August 7, 2013



   I say "Oh, yes, Yes!" along with Penelope in LYNN PLOURDE'S latest book, YOU'RE WEARING THAT TO SCHOOL?! 
     Penelope, the hippo knows exactly how she wants to approach her first day of school until her older, wiser friend, Tiny tells her the importance of blending in.  YOU'RE WEARING THAT TO SCHOOL?! boldly addresses embracing uniqueness and what might happen if you stand out from the crowd.  Will Penelope ignore or follow the advice given to her by her seasoned friend? Illustrator, SUE CORNELISON brings to life LYNN'S characters with playfulness and dynamic expression.  The juxtaposition of size, age, and personality make this book a stand-out just like Penelope!
 I give this book 5 apples, top of the barrel. LYNN's exuberance for word play and writing children's books along with her public school work as a speech and language pathologist makes this a must read for the start of the year, every year.

     YOU'RE WEARING THAT TO SCHOOL?! is a 32 page picture book perfect for the starting school for the first time or changing schools.  Ages 5 through 8 will enjoy this story, especially girls.  The themes are friendship, uniqueness, fitting-in, peer pressure, starting school or a new school, and being yourself. It will make a great book for your classroom or the library.

 If you want to find out more about author LYNN PLOURDE check out her website at:Lynn's Website.  YOU'RE NOT WEARING THAT TO SCHOOL?! is published by Disney/Hyperion and is available at Barnes and Noble, online and through your local independent bookseller as a hardback book.


August 6, 2013



      A sink your teeth into the perfect picture book for back to school, NUGGET & FANG by award winning author, TAMMI SAUER.  NUGGET & FANG is a delightful story about best friends and their differencesTAMMI tells the story of childhood innocence and the busting of innocence through the clever characters of a shark and a minnow, natural enemies.   The sweet humor woven into the story makes Fang a lovable, endearing hunk of a shark who tries time and time again to get his point across to Nugget and his school of fishy friends.  The illustrations by Michael Slack are colorful, whimsical, impactful and bring the under the sea adventure to life. The sense of place, characters, and emotions will please kids.  

 I give this book 5 apples, outstanding.TAMMI has the ability to create lovable, memorable  characters. A former teacher and librarian, TAMMI knows kids and they will relate.

     This 40 page picture book is for children pre-school through early elementary ages.  It has high appeal for boys and girls.  The themes in the book are friends, school, peer pressure, loss, stereotyping, prejudice. A wonderful addition to personal or professional libraries at home or school!

 If you want to find out more about author TAMMI SAUER check out her website at:Tammi's Website.  NUGGET & FANG is published by  Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers and is available at Barnes and Noble, online and through your local independent bookseller as a hardback book & e-reader.


August 5, 2013



      TARA LAZAR'S debut picture book, THE MONSTORE is a marvellous, monstrous tale of sibling troubles.  TARA is well-known in children's literature circle for her championing and passion for picture books and their writers and illustrators. Her professionalism and respect transfers into her writing THE MONSTORE, a fast, fun read with twists.  It tickles the reader.  
     TARA takes a brother and little sister relationship and universalizes it in a sophisticated way where the reader or listener relate to both.  Through her ability to spin a unique story, she maintains the tension between siblings and creates a reader/listener rooting and cheering for them and the loveable monstersTHE MONSTORE leaves the reader smiling and wanting more.  I promised TARA, I would not give away the tricks, twists, nor ending. 
      THE MONSTORE employs a nameless character with the cleverness of Dr. Seuss's Sylvester McMonkey McBean. This monster of a  manager artfully teases and tenses the reader/listener.  Placing TARA'S text with JAMES  BURKS larger than life illustrations completes the package.  Reading THE MONSTORE, one would never suspect this picture book to be TARA'S first. I can't wait for her future books to come out. 

 I give this book 5 apples, cream of the crop. The ability of an author to successfully carry-out empathy and rooting for both characters while creating a modern day McBean with twists and turns makes this a stand-out book.  

     This picture book is for children 4 through 8.  It has high appeal for boys and girls.  This would be a great addition to a home, classroom, or library bookshelf. The themes in the book are siblings and rivalry, family, fairness, and resolving problems. 

 If you want to find out more about author Tara Lazar, check out her website at:Tara's Website.  THE MONSTORE is published by  Aladdin, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing and is available at Barnes and Noble, online and through your local independent bookseller. 


