Found by Salina Yoon

My review at Good Reads with Ronna, where you can find the latest and greatest in children’s literature.

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Salina Yoon has created a wonderful story with Found (Walker Books for Young Readers /Bloomsbury 2014; $14.99, Ages 2-6.) Bear finds a toy bunny in the forest and wants to find its owner, so he posts “found” flyers in the forest. Time passes and no one claims the bunny, and Bear becomes attached to it. It is, after all, “the most special thing he had ever seen.” But eventually Moose, the owner, spots Floppy, and Bear must prepare to part with his new, treasured toy. I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that it has just the right touch.

The magic of this picture book is its simplicity. The storyline is straightforward and the words are chosen perfectly for the young audience. My kindergartener greatly enjoys Found, and is transported into Bear’s world. When Moose arrives to claim Floppy, my little one’s thumb goes right in her mouth (nervous trait), and when Bear sheds a tear at the thought of parting with Floppy, my little one’s eyes well up, too. Children understand simple, pure emotion and Found presents that to them through the themes of friendship, sacrifice, and love.

The artwork is colorful and appealing. The characters are just adorable. Parents will appreciate the clever play on words and the cultural and historical references on the “lost” flyers. My favorites are “Lost Seasons 1-6,” Peter Pan’s “Lost shadow,” and “Lost my marbles! HELP!”

Your child will get lost in the world of Found, and that’s a good thing.

National Poetry Day

In honor of National Poetry Day, I’m reposting “Poems for Made up Occasions.”  Enjoy!

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With National Poetry Month wrapping up, I’d like to highlight some of my favorite poems and the occasions best suited for them.

Enjoy!

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If you are feeling stressed and need perspective, find solace in The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry.

If you want express your love to your significant other, but are too broke to buy a gift, check out I Am Offering This Poem by Jimmy Santiago Baca.

If you’re tired of the know-it-all in your life, pass along The Book of Wisdom by Stephen Crane for a little passive-aggressive fun.

If you embrace womanhood in all its glory, celebrate with Phenomenal Woman by Maya Angelou. In fact, read anything by Maya Angelou! She is an incredible poet and writer and orator and person. The list goes on!

If people are giving you crap, meditate upon Be Kind Anyway attributed to Mother Teresa (not really a poem, but very inspirational).

If you enjoy the quiet of the morning, find peace with Before Dawn by Jack Cooper.

If you admire cats and/or like misty weather, read Fog by Carl Sandburg.

If you can identify with the folly of youth, pay attention to We Real Cool by Gwendolyn Brooks.

If you think you’ve got it tough, reflect upon Mother to Son by Langston Hughes, and then call your mom.

If you participate in the creation versus evolution debate, think about Design by Robert Frost.

If you have an appreciation for or would like to learn more about Native American beliefs, read Eagle Poem by Joy Harjo.

If you rally for curves, be proud and enjoy Homage to My Hips by Lucille Clifton.

If you can identify with eccentric souls, try a little Tia Chucha by Luis Rodriguez on for size.

If you understand that trees are symbolic of life, read This Tree, This Poem by Luis Rodriguez, and then go hug a tree.

If you have a favorite poem (and an occasion for it), let me know.

There Is Good in This World

Today is remembered for terrible, awful, tragic events. It’s also a day that people everywhere felt the loss and sent out messages of hope, support, love, and sympathy.

To honor 9/11 and to remind ourselves, and especially children, that good is still the predominant force in this world, here is a book that focuses on good people.Good People Everywhere

Taken from my review at Good Reads with Ronna, where you can find reviews on great children’s literature.

Within reading three pages of Good People Everywhere, I’d fallen in love with it. Written by Lynea Gillen and illustrated by Kristine Swarner, this beautiful, touching book is inspiring and empowering. Its message is simple: there are good people doing good things everywhere, every day and in many ways. In a world where we too often hear of the destructive, unethical and terrible acts that people commit, Good People Everywhere offers a powerful juxtaposition to the idea that there are bad people everywhere. It presents the notion that people, including young children, can and do good in the world.

