Tuesday, July 30, 2013

The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard by Amy MacDougall

Good Day dear Readers
Today I'm enjoying this beautiful summer day sitting beneath a shady tree, a lemonade in my royal hand and a dragon reading over my shoulder.

I love that The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard is a real tree that has stood through history and thrives even today. This might be considered a fictional book, but the story is based on real events. Which, leads to several activities which will require some historical research.

Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard
Author: Amy MacDougall                                                                    Illustrator: Nicole Gsell

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Lychee Books (May 10, 2013)
Reading level: Pre-k and up
Book Info: Paperback: 34 pages
Genre: Historical fiction
ISBN: 978-0989162302

Book Theme:
History, Pagoda trees, Thomas Milton, Martha's Vineyard

Book Summary
The Tremendous Pagoda Tree of Martha's Vineyard illustrates the history of the famous tree from Edgartown, MA for which the book is named. It is affectionately told by a mother to her daughter, about the life of a tree-its journey-from a little sapling in the Orient to its home in Martha's Vineyard in the USA. It adresses two people who lived far apart on a shared Earth many years ago, yet formed a friendship which the Pagoda tree symbolizes and celebrates to this day!

Activity Adventures:

Pick one of the events in history and learn more about it.

Study plant growth, possibly growing your own tree. Enchanted Learning has several plant activities.

Crafty Ideas:
Make a tree from your hand. On a large sheet of construction paper, paint your arm, palm and fingers brown. Press onto paper, leaving a trunk and limbs imprint. Use your thumb and fingers to paint in green leaves.

As an added bonus: Think about your own history. At the roots, write the day you were born. Moving up the tree, list important events you've experienced over your life. In the limbs, write names of family members and even friends. Make the tree a document of your own life.

Writing Prompts:
Tell a story from the tree's point of view. Using the book, write a description of when the tree first noticed lights inside of houses, or planes flying over head. How do you think a tree would view our history?
Write a story about your ideas.

Discussion Questions:
Read the story behind the book here. Talk about your thoughts on how the author came up with this story idea.

Authors Arena

Author: I could find little information about the author Amy MacDougall, but did find her blog. Hop over there for the story behind the story, and perhaps some other interesting things.

Nicole Gsell is a recent graduate of Rhode Island School of Design, with a Bachelors of Fine Arts, Illustration and a Concentration in English.
Originally from Long Island, New York, Nicole moved to Boston, MA in the Fall of 2010 to pursue a career in publishing. She has had much luck, and currently is the Creative Director for an independent children’s book company Pinwheel Books in Brookline, MA.
She also teaches children’s art classes at Brookline Arts Center. View her teaching profile here or check out some of her student’s work.
Nicole has illustrated her first book through Pinwheel Books called Sam and Ben, available now online and in local bookstore Brookline Booksmith. She’s working on her next book projects now!
When she’s not illustrating children’s books, she loves visiting diners, knitting, cooking, and writing all about it.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Zebra Stripes Go Head to Toe

Good Day Dearest Readers,
The Queen here with a fun book for our youngest knights to help them learn about shapes and patterns. Zebra Stripes Go Head To Toe by Sheryl and Simon Shapiro focuses on stripes and squares and is a companion to Lady Bugs Have Lots of Spots.  The pictures are colorful, the prose rhyming and easy for youngsters to follow along.

Check out the activities below to add to the fun.
Happy Reading,
The Queen


Book Title: Zebra Stripes Go Head to Toe
Authors: Sheryl and Simon Shapiro                                                                                                             

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Annick Press (July 30, 2013)
Reading level: 3 - 5 years
Book Info: Library Binding: 24 pages
Genre: Children's picture book - nonfiction
ISBN-13: 978-1554515813

Book Theme:
Squares, shapes, stripes, lines

Book Summary
This little book shows children
That squares are here and there.
And if they keep an eye out, 
then stripes are everywhere.

A perfect companion to Ladybugs Have Lots of Spots, the fun, simple text and vibrant design of Zebra Stripes Go Head to Toe explore the concept of squares and stripes. Using words such as "cube," "block," "line," and "band," short poems encourage readers to spot the similarities (and differences) between the shapes of the stripes on a zebra and a colored striped sock, for example, or between a square soda cracker and cubes of cheese.
Whether paired with Ladybugs Have Lots of Spots or read independently, this innovative book is a great way to introduce the concept of shapes to young children.

Activity Adventures:

Young Readers:
Go on a square and stripe scavenger hunt. Give prizes to the one or team who finds the most. Make a collage with your found items. Take the game outdoors with a camera and take pictures of striped and square items like the authors did. Make your own book. 

Crafty Ideas:
Print a picture of a stripe-less zebra. Have children glue black yarn or cut paper to make stripes.

Cut out several colorful square pieces of paper and have children make objects with the squares such as houses, cars, animals, ect.

Writing Prompts:
Turn their projects into a book and have children write sentences about their creations.

Discussion Questions:
Talk about where else we might find squares and stripes in the world.

Authors Arena

Sheryl and Simon Shapiro are the husband-and-wife team who wrote the rhyming picture books Better Together and Slither, Slide, What's Outside. They live in Toronto, Ontario.

When Sheryl and Simon Shapiro met over 35 years ago in South Africa (where they were born and grew up), they had very different interests. Simon had studied subjects like applied mathematics and physics, and worked as a computer programmer. Sheryl had studied print-making and oil painting and worked as an art teacher. Over the years, their lives—and their interests—changed. Simon took up photography as a hobby, learning about color and composition, and now loves visiting art galleries. Sheryl became an art director and book designer, and now spends all day, every day, using a computer.
They have other things in common like enjoying music, movies, theater, reading, and spending time with their son Stephen who has written four books for Annick Press. They also discovered that they liked writing humorous rhymes for special occasions. When the opportunity came up to write a book together, they jumped at the chance.
Bio taken from Annick Press website

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Each Kindness

Good Day Dear Readers
The Queen here with a heart wrenching story told from a bully's point of view. This story saddened me, yet I know, many children go through this same scenario when they walk into a new classroom. The narrator of this story doesn't even realize she is being a bully or acting unkindly until her teacher gives a lesson on kindness.

I hope parents and teachers will use this book in the same manner. There's several places that offer ideas for lessons to go along with the book. I've included a couple of my own ideas.

Happy Reading, and Be kind to one another, always.
The Queen


Book Title: Each Kindness
Author: Jacqueline Woodson                                                             
Illustrator: E.B. Lewis

Book Information:

Publisher and date: Nancy Paulsen Books; First Edition edition (October 2, 2012)
Reading level: 5 - 8 years
Book Info: Hardcover: 32 pages
Genre: Children's picture book
ISBN-13: 978-0399246524

Book Theme:
kindness, acceptance, unkindness, bullying, friendship, reaching out to others, judging

Book Summary
Each kindness makes the world a little better

This unforgettable book is written and illustrated by the award-winning team that created The Other Side and the Caldecott Honor winner Coming On Home Soon. With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they've put it down.

Chloe and her friends won't play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe's teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world, Chloe is stung by the lost opportunity for friendship, and thinks about how much better it could have been if she'd shown a little kindness toward Maya.

Activity Adventures:
You can find Lesson Ideas at these places:
Teaching Books has videos from the author and classroom lesson plans.

Teach Mentor Text offers suggestions on how to incorporate this book into a classroom discussion on showing kindness. She even provides pictures of her charts.

Check out the Random Acts of Kindness page for ideas on how to make the world a better place. 

Crafty Ideas:
Create a poster of ideas on ways students can show kindness to a new student. Sometimes, children' simply don't understand how to show hospitality.

Writing Prompts:
Write a story about when you were in a new situation. How did you feel? What do you wish other people might have done to help you feel more comfortable. What did you do in this new place? What might you do differently next time?

Discussion Questions:
Talk about ways to show kindness to new people and even people children already know. Talk about what it means to be a bully and ways to avoid letting that happen.

Authors Arena

Jacqueline Woodson's awards include 3 Newbery Honors, a Coretta Scott King Award and 3 Coretta Scott King Honors, 2 National Book Awards, a Margaret A. Edwards Award and an ALAN Award -- both for Lifetime Achievement in YA Literature. She is the author of more than 2 dozen books for children and young adults and lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York

E.B. Lewis has illustrated more than fifty books for children, including Nikki Grimes' Talkin' About Bessie: The Story of Aviator Elizabeth Coleman, the 2003 Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award Winner; Alice Schertle's Down the Road, an ALA Notable Book; Tolowa M. Mollel's My Rows and Piles of Coins, an ALA Notable Book and a Coretta Scott King Honor Book; Bat Boy and His Violin by Garvin Curtis, a Coretta Scott King Honor Book, and Jacqueline Woodson's The Other Side, a 2002 Notable Book for the Language Arts.