Review: Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?

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Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?
by Kate DiCamillo
Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen

WhereAreYouGoingBook

My Rating:
★★★★☆

Note: Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? will be released on Tuesday, August 2, 2016 by Capstone Young Readers. A link to pre-order is included at the bottom of this review.

 

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the students in my class absolutely love Kate DiCamillo. As a kid, I loved Because of Winn-Dixie because the story completely captivated me. As a teacher, I love that Kate DiCamillo is an author kids can stick with as they become more experienced readers. Since she has so many books at different levels, kids can start reading her books in first grade and discover some of her more challenging texts in middle school and beyond. While I’ve read many of DiCamillo’s novels, I was so excited to read Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln? so that I could take a look at her books for younger audiences.

Fans of DiCamillo will love how the Tales from Deckawoo Drive books dig deep into the backstories of some minor characters from the Mercy Watson series. In this case, DiCamillo explores the adventures of Baby Lincoln and her protective older sister, Eugenia. DiCamillo’s use of humor and her distinct voice as a narrator make this book a fun read. The book is very readable, and will be a great bridge from simple chapter books to more complex novels. While the book is listed for ages 6-9, some of the big words in the book will require context clues for readers at that age bracket.

In addition to being an endearing and well-written book for children, this book will speak to adults who share it with the children in their lives. At is roots, this book is a coming-of-age story, even though the main character isn’t at the start of her adulthood. With strong messages about being yourself and finding your own path in life, this sweet read will be great for family read-alouds and shared reading experiences. It will also find its place on the shelves of many classrooms, next to other Kate DiCamillo masterpieces.

Classroom Connections

DiCamillo’s writing is filled with rich language and fantastic internal punctuation. Many passages in the book lend themselves to visualization. This would be a great book to use when practicing visualization in small groups or as a class.

Book Information
Title: Where Are You Going, Baby Lincoln?
Author: Kate DiCamillo
Illustrator: Chris Van Dusen
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Release Date: August 2016
Price: US $14.99
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

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Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Candlewick Press in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!

Review: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library!

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Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library
by Julie Gassman
Illustrated by Andy Elkerton

DragonBook

My Rating:
★★★½

Note: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library will be released on August 1, 2016 by Capstone Young Readers. A link to pre-order is included at the bottom of this review.

 

My mom is a librarian, so I absolutely love stories of all kinds that take place in libraries. I was so excited to read the latest title from Julie Gassman: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library!  This adorable story shares the most important rule for going to the library: be sure to leave your dragon at home.

Gassman does a great job establishing the tone of the text. While some of the rhymes are a little clunky and would require some re-reads for true fluency, young readers can understand the point of view of the librarian and the child. However, at times the book changes speakers without warning. For example, at one point in the book the child begins speaking, but the image does not show the child speaking. No changes in font, punctuation, or text placement indicate that the speaker has changed, so children will have to pay close attention to determine that the child has become the speaker.

One of the great strengths of this book is its commitment to diversity in the images and text. In the pictures, we see children and adults of color, people with physical disabilities, and people with many different body types. As a big supporter of We Need Diverse Books, I was thrilled to see that many children will be able to see themselves in the pages of Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library. 

The author also used the pronouns “he” and “she” for different dragons in the book, which reminded me off this great article from the Washington Post: Why are there so few girls in childrens’ books? This unbelievable statistic from the article seems relevant: “No more than 33 percent of children’s books in any given year featured an adult woman or female animal, but adult men and male animals appeared in 100 percent of the books.” While the book has an adult female librarian, it’s also so important that there are both male and female readers and dragons portrayed in the book. This is just another way that all children can identify with this book.

While the rhymes aren’t perfect and the speakers can be unclear, I can see this book being loved by many kiddos who are fans of dragons and/or libraries.

Classroom Connections

This book would be great for introducing rules for a school library or classroom library at the beginning of the year. It would activate interest for students and allow them to reflect on why we have certain guidelines in place during library time.

Another way this book could be used would be to talk about cause and effect. The librarian makes many arguments using cause and effect. Students could identify these examples, then make their own cause and effect examples using the scenario of a dragon in a library.

Book Information
Title: Do Not Bring Your Dragon to the Library
Author: Julie Gassman
Illustrator: Belle Wuthrich
Publisher: Andy Elkerton
Release Date: August 2016
Price: US $14.95
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

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Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Capstone Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!

Review: When Penny Met POTUS

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When Penny Met POTUS
by Rachel Ruiz

My Rating:
★★★★☆

Happy Independence Day! I thought I’d celebrate by sharing a new book that explores one of our government’s most powerful acronyms. When Penny Met POTUS is a new book by Rachel Ruiz. Ruiz was inspired to write it after working for President Barack Obama and fielding questions from her daughter about “POTUS.”

The charming illustrations and sweet text tell the story of a little girl who tags along at her mom’s workplace. Penny is so excited to meet POTUS, and has some great ideas about who or what POTUS might be. The book includes references to Air Force One, the Secret Service, the Oval Office, and more. It’s a great introduction to what the job of POTUS is.

When Penny Met POTUS is a really cute read, and it will definitely earn a place on the shelves of primary classrooms. Happy reading!

Classroom Connections

  • When Penny Met POTUS is a great way to introduce the job of President to primary classrooms. Teachers can use sections of the book to address different responsibilities that the President has.
  • Looking for a read aloud for President’s Day or Inauguration Day? When Penny Met POTUS is a great fit!
  • Introducing acronyms to students? The term “POTUS” is a great example of how acronyms can be used to make communication easier. Think about how the term “POTUS” might be used every day by people who work in the White House.

Book Information
Title: When Penny Met POTUS
Author: Rachel Ruiz
Illustrator: Melissa Manwill
Publisher: Capstone
Release Date: July 2016
Price: US $15.95
Source: NetGalley – Advanced Review Copy

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Capstone

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Capstone in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!

Review: She Stood For Freedom

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She Stood for Freedom: The Untold Story of a Civil Rights Hero, Joan Trumpauer Mulholland
by Loki Mulholland and Angela Fairwell
Art by Charlotta Janssen

My Rating:
★★★★☆

Note: She Stood For Freedom will be released on August 2nd, 2016 by Shadow Mountain Publishing. A link to pre-order is included at the bottom of this review.

 

“Remember, you don’t have to change the world… just change your world.” She Stood For Freedom tells the story of Joan Trumpauer Mulholland, an ordinary girl from Virginia who did extraordinary things during the Civil Rights Movement.

In college, I took a class with the late Julian Bond called Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement. It was all about hearing the stories of ordinary people who contributed in some way to the Civil Rights Movement during the 1960s. Our one assignment was to document the stories of an activist from the time. I was lucky enough to interview Virginia Ali, who taught me that every single person on this earth has a story to tell.

Joan Trumpauer Mulholland’s story is particularly remarkable. She abandoned her life at Duke University to put her life on the line for her values. She traveled to the Deep South during a time of tumult and and fear. She participated in sit-ins, spoke up about her beliefs, and fiercely protected her fellow activists.

Her son, Loki Mulholland, tells her story in She Stood For Freedom. A fantastically written biography, the book takes you to the time period and immerses you in the events by using vivid language and dialogue. Accompanied by incredible artwork from Charlotta Janssen, She Stood for Freedom is a great biography for middle grade or young adult readers. Through inclusion of artifacts and dialogue, She Stood for Freedom will tell Joan Mulholland’s story for years to come.

Favorite Passages

On an important lesson:
“You can never go wrong by doing what is right. It might not be easy, but it is always right.”

On changing things:
“Anyone can make a difference. You don’t need to be a Dr. King or a Rosa Parks. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are. Find a problem, get some friends together, and go fix it. Remember, you don’t have to change the world… just change your world.”

Classroom Connections

This text is bound to find its home in many language arts and history classes!

  • This book can serve as a mentor text for biography or nonfiction writing units at the middle school level. Students can learn from the author’s use of dialogue, imagery, and questioning within nonfiction writing.
  • Students can examine the pictures and infer about the character’s emotions based on evidence from the text. The pictures are so well created through collage that students will have a lot to say about them!
  • Artifacts pictured throughout the book can be used during a unit on the Civil Rights Movement.

Book Information
Title: She Stood For Freedom
Authors: Loki Mulholland Loki Mulholland and Angela Fairwell
Illustrator: Charlotta Janssen
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
Release Date: August 2016
Price: US $17.99
Source: Edelweiss – Advanced Review Copy

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Amazon

Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Review Copy of this book from Shadow Mountain Publishing in exchange for an honest review. All opinions in this review are my own. Thanks for reading!