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In The Classroom with THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK (plus a Giveaway!)

It may not be normal but THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK is a hilarious read-aloud that can also be used in fun lessons about language arts, science, and social-emotional discussions about collaboration and compromise.

THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK begins as a stroll through the common, every day, normal animals – mammal, bird, amphibian, insect, reptile, and fish. The story quickly evolves, however, into a meta-fiction disagreement between the author and illustrator over how to draw the animals. The author wants simple, normal animal drawings. The illustrator, however, is confused and makes a bit of a mess. The conflict reaches its peak when the illustrator refuses to draw the author’s choice of fish. Granted, the blobfish is an unusual choice of fish.

With the below activities, kids will laugh while learning! Here are a few fun ways to use the book in your classrooms:

The Magic of Voice

THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK is a book in two voices – the author and the illustrator. Before reading the book aloud, ask the kids to create the book characters so they can act out the story. They can draw pictures of an author and an illustrator and glue them onto craft sticks, or make puppets out of socks or paper lunch bags, or bring in stuffed animals to represent the two different characters. Anything works! Have fun as the kids join in on the storytelling with their “characters!” For older readers, you can take the dramatic read-aloud to the next level by discussing the personality traits of each character as reflected in their dialog.

What Kind of Animal is That?

Different animal classes have different characteristics. Use the back matter in THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK to brainstorm animals in each category and then play animal charades! The kids can play individually or in teams and act out different animals while others guess the animal and its classification!

Collaboration and Compromise

In THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK, the author and illustrator don’t agree on how the animals should be presented. In the classroom, you can reenact this author-illustrator dynamic by having the kids write a short story with the plan that it will be illustrated. Then, ask them to illustrate someone else’s story! Discuss the challenges and benefits of relinquishing control over the art. Reflect on any conflicts or compromises that were encountered along the way, and how they were resolved. Some qualities that make for good collaboration include: Listen to the other person; when you disagree with someone’s opinion, disagree with the idea, not the person (respect one another); and, allow for compromise if there is a disagreement.

For complete standards-aligned lesson plans for grades PreK-6, visit http://juliesegalwalters.com/index.php/2017/10/31/teachers-guides-are-available/!

 Julie Segal-Walters is the author of THIS IS NOT A NORMAL ANIMAL BOOK. She lives in Washington, D.C. with her husband, son, and pesky cat. Before becoming a writer, Julie was the president and founder of Civic Action Strategies, a grassroots organizing and democracy development consulting firm. She worked in Kosovo, where she directed citizen engagement programs for U.S. and European organizations.

You can find more information about Julie on her website or on Twitter.

GIVEAWAY TIME! Click HERE to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway of a FREE classroom Skype visit (+book swag for the students)!

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BATS IN THE CLASSROOM: BEYOND OCTOBER!

batcountOctober has come and gone and, with it, Halloween. If you haven’t already, you’ll soon be returning your bat books to their shelves, where they’ll sit again until next year. BUT WAIT — NOT SO FAST! Bats are too cool to be relegated to just one month!!

In Anna Forrester’s BAT COUNT (which does NOT take place in October!), Jojo worries about the bats disappearing from her family’s barn, and helps out on a citizen science project that’s researching white nose syndrome, the disease that is killing so many bats. BAT COUNT (Arbordale, 2017) introduces bats plus all sorts of other life science concepts: habitat, animal adaptation, species differentiation, hibernation and more.

Four pages of back matter in BAT COUNT cover bat facts and bat anatomy. BAT COUNT’s publisher, Arbordale, also provides a rich, interdisciplinary Teaching Activity Guide, and other aligned math and language activities. Curriculum materials for more extensive bat studies are available on line, too, at Bat Conservation International and the Organization for Bat Conservation.

Studying white nose syndrome offers older students a great, real-world entry point to broader topics too: interdependence, population dynamics, and human impacts. Check out Arbordale’s materials as well as whitenosesyndrome.org’s teacher resources.

And finally, Jojo’s bat count works as a great introduction to the field of citizen science. Through citizen science  projects, kids uses crowd sourcing and digital technologies to help professional scientists do real-world STEM work. Check out The Crowd & The Cloud video series to learn more about citizen science, and at the Cornell Ornithology Lab, Zooniverse and SciStarter you’ll find scads of other great citizen science initiatives.

