Review Policy

Friday, July 18, 2014

Book Review: Monday, Wednesday, And Every Other Weekend



Author/Illustrator: Karen Stanton
Interest Level: Ages 3 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Henry Cooper and his dog Pomegranate have two houses. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and every other weekend, they live with Mama in her new apartment, but on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and every other weekend, they live with Papa in his new house. 

Henry and Pomegranate are happy as they dance with Mama and sing with Papa, but Henry knows that sometimes Pomegranate gets confused and just wants to go...home. This gentle and accessible story about dealing with the many changes that come with divorce is beautifully brought to life by author Karen Stanton's vivid and memorable illustrations. 



Why It's On My Bookshelf: I haven't gotten any new bibliotherapy about divorce in quite awhile. This one is so great and will be such a comfort to kids who are getting used to being on a schedule between two homes. Henry's dog Pomegranate is experiencing anxiety and a little sadness. I thought this was a great way to mirror a child's feelings....through the pet. Even though Henry is happy in both homes, understands his schedule, and is obviously loved, it can still be hard at times.

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


Monday, July 7, 2014

Book Review: What If Everybody Did That?

Author: Ellen Javernick
Illustrator: Colleen M. Madden
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: If you drop just one soda can out the window. It's no big deal ... right? But what if everybody did that? What if everybody broke the rules ... and spoke during story time, didn't wash up, or splashed too much at the pool? Then the world would be a mess. 

But what if everybody obeyed the rules so that the world would become a better place? This book shows how each person's small, everyday choices - good or bad - have consequences one way or the other. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This has been on my wish list for a looooong time. Decided it was time to buy it because I've had some PBIS ideas floating around in my head for back to school. This story is going to be part of our kick off for learning the school standards. What if Everybody Did That? is all about community and remembering we all play a part in keeping our school, neighborhoods, and homes safe and happy places. If we don't think of others our surroundings and daily routines can quickly become chaotic. 

There are fourteen examples showing cause and effect example of behavior. 

"During story time I had something important to say. I just couldn't wait till the end of the story. The librarian put her finger to her lips and said, "What if everybody did that?"


Just once I didn't hang my coat on the rack at school. Ms. Sanders made me pick it up and said, "What if everybody did that?"


The last example is a positive one. I was happy they ended on a good note and what a great way to start off your lesson and discussion. 

When I came home I gave my mom a hug. What if everybody did that?


If you need a new resource to introduce routines, procedures, and school standards this is such a great reinforcer! 

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


Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Book Review: The Most Magnificent Thing


From the Book Jacket: Award-winning author and illustrator Ashley Spires has created a charming picture book about an unnamed girl and her very best friend, who happens to be a dog. The girl has a wonderful idea. "She is going to make the most MAGNIFICENT thing! She knows just how it will look. She knows just how it will work. All she has to do is make it, and she makes things all the time. Easy-peasy!" But making her magnificent thing is anything but easy, and the girl tries and fails, repeatedly. Eventually, the girl gets really, really mad. She is so mad, in fact, that she quits. But after her dog convinces her to take a walk, she comes back to her project with renewed enthusiasm and manages to get it just right. 

For the early grades' exploration of character education, this funny book offers a perfect example of the rewards of perseverance and creativity. The girl's frustration and anger are vividly depicted in the detailed art, and the story offers good options for dealing honestly with these feelings, while at the same time reassuring children that it's okay to make mistakes. The clever use of verbs in groups of threes is both fun and functional, offering opportunities for wonderful vocabulary enrichment. The girl doesn't just "make" her magnificent thing — she "tinkers and hammers and measures," she "smoothes and wrenches and fiddles," she "twists and tweaks and fastens." These precise action words are likely to fire up the imaginations of youngsters eager to create their own inventions and is a great tie-in to learning about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.


Why It's On My Bookshelf: This was a charming book discovery towards the end of the school year. It is DIVINE and I will be heavily using it. A few months ago I talked about Mindsets in the Classroom which has really pushed me to find more books to help kids overcome challenges they perceive they have. Or if they get stuck and can't figure something out. School can feel hard. How many times have you seen a child just give up out of frustration? The little girl in this book represents this so well. She decides to quit her project and carries the mindset that she has no ability. Her trusty little dog helps her work things out and TRY AGAIN. Failure is a stepping stone to success. This is a message I will be working on next year with kids. I hope to find more books in this area. I noticed the new ASCA standards include Mindset. Exciting!





