What I read this week:
Duck! Rabbit! by Amy Krouse Rosenthal & Tom Lichtenheld
Amy Krouse Rosenthal never disappoints! Whether it’s children’s literature or an adult read, I’ve always enjoyed her work. Duck! Rabbit! is all about perspective as the two narrators argue whether they’re looking at a rabbit or a duck. It would be a wonderful way to introduce the idea of perspective to students. If you’re familiar with Draw Starts/Jump Starts, this would also be a great way to introduce that critical thinking activity.
Scaredy Squirrel Makes a Friend by Mélanie Watt
My favorite line in this Scaredy Squirrel adventure is “This was not a part of the plan!” For gifted learners, especially those who struggle with anxiety, this is a common thought. But Scaredy Squirrel once again proves to use that sometimes that best laid plans may go awry. And when they do, things can still turn out alright. In fact, sometimes, the end result is even better than what we originally hoped for.
There are several Scaredy Squirrel books and I love all of them. The illustrations, which include maps and labeled graphics, always make me laugh. Mélanie Watt does a fabulous job of adding humor to the serious topic of anxiety, providing us with great books we can share with our children and students to help them work through their worries and fears.
Scaredy Squirrel at Night by Mélanie Watt
Like any Scaredy Squirrel adventure, this one delivers a smile and a giggle to you. The illustrations are so wonderful; the colors are bold and the simple graphics with labels add humor to the story line. I think any Scaredy Squirrel book is great for all ages of kids. After all, most kids have fears, although some are more extreme than others. Seeing Scaredy Squirrel face his fears and understanding that bad things don’t always happen can be a great way for a child to work through his or her own anxieties and fears. I’m sure many kids will find common ground with Scaredy in this particular fear of nighttime.
Under the Mambo Moon by Julia Durango
Under the Mambo Moon allows readers to enter the world of Latin American culture through a variety of poems. Because of the variety of poetry used, there were times when I forgot I was even reading a book of poems. Julia Durango does a wonderful job of introducing her readers to the different dances and musical instruments of Latin America.
Darth Paper Strikes Back (Origami Yoda #2) by Tom Angleberger
I can’t say enough good things about this great series. The humor is fantastic and right on par with the intended audience. I think I liked this one even more than the first because there is a focus on students taking the initiative to problem solve and work together to achieve a solution. And the underlying message about perceptions we may have of people who are different from us is given the spotlight near the end of the book. Although the characters in the book are not ever really labeled with particular needs, any educator worth her salt will know each of these kids. I can’t wait to read the third in the series, but I think I’m going to wait until I can find the audiobook. It’s just fabulous to not take the time to listen to all of the characters, especially Origami Yoda.
Oops, I had an unplanned Friday afternoon read, About Average by Andrew Clements.
I really don’t think you can ever go wrong with anything written by Andrew Clements. I was first introduced to him via Frindle about 14 years ago and I’ve been a fan ever since. Because his characters are so real and natural, I think most kids can easily connect with them. And the readability makes his books great choices for reluctant readers.
About Average is the story of a 6th grade girl who doesn’t really see herself as anything special. She considers herself to be great at a couple of unimportant things and okay at a lot of things, but she stinks at just too many things to ever rise above being average. The fact that Jordan feels this way makes this an absolute must for any kid who feels sub par. In the end, Jordan goes through a life-changing experience and realizes that she might not be as average as she thinks she is. Despite the serious topics approached in this quick read, Andrew Clements handles them with the appropriate amount of humor.
Next Week I Hope to Read:
About Average by Andrew Clements
Boot & Shine by Marla Frazee
From the Good Mountain by James Rumford
Underground by Denise Fleming
A few Caldecotts
Finish The Sisters’ Grimm Fairy Tale
And I should probably start a professional book on my list as well. We’ll see.
Other Books I Read This Week: