Sunday, February 17, 2013

Looking at Lincoln

A 2013-14 Texas Bluebonnet Award nominee

Looking at Lincoln
(Publisher summary)
Abraham Lincoln is one of the first giants of history children are introduced to, and now Maira Kalman brings him to life with her trademark style and enthusiasm. Lincoln's legacy is everywhere - there he is on your penny and five-dollar bill. And we are still the United States because Lincoln helped hold them together.

But who was he, really? The little girl in this book wants to find out. Among the many other things, she discovers our sixteenth president was a man who believed in freedom for all, had a dog named Fido, loved Mozart, apples, and his wife's vanilla cake, and kept his notes in his hat. From his boyhood in a log cabin to his famous presidency and untimely death, Kalman shares Lincoln's remarkable life with young readers in a fresh and exciting way.

Looking at Lincoln author talk
Hear how author, Maira Kalman, fell in love with Lincoln and decided to write and illustrate a children's picture book about his life.

Visit the author's web site 

How I have used this book:                                                                                                       Looking at Lincoln was a terrific book for a library read aloud in connection with President's Day. Students from ages Pre-kindergarten three year-olds-Sixth grade were intrigued by this story. Kindergartens and up remembered that Abraham Lincoln was a tall man who was once President of the United States and that he had been shot and killed. During the reading, I included tidbits of Lincoln information and after the reading, I shared informational videos with students courtesy of Biography Channel and the History Channel. These are two favorites among students for vibrant and to the point type of videos. 
Next, 2nd-5th graders began a two week project beginning with drawing a character portrait of Abraham Lincoln. After a bit more digging into the life of Lincoln, through use of videos and print materials, students will compose a list of meaningful words that best describe the physical and personality characteristics of Lincoln. Each student will be responsible for including new information they have discovered in the course of their research and for presenting their final projects to their peers. This non-graded project will earn each student credit for completing a Bluebonnet project towards their goal of completing five projects. Twenty books are nominated to compete for the Texas Bluebonnet Award. Texas students in grades 3-6 vote to decide which book deserves the annual Bluebonnet Award. 

President's Day Resources:

Scholastic's Everything You Need to Celebrate President's Day

Patriotic Coloring Pageswith biographical information and a great Lincoln image for creating book marks.(source:Raising Our Kids)

Abraham Lincoln Coloring Pages Very nice quality (source: Apples for the Teacher)

For you history buffs-this part is for you.

Watch the Looking for Lincoln documentary
Historian Henry Louis Gates Jr.’s quest to piece together Lincoln’s complex life takes him from Illinois to Gettysburg to Washington, D.C., and face-to-face with people who live with Lincoln every day – relic hunters, re-enactors, and others for whom the study of Lincoln is a passion. If you are a history buff like Ms. Murphy then you will want to immerse yourself in the facts, fables, and fascination that make up the man we call "The Great Emancipator".

How well do you know Lincoln? Take the quiz: Lincoln Myths and Misconceptions
It's not that easy. Ms. Murphy scored 12 out of 15. See if you can do better than me and trust your first instinct. I would have gotten 14 out of 15 if I had.

Interactive Timeline: Lincoln Over Time
Take this interactive challenge to place events and images from the life of Abraham Lincoln in chronological order.

Make and Take Activities:
Make a tiny Abe Lincoln hat at Enchanted Learning. Mr. Bones loves his Lincoln stovepipe hat.

Math based Lesson Plan: Recreating a replica of Abraham Lincoln's hat (source:Smithsonian National Museum of American History).

Literature Connections:

Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha F. Brenner
A gently humorous examination of the life of Abe Lincoln. A slightly disorganized lawyer, he made his way relying on good will, friendliness, and – above all – honesty.

Abe Lincoln: the Boy who loved books by Kay Winters
A portrait of Abe Lincoln and how books and the power of words changed his life and ours as he walked out of the wilderness into the White House. 

