As a teacher, there's nothing better than finding a picture book that you can use to teach a concept or use as a mentor text for young readers and writers. Here are a few new books that either just came out or are coming out soon. And a few newer books (that came out a year ago that are just so good they are worth mentioning in this post.)
By Mira Reisberg
Finding Winnie by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall tells a heartwarming tale of how a Canadian veterinarian picks up and cares for a young bear cub that later becomes the inspiration for the Winnie the Pooh stories. The story is narrated by Lindsay herself as she tells a bedtime story to her young son Cole, starting with Cole’s great-great grandfather Captain Harry Colebourne joining the Canadian World War Two effort as a veterinarian. But rather than following Harry, the story follows the young bear cub Harry picks up at a train station that he names after his hometown of Winnipeg, nicknamed Winnie. We tag along with Winnie on her journey from Canada to England, from Harry’s care to the London Zoo, and eventually to her friendship with AA Milne's son Christopher Robin Milne.
Lindsay’s story is told in an intriguing way—having a narrator tell a story to their child from a relative’s point of view, only to find out halfway through that the story follows a different character after all. So it's really two stories back to back and three if you include teh story of the relationship between the mother and the child.! And the language is beautiful, listen to this, "The train rolled right through dinner and over the sunset and around ten o'clock and into a nap and the next day, until it stopped at a place called White River."
The back matter in Finding Winnie is also fantastic—historical photos, notes, record cards—it’s all there to help bring the story to life. It’s a truly wonderful way to show where the inspiration for one of the world’s most beloved children’s characters came from while also exploring deeper themes of history, war, animal care, and family love.
Sophie does a fantastic job of illustrating Winnie’s story with a very natural palette, working with shades of brown, grey, blue, green, pinks, and yellow. Her full spreads of landscapes are truly awe-inspiring showcasing her mastery of portraying near and far distances in a small amount of space, encouraging the idea that readers are really looking out across the countryside.
Here's a wee video show and tell about this wonderful book. For some reason a little bit of the right side is cut off but am working on it. Sigh. Still, I'd love to hear your thoughts about this book and video review. And please share it with your friends.
10. Never Let Them Choose What They Want to Write About – It probably isn’t educational or worth reading if they choose it. Plus you can find 100 cute writing prompts on Pinterest for them.
9. Always make sure everything is spelled correctly and their handwriting is formed perfectly- Even for brainstorming, because you are taking a grade on it.
8. Never let them spend too much time on brainstorming. If they aren’t writing as soon as you give them the prompt they are surely just daydreaming and wasting time.
7. Never let them talk during writing time. (Even if they say it’s about their writing.) If they are discussing their writing with others that’s considered cheating!
6. Never let them look in a book to copy how an author wrote something. They are just being lazy and again… CHEATING!
5. Never give them actual time to write, just assign it and expect them to turn it in tomorrow.
4. Never show them how to write. Just assign it. There isn’t time to show them anything since grammar worksheets take up your entire writing block.
3. Always use a red pen or red sharpie when correcting their papers. And make sure you tell them EVERYTHING that is wrong with their paper. How else are they going to learn if you don’t tell them?
2. Always make sure they follow the writing process: brainstorm, first draft, second draft, final copy. (This guarantees they have recopied it at least three times plus they don't know the difference between revise and edit and there isn't time to show them.)
1. Always give them an exact word or page count of exactly how long their writing should be. If you don’t they will most likely try to write you a poem to avoid doing any real writing.
By Mira Reisberg
Welcome to another wonderful picture book. This one is so good that we are doing a giveaway of it at the bottom. Brilliant author illustrator Lisa Brown’s The Airport Book is a fun-filled read about a family’s airplane trip where the reader is with them every step of the way. One of the best parts of this book is easily the diversity contained on every page but there's so much more. The main family the story follows is biracial, and you can see the rest of the recurring characters come from a wide variety of backgrounds and lifestyles as well. Nearly every page is filled with bright, colorful characters that travel with the main characters throughout the book, giving readers the ability to follow many of their stories as well. Lisa does a wonderful job of capturing the feel and craziness of an airport in the sense that there’s a lot going on and much to see wherever you look. Readers can definitely relate to the multiple characters as they go through security, wait for their flight, and enjoy their ride.
Even though on the surface this book is a simple trip to the airport and travel on a plane story, it holds phenomenal complexity in the multilayered story and images as we visually follow a great cast of characters throughout and the luggage's journey as well where the family's little girl's sock monkey has its own adventures.There's lots to see and love. Children who have never flown on an airplane will love learning what happens when they board a plane and they'll also be fascinated by all the activity and people present at airports. Even well-traveled flyers will look over the pages with remembrance of past trips and want to reread this delightful book over and over again. Lisa Brown does an absolutely wonderful job of depicting the chaotic nature of airports without making it overwhelming.
And now for a quick sneak peek video of this wonderful book and what makes it work followed by our easy peasy Giveaway question:
I'm a huge nonfiction fan, so for today's giveaway, I'd love to hear about your favorite nonfiction picture book and why it's a fave.. :) Also, please share this giveaway with your mates by simply clicking one of the social media icons to the left!
AND WE HAVE A WINNER!! Thank you everyone who answered the giveaway question, we have some lovely recommendations here and I'm absolutely looking forward to reading your favorite nonfiction books as well. It was a very difficult decision to choose just one winner, so I had to ask my assistant to make the final call. Congratulations goes to Claire B Cotts as the winner of our The Airport Book giveaway with her recommendation of The Blood Hungry Spleen, and Other Poems About Our Parts by Allan Wolfe and illustrated by Greg Clark. I looked it up and loved it so much I ordered my own copy, so be sure to check it out! Thank you, Claire!
We are so excited to be mixing things up at CBA, beginning with some delicious additions to the Blogfish. Meet our awesome new bloggers!!
Here's our lineup:
1st Mondays begin with Clear Fork/Spork editor/art director, former agent and former kidlit professor Mira Reisberg PhD who is also the Director of the Children's Book Academy.
2nd Mondays will feature super smart Melissa Stoller whose career is taking off with several new books.
3rd Mondays will feature Bryan Patrick Avery, published writer, man of mystery, and professional magician among other things.
4th Mondays feature funny Aussie author Sharon Giltrow sharing awesome Aussie books.
And 5th Mondays will feature Libyan American author Koloud Tarapolsi sharing wonderful diverse books.