Thursday, December 6, 2018

Get to Know Bharat Babies + a Giveaway!

I am constantly looking for the recommendations I give and the books I share with students and educators to be culturally and racially inclusive. So I was thrilled to discover a new publisher when they reached out to ask if I'd be interested in a copy of one of their picture books to review. 

Bharat Babies is an indie publishing house that helps parents diversify their libraries one story at a time though children's books, magazines, and digital media. 
In the Spring of 2013, Sailaja Joshi was on a mission to complete her baby registry in preparation for the arrival of her first child. Inline with her “library” themed baby shower, Sailaja went on the hunt to find books about Indian culture that should could share with her newborn daughter. Of the few books that spoke to her Indian heritage, Sailaja realized that none of these books took into account the developmental needs of her growing child. Recognizing this gap in children’s literature, the idea for Bharat Babies was born.
The mission of Bharat Babies is simple: design and produce developmentally appropriate books that tell the stories of India’s heritage for children from birth through elementary school.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

#NCTE18 #classroombookaday Presentation

I was thrilled to be able to bring #classroombookaday to NCTE this year, especially with some amazing educators who discussed their different angles on how they have implemented it at their schools at roundtables, paired with incredible authors/illustrators talking about the value of picture books for all ages. Although I can't recreate those conversations for you, I can at least share the slides I used for my 20 minute origin story and overview of #classroombookaday, with some of our joint book recommendations at the end.

My #NCTE18 #BuildYourStack #classroombookaday Picture Book Recommendations

I was honored to be asked to be a part of the debut year of Build Your Stack presentations at NCTE18 in Houston. It was a lot of fun, and a bit of a challenge, deciding which books to share in a 20 minute session in the exhibit hall. I focused on some new favorite picture book titles for #classroombookaday read alouds & ended up with 21 slides and 70 books to booktalk in just 20 minutes. And I made it through them all! :)

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Getting to Know Animals through Picture Books

Every so often I'll read a picture book that instantly makes me think of a bunch of other picture books that would make a good connected text set. When it happens with a topic that is both engaging to kids and also connected to curriculum concepts they may encounter, even better.

When I read How Do You Take a Bath? (out today!), I smiled at how adorable it was, but also appreciated how it could connect with science concepts about animals. Even though it reads as a book aimed at a younger audience about bath time with a specific fact about how each animal cleans itself, it also connects well with other recent picture books that share fun facts about a variety of animals through engaging picture book formats with great illustrations.

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

#classroombookaday + #GRA18 Companion Text Sets

What Pernille Ripp has created in the Global Read Aloud is awesome. And, since I know many #classroombookaday educators are participating in both, I wanted to share some recommendations for picture book companions to tie-in with the GRA titles.
*If you're new to Global Read Aloud, Pernille has a blog post FAQ with video introduction.
*If you're new to #classroombookaday, which I created inspired by Donalyn Miller's #bookaday challenge, I have a Getting Started blog post with FAQs.

What I love is that the #classroombookaday initiative with daily picture book read alouds can still support another initiative like #GlobalReadAloud, and your students can get double the benefit of the power of shared read alouds to build community! We know that the more connections students can make amongst the texts they read helps to deepen their comprehension, so combining the shorter daily picture book read aloud themes of #classroombookaday titles with the larger, sustained themes in the Global Read Aloud books will enable students to deepen their understanding of both and make connections between various stories and universal themes.

The text sets I'm sharing have picture book recommendations that can serve as companion reads with the various options for #GRA18 books. Some of the titles in my #classroombookaday text sets will have a more obvious and direct connection to the themes/topics in the GRA book, and some will be more of an ancillary or tangential connection, but all would enhance your read aloud discussions throughout the month.
#GRA18 Picture Book Author/lllustrator

#GRA18 Early Reader

#GRA18 Upper Elementary / Middle-Grade

#GRA18 Middle School / Junior High

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Picture Book Recommendations: First/Native Nations

