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Jack

Jack is stuck at home with the measles, but he is still up for adventure. When his mother insists that he rest and takes away his television and game privileges, he is stuck with books–his least favorite things. Imagination, however, is stronger than even Jack realizes, and soon he finds himself lost in one world after another as he gazes out his window. Will Jack put two and two together and figure out what his teachers knew all along?

Jack, written by Norman Whaler and illustrated by Nina Mkhoiani, stresses the importance of books and the impact they have on our lives without ever stating it outright. Whaler uses Jack to demonstrate the effect stories have on children and how, when instruction is administered effectively, they never truly realize how much they are learning. The way in which Whaler uses the changing clouds to spark Jack’s imagination is quite ingenious. The illustrations by Mkhoiani are vibrant and eye-catching and convey the story line well.

I recommend this short children’s picture book to any teacher in grades K-3 who wants to impress upon students the fantastic wealth of information that can be found in books. This quick read would make a wonderful read-aloud to kick off the new school year.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B07B2DNQPX

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A New Alphabet for Humanity

A New Alphabet for Humanity : A Children's Book of Alphabet Words to Inspire Compassion, Kindness and Positivity by [Leesa McGregor , Daniela Sosa ]

A New Alphabet for Humanity is an inspiring children’s picture book that introduces kids to new ideas and concepts by using encouraging and uplifting words. The book goes through each letter in the alphabet, gives the letter along with an accompanying explanation, a beautiful image to reinforce the message, and a short description of the words meaning. All of these words come together to encourage children to think globally, socially, and positively.

Leesa McGregor introduces young readers to new words, some may be beyond their reading level, but not beyond their comprehension. This wonderful children’s book will inspire kids to think about new ideas, and give them a vocabulary for ideas they may already have and just don’t know how to express. The short but impactful descriptions of the word’s meaning are helpful, not just for children, but also for the adults that may be reading this book with their children. The illustrations by Daniela Sosa are bright, colorful, and focused on action which helps to keep kids engaged. The cute smiling faces of diverse children scattered throughout this book were to numerous to count. I think this is a better way to teach children about the alphabet. Instead of Apple, Cat, and Dog. Leesa McGregor uses empowering words like Abundance, Bravery, and Compassion. These are words that children have to think about more deeply, and because of that, the words and letters will stick much easier.

I have never read a book that embraced humanity with such positivity before. It’s refreshing seeing it accomplished so magnificently for young readers. This is a book for children, parents, teachers, and anyone looking for a new, empowering, alphabet.

Pages: 34 | ASIN: B089ZGG6NM

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Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K

Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K.: TMS’ Guide to Managing Accepting Strengthening Keystones by [Regina Christian-Massey, Teacher Mod Squad, Sandra T. Alexander]

Co-teaching is when two teachers collaborate in order to better serve the student needs in a classroom. As is to be expected, both teachers will have different styles. They will have different opinions and visions for their teaching outcomes. It is therefore expected that both teachers will disagree with each other from time to time. Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K. is a guide to ensure that it remains a collaborative effort despite a difference of opinion and vision. This book helps people in a co-teaching situation to properly utilize and use everyone’s talents, expertise, and styles in a way that best benefits the class.

Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K. is very useful for teachers who are already certified and those yet to receive their final push into the field. Teachers for when they find themselves sharing a space with another teacher. Prospective educators for when the time comes for them to practice in co-teaching situations. This book shows you the correct way to respect and value another person’s opinion and style without discrediting or being cavalier about it. It teaches the value of a partner in a co-teaching situation. You learn about your role and the role of your partner. Knowing your role in a partnership means that you can better meet the expectations of your partner and have them meet yours. It makes it easier to carry your part of the load.

This book is very clear. It has proper examples of situations that you might be handling wrong. It is also very practical. The author’s experience and ability are seen clearly through the way the message and subject matter are conveyed. These are two very important qualities in a guide book especially one that covers such an expertise-based profession.

Co-Teaching: The Professional Behind the M.A.S.K. is very relevant for co-teaching professionals, but some of the tips can be applied to other types of partnerships. Respect for each other and appreciation of the differences between each are the building blocks of a good successful partnership. The author understands this and it is clearly seen in this book. Many stars for the sheer simplicity of this book. The author does not make it too complicated. The seriousness and importance of the subject matter are well conveyed by the tone and voice of the book.

