MrsK's K-8 Books Worth Reading

my best-reads-for-k-8 shelf:
MrsK Books's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (best-reads-for-k-8 shelf)

Saturday, April 25, 2015

What's New in Children's Books

book is a gift you can open again and again.” ~ Garrison Keillor ...
What's New In Children's Books?
As a Teacher Librarian, I must say... I am always on the "look-out" for that next great book. As an educator, there is nothing more exciting... inspiring... and rejuvenating then meeting up with other educators, librarians, and "hot off the press" books. Ever since Peggy Sharp began the NW What's New in Children's Books workshops, I have been honored to meet so many outstanding authors. I have had the privilege of bringing unknown titles to audiences for over 30 years. Many of my "go to" favorite authors have been discovered while learning "what's new" in books. So I was thrilled with the opportunity to spend a day just "soaking" up all of the newest titles with my co-workers.

MrsK's picks:
  1.  The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett: Not only are the illustrations the most delightful journey, this wordless picture book has the lasting endearment of working hard for something you want. A little girl wants a shiny green bicycle, what must she do to earn the money? As each season comes and goes, she learns the value in doing jobs that will help others. In spite of a crashing disappointment, she discovers how giving an expected gift is rewarding. When it looks like her goal is unattainable... that's when she learns how love and appreciation can be turned around.
  2.  The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak: Now here is an excellent "read aloud" for every age. Created with fun-filled word choice... a completely ridiculous story line... and a perfectly crafted entertaining quality... this book delivers what every reader desires... FUN with a book! Children love hearing this book over and over, especially with many different readers. Their joy explodes with giggles and excitement... it is contagious and exhilarating!
  3. A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd: This marvelous story combines a small town's mystery, a new middle school, Dr. Zook's Ice Cream, and a friendship that can make "cords align" to make all things right. Felicity collects words. Words that appear every day, every where. Spindiddly words that hover, that creep, that shimmer, and . She's lived in six different states and longs for the one word that will give her joy... home. Will a duel in Midnight Gulch really bring back the magic for the town, her family, and for the Threadbare brothers? So delightfully crafted, you will not want to close the book and ever leave Midnight Gulch.
  4. Rain Reign by Ann M. Martin: My choice for the most beloved character of the year. Meet Rose Howard, a young girl who is obsessed with homonyms. When her father brings home a dog in a rain storm, Rose names it Reign. Rose is in the fifth grade at Hartford Elementary in New York. Not very many people understand Rose. While Rose tells us the story about Reign and the hurricane, she introduces us to herself, her thoughts, and her challenges as a high functioning Autistic student. We learn about her Uncle Weldon, her father Wesley, her mother who ran away, and Mrs. Leibler. Once in awhile a reader discovers a book that remains forever opened in your mind and your heart. Just as Tuck Everlasting or Bridge to Terabithia , Rose and Reign will become friends for a life time.
   Picks on my to Read List:
Just click on the book covers to get reviews at Barnes and Noble 
365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne's Book of Precepts   The Madman of Piney Woods   Greenglass House  The Night Gardener   Brown Girl Dreaming  The Princess in Black   The Fourteenth Goldfish   Dory Fantasmagory (Dory Series #1)   Louise Loves Art   Little Elliot, Big City    Shadow Chasers  Lindbergh  The Right Word: Roget and His Thesaurus    Aviary Wonders Inc. Spring Catalog and Instruction Manual  Blizzard Mix It Up!     Firebird    Quest   Hi, Koo!: A Year of Seasons   Star Stuff: Carl Sagan and the Mysteries of the Cosmos 