And: you can find more resources on Anna Forrester’s website!

Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway of one signed copy of Bat Count and a set of classroom bookmarks.

forresterannaframeAnna Forrester loves nothing better than to stumble onto a funny idea or a great question, and hold on tight as it leads her through books, her imagination, and unexpected nooks and crannies of the real world. She loves words and stories, and many of her adventures find their way into the books she writes. Anna lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two daughters and two dogs. Visit her on line at www.annaforrester.com, or on Twitter @annaforr.

BEAR AND CHICKEN with a bowl of warm soup

BearAndChickenBEAR AND CHICKEN is celebrating its book birthday this month! It is about a bear who finds a chicken frozen in the snow, and brings it home to try to defrost it. As Chicken wakes up, she fears that Bear is actually prepping to eat him. It is a friendship tale that teaches kids things are not always as they seem, while learning a thing or two about making soup with a friend.

The simple compositions will show well in a group setting for storytime.  The character designs are simple enough to empower kids to draw their very own Bear. Through a free downloadable how-to draw Bear worksheet, kids can get step by step instructions on how to create Bear through simple shapes. 

Follow it up with a bear mask craft, where readers can draw in their own funny ingredients for Bear’s soup. The free activity kit can be found at http://www.chickengirldesign.com/bearandchicken

RecipeCards

Enjoy a bowl of warm soup after reading BEAR AND CHICKEN. Bear’s vegetable soup recipe is included in the book and easy to make. A big pot of Bear’s soup can warm the tummies of the whole classroom or at home.

BEAR AND CHICKEN Giveaway!

Win a copy of BEAR AND CHICKEN with a special limited edition cover plus a class set of recipe cards featuring Bear’s Vegetable Soup! Click here for the Rafflecopter giveaway
JannieHo_photoJannie Ho is a children’s book illustrator and writer who loves to create stories in anthropomorphic animal worlds. She worked as a graphic designer and art director at many fun places such as Nickelodeon and Scholastic before illustrating full time. Her artwork appears in books, magazines, toys, crafts and digital media. Jannie’s debut picture book as author/illustrator, BEAR AND CHICKEN, is out this month from Running Press Kids/Perseus Books. www.JannieHo.com

Daddy Depot: The One Stop Storytime Shop!

daddydepotShopping for some storytime activities? We’ve got you covered! In DADDY DEPOT, Lizzie loves her dad, but he gets distracted by football, tells embarrassing jokes, and snores during snuggle time! So…Lizzie returns him to the Daddy Depot, a megastore filled to the rafters with dads up for grabs! Will Lizzie find the perfect dad? Join this shopping adventure, which shines the spotlight on imperfect parents and unconditional love. Enjoy these fun activities for a real bargain deal (plus a giveaway)!

ACT IT OUT!

Ask three volunteers to dress up as Rocker Dad, Chef Dad, and Astro Dad. For suggested props, use a toy guitar, a chef’s hat and an astronaut helmet (or a motorcycle helmet covered in tin foil). While you read DADDY DEPOT, invite the actors to join you in saying their character’s lines. Rocker Dad can sing: “You can’t always get what you want!” I always get lots of giggles with Chef Dad’s, “Try zis! It’s pate pescorino bleu!” Bring it home with everyone doing a “funky chicken touchdown dance.”

JOB SWAP

ties_spreadAs DADDY DEPOT advertises: “From Acrobats to Zookeepers, we have the perfect dad for you!” Show the kids the “dad party” spread. Ask them to choose their favorite dad. For older kids, have them name all the jobs they see from A to Z. List them in ABC order.

COMMUNITY HELPERS

On the dad party spread, ask kids to name the community helpers that they see: policeman, firefighter, doctor, soldier, etc. Ask if they know anyone who has these jobs and how they help people. Write thank you notes or decorate cupcakes and deliver them to the helpers in your community. Be sure to thank your own dads, granddads, or other great guys for the jobs they do!

