Posts Tagged: picture books
Looking for a fun, interactive picture book to use for story time (or any time)? Christie Matheson’s debut picture book, TAP THE MAGIC TREE, fits the bill perfectly. TAP THE MAGIC TREE combines the magic of the changing seasons with the magic of turning a page as the reader taps, pats, claps, and wiggles to make leaves grow, blossoms bloom, apples appear, and leaves swirl away with the autumn breeze.
Who’s ready for September? No one yet? That’s alright. We still have plenty of summer left. Whenever you’re ready, though, we want to help you start the school year off right with a little bit of inspiration. There are so many great back-to-school books out there that it’s difficult to choose just a few, but here’s a small sampling of some of our favorites!
This follow-up to “Weird Al” Yankovic’s bestselling debut picture book WHEN I GROW UP will get your students (and you, too) laughing out loud. The irrepressible Billy returns in this hilarious back-to-school tale filled with wordplay and energetic rhyme.
How could you not love Amelia Bedelia and her charmingly mixed-up view of the world? We bet you can guess what happens when Amelia Bedelia is told on her first day of school to “hop on the bus.” And it only gets funnier from there! You can visit www.ameliabedeliabooks.com for all kinds of fun downloadable activities and teaching resources.
Kids will love this clever spin on a starting-school story by Jane O’Connor (yes, THAT Jane O’Connor, author of the beloved Fancy Nancy books!). First published in 1990 and just released with adorable new illustrations by debut illustrator Bella Sinclair, this is a perfect book for any kid who might be a little nervous about heading off to school for the first time.
Kevin Henkes’s newest novel, due out September 17, is a humorous, heartwarming school and family story for young middle-grade readers. Kids will see a lot of themselves in Billy Miller, whose second-grade year includes such universal experiences as homework (dioramas!), school shows (original poetry performed at microphones!), canceled sleepovers, and epic sibling temper tantrums. Visit www.kevinhenkes.com for more information, teaching guides, and more!
Are your students hungry for more of Dan Gutman’s wacky My Weird School stories? Book #8 in the My Weirder School series, DR. NICHOLAS IS RIDICULOUS!, is the most recent installment, and you can look for book #9, MS. SUE HAS NO CLUE! this October. Don’t forget, you can always head over to the My Weird Classroom Club website for all kinds of great teaching resources, including downloadables, for all of the My Weird School books!
Coming soon: Back-to-school books for older readers . . . stay tuned!
This is a story about how a little boy grew up to be a President. It’s a story of hope and courage. It’s a story about the power of words. And it is a story that has been told many times, in many voices.
Acclaimed picture book biographer Jonah Winter offers his own voice and memories about JFK and his significance in this heartfelt personal profile, illustrated in vibrant detail by AG Ford.
If you love Pete the Cat as much as we do, then, boy, do we have good news for you! Pete is back in THE WHEELS ON THE BUS, with his own very groovy version of the popular song. The book will be available on June 25th, and in the meantime, here’s a little treat for you and your students to enjoy on this lovely summer Friday:
As you may have heard, 2013 marks 50 years of the beloved, mixed-up housekeeper Amelia Bedelia. Our celebration continues with this heartwarming video featuring Herman Parish, footage of Peggy Parish, illustrators Lynne Avril and Barbara Siebel Thomas, Gretchen Siebel, editor Susan Hirschman, and everyone’s favorite dressed chicken. Hear about the history and evolution of Amelia Bedelia from the people who created her and those who have continued her legacy, and reminisce about your favorite moments from the books. (Dressing the chicken? Stringing the beans? Hitting the road? It’s tough to choose, but our favorite might be the “surprise shower.”)
In case you’d like to share the video with students or others whose attention spans are more suited for brevity, here’s a shorter (but equally warm and fuzzy) version:
Don’t forget to download an Amelia Bedelia Party Kit and join the celebration! Here’s to 50 years of hilarity and delicious baked goods.
Ms. Bird, a seasoned librarian who has put on many a storytime event, has kindly shared with us some great ideas for hosting a dance party in your library, classroom, or store that will get everyone moving and grooving. We hope you’ll use this guide to throw your own Giant Dance Party for your little giants. And don’t forget to check out the book, which Kirkus Reviews called “Full of pep and verve and enthusiasm . . . Sheer joy.”
Many thanks to Betsy Bird, and happy dancing to everyone!
