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1. Find Free Educational Resources on the First Book Marketplace

free resources

Where can you find free educational resources?

On the First Book Marketplace, of course!

You’ll find tips to encourage family engagement, resources for early childhood education, free subscriptions to online tools and programs and much more. For access, you’ll first need to sign up and log in.

Watch the video below to learn how to access, download and use these great free resources:

 

The post Find Free Educational Resources on the First Book Marketplace appeared first on First Book Blog.

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2. How to Use the First Book Marketplace: Wishlists, the Dashboard and Popular Topics

video 1

Once you’ve registered and logged into the First Book Marketplace there are so many new features to explore!

As we’ve shown, you’ll find new navigation and menus.  You can use gift cards and promotional codes. But you’ll also find a new dashboard for account information, a new wishlist feature and a section highlighting topics that are important to educators and program leaders serving children in need.

In today’s video, you’ll learn how to explore the dashboard, how to make a wishlist and learn more about popular topics.

 

 

The post How to Use the First Book Marketplace: Wishlists, the Dashboard and Popular Topics appeared first on First Book Blog.

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3. Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books For May

The school year is coming to a close and it’s time to stock up for summer reading. We have five great books for you!

This month, our book list features a sweet story about an unconventional animal family, an adorable picture book that celebrates determination, a nonfiction guide to becoming a backyard scientist, and a book that teaches you how to stand up to their fears. For mature readers, the first-ever graphic novel to receive a Caldecott Honor will make for an engrossing read.

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

little_pink_pupLittle Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby

Get ready to say “Awww!” every time you turn the page! The real-life photos of a tiny little pig being raised by dachshunds is a heart-warming story that promotes acceptance and reminds us that everyone deserves love.

 

 

For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

balloon_isabel_1A Balloon for Isabel by Deborah Underwood

This adorable picture book is both a perfect read-aloud and an ideal graduation gift! It’s a joyful celebration of creativity, determination, and creative problem-solving. We can’t get enough of this one!

 

 

 

For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

citizen_scientistsCitizen Scientists by Loree Griffin Burns

Anyone can be a scientist in this kid-friendly, non-fiction gem! Kids will learn how to observe, conduct research, collect data, and be part of four unique scientific discoveries that can happen anywhere — in a backyard, a field, or even a city park.

 

 

 

For 5thand 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

liberation_of_gabriel_1The Liberation of Gabriel King by K.L. Going

Warm, wonderful, and unforgettable, this is the terrific story of a boy whose best friend teaches him to stand up to his fears – from spiders to bullies and more. A perfect read for summer!

 

 

 

Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

this_one_summerThis One Summer by Mariko Tamaki

Both hopeful and heartbreaking, this beautiful book is the first graphic novel to be awarded a Caldecott Honor. Mature teens will find it captivating and will readily relate to its coming-of-age explorations of complex friendship and family relationships.

The post Monthly Book List: Our Favorite Books For May appeared first on First Book Blog.

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4. How To Use the First Book Marketplace: Making Purchases, Using Gift Cards and Promotional Codes

purchasing

You’ve learned how to navigate the newly redesigned First Book Marketplace. You’ve searched for the books, school supplies and basic needs items you need for your classroom or program and want to purchase them.

What do you do now?

First, you’ll want to make sure you’re logged in. The great educational tools and resources found on the First Book Marketplace are only available to registered members who serve children in need. Logging in will unlock all the functions of the First Book Marketplace.

In this video, you’ll learn what to do once you’re ready to make a purchase. You’ll also learn how to apply discount codes, how to use gift cards and how to distinguish between the two.

Watch to learn more:

The post How To Use the First Book Marketplace: Making Purchases, Using Gift Cards and Promotional Codes appeared first on First Book Blog.

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5. Now Faster and Easier to Use: Your First Book Marketplace

fbmp

Drumroll please… Today, we introduce to you the newly redesigned First Book Marketplace.

Updated with your needs in mind, your First Book Marketplace is now faster and simpler to use. Powerful new search capabilities and an improved navigation menu make it easy to find the great books and educational resources you’ve come to expect from First Book. And now you can access them all from the palm of your hand — the entire site is mobile friendly!

For years, you’ve generously shared the needs facing your classrooms and programs. Your feedback directly influenced every improvement and enhancement you’ll experience on the upgraded site.

On top of the books and learning tools you love, you’ll also find specially-curated collections on popular topics like family engagement, character development, health and wellness, and diversity. First Book’s entire inventory, including school supplies, technology, digital learning materials, basic needs items and educational activities is more accessible than ever before.

