PreK Bits - "A" is for Amphibians (aka Frogs+)

Who let the frogs out ?
Ms. Rachel let the frogs out for storytime!

We learned WHY The FROG HAS BIG EYES by Betsy Franco
Ms Sara and her banjo played with our children's choir to sing and count “Five Green Speckled Frogs” ...who were eating most delicious bugs … "YUMM!".
We also sang an all-action song "She'll Be Coming 'Round The Mountain". You can hear Jewel's version on the CD The MERRY GOES ROUND.
We found who upset the ONE DOG CANOE by Mary Casanova

For more amphibious antics try the following frog tales:
FROG And FLY: six slurpy stories by Jeff Mack
THAT”S MINE! by Michel van Zeveren
A FROG IN The BOG by Karma Wilson
TUESDAY by David Wiesner. Frogs rise on their lily pads, float through the air, and explore the nearby houses while their inhabitants sleep. The 1992 Caldecott winner.
CROAKY POKEY You can read this book and then DO this book all together.
999 TADPOLES and 999 FROGS WAKE UP Ken Mimura. These will tune-up your counting fingers well.

Odyssey Award 2015 Winner- H.O.R.S.E.: A game of basketball and imagination by Christopher Myers

This year the winner of the ALA and YALSA's Odyssey Award is H.O.R.S.E.: A game of basketball and imaginationby Christopher Myers. H.O.R.S.E. is a story about two young children playing a game pick-up basketball and trying to outdo each other with absurd and imaginative plays.

The award is given to audiobooks that have great production values and this book is no exception with sound effects for hoop swishes and even horse whinnies!

If you are interested in the honors audiobooks for this years Odyssey Award check out this list.

Rad American Women A-Z

Wow! I want to shout about this book from the rooftops! Rad American Women A-Z, written by Kate Schatz, and illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl, is the best introduction to women’s history in America I’ve ever seen!

Written in the form of an alphabet book, the 25 women in this book (X is for the women we don’t yet know) are an impressive group. Clear thought has been given to diversity of accomplishments, race, time period, and more. My favorite thing about this book is that the women represented in the pages are ones that children may not have heard of- Dolores Huerta, Kate Bornstein, Temple Grandin, Hazel Scott, Wilma Mankiller, and Yuri Kochiyama, just to name a few! Although this book is written for children, the gorgeous art and smart summaries makes this a winner for all ages.

Rad American Women A-Z picked up quite a bit of buzz prior to publication- check out articles about it from The Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, and more. You can also look at the images made available for download from the publisher.

Now go check out this book!

New Short Stories by the Author of Shotgun Lovesongs

Nickolas Butler, author of the bestselling novel Shotgun Lovesongs, which was published in early 2014, has just written a new book, this time comprised of short stories. Readers loved Shotgun Lovesongs for its stunning portrayal of a place (rural Wisconsin) and the people who live there (four lifelong friends who have reunited for a wedding). In this new book, Beneath the Bonfire, Butler again shows his talents at depicting “a place and its people with such love that you’ll find yourself falling for them, too.” Butler again sets his pieces throughout the rural Midwest, and as a native of rural Wisconsin himself, you can tell that he truly knows these places and their residents.

In one story in Beneath the Bonfire, a group of men spend the weekend hunting for mushrooms in the wilderness where they grew up… and which some still cannot seem to escape. In another, a woman helps a second woman get revenge against a man who had committed crimes not only against her, but against their entire community. The opening story tells of a young couple attending a “chainsaw party” to cut down trees for wood for the upcoming winter. Totaling 10 stories in all, Beneath the Bonfire is a beautiful and surprising collection with, as the book jacket reads, “a landscape that will be instantly recognizable to anyone who has traveled the back roads and blue highways of America.”

Gorgeous New Youth Non-Fiction

If you’re looking for new books with beautiful and interesting images, look no further than our Youth Non-Fiction section!

First up are the companion books Amazing Animals: A Collection of Creatures Great and Small, and Beautiful Beasts: A Collection of Creatures Past and Present. These books are light on text but littered with gorgeous drawings of all kinds of animals, from the cute to the gruesome. The animals are organized by color, but also by more unusual ways, such as speed, tails and even ear size! With some of the most lovely illustrations I’ve ever seen, these books are sure to please everyone.

If the above books leave you wanting more information about animals, check out Information Graphics’ Animal Kingdom. With bright colors, tabs dividing sections, and quick, interesting animal facts, this book wonderfully compliments Amazing Animals and Beautiful Beasts.

Finally, Matthew Burgess’ new biography of E.E. Cummings, Enormous Smallness, will delight even readers who are unfamiliar with the poet. With text that swoops all over the pages, and beautiful illustrations by the always fantastic Kris Di Giacomo, this book captures E.E. Cummings’ unique style. A chronology, selected poems, and author’s note complete this book, providing extra information to curious readers.

Classic Literature for the Littlest Listeners

The Babylit board book series by author/illustrator team Jennifer Adams and Alison Oliver introduce concepts like counting, colors, and opposites using adorable designs and eye-catching colors. Adams' simple text and Oliver's sleek and clever designs are a perfect combination. These are books parents will enjoy as much as their little ones, and there are plenty of little details to point out and talk about with your child - counting creatures, naming characters, finding objects, make Babylit books a great interactive reading experience.