Meet the Educator:
Barbara Sandars  Barbara Sanders graduated from Augustana College in 1970 and left her hometown of Rock Island, Illinois to come to Oregon, hoping to find a teaching job! She landed in an open-space team-teaching school where she taught kindergarten and grades 1-3 while getting her Master in Library Science...that degree led her into the centralized library of another open-space school, where she helped develop flexible library scheduling and student-centered checkout (before computers!). She opened Catalyst Bookstore in 1988 and for the next 14 years helped the teachers, librarians, and parents of the Northwest keep up with the growing field of children's and YA literature; she is now an adjunct professor at Concordia University in the field of children's literature, where she has been instrumental in the development of the NW Center of Children's Literature. She has been an elementary teacher and school librarian for many years in addition to owning her own bookstore and serving as a school consultant on the newest and best books for the classroom, particularly those that will reach reluctant readers. She sees her mission as staying on top of all the new titles published for students each year and sharing a wealth of practical strategies to connect reluctant readers and books.
Barbara’s extensive experience translates into seminars full of hands-on involvement with books and outstanding ideas for getting books into the hands and hearts of reluctant readers.
She is married to Steve, they have 6 children ranging in age from 12-30; and, joy of joys, 3 grandchildren! She loves to travel and reading everyday is a must!
 100 Great Children’s Books | 100 Years  NY Public Library: 100 Great Children's Books

 Jim Trelease Reviews 
                                 Excellent Workshops for all Educators

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography
ISBN: 9780770434984
Publisher's Synopsis:
Photography legend John Shaw returns with his much-anticipated guide to digital nature photography, complete with more than 250 extraordinarily beautiful photographs.
For over four decades, John Shaw’s authentic voice and trusted advice has helped photographers achieve impressive shots in the great outdoors. In his first-ever book on digital photography, Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything from equipment and lenses to thorough coverage of digital topics including how to use the histogram. In addition, he offers inspirational and frank insight that goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of photography, explaining that successful photos come from having a vision, practicing, and then acquiring the equipment needed to accomplish the intention. Easily digestible and useful for every type of photographer, and complete with more than 250 jaw-dropping images, John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography is the one book you’ll need to beautifully capture the world around you.

MrsK's Review:
Do you remember your first "browsing" with a book of beauty? As readers, sometimes we just need to look at beauty beyond our front doors. Sometimes we must travel to far away places and ponder the inspiring sights that are out of reach during every day living.

With artistic splendor, John shares his techniques and wisdom with those "called" to see the world from a camera's lens. This guide book is organized with starting points such as the right gear options, how to get started, and lenses. He moves you into learning about composition and close-ups. Finally he inspires you with how his world of photography has evolved.

Whether you have taken photography classes or photos cause you to stop in "awe" and ponder how those shots were captured, there is always room for more insights. This guide book is filled with valuable suggestions. John has a talent for inspiring you to "look" beyond what is seen and "seek" that which can be portrayed with splendor. 

"To be a better nature photographer, be a better naturalist.
The more you know about nature, the more you will see to photograph.
Develop a deeper compassion for the world around us, and live by an ethic of concern for the subject matter."

Considering what image you want to capture requires an inner vision (pg. 153):
  • Have you chosen a good subject, out of all that are available to you?
  • Is this good light for the subject, or can it be improved?
  • Is there a pleasing background behind the subject?
  • Have you made a pleasing composition that reflects what you want to communicate?
  • Are you sure about your choice?
  • Ask: What I like about this scene is _________, so I will use this equipment, ___________, and these photographic techniques ______________ (articulate exactly what you're planning... "don't just take pictures...make photo-graphics. 
At the beginning of this review, I mentioned the "browsing" with a book of beauty. Here are a few of John's "photo-graphics" which evoked our senses:
  • a cheetah yawning in Kenya (pg.5)
  • an image of a Ruddy duck swimming in BC (pg.10)
  • the flow and textures of Bond Falls in Michigan (pg.14)
  • the winter splendor of Vermillion Lakes in Banff National Park, Canada (pg.29)
  • the striking energy of the waves battering the shores of Sea Lion Island (pg.40-41)
  • the framing of a black-browed Albatross on the Falkland Islands (pg.70)
  • the haunting exposure of Ponderosa pines in an Oregon winter blizzard (pg.85)
  • the composition and framing of the California Redwood trees enshrouded in fog (pg.98)
  • the textured sharpness of eroded rocks at Shore Acres State Park in Oregon (pg.130)
  • the positioning and framing of the Goosenecks of the Colorado River (pg.165)
  • the intriguing designs captured of bubbles in ice in Alberta, Canada (pg.174)
  • the simplistic beauty of a sycamore leaf caught in a cactus in Arizona (pg.180)
Become inspired, be willing to become mentored by this gifted photographer, and begin using your lens to "engage the viewer's mind or emotions..."
A perfected guide book for mentoring anyone whose camera is valued. Perfect for sharing and gifting!
Added to the shelves of those I know are inspired to look at life through the lens of a camera!

