Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

A story of a brilliant father who offers a solution to his sons problem in the realistic fiction picture book, Enemy Pie by Derek Munson. It seems as though, a young boy is having a difficult time getting along with another boy at school. The boy shares his feelings about this bully with his father and he provides him the recipe for Enemy Pie. He shares no ingredients to what is in the pie; however, the boy believes that it will be something horrible and disgusting that his nemesis will get what he deserves when he takes his first bite. Instead, the father gives him simple directions that must be followed very careful in order for the endeavor to be completed successfully.

This is a great read aloud to prepare students for times where they are in need of a solution to their bully problem. In addition, it would be a great mentor text to introduce students to seek out problems and solutions in the stories they read; as well as a way for them to write about their own problems and whip up a creative solution. 

I selected this book from Ramona Recommends free resource, Picture Book List on Teachers Pay Teachers. It was on my to be read this week book stack on my coffee table when my daughter spotted it and exclaimed that we needed to read that book! She became very giddy and explained that her third grade teacher read it to her class this last school year. I could tell, she really like the book so I took the opportunity to read it. As I read, she just smiled, holding back all of the good details that she knew that was to come and I did not. I love getting recommendations for books, what have you read that you think I should read next? Please share in the comments below. 


You can read more about my #BookaDay Summer Reading Challenge here and come back to read more of what I have read tomorrow! Until then...

Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson

As a little girl, one of my favorite stories was Goldilocks and The Three Bears. The character Goldilocks always made me giggle and then later in life I began to wonder, what on earth was she thinking? So today's #BookaDay picture book, Goldilocks and Just One Bear by Leigh Hodgkinson was an absolute delight. I selected the book based on Ramona Recommends: Picture Book List for Upper Grade, a free resource on Teachers Pay Teachers. This selection is under the Writing & Reading Section for mentor texts to use for helping students understand Problem and Solution. 

The story begins with a bear who is lost in the city. I absolutely love both the pictures and font used to illustrate this book. Within the pictures you see the street sign Princess Avenue and building signs such as The Three Little Pigs Bank. I recommend taking time at looking at the detail, it is really fun. The bear decides that he needs to rest and finds an uptown loft to do so. Here, he goes through a few memorable activities which lead to his nap; only to be awoken by the family that lives there. You will be surprised and thrilled to see who the loft is owned by in the ending of the story.

In the classroom, I would use this book to assist students with writing and reading skill: problem and solution. In addition, I may want to complete a compare and contrast lesson in between the stories; Goldilocks and the Three Bears and Goldilocks and Just One Bear. You could set up a Venn Diagram and help the students come up with similarities and differences between the two stories. Meeting the ELA Idaho Standard: RI.5.5 Compare and contrast the overall structure (e.g., chronology, comparison, cause/effect, problem/solution) of events, ideas, concepts, or information in two or more texts; as well as Anchor Standards for Reading: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.CCRA.R.9 Analyze how two or more texts address similar themes or topics in order to build knowledge or to compare the approaches the authors take.

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FREEBIE Venn Diagram w/lines Teachers Pay Teachers Resource by More Time 2 Teach


You can read more about my Summer Reading Challenge here and come back to read more of what I have read tomorrow! Until then...

Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10 by Judy Finchler

As a child, I remember begin very surprised to see my teacher out in public. As a student teacher, I have found to be a surprise to see at the grocery store, at Target, at the skating rink, and downtown. The look on their face and the sound of the words "Mrs.Cullip!" are the same.. they are in absolute shock and quite excited to see me outside of school. These experiences are very well portrayed in today's #BookaDay realistic fiction picture book, Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10 by Judy Finchler.

The story begins as the student discusses why he believes his teacher lives in their classroom, Room 10. He has it all figured out, with specifics including: she eats in the cafeteria, plays in the gym, and sleeps in the teacher's lounge (which is why they do not allow students in there). I could not stop laughing about the student had about his teacher living at his elementary school. Through a turn of events his thoughts change, yet he winds up with a new idea in the end. This is a must read for students, teachers, and anyone who has ever been surprised at seeing their teacher outside of school! I hope that you will enjoy, Miss Malarkey Doesn't Live in Room 10, Judy Finchler celebrating student's comic misunderstandings about the private lives of their teachers.


Read more about my Summer Reading Challenge here and come back to read more of what I have read tomorrow! Until then...

