Rodney’s Bookstore: Books are just the beginning

I visited Rodney’s Bookstore, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, last week. Went with a good friend of mine, Aja Jackson, founder of MindUTeach. Whenever I venture to Rodney’s, I never leave empty-handed. They specialize in used books, and their prices are very reasonable. Here’s what I picked up:

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Bed Crumbs: Sweet Dreams and Nightmares by John Kruth. Jackalope Press. 1986.

So Bed Crumbs: Sweet Dreams and Nightmares, by John Kruth, is chalk full of witty and wonderful poems. I saw this book sitting by the register. I opened it up and turned to this poem, that sold me on the purchase:

Lucifer’s Puberty

I’m not sure why

I’m beginning to sprout horns

and unknown alphabets

appear from my pen

~~~

Mama used to call me

her “little angel”

now I put tabasco

on everything”

– Kruth pg. 9

Bed Crumbs by John Kruth

Published by Jackalope Press 1986

I recommend this book for: 7th grade and up.

Retail Paperback: $6.00 Rodney’s: $2.82

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Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan. Lee & Low Books, Inc. 1995

Personally, I’ve never seen a picture book about the United States’ holiday, Juneteenth. The fact that the book is published by one of my most favorite and trusted publishers, Lee & Low, made it an immediate purchase even more so. Out of all the captivating illustrations that artist, Yvonne Buchanan gives us, the illustration below stood out to me the most. Look how fun the kitchen can be! This book should be a staple in all elementary classrooms, in the United States.

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“Cassandra raced into the kitchen, then stopped in her tracks. Dishes lined the countertop. From the looks of the place, her parents had big plans.” – Weatherford. ~ Illustration by Yvonne Buchanan in Juneteenth Jamboree

Juneteenth Jamboree by Carole Boston Weatherford. Illustrated by Yvonne Buchanan.

Lee & Low Books, Inc. 1995.

I recommend this for: All ages.

Retail Paperback: $7.95. Rodney’s: $2.82

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Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse by Walter Dean Myers. Harper Collins 1993.

Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse, by Walter Dean Myers, stole my heart. This collection, of pictures and verse, is a celebration of youth, in times past, in African-American communities. It highlights the joys and beauties, reminding us that not everything was a hardship, in the black communities of the United States. This book scaffolds a sense of thriving and fulfillment; and can contribute to young children’s sense of resiliency. If I still had a Kindergarten classroom, I would keep this book in the Dramatic Play/Housekeeping center. I keep books in all my centers. Here are some excerpts from the book:

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Excerpt from Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers

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Excerpt from Brown Angels by Walter Dean Myers

Brown Angels: An Album of Pictures and Verse by Walter Dean Myers

HarperCollins. 1993.

I recommend this book for: All ages.

Retail Hardcover: ? Rodney’s: $6.00 

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Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song – an autobiography. Photographs by Bill McGuinness. Illustrations by Ashley Bryan. Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing 2009.

This book can be used in any age classroom. It is dynamic. I picture high school art classes critiquing Bryan’s many medium’s used in his art. I picture elementary school classrooms engaged in it’s storyline and vibrant images, learning to appreciate art & history. Ashley Bryan is a celebrated artist and picture book illustrator, a three-time Coretta Scott King award winner. He was raised in the Bronx, New York. His parents were from Antigua, British West Indies.

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Excerpt from Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song

Excerpt from Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life's Song. Illustration of Langston Hughes by Ashley Bryan

Excerpt from Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song. Illustration of Langston Hughes by Ashley Bryan

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“I set the sea-glass pieces on tinfoil and connected the pieces with pulp. When the maché dried, I peeled the tinfoil away and the maché held the pieces together. When held to the light, the pieces glowed like stained glass.” – Ashley Bryan.

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“During the Depression, children often made their own toys. They made soap-box wagons with old carriage wheels, scooters with boards and skates. And so did I.”

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“The Ashanti tribe have a saying they use to end their AFrican tales, which is just right for me to close mine with: This is my story. Whether it be bitter or whether it be sweet, take some of it elsewhere and let the rest come back to me.”- Ashley Bryan

Ashley Bryan: Words to my Life’s Song. An autobiography.

