Friday, January 30, 2015

Have you heard of this book? I have from a variety of sources: literacy conferences, teacher blogs, friends who are as rabid about books as I on a whim I sent it to my 6-year-old nephew for Christmas sight unseen. Ahem. Let's just say his older brother thought it was hysterical. When it arrived at the library for me, I raced to get it, eager to see how funny it was.

Oh it's funny. It is unique. It is different. And no, I do not plan to read it to my kindergartners. Reading it would cause utter anarchy. The young people would take over, demanding I read more racy, saucy, edgy-to-young people books. They would demand I read things with real humor. No more kid humor for them, no siree....And really I am not gonna read a book out loud to a bunch of kindergartners who would never stop laughing at me for the silly things it makes the reader do (and yes, it is funny!).

Rather I think I will play it safe. Stick with the more comfortable. Stay a little sane in the classroom. Keep it mellow. I mean really, what do I want? For my students to fall in love with humor and books? UH-UH, not on my watch. No making too much fun of me....

Just joking. Maybe. We'll see if I find enough bravery to read it. Maybe on the last day of school....maybe. This one is just as funny as folks say. Find it. Read it. See what you think. 

Friday, January 23, 2015

Love Will See You Through by Angela Farris Watkins

The very idea that someone could write about the civil rights movement from the perspective of neice to Martin Luther King Jr baffles me. Martin Luther King? Your uncle? As I read this text, I was somewhat reminded of Arun Gandhi, who wrote Grandfather Gandhi, and the fabulous important story he tells there. Watkins structures her book completely differently (nonfiction vs. Gandhi's fiction), but the book is powerful and generative on its own ground.

King had six guiding beliefs that fueled his every move: have courage, love your enemies, fight the problem, not the person who caused it, when innocent people are hurt, others are inspired to help, resist violence of any kind, and the universe honors love. The author uses these beliefs as effective underpinnings of King's life and his many inspiring, life-changing, and world-changing actions. The illustrations powerfully support the text on each page, engaging the reader on a wide variety of levels and entrances. The author keenly includes religion in her text; much of King's work was based in his firm beliefs in Christianity and faith.
A worthwhile read and incredibly important story, I encourage you to seek this text out. It is powerful.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Draw-A-Saurus by James Silvani

Looking for a great how-to drawing book on dinosaurs? Look no further: Silvani offers growing artists a sweet entrance into the fine art of the large beasts in his book Draw-A-Saurus.

I love the step-by-step way he helps artists along. Greater I love all of the names of dinosaurs throughout the text. That worked really well for me.

Silvani is a common artist, having success at Dreamworks and Disney among other well-known publishing and comic venues. Fun for artists and dinosaur lovers alike, Silvani has a winner here.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

What Forest Knows by George Ella Lyon

George Ella Lyon, famous for her I Am From...poem, offers us a beautiful gift in this book. Winter can be a daunting time, but Lyon brings out the starkness through a lens of seeing rather than shuttering.
Here her words focus with keen clarity through a seeming shared perspective: hers and the forests. Depth in simplicity, sparseness in full life, she crafts a story as if we are walking right beside her in the woods.
The illustrator, August Hall, is new to me so I will do some searching to learn more about him. So much to learn: new book, new illustrator, new views, new wonderings. All gifts. Thank you, George Ella Lyon.