Interactive learning quests, book reviews, lesson plans, teacher tools and technology tips for teachers.
Written by Karin Kaufman
A delightful chapter book consisting of ten stories that revolve around a fearless family of mice facing the dangers and challenges of winter. Geraldine is the protagonist who was born in April, but now in October is facing the end of the gathering season. She and her brother Nigel have much to learn and experience. Readers are introduced to their friends in the forest, Penelope, the sparrow and Cheddar, a white rabbit. The children love to hear their father Nigel read to them stories from the Book of Tales. These adventures teach them about common sense, trust, gratitude, empathy and sharing. As October wanes, the family and friends celebrate Thanksgiving and the joys of Christmas. On the other hand, the children’s curiosity put them in danger of being eaten by wolves and ravens, swept down the river on a log and being destroyed by a forest fire. Charlotte is a sensitive and inquisitive mouse who desires to read, write and explore the world around her. She and her brother share sibling rivalry, but at the same time deeply love and care for one another. Their parents teach them to have faith that Very, Very Big Hands will be there to guide and protect them.
This chapter book is geared toward readers in grades three to six. Some younger children may enjoy individual stories as a read aloud. There are no illustrations; a few simple drawings would add appeal to younger children. I would thoroughly recommend the book as a gentle, sweet read for children who love animals. The many lessons learned and bravery in facing adversity allow for lots of discussion on the topics of developing strong character and interpersonal skills.
Written by Belle Ward
First book in a middle grade short story series. Lilah is about to celebrate her thirteenth birthday. Her father surprises her with her favorite breakfast of pancakes and bacon. As she departs for school with her older brother, Jay, Lilah looks forward to her first class in which she is studying about Ancient Greece. Mr. Fisher is discussing the Olympians. For some reason, Lilah can’t stop thinking about the lesson.
When Lilah gets home she is surprised by the gift of an angel-winged necklace from her dad. But when she prepares for bed, strange things begin to happen. The necklace heats up, her rainbow colored extensions suddenly become attached to her head, and she experiences a strange dream. The next day, Lilah is invited to join a special dream club. She is astonished to learn that the other members are Apollo and Hades. They think she is the goddess who will help them find the Father of the Monsters. A sudden crash, and all must run for their lives…..Will Lilah cast her fate with these strangers? Will she wake up from this nightmare?
This short story is a good length for reluctant readers. The characters are believable and interesting enough. What some readers may not like is that the tale ends in a cliffhanger. Readers will be left disappointed unless they immediately get a hold of Book Two.
Barbara Ann Mojica
Written and illustrated by Mike Artell
I was provided a copy of this book and voluntarily decided to give my honest, unbiased review.
Artell has written and illustrated more than 35 books for children and adults. This book is much more than an I Can Draw book. It does include step by step instructions for drawing helicopters, prop planes and jets, which are easy to follow and simple enough for the targeted audience of seven to twelve year old plane enthusiasts.
For me even more important is the explanation of letter codes that the military use to describe the function of each machine. For example, A indicates attack fighter and M signifies that the aircraft has multiple functions. Each aircraft is preceded by an actual photograph along with statistics about size, speed, altitude and function. These are followed by several pages of step by step easy to follow drawing instructions. Perhaps the best feature is the QR code available as an app for each plane. Readers can use it to access videos of actual flight and tons of additional information on each of the fifteen selections. At the end of the book, the author supplies an extensive bibliography which the military aircraft aficionado may access for detailed information.
I learned a lot about military aircraft from this easy read. Even though my artistic ability is generally limited to stick figures, this guide is so easy that I am tempted to make a serious try to draw them. Recommended for ages seven and older.
Barbara Ann Mojica,
An interesting picture book for elementary school children and all those who are interested in unusual animals. African wild dogs are related to canines and wolves. Unlike domesticated dogs they have four claws instead of five. Like wolves they live in packs. They are carnivores and their hunting habits require a rather large habitat area of 1,500 square kilometers. African wild dogs are sometimes called painted dogs because they are covered with patches of red, black, white, yellow, and brown patches. Today their habitat has been largely reduced to South Africa due to rabies, vehicle accidents and the rapid encroachment of farmers upon their territory.
Terry discusses how these creatures communicate and the rituals they perform before the hunt. She explains how the pack is dominated by an alpha male and female, but stresses the fact that all members of the pack understand their roles and are protected and maintained by the rest of the family. The inside photographs are excellent; they capture the spirit and character of the animal. The print is large and easy to read for the younger reader, and the text well-written for the most part. Nice book to put on a classroom reference shelf for those interested in animals or dogs in particular. The author has written other nonfiction books about many other animals living in the past and present. Available in kindle and print format.
Barbara Ann Mojica,
We all know them, perhaps you’ve seen them in your classroom —those students who rarely settle into reading a book. In fact, they would seemingly do anything but read. Are your students intimidated by longer books? They want to read the longer diary type books like Diary of A Wimpy Kid and Dork Diaries, that are so popular, but they never seem to finish them. Too many pages and too many words intimidate them. Even if the book looks interesting, they will shy away from a thick novel.
It’s not your fault. As their teacher, you’ve tried everything. You’ve provided extra support, extra time—a lot of extra time. Still, they seem unengaged and uninterested. If only you could hook them into a good reading series. A series that can capture and captivate. A series that introduces a main character with which they can identify, laugh, and adore.
Wait no longer. Lollipop Lisa has arrived! Lisa is the sassy new character that will give your students a new reason to read! Furthermore, Lisa’s short, hilarious, diary accounts of the zany events in her life will have your kids laughing while they learn and learn while they’re laughing!
As an author, and a teacher I’m so excited to finally bring Lisa to life for readers aged 6 – 10 years old. Having taught for over twenty years, I’ve seen plenty of disengaged kids over the years. That’s why I wrote this book series specifically for those hard to engage readers. These stories have all the elements that I know will move and motivate the kids to want to read more. This is a new brand of nonfiction! The Lollipop Lisa series promises to entertain as much as it informs.
What are teachers saying about it?
Where can you get it? Spider Quest, the first in the series, is available at the introductory price of 99¢ at :
To celebrate the new release of Spider Quest, I’ve also got some special giveaways for my readers and teachers. These “Secret Journals” are with comprehension questions, fun activities, mazes, word searches, art activities and secret journal entry pages. You can find out all about them and grab your FREE copy here:
It is my goal, with this book series, to help you turn your reluctant readers into voracious readers! Giving our students A NEW REASON TO READ is the ultimate satisfaction as reading is the gateway to their learning. What greater gift can we give them? Let’s make learning with literature the best experience ever!
Questions? Shoot me an email at: email@example.com
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