Meet the Author: 
"The process of nature photography is always changing, always evolving.
I encourage you to develop your own way of working, your own equipment choices,
and, most of all, your own vision.
I hope you will consider this work a starting point for your own explorations with a camera."
JOHN SHAW is the author of many enduring bestsellers, including seven previous books on nature photography. His work is frequently featured in National Geographic, Nature’s Best, National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, Natural History, Sierra, and Audubon magazines, as well as in calendars, books, and advertisements. He has photographed on every continent, from the Arctic to the Antarctic, and leads sold-out workshops around the globe.

"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."
 Blogging For Books
Random House: Bringing You the Best in Fiction, Nonfiction, and Children's Books

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Devotions from the Garden by Miriam Drennan

Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest in Your Busy Life
ISBN: 9780718030506
Publisher's Synopsis:
Come to the garden alone, and fill your soul with His presence.
There’s nothing on earth like the peace and loveliness of a magnificent garden. It’s the place where Adam and Eve first fellowshipped with God, and where you, too, can escape from this chaotic world into His loving arms of beauty and serenity.Devotions from the Garden takes you to that place where senses are restored as dewdrops settle and butterflies gather to witness the miracles of God’s creation bloom and grow. These ninety devotions explore the parallels of life with the elements of the garden to help you see God, to sense His presence, to soothe your soul, and to rest in knowing He is with you throughout each day. Included are striking photographs with a fresh, contemporary design for timeless appeal.

MrsK's Review:
"Gardeners are well aware of the rhythm of the seasons...
and therefore the rhythm of their gardening...
plant, tend, harvest, and let alone."

Just when you think winter is never going to end, spring begins stirring deep within... and then it blooms! This book came across my review list at just the right moment. My soul was in need of spring cleansing and spiritual joy.

Filled with photos of garden beauty, this devotional brightens your path regardless of the time or the season. Organized in the fashion of a gardening manual, you discover a connection between sowing seeds in the ground and the sowing of God's words within your spirit. Both of which begin with God's transforming Grace

With every two page devotion, you discover God's word, a gardening thought-hint-inspiration and a beautiful prayer which ignites a peaceful moment of contemplation with our Lord. With such a hurried life style, these moments become treasures in which you quickly relinquish your cares as you bask in His peace. Think about those times when you sit on a covered patio, an ice tea is at hand, there is a gentle cool breeze as the sun goes down. It seems so quiet, so peaceful, and so refreshing. Or maybe the sea breeze is gently kissing your face as the waves are lulling you into a joy far removed from your daily cares. Now consider your garden spot, a place that is so quickly available... make a little spot of comfort, one that you can sit and ponder the glories (the blessings) that are sprinkled with nourishing love. Joyous moments just for your own peaceful retreat.

Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Psalm 51:10 
This devotional becomes your "Miracle Grow," 
Delightfully inspiring. Perfect for a moment of retreat!
Added to my shelf.
About the Author:
Miriam Drennan is the author of Devotions for the Beach and the Days You Wish You Were There and Soar Above the Madness: Surviving Office Politics Without Losing Your Mind, Your Job, or Your Lunch. She currently lives in Nashville, Tennessee, where she enjoys gardening and playing with words. Drop her a line at

"I received this book for free from Book Look Bloggers for this review."
Thomas Nelson

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Motivate Your Child by Dr. Scott Turansky

ISBN: 9780529100733
Publisher's Synopsis:
We need a parenting revolution!
Most parenting approaches end up encouraging children to ask the wrong questions about life: What’s in it for me? Are you going to pay me for that? What’s the minimum I need to do to get by?
But God’s Word gives us a better way to parent, one that builds strong internal motivation in children. When parents change the way they parent, kids change the way they live. This practical book explores a theology of internal motivation and then gives parents real-life solutions to equip their kids for life.
You’ll learn . . .
• how to parent in ways that build internal motivation so that kids don’t have to rely on you to get things done.
• the four promptings of the conscience and how to coordinate your parenting to take advantage of them.
• ways to energize your spiritual training with fun and creativity.
• how to help children respond to mistakes instead of blaming, defending, or justifying.
The greatest gift you can give your child is strong moral and spiritual development—this book shows you how. Every chapter includes practical examples of families applying the Bible to their current issues.
Join the revolution!

MrsK's Review:
Yes, oh yes, we need a parenting revolution. There is so much wisdom within these pages. If you are a parent, a grandparent, or an educator... this book is a must read. The organization is perfected as you embark on this journey for your children. Filled with meaningful Bible quotes, you will begin discovering quick and user-friendly conversations that will inspire every age. 

At first I began reading through these pages only to discover that I had to begin again. I searched for my hi-lighters and quick referencing tabs... and started over. This parenting guide "begs" to be shared. Our children are so valuable. Their future depends on our actions, reactions, and time invested in their "coping" skills. I remember when I first became a parent, how quickly I learned that I didn't have all the answers nor was I equipped with a set of directions as to the "how-to's" of parenting. In all of these years, many parenting books have entered my door, been tried, and some nuggets of wisdom worked. Yet, I never had the opportunity to connect my parenting with God's perfect will. Now I do!

Raising children who do what they need to do without being told is the goal of this guide book. Developing self-motivation in your child can be "hair-raising" without guidance. Choosing to "deliberately work on spiritual and moral development" is an investment in their character that will produce a life time of harvested wisdom. As their guardian, we are "giving them the "tools" to navigate life."
"Happiness may be found in the destination,
but character is built in the journey."

Have you considered using a "heart-based" approach to discipline? Instead of using motivators that are externally "rewarded," why not teach internal responsibilities. Teaching strategies of firmness, correction, consequences, and thinking beyond self. What is beneficial with this approach is the instruction that is centered between their heart and their minds:
  • Every day considerations about themselves and their activities (behaviors/choices)
  • Learning about responsibility (focus on others/tasks well done/time limits)
  • Growing into maturity (considering God's instruction and God's will for them)
"When you do something with all your heart,
it means that your motivation to get things done comes from inside..."
Does your discipline leave out the conscience? Our internal motivator helps us align our thoughts and actions with an internal obligation to manage oneself. What if your modeling, discussions, and guidelines taught them:
  • To do what's right
  • To deal with the wrongs
  • To be honest
  • To care about others
With this "guide book" you can "use areas of strength in a child's life to help them improve areas of weakness."
Are you ready to get started?
Go for it...
"Do not confuse the destination with the journey..."
Read, Re-Read, Discover, Practice, and plant seeds of wisdom that will blossom for a life time.

