Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Review: The Little Linebacker

Title: The Little Linebacker: A Story of Determination
Author: Stephen Tulloch and Maria Dismondy
Illustrator: Heather Heyworth
Publisher: Cardinal Rule Press
Pages: 32
Review copy: Final copy from author
Availability: June 1, 2016

Summary: Stephen is a little kid with big dreams of playing football. The odds are against him when he is tested and faced with challenges. This is a story of a boy who worked hard to defy the odds and become a leader.

Review: The Little Linebacker has a message, actually a few messages: Dream big dreams, work hard, study hard, and believe in yourself. There is a story here, but it is pretty much a message driven book. That said, I think children will enjoy seeing the dream and journey that led young Stephen Tulloch to the NFL. This is a dream many young readers share or at least can relate to in some way.

This is meant to be inspiring and I think it will succeed there. It will encourage young readers to stick with their dreams. It's a feel good book and will bring smiles to the faces of young football fans.

I appreciated the inclusion of Stephen's visits to the nursing home where his mother worked. It's always great to see inter-generational relationships in picture books.

Recommendation: The Little Linebacker will be a nice addition to a library especially if you have children with an interest in football. This book will be great with our preschool Super Bowl unit and will be useful for any teacher wanting to encourage perseverance.

Extras: 
 


Reader's Guide

Monday, May 23, 2016

Review: The Seven Princesses

Title: The Seven Princesses
Author: Smiljana Čoh
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Pages: 40
Review copy: Final copy from publisher
Availability: May 24, 2016

Goodreads Summary: Once upon a time, there were seven princess sisters who did everything together, from horseback riding to jumping in royal leaf piles to throwing legendary piñata parties. But one day, they had the biggest fight in the entire history of princess fighting. There was no worse sound than the sound of this fight. Will the sisters ever find a way to fill their kingdom with sounds of laughter and playing again?

Princesses of all sizes will royally delight in this modern-day fairy tale of sibling rivalry, adventure, and unconditional sisterly love.

My thoughts: Princess books are in high demand in my library, but I don't read all of them. Many seem to just sparkle and spread the color pink through the world and seem very much like all of the others. The Seven Princesses is a breath of fresh air. There is pink, but it's not all about pink. There is sweetness and light, but there is also a bit of gray and sadness. These seven princesses are unique and have distinct interests. One even enjoys math and building.

The illustrations have an old-fashioned feeling and are very fun.  The characters are comic types, but the backgrounds are not. I like that little contrast. The front cover has pastels, but there are a wide variety of colors in many of the layouts. Overall, it's a bright and cheerful book except for during the time of conflict.

The conflict centers around how the siblings are bothering each other. Any reader with a sibling can relate to that type of situation. Those readers who without siblings can still relate to conflict happening between the people you are with every single day.

Recommendation: This will be a wonderful book to hand those readers who gobble up princess books. Adults reading with younger readers will likely enjoy this princessy book that doesn't follow the typical formula they may have experienced one too many times. It's imaginative and quirky. I'll enjoy sharing it with my students.

Want to know more? Visit other posts on the blog tour:
5/18 Anastasia Suen
5/20 Kid Lit Frenzy
5/21 Mom Read It 
5/24 Unpacking the POWER of Picture Books

Sunday, May 22, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Week on the Blogs: 
 A review of Enchanted Air at Rich in Color

Celebrating the Ability to Move
Last Week in Books: 
This was an excellent week of reading. I had been waiting to get to The Raven King and it finally arrived. I wanted to brush up on the past books and found these excellent recaps written by Maggie Stiefvater. If you've read the books, you should go read the recaps right now even if you don't need to because they are hilarious. The Raven King was all that it should be and I loved the entire series. The audio is sure to be fabulous too. I listened to the first two and the narrator is wonderful.

I listened to A New Hope: The Princess, the Scoundrel, and the Farmboy. The audio was enhanced with sound effects and the story was well told showing the three different perspectives. I have the book in our library, but I think I'm going to track down the audio too because it would be very popular.

Death by Toilet Paper was amusing but also had serious themes. The main character is going through grief, has a grandparent who appears to be developing dementia, and his family is going through financial difficulties. I really enjoyed the way the author balanced the light moments with the tough ones.

Reading The Shepherd's Crown was poignant because it was Terry Pratchett's final book. Knowing that made it harder to read. He was a bright spot in our world and he'll be missed. I love the Tiffany Aching books and had thought I Shall Wear Midnight was the last one so I was excited to find out about this one. Like the others, it is both amusing and serious. It deals with gender roles and helping others. It wasn't as polished as the previous books because Pratchett died before finishing the edits, but it was still a fantastic story.

Child of Spring is a contemporary middle grade book about a girl living in India. Basanta and her mother are servants in the home of a wealthy family. Basanta's story is an interesting one though I didn't enjoy this one as much as the author's earlier book Garden of My Imaan.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge - 283/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2016 - 141/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
LGBTQIA Challenge - 13/31
ReadPOC Challenge - 101/125
#MustReadin2016 - 20/54
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - 61/10
Around the World with Books 2016

The Coming Week: 
I'm listening to Daring Greatly in my car and Olive's Ocean on my phone. I started The Gifts of Imperfection in paperback. I'm not sure if it's wise to listen to one Brené Brown book while reading the other, but they both came at the same time and I actually don't have any other library books checked out right now so that's what I started.

