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    The Name Jar: A Book Review

    The Name Jar by Yangsook Choi
    namejar

    Summary:  Unhei (pronounced Yoon-Hey) is leaving all that she knows in Korea to move to the United States.  Before she leaves, her grandmother gives her a red satin pouch with her name engraved on a stamp written in Korean.  When Unhei comes to the United States she is very anxious about starting school.  Her first interaction with the other children on the bus isn’t a good one as none of them can pronounce her name.  They start making fun of her name which makes Unhei feel terrible.

    When Unhei arrives in her classroom she decides that she wants to give herself an American name.  So she tells everyone in the class she hasn’t picked a name yet so the class starts a name jar.  The jar is filled with American names that the other children in the class have suggested.  She reads many of the names, but can’t decide which name to choose.

    During this time, a young boy, Joey, befriends Unhei and helps her to appreciate her name.  In the end, Unhei finally decides that she likes her name (which means grace) best of all and teaches the class about her name and how to pronounce it.  Joey truly shows great friendship throughout the story by accepting Unhei’s name and wanting a Korean name and stamp for himself.

    Reflection: I really enjoyed this book and the kids did too.  I could relate to little Unhei especially since growing up my first name was almost always butchered on the first day of school by the teachers and students when trying to pronounce it.  I don’t recall anyone ever making fun of my name, they just couldn’t say it until they got used to it.

    I think this is a beautifully poignant story that all children can relate to.  I found Unhei’s strength and courage at the end of this story to be very inspirational.  In addition, Yangsook Choi’s illustrations are colorful, soft, and illuminate the story.

    I believe this book will help children understand how Unhei felt and could even teach them about self love and acceptance of others.  This book also introduces topics like having respect for other cultures and friendship.  Overall, I think The Name Jar is a delightful story for preschoolers and young elementary students.  Definitely a great read aloud book to read to children during the first few days/weeks of school.

    Your turn:  Have you ever read this book to your little ones?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    book reviews, read aloud

    Last Stop on Market Street: A Book Review

    Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Pena

    market

    We received a free copy of this book back in February of this year.  I remember hearing about it from an interview on NPR radio so I was excited when there was a book reading taking place in my area.  Free copies of the book were given to all attendees so that’s how we snagged our copy of this awesome book.

    Even though we received this book months ago, it wasn’t until recently that I really started reading it aloud to the kids.  Now it’s in our rotation of books we read often.  I truly love this book as it reminds me of a lot of my childhood and my Nana.

    Every Sunday, CJ and his grandmother (Nana) ride the bus together, but CJ wishes they had a car instead. That is, until Nana points out why riding the bus is so much better.

    As he and his Nana take the bus across town, observant little CJ is full of questions and more than a little wishful thinking asking: “Nana, how come we don’t got a car?” Nana gently chides him, really just planting seeds for how she sees the world. “Boy, what do we need a car for? We got a bus that breathes fire and old Mr. Dennis, who always has a trick for you.”

    You see, it’s really how you look at the world, the magic you can see there, and the people you meet along the way. When CJ asks why a blind man on the bus can’t see, Nana tells him, “Boy, what do you know about seeing? Some people watch the world with their ears.”

    Rather than telling CJ about what community means, his Nana shows him that he’s a part of it. After an event-filled bus ride, they arrive at their destination, the soup kitchen. “I’m glad we came,” CJ says looking at the familiar faces in the window of the soup kitchen where they both volunteer every Sunday.

    I adore the fact that CJ’s Nana helps him see beauty in his surroundings, whether it’s on the bus or the soup kitchen they head to every Sunday afternoon. As Nana said, “Sometimes when you’re surrounded by dirt, C.J., you’re a better witness for what’s beautiful.”

    In my opinion, this picture book has it all.  Wonderful descriptive writing, beautiful, rich illustrations and it’s full of abundant, child-centered details.  I love it when picture books can capture a small moment–and help us hold onto the small moments in our own lives.

    This book makes me smile and think of my Nana every single time I read it–it’s so filled with love, friendship and an appreciation for life, in such a real way.  Many ideas are touched upon in this book: poverty, music, manners, volunteering, helping, caring, family and gratefulness.

    I love the overall message of this book: being grateful for what you have.  Little CJ is so lucky to have a grandmother who teaches him to see things from a different perspective.  If only all children could be so fortunate to have someone like CJ’s Nana in their lives.

