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Perfect Picture Book Friday: Norbert’s Big Dream

Welcome to Perfect Picture Book Friday!

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Walking into the library or a bookstore is like opening a treasure chest filled with precious jewels. But it can also be overwhelming.

If you are a parent, which books should you pick to read with your children? If you are a teacher, which books are best for your preschool, kindergarten, or early elementary grade classes? And if you are a kidlit writer, which books will help hone your skills?

I hope the books I feature here this year will help you choose.

Today’s picture book is Lori Degman’s newest one…and guess what? Tomorrow she will be our Will Write for Cookies guest! And there will be a GIVEAWAY of a BRAND NEW COPY OF THIS BOOK!

norbert-cover

NORBERT’S BIG DREAM

Written by Lori Degman

Illustrated by Marco Bucci

Publisher: Sleeping Bear Press (2016)

Ages: Preschool – Grade 3

Themes:

Follow your dream, teamwork

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Norbert is a pig with a dream. It doesn’t matter if the other farm animals snicker behind his back, Norbert has always dreamed of swimming the English Channel. He’s been preparing and training and finally he’s ready for the big swim! But where exactly is the English Channel?! Will Norbert have to give up on his dreams or will his friends come to the rescue after all? A sweet, funny story about dreaming big.

 Opening Lines:

“Most pigs are satisfied just rolling in the mud, or slurping slop, or snoozing in the shade. But not Norbert.”

Why I like this book:

  • The author has a fabulous way with words…the story moves forward at a wonderful pace because she knows just the right ones to use.
  • The illustrations are incredible…Norbert’s expressions clearly show the reader how he is feeling.
  • I love that Norbert follows his dream, no matter what…most of all, I love that his friends rally behind him and enable him to make his dream come true.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

  • Pull out a map with your children and find the English Channel…check out articles about the different ways people have crossed it: http://mentalfloss.com/article/19722/8-ways-cross-english-channel-without-boat
  • Talk with your children about making dreams come true. What are their dreams? What steps can they take to realize those dreams? Maybe you can mention some of the dreams or goals you had as a child…did you reach them? How? I think it is so important for children to see that there are steps one has to take to get where we want to go, whether it is to play ball at a local playground or walk on the moon.

 

This post is part of a series for parents and teachers and writers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend. I’ve been participating in Tara Lazar’s Storystorm and have a notebook filled with new story ideas already. And if you love entering writing contests, keep your eyes out for Susanna’s Valentiny Contest…she’ll be announcing it soon.

Please don’t miss tomorrow’s Will Write for Cookies Q&A with Lori Degman and the GIVEAWAY of a copy of Norbert’s Big Dream…right here!.

Perfect Picture Book Friday: Seven Candles for Kwanzaa and Toy Safety for the Holidays

It’s getting to look a lot like Christmas…and Hanukkah…and Kwanzaa. And since today is Friday, I knew I had to find an appropriate picture book to spotlight and review. But first I have a little gift for you.

A few weeks ago I connected with Kay Duguay from Consumer Safety. She provided me with an infographic that gives great tips on how to save money during this holiday shopping season while making sure you buy items that are safe for your family.

safety-infographic

 

It’s really interesting that all three major winter holidays are about celebrating family and community, but everywhere you turn, vendors are selling their wares…electronic gadgets, kitchen implements, and of course, TOYS.

jeremy-with-teddy-bear

Here are six tips to keep in mind as you help your children unwrap their presents. Many of these tips come from the American Academy of Ophthalmology www.eyenet.org

  1. Select only toys and gifts that are appropriate for the child’s age and maturity level.  Check the packaging for age recommendations.
  2. Avoid toys with sharp, protruding or projectile parts.
  3. Check labels for the American Society for Testing and Materials(ASTM) approval to be sure toys meet national safety standards.
  4. BB, paint or pellet guns and airpower rifles are classified as firearms and make dangerous gifts in homes where there are children.  Similarly, darts and bows and arrows are also dangerous when they fall into the hands of kids.
  5. Younger children are now participating in sports such as baseball, football, hockey and soccer.  If you are giving sports equipment, make sure to include the appropriate protective headgear such as helmets and facemasks or goggles with polycarbonate lenses.
  6. A picture book, whether an older classic or one of the newer additions to bookstore shelves, is always a safe and welcome gift.  Reading the story to the child will add so much value to the gift…it costs you nothing, but means the world to the listener.

A picture book you say? Now, aren’t you impressed? Isn’t this a great lead-in to our Perfect Picture Book Friday selection?

kwanzaa

SEVEN CANDLES FOR KWANZAA

Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney

Illustrated by Brian Pinkney

Publisher: Dial Books for Young Readers (1993)

Ages: 5 and up

Themes:

Family life, community, Kwanzaa

Synopsis:

From Amazon reviewer Gail Hudson:

Although Kwanzaa commemorates an ancient African harvest ritual, it is a relatively new holiday in North America. Seven Candles for Kwanzaa explains the origins, language, and daily themes of this warm and festive seven-day holiday. Ideas for daily Kwanzaa rituals abound. For example, on the fourth day, in honor of ujamaa (cooperative family economics), families can use the coins that they’ve saved over the year to buy a gift for the family “like a clock that chimes or a hallway mirror.” Illustrator Brian Pinkney takes on the role of storyteller with his scratchboard drawings of a family in the midst of daily Kwanzaa activities and celebrations. Each domestic scene is framed in an earth-toned border of traditional African patterns–bridging the two continents page by page. The thoughtful details and human interactions in each drawing speak to the core meaning of the holiday, that of honoring one’s family, community, and heritage.

