I Walk with Vanessa / Kerascoët

i walk with vanessa

Details

Author:    Kerascoët
Title:    I Walk With Vanessa: A Story About a Simple Act of Kindness
Publisher:    Schwartz & Wade
Publication Date:    2018.04.24
My Rating Out of 10:    9

Summary

Vanessa has recently moved into the neighborhood, and is starting her first day at her new school. She is nervous and shy…she sits alone during recess; and she walks home alone. But on her way, a bully stops her and is so mean to her, that she runs away in tears. Another girl in Vanessa’s class witnesses this. She isn’t sure what to do, but after she thinks about it all day and all night, she comes up with a solution! The next day of school, she goes to Vanessa’s house, introduces herself, and they walk to school hand-in-hand. As they walk together, more and more children join them, until she is surrounded by friends.

Review

In this wordless picture book, husband and wife team Kerascoët show Vanessa’s first day in a new school. She is nervous, shy, and bullied. Although the reader can clearly see that the bullying hurt Vanessa, the focus of the story is on the protagonist’s reaction to the situation. The young girl witnesses the bullying, and while she does not do anything in the moment, she is clearly distressed by what she saw.  The reader follows the young protagonist as she disscusses what she saw with her friends, and how she goes home…her mind clearly on what happened to Vanessa. As the story progresses, the reader sees how the protagonist is able to create a welcoming and safe environment for Vanessa by one simple act of friendliness.
Watercolor and ink illustrations clearly and simply tell the story. Most of the pictures use pale and muted colors on a white background; however, key illustrations use bright colors to convey emotions. In the scene where Vanessa is being bullied, the background is made up of broad strokes of red. In another spread, the scene-which takes place at nighttime-is very dark. The sky is black, and the neighborhood is different shades of dark blue. The only light colors come from the lit-up rooms of the protagonist and Vanessa; showing that they are both awake late at night.
Kerascoët also includes details for the attentive reader. As Vanessa and her new group of friends walk her to school, they pass by the bully, who is shocked and surprised. In subsequent pages, the reader sees the bully become frustrated and red in the face; but ultimately, the focus is on Vanessa.
At the back of the book, there is information for both children and adults about how you can help someone who is being bullied.
This is a beautiful and simple story of how one child can make a huge impact by simply being kind. Share with a classroom, a storytime, or at bedtime; but be prepared to have a discussion on bullying, kindness, and standing up for one another.

More Information

Kirkus Review

School Library Journal Review

Publishers Weekly Review

Ghost Boys / Jewell Parker Rhodes

ghost boys.png

Details

Author:    Jewell Parker Rhodes
Title:    Ghost Boys
Publisher:    Little, Brown and Company
Publication Date:    2018.04.17
My Rating Out of 10:    9

Summary

Jerome Rogers is just a 12 year old boy. He is a good boy; he does well in school, doesn’t get in trouble, he looks out for his younger sister, and is always worried about his family. On a winter day, he is out playing in an urban park with a toy gun when he is shot twice in the back by police officers.
After his death, he comes back as a ghost. He sees his family, but they cannot see him. The only person who can see him is Sarah Moore, the daughter of the police officer who shot Jerome. Sarah can see another ghost, too…the ghost of Emmett Till.
Jerome watches as Officer Moore goes to preliminary court. He watches as his parents deal with his death. He talks to Sarah. He talks to Jerome. And eventually, he finds out what he is meant to do.

Review

In Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes delicately and beautifully handles the difficult topics of racism, police shootings, and the death of black boys. Alternating between the events leading up to the shooting while Jerome is alive and the events after while Jerome is a ghost, she tells a heart-wrenching story. She not only focuses on the pain that Jerome’s family must suffer through, but also the familial tension in Sarah’s house; all while highlighting the racial injustice that has been prevalent in America for hundreds of years.
Ghost Boys would be best suited for mature older readers (grades 4-8).

More Information

School Library Journal Review

Kirkus Review

Publisher’s Weekly Review

Publisher’s Weekly Interview with Jewell Parker Rhodes

Story Time at the Museum: Springtime Animals

Springtime Animals

Story Time Plan

-Opening

  • We Clap and Sing Hello
  • The More We Get Together

-Bookflip flap fly

  • Flip, Flap, Fly! / Phyllis Root

-Action Song

  • Two Little Blackbirds

-Booka book of babies

  • A Book of Babies / Il Sung Na

-Song

  • It is Springtime

-Flannel Story

-Song

  • Here is Bunny
  • See the Little Bunnies Sleeping

-Bookfawns

  • Fawns / Katie Kawa

-Musical Movement Songs with Scarves

  • Wave Your Scarves
  • Let’s All Twirl
  • We Wiggle and Wiggle and Stop

-Closing

  • We Wave Goodbye Like This

 

Back-Up Books

  • Lambs / Katie Kawa
  • Wee Little Bunny / Lauren Thompson

 

Thoughts

We had a bigger crowd today, and it was great! The kids really participated in all the songs, which I loved. (: I was also really happy that they were interested in Fawns. I don’t normally use non-fiction books in story time, so I was just trying it out. But I will definitely be doing it more often!