Honest Abe by Edith Kunhardt
A simple and elegant retelling of the life of one of our most important presidents.

A Picture Book of Abraham Lincoln by David Adler
Clear text and engaging artwork follow Lincoln from boyhood through his presidency.

We gave 246 Books Away in Celebration!

I was thrilled to have given away 246 books on behalf of 
the Early Childhood Development Center Library to children ages 3-12. 
I read aloud to many groups and younger students created "Love a Book" projects to connect 
with our books: "Looking at Lincoln" and "Franklin's Valentines"

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Goodnight Baseball

Goodnight BaseballGoodnight Baseball by Michael Dahl

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodnight Baseball
By Michael Dahl
Illustrated by Christina Forshay
Publisher: Capstone Young Readers
Release date March 1, 2013

Watch the Goodnight Baseball book trailer

Goodnight Baseball is a wonderful choice for a sports-themed read aloud for younger readers. It is a comfort book-easy on the eyes, easy on the ears, easy on the heart. Goodnight Baseball is about a father and son building a childhood memory together. A happy day spent at the ball park highlighted by the boy catching a high fly ball in his mitt way up in the stands. The rhyme and rhythm of author Michael Dahl's words flow smoothly and are well complimented by the vibrant illustrations of Christina Forshay. My favorite illustration is seeing the moon portrayed as a giant baseball in the sky. Predictably, towards the end of the story, we see a mirroring of Margaret Wise Brown’s well-loved Goodnight Moon. Perhaps it would be a useful literacy activity to pair the two books so students can have an opportunity to make that text-to-text connection. Librarians, take note: this one is a home run!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Odd Duck

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Publication date: May 14, 2013
Publisher: First Second

Publication date:
ISBN: 9781596435575
Genre: Graphic novel/ picture book
Themes: friendship, character development, self awareness, acceptance

Theodora leads the perfectly normal life of a perfectly normal duck. Or so she thinks. Then one day, Chad, a very odd duck, moves into the empty house next door bringing with him his odd art, music, and manners. When all the other ducks fly south for the winter Theodora is surprised to find Chad has remained behind and a friendship begins to blossom. When the ducks return home and make an unkind comment about her friend, Theodora is shocked to discover she may be the one who is considered odd.

Odd Duck is a wonderfully charming story with interesting tidbits sprinkled in to add layer and depth to the story. The ducks are both stargazers and the colorful illustrations include the constellations in the sky which will ignite questions from young readers. This one goes on my To be Purchased list. Prediction: kid favorite.

  Cecil Castellucci

Sunday, February 3, 2013

See You at Harry's

See You at Harry'sSee You at Harry's by Jo Knowles
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Date Published: May 2012
ISBN: 0763654078
Genre: MG, Realistic Fiction
Themes: Family, siblings, friendship, grief, loss, bullying, LGBT relationships

See You At Harry's is a beautifully written Middle Grade novel that draws the reader in with the quirky characters of its dysfunctional-functional family. Twelve-year-old narrator Fern is all but invisible to her parents whose attentions are focused elsewhere. Much to the despair of his family, Fern's father is busy trying to devise a marketing scheme to bring in more business for Harry's, the family run restaurant and ice cream parlor. Her mother divides her attention between escaping into meditational bliss and fawning over Charlie, the three-year-old baby of the family. Her sister Sara is more of a mother to Fern but her attention is aimed at a busboy at Harry's and her brother Holden is focused on developing a relationship with his new, and older friend, Gray. Fern is able to count on the steady friendship of her two best friends who see her through the heart break and troubles Fern must face.

See You at Harry's is thought provoking and lovely. It makes you stop to reconsider your own family dynamics. Are we making family members feel invisible too? If so, resolve to change and know "all will be well."

Author Jo Knowles website
Other Books by Jo Knowles
Dear Bully
Lessons From A Dead Girl
Jumping Off Swings
Jo KnowlesSee You at Harry's

  Jo Knowles

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