Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

What a year in picture books! There are so many amazing titles to choose from. I have certainly not read every book out there. But I have read a lot and there are some that have stood out. Here is my list of twenty. Twenty books I think are absolutely worth owning and therefore, worth gifting. Fantastic titles in both fiction and nonfiction. My criteria? Is it a book that can be shared multiple times? Does it inspire creativity, thinking, inspiration? Does it make the readers think differently? Does it celebrate something important? Is it a book that brings joy? Or does it simply make you laugh? A lot.

With those questions in mind, here is my list:

Listed alphabetically by author.

Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla written by Katherine Applegate and illustrated by G. Brian Karas

This title is almost too special for words. After I read this book to my class, they wrote Ivan letters. Read more here. A book to inspire talk about how we treat animals and how we treat each other. Ivan’s story is a must read.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Quest by Aaron Becker

Experience the imaginative journey that Becker captures on the page. The reader is pulled through each illustration, all the while attempting to absorb every tiny detail. So wonderful that this is a picture book (wonderfully wordless) so that it can be experienced again and again.

 Quest Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Some Bugs written by Angela Diterlizzi and illustrated by Brendan Wenzel

The text is delightful and the illustrations, divine! You will want to shrink down to insect size and crawl about this insect world.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Farmer and the Clown by Marla Frazee

This title surprised me with its tenderness, the sweet, the kind. All the more amazing of course, because it is wordless.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Cat, the Dog, Little Red, the Exploding Eggs, the Wolf, and Grandma written by Diane Fox and illustrated by Christyan Fox

Funny, funny, funny – kind of like having a backseat driver “helping” tell a story. Annoying for the narrator. Amusing for the readers.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Any Questions? by Marie-Louise Gay

Enter Marie-Louise Gay‘s imagination, learn about her story conjuring process and hear a wonderful story . . . My class was completely spellbound by this book. More here.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

Unique creatures and clever problem solving finesse. Speaks to loneliness and getting along with others with everyone pulling their weight.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle

Wordless. Playful and interactive with lots of flaps and expressions to study. Go ice dancing with Flora and her charming little friend.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Creature Features: 25 Animals Explain Why They Look the Way They Do by Steve Jenkins and Robin Page

Why do certain creatures have these specific features? They will tell you in this gorgeous nonfiction title.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

A Perfectly Messed up Story by Patrick McDonnell

Lots of humour. A conversation starter. A book to read together and then to refer to often. Life is full of messes. How are we going to face them?

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

This book is so absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth.  It is about our desires and vulnerabilities. The last page will totally get you. This book needs to sit on your family’s bookshelf.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

This book will speak to your heart. Wordless perfection.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

 A Boy and A Jaguar written by Alan Rabinowitz and illustrated by Cátia Chien 

Based on a true story. Gorgeous. Special. It’s a must own and must share. A story of a boy who finds his voice and shares it in the best of ways.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Adventures of Beekle, The Unimaginary Friend by Dan Santat

A little “imaginary friend” goes in search of his person. What could be better? A book about connection and “meant to be”.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Don’t Play with Your Food by Bob Shea

We need to laugh lots with those we love. Little people will delight in this story. Big people will adore reading it aloud.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman 

A wonderful story about siblings, mistakes, owning up and doing what’s right. I challenge you to find a favourite illustration. Just stunning.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Feathers Not Just for Flying written by Melissa Stewart and illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen

This book needs an audience! Guessers to be specific. What else could feathers be used for besides flight? Feels like you could pluck some of these feathers right off of the page. Share the book and then come back to it often as you notice birds in your neighbourhood.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Hana Hashimoto, Sixth Violin written by Chieri Uegaki with illustrations by Qin Leng

A story of determination, perseverance and creativity. Absolutely about courage and dreaming. Connections to family. A treasure.

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

The Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems

This pigeon is channeling all children who resist, resist, resist the bath and then, absolutely refuse to get out. Have kids? You will relate!