Photographs by Bill McGuinness. Illustrations by Ashley Bryan.

Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing. 2009.

I recommend this for: All ages.

Retail Hardcover: $18.99. Rodney’s: $6.00

If you use any of the above mentioned books in your classroom, or with your children, please comment below.

Thanks for reading,

The Picture Book Pusher.

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BHM Children’s Read Alouds: Day 5: A Celebration of Black Dolls

February 5 – Sitting Pretty: A Celebration of Black Dolls by Dinah Johnson. Photographs by Myles C. Pinkney.

Genre: History. Poetry.

Historical Time Period: 1800’s. 1900’s. 2000’s.

Geographical Relevance: Global.

Authenticity: The author Dinah Washington is professor of English and Children’s Literature at the University of South Carolina. Many of the dolls that she writes poetry about in Sitting Pretty, are dolls that she, or loved ones, owned. At the back of the book, the Author’s Notes include much provenance about individual dolls.

Sitting Pretty. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 2000

Sitting Pretty. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 2000

From Dinah Johnson's Sitting Pretty. Photographs of dolls by Myles C. Pinkney.

From Dinah Johnson’s Sitting Pretty. Photographs of dolls by Myles C. Pinkney.

Author Dinah Johnson

Author Dinah Johnson

Photography Myles Pinkney

Photography Myles Pinkney

I recommend this book for all ages. It’s a gem.

Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

‘Tis the Season with Lucille Clifton and Patricia Polacco

Recommended holiday reads:

1. Everett Anderon’s Christmas Coming by Lucille Clifton. Illustrated by Jan Spivey Gilchrist. Published by Henry Holt and Co. 1993. An owlet book. We read this book in the classroom, this past Friday before vacation.

ImageNow, this book is out of print, and selling for a small fortune on the Amazon market. I bought it for about $3.00, including shipping, this summer….because I KNEW the price would sky rocket, because that’s what’s been happening of late with invaluable picture books..(that’s what I’ve been trying to tell ya’ll). Anyways, if you nag the sellers on Amazon, the price should drop.

For example, back in February of 2012, I bought bell hooks’ out of print picture book, Skin Again, for $6.00 off of Amazon.Then, this past summer, I had a house flood, and the precious book was nearly destroyed. When I searched Amazon, and elsewhere online, for a replacement, the prices ranged from $65.00-$900. Hmmph. The sums of those hefty prices were not being pocketed by Ms. hooks, I can assure you that. Just another case of literature gentrification. I see it often in the #kidlit world. Anyhoo, I nagged every single dealer of Skin Again on Amazon, and stated that I wouldn’t pay more than $19.00 for it. All dealers refused to lower the price claiming they go by rankings blah dee blah. I began following the sales of it online. I also removed my praising blog posts of bell hooks’ picture books, in order to depopularize the book, as I had been the only blogger of hooks’ works for children, in the last year. The price finally dropped to the teens in November, and I bought a used copy for $18.00, from one of the sellers who originally listed it for $65.00.

So, I don’t recommend paying outlandish prices for necessary children’s literature. If the money was going into the hands of people in the community, then fine. I’d pay the small fortune. But it’s not, so I won’t. I just wait for sales to go down. GIVE US BACK OUR LITERATURE, I say.

ImageI prefer the vintage illustrations, by Evaline Ness, in the original 1971 publication of Clifton’s Everett Anderson’s Christmas Coming.  Take an inside look below:Image

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2. Three Wishes by Lucille Clifton. Illustrations by Michael Hays, Delacorte, 1992. It’s a New Year’s tale about friendship, loyalty, and faith. I plan to read this story in the classroom, on January 3rd, when the students return.

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The original Three Wishes was illustrated by Stephanie Douglas, published by Viking (New York, NY) 1976.

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4. The Trees of the Dancing Goats by Patricia Polacco

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5. Christmas Tapestry by Patricia Polacco

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I realize that I didn’t get into much, or any, description of what these beloved holiday stories entail. However, if you appreciate the authors I’ve chosen, and are moved by the illustrations, and can google a summary of the books, then I say that you’re in good shape to go discover more about these books on your own.

Happy 2014, everyone! Love greatly and read fervently.

– The Picture Book Pusher

K2 Read Alouds: Week 10: Eboné Tales

Week of November 18-22.

Monday

We had a field trip to the Boston Nature Center & Wildlife Sanctuary on Monday. One of our activities was to paint a mural on recycled paper, using bits of nature  to paint our strokes rather than bristled brushes. There was a book on a bench. So I read it to the children while they created our mural. The book was The Color Box by Dayle Ann Dodds. Illustrated by Giles Laroche.