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman

Reading Rainbow's Amazing Grace, written by Mary Hoffman is a wonderfully illustrated picture book for students of all ages. I am always on the lookout for diverse books for my future classroom. Children of all races, color, cultures, gender identities, and disabilities should be able to see themselves in the books that are shared in the classroom.

What I love most about Amazing Grace, is how it portrays the love of reading and adventure through the life of the girl, Grace. In addition, it shows the important lesson that ALL students can do ALL things, no matter what gender or color you are.

Grace, is a young girl who spends her time reading stories, telling stories, listening to stories, and sharing stories. I relate to this young girl very well, always making the time for a good story. One day at school, the students are told they will be completing a play, Peter Pan. Grace is ecstatic with the idea to play the character Peter. Unfortunately, her classmates believe this is a bad idea for one reason or another. This causes Grace to become saddened, until she has a powerful conversation and experience with her Nana.

As I read the final pages of the book, I had tears come to my eyes and goosebumps on my arms! I hope that you will too, as you find what happens to Grace when she returns to school and auditions for the role of Peter in the class play, Peter Pan.

Here, the book is shared by Storytime with Miss Yumi:

This empowering book in the classroom, is an awesome opportunity to discuss abilities among all students no matter what color or gender they are. I would open up a discussion after reading this book for students to share times that they did things they were told they couldn't or shouldn't do and how they felt because they did it anyway. If students are comfortable, they could also share about a time they did not take an opportunity because they were told that they did not fit the norm and how they felt about not doing something because they were different.

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I read this book as a part of my #BookaDay Summer Reading Challenge, you can read more about his here. I am looking forward to what I will be reading and sharing tomorrow! Until then ...

Something Good by Robert Munsch

Ramona Recommends, Picture Book Resource List a free download on Teachers Pay Teachers categorizes Something Good by Robert Munsch as a mentor text for Problem/Solution for Reading & Writing in the Upper Elementary classroom (Grade 3-5). This realistic fiction picture book is told by a little girl who goes grocery shopping with her brother, sister, and father. According to Tyya (the little girl), her father does not buy anything good; only buying bread, eggs, cheese, spinach, etc. Never "ice cream, cookies, chocolate bars, or ginger ale!", exclaims Tyya (p. 1). So, the little girl comes up with a few solutions of her very own; however, this makes her father upset so he has another solution. This leads to another problem, which is resolved in the end.

On the author's website, Robert Munsch reads the story aloud and shares the following explanation of the story:
Something Good started with grocery shopping.Every Thursday I do the family food shopping.First I took along my son Andrew and then I took along my daughter Tyya.I was shopping once and I noticed another little girl sitting in her mother’s cart. She was sitting so still. I said to myself “Wow! Look at that little girl. She could almost be a doll.”That doll idea stayed in my head and eventually it turned into the story Something Good.The kids in it are my own kids and my wife Ann appears in the last page.I am the father who always gets mad at the little kid for buying all the sugary food.The week after this book came out I was taking Tyya through the supermarket and she decided she wanted sugary marshmallow cereal. I never get that for her.Well, she had a great big screaming fit and I dragged her through the whole supermarket while she yelled and screamed and told everybody what a bad daddy I was and how mean I was.All the while I was pulling her through the store and saying “I’m glad I wrote that story. I’m glad I wrote that story. I’m glad I wrote that story.”
As a mother of three children of my own, I can relate to the problem within the story and am thankful that I was able to be creative in my parenting to find a solution before my children did. I recommend this book for mothers, fathers, family members, and children who have had the experience of going grocery shopping with each other.

In the classroom, I would use this as a mentor text to help students find problem and solution in the story. Then have them write their own problem and solution realistic fiction story.

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I am so glad that I borrowed this book at our public library today for my Summer Reading #BookaDay Challenge. You can read more about this challenge here. I wonder what adventure tomorrow's book will take me on?

Until then ...

My Principal Lives Next Door by Sanibel Elementary 3rd Grade Students

Kids Are Authors Award winning book, My Principal Lives Next Door written and illustrated by third grade students at Sanibel Elementary School in Sanibel Florida. This realistic fiction (possibly based on a true story) picture book tells a story of a student who has his principal as his next-door neighbor and lives to tell about it. The illustrations are beautifully done and accompanies this story which takes on a rhyming pattern which makes it a lot of fun to read. I will add, it took me awhile to get past the grammatical errors; however, the editor did not deem it important to correct as it is written by third grade students.