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

What do you do with an idea? written by Kobi Yamada and illustrated by Mac Besom

I previously described this title as a celebration of imagination and a Must Have/Must Own/Must Share title. I’m still going with that. Tempted?

Gift Books 2014 – twenty picture books to give this season There's a Book for That

Books are gifts to treasure! This season give books!

Picture Books that model perseverance

It’s Picture Book Month and I have picture books on my mind. I am beginning to think in lists. Often. It may be a syndrome. Picturebooklistitis? Something like that.

On Friday, I had some parent meetings in the a.m. It was lovely to talk about students who have demonstrated improvement in goal areas due to persistence, determination and creative approaches to problems. Heading home, after school, I started thinking about picture books on this theme of persistence.

What exactly was I thinking about? All of the synonyms for perseverance: persistence, tenacity, determination . . . But also being able to solve problems with creativity or a different/unique approach. A lot of it has to do with being able to focus but also being able to think outside of the box. Sometimes it is just about, simple but tough, hard work and diligence.

I think all of these picture books highlight a particular aspect of this theme and in their own way, model perseverance.

Twenty favourite titles:

These ten beauties:

Picture Books that model perseverance

And ten more:

Picture Books that model perseverance There's a Book for That

Twenty picture book titles that model perseverance:

Sam and Dave Dig a Hole by Mac Barnett and illustrated by Jon Klassen

Rosie Revere, Engineer written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts

The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Prudence Wants a Pet written by Cathleen Daly and illustrated by Stephen Michael King

Hank Finds an Egg by Rebecca Dudley

Papa’s Mechanical Fish written by Candace Fleming and illustrated by Boris Kulikov

If You Want to See a Whale written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Erin E. Stead

Rosyln Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth by Marie-Louise Gay

Ice by Arthur Geisert

Flight School by Lita Judge

A House in the Woods by Inga Moore

The Mighty Lalouche written by Matthew Olshan and illustrated by Sophie Blackall

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds 

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires 

A Home for Bird by Philip C. Stead

Oscar and Hoo written by Theo and illustrated by Michael Dudok De Wit

Queen of the Falls by Chris VanAllsburg 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

Ten Birds by Cybèle Young

In case you’ve missed them, I have been making more lists:

Picture Books that celebrate courage

Picture Books to make you giggle

Happy Picture Book Month!

pb month logoAs always, please share your favourite titles on this theme!

Monday September 1st, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?imwayr

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. You are guaranteed to find something new to add to your list.

Lots of picture books in my reading week. The ones I loved:

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett

I always think that when I read a really fantastic wordless title that I should have many words. But my review is just about raving. This book has everything I love, love, love about picture book magic. Sigh. Soar. Divine.

 The Girl and the Bicycle #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Frank by Irene Luxbacher

I always love books about connections between grandparents and grandchildren. This book is nostalgic and tender. Just lovely.

Mr. Frank  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Give and Take by Chris Raschka

Well, well, well . . . This book holds some great potential for some fascinating philosophical discussion inside of its 32 pages. How far can greed go? What is selfish? Is there a line? What about giving? Can we give too much? Such an interesting little book.

Give and Take  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

My Pet Book by Bob Staake

Bright, book adoration. What can be better?

My Pet Book  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke

This book went on a wish list of mine after reading some great reviews. Now I have read the book and am sure I need to get it into my classroom! Delightful is the best way to describe this title. I adore the unique creatures. I am impressed by Julia’s problem solving finesse. And who doesn’t love a journey into someone else’s imagination? Such fun.

 Julia's House for Lost Creatures  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I’m My Own Dog by David Ezra Stein

I did a lot of book store therapy this week. Not book shopping because that is not currently in the cards but bookstore “being” – perusing titles, recommending to friends, making lists. I actually laughed often while reading this book. And I need some laughs. A book that throws the usual “human = owner animal = pet dynamic” on its head. Giggles are underrated.