Song of the Wild / Nicola Davies

song of the wild

Details

Author:    Nicola Davies
Illustrator:    Petr Horacek
Title:    Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals
Publisher:    Candlewick Press
Publication Date:    2017.10.03
My Rating Out of 10:    8.5

Summary

Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals presents various animals through poetry and illustrations. Davies and Horacek include over fifty animals, grouped into categories: Big and Small, Colors and Shapes, Animal Homes, Animal Babies, and Animals in Action. Each animal gets its own spread, with some scientific information embedded in a poem accompanied by a beautiful illustration of the animal. After reading this book, a young child would have been introduced to some common animals, as well as some very interesting animals.

Review

Song of the Wild: A First Book of Animals can be used in so many ways by teachers, parents, and librarians. It introduces a variety of animals and different styles of poetry; and it explains scientific topics in an accessible and age-appropriate way. Adults could share this book with children in parts, or as a whole. Librarians could use this book in story time, choosing excerpts that pertain to the theme. Teachers could use this book as an additional resource for either poetry or science/animal lessons.

Davies’ use of language is exquisite. She is able to explain different, and sometimes difficult, concepts without limiting herself to “babyish” language. In one poem, she writes about the communication of a nightingale and a humpback whale; while each animal does it in a different way, she emphasizes the fact that they are both the same. An excerpt: “they will never hear each other / only you can tell / their different songs are the same music / singing, singing!”. Her other poems are just as beautiful. She draws the reader into the wild, making them feel like they are in on some secret, and as if they are witnessing these animals for real.

While Davies uses her language to draw the reader in, Horacek uses his artwork. Horacek used mixed media to create entire spreads that showcase an animal or two. Each animal is created with tremendous detail, and seem to be scientifically accurate. His use of placement, backgrounds, patterns, color, and other animals helps to show how the animals live and what they are like. For example, when comparing the ostrich, the biggest bird in the world, and a hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world, he places them next to one another so that the reader can understand just how different in size they are. Davies writes that “This hummingbird could fit inside / an ostrich’s big eye.”, and Horacek illustrates it perfectly…placing the hummingbird at the ostrich’s eye level.
At other times, Horacek creates spreads that look like field notebooks. His illustrations are paired with Davies’ more scientific writing. A spread, titled “What Am I?”, does just that. It introduces children to the different animal classes: mammal, bird, amphibian, reptile, spider, crustacean, insect, and fish. Davies provides the attributes of each class, and Horacek provides the scientifically accurate illustrations.

Together, Davies and Horacek have created a book that fuses science and the arts. Each page takes the reader into a new environment to meet an amazing animal. Adults and children alike will enjoy perusing through and reading about their favorite animal. This book would be an amazing addition to any library…public, school, or home.

More Information

Kirkus Review

Project Muse Review

Story Time at the Museum: Families

Families

Story Time Plan

-Opening

  • We Clap and Sing Hello
  • The More We Get Together

-BookWe are family

  • We are Family / Patricia Hegarty

-Action Song

  • My Family

-Bookfamilies families families

  • Families, Families, Families / Suzanne Lang

-Song

  • I Put My Hands Together

-Flannel StoryHearts

-Song

  • If You Have a Brother

-Bookfamilies

  • Families / Shelley Rotner

-Musical Movement Songs with Egg Shakers

  • Can You Shake Along with Me?
  • Shake Your Shakers
  • Egg Shakers Up

-Closing

  • We Wave Goodbye Like This

 

Back-Up Books

  • Families in Many Cultures / Heather Adamson
  • A Family is a Family is a Family / Sara O’Leary
  • The Family Book / Todd Parr

 

Thoughts

Small crowd, but there were some regulars. It was great to see them recognizing the songs and singing along! (:
The felt story was great for this age. We worked on our counting, and talked about the different colors…and which was our favorite!

Flannel Story: Hearts

I can’t remember where I found the rhyme, so if you know, please tell me!

hearts.jpg

Hearts

Hearts, hearts. How many do I see?
Hearts, hearts. Count them with me.
I have a red one, orange one. Yellow one, too.
I have a green one, pink one, and one that is blue.
I have a purple one, brown one, and one that is white.
And one last heart that is as black as the night.
Hearts, hearts. How many do I see?
Hearts, hearts. Count them with me.
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Story Time at the Museum: Flowers and Gardens

Flowers and Gardens

Story Time Plan

-Opening

  • We Clap and Sing Hello
  • The More We Get Togetherbumblebee bumblebee do you know me

-Book

  • Bumblebee, Bumblebee, Do You Know Me? / Anne Rockwell

-Action Song

  • Bumblebee, Bumblebee
  • Here is a Beehiveplant the tiny seed

-Book

  • Plant the Tiny Seed / Christie Matheson

-Song

  • Planted Seed20170320_135041.jpg

-Flannel Story

 

 

 

-Song

  • Nine Little Flowers

-Bookone little seed

  • One Little Seed / Elaine Greenstein

-Musical Movement Songs with Scarf

  • Can You Wave Along With Me?
  • Here is a Green Leaf
  • Toss Your Scarves

-Closing

  • We Wave Goodbye Like This

Back-Up Books

  • Planting a Rainbow / Lois Ehlert
  • Mouse’s First Spring / Lauren Thompson
  • Flower Garden / Eve Bunting
  • A Garden of Opposite / Nancy Davis
  • And Then it’s Spring / Julie Fogliano

 

Thoughts

Another small crowd due to cold weather, but it worked out perfectly. The book Plant the Tiny Seed worked well with the small crowd, since the children were able to come close to the book to see everything. I would not have used that book with more than 3 children, since it would get too crowded.