From Betsy Bird:
In GIANT DANCE PARTY, we see what happens when some furry blue big ’uns cut loose on the floor. Now here’s your chance to have your very own Giant Dance Party in the comfort of your own store, school, or library. When hosting any kind of a dance event, it is important to remember the four essential elements of any good party involving kids:
- Loud music
- Fabulous snacks
- Fun costumes
- Goofy adults
You’re responsible for the goofy adults. For all other items, here are some ideas for having a GIANT DANCE PARTY to beat all other giant dance parties.
Food: It Gotta Be Blue
Are you the kind of person who quails at the thought of providing delicious, healthy, and one-of-a-kind snacks at a party? Well, quail not. Kids love specialized foods, but what they like even more is filling their bellies. And since the giants in GIANT DANCE PARTY are as blue as the sky above, try serving treats of a similar hue. Here are some simple party ideas that can be fancied up if you’ve a yen to do so.
Blue ice pops—In GIANT DANCE PARTY, Lexy turns into the human equivalent of an ice pop whenever she’s called upon to dance. Consider making some ice pops of your own.
Blue juice—Time to get nice and cozy with the Kool-Aid man, yet again. Find your favorite blue version and make up a nice big pitcher.
Blue popcorn—It can be done! Combine butter, oil, salt, corn syrup, and blue food coloring in a big bowl. Next, microwave the mixture for 30–40 seconds, just until butter melts. Stir to combine, and then add the unpopped popcorn kernels and stir so that the kernels get completely covered with the syrup mixture. Spread them out evenly in the bottom of the bowl. Then just cover the bowl with a vented lid and microwave on high for 3–5 minutes, or until there are 1–2 seconds between pops. Instant blue popcorn awaits you!
Cupcakes—Consider blueberry cupcakes with blue frosting and M&Ms for a topper. Healthier alternatives can include blueberry muffins or just big bowls of blueberries.
Suggested Tunes for Little Monsters
The number one most important thing you need when you host a dance party? Dancing! Now that you’ve gotten them hepped up on sugar, it’s time to let those kiddos strut their signature dance moves on the floor. Trust your gut when it comes to great music. If it has a beat, the kids will be able to dance to it. Some recommended selections include:
“Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now),” by C&C Music Factory
“Girls Just Want to Have Fun” (Cindi Lauper’s version)
“Walk Like an Egyptian,” by The Bangles
“Hey Ya!” by OutKast
“La Bamba” (Los Lobos version)
“Twist and Shout” (the Beatles’ version)
The Kidz Bop albums—You may roll your eyes when you hear the oddly infantilized versions of the latest songs on the radio. But hey, if it comes down to the dirty real lyrics and the ones Kidz Bop comes up with, you may as well go for the safe and secure, if only to avoid the glares of irate parents.
Big on Costumes
Everyone has a different idea of what a giant looks like. In GIANT DANCE PARTY the giants are huge (as per usual), furry, and blue. But leave yourself open to a range of different giant interpretations. Here are some great giants in pop culture you might want to consider replicating:
The giants in GIANT DANCE PARTY—Furry-and-blue is the name of the game here. Don’t want to go all out with a hot and heavy costume? Consider going to Etsy and purchasing a pair of furry blue boot covers for the legs alone. They’re sure to gussy up any outfit.
The Jolly Green Giant—The nice thing about this guy is that he doesn’t require fur. Just a toga of green, maybe some green tights, and some makeup for the skin. Toss in a little green dye for the hair, and voila! Instant giant.
Hagrid from the Harry Potter series—This is for your future motorcycle tough guy. All you need is a ginormous beard and maybe an old bathrobe, and it’s Hagrid in the flesh.
Finn MacCoul—He’s the most famous giant in Ireland, so run to your local library to pick up some books on him (we recommend Finn MacCoul and His Fearless Wife, by Robert Byrd, or Fin M’Coul, by Tomie dePaola). Next, construct an outfit. You can go all out with a kilt or just find some plaid fabric to make an appropriate sash.
Your standard Fe Fi Fo Fum giant—Bad teeth, warts, raggedy clothes, and maybe a club for grinding men’s bones into bread. Extra points if you bring along your own beanstalk.
King Kong—Who says all giants have to be humans? Go ape by dressing up as everyone’s favorite Empire State Building ascender. Consider attaching a couple of paper airplanes here and there for the kids to swipe at for fun (and don’t forget to carry a Faye Wray-esque doll around, too!).
Most important of all, have fun! There’s no wrong way to throw a Giant Dance Party. Each one, like each giant, is unique in its very own way.