I used to teach at the Indian Community School of Milwaukee (ICS). My four years there were a time of intense personal & professional growth for me, and being invited to be a part of that community was incomparable. I was familiar with some traditions of Tribal Nations prior to working there for two main reasons: my grandparents lived in Arizona, so growing up I became familiar with some of the Southwest Indian Tribal Nations names and artistic traditions on a surface level, and also because I teach in Wisconsin where Act 31 requires that prospective educators receive training on the history of Tribal Nations in the state prior to earning their teaching certification. {Here are a few fantastic resources for more information on Wisconsin Tribal Nations that could be shared in any state: The Ways: Stories on Culture and Language from Native Communities Around the Great Lakes, Wisconsin First Nations, Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.}
Image result for medicine wheel
Even with that, I didn't even know what I didn't know about the community traditions of various Native Nations before I started working at ICS. As an intertribal school, there is a bit of a blending of the commonalities of several different tribes, but I also got to spend time learning a Native Language (Menominee - though in the 3 years since I've left and not using it, I've sadly lost most of my memory of it), being invited to participate in ceremonies and powwows, and receiving teachings through culture mentoring lessons and activities. I loved my time there and getting to work with students and families in that community and infuse culture into all elements of the work, and am still sad to have left. All of this is to give a little bit of context as to why I may be slightly more aware than the average White teacher about concerning and stereotypical representations of First/Native Nations in children's literature. I also follow Dr. Debbie Reese (Nambe Pueblo) of American Indians in Children's Literature who is an amazing resource for all of us in breaking down representations of Native characters in books.

To be clear: That doesn't mean I won't/don't still make mistakes. That doesn't mean I won't/don't still miss things (especially coming from an outsider perspective, there are things I would never be able to know). This is not to say I don't still have much I can learn. But, I am concerned.

With the realization that this post is somewhat centering my White perspective, those are also the teachers I'm talking to. I am concerned about the number of teachers I see recommending books or putting elements in their schools that are problematic in their representations of First/Native Nations cultures and people or perpetuating stereotypes. But what I've come to realize is that so many educators just don't know (and we could have whole other books about why the systemic oppression and supremacy in this country from its founding have led us to where we are now), but for the purposes of this post, let's just say we all need to do better. Some educators might just need to do more Google searching to find out if there are critiques of books we're considering using (Debbie's blog is a great place to start). And some might need to move past the nostalgia of books we have fond memories of and realize they are problematic with our new lenses of looking at them. And all educators need to remember that we are dealing with impressionable kids and generational white supremacy is an issue, especially when any reference to "Indians" or Tribal Nations is done in a historical viewpoint that erases them as contemporary, sometimes urban, people. Really it comes down to this: We should all be doing our best to learn, grow, become more critical consumers, and get better at this whole thing, while never compromising the stance that affirming the humanity and lived experiences of ALL kids should be at the center of our work.

To help with that, I decided to make a post compiling a few picture book recommendations for using in #classroombookaday read alouds, so I have one spot to direct people to. Because my students' humanity should not up for debate, and anything that works against that should not be in a classroom or library. As Elisa Gall succinctly reminded on twitter tonight:

So I'm sharing some #ownvoices picture books
that present positive, contemporary representations
of First/Native Nations culture and characters and creators
that are powerful books to read aloud with students. 

A look at modern Native American life as told by a citizen of the Cherokee Nation

The word otsaliheliga (oh-jah-LEE-hay-lee-gah) is used by members of the Cherokee Nation to express gratitude. Beginning in the fall with the new year and ending in summer, follow a full Cherokee year of celebrations and experiences. 

