#classroombookaday, Edelweiss, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/18/20


Beagles and Books is excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

While blogging is a solitary activity, I never feel alone, for I am blessed to be part of a larger community of kid lit bloggers.  We share our love of reading and always makes sure our TBR stack is tall!  Grateful to have Beagles and Books highlighted on two lists of kid lit blogs to follow along with many other fellow bloggers: Afoma Umesi’s 22 Best Kid Lit Blogs to Follow and Feedspot’s Top 100 Children’s Book Blogs and Websites for Parents, Teachers and Kids in 2020.

This week is devoted to picture books that I was digitally sent by Penguin Random House.  As I mentioned last week, I initially wasn’t a big fan of electronic picture books largely due to the fact I regularly shared F & G and ARCs with my #classroombookday second grade.  The kids felt honored when I read aloud these yet-to-be published books.  Once our teaching went virtual, I will admit it was hard to hold a picture book while reading.  PDFs of picture books allow kids to see not only the text but also the gorgeous illustrations during a virtual Google Meet class meeting.  While I do miss holding a picture book and have had to get creative snapping photos of Bella with just picture book covers, e-books have allowed me to keep the live read alouds engaging for kids.  As always, trying to find the silver lining.

Recent Reads:

Brick by Brick by Heidi Woodward Sheffield

From the immense grin on his face to calling him strong with arms like stone, readers see how deeply Luis admires his father who is a bricklayer.  On subsequent pages in both text and illustrations, Sheffield shows the parallels between Luis and his father as they both work.  As Luis’ father builds brick by brick, Luis reads book by book.  As his father makes mortar, Luis builds with his art supplies. Verbs such as SCRRRAPES and WHIRRRRRRR are overly emphasized in the text which made me almost hear the sounds as I was reading.  Luis has a dream that his family will have nuestra casa para siempre-our always home.  On a Saturday morning after breakfast, Luis’ father has una sopresa (surprise) and after a ride in the truck with his eyes closed, Luis discovers that dreams can come true, for his father has built the family a brick house to call home.

Brick by Brick is a feel good story about family, hard work, and dreams.  Sheffield’s use of mixed media made her art literally jump off the page.  And I love the exuberant expressions of Luis and his father, for they will warm your heart. Thanks to the author and Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House for sharing an e-copy of Brick by Brick which was recently published on May 4, 2020.

Soaked by Abi Cushman 

According to a bear, rain ruins everything he loves.  Ice cream. Sand castles. Cashmere sweaters (Really? Not sure about that last one).  Seeking shelter in his cave, he invites his friends but it gets a little crowded when one of your friends is a hula hooping moose.  If only you could find your bumblebee umbrella.  Hmm. Seems odd that the badger found hers. (Wait a minute. Why would a badger have the same umbrella?)  But when one of moose’s hula hoops get stuck in a tree, the wallowing bear can’t just sit there. As he, rabbit, and badger free the hula hoop, they all fall into a huge puddle with the hoop around bear’s neck.  Could hula hoop + puddle + rain =fun?

Last week, I had the opportunity to do a live read aloud of Soaked to my #classroombookaday second grade class.  After I read, we discussed the lesson of the story.  A student said Soaked teaches us to look for the good, not the bad.  The conversation grew with the realization that while we all wish we were together in the classroom listening to the story, we are happy that we can be together virtually through Google Meets.  We are learning how to change our perspective and seeing the positive rather than dwelling on the negative.  Great message for today and every day!  Thanks to Viking Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy.  Look for Soaked on June 14, 2020.

The Stray by Molly Ruttan

When I first saw the title, I immediately thought The Stray was about a dog looking for a home. The cover made me realize the stray was an alien from another planet who crashed to Earth.  A kind family rescues him wrapping him up in a baby blanket, brings him home, and name him Grub.

