July 17, 2015

Fiction Friday: Chapter 6 {Picture Book Edition}

Welcome back to another wonderful Fiction Friday, where celebrating children's literature never gets old. This week I focused on reading pictures books, because you are just NEVER too old for pictures books! That's why my 4th grade classroom still has bins of 'em.

As part of my self-directed Bluebonnet Award reading challenge this summer, I discovered some awesome picture books that I can't wait to share with you and my students this upcoming year.

This week I read...

Emily's Blue Period
written by Cathleen Daly, illustrated by Lisa Brown

In the story, Emily wants to be an artist and like Picasso is going through a bit of a blue period herself. Her father has moved out and her life is just as mixed up as one of Picasso's cubist paintings. Through the medium of collage, Emily finds away to put herself back together and redefines her definition of home.


Told with plenty of humor, honesty, and sincerity, Emily's Blue Period captures the ups and downs of a family going through a separation, while leaving the reader with plenty of hope for brighter days to come. It's the perfect book to quietly hand to a student in need, so they know they are not alone.

The illustrations were created using pencil and watercolor and some digital collage. Beautiful book.

 Rutherford B., Who Was He?
written by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by John Hendrix

This is actually a book of poems about all 44 Presidents of the United States through Barack Obama and it's fantastic! Each page is filled with vibrant illustrations and short poems about each president. The poems are humorous and factual, highlighting the successes and failures throughout our country's history. As an adult, I was captivated from the first page.  I enjoyed how the poems captured the time period of each president and the feeling of the country during their presidential terms. 

Included in the back of the book are short presidential biographies and famous quotes from each president as well as a timeline. It's extremely well done and would make a fun gift for any American History buff regardless of age!

The Right Word: Roget and his Thesaurus
written by Jane Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet

This one won a Caldecott Honor and The Robert F. Sibert Medal and it is obvious why! This captivating page-turner follows the life of Peter Roget. Beginning with his childhood, the story chronicles how making lists of words to remember lessons, became lists of many many things that allowed Peter to find just the right word to describe... well... anything and everything and how he eventually ended up a popular published author.

Impeccably researched and articulately delivered this is a must have book for your literary non-fiction library. The illustrations are phenomenal. You could spend hours pouring over pages and discover something new with each fresh look.  According to the illustrator's note in the back, the Latin lists used in the illustrations are straight out of Roget's notebooks. So cool! And, the other lists use only words that were published in the 1852 thesaurus. The illustrations appear to be a mix of collage, watercolor, and sketch beautifully woven together into a work of art.

This would be a wonderful book to tie in with your vocabulary and word study. Students could easily do a word scavenger hunt within the book to create or add to their own list of wonderful words. So many possibilities! I think I may have to renew this one and play around with a few ideas.  :)

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom
written by Angela Johnson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis

After reading a recommendation by Julie at Math is Elementary, I checked out All Different Now from the library and I was not disappointed. Told from the perspective a young slave girl the book goes through the day the General Gordon Granger arrived in Galveston, Texas announcing the news that the Civil War was over and the slaves were free. To write so simply and so beautifully is a gift. Johnson does an incredible job capturing the mood and the history of this important day!
The illustrations are watercolor and they are spectacular. You may recognize the illustrator, E.B. Lewis' work from Coming on Home Soon. This would be a great book to add to your list of books you use for teaching reading strategies, specifically questioning, inferring, and synthesizing. It would also serve as a great mentor text for writing. Thank you Julie for this great recommendation!!  That's why I love Fiction Friday!! To see why I was so eager to read this book, click here.
Have you discovered any new and wonderful picture books or chapter books this summer?!?  Please share! I love to talk books. Link up to Fiction Friday any time to add to our growing collection of fantastic children's literature. 

Happy Reading!!

1 comment:

  1. Juneteenth and The Word Word both look wonderful... They've been on my TBR pile for awhile - may have to bump them up. :-)



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