Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This is the Rope

Submitted by Ms. Brenda!
This Is the Rope by Jacqueline Woodson is a beautifully written story about the journey a piece of rope takes with three generations of girls. The rope is found under the branches of a sweet-smelling pine tree and used as a jump rope by a little girl many, many years ago. Later, when the little girl has grown up, the rope secures her belongings as she and her family move from the deep south to New York City. Throughout the story, the rope ties the past with the present by wending its way from this little girl to her daughter and eventually to her granddaughter. While it becomes a line for drying flowers, a clothesline, a leash for a toy duck, and a skipping rope for making new friends, it remains an attachment to the past with its building memories. The illustrator, James Ransome, has made each page a work of art. Each scene is quietly beautiful and full of details that will capture the attention of both children and their parents. This is a delightful lap book sure to inspire talk of traditions and family unity. See this book listed in our catalog

Monday, September 23, 2013


Submitted by Ms. Allana!
Blackout by John Rocco. It was a normal, hot, and noisy night in the city, and inside everyone was busy. Then the lights went out. ALL of them! At first, it’s a scramble to find candles and flashlights, but then a family comes to realize that there are things they can do together while they wait for the power to be restored. They even go up to the roof to look at the stars, and find that their neighbors are doing the same thing! Then, down to the street they go, where all the activity has changed, and now has to do with the blackout. Street vendors are giving away free treats, like ice cream. Kids are playing in the water from the fire hydrant to stay cool, and some are sitting on the steps playing a guitar and singing. When the lights finally come back on, the children in the story are disappointed because they were having such a good time, and no-one was “busy.” The illustrations are half panel, full page, and strip panel, and really interpret the story very well. See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Everywhere Babies

Submitted by (our newest blogger) Ms. Amy! (Everyone say "Hi Ms. Amy!")
Everywhere Babies is a beautiful celebration of the loving bond shared by babies and families everywhere. Susan Meyers’s gentle, rhyming text, and Marla Frazee’s charming watercolor illustrations depict babies interacting with family, friends, and the world around them. Each page delightfully portrays the many ways that babies eat, sleep, play games, make friends, and have families that love them “just as they are!” One of my favorite things about this book is the inclusive illustrations. Every child will see families that look like their own, with pictures featuring many ethnicities, family sizes, and ages of caregivers. Grown-ups will smile in recognition at the expressions of the babies’ adult companions, which range from adoring to exhausted. This is a sweet lap book that grown-ups will love to share with their favorite little person. See this book listed in our catalog

Friday, September 13, 2013

Farmer John's Tractor

Submitted by Ms. Janis!

Farmer John’s Tractor by Sally Sutton. The winter rains are so persistent that the river has swollen and is now starting to flood. A mother, father, and two children are caught by surprise and stranded in a car at the edge of the river. A few people try to help but find themselves stuck as well. Even the fire engine can't free them from the muck. Farmer John sees all the trouble and goes to get his old tractor that has been locked up in the barn for years. The stranded family is worried that this rusty tractor can't get the job done. The refrain "Farmer John's tractor lies locked in the shed, rusty yet trusty and orangey red" is great for children to "help" read the story, and gives them a hint of what is going to happen next. The rhyming text flows nicely and is easy to read. The artwork tells the story beautifully and fills the pages with soft, delicate, watercolor paintings. This picture book is great as a read-alone or read-aloud story book. See this book listed in our catalog

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus, Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match, and Each Kindess