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


Sunday, June 1, 2014

Book Review: A Is For Awesome


Author/Illustrator: Dallas Clayton
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: This is a book about the alphabet and all the wonderful letters it contains. It's also a book about possibilities, about all the possible words there are. Once you gather letters together, you can mix them  up in whatever order you choose; you can make up whatever words you like. Big words, small words, old words, new words - even words that no one has ever said before. Once you've learned this alphabet, think about all the other alphabets out there, and all the other languages and all the other words all over the world. Imagine how many great things you'll get to read and write and sing and say. It's going to be awesome!

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I run self-esteem groups throughout the year for students and we often do a name acronym activity. We choose a lot of uplifting adjectives. I came across A is for Awesome and am so excited to have this as part of my lesson. Reading it will help get some inspiration going as we start the activity. Plus it's such a cool book!

I is IMAGINE IDEAS all your own
J JUST remember you're never alone
K is for KIDS being KIDS (that's the coolest)
L is for LIVING LIFE up to its fullest




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

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review: The Girl and the Bicycle



Author/Illustrator: Mark Pett
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: A touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence - with an unexpected payoff. 

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman. 

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I just added this really POWERFUL wordless picture book to my shelf. I think it's extraordinary. When I got to the last page I teared up. Not the sad kind of tears, but the ones from the good place in my heart.

When the girl goes back to the store to get the bicycle and it is gone, she does something most might not fathom. She goes into the store with her hard earned money and buys her little brother a tricycle. She leaves empty handed.


But it's not about acquiring things, she acquired so much more - the invisible stuff. Character. When she gets home.....that's when the magic of kindness really hits......see below. Get the kleenex. 




Kids will really love this message. These acts of kindness are the things they yearn to do. Such an encouraging heartwarming story. I feel lucky to have discovered it. 

A Link to This Book:

a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Girl-and-the-Bicycle/Mark-Pett/9781442483194#sthash.q3zbLmJV.dpuf
a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Girl-and-the-Bicycle/Mark-Pett/9781442483194#sthash.q3zbLmJV.dpuf
a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Girl-and-the-Bicycle/Mark-Pett/9781442483194#sthash.q3zbLmJV.dpuf
a touching wordless picture book about a little girl, a shiny bicycle, and the meaning of persistence—with an unexpected payoff.

A little girl sees a shiny new bicycle in the shop window. She hurries home to see if she has enough money in her piggy bank, but when she comes up short, she knocks on the doors of her neighbors, hoping to do their yardwork. They all turn her away except for a kindly old woman.

The woman and the girl work through the seasons, side by side. They form a tender friendship. When the weather warms, the girl finally has enough money for the bicycle. She runs back to the store, but the bicycle is gone! What happens next shows the reward of hard work and the true meaning of generosity. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.com/Girl-and-the-Bicycle/Mark-Pett/9781442483194#sthash.q3zbLmJV.dpuf

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Book Review: The Promise


Author: Nicola Davies
Illustrator: Laura Carlin
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: On a mean street in a mean city, a girl tries to snatch an old woman's bag. But the woman will only relinquish it in exchange for: The Promise. And so begins a life-changing journey of paying forward happiness, sure to touch the hearts and imaginations of readers young and old. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been looking for community builders for next year that I can read to K-5 grades. This one absolutely knocked my socks off. It's bucket filling at a deeper level. When a girl steals a purse from a woman she finds it is filled with acorns. The woman allowed her to take the purse on one condition, "If you promise to plant them, I'll let go." This is not a story about planting trees. It's about planting love, care, kindness, happiness.....all of the good. And the girl does just that. She goes from communities to cities to neighborhoods...planting. And all the while, touching people's lives and bringing with her a light to erase the darkness people feel. This book really touched me. Highly recommend. 