    Want to learn more? Check out the original NPR radio interview I listened to:

    NPR Interview with Matt de la Peña and Christian Robinson

    Your turn:  Have you read this book to your little ones before?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    currently reading, read aloud

    What the Kids are Reading (in July 2015)

    Here’s a roundup of the books I’ll be reading aloud to the kids this month.  We’re exploring everything from colors to animals and bugs to chocolate!  What’s on your reading stack?

    Dog’s Colorful Day by Emma Dodd

    dog_colors
    Dog starts off the day with one black spot on his left ear. But it seems that wherever he goes, he runs, rolls, and trots right into colors. As he wanders around town, Dog collects spots made of red jam, blue paint, pink ice cream, and more. When he finally arrives back home, Dog has ten different colored spots. And then it’s bath time for this colorful canine, who makes learning colors and numbers easy, messy, and fun!

    You Are My Baby: Ocean by Lorena Siminovich

    ocean
    This board book is adorable!  It’s part of a series written by the author Lorena Siminovich.

    Readers will find a little book nestled inside a bigger one: Turn the pages to match the baby animals to their parents, and learn some early concepts along the way.

    You Are My Baby: Safari by Lorena Siminovich

      safari
    This book is from the same series of board books as the one mentioned above except it’s all about safari animals. So cute!

    The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
    doorbell
    Each ring of the doorbell brings more friends to share the delicious cookies Ma has made. This terrific and suspenseful read-aloud picture book about friendship, sharing, and cookies can also be used to introduce basic math concepts to young children.

    Bug detective : amazing facts, myths, and quirks of nature by Maggie Li
    detective
    This book is so fun and interesting! The kids have really taken an interest in nature and bugs this summer so this book is perfect for helping them to learn more about bugs. From creepy-crawly beetles and scary spiders to beautiful butterflies, this playful guide will reach out and grab bug-crazy kids! Funny, picture-packed pages provide tons of information on bug habitat, feeding rituals, predators, and more, while each spread focuses on one creature-like bees or centipedes—with a brief introduction and facts scattered brightly everywhere. Plus, the book comes with a magnifying glass embedded in the cover, so budding “detectives” can complete the “missions” they’ll find throughout, along with additional activities in the back.

    The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling

    chocolate
    This book came highly recommended so we’re reading it. In a laugh-out-loud hilarious twist on the legend of King Midas, a boy acquires a magical gift that turns everything his lips touch into chocolate. Can you ever have too much of your favorite food? John Midas is about to find out….

    First published in 1952, The Chocolate Touch was an instant classic—and has remained a timeless favorite with kids, teachers, and parents.

    Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page
    egg
    Hatching a plan for survival isn’t always easy in the wild. And how animals lay, protect, and even use each other’s eggs as a food source help reveal the life cycle of the natural world. Eggs come in all shapes and sizes. The ostrich’s is the largest, but some are so small, you need a microscope to spot them. Animals hide them and disguise them in smart and surprising ways, too. Some abandon their eggs, while others protect them fiercely and carry them wherever they go. There are as many kinds of eggs as there are animals that depend on them, because in the animal kingdom, the fight for survival begins with the simple, but extraordinary, egg.

    Where Does Kitty Go in the Rain? by Harriet Ziefert
    kitty
    A lilting kitty mystery combines with rain-centered facts to create an utterly charming fiction/nonfiction picture book. As kids are invited on the search for Kitty, they’ll also discover what different animals do to enjoy, or avoid, a rainy day. Harriet Ziefert’s rhyming couplets pair beautifully with Brigette Barrager’s lush art to make a combination that is sure to please young readers and adults alike.

    What makes a duck waterproof? Where do butterflies hang out to stay dry? What serves as a built-in umbrella for a squirrel? Created especially for younger readers, here’s a unique title that’s part mystery, part science, and all curiosity-inspiring fun!

    Alphabet Adventure by Audrey Wood
    adventure
    I love finding great alphabet books to read!  After working hard all summer with their teacher, “Capital T,” the lower case letters of the alphabet are on their way to the first day of school. But they’re held up when the letter i loses her dot. The letters come up with a plan, and race around to find a substitute for Little i to wear s offers a star, h a heart but at the last moment the mischievous dot returns (anxious about being replaced).

