Review Policy

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Book Review: Melena's Jubilee: The Story of a Fresh Start


Author: Zetta Elliott
Illustrator: Aaron Boyd

About This Book: After being sent to bed early the previous night, Melena wakes up to a new day with a song in her heart. At breakfast she learns she has been given a “fresh start,” and she decides to celebrate by doing things differently for the rest of the day. Melena chooses not to fight with her brother, and shares the money she has rather than demanding to be repaid by a less fortunate friend. This story introduces children to the concept of jubilee, which stresses the important principles of generosity, and forgiveness.



Why It's On My Bookshelf: What a WONDERFUL book! I am so excited to share it with my students and my own children. We all make mistakes. But how we recover and move forward is what matters most. Lets start modeling to our kids we can do that without being so hard on ourselves. I have always loved the message that tomorrow is always a new day and it brings with it renewal. Melena's Jubilee models this concept so well and it can truly be life changing for kids. Mistakes are not the end of the world - they are a catalyst for positive change. 

A Link to This Book:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: Kindness is Cooler, Mrs Ruler


Author: Margery Cuyler
Illustrator: Sachiko Yoshikawa
Interest Level: Ages 5-8

From the Book Jacket: When Mrs. Ruler asks five of her kindergarteners to miss recess, she's got a special plan up her sleeve. She's about to teach a new golden rule: Kindness Is Cool! Soon the entire class is doing so many good deeds that their kindness bulletin board barely fits their classroom!

By clearing the table after dinner to helping the elderly, one kindergarten class is proving that kids really can make a difference. Count along with Mrs. Ruler's class. Can all their good deeds really add up to 100 acts of kindness?

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Love this book so much! It starts out with a teacher being frustrated with her students being unkind to one another and her way of dealing with them is by teaching them about acts of kindness. She asks each student to go home and do five acts of kindness for their families. Then in show-and-tell they will share what they did. Their experiences inspire the rest of the class to also try acts of kindness. Soon it becomes a class project. 

I feel this should be a staple in a classroom teacher's library when it comes to building community and managing behaviors. As a school counselor this is a wonderful addition to my bucket filling books and working on school kindness projects. I'm also excited to read this to my daughter because she would love to learn about acts of kindness and this is such a perfect resource. 

A Link to This Book:

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review: Yoga Bunny

Author/Illustrator: Brian Russo
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: It's a perfect day for yoga, and Bunny is practicing his poses and wishes his friends would do yoga with him! But Lizard is too tired, Fox is in a rush, and Bird has the hiccups. Will Bunny ever be able to get his friends to slow down and realize that yoga just might be the solution to their problems?

Book Trailer:

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I thought this was going to be another book showing kids how to do yoga poses but it was much more than that. It's about how yoga is an important tool and how helpful it can be to calm the body and mind when you are feeling angry, anxious, or down. It reminded me to not rush into yoga poses with kids but to first enlighten them on how it can help them overcome something challenging they might be feeling. Yoga Bunny will be the first book I read when teaching kids about yoga. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review: The Word Collector


















About This Book: Luna is passionate about words. She loves their light and becomes tickled with laughter from them. But one day she realizes that, little by little, the beautiful, gorgeous, and fun words are disappearing from the world—so she decides it's time to act. A poetic tale about the magic of words, this delightful story invites readers of all ages to enjoy the power that positive words can have.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This book is really timely right now for my students. It's easy to fall back into the habit of using unkind words to try and solve problems or bucket dip. We do a lot of community building in the beginning of the year around being bucket fillers and trying to uplift one another through our actions and words. It's good to reintroduce this message through a story like this to encourage students to continue to build relationships with each other. Our words can heal or harm. Luna discovers people are forgetting to use all of the wonderful positive words with each other. She gathers up all of her words and puts them in a suitcase to share with everyone. I just loved this story and it is a great reminder to not fall into name calling or using our words to hurt. 

A Link to This Book: 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Book Review: Be Who You Are


Author/Illustrator: Todd Parr
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Be who you are: Be proud of where you're from. Be a different color. Speak your language. Wear everything you need to be you. JUST BE WHO YOU ARE! 
Todd Parr's bold messages and bright picture encourage readers to embrace all their unique qualities. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: A lot of self-esteem problems could be solved through these important words - BE WHO YOU ARE! It seems like it has been awhile since I have seen a story around this theme published. Sometimes I get focused on other skills and character traits when working with kids so it was refreshing to see this new one. Helping kids build confidence and pride in who they are is at the top of my list. My daughter was giggling at the illustrations and by the end she was exclaiming JUST BE WHO YOU ARE!

