Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Mighty Jackie - The Strike Out Queen {Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge}

How did I not know who Mighty Jackie The Strike-Out Queen was?  I have two girls who play softball.  We have a small collection about softball heroes.  We are huge fans of the movie, A League of Their Own.  I'm grateful for my teammate who brought this book to me and said, "you will love this book."  She was right!  I'm so happy Marissa Moss told the story of Jackie Mitchell.  

Jackie Mitchell was a girl who played major league baseball and in 1931 struck out Baby Ruth and Lou Gehrig; baseball legends.  Jackie loved baseball as a little girl and faced stereotypical challenges growing up; girls didn't play baseball yet alone pitch baseballs.  Jackie's story shows readers strength, going against the grain, stepping outside typical gender roles in our society, and perseverance, practice pays off, and courage.

The actual account of April 2, 1931 makes this the perfect read aloud to be a baseball sports announcer.  I could see my students inch closer with inflection and urgency to find out what Jackie would do.  Unfortunately, after this big game Jackie was banded from playing major and minor league baseball.  She continued playing with minor leagues that were so small the commissioner didn't pay attention to them.  The illustrations by C. F. Payne matched the text and created empathy for each of my students.  They were shocked an event like this could happen in history.  They felt passion for women's rights and wanted Mighty Jackie to continue playing major league baseball.  

Thank you Alyson at Kid Lit Frenzy for hosting this weekly sharing.

Monday, April 16, 2018

which one doesn't belong? {Math Workshop}

One morning each week my students are greeted with an image for a math activity created by Christopher Danielson, which one doesn't belong?  I've been gathering my weekly post from a simple Google search.  I knew Christopher had published a book, which one doesn't belong? back in 2016 and didn't really know if I needed it.  I was preordering his next book, How Many? and decided I should probably have the first one too and I'm so glad I ordered it.

I love the opening page.  How many times are we told every answer can be correct?  This is also why I love this activity.  Each student's thinking is correct as long as they justify their reasoning.  I'm often caught off guard with reasoning I haven't thought of. 

This is a great book for introducing the activity, Which one doesn't belong?  The first six pages guides the reader through looking at the same picture and giving reasons why each shape may not belong.  There are 9 images that follow for further class discussion.  I wish I had used this book to introduce the activity earlier in the year.  We will definitely be looking at it this week for our weekly thinking and I think it could be a helpful tool for launching student's creating their own; Which one doesn't belong?

Thursday, March 8, 2018

The Escapades of Clint McCool - Octo-Man and the Headless Monster

Octo-Man and the Headless Monster
Author Jane Kelley
Illustrator Jessika von Innerbner
Penguin Random House, 2017

My last trip to the Book Loft was a successful trip for picking up new to me and first in a series books.  Last week I shared Super Turbo and this week I'm share The Escapades of Clint McCool - Octo-Man and the Headless Monster.  Clint McCool is a funny character.  He is active.  He has lots of ideas that are always bubbling out of his head and sometimes into action.  ML and Marco are coming home with Clint McCool for a play date after school.  On their way home from school there is a monster in the street.  Yes, it's a human dressed as a monster on a movie set.  Clint McCool is so excited he runs right to the monster on the movie set and touches him.  Oops, the monster's arm falls off.  He and his friends are banned from the set but Clint wants to fix what went wrong.  Fixing this escapade turns into a full time job for Clint and his friends try to be a bit more cautious.  They do return to the movie set.  Things do get fixed but I think all readers will be surprised how that happens.  

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


author and illustrator Antoinette Portis
Roaring Book Press, 2017

now embraces the favorites of a young girl.  The text shares three favorites and the third one has a reason why it's the favorite.  It's interesting because the favorite is often a current reason.  For example, "This is my favorite tooth - because it's the one that is missing."  If the reader carefully pays attention to this pattern the ending won't be so much of a surprise.  The ending will also tug at any reader's heart.  This book brings hope to the reader through mindfulness, quiet, and patience.  It also embraces the potential for change.  I hope you spend a few minutes with this book.

Friday, March 2, 2018

Out of Wonder - Poems Celebrating Poets

Out of Wonder
Kwame Alexander, Chris Colderley, Marjory Wentworth
Illustrator Ekua Holmes
Candlewick Press, 2017
review copy from the publisher

Out of Wonder is beautiful.  enlightening. and informative.  I've had this book for a while and I know people talked about it right when it came out but maybe highlighting here now will remind you to go back and revisit it.  Immediately I felt like I was spending time with Google as I read each poem.   I was learning so much about each poet being celebrated.  It felt like Google for a second and then as I reread and enjoyed the illustrations it felt like a visit to my local art museum.  Stunning colors with patterns and textures bring the poems to life.  This collection of poems is organized in three sections; Got Style?, In Your Shoes, and Thank You.  Knowing about the sections helped me understand more about the message/knowledge in each poem.  The book ends with information about each poet in paragraph form which then sent me back to rereading each  poem.  Make sure you block out some time to savor this beautiful text.

Thank you Renee at No Water River for hosting Poetry Friday this week.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Super Turbo Saves the Day!

Super Turbo Saves the Day!
Author Lee Kirby
Illustrator George O'Connor
Simon and Schuster, 2016
purchased The Book Loft

The front cover of Super Turbo Saves the Day peaked my interest; a super hero rodent?  Then when I realized it was a story about classroom pets at night when the students have gone home I knew I had to get it.  I have a few pets in the classroom and I think my students would find it funny to think about they do at night.  Turbo is a hamster in second grade.  The story begins with it a no school day for the students and Turbo is all alone.  He hears a sound that sends him exploring.  He discovers Leo a green lizard and together they find Angelina a guinea pig and the adventure continues until they have quite a group of classroom pet superheroes.  The class goldfish wants to escape and they come up with a clever plan.  They hear an awful sound and soon realize there is an invasion of something, not a class pet.  Super Turbo to the rescue!

I think this book is light hearted and easy for students to follow.  I think they will find it funny and giggle.  I think they will cheer for Super Turbo.  I like the layout for the readers in my room; larger font, picture support, and some graphic novel structures.  I'm interested in what's next for this gang of class pets. 


Wednesday, February 28, 2018

The Secret Kingdom Nek Chand, A Changing India and a Hidden World of Art

The Secret Kingdom
Author Barb Rosenstock
Illustrator Claire A Nivola
Candlewick Press, 2018
review copy from publisher

The Secret Kingdom is a beautiful story about Nek Chand a boy growing up in the village Berian Kalan near the Himalayas.  His family life is filled with family, stories, and love.  He was a creator and loved to play on the stream bank.  He went to school.  He became a farmer and continued to tell his stories.  Until his country Punjab was split into two countries; Pakistan and India after the men with guns came.  He was able to walk with his family to India for twenty-four days.  They settled in a new city Chandigarh where Nek didn't feel like he belonged.  The story continues to tell you the journey Nek took trying to belong again.  He found that belonging feeling again by creating a space in the wilderness to live.  His work was a secret.  Once it was discovered and people visited they were able to help him from having it destroyed and identified as a piece of art.  The four page spread of photographs is breath taking of this space.  Nek's secret work tells stories of coming home and this work is still carried on today in the Rock Garden.  I wish I had this book last year when I had a few families from India.  I think I might drop this book off to one my old students from India tomorrow morning.