Archive for August, 2012


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Nonfiction picture books are an integral part of reading comprehension strategies for younger children.
Take a look at these information-rich selections that Linda’s Links likes the best.


Barnum’s Bones by Tracey Fern
Illustrated by Boris Kulikov
FSG, 2012
Looks at the life of paleontologist Barnum Brown. (Picture Book/Biography)

Brothers at Bat by Audrey Vernick
Clarion, 2012
Shares the story of the Acerras and their sixteen children, who had enough members to fill every position on a baseball team. (Picture Book/Informational)

Jazz Age Josephine by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Marjorie Priceman
Atheneum, 2012
Introduces the life and legacy of Josephine Baker, examining her accomplishments, and describing how she overcame her poor, segregated upbringing to find success as a performer. (Picture Book/Biography)

Just Behave, Pablo Picasso! by Jonah Winter
Illustrated by Kevin Hawkes
Scholastic, 2012
Critics want Pablo Picasso to continue painting the kind of things they like, but he stands up to them and paints in the styles he chooses. (Picture Book/Biography)


Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola
FSG, 2012
A picture book biography of oceanographer Sylvia Earle, discussing her childhood along the Gulf of Mexico, her passion for the environment, and her experiences in ocean exploration. (Picture Book/Biography)

Minette’s Feast by Susanna Reich
Illustrated by Julia Bates
Abrams, 2012
While Julia is in the kitchen learning to cook up elaborate, delicious dishes, the only feast Minette is truly interested in is that of fresh mouse. (Picture Book/Biography)

Monsieur Marceau by Leda Schubert
Flash Point, 2012
Presents a biography of the famous mime. (Picture Book/Biography)


Ocean Sunlight: How Tiny Plants Feed the Seas by Molly Bang & Peggy Chisholm
Illustrated by Molly Bang.
Blue Sky Press, 2012
Explains how tiny plants feed the seas. (Picture Book/Informational)

Out on the Prairie by Donna Bateman
Charlesbridge, 2012
Illustrates the creatures of Badlands National Park from reptiles, mammals, and birds to insects, and includes a guide to prairie flora and fauna. (Picture Book/Informational)

Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
Illustrated by Rick Lieder
Examines nature through lyrical text and close-up photography. (Picture Book/Poetry) 

Water Sings Blue by Kate Coombs
Illustrated by Meilo So
Chronicle, 2012
A collection of poems about the sea. (Picture book/Poetry)


There are additional book-related teaching resources for this book in the Linda’s Links to Literature database.
Login to the Linda’s Links to Literature database for book-related teaching resources for some of these books.

All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or Linda’s Links to Literature.

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There are thousands of children’s books published each year, but only a select group are acknowledged as the best of them all.
Today’s post focuses on the picture books that Linda’s Links considers the very best and the ones that should be on your shelves.
It will be fun to see if any of these titles will be selected as notable by the various children’s book organizations.

Tomorrow’s post will feature the best nonfiction picture books.


And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
Illustrated by Erin E. Stead
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
Reveals the anticipation of a boy who, having planted seeds while everything around is brown, fears that something has gone wrong until, at last, the world turns green.

Another Brother Matthew Cordell
Feiwel & Friends, 2012
Davy the sheep wishes he had time alone with his parents, as he did before his twelve brothers came along and started imitating his every move, but when his wish comes true Davy misses playing with the youngsters.

Auntie Yang’s Great Soybean Picnic by Ginnie Lo
Lee & Low, 2012
A Chinese American girl’s Auntie Yang discovers soybeans-a favorite Chinese food-growing in Illinois, leading her family to a soybean picnic tradition that grows into an annual community event.

Ballerina Swan by Allegra Kent
Illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully
Holiday House, 2012
Sophie the swan joins a ballet class and works hard to earn a part in the end-of-year performance of Swan Lake.


Boot and Shoe by Marla Frazee
Beach Lane Books, 2012
Boot and Shoe are dogs that live in the same house, eat from the same bowl, and sleep in the same bed but spend their days on separate porches until a squirrel mixes things up.

Boy + Bot by Ame Dyckman
Illustrated by Dan Yaccarino
Knopf, 2012
A boy and a robot strike up a friendship despite their differences.

Chloe by Peter McCarty
HarperCollins, 2012
Chloe Bunny lives with her big family of ten older brothers and sisters and ten younger brothers and sisters, but it is only Chloe who is able to compete with the new television set that Dad brings home one evening.

Duckling Gets a Cookie!? by Mo Willems
Hyperion, 2012
Pigeon is very angry when the duckling gets a cookie just by asking politely.


Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Illustrated by E. B. Lewis
Nancy Paulsen Books, 2012
When Ms. Albert teaches a lesson on kindness, Chloe realizes that she and her friends have been wrong in making fun of new student Maya’s shabby clothes and refusing to play with her.

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
Illustrated by Jon Klassen
HarperCollins, 2012
With a supply of yarn that never runs out, Annabelle knits for everyone and everything in town until an evil archduke decides he wants the yarn for himself.

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs by Mo Williems
HarperCollins, 2012
A spin on the traditional tale with dinosaurs who visit Norway as the main characters.

Green by Laura Vaccaro Seeger
Roaring Brook, 2012
Explores the many shades of the color green.


The Hero of Little Street by Gregory Rogers
Roaring Brook, 2012
When a boy being chased through present-day London seeks refuge in the National Gallery, a dog escapes from the painting of one Dutch master and together they leap into the painting of another, where their adventures in seventeenth-century Delft are a prelude to returning to London and continuing the chase.

Hide & Seek by Sung Na
Knopf, 2012
When the animals play hide and seek, Elephant finds everyone but Chameleon, who has hidden so well no one can find him.

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead
Roaring Brook Press, 2012
Vernon the toad takes the silent Bird on a journey in hopes of finding Bird’s home.

Homer by Elisha Cooper
Greenwillow, 2012
Homer the dog is content to watch from the porch as his family goes out to enjoy the day.


The Insomniacs by Karina Wolf
Illustrated by The Brothers Hilt
Putnam, 2012
When Mr. and Mrs. Insomniac and little Mika move twelve time zones away, they have trouble staying awake during the day and make an interesting discovery about themselves.

Jimmy the Greatest! by Jairo Buitrago
Illustrated by Rafael Yockteng
Groundwood, 2012
Don Apolinar urges Jimmy, who lives in a small Caribbean town where there is not much to do, to start training at the boxing gym and to read about Muhammad Ali. Jimmy begins to realize that he is a good boxer and finds that he would be happy running the gym and improving his hometown.

Just Ducks by Nicola Davies
Illustrated by Salvatore Rubbino
Candlewick Press, 2012
A young girl shares her observations about the mallard ducks that live down on the river.

Mom, It’s My First Day of Kindergarten! by Hyewon Yum
FSG, 2012
A five-year-old boy, ready and eager on his first day at “the big kids’ school,” must calm his very worried mother.


Oh, No! by Candace Fleming
Illustrated byEric Rohmann
Schwartz & Wade, 2012
A series of animals falls into a deep hole, only to be saved at last by a very large rescuer.

Penny and Her Doll by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow, 2012
Penny instantly loves the doll her grandmother sends her, but finding the perfect name for her is a challenge.

Penny and Her Song by Kevin Henkes
Greenwillow, 2012
Penny comes home from school eager to share her very own song, but must wait until the time is right to teach it to her parents and the babies.

The Quiet Place by Sarah Stewart
Illustrated by David Small
FSG, 2012
A little girl moves to the United States from Mexico with her family and writes letters to her aunt in Mexico about her new life.


Rocket Writes a Story by Tad Hills
Random House, 2012
Rocket writes a story about a new friend, the owl.

Sadie and Ratz by Sonya Hartnett
Illustrated by Ann James
Candlewick Press, 2012
Hannah and her hands, named Sadie and Ratz, regularly get into trouble, especially when younger brother Baby Boy is around.

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen
Candlewick Press, 2012
A tiny fish wearing a blue hat hopes not to wake up the trouble that might be following close behind.


The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse by Helen Ward
Templar, 2012
A retelling of Aesop’s well-known fable in which a country mouse visits a town mouse and they find they prefer very different ways of life. Set in 1930s New York at Christmas.

Traction Man and the Beach Odyssey by Mini Grey
Knopf, 2012
Traction Man, the action figure, and his sidekick, Scrubbing Brush, share dangerous adventures at the beach.

Z Is for Moose by Kelly Bingham
Illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky
Greenwillow, 2012
Moose is terribly eager to play his part in Zebra’s alphabet book, but when his letter passes him by, Moose behaves rather badly until Zebra finds a spot for him.


Login to the Linda’s Links to Literature database for book-related teaching resources for some of these books.


All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress or Linda’s Links to Literature.

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From The Hub (YALSA): Read Overlooked Adaptations. When reading a book, I often consider whether it would make a good movie adaptation. Sometimes I think….why isn’t this a movie?  What children’s or teen book have you read that might make a good movie adaptation?

