The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires


The book begins with a dedication that makes me think it is just for me: For all the little perfectionists of the world. Ashley Spires' The Most Magnificent Thing is a book about perspectives. We have all had the moment when completing a project, a recipe, a homework assignment, a lesson, a pinterest activity, etc.. everything you do does not seem to be what you want it to be. You have the "perfect idea" in your head and for some reason everything you create is just NOT it! This girl is persistent and does not give up; morning, afternoon, and evening

What an incredible story to share with your students when maybe times are getting difficult in writing or in genius hour. They seem to have lost focus, become frustrated with how things are going. In reading this book, they may be inspired to take a second, fifth, or fourteenth look at their issue and may be motivated to complete it! 

I have a rating system I use for those books I have read and reviewed on my blog, you may check it out here. I have given this book five coffee cups, I love this book a latte!



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 every weekday 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 ...

How to Think Like an Absolute Genius by Philippe Brasseur


From the Publisher: Be curious! Be imaginative! Be determined! Develop your talents by drawing inspiration from the greatest of geniuses. In a world that changes quickly, the future belongs to those who have an open, flexible mind: like John Lennon, they will imagine the impossible; like Walt Disney, they will work as a team; and like Copernicus, they will be able to think backwards! If you’re worried you might not be up to the job, have no fear! This fascinating book will show you the way. In How to Think Like an Absolutely Awesome Genius, 27 geniuses from different eras and disciplines –  artists, scientists, thinkers or writers – entrust you with their "creative methods". Packed with facts, games and activity ideas to boost your intelligence, with this book to guide you, you can become absolutely awesome at whatever you put your mind to.


Image: Amazon.com

Well organized and beautiful illustrations make this book a must have for any upper elementary classroom. Motivate your students to find their inner genius by discovering habits that made these 27 genius' great! This would be an incredible weekly reading (one a week). That way they can learn a new skill, practice with an activity, and then use it throughout the week. 

Image: Amazon.com


For example: Read about Charlie Chaplin (1889-1977) and how you can see things differently. Then, as a class complete the activity 
Ways Of Looking At An Image. Throughout the week provide different opportunities to "see things differently" in the various lessons you complete. What a fun way to use a non-fiction book! Have you done anything similar in your classroom? Please let me know in the comments below. 

I have a rating system I use for those books I have read and reviewed on my blog, you may check it out here. I have given this book four coffee cups, Cool Beans!


Frequently Auto-ApprovedI would like to thank Quarto Publishing Group & Netgalley for the Advanced Digital Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review! 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 every weekday 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 ...

Dictionary of Dinosaurs: An illustrated A to Z of every dinosaur ever discovered by Dieter Braun, Matthew G Baron


From the publisher: Find out about every dinosaur that’s ever been discovered in this Dictionary of Dinosaurs! From Aardonyx to Zuniceratops, read about when they lived, where they lived, what they ate and much more. Featuring epic artwork from Dieter Braun, and up-to-date facts from top dinosaur experts. Includes the world's best loved dinosaurs such as Diplodocus, T-rex, Triceratops,Velociraptor, Stegosaurus and Brachiosaurus. 

I enjoyed my review of this book and believe it to be an incredible resource to the upper elementary classroom. Each dinosaur listing in the dictionary provides a beautiful illustration, facts, pronunciation guide (very helpful!) meaning of the dinosaurs name in English (dinosaur names are in Latin), and when they were living on this earth, where they lived, and how big they are. 

Image: Amazon.com
This book could be used in a geography lesson, that students could map out the dinosaurs around the world or it could be used in a math lesson to measure out how big the dinosaurs were (and then compare). 

I have a rating system I use for those books I have read and reviewed on my blog, you may check it out here. I have given this book four coffee cups, Cool Beans!


Reviews PublishedI would like to thank both Netgalley and Quarto Publishing Group for the advanced digital reader copy they provided me in exchange for this honest review. 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 every weekday 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 Great Go-Kart Race by Jonathan Litton


From the publisher, Max and Suzy are entered in the Great Go-kart Race, and all is going well until… they get stuck in the mud! This is the first of several obstacles they must overcome en route and they find that science holds all the answers! Will the dynamic duo find the solutions to all the problems and win the race?



