Category Archives: #365PictureBooks

#365PictureBooks No.50 The Beatles were fab (and they were funny)

“Q: How do you find all this business of having screaming girls following you all over the place?
George: Well, we feel flattered . . .
John: . . . and flattened.

When the Beatles burst onto the music scene in the early 1960s, they were just four unknown lads from Liverpool. But soon their off-the-charts talent and offbeat humor made them the most famous band on both sides of the Atlantic. Lively, informative text and expressive, quirky paintings chronicle the phenomenal rise of Beatlemania, showing how the Fab Four’s sense of humor helped the lads weather everything that was thrown their way—including jelly beans”. Publisher

I discovered this book on my quest for more picture book biographies to use with our PYP : How we express ourselves units of inquiry. I’ve been trying to widen the scope of our collection in the arts area by including books on the different types of art forms including music and dance.  This book is great introduction to one of the most well known rock and roll bands of all time for children, so you won’t find information here about their dabbling in drugs or spiritual awakening. There is plenty describing their early years, from first getting together in Liverpool and naming their band through to all the heady years of Beatlemania. The book describes how their quirky and intelligent sense of humour helped them cope with the rigours of new found fame and the pressures on their friendship. Interestingly, you can see how the older generation of the time would have found this type of humour silly but to me it seems very clever.

Photo source: http://www.stacyinnerst.com/stacyinnerst.com/SI_Beatles_Naming_the_Band.html

The full colour illustrations are outstanding and when I looked through the book I noticed these first before reading the text in a second sitting.  The cover with its sunny yellow cover almost commands the reader to pick this off the shelf. The book would be excellent shared between those of us who were alive when the Beatles were at their peak and a new generation of kids who are still hearing some of these songs today. Great to pair with a standard non-fiction informational text like the Story of rock and roll – picture book biographies like this one really bring the musicians to life. I think playing some of the songs before or after reading would help deepen the connections.

This picture book could also be used as part of a Unit on then and now – looking at the differences of 50 years ago and today, to show children how music and teenage life have changed between their grandparents era and theirs.

Bibliographic details:

The Beatles were fab (and they were funny) / Written by Kathleen Krull & Paul Brewer and illustrated by Stacy Innerst

Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

40 pages

ISBN: 9780547509914

I borrowed this copy from Auckland Libraries but I have just ordered a copy for our school library.

#365PictureBooks No. 49 Thank you, Mr Falker by Patricia Polacco

Patricia Polacco is now one of America’s most loved children’s book creators, but once upon a time, she was a little girl named Trisha starting school. Trisha could paint and draw beautifully, but when she looked at words on a page, all she could see was jumble. It took a very special teacher to recognize little Trisha’s dyslexia: Mr. Falker, who encouraged her to overcome her reading disability. Patricia Polacco will never forget him, and neither will we. ” Publisher

I chose this book because I have just finished reading Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s Fish in a tree and it is also Dyslexia Awareness Week here in New Zealand  16-22th March 2015.

Both of these books remind librarians and teachers that often, unless children are lucky enough to meet the right teacher or other adult who recognises that they are dyslexic and then get them the right reading help, then they can so easily ‘fall through the cracks’. This book is heart-wrenching, but one that will resonate with many teachers and librarians. The story is semi-autobiographical and because Patrica Polacco grew up in a different era her little self in the story is taunted with the “D word” – dumb. We don’t hear the word ‘dumb’ so often now, it’s not so politically correct, but there are plenty of other ways students can be made to feel different and the very opposite of smart. A book like this is wonderful for promoting empathy within a class and also provides a positive story for any student feeling they aren’t as smart as anyone else. The illustrations perfectly illustrate the frustration, embarrassment and shame of the young Patricia and I know many children will sadly identify with this.

