Monday, March 24, 2014

Choosing the perfect book

I've been thinking a lot about how to help kids fall in love with books. I've read books like the Book Whisperer by Donalyn Miller (complete genius) and read blogs Colby Sharp and Mr. Schu. All of these people are passionate about books and their passion leaks out and can't help getting lapped up by everyone around them. I hope I'm able to share some of that passion! One of the things most often talked about when thinking about kids and books is matching up with right book with the right kid (or adult for that matter). It's really a lot less about reading levels and a lot more about what you connect with as you're reading. So less about data and more about feeling and empathy and connection. So NOT what school ends up being about these days. Unless we stand up. Unless we stand up and put books in people's hands and say 'You are going to LOVE this." So here I am, standing up! I got some new books at school today and COULD NOT WAIT to put them into people's hands. It was a teacher workday so I didn't have too many to choose from, but both of the teachers I nagged into reading my new books loved these. Wait until you get a load of these!
The Tree lady by H. Joseph Hopkins is a biography about Kate Sessions who was a teacher and activist in San Diego in the late 1800s and early 1900s. She loved plants and trees and when she moved to San Diego it was barren and dry. She did a lot of research to find trees and plants that would grow there and then found people to send her seeds and seedlings. She kept pushing until San Diego was the beautiful green city it is today. What a great message! Most of the pages end with "Most people didn't, but Kate did." Keep going even if it isn't what everyone else is doing... Another one that I totally loved was called Xander's Panda Party. It's about a little panda in a zoo who wants to have a party, but he's the only panda around. So he decides to invite all the other bears, the polar hears, the grizzly bears, the brown bears, the koala bears. But the koala says, wait a minute, I'm not a bear, I'm a marsupial. You might be able to guess what happens next, but it would be a great story for making predictions as well as talking about all the different groups of vertebrates. The language is amazing (great rhythm). The illustrations are completely adorable. Here's a book trailer about it. One more that I got today is Escape from Mr.Lemoncello's library by Chris Grabenstein. It's an exciting adventure about a boy named Kyle who lives in a small town and loves video games. It turns out that the guy who develops THE BEST video games is from Kyle's home town (Mr. Lemoncello) and he has commission the town to build the coolest, most up to date, technologically advanced library every built. Mr. Lemoncello is inviting 12 kids to come and spend the night trying to get out of the library and the one who can get out of the library first will win amazing prizes. This book is so much fun to read, there are a TON of text references to great children's books, which might send you on a chase to the library.
Happy reading and I hope you find a book you are passionate about!

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