    One Too Many: A Seek & Find Counting Book by Gianna Marino
    many
    In this boisterous barnyard, the fun grows with each turn of the page. One bouncing flea is joined by two cows, then three horses, and so on, all the way up to twelve swooping bats. Children will delight in following the shimmering path of the flea, counting each bounce along the way to find the new arrival. Older readers can take the challenge further, counting all the animals on the page, or hunting for their favorite. And a surprise ending reveals which animal is just one too many!

    Time to Eat by Steve Jenkins

    eat
    It’s time to eat! Which animals eat bamboo, can gulp down a whole deer, or swallow rocks to help them eat?

    Frindle by Andrew Clements
    frindle
    I recently started a ‘Summer Stories’ story time for kids that live in my neighborhood. We read books outside two nights a week for half an hour and then have a brief discussion afterwards. The kids are really enjoying it! I let the older kids alternate who reads the books and then we all listen while eating our snacks. This is one of the longer chapter books we’ll be reading aloud during our ‘Summer Stories’ story time this month.

    Is Nick Allen a troublemaker? He really just likes to liven things up at school — and he’s always had plenty of great ideas. When Nick learns some interesting information about how words are created, suddenly he’s got the inspiration for his best plan ever…the frindle. Who says a pen has to be called a pen? Why not call it a frindle? Things begin innocently enough as Nick gets his friends to use the new word. Then other people in town start saying frindle. Soon the school is in an uproar, and Nick has become a local hero. His teacher wants Nick to put an end to all this nonsense, but the funny thing is frindle doesn’t belong to Nick anymore. The new word is spreading across the country, and there’s nothing Nick can do to stop it.

    Your turn:  What are your kids reading this month?  Have you read any of these books?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    children's literacy, reading tips

    Literacy Expert Spotlight: Kathleen Odean

    Starting this month, I will be featuring a literacy expert on the blog each month!  Exciting, right?  This is one of the “secrets” I’ve been working on behind the scenes in an effort to keep bringing you fresh content and new literacy ideas.

    For now, these posts will only last through the end of this year.  If they prove to be popular and if I’m able to feature more people I’ll keep it going.

    This month’s literacy expert is Kathleen Odean, an expert on children’s and adults books.   Kathleen has spent the last thirty years steeped in books for young people as a librarian, workshop presenter, reviewer, university instructor, and author of four guides to children’s books. All her work is aimed at helping young people connect with books that will enrich their lives and add to their happiness.

    odean_kathleen

    Q: Kathleen, please tell us a little about yourself.
    A: I spent seventeen years as a children’s librarian in public and school libraries. Now I give workshops to educators on new books for young people and do a lot of reviewing. My mission is to connect kids and teens with good books, whether I’m doing it directly or through their teachers and parents. I’ve written four guides to children’s books, published by Random House: Great Books for Girls, Great Books for Boys, Great Books About Things Kids Love, and Great Books for Babies and Toddlers. I also had the wonderful privilege of chairing the 2002 Newbery Award Committee.

    Q: Do you have any literacy rituals that you practice in your family?
    A: Growing up, I was lucky enough to have a mother who read to me and took us five kids to the library a lot. My husband reads to me now when we have time, mostly nonfiction. He and I have been in a nonfiction book group with other adults for about 7 years, which is sheer pleasure.

    Q: If you could give parents one piece of advice about reading with children, what would it be?
    A: Make it fun. You don’t have to teach your children to read, because that’s what schools do. You need to give them positive associations with reading, which means having a good time together around reading and choosing books you both enjoy. Let them see you read for pleasure, too—that makes a big difference.

    Q: What were some of the favorite children’s board, picture, or chapter books you’ve read or come across this year?
    A: A picture book I like a lot is A Poem in Your Pocket by Margaret McNamara with pictures by G. Brian Karas. I love Jerry Pinkney’s new version of The Grasshopper and the Ants. I’m a big fan of Mo Willems’ Elephant and Piggie books, the latest of which is I Will Take a Nap! All three are 2015 publications.

    Q: What are some of your must-have children’s books for a home library?
    A: Two categories come to mind.  One is your children’s favorite books that they will want to re-read and cherish. Another is poetry anthologies like The Random House Book of Poetry for Children selected by Jack Prelutsky, with pictures by Arnold Lobel. A love of poetry is a gift parents can give to their children, and having anthologies at home is a large part of that.

    Q: Hardcover or e-book (when reading a book on your own)?
    A: Actually, paperback is my favorite but I use e-books when I’m traveling.

