💃 Here we are on Day 5! Time is zipping fast through this holiday season, and I hope you are looking forward to finding more time to relax, rest, and unwind as we reflect on 2021.
💥 If you'd like to earn chances for the giveaway of one of three prizes -- a $25 visa gift card, a $10 Starbucks gift card, or a picture book manuscript critique, leave a comment below and share this post on social media, as well as comment on 2 others, including Day 7. Each comment/share earns you an entry in the raffle. I will announce winners on Dec 28, and you can comment/share posts up until that day. More details about my social media handles are in Day 1's post here.
🙌 Today I'm looking at books that I read that touched on language arts or the arts in some way. I hope you'll find time to enjoy them and request them for your local library. Libraries are always looking for book recommendations from their patrons, and it's a great way to support authors and illustrators!
🎉 Now for a dive into my list. I'll hope you'll be able to add your own favorites, because I am only one person who would love all the books, but that, of course, is impossible.
Ghoul's Guide to Good Grammar
by Leslie Kimmelman, illustrated by Mary Sullivan (Sleeping Bear Press 2021). It's not just a Halloween book! This clever story of common grammar rules and common mistakes is told with familiar creatures/monsters/ghosts, along with puns and a whole lot of smart humor! The great examples of mistakes and correct usage make learning proper grammar fun.
She Sang for the Mountains
by Shannon Hitchcock, illustrated by Sophie Page (Reycraft 2021). This beautiful book about the life of singer, songwriter, and activist Jean Ritchie shows how music blossomed in the heart of a young girl who then grew up to use it to draw attention to things she cared about and wanted to change, such as the pollution caused by coal mining in her homeland of Kentucky. The mixed media used by the illustrator also provide another layer of art exploration for young readers. The beautiful illustrations are made from clay, paper, fabric, wire, and a handful of coal.
The Lost Language
by Claudia Mills (Margaret Ferguson Books 2021). This middle grade novel offers exploration of language in multiple ways. Through the structure of the novel itself, which is told in verse. Through a goal that two friends, Betsy and Lizard, decide to share in the story, which is to save one of many languages in the world that is in danger of going extinct. And through the expression of emotions that are shown by the main characters, each of which handle in them in different ways. I felt this novel was an honest rendering of relationships - that they aren't perfect, that they aren't always easy, that they hold opportunities for growth, and that they are forever changing. Highly recommended for any middle school reader.
If Picasso Painted a Snowman by Amy Newbold, illustrated by Greg Newbold (Tilbury House Publishers 2020). This book is a visual feast designed to inspire the imagination of young readers in the exploration of how snowmen could be made/painted by different artists due to the different influences of their background, region of living, or artistic style. What I love about this book is that readers will be inspired to consider their own environment and interests and create their own version of a snowman, which is certainly empowering, since they'll see that they don't need to be surrounded by a winter wonderland to do it.
Bedtime for Sweet Creatures
by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Elizabeth Zunon (Sourcebooks 2020). Young readers are taken on a bedtime romp as a child is compared to a variety of animals in their antics and actions as they prepare to be tucked in for the night. I love the metaphors that will encourage young readers to discuss how the main character is like a fawn or acting like an owl, etc. I found this story to be a pure delight that lays the foundations for an appreciation of language arts and perhaps theatre.
by Kevin Henkes, illustrated by Laura Dronzek (Greenwillow Books 2020). This story invites readers to consider the many ways that different parts of summer are a song. From the different sounds that are heard, to the different rhythms or speeds of tempo, to even the silences. The extended layer of this book allows for discussion in how the seasons and all their parts add up to making different parts of a piece of music.
An Alphabet Pet Parade In Topsy-Turvy Town, Population 26
by Judith E. Torres, illustrated by Christiane Engel (ASHA Press 2021). Young readers are treated to an auditory and visual feast of opposites and alliteration in this story about a young girl who is excited for the annual pet parade in her town and is determined to use it to help her decide which type of pet to get--a choice which packs a surprise by the end. The backmatter includes a visual glossary of the animals that appear in the book sorted by the letters of the alphabet and may inspire young readers to think outside the box in terms of pet selection for themselves.
by Dori Hillestad Butler, illustrated by Kevan Attebury (Holiday House 2021). Told in letter format, this story of exchanges between a cat and the new dog of the house allows readers to peek at grammar and not-so-proper grammar being used by the main characters. As a teacher, I've heard other educators say that sometimes the best way to teach kids how to write well is to have them critique improper use by others. Given the loads of humor in this book, proof-reading dog's letters and noting his improvement over time should provide tons of fun, both in the classroom or at home.
Please add other favorite books on today's theme in the comments!
Happy restful and reading season, everyone!