Getting ready for Poetry Month? We’ve got some brilliant activities for Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger’s STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY, brought to you by picture book and flannelboard maven Storytime Katie. With Jack Prelutsky’s signature sense of humor and Carin Berger’s stunning collage, shadowbox, and diorama illustrations, this fantastic new poetry collection can be paired with SCRANIMALS and BEHOLD THE BOLD UMBRELLAPHANT or used on its own for a rollicking Poetry Month celebration.
Many thanks to Katie for these great activities, and happy (almost) Poetry Month to all!
From Storytime Katie:
In STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY, Jack Prelutsky and Carin Berger team up to create an unforgettable recording of sixteen brand-new species unseen by humans before! To celebrate this amazing new book from Greenwillow Books, readers are invited to try their hands at these activities.
1. Create Your Own Animal. In STARDINES, Jack Prelutsky creates animals by combining two words with at least one similar syllable. For example, a panda who plans becomes a planda. Plan + Panda = Planda. Try making your own animal! If you get stuck, you can try using two of the words in the following lists:
Panda: Fan, Land, Sand, Stand
Buffalo: Fluff, Muff, Stuff, Tough
Butterfly: Blue, Flew, Mutt, Nut
Make sure to write out the definition of your new animal. (For example, a Bluetterfly is a butterfly who only lands on blue flowers!)
2. I Spy. In Carin Berger’s collage illustrations, she includes a lot of details to demonstrate each animal’s environment and personality. Can you find all fifteen items listed below in the pictures throughout STARDINES?
Items to find: Apron, Broom, Cactus, Clock, Feather, Fork, Guitar, Mushroom, Pretzel, Red Shoes, Rocks, Sailboat, Spoon, Tuba, Umbrella
3. Collage Art. Make your own collage using a variety of paper, found objects, and creativity. You can use whatever can be glued down on a piece of paper, as long as you have permission to use it! Try using milk caps, cardboard boxes, and newspaper to make a truly Earth-friendly recycled craft.
4. Animal Discoveries. While the creatures in STARDINES may not be real, new animal species are discovered regularly in our world. Do some research about when your favorite animal was discovered and find out who was responsible for the discovery. Write a poem about how your favorite animal was discovered—be imaginative!
We couldn’t be more excited to be heading to beautiful Seattle for the Midwinter Meeting of the American Library Association next week– where we’ll mingle with our dearest librarian and educator pals, make new friends, sing the praises of our upcoming books, become well acquainted with our umbrellas, and lure you into our booth with amazing galleys, posters, kits, and conversation!
Will you be in Seattle? If so, visit us in booth #2630!
Here’s a glimpse at a few of the galleys we’ll be shoving into your hands whether you like it or not:
THAT IS NOT A GOOD IDEA, by Mo Willems: Think The Artist meets I WANT MY HAT BACK meets The Pigeon! One day, a very hungry fox meets a very plump goose. A dinner invitation is offered. Will dinner go as planned? Or do the dinner plans involve a secret ingredient . . . ? A chorus of suspicious goslings beg for raucous audience participation, making this a joy to read aloud. Mo Willems has cornered the market on totally fresh and subversive picture books.
THE GIRL FROM FELONY BAY, by J.E. Thompson: A middle grade novel set in hot and steamy South Carolina that deftly weaves an exploration of race relations into a mystery revolving around the concept of heir’s property. And it stars Abbey Force—a spunky young heroine we can’t wait for you to meet. We would(humbly) compare it to MOON OVER MANIFEST by Clare Vanderpool.
ELVIS AND THE UNDERDOGS, by Jenny Lee: Another terrific middle grade novel, this one tells the hilarious and poignant story of a sickly boy whose life is turned upside down when he gets a therapy dog . . . who can talk (bonus: the dog– a Newfoundland– sounds like Frasier Crane)!
SEVERED HEADS, BROKEN HEARTS, by Robyn Schneider: A worthy successor to THE PERKS OF BEING A WALLFLOWER and John Green. This is about high school tennis jock Ezra Faulkner, whose life is irrevocably changed by a car accident. Ezra must re-examine everyone and everything in his life, and what he takes away from his misadventures is profound and memorable.
YOU LOOK DIFFERENT IN REAL LIFE, by Jennifer Castle: We are always absolutely delighted to read excellent realistic teen fiction—and this is it. Jennifer Castle is back with a powerful novel about five teenagers who struggle with friendship and self-identity while being filmed for a widely-acclaimed documentary film series that revisits their lives every five years. And by 16, living their lives on camera has made them question if who they are is who they really want to be.
