Review Policy

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review: Brave

Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Interest Level: Ages 3 and Up

From the Book Jacket: An empowering picture book for all kids that demonstrates to children that they can be real-life superheroes and that all kids have what it takes to be brave. Superheroes seek adventure, never give up, and stay calm when others are 
afraid. Superheroes are brave. But they aren't the only ones.

Kids are brave every day. When they are told they are too little, but accomplish something big. When they check for monsters under the bed, just in case. When they face something uncertain, whether a thunderstorm or a hospital visit. When they stand up for what's right, even when it means facing consequences.

Like superheroes, brave kids can save the world, just by being brave.

Brave encourages kids to be brave in all the ways they can: trying new things, speaking their mind, confronting bullies, and more. This book will inspire kids to follow their hearts and to have courage, no matter the situation.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been looking for more books to help kids overcome fear and anxiety. Helping kids understand they have the power within themselves to face small and big obstacles is part of my daily job as a counselor. Brave is a confidence builder and I am using it to help kids develop their self-talk around using bravery to defeat problems. So happy to add this one to my shelf! 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Friday, January 12, 2018

Book Review: Be a King - Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Dream and You

Author: Carole Boston Weatherford
Illustrator: James E. Ransome
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: You can be a King. Stamp out hatred. Put your foot down and walk tall. You can be a King. Beat the drum for justice. March to your own conscience. It's not always easy to stand up for what's right, but everyone has the power to make the world a better place. Inspired by the most important moments of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's life this book shows a new generation of children how to follow in Dr. King's footsteps. You can take charge. You can change the world. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I love this book so much. It's so perfect for kids. It's about standing up for everything that is right, doing your best, and lifting up others. The illustrations are very powerful and go so perfectly with the words on each page. I've been recommending this one to all of our teachers. 

A Link to This Book: 

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Book Review: The Bad Seed

Author: Jory John
Illustrator: Pete Oswald
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: There is a bad seed. A baaaaaaaad seed. How bad? Do you really want to know? He lies about pointless stuff. He cuts in line. Every time. He never washes his hands...or his feet. And he does lots of other bad things too. But what happens when a bad seed doesn't want to be bad anymore? Can a bad seed change his baaaaaaad ways?

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This book helped provide so many insights to our students about what is really underneath anger.....hurt and sadness. When I teach my students strategies to calm down or deal with anger, it's important that I am also helping  them figure out what is really triggering their behavior in the first place. It could be bullying, a problem at home, feeling left out....many many things. We have to take the time to get to the root. I highly recommend this book!!!!

A Link To This Book:

Friday, January 5, 2018

Book Review: Maple & Willow Together

Author/Illustrator: Lori Nichols
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: They love playing outside throughout the whole year, welcoming the sun, rain, leaves, and snow. But it's not always sunshine and rainbows, because sometimes big sisters can be bossy - and sometimes little sisters can be frustrating - and even the best of friends need a break from each least until they can no longer bear to be apart. Maple & Willow Together perfectly captures the dynamics of siblings and their ability to figure things out on their own and find a way to meet halfway. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been exploring more books involving siblings and fighting. At home we have been dealing with some arguing, hitting, and upset feelings between our kids. That's exactly what happens between Maple and Willow. The story ends with them making up and apologizing. I could tell when I read this story to my six year old daughter it was like looking into a mirror for her. After I read the last page she commented that even though she and her brother fight sometimes she still loves him. 

A Link to This Book:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Book Review: A Bike Like Sergio's

Author: Maribeth Boelts
Illustrator: Noah Z. Jones
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Ruben feels like he's the only kid without a bike. He wishes he could get a bike like his friend Sergio's, but wishes won't make money appear. One day, when Ruben sees a bill fall out of someone's purse, he picks it up and puts it in his pocket - it's only a dollar. But when he gets home, Ruben discovers that it's actually a hundred-dollar bill, more than enough for the bike he's been hoping for. This is a relatable story that will resonate with anyone who's tried to figure out the right thing to do. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I love the end of this story because it shows how difficult it can be to do the right thing. But when we use our integrity the inner reward is so much better than anything material. Ruben returns the hundred dollar bill and the words and kindness he receives are so filling. Although when he walks away, he also realizes he will not be getting a bike. He has gained something even better though - a stronger character.  He returns home to tell his parents his story and they share how proud they are of him. This is a great one to add to your shelf around integrity, honesty, and stealing. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Useful: 

Monday, January 1, 2018

Book Review: The Boy and the Whale

Author/Illustrator: Mordicai Gerstein
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: A boy and his father discover a whale tangled in their only fishing net. Is the whale dead? The father worries about losing their net, but the boy worries about the whale. He remembers the fear he once felt when, tangled in a net himself, he nearly drowned before being rescued. When the whale blinks an enormous eye, the boy knows that he has to try to save the creature, no matter how dangerous doing so may be. 