June 5, 2013

2013 Summer Reading Suggestions

     People have asked me if I would do a summer reading recommendation post.  Of course, everyone has his or her own thoughts on what it should look like.  I am no different.  I have decided this post needs to have variety, not only in reading material but it should include some helpful tips. 
    I teach reading.  During my most recent encounters with my student’s parental units, I noticed two view points.  View point A wanted to know what they could do over the summer to keep their kids sharp and engaged so that they would not loose any knowledge they gained over the school year. View point B told me to “bug off” my kid needs a break. My students are independent enough to make their own decisions.
     When I handed my students their individual summer packets filled with materials to help them maintain the neuro-pathways and information gained over the school year, I reminded them of how awesome they are and it was up to them to decide if they were worth the effort.  I knew they were but they had to believe it too.  
      All children have to feel valued and also value themselves.  They need success even when it is measured in the smallest increments.  It takes 40 to 100 repetitions of a new concept to anchor the information in the brain.  It doesn't have to be rote memorization. Repetition is best if it’s multi-sensory, experienced through a variety of different sensory experiences.   Keep this in mind as you and your child choose and read your summer books!
Suggestions for your summer child, tween or adolescent:
•Balance activities with rest and relaxation. (electronic games, TV, computers,phones, and other technology emit frequencies that stimulate the brain) Unplug daily.

•Balance exercise, activity, diet with a healthy doses of sleep.  It is when the brain works integrating the experiences of the day.

•Read daily whether children are the readers or they are being read to.  Set a time.  Be a role model.  By the way, there is a high correlation with cognitive growth when children are read to even in upper grades, beyond elementary school

•If you are traveling, research where you are going.  Find local authors to tap into for learning about the area.  Libraries are a great place to start.  Combine fun and entertainment with local history and science/biology/geology.

•If your not traveling, plan a vacation to somewhere you have never visited by bringing it home. Get materials from your local library to help you plan and learn about a new area. 

    The Book Wisdom summer suggestions are listed by age.   What is best for your child, will vary based on their exposure to the world and their reading ability.

I have included a variety of books including Book Wisdom books.
  You can refer to the Book Wisdom post for further information. They're archived.  There are also ratings on Goodreads. * means the author or illustrator is from Colorado.  
    Books are loosely organized by reader ages and one other category including some non fiction picks and activity books.  If you need more, suggestions, there are links at the end of the blog post.                                   HAPPY READING!
Ages 3-5   Readying to Read

  • Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
  • One Pup’s Up, Marsha Wilson Chall
  • Counting Coconuts, Wendi Silvano*
  • Up All Night Counting, Robin Koontz
  • One Duck Stuck, Phyllis Root
  • The Thankful Book, Todd Parr 
  • Manana Iguana,  Ann Whitford Paul
  • Good People Everywhere, Lynea Gillen
  • The Lion and the Mouse, Jerry Pinkney
  • My Friend Rabbit, Eric Rohmann
  • OH, NO!, Candyce Fleming 
  • How Do Dinosaurs Say Good Night?, Jane Yolen
  • Cindy Moo, Lori Mortensen
  • Abuela, Arthur Dorros & Elisa Kleven
  • A Ball for Daisy, Chris Raschka
  • Red, White, and Boom!, Lee Wardlaw
Ages 5-9  Reading with Support or Launching on Their Own

  • Flotsam, David Wiesner
  • I Stink, Kate McMullan
  • Stellaluna, Janell Cannon
  • Chester’s Way, Kevin Henkes
  • I’m Bored!, Michael Ian Black
  • Princess in Training, Tami Sauer
  • Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch, Eileen Spinelli
  • Cowpoke Clyde and Dirty Dawg, Lori Mortensen
  • Uncle Lester’s Hat, Howie Schneider
  • I Want A Pet, Cathy Morrison
  • My Family Plays Music, Judy Cox
  • The Magic Fish, Freya Littledale
  • A Frog Prince, Alix, Berenzy
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Jon Scieszka
  • Colors of the Day, Ruth Gembicki Bragg
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends, Arnold Lobel (series)
  • Henry and Mudge, Cynthia Rylant & Sucie Stevenson (series)
  • Cork & Fuzz, Dori Chaconas (series)
  • Front Porch Tales & North Country Whoppers, Tomie DePaola
  • Stuart Little, E.B. White (read aloud)
  • Charlotte’s Web, E.B.White (read aloud)
Ages 9-12  Middle Grade Readers
  • The Slate Stephen's Mystery Series, Sneed B Collard III
  • Earthling, Mark Fearing, graphic novel
  • A Wrinkle in Time, Madeleine L'Engle
  • Destiny Rewritten, Kathryn Fitzmaurice
  • Matilda, Roald Dahl
  • Inside Out & Back Again, Thanha Lai
  • Secret Keeper, Matali Perkins
  • Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
  • The Voice of Thunder, Mirka M.G. Breen
  • The Tale of Despereaux, Kate DiCamillo
  • Chicken Feathers, Joy Cowley 
  • Calling Him Dad, Virginia Kamhi
  • The Invention do Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
  • Holes, Louis Sachar
  • The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
  • Herby's Secret Formula, Sue C Hughey *
  • Letters to Juniper, Peggy Tibbits *
  • The Lunch Thief, Anne C Bromley
Ages 13 & Beyond
  • Because of Winn Dixie, Kate DiCamillo

