The Classroom Bookshelf
Inside The Classroom Bookshelf

Here and Now: A Picture Book Meditation on How to Live Life More Fully Present

With each turn of the page, Here and Now celebrates the beauty, magic, and wonder of every moment and the interconnectedness of all things. Written as a “real-time meditation” (author’s note), the spare picture book reads like a recipe for living life more fully present.

Welcome Winter with Wait, Rest, Pause

How do animals and plants survive weather extremes like cold, heat, and drought? The concept of dormancy and variations of this biological process, which include diapause, hibernation, torpor, brumation, and estivation, are the subject of an engaging work of expository nonfiction by Marcie Flinchum Atkins. Employing a patterned text, figurative language, and series of lively verbs, Flinchum compares and contrasts different forms of dormancy in mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, and even in plants.

Fostering a Sense of Gratitude Year-Round with Thanku

Beyond a focus on giving thanks in November, Thanku can be used across the school year for read alouds at the beginning and end of the day, poetry genre studies, as an exploration of theme across language arts, and as a window into small moments in writer’s workshop.

Complicating and Celebrating Identity: Where Are You From?

The titular question of this picturebook is one that anyone who appears or sounds different in a given social community has probably heard. Though simple in its phrasing, the implications for asking and answering “Where are you from?” are anything but simple.

Rekindle or Reaffirm Students’ Love of Reading with How to Read a Book

Teaming up for the first time, Newbery Medal-winning author Kwame Alexander and two-time Caldecott Honoree Melissa Sweet have crafted a joyous and contemplative ode to reading.

Poetry as History in The Undefeated

The Undefeated, a new picture book created by acclaimed author Kwame Alexander and award-winning illustrator Kadir Nelson has been described as “a love letter to America. To black America” (book jacket). The text is a poem that traverses the history of the United States, tracing the trauma and the triumphs of Black / African American experiences from enslavement to the Civil Rights Movement to Black Lives Matter.

Wonder, Words, and Wisdom: Teaching with the Works of Kwame Alexander

It is the power of the poem that we turn our attention to this week. In particular, we highlight Kwame Alexander’s powerful and prodigious body of work.

Follow Human Impact to Hope in Moth: An Evolution Story

Discover a creative nonfiction tale that explores the notions of contrast, evolution, and perseverance within the natural world–all through the unlikely hero of the moth.

Explore the Intersection of Science and Stories in The Girl Who Named Pluto

Ripe with many opportunities for content-rich learning opportunities, The Girl Who Named Pluto is a welcome addition to the study of fictionalized biography, the solar system, and the power of interdisciplinary thinking.

Ponder Perspectives and the Passage of Time with Brenden Wenzel’s A Stone Sat Still

Caldecott Honor winner Brendan Wenzel’s new picture book, like his previous two (They All Saw a Cat and Hello Hello), invites readers to slow down and to ponder the world from new angles. Using mixed media illustrations and lyrical text, Wenzel explores the roles of a stone at the edge of a sea, across seasons, and over decades.