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Campers Choice – Grades 2-3 — 19 Comments

  1. Title: Llama Destroys the World
    Author: Jonathan Stutzman
    As the title states, through a series of hilariously unfortunate events including too much cake, dancing pants, and a black hole,Llama destroys the world. I laughed so hard reading this that I had to check it out and bring it home for my family to read. It shows Llama also trying to learn more about the chaos he has created, and contains a hinted lesson about learning from your mistakes. Spoiler: Llama does not learn from his.

  2. Wolf in Underpants
    Wilfrid Lupano

    I recently purchased this book for our elementary library. Primarily chose it because it is a graphic novel (can’t keep them on the shelves) and because “underpants” is in the title. What 2nd graders doesn’t love books with the word “underpants” in it? I absolutely LOVED this book! It is funny and current (without kids knowing it). It is all about a forest where everyone is scared of “THE WOLF” which they have never seen but are protecting themselves against this dangerous creature. They have prejudged the wolf. But when he arrives, he is in his underwear! It is silly but with real message about fear and judgement. I can’t wait to share this with my students.

  3. Motor Goose
    Poems by Rebecca Colby
    Illustrated by Jef Kaminsky

    This book was a gift to my son and it has captured the imagination of my family and his older sisters. This would be a read aloud and a book I would use to spark imagination and creativity. I love the idea of changing words to familiar tunes. It helps to build rhyming ability and working with syllables. It could be used within a music lesson/curriculum or a protest/language arts study or as a study break for something fun. Or for older kids it could be used as individual work while waiting for others to finish. It could be used as a speech or recitation activity to share with a larger group.

  4. High Five
    Written by Adam Rubin and illustrated by Daniel Salmieri. They also authored and illustrated Dragons Love Tacos.
    This is a very funny story about winning a High Five Championship. In it a character named Sensei tells how the championship could be won. However, the opponents are very unusual. It would make a great read a loud! I did some research and there is a National High Five Day the 3rd Thursday in April. I read a little more and found not only do High Five Championships exist, but there is a history dating back to the 1970’s.

    Sensei, the main character in the book, offers to be an apprentice to get the students started. There are some hilarious exercises and readiness tips at the beginning.

    It would be fun to have pairs of students work out high five routines and then to create a championship trophy.

  5. The Itty-Bitty Witch
    By Trisha Speed Shaskin Illustrated by Xindi Yan

    Betty is smaller than the other children in her class and gets called Itty Bitty which she doesn’t like at all. Each time she is called Itty Bitty she starts feeling itty bitty inside. Betty had the idea that if she won the Halloween Dash she wouldn’t be called Itty Bitty anymore. She practices and practices, has some rough spots, but does win the race. She feels big inside and nicknames herself Itty Betty.

    I would use this book as a read aloud in early October when kiddos are thinking about Halloween. Great for discussion about what it feels like to be called names -itty bitty inside. What other things can make you feel itty bitty Inside? What could you do if you feel like Betty? What can you do to make people feel big inside?

    We are having the Shaskans as our visiting authors next year. We love having our Minnesota authors share their work and stories with us.
    5/5 stars

  6. Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon and Audry Vernick
    Illustrations by Chris Raschka
    Poor Mrs. Giordano is home sick from school so Miss Pelly is her substitute. Our narrator does not appreciate this change without being given a warning, and proceeds to write letters throughout the day, such as “Dear Homework That I Stayed Up Late Doing, Guess What? You’re not being collected until Mrs. Giordano gets back. I could’ve shot more baskets last night after all.” and “Dear Class Rules, We have you for a reason. And one of the rules should be: the whole day can’t be changed around by a sub named Miss Pelly.” Will the class survive Mrs. Giordano’s absence?
    This would be a great book to leave when you are going to be gone and having a substitute…it’s also a fun way to look at the concept of letter writing.