Stay tuned all week as we share videos on how to use some of the great new features of your First Book Marketplace. Start here by learning how to navigate and search the newly designed site:

The post Now Faster and Easier to Use: Your First Book Marketplace appeared first on First Book Blog.

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6. Watch What Happens: Kids Pick out Books for Summer Reading

“This is the best day I’ve ever had!”
“This is the book I’ve always been looking for!”

These are the typical responses heard when Book Harvest comes to a school with their Books on Break program.

Book Harvest seeks to address periods of vulnerability in a child’s literacy development by ensuring books are easily accessible. Summer is one of the most challenging times to keep kids’ reading skills on track.

Once a year, Book Harvest takes over school libraries throughout Durham, North Carolina and covers every surface of the library with books. Each child is given a string backpack preloaded with information for parents about the program. It even includes an invitation for the students to come back over the summer and choose more books.

The children explore the variety of books in the library, filling their backpacks with ten books to take home and read over the summer.

Watch what happens when they pick out their books to take home for summer reading:

The post Watch What Happens: Kids Pick out Books for Summer Reading appeared first on First Book Blog.

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7. Celebrate Mother’s Day: Read a Book Together!

Looking for a great way to celebrate Mother’s Day? Read a book together and try these activities.

The books below are just some of the books identified by Search Institute that model behaviors that make families stronger: collaborating, encouraging and exploring.

Read these books together and use the activities listed after each book to grow together as a family.

Brothers At Bat: The True Story of An Amazing All-Brother Baseball Team by Audrey Vernick; illustrated by Steven Salerno

brothers at bat
The kindness and generosity of the Acerra family helped their twelve sons become the longest-playing all-brother baseball team in history.

This book shows collaborating: learning, growing and solving problems with your child.

Try this after reading:

Your family is like a team. Each person plays a different role and has different talents. To help your family recognize these, sit down as a group and have each person write or draw pictures of a strength they think each member of the family brings to your team. Talk as a family about the work you do to support one another, as well as skills you can teach one another.

Abuela by Arthur Dorros; illustrated by Elisa Kleven

abuela
Take flight with Rosalba and her grandmother as they soar in Rosalba’s imagination all over New York City, visiting family and seeing places with special meaning to Abuela.

This book shows exploring: exposing your child to new ideas, experiences and places.

Try this after reading:

Maps offer fun opportunities to talk about and discover places of importance to you.
Talk with your child about familiar locations, like the places where friends and family live and work, then draw a map together that includes those spots. Or, ask your child to invent a world they’d like to travel to, then draw a map of it and pretend you’re visiting that place together. What do you see, smell or hear? Talk with your child about this new world and the things that make it different from your own.

My Name is Yoon by Helen Recorvits; illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska

Yoon
Yoon feels unhappy after her family moves from Korea to the United States, until she gets encouragement at home and at school and learns to write her name in English.

This book shows encouraging: praising your child’s efforts and achievements.

Talk and ask questions as you read:

  • Tell your child about a time you felt like you didn’t belong. ASK: Has that happened to you? What did you do? Did someone help you feel included?
  • Yoon’s parents are proud of her when she sings to them in English. Remind your child about a time you were proud of him or her. ASK: What are you proud of?

Educators and program leaders serving children in need can find more books with tips and activities in the Build Strong Families with Stories section of the First Book Marketplace. Developed in partnership with  Search Institute, through generous funding from Disney, each book comes with a FREE downloadable tipsheet with tips and discussion questions like the ones above.

 

 

The post Celebrate Mother’s Day: Read a Book Together! appeared first on First Book Blog.

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8. Why We Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day

Teacher Appreciation v3

A teacher’s job is never done.

Their days are spent solving math problems, analyzing the passages of books,  teaching the great lessons of history and serving as their students’ trusted experts. But when the final bell rings, their day isn’t finished. There are countless pages of homework to grade, lessons to plan and maybe even a sports team to coach.

The National Center for Education Statistics found that the average teacher is required to work 37 hours a week, but actually works an average of 52 hours a week. And only 30 of these hours are spent in the classroom instructing students. They spend 22 hours a week on other school-related activities.

Today is Teacher Appreciation Day (and this week is Teacher Appreciation Week!)

There are so many reasons to thank teachers for their hard work and long work days.  Take a moment this week to thank the teachers around you for  their hard work and the dedication they have for the kids they serve.

You can even send them an eCard to show how much you appreciate them.

THANK YOU TEACHERS!

The post Why We Celebrate Teacher Appreciation Day appeared first on First Book Blog.

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9. Share This eCard on Teacher Appreciation Day – and beyond!

Tomorrow is Teacher Appreciation Day!