  • Dead End in Norvett, Jack Gantos

  • White Fang, Jack London
  • Looking For Alaska, John Green
  • The Queen of Water, Laura Reseau *
  • Island of the Blue Dolphin, Scott O'Dell
  • Artemis Fowl Series, Eoin Colfer
  • The Book Thief, Markus Zusak
  • The Hobbit, J.R.R.Tolkien
  • The Lord of the Rings, J.R.R.Tolkien
  • The Princess Bride, William Golding
  • Flowers For Algernon, Daniel Keyes
  • Disc world, Terry Pratchett
  • Stargirl, Jerry Spinelli
Non Fiction
  • Me ....Jane, Patrick McDonnell, The story of Jane Goodall,
  •  Camping with the President, Ginger Wadsworth
  • Cowboy Up! Ride the Navajo Rodeo, Nancy Bo Flood *
  • It's Big Sky, Pat Mora
  • Animalology, Marianne Bates
  • Animal Dads, Sneed B Collard III
  • Frogs, Nic Bishop
  • Eleanor, Quiet No More, Doreen Rappaport (Eleanor Roosevelt)
  • For The Birds, Peggy Thomas (Roger Tory Peterson)
  • John Muir, My Life with Nature, Joseph Cornell
  • Stickeen, John Muir and the Brave Little Dog, Donneell Rubay
  • What to Do About Alice?, Barbara Kerley (Alice Roosevelt)
    Activity Books Kindergarten through Third Grade

  • Animology, Marianne Berkes
  • Coin Clues, Evelyn Christensen

  • Lizard Lunch, Alina Niemi
  • The Hawaii Doodle Book, Alina Niemi
  • Bit, Bat, Bee:Rime with Me! and ABC Follow Me! Phonic Rhymes and Crafts, Linda Armstrong*

May 30, 2013

May 30th, DESTINY, REWRITTEN BY Kathryn Fitzmaurice

     One of the ways I reach my middle grade students and some beyond those years is to talk story.  I tell them you are writing the story of your life.   I find it gives them distance from pain and confusion and empowers them to make decisions on their character’s behalf.  Kathryn Fitzmaurice brings this concept to life in her latest middle grade novel.
 DESTINEY, REWRITTEN by Kathryn Fitzmaurice is the perfect middle grade novel that captures coming of age through the eyes of a young want-to-be romance writer whose given destiny is to become a poet.   Emily Elizabeth Davis is destined to be a poet, or so she is told.  When little cousin Mortie turns the page of her life to an unexpected chapter, Emily begins to allow herself to rewrite her story to be her own.   
Destiny can be a difficult topic to write about but Fitzmaurice does a remarkable job making it look simple while creating such believable and loveable characters.  Crossing two developmental stages, DESTINY, REWRITTEN moves Emily from the stage that spans late elementary school solidly into early adolescence in which the themes, plot, and characters seamlessly match.  Fitzmaurice thoughtfully brings to life identity through several themes including the Emily’s search for the father she does not know.  DESTINY, REWRITTEN invites, holds, and satisfies the reader, chapter by chapter.
This is a five apple book, cream of the crop. Excellent characterization coupled with a unique plot which clarifies writing one’s own destiny to kids who are developing independence and identity makes this 335 page, middle grade novel a wonderful read for kids ages 8-12. I also recommend this book as a classroom or family read aloud.  It offers up great points to ponder and discuss and includes several mysteries to solve. It is a high interest book for girls and will also appeal to some boys.
     The themes in this book are destiny, independence, mystery, identity, family, change, and friendship.
     DESTINY, REWRITTEN is published by the Katherine Tegen imprint of HarperCollins Publishers and was edited by Molly O’Neill.  It is available on Kindle and in hardcover and can be found at bookstores and online.  You can find out more information about this book and Kathryn at Kathryn’s Website.  
   DESTINY, REWRITTEN is being given away this month to a lucky winner who posts a comment on this blog or signs up as a follower or likes the Book Wisdom by Diane Facebook page.  If you sign up as a follower please let me know you did, I do not have access to your name or use your information as I value your privacy. Drawing happens June 7th.