The start of a new school year is just around the corner. As I started looking through my plans for the first couple of weeks, I decided that I wanted to freshen up the books I read at the beginning of the year. I had a Barnes and Noble gift card burning a hole in my pocket, and it was time to use it. After a lot of browsing, I found three great books that I’d like to share with you today.
Neck & Neck, by Elise Parsley, is the story of a giraffe named Leopold who is very used to getting plenty of attention at the zoo. That is, until one day when a boy brings a giraffe balloon and argues why the balloon is better than the live giraffe. Jealousy gets the best of him, and the giraffe pops the little boy’s balloon. However, the boy returns with a whole bunch of giraffe balloons, clearly getting on the giraffe’s last nerve. The boy eventually looses control of the balloons, and the giraffe has to make a decision. It’s a tough choice, as you can see from the picture below.
This is such a great book to read at the beginning of the year when focusing on kindness, decision making and/or dealing with feelings like jealousy. I’m planning on having students do several turn and talks, especially about empathizing with the giraffe and giving him some advice when he has to make the decision.
I can’t say enough good things about Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty. This is the story of young girl who was bursting with questions. She wants to know how and why everything works the way it does. Although her curiosity exhausts her parents and teacher at times, it’s highly encouraged. I just love how her questions keep growing and getting deeper as Ada gets older. Ada’s never-ending perseverance to find answers to her questions is sure to be an inspiration for students to ask questions and foster their own curiosity.
This is the perfect book to read during our first science class. I especially love how the main character is female, busting the (hopefully shrinking) stereotypes about the talents that boys and girls “should” possess. Asking questions is such an important skill in any subject and in life. Any book that encourages this in such an entertaining way definitely becomes an instant favorite to me!
Perfectly Norman, by Tom Percival, is a great story about having the courage to be yourself. Norman is a very “normal” boy until the day he grew a pair of wings. Norman instantly loved his wings, flying all over the place. Shortly after growing his wings, however, Norman realized how different he was. He became worried about what other people might think. To solve this problem, Norman decided to cover his wings with his coat, which made him miserable. I love how Norman eventually realized that he was responsible for feeling miserable, not the wings.
This book could lead some great discussions about finding and sharing your talents or aspects that make you unique. This will be one of the first books I read at the beginning of the year because it is the perfect lead in to get students talking about sharing their talents, and accepting others even though their talents and interests may be completely different.
What books are you most excited about right now? I’m always looking for new titles, so please share.