A Stack of Books for a Rainy Day

Today is a cold, rainy day in Central Ohio, so a perfect day to browse in a bookstore! Here’s the stack I brought home today . . .



Norton and Alpha by Kristyna Litten

Yesterday, I wrote a post about Earth Day read-alouds and this book captures some related themes, particularly reusing things for different purposes and planting!  In this story, Norton loves to collect junk of all kinds and invent new things. One day, he creates Alpha, a robot who helps him on his quest to find unwanted but useful things. They happen upon some flowers which have them puzzled … what are these unusual, mysterious things and what are they for? Norton soon learns that sometimes you just have to appreciate the beauty of some things. Cute new 2017 book with fun, detailed illustrations!

Happy Dreamer by Peter H. Reynolds

I love all of Peter Reynold’s books about embracing your individuality. In this new one just published this year, he focuses on all the different ways you can be a happy dreamer even though sometimes the world doesn’t appreciate it. “But the best way to be a happy dreamer? Just be you.” Another one to add to a back-to-school collection and a great one to remind all of us teachers about allowing our little dreamers to dream!

Too Many Carrots by Katy Hudson

Rabbit has a carrot problem …. too many carrots and too little of a house! So his friends try to help out by inviting him into their homes which doesn’t work out so well. So in the end, they discover that sharing is the best solution of all! Sweet characters with very vivid illustrations, just perfect for read-aloud. “Keep calm and carrot on!”

I Really Like Slop by Mo Willems

The cook in me could not pass up this book! (Not to mention that I’m a huge Mo Willems fan, probably with the rest of the world!) Piggie is trying to get Elephant to try slop and of course, the conversation between them is hilarious, but this time it’s accentuated with wild color! 💥  Many people think this series is geared toward very young children, but if you’ve read one and reacted to it, you know these books are fabulous for all ages. Teaching second grade, I’ve found them to be perfect for modeling fluency – expression, intonation, and how to interpret changes in font. Great to put in a fluency center! And Mo Willems is quite the master of life lessons, in few words and with loads of humor!

Did you notice Pigeon on my new stack of books?  He’s right at home now with some of my other book friends! (Sorry for the dark picture, but it’s late!)


Celebrating Earth Day

I’m getting ready to celebrate Earth Day with some second grade classes and April 22nd is right around the corner! (I’ll share my plans in another post but it’s not your traditional reduce, reuse, recycle!) I headed to my local Old Worthington library to see what treasures I could find:


What Does It Mean to be Green? by Rana DiOrio

This book would be a good introduction to any Earth Day discussion, especially to generate ideas about how to preserve the earth and its resources on a day-to-day basis. Simple text with cartoonish illustrations. A quick and easy read aloud for primary classrooms.

The Great Big Green Book  by Mary Hoffman

Nice informational text complete with engaging text features so I would add this to a writing workshop mentor text collection too. Each section briefly explains a different approach to preserving the earth. Cute, eye-catching illustrations with speech bubbles that contribute to the content. 

How Groundhog’s Garden Grew by Lynne Cherry

I love Lynne Cherry’s books about nature and this one did not disappoint! Groundhog keeps stealing food from his friends’ gardens and come to find out, it’s because he doesn’t know how to grow his own. This is not just a simple “how to plant a seed” type book – it also goes into different categories of how vegetables grow. Beautiful borders that add to the content. Beautiful illustrations, good story, great science content! Ends with an author’s note telling about her experiences growing food as a child and encourages the reader to do the same. Buying my own copy!

What to Do with a Box?  by Jane Yolen

Very simple text to introduce the idea of reusing things for new purposes.

Love Your World: How to Take Care of the Plants, the Animals, and the Planet (DK Books)

An easy-to-read introductory text that explains the 3R’s: Reuse, Recycle, and Reduce. Appropriate for preschool-kindergarten. Nice mixture of photographs and collage in an engaging layout.

What Happens to our Trash by D.J. Ward

Informative book from the Lets-Read-and-Find-Out Science  series. There are mind boggling facts in here to convince the reader how important it is to reuse, recycle, reduce, compost, etc. AND if you’re looking for a mentor text to teach comparisons in writing workshop, this would be a good one. Here’s just one: “An estimated 80 million Hershey’s kisses are wrapped each day, using enough aluminum foil to cover over 50 acres – that’s almost 40 football fields.”

Bee: A Peek-Through Picture Book by Britta Teckentrup

Very pretty, poetic book to introduce the topic of how important bees are to our food supply, a topic that has gotten much attention the past couple of years. 

Clean and Green Energy by Colleen Hord

Informative text comparing clean energy sources using sun, wind, and water with energy sources that rely on fossil fuels. Sounds like heavy content but described in easy to understand manner. A little different, but important  topic for Earth Day appropriate for 2nd grade and up.

All the Water in the World by George Ella Lyon and Katherine Tillotson

I saved one of my most favorite literary non-fiction books for last! Now, I loved using this book as a mentor text in writing workshop when we were writing and designing our own informational books – great conversations about the decisions authors make in HOW they communicate the content through layout, color, font size, etc. But also another great read-aloud for Earth Day, particularly water as a limited resource that we need to protect. 

So, there you have it! I love how Earth Day can be approached in lots of different ways to motivate our little activists to get out there and make a difference in the world!