Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Popcorn Astronauts and Other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell illustrated by Joan Rankin

Happy World Read Aloud Day!  That's right today is the day we celebrate the joy and importance of reading aloud to children.  I love the idea of this day because I truly believe that reading aloud to children will help them become readers when they grow up.  To all those who love to read to children I salute you......

In honor of the day I was going to recommend some great read aloud picture books....but then I thought that is usually what I do anyway.  My blog is filled with books that I know would make a great read aloud. I decided to do something a bit different---at least to me.  I am not recommending a picture book per-se but a poetry book.  This was one of the Cybils finalists in poetry that I was privileged to judge.  While it didn't ultimately win it still has great merit and distinction.

Popcorn Astronauts and other Biteable Rhymes by Deborah Ruddell and illustrated by Joan Rankin is one of the most fun books I have recently read.  This is such a quirky and lively book that it begs to be read aloud.  This would be a fun story time book with a group of children because there are so many possibilities.  If I was still running a story time I would bring in all kinds of foods---as mentioned in the book and do all sorts of projects.  The popcorn itself is either a great snack or project source.  I also think children need to hear poetry as it helps the creative mind.  

This is a must have poetry book......

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Just a Lucky So and So The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome Illustrated by James E. Ransome

I was visiting my sister this past weekend when I saw a new book on her coffee table.  She is friends with Lesa Cline-Ransome who had given her a copy of her new book about Louis Armstrong.

While my baby nephew was dancing and singing around the room I read this really great picture book biography.

Just a Lucky So and So The Story of Louis Armstrong by Lesa Cline-Ransome and illustrated by James E. Ransome is a new picture book biography of one of my favorite musicians. I love how right from the very first page we sense the joy that is Louis Armstrong.  Even though he grew up poor it never took away his natural exuberance.  He had such  a fascinating and storied life and career.  This book has a beautiful flow that makes it very readable in a lyrical way.  I love how the illustrations match the vision of this bigger than life iconic figure.  This is a great book for children to learn about the history of music in America. It would be great to read at a story time with Louis Armstrong music playing in the background.   It is a must have for any library and child's bookshelf. 

Monday, February 15, 2016

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton

The winner of the 2015 Cybils were announced yesterday.  The winner was the book Flutter and Hum: Aleteo Y Zumbido by Julie Paschkis which I blogged about last October.  It is a wonderful book with great potential.

Full Cicada Moon by Marilyn Hilton was one of the finalists for  Cybils 2015.  As with all the finalists we discussed this book at length.  This is a verse novel set in 1969.  A historical novel that at sometimes felt more prose than poetry.  Still it is very good read that has a lot going for it.  This is a book that makes for a great discussion about diversity.  It is the story of a girl with an African-American father and a Japanese mother who  has to deal with not only two different cultures at home but feeling different in her new school.  Not only are there race issues but gender issues as well.  The main character Mimi wants to be an astronaut but is basically scoffed at because she is a girl. The issues of not fitting in and being true to oneself is still very relevant in today's world.  Ms Hilton's words convey the inner feelings of her characters beautifully.  I enjoyed getting to know each and every one of them.  This is a great read for middle grade readers ages 9-12.  It should help to foster discussion at home and in the classroom.