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Less “tizzy-busy”, more joy!

Posted by on Dec 4, 2019 in Early Learning, Fluency, Holiday, Key Ideas and Details, Michigan Author, People Smart, Print Motivation | 0 comments

Pout-Pout Fish fans, this is the just-right book for the holiday season! The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish is a wonderful addition to The Pout-Pout Fish series. Mr. Fish feels caught up in the “tizzy-busy” rush to find the perfect gifts. “… a gift should have meaning,Plus a bit of bling-zing,So I’ll shop till I dropFor each just-right thing!” The repetition of these lines not only supports our early readers, it completely captures the overwhelmed feeling many of us get. When Mr. Fish has shopped...

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How-To Poems and My Love of Hedgehogs

Posted by on Sep 26, 2019 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, Nature Smart, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Range of Reading, Self Smart, writing | 0 comments

“The Proper Way to Meet a Hedgehog and Other How-To Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Richard Jones” How-to poems are an easy introduction to poetry, to nonfiction, and to writing what you know. This book of poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko and illustrated by Richard Jones has such a wide range of topics that all your students will find at least one poem that they love. My favorites are “Toasting Marshmallows” by Marilyn Singer and “How to Scare Monsters” by Rebecca Kai Dotlich. This...

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Start your new year off with compassion

Posted by on Aug 18, 2019 in Early Learning, Fluency, Key Ideas and Details, People Smart, Print Awareness, Readers' Theater, Self Smart | 2 comments

Start your new year off with compassion

This is a post I’ve shared before but I think it’s more important than ever to make your classroom a place of acceptance and compassion from day one.It’s September, the start of a new school year. I have no apples for you teachers, but I do have the perfect back-to-school picture book to teach empathy and point of view: I’m New Here by Anne Sibley O’Brien. Maria, Jin, and Fatimah are new to their schools and to the United States. Through their stories, we get a glimpse of what it’s like to hear a new...

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“One Family” is one you need for Thanksgiving!

Posted by on Nov 18, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, but it’s a challenge to find Thanksgiving picture books that connect with kids (I find many “pilgrim and Indian” books that are cringeworthy with stereotypes). This year,  I’m focusing on the “thanks” in Thanksgiving and sharing One Family by George Shannon with pictures by Blanca Gomez. The simple counting book is elevated here to show the beauty of what a family can be. Counting up to ten, we see all kinds of inclusive loving groups: two dads and their daughter...

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It’s allergy-safe, no cost, promotes reading = it’s the perfect Halloween treat!

Posted by on Oct 25, 2019 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Every year at Halloween, a kid (maybe your own) asks for a scary book and you think, how scary is scary for this kid? Do they like zombies, or are carrots that eat bunnies more their speed? Trick or Reaters will help you find just the right book – and give you free bonuses like audio clips of first pages to entice readers. Trickorreaters.com is loaded with book recommendations from authors like R. L. Stine to Grace Lin to Melanie Watt. Use the Scare-O-Meter to decide how scary you want your stories to be, or select by age (from two...

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Celebrate all the BEAUTIFUL HANDS!

Posted by on Aug 25, 2016 in Art, Body Smart, Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Fluency, Integrating Knowledge and Ideas, People Smart, Poetry, Print Awareness, Print Concepts, Print Motivation, Range of Reading, Self Smart | 0 comments

Celebrate all the BEAUTIFUL HANDS!

August is crazy-busy for teachers and parents of little learners, so grab this book for a quick-prep, interactive lesson: BEAUTIFUL HANDS by Kathryn Otoshi and Bret Baumgarten. The book begins with a question, “What will your beautiful hands do today?” which leads to more questions with inspiration-sparking answers: “Will they lift…/ spirits?/ Or stretch…/ imaginations?” There are also invitations to participate (“What can you lift?” “What can you stretch?”) that will especially hook...

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WHAT THE FUN?! in July and All Year ‘Round

Posted by on Jul 28, 2016 in Early Learning, Holiday, Non-Fiction, Professional Development | 0 comments

Sing it with me! “What the world Needs now Is Fun! WHAT THE FUN?!” I picked something fun for July’s professional development book: WHAT THE FUN?! 427 Simple Ways to Have Fantastic Family Fun by Donna Bozzo. As you can see from my pink sticky tabs, I found lots of quick, easy, inexpensive ideas in WHAT THE FUN?! that work well in classrooms as well as at home, like: p. 35 “Comedy Club…Let the kids spend the day finding jokes and writing their own material.” Riddle and joke books can be less intimidating for...

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Why I’ve Been Quiet for Six Months

Posted by on Jul 21, 2016 in Michigan Author, Non-Fiction, Science, Self Smart, writing | 10 comments

MYSTERY OF LONG SILENCE EXPLAINED! December, 2015: My first two books, GROUNDHOG’S DILEMMA and DRAW WITH A VENGEANCE (under the pen name, Helen Wrath), were published. January, 2016: I had a stroke. I was in Boston at the American Library Association conference, attending for the first time not only as a librarian, but as a published author. I had a line at my booksigning event, dinner with a book promoter, brunch with my editor, coffee with an agent – and just before leaving for the airport, I lost all the peripheral vision on my...

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Groundhog’s Dilemma is here!

Posted by on Dec 4, 2015 in Early Learning, Holiday, Key Ideas and Details, Michigan Author, Nature Smart, People Smart, Print Motivation, Readers' Theater, Self Smart, Social Studies, writing | 2 comments

It’s self-indulgent, but I can’t resist; my December pick is my new picture book that just hit the shelves, Groundhog’s Dilemma! It’s gorgeously illustrated by award-winning author/illustrator Matt Faulkner (with whom I’m about to celebrate five years of wedded bliss.) Half of Groundhog’s friends want him to predict an early spring, and the other half want a longer winter. Groundhog wants to please everyone, so when February 2nd comes, Groundhog has a dilemma: to see or not to see his shadow? Because the...

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The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish

Posted by on Nov 20, 2015 in Early Learning, Fluency, Holiday, Michigan Author, Readers' Theater, Self Smart | 0 comments

I’ve been hooked on Pout-Pout Fish since the beginning (fellow Michigander Debbie Diesen is a long-time friend),  and the newest book, The Not Very Merry Pout-Pout Fish, is as wonderful as the original. Mr. Fish feels caught up in the “tizzy-busy” rush of the holidays. (Dan Hanna does a brilliant job of tucking jokes in his illustrations of the packed store shelves!) The repetition of these lines not only supports our early readers, it completely captures the overwhelmed feeling many of us get : “For a gift should be...

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