Teachers are truly worth celebrating. They dedicate their time and energy to patiently teaching each child, making learning their top priority. They are mentors, coaches and trusted friends. They introduce us to some of our first lesson and stories.

Share this eCard with a teacher or educator that has made a difference in your life or the lives of kids in your community.

Thank a teacher ecard 2015 v3

The post Share This eCard on Teacher Appreciation Day – and beyond! appeared first on First Book Blog.

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10. Your Students Can Make a Difference in Their Communities

Read and Act

Use these great books to get your students them thinking about how they can make a difference in their communities.

These activities, paired with stories, help students use their own skills and passion to take action.

For more tips and activities to use with the books below, click on the cover images. You’ll find a free downloadable tipsheet available through the First Book Marketplace. Each is full of activities, conversation starters and ways to harness the inspiration kids feel after each story.

New Shoes Written by Susan Lynn Meyer Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

New Shoes

Ella Mae’s excitement about shopping for a new pair of back-to-school shoes disappears when
she discovers that because she is black, she’s not welcome to try on the shoes she wants to
buy. With the help of her cousin, Ella Mae counters this discrimination by opening a used shoe
store where anyone is welcome to try on all the shoes they want.

Try this activity to reinforce the issues of inclusion and exclusion:

Ella Mae and Charlotte’s shoe store is inclusive.

Get kids thinking about what it takes to be inclusive with this spin on musical chairs. Play it like traditional musical chairs except no one is out after a chair is removed. Instead, students have to figure out how to make room for everyone to have a seat as the number of chairs available gets smaller and smaller. After the music ends, ask students how they felt about making room for others.

Citizen Scientists: Be A Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard Written by Loree Griffin Burns, Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

citizen scientist

This is a hands-on photographic guide for getting kids involved in real and important
scientific research. Kids learn how to become citizen scientists and how to identify wildlife,
collect data, and tag species in their own backyards and neighborhoods. It includes four
projects tied to the four seasons.

Use this activity to teach kids about environmental issues:

Talk about why it is important for citizens to stay informed about things that impact the environment. Together, scan the news for items of interest and importance that effect the environment and your community, such as land development or water restrictions.

Find out what issue or issues resonate with your students and have them study them from all perspectives. Have them look beyond how the environment is effected to the political, social, and economic consequences. What are their concerns? Discuss their ideas for staying informed about their issues and what they can do to have a voice in what happens in their community.

Seedfolks Written by Paul Fleischman

seedfolks

In an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, creating a small garden in a vacant lot turns isolated neighbors into a true community. The transformation is narrated by 13 different voices, each of whom have their own problems, fears, and prejudices. But the garden—and being part of a community—helps the characters discover something new or forgotten about themselves.

Try this activity to help students consider how a person’s background can influence how they think about their place in the world and the place of others:

Group students in pairs and assign each of them a character from Seedfolks. Have them each research
their character’s cultural background in preparation for writing a dialogue between their two characters. In researching their characters’ backgrounds, what have they found that the characters have in common? What would they disagree on?

Before students read and perform their dialogues for the class, have the class predict what kinds of conversations characters will have. After students present their dialogues, have them discuss  whether finding out more about the backgrounds of the characters made it easier or harder to have them  communicate and learn from each other.

Developed as a joint project with Youth Service America and with generous support from Disney, each hand-picked book in the Read and Act section is paired with a FREE downloadable tip sheet.

The post Your Students Can Make a Difference in Their Communities appeared first on First Book Blog.

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11. Your Students Can Make a Difference in Their Communities

Read and Act

Use these great books to get your students them thinking about how they can make a difference in their communities.

These activities, paired with stories, help students use their own skills and passion to take action.

For more tips and activities to use with the books below, click on the cover images. You’ll find a free downloadable tipsheet available through the First Book Marketplace. Each is full of activities, conversation starters and ways to harness the inspiration kids feel after each story.

New Shoes Written by Susan Lynn Meyer Illustrated by Eric Velasquez

New Shoes

Ella Mae’s excitement about shopping for a new pair of back-to-school shoes disappears when
she discovers that because she is black, she’s not welcome to try on the shoes she wants to
buy. With the help of her cousin, Ella Mae counters this discrimination by opening a used shoe
store where anyone is welcome to try on all the shoes they want.

Try this activity to reinforce the issues of inclusion and exclusion:

Ella Mae and Charlotte’s shoe store is inclusive.

Get kids thinking about what it takes to be inclusive with this spin on musical chairs. Play it like traditional musical chairs except no one is out after a chair is removed. Instead, students have to figure out how to make room for everyone to have a seat as the number of chairs available gets smaller and smaller. After the music ends, ask students how they felt about making room for others.