Appended with a glossary and the complete Cherokee syllabary, originally created by Sequoyah.
The sun on your face. The smell of warm bannock baking in the oven. Holding the hand of someone you love. What fills your heart with happiness? This beautiful board book, with illustrations from celebrated artist Julie Flett, serves as a reminder for little ones and adults alike to reflect on and cherish the moments in life that bring us joy.International speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote My Heart Fills with Happiness to support the wellness of Indigenous children and families, and to encourage young children to reflect on what makes them happy. 
Nimoshom loved to drive the school bus. Every day, on the way to and from school, he had something to say. Sometimes, he told the kids silly stories. Sometimes, he taught the kids a new word in Cree.
"Nimoshom and His Bus" introduces basic Cree words. A glossary is included in the back of the book.
Go on a Mission to Space with Chickasaw astronaut John Herrington, as he shares his flight on the space shuttle Endeavor and his thirteen-day mission to the International Space Station. Learn what it takes to train for space flight, see the tasks he completed in space, and join him on his spacewalk 220 miles above the earth.
Windy Girl is blessed with a vivid imagination. From Uncle she gathers stories of long-ago traditions, about dances and sharing and gratitude. Windy can tell such stories herself–about her dog, Itchy Boy, and the way he dances to request a treat and how he wriggles with joy in response to, well, just about everything. 
When Uncle and Windy Girl and Itchy Boy attend a powwow, Windy watches the dancers and listens to the singers. She eats tasty food and joins family and friends around the campfire. Later, Windy falls asleep under the stars. Now Uncle's stories inspire other visions in her head: a bowwow powwow, where all the dancers are dogs. In these magical scenes, Windy sees veterans in a Grand Entry, and a visiting drum group, and traditional dancers, grass dancers, and jingle-dress dancers–all with telltale ears and paws and tails. All celebrating in song and dance. All attesting to the wonder of the powwow. 
This playful story by Brenda Child is accompanied by a companion retelling in Ojibwe by Gordon Jourdain and brought to life by Jonathan Thunder's vibrant dreamscapes. The result is a powwow tale for the ages.
Circles are all around us. We just have to look for them. Sometimes they exist in the most unusual places.
Grandpa says circles are all around us. He points to the rainbow that rises high in the sky after a thundercloud has come. “Can you see? That’s only half of the circle. That rest of it is down below, in the earth.” He and his granddaughter meditate on gardens and seeds, on circles seen and unseen, inside and outside us, on where our bodies come from and where they return to. They share and create family traditions in this stunning exploration of the cycles of life and nature. 
“I like to eat, eat, eat,” choruses young Johnny as he watches Grandma at work in the kitchen. Wild rice, fried potatoes, fruit salad, frosted sweet rolls—what a feast! Johnny can hardly contain his excitement. In no time, he’ll be digging in with everyone else, filling his belly with all this good food.
But wait. First there is the long drive to the community center. And then an even longer Ojibwe prayer. And then—well, young boys know to follow the rules: elders eat first, no matter how hungry the youngsters are. Johnny lingers with Grandma, worried that the tasty treats won’t last. Seats at the tables fill and refill; platters are emptied and then replaced. Will it ever be their turn? And will there be enough?
As Johnny watches anxiously, Grandma gently teaches. By the time her friend Katherine arrives late to the gathering, Johnny knows just what to do, hunger pangs or no. He understands, just as Grandma does, that gratitude, patience, and respect are rewarded by a place at the table—and plenty to eat, eat, eat.
Writer and beadwork artist Cheryl Kay Minnema is a member of the Mille Lacs Band of Ojibwe. Artist Wesley Ballinger, also a member of the Mille Lacs Band, works for the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission.
This vibrant picture book, beautifully illustrated by celebrated artist Danielle Daniel, encourages children to show love and support for each other and to consider each other's well-being in their everyday actions.
Consultant, international speaker and award-winning author Monique Gray Smith wrote You Hold Me Up to prompt a dialogue among young people, their care providers and educators about reconciliation and the importance of the connections children make with their friends, classmates and families. This is a foundational book about building relationships, fostering empathy and encouraging respect between peers, starting with our littlest citizens. 
Set in the Okanagon, BC, a First Nations family goes on an outing to forage for herbs and mushrooms. Grandmother passes down her knowledge of plant life to her young grandchildren.
Tink, tink, tink, tink, sang cone-shaped jingles sewn to Grandma Wolfe's dress.
Jenna's heart beats to the brum, brum, brum, brum of the powwow drum as she daydreams about the clinking song of her grandma's jingle dancing.
Jenna loves the tradition of jingle dancing that has been shared by generations of women in her family, and she hopes to dance at the next powwow. But she has a problem—how will her dress sing if it has no jingles?
The warm, evocative watercolors of Cornelius Van Wright and Ying-Hwa Hu complement author Cynthia Leitich Smith's lyrical text as she tells the affirming story of how a contemporary Native American girl turns to her family and community to help her dance find a voice. 
The determined story of an Ojibwe grandmother (nokomis), Josephine Mandamin, and her great love for nibi (water). Nokomis walks to raise awareness of our need to protect nibi for future generations and for all life on the planet. She, along with other women, men and youth, has walked around all the Great Lakes from the four salt waters, or oceans, to Lake Superior. The walks are full of challenges, and by her example she challenges us all to take up our responsibility to protect our water, the giver of life, and to protect our planet for all generations.

