books · craft · illustrations · narrative · noticings

The Book Stack

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An eclectic little stack today. Click on the images to go to a link about the book.


I’ve been enjoying books I can read a little here and a little there. This book, however, is one I found myself engulfing. Even though there are 21 conversations with different illustrators, and even though I started with my favorites, I’ve found myself reading all of them. I’m intrigued by the work and thinking behind illustrations, as well as the way Leonard S. Marcus crafted the conversations. I want to craft interviews like he does. It is a great book to use as a teacher preparing for an author/illustrator study. In addition, it is a great book to excerpt interviews and use as mentor texts to help students understand the craft of writing interviews. There is much more to it than writing questions and then transcribing the answers verbatim. This book is helping me understand the sophistication that comes with writing interviews and sharing them with an audience. It will be available on May 8.

HAPPY LIKE SOCCER by Maribeth Boelts and illustrated by Lauren Castillo, Candlewick, 2012

I love Maribeth Boelt’s work. You know her from THOSE SHOES, right? This new book, HAPPY LIKE SOCCER, is a gem. I read it every day last week and continue to be in awe by the craft of the story. Not only that, but it tugs at my heart strings every time I read it. It pushes readers to infer and helps writers see how to build stories through showing instead of telling. The sophistication of Maribeth’s craft pushes me to hone my own narrative writing. “Someday, I want to write like Maribeth,” Hannah, my fourth grade daughter said to me last Friday. I’m sure this text will be a go-to mentor in many classrooms, across grade levels, next year. Get your copy on May 8.

SUPPOSE YOU MEET A DINOSAUR: A FIRST BOOK OF MANNERS by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Time Bowers, Knopf Books, a division of Random House, 2012

This book makes us giggle every time we read it. Full of vibrant illustrations and clever text, I’ve been spinning how this book might play out in a primary writing workshop when studying informative writing. It’s a question-answer format, with the answers in the form of speech bubbles. It is a natural structure for our youngest writers, but with a little twist.

And since we’ve been reading SUPPOSE YOU MEET A DINOSAUR, we just had to get out some of our other favorite Judy Sierra books:


13 thoughts on “The Book Stack

  1. I just recently signed up to read your blog and I’ve already gotten so much out of it. Love hearing about these great new books. Thank you !


  2. Ruth,

    I love WILD ABOUT BOOKS! Thanks for the info. on the SHOW ME A STORY and HAPPY LIKE SOCCER. I tucked them in my shopping cart until their release dates. I like this Monday feature. I am currently reading THE ONE AND ONLY IVAN and starting THE HOUSE AT TYNEFORD, the next selection for my adult book club. ~ Theresa


  3. I too, am intrigued by your posts of book suggestions. I am wondering if there is commentary by Mo Willems just because of seeing pigeon and duck? We love to read his stories-one of our favorites is Pigeon finds a Hotdog! We act out the parts of the characters when we read it together (Kameron and me). Plus, I love children’s literature so I am anxious to hear what the illustrators have to say…I want to check out the other books too…I am not familiar with “Those Shoes” so I’ll check it out on our next library visit! Thanks for sharing Ruth!


  4. I too am very intrigued by Why Picture Books Matter. Looks like a great resource. I spend so much time drawing with students at the beginning of the year, it would be great to use this as inpspiration and to see their processes. Thanks for the great suggestions.


  5. I have so many soccer-crazy students, can’t wait to see the book by Maribeth Boelts. I love the title…I have observed so many times that my students are transformed when they are playing soccer, and they are completely happy in those moments. I am going to make sure our school librarian knows about this book, too. We will need multiple copies, I am sure.


  6. That book about soccer looks great, Ruth. When you reviewed Those Shoes, I did get it, & you are so right, the story is really special, so guess this must go on the list too. And the interview book does sound like such a good mentor text for us and to teach students. Thanks for telling about still more goodies!


  7. “It pushes readers to infer and helps writers see how to build stories through showing instead of telling.”

    Yes, thank you for not only sharing a great book (I will have to find and read soon!) but also for suggesting a teaching strategy. Finding models for showing vs telling is so important, I love that you shared it here.

    Enjoy your week of reading!


  8. Oh my! I’m in trouble just like Elsie! Thanks goodness for KCLS! I was able to request two of the three titles from our local library system. This system is a bit safer, at least until I read the books. Thanks for sharing the titles and your ideas for using them with students.


  9. Oh Ruth, you are not good for my wallet! You tempt me and make me want these books so much. My book shelves need a revamping to create space for more books. I will keep my eye out for these titles. Thanks for the inspiration (I think).


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