Tag Archives: poetry

#blogbookaday: Animal Ark

12 Apr

Animal Ark.jpgSummary:  “A howling wolf, a stalking tiger, a playful panda, a dancing bird – pairing the stunning photography of National Geographic photographer Joel Sartore with the delicate poetry of Newbery award-winning author Kwame Alexander, this lush picture book celebrates the beauty, diversity, and fragility of the animal world.

Featuring more than 40 unique animal portraits, the pages invite kids to explore each creature’s markings, textures, and attributes in stunning detail, while calling on all of us to help protect each and every one. Three picture-packed gatefolds inside showcase even more familiar and exotic species. These images are part of Sartore’s lifelong project to photograph every animal in the world, with special attention given to disappearing and endangered species.” (Taken from Goodreads)

Review: Anytime you get a book with photographs of animals by National Geographic photographers, you’re in for a visual treat. Plus, adding Kwame Alexander’s lyrical text to pair with the illustrations is an absolute delight. I love that this book can introduce kids to poetry in an accessible way that makes it interesting and exciting. Kids can learn adjectives as well with this book – even the opportunity to use a thesaurus to learn new words!

Personal Reaction: I love the beautiful close up photographs and the gatefold spreads have even more photographs to pour over. I also really enjoyed how the text in this book uses different size and shape to stress certain words or the shape of certain animals. April is National Poetry Month, making this a great title to share with the kids in your life.

Title: Animal Ark: Celebrating Our Wild World In Poetry and Pictures
Author: Kwame Alexander
Illustrator: Joel Sartore
Publisher: National Geographic Kids
Publication Date: February 14, 2017


#blogbookaday (1)This is a new idea I’m trying on my blog this year that was inspired by @donalynbooks and @heisereads – to provide a brief review of a picture book every day of 2018. You’ll get a brief summary of the story, a review of the content, illustrations and theme, my personal reaction to the book and all the pertinent publication information! Enjoy!

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World Make Way: New Poems Inspired by Art from The Metropolitan Museum of Art

12 Apr

World Make Way.jpgSynopsis: “‘Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.’ —Leonardo da Vinci

Based on this simple statement by Leonardo, 18 poets have written new poems inspired by some of the most popular works in the collection of The Metropolitan Museum. The collection represents a wide range of poets and artists, including acclaimed children’s poets Marilyn Singer, Alma Flor Alda, and Carole Boston Weatherford and popular artists such as Mary Cassatt, Fernando Botero, Winslow Homer, and Utagawa Hiroshige.” (Taken from Goodreads)

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Mathical Book Prize Announced!

2 Mar

Mathical-H-Logo_Books2“The Mathical Book Prize aims to inspire a love of mathematics in the everyday world in children of all ages. Each year’s winners and honor books join a selective and ever-growing list of new and previously published fiction and non-fiction titles for youth.

These titles are as varied as the intersection between literature and mathematics — that is to say, they encompass picture books, novels, poetry collections, puzzle books, biographies, and more!

The Mathical selection panel is drawn from librarians, teachers, mathematicians, early childhood experts, and others. The jury selects winners in five grade-level categories: PreK, K-2, 3-5, 6-8, and 9-12.” (Mathical website)

I love this concept of combining math and reading together! What I like is that they don’t just hand out prizes, you really have to earn it. This year there is no prize for a 6-8 grade title or a 9-12 grade title and I appreciate the honesty of the selection panel for not just picking a mediocre title, but really looking for high-quality material. Check out the 2018 winners:

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Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke (PreK)

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Sheep Won’t Sleep: Counting by 2’s, 5’s and 10’s by Judy Cox (K-2)

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A Hundred Billion Trillion Stars by Seth Fishman (3-5)

Can I Touch Your Hair? Poems of Race, Mistakes and Friendship

1 Mar

34007179.jpgSynopsis: How can Irene and Charles work together on their fifth grade poetry project? They don’t know each other . . . and they’re not sure they want to.

Irene Latham, who is white, and Charles Waters, who is black, use this fictional setup to delve into different experiences of race in a relatable way, exploring such topics as hair, hobbies, and family dinners. Accompanied by artwork from acclaimed illustrators Sean Qualls and Selina Alko (of The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial Marriage), this remarkable collaboration invites readers of all ages to join the dialogue by putting their own words to their experiences.” (Taken from Goodreads)

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Bringing Middle Grade Books Into Every Classroom

28 Feb

mg books.pngA few weeks ago, I got the distinct pleasure of presenting to future teachers at St. Joseph’s University outside of Philadelphia. The young lady who invited me to speak is a junior at St. Joe’s this year and we just realized that I’ve known her for ten years already! She was in my middle school program at the library where I work when I first moved to the area.

Before Christmas she asked if I’d be willing to come to the school and speak for an “after-hours” event for the education department and I quickly jumped at the chance to talk about middle grade books with future educators! We came up with a quick outline of what she was looking for and I spent a month or so creating a slide show mainly of books to book talk to the group, but also some valuable information as to why literature is so important in every classroom, not just in English.

I book talked new titles, specifically because I know that these kids are familiar with the classics you’ll find on most syllabi in the middle grade classroom, what I figured was that they’d be unfamiliar with amazing new titles by authors that I gush about all the time and I was right! During the hour I presented, I book talked ten middle grade fiction titles that I felt could work not only in an English classroom, but that also had connections to science, math, technology, social studies, history and more. I also talked about five nonfiction titles that are easily accessible to elementary and middle grade students, showing them how much more exciting nonfiction is these days. I ended with talking about the importance of reading picture books (every day if possible) and highlighted just a couple that I love and felt would work well with a middle grade audience.

I had a really enjoyable time and was excited to see over 25 people in the audience on a Tuesday evening! Plus, the students had some great questions about how to use graphic novels and audiobooks in the classroom, which I was excited to answer.

If you’re interested in seeing what titles I talked about or would like to see the format of my presentation, I’ve included the links to both the slides as well as the handout that I printed for the students.

Bringing Books Into Every Classroom (Google slides in .pdf format)

Bringing Books Into Every Classroom (handout)

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