Everywhere, Wonder

April 5, 2018

Writer, Matthew Swanson, and illustrator, Robbi Behr, collaborate to create books. Read their story here or Google their YouTube video of what it’s like to collaborate together.

In Everywhere, Wonder, emphasis is placed on children noticing the world around them. Reading books brings new lands and climates alive. The information we gather can then be used to create our own stories to share. Matthew and Robbi created a printable book for kids to share their stories. I would love for each classroom to read and discuss this book. It’s a wonderful mentor text for sharing at the beginning of collecting ideas in notebooks for narratives and nonfiction possibilities.

Savorings for Everywhere, Wonder:

  • Story to share
  • Noticing. Observing the world around you.
  • Sensory detail
  • Geography. Climates
  • Visualizing
  • Wondering – how to ask questions about what you notice

The Water Princess

April 2, 2018

Water is a basic necessity for every child to grow, for every person to live. The Water Princess is a beautiful book to bring awareness of the water crisis in other countries. The book is based on the childhood experience of Georgie Badiel, an international model. Georgie Badiel shared her story with Susan Verde and Peter H. Reynolds, who were inspired to write and illustrate the book to support the effort of bringing clean water to the people.



Meet Georgie Badiel and hear her passion to get bring a basic need of water to people who walk miles daily to get this precious commodity.

Savorings for The Water Princess:

  • Power of 3
  • Visualizing
  • One moment in time
  • Sensory Description
  • Varied Sentences (including a semi-colon)
  • Advocacy
  • Last two pages show actual photos of the the people getting and carrying water.
  • Social Studies link: climate, culture

Dog Loves Books

July 22, 2011

I fell in love with this book! Dog Loves Books is dear to my heart! My writing group met this past Tuesday, and I shared this book with them. “It is so me,” to which they agreed.

Dog loves everything about books and decides to open a book store. While he waits for customers, he stays busy reading. Louise Yates illustrates how the characters of his book come alive and is a fun introduction of visualizing during reading for children. Finally, a little girl comes to the bookstore for a book, and Dog knows just the right one for her. He knows his books and how to match his customers with a just-right book.

I feel such a connection to this book as I love reading children’s books and then sharing them with kids. I believe I’m going to begin the year sharing this book with classes, sparking a love of reading with them.The illustrations support the simple text and allow you to linger over the meaning.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Dog Loves Books:

  • Visualizing during reading
  • Every day happening
  • All About example – although this book is a narrative, the theme is centered around an interest and young children could use this book as a mentor text, sharing their interest in a similar way
  • Grammar – the simple text allows you to focus on sentence structure; several different types of sentences are used, simple to complex

PES new book 🙂

Haiti’s Earthquake

April 11, 2011

I have never been to Haiti, but I did live in the Dominican Republic.  The scenery is beautiful. The vivid colors Alix Delinois paints mirrors the beauty of the island – bright, vibrant, delightful.

It has been a year since the earthquake shattered Port-au-Prince, Haiti on January 12, 2010.  In the author’s note, Edwidge Danticat share the moment when the news arrived.  Born in Haiti with family still there, the news was close to her heart.

This story, Eight Days: the Story of Haiti, is about a seven-year old boy named Junior.  He was trapped in the rubble for seven days.  To survive, Junior played games in his mind, memories that gave him hope.  I believe it’s important to show children the impossible moments can happen.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Eight Days:  A Story of Haiti:

  • Connection to current events
  • Hope
  • Imagination – visualizing everyday happenings
  • Transitions – snapshot moments from one day to the next
  • Family Importance

April Foolishness

April 1, 2010

Today is April 1 – April Fools Day.  Today, children throughout school and home will pull pranks on you.  My children gat me at home today.  The weather is beautiful and spring break starts tomorrow.  My daughter said, “You know what, Mom?  I heard the weatherman is calling for snow next week.”

My face became totally surprised and upset at the same time, “What?  No way.”

“April Fools,” E said, laughing.  I just shook my head; I couldn’t believe I had fallen for it.

Teresa Bateman must have a practical joke side to her.  In her  book, April Foolishness, grandpa is making breakfast for the start of his day.  His two grandchildren run in and inform him that the cows are out.  Grandpa just smiles and says he’ll get to them in a few minutes.  Each grand child keeps returning, panicking at the different animals that are causing mayhem in the barnyard.  The illustrator, Nadine Bernard Westcott, creates mental pictures of the chaos the children are describing.  Excellent visualizing example.