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Tuesday

Eboné tale, The Girl Who Spun Gold by Virginia Hamilton. Illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon. The children asked if we could act out this story sometime. So I’ll have to fit it into the curriculum at some point, to appease the budding actors.

The Girl Who Spun Gold By Virginia Hamilton

The Girl Who Spun Gold
By Virginia Hamilton

Illustration by Leo & Diane Dillon for Virginia Hamilton's The Girl Who Spun Gold

Illustration by Leo & Diane Dillon for Virginia Hamilton’s The Girl Who Spun Gold

Wednesday

The Science teacher read the students a story, but I don’t know which one. Though, I’m sure it was awesome because our Science teacher is pretty awesome.

 Thursday and Friday

Eboné tale, Hewitt Anderson’s Great Big Life by Jerdine Nolen. Illustrated by Kadir Nelson.

We’ve begun creating miniature furniture for Hewitt, in the classroom. The kids have begun learning to sew as well. Thus far, the protagonist, Hewitt, has three hand-sewn pillows to rest his petite head on beds of plastic crate pieces and feathers. Photos to come.

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In the Listening Center

I picked up Nikki Giovanni’s Hip Hop Speaks to Children book & CD, for a steal at Rodney’s Used Bookstore in Cambridge.

hiphopcoverThanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

K2 Read Alouds: Week 6: Confrontation & Conflict Resolution

School week of: October 14 – October 18.

I introduce the concept of ‘Confrontation’ to Kindergarteners, lovingly and mindfully, with intention to: embrace truth, construct discourse, and build resiliency – in that order. The overall goal is to educate and empower my students.

(This is a late post. It’s been sitting in ‘Drafts’, due to minor edits being needed that I did not edit until now.)

Monday:

Nationally recognized holiday. No school. Ironically public libraries are closed this day also. No schools. No libraries. What does this American custom say about our values exactly?

Tuesday

I was going to read Encounter by Jane Yolen. Illustrated by David Shannon.

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Well-established children’s author, Jane Yolen, wrote outside her usual genres with the making of Encounter. It is meant to be historical fiction. It is meant to be told from the view point of a young Taino boy who is from the Taino tribe who were the first to suffer an encounter with spaniard, Christopher Columbus. When I first read this story, a couple years back, I fell in love with it. I actually recommended it in an earlier blog post, from a year ago.

However, as I’ve matured as an educator and picture book connoisseur, I’ve been inclined to doubt the book’s authenticity. My own inclinations turned out to be true – the book is not as authentic as it portrays to be.

I was puzzled that the author seemed to have absolutely no connection to the people whom she wrote about in Encounter. So I did what I do with all children’s books that are written about native peoples by non-native people – I researched their research. Usually, in the first few pages of a book, an author will include their resources, and tribal affiliated validators. I affirmed my suspicions thrice. Once, via this online article. Second, from author Jane Yolen’s actual bio regarding her reasons for writing Encounter; her reasons didn’t impress me. Then, there is this quite controversial youtube clip of it, in which the maker of the Youtube book trailer, states that the Taino people are extinct. Which is not true. All the comments are filled with people asking her to not ad-lib Jane Yolen’s words by stating that the Taino people are extinct. However, she keeps it up for the advertising benefit, which she states in one of the comments. I’m not adding the link here. That same video is actually recommended on author Jane Yolen’s website. Yeah, so no. I’m not reading it to my students. I’ll figure out another way to educate my students from a native perspective. I discovered a great blog, American Indians in Children’s Literature, by University of Illinois professor of American Indian Studies, Debbie Reese. She even wrote a post that discredits Yolen’s Encounter, as an inaccurate account of the Taino.

Instead, I read Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks. This classic is chalk full of teachable moments relating to conflict resolution.

Fox in Socks By Dr. Seuss

Fox in Socks
By Dr. Seuss

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From Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks

From Dr. Seuss' Fox in Socks

From Dr. Seuss’ Fox in Socks

Wednesday and Thursday

Abiyoyo by Pete Seeger. Illustrated by Michael Hays.

Abiyoyo  By Pete Seeger Illustrated by Michael Hays. Currently published by Aladdin.

Abiyoyo
By Pete Seeger
Illustrated by Michael Hays. Currently published by Aladdin.

Vocabulary: ‘ostracized’.   Class discussion: ‘How to believe in yourself and your community even when they don’t believe in you.’

Abiyoyo was also available in the Listening Center for students to enjoy on CD.

Friday

Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman. Illustrated by Caroline Binch.

Amazing Grace By Mary Hoffman Illustrated by Caroline Binch

Amazing Grace
By Mary Hoffman