What I love most about The Stray is the illustrations are integral to the story.  My #classroombooksaday observed this right away.  If a reader just read the text, the story could be about a stray dog or cat but the artwork confirms that Grub is unique.  The illustrations unveil Grub’s levitating powers which begin with a toaster and are in full force on a walk around the neighborhood. What tugged at my heart is while the family welcomed Grub as a member of their family, he still missed his home.  Recognizing his yearning, the kids put up FOUND posters which are instrumental in Grub’s reunion with his alien family.   The Stray is a tender story about a family who not only has enough love to welcome a stray into their family but also to let him go.  Thanks to Nancy Paulsen Books/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. The Stray will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.

Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.

This is Gus by Chris Chatterton 

Gus is a grumpy basset hound who doesn’t like being petted, going for walks or celebrating birthdays. But wait! Once a basset pup arrives on the scene, maybe Gus will change his mind. And while the text may say Gus now likes things, the illustrations clearly show his distaste for everything except…sausage.  Gus likes the smell, shape, and taste of sausage.  Guess who else likes sausage? The basset pup.  Will Gus be willing to share his sausage?  Like Ryan Higgins’ Bruce, This is Gus might be a grouch but he truly has a heart of gold. Thanks to Penguin Workshop/Penguin Random House and Edelweiss for an e-copy. Previously published in the U.K., This is Gus will celebrate its U.S. book birthday tomorrow on Tuesday, May 19, 2020.


Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading! Stay safe and well!

#Bookexcursion, #classroombookaday, #nf10for10

Books Can Teach Us: NonFiction Picture Book 10 for 10


I’m excited to be participating in Nonfiction Picture Book 10 for 10  for the first time. In my very first blog post, I shared my #pb10for10.  Thank you Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for creating #pb10for10 for book bloggers to share our #booklove of amazing picture books.  In 2013, Julie Balen suggested to add a nonfiction picture book event that worked the same.  #nf10for10 provides the opportunity to bring our reading community together to share our favorite nonfiction picture books.  To check out more fabulous lists,  please visit the Google Community site.

This year, I sponsor a second grade class for #classroombookaday.  I strive to find engaging nonfiction picture books to read aloud to students. Being a part of #bookexcursion, I had been blessed with the opportunity to read and review some picture books prior to their publication.

Before reading each story, I ask the students just one question-What do you think the author is trying to teach us?   In my #nf10for10, I have included 10 nonfiction picture books that I have either already read for #classroombookaday or plan to read before the end of the school year.  All these amazing books can teach us information, the power of our actions or to persevere.



Terrific Tongues by Maria Gianferrari  Illustrated by Jia Liu

Terrific Tongues teaches us fascinating facts about how tongues work in unique ways. I absolutely love the format of this fabulous text.  Maria Gianferrari introduces each animal with an if and a might.  For example, if you have a tongue like a mop, you might be a…. (no spoilers).  The text lends itself well to a class read aloud.  Terrific Tongues will be released in April 2018.

Thanks to Maria Gianferrari for providing my #bookexcursion group with a copy of Terrific Tongues to read, share, and review.  For my full review, click here.


Hawk Rising by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Brian Floca

Maria Gianferrari’s other forthcoming release, Hawk Rising,  is a narrative non-fiction picture book which tells the story of a mother and daughter observing a father hawk hunting for prey for his family. The text is true poetry, for she chooses her words carefully to dramatically describe the family’s actions and feelings as well as the hawk’s pursuit. With Brian Floca’s  gorgeous illustrations, the story takes flight. It teaches us the father hawk’s role in caring for his brood.  Hawk Rising publishes in June 2018.

Thanks to Maria Gianferrari for providing my #bookexcursion group with a copy of Hawk Rising to read, share, and review. To read my full review, click here.


Ride On Will Cody by Caroline Starr Rose Illustrated by Joe Lillington

Written in lyrical verse, Caroline Starr Rose beautifully tells the legend of young Will Cody who later gained notoriety as folk hero and Wild West showman, Buffalo Bill.    Joe Lillington’s illustrations support the text by dramatically depicting the riders’ arduous journey.  At the end of the book, the author shares historical research about the Pony Express and Will Cody.  It teaches us about an important event in the history of the American West.

Thanks to Caroline Starr Rose who provided my #bookexcursion group with a copy of Ride On Will Cody to read, share, and review.  To read my full review, click here.

