Early Learning

SQUIRREL NEEDS A BREAK!

Posted by on Apr 15, 2024 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Holiday, Integrating Knowledge and Ideas, Key Ideas and Details, Logic Smart, Michigan Author, People Smart, Print Concepts, Print Motivation | 0 comments

I’m thrilled to announce that my newest picture book, SQUIRREL NEEDS A BREAK, will be published by Charlesbridge on May 7th! Squirrel is especially grumpy after having been stuck in the nest all winter with three rascally kits so his friends decide to take the kits for the day to give him a break – how hard could it be, they think? By the end of a very busy day, Groundhog and his friends have a whole new appreciation for what Squirrel does as a single parent, and Squirrel realizes that he has family he can rely upon in his circle of friends. It’s a great book for fathers, single parents, and anyone who knows what a handful little kits can be!

Matt Faulkner and I will be visiting some local bookstores and libraries. I hope to see you there!

May 11th: 2 Dandelions Bookshop in Brighton, MI at 11am

May 18th: Sidetrack Bookshop in Royal Oak, MI at 11 am

May 19th: The Book Beat in Oak Park, MI at 2 pm

May 25th: Schuler Books in West Bloomfield, MI at 11 am

June 1st: Orion Township Public Library in Lake Orion, MI at 11 am

June 8th: Eras Bookstore in Oxford, MI at 11 am

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“Grandma Heaven” and “Grandpa Heaven”

Posted by on Sep 8, 2023 in Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, Loss, Michigan Author, Self Smart, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Shutta Crum and Ruth McNally Barshaw are two of my most favorite people in the kid lit world. They have two new books out, “Grandma Heaven” and “Grandpa Heaven” that sweetly feature my own parents as two of the people enjoying the afterlife.


Is Heaven a fun-filled place of laughter, companionship, and love? Who knows. Perhaps it’s
simply a state of the universal/eternal mind. Regardless, Shutta Crum knows that here in this
corporeal world there are young worriers who’ve suddenly lost a beloved grandparent, and those
bereft children need to be consoled. Shutta began working on Grandma Heaven and Grandpa
Heaven years ago when her four-year-old grandchild asked, “Are you going to die, Grammy?”
Shutta reassured her granddaughter that that was not going to happen for a long time. But the
child’s question sparked the idea for these two books about grandparents having a great time in
Heaven. The grandparents drive snazzy cars in Heaven, study prehistoric animals, have pets,
bake, read, knit, bowl, tinker with broken things, and zip in on zip-lines. But the most important
job of a grandparent in the afterlife is watching over all the grandchildren of the world and
sending the memory of a hug when it is needed. Importantly, these two books are non-religious
and multicultural. Heaven in Grandma Heaven and Grandpa Heaven is populated by
grandparents from around the world so that all children can rest assured that their grandparents’
love never dies.

Grandma Heaven and Grandpa Heaven (published by Lawley Books, 2023) can be found online
wherever books are sold. Also, ask for them at your local bookstore, or to be purchased by your
local library. Paperback editions available: Sept. 28, 2023. Spanish editions: January 2024.

Links:
https://www.amazon.com/Grandma-Heaven-Shutta-Crum-ebook/dp/B0CB9L7KM8/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1694209435&sr=8-43&asin=B0CB9L7KM8&revisionId=&format=2&depth=1

https://lawleypublishing.com/

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April: Poetry, Earth Day, and April Pulley Sayre

Posted by on Apr 27, 2022 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Fluency, Integrating Knowledge and Ideas, Key Ideas and Details, Logic Smart, Nature Smart, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Print Awareness, Print Concepts, Print Motivation, Science, Vocabulary | 0 comments

April Pulley Sayre, a gift to the children’s literature community, passed away recently. In honor of her and her incredible legacy of picture books, I’m sharing a previous post. Look at all the ways you can use her books to teach in the most engaging ways!

RAH RAH RADISHES by April Pulley Sayre

I had the pleasure of speaking at an early education conference where our theme was literacy and science. I brought stacks of books that tie into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) or STEAM (add Art) to share. Rather than just lecture all day, I led a session of “speed-dating” books: we’d spend a few minutes skimming a book and brainstorming ways to use it with students, share our ideas with the group, and pass the book along. This way, we had time to get our hands on over a dozen books and walk away with practical classroom applications. I was so inspired by the fantastic ideas the teachers generated! Here are a few ideas we came up with after reading Rah,Rah, Radishes! A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre:

Bring in vegetables found in the book. Sort the vegetables by color and by size.

Classify and sort vegetables by the parts we eat: root vegetables, leaves, etc. Read Tops and Bottoms by Janet Stevens as a tie-in text and talk about which vegetables would be “tops” or “bottoms” according to Hare.

Predict which vegetables will sink or float. Test predictions in a tub of water. Wash the vegetables and talk about textures.

Use the vegetables to make prints.

Compare and contrast with fruits.

Weigh and measure the vegetables. Use a vegetable as a measuring tool.

Take photos of vegetables and label them. Reread the book and have students hold up the corresponding photos.

Make a chart or a Venn diagram with the terms “raw” and “cooked”. Try some vegetables both ways and chart our preferences.

See what other vegetables besides potatoes can be delicious mashed (great for little ones to do the mashing!)

Bring in potatoes with “eyes” sprouting and bring in vegetable seeds. Compare seeds and sprouts, then plant!

Make an edible collage with vegetables.

Practice patterning skills like ABAB, etc. with bite-size veggies and eat when done.

Plan a field trip to a farmer’s market or invite a farmer to come to the classroom for more vegetable experiences.

If you’re interested in the list of science books I shared, please email me at kristenremenar AT gmail DOT com. If you like Rah, Rah, Radishes! A Vegetable Chant, be sure to check out Go, Go, Grapes! A Fruit Chant and Let’s Go Nuts! Seeds We Eat also by April Pulley Sayre. Hooray for early science!

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“The Capybaras” and the Message of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Posted by on Jan 17, 2022 in Craft and Structure, Early Learning, Key Ideas and Details, People Smart, Print Motivation, Self Smart, Storybox Idea | 0 comments

The Capybaras written and illustrated by Alfredo Soderguit

This is my new favorite book, The Capybaras by Alfredo Soderguit. It’s a wonderful read anytime but it’s especially poignant to share in January when we celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Soderguit beautifully shares one of Martin Luther King Jr.’s beliefs that we are all part of one community and all are worthy. The simplicity of the text and the art communicates in ways that draw us in for discussion.

This book works with students of any age. The language is simple enough for preschoolers but the message makes it shareable for discussion even with middle school and high school kids.

So read the book aloud all the way through without interruption with students first. Then play the video with Pious Ali, a City Councilor in Portland, Maine, sharing the book. His invitations to discussion are wonderful. As teachers of tomorrow’s leaders, may we create communities in which our diversity is seen as the gift it truly is.

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