Image: Amazon.com
I love books that point out there is science, technology, engineering,art, and math everywhere! In The Great Go-Kart Race we find science in how we solve problems with: being stuck in the mud, using objects in motion pushing and pulling forces; headlight that would not work, using energy sources, electricity, and power; and another, which science method can you use to solve this one?

The book concludes with a resource section that helps readers with what science methods you can use to help solve the problem. In addition, there are activities students can complete to use this method too! I am looking forward to reading more the STEAM Stories series.

STEAM Stories is a series of interactive picture books, each introducing a different STEAM topic: Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Math. Join dynamic duo Max and Suzy in these action-packed problem-solving adventures. Each story introduces one of the STEAM topics so children will be introduced to key concepts while enjoying a gripping story.






I am trying out a rating system for my blog! I give this book four coffee cups, Cool Beans.


Reviews PublishedI would like to thank Quarto Publishing Group and Netgalley for providing me with an advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 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 every weekday 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 ...

Christopher Robin by Elizabeth Rudnick & Disney Book Group


My daughter and I have finally finished this phenomenal story of Christopher Robin and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. This summer, we went to the showing of Christopher Robin, opening night! 


I loved it, so I was ecstatic to see the book the following day at Barnes & Noble.. knowing we were in for a treat since the book is always better. And it was!!!!

Each night that my daughter and I read through a chapter, we laughed, we cried, we attempted to make our best donkey voice, and related this book to shows of Winnie the Pooh that we have seen before. The last thing was mostly me, I have watched all of the movies hundreds of times. My oldest son, Venti Espresso, he was born in 2000 when all of the baby stuff was Pooh Bear, I swear I should have named him Christopher Robin. This would have been perfect, since his favorite stuffed animal was Pooh (he still has it).
So this story of Christopher Robin is just amazing. Christopher Robin is all grown up and has forgotten about his special times at the Hundred Acre Woods, until one day Pooh meets him in London. It seems as though Pooh has lost all of his friends and believes that his good old friend Christopher Robin can help him out. He was right, Christopher is able to assist him in his "expotition", while at the Hundred Acre Woods which is depressingly
 different due to the lack of sunshine and thick fog, Pooh begins to understand that his friend is also in need of some assistance. With the little help of all of his friends and some new ones, he sets out on another adventure.
I will admit, there were times, I held back tears as I read. Whether it was the storyline or me reliving my childhood during moments of Christopher Robin reliving his, it was an emotional "expotition". I encourage you, to go on it.. and bring a few friends along, whether it be your family or your classroom. This would be a great read aloud, or even a fun readers theater! 

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 every weekday 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 ...

Freedom of Religion by Stephanie Hoover


Last week was midterms at Idaho State University, I missed reading and sharing my picture books as I was drowning in essays and exams. Today, I am still writing an essay; however, have a moment to catch my breath and share with you a book I picked up at the library to assist me with my religion lesson for my Teaching History Methods class.

Our Basic Freedoms: Freedom of Religion is a non-fiction informative picture book written by Stephanie Hoover. This is a difficult topic to cover and I believe the author does an effective job at relaying the facts without bias. In addition, it is written with simple and clear descriptions for all readers to understand. I also liked that the book began with a table of contents to help readers with the organization and layout of the book; Origin of the Bill of Rights, Struggles with Religious Freedom, Religion and Government, Religion and the Workplace, Religion and Schools, and Religion and Daily Life. The book concludes with a glossary and further information section for additional learning opportunities. 

My focus for the lesson is on the First Amendment, so the first chapter provided me with most of the information I needed; however as I read the entire book I found this to be a great  resource book to have in the classroom library. I will also be bringing it with me as I teach my mini-lesson to help me with any specific questions those may have about the legalities of religion and the first amendment. In addition to this book, I have found a handout on the website Teaching Tolerance entitled The Seven Principles for Inclusive Education, a guideline for approaching this topic in the classroom.

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 every weekday 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 ...

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst


Today is World Mental Health Day, it is a day for global mental health education, awareness, and advocacy against social stigma. I am purposely reading Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst to remind myself and others that kids can have bad days too. I think it is important to remember this when a child may be acting out of character to take a moment to encourage them or check in with them rather than start correcting their behavior or point out to them that they are being a grump or moody. 