I hope you enjoy these books and find a way to share them with students. And I hope this post has given you something to consider when selecting books with First/Native Nations content and characters, and that you'll seek out information to determine if they are accurate and positive representations before sharing with kids. We can all still learn, and once we do, we need to act with the new information to do better. I hope this list will help you in your efforts.

(thank you in Menominee)

Sunday, August 26, 2018

When Cultural Appropriation Ruins the Rest of the Book

I don't read books to pick them apart. I read them to enjoy and figure out which ones will work for, and connect with, the students I serve, and to recommend to other educators. But that doesn't mean I can read without a critical lens. In fact, it's a requirement. In the quest to provide more diverse representation in literature, there is also a need to ensure that kids are getting positive, non-stereotyped, accurate representations in the books we share that can build empathy instead of furthering division, insensitivity, and cultural appropriation.

With all of that in mind, I eagerly picked up Mae and June and the Wonder Wheel - with a Black girl on the cover of a transitional chapter book, I knew I had to read it in the hope that my students would have access to more books with racially diverse characters in the forefront at the elementary level.

What I did not expect was to be surprised 40 pages in to discover a large plot point relating to encouraging the main character to arbitrarily select a "spirit animal" to be for the day. I was so disheartened to find this cultural appropriation in a book that had potential to be a solid selection for my elementary library collection. This appropriation ruined the rest of the book for me.

Some context to help you learn more if you are unfamiliar with the concerns about the use of "spirit animal":

So what will you do the next time you come across this in a book? How will you handle it? What discussion might you have with a creator or students who encounter it?

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Cover Reveal: Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog by Lisa Papp

Perhaps you've read this book? (And if not, you should - and share it with your students for #classroombookaday!)
Madeline Finn does NOT like to read. But she DOES want a gold star from her teacher. But, stars are for good readers. Stars are for understanding words, and for saying them out loud.
Fortunately, Madeline Finn meets Bonnie, a library dog. Reading out loud to Bonnie isn’t so bad; when Madeline Finn gets stuck, Bonnie doesn’t mind. As it turns out, it’s fun to read when you’re not afraid of making mistakes. Bonnie teaches Madeline Finn that it’s okay to go slow. And to keep trying.
With endearing illustrations, Lisa Papp brings an inspiring and comforting book to all new readers who just need a little confidence to overcome their fears.

Well, there is going to be another Madeline Finn dog book!
And Peachtree Press is allowing me to reveal the cover to you all!! 

The second book, Madeline Finn and the Shelter Dog (coming March 2019) takes Madeline Finn, Bonnie, and Bonnie’s puppy Star to the animal shelter, where they learn that reading aloud to the animals benefits everyone.
I'm excited to be able to share the cover of this sweet story for the first time today! 

Those faces! LOVE!! 

And here's my 11 year old rescue dog, Dooley, who is often sitting next to me when I'm reading...and enjoys sniffing books and being read to. 

Friday, August 10, 2018

#pb10for10 | My Favorite Female Illustrated Picture Books of 2018

I always love participating in Cathy & Mandy's #pb10for10 event celebrating picture books and providing many fabulous #classroombookaday choices! I inevitably end up with a longer wish list and shopping cart and a maxed out hold list at my library. So get ready, and then go check out other educators lists today

My choice of theme this year was inspired by some of the conversation happening around #kidlitwomen & gender inequity in children's literature. Especially the disparity in female winners/honors from the Caldecott award. The day after that post, #kidlitwomen posted this chart on the contemporary disparities courtesy of Jeanette Bradley.

This year for my picture book 10 for 10 list, I'm choosing to highlight & celebrate my favorite female-illustrated picture books of 2018.

(I mean, it wouldn't be a top ten list of mine if I didn't fudge the counting a little bit!)