TIE IT UP

pinthetiePrint out the tie template below. Cut out a tie for each child. Ask kids to draw a picture describing one or more features of their dad or other dad they know (e.g., a fisherman gets a tie covered in colorful fish). Use the ties to make bookmarks. As an extension, make a poster-size drawing of Lizzie’s dad and have the children play “Pin the Goofy Tie on Dad!”

Tie Template

GIVEAWAY

Chana is giving away a signed copy of DADDY DEPOT and a classroom set of bookmarks and “Lifetime Guarantee” tattoos. Click here for the Rafflecopter link.

AUTHOR BIO

stiefelchanaframeChana Stiefel is the author of more than 20 nonfiction books for kids about exploding volcanoes, stinky castles, and other fun stuff. DADDY DEPOT is her debut picture book. While she would never return her father—or her husband—to the daddy store (she likes their corny jokes too much), she worries that her kids will return her to the Mommy Market. Visit

Chana at www.chanastiefel.com and her authors’ blog http://www.kidlittakeaways.com.

Using SMALL in the classroom and a giveaway

Small_HiRescoverAfter reading SMALL in the classroom or library, use the activities below to expand the themes of size, feelings, and empowerment.

Comparing Sizes

How big are you? Have students measure each other with ribbons. Cut the ribbons to size, label, and use these to find things bigger and smaller than themselves. What is bigger than you? What is smaller than you? You can do this exercise indoors or outdoors.

Comparing Emotions

Draw a line down the middle of a sheet of paper. Have the students draw or write what makes them feel small on one side. Have them draw or write what makes them feel big on the other. Share as a group.

Tell a Story

Have students write and illustrate their own, shorter version of SMALL with a beginning, middle, and end.

Page 1: I feel ___.

Page 2: Until…

Page 3: I feel ___ because I am ___.

There is also an activity kit for SMALL, which can be downloaded here, for free.

GPerry_HeadShotGREEN

A SMALL Giveaway!

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway of one signed copy of SMALL and a set of classroom bookmarks (limit 50).

Gina Perry is the author and illustrator of SMALL (little bee books, 2017). She was always the smallest girl in her class. Reading big books and swinging super high made her feel big when she was small. She now lives with her family in New Hampshire. She is the author/illustrator of TOO MUCH! NOT ENOUGH! (Tundra, 2018)

Getting Lost and Found with BOB AND JOSS!

bob-and-joss-cover

As the author of BOB AND JOSS GET LOST! I’ll admit that it’s a pretty silly book, chock full of jokes about two buddies who get shipwrecked. But it’s also full of teachable moments. Especially about geography and mapping.

One feature of the book in particular can be used to teach kids about latitude and longitude coordinates.Sharp-eyed readers will notice that at the top of most pages there are GPS location coordinates. In fact, if you are very curious you will discover that these are real locations and you can track Bob and Joss’s journey. I won’t say where.

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I’ve found that kids are eager to learn more about mapping and latitude and longitude. It’s all new to them! Here are a few fun ways to take the discussion even further, whether in a classroom or home.

Discover Bob and Joss’s location

Start by opening Google maps or another mapping app and search for the coordinates in the book. A pin will show the exact location on the globe!  Keep going with the next set of coordinates and so on and you can track where Bob and Joss end up. Turn on satellite view to get a birds-eye view or street view to get a human-eye view.

Where are you?

Another fun activity is to find the exact coordinates of your school or home. Search for your address then right click and select “What’s here?” to reveal the latitude and longitude. Compare the numbers with Bob and Joss’s location and note the differences.

GPS Scavenger hunt

And if you want to get really serious you could turn it into a scavenger hunt. Download my list of mystery coordinates here and figure out which famous landmarks are located there! And, of course, you can always make up your own list.

bobandjoss2.jpg

In BOB AND JOSS GET LOST! and the upcoming BOB AND JOSS TAKE A HIKE! the characters know just how fun it can be to get lost. And with little help from mapping apps you can have fun getting found, too.

BOB AND JOSS GET LOST! Giveaway

Click for the Rafflecopter to be entered to win a signed copy of BOB AND JOSS GET LOST!