Alexander is having a bad day, everything seems to go wrong. Throughout the day he tries to share his thoughts; however, no one seems to listen, which makes Alexander feel worse. In the end of the book and the end of the day, his mother finally listens and let's him know that some days are like that. This is very important to let kids know that what they are feeling is normal. 

But .... what if Alexander continued to have these terrible, horrible, no good, very bad days? What if his feelings were symptoms of something wrong that was occurring in his mind?  Here is a terrific animated video, Talking Mental Health, that will help start a discussion about mental health in your classroom, created by Anna Freud NCCF:


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 every weekday 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 Dot by Peter H. Reynolds


The words, "I can't draw," "I can't draw a straight line with a ruler," and "I can't ..." are familiar, whether we have said them ourselves or have been told them from a student. These words will be forbidden in my future classroom, I do not believe in them and neither does the teacher in Peter Reynolds book, The Dot. Peter Reynolds dedicates this book to Mr. Matson, his 7th grade math teacher, who dared him to "make his mark," I think he may have used the words "I can't" or those with similar meanings. Whatever the words, behind them is the idea that one is unable to complete a task. Where did this idea come from? 

An incredible picture book of both self-worth and the power of a teacher who believes in their students. It begins with a upset child at a desk with an empty page. The teacher took this opportunity to see why the child did not complete the day's assignment in art class, the response was, "I just CAN'T draw!" The teacher responded with a smile and the beautiful words, "Just make a mark and see where it takes you." The child (a little strong-willed) took her marker and jabbed a marker on the paper pretty hard, creating a dot. The teacher, did not critique the work of the child, she simply asked her to sign it. I just love how the teacher did not condemn her for the lack of trying, this was all the child wanted to do. I have experienced a child like this on a number of occasions. You want so badly to help them complete the work assigned, but if they are unwilling sometimes you just gotta let it go. This teacher, she had another plan. 

The following week, the child entered the art room and saw her dot in a fancy frame above the teachers desk (yeah, I had a tear or two fill my eyes) I can only imagine how this made her feel. I can sense the child had an increase of self-confidence and worth due to this little action by the teacher. This reminded me of the movie Wonder, when Mr. Tushman had a picture which Auggie drew in his office.. relationships matter!!!

I encourage you to pick up the book, The Dot and find out how this one little act impacted the child in a big way! Then share it with a child or two, who knows who may be inspired to make a mark. 

Earlier this year, Peter Reynolds The Dot celebrated its 15th year! Check out the book trailer 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 every weekday 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 ...

Sleep, Sheep! by Kerry Sparrow


The tables have turned in this bedtime story for all of those children who have a difficult time going to sleep. Kerry Sparrow is a literary genius in Sleep, Sheep! who created a solution for the child who needs one more glass of water, different pajamas, needs to go to the bathroom, etc...  (why didn't think of it). 

The twist in the plot occurs when Duncan has everything he needs (pictured below) to go to bed and finally concludes, "but, I'm not sleepy!" Duncan's mom suggests, "Try counting sheep." Using his imagination, he finds that sheep counting can be quite effective.. 

Image: Goodreads
From the Publisher: There are lots of things Duncan likes about bedtime --- the stories, the pajamas, the bubblegum-flavored toothpaste ... The only thing he doesn't like is going to sleep. And he'll do anything he can to avoid it. Until one day, Duncan's mom has had enough of his stalling. “Try counting sheep,” she tells him. So, he does. At first, it's kind of fun. As he counts, each sheep appears, wearing its number like a race car, and leaps over the bed. But then comes Sheep #68, who hesitates. He needs a drink of water before he can jump. Then he has to go to the bathroom. Then he wants to put on running shoes. Will Sheep #68 ever do what he's supposed to? 
Kerry Lyn Sparrow's hilarious picture book story offers a new take on a universal experience. Using delaying tactics to avoid going to sleep at bedtime is a common routine for young children, and they'll love the sly humor when Duncan's own tricks get turned on him by the (“sheepish”) sheep. In subtle colors with lots of telling details, Guillaume Perreault's illustrations bring Duncan's bedtime rituals and his unexpected sheep guests humorously to life. This book makes a fantastic, funny read-aloud, appealing to both children and adults.