Opening Lines:

“Kwanzaa is like a family day in the park and Thanksgiving and a birthday, all rolled into one.”

Why I like this book:

  • It’s important for young children to see themselves in the books they read…and equally important for young children to see people and cultures different from their own.
  • The author presents a clear and simple explanation of what each day of Kwanzaa represents.
  • Wonderful activities that every family can adapt to their own situation.
  • Powerful illustrations show how this holiday is all about family and community.

RELATED ACTIVITIES

The book is chock full of hands on activities for parents and children.

For more Kwanzaa activities: http://www.preschoolexpress.com/holiday-station08/kwanzaa-dec08.shtml

 This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

I’m sending you all my very best wishes for the happiest of holidays.

And next week I’ll reveal some BIG plans I have for my blog in 2017…I can hardly wait to tell you!

Perfect Picture Book Friday: THE PRINCESS AND THE WARRIOR

Today we have a fabulous Perfect Picture Book Friday review.

But first…some winners! Last week I promised to give away a copy of Jessica Lawson’s middle grade mystery Nooks and Crannies.

cranberries-cover

AND THE WINNER IS…

Sherry Howard

Congratulations, Sherry…I will contact you for your mailing address.

We also had a giveaway last month for a copy of Emma Bland Smith’s Journey: The Most Famous Wolf in the West.

journey-emma-bland-smith

AND THE WINNER IS…

Mona Pease

Congratulations, Mona…I’ll get it in the mail ASAP. No guarantees, but considering I’m in NH and you are in Maine, you might even get it in time for Christmas!

There will also be info coming soon on the voting for Susanna Hill’s Holiday Contest…I will share that as soon as I get it. Did you get to read any of the entries? They are FABULOUS!

The Perfect Picture Book Friday spotlight is on one of my favorite books of 2016. And tomorrow, the award-winning author/illustrator, Duncan Tonatiuh, will be our Will Write for Cookies guest.

p-and-w

The Princess and the Warrior: A Tale of Two Volcanos

Written and illustrated by Duncan Tonatiuh

Publisher: Abrams (2016)

Ages: 6-9 (this is the recommendation on Amazon…but I think the book is appropriate for younger AND older kids)

Themes:

Courage, loyalty, accepting others for who they are

Synopsis:

From Amazon:

Award-winning author Duncan Tonatiuh reimagines one of Mexico’s cherished legends. Princess Izta had many wealthy suitors but dismissed them all. When a mere warrior, Popoca, promised to be true to her and stay always by her side, Izta fell in love. The emperor promised Popoca if he could defeat their enemy Jaguar Claw, then Popoca and Izta could wed. When Popoca was near to defeating Jaguar Claw, his opponent sent a messenger to Izta saying Popoca was dead. Izta fell into a deep sleep and, upon his return, even Popoca could not wake her. As promised Popoca stayed by her side. So two volcanoes were formed: Iztaccíhuatl, who continues to sleep, and Popocatépetl, who spews ash and smoke, trying to wake his love.

Opening Lines:

“Once upon a time, there lived a kind and beautiful princess named Izta.”

Why I like this book:

  • First of all, I not only like this book, I LOVE it. The illustrations, done in Duncan’s familiar style, are AMAZING! The text is deceptively simple…on each page, with short succinct sentences, Duncan weaves a compelling story. AND he provides us with an authentic voice, giving us the names of various objects in the Nahuatl language, which is the language the main characters would have spoken.
  • I’m a great fan of folktales…this would be a perfect first folktale for young children…courage and loyalty are two traits we want to encourage kids to develop.
  • I remember studying about those two volcanos when I was a student…how fabulous to discover there was a legend…and thanks to Duncan’s wonderful glossary in the back, now I know how to pronounce the names.
  • This book won the Pura Belpre Award which was established in 1996. It is presented to a Latino/Latina (or as Duncan would say, Latinx) writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth. I love books that help multicultural children see themselves…and just as importantly, help all children learn about different peoples and cultures.

 RELATED ACTIVITIES for Parents and Teachers

  1. Find other folktale picture books and read them with your children.
  2. Pick an animal, object, or place and make up a folktale about how it came to be.
  3. Make a volcano…for quick and easy instructions go here: http://www.preschoolinspirations.com/2014/05/28/easy-baking-soda-and-vinegar-volcano-eruption-for-kids/

super-easy-volcano-eruption-for-kidsPhoto courtesy: http://www.preschoolinspirations.com

 This post is part of a series for parents and teachers called Perfect Picture Book Fridays hosted by Susannah Leonard Hill. Click on her link and find lots of other picture book suggestions with summaries and activities.

And please don’t miss tomorrow’s post when we will welcome our Will Write for Cookies guest:

DUNCAN TONATIUH

Make sure you stop by and leave a comment – you’ll be entered into the giveaway of a copy of The Princess and the Warrior. Do you have a favorite folktale from your childhood? I’d love to hear about it.

Stay safe and warm, dear friends. I’m wishing the happiest  and healthiest of holiday seasons to all of you!

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