The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy

61awsmlzsel-_sy344_bo1204203200_The Wonderful Fluffy Little Squishy

Written/Illustrated By: Beatrice Alemagna

Genre: Fiction

Published: Enchanted Lion Books – Brooklyn, NY, September 1st, 2015

Originally Published: Le merveilleux Dodu-Velu-Petit – France, 2016

Awards: Mildred L. Batchelder Award – 2016

Themes: A colorful story is told through the eyes of a young girl and through the themes of love, adventure, persistence, and value.

Summary: Eddie is five, and is on a mission to find her mom a “fluffy-little-squishy” – and a wonderful one at that – for her birthday. Eddie goes all across the neighborhood, using all of her resources in finding this gift for her mother. Eddie, feels that she is the only person in her immediate family that is not good at anything and desperately wants to be good at finding this gift. Will she find this fluffy-little-squishy? Will her mom approve of the gift?

Response: How did the book make you feel? How does it relate to your own experiences? Did you make any connections to other books you have read?

I feel like the aspect of “worth” really related to some of the experiences I have had growing up. You want to be worthy and meaningful as a human, and you also want your efforts and actions to be meaningful and worthy to others. It really, “hit home” I would say reading about Eddie working so so hard to impress and find something to give her mother – going through countless obstacles and trying to overcome her challenges


“He did the unimaginable.”


The Adventures of Beekle the Unimaginary Friend

Written By: Dan Santat

Genre: Fiction

Published: Little Brown and and Company – New York, New York, April 8th, 2014

Awards: Caldecott Medal – 2015, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books – 2014

Themes: Within the joyful read the themes of friendship/companionship, adventure, and finding a place where one belongs.

Summary: Where do imaginary friends come from? Where are they before we, you know, imagine them? What happens if no one ever imagines them? Well, Beetkle is one of those unimaginary friends – who has taken it upon himself to go out into the world to find a sense of belonging and a friend who can make him go from unimaginary to imaginary.

Response: How did the author make the story believable? Were you able to relate to the characters in any way? (any fiction genre) 

Putting Beekle into the “real world” made him come to life. Through his experiences in trying to find someone to see him, he travels around experiencing real life situations. Recently, I have seen commercials for a TV show that is depicting an imaginary friend in someones real life. I immediately connected the two forms of media, and found it extremely interesting that various types of media are depicting an imaginary friend in real life. In Beekle, I liked how even though he was “unimagined” he still was out in the world like an imaginary friend would be.

What Are You Glad About? What Are You Mad About?

Poems for when a person needs a poem…what-are-you-glad-about-what-are-you-mad-about-9781481423564_hr

Written By: Judith Viorst

Illustrated By: Lee White 

Genre: Poetry/Verse

Published:  Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books – New York, NY, February 9th, 2016

Awards: No notable awards at this time.

Themes: From family to friends (and the not so best friend), school, struggles, fears, seasons, and behavior this text has a collection of poems that covers everything under the sun!

Summary: This quirky text brings the reader into many common life situations through poetry. With illustrations on every page, the poetry and verses come off the page in an enjoyable and relatable sequence of poems. Written in a quirky comical way – these poems are enjoyable to all!

Response: How did the book make you feel? How does it relate to your own experiences? Did you make any connections to other books you have read?

At a young age I never really learned to appreciate poetry – I only read poetry because the texts were usually much shorter than novels. However, if I had this book in front of me, I feel that I would have learned to appreciate poetry for what it is – something that someone can relate to, find meaning in, and make connections with the text. While reading this work, I was extremely engaged and captivated by the flow of the poetry and the illustrations to match each poem. With the book compromised with a myriad of different topics I related and connected with many of them (divorce, no longer having a best friend, poems about grandma, families, etc. I feel that any one could themselves somewhere within this text.

“The truest thing that we have in this country at this time is little children…”

61haeav5kclVoice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer: Spirit of the Civil Rights Movement

Written By:  Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrated By: Ekua Holmes

Genre: NonFiction

Published: Candlewick Press – Somerville, MA, August 4th, 2015

Awards: Robert F. Sibert Honor – 2016, Caldecott Honor – 2016, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for Nonfiction – 2016, John Steptoe New Talent Illustrator Award – 2016

Themes: A nonfiction text outline a women, that many have not heard of before, explains and shows the hardships of slavery. The hope, will, and determination of people. As well as, the unfairness, cruelty, and hardships that African Americans went through in the days of “share”cropping.