In the end, the children are sitting down to eat.  Grandpa has maintained his calm, in-control manner.  He’s aware that today is April Fool’s Day, and he is not going to allow his grandchildren to play a trick on him.  The look of disappointment spread across the children’s faces.  They have tried all their tricks.

Grandmother comes on the scene.  She states that the farm is full of mayhem and why isn’t he taking care of it.  Grandpa’s face shows alarm as he quickly puts his boots and coats on.  He rushes out the door, as Grandma sits down to his breakfast to say, “April Fools.”

Savorings for reading and writing for April Foolishness:

  • Visualization
  • Sequence of events in one morning
  • Feelings – the character’s words show the emotion of the day
  • Foreshadowing – the beginning shows a picture of grandmother getting ready for the day.  She has a nice smile on her face.  I didn’t realize that it was a foreshadowing of the prank she was going to pull.
  • Dialogue – excellent back-and-forth conversation

Electron Microscopes

October 16, 2009

When our family visited the Science Center in Cleveland, OH this past summer, I stumbled upon a book in the gift shop.  The book was called Blood & Gore, Like You’ve Never Seen! by Vicki Cobb.  The cover’s illustration caught my eye:  magnified blood cells.  Since I have been keeping my eyes open for books that might grab boys’ attention, I thought the title itself made the book a keeper.

Vicki Cobb brings nonfiction alive.  The large, vivid photographs are intriguing.  I don’t particularly enjoy science, but I have enjoyed perusing this book.  The illustrations support the definition by giving the reader a real visualization of the explanation.  This book would be a great for helping build background knowledge.
I noticed that the copyright of the book is 1997.  This book is not a new one and going to Vicki Cobb’s website, I found a great resource.  Vicki has several short (one to two minute) videos that demonstrate great science concepts.
Savorings for reading and in writing for Blood & Gore, Like You’ve Never Seen!:
  • Nonfiction – bringing science to life
  • Visualization – magnified photos (red blood cell is magnified more than nine million times its actual size)
  • Vocabulary – bolded and represented visually
  • Index
  • Checking Comprehension – great text to use as each section is short

Sweet Dreams, Bear

September 25, 2009

Old Bear is hibernating for winter.  Do you ever wonder what the animals are thinking?  Kevin Henkes speculates a tale of possibilities in his book, Old Bear.   Snuggle up and get cozy as you journey with bear as he dreams.

Old BearI love the close up illustrations of the bear cuddled up, snoozing in his cave.  Old Bear’s dreams takes the reader through the seasons.  Kevin illustrates a two page layout of the seasonal scenes.

The flowers were as big as trees.

He took a nap in a giant pink crocus.”

This text is explicit for teaching visualization.  Read the seasonal scene and have the kids visualize in their minds.  The children could even draw/color the visualization.  I highly recommend doing one as a model on the overhead or chart paper.

Old Bear is just fun to read during this autumn season.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Old Bear:

  • Illustrations – excellent for younger students when teaching to illustrate using the large piece of paper
  • Visualization – dreams
  • Predictable Structure
  • ‘Community Property of Writing’ – “Old Bear slept and dreamed, dreamed and slept.”  (Okay, I do not know what the fancy title is for this literary technique, but the reciprocation of the verbs reminded me of the community property in math.  Katie Wood Ray says name it what you can remember in order to use it.)
  • Varied Sentences – long, short, short;  “When he finally woke up, it seemed to him that no time had passed since he had fallen asleep.  He yawned.  He stretched.”

(PES Library and Warsaw Community Library)

Imaginative Stories

July 12, 2009

Nancy Carlson invites young readers to use their imaginations to share creative stories in her book, Henry’s Amazing Imagination! Henry loves to share stories during show and tell time in class.  Due to Henry exaggerating the truth, his teacher suggests, “…why don’t you use it to write stories?”  And Henry does. This text is excellent for young writers as Nancy’s illustrations show the importance of large, vivid pictures that enhance the story.

Nancy Carlson writes many books that can be used to help children build themselves up.  She does an excellent job of supporting the writing process in this book.  Henry wants to write his story but is worried about spelling the words.  His teacher asks him to spell the best he can as he gets the ideas written down.  I often tell children this as they are writing.  I’m excited that a book can be used to support the teaching.

Savorings for reading and in writing for Henry’s Amazing Imagination:

  • Visualizing – while Henry shares his stories, the illustrations show the pictures in his mind
  • Ellipses – connects one page to the next
  • School Setting
  • Spelling – Henry’s teacher encourages him to not worry about the spelling while getting the ideas down.  “But…what if I can’t spell all the words?”
  • Notice the dedication – to Peter Carlson