Raindrops Roll

Raindrops Roll 

by April Pulley Sayre

Beach Lane Books, 2015

A beautifully photographed, poetic look at rain – what it does and where it lands and how we see it. Simple, gorgeous science,

It thuds.
Makes mud.
It fills.
It spills.

Today at Shelf-employed, I’m featuring a Picture Book Roundup including Raindrops Roll and other new favorites.  Please stop by.  You can follow me @shelfemployed on Twitter.

Copyright © 2015 L. Taylor All Rights Reserved.

Football (Fantastic Sports Facts)

Football (Fantastic Sports Facts)
by Michael Hurley (Author)

Booktalk: Discover some of the most fascinating and unusual facts about the sport.

Fun Fact
The Super Bowl was nearly named “The Big One.”

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

See more booktalks at the Booktalking #kidlit blog.

Copyright © 2015 Anastasia Suen All Rights Reserved.
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Emmanuel’s Dream

Emmanuel’s Dream

written by Laurie Ann Thompson; illustrated by Sean Qualls

2015 (Schwartz and Wade Books)

Source: Review copy provided by the publisher

Emmanuel was born with only one strong leg. His father left, but his mother stayed strong. Mama Comfort pushed Emmanuel to be independent.  When he became too heavy for his mother to carry him, Emmanuel hopped to school on one leg two miles each way every day. Is it possible to be uplifted and have your heart break at the same time? I wondered that as I read that page. Emmanuel continued pushing forward. Unfortunately, perhaps his biggest obstacle came when Mama Comfort was so sick that she could not work any longer. Emmanuel, at age 13, left his mother and siblings to find work in the city of Accra which was 150 miles away. He eventually found work and was sending money home when word came that Mama Comfort was dying. As he was by her bedside, she told Emmanuel, “Be respectful, take care of your family, don’t ever beg. And don’t ever give up.” The next morning, Christmas Day, she passed away. Emmanuel used this tragedy to spur his dream. He procured a bike and other equipment from an American foundation. He rode his bicycle nearly 400 miles around his home country of Ghana. During this journey, he spread his message of respect for people with disabilities.

Unbelievable! This guy could have given up several times during his life but he just kept pushing and pushing. Emmanuel is inspiring. He spurs you to want to take action. Emmanuel’s Dream will be perfect for our wax museum biography project. I can already see a student with a bike and a tri-fold board talking to visitors. This book is also great for teaching character and about character traits. Who would be better for talking about determination? I would definitely recommend Emmanuel’s Dream to school counselors and classroom teachers.

Here is the link to the curriculum guide for Emmanuel’s Dream:  http://www.scribd.com/doc/251881365/Emmanuel-s-Dream-Curriculum-Guide#scribd

Check out more stuff at NC Teacher Stuff: http://ncteacherstuff.blogspot.com

Creative Cartography

mapsGeography Goodness for Kids (…or adults)

The book I chose to create a lesson for this week is
Maps by Aleksandra Mizielinska


*Unique approach to topics (world maps & cultures) that have been covered a zillion times before.
*It made me want to research more! Enough tidbits that I really think everyone [kids and adults alike] could find something interesting. Food? History? Wildlife? Check, check, check!
*Connects geography to culture so both become more understandable and meaningful.


Common Core Connection

What a great bridge between picture books and non-fiction books! Here are maps that are illustrated in the same way a picture book would be, but provide factual information in a format (map) that students need to be exposed to!

RI.3.7, RI.4.7: Use information gained from illustrations (e.g., maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g., where, when, why, and how key events occur).

To hit these standards [RI.3.9, RI.4.9, RI.5.9: Integrate information from two texts on the same topic in order to write or speak about the subject knowledgeably], compare two (or three or four!) maps of the same location.

*Why did one cartographer choose to include certain things and exclude others?

*Could you create a map that integrates the most important aspects of the location for a tourist? For a hiker?