Citizen Scientists: Be A Part of Scientific Discovery From Your Own Backyard Written by Loree Griffin Burns, Photographs by Ellen Harasimowicz

citizen scientist

This is a hands-on photographic guide for getting kids involved in real and important
scientific research. Kids learn how to become citizen scientists and how to identify wildlife,
collect data, and tag species in their own backyards and neighborhoods. It includes four
projects tied to the four seasons.

Use this activity to teach kids about environmental issues:

Talk about why it is important for citizens to stay informed about things that impact the environment. Together, scan the news for items of interest and importance that effect the environment and your community, such as land development or water restrictions.

Find out what issue or issues resonate with your students and have them study them from all perspectives. Have them look beyond how the environment is effected to the political, social, and economic consequences. What are their concerns? Discuss their ideas for staying informed about their issues and what they can do to have a voice in what happens in their community.

Seedfolks Written by Paul Fleischman

seedfolks

In an immigrant neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, creating a small garden in a vacant lot turns isolated neighbors into a true community. The transformation is narrated by 13 different voices, each of whom have their own problems, fears, and prejudices. But the garden—and being part of a community—helps the characters discover something new or forgotten about themselves.

Try this activity to help students consider how a person’s background can influence how they think about their place in the world and the place of others:

Group students in pairs and assign each of them a character from Seedfolks. Have them each research
their character’s cultural background in preparation for writing a dialogue between their two characters. In researching their characters’ backgrounds, what have they found that the characters have in common? What would they disagree on?

Before students read and perform their dialogues for the class, have the class predict what kinds of conversations characters will have. After students present their dialogues, have them discuss  whether finding out more about the backgrounds of the characters made it easier or harder to have them  communicate and learn from each other.

Developed as a joint project with Youth Service America and with generous support from Disney, each hand-picked book in the Read and Act section is paired with a FREE downloadable tip sheet.

The post Your Students Can Make a Difference in Their Communities appeared first on First Book Blog.

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12. A Thank You Note from Camila

Every week we receive dozens of thank you notes from schools and programs just like this one. Kids thank us for books they don’t want to put down, books that help them study and succeed, books they wouldn’t otherwise have.

The book she received is turning her into an enthusiastic learner who loves to read.

Thank you for all you do to provide books to kids like Camila. They so appreciate it.

Thank you letter

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13. Monthly Book List: Our Five Favorite Books for April

Our favorite books for April teach some important lessons!

One celebrates the human body and diversity, while others teach kindness and the keys to a true friendship. You’ll find a story that will help foster kids’ sense of empathy and understanding and an award-winning novel that tackles the topics of prejudice and police brutality.

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

happy_in_our_skin_2Happy in Our Skin written by Fran Manushkin and illustrated by Lauren Tobia

This affirming and informative book is a charmer and a true celebration – both of diversity and of the human body! Kids will enjoy poring over the diverse faces and hidden details on these pages as they learn about the important role skin plays in their lives.

 

 

For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

my_best_friend_mary_ann_rodmanMy Best Friend written by Mary Ann Rodman and illustrated by E.B. Lewis

Friendships and healthy relationships – those are two key themes of this read-aloud that will have your students’ undivided attention. Honest and relatable, it perfectly illustrates the confusion kids experience when they want to be liked but set their targets on the wrong person. This book will help them understand that a true friend treats others the way we all want to be treated – with kindness.

 

 

For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

toys_go_out_emily_jenkins_2Toys Go Out: Being the Adventures of a Knowledgeable Stingray, a Toughy Little Buffalo, and Someone Called Plastic written by Emily Jenkins and illustrated by Paul O. Zelinsky

Hilarious and heart-warming, this chapter book is a perfect pick for kids wanting a laugh-out-loud funny book to read on their own. It also makes a perfect family read-aloud!

 

 

 

For 5th and 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

steal_a_dogHow to Steal a Dog written by by Barbara O’Connor

Empathy, understanding, and a clearer sense of right and wrong – these are just some of the lessons kids will take away from this wonderful, highly accessible book about a well-intentioned girl whose frustrations get the better of her when her family loses their apartment and is forced to live out of their car.

 

Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+):

all_american_boysAll-American Boys written by Jason Reynolds & Brendan Kiely

Teens will be both won over and bowled over by this tremendous novel about prejudice, power, and police brutality. Fantastic fuel for discussion, it’s A 2016 Coretta Scott King Author Honor book and the recipient of the Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature!

The post Monthly Book List: Our Five Favorite Books for April appeared first on First Book Blog.

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14. Teaching Good Character with Books

reading into character

Stories can help children to develop into responsible, caring and contributing citizens.