Can an Aardvark Bark

Can an Aardvark Bark? By Melissa Stewart Illustrated by Steve Jenkins

This engaging and informative nonfiction picture book asks questions such as Can an aardvark bark?, which is always answered in the negative. Then an alternative is given. No, but it can grunt and lots of other animals grunt too.  Can An Aardvark Bark? is perfect for a class read aloud because students can be highly involved in making the noises presented in the text. It teaches us that animals have different sounds to communicate.


Waiting on the Biblioburro  by Monica Brown Illustrated by John Parra

Waiting on the Biblioburro is a blend of realistic fiction and nonfiction.  It tells the story of a little girl named Ana whose teacher moved far away. As a result, Ana treasures her one and only book reading it again and again.  One morning Ana and other children in her village are awakened by the sounds of real life teacher and librarian Luis Soriano Bohorquez.  Known as the Biblioburro, Luis carries books with the help of his burros, Alfa and Beto from town to town.  Beautifully written with colorful folk art illustrations, Waiting for Biblioburro teaches us how one’s actions can have extraordinary effects and the power of reading books.

Hachiko: The True Story by Pamela Turner  Illustrated by Yan Nascimbene

Hachiko: The True Story is a narrative nonfiction picture book.  Told by a fictional young boy named Kentaro about a real dog Hachiko, who lived in Tokyo. Hachiko was owned by Dr. Uneno.  Each morning Hachiko walked to the train station with Dr. Uneno and waited there for him to come home.  One day Kentaro discovers that Dr. Uneno has died and worries what will happen to Hachiko.  Readers discover that for almost ten years after his master’s death, Hachiko waited in the train station for Dr. Uneno to return.  Hachiko: A True Story teaches us about the power of friendship and loyalty.


Shark Lady: The True Story of  How Eugenie Clark Became the Ocean’s Most Fearless Scientist by Jess Keating  Illustrated by Marta Alvarez Miguens


Shark Lady is a picture book biography about the life of Eugenie Clark.  Jess Keating eloquently shares how Eugenie’s love for sharks began at an early age after a visit to an aquarium and how despite the obstacles she faced, Eugenie held on to her dream of becoming a scientist.  Shark Lady teaches us not only that sharks should be admired rather than feared but also women can be anything that want to be.

The Books Boos That Changed the World: A True Story About an Accidental Invention (Really)! by Barry Wittenstein Illustrated by Chris Hsu


In The Boo-Boos That Changed the Word, Author Barry Wittenstein humorously tells the story of Earle Dickson and how Band-Aids came to be.  It teaches us accidents can actually be helpful. Because Earle Dickson’s wife was accident prone, Band-Aids were invented.  This picture book biography will be released on February 13, 2018.

Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for providing my #bookexcursion group with a copy of The Boo-Boos That Changed the World to read, share and review.  To read my full review, click here.

Me..Jane by  Patrick McDonnell

Me Jane.jpg

Me…Jane is a inspiring and gorgeous picture book biography about the life of Jane Goodall.  The story begins with a young Jane receiving a toy chimpanzee named Jubilee.  Told with minimal text and sweet illustrations, Patrick McDonnell beautifully shares how Jane’s childhood experiences ultimately shaped the person she is today.  It teaches us about curiosity, passion, and pursuing your dream.

A Very Young Skater by Jill Krementz

A Very Young Skater is a biography about 10-year-old skater, Katherine Healy.  I absolutely LOVED this biography as a young reader and as soon as #nf10for10 was announced, I knew I had to include A Very Young Skater in my top ten list.  When I think back to my childhood, this series and especially Katherine’s story was the first nonfiction book I can truly remember reading OVER and OVER.  I distinctly remember returning it to the public library and renewing it hopeful no one had requested it.  While the photographs may look dated to my second grade readers, I hope reading and sharing the book will teach them the same lessons that it taught me, which is to work hard and never give up on your dreams.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my #nf10for10 selections.  I can’t wait to read other bloggers’ lists.  Have a great week!  Happy Reading!