April 26, 2018

The Advocate's Toolbox

Spring Has Sprung: New Titles for a New Season │ JLG’s Booktalks to Go

Spring has officially arrived—at least on the calendar. Thoughts turn to green grass, new babies at the zoo, Easter bunnies, and baseball. Whether your readers still see snow out of the window or there are flowers in the schoolyard, the following selections by the editors at Junior Library Guild are sure to be welcomed.

Nest is NoisyASTON, Dianna Hutts. A Nest Is Noisy. illus. by Sylvia Long. 40p. Chronicle. 2015. ISBN 9781452127132. JLG Category: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2).

Fans of Aston’s beautifully written and illustrated nature books will rejoice at the first sight of A Nest Is Noisy. This title follows the poetic style of the author’s previous works, and readers will marvel at lifelike drawings of nests of all kinds made by a wide variety of animals. Bookended with brilliant end papers of the nest makers, this title takes readers on a journey of nests that differ in form but that all have the same purpose—keeping safe the young that they nurture.

Meet the artist on her website and the author on hers. Teachers and librarians will find the extensive teacher’s guide, published by Chronicle Books, to be most helpful. If you need additional informational text to pair with the picture book, try ReadWorks.org, which has Lexiled informational articles with tests, such as Squirrels Build Nests, geared for grade one.

Finding SpringBERGER, Carin. Finding Spring. illus. by author. 40p. HarperCollins/Greenwillow. 2015. ISBN 9780062250193. JLG Category: PK : Pre-Kindergarten (Grades PreS-PreK).

Maurice’s first spring is just around the corner. He’s so excited he can’t sleep, so he sets off to find it. Chasing snowflakes through the winter forest, the young bear thinks he’s found spring once he comes across the Great Hill. But he’s in for a surprise when spring finally arrives.

Berger’s adorable tale is sure to be a classic spring read aloud. Curtis Elementary Library read the book outside, then took their iPads on a search for signs of spring. Children may also want to create collages using ephemera, so put out a box to collect paper products for projects. Perhaps you can use a bulletin board to allow kids to post a spring creation. Read an interview at Kirkus for the tales’s backstory. Check out the author/illustrator’s bio at HarperCollins. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

EggJENKINS, Steve & Robin Page. Egg: Nature’s Perfect Package. illus. by Steve Jenkins. 32p. Houghton Harcourt. 2015. ISBN 9780547959092. JLG Category: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2).

For many animals, life begins with an egg. Jenkins and Page demonstrate that eggs come in a wide variety of shapes, colors, and sizes. Some mothers lay one egg at a time, while others lay millions. Eggs are buried, guarded, carried, and sometimes even left alone. What makes this versatile package so perfect?

From videos to bookmaking and links to science websites, author/illustrator Steve Jenkins’s website showcases his signature style and look. Are you a middle school educator? Think picture books are just for elementary readers? Think again. Jenkins’s books are perfect for older students as well. There’s an egg-cellent blog post with a chicken hatching video, activities, and other related material at Smart Books for Smart Kids. The Nonfiction Detectives also featured the title, including a link to the process of the book’s creation. The publisher has produced a discussion guide. Wonderopolis posts a lesson, “Do Any Mammals Lay Eggs?” which includes a test and read-aloud informational text.

Born in the WildJUDGE, Lita. Born in the Wild: Baby Mammals and Their Parents. illus. by author. 48p. Roaring Brook. 2014. ISBN 9781596439252. JLG Category: NEK : Nonfiction Early Elementary (Grades K–2).

What do baby mammals need? Judge’s gorgeous illustrations share what early life is like for many young animals. While grizzly bear cubs nurse for two or three years, wolf pups eat meat with adult teeth within two months. Virginia opossums cling to their mother’s backs, but a zebra colt can leap and run from danger hours after it’s born. Details for older readers, websites, a glossary, and further reading sources are included in this fascinating nonfiction picture book.

For a sneak peek and a bit about the author, visit her website. You can follow her on Facebook and Twitter. For videos and other information about wildlife, visit some of the websites suggested by Judge in her book, such as BBC Nature: Wildlife, Enchanted Learning for names and groups of animals, and ZooBorns. A baby river hippo was just born at the San Diego Zoo. Check out the video of the new mother and daughter swimming. Educators might also visit National Geographic Kids or Ranger Rick which also has apps for kids.

Betty Bunny Loves EasterKAPLAN, Michael B. Betty Bunny Loves Easter. illus. by Stephane Jorisch. 32p. Dial. 2015. ISBN 9780803740617. JLG Category: P+ : Primary (Grades K-1).

Easter is Betty Bunny’s favorite time of year. In fact, when she grows up, she wants to be the Easter Bunny, but how can she do that when she can’t even find the hidden eggs by herself?

Though neither author nor illustrator have their own websites, a biography can be found on the publisher’s page. For ideas about rabbit activities with preschool-aged youngsters, try a Pinterest board. This is the fifth book in the series about this adorable bunny, who is quite the handful.

Queen of the DiamondMcCULLY, Emily Arnold. Queen of the Diamond: The Lizzie Murphy Story. illus. by author. 32p. Farrar. 2015. ISBN 9780374300074. JLG Category: SE : Sports Elementary (Grades 2–6).

Lizzie Murphy was always good at baseball. She could throw and catch as well as any boy. The trouble was that in the early 1900s, girls didn’t play baseball and certainly not professionally. Yet Lizzie was determined to participate, so she asked for a position on a semipro team. People came in droves to see her play. For 18 years, Lizzie earned her keep and the right to play.

An author’s note includes a picture of the player, as well as information about her post-baseball life. A visit to the publisher’s website reveals an inside look at the picture book biography. Author sources are included in the JLG BTG LiveBinder Spring 2015. Follow McCully on Facebook.

Additional Resources

The resources for the above titles have been organized in JLG Booktalks to Go: Spring 2015 LiveBinder. Titles are sorted by interest level, PreK-3, 3-6, 5-8, and YA. All websites are posted within each LiveBinder, along with the accompanying booktalk. As I write more columns, more books and their resources are added. Everything you need to teach or share brand new, hot-off-the-press books is now all in one place. Booktalks and resources are also included on JLG’s BTG Pinterest board.

For library resources, tips, and ideas, please visit JLG’s Shelf Life Blog.

Junior Library Guild (JLG) is a collection development service that helps school and public libraries acquire the best new children’s and young adult books. Season after season, year after year, Junior Library Guild book selections go on to win awards, collect starred or favorable reviews, and earn industry honors. Visit us at www.JuniorLibraryGuild.com. (NOTE: JLG is owned by Media Source, Inc., SLJ’s parent company.)


Deborah B. Ford About Deborah B. Ford

Deborah is the Director of Library Outreach for Junior Library Guild. She is an award-winning teacher librarian with almost 30 years of experience as a classroom teacher and librarian in K–12 schools.