Reviews Published I would like to thank NetGalley and Kids Can Press for an Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 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 every weekday 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 Am Small by Qin Leng


Qin Leng, writes I am Small. A picture book about a little girl who is short in height and does not find it to be very beneficial. This is an incredible story about perspectives. Within the book you find the perspective of Mimi, her friends at school, and then through the eyes of her mom when she presents a special surprise. I love how this book can be relatable to a lot of kids who wish to be a little bit taller or unable to wait until they are older.

From the publisher: Mimi is so little, “I might as well be called Mini,” she says. Everyone is taller than her, even the family dog! She can barely reach the bottom of the blackboard at school and isn't tall enough to see all the pretty cakes in the display case at the bakery. Though her friends try to tell her there are lots of advantages to being her size --- like fitting into the best hiding places and easily scooting to the front of the cafeteria line --- to Mimi, being small is the worst. But then one day, she hears that there's a surprise waiting for her at home. A very little surprise. And Mimi is about to discover a little something about being little. 

In her authorial debut, award-winning illustrator Qin Leng has crafted a delightful picture book with a fresh twist on the themes of self-acceptance, growing up, and the arrival of a new sibling. Youngest siblings and small children everywhere will find a kindred spirit in Mimi and will appreciate her change in perspective when --- for the first time --- she sees herself through the eyes of someone smaller than her. Qin Leng's simple but poignant illustrations use gentle humor to highlight how Mimi fits in her world. This is a terrific book for sparking conversations about personal development and self-esteem. It also aligns with character education lessons on self-respect and resilience.

I would like to thank Netgalley and Kids Can Press for providing me with an Advanced Digital Copy in exchange for my honest review. 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 every weekday 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 Am Jazz by Jessica Herthel & Jazz Jennings


I am Jazz, a true story about a unique little girl, Jazz Jennings who found that it was important to pay attention what is happening on the inside, even if the outside says different. This picture book is perfect for a reader of any age to introduce both the word transgender and why being true to ourselves is extremely significant. In addition, this story shows how Jazz came about and how family, friends, teachers, and her community accepted her.

Books are to be mirrors, windows, and sliding glass doors in our students lives. A mirror when they are able to see themselves, a window so they can see others around them, and sliding glass doors so they can learn about those outside of their current world. A simple picture book of acceptance and the art of being yourself.

Here, transgender teenage activist and HRC Youth Ambassador Jazz Jennings reads her award-winning book I Am Jazz:


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 every weekday 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 Drop of the Sea by Ingrid Chabbert


What would you do to make someone's dream come true? Ali would do anything for his great-grandmother. One day Ali realizes that his great-grandmother is getting older and she will not be around forever, so he asks her if all of her dreams have been met in her life. She replies all except one; she has never been to the sea. 

This picture book reminded me of my grandmother, living in Illinois all of her life; she never was able to see the ocean nor the mountains. When she died, I was saddened that she never had the opportunity to experience these things that filled my life growing up in Washington. 

The illustrations are simple. The ground changes from a piece of notebook paper to a geography map and then to a star map; based on the occurances of the story. This visual is a small but significant addition to the story. 

From the Publisher: Ali lives with his great-grandmother in a tiny clay house at the edge of the desert. The much-loved duo Ingrid Chabbert and Guridi have created a gorgeous intergenerational tale about devotion and dreams coming true at any age. The love Ali feels for his great-grandmother is universal, and children everywhere will recognize their own best selves in Ali's heroic act of kindness. With the makings of a classic, this is one of those quiet stories that will stay with readers, young and old, long after they've put it down. Set in North Africa, it would make an excellent choice for a social studies lesson on exploring global cultures. It also works perfectly for character education lessons on compassion or courage.

I would like to thank Netgalley for the Advanced Reader Copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. This book was released yesterday, October 2nd and is now available to purchase online or at your local bookstore. 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 every weekday 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 ...

Swing by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess


This summer, I was blessed with the opportunity to be on the launch team for the book, Swing


Since then, I have been able to be absorbed in and discuss it with Kwame Alexander and the rest of the launch team via social media. 


Now, that October 2nd has finally arrived. I am thrilled to be able to share this book with you! 


Love
     Politics
Friendship
     Baseball
School-Days
     Family
Growing Up 
          Themes blended through lyrical anecdotes reminding me of past & present days.

Verse
     A List
Letters
     Blackout Poetry
Narration
          Words written in a variety of ways to capture my attention.

Joy
     Heartbreak
Pride
     Fear
Despair
     Empowerment
          Feelings stirred within my soul as I experienced each and every page.