Use the activities for each book below to teach good character traits like kindness, self-control and perseverance to your students.

To view all the books chosen and to see all the tips and activities suggested for each book, visit the Reading Into Character Section on the First Book Marketplace.

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse written and illustrated by Kevin Henkes

This story models self-control: being able to deny your short-term impulses in order to stay focused and pursue what is really important

Lilly's

Lilly loved school, until her teacher took away her fabulous movie star sunglasses, her three shiny quarters and her brand new purple plastic purse.

Ask these questions after reading the story:

  • Lilly wants to show off her new things, even though she knows it’s not the right time. Why do you think is it so hard to wait when you’re excited?
  • Even though Lilly loves Mr. Slinger, she is furious with him for taking away her things. Why is she so angry? Should she be angry?
Wilma Unlimited: How Wilma Rudolph Became the World’s Fastest Woman written by Kathleen Krull, illustrated by David Diaz

This story models resilience and perseverance: honoring your word and your intentions by working hard toward an important goal, despite setbacks and challenges

wilma

A small and sickly child, Wilma Rudolph wore a heavy brace on her leg when she was a little girl, but she grew up to win three Olympic gold medals for running.

Try this activity to learn more about resilient athletes:

Who are today’s women’s sports stars? Ask your students to choose their favorite female champions in track, basketball, tennis, soccer, and more. Research their lives. Create a Women’s Sports Hall of Fame for your classroom.

Those Shoes written by Maribeth Boelts, illustrated by Noah Z. Jones

This story models kindness and compassion: valuing others so much that you show them respect and offer help to them as a way of honoring their value

those shoes
Like all the other boys in school, Jeremy wants black high tops with two white stripes. But when he finally gets a pair, he realizes that he needs to give them away.

Try this activity to practice kindness and compassion:

Investigate local charities that welcome donations of good-as-new clothing, toys, books, or other useful items. Be sure to play close attention to their donation guidelines. If feasible, organize a class- or school-wide donation drive.

Developed as a joint project with Character.org and with generous support from Disney, each hand-picked book in the Reading Into Character section is paired with a FREE downloadable tip sheet.

The post Teaching Good Character with Books appeared first on First Book Blog.

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15. Books Gave Him A Sense of Home – Even When He Didn’t Have One

DSC_5199

Today’s guess blogger is Melissa Spradlin, Executive Director of Book’em in Nashville, TN.

I want to tell you about Ben.

From our first meeting, Ben had an extraordinary connection with books. Every time we met to read together, he chose one to keep. He was exceptionally grateful for each one. I could tell the books had a special effect on him.

Ben’s family was homeless. They had been evicted from their home. Sometimes they lived with relatives, sometimes in a shelter.

Ben kept all of his belongings in his backpack, including his books. He carried them with him everywhere he went. He treasured his books – they were among his few possessions. The sturdy spines and crisp pages gave him a sense of home, even when he didn’t have one.

There are so many kids like Ben who cherish the books they receive from First Book. They rely on them as familiar friends during tough times.

If you work with children in need, you can find books and essentials for your students on the First Book Marketplace.

The post Books Gave Him A Sense of Home – Even When He Didn’t Have One appeared first on First Book Blog.

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16. How Arts & Crafts Created a Space to Talk and Heal

firstbook2

Today’s guest blogger is Emily Townsend, an Elementary School Counselor at Lowrie Primary School in Wilsonville, Oregon.

Last year I worked daily with a fourth grade student whose father passed away right before Christmas break. He grieved mostly internally, and became increasingly distant, disengaged, and behind in school.

After feeling like I had tried almost all the tools in my toolbox, I remember setting a velvet poster in front of him – one of the Melissa & Doug Sea Life Reveal posters I purchased from First Book.

I think I was hoping for a calm moment when we could both color and just spend some no-pressure time together being mindful. Although this student had never mentioned any affinity or affection for art, as soon as he picked up the markers to begin filling in the poster he started talking about his father and his feelings for the first time ever at school.

He and I made paper airplanes, learned how to draw jungle animals using the Kids Art Series: How to Draw book I ordered from First Book, and made intricate tangles of doodles while looking at the Draw What! Doodling Book I received in the same order. And he talked. And eventually started feeling better.

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17. Books that Teach Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration

Header

Creativity, critical thinking, communication and collaboration are critical skills for children to learn so they can succeed in today’s world.

Use the books below and the guided questions to teach these concepts found in each story.

You’ll find a well-known fable told from another culture’s perspective, an inspiring tale about a family working together and the true story of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. To view all the books chosen and to see all the tips and activities suggested for each book, visit the Learn for Life section.

Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China Translated and illustrated by Ed Young
Lon Po Po

When sisters Shang, Tao and Paotze get a surprise visitor while their mother is away, they have to figure out if it’s really their Po Po (grandmother) who is at the door.

Lon Po Po is about critical thinking and how you can use lots of clues to figure out a problem. Use these questions and ideas to get your child thinking and talking about the story:

  • What clues did the sisters have to figure out
  • The sisters tricked the wolf. Do you think it was right or wrong to trick the wolf? Why or why not? Have you ever tricked someone? What happened?
Home At Last written by Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Felipe Davalos
Home at Last

The Patiño family moves to the U.S. from Mexico and must learn to speak English and adapt to their new country. Despite some challenges, Ana’s family finds ways to support and encourage one another as they build a new life together.

Home at Last is about communicating and how being able to clearly share your thoughts and needs with others is important to feeling connected. Use these questions and ideas to get your child thinking and talking about the story.

  • Ana and her family learn English when they move to America. Tell me about a time when you learned something new. What happened? How did you feel?
  • Why do you think Mamá doesn’t want to learn English? How did she change her mind?
Balloons Over Broadway by Melissa Sweet
Balloons

This real-life story shares the life of Tony Sarg, the talented puppet-maker who helped the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade come to life.

Balloons Over Broadway is about using CREATIVITY to build on existing ideas to make something new and different. Use these questions and ideas to get your child thinking and talking about the story.

  • What are some different ways Tony uses his creativity in the story?
  • Tony is always looking at his balloons and making changes so that they work better. Why was it important that he kept improving the balloons? How do you think about making something better?

Developed as a joint project with the Partnership for 21st Century Learning and with generous support from Disney, each hand-picked book in the Learn for Life section is paired with a FREE downloadable tip sheet. These tipsheets designed to help you equip the kids you serve with the key 21st century skills they need to thrive in school and in life.

The post Books that Teach Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration appeared first on First Book Blog.

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18. Imagine A School Without A Library

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Today’s guest blog post is by bestselling children’s author Megan McDonald, 2016 Spokesperson for the American Association of School Librarians National School Library Month.

Imagine a school without a library.

A few years back, I was honored to be a visiting author in elementary schools in the state of Florida. After school one day, I was signing books at a table outdoors, because the school did not have a library.

A grandmother waited patiently in line, kids tugging at her. When she reached the table where I was sitting, she held out a well-worn, much-loved copy of my very first book, Is This a House for Hermit Crab?

With tears in her eyes, she told me about the many children, and now grandchildren, she’d taught to read using my book—because it was the one, the only, book they owned at their house.

The school library gave me my start as a reader, and as a writer. It was through my school librarian that I first met Ramona and Homer Price, Laura Ingalls Wilder and Stuart Little, the Melendys and the All-of-a-Kind Family.

Without them, my characters Judy Moody and Stink would not exist.

I want all kids to experience the magic of libraries. I want them to build log cabins out of Popsicle sticks and start their own Independent Saturday Afternoon Adventure Clubs and save the world ala Judy Moody. I want them to grow up to become readers and writers, artists, thinkers, inventors.

But for this to happen, we have to connect kids with books. We have to change lives with books.

First Book is doing just that!

First Book supports educators working in low-income communities with new books and educational resources. By signing up with First Book, school librarians can access affordable, relevant, best-in-class books for all readers, including reluctant readers.

School libraries are the heartbeat of the school. They serve as a resource to all students and support both required and independent reading. They shape lives. Join me in celebrating school libraries and highlighting the important work that school librarians do to transform kids’ learning.

Head for the school library. Seek out a book from First Book.

Anyone working in the lives of kids in need can sign up with First Book at www.firstbook.org/join.

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19. Free Food to Fuel Your Students’ Learning

“Working at a Title I school you learn pretty quickly that if basic needs aren’t met, students aren’t able to move past those needs. No one can learn when they’re hungry. When students are hungry they’re distracted and sleepy. It’s amazing to watch a student eat a snack – sometimes it’s almost like you can see their brain switch on!” – Emily Townsend, Elementary School Counselor, Portland, Oregon

7789 croppedSo many educators and program leaders know that nutrition is essential to a child’s ability to learn. But many of the students they serve don’t have access to the nutritional food they need to succeed.

How does food fuel learning in your classroom or program?

March is National Nutrition Month and to celebrate we have an exciting opportunity for you to help the kids you serve do their best.

If you are a registered member of First Book’s community of educators working with kids in need, you can enter to win a variety of nonperishable food like the items shown below and a set of books to fuel students’ learning in your classroom, school or program.

