Elementary NF – This is How we do It; She Persisted; Skyscraper

Lamothe, Matt. This is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids from Around the World. Chronicle Books, 2017. 978-1-4521-5018-5. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

This is How We Do It introduces readers to seven children from seven different countries.  The children take readers through a typical day explaining who they are, where they live, their families, what they eat, how they dress, where they go to school, and what they like to do.  Each page is divided equally for each story, while also offering a “This is…” block that both introduces what the pages will cover and can be used in a lesson by having students consider their own experience in comparison to those of children their age around the world.  The illustrations are hand drawn and represent the people, places, and colors of each nation.  Lamothe includes notes at the end about his experiences traveling and the lives of these seven real children and a glossary to further explain some of the children’s experiences.  Also included are the real pictures of each family that were illustrations earlier in the book.  THOUGHTS:  This is a wonderful book for introducing culture and different experiences around the world.  The last page with the night sky establishes that we aren’t all that different; we still sleep under one sky.  This book can also be used for further study and research about other cultures and traditions.  On a personal note, I was blown away by the time that each child eats dinner.  Only one eats around 6 pm, everyone else is much later.

305.23; Cultures of the World      Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

 

Lamothe, Matt. This Is How We Do It: One Day in the Lives of Seven Kids From Around the World.  Chronicle Books, 2017.  978-1452150185. $17.99  Unpaged.  Gr. K-3.  

Author and illustrator Lamothe shows in side-by-side pictures a day in the life of ordinary kids from seven different countries.  Kei from Japan; Ribaldo from Peru; Kian from Iran; Oleg from Russia; Ananya from India; Romeo from Italy; and Daphine from Uganda.  Endpapers show their locations on a world map.  Pages show where they live, with whom (in their family), what they wear to school (uniforms for four of the seven), food eaten for each meal, after-school activities (including “how I help”), and how they get to school.   This is an amazing look at the average day lived by a variety of kids in cultures around the world.  Words underlined (such as bechamel, abwooli, or sensei) are defined in a short glossary, and an author’s note explains how Lamothe located these real families in order to show a regular day.  Photos of the families help to bring home the reality of the illustrations.  THOUGHTS: This is a strong addition to discuss geography or social customs with children.  

305.23 World Culture    Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

 

Clinton, Chelsea. She Persisted: 13 American Women Who Changed the World. Ill. Alexandra Boiger, Philomel Books, 2017. 978-1-5247-4172-3. Unpaged. $17.99. Gr. K-3.

“The right way is not always the popular and easy way.  Standing for right when it is unpopular is a true test of moral character,” Margaret Chase Smith, one of the thirteen women who changed the lives of women (and at times their race) through their actions.  She Persisted shares the stories of Harriet Tubman, Helen Keller, Clara Lemlich, Nellie Bly, Virginia Apgar, Maria Tallchief, Claudette Colvin, Ruby Bridges, Sally Ride, Florence Griffith Joyner, Oprah Winfrey, and Sonia Sotomayor, many of whom elementary (and older students) are unfamiliar.  Although each story is just a brief summary of the greatness of these women, the continual use of “She Persisted” sticks with readers as a mantra.  Clinton ends this beautifully illustrated picture book with, “They persisted and so should you.”  This simple message encouraging students to do more, achieve more, fight for what is right not only for your, but for others, is uplifting and important to teach students at a young age.  As Clinton writes, “So, if anyone ever tells you no, if anyone ever says your voice isn’t important or your dreams are too big, remember these women.  They persisted and so should you.”  THOUGHTS:  I love this book.  It highlights amazing women who many students are unfamiliar with or only recognize their names, not their accomplishments.  I like that the women are from all walks of life, young and old; black, white, and Native American; politicians and athletes; entertainers and astronauts.  It truly encompasses everything a woman can do.  This is a must have for all libraries.

One final note…Illustrator Alexandra Boiger includes a portrait of Hillary Clinton on the first page spread as the children visit a gallery of important and influential women.  Portraits and busts of those highlighted in the book are also included, along with children of all genders, cultures, and races.

Biography     Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

 

Suen, Anastasia. Up! Up! Up! Skyscraper. Ill. Ryan O’Rourke. Charlesbridge, 2017. 978-158089-7105. $16.99 Unpaged. Gr. K-3.