  7. Phoenix Goes to School: A Story to Support Transgender and Gender Diverse Children by Michelle and Phoenix Finch

    I liked this book because it was co-written by Phoenix herself, “a gender nonconforming, transgender
    7 year old girl who was assigned male at birth (AMAB).
    This is an important book to have on your library’s shelves as well as in your classrooms so that youth can see themselves in books or see others that may think or act differently than they do and realize that it is okay and we are all worthy and awesome human beings. It is a simple story with adorable illustrations but it deals with real and complex emotions that all children have: “What if no one will play with me? Or want to be my friend?” And it has great advice for all children, “Just be yourself and always listen to your heart.” This book even includes questions for kids to answer after having heard or read the story, making it an excellent classroom read aloud to prompt a discussion afterward. Highly recommend.
    5/5 stars

  8. Mae Among the Stars – by Roda Ahmed (Harper Collins, 2018), 9780062651730.

    Mae Among the Stars is a picture book inspired by the story of Mae Jemison. It focuses on a short snippet where Mae is working on a school assignment on what she wants to be when she grows up. When she shares her dream with her parents, her mother tells her “if you can dream it, believe in it, and work hard for it, anything is possible”. However, when she shares her dream with her class, her classmates laugh at her and her teacher tells her that nursing would be a better fit for someone like her. Mae is disappointed and discouraged by her teacher’s words, but when she tells her mother about what happened at school, her mother shows her empathy and builds her back up with encouragement.

    I think this book ties in really nicely with The Girl with a Mind for Math. It shares a similar theme of working hard and believing in yourself and your dreams even when others tell you that you can’t. It also shows that sometimes you have to fight for your chance to be something great. Like The Girl with a Mind for Math, Mae Among the Stars would also be a good selection Women’s History and Black History months, as well as programming around feminism and books with strong female characters.

    Overall rating: 5/5 stars

  9. The Crayon Man: The True Story of the Invention of Crayola Crayons
    by Natascha Biebow, illustrated by Steven Salerno

    I randomly found this book at the Eagan Library on the shelf of new titles in the children’s section. I chose it because of the subject matter- crayons- and the important part of my student’s lives that crayons are. My students also love going to the Crayola Experience at the Mall of America and are fascinated with the process of making crayons. I usually show the Mister Rogers video about how crayons are made each school year.

    I enjoyed the text of the book very much. Some of the illustrations were too over-the-top with Victorian era details for my liking and I am not sure they would be appealing to my students, either. I loved the section at the end with photographs of the Crayola factory in Pennsylvania, with details about each step in the crayon making process. Overall, I think my students would love to listen to this book and I would not hesitate to share it as a whole class read aloud. It would be a fun companion to “The Day the Crayons Quit” books! 4/5 stars

  10. This is Me: A Story of Who We Are and Where We Came From by Jamie Lee Curtis,illustrated by Laura Cornell
    I LOVE THIS BOOK! It’s a double win for me — a great story and it ties in to my social studies curriculum. It starts with a teacher, in what very well could be a 2nd grade classroom, telling her students about her great-grandma’s journey from China to America. She shows her students the trunk that carried all the treasures to the new land. Then, she asks her students “What would you take?” She challenges her class to decide what would be most important for them to pack. Each students gets the chance to take the trunk home and make choices of what to put in it. One packs a book, one a doll, one a stuffed bear, one a beret, one a St. Christopher medal, one a passport, one a baby-tooth, one Groucho Marx glasses, one a camera, among many other things. The teacher congratulates them with “This suitcase is like your own history book. For who you all are isn’t Just what you’ve Got, but part what you learn, park what you’re taught. Who you become Starts with your past, family histories and stories that last.This great tide that brought you, seeds ancestors sowed, that took root inside you and helped you to grow.” At the very end of the book there is a pop-up trunk and the reader is challenged, “What would you take? Which things would they be that say to the world, ‘Hi there, this is me!'” I used this book in our unit about immigrants. My students then took home empty tissue boxes and decorated them to look like immigrant trunks. They put things inside they would want to take with them. This book was such a great tool for that lesson. The illustrations are also amazing. Cornell’s illustrations of each student’s home gives clues to the family that complement the text beautifully. I cannot recommend this book enough!

