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JANUARY (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | January - (Comments Off on JANUARY (2))

Marta! Big & Small by Jen Arena. Illustrated by Angela Dominguez. Roaring Brook Press, 2016

“To a lion, Marta is tranquila. Quiet, very quiet. / To a rabbit, Marta is ruidosa. Loud, very loud.” The same textual pattern is used on each two-page spread, cleverly describing an active little girl’s qualities in terms of comparisons and opposites. Spanish adjectives are seamlessly incorporated into the text and for each one, the English word follows as an echo. When all of Marta’s qualities are reiterated at story’s end, the animal names appear in Spanish, easily decipherable from the clear picture clues. The appealing illustrations capture Marta’s spirited nature and underscore the girl-power theme of the book, which ends with Marta described as “clever, very clever, like una niña.” (Ages 2–5)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: Pick out the Spanish words in the book. Practice saying them together. Look at the included glossary.
  • Talk: Revisit the idea of opposites. Introduce the idea of comparatives ­such as “bigger” or “smaller”. Compare your child to things in the room. Ask: What are bigger than? What are you smaller than?
  • Sing: “This is Big, Big, Big”. If you don’t know it, find it on the Jbrary Youtube channel.
  • Write: Different sizes of letters, shapes, or squiggles.
  • Play: Pretend to be the different animals in the book.
  • Math or Science: Scavenger hunt – find something big. Find something small. Find something bigger or smaller than the objects you found.

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JANUARY (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | January - (Comments Off on JANUARY (1))

Music Is … by Brandon Stosuy. Illustrated by Amy Martin. Little Simon, 2016

This purposefully inclusive board book celebrates music as something for everyone. The illustrations show distinctive, individual people of color with a range of ages and body types. There are women playing electric guitars and a man playing a harp, a little girl with two men—presumably her dads—and so on. Some of the concepts may be a bit advanced for a typical board book audience (Lo-fi vs. Hi-fi; “fuzzy” guitars), but definitions of the music terms are provided on the final page, a welcome element for any adult who may be unsure of something’s meaning. (Ages 1–3)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: “Snowfall” from Goodnight Songs and listen to the song on the accompanying CD.
  • Talk About opposites.
  • Sing: Pick a song. Sing it fast. Sing it slow. Sing it loudly and quietly.
  • Write: Listen to music and draw a picture of what you hear using colors and shapes.
  • Play: Dance to your favorite music.
  • Math or Science: Talk about how you can make music with your mouth or your hands. What other ways can you make music with your body?

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DECEMBER (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | December - (Comments Off on DECEMBER (2))

First Snow by Bomi Park. U.S. edition: Chronicle, 2016

A small girl wakes up in the night to the soft sound of falling snow. “Pit, pit pit against the window. Glistening, floating in the night.” She puts on warm clothes, walks outside, and begins rolling the snow into a ball. With her puppy following, she rolls the snowball out the yard, into the street, and through the darkened town. A speedy train passes as she goes “Fast Fast Fast.” Through a fallow field, through a friendly nighttime woods full of animals. Finally, she is moving “Slow Slow Slow” with her huge ball of snow, passing from the night into a bright, snow-white field full of children who are also rolling huge snowballs and making … snow figures! A magical, dreamlike story is told through a spare, lyrical text and stunning, textured, mostly black-and-white illustrations that are understated and exceptional. The art, which begins with nighttime black dominating has occasional, subtle accents of other colors, and whimsical punctuations of bright red for the scarves, hats and mittens on children and snow people. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem, “Cherry Tree.” Read another book that involves prepositions or placement of objects such as Rosie’s Walk.
  • Talk: About how to make a snowman. What other things do you make in the snow? Snow angels? Snow castles?
  • Sing: Going on a Bear Hunt – talk about prepositions.
  • Write: Your name in the snow or in your own “snow” using sand.
  • Play: Pretend to roll a snowball.
  • Math or Science: Bring a snowball inside let it melt in a bowl or cup. Talk about how it turns to water. How long does it take the snowball to melt? Is it a different size? Shape?

