Monday, September 1, 2014

Read This! Picture Books

My Teacher Is a Monster
by Peter Brown

Bobby's teacher is a monster who stomps and roars. One day, Bobby sees his teacher at the park and they end up having a grand adventure. In the end, Bobby is able to see his teacher as a person who is fun in some ways, and with whom he has a few things in common!
Peter Brown, author of You Will Be My Friend! and The Curious Garden (both picture book time favorites around these parts), is hilarious and wonderful yet again. He dedicates this book to misunderstood teachers and misunderstood students. Teachers,
students, and parents will enjoy this story for years!

Friday, August 29, 2014

Read This! NonFiction for Kids

by Lucy Cooke

In Costa Rica, there is a sloth sanctuary named Slothville. Author, zoologist, and photographer (and founder of the Sloth Appreciation Society) Lucy Cooke introduces you to the rules of being a sloth. Many of the residents of Slothville are photographed with facts about their particular situations, and facts about sloths in general.
While it isn't the most informative book on the planet, there are lots of wonderful (and completely adorable) photos of sloths. There are sloths hugging stuffed animals, sloths in party hats, sloths laying around (and hanging around) and sloths hugging each other. Prepare to fall in love with sloths - who knew?

Monday, August 25, 2014

Read This! Easy Readers

Ling & Ting Share a Birthday
by Grace Lin

Ling and Ting are twins, and they are not exactly the same. They like to share with each other and they like to solve problems. This story is five short chapters that revolve around celebrating their birthday together.

Easy readers who are into Henry and Mudge or Gus and Grandpa would be able to read this story. There are 10 to 40 words per page, and no very large vocabulary words. With so many repeats, readers can focus on reading conversations rather than content.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Read This! Picture Books

When Elephant Met Giraffe
by Paul Gude

An elephant meets a giraffe. At first he is offended by the giraffe's lack of response to his banter, but after reading up on giraffes, the elephant understands that the giraffe doesn't speak. They have two other adventures, one in cooking and one with costumes, and in the end, we all learn some powerful lessons!

The story is adorable, the pictures are fun and functional, and kids with a sense of humor will enjoy the giraffe's silent "asides".

Friday, August 22, 2014

Read This! Grades 5-6

by Crystal Chan

Jewel lives in a house filled with silence and secrets. Her grandfather doesn't speak, because his voice inadvertently gave life to the biggest tragedy a family can face. The town avoids Jewel's family, and Jewel avoids the town. One night, she sneaks away from the house and meets a boy in a tree, and that one event starts a summer of uncovering a lot of secrets from her family's past that will directly impact Jewel's future.

Jewel is an effective narrator, and she has an interesting life philosophy. There are issues of race, religion, parenting, science and friendship. If you liked Mockingbird by Kathryn Erksine, The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt or even Wonder by R.J. Palacio, you may really like Bird.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Watch This! Families

We Bought a Zoo
Rated PG, 124 minutes, Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson

Matt Damon plays Benjamin Mee, a widowed father of a teenage boy and a young girl. As an adventurous journalist, he's traveled around the world doing many crazy stunts. He gives up his job to move his family to a new property he bought (on a whim) which is a zoo! He inherits lots of animals, and an eccentric staff, and must pour a lot of his heart, soul, and money into bringing the zoo back to its former glory.

With a supporting cast of Scarlett Johansson, Thomas Haden Church, Patrick Fugit and Elle Fanning, this film has a wonderfully warm family-friendly feel. It's directed by Cameron Crowe (Say Anything, Jerry Maguire), and is a great story that will not disappoint fans of great characters and a feel-good plot.