Friday, September 6, 2019

September #cbadspotlight - Spotlight on The King of Kindergarten with Author Derrick Barnes

Today I'm shining the spotlight on Derrick Barnes,
author of #cbadspotlight pick The King of Kindergarten 
and also #classroombookaday favorite Crown: An Ode to the Fresh Cut,
a Newbery Honor, Caldecott Honor, Coretta Scott King Author & Illustrator Honor book
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A confident little boy takes pride in his first day of kindergarten.
The morning sun blares through your window like a million brass trumpets.It sits and shines behind your head--like a crown. Mommy says that today, you are going to be the King of Kindergarten!
Starting kindergarten is a big milestone--and the hero of this story is ready to make his mark! He's dressed himself, eaten a pile of pancakes, and can't wait to be part of a whole new kingdom of kids. The day will be jam-packed, but he's up to the challenge, taking new experiences in stride with his infectious enthusiasm! And afterward, he can't wait to tell his proud parents all about his achievements--and then wake up to start another day.
Thank you, Derrick, for joining me for a #cbadspotlight interview today!

Monday, August 19, 2019

Back-to-School Picture Books 2019 #classroombookaday Recommendations

When considering picture books to recommend for #classroombookaday read alouds, one consideration I use is time of year or what may be happening in schools. Back-to-school time is when I think carefully about what those first read alouds of the year might be - those books that will help set the tone for the classroom community for the school year. The picture books below are some of the newer ones I am most looking forward to sharing with my students this year during the first month of school, and beyond.

Saturday, August 10, 2019

#pb10for10 2019 | Ten New Picture Books Honoring Family

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 back at Reflect & Refine

I've been thinking a lot about family this summer. With everything going on at the border and kids being separated from their families when seeking asylum, to kids who have been tragically lost in mass shootings or suicides, to some reflections around the reading about students of color and kids in poverty and trauma and the impact on families... they all have me thinking about my attitude toward, and assumptions I may make about, those who love those precious little lives in our buildings.

So with this year's Picture Book 10 for 10 list,
I wanted to celebrate the sense of family in new & upcoming picture books, 
in honor of the little humans I have the privilege to work with at school, 
and those who love them and leave them in our charge each day.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Introducing #cbadspotlight & the 2019-20 Monthly #classroombookaday Selections

#classroombookaday is celebrating it's 5 year anniversary this summer! I'm amazed this small thing I started in my 7th & 8th grade classroom back in 2014, to bring Donalyn Miller's #bookaday into the classroom with a daily picture book read aloud, has grown into something thousands of educators are joining in on with their own students. 
With all the conversations I was seeing online from participating teachers, I wanted to find a way to help deepen the experience, help connect teachers with those in other schools also implementing this initiative, and find a way to showcase inclusive authors and #ownvoices titles that I hope more teachers would know and share with students. 

Introducing #cbadspotlight
Connecting teachers and classes & spotlighting three picture books
each month for common titles to build conversations around.
Below are the 27 titles,
3 for each month September-May,
for the first year of #cbadspotlight!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

#classroombookaday - Picture Books Are For ANY Grade

With as much as I share about #classroombookaday and recommend picture books, there is a question I get often that I want to process in this post. Variations on where is the list for __ grade? 

When I see requests for picture books that "work" or are "for" intermediate/middle grades, I worry that as educators we're putting too much focus on amount of text & numerical complexity considerations. I read a few hundred new picture books each year, and I can tell you that the thought complexity that can be done with these books far outweighs what the industry age recommendation might say. Some of the deepest themes and impacts I've seen with kids in relation to books have come from picture books. Often with limited text in the book.

The complexity of a book has three components to consider: Quantitative text "level" (which I put the least focus on), ALONG WITH Qualitative factors based on content and themes and topics, AND what the Reader is asked to DO with the book.