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

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Book Review: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish

Author/Illustrator: Jarrett Krosoczka
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Peanut Butter and Jellyfish are best of friends and swim up, down, around, and through their ocean home. Crabby is not their best friend. But when Crabby gets in trouble, will Peanut Butter and Jellyfish come to the rescue? You bet they will! This is a funny and touching story of friendships old and new, and about being brave enough to apologize. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This story started out like a lot of other books I have read. There is some teasing going on and the one doing the mean behavior finds himself in some danger. The two friends who were experiencing the put downs do the right thing and save him. 

But I really love what the author does to help Crabby (the bully in the story) turn his behavior around. He has him take responsibility. First there is an apology.....which I don't always see in books. 



Then Crabby admits why he was doing all the teasing.....



What makes this book so special and AWESOME is the story goes a step further and makes everything come full circle for ALL the characters. When the teasing is happening, Peanut Butter and Jellyfish do some ignoring and are very assertive. And amends are made. That's real life and these are the skills we should be teaching kids. 

A Link to This Book: 


Saturday, May 3, 2014

Book Review: Jacob's New Dress

Authors: Sarah and Ian Hoffman
Illustrator: Chris Case
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up
Book Website: http://www.sarahandianhoffman.com

From the Book Jacket: Some kids say boys can't wear "girl" clothes - but why not? Jacob loves playing dress-up, when he can be anything he wants to be - a pirate, a bird, a fireman! But he also wants to just be himself and wear his favorite thing... a dress!

Now Jacob has a new dress that he made himself and what he wants most of all is to wear it to school. Will Mom and Dad let him? This heartwarming story speaks to the unique challenges faced by boys who don't identify with traditional gender roles.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is such a supportive and wonderfully written book for gender nonconforming children. I was delighted to see it was published and can only imagine what a wonderful help it will be to children and families. 

As a school counselor, I'd like to not just see this on my bookshelf but on the shelves in school libraries and teachers' classrooms. We are part of these kiddos support teams. We have a responsibility to educate kids that there is not a single thing wrong with gender nonconformity. Books have power and can teach acceptance. I think this is a book to be shared with ALL children. 

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

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Book Review: Always By My Side

Author: Susan Kerner
Illustrator: Ian P Benfold Haywood
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Always By My Side is a comforting rhyming story written to help children understand that a father's love is forever, even if they grow up without his presence in their lives. 

This gentle, beautifully illustrated book conveys the heart-warming message to children that even though a father is absent, he is still part of them. They will realize that they are like him in character, looks and actions; that his spirit surrounds them in their day-to-day activities, and helps to make them who they are. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Just beautiful. Absolutely beautiful. I held this book to my heart after I read it. Children will feel solace and the words will console the hurt and loss they feel. The loss of a parent is devastating but they are always by your side in spirit. Such great wisdom to share with children as they journey through their lives. So pleased to offer this to families in need of grief bibliotherapy. 

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

Monday, April 14, 2014

Two Great Books on Paying it Forward

One Smile
Author: Cindy McKinley
Illustrator: Mary Gregg Byrne
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: When young Katie smiles sweetly at a dejected-looking man in the park, little does she know the amazing chain of events her simple act of kindness has put into motion. Her innocent smile not only brightens this young man’s day, it moves on to touch the lives of countless others. As each person affected by this chain “pays it forward” with their own small act of kindness, it eventually comes full circle back to Katie.



One Voice
Author: Cindy McKinley
Illustrator: Mary Gregg Byrne
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: In this compelling sequel to the award-winning One Smile, a young boy’s wish for a more peaceful world ignites a chain reaction of goodwill and cooperation that spreads throughout his community. After Jacob gives a teacher his seat on the bus, his simple act of kindness is passed on to a neighbor, a mailman, a lonely young girl, a basketball player, and a dentist’s daughter before finally coming full circle to bless him and his special project. 


Why They Are On My Bookshelf: If you are thinking of doing a lesson on creating more kindness in your community, these two books should be in your top five for this category. I love LOVE them.  I was thrilled to make the discovery of a second book One Voice - the amazing sequel to One Smile. Many of the teachers at my school have asked to borrow them for further discussion. 


My lovely friend designed this AWESOME print and I used it as our kindness theme when we read the books. It's so perfect for building community. Maybe a Teachers Pay Teachers product?

A Link to These Books: