Football Freddie & Fumble the Dog: Philadelphia
Written by Marnie Schneider & Susan t. Spencer
Illustrated by Kelsey Wilson
Age Level: 5 - 9 Grade Level: 1 – 2
This is one clever book! The hook – putting football together with Gameday in Philadelphia. Visit historical sites and try local foods. End the day by watching the Philadelphia Eagles play football. This book is now a series with Gameday in Chicago, the Carolinas, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, and Green Bay. Kids love this series!
Red Sky at Night
Written and Illustrated by Elly MacKay
Age Level: 3 - 7
Grade Level: PS – 2
I wish I’d had this book when I was teaching. It’s a collection of weather wisdom. It starts with a forward about weather folklore and ends with back matter about each one. The illustrations are beautifully done.
When I got ready to do this review, I used my notes (above), but I didn’t realize there was a story about a grandfather taking his family out on a fishing trip. I never saw it! I only saw the weather folklore, the part I wanted. That’s the weakest part of this book. The grandfather’s weather warnings are told using the illustrations, but for teachers that can be a plus, to get kids to connect grandfather’s story to the weather wisdom. It makes me want to check out this book again!
Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl's Heart
Written by Glenys Neillist
Illustrated by Rachel Clowes
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: PS - 3
This is a beautiful picture book that’s so unique! The hook – 14 Bible stories about girls who made a difference. Each spread is set up with the story, a verse, a gorgeous illustration, and a letter from God to you. It even comes in its own envelope. The ending – a place for you to write your own letter to God. This book is BEAUTIFULLY done!
Happy Go Ducky
Written and Illustrated by Jackie Urbanovic
Age Level: 4 - 8
Grade Level: K – 3
If you love Amelia Bedelia, you’ll love Max the Duck too! HAPPY GO DUCKY is an easy read that’s just plain fun! When Irene leaves, Max gets spring fever and cleans like crazy. Literally! Amelia Bedelia would have been proud! Young readers will love Ducky’s mixed-up, upside-down brand of fun!
Papa Put a Man on the Moon
Written by Kristy Dempsey
Illustrated by Sarah Green
Age Level : 4 - 8
Grade Level: P – 3
Can you imagine being part of history? History is made up of extraordinary people, extraordinary events. For most of us life is ordinary. It was for Kristy, until her Papa’s mill was given a government job – to weave one layer of cloth that went into the spacesuits that traveled to the moon in 1969. Kristy turned that experience into this picture book, in time for the 50th anniversary of that moon landing.
Marthanne and her Papa are on the cover. She’s proud to have her town and her Papa become part of the space race, but Papa is only proud to make a living for his family. Papa and the mill workers helped America win the space race. They watch as CBS newsman, Walter Kronkite reports the story of how Neil Armstrong took that first step onto the lunar surface, and Marthanne remembers that her Papa’s cloth is there on the moon with Neil. What an incredible experience! What an incredible story!
Sorry, Grown-Ups, You Can't Go To School!
Written by Christina Geist
Illustrated by Tim Bowers
Age Level: 3 - 7
Grade Level: P – 2
This book is as cute as its cover. The unthinkable happens when the grownups decide to go to school. Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandpa, they all show up one morning dressed in their brand-new back-to-school gear. The kids will have to find a way to say no, without getting in trouble.
As a new grandma, the best part about this story is the reminder to remember my inner child. Sometimes you have to let it loose and have fun, whether you’re 8 or 80!
Just Like Beverly: A Biography of Beverly Cleary
Written by Vicki Conrad
Illustrated by David Hohn
Age Level: 5 - 9 Grade Level: K – 4
Are you a Beverly Cleary lover? A fan of Henry, Beezus, and Ramona? The Mouse and the Motorcycle?
If you've ever wondered how Beverly Cleary became a writer, you need to read this book. It’s fantastic! Here are three things I discovered. 1. Beverly was a terrible early reader. 2. Anyone can talk about winning a contest, but you have to enter to win. Beverly was the only kid to enter. Guess who won! 3. She hated boring books. Beverly wrote the stories she wanted to read. Nothing boring!
Want to learn more about Beverly? Read her biography, the back matter, and timeline. They’re definitely NOT boring!
Written by Minh Le
Illustrated by Dan Santat
Age Level: 3 - 5 Grade Level: P – K
I found this book on the ‘New Book Shelf’ at my local library. The cover made me pick it up and take it home. If I’d read the first couple pages, I might not have checked it out at all, but I’m glad I did! I loved it from the middle on, and the pictures are AMAZING!
Now, I wonder if the author had to make the beginning feel off, like the relationship between the two main characters. Why? In the beginning a young boy was visiting his grandfather, and they didn’t understand each other. In the middle they begin drawing pictures. That’s when I started loving this book, and that’s when the boy and his grandfather began to connect. If you try reading it, don’t give up until you get to the gorgeous illustrations. They’re worth the wait!
Genius Journal: Stem Edition
Written by Karen O’Leary
Age/Grade Level: None suggested. I suggested one below.
Do you have a child who loves to read, think, and do? This is the perfect book for him/her. I’ve only looked at the STEM Editionbut I’m assuming that the others are written similarly.
The STEM edition is set up in 7 sections. Each section starts with a quote that’s followed by a series of activities. These range from thoughtful questions like what would you do, why , or describe.
There are also writing opportunities for acrostic poems, a letter, a list, a story, or jokes. You can respond with a math problem, a design project, or in a maze. There are even opportunities to explain or imagine. These could be done in words or drawings. Altogether there are more than 50 prompts to respond to with unique and creative ideas.
The age level? I think it’s for any child who likes to read or write. This is a journal your child can make their own. I looked across the other Genius Journals, and the comments were all from parents/grandparents with 10/11 year olds, but I think this is a great possibility for any reader/writer from Kindergarten up.
There are 3 other journals: Hopes & Dream, Friendship, and Teacher Edition. If I were still teaching, I would love to use this for kids who always finish early and want something meaningful to do. This is it!
Written by Angie Karcher
Illustrated by Dana Karcher
Grade Level: 3 – 4
Can you imagine growing up with a 35-foot town Santa who disappears one day? You didn’t notice him fading away, but somebody did, and they sent Santa off to the junkyard. Fortunately someone else noticed and started a program to ‘Stand Santa Back Up.”
Santa’s gift is written in verse so it’s a fun read aloud, but my favorite part is that it’s a great example of how working together can solve problems.
Whenever I read or write, I find a comfy chair with a great view. I get my favorite drink, stretch out, and let the words take me away.