A Link to This Book:

Monday, November 14, 2016

Book Review: When Miles Got Mad

 
Author: Sam Kurtzman-Counter
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

About This Book: When his little brother breaks his favorite toy, Miles gets MAD. As his anger swells, he catches sight of himself in the mirror -- but instead of his own reflection, a furry red monster stares back at him! By encouraging Miles to use words to express his anger, the Mad Monster helps Miles calm himself until eventually the anger -- and the monster -- disappears. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is an awesome resource for self-regulation around controlling anger. It encourages a strategy of voicing feelings when you are upset. Miles becomes borderline out of control with his anger until he is confronted by it and he tries to deal with it by avoiding it and then trying to hit it. Finally he admits that he just doesn't know what to do other than he feels SO SO MAD. He starts talking about why he is mad and immediately begins to calm down and his anger shrinks. This will work great in many of my lessons around the Zones of Regulation and how to solve problems.




A Link to This Book:

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Book Review: Maxwell's Mountain

Author: Shari Becker
Illustrator: Nicole Wong
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

About This Book: When he spies the BIG hill—make that a mountain!—in his neighborhood park, Maxwell is determined to climb all the way to the top. He has everything a true outdoorsman needs: climbing gear, a map, a first-aid kit, water, snacks, and his trusty toy soldier, Harry, by his side. But when Maxwell loses the trail, he must rely on his smarts to get back on track.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Another counselor introduced me to this book and it is another great example of using growth mindset to overcome a challenge. Maxwell finds a BIG awesome, glorious mountain in his neighborhood park and is set on getting to the top of it. What I love about the story is Maxwell does everything it takes to accomplish his goal. He practices, prepares, and uses positive self-talk to keep going. When it comes time to climb the mountain - he uses all of these skills to overcome the setbacks he encounters. These are the exact things we are trying to teach our kids. Love. 

A Link to This Book: 


Monday, October 17, 2016

Book Review: Zach Makes Mistakes


Author: William Mulcahy
Illustrator: Darren McKee
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: For Zach, a class field trip to the museum is about more than cool exhibits—it’s about learning from mistakes and dealing with embarrassment. First he forgets to wear his field trip shirt, then he forgets the rule about not touching displays. His teacher helps him see that everyone makes mistakes—and how to use them to grow. Using an easy-to-remember tool, the Key to Mistakes, she shows Zach and readers a simple three-step process: Detect (find the reason for the mistake), Correct (fix the mistake if you can), and Reflect (think back about your mistake to find what you can learn from it). 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I am always looking for books to help kids understand mistakes are not failures - in fact they are a normal part of life. So I was super excited to see the Zach Rules series take on this issue. It teaches kids how to learn from their mistakes and something positive can come from it. Zach says when he makes mistakes he feels awful and tries to forget them. He learns nobody is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. I really liked the three-step process to teach kids how to deal with a mistake instead of beating themselves up. So happy to use this as part of my growth mindset curriculum!

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Monday, September 19, 2016

Book Review: Ada Twist Scientist

Author: Andrea Beaty
Illustrator: David Roberts
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Why are there pointy things stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs up inside of your nose? Ada Twist's head is full of questions. Like her classmates Iggy and Rosie, Ada has always been endlessly curious. But when her fact finding missions and elaborate scientific experiments go too far, her frazzled parents banish her to the Thinking Chair. Will all that thinking change Ada'a mind?

Ada Twist, Scientist is the highly anticipated follow-up to the bestselling Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer. With the same spirit of curiosity and perseverance as her classmates, Ada is sure to inspire young readers to pursue their own passions. 




Why It's On My Bookshelf: So excited about this addition to this fabulous series of books. This might be my favorite one. It's all about curiosity, not giving up, and following your passion. I applaud the author for giving us a character of color who is a girl and who loves science! It's also a great reminder for all of us to be supportive when someone has a goal. 

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful:

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Book Review: A Bug and a Wish



















Author: Karen Scheuer
Illustrator: Kalpart
Interest Level: Ages 4-7

From the Book Jacket: When Tyler is teased by the other boys, his good friend, Danae, encourages him to give the boys A Bug and a Wish. When Tyler finds a ladybug and a dandelion seed, he is convinced that this is what Danae means. As his friend helps him learn the true meaning of her advice, Tyler soon discovers the solution to his problem. 




Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is such a creative way to teach younger kids how to use an 'I Message' towards an unwanted behavior. I can't wait to put this into practice with our students as we begin to work on conflict resolution strategies. 

An example of how to use the phrase:
It bugs me when you make fun of my name and I wish you would stop.

You can always change the word wish to something a little more assertive to need or want. But I think the book does a good job of helping build language for kids to access when they need a strategy to stop a mean behavior.  

A Link to This Book and Others You Might Find Helpful: