Posts from the ‘classroom resources’ Category

ARA ROCKETS TO SUCCESS

Ara the Star Engineer

Written by Komal Singh

Illustrated by Ipek Konak

I loved this picture book which featured a determined young girl named Ara. She is aptly named for a constellation that contains seven stars. Ara is obsessed with big numbers. She introduces her readers to a number with 100 zeros, a googol. Together with her computer robot, DeeDee, Ara sets out to find out how many stars exist. They visit Innovation Plex, where Ara seeks experts to help her in her quest.

She meets Kripa, a problem solver, in the Data Center who tells her to have courage. Big Problems are solved with a plan. Next, she greets Parisa in the Ideas Lab, who creates the algorithms that permit computers to solve big problems. The next stop is the Coding Center where Diane writes code that allows the algorithm to communicate with the computer. When Ara and Dee put the plan into action, they come up with an error. So Ara visits Maria, the Troubleshooter, who installs more computing power with a new processor and memory chip. At last, they achieve success. Ara learns that collaboration and teamwork solve problems.

At the end of the book, readers find a journal record of the steps Ara followed as well as an introduction to some superheroes in computer science. There is also a glossary of technical terms from the story. The author targets this book for ages five through seven, though I would highly recommend it for older boys and girls as well. The design of the book features many bright colors and multicultural female role models. They certainly draw the eye inward but may be a bit too much stimulation for the younger reader. Hope to see many more books in this series.

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WHAT TO DO?

Hermione Granger’s Unofficial Life Lessons and Words of Wisdom: What would Hermione (from the Harry Potter series) Say?

Written by Euphemia Pinkerton Noble

This is an interesting read for fans of the Harry Potter series of all ages. The author presents questions written in a journal format. Noble chooses situations that pop up in our everyday lives and then poses the question of how Hermione would answer.

Hermione Granger is the smartest witch at Hogwarts. She is a hard worker, who places a high value on loyalty, friendship and love. Hermione often chooses the more difficult path because she knows it is the right, if not easy, thing to do. At first, the boys ignore or resist her, but eventually come to know she is the one who holds things together.

Noble urges her readers to first read through the book quickly and make a few notes about the questions they find most relevant to themselves. I particularly enjoyed the section on facing challenges and chasing dreams in which so many middle-grade and teen readers will find much to think about. The last section on believing in yourself probably sums up Hermione’s philosophy on life best.

This book could become an asset for preteens and teens who are struggling to develop their own views. Parents, grandparents, and teachers might find this book a good way to open family discussions.

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GHOSTS OF THE PAST

Babu and Bina at the Ghost Party (Babu and Bina Book Series 1)

Written by P Tomar

Illustrated by Giulia Iacopini

Mama and Papa Trunk are preparing to take their elephant children, Babu and Bina to the old Indian fort. The children are excited. When a candy man warns them to watch out for the ghost of the Maharaja, their interest peaks even more. As the children eagerly explore the fort, Pina, their pup, takes off. They follow her and get locked in a mysterious room where they will meet many ghosts of the fort gathered together for a celebration. Will the children find a way back to their parents?

Babu and Bina are an adorable brother and sister pair who teach their readers much about sibling cooperation and Indian history. This promises to be an interesting series on Indian culture and history. Vivid illustrations will engage even the youngest reader. The short length makes it a good choice for a bedtime story or a read- aloud. Recommended for children ages three through eight.

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LEVELING THE PLAYING FIELD

P.I.N.K. BACKPACK GENDER EQUALITY SERIES BOOK 1

Written by Trish Allison

 

P.I.N.K. stands for persistence, intelligence, necessary and kind. The author writes this book as a guide for parents to help daughters become aware of and respond to gender equality bias. She provides suggestions as to how to approach the topic. Parents will need to modify these suggestions depending on the age and individual personality of their child.

Topics discussed include how to navigate online, how to discover appropriate STEM models, how to minimize stress and become successful in science projects, how to create a STEM friendly environment for your daughter at home, how to develop and sustain interest in STEM during the tween and teen years, how to make your daughter comfortable in social settings that empower girls, and how to create a gender bias-free environment in your own household.

This book could become a valuable resource for parents who want to encourage positive self-image and self-confidence in their daughters to succeed in any type of role or career situation.

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ROOM TO GROW

The Scribbles: Inspiring Kids to Draw

Rebecca and James McDonald

This is a charming black and white book that encourages children to learn to draw. Many children feel frustrated because they lack an artistic flair. Readers are introduced to three-line drawings dubbed The Scribbles. Anyone who came across the page thought them a bunch of scribblers. One day a child came along and said hello. The child saw the great potential that each of the scribbles might be. This child could see a sun, a mountain and a tree possibility within their lines. The child was just beginning to learn to draw, but he persisted until he created a sun and a mountain. But when the child approached the third scribble, he became frustrated and disheartened. It was The Scribbles turn to encourage and motivate the child to continue until he succeeded. Soon the child was pushing himself to more complicated drawings.

I like the author’s message that there is potential to succeed if a child has the courage to persist. The amount of talent is not nearly as important as the determination to succeed. Recommended especially for preschoolers and primary grade children as a motivational tool.

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A HANDBOOK FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS

Roadmap to Navigating Your Child’s Disability
Written by Chrissie Kahan
Illustrated by Blueberry Illustrations

I would heartily recommend this book for parents and educators who are interested in navigating the tricky world of special education. For parents who suspect that something is just not right, this book provides an introduction to the types of disabilities and treatments available. Teachers who have not been trained in the field of special education need a basic understanding of the problems and resources available to treat them.

This book is divided into three sections. The first part explores the endless jargon employed in the educational testing, developing the plan, and implementing the Individual Educational Plan that each diagnosed child is entitled to have. This is a very scary and confusing process for parents. In the second section, the author explains who are the members of the team, how long the process takes, and how a parent can successfully advocate for their child. The third section is an alphabetical listing of the most common disabilities found in children, accommodations available within the school, reference links to resources, and how to reinforce what is taught in the school setting right in the home.

The world of special education is often written in legal language fraught with difficulty to understand. The way an IEP is developed and implemented varies greatly from state to state and school district. This book gives parents and teachers a good introduction and provides a readable reference source. As an educator with forty years of experience in general and special education, I would highly recommend this handbook to those about to become familiar with the special education world.

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A COIN IN HAND

The Rolling Quarter

Written by Allon Merhav

Illustrated by Eyal Eilat

 

This book follows the journey of a quarter from the time it is made at the mint. The rolling quarter is a cheerful narrator who tells of his beginning at the mint with George Washington stamped on his head and The Statue of Liberty stamped on his tail. From the mint, he is taken to a vault in a bank where he meets lots of other coins. Then he journeys to a wallet, where he is crowded with other bills and coins. The quarter finds his way to a vegetable store, a cash register, and many other stores and wallets. Eventually, he finds his way to a young girl’s piggy bank where he is deposited as she saves for something special. Soon the day will come when the rolling quarter will move again.

The book is a nice introduction to the trail of the money system for young elementary school children. Readers learn how money is made and what happens to it as it is placed in circulation. They find out about the importance of saving. The illustrations are well-done, and the story is easy to read. Recommended for children in kindergarten through third grade.

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