PeterMc

Peter McCleery is the author of the hilarious Bob and Joss series of children’s books, Bob and Joss Get Lost! and Bob and Joss Take a Hike! (coming in Jan. 2018). He lives with his wife and two children in Portland, Oregon where he occasionally gets lost. His favorite things include kids (and adults) who laugh. He’s also written for Highlights magazine and for grown-ups on the McSweeney’s humor website. You can find him at www.petermccleery.com, on Twitter: @pmccleery and on Facebook: @petermccleeryauthor

Grow a Greater Understanding of Figurative Language with Grandmother Thorn.

Grandmother+ThornPicture Books are a great classroom tool for exploring metaphor, simile, idiom and other figurative devices. The combination of text and pictures helps children decode the meaning of figurative phrases, and to better understand that there is more to words than their literal interpretation.

In Grandmother Thorn, I used many examples of figurative language to build a strong connection between the main character and nature, including simile, personification, onomatopoeia, and metaphor.  For example, at a moment of crisis, Grandmother’s voice “droop[s] like an old tree, withering in drought.” In fact, the book in its entirety subtly equates Grandmother to the stubborn, thorny vine she battles. Given time and space to grow, both burst with unexpected sweetness. Talk about a metaphor!

In my free Educator’s Guide download, you will find a Figurative Language lesson plan and berry printable. Teachers can create a twisting vine of green yarn around a bulletin board or classroom.  Then ask students write or draw examples of figurative language from the book on their berries. Your classroom vine can bloom and grow all year long as you add examples from other books!

The Guide also includes a Text-to-Self connection printable that encourages kids to compare themselves to a plant, with room to draw and write a response. This gives your class another terrific way to explore figurative language with a nature theme.

Grandmother Thorn Giveaway!

Use this Rafflecopter link to be entered for a chance to win a free 15-minute classroom Skype session with Katey, a signed copy of the book, and a classroom set of Grandmother Thorn bookmarks.

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Katey Howes is the author of picture books Grandmother Thorn (Ripple Grove Press, 2017) and Magnolia Mudd and the Super Jumptastic Launcher Deluxe, coming January 2018 from Sterling Books.  A former physical therapist, life-long book lover, and self-proclaimed “fun mother,” Katey can often be found exploring outdoors, making messes and machines with her three daughters, or consuming large quantities of black coffee and Moose Munch as she revises her latest manuscript. Katey is a team member at All The Wonders, a website that connects readers to children’s books in new and wondrous ways.  

Making Connections with A BOOK OF BRIDGES: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU

Here To There Cover PublicitiyA BOOK OF BRIDGES: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU explores more than just the bridge as a structure connecting one place to another. It explores how we connect as human beings.  

In A BOOK OF BRIDGES, one layer of text gives simple descriptions of bridges for the youngest listeners while another layer provides facts on the bridges for the older reader. Combining the layers provides a bridge between reading and listening together in a story time setting.

Here are a few other ways to help kids learn more about bridges and making connections.

Connecting to Bridges

Make a bridge from popsicle sticks, paper plates, or marshmallows. Find a picture of a local bridge as a model.  Here are a few examples:

http://www.ehow.com/how_8532586_build-marshmallow-bridge.html

https://www.danyabanya.com/sydney-harbour-bridge-craft/

https://www.pinterest.com/pin/564146290793837409/

Connecting to Geography

Use a map or globe to locate the book’s bridges.

Go exploring. Take a drive with your family around your neighborhood and see how many bridges you can spot.  Turn it into a game.  Whoever spots the most bridges wins!

Connecting to Pictures

Look closer at the pictures in the book. What people, places, and things are the bridges in the book connecting? Make up your own story. Where do you think they are going? What do think they are doing? Who do they want to connect to?

Dragonflies flutter about on many of the pages.  How many can you spot?

Author Cheryl Keely and illustrator Celia Krampien love dogs. How many dogs can you spot in the pictures?

Connecting to People

Playing games is fun.  Play the Drawbridge Game with your friends or classmates.  Find the instructions here: https://www.cherylkeely.com/learning-playing

What other types of bridges can you make by working together?

A BOOK OF BRIDGES Giveaway!

cropped 805.2Use this Rafflecopter link to be entered to win a copy of A BOOK OF BRIDGES: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU and up to 50 bookmarks for your classroom.

