Beautiful, colorful, and lots of fun! Harold Finds A Voice, by Courtney Dicmas, is my Penworthy Pick because it's PERFECT for story time. Harold is a city parrot, who has never ventured outside of his small Parisian apartment. He spends his days perfecting his imitations of the symphony of his apartment. From blenders to toilets, and washing machines to vacuums, Harold can perfectly recreate all the apartment sounds. One day, Harold grows the courage to explore the outside world and is thrilled to learn the new sounds of the city. Most importantly, with a loud SQUAWK, Harold finds his own voice! Kids will love to stretch their vocal cords practicing the sounds in the book along with Harold!
By Kasey Creevy, Penworthy Representative
Movie tie-ins are a great way to motivate kids to read. When they see and enjoy a movie, they’re drawn to these titles. Books offer more detail, so can be the icing on the cake after seeing a movie. Penworthy's collection of movie tie-in titles are in a variety of formats (low leveled reader, picture book, Look & Find, chapter book) and are based on current popular blockbuster films. Kids will be seeing these films in theaters over the winter break, so get them now while interest is high!
In my twelve years as a Penworthy Representative, I've consistently been asked, "Do you have any good transitional chapter books?" I've always been lucky enough to answer "Yes," but this month it's a resounding "YES!" Having read the chapter book series Dory Fantasmagory, I found myself amazed by author Abby Hanlon's creativity, writing and dry humor, which caused me to laugh out loud again and again. Dory is the youngest of three children and desperately wants to be included by her older siblings. They, on the other hand, find Dory to be exhausting and ignore her, always calling her Rascal (with good reason). Dory can ask questions a mile a minute, and tears around the house on a daily basis looking for monsters (her favorite monster being her imaginary sidekick Mary). In an effort to contain Dory's shenanigans, her siblings invent an imaginary evil witch, Mrs. Gobble Gracker, who loves to terrorize little girls who "act like babies". Instead of becoming terrified by Mrs. Gobble Gracker, Dory is fascinated with her new nemesis and demands every detail. Dory and monster sidekick Mary then embark on an adventure to defeat Mrs. Gobble Gracker. This clever story is well paced, the writing is pitch-perfect and Hanlon's hilarious pencil sketch illustrations will captivate kids and parents alike. I hope everyone picks up Dory Fantasmagory, as it's a wonderful adventure!
By Katie Ratajczyk, Penworthy Representative
The practice of using graphic novels as a teaching tool has grown substantially in recent years; it’s a relatively new format, but educators across the country are finding that they’re a great way to supplement curricula and are a powerful motivator for students to learn. The combination of concise text and exciting illustrations captivates students across all reading levels, especially struggling and reluctant readers. For these students, graphic novels offer a bridge to literature by building reading skills and boosting confidence.
As the demand for graphic novels has grown, we’ve built a collection of titles at Grade 2 through Grade 4+ levels. Many are from best-selling authors and have been highly reviewed by trusted sources such as School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. It can be difficult to find graphic novels with age-appropriate content, so our selections reflect this need with fun, age-appropriate, and relatable titles.
A few helpful resources on teaching with graphic novels:
- Using Comics and Graphic Novels in the Classroom (National Council of Teachers of English)
- A Guide to Using Graphic Novels With Children and Teens (Scholastic)
- Librarian & Educator Tools from the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
- How to Teach Graphic Novels – Zophia Niemtus
- Comics in Education – Gene Yang
Penworthy works with schools and libraries across the country to provide Penworthy Prebound Books, library bound books, board books, and puppets.