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DECEMBER (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | December - (Comments Off on DECEMBER (1))

Tickle My Ears by Jörg Mühle.  Translated from the German by Catherine Chidgey. U.S. edition: Gecko Press, 2016

In this interactive board book, little white rabbit is poised to react to actions from young readers and listeners, as directed by the narrative voice. Tap him on the shoulder [turn the page] and he turns around. Clap your hands [turn the page] and he’ll put on his pajamas. Eventually the rabbit is tucked into bed. He needs only a good-night kiss and switching off the light. A darkened, final double-page spread shows the little bunny sleeping peacefully. A clever, child- friendly book invites involvement in a bedtime story. (Ages 18 months–3)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem, “Advice to Bunnies”
  • Talk: What do you do to get ready for bed?
  • Sing: “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” or sing a family lullaby together.
  • Write: Have a grown-up rub your back and trace shapes or letters on your back. Can you guess which shapes and letters they are?
  • Play: Act out the book’s motions and actions while someone reads the book. Bring favorite toy/blanket to story time.
  • Math or Science: Talk about textures. What do you cuddle with at night? Is it hard or soft, smooth or rough?

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NOVEMBER (3)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | November - (Comments Off on NOVEMBER (3))

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales.  Little, Brown, 2016

Thunder Boy Smith Jr. hates his name. Because his father is also Thunder Boy Smith, Thunder Boy Jr. is nicknamed Little Thunder, which sounds to him “like a burp or a fart.” He wants his own name, one based on his talents, like learning to ride a bike when he was three (Gravity’s Best Friend); or his interests, such as garage sales (Old Toys Are Awesome), or powwow dancing (Drums, Drums, and More Drums!); or his future dreams of traveling the world (Full of Wonder). “I love my dad but I want to be mostly myself.” It turns out his dad understands, announcing one day that it’s time for Thunder Boy Jr. to get a new name: Lightning! “My dad and I will light up the sky.” A story the author has stated is based on his own Spokane heritage is full of warmth and good-hearted humor. Lively, playful illustrations represent both Thunder Boy and the world of his imagination. Dialogue bubbles are used throughout, while Thunder Boy’s little sister, Lillian, mentioned once in the text, has a key role in the visual narrative. Honor Book, 2017 Charlotte Zolotow Award ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: Go to the library and ask your librarian about other books on thunder and lightning storms.
  • Talk: Ask your family what your name means. Are you named after anyone in your family? Do you have a middle name? What does your last name mean?
  • Sing: Make rain/a thunderstorm using hands- start with rubbing hands quietly, then snap, then tap on legs, then clapping.
  • Write: Practice writing your name.
  • Play: Draw a picture of yourself or act out doing something you love to do
  • Math or Science: Talk about differences and similarities between lightning and thunder. Which one is audible and which one is visual? What are some connections between thunder and lightning?

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NOVEMBER (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | November - (Comments Off on NOVEMBER (2))

Sleep Tight Farm: A Farm Prepares for Winter by Eugenie Doyle. Illustrated by Becca Stadtlander. Chronicle, 2016

The transformation from autumn to winter on a small farm means “putting the farm to bed.” Strawberry plants must be covered with straw, the autumn harvest finished, oats and rye planted to replenish the fields. “Good night, fields, peaceful and still.” Brush is burned, wood is cut and stacked, hay bales placed as a windbreak for the hives of bees. “Good night, bees, sheltered and safe.” The repeated “good night” refrain follows a detailed accounting of many tasks that also give a sense of the abundant harvests that came before. The work, shared by every member of the farm family—mother, father, girl, boy—is realistically yet refreshingly non-gender-stereotyped. This contemporary story is set against warm, detailed folk-art illustrations that have a nostalgic, almost idyllic feel. Everything looks cozy, which seems appropriate for a good-night story. (Ages 3–7)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: “Big Tractor” by Nathan Clement
  • Talk: About the vegetables and fruits grown on the farm. What does the family in the book do to ready the farm for winter? What do you does your family do to get ready for winter?
  • Sing: “Farmer in the Dell”
  • Write: Use vegetables in paint or ink to make vegetable stamp prints.
  • Play: Use play materials to build your own farm. Pretend to tuck the farm in for winter.
  • Math or Science: Find all the vegetables that are orange/red/green. Find all the animals.

