This year was probably the first year ever that Pinewood Elementary has participated in the Star of the North Award program. This program is for grades K-2. Librarians from around the state of Minnesota select 10-12 books as nominees. Students then need to read 8 of the nominees to vote on the book they believe should win the award. This year only our 2nd grade students voted as we just ran out of time to read the books with first and kindergarten. At this time, I plan to read enough nominees to each grade level to allow them all to vote, but things do change. We are also exploring STEM curriculum at this time, so we may do a little less reading. Either way, summer is a great time to get ahead in reading, and these books would be a great addition to your summer reading list.
Star of the North Reveal Party
Ballet Cat: The Totally Secret Secret written and illustrated by Bob Shea: Ballet Cat and Sparkles the Pony are trying to decide what to play today. Nothing that Sparkles suggests--making crafts, playing checkers, and selling lemonade--goes well with the leaping, spinning, and twirling that Ballet Cat likes to do. When Sparkles's leaps, spins, and twirls seem halfhearted, Ballet Cat asks him what's wrong. Sparkles doesn't want to say. He has a secret that Ballet Cat won't want to hear. What Sparkles doesn't know is that Ballet Cat has a secret of her own, a totally secret secret. Once their secrets are shared, will their friendship end, or be stronger than ever?
The Bear Ate Your Sandwich written and illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach: This is the delicious tale of a bear, lost in the city, who happens upon an unattended sandwich in the park. The bear’s journey from forest to city and back home again is full of happy accidents, funny encounters, and sensory delights. The story is so engrossing, it’s not until the very end that we begin to suspect this is a TALL tale.
Emmanuel's Dream: The True Story of Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah by Laurie Ann Thompson, Sean Qualls ill.: Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah's inspiring true story—which was turned into a film, Emmanuel's Gift, narrated by Oprah Winfrey—is nothing short of remarkable.
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.
In a Village by the Sea by Van Muon, April Chu ill.: Written in a spare, lyrical style using fresh, evocative imagery, In a Village by the Sea tells the story of longing for the comforts of home. A perfect book for teaching about diverse cultures and lifestyles through rich pictures and words, moving from the wide world to the snugness of home and back out again.
Night Animals written and illustrated by Gianna Marino: First Possum hears it. Then Skunk. Then Wolf comes running.
“What could it possibly be?” asks Bat.
“Night Animals!” the animals declare.
“But you are night animals,” Bat informs this not-so-smart crew.
Children will love the oh-so-funny animals in this twist on a cozy bedtime book.
Red: A Crayon's Story written and illustrated by Michael Hall: Red has a bright red label, but he is, in fact, blue. His teacher tries to help him be red (let's draw strawberries!), his mother tries to help him be red by sending him out on a playdate with a yellow classmate (go draw a nice orange!), and the scissors try to help him be red by snipping his label so that he has room to breathe. But Red is miserable. He just can't be red, no matter how hard he tries! Finally, a brand-new friend offers a brand-new perspective, and Red discovers what readers have known all along. He's blue! This funny, heartwarming, colorful picture book about finding the courage to be true to your inner self can be read on multiple levels, and it offers something for everyone!
Rhoda's Rock Hunt by Molly Beth Griffin, Jennifer A. Bell ill.: Rhoda is on a long, long hike with her aunt and uncle, each of them carrying backpacks of gear as they walk through the north woods. While Auntie June and Uncle Jonah watch for wildlife and set up their campsites, Rhoda is on the hunt for one thing: ROCKS.
She finds them in all shapes and patterns, from hearts and hats to stripes and sparkles. And every last treasure goes into her pack, making it heavier and heavier as they hike through forests and along streams. Soon Rhoda is sweaty, and tired of salami sandwiches, and wishing for her own bed. Then, on the last day, they come to the Big Lake. And its beach is covered in rocks. Rhoda can’t believe her luck.
After hours of play and even more rock discoveries, it’s time to head for home. By now Rhoda’s pack is too heavy to lift. Will she give up her rocks and return to the cabin for a real shower, a hot meal, and a soft bed? Or will she stay on the beach forever with her beloved collection? Her clever solution makes the most of her treasures—and offers delights for other hikers.
Sidewalk Flowers by JonArno Lawson, Sydney Smith ill.: In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. "Written" by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an ode to the importance of small things, small people, and small gestures.
Water is Water by Miranda Paul, Jason Chin ill.: Drip. Sip. Pour me a cup. Water is water unless...it heats up.
Whirl. Swirl. Watch it curl by. Steam is steam unless...it cools high.
This spare, poetic picture book follows a group of kids as they move through all the different phases of the water cycle. From rain to fog to snow to mist, talented author Miranda Paul and the always remarkable Jason Chin (Redwoods, Coral Reefs, Island, Gravity) combine to create a beautiful and informative journey in this innovative nonfiction picture book that will leave you thirsty for more.