This book won’t take much to sell it.  The highly popular construction site topic and the in-process building on the cover will have young children eagerly opening the book.  Inside they will find more detail than usual ‘construction books’ give including labeled items (concrete pile, rebar cage, pile driver, decking and more) and two blocks of text per page, one rhyming, and one explanatory.  One four-line rhyme reads, “Pour, pour pour! / A floor down low / The higher the building / the deeper we go” with an accompanying explanation, “Every building has a foundation, but tall buildings, like our skyscraper, need very thick foundations.  We pour concrete over a rebar frame to make the foundation.”  The building suffers from simple glass panels (“where is the door?”) and lack of detail, but the focus here is on the underlying framework of the building.  Multiracial male and female construction workers make the building grow as kids in construction hats look on.  THOUGHTS:  This is a welcome addition to nonfiction picture books about construction, and it explains the how and why, not just different vehicles.  This is a good choice for elementary and public libraries.

720, Construction      Melissa Scott, Shenango Area SD

Picture Books – Groovy Joe; How to Catch a Monster; Monster’s New Undies; Nothing Rhymes with Orange

Litwin, Eric. Groovy Joe: Dance Party Countdown. Scholastic, 2017. 9780545883795. $16.99. 40p. Gr. Pre-K-1.

Eric Litwin teams up with illustrator Tom Lichtenheld in this picture book that has some simple math and a lesson to learn (there’s always room for one more friend). Litwin’s fame as the author of Pete the Cat will make this book popular. Groovy Joe is a dog that loves to play music and dance. Joe’s motto is “the more the merrier.” As friends knock at his door, readers can follow along with simple math problems as Joe invites everyone into the party. The end of the story includes an invitation to the reader to come join in the party, too.  THOUGHTS: The illustrations make this book. Lichtenfeld’s colorful, bold illustrations will be a hit with this book’s 3 to 5 year old audience. The theme of not excluding anyone in an important lesson to learn at an early age since that can be a problem at the K-6 school level. This book also includes a website to download the song that Joe sings throughout the book.

Picture book        Bridget Fox, Central Bucks SD

 

Wallace, Adam and Andy Elkerton. How to Catch a Monster. Sourcebooks, 2017. 978-1-4926-4894-9. Unpaged. $10.99. Gr. K-2.

What do you do when you get the role of a ninja in the school play?  Become one of course!  And not just any ninja; a monster catching ninja!  With the courage to trap the monster hiding in his closet, the ninja-monster-catcher meets his match.  After breaking the first few traps, ninja finally catches his monster and learns that his monster isn’t trying to scare him; he just wants to play.  As ninja and monster play, and learn about one another, a friendship between them blooms.  Wallace uses rhyme throughout (although not all pages rhyme), and Elkerton’s illustrations make the monster-in-the-closet come alive as a cuddly friend.  THOUGHTS:  This is a wonderful book to teach about friendship and how differences can be overcome.  

Picture Book     Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

 

Berger, Samantha. Monster’s New Undies. Ill. Tad Carpenter, Orchard Books, 2017. 978-0-545-87973-6. Unpaged. $16.99. Gr. PreK-2.

Monster loves his undies, but they have fallen apart.  He doesn’t want new undies, but it’s too cold without them, so it is time for Monster to get new ones.  At the store Monster doesn’t like any undies until he finds ones just like his old ones.  These new undies allow Monster to be comfortable again.  THOUGHTS:  Although about underwear (which is just funny to students), Monster’s New Undies can compare to any beloved item a student has and the feelings that occur when that item can no longer be used.  This book is a great read-aloud to writing about something students love that they have lost or had to get rid of because they are growing up.

Picture Book      Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD

 

Rex, Adam. Nothing Rhymes with Orange. Chronicle Books, 2017. 978-1-4521-5443-5. Unpaged. $16.99. Gr. 1-3.

Unlike most fruits, nothing does rhyme with orange, and Orange knows this.  Although Orange tries to find a place in this rhyming poem, it just doesn’t work because nothing rhymes with orange.  Fruits that Orange doesn’t even know have rhyming words, but not orange that is until the other fruits create a word to rhyme with orange in order to make Orange feel apart of the fruit group.  Photographs of fruit with hand drawings to bring the fruit alive add to the fun of this rhyming poem and creative take on friendship and fitting in.  THOUGHTS: This is a very creative way to work with students on rhymes, nonsense words, and the importance of inclusion of everyone no matter their differences (or similarities…even if nothing rhymes with orange).

Picture Book     Erin Bechdel, Beaver Area SD