    Q: Fiction, non-fiction or some other genre (when reading a book on your own)?
    A: Everything. I love fiction including literary fiction and mysteries, narrative non-fiction, and poetry.

    Name an adult book that:

    a) Inspired you: I am Malala by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McCormick (a young adult memoir)
    b) Made you laugh out loud: Anything by Terry Pratchett.
    c) You recommend to others often: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot.

    Q: What books are on your nightstand or e-reader right now?
    A:
    I give workshops to educators on new young adult books, so I’m busy reading the newest ones.

    Q: How can people get in touch with you on social media or on your website?
    I blog about YA (Young Adult) nonfiction at greatcommoncorenonfiction.com. I can also be reached through my website, kathleenodean.com.

    Check out Kathleen’s Books!

    Great Books for Girls
    Great Books for Boys
    Great Books for Babies and Toddlers
    Great Books about Things Kids Love

    Your Turn:  Did you enjoy this post?  Are you interested in being featured?  Do you know someone who might want to be featured?  Feel free to let me know in the comments or send me an e-mail.

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    children's literacy, holiday books, read aloud

    Five Children’s Books to Read for the 4th of July

    The Fourth of July is a day to reflect on the history of our country, and to celebrate the things that make it unique. It is also a time in which many of us celebrate with our family and friends, have cookouts, watch parades, and end the day with fireworks bursting in the sky.

    I hope you’ll take a moment to read a book about the holiday with your children in spite of the racial tensions going on in the world today.  We still have so much to be thankful for and celebrate.

    There are so many good books available that explore the history of our great country and many are geared to children.  Below are a few to choose from.  Happy 4th!

    ABC USA by Martin Jarrie
    Apple Pie Fourth of July by Janet S. Wong
    Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems by Paul B. Janeczko and Melissa Sweet
    Your turn:  What’s on your reading stack for the 4th of July holiday weekend?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.
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    children's literacy, sight words

    Fun With Sight Words: Water Balloons & Word Walls

    I love discovering new and simple sight word activities to try out with the kids!  Once a month I present a short list of words to both of my kids, specifically my daughter since she’s older.

    Since I started doing this some time last year there are many words my daughter can recognize instantly and effortlessly.  I believe that by automatically recognizing these words it has helped her develop into a fast reader. Repeated exposure to sight words is key so I come up with different ways to expose the kids to the same words over and over until they stick.

    Recently, I created a simple “word wall” using post it notes which turned out a be a big hit with my daughter.  I often catch her reading her words when she wakes up in the morning or when preparing for bedtime.

    Since it’s summertime, I wanted a sight word activity we could do outside that involved water.  Then I came across a simple activity with water balloons.  I thought how hard can this be – Fill balloons with water- Write words on balloons – Throw at each other.  Viola!  Instant fun and learning at the same time.

    Before throwing each balloon we sing a song that reinforces the spelling of the word and then bombs away!  Such a fun activity on a hot day!

    Your Turn:  What are your favorite sight word activities to do with your little ones?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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    adult books, children's literacy

    Upcoming Book Releases for Children and Adults

    There are lots of promising new book releases coming out in the next few months for both children and adults.  I’ve rounded up some books to get excited about that you may want to pre-order or put on hold at your local library.  Read on.

    upcoming book releases

    July 2015
    I’m Trying to Love Spiders by Bethany Barton (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 7, 2015

    I’m Trying to Love Spiders will help you see these amazing arachnids in a whole new light, from their awesomely excessive eight eyes, to the seventy-five pounds of bugs a spider can eat in a single year! And you’re sure to feel better knowing you have a better chance of being struck by lightning than being fatally bit by a spider. Comforting, right? No? Either way, there’s heaps more information in here to help you forget your fears . . . or at least laugh a lot!

    Dad’s First Day by Mike Wohnoutka (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 7, 2015

    All summer Oliver and his dad played together, laughed together, sang together, and read together.  Now it’s time for Oliver to start school!  On the first day, Oliver’s dad isn’t quite ready. . . . Suddenly he feels nervous. His tummy hurts, and he would rather stay home.

    But Oliver isn’t convinced. What if the first day is really fun? What if it’s the start of an exciting year?

    In this charming story of first-day jitters, acclaimed author and illustrator Mike Wohnoutka perfectly captures the mixed emotions felt by kids and their parents when big changes are afoot.

