I Know Here

Book Reviews - Books for Building Your Library

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Roberta brings you another spectacular collection of books for building your classroom library. This list of titles will help you explore with students the ways that our sense of place connects with who we are.

I Know Here

I Know Here by Laurel Croza and Matt James tells the author's story of her childhood experience moving from northeastern Saskatchewan to Toronto. Croza communicates the love she felt for the place she knew and the anxiety she felt about the unknown. Children will relate to the author's goodbye pain as she expresses her angst in saying goodbye to the wolves and the woods, the "here" she knows, and saying hello to the city, the "there" which is foreign. Croza and James won this year's Horn Book Award for Excellence in Children's Literature in the picture book category.

Click here to view this book in Amazon +
Click here to view this book in Amazon +

A Friend

What do you value in a friend? Anette Bley depicts the many faces of friendship. She includes joyous, sad, and fanciful occasions that we share with friends. "I'm glad I have a friend to play with... /...on rainy days. / Someone to get in trouble with... /...when I feel like playing tricks. "I'd like someone who is there when I need help as well as one who doesn't try to help when I want to do things on my own." The narrative Bley crafts is both thought-provoking and playful. And each page is filled with color-drenched images that serve as perfect springboards for conversations about friendship.

Mapping Penny's World

Written and illustrated by Loren Leedy. Penny is a pet boxer who knows how to chart and navigate her environment. With the help of her human companion Lisa, she draws students into the world of mapping. Penny and Lisa create various maps of the interior and exterior landscapes if their home. They walk about utilizing a pedometer to measure their steps and utilizing a key, scale, and symbols on the maps they create. Loren's bright acrylic illustrations are filled with color and have a lifelike essence that appeals to children and will motivate them to map their own surroundings.

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Click here to view this book in Amazon +

Madlenka

Peter Sis asks, "Have you ever discovered something so wonderful that you wanted to tell the whole world about it?" Well that's just what Madlenka decides to do once she discovers her wiggly tooth. Peter renders brilliant artistry sweeping us away with Madlenka to destinations near and far as she shares the news about this major right of passage. She jaunts away to Italy, Egypt, and France, as well as spots around her neighborhood. Students will love joining Madlenka on this exuberant journey.

How I Learned Geography

Uri Shulevitz. A young boy comes to understand the importance of imagination and the journey of the mind. With the help of a map, he is able to escape the harsh reality of hunger and poverty in his war-torn country. The boy's father sagely uses their meager means to purchase a map instead of bread. With this grand gesture, his young son is transported to a world beyond their realty. Shulevitz's fantastical jewel-toned images are filled with vitality and the promise of brighter days ahead. This picture book memoir exemplifies that an appetite can be sated by more than food. In fact, after reading this book, one gets the impression that food might be a bit over-rated.

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Click here to view this book in Amazon +

Calabash Cat and His Amazing Journey James Rumsford

Influenced by the wood-burning designs of the Kotoko people of Chad, James Rumford crafts a folkoric treasure with words and images. "Climb up on my back and I will show you a world without end." Calabash cat is on a quest to discover where the world ends. He starts in the desert and meets a camel, and at the edge of each successive locale he is greeted by an animal who will show him where the world ends. On his journey he explores grasslands, the jungle, the ocean. As he flies on the back of an eagle he discovers "a world without end." Rumsford's folkloric language engages repetition, and his stylistic, geometric illustrations of each animal will take you and your students on a treasure-filled expedition.

How to Make Apple Pie and See the World

Whoever thought making an apple pie could take you clear around the globe? Well, Marjorie Priceman's delectable, delightful book does just that. For a top-notch apple pie, the freshest ingredients are required. There is a stop in England to get a cow for milk, and a romp via steamboat to Italy for semolina wheat, and of course you can't forget the apples. We are whisked away to Vermont, just in time for apple-picking season. Don't forget to pack the plates and plenty of napkins because you will have to make the super simple apple pie recipe included at the end.

Click here to view this book in Amazon +
Click here to view this book in Amazon +

Small Worlds: Maps and Mapmaking

This informational book by Karen Romano Young is perfect for older readers who are interested in going "beyond geography." Students can learn to make their own maps and how mapping systems work. With lots of vignettes presenting real-life applications for maps, as well as historical information about maps and mapmaking, Small Worlds is great as a reference or to sit down and read for fun.

How the World Works

Enjoy an action-packed tour of mother earth, with this A Hands-on Guide to Our Amazing Planet. With tabs to pull, wheels to turn, and flaps to lift, readers can explore the world with pop-up features that are purposeful, not just bells and whistles. All the interaction is connected to actual content, so students can have fun learning. This is not your average pop-up book!

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Click here to view this book in Amazon +

Mapmaking with Children

Author David Sobel's book, Mapmaking with Children: Sense of Place Education for the Elementary Years, honors the child's need to develop a sense of place as a member of the local community and the natural world. For ages five through twelve, Sobel provides developmentally appropriate mapmaking techniques of increasing scope and complexity. Mapmaking With Children illustrates how experiential learning, beginning with mapmaking, can provide a sense of relevance, belonging, and responsibility.