Adrian Simcox Does NOT Have a Horse illustrated by Corinna Luyken +
If I Had a Horse written & illustrated by Gianna Marino
ALMA and How She Got Her Name written & illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal
Festival of Colors illustrated by Vashti Harrison
Pearl written & illustrated by Molly Idle
Dreamers written & illustrated by Yuyi Morales
The Field illustrated by Jacqueline Alcantara
All Around Us illustrated by Adriana M. Garcia 
Friends Stick Together written & illustrated by Hannah E. Harrison
Mommy's Khimar illustrated by Ebony Glenn
Pipsqueaks, Slowpokes, and Stinkers  AND  Fur, Feather, Fin: All of Us are Kin
both illustrated by Stephanie Laberis

You can see my previous year's #pb10for10 lists by clicking on the year:
20172016 | 2015 | 2014 | 2013

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Community Building Picture Books to Start the School Year

I don't want to think about it quite yet, but some start back-to-school sooner than we do in WI, and want time to find and preview books to see if they'll work for your communities, so...
These are some favorite picture book read aloud recommendations to kick off #classroombookaday at the start of the school year to build community in your classroom.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Getting Started with #classroombookaday

Curious about #classroombookaday?
Wanting to join in, but not sure how to go about getting started?

The best place to go for information is, where I've compiled links to blog posts I've written, a podcast I did, and slideshows from the presentations I've done. 
I also figured it might be time for an overview post for those looking to get started with some basic information, explanation of the purpose, and logistical tips. 

Some #classroombookaday FAQs

What is #classroombookaday?

#classroombookaday is a goal (some call it a challenge) to share a picture book read aloud every day of the school year. At any grade level.

Who started it? And why?

Me! :) Jillian Heise (@heisereads on twitter & instagram), when I was teaching 7th & 8th grade ELA. I was thinking about how to ensure I would read more picture books with my students. I knew the impact of Donalyn Miller's #bookaday challenge on my own reading life in the summer, and how it helped me read more and thought there could be a way to bring that into the classroom. I also knew that if I made it an official goal, I might be able to stick with it. But, mostly, I wanted to bring a joy of the reading experience back into my classroom. We tend to stop reading aloud to kids once they hit a certain age, and that is a shame. And over 170 picture books shared?! I figured that would have to make an impact. Though I had no idea then what an impact it would ultimately have.

How did it get started?

I knew I wanted to bring the #bookaday mindset into my classes the next year through a commitment to reading aloud a picture book each day. And I wanted to display covers or titles in the order we read them each day as a way to track it visually. So on September 1, 2014, what would ultimately become #classroombookaday began in my middle school classroom with My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I Am Not.)! In August of 2015, after more educators wanted to join in and try it, I coined #classroombookaday as a separate hashtag from #bookaday in order to track the conversations on twitter about picture books we were using.
Evidence of the origin! Doesn't everyone send themselves emails at school with ideas of things they want to implement?

How do I get started with it?

  1. Make the commitment to do it. 
  2. Carve out 5-10 minutes in your day or class period that you can dedicate to doing a read aloud. Whether at the start of a class period, during your morning meeting, at the end of the day after packing up, or before/after a break, make this sacred time as part of your daily routine. 
  3. Tell someone about your goal so you'll be more likely to stick with it. 
  4. Pull some favorite picture books to start with. 
  5. Read A LOT of picture books so you have ideas to choose from when you need them. (Use your library this summer!) 
  6. Decide on a display that works for your space and style where you can track your reading year visually. 
  7. Get buy-in from your students - tell them about the goal and why you're doing it.
  8. Share your read alouds as part of the #classroombookaday community on twitter, instagram, or facebook.

Why should I use precious minutes in our school day to do this?

There were more benefits from this time than I imagined when I first had the idea to start it. The power of having 180 common experiences with text that we could refer back to was more valuable than anything else I could have used that time for. And the impact on our classroom community went far beyond my expectations.

Who all is doing #classroombookaday?

Teachers from grades 1-12. Librarians. Reading Teachers. Instructional Coaches. Principals. It can happen in any situation you're in at a school, at all grade levels. Those not in a classroom have sometimes adopted a class to be a daily guest. And one school did a K-8 school-wide version this year with the entire school reading the same books each week at every grade level.

What's the deal with the display?

I knew I wanted to track the books we read visually. And I wanted to make my goal public (so I couldn't back out or let it fall by the wayside as the year got busy!), and I had a huge bulletin board space in the hallway. I had the idea to make a numbered grid with a square for each day of the year so we could track as we went, and also see how many more we had to go. I was already tracking my novels read each year visually on my classroom door, which would lead to conversations, impromptu book talks, and a way for me to remember what books I had read. I wanted to bring that to the #bookaday reads.
Here we go! Can't back out now! Ready for a year of #classroombookaday.