I'm My Own Dog  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Mr. Brown’s Fantastic Hat by Ayano Imai

I loved the illustrations in this book. An incredible hat that grows to accomodate a number of birds come to nest. Themes of loneliness, making friends, growing community.

Mr. Brown's Fantastic Hat  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I also read some fantastic nonfiction titles:

A River of Words: The Story of William Carlos Williams written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet

Everything about this title is inspiration. What a story, first of al,l of a poet that had to share his perspective with the world. This book is full of art and words and images. It nudges the reader – go . . . write . . . share . . . create. A beautiful, beautiful book.

 A River of Words  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Who Was Here? Discovering Wild Animal Tracks by Mia Posada

Loved the guess and read to find out aspect of this story. Would be perfect to share a few pages at a time.

Who Was Here?  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

Bizarre Dinosaurs: Some Very Strange Creatures and Why We Think They Got that Way by John Updike and Christopher Sloan

Whoa dinosaurs are wild creatures! This title shares photos of fossils and digitally modeled images along with scientific explanations of why dinosaurs were structured the way they were. Fascinating.

Bizarre Dinosaurs  #IMWAYR September 1st 2014 There's a Book for That

I am sick of typing it so you must be sick of reading it but the mess of BC Education is still happening. We still have no contract. The mediator declared an impasse. Tomorrow is NOT the first day of school as it should be. So my reading time has continued to be interrupted by things like remembering to breathe. I am almost finished and thoroughly enjoying Revolution by Deborah Wiles. Hoping to be able to escape into more books this week after picket line shifts and beginning to home school (temporarily I hope) my own children who should be beginning Grade 7 tomorrow.

Happy Reading to all of you. Thank goodness for the land of books!

Reading Goal Updates: 

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 60/100 novels complete

Goodreads Challenge: 406/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 20/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 104/65 complete

Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Well, it’s a new month. Teachers in B.C. still don’t have a contract. Not sure when a pay cheque with my name on it is ever coming my way again . . . Sigh.

So I am making another picture book wish list! (July’s version is here) It’s supposed to be helping me not want to buy books for my classroom. (It doesn’t!) It does help me stay convinced that picture books are one of the best things in life. They bring much joy. Joy that is multiplied with rereads.  🙂

So, this month’s picture book dreaming includes these ten titles (some not yet released)

Knock Knock My Dad’s Dream for Me written by Daniel Beaty with illustrations by Bryan Collier (December 2013)

Loss. Hope. Upset. Deep love. All in 32 beautiful pages. I can’t recover from this book. I think I need to own it. And read it to children and let their responses and observations work their magic.

Knock Knock My Dad's Dream for Me Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Flight School by Lita Judge (April 2014)

Seriously, I can’t get over how adorable this little penguin is – the turned in toes, the aviator glasses, the multi-coloured feathers (would be wings). And that he claims he has the soul of an eagle? Melt.

Flight School Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

The Grudge Keeper written by Mara Rockliff with illustrations by Eliza Wheeler (April 2014)

Work with seven, eight and nine year olds and you experience drama – small things can become big things quickly. We work to keep perspective. A book that allows us to think about holding on when we should be letting go, about forgiveness and the power of blame. Yes, please. One for us.

 The Grudge Keeper Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett (April 2014)

I am still in awe of just how brilliant The Boy and the Airplane was. Some say that they like this title more. And “well done wordless”? It is a weakness of mine . . .

The Girl and the Bicycle Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Julia, Child written by Kyo Maclear with illustrations by Julie Morstad  (July, 2014)

Read it. Loved it. Left it at the bookstore. Now I keep thinking about the potential as a read aloud. How it would inspire children to conjure up recipes and concoctions for helping adults stay true to what’s important. Can’t you just imagine? The writing. The list making. The art. Oh. Oh. I am so easily convinced.