From DogEar: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky movie. The movie based on a teen novel opens September 21.

From the NOOK Blog, If you have a NOOK, the young adult novel Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey is a free download for a limited time.

From Library Journal: NY Library To Adopt Ad-Supported Toilet Paper – School bus ads are being considered in the area where I live, so I guess TP is the next step. Wonder what’s after that?

From Family Circle Magazine: September issue has an article about Book Banning in US Classrooms and Libraries (not a blog post, but a good article to read since Banned Book Week is coming up ).

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How Fast Do You Read?

I recently saw this fun interactive e-Reader infographic on the Staples website that compares personal reading speed to the national average. I took the test and found that I read 79% faster than the national average.
I recall reading recently that people read 25% slower on a computerized screen. I don’t know if that’s really true because since I got my e-reader I have found myself actually reading much faster.

Take the test to see how you compare to the national average and let me know your results.

Note in the upper left corner, there is an Options button for changing the book passage, test length, and font size.

ereader test
Source: Staples eReader Department


Here’s another fun infographic with Interesting Facts About Reading.


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With the recent emphasis on nonfiction and informational texts in the classroom, it may be difficult for some to locate the very best. To help you locate the right books for your classroom, Linda’s Links created a Pinterest board of the Best Nonfiction Books & Teaching Resources.

But what about this year’s best? Below is a list of  titles that we think should be recognized as outstanding examples of this year’s nonfiction books.


Barnum’s Bones by Tracey Fern
FSG, 2012  Gr. 1-4
Looks at the life of paleontologist Barnum Brown.

The Beetle Book by Steve Jenkins
Houghton, 2012  Gr. 3-5
An illustrated introduction to a variety of beetle species with information on unique characteristics and how these insects have adapted to survive.

Beyond Courage: The Untold Story of Jewish Resistance During the Holocaust by Doreen Rappaport
Candlewick, 2012  Gr. 7-12
Recounts the courage of countless Jews who organized to sabotage the Nazis and help other Jews during the Holocaust.

A Black Hole Is Not a Hole by Carolyn Cinami DeCristofano
Charlesbridge, 2012   Gr. 4-6
An examination of black holes that discusses what they are, what causes them, how they are discovered, and more.


Brothers at Bat  by Audrey Vernick
Clarion, 2012  Gr. 1-3
Shares the story of the Acerras and their sixteen children, who had enough members to fill every position on a baseball team.

The Fairy Ring: Or, Elsie and Frances Fool the World by Mary Losure
Candlewick, 2012  Gr. 5-8
Relates the story of Francis and Elsie, cousins who concocted a story and photographs about fairies because nobody believed Francis could see the tiny men and were surprised when their photographs were found by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, who truly believed in fairies.

Island: A Story of the Galapagos by Jason Chin
Roaring Brook, 2012  Gr. 3-6
An epic saga of the life of an islandborn of fire, rising to greatness, its decline, and finally the emergence of life on new islands.

The Mighty Mars Rovers by Elizabeth Rusch
Houghton, 2012  Gr. 5-8
The story of the two robot vehicles, Spirit and Opportunity, that were sent to explore Mars, lasting far past their projected lives of three months and sending back invaluable images of the environmentally hostile planet.


Miles to Go for Freedom: Segregation and Civil Rights in the Jim Crow Years by Linda Barrett Osborne
Abrams, 2012  Gr. 5-10
Describes the lives of African Americans during the Jim Crow years, a period of legal segregation and discrimination from the 1890s through the 1950s.

Moonbird: A Year on the Wind with the Great Survivor B95 by Phillip Hoose
FSG, 2012  Gr. 7-12
Chronicles a year in the life of rufa red knot B95, also called Moonbird, following him through his migration pattern and discussing the environmental problems that caused the rufa population to collapsed by nearly eighty percent.

Out on the Prairie by Donna Bateman
Charlesbridge, 2012  PreS-Gr. 2
Illustrates the creatures of Badlands National Park from reptiles, mammals, and birds to insects, and includes a guide to prairie flora and fauna.


Titanic: Voices from the Disaster by Deborah Hopkinson
Scholastic, 2012  Gr. 5-9
Draws on stories from survivors and archival photographs to describe the history of the “Titanic” from its launch to its sinking.

We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March by Cynthia Levinson
Peachtree, 2012  Gr. 6+
Retells the story of how, against the better judgment of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., young people led the civil rights protests in Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963.


All Amazon links are affiliate links for Linda’s Links to Literature.
Books annotations are from The Library of Congress.

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