This story was inspired by a real-life video of a whale's rescue and the creature's joyful dance through the waves after being freed. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is a powerful story about taking action based on feeling empathy and compassion when someone else is suffering and in need. Even though we might not have the opportunity to save a whale.....there are many things we can do to help others that can make a difference. I often get requests for books that teach the concept of empathy. My list has been pretty short. I'm excited to add this one to my line up because it has a powerful message and it will have a positive impact on my students. 

YouTube Video (the inspiration behind the book):

A Link to This Book: 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Book Review: Me, Me, Me

Author: Annika Dunklee
Illustrator: Lori Joy Smith
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Annie, Lillemor and Lilianne are best friends for many reasons, including a shared love of singing. So when their teacher announces a school talent show, Annie suggests they enter as an all-girl singing group. What fun!

But when the three girls brainstorm what song they might sing and what costumes they'll wear, Annie doesn't like any of Lilianne and Lillemor's suggestions. It's Annie's way or the highway - the whole thing was her idea, after all! Will creative differences keep the three friends apart? Or will Annie change her tune?

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been using this one for grades K-2 on how to be a FLEXIBLE friend. It's helpful to have a resource like this when I"m trying to help kids become aware of how their behavior is impacting their friendships. If you choose to always be the one in charge and demand things to always be your way when playing with others - you might find yourself alone. I need more books on friendship skills so I was so happy to come across this one. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Useful:

Monday, December 11, 2017

Book Review: Accident!

Author/Illustrator: Andrea Tsurumi
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Oops! When Lola the armadillo accidentally knocks a jug of juice all over her parents' best chair, it's a calamity, a catastrophe, a FIASCO! She panics and decides to run away to the library. Along the way, she gathers a group of equally alarmed friends who have gotten into similar pickles. But they're not the only ones in trouble: a stoat's snarled in spaghetti; a bull's broken a whole china shop, a llama's up a tree, and someone should tell that platypus to watch out for that hose! It's the end of the world! Or is it?

While "sorry" still might be the hardest word, this silly and sincere book will help readers realize that making a mistake isn't a disaster. And Lola just might find that a small accident can snowball into a big opportunity for forgiveness - of herself and others. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is such a HELPFUL HELPFUL book to teach kids the difference between small and big problems, making mistakes, and how to recover from a failure or accident. There are a lot of students who need help with their reactions to the size of their problem. I see this book really helping kids who are overreacting and having big emotions to little problems. 

A Link to This Book: 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book Review: Where Oliver Fits

Author/Illustrator: Cale Atkinson

From the Book Jacket: Oliver is a little puzzle piece who is excited to find out where he fits. Will he be... In the mane of a unicorn? On the tentacle of a pirate squid? Part of a beautiful sunset or a fiery volcano? A member of a monster rock band? But when he goes in search of his perfect place, Oliver discovers that finding where he belongs is harder than he thought...

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm really excited about this book. Kids really struggle with finding their place in friendship circles and often times give up a piece of who they are just so they can fit in. Oliver discovers you can't rush or force your fit. All you can do is be yourself! I like the message that you are not alone and others are also searching for a friend. Find others who represent your same values and appreciate who you! Don't be something you are not. Be you. 

A Link to This Book:

Friday, November 3, 2017

Book Review: Most People

Author: Michael Leannah
Illustrator: Jennifer E Morris

About This Book: Sometimes the world can seem scary, it's true. But most people are good people, just like you. Anxious adults want children to be aware of dangers, but shouldn't kids be aware of kindness too?

Young children hear adults talking, they see things on TV, and they're sometimes left thinking that the world is a place full of dangers and bad feelings. Yes, children need to be careful of strangers, but they also need to know that most people are good, kind, and helpful, and one of the great delights in life is reinforcing that knowledge through our daily interactions with others. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: With all of the violence and chaos that seems to surround us more and more in the world, I was so happy to see this beautiful book. It's a reminder to us and our children that there are more good people then bad people in this world. Most people are good people. It's so easy to get focused on the things that scare us. Lets remember to set our hearts on minds on all the helpers around us. This is a comforting book to pull of the shelf when times seem uncertain and scary.  

A Link to This Book: