Saturday, July 30, 2016

August on The Logonauts

Now that The Logonauts is now officially two years old, I have started a new feature that highlights great posts, lessons, and book lists from previous years. At the beginning of each month, I will publish a round-up style post featuring posts published during that month in previous years. Click the "On the Logonauts" tag for more!

August on The Logonauts

Book Reviews

New Book Alert:

New Book: Families
around the World

New by Louis Sachar
Fuzzy Mud

Themed Book Lists

Picture Book Text
Set on Japanese

My Top 10
Picture Books
to Read Aloud

Picture Books
that Deal with
Modern Wars

Around the World
in a Single
Book: Children

My Top 10
Picture Books

Featured Illustrator:
Ted Lewin -
Must Reads

Illustrated by
Ted Lewin

Written by
Ted Lewin

Books by Ted
and Betsy Lewin

Third Grader Book Reviews

Shelter Pet

Harry Potter
Triple Review

Wings of Fire

Magic Tree
House series

Poetry and Poetry Friday

Do You

Picture Books
about Haiku

Picture Books
Told in Haiku

New Book Alert:
What is Poetry?

Professional Development

Building a
Classroom Library

Organizing a
Classroom Library

Books to Add to my
Classroom Library

Figuring Out
Google Classroom

Setting Up
Google Classroom

Assignment Tips for
Google Classroom

Smart Board
Tips and Tricks

#cyberPD: Digital
Reading Logs

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?










Want more monthly round up posts? Click the "On the Logonauts" tag for more.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Diverse First Days of School: Everybody Cooks Rice

New for August, the Diverse Children's Books linkup has added a suggested theme. For August 6th, the theme is Diverse Books for Back to School. To that end, I'd like to share my all-time favorite book for kicking off the school year and emphasizing diverse themes right from the beginning.

Everybody Cooks Rice

Everybody Cooks Rice (1991) by Norah Dooley focuses on one afternoon when the main character chases her little brother around the neighborhood, popping in on various neighbors to look for him. At each house that she visits, the reader is introduced to the family, their various ages and occupations, the language(s) spoken, and the rice-based dish that they are preparing for dinner.

For the past eight years, this has been my First Day of School read aloud to my third graders. Our curriculum is based around geography and world cultures, and our reading theme for the first month is looking at Communities and Cultures.

I love how this book compresses the "global village" into one small neighborhood and how the focus is on commonalities among all of these families. There is also some socio-economic diversity highlighted, as the parents work a variety of jobs including long hours. Every child I have read this book to finds personal connections to at least one of the families or meals in the story. I have even had kids ask to borrow the book and take it home so that they can try cooking the included recipe!

This is part of a series of similarly-themed books by the author, including Everybody Brings Noodles, Everybody Serves Soup, and Everybody Bakes Bread.

Do you have a favorite diverse book for back to school? Please share in the comments or link up a post about it here: Diverse Children's Books.


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Monday, July 25, 2016

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR 07/25/16

It's Monday! What are you reading? was started by Sheila at Book Journey and was adapted for children's books from picture books through YA by Jen of Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee of Unleashing Readers. You can visit either site for a round up of blogs sharing their weekly readings and thoughts or search Twitter for #IMWAYR.

Last 2 Weeks' Posts

  • Kid Lit Blog Hop for July. This monthly hop features posts on all aspects of Kid Lit including those by bloggers, authors, and more.

Picture Books

Sawdust Carpets (2005) by Amelia Lau Carling (also available in Spanish). This book shares about the Holy Week tradition of creating temporary carpets out of sawdust on the streets in Antigua, Guatemala. The story is told in semi-autobiographical fashion through the eyes of a young Chinese-Guatemalan girl as she and her family travel to Antigua for the celebrations. An author's note at the beginning and a glossary at the end add additional information about these traditions. A neat addition to any collection of holiday-themed picture books!

Middle Grade

Lunch Money (2005) by Andrew Clements. I received this book as an end-of-year gift from one of my third graders who said that it was her favorite book ever. I have a basket of Andrew Clements books in our classroom library and use Frindle for book club discussions, but this was one I had not yet read. It was ... ok. Main character Greg is obsessed with money, profits, and making more money, but when his entrepreneurial habits get him in trouble at school, he has to get even more creative. There are some of the same social justice / kid-power types of moves as in Frindle, but the characters and situations just didn't grab me in the same way.

Middle School

Drama (2012) by Raina Telgemeier. This realistic-fiction graphic novel focuses on seventh-grader Cassie, and the drama of the title refers both to her interests in theater set design as well as the kinds of drama one expects in middle school - issues with friends and relationships. Drama has made the ALA's 2014 list of the Top 10 Most-Challenged Books in the US because of its inclusion of gay characters and relationships. I am delighted to have a signed copy of this book to add to my classroom library (thank you, #nErDcampMI!).


The Redemption of Althalus (2000) by David and Leigh Eddings. I somehow missed the Eddings' Belgariad and Mallorean series as a kid but was encouraged to read them a few years back as a kid. They are incredibly entertaining and enjoyable, with impressive world-building. The Redemption of Althalus is a stand-alone novel but shares many of those same traits. The characters and dialogue are engaging and often quite humorous, though I empathize with GoodReads reviews complaints about the length (800 pages) and the seeming inevitability of the action sequences.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 23, 2016

The Américas Awards: honorable mention and commended picture books

The Américas Awards honor authors, illustrators, and publishers for quality children's and young adult books that portray Latin America, the Caribbean, or Latinos in the US. Both primary and secondary reading levels are chosen. This award was founded in 1993. Click here for more about the Américas Award, including the most recent winnersA list of all previous winners can be found here.

This post shares my reviews of some wonderful picture books that have won an Honorable Mention or Commended. Click here to read award-winning picture books or for winning novels. (To see a compilation of many diverse book awards, please read Spotlight on Diverse Book Awards or click on the Award-Winning Books tag.)

Américas Honorable Mention Picture Books

2016: Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras [Sibert Award winner and a Pura Belpré Honor book]. Written in a similar style to Diego Rivera, this book combines biography with an interpretation of Posada's works and their application in a modern setting. Our Spanish students often do activities related to Day of the Dead, and this would be a great book to give them more background about how this artistic style developed. (Click on Part 1 or Part 2 to read more about other books written and/or illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.)

2015: Migrant: the journey of a Mexican worker (2014) by José Manuel Mateo and illustrated by Javier Martínez Pedro. This book is an incredible work of art. Designed in the style of a codex, the book is one giant illustration that folds down in on itself to become the book. One side has the text in English, the other in Spanish. The story itself is a realistic version of the folktale above, only this time the two children and their mother head north in search of their father who has not returned.

2014: Pancho Rabbit and the Coyote: a migrant's tale (2013)  [a Pura Belpré Honor book]. Written in the style of a fable or folktale, Pancho Rabbit deals with the very real-world issue of illegal immigration from Mexico into the United States. When Pancho's father does not return from "El Norte," Pancho sets out to find him and bring him back, with the help of a coyote he meets along the way.

This was my first year sharing this story with children, and my students and I had some very powerful conversations both before and after reading it. We had studied historical immigration in an earlier unit, so they could make a lot of connections between past and current immigration - and to many of their own family's immigration stories. (Click on Part 1 or Part 2 to read more about other books written and/or illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh.)

2002: Frida by Jonah Winter is a typical biography with imaginative illustrations that emphasizes Frida's childhood inspirations and injuries and how they impacted her as an artist.

1998: Cendrillon: a Caribbean Cinderella by Robert D. San Souci and illustrated by Brian Pickney. Another Cendrillon, this one is set in the Caribbean and told through the voice of the godmother, who liberally sprinkles the text with French-Creole words and phrases (glossary provided at the end). This story is loosely based around a nineteenth-century French Creole tale and expanded with historically-appropriate details about life in Martinique. (Click here to read more Cinderella stories from around the world.)

Américas Commended Picture Books

2015: Dalia's Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia (2014) by Laura Lacámara. Dalia wakes up one morning to find that her hair has greatly expanding in height and volume, so she does what any little girl would do ... and decides to stick a bunch of things from nature into it to get her mother to guess what kind of tree she is. Wait, what? Even with the folktale-inspired style, I'm still not sure what the point of this story is, though the author does include notes about butterfly gardens and the Cuban plants and animals featured in the story. Bilingual English / Spanish.

2015: 'Twas Nochebuena: a Christmas story in English and Spanish (2014) by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by Sara Palacios. This story is a rhythmic take on the famous Night Before Christmas, focused instead on Nochebuena traditions. The text jumps easily between English and Spanish, with most Spanish words easily understood from the context and illustrations (or, in doubt, from the Glossary in the back). The setting is never made explicit, so the story could just as easily depict a family in the US as one in Mexico or Guatemala (where the author herself experienced Nochebuena). A fun addition to your holiday picture books.

2015: Green is a Chile Pepper: a book of colors (2014) by Roseanne Greenfield Thong and illustrated by John Parra [a Pura Belpré Honor Book]. This concept book features a given color over one or two two-page spreads with several descriptive statements about objects that are that color, highlighting objects and items common in Latino culture. A detailed glossary at the end provides background on many of these items and events. This would be a great mentor texts for student writing.

2014: Maria Had a Little Llama / María Tenía una Llamita (2013) by Angela Dominguez [a Pura Belpré Honor Book for Illustration]. The text of this picture book hews closely to the original rhyme (though not all readers might remember the additional stanzas), but the illustrations add a wealth of information in this unique, indigenous take on a classic tale.

Need more? Click here to read about more Award-Winning Books.


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