Pages: 94 | ASIN: B07ZQYJW33

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From Tree to Twelve

 

 

 

From Tree to Twelve by Dr. Quooz is an adorable counting book for children that follows a little boy and his monkey friend as they count from one to twelve on a road trip adventure. This book immediately captured my child’s attention with its bright colors and cute monkey. This educational children’s book becomes more than a simple counting book by showing kids how these numbers come together in simple math equations. Throughout the book kids are given examples of numbers, how they appear in our lives, and gives them bright objects to count.

The book is written in a way that is easily understandable by younger children and makes it a fun read. Additionally, it is beautifully illustrated and grabs the attention of children. Not only does this book teach valuable math skills, it can also help develop other areas of thinking. For instance, teachers and parents could use this book to teach about various colors, explore words, or even use it as a jumping-off point to teach about time. Overall, I would highly recommend this book for children, parents, and teachers.

Pages: 15 | ASIN: B07PPTR8CN

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Hurtsy: The Harrowed Hedgehog

Hurtsy: The Harrowed Hedgehog by [Graves, Cindy]

Hurtysy is dealing with a unique hedgehog problem. Anyone that touches her gets hurt by her quills. And because of this, Hurtsy is sad and feels bad. In this story Hurtsy meets several animals that are hurting one another and Hurtsy wants to show them how to love, but she can’t because of her sharp quills. Hurtsy must use some bravery and ingenuity to solve this prickly problem.

Every page of this wonderful children’s book is artistically drawn and each piece of art is bright and colorful and fits the tone of the story. Throughout the story Hurtsy is followed by a thought bubble which shows her inner feeling; which is often different from what she is showing to others. I thought this was a unique way to show kids how sometimes our external appearance hides our internal emotions. I really like how this book was able to help kids visualize a complex idea like this.

The story is told in rhyme which flows nicely. The words are easy to understand, but this is a book that adults will want to read to kids because of the aforementioned complex emotional ideas delivered in this book. Sometimes it’s not easy to discern the thoughts from the person as Hurtsy interacts with her own thought bubble.

This is a very cute story that delivers an important message in a unique way. I recommend this book to anyone who wants to teach their kids about emotions, talking about them, learning tough lessons, and reconciling differences between people.

Pages: 26 | ASIN: B07D734LK3

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Tilly and Torg – New Kids At School

Tilly and Torg - New Kids At School by [Crawley, Connie Goyette]

Tilly and Torg New Kids at School is a wonderful children story about two monsters that are intrigued by a yellow school bus out their window and decide to find out where it’s taking all the children. They soon find out that the bus is going to a place called school. Tilly and Torg meet many nice people at school learn all about the things that go on there.

This is a wonderful children’s story to read to any child that is starting school and worried, or interested in, what happens there. As Tilly and Torg go through a full day of school they, like many kindergarteners, find themselves surprised and confused at some of the things that go on, but all the while they are open minded and ask questions. The art in this book is cute and filled with hidden gems, like the book Tilly and Torg carry around “Monster Rule Book For Living With Humans”, that beg for a second read through. The books is suitable for new readers or for parents to read to children as the art will keep the kids plenty busy as parents read them the story.

Although the art was cute and fitting, I thought the text could have been bigger or bold, which would have helped it stand out more when the text was on top of the images. This story offers so many opportunities for parents to discuss the different aspects of school with their kids. I didn’t realize that going to school comes with its own lingo; like ‘lost and found’ or ‘time for the bell’, and this book helps explain what these terms mean. At the end of the book is a little quiz that helps with reading comprehension and there is also a vocabulary list that is helpful for kids to review.

With beautiful art, cute monsters, and an easy to understand story, I think this book is a must read for any child that is about to start school.

Pages: 24 | ASIN: B07H52WP2V

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Something Spectacular

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

B.C.R. Fegan Author Interview

The Day that A Ran Away is an adorably witty story about the letters of the alphabet deciding not to show up. Do you write your stories with children in mind first, or parents and teachers?

I always write my stories to be enjoyed by children first. Even though the book has a primary purpose of teaching the alphabet to children, I wanted it to be fun – something they would enjoy reading.

This is a very cute idea, how did this idea develop and change as you were developing the story?

I really began the story with the idea of making a simple concept picture book into something more of an adventure. Thankfully the first few lines of the book came together quite quickly which made the presentation of the alphabet a bit more straightforward. Essentially, Jet is caught by his teacher without his homework – something that students are prone to do at some point of their school life. However Jet’s excuse is quite imaginative as he talks about each letter’s frustrating escape.

It may sound strange, but with the trajectory of the story in place, the story actually flowed quite well. In the end there weren’t any major changes required. I know – bit of a boring story!

