Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday #1– Whoot!

Whoot! Whoot! It is the first Teacher Book Talk Tuesday!!

Teacher Book Talk Tuesday is a weekly post starting today and going through August 22. That's right, twelve posts on favorite kid books, teacher books, and books for pure reading pleasure taking place in the summer when teachers can actually READ. And to make it better, this is a blogger linky party, so any teacher blogger can join up and share the good news about one of our FAV things in life– BOOKS! So let's GO!

I'll start with a couple kids' books first. 

Strictly No Elephants by Lisa Mantchev, illustrated by Taeeun Yoo.

I don't know how this one escaped me for a whole year but I'm so glad to have found it. A little boy has a tiny elephant as a pet... what kid wouldn't like that! They are great friends and that little boy knows how to be kind. 

But there is a problem.

My kids were oh so engaged when we read this to see how the little boy was going to solve his problem. It gently lead to a wonderful discussion of what it feels like to be left out and how one can push back against exclusion. This book allows teachers to  broach the age old issue of "you can't play" in a time when the lessons are needed more than ever. I think you'll really like this one.  

This next one is just for fun.

Polar Bear's Underwear by Tupera Tupera.

Each year I save a couple special, silly books for the last weeks of school. Oftentimes they feature five year olds' taboo subjects, like farts, butts or underwear (stop by next week for the fart and butt books...). The kids are so off the wall by the end of the year, I say you might as well go for it. This one was an instant hit, as you can imagine. 

In the photo above I show that the book comes wearing underwear... the kids were delighted as I slid the book's underwear off. And that underwear sets the kids up to look for red underwear... which hides the punchline of the book. There are some rather silly animals with even sillier underwear hanging out in this book which features strategic cutouts. 

Super silly and super fun! Your kiddos will love it. 

This week my "teacher" book selections are for teachers to share with parents. 

Reading Magic by Mem Fox. 

Some of you may know Mem Fox as the children's writer of such hits as Koala Lou, Possum Magic, and Time for Bed, to name a few. Some of you may know Mem Fox as the reading guru from Australia. In this book, she is a parent educator, sharing her experience and expertise with children learning to read on their parents' laps. She doesn't just give the oh-so-valuable advice that parents should read to their children, but she describes the whys and hows so parents can help their kids love books and learn to read. I recommend this book at start of year parent-teacher conference time. It is not a Jim Trelease-esque list book of children's books (though Mem did indeed dedicate it to Jim Trelease), but it gives ideas that any teacher would pay to have parents follow. 

I love to loan Reading Matic to parents who think that reading to kids has become a bit cliched. I have copies to loan out– there is a newer version than the one I show which includes a chapter dedicated to boys and phonics. I love flipping through the pages of my worn copy as I talk about it because parents see all the highlighting and checks in margins that show it is a favorite of my own.  I highly recommend it to teachers to share with their school parents and I also recommend it to teachers who have young children of their own. Such a strong testimony to the power of parent-child bonding over a book.  

Here's the other book I recommend to my classroom parents. 

Raising Lifelong Learners by Lucy Calkins.


Yes, this is the same Lucy Calkins who heads up Teachers' College Reading and Writing Project and who authored Units of Study in Writing that so many districts use. 

This is also not a new book, but it is as pertinent today as ever, and unfortunately I find not near enough teachers and parents know about it. It is Lucy's only book written for parents. I found it years ago when I was a parent educator. I thought I had read every book on parenting and then I found this one. Lucy articulates what all parents want for their children, and she gives much food for thought AND very practical tips for raising kids to BE lifelong learners. I found it when my own kids were still pretty young and I LOVED it. I copy one chapter of to give to parents– the chapter on beginning reading– and the parents who actually read it rush out for their own copies. Just terrific. Teacher parents out there– grab this one for yourself, too. 

And since this is the kick-off post of the new Book Talk series, I'll share just one more... or eight.  

Yes, that is the whooooole Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. It is one of my favorite book collections of all time. My aunt read the books as they came out, and then she started watching the Outlander series on Starz. I watched a few episode of the first season with her and I. was. hooked. I had a bunch of bookstore gift cards and I used them to buy the whole series in one fell swoop. A customer behind me, seeing my tower of books said, "Oh, I envy you. I wish I was just now reading them for the first time. You are in for a HUGE treat." And she was SO right.

Quite frankly, these books helped me make it through school last year. It took me about almost the entire school year to finish them– there is always SO much other stuff competing for a teacher's time September thru June, isn't there? I could only read them ten minutes each night before the book fell on my face as I read at bedtime. They provided the perfect distraction, letting me drift off to the 18th century to escape my everyday problems. WonDerFul. It is a complete bonus that the TV series is so well done. The casting is spot on... and yes, I too, am among the throngs in love with Jamie Fraser. To show you how rabid a fan I am, this was my Christmas gift this year.

DH Jonathan managed to get his hands on the oh-so-rare Funco Pop Vinyl figures of Jamie and Claire... and in the typical Jonathan style, he managed to craft a standing stone as well. 

 I can hardly wait for the next season that starts in September... quick! You have time to get far enough into the books, and to binge watch the two seasons thus far, so you can jump into the new season in September. I am not a TV binger and we only buy Starz for the months that the show is on, but it is TOTALLY worth it. Ahhh. Can hardly wait.

There are no affiliate links in my posts and that is because I know what it is like to be so addicted to books that I can't waste a dime. There is always the library, but sometimes I hate to wait. Luckily Jonathan and I see books as so essential we have a books line item in our family budget... so to speak... we don't really have a family budget... but we do buy lots of books. So when I shop, I shop for the best prices. That takes me into stores, on line, and always checking online at Abe Books for used copies. I love used book as much as new, and most books there are less than four dollars with fast free shipping. I also own a Little Free Library and frequent other LFLs in town. I have found some of my best treasures there.

Abe books and LFLs are greener ways to feed my reading addiction, as well, which makes me feel a little better about it. The books I don't LOVE, I pass on.   

Check below to see other bloggers who are sharing books today. And bloggers, to link up with Teacher Book Talk Tuesday, click on the inlinkz link, then be sure to grab this button below for your post and link it back here so everyone can find all. the. books!!!

Thanks for stopping by. I have 8.5 days left of school *sigh* and after that I hope to be blogging more... this summer's topic will be classroom design with tips I bet you haven't seen, so stick around. See you next time! 


  1. Ah, Lucy Calkins! I've read much about her over the years but have never read anything by her. My school purchased her writing program for grs. k-8 so I'm going to become familiar with her afterall. I really should read more about her and her philosophy prior to the school year. This might be a good starting point.

    I had hoped to have joined you your first week, but alas, the closing of the school year got in the way. I am hoping to include a post for your second linky party! Fingers crossed!


  2. I hope you'll like it. And, ah, yes, I know about the last weeks. Mine is this week. Hope to see you later.



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