Review Policy

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Book Review: I Can Be Anything! Don't Tell Me I Can't

Author/Illustrator: Diane Dillon
Interest Level: Ages 5 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Like most girls and boys, Zoe enthusiastically embraces the wonders of our world and its infinite possibilities. "I can be anything I want to be!" she tells us, presenting herself in a range of careers. "But what if you fail?" asks a voice of doubt that attempts to undermine her confidence.

Bold and sassy, Zoe swats the voice away at every turn, declaring her certainty with a charisma that will encourage us all to silence the fears projected onto us by our world. Why can't a girl grow up to be President? Zoe can! When the voice of doubt continues, Zoe knows exactly what to say: "Go away, voice... I can be anything... but first, I have to learn to read. And don't tell me I can't!"

Award-winner Diane Dillon has created a winning character who defies anything to hold her back from achieving her goals. And the key to Zoe's future success begins when Zoe defiantly opens her book, making it clear that both confidence and reading are tools we all need to make our dreams come true.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I'm a little blown away by the awesomeness of this book. It's like career development wrapped up with growth mindset and telling those negative voices in our head to get lost!!! Because we can be anything! I just can't recommend this one enough. This is definitely my favorite "What do you want to be when you grow up?" book out there! A big message is packed into this story. LOVE. 

A Link to This Book: 

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Book Review: Horrible Bear!

Author: Ame Dyckman
Illustrator: Zachariah OHora

From the Book Jacket: Bear didn't mean to break the girl's kite. But she's upset anyway. Upset enough to shout: HORRIBLE BEAR? Is Bear really horrible? Even the occasionally Horrible Bear in your family will laugh at this hilarious tale of accidents, outbursts, manners...and learning to say "I'm sorry."

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is a great concrete book on what to do when we hurt someone's feelings. In Horrible Bear! when the little girl gets her feelings hurt she lashes out at bear. Later in a moment of empathy she realizes that hurting someone's feelings back is not the answer - so she apologizes. 

A Link to This Book:

Friday, March 16, 2018

Book Review: Strictly No Elephants

Author: Lisa Mantchev
Illustrator: Taeeun Yoo

From the Book Jacket: When the local Pet Club won’t admit a boy’s tiny pet elephant, he finds a solution—one that involves all kinds of unusual animals in this sweet and adorable picture book. Today is Pet Club day. There will be cats and dogs and fish, but strictly no elephants are allowed. The Pet Club doesn’t understand that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. Now it is time for a boy and his tiny pet elephant to show them what it means to be a true friend. This sweet story captures the magic of friendship and the joy of having a pet.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This was such a helpful book to teach our K-1 kids how exclusion is a hurtful behavior. We focused on the words INCLUDE and INVITE. I feel like we need to flood our younger grades with these community builders. Early childhood is when we want to help instill those strong values of friendship and caring about others. Love this one.  

A Link to This Book:

Book Review: The Social Butterfly

Author: Beth Bracken
Illustrator: Sofia Cardoso

From the Book Jacket: Charlotte loves talking, singing, and playing. What Charlotte doesn’t love is sitting still, being quiet, and listening, which is a big problem at school. Charlotte's overly social ways interfere with her friendships and her learning. Will Charlotte be able to modify her behavior and learn when to be social and when to be quiet? A sweet and relatable picture book story that shines a light on social behaviors.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Helping kids develop self control is a big part of what I do. It is hard to sit still!! So when I find great resources like this I am ecstatic. I rely on My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook when I teach active listening skills which is a great resource. But it's also nice to now have a story about the same problem behavior that shows a female character. If you are looking for a good book to help your talkers and strengthen classroom management - this is an awesome one. 

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

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Book Review: Penguin Problems

Author: Jory John
Illustrator: Lane Smith

From the Book Jacket: Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it's a land free of worries and responsibilities! All of your problems will surely be blown away by the icy winds of that lawless paradise! . . . Won't they?
Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no more a picnic than yours is here. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have a ton of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mom in a big ol' crowd of identical penguins? No, thank you.
Yes, it seems there is no escaping the drudgery of your daily grind, whatever it might be. Or perhaps we've just learned that grumps are everywhere.

Why It's on My Bookshelf: My students loved this book. It was a great helper in a lesson on how negativity is such an unhelpful behavior to our lives. Luckily a walrus pops into the story to share how it's more important to be grateful and to look for the positive. This book is also done with humor which really engaged the kiddos. So important to teach students they can reframe their thoughts and words. If you also need a resource to help teach the size of the problem, I recommend this one for sure. 

A Link to This Book:

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Book Review: Emmanuel's Dream - The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah

Author: Laurie Ann Thompson
Illustrator: Sean Qualls

From the Book Jacket: Born in Ghana, West Africa, with one deformed leg, he was dismissed by most people—but not by his mother, who taught him to reach for his dreams. As a boy, Emmanuel hopped to school more than two miles each way, learned to play soccer, left home at age thirteen to provide for his family, and, eventually, became a cyclist. He rode an astonishing four hundred miles across Ghana in 2001, spreading his powerful message: disability is not inability. Today, Emmanuel continues to work on behalf of the disabled. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is the story of a young man who was once thought of as cursed and became a national hero. It is an awesome and inspiring story and I'm using all of the videos below as part of my lesson to students. Love this new find!

See the Movie Trailer Here:

Emmanuel Ofoso Yeboah ESPY Awards Presented by Oprah Winfrey:

An Update on Emmanuel Ofoso Yeboah - Super Soul Sunday:

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

You Can Buy/Rent the Movie Here:

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Book Review: What Do You Do With A Chance?

Author: Kobi Yamada
Illustrator: Mae Besom

From the Book Jacket: What do you do with a chance? Especially one that seems too big or too wild or just out of reach? Do you hold back? Do you act like you don't care? Do you let it slip away?

This is the story of some remarkable chances and the child who doesn't know quite what to do with them. But the more chances come around, the more the child's fascination grows. And then, one day, a little courage makes all the difference in the world. 

This is a story for anyone, at any age, who has ever wanted something, but was afraid of risking too much to get it. It's a story to inspire you to embrace the chances that come into your life. Because you never know when a chance, once taken, might be the one to change everything. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: This is my favorite book out of this whole series. You can find so many different meanings in these books! My takeaway from this one was to be a seeker. To seek opportunities, adventures, experiences, and doors to new beginnings. When you try to make positive changes in your life it can also feel scary and cause you to be afraid. But you have to try and take the chance. When we hold back, we miss out. Brilliant!

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

Monday, February 12, 2018

Book Review: Squirrel's New Year's Resolution

Author: Pat Miller
Illustrator: Kathi Ember

From the Book Jacket: It's New Year's Day, a great day for making resolutions! But what's a resolution, anyway? Squirrel doesn't know, so she sets out to learn all about them. As she makes visits through the forest, her friends tell her about their resolutions, and she even helps them get started. If only Squirrel could think of a resolution of her very own...

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Such a great book to teach kids about goal setting! As Squirrel tries to come up with her own New Year's Resolution she figures out she actually has had one all along - helping someone every day. This would be a great book to read after New Year's but I also see it's potential to teach goal setting and making positive changes in one's life. You can do that any day of the year. Great book! 

A Link to This Book: 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Book Review: When Sophie Thinks She Can't

Author/Illustrator: Molly Bang
Interest Level: Ages 4 and Up

From the Book Jacket: Everybody faces problems that seem impossible to solve. For children, it can be very frustrating to put together a puzzle, solve a math problem, or learn to read a new word. When Sophie gets stuck, she feels she isn't smart. "I can't do it!" she says. Her friends feel the same way. But their teacher gives them some simple tools, including the Most Important Word. they all try harder - together, until..."WE DID IT!" Now they want to tackle more. 

Why It's On My Bookshelf: Growth Mindset is such an important part of what we teach kids in school. I was so excited to see a new Sophie book around this concept. Sophie's teacher shows the kids the power of YET and how using a positive way of thinking changes their learning - dramatically! They go from wanting to give up to persevering. This is such an awesome resource and it will be a key part of my counseling curriculum in helping kids change their self-talk. Highly recommend!!

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

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Book Review: Brave

Author: Stacy McAnulty
Illustrator: Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
Interest Level: Ages 3 and Up

From the Book Jacket: An empowering picture book for all kids that demonstrates to children that they can be real-life superheroes and that all kids have what it takes to be brave. Superheroes seek adventure, never give up, and stay calm when others are 
afraid. Superheroes are brave. But they aren't the only ones.

Kids are brave every day. When they are told they are too little, but accomplish something big. When they check for monsters under the bed, just in case. When they face something uncertain, whether a thunderstorm or a hospital visit. When they stand up for what's right, even when it means facing consequences.

Like superheroes, brave kids can save the world, just by being brave.

Brave encourages kids to be brave in all the ways they can: trying new things, speaking their mind, confronting bullies, and more. This book will inspire kids to follow their hearts and to have courage, no matter the situation.

Why It's On My Bookshelf: I've been looking for more books to help kids overcome fear and anxiety. Helping kids understand they have the power within themselves to face small and big obstacles is part of my daily job as a counselor. Brave is a confidence builder and I am using it to help kids develop their self-talk around using bravery to defeat problems. So happy to add this one to my shelf! 

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