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Teacher & Parent Recommendations

This category contains 144 posts

CRASH, SPLASH OR MOO by Bob Shea…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Starring:  Action Clam Also Starring: Cow Your Host: Mr. McMonkey Before I start this review I need to acknowledge that I love Bob Shea’s work.  I love his sense of humor–both in its cleverness and its broadness of scope. So I was prepared to love this book before I read it.  I was not disappointed.  … Continue reading

THE DAY YOU BEGIN by Jacqueline Woodson Illustrated by Rafael Lopex…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

The Day You Begin opens with a gentle acknowledgement: There will be times when you walk into a room and no one is quite like you. The illustrations are done in soft, bright tones that reinforce a compassion to support us as the text acknowledges the many ways in which we can feel conspicuously different … Continue reading

DRAWN TOGETHER by Minh Le Illustrated by Dan Santat…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

A grandson unwillingly visits his grandfather, who does not speak English. Bored and resentful, the young boy takes out his sketchbook and: Right when I gave up on talking, my grandfather surprised me by revealing a world beyond words. Grandfather and grandson share an ability and love for drawing. They begin to each share their … Continue reading

THE GOOD FOR NOTHING BUTTON by Charice Mericle Harper…2020 MN STAR OF THE NORTH nominee

Yellow Bird brings a button to show Red Bird and Blue Bird. They disagree over what the button can actually do. Yellow Bird argues that it does nothing. Red Bird and Blue Bird discover all kinds of effects when the button is pressed–much to Yellow Bird’s irritation. The third book in the Elephant & Piggie Also Like Reading series, Button … Continue reading

GENESIS BEGINS AGAIN by Alicia D. Williams

After finishing Genesis Begins Again I wanted to live with the experience of reading it for a day or two before I wrote a review. I have now had the opportunity to do just that. Genesis is thirteen years old.  We first meet her as she is coming home from school–bringing friends with her for … Continue reading

FRAMED! by James Ponti…2020 LOVELACE nominee Division I & II

Framed! is a really fun read.  Our main character is 12-year-old Florian Bates.  On the first page he introduces himself to the reader and lets us know that he’s an average 7th grader, aside from the fact that–despite his age–he works with the FBI. By page 4 he has been kidnapped and by page 12 … Continue reading

A TIME TO DANCE by Padma Venkatraman

A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman was a 4.5/5 star read for me! After reading Venkatraman’s most recent work–the middle grade novel The Bridge Home–I was curious about her backlist.  A Time to Dance was originally published in 2014.  The main character is Veda Venkat, a young, Indian girl who is extremely talented and skilled … Continue reading

THE SECRET OF DREADWILLOW CARSE by Brian Farrey….A 2020 LOVELACE Nominee Division I

The Secret of Dreadwillow Carse is a perfect example of why I adore the Maud Hart Lovelace awards.  I always try to read all of the nominees before the school year starts so I can speak intelligently about them when students or parents ask me.  I have discovered more than one gem among the nominees … Continue reading

GIMME SHELTER (Chicken Squad #5) by Doreen Cronin

I love the Chicken Squad books by Doreen Cronin and Gimme Shelter is no exception.  I adore the film-noirish narration of J.J. Tully, the retired Search-and-Rescue dog who introduces each of the Chicken Squad stories, his actual role in the action varying from book to book in the series. Gimme Shelter is almost exclusively the four members of … Continue reading

PIECING ME TOGETHER by Renee Watson…a 2020 LOVELACE nominee Division II

Jade is an extraordinarily talented African-American teenage artist about to begin her junior year at St. Francis High School in Portland, Oregon.  St. Francis is a private high school in a nicer neighborhood than the one in which Jade lives with her mother and uncle; its students are mostly white. Jade agreed to attend St. … Continue reading