My youngest child will graduate at the end of the week and we'll have a houseful of relatives so I'm not sure how much reading will happen, but it should be an interesting week either way. Happy reading!

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Celebrating the Ability to Move



Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.


I'm celebrating the ability to move. For Mother's Day I was given a new running watch. I wore it for our school Fun Run on Friday morning and forgot to take it off. Later, I was sitting at the computer and noticed that it said, "Move!" on the screen. I'm not sure how much time it allows one to be sedentary before it fusses, but I had obviously exceeded that amount. It also counts my steps. I didn't realize it had these extra functions. Surprise. :)

Since the Turkey Trot in November, I've run only a handful of times and never more than once in a week. I hadn't gotten back into the groove of running. This week was the breakthrough week though. I ran four times! The runs were never particularly far, but I was out and moving once again.

Yay for moving! Now I can be a part of #RunTeacherRun again. They're a great Twitter group that shares about their running lives.

Sunday, May 15, 2016

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journeys. Jen Vincent over at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee Moye from Unleashing Readers decided to put a children's and YA spin on it and they invite anyone with an interest to join in. You can participate by creating your post then visit one of their sites to add your site. Finally, visit at least three participant blogs and comment to spread the love.

If you want to know more about what I am reading, visit me at my Goodreads shelf. Images via Goodreads unless otherwise noted.

Last Week on the Blogs:

At Rich in Color - YA Pura Belpré Titles 


Last Week in Reading: 

See No Color was an excellent find. Alex is a biracial teen who was adopted into a white family. She is beginning to question some of the attitudes around race that she experiences from her family and others. The internal and external dialogue around race is valuable. I loved this review by Sarah Hannah Gómez. It's cool to have an adopted character written by an author who was also transracially adopted.

Ack, I am running out of time to talk about all of the titles. The other two that really stand out are the nonfiction titles. Pride: Celebrating Diversity & Community was a wonderful middle grade nonfiction title looking at the history and the shaping of Pride celebrations. The photos are fantastic and the information is delivered conversationally so it's an easy read. Maybe Something Beautiful is the story of a community beautifying their public spaces. It's illustrated by one of the people the story is about too, Rafael Lopez. That makes it a little magical.

The Coming Week: 

These books are coming my way and I will start at least a few of them. I also have Death by Toilet Paper on my shelf here at home. I wish you a wonderful week of reading.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge - 278/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2016 - 140/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
LGBTQIA Challenge - 13/31
ReadPOC Challenge - 100/125
#MustReadin2016 - 19/54
Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge - 61/10
Around the World with Books 2016

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Celebrate!



Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

This picture makes me smile.
 
I'm in an strange mood today. I've had alternating moments of peace and grumpiness for no apparent reason. I'm here celebrating anyway. Here are some of the things I can celebrate:

-my son is home for a few days
-senior year (high school) for our youngest is almost complete
-things are winding down at school & my list of things to do is getting shorter
-it's cold outside, but I'm snug inside
-I have hot tea
-senior announcements have all been mailed
-my husband is doing the grocery shopping today

I still have the urge to growl about a few things, but fortunately this is a celebration post so you all don't have to listen my grumbles. I'll continue to focus on the positives and wish you a wonderful weekend.

some more cheerful sunshine flowers

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge



Alyson Beecher over at Kid Lit Frenzy hosts a Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge and has a roundup every Wednesday. I love the encouragement to explore more nonfiction. My plan is to read at least 100 nonfiction picture books this year. So far, I've read 58 this year.

Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America's Sproutings by Pat Mora
illustrated by Rafael López

Summary from author's page

Smear nutty butter,
then jelly. Gooey party,
my sandwich and me.

Peanuts, blueberries, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, and more-here is a luscious collection of haiku celebrating foods native to the Americas. Brimming with imagination and fun, these poems capture the tasty essence of foods that have delighted, united, and enriched our lives for centuries. Exuberant illustrations bring to life the delicious spirit of the haiku, making Yum! ¡Mmm! ¡Qué Rico! America's Sproutings an eye-popping, mouth-watering treat. Open it and dig in!



An interview with Pat Mora about this book in particular and the need for diverse books.

My thoughts: This is a beautiful book combining two things I really enjoy - food and poety. The haiku are fun and I really appreciated learning the history of these indigenous foods. The artwork is vibrant and gorgeous. I look forward to sharing this with students.
 
Fresh Delicious: Poems from the Farmers' Market by Irene Latham
illustrated by Mique Moriuchi

Goodreads summary: In these vivid poems, blueberries are “flavor-filled fireworks,” cucumbers are “a fleet of green submarines in a wicker sea,” lettuce tastes like “butter and pepper and salt,” but sometimes “I crunch into a leaf the very same flavor as rain.” The unexpected, ingenious imagery and enticing artwork in this collection will inspire the imaginations of young readers, and show how poetry can be as fresh and delicious as the farmers’ market produce it celebrates.

My thoughts:  Fresh delicious is another wonderful pairing of food and poetry. The poems and illustrations are playful and full of life. The addition of adorable animals is also a plus. I think this book is a great way to get young readers excited about fruits and veggies. I appreciated the inclusion of recipes.