The prose is written in plain language and provides examples that children will find familiar. Numerous examples show children of various ages engaging in good deeds, the kinds that are readily managed by youngsters.

Teachers are teaching math, spelling and reading skills,/Today, people are planning seeds, picking fruits and vegetables, and driving them to grocery stores all around the world, so you can have a ripe, juicy orange in your lunch./Today, a first grade boy is helping a friend who has a skinned knee, and a big sister is holding her baby brother.

The illustrations are warm and engaging, and depict the text in a childlike fashion. They are a perfect complement to the heartfelt message. The bonus activities help children recognize and celebrate the good people around them.

As a mother, I have shared this book with my daughters and discussed how people we know do good things and how they, even at their young ages, can bring good into the world. As an educator, I plan on sharing this uplifting book with my students as our school continues with its theme for the year of giving back. Good People Everywhere provides examples, inspiration and comfort not only to young children

Woo-hoo, We Did It!

Thank you so much to everyone who helped raise money to help stem illiteracy in the US and around the world. World Education has been able to raise almost $22,000 to fight illiteracy through their #pages4progress campaign. Here’s the good news!

Reading Rocks!

Reading Rocks!

 That’s the good news, but the fight isn’t over! According to UNESCO EFA Global Monitoring Report Policy Paper, June 2014, 58 million children ages 6-11 won’t be returning to school. And, according to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development,  in the US, over 30 million adults don’t have a high school diploma and 20% of US adults with a high school diploma have only beginning literacy skills. There’s more work to be done, but, importantly, it can be done.

Please join World Education and sign a public letter (via Change.org) to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the United Nations Global Education First Initiative Steering Committee calling for increased attention and resources worldwide to achieve universal access to primary education. 

On September 24, take to social media and create a thunderclap in honor of the second anniversary of Secretary Ban Ki-moon’s Global Education First Initiative.

Education is a huge part in erasing poverty, most especially for women and children in developing countries. To be able to read is to be able to start the path out of poverty. If you care, please share. 

 

 

PitMad Is Coming!

Alright, all you aspiring, pre-published, agent-seeking writers, get ready for tomorrow’s #pitmad. 

If you’re not familiar with this event, here’s a brief explanation. 

You have a book you want to pitch. You write your pitch in a tweet and use the hashtag #pitmad and the hashtag for whatever genre your manuscript is. Agents cruise Twitter and look for genres and manuscripts they might be interested in. If an agent favorites your tweet, then that’s an invitation to send in the manuscript.

Check out the facts (and the rules!) from the lady who started it all, Brenda Drake. Go to her explanation page, and see if you want to play. 

Good luck!

Help End Illiteracy

Do you love to read? Of course, you do! After all, you’re checking out my site.

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Well, put your summer reading to even better use. Help World Education fight illiteracy. Join their #pages4progress campaign, and for every page that you read and log, World Education will receive $1 to fight illiteracy.

According to WorldEd, children in the US who can’t read at grade level by the fourth grade are 400% more likely to drop out of high school. By the end of fifth grade, disadvantaged youth in the US are nearly three grade equivalents behind their more affluent peers in reading.

Around the world, two-thirds of illiterate adults are women.
775 million adults cannot read this sentence.

You love to read. Help others learn. Go to pages4progress to get started.

Thank you.

Socks! by Tania Sohn

My review at Good Reads with Ronna, where you can find the latest and greatest in children’s literature.

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Colorful socks are for more than just keeping tootsies warm. A young girl and her adorable kitty explore what they can do with an armful of socks in Tania Sohn’s picture book, Socks!

The striped socks inspire the girl to dress up like a witch and the green socks are an opportunity to hop like a frog. Knee socks are the perfect length to imitate an elephant’s trunk. What’s in the package? Special socks called beoseon that Grandma sent from Korea.

Simple in its language and concept, Socks! is a guide to seeing these everyday accessories as more than mere footwear. With a little imagination, a child can transform these foot warmers into puppets or even use them as an opportunity to become a super hero.

Socks are fun. Socks are colorful. We love socks!

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish

My review of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish by Jarrett Krosoczka from Good Reads with Ronna, where you can find the latest greatest in children’s books.

Summertime means the beach. It also means opportunities to meet new people at camps, so a story about seahorse Peanut Butter and his best friend, Jellyfish, is a perfect avenue to the themes of friendship, bullying, and coping.

The pair loves to explore their ocean home. They have so much to see, such as a sunken ship and reefs. Unfortunately, their explorations take them near Crabby who taunts them every time they swim by.

Crabby was relentless. “You guys smell like rotten barnacles! Pee-yew! I’ve seen sea snails swim with more style. What a bunch of bubbleheads.”

Peanut Butter and Jellyfish do their best to ignore Crabby’s teasing and, when that doesn’t work, stand up for themselves.

Jellyfish puffed up his chest and said, “Driftwood and sea stones may break our bones, but words will never hurt us.”

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Then one day, Crabby isn’t on his rock. In fact, he is in big trouble and needs Peanut Butter’s and Jellyfish’s help. The duo decides that even though Crabby has been so mean to them, they should still try to help him. With an exciting endeavor, the sea friends manage to rescue Crabby. Will their actions make a difference in how Crabby behaves?

Krosoczka’s illustrations, made from digital collage of acrylic paintings, are bright and cartoon-like. The characters are fun to look at and children can watch for a clam who appears on many of the pages. My daughter especially enjoys the continuity of the plot found on the inside of the front and back covers. She also very much likes the heart-felt nature of this story and we’ve read this picture book probably every day since I’ve brought it home. So, while she won’t touch peanut butter the food, she can’t get enough of Peanut Butter and Jellyfish.

Play and Learn with Wallace Giant Workbook

My review from Good Reads with Ronna, where you can find the latest and greatest in children’s literature and educational products.

Summer is lots of fun for children, but it can also mean learning loss for some students. This might be especially true for students gearing up to enter kindergarten. Play and Learn with Wallace: Giant Workbook with content created by Ellen J. Bretherton, has over 300 activities that work on tracing, pen control, cutting and pasting, the alphabet, phonics, numbers 1-20, times table, days/months/seasons, colors/shapes/patterns, and telling time (both analog and digital).

Wallace the dog joins our young learners and helps them throughout the book. He’ll let them know what they need to do, such as “follow the direction of the arrows” or “paste the cutouts into the white squares.”

Number recognition is presented in fun games such as Matching Socks where you draw lines between socks or Bone Hunt where you match the dogs to their bones using number pairs.

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For phonics, children will trace each letter and then draw a line to connect the sound to the picture that it begins with. They can also play Which Letter? where they look at each picture and then circle the letter that makes the starting sound.

Full of bright illustrations and photographs with multicultural persons, the Giant Workbook is engaging, as well as educational. The reward chart is a bonus. My youngest child has greatly enjoyed working her way through this book and hasn’t complained at all that this is “work.” I don’t think there’s a more positive review than that.

Maisy’s Placemat Doodle Book

My review at Good Reads with Ronna, where you can find the latest and greatest in children’s literature and educational products.

My youngest daughter adores a certain mouse by Lucy Cousins, so Maisy’s Placemat Doodle Book (Candlewick Press, 2014; $11.99, Ages 3 and up) was a huge hit with her. With over 50 activities, it’s perfect for doodling, coloring, drawing, and, most importantly, using imagination. Each of the pages has a prompt and an illustration to inspire little hands to get busy with crayons, markers, or pencils. For example, your child can give these mugs some pretty patterns or can help draw some food that she [Tallulah] would like to eat. The prompts help children learn or reinforce colors, patterns, shapes and content knowledge.

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As with all Maisy books, the illustrations are splendid in their simplicity, and Maisy’s friends are there to join the fun. Draw lots of teeth for Charley so he can crunch on this tasty carrot. Make his shirt striped. Panda has been eating tomato soup. Draw the TERRIBLE MESS he has made on his face and everywhere else!

The pages are 12.5” x 9”, so there is plenty of space to color. When we’ve been on our way to dine out, I’ve torn pages from the book and taken them with us. That way, my daughter has her placemat(s) at the diner, as well. In her words, “You could color it, look at it, and it’s fun.”