Browsing Tag

second grade

Books We Love: A Boy, A Mouse, and A Spider

Books We Love

My love for E.B. White’s stories has existed ever since my first grade teacher read Charlotte’s Web to our class. It wasn’t until Melissa Sweet’s Some Writer was released that I learned the story behind the beloved children’s author. It’s a story of a man who was brilliant, smart, and above all, an unrelenting optimist.

I’m so excited that Barbara Herkert and Lauren Castillo have teamed up to bring White’s story to younger readers. This well-written biography tells of White’s journey from childhood to literary fame. Readers who loved Stuart Little and other books will adore this look into the life of an incredible author. Lauren Castillo’s gorgeous illustrations are a perfect fit for the story.

Classroom Connections

This book would serve as a strong mentor text for biographies. Herkert’s text clearly explains the events of White’s life and celebrates his significance.

For paired middle grade texts, Melissa Sweet’s Some Writer! is an obvious and perfect choice. Sweet’s words add depth to Herkert’s strong overview. Students might also find enjoyment in Kid Authors by David Stabler (my review coming to the blog this Tuesday!).

Books We Love: Read, Read, Read!

#bookexcursion, Books We Love

There are certain poetry books that I return to over and over again in my classroom. Books with poems that reflect my students’ experiences show up as read-alouds every year. The books then find worthy places on our classroom bookshelves where they are adored by dozens of third graders. Read! Read! Read! by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater may become an instant classic, too.

This book is a celebration of what it means to be a reader. Much of the book explores the magic of the written word and how we carry it with us as we grow. While many of the poems are inspiring, they are funny and clever, too. The poems are inclusive of many different reading experiences, from the child whose favorite reading material is on the cereal box to the child who lost a grandmother, but found healing in Charlotte’s Web.

As I read the poems, connections to students past and present were swirling around in my head. Amy Ludwig VanDerwater has given us a gift: poems that will meet readers where they are on their reading journeys. Every child reading this book will find a poem that makes them feel celebrated. It is my hope that this book finds its way onto the bookshelves of classrooms and homes, and into the hands of young readers everywhere.

Read! Read! Read! will be released in September 2017 by Wordsong Books.

Huge thanks to Amy Ludwig VanDerwater for sharing a copy of Read! Read! Read! with our #bookexcursion group! #bookexcursion is a team of nine educators who read and share new children’s and middle grade titles. For more of my #bookexcursion reviews, click here!

Books We Love: Come With Me

#bookexcursion, #DiverseKidLit, Books We Love

As I write this post in mid-August 2017, violent protests have broken out in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Over the past year, students have been walking into classrooms with more and more questions about the world. They feel fear. They feel confusion. They feel helplessness. Wouldn’t it be powerful if, every day, we could do something to replace those feelings with ones of kindness? Connection? Hope?

Come With Me by Holly McGhee tells the story of a little girl who feels scared by the images she sees every day. She’s not sure to engage with a world that scares her. With the help of her parents, she learns to step beyond her fear and build connections with others. While the things she does with her parents aren’t groundbreaking steps towards social justice (she goes to a grocery store and rides the subway), the little girl learns to celebrate togetherness over fear.

Like any book, this book alone is not enough. But it’s a start in discussing social justice and current events with children. As the dedication of the book states, “Come With Me is written in honor of friendship, bravery, and the fact that we aren’t powerless, no matter how small and insignificant we may feel.”

Come With Me will be released in September 2017 by Penguin Kids.

Huge thanks to Holly McGhee for sharing a copy of Come With Me with our #bookexcursion group! #bookexcursion is a team of nine educators who read and share new children’s and middle grade titles. For more of my #bookexcursion reviews, click here!

Review: Judy Moody and the Bucket List

Books We Love, Uncategorized

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Judy Moody and the Bucket List
by Megan McDonald
Illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds

My Rating:


Happy book birthday to Megan McDonald! Judy Moody and the Bucket List comes out today, August 2nd. I just know that the Judy Moody fans in my classroom will be begging for this book as soon as school starts.

Surprisingly, this book was my first Judy Moody read. Even though I have multiple bins of Megan McDonald books in my classroom, I hadn’t gotten around to reading any of them. I was so excited to check out Judy Moody and the Bucket List to see why my students adore McDonald’s work. It’s very clear that her books captivate young readers!

One of the things that struck me in Judy Moody and the Bucket List was McDonald’s great use of humor. The book was so funny, and used many different types of humor to make the reader laugh. While the book addresses some serious topics such as friendship, family and even death, McDonald’s humorous style keeps the book light-hearted.

Another strength of this book is how relatable the main characters are. Kids can truly empathize with Judy Moody and Stink. When we make connections in my third grade class, many readers share Megan McDonald books when talking about books they related to. Judy Moody and the Bucket List will be a connection book for many students.

Fans of Judy Moody and Stink will love this latest Megan McDonald read. I can’t wait to chat with my third-grade readers about it!

Classroom Connections


McDonald makes great use of euphemisms and idioms in this book. When these linguistic elements are being taught in class, this can be a great book for a “phrase hunt” in which students try to spot idioms in the text.

McDonald also uses many contractions in this book, as Judy and Stink are learning about contractions in class. They sing an adorable song in the book that I can’t wait to use in class!

Above all, the Judy Moody books are awesome for engaged independent reading. Suggesting this book to a reluctant reader may be the most powerful way you use it in your classroom!

Book Information
Title: Judy Moody and the Bucket List
Author: Megan McDonald
Illustrator: Peter H. Reynolds
Publisher: Candlewick
Release Date: August 2016
Price: US $15.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

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Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Candlewick in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!

Review: When Penny Met POTUS

Books We Love

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When Penny Met POTUS
by Rachel Ruiz

My Rating:

Happy Independence Day! I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a new book that explores one of our government’s most powerful acronyms. When Penny Met POTUS is a new book by Rachel Ruiz. Ruiz was inspired to write it after working for President Barack Obama and fielding questions from her daughter about “POTUS.”

The charming illustrations and sweet text tell the story of a little girl who tags along at her mom’s workplace. Penny is so excited to meet POTUS, and has some great ideas about who or what POTUS might be. The book includes references to Air Force One, the Secret Service, the Oval Office, and more. It’s a great introduction to what the job of POTUS is.

When Penny Met POTUS is a really cute read, and it will definitely earn a place on the shelves of primary classrooms. Happy reading!

Classroom Connections

  • When Penny Met POTUS is a great way to introduce the job of President to primary classrooms. Teachers can use sections of the book to address different responsibilities that the President has.
  • Looking for a read aloud for President’s Day or Inauguration Day? When Penny Met POTUS is a great fit!
  • Introducing acronyms to students? The term “POTUS” is a great example of how acronyms can be used to make communication easier. Think about how the term “POTUS” might be used every day by people who work in the White House.

Book Information
Title: When Penny Met POTUS
Author: Rachel Ruiz
Illustrator: Melissa Manwill
Publisher: Capstone
Release Date: July 2016
Price: US $15.95
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

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Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Capstone in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!