they found their happily ever after. I toad-ally recommend it!


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka


Make Science fun with Jon Scieszka's poetic picture book, Science Verse! I think, this would be an incredible way to introduce Science to your class at the beginning of the year. Helping students understand that science is everywhere and what exciting things you will be learning about: dinosaurs, stars, planets, food chain, human body, Big Bang Theory, and more! In addition, I would return to poems when you begin discussing the topic. There are many that will assist students with the new concept or remember important facts.

Image, Gathering Books: Poem Skeletal Study by Jon Scieszka

I absolutely love each and every poem in this book; however, my favorites are Twas the Night (Big Bang Theory), Why Scientists Don't Write Nursery Rhymes (various topics), and What's the Matter? (Liquid, Solid, and Gas). Each poem is based on a science topic delivered in a familiar way; you may recognize nursery rhymes, classic songs, and famous poems.

The inside book flap mentioned a real treat, there is another book written by Scieszka entitled, Math Curse. I have found a reading of this book on YouTube, Nana's Story Time. Anyway to integrate literature into ALL subjects to assist students in understanding new topics while creating another opportunity to fall in love with reading.



I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

I Know an Old Teacher by Anne Bowen


Today's #BookaDay is a hilarious schooltime version of the classic song, There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly.


Writer, Anne Bowen is a retired elementary teacher with a wild imagination; writing a story of an Old Teacher who swallowed ALL of her classroom pets in the picture book, I Know an Old Teacher. The inside book flap states that Mrs. Bowen never actually swallowed any of her classroom pets, even on the days that she was really hungry. Students and teacher alike will squeal, giggle, and ewwww to the horrifying images of Miss. Bindley swallowing the pets one by one.. flea, spider, rat .......  and unfortunate others.

Watch the book trailer, created by annebowenbooks


A Read Aloud of the 2009-2010 FRA's Children's Book Award title by Ms. Lavender's Storytime



I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...

Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram


The picture book, Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram is story about a boy who chooses to have a story stand instead of a lemonade stand over the summer. He creates a stand and gathers all of his supplies and begins to sell, trade, and gift stories to his friends.

Image: Amazon.com

As I read the story, I began thinking of my future students who are both readers and writers. Rufus, gave me an incredible idea. Each of his stories were based on realia that his friends gave him or what they were playing with.

Image: Creativities

So, whether my students are learning math, social studies, language arts, or science; I can bring in artifacts and manipulatives for my students to write about. For example: if we are studying Native Americans, I can gather items such as: corn, clay bowls, arrows for the students to be inspired to write about the items, similar to what Rufus did in the story.


I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Reading Challenge, inspired by Donalyn Miller. My goal is to read at least one children's literature book everyday and share my thoughts here on my blog. Please feel free to subscribe or connect with me on social media to follow my journey through the books I read. Until next time ...