Amazing read that will continue to inspire your children for a life time.
Added to my shelf and shared with my children!
"I received this book for free from Book Look Bloggers for this review."
Meet the Authors:

Scott teaching photo  Scott Turansky has been a pastor and missionary for more than 33 years and is an author of several books. In addition to pastoring full time, Scott also conducts parenting seminars on Saturdays around the United States( He is the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting ( and has co-authored four books.
 About Us Banner 
 Joanne Miller is a pediatric nurse with 26 years of experience and the cofounder of the National Center for Biblical Parenting. She is the coauthor of seven parenting books.
 Effective Parenting Logo
Thomas Nelson

MrsK's Reading Bio

Reading is important! No questions asked, not even a blink of the eye from any student I grew up with. On the first day of the First grade, we were given our first books. Day two we all read aloud, round robin of course. Day three we were place in our first basal, now known as a lit circle group. Books were so important, publishers designed new curriculum so that every student was reading by the end of the first week. These early readers had images that looked like what we could see in the classroom, beyond the classroom, even on the big screen. Reading is important, throughout history every generation has believed that “Reading” opens up the world for endless possibilities.

I adore the 1950’s Dick and Jane books. Actually, most reading specialists and experienced (45+) educators believe that every student learned to read with Dick and Jane. Since these books are being re-issued, I have heard many parents, grandparents, and students claim that Dick and Jane stories of repetition does teach students to read.

Early influences from my mother influenced my desire to read. I would watch her read and we would go on “secret” excursions to the library. The library became my playground. I owned every book I could carry home, of course they needed to be taken back to their home after visiting with me for a week or two. My first book that I could pull off of the library shelf and read was, Father Bear Comes Home. I only saw my dad on Sundays for a few hours. I would pull this beginning reader off of the library shelf every week. Every week I would try to read the first chapter. Every week I got further in the story. My mom would let me check it out, only if I could read it myself (She didn’t like the illustrations therefore she didn’t want to take time to read it to me). One day, I pulled the book from the shelf and when mom came to get me from the children’s corner, I realized that I had read the whole story. I ran to the check out desk and the Librarian KERCHUNKED the checkout card. My mother, brother and neighbors read. My teachers read. We all read aloud all day long in school. The Priest read aloud every day at mass, even in Latin. Everybody in the Doctor’s office read. People on the bus read. Dad’s waiting in their cars as the Mom’s and children grocery shopped, read. In fact, once you could read and write, Sunset Magazine considered you a reader and sent you mail every day.

Reading is important; I’ve spent my life reading. I’ve traveled around the world and into space through books. My favorite genre is whichever book I have open at the time. Children’s Literature is my passion. Book clubbing is one of the best past times, especially if food is involved. In fact my friends of old are in a book club and we are about to embark on a beach trip to “read” and discuss our newest selection.

My “home-run” book story has helped every student find his or her own “home-run” reads. Every year, I have shared my, Father Bear Comes Home, and every year my students have brought in their “home-run” books. That’s the “diving board” into our Lit. Studies.

In “Growing Up Digital,” Tapscott’s insights into the new generations enthusiasm for the Net reminded me of my generation’s enthusiasm for reading, movies, TV, parties and our driving permits. The Net-Generation, as Tapscott describes, “are learning, playing, communicating, working, creating communities, and enforcing a social transformation.”
N-Geners are interactive “techies” who are always looking for a way to “work it” verses the TV Generation of “Baby Boomers” who started out looking for “how it works.” Reading development is tougher today, society moves too fast to invest their “non-working” free time into a book or even “home work.” Since I stepped into my own classroom, I have seen students being told to read, being forced to read, and threatened into reading. Homework is not any longer the vehicle for students to gain their future lifestyles or careers with. Yet, the Internet does create an enthusiasm for learning. Since I have been enrolled in these courses, I have used the computers in every subject. My students are using the newest technology in the classroom because I am giving them investigative sites to use as they learn from each other and books. I agree with Tapscott, in order to bridge the gap with this up and coming generation we must “live and learn with them.”

FTC Required Disclaimer: I receive these books from the publishers. I did not receive monetary compensation for these reviews. These reviews have been posted in compliance with the FTC requirements set forth in the Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (available at


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