Simply answer the question “How does food fuel learning in your classroom or program?” by commenting on this Facebook status between March 7 and March 11. See rules below.

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*Entries by individuals serving kids in need who are registered First Book will be eligible to win a selection of nonperishable food items like those featured above and a set of books to fuel learning in their classroom or program, up to a $200 value. Eligible educators should enter to win by answering the question “How does food fuel learning in your classroom or program?” by commenting on this status on First Book’s Facebook page by 11:59 pm EST on March 11, 2016. A winner will be chosen at random from all eligible entries on March 14 and notified via email. The nonperishable food and books awarded to the winner will be selected for age range and number of children served. Nonperishable food is available on the First Book Marketplace in bulk only.

If you work with kids in need, you can sign up here.

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20. Teaching Much More Than Basic Concepts

Mother teaching her child basic concepts

The hundreds of parents in First Five Permian Basin’s Parents as Teachers program are learning to be their child’s first teacher. They’re excited for the challenge. Topics like counting, shapes and colors are at the top of the list of concepts to teach their kids.

“Our parents may ask how to teach a certain concept like colors or counting, and we love to incorporate books into the process,” explains Beth Meyerson, Director of First Five Permian Basin.

Recently, the program received 10 Hungry Rabbits by Anita Lobel, part of the Healthy Kids Collection created by the Mario Batali Foundation, a book that reinforces the concepts of counting and colors.

But this story allowed parents to teach their children much more than these basic concepts.  In addition to the benefits of reading aloud to young child, it offered a fun way to model healthy eating and living.

The book shows a family of hungry 10 bunnies and a mother rabbit who has nothing to fill her soup pot. One by one, the bunnies go to the garden. They find vegetables and fruits of various colors and numbers to fill the pot, all accompanied by beautiful illustrations that would entice any hungry young reader. At the end of the story, the family sits down to enjoy a big, healthy pot of vegetable soup.

“Children are making neural connections when they are so young, so what they learn in the first five years of their life is going to imprint with them,” explains Beth. “Whatever message they’re hearing or seeing from their parents is going to plant inside them as a young child. So, if a child has exposure to how wonderful carrots and broccoli are, it’s going to become a part of their ongoing life.”

The Healthy Kids Collection features several books that teach basic concepts while highlighting healthy living and eating. If you work with children in need, you can access these books through the First Book Marketplace.

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21. Monthly Book List: Our Five Favorite Poetry Books

Poetry month banner wo books

April is National Poetry Month! We’ve selected our favorite poetry books for you to share with your readers of meter and rhyme.

From clever poetry favorites and nursery rhymes, to craftily created illustrations and novels in verse, you’ll find poetry for all ages to inspire even the most reluctant future-poets.

If you work with children in need, you can find these books of poetry and many more on the First Book Marketplace.

For Pre-K –K (Ages 3-6):

Neighborhood Mother Goose  Written and illustrated by Nina Crews

Traditional nursery rhymes get a fun, modern treatment in this wonderfully kid-friendly collection. Illustrated with clever photos of diverse kids in a city setting, it’s a fantastic addition to any preschool library!

For 1st and 2nd Grade (Ages 6-8):

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Sail Away Poems by Langston Hughes illustrated by Ashley Bryan

Legendary illustrator Ashley Bryan pairs the lush language of Langston Hughes with vibrant cut paper collages in this wonderful assortment of poems that celebrate the sea. It’s a read-aloud dream!

 

For 3rd & 4th grade (Ages 8-10):

where_sidewalkWhere the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein

Generations of readers have laughed themselves silly over the poems in this wildly imaginative collection from a beloved poet. Several members of our staff can recite poems from this book from memory – just ask. Giggles guaranteed!

 


For 5th and 6th Grade (Ages 10-12):

animal_poetryNational Geographic Book of Animal Poetry: 200 Poems with Photographs That Squeak, Soar, and Roar! Edited by J. Patrick Lewis

An incredible gift for any kid, family, or teacher! Stunning National Geographic photos fill the pages of this huge anthology that introduces kids to poems both old and new. It’s a book they’ll never outgrow and will pull of the shelf again and again.

 Grades 7 & up (Ages 13+)

red_pencil_2The Red Pencil Written by Andrea Davis Pinkney, with illustrations by Shane W. Evans

Both heartbreaking and hopeful, this beautiful novel in verse tells the story of a Sudanese refugee whose spirit is wounded by war but reawakened by creativity and inspiration. Readers will be moved by this story of optimism in the face of great obstacles.

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22. An Educator’s Campaign to Revitalize Her Library

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When Vanessa Cadena entered the library at Bret Harte Middle School this school year, she knew she had a big job ahead of her.

