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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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.

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.

10 Days of Lessons, Activities, and Giveaways for Teachers and Librarians

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Get ready! Starting November 6th, we are proud to present 10 days of blog posts. Each post will share ways that teachers and librarians can engage their students. Each day will also offer a giveaway. Stay tuned!