This was the first year trying #bookaday picture book read alouds, and start of what would become #classroombookaday!
Many variations of the display exist in classrooms and schools across the country. You can see examples on twitter, instagram, or in the facebook group

Important note: The books and the reading matter more than the display! This was never about trying to make something that looked "pinterest perfect", although the picture book covers make a great way to decorate, but this was really about having a visual reference of the goal and record for my students. We often used and referred back to the display to discuss books we had shared. I measured my space so I knew the size that would fit, and copied book covers from goodreads 4 to a page in a doc or slide, then printed weekly when I planned ahead. Sometimes I printed the day of when I changed my mind or didn't plan as far ahead. Haha. I was lucky to have a color printer at school to use. Find a space you have that works: some put it in the weirdly sized space outside their door, some wrap it around the room as part of their number line, some don't put them in order, some hang them from clips, some put them on cabinet doors, some hang them from the ceiling, some can only print in black and white, some have their kids put the pic up each day.  Don't stress about the display - make it work for you and your space and how much effort you want to put in! 

What if I miss a day?

It happens. We all work in schools and know the importance of being flexible. Fire drills, field trips, inflexible deadlines, unexpected things pop up. Just double (or triple or quadruple) up another day to make it up!

Is there a lesson that goes with it?

Nope. Not at the time of the read aloud. This was first and foremost about enjoyment and thoughtfulness. Bringing some of the joy back into the classroom. Bringing some of the appreciation of story back into the classroom. Bringing some of the validation of picture books as a format (not age level identifier!) back into the classroom. And I wanted to keep it as a quick time in the class period. With that said, since we have that experience with a common text, any of the 180 titles could be brought back into the discussion for related lessons and activities at other times in the class.

Sage advice/perspective. Love this perspective on the power of letting #classroombookaday grow organically!

What do I do with the books each day?

Read them for the pure enjoyment of story and shared community experience.

Because one of my intentions was joyfulness: Let the kids settle in however they want to (though I do require they position themselves so they can see the illustrations - that's part of the point of picture books). Even my middle schoolers commented on how sitting on the floor and being read to again brought them back to their childhood and let them "feel like a kid again" in the midst of all of the harder work they have to do every day. I did my read aloud at the start of class after independent reading, and it worked as a calming factor also.

Because one of my intentions was thoughtfulness: The first question I always asked after I finished was "What did you think?" As I went through the first year, a month in I started to focus on theme, asking not just what the story was about (because they wanted to summarize), but "What was it really about?" Due to having shared more than 100 fiction texts for which we could discuss theme, my students learned and understood theme better than any other year or way I had tried to teach it. They understood that there is not one right answer to a theme for a story (though there can be wrong ones). As long as they could defend their perspective with text evidence, they could form an opinion and argue their case. It validated their voices and deepened their understanding daily.

Is there a list of books I should use?

Nope. And you shouldn't plan to go into it with all of your books already chosen. The most impactful part of #classroombookaday is how responsive it can be to your classroom community and students' needs. Choose your favorites, new titles that you've been hearing about, curriculum tie-ins, ones that you want student opinions on, award winners, or just plain fun reads. Base it on what you and your students or school community need at that time. Sure, for certain units I had a clearer plan than other times if I wanted more direct tie-ins, but prepare to be responsive for the community aspect also.

I'm always looking to improve the balance of books I select. Recently my focus has been increasing the expository non-fiction and a wider diversification of authors and characters to better represent the our community.

What about a list of books for 6th/7th/8th grade?

Nope. Not one of those either. You need to read A LOT and find the ones that you think will be a fit for your community. And you won't guess right every time. Some will flop, and that's ok. You'll get to know your kids better, and they will have a voice. Every picture book won't work for every student or every class, and some will work one year and not the next. Let your students have a voice - they'll tell you. I had a few I thought my students would love, and they didn't. And some I thought they wouldn't, because they might be too young, they loved. For some they told me to donate to the 2nd grade classroom, and when they could give their reasoning for why, I knew they were learning to be critical readers and able to defend their points. And your kids might surprise you and connect with books for reasons you don't expect. You have 180 chances to try a book, it's ok if a few don't work.

Where can I go for book recommendations?

If you want to know more, please check out the links at

Also consider joining the facebook group, or jumping in on twitter or instagram conversations,
and join in the #classroombookaday community. 

You can also leave questions in the comments,
or reach out via twitter.