I spent Saturday at the Montessori Schools of Massachusetts Annual Conference during which I gave a presentation on the Best Books of 2014 – and Books to Look For in 2015….
Among the new books were a few that have already been published so I was able to bring them to the conference. Here are two that seem to be perfect classroom read-alouds:
1. Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos by Stephanie Roth Sisson.
I love this book – particularly in the way it celebrates passion and curiosity. Of course, it is about one person and his fascination with the planets and the stars, but you could pair it with other picture book biographies about the glories of the imagination and the fun of learning about the world. The book open with Sagan as a curious child who, during a visit to the library, is given a book about stars. “Carl’s heart beat faster with every page he turned,” Sisson writes in a beautiful sentence about the joy of discovering your passion. It goes on to give a fast-paced overview of his life as a scientist and emphasizes how much he enjoyed sharing his knowledge with others. Pair this with…..The Watcher: Jane Goodall’s Life with the Chimps by Jeanette Winter and On a Beam of Light: A Story of Albert Einstein by Jennifer Berne.
2. Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Pena and Christian Robinson
This book has it all – a warm portrayal of a relationship between a grandmother and grandson, a vibrant and inclusive urban setting, and an important message about appreciating what truly matters.
Every week after church, CJ and his grandmother travel by bus to a destination that is revealed at the end of the story. Like all kids, CJ has many questions – and they reflect his growing awareness of inequality: “Nana, how come we don’t have a car?” CJ’s grandmother gently encourages her grandson to see “beautiful where he never even thought to look.”
I love this one that a parent sent this to me last week. Her daughter checked out El Deafo and left this note for her mom:
Finally, I saw this at Buttonwood Books and Toys and it broke my heart. Maybe the owner and the little toy have been reunited, but if not – maybe it could be a “bookstore moose” – or is it a reindeer?