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Teachable Moment: Saying Sorry

12 Nov

Firefly’s November featured book is Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry! by Samantha Berger and illustrated by Bruce Whatley. Laura, Firefly’s editor, had the following to say about the lovable Martha:

Martha is a well behaved little otter—most of the time. After all, she does give hugs, shares her snacks, and makes presents for her family. But there’s one thing Martha doesn’t do very well—apologize. When Martha does something “not so nice” to her mother…and father…and baby brother, she gets a time-out to “think.”  Will this stubborn otter learn to say “I’m sorry”? Featuring simple text with charming illustrations, this is a perfect story (and gentle lesson) to share with young children. Find this sweet and humorous book on Firefly November!

Now, Martha is a cute little otter who does some very nice things, but she has one teeny tiny issue: She doesn’t like to apologize for those small occasions (such as kicking, throwing, or acting rudely) when she hasn’t been very nice. But saying you’re sorry isn’t that important, is it?

As it turns out, it is—after all, you can’t get cookies, hugs, or piggyback rides if you haven’t learned to apologize! Martha Doesn’t Say Sorry! is an excellent way to teach kids the importance of apologizing. With the help of her family, Martha learns that even though we’re sure to make mistakes, using a little “sorry” can turn things around for the better. This fun and humorous story provides a great lesson for those preparing for the holiday season or anytime!

What are some ways you teach your children about the importance of apologizing?

Who Wants a Visit from the Black Lagoon?

3 Nov

Do you ever stop and think: How do authors come up with iconic characters, such as the teacher from the Black Lagoon®? What else would you ask other famous authors if you could? What if…gasp…no one even notices when a famous author visits?

Well, in Mike Thaler (author) and Jared Lee’s (illustrator) latest work, The Author Visit from the Black Lagoon®, Thaler brings this idea to life. Our Lucky Editor, Shelly, reviewed the book for us below:

“A real live author, Penny Inkblot, is coming for a school visit, and Hubie has been selected to escort her! But what if her limousine pulls up and she totally ignores Hubie?  What if the book she reads is as boring as the phone book?! And what if, instead of signing books, she stamps everyone’s foreheads with a rubber stamp!?!”

When the big day arrives, Hubie is relieved to find that Penny Inkblot is supercool. She tells the class how she much loves to write, and that everyone in class can be an author, too. All you need is a pencil, a piece of paper, and your imagination! That’s all that Hubie needs to hear—by the end of the day, he has his written his own story. Perhaps Mrs. Beamster will put it in the school library!”

Remember that you should absolutely check Lucky November or click here to find out how you could win a school visit from Black Lagoon® author, Mike Thaler! Just…don’t ignore him.  🙂

Catastrophic Science

2 Nov

One of the best things about science class is when you get to do the fun experiments. You know which ones we’re talking about—the ones where things may get a little messy. That’s why when we saw The Book of Potentially Catastrophic Science: 50 Experiments for Daring Young Scientists, we knew we had to offer it in our Book Clubs because what student, or anyone interested in science for that matter, wouldn’t want to try out the awesome experiments inside? What’s really great about this book is that it goes into the history and science behind each experiment so you can really learn how and why each experiment is important. From making your own X-ray machine to making a soda bottle rocket based on Robert Goddard’s experiment, there is something that is awesome and daring for all young budding scientists.

In fact, we were so excited about this book that we had to try an experiment out for ourselves. Check out Experiment #34: Robert Goddard’s Soda Bottle Rocket.

Want some more catastrophic science? You can find this HUGE PAPERBACK in November’s TAB.

My Mommy Hung the Moon

26 Oct

When you hear the name Jamie Lee Curtis, you may think of her role in the horror film Halloween or, in a personal favorite, Freaky Friday. However, here at Scholastic Book Clubs, we know her name is also synonymous with best-selling children’s books that feature common childhood experiences and feelings. Together with Laura Cornell’s expressive illustrations, Curtis has written nine wonderful books. Their latest, My Mommy Hung the Moon, does not disappoint. Currently #9 on the New York Times Best Sellers list, it celebrates the unconditional love between a mother and her child. While children will surely agree with the sentiment (Mommy is best at everything!), parents will appreciate the humor in the story.

