Reaching New Heights in #Kidlit If You Were the Moon by @LauraPSalas

Laura Purdie Salas has long been one of our favorite authors (see previous reviews for Water Can Be… and A Leaf Can Be…) In her newest, If You Were the Moon* illustrated by Jaime Kim, Salas reaches new heights.

(*Amazon Affiliate link)

Combining spare, imaginative text with denser scientific explanations, this book has potential for a multitude of uses. It can be a lovely bedtime book, the basis for a language arts lesson, or a great accompaniment to a lesson on the solar system.

Salas must inspire her illustrators to greatness, because Jaime Kim’s art positively shines.

If You Were the Moon is a must have for budding astronomers and poets everywhere.

See for yourself in this book trailer:

Related Activities:

1. Visit Laurie Purdie Salas’s website for downloadable teaching guides (long and short versions) and other goodies.

2. In the longer teaching guide, the author reveals that If You Were the Moon began as a list poem. Some of the earliest list poems were by Sei Shonogan, a Japanese writer/poet who lived around the year 1000. Here’s an example from The Pillow Book:

Things that Pass by Rapidly

A boat with its sail up.
People’s age.
Spring. Summer. Autumn. Winter.
~ Sei Shonogan

My own example (see more here):

Things my cat George likes:
Rubbing faces when he gets up in the morning
A dropped Cheerio
The top of the cat-scratching post
Chasing ping-pong balls down the stairs
Things I like:
My cat George

Encourage children to try writing a list poem.

3. See our growing list of poetry books about space at Science Books for Kids.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Publisher: Millbrook Press (March 1, 2017)
ISBN-10: 146778009X
ISBN-13: 978-1467780094

Time to Celebrate #PoemInYourPocketDay

What poem is your pocket today?

Mine is

Allowables

by Nikki Giovanni

I killed a spider
Not a murderous brown recluse
Nor even a black widow
And if the truth were told this
Was only a small
Sort of papery spider
Who should have run
When I picked up the book
But she didn’t
And she scared me
And I smashed her

I don’t think
I’m allowed

To kill something

Because I am

Frightened

#Kidlit for #PoetryMonth: Feel the Beat

This week we have another new picture book for National Poetry Month, Feel the Beat: Dance Poems that Zing from Salsa to Swing by Marilyn Singer and illustrated by Kristi Valiant.

You can tell from the title right off the bat this is going to be a fun and upbeat book.Who doesn’t like to dance? But Feel the Beat is also full of surprises.

First of all, we expect poems to have a distinct rhythm. Prolific author Marilyn Singer takes things a “step” further and incorporates the unique rhythm of each dance she is highlighting into the poem about it. Wow!

For example, for the salsa:

“Our teacher says, “First…
Feel the beat
in your feet
in your heart
Then you start.

Even better, the copy I found at the library has a CD in the back with the poems read by Singer set to appropriate music for each dance. What a treasure!

The illustrations are fabulous. They are so energetic that they bounce off the page. Each captures the flavor of the dance it portrays without being too busy or visually overwhelming.

Do you want to use the book to teach about different cultures? There are historical and cultural notes about each dance in the back matter.

You’ll want to pick up Feel The Beat for Poetry Month and then enjoy it throughout the year.

Related Activity:

Listen to the CD. Have children choose a dance style and write their own poem to the beat.

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Dial Books; Rei/Com edition (March 7, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0803740212
ISBN-13: 978-0803740211

Disclosure: This book was supplied by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.

#kidlit Biography of Pete Seeger: Stand Up and Sing

“Pete Seeger was born with music in his bones”

That powerful statement encapsulates Susanna Reich’s new picture biography, Stand Up and Sing!: Pete Seeger, Folk Music, and the Path to Justice, illustrated by Adam Gustavson.


Why read about Pete Seeger? First of all, he was a popular musician. Many people have heard — or even sung — Pete Seeger’s folk songs.  In addition, he was a social activist interested in making a difference. For example, Seeger joined Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. during the protest marches in Alabama. It was a time when simply performing on the same stage with African American singer Paul Robeson made him the target of violence. By taking chances, however, he helped make changes.

In addition to standing up, Seeger could be creative with his efforts to bring about change. When he became upset about how polluted the Hudson River had become, rather than staging protests or writing letters, he decided to build a boat and take people out to see the damage first hand. The boat, named the Clearwater, is still sailing on the Hudson River and it is “clear” the water is cleaner these days because of Seeger’s endeavors.

(The Clearwater sailing up the Hudson River photographed by Anthony Pepitone licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license at Wikimedia.)

It is also “clear” author Susanna Reich is passionate about her subject. She explains her feelings of personal connection in the “Author’s Note” in the back matter. Among other ties, she lives in the Hudson Valley and attended many of Seeger’s concerts. Although she’s a big fan, when she started writing this book she probably had no idea how important and timely it would be.

Adam Gustavson’s illustrations shine a further light on Pete Seeger’s life. The main illustrations are digitally-enhanced paintings of gouache, watercolor, and/or oils. Accompanying the more formal illustrations are simpler line drawings that strengthen the down-to-earth tone.

All in all, Stand Up and Sing! is a rousing tribute to a popular folk singer. It is sure to appeal to young musicians and history buffs, alike. Time to sing its praises.

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Bloomsbury (March 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 0802738125
ISBN-13: 978-0802738127

Suggestions for Related Activities:

1. Listen to some music by Pete Seeger.

2. Visit Sloop Clearwater website, especially  the Teacher Resources for a number of lesson plan and activity ideas (organized by grade and theme).

3. Pair this nonfiction biography with the delightful fiction picture book written by Pete Seeger, Abiyoyo (illustrated by Michael Hays). It is based on a South African folktale. Don’t skip the introduction because Seeger writes how he first told the story to his kids. He also has advice on how to develop and tell stories of your own.

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers; Rei/Com edition (October 1, 2001)
ISBN-10: 0689846932
ISBN-13: 978-0689846939

See our previous review of another biography by Susanna Reich, Minette’s Feast: The Delicious Story of Julia Child and Her Cat.

Disclosure: These books were supplied by my local library. Also, I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at no extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.

nonfictionmonday

Looking for more children’s nonfiction books? Try the Nonfiction Monday blog.