    The Black Star of Kingston by S.D. Smith (Children’s/Adult Book)
    Release Date: July 13, 2015

    Whitson Mariner and Fleck Blackstar face old fears and new enemies, forging a legend that will echo through the ages.  Old wars haunt. New enemies threaten. An oath is born.  A hero rises.

    Granddaddy’s Turn by Michael S. Bandy (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 14, 2015

    Based on the true story of one family’s struggle for voting rights in the civil rights–era South, this moving tale shines an emotional spotlight on a dark facet of U.S. history.

    Life on the farm with Granddaddy is full of hard work, but despite all the chores, Granddaddy always makes time for play, especially fishing trips. Even when there isn’t a bite to catch, he reminds young Michael that it takes patience to get what’s coming to you. One morning, when Granddaddy heads into town in his fancy suit, Michael knows that something very special must be happening?—?and sure enough, everyone is lined up at the town hall! For the very first time, Granddaddy is allowed to vote, and he couldn’t be more proud.

    Wait by Antoinette Portis (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 14, 2015

    As a boy and his mother move quickly through the city, they’re drawn to different things. The boy sees a dog, a butterfly, and a hungry duck while his mother rushes them toward the departing train. It’s push and pull, but in the end, they both find something to stop for.

    Lillian’s Right to Vote: A Celebration of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 by Jonah Winter (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 14, 2015

    An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

    As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery.

    Steve Jobs: Insanely Great by Jessie Hartland (Adult Book)
    Release Date: July 21, 2015

    This fast-paced and entertaining biography in graphic format is a perfect complement to more text-heavy books on Steve Jobs like Walter Isaacson’s biography. Presenting the story of the ultimate American entrepreneur, who brought us Apple Computer, Pixar, Macs, iPods, iPhones and more, this unique and stylish book is sure to appeal to the legions of readers who live and breathe the techno-centric world Jobs created.

    Jobs’s remarkable life reads like a history of the personal technology industry. He started Apple Computer in his parents’ garage and eventually became the tastemaker of a generation, creating products we can’t live without. Through it all, he was an overbearing and demanding perfectionist, both impossible and inspiring.

    8: An Animal Alphabet by Elisha Cooper (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 28, 2015

    Explore the animal world, from aardvark to zebu!

    Discover hundreds of animals, great and small. Lion and lizard, whale and wombat. Learn one wild fact about each animal. (Did you know that gorillas yawn when they are nervous?) Look carefully, because for each letter of the alphabet, one animal is pictured eight times. Why 8? Come inside and find out.

    What Pet Should I Get? by Dr. Seuss (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: July 28, 2015

    This never-ever-before-seen picture book by Dr. Seuss about making up one’s mind is the literary equivalent of buried treasure! What happens when a brother and sister visit a pet store to pick a pet? Naturally, they can’t choose just one! The tale captures a classic childhood moment—choosing a pet—and uses it to illuminate a life lesson: that it is hard to make up your mind, but sometimes you just have to do it!

    Told in Dr. Seuss’s signature rhyming style, this is a must-have for Seuss fans and book collectors.

    August 2015
    Get Out of My Bath! by Nosy Crow, Britta Teckentrup (Illustrator) (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: August 4, 2015

    Ellie the elephant loves to have fun in the bath, but she’s not the only one. Her fun is interrupted when a crocodile decides to join her, followed by a flamingo, then a mouse and even a tiger! Poor Ellie’s bath is ruined. What can she do? She sucks all the water into her trunk, of course! Then she waits until all the uninvited animals have left before squirting it back. Finally she can enjoy her bath in peace!

    The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt (Author), Oliver Jeffers (Illustrator) (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: August 18, 2015

    The companion to the #1 blockbuster bestseller, The Day the Crayons Quit!

    From Maroon Crayon, who was lost beneath the sofa cushions and then broken in two after Dad sat on him; to poor Turquoise, whose head is now stuck to one of Duncan’s stinky socks after they both ended up in the dryer together; to Pea Green, who knows darn well that no kid likes peas and who ran away—each and every crayon has a woeful tale to tell and a plea to be brought home to the crayon box.