Summary: Fanny Lou Hamer is the voice and spirit of the Civil Rights Movement! Her determination and persistence is ever-present in the Delta of Mississippi. She works extremely hard to give African Americans the rights that they deserve, primarily voting and representation in the government. Through beatings, people saying “no”, people dying, and at first little to no success – she finds light towards the end of her Civil Rights journey.

Response: How might you use this book in the social studies, science, or mathematics curriculum? Write about a specific activity you might do that relates to the content of this book.

For this book, I would use it within a Social Students or American History curriculum. I feel that this book is very information and provides insight into a women that many do not know about. With this novel – we are able to experience another side of the story, how even though the government was becoming progressive, there were many downfalls and individuals trying to continually oppress the African American community. Ultimately, I would use this as a potential research anchor – having students research individuals that are not as “popular” or included in your typical textbooks or google searches.


Sisters 71rf4utornl

Written By: Raina Telgemaeier

Color By: Braden Lamb 

Genre: Graphic Novel/Autobiography

Published: Scholastics/Graphix – New York, NY, August 24th, 2014

Awards: Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Writer/Artist (for Raina Telgemeier) – 2015, Prix Bédélys Jeunesse – 2014, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Middle Grade & Children’s – 2014

Themes: In another comical graphic novel, Sisters accurately captures the relationships between family, but most importantly siblings. The themes portrayed, are family and learning and growing from them.

Summary: The family is going on a trip! A trip in the van, to travel for a week to a family reunion. From camping in the hot south western part of the states, to a subpar family reunion, continuous fighting between sisters, finding Mango the snake, and attempting to make since of each other and their parents – the trip turns into a whirlwind of adventure!

Response: Respond to the design and layout of the book. What do you think of the cover design, size of the book, font, spacing, and visual elements? 

This graphic novel flow extremely well, as you are captivated by the comic book style drawing. Unlike Smile, however, this novel has various flashbacks that are noted by different colored pages, and different colors within the panels. This contract is very helpful to the reader when trying to separate the “now” of the book to the “then.” In all the layout is smooth and easy to read and provides the reader with consistent laughs and relating to that of living with siblings.

“Slavery was no ways fair…”

81ofzxkxt9lFreedom in Congo Square

Written By: Carole Boston Weatherford

Illustrations By:  R. Gregory Christie

Forward By: Freddi Williams Evans

Genre: NonFiction

Published: Little Bee Books – New York, NY, January 5th, 2016

Awards: Coretta Scott King Honor for Illustrator – 2017, Caldecott Honor – 2017, Charlotte Zolotow Award – 2017, A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of – 2016, A School Library Journal Best Book of 2016: Nonfiction

Themes:  The theme of this text focuses on the aspect of slavery and the oppression that many enslaved African Americans experienced. However, the themes of hope and joy are seen in creative and mindful ways.

Summary:  In New Orleans, Louisiana slavery is legal and the way of life for many African American individuals. Each day they are required to complete physically daunting tasks. However, their hopes and dreams are present as they count down the days until they are able to go to Congo Square. Congo Square is a place of joyous music, dance, laughter, and the only amount of freedom that is allowed for these enslaved and overworked people.

Response: What factual information did you learn? Did anything surprise you? How do you know if this information is accurate? (information books, biography, some historical fiction).

Through my entire educational career – learning an immense about the position of slavery in our American history and the role of African Americans in our past, I never knew about Congo Square. With this text accompanied by the forward written by Freddi Williams Evans, one is able to learn about the often not known Congo Square. Then as the text follows, with the beautiful illustrations, the reader is able to enjoy the whimsical, joyous environment that Congo Square offers to those that live lives as possessions. The aspect of Congo Square completely surprised me when learning of its mere existent, and with further research Congo Square was more than just a place to go to – it was a place of tradition, culture, and above all happiness.

“I have a box I like to play, I think I will trick Pig today!”

A Pig, A Fox, and a Box 23398624

Written/Illustrated By: Jonathan Fenske

Genre: Fiction/Humor

Published: Penguin Young Readers – United Kingdom, June 16th, 2015

Awards: Theodoor Seuss Geisel Honor Book – 2016

Themes: Through a fun, easy to read short story, the various themes that come from the Level 2 Reader are humor, trickery, and friendship.

Summary: With a feisty and sneaky Fox and a cardboard box – Fox looks to play many tricks on his friend Pig. Little does Fox know that his tricks will backfire and his original purpose for the box is not what Fox intended at all! Pig, however gets a good laugh.

Response: Describe the artwork in terms of style and media. What elements of the illustrations appealed to you? What is the primary medium (collage, drawings, photographs, etc.) used in the illustrations? How were illustrations used to tell the story?