The story takes us through the thoughts of a student, Benjamin James Johnson. His life was perfect, until his Elementary School principal moved into the house next door. He allows you to believe that this is the worst thing that could ever happen to a him; however, with a few turn of events he quickly has a change of heart about her.

All too often, students have an opinion of a principal, teacher, or staff member at their school. Whether it be because they got in trouble or possibly it is a rumor passed down from student to student. Is it because they do not know him or her very well on their own that they will believe a story or a individual encounter to base their judgement on them. I love that this story is relatable to students everywhere, I automatically begun thinking of that administrator in my own childhood, that appeared to be mean and all were frightened by him.

In the classroom, I would use this as a mentor text to inspire my students to write a book to be submitted for the Kids Are Authors Competition. I believe, it is extremely important to give students an opportunity to write for real life publication within the writing process. Giving students authentic opportunities to share their writing gives them extrinsic motivation to do their best work. Whether this be through sharing their writing with other students, their school, their community, through blogging, or through book publication. Information on how to apply for this specific award can be found below. In addition to using this book as a mentor text to inspire young authors, I think it is a great story of how much teachers, principals, administrators, and other staff are there to do what is best for their students. No matter how we feel about them, they love the children that are in their care 180 days of the year.

Kids Are Authors writing competition from Scholastic Book Fairs. Students in grades K-8 are asked to work in groups of three or more to create a fiction or nonfiction, illustrated picture book. Twenty-five schools will receive honorable mentions and win $200 in merchandise from Scholastic as well as a certificate of merit for each student. Two grand prize winning schools will receive $2,000 in merchandise, 100 copies of their published book, and a framed award certificate and medallion for each student. 

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Thank you for reading my thoughts on this picture book! This review is a part of my Summer Reading #BookaDay Challenge. You can read more about this here. Until next time...

A Book About Christopher Columbus by Ruth Belov Gross

A Book About Christopher Columbus by Ruth Belov Gross is an informative picture book that properly introduces Columbus' story and his role in history. Published in 1974, the illustrations are simple, with only using the color blue; however, they assist in telling the story well. The book concludes with a section entitled, What happened afterwards? This section provides a popular historical perspective on what occurred once Christopher Columbus and his crew arrived to the lands that were thought to be the Indies.

Growing up in the eighties, I was given the story of Christopher Columbus landing on Plymouth Rock and having Thanksgiving with the Indians. A perspective with many untruths! The focus was never about the Queen sending Columbus to India to find gold and spices, rather the connection that was made between Columbus, the crew, the indians, and the pilgrims. We made indian hats, pilgrim belts, and homemade butter.

I am so glad that this book captures a more truthful perspective in American history. This read aloud could be a hook to the lesson in which you discuss the role of Christopher Columbus and could be paired with other picture books that provide different perspectives of him arriving to the Americas in 1492. Social Studies provides us with an opportunity to seek out more than one perspective of an event and multiple views should be taught to our students. This book, takes on the perspective of Columbus and his crew, but what about the perspective of the Indians? What about the explorers who found that Columbus did not actually arrive in India? I have a few resources pinned on my Pinterest board entitled, Christopher Columbus in the Classroom, which assists us to teach a variety of historical views. How do you teach multiple perspectives in Social Studies? What books do you use to teach about Christopher Columbus?

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The reading of this book was a part of my Summer Reading #BookaDay Challenge, you can read more about it here. Until next time....

Have a "Sweet" Summer

Today is the last day of school in the Twin Falls School District. I have a lot of candy left over from my daughters birthday party last weekend, so I put some sweet treats together and visited the Elementary School to help send off my pre-internship placement 2nd graders into their summer vacation.

I found the cutest little candy toppers at Tipp"Ins" & Out, that say, "Have a Sweet Summer". Click on the link or the picture above to download and print your end of the school year candy topper to place on your treats.

I surprised them all with my visit! The look on their faces was priceless. They were watching a movie when I arrived, my former cooperating teacher (CT) paused it due to all the commotion. The students all came at me with a giant group hug. It was so good to see them. Once they quieted down, I sat on the floor with them to watch the last ten minutes of the movie. They brought blankets and pillows today, so they all moved their "seats" to be closer to where I was sitting. When the movie ended, they all had stories to share with me.