Now, I invite you to take on your own personal journey through this book! If you loved Solo, The Crossover, Booked, or Rebound I am sure you will endear Swing


From the publisher: When America is not so beautiful, or right, or just, it can be hard to know what to do. Best friends Walt and Noah decide to use their voices to grow more good in the world, but first they’ve got to find cool. Walt is convinced junior year is their year, and he has a plan to help them woo the girls of their dreams and become amazing athletes. Never mind that he and Noah failed to make the high school baseball team yet again, and Noah’s love interest since third grade, Sam, has him firmly in the friend zone. Noah soon finds himself navigating the worlds of jazz, batting cages, the strange advice of Walt’s Dairy Queen-employed cousin, as well as Walt’s own perceptions of what is actually cool. Status quo seems inevitable until Noah stumbles on a stash of old love letters. Each page contains the words he’s always wanted to say to Sam, and he begins secretly creating artwork using the lines that speak his heart. But when his private artwork becomes public, Noah has a decision to make: continue his life in the dugout and possibly lose the girl forever, or take a swing and make his voice heard? At the same time, numerous American flags are being left around town. While some think it’s a harmless prank and others see it as a form of peaceful protest, Noah can’t shake the feeling something bigger is happening to his community. Especially after he witnesses events that hint divides and prejudices run deeper than he realized. As the personal and social tensions increase around them, Noah and Walt must decide what is really true when it comes to love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate. 

New York Times bestselling authors Kwame Alexander and Mary Rand Hess (Solo) tell a lyrical story that will speak to anyone who’s struggled to find their voice. 


I would like to thank Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess & Netgalley for the opportunity to be on the #SwingLaunchTeam and for the Advanced Reader Copy of the book Swing in exchange of my honest review. 

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 every weekday 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 Cow Said Neigh!: A Farm Story by Rory Feek


New York Times bestseller Rory Feek, The Cow Said Neigh! comes to a bookstore near you, tomorrow October 2nd. This delightful picture book is sure to be read time and time again. I would like to thank Thomas Nelson and Netgalley for an Advanced Digital Copy in exchange of my honest review. 

The publisher shares: A fun and humorous tale of farm animals who wish they were like the other animals . . . which leads to a farm-full of confusion! The cow wants to run free like a horse, the sheep wants a snout like a pig, the dog wants to be inside like the cat. Soon the entire farm is in chaos! With silly farm animal sounds, clever rhymes, and adorable art; will have kids of all ages laughing out loud as they celebrate the unique strengths in each of us. 


An answer to the age old question, Is the grass greener on the other side? It seems as though the animals think that they are. Things go awry when a group of farm animals investigate what it feels like to switch places – much to their farmer’s surprise! Inspired by some of the animals on Feek’s own farm this is an entertaining story which comes to life with the vivid illustrations from Bruno Robert.

I would love to follow this reading of the book with a writing activity that would include an argumentative piece that the students would have to agree or disagree of why or why not the animal was correct or incorrect about the life of the other animal; providing evidence from research about what we know about the animals and their typical lives. Did the animals in the book have it right? 

Another activity would include a discussion of what were to occur if we had no more cows, because they all became horses or if we had no more dogs, because they all became cats! I would end the discussion by reminding them that ALL animals and people have a purpose and the world would not be complete without each of them doing what they were suppose to do!

Rory Feek is a true renaissance man, known as one of Nashville’s premiere songwriters, entrepreneurs, and out-of-the-box thinkers. He is a world-class storyteller, crossing all creative mediums, from music and film to books and the Internet, and is the New York Times bestselling author of This Life I Live. As a blogger, Rory shares his heart and story with the world through thislifeilive.com As a songwriter, Rory has written multiple number-one songs. As an artist, he is half of the Grammy-winning county music duo Joey + Rory. He and his wife, Joey Martin, toured the world and sold hundreds of thousands of records. As a filmmaker, Rory wrote and filmed the touching documentary To Joey, With Love and directed the upcoming feature-length film Josephine, an epic love story set during the declining months of the Civil War. Rory and his youngest daughter, Indiana, live an hour south of Nashville in an 1870s farmhouse near their family-owned diner, Marcy Jo’s Mealhouse.


Reviews PublishedI 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 every weekday 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 ...