Reading Teacher Writes

Sharing a love of literacy with fellow readers and writers

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IMWAYR: Just a Few New Titles

IMWAYR is a weekly blog hop with kid lit co-hosts Jennifer from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers. The original IMWAYR, with an adult literature focus, was started by Sheila at Book Journeys and is now hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date. It’s a great way to share what you’re reading and get recommendations from others. We encourage you to write your own post sharing what you’re reading, link up, leave a comment, and support other IMWAYR bloggers by visiting and commenting on at least three of the other linked blogs each week.

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I read a few new titles over the weekend and today. There are many good picture books coming in 2023! I’m excited to use these with students. Bear is Never Alone by Marc Veerkamp and Jeska Verstegen, translated by Laura Watkinson (Eerdmans Books, 2023), is a look at what happens when one has “had it up to here!” Bear loses his cool after all the forest animals demand more of Bear’s beautiful piano music. It’s Zebra who comes to the rescue, sitting quietly with Bear and reading after Bear’s outburst. The stress subsides as the book ends and makes Bear (and the reader) feel better.

A related title is Snail Trail by Ziggy Hanaor, illustrated by Christos Kourtoglou (Cicada Books, 2023). “Marjorie was a happy snail. She liked playing with her friends and spending time with her family. But occasionally, Marjorie wanted to be on her own.” Marjorie, like Bear in the story above, “loses it” when she gets overwhelmed. It takes her fellow snail friend, Bernard, to teach Marjorie a trick to keep others away.

These are both books I can see using in a classroom – maybe on a stressful or noisy day – and students and teachers can safely talk about feelings and the consequences of letting those feelings get the best of us.

How the Sea Came To Be (And All the Creatures In It) by Jennifer Berne and Amanda Hall (Eerdmans Books, 2023) is a wonderful new title that needs to be in STEM classrooms and school libraries. Written in three parts, this poetic journey through time tells how the “sea came to be – and all the creatures in it.” Jennifer Berne and Amanda Hall use poetry, colorful pictures, surprising page layouts, and bunches of backmatter to encourage children to observe, discover, and research our past and plan for our future. This picture book is gorgeous and interesting — readers will fall in love with the ocean and all the organisms in it. Teachers will love the glimpse at the eons and captioned notes about animals most of us have never heard of before. There are pages of key terms and concepts that dig deeper, yet are accessible to students. Recommended readings and more fill the end of the book, leading to a lifelong commitment to joyful exploration and care of our earth’s oceans.

Finally, I picked up Jack Wong’s When You Can Swim – a fictional account of a young person learning to swim. The idea came from Mr. Wong’s personal experience and it’s an idea that I found original and fun. Adults will remember back to the days when they learned to swim and will read this one with new “little fish.” The book releases in May (Orchard Books, 2023) and I cannot wait!

It’s Monday! What are YOU reading?