Here is a video of the book being readaloud with subtitles

You can see/hear other great picture books being read aloud at the Storyline website here:http://www.storylineonline.net/

There are so many things we can do to help our dyslexic students and to do this we need to collaborate with teachers and learning support specialists. In the library we are trying to build our collection of dyslexia friendly titles published by Barrington Stoke and our collections of audiobooks – both on CD and digital. Most importantly we are trying to be part of the partnership between student, teacher, school and parents – with parents being an important advocate and voice for their own child. It’s all part of offering a student centric library service. We often work with children individually to help them choose books and to get their reading mileage up and this seems to work well as they aren’t influenced by their peers as they in a regular library session (there is no pressure to borrow the same books or to be made to feel ‘dumb’ when they choose easier books).

I met a young year seven student and his mother in the Library last night. She had heard we had audiobooks and wanted to know more about accessing them. It was wonderful seeing how excited the boy was when I showed him our OverDrive collection. He was delighted to not only find audio editions of popular current fiction, but also to be shown how he could download then change the settings on an ebook to make it more readable (sepia toned background, lighter text colour, font choices and he could make the text  as big as he liked). He could also borrow any book he liked and it’s absolutely private – no peer pressure! I also showed him how to turn on the accessibility options in the settings area of his ipad which meant he could highlight text in many apps including emails from his teacher and have them read aloud. Unfortunately they had to leave before I could also show them the collection of Barrington Stoke titles which I am pretty sure they don’t know about. I’m going to invite both student and Mum back to show them these and get feedback on the types of titles we need more of. We will need a bigger selection of titles so that children feel they can make valid personal choices about what they read, just like their peers when choosing from the whole library collection.

Both Thank you, Mr. Falker and Fish in a tree are essential school library purchases in my opinion.

Biographical details:

Thank you, Mr. Falker / by Patricia Polacco.

Published by Philomel, 2001.

48 pages.

ISBN:9780399237324

 

Fish in a tree / by Lynda Mullaly Hunt

Published by Nancy Paulsen Books, 2015.

ISBN:9780399162596

 

 

 

#365PictureBooks No. 48 Construction by Sally Sutton

Hoist the wood. Hoist the wood. Chain and hook and strap. Swing it round, then lower it down. Thonk! Clonk! Clap! Build the frame. Build the frame. Hammer all day long. Make the stairs and floors and walls. Bing! Bang! Bong!

I read this book to some classes with lots of wriggly, hot and bothered boys today and it was perfect. Everyone, both girls and boys, had stories to share about everything to do with building, construction, their experiences with people who wear fluro safety vests – most kids had some sort of experience with home renovations and some lived in suburbs where new public library buildings had recently opened. We talked very conversationally about our library building and the differences between a school library and a public one. Sometimes I really enjoy the library read aloud sessions where it is a little unplanned and casual, and we end up having open conversations. Both of Sally’s books in this series (Road works and Demolition) were checked out after this one was read and both by girls!

Bibliographic details:

Construction / Written by Sally Sutton and Illustrated by Brian Lovelock.

Published by Walker Books, 2014.

ISBN:9781922077301

#365PictureBooks No. 47 Naked!

A hilarious new book about a boy who refuses to wear clothes, from comedian Michael Ian Black and illustrator Debbi Ridpath Ohi, the team that brought you I’m Bored, a New York Times Notable Children’s Book.

Michael Ian Black and Debbie Ridpath Ohi, whose “smart cartoony artwork matches Black’s perfect comic timing” (The New York Times Book Review), have paired up again to showcase the antics of an adorable little boy who just doesn’t want to get dressed.

After his bath, the little boy begins his hilarious dash around the house – in the buff! Being naked is great. Running around, sliding down the stairs, eating cookies. Nothing could be better. Unless he had a cape..Publisher

This would be such a fun read aloud, even in a school library. I loved the time when my own children were toddlers and there was a little fun relaxed interlude of running around NAKED! after the bath and before being forced into into jammies. This book captures that interlude perfectly. The little child is delighting in his freedom but the look on the mothers face will be familiar to many parents…”I am going through all the steps until I get you into bed …aka I’m exhausted”! The comic style artwork of this is absolutely perfect with the style and pacing of the text.