Submitted by Ms. Tess!
As kids are heading back to school, or heading to school for the first time, it may be appropriate to have conversations about appreciating people's differences, and the value of being kind to one another. It's never too early to learn lessons about independent thinking, problem solving, and self reflection. All of these skills are vital to life success. Start a healthy discussion about these topics with your child with the help of these books:
In Ten Rules You Absolutely Must Not Break if You Want to Survive the School Bus by John Grandits, illustrated by Michael Allen Austin, our hero, Kyle, is riding the bus to school for the very first time. His older brother, James, is a school bus pro, and has helpfully provided Kyle a list of things to definitely NOT do if he doesn't want to get "pounded" by bullies on the bus. But OH NO, within the first 5 minutes of the ride, he's already broken 3 rules! And it just gets worse from there! Or does it? Maybe James doesn't know as much as he thinks he knows about riding the bus. Maybe Kyle doesn't need rule #7: "Never talk to girls." The girl he met on the bus is really nice! And she's the captain of the kick ball team! Maybe Kyle doesn't need any of his brother's rules! Maybe he can survive to school bus all on his own. See this book listed in our catalog
Meet Marisol, the star of Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios. People tell her she doesn't match. She has brown skin, but red hair! She eats peanut butter and jelly burritos! She wears polka dots with stripes! She doesn't see why anything has to be one way or another. What's wrong with writing your name in cursive and print? Where's the harm in playing "soccer pirates" when you can't decide if you want to play soccer or pirates? Her friend Ollie says "Marisol, you couldn't match if you wanted to!" Sounds like a challenge to Marisol. The next day at school, she tries very hard to "match," and finds she doesn't like it much. Marisol learns that it's okay to be different. Being different makes her a very special person. See this book listed in our catalog
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis, takes a more serious approach to the theme of independent thinking. It's a very deep and contemplative book about a girl named Chloe, and a girl named Maya. Maya is the new girl at school. Right away everyone notices that Maya's clothes are tattered, her coat doesn't zip, and she's wearing spring shoes in winter. When she sits in her seat next to Chloe, she smiles at Chloe. Chloe does not smile back. When Maya asks if Chloe and her friends want to play with her, they say no. They call her "Never New" because her clothes and toys are all obviously second hand. This continues throughout the year. One day Maya doesn't come to school. That's the day their teacher, Ms. Albert, gives a lesson on kindness. She brings a big bowl of water to class. She drops one stone in the water. The children see how one small pebble makes a ripple effect across the whole bowl of water. Kindness is like that. One simple act of kindness can have a ripple effect that could change the world! Ms. Albert gives all the children a stone and asks them to drop it in the water while saying a nice thing that they have done recently. Chloe can't think of a single thing. She immediately feels terrible for not showing kindness to Maya when she had the chance, plenty of chances at that. She vows that the next time she sees Maya, she will smile back. But what if Maya doesn't come back to school? See this book listed in our catalog
All of these books are great conversation starters for your school aged child. Reading books like these reinforces values of thinking for yourself, solving problems on your own, being nice to everyone, and reflecting on things you've already done. Nurturing these skills will help prepare our children for a life time of tolerance, resilience, and, most importantly, happiness.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great

Submitted by Ms. Jill!
Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea. From the author of the Dinosaur Vs books and I’m a Shark comes this story of a magical, sparkly, talented Unicorn, and one very jealous Goat. Goat just can’t STAND Unicorn! Unicorn seems to be better at everything: when Goat feels cool riding his bike to school… Unicorn flies to school. When Goat makes crispy treats… Unicorn makes it rain cupcakes! Unicorn’s better at magic tricks and dancing, too. Poor Goat! But wait… can Goat do some special things of his own? And is Unicorn really as stuck-up as Goat thinks? Maybe, just maybe, Unicorn actually wishes he could be more like Goat. Maybe, just maybe, Goat and Unicorn could turn out to be pretty great friends. See this book listed in our catalog

Tuesday, September 3, 2013


Submitted by Ms. Carol!
Ribbit! by Rodrigo Folgueira is a story about a family of frogs and a little pink pig. One day the frogs discover a little pig sitting on a rock in their pond. They try to talk to the pig, and ask him what they can do for him, and the little pig just answers "Ribbit!" The frogs don't know what to do. They think that maybe the pig thinks he is a frog. The little pig just sits there saying "Ribbit!" The news spreads, and soon all the animals are rushing to the pond to see the little pig who thinks he is a frog. They are all trying to figure out just why the pig is here and why he would want to be a frog. They have no luck, so they decide to go ask the wise old beetle. The wise old beetle goes to the pond, but when he arrives, the little pig is gone. They all wonder where he went and what he wanted. The wise old beetle suggests that maybe he just wanted to make new friends. The animals hadn't thought of that. They all feet bad and go looking for the little pig. They find him high up in a tree with lots of birds, saying "Tweet!" All the other animals join the birds and the little pig up in the tree, and they all say "Tweet!" and little pig is surrounded by new friends! See this book listed in our catalog
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