So if we're asking kids to consider theme, which can be a difficult concept for kids to grasp and teachers to teach, the text we're using to help teach it becomes a more complex text than a quantitative number might indicate. When we ask kids to do complex thinking about a picture book that we have read aloud, we are equalizing access to that text through the read aloud and supporting students in being able to do some deeper thinking with consideration of theme. If we constantly do that with picture books that are text heavy and long, students will disengage & become demotivated. Some of the deepest conversations my students have had about books are when we read wordless picture books together and had to determine the story from illustrations and analyze for theme. They need many chances to practice and scaffold skills, and if I'm using daily picture book read alouds to accomplish this, my kids get 15 chances to do this in three weeks, whereas if I were reading aloud a novel in that time, they'd only get one chance at the end to practice it. And as we've built the skill through practice with these picture books, it becomes a transferable skill to the chapter books and novels they choose to read on their own.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

12 Steps to EduGrowth When Called In

I shared this on social media and was asked to house it on the blog also for easier citation.
Feel free to use for your own reflection or share (with credit!) as you see fit.

12 Steps to EduGrowth When Called In
©2019 Jillian Heise @heisereads

Thursday, May 30, 2019

Webinar Recording - Building Community with #classroombookaday Read Alouds

Sharing about #classroombookaday is always a joy for me. I couldn’t have imagined back in 2014, when I started it inspired by Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday challenge for teachers, how it could have grown and spread to classrooms across the country. The impact of this simple idea, reading aloud a picture book every day of the school year, is beyond what I could have imagined back then. It grows community, builds empathy, deepens learning, and so much more!

To help get you started with #classroombookaday, I shared these 20 picture books that are my go-to recommendations to kick off your year of read alouds.

If you weren’t able to join the webinar live, you can register, or sign in if you previously registered, to watch the recording of the webinar, at this link.

And be sure to check out other #classroombookday posts on Follet Community for more information from me about the initiative. And stay tuned for even more picture book recommendations to support your efforts to try #classroombookday in coming months!

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Join Me for a #classroombookaday Webinar!

I'm excited to be partnering with Follett Community for some exciting #classroombookaday things this year,
and we're kicking it off with a webinar! 
Since I started incorporating a daily picture book read-aloud in my middle school classroom in 2014, inspired by Donalyn Miller’s #bookaday, I have seen the positive impact of this simple addition to the classroom routine grow beyond anything I could have anticipated. And now as an elementary librarian, I continue to see the impact of shared read-aloud experiences.
The basic formula:
  •  Read aloud a picture book each day.
  •  Build classroom community.
  •  Grow students’ thinking about text.
  •  Develop deeper empathy.
  •  Add joyful engagement to your classroom.
  •  Track the books read visually.
  •  Enjoy profound impact.
I have received many questions from teachers and librarians who want to get started, but are unsure about making it work. So I’m going live to help answer some of those questions!

Join me on Thursday, May 23 at 7:00pm CDT for a webinar
on how to get started with incorporating #classroombookaday in your classroom next year, the logistics of making it work, the benefits of adding this 5-10 minute routine, and my “getting started” book list recommendations.

If you can't make it for the live webinar,
be sure to register so you get an email with the link to watch the recording afterwards!

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Sharing the Heart to Offset the Hate in the Headlines: Books From Muslim Authors

With the news about the terrorist attack on mosques in New Zealand, my mind went to books I could share with students. The books that would help them better understand the wearing of a hijab. The books that would help them better understand what it means when they hear the word Muslim or Islam. The books that would help them better understand that there are Muslim authors in this country writing books for them to read. The books that would help them better understand that our library is an inclusive space. The books that would help them better understand the heart of the people instead of the hate from the headlines. The books that would help them better understand that we are not talking about an "other" but a "someone".  Because that is the power of books. They grow understanding and empathy, and if we are critical about representation and are intentional about what and when we share and promote them, they can grow a better society. So I'm sharing some recommendations of kidlit books by Muslim authors and illustrators. I hope you find titles to read and share on these lists.

Yo Soy Muslim, Crescent Moons and Pointed Minarets, Golden Domes and Silver Lanterns, Saffron Ice Cream, Mommy's Khimar, Under My Hijab, Malala's Magic Pencil, Stepping Stones, Salam Alaikum, The Proudest Blue, Bilal Cooks Daal, Leila in Saffron

Thursday, March 7, 2019

ANOTHER - Wordless Picture Book(s)

I love wordless picture books! When I heard Christian Robinson was debuting his first book as author & illustrator, I was excited to see what it would be about. When I heard it was a wordless picture book, I was even more intrigued.
And ANOTHER does not disappoint. Evoking a sense of wonder with its playfulness and creativity, there is much for kids to imagine in conjunction with each page. And I especially love that the idea for this story came from him thinking about diverse representation and wondering "what if you saw yourself in a book...literally"
interior spreads

Reading wordless picture books with students never fails to help me discover more than I could on my own. When kids get time to explore what they notice in the illustrations, they often point out things I missed or overlooked, and their enthusiasm in pouring over the pictures to find clues to the story is a joy to see.  I can't wait to see what they discover in the world of ANOTHER!

Some more of my favorite wordless picture books to share with students during #classroombookaday read alouds.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Author Interview: Eva Eland - When Sadness Is At Your Door

Happy Book Birthday to Eva Eland & When Sadness is At Your Door

A comforting primer in emotional literacy and mindfulness that suggests we approach the feeling of sadness as if it is our guest.
Sadness can be scary and confusing at any age! When we feel sad, especially for long periods of time, it can seem as if the sadness is a part of who we are–an overwhelming, invisible, and scary sensation.
In When Sadness Is at Your Door, Eva Eland brilliantly approaches this feeling as if it is a visitor. She gives it a shape and a face, and encourages the reader to give it a name, all of which helps to demystify it and distinguish it from ourselves. She suggests activities to do with it, like sitting quietly, drawing, and going outside for a walk. The beauty of this approach is in the respect the book has for the feeling, and the absence of a narrative that encourages the reader to “get over” it or indicates that it’s “bad,” both of which are anxiety-producing notions.
Simple illustrations that recall the classic style of Crockett Johnson (Harold and the Purple Crayon) invite readers to add their own impressions.
Eva Eland’s debut picture book is a great primer in mindfulness and emotional literacy, perfect for kids navigating these new feelings–and for adult readers tackling the feelings themselves!
To celebrate, Eva is here answering a few questions about her debut picture book. 
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What inspired you to write this book about this topic right now?

Actually, I wanted to make a comforting picture book and wanted to understand more about image making that could achieve this. But I soon realised, that to make something comforting, I needed to understand the ‘difficult emotions’ better first, so I started to explore sadness, fear and anger as characters. Sadness was the one that I most resonated with myself, as it’s a feeling that has frequently visited me since childhood, and a feeling that has become very familiar, almost like an old friend.

Saturday, January 5, 2019

Sneak Peek at Some of My Favorite 2019 Books

I shared my end-of-year Favorite 2018 Books & Picture Books, and now I'm looking ahead to 2019!

These are the 2019 releases I've already read, loved, and think will stand the test of time to still be favorites a year from now. All are worth a pre-order.


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Friday, January 4, 2019

These Are a Few of My Favorite 2018 Picture Books

2018 is over, so it's time to look back at all of the awesome books I read last year and reflect on which ones had the lasting impact to have me still thinking about them and considering them some of the best of the year. (some may have been published in 2017, but I didn't read them until 2018.) . For non-picture books, see this post.

I really need to up my game with incorporating more nonfiction picture books into my reading plans and piles, as I know there were many more out this year that would be worthy of this list, but these are the standout memorable ones from what I read.

Thursday, January 3, 2019

These Are a Few of My Favorite 2018 Books

2018 is over, so it's time to look back at all of the awesome books I read last year and reflect on which ones had the lasting impact to have me still thinking about them and considering them some of the best of the year. (some may have been published in 2017, but I didn't read them until 2018.)
Picture books will be in a separate post, otherwise this one would be too long!