Thursday, January 21, 2016

Nonfiction Fun

When it’s time to prepare for ordering books, I love exploring all of the new nonfiction books. Publishers have been putting a lot more effort into developing quality nonfiction for children, especially for emergent readers. (Whatever you think of the Common Core, this is definitely one advantage of that focus!) Today I’m featuring several nonfiction books we recently added to our collection.

How It Works: The Internet

Written by Meg Greve

This book is an excellent introduction to how the Internet works for young readers. How It Works: The Internet explains in easy-to-understand language what the Internet is and how information is carried over the Internet from a website’s server to your home computer. (In fact, I’d even recommend this book to adults who want a very basic explanation of how everything fits together.) All vocabulary is clearly explained, with plenty of diagrams to aid understanding. All of the standard nonfiction elements are present, as well (table of contents, diagrams with labels, captions, a glossary, and index, etc.), making it a good choice for teaching about nonfiction.

Machines at Work: Motorcycles

Written by Allan Morey

I am always looking for books about machines, as well as books I can recommend to our Kindergarten students, and Machines at Work: Motorcycles fits the bill. Written with just a few short sentences on each two-page spread, it brings a very popular topic to an emergent reader accessible level. As an additional benefit, the pictures feature both male and female riders, which will make the book more appealing to all readers.

Dangerous Jobs: Animal Trainer

Written by Patrick Perish

Dangerous Jobs: Animal Trainer is written at a somewhat higher reading level than the first two books I shared, but it is sure to be a popular selection. Perish shares many different aspects of an animal trainer’s job: what types of things animal trainers do, what they need to do to become animal trainers, and the danger they often face. The book also includes many of the standard nonfiction text features, such as glossary, index, etc.

Amazing Origami: Origami Bugs

Written by Catherine Ard

Out of the top 20 most circulated nonfiction books for the 2014-2015 school year, 6 of them were origami books. Origami, the Japanese art of paperfolding, is extremely popular with our students, so, of course, when I saw that Amazing Origami: Origami Bugs got a great review from one of School Library Journal’s reviewers, I knew I had to order it for our collection. The book starts with an explanation of the basic folds of origami, and then gives clear, well-illustrated, step-by-step instructions on how to make six different origami bugs. This is sure to be a hit with my origami-loving crew!

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Children Make Terrible Pets

Children Make Terrible Pets

Written and Illustrated by Peter Brown

How many parents out there have had to convince their child that, no, we cannot keep “insert unusual critter here” as a pet? Whether it’s the frog Sally found down by the pond, or the caterpillar Billy found while climbing the tree in the back yard, many children go through a stage where they want an unusual pet.

Children Make Terrible Pets is the perfect story for just those times. When Lucy the Bear discovers Squeaker, she works hard to convince her mom to let her keep Squeaker, a human child, as a pet. Lucy’s mom’s initial response is, “Don’t you know children make terrible pets?”, but Lucy finally convinces her. At first, things go really well, and Lucy has a lot of fun with her new pet; she soon discovers, however, that things aren’t perfect. When Squeakers eventually disappears, Lucy searches all over to find him. When she does, she realizes that he belongs with his family, and that children really do make terrible pets.

The fun story and entertaining illustrations make this a book to share with your favorite child(ren). I’m looking forward to sharing it with our Dutch Neck students!

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Ben Rides On and Ben Draws Trouble

Ben Rides On and Ben Draws Trouble

Written and Illustrated by Matt Davies

Pulitzer Prize-winning cartoonist Matt Davies has ventured into the world of picture books with two strong entries, Ben Rides On and Ben Draws Trouble.

In Ben Rides On, we meet Ben Lukin, who has just received a brand new bike. This “bicycle of his dreams” allows him to take more scenic routes to school every day. The bike also attracts the attention of school bully, Adrian Underbite. After Adrian steals Ben’s bike, Ben later finds his bike, which has been badly damaged, and Adrian, who is in a dangerous situation. Ben does the right thing and helps Adrian, only to be rewarded by Adrian disappearing with the bike again; however, the ending’s twist is sure to warm the reader’s heart.

Ben Draws Trouble lets us learn a little more about Ben, particularly that he loves to draw, and that he’s actually pretty good at it. That ability leads to some potential trouble with his teacher, Mr. Upright, after Ben loses his sketchbook. Instead of punishing Ben, however, Mr. Upright allows him to use his abilities in a more productive manner.

Both of these books are highly entertaining, and I hope there will be more books featuring Ben in the future!

New Book Highlights

One of the many fun parts of my job is getting to read all of the new books that come into the DNE media center. I'm so excited about many of the books we received in our most recent shipment! My next few posts (including today's) are going to highlight some of those books, so be sure to check them out!!

If Kids Ruled the World

Author: Linda Bailey
Illustrator: David Huyck

Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if kids were in charge? I know life certainly seemed simpler when I was a child, and in working with elementary school students on a daily basis, I often wonder if we’ve made life more complicated than it really needs to be.
 If Kids Ruled the World gives a humorous, beautifully illustrated, look at what the world would be like if kids started making the rules. For instance,

“If kids ruled the world,every day would be your birthday! Birthday cake would be good for you. Your doctor would say,“Don’t forget to eat your birthday cakeso you’ll grow up strong and healthy!” I could get on board with that – don’t we as adults often joke that food has no calories on certain special occasions? I think the most important part of this book is the reminder of how important a role play has in children’s lives, and how it should continue to be a part of our lives even as adults. Why is it that there’s this unwritten rule that, once we reach a certain age (and I still haven’t figured out exactly what age it is), play is no longer acceptable? Play, fun, and laughter are all important parts of a healthy life, even for those of us living with the daily stresses of life. What could this world become if we all took a little more time to play?