Cute and funny and kids will love this!

Bibliographic details:

Naked! / Written by Michael Ian Black and Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi.

Published by Simon & Schuster, 2014.

40 pages.

ISBN 9781442467385

I borrowed this copy from Auckland Libraries.

#365PictureBooks No. 45 My two blankets by Irena Kobold & Freya Blackwood

Cartwheel has arrived in a new country, and feels the loss of all she’s ever known. She creates a safe place for herself under an ‘old’ blanket made out of memories and thoughts of home. 

As time goes on, Cartwheel begins to weave a ‘new’ blanket, one of friendship and a renewed sense of belonging. It is different from the old blanket, but it is eventually just as warm and familiar.” Publisher: RandomHouse

Teacher’s notes

A lovely book to use with students in our multicultural school where we have many ESL students. It describes the loneliness of life for someone in a new land when they have nothing in common with the local people, but especially when they cannot communicate via spoken language.  A wonderful title to built empathy and understanding. I might use this with the Keeping quilt by Patricia Polaccio. In My two blankets the blankets are figurative andrepresent Cartwheel’s memories of sights, sounds and language. In the the Keeping quilt – the quilt is made up of fabrics from clothing from “home” and it becomes a tangible family heirloom containing the memories and history of the family.

This will be a wonderful book to use when introducing our Year 5 Unit of Inquiry Where we are in place and time : Migration (Human migration is a response to challenges, risks and opportunities;The reasons people migrate; Migration throughout history; Effects of migration on communities).

Bibliographic details:

My two blankets / Written by Irene Kobald and illustrated by Freya Blackwood.

Published by Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014.

32 pages.

ISBN:9781921714764

 

#365PictureBooks No. 44 Red : a crayon’s story

Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let’s draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can’t be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He’s blue! This funny, heartwarming, colourful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!” Goodreads

I have just ordered this for our picture book collection. It’s going to be a great title to use to to inspire thought and provoke conversations about identity and diversity. This seems such a simple message and one kids will get a lot more quickly than most adults and politicians. This should be compulsory reading for the adults in this world who just don’t understand that difference isn’t a lifestyle choice.

It’s about being true to your inner self.” (Author)

Teacher’s guide

And for curious children wondering how crayons are made:

Bibliographic details:

Red : a crayon’s story / Written and illustrated  by Michael Hall.

Published by Greenwillow Books, 2015.

40 pages.

ISBN:9780062252074

#365PictureBooks no. 43 Love monster & the last chocolate

A delicious new story about Love Monster, the only monster in Cutesville, from phenomenal, award-winning picture book talent Rachel Bright!

When Love Monster finds a mystery box of chocolates at his door, he can’t believe his luck. But he’s soon thrown into a whirlwind of turmoil. Should he keep the chocolates for himself? Or risk the perils of sharing his good fortune with his friends?

This super-funny-rumbly-tummy-sherbert-explosion of a story shows that when faced with the selection box of life, following your heart will bring you the best treats of all”. Publisher.

This cute story was my read aloud today for a Year 1 Class as a tie in to the weekend Valentine’s Day celebration. It’s sweet without being saccharine and has a welcome message about sharing with your friends. I love how the monster expresses feelings so familiar to children “…what if there aren’t enough chocolates for everyone, what if they take MY favourite?” As we talked about these and other things, little heads were nodding in agreement.

The book almost looks like a chocolate with a metallic foil print on the cover. As I was reading it I was envisioning those strawberry flavoured, heart shaped chocolates one used to get in a box of Cadbury Roses. Yum!

Bibliographic details:

Love monster and the last chocolate (Love monster, #3)

Written and illustrated by Rachel Bright.

Published by HarperCollins, 2014.

32 pages.

ISBN:9780007540303

I picked up this copy from a Scholastic Book Fair – I must seek out the other two titles – I didn’t realise this was part of a series.