Illustrated by Caroline Binch.
Published by Dial. 1991

"You can't be Peter - that's a boys name." But Grace kept her hand up. "You can't be Peter Pan,"  whispered Natalie. "He isn't black." But Grace kept her hand up.

“You can’t be Peter – that’s a boys name.” But Grace kept her hand up. “You can’t be Peter Pan,” whispered Natalie.
“He isn’t black.” But Grace kept her hand up.

I do have to ad lib here and there, in Amazing Grace, in order for it to be as loving and mindful a book as my students need it to be. Yet, there are many many children’s books that I ad lib, so this book is not unlike most in it’s need for adliberature. Usually, my ad libbing is centered around adjectives. There’s just never enough adjectives, or the right adjectives, in a story.

Thank you for reading The Picture Book Pusher.

K2 Read Alouds: Week 8: Lesser-Known Halloween Reads

Week of October 28 – November 1, 2013.

So this is what I plan on reading this week:

Monday:

Behind the Mask by Yangsook Choi

“Halloween is coming. “What are you going to be?” the children ask one another. Kimin says he will be his grandfather. “Going as an old man is not very scary,” they tease.  What the children don’t know is that Kimin’s grandfather was a Korean mask dancer.” – Choi

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Tuesday

Jenny Reen and the Jack Muh Lantern by Irene Smalls. Illustrated by Keinyo White

Once upon a time,…there was a time of great tears…In this hardest of hard times there was still joy because there were children, children with round cheeks and round curls. Such a child was Jenny Reen. – Smalls

Jenny Reen and the Jack Muh Lantern 1996 Published for Atheneum Books for Young Readers New York

Jenny Reen and the Jack Muh Lantern
1996
Published for Atheneum Books for Young Readers
New York

Wednesday

Picnic at Mudsock Meadow by Patricia Polacco

This was a Halloween that would go down in the annals of Mudsock Meadow. Not only had William shown uncommon bravery, but he had stopped, once and for all, the talk about Quicksand Bottoms. – Polacco

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Thursday

The Widow’s Broom by Chris Van Allsburg.

Out of a moonlit sky a dark cloaked figure came spinning to the ground. The witch, along with her tired broom, landed beside a small white farmhouse, the home of a lonely widow named Minna Shaw. – Van Allsburg

What I like about this story is, EVERYTHING, but more specifically, I like that the “dark cloaked figure”d witch is a good, and beautiful character. A symbol of admiration rather than fear.images-9

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Friday

The Loud Book by Deborah Underwood. Illustrated by Renata Liwska.

I will read The Loud Book out of respect to the students’ anticipated sugar highs.

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Thanks for reading The Picture Book Pusher

K2 Read Alouds: Week 4: Community

Skipped week 3. I was doing things.

My district has a new K2 curriculum. I’m cool with it. It’s not all encompassing, and pretty much all of it is practices that I’ve been doing in my classroom already. So I’m responding to implementing much of it a lot better than I’ve responded to any previous curriculums that I’ve been told to use.  The first 6-week unit is, ‘Community’, beginning with the sub-theme, “friendship”. They recommend quite a few picture books, on friendship. I use different books on “friendship” other than the recommended list, but a few of them I will use. I will note if the read aloud choice was a suggestion from my district’s new K2 curriculum. If you see a lot of titles with the word ‘Friends’ in my weekly read aloud posts, you now know why.

Here’s what we read last week:

Monday

Everett Anderson’s Friend by Lucille Clifton. Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi.

Everett Anderson's Friend By Lucille Clifton Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1976

Everett Anderson’s Friend
By Lucille Clifton
Illustrated by Ann Grifalconi
Published by Holt, Rinehart and Winston. 1976
OUT OF PRINT

Tuesday

True Friends by John Kilaka

True Friends By John Kilaka Published by Groundwood Books. 2006

True Friends
By John Kilaka
Published by Groundwood Books. 2006

Wednesday

Fresh Fish by John Kilaka

Fresh Fish By John Kilaka Published by Groundwood Books. 2005

Fresh Fish
By John Kilaka
Published by Groundwood Books. 2005

Thursday

The Book of Mean People By Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison. Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

The Book of Mean People By Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre. Published by Disney-Hyperion. 2002

The Book of Mean People
By Toni Morrison & Slade Morrison
Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre.
Published by Disney-Hyperion. 2002
OUT OF PRINT

Friday

Da Goodie Monsta by Robert Peters

Da Goodie Monsta By Robert Peters Published by Wiggles Press. 2009

Da Goodie Monsta
By Robert Peters
Published by Wiggles Press. 2009

What The Teacher (me) is Reading, This Week:

Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope By bell hooks Published by Routledge. 2003

Teaching Community: A Pedagogy of Hope
By bell hooks
Published by Routledge. 2003

 

Thank you for reading The Picture Book Pusher