It was Vanessa’s first year at the school and the library had not been updated in almost twenty years. Full of damaged and outdated books, Vanessa saw the reluctance on the kids’ faces when they left the library with books they didn’t want to read.

“It was a space that was defined by a vast collection of outdated and tattered books, technology and furniture. It begged to be pumped with vitality again,” said Vanessa, the Library Media Specialist for the school.

To create the library her students needed, Vanessa needed some help.  She started a First Book Fundly campaign with the goal to raise $1,000 to invigorate the shelves.  She reached out to the PTA at both her school and the elementary schools whose students would be attending Bret Harte in the future. She spread the word via social media, faculty, friends, the local public library and the closest books hop. She even enlisted the help of an intern to pass out flyers promoting the campaign.

index1When she not only met, but exceeded her goal, Vanessa was ecstatic – and so were her 7th and 8th graders. With the money raised, Vanessa was able to add 350 books to her library. This year alone she has purchased 1,000 brand-new books from First Book to revitalize the collection.

It’s made an immense difference in the reading habits of her middle schoolers.

Now, Vanessa has “regulars.” She can’t keep fiction and graphic novels in stock and students race to library to see her new arrival section. When the kids take home a book, they usually finish it by the next day.

“Kids are excited to read,” Vanessa explains. “The teachers have told me this is the first year they could send their students to the library and every single student comes out with a book – and it’s a book they are reading and excited about.”

Want to bring books to your school or program, or one in your community? Visit www.firstbook.fundly.com to start a campaign.

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23. Protected: testing testing 123

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24. Activities to Spark Conversation Between Adults and Children

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Books are great tools for sparking conversation between adults and children.

They can inspire conversation and activities around a diverse range of topics, including feelings, imagination and different family structures. These conversations can help you share lessons with students and can deepen bonds between family members.

Use the books and activities below to get kids and families talking!

Marisol McDonald and the Clash Bash / Marisol McDonald y la fiesta sin igual (Bilingual, English/Spanish) by Monica Brown

Marisol
Marisol’s birthday is coming up. She wonders how she can decide on a theme for her birthday party; all the things she loves seem to clash! All she really wants is to see her grandmother who lives in Peru, but visiting is difficult and expensive. However, with some creative thinking, there may be a way to plan the perfect party and see her abuela.

Try this activity with this book:

Have everyone in the family spend some time writing down the things that make them unique or one of a kind. Some specific prompts you may want to use are:

  • My appearance is unique because…
  • I’m unique at school or work because…
  • I’m unique because I’m good at…
  • I’m unique because I enjoy…

Share your unique qualities with one another, and talk about how you are similar and different.

Little Pink Pup by Johanna Kerby
Pup

Pink was the runt of a litter of 12 piglets. He had trouble growing and thriving until he was welcomed and cared for by a dachshund foster mom. Real photographs show the development of the unlikely bond between puppies and pig in this touching true story.

Try this activity with this book:

Talk and ask questions before, during and after reading the story together. One question you could ask is “Many people in our lives can show us that they care about us, not just our biological families. Who are some people who care about you? How do they show you that they care about you?”

Flower Garden by Eve Bunting
Flower

Flower Garden is a sweet, rhyming story about the work that goes into creating a very special surprise for a mother’s birthday.

Try this activity with this book:

Take some time to go on a nature walk by visiting a nearby park or walking around your neighborhood, and talk about what you see. Talk about the ways in which nature looks different during the different seasons. If possible, collect some bits and pieces of natural objects along your way and place them in a bag. When you get home, use the natural objects you have collected, glue, and some paper or cardboard to create a nature poster.

These are just three of the books from First Book’s Read Together, Talk Together section that can be used to start conversations. Made possible by generous support from Disney, each hand-picked book is paired with a FREE downloadable tip sheet.

For all of our tips and an even larger selection of books, visit the Read Together, Talk Together section on the First Book Marketplace.

 

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25. Kids Are Behind on This Key Indicator of Success

Title 80% Reading Level Infographic_1

What if your dreams were out of reach before you could even dream them?

For 80% of fourth graders who do not read proficiently, this could be the case.

A child’s ability to read in fourth grade is a key indicator to their future success. From their academic achievement to the job opportunities available to them in the future, a lot is on the line. Many start the critical year behind in their reading skills and many don’t have access to books or even items snacks and school supplies. This makes it even more difficult to catch up.

Do you serve children in need? You can  access books, school supplies and other essentials to help kids learn from the First Book Marketplace. Together, we can empower kids to catch up, stay ahead and follow the dreams they’re just starting to imagine.

 

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