*Write a summary of the location using information gained from multiple maps

Geography + Research Starter

I want to use this text as a jumping off point for a mini-research project. The pre-research activity is below. This part will kind of serve as the “K” (know) and the “W” (want to know) to a KWL. After my students fill out the questions and predictions based on “Maps,” I’ll provide more specific materials on the country they are interested in.

For the pre-research activity, head on over to www.LessonBungalow.com!

When a statue has a biography


STONE GIANT by Jane Sutcliffe is a picture book biography of a statue: David by Michelangelo. The city of Florence had a huge block of marble everyone hoped a sculpture could make into a statue of David but no sculptor would take on the challenge, until Michelangelo. And it was a challenge.

Sample: “Every night he went home floured with the dust of not-David. He combed bits of not-David from his beard.”

Jane has thoughtfully provided a teacher resource for this book http://www.janesutcliffe.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/teachers-guide_stone-giant.pdf

Nonfiction Monday

It’s Nonfiction Monday!

Copyright © 2014 Deborah Amadei All Rights Reserved. Site Meter


Monday Morning Miscellany

Some news to start your week:

The Cybils Awards have entered Round 2. The first round panelists did a great job in winnowing the field down to the seven finalists listed below for Nonfiction in Early and Middle Grades. A winner will be announced on February 14, 2015.  I can’t discuss deliberations (I’m a Round 2 judge), but you are free to comment on your favorites. 🙂


  • Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain by Russell Freedman
  • Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cat by Sy Montgomery
  • Feathers: Not Just for Flying by Melissa Stewart
  • Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns
  • Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh
  • The Case of the Vanishing Little Brown Bats: A Scientific Mystery by Sandra Markle
  • When Lunch Fights Back: Wickedly Clever Animal Defenses by Rebecca L. Johnson
In December, the Great Websites for Kids Committee announced the newest sites to be added. (Press release here)
If you’ve never taken advantage of this great resource, I urge you to check out Great Websites for Kids at http://gws.ala.org/.
The site is continually updated with new sites added and outdated sites deleted. Suggestions and comments are always welcome.

And last but not least,

This year will mark the fifth anniversary of the KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month celebration.  Each year, fellow librarian, Margo Tanenbaum and I, gather writers, illustrators, librarians and bloggers to highlight, celebrate, and raise awareness of great books for young people that focus on women’s history.  This year’s celebration kicks off  March 1. Please, stay in touch with us and support the inclusion of women’s history in books for young readers! Please, follow our blog, KidLit Celebrates Women’s History Month, and you can also find us on Twitter @kidlitwhm, Facebook, and Pinterest.
   Have a great week!  Let it start with a reminder from MLKDay.gov,

“Life’s most persistent question is: What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.


See this and all of my posts at Shelf-employed, or follow me on Twitter@shelfemployed.

Copyright © 2015 L Taylor All Rights Reserved.


Sneaker Century


Keyser, Amber J. Sneaker Century: A History of Athletic Shoes

January 1st 2015 by Twenty-First Century Books (CT)

E ARC from Netgalley.com

Read more middle grade reviews at http://msyinglingreads.blogspot.com/

I am always looking for interesting nonfiction for my students, and my own favorite topic to read about is anything having to do with popular culture. What better than a 64 page overview of athletic shoes? This is really the best treatment I have seen, starting with ancient shoes found by archaeologists and going from there! There is just enough detail about topics such as Chuck Taylor being a basketball players and shoe salesman, the genesis of most of the modern shoe companies, and the evolution of running shoes from Adi Dassler’s shoes used by Olympic hopefuls to the proliferation of shoes today. Even “sneakerheads”, people who collect limited edition shoes, are covered. It makes me feel tremendously old to know that the modern running shoe evolved during my lifetime– I remember being told in elementary school that any athletic shoes used for gym class needed to be able to be bent in half so the heel touched the toe. That’s when Keds were the shoe of choice, and fancy kicks were only worn by elite athletes. I do wish a little more information about the Keds and Saucony companies had been given, since they have been around for so long. Still, a must purchase for middle school libraries.