I'm New Here by Anne Sibley O'Brien.
This books is an insight of how difficult it can be to transition to a new country and to do it in elementary school. Kids have to work hard to understand language and customs. New alphabets in some cases, reading and writing are huge challenges. Making new friends can be also be a challenge with all of these other barriers. This book is written simply and shows the transition of adjustment. It is a necessity for kids to be exposed to this kind of story and it helps for them to be empathetic.
By Lauri Streeck, Penworthy Sales Representative
The Daphne, Secret Vlogger series is a great chapter book series for today's pre-teen girl. The main character Annabelle is a shy, insecure preteen girl who lives through her alter ego 'Daphne' who films a YouTube Vlog (video blog) Daphne Definitely Doesn't. Annabelle is a military brat and has just moved from Germany with her parents to New Jersey, then finds out her mom is going to be deployed to Afghanistan. So before her mother goes, her parents think that she needs to see a therapist to help her cope with all the changes. Her alter ego Daphne (who wears a pink wig on YouTube) says all the things Annabelle wishes she could. Her therapist challenges her to try new things, which is the theme of each book : Dances, Drama, Fashion, and Sports. It's a very modern take a girl's life today: deployed military parents, asking for help with therapy and vlogging.
By Katie Ratajczyk, Penworthy Sales Representative
In the Red Canoe by Leslie A. Davidson
Ducks and frogs, swallows and dragonflies, beaver lodges and lily pads―a multitude of nature's best captures the attention of the child narrator in this beautifully illustrated picture book. In the Red Canoe celebrates the bond between grandparent and grandchild and invites nature lovers of all ages along for the ride.
By Dawn Marowsky, Penworthy Sales Representative
The King of Bees by Lester L. Laminack
'What's all the buzz about? Educate and fascinate patrons of all ages with this beautifully descriptive tale from down south on the life and necessity of bees. We journey with young Henry to his Aunt Lilla's farm in the low-country of South Carolina. Time and summer pass slow and beautifully as Aunt Lilla patiently teaches Henry the art and magic of caring for bees. Henry loves helping with chores of the farm but especially loves watching his aunt work with her beehives and awaits the time he is old enough to help out. As Henry watches his Aunt, he is fascinated by her ability to 'bee speak' as she tends them and harvests their honey. Gentle, rolling, lyrical narrative by Lester L. Laminack and soft, inviting illustrations from Jim LaMarche engages us in learning all about bees and how vital they are for our environment and how important it is to protect them. A website in the note at the end also provides additional resources to learn more about honeybees. A wonderful read aloud for storytime, one on one or a great resource in the classroom when learning about bees, plants and pollination as well as protecting species. This story on "bees' gets an A!
By Joan Schimmels, Penworthy Sales Representative
Luciana Vega was introduced earlier this year as the American Girl for 2018, and is the first girl with a science interest. Her dream is to be an astronaut, and she inspires young girls in STEM related fields. Discover Science takes it one step further by encouraging young girls to explore the science world through fun experiments. There are more than 50 science-related projects in Discover Science, all the projects are illustrated and modeled by American Girl dolls. They include music, astronomy, nature, matter, sound, and yes....even fashion. Luciana was designed to inspire the "Mars generation" of young girls growing up now to become interested in STEM fields. Discover Science encourages them with hands-on STEM activities that will take the girls into the science world to explore, learn, and have fun.
By Susan Frappier, Penworthy Sales Representative
Looking for a great story to help ease the jitters for your new kindergartner? Then you have to read Whiffy Wilson, The Wolf who Wouldn't go to School. This book is about a wolf who had no interest in school or learning. He refused to learn his ABCs, write his name and felt that school was boring, but really he was afraid. One day, it all changed, when his father informed him that he was going to school. Whiffy wasn't thrilled and wanted to play so he walked to his friend Dotty's house who was also on her way to school. With the help of Dotty, Whiffy's fear of school went away. He made so many new friends and enjoyed playful learning games and the things he had been afraid of, no longer scared him. This is a terrific book to have in every home and classroom to be read on the first day of school. I'm sure your kids will enjoy hearing the outcome of fun that they will also experience when going to school.
By Kanisha Hines, Penworthy Sales Representative
Dear Komodo Dragon by Nancy Kelly Allen
This is a cute story that is about a young child Leslie that dreams of being a dragon hunter and becomes pen pals with a Komodo Dragon. The story is told through a series of letters as Leslie asks the dragon questions and the dragon replies with witty, wise-cracking responses. It has true facts about the Komodo Dragon and educates Leslie about an endangered species as they become friends. In the back of the book the author has educational materials that can be printed and used for teaching further. I think it would be a wonderful book for story time and the additional learning materials can be used to build a lesson plan around the story if you are a teacher using it in your class. Great illustrations by Laurie Allen Klein with very soft colors, textural, and accurate depictions of the animals. The kids will love it!
By Cindy Feltes, Penworthy Sales Representative
The Distance to Home is an amazing story of loss and healing. Last summer, 11-yr old Quinnen was the star pitcher on her baseball team with her supportive older sister Haley in the stands cheering her on at every game. This summer though is much different since Haley passed away 9 months ago and Quinnen's spunk, curiosity, and love for the game of baseball isn't there anymore.
There is a local minor league team in town and the friendly Midwestern families typically host many of the ballplayers. Quinnen's family, all dealing with the loss in their own way, takes in one of the players to hopefully remind Quinnen of her love for the game, but there are definitely speed bumps along the way. You fall in love with all of the characters, flaws and all. The story is truly believable, full of heart and emotion, and you can almost smell the hot dogs and hear the crack of the bat during the scenes from the ballpark.
I was on the edge of my seat for the whole thing as it takes you on a emotional rollercoaster while not getting too heavy or deep for a middle schooler. It's lighthearted, humerous, full of hope and I could not put it down until the very end!
By Justin Barkhurst, Penworthy Sales Representative
Newberry-winning author, Kate Dicamillo offers another fun adventure in Mercy Watson's world in her Tales from Deckawoo Drive chapter book series.
Baby Lincoln’s older sister, Eugenia, is very fond of telling Baby what to do, and Baby usually responds by saying “Yes, Sister.” But one day Baby has had enough. She decides to depart on a necessary journey, even though she has never gone anywhere without Eugenia telling her what to take and where to go. And in fact Baby doesn’t know where she is headed — only that she was entirely happy in the previous night’s dream, sitting aboard a train with a view of shooting stars. Who might Baby meet as she strikes out on her own, and what could she discover about herself? Will her impulsive adventure take her away from Eugenia for good?
By Dawn Marowsky, Penworthy Sales Representative
Ugly, by Robert Hoge, is a great chapter book that tells a heartbreaking and emotional story of being born and living with severe physical deformities. Hoge's autobiography takes you on a powerful journey through his life growing up and overcoming adversities into adulthood.
One of the more emotional parts of the story, is when Hoge was born, his mother initially did not want to keep him because of his deformities. She decided to ask her other children if they wanted her to bring Robert home. The siblings unanimously voted to bring him home. That was just the beginning, and Hoge then takes you on the ups and downs of his life and all he had to endure. He underwent numerous surgeries in hopes of having a more normal childhood. Through time, Hoge chooses not to undergo any more surgeries and accepts himself for who he is.
The compelling story Hoge takes you on, about enduring hardships, overcoming life's struggles, and coming to acceptance really captivates the reader. The writing is very accessible and it is a great book with a wonderful message of tolerance and acceptance that everyone should read and know.
By Nate Kovatch, Penworthy Sales Representative
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