    The Wonderful Things Will Be by Emily Martin (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: August 25, 2015

    From brave and bold to creative and clever, the rhythmic rhyme expresses all the loving things that parents think of when they look at their children. With beautiful, and sometimes humorous, illustrations, this is a book grown-ups will love reading over and over to kids—both young and old. A great gift for any occasion, but a special stand-out for baby showers, birthdays, and graduation. The Wonderful Things You Will Be has a loving and truthful message that will endure for lifetimes.

    Rising Strong by Brene Brown (Adult Book)
    Release Date: August 25, 2015

    Our stories of struggle can be big ones, like the loss of a job or the end of a relationship, or smaller ones, like a conflict with a friend or colleague. Regardless of magnitude or circumstance, the rising strong process is the same: We reckon with our emotions and get curious about what we’re feeling; we rumble with our stories until we get to a place of truth; and we live this process, every day, until it becomes a practice and creates nothing short of a revolution in our lives. Rising strong after a fall is how we cultivate wholeheartedness. It’s the process, Brown writes, that teaches us the most about who we are.

    September 2015
    The Girl in the Spider’s Web by David Lagercrantz (Adult Book)
    Release Date: September 1, 2015

    This fall, Lisbeth Salander and Mikael Blomkvist return in the highly anticipated follow-up to Stieg Larsson’s THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST

    In this adrenaline-charged thriller, genius-hacker Lisbeth Salander and journalist Mikael Blomkvist face a dangerous new threat and must again join forces.

    Late one night, Blomkvist receives a phone call from a trusted source claiming to have information vital to the United States. The source has been in contact with a young female super hacker–a hacker resembling someone Blomkvist knows all too well. The implications are staggering.

    The Bear and the Piano by David Litchfield (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: September 1, 2015

    One day, a young bear stumbles upon something he has never seen before in the forest. As time passes, he teaches himself how to play the strange instrument, and eventually the beautiful sounds are heard by a father and son who are picnicking in the woods. The bear goes with them on an incredible journey to New York, where his piano playing makes him a huge star. He has fame, fortune and all the music in the world, but he misses the friends and family he has left behind. A moving tale of exploration and belonging from an exciting debut author-illustrator.

    October 2015

    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: The Illustrated Edition by J.K. Rowling (Children’s Book)
    Release Date:  October 6, 2015

    For the first time, J. K. Rowling’s beloved Harry Potter books will be presented in lavishly illustrated full-color editions. Kate Greenaway-award winning artist Jim Kay has created over 100 stunning illustrations, making this deluxe format a perfect gift as much for a child being introduced to the series, as for the dedicated fan.

    November 2015

    Diary of a Wimpy Kid Old School by Jeff Kinney (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: November 3, 2015

    Life was better in the old days. Or was it?

    That’s the question Greg Heffley is asking as his town voluntarily unplugs and goes electronics-free. But modern life has its conveniences, and Greg isn’t cut out for an old-fashioned world.

    With tension building inside and outside the Heffley home, will Greg find a way to survive? Or is going “old school” just too hard for a kid like Greg?

    January 2016

    Two Friends: Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass by Dean Robbins (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: January 5, 2016

    Two friends, Susan B. Anthony and Frederick Douglass, get together for tea and conversation. They recount their similar stories fighting to win rights for women and African Americans. The premise of this particular exchange between the two is based on a statue in their hometown of Rochester, New York, which shows the two friends having tea.

    Is there anything more splendid than a baby’s skin? For families of all stripes comes a sweet celebration of what makes us unique—and what holds us together.

    Just savor these bouquets of babies—cocoa-brown, cinnamon, peaches and cream. As they grow, their clever skin does too, enjoying hugs and tickles, protecting them inside and out, and making them one of a kind. Fran Manushkin’s rollicking text and Lauren Tobia’s delicious illustrations paint a breezy and irresistible picture of the human family—and how wonderful it is to be just who you are.

    A Birthday Cake for George Washington by Ramin Ganeshram (Children’s Book)
    Release Date: January 5, 2016 (Update: 1/18/2016 – Scholastic has pulled this book from publication.)

    Everyone is buzzing about the president’s birthday! Especially George Washington’s servants, who scurry around the kitchen preparing to make this the best celebration ever. Oh, how George Washington loves his cake! And, oh, how he depends on Hercules, his head chef, to make it for him. Hercules, a slave, takes great pride in baking the president’s cake. But this year there is one problem–they are out of sugar.

    Your turn:  Which books from this list are you most looking forward to?  Did I miss any upcoming books?  Feel free to let me know in the comments.

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