This is what I like so much about Curtis’s books—how they can be enjoyed by children and adults alike. In her first book, When I Was Little, a four-year-old remembers all the things she did “as a child” and how she is changed now that she’s “big.” In Today I Feel Silly & Other Moods That Make My Day, a young girl talks about her ever-changing moods from angry to excited. Always written from a child’s point of view, Curtis truly captures the nature of young children. Her books are also great discussion starters, as children will love sharing their own experiences and memories after reading any of her stories.

Find My Mommy Hung the Moon in Firefly November! Watch below to hear Jamie talk about the book in her own words:

This post comes to you from Laura, Editor of Firefly.

Reviews from the Experts: Teacher Advisors’ November Picks

22 Oct

 We’ve already introduced Our Scholastic Teacher Advisors to you on the blog earlier this school year and let you know that they would be back to say hi. Well, they’re back!

Here are a few reviews from our November Book Clubs titles! You can find the rest of their reviews on Facebook.

The Chocolate Touch

(Review by Katie Flaherty, Third-Grade Teacher)

The Chocolate Touch by Patrick Skene Catling brings the old adage “be careful what you wish for” cleverly to life. The book follows the story of a chocoholic child, John Midas, who refuses to listen to his parents and his doctor about cutting the chocolate from his diet. John finds a strange coin on the street and enters a mysterious store he’s never seen before and purchases a box of chocolate. After eating this chocolate before bed, John wakes up to find that everything he touches turns to chocolate! What seems like a dream come true at first soon becomes a problem. Second through fourth grade students will find themselves enthralled in this hilarious chapter book to find out if John can reverse the chocolate curse! 

Llama, Llama Holiday Drama

(Review by Julie Novak, Kindergarten Teacher)

Well, Anna Dewdney does it again! In her new book, Llama Llama Holiday Drama, counting down to Christmas is hard for young Llama Llama. Young children have such trouble waiting for anything—especially Christmas, with all the magic of the season.  Mama must remind Llama Llama about the special gift of the season: FAMILY! I am excited to share this beautifully illustrated book with my kindergarten class. What fun it is to read this book with its bouncing rhythm and rhyme. After reading the book, sit down with your child and talk about all the holiday traditions you had when you were a young child. The special moments you spend now with your child will be wonderful memories when he or she grows up.

If you enjoyed any of the Llama Llama books, then you must get a copy of Llama Llama Holiday Drama to add to your collection!

Adam Rex: Monster Mind Extraordinaire

19 Oct

Adam Rex is definitely a Book Club favorite. You’ve heard his name before—he illustrated Mac Barnett’s Brixton Brothers series, and was kind enough to interview him for our blog. He’s involved with picture books, novels, short stories—he’s everywhere…and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Today, we thought we’d share this hilarious trailer for Frankenstein Takes the Cake:

Can’t get enough Frankenstein? Check out this review of Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich written by Caitlin, our resident Lucky Editor.

Picture the Dead

14 Oct

A few months ago, I was wandering around Book Expo America in New York and as I passed by the Source Books booth, a book cover caught my eye. It was gothic, full of deep reds, blacks, and silvers, and it was called Picture the Dead

…I had to have it. I was actually lucky enough to happen upon the booth just as the line was starting for the author and illustrator signing! Adele Griffin and Lisa Brown were both lovely and hilariously dressed like this:

 

Adele is the one in the moustache. Lisa's in the corset.

 

At the time, I didn’t realize how perfectly their attire tied in with the book. Picture the Dead turned out to be a terrifying and romantic tale—part mystery, part ghost story—set in the Civil War era. Check out what Kristin, our very own TAB/TeenRC Editor, had to say about it:

“A spy sees everyone, but is seen by no one. Remember that, Jennie.”

Jennie Lovell has lost everything: her parents, her twin, her fiancé…even her home. Forced to depend on uncaring relatives, Jennie tries to find a way out of her shattered life. When she meets a spirit photographer who claims to take ghostly pictures of the departed, she is sure he is a charlatan. But when the photographs begin to unveil clues to her fiancé’s death, Jennie finds herself in the middle of a chilling mystery. A haunting tale with amazing illustrations about the dark secrets kept by the living…and the dead.

Want to know more? Watch this clip of Lisa and Adele talking about the genesis of Picture the Dead:

Definitely pick up Picture the Dead on TAB October!