Julia, Child Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

My Teacher is a Monster (No, I am Not) by Peter Brown (July 2014)

September is around the corner. We all need some laughs. And oh how I adore Peter Brown!

 My Teacher is a Monster Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Nana in the City by Lauren Castillo (September 2014)

My Mom is one funky, energetic Nini (what my children started calling her and it stuck) who adores her grandchildren. I love stories with relationships that span the generations. I love the spunk of those a little wiser and more experienced and the adventures they can invite little ones to join. I also love every illustration by Lauren Castillo. Clearly, this book is meant for me.

Nana in the City Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Flora and the Penguin by Molly Idle (September 2014)

Because really – graceful penguins and Flora? We loved pink and flamingoes. Can’t wait for blues and a little ice.

Flora and the Penguin Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

Julia’s House for Lost Creatures by Ben Hatke (September 2014)

I just love how this sounds. Don’t you want to own a house by the sea and fill it with creatures when you need to spice up your world. Noisy, odd creatures? All the better!

 Julia's House for Lost Creatures Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

A Perfectly Messed up Story by Patrick McDonnell (October 2014)

Well, first, Patrick McDonnell is brilliant. Second, we all need to embrace mess a little more. Stories – the writing, the reading and the telling don’t always go as planned. That’s the beauty of them, after all.

A Perfectly Messed up Story Picture Book Wish List: August 2014

 

As I have said before, wish lists are a safe bet. They only become dangerous when we put them in our pocket. Which I am not going to do . . . Really.

What picture books are you dreaming about?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Monday March 24th, 2014

It’s Monday! What are you reading?

IMWAYR

Join Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers and share all of the reading you have done over the week from picture books to young adult novels. Follow the links to read about all of the amazing books the #IMWAYR community has read. One of the very best ways to discover what to read next!

I read some wonderful picture books this week. Here are my ten favourites:

Sparky! written by Jenny Offill and illustrated by Chris Appelhans

Okay, Wow. This book is so absolutely charming. And wonderfully slow – yes, like a sloth. There are giggle worthy images – like the sloth in a box having just arrived by Express Mail. Or when we see that Sparky (the sloth) can win at a game – if it is Statue where you need to stand very still.  It is about our desires and vulnerabilities. Why else post a sign about a Trained Sloth Extravaganza where you plan to prove that your pet sloth is really quite amazing? And spend days teaching him tricks . . . ? If you make it through the book and aren’t sold, the last page will get you. And then you like me, will have to buy this book or . . . send away for it to be delivered by Express Mail.

Sparky! #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Promise written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Laura Carlin

When I saw that Nicola Davies – my go to author for nonfiction titles had written a fiction title, I had to find it. And read it. And own it. I plan to read this book to my students along with The Curious Garden by Peter Brown and The Story of Frog Belly Rat Bone by Timothy Basil Ering. All three titles share similar messages – nature is essential, being part of a growing landscape is transformative and filling the world with more green can enrich our lives and build our communities. Only criticism – I love all of the images in the book, except the cover. Wish they had chosen a different illustration to feature. But peek under the book jacket for another gorgeous image.

The Promise #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Boy and the Airplane by Mark Pett

I really wasn’t prepared for how funny I found this book. Funny as in completely amusing – it caught me off guard in the best of the ways. A little boy loses his airplane on the rooftop. He tries in vain to get it down. His eventual strategy works – but it might not be what we all might choose. Another title I now want to own for my wordless collection.

 #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Soccer Star written by Mina Javaherbin and illustrated by Renato Alarcão 

This book is set in Brazil and tells the story of young children living in poverty. Their days are full of work while their heads are full of dreams. Maybe they will be future soccer stars like Garrincha, Pelé and Ronaldo and find a way to lift their families out of poverty. The dreams give light and energy to the hardships of everyday and the evening soccer game is a treasured, shared time daily. I reviewed this book with my students responses in more detail here.

