Jonathan Auxier’s Sophie Quire will make readers feel as though anything is possible and that wonder awaits all of us who are brave enough to turn the page or brave enough to stop, look and listen to the world around us. If wonder and delight aren’t enough to open this book, then do it for “no nonsense” reasons such as teaching students how to incorporate sensory details into their writing. The sensory details Auxier uses to describe the pleasure of handling and opening a book will send students running for the oldest, dustiest, thickest book on the library shelves. So dim the lights, open the cover and join Sophie on her search for The Book of Who, The Book of What, The Book of Where and The Book of When.
Before heading to the aquarium to wash away the winter blues, be sure to read Heather Lang’s Swimming with Sharks. Not only will kids learn fascinating facts about sharks, they’ll learn that it’s never too early to start pursuing your dreams. Genie Clark was only nine-years-old when she figured out she wanted to swim with sharks, and she never let anything stand in her way, not the fact that she was discriminated against because she was a woman, not the fact that she was discriminated against because of her Japanese heritage, and not the fact that very few people had ever swam with sharks. So don your growth mindset suit and dive into Swimming with Sharks.
By Shelley Moore Thomas
Lexile level 720
Sometimes the first page of a book is so gorgeous and powerful that it takes your breath away, and that’s exactly what Shelley Moore Thomas’s first page entitled “Numb” does in Secrets of Selkie Bay. Readers who related to Ada’s resilience and perseverance in Kimberly Brubaker Bradley’s The War that Saved My Life will also connect with Moore’s main character, Cordie, who is forced to take care of her two younger sisters when her mother mysteriously disappears one day and depression numbs her father. Miraculously, Cordie feeds her younger sister’s fantasy that their mother is a selkie and manages to hold onto her own hope until a near disaster lifts their father’s depression and he reveals the truth.
Written by B.B. Mandell
Illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
Kindergarten teachers looking to ring in the new year with a fresh dinosaur book can grab a copy of Samanthasaurus Rex written by B.B. Mandell and illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman. Not only does this book tout using words over biting and fighting, it features a female animal protagonist which is a rarity in children’s picture books. https://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2016/01/08/why-are-there-so-few-girls-in-childrens-books/?utm_term=.ec1de6cd0915 Kaufman’s colorful, action-packed illustrations create exciting page turns. Oh, and teachers, just in case you need some extra back up to prove that professionals revise check out Kaufman’s detailed post Finding Samanthasaurus Rex at http://suzannekaufman.blogspot.com/2016/05/finding-samanthasaurus-rex-power-of.html
Whether it be for one specific student, a small group of kids, or a whole class, finding a "just right" book makes the teacher's and the students' day.