The art, as always, is very good. What was the art direction you wanted in this book?

I think my biggest priority was having all the scenes linked together as Jet walks to school. So each page connects with the last and foreshadows the one to come. In addition, I wanted each character to be made up of a color that begins with its respective letter (ever heard of Xanadu Gray), and for there to be a number of objects in the illustration that begins with the same letter for children to find.

Overall, I described each scene to Lenny and she turned them into something spectacular. She even added a few of her own Easter eggs which was fantastic! I’m very lucky to have an illustrator that not only understands my thinking, but knows my entire approach.

I loved how each letter has its own look and feel. Was this something that you brainstormed with Lenny Wen or did you already have ideas for each letter?

I agree, the letters came out looking great! No, all credit belongs to Lenny for the look and personalities of each letter. The only direction I had in this respect was the color of each letter and the basic anthropomorphic requirement. Lenny came back with the idea of giving each letter a connection to something children could identify (i.e. ‘A’ being an astronaut), as well as an emotion (‘arrogant’).

Author Links: GoodReads | Twitter | Website

The Day That A Ran Away by [Fegan, B.C.R.]Master Jet has forgotten to complete his homework… or has he? Jet’s teacher is surprised to find that instead of the alphabet, his page is completely blank. Jet tries to explain that it really isn’t his fault. After all, how can he help it, if none of his letters want to stay on the page!

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Because…come on…they’re AWESOME!

Ellie Collins Author Interview

Ellie Collins Author Interview

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful follows young Daisy as she struggles to fit in at school and finds help from an unlikely friend. What was your inspiration for this story?

Well, Persephone is my favorite Greek goddess, so I knew I wanted a story featuring her. And, to me, Persephone’s story is all about standing up for yourself. I wanted the moral of my story to match the moral of Persephone’s story, so I came up with D.J. I didn’t want it to be mistaken for a book about bullying, though, so I wanted to put D.J. in a situation where she needed to stand up for herself, but not because she was going up against a “bad guy”.

There is a unique infusion of Greek mythology in this book. Why did you want to use that theme throughout the book?

Like I said, I knew I wanted to write books about the Greek gods, because…come on…they’re AWESOME! I didn’t want my books to feel like historical stories, though, so I came up with a way to bring up the stories of the Greek gods while actually writing about kids living today.

I liked Daisy’s character, and I felt she was relatable. Did you plan her character before writing or did she develop organically while writing?

So, the first thing I did was come up with a god to write about: Persephone. Then I wrote an outline to the story. THEN I wrote up character descriptions for all the characters. A lot of my characters share names with people I know in my real life. Some of the character personalities match those of the people they’re named after and some are different than the real people. D.J. wasn’t named after anybody I know; she’s just made up. I would say all the characters developed a little more as I wrote the story, but they all started off with pretty detailed character descriptions. That was actually the hardest part of writing the book – coming up with the back story and personalities for everyone. I tried to include at least one fact about each character that the readers never find out – just to try to make them really real, know what I mean?

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

Funny that you should ask that! The second book in the series is Mylee In The Mirror, and it’s available AS OF TODAY! This book is about Aphrodite. I’m really excited about this book because it has TWO main characters, Mylee and one of her best friends and teammates, Ty (Tyson). I was nervous about writing about older kids (the main characters are in the ninth grade, and I’ve obviously never been in the ninth grade before – it was easier with Daisy, Bold & Beautiful, because I was the same age as D.J. when I wrote it). I was also nervous about writing from the perspective of a guy, but writing about Ty was super fun and I might even make my next main character a guy!

Author Links: GoodReads | Ellie’s Mom’s Twitter Account | FacebookWebsite

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful by [Collins, Ellie]D.J. and her dad moved far from the small town and only home she ever knew. Now she’s starting middle school in the city with kids she’s never met. She tries to make friends, but they all appear to be slaves to screen time. D.J. just likes to garden, nurturing plants, watching them grow and thrive. It seems she’ll never find a way to fit in, but then she awakens in a gorgeous garden where she meets Persephone, Goddess of Spring. She must be dreaming; her new friend can’t possibly be real—and what could she know about getting along with gamers? D.J. really needs some ideas, or she might never find her own place in a complicated world.

Daisy, Bold & Beautiful is the debut novel of middle-schooler Ellie Collins, daughter of award-winning author Stephanie Collins. Boys and girls alike will appreciate Ellie’s keen eye for the challenges of growing up that she and her friends must face. Discover the wonderful writing of Ellie now, then follow her to learn about her writing and more books to come.

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