Soccer Star  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Lila and the Secret of Rain written by David Conway and illustrated by Jude Daly

I am always on the lookout for folktales and stories set in other places. I am excited to add this to my classroom collection. Lila’s village in Kenya is experiencing drought. Her grandfather whispers the secret of rain to her. Lila sets out on a quest to bring rain to her village. She does this by sharing her sadness with the sky. A beautiful book.

Lila and the Secret of the Rain  #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Letter Lunch by Elisa Gutierrez

Love the stores full of letters, letters scattered in plants, the bottles of vowels and the Z on the top of the mountain. The fact that it is wordless makes it even more powerful. Perfect for a reader who loves to get lost in the details. So much to explore in this book.

Letter Lunch #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Cave Baby written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Emily Gravett

A celebration of children’s art and colourful pictures. A rhyming read aloud title with the talented Gravett as illustrator. Can see this being a read and reread aloud for persistent toddlers who will be delighted by it!

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Friends by Eric Carle

Lovely for story time. Reminiscent about a lost childhood friend, Carle celebrates a best friend and his imaginative search for her over time and distance after she moved away.

 Friends #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Eric the Boy who Lost his Gravity by Jenni Desmond

What happens when we get really angry? An interesting take on how it feels. Highlights the sibling wars of early childhood and the blame game of the parents. Interesting. Pair it with When Sophie gets Angry- Really, Really Angry by Molly Bang. Anger and managing our emotions are things we should be talking about with children. These books give us a jumping off point.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Running with the Horses by Alison Lester

What a book. This is a longer picture book set in WWII. Nina and her father must rescue Lipizzaner stallions that they look after at the Royal Academy of Dancing Horses in Vienna. Nina rides Zelda, an older mare, who her father suspects is not up for the journey into the safety of the countryside. Courage. Adventure. History. Alison Lester has written and illustrated a beautiful book. She does note that while the story was inspired by the rescue of the Lipizzaner stallions, it is not meant to be a historically accurate account of the actual events.

#IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Novels I finished (all on my #MustReadin2014 list):

Better Nate than Ever by Tim Federle

Add me to the long list of readers who has been utterly charmed by the character Nate Foster. I loved his small town inexperience. His candor. His charm. The fact that he talks about his parent’s marriage problems, personal problems and parenting problems. I love that he talks about not knowing who he might like in the future and that he hasn’t got a gender all picked out yet. I love his friendship with his best friend. And then there is his audition. Okay, I basically just loved all of it.

Better Nate than Ever #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

The Boy on the Porch by Sharon Creech

I sat down to read this book one evening during a “family read in” (fireplace on, everyone grab a book and snuggle on the couch) and I didn’t put it down until I finished it. Beautiful writing. Touching story. My heart ached and soared. I have been thinking about this book for days. For many reasons. One of which is that I have a student that would so benefit by being “found” and loved by John and Marta.

 The Boy on the Porch #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Allegiant by Veroncia Roth

I really hate writing negative reviews and I shouldn’t be because I should have abandoned the book but I didn’t for a few reasons 1) at about 200 pages in, I was getting into it 2) it was on my #MustReadin2014 list 3) I had to get to the controversial ending

But . . . Here is what irked me 1) Characters were constantly fiddling with the hem of their shirts. Huh? But everyone doing this often. 2) The writing just wasn’t good.  Biggest issue? The dual narration and not being able to remember who was telling the story at certain points. Don’t think Roth really delivered in Tobias’ voice 3) Reading should never feel like a chore and I had to force myself to sit and read both at the beginning and after about page 250.

Still I did finish. In the end, I enjoyed Divergent and should have just stopped there. Much preferred the Legend trilogy if anyone is in the mood for YA dystopia.