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NOVEMBER (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | November - (Comments Off on NOVEMBER (1))

Owl Sees Owl by Laura Godwin. Illustrated by Rob Dunlavey. Schwartz & Wade, 2016

A little owl leaves his mama, brother, and sister sleeping in their nest and ventures out one night on his own. The entire story is told with just four words per page. “Stars Twinkle Mice Scamper” is accompanied by luminous illustrations that track the owl’s journey, conveying the quiet wonder of the moonlit night. When the owl lands on a log over a body of water, he looks down and sees his own reflection. This is the only time the four-word pattern is broken in order to heighten the dramatic moment: “Owl / Sees Owl.” The little owl then returns home, his journey described with words from the previous pages in reverse: “Scamper Mice Twinkle Stars,” for example, and, finally, “Sister Brother Mama Home” in a book that is lovely both visually and textually. (Ages 2–4)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem “Quiet in the Wilderness”
  • Talk: About the colors, animals, and nature that the children see in the pictures (for babies and toddlers); talk about the mirror image of the poem in the book (for preschoolers)
  • Sing: Find the song “Nocturnal” by Billy Jonas at your library or online and sing along.
  • Write: Your name and think of words of things you like that start with each letter with the help of a grown-up.
  • Play: Have a mirror for kids to see themselves like Owl. Make expressions. Pretend to be an owl.
  • Math or Science: Talk about nocturnal animals. What animals would you see at night in the woods?

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OCTOBER (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | October - (Comments Off on OCTOBER (2))

Good Night, Bat! Good Morning, Squirrel! by Paul Meisel. Boyds Mills Press / Highlights, 2016

When Bat loses his home, he has a hard time finding a new one. One animal after another turns him away, but he finally finds the perfect spot inside a leafy nest up a tree. Squirrel’s already there, but she’s dozing and so Bat deposits the bugs he’s gathered on the bed and happily finds a twig to hang from and goes to sleep. Squirrel is startled and annoyed when she discovers the uninvited guest in the morning and writes an emphatic note telling Bat to leave. (“Dear Bat, Bug off! Sincerely, Squirrel”). When Bat finds the note he understands it to mean that Squirrel didn’t like the insects on her bed, so he politely moves them to a corner of the nest. That begins a series of misunderstandings, all conveyed through correspondence, with Squirrel telling Bat to leave, and Bat, ever the optimist, consistently misinterpreting her messages. Eventually Squirrel realizes that she’s come to appreciate the ever-cheery Bat, while Bat knows he’d be lonely without Squirrel, and so the duo agrees to be roommates. Appealing illustrations sweeten this charming comedy of errors featuring an odd couple of the animal world. ©2017 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem “Fall of the Year”
  • Talk: About how words can have different meanings.
  • Sing: Sing “Skidamarink a Dink a Dink”
  • Write: A note to a friend.
  • Play: Try some leaf rubbings by laying paper over leaves and coloring the paper with crayons
  • Math or Science: Talk about seasons. What season do you think this is? Why do you think that?

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OCTOBER (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers | October - (Comments Off on OCTOBER (1))

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith.  Illustrated by Julie Flett. Orca, 2016

“My heart fills with happiness when … ” A comforting board book offers young children the opportunity for reflection, and for affirmation, too. Moments of happiness tucked into each and every day celebrated here include time with family (“I see the face of someone I love”), self-expression (“I sing”), and the natural world (“I walk barefoot in the grass”). Author Monique Gray Smith (Cree/Lakota) has written a narrative lovingly grounded in First/Native Nations culture, community, and traditions (“I smell bannock in the oven … I drum”). Illustrator Julie Flett (Cree/Métis) invites children into the book’s warm embrace with intimate and expressive gouache and digital collage illustrations of First/Native Nations children, or children and adults together in a book that invites all children to consider, “What fills YOUR heart with happiness?” ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: A book that makes you happy.
  • Talk: What fills your heart with happiness?
  • Sing: “You Are My Sunshine” & “If You’re Happy and You Know It” Use the book to make some new verses. For example, “If you’re happy and you know it, play your drum”.
  • Write: Draw a picture of what makes you happy/or what your face looks like when you’re happy.
  • Play: Act out actions on each page. Make up your own actions to go along – pretend to play the guitar.
  • Math or Science: Talk about what the ingredients – what is used to make — bannock. Have them guess first. And if you can, find some to try?

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SEPTEMBER (2)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | September | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers - (Comments Off on SEPTEMBER (2))

Rudas: Niño’s Horrendous Hermanitas by Yuyi Morales. A Neal Porter Book / Roaring Brook Press, 2016