  11. Title: Jellybeans
    Author: Kiersten Hall
    Illustrated: Shaina Ryther

    My daughters had the opportunity to meet Kiersten at Sweet Reads in Austin, MN. The book is about how people are like Jellybeans, so many different kids. Each flavor of jellybean is compared to a personality trait; Licorice is dapper, Cantaloupe is wise,Tutti Frutti is fun and groovy… She encourages you to find out what flavor you are and embrace your uniqueness, as well as what flavors other people choose to be.

  12. The last day of school, I had an extra 2nd grade class that I grabbed one of my new books that just came in that was a big hit! Written by a great duo Mac Barnett and illustrated by Matt Myers, Rules of the House, definitely had the students imaginations rolling with the storyline and fabulous illustrations! There were a few twists the students didn’t see coming as they were trying to predict what was going to happen on the next page; plus, many could identify with having an annoying sibling! If it wasn’t for the last day of school, I could’ve had some deeper discussions about is there ever a good time to lie–and are rules made to ever be broken? But, we just enjoyed the book. I’m sure students will want to read it again next year! It would make for a great book to introduce or re-introduce classroom rules From Good REads: Ian always follows the rules. His sister, Jenny, breaks them all the time-especially “Don’t pinch.” So Ian is thrilled when the house where his family is vacationing posts a tidy list of rules. But when Jenny breaks them all, the house itself decides it’s time for payback. The rug, the stove, and the bathtub are hungry for rulebreaker soup, and they’ve found the perfect ingredient: Jenny!
    Now Ian is faced with a thorny question: What if saving your sister means breaking the rules?
    https://www.macbarnett.com/rules-of-the-house
    I believe it was a children’s choice book award and I can see why after reading it aloud for the first time! And remember, “always pack a toothbrush!” I rate this book 5/5 stars.

  13. Title: The Rough Patch
    Author: Brian Lies

    This book was given to me by a friend. I believe they see the many tragedies I’ve had in my life as ones that I am currently facing. I think this book hit a cord with me. I may still be mad at things that have happened and things that I can’t change. This book really made me think that if I just keep moving forward and trying to look for the good things in life that all the bad will drift away and life will be better

    Rate 5/5 stars

  14. Title: Jabari Jumps
    Author: Gaia Cornwall

    This is a delightful story that captures a childhood milestone with beautiful, whimsical illustrations about a small boy who overcomes his fears with the love and support of his father. The illustrations represent a wide diversity of characters. The illustration from Jabari’s view when is standing on the diving board with his toes curled around the edge capture his apprehension perfectly! The calm and supportive empathy modeled by his father is a wonderful example, he never embarrasses or pressures. His message of it is ok to be frightened but that we can overcome our fears. When Jabari finally jumps the typography of the words “splash” and “woosh” are so fun!

    This book would fit perfectly into Growth Mindset lessons. It would also be a nice fit when teaching point of view.

    I give this book 5/5 stars!

  15. Title: Whale in a fishbowl
    Author: Troy Howell and Richard Jones
    I really enjoyed this book! It is a story about a whale that lives in the center of the city in a fish bowl. It is all lonely and wonders what the blue color is sees far in the distance. It’s sad to see it jump up out of the bowl to see the beautiful blue. Eventually it jumps up so high it tips the bowl and rides the water all the way to the ocean. It is so happy and no longer alone.
    I would use this book as a read a loud in class. I would talk with the kids and turn this into a writing assignment. Have them write a different ending to the book. How else could the whale escape to the ocean? After a couple days of working on this, I would let students share them with the class.
    I rate this book 5/5 stars!

    • We Don’t Eat Our Classmates was hilariously funny. I am going to read it the first week of school when we are developing our rules together as a class. Treat others the way you want to be treated is the obvious rule but another good one to mention is Just because you can doesn’t mean you should. 10 out of 10.