Review Policy

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: Maxwell's Mountain

Author: Shari Becker
Illustrator: Nicole Wong
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

About This Book: When he spies the BIG hill—make that a mountain!—in his neighborhood park, Maxwell is determined to climb all the way to the top. He has everything a true outdoorsman needs: climbing gear, a map, a first-aid kit, water, snacks, and his trusty toy soldier, Harry, by his side. But when Maxwell loses the trail, he must rely on his smarts to get back on track.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Another counselor introduced me to this book and it is another great example of using growth mindset to overcome a challenge. Maxwell finds a BIG awesome, glorious mountain in his neighborhood park and is set on getting to the top of it. What I love about the story is Maxwell does everything it takes to accomplish his goal. He practices, prepares, and uses positive self-talk to keep going. When it comes time to climb the mountain - he uses all of these skills to overcome the setbacks he encounters. These are the exact things we are trying to teach our kids. Love. 

A Link to This Book: 

Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: Zach Makes Mistakes

Author: William Mulcahy
Illustrator: Darren McKee
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: For Zach, a class field trip to the museum is about more than cool exhibits—it’s about learning from mistakes and dealing with embarrassment. First he forgets to wear his field trip shirt, then he forgets the rule about not touching displays. His teacher helps him see that everyone makes mistakes—and how to use them to grow. Using an easy-to-remember tool, the Key to Mistakes, she shows Zach and readers a simple three-step process: Detect (find the reason for the mistake), Correct (fix the mistake if you can), and Reflect (think back about your mistake to find what you can learn from it). 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I am always looking for books to help kids understand mistakes are not failures - in fact they are a normal part of life. So I was super excited to see the Zach Rules series take on this issue. It teaches kids how to learn from their mistakes and something positive can come from it. Zach says when he makes mistakes he feels awful and tries to forget them. He learns nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. I really liked the three-step process to teach kids how to deal with a mistake instead of beating themselves up. So happy to use this as part of my growth mindset curriculum!

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

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review: Ada Twist Scientist

Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs up inside of your nose? Ada Twist's head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie, Ada has always been endlessly curious. But when her fact finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments go too far, her frazzled parents banish her to the Thinking Chair. Will all that thinking change Ada'a mind?

Ada Twist, Scientist is the highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer. With the same spirit of curiosity and perseverance as her classmates, Ada is sure to inspire young readers to pursue their own passions. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: So excited about this addition to this fabulous series of books. This might be my favorite one. It's all about curiosity, not giving up, and following your passion. I applaud the author for giving us a character of color who is a girl and who loves science! It's also a great reminder for all of us to be supportive when someone has a goal. 

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review: A Bug and a Wish

Author: Karen Scheuer
Illustrator: Kalpart
Interest Level: Ages 4-7

From the Book Jacket: When Tyler is teased by the other boys, his good friend, Danae, encourages him to give the boys A Bug and a Wish. When Tyler finds a ladybug and a dandelion seed, he is convinced that this is what Danae means. As his friend helps him learn the true meaning of her advice, Tyler soon discovers the solution to his problem. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is such a creative way to teach younger kids how to use an 'I Message' towards an unwanted behavior. I can't wait to put this into practice with our students as we begin to work on conflict resolution strategies. 

An example of how to use the phrase:
It bugs me when you make fun of my name and I wish you would stop.

You can always change the word wish to something a little more assertive to need or want. But I think the book does a good job of helping build language for kids to access when they need a strategy to stop a mean behavior.  

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

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Book Review: The Color Monster - A Pop-Up Book of Feelings

By: Anna Llenas
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: We teach toddlers to identify colors, numbers, shapes, and letters—but what about their feelings? By illustrating such common emotions as happiness, sadness, anger, fear, and calm, this sensitive book gently encourages young children to open up. Kids will LOVE the bright illustrations and amazing 3-D pop-ups on every page!

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Super cool!! This is such a visually stunning pop-up book. When we received it my daughter was ooohhhing and ahhhhing each time we turned the page. This will be a fun addition to my social skills lessons on feelings identification. Can't wait to share it with students. 

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

Monday, July 25, 2016

Book Review: Nadia - The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still

Author: Karlin Gray
Illustrator: Christine Davenier
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Nadia Comaneci went from climbing trees in the forests of Romania to swinging into history at the 1976 Olympic Games, where she received an unprecedented seven perfect scores in gymnastics. 