The Cozy Classics series by brothers Jack and Holman Wang combines single word storytelling with photographs of elaborately felted object to convey classics like "Les Miserables" or "War and Peace." These wholesome and painstakingly detailed photographs add magic to this very simple retellings.

Check out this list for titles from both series, and start laying the foundation for the future literature lover in your life!

IAW 2015 Get to Know the Judges: Rachel DeWoskin

Leading up to the It's All Write Teen Short Story Contest celebration on June 7 (mark that on your calendar!), we'll be posting information about the judges who have the difficult task of narrowing down our contestants. Our next judge is Rachel DeWoskin.

Originally hailing from right here in Ann Arbor (!), DeWoskin is an author, poet, and teacher of fiction and memoir at the University of Chicago. She divides her time between Chicago and Beijing, where she once starred in a Chinese soap opera called “Foreign Babes in Beijing.” Her memoir of the same name was released in 2005.

In addition to her memoir and numerous essays and articles published by a variety of magazines, DeWoskin has published three novels. Her first two—REPEAT AFTER ME (2009) and BIG GIRL SMALL (2011) [set in Ann Arbor, and known for its crossover appeal with teens]--are adult novels, but her most recent book, BLIND (2014) is a foray into young adult. In BLIND, a terrible accident leaves fifteen-year-old Emma Silver without eyesight. She works hard to adapt to her new life, but just as she’s beginning to recover her friendships and resume high school, a classmate is found dead of apparent suicide. Emma must navigate not just her own recovery process but that of her community in the wake of these tragedies.

Fabulous Fiction Firsts #530 - “You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore.” ~ William Faulkner

The Swimmer * marks the debut of Swedish Joakim Zander, an espionage thriller that draws enthusiastic comparison with John Le Carré, Graham Greene and vintage Robert Ludlum, in which a deep-cover CIA agent races across Europe to save the daughter he never knew.

Klara Walldeen, an EU Parliament aide in Brussels, is quickly learning how to navigate the treacherous currents of international politics and dangerous desires. Warned by a series of anonymous emails, Swedish academic Mahmoud Shammosh suspects that it is related to his probing research into The Privatization of War (think Blackwater). George Loow, an ethically challenged lobbyist is increasingly uneasy with the requests of his shadowy client. Meanwhile, in Virginia, an old spy (a one-time UM swimmer and an Olympic hopeful) hides from his past while haunted by what happened in Damascus three decades ago.

Their stories converge one stormy Christmas Eve in the Swedish archipelago, when Klara is hunted down for something she should not have seen, and the old spy is the only one who can save her.

"Skillfully moving between the past and the present, from Sweden to Syria to Washington and back again, Zander weaves an increasingly tight web of intrigue and suspense... Beyond the blood-pumping chase sequences and requisite shootouts, there is real humanity here. A compulsively readable page-turner with unexpected heart."

Girl Underwater *, a debut novel by Claire Kells demonstrates that survival is not just physical, but also mental and emotional.

The plane that carries Avery Delacorte, a competitive college swimmer home to Boston for Thanksgiving break crashes in a mountain lake in the Colorado Rockies. She survives along with teammate Colin Shea and three little boys. Faced with sub-zero temperatures, injuries and the dangers of the wilderness, Avery and Colin must rely on each other in ways they never could have imagined.

Her beleaguered recovery comes after their rescue. Avery must come to terms with the trauma in order to reconnect with the world around her. She must dig deep to reclaim her love of swimming and to recognize her heart's true desire.

Claire Kells, (M.D. The University of California) currently in residency in the Bay Area, lends realism to the story with her technical knowledge, and with "a spare, sure hand". "(M)emorable and eminently readable."

* = starred review

Atlas of Adventures: A Collection of Natural Wonders, Exciting Experiences and Fun Festivities from the Four Corners of the Globe

Atlas of Adventures is an exciting new book that invites children to learn a little more about the world around us. The book consists of a collection of intricately illustrated maps (including world, continental and regional varieties). There are labeled map pages for each of the continents, as well as several unique landmark pages within each continent. Each of these specialized regional pages showcase different notable activities and landmarks-- for example, the Europe pages take a look at the Louvre, the Moscow Metro, and a Venetian gondola ride (among many others). With Atlas of Adventures, you can explore the Amazon rainforest, dog sled with huskies in Alaka, go on a canoe safari down the Zambezi River, or set the world aglow at Hong Kong's Lantern Festival. Additionally, there is also a "Where's Waldo" inspired game throughout the book's pages, adding an extra level of fun and whimsy to this amazing collection. This highly recommended book is a great way to inspire a love of geography and travel in children of all ages.

Reading aloud for all ages

Many parents know that reading to young children is beneficial. It is a warm bonding time that promotes literacy and language development.

But what about older children... especially children that can read for themselves?
There are benefits for older elementary and middle schoolers as well. A child's listening level does not catch up to her/his reading level till almost high school. For example reading a book that is above reading level will promote learning new vocabulary as well as more complex grammar and con. Besides the intellectual benefits there are the social benefits of experiencing a story together, the physical closeness, and the opportunity to discuss issues that occur in stories and books as a family.

For great tips (and some read aloud passages) check out Jim Trelease's The Read-aloud Handbook.

Here are some lists to help you create a habit of reading aloud in your family:
Folklore and Fairy Tale Read Alouds
Read Aloud Books for Links
Read-Alouds for the Big Kids
Great Chapter Books to Read Aloud
Read Alouds for Middle School

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