 Allegiant #IMWAYR There's a Book for That

Reading Goal updates:

2014 Chapter Book Challenge: 23/100 novels complete

Goodeads Challenge: 147/650 books read

#MustReadin2014: 12/30 complete

Nonfiction Picture Book Challenge: 42/65 complete

Speaking of #MustReadin2014 – for anyone participating in this challenge, we talked about sharing our progress at the end of March. I am planning to do a post for April 1st. Anyone else in? Doesn’t have to be huge and full of reviews, unless you want it to be. Maybe just a list of titles you’ve read so far. Highlighting some favourites? Ratings? I know this community will bring their own style and signature to it! I will start tweeting some reminders using the hashtag #MustReadin2014 over the next week.

The Girl who Never Made Mistakes

Our morning read aloud was an important one. We shared The Girl who Never Made Mistakes written by Mark Pett and Gary Rubinstein and illustrated by Mark Pett. We have some extra doses of anxious feelings in our classroom. Just who we are. So I thought this would be an ideal book to help us talk about making mistakes and how it is absolutely okay. Even good.

Initial reactions to the cover of this book were a little awe inspired. “Wow! Is she perfect?” And then one student aptly pointed out, “I think that at the end she might make a mistake because people who make books – well that’s what they do. That’s how books happen.” (I love when students share their knowledge of how books and authors work like this!)

This book is about a little girl named Beatrice Bottomwell, who, as the cover clearly states, never makes mistakes. Never. Not ever. So impressively perfect that she actually has fans waiting for her outside her door every morning who regularly quiz her about her error free habits. Her little brother, Carl, ironically is nothing like his big sister. He makes lots of mistakes and delights in this fact. Funny little guy (our class named him “Backwards boy”) does things like play the piano with his toes and draw with green beans while eating his crayons!

One day, Beatrice almost made a mistake. She slipped in cooking class and four eggs went flying into the air! “Oh my!” I exclaimed as I read. “I can’t breathe. I wonder what will happen?” One of the little boys at my feet reached up with his teddy (we have class stuffies that listen along with us – helps with secure feelings. Remember we are an anxious bunch!) “Here Ms. Gelson. You can hug my teddy.” Cute. And then some.

We turned the page and all was okay. Beatrice had managed to land on the floor and catch each egg using a very creative two hands, one foot, one mouth retrieval system. But her “almost mistake” plagued her. Students noticed that she was feeling lots of pressure. While her little brother balanced his plate on his head and held his spoon with his toes, she barely touched her dinner. Beatrice had a talent contest that evening and she was anxious she would mess up.”Not you, ” her Dad assured.

Beatrice prepared for her juggling routine by grabbing her hamster, a salt shaker and a water balloon. She went up on stage to cries of “That’s her! The girl who never makes mistakes!” She started to juggle. She always performed this routing flawlessly. Then Beatrice noticed that the flecks coming out of the salt shaker were not white . . . Uh. Oh. We caught on pretty quickly! “It’s pepper!” “The hamster will sneeze!” “She is about to make a mistake!” The sneeze is humongous! “Just how hard can a hamster sneeze?” asked one student. And, if you are thinking about this little scene, you can imagine what happens. The haster sneezes, his claws scratch the balloon and KABLOOIE (we practiced saying this a bunch of times. It is pretty fun!) Beatrice is drenched and a hamster is perched precariously atop her head. Everything and everyone was still. Students observed that she must be feeling sad that she had made a mistake. Some also noted that it really isn’t possible to be perfect.

But then . . . Beatrice began to giggle. Eventually she was laugh out loud laughing and it was contagious. The audience laughed along with her. That night, Beatrice had her best sleep ever. The next day she began to do things without perfection in mind. Skating and slipping. Messy lunches. Lots of laughter. And not so many worries.

What was our response?

At first she made no mistakes. Now, she likes making mistakes. People aren’t mad at her. It can be funny when you make mistakes and everyone can laugh together.”

If you think you have to be perfect, it is hard to make friends because everyone else seems normal and you can’t be happy.”

An important read for our class. An important read for any class. Mistakes are how we grow. They make us human. They give us the freedom to relax and try new things. This little book is a great reminder of all of that!