Before lunch, I completed a game of hangman with them. Knowing that I was going to pass out their treats to them after the game was over, I used the phrase "Have a Sweet Summer". I made sure to check their ability to use all of the vowels, each of them raised their hands quietly and listed off each one. Then I asked them to guess from the consonants. They did an excellent job of figuring out the phrase and won the game. As they lined up for lunch, I sent them off with their treats. I promised my CT that I would come visit her next school year. I will need to come in on a Friday after school so that I can see those smiling faces come in (past students come in for a piece of candy from her). I will have to do something like that in my future classroom, it is a great way to stay connected to your former students.

What an incredible morning! Back to reading and studying, I go. Until next time ....

Mr. McMouse by Leo Lionni

Incredible illustrations completed by self-taught author Leo Lionni in Mr. McMouse. A fantasy picture book, about a city mouse who moves out to the country. To his surprise, the country mice require him to complete a field test to live among them in their castle. Being a city mouse his entire life, he has a difficult time completing the tasks that they have laid out for him; however, an unforeseen situation comes about and the city mouse was able to use his skills that he had to save both him and a country mouse. This led to his ability to be able to stay amongst the country mouse at an honorary level.

I love this story! When you read page by page, on the surface it is a good story about a mouse who was able to save another mouse. Which in itself is a great mouse tale. However, when you are able to step back, look at the big picture, and analyze the text; you uncover a hidden message. I believe, this message may change based on the perspective of the reader; due to his or her own life experiences.

The way I see it, the city mouse woke up one day and realized that he did not recognize who he was anymore. Living in the same place since he was born and going about his business day in and day out, he sought something new. Was he bored of his life? Did he realize he was older and needed a change of pace? What was it that made him feel as though that he needed to go out into the country? These answers will vary across the views of readers. Whatever it was, when he arrived he was welcomed by some country mice who was willing to let him join in their group as long as he was capable of passing some tests. Although, this city mouse was incapable of doing things their way, he astounded them and won them over when he used his own skills and abilities to save the day.

In our own lives, do we seek out change and find a life that we may not fit in the general crowd, only to find that we are important because of our differences not our similarities? I think this is a great read aloud for upper elementary students who may be able to figure out the moral of the story on their own or with some guidance from the teacher. Once the message appears to the students, they should participate in a discussion or journal free-write to allow them to process their thoughts and ideas on the topic. Have they experienced a time in their life that things have drastically changed? Have they moved to another place, vastly different from where they came from? Have they found their unique abilities and differences to be positive or negative in their life situation?

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Another great read in my #BookaDay Summer Reading Challenge (you can read more about this here), I hope you will take the opportunity to read this book and find your own point of view of the story which lays between the lines. Until, next time...

Five Minutes' Peace by Jill Murphy

Last Friday, my daughter came home from Boys & Girls Club and exclaimed, "that place is a madhouse, I need some peace." So, when I saw Five Minutes' Peace, I knew it was one I needed to read and share with her.

Although the characters are elephants, this fictional book is extremely close to being a very realistic one. A mother elephant is in need of five minutes of alone time and as we know it, is having a difficult time doing so. Her attempts to having five minutes to herself are noble and completely well-deserved, yet the children appear to be anxious to allow this quiet time to happen. I commend her for the effort, although not completely successful. In addition, I also reward her for not giving up. I would like to believe that over time she has success as her children learn that MOM-me time is very important.

An animated reading of the book is found on YouTube, read by Maxine Peake:

This book made me giggle, as I thought back to the time when my boys were young. I was so desperate to wake up before them to have a cup of coffee on my own. Waking up earlier and earlier to have those early morning quiet moments. Unfortunately, I would pass by their room to get to the kitchen and they heard me creeping by. I did not give up, I actually purchased a small coffee pot and placed it on my nightstand with a coffee cup. I froze non-dairy coffee creamer in the ice-cube tray during the day time, so that I could place it in my cup before I went to sleep. The coffee pot timer was set to make my coffee at 6:00 am; I did not use an alarm, as I was afraid it would wake the boys. The sound of coffee percolating and the smell of the coffee brewing was all I needed to wake up. I was able to make my coffee without getting out of bed and was able to drink one, two, or even three cups before the boys woke up! Those were the best of mornings as a mother of young children.

If read aloud in the classroom, I could see a discussion between teacher and students to lead to the importance of giving their family members time to themselves. I would also add that, it is okay for them to want some time to themselves as well. Just as my daughter did this weekend.

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Thank you for reading this post, which is part of my #BookaDay Summer reading challenge. You can read more about this, here. Until next time...