*Originally Published on Forloveofeducation.com. Published here with permission.
Who Stole the Mona Lisa by Ruthie Knapp
Written in first-person, this book retells the story of the theft of the world’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, told by none other than the subject depicted in the painting. The book is illustrated with magnificent paintings by Jill McElmerry that help move the reader through time from de Vinci’s world to present day. We’ve read this six times since bringing it home from the library and not only is it an interesting way to introduce children to classic art and biography. Some activities that we done with this book include: order of events, answering the 5 Ws and H, and for art, painting portraits.
Miss Nelson is Missing! by Harry Allard
When the children in her classroom refuse to listen to her, Miss Nelson hatches a plan to teach them a lesson. She disappears and a meaner, firming teach returns in he place. The children are determined to solve the mystery of their missing teacher and are desperate for her return. This is one of my favorite books and was shocked that we hadn’t read it yet. The Tornado was no fool and figured out what happened almost right away. but we enjoyed it even still. We discussed how people stereotype based on appearance and discussed foreshadowing and other clues left by authors to help guide the reader to a specific conclusion.
Black All Around by Patricia Hubbel
In celebration of the color black, Patricia Hubbell combines her beautiful poetry with the vivid illustrations of Don Tate. Looking at the darkness of night and other uses of the color, this book aims to redefine black as a color of surprises and positive and not one of scariness of deception. I thought this book was something different, but my expectations were more than met. Rather than speak directly to children of color (although it does), it is really a letter to society! Black is beautiful! In every way.[separator type=”space”]
The Firefighters’ Thanksgiving by Maribeth Boelts
It may not be Thanksgiving, but reading this sweet book about a group of on-duty firefighters who may not be able to enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner because they must respond to many fire emergencies, is great for anytime of year. Read along as a town comes together to thank those ho put their own lives on the line for those who have pledged to serve and protect. The vivid pictures in this book add to the beauty of the story and sparks creativity. Have your child paint a scene from the book.[separator type=”space”]
Kel Gilligan’s Daredevil Stunt Show by Michael Buckley
This a a story written very much for young children (younger than eight). Kel speaks of his amazing feats of courage, which are actually all normal, everyday things like taking a bath, eating, and getting dressed. I thought it was cute by The Tornado did not like it at all. She was very much unimpressed. It is, however, a good way to introduce satire and exaggeration.[separator type=”space”]
Detective Small in the Amazing Banana Caper by Yong Herbert Yee
Who do you call when all the bananas go missing? Detective Small, of course. This is the story of the sleuth and his attempt to hunt down the “Magilla Gorilla.” It is written in rhyme and allows for children to finish sentences even if they are unable to actually read. The Tornado is really into spies, so this was a big hit.[separator type=”space”]
big Nate: ALL WORK AND NO PLAY: A Collection of Sundays by Lincoln Peirce
The Tornado really enjoys comic books and graphic novels, so I wasn’t surprised that she chose this as one of her independent reading books nor was I surprised when she finished it the same night we checked it out from the library. Nate is a bit of a “trouble-maker” in school but is innovative, inquisitive, and determined. This is a collection of his schemes.