Want to hear the inside scoop on even more HarperCollins Winter and Summer 2013 titles? Then visit our Book Buzz Event on Sunday morning– all are welcome, and we hope to see you there!
HARPERCOLLINS CHILDREN’S BOOKS 2013 TITLE PREVIEW
Washington State Convention Center, Room 608-609
Sometimes a publishing season comes around that is so full and great that you almost can’t believe it, and Winter 2013 is one such season for us in the picture book arena. There truly is something for everyone in this winter’s happy group: sneezing pandas, biographies, non-fiction, historical fiction, poetry, collage, dioramas, monsters, farm animals, and did we mention… unbearably adorable sneezing pandas? Neil Gaiman, Adam Rex, Melissa Sweet, Jack Prelutsky, and more– the talent pool is just too deep! Look forward to upcoming posts featuring the artwork of the following books that we think are going to be “picture-perfect” additions to your classroom, library, home, and heart.
by Neil Gaiman
Illustrated by Adam Rex
Beloved storyteller Neil Gaiman and acclaimed artist Adam Rex bring us Chu, a baby panda’s whose mighty sneeze produces disastrous and hilarious results.
Great for: reading aloud, storytime! (there’s a great library scene )
Starred Review: PW
BRICK BY BRICK
by Charles R. Smith Jr.
Illustrated by Floyd Cooper
On the heels of the 2012 Presidential election comes this powerful story of the building of the White house. Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and the toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our President. Built brick by brick, the White House was created by human hands, many of them slaves, whose hard labor created the symbol of this country.
Themes and applications: history, the United States, slavery.
by Brett Helquist
Goat has never had a single friend in his life. He doesn’t want one now. What he wants is to eat, and so he does! That is, until he stumbles upon a beautiful dandelion that stops him in his tracks. And once Goat opens his eyes to the beauty that surrounds him, he can’t help but open his heart as well.
Themes and applications: friendship, grief, the circle of life, animals, reading aloud!
by Kadir Nelson
In poignant verse and glorious illustrations, Kadir Nelson tells the story of a young boy’s determination to change South Africa and of the struggles of a man who eventually became the president of his country by believing in equality for people of all colors. Readers will be inspired by Nelson Mandela’s triumph and his lifelong quest to create a more just world.
Themes and applications: equality, justice, perseverance, Black History Month.
Two starred reviews! Kirkus, PW
by Michelle Markel
Illustrated by Melissa Sweet
The inspiring true story of Clara Lemlich, a young immigrant girl who led the biggest strike of women workers in U.S. history. Caldecott Honor and Sibert Medal winner Melissa Sweet has used a variety of techniques—oil paints, watercolor, collage—to create a truly stunning picture book.
Themes and applications: Women’s history, equality, individuality, collage.
Starred Review: PW
MONSTERS LOVE COLORS
by Mike Austin
Different-colored monsters howl, growl, and roar for more as they mix and match primary colors to make new shades and hues. We (dare we say!) see this as the heir apparent to The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown.
Themes and applications: colors– primary and secondary colors, creativity, storytime!
STARDINES SWIM HIGH ACROSS THE SKY
by Jack Prelutsky
illustrated by Carin Berger
Sixteen mixed-up animal poems by poet Jack Prelutsky are paired with stunning three-dimensional collages, dioramas, and shadow boxes by Carin Berger. A faux natural history catalog of silliness, originality, and spectacular beauty.
Themes and applications: poetry, creativity, reading aloud!
TITO PUENTE, MAMBO KING
by Monica Brown
Illustrated by Rafael Lopez
A vibrant picture book biography of Tito Puente, the Mambo King. Rafael Lopez’ colorful illustrations make the story come alive.
Themes and applications: biography, music, creativity, storytime!
What do you think? Do any of these books look like ones you can use with your students, patrons, or your own kids? We’d love to know!
We’re back in the video spotlight again with our October book picks! (Did you miss September? Check them out here.) Our favorite thing about the conferences we attend is meeting YOU– teachers, librarians, specialists, readers, parents– and having those important conversations about what sparks interest in a reader. We’re hoping to replicate that experience a little bit with these videos, and we hope you’re enjoying and finding them useful. As always, we love to hear your thoughts, so please feel free to comment away, ask for recommendations, and contribute your opinion!
Molly’s October Picks:
SEED BY SEED, by Esme Raji Codell, illustrated by Lynne Rae
PENNY AND HER DOLL, by Kevin Henkes
THE SPINDLERS, by Lauren Oliver
TEN, by Gretchen McNeil