But as readers will see in this first-ever illustrated picture book about Nadia's journey to Olympic gold, the road from small-town girl to world-class athlete was full of many imperfect moments. Nadia's story of determination, energy, and grace is perfect for any active child who just cannot sit still. A PERFECT 10. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: There is a belief that talent just comes naturally. You either are gifted or you are not. This type of thinking is associated with fixed mindset. Nadia: The Girl Who Couldn't Sit Still dispels this myth about talents and strengths. Nadia shows us she didn't just earn seven perfect 10s through luck. It was through her failures that she grew and she understood she needed to put in more effort, practice, and determination. 

I'm so happy to add this to my ever growing list of growth mindset books. And just in time for the Olympics!

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

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: What Do You Do With a Problem?

Author: Kobi Yamada
Illustrator: Mae Besom
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: What do you do with a problem? Especially one that follows you around and doesn't seem to be going away? Do you worry about it? Ignore it? Do you run and hide from it?

This is the story of a persistent problem and the child who isn't so sure what to make of it. The longer the problem is avoided, the bigger it seems to get. But when the child finally musters up the courage to face it, the problem turns out to be something quite different than expected. 

This is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever had a problem that they wished would go away. It's a story to inspire you to look closely at that problem and to find out why it's here. Because you might discover something amazing about your problem...and yourself. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: A lot of my job is helping kids solve problems. I was so excited to find a resource that teaches kids our problems are really trying to tell us something about ourselves. They are really an opportunity to learn, grow, be brave, and do something. What Do You Do With a Problem shows a child struggling with his problem and avoiding it as it continues to grow and get bigger. Finally, he faces it and learns what looked like something negative - really holds a positive outcome. What a great book to help kids stop avoiding a problem and instead take control of it. 

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

Monday, July 18, 2016

Book Review: The CBT Art Activity Book - 100 Illustrated Handouts for Creative Therapeutic Work

By: Jennifer Guest

About This Book: Explore complex emotions and enhance self-awareness with these 100 ready-to-use creative activities.

The intricate, attractive designs are illustrated in the popular zentangle style and are suitable for adults and young people, in individual or group work. The worksheets use cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and art as therapy to improve self-esteem, emotional well being, anger management, coping with change and loss, problem solving and future planning. The coloring pages are designed for relaxing stress management and feature a complete illustrated alphabet and series of striking mandala designs.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm so happy to have this workbook to use with students in my counseling sessions. It can be a challenge finding resources that have SOLID handouts to help kids work through problems. These will really enhance your toolkit. I HIGHLY recommend!

A Link To This Book:

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Book Review: School's First Day of School

Author: Adam Rex
Illustrator: Christian Robinson
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: It's the first day of school at Frederick Douglass Elementary and everyone's just a little bit nervous, especially the school itself. What will the children do once they come? Will they like the school? Will they be nice to him? The school has a rough start, but as the day goes on, he soon recovers when he sees that he's not the only one going through first-day jitters.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been emailing all of the teachers at my school and telling them to GET THIS BOOK! Such a creative way to talk to kids about how they might be feeling those first few days of school. Books help normalize behaviors and this one will be a great ally to your discussion. It's also kind of funny to think it's the school that is feeling so nervous. I can see kids giggling about this - a great way to minimize fears. The book ends focusing on the positive and kind things that happened throughout the day. Love.

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

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Book Review: Ida Always

Author: Caron Levis
Illustrator: Charles Santoso
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Gus lives in a big park in the middle of an even bigger city, and he spends his days with Ida. Ida is right there. Always. Then one sad day, Gus learns that Ida is very sick, and she isn't going to get better. 

The friends help each other face the difficult news with whispers, sniffles, cuddles, and even laughs. Slowly, Gus realizes that even after Ida is gone, she will still be with him - through the sounds of their city, and the memories that live in their favorite spots. 

Ida, Always is an exquisitely told story of two best friends - inspired by a real bear friendship - and a gentle, moving, needed reminder that loved ones lost will stay in our hearts, always.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This book captures the journey of loss so perfectly. Especially how much it hurts. You go through all kinds of emotions with both bears as the story leads up to Ida's passing. Love and caring for one another is emphasized as they deal with the devastating prognosis. That's how they get through it, by trying to be positive and helpful and taking advantage of every minute they have together. In the end, even though Ida is physically gone, her presence is often felt by Gus. The ending reminds us that closure is part of the journey. If you have a child who is experiencing loss or has been told a loved one is going to die - this is a solid and comforting resource to use. Reminded me that it's going to be okay......

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