Wednesday, September 30, 2015

New Book Wednesday: Stay!


Stay! perfectly captures what it’s like to have a new pet in the house. Ben and Buster are a dynamic pair, but Ben lets Buster, his dog, do what he wants when he wants. Ben’s parents are not as on board with this idea, and they decide to take a family vacation…without Buster. Buster will stay with Grampa while they are away, and when they return, they’ll find that Grampa has worked some magic of his own on the rambunctious dog.

This book stands out among others in that Ben writes an enormous amount of letters, notes, and postcards to Grampa about how to take care of Buster. He worries that Grampa will not know how Buster likes to be treated, what his biggest fears are, and how he likes to be scratched. Many of the pages in this book display the letters that Ben has written, complete with illustrations for maximum understanding. Grampa finishes the story by writing Ben a letter of his own; only this time, he describes how to continue training Buster, rather than pampering him.


This book is a perfect read aloud for any child that loves pets, has a dog, or wants one in the future. For the full summary of Stay! click here

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Out of Bounds

Grades 3-7

Fred Bowen’s newest book, Out of Bounds, teaches readers how true athletes exemplify sportsmanship. Nate, an eighth-grade soccer player, must choose to either keep playing after an opponent has been injured or to send the ball out of bounds in an act of good sportsmanship. Much to the chagrin of some of his teammates, Nate kicks the ball out of bounds in order to give the injured player a chance to recover.

This book uses real-world events to help portray how young athletes can be sportsman-like. Throughout the book, Nate and his team must learn how to work together and how to demonstrate good character. Try this activity with your class in order to practice creative writing skills and to also prompt discussion on fairness and sportsmanship.
After the class reads Out of Bounds, discuss how the sportsmanship discussed in the book can be applied to situations that do not involve sports. Emphasize that sportsmanship is a display of fairness and of high character.
  • Ask the class to write a one to two page essay describing an instance where they witnessed excellent sportsmanship or an example of fairness.
  • These essays can be about sports, dance class, camp, extracurricular activities, or anything that the student thinks applies to the situation.
  •  This activity will help the class to practice their writing skills and to learn the importance of sportsmanship in everyday situations.


For the full discussion guides of Fred Bowen’s books, click here, and for the full summary of Out of Bounds, click here

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

New Book Wednesday: Claude in the Spotlight written and illustrated by Alex T. Smith


Claude and Sir Bobblysock are at it again! In their next adventure, the pair joins Miss Highkick-Spin’s dance troupe. Claude and Sir Bobblysock love the theater they will be dancing in—especially the beautiful chandelier—but they decide to avoid the darker, spookier areas back stage. Then, when it is time to perform, their worst nightmares come true; a ghost is ruining each act as soon as they go on stage! It is up to Claude to reveal this ghost and his tricks, and when the beautiful chandelier threatens to topple the show’s judge, Claude must jump into action yet again.

This is another hilarious installment in the Claude series. Claude’s curiosity leads to unpredictable adventures, but no matter where he goes, he is adored by all. Sir Bobblysock, on the other hand, is a delicate sock who is prone to headaches, bad knees, and, above all, perfectly-timed sarcasm. Together, the pair bounces from place to place, making many friends and creating plenty of memories along the way. Yet, they always return home to their beloved Mr. and Mrs. Shinnyshoes. That is, until the next adventure comes along….  


For more on the Claude series, click here.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Teacher Tuesday with Watch Out for Flying Kids!

Grades 3-8

Social justice can be a very hard topic to discuss at any age, let alone with young children. Watch Out for Flying Kids tackles many important topics, each applicable in different ways to most kids who read it. Yet, understanding the issues that surround the kids in this book can be hard to grasp. Try this activity with your class in order to better understand the complexities behind equality:
  • Bring to class enough lemons for each of your students to have one.
  • Distribute the lemons to the students and ask them to “Get to know their lemon.”
  • Students may look for any unique marks on the lemons surface, its shape, and can even draw on the lemon if they wish, so long as they know which lemon is theirs.
  • Collect the lemons and put them in one basket; ask the students to retrieve their lemon (students should have no trouble with this).
  • After the students have retrieved their lemons, collect them once more until Part II of the activity the next day.
  • Before class the next day, peal each of the student’s lemons and return them to the basket.
  • When the students come in for class, ask them to please find their lemon in the basket.
  • The students should not be able to differentiate between the lemons; this will teach them that although we all look different on the outside, on the inside we are all people with hopes and dreams just like everyone else.
  • Following the activity, prompt a discussion about how this lesson is learned in Watch Out for Flying Kids.
     For the full summary of Watch Out For Flying Kids!, click here. For more information about the above activity, click here

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

New Book Wednesday: Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey written by Bill Harley and Illustrated by Adam Gustavson


Have you ever been annoyed with a family member before? Or maybe even thought that your family is a group of people that you just have to “put up with?” This is exactly how Charlie feels before beginning his Thanksgiving break.

Charlie’s family has invited fifteen people over for Thanksgiving dinner, and Charlie is very disappointed to hear that one of those people will be his annoying little cousin, Chip. Chip follows Charlie around, messes up his things, and gets him into trouble. Soon, Charlie is so exasperated, that he teams up with his siblings, Matt and Mabel, to lock Chip in the bathroom!

Charlie loves to play soccer against his garage door and call his little sister “the Squid,” and just like any other middle school boy, he wants to watch shows on superheroes and pretend he is the next great athlete to take over the professional league. But Charlie is challenged over his Thanksgiving break to welcome every visitor that walks into his home, even the ones that annoy him more than most. For any child who finds themselves constantly bothered by a sibling, cousin, or even neighbor, this book will help readers realize that a family is a group of people you love no matter what.


This is the fourth installment in the Charlie Bumpers series, and it does not disappoint! It will keep readers laughing at the havoc that befalls this family during what is supposed to be a typical Thanksgiving holiday. 

For the full summary of Charlie Bumpers vs. the Perfect Little Turkey, click here