Niño’s back and this time he’s completely upstaged by las hermanitas—the lucha queens. In lucha libre there are two kinds of wrestlers—the Técnicos, those who play by the rules, and the Rudos, those who don’t. The toddler twins are definitely in the second category. First introduced at the end of the popular Niño Wrestles the World when they awakened from their nap, here the duo is wide awake and running the show. The genius here is that all the Rudas’ tactics are typical toddler behaviors. They defeat El Extraterrestre with the Poopy Bomb Blowout, and when the Olmec Head steps in to vanquish them with a diaper change, they go for the famous Nappy Freedom Break. They teethe on El Chamuco’s tail and then point to the Guanajuato Mummy as the culprit and, most hilariously, grab two of La Llorona’s children, saying “Gimme!” and “¡Mio!” In the end, only Niño can defeat them by employing a classic older sibling move—deflection. As with the first book, there is a playful blend of Spanish and English, and plenty to look at in the comic-style illustrations. (Ages 3–6)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: Some of the Spanish words from the book. What do these Spanish words mean. Talk about how people use different languages.
  • Talk: About what games you play with your brothers or sisters or friends. What do you like to pretend?
  • Sing: Make an instrument and then sing a song with it.
  • Write: Talk about the shape and style of speech bubbles and how the arrows point to which character is speaking. Have kids draw a character and a speech bubble with their own fun words.
  • Play: Play some classic “athletic” songs (The Final Countdown, Chariots of Fire, We Will Rock You, We are the Champions, etc.) and practice movements- marching, running in place, etc.
  • Math or Science: What kind of tools do the sisters use? How are they used? What tools do you use every day?

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SEPTEMBER (1)

May 16th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in Babies, Toddlers and Preschoolers | September | 2017-2018 | 2017-2018 Babies, Toddlers & Preschoolers - (Comments Off on SEPTEMBER (1))

We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp. Illustrated by Julie Flett. Orca, 2016

“ We sang you from a wish / We sang you from a prayer / We sang you home / and you sang back … ” The words in this board book are simple and yet sophisticated in their meaning as they communicate the unconditional love parents feel for their child. It’s as comforting as a lullaby, and the elegant illustrations by Cree/Métis artist Julie Flett complement Richard Van Camp’s text perfectly. They initially show a mom and dad sitting outside, singing up to the sky. Next they appear with a tiny baby in a carrier, watching a flock of birds move across the sky. Succeeding pages show the baby growing just a bit older until he or she is crawling. The final wordless page shows the parents in the same outdoor setting as the first page, this time the baby with them as they sing again to the sky. (Ages birth–2)  © Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Try these early literacy activities with children:

  • Read: The poem “To a Child” and listen to the accompanying song from CD.
  • Talk: About your first day at home or your first day with your family. Do you remember anything? What does your family remember?
  • Sing: What songs do you sing with your family? When do you sing them? Who do you sing them with? Sing one of your family songs.
  • Write: Together write a love “note” to each other.
  • Play: Learn American Sign Language signs for “family,” “love,” “together,” and “play.”
  • Math or Science: How many different animals can you find? Count them. Talk about daytime and nighttime. How can you tell the difference from picture to picture?

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MAY (2)

May 10th, 2017 | Posted by etownsend in 2017-2018 | Intermediate (Grades 3-5) | 2017-2018 Intermediate | May - (Comments Off on MAY (2))

One Half from the East by Nadia Hashimi. HarperCollins, 2016

After Obayda’s family moves from Kabul to the village where her father grew up, the 10-year-old’s aunt suggests she become a bacha posh—a girl who passes as a boy—to give her family the advantage of a son. Obayda’s parents reluctantly agree. Obayda, now Obayd, likes being a girl, and doesn’t know how to move through the world with a boy’s swagger and certainty. Befriended by Rashid, an older bacha posh, Obayd soon is relishing the freedoms and privilege her older sisters do not enjoy, even in their progressive family. Obayd does things as a boy she never would have considered before, discovering a different kind of action and agency as she tries to help her father recover from injuries he suffered in a Kabul explosion. But there is nothing she can do to help Rashid(a) when her friend’s time as a bacha posh abruptly ends when she’s married off to the village war lord. A fascinating, swiftly paced, story firmly grounded in Obayd(a)’s perspective and experience makes clear gender has nothing to do with her physical or intellectual ability, only with how those abilities are perceived in a society where males are privileged. The book is not about gender identity (although Rashid references women she knows of who remained bacha posh or continued to pose as men their entire lives) but about how power is proscribed based on gender. These are big ideas, yet Obayda’s voice feels childlike and true. An author’s note provides additional information about bacha posh and context for the story. ©2016 Cooperative Children’s Book Center

Start some conversation with these discussion prompts:

  1. Why does Obayda/Obayd feel it iss so much better to be a boy? How do other family members feel?
  2. Why would/does the practice of bacha posh exist?
  3. How does the experience of being a bacha posh empower Obayda and how does she use these lessons to empower others?
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