Cheryl Keely is a children’s book writer who loves to create picture books because they combine her love of learning and love of playing. When not writing, Cheryl volunteers with her dog Dagaz as a pet ambassador team with a local pet therapy organization in her home of Louisville, Ky. One of our favorite visits is to a local elementary school where the children take turns reading to the dogs. Her debut picture book, A BOOK OF BRIDGES: HERE TO THERE AND ME TO YOU, is out now from Sleeping Bear Press

Finding It a Mystery How to Teach Mysteries in the Classroom? WHOBERT Can Help!

Whobert1

WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE has been flying out in the world for about three months now, and one thing I have heard from booksellers and teachers is that they want texts to introduce the mystery genre to young readers. Terms like clue, evidence, eyewitness and culprit can be difficult to explain, especially considering that the genre can seem a little dark. Here’s where Whobert can swoop in and help!

WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE features classic mystery terms but with a fun and light-hearted twist: Whobert is a bit of a dunce detective, so kids are picking up on the real clues while Whobert misinterprets them in his quest to determine what happened to Perry the Possum. This makes young readers themselves the detectives, allowing the meaning behind mystery terminology to hit home as they correctly identify the evidence through textual and visual cues. Plus, kids get to laugh along the way as Whobert’s misinterpretations get more and more dramatic and their own sleuthing skills get sharpened!

Whobert2Thanks to the help of Kirsten Cappy and Curious City, Whobert can help kids take their newfound detective intelligence outside of the book and into the classroom. Through a free downloadable and printable Story Hour Kit at WhobertWhover.com, readers can put together their own detective notebook and start solving mysteries teachers and librarians create using character cards in the kit. In no time your classroom can be full of future Sherlocks!

WHOBERT Giveaway!

Enter to win a copy of WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE! using this Rafflecopter giveaway

JasonG


Jason Gallaher is a children’s book writer who loves to create stories that mix the flamboyant and wacky with the slightly dark. When not writing, Jason zips about Austin, Texas. He loves dinosaurs, unicorns, merpeople and Anjelica Huston. His debut picture book, WHOBERT WHOVER, OWL DETECTIVE, is out now from Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster.

Fresh-Picked Poetry: Bite-Sized Activities for Busy Schedules

fresh picked
Looking for ways to squeeze read-aloud time into a busy schedule?  Want to promote healthy eating along with healthy reading? Pick up a copy of Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market, a collection of eighteen poems that follow two friends and their canine companions as they explore the wonders of a farmers’ market.  You’ll savor this succinct but scrumptious ways to promote literacy.

Just as fruits and veggies are rich in nutrients, Fresh-Picked Poetry is loaded with nourishing content and brain-boosting vocabulary.  The poems in this collection can be read in bite-sized bits, making it perfect for packed days or easily distracted audiences.  Children are drawn to the natural rhythm of poetry, and the lively poems in Fresh-Picked are sure to please a crowd.

Share the Bounty as Models for Writing and Healthy Eating: 

FPPdelightful bites

In celebrating the plethora of produce at farmers’ markets, Fresh-Picked Poetry offers a bountiful variety of poems. These forms provide great models for writing. After reading “Delightful Bites”, where words take the shape of steam rising off warm-from-the-oven breads, children can write their own shape poems. After enjoying the banter between a green zebra tomato and dinosaur kale in “Wild Dreams in Two Voices,” young writers can try their hand at a two-voice poem. Not only will Fresh-Picked whet children’s appetite for poetry, with its focus on farm-fresh produce, it will reinforce healthy eating as well.

Fresh-Picked Giveaway:  Win a signed copy of Fresh-Picked Poetry accompanied by a class set of signed bookmarks.
FPPveggie tights 2

Michelle Schaub is a children’s author, poet, and teacher. Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market (Charlesbridge 2017) is her debut picture book.  Her poems have also appeared in several anthologies and children’s magazines. Michelle teaches middle school language arts, where she shares her love of poetry with her students.  When she’s not teaching and writing, Michelle loves hiking, biking, and exploring farmers’ markets.

For complete standards-aligned lesson plans, story hour kits, and printable activities to accompany Fresh-Picked Poetry, visit http://www.michelleschaub.com/fresh-picked/  

Follow Michelle at @Schaubwrites

Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway