“Tiny T. Rex and the Impossible Hug” by Jonathan Stutzman

“Lost in the Library” by Josh Funk

“The Girl and the Bicycle” by Mark Pett

“The Girl” by Lauren Ace

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“Mae Among the Stars” by Roda Ahmed

A great classroom and bedtime read-aloud, Mae Among the Stars is the perfect book for young readers who have big dreams and even bigger hearts! Little Mae’s curiosity, intelligence, and determination, matched with her parents’ encouraging words, paved the way for her incredible success at NASA as the first African American woman to travel in space. This book will inspire other young girls to reach for the stars, to aspire for the impossible, and to persist with childlike imagination.

 

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“1,001 Ants” by Joanna Rzezak

About 1,001 Ants: We’re on an adventure with 1,001 ants! Come visit the ants in their home, meet their queen, and discover how they look after their colony. Then join them on a walk through the countryside, discovering plants, insects, mushrooms, and animals that live outside and in our yards. Spot the ant with red socks hidden on every double page, and enjoy a pleasant stroll through the undergrowth―seeing things that humans are usually too big to notice! 1,001 Ants is an engaging nonfiction storybook for children full of fascinating facts about nature. With lively and appealing illustrations, it’s a must-have for children who are curious about bugs and the animal kingdom.

 

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“Little Libraries, Big Heroes” 
 By Miranda Paul, Illustrated By John Parra

Todd and his friends love heroes. But in school, Todd doesn’t feel heroic. Reading is hard for him, and he gets scolded for asking too many questions. How will he ever become the kind of hero he admires? Featuring stunning illustrations that celebrate the diversity of the Little Free Library movement, here is the story of how its founder, Todd Bol, became a literacy superhero. Thanks to Todd and thousands of volunteers—many of whom are kids—millions of books have been enjoyed around the world. This creative movement inspires a love of reading, strengthens communities, and provides meeting places where new friendships, ideas—and heroes!— spring to life.

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Getting to Know Our Students: The Heart of Differentiation in the Balanced Literacy Classroom

By Margaret Mary Policastro, Diane Mazeski, Noreen Wach (Roosevelt University, Chicago, Illinois), and Tom Magers (Broadmeadow Elementary School, Rantoul, Illinois)

From the Illinois Reading Council Journal, Fall 2019
Recently, at our Summer Reading Clinic open house, a parent asked if we “ever had success with a student who doesn’t like to read?” As we were thinking of a response, her son, who is just going into 1st grade in the fall, was telling us how much he likes “bones and skulls.” He took out an object from his pocket and showed us a small dinosaur skeleton that he had put together. Collectively, we responded with positive thoughts about how all of these interests would be an important factor for the first day of the clinic and moving forward with him as a reader. On opening day, we had an abundance of books awaiting him about skeletons, bones, dinosaurs, and skulls. We were eager to see how he would respond. Indeed, within minutes of surrounding him with these books, he was totally engaged, curious, and captivated by the informational texts with which he was encircled. The photo in Figure 1 captures the essence of what happens when you match books to students’ interests. In this instance, the student going into 1st grade had access to books that had pictures, diagrams, and illustrations for him to comprehend. One pop-out book dis- played dinosaur skeletons. Since that first day, we noticed how his interest in these topics is both dense and deep—a knowledge base of information far greater than most of his peers.

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Fancy Party Gowns: The Story of Fashion Designer Ann Cole Lowe

A beautiful picture book about Ann Cole Lowe, a little-known African-American fashion designer who battled personal and social adversity in order to pursue her passion of making beautiful gowns and went on to become one of society’s top designers. Having made dresses for Jackie Kennedy and Olivia de Havilland, Lowe became “society’s best kept secret.” This beautiful picture book shines the spotlight on a little-known visionary who persevered in times of hardship, always doing what she was passionate about: making elegant gowns for the women who loved to wear them. Source: simonandschuster.com.

 

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