The artwork in this short book, are very appealing to the young reader! Drawn in a comic book style it flows nicely from page to page. The different panels allow for the reading to view the story from the Pig and Fox’s point of view and are able to engage in their banter, as well as see Fox’s tricks inevitably fail. The pictures provide all the humor to the story, and are simple in detail but provide all of the laughter for the reader.

“Our love will be loud.”


Thunder Boy Jr.

Written By: Sherman Alexie

Illustrated By:  Yuyi Morales

Genre: Fiction

Published: Hatchette Book Group – New York, NY, May 10th, 2016

Awards: Goodreads Choice Award Nominee for Picture Books – 2016, Charlotte Zolotow Award Honor – 2017, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for Picture Book – 2016

Themes: Although a short picture book this children’s story depicts the theme of identity and individuality.

Summary: Thunder Boy Jr. shares his name with his father. Something Thunder Boy Jr does not like at all. His father has his own name, his mother and sister do too – Why can he not have a name of his own? Will he get a new name? The answer to that is only known by his father.

Response: How might you use this book in the social studies, science, or mathematics curriculum? Write about a specific activity you might do that relates to the content of this book.

This children’s book depict a Native American family – a true diversity in children literature. I would incorporate this into a socail studies class, and focus on the Native American culture. The aspect of powwow danes and the origin/reasoning for unique names is mentioned and I would want students to be able to research these aspects, along with others of the Native American society. I feel this book is a very engaging story that begins to open the eyes for students to different cultures and societies that exist in the world today.

“I feel and think…in drums.”

28114562I am Drums

Written By: Mark Grosso

Genre: Fiction (Book for Boys)

Published: Charion Books – New York, NY, September 22nd, 205

Awards: No notable awards at this time.

Themes: Through an engaging and heartfelt story of a middle-school student trying to play the drums themes emerge through this young readers chapter book. Themes that occur are: divorce, perseverance, commitment, and belief in ones self.

Summary: Sam is in middle school. Sam is in the band and plays the drums. Sam is also a girl. This intriguing story covers the life of Sam and the struggles that occur all because she wants to play the drums. Sam does not have many friends, has parents that continually fight, is sneaking around and taking drum lesson from the guy down the street, could have been suspended from school, and is stealing a lawnmower to pay for lesson and compete in a recital. All is going well…until Sam’s dad finds out. Then, all things fall apart and Sam is wishing for someone to save the day.

Response: What values were conveyed through this book? How were these values or social views conveyed to the reader? 

Although not explicitly stated, the value of hard work, dedication, and commitment were shown and demonstrated in the text. As many older individuals think that these values are not portrayed in society, and younger individuals do not possess these qualities – I think it is rather uplifting that this book for young readers address all that much of society deems “forgotten.” In terms of the reader, it is portrayed in Sam’s determination and work ethic to obtain something that she loves – drum lessons. She works relentlessly practicing, mowing lawns, attempting to please her parents, and saving money. She works and works for something that she wants to do, and something that she is passionate about – a skill and mindset that any reader can pick up on as they progress through the text.

“…but do I really care what anyone else thinks.”



Written By/Illustrated By: Raina Telgemeier

Genre: Graphic Novel/Autobiography

Published: Scholastics/Graphix – New York, NY, July 12th, 2009

Awards: Dorothy Canfield Fisher Children’s Book Award – 2012, Iowa Children’s Choice Award – 2012, Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards for Best Publication for Teens – 2011, Goodreads Choice Award Nominee – 2010, Boston Globe-Horn Book Award Honor for Nonfiction – 2010

Themes: This graphic novel accurately and and in a very comical way depicts growing up in the ever-present “awkward middle school/high school” years. The themes that are portrayed in this novel are: growing up, identity, and learning to except yourself.

Summary: As Raina is racing her friends to her house one night after girl scouts, she trips and she falls – but when she gets up everything that she fell down with is no longer with her. Oh my! Her two front teeth are missing. This incident begins the middle school and high school journey of Raina (and her two missing teeth). This graphic/comic book style novel tells us the story of Raina as she grows up and all that she experiences. From having braces, – multiple times – an earthquake, mouth surgeries, boys, and finding a new friend group Raina goes through it all as she finally begins to realize what is important.

Response: Respond to the design and layout of the book. What do you think of the cover design, size of the book, font, spacing, and visual elements?

The text is written as a graphic novel, and to me, made the book what it is. Through the comical details of the pictures, coupled with the short and interactive text the story is extremely enjoyable and entertaining given the layout of the book. It flows incredibly well and you simply do not want to but the book down! Overall, the visual elements are very appealing to the eye and the design is easy to follow and read.